The Peace Offering
Summary of the Other Offerings
In the burnt offering we see primarily come to light in type, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ for the glory of God to accomplish His will and to bring into being that which is for the pleasure of God. We see sin dealt with in such a way that God may be able to move out in His love toward him, and secure His creature responsively for His glory and the delight of His heart of love along the lines of Ps.40, "Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of Me..... to do Thy will, Oh My God" (vv.7-8).
In the meal offering we see the perfect sinless Manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ, moving in this world from the manger right on to the cross, as one Man who gave an answer to God of all that man should be for the delight of His heart of love.
In the sin offering we see the death of Christ, not on the side of giving pleasure to God in meeting His claims, but meeting the need of man on our side, the death of Christ is seen as the Advocate, that "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous" (1 John 2:1).
Introduction to the Peace Offering
More is said about the sin offering in the details of the offerings than is said about the other four, but in the law of the offerings, more is said about the peace offering than the other four. In the details of the offerings, the peace offering comes third among the sweet savour offerings, but in the law of the offerings, the peace offering comes last. The bearing of the peace offering is fellowship, part going to God, and part going to the offerer. Of the animal sacrifices that are used, more of the peace offering went to the offerer and to the priest than any other offering. The reason the peace offering is placed last in the law of the offerings is that God draws us into fellowship with Himself on the basis of all that Christ has done (i.e. the burnt offering, meal offering, sin offering, trespass offering and now peace offering), as though God would have us to understand that He draws us into fellowship with Himself in relation to all that Christ has done as all five offerings, and that we can enjoy every possible feature of all that Christ has done for all the glory of God and the everlasting blessing of our souls.
The law of the Peace Offering
The word 'law' means 'divine teaching' (Torah), and in the details of the offerings in the first five chapters, the offerer is more in view, but in the law of the offerings, the priest in more in view, as to how the offerings were to be handled, offered and dealt with. First of all, there would have to be the production of the offering in our souls. Then in our priestly capacity, knowing how that should be rightly presented to God for His glory and correspondingly as a blessing in each one of our souls. No one can ever offer anything to God concerning Christ Himself without there being a corresponding blessing in the soul of the offerer. It is as anointed priests we bring that which is being produced, and as priests anointed by the Holy Spirit that we have the privilege of offering our offerings to God. So the law of the offerings is to teach the priesthood just what is involved in these things, the right way to present them for the pleasure of God.
The Three Possible Peace Offerings
Now there are three ways in which the peace offering can be offered, firstly, in verse 12, as a thanksgiving; then in verse 16, as accompanying a vow; or thirdly as a voluntary offering. The first is very simple, a thanksgiving. It would spring spontaneously from an appreciation in one's heart of the blessings of which God has brought us into. As we meditate a little concerning the greatness and glory of Christ, and the sphere of divine blessing we have been brought into as the fruit of what Christ has done, we cannot refrain at times from opening our lips as we thank God from the depths of our soul, both for the giving of His beloved Son, and for all His beloved Son has done for His glory and for our blessing. Thanksgiving is probably the simplest of all the reasons for offering a peace offering, springing spontaneously from the hearts of the saints of God in their deep appreciation of this wonderful blessing that God Himself has brought us into.
Further down the chapter in verse 16, it is a vow which causes the peace offering to be brought; and this has to do with some act of devotion for God. In our Christian spiritual experience, there are times in our lives when there is something needed to be done that for us is going to mean committal to the Lord in relation to it, we may be given a little time for a specific work for the Lord that we feel He has called us into, and in fellowship with God, like a vow. Not binding ourselves now according to the flesh, but committing ourselves to the Lord, and saying, 'Now Lord, give me grace to do Thy work, I feel I ought to do it, it being Thy will for me'. Our committing ourselves in doing this work would be the answer to a vow. It is some definite committal in regard to some service for the Lord to which we bind ourselves. We must keep in mind that this is a peace offering, that is, a fellowship offering, it is something born of communion with God.
Thirdly, it says a voluntary offering. A thanksgiving offering comes out spontaneously, as does a voluntary offering. It has to do with bringing something into that circle quite voluntarily of our own will. It may not be an expression of thanksgiving, it may not be a definite committal, but it is the idea of bringing something material toward that divine centre that is going to enrich the company, first for the glory of God, and also for the enrichment for God's people.
