THE MEAT OFFERING (vs. 1-16)
The regulation of the burnt offering as a Levitical institution is immediately followed
by a similar regulation of the meat offering, consisting of flour and oil, with salt and
frankincense, and usually accompanied by the drink offering of wine. The sacrifice of
the animal in the burnt offering had represented the entire surrender of the offerer’s
will and life to God; the presentation of the fruits and products of the earth in the meat
offering represents man’s gift of homage, whereby he acknowledges God’s sovereignty
over all things and over himself, by offering to Him a portion of that which He had
graciously bestowed in abundance. David’s words, “All things come of thee, and of
thine own have we given thee… all this store cometh of thine hand, and is all thine
own” (I Chronicles 29:14,16), express the idea underlying the meat offering. In the
acted language of symbolism, it not only recognized the supremacy of God, but made a
tender of loyal submission on the part of the offerer; as gifts of homage did in the case
of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 32:20), and as they do to this day throughout our Indian
empire, and generally in the East.
1 “And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD” – The word used
in the original for “meat offering” (minchah), means, like its Greek equivalent, δῶρον -
doron – a present; specially a sacrifice: — gift, offering - a gift made by an inferior to
a superior. Thus the sacrifices of Cain and Abel were their “minchah” to God (Genesis
4:3-4), the present sent to Esau by Jacob was his “minchah” (Genesis 32:13), and the
present to Joseph was his brethren’s “minchah” (Genesis 43:11). It is therefore
equivalent to a gift of homage, which recognizes the superiority of Him to whom it
is offered, and ceremonially promises loyal obedience to Him. Owing to its use in
this passage, it came gradually to be confined in its signification to vegetable gifts,
— unbloody sacrifices, as they are called sometimes, in contrast to animal sacrifices
— while the word “corban” came to be used in the wider acceptation which once
belonged to “minchah.” The conditions to be fulfilled by the Israelite who offered
a meat offering were the following:
ü uncooked flour, with oil, salt, and frankincense, or
ü flour made into an unleavened cake (whether of the nature of biscuit or
pancake), with oil, salt, and frankincense; or
ü roasted grains, with oil, salt, and frankincense.
· He must bring his offering to the court of the tabernacle, and give to the
priests at least as much as one omer (that is, nearly a gallon), and not more
than sixty-one omers. The priest receiving it from him must:
ü Take a handful of the flour, oil, and salt, or a proportionate part of the
cake (each omer generally made ten cakes) in place of the flour, and
burn it with all the frankincense as a memorial upon the altar of
ü With his brother priests he must eat the remainder within the precincts of
the tabernacle. Here the essentials of the sacrifice are the presentation
made by the offerer, and the burning of the memorial on the altar,
followed by the consumption of the remainder by the priests. The
moral lesson taught to the Israelite completed that of the burnt offering.
As the burnt offering taught self-surrender, so the meat offering
taught recognition of God’s supremacy and submission to it, the
first by the surrender of a living creature substituted for the offerer,
the second by the gift of a part of the good things bestowed by God
on man for the preservation of life which, being given back to God,
serve as a recognition of His supremacy.
Spiritually the lesson taught the Jew was that of the necessity of a loyal service to God;
and mystically he may have learnt a lesson:
be offered with each form of the meat offering;
of leaven and honey, and the command to use salt. The supplemental
character of the meat offering accounts for the order in which it here
stands, not arbitrarily interposed between two animal sacrifices, but
naturally following on the burnt offering, as an adjunct to it and the
complement of its teaching. So close was the union between the two
sacrifices, that the burnt offering was never offered without the
accompaniment of the meat offering (Numbers 15:4). It has been also
maintained that the meat offering, like the drink offering, was never made
independently of the animal sacrifice; but this cannot be proved. On the
contrary, the manner in which laws regulating it are here laid down, lead to
the inference that it might be offered, when any willed it, by itself. The
close connection between the sacrifice of an animal and the offering of
cakes of flour, and of wine, is noticeable in heathen sacrifices likewise. The
very word, immolare, translated “to sacrifice,” is derived from the mola or
salt-cake offered with the animal; and the other word ordinarily used in
Latin for “sacrifice,” that is, mactare, is derived from the victim being
enriched (magis auctus) with the libation of wine. Thus we see that the
offering of the fruits of the earth was regarded, elsewhere as well as in
but as so essential a part of the latter as to have given a name to the whole
ceremony, and not only to the whole ceremony, but to the specific act of
the slaughter of the victim. The thought of the heathen in offering the fruits
of the earth was probably not much different from that of the Israelites.
It was his gift to the superhuman power, to which he thus acknowledged that
he owed submission. We may further notice that salt was enjoined in the
heathen as in the Jewish sacrifices as indispensable. Pliny says that the
importance of salt is seen especially in sacrifices, none of which are
completed without the salt-cake (‘Hist. Nat.,’ 31, 7) The now obsolete use
of the word “meat” in the sense of “food,” in contrast to “flesh,” creates
some confusion of thought. “Fruit offering” would be a better title, were it
not that the signification of “fruit” is going through a similar change to that
which “meat” has undergone. “Flour offering” might be used, but an
alteration in the rendering is not imperative - “his offering shall be of
fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:
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” - It acted
as a memorial before God, in the same way as Cornelius’s prayers and alms —
“Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God” (Acts
10:4) — being something which should cause God to think graciously of the
offerer. The frankincense is not mixed with the flour and the oil and the salt, as
a constituent element of the offering, but is placed upon them, and is all of it
burnt in “the memorial,” symbolizing the need of adding prayer to sacrifice,
that the latter may be acceptable to God – “upon the altar, to be an offering
made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD:
The Minchah, A Type of Christ (vs. 1-2)
Because the minchah was an offering without blood, and therefore was not
intended as a sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 9:22), some have supposed that
it was in use before the Fall. This opinion, however, has but little to sustain
it. We certainly read of the minchah as having been offered by Cain
(Genesis 4:3); but then Abel, at the same time, offered the holocaust, or
sin offering, which no one dreams of having formed any part of the original
not associating with it some sin sacrifice. It is questionable whether the
minchah, under the Law, was ever offered without such an
accompaniment. Yet we may view the minchah as a type of Christ. For:
Ø The manna was of this class.
o It is called “bread from heaven” (see Nehemiah 9:15).
o Compare John 6:31-35, 41, 48-51.
Ø The shewbread also was of this class.
o It was the bread of heaven, for it rested in the sanctuary, which
was one of the typical “heavenly places.”
o It rested under the splendors of the Shechinah, and therefore
took its name, “Bread of Faces,” viz. of God. The Bread of
the Sacred Presence.
Ø So was this bread of the minchah.
o This, indeed, was offered in the outer court; for there the altar
stood. But so was Christ offered “outside the gate” of
o But it was, like the shewbread, destined to be eaten in the
sanctuary. So is Christ eaten by His spiritual priesthood in
His kingdom of heaven upon earth. So is he destined to
nourish the joys of the glorified in the heaven of heavens
o This was a Eucharistic offering, and equivalent to the bread of the
Christian Eucharist (Matthew 26:26; I Corinthians 10:16).
Ø As bread it was the staple of food.
o We can dispense with luxuries, but bread is necessary. It is
“the staff of life.” So is Christ.
o Bread is, by a figure of speech, put for everything needful for
the body (Matthew 6:12). Christ is, by no figure of speech,
everything needful to the soul.
Ø This bread was of “fine flour.”
o It may have been of barley as well as of wheat (see
Numbers 5:15). Every variety of spiritual nourishment
may be found in Christ.
o But the flour must be “fine.” The nourishment we find in Christ
is of the finest order. Christ is God’s best Gift to us. So is
Christ our best Gift to God. All secondary gifts are valuable as
they are offered in his Name (II Corinthians 9:15).
Ø Oil was poured upon it.
o The oil was from the olive, a tree full of fatness (Judges 9:9).
