Christ in the Offerings: The Meat Offering

A Gift Given to God

Leviticus 2:1-16; 6:14-18

We have seen in an earlier chapter that there were five forms of the Burnt Offering. There may have been a bullock, a sheep, a goat, a turtle dove, or a young pigeon. These are symbolic, respectively, of the unwearying service, the unmurmuring suffering, the undeviating pathway, the unwavering devotion, and the uncomplaining poverty of the Lord Jesus. It is that which we call His moral glory. This moral beauty of the Lord Jesus has been the grand subject of hymns and meditations down the centuries. It may be viewed practically in the four Gospels, a delightful study of His stainless pathway. It may be studied doctrinally in the Epistles as the inspired writers speak throughout of One Who was without sin. It may be seen typically in the materials and colors, the service and ministry of the ancient Tabernacle of Israel. Our present chapters portray that moral glory in the symbolic language of the Meat Offering.

It will be observed that while the Authorized Version of our Bible (AV or KJV) consistently says “Meat Offering,” many other translations will prefer meal offering, food offering, grain offering, or cereal offering. The word which occasions these differences is the Hebrew minchah which simply means a gift, a tribute, a present, or oblation. Such a gift was usually in the form of food and since the older word for food is “meat” as in Mark 14:3, John 4:8, 32, 34, and indeed, as early as Genesis 1:29-30, so it is here in Leviticus 2. J. N. Darby renders minchah quite literally and simply calls the Meat Offering “an oblation.” The Meat Offering was a gift of food for the altar and for the priests. 

Those who prefer “Meal Offering” use this title because substantively the offering was of meal or flour in various forms, but neither “meal” nor “grain” is a true translation of minchah. “Meat” here has nothing to do with “flesh.

Many young believers, approaching the Meat Offering for the first time will perceive a problem in that here is an offering without blood. Many will have heard energetic gospel preachers thundering out denunciations of Cain and his bloodless offering and God’s rejection of it. Yet here are explicit instructions for the bringing of a bloodless offering which will be accepted by the same Lord Who rejected Cain.

There is a dual answer to this apparent problem. First, this is not in any sense an offering for sin. There is no thought of sin in this offering. The hand which grasps the handful of fine flour for the altar is not the trembling hand of a sinner looking for forgiveness. It is the hand of a grateful worshiper desiring to offer a gift to Jehovah. In later chapters we shall see that there are Sin Offerings and Trespass Offerings for forgiveness. The Meat Offering is neither.

Second, this offering was usually a companion offering. It was an adjunct to the Burnt Offering. Many, many times, especially in the Book of Numbers, we read of “the Burnt Offering and his Meat Offering,” as if to say that when there was a Burnt Offering it would be accompanied by a Meat Offering (Num 28:10-12 and throughout chapter 29). In that case the flour of the Meat Offering would soon be saturated by the blood upon the altar.

It will be evident then that in looking for “Christ in the Offerings” the bloodless offering will direct our minds to the life and character of Christ rather than to His death. However, the perfections of the Savior’s life and the value of His death are inseparably linked; they are interdependent in the plan of God. Calvary is the climax of our Lord’s moral glory. He was “obedient unto death” (Phil 2:8). His death upon the cross is of infinite value because it was the laying down of a perfect life. 

While there is no thought of death in this offering and no suffering for sin, there are nevertheless several typical suggestions of deep suffering and these will be observed in a study of the different forms in which the flour of the offering was prepared and offered. Our Lord Jesus had sufferings during His lifetime apart from those which we term “atoning.” As believers we sing, “Forever on Thy burdened heart a weight of sorrow hung.” He was a Man of sorrows Who suffered the pangs of being misunderstood, the hurt of misrepresentation, reproach, and rejection. He bore the sadness of unbelief even in His own household, and then the final refusal of the nation to which He had come as the promised Messiah. He was indeed 

A Man of sorrows, of toil and tears,
An outcast Man and a lonely;
But He looked on me,
and through endless years
Him must I love – Him only.

– Frances Bevan

As in the case of the Burnt Offering, there are again five forms of the Meat Offering, and these are from three different spheres. A significance of the numbers “5” and “3” has already been suggested in our study of that first offering. Although the Meat Offering is always of fine flour, at times the flour may be presented in its unbaked state, at other times it may be baked, and yet again it may be the original ears of corn. These are the three spheres.

As for the five forms of the offering, these are, fine flour unbaked; flour baked in the oven; flour baked in a pan or flat plate; flour baked in a frying pan; green ears of corn dried by the fire. These all speak of Christ in some way and it will be evident that they represent varying aspects of His Person and varied appreciations. One man will present his offering in one way, and another will bring his in a different way. So it is with believers today. We have different apprehensions of the Savior and different capacities of understanding, but it must move the heart of God with pleasure when His people bring their handful, their appreciation of Him Who has so delighted the heart of His Father. “The Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23). Precious details follow in the chapter.