Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Exodus 29:1-37 comments: separating Aaron and his sons for service

29:1 ¶  And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, 2  And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them. 3  And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams. 4  And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. 5  And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: 6  And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. 7  Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. 8  And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them. 9  And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons. 10  And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock. 11  And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 12  And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar. 13  And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar. 14  But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering. 15  Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram. 16  And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar. 17  And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head. 18  And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the LORD: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 19  And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram. 20  Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. 21  And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him. 22  Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration: 23  And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the LORD: 24  And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the LORD. 25  And thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour before the LORD: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 26  And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the LORD: and it shall be thy part. 27  And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons: 28  And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’ by a statute for ever from the children of Israel: for it is an heave offering: and it shall be an heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace offerings, even their heave offering unto the LORD. 29  And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them. 30  And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place. 31  And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place. 32  And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 33  And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy. 34  And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy. 35  And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them. 36  And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it. 37  Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.

Aaron and his sons are consecrated for the priest’s office. The Lord Jesus Christ is our high priest.

Hebrews 9:8 ¶  The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9  Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10  Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13  For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

All believers are priests.

1Peter 2:5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

One way of looking at the difference between Aaron and his sons’ consecration and ours is that they were to perform this ritual to be prepared for God’s use. God Himself prepares us for His purpose. One focus of the Hebrew religion was man doing something to please God while in Christ it is God who justifies and man can do nothing without God’s effort. Man is not set apart by what He does but only what God does. As Jesus said;

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

First, in the act of salvation…

John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Then, in the operation that prevents our souls from being punished for the sins we commit in our bodies…

Colossians 2:11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

In keeping us saved in spite of ourselves…

Romans 8:31 ¶  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37  Nay, in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him that loved us. 38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We tend to give ourselves too much credit for our sanctification and take too much on ourselves for our failures. Christ knows what a dreadful, arrogant lot we are.

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Luke 11:13  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

You don’t think He’d leave salvation up to you, do you? Aaron and his sons were made holy by their obedience in the things God commanded. We are made holy by Christ.

1Corinthians 1:30  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption

Unleavened bread, cakes, and wafers are called for. Smith’s Bible Dictionary says, “Various substances were known to have fermenting qualities; but the ordinary leaven consisted of a lump of old dough in a high state of fermentation, which was mixed into the mass of dough prepared for baking.”(23) It signifies corruption and unleavened bread was required to signify not being corrupted.

Luke 12:1b…Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Exodus 12:8  And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it…15  Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

And in a prophetic verse that may very well be talking about the hidden worship of the pagan goddess; Ishtar, Isis, Diana, Venus, Mary etc. polluting the three main branches of Christianity, although there are other possible meanings…

Matthew 13:33  Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Animal sacrifices were important in the Hebrew religion but as they foreshadowed Christ’s sacrifice they are not required now.

Hebrews 10:1 ¶  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

They were not used as mere biological machines whose death meant absolutely nothing and were of no consequence. Let us remember God’s view of them rather than our sin-corrupted historical-cultural bias. Many times animal sacrifices are called a sweet savour to God.

Numbers 29:36  But ye shall offer a burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: one bullock, one ram, seven lambs of the first year without blemish:

The heavenly prototypes for all animals play a prominent role in the spiritual world.

Ezekiel 1:10  As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle… 10:14  And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. 15  And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.

Animals exist in the heavenly realm, the world of the spirit.

2Kings 6:17  And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

At least some types of them have souls and spirits, as tripartite beings like man.

Numbers 31:28  And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep…

Job 12:10  In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Ecclesiastes 3:21  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

They can have potential abilities of speech that are restrained, obviously for a reason, perhaps because of the judgment on the earth because of man. They also have memory of past things.

Numbers 22:28  And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29  And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30  And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.

And abuse of them is condemned…

Proverbs 12:10  A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

An atonement is necessary to repair a broken or damaged relationship. It is done in the form of sacrifices under the law.

Isaiah 59:2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

But, now, Christ is our atonement for sin, an atonement made by the grieved party rather than the guilty one.

Romans 5:11  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

As Christians we must understand that it is not only God that saves us and not we ourselves, but that God makes our prayers and worship acceptable, that He sanctifies us, and that He pays the ransom to Himself for our souls, makes the atonement, and not only that but the propitiation to satisfy His wrath at sin. Until we wrap our minds around these facts we will always be trying to do things for God to make us acceptable that He has already done. We will simply waste the time He has given us and deceive others who need to learn His truth from us.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Exodus 28:40-43 comments: trousers?

28:40 ¶  And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. 41  And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 42  And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: 43  And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

One of the most interesting things about this passage is found in verse 42. Fundamentalists in America make a big deal about women not wearing slacks, pants, or trousers. They refer to them as the Biblical breeches. The problem with that is that breeches are underwear that go from the loins to the thighs.

Loins and thighs are references to the parts of the body that contains the reproductive organs and organs of waste elimination. On the outside of the body it is the area where a sword or dagger is hung.

Genesis 35:11  And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins
Song of Solomon 7:1  How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.    

Judges 3:16  But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.

