The Meat Offering

Scripture Passage: 
Leviticus 2:1-16

INTRODUCTION: Almost every scholar wants to change the meat offering to something else—although they cannot decide what else. The name is said to be confusing to Bible readers. The meat offering has no animal flesh. In fact, it is the only major offering in which no animals are killed. Why is it called the meat offering? Actually, there are very good reasons for calling it the meat offering.

The Biblical use of meat refers to solid food as opposed to drink (see Psalm 69:21; Daniel 1:10; Matthew 25:35; John 6:55; Romans 14:17). This is also the older use of the word in English. The first occurrences of meat in the Bible are found in Genesis 1:29-30 where God gives every “herb bearing seed” and the “fruit of a tree…for meat.” Obviously, the fine flour of the meat offering would fit into the meaning of the word.

But there is more. The meat offering has a very special typology that is revealed plainly by the cross references to the word meat as used by Christ. The meat offering is the offering of a “living sacrifice”—the kind Christians are supposed to give (Romans 12:1). It is also the kind of sacrifice Christ gave during His earthly ministry. Two verses especially teach this. In John 4:34, Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” In John 6:27, He declares, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” These references to meat fit perfectly with the meaning of the meat offering.

Yet, this wonderful connection in scripture is destroyed in the modern versions of the Bible. And it is not simply a matter of them choosing another word. None that I have examined use the same word—any word—in all three passages. Observe the following chart:

Bible Version Leviticus 2:1 John 4:34 John 6:27
NIV grain offering Food food
RSV cereal offering Food food
NKJV grain offering Food food
ASV meal offering Meat food
Living Bible grain offering Nourishment food
King James Bible meat offering Meat meat

This lesson will deal with the different elements of the meat offering. It will then show how these characteristics apply to the life of Christ and the life of the believer.

  1. THE FINE FLOUR (Leviticus 2:1)
    1. Description
      1. Fine flour
      2. It was beaten to a fine grain so that it had no lumps or imperfections.
    2. Application
      1. Contrition – to be contrite means literally to be beaten into small pieces; it pictures a smallness in the sight of God; repentance, submission (Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 66:1-2).
      2. Jesus, as the bread of life (John 6:47-51), displayed His contrition (Mark 14:34-36) and humility (Philippians 2:5-8). The fine flour also points out His perfection (Hebrews 7:26).
  2. THE OIL (Leviticus 2:1)
    1. Description – to be poured on the bread made of the fine flour
    2. Symbology
      1. The bread is a picture of the body (Matthew 26:26).
      2. The oil is a picture of the Holy Ghost (1 Samuel 16:13; Isaiah 61:1).
      3. The pouring was an act of anointing (Exodus 29:7).
    3. Application
      1. To the life of Christ (John 3:34; Luke 4:16-21; Hebrews 1:9)
      2. To the life of the believer (Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 5:18)
  3. THE FRANKINCENSE (Leviticus 2:1-2)
    1. Description
      1. A spice used for increasing and extending the aroma of other spices
      2. To be placed on the meat offering
    2. Application
      1. A type of prayer in the Bible (Psalm 141:1-2; Revelation 8:3-4); and, as such, a type of the holy life given to God [Note: the sin offering was not to have frankincense (Leviticus 5:11); neither was the offering for jealousy (Numbers 5:15).]
      2. Prayer in the life of Christ (Mathew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12)
      3. Prayer in the life of the believer (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1)
  4. THE MEMORIAL OF THE MEAT OFFERING (Leviticus 2:2-3)
    1. The Ingredients of the Offering (Leviticus 2:2)
      1. A handful of the flour
      2. A handful of the oil
      3. All the frankincense
      4. Burned as a memorial
        1. Other memorials in the Bible
          1. The anointing of Jesus (Matthew 26:13)
          2. The prayers and alms of Cornelius (Acts 10:4)
          3. The elements of the Lord’s Supper – “remembrance” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25)
        2. The part our memory plays in holy living (Psalm 30:4; Psalm 38 title; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 2 Peter 3:1)
    2. An Offering Made by Fire (Leviticus 2:2)
    3. A Sweet Savor to the Lord (Leviticus 2:2)
    4. The Remainder of the Meat Offering (Leviticus 2:3)
      1. For Aaron
      2. For Aaron’s sons
  5. A THING MOST HOLY (Leviticus 2:3, 10)
    1. Categories of Holiness (Leviticus 21:22)
      1. The holy (Numbers 18:19)
      2. The most holy (Leviticus 6:14-18)
    2. The Things Most Holy
      1. As something devoted to God (Leviticus 27:28)
      2. As for the priests only
      3. To be eaten in the holy places (Leviticus 10:12-13; Leviticus 24:9; Numbers 18:9-10)
    3. A Type of Christ (Daniel 9:24; Luke 1:35; Hebrews 7:26)
    4. A Picture of the Believer (1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:15-16)
  6. MADE BY FIRE (Leviticus 2:3-7)
    1. A Type of Trials – “made by fire” (Leviticus 2:3; 1 Peter 1:7)
    2. Kinds of Trials (Leviticus 2:4-7)
      1. Three kinds of baking mentioned
        1. Baked in an oven (Leviticus 2:4)
          1. Cakes mingled with oil
          2. Cakes anointed with oil
        2. Baked in a pan (Leviticus 2:5-6)
          1. Only cakes mingled with oil (Leviticus 2:5)
          2. Must be parted in pieces (Leviticus 2:6)
        3. Baked in a frying pan (Leviticus 2:7-9); made of fine flour with oil (Leviticus 2:7)
      2. Three kinds of temptations (1 John 2:15-16)
    3. Application
      1. The trials of Christ (Hebrews 2:9-10)
      2. The trials of the believer (Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 1:6-7)
  7. BROUGHT TO THE ALTAR (Leviticus 2:8-9)
    1. Brought to the Lord (Leviticus 2:8)
    2. Presented to the Priest (Leviticus 2:8); that is, to Jesus Christ (Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1)
    3. The Memorial Burnt upon the Altar (Leviticus 2:9; Hebrews 13:10-13)
  8. NO LEAVEN (Leviticus 2:11)
    1. Leaven is a Picture of Sin (1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:7-9).
    2. The Life of Christ was Sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).
  9. NO HONEY (Leviticus 2:11)
    1. Honey – a type of the good (sweet) things of life (see Exodus 33:3; Psalm 81:16; Proverbs 25:16, 27; Isaiah 7:15)
    2. Application
      1. In the life of Christ (Isaiah 53:1-4; Matthew 20:28)
  10. THE OBLATION OF THE FIRSTFRUITS (Leviticus 2:12)
    1. To Be Offered unto the Lord; as a blessing to the priests (Leviticus 23:20; Proverbs 3:9; Ezekiel 44:30)
    2. Not to be Burnt on the Altar; to maintain the ministry (2 Timothy 2:6)
    3. Application: the firstfruits are a type of the blessings of service (Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11; James 3:17-18).
  11. SEASONED WITH SALT (Leviticus 2:13)
    1. Seasoned with Salt (Mark 9:50; Colossians 4:6)
      1. With every meat offering
      2. The salt of the covenant never to be lacking
      3. All offerings to be offered with salt
    2. A Covenant of Salt (Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:4-6)
    3. Application
      1. To flavor; to make pleasing to the taste; a sacrifice which pleases God
        1. The life of Christ (Matthew 3:16-17)
        2. The life of the believer (Hebrews 13:15-16)
      2. To preserve (see Colossians 1:22-23)
  12. AN OFFERING OF FIRSTFRUITS (Leviticus 2:14-16)
    1. Different from the Oblation of Firstfruits (Leviticus 2:12)
    2. Green Ears of Corn (Leviticus 2:14-16; Matthew 12:1)
      1. Beaten out of full ears (Leviticus 2:14)
      2. Dried by the fire (Leviticus 2:14)
      3. Oil put on it (Leviticus 2:15)
      4. Frankincense put on it (Leviticus 2:15)
      5. The memorial burnt as an offering unto the Lord (Leviticus 2:16)
        1. Part of the beaten corn
        2. Part of the oil
        3. All of the frankincense
    3. The Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:10, 13)

CONCLUSION: At the Feast of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-17), there was to be offered a new meat offering. The new meat offering was like other meat offerings in most regards. There was, however, to be one major difference. The new meat offering was to be offered with leaven (Leviticus 23:17). Leaven, the type of sin, was to be included. Why?

Well, the feast of Pentecost was a type of the New Testament and the dispensation of grace. In this dispensation, more than in any other, God allows those who are sinners to partake of His righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. And, though we may still have some leaven in us, we are allowed to offer our bodies a living sacrifice for God (Romans 12:1). What a glorious truth in this passage!

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 22:18

For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.