William Kelly Major Works Commentary
And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:Leviticus Chapter 2
The Flour or kindred offering accompanied the Burnt offering closely. They were of a common character in this that they were never offered to clear a soul from sin; yet the Burnt offering was to make atonement, which the Flour offering was not, but consequent on it. The Burnt offering therefore was of a living thing put to death; whereas the Flour offering was always of a vegetable nature and therefore there was no question of blood. There was equally the searching fire of divine judgment to bring out the odour of rest, no less than in the Burnt offering.
"And when any one [a soul] presenteth an oblation (or, gift) to Jehovah, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon. And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests; and he 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 thereof on the altar, a fire offering of sweet odour to Jehovah. And the remainder of the oblation shall be Aaron's and his sons': [it is] most holy of Jehovah's fire offerings" (vers. 1-3).
What could more distinctively and emphatically set forth the Lord, not in His sacrificial death, but in the entire devotedness of His life? The one was as pure and holy as the other. Indeed, while the ox or the sheep must be a male without blemish for the Burnt offering, the Oblation is expressly "most holy" of the fire offerings of Jehovah. And so we read of our Lord Jesus only that He was "the holy thing that should be born" (Luke 1:35). Of none others are, or could be, said such words' not even of John the Baptist, who was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb. In Jesus was no sin. Even in "taking part of the same" with the children (Hebrews 2:14), He was to be called Son of God, which He was in His own eternal title. Of Him only it could not be said without blasphemy, as of every other child of Adam, "I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me." He and He alone as born here below was absolutely untainted, the Holy One of God; and this He preserved in the power of the Holy Spirit all through and presented as an oblation to God.
Man's mind, we may be assured, would have put the Minchah or Oblation before the Olah or Burnt offering, as the order of what we may call history would render natural. But scripture in an unlooked for way gives us divine wisdom, to which faith implicitly bows and thus appropriates the truth: we grow, as the apostle says in Col. 1, by the true knowledge of God. It was when man was fallen that these figures of Christ and His work came in, and therefore the need of the Burnt offering in the first place when Jehovah was making known to His people the resources of His grace in Christ, as well as the primary truth of Himself glorified as to His nature to the uttermost. This given, the oblation beautifully follows. The Son of man, in Whom God was glorified by His death, glorified the Father on the earth and finished the work which He had given Him to do.
All was in the same perfection, His activities as a living man, and His suffering in self-surrender without limit, both in obedience unswerving. But, we see in chap. 1, that death was as essential and manifest in the Burnt offering, as here it is no less conspicuously absent. He was the obedient One, tried and proved every day, in the midst of the little passing circumstances of. each moment, as well as in the great temptations of the wilderness. Jesus, and Jesus alone, was always "the same": yesterday, and today, and for ever, since it made no difference as to His personal glory, so none more as to His flawless obedience in every detail. Was there an approach to this in any saint that ever breathed? We need not speak of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, blessed men as they were. Take John and Peter and Paul, walking as none other ever did in the power of the Spirit. Yet the scriptures, which make their holy and devoted service plain, do not hide from us the profitable lesson of their failure, and on critical occasions too. Christ never had a word or deed to recall, never even a look or feeling to judge. He could say to His enemies, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" without a reply, but not without the vilest of reproaches and vituperations. He walked without a waver in the Spirit, never on the ground of rights, but in obedience. His food was to do the will of Him that sent Him and to finish His work. Did He not do it perfectly, an offering to God for a sweet-smelling savour? and this in entire rejection by man, most of all by the ancient people - His own people.
This was what the oblation typified: the fine flour, oil poured on it, and frankincense added (ver. 1). The fine flour was an apt symbol of His humanity sinless and in harmony with God. Oil is the known figure of the power of the Spirit, not His cleansing agency which man's impurity demands, but His energy in contrast with the wilfulness of sinful and selfish man. And frankincense represents that fragrance which God the Father alone, and perfectly, appreciated in His Son a Man on earth, the object ineffable of His delight. The sweet odour might "fill the house"; but it was burnt to God as His own. All the frankincense therefore went with the handful which the offering priest burnt on the altar to God (ver. 2). The fire, which tried as nothing else can, only and fully brought out of the oblation a savour of rest to Jehovah.
