Highlights From Bible Reading ‒ Leviticus 6, 7, 8, 9
Highlights From the Book of Leviticus 6-9
Lessons for Us:7:26, 27. The Israelites were not to eat blood. In God’s view, blood represents life. “The soul [life] of the flesh is in the blood,” states Leviticus 17:11. Abstinence from blood remains the standard for true worshipers today.—Acts 15:28, 29.
HOLY PRIESTHOOD IS SET FORTH(Leviticus 8:1–10:20)
Who were given the responsibility of caring for duties involving sacrifices and offerings? That was entrusted to the priests. As directed by God, Moses conducted an installation ceremony for Aaron, the high priest, and for his four sons, who were to be underpriests. The ceremony apparently occupied a seven-day period, and the priesthood began functioning on the following day.
Scriptural Questions Answered:9:9—What is significant about the pouring of blood at the base of the altar and the placing of it on various items? This demonstrated that Jehovah accepted blood for atonement purposes. The whole atonement arrangement was based on blood. “Nearly all things are cleansed with blood according to the Law,” wrote the apostle Paul, “and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.”—Hebrews 9:22.
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8 The sacrifices that the Israelites made to Jehovah were considered to be holy. (Lev. 6:25; 7:1) The Hebrew term translated “holiness” conveys the idea of separateness, exclusiveness, or sanctification to God. In order for our sacrifices to be acceptable to Jehovah, they must be separate from and uncontaminated by worldly influences. We cannot be loving any of the things that Jehovah hates. (Read 1 John 2:15-17.) Clearly, this means that we have to avoid any associations or involvements that would defile us from God’s point of view. (Isa. 2:4; Rev. 18:4) It also means that we cannot allow our eyes to keep looking at that which is unclean or immoral or let our minds fantasize about such things.—Col. 3:5, 6.
*** cl chap. 26 pp. 267-268 pars. 19-21 A God Who Is “Ready to Forgive” ***
19 Our sins may have additional consequences, especially if others have been hurt by our actions. Consider, for example, the account in Leviticus chapter 6. The Mosaic Law here addresses the situation wherein a person commits a serious wrong by seizing a fellow Israelite’s goods through robbery, extortion, or fraud. The sinner then denies that he is guilty, even being so daring as to swear falsely. It is one person’s word against another’s. Later, however, the offender becomes stricken in conscience and confesses his sin. To gain God’s forgiveness, he has to do three more things: restore what he had taken, pay the victim a fine totaling 20 percent of the value of the stolen items, and provide a ram as a guilt offering. Then, the law says: “The priest must make an atonement for him before Jehovah, and so it must be forgiven him.”—Leviticus 6:1-7.
20 This law was a merciful provision from God. It benefited the victim, whose property was returned and who no doubt felt much relief when the offender finally acknowledged his sin. At the same time, the law benefited the one whose conscience at last moved him to admit his guilt and correct his wrong. Indeed, if he refused to do so, there would be no forgiveness for him from God.
21 Although we are not under the Mosaic Law, that Law gives us insight into Jehovah’s mind, including his thinking on forgiveness. (Colossians 2:13, 14) If others have been hurt by our sins, God is pleased when we do what we can to right the wrong. (Matthew 5:23, 24) This may involve acknowledging our sin, admitting our guilt, and even apologizing to the victim. Then we can appeal to Jehovah on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice and experience the assurance that we have been forgiven by God.—Hebrews 10:21, 22.
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6 First, the person had to give his best. Jehovah told the nation that any offering had to be a sound one in order “to gain approval.” (Lev. 22:18-20) If there was a defect in the animal, it would not be viewed as an acceptable sacrifice to Jehovah. Second, the person giving the sacrifice had to be clean and undefiled. If a person was in an unclean state, he would have to make a sin offering or a guilt offering to restore his standing with Jehovah before making a voluntary offering. (Lev. 5:5, 6, 15) This was a serious matter. Jehovah stipulated that if someone in an unclean state partook of a communion sacrifice, which included voluntary offerings, he would be cut off from God’s people. (Lev. 7:20, 21) On the other hand, when the person making the sacrifice had a good standing with Jehovah and the offering was without defect, the giver could rejoice with satisfaction.—Read 1 Chronicles 29:9.
