TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2002 James Melough
THE MEAL OFFERING
It is suggested that the
reader first read Leviticus chapter 2, then review the notes on the Burnt
offering, to acquaint himself with some necessary basic background information
relative to the Offerings in general; and for a more detailed treatment of the
offerings he should check LEVITICUS (LEVITICAL OFFERINGS) also
available on this web site.
The Meal offering is the
typological presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ as Son of man. It portrays
His sinless humanity, and while there were instances where it could be offered
as a distinct offering in itself, it was almost invariably presented as an
adjunct of the other offerings, the lesson in this being that it was only as
Man that He could offer Himself in sacrifice to God on our behalf, for as God
He could not die. Apart from the Lord’s incarnation, the great work of
atonement could never have been accomplished.
The fine even texture of the
meal speaks of the perfect balance of the Lord’s life: no attribute was
greater than another, and in this He was different from other men, for in all
others one characteristic does predominate, causing imbalance in the life.
Oil was either placed upon, or
mixed with the meal, and since oil is a biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit the
lesson being taught in this is that He was not only begotten, but also
anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit, His whole human life being under the
Frankincense was also placed
on the meal, and since it is a biblical symbol of worship, this 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,” Mt 3:17. Nor was He 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.
We do well to note that the
presentation of an obedient life is the highest form of worship, see 1 Samuel
15:22, “... Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
In Lev 2:2 the command is
given, “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 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, as already noted, 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.
“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.” Lev 2:3.
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,” Isa 53:11.
“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.”
The word for cakes here 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 La 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,” Ps 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,” Ps 88:7. There was nothing
more for God’s wrath to kindle upon when the Lord dismissed His spirit.
“And if thy oblation be a meal
offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with
oil,” Lev 2:5.
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.
“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,” Lev 2:11.
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.
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.
“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,” Lev 2:13.
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 unique 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,” Ps 16:10. See
also Ac 2:24-36.