The grain offering (Minkhah) has various names in the bible such as; meal offering, gift offering or food offering. It was a voluntary offering brought by the person who simply wanted to draw near to God and express his worship to Him.
It consisted of high quality fine flour, oil and frankincense. It was baked into unleavened bread and spread with oil. Half was eaten by the priests and the other half was burnt on the altar with the frankincense and offered to God.
If you have any knowledge of the bible, you may well have heard quite a bit about Baal worship which was practised by the Canaanites and surrounding nations. Baal represented the god of fertility and agriculture and they felt that he had to be appeased by various sacrifices (including human ones). They believed he determined all aspects of agriculture such as giving of rain (or draught), harvest, fertility etc.
Yahweh wanted to remind His people that it was He who was responsible for blessing and providing for His people.
This offering foreshadowed Jesus as ‘the bread of life’
I am the bread of life. (John 6:48)
Jesus also compared himself to the grain of wheat which falls into the ground and dies.
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:23-25)
Jesus was crushed on the cross, just like fine flour. He was buried on Good Friday just like the grain of wheat and sprang to life in resurrection power on Easter Sunday.
Other aspects of this sacrifice are:-
- The offering was accompanied by oil (Leviticus 2:1-2) which represents the Holy Spirit. Jesus had the Holy Spirit without measure
For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. (John 3:34)
- The offering required salt (Leviticus 2:13) which represents the purity and preserving power of Jesus.
- The grain offering was unleavened (Leviticus 2:11). Leaven was associated with evil: he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. (Luke 12:1) Jesus had no sin in Him.
- God loves a sweet smelling offering
And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. (Genesis 8:21)
The life that Jesus lived was a sweet smelling sacrifice to God
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)
Because of what Jesus has done, our lives can now be a sweet smelling offering which pleases God.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15)
I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:18)