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  • THE TEMPLE - CH. 6 - C

    What Constituted Peace-offerings

    Peace-offerings were brought either of male or of female animals (chiefly of the former), but not of pigeons, the sacrifice being, of course, always accompanied by a meat- and a drink offering (Lev 7:11, etc.). As every other sacrifice, they needed imposition of hands, confession, and sprinkling of blood, the latter being done as in the burnt-offering. Then the 'inwards' were taken out and 'waved' before the Lord, along with 'the breast' and the 'right shoulder' (or, perhaps more correctly, the right leg). In reference to these two wave-offerings we remark, that the breast properly belonged to the Lord, and that He gave it to His priests (Lev 7:30), while Israel gave the 'right shoulder' directly to the priests (Lev 7:32). The ritual of waving has already been described, * the meaning of the movement being to present the sacrifice, as it were, to the Lord, and then to receive it back from Him.

    * The pieces were laid on the hands as follows: the feet, and then the breast, the right shoulder, the kidneys, the caul of the liver, and, in the case of a thank-offering, the bread upon it all.

    The Rabbinical suggestion, that there was a distinct rite of 'heaving' besides that of 'waving,' seems only to rest on a misunderstanding of such passages as Leviticus 2:2, 9; 7:32; 10:15, etc. *

    * The 'heave' is, in reality, only the technical term for the priest's 'taking' his portion.

    The following were to be 'waved' before the Lord: the breast of the peace-offering (Lev 7:30); the parts mentioned at the consecration of the priests (Lev 8:25-29); the first omer at the Passover (Lev 23:11); the jealousy-offering (Num 5:25); the offering at the close of a Nazarite's vow (Num 6:20); the offering of a cleansed leper (Lev 14:12); and 'the two lambs' presented 'with the bread of the firstfruits,' at the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:20). The two last-mentioned offerings were 'waved' before being sacrificed. After the 'waving,' the 'inwards' (Lev 3:3-5, etc.) were burnt on the altar of burnt-offering, and the rest eaten either by priests or worshippers, the longest term allowed in any case for the purpose being two days and a night from the time of sacrifice. Of course, the guests, among whom were to be the Levites and the poor, must all be in a state of Levitical purity, symbolical of 'the wedding garment' needful at the better gospel-feast.


    We close with a few particulars about meat-offerings. These were either brought in conjunction with burnt- and peace-offerings (but never with sin- or with trespass-offerings) or else by themselves. The latter were either public or private meat-offerings. The three public meat-offerings were: the twelve loaves of shewbread, renewed every Sabbath, and afterwards eaten by the priests; the omer, or sheaf of the harvest, on the second day of the Passover; and the two wave-loaves at Pentecost. Four of the private meat- offerings were enjoined by the law, viz: (1) the daily meat- offering of the high-priest, according to the Jewish interpretation of Leviticus 6:20; (2) that at the consecration of priests (Lev 6:20); (3) that in substitution for a sin-offering, in case of poverty (Lev 5:11,12); and that of jealousy (Num 5:15). The following five were purely voluntary, viz. that of fine flour with oil, unbaken (Lev 2:1); that 'baken in a pan'; 'in a frying-pan'; 'in the oven'; and the 'wafers' (Lev 2:4-7). All these offerings were to consist of at least one omer of corn (which was the tenth part of an ephah) (Exo 16:36). But any larger number under 61 omers might be offered, the reason of the limitation being, that as the public meat- offerings enjoined on the feast of Tabernacles amounted to 61, * all private offerings must be less than that number.

    * See Relandus, p. 353. This, however, only when the feast fell on a Sabbath.

    In all baken meat-offerings, an 'omer' was always made into ten cakes--the symbolical number of completeness--except in that of the high-priest's daily meat-offering, of which twelve cakes were baken, as representative of Israel. Finally, as the Rabbis express it, every meat-offering prepared in a vessel had 'three pourings of oil'--first into the vessel, then to mingle with the flour, and lastly, after it was ready--the frankincense being then put upon it. The 'wafers' were 'anointed' with oil, after the form of the Hebrew letter caph, or the Greek letter kappa, as they explain, 'to run down in two parts.' *

    *The subjoined Rabbinical table may be of use:


    Requiring the addition of oil and frankincense: Of fine flour unbaken; baken in a pan; baken in a frying-pan; baken in the oven; the 'wafers'; the high-priest's daily and the priest's consecration offering; the flour from the 'sheaf' offered on the second day of the Passover. Requiring oil without frankincense: all meat-offerings, accompanying a burnt- or a peace-offering. Requiring frankincense without oil: The shew bread. Requiring neither oil nor frankincense: The two loaves at Pentecost; the jealousy-offering; and that in substitution for a sin-offering.

    When presenting a meat-offering, the priest first brought it in the golden or silver dish in which it had been prepared, and then transferred it to a holy vessel, putting oil and frankincense upon it. Taking his stand at the south-eastern corner of the altar, he next took the 'handful' that was actually to be burnt, put it in another vessel, laid some of the frankincense on it, carried it to the top of the altar, salted it, and then placed it on the fire. The rest of the meat-offering belonged to the priests. * Every meat-offering was accompanied by a drink-offering of wine, which was poured at the base of the altar.

    * Except in the meat-offering of the high-priest, and of priests at their consecration; the exception in both cases for the obvious reason already referred to in explaining sacrificial meals. Similarly, the meat-offerings connected with burnt-sacrifices were wholly consumed on the altar.

    Large Number of Priests Needed

    So complicated a service, and one which enjoined such frequent sacrifices, must always have kept a large number of priests busy in the courts of the Temple. This was especially the case on the great festivals; and if the magnificent Temple could hold its 210,000 worshippers--if the liturgy, music, and ritual were equally gorgeous--we cannot wonder that it required, multitudes of white- robed priests properly to discharge its ministry. Tradition has it, that on the Day of Atonement no less than five hundred priests were wont to assist in the services. On other feast-days even more must have been engaged, as it was a Rabbinical principle, 'that a man should bring all his offerings, that were either due from him or voluntarily dedicated, at the solemn festival that cometh next.' In other words, if a man incurred a sacrifice, or voluntarily promised one, he was to bring it when next he came to Jerusalem. But even this provision showed 'the weakness and unprofitableness thereof,' since in all ordinary cases a long time must have elapsed before the stain of guilt could be consciously removed by an atoning sacrifice, or a vow performed. Blessed be God, the reality in Christ Jesus in this, as in all other things, far out-distances the type! For we have always 'liberty to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus'; and 'if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!'


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