THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MEAL OFFERING AND THE MANNA
Not only do we need to see the difference between the burnt offering and the meal offering, but also between manna and the meal offering. Many Christians think that manna is wonderful. But in the book of Leviticus, the manna is past; it is replaced by something better and richer. The first difference is that manna is from heaven, but the meal offering is from the earth. We would think that something from heaven should be wonderful. Could anything be better than that which is from heaven? But the meal offering is of the earth. Manna was given from heaven, but the meal offering was grown up from the earth.
Isaiah 4:2 tells us that the Lord Jesus on the one hand is “the branch of Jehovah.” This speaks of His divinity. But on the other hand it says that He is “the fruit of the earth.” This is His humanity. As to His divine nature, He is the branch of Jehovah, and as to His human nature, He is the fruit of the earth. Isaiah 53 speaks of the Lord as a “tender plant” grown out of dry ground. He is the fruit of the earth, and He is a tender plant out of dry ground. For the meal offering we do not need the divinity of the Lord Jesus; we need His humanity. His humanity is for our perfection. It is not something given from heaven, but grown from the earth. Many Christians would never think that something of the earth could be better than something from heaven. But the meal offering is better than manna.
Also, manna is a gift from God, and the meal offering is a present to God. Which is better? We must see that a present to God is much better. We must be delivered from our old concepts. Manna is for our satisfaction; it is not for God’s satisfaction. The meal offering, however, is for God’s satisfaction. It is even a memorial to God—this is something more than satisfaction. “And the priest shall burn the memorial of it [the meal offering] upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord” (Lev. 2:2). Manna is not for God’s satisfaction, but the meal offering is for God’s satisfaction, and it is a memorial in His presence. It is something for God to remember. This is much better.
Moreover, manna is for a life in the wilderness, whereas the meal offering is for a life in God’s dwelling place. Manna is sufficient only to sustain a life in the wilderness, but the meal offering will support a life in the dwelling place of God. Where do you prefer to be: in the wilderness or in the dwelling place of God? We all must prefer to have the meal offering, and we must forget the manna. The meal offering suffices for a life serving God in His presence and in His dwelling place. There is no more wandering, but just dwelling with God in His house.
Another important point of difference between the manna and the meal offering is that manna never constituted worship to God. God never asked His people to worship Him by presenting manna. But God did command His people to worship Him with the meal offering. Thus the meal offering is quite sufficient to constitute worship to God. This is why among many Christians there is really no true worship to God. People are always feeding on manna. In the local churches we must have true worship to God by enjoying the meal offering all the day long.
There is one additional point concerning the manna and the meal offering. With manna, there is no need of human labor. But to have the meal offering, there is much need of human labor. We must labor on the good land by tilling the ground, sowing the seed, watering the plants, and reaping the harvest. We must care for many things in order to obtain the fine flour. Even after the harvest, there is the grinding and the baking. All of this is not done in the tent of meeting, but at home. All that is required for the manna is to go out and gather it. The meal offering requires much more labor than the manna.
So many young people today are loose and careless. Many times I decided to visit the young people’s houses, but my wife said that I should call them first. But if I did that, there would be no need to go. My intention was to see how they keep their rooms and their kitchen. So many of them shout, “O Lord, Amen, Hallelujah!” but I want to see their bedroom. I am afraid that many of them did not make their beds today. If that is true, it is certainly not the fine flour. I like to hear the young people shout, “Hallelujah,” but “Hallelujah” what? Sometimes I would rather go to their bedroom to see how they labor on Christ and till the ground by making their bed.
Sloppy ones cannot even get the manna. There may not be much labor, but you still must rise early and go out of the camp to gather it. God is merciful, but He is not so gracious if you are sloppy. God will send the manna outside the camp, but He will not send it into your bedroom and into your mouth. You must rise early, get out of your bed, leave your bedroom, and go out of the camp to pick up the manna. Then you must cook it a little before you eat it.
Solomon says in Proverbs 19:24 that the lazy man, even when he stretches out his hand for food, will not take it back. He is really lazy. A lazy person cannot obtain even the manna, not to mention the meal offering. The meal offering requires much more labor than the manna.
(Christ as the Reality, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)