2 The Meat* Offering

Leviticus 2; Leviticus 6:14-18.
{*Old English: 'food'. Minchah, from 'a present, gift, oblation.' Others prefer to translate it meal offering.}

We were saying last week that the burnt offering, which comes first in the Book of Leviticus, is a type of the Lord Jesus offering Himself to accomplish the will of God, at all cost, even to death. We have blood-shedding and atonement in that offering, because, although the Lord Jesus went into death in obedience to God, it was on account of what we are by nature, on account of our condition as lost children of Adam.

The case of the meat offering is quite different. There is no blood-shedding here. This offering was composed of fine flour, or it might be of green ears of corn. There was no death connected with it. The fine flour was to be mingled or anointed with oil, and frankincense was to be put upon it. Part of the meat offering — "the memorial of it," as it is called — with all the frankincense was offered on the altar for a sweet savor to God. Thus, it was quite unlike the burnt offering, all of which went up to God, excepting only the skin, which the priest had for himself. The remainder of the meat offering Aaron and his sons ate.

Now, while the burnt offering typifies Christ offering Himself to God for a sweet savor in His death — obedient unto death — the meat offering speaks to us of the perfect, sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus — what He was as a man here on earth, but as offered to God; "an offering," as it states here in chapter 2, "made by fire." This fire, as you know, represents testing judgment, and surely the blessed Lord was tested in all His path through this world, as also on the cross and by death itself. But the more He was tested, the more was brought out His infinite perfection before God. Every thought, every word and every action was a sweet savor to God. The Lord was perfect in every step of His way through this world — perfect in obedience, perfect in dependence, perfect in meekness, perfect in kindness, perfect in sympathy, perfect in humility; in fact, there is not a single grace you can think of that the Lord Jesus did not exhibit in all its perfection during His life upon earth. This the meat offering typifies. All the frankincense was to be burned with the meat offering, and the sweet perfume of that frankincense speaks to us of all the graces of the Lord Jesus, everything being perfectly acceptable to God — a sweet-smelling savor.

Some might wonder why the burnt offering comes first, since the Lord's life, as a matter of time, came before His death. But divine wisdom is shown in giving us the burnt offering before the meat offering, for had the Lord stopped short of death and the bearing of judgment as made sin for us, had He failed when the last test came — when, in the garden of Gethsemane, there was brought before the Lord all the awful suffering He would have to go through in bearing the judgment of God if He took up our case — if then He had said, "It is too much; I cannot go on to that in obedience to God," His obedience would not have been perfect. Therefore, we get in Philippians 2, He "became obedient unto death." The perfection of His obedience reached even to death.* The obedience that characterized Him throughout His life was brought to its severest trial in His death. Then that obedience was perfected in His giving up His life in atonement. Thus we find, first of all, the Lord's death brought out in the burnt offering, as that was the foundation of everything. Then, in the meat offering, we find what He was as a man here on earth — His life here, but as offered to God.

{*This is also seen in the meat offering, but the difference is that in the burnt offering it is the Lord's death and blood-shedding and atonement, while in the meat offering it is His life here on earth. Hence, in the latter there is no blood-shedding or atonement.}

It is a very blessed subject indeed, but one feels utterly unable to speak at any length of the perfections of the Lord Jesus in His life here below. Would that one could better! There is, however, a very practical side for us to consider, and we always gain by learning God's thoughts concerning the Person of Christ, whether in His life or in His death.

When we were looking at His death and the value of it, we saw how infinitely acceptable all was to God. All was a sweet savor. We saw that every believer in Christ is accepted before God in that same sweet savor. That shows how we gain by learning God's thoughts about the Lord's death. So, when the thoughts of God concerning the life of Christ on earth are known by us, we are immense gainers. We see the delight that God finds in Him, and we can, as believers, say that we are accepted in that blessed One. Of course, it is only after His death and resurrection that we could be in Him, but the same One in whom we are now accepted was the Object of God's delight here below. The better we know God's thoughts about Christ, the better we know God's thoughts about us, who are in Christ. According to that verse in 1 John 4, "As He is, so are we in this world." There is not a single grace, not a single beauty, not a single perfection of the Lord Jesus that we see brought out in the Gospels respecting which we, as believers, may not say, "That is mine." Do you ask how this can be? I reply, Is not Christ your life? "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear" (Col. 3:4). Do you want to see what your life is in its perfection? You must not look at yourselves or your fellow-Christians; you must look at Christ here on earth. "For the life was manifested" — shown out (1 John 1:2). What life? The eternal life. That is the life you and I possess as believers. How often that blessed yet simple verse, the last verse of John 3, is quoted and preached from! And how many thousands of souls have gotten peace from it!

