Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sacrifices To Be Offered At The Tabernacle

Leviticus 17:1-16

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying, What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people: To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD.  And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD.

And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring.  This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.  And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.” (Leviticus 17:1-9)

Any sacrificial animal was to be killed at the door of the tabernacle.  If they were killed anywhere else, the person killing them was to be considered guilty of shedding blood and cut off or isolated from his people.  The blood of those sacrifices was to be applied to the altar and poured out at the base of the altar, and it could not be properly applied if shed elsewhere.  In essence, they were depriving God of something that belonged to him.

Paul makes a similar point in his instructions about the communion service in I Corinthians 11:26-27.  “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”  He is guilty of not taking Christ’s sacrifice seriously.

He goes on to warn that the consequences of not taking it properly are the same in I Corinthians 11:29-31.  “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”  If churches and individuals will take responsibility for how they partake the Lord‘s Supper, they can escape God’s judgment.

Up to this time the people had offered sacrifices where ever they felt like it, because they had no specific place of worship.  The problem was that in the process, they began to adopt the worship practices of those around them, eventually drifting into the worship of other gods as well.  Unfortunately, every false religion is ultimately Satanic.   By requiring that every sacrifice be offered under the oversight of the priests, the influence of other religions could be minimized.

There was to be a rule forever among the Jews that anyone who offered a burnt offering or sacrifice anywhere but at the door of the tabernacle was to be isolated from the nation of Israel, whether they were a Jew or not.

 “And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.” (Leviticus 17:10-12)

God had chosen to use the blood as a means of making atonement for the person because the blood is literally the life of the organism.  Cells deprived of blood begin to die within seconds.  No one in Israel was to eat or drink any form of blood, to emphasize the importance before God.   When the question as to whether Christians had to keep the law arose, James said that it was not essential for Christians to follow the law, which was specifically for the Jews in Acts 15:19-21.  “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.  For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.”  Out of respect for the Jews, James recommended the Christians avoid eating blood, because like sexual sin and eating things offered to idols, it would destroy their testimony among the Jews.

“And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.  For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. “ (Leviticus 17:13-14)

It was not necessary that animals for food be killed under the priest’s supervision.  They could be killed and eaten wherever they were, but the blood still had to be drained out of the body and covered with dust.  Deuteronomy 12:13-16 summarizes the teaching.  “Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.  Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.  Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.”

It is my personal opinion that a similar effort to channel our worship and giving to the Lord through the local church will go a long way toward preventing the rise of cults and false religions.

“And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean. But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.” (Leviticus 17:15-16)

Modern traditional Jews will not eat meat that is not “kosher”, that has not been butchered and packed under the oversight of a Jewish Rabbi, not realizing how much different the modern standard is from what God gave.  Under the law, even an animal that had died of natural causes or had been killed by other animals could be eaten provided proper precautions to prevent the spread of disease were taken.  A person who refused to take those precautions was to be held accountable for the consequences.

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