It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s grace (Matthew 25:4).
o The fine flour was anointed with it. Messiah is so named
because anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure.
The Greek synonym of the Hebrew Messiah is Christ
(Isaiah 61:1; Acts 4:27; 10:38; Hebrews 1:9).
o We are called Christians because anointed by the Spirit of
Christ (see II Corinthians 1:21; I John 2:20, 27).
Ø It was offered with frankincense.
o This was a favorite spice, which appears not to have been yielded
by one tree alone, but probably was compounded from several.
We read of “spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon,
with all trees of frankincense” (Song of Solomon 4:14).
o It is associated with the Bridegroom in the Song of Songs, to
express the perfections of His holy character, by which He is
infinitely attractive to His Spouse, the Church. He is there
described as coming up out of the wilderness “like pillars
of smoke,” probably alluding to the Shechinah, and
“perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the powders
of the merchant” (Song of Solomon 3:6).
o In these perfections He is no less grateful to God when offered
up to Him (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; II Peter 1:17). As we become
Christ-like, we are also well pleasing in His sight. The faithful
minister of the Word is “unto God a sweet savor of Christ”
(II Corinthians 2:15).
3 And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; -
The meat offerings must have gone far to supply the priests with farinaceous food,
as, for every handful of flour burnt on the altar, nearly a gallon went to the priests.
They had to eat it within the precincts of the tabernacle, as was the case with all
meats that were most holy, viz. the minchahs, the shew-bread, and the flesh of
the sin offering and of the trespass offering (ch.10:12). Other meats assigned to
the priests might be eaten in any clean place (ch.10:14). The priests’ own meat
offerings were wholly burnt (ch. 6:23) – “it is a thing most holy of the
offerings of the LORD made by fire.”
Mediate and Immediate Presentation (vs. 1-3)
The abrogation by Christianity of the rites and ceremonies of Judaism does
not prevent the necessity nor dispel the advantages of becoming acquainted
with the laws by which the ancient sacrifices were regulated. The mind of
God may be ascertained in the precepts delivered in olden days, and
underlying principles recognized that hold good in every age. The very fact
that truth has thus to be searched for, and by patient induction applied to
present conditions, should prove an incitement rather than a hindrance to
investigation. Freeing the kernel from its husk, grasping the essence and
neglecting the accidents, preferring the matter to the form, we shall behold
in the Law prophecies of the gospel, and admit the likeness that proclaims
both to have proceeded FROM THE SAME GOD.
BY GOD DIRECTLY, AND THOSE PRESENTED TO HIM
INDIRECTLY FOR THE USE OF HIS APPOINTED SERVANTS. The
flour being brought to the priests, a handful was taken, and with
frankincense was burnt upon the altar, rising to heaven in the form of
smoke and perfume. The remainder of the flour was for the consumption of
the priests. This distinction is applicable to many Christian offerings. The
money given for the erection or support of a place of prayer, the surrender
of time and thought for public worship, or for evangelistic work, the
acknowledgment of Jesus Christ by baptism and by partaking of the Lord’s
Supper, the devotion of our strength and influence to God’s service, —
these may be considered as gifts presented straight to God Himself. They
are laid upon the altar, enwrapped in the fire of holy love, perfumed with
prayer, and are consumed with zeal of God’s house. But there are other
oblations which must be regarded in the light of mediate presentations to
God, such as, supporting the ministry at home and missionaries abroad,
ministering to the need of the aged and feeble, and giving the cup of water
to the disciples of Christ. This distinction is not meant to glorify the one
class in comparison with the other, but to clarify our views, and to lead to
the inquiry whether we are doing all we can in both directions. There is an
idea in many minds that if the works of benevolence and charity be
performed, the other duties of gathering together in the solemn assembly
and of avowal of attachment to Christ are of little importance. The burning
of a portion of the offering upon the altar rebukes such a conception. And
similarly we learn that the punctual attendance upon the means of grace,
and the regular offering of praise and prayer, must not exclude the exercise
of hospitality and sympathy.
bestowment of the “remnant” upon the priests, that OFFERINGS TO
GOD MUST BE PRESENTED IN THEIR ENTIRETY. All the flour
brought was considered “most holy,” and could not be employed thereafter
except for the benefit of “sacred” persons. A man was at liberty to offer or
withhold, but once having vowed, he could not withdraw even a portion of
his present. God will not be satisfied with a share of a man’s heart. If it be
given at all, it must be the whole heart. (“My son, give me thine heart.”
(Proverbs 23:26) And once having engaged ourselves to be His, there can
be no revocation of faculty, affection or time. To look back after taking hold
of the plough is to mar religious dedication. (Luke 9:62) The mistake of
Ananias was in pretending to give the full price, and attempting to conceal
a portion of it. (Acts 5) Oh that we could make religion permeate our lives,
hallowing even our secular employments by doing all to the glory of God!
OFFERING HAS A DOUBLE INTENT; IT EVINCES A GRATEFUL
REMEMBRANCE BY THE WORSHIPPER OF GOD’S BOUNTY AND
REQUIREMENTS, AND IT ENSURES A GRACIOUS
REMEMBRANCE OF THE WORSHIPPER ON THE PART OF GOD.
The special significance of the “minchah” lay in its expression of
thankfulness, and of desire by that expression to secure the favor of the
God by whom our needs are supplied. To appreciate past kindness is to
show a fitness to receive additional mercies in the future. To remember
God is to be remembered in turn by God. At the Communion we take the
bread and wine as Christ’s memorial, and He, the Master of the feast,
approves the spirit and the act, and thinks upon us for good. Self-interest
recommends us to honor the Lord. To save a handful of meal would be to
lose a coming harvest, and to save ourselves temporally is to lose eternally.
PLEASING UNTO GOD. The meal oblation differed from the sacrifice of
a lamb or bullock, perhaps was not so expensive, and all of it was not
consumed by fire; yet it was also declared to be “of a sweet savor unto
the Lord.” We should not trouble ourselves because our kind of service is
distinct from that which our fellows render, or is treated by the world as
less important. The mites of the widow lie side by side in the treasury with
the shekels of the wealthy, and will receive quite as much notice from the
Lord of the sanctuary. (Mark 12:41-44) If a niche in the temple of heroes
is denied to us, or if the eloquence that sways the wills of men belongs not
to our tongue, yet may we with kindly words and manly actions and loving
tones do our little part in Christianizing the world, and our efforts will win
the commendation of Him who “seeth not as man seeth.” (I Samuel 16:7)
And further, let us not be sad because at different periods we do not find
ourselves able to render the same service. In the winter we may sacrifice from
our herds and. flocks, but must wait till the summer for the first-fruits of the
field. Youth, manhood, and age have their appropriate labors. Leisure and
business, health and sickness, prosperity and adversity, may present to the
Lord equally acceptable offerings.
The Meat Offering (vs. 1-3)
The offering of meat or food, consisting of fine flour, with frankincense,
cakes and wafers, parched grain, suited to all classes. The general meaning
was probably eucharistic (communion). A portion of bread, firstfruits,
offered in the fire as a memorial of Divine goodness and pledge of the
future life. Several particulars are noticeable.
1. It was what made part of the daily meal of the house.
2. Frankincense mingled with it, and oil poured upon it; the prayers and
thankful worship of the offerer, which were the work of God’s Spirit,
returned to Him.
3. It was partly consumed by fire, and partly “a thing most holy,” or set
apart to the Lord, eaten by the priests, supporting the temple worship.
4. If baked, no leaven in it nor honey, no corruption, a pure sacrifice.
5. Every offering seasoned with salt, “the salt of the covenant of thy God,”
i.e., the emblem of Divine grace, which, while it accepts man’s obedience,
overlooks and pardons its imperfection.
Vs. 4-11 - The second form of meat offering, when the flour and
oil were made up into four varieties of cakes. The ritual of offering is not
different from that of the first form. The frankincense is not mentioned, but
doubtless is understood. The rabbinical rule, that meat offerings, when
following upon burnt offerings or peace offerings, had no frankincense
burnt with them, rests on no solid foundation.
