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Vayikra/Leviticus 7:11 And this is the law of the peace-offering that he will bring to Adonai
Our sages talk about the peace-offerings. "Rabbi Yehudah said: Whoever brings , peace-offerings, brings , peace, into the world. Another explanation: It harbours 'peace' for all parties; the blood and inwards parts - for the altar, the breast and shoulder - for the priests, the skin and meat - for the owners" ( Sifra 156). There is an inherent word-play involved here, for the word does not only mean 'peace' but also 'wholeness' or 'completeness', so that the picture of the peace-offering is that it is a means of bringing wholeness or completeness as a part of thanksgiving.
Rashi gives a set of examples of when a peace-offering should be brought - particularly thank-offerings: "over a miracle that was done for him, for example seafarers, and those who travel deserts, those who were confined in prison, and a sick person who was healed, for they must give thanks." These may have been life-threatening events, or at least significantly traumatic seasons in the lives of people. So, Rashi says, they are to bring a peace-offering to thank G-d for preserving them. But there is more to it that that. It is not just that they bring the offering to thank G-d, but that in the process they are giving closure to the trauma; by making the offering they receive peace - this is a completion ritual that marks the end of the episode, even if the point of stress has already passed, so that the mind can mark that chapter as closed and move on. Peace, equilibrium, has been restored. The offering not only thanks G-d and makes a public statement attributing preservation to G-d, but also as an anchor to declare the end of the storm and set everyone back on an even keel.
Rav Sha'ul writes, "For it was the Father's good pleasure ... to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:19-20, NASB). Here we see Yeshua not only being our sin offering but our peace offering; not only taking away our sin, but bringing closure to our past life containing that sin, sealing it off as a closed chapter in our lives and setting us off on a level playing field. "But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of Messiah's blood. For He Himself is our shalom, our peace" (Ephesians 2:13-14, CJB). Not only did He, once for all, at a point in history, be our peace offering reconciling us to G-d, but He continues to be our peace offering now. Yeshua is our peace offering every day, bringing closure to the mistakes and sin that - being human - we make each day. Every day he brings us peace and wholeness, setting us back on the level before Father G-d. This is why He said to the talmidim, "What I am leaving you with is shalom - I am giving My shalom ... Don't let yourselves be upset or frightened" (John 14:27, CJB).
Further Study: Psalm 34:12-14; Isaiah 27:2-5; Hebrews 12:14-16
Application: Are you at peace, or are you always on edge, always looking over your shoulder as if someone or something is pursuing you? If so, then you need to know G-d's peace for, as the Rabbis say, "All offerings will be abolished, except the thanksgiving offering" (Vayikra Rabbah 9,2).
© Jonathan Allen, 2006
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