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Overview of the Offerings (2): Leviticus 1-7

R Dawes, Lesmahagow

The Meal Offering (2.1-16)

Fellowship as a result of the peace offering occupies us more and more with Christ, until we realise that He should dominate our thoughts. It is not only what He has done, but simply delighting in Himself - compare Jonathan's delight in David (1 Sam 19.2). It is enjoying His personality, His words, ways, and worth: God and man in one glorious Person. This is set forth in the meal offering. There is no sin bearing, no life given up in death. He is the "Bread of God", who satisfies God and can satisfy us too. Hence a handful of the meal was given to the altar as a sweet savour for God, and the remainder was for the priests to eat in the Holy Place. It is most important to feed upon Christ, His lowliness and loveliness, to keep us in communion and free from error. Notice the ingredients.

Fineness of flour: smooth, even, no coarseness. His nature was a blend of every moral attribute, majesty and meekness, purity and pity, tenderness and truthfulness, holiness and humility, all in perfect proportion and balance.

Fullness of oil: oil (a type of the Spirit) was poured upon and mingled with the meal, suggesting the anointing and Spirit-filled life of Christ.

Fragrance of frankincense: the purity and perfume of this sweet spice was particularly evident under intense heat. No wonder it was all for God, for He alone could appreciate the redolence of Christ.

Freshness of salt: His speech was ever "with grace, seasoned with salt" (Gal 2.14), pointed, direct, and truthful. Salt purifies, preserves, flavours, and melts cold hearts.

No leaven and no honey were permitted. There must be no suggestion of evil in the offering, for there was no taint of sin, or trace of mere natural sweetness or sentiment, in the Lord Jesus.

Without a trace of Adam's sin,
As Man unique in origin,
All fair without, all pure within,
Our Blessèd Lord!

(I Y Ewan)

The Burnt Offering (1.1-17)

This is the highest type of offering as viewed and valued by God, with meaning beyond human thought. There is no mention of sin, and no demands made, it is a voluntary offering. It represents that which is intensely pleasing and precious to God - Christ's self-surrender and utter devotion to death in fulfilling the Father's will and thus glorifying Him forever. God's abhorrence of sin, and delight in holiness have been eternally vindicated even if no souls were saved; it meets all the holy demands of God in life and death.

Presentation: a male bullock without blemish is presented, in all its excellence, before the Lord as a living sacrifice, a type of the strong, sinless, steadfast Servant-Son, who, without reservation, "offered himself without spot to God" (Heb 9.14). The delight and devotion God received from Him is what He desires and deserves, at least in measure, from His redeemed.

Identification: the hand is laid on the sacrifice, to acknowledge that the animal is being slain in the stead of the offerer, who identifies himself with its living perfections and its substitutionary death.

Acceptation: it is "accepted for him"; all the acceptability of the victim is thereby imputed to the offerer, "he hath made us accepted in the beloved"; Christ "hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour" (Eph1.6; 5.2).

Dissection (of the inwards): the offering is flayed (the scourging?). The head, He "knew no sin" (1 Cor 5.21); the legs, He "did no sin" (1 Pet 2.22); and the inwards, "in him is no sin" (1 Jn 3.5), were laid in order on the altar for the eye of God to rest on with delight.

Satisfaction: the parts and the rest of the victim were burnt as an "ascending offering", emitting a "sweet savour" of Christ for the heart of God alone.

Appropriation (skin only): the skin, however, was reserved for the priest (Lev 7.8), as a covering of protection and elegant beauty. Priestly saints appreciate the value and the wonder of being "in Christ". Do we?

The "ashes" (Lev 6.9-13) declared the completion of the work, and the acceptance of the sacrifice. But the fire on the brazen altar never went out, as no victim was ever worthy enough to satisfy God, until Christ came and finally, for believers, He quenched the fire of judgment forever!

No blood, no altar now,
The sacrifice is o'er;
No flame, no smoke ascends on high,
The lamb is slain no more.

(Horatius Bonar)

The grades of the offerings, that is the different animals permitted, is another study in itself. In a practical sense, it enabled the poorer people to bring less valuable offerings (which also manifest aspects of Christ) in their approach to God. Spiritually they suggest the various capacities of God's people in their appreciation of the Lord Jesus; some, because of knowledge and maturity, have a greater understanding and it enriches their worship, others, less mature and experienced, have a lower level of appreciation. But, whatever capacity we have, large or small, our worship is appreciated and accepted by God, praise His Name,

To all our prayers and praises
Christ adds His sweet perfume,
And love the censer raises
Its odours to consume.

(Mary Peters)



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