Archive for category Priests
The rules for the priest’s behavior, marriage, family, and wellness seem to contain the same level of detail that God required in the sacrifices and offerings. I wonder if this higher standard for the priests corresponds to the higher standard God had for teachers in the New Testament as James states in chapter 3. Both of these concepts seem to apply the idea that to whom more is given more is required.
The year of Jubilee would be an awesome concept for any nation to follow. If one’s parents or grandparents lost the family estate, they wouldn’t ruin the family forever. It appears to foreshadow the liberty and inheritance that one receives in Christ. But, I wonder if Israel ever practiced this wonderful command from God. I don’t know of any examples of this occurring in scriptures or history.
I didn’t remember the verses in Lev 25:23-24 that say the land is God’s and that Israel were but aliens and tenants in the land. That is why they couldn’t sell the land, it didn’t belong to them but God. This also appears to be foreshadowing the kingdom of God, where he will prepare a place for us to dwell.
I find it hard to read through all the laws about sacrifices and offerings, I’m guessing many of you feel the same.
However, what I do is look for little things that stand out to me. What struck me today as I read through the peace offerings and freewill offerings, was the fellowship between the person offering them, the priests and God. Each had their share of the offering, some would be offered on the altar for God some would be eaten by the priests and some would be eaten by the one making the offering.
This is a short reading about the second census God required of Israel. Much of it may seem uninteresting with lists of names and numbers, but what I find really fascinating is the total numbers are essentially the same for Israel and Levi after a generation has died in the desert. It is almost like everything was put on hold for 40 years until another generation, who would be more faithful could enter the Promised land under roughly the same circumstances, i.e. the same size army and same size Priesthood. There is even more evidence for that later when Joshua will have to have all the males of this generation circumcised at Gilgal because Israel was not doing it during their wanderings.
Two exceptions are mentioned from the previous generation that will enter the land, Caleb and Joshua, the two spies who urged Israel to enter Canaan as God commanded. Joshua will become the Next leader of Israel succeeding Moses. He will lead them in battle against the Canaanites conquering all the armies of the land and bringing Israel into the Promised land. Caleb who will conquer the city of Hebron, later to be David’s capital city during his first 7 years ruling over Judah.
Israel demonstrated their fear of men and dying, but they did not have a proper fear of God. They worried more about what might happen to their flesh rather than what God could do to their spirit. So they grumbled and complained when they were hungry and afraid, but did not respect the awesome power of God enough to honor Him and do what He commanded.
In this section of Numbers, 3 men along with 250 leaders of Israel oppose Moses’ and Aaron’s authority. They claim Moses and Aaron have taken their positions by their own power. However they were opposing God, not men. God demonstrates this to the nation by opening the earth to swallow up the households of the three men who lead the opposition and burning up the 250 men who followed them.
After witnessing the destruction of the rebellious men, what does the rest of the nation do? Why naturally they rebel themselves (sarcasm). This episode demonstrates, more than just about any other, the rebellious character of the adult Israelites who came out of Egypt. But even with Israel opposing Moses and Aaron, they made incense offerings to save the people. Finally, after 14,700 people died, the people finally realize they will die if they approach the Tabernacle of God and are willing to submit to the ministry of the priests.
How often have we rebelled against the commands of God yet we were not destroyed as we deserved, but instead we received grace because of the love of God and the offering of Jesus.
Israel has been out of Egypt for a year at the 2nd passover, but it is really the first memorial of the actual event when God passed over Israel’s houses when destroying the firstborn in Egypt. It is also the night when Israel left Egypt. They have been living in the desert for a year now. They have built the Tabernacle, appointed the priests and now God will count Israel and organize them around the Tent of Meeting.
Ephraim and Manasseh are counted as separate tribes, though it is mentioned they are sons of Joseph. However remember that Jacob asked Joseph to give him the two boys, so they become two tribes in Israel. Yet there continues to be 12 tribes of Israel. How? Well, if you notice Levi is not counted among the 12 tribes, God has separated them to himself that they might be his ministers to serve the rest of the people. Likewise, Christians are separated to God to serve the rest of mankind, which is why they are referred to as priests in the New Testament.
This reading starts with God choosing the tribe of Levi to serve Aaron and his sons, the priests. God says that he took the Levites to replace the firstborn males of Israel, which God had already declared that the firstborn are God’s. The idea that the firstborn are God’s is brought into the New Testament in a number of places, I believe it is an image of the church that is redeemed by the blood of Christ.
I wonder why God chose Levi instead of the firstborn to be the ministers for the nation?
- Is it because Moses and Aaron were Levites?
- Is it because the Levites rallied to Moses for God’s sake in the golden calf incident? Of course, it was a Levite and priest (Aaron) who made the idol.
- Is it because the number of Levites is roughly the same as the number of firstborn? or because they were small enough to be supported by the offerings of Israel?
- Is it for all these reasons?
- Of course in the end the why isn’t as important as the what. God chose them to serve him.
Did you notice that the Levites could only work from age 25-50 in the Tabernacle? I assume that before age 25 they would be training in the service and after 50 they would be the teachers and trainers for others to serve. I’m guessing this was part of the work of assisting the workers, but it makes sense to me and I believe we see this as a pretty normal pattern for all kinds of work forces throughout the world.
Not long after the priests, Aaron and his sons, were appointed to serve the Tabernacle Nadab & Abihu were killed by fire from the LORD. They put fire in their censors that was different from what God had commanded, the literal meaning of the Hebrew word is that it was common. It is sometimes speculated that Nadab and Abihu were drunk when they did this because of the command God gives just after this incident to Aaron and his other sons. God commanded just after this that the priests were not to drink any alcohol when they go into the Tabernacle.
Because Aaron was the High Priest and serving the Tabernacle he was not allowed to mourn by tearing his clothes or any other outward sign of grief. How difficult it must have been for Aaron to go on living as if nothing happened. Especially when you remember that God did not deliver such a harsh punishment when Aaron made a golden calf for Israel to worship and lied about how it was created.