Different kinds of Peace?

Q. Is the peace mentioned in the following verses the same peace: Lk 2:14; 12:49-53; Rom 1:7?

A. First, let’s look at the passages:
Lk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
• Lk 12:49-53 I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
• Rom 1:7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In all 3 the word “peace” translates the Greek noun “eirene“, which occurs 92 times in the NT and carries a range of meanings. Quoting from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words, eirene could mean:
1. Harmonious relationships between men;
2. Between nations;
3. Friendliness;
4. Freedom from molestation;
5. Order in the State;
6. The harmonized relationships between God and man, accomplished through the gospel;
7. The sense of rest & contentment.

Which shade of meaning is meant depends on the verse’s context. My sense of the meaning in the 3 verses is as follows:
• Lk 2:14 – (6) as this is peace among men with whom God is pleased, because of the arrival of the Savior announced in Lk 2:11;
• Lk 12:51 – (1); peace between individuals i.e. harmony, concord, as the context speaks of division with family members against each other;
• Rom 1:7 – (6); the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, & so fearing nothing from God & content with its earthly lot.
Hope this helps.

The Offerings in Leviticus (2 of 2)

Leviticus offerings 2


4. Sin Offering
Lev 4:2-3 Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them, if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.
• Lev 4:20 He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.

This is to atone for unintentional sins committed unknowingly, where restitution is not possible, not for willful defiance against God. It is also for cleansing from ceremonial uncleanness.

5. Guilt Offering
Lev 5:6 He shall also bring his guilt offering to the LORD for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin.
• Lev 5:15-16 If a person acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against the LORD’S holy things, then he shall bring his guilt offering to the LORD: a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation in silver by shekels, in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.

This is also for unintentional sins committed unknowingly, but makes restitution by repaying the damage plus a payment for compensation.

Scholars further distinguish which are voluntary (1 to 3) versus mandatory (4 and 5), and which are sweet aroma (1 to 3) versus non-sweet aroma (4 and 5). They also examine what is the Lord’s portion, the priest’s portion, and the offerer’s portion. Furthermore, each offering is a “type” of Christ representing aspects of His character and/or ministry, which we will reserve for another time.

The Offerings in Leviticus (1 of 2)

Levitical offerings 1

Q. What is the significance of the bread, grain and drink offerings in Leviticus?

A. The Levitical offerings are usually discussed in relation to their function, not the ingredients used. There are five offerings as follows:

1. Burnt Offering
Lev 1:3-4 If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.

This is the most basic offering in which the whole animal (except the skin) is burned on the altar and offered to God. No portion is to be eaten by the worshipper. It signifies atonement on behalf of the sinner so that he may be accepted before the Lord, and complete surrender to God.

2. Grain Offering
Lev 2:1 Now when anyone presents a grain offering as an offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it.
• Lev 2:11 ‘No grain offering, which you bring to the LORD, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the LORD
• Lev 2:13 Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

This is the only offering without the shedding of blood, a “living” sacrifice. It is a gift to God from the best of the worshipper’s fruit of the land, in thanksgiving to his acceptance before God. The oil is emblematic of the Holy Spirit, the frankincense of prayer, no leaven representing no evil, and salt symbolic of an enduring covenant.

3. Peace Offering
Lev 3:1 Now if his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, if he is going to offer out of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without defect before the LORD.
• Lev 7:15 Now as for the flesh of the sacrifice of his thanksgiving peace offerings, it shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.

This is the only offering in which the offerer shared in the meat of the sacrifice, and signifies the fellowship between God and men. There are three types of peace offerings:
Thanksgiving offering – gratitude for blessing without asking
o Lev 7:12 If 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.
Votive or freewill offering – gratitude for blessing granted in response to a vow, or freewill without regard to any specific blessing
o Lev 7:16 But if the sacrifice of his offering is a votive or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what is left of it may be eaten;
Wave offering – priest’s portion of the peace offering
o Lev 7:30 His own hands are to bring offerings by fire to the LORD. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be presented as a wave offering before the LORD.

(To be continued)

God’s Will (3 of 3)

God's will 14

(Continued from yesterday)

So far we’ve talked about God’s will in general, for all people. What about His will for you and me in particular? How can we find out? I can think of 8-10 ways, but will limit myself to the most important five.

The first one is prayer. If I don’t know what you want, the best way to find out is to ask you. Similarly, if I don’t know God’s will in a particular issue, the best is to ask God directly in prayer.

Jas 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Obviously, if our relationship is not good, you would not tell me. Similarly, if you want to know God’s will, you need to be in a good relationship with God.

Php 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
• 1 Thes 5:17 pray without ceasing

Do you pray about everything, or only those big things you can’t handle yourself? How often do you pray? Without ceasing?

Secondly, through Scripture. How would God answer your prayer? Often through His word – the Bible.

Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

God would bring up verses you’ve read or studied before to guide you what route to take. But how can God bring verses up to memory if you’ve never studied the Bible? Often believers don’t know God’s will because they don’t know the Bible. Some Christians read 3 chapters a day and read through the entire Bible in about a year. That’s not bad but you don’t retain too much that way. A better approach is to read 7 chapters a day, but repeat it for the week. This way you remember not only what each chapter said, but also the flow. The Holy Spirit would remind you from what you put into your mind and heart which is the right way. Saturate yourself with God’s word, and you’ll never go wrong.

Thirdly, through godly counsel:

Prov 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
• Prov 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.

God leads us through the counsel of wise, trustworthy people. Usually they are older, more mature, and have nothing to gain or lose from our decision. Often they are not in our immediate family or our best friends. This way they are not motivated by selfish reasons, or emotionally attached. Often they want to think and pray about it before offering any advice.

Fourthly, God accomplishes His will through circumstances.

Php 1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel

Paul did not ask for his imprisonment, but through it all the guards heard about Christ, and encouraged others to testify without fear. So both favorable and unfavorable circumstances can be used to achieve God’s will.

A fifth principle is that God leads us into His will by giving us an inner assurance of peace.

Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When deciding between two or more alternatives that you have been praying about, sometimes one of the options will give you a greater peace. Often that option is God’s will.

Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

God made known some of His will for us. He desires for us to be saved, sanctified, sorrowful when we fail, willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, and thankful in everything. We can find out His will through prayer, studying the Bible, listening to godly counsel, discerning our circumstances, and following the peace that God gives.

Let me close by giving you this challenge:

Start small – you may think what can I do? Our small effort doesn’t matter. But it does! Start by finding out how God can use you to help others.
• Start here – wherever you are, whether in Canada, or China, start right there. God will lead you step by step. It is easy to steer a moving car.
Start now – don’t wait till you’re established in your career, or after you start your family. Don’t procrastinate. Start now.

Ask God to help you. He will.