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Chapter 7

 

The Meat Offerings

 

“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: 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: 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. 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. And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil. Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering. And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. 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. 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 savour unto the LORD. 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. 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. 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. 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. And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering. 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.”   (Leviticus 2:1-16)

 

In the first five chapters of Leviticus the Lord God gave the children of Israel his requirements for the various offerings they brought to him under the law.

Š      Chapter 1 — Burnt Offerings

Š      Chapter 2 — Meat Offerings

Š      Chapter 3 — Peace Offerings

Š      Chapter 4 — Sin Offerings

Š      Chapter 5 — Trespass Offerings

 

            As we read about these offerings, we should always look for the Lord Jesus in them. They were given to Israel to be types and pictures of our blessed Savior. The fruits of the earth, the fine flour, the oil and frankincense, and the daily lamb of the Israelite all pointed to him and had their fulfilment in him. As we read this portion of the Book of God, we should do so praying for God the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of our minds and hearts in the knowledge of him who loved us and gave himself for us. As required in the law, in this day of grace may all our offerings to God, by faith in Christ, have no leaven of works mingled with the all-perfect oblation of our Savior! Seek nothing, bring nothing, depend upon nothing, know nothing, but Christ and him crucified. He alone is our atonement, righteousness, sanctification, peace, and acceptance with God.

 

Giving Thanks

 

These 16 verses of Inspiration are all about giving thanks to God. The meat offerings were offerings of thanksgiving to God. We ought to be very interested in that. Oh, may God ever make us a thankful people!

 

            It is a sad, sad commentary on our society that few have the manners and common decency to say, “Thank you,” when someone has been courteous to them, done something for them, or given something to them. But it is an indescribably greater evil that you and I need to be reminded to say, “Thank you,” to God our Savior for his wondrous grace so richly bestowed upon us. Yet, we do need to be reminded in everything to give thanks.

 

            This is a matter of great importance, because the very heart of all true worship is giving thanks. Only thankful hearts worship God. Only thankful souls serve him. Others may fear him. Others may pay tribute to him in one way or another. But only the thankful worship and serve him.

 

            In this 2nd chapter of Leviticus the Lord God gave Moses specific rules about meat offerings. There were other meat offerings required in the law. But these meat offerings were specifically offerings of thanksgiving to the Lord our God. These offerings were freewill offerings, offered voluntarily, without compulsion of law. They represented a man voluntarily giving up himself to God with a thankful, willing heart. Still, though they were freewill offerings, they must be offered in the way God prescribed.

 

            As the burnt-offering represented the value of Christ’s work in the Father’s estimation as our sin-atoning Substitute, giving “himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2), so the meat-offerings set forth our Savior’s perfect human character and conduct. They are clearly linked with his obedience to God as our Representative, by which he finished the work of bringing in an everlasting righteousness for us. This was the will of the Father he came to perform, both the putting away of sin and the bringing in of an everlasting righteousness. He said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). This work was completed by his perfect obedience unto death (John 17:1-5; 19:30).

 

            Though our Lord’s obedience in life, weaving out a garment of righteousness for us, was performed during his earthly life as a perfect man, as Jehovah’s perfect, righteous Servant, his righteousness could not be our righteousness except obedience in death put away our sins. Hence, the burnt offering is first made, then the meat offering, by which we celebrate full redemption, complete forgiveness, and perfect justification. What reason we have for thanksgiving to our God! — “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.” (Psalms 105:1) — “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” (Psalms 106:1)

 

            The meat offering was always presented along with the burnt offering, or some other animal sacrifice, to show the connection between the pardon of sin and consecration to the Lord. The moment we receive the pardon of sin we become (experimentally) the property of our Redeemer. — “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). When Boaz bought Ruth, he claimed her inheritance. And when the Lord Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer, bought us, he bought all that we are and all that we possess.

 

            Yet, as I said before, the meat offerings, like the burnt offerings, speak of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom alone our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving are accepted with God (Hebrews 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5).

