Conversation of Leviticus

Chapter 24 of Leviticus

The lampstand was the only source of light in the Holy Place where the light illuminated the table of showbread and the altar of incense so the priests could fellowship with Yahweh and intercede on behalf of his people. Yahweh had ordered that the light in the tabernacle was to never go out when he gave the pattern for the tent of meeting and its furnishings. He ordered virgin olive oil to be brought regularly and put Aaron in charge of keeping the lamps burning in front of the curtain that screened the chest of testimony. It was to burn continually from evening to morning down through their generations. The narrator repeated that Aaron was responsible for keeping the eternal light burning before Yahweh. The light reminded his people that Yahweh was with them continually. “This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.”[1] The lampstands was gold as a symbol of royalty.

The narrator repeated Yahweh’s directions for the table of twelve loaves of bread. Each loaf was to be made from about four quarts of flour and they were to be arranged in two rows of six each on the table. Along each loaf Aaron was to spread pure incense to mark the bread as a memorial. The narrator reminded his readers that the table was also gold and represented royalty. The bread was to be given to Yahweh each Sabbath as a response for his provision from the people of Israel. Aaron and his sons were to eat it in the holy place as their share in the gifts brought to Yahweh. These loaves were called the “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in Yahweh’s presence. The table and the bread were a picture of his willingness to have communion and intimacy with his people.

Yahweh, the great I AM, reality behind all reality, wanted fellowship with his people. He created the world and every good and perfect gift is from him. He is our supplier and sustainer – the one who freely gives us all things. He deserves and commands respect and honor. Some of the people of Israel – the people he choose to reflect his character to the rest of the world, gave him the devotion and reverence he deserves. However, there was an Israelite woman whose husband was an Egyptian and brought disrespect for Yahweh into his family. Their son would have heard from his father that the gods of the Egyptians were important entities and, even after all the power Yahweh had demonstrated for both Israel and Egypt unbelief and doubt still had sway with the people. Uncertainty isn’t destructive in itself but when it’s fed it is devastating.

The son of the Israelite mother and Egyptian father was socializing with the Israelites one day when a fight broke out between him and an Israelite. The son of the Egyptian man was contemptuous and disrespectful about Yahweh. In his anger he called evil down on the name of the God of Israel. They brought him to Moses and put him in custody till they got instructions from Yahweh about what to do. The narrator recorded the name of his mother and the tribe she belonged to so it would be passed down through the ages.

Yahweh told Moses to take the blasphemer outside the camp and have all the accusers – the ones who had heard him blaspheme – lay their hands on his head. When they laid their hands on the head of the blasphemer they were identifying with his punishment and making it personal. And then the congregation was to stone him. There had to be two or three witnesses[2] and they had to be the first to administer punishment. Years later when Yahweh came down to this earth in the likeness of sinful flesh “the religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.”[3]

Yeshua wasn’t condoning sin, he was teaching the same lesson that Yahweh was teaching the nation of Israel when he told Moses to have the accusers position their hands on the head of the sinner; and the whole congregation to stone him. The ones inflicting the punishment had to be free of the same sin themselves. Yahweh takes sin very seriously. Human beings quite often don’t understand how destructive it is and make light of it. Transgression of Yahweh’s law is an attack on the great Lawgiver Himself. It infringes on Yahweh’s unchallengeable righteousness – the very foundation of His throne[4] and is an affront to his spotless holiness. Yahweh gave Israel a detailed code of laws to regulate its civil, moral, and religious life, and plainly ordered the punishment to be given in the case of each transgression. However, the Psalmist reminded us that Yahweh “makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet. He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel. He is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him.”[5]

The soul that sins will die[6]. But, “as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, Yahweh feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.”[7] Yeshua explained it this way: “The Son gives life to anyone he chooses. Neither he nor the Father shuts anyone out. The Father handed all authority to judge over to the Son so that the Son will be honored equally with the Father. … Anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider. This person has taken a giant step from the world of the dead to the world of the living. It’s urgent that you get this right: …And he has given him the authority, simply because he is the Son of Man, to decide and carry out matters of Judgment. … I’m speaking to you this way so that you will be saved. … [The] Scriptures are all about me! … Moses … wrote of me.”[8]

Paul told Timothy that Yeshua ha Mashiach came into the world to save sinners[9]. When the jailer asked Paul what he should do to be saved[10] Paul and Silas told him to put his trust in Yeshua ha Mashiach and he and his family would have Yahweh’s life – eternal life. That’s what Yahweh wants for his people but he had to teach them what sin is and what its result is so they would turn from it to him. He told them that anyone who killed a fellow human being must be put to death. Murder is ultimately the destruction of Yahweh’s image. It originates in the heart of the murderer and results in the extermination of another individual human being who was created in the image of his God, Yahweh.

