A Quick, Compelling Bible Study Vol. 126: What the Bible Says About Burnt Offerings

A Quick, Compelling Bible Study Vol. 126: What the Bible Says About Burnt Offerings

Thanks for joining our Bible study about “burnt offerings.” This study was sparked after I met a woman who had recently returned from an archaeological dig in Shiloh, Israel. The Shiloh excavation was sponsored by the Association for Biblical Research. Their website banner reads: “A Christian Apologetics Ministry Dedicated to Demonstrating the Historical Reliability of the Bible through Archaeological and Biblical Research.” And I love their motto: “Dig. Discover. Defend.”

Decades ago, I heard a mega-church pastor say, “Archaeology has never disproved the Bible,” and it resonated with me. Then, researching this study, I found two confirming articles. First from Smithsonian Magazine: “An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament’s Historical Accuracy” — and a quote grabbed my attention:

“This trend of archaeology corroborating Biblical accounts continued so consistently that in 1959 Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck declared ‘no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.’ Since then, the evidence has kept coming.”

The second article is from Newsweek (of all places), by celebrated writer Eric Metaxas titled, “Is Archaeology Proving the Bible?” Metaxas wrote: “Archaeology has been pointing to the accuracy of the Hebrew scriptures for 170 years.”

Now, circle back to the Shiloh dig. The woman I met had witnessed the unearthing of a charred animal bone — evidence of a burnt offering. I have never thought much about “burnt offerings,” but have repeatedly seen the phrase since there are 310 biblical occurrences according to the “Knowing Jesus” website.

Moreover, Shiloh is a prime place to find burnt offerings since, in the Hebrew Bible, Joshua chapter 18 begins:

“The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there” (Joshua 18:1).

If unfamiliar with “the tent of meeting,” it is the holy tabernacle that housed the sacred Ark of the Covenant before a permanent temple was built. Hence, sacrifices would have been offered to God, including burnt offerings.

Also, in the book of Jeremiah, God mentions His presence at Shiloh:

“‘Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel’” (Jeremiah 7:12).  

Indeed, discovering burnt offerings at Shiloh provides archaeological validation for some of those 310 biblical occurrences — more physical evidence for the Word of God! (Three cheers for “Dig, Discover, Defend.”)

Now, let’s “dig” into our Hebrew Bible for a handful of significant “burnt offering” verses and, ultimately, a connection to Jesus Christ.

In Genesis, “burnt offerings” are first mentioned after Noah (as in ark) and his family survived the flood:

“Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it” (Genesis 8:20-21). Then click to read God’s promise to Noah and humankind.

Continuing in Genesis is the most famous “burnt offering” event — considered a Messianic prophecy. (Abbreviated, so read Genesis 22:1-19.):

God tested Abraham saying, “‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac —and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering…’” As Abraham and Isaac arrived at the designated mountain, Abraham had Isaac carry the wood for the burnt offering.

When Isaac asked Abraham, “‘Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’” he answered,  “‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’” Then “Abraham built an altar” arranged the wood and “He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.”

As Abraham was about to slay Isaac, an “angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,” saying, “‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’” and “‘Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’” Immediately, “Abraham looked up, and there in a thicket, he saw a ram caught by its horns…” Abraham then sacrificed the ram “as a burnt offering instead of his son.”

Consider how God sacrificed his son Jesus for our sins, and  — like Isaac who carried the wood on his back to be sacrificed  — Jesus carried his wooden cross.

Now turn to Exodus chapter 12. Here is another famous sacrificial connection to Jesus — the miraculous Passover event when God frees His people from Egyptian bondage. (Yes, I know many fellow Jews vehemently dismiss all these Messianic connections.) Again, the story is abbreviated for space:

“God informs Moses and Aaron to choose a sacrificial lamb that ‘must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats’” and “‘slaughter them at twilight.’”

“‘Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire…’”

Note the blood used to free God’s people from slavery is from a lamb “without defect.”

Momentarily skipping to the New Testament is the answer to the question: “How were you redeemed by Jesus?” The apostle Peter wrote:

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Back to the Hebrew Bible, in Leviticus, the first chapter is titled “The Burnt Offering,” the first among the list of offerings pleasing to God:

“‘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’” (Leviticus 1:1-3).

That verse concludes our brief study except for an encore from St. Paul:

“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” (Romans 12:1).

For believers, Jesus lives and is with us. Thus, we are to live as a “living sacrifice” as if we are burnt offerings “holy and pleasing to God,” presented at the “entrance of the tent” where He dwells. Amen to that!

Author’s Note: Readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.”  Part Two, featuring volumes 57-113, will be published later this year.

Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. SignFromGod was a proud sponsor of all the Museum of the Bible’s events for its five-month exhibition about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.

Cross-posted at Townhall and Substack.

Myra Kahn Adams

Myra Kahn Adams

Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign's creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign's ad council. Writing credits include, National Review, Washington Examiner, World Net Daily, Breitbart and many others. Contact Myra at MyraAdams01@gmail.com

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