The remnant of the oblation was Aaron's and his sons' (ver. 3). In this was marked difference from the Burnt offering. There as the rule all was consumed and went up to God acceptably and for the offerer's acceptance. Here a handful only was burnt, but all the frankincense. The rest was for the great High Priest and the priestly family; the Christian body. For no truth in the N. T. is plainer than this. And is not Christ the food of all that are His? Does not John 6 prove this, and much more than this type imports? "Most holy" was it, but not therefore kept from but given to Christ and His own to enjoy. And so it is that those who have the entrance into the holies find in Christ Himself, and Christ here below as shown in the Gospels, their living priestly food. But it is in this as with other things that what all have in title, only those in fact enjoy who have faith in it and by the Spirit walk in that faith.
VARIETIES OF THE MEAL OFFERING.
The opening verses present the broad character of the Minchah or Meal offering, as distinguished from the Olah or Burnt offering. There was the fullest testing by fire, but not shedding or sprinkling of blood. It was not therefore atonement in view of God's glory, the offerer being sinful, and withal Christ's perfectness in the offering of Himself in His death, there rising up wholly as a sweet odour to God. The Meal offering oblation does not atone; but, after Jehovah had His handful, the rest was for Aaron and his sons to eat. Christ and His disciples enjoy it together. Yet it was no less an offering by fire to Jehovah, and expressly "most holy"; it thus excludes the profane thoughts of men who talk of Christ's limitations so as to lower His infinite personal worth. Of no person in the Godhead is scripture more jealous. For the Holy Spirit, while fully attesting the reality of the Son's assumption of humanity in His person, and the place of bondman which He took in grace, upholds His glory as Son of man, that all might honour the Son (even with especial care, all judgment being given to Him) as they honour the Father. Thus as He quickens all who believe, so will He judge all that believe not, to their ruin as everlasting as the blessing faith enjoys by His grace.
Now we come to the various forms in detail, having had the constituents of the oblation in general as the preliminary.
"And when thou presentest as oblation of a meal offering a baking of the oven, [it shall be] unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil. And if thine oblation [be] a meal offering on the plate, it shall be fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil. Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it [is] a meal offering. And if thine oblation [be] a meal offering in the earthen pan (or, cauldron), it shall be made of fine flour with oil. And thou shalt bring the oblation that is made of these things to Jehovah; and it shall be presented to the priest, and he shall bring it to the altar. And the priest shall take from the meal offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn [it] on the altar, a fire offering of a sweet odour to Jehovah. And the remainder. of the meal offering [shall be] Aaron's and his sons': [it is] most holy of Jehovah's fire offerings" (vers. 4-10).
In all these cases it was the finest of the flour of wheat duly sifted and bolted; in each of the three the baking had a different form according to intensity, display, or admixture. The perfect and sinless humanity of Christ is there in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in such fragrant grace as suited Jehovah and only appreciated in full by Him. But it was also variously proved here below, before the final burning on the altar, when made a Fire offering to Jehovah.
The general principle, as applied to the Antitype, may be seen in our Lord, baptised by John and praying, when the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form as a dove upon Him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased (Luke 3:21-22). There was the Second man, the last Adam, not yet risen and glorified as the Man of divine counsels, but as come of woman no less holy and acceptable to God the Father. In Him was no sin. Not only did He never sin, but He was absolutely without sin in His nature as man. This the Minchah everywhere sets forth in type, as the N.T. declares and demonstrates it in fact. It was indeed as essential to His person from the moment the Word became flesh, as His Godhead had been and is eternally. Him, the Son of man, God the Father sealed.
But He must be proved in this world; and this is here shown typically, as the Gospels present it in the days of His flesh. Compare Hebrews 2:10.