 

Cain’s Offering

 

Cain brought a meat offering to the Lord and was rejected precisely because he did not bring a blood offering (like his brother, Abel) with his meat offering. Why did God have no respect for Cain and his offering? Why was Cain rejected? Why did the Lord God refuse to accept Cain’s offering? The answer is declared throughout Holy Scripture. — God will not and cannot accept the best of our sacrifices without blood atonement. Sin must be pardoned before we can bring the holy Lord God anything.

 

Bloodless Offering

 

1st — Though the meat offering was a bloodless sacrifice, it was always connected with blood. — 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” (v. 1).

 

            There is nothing in the meat offering that even hints of sin. Our sins were dealt with in the burnt offering, in the sin-atoning sacrifice of Christ, and were thereby completely and forever put away. The meat offering portrays sinners perfect in the sight of God, accepted by the merits of Christ’s blood.

 

      It was not a bloody sacrifice, but consisted of fine flour, thoroughly sifted. It had no bran at all in it. There was nothing rough or uneven in it. This speaks of both the perfect, holiness and righteousness of our Savior, and of our perfect righteousness before God in him. That which is true of him is true of his church. We are accepted in him.

           

            There was nothing coarse, rough, or uneven in the human nature of the Lord Jesus. Look him over, through the whole course of his humiliation. There is nothing in him but fine flour. Nothing moved him from his purpose. Nothing caused him to even hesitate in his course. Nothing prevented him from his obedience. Nothing kept him from doing good.

 

            In all his person and character our blessed God-man Mediator is perfect. He is perfectly gracious and perfectly just, perfectly holy and perfectly kind, perfect in love and yet without compromise. Circumstances had no effect upon him. Company did not alter him. Sorrow did not subject him. Praise did not puff him. Our Lord was always elevated by his very character above all that surrounded him.

 

            These things cannot be said of any of his disciples. In all other men, however great the church or the world may judge them to be, there are serious defects and infirmities. Even their strongest points are counter-balanced by some humiliating weakness. Christ alone could declare, “The Father hath not left me alone…I do always those things that please him…Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (John 8:29, 46). God the Father twice burst heaven open to exclaim, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5).

 

            That is not the case with us! Even our very best attempts to live for his glory display in the most glaring way that there is much bran and little evenness in us. John, who loved him well, and who was perhaps the most humble of all the disciples, desired the highest place in the kingdom for himself. Peter, who was willing to die with him, denied him and forsook him. Paul, who was caught up to the third heaven, had to live with a constant thorn in his flesh, lest he be exalted above measure. How often, in preaching the gospel, doing that by which I strive hardest to serve immortal souls and honor our God, I have needlessly spoken something by which I have hurt or offended one of the Lord’s children and dishonored my God! In prayer, we often, if not always, find ourselves speaking routinely, making selfish requests, and making meaningless repetitions! How much more our weaknesses are manifest in lesser matters!

 

            This meat offering, the fine flour, speaks of Christ, the Bread of Life. His flesh is meat indeed. Those who eat this Bread have life in themselves, eternal life! He is the Bread that satisfies God. And he is the Bread that satisfies our souls.

 

Baked Offering

 

2nd — The meat offering was a baked offering.

 

“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: 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.” (Leviticus 2:2-3)

 

            It was an offering made by fire unto the Lord. It might be baked in an oven (v. 4), or in a pan if a man had no oven (v. 5), or in a frying pan (an earthen fry pan) if the worshipper were poorer still (v. 7). No matter what instrument was used or who offered it, the fine flour was thoroughly baked. Every particle of it was exposed to the fire.

 

            Again, the reference to our all glorious Redeemer is obvious and clear. Our great Savior cried out in his hot distress, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws, and thou hast brought me into the dust of death” (Psalm 22:14,15).

 

            The fire was burning very fiercely, when he who had always done those things that pleased his Father uttered the wail of a breaking heart: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

 

Mingled Offering

 

3rd — The meat offering was an offering mingled, or mixed, and anointed with oil. First, it was mingled with oil.

