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Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7

LEVITICUS

Lesson 10 – Chapters 6 and 7

We have a lot of detail to discuss today, so please do your best to stay focused. This is not unlike learning your multiplication tables; it at times seems tedious while you’re doing it but if you have any hope of being able to progress and deal with the broader and deeper questions, you have to pass through this and gain understanding.

We’ve been studying Leviticus chapter 6 and ended up last week by addressing the question of whether or not holiness can be transferred by simple contact. And perhaps the better question is not so much CAN it be transferred, but will the Lord ALLOW it to be. As to whether it CAN be transferred by contact the answer is probably yes, with some limitations; as to whether the Lord will allow that to happen in all cases the answer is no. It seems that a person or thing must be declared holy in order to contact something else that is holy. Something that has NOT been declared holy, but contacts something that is holy, is usually destroyed. And I maintain that is because of the danger that something that was not authorized to be holy could accidentally attain it; but the Lord simply will not allow it to happen so carefully guarded is holiness as the most precious commodity in existence.

So, I find myself persuaded by Baruch Levine’s argument that the meaning being communicated in verse 11……and one that we need to tuck away as a general God-principle….is that only an authorized person who is in a state of holiness is permitted to touch that which is holy.

We continue in Leviticus chapter 6 starting with vs. 13. Let’s re-read it from verse 12 until the end of the chapter.

RE-READ LEVITICUS CHAPTER 6:12 – end

It says that what follows is about an offering, in Hebrew korban , that the priests are to present……. and, as I explained in earlier lessons ONLY Priests can present the sacrifices and the ONLY priestly family among the Levites comes from Aaron, his sons, and their descendants. Now this verse is often misunderstood. It seems to indicate that there are regular occasions on which priests are anointed with oil, and that the ritual that starts in vs. 13 is performed on those occasions. But, that is NOT the case.

Remember when these words of Leviticus were first being spoken: it was early on in the Exodus from Egypt, and these are but continuing instructions on the construction of the Wilderness Tabernacle and the rights and rituals and laws and commands that will operate within the Tabernacle. In other words, what we’re reading in chapter 6 was spoken BEFORE

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7 the Tabernacle was built, and BEFORE Aaron and his sons were consecrated as Yehoveh’s priests. So what is simply being communicated here is that beginning on the day that Aaron and his sons are officially consecrated as priests, the ritual instructions for the Tabernacle are to take effect.

The instructions begin by designating a standard amount of flour, semolina, that is to be used for the Minchah sacrifice: and that is 1/10 of an Ephah….about 2 quarts. Remember, that this particular Minchah offering is the PRIESTS’ offering and it accompanies the twice daily ‘Olah offering. As the ‘Olah involved one Ram in the morning, and a 2nd one in the evening, so half of this quart of semolina was sacrificed in the morning and the other half in the evening. Now, whereas some of the Minchah offerings of the regular worshippers COULD be eaten, NONE of the Minchah offering offered by the priests could be eaten. It ALL had to be consumed by the fire of the Brazen Altar. The general rule of thumb is that if it is a priest’s offering (meaning laymen were nowhere involved) that the entire offering must be consumed by fire. If it is an offering brought by a laymen (even though it is always a Priest who actually puts the offering onto the Altar) then usually a majority portion of that offering can be eaten.

We discussed before that there were a number of acceptable ways in which the flour could be prepared; however, for the PRIESTS’ Minchah offering, only one way was acceptable: it had to be cooked on a griddle and the dough had to be “well soaked”. In other words a sufficient amount of liquid, chief among which was olive oil, had to be used so that the mixture was on the wet side as opposed to the dry side……those of you who do baking know what I mean.

Let us not overlook in verse 14 this constantly repeated theme (“….a pleasing odor to the Lord…”), is that the purpose of burning up things on the Altar is to create smoke, and the purpose of the smoke is to create a pleasant odor for God. For those who may not have been here through the later parts of Exodus and the earlier parts of Leviticus, it might be a little unsettling to read here in the OT that the process of burning things up on the Altar is all about making smoke. But there is no getting around it. We just have to remember that while God had spiritual reasons for this that the Israelites couldn’t yet grasp, the Hebrew mind of that day thought of burnt offerings within the typical Middle Eastern cultural mindset of that era; and it was a common understanding among those cultures that gods were simply super-humans who had ears and eyes and feet and arms……and NOSES. And, that they resided up in the sky, and so the smoke would float upward to where they lived.

