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The “grain offering” is the only non-blood offering of the five offerings. That is why there is no question of reconciliation here. However, it is mentioned in one breath with the burnt offering. The LORD continues to speak here without pause.
The grain offering speaks of the perfect life of the Lord Jesus. But the perfect life of the Lord Jesus can never take away sins. No human being can be saved by His holy life because it has no reconciling effect. Reconciliation can only happen through the blood. Therefore, a grain offering is always connected to a blood burnt offering. However, the atoning death of Christ could not have taken place without a life perfectly devoted to God prior to it.
Historically, the grain offering – a picture of the life of the Lord Jesus – precedes the burnt offering – a picture of the death of the Lord Jesus. The fact that the burnt offering is spoken of first and only then of the grain offering shows that it is impossible to understand anything about the life of the Lord Jesus without first seeing what His death means.
Just like the burnt offering, the grain offering is also “a soothing aroma to the LORD”. For there is a part that is brought on the altar and burned. Nothing may be eaten of the burnt offering: everything is for the LORD. But what is left of the grain offering is for the priests. They may eat it as something “most holy” (Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 2:10).
The manna may also be eaten by priests and also the common people can eat from that. The manna speaks of the Lord Jesus (John 6:51). The manna serves as food for the people on their journey through the wilderness. Spiritually, the manna shows that we may feed ourselves with the Lord Jesus to gain strength to continue our journey through this life. When we read about Him in the Gospels, we see how He went through life on earth. To hear Him speak and to see Him act for the glory of God gives us strength to do so.
But there is a difference between the manna and the grain offering. The grain offering does not represent the Lord Jesus in His way through this world, but speaks of what He is in Himself, speaks of the glory of His perfect humanity. To see that distinction, you must be a priest, that is to say, be used to live in God’s presence. Believers who are priests in practice enjoy the Lord Jesus, enjoy Him as He is, and offer this to God as a soothing aroma to Him.
Ingredients of the Grain Offering
The grain offering has three components:
1. “Flour.” This comes from the wheat. That reminds us of John 12 (John 12:24). Wheat grows out of the earth. The Lord Jesus is “the fruit of the earth” (Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 53:2), because He is born as Man. The flour, that is the finest flour, speaks of the complete cleanliness – any dirt in it would immediately stand out – and the complete equality of the particles. The triple and unambiguous testimony of Scripture therefore reads: “In Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5), “Him who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21) and “who committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22).
His whole revelation is perfect at any time. He is perfect in showing love and grace, but also in holiness and righteousness. Everything with Him is perfect in His time. With us there is often unevenness, we have our outliers, even in that in which we are strong. Moses “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3), but yet once loses his patience and sins (Numbers 20:8-1 Kings :).
2. “Oil.” Oil is used for example for the ointment of priests and kings. It is a picture of the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20; 2 Corinthians 1:21; 1 John 2:27). In connection with the grain offering it shows how much the whole life of the Lord Jesus is characterized by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Thus is He begotten by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). In His whole life as Man on earth He is guided by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38); everything He says and does, He says and does in the power of the Holy Spirit. The oil ‘moistens’ the fine flour (Ezekiel 46:14). Therefore His Name is “a purified oil” (Song of Solomon 1:3). He is perfect and truly Man, and that without ceasing to be the eternal God.
3. “Frankincense.” This is the pleasant fragrance that goes up from the offering to God. God has perfectly enjoyed the Man Christ Jesus in His life on earth until His death on the cross. Everything He does and says, until death on the cross, is a complete pleasure for God.
Although the smell of the incense is for God, the priest who brings this offering smells the smell of it. We can understand that, when we consider that a priest is someone who is somewhat aware of how great the satisfaction is God has found in His Son.
The grain offering in its general character is called “memorial” (Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 2:9Leviticus 2:16). There are also two psalms that David has specially written “for a memorial” (Psalms 38:1; Psalms 70:1). The expression “memorial” determines that when we bring a grain offering, we remember the life of the Lord Jesus on earth and remind God of that as it were. God loves to look back at the life of His Son on earth and wants to hear about it from us.
The Grain Offering in the Oven
Just like the burnt offering, the grain offering also has some forms in which it can be brought. And just as with the burnt offering, God begins here with the greatest grain offering and then the smaller forms:
1. the grain offering in the oven;
2. the grain offering on the griddle;
3. the grain offering in the pan.
These different forms indicate the degree of insight that someone has who brings a grain offering. This can be seen from the description, which is becoming less and less detailed. All species are exposed to the fire. Fire represents the testing holiness of God. Through the fire, the life of the Lord Jesus only produces a lovely fragrance for God.