 

“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.” (Leviticus 2:4)

 

“And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the frying pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.” (Leviticus 2:7)

 

            Oil is the well-known symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. When the angel announced to the virgin the birth of the promised Messiah, he said to her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

 

            Though the Lord Jesus was the seed of the woman, he was not the seed of the man, but as the angel said to Joseph, “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20). His entire nature was perfectly holy, unlike our nature, which “is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

 

            This oil mingled with flour also speaks of us. The oil in the flour speaks of the Holy Spirit in us. It is only by the Spirit in us that we worship and serve our God. Yet, and be sure you do not miss this, the Spirit in us and his work in us have nothing whatever to do with our acceptance with God. That is what the burnt-offering was all about. The work of the Holy Spirit in us contributes nothing to the work of Christ for us, but only makes it manifest. The coming and gift of the Holy Spirit in the new birth is the fruit of acceptance, not the cause.

 

The meat offering was also an offering anointed with oil.

 

“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.” (Leviticus 2:4)

 

            The unleavened wafers of fine flour were anointed with oil. When the Lord Jesus came up out of the watery grave of baptism, John “saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him” (Matthew 3:16). Then “Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness;” and “returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee” to proclaim “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:1,14,18). Peter tells us that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power” (Acts 10:38).

 

            If the blood of sacrifices under the law availed to put away sin ceremonially, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).

 

Frankincense Offering

 

4th — The meat offering was an offering offered with frankincense. — “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.” (v. 1)

 

            The meat-offering was not only anointed with oil, frankincense was put thereon. The word “frankincense” is derived from a verb which means “to be white or to make white.” This is the word David used when he cried out, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). This is the word God used when He said, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow(Isaiah 1:18).

 

            The word translated frankincense[1] occurs twenty times in the Old Testament, and was closely connected with the holy anointing oil, the type of the Holy Ghost (Exodus 30:34), and was placed upon the twelve loaves that were ever in the presence of God on the tables of shew-bread. (Leviticus 24:5-8). Where sin was in question, it could not be used (Leviticus 5:11; Numbers 5:15). Yet, it speaks of the relation between Christ, our Bridegroom, and us, his bride (Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:6, 14).

 

            The bride, the church, speaks of Christ, saying,Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?” (Song of Solomon 3:6). The Lord Jesus says to his bride, his church,Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense” (Song of Solomon 4:6). Again, he says, “Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices” (Song of Solomon 4:14). Frankincense also speaks of the perpetual intercession of Christ in heaven (1 John 2:1-2).

 

Unleavened Offering

 

5th — The meat offering must be an offering made without leaven or 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.” (Leviticus 2:11)

 

            Leaven is a symbol of evil and hypocrisy. Honey was forbidden[2], to teach us that whatever is sweet to nature must be disowned, if we would walk after the example of Christ who pleased not himself. (Romans 15:3; Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:59-62; John 6:63).

 

            Leaven and honey were also forbidden, perhaps primarily forbidden, because these things were commonly used by the heathen in their idolatrous sacrifices. God’s people must not follow the way of idolaters. Our worship of our God must be regulated by his Word alone.

 

“Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:30-32)

 

Salt Offering

 

6th — The meat offering, like all the offerings of the Old Testament, was an offering seasoned with salt. — “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.” (v. 13)

 

            Salt preserves and arrests the spread of corruption. It is used throughout the Scriptures as a symbol of the everlasting covenant of redemption and grace by which we are saved.

 

            Salt is also used as a description of God’s people in this world. “Ye are the salt of the earth,” our Master said, to his disciples. “But if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men(Matthew 5:13). Paul admonishes, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt(Colossians 4:6).

 

            Like the frankincense, the salt was not brought by the worshipper. The salt was provided by the priest. It is Christ our Great High Priest who preserves us with the salt of his grace. The covenant of grace is a covenant of salt, secured by God our Savior. We are useful only by the salt of grace. We are secured and kept by the salt of God.

 

God’s Offering

 

7th — Though given to and primarily consumed by man, the meat offering was an offering offered to the Lord.

 

“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: 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.” (Leviticus 2:2-3)

 

“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 savour unto the LORD. 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.” (Leviticus 2:9-10)

 

            The meat offering was a voluntary thank offering made by grateful men, according as the Lord had prospered them. The priests in the tabernacle and temple were sustained by the sacrifices of the people. The sacrifices made were considered most holy by the Lord, because they were sacrifices made to him. So, too, that which we give to and do for others, in the name of Christ, is accepted of God as a sweet savor before him (Philippians 4:18; Hebrews 6:10; 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5).

