HANDELING HOLIENESS

 

The Law of Moses continues.  The priest himself must even be free of physical defects as he handles the show bread in the temple. 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.  For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;  No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.  He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy.  Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them.  And Moses told it unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children ofIsrael.  Leviticus 21:16-24

Injuries, disease, or birth defects prevented a man from being the priest.  There was the power of God behind these rules in that time.  The people had the fresh memory of the pillar of fire and smoke that was with them in theRed Sea. 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the LORD.  Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the LORD.  What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath a running issue; he shall not eat of the holy things, until he be clean. And whoso toucheth any thing that is unclean by the dead, or a man whose seed goeth from him;  Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath;  The soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water.  And when the sun is down, he shall be clean, and shall afterward eat of the holy things; because it is his food.  Leviticus 22:1-7

The offering is for the sins or the people, but it is also a provision for the priest himself.  It is his food.  Similarly the preacher today receives the offering as a righteous man because it is his wages.  The people obtain their blessing from their giving, and the preacher must be worthy of this offering.  What he contaminates will also contaminate him.

When Jesus sent his disciples to preach, he expected the people to provide for them too.

Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. Matthew 10:9-10

He considered it reasonable for the people to support the teachers who fed them the spiritual bread of life.  He didn’t expect them to have to beg, as they worked for their hire.  It was not to be a substandard pay either.

That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself therewith; I am the LORD.  They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the LORD do sanctify them.  Leviticus 22:8-9

If the people bring an offering that is defective, they condemn the priest.  If he knowingly eats an infected offering it is food poisoning to his life.  This is only for the priest and his household.

There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.  But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat.  If the priest’s daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things.  But if the priest’s daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s meat: but there shall be no stranger eat thereof.  Leviticus 22:10-13

What is set aside for the preacher is not for the congregation to take.  The priest’s servants, staff, and family were eligible for the blessing though.  Even children who have to return to live with their parents could partake. 

And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly, then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it, and shall give it unto the priest with the holy thing.  And they shall not profane the holy things of the children ofIsrael, which they offer unto the LORD; Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I the LORD do sanctify them.  Leviticus 22:14-16

If one accidentally ate the show bread he could make restitution with a 20% interest fee added.  But it was forbidden to do so knowingly.  This would confound the scribes in the time of Jesus as he pointed out how David ate of the show bread when he was fleeing from his enemies. 

But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?  Matthew 12:3-4

We will hear more about that in future chapters!

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering; Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.  But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.  And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.  Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD.  Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted.  Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.  Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you.  Leviticus 22:17-25

 Now this is a free will offering.  This is beyond what is the required minimum offering, a voluntary gift to the Lord.  But it still should be perfect, without a flaw or disease.  It could not be offered by a foreigner or stranger either. 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the LORD.  And whether it be cow, or ewe, ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day.  And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.  On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the LORD.  Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD.  Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 22:26-33

These final ordinances are given with the admonition not to profane the name of The Lord.  He is to be honored by the people of faith.  His name is to be spoken highly of in word and deed.  Our actions must be as obedient as our promises.  Our footsteps must be found in the path that his words have mapped out for us.  This is still enforced in the New Testament.

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.  Acts 5:1-6

Our offerings are a test of faith.  Will we see proof that God will give us a good life?  We need to believe his promises to act on them by giving the offerings.  Anything less is to steal from God.

Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.  And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.  Malachi 3:7-12

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