Introduction. For some, chapters 6 and 7 of Leviticus appear to offer an unnecessary repetition of the five sacrificial laws. Yet, God never repeats something without a reason. Sometimes, He repeats His Law to draw emphasis to it. His listing of the Ten Commandments in Exodus and Deuteronomy is one example of this. On other occasions, He wants us to look at the Law from a different perspective. In chapters 6 and 7, the focus of the sacrificial laws changes from that of the person who is offering a sacrifice to the person helping to administer the sacrifice for someone else. Christ fulfilled both roles. He fulfilled the sacrificial Law by dying on the cross for our sins (Matt. 5:17-18). He is also our High Priest (Heb. 8:1). We also play both roles in very different ways. We follow the five sacrificial laws by offering up “spiritual sacrifices.” (1 Pet. 2:5). Once we have mastered these sacrifices for our own lives, we are to help others fulfill these sacrifices as part of Jesus’ “holy priesthood.” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). In this chapter, God provides lessons for us as priests to assist us in helping others. He also changes the order of the sacrifices to place the peace offering at the end. His goal is to teach us that helping others to find peace with God (not just salvation through Christ) should be our ultimate and final goal.
From this chapter, God provides 21 specific lessons that believers can apply to their lives. (1) From the blood at the altar, He instructs that real fellowship with Him begins and ends through the blood of Christ. (2) Through the fat offering, He instructs believers to give the best of their lives to Him. (3) From the kidney and liver sacrifice, He instructs believers to let Him control what makes them pure. (4) From the smoke offering, He instructs believers to offer righteous prayers to Him. (5) From the rules regarding the portion of the sacrifice eaten by the priest, He instructs believers to consume the Word to stay in communion with Christ. (6) From the skin offering, He instructs believers to be clothed in righteousness for His good works. (7) From the priest’s share for his labors, He instructs that He will reward believers when they labor for Him with the right motives. (8) From the grain offering with or without oil, He instructs that He will provide for His believers’ spiritual and earthly needs. (9) From the tithe offering, He instructs that believers provide for those who are serving God full time. (10) From the peace grain offering made out of gratitude, He instructs believers to show gratitude toward Him by leading a life led by the Spirit and without intentional sin. (11) From the leaven bread offering, God instructs believers to acknowledge and repent daily of the sin in their lives. (12) From God’s instructions that the priest’s share of the peace offering and eat it the same day, believers are advised to help others and not to delay in serving Him. (13) From the peace offering made as part of a vow, God advises believers not to break their vows to Him. (14) From the prohibition on eating meat that touches anything unclean, God instructs believers to stay spiritually clean inside to stay in communion with Christ. (15) From the prohibition on an unclean person eating the peace offering, believers are also instructed to be free of sin to stay in communion with Christ. (16) From the prohibition on eating the fat of the animals meant for sacrifice, believers are advised to deny themselves and not to selfishly consume the things that belong to God. (17) From the prohibition on eating the fat of dead animals, He instructs believers not to consume or watch the unclean things in the world. (18) From the prohibition on eating the blood of any animal or bird, He instructs believers not to discredit the blood of Christ before others through your actions. (19) From the wave offering, He instructs believers to commit their strength and love to serving Christ. (20) From the Levite offering, He instructs believers to become a slave to righteousness. (21) Finally, through the peace offering which is placed out of order at the end, He instructs that fellowship with Him should be the ultimate goal of any person’s life.
(The blood at the altar). With both the burnt offering and the guilt offering, the priest’s first task was to sprinkle the blood of the “most holy” offering at the altar. “Now this is the law of the guilt offering; it is most holy. 'In the place where they slay the burnt offering they are to slay the guilt offering, and he shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar.” (Lev. 7:1-2). This process required faith in the power of the blood. A sacrifice made without faith was not acceptable to God (Ps. 4:5; 51:16-19). Today, our sins have also separated us from God (Is. 59:2). Without the shedding of blood, sins cannot be forgiven: “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11). Thus, we also must have faith in the power of Christ’s blood. “[W]ithout faith it is impossible to please Him . . .” (Heb. 11:6). If we have faith in the power of Christ’s blood to forgive us, sin will no longer have dominion over us (Ro. 6:14). As we mentor others, we must help them to make sure that their life offering is focused on Christ. If we fail to acknowledge Christ daily and in everything we do, our actions become focused on ourselves and not on God. Thus, keeping our actions centered on Christ is the first and most important rule in finding fellowship with Christ. Are you helping someone to change the focus of their actions on Christ? Are you leading by your own example?
