"Then he will burn it on top of the wood fire on the
altar. It is a whole burnt offering made by fire, very pleasing to
the Lord." Leviticus 1:17
Reader, you are invited here to take your stand within
the tabernacle's court. A crowded and a busy scene appears. Many worshipers
bring many offerings. All is activity. But all the active zeal has one great
object—to honor God in God's appointed way.
Each offering in this court is a full page of
Gospel-truth. Christ in His grace and work is the golden key to open every
part. Leviticus is Calvary fore-shown. Calvary is Leviticus unfolded. The
one casts forward the morning ray. The other pours down the mid-day blaze.
But the early and the brighter beams stream from one Sun—Christ Jesus. The
brazen altar is the herald of the cross. The cross re-echoes to the brazen
In a long train of ceremonial teaching the Burnt offering
takes the lead. Let this, then, first be noticed.
An offerer comes. Mark what he brings. If his offering be
from the herd, it must be an unblemished male. Lev. 1:3. It must be the
choicest produce from his pastures—the primest flower from his fields.
There must be strength in fullest vigor, and beauty without
one alloy. Such are the properties required.
The meaning is distinct. Jesus is here. The victim chosen
before worlds were framed is thus portrayed. Strength and perfection
are main colors in His portrait. He is as strong as God can be. The shield
of omnipotence is on His arm. Hence He is able to achieve the grandest of
all victories—even to tread down Satan and his empire. Hence He is able to
bear away the weightiest of all burdens—even the vast mass of all His
Perfection finds embodiment in Him. His every aspect
is beauty, without one flaw. All evil buffeted Him, but it left no stain.
Sin could not touch Him, though He sojourned in its home. Earth saw in Him
one sinless inhabitant. From the manger to the cross, He shone one ray of
O my soul, you need strong help. Repose on Jesus: His
strength suffices, and it cannot fail. You need a perfect ransom and a
perfect robe. Repose on Jesus; He gave to God a spotless life, a spotless
soul, to be your price. He gives to you a spotless righteousness to be your
clothing. Thus the unblemished male pictures the beauteous and the strong
We next approach the chambers of the offerer's heart. We
read, "He shall offer it of his own voluntary will." Lev. 1:3. There is no
compulsion. There is no reluctance. His step is willingness.
This is a picture of faith's happy actings. Its
chariot-wheels move swiftly. It feels sin's miserable need. It knows the
value of redeeming blood. So it flies, with rapid wing, to plead it at the
mercy-seat. Formalists may frequent God's courts. Habit's cold chains may
drag them. Self-righteousness may urge them to the heartless task. But faith
is a willing grace.
The eager offerer puts his hand upon the victim's head.
Lev. 1:4. Do any ask the meaning of this rite? It graphically shows a
transfer. Some load oppresses, which is thus cast on the victim. Some burden
passes to another's person. Here is again the happy work of faith. It brings
all guilt, and heaps it on the Savior's head. One sin retained is misery
now, and hell at last. All must be pardoned by being brought to Christ. And
He is waiting to receive. His office is to be this burden-bearer. His love
constrains, and He cannot draw back.
Do any read this, who never have thus dealt with Christ?
Sirs, where are your sins? They adhere tighter than your very skin. They
have a millstone weight. They press to misery's unfathomable depths. But
flee to Jesus. He can remove them all, and He alone.
Believer, where are your sins? On Jesus they are placed,
and you are free. I ask again, Where are your sins? You answer, "As far as
the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from
us." Ps. 103:12. You may rejoice and sing aloud, Christ is accepted as a
substitute for me; I shall not be condemned. Thus with one hand faith casts
away all misery, and with the other grasps all joy.
The victim, to which sins thus typically pass,
must DIE. "He shall kill the young bull before the Lord." Lev.
1:5. Can Jesus, who in reality receives our guilt, not lay down life? It
cannot be. The holy Word stands sure; "In the day that you eat thereof, you
shall surely die." Gen. 2:17. The sinner's surety, then, cannot be spared.
He gives His life to pay the debt—to satisfy the wrath—to bear the curse—to
expiate the guilt.
O my soul, "Christ died" is all your hope—your plea—your
remedy—your life. "Christ died" opens your path to God. "Christ died" turns
every frown into approving smiles. When the law thunders, and conscience
quakes, and Satan accuses, interpose "Christ died," and fear no more. When
the grave opens, whisper "Christ died," and sleep in peace. When the white
throne is set, shout "Christ died," and take the crown of righteousness!
The victim's blood is SPRINKLED "round about upon the
altar." Lev. 1:5. The blood is evidence that life is paid.
This token then is profusely scattered. The priestly hands bedewed the altar
with it. Thus Jesus enters with His own blood into the holy place. Heb.
9:12. He strews it round, and claims the purchased flock, the covenanted
blessings—the full reward, the fruit of His completed work.
O my soul, you are bought, and cleansed, and comforted by
blood. Your every blessing is a blood-bought gift. Let every prayer, and
praise, and work, and service, be a blood-sprinkled offering.
