Leviticus - The Peace Offering
I hope you all are enjoying this series of lessons I have been writing about concerning the five offerings in the book of Leviticus.
As I have stated in each of the lessons, the book of Leviticus can be a very insightful book when we read it through the eyes of the new covenant and the finished work of Christ.
In this lesson, we will look at the peace offering, also known as the fellowship offering.
This is the third offering. This offering speaks of another aspect of Christ and our relationship to him.
I may not cover every verse in the chapter, but please know that some things are well explained after getting the overall understanding of the chapter.
I would also encourage you to pray, read, and study for yourself. Ask the Lord to give you insight into these verses and show you things that I may have overlooked or did not cover.
The Three Animals
Leviticus 3:1 (ESV)
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.
We can notice from the start that the writer gives us information that the animal must be without blemish.
We know this speaks of Jesus Christ, who was the lamb of God, without any spot or blemish (see 1 Peter 1:18-19).
It can also be a male or female. I believe this pictures Jesus
Christ being the offering for both men and women.
The writer also mentions that it must be an animal from the herd. As you read the chapter, you will discover that different types of animals could be offered for a peace offering.
I believe this speaks of the different categories of people
and their financial place in the community.
I believe also that God is showing us that everyone needs to come to him through the cross, no matter if you are rich or poor.
These are the three basic animals that could be offered:
1. Bull ( Leviticus 3:1 )
2. Lamb (Leviticus 3:6)
3. Goat (Leviticus 3:12)
Leviticus 3:2 (ESV)
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.
The individual bringing his offering was then to lay his hand on the head of the sacrifice. This laying on of the hand speaks of identification and Christ as our substitute.
The person bringing the offering would place his hand on the head of the animal, showing his sin being transferred and the innocence of the animal being given to the individual.
This is a powerful truth!
Through this laying of hands, Jesus Christ took our place and our sins on the cross so that you and I could take his righteousness before the Father in perfect love and acceptance.
God’s desire is not for you to carry the burdens of your sin and shame but for you to be reminded that Christ took all of that for
Learn to let go of the burdens in your life by reminding yourself that someone else bore them on his shoulders - Jesus Christ.
I would also like for you to notice in the verse that Aaron's sons are mentioned. This is minor but very significant. I will explain it more in detail later. Let’s continue to move on.
The Fat of the Animal
Leviticus 3:3–5 (ESV)
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.
From the peace offering, they are to offer the fat of the animal to the Lord. The fat of the animal represents the best part.
This best part or fat represents Jesus Christ, who was God’s best gift given to humanity. There is no one more perfect or more exalted than Jesus Christ!
It also says they were to burn the fat on top of the burnt offering.
The burnt offering is the first offering we discussed in this series. It represents Jesus completely, offering himself up to God on our behalf.
It is only through the finished work of Christ (Burnt offering) that we can enjoy peace with God (Peace offerings).
Romans 5:1 (ESV)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have been made justified/righteous because of the blood of Jesus Christ, and because of that, we can have peace with God.
The Peace Offering Placed on Top of the Burnt Offering
So many people live in terror of God because they don’t
understand that the work of Jesus on the cross should bring peace to their hearts once they accept him by faith.
This is why it’s so important to understand why the peace offering was placed on top of the burnt offering.
As I stated before, our peace was purchased and made available through that sacrifice.
Leviticus 3:5 (ESV)
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.
If you go back and read about the burnt and grain offerings, the same phrase of a pleasing aroma to the Lord is used.
On the surface, there is nothing pleasing about the death of an animal, but now that we understand that it represents Jesus Christ, we can appreciate the value of that sacrifice.
In God’s eyes, it is something beautiful because it brought redemption and reconciliation to him and his people (see Ephesians 5:2).
Leviticus 3:16–17 (ESV)
16 And the priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering with a pleasing aroma. All fat is the LORD’s. 17 It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither fat nor blood.”
Again, you have three ideas that are laid out in this verse. Two of them we have covered above:
Sweet aroma - This is the second time it has been mentioned, and we understand now its meaning.
Fat - The best always belongs to God in the sacrifices because of Jesus.
Blood - It represents life and atonement (Jesus’ work). (Leviticus 17:10-12)
Why a Fellowship Offering?
I said at the beginning of this study that the peace offering was also known as a fellowship offering.
Before I explain, let us look at one more verse to help gain insight:
Leviticus 7:29–34 (ESV)
29 “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. 30 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. 31 The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be for Aaron and his sons. 32 And the right
thigh you shall give to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifice of your peace offerings. 33 Whoever among the sons of Aaron offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat shall have the right thigh for a portion. 34 For the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed I have taken from the people of Israel, out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have
given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons, as a perpetual due from the people of Israel.
In this offering, there are three people or categories:
1. The person bringing the offering.
3. Aaron and his sons.
In this context that I am about to explain, you can see the person bringing the offering as you and I.
God is the one receiving the offering.
Aaron and his sons also get to take some of the peace or fellowship offerings. They represent you and me as sons of God.
In other words, everyone gets to enjoy some of the peace offering or fellowship offering because it shows us our communion and relationship with Jesus.
It shows that God wants to commune with us and work with us.
We also see this picture in the communion that we take at church.
This communion is our joint participation with him as creator and father and us as sons and daughters of God.
We Are At Peace With God
God is at peace with us, and we see this through the peace offering. Now come and enjoy the breast and the thigh, which represent the love and strength of God for us.
I believe the apostle Paul brings more clarity to this idea:
2 Corinthians 5:18–21 (ESV)
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to
himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message
of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to
be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We can come to God, who is not holding our sins against us, because of Jesus Christ.
But God wants us to participate with him by being ambassadors and going and telling the world what he has done -- Christ is at peace with the world!
Then come enjoy his love and strength through fellowship. He is our peace offering!
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LAST UPDATED: 11/7/23
About Pastor Larry
Larry is the co-pastor of New Covenant Church in El Campo, Texas. He has served in ministry for over 10 years, teaching and preaching the Gospel of grace. He continues to serve as a pastor and run newcovenantway.com.