Leviticus Chapter Two
The meat-offering of flour. (1-11) The offering of first-fruits. (12-16)
Commentary on Leviticus 2:1-11
Meat-offerings may typify Christ, as presented to God for us, and as being the Bread of life to our souls; but they rather seem to denote our obligation to God for the blessings of providence, and those good works which are acceptable to God. The term "meat" was, and still is, properly given to any kind of provision, and the greater part of this offering was to be eaten for food, not burned. These meat-offerings are mentioned after the burnt-offerings: without an interest in the sacrifice of Christ, and devotedness of heart to God, such services cannot be accepted. Leaven is the emblem of pride, malice, and hypocrisy, and honey of sensual pleasure. The former are directly opposed to the graces of humility, love, and sincerity, which God approves; the latter takes men from the exercises of devotion, and the practice of good works. Christ, in his character and sacrifice, was wholly free from the things denoted by leaven; and his suffering life and agonizing death were the very opposites to worldly pleasure. His people are called to follow, and to be like him.
Commentary on Leviticus 2:12-16
Salt is required in all the offerings. God hereby intimates to them that their sacrifices, in themselves, were unsavoury. All religious services must be seasoned with grace. Christianity is the salt of the earth. Directions are given about offering their first-fruits at harvest. If a man, with a thankful sense of God's goodness in giving him a plentiful crop, was disposed to present an offering to God, let him bring the first ripe and full ears. Whatever was brought to God must be the best in its kind, though it were but green ears of corn. Oil and frankincense must be put upon it. Wisdom and humility soften and sweeten the spirits and services of young people, and their green ears of corn shall be acceptable. God takes delight in the first ripe fruits of the Spirit, and the expressions of early piety and devotion. Holy love to God is the fire by which all our offerings must be made. The frankincense denotes the mediation and intercession of Christ, by which our services are accepted. Blessed be God that we have the substance, of which these observances were but shadows. There is that excellency in Christ, and in his work as Mediator, which no types and shadows can fully represent. And our dependence thereon must be so entire, that we must never lose sight of it in any thing we do, if we would be accepted of God.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Leviticus》
 And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:
A meal-offering — (Not meat-offering, an ancient false print, which has run thro' many editions of our bible.) This was of two kinds, the one joined with other offerings, Numbers 15:4,7,10, which was prescribed, together with the measure or proportion of it: the other, of which this place speaks, was left to the offerer's good will both for the thing, and for the quantity. And the matter for this offering was things without life, as meal, corn, or cakes. Now this sort of sacrifices were appointed, 1. because these are things of greatest necessity and benefit to man, and therefore it is meet that God should be served with them, and owned and praised as the giver of them. 2. In condescension to the poor, that they might not want an offering for God, and to shew that God would accept even the meanest services, when offered with a sincere mind. 3. These were necessary provisions for the feast which was to be presented to God, and for the use of the priests, who were to attend upon these holy ministrations.
He shall pour oil — This may note the graces of the Holy Ghost, which are compared to oil, and anointing with it, Psalms 45:7; 1 John 2:20, and which are necessary to make any offering acceptable to God.
Frankincense — Manifestly designed Christ's satisfaction and intercession, which is compared to a sweet odour, Ephesians 5:2.
 And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:
He shall take — That priest to whom he brought it, and who is appointed to offer it.
The memorial — That part thus selected and offered; which is called a memorial, either 1. to the offerer, who by offering this part is minded, that the whole of that he brought, and of all which he hath of that kind, is God's to whom this part was paid as an acknowledgment. Or 2. to God, whom (to speak after the manner of men) this did put in mind of his gracious covenant and promises of favour, and acceptance of the offerer and his offering.
A sweet savour unto the Lord — And so are our spiritual offerings, which are made by the fire of holy love, particularly that of almsgiving. With such sacrifices God is well-pleased.
 And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.
Sons — To be eaten by them, Leviticus 6:16.
Most holy — Or such as were to be eaten only by the priests, and that only in the holy place near the altar.
 And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.
In the oven — Made in the sanctuary for that use.
 Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering.
In pieces — Because part of it was offered to God, and part given to the priests.
 No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire.
No leaven — Namely, in that which is offered of free-will; for in other offerings it might be used, Leviticus 7:13; 23:17. This was forbidden, partly to mind them of their deliverance out of Egypt, when they were forced thro' haste to bring away their meal or dough (which was the matter of this oblation) unleavened; partly to signify what Christ would be, and what they should be, pure and free from all error in the faith and worship of God, and from all hypocrisy, and malice or wickedness, all which are signified by leaven.
Nor any honey — Either, 1. because it hath the same effect with leaven in paste or dough, making it sour, and swelling. Or, 2. in opposition to the sacrifices of the Gentiles, in which the use of honey was most frequent. Or, 3. to teach us, that God's worship is not to be governed by men's fancies and appetites but by God's will.
 As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the LORD: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.
Ye may offer them — Or either of them, leaven or honey.
They shall not be burnt — But reserved for the priests.
 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
Salt — To signify that incorruption of mind, and sincerity of grace, which in scripture is signified by salt, Mark 9:49; Colossians 4:6, and which is necessary in all them that would offer an acceptable offering to God. Or in testimony of that communion which they had with God in these exercises of worship; salt being the great symbol of friendship in all nations is called, either, 1. because it represented the perpetuity of God's covenant with them, which is designed by salt, Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5. Or, 2. because it was so particularly required as a condition of their covenant with God; this being made absolutely necessary in all their offerings; and as the neglect of sacrifices was a breach of covenant on their part, so also was the neglect of salt in their sacrifices.
 And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.
First-fruits — Of thine own free-will; for there were other first-fruits, and that of several sorts, which were prescribed, and the time, quality, and proportion of them appointed by God.
 And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
Made by fire — The fire denotes that fervency of spirit, which ought to be in all our religious services. Holy love is the fire, by which all our offerings must be made: else they are not of a sweet savour to God.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Leviticus》
02 Chapter 2
It is only when we have received Christ in His character of a sacrifice for our sins, that we are in a condition to render ourselves a living sacrifice, so as to be acceptable to God. The meat-offering illustrates the second great step in the process of salvation.
I. The Jew, for the substance of his meat-offering, was directed to bring fine flour, or cakes or wafers of fine flour, or fine flour baked on a plate, or fine flour fried in oil, or the firstfruits in advance of the harvest beaten out of full ears dried by the fire. Either wheat or barley would answer; but the requirement reached the very best grain, either whole, as in the case of the firstfruits, or in its very finest and best preparations. Thus are we to offer our very best to the Lord--our bodies and souls, our faculties and attainments--and in the highest perfection to which we can bring them. Holiness is not the mere saying of a few prayers, or the paying of a few weekly visits to the sanctuary, or the giving of a few pennies now and then for the Church or the poor. It is the rendering of fresh grain and fine flour to the Lord, our God and Benefactor. It is the presentation of our entire selves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service.
II. Oil was to be poured upon, or mingled with, the flour of the meat-offering. This was not common oil, but the oil of unction, or holy oil. It was a material used in consecrating, or setting apart. It refers to the Holy Spirit, and the operations of that Spirit in setting apart whom He pleases. It typifies that “unction of the Holy One,” of which John speaks so largely. No offering of ourselves to God, no true sanctification can occur, without the oil of Divine grace, the principle of holiness and sacred power which is poured upon the believer by the Holy Ghost.
III. There was frankincense to be put on it. This circumstance identifies it at once with the burnt-offering, or holocaust. That burnt-offering represented Christ as the Sacrifice for our sins. The frankincense therefore plays the part here of representing the mediation and intercession of the Saviour--the grateful fragrance which comes up before God from the altar of burnt sacrifice. Our consecration to God, even with the gracious operations of the Spirit, could not be acceptable, except through Christ, and the sweet intercessorial perfume which arises from His offering in our behalf.
IV. It was to be kept clear of heaven and honey. Leaven indicates corruption. Its principle is a species of putrefaction. It tends to spoil and decay. We must be honest in these sacred things, and in real earnest, and not deal deceitfully with others or with ourselves. But wily keep away honey? Simply because it is a fermenter, a corrupter, and carries in it the principle of putrefaction. And as leaven represents the ugly, offensive, sour elements of depravity, so honey is the emblem of such as are sweet and attractive to the taste--“the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” Sensual indulgences and worldly pleasures, as well as hypocrisy and malice, will corrupt and destroy our best oblations.
V. Salt was to be used in it. What did this mean? Salt is just the opposite of leaven. The one corrupts, the other preserves. The one taints and hastens putrefaction, the other purifies and keeps wholesome. It was the custom in ancient times to ratify and confirm nearly every important bargain or contract by the eating together of the parties. This, of course, required the use of salt as an article invariably present on all such occasions. It thus, or in some other way, came to be regarded as a symbol of agreement and pure abiding friendship. If we are true in presenting ourselves to God, we come into harmony with God. We become His friends, and He our Friend. As we move to Him, He moves to us. As we come to terms with Him, He comes to terms with us. We agree to be His obedient and loving children, and He agrees to be our protecting and loving Father. We give ourselves up to be His people, and He brings Himself down to be our God. But this same salt tells also of a pure, healthful, pervading savour of virtue and grace. It was the principle of savoury purification to the sacrifice; and so the Saviour requires of us to “have salt in ourselves.” As every Christian is to be a living sacrifice--an accepted oblation unto God, he must comply with the law of sacrifice, and “be salted with salt”; that is, made savoury and incorruptible by being pervaded with unfaltering principles of righteousness.
