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LEVIT. III. 1.
And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peaceoffering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord.
CONTINUING our enquiries into the nature and intention of the various ceremonies of the Old Testament, we come now to the peace-offering. And here again I wish us to bear this point always in mind that every sacrifice had some peculiar reference to Christ, and shadowed forth the method of acceptance through him, or the privileges or duties of those who partake of his grace. Our enquiries therefore are not after matters of ancient date, which are become obsolete and altogether useless, but we have to examine into
subjects which are as full of instruction both on doctrinal and practical subjects with which ourselves are immediately concerned, as they are interesting for their antiquity. In explaining the ceremony of the peace-offering, I shall begin, as I have done in the case of the preceding ceremonies, with stating the law concerning it.
I. There were some particular occasions on which peace-offerings were ordered to be offered; but in general these were voluntary offerings presented in consequence of some vow, or in acknowledgment of some mercy, as we find by reference to the seventh chapter of this book, where they are more fully described. The sacrifice was an animal, which might be taken from the herd, or from the flocks, and which might also be either male or female, but which must be without blemish, as in all such cases. The animal was to be killed, the hand of the offerer to be laid upon its head, the blood was to be sprinkled by the priest about the altar precisely as in the case of the burnt-offering. Along with the animal, "unleavened cakes mingled
with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried," were to be offered. And besides the cakes of unleavened bread, there was to be brought leavened bread also, because, since this sacrifice partook, as we shall see, more of the nature of a social meal than any of the others, therefore the bread which they generally used at their common meals was also to be presented. For, whereas when a burntoffering was offered the whole was consumed by fire unto the Lord, and when a meatoffering was offered part was burnt as a memorial unto the Lord and the rest belonged to the priest, in the peace-offering there was a further division, and the offerer himself received by much the greatest share.
The division was made thus. One part was to be the Lord's. All the inward fat of the animal, with the kidneys, and the caul over the liver, was to be entirely consumed. by fire upon the altar. And this was a standing ordinance to the Israelites, as we read in the seventeenth verse, "It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout
all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood." It was the inward fat or suet only that was thus prohibited; and it is to be observed that the prohibition extended not only to this part of the fat and the blood of such animals as were offered in sacrifice, but also of those which they killed for their common food. "The fat is the Lord's," it is said, probably to intimate that the best and richest is his due; while the reason for the prohibition of blood is expressly assigned (in Levit. xvii. 11) in these words, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." Here is a powerful reason for making such a difference between the blood and the flesh of the animals sacrificed: to the blood, as making an atonement for the soul, and therein typical of the blood of Christ; to the blood, as especially containing the life, and therein typifying that life of Christ which he surrendered upon the cross to redeem the soul from death, a peculiar sacredness was attached, that mankind,
in after ages, might the more easily be led to see the infinite importance of this fundamental doctrine of the gospel, that the life of the human body assumed by the Son of God, and offered up upon the cross, is the sole medium of peace and reconciliation with an offended God. This was the great lesson to be taught by the strict injunction that in no case whatever should they eat the blood, but they should always pour it on the earth as water. The object of the prohibition being now accomplished, and blood being no longer offered as a typical atonement, there need be no doubt about eating the blood, as some Christians are scrupulous to do. These then were the parts of the peace-offering which were the Lord's, the fat and the blood.
Another portion was assigned to the priest. This consisted of the breast and the right shoulder. The breast was to be waved to and fro, and the shoulder was to be heaved upwards before the Lord, in token of their being appropriated to his honour and service, and the breast was given to the priests in general, while the shoulder remained the perquisite of