Peace offering

This is a bible class on the “Peace offering” prepared as a talk at a study group in a series on the offerings in Leviticus… reproduced here in the hope that it will be useful to others.

1 Significance to us

Good evening brethren and sisters. Let us bring our minds to the exodus, as if we were one of our brethren and sisters in that day… the excitement and relief as our father frees us from the hand of Egyptian slavery, free from building up monuments to the honour of mankind, and now free to help build up the Ecclesia (called out ones). This is where we are now today, is it not brethren and sisters. Walking through the wilderness as one body of people, one Ecclesia, with Christ as our shepherd, leading us by still waters.

The priesthood was provided us in the time of Moses and Aharon, a people called out within the called out ones, a people who were to preserve the laws, the knowledge and wisdom of Yahweh. Brethren and sisters, in our day, that is all of us, we all have a responsibility to learn from and to teach each other what our father has taught us. This is our day of opportunity to practice our role, ready for the millennium where we will teach and lead all nations.

The peace offering is one of the typical sacrifices that were designed as a wonderful teaching aid showing how we can truly be at peace with our Father, and our brethren and sisters. It is the pinnacle of the offerings, showing us the end of the process of growing to maturity, a sacrifice given of the fat of our dedicated lives.

Ps 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

To start with we try and answer the question, what is peace? or Shalom as it is in the Hebrew. After this, we will start to take a look at the bigger picture… why the peace offering exists in the context of the offerings around it? Before delving in and looking at the particular parts of the offering, when the offering was made, and then the typical prophetic symbolism as we come to a conclusion.

2 Shalom

We may ask ourselves, what really is Shalom? The root has the idea of completeness rather than peace in the general sense of the english word. Shelem which is from the same root is used numerous times in the Exodus and Leviticus in a very interesting way. When we do something that damages someone else’s property, ether accidentally, or worse, in the spur of the moment through frustration or anger, then under the law we should repay four-fold. That restoration is described as Shelem, a completing again. Notice, not only are the belongings restored, but more is added unto it. It is important to restore the good will of the person we have wronged so that the relationship is complete again.

Psa 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together as one

There is great beauty in the harmony of brethren and sisters working as one. And when we come back to our word Shalom, this how the word is used – completeness of mind, within ones self and between two people. There is only one source of true peace of mind,

Psa 4:8 In peace together, I will sleep: for thou, Yahweh, only makest me dwell in safety.

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

And when we fail, our sin plays on our conscience, and the consequences of our action always serve to make our lives inconvenient to us. David cries out in anguish for his sin saying:

Ps 38:3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any peace in my bones because of my sin

Before his mind could be made complete again, his sin had to be forgiven of Yahweh, his relationship restored. And how should we get peace, Shalom, completeness of mind with Yahweh?

Prov 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
:2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

2.1 Peace of mind with wisdom

By keeping his commandments we shall have completeness of mind with our Father. Living after his precepts makes us act as he would, and we become more and more like him. Yet it must be more than just bind following of laws, must it not? For Christ says, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20).

It is the wisdom behind the laws, and not the laws themselves that are important. For in true love for our father all the laws are fulfilled without much thought. Soloman when talking of wisdom, says:

Prov 3:17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

2.2 Christ demonstrates perfect peace

Now lets bring our thoughts to the new testament, and to our Lord.

Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

The law has one overall purpose, and that is to explain the work of Christ, which was the work of his father, which is to form a multitude of sons and daughters all with the character of their heavenly father. Christ showed the way with a perfect example in his life, we can look at Christ and see complete Shalom. As he told us, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9).

2.3 First pure then peaceable

Talking of Christ in Hebrews 7, the one who will be the ultimate MelchiZedek (which means king of rightiousness):

Heb 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace

First is righteousness, then there is peace… it cannot be any other way round! And righteousness is a faith that is lived, which gives peace of mind to us and a greater empathy with our father.

Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

So what must we do then? We see peace in action in:

2 Tim 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

The spirit of teaching and building up is in the forefront of the characteristics the father requires. And this can only be done by a still small voice. A harsh voice breaks down, which is sometimes necessary before the building up, or completing, can take place… as with Paul reproving Peter (Gal 2:11). Let us not be destroyers of the ecclesia. but builders of our fathers house! If we are meek and loving to our brethren and sisters then we can help build them up.

Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling

James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

3 Purpose of the main offerings

We have followed though the meaning of Shalom into the new testament, and seen the example in Christ the prince of peace. Now with the understanding we have gained from the new testament, the symbolism of the sacrifices (which teach the same thing) are now easily fall out in sequence.

Firstly, the word offering in the Hebrew means to draw near, to approach. This sets the purpose of the sacrifices… they lay out the pattern by which Man may change his way of life so that he becomes closer to his creator.

The first two offerings described in Leviticus are the “burnt offering” or “ascending offering”, and the “peace offering”. Yet when it comes to the dedication of the priesthood, the “Sin offering” or “missed the mark offering” is offered first (Lev 9:4). This offering (along with the “trespass offering”) seems to have been added to the original two offerings (Exo 20:24 – the ascending and the shalom) when “sin entered into the world” (Romans 5:12).

Our lord says,

Matt 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

So the general process seems to be:
  • Sin offering – teaches us to make restoration for our transgressions where we can, asking forgiveness of our father. Recognise our fleshly nature for what it is and burn it without the camp, or in the words of Paul, “if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom 8:13).
  • Burnt offering – starting the process of dedication, or giving up our bodies in the “ascending offering”. The initial offering seems to me to be the equivalent of baptism, the washing of the inward parts, the start of our dedication. Which once started, continues continually, being perpetuated by the fat of the peace offering that is placed upon it (Lev 6:12), the fat being our energy stores. We can have an unshakable belief in the truth, yet it we do not show our faith by our actions then our faith is dead, our dedication suffocated by apathy and soon the flame will die out.
  • Peace offering – portrays a rich active life in the truth. A satisfaction and peace in a life which is complete in need of nothing, because we put our trust in our father. A life during which we are offering up the fat of our lives… loving Yahweh our Elohim with all our might, and the fellowship meal enjoyed from completeness of mind.

4 Elements of the peace offering

We find peace offering as the pinnacle of the offerings which describe the process of becoming like our father. Now let us look at some of the details of the offering as described in Lev 3, before looking at a few verses from chapter 7 where we are given more information about how and when the offering should be given.

4.1 Male or Female

In verse 1 we are told that the peace offering could be male or female, where as the ascending offering of dedication had to be a male. Perhaps signifying that, as eve was covered by the same sacrifice as Adam (Heb. coats of A skin), so are all those who make up the bride of Christ covered by his sacrifice of dedication. On a family level, the male of the household would offer up the ascending offering, and all those who where in his household would likewise be dedicating themselves.

When it comes to the peace offering though, there are both males and females. Everyone stands on their own merit when they appear at the judgement seat.

Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

We must all demonstrate our faith in our actions, we cannot just bury our talents in a napkin and expect others to do the work.

4.2 Faultless

The offering was to be “without blemish”, or “perfect”. This word is only used twice in Genesis, the first to describe Noah as “a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with Elohim”. and Abraham (Gen 6:9, 17:1). Of all the people on the earth at that time, there was only one that was described as perfect, or upright. Natural flesh is not perfect, yet…

Ps 19:7 The law of Yahweh is perfect, turning the body: the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple.

4.3 Self identification

Verse 2, the first thing to happen was the offerer placed his hand on the head of the animal… this was to be a personal experience. By placing his hand on the head of the animal, he was recognising that the animal represented himself. Reminding us that we must offer ourselves, no one else can do it for us. Christ is the example and we must follow him as he says to us…

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

With our hands on the head of the animal, we would slay it in the opening of the tabernacle. Would we be willing to lay down our lives in dedication to our father? Christ did, he was set as a flint to go to Jerusalem… knowing full well that he was going there to lay down his life for his friends. Through his sacrifice the way was opened to us, now we must follow by giving up the wealth and honour of this life to dedicate our time to building each other up. What greater love can a man show than this… “god is love”.