VI. Its eucharistic nature. It was not so much a sacrifice as an oblation of praise. Many are the obligations by which we are bound to present ourselves as living sacrifices unto God. Viewed in whatever light, it is our “reasonable service.” But of all the great arguments which bind and move us to this surrender to our Maker, none stand out with a prominence so full and commanding as that drawn from “the mercies of God.” We were wrapped up with them in our Creator’s thought before our life began. They were present, breathing their blessings with our very substance, when we were fashioned into men. Before our appearance in the world, they had been at work preparing many fond affections for our reception, and arranging many a soft cushion to come between this hard earth and our youthful tenderness. They have tempered the seasons for our good, and filled the horn of plenty to make us blessed. Every day is a handful of sunbeams, kindled and cast down by the mercies of God, to gladden the place of our abode, and to light us to the paths of peace. Every night is a pavilion of the same making, set around us to give us rest, whilst God touches His fingers to our eyelids, saying, “Sleep, My children, sleep.” (J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
The meat-offering; or the Father honoured
Whereas in burnt-offering Christ is seen glorifying God in His death, in--
I. Meat-offering (or meal-offering, R.V.), the chief feature is Jesus honouring the Father in His life, each alike a “sweet savour unto the Lord.” The Blessed One must live as man before He could die for men; and here we have the perfect character of the sinless, holy “Man Christ Jesus” (Acts 10:38; John 9:4). See, then, how the holy life and sacrificial death are inseparably connected; how former must culminate in latter. Hence meat-offering is found constantly in conjunction with “burnt” and “peace” offerings (Numbers 15:3-4; Numbers 15:9; Numbers 15:11; Numbers 15:24; Numbers 28:4-5; Numbers 28:12-13; Numbers 28:27-28; Numbers 29:6; Leviticus 7:12), but never with sin or trespass-offerings, each of which shadows forth some aspect of the death, and both are “sweet savour” offerings. Observe, too, that while life, not death, is the prominent feature in meat-offering, there is a thought of latter in “memorial” burned upon brazen altar (Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 2:9; Leviticus 2:16), upon and around which blood had been sprinkled, and on which burnt and peace-offerings were consumed. Hebrew word. Mincha, translated meat-offering, signifies gift or “present” could any offer to the holy God that would be acceptable save His own “unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15), Jesus? Component parts of meat-offering were most significant.
1. Fine flour (Leviticus 2:1; Leviticus 2:4-5; Leviticus 2:7), well sifted, free from every unevenness, coarseness, or speck; or could not have typified Jesus, who was (1 Peter 1:19); every grace alike perfect; perfect evenness of character and temperament; every quality perfectly adjusted and evenly balanced; and this from birth, for He was “the Holy One of God.”
2. Oil, both mingled with and poured upon (Leviticus 2:4-6). Jesus filled with Spirit from birth (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:20). Spirit filled the human body that veiled Divinity, imbuing the whole nature with His graces; yet was Jesus “anointed” for service on earth (Acts 10:38; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18) at His baptism, when Spirit descended and abode upon Him (Luke 3:22; John 1:33-34). Given not “by measure,” but in sevenfold power (John 3:34; Isaiah 11:2).
3. Frankincense further illustrates this. It was white and fragrant. White betokens purity, innocence; striking characteristics of the Blessed One (John 8:46; 1 Peter 2:22-23). His judge could find “no cause of death in Him,” and the centurion “glorified God,” and pronounced the Crucified One a “righteous man” (Acts 13:28; Luke 23:4; Luke 23:47). Fragrance was what Jesus truly ever shed around, as He spake the words (Song of Solomon 5:13) and did the works of Him that sent Him (Luke 4:40-44 : John 17:8; John 8:28; John 12:49-50; John 14:10). The name of Jesus “is as ointment poured forth” (Song of Solomon 1:3), and when He dwells within, the heart is filled with sweet fragrance--as was the house at Bethany (John 12:3)--and He is to that soul, as to the Father, “a savour of rest” (Genesis 8:21, mar.); and truly the Father could “rest” in the love and devotion of His beloved Son.
II. “memorial,” burned upon the altar, shows this still more. Fire brings forth more fully the sweetness, and tells of the Father’s delight in Jesus, and acceptance of that holy, consecrated life of devotion to His service, laid on His altar. Observe, too, that all the frankincense was to be burnt (Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 2:16; Leviticus 6:15), telling of the special fragrance, intended only for the Father, in whose service He was consumed by zeal (John 2:17), and whom He “glorified on the earth” (John 17:4; John 13:31). The burning, as before said, seems likewise to point to death, in which the holy life culminated; but no question of judgment because no question of sin, as shown by word used for burning. Still, though judgment is not portrayed in meat-offering, yet is Jesus there seen as “a Man of sorrows . . . ” (Isaiah 53:3), and such expressions as “Baken in the oven,” “in the frying-pan,” “the firstfruits, green ears of corn dried by the fire,” “corn beaten out” (Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 2:7; Leviticus 2:14), surely tell of the grief and sufferings of the Holy One. But the more He was tried, the sweeter the fragrance that ascended, as in all things He showed Himself submissive to His Father’s will. Observe further--
III. “the salt of the covenant” must not be lacking from the meat-offering (Leviticus 2:13). Salt typified both the incorruption and incorruptibility of our Blessed Lord (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:27). Salt thus betokens perpetuity. Hence the “covenant of salt” (Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5) tells of the enduring character of Jehovah’s “everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure” (2 Samuel 23:5-7; Isaiah 55:3). Assured in Jesus--given “for a covenant . . . ” (Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:8), and Himself “the Amen” of God’s covenant promises (Luke 1:72; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Revelation 3:14). Again, see “speech,. . . with grace seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6), exemplified in Him of whom it is written, “Grace is poured . . . ” (Psalms 45:2). Truly gracious words proceeded out of His mouth (Luke 4:22), but ever seasoned with salt, its pungency, its enduring and incorrupting influence. See how He gave right answers to each, so that no man could “entangle Him . . . ” (Matthew 2:15-23). The like is enjoined to His people (Colossians 3:16; Mark 9:50), whom He calls “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13; see Proverbs 12:18); and while He would have them follow His example in this, as in all else, He Himself--the Unchangeable--preserves them from corrupting influences; He would have them pure (1 Peter 1:14-16), “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), testifying of Jesus, and thus made “unto God a sweet savour of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15).
IV. Two things forbidden in meat-offering.
1. Leaven. Used in Scripture as type of evil, of false doctrine (Matthew 16:6; Matthew 16:12; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8); hence strictly forbidden in every Levitical type of our Lord. It also indicates sourness of temper and puffing up, not uncommon in man; but impossible in the perfect, spotless “Man Christ Jesus,” “the second Man, the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47).
2. Honey. Sweet to taste, but producing sourness afterwards, as sometimes is the case with the words and ways of man; and likewise with Satan’s tempting baits, by which he seeks to lure men to their destruction; but as impossible as the characteristics of leaven in the God-man of whom the meat-offering is type. Lastly, an important question arises: Who are--
V. Partakers of
the meat-offering? Aaron and sons (Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 2:10; Leviticus 6:16-18). They represent the
Church; and the “Church of God” is to feast on Jesus, “the Bread of Life”; to
feed on His words (John 6:35; John 6:47-54; John 6:63; Jeremiah 15:16); to meditate on details
of holy life of Him who was the Father’s delight. The “remnant” of the
acceptable “memorial” burnt upon the altar of the Lord was given to the
priests; that is, all that is not specially appropriated to the Father, who
joys in the Son, is bestowed for the-sustenance of His people. Further mark,
the priests were to feed on the meat-offering “in the holy place”(Leviticus 6:16), consecrated to the
service of God. How can any feed on Jesus in places devoted to the world? (Lady
I. THE MATERIALS.
2. Oil. This signified in general the Spirit of God in His graces and comforts (Isaiah 61:1), which Spirit Jesus Christ did receive above measure, and from Him all believers do partake of His anointing. There is, and must be, this sacred oil in all our offerings, the influence of the Spirit of God.
3. Frankincense. Signifying the acceptableness unto God of the persons and services of His people, through the mediation and intercession of Jesus Christ.
4. Salt. The perpetuity of the covenant of grace, and the wholesome and savoury carriage and walking of God’s people.
II. The actions to be performed about it.
1. It must be brought to the priest. Imports a voluntary act of the offerer, and a making use of Christ for acceptance in all our services and approaches unto God.
3. The remnant was Aaron’s and his sons’.
III. The meaning.
1. It prefigured and shadowed forth the atonement or expiation of sin by the righteousness of Jesus Christ--both by His sufferings and actings, His active and passive obedience.
3. It signified those fruits of grace and good works that believers perform, whether towards God or towards man.
IV. The additions forbidden.
1. Leaven argues corruption.
2. Honey cloys and loads the stomach, and turns to choler and bitterness.
V. The appurtenance of drink-offerings.
1. Wine, in typical and allegorical Scriptures, sometimes signifies the joys and consolations of the Holy Ghost.
2. We find the saints pouring out their blood in the cause of Christ, compared to a drink-offering (Philippians 2:27; 2 Timothy 4:6). And so, in a much higher sense, the blood of Christ is represented by wine in the Holy Communion.
3. It shadowed forth the Lord’s acceptance of His people. (S. Mather.)
Homage graced with excellencies
I. Every element of worth and attractiveness should concentrate in our worship and service of god. “Fine flour”--“oil”--“frankincense.” By all these combined ingredients a total result would be produced which constituted the offering one “of a sweet savour unto the Lord.”
1. Solitary graces are not despised by Him we worship.
2. Yet worship should he the outflow of all noble affections and aspirations of the soul.
3. Preparation for such a blending of graces in worship is our evident duty.
II. Adorable presentations to god secure his gracious appreciation and lavish praise. “Sweet savour.” “A thing most holy.”
1. No poverty of approval ever repels a fervent worshipper.
2. Offering such excellency of homage, we shall assuredly realise that God is well pleased.
III. Excellencies in typical offerings foreshadowed the beauties and worthiness of Jesus.
1. The quality of the flour bespeaks the intrinsic excellence of Christ.
2. The pouring oil thereon denotes the anointing of the Spirit.
3. The added frankincense tells of the delightfulness of Christ. (W. H. Jellie.)
The meat-offering typical of Christ and His people
I. Consider the principal ingredient of it. There were two things of which it consisted, one of which was fine flour. This fine flour was of wheat, as is clear from various accounts we have of this offering.
