Tag Archives: Leviticus

Morning Thoughts (Leviticus 17:11)

Leviticus 17:11, "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."

This morning, much ado is made about the state of man and how to fix different problems that he has.  In the realm of politics, people on different sides of the aisle have various and sundry ideas about how to fix problems from financial to social to international relations.  In the realm of family units, people of all stripes have differing opinions on the idea of correcting children to managing a cohesive and nurturing family environment.  In the realm of religion and spirituality, many different denominational bodies have all kinds of ideas about what the Bible means about how to help people in this world and solve many of the problems that leave people with aching and sorrowing souls.  However, in one realm particularly, there should be absolutely no qualms – though there are – about the solution to a certain problem that plagues this old world.  That realm is the subject of solving the problem of man's blackness and depravity to have reconciliation between God and men.

Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to do what I do every 56 days.  For years, I have tried to regularly and consistently give blood donations to the groups that keep blood funds to help those in need.  As I was in the chair, this verse came to mind and caused me to reflect some on the importance of blood from a natural and spiritual perspective.  Naturally speaking, the hope when you give blood is that someone's life can be benefited or spared by gaining access to the blood that is donated.  As a regular donor, my hope is that my blood has helped someone in a dire need or situation.  Still though, my blood can only do so much, and it can only help specific individuals.

Blood types are an interesting study.  My particular type is O positive which is termed the "universal donor."  In other words, though it best matches with someone that also has O positive blood, it can be used in a pinch to help people of all different blood types whether they are A, B, AB, etc.  On the other hand, my blood cannot help a nonhuman life form such as a dog, cat, etc.  So, even in the natural realm, we see that all blood is not equal, nor is all blood compatible.  However, natural blood can be used to help specific people in the preservation of natural life.  As our study verse says, the life is in the blood, and blood donations can help sustain life in that way.

Carrying these natural principles to the spiritual realm, let us consider how they "map over" from one plane to the other.  The Lord declared that not only is the life in the blood but blood is also the form of "currency" to use in the matter of atonement.  Therefore, when considering what God would require to atone for sins, blood is the only suitable form of currency to make that payment.  Payment is required for atonement since God has been offended by sin and the disgusting nature of man's depravity.  When considering all the "solutions" that people posit to "get man right with God," it is always amazing to me how counterfeits are substituted for the only suitable currency payment.

Consider all the ways in which man has been told he can do this or do that to earn God's favor and blessing to enter heaven's pure world.  How many of them require blood?  Unless I am mistaken, the overwhelming majority of ideas are bloodless solutions.  Whether the answer given is baptism, belief, repentance, confession, acceptance, etc. they are all bloodless.  How can atonement possibly come without the right currency?  If God has required blood for atonement, He will not change His mind later and accept something else. (Malachi 3:6) Furthermore, only the right kind of blood would suffice to make the transfusion of life acceptable.

Just as my blood donations cannot help dogs, cats, and other animals, their blood cannot help me either.  Therefore, a sacrifice of any animal would never be sufficient to gain eternal justification and atonement with God.  Paul's very point in Hebrews 10 shows that all the slaughtered animals under the old law service could never put away one single sin.  This is not to say that the Israelites of old were mistaken in their worship – for it was prescribed by God – but its purpose was simply to point to the day of the perfect sacrifice that would put away sins.  A lamb, ram, goat, or heifer's blood could not redeem or atone for man since those beasts are not men.  Man's atonement requires man's blood.  Only man's blood could suffice to redeem men just as my blood could not help anything other than another man.

However, consider also that many parade the idea that Christ's blood was sufficient and given for all of mankind.  In other words, the idea is put forth that Christ's blood is available for the taking for any man to claim and receive to gain atonement.  Well, naturally speaking, if a man is laying in the hospital in dire need of a blood transfusion but his blood type is B negative, can he use the blood there if all the blood on hand is A positive blood?  No, as much as he would like to use the blood that on hand and available, that blood – though the blood of man – would not and could not help him.  In all actuality, if that blood was infused into him, his situation would be worsened rather than improved.

Taking this natural thought and mapping it to the spiritual plane, Christ's sacrificial and atoning blood cannot help someone of a different blood type.  Now, while all of us are of the race of Adam, not all of humanity is related to Christ in His family.  As Paul eloquently describes, Christ family was placed into Him in covenant before time and then redeemed by His blood when He appeared on this earth and shed that precious blood. (Ephesians 1:3-7) To say that Christ shed His blood for everybody to claim fails even the natural test that shows not all human blood is compatible. 

