The Meal Offering


Leviticus 2:1-11

    The Meal Offering presents in an unparalleled way the peerless character of the Man, Christ Jesus. It sets Him forth as “God manifest in the flesh,” the Incomparable Christ and the Impeccable Savior. The Meal Offering embodies an excellent portrait of Christ as He lived and walked before God and man. It unveils Him in all His Excellency as the pure, perfect, holy, and sinless One; the only One on earth who fully satisfied God’s heart.

    Millenniums later, Paul described the One of whom the Meal Offering speaks as “the fullness of the Godhead” (Col. 2:9). The Father and the Spirit were in the Son in full measure (Jn. 17:21-23; 3:34). In His humanity He was the “visible expression of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). He was “God over all blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5). The New Testament writers go to great lengths to present him as the preeminent, paramount, and peerless One. The One who, though in a body of flesh, was perfect man and yet perfect God.

    In such an “all-sufficient” Savior, every longing of the believer’s heart is fully met. The hymn writer expressed it so beautifully when he wrote:
               
                “Savior, Thou art enough,
                The mind and heart to fill,
                Thy life, to calm the anxious soul,
                Thy love its fear dispel.”

    In our sorrow and distress we need sincere sympathy. It can be found in the sympathizing Jesus, He who mingled His tears with those of sorrowing sisters  of Bethany  (Jn. 11:35). In the midst of uncertainty and disappointment, we long for wholehearted, unfeigned love. This kind of love can be found in the heart of Him Who told forth His love in drops of blood. One has said, “I asked Jesus, ‘How much do you love me?’ He answered, ‘This much.’ And He stretched out His arms…and died.”

                Love that no tongue can teach
                Love that no thought can reach
                No love like His.
                God is its blessed source
                Death ne’er can stop its course
                Nothing can stay its force
                Matchless it is.

To every child of God, no matter the need, there are untapped resources in the person of our loving Savior.

    There are many today who need protection from the world, the flesh, and the devil. They need a sanctuary from the stresses and cares of life. To obtain that peace that passes all understanding, we have but to flee to the lover of our soul, the One who made and holds the universe together. He has promised to be our shield—buckler—fortress—and high tower.

    Do we need unerring wisdom in these days of complexity—days in which arise circumstances difficult to handle? Paul reminds us that “Christ hath been made unto us wisdom—righteousness—sanctification—and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). All our need, no matter what it is, can be met in our precious Savior.

    When John wrote Rev. 1, he gave us an unsurpassed disclosure of Jesus Christ. He describes Him as the “faithful witness,” thus presenting the Lord as the Prophet. He next makes Him known as the “first begotten from the dead,” revealing Him as Priest. Finally, he announces Him as the “ruler of the kings of the earth,” bringing to our attention that He is King—King of kings and Lord of lords. So then, as Prophet, Priest, and King, He is able to meet the deepest longing in our breasts, and fill our beings with a “peace that passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).

    In Christ were exquisitely blended a majesty which overawed, and a gentleness which gave perfect serenity in His presence.

    As to His majesty, watch Him as He purifies the Temple. He made a whip of small cords and drove out the sellers of oxen, sheep, and doves. He also drove out the moneychangers and overturned their tables, scattering their money. Despite the fact that these were rough men with many servants, and the proximity of temple guards, no one dared to challenge Him—they were overawed by His majesty.

    His gentleness and sympathy are displayed at the grave of Lazarus. Even though He was about to demonstrate His deity in raising Lazarus, John records that “Jesus wept.” His gentleness is also seen in the incident when the disciples would have driven the children away but Jesus said, “Allow them to come to Me, for such is the kingdom of heaven.” The sisters of Bethany and the little children knew the gentleness of the Son of God. In Him was the perfect blend of sublime Deity and the gentleness of perfect humanity. A true picture of the fine flour.

    There was nothing unequal or uneven about the Lord. Think of the sorrow, suffering, and agony of Gethsemane—His strong crying and tears. Then consider the traitor’s band as they fell backward before the grandeur of His inherent majesty, “I AM.” Before God, His attitude was utter prostration. “Not My will, but Thine be done.” But before His accusers it was unbending dignity. Every quality was in perfect proportion. Truly He is the “fine flour.”

    To understand the profundity and the simplicity of the teaching of the Meal Offering regarding Christ, we must consider three things:
    1.    The ingredients of which it was composed:
        fine flour, oil, frankincense, salt
   
    2.    The forms in which it was presented:
        baked in a pan; baked in an oven

    3.    The persons who partook of it:
        Aaron and his sons

    In considering the ingredients of which the Offering was composed, we are told “when any will offer a meal offering unto the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour” (v. 1). The fine flour speaks of the evenness and balance of the Lord’s character. There was nothing unequal—uneven—or rough about Him. He “was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26). Every attribute that He possessed was in perfect proportion. Grace and truth were perfectly balanced in Him.

