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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary
Leviticus 2

 

 

Verses 1-17

THE MEAL AND PEACE OFFERINGS

THE MEAL OFFERING (Leviticus 2)

We call the second offering the “meal” instead of the meat offering, following the Revised Version. The burnt and meal offerings really belong together. They are both offerings of consecration, and when the one was presented the other followed as a kind of appendage (see Leviticus 23:12-13; Leviticus 23:18; Numbers 28:7-15; Judges 13:19; Ezra 7:17; etc.).

We have seen that the burnt offering was entirely consumed upon the altar as expressive of the entire consecration of the one who offered it, and God’s acceptance of it as a sweet savor to Him. In this it typifies Christ who is the only perfect life of consecration, and who has been accepted by God on behalf of all who put their faith in Him. This aspect of the sacrifice of Christ is indicated in Ephesians 5:2 and John 6:38.

The meal offering, composed mainly of fine flour, is generally taken to represent a consecrated life in its use for mankind, since flour is the universal food of man. It is a fact that God habitually uses for His service among men the lives and powers of those who are truly dedicated to Him, and this seems expressed in the fact that the burnt offering always had the meal offering attached to it. Our Lord’s life represents this consecration in such places as Matthew 10:28 and Acts 10:38, and is a consecration to God for the service of mankind, which He offered and God accepted on behalf of all who put their faith in Him.

Varieties in the Offering

It will be seen that there are certain varieties of the meal offering. The first is referred to in Leviticus 2:1-3, whose substance was fine flour, oil and frankincense. What parts and portion of the offering was to be taken out by the offerer to be presented unto the Lord (Leviticus 2:2)? To whom did the remainder belong for their use (Leviticus 2:3)?

The second is referred to in Leviticus 2:4-10, and contains the same substance except the frankincense, the distinction being that the offering is baked in the oven, or in a pan, and the priest rather than the offerer removes the Lord’s portion.

The third is alluded to in Leviticus 2:14-16, and consists of what substance? How was it to be prepared? What is included in this class which was omitted from the second class?

Leviticus 2:11-13 refer to articles that were prohibited from the meal offering, and one was particularly prescribed. Name those prohibited, and that prescribed. Leaven and honey represent decay and corruption, the first- named being the type of evil recognized as such, and the second, evil that is unrecognized because it has earthy sweetness in it. Both kinds of evil were absent in Jesus Christ, and the perfection of the type necessitates their absence in it. As to salt, it is the symbol of incorruption (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50).

Taking the offering as a whole, it may be said to symbolize His fulfillment on our behalf of the second table of the law, just as the burnt offering symbolizes His fulfillment on our behalf of the first table. Of course, in fulfilling the first He fulfilled the second, but in the burnt offering the one thought predominates and in the meal offering the other thought. In the burnt offering Christ is, representatively, man satisfying God and giving Him what belongs to Him, while in the meal offering He is, representatively, man satisfying man and giving him what belongs to him as an offering to the Lord. The burnt offering represents His life Godward, and the meal offering His life manward.

THE PEACE OFFERING (Leviticus 3)

The data for the law of the peace offering are found by comparing chapter 3 with the following passages: Leviticus 7:11-34; Leviticus 19:5-8; Leviticus 22:21-25. We put them all together in this lesson that the student may obtain a complete view of the whole. There are certain features of this offering which differ from the others.

For example, the objects offered. The peace offering might be a female (Leviticus 3:1), the explanation for which may be that the effects of the atonement are contemplated rather than the act itself. Furthermore, no turtle dove or pigeon was permitted, the explanation for which may be that as the offering was connected with a sacrificial meal of which several partook, a small bird would be insufficient.

The Lord’s portion consisted chiefly of the fat (Leviticus 3:3-5), the richest portion, symbolizing that the best belongs to Him. Eating the fat of all animals was not prohibited, but only those used in sacrifice, and in these only when they were being so used. The prohibition of the eating of blood, however, applied to all animals and always (Leviticus 17:10-12). The peace offering was to be consumed upon the burnt offering (Leviticus 3:5), thus symbolizing that the peace it typified was grounded upon the fact of atonement and acceptance on the part of the offerer. The peace offering usually followed the meal offering (see the details in the dedication of Aaron, chapter 8, and those of the Day of Atonement, chapter 16).

By turning to 7:28-34 it will be seen that certain parts of the peace offering belonged to the priests. The waving of these parts back and forth, and the heaving of them up and down, were a token of their dedication to God first and their being received back again from Him by the priests.

By comparison of 7:15 and 22:29-30 and parallel places, it will be seen that the offerer himself had for his portion all that remained. It also will be seen that he was at liberty to invite his friends to the feast, which must always be eaten at the sanctuary and which was an occasion of joy (Deuteronomy 12:4-7; Deuteronomy 12:17-18). The only condition for partaking of the feast was that of ceremonial cleanness (7:20-21).

The Significance of the Offering

The meaning of peace in this case includes not only tranquillity of mind based on a cessation of hostilities (that is, a mere negative peace), but positive joy and prosperity. Three propositions define it: Peace with God (Romans 5:1); the peace of God (Philippians 4:7); and peace from God (1 Corinthians 1:3), conceived of as flowing into our hearts.’

The feast, therefore, is an expression of friendship and fellowship growing out of the fact that the breach between man and God has been healed by His grace. The Israelite, who represents the Christian saint, is seen to be enjoying a feast with God, where God Himself is the host rather than the offerer. God first accepts the victim in expiation of sin and then gives it back for the worshipper to feast upon with Himself. Moreover, the feast is held in God’s house, not in that of the offerer, emphasizing the fact that God is the host. Of course Christ is the offering represented here, whose blood is shed for our guilt and to bring us into reconciled relation with God, and who Himself then becomes the meat by which we who are reconciled are thereafter sustained (John 6:51-58).

Keep in mind that this is a joint repast in which all three partake: God, the priest, and the offerer. It therefore represents our fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3). Remember also that cleanness is the condition (1 John 1:9). An Israelite might remain such and be unclean, but he could hold no feast and enjoy no communion with God while in that condition. The application to Christians is very plain (1 Peter 1:13-16).

QUESTIONS

1. By what name is the first of these offerings known in the King James?

2. Give the distinction between the burnt and meal offering as to the scope of consecration.

3. What do honey and leaven symbolize?

4. Where was the peace offering consumed, and why?

5. What did the waving and heaving mean?

6. What is the meaning of peace in this case?

7. What is the idea of the peace offering?

8. Can you quote 1 John 1:3?

 


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Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Leviticus 2:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/leviticus-2.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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