THE MEAT-OFFERING(Grain offering)
WE now come to THE MEAT-OFFERING, which gives us another aspect
of the perfect offering of Jesus. We may consider it, first, in
its contrasts to the other offerings; that is, as giving us one
definite and particular aspect of His offering: and then,
secondly, in its several varieties; that is, as bringing out the
different apprehensions of this one aspect.
I. And fist, IN ITS CONTRAST TO THE OTHER OFFERINGS. Five points
here at once present themselves, which bring out what is
distinctive in this offering. The apprehension of these will
enable us to see the particular relation which Jesus filled for
man as Meat-offering.
(1.) The first point is that the Meat-offering was a sweet savour
(chap.2:2,9). In this particular it stands in contrast to the
Sin-offering, but in exact accordance with the Burnt-offering.
For this latter reason I need not dwell upon the purport of it,
as I have already sufficiently considered it in the
Burnt-offering. Suffice it to say, that the thought of SIN never
comes into any of the sweet savour offerings: they represent man
in perfect obedience yielding to God an offering which He accepts
as pleasing to Him. The Sin-offerings, on the contrary, are not a
sweet savour: they represent man as a sinner receiving the
penalty due to his offenses. But I have already sufficiently
pointed out this distinction. I do not therefore here further
dwell upon it.
(2.) The second point in which the Meat-offering differed from
the others, is seen in the materials of which it was composed.
These were "flour, oil, and frankincense" (verse 1): there is no
giving up of life here. It is in this particular, especially,
that the Meat-offering differs from the Burnt-offering. The
question is does the Scripture supply us with a key by which to
discover what is intended by this distinction? That it does so,
not on this point alone, but on every other, I do not entertain a
doubt. The Scripture is a key to itself. Besides, we have the
Holy Ghost to open it to us and especially is this His office
where Jesus is the subject of our inquiries. God is His own
interpreter. We fail in understanding the Scripture because we so
little use Him. This I feel assured is the reason we are so often
in ignorance. It is not that the truth sought for is not in the
Word, but that through lack of communion with Him who gave that
Word, we have not enough of His mind to apprehend His meaning,
even where He has fully expressed it.
But to return. I said that the great distinction between the
Burnt-offering and the Meat-offering was, that life was offered
in the one case - fruits in the other. The key to this I believe
may be found in more than one place in Scripture. Thus in the
first chapter of Genesis we read of God thus allotting to man
that part of creation which He intended to satisfy him: -
"Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon
the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit
of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat" (Gen.1:29).
Thus the fruit of the herb and of the tree was man's allotted
portion.....life was God's part: as it is written, "The life,
which is the blood, ye shall not eat" (Gen.9:4).
The import of this difference between the Burnt and
Meat-offerings may now be surely and easily gathered. Life is
that which from the beginning God claimed as His part in
creation: as an emblem, therefore, it represents what the
creature owes to God. Corn, the fruit of the earth, on the other
band, is man's part, in creation; as such, it stands the emblem
of man's claim, or of what we owe to man. What we owe to God or
to man is respectively our duty to either. Thus in the
Burnt-offering the surrender of life to God represents the
fulfilment of man's duty to God; man yielding to God His portion
to satisfy all His claim. In the Meat-offering the gift of corn
and oil represents the fulfilment of man's duty to his neighbour:
man in his offering surrendering himself to God, but doing so
that he may give to man his portion. Thus the Burnt-offering is
the perfect fulfilment of the laws of the first table; the
Meat-offering the perfect fulfilment of the second. Of course, in
both cases the offering is but one - that offering is, "the body"
of Jesus; but that body is seen offered in different aspects:
here in the Meat-offering as fulfilling man's duty to man. The
one case is man satisfying God, giving Him His portion, and
receiving testimony that it is acceptable. The other is man
satisfying his neighbour, giving man his portion as an offering
to the Lord.
