Leviticus 1 -- 3
The first three Offerings mentioned in the first three chapters of Leviticus are called sweet savor offerings, which means they were voluntary and pleasing to God. If any man of you bring an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. . . . And the priest shall burn all on the altar . . . to be . . . a sweet savor unto the Lord (Leviticus 1:2-4,9).
The first offering mentioned is called the burnt sacrifice (1:3) symbolizing the offerer giving his own life in full submission to God and without a selfish motive. The offering was to be a bullock, sheep, goat, turtledove, or pigeon, according to the financial ability of the offerer (1:3,10,14). If the offerer owned a herd, then he offered a bullock. If, however, the offerer possessed only flocks, then his offering would be a sheep or a goat; for either of these men to offer a pigeon would have been an insult to God. But, if the offerer was so poor that he did not own a herd or a flock, then an acceptable offering could be the less-expensive turtledove or young pigeon. This was the offering made by Joseph and Mary, the mother of Jesus, which points out how very poor they were before the wise men arrived with their expensive gifts (Luke 2:22-24; Matthew 2:11; see Leviticus 12:2-8).
The procedure for the offering was for the offerer to lay his hands heavily upon the head of the animal, symbolizing the transfer of sin from the guilty to the sinless. The offerer himself was then required to kill the animal because its death was to atone for his sin. Next, the priest had to sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar (1:5). The blood offered to God indicated that a life had been given as a substitution for the one who had sinned; this was a foreshadowing of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross. All the parts of the animal had to be separated: the head, representing the mind; the inward parts, representing emotions and affections; the legs, representing outward walk and conduct; and the fat, representing the abundant life. From head to foot, the offering represented one's surrender to the Lord. The priest then burned all of it upon the altar except the skin, which was given to the officiating priest. The offering was left burning upon the altar all night until the morning (6:9).
Fire is a symbol of the holiness of God and illustrates the final judgment of God against all sin. It also illustrates God purifying the believer by removing hindrances to holiness: The fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is (I Corinthians 3:13). Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the refiner (Proverbs 25:4). Oh how we need to praise our Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:13-14).
Through the grain (meat) offering which was made without leaven (symbolic of sin) (Leviticus 2:11). Christ was without sin (Heb. 4:15).
1:9 sweet savor means acceptable satisfying fragrance; 2:3 holy means set apart according to the Word of God; 2:4 unleavened means without yeast; 2:12 oblation means offering; 2:13 suffer means allow; 3:9 hard by means near, close.
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NOTE: Bible Pathway covers the Old Testament with devotional and commentary insights over a nine-month period, January through September. Each day during these months, an optional reading of one chapter a day from the New Testament will also be listed. The October, November, and December issues will provide a daily commentary on the New Testament readings. Thus, the reader goes through the New Testament twice each year using the Bible Pathway plan.
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