The Peace-Offering: Part 2

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 8
In this sacrifice, then, Jehovah had but a portion. Had all gone up as a burnt-offering, the offerer would have been assured of his acceptance, but would not have enjoyed communion with God in the sacrifice. Now it was 'the Lord's desire that he should enjoy this. So He gave these regulations about the peace-offering, and thus connected special festive seasons of any of His people with the acceptance of the sacrifice on the altar. In the wilderness this was clearly seen; for a man could not kill an ox, a sheep, or a goat for, his family's food without the appointed portion of the animal being presented to God. Death was the due desert of any one who acted otherwise. (Lev. 17:33What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, (Leviticus 17:3)—6) Feasting was to be associated with the worship of God, and not with idolatrous rites. What ground of rejoicing could there be for us sinful creatures, had not the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross? Seasons, then, of joy were to be closely connected with the sacrifice on the altar. This was to be remembered. But idolatry 'was rife around the children of Israel, and they were tainted with it. (Acts 7:42,4342Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? 43Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. (Acts 7:42‑43)) To keep them from offering sacrifices to devils, the Lord thus closely associated feasting with the sacrifice on His altar.
In the land He equally watched over them; but the altered circumstances necessitated a new revelation. Supposing the tabernacle or temple was too far from them, if minded to kill any of the herd, or of the flock, they were free to do so to eat flesh; but the blood was to be poured out, and not eaten. If, however, they were near enough to the sanctuary to offer peace-offerings on such occasions, they were still to offer them. (Deut. 12: 20-25) Thus they might enjoy the fruits of Jehovah's goodness at any time in the land, and in any place; but no religious rite could be connected with such feasting unless they were near enough to God's altar. And of none of their holy things, or of their vows, could they eat, except at the place where God's altar was located for the time being. (Deut. 12: 25-32, 14: 23-26) Of flesh killed at home, both the unclean and clean could eat. That was in no sense a sacrifice, and on no pretense were they to treat it as such. When it was a peace-offering, the unclean could not eat of it (Lev. 7:2020But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 7:20)), for one in that state could not have communion with Jehovah.
The peace-offering dealt with aright at the altar, the priest who offered it had his appointed portion assigned to him, which the offerer was commanded to give to him. It was the priest's due; but God would not leave him to claim it: the person who brought the sacrifice was to give him the right shoulder, and to Aaron and his sons, the males of the holy priesthood, he was to give the breast. (Lev. 7:29-3529Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the Lord shall bring his oblation unto the Lord of the sacrifice of his peace offerings. 30His own hands shall bring the offerings of the Lord made by fire, the fat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the Lord. 31And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'. 32And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings. 33He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part. 34For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel. 35This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the Lord in the priest's office; (Leviticus 7:29‑35)) The Lord claimed these portions, the right shoulder to be heaved, and the breast to be waved; and then, as His, gave them to the priests. And this ordinance, as regards the officiating priest, was never to be abrogated. In the wilderness it was his, and the land likewise (Deut. 18:33And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. (Deuteronomy 18:3)); but when in the land, the two cheeks, and the maw, or stomach, are mentioned as his portion also. The right shoulder, typical of strength, was given to him who typified the Lord Jesus; for who but the One who gave up His life on the cross could really know what the strength was that was needed for that? The heart, the seat of the affections, typical of the love of Christians, assigned to the holy priesthood, now represented by Christians (1 Peter 2:55Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)), who especially share in that love. For God does in the Old Testament foreshadow blessings for a portion of His people above and beyond those allotted really to Israel. In the special place of privileges of the Aaronic priesthood we see this. In the free-will offering at Pentecost we can trace it. In Eve's place with Adam we recognize it. In the fellows of Christ (Psa. 45:77Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalm 45:7)) we learn it. And here in the type we behold it. The love of Christ to His own is a special blessing for all of us who are Christians. He loved His own which were in the world. (John 13:11Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. (John 13:1)) He loved them unto the end, and we prove it in His lowly service to us. He loves them still (Rev. 1:55And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Revelation 1:5)), and we are to know His love which surpasseth knowledge (Eph. 3:1919And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)), which Saul and John knew well.