And how exactly do the emblems here chosen represent the perfect
fullness of this blessed offering. God's claim met perfectly in
the Burnt-offering: man's claim as perfectly satisfied here. Had
the Burnt-offering alone been offered, man would have lacked his
portion and been unsatisfied: and again, had the Meat-offering
been offered to the exclusion of the Burnt-offering, God would
have been unsatisfied; it would have been imperfect. But it could
not be so; therefore after the law came in (the Old Covenant
under Moses - Keith Hunt) the Meat-offering was regarded as an
adjunct of the Burnt-offering. Thus the book of Numbers always
speaks of the Meat-offering as in use and practice connected with
the Burnt-offering. Having first regulated the amount of flour
for the Meat-offering, which was to accompany the different
classes of the Burnt-offering, (Num.28:12,13) the law proceeds to
speak of "the Burnt-offering and its Meat-offering," "the Burnt-
offering and the Meat-offering thereof" (Num.29, "passim"). So
again in Ezra the offerings for the altar are summed up as
"bullocks, rams, lambs, with their Meat-offerings" (Ezra 7:17;
see also Judges 13:19).
The Meat-offering was in fact Cain's offering, but offered by one
who had first offered as Abel did. Cain's offering was "the fruit
of the ground," offered to God without bloodshedding....
The Meat-offering, then, to speak of it generally, is
Christ presenting Himself to God as man's meat. Most sweet it is,
most precious to the soul of the believer who can thus see Jesus.
We shall see this preciousness as we examine particularly the
typical import of each of the materials of the Meat-offering.
[i.] The first is "flour;" and the type is significant, in exact
accordance with the word, "Bread corn must be bruised" (Isaiah
28:28). Bread is the staff of life, and Christ our staff of life
is here represented as the bruised One. The emblem, corn ground
to powder, is one of the deepest suffering. It is not the blade
springing up in beauty, green and flourishing with the rain of
heaven, or ripening into full maturity under the influence of the
summer sun. The thought is one of bruising and grinding; of
pressing, wearing trial. Jesus was not only tried by "fire" -
God's holiness was not the only thing that consumed Him. In
meeting the wants of man, His blessed soul was grieved, and
pressed and bruised continually. And the bruising here was from
those to whom He was ministering, for whom He daily gave Himself.
Who can read the Gospels without seeing this? Jesus lays Himself
out for others; He spends Himself for others; but they cannot
understand Him. His soul is grieved, His spirit bruised with the
blindness and hardness of their hearts.
Oh, what a picture of devotedness does His lowly service present
to us! Look at Him beginning His course, knowing each sorrow that
was to befall Him; foreseeing the whole course of rejection, and
the shameful end of His pilgrimage: rejected when He would
minister blessing; misunderstood when He gave instruction;
suffering not merely at the hands of enemies, but more acutely
from those around Him; to them alone He said: "How long shall I
suffer you?" (Mark 9:19) rejected, misunderstood, suffering, He
goes forward without the slightest faltering; He never stops for
a moment in His devoted service to all around Him. To the very
end of His course, as at the beginning, He is the meat of all who
need and will accept Him.
We think when trouble or sorrow comes on us, that it is time to
care for ourselves. Not so Jesus. We think there must be a limit
to our self-sacrifice. Not so our blessed Lord. We think that our
interests, our credit, or at least our life, must not be touched
or endangered. We think when our kindness is rejected we need not
repeat it; we think our times of rest and relaxation are our own.
Oh, how unlike to us in all was our blessed, lowly Master! Oh,
how far above us in all things! Nothing moved His steadfast
heart, or turned Him from doing good. In vain was the stupidity
of His disciples; the rage of His enemies, or the craft of Satan.
Jesus never wavered nor hesitated; His course of self-surrender
But are we to suppose He did not feel all this? God only knows
the measure of His sufferings, or how deeply He was bruised and
broken. As a man He was "in all points tempted as we are, yet
without sin;" this aggravated His sufferings. The Psalms here and
there give us a glance of His sorrows, though no murmur ever
escaped His lips. "Reproach," He says, "has broken my heart.