(The fat offering). With the guilt offering, the person offering the sacrifice repented of even the smallest sins in his or her life. This was symbolized by the prohibition on swallowing a gnat (Matt. 23:24). The goal was to find ever higher levels of purity to draw closer to God. Here, the priest had a role in making sure that the fat was offered properly as a sacrifice in connection with the guilt offering. Unless we look to understand the “spiritual sacrifice” (1 Pet. 2:5) behind the fat offering, this has little meaning for us today. We as God’s priests are obligated to make sure that the fat of the animal is properly sacrificed to God. “Then he shall offer from it all its fat: the fat tail and the fat that covers the entrails,” (Lev. 7:3; 3:14-15). The fat was the delicacy that was considered the best tasting part of the animal. Yet, when consumed in excess, it can also be bad for a person, leading to obesity, heart disease, and other problems. We as priests must help others to make sure that they are giving up the best of their lives for God. We must also make sure that others around us deny themselves and avoid a gluttonous lifestyle with unhealthy things. Alcohol is just one example. In a mentoring role, a priest must ensure that a brother or sister in the Lord is not engaged in a lifestyle that will hurt the person over time. This, however, runs counter to the prevailing societal view that we should not involve ourselves in the personal private issues of others. To be a priest, we must choose the model of Biblical accountability over the popular cultural view of privacy. Sadly, the modern Church has done little to facilitate true accountability. Are you mentoring other believers to give over the best of their lives to God? Are you helping others to avoid excess consumption of things that will only hurt them over time?
(The kidney and liver sacrifice). With the guilt offering, the priest was also to ensure that the person making the sacrifice gave both the kidneys with the fat that surrounds them and the lobe of the liver. “and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe on the liver he shall remove with the kidneys.” (Lev. 7:4). The kidneys and the liver keep the body clean. They filter and remove toxins and waste products from the blood. The blood is the symbol of life (Lev. 17:11). If a person is giving these things to God, he or she is giving to God control over the things that make the person pure in life. This would include everything that we decide to read, watch, consume, talk about, or touch. “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23). Are you counseling others to let God filter what they watch or read? Have you told others to follow the lighted and narrow path that comes from reading the word? (Ps. 119:105). Have you told others to form a covenant with their eyes like Job did? (Job 31:1). Or, have you chosen to follow society’s view of privacy over mentorship?
(The smoke offering). The priest was to offer the fat, the kidneys, and the liver as a smoke offering to God. “The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as an offering by fire to the LORD; it is a guilt offering.” (Lev. 7:5). Today, we can create a “soothing aroma” for God through our prayers: “May my prayer be counted as incense before You . . . ” (Ps. 141:2; Rev. 5:8; 8:3). When we pray with self denial (the fat sacrifice) and with purity of heart (the kidney and liver sacrifice), God can speak clearly to us through the Holy Spirit (Jo. 14:16-18; 14:25-26). By contrast, if unrepentant sin remains in your life, your prayers may be “hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7; Jo. 9:31; Ps. 34:15). Are you teaching others to pray correctly? Are you leading by your proper lifestyle and example?
(The portion eaten by the priest). Excluding the fat, the kidneys, and the liver, the priest was to eat the rest of the guilt offering. “Every male among the priests may eat of it. It shall be eaten in a holy place; it is most holy. The guilt offering is like the sin offering, there is one law for them; the priest who makes atonement with it shall have it.” (Lev. 7:6-7). Christ was our guilt offering (Is. 53:10-11). Jesus was also the grain offering: “I present myself as the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” (Jo. 6:34-35). “‘I constitute the bread that came down out of heaven.’” (Jo. 3:41). We eat communion to remember what He did and to keep our lives in alignment with His (Matt. 26:26; 1 Cor. 11:24). In addition to eating communion, we read the Word. Jesus was the “Word” that “became flesh.” (Jo. 1:14). Whenever we consume His Word, the Holy Spirit will guide our paths as we help to guide others (Ps. 119:105). Are you consuming the Word that God has provided? Or, does your diet consist mostly of empty things from popular culture?