So, even though God's children are related to Christ from before the foundation of the world, we all stood in need of a blood transfusion since our blood was polluted with death and sin.  But, Christ's blood is a suitable currency since it was shed by a Man for men. (Hebrews 2:14-16) It was also a perfect match in blood type since God's people were already related to Him by covenant and adoption.  So, our death was overwhelmed by the life that His blood brought to us.  One of the primary beneficiaries of natural blood donations are family members.  For as long as I am a regular donor, my family is supposed to be covered for any needs they have that require blood.  As Christ's family, our needs were met and supplied by the donation of Christ to us in the form of atonement blood by the perfect Son of God.

One final point about atonement in blood is simply this.  Nobody that stands at the precipice of death and in need of physical blood has any ability to give themselves the transfusion.  They stand in need of another agent to supply it, infuse it, and bring them back physically.  What picture could be more fitting of our needs and eventual supply?  Laying there polluted in our blood of death, we were unable to help ourselves or even infuse Christ's blood into us were it laying right beside us. (Ezekiel 16) If we are the blessed recipients of His blood, it is not only done so because we are His kin but also because the Divine Agent has infused it to us to bring us back from the death of the depravity we were steeped in.

Therefore, knowing these things, let us always remember that we were blessed when we could not help ourselves, blessed because of who we are and not because of what we have done, and blessed because the only thing suitable to bring us to God was poured forth willingly by the hand of Christ to redeem us by His own blood.  While I have no idea generally who my blood goes to, my hope is that not only is their life preserved and spared for a season but that they also have many moments they would not have had to enjoy the fruits of life.  Christ does know who His blood was shed for, and He knows fully what it has blessed them to (eternity in heaven).  However, may our lives show forth fruit and the enjoyment of that fruit in service to the One that has not only preserved us by His sacrifice but given us the ability by that blood to praise Him and show forth that life while we journey here below.

In Hope,

Bro Philip

Morning Thoughts (Leviticus 10:1-2)

Leviticus 10:1-2, "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not."

This morning, people like to minimize the importance of truly important concepts.  Most of the time, the minimizing is done to justify their lack of discipline or effort in those areas.  Whatever the justification or reasoning for doing such, we must – as diligent servants of the Master – seek to throw off the shackles of our own thinking and try to focus our eyes on the heavenly plane to see things more like He sees them.  Too much of the time, we hear well meaning people promote some idea or denounce a different idea with little to no idea how the Bible would have us approach the thought.  Their defense of their stance might include something akin to "Well I just think", "Well I just feel", or the shuddering and frightening "God just wants me to be happy."  Friends, no matter what we think, feel, or perceive about God's desires, His standards as penned in His Book cannot be circumvented.  He will never contradict Himself, and when men try to promote things contrary to the word of God while still claiming to be following after God, they are charging God – by their actions – with a duplicitous mind.

What is God's perspective on worship?  How important is order to Him?  Even if we simply peruse the Scriptures through general reading, the answer is inescapable.  God holds worship of Him and the order of it in high esteem.  It should be a premium thought of the devoted follower of Christ to try to "get things right" when seeking the Lord in worship.  He does not deal kindly with those that fly in the face of His pattern.  In our study verses, we read of one of God's more immediate and severe judgments for transgression, and it pertains to the realm of the order of worship before Him.  One of the things that has always intrigued me about this account is how often it is mentioned without talking about what happened before and after it.  As a small aside, it behooves us when studying the Scriptures to try to be diligent to seek out the entire thought and context of a passage regardless of chapter and verse divisions.  Even though our verses come at the entrance of a new chapter, something powerful happened at the end of chapter 9 that (I believe) contributes to the thoughts contained in our study verses above.

In the previous chapter, God has given further instruction about how offerings and sacrifices are to be made.  He tells Aaron particularly how to do it, the pattern to follow, etc.  As God finishes those commandments, He gives a mighty manifestation of Himself by commanding fire down upon the altar to consume the offering upon it.  The people are so awed by the display that they could only shout and fall prostrate before Him. (Leviticus 9:24) Having this transpire immediately before our verses, we can glean a little more insight into the reasoning why Nadab and Abihu did what they did and why the Lord dealt so severely with them.  Since Scripture is silent about their mindset, we cannot speak definitively on that point.  However, seeing that such a great sight of fire immediately happened, we could suppose a fair amount of notions for why they would do it.  Perhaps they were filled with so much exuberance and zeal that they desired to take part in this great ceremony.  Perhaps they wanted to claim some of the "fiery credit" for themselves for what just happened.  Perhaps they ignorantly did something thinking that something should be done on such a grand occasion.  Regardless of what went through their minds – whether something as seemingly innocent as unrestrained zeal or as dreadful as covetous idolatry – the Lord dealt with them severely.