A Peace Offering for Thanksgiving to God
"If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, unleavened cakes mingled with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil of fine flour fried." (v.12) In this chapter, offering a peace offering for a thanksgiving is the only offering where a meal offering was brought along with it. This is very striking. The impression is that when we come to God with appreciation and thankfulness of all that is being done for us. We must keep in mind, not only the death of Christ, but also that perfect life leading up to it, as we see this meal offering brought along with the thanksgiving in a peace offering.
In the meal offering, we saw that the cakes mingled with oil spoke of His holy conception in the power of the Spirit of God; unleavened wafers anointed with oil to speak of His life dating from the banks of the Jordan in His public service in this world; but there is something new here, cakes mingled with oil of fine flour fried (or "fine flour saturated with oil"- J.N.D.). 1 Tim.3:16 says "Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit.....", and this is what "saturated with oil" would speak of, every movement that Christ made, every step which He took, every word which He spoke was "saturated with oil", there was never a movement, never a step, never a word, that was not in the power of the Holy Spirit of God - "justified in the Spirit".
Connected with this peace or fellowship offering in thanksgiving to God is the apprehension of that wonderful Man, who has brought us into fellowship with God by His death; that in His life, as born of the Holy Spirit, anointed by the Holy Spirit, actuated on every movement by the Holy Spirit, it is that Man, who having died upon the cross has brought us into fellowship with God. Every movement of our Lord Jesus Christ was characterised by the Holy Spirit. We keep emphasising His death, because however much we do appreciate that perfect life, we know that had Christ lived that life and gone back to heaven without dying on the cross, we would never be in fellowship with God at all; it is His death that has done this. But having been brought to God by His death, we have what this world can never have, a spiritual appreciation of Christ's wonderful life, where every step was for the glory of God. We can look upon His death allied with His life and give thanks to our God for Christ.
A Voluntary Peace Offering Offered to God
Now in verse 28, we come more to the answer of the voluntary offering, that was brought along to enrich the company to which we belong. "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel saying, He that offereth a sacrifice of his peace offering unto the Lord shall bring his oblation unto the Lord of the sacrifice of his peace offering....." In verse 25, we have the offering ".....unto the Lord", but in verse 30, we have ".....of the Lord", and ".....before the Lord"; these three are all emphasised here in regard to this peace offering.
We are speaking about divine enrichment, if we are going to bring something to that company that is going to bring a spiritual enrichment to that company, firstly for God, and secondly as a peace offering for those who compose that company, we must first of all be sure that it is "of the Lord". It is no good bringing something that is of ourselves, something we have imagined or something we like, there is no room for such offerings in the divine circle; be it ever so small, even if it is only a small feature of Christ there is room for it in that divine circle. We must be sure what we bring is altogether "of the Lord". It must be divine in origin.
Secondly, at the end of verse 30 we have the offering waved "before the Lord". This gives us the conscious sense that God's eye is resting upon all that is moving here for His pleasure in that company. If we do things merely to gain the attention of the brethren, we do not help anybody, neither ourselves nor God; but if it is done with the conscious sense that His eye is resting upon it, we do it "before the Lord". There is going to be that which God can appreciate, that will be a help to the saints, and administer real blessing to one's own soul. It was said of Ishmael before he was born by the angel "he shall live in the presence of all his brethren", and very strikingly it also says of Ishmael the second time when he died "he died in the presence of all his brethren"; the Ishmaelite character was that what he did in all his life was to impress his brethren; he lived in the presence of all his brethren, but that was not living in the presence of God. However, if we are living in the presence of God, in the presence of one's brethren, what a help that is going to be. Hence, in the movements of this divine circle, with God's eye resting upon it, only that which is "of the Lord", and in its movement is "before the Lord", in the consciousness that His eye is upon it, is going to be helpful in that company.
This leads to the third expression, in verse 25 ".....his peace offerings unto the Lord". If we have something divine in origin that it "of the Lord", and we hold it in our affections, conscious of divine pleasure as "before the Lord", then when it comes to the moment of offering it "unto the Lord" it is going to be acceptable to the Lord, and it will be a help to the Christian company to which we belong.
