The price has been paid

There is a principle found throughout the Mosaic Law about returning something to its owner. Although we don’t always have the specifics given to us, it would seem that the person had stolen or possibly damaged or destroyed something that belonged to someone else. The principle was simply this: you had to restore more than what you had taken. Notice these instructions: Continue reading “The price has been paid”

Promises and blessings

God had set the Israelites free from being slaves of the Egyptians. As they camped at Mount Sinai, they were being formed into an orderly nation. As we will see from the census in Numbers 1, there were over 600,000 men, aged 20 and over, who were able to go to war. Conservative estimates, taking into account that there are generally more females born than males, plus the elderly who couldn’t bear arms, those under 20, and the tribe of Levi, would give a nation of at least two to three million people. That would place them around the same size as Lithuania, Nambia or Slovenia today. But they did not yet have land and were living in tents in the wilderness.

To prepare this new nation to enter the Promised Land, God made promises to them. These were conditional on their obedience and living by the commands he gave them. And for a budding nation, these were quite powerful promises. Continue reading “Promises and blessings”

Give our best

There is a principle found throughout the Bible concerning our giving to the Lord. The principle is very simple: you must give your best. When it came to animals that were sacrificed, here are the instructions God gave the Israelites.

“You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you. And when anyone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. Animals blind or disabled or mutilated or having a discharge or an itch or scabs you shall not offer to the Lord or give them to the Lord as a food offering on the altar” (Leviticus 22:20-22 ESV). Continue reading “Give our best”

Atonement

Forgiveness. Since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, there was a desperate need for a way to be forgiven. Throughout the Old Testament we see sacrifices of animals offered to deal with sin. When Israel was in the wilderness, God gave a command for a national Day of Atonement to be held each year (this is known by Jews today as ‘Yom Kippur’).

“This is to be a perpetual statute for you. In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you must humble yourselves and do no work of any kind, both the native citizen and the foreigner who resides in your midst, for on this day atonement is to be made for you to cleanse you from all your sins; you must be clean before the Lord. It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must humble yourselves. It is a perpetual statute.” (Leviticus 16:29-31 NET). Continue reading “Atonement”

Cleansed by blood

“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a case of leprous disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests, and the priest shall examine the diseased area on the skin of his body. And if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a case of leprous disease. When the priest has examined him, he shall pronounce him unclean.’” (Leviticus 13:1-3 ESV).

Throughout the Law of Moses we read about designations which may seem strange to us. People could become “unclean.” There were diseases which made you unclean, in particular skin diseases, including, but not limited to, what we know today as leprosy. Being in contact with certain animals and their dead carcasses, could also make a person”‘unclean.” And some foods were “unclean.” As we no longer use the designations of “clean” and “unclean,” these can be confusing to us when we read about them. Continue reading “Cleansed by blood”

Priests of God

In the opening chapters of Leviticus, we find that there were particular men from the tribe of Levi and part of Aaron’s family who were to serve as priests for God’s people. These men were to offer the sacrifices to God for the Israelites.

“This is the law of the guilt offering. It is most holy. In the place where they kill the burnt offering they shall kill the guilt offering, and its blood shall be thrown against the sides of the altar…The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering to the LORD; it is a guilt offering” (Leviticus 7:1-5 ESV). Continue reading “Priests of God”

A perfect sacrifice

“The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock. If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish…If his gift for a burnt offering is from the flock, from the sheep or goats, he shall bring a male without blemish’” (Leviticus 1:1-3,10 ESV).

Although the books of the Law are usually not our favorite scriptures to read, these are God’s word. Even though they were given to the Israelites as they were becoming God’s nation, they do contain principles and lessons for us as Christians who are living 3,500 years later. So they are worthy of our consideration. Continue reading “A perfect sacrifice”

New Jerusalem

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:1-4 ESV). Continue reading “New Jerusalem”

The victory of the Lamb

“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,’Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed’” (Revelation 15:3-4 ESV).

Isn’t God amazing? Continue reading “The victory of the Lamb”

Are we spiritually healthy?

“From the elder, to Gaius my dear brother, whom I love in truth. Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, just as you are living according to the truth. I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth.” (3 John 1:1-4 NET)

In the letter we call “3 John” we find correspondence from the writer, who identified himself as “the elder,” to a Christian named Gaius. It has long been attested that the writer was the apostle John, which would seem to be accurate. In this letter we find three men who can each tell us something about what being a Christian should look like. Continue reading “Are we spiritually healthy?”