“The cohen will make it go up in smoke on the altar; it is food, an offering made by fire to Adonai.”-Leviticus 3:11
As I’ve said many times before, the Hebrews in many ways still held to many pagan assumptions concerning the nature of the spirit world and their God.
In the ancient Middle East, people typically viewed their gods as a race of super-humans with all sorts of physical, human-like qualities and needs.
In other words, when the Israelites were enjoying a sacred meal in God’s presence, they really believed that God too was eating food.
Even 300 years after Moses, in the era of King David, such beliefs still held sway in the minds of the people.
However, we should never assume the Lord was okay that the people held such beliefs about his nature.
Check out this verse from the Psalms.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
for the world is mine, and everything in it.”
It would take literally hundreds of years for the Lord to make it clear to His people that He does NOT have human-like needs, nor does He eat or drink.
When we read about the smoke being a lovely fragrance to God’s nostrils, it is meant to be spiritual, not physical in meaning.
And when we encounter the many, perhaps hundreds of times in the Bible of God weeping, shouting, brandishing a sword, or walking etcetera, all of these are meant to be figurative.
Again, the reason the Lord used such metaphors is because He had to communicate in ways that man could identify with and understand, otherwise we would never be able to understand His ways, so huge is the gap between mankind and YHVH.
So lest there be any misunderstanding about the nature of YHVH in this area, let me make it crystal clear for you.
The Lord does NOT have real, physical nostrils, nor does He physically inhale and smell smoke the way we humans do.
You may find it ridiculous that I have to make this assertion.
However, in our day and age, there is a modern, quite popular religion that does assert the pagan belief that God is or was a man.
I’m talking about Mormonism.
Check out this quote from Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, made in April 1844, at the Mormon Church’s General Conference:
“I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know…that he was once a man like us...”
Could anything be more unscriptural than this assertion?