- The peace offering is the center of the five main offerings; the enjoyment of the peace offering is the issue of the proceeding offerings bringing us into peace, fellowship, and enjoyment with God and one another.
- Five main parties are present in presenting the peace offering including God, the offerer, the serving priest, all the priests (the priesthood) and the congregation of cleansed people; the serving priest, however, enjoys a special portion, which is fulfilled in opening our mouth to function in the worship of the Father.
- The Lord needs us to enter into the reality of being serving priests who offer Christ to God as the peace offering at the Lord’s table meeting for the mutual enjoyment and fellowship between God and man.
The Significance of the Peace Offering
Christ as the peace offering is for the fellowship and enjoyment of five parties: God, the serving priest, all the priests (the priesthood), the offerer, and the congregation of cleansed people. The fat and the inward parts of the offering were God’s portion (vv. 3-5); the four kinds of cakes and the right thigh as a heave offering were the portion of the serving priest (Lev. 7:14, 32-34); the breast as a wave offering was for all the priests (Lev. 7:30-31, 34); the flesh, the meat, of the offering was the portion of the offerer (Lev. 7:15-18); and the remaining flesh of the cattle, under the condition of cleanness, was for all the congregation (Lev. 7:19-21). In the New Testament there are no clergy and no laity (see note Rev. 2:61a). Thus, all the believers in Christ should be the serving priests, the priestly body, the offerers, and the congregation.
A portion of the peace offering was presented to God from the ox (3:3-5). This portion was the fat upon the inward parts of the cattle. All the fat upon all the inward parts had to be for God. These items refer to the sweetness and the tenderness of the inward being of Christ. The inward being of Christ can be appreciated only by God. We need to become full in our experience of Christ in His experiences as the burnt offering. Then, we shall have rich utterance in praise not only in the Lord’s table meetings and prayer meeting but also in our private time with the Lord.
Every time the serving priest offered a peace offering for thanksgiving, he had to take out one cake for a heave offering. If he offered an offering, he had to take out one piece from all the cakes and heave it unto the Lord. Then this piece would become his portion. The one cake and the right thigh were for nourishing and strengthening the serving priest. The cake was for nourishing, the thigh was for strengthening, and both were heave offerings. This refers to the enjoyment of the ascension of Christ, the enjoyment of Christ as the ascended One, the heaved One. This shows that the offering priests, the conducting priests, get the highest enjoyment. The more we serve, the higher the portion of Christ we enjoy.
The breast as a wave offering was a portion of the peace offering to all the priests, including Aaron and all his sons (vv. 30-31, 34). The wave offering is not as high as the heave offering, and the breast is not as strong as the thigh. Thus, all the priests share a portion that is not as high or as strong as that which the serving priests share. The highest and strongest portion is for the serving priests, not for the general priests. The general priests share only a kind of general portion. The wave offering signifies the resurrected Christ. The heave offering signifies the exalted Christ. The exalted Christ, of course, is higher than the resurrected Christ. Until we experience Christ in ascension, we have not reached the goal. We are still on the way.
Five parties participated in offering the five portions of the peace offering: God, the serving priest, all the priests, the offerer, and the congregation (vv. 19-21). No offerer by himself could eat all the offerings, so some “eating helpers” were needed. This is why we all come together at the Lord’s table to enjoy the unsearchably rich Christ. Today, through our practice, we need to reach the level of becoming conducting priests, serving priests. Today, we may come to the meeting merely as a part of the congregation and not as offerers, or we may be offerers, but not yet be that strong in the priestly service (worship). Christ as the peace offering meets the needs of all these parties. We need to progress in our experience of offering him until we reach the level of serving priests.
The Peace Offering Typifying Our Mutual Enjoyment and Satisfaction at the Lord’s Table Meeting
The peace offering signifies Christ as our peace with God that we may enjoy Him with God and with man in fellowship and joy (Num. 10:10; Deut. 27:7). It is fulfilled primarily in our enjoying Christ at the Lord’s table in the breaking of bread for the remembrance of Him and in the offering of Christ to the Father for the worship of the Father (Matt. 26:26-30). The peace offering, which implies fellowship with the Triune God and includes the enjoyment of the Triune God, is illustrated in Luke 15:23-24 by the fattened calf as the peaceful enjoyment between the receiving father (God) and the returned prodigal (a sinner). After we eat the bread and drink the cup, the Lord takes the lead to come to the Father with all of us. He declares the Father’s name to us and sings hymns of praise to the Father through us and with us (Heb. 2:12). At the same time, we offer Him as the peace offering to the Father. Then we and the Father, including all the serving ones, the offerers, and the congregation, enjoy Christ as the peace offering in a mutual way, not only in the presence of God the Father but also with God the Father.