Another recurring theme presented in verse 15 is one which we also touched on earlier: those grains and animals and wine designated for sacrifice belong to God (“…..it is the Lord’s…). In effect this is the definition of Holy Property; it is anything that belongs to Him.

What we find as a general rule in this section of Chapter 6 is that priests may NOT benefit from the korban, the offerings, that the priests bring before the Lord. That is, they may not partake in offerings made by, or on behalf of, the priesthood. Rather, they can ONLY benefit or partake of korban offered by the general population……the common worshippers.

Starting in verse 17, we move from the ritual of the Minchah to the ritual of the Hatta’at…..which I have decided is better to refer to as the Purification Offering than the usual translation of Sin

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7 Offering (which is a little misleading).

Notice that the ‘Olah is a blood sacrifice, then the Minchah is a sacrifice of plant life, and now with the Hatta’at we’re back to a blood sacrifice again.

Let’s briefly discuss a few details: to begin with, just as the animal for the ‘Olah is to be slaughtered on the NORTH side of the Altar, so is the Hatta’at animal. Next we see that the priests are to eat of this sacrificial animal under the same rules as the standard Hatta’at offering. That is because verses 17- 22 are discussing the priests’ role in the service of the Hatta’at WHEN IT IS BROUGHT BY THE LAY WORSHIPPER…..A COMMON MAN. It changes, though, in verse 23, when it switches to discussing what must occur on special Hatta’at sacrifices, brought on behalf of the priesthood or the whole congregation of Israel. And, verse 23 defines those special sacrifices as times when the blood from the sacrifice is brought into the Sanctuary for use to be sprinkled around inside the Holy Place, or on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when it is used inside the Holy of Holies.

So, to be clear, when a common man brings his Hatta’at offering to the priest for the priest to supervise the ritual, then part of the animal is burned up and another part is set-aside for the priest as food. But since the meat from the animal that is offered on behalf of the priests is considered kodesh kodashim , MOST Holy food, then ONLY the priests are permitted to eat it, and they can only partake of it INSIDE the Courtyard of the Tabernacle. Further any blood from the animal that spatters onto the priestly garments must be removed by washing the garments in water. If any of the meat from the sacrifice is prepared in a clay cooking pot, then the pot must be destroyed…..because they perfectly understood that clay was porous and it would absorb some of the meat broth that was cooked in it. If the priests’ portion of sacrificial meat was cooked in a metal pot, then because it is NOT porous, a simple washing of it was sufficient. And, the priest’s family could not use this meat since only males could participate.

I remind you of the statement we see once again in verse 20, which is usually translated “anything that touches its flesh shall become holy”. And, I suggest that that is an incorrect translation and should read, “anything that touches its flesh must be in a holy state”. Again, the issue is does the Holy food transfer it’s holiness to the people and the garments and the cook pots; or is it that each of the items, and the priests themselves, must already BE in a holy state in order to touch the holy food. I say it’s the latter in order to agree with the Biblical pattern that is presented throughout the Bible.

In verse 23, things change a little because this is no longer about a sacrifice being brought by a common man; rather it is about a sacrifice being presented by the priests either on behalf of themselves or the nation of Israel as a whole. In this case, the ENTIRE sacrificial animal must be burned up and either priests or non-priests may eat NO part of the animal.

LEVITICUS CHAPTER 7

READ CHAPTER 7 all

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7 Recall that chapter 7 is just a continuation of chapter 6. The entire context remains the same. Armed with that, let’s continue with the priestly instructions for the next type of sacrifice, the ‘Asham, or Reparation Offering as I prefer (this is usually translated as “guilt offering”). And, in verse 7 of chapter 7, what we find is that the provisions for the ‘Asham are identical to those of the Hatta’at. How do I know this? Because it explicitly says so! And, we see that this is a Kodesh Kodashim class of offering, because in verse 1 it says, “it is most holy”, which is the translation of the Hebrew Kodesh Kodashim.