The forms of suffering to which the Lord Jesus is exposed in His life are different. There are forms of suffering that even an unbeliever can recognize. Just think of the scourging by Pilate. This is represented in the grain offering in the pan, the third form of the grain offering. There are also forms that only they notice who live close to God and know His feelings about sin. We can think of the feelings of the Lord Jesus when seeing the iniquity and sin around Him.
The first grain offering to be described is the one “baked in an oven”. It consists of unleavened cakes mixed with oil and unleavened wafers spread with oil. Unleavened means without sin. That is the Lord Jesus. “Mixed with oil”, means that He was conceived by God the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35) and through this He is the Son of God. His Godhead is completely interwoven with His Mankind. This mystery can only be fathomed by God (Matthew 11:27).
Everything in His life He does guided by the Holy Spirit. Thus He lives among people who only do their own will, without asking for God’s will. This also applies to the thirty years of His life of which we know almost nothing from the Gospels. There are just a few believers who think about what suffering that must have meant to Him.
The “unleavened wafers spread with oil” represent the Lord Jesus when He is anointed with the Holy Spirit at the age of thirty. He Who is born of the Holy Spirit is anointed with the Spirit. That emphasizes His perfect Humanity. He does not want to do His service work on earth in His capacity as God, but as a perfect Man. Immediately after He is anointed, He is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, a temptation that lasts for forty days (Mark 1:9-1 Chronicles :).
Who can realize what that must have been for Him? There is much of that suffering in the Gospels that many read without noticing it and of which we only discover something if we, as priests, can penetrate deeper into the heart of God and the heart of the Lord Jesus. Such priests see the fire there and smell the pleasant scent it has produced for God.
The Grain Offering on the Griddle
The grain offering “on the griddle” must be broken into bits. It is reminiscent of what the Lord Jesus experienced at the end of His life, when all friendship and love is broken to bits.
1. His disciples sleep while He has asked them to watch with Him (Matthew 26:36-John :).
2. Judas, whom He calls friend, betrays him (Matthew 26:14-Nehemiah :; Matthew 26:47-Ephesians :).
3. Peter denies him (Matthew 26:69-Susanna :).
4. The people who first hailed Him, reject Him and cry: “Away with this man” (Luke 23:18).
When we think of the Lord Jesus in this way and tell God how He is perfect in these circumstances, we bring a grain offering from the griddle. Everything that has been done to the Lord Jesus in this respect has touched Him deeply. At the same time, in all those bits, all those events, it appears how much the Holy Spirit (the oil) has led Him to go His way to the end – to the glory of God.
The Grain Offering in the Pan
The grain offering “in the pan” is the smallest offering. To bring that, it does not take much insight into the life of the Lord Jesus. Even the word “unleavened” is missing here, which indicates in the application that the awareness of the Lord Jesus’ complete sinlessness is lacking. The absence of awareness does not mean that there may be ‘leaven’ in it and that God tolerates it. Leviticus 2:11 states that ‘no’ grain offering may be made with leaven.
In this grain offering a general feeling is expressed that every believer has when he thinks about how much the Lord Jesus must have suffered from the mockery and scourging. To tell God about that means to bring a grain offering to Him. This form of the grain offering is also “a soothing aroma to the LORD” (Leviticus 2:9).
The Priest and the Grain Offering
He who comes with a grain offering gives it to the priest. The offeror and the priest are both a picture of the believer. The believer may have seen something of the glory of the Lord Jesus. That is what he wants to tell God, to offer Him. In the moment that he tells it to God, he is busy as a priest. Until that moment he is an offeror, then he is busy with the offering itself, with the ‘ingredients’ of it. Being busy with the offering is the preparation for the priestly service.
No one but the priest may make the offering. He is appointed by God. “And no one takes the honor to himself, but [receives it] when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” (Hebrews 5:4). It is the arrogance of the roman catholic church that it does appoint priests. Every change that people make in matters regulated and determined by God brings with it a curse (cf. Daniel 7:25-Ezekiel :).
No Leaven, no Honey
The grain offering shall not contain leaven or honey, while the salt (Leviticus 2:13) shall not be lacking. When we express our thoughts about the Lord Jesus to God, we can unfortunately make false statements about Him. If we assume that the Lord Jesus could have sinned, even though He did not do it, it is leaven. Scripture unambiguously shows that the Lord Jesus could not sin.
We also nowhere find in Scripture, the idea that the Father left the Lord Jesus on the cross. We read the opposite in John 16 (John 16:32). The Man Jesus Christ is forsaken by God in the hours of darkness. It is also leaven to suppose that the Lord Jesus is under the wrath of God during His life on earth. On the contrary, He always does what the Father pleases, also on earth.
Honey is used in every pastry, as we now use sugar. But it may not be used in the grain offering. Honey in itself is good, it gives new energy (1 Samuel 14:27; Proverbs 24:13). It speaks of the pleasant sweetness of the natural things of life. We can think of the family relationship, the relationship between husband and wife and between parents and children. The natural feelings we have are not wrong. It is even wrong if they are lacking (2 Timothy 3:1-Numbers :).
