What is the Purpose of Giving a Peace Offering at Passover?

You have gathered the Passover Seder elements. You are ready to slide your feet beneath the Father’s table. But have you thought about bringing a peace offering to the Lord? A peace offering is a beautiful act of covenant worship, love, and surrender. It can challenge the heart of many Believers.  

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”—Matthew 6:21 

We’re going to take a look at verses in the Bible about the peace offering. In these passages, we will dive into… 

  • The purpose of the peace offering 
  • When the peace offering was given 
  • How we should respond to the invitation to give a peace offering 

Then we will read a brief testimonial from one Covenant Partner about why she decided to give a peace offering at Passover.  

The Purpose of the Peace Offering 

The peace offering is called the shelamim in Hebrew. Shelamim is related to the word shalom, which means “peace.” The peace offering was an opportunity to share in the Lord’s table.  

So, what does that look like? We will find out! 

Before we unlock this beautiful mystery of the peace offering, let us turn to the book of Leviticus. Leviticus is not a book many Believers get excited about reading. Most Believers in a westernized culture think of Leviticus as being a book about rules and mandatory sacrifices for sin. Whether we know it or not, many of us are brought up with the idea that Leviticus doesn’t really matter anymore.  

Wow, we are missing out on a deeper encounter with the Lord with that type of limited thinking! 

The fact is, a picture of God’s covenant is actually revealed within the offerings and sacrifices contained in the book of Leviticus. And one way the beauty of the covenant is manifested is through the peace offering because it is all about a celebratory encounter with the Lord.  

Leviticus 3 | The Peace Offering 

The peace offering was not about sin; instead, it was about fellowship. Many Bible translations have the heading “The Fellowship Offering” for Leviticus 3. This is because the one who brought the offering was to partake in a communal, or fellowship, meal.  

They were to burn the best parts, which was the fat.  

  • “Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire to the Lord. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat…”—Leviticus 3:3 

The fat represented the best. This symbolized full surrender and giving the Lord your best. The peace offering was also a voluntary act of worship and thanksgiving. It was not required.  

While other offerings were given and burned, in part or wholly at the altar, and/or given to the priests to consume, the peace offering was different. The one bringing the offering took part in consuming it.  

  • “This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.”—Leviticus 3:17 (emphasis added) 

We read here that the peace offering was to be a lasting ordinance or perpetual statute. Therefore, we must consider what this means for us today. 

When Was the Peace Offering Given? The Peace Offering and Passover 

The Passover lambs that were sacrificed were a type of peace offering. This is because the meat that was offered was also used for a fellowship meal.  

  • “And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”—Exodus 12:7-8 (emphasis added) 

Peace offerings were given at different times throughout the year. However, they were closely associated with the feasts of the Lord, such as Passover. The one who offered up the unblemished animal would invite family and friends to partake in the feast. This was one element of keeping the appointed feasts. 

Does this remind you of sliding your feet beneath the Father’s table at Passover, where family and friends gather to partake in a great feast? It certainly brings depth to the experience.

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How Should We Respond to the Invitation to Bring a Peace Offering? 

We have to understand that the ritual act of bringing a peace offering is not the center of God’s invitation. He is asking us to come and meet with Him, to set aside our wants and trade them for His desires.  

  • “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”—Psalm 37:4 

The Lord asked the Israelites, and He is asking us today, to surrender and trust our best to Him. God’s pattern is not to give us something so that we can use it for our betterment. Instead, He asks us to obey and trust Him completely with what He has already given us. Then He will multiply it according to His riches.  

  • “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:19 

Do you trust Him? 

As stated, it is not about the ritual act but the heart behind it. When we choose to obey Him with our hearts and actions, the Lord is delighted.   

  • “…Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”—1 Samuel 15:22 

It’s always about the heart.  

Many of us can give a sacrifice or offering with the heart to only get something in return. Yet we must remember God knows our hearts. The fact is, He wants to give you more than you can imagine.  

  • “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…”—Ephesians 3:20 

The problem is we block those blessings from being released when we aren’t fully surrendering with our hearts. You see, He asks us to let go of our desires and trade them for His. He wants His children to have an encounter with Him at an intimate level.

A person with their hands in prayer facing the sunshine, towards a standing cross - symbolism for a peace offering.

A Lightbulb Moment about the Peace Offering | Words from a Covenant Partner 

One Covenant Partner writes this… 

“I was always confused about the offerings. When was I supposed to give? Why was I supposed to give? I never thought of giving an offering as a way to fellowship with the Lord until 2 things happened.  

1. I started to better understand the Feast of Passover. 

2. I started to take a deeper dive into the offerings listed in Leviticus.  

“This all blew my mind! As I was reading about how the peace offering was a type of offering given at Passover, a lightbulb turned on in my mind. God wanted ME at His table! He didn’t need what I had to offer, but He wanted it. It was a ‘sweet aroma to the Lord,’ (Leviticus 3:5).  

“I had already planned on joining Curt Landry Ministries for Passover online, but I hadn’t even thought about what it meant to bring an offering.  

“God brought me to the book of Leviticus and showed me the types of offerings and their purpose. As I read about the peace offering, He said to me, ‘Empty your pockets.’ At first I thought, ‘My pockets ARE empty. There is nothing in them.’ Then He turned my head, and I saw my purse. I never carry cash, but inside my purse was nearly $50 that I was saving up for an item I knew I didn’t need. It was an item I wanted to splurge on and keep it a secret at the same time. 

“It was a weird tug and pull in my mind between ‘I want this thing’ and guilt. But when the Lord asked me to empty my pockets, and I decided then and there to obey, that tug and pull in my mind vanished. I knew without a doubt, I had to give that money as a peace offering at Passover.  

“I no longer carried the guilt, and the desire to own the item was gone. God is so faithful to His Word! I praise the Lord Almighty and King of the universe!” 

As you can see, when we trade our desires for God’s, He gives us freedom and deliverance from the negative mindsets in our lives—He gives us Peace. And isn’t that what Passover is all about?