BIBLE STUDY SERIES #242, 243 and 244

7 July, 1996

SACRIFICIAL PARTICULARS - PART VI

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our ongoing series of Bible Studies is taking up a sequence of Scripture passages each week. We began several years ago, essentially with God's Call to Abram in Genesis 12, and in a steady progression we are advancing down the generations of Abraham's progeny. We have of late arrived at Mount Sinai, and we have been reading from the third Book of the Bible, Leviticus.

On our last programme, I took time to make a short review of the Sacrificial rituals which we have been studying, based mainly upon the thoughts and comments of Keil and Delitzsch and I stated that I would conclude that review with a useful summary comment from that source this week. Keil and Delitzsch explain that the Peace-offerings were intended for a liturgical meal. They state that: "By placing his hand upon the head of the animal, which had been brought to the altar of Jehovah for the purpose, the offerer signified that with this gift, which served to nourish and strengthen his own life, he gave up the substance of his life to the Lord, that he might thereby be strengthened both body and soul for a holy walk and conversation. To this end he slaughtered the victim and had the blood sprinkled by the priest against the altar, and the fat portions burned upon it, that in these altar-gifts his soul and his inner man might be grounded afresh in the gracious fellowship of the Lord. He then handed over the breast-piece by the process of waving, also the right leg, and a sacrificial cake of each kind, as a heave-offering from the whole to the Lord, who transferrred these portions to the priests as His servants, that they might take part as His representatives in the sacrificial meal. In consequence of this participation of the priests, the feast, which the offerer of the sacrifice prepared for himself and his family from the rest of the flesh, became a holy covenant meal, a meal of love and joy, which represented domestic fellowship with the Lord, and thus shadowed forth, on the one hand, rejoicing before the Lord..., and on the other, the blessedness of eating and drinking in the kingdom of God... . Through the fact that one portion was given up to the Lord, the earthly food was sanctified as a symbol of the true spiritual food, with which the Lord satisfies and refreshes the citizens of His kingdom." They comment, in effect, that the details of the scriptural instructions are thus explained.

The carefully detailed Old Testament instructions which have of late formed our studies are instructive, for here we find the meaning-filled aspects of relationship between God and His people which have application through all time. These Old Testament laws regarding sacrifice were designed as a teacher to point us toward the culminating sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.

Today we pick up the Word of God at Leviticus 7:28. Let us study a portion for today's meditation. I shall, as is my usual custom, introduce comments as we read.

I might comment just as we begin to hear this present passage that on a number of occasions the Scriptures contain the words "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying..." which we see at verse 28, and the sense is that the passage which follows was given to Moses on a different occasion from that which was recorded above it on the page. The Companion Bible notes that there are 35 such passages wherein Jehovah "spake" at sundry times, and in ten "diverse manners."

28. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
29. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the LORD shall bring his oblation unto the LORD of the sacrifice of his peace offerings.

The peace offering, as I have explained on previous broadcasts, was different from the burnt offering, the sin offering and the trespass offering in that those other offerings were designed to signify the blood-covering of sin so that it would not be "seen" by The LORD. Burnt offerings were offered when one sought a renewal of complete consecration and dedication; the sin offering was made when one wished to receive atonement for sins committed in a state of ignorance or error, and trespass offerings were made when one sought atonement for sins which would require some form of restitution to God and one's neighbour prior to the actual sacrifice itself.

The peace offering, by contrast, is, as pointed out by The New Bible Commentary, the only one of the sacrifices... of which the offerer is permitted to partake. Consequently, in this case, "the Lord's portion, the priest's portion, and the offerer's portion are carefully distinguished. The Lord's portion is the fat, which is burned on the altar (22-25). The priest's portion (30-34) consists of the wave-breast and the heave-thigh (whether fore-leg or hind leg is meant is not certain). The manipulation, waving and heaving, apparently signified that the offerer gave these portions to God through His priest, whose portion they thus became. All the rest of the flesh becomes the portion of the offerer, but with certain restrictions. If the offering is a vow or a free-will offering, any remainder may be eaten on the second day (16). But if it is for thanksgiving, it can be eaten only on the day of sacrifice (15). What is not eaten is to be burned. One object of this requirement was clearly to encourage a generous and hospitable spirit, the inviting of friends or neighbours, especially the poor and needy, to share in this joyful occasion (Dt. xii. 12)."

30. His own hands shall bring the offerings of the LORD made by fire, the fat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the LORD.
31. And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'.
32. And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings.
33. He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part.
34. For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel.
35. This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the LORD in the priest's office;
36. Which the LORD commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them, by a statute for ever throughout their generations.

