Sanctuary lesson 04 - Sacrifices (part 1)

Sacrifice is at the heart of the Gospel message.  Christians hinge their faith on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary.  Did you know that the concept of sacrifice was explained in the sacrificial system established in the Old Testament?  While it is true that Jesus Christ's sacrifice at Calvary has made the Old Testament sacrificial system obsolete, understanding the sacrificial system will allow you to better understand and more fully appreciate what Jesus did on the cross for us.

Many people today may be uncomfortable with the concept of sacrifice.  They may even consider or it primitive or even barbaric.  However, the shedding of animal blood was a reminder for sinners in Old Testament times of the high cost of sin.  Sacrifices are actually an expression of God's grace.  Sacrifices were a way for sinful people to dwell with a Holy God.

Let's take a look at the five sacrificial offerings in the Old Testament.  As we study, you will see that each of the offerings actually gives a glimpse into the mind and character of God.  Today, we will start with the burnt offering.

Let's turn to Leviticus 1:7-8.

- According to these verses, how were the priests to lay the wood and sacrifice onto the alter?

  • Answer (highlight to read): They were to lay the wood and sacrifice in order.

One of the first things we can learn from the burnt offering is that God is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33).  Another example of this order can be seen in Revelation 1:1.  God (the Father) gave the book of Revelation to Jesus, who sent and signified it to His angel to John. 

  • God --> Jesus --> angel --> man

Let's turn to Leviticus 10:10-17.

- According to this verse, was there only one way to sacrifice for the burnt offering?

  • Answer: No, God gave many options for sacrifice.

A poor person who brought a pigeon for sacrifice was just as acceptable to God as a rich man who brought an ox.  This teaches us that when it comes to worship, God is no respecter of persons (James 2:1-13; Romans 2:11; Acts 10:34; Luke 21:2-4).

Let's turn to Leviticus 1:3.

- According to this verse, is the burnt offering mandatory or voluntary?

  • Answer: Voluntary

Let's turn to Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17.

- According to these verses, what happens to the burnt sacrifices?

  • Answer: They become a sweet aroma to the Lord.

The burnt offering also teaches us that the life of a believer becomes a sweet aroma in the sight of God when he fulfills the law of God out of a voluntary heart, rather than out of obligation.  There is a difference between duty and love (Ephesians 6:5-6).  Duty only goes so far, but love goes all the way.  When we faithfully return our tithe to God, it becomes a sweet aroma to God.  When we keep the Sabbath from a willing heart, it becomes a sweet aroma to God.  When we eat the way we eat or dress the we we dress from a willing heart, it becomes a sweet aroma to God.  We have to remember that God is not concerned with the magnitude of giving, but with the attitude and motive of giving (Exodus 25:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:12).

Let's turn to Leviticus 1:9 again.

- According to this verse, was there any left of the sacrifice after the burnt offering?

  • Answer: No, everything was used, even the entrails.

The sacrifice for the burnt offering was brought holistically - there was no partial offering for the burnt offering.  Jesus gave all to die on the cross for all of our sins when He left heaven.  When we accept Jesus and reflect His character, we will give back all for our Savior.  We can hold nothing back.  Do you want your life to be a burnt offering to God?

Happy Sabbath!

A Short Prayer