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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Leviticus 3

Verse 1


The “peace offering is the middle of the five offerings. The burnt offering and the grain offering are voluntary offerings and for God. The sin offering and the guilt offering that follow are obligatory offerings and are necessary for the sins of the people or of a member of the people. The peace offering is rightly central. It expresses the fellowship that exists between God and His people on the basis of the powerful workings of the offering. It proposes a fellowship meal.

From this offering God receives His share. The fat is called “food … to the LORD” (Leviticus 3:11; Leviticus 3:16). From this offering the priest and the priestly family receive their share (Leviticus 7:31). And from this offering, as the only offering in the Old Testament, all of the people may eat who are clean (Leviticus 7:19). It is a feast with an offering through which reconciliation has been made and in which the ‘parties’ that have been reconciled, God and man, each have their share and also the priest – as a picture the Lord Jesus through Whom the reconciliation has been made (1 John 1:3-Numbers :).

What the peace offering means to us is explained in 1 Corinthians 10 (1 Corinthians 10:16-Ecclesiastes :). For us it means the table of the Lord where the fellowship between God and the Lord Jesus and all His own is celebrated in the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Table is used in the Old Testament as an expression for the altar (Ezekiel 44:16; Malachi 1:7).

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial meal. Each time the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, we remember what the Lord Jesus did on the cross. The Lord has also asked this: “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-Ezekiel :). Remembering Him means telling God how great He is of Whom we too enjoy now, together with the Father. Then we will also have fellowship with each other. We symbolically express this in the breaking of the bread.

To express fellowship in eating together there must be something to eat. There must be spiritual awareness of what fellowship is. Paul therefore says: “I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say” (1 Corinthians 10:15). Children at the Lord’s Supper is therefore also impossible.

As with the previous offerings, here too we find first the larger and then the smaller offerings. We find no birds here like in Leviticus 1 (Leviticus 1:14-Esther :).

The Peace Offering of the Herd

A peace offering is, like the burnt offering and the grain offering, a voluntary offering. Similarly, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is not a matter of obligation. Anyone who realizes the privilege of this, and especially the desire of God and the Lord Jesus to have fellowship with His people in it, will not lightly remain away from the Lord’s Supper.

The peace offering may be a male or a female animal. In the case of a burnt offering, it may only be a male animal. Male or female does not have to do with bigger or smaller. Whether an offering is larger or smaller is expressed in the difference in the kind of animal. The difference in male or female has to do with a certain aspect of the work of the Lord Jesus.

In general, it can be said that in the pictures of Scripture, the female brings out more a person’s position, and the male brings out more of the behavior that belongs to that position. The male represents more active, powerful obedience, the female more passive, patient and submissive obedience. In connection with the offering one brings, one who brings a male offering is looking more at the way the Lord Jesus did the work, while one who brings a female offering looks more at the attitude while doing that work.

Why does an Israelite voluntarily bring a peace offering and not, for example, a voluntary burnt offering? Because he wants to share his gratitude to the LORD, for what He does and Who He is, with others. When someone brings a burnt offering, he remembers what the Lord Jesus is in himself before God. The peace offering is about bringing his joy about the Lord Jesus before God together with others who recognize and agree to this joy. Just as the joy of parents increases when they enjoy their children together, just because they enjoy together, so it is with the worshippers.

Verse 2

Slay and Blood Sprinkling

The laying on of hands is the sign of identification. The offeror makes himself one with the value of the animal. It is the consciousness of the believer that he can have fellowship with God because God sees him in the value of the offering. Our peace with God and the resulting gratitude are based on the fact that we are one with Christ. If we thank God for the Lord Jesus, we may know that Christ has accomplished everything to make this possible.

The slaying of the animal speaks of the death of Christ on the basis of which we can now have fellowship with God, with the Lord Jesus and with each other. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we do not proclaim ‘the Lord’s life’, but we proclaim “the Lord’s death” (1 Corinthians 11:26). It is a proclamation without words. The act of breaking of the bread and drinking of the wine is that proclamation. By this we say that we owe everything to His death.

Blood speaks of atonement, forgiveness and extermination of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Any obstacle to being accepted by God is thereby taken away. It is the foundation upon which we stand before God, through which we can have fellowship with Him. Therefore, “a sharing in the blood of Christ” is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10 before “a sharing in the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:16).

