Our Peace Offering - Fellowship With God & One Another
“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. 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. 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.” (Leviticus 3:1-5 ESV)
The peace offering is the last of the three sweet offerings. They are sweet to God because it was not mandatory, and the offeror wanted to offer them to God wholeheartedly.
Similar to the burnt offering, the peace offering involved the sacrifice of an animal, but there were differences:
Unlike the burnt offering, the animal for the peace offering can be a male or female. The first peace offering we read about in the Bible was when Jacob presented his brother Esau with male and female animals to make peace with him (Genesis 32:14).
For the peace offering, only the fat on the entrails, kidneys, loins, and the long lobe of the liver were removed and burnt. The rest of the animal parts were kept by the owner. The fat, typically regarded the best, was thus reserved for the sacrifice to God. For the grain offering, the memorial portion was burnt, but the rest of the grain offering was for the priests’ consumption. For the burnt offering, everything was burned.
The peace offering was burned on top of the burning burnt offering and the memorial portion of the grain offering. They formed the base for the peace offering.
The burnt offering depicted the satisfaction of God for the total submission of the offeror. The grain offering depicted the satisfaction of God for the outward submission of the offeror in becoming the light of the world and the satisfaction of others. The purpose of the peace offering was to share a meal together, in fellowship and peace between God and men. It depicted the communion of God, other saints and the offeror himself, all satisfied with the relationship with God and with one another.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:21-23 ESV)
Peace with God is possible because of Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus was the burnt offering, the grain offering and the peace offering; and we are to imitate Christ in all these offerings. It is also not possible if we do not repent of our sins and reconcile with God (Colossians 1:21). I appreciate what I have in church, when brothers get together in fellowship. However, our fellowship will not be satisfactory if we are not inwardly submitted to God (burnt offering) and outwardly submitted to God and one another (grain offering). This is what makes our fellowship (peace offering) different from other social clubs.
Practically, what is the peace offering we can offer today? How the disciples in the first century enjoyed their peace offering is recorded in the Book of Acts:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 ESV)
Are we ready to give our peace offering to God? Our fellowship with one another is an offering to God.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV)
Some of us are not in the habit of meeting together. Perhaps we are busy, or don’t know the others well, or the people are boring, or not from our cliques or social status. These reasons should not deter us from getting together. We meet because it is a peace offering to God. Just like the offerings, it requires sacrificing our best, but we get to enjoy the ‘meat’ we are sharing. It is not mandatory, but requires our freewill to thank God for what Christ has done for us. We offer peace to each other, and God loves the aroma of our offerings.
In conclusion, these three offerings are all about how much we want our relationship with God. It is not merely making the offerings, but being wholehearted as we make them. For a rich Jew, these three offerings can be made easily and we learn from the Bible, how these offerings are rejected by God. We give part of our income to church (like a burnt offering), give gifts and say nice things to one another (like a grain offering), and take communion and enjoy fellowship (like a peace offering). We need to do all these because we desire God. All these three offerings are equally important; the peace offering is ultimately what God desires but it is not possible if the burnt offering and the grain offering have not been laid as the foundation.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.