The grain offering was also to be offered twice daily, morning and twilight just like the burnt offerings discussed in my last post. The grain offering was also to be “continual” and for “a sweet smelling aroma to the Lord”. (Exodus 29:41&42) Where the daily animal sacrifices were to symbolize the people’s need for atonement, the grain offerings were to be a memorial. (Leviticus 2:2) The grain offerings could be prepared numerous ways, but there were three requirements for the grain offering which help further shed light on its meaning. First of all, they had to be without leaven, which symbolized corruption, just as the lambs offered to the Lord were to be without blemish. Second, the grain offering was to be anointed with oil. Anointing is used throughout the Bible as a way of denoting a person who is set apart for God. In 1 Samuel 16 Samuel anoints David, the one the Lord had chosen, with oil. Being anointed and being chosen go hand in hand together with the former signifying the later. After his anointing, “the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward,” (1 Samuel 16:13) showing us that God gives His spirit to those whom He has chosen. Anointing the grain offering with oil, set it apart for a special purpose “as a memorial”. What was it they were supposed to be remembering? Perhaps that they, too, as God’s chosen people were to be holy, set apart for the Lord. In fact, the grain offering is called “most holy” of the offerings to the Lord made by fire (Leviticus 2:3). The third requirement of the grain offering was that it be seasoned with frankincense and salt. Since frankincense was used to make perfumes, it must have been included to make the “sweet smelling aroma”. Salt was used as a preservative, to delay the spoiling of food.
During Advent, we are putting ourselves in the position of Old Testament saints anticipating the coming of the Messiah. We are also looking back, in my series, at how Christ fulfilled all of the types and shadows of the Old Testament that point us to His coming. So, how does Christ fulfill the grain offering? In other words, as God’s people, why do we no longer need to offer grain offerings twice daily? Ephesians 5:2 reminds us that God showed His love for us in giving Himself for us, “an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma”, but I want to look at how Jesus fulfilled each of the three requirements of the grain offering. First of all, Jesus was perfectly holy, without sin at all. Our Lord, our great High Priest, is called “holy, harmless, and undefiled, separate from sinners” in Hebrews 7:26. 1 Peter 2:22 quotes Isaiah 53 in saying Christ “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” So, Christ was without leaven! Secondly, Jesus was the long awaited Anointed One that God had chosen and set apart to redeem His people (Luke 4:18, Acts 4:27). And finally, since Christ was the sweet smelling sacrifice, even though He didn’t need frankincense, I find it interesting that it was one of the gifts brought to Him by the Magi who visited from the east to pay their respects to the King of Kings. And of course, Jesus is the ultimate preservative, not only slowing the rot and decay of the world, but conquering sin once and for all. In the same way that salt keeps food from going bad, our Lord Jesus Christ preserves His people and sanctifies them. Isn't that cool to think about?
Since Jesus fulfilled the grain offering, we no longer need to offer it. “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.