Yahweh said that anyone who killed someone’s animal must replace it with another one like it.

“An eye for an eye” was the rule of the day and was emblematic and payment was money. [11] Yahweh used these laws because the Israelites were familiar with them and he always approaches us from our understanding. Yahweh’s laws proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives he wills for us.

Moses told the People of Israel what Yahweh said and they brought the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The People of Israel followed the orders Yahweh had given Moses.

Summary of chapter 24

The light was to be kept burning continually – the people of Israel were to supply the oil regularly and the representative of the nation in the tabernacle was to keep the light burning perpetually. It was a symbol of the unending presence of Yahweh with his people.

The bread represented the twelve tribes of Israel and was a symbol of Yahweh’s willingness to have communion and intimacy with his people.

Then man who called down evil on the name of Yahweh and showed contempt and disrespect for him rejected Yahweh’s invitation for fellowship and embraced corruption and its result. Yahweh reminded his people of the well-deserved retribution for sin and their own personal involvement in it.

“Men and women don’t live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, but a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here. Yahweh’s love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.”[12]

Prayer: I was made to know you, Yahweh, my God, to be your friend and walk with you, and talk with you in divine fellowship. Knowing you is eternal life. I am loved and cared for by you; and Yeshua is my Lord. The best thing in life is to know you – my father, my Shepherd, my King divine. This fine fellowship is intense joy, You, Yahweh, Jehovah the Lord, have adopted me. I call you “Daddy”, the great I AM – reality behind all reality. You, the Holy God: great majestic, and pure; the One to whom I humbly bow, sheltering under your mercy, call me your child. You reveal yourself to humans through the incarnation of Yeshua your Son. To know you I must know Yeshua. Yeshua is the King, the Lamb, the Shepherd, the Door, and the Way – and bids us come: to know you through knowing him. I am personally involved with your Spirit – and appreciating the flavor of tasting the truth. Because I am filled with your Spirit, I develop a deep acquaintance with Yeshua, my God and my Savior and practically apply the truth to my life and actions. I am emotionally involved with you, my King: in the vicissitudes and victories of your cause in the world. In spite of the fact that you know me well, you want me as your friend. You are a parent entirely wise and good, and my position in your family is permanently ensured.

 

 

Things to think about

  1. What do you think the light was a symbol of?
  2. Why do you think Yahweh commanded the Israelites to supply continues oil for the lamp?
  3. Later on in history, Yahweh said Israel would be a light to the other nations. Does the nation, as a whole, shed light?
  4. Yeshua said that Yahweh was pure light. He was the exact image of Yahweh – he displayed Yahweh’s character and power perfectly. He said he was the light of the world while he was in the world. He also said his followers were the light of the world. What does that light illuminate?
  5. Why were there twelve loaves of bread?
  6. What did the light and bread in the tabernacle symbolize?
  7. Why do you think the narrator of the Leviticus wrote about the light and bread and then told about the man who cursed Yahweh and blasphemed his name?
  8. Why do you think the narrator reminded Israel what the penalty for murder was after recording the punishment for blasphemy? How are these two crimes related? Why did he include the retribution for killing another man’s animal in these instructions?
  9. Why do you think the narrator told his readers that the man who blasphemed Yahweh was the son of an Israelite woman and Egyptian man?
  10. Are the mercy and grace of Yahweh compatible with his demand that evil be punished?
  11. Why do you think Yahweh told the accusers of a criminal to be personally involved with the punishment?
  12. Why do you think Yeshua didn’t condemn the woman caught red handed in adultery?
  13. What did Yeshua do about her sin? Who is Yeshua? Did Yahweh change and become softer over the years? Can we reconcile sin and compassion?
  14. Does someone else’s wrong doing trigger a desire in you to inspect your own attitudes and responses – to judge yourself?

 

 

[1] I John 1:5

[2] Deuteronomy 17:6

[3] John 8:3-8

[4] Psalm 97:2

[5] Psalm 103:6-18

[6] Ezekiel 18:20

[7] IBID

[8] John 5:19-47

[9] I Timothy 1:15

[10] Acts 16:30

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Ur-Nammu#Content

[12] IBID

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