For he is our peace …
The beginning of Leviticus presents us with five types of offerings to approach God each carrying a different message. We have lost their meaning in translation, but their imagery still reveals their message. These offerings are the physical outward expressions of the longings of the inward heart of man in seeking to approach Hashem in full communion.
The sin and guilt offerings are mandatory (Lev. 4; 5:15). The Passover lamb and the daily perpetual offerings fall under these categories. There is a difference between the two. The sin offering concerns itself with our natural state of being a sinner, while the guilt offering is for sins involuntarily committed (there are not offerings for voluntary sins (Heb. 10:26)). The difference is that we are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners and that from the time of our birth. We may have never killed or stolen, but we may have thought or wished it at times through coveting. There is a teaching in Judaism that the last of the Ten Commandments is the reason why we break the nine others. Both God and priest share in these offerings; he who offers doesn't.
After we have acknowledged our innate sinful state and the sinful actions and thoughts that result from it, we have the burnt or ascent offering called the olah עולה, (Leviticus 1:3). It is the only offering that is to be totally dedicated to God; no one but Hashem gets to partake of it. It is a voluntary offering. After we have cleansed ourselves from sin, the olah represents our desire for complete utter abandonment to God; a strong desire to perpetually abide with the Hashem. After dedicating our lives to God comes the meal offering. The meal offering is also a voluntary one; now that we’ve dedicated ourselves to Hashem, this offering represents our walk with God. Only priest and God share in it.
After admitting to our sinful nature, confessing our faults, and dedicating our lives to walk with Hashem, we celebrate the peace offering, the one we all look forward to as it expresses the completion of our union with Hashem. This is the one we get to share in, along with God and the priests. Peace offerings usually consisted of lavish parties.
Fellowship with God has always been expressed by a meal; it was true on Mount Horeb and it will be true at the end of the age (Exod. 24:9-11; Rev. 19:9). That is why the most spiritual thing we can do in this world, the highest act of spirituality we can practice on this earth, is to have a peaceful and joyful meal with our families. It represents our union with God.
It is no wonder that in this day and age of the soon return of the Master (blessed be his name), the enemy (cursed be his name!) works like mad to break up families. The breakdown of the family unit in Western societies is a tool in the Adversaries' hands against God’s plan. For decades now, the devil's biggest attacks have been against the family units. First he got everybody distracted away from the daily dinner table and into T.V. and so many evening school activities, and now the very idea of family is being redefined; ugh!
May our Master soon return, even in our days, that we may recline with him at that peace offering meal with all our brothers and sisters (Rev. 19:9) and start the work of bringing sanity back to this world!