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Chapter 11

 

Things Pertaining to Peace

 

“And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. And Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. And if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering unto the LORD be of the flock; male or female, he shall offer it without blemish. If he offer a lamb for his offering, then shall he offer it before the LORD. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons shall sprinkle the blood thereof round about upon the altar. And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat thereof, and the whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the backbone; and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. And the priest shall burn it upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire unto the LORD. And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of it, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle the blood thereof upon the altar round about. And he shall offer thereof his offering, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD'S. It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” Leviticus 3:1-17

 

As we look again at the peace offerings in Leviticus 3, bear in mind that the Hebrew word for “peace offering” is always used in the plural, except in Amos 5:22. Perhaps the closest equivalent in English would be “things pertaining to peace.”

 

            Allow me to tell you about a family of believers who knew something about things pertaining to peace, who knew something about the peace of God which is found in Christ Jesus. John and Betty Stam and their family found peace in the midst of indescribably more extreme stress than most of us can ever imagine.

 

            John and Betty met in Bible college in 1930. They were both in their mid-twenties. Betty grew up in China. Her parents were missionaries there. She returned to China in 1931. John soon followed. In a little less than two years, in October 1933, they were married.

 

            Fourteen months later, communist insurgents under the command of Mao Tse-tung captured the town where John, Betty, and their infant child, Helen, lived. The Stams were arrested. Early on December 8, 1934, the soldiers discussed how they would kill baby Helen. A poor Chinese farmer stepped forward, pleading for the child’s life. The soldiers replied, “We won’t kill the child, if you are willing to die in her place!” The farmer agreed. The soldiers shot and killed him.

 

            The next morning, the soldiers forced John and Betty to leave their house without Helen. They stripped the couple down to their underwear and marched them through the streets, mocking them. As a crowd formed, the Stams were sentenced to death. A Chinese doctor, until this time afraid to speak up, made a last-minute plea for their lives. The communists asked if he was a Christian. When he openly professed Christ as his Lord, they killed him. Then John and Betty were ordered to their knees. John was beheaded with a sword. Betty grabbed him to hold him, and she, too, was beheaded.

 

            When Betty’s parents were informed of her death, they replied by telegraph to the staff of China Inland Mission, “Deeply appreciate your consolation. Sacrifice seems great, but not too great for him who gave himself for us. Experiencing God’s grace. Believe wholeheartedly Romans 8:28.”

 

            Betty Stam’s parents knew the peace of God and found strength and comfort in his free grace in Christ and in his wise, adorable, good providence. They knew that no matter what the circumstances, even in death, we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

 

            Betty’s sister, Helen, for whom the baby had been named, wrote to her bereaved parents, “Dearest Daddy and Mother, you don’t need to hear me say how much we love you and are thinking of and praying for you in these days...I have such a radiant picture of Betty and John standing with their palms of victory before the Throne, singing a song of pure joy that I cannot break lose and cry about it as people expect. Crying seems to be too petty for a thing that was so manifestly in God’s hands alone; but my heart is very, very sore for you.”

 

            It is this peace, the peace of God that passes understanding that is set forth in the peace offerings. The peace offerings were not offerings made to obtain peace. Peace was obtained for us by the sin-offering (chapter 4) Christ Jesus. These peace offerings portrayed the enjoyment of peace made by the blood of his cross. It is this peace, found only in Christ, obtained only by faith in him, that inspired those who worshipped God to bring their peace offerings. It is this peace that God gives to sinners, as we trust his Son and feed upon him. It is this peace, the peace that Christ gives, which the world can neither understand nor take away, “the peace of God which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). May God be pleased to make it yours and mine, for Christ’s sake.

 

            In the seventeen verses of Leviticus 3, God the Holy Spirit shows us things pertaining to this peace from the typology of the peace offerings.

 

            In Romans 4:25 we are told that the Lord Jesus Christ “was delivered for (because of) our offences and was raised again for (because of) our justification.” Then, in chapter five, the apostle Paul declares the result of this.