4 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. 5 And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of
fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil. 6 Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour
oil thereon: it is a meat offering. 7 And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken
in the frying pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. 8 And thou shalt
bring the meat offering that is made of these things unto the LORD: and
when it is presented unto the priest, he shall bring it unto the altar. 9 And
the priest shall take from the meat offering a memorial thereof, and shall
burn it upon the altar: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto
the LORD. 10 And that which is left 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. 11 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.” Leaven and honey are not forbidden to
be offered to the Lord; on the contrary, in the next verse they are commanded to
be offered. The prohibition only extends to their being burnt on the altar,
owing, no doubt, to the effect of fire upon them in making them swell and
froth, thus creating a repulsive appearance which, as we shall see,
throughout the Mosaic legislation, represents MORAL EVIL. The firstfruits
of honey are to be offered (Exodus 22:29), and leaven is to be used in the two
wave loaves offered at the Feast of Pentecost as firstfruits (ch.23:17).
The Feast upon the Minchah (vs. 1-10)
In our remarks upon the first two of these verses, we viewed the minchah,
or meat offering, as a type of Christ. Upon this point additional light may
be incidentally thrown as we now proceed to consider the feast upon the
minchah. For this we hold to be designed to represent our fellowship with
God in Christ.
Ø Secular history abounds in examples.
o These date back to very ancient times. The ancient Egyptians,
Thracians, and Libyans made contracts of friendship by presenting a
cup of wine to each other. Covenants were made by the ancient
Persians and Germans at feasts. The Pythagoreans had a symbol,
“Break no bread,” which Erasmus interprets to mean “Break no
o Similar usages still obtain. It would be considered amongst us a most
incongruous thing for persons at enmity deliberately to sit down at the
same table. So according to our laws, if a person drinks to another
against whom he has an accusation of slander, he loses his suit, because
this supposes that they are reconciled.
Ø Sacred history also furnishes examples.
o Isaac and Abimelech made a covenant with a feast (Genesis 26:30-31);
so did Jacob and Laban (Genesis 31:54); so did David and Abner
(II Samuel 3:20).
The verb (ברה,
(ברית, berith) covenant, is at least a kindred word.
o Hence in apostolic times, Christians were forbidden to eat with wicked
persons (I Corinthians 5:11; see also Galatians 2:12). It must never
be forgotten that the “friendship of the world is enmity against God.”
FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.
Ø The “memorial” of the minchah was God’s meat.
o The offerer separated a portion of the mass, which was called the
memorial, or representation of the whole. Thus he took from the
bulk of the fine flour a handful. To this he added a suitable proportion
of oil. The whole of the frankincense was devoted.
o The priest then burnt the complete memorial upon the altar of burnt
o God signified His acceptance of it by consuming it in fire, which was
not of human kindling, but had issued from His Shechinah. The
portion thus consumed was regarded as “God’s food,” or “meat,”
of the offering which He was pleased to accept. This was one part
of the feast.
Ø The remnant was then eaten by the priests.
o The priests here are not to be viewed as types of Christ. The high priest
alone seems to have represented Him (Hebrews 3:1; 8:1; 9:11).
o The common priests were representatives rather of the holy people.
Hence the whole nation of
priests” (Exodus 19:6). The people, therefore, and in particular the
offerer, representatively, feasted with God.
o Under the gospel even this official representation is changed. The
people of God are now an holy priesthood, not by representation,
but in right of their spiritual birth (I Peter 2:9). They draw nigh unto
God (Hebrews 10:19-22). They feast with Him at His table and in
His very Presence.
o All this, amongst many other blessed things, is set forth in the Christian
Eucharist, or Supper of the Lord.
Ø Obviously so since the minchah was a type of Christ.
o This has been sufficiently shown (see Homily on vs. 1-2).
o We may add that the argument is sustained by the use of the term
“memorial.” When the firstling of the cattle was taken instead of the
rest, it is called making a memorial to God (Exodus 34:19; see Hebrew
text). This represented the taking of the Great Firstborn instead of all
men, and the firstling of the cattle was only a memorial, not the real
o It is a great truth that CHRIST IS OUR ONE WAY OF ACCESS
TO GOD (John 14:6). “He is our peace;” and it is through the
frankincense of His presence that our offering becomes a “sweet savor”
— a savor of rest, “unto the Lord” (vs. 2, 9).
Ø Christ is delectable food to faith.
o Sometimes in the minchah the flour was unbaked (v. 2). In this case
the oil accompanying it was unmingled. The portion reserved for the
priests might, therefore, be mingled by them in any way they pleased
to render it most palatable.
o In other cases the bread was prepared to their hands. Sometimes baken
in the oven in cakes, mingled with oil, or in unleavened wafers, with oil
poured upon them (v. 4). Sometimes in a pan or flat plate, mingled with
oil or oil poured over it (vs. 5-6). Sometimes in the frying-pan or
gridiron, with oil (v. 7).
o The bread of life is essentially good and nourishing. It is at the same
time capable of being served up in such variety as to suit every taste that
is not vicious. It is the privilege of the scribe instructed in the kingdom
to bring out “things new and old,” to set old things in new lights, and
to show that there is “nothing new under the sun”; for all things are as
old as the councils of eternity.
Priest and People: Reciprocal Services (vs. 3-10)
Two things are stated in the Law concerning the priesthood.
THEM PECULIAR SANCTITY. They were separated and sanctified by
various ceremonies and services.
OF THE PEOPLE WITH THEIR PERSON AND OFFICE. So much so
that offerings given to them were lawfully regarded as presented to
Jehovah. In the meat offering “the remnant” (the greater part) was to be
“Aaron’s and his sons’,” and this is declared to be “a thing most holy.” To
these statements we may add:
SPECIAL PRIVILEGE, IT DID NOT ENSURE PERSONAL
HOLINESS (ch. 10:1; I Samuel 2:17, 23; Malachi 1:6-10; 2:1-9).
WOULD BE THE OFFERINGS OF THE PEOPLE. Few meat offerings
would be brought whereby a rapacious, or arrogant, or impure, or
unsocial, or irreverent priesthood would be benefited; but free and full
offerings would come to the altar where blameless, beloved, and honored
men were ministering.
The Christian ministry is unlike the Jewish priesthood in that:
1. It is not hereditary; it is (or should be)only entered upon where there is
individual fitness for the office.
2. It offers no sacrifices (Hebrews 10:11-12).
3. It approaches God with men rather than for them. Yet it is like that
ancient priesthood, in that it is a section of God’s people set apart for
conducting Divine worship and for the service of society in all sacred
things. We are reminded:
Ø THAT IT IS THE WILL OF CHRIST THAT CHRISTIAN
MINISTERS SHOULD BE SUSTAINED BY THE PEOPLE’S
OFFERINGS (I Corinthians 9:11, 13-14).
Ø THAT WHAT IS PRESENTED TO THEM FOR THEIR WORK’S
SAKE, CHRIST COUNTS AS OFFERED TO HIMSELF (Matthew
10:40-41; Philippians 4:18).
Ø THAT IN THE RELATIONS OF MINISTER AND PEOPLE
THERE SHOULD BE RECIPROCAL GENEROSITY. On the part
of the latter let there be:
1. Full appreciation of the high nature and the large number of their
2. Generous overlooking of lesser faults, remembering human frailty.
3. Constant credit for purity of motive.
4. Active sympathy and cooperation; and
5. Substantial practical support.
He who has “the burden of the Lord” upon his heart should not be
weighed down with temporal anxieties. On the part of the former,
let there be:
a. Complete subordination of temporal to spiritual solicitudes.
b. Free and generous expenditure of love and strength, both
on individual souls in special need, and on the Church and
the world. Reciprocal indifference and closeness will end
in leanness of soul; reciprocal love and generosity in
largeness of heart and nobility of life (Luke 6:38).
