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There were some basic requirements before any sacrifice could be offered to God.
First it must be an animal, and not a plant that grows from the ground, or is a mineral of the earth. The sacrifice must have blood that gives life; it must come from “the herd or the flock.” The principle that we see here is found in Genesis, in the sacrifices of both Cain and Abel. It tells us that God is not satisfied with our sacrifices, but with His Sacrifice. He is not pleased by our efforts to gain his mercy, but by our taking in faith the work He has done and the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Second, it must be “a male.” Why would not God accept a female animal as a sacrifice? Well, I can think of at least two good reasons.
A) It is a reminder to Israel, and to us today, that it was not Eve who brought condemnation to mankind. She sinned because she was deceived by Satan and believed his lies. But it was not so for Adam. He willfully disobeyed God direct commandment. B) Every sacrifice that was laid upon that Brazen Altar was a type and shadow of God’s only begotten Son, who would fulfill all of the Law and become our blood sacrifice.
Third, it must be “without defect.” This requirement was not just to prevent men from offering the sick, weak, or runts of their herd, but was given to illustrate that God always demands nothing less than absolute perfection.
Fourth, it must be offered “at the doorway” of the tabernacle. That doorway was the only way to enter the courtyard, where the Brazen Altar stood before the Holy Place. Just as Jesus is the only “door” by which we can enter God’s Kingdom, so were the Children of Israel taught that there could only be one door.
Fifth, it must be given freely, with no strings attached, out of a willful spirit and a repentant heart.
Sixth, it can only be accepted after the Israelite who brought it would “lay his hand on the head” of the animal to be sacrificed indicating his personal faith. He is confirming by his own act, the decision to trust God for mercy and forgiveness. In this manner he offers the sacrificial animal in order that “atonement” for his sin is obtained from God.
The manner in which the sacrifice is to be handled and the way that its parts are to be handled are very precise as well. This part is pretty graphic, but God wanted us to see just what He requires before any sacrifice is acceptable.
Leviticus 1:5-17, "And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest
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