Leviticus
Introduction 1 The Peace Offering of the Herd 2 Slay and Blood Sprinkling 3-5 The Fat 6 The Peace Offering from the Flock 7-11 A Lamb as a Peace Offering 12-16 A Goat as a Peace Offering 17 Prohibition of Eating Fat and Blood
Introduction

The “peace offering is the middle of the five offerings. The burnt offering and the grain offering are voluntary offerings and for God. The sin offering and the guilt offering that follow are obligatory offerings and are necessary for the sins of the people or of a member of the people. The peace offering is rightly central. It expresses the fellowship that exists between God and His people on the basis of the powerful workings of the offering. It proposes a fellowship meal.

From this offering God receives His share. The fat is called “food … to the LORD” (verses 11,1611Then the priest shall offer [it] up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire to the LORD.16The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORD’s.). From this offering the priest and the priestly family receive their share (Lev 7:3131The priest shall offer up the fat in smoke on the altar, but the breast shall belong to Aaron and his sons.). And from this offering, as the only offering in the Old Testament, all of the people may eat who are clean (Lev 7:1919‘Also the flesh that touches anything unclean shall not be eaten; it shall be burned with fire. As for [other] flesh, anyone who is clean may eat [such] flesh.). It is a feast with an offering through which reconciliation has been made and in which the ‘parties’ that have been reconciled, God and man, each have their share and also the priest – as a picture the Lord Jesus through Whom the reconciliation has been made (1Jn 1:3-43what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.4These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.).

What the peace offering means to us is explained in 1 Corinthians 10 (1Cor 10:16-2116Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?17Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.18Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?19What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?20[No], but [I say] that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.). For us it means the table of the Lord where the fellowship between God and the Lord Jesus and all His own is celebrated in the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Table is used in the Old Testament as an expression for the altar (Eze 44:1616“They shall enter My sanctuary; they shall come near to My table to minister to Me and keep My charge.; Mal 1:77[You] are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is to be despised.’).

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial meal. Each time the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, we remember what the Lord Jesus did on the cross. The Lord has also asked this: “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1Cor 11:23-2623For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”25In the same way [He took] the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink [it], in remembrance of Me.”26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.). Remembering Him means telling God how great He is of Whom we too enjoy now, together with the Father. Then we will also have fellowship with each other. We symbolically express this in the breaking of the bread.

To express fellowship in eating together there must be something to eat. There must be spiritual awareness of what fellowship is. Paul therefore says: “I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say” (1Cor 10:1515I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.). Children at the Lord’s Supper is therefore also impossible.

As with the previous offerings, here too we find first the larger and then the smaller offerings. We find no birds here like in Leviticus 1 (Lev 1:14-1714‘But if his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering from the turtledoves or from young pigeons.15The priest shall bring it to the altar, and wring off its head and offer it up in smoke on the altar; and its blood is to be drained out on the side of the altar.16He shall also take away its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar eastward, to the place of the ashes.17Then he shall tear it by its wings, [but] shall not sever [it]. And the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar on the wood which is on the fire; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.).


The Peace Offering of the Herd

1‘Now if his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, if he is going to offer out of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without defect before the LORD.

A peace offering is, like the burnt offering and the grain offering, a voluntary offering. Similarly, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is not a matter of obligation. Anyone who realizes the privilege of this, and especially the desire of God and the Lord Jesus to have fellowship with His people in it, will not lightly remain away from the Lord’s Supper.

The peace offering may be a male or a female animal. In the case of a burnt offering, it may only be a male animal. Male or female does not have to do with bigger or smaller. Whether an offering is larger or smaller is expressed in the difference in the kind of animal. The difference in male or female has to do with a certain aspect of the work of the Lord Jesus.

In general, it can be said that in the pictures of Scripture, the female brings out more a person’s position, and the male brings out more of the behavior that belongs to that position. The male represents more active, powerful obedience, the female more passive, patient and submissive obedience. In connection with the offering one brings, one who brings a male offering is looking more at the way the Lord Jesus did the work, while one who brings a female offering looks more at the attitude while doing that work.

