For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2000, 2004 James Melough


2:1.  "And when any will offer a meat (meal) offering unto the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:"


The meal offering of fine flour, as already noted, speaks of the Lord’s perfect humanity in which no characteristic predominated: all were in perfect balance.  This is in marked contrast to us in whom one characteristic does predominate, causing the others to be subordinate, and producing imbalance in our lives.


Since oil is one of the biblical symbols of the Holy Spirit, the oil upon, or mingled with the fine flour declares the truth that the Lord was not only begotten, but also anointed, by the power of the Holy Spirit, His whole human life being under the Holy Spirit’s control.


Frankincense is a biblical symbol of worship, and its being placed on the meal speaks of the fragrance of the Lord’s life to the Father.  There was never a thought, word, or deed that wasn’t pleasing to God, His testimony to His pleasure in the Lord’s life being declared when He opened the heavens, and announced, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Matthew 3:17.  Nor was Christ ever more pleasing to God than when He was willing to be made sin for us, and suffered the awful storm of divine wrath against sin, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.


2:2.  “And he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests: and he (the priest, see verse 9) 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 (handful) of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord;”


Aaron’s sons represent believers as a royal kingdom of priests, and after the priest had removed a handful of the meal mixed with the oil, and all the frankincense, to be burnt on the altar, he kept the remainder as his own God-appointed food, see verse 3.  In this we are being taught that having first, through faith, presented Christ to God, as our Savior, He then becomes our spiritual food presented in the written Word.  The priests needed that food in order to live, and we need its spiritual equivalent to sustain our spiritual life.  The reality of the profession of one who has no desire to read and study the written Word, is very much open to question.  Such a man is as much an anomaly as is one who doesn’t desire literal food.


We find the same pattern in connection with the passover lamb.  First, it had to be killed, and its blood applied to the three parts of the door, but then the carcase was to be roasted and eaten, i.e., the very same lamb which had secured the redemption of the firstborn, then became the food to nourish that redeemed life.


Since it seems that the offerer was to pour the oil on the meal before bringing it to the priest, then the part retained by the priest was also mingled with oil, and this teaches another lesson related to the study of Scripture.  Oil is a biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit, and its being mingled with the meal tells us that Bible study, apart from the enlightenment of an ungrieved and unquenched Holy Spirit, is a mere intellectual activity.  If the Scriptures are to be our spiritual food, there must be that obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit which alone ensures His enlightenment relative to what we read.


The incense speaks of the fragrance of Christ’s life to God, and the command to burn all the incense on the altar with the memorial handful of the meal mingled with oil, suggests that we should begin each time of Bible study by thanking God that it is only by virtue of the Lord’s sacrifice that we have that spiritual life to be nourished by the written Word in which the Holy Spirit presents to us the One Who is the living Word.


2:3.  “And the remnant of the meal offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire.”


Since Aaron is a type of Christ, and his sons types of believers, the fact that he and his sons fed on the remnant of the meal offering, and eating speaks of satisfaction (we eat to satisfy hunger), the lesson is that we not only find satisfaction in Christ, but, transcendent wonder, He also finds satisfaction in us, as it is written, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities,” Isaiah 53:11.


2:4.  “And if thou bring an oblation of a meal offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.”


It seems that the word for cakes means literally pierced cakes, which points to the piercing of the Lord’s hands and feet and side when He fulfilled the type at Calvary.  No one could see what was happening to the material being cooked, from the moment it was placed in the oven until it was taken out, so that the meal in the form of cakes or wafers being baked in the oven, speaks of what Christ suffered at Calvary during the three hours of darkness when only God could observe the sufferings of His spotless Son made sin for us, and enduring on our behalf the fire of divine anger against sin.  Concerning those sufferings, the language of Lamentations 1:13 clearly goes beyond disobedient Israel and finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ, “From above hath he (God) sent fire into my bones, and it prevailed against them.”  The Psalmist also has written concerning Christ, “For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth,” Psalm 102:3.


The forming of the meal into cakes may speak of the fact that Christ didn’t just die for the sin of the world in general: He died for the sins of each man who would trust Him as Savior, the cakes representing those who have vicariously died with Him, God imputing His death to them.


The wafers declare the same truth, but with a slightly different emphasis.  A wafer is produced by pressure which reduces it to such thinness that further pressure would result in its being simply returned to meal (note that the wafer was anointed with oil: the pressure would have squeezed all the oil out of it had it been first mixed with the meal).  The truth being declared in the wafers is that when Christ said, “It is finished,” the debt we owed was fully paid.  There wasn’t one sin unatoned for!  All the sins I have ever committed, or ever will commit, have all been atoned for at Calvary.  Well might the psalmist write concerning Christ, “Thy wrath lieth hard upon me,” Psalm 88:7.  There was nothing more for God’s wrath to kindle upon when the Lord dismissed His spirit.


