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Leviticus 6:9

9 Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it. KJV, ©1769

Was the burnt offering put on the altar at once or in portions since it had to burn all night?

  • I haven't found a reference to the actual practice. But, even the body of a small goat requires all night to be burnt up. Think of a BBQ. It may take all night to cook. But even on a hot fire, it takes many hours to burn to ash. In the burnt offerings, wood could be added any time. What do you think happened to the Sahara forest? <bad joke> – Bob Jones Sep 4 '17 at 1:45
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The continual burnt offering does not focus on any one individual. This sacrifice was for the continual consecration of the entire nation and was made by the priest alone. Unlike the individual burnt offering where different types of animals were designated to be offered, the continual burnt offering was to always be a one-year old lamb. According to Exodus 29:38-46, this offering was to be accompanied by its meal offering and drink offering every morning and every evening by the priest.

“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one-year old lambs each day, continuously. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; and there shall be one-tenth of an ephah (a bushel) of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin (about a quart) of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering with one lamb.”

“The other lamb you shall offer at twilight and shall offer with it the same grain offering and the same drink offering as in the morning, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord. It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God.”

  1. This was intended to serve as a constant reminder and as a renewal of Israel’s consecration to God as a kingdom of priests. It also served to remind Israel of their fellowship with the God who brought them out of Egypt. Israel’s association with God was to always be one of remembrance for God's deliverance. As with the individual burnt offering, atonement was to be secondary.
  2. The fire on the altar of burnt offering was never permitted to go out in Israel. God issues this warning three times in chapter six alone, 9, 12, and 13.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying. ‘Command Aaron and his sons, saying,’ 'This is the law for the burnt offering: the burnt offering itself shall remain on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning, and the fire on the altar is to be kept burning on it.'”

“The priest is to put on his linen robe, and he shall put on undergarments next to his flesh; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire reduces the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar. Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not go out, but the priest shall burn wood on it every morning; and he shall lay out the burnt offering on it and offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it. Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.”

The fire was not to be allowed to go out nor was fire from any other source permitted to be placed upon the altar. This was the sin of Nadab and Abihu. To allow the fire to go out would indicate neglect of holy things by the priest. It would also suggest that Israel had forgotten its God. For Israel, worship was not to be simply an occasional informal exercise. Worship was to be a continual process of life in Israel.

  1. The ashes of this offering were to remain on the altar from the evening sacrifice until the morning sacrifice. It would seem that the priests would offer the sacrifice of this offering piece by piece throughout the day and night so that the offering was continually burning before the Lord. Thus, it was called the “continual” burnt offering. This would of course be interrupted when other appointed sacrifices were required to be offered. When those offerings were completed, the offering of consecration would resume.
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Yes. The Ascensions (mistranslated as "burnt-offerings") offered all together but in different phases. They were cut up by the worshipper into four distinct portions. First the head, and clean insides (These are a type of Christ. He is the "head" of the Church). Then, they are to wash (baptise) the legs and guts (Type of our ascension after we are cleansed). Then placed on the fire as food for God Thus, all in union together ascend up to YHWH.

6And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. 7And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: 8And 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: 9But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
-- Leviticus 1:6-9 (KJV)

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1And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,
If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. 3If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
4And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5And 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.
6And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. 7And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: 8And 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: 9But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
-- Leviticus 1:1-9 (KJV)

So, the one who brings an animal from the herd or flock as a burnt-offering must:

  • bring the animal to the door of the tabernacle; then
  • place his hand upon the head of the animal; then
  • kill the animal. The priests collect the blood and take it to the altar, sprinkling it around and upon it; then
  • flay the animal (פָּשַׁט, Strong's H6584 - pashat), i.e. strip/pull off its skin; then
  • cut the animal into pieces. The priests take the pieces of the animal to the altar, then arrange them (lay in order) upon the wood which they have arranged (lay in order) on the fire of the altar.

In regard to the burning, the text says the priests "lay the wood in order upon the fire", and "lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood", so the method of burning was orderly and efficient (well thought out).

Since the altar had a square surface, 5 cubits x 5 cubits, i.e. approximately 7′ 3½″ (2.225 m) x 7′ 3½″ (2.225 m) in modern units, and the method of burning was orderly and efficient, then more than one sacrifice could be burned at any one time.

Conclusion
An animal brought as a burnt-offering from the herd or the flock had it's skin removed, and was cut into pieces. The priests then lay all pieces together (in order) on the wood upon the fire upon the altar, which burnt them to ashes.

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