The True Meaning of the Burnt Offering


by Zac Poonen

In Leviticus 1, we read about the burnt offering – which is a picture of our offering ourselves totally to God. The burnt offering had to be first cut into pieces to ensure that there was no defect in any part of it and then it was offered. People could offer a bullock or a sheep or a goat or even a dove or a pigeon, according to their financial ability. But each offering had to be without any blemish or defect. The burnt offering is a picture of the way Jesus presented His body throughout His earthly life to His Father – and then finally on the cross as well. All through His earthly life, He kept His body perfectly pure in every temptation before He presented it to His Father as a sacrifice on the cross. God would not have accepted Jesus’ offering up of Himself on the cross if there was a single spot in His earthly life during the previous 33½ years. This was why when He was hungry; He did not turn the stones into bread. That would have been a sin, because the Father had not told Him to do it. His life was one of total dependence and total obedience. Jesus never did anything without the Father’s prompting, even if it appeared to be a harmless thing like turning stones into bread to satisfy one’s hunger! That is the standard of obedience to which God calls us. And that is why Jesus’ life was so triumphant. And why the Father was so delighted with Him.

Consider yet another example: In Luke 4:38-42, we read of a great revival in a town. The next morning the multitude pressed Him to stay on there and to continue the revival meetings. But Jesus said, “No.” Why? Because, before He met the people that morning, He had met with His Father in the wilderness and He had heard the voice of His Father telling Him to go elsewhere. So He would not yield to the pressure of the multitudes but went where the Father told Him to go. If He had yielded to the multitudes and conducted revival meetings, he would have sinned! Have you got such an understanding of sin yet? How many of us believe that conducting revival meetings could be sinful!! That was the level of sensitivity to sin at which Jesus lived. We normally think of sins as things like getting angry, having dirty thoughts, being jealous or bitter etc. These are also sins – but at the kindergarten level. Jesus was dealing with sin at the Doctorate (Ph.D.) level. Did you know that if God has not called you to go and take meetings at some place and you do that, you are sinning?

But we can’t reach this Doctorate level overnight! We have to make gradual progress from one class to the next, year by year. As we progress, we will discover that a lot of things we never considered as sin earlier, now become sin for us. When “sin becomes utterly sinful” (Rom. 7:13), we can be certain that we are growing spiritually! So when we look at Jesus’ life we don’t think only of His death at Calvary, but also of His whole life where He presented Himself to the Father fully saying, “A body Thou hast prepared for Me…..and I have come to do Thy will O God (in this body)” (Heb. 10:5,7). Jesus never once did His own will in his body but only the Father’s. This is what it means to offer oneself as a burnt offering to God.

This is what Paul exhorts us also to do in Romans 12:1-2. “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice to God….that you may prove what the will of God is” – exactly as Jesus did. This burnt offering was presented to God and burnt completely. The Bible says this was “a soothing aroma to the Lord” (Lev 1:.17) – meaning something that God was very pleased with – “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Paul said that his life’s ambition too was to “please the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:9).

When we present our bodies to the Lord, it is very easy to say, “Lord, I give my body totally to You.” But we don’t know whether we have offered it all, until we “cut it up”. We could be deceiving ourselves. What does it mean to cut it up and offer it piece by piece – as was done with the burnt offering? It means that we offer our bodily parts piece by piece to God.

We say, “Lord, here are my eyes. I have used them for the devil and for myself for the past many years, looking at and reading many things that offend You. But I am laying my eyes on the altar now. Never again do I want to use these eyes to look at or read anything that Jesus would not look at or read. I never want to sin with these eyes any more.” We go next to the tongue and say, “Lord, here is my tongue. I have used this tongue for the devil and for myself for so many years, speaking whatever I liked, telling lies for my own gain, getting angry at people and gossiping and backbiting against others and accusing them. But I never want to do all that any more. Here is my tongue Lord. It is Yours from this moment onwards – totally and completely.” We go next to our hands and our feet and our bodily passions, one by one, and say the same thing: “Lord, here are the members of my body and my bodily passions, with which I have sinned and hurt You. Never again do I want to use these to please myself or to satisfy my lusts. They are all Yours.” It is only as we cut each piece and lay them on the altar one by one, that we discover whether we really are offering our body totally to God or not.

When the offering is cut into pieces and laid out on the altar fully, then you can say, “Now, Lord, let Your fire fall on the sacrifice and consume it.” We read in Leviticus 9:24 how the fire of God fell upon the burnt offering and consumed it. That fire is a picture of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire that comes to consume our sacrifice and to set our bodies on fire for God. But the fire never fell until every last piece of the burnt offering was placed on the altar.

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29 Responses to "The True Meaning of the Burnt Offering"

  1. Jackie Medina
    Jackie Medina Posted on September 18, 2020 at 10:09 am

    I’m reading the BIBLE in its entirety. I love researching different parts and coming along pages like yours. Its so beautifully worded, that only GOD could’ve given you these words. Thank you for sharing. Xo

  2. Precious Anire
    Precious Anire Posted on September 4, 2020 at 7:35 am

    Beautiful piece! May the Lord help us to get to this point in our relationship with Him. Amen.