 

“Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

 

            It is this peace arising from our justification by the finished work of Christ that was pictured in the typical peace offerings of the ceremonial law. These offerings might be taken from the herd (vv. 1-5), or the flock (vv. 6-11), or the goats (vv. 12-17).

 

From the Herd

 

The peace offering might be an offering from the herd (vv. 1-5).

 

“And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.” (Leviticus 3:1)

 

            The peace offerings are set before us in direct connection with the burnt offerings and the meat offerings. The redeemed sinner gladly lifts his heart in praise to God because God has given him peace by the blood of Christ (Psalms 116:16-17). As Andrew Bonar wrote…

 

“The connection is simply this: a justified soul, devoted to the Lord in all things, spontaneously engages in acts of praise and exercises of fellowship, for the soul has been accepted and is at peace with God.”

 

            You will notice that the animal sacrificed for a peace offering could be either male or female. When I read that, I cannot help asking, “Why?” The reason appears to be that the burnt offering pictured atonement, atonement by Christ, the Lamb of God and the Son of God, our God-man Mediator. The peace offering pictured the result of the atonement, peace with God, which flows to all believers, male and female, through the accomplishments of Christ at Calvary.

 

            The sacrifice could be either male or female, but it must be “without blemish,” because it represents the holy Lamb of God, that One who knew no sin though he was made sin for us, the altogether lovely One in whom the Father delights. Were he not perfect, we could never have peace. He who is the sinners’ Substitute must be both infinite and perfect, else he could not satisfy the demands of God for us.

 

“And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.” (Leviticus 3:2)

 

            By laying his hand upon the head of the sacrifice, the believing sinner both identified himself with the victim and pointed to Christ as the source of his peace, saying, my peace cannot be found in me, but only in my sin-atoning Substitute. So it is with us. Peace is found entirely outside ourselves, in the person and work of Christ.

 

            We cannot cross the threshold of the sanctuary, we cannot enter into the presence of the Almighty, except by the blood of Christ that speaks better things than the blood of Abel. Abel’s blood cried for wrath and vengeance. Christ’s blood says, “Peace!” — “Being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace (completely and perfectly justified) wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 

“And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.” (Leviticus 3:3-4)

 

            Those portions of the animal offered for a peace offering were to be set aside from that that was to be burned unto the Lord. They were considered the richest portions of the animal and were those nearest its heart.

 

            We come to God, not as sinners to be reconciled, but as sinners who are reconciled. As we come to hold fellowship with the eternal God, like those before his throne in heaven, in holy worship, what can we bring him except the deepest, richest love of our hearts? Our very loins were once filled with pain when sin laid heavy upon us (Isaiah 21:3-4). Now, where once we knew nothing but pain and turmoil, the peace of God and the joy of the Lord reign within. As our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Peace, offered himself as our Substitute to God’s holy law and justice with every depth of affection, with every feeling of love, with every desire of compassion, so we must “worship him in spirit and in truth.”

 

“And Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 3:5)

 

            Let us never fail to recognize and give thanks to God for him who offered himself as “an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.” We have peace only because the Son of God endured and extinguished the fire of God’s holy wrath. Such a sacrifice as Christ is demands our hearts! Shall not the heat of his love for us melt our hearts for Christ, as the fire of God’s wrath melted his very soul for us?

 

            Nothing regarding the worship of God was random, unplanned, or haphazard in the Mosaic age. Neither shall it be today. If we worship God, we must do so “after the due order,” with care, diligence, and preparation. That portion of the peace offering to be burnt must be burnt “on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire.” There is a distinct reference here to the daily sacrifice, which typified full atonement by the blood of Christ.

 

            The message to us seems obvious. — Our daily fellowship and communion with God, our daily worship, praise, and thanksgiving must be that which arises fresh to God from a fresh sense of Christ’s sacrifice for us. — “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

 

From the Flock

 

The peace offering could also come from the flock of sheep (vv. 6-11).