We won’t spend much time here, because it is identical to the Hatta’at; but, just know that this is yet another blood sacrifice…..that is, an animal is slaughtered…..and it must occur in the same “place” as the ‘Olah…..which is on the north side of the Brazen Altar. And, as with the ‘Olah, it is the internal organ fat that is burned up on the Altar. If it’s a sheep, then it’s fat tail is to be included. And, the portions of meat that are leftover (not put onto the Brazen Altar) are given to the priests as their food, and they are required to eat this food within the grounds of the Tabernacle.

Verse 8 makes it clear that the valuable hide of the animal is NOT to be burned up on the Altar; rather, it is to be given to the priests. It becomes the sole property of the priests. What would they do with this hide? Sell it for money or barter it for something else. The idea is that the priests of God are to be fully cared for by the whole congregation. And, let me remind you that a modern day Pastor is NOT the current equivalent of a priest. That is not to say that modern day Pastors should not be supported to some level, as that is most certainly addressed and called for in the NT. But, the NT comparison is to a teacher of the Word, not to a priest. The better comparison is between a Pastor and a Rabbi.

We’re also told that regardless of whether the ‘Asham or the Hatta’at is the offering of a worshipper OR of a priest, that the priest gets to keep the hide……this is opposed to the rule that a priest cannot keep for food meat that he himself, or another priest, offers. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, and generally it is when a sacrifice is to be burned up NOT on the Brazen Altar at the Tabernacle, but on a common wood fire, OUTSIDE THE CAMP. When we get to the Red Heifer sacrifice, we’ll get into more details about that.

Now, verses 9 and 10 offer another little peculiarity; if a Minchah offering is of dough that has been cooked, then the priest who brought it gets to keep his portion. But, every other kind of Minchah, presumably meaning uncooked dough or flour, is to be shared among the priests. No reason for this is offered. But, one thing is for sure: common men, worshippers, cannot share in it.

Verse 11 leaves behind the ‘Asham offering, and now addresses the Zevah offering, which we call the Peace Offering. Now, let me say that pretty much ANY concise name we choose for this offering, and most others actually don’t fully encompass all the nuances of that offering. So, calling the Zevah a Peace Offering is only partially acceptable.

Perhaps the key thing to understand about the section of chapters 6 and 7 that we’re about to enter, beginning with verse 11 of chapter 7, is that these are a different CLASS of offerings. The offerings discussed in chapters 6 and 7 up to now have been of the Kodesh

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7 Kodashim class……the MOST holy. We now come to the Kodesh Kallim class….or, the offerings of lesser sanctity. Now, let me be clear; the Kodesh Kallim are not offerings of NO sanctity……just not as much sanctity as the other ones. So, just as the Tabernacle’s front room is called The Holy Place, and the back room is called the Holy of Holies, so we have MOST holy offerings, and now simply holy offerings.

With the Kodesh Kallim offerings it was permissible for BOTH the worshipper AND the priests to eat of it; the worshipper OUTSIDE of the Tabernacle, the priests INSIDE the Tabernacle.

I don’t want to make your heads spin, but you need to know that there were several types of Zevah offerings. We’ll just look at the two primary ones: the Zevah Shelamim and the Zevah Todah. If you wandered around modern day Israel you’d hear the word Todah spoken often because it is the Hebrew word for Thank You. But it also is the Hebrew word for “Thanksgiving”. So the idea behind the Zevah Todah was that there was an occasion to express gratitude to Yehoveh. And, this gratitude was usually regarding being delivered from a dangerous situation such as surviving a battle or even from surviving a serious disease.

In common language the Zevah Todah incorporated BOTH an animal sacrifice and a grain sacrifice. Technically the Zevah Todah was ONLY the animal sacrifice portion, which was ALWAYS accompanied with another offering……a grain offering, a Minchah offering. And, just to confuse us a little further, depending on the exact kind and purpose of the Zevah, the dough of the grain offering was either leavened or unleavened. We’ll just leave it at that.