  3. Sunday
    Sunday Posted on August 12, 2020 at 3:37 am

    Thanks for this expository teaching.

  4. Christopher Lewis
    Christopher Lewis Posted on June 2, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Thank you so much for explaining

  5. Sherry
    Sherry Posted on May 17, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you for expounding on the Burnt Offering. I have been truly blessed! I am understanding more and more. God bless you the more!

  6. Sylvain temga
    Sylvain temga Posted on May 8, 2020 at 12:31 am

    I’m highly blessed by the explanation. Praise God

  7. Yaw Owusu Boafoh
    Yaw Owusu Boafoh Posted on February 14, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Than you for allowing yourself to be by God to bring out this great revelation. Whoever read this godly information will be blessed.

  8. Attikpo Emmanuel Mensah
    Attikpo Emmanuel Mensah Posted on February 10, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful revelation about the burnt offering,I love the explanation

  9. Joy
    Joy Posted on February 4, 2020 at 1:52 am

    Thanks for this simple yet profound illustration of the topic. I am more clear in understanding burnt offering.

  10. Winston.Sessie
    Winston.Sessie Posted on January 17, 2020 at 9:44 am

    This is a very simple and powerful explanation on burnt offering.
    God bless you, Pastor Zac

  11. Vanessa
    Vanessa Posted on October 17, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Thank you soo much Holy Spirit for this beautiful revelation.I pray that God continue bless and inspire you..CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH..
    Laying my all on the alter.
    Totally denying myself to follow Jesus completely.
    Jesus is the perfect example of love…but also of no sin.This teaching is soo profound..Jesus in His obedience…what a sacrifice.
    Thank you once again..I love you Jesus.

  12. Wellington
    Wellington Posted on October 2, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    Thank you for the word, am challenged to cut my pieces

  13. Matil
    Matil Posted on August 12, 2019 at 3:55 am

    Thank you sir for this revelation.

  14. pst. D.O.A Ayodele
    pst. D.O.A Ayodele Posted on August 10, 2019 at 8:39 am

    This is a wonderful revelation. Glory b to God for making me to b part of this. Thanks

  15. Joel Finny
    Joel Finny Posted on July 2, 2019 at 4:11 am

    “And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:18-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    This morning I was reminded in prayer that a surrendered and “cut” life on the altar of Christ Jesus is what brings the fire of the Spirit down.

  16. Meadinyiebari Kpalap
    Meadinyiebari Kpalap Posted on June 12, 2019 at 3:32 am

    Thank you for this great insight

  17. Arthur G Mobley
    Arthur G Mobley Posted on May 15, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Thank u for sharing your spiritual knowledge with use, i pray that (God) will continue using u.

  18. Aure
    Aure Posted on April 16, 2019 at 1:21 am

    I Thank the Lord for making me read this, I thank you for sharing, I know better now.

  19. Priscilla
    Priscilla Posted on April 13, 2019 at 2:51 am

    Thank you for a much profound insight into what sin is.
    God bless you.

  20. Jackson
    Jackson Posted on April 7, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing and enlightening me. I was going through the book of Hosea and i saw how the people of Israel and Judah had given the devil the legal grounds to operate and blinded them to the truth…and the punishments and God in his Mercy He calls them in the midst of their punishment…

  21. Nii Lomotey
    Nii Lomotey Posted on March 19, 2019 at 1:56 am

    Thank you. I better understand now.

  22. Akin Akintemi
    Akin Akintemi Posted on January 6, 2019 at 1:11 am

    Lovely, God bless you sir

  23. Darryl Streeter
    Darryl Streeter Posted on July 16, 2018 at 11:15 am

    God bless you for sharing the knowledge that God gives us to share with others in Jesus name by the Holy Spirit — His beautiful power that feeds our spirit, His beautiful thoughts, knowledge, wisdom n understanding. Keep on serving the Father of everlasting love, peace n truth righteousness.

  24. Dr.Sangeeta
    Dr.Sangeeta Posted on June 25, 2018 at 9:12 am

    So very true.!!!indeed Jesus offered himself, Voluntarily as an whole perfect/blemishless,sweet smelling savour,which ascended to His Father as an atonement for your & my dreadful Sins.

  25. Elkana Nyantakyi
    Elkana Nyantakyi Posted on June 14, 2018 at 11:23 am

    I’m enlightened and chastened.. Lord help me cut my members!!!

  26. kurian M
    kurian M Posted on April 2, 2012 at 5:19 am

    i thank God for this great posting

  27. Nella wigena
    Nella wigena Posted on December 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

    thank you for passing the blessing. Great posting . . .

  28. Helen
    Helen Posted on August 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    This is perfect, I have been looking for the answer to a dream that says ‘ give a burnt offering”.

  29. Daniel
    Daniel Posted on December 17, 2010 at 6:18 am

    great post, thanks for sharing

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