    The fine flour is also the emblem of the sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus. He was perfect in His speech: “Never a man spake like this man” (Jn. 7:46). He was perfect in His actions, “He does all things well” (Mk. 7:37). The centurion at the cross said, “Truly, this was the Son of God” (Mk. 15:39). If there had been any flaw or unevenness or roughness about Him, His adversary Satan, would have exposed it. But in His perfect and impeccable character, He said, “The prince of this world cometh and findeth nothing in Me” (Jn. 14:30).

    Every perfection met in Him. As His Father watched Him from the courts of absolute holiness, during the silent years and in His public ministry, He opened the heavens and, on at least three occasions, said, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased” (Lk. 3:21-22; 9:35; Jn. 12:27-28).

    Our Lord, depicted as the “fine flour,” never had to recall a word nor retrace a step. He said, “I always do those things which please the Father” (Jn. 8:29). Near the end of His life He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do” (Jn. 17:4).

    Note the perfect balance of His character in the following incidents. To His parents, he said, “Do ye not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Then afterward, “He went down with them to Nazareth, and was subject to them” (Lk. 2:49-51).

    Later, under extreme pressure in Gethsemane’s garden, He prayed, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me” but quickly added, “nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done” (Lk. 22:42). It was the recognition of these unique qualities which brought forth the Father’s commendation.

    Next, let us consider the oil. The oil in the Meal Offering is a type of the Holy Spirit. The oil is used in a two-fold way: (1) it is “mingled” with the flour (v. 5), and (2) it is “poured” upon it (v. 1). In the antitype, we see first of all the Lord Jesus “conceived” by the Holy Spirit (Mt. 1:18-23). The Lord’s conception by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin is one of the most profound mysteries that can engage the regenerated mind. “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you, therefore, that holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35).

    We learn from this magnificent passage that the human body into which the Eternal Son entered, was formed by the “power of the Highest.” “A body hast Thou prepared me” (Heb. 10:5). The Lord Jesus, the Eternal Son, entered a body which was prepared for Him by God, which was absolutely free from the principle of sin and mortality. This would be the teaching of the oil being mingled with the flour.

    The oil was not only to be “mingled” with the flour but it had to be “poured” upon it (v. 1). In this action we have a type of the anointing of the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s body was not only mysteriously formed by the Holy Spirit, it was also “anointed” for service by the same Person (Lk. 4:18). This “anointing” of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit prior to His entrance into His public ministry, is of immense practical importance to every believer who wants to be a true and effective servant of God.

    Although the Lord was conceived in absolute purity by the Holy Spirit, and even though He was “God manifest in flesh,” when He came forth publicly to do the will of God in preaching the Gospel, teaching in the synagogues, healing the sick, cleansing lepers, casting out demons, feeding the multitudes, raising the dead, He did it all by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord was formed, anointed, filled, and led by the Holy Spirit every moment of His life.

    This is a deep and important lesson for us. How prone we are to run unsent and act in the energy of the flesh. O that Christ, the anointed One, would become our example. Even though He possessed divine power in Himself, He did all His work, wrought all His miracles, and finally offered Himself to God without spot, by the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14).

    The third ingredient in the Meal Offering is frankincense (v. 1). There is a beautiful connection between the oil and the frankincense. The oil teaches us that the Lord did everything by the spirit of God. The frankincense teaches us that the Lord did everything for the glory of God. The frankincense also speaks of the fragrance of the Lord’s life; this fragrance was exclusively for God. When heat was applied to the frankincense it emitted a unique fragrance. It was white in color, thus conveying the thought of purity. The life of the Lord was all for God. His every thought, word, and deed sent heavenward a fragrance which, in a unique way, satisfied God the Father. As a self-emptied, perfect, obedient Man on earth, the aroma of the intrinsic excellence of His life gratified the heart of God.

    The fourth ingredient which composed the Meal Offering was salt (Lev. 2:13). Salt was a necessary ingredient, always present in the Meal Offering. Salt is that which preserves, and this speaks of the unique quality of the Lord Jesus. In the old economy, salt was used to ratify covenants (Num. 18:19). Our blessed Lord Jesus is not only the Mediator of a better covenant, He is also the Preserver of that covenant (Heb. 8:6). Under this covenant the believer receives the promise of an eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15).