Following the rest of the animal to the offerer's home, we learn for how long he might eat of it, with what he was to eat it, and who could not partake of it among his household or friends. All this is detailed in the law of the peace-offering. (Lev. 7:11-2111And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord. 12If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried. 13Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings. 14And of it he shall offer one out of the whole oblation for an heave offering unto the Lord, and it shall be the priest's that sprinkleth the blood of the peace offerings. 15And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning. 16But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and on the morrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten: 17But the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire. 18And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity. 19And the flesh that toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt with fire: and as for the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof. 20But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. 21Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the Lord, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 7:11‑21)) If offered for thanksgiving, it would only be partaken of on the day it was offered. If brought to the altar for a vow, it could be partaken of on the second day as well, but never on the third. If a man was moved to make a vow, it would arise from a more deep-seated, or from a fuller sense of Jehovah's goodness than that which prompted a thanksgiving-offering; hence whilst really in spirit rejoicing before God, he could have communion with Him. But where that had died down God would not accept the outward appearance apart from the heart's communion. Any attempt at such a thing would be abomination in His eyes (chaps. 7: 18; 19: 5-8), and death would be the only punishment one guilty of it could expect. To be on the ground of law before God was no light thing. But though we are on the ground of grace, God's nature does not alter, nor can He accept as communion what is not such in spirit and in truth. Whensoever a man was minded to bring his meat-offering, if he was not defiled, God was willing to receive it. At all times He would allow His people with a due regard for His nature to have communion with Him. But sustainment of real communion in the heart of the creature was not permanent, and He would remind the Israelite and us also of that.
With the sacrifice, or literally, on it, an offering of unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil of fine flour, was prescribed; and with (literally on) the cakes lie was to offer for his offering leavened bread with (or on) the sacrifice of his peace offering; and one out of the whole oblation, a heave-offering to the Lord, the offerer gave as directed to the officiating priest. Communion with God on the ground of the death of the sacrifice, the peace-offering distinctly teaches us; but not merely on the ground of that death; for as the offerer owned the death by killing the animal, so now those only can really have fellowship with God who own that Christ's death as a sacrifice for them has really taken place. No communion, then, can be known between any of us and God, apart from and without a real recognition of the death of Christ for us; for the offerer laid his hand on the victim's head before he killed it. But if the Lord has died, He first lived; so His life in the unleavened cakes was typified of as well as His death; yet the order is suggestive. His death is first here portrayed, then His life; for the unleavened cakes were offered with (literally on) the sacrifice of thanksgiving. No communion between God and His people could have been enjoyed had not His Son died. How continually are we reminded of the moral distance from God that we were all in through the fall! But how gracious of our God to teach it us by the provision He has made to remove it, showing at once the reality and the measure of it, since nothing but the death of Christ could annul it. But who are those privileged to have fellowship with God? Creatures born in sin, in whom sin is. This the leavened bread typified. In the unleavened cakes we have figured the perfect man; in the leavened bread fallen man. The difference between the man Christ Jesus and all of us, we are never allowed to forget; nor need we, nor would we wish it, since on the ground of that which He is, and that which He has suffered, we stand before God, and have fellowship with Him; just as the leavened bread was offered with the unleavened cakes, and with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of the peace-offering. Apart from the Lord Jesus we could not stand before God.
This leads on to the consideration of the condition in which this communion could be enjoyed. Beyond the heart's occupation with Him from whom all blessing comes, the Lord, as we have seen, would not acknowledge it as real; and what was not real was offensive, an abomination in His eyes. (Chaps. 7: 18; 19: 7, 8)
Further, if the flesh of the sacrifice had touched any unclean thing it would not be eaten, and those only who were clean could eat of the sacrifice. The holiness of Jehovah was to be remembered and acknowledged at the Israelite festive board. So any one unclean from the working of his own flesh, or defiled from contact with some unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, an unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, was precluded from sharing in the feast on pain of death for disobedience. Was this principle confined to Israel? Does not 1 Cor. 11:27-3227Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:27‑32) read us a solemn lesson in connection with it? Governmental dealing had removed some of the Corinthians for a sin, in principle, akin to that against which Lev. 7:2121Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the Lord, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 7:21) warned the children of Israel.
Privilege to have fellowship with God, feasting with Him on the fat of the inwards of any animal offered in sacrifice, was peremptorily denied them as food. That which the fat symbolized was for God. How perfectly in Christ was that the case, the example to His people of what should characterize them. On the other hand, the blood of no living creature could they eat; for life belongs to God. The recognition that life belonged to God is binding on all men. The acknowledgment that the will should be in subjection to God ought to characterize His saints. God has forbidden blood to all. He forbad the fat of the sacrifice only to His people. The Lord give all His saints to enter more into this!
C. E. S.
WE should be like a vessel under the droppings of heaven, always kept full out of His fullness.