What Are Heave and Wave Offerings?
Offerings Before God
The Heave Offering
The Heave Offering receives its name from the motion used in its presentation where the priest used an up and down motion–lifting it up to the Lord and receiving it back from Him.
The Wave Offering
Likewise, the Wave Offering receives its name from the motion used when the priest presented the Wave Offering in a waving type motion. The sacrifice was held in the offerer’s hands, with the priest’s hands underneath the offerer’s, and it was waved forward toward the altar and then backward from the altar–giving it to the Lord and then receiving it back from Him as a gift to the priest.
The right shoulder, better translated right thigh, of the sacrificial animal was a Heave Offering and the breast-piece was a Wave Offering. Both of these pieces were given to the priest to eat, and the rest of the flesh was given to the offerer to eat, sharing it with his family and friends in the presence of the Lord in His sanctuary.
The Heave and Wave Offerings were part of the Peace Offering, which was one of the five Offerings we read about in the book of Leviticus. (The five types of Levitical Offerings were the Burnt Offering, the Meat Offering, the Peace Offering, the Sin Offering, and the Trespass Offering.)
The Peace Offering
The Peace Offering was the only offering in which the donor received back a portion of the sacrifice to eat himself. Furthermore, it was the only animal sacrifice that did not deal with making atonement for sin. The Meat Offering was the only Offering of the five that did not involve an animal sacrifice–it was a Meal or Cereal Offering instead of an animal sacrifice.
In regard to the purpose of the Peace Offering, W. A. Criswell noted, “The peace offering generally expressed peace and fellowship between the offerer and God; hence it culminated in a communal meal”. “Fellowship,” Charles Erdman said, “is an essential feature of worship.
It is this feature which in particular is pictured by the ‘peace offering,’ also called the ‘thank offering”; for, according to the ritual, part of this offering was laid on the altar and burnt as a gift to the Lord, part was given to the priests, and the remainder was eaten by the worshiper, his family, and his friends.
Like much of the Old Testament, the offerings were foreshadows or pictures of the Christ who was to come. The Peace Offering foreshadowed the fellowship and peace we as believers can have with God through Jesus Christ.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the Lord shall bring his offering to the Lord from the sacrifice of his peace offerings. His own hands shall bring the Lord’s food offerings. He shall bring the fat with the breast that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the Lord. The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be for Aaron and his sons. And the right thigh you shall give to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifice of your peace offerings. Whoever among the sons of Aaron offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat shall have the right thigh for a portion. For the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed I have taken from the people of Israel, out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons, as a perpetual due from the people of Israel. This is the portion of Aaron and of his sons from the Lord’s food offerings, from the day they were presented to serve as priests of the Lord. The Lord commanded this to be given them by the people of Israel, from the day that he anointed them. It is a perpetual due throughout their generations.” Leviticus 7:28-36