 

            The meat offering was a gift of thanks, a tribute of praise, offered by the forgiven sinner to God. God symbolically granted forgiveness of sins through the burnt offering; and the worshipper responded by giving to God his tribute of thanks and praise. It was an act of dedication and consecration to God as Savior and covenant King. It expressed not only thankfulness but also devotion to the Lord.

 

            How much more ought we who are born of God and taught of God give praise and thanks to him incessantly, in word, in deed, in sacrifice to him, his people, and his cause while we live in this world. The Lord our God has forgiven us of all sin. He assures us of forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ our Savior. He has saved us. Let us never forget to say, “Thank you,” to him.

 

Eddie Rickenbacher

 

Imagine this scene: You are on the Florida coast, not far from a little town near Jacksonville called Switzerland. The sun is setting like a gigantic orange ball. It’s a cool evening on a vacant, isolated stretch of beach. The water is lapping at the shore, the breeze is blowing slightly. There are one or two joggers and a couple of fisherman. Most people have gone home for the day.

 

            You look up and see an old man with bent shoulders, bushy eyebrows, and bony features hobbling down the beach carrying a bucket. He carries the bucket out onto a pier. He stands there, and you notice he is looking up into the sky, and all of a sudden you see a mass of dancing dots. You soon recognize that they are seagulls. They are coming out of nowhere. The man takes out of his bucket handfuls of shrimp and begins to throw them on the dock. The seagulls come and land all around him. Some land on his shoulders, some land on his hat, and they eat the shrimp. Long after the shrimp are gone his feathered friends linger.

 

            What is going on here? Why is this man feeding seagulls? What could compel him to do this?

 

            The man in the scene is Eddie Rickenbacher, a famous World War II pilot. His plane, “The Flying Fortress,” went down in 1942 and no one thought he would be rescued. Perhaps you have read or heard how he and his eight passengers escaped death by climbing into two rafts for thirty days. They fought thirst, the sun, and sharks. Some of the sharks were nine feet long. The boats were only eight feet long. But what nearly killed them was starvation. Their rations were gone within eight days and they didn’t have anything left.

 

            Rickenbacher wrote that even on those rafts, every day they would have a daily afternoon devotional and prayer time. One day after the devotional, Rickenbacher leaned back and put his hat over his eyes and tried to get some sleep. Within a few minutes he felt something on his head. He knew in an instant it was a seagull which had perched on his raft. But he knew that they were hundreds of miles out to sea. Where did this seagull come from? He was also certain that if he didn’t get that seagull he would die. Soon all the others on the two boats noticed the seagull. No one spoke. No one moved. Rickenbacher quickly grabbed the seagull and with thanksgiving, they ate the flesh of the bird. They used the intestines for fish bait and survived.

 

            Eddie Rickenbacher never forgot that visitor who came from a foreign place. That sacrificial guest! Every week, he went out on the pier with a bucket of shrimp and said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

 

            That’s what you and I are called to do in response to God’s grace and mercy in Christ. What is expected of us? What is the tribute we are called to bring, to give to the Lord?

 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

 

 

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:15-16)

 

            What is our tribute? To live for Christ, our dear Redeemer, and dedicate ourselves entirely to him. — To obey him. — To confess him. — To do good to others in his name. Why? Because “the love of Christ constraineth us.

 

            That word, “constrains,” means literally, “leaves me no choice.” Paul is saying, “I have no choice but to respond to the love of Christ with my whole being, to say thank you, thank you, thank you!”

 

            When we serve Christ, when we share God’s love with others by loving them, when we come to the house of God to worship him, when we give of our means to support the gospel, we don’t do it begrudgingly. We do it with thankful, willing hearts, because we really have no choice. It is our tribute! It is our “THANK YOU” to our God.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] In Exodus 30 we find that frankincense, this strong perfume, this sweet odor was kept by the altar and it was strictly forbidden that any man attempt to imitate it or use it for any other purpose.

[2] Honey is sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly when too much is eaten (Proverbs 25:16). So it is with all self-righteous religion. So it is, too, with all the additions men make to the worship of God (skits, plays, entertainment, adornments, vestments, religious garb, and a show of religious ritualism and symbolism).