Consecrated Life-Work, as Brought Out in the Meat Offering
Compare John 4:34; Acts 10:4; Philippians 4:18; John 6:27. The
idea prominently presented in the burnt offering is, we have seen, personal
consecration, on the ground of expiation and acceptance through a
substitute. In the meat offering, to which we now address ourselves, we
find the further and supplementary idea of consecrated life-work. For the
fine flour presented was the product of labor, the actual outcome of the
consecrated person, and consequently a beautiful representative of that
whole life-work which results from a person consciously consecrated.
Moreover, as in the case of the burnt offering there was a daily celebration,
so in the case of this meat offering there was a perpetual dedication in the
shew-bread. What we have in this chapter, therefore, is a voluntary
dedication on the part of an individual, corresponding to the perpetual
dedication on the part of the people. The covenant people are to realize the
idea of consecration in their whole life-work. Lange has noticed that here it
is the soul (נֶפֶשׁ) which is said to present the meat offering, something
more spiritual, as an act, than the presentation of the burnt offering by the
man (אָדָם). We assume, then, that the leading thought of this meat
offering is consecrated life-work, such as was brought out in all its
perfection when our Lord declared, “My meat is to do the will of Him that
sent me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34).
The meat offering, whether prepared in a sumptuous oven (תַנּוּר) such as
would be found with the wealthy, or baken in a pan (מַחְבַת) such as
middle-class people would employ, or seethed in a common dish (מַרְחֶשֶׁת)
the utensil of the poor, — was always to be of fine flour (סֹלֶת), that is,
flour separated from the bran. It matters not what our station in life may
be, we may still present to God A THOROUGH PIECE OF WORK.
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
is an exhortation applicable to all. The microscopic thoroughness of God’s
work in nature (see second half of Fantastic Trip on You Tube - CY - 2017),
which leads him to clothe even the grass, which is tomorrow to be cast into
the oven, with more glory than Solomon (Matthew 6:28-30), is surely fitted
to stimulate every consecrated person to the most painstaking work.
And here we are led of necessity to the life-work of Jesus Christ, as
embodying this idea perfectly. How thoroughly He did everything! His life
was an exquisite piece of moral mosaic. Every detail may be subjected to
the most microscopic criticism, only to reveal its marvelous and matchless
SPIRIT AND GRACE. The fine flour, be it ever so pure, would not be
accepted dry; it required oil to make it bakeable. Oil has been from time
immemorial the symbol of Divine unction, in other words, of the Holy
Spirit’s gracious operation. Hence we infer that work done for God must
be done in cooperation with the Spirit. It is when we realize that we are
fellow-workers with God, that He is our Partner, that He is working in us
and by us, and when, in consequence, we become spiritually minded,
walking in the Spirit, living in the Spirit, — it is then that our work
becomes a spiritual thing. And here, again, would we direct attention to
the life-work of Christ, as spiritually perfect. The gift of the Spirit at His
baptism, the descending dove, an organic whole (Luke 3:22), signalizes
the complete spirituality of Jesus. He was “filled with the Spirit,” it was
“in the power of the Spirit” He did all His work. Herein He is our perfect
SPIRIT. This follows naturally from what has been already stated, but it
requires to be emphasized in view of the frankincense which had in every
case to accompany the meat offering. This is admittedly the symbol of
devotion. A life-work, to be consecrated, be steeped in prayer; its Godward
object must be kept constantly in view, and stated and circulatory prayer must
envelop it like a cloud of incense. It is, again, worth while to notice how the
perfect life-work of Christ was pervaded by prayer. If any one since the world
began had a right to excuse himself from the formality of prayer in consequence
of his internal state of illumination, it was Jesus Christ. And yet we may safely
say that His was the most prayerful life ever spent on earth. As Dr. Guthrie
once said, “The sun as it sank in the western sea often left Him, and as it rose
behind the hills of
wonder why He spent whole nights in supplication, for He was bringing
every detail of His work into Divine review in the exercise of prayer. There is
consequently a most significant appeal issuing out of His holy life, to work
prayerfully at all times if we would work for God.
FROM PASSION, AND DONE IN CALM PURITY AND STRENGTH.
Much of the world’s work has malice and passion for its sources. These
motives seem to be symbolized by the leaven and honey, which were
forbidden as elements in the meat offering. Care should be taken in work
for God that we do not impart into it worldly and selfish motives. Such are
sure to vitiate the whole effort. The Lord with whom we have to do looks
upon the heart and weighs the motives along with the work.
What a commentary, again, was the perfect life of Jesus upon this! Malice
and passion never mixed with His pure motives. He sought not His own
will, nor did He speak His own words, but calmly kept the Father’s will
and glory before Him, all through.
PRESERVING CARE. For it is to be feared we often forget to season our
sacrifices with salt. We work for God in a consecrated spirit, but we do
not universally commit our work to His preserving grace, and expect its
permanency and purity. Work for God should endure. It is our own fault if
it do not. Our blessed Lord committed His work to the preserving care
of the Father. He was, if we may judge from Isaiah 49:4, as well as from
the Gospel, sometimes discouraged, yet when constrained to say, “I have
labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain,” He
could add, “Yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with
The meat offering was only partially burnt on the altar — a handful,
containing, however, all the frankincense, was placed in the sacred fire, and
thus accepted; the rest became the property of the priest. How beautifully
this indicated the truth that when one tries to please God, his fellow-men,
and especially those of the household of faith, are sure to participate in the
blessing! The monastic idea was an imperfect one, suggesting the
possibility of devotion to God and indifference to man coexisting in the
same breast We deceive ourselves so long as we suppose so.
Our Master went about doing good; He was useful as well as holy;
and so shall all His followers find themselves, if their consecrated life-work
is molded according to THE PATTERN HE HAS SHOWN US! Faithfulness
in the first table of the Law secures faithfulness in the second. ("He that
is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much." - Luke 16:10)
12 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 savor.” - the words translated,
“As for the oblation of the first-fruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord, should be
rendered, “As an oblation of first-fruits ye shall offer them (that is, leaven and
honey), but they shall not be burnt on the altar.”
13 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: - Salt is commanded as symbolizing in things spiritual, because
preserving in things physical, incorruption (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49; Luke 14:34;
Colossians 4:6). It is an emblem of an established and enduring covenant, such as
God’s covenant with His people, which is never to wax old and be destroyed,
and it is therefore termed the “salt of the covenant of thy God” - Hence “a
covenant of salt” came to mean a covenant that should not be broken
(Numbers 18:19; II Chronicles 13:5). The use of salt is not confined to the
meat offering, for “with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Accordingly
we find in Ezekiel 43:24, "The priest shall cast salt upon them, and they shall
offer them up for a burnt offering."
The Offering of Daily Life (vs. 7-13)
It is interesting to perceive how the instructions here recorded made it
possible for all classes of the people to bring sacrifices to Jehovah. None
could complain of want of sufficient means or of the necessary cooking
utensils. All such objections are forestalled by these inclusive arrangements.
Whether consisting of “cakes” or “wafers,” whether baked on a flat iron
plate or boiled in a pot, the offering was lawful and acceptable. How, then,
can we imagine that Christian work and gifts are so restricted in their
nature as to be procurable only by a few?
“His offering shall be of fine flour.” The sacrifice God desires is of what
man deems most precious, viz. life. As the animal was killed, giving up its
life to God, so now there is presented in this oblation:
ü Something that belongs to daily life.
ü Contributing to its support; and enjoyment.
ü By bestowing of our substance upon God, all our property is sanctified.
To set apart specifically a portion of time in which to worship God,
hallows the remainder of the week. See in Jesus the true Meal Oblation,
the Bread of Life. We ask the Father to accept His offering on our behalf,
and we also live on Him as our spiritual food.
ü The sample presented must be of the best of its kind. God will not be
slighted with scanty adoration and inferior exercise of our powers.