The peace offering is the Old Testament type of the Lord’s table. At the Lord’s table the believers enjoy Christ as their peace offering for their fellowship with God and with one another. This enjoyment of the peace offering issues from the burnt offering, the meal offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering (v. 5 and note Lev. 3:51). Our enjoyment of Christ as these four offerings has an issue, a result — the enjoyment of Christ as our peace offering for us to have fellowship with God and with our fellow believers.
As long as we come to the meeting, we can enjoy Christ as the portion common to all the saints. But if we offer Christ in the meeting and function as a serving priest, we enjoy a special portion. When we open up our mouth and function in the meeting, we are the serving priests presenting Christ to God the Father for His enjoyment and our enjoyment. Without this worship of the Father in the Lord’s table meeting, the presentation of the peace offering to God cannot be fulfilled.
Offering Christ as the Peace Offering in our Worship to the Father
According to the record of Leviticus 3, the fat is upon the inward parts. Thus, we may say that the inward riches are the covering for and the protection of the inward parts. The inward parts of the peace offering signify the inward parts, the inward being, of Christ (Phil. 1:8). In the Lord’s table meeting, after the remembrance of the Lord, we should offer the Lord as the peace offering to the Father. What we offer should include, or comprise, the inward parts of Christ. Now we need to consider whether we offer an objective peace offering or a subjective peace offering. In other words, do we offer something produced merely by God or produced by ourselves? According to the typology, the peace offerings were offered by the producers. They produced the cattle and the other items of their offerings. This shows that we have to labor on Christ as the good land.
Of course, according to the Old Testament, some people did not labor but bought something to offer. They took advantage of others’ labor. But these offerings that were bought were not as sweet as those produced by the people’s labor. The best and sweetest offerings are those produced by ourselves. If I do not labor on Christ, yet I offer the Christ you labor on, this is not so good. I must offer what I have labored on. I must offer what is produced by my labor, and you must offer what is produced by your labor.
The fat on the inward parts offered to God should be something produced by us. In other words, if we do not have the kind of tender, rich, and precious intention, will, desire, and purpose in our daily life that Christ had, it will be hard for us to present Christ to the Father in this way at the Lord’s table meeting. If in our daily walk we are really one with the Lord in our intention toward the Father, in our concept, in our thoughts, in our likes and dislikes, in our desire, in our intent, and in our purpose, then these things become our experience. Then we are really one with the Lord in His inward parts toward the Father. If this is the case, we have the reality of the inward parts and the fat upon the inward parts of the peace offering when we come to the Lord’s table meeting.
Of all the inward parts, the kidneys are among the smallest. Furthermore, the kidneys are the most tender of the inward parts. This indicates that we need some small yet most tender things within us toward God the Father. Within us God does not want big things. Within us the Father wants small things that are very tender and precious. The fat, the kidneys, the appendage on the liver, and the fat tail all indicate the riches of life inwardly with the tenderness, the smallness, and the preciousness. To see this, I would repeatedly refer you to the life of the Lord Jesus in the four Gospels. The life in the Gospels is sweeter and more tender than the life revealed in Acts. The life in the Gospels has more fat and inward parts. I am not depreciating the life in Acts, but nothing can compare with the life of the Lord Jesus Himself revealed in the Gospels.
- Who were the five parties present in the presentation of the peace offering? What is significant about the different portions they offered?
- What portion did the serving priest offer? Experientially, why is this portion regarded to be the highest and the strongest?
- What experiences of Christ are needed in our daily life to be able to function as a serving priest at the Lord’s table meeting?
- What does it mean that nothing can compare with the life of the Lord Jesus revealed in the Gospels? How are we constituted with such inward parts?
- How do we present the peace offering in our worship of the Father?
- What different portions of the peace offering have you observed being presented in our practice of the Lord’s table meeting?
Excerpts taken from Leviticus Recovery Version footnotes (3:1; 3),
and Basic Lessons on Service ch. 7-9.
Further Reading Life-Study of Leviticus, Messages 17, 27.