GENERAL NOTES ON THE OFFERINGS
The wave breast and heave shoulder of the peace offering
The priest not only fed on the wave breast but also on the heave shoulder (Lev 7.34). The breast speaks of His compassion. The shoulder speaks of His strength and power. He not only saw and felt for those in the pain, sorrow and disease that sin had brought into the world, but He also had the power and ability to help and deal effectively with the problems. Love and power were in Him combined.
Feeding on the roast lamb with bitter herbs, speaking of Christs suffering, and our appreciation of them (Ex 12.8), gives energy to leave Egypt. Feeding on the manna, speaking of the Lords humiliation (Ex 16.1-15), helps us to move humbly as pilgrims through this barren world. Feeding on the old corn of the land, speaking of the Lord in exaltation, would give us strength to go in and possess the land (Josh 5.11-12). There has already been a portion for the priests in the meal offering, speaking of the Lords perfection as a man (Lev 2.3,10). Now they fed on the wave breast and the heave shoulder. Eating these things would enable them to move in an effective and comely manner within the sanctuary.
Animals used in the offerings
The Lord God did not name the animals but brought them to Adam to be named (Gen 2.19-20). The Holy Spirit, who directed men to write the Scriptures, directed Adam to give names to these animals and then used these very names to communicate to Adams posterity the glories of One who would come.
The word "herd" (Lev 1.2,3; 3.1) comes from a root word (Strong, 1239) which means to admire or to consider. We never can praise Him enough for the many, varied blessings we have received through Him, and it would be equally blessed to have the capacity to appreciate the glories all-excelling that are in Him. He ought to be the object of our consideration and admiration.
The word used by Adam for the flock (Lev 1.2; 3.6) comes from a word which means "to remove" or "migrate" (Strong, 6629). What a truth is this, as we together have communion with God through His Son. Not only are we charmed by glories displayed in eternity in Gods fair heaven, but with moral glories seen in time in mans foul and filthy earth. Not only holiness proclaimed by angels as He sat on yonder throne, high and lifted up, but just as holy as proclaimed by demons as He stood in lowly garb in the streets of ill-famed Nazareth. Not now surrounded by heavenly beings of majesty, but out from the ivory palaces He came into a world of sin and woe; surrounded by cruel, vile men who despised Him and set Him at nought.
In this other country so different from the one He had left, He was never overcome by evil, but He overcame evil with good. When He was reviled, He reviled not again (1 Pet 2.23). He came in holy; He went out righteous. He came from the Father, lived in this far country, and never made one mistake in thought, word, or deed. A greater journey no one else ever undertook!
The root (Strong, 5810) from which the word "goat" comes means "to be strong", and is translated "prevail" in Judges 3.10 and 6.2. In the bullock we see patient constant service. The sheep signifies meekness and silence, and the dove the single eye and harmlessness.
The parts of the animals
Two things are said about this. First, let us consider the fat that covers the inwards. It fills up the hollows. In the sin and trespass offerings we are marked by positive wrong, the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. There is within us lust, envy, rebellion, expressed in disobedience, and murder, and every evil work. Paul wrote, "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (Rom 7.18). We are not only full of sin but we have come short of His glory. We are marked not only by sins of commission, but sins of omission as well. Suppose we had never had a wrong thought, said a wrong word, did a wrong deed, we would still have been displeasing to God because of what was not there.
But what was totally lacking in us, God found in all fullness in His Beloved Son. Said He, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mt 3.17). There were no hollows, nothing lacking in Him. What God did not find in us, He found in all fullness, in richness unstinted, in Christ. The fat speaks of the excellence that covered all that He did and all that he was. If we abounded in sin, He abounded in holy excellence.
The word is translated "reins" in Psalm 26.2 and Psalm 7.9, speaking to us of the will, the mind, and the whole inward self. Note that the mention of the kidneys comes immediately after the mention of the fat (eg Lev 3.3,4). He not only did what was commanded but also did that which would bring added total delight to the Father. He was constantly engaged in His Fathers business, always doing good, and doing the things that pleased the Father. He always set the Father before Him.
This is the word used in Proverbs 3.26, translated "confidence", surely speaking of the Lords faith and confidence in His God. God loves to be trusted. He records the faith of Noah, Abraham, Elijah, David, and many others. But the Lord Jesus Christ rises above them all. He is the Leader and the Perfecter of faith who stands firm when all others flee and fail. Psalm 22 touches faith seen at His birth and His death (vv.8-10) - "Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mothers breasts" (v.9), and, "He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver him" (v.8).
With confidence as He prayed at the grave of Lazarus He said, "Father I knew that thou hearest me always" (Jn 11.41-42). He had confidence when He spoke the word His Father gave Him for "he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes" (Mk 1.22). He was confident in the dangers of life. He slept in the boat when seasoned mariners were afraid (Mk 4.35-41).
The caul above the liver
Newberry in his margin renders the word "caul" as, "the superabundance of the glory". The word "liver" (Strong, 3515, 3516) comes from a root meaning "to be heavy", and is translated in 1 Samuel 31.3 as "sore", and in Isaiah 9.1 as "grievously afflict". The word "above" has the thought of excelling, rising above, abounding.
Let us put all these words together and see what is here for our hearts. It seems to me to speak of the glory that rose above the grief; that which remained excelled above the heaviness. Can we see the description of what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane when the Lord began to be sore amazed and to be very heavy. "My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death", He said to the disciples with Him, and to the Father He said, "Take away this cup from me" (Mk 14.33-36). All this would answer to the liver, the heaviness, and the sore afflictions. What is the superabundance of the glory that rose above that heaviness?
It is surely this, "Nevertheless (above everything) not my will, but thine, be done" (Lk 22.42). He chose His disciples to be with Him, but there was a time when He had to say to them with a heavy heart, "Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone" (Jn 16.32). That is the heaviness. What is the glory? "I am not alone, because the Father is with me" (Jn 16.32). That is the glory. Looking again we see both in John 12.27: "Father, save me from this hour - that is the heaviness; "But for this cause came I unto this hour" - that is the glory.
The root from which this word comes has the original idea of strength (see Strongs comment on 451). It was that which was hard by the backbone, that which is fixed. It speaks of the Lords strength in a fixed purpose, finishing everything He started. In the phrase of Psalm 1.3: "Whatsoever (everything) he doeth shall prosper". The meaning is that everything He does He shall carry out to completion.
In creation He so completed it that the Lord could rest on the seventh day. Isaiah writes, "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth" (42.4). In the work of redemption He cried triumphantly, "Finished", and the veil of the temple raised at Gods command was rent by Gods hand. Millions of beasts were killed, rivers of blood flowed, but they could not "make the comers thereunto perfect" (Heb 10.1), and note that "by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb 10.14). But we rejoice that our entrance into blessing is because He goes "after that which was lost, until he find it" (Lk 15.4).
To be continued.