Only wheaten flour is permitted.
sacrifices are frequent in the New Testament, and we cannot be wrong in
guiding ourselves by such an interpretation of these figurative regulations.
ü Oil must be added. It was the element of consecration, and reminds us of
the needful anointing of the Spirit to qualify us for our duties. “Ye have an
unction from the Holy One.” (I John 2:20) As used, like butter, to impart
a relish to food, it became a symbol of gladness. So the Christian motto is,
“Rejoice in the Lord always.” (Philippians 4:4)
ü Frankincense is required that a pleasant odour may ascend to the skies.
So may our service be redolent to earth and heaven of a fragrant savor. In
Revelation 8:3, incense is offered with the prayers of the saints, and
speaks to us of the intercession of Christ, by which our pleadings are made
effectual. Let prayer be the constant attitude of our souls, and let us
connect the Saviour with all we do and say.
ü It must be seasoned with salt, a remembrance and an emblem of God’s
covenant, by which His people are admitted to intimacy and friendship with
Him. The status of the believer is an indissoluble alliance with the Almighty
on the ground of promise and oath. This is his privilege and motive power.
Every sacrifice must be salted with the salt of holy obedience, producing
peace and purity, and preserving it from corruption.
ü Leaven, the emblem of wickedness, of hypocrisy, of fermenting
ü Honey, which, though sweet and increasing the delight with which food
is partaken of, quickly turns to bitterness and corruption. It is regarded as
typical of fleshly lusts which war against the soul, that love of the world
which mars Christian character. The warning conveyed by these
prohibitions is worthy of being sharply outlined in modern days, when
the tendency waxes stronger to obliterate the dividing line between the Church
and the world, and attempts are made to purify the impure, or to whiten
the outside of sepulchers, and to seduce Christians into the belief that all
the pursuits and pleasures of life may be harmlessly indulged in, and even
sanctified to the glory of God. The first intention may be good, but the
ultimate issue is unbounded license. Christ and Belial, light and darkness,
can have no lasting concord. We may, however, take the leaven and honey
as indicating the truth that some things lawful in themselves and at certain
seasons, are at other times displeasing to God. The mirth and music and
demeanor that are innocent as such, may not befit us in the solemnity of
special circumstances, for example, the worship of the sanctuary. “To
everything there is a season.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Lord our Saviour. What a matchless life was His! No stain of malice or lust;
grace, beauty, purity, all exemplified in fullest degree; on Him the Spirit
ever rested; His words and works a continual sacrifice to His Father,
evoking the exclamation, “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.” (Luke 9:35)
As the heavenly Manna, He satisfies the wants of His kingdom of priests, and
His Body was consumed in the flames of
Notable Things (vs. 11-13)
After describing the minchah under sundry forms, and before proceeding to
the meat offering of the first-fruits, certain notable things are mentioned
which the minchah has in common with sacrifices in general. These now
claim attention, viz.:
appear to be:
Ø Because of its fermenting properties.
o These, which, under the action of heat, throw the lump into
commotion, represent the evil passions of the heart (see I Corinthians
5:6-8). But since the meat offering is taken as a type of Christ, it was
most fitting that everything suggestive of these should be excluded.
In Him was no ferment of anger or discontent when He was subjected
to the fiercest fires of the wrath of God (Isaiah 53:7). What an
example has He left to us!
o By its fermenting properties, leaven tended to reduce substances to
corruption. But since our “Bread of Life,” our “Firstfruit” of the
resurrection, could not “see corruption,” because He was the
“Holy One,” it was most proper that leaven should be absent from
His type (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:31).
the Hebrews might be reminded of their deliverance from
o For they were, at the time of the Exodus, so hurried that they had to
take their dough as it was without being leavened (Exodus 12:39). It
was most salutary to keep alive the remembrance of such mercies as
they then experienced, and of the stupendous works with which they
o But since those things were all typical of gospel blessings, so must it be
most edifying to us to remember the spiritual bondage and darkness
from which we have been emancipated by the hand of that great
Prophet “like unto Moses,” to whom it is our duty to hearken in
preference to him.
appear to be:
Ø Because honey was a symbol of carnal pleasures.
o It was in this light viewed by Philo and by Jerome: and certainly the
similitude is apt. Though luscious to the palate, it is bitter to the
stomach. So evermore is sensual gratification (see Proverbs 25:16, 27).
o The exclusion of honey from the sacrifices and offerings of the altar
will, therefore, convey important morals, viz.
§ considering these as types of Christ,
§ considering them also as types of such spiritual sacrifices as
we can present acceptably to God through Christ. Another
reason may be:
Ø Because honey was offered with the abominations of the heathen.
o Honey was offered to Bacchus and to the dii superi, the dii inferi,
and departed heroes. Hence Orpheus, in beginning his hymns, calls
the infernal gods μειλιχιοι θεοι – meilichioi theoi – sweet gods , and
the souls of the dead, μελισσαι – melissai – bee honey. The origin
of which custom is thus explained by Porphyry, “They made honey
a symbol of death; and therefore poured out a libation of honey to
the terrestrial gods” (see Brown’s ‘Antiquities,’ volume 1, page 381).
o The Hebrews were instructed scrupulously to avoid the customs of the
pagans (see Deuteronomy 12:29-31). Let Protestants studiously avoid
the abominations of the Romish Antichrist (Revelation 18:4).
o Leaven and honey might be offered with the oblation of the firstfruits;
but they must not come upon God’s altar. This is the teaching of v. 12.
The loaves of the first-fruits, which were perquisites of the priests, were
even ordered to be baken with leaven (ch. 23:17). So in like manner
honey was to be offered to them (II Chronicles 31:5). There are things
which may be lawfully offered to man that may not be offered to God.
As leaven and honey mingled with the bread, even of the priests, so
human conversation, at its best, is but imperfect.
appears in the many excellent things of which salt was the symbol.
Ø It was a symbol of purity.
o Hence it is described as “the salt of the covenant of God.” The Hebrew
term for covenant (ברית, berith) literally signifies purification; and the
covenant of God is the gospel which is instituted of God for our
purification from sin.
o Perhaps it was religiously, viz. in relation to the covenant, rather than
for hygienic purposes, that infants were rubbed with salt (see Ezekiel
Ø It was a symbol of friendship.
o The effect of a covenant to the faithful is friendship. So, in token of
friendship, the ancient Greeks ate bread and salt together. And the
Russian emperors had a custom, derived to them from antiquity,
of sending bread and salt from their tables to persons they intended
o The delights of friendship are also set forth in this symbol. The
following is rendered by Dr. A. Clarke from Pliny: — “So essentially
necessary is salt that without it human life cannot be preserved: and
even the pleasures and endowments of the mind are expressed by it;
the delights of life, repose, and the highest mental serenity are expressed
by no other term than sales among the Latins. It has also been applied
to designate the honorable rewards given to soldiers, which are called
salarii or salaries. But its importance may be further understood by
its use in sacred things, as no sacrifice was offered to the gods without
o But that “conversation” of Christians is best “seasoned” that has the
“salt of the covenant” (see Job 6:6; Colossians 4:5-6).
Ø It was a symbol of perpetuity.
o This is suggested by its preserving properties. It is used to preserve
meat and other things from decomposing. It is in this the very opposite
of leaven; so, the reason which includes the one excludes the other.
o Hence by the symbol of salt the perpetuity of God’s covenant is
expressed. Thus, “It is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord”
(Numbers 18:19; see also II Chronicles 13:5).
o Christians, who are the people of the covenant, are the preservers of
the earth (see Matthew 5:13). Take the Christians out of the world,
AND IT WILL ROT!
Ø The qualities of salt should distinguish all sacrifices.
