24 May 2012

A Survey of the Old Testament Law--The Grain Offering Part 2 (2:1-16; 6:14-23)


Leviticus 2:11“‘No grain offering which you bring to the LORD shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering to the LORD made by fire.’” We just got done talking about leaven, how it makes dough rise because it gives off carbon dioxide as a waste product. Well, where does honey come from? Bees. Specifically, what part of the bee does honey come from? It actually comes out of their mouth, and is the result of the ingestion and regurgitation of nectar. So, basically, honey is……bee vomit. It was not to be burned on the altar. (HOWEVER—one could bring honey (or leaven) as a firstfruits offering. Leviticus 2:12As for the offering of the firstfruits, you shall offer them to the LORD, but they shall not be burned on the altar for a sweet aroma. You could give honey or leaven to the Levites as a firstfruits offering, but you could not burn them to God. Why? Because that’s how God wanted it.)
No leaven, no honey with the Grain Offering.

But you did have to offer your Grain Offering (מִנְחָה (minchah)) with salt. Leviticus 2:13“‘And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.’” Lost in all of the explanations concerning the symbolism contained in the Old Testament offerings is—salt. Every offering—not just the Grain Offering—was to be made with salt. At the time, many covenants were (and in some parts still are) ratified with salt. When God promised David that he would be king, He sealed that covenant with salt. 2nd Chronicles 13:5“Should you not know that the LORD God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt?” Likewise, we are brought into covenant with Christ by salt. Mark 9:49-50“49 For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.” The sacrifices of our praise to God should have salt, as should our conduct in the world. Colossians 4:6Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Just as leaven and honey bring forth fermentation and corruption, salt is a preserver and a flavor enhancer. Matthew 5:13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Adam Clarke relates the brilliant illustration of this principle given by Henry Maundrell— 
“‘Along, on one side of the valley, toward Gibul, there is a small precipice about two men’s lengths, occasioned by the continual taking away of the salt; and, in this, you may see how the veins of it lie. I broke a piece of it, of which that part that was exposed to the rain, sun, and air, though it had the sparks and particles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost its savour: the inner part, which was connected to the rock, retained its savor, as I found by proof’ (See his Trav., 5th edit., last page). A preacher, or private Christian, who has lost the life of Christ, and the witness of his Spirit, out of his soul, may be likened to this salt. He may have the sparks and glittering particles of true wisdom, but without its unction or comfort. Only that which is connected with the rock, the soul that is in union with Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit, can preserve its savor, and be instrumental of good to others.”
If anyone brought an offering that did not contain salt, they were basically saying they didn’t care what God said, they were going to offer Him what they thought was best, forget whether God prescribed it or not. Today, many who call themselves Christian are no different than those who are still tethered to the world around them. They don’t care that the Scriptures forbid lying, adultery, fornication, revelries, drunkenness, etc. They are going to do what they want to do, and if anyone dares tell them these things are wrong, then they lay the charge of “intolerant” on the one who teaches that we are to be “the salt of the earth”—preserving from sin and flavoring the world with Christ. And as Mr. Maundrell so clearly pointed out, the salt that stays closest to the rock is much more useful than the salt that exposes itself to the world. See any metaphors in that illustration?

Finally, the offering of the firstfruits as a Grain Offering. Leviticus 2:14-16“‘14 If you offer a grain offering of your firstfruits to the LORD, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits green heads of grain roasted on the fire, grain beaten from full heads. 15 And you shall put oil on it, and lay frankincense on it. It is a grain offering. 16 Then the priest shall burn the memorial portion: part of its beaten grain and part of its oil, with all the frankincense, as an offering made by fire to the LORD.’” Again, simple. If you feel led to offer as a Grain Offering a portion of your firstfruits, you take the ears of grain (whatever grain you have) while they are still green, roast them over a fire, and beat out the corns of grain. Add oil and frankincense (but no leaven or honey)—and don’t forget the salt—then the priest burns a portion for the LORD and takes the rest for his portion. This would usually be given by someone in a year when they can see the crop is going to be exceptionally good and plentiful, and while the crop was still green he would bring to the LORD the choicest of this crop (see Exodus 22:29-31). Matthew Henry—
“These green ears must be dried by the fire, that the corn, such as it was, might be beaten out of them. That is not expected from green ears which one may justly look for from those that have been left to grow fully ripe. If those that are young do God's work as well as they can, they shall be accepted, though they cannot do it so well as those that are aged and experienced. God makes the best of green ears of corn, and so must we.”

Consider some who were used by God in their youth. 1st Samuel 2:17-1817 The sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for men abhorred the offering of the LORD. 18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. Jeremiah 1:4-74 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then said I: " Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." 7 But the LORD said to me: “Do not say, 'I am a youth,' For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak.” 1st Timothy 4:12Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers… How many times do we hear someone say, “Oh, I don’t listen to that person. They’ve never even been to seminary.” I would rather hear someone who never had a minute of seminary but teaches truth, than someone who has had too much seminary for their own good. Not saying seminary is bad, mind you. But it’s not human teachers that impart the greatest wisdom, but rather the Lord Himself. I like what Charles Spurgeon said once—
Why, I confess I have heard a poor illiterate Primitive Methodist preach the gospel, and I felt as if I could jump for joy all the while I was listening to him, and yet he never gave me a new thought or a pretty expression, nor one figure that I could remember, but he talked about Christ; and even his common things were to my hungry spirit like dainty meats.”
Now, just as God relayed further instructions for the Burnt Offering in Leviticus 6, He does the same with the Grain Offerings. Leviticus 6:14-18“‘14 This is the law of the grain offering: The sons of Aaron shall offer it on the altar before the LORD. 15 He shall take from it his handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, with its oil, and all the frankincense which is on the grain offering, and shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma, as a memorial to the LORD. 16 And the remainder of it Aaron and his sons shall eat; with unleavened bread it shall be eaten in a holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of meeting they shall eat it. 17 It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the trespass offering. 18 All the males among the children of Aaron may eat it. It shall be a statute forever in your generations concerning the offerings made by fire to the LORD. Everyone who touches them must be holy.’”