4.4 The breath is in the blood

Once slain, the blood of the animal was sprinkled upon the alter, encircling the offering. An explanation is given in chapter 17:

Lev 17:11 For the breath of the meat is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to cover upon your bodies: for it is the blood in the body that will cover.

Notice I’ve re translated the verse from the Hebrew, to hopefully give better sense the the verse. It was difficult to translate in the full sense of the Hebrew because it relies on understanding the word Nefesh – both translated breath and body here. The body, or nefesh, is literally a breathing thing. So it is saying the thing that makes it a breathing thing resides in the blood. And where did this come from, the breath of life breathed into the nostrils of Adam (Gen 2:7).

The breath of life then is in the blood, the spirit breath typifying the spirit word is stored typically in the blood – as oxygen is literally stored in the blood and distributed to all members of the body. What we breath in is what gets stored in our blood, and how healthy our blood is depends on how we breath. So our blood then perhaps represents our response to the word of Yahweh.

Bringing our minds to Christ,

Heb 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Christ lay his blood upon the altar in dedication, demonstrating that he had used the breath given him in service to his father. When we offer up our blood, we offer it after Christ’s example, placing our blood on top of his. We read in Apoc 6,

Apoc 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

These are people who were persecuted during the final demise of pagan Rome. People who held fast their faith despite knowing it may cost them their lives. Following the example of their lord, they were willing to give their blood (literally) in dedication to Yahweh.

In the memorial of the bread and wine, we eat and drink of our lords body and blood.

1Cor 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.”

By figuratively “drinking his blood”, we are absorbing into our bodies the same spirit mind that he gained from his father. We do this by studying his life and learning why he did what he did, by doing this and following his example, we will become like him and his father, our father, having Shalom amongst each other and between Christ and our Father.

Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven

Christ opened the way, through association with his sacrifice we may be constituted righteous despite our fleshly bodies.

4.5 Offering by fire

Moving on to verse 3 of Leviticus 3, where we are told that the offering is made by fire.

When we come to Isaiah, we find fire as a cleansing agent used to cleanse the blood of the daughters of Zion. Instead of breathing in the life giving spirit of Yahweh, they had been breathing in the apostate winds of the doctrine of Baal.

Isa 4:4 When Adonay shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
5 And Yahweh will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.

Above purging, the cherubic fire had the role of giving light as guidance and a defence from the feeble armies of Egypt.

4.6 Fat

Back in Leviticus, we are introduced to the second focal point of the offering besides the blood, the Fat – and not just any fat. There are several types of fat, the fat under the skin, the bands of fat in our muscles, there is even fat stores in our bone marrow! This fat is the fat that clothes our organs (our centre parts), providing them with vital energy stores.

We looked earlier at the fat fulling the fire of the ascending offering of dedication (Lev 6:12). And the fat representing the energy of a person. Fat is also used in a negative sense, which helps us to understand what it means. For example Eglon who was “a very fat man”, as the psalmist describes…

Ps 17:10 They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly

Ps 73:7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish

Ps 119:70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

Fatness is used to describe greed, and following after the desires of the fleshly heart.

Deut 32:14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook Eloah which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

Israel satisfied with the good of a land that floweth with “milk (fat) and honey”, became fat, no longer needing to put their trust in Yahweh and fight for their survival. Fat because they were indulging in satisfying their own lusts, sat around rather than working for the truth, eventually forgetting the rock (Christ) by which they were saved.

The fat of the land was and is a blessing from Yahweh, it is good for us to enjoy the work of our hand while constantly remembering who has blessed us with it. The first commandment is to love Yahweh thy Elohim with all thy heart, body, and strength. It is this last part the strength, that we may attribute to the fat. So all our fat should be used up doing the work of our father.