They do distinguish the Great Sacrifice of
o All Christian offerings should resemble that. In allusion to the salting of
sacrifices preparatory to their being offered up in the flames of the altar,
our Lord says, “Every one shall be salted with fire,” or rather, “salted
for the fire,” viz. of the altar, “and,” or rather, “as every sacrifice is
salted with salt” (Mark 9:49-50). “We may reasonably infer, that as
salt has two qualities — the one to season meat, the other to preserve
it from corruption; so it fitly denotes that integrity and incorruptness
which season every sacrifice, and render men’s persons and services
grateful to God” (Old Bible).
Purity in Worship (vs. 11-13)
When the Hebrew worshipper had presented his burnt offering, had sought
forgiveness of sin, and had dedicated himself to God in sacred symbolism,
he then brought of the produce of the land, of that which constituted his
food; and by presenting flour, oil, and wine, with frankincense, he owned
his indebtedness to Jehovah. In engaging in this last act of worship, he was
to do that which spoke emphatically of purity in approaching the Holy One
ELEMENT OF IMPURITY, Leaven is “a substance in a state of
putrefaction;” honey “soon turns sour, and even forms vinegar.” These
were, therefore, expressly interdicted; they might not be laid on the altar of
God. But so important was this feature that positive as well as negative
rules were laid down. The offerer was:
IMPURITY. “Neither shalt thou suffer the salt… to be lacking;” “with all
thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Salt is the great preservative from
putrefaction, fitting type of all that makes pure in symbolic worship.
When we come up to the house of the Lord to “offer the sacrifice of
praise” or to engage in any act of devotion, we must remember that:
IN WORSHIP. Only the pure in heart can see God (Matthew 5:8).
Without holiness no man shall see Him (Hebrews 12:14). They must be
clean who bear the vessels of the Lord (Isaiah 52:11). None may
ascend His holy hill but “he that hath clean hands and a pure heart.”
(Psalm 24:4) - “If we regard iniquity in our heart, the Lord will not hear
us” (Psalm 66:18). We have not now laid down for us any precise directions
as to what words we shall use, what forms we shall adopt, what gifts we
shall devote, but we know that the chief thing to bring, that without which
all is vain, is a right spirit, a pure heart, a soul that is seeking God and
longing for His likeness. The forbidding of the leaven and honey, and
the requirement of salt, suggest that:
THOUGHT WHEN WE DRAW NIGH TO HIM. We may be tempted to
allow corruption to enter into and mar our worship or our Christian work, in
the form of:
Ø An unworthy spirit of rivalry.
Ø An ostentation of piety.
Ø Self-seeking by securing the favor of man.
Ø Sensuous enjoyment (mere artistic appreciation, etc.).
Ø A spirit of dislike or resentment towards fellow-worshippers or
Such spiritual “leaven” must not be brought to the altar; such sentiments
must be shut out from the soul. We must strenuously resist when these evil
thoughts would enter. We must vigorously and energetically expel them if
they find their way within the heart (Proverbs 4:23).
THOUGHT IN DEVOTION. There must not only be the absence of
leaven, but the presence of salt; not only the absence of that which corrupts
and spoils, but the presence of that which purifies. There must be the active
presence of sanctifying thoughts. Such are:
Ø A profound sense of the nearness of God to us.
Ø A lively sense of our deep indebtedness to Jesus Christ.
Let these convictions fill the soul, and the lower and less noble sentiments
will fail to enter or will quickly leave. If we feel our own feebleness and
incapacity, we may fall back on THE TRUTH THAT:
We must pray for “the renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5); that He
will “cleanse us from our sin;” will give us “truth in the inward parts;” will
make us “clean,” “whiter than snow;” will “create in us a clean heart, and
renew a right spirit within us” (Psalm 51; and see Psalm 19:12-14;
Salt (v. 13)
Salt was to be used with all the sacrifices. (Ezekiel 43:24; Mark 9:49)
eating of bread and salt together being the ceremony which finally ratified
agreement or covenant (as it still is in
mind of the Israelite with the thought of a firmly established covenant.
Each time, therefore, that the priest strewed the salt on the offering there
would have been a reminder to all concerned of the peculiar blessing
enjoyed by the nation and all members of it, of being in covenant with God,
without which they would not have been in a state to offer acceptable
sacrifices at all.
corruption, its being sprinkled on the sacrifice taught the offerer the
necessity of purity and constancy in his devotion of himself to God.
ü The Christian’s speech is not to be corrupting, but edifying. “Let your
speech be always seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye
ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). “Let no corrupt
communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good
for the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”
ü Christian men are to be salted with fire, as the sacrifices are salted with
salt (Mark 9:49), and the life of the collective body of Christians, the
Church, is to be, in its effects upon the world, as salt. “Ye are the salt
of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). “Have salt in yourselves” (Mark 9:50).
Men influenced by the Spirit of Christ, having been themselves salted
with fire, have now become the salt which saves the WORLD FROM
PERISHING IN ITS OWN CORRUPTION!
Luke 14:34). This is the case when “doctrine” being no longer
characterized by “uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity” (Titus 2:7),
religion becomes changed into superstition, thenceforward debasing
instead of elevating mankind; (As it seems to be in the apostasy
of this day and age – CY – 2010) or when it stirs men to acts of
fanaticism, or rebellion, or cruelty; or when the spiritual life becomes
so DEAD WITHIN it that it abets instead of counteracting the
wickedness of the world FOR WHICH IT WAS DESIGNED!
love for Christ must be, Paul teaches us (Ephesians 6:24), a love “in
sincerity,” or rather, as the word should be translated, “in incorruption,”
that is, an abiding love, without human caprice or changeableness; and our
obedience to God must be constant, without breaks in its even course, and
lasting to the end of life. “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many
shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be
saved” (<402412>Matthew 24:12-13). “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will
give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10) – [And may I add the verse –
“When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up
your heads; for YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH” –
(Luke 21:28) – CY – 2010]
The Salt of the Covenant (v. 13)
It has been thought by some unworthy of the notion of an Infinite Being to
consider Him as concerned about such petty details as those here laid down
for observance. But since the Deity had to deal with uninstructed creatures,
with men whose ideas of His greatness and holiness were obscure and
imperfect, it was surely wise to act according to the analogy furnished by
the customs of earthly monarchs, whose courts require attention to be paid
to numberless points of behavior. Only thus could the august nature of
Jehovah, the majesty of His attributes, and the solemnity of religious
worship be duly impressed upon the minds of the Israelites. Every rite had
a meaning, and to add salt to every offering was a command we shall find it
interesting to study.
OFFERING A PART OF THE COVENANT BETWEEN GOD AND HIS
PEOPLE. It was by virtue of a special covenant that the nation had been
selected as the vehicle of Divine revelation and the repository of Divine
favors. The relation of superiority in which God stands to man, places in a
strong light His condescension in making an agreement by which He binds
Himself as well as the people. Every covenant implies mutual obligations.
God promised to guide and bless the Israelites if they, in their turn, kept His
commandments and held Him in proper esteem. To put salt, therefore, in
compliance with His behest, was to acknowledge that the covenant
remained in force, and the act became a present instance of the existence of
the covenant. It was as much as to say, “I present this gift because of the
covenanted relationship in which I stand to Jehovah.” The covenant of the
gospel is ratified in Christ for all His faithful seed, who are made partakers
of the blessing promised to Abraham (Galatians 3:16). Hence whatever
we do is in the name of Christ, recognizing our sonship, heirship, and
co-heirship. The covenant influences, embraces all thoughts and deeds.
SERVICE TO GOD IS A FEAST OF FRIENDSHIP. The offering of flour
on which oil was poured was itself indicative of a friendly meal, and this
view was strengthened by adding salt to the sacrifice. So surprising is the
intimacy to which the Most High admits His people, that they may be said
to feed daily at His table; all the fruits of the earth are the product of HIS
BOUNTY which honors men as His guests. We do but render to God what
He first bestowed; and in thus approaching we enjoy His presence and
favor. It is permitted us to make ready for the Passover, whereat the Lord
shall sit down with His disciples.