The victim is next SKINNED. Lev. 1:6. The skin is
torn away. The sacrificing priest received this, as his portion. It gave
supplies of clothing. Is there no Gospel here?—say you, who joy in Jesus as
"the Lord your righteousness." Yes, here is a picture of that heaven-pure
robe, in which Christ decks each child of faith. His blood, indeed, removes
all curse. But it is His obedience, which merits all glory. Because He died,
we live. Because He lived, we reign.
The piercing knife divides the limbs. Members are
torn from members, and all the parts, without, within, to which
defilement usually adheres, are diligently washed. Lev. 1:9. The type
of Jesus must be clean. No shadow of impurity may darken it. Again and again
the truth resounds, that God's eye can only rest on perfect purity. How,
then, shall the sinner stand, who ventures near apart from Christ? Reader,
consider this at once! Oh! never rest until you know, that you are cleansed
without by cleansing blood, and cleansed within by sanctifying grace.
The parts thus severed, and thus washed, are placed upon
the altar. Consuming fire is brought. It preys on every limb. The
raging flame devours, until this fuel is reduced to ashes. Lev. 1:9.
Let us now seek the truth, which echoes from this blazing
fire. The garden and the cross unfold it. There Jesus presents Himself,
laden with all the sins of all His chosen race. O my soul, have you a saving
interest in Him? If it be so, He there appears, bearing the guilt of all
your guilty life. The Sinless is accounted sinful, that the sinful may be
spared as sinless.
What then occurs? Sin merits wrath. This wrath must fall.
Justice must claim its due. Truth must be true. Holiness must show how evil
is abhorred. The majesty and honor of God's empire cannot descend from their
high throne. Sinner, be sure that sin cannot be spared. You must take woe,
except this Surety take it for you.
What then occurs? See Jesus crushed to the earth beneath
the load of anguish. Each bleeding pore proclaims, that more cannot be
But whence is the God-man's mighty agony? The fire of
heaven's wrath has fallen on Him. Vengeance has seized its prey. He
undergoes the every pang, which would have tortured His redeemed people, if
they had tossed in hottest flames forever. The fire burns—the anger
rages—until each sin has infinitely suffered what it infinitely earned. No
fuel then remains. All is consumed. The fire dies. The wrath expires. Hark!
Jesus utters the wondrous word, "It is finished!"
O my soul, in calm and holy reverence, survey this
dreadful scene. It is your ransom. It is your escape. It is your rescue from
eternal ruin. It is another draining hell's cup for you. This one Burnt
offering receives all vengeance. The fire of justice, that died in Christ,
cannot revive to injure you.
The Spirit seals the record with this approving seal—"It
is a Burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the
Lord." Lev. 1:9. Here is witness worth ten thousand worlds. Here is the
sweetest cordial, which the lips of faith can drink. The dying Jesus is
heaven's "sweet savor." When the God-man victim burns upon the altar of the
cross, each attribute is satisfied; no more, exults with
ever-exulting joy; no more, is magnified to the highest heights; no
more, is glorified until glory overflows.
Reader, the type blazes to win you to the saving cross.
Whatever be your state or grade, be wise, and seek your richest pleasures
here. The rite distinctly shows, that rich and poor alike need pardon, and
alike must come. Sin has soiled all. All, then, must wash in expiating
blood. The wealthy brought their victim from the herd. He, who had less of
worldly wealth, offered his lamb or kid. The poorest inhabitant of the
poorest hut gave the young pigeon or the turtle-dove. All placed upon the
altar a burnt-sacrifice. A Savior is the one need of rich and poor. The
richest is most poor, until Christ be found. The poorest is most rich, when
once this pearl be clasped.
Such is the Gospel of the Burnt offering. Reader, leave
it not without three solemn thoughts deep written in your heart.
1. Fire burns there. It burns to tell us what is
sin's due. It frightfully portrays what all must bear, on whom that plague
abides. Look at the consuming blaze and meditate on the tossings of the
fiery lake—the flames, which cannot die—the gnawings of the ever-gnawing
worm—the raging of relentless wrath—the agony, which tortures mind, and
soul, and body. See in this sight God's utmost power put forth to inflict
utmost pains through endless ages. See sin's sure doom. May the sight drive
you rapidly to Christ!
2. Mark here God's wondrous grace. To save lost souls
He gives the Son of His love to the fury of His wrath. He heaps all woe on
Him, that no woe may remain for the redeemed. His frown is pitiless towards
Him, that He may smile unceasingly on them. How dear must they be to His
heart! He, who is the preciousness of heaven, descends to bear the worst of
their vile doom. The Burnt offering sweetly cries, Abundant grace exceeds
3. What shall the ransomed render to salvation's Lord?
The Burnt offering demands from them self offering. Let all heaven
hear—let all earth take knowledge, that they give themselves, their souls,
their bodies, their every faculty and gift, all influence, all means, their
morning, midday, evening hours, to be a free-will sacrifice to free grace.
Let the high altar of self-consecrating gratitude be raised. Let the whole
life be one clear blaze of flaming love and ever-brightening service!