The book of Leviticus was the first book studied by a Jewish child, however, it is usually the last book studied by Christians today. However, it is important to take note that this book is referenced around 40 times in the New Testament. This means that it has great value and significance to all Christians today, and this is why I am sharing this message with everyone here today. The book of Leviticus provides God’s people with the revelation of His holiness, love, and grace. It also provides us all with a rich lesson concerning the righteous life that God expects all His people to live by. This is especially true when concerning the Old Testament ordinances of sacrifice and atonement. In these ordinances, the mysteries of the spiritual world were represented by natural objects. Their practices were a foreshadowing of the rites that were to come in the future through Jesus Christ. They represented the suffering of Christ, who was to be a sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. The burning body of the animals was just a representation of the everlasting misery that we all deserve. This brings about eight main points on how they directly teach us more about Jesus and our inward worship.
It is written, “If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord. 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. 5 You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 6 You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. 7 The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. 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,” (Leviticus 1:3-9, NIV).
First, as you have read, the animal to be offered had to be without any blemishes. It signified the strength and purity that God required for the atonement of a person’s sins. This same strength and purity were found in Jesus Christ. It is also the same strength and purity that God requires us all to live by. It is the foundation of holy living. It is also a reminder that we are to give God the best version of ourselves as an act of submission and love.
Second, the owner of the animal had to offer it of his own free will. This act was an act of love and reverence toward the Lord. This directly represents how freely Christ offered himself for every one of us.
Third, the sacrifice had to be offered at the door of the tabernacle. This was where the brazen of burnt offering stood which sanctified the gift. The person offering the sacrifice had to offer it at the door because they were unworthy to enter. This was an acknowledgment that they were a sinner and that they could not have communion with God, except through sacrifice. It was a simple act of reverence and understanding of their condition, no different than how we are called to come to Him today.
Fourthly, the person who was offering the sacrifice had to place their hand upon the sacrifice. This signified the hope that they had that it would be accepted by God as an atonement for their sins. This showed humility and acceptance to whatever the outcome may have been by the Lord. It did not matter if the Lord accepted the offering or not, the fact is that they were willing to do it, to begin with. Their sole purpose was to seek forgiveness and to glorify Him.
Fifth, the sacrifices were to be killed before the Lord in an orderly manner. This was to bring honor to God. It signified that the flesh must be crucified with its corrupt affections or lusts. It signified how a Christian should live their life, a life of sacrifice and glorification to Christ.
Sixth, the priest was to sprinkle the blood upon the altar, because the blood was the life made for atonement. It signified the pacifying and purifying of our consciences by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ upon us all. It is only through His blood that our sins can be fully washed away. There had to be a blood sacrifice to atone for the sin nature in every one of us.
Seventh, the animal had to be divided into several pieces afterward and burned on the altar. The burning of the sacrifices signifies the suffering of Jesus Christ. It was His devout affection in which a holy fire was established. As Christians, we must also offer ourselves up to His holy fire. Every part of us must be offered to Him. Our hearts, our minds, and our very souls must be placed upon the altar and consumed by His holy fire. It is upon this offer that His holy fire can live in us.
Lastly, once the process was completed, it was said that the offering was a sweet and pleasing aroma to the Lord. As a solid act of obedience to a divine command, it became well-pleasing to God. It signifies that the spiritual sacrifices of Christians are only acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
The apostle Peter referenced this very act in 1 Peter 2:5 when he wrote, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” You see, there has always been a need for humanity to find atonement for their sins and their very sinful nature. However, the sacrificial ordinances found in Leviticus 1:3-9 were simply a shadow of the light that was to come. Understanding this and the significance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for every one of us should put us in a state of reverence. God is calling all of His people back to himself. However, none of us are worthy to step into His throne room because of the state that we are in as sinners. This is why it is so important to recognize not only our sinful condition but the need for the only way to atone from them that is found in Jesus.
If you want to be a pleasing sacrifice for God, follow the steps that were laid out by our forefathers. First, recognize your sinful condition. Then reflect on your sins and confess them to the Lord. Give Him every part of you as an act of obedience and reverence. Place them on the altar and place your hand over them in reverence to the blood that brings us the atonement for them. Then after you have repented for your sins, allow God’s holy fire to burn strong within you by the way you live your life after your sacrifice. As this holy fire burns strong in us, we have the opportunity to be a pleasing aroma for the Lord each and every day. So I challenge you all here and now, if there is anything that you have in your life that is unrepented, stop what you are doing and run to the cross. Get on your knees and thank God for the sacrifice of Christ for all of humanity. Open your heart and accept the pure love that exchanges all of your ugliness for His righteousness. This is not an altar call! This is a get-up and go into your innermost closet call. Remember that the only thing stopping you from being a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord is you. So what will you do about it now?