There follows, in two concluding verses, a summary statement of the preceding chapters, of which we have examined one portion today. The Companion Bible notes of "the law" in the next two verses that verses 37 and 38 sum up chapters 1 to 8 of the Book of Leviticus. They say:

37. This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings;
38. Which the LORD commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai.

Here, we see that the officiating priests are to receive certain parts of the sacrifice offerings as their portion for the duties which they were required to carry out on behalf of the people.

I might point out that the other twelve tribes were to pay a tithe to the Levitical tribe, which was the tribe assigned the tasks which might be termed those of the civil service, while the Levites were, in turn, to pay a tithe of that which they received to the Aaronic priesthood to conduct the religious observances for the nation. In that connection I might quote a portion of the item "Tithes" found in the New Bible Dictionary. It states "(The tithes) were to be given to the Levites (Nu. xviii. 21ff.). But in Heb. vii. 5 it is said to be the sons of Levi 'who receive the office of the priesthood' who are to be the recipients of the tithes. This departure from the Law may have been due to the Levites' unwillingness to fulfil their duties in Jerusalem after the return under Ezra (Ezr. viii. 15ff.). The Levites, because of the nature of their status and functions in the community, had no means of income, livelihood, or inheritance to insure their support; therefore, and in return 'for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle', they were to receive 'all the tenth in Israel' (Nu. xviii. 21, 24). This passage in Nu. xviii mentions only the tithing of cereal and fruit crops (verse 27). The Levites, however, were not allowed to keep the whole of the tenth. They were directed to 'offer up an heave offering' which was to be taken out of the tenth, which represented 'a tenth part of the tithe' (Nu. xviii. 26). This 'tithe of the tithe' was to be 'of all the best thereof' (verse 29) and was to be given to the priests (verse 28; Ne. x. 39).

In Israel, in Moses' day, there was no such thing as "separation of church and state", for the worshipping nation was the church. We might also consider that the Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred nations today, are those peoples whom we, of the British-Israel-World Federation designate as the descendants of those very same Israelites of that Sinai scene so long ago!

In our next study, Leviticus 8, we will find instructions regarding the manner in which Aaron and his sons were to be consecrated.

May I leave with you for now the vision of the altar and the fire at the door of the tabernacle so long ago, and the centuries wherein an altar fire received sacrifices at the temple which served as the national religious focus of Israel. During all those years, as they passed, people were carrying out a ritual which would build towards the day when Jesus Christ was offered, outside the gate, on the Cross to bleed the atonement blood for all time, to offer Redemption to His people and Salvation to whosoever will. In John 15:13, Christ said "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

14 July, 1996

SACRIFICE AND AARONIC DEDICATION

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our ongoing series of Bible Studies has led down the centuries from the Call of Abram to the gathering of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses has received the instructions regarding the construction of The Tabernacle, and the preparation of the service of the Priesthood within the nation. As we had just arrived at the end of Leviticus 7, I think that, before we examine the next chapter, I might read a few concluding words of Keil and Delitzsch with regard to the final verses of Leviticus 7. They comment thus:

"The sacrificial law, therefore, with the five species of sacrifices which it enjoins, embraces every aspect in which Israel was to manifest its true relation to the Lord its God. Whilst the sanctification of the whole man in self-surrender to the Lord was shadowed forth in the burnt-offerings, the fruits of this sanctification in the meat offerings, and the blessedness of the possession and enjoyment of saving grace in the peace-offerings, the expiatory sacrifices furnished the means of removing the barrier which sins and trespasses had set up between the sinner and the holy God, and procured the forgiveness of sin and guilt, so that the sinner could attain once more to the unrestricted enjoyment of the covenant grace. For provided-only that the people of God drew near to their God with sacrificial gifts, in obedience to His commandments and in firm reliance upon His word, which had connected the forgiveness of sin, strength for sanctification, and the peace of fellowship with Him, with these manifestations of their piety, the offerers would receive in truth the blessings promised them by the Lord. Nevertheless these sacrifices could not make those who drew near to God with them and in them 'perfect as pertaining to the conscience' (Heb. ix. 9, x. 1), because the blood of bulls and of goats could not possibly take away sin. (Heb. x. 4). The forgiveness of sin which the atoning sacrifices procured, was only a paresis of past sins through the forbearance of God (Rom. iii. 25, 26), in anticipation of the true sacrifice of Christ, of which the animal sacrifices were only a type, and by which the justice of God is satisfied, and the way opened for the full forgiveness of sin and complete reconciliation with God."