The bodily presence of the Man Christ Jesus before God, assures us of eternal salvation and security. His presence before God guarantees us the fulfillment of every promise. Salt also speaks of incorruption and perpetuity. Death and corruption are the results of sin. In Christ there is no corruption, neither in His life nor in His death. God did not permit His Holy One to see corruption (Ps. 16:10). The Lord’s body never deteriorated one iota while in the grave. When he arose on the third day, His body was as fresh as when it had been laid in the tomb. After showing himself to His own for forty days, He ascended into heaven in his specially prepared, incorruptible body.

In later years, John saw Him as a Lamb newly slain (Rev. 5:6). Today, millenniums later, the Lord in His incorruptible body is still in the midst of the throne. His perpetual presence before God in His divine character as salt, preserves all the great and exceedingly precious promises.

At this point, please note the absence of “leaven” and “honey”. “No meal offering which ye shall bring unto the Lord shall be made with leaven” (v. 11). Leaven in the Scripture is a symbol of evil (1 Cor. 5:8). In this offering there was to be nothing expressive of evil, nothing that would eulogize the flesh. As this particular offering personified the fragrant life of the Lord, nothing that represented malice and wickedness was permitted. Our glorious Lord was unblemished in character and untarnished in nature. There was no sin in Him—He was impeccable. His life exuded to God the fragrance of His own personal glories and excellencies.

Honey was the other substance which was positively excluded from this offering (v. 11). As leaven is the symbol of that which is evil, honey is that which is sweet in a natural sense. The human excellence which flowed from Christ and made Him the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely One, was not from human origin but was spiritual and divine. The Lord Jesus Christ, inherently had that spiritual sweetness which pleased His Father, God.

Let us now consider the preparation of the offering. There were two ways in which this offering was to be prepared. First, it could be “baked in a pan” (v. 7). In the pan, the effect of the heat on the offering could be seen by the human eye. This would bring before us the outward or visible sufferings of the Lord. He suffered for righteousness sake. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3). He Himself declared that, “They hated me without a cause” (Jn. 15:25). Prophetically, it was said of Him, “Reproach hath broken My heart, I am full of heaviness, there was none to pity, and none to comfort” (Ps. 69:20).

One puzzling feature of the Lord’s visible sufferings was expressed by the Psalmist when he wrote, “They that hate Me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head” (Ps. 69:4). In His physical body He suffered reproach as He became the song of the drunkard, as He was maligned, hated, despised, and rejected.

The Lord also suffered visibly in His sympathy with others—at the grave of Lazarus (Jn. 11), and also as He wept over Jerusalem (Lk. 13). He suffered grievously in anticipation. As He anticipated being made sin on the Cross, we read of “His strong crying and tears.” As we contemplate the blood-like sweat, despite the ministrations of the heavenly messenger, we are confounded at the depth of the suffering. He was ultimately crushed when wicked hands took Him and nailed Him to a Roman Cross. These sufferings were visible to the human eye, as our Blessed Redeemer was “baked in a pan.”

The second way in which this offering could be prepared was to be “baked in an oven” (v. 4). This would bring to our attention the unseen sufferings of Christ. Only the Lord Himself and His Father knew the extent of these invisible sufferings. As the darkness covered Calvary’s wicked scene, the Lord was precipitated into the blackness of the oven. There, for three hours, He was shut off from the eyes of men. During this time, God applied the heat of hell to His blessed Son to procure redemption for repentant sinners. It is also worthy of note that while this “baking” was taking place, there arose a sweet-smelling fragrance which pleased and satisfied God. In life and in death—in service, walk, and work, God in His infinite holiness found full satisfaction and delight in His Son.

Finally, let us look at who partook of this Offering. Verses 3 and 10 show us that Aaron and his sons ate what was left of the offering. In other words, the Meal Offering was all for God; when God had received His portion (v. 3), the remainder of the priestly family. This is a beautiful picture of believer-priests today feeding on the perfections and glories of the Man, Christ Jesus.

According to Lev. 6:14-18, this offering was to be eaten with unleavened bread. This would teach us an important Scriptural lesson. Those who would feed upon Christ must be pure and holy and have no unconfessed sin in their lives. Furthermore, all those who touched the offering must be holy (Lev. 6:18). This reminds us that before we can enjoy Christ to the full, our lives must be holy and we must be separated unto God.

Notice also, that the offering had to be eaten in the Holy Place (Lev. 6:16). This would remind us of a truth once practiced but now almost forgotten, that our position, mode of life, person, and associations must conform to the holy character of God.

These then are God’s requirements if we would feast to the full upon His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. “To Him be glory both now and forever” (2 Pet. 3:18).

        Savior, Thou art enough
        The mind and heart to fill;
        Thy life to calm the anxious soul,
        Thy love its fear dispel.

        O fix our earnest gaze
        So wholly, Lord, on Thee,
        That with Thy beauty occupied,
        We elsewhere none may see.