Vol. 15 No. 6
God’s Way of Salvation
Vs. 14-17, The Peace Jesus Won for Us at the Cross.
Eph 2:14-17, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR.”
Here we are going to address the next four verses together, as they all speak of the “peace” Jesus Christ won for us at the Cross through “His Blood,” as we noted in vs. 13.
The word “peace” is used four times in three of these verses. The first time, in vs. 14, it is in the Nominative (Subject) case, establishing the subject or topic of discussion in these verses, and the other three times it is in the Accusative (Direct Object) case, that tells us what is directly affected by the action in these passages, which is the work of Jesus Christ. In vs. 16, Jesus established peace through the Cross, and in vs. 17 He preached peace to both the Gentiles, (those far away), and the Jews, (those who were near), of which the speaking included not only His verbal witness during His ministry here on earth, but also His witness through the Old Testament Levitical Offerings, especially the “Peace Offering,” as well as the witness of His Cross. We will address each of these witnesses.
“Peace,” is the Greek noun EIRENE, εἰρήνη that means, “Peace, harmony, tranquility, health, and prosperity.” It means, “to join, literally or figuratively, and by implication, welfare or a state of well-being, including security and prosperity.” It is equivalent to the Hebrew noun SHALOM. Here it refers to the results of the efficacious work of Jesus Christ’s spiritual sacrifice on the Cross. When He paid for our sins, (by breaking down, [defeating], the dividing barrier of Sin and Satan), He established the way of salvation for all of mankind. As such, He created a way for man to enter into a personal relationship with God; to enter into a peaceful harmony with God.
In fact there are three applications of “Peace” in these passages:
- The peace established between God and man, by Jesus paying for our sins.
- The peace established between Jews and Gentiles, as both groups are now one body in Christ.
- The peace we can have in the mentality of our souls, being a new creation, “one new man,” in Christ.
All peace is made available through the Cross; “blood” of Jesus Christ. Without the Cross, there is no true peace, Col 1:20; 2 Cor 5:16-21.
Col 1:20, “And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His Cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
In its deepest application, it means spiritual peace through restored relations of harmony with God, e.g., Isa 9:6-7, (Jesus as the Prince of Peace); 26:3; Luke 2:14; John 14:27; Acts 10:36; Rom 1:7; 5:1; Gal 5:22.
Isa 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
By analogy, the Levitical Peace Offering spoke to the peace that Jesus Christ would bring to God and Man through His Cross. There are several important analogies through typology that are seen in the Levitical Peace Offering related to what Christ would accomplish upon the Cross.
- It was a voluntary sacrifice, except on a few very special occasions. This represents both Christ’s voluntary sacrifice of Himself, plus our volitional responsibility to accept what Christ has accomplished for us. This voluntary sacrifice was done in Thanksgiving to God for all that He has provided.
- It was the third offering mandated by the Law. It followed the Burnt and Meal Offerings. The Burnt Offering spoke of God’s propitiation of the sacrifice and the Meal Offering spoke of the perfect sacrifice, i.e., the body of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Father was satisfied with the sacrifice of the body of His Son, Jesus Christ, and now we have “Peace” with God.
- An important part of the “Peace Offering” celebration was a “fellowship meal” where the worshiper, after offering certain parts to God and the allotment for the Levitical Priests, was to eat the remaining portions of the sacrificial animal with other family members, in the presence of God. Thus, some called this a “fellowship offering.” This was the only offering from which the worshiper could eat a portion of the sacrifice. It clearly speaks of our partaking of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, John 6:53-56 in the New Covenant of the Church, Luke 22:17-20.
- The Peace Offering was used to show the worshiper’s devotion and commitment to the Lord. Likewise, if we do not accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, we have no peace with God, or the Jews, or within the mentality of our souls.