They lay to my charge things I know not. It was not an enemy that
did this, for then I could have borne it: neither was it he that
hated me that did magnify himself against me, for then I would
have hid myself from him; but it was thou, a man mine equal, my
guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and
walked to the house of God in company" (Ps.69:20; 35:11;
It may be, some of God's children cannot enter into this; they
know not as yet the trials of service. Only let them follow Jesus
in spending and being spent for others, and the emblem of this
type, "bruised corn," will not be altogether strange to them.
And, indeed, how much is there of Christ's suffering which we
have no idea of until through grace we are in measure brought
into His circumstances, and feel the bruising which our brethren;
often unconsciously, inflict on us, while we would minister to,
and be spent for them.
I have just glanced at some of the bruisings of Christ's spirit,
but as respects His body also how much was He bruised! What
labours, what pains, what weaknesses did He suffer to feed
others! (Ps.22:15; 102:4,5). So much was He worn by labour, that
He could not even bear His cross. Another was compelled to bear
it for Him (mark 15:21). Doubtless this was not kindness but
necessity. Jesus was already ground and broken. He was now ready
to be put upon the altar.
And what a lesson is there here for the believer who wishes to
give himself in service to his brethren! This scripture, as in
fact all Scripture, testifies that service is self-surrender,
self-sacrifice. Christ, to satisfy others, was broken: and bread
corn must still be bruised: and the nearer our ministry
approaches the measure of His ministry, immeasurably far as we
shall ever be behind Him, the more shall we resemble Him, the
bruised, the oppressed, the broken One.
But there is another thought brought out in this emblem. The
Meat-offering was not only flour; it was to be "fine flour"
In fine flour there is NO unevenness, fit emblem of what Jesus
was. In Him there was no unevenness. Perhaps in no one respect
does He stand out more in contrast to His best and most beloved
servants. Jesus was always even, always the same, unchanged by
circumstances. In Him one day's walk never contradicted another,
one hour's service never clashed with another. In Him every grace
was in its perfectness, none in excess, none out of place, none
wanting. Firm; unmoved, elevated, He was yet the meek, the
gentle, the humble One. In Him firmness never degenerated into
obstinacy, or calmness into stoical indifference. His gentleness
never became a weakness, or His elevation of soul forgetfulness
With us our very graces are uneven, and clash and jostle with
each other. Our very attempts to live and die for Him who loved
us only shew how unlike Him we are.
Take His most devoted followers, a Paul, a John, a Peter. In each
of them there is unevenness, one grace preponderates; in Paul
energy, in Peter zeal, in John affection. And even in their very
graces we see their failings. Paul's energy leads him to
Macedonia when a door is opened in Troas: (1 Cor.2:12,13), he
repents of his letter to Corinth, and then again he does not
repent (2 Cor.7:8). Peter too, through zeal, once and again takes
a place he has not grace to occupy: he steps out on the water and
sinks; (mat.14:28-31), he follows Jesus but to deny Him
(Mat.26:58, etc). So, too, in the beloved disciple, his very
affection to his Master does but bring out his unlikeness to Him:
he would be the highest, next to His Lord, in the kingdom; he
would call down fire on all who dared to reject Him (Luke 9:54).
And to turn from apostles to ourselves, we need not, I think, be
shewn our unevenness. One thing when alone before God, we are
quite another thing before our brethren. In solitude striving and
praying against the very folly we commit in public. In one
circumstance backward, in another hasty; in this place steadfast,
in that wavering. Nor is it our sins alone which shew our
unevenness: our very graces are uneven: and our possessing one
more than another only shews our deficiency. Why is it that in
Paul, John, and Peter, we mark one grace peculiarly, while such a
thought never so much as occurs to us in considering our blessed
Lord? Is it that His servants surpassed Him in energy, or zeal,
or tenderness? The reason is, Jesus was perfect. In His
devotedness there was no unevenness. No one grace to be singled
out where everything and all were perfect.
