The Peace Offering

The intricate design of the Scriptures bears witness to their divine inspiration Whether studying the Old or New Testaments the unbiased reader must conclude that this is no mere holy book; rather, it is "God-breathed" (literal translation of 2 Tim. 3:16a.) The offerings in the first seven chapters of Leviticus are an excellent example of evidence for the divine authorship of the Scriptures. In each of the five offerings we encounter intricate types that show a different aspect of the glory of Christ and His work. In the burnt offering we see the Lord Jesus wholly presenting Himself to God without spot, and the resultant acceptance of the sacrifice. The meal offering displays the perfect humanity Christ amidst the testing of life and the sufferings surrounding Gethsemane and the Cross. The Lord Jesus is also seen as the One who was judged for sin (i.e. the nature and principle of sin) and sins (the individual's misdeeds) in the sin and trespass offerings. In the midst of these four offerings we find the peace offering; along with the burnt and meal offerings, this sacrifice was called "a sweet savor" offering. This is an apt description for the peace offering for it elucidates numerous beautiful truths concerning the Person and Work of the Christ.

In the peace offering we find that God is extremely interested in having fellowship with His Creation. In the garden, the Almighty enjoyed walks in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve. When this communion was abruptly interrupted by their sin, God lost something that He desired. It is not that He needed mankind, but in grace and love he set in motion a series of events that would eventually culminate in the reconciliation of man to God via the death of Christ. The Father in Heaven devised a course of action, whereby He could be "just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." (Rom. 3:26b). The entire plan of salvation hinged on the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. In order to bring nigh His sinful enemies, God had to send His Son to suffer an ignominious death at the hands of wicked mankind. The book of Ephesians expresses it thus: "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us." (Ephesians 2:12-14)

The Lord Jesus expressed the peace offering character of His work to His disciples with these words: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."(John 14:27) Likewise, after the resurrection He tenderly greeted them by saying: "Peace be unto you." (Jn. 20:19, 21, 26) Colossians 1:20 shows that this salutation was no hollow platitude; in contrast it was an accurate pronouncement of the benefit of the work of Jesus on behalf of sinners. Mr. F.W. Grant eloquently described the unique character of the peace offering, saying: to be at peace with Him is to have His love poured out upon us - it is to be brought into His banqueting house, and to be made to sit at His table.. The peace offering is the only one in which the offerer himself partakes of his own offering, and this partaking shows him not only brought into a place of acceptance, but in heart reconciled and brought nigh. That which has satisfied God satisfies him also: peace has become communion.

Through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus sin is paid for, God's justice is vindicated, and the entreaties of divine love for man are satisfied.

The peace offering itself was divided between God and man. Among the various components of the sacrifice were blood, fat, kidneys, and other internal organs (each of which symbolizes some feature of the Messiah.) The blood is a well-known representation of life. Leviticus 17:11 tells us that "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." In order to secure a lasting peace between God and man, the Lord Jesus had to give up His life through the shedding of His untainted blood.

Another part of the sacrifice was the fat; in many ancient middle eastern cultures this was considered the richest part of an animal. In Scripture, the Hebrew that Leviticus 3 translates as "fat" is sometimes rendered "the best" (e.g. Num. 18:29-32.) It typifies the excellency and inward energies of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of His motives and inner drives were completely focused on doing the will of His Father.(Jn. 4:34; 8:29; Heb. 10:7.) Both the fat and the blood were forbidden to be eaten by the Israelites for Leviticus 3:17 says: "It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood."

The kidneys are closely related to the fat, for they speak of the will of the Lord Jesus. This Hebrew word is often translated reins in our English Bible (e.g. Ps. 7:9; 26:2; Jer. 11:20; 12:2.) It represents the reins that controlled Christ. The New Testament affirms that the will of the Lord Jesus was in complete accord with His Father's will. The fat, kidneys, and blood of the sacrifice were all consumed on the altar, and were said to be "the food of the offering." (Lev. 3:16b.) This re-emphasizes the satisfaction that the Father receives from the perfect peace offering, the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a "sweet savor" offering, the peace offering was linked with the burnt and meal offerings; consequently, it was offered upon the burnt offering (Lev. 3:5a.) The New American Standard version translates the phrase as a soothing aroma.' It was a pleasant smell in the nostrils of the righteous God. What a contrast to the stench that sin brought before the divine nostrils! Like well-mixed perfume, the fragrant life of the Lord Jesus brought joy to the Father's heart. Only the Divine senses could adequately gauge the preciousness of the Lord Jesus' perfect sacrifice. It should melt our hearts to thankful worship when we consider the beautiful, comprehensive peace offering work of the Lord Jesus.