16 However, a word of caution is needed. As was true of the ancient Israelites, we must make sure that our voluntary sacrifices are acceptable to God. We have to maintain our balance so that we care for our primary responsibilities in connection with our families and the worship of Jehovah. The giving of our time and resources in behalf of others should not cause us to neglect the spirituality or physical welfare of our family. Otherwise, we would, in effect, be giving from what we do not have. (Read 2 Corinthians 8:12.)
*** w12 1/15 p. 19 pars. 11-12 Learn From ‘the Framework of Truth’ ***
11 Certain sacrifices stipulated by the Mosaic Law were considered communion offerings. These signified peace with Jehovah. The person making such an offering and his family would eat the meat of the sacrificed animal, perhaps in one of the temple’s dining rooms. The officiating priest received a portion of the meat, as did the other priests serving at the temple. (Lev. 3:1, ftn.; 7:31-33) The worshipper made his sacrifice purely out of the desire to enjoy a good relationship with God. It was as though the worshipper, his family, the priests, and Jehovah himself were joyfully partaking of a meal together, in peace.
12 What greater privilege could there be than, in a symbolic way, to invite Jehovah to such a meal and for him to accept? Naturally, the host would want to offer his very best to such an honored guest. The provision of communion sacrifices, part of the Law’s framework of truth, pointed to the fact that by means of Jesus’ greater sacrifice, all those of mankind who desire to attain an intimate, peaceful relationship with their Creator can do so. Today, we can enjoy Jehovah’s friendship and company as we voluntarily sacrifice our resources and energies in his service.
*** g 6/12 p. 8 Healthful Food for All—Soon! ***
[Box on page 8]
“A CODE OF RULES OF HEALTH”
About 3,500 years ago, Israel received the Mosaic Law. That Law protected the Israelites from many foodborne illnesses. Consider the following instructions: ● Eat leftovers within a short period: “On the next day what is left of it also may be eaten. But what is left of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day is to be burned with fire.”—Leviticus 7:16-18.
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3 What role does Christ’s blood play in our salvation? Since Noah’s day, true worshipers have viewed blood as sacred. (Genesis 9:4-6) Blood plays an important part in the life process, for the Bible says that “the soul [or life] of the flesh is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11) So the Mosaic Law required that when an animal was sacrificed, its blood be poured out before Jehovah. At times blood was also placed upon the horns of the altar. Clearly, the atoning power of a sacrifice was in its blood. (Leviticus 8:15; 9:9) “Nearly all things are cleansed with blood according to the Law, and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.”—Hebrews 9:22.
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At the installation of the priesthood in Israel, Moses took some blood of the ram of the installation and put it on the right ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe of Aaron and each of his sons. (Le 8:23, 24) The blood of the sacrifice on the prominent member of the right foot meant that they must point their course and walk unswervingly with the best of their ability in the sacrificial duties of the priesthood. Jesus Christ the great High Priest fulfilled this prophetic type when on earth (Mt 16:21-23), and his underpriests, his spirit-begotten brothers, must follow his steps closely.—Heb 7:26; 1Pe 2:5, 8; Re 20:6.
*** g 3/10 p. 29 Are All Parts of the Bible Still Relevant? ***
Over 1,900 years later, we still benefit from those portions of the Bible in several ways. First, we would not even have the Bible if God had not seen to it that it was written and preserved by a people whom he had chosen. (Romans 3:1, 2) In ancient Israel the Mosaic Law was not just a sacred relic to be preserved for future generations but was, in effect, the constitution of that nation. Details in the Law that may seem unnecessary to us today were vital to the survival and proper functioning of ancient Israel. Moreover, the genealogical records in the Bible were necessary to identify the Messiah, who was foretold to be a direct descendant of King David.—2 Samuel 7:12, 13; Luke 1:32; 3:23-31.
References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD-ROM
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