When his offering is a sacrifice of a peace offering, if he offers it of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord. (Leviticus 3:1)
This is one of those offerings that we don’t hear too much about and, as has been noted when discussing offerings in general, the peace offering was voluntary. This offering was presented unto the LORD by those who wanted to express their gratitude and be at peace with God. In a sense, the worshipper was bringing “tribute” to the King of kings just as someone in a lower station in life might present tribute to a powerful king with the intent of fostering good will and favor.
In Hebrew, the peace offering is called שלמים shalamim which is the plural form of the word שלום shalom, This very common Hebrew word comes from a root that means, “to be whole, complete.” So then, the peace offering speaks to the idea that, when a person wished to have a relationship with the Almighty that went beyond serving out of fear — a relationship that would be whole and complete — he would bring the shalamim. You could say that this offering spoke to the notion of the two — God and man — coming into a oneness with each other.
While it is easy to grasp that Messiah personifies the different offerings given for transgression and sin, how does He personify this one? Well, were it not for His willingness to become sin for us, how would we expect to come into a oneness with the Creator and be at peace with Him? Not only that, but Messiah’s sacrifice also set in motion the reconciliation between His people, which is also very important to God and to His kingdom. It seems that Paul understood Yeshua’s connection to the peace offering and its importance to us as believers. When speaking of the ongoing division between Jew and Gentile, Paul expressed that Messiah “is our peace (shalamim)” and that “He has made both (Jew and Gentile) one. … that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14, 16).
Peace is a very important element in the Kingdom of God and it is one that is so often missing from our lives. Far more valuable than gold and silver or any other temporal thing, it is something that we should always seek from others even as we strive to foster peace with our fellow man. Ultimately, true peace comes in having a relationship with the Almighty and knowing that He is at peace with us. Messiah promised to give us His peace so that, even when surrounded by tribulation, we can still have peace. If this is His will for us, then let us make sure we do our part to present “peace offerings” to Him and to others each and every day.
Blessings and Shalom,