Christ in the Offerings: The Burnt Offering (2)

Acceptance with Deep Appreciation

Having presented his offering to the Lord, it was now the solemn and painful responsibility of the offerer to kill the offering. The hands of the worshipper would be stained with the blood of the victim which was to die for his acceptance. So a believer in this age ever remembers that his sins have been responsible for the death of Him in Whom he is accepted. Note that there are no grades of acceptance and there is no progress in it. We may advance in knowledge and in appreciation, but not in acceptance. We are all, equally and eternally, “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6).

As mentioned earlier, there are five different forms of the Burnt Offering. A man might bring a bullock, a sheep, a goat, a turtledove, or a young pigeon, according to his resources. We must not introduce market values into this. They denote varying appreciation, but each is offered from a willing heart as a man is able, and all are pleasing to the Lord. It would not be expected that a man with limited and meagre resources could bring a bullock, but if he brings what he can then the Lord accepts that. Conversely, if a man has ample resources it would not be expected that he should present but a turtledove or a pigeon. A young believer does not have either the rich experience or the knowledge of one who has known the Savior for many years, but appreciation of Christ offered out of a loving heart will delight the heart of God just the same as the eloquent contribution of the older saint.

Whichever form the offering may take, there were two essentials. It must be a male and it must be without blemish. The male is symbolic of initiative and activity. The female of another offering portrays other features. Our Lord Jesus lived a busy active life, even in those early years of boyhood and youth. He was always about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49). He was not cloistered away from the noise and bustle of society. He worked as a carpenter in Nazareth. He walked the streets of that town, mingled with its people, attended its synagogue, and likely travelled to Jerusalem regularly with his pious parents and townsfolk. But throughout those years and the few years of ministry that followed, He remained impeccably pure. His was a spotless, stainless life without blemish, active until the end.

In the animals and birds of the Burnt Offering it is relatively easy to see those features of Christ which pleased the Father. There is unwearying service in the bullock; meek, unmurmuring suffering in the sheep; a steadfast, resolute walk in the goat; unwavering devotion in the dove, and uncomplaining poverty in the pigeon.

The bullock was a strong, patient, apparently untiring servant. Whether in ploughing or reaping, gathering in the harvest, or threshing, the bullock was a ready servant, silently plodding in a path of obedience. Such was our blessed Lord. He was the pattern Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher, always busy in teaching, preaching, healing, and praying. No one ever served men as much or as well as He did, but He was never the servant of man. He was the perfect Servant of Jehovah. Such an One we contemplate as we worship.

The sheep is noted for its submissiveness. John Baptist looked upon Jesus “as He walked” and said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” So we delight to consider the holy walk of Him Who in meek submission to the will of God yielded Himself to cruel men who sheared Him of His rights, crowned Him with thorns and scourged Him, and finally hanged Him on a tree outside the city. It was the obedient submissiveness of One Who could say, “Not My will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42).

The goat has an appealing characteristic in Proverbs 30:29-31. It has, in the lovely rendering of JND, “a stately step” and is “comely in going.” There is indeed a firm resolution in that stately step, and so it was with Jesus. None could dissuade Him from the path of God’s will. His closest followers might say as He spoke of suffering and death, “Far be it from Thee Lord; this shall not be unto Thee,” but He was resolute. “He must go … and suffer … and be killed” (Matt 16:21-23).

The inwards and the legs of these offerings were washed in water. This was to make them typically, what the Lord Jesus was intrinsically. He was inwardly and outwardly holy, essentially and morally pure.

The turtledove is noted for an unwavering and enduring devotion to its partner. It is also said to have a single eye, with vision only for the object of its affection. Was this not indeed true of Him Who lived and walked in pure and jealous devotion to His Father? “The Father loveth the Son,” He could say, and “I love the Father” (John 3:35; 5:20; 14:31). What eternal affection there was between the Father and the Son Who ever dwelt in His bosom. What a subject for meditation!

The pigeon is the very picture of poverty. How our hearts go out to Him Who voluntarily “became poor” (2 Cor 8:9). He came to a manger, to swaddling bands, and to the poverty of a carpenter’s home in Nazareth. He owned no property. It is often said that He borrowed a penny, a boat, a donkey, an upper room, and even a cross. O His poverty!

So do we bring to God, in worship, our appreciation of this lovely Man Who was portrayed so long ago in these ancient Scriptures. Many details have been left untouched. They are greater than the confines of these short papers, but may we discover them in future personal study!