"He that believes on the Son has everlasting life."

Many, by believing that verse, have known they are saved, but when we come to inquire, "What is that everlasting life that we possess?" we have touched upon a far deeper question than that of the soul's salvation. Well, I say, You must not look at me to find it out, because very often a great deal that is not the life of Christ comes out; very often the sin, the Adam-nature, shows itself. No; if you wish to see the eternal life that I possess perfectly manifested, you must look at the Lord Jesus Christ as a man on earth.

The meat offering, then, sets forth the life of Jesus as a man on earth, yet as offered to God. He is our life now as risen from the dead, and was not that life manifested in His Person here on earth? Most of you will remember that verse in 2 Corinthians where we find the very expression, "Life. . . of Jesus." Just turn to it for a moment (2 Cor. 4:10).

"Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus."

Now, this is the part I meant to call your attention to:

"That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."

Scripture furnishes no account of the Lord's life in glory, where He is now. We only know that He is there, and there to make intercession for us. But in the Gospels God has given us an account of the life of the Lord Jesus on earth in four distinct aspects, just as there are four great, typical offerings in the Book of Leviticus, as we noticed when speaking of the burnt offering. And the life of Jesus, that eternal life, which was with the Father, was manifested, or shown out. The Lord having now died and borne our sins, being made sin for us, there is an end of what we were as children of Adam, and, as risen out of death, the Lord communicates His resurrection life to us. As we read in John 20, He breathed on His disciples and said to them, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost"; that is, He imparted life in resurrection in the power of the Holy Spirit. Does it not make it more interesting when we remember this in looking at the life of the Lord Jesus here on earth? Returning to our chapter, we read:

"And when any will offer a meat offering unto the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour" (v. 1).

Fine flour is a type of the spotless, sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus. The Lord speaks of Himself once or twice, at least, in the Gospels, as wheat, and also as bread. One instance is in John 6.

"For the bread of God is He which comes down from heaven, and gives life unto the world" (v. 33).

There you see that a humbled Christ — the One who came down — is called "the bread of God." And John 12 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone" (v. 24).

There the Lord speaks of Himself as a corn of wheat. In chapter 6, as we saw, He speaks of Himself as the bread of God. Thus, it is not very hard to understand the language of the types when we turn with the light of the New Testament to the Book of Leviticus. We find that one of the offerings, which we know typifies Christ, is composed of fine flour. This represents the One who came down from heaven, the Man Christ Jesus, in His spotless, sinless humanity here. And how beautiful is fine flour! When we pass our hand through it, there is no roughness, no unevenness; all is perfectly smooth. So in the Lord Jesus. There was no unevenness in Him; there was nothing in that blessed One but what was absolutely according to God's mind.

In some cases the fine flour was mingled with oil; in other cases it was anointed with oil.

"And if thy oblation be a meat offering baked in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil" (v. 5).

"Mingled with oil." Of what does that speak to us? Well, we know that the blessed Lord Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, as the angel announced to Mary "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).

Thus, in His nature as a man, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and everything that He did was by the power of the Holy Spirit. No doubt the mingling of the oil speaks to us of that.

Some of the meat offerings were anointed with oil, which speaks for itself. Most of us are familiar with the verse, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power" (Acts 10:38). The Lord was anointed with the Holy Spirit when He was about thirty years of age. At the baptism of John the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove and abode upon Him. There was the anointing.

There is another thing to be noticed in this offering, and that is the entire absence of leaven. There was to be no leaven in any of the offerings.

"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" (v. 11).

Leaven in Scripture is a type or symbol of evil. There is not a single place in Scripture where it typifies any good. I am aware that some people, who cannot deny that it represents evil in many places, say that in one place it means good. The supposed exceptional passage is in Matthew 13:33.

"The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."