Verses 3-5

The Fat

The fat is mentioned here in more detail than in any other offering. It is called “food … to the LORD” (Leviticus 3:11; Leviticus 3:16; Numbers 28:2). All the fat is for the LORD. The large amount of fat indicates that it is a healthy animal. Fat represents the energy with which the Lord Jesus accomplished the work. Only God is able to fully appreciate that. We offer that fat when we tell God how everything in the Lord Jesus is aimed at glorifying God on earth, that He has completely surrendered His whole life to it.

“The entrails” speak of the feelings of the Lord Jesus (see comments on Leviticus 1:9). The fat that covers those entrails and all the fat that is attached to them are seen in the complete devotion of the heart with which He has done His work. In His surrender to death He is internally driven by perfect love. It has been His desire to do God’s will, as He already says “when He comes into the world” (Hebrews 10:5): “Behold, I have come to do Your will” (Hebrews 10:9). His whole heart is focused on this when He enters the world.

The “kidneys” are a picture of wisdom. It is wisdom to be able to distinguish between good and evil. Kidneys secrete the harmful substances in our body. The fat on the kidneys speaks of the perfect feelings of the Lord Jesus in distinguishing between good and evil. God has tried His heart and kidneys (Psalms 16:7; Psalms 26:2Psalms 7:10; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 20:12). This distinction between good and evil has given Him the strength for His walk, of which “the loins” speak.

The “liver” is mentioned three times in Scripture outside the sacrifices (Proverbs 7:23; Lamentations 2:11; Ezekiel 21:21). In these texts we see a certain lack of orientation. That is totally different with the Lord. His orientation is the eye of His Father. He has been guided by this. It is the inner power in His devotion.

The peace offering is offered on the burnt offering. This shows the close connection that exists between this form of the peace offering and the burnt offering. We don’t find that in the peace offering from the flock.

Verse 6

The Peace Offering From the Flock

As with the previous offerings, there is also the possibility to bring a smaller offering in the case of a peace offering. God always begins with the greatest, but He gives His people the opportunity to bring a smaller offering if a greater offering cannot (yet) be brought.

The peace offering from the flock may be a male or female, as long as it is perfect. Whatever we offer God of our awareness of the Lord Jesus and His work, God cannot accept anything that is not perfect. However little we know about the Lord Jesus, it has to be clear to us that there is no lack in Him. All His qualities are perfect and are always expressed in a perfect way.

Verses 7-11

A Lamb as a Peace Offering

When we think of a lamb as a peace offering, we think of qualities like gentleness and surrender, the tolerant suffering of abuse. We see these characteristics with the Lord Jesus in the Gospels. We can rejoice together with the Father and the church about it. It is impressive and the Father would love to hear from us how impressed we are with it.

That is more passive, while in the bull we see more the active willpower that is in the Lord Jesus to accomplish the work completely to the glory of God. The latter is therefore connected to the burnt offering in Leviticus 3:5, which is not mentioned with the lamb. But it is “food, … to the LORD”. ‘Food’ is literally ‘bread’.

The actions involved in bringing a lamb are exactly the same as with a bull. However, the fat tail and the backbone are also mentioned. The fat tail is a special delicacy. It points to the special aspects of the work of the Lord Jesus, which the believer has particularly enjoyed and about which He tells God. The backbone points to the Lord’s inflexibility in His way on earth in relation to all iniquity that is inflicted upon Him or offered. He is, in the true sense of the saying, a Man ‘with backbone’.

Verses 12-16

A Goat as a Peace Offering

A goat is actually the animal for the sin offering. Here we don’t think so much of a certain feature, like with the bull and the sheep, but of something negative: getting rid of the sins.

Many believers who worship the Lord Jesus and would like to bring a peace offering do not get any further than to thank Him for taking away their sins through His work on the cross. The fellowship with the other members of the church and the joy they have together are especially enjoyed in the gratitude that is there because the sins are forgiven. Yet this is also an offering “for a soothing aroma” to God.

Verse 17

Prohibition of Eating Fat and Blood

God reserves the right to fat and blood. The inner energy with which the Lord Jesus did the work can only be fully understood by Him. Because God is the Giver of life, He is also the only one entitled to it. Since life is in the blood, the blood is for Him alone. The prohibition to eat fat and blood is further elaborated in Leviticus 7 (Leviticus 7:22-Daniel :), there also in connection with the peace offering.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 3". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.