Leviticus 2:1-16; 6:14-18
Six ingredients are mentioned in connection with the Meat Offering. Four of these were always to be included as essential constituents of the offering. Two, however, were forbidden and must strictly be excluded. There must be fine flour, oil, frankincense, and salt. There must not be either leaven or honey. These details always direct us to the Person of Christ, propounding and protecting His moral glory. The fineness of the flour, the fullness of the oil, the fragrance of the frankincense, and the freshness of the salt are beautifully typical of that lovely life which brought so much pleasure to God.
The Fineness of the Flour
The finest flour has no coarseness, no roughness, no harsh lumps. Such was the character of the Lord Jesus. The choicest saints all seem to have some outstanding virtue or quality, each in itself commendable. We must admire the patience of Job, the faith of Abraham, the meekness of Moses, the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of Daniel, the energy of Peter, the love of John, and the knowledge of Paul. These same qualities we see in many of our brethren today. But our Lord Jesus bore the fruit of the Spirit in its entirety and completeness. Was there more love than joy? Was there more peace than longsuffering? Was there more gentleness than goodness or more faith and meekness than temperance? “No!” we answer; every pleasing feature was displayed in Him in perfect balance. There was no unevenness in His character.
The fine flour in its beauty
The perfect Man portrays,
In all His path of duty,
In all His heavenly ways.
I. Y. Ewan
The Fullness of the Oil
Oil is a well-known symbol of the Holy Spirit, source of light, heat, and health. It was applied to the flour of the Meat Offering in three different ways. Sometimes the flour was mingled with oil, sometimes it was anointed with oil, and sometimes it was saturated as the oil was poured upon it. Flour mingled with oil! Do we hear Gabriel say 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)? In the womb of the virgin, in the mystery of the incarnation, the Savior was conceived by the power of the Spirit. We are not asked to understand or explain or question, but simply to believe. It is as though the flour were miraculously mingled with the oil in Mary’s womb.
Then one memorable day, when Jesus was about thirty years of age, He stood with a faithful, obedient remnant in the waters of Jordan, “and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him” (Luke 3:22). A little later He could apply the words of the prophet Isaiah to Himself as He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). The flour was anointed with the oil.
Those were the early days of a busy life of ministry. It was a service saturated with the holy fellowship of the Spirit. Peter sums up and says, “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you” (Acts 2:22). “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). The flour was saturated with the oil!
The Fragrance of the Frankincense
Frankincense was white, pure, precious, and very sweet. What a telling symbol it was of the One Who so delighted the heart of His Father! Note however, that while a handful of the flour and the oil was placed on the altar, all the frankincense was put there for God, as if to say that only God Himself could fully appreciate the fragrance of that lovely Life. If all our appreciation was gathered together it would not suffice to express fully the beauty of the Savior.
The Father only, glorious claim,
The Son can comprehend.
As opposed to the inclusion of frankincense, there was to be no honey in the Meat Offering. Frankincense is pure sweetness which actually exudes the more when fire is applied. Honey is sweet but can be soured by fire. It is a natural sweetness. The fragrance of our Lord’s character could only be enhanced by the heat of suffering; when nailed to the tree, He could say, “Father, forgive them.”
The Freshness of the Salt
Salt is a great preservative; leaven is a corrupting element and when used typically in Scripture it is always a symbol of evil. Is Jehovah giving to us a double assurance of the purity of the Lord Jesus? Put in the preserving salt, He commands, but keep out the corrupting leaven. The leaven of the Pharisees was formalism; the leaven of the Sadducees was rationalism; the leaven of Herod was sensualism. Leaven in Corinth was moral evil; leaven in Galatia was doctrinal evil. Being always a symbol of evil, leaven had no place in that which foreshadowed Christ.
Further careful study will show that sometimes the Meat Offering was baked in the oven, concealed from human view. Such were some of our Lord’s sufferings, like those in the wilderness where He met Satan alone. At other times the offering was baked openly on a flat plate. Some of the Savior’s sorrows were witnessed by all, as His tears, His sighs, His groans, and His physical sufferings on the cross. But sometimes the offering was prepared in a cauldron, a vessel with sides, partly visible but partly hidden. He had sorrows which, like Gethsemane, were observed only by those who were near to Him. Lack of space forbids a detailed study of the first-fruits, green ears of corn dried by the fire, but what a privilege is ours to take our handful of appreciation and present it to God for His pleasure! May we rise to our priestly responsibility!