Since leaven is a type of sin, the absence of leaven is the symbolic declaration of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was Himself without sin personally even when He was made sin for us at Calvary.  A further truth being taught in the absence of leaven from the cakes and wafers is that as men and women in Christ we too are without sin.  The sins we commit as believers come from the old nature, for since our new nature is the nature of Christ Himself, it can no more produce sin in us than it could in Him.  A miracle of grace little understood by many believers is that we are as sinless in God’s sight as is the Lord Jesus Christ.


2:5.  “And if thy oblation be a meal offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.”


The pan was a flat metal plate or griddle, and what was baked on it was uncovered, i.e., the baking process could be observed from beginning to end.  The meal offering on the griddle therefore represents the Lord’s sufferings at Calvary which were visible to men, and which therefore men could in some measure at least understand.  The fine flour continues to represent His perfect humanity; the absence of leaven, His sinlessness; while the mingled oil continues to speak of His every thought, word and deed being under the Holy Spirit’s control.


2:6.  “Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meal offering.”


“...part it in pieces” is literally “divide it into portions,” i.e., apparently “form it into cakes.”  The pieces or cakes have the same significance here as in verse 4.  God is showing us that the Lord’s sufferings are imputed to us, He counting Christ’s death as ours.  The oil upon the individual pieces is the symbolic revelation of the truth that every believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit; and a practical truth being taught is that individually we too should also be willing to present ourselves to God as a meal offering, i.e., present our bodies a living sacrifice to Him for His glory, as it is written in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (spiritual worship).”


2:7.  “And if thy oblation be a meat (meal) offering baken in a fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.”


Fryingpan is literally a pot for stewing or boiling, and it seems that the meal was simply boiled in oil, but since boiling is normally associated with water, and water is a symbol of the written Word, the truth being declared is that every activity of the Lord was under the control of the Holy Spirit (the oil), and was done to fulfill what is written in Scripture, His terrible experience at Calvary climaxing that fulfillment.  Note for example, John 19:28, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.”  Note also the number of times in the Gospels, and particularly in the Gospel of Matthew, it is written of something said, done, or experienced by the Lord “... that it might be fulfilled which was spoken....”  This is the truth being set forth in the cooking of the meal offering in the fryingpan.  His death fulfilled everything that is written in Scripture.


2:8.  “And thou shalt bring the meal offering that is made of these things unto the Lord: and when it is presented unto the priest, he shall bring it unto the altar.”


This continues to declare that once a man has trusted in Christ he ceases to be a sinner, and becomes instead a royal priest, whose privilege it is to worship God, worship being the presentation to the Father of our estimate of the worth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The officiating priest portrays us in the fulfillment of our priestly office, and it is instructive to note that that activity portrays worship, not service.  Service has an important part to play in the believer’s life, but worship comes first, as is demonstrated here in connection with the offerings, and also in the fact that we begin the week with worship rather than with service.


2:9.  “And the priest shall take from the meal offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.”


In this is continued the demonstration of the truth that the Lord’s perfect life and vicarious death were first for the Father’s glory, and then for the salvation of men.


2:10.  And that which is left of the meal offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire.”


We have already noted that the Lord also has derived eternal satisfaction from the offering of Himself to the Father in His sinless life, and in His death on the cross, as it is recorded in Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied....”  This is the truth being declared in that the remainder of the offering was given to Aaron (type of Christ as our great High Priest) to be his food, i.e., to satisfy him.  But the remainder of the offering also furnished food for Aaron’s sons (types of us as a royal kingdom of priests), the lesson being that we also find our satisfaction in Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us.  The counterpart of the fine meal is the Lord Who is set before us in the written Word, our interest in the study of that Word being ultimately the measure of our appreciation of Him.  Our love of it reflects our love of Him, and the almost universal neglect of Bible study today simply discloses the state of our hearts: like the Ephesian church addressed in Revelation, we have left our first love, and the remedy prescribed there is prescribed also for today, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works....” Revelation 2:4-5.


The frequent repetition of the phrase “made by fire (symbol of the Holy Spirit),” reminds us not only of the important part He played in the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, but of the important part God would have Him play in our lives.


2:11.  “No meal 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.”


Since leaven is a type of sin, the proscription relative to its use in the meal offering is obvious: its inclusion would have implied that there was sin in Christ.  There was sin on Him when He took our sins upon Him, but there was never sin in Him.