(The skin offering). The priest was offered the skin of the burnt offering. “Also the priest who presents any man’s burnt offering, that priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has presented.” (Lev. 7:8). God provided the animal skin clothes for Adam and Eve after they sinned (Gen. 3:21). He also provides for our clothes today: “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown in the furnace, will He not clothe you? You of little faith.” (Matt. 6:30). For those who overcome the world through faith in Christ, He will again clothe them in heaven: “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life.” (Rev. 3:5; 18). In other words, He offers us brilliant white garments when we do His will. How are we to obtain the clothes of righteousness? We must serve others for Christ and stay pure (Jam. 1:27). By contrast, when we do our own will or honor ourselves, our actions are like “filthy garments” to God (Is. 64:6). Are your works designed to help others? Or, are they a way for you to promote yourself in resumes, applications, or marketing materials? If so, you have clothed yourself in filthy rags. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:1). Alternatively, have you worked for the Lord in secret so that He can reward you in heaven? (Matt. 6:3-4). If so, God has great white garments waiting for you.
(The priest’s share for his labors). God directs that “Likewise, every grain offering that is baked in the oven and everything prepared in a pan or on a griddle shall belong to the priest who presents it.” (Lev. 7:9). The baking or frying process symbolizes a life offering for God where the Holy Spirit has burned away everything that is not of God: “for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29). As part of God’s holy priesthood, He will reward us for the life offering that we present to Him (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). This could be what you put on the frying pan to God from your own life. Alternatively, it could be what you have placed on the frying pan while helping someone else to dedicate their life to God. “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” (Heb. 6:10). “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Matt. 10:42; Mk. 9:41). Thus, God will reward His priests who labor for Him with the right motives. Will you have many rewards waiting for you in heaven? Or, will God’s reward ceremony in heaven for all those who have labored for Him be an awkward time for you?
(The grain offering with or without oil). God also directs: “Every grain offering, mixed with oil or dry, shall belong to all the sons of Aaron, to all alike.” (Lev. 7:10). Oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13). One might presume that the people could only consume those things mixed with the Holy Spirit. Yet, God will provide for both our spiritual and our worldly needs. Jesus is the bread from heaven that God has presented to us (Jo. 3:41). Jesus fed the 5,000 (Jo. 6:1-15). He will provide all the food that we need to serve Him: “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” (Ps. 37:25). “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Matt. 31-32). Yet, God does not merely provide the food that will sustain you, He also provides for an abundant happy and spirit-filled life: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jo. 10:10). Thus, God provides for both our spiritual needs (the grain offering with oil) and our physical needs (the offering without oil). Do you trust God to provide for all your needs, even when times are bad? In bad times, is the fruit of joy and peace visible for others to see? (Gal. 5:22).
(The tithe offering). The sacrifice was in part given to the priests for them to eat so that God could provide for those in full time service. The people gave the priests food to eat (Lev. 7:11-21; 28-36). They also gave tithes (Nu. 18:8-32). In reference to the work that the priests did for others, Paul urged that they receive their proper wages: “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” (1 Cor. 9:14). They were entitled to compensation for their work (1 Tim. 5:18). Christ gave everything for us as His nation of priests. We are commanded to “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph. 5:1-2). Thus, we must give to sustain those in full time ministry. Are you giving cheerfully to support those helping others? (2 Cor. 9:7). What do you bank statements say about your walk with God?
(The peace grain offering made out of gratitude). In these verses, God reveals that there are different kinds of peace offerings. “Now this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings which shall be presented to the LORD. If he offers it by way of thanksgiving, then along with the sacrifice of thanksgiving he shall offer unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of well stirred fine flour mixed with oil. 'With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with cakes of leavened bread.” (Lev. 7:11-13; Lev. 3:12; Ex. 24:1-5). Here, God provides directions for someone making a peace offering to thank God. The person was to show their gratitude by leading a life (the grain offering) that was led by the Spirit (with oil), yet without sin (no leaven) (Lev. 7:12-13). There are many reasons to give thanks:
Gratitude for your salvation. “Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. For you have delivered my soul from death.” (Ps. 56:12-13; 116:8).
Gratitude for answered prayers. “I love the Lord because He hears My voice and my supplications . . . To you I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord, I shall pay my vows to the Lord.” (Ps. 116: 1, 17-18).
