195. The Last Supper as a Peace Offering
Under the Law of Moses, the prescribed order of sacrifices
The sacrifice of Jesus covers, of course, all these aspects of
redemption, but the Last Supper has specially strong affinities with the idea of
the peace offering, as the following summary of Leviticus 3 and 7:11-21 should
- The sin-offering, in expiation of sin.
- The whole burnt-offering-the
re-consecration of the life of the forgiven sinner.
meal-offering—the consecration of his daily works to the service of God.
- The peace-offering-the sacrificial meal of
- The essential idea is that of fellowship with God through the partaking of
a meal in His presence—a meal provided by Him: e.g. 1 Chr. 29:21,22a (cp.
Acts 2:42,46), " Ex. 24:5,11; 1 Cor. 10:16,20,21; Col. 1:20-22.
- The peace
offering followed the burnt offering (Lev.3 :5). Fellowship at the Lord's Table
comes after the initial self-consecration in baptism.
- The offerer was to put
his hands on the head of the sacrifice, thus identifying himself with the
slaying of it, and also expressing his dependence on it (the Hebrew word means
"to lean, or to be supported"); ls.53 :6.
- The sacrifice was slain by the
offerer in person (Lev.3 :2), thus emphasizing yet further that the sacrifice
was for himself (1 Tim.1 :15).
- The blood of the sacrifice was put on the
altar (Lev.3 :2j. In this way the sacrifice became God's, fully devoted to His
- the choicest portions were also burnt on the altar (Lev.3
:3-5). It was in the prime of his life that Jesus served God with the fulness of
- The priest also received his special portions (Lev.7 :31,32).
These, a heave-offering, expressed the ideal of willing perfect service
(Ps.25:1; Ex.25 :2).
- The rest of the sacrifice was given back to the offerer
to be eaten by him before the Lord as a guest at His table; e.g. Dt.27 :7. Here
especially, peace offering and Lord's Supper fuse into one. (Mt. 26:26; Jn.
6:50-57,33; cp. Lev. 3:11 RVm: "bread"). In 1 Corinthians 10:16, the order of
the peace-offering is pointedly followed: 1. The blood poured out. 2. The flesh
- It was to be eaten with joy; Dt.12 :7,11,12,18 and 14 :23,26. and
27:7. (In the New Testament with hardly an exception, "joy" means joy in
- The highest form of peace offering was that which was a
thanksgiving; Lev.7 :12,13,15. and in the early church one of the first names
for the Lord's Supper was Eucharist, thanksgiving (Lk.22 :17,19; 1 Cor.14 :17;
- That which remained to the third day must be
burned, that no corruption be associated with any offering of God (Lev.7
:17,18). Likewise there must be no denial of the resurrection of Jesus
- Anyone partaking, being unclean, was reckoned unfit to be among
the Lord's people (Lev.7 :20). "Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and
of the table of devils" (1 Cor. 10 :21). "Whosoever shall eat ... or drink ..
'• unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
But let a man examine himself . . ." (1 Cor. 11 :27,28; cp. 1 Pet.l
- The peace offering might be eaten with unleavened or with
leavened bread, the former expressing the ideal of sinless service, and the
latter emphasizing that the frailty of sin does not debar a man from fellowship
- In Isaiah 25 :6, "a feast of fat things" foretells a time when
even that which is God's portion (see item 6) shall be shared by the Lord's
redeemed, thus "partaking of the divine nature" (2 Pet.l :4). In this way the
Lord's Supper will be "fulfilled" in the kingdom of God" (Lk.22
- The LXX expression for peace offering is "the offering of