The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: OC Sacrificial System

Law vs. Principle Charts: Atonement Sacrifices

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The Old Covenant sacrificial system is very poorly understood by Christians, and this leads to a lot of confusion about how God judges us, and how salvation is acquired.  Let’s now learn about the difference between what the laws that God gives, and the spiritual principles that those laws are promoting. (Click on each image to enlarge.)

Law vs. Principle Chart: Atonement Sacrifices (OT)

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Beyond Atonement: Understanding the True Purpose of the Cross

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Because the Church as a whole downplays the Old Testament—so much so that we often throw it out altogether and publish the New Testament alone—Christians have ended up with a very warped view of the cross. When it comes to answering the question “Why did Jesus die on the cross for our sins?”, the common answer is “Because He loved us.” Well, this answer simply doesn’t work. You see, Jesus has always loved us and as God Almighty, Jesus has been around forever. So why did He all of a sudden decide to show up on earth in human form and go through the whole crucifixion event? Read more of this post

Intercession: Exposing the Lies

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Like tithing, intercession is one of those topics in the Church which a majority of teachers are teaching you wrong about. It’s a big problem when your shepherds lie to you, because lies end up creating problems in your personal relationship with God. Bad teaching about tithing inspires Christians to disrespect God and/or fear that His acceptance of them is not something they can count on. Bad teaching about intercession does major damage as well. Read more of this post

How the Cross Broke the Law

How the Cross Broke the Law

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We Christians like to celebrate Jesus as “the Lamb who took away the sins of the world.”  Yahweh presents Jesus’ death on a cross to us as an act which atoned for the sins of the entire world.  In other words, Jesus was the ultimate sin offering.

Now under Yahweh’s Old Covenant, there were different types of offerings.  Each offering had specific rules and regulations attached to it.  If these rules were not strictly adhered to, the whole offering was considered null and void. Let’s look at some of Yahweh’s requirements for a sin offering. Read more of this post

The Levites’ Inheritance

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There are thirteen tribes in Israel: twelve regular ones plus the priestly tribe of Levi. Yahweh chose the Levites to be His special tribe because they stayed loyal to Him at a time when the rest of the tribes fell away (see Why the Levites?). In return for their loyalty, God decided that special access to Him would be a greater inheritance for the Levites then some silly plot of land. So when the Promised Land was divided up by Joshua, the Levites weren’t given a big piece like everyone else. Instead, each of the other twelve tribes had to give up a certain portion of their cities and land to become the property of the Levites. This way, the Levites would have a place to live, but their priestly influence would also be spread throughout all of Israel instead of just being concentrated in one area. The plan was to disperse the Levitical influence throughout the nation so that everyone would be reminded to keep their focus on Yahweh. Read more of this post

Know Your Bible Lesson 6: The Sacrificial System

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In this lesson, we will continue our study of the four books which comprise the second major time period in the Bible: Slide2Now when you read about the sacrificial system in these books, it’s very easy to get confused and overwhelmed. Leviticus is the book that really gets into the details about how various types of sacrifices were to be processed, and much of the instruction in Leviticus was directed at Levite priests.  Yahweh was quite particular about what kinds of offerings He would accept and about how those sacrifices were to be handled.  Since the goal of this post is to simplify these concepts and help you identify important principles, we’re not going to bog you down with the graphic details of which anatomical parts Yahweh wanted the priests to dig out of various animal carcasses. What you need to understand is that this was very hard, messy work. It required a man to be in good physical condition and it was the kind of job that never let up (see Who should be the spiritual leader in a Christian home?). With Yahweh creating so many reasons for people to have to bring sacrifices and with just one processing center (the Tabernacle) available to service millions of people, the priests were always busy.

In this lesson, we’ll take a brief look at the different kinds of sacrifices Yahweh required. We’re just going to look at the main ones that are going to come up over and over again throughout the rest of the Bible. After we get familiar with these key sacrifices, we’ll learn about how the system of sacrifices was abused by both the people and the priests.

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Know Your Bible Lesson 5: God is Holy

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In our previous lesson, we learned that when Yahweh chose Israel to be His special nation, He wanted her to stand out from the rest of the world in ways that would attract other nations towards her and entice them to know more about the God she worshiped. And when people started asking about the God of Israel, Yahweh wanted to make it clear that He wasn’t just another dumb idol with limited powers who could be manipulated by human beings. Yahweh was the one true God—the Sovereign Authority, the Supreme Power who could pulverize every other idol in existence anytime He wanted to. Having already proved His supremacy over all the gods of Egypt through the ten plagues, it was now time for Yahweh to teach Israel how to revere Him properly. By the middle of Exodus—which our first book in this four book period—God has taken Israel out to a barren wilderness where she will have no other nations around to distract her. And it is in this barren place that He decides to appear to His chosen people in a very personal way.

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Leviticus 9-10: Abihu & Nadab Offer Strange Fire to the Lord

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A tough concept for modern Christians to get their minds around is God’s sacrificial system in the Old Testament. Wading through long chapters of boring, persnickety instructions about what to sacrifice for what and how and when makes us feel fidgety and bored. Why on earth did God order up sacrifices in the first place? The old “it was a metaphor for Jesus” argument really doesn’t work. You don’t have to get this grand just to make the point that people had to die for their sins. The system of sacrifices that God set up was elaborate, time consuming, and tedious. It was hard, hot, messy work. It was a continuous rotation between barbecuing meat and dissecting animals. It was before the days of rubber gloves and plastic aprons. The priest wore tunics, which were basically dresses. Ever try to dissect a bull in a dress with your bare hands? How about draining all its blood and then flinging it onto the sides of an altar? That had to smell nice. Yuck. Why was God being so gross? Read more of this post

Why the Levites? (Exodus 32)

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Why did Yahweh choose the Levites to be the one tribe He set apart for Himself in a special way?  The Levites were the only ones who had permission to transport the Ark of the Covenant, they were the only ones allowed to set up and break down the Tabernacle in the wilderness.  Of the thirteen tribes of Israel, Yahweh chose only one tribe out to draw near to Him in a special way.  Why was this?  Had the Levites done something especially pleasing to God?  Yes, they had. Read more of this post

Learning from the Levites: Specific Assignments

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Levi was the founding father of the Levite tribe.  Levi had three sons, and for centuries their descendants were careful to keep track of which son of Levi they descended from: Kohath, Gershon, or Merari.  If you’re not from a family that focuses on lineage, all this fuss over who your daddy was might seem ridiculous.  But we must remember that this is God’s world and He directs all the activities in it.  By inspiring the Israelites hyper-focus on bloodlines, He ended up having a nation that was composed of many well-defined groups.  God used the convenience of these groups for His personal agenda.  Consider how easy it was for God to set apart the tribe of Levi as His own.  If no one had been keeping family records, this wouldn’t have been possible to do.  And because the descendants of Levi were so careful to  keep track of which son of Levite they descended from, God could very easily divide up the work He wanted them to do into three neat sections.  So often what we think is a good idea is really God inspiring us to do something that benefits Him. When you’re trying to create a portable temple in a barren land, a lot of curtains are required. Where there are curtains, there is hardware to hold them up.  Breaking down and setting up the Holy Tent, the Meeting Tent, and the entire altar sacrificing area was no quick task.  Today we can buy tents that spring open with one press of a button or mattresses that automatically inflate and deflate. Back then, they had to do things the long hard way. Complicating the task was the fact that God was supersensitive about His special things.  This was not the kind of work one could perform carelessly or with a bad attitude.  Holy eyes kept a close watch over the entire process and God was very clear that He would instantly strike down anyone who dared to violate His precise instructions. Read more of this post