Those people say that this means the gradual spread of good in the world, until at last the whole world becomes converted. We know, however, that it is not so. In every instance where the word leaven is found, it refers to evil. Two passages will be enough to quote here. In 1 Corinthians 5:8 we read, "The leaven of malice and wickedness" and in Luke 12:1 the Lord said, "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" In this same Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 16:12) the Lord shows His disciples that when He bade them beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, He referred to their doctrine, and this parable in Matthew 13 no doubt speaks to us of the spread of the Christian religion, so called, in contrast to other religions, but not of true faith and real conversion so much as of propagating doctrines and dogmas in the world, the result being professing Christendom. Doctrines are held where there is no real conversion, and all mere outward religion must be connected with evil. For instance, Babylon, in the Book of Revelation, representing worldly religion, will be judged by God as utterly corrupt and evil. When we understand by God's Word that the professing church here on earth is going to get more and more corrupt, evil men and seducers waxing worse and worse (2 Tim. 3:13), we need not seek to alter the significance of the word leaven in Matthew 13. It is all simple and clear. There was to be no leaven in any offering of the Lord. That speaks for itself. In the Person of the blessed Lord Jesus, there was no sin; "that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." And the exception in verse 12 of our chapter only brings out more strikingly the wonderful accuracy of the Spirit of God in using these types and shows that the records are inspired of God in a most admirable way.

"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" (v. 12).

Particulars of the oblation of firstfruits are given in Leviticus 23:15-21. The meat offering referred to there is a type of the church, of Christians as a body, sanctified by the Spirit of God and accepted in all the value of the work of Christ. In that instance only was leaven to be present. How beautifully accurate Scripture is! In the one type only, which represents us as believers in Christ, was leaven to be found, because, although we are before God according to all the value of the work of Christ, we still have sin in us. If an uninspired man had written the Book of Leviticus, would he have put in a thing of this kind? Impossible. These are God the Holy Spirit's pictures of the heavenly things and of the One who was coming.

There was also to be no honey in the sacrifice. Honey is understood to typify that which is sweet to us as men here — family affection and such like, right in itself — but when it was a question of being wholly consecrated to God or offered to Him, as in the language of our type, all this had to be set aside. The blessed Lord when on earth fully recognized natural relationships, but (to use the language of another) He who could say, "Woman, behold thy son!" and to the disciple, "Behold thy mother!" even in the terrible moment of the cross, when all was finished, could also say, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" when He was in the simplest accomplishment of His service.

There is very little said of the Lord's life before His public ministry. We have just a mention of Him when He was twelve years of age. He was with the doctors in the temple, hearing them and asking them questions. It was then that He said to His mother, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" He was consciously the Son of the Father, yet the very next verse says that He went back with His parents and was subject to them. That shows the perfection of what He was, even at twelve years old — a subject Son to His earthly parents. How beautifully the Lord's perfections came out every step of the way! What passed from the time He was twelve years of age till He was thirty, the Holy Spirit does not reveal to us, but all that time the Father's eye rested upon Him, and all His thoughts, acts, words and prayers were going up as a sweet savor to God.

Concerning the commencement of His public ministry, we read in Matthew 3, "And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (vv. 16-17).

Have you ever seen the force of that expression, "Unto Him"? It does not say the heavens were opened upon Him, but "the heavens were opened unto Him," which means that He Himself was the Object on earth for the heavens to look down upon. "The heavens were opened unto Him" and then the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, in the form of a dove, and rested upon Him. Never, from the moment Adam sinned and dishonored God, never till this time was there a man here on earth in whom God could find perfect delight. Never before was there a man without sin here on the earth, a man in whom God could find His delight. Never. Therefore the heavens, so to speak, must open and the Father's voice declare, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

These words were repeated on the mount of transfiguration, farther on in the Lord's ministry, nearer His death. Again the voice came from the excellent glory, as the Apostle Peter tells us: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased [or, have found My delight]." I have found My delight, the Father says, in Him, Wonderful and blessed to think of the delight that the Father found in Him. The world did not know Him; they rejected Him. They saw Him only as the carpenter's son. They called Him Beelzebub. "He has a devil," they said; "why hear ye Him?" They did not know who He was, but the Father knew. "This is My beloved Son, in whom I have found My delight" (J.N.D).

