Tag Archives: Leviticus 16-18

February 7, 2018 Bible Study — Forbidden Sexual Practices, Don’t Sacrifice Your Children To Idols, More Forbidden Sexual Practices

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 16-18.

    Today’s passage discusses the sacrifices and rituals which Aaron was required to follow before and during entering into God’s presence. In the New Testament this is compared and contrasted with Christ’s death on the Cross. Certainly as a Christian, these sacrifices and rituals can be seen as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself for our sins. One of the contrasts which struck me was that only Aaron was allowed to be in the Tabernacle while he was conducting these sacrifices and rituals. In other words, only Aaron could be in the Tabernacle while God was present there, only Aaron could come into the presence of God. On the other hand, Christ’s sacrifice means that everyone may come into God’s presence.

    The other set of laws which I want to write about is the ones about what constitutes improper sexual relations. My thoughts about this are heavily influenced by an article I read many years ago which suggested that the clear limits on the acceptable expression of sexual desire laid out here provided a framework for keeping people from being distracted by seeking sexual gratification. By creating such a framework, energy which might otherwise have been directed into seeking gratification of sexual desire went into more productive activities. While there is some truth to that, I think a more important aspect of the framework for sexual gratification laid out here is the impact it had on social relationships. Forbidden sexual relations include ones we consider taboos in almost all societies: incest, same sex relations, bestiality, etc.. However, this passage contains much more extensive prohibitions than that. As such, these rules help promote healthy social interaction between people by taking potential sexual interaction off of the table between those who follow these rules. I find one thing interesting. In the middle of rules forbidding various kinds of sexual behavior there is a command to not kill our children as a sacrifice. It seems to me that this placement speaks quite clearly to the issue of abortion.

February 7, 2017 Bible Study — Purifying the People

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 16-18.

    Only Moses and Aaron were allowed to enter the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle, later that would be only the high priest who was allowed to enter (NOTE: this suggests that when Gabriel announced the coming birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah, Zechariah was functioning as the high priest). However, Aaron, and later his successors, were not allowed to enter the Most Holy Place at just any time. They were only allowed to do so after offering the sacrifices described in this passage: a bull as a sin offering for the high priest, and two goats as a sin offering for the people, one goat to be sacrificed and one goat to be driven into the wilderness (I am curious how that was accomplished once the Temple was built in Jerusalem). As part of the sacrifices there was a complex ritual which the high priest was to perform. My reading of this passage suggests that this sacrifice of atonement could be performed at any time, but was required to be performed at least once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
    There is an aspect of this ritual which has entered into our culture (although most people have completely lost knowledge of the reference). As part of the ritual the high priest would lay his hands upon the head of the goat which was to be driven into the wilderness and confess over it all of the sins of the people. This goat was referred to as “the scape goat”. All of the sins of the people were laid upon it and it was driven into the wilderness. The idea being that the people drove their sins away from themselves. While we no longer follow this ritual, we should do what it symbolizes. We should seek to catalog our sins and drive them away from ourselves.

    

February 7, 2016 Bible Study — Finding a Scape Goat To Carry Our Sins Away

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading. I had been using One Year Bible Online, but it was time for a change.

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Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 16-18.

    Once a year, the high priest was to conduct a ceremony of cleansing for all of the people of Israel. It is instructive how this was to be done. First, the high priest needed to make two sacrifices for himself. Then he must sacrifice a sin offering for the people. As part of both of these sacrifices he must purify the Most Holy Place and all of the Tabernacle. Once he has done this he places his hands on the head of the scape goat and has it driven into the wilderness. I think the scape goat gives us an interesting metaphor. We need to drive our sins from us. We need to drive them out into the “wilderness”. It is not enough to repent of them. It is not enough to make restitution for them. We must drive them away from ourselves into a “place” where we will not go to retrieve them. In this passage the scape goat was a metaphor, although one which was carried out literally. When I say that we must drive our sins away from ourselves, I am not talking about resurrecting this metaphor (or something similar). I am talking about a psychological process whereby we recognize the damage and danger of our sins and do not make excuses to continue them.

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    After describing the yearly ritual for purifying the people of Israel the passage goes on to describe a list of sexual sins that are to be avoided at all costs. I am not going to list the sexual sins listed. I want to note that homosexuality is on that list, as is bestiality. However, those sins are the last ones on the list. I read this and it tells me that there are a lot of sexual sins about which we should be more concerned than homosexuality or bestiality. The point here is that we should be equally concerned about all sexual sins. I think we have a tendency to focus on the sinfulness of those sins to which we are not tempted. When we do that we are getting it exactly backwards. We need to focus on the sinfulness of the sins by which we are tempted.