does it mean to be “the salt of the earth”? Or, in the epistle to
the Colossians, where Paul exhorts his readers to be “seasoned with
salt” (Col. 4:6)?
never really understood what it means so I finally put some
old-fashioned rules of hermeneutics to use.
Leviticus 2:13 the LORD commands Israel saying: “and every offering
of thine oblation shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou
suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thine
oblation: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.”
LORD commanded that every meal offering be seasoned with salt. The
Israelites were not to allow any meal offering lack salt from which
God made a covenant of salt with them.
Numbers 18:19 gives details about this covenant of salt: “All the
heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel
offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and daughters
with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever
before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.” Here, the
LORD is speaking to Aaron about what he and his seed as high priests
will be blessed with in ministering to Israel. They receive a healthy
supply of all the heave offerings, which includes a hearty portion of
all sacrifices. This the LORD did as a covenant of salt. Because it
was highly valued in old testament times, if a person were to share
their salt with someone, even their worst enemy, their enemy is bound
to protect them. A salt covenant is in effect, a covenant of
friendship and hospitality. The Lord requires us to share our salt
with him (Lev. 2:13), and He reciprocates with giving His priests the
heave offerings in the old testament, which is a picture of the
Christian’s blessings per Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be God the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”.
Ezra 4, adversaries of Judah sent a letter to the king of Persia
making false accusations against Zerubbabel and his fellow-laborers.
The false accusations included insurrection, rebellion, and sedition
against the king (Ezra 4:12-15). What is noteworthy is how the
accusers appealed to the king by saying that because they eat the
salt of the palace, they are bound to protect the honor of the king,
and therefore they inform him of Zerubbabel’s activity. Eating
someone’s salt was a sign of partaking of their hospitality, derive
subsistence from him; and hence he who did so was bound to look after
his host’s interests. But Zerubbabel, and the body of Christ as
well, have eaten the salt of a different kingdom, and therefore
should be mindful to protect the interest of our host, the Lord
Jehovah. Zerubbabel was careful to not partner up with the
adversaries of Judah in rebuilding the temple, and we should be
careful to not fellowship with workers of Belial in building the
what does this have to do with being seasoned with salt? It is lovely
and devotional, but does not the title of this article ask that very
question about being seasoned with salt?
9:49-50: “For everyone shall be salted with fire, and every
sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good; but if the salt
have lost his saltness, wherewith shall ye season it? Have salt in
yourselves, and peace with one another.”
in this chapter, we would read about the disciples doing unsavory
things such as disputing among one another about who would be the
greatest, and forbidding a man from casting out demons in Christ’s
name. The Lord reminds them that just as every person would be judged
by fire, every sacrifice had to be seasoned with salt. If the salt
had no flavor, what then would be the point of using it? Salt has
always been a crucial key to seasoning any meal. Many meals would not
be complete without a dash of salt. Just as people refuse a meal
unless it has been properly seasoned, the Lord refuses a sacrifice
that is not properly seasoned. Our lives ought to be a sacrifice
(Romans 12:1; Ephesians 5:2). So, again, what does the salt refer to?
might be considered the opposite of leaven, in that leaven corrupts,
but salt preserves. Leaven speaks of pride, salt speaks of humility.
As we have already pointed out, salt also gives flavor to a meal.
These things are what made it a savor to God in the meal offerings.
salt covenant referred to in Numbers 18:19 is called an everlasting
one, and I think that although Israel has not been replaced by the
Church, the Lord places His priests– whatever dispensation or age
they may be in– under a covenant of salt, so to speak. We have an
obligation as priests and representatives of the one true God to be a
preservative, not so much in society, but to our fellow man.
back to Colossians 4:6, our speech should be seasoned with grace and
salt so that we may know how to answer every man. If our speech is
seasoned with such things, our answers aid in putting us above
reproach for they will be pleasant and filled with wisdom–
flavorful and palatable. There is a parallel verse in Ephesians 4:29
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that
which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto
the hearers.” A similar thought stated differently: If our speech
is seasoned with salt and grace, there will be no corrupt
communication (remember what the symbol for corruption is? It isn’t
salt) coming out of our mouths, but only that which edifies.
disciples were not being the salt of the earth when they were arguing
over who would be greatest. There was no humility there, or when they
forbade the man who was not with them from casting out demons. They
were lacking grace, and were not edifying those around them.
As disciples of Christ, we eat the salt of the kingdom of Heaven, so let us honor the King, our Lord by salting our lives with the salt of His word and His Spirit that it may be a savor unto Him.