Leviticus - The Grain Offering
In my Bible study, we started to look at the offerings in the book of Leviticus. We started with the burnt offerings, and today I would like to try and look at the grain offering.
Before I continue, I would like to refresh your memory based on why I decided it would be good for us to look at the book of Leviticus.
First, this book is one of the least studied books in the Bible because many people do not find it relevant to their lives today.
They only see a list of rules that Old Testament people had to follow.
Second, I think we should study this book because the author of Hebrews lets us know how the Old Testament plays a role in the big picture of God’s redemption.
Hebrews 10:1 (ESV)
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
Again, the writer of Hebrews makes it clear that the law was a shadow of what we see in the New Testament – specifically, the sacrificial system in this context.
Therefore, if something is a shadow, I believe we should look at it with a greater insight because we now have the substance found in Christ and his sacrificial work.
All these Old Testament sacrifices are shadows and point to the greater work that Jesus did on the cross.
The people literally brought lambs to be sacrificed, but we know now from the shadow that the lamb points to Jesus Christ, who is the true lamb to take away our sins.
Jesus is the substance of the shadow! (see Colossians 2:17).
The Grain Offering
The grain offering is the second offering that God gave to Moses in the book of Leviticus.
It is also the only offering from the five that does not have blood in it. We know from our previous study, looking at the burnt offering, that blood had to be shed.
Leviticus 2:1 (ESV)
When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it.
There are three basic things that the scripture tells us about the grain offering. It must be made of fine flour, have oil on it, and have frankincense.
Three Items Needed for the Grain Offering
Fine flour: To get this type of flour, it had to be sifted down to get all the lumps out. This was the best type of flour to use.
This speaks of the evenness and balance of Christ and of him being sinless in every way.
He knew no sin. He did not sin. In Him was not sin.
The oil: This is a beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit. Oil was used to anoint people.
We see this in the story of David being anointed as king by Samuel (see 1 Samuel 16:13). We see the same thing in relationship to the Holy Spirit and Jesus:
Luke 4:18 (ESV)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
Here we see Jesus declaring before the people that he is anointed by the Holy Spirit. So, we see the grain offering having oil placed upon it because it represents Jesus being anointed.
Remember, the sacrifices speak of Jesus Christ in shadow.
The frankincense: Frankincense speaks of his life and death as a sweet-smelling aroma unto God.
Ephesians 5:2 (ESV)
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
The death of Jesus is the only death that we celebrate, and so does the Father.
It’s not so much because of his painful and agonizing death as much as it is of what his death was to accomplish on behalf of the people.
Therefore, his death was a beautiful fragrance to God because of redemption.
Leviticus 2:2–3 (ESV)
2 and bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests. And he shall take from it a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all of its frankincense, and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 3 But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the Lord’s food offerings.
I want you to notice there is no laying on of hands in substitution, as we saw in the burnt offering.
Here we are told that it is to be a memorial. This is given in remembrance of all of God’s provision.
Here is what one commentator said about the memorial portion of the offering :
“To remember” indicates that the offerer is being mindful of God’s grace in providing him with food."
This reminded me of something that Jesus told his disciples right before his trial and crucifixion:
Luke 22:19 (ESV)
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
I want you to notice that Jesus took bread, which is made from grain.
He gave it to his disciples and told them to eat this communion to remember him. In other words, we could say this was a memorial.
Therefore, the grain offering is a picture of Jesus Christ being our bread of life.
He is the bread of life that came down from heaven, anointed by the Father, so we could feed on him daily (see John 6:51-55).
We partake of him as a memorial and our daily food every day by spending time with him in prayer, in the Word, as well as during communion.
Baked in the Oven
Leviticus 2:4 (ESV
“When you bring a grain offering baked in the oven as an offering, it shall be unleavened loaves of fine flour mixed with oil or unleavened wafers smeared with oil.
I believe that "baked in the oven" can be seen in two different ways.