- The Peace Offering also spoke of praise freely offered to God, that is, thanks and deep appreciation to the Lord for who He is, as well as the great things He had done for Israel. It expressed gratefulness for the well-being His blessings had provided. Thus, it was a means of rejoicing in the peace that comes from God and celebrating the wonderful fellowship with God He had graciously provided His people through His covenant.
- For this offering, any animal without defect from the herd or flock was used, as well as a variety of breads both unleavened and leavened. The spotless animal and unleavened bread spoke of Jesus as our Lord who was without spot or blemish, 1 Peter 1:19, a perfect sacrifice.
1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV), “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
The leavened cakes spoke of sinful man, as Jesus took on our sins so that we could have peace with God in sinless perfection.
- When offering the animal, the offeror was to place his hand on the head of the animal and then slay it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, Lev 3:2, 7, 12, which signified transfer of sin from the offeror to the animal, which is a picture of Christ taking on our sins and being sacrificed for us upon the Cross.
- Slaying the offering at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, speaks to the foot of the Cross and Christ’s sacrifice there upon that gives us entrance into our relationship with God, i.e., peace with God.
- The blood from this offering was “sprinkled” around the Brazen Altar, Lev 3:2, 8, 13, which spoke of its application of atonement to all the people.
- It was to be a “burnt offering,” Lev 3:5a, 11, 16, offered up in smoke as a “soothing aroma” to the Lord, Lev 3:5b, 16, which spoke of God’s propitiation with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- All of this directly correlates to the Communion Supper and the “love feasts” the early church would eat together, cf. 1 Cor 11; Jude 1:12, along with the communion to give thanks to God while fellowshipping with each other, Jew and Gentile together, and with the Father, signifying Peace!
In Lev 7:11-21, 29-34, there is further definition of what the Peace Offering entailed.
Lev 7:11-14, “Now this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings which shall be presented to the LORD. 12If he offers it by way of thanksgiving, then along with the sacrifice of thanksgiving he shall offer unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of well stirred fine flour mixed with oil. 13With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with cakes of leavened bread. 14And of this he shall present one of every offering as a contribution to the LORD; it shall belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the peace offerings.”
“Peace Offering,” ZEVACH SHELAMIN, זֶבַח שֶׁלֶם, consisted of the sacrifice of a bull, cow, lamb, or goat that had no defect, that spoke to the perfection of the body of Jesus Christ. And as noted above, with the burnt offering, the individual laid a hand on the animal and killed it. The priests, in turn, sprinkled the blood around the altar. Only certain parts of the internal organs were burned. The priest received the breast and the right thigh, Lev 7:28-36, but the offeror was given much of the meat to have a meal of celebration, Lev 7:11-21. As part of the sacrifice, various kinds of bread were offered, and ultimately kept by the priest. The idea of thanksgiving was associated with the peace offering. It often accompanied other sacrifices in celebration of events such as the dedication of the Temple, 1 Kings 8:63, or spiritual renewal, 2 Chron. 29:31-36.
There were three kinds of Peace Offerings that could be offered:
- Those confessing thanksgiving, vs. 12, (Celebrating Peace with God.)
- Vows, vs. 16, given after a prayer has been answered in which the person had promised this response. (Peace in One Body as promised by God.)
- Freewill offerings, vs. 16, purely a spontaneous expression of appreciation, love and joy toward the Lord. (Peace in the mentality of your soul.)
In regard to the number of things offered in the Peace Offering, the principle was and is that true worship always involves a cost. Believers should never receive from God without giving back to Him. God does not give so that believers can hoard their resources.
In addition, the fat of the offering given to God, represented the best a worshiper could offer, and the blood was accepted as a substitute for the worshiper’s life.
So as you can see, every aspect of the Peace Offerings, as well as the other Levitical Offerings, spoke volumes as to who and what God is, what Christ would do for us upon the Cross, how the Father was satisfied with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the application to our royal priesthood, and the application of Christ’s efficacious work towards all of mankind.
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.
To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to Lesson:
#’s 16-016 & 16-017