[ii.] The nest material in the Meat-offering is oil - "He shall
pour oil upon it;" (verse 1) this was a necessary ingredient:
without it the offering was incomplete. The typical signification
of this will be familiar to many, for the New Testament is full
of allusions to it. Oil, in its nature nourishing and healing, is
the constant emblem of the Spirit's acting: Jesus as the obedient
man was filled with the Holy Ghost. and His oblation of Himself
as Meat-offering was in the unction and power of the Spirit.
Luke, the Gospel of the Son of Man, gives abundant information on
this point. Accordingly we read; - when His public ministry
commenced, when, to speak typically, He began to bring His
Meat-offering, - "the Holy Ghost descended on Him visibly,"
(Luke 3:22) the oil was poured on the flour. Immediately after
(Luke 4:1) we read again, "Jesus, full of the Holy Ghost,
returned from Jordan." Again, in the fourteenth verse, "Jesus
returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee." Then
immediately (verse 16) in the synagogue of Nazareth, when the
book of the prophet Esaias is delivered to Him, He finds the
place which describes His anointing and its consequences: and
whether He heal the sick, teaches the poor, or feeds the hungry,
it is all done in the power of the anointing. "The Spirit of the
Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach the
gospel to the poor, and to heal the brokenhearted." "God anointed
Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power; and He went
about doing good;" (Acts 10:38) this is exactly the Meat-
offering. And the Gospels from one end to the other in every page
are full of it.
To take one example from the chapter referred too: no sooner had
our Lord commenced His ministry, than they rose up and thrust Him
out of the city. Go where He would, He was still the Meat-
offering; the bruised corn and the oil are always together.
What a contrast to us in all this is Jesus our blessed Master!
In Him, viewed simply as a man, the bruised corn is fully
anointed. For this reason, bruised as He may be, He never lacks
power. How different with us! We are not bruised, we are not
broken, but we are powerless: and what little is attempted or
done for others is too often in the energy of our flesh rather
than in the power of the Spirit. It is this which so ruins our
efforts; the power we use for God is OUR power, NOT the Spirit.
If "we go about doing good," is it, I ask, in the power of the
anointing from above, or in the power derived from some earthly
advantage of circumstance, or station, or natural ability? Is it
not thought right to seek these things to give power where we
feel power is wanting? But this is not the strength Christ
walked in: the Meat-offering was "anointed with oil."
The truth is, that the greatest zeal and knowledge are useless
towards others without the Spirit. Look at Christ's last
interview with His disciples! (Luke 24:44-49). We read, "He
opened their understandings that they might understand the
Scriptures:" He then shewed them "what was written in the law of
Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning Him." He
tells them further, that of these very truths they are the
constituted "witnesses." He then "lifts up His hands and blesses
them." Are they then fitly equipped for the work appointed them?
No: - He says, "Tarry till ye be endued with power." They have
knowledge of Christ, they have His commission, they have His
blessing; but they lack power, and the word is, "Tarry." They
must wait for "power from on high," and that power is the Spirit.
When shall we learn that we require not only truth but power: and
that the only power which avails in ministry is the power of the
I have one other remark to make here. The "oil" is in the
Meat-offering, not in the Burnt-offering. In the Burnt offering
we have the Spirit as "water:" (chap.1:9) in the Meat-offering it
is seen as "oil." It is in relation to man, in service to our
neighbour, that the Spirit is specially needed in grace and
power. There is the flesh in our brethren to try us, and the
thousand difficulties of intercourse with evil. How is this to be
met aright, save in the grace and unction of the Spirit?
But could Jesus in His offering of Himself be so dependent as to
need this anointing? Could He require the Spirit of power for His
walk and service to those around Him? Yes, He humbled Himself
even to this, to take, as a lowly dependent man, the grace which
He manifested to others. Blessed Jesus! May we learn more and
more to be dependent like Thee.
[iii.] The third ingredient of the Meat-offering is frankincense:
TO BE CONTINUED