Pants wearing didn’t become common in Europe until the 8th century AD, after the fall of the western Roman Empire. (22) The first recorded wearing of pants was for the horse-riding Scythians of the 8th century BC. The Romans regarded wearing pants as a sign of being barbarians due to the horse-riding hordes that constantly threatened the empire.

How people have twisted the Bible when they have an agenda to push is amazing.

The God of the Bible values modesty and this was a very clear command and a warning.

(22) LiveScience, “Explained: Why We Wear Pants,” July 16, 2012. https://www.livescience.com/34077-wearing-pants-horse-riding.html

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Exodus 28:31-39 comments: Aaron's duty

28:31 ¶  And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32  And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent. 33  And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: 34  A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. 35  And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not. 36  And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. 37  And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. 38  And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. 39  And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.

The ephod is blue and it is one piece with the opening for the head reinforced so it would not be torn in taking on and off. It was more like what we think of when we think of as a long poncho. According to Matthew Henry the Medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides said that the sides were not sewn so the arms for free to move although others say there were arm holes. Think of the similarity with Christ’s outer garment.

John 19:23  Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

The bells would alert people that Aaron was still alive when he went into the holy place alone.

Leviticus 16:1 ¶  And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; 2  And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3  Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4  He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.

    5 ¶  And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6  And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. 7  And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8  And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9  And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10  But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. 11  And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: 12  And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: 13  And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: 14  And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.

    15 ¶  Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16  And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17  And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18  And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19  And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.
20 ¶  And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: 21  And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22  And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. 23  And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: 24  And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. 25  And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. 26  And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp.

Aaron acts as a mediator between God and man in his office as priest. For Christians, Christ is our mediator. There are many verses about Christ bearing our sins and I will not post them all but this one is applicable to what Aaron is doing. We need no priest other than Christ, fully human and fully God, who in his humanity is our priest.

1Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…

Aaron is to bear the iniquity of the holy things and make acceptable to God the Hebrew’s fallible and weak offerings to him. Our worship without God’s help is a meager and pathetic thing. We don’t even know how to pray as we ought, we are so blinded by our sin nature. We need help.

Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

We must always remember that our prayers, our worship, our faith is made acceptable to God not by our sincere intentions or by how wonderfully spiritual we think we are but by God Himself. Aaron is a picture of this function of God. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Exodus 28:6-30 comments: the breastplate of judgment

28:6 ¶  And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. 7  It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together. 8  And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9  And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: 10  Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth. 11  With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. 12  And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names
before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. 13  And thou shalt make ouches of gold; 14  And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.

    28:15 ¶  And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. 16  Foursquare it shall be being
doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. 17  And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. 18  And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 19  And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 20  And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. 21  And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes. 22  And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold. 23  And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. 24  And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the
ends of the breastplate. 25  And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it. 26  And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward. 27  And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. 28  And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. 29  And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. 30  And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.

My wife, Beth, had this wonderful thought that I want to try to do justice to in regard to this description. The Urim and Thummim are one means by which communication is made from God.

Numbers 27:21  And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.

Without going into detail on the electrical conductivity properties of gold and how it is used in cellphones and other electronic devices or in the sound conductivity of stones what we may have here is a communication device for when the priests were away from the ark of the testimony. In fact, I have read commentators who speculated on this saying things like this was like an advanced walkie-talkie or using some other analogy. This brings to mind a peculiar statement that Jesus makes that on the surface just sounds like hyperbole but may have a much more profound meaning.

Luke 19:40  And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

I believe it was Peter Ruckman who speculated that stones were natural recording or transmitting devices. Whatever the case, this is very interesting to consider when the material elements are combined with the electrical impulses coming from Aaron’s heart who knows what we are talking about specifically? Like many other things in the Bible narrative, God’s revelation of His ministry of reconciling man to Himself, the Holy Spirit just breezes by these things without a concern for the detail we crave.

The breastplate of judgment has four rows of stones in it. This, surprisingly, may give us a clue as to the office that Satan held before he tempted man and woman to question God’s word. The Holy Spirit sometimes gives two descriptions in one by likening and comparing one subject to another so we have an understanding of the nature of both. Assuming that God is likening the king of Tyre to Satan in Ezekiel 28, giving us a description of Satan while comparing that king to him, we have these words;

Ezekiel 28:11b…Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Was Satan, also known as Lucifer, God’s priest in Eden? Is that why Adam and Eve seemed to have no problem conversing with him in his form as a serpent, a dragon, reptilian but beautiful? He must have been a magnificent creature as we have other dual descriptions in Isaiah 14 with Satan as Lucifer, the light-bearer, the shining one as per Strong’s dictionary, and in Job 41, the king over all the children of pride (Job 41:34).

