Church of God, Carmichael, CA

Shadows of Good Things

Or the Gospel in Type

Russell R. Byrum, 1922

[Original Page Numbers]



(Leviticus 1—7)

  Typical Meaning.—Very definitely is the burnt offering in Leviticus 1 said to be to make atonement for the offerer. Therefore it is certainly typical of Christ, the true Atonement for God's people. That this is so is doubtless shown by Eph. 5:2: "Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor."

  The bullock, sheep or goat offered there typified him who is the Prince of the pasture, the choicest of offerings. The burnt offering represented the atoning work of Christ in its broad aspect, not as the sin , trespass , or peace offering, which made prominent certain particular aspects of his atoning work. Various kinds of sacrifices were needed to set forth the different phases of Christ's propitiation. Some of these were represented very definitely in certain of these offerings. But the burnt offering, the most general one, both before and after Moses, was typical of atonement in its general effects. It set forth, not especially the idea of remission of particular sins, but rather of atonement for the offerer's sin generally so that he and his worship were accepted of God. It was a sort of worship offering. Because of this it was usually offered after the sin offering, which was especially for expiation.

  So it is only through Christ that we today can worship God acceptably. Only after the blood of Jesus has been sprinkled upon our hearts can our worship and service be a "sweet savor unto the Lord." Those who reject the precious blood of Jesus and yet attempt to worship the holy Lord, ignore the great truth of the burnt offering, and their prayers and service are rejected by God as was that of Cain, whose followers they are.

  Another fact worthy of mention concerning this offering is that it was voluntary. No particular juncture of affairs was needed, as with the sin offering, to require it. It was free and possible to all at any time. So Jesus is not only the lamb for the rich, but also the dove for the poor. And here is illustrated the great word "whosoever," so prominent in the gospel. [87]

The Meat Offering
(Lev. 2; 6:14 18)

  The meat offering was entirely different in its nature from the burnt offering, which precedes it in the sacred record. That was an animal sacrifice, this is a vegetable oblation. There blood was offered, here it was not. That was wholly burned, this was but partly burned. That was for atonement, this unbloody oblation must necessarily have represented another idea.

  The most natural sense of the name of this offering according to modern usage would lead one to think of it as an animal sacrifice rather than as being a vegetable oblation as it is described. When our common English translation of the Bible was made, the word "meat" signified food in general and not merely flesh, as with us. The Revised Version translates it "meal offering," which is better.

  The meat offering was not an uncommon kind of sacrifice in Israel, and it was probably offered in connection with the burnt offerings of the patriarchs, before Moses' time. Each morning and evening a meat offering was offered by the priests in connection with the lamb of the daily burnt offering (Exod. 29:40). In fact it seems usually to have been offered as a complement of the burnt offering (Lev. 23:18; Ezra 7:17; Num. 28:7 15, 29; Judg. 13:19). A careful study of these and other texts bearing on this subject has led students generally to believe the meat offering was never offered alone. Cain attempted offering it alone and was not accepted.

  Materials Used.—According to the detailed description given in Leviticus 2, there were three varieties of meat offerings: first, unbaked flour; second, cakes or wafers, third, green ears of corn parched or dried by the fire. Oil was to be offered with each of these varieties. With the first and third and sometimes with the second it was simply poured on, but in some forms of the second the flour was mixed with the oil before it was baked. [88]

  Besides the flour and oil of the meat offerings, salt was to be added, as with all the sacrifices on Jehovah's altar (Lev. 2 :13; Mark 9 :49). A fourth ingredient was frankincense, which was laid upon the flour, oil, and salt. This was somewhat like a resin or gum, brittle, glittering, and of a bitter taste, from a tree of the turpentine bearing species. When burned it gave out a very fragrant odor, and, as incense, was called "frank" because of the freeness with which it gave out its aroma.

  No leaven nor honey was to be offered on God's altar (Lev. 2:11). Leaven is a form of decaying matter, and honey is fermented by heat. No corruption must come on God's altar; but only that which is holy. Leaven is commonly used as a type of sin. Jesus uses it as a symbol of corrupt doctrine—"the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matt. 16 :12). "The leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" (Luke 12:1). "The leaven of malice and wickedness" (1 Cor. 5 :8). Leaven, the symbol of corruption, was excluded from the offerings; but salt, the symbol of incorruption, was always to accompany them.

  Its Ritual.—The offerer brought the meat offering to the altar. The priest took a portion of the flour, cakes, or corn, and a portion of the oil, and all the frankincense, and laid it on the fire on the altar to be burned as a "memorial" of the whole. This was God's part. The remainder was to be eaten by the priests. The offerer ate no part of it. When it was offered by the priests for themselves all was burned (Lev. 6:23).

  Symbolical and Typical Significance.—Of all the Levitical sacrifices, probably the typical meaning of the meat offering is most difficult to determine. Able exegetes have differed here both as to its primary meaning and as to what is represented by its details. The New Testament scriptures give no definite clue to the typical meaning of this offering. In view of these facts it would probably be unwise for us to be very dogmatic as to what Christian truth is set forth in this shadow of good things. Yet some great truth must be contained in this minutely [89] described rite, and may we not venture to discover it by the aid of God's Spirit and a careful following out of those principles of typical interpretation that have been set forth and referred to several times in foregoing pages ?

  To begin, it is well to notice certain limitations that must be observed. First, it was not a bloody sacrifice, so probably did not have to do with cleansing from sin. Second, it was always to be offered in connection with and immediately following a bloody sacrifice for atonement which was to furnish a ground for, and to make acceptable, the meat offering. It must never be offered without that bloody offering preceding it. Third, it was to be offered without any of the leaven of sin in it. Other similar points might be mentioned.

  Then where shall we look in the work of our salvation for that which is analogous to the meat offering? Notice first that the meat offering was to be of flour or bread, the staff of life, the daily common food of the offerer. It was equivalent to his offering himself to God. Though he could not give his own body to God on the altar, yet the offerer by this sacrifice gave that which otherwise would go to compose his body if he ate it. A1so the original word for meat offering, minchah, means offering or tribute, according to Dr. Moorehead, and expresses the idea of devotedness.

  The meat offering, then, typifies the Christian's consecration, devotion, or dedication to God after he has been accepted on the merits of the atonement by the sprinkling of Jesus' blood that was typified by the burnt offering that immediately preceded the meat offering. Mere forgiveness of sin is not enough. The pardoned sinner must keep holy, by a practical consecration of himself and his life to God's service. He must no longer live for himself. Therefore, the meat offering followed the burnt offering for atonement and acceptance. This is in remarkable accord also with Paul's exhortation to the Roman brethren, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a [90]


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Justification, Sanctification, Unity
Carmichael, California USA

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