Bible Commentary: Leviticus 3

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Bible Commentary

Leviticus 3

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Peace Offerings 

As The Nelson Study Bible notes: "The Hebrew word for peace means 'wholeness, completeness, soundness, health.' When a person has this, in all its dimensions, that person is at peace. The peace offerings were times of feasting, drinking, talking, singing, and enjoying salvation as a great gift from God (see Leviticus 7:11-21). Paul describes Jesus Christ as our perfect peace offering (see Col. 1:20)" (note on Leviticus 3:1). In the peace offering, unlike other offerings, the offerer was allowed to eat and thus find satisfaction in the offering: "God, man, and the priest, all fed together, all finding satisfaction in the offering. God first has His part and is satisfied, for He declares it to be very good. 'It is an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord.' Man (in Christ) as offerer has his part, and is permitted to share this offering with his friends. And the priest, that is, Christ in His official character, is satisfied also, and His children are satisfied with Him. What a picture is here presented to us! The offerer feasts with God, with His priest, and with the priest's children" (Jukes, p. 108).

In this picture, not only is God satisfied but so is the whole priestly family—symbolic of Christ's family, the Church of God. So, too, is the offerer himself. Christ set the example here. Isaiah prophesied of Him, "He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11, King James Version). Indeed, His life offering in God's service sustained Him as food. He said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34). Indeed, there normally had to be a "burnt offering" in order that a peace offering could follow. For the peace offering was to be offered "upon the burnt sacrifice" (Leviticus 3:5). Being in alignment with God's will, as represented by the burnt offering, the worshiper would then be in a position to fellowship with God and with his or her family in the sharing of the peace offering.

As with the other offerings, there is much more to the peace offering that could be said—particularly when it comes to their being used in chapter 7 as thanksgiving or praise offerings or for taking a vow. Again, you are encouraged to study this subject on your own, as it is much broader than can possibly be covered here.