The Offerings: The Meat Offering (or Oblation)
This continues a series on the Offerings and what they tell us of the Lord Jesus Christ as the supreme sacrifice. The Meat Offering (also called the Oblation) is found in Leviticus 2 and speaks of the holiness and perfection of the Lord’s life which was so pleasing to the Father. This appeared in ‘The Bible Handbook’ by Walter Scott. My own notes are given in purple.
The Meat Offering (Leviticus 2)
This is another of the "sweet savour offerings" in which God's portion and delight in Jesus is fully brought out. True in one sense all that Jesus did, all that He was in life and death was "for us;" but His work to God for the expiation of sin is surely a different thing from His work to God for the acceptance of the offerer. In the former, God’s hatred to sin and outpouring of wrath upon the sinner's Substitute is expressed; in the latter, God's delight in holiness and in the infinite perfection of Christ in His person and work. "Christ made sin for us," characterizes the various sin and trespass offerings. Christ giving Himself for us "an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour," describe the distinguishing feature of the other sacrificial offerings.
In other words, the Lord was the sacrifice for sins, bearing God’s wrath against our sins. The offerer who brought a sin offering was seeing the judgement against their sins fall on the sacrifice in the fire. However, there is another side to the Lord’s sacrifice which is that the sacrifice was delightful to God. God looked on the Lord and saw a perfect life. As a result, He could view the sacrifice as acceptable. We might say that the perfect sacrifice and the judgement for sins are the same thing but we are shown both aspects and while our sins were judged on the cross, it only demonstrated the perfection of the One who was our sacrifice.
If the burnt offering sets Jesus before us coming up to the altar—the cross—of His own free will, and there, in the place of sin, and where only it could be expiated, offering Himself to accomplish the will and glory of God in death; the meat offering presents Him offering a whole unblemished life to God, and that too, in the place of sin and sorrow. The material of which it was composed was "fine flour"—humanity in perfection; its adjuncts were "oil"-the Holy Ghost; "frankincense"-the moral graces; and "salt"—incorruption and perpetuity. What was forbidden was "leaven " (save in one marked exception), figure of evil; and "honey," type of mere human affection. The "oil poured" upon the offering is the expression of Christ's anointing by the Spirit and power, as in Acts 10:38 (“How 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)); while the offering mingled with oil sets forth the profound teaching of Matt. 1:20 (“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20)) -"conceived of the Holy Ghost." This "most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire," was brought to the priests; a handful taken out with all the frankincense and burnt upon the altar. Thus Jesus in all His blessed life, His words, His ways, His actions, and in all the moral graces and beauties and lovely traits of that wondrous path, trod to the glory of God, was subjected to the trial of fire. And what was the result? A sweet savour of rest to God. That part of the offering not put upon the altar, became the food of the priests. Thus we enjoy communion with God in His expressed delight of His Beloved One as a man on earth. Wondrous privilege!
The priests were able to take part in this sacrifice and eat some of it. Thus the Lord could say that He is “the bread out of heaven” and that we are to feed on Him. “I am the living bread which has come down out of heaven: if any one shall have eaten of this bread he shall live for ever; but the bread withal which I shall give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). There is no better food for a Christian’s soul than to feed on the life and perfections of Christ and see what it was that caused the Father to find such delight in the One who was our blessed sacrifice.
Neither leaven nor honey were to be burned on the altar (“No meat 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” (Leviticus 2:11)). The meat offering of first fruits being baked with "leaven" (“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 savour” (Leviticus 2:12); see also Leviticus 23:17), was an exception, but this, as setting forth the church at Pentecost, sanctified and presented to God by the Holy Ghost, could not be "burnt on the altar," for the simple but weighty reason that there was "leaven" or sin there; hence, when the "meat offering," typical of the church was offered, the loaves made of fine flour were baken with leaven, but there was also offered with them a sin offering, to meet the actual state of the church, which, of course, on this side of glory is necessarily one of imperfection (see Leviticus. 23:15-21); for the meat offering representing Christ personally - in which there was the most careful exclusion of "leaven," (see Leviticus 2:1-10). The vital connection between the God-glorifying life and death of priceless worth, of Jesus, was carefully maintained by an abiding statute when the people were settled in the land, every burnt offering (death of Jesus), was to be accompanied with a meat offering (life of Jesus). In Numbers 15:8-11: “And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in performing a vow, or peace offerings unto the Lord: Then shall he bring with a bullock a meat offering of three tenth deals of flour mingled with half an hin of oil. And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord. Thus shall it be done for one bullock, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid”.
Leaven in the Bible speaks of evil. A little leaven “leavens the whole lump”. Add a little yeast to dough and the whole lot will rise as it fills with bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. It is something that ‘puffs up’ and inflates with air. Sin and pride is like that as it fill people with a sense of their own importance.
Honey speaks of natural affections. However, even natural affections can have no place before God because it is tainted by the sinfulness of the flesh. Hence, we have now been filled with the “love of God” which has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (see Romans 5:5).
Both these things were to be excluded from the sacrifice for the Lord was not tainted by evil and neither was His compassion or love like ours but was instead the full and unconditional love of God.
We would again call attention to the interesting and important distinction in these offerings. The four classes of sacrifice were the burnt, meat, peace, and sin offerings, the three former specially expressive of God's delight therein, while the latter expressed His judgment upon sin.