While we cannot definitively say why they did what they did, we can speak with assurance as to God's thinking about His own actions.  God mentions this occasion later in the opening verses of Leviticus 16.  Before God gives the particulars about fulfilling the day of atonement, He specifically addresses the order of the regularity of it.  To prevent judgment and death, Aaron was to do this only one time a year.  Should that directive be ignored, Aaron would end up like Nadab and Abihu.  So, God plainly declares that the reason they died was a failure to follow proper order in God's house.  No matter what those two thought about what they were doing or why they were doing it, God simply states that He holds the directions He has given about order and faithfulness in upholding His pattern to a high premium. 

Could anything be more blatantly ignored today even among many professed followers of the Christ than seeking diligently to follow His order?  Doubtless, there are seekers of fame and wealth who seek to steal away the hearts and minds of God's people.  Whether the so-called preacher on the television or the wealthy member that wants to "run" the affairs of the assembly, strange fire is being put before the eyes of the people to divert attention away from the altar to the one holding the censer.  Doubtless, there are many ignorant people that have not pulled back the fabric of Scripture to find the proper way to attend unto the affairs of God's house and sought to know His way of doing things.  Many others follow the misguided mindset that Paul lamented in Romans 10:1-3 in zealous but ignorant exuberance.  Their zeal blinds their attentiveness to God's pattern of worship and order of conduct.  Regardless of the mindset, all fail in the point of doing it God's way as He has commanded. (John 4:24)

How important is it to God?  On this occasion, two men answered with their own lives for failing to follow God after His prescription.  Whether or not we fully understand why God would say to do it this way or not, understanding of the why is not a prerequisite to actually do what He has said do.  Oftentimes, I read the old law service from the books Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and I am left puzzled as to the reason why things were to be done this way or that – and so specifically as well.  However, whether or not I ever understand why He told Israel to do it that way or not, I am left simply to shout and fall prostrate before Him and say His ways are good and righteous.  Today, we are told to follow Him in the right spirit according to truth.  Whether or not I ever understand why certain points of order are the way they are – for example why He would plainly set forth that expounding in the church would be by two or at the most by three (I Corinthians 14:29) – I am left no reason or excuse not to do it that way. 

Some today might claim that adherence to a rigid structure destroys freedom of expression to follow after the Lord according to the talents that He has bestowed upon us.  I had a progressive one time make the case for musical instruments in the church based on his proficiency on the guitar.  His claim was that God would not have given him such a talent to go unused in worship.  Simply put, God's prescription for worship cannot be improved upon as His structure will perfectly provide the necessary placements for us to worship Him in a way He is most pleased with.  My answer to my progressive friend was this: we all have been given talents, but not all of our talents have been given for use in public worship before the King.  Just because I am proficient in areas of math and science does not give me the authority to impose those talents in God's house by holding teaching sessions to show others the many layers of those subjects.

Strange fire comes in many forms.  It comes from ideas about how to move and live in God's house.  It comes in errant ideas about what God's Book says.  It sometimes appears in the ways which believers behave around one another.  Simply put, strange fire (regardless of the form) is anything that God has not prescribed that is promoted like counterfeit being used in the place of real currency.  God will not have it.  Neither should we.  God frowns upon it.  So should we.  Does that mean God always strikes people down in death because of it?  No, sometimes the judgment is physical affliction, being sickly, and yes, sometimes even death. (I Corinthians 11:30)

May our worship of the Great King be according to things He has prescribed.  Too often, a new idea is promoted with the siren song, "What's the harm in it?"  Friends, God's prescription needs never to stoop to that question.  The real question is, "What's the benefit in it?"  If God did not pattern the thing, then rest assured the perceived benefits will not be long lasting or fruitful.  The damage caused by it will be unimaginable.  If we want to improve, we should seek to improve our walk and manner within God's structure and pattern, not seek a different pattern from which to operate.  May our fires that we offer before Him be true fires.  The word "strange" from the verses above literally can be rendered "to turn aside or depart."  If we know the truth (right order and pattern), may we faithfully follow and adhere to it.  May we never depart into the strangeness of "other thinking" for there we will only find the ruin and death that it breeds rather than the righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost.

In Hope,

Bro Philip