“If you bring a grain offering of firstfruits to Adonai, you are to bring as the grain offering from your firstfruits kernels of grain from fresh ears, dry-roasted with fire.”-Leviticus 2:14
In verse 14 of Leviticus chapter 2, we’re informed of a special use of the MINCHAH or grain offering.
We’re told that a MINCHAH can be offered up during the harvest festival, as a FIRSTFRUITS offering.
In other words, this MINCHAH was to be made from the first of the grain harvest.
This didn’t just happen once a year.
The offering up of a first fruits grain offering could occur several times whenever the barley and later the wheat became ripe.
Now when the grain offering was offered up as a first fruits offering it was NOT done together with the OLAH (the burnt offering).
It was presented to the Lord as a stand-alone sacrifice.
In addition, rather than having the grain stripped of its semolina and ground into flour to be turned into dough, the grains were just fire-roasted.
Afterwards, olive oil and frankincense were poured on the roasted grains and then presented to the priest who took a small amount and threw it onto the altar fire.
In a nutshell, this was how the ritual was done:
The worshipper prepared the dough. He would either cook it in one of the prescribed ways or leave it uncooked.
The prepared dough was then brought to the Tabernacle (later the Temple) and handed over to the priest who was officiating at the time.
The priest would take a handful of the dough and place it on the Brazen Altar where it would be completely consumed in the flames.
The remainder of the grain was given to the priests for their food. They had to eat this food on the Tabernacle grounds (inside the courtyard of the Tabernacle). This was considered to be a sacred meal that they were eating in God’s presence.
Now I need to share a few words about the “handful” of dough the priest took from the whole lump and placed on the altar.
The Hebrew word for “handful” here is KOMETS.
The sense of this word is that not only is it a small portion, but it is a super duper small portion.
Here is the super important point you’ve just got to understand.
When that tiny amount from the entire lump of dough was taken and put on the brazen altar to be burned up, it had the symbolic effect of making the whole lump, the majority portion that was NOT put on the altar BECOME holy.
Did you get that?
Let me say that again.
When a tiny lump was taken from the whole and placed on the altar to be burned, it also made the majority portion NOT PLACED ON THE FIRE HOLY!
Notice verse 3.
“But the rest of the grain offering will belong to Aharon and his sons; it is an especially holy part of the offerings for Adonai made by fire.”-Leviticus 2:3
We’re told that the remaining portion given to Aaron and his sons was a MOST HOLY PORTION!.
Somehow in someway that small part of dough being taken from the whole and thrown onto the Brazen Altar made the rest of the dough holy.
This goes a long way towards explaining what Paul meant when He said the following:
“I am talking to you Gentiles.
Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I
may somehow arouse my own people to envy
and save some of them.
For if their rejection brought reconciliation
to the world,
what will their acceptance be
but life from the dead?
If the part of the dough offered
as firstfruits is holy,
then the whole batch is holy;
if the root is holy,
so are the branches.“
Some other Bible translations will say “if the Challah offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole loaf”.
After studying Leviticus chapter 2, do these words of Paul make more sense to you now?
Of course, Paul is referring to the MINCHAH or the Grain Offering!
And no doubt, in the Book of Romans, Paul was using this example of CHALLAH as the grain offering of the sacrificial system because the Jews in his audience would have understood exactly what he was talking about.
Any Jew would have understood that according to the grain offering procedure, offering up that tiny piece of dough on the altar transmitted its holiness to the whole remaining loaf that would later be eaten by the priests.
Of course, Paul’s point is that if Yeshua as the First Fruits of God’s sacrifice is holy, so is the nation Israel, from which Yeshua came.
His point is that it could NOT be otherwise.
Man, I don’t know about you, but I got goosebumps doing some serious sprints up and down my spinal cord right about now.
This is another great example why you should start your Bible studies from the beginning, the Torah, and NOT from the Gospels.