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Fact About Christ from page 19: Christ is the real peace (or fellowship) offering
For he himself is our peace– Ephesians 2:14
The third offering we see in Leviticus is the peace, or fellowship, offering. The two names highlight different aspects of the offering. This is the last of the offerings that are not primarily concerned with sin. While the burnt offering is completely consumed for God, the peace offering is for all—God, the offeror, the priests, and any ceremonially clean person can enjoy this offering. Let’s examine some of the details found in Leviticus 3 and 7.
“If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offers an animal from the herd, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord. And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall throw the blood against the sides of the altar. And from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as a food offering to the Lord, he shall offer the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. Then Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering, which is on the wood on the fire; it is a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.– Leviticus 3:1-5
When one offers a peace offering, it indicates that there is a desire for peace with God that leads to fellowship with God. Similar to a burnt offering, an offeror would choose an animal without blemish, lay their hands on its head, and kill it before the tent of meeting. The priests would throw the blood against the sides of the altar. Fellowship requires peace, and from this we see that peace requires blood. There are differences with the burnt offering—for the peace offering, the animal can be male or female, and only the fat parts of the entrails, the kidneys, and liver are burnt on the altar.
And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the Lord. If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil. With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with loaves of leavened bread. And from it he shall offer one loaf from each offering, as a gift to the Lord. It shall belong to the priest who throws the blood of the peace offerings. And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering. He shall not leave any of it until the morning. But if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow offering or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what remains of it shall be eaten. But what remains of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned up with fire. If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten on the third day, he who offers it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be credited to him. It is tainted, and he who eats of it shall bear his iniquity.– Leviticus 7:11-19
Flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten. It shall be burned up with fire. All who are clean may eat flesh
To summarize, here are a few reasons why one would offer a peace offering: for thanksgiving, for a vow, or just as a freewill offering. In the case of a peace offering for thanksgiving, a meal offering is also brought. This is for the priest. While the fat portions of the animal are burned on the altar, the flesh of the peace offering is to be eaten by the offeror or any clean person. This flesh can be eaten for two days, and then the remainder is to be burned.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the Lord shall bring his offering to the Lord from the sacrifice of his peace offerings. His own hands shall bring the Lord’s food offerings. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the Lord. The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be for Aaron and his sons. And the right thigh you shall give to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifice of your peace offerings. Whoever among the sons of Aaron offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat shall have the right thigh for a portion.– Leviticus 7:28-33
The peace offering is also connected with the wave offering. Here, we see that the breast of the offering is waved before the Lord and eaten by Aaron and his sons, that is, any of the priestly family. The right thigh of the offering is also eaten, and is given specifically to the priest who performs the offering.
No matter if one brings a peace offering for thanksgiving, a vow, or as a freewill offering, one thing is clear: the peace offering is not just for God’s enjoyment, but for the people as well! Everyone gets something to eat. There is fellowship in partaking of the same offering together. The fat portions for the Lord, the breast and thigh for the priests, and the rest of the flesh for whosoever is clean and wants to eat of it.
What does the New Testament say about it?
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility– Ephesians 2:12-14
In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he reminds them of their state before they believed in and received Jesus. They were strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. They were not only far off from God, they were even separated from the people of Israel, who at least had the Law and promises of God. Yet, what did Christ do? He sacrificed Himself on the cross. The blood of Christ brokers peace between us and God and brings us near. The book of Ephesians even says that Christ Himself is our peace. Without Christ, there is no means for fellowship between God and man.
So what does this picture say about Christ?
That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.…. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.– 1 John 1:3, 7
Just as the peace offering brought God, the offeror, the priests, and all the clean people of God into fellowship over the meat of the offering, Christ ushers us into fellowship with the Father, the Son, and with one another. True fellowship is built upon true peace. When there is hostility, division, or sin between two parties, it is impossible to have the kind of fellowship that God desires to have with us, that is, the fellowship that already exists between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. As the peace offering, Christ shed His blood for this—true fellowship and true peace.
Outside of Christ, there is no other fellowship and no other peace. No matter how hard we try, no matter how much cultural, societal, or personal reform we espouse and fight for, no matter what good philosophies or teachings or causes we gather under, there will always be enmity between man and man and man and God. Without Christ’s death, we would forever have enmity against God and against one another.
What does this mean for me as a Christian?
When it comes to differences, disputes, or division between brothers in Christ, we need to realize that only Christ is our peace. To be able to come to the Lord together with a brother you have a disagreement with is a real blessing that will save you in your lifelong walk with the Lord.
Also, because of the peace offering, you can have fellowship with God! The peace that Christ’s death on the cross brings not only saves you from the wrath of God, but gives ground for fellowship with Him. How? Eat Christ! Take Him in! Call, “Oh, Lord Jesus!” To enjoy the peace offering is simply to be in the presence of God, enjoying a portion of Christ together with the Father, as He delights in Christ.
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?– 1 Corinthians 10:16
Not only does Christ bring us into fellowship with both God and man individually, but we are also brought into fellowship with the body of Christ. There is a corporate participation we are able to enjoy. All believers together are one in Christ and with Christ. This reality is what the Lord’s Table points us to and bids us to enjoy—A fellowship in life. This is far greater than even what Adam had before the Fall, walking in the garden with God.
Have any inspirations or questions about the content of the article? Or do you just want to say hello and introduce yourself? We’d love to hear from all our readers! Leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title of this post in the subject line. If you are burning to engage with us, but don’t know what to say, here are some questions that could be a help:
- Fellowship is built upon peace, and Christ is our peace. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11 “ For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” What are the pitfalls of building fellowship upon anything that’s other than Christ, and how can we as believers avoid that?
- The peace offering isn’t just for God and for the offeror, but all the clean people of God could partake of it as well. Thus, the offering is not a private matter, but it was a way for the offeror to bless their community. Does your walk with the Lord ever produce an offering that is able to bless others? How can we bless those around us with a portion of Christ?
- One could offer a peace offering for thanksgiving, a vow, or as a freewill offering. What examples of these three have occurred in your life?