Reader, pause now and ponder the meat offering. It holds the second place in the display of these Christ-teaching rites. May the great Spirit’s rays so brightly shine upon it that some new view of Jesus may appear! God’s wisdom terms it the meat offering – and justly so, because its larger part supplied the priest with food. Its substance and its use are the chief points which claim attention.
Its main material is flour (verse 1). Is there no meaning in this choice? Mark, God’s own mind selects it. His mind is the abode of wondrous thought. Examine flour. By what process is it formed? Earth yields the grain; repeated blows thresh it from the husks; the grinding mill reduces it to powder. Reader, this thought glides easily to Christ. He stoops to be poor offspring of poor earth. He whom no heavens can hold is born the woman’s seed. And then what batterings assail Him! The earliest prophecy predicts His bruised heel. Hell spares no blow. Earth’s fury lashes Him with ceaseless rage. The strokes of justice crush Him to the dust of death.
O my soul, a suffering Jesus is your full salvation. A bruised God-man is your blessed hope. His wounds are your safe refuge. His stripes heal you. He was broken to make you whole. He was crushed to raise you up. He groaned to bring you ease. He died, that you may live.
The quality of the flour is distinctly marked. It must be fine. All coarseness must be sifted out. No impure speck may stain it. Reader, see the lovely beauties of the Lord. His charms bring comfort to the anxious soul. Let but one flaw be found in Him, and salvation’s pillar moulders into dust. Then cleansing would be needed for His own defects. No blood would then remain for others’ guilt. But He comes forth in all the glory of pure sinlessness. Thus He can take the sinner’s place, and pay the sinner’s debt, and cast a spotless mantle round His church. Thus we are beauteous in His beauty, fair in His fairness, comely in His comeliness, robed in His grace. The pure meat offering sounds the gospel note: “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
Oil is added (verse 1). Its many properties are emblems of the Spirit’s grace. Christ’s very name implies that all the Spirit was outpoured on Him. His life attests this truth. When He appeared in earthly frame, it was the Spirit’s workmanship (Luke 1:35). When He ascended from the streams of Jordan, the Spirit, as a dove, descended on Him (Luke 3:22). When He approached His direst conflict with the power of hell, the Spirit led Him by the hand (Luke 4:1). When, on the altar of the cross, He gave His soul an offering for sin, the Spirit’s might upheld Him (Heb 9:14). When He burst the fetters of the grave, the quickening Spirit aided (1 Pet 3:18). His lips dropped wisdom; His steps were goodness; His hand was boundless power; His heart was overflowing love. It must be so. The God-man was the Spirit’s home. God gave not the Spirit by measure unto Him (John 3:34) The meat offering was rich in oil. Jesus abounded with the Spirit’s grace.
Believer, are you conformed to your anointed Head? Are you the living temple of the Holy Ghost? “Be filled with the Spirit” is His trumpet-tongued command (Eph 5:18). Can He thus speak and not be ready to dwell fully in you? Can He be ready, and will you exclude Him? O grieve Him not! Wrong not your needy soul! Admit Him in His every gift. He is no Christian who is unlike Christ. He is unlike, in whom the Spirit works no likeness.
Frankincense is sprinkled on the mass of flour and oil (verse 1). Thus the meat offering scatters fragrance round and fills the senses with delicious joy. And is not Christ the incense of delight, in heaven, in earth? The precious merits of His work regale each attribute of God. He brings full honour to their every claim. No Christ-saved soul sits down in bliss but to add glory to Jehovah’s name, to bring brightness to Jehovah’s crown, and to deck justice, mercy, truth, in more resplendent rays.
He, too, is perfume to His people’s hearts. Say, ye who know Christ Jesus, is not His name “as ointment poured forth”? Is He not your bundle of myrrh – your “cluster of camphire”? (Song 1:13,14.) He blots out every sin. He bears away all curse. He heals all wounds. He dries all tears. He stills all conscience-fears. He shows God reconciled, hell vanquished, heaven won. In Him the past has lost its terror. In Him the present is hope’s clear watch-tower. In Him the future is an expanse of glory. Can there be frankincense more gladdening than these refreshing truths? Reader, grasp Him, and refresh yourself in this garden of sweet joy.