WHICH SHOULD CHARACTERIZE OUR LIVES. Nothing that
partakes of corruption is fit to be brought unto the ever-living God. “Let us
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” (II Corinthians
7:1) “Flesh and blood” tend to impurity and death, and “cannot inherit the
seasoned with salt, lest anything destructive of peace or edification should
issue from our lips. Apart from the life that is instilled through faith in Christ,
man is dead, and decay is loathsome. Without faith our walk and conversation
cannot please God, nor are we “the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13)
Christians are salted with the purifying fire of trial (Mark 9:49).
WITH GOD. A covenant of salt is for ever. (See Numbers 18:19 and
II Chronicles 13:5.) It lasts as long as the conditions are observed by us,
for GOD WILL NEVER CHANGE nor desire on His part to revoke
His blessing. Let us rejoice in the truth that He abideth faithful, and in the
thought of the indissoluble alliance thereby created. He does not wish to
treat us as playthings, invented to amuse Him temporarily, and then to be
tossed aside. We are put in possession by the great Healer and Life-restorer
of imperishable principles, seeds of righteousness, that avert corruption and
defy decay. Our devotion is not a hireling service that may soon terminate,
but a consecration for the everlasting ages.
14 And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the
LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy first-fruits green ears
of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears. 15 And thou
shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering.
16 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.” - The third
form of meat offering, parched grains of corn, with oil, salt, and frankincense.
The mark of a new paragraph should be transferred from v. 12 to the beginning
of v.14. -
The Meat Offering (vs. 1-16)
It consisted of a gift to God of the products of the earth most needed for the support
of life — flour and oil, to which were added salt and frankincense, and it was generally
accompanied by the drink offering of wine. It was offered to God in token of the
recognition of His almighty power which gave the corn, the olive, and the vine, and
of the submission of the creature to Him, the merciful Creator.
and well understood in the East, that meaning being an acknowledgment of
the sovereignty of God, and a promise of loyal obedience on the part of the
ü The sacrifices of Cain and Abel. Whether the sacrifice was of the fruits
of the ground or of the flock made no difference. Each was the
“minchah,”or “gift,” of the offerer, acknowledging God as his God —
one, however, offered loyally, the other hypocritically (Genesis 4:3-4).
ü The present sent to Esau by Jacob (Genesis –chps.32-33). Jacob had
sent a humble message to his brother (Genesis 32:3), but this was not
enough, “The messenger’s returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy
brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men
with him” - (Genesis 32:6). Then Jacob, terror-stricken, sent his gift of
homage (Genesis 32:13), which symbolically acknowledged Esau as
his suzerain lord. Esau, by accepting it (Jacob “urged him and he took
it”) - (Genesis 33:11), bound himself to give protection to his brother
as to an inferior, and offered to leave some of his soldiers with him for
the purpose (Genesis 33:15).
ü The present carried by Jacob’s sons to Joseph when they went down
ü The present without which Saul felt that he could not appear before
Samuel (I Samuel 9:7).
ü The gifts presented to the young Child by the Wise Men of the East
ü To give to God of the worldly goods which God has given to us
Our motive must not be self-ostentation, nor the praise of men, nor
our own gratification. By our offering to God we must recognize
God’s claims over us, and openly profess our loving submission to
them. This throws a new light on the practice of almsgiving in the
weekly offertory of the Church.
ü To give a hearty and loyal service to God in other respects besides
almsgiving, such as obedience to His commandments, doing His will
Esau gave protection in return for cattle. Joseph gave sacks of corn in
return for “a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and
almonds.” The representative of the Crown of England gives back to each
prince at a durbar a present greater than he has received. So we give to
God repentance, and receive back from Him forgiveness; we give faith,
and receive grace; we give obedience, and receive righteousness; we give
thanksgiving, and receive enduring favor; we give, in the sacrament of the
Lord’s Supper, the “creatures of bread and wine,” and we receive back
“the strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the Body and Blood of
Our Recognition of the Hand of God in the Blessings of Life
The fact that the law of the meat offering follows that of the burnt offering
is itself significant. It suggests:
mistake for the human teacher to attempt to lay down precise lines of
thought and feeling along which souls must move. “The progress of
religion in the soul” varies with individual experience. The action of God’s
Spirit is not limited, and while we should seek to lead all souls to walk in
the road by which we are traveling, we should not be anxious that they
should tread in our own steps. On the other hand, there is an order of
thought and experience which may not be inverted. First the burnt offering,
then the meat offering; first the soul’s presentation of itself as a sinner to
ask forgiveness and to offer itself to God, then the service of recognition
of Him and gratitude for His gifts. It is a serious, and may be a fatal,
spiritual error to attempt to gain God’s favor by doing those things which
are appropriate to His children, without having first sought and found
reconciliation through a crucified Saviour. Start at the starting-point of the
Christian course, lest, when the goal is reached, the crown be not placed
upon the brow.
GOODNESS TO US. The meat offering was a sacrifice in which the
worshipper acknowledged that the various blessings of his life came from
God and belonged to him. He brought fine flour (v. 1), and oil (ibid.),
also wine as the accompanying drink offering (ch.23:13). The
chief produce of the land, the principal elements of food were, in a sacred
hour, at the holy place, and, by a pious action, solemnly recognized as gifts
of God, to be gratefully accepted from His hand, to be reverently laid on
His altar. We are thankfully to acknowledge:
Ø God’s kindness in supplying us with that which we need. Bread (corn)
will stand for that food which is requisite, and when we consider the
goodness of our Creator,
o in originally providing that which is so wholesome and nourishing to all
o in multiplying it so freely that there is abundance for all;
o in causing it to be multiplied in such a way as ministers to our moral
and spiritual health (through our intelligence, activity, cooperation, etc.);
o in making palatable and pleasurable the daily meals which would
otherwise be (as sickness occasionally proves) intolerably burdensome;
we have abundant reason for blessing God for His kindness in respect
of the necessaries of life. (When I thank God for His blessings at
mealtime, I often thank Him for taste! There is another taste than
the sensual taste – God wants us to spiritual taste and see that He
is good! Psalm 34:8 – CY – 2017)
Ø His goodness in providing us with that which is superfluous (more than
enough). A very large part of the enjoyment of our life is in the use of that
which is not necessary but agreeable; in the appropriation of that which is
pleasant, — the exquisite, the harmonious, the fragrant, the delicately
beautiful, etc. This also is of God. He “makes our cup to run over”
(Psalm 23:5); from Him come the fruits and the flowers, as well as the
corn and the grass. Nay, He has closely associated the superfluous with the
necessary in nature as in human life. The common potato does not grow
without bearing a beautiful flower, nor the humble bean without yielding
a fragrant odor. As the Hebrew brought his oil and his wine to the altar of
gratitude, so should we bring our thanksgiving for the delicacies, adornments,
and sweetnesses which come from the bountiful hand of Heaven.
not be leaven nor honey (v. 11); there must be salt (v. 13).
Everything associated with corruption must be avoided; that which was
antiseptic in its nature should be introduced; “nothing which defileth”
before Him; the “clean hands and the pure heart” in “the holy place”
the frankincense was to be consumed on the altar, and the burning of the
other offerings with this fragrant incense accompanying it betokened that it
was, as stated, a “sweet savor unto the Lord” (vs. 2, 12). God is not
to be worshipped with men’s hands, as though “He needed anything”
(Acts 17:25); but He takes delight in His children:
Ø realizing His presence,
Ø recognizing His hand in their comforts and their joy.
Ø responding to His fatherly love with their filial gratitude and
OUR OWN HEARTS. He who “knows what is in man” (John 2:25),
warned His people against saying in their heart, “My power and the might
of my hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17). Such a
sacrifice as that of the meat offering — a service of grateful acknowledgment
of God’s hand — is fitted to render us the greatest spiritual benefit, by:
Ø helping us to keep a humble heart before God.
