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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
Leviticus 1

 

 

Verses 1-17

THE BURNT OFFERING

(A) A BULL (vv. 1-9)

The first verse is significant of the character of the whole book of Leviticus. The Lord speaks to Moses from the tabernacle, His place of dwelling among the people. If we are to approach Him, it must be where He is, and on His terms. When we have been redeemed by Him and to Him, it is surely our desire to be near to Him, enjoying the light of His face. But this must be in His own way.

Therefore the burnt offering comes first, for this gives the most important aspect of the sacrifice of Christ. If one desired to offer a burnt sacrifice from the herd, this must be a male without blemish, a male because the burnt offering is altogether objective: all was to be offered in fire to the Lord. It was not in any way subjective, for the offerer has no part in the offering, as was true in the peace offering, which could be either a male or female (Leviticus 3:1). The words in verse 3, “of his own free will” (KJV) are rightly rendered “that he may be accepted” (NASB).

The offerer was to put his hand on the head of the bull, signifying his personal identification with the sacrifice. This was necessary if God was to accept the offering as applicable to the offerer, just as believers are to signify their personal identification with Christ in accepting Him by faith. Then the offerer must kill the bull before the Lord, and the priests would sprinkle the blood of the offering all around the copper altar. Following this the offerer was to skin the animal and cut it into its various pieces. Leviticus 7:8 shows that the priest who offered the sacrifice was to keep the skin for himself. But all the rest of the animal, after the inwards and legs were washed, was to be laid in order on the altar and all burnt. Thus all was to go up in fire to God, for the most vital matter in the sacrifice of Christ is that in this God is glorified. The offerer is accepted, but this is simply the result of God being glorified. Our blessing through Christ's sacrifice is a lesser matter than God's glory. Indeed, if not one soul had been saved, yet God has been eternally honored by the work of Calvary. Yet the other offerings also were necessary as picturing other aspects of the value of Christ's sacrifice that involved the blessing of believers.

The cutting into various parts indicates that we are to value everything about Christ's sacrifice as being for God, and specially mentioned are the head (intelligence) the fat (typical of His devotion), the inwards, the hidden motives of His heart, and the legs (His walk). Thus the thoughts of the Lord Jesus were above all for God, His devotion was always Godward, His hidden motives were for God's glory, and His walk was always to please the Father. Thus the offering was “a sweet aroma to the Lord.” This is not said of the sin or trespass offerings.

(B) A SHEEP OR A GOAT (vv 10-13).

A burnt offering could be a sheep or a goat. The bull (larger and stronger) would remind us that some have a more full recognition of the great value of the sacrifice of Christ than others have. It speaks of the strength of the offering. The sheep denotes the submission of Christ, and the goat His substitution. Again, only a male was acceptable, and the offerer was to kill the animal before the Lord, and the priests were to sprinkle the blood all around the altar. This offering was also to be cut in pieces, each piece laid in order on the wood placed in the copper altar. As with the bull, the head and the fat are specially mentioned, and the inwards and legs being washed before burnt with all the rest of the animal on the altar. All ascended in fire to God as “a sweet aroma.”

(C) TURTLEDOVES OR YOUNG PIGEONS (vv. 14-17)

One might be too poor to bring a bull or sheep or goat, and provision was made that he could bring turtledoves or young pigeons. This would tell us that whatever may be our poverty of apprehension of the greatness of Christ's sacrifice, yet there is still glory given to God in only recognizing that Christ is the true Man from heaven who came to sacrifice Himself, for the birds speak of His heavenly character.

In this case the offerer did not kill the bird, but the priest was to wring off its head, its blood being drained out at the side of the altar. Its crop and its feathers were removed and put into the place of the ashes. Then it was split at its wings, but not divided. For the heavenly glory of the Lord Jesus is higher than man can perceive, and therefore not to be divided, though the two things must be distinguished in Him, that is, His deity and His Manhood. Also those spiritually poor cannot easily discern the many characteristics of the Lord Jesus that are implied in the pieces of the bull or sheep or goat. Therefore, however different might be the apprehension of the sacrifice on the part of the offerer, the burnt offering was still acceptable to God: He receives glory from it. All three of these burnt offerings are called “a sweet aroma to the Lord.” All were burned, thus ascending in fire to God. The burnt offering aspect of the sacrifice of Christ is specially emphasized in John's Gospel.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Leviticus 1:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/leviticus-1.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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