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THE MEAL OFFERING (vv. 1-16)
This offering is an appendix to the burnt offering. We do not read of a meal offering ever being offered alone, but in connection with the burnt offering or the peace offering. For this was not a blood sacrifice, and in approaching God a blood sacrifice was imperative. The meal offering does not speak at all of the blood shedding of the Lord Jesus, but rather of the perfection of His humanity displayed in His life on earth. In this respect His entire life was an offering to God, but it could not make atonement for man's sin.
A meal offering was to be of fine flour with oil poured on it and frankincense put on it. The fine flour reminds us that every particle of the milled grain symbolizes some detail of the perfection of the character of the Lord Jesus as a true Man. The oil speaks of the anointing of the Spirit of God, which marked Him out as the Man of God's special appointment. The frankincense is white and sweet smelling, symbolizing the purity of the life of the Lord Jesus, a life fragrant to His God and Father.
The offering was to be brought to the priests, one of whom was to take only a handful of fine flour and oil, with all the incense and burn this as a memorial on the altar. This part was a sweet aroma to the Lord. But the rest would belong to Aaron and his sons: it was to be eaten (vv. 2-3). What went up in fire to God speaks of God's appreciation of the person of the Lord Jesus in lowly humanity. What was eaten by the priests intimates the appreciation of Christ by all His saints, for today all believers are priests to God.
Three types of meal offerings are now considered, the first of which is that
(A) BAKED IN THE OVEN (v. 4)
This could be either unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil or unleavened wafers anointed with oil. The mixing with oil speaks of the permeating of the humanity of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit of God from His very birth. This was the very nature of His Manhood. Compare Luke 1:35. Anointing with oil implies His being anointed by the Spirit of God at His baptism (Matthew 3:16), in preparation for His great public ministry.
Baked in the oven indicates that He is a Sufferer, exposed to the heat of hidden sufferings. Inside an oven is where the heat is most intense, just as the unseen sufferings of the Lord Jesus were more intense than the sufferings to which men subjected Him outwardly. He felt the condition of mankind far more deeply than appeared on the surface. We may feel sorrow because of the evil all around us and for the way evil infiltrates the Church of God in its testimony on earth. He feels this more deeply than we, and when here on earth, His disciples did not enter into the sufferings of His heart, as in His weeping over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44) and in His prayer in Gethsemane (Luke 22:41-46).
(B) BAKED IN A PAN (vv. 5-6)
This oblation baked in a pan (or griddle) indicates open sufferings which the Lord endured from human enmity. Men's hostile words which issued eventually in their spitting, tearing out His hair, lashing Him, crowning Him with thorns, etc. were sufferings that draw out our deep admiration of Him, just as the cooking of the meal renders the result much more acceptable to the taste. “He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Suffering therefore has valuable results.
In the case of an offering baked in a pan, this was to be parted in pieces and oil poured on it. We can discern the distinctions in what the Lord Jesus suffered from one source or another, and we should have appreciation for every various detail of what He suffered. The oil poured on tells us that He was empowered by the Spirit of God to bear all these things with calm confidence in His God and Father.
(C) COOKED IN A CAULDRON OR KETTLE (v. 7)
Though our King James Version calls this vessel a “frying-pan,” Young's Concordance defines it as a kettle, and both J.N.Darby's Version and the Numerical Bible use the word “cauldron.” In this case the offering was not baked, but cooked in water. Since water is a symbol of the Word of God, then it appears that this offering implies the sufferings of the Lord Jesus because of His obedience to God's Word and because of His faithfully declaring it (cf. Luke 4:25-29 and John 10:27-31). Neither “mixed with oil” or “anointed with oil” are mentioned here, but only “with oil,” but at least in every case the Spirit of God is involved.
INSTRUCTIONS COMMON TO ALL MEAL OFFERINGS (vv. 8-16)
All these offerings were to be brought to the Lord, being presented to the priest. At the altar the priest was to take a memorial portion (a handful v. 2) and burn it on the altar as a sweet aroma to the Lord. What remained was for Aaron and his sons. Thus, God received His portion from that offering, Aaron (a type of Christ the High Priest) received his portion and each of the priests (typical of all believers) received their portion, all thus sharing in appreciation of the perfections of the Man Christ Jesus in His life of devotion and willing suffering.
Leaven (yeast) was to be excluded from the meal offerings (v. 11), for leaven speaks of sin, and as to Christ, “in Him is no sin” (1 John 3:5). Besides this, honey was not to be used. Leaven is corrupting, but honey is not. Why then is honey excluded? Because, being the result of the bees' activity in gathering what is sweet and good, it speaks of the ministry of the Word gathered by believers for the benefit of the whole Church of God. However sweet our thoughts are concerning the offering of Christ, those thoughts are not to be mixed with the offering itself. In other words, the best ministry of saints cannot improve on the established truth of God concerning Christ: therefore, while good ministry is beneficial for men, it has no place in the actual worship of the Lord Jesus.
The offering of the firstfruits (v. 12), being not properly a meal offering, was not burned, though offered to the Lord.
Every meal offering was to be seasoned with salt, for salt is a preservative, in contrast to leaven, which corrupts. Salt crystallizes at right angles, and is typical of righteousness, with which we know every detail of the Lord's life was perfectly seasoned, not too little, not too much.
A MEAL OFFERING OF THE FIRSTFRUITS (vv. 14-16)
Though the offering of the firstfruits was not itself a meal offering (v. 12), yet part of the firstfruits could be offered as a meal offering. If so, it was to be of green heads of grain roasted by the fire, grain beaten from full heads. This speaks of the Lord Jesus in the freshness and vigor of His sinless life, as we are reminded by His words just before the cross, “If they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:31). He was the green tree who had come out of a dry ground (Israel), as the one hope of prosperity for the nation (cf. Isaiah 53:2; Isaiah 53:2). In refusing Him, Israel would be shown up in a coming day to be dry and desolate. What would be done then? How terrible a question! Their having judged the Lord Jesus would issue in a dreadfully burning judgment for them!
What a difference there would have been if they had valued Him as the meal offering roasted with fire, for He suffered much as the One devoted to the will of His Father. Let us at least appreciate the meal offering aspect of the offering of the Lord Jesus. Oil and frankincense were to be put on this offering, emphasizing the anointing of the Spirit of God and the fragrance to God of the Lord's life of pure devotion. The memorial of the offering was burned, and all the frankincense, for this was God's portion. He deeply values the perfection of the Manhood virtues of His beloved Son, every detail of His life as it is seen in the four Gospels. If God is so pleased with Him, then surely we should find great delight too in contemplating even the smallest details of His character, of His actions and of His words as He ministered in tender compassion to the need of mankind. Nor should we be impressed only with the gentle kindness of His ways with those in need, but with the faithfulness of His dealing with ungodly men, not fighting for His own rights, showing no resentment and no selfish or bitter response to men's bad treatment, yet firmly declaring the truth, warning them of the judgment to come and pressing upon them God's claims of truth and righteousness. Every aspect of His character is seen in beautiful harmony and balance.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Leviticus 2". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29