1. This may denote the excellency of Christ: the superior excellency of Him to all others, not only as a Divine person, but as God-man and Mediator; He is preferable to angels and to men.
2. But this meat-offering, being of fine flour, of wheat the choicest of grain, may also denote the purity of Christ: fine flour of wheat being the purest and cleanest of all others. As He is a Divine person, He is a rock and His work is perfect: a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and true is He. As man, His human nature was entirely free from all contagion and corruption of sin: from original taint, as the fine flour of which this meat-offering was, free from all bran, so He was free from the bran of original corruption. Pure and free was He from any iniquity in life: He did none, neither was guile found in His mouth.
3. Moreover, as fine flour of wheat is the principal part of human sustenance, and what strengthens the heart of man, and nourishes him, and is the means of maintaining and supporting life, it may fitly shadow and figure out our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the bread of God, which came down from heaven. The bread of God’s preparing, the bread of God’s giving, and the bread which God blesses for the nourishment of His people. Thus this meat-offering, as to the substance of it, being of fine flour of wheat, is a very special and particular representation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. It may also, with great propriety be applied unto His people, who are represented in Scripture frequently as wheat. These may be signified hereby, because of their peculiar choiceness; being the excellent in the earth, in whom is the delight of the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as of His Divine Father, whom He has chosen from all others, to be His peculiar people. And they being compared to wheat, may denote also their purity. Not as considered in themselves, but in Christ.
II. Consider the things which were to be made use of along with this meat-offering; and the things which were forbidden to be used in it. There were some things to be made use of in it, such as oil, frankincense, and salt. Oil was to be poured upon it, frankincense put thereon, and every oblation was to be seasoned with salt. The oil that was poured upon the meat-offering, or to be mingled with it, may denote, either the grace of God in Christ, or the grace of God communicated to, and bestowed upon His people. Frankincense put upon the meat-offering, may denote either the acceptableness of the Lord Jesus Christ to God and His people, or the acceptableness of His people unto God and to Christ. Salt was another thing that was used in it, which makes food savoury, and preserves from putrefaction, and may denote the savouriness of the Lord Jesus Christ to believers. “Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt?” says Job (Job 6:6). Now Christ, as a meat-offering, is to His people savoury food, such as their souls love: pleasing, delightful, comfortable, refreshing, nourishing, and strengthening. Salt is an emblem of perpetuity. Now this may denote the perpetuity of Christ’s sacrifice, which always remains; and the perpetuity of Him, as the meat-offering. For He is that meat which endures to everlasting life; and Him has God the Father sealed. And this, as it respects the people of God, may be an emblem of the savour of their life and conversation. There were two things which the Jews were forbidden to use in the meat-offering; the one was leaven, and the other was honey. There was to be no leaven in it. This, as it may respect our Lord Jesus Christ, the Antitype of the meat-offering, may denote His freedom from hypocrisy, and all false doctrines, which were the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees. He is truth itself--the Way, the Truth, and the Life: and the doctrines preached by Him were grace and truth. To apply this to the people of God, as no meat-offering was to be made with leaven, it may denote that they should take heed of communing with profane and scandalous persons. And it may denote that they should be clear of malice and wickedness; they ought to lay aside, as new-born babes, all superfluity and naughtiness. Another thing forbidden in the meat-offering is honey. The reason of this is because it was made use of among the heathens in their offerings, and the people of God were not to walk in their ordinances, but in the ordinances appointed of the Lord. Besides, honey, like leaven, is of a fermenting nature,, and which, when burned, gives an ill smell; and no ill smell was to be in the offering. It was to be, as our text says, “of a sweet savour unto the Lord”; which it could not have been if the honey had been in it. Besides, it is of a cloying nature, it causes a loathing when persons eat too freely of it. Now there, is nothing of this to be found in the antitypical Meat-offering, our Lord Jesus Christ. No, the true believer that feeds by faith upon Him, the language of his soul is, “Lord, evermore give us this bread”; let me always feed upon this provision. Moreover, honey may be considered as an emblem of sin, and sinful pleasures; which are as a sweet morsel rolled under the tongue of a wicked man, though it proves the poison of asps within him at last: and so denotes unto us, that such who would feed by faith on Christ ought to relinquish sinful lusts and pleasures. As well it may also further denote that the people of God must not expect their sweets without their bitters. They that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution of one kind or another. So the passover was to be eaten with bitter herbs as the representation of the same thing.
III. As to the composition thereof, and the different manner of dressing this meat-offering. It was to be made of fine flour, made of wheat, beaten out of the husk, and ground; it was to be mingled with oil, kneaded, baked in an oven, fried in pans; or parched by the fire. Now all this may be an emblem of the dolorous sorrows and sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. And as it may be applied to the people of God, it may denote not only their separation from others, but the trials and exercises they meet with, which are sometimes called fiery trials.
IV. The use that was made of this offering. Part of it was burnt as a memorial unto the Lord, either to put the Lord in mind of His loving-kindness to His people, and of His covenant with them, and promises unto them, to which the allusion is (Psalms 20:3), or to put the offerer in mind of the great sacrifice of Christ, who was to be offered for his sins, and to be a meat-offering to him. And the other part of it was to be eaten by the priests, which shows the care taken by the Lord for the maintenance of the priests, and from whence the apostle argues for the support of the ministers of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:13-14). And this may denote that such who are made priests unto God by Christ have a right to feed upon Christ, the meat-offering by faith; who is the altar and meat-offering, which none but such have a right to eat of.
V. The acceptableness of it. It is said to be “of a sweet savour unto the Lord,” as Christ’s sacrifice is said to be (Ephesians 5:2). And so His people also, their persons are an offering of a sweet-smelling savour to God, in Christ; being accepted in Him the Beloved and as are their sacrifices both of prayer and praise. (John Gill, D. D.)
The meat-offering (or rather bread-offering, for the word “meat” has changed its meaning since our translation was made) was an accompaniment of the burnt-offering, and therefore must be looked at in its connection with it. It consisted in the offering of fine flour (Leviticus 2:1), or bread made of fine flour (Leviticus 2:4-5; Leviticus 2:7), with oil and frankincense (Leviticus 2:1), and salt (Leviticus 2:13). Its symbolic meaning is quite obvious. Just as the burnt-offering symbolised the dedication of the man himself to God, with all his powers and faculties, the bread-offering signified the dedication to God of the fruit of his labours, the produce of his industry. In its fullest sense it symbolised the dedication of his life-energy to God in holy obedience. The close association of bread with, life throughout the Scriptures is quite familiar to us, and perhaps our Lord had this offering in mind when He said: “My meat” (bread) “is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). But while in its fullest sense the bread-offering may be understood as symbolising the entire new life which is the result of our dedicating of ourselves to God, its most obvious application is to the dedication of our substance to Him, to whom we have dedicated ourselves. The oil to be poured upon the offering has here its invariable significance of heavenly grace, and the frankincense the devotional spirit in which the offering should be presented. The salt is spoken of as “the salt of the covenant of thy God” (Leviticus 2:13); and the caution never to allow it to be lacking seems to guard against the danger of supposing that our gifts to the Lord can find acceptance in any other way than through the provisions of the covenant which He has made with us by sacrifice (Psalms 50:5). The things prohibited are equally suggestive with the things enjoined. They are leaven and honey: leaven, the symbol of corruption, and honey, of a sweetness which was in the Hebrew mind especially associated with fermentation. The disposal of the offering was also significant. Part of it was to be burnt upon the altar “as a memorial” (Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 2:6): the rest was set apart for use by the priests (Leviticus 2:3). Inasmuch as the priests in these transactions represented the people, while the altar represented God, the idea of fellowship or sharing is here conveyed, as if to suggest the thought that while all our energies and all our substance should be consecrated to God in the first place, the sum is nevertheless in the issue divided between the more sacred and the more personal uses. In the matter of property, for instance, the true idea is not to give a portion to the Lord and to keep the rest for ourselves, but to give all to God; and then, with His approval, to expend so much on personal use, and set aside so much for consumption on the altar. But while The offering is to be thus divided, the frankincense is to be all burnt upon the altar (Leviticus 2:2). The devotional element is for God alone. You have heard, perhaps, of the newspaper writer who, referring to the devotional part of the service in one of the churches in Boston, spoke of his having had the privilege of listening to “the most eloquent prayer that was ever addressed to a Boston audience.” We are too apt to forget that our prayers are not for Boston audiences or London audiences, but for the audience of Heaven, for the ear of God. The frankincense was all to be burnt upon the altar. (J. M. Gibson, D. D.)
