Leviticus 1

The Law of Burnt Offerings

The first levitical law involves burnt offerings. The sons of Israel were to bring a male from the heard of cattle to the doorway of the tent of meeting. It should be said that he was not to go into the tent of meeting. Only the priests could go into the tent of meeting. The son of Israel, who was offering the animal, was to place his hand on the head of the animal, thereby transferring his sin to the animal. He was then to slay the young bull before the Lord. The priests sprinkled the blood around the altar, which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. The animal was skinned and the parts placed on the altar, having been washed, as a burnt offering before the Lord. It was called a soothing aroma to the Lord. Burning flesh is not a soothing aroma, this was not barbecue. Therefore, I do not think that this means a pleasing smell. However, I do think that this means that the aroma of a burnt offering soothed (propitiated) the righteous wrath of God against the sinner.

In addition to a bull, the sons of Israel could offer up a male sheep, a male goat and even a bird. The sheep and goats offered had to be a male without defect. The bird had to be a turtledove or young pigeon.

I do not think the details for each animal sacrifice is important for us but the fact that something had to die to propitiate the sins of man, before the Lord, is very import indeed. The details of each sacrifice, and the manner in which each animal was offered, indicates obedience to the word of the Lord. Laying ones hands on the head of an animal because you had sinned against the Lord, then sacrificing its life on your behalf would have been a humbling experience. 

All of this points to the sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins, and the sins of the world. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor.5:21, NASB95) “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1Jo.2:2, NASB95)

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