No leaven and no honey may be brought (verse 11). The first is quick to change and taint the meal. It rapidly pervades. It casts a savour into every part. Hence it is evil’s emblem. For sin admitted will run wildly through the heart. Its course pollutes. Its touch leaves all impure. The latter is most luscious to the palate. But is it harmless? Nay, it soon proves a sickening and fermenting pest. Its sweetness tempts. But bitterness ensues. Here is a symbol of sin’s flattering bait. It shows enticements in its front. It seems to call to rich delights. It promises a honied feast. But, ah, the juice is gall! The dregs are wormwood. Sin’s smiles end in hell-pains. No such admixtures may defile this type. To paint the sun we use our brightest tints. To show forth Christ we must have pure and purifying signs.
But salt must be infused (verse 13). Its properties repel corruption and defy decay. Where it is sprinkled, freshness lives. At its approach, time drops its spoiling hand. Again behold the Lord. His essence and His work are purity’s bright blaze. He soars above defilement, high as the heavens excel the earth. He washes, and His saints are cleansed. He breathes within them, and corruptions are arrested. Believer, you too are called to be this vile earth’s salt (Matt 5:13). When you go forth, may purity walk hand in hand! When your lips speak, may purity’s best seed be dropped! May your whole life be counteractive of sin’s taint! May many an error die when you are near!
Salt portrays too the perpetuity of grace. Believer, you may know that Jesus loves you. You read it in His cross. You see it in the Word, that mirror of His heart. You hear it in His Spirit’s call. Know that this love is as eternal as Himself. The covenant of salt precedes the birth, survives the death, of time.
The meat offering is thus significantly formed. Its use is next distinctly shown. The offerer “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” (verse 2). A part is cast upon the altar’s hearth. The fire enwraps it in devouring folds. It is the prey of the consuming blaze.
Faith knows full well the gospel of this act. It sees wrath falling on the spotless and anointed victim. The burning meal exhibits Jesus in the furnace of keen anguish. What awe, what peace, live in this wondrous sight!
What awe! Here is full evidence of sin’s deserts. Sin rouses the just vengeance of our righteous God. It is an outrage to His honour, to His nature and His name. It must have torment. An adamantine chain unites it to excruciating woe. If it escape, God’s majesty is wronged. The God-man in the garden and on the cross shows how God’s anger deals with this foul foe.
What peace! Jesus consents to suffer all. Each vial is poured out on Him. The fire finds its prey and spares not. Believer, see the meat offering on the altar, and let your every fear subside. Gaze, and let tranquil peace lull every anxious thought. Wrath ends in Jesus. It takes its dues from Him. It leaves Him not till all is paid. Its sting then dies. No penal woe remains for you. Justice forbids that punishment should twice be asked. You may look calmly on the fiery lake. A suffering Christ has quenched its flames for you. Happy believer, your sins, though many, have endured their death. Happy believer, where are hell’s pains for you? Your Surety has exhausted all.
The Meat offering had further use. The remainder “shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire” (verse 3). Here is another view of Christ. It shows most tender and providing love. The gospel truth is bread of life to hungry souls. They who serve Christ sit down at a rich board. A feast is spread to nourish and regale. Christ gives Himself – heaven’s richest produce – as substantial food. He is the bread of life. His flesh is meat indeed; His blood is drink indeed. The Spirit is ever calling to the banquet-house, “Eat, O friends”; “Eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness”. Faith hears, faith hastens, faith partakes and thrives, and feasts again and gains recruited energies for new work. Poor worldlings snatch at miscalled pleasure’s husk. They eat and fret and pine and perish.
In preparing the meat offering, account was made of varying grades of outward circumstance. Divers utensils were enjoined to meet diversity of rank and state. The rich must use their best. The poor must humbly bring from their more humble hearths. But rich and poor alike must offer (verses 4,5,7). One Christ is the one plea at heaven’s gate. The rich man’s riches open not the door. The poor man’s poverty has no moving voice. Hear this, ye rich. Earthly wealth is little now, and cannot buy pardon. But Christ enriches in present and in endless time. His treasure is ennobling gain, enduring joy, a crown of life, a throne of glory. Bring this meat offering, and you are rich indeed.
Ye poor, draw near. Especial welcomes beckon you. Your toil-worn hands may clasp the cross. Your lowly huts may entertain the Lord of lords. Without Him poverty is hard indeed. But He can make you kings and priests to God. By His side, work is light. In His arms, rest is sweet. In His love, life has few frowns. In His faith, death sweetly smiles. Bring this meat offering, and you are no more poor.
Spirit of God, great Teacher of the Church, blessings be Thine, for thus revealing Christ
1. This is a chapter from The Gospel in Leviticus. Law was a prominent Evangelical in the Church of England in the nineteenth century.