First, the meat-offering was one of the offerings commanded by the law of God; it consisted of fine flour, oil, and frankincense. A handful of this flour, with the oil and all the frankincense, was to be burnt by the priest on the altar as an offering to God, the remainder of the flour and oil was to belong to the priest. Afterwards we read of three kinds of meat-offerings, of which the first was baked in an oven, the second in a pan, the third in a frying-pan, which is thought by some expositors not to mean what we call a frying-pan, but a coarse earthen pot in which the poorer sort in the East cook their food. These three kinds of meat-offerings were all of the same materials, but probably different in quantity from one another, as well as in mode of preparation. The meat-offering in the oven was intended as the offering of the rich; that in the pan for the middling class; that in the frying-pan for the poorest sort. God requires an offering from all, both rich and poor, and will accept the offering of the poorest as well as that of the richest. The meat-offering seems to mean the entire giving up of a man, his body and soul, and all he has to God, which follows his believing acceptance of Christ’s work and sacrifice. The man looks with faith to Christ’s sacrifice (this is the burnt-offering), this sight of Christ crucified fills all his heart with love and gratitude to his kind and loving Saviour, this causes him to give himself and all that he has to God and His service (this is the meat-offering). The fine flour, probably meant the man’s self, his property and services. It was not only flour, but fine flour, the best part of the flour, the flour cleansed from bran, dirt, &c. When the believer offers himself to God, he offers that new man which is created in him by the Holy Spirit, and which is most pleasing and precious in God’s sight through Christ. The remains of sin in the believer are like the bran, dirt, &c., in the flour; these are cleansed out of and destroyed in the believer by the Spirit, and are not offered to God. The oil in the meat-offering probably denoted the Holy Spirit. He was poured without measure on Christ the Head of the Church, and flows down to the skirts of His clothing, so that the meanest believer shares in this Divine oil which adorns and beautifies the soul. Frankincense was also a part of the meat-offering. Now, frankincense was a type of the prayers of Christ and His intercession, by which the sacrifices and services of believers are offered to, and accepted by the Father. Just as man is delighted with the sweet smell of frankincense, so the Father is most delighted with Christ, and His prayers for believers, which are always sweet smelling and fragrant to Him. The man was to offer the whole quantity of the meat-offering, but the priest was only to take a handful of it for the Lord. The part that God took was to be offered up as a memorial, to teach a man that all he had belonged to God, and that He had a right to take the whole, or any part of it He pleased. All the frankincense was to be taken, since the prayers of Christ are all so precious to the Father that not one of them can be left out by Him from His own peculiar offering. All the remainder that was not offered on the altar became most holy. This teaches us that when once we have offered ourselves to the Lord, everything of ours becomes separated from the world and sin, and set apart to God’s service, and though He returns it to us, yet we must remember that it is most holy, and though it may be used by us, yet it must be used as a most holy thing, and not for ungodly or sinful uses. Secondly, let us consider the two things that were forbidden to be used in meat-offerings, and in most sacrifices. They were
Leaven is a striking figure of decay and corruption. It is often used in Scripture as a figure of sin, which is the corruption and decay of the soul from the original state of righteousness and holiness in which man was created to a state of ungodliness and wickedness. Any sin, then, wilfully indulged and allowed is the leaven which is positively forbidden to be offered in any of our spiritual sacrifices to God. The second thing forbidden to be offered in the meat-offering was honey. And by honey being forbidden in the sacrifices, we are taught that in all our spiritual sacrifices of praise and prayer and good works and all others, we should carefully avoid set, king the pleasure or gratification of the natural heart, instead of or in addition to God’s glory and approval. Thirdly, let us observe what was to be put not only in the meat-offering, but in every Jewish sacrifice--that was salt. Whatever else was wanting, the salt was never to be wanting from any sacrifice made to God. By salt is meant grace in Scripture, and that work of the Spirit in the heart which is a fruit and effect of the grace or undeserved love of the Godhead. Just as salt preserves from natural corruption, so the Holy Spirit and His grace preserves from spiritual corruption--that is, the departure of the heart from the love and fear of God. It was not only salt that was to be in the meat-offering and other sacrifices, but the salt of the covenant of thy God. The salt in believers must be the salt of the covenant--the Holy Spirit--not mere human principles of endurance, temperance, philosophy, and virtue. This covenant is the covenant of grace made between the Father and the Son, its object is to give eternal life and blessings to those who are in it, who are all true believers on account of and in consideration of the work of Christ in His life and death. God gives believers the Spirit as the certain mark and sign of the covenant of grace into which He has admitted them through Christ. Lastly, consider the application of this to ourselves. Take heed that there is no leaven, no tolerated, or indulged, or ruling sin in your heart or conduct, or God will abhor and curse your offerings and sacrifices, for the “sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 15:8). Weakness and sins of infirmity there will always be in all your offerings to God; but the blood of Christ will wash out all these if you go to that fountain. But no sin must be wilfully indulged, or suffered to rule in your heart or life; no sin must be inwardly loved and cherished by you. Take heed also that there is nothing of what the law of God condemns as honey in your offerings to God. Many only seek to please themselves, or to get the praise of men in their service or worship of God; but this is the honey God forbids in the sacrifices. Above all, take heed that you have the Holy Spirit. (C. S. Taylor, M. A.)
I. In its contrast to the other offerings. Five points here at once present themselves, which bring out what is distinctive in this offering. The apprehension of these will enable us to see the particular relation which Jesus filled for man as Meat-offering.
1. The first point is that the meat-offering was “a sweet savour.” In this particular it stands in contrast to the sin-offering, but in exact accordance with the burnt-offering.
2. The second point in which the meat-offering differed from the others is seen in the materials of which it was composed. These were “flour, oil, and frankincense”; there is no giving up of life here. It is in this particular, especially, that the meat-offering differs from the burnt-offering. Life is that which from the beginning God claimed as His part in creation: as an emblem, therefore, it represents what the creature owes to God. Corn, the fruit of the earth, on the other hand, is man’s part in creation; as such, it stands the emblem of man’s claim, or of what we owe to man. What we owe to God or to man is respectively our duty to either. Thus in the burnt-offering the surrender of life to God represents the fulfilment of man’s duty to God; man yielding to God His portion to satisfy all His claim. In the meat-offering the gift of corn and oil represents the fulfilment of man’s duty to his neighbour: man in his offering surrendering himself to God, but doing so that he may give to man his portion. Thus the burnt-offering is the perfect fulfilment of the laws of the first table; the meat-offering the perfect fulfilment of the second. Of course, in both cases the offering is but one--that offering is “the body” of Jesus; but that body is seen offered in different aspects: here in the meat-offering as fulfilling man’s duty to man. The one case is man satisfying God, giving Him His portion, and receiving testimony that it is acceptable. The other is man satisfying his neighbour, giving man his portion as an offering to the Lord.
3. The meat-offering was “not wholly burnt.” In this it differed from the burnt-offering. Christ as performing man’s duty to God--that is, the burnt-offering--was wholly the food of God, wholly put upon His altar, wholly consumed by Him. But Christ as performing His duty to man--that is, the meat-offering--is also man’s meat, the food of the priests: “The remnant of the meat-offering shall be Aaron’s and h s sons’; it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire.” Yet even here He satisfies God. “A handful, the memorial of the offering,” is put upon the altar to teach us, that even in fulfilling man’s duty to his neighbour, Christ fulfilled it as “an offering unto the Lord.” But though God had thus a portion in the meat-offering, it is nevertheless specially the food of man; primarily to be viewed as offered for us to God, but also as given to us, as priests, to feed on. For us, as meat-offering, Jesus fulfilled what was due to man. He did this as our representative, as the substitute of those who trust Him--in this aspect of the offering our souls find peace; here is our acceptance--but this, though securing peace, is but a part of our blessed portion. If Jesus did all this for us, will He not do it to us? As righteous in Him, we still have wants, we need daily food and anointing; and for these as much as for righteousness, we are debtors to His abounding grace. The law is that the priests should be fed at the altar; they may not work for their bread as others. The faithful Israelite is the appointed channel of their subsistence; on his faithfulness, under God, do they depend for their food. Jesus, as the faithful Israelite, will not fail the priests who wait at the altar. Let His priests (“ye are a royal priesthood”) be but found where they should be, and His offering will be there to feed them. “He will abundantly bless the provision, He will satisfy His poor with bread.”
4. The fourth point I notice in the meat-offering is, that, though intended for, and for the most part consumed by, man, it was, nevertheless, “offered unto the Lord.” In the meat-offering the offerer gives himself as man’s meat; yet this is yielded as “an offering unto Jehovah.” The offering indeed fed the priests; but it was offered, not to them, but to the Lord. The first Adam took for man not only what was given him, but what God had reserved for Himself. The second Adam gave to God not only God’s portion, but even of man’s part God had the first memorial. Jesus, as man, in satisfying man’s claim on Him, did it as “an offering unto the Lord.” With us how much even of our graces is offered to man rather than to God. Even in our most devoted service, what a seeking there is, perhaps unconsciously, to be something in the estimation of others: some secret desire, some undetected wish, even by our very service to be greater here. The very gifts of God and the power of His Spirit are sought the better to give us a place in this world. Surely this is one of the reasons why God can trust us with so little, for with His gifts we build up our own name, instead of His name. But how unlike all this to our Master.
5. In the last place, the contrast between the meat-offering and “the offering of firstfruits at Pentecost.” The distinction is stated in the twelfth verse--“As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord, but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.” The contrast is this--the meat-offering was a sweet savour: the oblation of firstfruits, though very like the meat-offering, was not so. For the key to this we must turn to chap. 23., where the law respecting “the oblation of firstfruits” is given to us. In that chapter we have a list of the feasts. First in order comes the Passover, on the fourteenth day at even; then the wave-sheaf of firstfruits, on the morrow after the Sabbath; and then, fifty days after, the oblation of the firstfruits on the day of Pentecost. The “sheaf of firstfruits,” on the morrow after the Sabbath, might be burnt to the Lord as a sweet savour; but “the oblation of the firstfruits” at Pent cost might not be burnt on the altar. The reason for this distinction is found in the fact that “the sheaf of firstfruits” was unleavened, while “the oblation of firstfruits” at Pentecost was mixed and made with leaven. The typical application of all this is too obvious to need any comment. Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us, and sacrificed on the predetermined day. Then “on the morrow after the Sabbath,” the next ensuing Sabbath, that is, on the appointed “first day of the week,” Christ “rose from the dead, and became the firstfruits of them that slept.” In Him there was no sin, no leaven; He was in Himself a sweet savour to Jehovah. With this offering, therefore, no sin-offering was coupled; it was offered only with a burnt-offering and meat-offering. But fifty days after this, “when the day of Pentecost was fully come,” the Church, typified by the leavened oblation of firstfruits, is offered unto the Lord: for we, as well as Jesus, are firstfruits; “we are,” says James, “a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” But this offering, having sin in it, being “mixed with leaven,” could neither stand the test of the fire of the altar, nor be an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord. Yet it was to be both offered and accepted--“Ye shall offer it, but it shall not be burnt.” And why, and how, was this leavened cake accepted? Something was offered “with it,” for the sake of which the leavened firstfruits were accepted. They offered with the leavened bread a burnt-offering, a meat-offering, a peace-offering, and a sin-offering; for leaven being found in the oblation of firstfruits, a sin-offering was needed with it. And the priest waved all together: “the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave-offering before tile Lord.” The Church comes with Christ before God; it is offered with all the value of His work attached to it.
