Two Aspects of the Meat-offering.

Leviticus 2, and Leviticus 23:16-21.

It has often been remarked that the meat offering is of the order of Cain's offering. Of that order, but how different in nature! Cain brought the fruits and flowers of a cursed earth to God, whilst in the meat offering of Leviticus 2 perfect manhood is offered to God in the person of our blessed Lord. Another aspect of the meat offering (that of the Pentecostal loaves) shows us redeemed man presented to God in the power of the Holy Ghost, the leaven in this case being baked in the loaves. There is no leaven in Leviticus 2.

Let us briefly consider the two aspects of this offering as they are found in the two passages, taking care not to confound them.

In Leviticus 2 our Lord is seen as the perfect Man - that holy Man of Luke's gospel - born of the Virgin Mary. The fine flour, oil, and incense are the first things to be noticed. The Word became flesh. A real Man was born at Bethlehem by the Holy Ghost's power. One walked upon earth, different from all the sons of Adam, in His blessed person the Second Man, and all His life was full of fragrance to God. All the incense was burned with the memorial in verse 2, and went up in a sweet savour. The offering was most holy amongst sacrifices burned by fire to Jehovah.

In the following part (Leviticus 2:4-10) it is well to notice the anointing with oil of each portion of the cake. I suppose that the breaking in pieces (verse 6) may represent our blessed Lord's life looked upon in detail; and every action, every word, bore the character of the oil - the blessed, dependent Man of Luke's gospel. The more we read His life the more do we see its divine beauty. The memorial was burnt on the altar, and the rest of the offering eaten by the priests; and indeed we need, in this (sacerdotal) character, to feed upon the meat offering.

Leaven and honey were excluded from the meat offering in Luke 2, and it may be well to look at this. Leaven represents evil, and could have no place in the perfect Man. Jesus was absolutely holy. Honey is rather the figure of natural affections, which are good in themselves, but form no part of the offering upon the altar. So our Lord could say to Mary, in John 2, "What have I to do with thee?" We have no doubt as to our Lord's care and love for her from other passages.

There is a danger, let us note in passing, of what is merely natural coming into the things of God, and causing trouble; and so, in Proverbs 25:16, there is a caution against using too much "honey." As an illustration, we all recollect the trouble caused by eating too much honey in Xenophon's time, in the retreat of the ten thousand.*

*They found a quantity of honey in a village, and partook of it without moderation. It caused great illness in the army.

The twelfth verse alludes to the offering at Pentecost, as we shall shortly see.

Then the salt of the covenant was not to be wanting in the meat offering. Salt is that peculiar power of the Holy Spirit that preserves what is good from corruption. In Christ there was no leaven, but salt was to be found in all His ways and words for the good of others. I should say that His words, "Render to Caesar the things that are Cesar's, and to God the things that are God's," are an example of this. For us we need to be kept by the Spirit's power, so that our inmost thoughts may be for God. This will produce the conservative effect of salt in our walk. Every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. The difference between the salt and the fire here has often been noticed. May we have salt in ourselves. Salt cannot be restored if once it has lost its savour.* The exhortation in Colossians 4:6 is very important - the speech to be seasoned with salt. If there be too much, it becomes rather judgment than seasoning, as in the case of Lot's wife (who must needs look back to see that clear Sodom once more) who became a pillar of salt, receiving in judgment - in her death - that which she had refused during her life. A striking monument.

*I recollect hearing an account of the effect of the sun upon parts of the shores of the Dead Sea, where one may find salt which has literally "lost its savour" in places where strong evaporation has taken place. Good for nothing but to be trodden under foot.

The last few verses of Leviticus 2 are very blessed, and shew us another way in which the meat offering was presented to God. The full-grained ears of corn are crushed, and the memorial burnt. Notice that in every meat offering the fire has to be gone through, and the accomplishment of this we find in the gospels, where the perfect offering was made. Especially in the one already noticed (Luke) do we find the perfect manhood of our blessed Lord exposed to the fire.

But let us now briefly look at the second aspect of the meat offering; I mean that of Leviticus 23:16, et seq. In the 15th verse seven weeks were counted from that day when the sheaf of firstfruits had been presented, and this presentation no doubt represents our Lord's resurrection. There could be no change as to His person morally, for He is Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever; but what a change as to condition, on that morning of the resurrection, when Jesus, no longer the man of sorrows, but triumphant over the grave, gave life in abundance to the disciples! The last Adam is a quickening spirit, and so we find, in the sheaf of first-fruits, the figure of the risen Christ.

Then, seven weeks afterwards, came the day of Pentecost, the day on which the Holy Spirit was sent to form the church of God upon earth. The assembly is here represented by the two loaves baked with leaven; there is an adequate testimony to the grace of God by which the redeemed company is presented to Him on the ground of perfect redemption in Christ.

No such thing had been known before this, and it has been well said, that before the Holy Spirit came to dwell in men the dwelling-place must be prepared; and His very presence in the assembly testifies to the perfect work on the cross of Him who rose seven weeks before the day of Pentecost. Blessed are they who understand the true connection between the risen Lord and the favoured company united to Him by the Holy Ghost! It is very important in the present day to see the new order of things brought in by Christ's resurrection, and to know that the Spirit is upon earth, as sent from the glorified Head of the church.

But let us notice that there was leaven in these two loaves (compare Lev. 2:12), although it was baked in them. That is to say, there is a very different offering here to that which we considered as the figure of our Lord's perfect humanity; in this one, representing the church, the leaven is found, for there is evil in us.

I think that the passage in Galatians where the flesh is said to lust against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, would help us here; for the meaning of the end of the verse Galatians 5:17 is that we should not do that which naturally, according to the flesh, we should wish. That is, although the flesh be there, the Spirit is superior to it; and we may see this in the loaves presented at Pentecost with the leaven baked in them. Redeemed man is presented to God in the power of the Spirit.

Notice, too, that in the passage before us (Lev. 23:18-19) burnt offerings and a sin offering accompanied the presentation of the two loaves; that is, nothing can counteract sin but the work of Christ, and this is brought to memory by the goat offered at the Feast of Weeks. (v. 19.)

Hoping that these brief remarks may be useful, I can only say that the blessed subject is most imperfectly considered; perhaps we may look into it further on another occasion, if the Lord will. E. L. Bevir.