Honey, however, declares a very different truth which has been obscured by the almost universal erroneous teaching that it represents mere natural sweetness.  It is instructive to note that Scripture itself has nothing but good to say of honey, a fact which should have warned commentators against the generally accepted wrong interpretation of this biblical symbol.  The truth is that it represents divine righteousness, just as leaven represents sin, and in proscribing honey from any burnt offering, God is reminding us that while the Lord Jesus Christ, as Man, was tested to reveal that there was no sin in Him as Son of man, He was not tested as God the Son.  God declares the fact of divine righteousness, and man is to accept that fact without question, just as he is to accept the fact of God’s existence, as it is written, “Without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is....” Hebrews 11:6. To question God’s righteousness is as much unbelief as is failure to believe in His existence.  It was as Man, not as God, that Christ was tested, crucified, and resurrected, His incarnation being essential if He were to offer Himself to God on our behalf, because as God He could not die.  All the offerings typify Christ as Man.  The absence of honey therefore from the meal offering declares that it was not as God the Son, but as Son of man, that the Lord was tested, that testing revealing that His obedience extended even unto death.


We should note incidentally, that commentators in general have erred also relative to the spiritual significance of the east, it being taken almost invariably to be symbolic of good, and this in spite of the fact that there is not a single biblical reference to the east in a good context.  Because the sun rises in the east it has been taken to represent spiritual enlightenment, but the truth is that it represents mere natural light or wisdom, about which God has nothing good to say.  Examination of Scripture reveals, in fact, that the east is always associated with sin and departure from God.


2:12.  “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.”


The instruction relative to the offering of firstfruits comes in here as a parenthesis, the reason appearing to be that since it also consisted of grain it might easily have been confused with the meal offering.  The two were different, however, the meal offering representing Christ’s humanity; while the offering of firstfruits represented His resurrection, and also the Israelite’s thanksgiving for God’s provision for our temporal needs.  The Lord’s resurrection wasn’t part of His sacrifice, which was complete when He said, “It is finished,” nor are our temporal blessings the result of that sacrifice.  The offerings of firstfruits therefore are of a different nature altogether than the burnt, meal, peace, sin, and trespass offerings.


2:13.  “And every oblation of thy meal offering thou shalt season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from any meal offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.”


Salt, because it preserves from corruption, speaks of what will endure eternally; and in the present context, declares the eternal efficacy of the Lord’s one never-to-be-repeated sacrifice.  The association of salt with “the covenant of thy God” reminds us of the imperishable nature of that covenant: it is eternal, unbreakable.


Since the meal offering appears to have been an adjunct of every burnt, peace, sin, and trespass offering, the truth being portrayed is that apart from His having taken the body which the Father had prepared for Him, the Lord could not have offered Himself in sacrifice to God, for since He was Himself God He could not die.  He could be subject to death only as Son of man.


The salt therefore in this context declares a further truth: the Lord’s human body could not experience corruption, as it is written, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption,” Psalm 16:10.  See also Acts 2:24-36.


2:14.  “And if thou offer a meal offering of thy firstfruits unto the Lord, thou shalt offer for the meal offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.”


This resumes the instructions for the presentation of the meal offering, and indicates the difference between offering God the firstfruits of the new grain harvest as thanks for that harvest, and presenting Him with the firstfruits of the grain harvest as a meal offering, this latter portraying our worship for His having given the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Sinbearer.  The green ears speak of the vitality of the life that was in Christ.  Because that life was incorruptible it wasn’t subject to the decay of death as is the common lot of all other men, and as would have been portrayed had the ears begun to yellow with age.


“... dried by the fire” speaks of the Lord’s being subjected to the devouring fire of divine wrath when He made Himself accountable for our sins.  The requirement that the grain be “beaten out of full ears” reminds us of the full abundant life that is in Christ, as He Himself declared, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” John 10:10.  Its being beaten, however, reminds us of the terrible abuse the Lord suffered at the hand of man in the halls of Caiaphas, Herod, and Pilate, even before He went to Calvary, as it is written, “... his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than he sons of men,” Isaiah 52:14.


2:15.  “And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meal offering.”


This continues to emphasize that the Lord was anointed with the Holy Spirit, and that His life and death were fragrant to God, and should be also to us.


2:16.  “And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.”


The priest burning the memorial handful of the meal mixed with oil, and all the frankincense, is first a figure or type of the Lord Jesus Christ offering Himself without spot to the Father; and then of us as a royal kingdom of priests presenting our worship to God, Who through the Lord’s death on our behalf, has become also our Father.

[Leviticus 3]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough