Today we begin Leviticus Chapter Three.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
“If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, then, if he offers before Adonai an animal from the herd, then, no matter whether it is male or female, it must be without defect.”-Leviticus 3:1
Today we are going to begin studying the third Levitical animal sacrifice (there are five main sacrifices all together).
This 3rd sacrifice is usually called the Peace Offering.
The first thing you need to know is just like the first 2 types of sacrifices we’ve examined, the OLAH (burnt offering) and the MINCHAH (grain offering), the Peace Offering had NOTHING TO DO WITH SIN.
In other words, one did NOT offer up a Peace Offering to atone for specific trespasses one committed or bad behavior.
In Hebrew, this offering is called the ZEVAH SHELAMIM.
However, more often than not, it is just called the ZEVAH.
Other ways scholars have translated ZEVAH SHELAMIM is to call it the “Offering of Well-being” or the “Offering of Fellowship”.
I’ve also heard of a fairly new rendering called the “Sacred Gift of Greeting”.
One might ask, why is there so much variation in translating this one simple phrase ZEVAH SHELAMIM?
Well, it all has to do with the word SHELAMIM.
Does the pronunciation of this word sound familiar to you?
It is the root word for the familiar Hebrew greeting “SHALOM”.
Although most folks don’t realize it, SHALOM has a deeper meaning than just your average “hello” or “good bye”.
SHALOM is a greeting of grace, one that exudes peace, well being, and brotherly fellowship.
There is no one word in English that can do justice to the actual and overall meaning of this word as it embodies a broad range of nuances.
The words “peace” and “grace” really just scratch the surface in terms of what this word meant to an ancient Israelite.
Probably the best way to explain it is to say that SHALOM refers to one’s total sense of well-being with much emphasis on the word “total”.
Shalom means feeling very positive about one’s future, it means having health and having more than enough money to have one’s needs met, and it also means having peace of mind and grace from G-d.
However, SHALOM isn’t just connected to money.
It isn’t just connected to health.
It isn’t just connected to joy.
It is all of these things working in harmony with God at the center.
The main point is that without God, you could never really have shalom even if you had money and health etcetera.
In order to have real SHALOM, God had to be at the center of your life.
So none of the above renderings are wrong, it’s just that none by themselves are fully adequate to fully express the name and meaning of this sacrifice.
To summarize, the ZEVAH SHELAMIM could be considered a “greeting“, “gift“, “fellowship“, “well-being nod” or “peace offering” to the Lord.
In order to keep things simple, I’m just going to refer to this particular sacrifice as the “Peace Offering” from here on out.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
So do not worry, saying,
‘What shall we eat?’ or
‘What shall we drink?’ or
‘What shall we wear?’
For the gentiles run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.