A great many are not clear about the life of the Lord Jesus on earth. We know that many thousands of Christians think that His perfect, spotless life on earth is reckoned to them for righteousness. Their thought is that He kept the law for them during His life, and on the cross He bore their sins, and that the righteousness of His life is reckoned to those who believe. But there is no scripture to show that Christ kept the law for us, or that His righteous life on earth is imputed to the believer. God has made Him righteousness unto us (1 Cor. 1:30), and we are made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21), but this is only in resurrection.

On the other hand, we are apt to go to the other extreme and attach too little importance to the Lord's life. Nevertheless, it is very clear that His life is not for our justification, and we cannot be too clear upon it, for if He had lived down here ten thousand years and had not died, we could never have gone into the glory of God. Never. Therefore, we can say with all confidence that the Lord's life on earth did not put away sins. His death and blood-shedding alone could do that. If it be asked, "What was the object of His life on earth?" I reply that in all things we are apt to think of our own side and the benefits we get from what Christ has done. Have you ever considered that the world's history for four thousand years, from the time that Adam sinned till the Lord came, is a history of sin, of dishonor done to God, of rebellion against Him, and of independence and self-will in every conceivable form? We have only to read the Old Testament to find that this was the case, both before the flood and after it. It is all the same story — nothing but a history of man's sin, rebellion and independence of God, except when there was true faith wrought by the Spirit of God. And is all this to be allowed to pass without any notice being taken of it? No.

It is most interesting to see that the Lord Jesus, in His life down here, took up and glorified God in every point in which the first Adam and his race failed. It is very blessed to see that. Adam and all his race are characterized by disobedience. "By one man's disobedience many were made sinners" (Rom. 5:19). What characterized the Lord Jesus? Obedience, perfect obedience. Independence characterized the first Adam and all his race all the way down. Look at the tower of Babel, for instance. What an expression of independence that was! They said, "Let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name. . . . And the Lord said,. . . now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do" (Gen. 11:4-6). There was the self-exaltation of man on the earth in independence of God.

But what characterized the Lord Jesus? Perfect dependence. In the wilderness He was ahungered, and when the devil came to Him and said, "If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread," He answered, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Perfect dependence, perfect obedience, characterized the Lord Jesus in every possible way. He brought infinite glory to God in the very place where nothing but dishonor had been brought to Him by the first man and his race. It is most blessed to think of — He was doing the Father's will at all cost to Himself. Do you think that you lose by contemplating God's thoughts of Christ? I will give you an instance of the opposite of this. Just turn to John 6:37-38.

"All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out."

Why?

"For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me."

The beauty of that well-known passage — "Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out" — is generally missed by not reading the context, for "him that comes to Me" is only the last half of the verse. The whole verse is seldom quoted. How beautifully Christ's obedience is brought out here! First, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me." Then, "Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." How blessedly comforting that is! If I ask any soul that has not peace with God, "Have you come to Christ?" and that soul can answer, "Yes," I can say, "That shows that you are one whom the Father has given to Christ, for He said, 'All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me,' and you have come to Him. The Lord says, 'Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.' The Father sends these sheep to Christ, and in receiving them He is doing the Father's will. How would He be doing the Father's will if He cast out those whom the Father had given Him? In receiving you and me He is doing the Father's will, because the Father sent us, and we came. We did not know it at the time, but we know it now, thank God." This is an example of how we gain by seeing that the Lord was here doing the Father's will perfectly.

Surely the life of the Lord Jesus on earth was of use, although, as I said, of no use to us as sinners. But now that we are saints of God, how blessed to look back on the spotless life of the Lord Jesus here on earth, to read the Gospels in the light of this meat offering, and see the Man Christ Jesus going through this world, altogether a sweet savor to God, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21).

You may have noticed the different intensity of the trials to which the Lord as man was subject here. This was typified by the different ways in which the meat offering was prepared. In one case it was baked in an oven (v. 4). In another case it was baked in a pan — a flat slice or plate (v. 5). In a third case it was baked in a frying pan. These different modes of offering the meat offering by fire no doubt set forth the different degrees of intensity in the trials to which the Lord was subject here. The "oven" may refer to the hidden path of His life, that which men could not see, that which was between Himself and God alone. How blessed to be allowed to enter into all this! It will be the joy of our souls in that day of glory that is coming when we are with Him to be going over and retracing the pathway of that blessed Lord who so humbled Himself in this world — the One who, in coming to do the will of God, also, in the love and grace of His heart, gave Himself for our sins, becoming a man in order to do it.