Why does an Israelite voluntarily bring a peace offering and not, for example, a voluntary burnt offering? Because he wants to share his gratitude to the LORD, for what He does and Who He is, with others. When someone brings a burnt offering, he remembers what the Lord Jesus is in himself before God. The peace offering is about bringing his joy about the Lord Jesus before God together with others who recognize and agree to this joy. Just as the joy of parents increases when they enjoy their children together, just because they enjoy together, so it is with the worshippers.


Slay and Blood Sprinkling

2He shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood around on the altar.

The laying on of hands is the sign of identification. The offeror makes himself one with the value of the animal. It is the consciousness of the believer that he can have fellowship with God because God sees him in the value of the offering. Our peace with God and the resulting gratitude are based on the fact that we are one with Christ. If we thank God for the Lord Jesus, we may know that Christ has accomplished everything to make this possible.

The slaying of the animal speaks of the death of Christ on the basis of which we can now have fellowship with God, with the Lord Jesus and with each other. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we do not proclaim ‘the Lord’s life’, but we proclaim “the Lord’s death” (1Cor 11:2626For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.). It is a proclamation without words. The act of breaking of the bread and drinking of the wine is that proclamation. By this we say that we owe everything to His death.

Blood speaks of atonement, forgiveness and extermination of sins (Heb 9:2222And according to the Law, [one may] almost [say], all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.). Any obstacle to being accepted by God is thereby taken away. It is the foundation upon which we stand before God, through which we can have fellowship with Him. Therefore, “a sharing in the blood of Christ” is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10 before “a sharing in the body of Christ” (1Cor 10:1616Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?).


The Fat

3From the sacrifice of the peace offerings he shall present an offering by fire to the LORD, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 4and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys. 5Then Aaron’s sons shall offer [it] up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering, which is on the wood that is on the fire; it is an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.

The fat is mentioned here in more detail than in any other offering. It is called “food … to the LORD” (verses 11,1611Then the priest shall offer [it] up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire to the LORD.16The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORD’s.; Num 28:22“Command the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be careful to present My offering, My food for My offerings by fire, of a soothing aroma to Me, at their appointed time.’). All the fat is for the LORD. The large amount of fat indicates that it is a healthy animal. Fat represents the energy with which the Lord Jesus accomplished the work. Only God is able to fully appreciate that. We offer that fat when we tell God how everything in the Lord Jesus is aimed at glorifying God on earth, that He has completely surrendered His whole life to it.

“The entrails” speak of the feelings of the Lord Jesus (see comments on Leviticus 1:9). The fat that covers those entrails and all the fat that is attached to them are seen in the complete devotion of the heart with which He has done His work. In His surrender to death He is internally driven by perfect love. It has been His desire to do God’s will, as He already says “when He comes into the world” (Heb 10:55Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me;): “Behold, I have come to do Your will” (Heb 10:99then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second.). His whole heart is focused on this when He enters the world.

The “kidneys” are a picture of wisdom. It is wisdom to be able to distinguish between good and evil. Kidneys secrete the harmful substances in our body. The fat on the kidneys speaks of the perfect feelings of the Lord Jesus in distinguishing between good and evil. God has tried His heart and kidneys (Psa 16:77I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
; 26:22Examine me, O LORD, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
; 7:1010My shield is with God,
Who saves the upright in heart.
; Jer 11:2020But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously,
Who tries the feelings and the heart,
Let me see Your vengeance on them,
For to You have I committed my cause.
; 20:1212Yet, O LORD of hosts, You who test the righteous,
Who see the mind and the heart;
Let me see Your vengeance on them;
For to You I have set forth my cause.
). This distinction between good and evil has given Him the strength for His walk, of which “the loins” speak.

The “liver” is mentioned three times in Scripture outside the sacrifices (Pro 7:2323Until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare,
So he does not know that it [will cost him] his life.
; Lam 2:1111My eyes fail because of tears,
My spirit is greatly troubled;
My heart is poured out on the earth
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
When little ones and infants faint
In the streets of the city.
; Eze 21:2121For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination; he shakes the arrows, he consults the household idols, he looks at the liver.). In these texts we see a certain lack of orientation. That is totally different with the Lord. His orientation is the eye of His Father. He has been guided by this. It is the inner power in His devotion.

