All Fat is the LORD’s?

Lev 3 16 b

Q. Lev 3:16 says all fat is the LORD’s. He does not want to share either (Lev 7:25)? Why does God want all the fat and cholesterol for Himself? Does He like barbecued fat?

A. Your observation is correct, but God is spirit (Jn 4:24) and does not eat the offerings:
Lev 3:16 The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORD’S.
• Lev 7:25 For whoever eats the fat of the animal from which an offering by fire is offered to the LORD, even the person who eats shall be cut off from his people.

I do not think it has anything to do with keeping His people from eat high cholesterol fat for their health either, as there is no hint of that in the text.

To understand why we need to look at the biblical background. The first mention of “fat” in the Bible is in Abel’s sacrifice, which the NT assessed to be better than Cain’s:
Gen 4:4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering;
• Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, …

Abel offered the fat portions of the firstlings of his flock i.e. his best, and the LORD had regard for him and his offering.

Unlike contemporary western culture which view fat as unhealthy, the ancient Near Eastern culture treated fat as the best or choicest part. This understanding is reinforced when Pharaoh offered Jacob the best or the fat of the land:
Gen 45:18 and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.

So when Lev 3:16 says all fat is the LORD’s, it is in fact saying offer your best to God. And when a person eats the fat, he is taking what is reserved for God for himself. No wonder that person should be cut off from or ostracized by his people. I don’t think God likes barbecued fat in the physical sense; He likes it when His people put Him first as they should.

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