The second primary kind of Zevah was the Zevah Shelamim and it could be called the “vow offering” as it had to do with both the original pronouncement of a vow a worshipper might undertake and when the vow was completed. So upon the making of a sacred vow to God the Zevah Shelamim was performed, and when it the vow was complete it was again performed. In the NT book of Acts we read of Paul being instructed by James to pay for the vow offerings for some men who had completed their vows (this was in order to prove to all who were present that Paul remained a Torah observant Jew even with his belief that Yeshua was the Messiah). What Paul was specifically paying for was the sacrificial animals required for the Zevah Shelamim offering these men were required to perform.

In verse 17 we begin to receive what are somewhat general rules of sacrificial procedures, even though for the moment they are in the context of the Zevah sacrifices. And it is that there is a certain amount of time that people have to eat the meat from sacrificed animals…..whether the partaker was a priest or a non-priest. And, the general rule is that you have two days to eat it because at the start of the 3rd day any that remains must be destroyed by fire. In fact the instructions are pretty onerous. Should somebody eat meat on the 3rd day after it was sacrificed, the eating of the meat effectively negates the sacrifice itself…..it’s like it never happened. Except that it would be better IF that person never sacrificed at all because by breaking the law about eating it before the 3rd day that person has committed yet ANOTHER sin……because as of the 3rd day the meat is deemed ritually unclean.

Since the Shelamim could be handled by laymen, common worshippers…..and the meat could be eaten by the worshippers OUTSIDE of the Tabernacle, we get a further admonition that

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7 flesh that touches anything unclean should not be eaten (this, because, the flesh, the food, would have become unclean by contact). And this puts an exclamation point on the rather critical God-principle that uncleanness can be transferred by contact. In this case the meat began ritually clean; but should it contact something or something that is in an unclean state, then the meat becomes “infected” with this uncleanness. So, the principle in a word is this: uncleanness is CONTAGIOUS.

Further, as it states in vs. 20, its not just food that touching something unclean becomes infected with uncleanness; should a worshipper become ritually impure, ritually unclean (same thing)……for instance by coming into contact with death or a creature that is considered unclean…….. then not only does that PERSON become unclean but any food that person touches (food which had come from a holy sacrifice) ALSO becomes unclean. Again; uncleanness, impurity, that comes into contact with something this is holy or clean, makes that holy or clean thing or person UNCLEAN. Remember our one-way street from last week: holiness cannot is not permitted to be transmitted by touch or contact; but uncleanness can be transmitted and often is.

Next an instruction is given that NO Israelite shall eat the fat of an Ox (same thing as cattle) or sheep or goats. Some time back we examined the word for fat and found that there were two types of fat: Helev and Shuman. Shuman was ordinary fat, as found under the skin or hide of an animal……just like what we might see in a cut of meat. Helev was fat that covered some of the internal organs, and it was THIS kind of fat that was used for sacrificial burning up on the Brazen Altar; and, it was THIS kind of fat, Helev, that is specifically declared off limits in verse 23. Verse 23 is NOT talking about Shuman…..ordinary meat fat. So the idea is that the Helev type of fatty portions of the sacrifice can NEVER be eaten by anyone…..layman or priest. However, this was also, in short time, extended to the prohibition of eating Helev fat even if the animal had NOT been offered for sacrifice. That is, after Israel settled in the Promised Land, as some of the more well to do owners of flocks and herds started to eat more meat……meat that had been slaughtered purely for eating purposes…… the same rule applied.

Verse 26 lays down the law that no blood may be eaten by Israelites. What this meant was that the blood drained from an animal could not be made into some kind of food; nor could the blood be an ingredient in cooking, nor could it be drunk. And, by the way, the drinking of animal blood is still relatively common in the world, outside of Western culture, today. It also meant that meat had to be WELL drained of it’s blood, and covering it in salt (which is a natural absorbent) helped to remove residual blood within the various cuts of meat that both priests and laymen would cook and eat. The NT admonition that waste salt was only fit to be trodden upon was referring to this salt that had been used to soak up the residual blood and then discarded.