In verse 13 we find another thing — namely, that salt was never to be lacking from the meat offering, or indeed from any offering.

"And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt."

Salt, as you know, is a preservative, and it may here speak to us of that which is eternal, as we read in Mark 9:49, "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." Eternal judgment is the portion of all men who die in their sins. But in the case of the sacrifice, the efficacy of it and its results will endure forever. It is "the salt of the covenant of thy God," in which God, as it were, binds Himself to bless us according to His own heart on the ground of the everlasting efficacy of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. In connection with this meat offering, the sweet savor of what Christ was to God here as man on earth will be no passing savor, but will abide for all eternity, as will also our joy in feeding upon Him as the humbled Man here on earth.

{*Another has said, "All shall be judged — the saints, that they may not be condemned with the world, and the rest by final judgment — but salt, separation from evil, belonged to sacrifices thus given to God. And every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Those who were consecrated to God, whose life was an offering to Him, should not lack the power of holy grace which binds the soul to God and inwardly preserves it from evil" (JND).}

We will just refer in conclusion to "the law of the meat offering" (ch. 6:14-18). This passage brings out our portion in that offering. The memorial of that meat offering was to be burned upon the altar for a sweet savor unto the Lord.

"And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation shall they eat it. It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering."

"I have given it unto them." I think that is beautiful. God says, "I have given it unto them." Given what? The meat offering. Unto whom? Unto His priests, unto us — "for their portion of My offerings." It was God's offering, all offered to God, as the life of the Lord Jesus here, but we have our portion in it. We, as God's priests, can feed upon that humbled One; our souls can feed upon and delight in Him in His perfection as a man going through this world. How wonderful that is! And is it not very remarkable that every time these scriptures speak of Aaron and his sons eating of this offering, it is said, "It is most holy"? Read the third verse of chapter 2: "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." Verse 10 also: "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." And verse 17 in chapter 6: "It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering." "With unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place" (v. 16). What is the holy place for us? Surely the presence of God. Without leaven the priests' portion was to be eaten in the holy place: with unleavened bread — the absence of all allowed sin. In the presence of God, with the flesh judged and kept in the place of death, only there and thus can we, as God's priests, feed upon the spotless, holy Person of the Lord Jesus Christ in His life as a man here below. The meat offering and the sin offering are characterized alike by "it is most holy." All the efforts and attacks of Satan against the truth, in almost all false doctrines, are directly or indirectly aimed at the Person or work of the blessed Lord — not so much at what He is now in glory, as what He was as man down here on earth. A humbled Christ seems to be the object of the enemy's attack in all false doctrine. It was so in the beginning. Look at the troubles in the early days of the church — the Arian doctrine, for instance, aiming a blow at the Person of Christ — and the doctrine of the non-eternity of punishment, in our day, indirectly undermining the truth both as to the Person and the work of Christ.

But we read, first of all, that the priests shall eat of the meat offering. Only a converted person can understand and feed upon the Lord Jesus in His pathway through this world. Second, "With unleavened bread shall it be eaten." No sin may be allowed in us. If sin were unjudged in us, the Holy Spirit would be grieved and could not unfold to us the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ in His humiliation on earth. And it is the Holy Spirit alone who can do that. On the other hand, nothing is more dreadful than an unconverted man's criticizing and judging the life of the Lord Jesus here on earth, or than the exercise of the thoughts of an unrenewed heart as to the Person of the Son of God. The priests of God feed upon a humbled Christ in the holy place.

May the Lord enable us in the power of the Holy Spirit to feed on Himself. Surely that is what the Lord speaks to us of in the message to the church at Pergamos in Revelation 2: "To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna." What is the "hidden manna"? There in glory we shall, in the power of the Holy Spirit, look back and enter fully into God's delight in the perfections of the blessed Lord in His humiliation upon earth, and it is surely our portion now. Surely His humiliation is far more wonderful to us than His exaltation — the humiliation of that blessed One who, being in the form of God, emptied Himself, humbled Himself, went down in perfect obedience "unto death, even the death of the cross." May the Lord in His grace give us to be feeding upon Himself more and more.
"There on the hidden bread,
On Christ — once humbled here —
God's treasured store, forever fed,
His love my soul shall cheer."