Leviticus 3:1-5,17 “‘If your offering is a fellowship offering, and you offer an animal from the herd, whether male or female, you are to present before the LORD an animal without defect. You are to lay your hand on the head of your offering and slaughter it at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash the blood against the sides of the altar. From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the LORD: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. Then Aaron’s sons are to burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering that is lying on the burning wood; it is a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD... “‘This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.’”
Not only was God detailed in His directions, He was also all encompassing. Previously, reading these books of the Old Testament was a challenge because I wondered why all the repetitiveness.
Today, upon closer study, I have started to appreciate the depth of God's word and the breadth of its content that gives me the assurance that God is not just god of the parts but of the whole!
Why then do we not follow these instructions God gave us with regards to each of these rituals and have we lost focus on what God called us to do?
First off, we need to understand what a fellowship offering really was. When we look at the Hebrew text, the word used is transliterated shelem which means a sacrifice for alliance or friendship, a peace offering.
Is it not interesting that God not only provided the Israelites a way to ask for forgiveness but also for a way to make peace with God, to feast with God as a token of their friendship?
This peace offering was exercised by the Israelites when they sought God's peace. It was added to their prayer to God and the animal sacrificed was the altar, the priest and the owner as explained in the chapter.
Why then today do we not offer any peace offerings? God sent His own and only son Jesus Christ to be our peace offering and therefore in Jesus, we no longer need to sacrifice an animal to seek God's peace.
Jesus is our peace and our peace-offering and it through Him alone that we can receive an answer of peace to our prayers.
When we come before God, we must offer the sacrifice of praise by Christ our peace and this will please God far more than the sacrifice of animals, however pure they are.
Next we see the law as stated by God that the Israelites would have to keep for generations to come. It was the law forbidding them to eat any fat from the innards of the animals of sacrifice and any blood.
The blood was forbidden because it was God's part of every sacrifice. God would not permit the blood that was used as an atonement to become a common practice.
As stated in Hebrews 10:28-29, 'Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?'
Jesus' shed blood was a sacrifice made at one time for all mankind and we can never take it for granted by claiming for ourselves any share in the honor of making it.
The Jews clearly understood the distinction between common and sacred things and it helped them keep pure and stay away from idolaters.
It would help them understand the significance of Jesus' sacrifice and even today, when they do, it is a significant realization for them, one that they genuinely appreciate.
For us non-Jews, the significance is better understood when we see these things through their eyes both culturally and contextually and therefore we must study God's words continually to appreciate all that God has done for us.
Jesus, the Prince of peace, made peace for you and me through the blood on His cross. Through Him, you and I are reconciled to God and with God's peace in our hearts, we are compelled to make peace with all mankind.
To all who desire to put on Christ-like character and call themselves Christian, may God multiply His grace, peace and mercy upon them.
In His Loving Service,
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