First, it can be seen the same way as the burnt offering in regard to classes of people:
Oven- Wealthy Class (Leviticus 2:4).
Pan/ Griddle- Middle Class (Leviticus 2:5).
Covered Pan- Poor class (Leviticus 2:7).
It’s important to remember that not everyone in the community of Israel had the same financial wealth. I think it is possible that the different types of baking ovens could mirror that idea.
The second way to see the baking in the oven is:
Oven- Unseen suffering of Christ (inner agonies) (Hebrews 2:18).
Pan/ Griddle- Seen Sufferings (Matthew 27:27-31).
Covered Pan- Combination of both.
The second perspective might be unusual, but I think it could be possible if we see it in the light of Christ's sufferings to become the bread of life for us.
The oven, being a totally closed appliance, would picture the inner sufferings that Christ had to deal with in his heart and mind.
The anguish of not wanting to go to the cross, but knowing with his spirit that it was the will of His father.
The pan/griddle is the suffering and humiliation that Jesus had to endure before the people and his disciples.
The covered pan would be a combination because it is something that is covered on the bottom but open on top.
Leviticus 2:5 (ESV
And if your offering is a grain offering baked on a griddle, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mixed with oil.
The grain offering could not have any leaven in it. Leaven is a fermented substance that causes the dough to rise.
There was no "rise" (pride) in Jesus. He was humble and dependent on the Father to do the task through Him.
Leaven can also be seen as a sin. In Jesus, there is no sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:6).
You Shall Break It
Leviticus 2:6 (ESV)
You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering.
The breaking speaks of the broken body of Jesus Christ so that our bodies could be made well!
When you look back at the communion Jesus took with his disciples before his death, the Scriptures tell us he broke the bread and gave thanks (see Luke 22:19).
I hope you’re starting to see how powerful these verses are once you understand them in the light of the redemptive work of Christ.
Every detail of the sacrifice, from the ingredients to how it is supposed to be broken, points to a pivotal moment in the life of Christ.
All this was done as an expression of his love and his bringing us into a new covenant relationship.
As you continue reading, there are some parallels to what we have discussed already. So, for time's sake, we will jump down to Leviticus 2:11.
Leviticus 2:11 (ESV)
“No grain offering that you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey as a food offering to the Lord.
Again, we see the command not to have any leaven associated with the offering.
The Lord then adds that no honey is to be added to the offering. Honey is an ingredient that, if heated, could cause fermentation or decay.
Jesus was the perfect God-man, and in him, there is no decay or death.
Even during the time of his death, he made it very clear that no man takes his life from him because only he can lay it down.
Leviticus 2:13 (ESV)
You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.
The addition of salt to the offering represented preservation. Here’s what a commentator said regarding salt being added to the grain offering :
"Salt is a preservative, so it symbolizes the notion that the covenant cannot be destroyed by fire or decay. The phrase “covenant of salt” emphasizes the durability or eternality of the covenant."
Jesus is the one that preserves us and keeps us. It’s not our own efforts or religious duties.
It is only by the grace of God and our faith in the finished work that we are preserved until the day we see Jesus face-to-face!
Friends, let this grain offering remind us that we need Jesus every day the way we need food to sustain life.
It’s been said, “We are what we eat.” If you are always wrestling with negative emotions and thoughts, I would like to ask you, "What are you feeding on?"
I believe today, if we learn to have a healthy diet of Jesus Christ, our life will be filled with faith and power because we are relying on him, who is the bread of life, to sustain us no matter what life may throw our way.
He is anointed with oil, the Holy Spirit. And through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, we can do all things.
 Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus, vol. 3A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 95.
 Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus, vol. 3A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 98.
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LAST UPDATED: 10/10/23
About Pastor Larry
Larry is the co-pastor of New Covenant Church in El Campo, Texas. He has served in ministry for over 10 years, teaching and preaching the Gospel of grace. He continues to serve as a pastor and run newcovenantway.com.