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AM Bible Study Archives
"Peace with God"
Wednesday AM Bible Study
June 14, 2006
Theme: The peace offering pictures the communion with God in peace that the sinner freely enters into through Christ.
We have been looking together at the first three levitical offerings; which are called “sweet aroma” offerings. These uniquely focus on Jesus in His personal qualities; who “has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).
Note the relationship between these sweet aroma offerings. The first was the “burnt” offering (chapter 1); and in it, we have the action of Christ depicted—that is, His offering of Himself in complete devotion to the Father. The second was the “grain” or “meal” offering (chapter 2); and in it, we have the nature of Christ depicted—that is, His moral purity and character. Today, we look at the third of the sweet aroma offerings, which is the “peace” offering; and in it, we have the effect of Christ depicted—that is, the peace and communion with God into which He brings the redeemed sinner. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1); for “He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).
You can see the significance of this particular offering hinted at in a very wonderful way in Leviticus 6:8-7:38—in that section that gives the laws for the different offerings. In the order of offerings described in that section, the burnt offering comes first (6:8-13), followed by the grain offering (6:14-23). But then, the sin offering (6:24-30) and the trespass offering (7:1-10) are dealt with. Only after the treatment of the other four is the peace offering discussed—out of sequence from the original order, and with a longer treatment than any of the others (7:11-34). What’s more, it is there expanded to include the idea of thanksgiving and the grateful paying of vows. This is because a state of peace with God, in full and eternal communion and delightful, grateful fellowship with Him, is the goal of His plan to redeem us in Christ. It is what all of the other offerings were intended to make possible.
This offering encourages us to enter freely into fellowship with God our Father, and delightfully enjoy communion with Him in holiness through Christ. As Andrew Bonar has written concerning this offering; “. . . [A] justified soul, devoted to the Lord in all things, spontaneously engages in acts of praise and exercises of fellowship, for the soul has been accepted, and is at peace with God. The Lord takes for granted that such a soul, having free access to Him now, will make abundant use of that access” (A Commentary on Leviticus; pp. 52-53).
Note . . .
I. THE THINGS THAT MAY BE OFFERED.
A. It is offered either of the heard (vv. 1-5), or of the flock (v. 6)—either a lamb (vv. 7-11), or a goat (vv. 12-16). If we take this as a pattern like that established in the burnt offering (chapter 1), then God is here making provision for a peace offering to be made by whoever wishes—whether they are wealthy and can offer from the livestock, or have moderate means and are able to offer a lamb, or are poor and can only afford to offer a goat. (In the burnt offering, the poor were allowed to offer turtle-doves or young pigeons; but given the procedure of the peace offering—which required the offering of certain fatty portions of the animal as a memorial portion—small birds would not be appropriate.)
B. Another difference to notice is that, in the peace offering, either a male or a female of the herd or flock may be offered (vv. 1 and 6). The burnt offering required that the animal be a male only (1:3) because this pictured Christ in His devotion. But here, the animal may be male or female because it pictures Christ as the one who brings about peace for all people who come to God (Galatians 3:27-29).
C. Though it may be a male or a female from either the flocks or the herds, it is still a picture of Christ as a sweet-smelling aroma to the Father; and so, it must be “without blemish” (v. 1).
II. THE PROCEEDURE OF THE OFFERING.
A. The offerer is to bring it “before the LORD” (vv. 1, 7, 12); by his own hand (7:29-30). In times past, people made their sacrifices where ever they wished. But now, God specifies that it is to be brought to the door of the tabernacle and be offered directly before Him. This kept the people from the danger of “playing the harlot” with false gods (see Leviticus 17:3-9). This also reminds us that we cannot “make up” our own way to God, for there is peace with God through no one else but through Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
B. The offerer lays his hand on the head of the offering and kills it at the door of the tabernacle of meeting (vv. 2, 8 and 13). As with the burnt offering, the laying on of hands signifies identification with and personal acceptance of the offering as a substitute (see Lev. 16:21-22). What is in view here is that we thus look to Christ as the source of peace with God; because “the chastisement for our peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5). There is no entering into the place of peaceful fellowship with God but through Him.
C. The priests—Aaron and his sons—then took the blood and sprinkled it all around on the altar (vv. 2, 8 and 13). The blood was for God’s benefit as much as for the sinner; “For it pleased the Father that in [Christ] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
D. The offerer then offers certain portions to God “from the sacrifice of a peace offering”. This is a notable difference from the burnt offering. The chief characteristic of the burnt offering is that “all” is burnt on the altar (1:9, 13). But here, only certain portions are burnt on the altar by the priests; and certain portions are then given to the priests for food (7:31-34), and the remaining portions may be eaten by the offerer (7:15-21). Eating is often a picture of fellowship in the Bible; and this pictures man entering into fellowship with God.
1. The fat that covers the entrails of the animal, and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, is all to be removed and burnt on the alter by the priests (vv. 3-5, 9-11, 14-16). These were considered the riches portions from the deepest part within the animal. The one making the offering had to search inside the animal to find these things. This reminds us of the kind of fellowship God wants to have with us—not something superficial, but with all that is of the deepest and best within us; to worship Him in “spirit and truth” (John 4:23).
2. Note that, if the offerer makes and offering of a the lamb, the offering is also to include “its fat and the whole fat tail which he shall remove close to the backbone” (v. 9). In the King James translation, this portion is called “the whole rump”; and it speaks of the large fat portion of the lamb near the tail. This was considered one of the best and tastiest parts. But it is to be offered as a part of the memorial portion. In the state of peace we have with the Father through Christ, we’re motivated to offer the very best of the best as our thanks to Him.
3. This memorial portion is to be burned by the sons of Aaron “on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is on the wood that is on the fire” (v. 4; see also 11 and 16). The daily sacrifice of the burnt offering (Numbers 28:3-8)—which was a picture of full atonement —was the context of the peace offering; and upon it, the offering must be laid. It was a continual offering; and this reminds us that, by Christ, we are to “continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
4. Note that this portion of the peace offering is called “food” (v. 11 and 16). God communicates, through this, that He is feasting with His people (Numbers 28:2).
III. THE PROHIBITIONS IN THE OFFERING.
A. It is specified that “all the fat is the LORD's” (v. 16). Since the people were permitted to eat fat elsewhere (Neh. 8:10), this probably refers to the fat of the peace offering. The fat of the offering was forbidden to be eaten; because it was the best portion and was to be given in the memorial offering on the altar. This reminds us that, in our fellowship with God through Jesus Christ, we give Him our best.
B. But it is also stated that they were not to eat blood. This is for a different reason— because the life of the offering is represented in the blood. It was to be poured out at the altar (17:10-14). In the making of this offering—as a perpetual rule—the fat was to be set aside as the best to the Lord, and the blood was always to be sanctified as representing the atoning life of the sacrifice.
* * * * * * * * * *
There was a danger in treating this offering as a mere ceremony—and of performing it without true regard to a genuine fellowship with God. Some even dared to bring sin into the picture. The adulterous woman who sought to tempt the foolish young man in Proverbs 7 told him, “I have peace offerings with me; today I have paid my vows. So I came out to meet you, diligently to seek your face . . .” (Proverbs 7:14-15).
Let's never dare to think that, simply because we have followed a ritualistic formula, we can now claim fellowship with God while we walk in sin. Someone who walks in peace with God also walks in holiness before Him. Let's be sure our attitude of heart is one of true gratitude to the God who has redeemed us and brought us into fellowship with Himself. Let's be sure that our attitude is like that of the psalmist:
“O LORD, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD now in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the LORD’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 116:16-19).