 

“And if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering unto the LORD be of the flock; male or female, he shall offer it without blemish.” (Leviticus 3:6)

 

            Do not fail to notice how frequently the words “without blemish” are used in connection with the offerings? Surely, this is intended to teach us that the sacrifices offered to and accepted by God point to our Lord Jesus Christ who is the infinite delight of his Father (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 3:17; 17:5).

 

            The constant repetition of these words, “without blemish,” is also designed to teach that as our God is infinitely, perfectly delighted with his Son, he is infinitely, perfectly delighted with all his people in his Son, for the sake of his Son, who are made by him to be “without blemish” in his sight.

 

(Zephaniah 3:17) “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

 

            Can you get hold of this? Nothing can be more unspeakably delightful to the believing sinner’s heart than this. The holy Lord God has satisfied, totally and forever satisfied, all his holy demands for us in the sacrifice of his own dear Son as our Substitute. He who pardons sin by Christ is truly “a just God and a Savior!

 

“If he offer a lamb for his offering, then shall he offer it before the LORD. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle the blood thereof round about upon the altar.” (Leviticus 3:7-8)

 

            The lamb was just as fully accepted as the calf, because the value is not in the type but in Christ the antitype. Atonement was not made by these animal sacrifices. They only pointed to the Lamb of God who alone took away the sins of his people by the sacrifice of himself (John 1:29; Romans 8:1-4).

 

“And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat thereof, and the whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the backbone; and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.” (Leviticus 3:9-10)

 

            “The rump” was considered the very richest portion of the lamb. The teaching here is plain enough. Only our best is to be offered to God. If we worship God, we will give him our best: the best of our affections, the best of our time, the best of our labor, the best of our gifts. With David, let us resolve, “I will not offer the Lord that which doth cost me nothing” (Malachi 3:6-11).

 

“And the priest shall burn it upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 3:11)

 

            There is a different expression used here. Instead of the sacrifice being called “a sweet savor” it is called “the food of the offering made by fire unto the Lord.” This represents both the holy Lord God and the believing sinner feeding upon and finding satisfaction in the sacrifice of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified, risen, exalted, accepted Savior satisfies all the demands of God and satisfies all the needs of our poor souls!

 

From the Goats

 

The peace offering might also be a sacrifice from the goats (vv. 12-17).

 

“And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of it, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle the blood thereof upon the altar round about.” (Leviticus 3:12-13)

 

            The goat is set before us here in the same way as the turtledove in chapter one. It was the sacrifice of the poor. The goat represents our Lord Jesus Christ as one taken out of the flock for the salvation of the rest. One is killed; the rest are spared. Thus, the sacrifice is a picture of substitutionary redemption (Psalm 89:19; John 11:47-52; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18).

 

“And he shall offer thereof his offering, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD’S.” (Leviticus 3:14-16)

 

            The sacrifice was fully accepted for the believing sinner. So, too, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, is fully accepted for God’s elect and we accepted, fully and forever accepted, in him!

 

“It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” (Leviticus 3:17)

 

            It is my prayer that you who read these lines have and live in that peace of God which passes all understanding flowing from the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. If not before, may God give it to you now by working in you that faith in Christ which only he can give, as I call your attention to three things in verse 17.

 

            First, we read that “all the fat is the Lord’s.Clearly, the fat, as we have seen, represents the best. Let us ever give God our best.

 

            Second, this statute was not for one or two generations, and was not for the house of God alone, but throughout the generations of God’s people on this earth, and to be observed in all our dwellings. Obviously, we are no longer to observe the rituals of the law. — “Christ is the end of the law.” But we are to worship God in exactly the same way those saints of old worshipped him, by faith in Christ.

 

            Moreover, we are to worship him not merely in the house of God at the appointed time of public worship, but in our homes. Our homes are to be sanctuaries of worship. In other words, we are to live as redeemed sinners, devoted to Christ, our God and Savior.

 

            Third, in all things, we are to remember and honor the blood, the precious blood of Christ, by which we have been redeemed. Realizing our utter dependence upon the blood of Christ, let us ever cast the crown of his grace at the feet of our all-glorious Savior, in constant remembrance of his blood atonement to the everlasting praise of his worthy name!

 

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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