December 01, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Peace Offering
“And if his sacrifice of oblation be a peace offering …”
The meaning or teaching of this offering is suggested by the awareness that something occurs which did not happen in either the burnt offering or the meal offering. The offering priest, the priestly family, the offerer, and his family are all eating together. They are feasting on what God is feasting.
The offering is suggesting God and man brought into fellowship, and man and man brought into fellowship. Recall that not only did sin alienate us from God, but the result of sin is that by nature we are “hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Man needed primarily to be reconciled to God, but also needed to be reconciled to each other.
The Peace Offering is not the Lord’s Supper. It is a life of fellowship and enjoyment of God. It is the enjoyment of all the blessing which God ever intended to give to humankind. “Peace” orshalom is plural and suggests intensity and fullness. It is Luke’s Gospel with the Lord Jesus exulting in God showing grace (Luke 15) and sitting seven different times at the table with others, enjoying fellowship with believers.
As we look at the animals specified for sacrifice, we find a new allowance as well as a new restriction. In the Burnt offering, only a male was permitted to be sacrificed. But now, in the Peace offering, God permits a female, as well as a male, from the herd of flock to be offered (Lev 3:1, 6). Even further, Leviticus 22:23 allowed a bullock or lamb with a missing or superfluous part to be offered, but only for a freewill offering.
Why this sudden expansion of possible sacrificial animals? Is it suggesting that God is so desirous of fellowship that He is broadening the possibilities without compromising His standard – “without blemish” (1:1)?
But there is one animal missing from the Peace offering which was allowed in the Burnt offering: there is no bird offered as a Peace offering. This may be because there would not be sufficient to “feast” upon for everyone. God did not want anything which would even hint that there was some meagerness in Christ. There would be precious little fat for God and very little food for man from a bird.
The sacrifices offered included one from the herd, one from the flock, or a goat. What is the basis of fellowship with God? My work or Christ’s? Of course, your automatic answer is that it is the work of Christ. Yes, all would agree that this is what brought us into fellowship with God. But all are not as clear that this is what I enjoy day by day in my fellowship with God. It is not my success or failure which are the basis or hindrance to enjoying God. It is Christ. I do not enjoy fellowship with God over my service or work for Him; it is His Work for me.
In a similar manner, the lamb from the flock reminds us of One Who yielded His will to God and gave Himself to accomplish another’s will. When I look at the goat I am reminded of how sure-footed it was. It never missed a step, even on the rocky crags and dangerous precipices. How like our Lord Jesus Who never took a step that was wrong or out of the will of God.
Taking these together we learn that my fellowship and enjoyment of God is based upon His service, submission, and sinlessness. But as well, it is not only the basis, but the very substance I bring to God as I enjoy fellowship with Him. Together we enjoy a life devoted to the work, will, and walk of God.
- Why do you think the Peace offering is the third mentioned in Leviticus 3 but the last in Leviticus 7? Is this what God has been moving to for all eternity?
- There were three occasions when a peace offering was brought (Lev 7). Can you find them in Luke 2 as men were brought into fellowship with God?