II. In its different grades or varieties. These are three in number, and represent the different measures of apprehension with which a saint may see Jesus in any of His relations.
1. The first contrast is, that while in the first grade each article of the materials is enumerated, the second describes the offering more generally as “unleavened wafers anointed.” The import of this distinction is at once and easily discoverable. How many saints are there, who, in thinking or speaking about Jesus, can fully assert that He is “unleavened,” who know anti believe He is sinless, while yet they cannot see all His perfectness. But absence of evil, the being without leaven, is a lower thought than the possession of perfect goodness. We can say, “He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,” long before we can tell what was in Him, and the way in which He spent it all for others.
2. A second point of contrast between the different grades of the meat-offering is too remarkable to be omitted. In the first class it is observed that the offerer himself takes the memorial for God out of the offering; in the second, the priest is said to take it; while in the last class--“in the dried ears”--no mention is made who takes it. The difference is obvious and instructive. The one view shows Christ in His person as offerer, the other in His appointed office as the priest. The first, Christ as offerer personally giving to God, is a higher view than Christ offering as priest officially. The latter view loses, at least, one precious object in the precious offering of Jesus; the office is indeed seen, but the person of the Lord quite lost sight of.
3. But there is a third contrast, and one which may be more generally apprehended, between the first class of the meat-offering and tile others. In the first class Christ’s offering is seen as flour: He is “the fine flour” bruised. In the other classes this particular is almost merged: He is rather bread, either “loaves” or “wafers.” The distinction here is very manifest. We may see Jesus as our “bread,” or even as God’s bread, without entering into the thoughts which are suggested by the emblems of “fine flour” and “frankincense.” The perfect absence of all unevenness, and the deep bruisings which He endured that He might satisfy us; the precious savour also of the offering, only more fragrant when tried by fire; these are not our first views of Jesus; for as they are the most perfect apprehensions, so are they generally the last.
4. The difference between the first class of the meat-offering and the third is even more striking and manifest; this latter offering giving us a thought of Christ as “firstfruits,” the first sheaf of the ripening harvest, rather than the bread already prepared for food, or the fine flour as seen in the first grade. (A. Jukes.)
The meat-offering (so called by our translators because the greater part of it was used for food) represents the offerer’s person and property, his body and his possessions. The mercies of God constrain him to give up all he has to the Lord. The meat-offering was generally, or rather always, presented along with some animal sacrifice, in order to show the connection between pardon of sin and devotion to the Lord. The moment we are pardoned, all we are, and all we have, becomes the property of Christ. A type that was to represent this dedication of body and property was one that behoved to have no blood therein; for blood is the life or soul which has been already offered. This distinction may have existed as early as the days of Adam. When God instituted animal sacrifice to represent the atonement by death He probably also instituted this other sort; the fact of this latter existing, and its meaning and use being definitely understood, would tend to confirm the exclusive use of animal sacrifice when atonement was to be shown forth. Cain’s offering of firstfruits might have been acceptable as a meat-offering, if it had been founded upon the slain lamb, and had followed as a consequence from that sacrifice. This meat-offering was presented daily, along with the morning and evening sacrifice, teaching us to give all we have to the Lord’s use, not by irregular impulse on particular exigencies, but daily. But we have still to call attention to the chief application of this type. It shows forth Christ Himself. And indeed this should have been noticed first of all, had it not been for the sake of first establishing the precise point of view in which this type sets forth its object. We are to consider it as representing Christ Himself in all His work of obedience, soul and body. And if it represent Christ, it includes His Church. Christ and His body, the Church, are presented to the Father, and accepted. Christ, and all His possessions in heaven and earth, whether possessions of dominion or possessions in the souls of men and angels, were all presented to, and accepted by the Father. Let us now examine the chapter in detail. The meat-offering must be of fine flour--the fine wheat of Palestine, not the coarser “meal,” but the fine, boiled and sifted well. It must in all cases be not less than the tenth of an ephah (Leviticus 5:11); in most cases far more (see Numbers 7:13). It was taken from the best of their fields, and cleansed from the bran by passing through the sieve. The rich seem to have offered it in the shape of pure fine flour, white as snow, heaping it up probably, as in Numbers 7:13, on a silver charger, or in a silver bowl, in princely manner. It thus formed a type, beautiful and pleasant to the eye, of the man’s self and substance dedicated to God, when now made pure by the blood of sacrifice that had removed his sin. For if forgiven, then a blessing rested upon his basket and his store, on the fruit of his body, and the fruit of his ground, the fruit of his cattle, and the increase of his kine (see Deuteronomy 28:3-6). Even as Jesus, when raised from the tomb, was henceforth no more under the curse of sin; but was blessed in body, for His body was no longer weary or feeble; and blessed in company, for no longer was He numbered among transgressors; and blessed in all His inheritance, for “all power was given Him in heaven and in earth.” The oil poured on the fine flour denoted setting apart. It was oil that was used by Jacob at Bethel in setting apart his stone pillow to commemorate his vision; and every priest and king was thus set apart for his office. Oil, used on these occasions, is elsewhere appropriated to mean the Spirit’s operation--the Spirit setting apart whom He pleases for any office. The frankincense, fragrant in its smell, denoted the acceptableness of the offering. As a flower or plant--the rose of Sharon or the balm of Gilead--would induce any passing traveller to stoop down over them, and regale himself with their fragrance, so the testimony borne by Christ’s work to the character of Godhead brings the Father to bend over any to whom it is imparted, and to rest over him in His love. The Lord Jesus says to His Church, in Song of Solomon 4:6, “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and the hill of frankincense.” This spot must be the Father’s right hand. In like manner, then, it ought to be the holy purpose of believing souls who are looking for Christ, to dwell so entirely amid the Redeemer’s merits, that, like the maidens of King Ahasuerus (Esther 2:12), they shall be fragrant with the sweet odours, and with these alone, when the bridegroom comes. When Christ presented His human person and all He had, He was, indeed, fragrant to the Father, and the oil of the Spirit was on Him above His fellows (see Isaiah 61:1; Psalms 45:7; Hebrews 9:14). And equally complete in Him is every believer also. Like Jesus, each believer is God’s wheat--His fine flour. (A. A. Bonar.)
Christ the true Meat-offering
That Christ is the true Meat-offering is manifest from its materials. These clearly represent features of character found nowhere else but in Him. In the bruising of the corn necessary to the formation of the flour--the baking of the cakes or wafers in the second division of the offering--the scorching of the green ears of corn in the oblation of the firstfruits--in each of these particulars we have a type of His sufferings, who was “bruised for our iniquities,” and by whose stripes we are healed. For, while the meat-offering chiefly directs our attention to Christ in life, exhibiting a faultlessness of character to be seen in none else, it does not step short of the Cross. True, no life was taken, it was a bloodless sacrifice. It was, however, burned upon the altar (not the altar of incense, but of burnt-offering), and was usually, and I am inclined to think always--accompanied by an animal sacrifice. Does not this prove how closely in its typical application this offering is connected with those which more especially set forth Christ as making atonement in death? It is, in fact, but another aspect of the great sacrificial work of Christ--a work, to the accomplishment of which the unblemished life of the Saviour was as needful as His death. “Full of grace and truth”; the unction of the Holy Ghost, the oil, was ever, and without measure, upon Him. Every incident in His precious life was redolent with the fragrant frankincense; whilst the healthful savour of the salt impregnated everything He did and said. No corrupting leaven! no mere superficial honey-like sweetness (which in us is often called, or mis-called, “our good nature”) characterised the conduct and conversation of the “Anointed Man.” View Him under what circumstances you will, whether in the society of those by whom He was loved, or surrounded with men who went about to kill Him, He is ever the pure, perpetual Meat-offering. True, while we are in the flesh, neither our conduct nor our gifts can fully answer to the pure, unleavened Meat-offering. God has, however, provided a perfect offering in Jesus to supply our lack, to ascend as a sweet-smelling savour for us. Yet, as we are exhorted to be like Jesus in being “whole burnt-offerings,” presenting “our bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God,” so must we seek to imitate Him in the purity and perfectness of His walk as our Meat-offering. (F. H. White.)
1. Its main material is flour. Earth yields the grain; repeated blows thresh it from the husks; the grinding mill reduces it to powder. This thought glides easily to Christ. He stoops to be poor offspring of poor earth. And then what batterings assail Him!
2. The quality of the flour is distinctly marked. It must be fine. All coarseness must be sifted out. No impure speck may stain it. See the lovely beauties of the Lord. His charms bring comfort to the anxious soul.
3. Oil is added (Leviticus 2:3). Emblem of the Spirit’s grace.
4. Frankincense is sprinkled on the mass. And is not Christ the incense of delight, in heaven, in earth? The precious merits of His work regal each attribute of God. He brings full honour to their every claim. He, too, is perfume to His people’s hearts. Say, ye who know Christ Jesus, is not His name “as ointment poured forth”?
5. No leaven and no honey may be brought. The first is quick to change and taint the meal. It rapidly pervades. It casts a savour into every part. Hence it is evil’s emblem. For sin admitted will run wildly through the heart. Its course pollutes. The latter is must luscious to the palate. But is it harmless? Nay, it soon proves a sickening and fermenting pest. Its sweetness tempts. But bitterness ensues. Here is a symbol of sin’s flattering bait.
6. But salt must be infused. Its properties repel corruption and defy decay. Where it is sprinkled freshness lives. At its approach time drops its spoiling hand. Again behold the Lord. His essence and His work are purity’s bright blaze.