First of these is the Meal offering baked in the oven, or great pot. There the heat brought to bear was as concentrated and extreme as could be at this time for unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil. In both cases the absence of leaven is specified, as to which 1 Cor. 5 can leave no doubt of the intended meaning. It is the negation of all corruption. Christ, and Christ alone of all born of woman, could be so designated. But here we have the two-fold positive fact of the Holy Spirit, the mingling of the oil, and the anointing of the oil, the former being the more intrinsic and characteristic of the two. For to none does it apply but to the Lord Jesus absolutely in His generation here below. And the answer to this type appears as clearly in Luke 1:35, as we have the other, or the anointing, in Lev. 3, as also referred to in Acts 10:38. There is indeed a measure of analogy in every Christian; who first is born of the Spirit when converted to God, and then, when he rests on the redemption that is in Christ, has the Holy Spirit given to dwell in Him. But of Christ alone could it be said that the Holy Thing to be born should be called Son of God. The humanity of His person was holy as truly as the deity. Though of His mother, it was by the operation of the Holy Spirit's power wholly apart from evil. This was due to His person as the Son; it was no less indispensable for the offering of Himself spotless to God in due time. He, and He alone, was incarnate; He, and He alone, propitiation for our sins. Perhaps we may compare with the oven the temptation away from the sight of men, which He knew more fiercely from the great enemy than Adam and all his sons.
The second was the converse, trial before the eyes of men. Here the Meal offering which typified a character of trial so familiar to us in the Gospels, as it had been also predicted by the prophets, is said to be baked on the plate or fiat iron girdle. Hence not only was the trial in contempt, opposition, detraction, hatred, to say nothing of want and homelessness, but we have details implied specifically. It was as before fine flour, unleavened, mingled with oil; and when parted in pieces, oil was poured thereon. The power of the Spirit only the more constantly shone in small things as in great.
The third is when the Meal offering was baked in an earthen pan or cauldron, which seems more general than the foregoing, and the statement is according to this broader character, "with oil" (ver. 7), without defining the modes of application, or repeating even the absolute purity which is of course implied. The figure here appears to imply the combination of public trial with inner also. This the more intelligent Christian can scarce fail to recognise in what the Lord underwent in His rejection.
For indeed and in every way He was beyond all "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," yet in unwavering obedience, whatever the power that rested on Him. He also had that holy nature of man which sought only God's will and glory, the perfection of a Son, and that Son a man on an earth filled with all the evil of which the race under Satan are capable.
When the Meal offering, whatever the form, was brought by the priest, its memorial was taken and burnt on the altar, a Fire offering of a sweet odour to Jehovah. This was of course the severest test of all; for it was His consuming judgment, and yet drew out nothing but fragrance before God. No creature, still less a fallen one, could stand such a trial. He is our acceptance; and it is perfect. Without Him the grace wherein we stand were impossible. We are in Christ Jesus, as well as justified through Him. All things are ours, we may joyfully re-echo. And this is here the more evidently verified, in that we see in our Christian position of being priests (as well as kings), that it is ours to eat "the remainder" of the Meal offering in communion with Christ the great High priest. It was for Aaron and his sons. What a privilege to eat of what was offered up to God! It was "most holy" of Jehovah's Fire offerings; yet, after His portion with all the frankincense, it is ours to feed on the perfectness of Christ here below where only and above all it was proved to the uttermost. To enjoy such food we need to appreciate our priestly nearness to God. Alas! how few saints in these degenerate days of earthly-mindedness even think of their actual relationship to God in the true sanctuary. Such unbelief soon opened the door, as we see in the Fathers, to a human caste and earthly priesthood now rampant in Christendom.
MEAL OFFERING INJUNCTIONS.
We have, next laid down, injunctions of much interest and spiritual weight. On the one hand leaven and honey were never in any Fire offering to Jehovah; on the other, as oil we have seen was to be variously used, so salt was not to be lacking but offered with all.
"No meal offering which ye shall offer to Jehovah shall be made with leaven; for ye shall burn no leaven and no honey as a fire offering to Jehovah. As to offering of first fruits, ye shall offer them to Jehovah; but they shall not come up for a sweet odour on the altar. And every offering of thy meal offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meal offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt" (ver. 11-13).
There is no shadow of doubt on the symbolic force of leaven. It is used for corruption that spreads and contaminates, unless the contextual employment modify it otherwise. This force is plain in the first and standing type of the O.T., the peremptory exclusion of leaven from the passover and its accompanying dependent feast of unleavened bread. On and from the very first day they were to put away leaven out of their houses; for seven days none should be found there. Nothing leavened was to be eaten on pain of cutting off from Israel. In 1 Cor. 5 the reference is express, and the antitypical meaning certain. As leaven, even a little, taints the whole lump; so does known sin, if tolerated, the Christian assembly. It is vain to plead the old man. For was not Christ, our passover, sacrificed? and is it not our obligation now, as being unleavened in Him, to purge out the old leaven, that we may be a new lump? Leaven is characterised here as evil in itself and wickedness in its effect. Likewise in Galatians 5:9 it is applied to the pravity in doctrine of requiring a ritual ordinance, which upset grace in justifying by the faith of Christ. Both are hateful to God, and incompatible with our calling: if either enter, we are bound to clear ourselves at all cost.