Gratitude for relief from troubles. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good . . He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary . . Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.” (Ps. 107:1, 2, 22).
Application. If you are grateful for what God has done for you, are you making your life a thank offering to Him? (Ro. 12:1). Are you leading a life led by the Spirit and without intentional sin? If not, you are not showing your gratitude in the way God intended.
(The leaven bread offering). With the peace offering, the priest was also to make a leaven bread offering. “With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with cakes of leavened bread. Of this he shall present one of every offering as a contribution to the LORD; it shall belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the peace offerings.” (Lev. 7:13-14). Leaven is a symbol of sin (Matt. 16:6). Thus, it might seem counterintuitive for a priest to make a leaven offering. Yet, the purpose of this offering was for the priest to acknowledge his limitations and sin before God. If we claim that we are without sin, the truth does not lie within us (1 Jo. 1:8). If we are instead willing to acknowledge our sin, Christ is faithful to forgive us: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Are you trying to hide the leaven in your life from God? Are you repenting of your sins as God reveals them to you?
(The priest’s share of the peace offering). When a person made a peace offering to God out of gratitude, the priest was commanded to eat the offering that same day. He could leave none of it until morning. “Now as for the flesh of the sacrifice of his thanksgiving peace offerings, it shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.” (Lev. 7:15). ‘“It shall be eaten on the same day, you shall leave none of it until morning; I am the LORD.”’ (Lev. 22:30). “. . . nor is the fat of My feast to remain overnight until morning.” (Ex. 23:18(b)). We again are included in this commandment because we are God’s “holy priesthood.” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). The peace offering that we eat is Christ’s body, through whom our peace is possible: “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,” (Eph. 2:14). By eating of Christ in communion, we signal that we are one with Him. Jesus’ food was to do God the Father’s will: “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’” (Jo. 4:34). We are also to find our spiritual food and contentment through doing His will. We must also never delay in serving Him: “But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”’ (Matt. 8:22). Have you heard God’s calling and delayed in your response? If so, what kind of example are you setting? If you have been responsive to God’s calling, are you also encouraging others to act upon their calling for God?
(The peace offering made as part of a vow). If a priest made a peace offering as part of a vow, he had to eat part of the sacrifice on the day of the sacrifice. “But if the sacrifice of his offering is a votive or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what is left of it may be eaten;” (Lev. 7:16). Part of the sacrifice could be eaten the following day. Yet, by the third day, he had to burn any of the sacrifice that remained. “but what is left over from the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned with fire.” (Lev. 7:17). On the third day, an animal became unclean and God would not accept it. “So if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings should ever be eaten on the third day, he who offers it will not be accepted, and it will not be reckoned to his benefit. It shall be an offensive thing, and the person who eats of it will bear his own iniquity.” (Lev. 7:18). When we make a vow, God expects us to keep them (Matt. 5:33-37; 23:16). The ability of the priest to eat up until the third day symbolized that a vow made to God did not end on the day it was made. The third day represented completion of the vow before Him. On the third day, meat or a corpse began to rot in the hot Middle Eastern sun. Jesus had to rise before the third day to keep His body from becoming unclean under the ceremonial laws. This is what Jesus meant when He said that God the Father would not allow his body to decay. “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” (Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:27). Thus, He rose from the dead before the end of the third day (Matt. 16:21; 1 Cor. 15:4). He also paid the price for all our broken vows before God. Are you a person of your word when it comes to your promises to God? Or do you quickly break them?
(The prohibition on eating meat that touches anything unclean). A person could not eat any meat that touched something that was unclean. This meat had to be burned. “Also the flesh that touches anything unclean shall not be eaten; it shall be burned with fire. As for other flesh, anyone who is clean may eat such flesh.” (Lev. 7:19). A person could not eat meat if a sick person had prepared it or handled it. This rule helped the Jews survive in greater numbers during the plagues of the dark ages. This rule has other spiritual meanings today. We must not consume things that are spiritually unclean. “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (Ja. 1:27). We should not read books or watch television shows that are offensive to God. Have you kept yourself pure from the world? Are you setting an example to others? If you are a parent, are you setting boundaries to protect your kids?
