Let Us Bring a Gift Unto the Lord
Last month we began looking at the temple sacrifices to get a better understanding of how they relate to Yeshua (Jesus) and to His people. When we understand the sacrificial service of the temple, we can begin to realize that we, as Christians, are very much a part of what this service means or should mean to us. Last month we began with the peace offerings. This month we want to look at the grain offering.
The Grain Offering
The grain offering was also called the meal offering or the cereal offering because it was made from fine flour. The grain offering was a gift given to God much like the peace offering was given as a gift of thanks. The Hebrew word used was mincha ?or? korban. ?In Genesis 43 we see Jacob telling his sons to take a mincha/gift to the governor of Egypt, which was Joseph, his long lost son. So the grain offering should be called the gift offering. We also see this tribute given when Yeshua the King was born and the three wise men each brought Him a mincha of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The ingredients of a grain offering were grain (usually wheat flour), frankincense, and olive oil. The offering was unleavened like the Passover matzah. It was baked or deep fried or even left uncooked. The grain offering was brought by those who were poor and could not bring other sacrifices. The grain offering was brought in conjunction with the burnt offering and peace offerings. It was like the bread that went along with the meal of the peace offering, and the mincha was a voluntary gift like the peace offering. To understand the meaning behind these offerings, we must first take a closer look at what they consisted of first.
The three types of public grain offerings were the twelve loaves of showbread that went on the table of showbread in the holy place of the temple, the omer of wheat that was waved on the second day of Passover which begins the fifty day counting of the omer to Pentecost, and the two loaves that are waved at Pentecost. All of these are offered by the priests. There are four types of private grain offerings recommended by the Torah: (1) the daily grain offering of the high priest according to Leviticus 6:14, (2) at the consecration of priests according to Leviticus 6:20, (3) those offered by the poor in substitution for a sin offering (Leviticus 5:11-12), and (4) that of jealousy (Numbers 5:15).
The Ritual of it All
In all baked grain offerings, an omer of the flour was made into ten loaves, except when the high priest offered his offering when it was made into twelve loaves which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. The priest would bring the offering on a gold or silver dish in which it was prepared and then place it upon a holy vessel (a consecrated vessel of the temple) and put oil and frankincense on it. He would stand at the southeastern corner of the altar and he would take a handful of the offering that was to be burned and place it on another vessel and place some of the frankincense on it. Then he would walk up the stairs to the top of the altar and salt it and then place it on the fire. The rest of the offering belonged to the priests except with the grain offering of the high priest and at the consecration of a priest when the offering was totally burned.
So why the salt? The salt was symbolic of the covenant. Every covenant was made with salt because salt was a preservative and represented the longevity of the covenant. Every grain offering was accompanied by a drink offering of wine.
So What Does it All Mean?
Everything in the temple represents Messiah, even the sacrifices and the offerings. The grain offering was made without leaven because leaven represents sin. Yeshua was a sinless sacrifice and the grain offering represented that fact (1 Peter 2:21-24, Hebrews 4:15). The portion that was thrown into the fire represents Yeshua and His testings, and even believers who are tested by fire (1 Peter 1:7, 4:12). The frankincense symbolizes the beauty of the Lord and the prayers of the saints; Revelation 5:8 speaks of the incense which was made from frankincense (Exodus 30:34). The oil represents the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit and Yeshua's conception (Matthew 1:18, 3:13-17, John 1:32). We too as believers are to live by the Spirit. And we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5, Galatians 5:25, Romans 12:1) without spot or blemish.
It starts with repentance, filled with the Holy Spirit offering up our sacrifices of praise. But what about those who do not bring their freewill offering to God? They do not come and bow down and bring their gifts to Him.
In Matthew 15:5-9 it says, "But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to honor his father with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"
God does not want us to serve Him by just going through the motions. He does not want us just to keep a set of rules for the sake of keeping rules, but God wants our love. God loves a cheerful giver and He wants us to joyfully serve Him. During this traditional season of Yeshua's birth, He wants us to give joyfully because He came into this world joyfully to give of Himself. He is our example and we must follow in His footsteps.
Let us bring our gifts to Him like the wise men who traveled a long distance to humbly give their gifts to the King. We too must bring our greatest gift to Him and that is our lives; bring the sacrifice of praise which is the fruit of our lips, praise our redeemer joyfully, and willingly lay down our lives by crucifying our flesh so we may be resurrected as our Lord was.
The grain offering, our Messiah, was unleavened, fragranced, and salted and so too we must be.