TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2002 James Melough
THE BURNT OFFERING
“If his offering be a burnt
sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it
of his own voluntary will (for his acceptance) at the door of the tabernacle
of the congregation before the Lord,” Lev 1:3
All of the offerings were
types of Christ, the ritual for their presentation being recorded in
Leviticus, chapters 1-7.
To be acceptable the animal
must be from the flock or herd, and must be clean according to God’s standard,
which required that it be cloven-hoofed, and a ruminant (cud chewer), the
cloven hoof speaking of Christ’s separated walk; and the rumination speaking
not only of reading God’s Word, but also of meditating upon and obeying it.
The Lord lived His whole life in perfect obedience to Scripture; and the
believer who would be Christ-like must also nurture his new spiritual life on
that same spiritual food.
The requirement that the
animal be domestic rather than wild, speaks of its being easily available to
man (it didn’t have to be hunted), and of its being given by God to serve
man. This speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ’s coming down to earth in the form
of a servant, and making Himself easily available to men for the cleansing of
their sin, and thereby making them acceptable to God as declared in Lev 1:3,
“He shall offer it of his own voluntary will” which is more accurately
translated “He shall offer it for his acceptance.” It is a miracle of grace
transcending comprehension that the Lord came to earth, not only to serve God,
but also to serve man by taking our sins upon Himself, and dying for them on
The Burnt offering speaks of
Christ doing everything, first for His Father’s glory, and then for the
salvation of sinners. Every part of the Burnt offering (except the skin,
which went to the officiating priest) went up in smoke as a sweet savor to
God. It was all for Him; and since the bullock is the type or symbol of
patient service, God would have us see in it a picture of the perfect Servant
presented in the Gospel of Mark. The sweet savor speaks of the fragrance to
the Father of Christ’s life and voluntary vicarious death. The truth being
taught in the transmutation of the Burnt offering into smoke ascending as a
sweet savor to God, is that the equivalent of the Burnt offering is the
believer’s worship, for worship is simply the presentation to God of our
appreciation of the worth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since the male speaks of the
activity of the will; and the female, of its passivity, the animal’s being a
male is the symbolic announcement of the fact that all of the Lord’s will was
devoted to doing the Father’s will. He would permit nothing to turn Him aside
from accomplishing that objective.
Since the skin is the animal’s
covering, the skin of the Burnt offering represents the “covering”
(righteousness) of Christ, and its being given to the officiating priest, see
Lev 7:8, declares the truth that every believer is clothed in Christ’s
righteousness, for every believer is a spiritual priest, see 1 Pe 2:9, “Ye are
a chosen generation, a royal priesthood....”
Its being a sacrifice reminds
us first that it cost the Lord Jesus Christ His life to give us acceptance
with God, and secondly it teaches us that worship costs something. In those
days wealth was measured in terms of animals, so that when a man sacrificed an
animal to God it was the equivalent of taking money out of his pocket. It
cost him something, and the principle hasn’t changed. If we would worship God
in Spirit and in truth, it will cost us something. It will require us to give
up time that might have been spent in making money, in enjoying some worldly
pleasure. Nor need that activity be inherently sinful. Paul warns “... lay
aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let
us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Heb 12:1. A similar
warning against these “weights” is given symbolically in Ca 2:15, “Take us the
foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines....” The “weights” come in all
kinds of disguises, e.g., reading, listening to music, hobbies, athletics,
sports, etc. The standard to be applied to everything that occupies my time
is not necessarily whether it could be classed as sinful, but whether it makes
me a more spiritual Christian, a better servant of Christ, a help or a
hindrance to the assembly of which I am a member. It is to be feared that it
is “weights,” rather than outright sins that have vitiated the life of many an
While the bullock was the most
costly offering, a sheep or a goat could also be offered, depending on the
financial state of the offerer.
The sheep represents Christ as
the meek unresisting Lamb of God, yielding Himself willingly to death so that
men might receive God’s gift of eternal life, as described by the prophet, “He
was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is
brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is
dumb, so he openeth not his mouth,” Isa 53:7.
The goat, though most
frequently used for the Sin offering, was also used for the Burnt offering.
It represents Christ as the One Who was willing to take our sins upon Him, and
die to make atonement for them at Calvary, offering Himself there without spot
to God, Heb 9:14, He by the assumption of our sins being Himself made sin “...
that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” 2 Cor 5:21.
The man too poor to be able to
bring a bullock, sheep, or goat, was permitted to offer a turtledove or a
pigeon, and as creatures of the heavens the birds represent Christ as the
heavenly One Who stooped to come down to earth
and take upon Himself humanity, so that He could die in man’s guilty stead for
the remission of sin.
For a more detailed treatment
of the Offerings please consult LEVITICUS (Levitical Offerings) also available
on this web site.