The word "paresis", which Keil and Delitzsch use in that sentence, is a Greek word which Vine's Expository Dictionary connects to the concept of "a passing by of debt or sin." It is a matter of forbearance. Continuing with their Commentary

"So also the sanctification and fellowship set forth by the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, were simply a sanctification of the fellowship already established by the covenant of the law between Israel and its covenant God, which pointed forward to the true sanctification and blessedness that grow out of the righteousness of faith, and expand through the operation of the Holy Spirit into the true righteousness and blessedness of the divine peace of reconciliation. The effect of the sacrifices was in harmony with the nature of the old covenant. The fellowship with God, established by this covenant, was simply a faint copy of that true and living fellowship with God, which consists in God's dwelling in our hearts through His Spirit, transforming our spirit, soul, and body more and more into His own image and His divine nature, and making us partakers of the glory and blessedness of His divine life. However intimately the infinite and holy God connected Himself with His people in the earthly sanctuary of the tabernacle and the altar of burnt-offering, yet so long as this sanctuary stood, the God who was enthroned in the most holy place was separated by the veil from His people, who could only appear before Him in the fore-court, as a proof that the sin which separates unholy man from the holy God had not yet been taken out of the way. Just as the old covenant generally was not intended to secure redemption from sin, but the law was designed to produce the knowledge of sin; so the desire for reconciliation with God was not to be truly satisfied by its sacrificial ordinances, but a desire was to be awakened for that true sacrifice which cleanses from all sins, and the way to be prepared for the appearing of the Son of God, who would exalt the shadows of the Mosaic sacrifices into a substantial reality by giving up His own life as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and thus through the one offering of His own holy body would perfect all the manifold sacrifices of the Old Testament economy."

Here the word propitiation means, according to the New Bible Dictionary, "the removal of wrath by the offering of a gift" and the explanation adds "Pardon is not something wrung from an unwilling deity. It is the gracious gift of a God who is eager to forgive. ... The averting of the wrath of God is not something which men bring about. It is due to none less than God Himself. It is He who 'turneth his anger away'."

We have now reached Leviticus 8, and today we are following the account written under inspiration by Moses concerning the dedication of the Israelitish Priesthood. We might wonder why, after the description of the Tabernacle and its erection occurred in the Book of Exodus, along with the descriptions of priestly garments, the consecration of the priesthood did not immediately follow in that account. However, by way of introduction, The New Bible Commentary notes "since the chief function of the priests is to offer sacrifice and also because the offering of sacrifice on their behalf formed an indispensable part of their own consecration, the manual of sacrifice given in Lv. i-vii is very properly made to precede this important section." We shall be reading the first portion of Leviticus Chapter 8 today, and as we read, I shall occasionally insert explanatory comments. The Companion Bible links Leviticus Chapters 8, 9 and 10 by assigning one-word descriptions to each of these chapters. To 8 is applied the word "Consecration", to 9, "Ministration", and to 10, "Transgression."

Keil and Delitzsch introduce these three chapters in the words "To the law of sacrifice there is appended first of all an account of the fulfilment of the divine command to sanctify Aaron and his sons as priests, which Moses had received upon the mount along with the laws concerning the erection of the sanctuary of the tabernacle... This command could not properly be carried out till after the appointment and regulation of the institution of sacrifice, because most of the laws of sacrifice had some bearing upon this act. The sanctification of the persons, whom God had called to be His priests, consisted in a solemn consecration of these persons to their office by investiture, anointing, and sacrifice (chap. viii), -their solemn entrance upon their office by sacrifices for themselves and the people (chap. ix), -the sanctification of their priesthood by the judgment of God upon the eldest sons of Aaron, when about to offer strange fire, -and certain instructions, occasioned by this occurrence, concerning the conduct of the priests in the performance of their service (chap. x.)."

We shall not have time today to conclude the whole chapter but we can make a beginning. Leviticus 8:1-6 states:

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;
3. And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
4. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
5. And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done.
6. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.

Keil and Delitzsch are careful to distinguish the particulars of the unleavened bread as "unleavened bread" which was round flat bread-cakes, "unleavened oil-cakes", and "unleavened flat cakes covered with oil." This was to be a public, indeed a national event. The whole congregation was to assemble to observe and witness the proceedings. Keil and Delitzsch explain these words by stating "that is to say, the nation in the persons of its elders." They note "The congregation had been summoned to perform this act, because Aaron and his sons were to be consecrated as priests for them, as standing mediators between them and the Lord."

In Exodus 28 and 29 we read the instructions which Moses is here about to carry out and to which he makes reference in the descriptive words "the thing which the LORD commanded to be done." As the New Bible Commentary notes, the same words or their equivalent appear like a refrain fifteen times marking these Levitical chapters as the closely connected conclusion of those foregoing Exodus chapters.

Aaron and his sons were first washed with water. Of this, Keil and Delitzsch explain "i.e. directed them to wash themselves, no doubt all over, and not merely their hands and feet. This cleansing from bodily uncleanness was a symbol of the putting away of the filth of sin; the washing of the body, therefore, was a symbol of spiritual cleansing, without which no one could draw near to God, and least of all those who were to perform the duties of reconciliation."