7. The use of the meat-offering. A part is cast upon the altar’s hearth. The fire enwraps it in devouring folds. It is the prey of the consuming blaze. The burning meal exhibits Jesus in the furnace of keen anguish. What awe, what peace live in this wondrous sight! The meat-offering had further use. The remnant “shall be Aaron’s and his sons’: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire.” Here is another view of Christ. It shows most tender and providing love. The gospel truth is bread of life to hungry souls. They, who serve Christ, sit down at a rich board. A feast is spread to nourish and regale. Christ gives Himself--heaven’s richest produce--as substantial food. (Dean Law.)
The meal offering
Israel’s bodily calling was the cultivation of the ground in the land given him by Jehovah. The fruit of his calling, under the Divine blessing, was corn and wine, his bodily food, which nourished and sustained his bodily life. Israel’s spiritual calling was to work in the field of the kingdom of God, in the vineyard of his Lord; this work was Israel’s covenant obligation. Of this, the fruit was the spiritual bread, the spiritual nourishment, which should sustain and develop his spiritual life. (J. H. Kurtz, D. D.)
The offering of consecrated labour
In the meal-offering we are reminded that the fruit of all our spiritual labours is to be offered to the Lord. This reminder might seem unneedful, as indeed it ought to be; but it is not. For it is sadly possible to call Christ “Lord,” and, labouring in His field, do in His name many wonderful works, yet not really unto Him. A minister of the Word may with steady labour drive the ploughshare of the law, and sow continually the undoubted seed of the Word in the Master’s field; and the apparent result of his work may be large, and even real, in the conversion of men to God, and a great increase of Christian zeal and activity. And yet it is quite possible that a man do this, and still do it for himself, and not for the Lord; and when success comes, begin to rejoice in his evident skill as a spiritual husbandman, and in the praise of man which this brings him; and so, while thus rejoicing in the fruit of his labours, neglect to bring of this good corn and wine which he has raised for a daily meal-offering in consecration to the Lord. And so, indeed, it may be in every department of religious activity. But the teaching of the meal-offering reaches further than to what we call religious labours. For in that it was appointed that the offering should consist of man’s daily food, Israel was reminded that God’s claim for full consecration of all our activities covers everything, even to the very food we eat. The New Testament has the same thought (1 Corinthians 10:31). And the offering was not to consist of any food which one might choose to bring, but of corn and oil, variously prepared. That was chosen for the offering which all, the richest and the poorest alike, would be sure to have; with the evident intent that no one might be able to plead poverty as an excuse for bringing no meal-offering to the Lord. From the statesman who administers the affairs of an empire to the day-labourer in the shop, or mill, or field, all alike are hereby reminded that the Lord requires that the work of every one shall be brought and offered to Him in holy consecration. And there was a further prescription, although not mentioned here in so many words. In some offerings barley-meal was ordered, but for this offering the grain presented, whether parched, in the ear, or ground into meal, must be only wheat. The reason for this, and the lesson it teaches, are plain. For wheat in Israel, as still in most lands, was the best and most valued of the grains. Israel must not only offer unto God of the fruit of their labour, but the best result of their laborers. Not only so, but when the offering was in the form of meal, cooked or uncooked, the best and finest must be presented. That, in other words, must be offered which represented the most of care and labour in its preparation, or the equivalent of this in purchase price But, in the selection of the materials, we are pointed toward a deeper symbolism, by the injunction that, in certain cases at least, frankincense should be added to the offering. But this was not of man’s food, neither was it, like the meal and cakes and oil, a product of man’s labour. Its effect, naturally, was to give a grateful perfume to the sacrifice, that it might be, even in a physical sense, “an odour of a sweet smell” The symbolical meaning of incense, in which the frankincense was a chief ingredient, is very clearly intimated in Scripture (see Psalms 141:2; Luke 1:10; Revelation 5:8). The frankincense signified that this offering of the fruit of our labours to the Lord must ever be accompanied by prayer; and further, that our prayers, thus offered in this daily consecration, are most pleasing to the Lord, even as the fragrance of sweet incense unto man. But if the frankincense, in itself, had thus a symbolical meaning, it is not unnatural to infer the same also with regard to other elements of the sacrifice. Nor is it, in view of the nature of the symbols, hard to discover what that should be. For inasmuch as that product of labour is selected for the offering, which is the food by which men live, we are reminded that this is to be the final aspect under which all the fruit of our labours is to be regarded; namely, as furnishing and supplying for the need of the many that which shall be bread to the soul. In the highest sense, indeed, this can only be said of Him who by His work became the Bread of Life for the world, who was at once “the Sower” and “the Corn of Wheat” cast into the ground; and yet, in a lower sense, it is true that the work of feeding the multitudes with the bread of life is the work for us all; and that in all our labours and engagements we are to keep this in mind as our supreme earthly object. And the oil, too, which entered into every form of the meal-offering, has in Scripture a constant and invariable symbolical meaning. It is the uniform symbol of the Holy Spirit of God. Hence, the injunction that the meal of the offering be kneaded with oil, and that, of whatever form the offering be, oil should be poured upon it, is intended to teach us that in all work which shall be offered so as to be acceptable to God, must enter, as an inworking and abiding agent, the life-giving Spirit of God. It is another direction, that into these offerings should never enter leaven. In this prohibition is brought before us the lesson that we take heed to keep out of those works which we present to God for consumption on His altar the leaven of wickedness in every form. In Leviticus 2:13 we have a last requisition as to the material of the meal-offering: “season with salt.” As leaven is a principle of impermanence and decay, so salt, on the contrary, has the power of conservation from corruption. Accordingly, to this day, among the most diverse peoples, salt is the recognised symbol of incorruption and unchanging perpetuity. Among the Arabs, when a compact or covenant is made between different parties, it is the custom that each eat of salt, which is passed around on the blade of a sword; by which act they regard themselves as bound to be true, each to the other, even at the peril of life. In like manner, in India and other Eastern countries, the usual word for perfidy and breach of faith is, literally, “unfaithfulness to the salt”; and a man will say, “Can you distrust me? Have I not eaten of your salt?” Herein we are taught, then, that by the consecration of our labours to God we recognise the relation between the believer and his Lord, as not occasional and temporary, but eternal and incorruptible. In all our consecration of our works to God, we are to keep this thought in mind: “I am a man with whom God has entered into an everlasting covenant, ‘a covenant of salt’” (S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
The burnt-offering and the meat-offering contrasted
In Leviticus 2:3 we find one of the points of contrast between the burnt-offering and the meat-offering. No part of the burnt-offering was to be eaten. It was called the Holah (ascending offering) because it was all made to ascend upon the altar, whereas in the meat-offering all that remained after the burning of that which the priest’s hand had grasped, was allowed to be eaten by the priests. The great thoughts connected with these offerings are--first, the satisfaction of the claim of God’s holiness by expiatory death; secondly, the presentation of that which by its perfectness satisfies the claim of God’s altar, as it seeks for an offering of sweet savour; thirdly, the provision of something to comfort, feed, and strengthen us. In the two first eases the thought is directed from the altar towards God; in the latter case we are taught to consider that which God from His altar ministers to us. In the burnt-offering the two first of these, viz., expiation and acceptableness, are made the prominent thoughts; but in the meat-offering the second and third, viz., acceptableness and provision of food for us predominate. (B. W. Newton.)
As the burnt-offering typifies Christ in death, the meat-offering typifies Him in life. In neither the one nor the other is there a question of sin-bearing. In the burnt-offering we see atonement but no sin-bearing--no imputation of sin--no outpoured wrath on account of sin. How can we know this? Because it was all consumed on the altar. Had there been aught of sin-bearing it would have been consumed outside the camp. But in the meat-offering there was not even a question of bloodshedding. We simply find in it a beauteous type of Christ as He lived and walked and served, down here, on this earth. There are few things in which we exhibit more failure than in maintaining vigorous communion with the perfect manhood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence it is that we suffer so much from vacancy, barrenness, restlessness, and wandering. In the examination of the meat-offering it will give clearness and simplicity to our thoughts to consider, first, the materials of which it was composed; secondly, the various forms in which it was presented; and thirdly, the persons who partook of it.
I. As to the materials, the “fine flour” may be regarded as the basis of the offering; and in it we have a type of Christ’s humanity, wherein every perfection met. Every virtue was there, and ready for effectual action, in due season. The “oil,” in the meat-offering, is a type of the Holy Ghost. But inasmuch as the oil is applied in a twofold way, so we have the Holy Ghost presented in a double aspect, in connection with the incarnation of the Son. The fine flour was “mingled” with off; and there was oil “poured” upon it. Such was the type; and in the Antitype we see the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, first, “conceived,” and then “anointed,” by the Holy Ghost. When we contemplate the Person and ministry of the Lord Jesus, we see how that, in every scene and circumstance, He acted by the direct power of the Holy Ghost. Having taken His place as man, down here, He showed that man should not only live by the Word, but act by the Spirit of God. The next ingredient in the meat-offering demanding our consideration, is “the frankincense.” As has been remarked, the “fine flour” was the basis of the offering. The “oil” and “frankincense” were the two leading adjuncts; and, truly, the connection between these two latter is most instructive. The “oil” typifies the power of Christ’s ministry; “the frankincense” typifies the object thereof. The former teaches us that He did everything by the Spirit of God, the latter that He did everything to the glory of God. It now only remains for us to consider an ingredient which was an inseparable adjunct of the meat-offering, namely, “salt.” The expression, “salt of the covenant,” sets forth the enduring character of that covenant. God Himself has so ordained it in all things that nought can ever alter it--no influence can ever corrupt it. In a spiritual and practical point of view, it is impossible to overestimate the value of such an ingredient. Christ’s words were not merely words of grace, but words of pungent power--words Divinely adapted to preserve from all taint and corrupting influence. Having thus considered the ingredients which composed the meat-offering, we shall now refer to those which were excluded from it. The first of these was “leaven.” “No meat-offering which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shad be made with leaven.” No exercise can be more truly edifying and refreshing for the renewed mind than to dwell upon the unleavened perfectness of Christ’s humanity--to contemplate the life and ministry of One who was, absolutely and essentially, unleavened. But there was another ingredient, as positively excluded from the meat-offering as “leaven,” and that was “honey.” The blessed Lord Jesus knew how to give nature and its relationships their proper place. He knew how much “honey” was “convenient.” He could say to His mother, “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” And yet He could say, again, to the beloved disciple, “Behold thy mother.” In other words, nature’s claims were never allowed to interfere with the presentation to God of all the energies of Christ’s perfect manhood.