(The prohibition on an unclean person eating the peace offering). A person could not eat any part of the peace offering if the person was ritually unclean. If they did so, they were to be “cut off” from the people. “But the person who eats the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings which belong to the LORD, in his uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from his people.” (Lev. 7:20). People who were ritually unclean included people who suffered from skin diseases like leprosy (symbolic of sin) (Lev. 13), someone who touched or was in close proximity with a dead person (symbolic of death) (Nu. 19:11-16), and a woman who suffered menstrual bleeding (symbolic of the curse placed upon child birth from the original sin) (Lev. 12:1). A person was also unclean if he touched either an unclean animal or “an unclean detestable thing.” ‘“When anyone touches anything unclean, whether human uncleanness, or an unclean animal, or any unclean detestable thing, and eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings which belong to the LORD, that person shall be cut off from his people.”’ (Lev. 7:21). Although the “unclean detestable thing” referenced in these verses is unclear, many believe it to reference the snake. The snake is a symbol for the devil (Rev. 12:9; 15; 20:2). It was the serpent (Satan) who tempted both Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3). In other words, in order to dine with Christ in fellowship (Rev. 3:20) we must be free from all kinds of sin and things which are of the devil. Is your life free from the pollution of the world? (Jam. 1:27). Are you setting an example for others?
(The prohibition on eating the fat of the animals meant for sacrifice). A priest could not eat the animal fat that was meant for God. This included the ox, the sheep, and the goat. “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall not eat any fat from an ox, a sheep or a goat. Also the fat of an animal which dies and the fat of an animal torn by beasts may be put to any other use, but you must certainly not eat it.”’ (Lev. 7:22-24). If he did so, he would be “cut-off” from the people. “For whoever eats the fat of the animal from which an offering by fire is offered to the LORD, even the person who eats shall be cut off from his people.” (Lev. 7:25). We are not to take from God that which belongs to Him. Christ says that those who want to follow Him as His disciples instead need to “deny” themselves: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25-26). “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Lk. 14:28-33). If we deny ourselves, we deny our flesh. This again allows God to fill us with the fruit of the Spirit, which includes peace. Have you given the tithes and talents of your life that belong to God? (Mal. 3:8). What have you given up for God?
(The prohibition on eating the fat of dead animals). A priest also could not eat the fat of an unclean animal that died by natural causes, disease, or predators (Lev. 7:24). The fat could be used for medicine, fire, oil or other uses that did not involve food. God may have been motivated to protect the people from diseases. Yet, this rule would have also had a deeper spiritual meaning. There are many spiritually dead things that we can read or watch in the world around us. There are people who act like predators and rip each other apart. Our evil natures enjoy talking or reading about this. God wants us to stay clear of all of this. He instead wants us to be holy because He is holy: “[B]ecause it is written, ‘you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44-5; 19:2; 20:7). “A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, . .” (Is. 35:8). We must again be upright and clean in all that we do. We must not consume or watch the spiritually unclean things around us.
(The prohibition on eating the blood of any animal or bird). The priest and the ordinary Jews were prohibited from eating the blood of an animal or bird. Anyone who eats the blood was to be cut-off from God’s people. ‘“You are not to eat any blood, either of bird or animal, in any of your dwellings. Any person who eats any blood, even that person shall be cut off from his people.”’ (Lev. 7:26-27; 3:17). The life of the animal was in the blood, and the life belonged to God (Lev. 17:11). This blood prohibition dates back to Noah’s time (Gen. 9:4). This prohibition against eating blood is also one of the few laws of the Old Testament that still expressly apply to Christians today (Acts 15:20, 29). Blood needed to be treated as holy because it was the only way to atone for sins (Heb. 9:22). This rule today was meant for Christians to respect the blood of Christ as holy. Today, the cup of communion is the one and only type of symbolic blood that we are still allowed to drink (Jo. 6:54-56). A person who does not believe that Christ is their Lord and Savior drinks His communion receives damnation (Heb. 10:29). Does your life offering show respect and thanks for what Christ has done for you? Have you used your grace as a license to sin? Is your life an example to others?
