But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offers his sacrifice…
The peace offering may be offered for thanksgiving, in which case it has appropriate ceremonies (verses 12-15). There is also the peace offering of a vow, the ceremonies of which are the same as those of the voluntary offering (verse 16; also Leviticus 19:5-8). In connection with this subject, we are admonished of the sanctity of the service of God; and similar admonitions arc given in what follows.
I. WE SEE THIS SANCTITY IN THE SANCTIONS OF THE LAW OF THE PEACE OFFERING.
1. Consider the precept.
(1) Look at it in the letter. "It shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice." The same day in which the fat is burnt on the altar, the flesh is consumed by the worshipper and his friends. What remains must be eaten on the morrow. If any remain over to the third day, it must not then be eaten, but burnt with fire.
(2) The first reason for this is hygienic. The flesh would, of course, be wholesome on the day it was killed, and so it would continue to be on the day following. But on the third day, in a hot climate, it would tend to corruption. The laws of health are well considered in the Levitical system, upon which account the study of that system may be commended to the votaries of social science.
(3) But there must be a deeper reason still, else the penalties would not be so formidable as they are. The peace offering was undoubtedly a type of Christ in his passion (Ephesians 2:13-18). Our Lord was two days in the tomb after his death without seeing corruption. Then rising from the dead on the third day, the typical sacrifices of the Law, having answered their end, were abolished, This abolition was foreshadowed in the burning of what remained of the peace offering on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3). To eat of the typical peace offering on the third day would be therefore highly improper, as it would suggest return to the "beggarly elements" after the "bringing in of the better hope" (Galatians 3:3; Galatians 4:9-11, 30, 31; Galatians 5:1-4).
(4) If the" third day" represent the Christian dispensation in which typical sacrifices are done away, how are we to view the "two days" during which they were serviceable? There were exactly two great dispensations before the Christian, in which typical sacrifices were ordained, viz. first, the Patriarchal, from Adam to Moses; and secondly, the Levitical, from Moses to Christ.
2. Consider the penalties.
(1) If the flesh of the peace offering be eaten on the third day, the sacrifice "shall not be accepted." The reason will now be obvious. In the third, or gospel, dispensation, there is a better Sacrifice. Typical sacrifices are now out of place and worthless, since the Antitype is come.
(2) "It shall not be imputed to him that offereth it." The typical sacrifices were useful in procuring the "forbearance of God" until the true atonement should be made; but now it is made, Christ will profit them nothing who return to the Law,
(3) "He shall bear his sin." He shall be treated as the sacrifice was treated. He shall himself be sacrificed for his own sin.
II. THIS SANCTITY IS FURTHER SEEN IN THE PENALTIES IMPOSED IN OTHER CASES. Thus:
1. When the flesh of sacrifice is unlawfully eaten.
(1) This would happen if it had touched "any unclean thing" (verse 19). Instead of being eaten, it should then be "burnt with fire." The teaching is that an unclean thing is of no use for purposes of atonement. The sacrifice of Christ could not be accepted were he not immaculate.
(2) It would happen if the cater were unclean. "As for the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof" (Hebrew, "The flesh of all that is clean shall eat the flesh"), i.e., every clean person shall eat the flesh of his peace offering. As Christ is without spot of sin, so is his flesh meat only to the holy. "But the soul" etc. (verses 20, 21). To the wicked, the very gospel becomes the savour of death (1 Corinthians 11:29; 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16).
2. When holy things are profaned.
(1) When the fat is eaten (verse 23) - the fat of such animals as were offered in sacrifice. There is no law against the eating of the fat of the roebuck or the hart. And that portion of the fat which was offered in sacrifice. The fat mingled with the flesh, which was not burnt on the altar, was not forbidden. There must be the most careful avoidance of whatever would profane the sacrifice of Christ. The fat even of an animal of the sacrificial kind, which by any accident might be rendered unfit for sacrifice, must not be eaten (verse 24). The moral here is that the very appearance of evil must be avoided.
(2) When the blood is eaten. This law is universal. Blood, viz. of every description of animal, is forbidden. The Jews properly expound this law as forbidding the blood of the life as distinguished from the gravy. And the reason given for the prohibition is that the life maketh atonement for the life. Our life, which is redeemed by the life of Jesus sacrificed for us, must be wholly given to God. The highest sanctity is associated with the blood of Christ.
(3) "That soul shall be cut off from his people" (verses 20, 21, 25, 27). The penalty in all these cases is extreme. It means separation from religious and civil privileges, if not also death. The penalties of the Mosaic Law terminated in the death of the body; but "a much sorer punishment" is reserved for those who despise and desecrate the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:28, 29). - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and on the morrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten: