Leviticus 24

Sunday Evening Bible Study

October 26, 1997

Introduction

Weíve been going through some miscellaneous laws, but itís still all about holiness, being like God.

Leviticus 24

:1-4 Oil for the Lamps

We've talked before how these things in the tabernacle were to be a picture for us of heaven (ie - Hebrews)

Though the lamp (menorah) might indeed be another picture of Jesus, the Light of the World, I canít help but see that the specific idea here is that of Godís people in heaven.

In Revelation 1, the candlesticks represent the seven churches.

Jesus said,

MAT 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

:2 pure oil olive beaten

Clear oil, meaning that there was no impurities in it, such as from dust, or picking entire twigs off of trees, only olives.

Beaten olives, left to drain, produces a clearer oil too. In contrast, when olives were placed in an olive press, bits and pieces of olive would get into the oil, discoloring it.

The whole emphasis seems to be on the purity of the oil.

What is it in us that produces light?

The Holy Spirit in us (the oil!)

Lesson:

Keep the oil pure.

Let the Holy Spirit stay pure in you, not clouded with impurities of your flesh.

At our Men's Retreat this weekend, one of the things we looked at was how we are to live our lives, not according to the old sinful nature, but to live according to the new nature:

(Eph 4:17-32 KJV) This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, {18} Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: {19} Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. {20} But ye have not so learned Christ; {21} If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: {22} That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; {23} And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; {24} And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. {25} Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. {26} Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: {27} Neither give place to the devil. {28} Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. {29} Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. {30} And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. {31} Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: {32} And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

When we live according to the old nature, the Holy Spirit is grieved, the oil is not clear and pure any more.

:3 from evening to morning

It was lit every evening, and "dressed" every morning, prepared for the night's burning.

Note: The lamp only burned at night, not in the daytime.

We live in a dark world, and we need to keep our lamps burning brightly while it is still "night".

Romans 13:12-14 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to {its} lusts.

Clean out the lamp and just let it burn, it gives off lots of light.

As you do this, you have an effect on those around you.

Lesson:

Priests take care of lamps.

We ought to be looking out for our own "lamps" as well as the "lamps" of each other.

Sometimes we need to get the old bottle brush out and scrub out the yucky stuff.

Sometimes we just need to refill with fresh oil.

Trim the lamps.

(Gal 6:1 KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

:5 bake twelve cakes

Showbread - Also called "Bread of the Presence", or "Bread of Face" (as in, before the face of God).

There would be twelve loaves of bread placed fresh on the table each week. As the old ones got stale, they were replaced with fresh bread. The priests then ate the week old bread.

It speaks of our fellowship with God, sitting down at Godís table for dinner.

There's one loaf for each tribe, the picture is that there's food for everyone.

Lesson:

Priests set the table for fellowship.

Part of our responsibility as priests is to help "fellowship" to happen.

We ought to be trying to bring Jesus into our conversations with each other.

We ought to be encouraging each other in Jesus, bringing each other to the table of intimacy with the Lord.

Don't put only ten loaves out, but all twelve. We shouldn't be setting only a table for certain friends, but everyone.

:5 two-tenths of an ephah

About six pounds of flour per loaf, about 72 pounds of bread altogether!

it was "fine flour", meaning, wheat, not barley.

:6 in two rows

probably more correctly, in two stacks, there doesn't seem to have been enough room on this small table to spread them out too much (only 1 1/2 x 3 feet)

:7 pure frankincense...memorial

This incense was to represent God's portion of this bread, and each week, when the loaves were changed, the old frankincense was burned on the altar of incense, allowing the perfume to rise before the throne of God.

:8 Every Sabbath day...

It's not that we are to have fellowship only once a week.

The point is that the bread was always fresh.

There should never be any "staleness" in our relationship with Jesus, but it should be always "fresh".

:9 it shall be Aaron's

The priests would eat the old showbread.

In a sense, for a priest, fellowship is one of those things we "feed" on.

Fellowship ought to be a part of our spiritual diet.

:11 Shelomith

Her name means "peaceful". Kind of ironic, considering it seemed that there must not have been much peace in this woman's house.

This was a woman who appears to have been married to an unbeliever, her husband being an "Egyptian" (vs.10)

You can see some of the results of being "unequally yoked" here, played out in the lives of this couple's children.

:11 the Name

What is "the Name"?

EXO 3:13-14 Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" 14 And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

The Tetra-grammaton - YHWH

God's name was considered so holy by the Jews, that they were afraid to even spell it all out, let alone ever say it, probably due in great part to this event, as well as God's commands about honoring Him.

God's name was so revered that when the scribes would be making a new copy of the Scriptures, every time they got to God's name, they would bathe, change clothes, and use a special pen, just for writing these four letters.

Instead of actually pronouncing God's name, lest they be unworthy of doing so, the Jews would pronounce "adonai" ("lord") in place of God's name. When vowel pointings were added to help preserve proper pronunciation, they added the vowels of "adonai" to the consonants "YHWH", to tip the reader to say "adonai", instead of actually pronouncing the name. Together, the letters produce what we know as "Jehovah". In actuality, it would probably more correct to pronounce it "Yahweh" or "adonai".

In most Bibles, you can tell when YHWH is used by the translators using all capital letters, LORD, in the Old Testament, this is Yahweh.

What does "Yahweh" mean?

It's really hard to nail it down, but it seems to be based upon the Hebrew verb "chayah", meaning "to be", and hence could be translated "the becoming one", "the existing one", "the always-in-the-present-tense one".

:11 blasphemed the Name and cursed

It wasn't just that he spoke God's name, it was that he used God's name in a derogatory, unflattering, crude way.

EXO 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the \Lord\ your God in vain, for the \Lord\ will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

God warned them not to abuse His name, but as yet, they did not know what to do when someone broke that law.

:12 they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be showed them.

I like the way they handled this here!

So often, in new or different situations, we feel like we have to react or come up with something on the spot in dealing with a situation.

Instead, they decided to wait and find out what God wanted them to do.

Lesson:

Give God a chance to give you an answer.

PSA 37:7a Rest in the \Lord\ and wait patiently for Him Ö

(Psa 37:34a KJV) Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land

It seems that sometimes weíre so anxious to get out of our problems that we donít take time to listen to what God is wanting to tell us. Iíve seen some folks run from one person to another, asking people to solve their problems for them, but never seriously considering asking God about their problems, and waiting for His answer.

Some of the best "results" in counseling Iíve seen are those people who are learning to get their counseling from God, and who have waited for Godís answers, which usually come slowly, and one at a time.

But the good results don't come if you hear God's answer, but don't do it.

Example:

The nation of Judah had been trampled by the Babylonians, and only a small handful of people were still in the land, along with the prophet Jeremiah. When a crisis arose, the people came to Jeremiah to find out what God wanted them to do.

(Jer 42:5-7 KJV) Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us. {6} Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God. {7} And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah.

This is a good way to start. But the problem was that the answer that God finally gave to Jeremiah wasnít the one the people wanted to hear.

(Jer 43:1-2 KJV) And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, even all these words, {2} Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:

Lesson:

Wait for God's answer, then obey it.

:14 Outside the camp

Punishment was to be done outside the camp of Israel. Probably the idea was to cleanse the camp from sin, that sin produced exclusion from fellowship.

Jesus was "brought outside the camp", he was crucified outside the walls.

Lesson:

Proper discipline

I couldn't help but think of another totally unrelated application though - disciplining our children.

When your child acts up in public, or just in front of other people, it's a good idea to learn to take them "outside the camp", that is, away from the public eye.

This keeps your child from feeling humiliated in front of other people, especially friends or siblings.

:14 all who heard him lay their hands on his head

Here, those people who witnessed the sin laid their hands on the accused one's head, symbolically witnessing to the fact that he is the one who was guilty, bearing his own sins.

It may also symbolize that the witnesses had seen the sin committed, and now that they had done something about it, they were returning the responsibility of the sin back onto the head of the guilty.

Matthew Henry says that the Jews said this when they did it, "Thy blood be upon they own head, for thou thyself hast occasioned it."

It's also important to note that here we see the principle that an accused person was to be faced with his accusers.

Your accusers would not just be faceless people, they had to be real people.

Also, if you were to accuse someone, you couldn't do it secretly, you had to admit publicly that you had witnessed their action, even laying your hands on their head, laying the guilt on them.

:17 he that killeth any man

God goes on to give standards for punishment.

Possibly this is because the occasion of this audience with God was that the people knew what the offense was, but they didn't know how to treat the offenders - hence some general guidelines for judgment.

But this also gives us just how big a deal it is to blaspheme the name of God

It wasn't some minor offense worthy of a little spanking. It was a big time, major crime.

Note:

Some Bible critics say that this shows an inconsistency in the Bible, since one of the Ten Commandments is "thou shalt not kill" (Exo 20:13)

The problem is that the King James doesn't do a good job showing the difference in the Hebrew words.

In Exodus, the word "kill" (ratsach)means "to murder", carrying the idea of planned out murder.

Here, the word translated "kill" (nakah) means "to beat", "strike", or "kill", it's a word conveying violence.

But the word translated "put to death" (muwth) means "to die", "execute".

There is supposed to be a penalty for violent crimes.

:20 eye for eye Ö

By the same measure you do something, it returns to you.

How does this square with Jesus' words?

MAT 5:38-42 "You have heard that it was said, '\An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.\' 39 "But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 "And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 "And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

Does Jesus mean for us to throw out the Old Testament standards? No.

Jesus deals with personal responsibility.

The Old Testament Law deals with governmental responsibility.

The government still has the authority to punish those who do evil.

See Rom.13:1-4

:22 one standard for you...

This was of particular interest to the people, the man had had an Egyptian for a father. How to apply these laws?

Lesson:

Donít be partial.

No room for partiality.

You can't take it easy on your friends ("native") and be harsh on those you don't care about ("stranger").

JAM 2:9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin {and} are convicted by the law as transgressors.

:23 ...and stoned him

They carried out the judgment.

This is pretty harsh, but could you imagine the effect this kind of thing would have on the media (records, TV, movies, radio) if this was the law of our country?