We are all capable of bringing something; one thing about this peace offering is that the width of it brings all in. Who cannot give thanks to God? Who cannot spontaneously offer something for the pleasure of God? Perhaps few of us may arrive at the idea of vows to God, but of the other two, when it is a question of thanksgiving and the spontaneous movement, surely there is room for every one of us to produce something "of the Lord", "before the Lord" and offer it "unto the Lord" that is going to be for His glory and for the blessing and enrichment of His people. This is what we are dealing with here, "he that offereth, the sacrifice of his peace offering unto the Lord....." (v.29). Whatever we bring along as a peace offering becomes food for the souls of the saints, it is an oblation. Whatever we bring along, the idea is spiritual food to spiritually enrich the company to which we belong. "[He] shall bring his food offerings unto the Lord of the sacrifice of his peace offerings", it is the committal of something, the production of something that one brings along for a blessing in fellowship of that whole company.
"His own hands shall bring the offerings of the Lord made by fire" (v.30); we should be glad to receive from others whatever help or light they can give us about divine things, be it guidance or some feature of Christ. We should all bring something to that company that is of help to them; it is not only what we gain from others, but what do they gain from us? This peace offering would raise the question with every one of us, 'What are we adding to the little company where we belong, that spiritually enriches them?' It is not a question of giving lectures or standing up and preaching the gospel, but it is the bringing of anything that bears the character of Christ Himself. It is of the Lord, and brought to that divine circle that all might get the gain in the enjoyment of the peace offerings "of the Lord". There may be testing about it, the offerings of the Lord are "made by fire" (v.30), tested by holy discernment in the power of the Spirit of God. The fact that it is called a sacrifice means that it may cost us a little bit to keep the think going, time and opportunity that we could have used on self, but quite prepared to devote them to the company for the blessing of all. It may be a sacrifice on my part, but what a blessing for us, what a favour indeed, that we can bring something of Christ to that Christian company, whatever the cost or test may be to us, that is going to help the things of the Lord and help the people of the Lord in the circle of divine fellowship into which we have been brought.
"By his own hands shall he bring the offerings of the Lord made by fire, the fat with the breast" (v.30); the fat speaks of the excellency of the offerings, and it always goes to God, the fat comes first. Before we can help the brethren, we must be going on with our own souls before God, and there must be the presentation of the thing to God Himself, the excellencies of that offering, if the saints of God are going to get the benefit of a food offering in that divine circle. The fat was for God, but the breast was for the priests. The breast was to be waved for a wave offering before the Lord. The priest was then to burn the fat upon the altar, God's portion ascending for a sweet savour for the delight of His heart of love, but the breast was to be Aaron's and his sons'. The breast speaks of the love of the Christ. A wave offering was waved horizontally, and following that the right shoulder of the heave offering was waved vertically. One speaking of the movement of affection, the other speaking of the movement of strength, but the wave breast always preceded the heave shoulder; that is, love, underlying the vertical heave offering, the ability underlying the movement of strength is love.
When God made the call for material for the tabernacle system in Ex.25, it was according to their ability that they were to give, but every man as he gave it with his heart willingly gave, God did not want material from a man whose heart was not in His work; but if his heart prompted him willingly, then God accepted that offering from him, but only providing his heart underlay it.
Another passages which outlines all the gifts in the body is 1 Cor.12. In chapter 14 we have brought before us how they were to be exercised publicly in the meeting, but the chapter wedged in between the two, chapter 13, is where the apostle says 'I may have the gift of speaking in the tongues of men and of angels, able to come into the meeting and exercise this tremendous gift of tongues, or of prophecy, or of knowledge, etc., but if the wave offering is not there, if there is not a movement of love, I may as well as hold my tongue for all the good it would do - a tinkling symbol or sounding brass I would become.' Why? Because the wave offering was missing. Some of us have been long enough associated with the saints of God to have experienced when the heave offering was presented, but there is a lack of divine love, and somehow it left us, as we say, almost cold; but oh, if the love was there underlying it, however simple that effort, hearts were warmed up, people were encouraged, glad they heard the word. It is just as true today, if simple love is underlying a word today, however simple, it will be for the blessing of the saints of God.
At the end of John 14, we hear the Lord saying, "But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do" (v.31); the wave offering underlay the heave offering, love underlying what He did. What He did, He did out of love for the Father. Again in the next chapter He says, "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (v.13); again the wave offering underlies the heave offering, every move that was made for the pleasure of God was actuated by divine love. Hence the wave breast always comes first.