II. The second point in our theme is the mode in which the meat-offering was prepared. This was, as we read, by the action of fire. It was “baken in an oven”--“baken in a pan”--or “baken in a frying-pan.” The process of baking suggests the idea of saffering. But inasmuch as the meat-offering is called “a sweet savour”--a term which is never applied to the sin-offering or trespass-offering--it is evident that there is no thought of suffering for sin--no thought of suffering the wrath of God, on account of sin--no thought of suffering at the hand of infinite Justice, as the sinner’s substitute. The plain fact is this, there was nothing either in Christ’s humanity or in the nature of His associations which could possibly connect Him with sin or wrath or death. He was “made sin” on the Cross; and there He endured the wrath of God, and there He gave up His life as an all-sufficient atonement for sin; but nothing of this finds a place in the meat-offering. The meat-offering was not a sin-offering, but “a sweet savour” offering. Thus its import is definitely fixed; and, moreover, the intelligent interpretation of it must ever guard, with holy jealousy, the precious truth of Christ’s heavenly humanity, and the true nature of His associations. As the righteous Servant of God He suffered in the midst of a scene in which all was contrary to Him; but this was the very opposite of suffering for sin. Again, the Lord Jesus suffered by the power of sympathy; and this character of suffering unfolds to us the deep secrets of His tender heart. Human sorrow and human misery ever touched a chord in that bosom of love. Finally, we have to consider Christ’s sufferings by anticipation.
III. The persons who partook of the meat-offering. As in the burnt-offering, we observed the sons of Aaron introduced as types of all true believers, not as convicted sinners but as worshipping priests; so, in the meat-offering, we find them feeding upon the remnant of that which has been laid, as it were, on the table of the God of Israel. This was a high and holy privilege. None but priests could enjoy it. Here, then, we are furnished with a beauteous figure of the Church, feeding, “in the Holy Place,” in the power of practical holiness, upon the perfections of “the Man Christ Jesus.” This is our portion, through the grace of God; but, we must remember, it is to be eaten “with unleavened bread.” We cannot feed upon Christ if we are indulging in anything evil. (C. H. Mackintosh.)
Consecration is not wrapping one’s self in a holy web in the sanctuary, and then coming forth after prayer and twilight meditation, and saying, “There, I am consecrated.” Consecration is going out into the world where God Almighty is, and using every power for His glory. It is taking all advantages as trust funds--as confidential debts owed to God. It is simply dedicating one’s life, in its whole flow, to God’s service. (H. W. Beecher.)
We should offer to God what we like best ourselves
A reporter thus mentions his visit to a Chinese “Joss-house” in San Francisco. The place where they held their religious services was a chamber in one of their best houses. An intelligent Chinese man, who could speak a little English, was in charge of this room. I asked him why they put tea-cups of wine and tea and rice before their god; did they believe that the god would eat and drink? “Oh, no,” he said. “That’s not what for. What you like self, you give God. He see, He like see.” Too many Christians, instead of giving to God “what they like themselves,” offer Him only what they would as lief spare as not.
Labour consecrated to God
T. A. Ragland, an eminent mathematician and a devoted Christian, gained the silver cup at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, four years in succession. One of these was dedicated to God for the communion service of a small native Church, mainly gathered by him, in Southern India, and all were set apart for the same purpose in connection with his itinerating missionary service. (J. Tinling.)
Offering the best to God
An aged minister advised the people of a neighbourhood in Wales, where he laboured for the Master, to hold “cottage prayer-meetings,” taking the houses in regular order up the mountain-side. One day a poor woman went to a store and asked for two penny candles. The storekeeper said to her, “Why, Nancy, what do you want with penny candles? Is not the rushlight good enough for you?” Her answer was, “Oh yes, rushlight is good enough for me, but the prayer-meeting will soon be coming to my house, and I want to give the Lord Jesus Christ a good welcome.” Is there not a lesson here for each Christian? Are we always ready to “give the Lord Jesus a good welcome”? Or do we keep the candles for self, and give the rushlight to Him?
Offering God the true end of man
As we see birds make their nests and breed up their young, beasts make a scuffle for their fodder and pasture, fishes float up and down rivers, trees bear fruit, flowers send forth their sweet odours, herbs their secret virtues, fire with all its might ascending upward, earth not resting till it come into its proper centre, waters floating and posting with their waves upon the neck of one another, till they meet in the bosom of the ocean, and air pushing into every vacuity under heaven. Shall we then think, or can we possibly imagine, that God, the great Creator of heaven and earth, having assigned to everything in the world some particular end, and, as it were, impressed in their nature an appetite end desire to that end continually, as to the very point and scope of their being; that man (the most noble creature) for whom all things were made, should be made in vain, as not having His peculiar end proportionably appointed to the nobleness of His quality? Yes, doubtless, that God that can never err, nor oversee in His works, hath allotted unto man the worship and service of Himself as the main object and aiming point whereto he ought to lead and refer himself all the days of his life. (J. Spencer.)
Oil as a symbol: service permeated by the Holy Spirit
Two women used to come to my meetings, and I could tell from the expression of their faces that when I began to preach they were praying for me. At the close of the meetings they would say to me, “We have been praying for you. You need the power.” I thought I had power. There were some conversions at the time, and I was in a sense satisfied. I asked them to come and talk with me, and we got down on our knees. They poured out their hearts that I might receive an anointing from the Holy Ghost, and there came a great hunger into my soul. I did not know what it was. The hunger increased. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, I cannot describe it, it is almost too sacred an experience to name, God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different. I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. (D. L. Moody.)
The Holy Ghost needed
I was speaking one day with a young minister of the gospel, who told me that on one occasion during his college days he was present when a number of students delivered trial sermons for criticism in the presence of their professor. One very talented young man distinguished himself by the freedom of his delivery and the great eloquence with which he spoke. All present were charmed by the power and beauty of his sermon. As a work of art it was practically faultier. At the conclusion the professor put his hand kindly on the young man’s shoulder, solemnly saying to him, “My young friend, your sermon only requires to be baptised by the Holy Ghost.” That is just what we all want, in order that we may be able to overcome all temptations, or coldness of heart, and work cordially and continuously for Christ. Happily if we ask the Lord Jesus to send the Comforter, He will come and bless us. (J. Davidson.)
Frankincense as a symbol: prayer the true help in service
As Michael Angelo says, “The prayers we make will then be sweet indeed, if Thou the Spirit give by which we pray.” Our own desires may be hot and vehement, but the desires that run parallel with the Divine will, and are breathed into us by God’s own Spirit, are the desires which, in their meek submissiveness, are omnipotent with Him whose omnipotence is perfected in our weakness. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)
The aroma of the Christian life
If one should ask you to explain the odour which fills your room from that beautiful climbing honeysuckle, you could not do it; but you are conscious of the fragrance none the less. Just, so there is a quality, a kind of aroma which pervades the personality of certain Christians which is as clearly recognised as the fragrance of the honeysuckle, but which you can as little define or describe.
“When one who holds communion with the skies
Has filled his urn where those pure waters rise
And once more mingles with these meaner things,
’Tis e’en as if an angel shook his wings.
Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide
And tells us whence these treasures are supplied.”
As I passed through a glade of trees upon a summer’s day I heard the hum of bees. Ah! thought I, there is sweetness near! Presently I smelt the lime, the odour of the flowers which had attracted the bees. They did not stop at the other trees, but made direct for their favourite. What a bright little lesson, Christian, for us! Are we sought after because there is the savour of Christ in us, or are we passed by like the scentless trees? (From Witherby’s Scripture Gleanings.)
Every Christian’s life ought to be fragrant: fragrance more than beauty
“I saw,” says one, “a bank covered with violets. The sun was shining full upon it, and its genial warmth had opened the flowers, and caused them to exhibit the most beautiful colours. But when I began to gather them, I found, with the exception of very few, that their colour was all they had to recommend them; they were not the sort of violets which afford the sweet fragrance which we expect to find in that flower. It struck me forcibly that this was an emblem of the Church, the professing Church of Christ. How many are there of fair and promising appearance, professing, and seeming to be of the truth, who yet fail to send up a ‘ sweet-smelling savour to God’--who are wanting in those holy and devout, and grateful dispositions and affections, which their profession indicates. I bid my heart take the lesson home. What fragrance have I diffused abroad? What incense have I sent upwards? Are not my words and thoughts, is not my whole profession and character, like those scentless violets? There is beauty even in the outward profession of religion and holiness, but if the inward principle be wanting or deficient, there will be no fragrance shed around, no incense wafted upwards. And yet I have been situated, as it were, on a green, sunny bank; my opportunities and means of grace have been many.”
Fine enough to be fragrant
A company was assembled to see some incense burned; the incense which ascended from the altar morning and evening like the prayers of God’s people, “a sweet-smelling savour unto the Lord.” A gentleman placed the incense in a mortar and proceeded to grind it. When it was fine he placed some upon the coals which were ready, and all anxiously awaited the perfume which was to be the result. They sat hushed for some minutes, when a murmur of disappointment arose. It was a failure. The gentleman took up the mortar and ground the remainder of the incense to powder; it was exceedingly fine. Then it was placed upon the coals, when immediately the room was filled with the delightful odour. Thus with our prayers; when we get them fine, when we have ground out all the generalities, and simply go to the Lord with every little thing of joy, of sorrow, as we would tell to a friend, never forgetting to thank Him for even the little blessings of life, then our prayers ascend unto heaven as a sweet-smelling savour to a loving and gracious God. (Sarah Smiley.)