Let me remind you that there was ONE primary reason that blood was NEVER to be consumed by man; it is because blood had been set aside as the ONE AND ONLY medium to obtain atonement, and therefore could be used for NO other purpose under Heaven. Blood was, and remains, the only means of atonement that God will accept, because it’s the ONE AND ONLY means of atonement He has ordained. And upon the advent of Our Lord Yeshua, Jesus the Christ, the sacrificial system that we are studying in Leviticus, transformed whereby

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7 it still required blood for atonement, but it was only HIS perfect blood that could atone. The blood of Bulls and goats LOST their efficacy to atone for sin….never to return; that is, just as God specifically ordained certain animals’ blood to be spilled for each type and class of atonement, upon Jesus’ death and resurrection, God ordained that animal blood would no longer be acceptable for atonement.

And, that, my friends, is why as much as on the one hand we long for the day the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem……because we know that upon it’s rebuilding it will literally, for absolute certainty, be only a matter of months until Christ returns……on the other hand, the rebuilding of the Temple for the purpose of sacrifice to achieve forgiveness of sins must be pointless. Yet, we also find in God’s Word that when the Temple is rebuilt that sacrificing WILL begin again and interestingly we don’t find the Bible condemning this action or speaking of it in negative terms. Therefore there is a lot we do not know or understand about this coming rebuilding of the Temple and return of animal sacrifice. I will tell you contritely that how I felt about this 2 years ago is no longer how I feel about it today. I’ve learned too much that tells me there is more mystery than answer to this question about the coming 3rd Temple and the renewal of sacrifices.

Without doubt the NT informs us that BELIEVERS are this era’s “temple of God” on earth. Paul says in 1Cor. 3:16, “Do you not know that you yourselves are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” This astounding reality is repeated and confirmed in a number of places in the NT.

Yeshua insisted that He was GREATER than the Temple; listen to Matt. 12:6…. “But I say to you that in this place is one greater than the Temple (referring to Himself).” Then in Mark 14:58, Christ called HIMSELF the Temple of God ( “We have heard Him say, I will destroy THIS temple, made with hands, and in 3 days raise up another not made with hands”).

When and how did mankind become “temples of God”? On Shavuot (Pentecost in Greek). What is it that makes any particular man a temple of God? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The ONLY thing that made the Temple in Jerusalem the Temple of Yehoveh was because it was His DWELLING PLACE. When God’s Spirit is no longer there, whether it be a man or the Temple, it is just a hollow structure serving no more useful purpose than an empty warehouse. But there is a heavy Scriptural implication that His Spirit WILL return to the Temple when it is rebuilt. Why, exactly, I’m not at all certain.

So at the same time that from a Believer’s viewpoint a new Temple is rather redundant, I want to urge a caution: we should NOT be judgmental towards those religious Jews who yearn for the Temple, and those who are actively constructing Temple ritual instruments, nor those who will, in the near future, officiate those Temple procedures INCLUDING ritual sacrifice. A dear friend of mine and of Torah Class is Gershon Solomon, the founder and president of the Temple Mount Faithful. As the name implies it that organization’s goal to see that Temple rebuilt right where it was destroyed almost 2000 years ago. As I hope you are beginning to see, the earliest disciples of Christ (including the Apostles) even Christ Himself, constantly gathered at the Temple. Long after Yeshua’s death, we’ll find Paul participating in Temple worship and animal sacrifices. The early Believers STILL went to the Temple, after Jesus’