"The breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'. And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for a heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings" (vv.31-32). There is first the appreciation of these features in Christ Himself, love underlying every movement that He made, but we often see in this process of eating that there is first of all appropriation. We eat it as food, and this is the sort of spiritual food that we are feeding on, appropriation, mastication, digestion, assimilation and reproduction, and the result is to form us in the self same character that came to light in our Lord Jesus Christ in this world. If this is the sort of thing that is being effected in us, we are going to be great helps in the company to which we belong, great ministers to the fellowship, and enriching that fellowship in bringing material of this character formed in divine affection in each one of our souls.
Again, the wave breast once more underlies the heave shoulder in verse 34, "for the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron, the priest, and unto his sons by a statute forever from among the children of Israel". We get this summing up in verse 35, "this is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the Lord made by fire.....". Here the anointing of Aaron and the anointing of his sons are linked together. Wherever we have Aaron and his sons brought together, it speaks of Christ and the Assembly. In Hebrews 2 we see the company that is linked with Christ in the divine anointing is the Assembly. We take up these things in communion with Christ because we belong to Him, and are associated with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons. It is the spiritual enlightenment, the spiritual blessing that we have been brought into, in association with Christ that is now summed up in this law of the peace offering, all that we have been brought into fellowship with in association with our Lord Jesus Christ, "This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the Lord in the priest's office" (v.35).
Lest I said too much about what we bring for the blessing of the brethren, let us remember again, it is a ministry unto the Lord, but we cannot minister unto the Lord in that company unless it is of the Lord, but which is bound to be for the enrichment and the blessing of that company. This is the law of the priests' office where they are brought in to share it together, "which the Lord commanded to be given them by the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them, by a statute forever throughout their generations" (v.36).
Summary of the Offerings
What then is our portion? Here it is summed up in verse 37, "This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meal offering, of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings". This is why God invites us into the spiritual enjoyment, into every feature that has delighted His heart in His well beloved Son, which we can only enjoy because we are anointed by the Holy Spirit. Can we reach out in our affections to observe what Christ is for the delight of God's heart, not only what He has done for us, but can I reach up to the thought of what He has done for God? (this is the burnt offering); and can we learn with deep appreciation, the perfection of that pathway along which He moved, where every step ever ascended as a sweet savour for the heart of God? (this is the meal offering); can we appreciate His death upon the cross, so wonderful, so sufficient, that in all that Christ has done, in suffering death under the judgment of God, he has cleared us completely of all our sins and reconciled us in these happy conditions back to His God and Father? (this is the sin offering); and can we, as working out in relation to advocacy amongst the saint of God, see that He is still there, quite capable of restoring us if failure should come in on our pathway, He being the Advocate with the Father and of the consecrations (the idea behind consecration being that Christ would fill our hands, as it were, with the perfections that came to light in Himself, that we might enjoy them in their entirety)? (this is the trespass offering); and can we feed upon the very things that God Himself is feeding upon? as oft times we sing together "brought to rest within the circle, where love's treasures are displayed", and again "in Thy grace Thou now hast called us, sharers of Thy joy to be, and to know that blessed secret, of His preciousness to Thee". This, beloved, is our portion, it is the portion of our anointing (for it is the normal work of the Spirit to take up the things which are Christ's and to show them to us - John 14-16). This is the peace offering.
Thank God it is all available, and we have the power to take it in, enjoy it all, and now as a result of enjoying it all, we can make a spiritual production, a voluntary offering in a peace offering, adding something to the company to which we belong for those who are exercised, and for the enjoyment of Christ, and thus enrich the circle in divine fellowship into which God has brought us when we bring there what is of the Lord, consciously before the Lord, and offer it unto the Lord. He will be glorified and the saints will be enriched by this food offering, and in the anointing of the Spirit of God we have been purposed together in this divine circle and we can help one another to come out more for the pleasure of God and to be like Christ, both for His glory and for the blessing of the saints of God to which company we belong.
Thank God it is our portion, in the power of the Spirit of God, to take in, enjoy and respond to all that has come to light in Christ Himself, the answer to this typical system of the offerings.