Offerings to God must be simple and sincere
In all Buddhist temples a tall and broad-leaved lily stands directly on the front of the altar. Its idea is as beautiful as its workmanship. This pure white emblem suggests that all offerings on God’s altar should at once be simple and sincere. And it applies with tenfold force to the service of the Christian sanctuary, and the worship of that God who is a Spirit, and seeketh only such as worship Him in spirit and in truth.
All sin must be excluded from our offerings to God
There is no man in his right wits would come as a suitor to his prince, and bring his accuser with him, who is ready to testify and prove to his face his treason and rebellion; much less would any present himself before so great a majesty to make petition for some benefit after he had killed his sovereign’s only son and heir, having still in his hand the bloody weapon wherewith he committed that horrid act; there is no adulteress so shamelessly impudent as to desire pardon of her jealous husband having her lover still in her arms, with whom she hath often had wanton dalliance in times past, and is resolved to have the like for the time to come; if any be so mad, so shameless to make suits in this odious manner, they are sure to be repulsed, and find wrath and vengeance where they look for grace and mercy. But thus do they behave themselves towards God, who, remaining polluted with their sins, do offer up their prayers unto Him; for they bring their accusers, even their defiled consciences and crying sins, which continually accuse and condemn them, and call for that due judgment and punishment which they have deserved. (J. Spencer.)
Firstfruits of our young years to be consecrated
The Jews presented the firstfruits of their ears of corn, early, about Easter; the second was primitiae panum, the firstfruits of their loaves, and that was somewhat early too, about Whitsuntide; and the third was primitiae frugum, the fruits of all their latter fruits in general, and that was very late, about the fall of the leaf, in September. In the two first; payments, which were offered early, God accepted a part for Himself, but in the third payment, which came late, God would have no part at all. Even so, if we offer the firstfruits of our young years early unto God, He will accept of them as seasonably done; but if we give our best years unto Satan, sacrifice the flower of our youth unto sin, serve the world, and follow after the lusts of our flesh while we are young, and put all the burden of duty upon our weak, feeble, and decrepit old age, give our first years to Satan, and the last unto God, sure it is, that as He then refused such sacrifices under the law, He will not easily receive them now in the time of the gospel. (J. Spencer.)
It was Christmas morning. The door-bell rang, and two young girls were ushered into the study. One of them was about eight years old, and the other ten. After the usual Christmas salutations, the elder of them said, “We have come to make Christ a Christmas present.” “Have you?” I asked. “Well, what are you going to give Him?” “We are going to give Him our hearts,” she said. After conversing with them awhile, I found this was no mere childish freak, but a serious purpose. We then kneeled together in prayer, closing with a formal dedication of those young hearts to Him who was God’s great Christmas Gift to mankind. From that time those children lived the lives of Christians, and not long after, at the communion-table, they sealed the vow they made that bright Christmas morning. They are faithful Christian women now. (J. Breed, D. D.)
The time of offering the firstfruits
A young lady in a Sabbath School a few mornings since asked her class, “How soon should a child give its heart to God?” One little girl said, “When thirteen years old;” another, “ten;” another, “six.” At length the least child in the class spoke: “Just as soon as we know who God is.” Could there be a better reply?
Youth the time for religious offering
There is one obstacle which affects us in the dedication of our lives to this work, and that is the passing of time. It is very natural that we should think that when we grow older it will be easier to dedicate ourselves to this work. It reminds me of what Holman Hunt, the great artist, said on one occasion when he was congratulated by a friend on his selection to paint the historical frescoes for the House of Commons: “Yes,” he said, with sadness, “but I began with my hair grey.” It will not be easier for us to wait until our hair is grey. Our opportunities and our strength are greatest in our youth, and it is now that we should make our decision. (Professor Drummond.)
Why such varieties of offering?
It speaks in one place of the meat-offering with oil and frankincense; the next place, of flour baked in the oven; in the next place, of green corn. Why this variety? It is just one of those traits which indicate that the God that made creation has inspired the Bible. He is here providing for the poor man as minutely as for the rich. He says, If yon are a rich man, and can give a valuable and a costly offering, it is your duty to do so; but if you are a poor man, then offer that offering which agrees with your position; and be sure that the poor man’s offering of twenty seeds of corn will be as acceptable to God as the rich man’s offering of the finest flour perfumed with costly frankincense, and anointed and consecrated with the most precious oil. It is a beautiful thought of our heavenly Father, that the archangel that is nearest to His throne is not dearer to Him nor more watched by Him than the poorest widow or orphan that weeps and prays, and looks and leans on Him in the streets of this great metropolis. It is one of those traits that come cut incidentally in the Bible, indicating the harmony between a God that made the now torn and stained book--the earth--and that inspired the perfect and holy Book--His own gracious Word. (J. Caroming, D. D.)
Season with salt.
Salt for sacrifice
If you will read the chapter through you will note that other things were needed in connection with the sacrifices of the Israelites. Their sacrifices were of course imperfect. Even on the low ground which they occupied as emblems they were not complete; for you read, in the first place, that they needed frankincense; God did not smell sweet savour in the bullock, or the ram, or the lamb, unless sweet spices were added. What does that teach us but that the best performances of our hands must not appear before His throne without the merit of Christ mingled therewith? Another thing that was enjoined constantly was that they should bring oil; and oil is ever the type of the blessed Spirit of God. What is the use of a sermon if there is no unction in it? What is prayer without the anointing that cometh of the Holy Spirit? What is praise unless the Spirit of God be in it to give it life, that it may rise to heaven? That which goes to God must first come from God. Then came a third requisite, namely, salt. If you read the preceding verses you will see that the Lord forbids them to present any honey. “No meat-offering, which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire. As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.” Ripe fruits were full of honey, full of sweetness; and God does not ask for sweetness, He asks for salt.
I. It appears, then, that salt was the symbol of the covenant. When God made a covenant with David, it is written, “The Lord gave the kingdom to David for ever by a covenant of salt”--by which was meant that it was an unchangeable, incorruptible covenant, which would endure as salt makes a thing to endure, so that it is not liable to putrefy or corrupt. “The salt of the covenant” signifies that, whenever you and I are bringing any offering to the Lord, we must take care that we remember the covenant.
1. We want this salt of the covenant in all that we do, in the first place, to preserve us from falling into legality. He that serves God for wages forgets the word--“The gift of God is eternal life.” If you forget that you are under a covenant of pure grace, in which God gives to the unworthy, and saves those who have no claim to covenant blessing, you will get on legal ground; and, once on leg d ground, God cannot accept your sacrifice.
2. The covenant is to be remembered also that it may excite gratitude. Whenever I think of God entering into covenant that He will not depart from me, and that I shall never depart from Him, my love to Him overflows. Nothing constrains me to such activity and such zeal in the cause of God as a sense of covenant love. Standing on covenant ground we feel consecrated to the noblest ends.
3. This tends to arouse our devotion to God. When we remember that God has entered into covenant with us, then we do not do our work for Him in a cold, dead way; neither do we perform it after a nominal sort; for we say, “I am one of God’s covenanted ones.”
II. But, secondly, salt is the token of communion. In the East, especially, it is the token of fellowship. When an Oriental has once eaten a man’s salt, he will do him no harm. Whenever you are attempting to serve God, take care that you do it in the spirit of fellowship with God.
III. But salt is the emblem of sincerity. “With all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” There must be an intense sincerity about all we do towards God.
IV. Lastly, salt is the type of purifying power; and with all our sacrifices we have need to bring a great deal of this salt. The salt eats into the meat; it drives away corruption; it preserves it. If we come before God with holy things while we are living in sin we need not deceive ourselves, we shall not be accepted. If there be any man, of whom it can be said that he is a saint abroad and a devil at home, God will estimate him at what he is at home, and not at what he is abroad. He may lay the sacrifice upon the altar, but if it is brought there with foul hands and an unholy heart, God will bare nothing to do with it. “Without holiness no man can see the Lord,” and, certainly, without holiness can no man serve the Lord. We have our imperfections; but known and wilful sin God’s people will not indulge. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
“Salt of the covenant”
Eating salt together is in the East a pledge of amity and friendship. Hence the “covenant of salt” was an indissoluble pact; and “salted with the salt of the palace” (Ezra 4:14) meant not maintenance, but the sign of faithfulness to the king. Salt was used in the sacrifices and offerings of the Israelites, probably with the same idea of honour and fidelity. (G. Deane.)
Salt to be included in all offerings
This salt indicates corruption removed and prevented; and in the case of the meat-offering, it is as if to say, “Thy body and thy substance are become healthy now”; they shall not rot. They are not like those of the ungodly in James 5:2, “Your riches are corrupted.” There is a blessing on thy body and thy estate. And next it intimates the friendship (of which salt was a well-known emblem) now existing between God and the man. God can sup with man, and man with God (Revelation 3:18). There is a covenant between him and God, even in regard to the beasts of the field (Job 5:23), and fowls of heaven (Hosea 2:18). The friendship of God extends to His people’s property; and to assure us of this He appoints the salt in the meat-offering, the offering that especially typified their substance. How comforting to labouring men! how cheering to careworn merchants if they dedicate themselves to God; He is interested in their property as much as they themselves are! “Who is a God like unto Thee!” But more; “with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt,” declared that the sweet savour of these sacrifices was not momentary and passing, but enduring and eternal. By this declaration He sprinkles every sacrifice with the salt of His unchanging satisfaction. And “the covenant by sacrifice” (Psalms 50:5) is thus confirmed on the part of God; He declares that He on His part will be faithful. (A. A. Bonar.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》