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As the burnt-offering represents the value of Christ's work in the Father's estimation, giving "Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour," (`Eph. 5:2`,) so the meat-offering sets forth His perfect human character and conduct; and may be linked with His own testimony, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work." (`John 4:34`.)
I. It was not a bloody sacrifice, but consisted of fine flour, or flour that had no roughness nor unevenness. Neither was there anything uneven in the human nature of the Lord Jesus. In all other men, however great the church or the world may judge them to be, there are serious defects and infirmities, and their strongest points are sure to be counter-balanced by some humiliating weakness. But He could declare: "The Father hath not left me alone," and He could add, as no one beside can say, "I do always those things that please him;"–"Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (`John 8:29,46`). Hence God twice burst heaven open to exclaim, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," (`Matt. 3:17`; `17:5`); but this was the only time in the history of our race its silence was thus broken.
II. The fine flour was baken in an oven, and thus every particle of it was exposed to the action of the fire. So we hear the perfect Man crying in His hot distress, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws, and thou hast brought me into the dust of death," (`Ps. 22:14,15`). The fire was burning very fiercely, when He who had always done those things that pleased His Father uttered the wail of a
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breaking heart: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (`Matt. 27:46`).
III. The fine flour was mingled with oil, and oil is the well known symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. When the angel announced to the virgin the birth of the promised Messiah he said to her "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (`Luke 1:35`). While therefore the Lord Jesus was the seed of the woman, He was not the seed of the man, but as the angel said to Joseph, "That which is conceived [margin, begotten] in her is of the Holy Ghost." (`Matt. 1:20`). Hence His very nature was perfectly holy, unlike our nature, which "is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (`Rom. 8:7`).
IV. The unleavened wafers of fine flour were anointed with oil. When the Son of Mary came up out of the water of baptism, "He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him," (`Matt. 3:16`); and "Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness;" and "returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee," to proclaim, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor." (`Luke 4:1,14,18`). Peter also testifies "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power," (`Acts 10:38`). And if the blood of sacrifices under the law availed to put away sin for a time, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (`Heb. 9:14`).
V. The meat-offering was not only anointed with oil, but frankincense was put thereon. This word is derived from a verb which signifies "to be white or to make white," and it is the verb David used when he cried out, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow," (`Ps. 51:7`); and the verb God used when He said, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." [`Is. 1:18`]. The word rendered frankincense occurs twenty times in the Old Testament, and it was closely connected with the holy anointing oil, the type of the Holy Ghost, [`Ex. 30:34`], and placed upon the twelve loaves that were ever in the presence of God, on the tables of shew-bread. [`Lev. 24:5-8`]. Where sin was in question, it could not be used, [`Lev. 5:11`; `Num. 5:15`]; but it tells of the relation between the Bridegroom and the Bride. [`Cant. 3:6`; `4:6,14`].
VI. No meat-offering could be made with leaven or with honey. The word leaven, in its various forms and inflections, is found seventy one times in the Old Testament, and seventeen times in the New, and it is the appropriate and unvarying symbol of that which is evil. There is not so much as a solitary exception to this rule, and little progress can be made in an intelligent acquaintance with the Bible, until it is acknowledged, and kept constantly in mind. Honey was forbidden, to teach us that whatever is sweet to nature must be disowned, if we would walk after the example of Christ who pleased not Himself. [`Rom. 15:3`; `Matt. 16:24`; `Luke 9:59-62`; `John 6:63`].
VII. "Every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt –with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." The quality of salt to preserve, and to arrest the spread of corruption, rendered it a fit symbol of an everlasting covenant, and a significant type of true Christians in the midst of sin and vice. "Ye are the salt of the earth," said Jesus to His disciples; "but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." [`Matt. 5:13`]; "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt." [`Col. 4:6`].–Selected.
— March, 1880 —