A Peace Offering

Peace Offering in the Old Testament. The other day, on Facebook (FB), there was a question asked concerning whether or not there is any evidence in the New Testament concerning Jesus offering a sacrifice. I remarked that there was no evidence of Him having done so. It is possible that He might have offered a peace offering (Leviticus 3), but there is no evidence of that either.

What is a peace offering? In Leviticus 3 (7:11-18), the Lord instructs those of Israel regarding some particulars on the peace offering. It was consided an optional sacrifice, not one of the regular offerings of the Tabernacle or Temple. The reasons associated with the offerings are: 1) a thanksgiving offering, 2) a vow of some sort, and 3) a voluntary offering (Wenham, NICOT, identifies the reasons: a confessional offering, a free-will offering, or to fulfill a vow; pp. 74-75).

The purpose of the peace offering is somewhat complex in understanding. Succinctly stated by Wenham (p. 77), it is related to health, prosperity and peace with God.

Peace Offering in the New Testament. Is there any significance to a peace offering under the authority of the New Testament?

In the New Testament the idea of a “peace offering” is not mentioned, but there is a good deal of usage with the word “peace.” For instance, in Luke 1:79, Zacharias spoke of his son John’s mission as one who “will guide our feet into the way of peace.” When Jesus was born the angels of glory spoke, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14). However, in speaking to His disciples, Jesus made it very clear that He came not to bring peace: ”Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).

What should we conclude from this? The way of peace is not via man’s direction, but only God’s. In following God’s direction it might very well be the case that peace in the earthly realm is not experienced or enjoyed; on the other hand, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10, NKJV). The important point in this is that God’s peace is not of this world. RT

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