The Israelites offered grain and vegetable products as well as animals. The grain (meal) offering was prepared and presented to God as a meal. The offering showed the worshipper’s thanksgiving to God for providing them with the food to sustain their physical lives. As they made it, they were symbolically offering to God the gift of their lives. These crops may have been offered separately from the burnt offerings, or along with them. However, it was generally offered with some offering in which there was the shedding of blood.
This meal offering could be offered either baked or unbaked.And could be offered at the altar in 5 forms: fine flour, oven-baked cakes, cakes baked in a frying pan (on a griddle), or crushed heads of new grain. The cakes would resemble our modern baked pie crust or pizza dough.
Fine flour in that day was unusual. They ground it by hand in a kind of rock bowl. They used a pestle, with which they just beat the grain down. It was often very coarse and uneven if the grinder was careless or in a hurry. If the flour was to be very fine, it meant they must spend a great deal of time with it. This offering had to be made of very fine flour which means that it was well beaten.
All grain offerings were made with oil and salt; no honey or leaven could be saved. The worshiper also had to offer a portion of frankincense. Frankincense was made from a secret formula. It evidently was a form of incense with which it was mixed (Exodus 30:34), but was distinguished from it. It was made of some sort of a plant or tree, perhaps the bark or leaves, and it exuded its fragrance only when crushed, beaten, burned, or put under pressure. Honey represents natural sweetness. It will sour, just as leaven is a souring thing. Salt is the final ingredient which was included in the meal offering. Salt is a preservative and is the opposite of leaven. Leaven produces decay; salt preserves from corruption. “The salt of the covenant” is still eaten among Arabs as a seal to bind one in faithful obedience to a covenant. Salt was a token of faithfulness between the offerer and God.
The officiating priest put only a portion of the offering on the altar—the “memorial portion” for the Lord—where it was consumed in the fire and the rest of the offering went to the priests for their own personal use. Only the male’s of the family could eat it, and they did it in the holy place of the tabernacle (Leviticus 6:16,18) and with unleavened bread. The meal offering’s purpose appears to have been similar to that of the burnt offering. The offering of the first fruits seems to have been intended to sanctify the entire crop. The meal offering represented the whole crop, making the whole crop holy to God (Leviticus 2:14).
This offering represents Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life (John6:32), the Perfect One who nourishes our inner person as we worship Him and ponder His Word.
Colossians3:4 tells us that Christ is our life. Each ingredient of the offering represented some facet of his person and character. The offering had to have oil in it. You will notice that in Leviticus 2:1 the “oil upon it.” In verses 4 and 5 it is “mingled with oil”; in verse 6 it is “pour oil thereon”; in verse 7 it is “with oil.”Oil in the Bible is a picture of the Holy Spirit.nThe prominence of the Holy Spirit in the human life of Jesus is very noticeable.
He was born of the Spirit
“mingled wit oil” (Luke1:35).
He was baptized with the Holy Spirit
“oil upon it” (Mattthew3:16,17).
He was led of the Spirit
“pour oil thereon” (Mark1:12).
He taught, performed miracles, and offered Himself in the power of the Holy Spirit
“with oil” (John 3:34, Matthew 12:28). It also included salt (Leviticus 2:13, Matthew 5:13), speaks of our Lord’s purity of character. Jesus compared Himself to a grain of wheat (John 12:23-25), and He was crushed (“fine flour”) and put through the furnace of suffering that He might save us from our sins. Leaven (yeast) and honey were prohibited from being included in the meal (grain) offering. Leaven is associated with evil (Exodus 12:19,20, Luke 12:1, 1 Corinthians 5:8) and certainly there was no sin in Jesus Christ. Honey is the sweetest thing nature produces, but our Lord’s perfect character was divine and not from this world. The fact that yeast and honey both ferment may also be a factor.