Two things to notice here. First, only the sons of Aaron could eat it. Remember, they did not own land or flocks or herds. They were sustained by the offerings that they went through much labor to prepare. It wasn’t as if they got to sit back and wait for folks to bring them a side of beef that they then got to walk home with. When someone brought that offering, they had to slit its throat, gut it, cut it up just the right way, burn it, carry the ashes for better than a mile to take them out of the camp, walk all the way back, changing clothes all the time—you get the drift. Second, look where they ate it—verse 16, “in the courtyard of the tabernacle.” They didn’t even have the luxury of eating in their own tent. They ate (so to speak) on the fly. In between animals, they ate their part and went right back to work.

Finally, we take a look at the fact that before a priest could enter into the office of high priest, he had to offer a sacrifice for himself. Leviticus 6:19-2119 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “20 This is the offering of Aaron and his sons, which they shall offer to the LORD, beginning on the day when he is anointed: one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a daily grain offering, half of it in the morning and half of it at night. 21 It shall be made in a pan with oil. When it is mixed, you shall bring it in. The baked pieces of the grain offering you shall offer for a sweet aroma to the LORD.” We see the first such offering when Moses consecrates Aaron as high priest in Leviticus 9:17Then he brought the grain offering, took a handful of it, and burned it on the altar, besides the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
But this was not only for Aaron. Before any of his descendants could stand as high priest, they had to go through the same rites. It was offered by the one who was to be anointed as high priest, Leviticus 6:22“The priest from among his sons, who is anointed in his place, shall offer it. It is a statute forever to the LORD.” This was done at the end of the seven-day consecration period that we find in Exodus 29:35“Thus you shall do to Aaron and his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. Seven days you shall consecrate them.” What they did was this: for seven days, they would kill and cut up a ram and a bull, separate the pieces in the prescribed manner, and wave and heave the parts as they were commanded. Then they would take one-twentieth of a bushel of fine flour and some oil in the morning; they would make matzos in a skillet, and burn them to the LORD. Then in the evening, they would take another one-twentieth of a bushel of fine flour and some oil; they would make matzos in a skillet, and burn them to the LORD.

These matzos were not to be eaten. Leviticus 6:22-23“22 It shall be wholly burned. 23 For every grain offering for the priest shall be wholly burned. It shall not be eaten.” Suppose instead of splitting the tenth of a bushel of flour into two separate offerings, they just decided, “Hey, let’s get this over with this morning with so we can get to more important things.” Or suppose, “Ya know, I could sure use another matzo. God wouldn’t mind if I just took one. It’s not like He needs it.” Could they do that? No. Just as the people were to offer Grain Offerings which were to be shared by the priests—and which offering the person bringing it did not take any home with them—so the one who was to be anointed high priest was to bring offerings that were to be consumed in the fire to the glory of God, and that man did not eat of that offering either.

Which brings us to what took place in the upper room the night before Christ was crucified. Because in verse 21, where it says “It shall be made in a pan with oil. When it is mixed, you shall bring it in. The baked pieces of the Grain Offering you shall offer…”—first, take out the italicized “when it is”. Second, to be true to the original Hebrew, it would read thus: “It shall be made in a pan; with oil mixed, you shall bring it in. The broken pieces of מִנְחָה (minchah) you shall offer…” Hmmmm. Broken pieces of bread were offered to YHVH by the high priest. Does that sound familiar? 1st Corinthians 11:23-2423 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." What does Paul mean when he says I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you? He’s telling us that the words he is about to write came from the Lord Jesus Himself. Keep in mind, Paul communed with the risen Christ. So when Paul writes these words that he says Christ spoke, he’s telling us that Christ actually spoke these words. Now, are the words in red quoted exactly in that form in any of the gospels? No. but are there places where the same event is recorded differently in different gospels? Yes. Does that make it a contradiction? NO. It simply means that the different authors are giving different—but not conflicting—details.

That said, look at the phrase Paul quotes that none of the gospel writers include—“this is My body which is broken for you.” Broken, as an offering to YHVH. Besides being unleavened, what was one other thing that every type of Grain Offering had in common? They were broken. Leviticus 2:6—“You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering.” For 1500 years, they had two very distinct symbols, in bread, of the coming Christ. Not only did they break unleavened bread during Passover, but in addition they brought their Grain Offerings. And with these Grain Offerings, they baked them, broke them, brought them to the priest—and only the priests and Levites ate the Grain Offerings. However, what part of the high priests’ Grain Offering was eaten by anyone? None. It was consumed by the fire. What part of Christ’s actual body is eaten? None. No matter how the Roman Catholics try to spin their tales about transubstantiation, and the wafer and wine becoming the actual blood and flesh of Christ, it is just not true. A careful study of the Old Testament sacrifices clears that up quite easily. The high priests’ Grain Offering was consumed as a foreshadowing of the body of our Great High Priest being given to God to be wholly consumed in His wrath. His wrath which, I might add, should have been poured out on us. So that pretty much wraps it up for the Grain Offering. Next time we will take a look at Leviticus 3, the Peace Offering.

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