Yet we know as a fact that the church, or the Christian, differs in this essentially from Christ: that He was the Holy One of God, absolutely in and from His birth; we only as born anew and in virtue of His sacrifice. Hence in the type of Him as the wave-sheaf (Leviticus 23:10-14), it was waved before Jehovah with Burnt offering and Meal offering and Drink offering; whereas the new Meal offering of the wave-loaves which represented us was baked with leaven. The sin of our nature is clearly taken account of, and a Sin offering requisite, with Peace offerings, as well as the Burnt and Drink offerings. A similar principle obtained in the Peace offerings for thanksgiving. In no case was uncleanness more solemnly denounced (Leviticus 7:19-20); but it is recognised that leaven was there, though not actively working, and leavened cakes were prescribed accordingly (ver. 13, Amos 4:5).
Honey set forth the sweetness of nature. It was good in its place and allowed for use, but not too much. Nevertheless it was forbidden in an offering to God, however wholesome and pleasant to man's taste. No one approached the perfectness of Jesus, the Child or the Man. If He grew and waxed strong, He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him. Yet even as a Youth, He said to His parents (tried by His staying behind in the temple), "Did you not know that I ought to be in the things of my Father?" And when His mother appealed to Him at the marriage in Cana, saying that they had no wine, His answer was, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come." Certainly there was not an atom of disrespect; but it was not what answered to honey. Rather was it the salt of the covenant, which must not be wanting in a Fire offering to Jehovah. Christ was doing then as always the things that were pleasing to the Father. He would not act on a human motive, were it even to hearken to His mother. He was come to do the will of God. All must be a sweet odour to Him.
We have already noticed the deeply important truth taught by the oil, whether as mixed with the flour in the composition of the cakes, or as poured thereon. There too the bearing on Christ is plain. In His birth, in His incarnation, was the former verified as nowhere else. He was the true and only-begotten Son of God here below, as He was Son of God eternally. The believer has an analogy as being born of God. He is quickened by the Spirit's power, born of water and the Spirit; but this leaves his old nature. where and what it was. Christ on the contrary had "no old man." By the Spirit's power His humanity was free from all taint and evil. Not only He sinned not, but no sin was in Him. His anointing or sealing was at His baptism, the reception of the Spirit in power for His service; and here by virtue of His work of redemption the analogy in our case is quite as close, always remembering that Christ received the Spirit as Himself the Holy Son of man, we after His blood-shedding and by the faith of it.
As the oil may be viewed in contrast with honey, so may salt, which the Lord pronounces "good," stand opposed to leaven, the type of corrupting evil. Its use among men as preserving purity without any violence fits in with such an application. Our Lord said "Everyone shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." So the apostle exhorts that our speech be always in grace seasoned with salt. As the salt of the covenant was a pledge on God's part of a savour that passed not away, so is there the need on ours of a holy separative energy Godward to keep from corrupt words and ways. Christ and His offering of Himself to God for us could alone be the ground of such a pledge and perpetuity. But how wondrous that such a figure should be extended from His offering of Himself to our speech as it should be seasoned! But, as our Lord exhorted at the close of Mark 9, "Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." The separative power applies here to ourselves, the gracious spirit is for one with another. Without holiness peace mutually would be an illusion.
Ver. 12 seems to be the new Meal offering (fully described in Leviticus 23:15-20) where the oblation in an exceptional instance was expressly made with leaven as already shown. It was necessarily leavened in order to express the truth; but its exceptional nature was fully provided for. Even these first-fruits could only be presented to Jehovah they could not rise up on the altar for a sweet savour.
And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he 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 of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:
And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.
And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.
And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.
Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering.
And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.
And thou shalt bring the meat 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.
And the priest shall take from the meat offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
And that which is left of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.
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.
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.
And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.
And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering.
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.