Leviticus 1-5 reveals five basic offerings—the burnt offering, the meal offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering—that the Israelites were required to provide in order to worship God and maintain their relationship with Him. The book of Hebrews reveals that Christ has come as the reality of all the Old Testament offerings (Heb. 7:27; 9:12-14, 25-28; 10:4-10). Furthermore, Christ is specifically referred to as the Lamb of God, who accomplished redemption for us (John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:6). Since Christ is the reality of all the Old Testament offerings, the details of the offerings in Leviticus are actually pictures that portray Christ as the unique offering for God’s satisfaction and man’s redemption.
According to the order of presentation and importance, the first and primary offering in Leviticus is the burnt offering. It was an offering that was fully consumed on the altar as a “satisfying fragrance to Jehovah” (Lev. 1:9, 13, 17). Thus, it typifies Christ as one who satisfied God by living a life absolutely for God. Christ did not seek His own will (John 5:30), but came to do God’s will (Heb. 10:7-9). He did nothing from Himself (John 5:19), spoke nothing of Himself (John 7:16-18), and did the Father’s work (John 5:36). He was obedient even unto death (Phil. 2:8). As we consider and appreciate such an aromatic Christ in His human living, we should realize that we are not absolute for God and do many things for ourselves. Not being absolute for God is our fundamental problem before God (not sin or worldliness). We commit sins and fail to satisfy God because we are not absolute for God. Hence, we desperately need to experience Christ as the reality of the burnt offering.
Leviticus 1:4 says that the offerer of the burnt offering laid his hands on the head of the offering in order to be accepted by God. This laying of hands on the head of the offering indicates a union, an identification, of the offerer with the offering. Thus, the laying of hands on the offering in Leviticus corresponds to our union with Christ in the New Testament. Today we can take Christ as our burnt offering by joining ourselves to Him in prayer. In this way, He becomes one with us, our shortcomings are transferred to Him, and His virtues become ours. In this oneness Christ’s life is reproduced in us. May we all spend much time in prayer and fellowship with the Lord so that we genuinely experience Him as the reality of the burnt offering and offer Him to God as our absoluteness.
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)