1Sam 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

The fat of rams is equated with “harkening” to the words of Yahweh, and by implication doing what they require of us.

4.7 Kidneys and the Liver

The kidneys and the liver are singled out as important organs. The kidneys (literally “the vessels“, in the duel form) are used to cleanse our blood, and so I would suggest that rather than being the “seat of the emotions” as some suggest, it would seem to me to be better related to our consciences. As the following psalm suggests:

Psa 73:21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins (kidneys).
22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

Without our conscience, our blood is not cleansed.

The liver is more difficult to understand, and the only clues seems to the name (which means weighty) and the actual function in the body. It produces the digestive enzymes and some hormones without which the body would not be able to absorb it’s food. This is perhaps representative of the bodies ability to digest a matter, to meditate on the principles of the word and bring out it’s meaning? To become one mind with our father.

5 Thanksgiving or a Vow

We are told in Leviticus 7 that the peace offering could be given as a free will offering as ether a thanksgiving offering or a vow.

Ps 50:23 Whoso offereth praise (thanks giving) glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of Elohim.

We find the peace offering alluded to in Psa 116:18,

Ps 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of Yahweh.
:18 I will pay (complete) my vows unto Yahweh now in the presence of all his people

6 Fellowship

The peace offering was also a fellowship offering, as the unleavened cakes that were offered with the thanksgiving offering were shared with the offering priest. Also, the shoulder and the breast were waved side to side, perhaps signifying fellowship amongst the people; and heaved, perhaps signifying fellowship with our Father.

Unfortunately we are nearly running out of time so we can’t look into this any further. However there are some interesting links with the offering up of the first fruits of the harvest as a heave offering.

7 Seven pieces

Notice the animals that were acceptable for a peace offering – Ox, sheep, or goat. What happened to the fowl of the ascending offering? Perhaps we see an answer in the days of creation. Seas are commonly used in scripture to represent the nations, and the fowl came out of the nations.

Gen 1:20 Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven

So the fowl represents the gentiles who wish to dedicate themselves and become part of the flock. The flock on the other hand is generally used to describe those who are following the Father, or Christ. A flock that contains both sheep and goats – those who are discriminate in what they eat and those who are not. The sheep are lost without the shepherd to follow, as it says in,

1 Kings 22:17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and Yahweh said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace

The ox on the other hand is a servant, a working animal, and commonly used to describe aspects of the Cheruvim. In fact the ox face of the Cheruvim is described as THE face of a Cheruv in Ezk 10:14. The ox then is a worker in the Ecclesia “preserving the way to the tree of the lives” (Gen 3:24)

This would explain why the fowl is not required for the peace offering. A gentile could freely dedicate themselves to Yahweh after the example of the ascending offering, and once they did, they became part of the flock. Another point to note is that the bird was not opened up, not checked inside, whereas the others where – perhaps showing the level of responsibility a gentile has when dedicating themselves to the Father. But once they become part of the flock, then they have the same level of responsibility as everyone else in the flock.

7.1 Promises to Abraham

Lets finish by tying these thoughts back to the promises to Abraham in Gen 15, back to the first oath (literally sevening). The animals Abraham was told to take are the same as the burnt offering… why was it described as sevening, because there were seven pieces once the 4 animals, because the bird (singular) was not divided.

The burning lamp purges the animals, and the promise of a homeland for his seed. And right at the beginning there is indication of the gentiles becoming part of the family of Abraham, and heirs to the promises.

8 Conclusion

Let us then remember the peace offering as a memorial in our lives. Searching out scripture so that our blood may be filled with the life giving spirit. Burning up our fat, our energy stores building up the ecclesia. Seeking the Shalom of a complete mind, lacking nothing…

Num 6:24 Yahweh bless thee, and keep thee:
:25 Yahweh make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
:26 Yahweh lift up his countenance upon thee,
…and give thee Shalom

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