(The wave offering). The priest also made a wave offering. “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘He who offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the LORD shall bring his offering to the LORD from the sacrifice of his peace offerings. His own hands are to bring offerings by fire to the LORD. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be presented as a wave offering before the LORD.” (Lev. 7:28-30; Nu. 8:13; Nu. 18:17). This showed that he was bound and connected to God (Ex. 29:24, 28; Lev. 7:30, 34; 8:27; 9:21; 10:14, 15; 23:10, 15, 20; 23:10; Num. 6:20; 8:11, 13; 18:11, 18, 26-29). The wave offering included the right “thigh” (NASB/NIV) or “shoulder” (KJV), one of the strongest muscles in the body. ‘“The priest shall offer up the fat in smoke on the altar, but the breast shall belong to Aaron and his sons. You shall give the right thigh to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifices of your peace offerings. The one among the sons of Aaron who offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat, the right thigh shall be his as his portion. For I have taken the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution from the sons of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their due forever from the sons of Israel.” (Lev. 7:31-34; 8:26; 9:21; 10:12-15; Nu. 18:18). The priest also gave the fat of the breasts to the Lord (Lev. 7:31-32; 9:20; 10:12-15; Nu. 18:18). The breast is also a symbol of love, i.e. love for a baby. Because Christ loved us, He gave His strength and His life for us (Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; Jo. 3:16). By eating these two portions of the animal in fellowship with God, the priest acknowledged that his life, love, and strength had come from God. Conversely, the priest acknowledged that he would give his life, love, and strength to God. At a later time, the wicked priests refused to follow this rule (1 Sam. 2:12-14). They felt no love for the people whom they served. If we are searching for the strength to do something, we must give up our own strength and turn to Christ through whom all things are possible: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). Do you have a love in your heart to help others? Do you rely upon your own intellect to get through a difficult situation? Or, do you rely upon God?
Wave offering (image credit)5
(The Levite offering). The Levites were given to God in lieu of the firstborn from every family. “for they are wholly given to Me from among the sons of Israel. I have taken them for Myself instead of every first issue of the womb, the firstborn of all the sons of Israel. For every firstborn among the sons of Israel is Mine, among the men and among the animals; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for Myself.” (Nu. 8:16-17; 3:41). The wave offering showed that they were bound and connected to God. If they had not done this, the firstborn of each family would have been given to the Lord as a substitute for the death caused by the tenth and final plague in Egypt (Ex. 13:1-16). This also foreshadowed Christ’s role as a substitute for us today. Today, we are God’s holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9). We can also make a wave offering to show our connection to God. We can become slaves to righteousness (Rom. 6:18). Or, we can be a bondservant, a freed slave who chooses to bind himself or herself to the master out of love (Jam. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:1). Yet, a bondservant cannot have two masters (Matt. 6:24). Do you consider yourself to belong entirely to the Lord? Is your love divided equally between God and the world? How much of your free time is spent in service to God in prayer, reading the Word, or in service to others?
In Leviticus Chapter 7, God changed the sacrifices to draw attention to the peace offering. In Chapter 3, the peace offering preceded the sin and guilt sacrifices. Here, the peace offering follows all the other sacrifices. Of all the sacrifices, God gave the longest discussion to the peace offering. By ending the sacrifices with the peace offering and making it the longest discussion, God is telling us that this is the most important sacrifice in our walk with God. Salvation is a necessary but not a final step in our walk. When their relationship with God was proper, “Abraham and Isaac walked with God.” (Gen. 48:15; 13:17-18). God later gave Abraham two directives when He affirmed His Covenant with Him. He was to “[w]alk before Me, and be blameless.” (Gen. 17:1(b)). Both Enoch and Noah also “walked with God.” (Gen. 5:22, 24; 6:9). Before his fall, Adam also walked with God. This suggested not just piety, but also fellowship. Sin broke this fellowship between God and Adam’s descendants. After atonement, the peace offering was critical to allowing a believer to walk in true fellowship. To distinguish this from all other sacrifices, the peace offering was the only sacrifice that was voluntary (Lev. 7:8). It was also the only sacrifice where the person dined on part of the meal with God. If we accept the knock on the door of our hearts, Jesus will also dine with us in fellowship (Rev. 3:20). “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). Only if we search out Christ by following the steps of the peace offering can we find the peace that Christ offers us: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:13-15). Today, many churches ask a believer to accept the sinner’s prayer and then send them on their way. Alternatively, some churches tell people that they are saved without offering them specific goals to obtain a higher walk with Christ. The rules in these chapters can be used to do just that. A person can look at God’s specific rules and follow them. Without goals, our efforts often fade over time. Are you living out the spiritual sacrifices required for a peace offering? As a priest for God, are you helping others to obtain a higher walk?