The peace offering is offered on the burnt offering. This shows the close connection that exists between this form of the peace offering and the burnt offering. We don’t find that in the peace offering from the flock.


The Peace Offering from the Flock

6But if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD is from the flock, he shall offer it, male or female, without defect.

As with the previous offerings, there is also the possibility to bring a smaller offering in the case of a peace offering. God always begins with the greatest, but He gives His people the opportunity to bring a smaller offering if a greater offering cannot (yet) be brought.

The peace offering from the flock may be a male or female, as long as it is perfect. Whatever we offer God of our awareness of the Lord Jesus and His work, God cannot accept anything that is not perfect. However little we know about the Lord Jesus, it has to be clear to us that there is no lack in Him. All His qualities are perfect and are always expressed in a perfect way.


A Lamb as a Peace Offering

7If he is going to offer a lamb for his offering, then he shall offer it before the LORD, 8and he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it before the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar. 9From the sacrifice of peace offerings he shall bring as an offering by fire to the LORD, its fat, the entire fat tail which he shall remove close to the backbone, and the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 10and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys. 11Then the priest shall offer [it] up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire to the LORD.

When we think of a lamb as a peace offering, we think of qualities like gentleness and surrender, the tolerant suffering of abuse. We see these characteristics with the Lord Jesus in the Gospels. We can rejoice together with the Father and the church about it. It is impressive and the Father would love to hear from us how impressed we are with it.

That is more passive, while in the bull we see more the active willpower that is in the Lord Jesus to accomplish the work completely to the glory of God. The latter is therefore connected to the burnt offering in verse 55Then Aaron’s sons shall offer [it] up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering, which is on the wood that is on the fire; it is an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD., which is not mentioned with the lamb. But it is “food, … to the LORD”. ‘Food’ is literally ‘bread’.

The actions involved in bringing a lamb are exactly the same as with a bull. However, the fat tail and the backbone are also mentioned. The fat tail is a special delicacy. It points to the special aspects of the work of the Lord Jesus, which the believer has particularly enjoyed and about which He tells God. The backbone points to the Lord’s inflexibility in His way on earth in relation to all iniquity that is inflicted upon Him or offered. He is, in the true sense of the saying, a Man ‘with backbone’.


A Goat as a Peace Offering

12‘Moreover, if his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD, 13and he shall lay his hand on its head and slay it before the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar. 14From it he shall present his offering as an offering by fire to the LORD, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 15and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys. 16The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORD’s.

A goat is actually the animal for the sin offering. Here we don’t think so much of a certain feature, like with the bull and the sheep, but of something negative: getting rid of the sins.

Many believers who worship the Lord Jesus and would like to bring a peace offering do not get any further than to thank Him for taking away their sins through His work on the cross. The fellowship with the other members of the church and the joy they have together are especially enjoyed in the gratitude that is there because the sins are forgiven. Yet this is also an offering “for a soothing aroma” to God.


Prohibition of Eating Fat and Blood

17It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.’”

God reserves the right to fat and blood. The inner energy with which the Lord Jesus did the work can only be fully understood by Him. Because God is the Giver of life, He is also the only one entitled to it. Since life is in the blood, the blood is for Him alone. The prohibition to eat fat and blood is further elaborated in Leviticus 7 (Lev 7:22-2722Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,23“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall not eat any fat [from] an ox, a sheep or a goat.24Also the fat of [an animal] which dies and the fat of an animal torn [by beasts] may be put to any other use, but you must certainly not eat it.25For whoever eats the fat of the animal from which an offering by fire is offered to the LORD, even the person who eats shall be cut off from his people.26You are not to eat any blood, either of bird or animal, in any of your dwellings.27Any person who eats any blood, even that person shall be cut off from his people.’”), there also in connection with the peace offering.


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