As we close, may I leave with you this meditation. Many, today, who follow Christ are Anglo-Celto-Saxon descendants of the very same Israelitish tribes who gathered before Moses at Mount Sinai, to witness these inaugural symbolic ceremonies inducting God's Priesthood into office. We are to be a "kingdom of priests and an holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). We ought, therefore, to give our personal attention to the sequence which applied to Aaron and his sons, for there is symbolism here to guide our own thoughts in our personal dedication to Our Lord.

21 July, 1996

PRIESTLY CONSECRATION

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

We have been following a sequence of Bible Studies which, beginning with God's Call to Abram in Genesis 12, has led us down the generations and through the Book of Exodus, and now the first part of Leviticus, to the foot of Mount Sinai where Moses is performing the dedication of the Priesthood in accordance with the instructions of Yahweh, (Jehovah), The Mighty God. Last week, at the beginning of Leviticus 8, we were observing the carrying forward of God's instructions in this regard. I shall review the first few verses of Leviticus 8 to "set the stage" for today's study.

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;
3. And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
4. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
5. And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done.
6. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.

We had spoken of the significance of that washing as being the symbol for the putting away of the filth of sin before approaching to the place which God had appointed for the meeting with His people. I think that the rest of the chapter had better be read now, before some summary comments are offered thereon.

7. And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.
8. And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
9. And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.
10. And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them.
11. And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them.
12. And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
13. And Moses brought Aaron's sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the LORD commanded Moses.
14. And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.
15. And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.
16. And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.
17. But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, and his dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the LORD commanded Moses.
18. And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
19. And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
20. And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head, and the pieces, and the fat.
21. And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.
22. And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
23. And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.
24. And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
25. And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:
26. And out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before the LORD, he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder:
27. And he put all upon Aaron's hands, and upon his sons' hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the LORD.
28. And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt offering: they were consecrations for a sweet savour: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
29. And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the LORD: for of the ram of consecration it was Moses' part; as the LORD commanded Moses.
30. And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons' garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him.
31. And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and there eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it.
32. And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire.
33. And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you.
34. As he hath done this day, so the LORD hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you.
35. Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.
36. So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

As The New Bible Commentary points out, "The unique position of Moses... who was over the whole 'house of God' as a servant... is made clear. Thus Moses offers Aaron's sin offering... and the wave breast of the offering of consecration, which would normally have been the portion of the officiating priest, becomes Moses' portion... . The ritual of consecration to the priesthood and investiture with office was elaborate and impressive; and it was performed in the presence of 'all the congregation at the door of the tent of meeting' (3, RV). Note the solemn introduction 'This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done (5). Aaron and his sons were first washed with water, and Aaron was then arrayed in his holy garments (6-9...) Then Moses anointed the tabernacle, the altar, and all its vessels, including the laver (10, 11). After that he poured oil on Aaron's head (12...). The purpose was sanctification and consecration. Having clothed Aaron's sons (13), he proceeded to offer a sin offering (14-17), a burnt offering (18-21) and a consecration offering (22-29). The latter is the only one not mentioned in the manual. The Heb. term is millu'im, lit. 'fillings', because 'to fill the hand(s)' is the technical term for invest with office. It resembled the peace offering in that the ones for whom it was offered were permitted to partake of the flesh (31). But in this case the special portion of the priest, the wave-breast and heave-thigh, could not be eaten by Aaron and his sons, because the offering was made on their behalf by Moses. So the former was assigned to Moses as his portion (29), since he acted as priest, and the latter was burned on the altar (25, 28, RV). Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the sacrificial animal in the case of all of these offerings as a sign that they were offered on their behalf. But it is significant that the blood of the sin offering was used to cleanse and sanctify the altar at which the priests were to minister. The placing of the blood of consecration on ear, thumb and toe (23, 24) the sprinkling of oil mingled with sacrificial blood on Aaron and his sons (30) and the poring of oil on Aaron's head (12), symbolized the consecration and sanctification in varying degree to holy office and use. Aaron and his sons were not to go out from the door of the tent of meeting during the seven days of their consecrating, and the same sacrifices were to be repeated on each of the seven days (33, 34, RV). Consequently an exception was made to the rule regarding the eating of the peace offerings which could be eaten on the day after they were offered (vii. 15-18). These were to be eaten the same day. During these seven days Moses performed the same sacrifices on each day (34), and Aaron and his sons remained in the court of the tabernacle."

We shall have to leave further comments for our next programme. May I once again leave with you the thought that we are here seeing a visual teaching aid pointing forward to great truths regarding the sacrificial gift of The Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, and the necessary response thereto by those who would be numbered among the people of God.

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