For a dragon and a serpent being synonymous with each other and Satan based on context see;

Revelation 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Another description that reminds you of this breastplate of judgment is of the walls of the New Jerusalem, the cubed city described in Revelation, chapter 21, that is probably even now on its way to earth.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Exodus 28:1-5: the source of knowledge and skill

1 ¶  And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. 2  And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. 3  And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 4  And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 5  And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

Consider the way spirit is used in this context. The spirit of wisdom is not a character trait. It is a gift from God. He has filled certain people in regard to the ability to create these garments for the priests with the spirit of wisdom. This is distinct from the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) or the Spirit of Christ (1Peter 1:11) or the Spirit of God (Genesis 1:2), all the same Spirit emanating from God, which the translators under the inspiration given to them by God showed us with a capital S each to signify the origin of that Spirit. The Spirit, uppercase S, is an entity with a will emanating from God the Father’s will while the spirit, lowercase s, is a thing either given to man or woman.

Numbers 5:30  Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.

A lowercase s signifies a power, an understanding, a skill, an emotion, or some other sense of understanding and wisdom.

Isaiah 11:2  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

It is interesting that some neuroscientists speculate that consciousness doesn’t seem to emanate from within a person but that a person’s mind is like a cellphone that receives a communication from somewhere else. We can hear someone speaking through the phone but they are not in the phone.

Of course, they don’t believe that there is a world of spirit from where consciousness comes. But having no satisfactory explanation of why we are self-aware anymore than a theoretical physicist can logically explain why there is something rather than nothing or an evolutionary biologist can show why such a complex thing as life should exist rather than just rocks and dust without inventing their own gods, dead and inert, but prime causes beyond our experience nonetheless, they consider consciousness as something that uses the brain, rather than something the brain creates.

Of course, there are many theories of consciousness. Many believe that our thoughts are the results of neurons in the brain firing up but they can’t tell you whether a thought requires ten neurons or ten thousand. Its all guesswork right now. However, these theoretical scientists have faith in their religion that all truth will eventually come from their inquiries.

 Nevertheless, our rapid explosion of actual scientific knowledge since this Bible was translated in the early 17th century and the resultant technological advancements where in the last century we have been propelled forward faster than in all previous centuries combined is not because of extra radiation in the atmosphere or the superiority of modern man’s brain.

Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding has been given to us. We learn how to appropriate it and use it but we did not create it. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Exodus 27:9-21 comments: to cause the lamp to burn always.

27:9 ¶  And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side: 10  And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. 11  And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred cubits long, and his twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. 12  And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten. 13  And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits. 14  The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. 15  And on the other side shall be hangings fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. 16  And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four. 17  All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass. 18  The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. 19  All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.
 27:20 ¶  And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. 21  In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.
 Of the many things that can be discussed about this passage I want to focus on the olive oil for the flame that is never to go out. This is the origin of the eternal flame in everything from ancient Persian religion down to the flame at a tomb or memorial in modern times. For the Christian the oil represents the Holy Spirit, in type, and the light it gives. We have the ability to quench the light the Holy Spirit gives us although not our salvation.
1Thessalonians 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.
We do this by sin, by our love of the world and our embracing of its standards, and by not focusing on God. There are several verses in the Old and New Testaments that are important to this idea. These are some but certainly not all.
We must keep our minds focused on God.
Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We must not adopt the world’s standards.

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

1John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Much of our sorrow comes from misplaced loyalties, idolatry, and covetousness.

1Timothy 6:6 ¶  But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

We, too, have a flame that must be kept burning in the tabernacle of our hearts. We can let it be quenched by not focusing on God and by loving things other than Him. We are still saved because it was He who did the saving and not we who saved ourselves. But, we can walk around blindly in darkness without the light of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Of course, typology always breaks down at some point and while it is good to use types as a way of learning a principle in the Bible it is not good to ride that horse to death. We do not provide the fuel for the fire. God provides it. We choose by our actions to allow the flame to lead us or we by our actions choose to quench it. It is still there but we are of all people most miserable when it is not our guide.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Chapter 27:1-8 comments: revisiting the cubit

27:1 ¶  And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits. 2  And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass. 3  And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basons, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass. 4  And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof. 5  And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar. 6  And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass. 7  And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it. 8  Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it.
Cubits as units of measurement came in different lengths. Some authorities say they went from 18 to 22 inches. It is clear that there were different types of cubits mentioned in the Bible. Besides a regular cubit there was a great cubit.
Ezekiel 41:8  I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits.
There must have been a standard they went by as a measuring reed is mentioned several times in Ezekiel. So, I would doubt that every man was just going by the distance from his elbow to the tip of his middle finger as there could be some variation in that which would make building tricky.
Remember, Solomon’s temple was a modular building, or as some today call modular buildings a systems-built structure, where all the parts were formed offsite by a plan and then brought to the site and put together. You could not do that without exacting measurements.
1Kings 6:7  And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
The ability of ancient peoples to make use of exact measurements is astounding when you consider the precision of the Pyramids of Egypt to the buildings the Incas and the cultures before them left behind in what is now Peru in South America.
The horns of the altar were a place people would run to for sanctuary and protection from other contexts. But committing murder and running to God’s altar for protection would not save someone from punishment.
Exodus 21:14  But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.
1Kings 2:29  And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him. 30  And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me. 31  And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father. 32  And the LORD shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah. 33  Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the LORD. 34  So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.

There are words here in these passages that are not used in the same way today as they were in early modern English. But, there are many studies you can access online that go into great detail on how these items looked.