The Peace Offering or
zebach is also called the "fellowship offering."
It is literally a "sacrifice of happiness."
It consisted of an ox,
lamb or goat, male or female. The priest sprinkled
the blood on the altar, while the liver, kidneys and
fat were burned on the altar. God claimed the
richest part of the animal. The priest was given the
breast and right thigh. The worshiper was to eat
what remained. It is the only sacrifice, which the
worshiper shared by eating a portion of the
The peace offering was
symbolic of the peace that already existed between
the worshiper and Yahweh because of the atonement.
Therefore, it was time to celebrate. It was never
offered to obtain peace, but as a celebration of its
existence. It is a picture of the fellowship between
God and the believing sinner based on the blood
sacrifices. This offering pictures the blessings and
powers which salvation has secured in the death of
Christ. It is a thanksgiving praise offering.
Christ is our peace. "Now
in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have
been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He
Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one
and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall"
(Ephesians 2:13-14). Sin has separated man from a
thrice holy God, and only the sacrifice of Christ on
the cross can reconcile us to God. It takes Christ's
atonement to remove the barrier. The blood of Jesus
Christ has brought us near who were far off because
of our sin and unbelief. The word for "peace" that
Paul uses is eiro and means to join together.
The blood of Jesus has brought together that which
was separated by sin and enmity. This peace is
dependent upon Christ alone.
We sinners are "justified
as a gift by His grace through the redemption which
is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a
propitiation in His blood through faith" (Romans
2:24-25). Each person who believes on Christ is
justified. He is declared righteous, not made
righteous. It is a judicial act whereby God
justifies those who believe on Christ as a free
gift. It is out of His grace, based upon Christ's
death, that God declares us righteous. God could not
declare anyone righteous without having a solid
basis for doing it. God can make that declaration
because of the propitiation in the blood of Jesus
Christ. In Hebrews 9:5 the word for propitiation is
used of the Mercy Seat, or the place of atonement on
top of the Ark of the Covenant. The penalty for our
sins has been paid in full by the death of Jesus. On
that basis, God can declare us justified. Therefore,
Christ is our peace. He has made peace for us
through His death. We can now celebrate with
thanksgiving for His bountiful blessing.
"For it was the Father’s
good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
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" (Colossians 1:19-20). In this full
statement of the Deity of Jesus Christ Paul says God
has reconciled people to Himself through Christ.
Christ was equal to the task because of His deity.
His blood satisfied the just demands of the law that
sinful man had broken. By His death our Lord Jesus
bound together again a holy God and sinful man. By
God's grace and reconciling power, our attitude
toward God has changed.
"Therefore if anyone is
in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things
passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all
these things are from God, who reconciled us to
Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of
reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ
reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their
trespasses against them, and He has committed to us
the word of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
God removed our enmity and changed our hearts. God
took the initiative to reconcile us to Himself. God
did not need to be reconciled. He is not the
problem. We sinners have the problem, and God
reached down through His son Jesus Christ to bring
us to Himself. He did this by turning away His own
holy wrath toward sin and making it possible for us
to come into His presence by means of the blood of
The apostle John opened
his first epistle telling us, "what we have seen and
heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may
have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship
is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ .
. . . if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in
the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and
the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin"
(1 John 1:3, 7).
A. T. Robertson observed,
"Walking in the light with God makes possible
fellowship with one another and is made possible
also by the blood of Jesus (real blood and no mere
phantom, atoning blood of the sinless Son of God for
our sins). John is not ashamed to use this word. It
is not the mere "example" of Jesus that "cleanses"
us from sin. It does cleanse the conscience and life
and nothing else does (Heb. 9:13; Tit. 2:14) (Word
Pictures, 1 John 1:7)."
"Therefore, having been
justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). Is this not
what the writer of Hebrews has in mind as he
concludes his book with these words? "Through Him
then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of
praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give
thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).
The person who has been
justified by faith in Jesus Christ breaks forth
spontaneously in praise to God. We enjoy fellowship
and peace with God and our fellowman because of the
peace that has been established through the perfect
sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. These peace
offerings were always preceded by the daily burnt
offering in the Tabernacle and Temple worship.
Therefore, it was a thanksgiving offering for
salvation completed. It was a time of joyful
celebration and thanksgiving for God's blessings of
What better way to close
than with one of Paul's doxologies?
Now may the God of peace
Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit
and soul and body be preserved complete, without
blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring
it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
3:1-17 Peace Offerings
Christ in the Old Testament