The Lord Jesus compares the kingdom of heavens to leaven, “which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened” (Matthew 13:33). We see the three measures of flour in the grain offering, a picture of the perfect Humanity of Christ. The woman represents the false church. This shows in pictures that the truth about Christ is corrupted by the false church.
The grain offering speaks of the completely devoted life of the Lord Jesus to God. In this dedication, ‘honey’ does not play a role. The Lord Jesus loves His mother Mary. At the cross we see how great His love and care for her is. But as soon as she interferes in His obedient fulfilment of the will of His Father, He must say: “Woman, what does that have to do with us? (John 2:4; Luke 2:49; Mark 3:33-Habakkuk :). Natural bonds have no place in the ministry of the Lord Jesus.
The Lord does not despise natural feelings. He has given them Himself to man. But they cannot have a place in the work He does. They are not allowed to do the same with us if we want to do a work for the Lord. They may hinder a real choice for the Lord Jesus, or the decision to do a work for Him (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26). When we think about His suffering, it is not right that we do so with our natural feelings. We see such feelings in the women of Jerusalem, about whom the Lord gives a warning (Luke 23:27-Hosea :).
If there is any of these ingredients in the grain offering, the offering should be treated as an offering of first fruits. This offering may not come on the altar. That is because there is leaven in it. This is discussed in more detail in Leviticus 23 (Leviticus 23:17). There we see that this offering speaks of the church. In the members of the church sin is still present (1 John 1:8), although it is ripped from its power.
We see that with the offering of the first fruits also a sin offering is brought. This is not the case with the sheave of the first fruits (Leviticus 23:10), which speaks of the Lord Jesus. But isn’t it a beautiful thought that we too can offer ourselves to God? And even though we are not like the Lord Jesus completely a pleasant fragrance for God, it is an offering that is pleasant for Him (Romans 12:1).
Salt Must Be Added to the Grain Offering
In this verse the salt is mentioned three times. Salt speaks of sustainability, because it repels corruption. We read elsewhere about a salt covenant (2 Chronicles 13:5). This is a covenant that does not dilute, but that withstands time and loses none of its strength. This certainly applies to Christ and His sacrifice. The Lord Jesus calls His followers for having salt in themselves” (Mark 9:50). They should be the preserving element in the world (Matthew 5:13).
The salt as an addition to every grain offering (“all your offerings”) means that the offering of the Lord Jesus keeps its value forever. The pleasure and the pleasant smell of the offering are not short-lived, transient, but permanent, eternal in nature. It is “the salt of the covenant of your God”, that is to say, that all the promises of God are preserved and that He will fulfil the obligations He has voluntarily assumed upon Himself. Christ is the guarantee for this.
The Grain Offering of the First Fruits
In these verses we have another special form of the grain offering. Here it is not flour, finely ground, but an offering of early ripened things: these are first fruits. Unlike the first fruits of Leviticus 2:12, they do come on the altar.
The difference between the two forms of first fruits can be seen in Leviticus 23 (Leviticus 23:10; Leviticus 23:15-Esther :. The first mentioned first fruits (Leviticus 23:15-Esther :) are a picture of the Lord Jesus. He is the sheaf of the first fruits (1 Corinthians 15:20). In the other first fruits leaven is present. It is in the two breads for a wave offering – in which the effect of the leaven, because it is baked, has been brought to a standstill – which represent the church. The first mentioned offering (Leviticus 23:10) is a mandatory offering in the annual cycle of sacrifices. The offering in the verses here before us is a voluntary offering that may always be brought.
When we speak of ‘first fruits’ we also think of others. A first fruit is a first fruit of a large harvest. The life of the Lord Jesus on earth is also “a first fruit” in the sense that God sees a Man Who is the first Man ever completely devoted to Him. Through His work on the cross He has opened the way for a large mass of people who, like Him, can walk dedicated to God. He is our Model, our Example (Philippians 2:5). To bring such sacrifice to God means that we realize that we shall walk as He has walked (cf. 1 John 2:6).
The fresh heads of grain represent the Lord Jesus in the power of His life. The roasted fresh heads of grain represent that He is exposed to the fire of God’s testing and investigating holiness. This is not about His work on the cross, but about His walk. When He bears His cross and is on His way to Golgotha, He says: “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry? (Luke 23:31). With “the tree is green” He means Himself in His youthful power.
We listen to something like this when, in Psalms, with a view to His death, He says to God: “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days” (Psalms 102:24). As Man, He is in the power of His life when it is asked of Him to surrender His life to death. He gave Himself completely, but as Man He could not desire to be taken out of the midst of life.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 2". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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