Ø causing us to be filled with the pure joy of gratitude instead of being
puffed up with the mischievous complacency of pride.
The Various Kinds of Meat Offerings (vs. 4-16)
Without dwelling on every minute regulation, the following main points
may be distinguished as representative.
Ø Acknowledgment of dependence.
Ø Praise for life and its gifts.
Ø Joys and pleasures should be consecrated.
Ø The will of God in them and over them.
Ø Family worship a duty.
Ø Recognition of God in common life.
Ø Firstfruits are God’s, not the remnant or gleanings of our faculties
and opportunities, but all.
Ø Connection of daily labor and its results with the sanctuary and
Ø The secular and sacred only nominally distinct.
Ø The house of God and the house of man should open into one another.
Ø Nothing should be allowed to interfere with the holiness of that which
is assigned to God’s service in the sanctuary. “It is most holy.”
Ø Too often Christians fall into a carelessness with respect to sacred
appointments which reacts on the spirit and life.
Ø Our partnership with God involves responsibility.
Ø In all things purity and humility.
Ø There must be no corrupt principle admitted into our service of God.
Ø The doctrine must be purified of leaven.
Ø The motives must be examined.
Ø We ought not to serve God for the sake of filthy lucre, under the
influence of mere sensational excitement.
Ø Truth and sobriety in worship.
Ø All must be brought to God in the spirit of penitent faith.
Ø Salt preserves life, sets forth the dependence of man upon God.
Ø The gracious covenant is the source of all.
Ø He who commands is Himself the giver of all power to fulfill His word.
Ø He is the Alpha and the Omega of the spiritual life.
· FRANKINCENSE AND OIL.
Ø Fragrance and brightness.
Ø Heaven and earth mingled together.
Ø Reconciliation of God and man.
Ø The outpoured spirit of light and life.
Ø Joy in God and in His gifts.
Ø The anointing oil mingled in the fire and increased the flame.
Ø The Messiah is the true Anointed One.
Ø Every Israelite, in a lower degree, was himself a Messiah, an
anointed one, taken up into the Son of God and blessed.
Ø The people are a holy, consecrated people, separated unto Jehovah.
Ø Every individual act of religion is acceptable as the oil of the Spirit
is poured upon it.
Ø What a new view of life can thus be obtained!
Ø Make all a meat offering to the Lord.
About Honoring God with Our Firstfruits (vs. 12-16)
Compare Proverbs 3:9; I Corinthians 15:23; James 1:18. This arrangement about
the firstfruits, though appended to the meat offering, demands a special notice. The
meat offering, we have seen, affirms the general principle that our life-work should
be dedicated to God. But here in the firstfruits we have a special portion which is
to be regarded as too sacred for any but Divine use. This leads us directly to affirm:
RIGHT TO THE FIRSTFRUITS OF ALL OUR INCREASE. The danger
is in losing sight of the special claim in asserting the general principle. For
instance, we must not deny God a special claim upon the first day of the
week, because we acquiesce in the general principle that He has a right to
ALL OUR TIME! Again, we must not withhold our tithes, a certain proportion
of our substance, through an easy-going statement that He has a right to all
our substance. We must condescend to particulars.
ANIMALS AS WELL AS TO THE VEGETABLE KINGDOM. The
dedication of the firstborn of man and beast is manifestly part and parcel of
the same principle (Exodus 13:1-16). This leads up to God’s right to
the Firstborn of the human race, to Him of whom the Father said, “I will
make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth” (Psalm 89:27).
Jesus is the Firstborn of humanity, the flower and firstfruits of the
race. Hence we find the expression used regarding the risen Saviour, “But
now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that
slept” (I Corinthians 15:23). He is also called “the firstborn from the
dead” (Colossians 1:18). Of Him, therefore, pre-eminently was the
dedication of the firstfruits typical. If God has a right to the firstfruits of
the life-work of the human race, He receives in the perfectly holy life of
Jesus Christ. So that, as we found the meat offering to this, so do we find
this arrangement about the first-fruits.
MAY NOT BE PERFECT. This seems to be the principle underlying the
“oblation of the firstfruits.” This, as we from ch. 23:15-21, was
presented at Pentecost, and consisted of two tenth-deals of flour baked with
leaven. Such an arrangement points to the possibility of imperfection in
serving God, which was met by the sin offering accompanying it. If, then, the
firstfruits at the Passover, presented with oil and frankincense, typified
Christ the Firstfruits in all His perfection; the oblation at Pentecost typified
believers, Gentiles and Jews, who are trying, though imperfectly, to realize
a consecrated life-work. God does not reject the labors of His people,
even though they are very far from perfect. He has provided a sin offering
to meet the imperfections of the case and render all acceptable to Him.
EXPRESSION NOT ONLY OF THANKSGIVING BUT ALSO OF
FAITH. God’s rights first, even before man’s need has been met. It was
seeking God’s kingdom first, in the assurance that all the needful things
shall be added (Matthew 6:33). It is most important that we should
always act in this trustful spirit. This faith is, in fact, a kind of first-fruits of
the spiritual life which the Lord expects, and in rendering it to Him we
experience wondrous comfort and blessing.
The Minchah of the First-Fruits (vs. 14-16)
Having viewed the minchah as a type of Christ, and having considered the
feast upon it as expressing fellowship with God in Him, we proceed to
consider the offering of the firstfruits, which is still the minchah under yet
another form. The text brings before us:
Ø The matter of the offering.
o It is specified as “green ears of corn.” Still, observe, it is of the nature
of bread, and so still typifies Christ, the Bread of Life.
o But in this case the life is in the grain. In this view Christ compares
himself to a corn of wheat (John 12:24). In this passage there is also a
reference to Psalm 72:16, which is construed by learned Jews thus:
“He shall be a corn of wheat in the earth on the top of the mountains.”
o It is specified as “firstfruits.” As the firstborn of every animal was the
Lord’s (Exodus 12:29; 13:12-13; Numbers 18:16), so did He claim
the vegetable first-fruits. And as Christ is “the Firstborn of every
creature” (Colossians 1:15), the Anti-type of every firstborn, — so
is He the First-fruits of everything in the creation. Through Him all
things are blessed TO OUR USE AND BENEFIT!
o In this character Jesus will come out in full form in the resurrection.
He is the “First-begotten from the dead” (Revelation 1:5). The
“First-fruits of them that slept;” and still sleep (I Corinthians 15:20,23;
I Thessalonians 4:14). Thus is He “the Beginning [or Chief] of the
[new] creation of God ‘ (Revelation 3:14).
Ø The treatment it received.
o The corn was dried by the fire. It was not allowed to dry gradually and
gently in the air, but was violently scorched. Here was set forth
expressively that fire of grief and sorrow which parched the soul of
Jesus. The fires of His zeal for the glory of God, which was outraged
by the sinfulness of men, entered into His very soul (Psalm 119:139).
So did the corresponding flames of sympathy for that humanity which
He had so wondrously assumed; consuming, because of its sinfulness,
under the fires of God’s anger.
o It was beaten. This threshing of the wheat represented the severity with
which Jesus was treated,
§ in the court of Caiaphas;
§ in the hall of Pilate;
at the place called
OF THE MINCHAH.
Ø It was offered upon the altar of burnt offerings.
o Touching the altar, it became a sacrifice to God.
o Consumed in the fire, it was accepted by God.
Ø It was offered with oil.
o The natural use of this was that the offering thereby became more
readily consumed. The flame of oil is bright and fervent.
o This was a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s grace, which without
measure rested upon Christ (John 3:34).
Ø It was offered with frankincense.
o The physical use of this would be to take away from the
tabernacle the smell of a slaughter-house, and to fill the courts
with a grateful odor.
o The spiritual use was to prefigure the fragrance of the merits
§ in His sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2);
§ in His intercession (Revelation 8:3-4).
§ Thus the offensiveness of the flesh in us is
destroyed, and the living sacrifice becomes
acceptable (Romans 12:1).
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