In our study of Leviticus, we will look at God's call for His people to be holy. As we shall see, these words were given to Moses during the year that Israel spent at Mt. Sinai. The Hebrew title is "Wayyiqra'" which means "And he called" and God had called them out of Egypt but, as we shall see, He also called them to a life of living as God's people.
"The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said," NIV translation
It is often said that the Jewish leaders built up a system of religious laws and that is true but, as we see here, these laws were given to Moses by God.
"'Speak to the Israelites and say to them: "When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from the herd or the flock."'" NIV translation
The Hebrew word for offering is qorban and it is anything that is brought to God. In this case, God gives specific instructions for what to bring for what became known as the Burnt Offering. The people were to bring a clean tame animal which would have been dear to the owner.
So, what do these Old Testament offerings have to do with us as followers of Jesus Christ? This is the first of five offerings described here and all of the offerings speak of the person and work of Jesus. These dear animals were a picture of Jesus (the dear Son of God) who would be presented on our behalf.
"'"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."'" NIV translation
We see that the animal from the herd was to be a healthy bull (male cow). The fact that it was a male speaks of strength while the "without defect" part is a picture of the perfection of Jesus. It was a voluntary offering that was to be presented at the door of the tabernacle by a person desiring access to God. This is a reminder to us that Jesus is the only way that we have access to the holiness of God.