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7 death, and performed all the traditional Temple ceremonies. Listen to Acts 2:44-46 : “And all they who believed , were together; and whatever belonged to them, was of the community. And they who had a possession, sold it, and divided to each one as he had need. And they continued daily in the temple, with one soul: and at home, they broke bread and took food rejoicing, and in the simplicity of their heart.” Some things about the Lord and His plan that at first seem so easy to understand, and so black and white, turn out to be complex and hard to discern. As Christians we can at the very least view the rebuilding of the Temple and the reconstitution of its animal sacrifices as a sign of where the history of the world stands and as a Biblical promise fulfilled. I think that perhaps the Temple is going to have a different purpose and meaning just as the sacrifices will have a different purpose and meaning. The Temple will perhaps once again mark that place on earth that the Lord chose long ago as His earthly throne. It will be that visual confirmation and monument to His greatest and sovereignty that has been missing for 2 millennia. The sacrifices will, for a time at least, be a commemoration (in my view) of God’s plan of salvation and a graphic demonstration of the work of Messiah. This isn’t much of a stretch; Jews and Christians commemorate and honor many past events by re-enacting portions of the event.

For all we know the re-ordination of the Temple and the kindling of the Brazen Altar fire, followed by parade of Bulls, and Rams, and sheep, and goats up to that Altar will be the thing that impacts God’s chosen people in such a way that they finally get it: Yeshua of Nazareth really DID fulfill all of this!

Well, back to the matter at hand. The end of verse 26 includes the phrase “….in any of your settlements”. That is, the consumption of blood must not happen in “any of your settlements”. Now, why would the Bible add these words that seem to be redundant? Where else would Yehoveh be talking about except an Israelite settlement? The idea being expressed here is that this law about not eating blood is to be obeyed even outside the Tabernacle grounds, and even OUTSIDE THE CAMP. Many of the ritual laws we’ve encountered apply to the Tabernacle area only. But, this law, along with some others, applies in all circumstances wherever a Hebrew lives. In modern lingo, this says you don’t eat blood anytime, anywhere, for any reason whatsoever.

While all of Chapter 6 and the first part of Chapter 7 of Leviticus were primarily aimed at the priesthood, verse 29 of Chapter 7 is specifically directed at “ the people of Israel”……lay worshippers. And, it is concerning the Zevah Shelamim offering. And, the regulation that is commanded is that the worshipper must PRESENT the Zevah Shelamim sacrificial offering himself, by his own hands. But, what “presenting” means, here, is NOT laying the animal on the Brazen Altar…..for that is ALWAYS a task that ONLY a priest may perform. Rather, it is that the worshipper lifts the animal up, and makes a waving motion with it to the Lord. In Hebrew, this is called Tenufah ……literally “presentation”……so we get this picture of a common man bringing his animal to the Tabernacle, it is slaughtered, and whatever part is going to be burned up on the Altar is “presented” to Yehoveh by the worshipper. Then, it is turned over to the officiating priest, who lays the fat portion on the Brazen Altar, and it is burned up. Sometimes Christians call this “presentation” of the sacrifice a “wave offering”. And, by the way, it doesn’t mean we stand, look up, and wave “hello” to God.

Lesson 10 – Leviticus 6 & 7 Last week we discussed that there were two primary classes of offerings: Kodesh-Kodashim, which was the “Most Holy” class; and the Kodesh-Kallim, or the offerings of lesser sanctity. The Most Holy offerings don’t permit much participation by the lay worshipper. However, the “offerings of lesser sanctity” usually DID have significant participation by the one bringing the offering. Obviously, the Zevah Shelamim was a Kodesh-Kallim class of offering since the worshipper “presented” the offering himself, directly to Yehoveh.

Verses 34 and 35 reinforce a couple of general rules we have already discussed. Notice in vs. 34 it says that Yehoveh has taken the meat of the Zevah Shelamim offering and given it to the priests. That is, when something is brought to be sacrificed, it immediately becomes Yehoveh’s property……Holy property. And, it is His decision to turn some of that property that belongs to Him, over to the priests. Notice also that in verse 35, at the end of that verse, that it explains that what has just been instructed is to take place AFTER Aaron and his sons have been consecrated to be God’s priests…….which at this point is yet to happen. So, Lev. chapters 1 –7 are speaking of that which IS TO HAPPEN, but haven’t occurred just yet. That is, as of the end of Lev. Chapter 7, the Wilderness Tabernacle has yet to be constructed. God is merely preparing Israel for what is about to come.

Next week, chapter 8.