Whole Burnt Offering

burnt offering 11

Q. What is the purpose of the burnt offering?

A. Let me quote from Smith’s Bible Dictionary:
• [The burnt offering is] the offering which was wholly consumed by fire on the altar, and the whole of which, except the refuse ashes “ascended” in the smoke to God. The meaning of the whole burnt offering was that which is the original idea of all sacrifice, the offering by the sacrificer of himself, soul and body, to God — the submission of his will to the will of the Lord.

The burnt offering is a voluntary offering for two purposes. The first is to propitiate for sin in general,:
Lev 1:4 You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you.
This is in contrast to the sin offering (Lev 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30) and the guilt offering (Lev 5:14-6:7; 7:1-7), both of which are compulsory, to atone for sins committed unknowingly. However, the former applies where no restitution was possible, while the latter applies where restitution was possible.

The second purpose is to signify complete dedication and consecration to God. The offering could be:
1. from the herd (cattle, Lev 1:3),
2. from the flock (sheep or goat, Lev 1:10), or
3. of birds (dove or pigeon, Lev 1:14), depending on the wealth of the person offering the sacrifice.
For (1) and (2), it must be a male without blemish. While part of every offering was burnt, this one was wholly burnt, except the skin:
Lev 1:9 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
• Lev 7:8 The priest who offers a burnt offering for anyone may keep its hide for himself.

They signify the complete dedication of the offerer to God, referred to in:
Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Hope this helps.

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