We talked about the weight of being chosen and the wages as well. Now we look at the purpose. Aaron & his sons and the rest of the Levites were not chosen for the fun of it. They were given a reason, a purpose. This is where we begin to see that.
This is where we see the ordinance of the red heifer. The red heifer is meant to be a sacrifice, but not just any sacrifice. It is the sacrifice that cleanses the tabernacle. That is one of the primary roles and purposes of the priest. They are to offer the sacrifices and teach the people so that they can be purified and so that their sins can be covered. Their purpose is to serve YHWH, and to help the unclean to become clean before the LORD.
What happens when the unclean does not become clean… when the priest does not do his duty as he has been called by YHWH to do?
20 ‘But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD;
If the priest did not do his duty, the peoples sins were not covered, and they were forever separated from the assembly … the people … the congregation of YHWH. That’s quite the responsibility.
Aren’t you glad that there is both a perfect Sacrifice and a perfect Priest. One who cannot fail in his priestly duties because He is both the one who cleanses us, and the one who makes us clean. The one sent of YHWH to answer the perfect call with perfect purpose.
Thank you Jesus the Christ. The one prophesied to come, and the one to fulfill all of the prophesies. Now we too can have a purpose!
Rev. John Camiolo Jr.
As time goes on, Christ continues ministering. It doesn’t matter where He is, or what He is doing, He keeps ministering. However, as you will see, the people’s response to Him contrasts greatly. A paralytic is brought to Him. He tells him that his sins are forgiven, and not long after that, to get up and walk. The scribes (educated folk) criticize him for the first thing, and the people were awestruck and praise YHWH for both. Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees criticize Him for mingling with the rabble. Meanwhile, the tax collectors and sinners come to repentance. John (the Baptist)’s disciples critically question him about why they and even the Pharisees disciples fast, but Jesus’ don’t. Jesus replies that now is not the right time. If you expect too much from someone or something at the wrong time, you can destroy the work that needs to be done.
Day by day, people keep coming to Him, in spite of the scribes and Pharisees criticisms. We actually begin to see deep contrasts in who and how people come to Him. A synagogue official (public VIP figure) comes boldly to Him pleading with Him to heal and revive his dead daughter. Meanwhile an unclean woman with an issue of blood comes to Him secretly hoping to get a scrap from the master’s table. She wants to be healed. While she comes in secret, He heals her publicly. While the leader calls to Him publicly, Jesus heals his daughter in secret.
As He goes on and casts out demons, the religious leaders follow along with the gentile beliefs and decide that the only way for a demon to be cast out is if you send in a stronger, tougher demon to kick the first one out. But then you end up with a different, stronger, demon to deal with.
Yet none of this matters to Jesus. He feels compassion for the people for they are like sheep without a shepherd. So, what’s His response? That answer is in chapter 10.
The second half of Leviticus 14 continues with the same theme only in a different direction. While the first half responds to cleansing for a person who has leprosy, the second half deals with “leprosy” (mold) in a house. In order to keep people healthy, and keep people in a healthy relationship with YHWH, the priest is responsible for responding to unclean environments. So when a home becomes unclean, or as YHWH says, “I put a mark of leprosy on a house in the land of your possession…” It is the priest’s responsibility for responding to the situation and getting to the bottom of the problem.
It’s amazing just how much the priest is responsible for. The priest acts as a priest, offering sacrifice to the LORD for the people. The priest’s job is also to teach the people the laws and precepts. He also acts as a physician diagnosing and treating some medical problems. They also deal with culinary questions. What is clean? What is healthy to eat? What is downright forbidden? And, now we see them diagnosing problems with a house and acting as an inspector and contractor who is responsible to get the appropriate people on the job to get the right work done. With all of this work to do; where does the priest’s job end? Being the man who is responsible for the relationship between men and YHWH, he has a whole lot more to do to cleanse the lives of the people than we give them credit for sometimes.
Leviticus 14 is another long chapter with almost 60 verses, but the subject matter is very important. Chapter 13 was about leprosy and how to discern leprosy from not leprosy. Meanwhile, this chapter is about cleansing. It’s about overcoming the problems and being able to return to health and life. It is about hope and the process of coming to cleansing. Leprosy was considered to be one of the more incurable diseases of the time. Once you had true leprosy, there was little hope of ever living a normal life again. It was generally a death sentence.
But this chapter brings hope. It brings the promise that a person can come out of it. This is a chapter of cleansing. In this chapter the priests and people are given instructions on what to do when a person is shown to be clean. What steps are necessary to allow them to return to the lives that they lost… their homes, their families. It is a promise that there are no true lost causes.
When i look and think about this, i think about those who have been consumed by drug and alcohol abuse. Those who lose their lives and purpose due to choices they have made over the years. There is hope. YHWH can bring cleansing and strength to those who need it. But it’s not limited only to drug and alcohol abuse. It is also for all other sins.
We are not without a way out. God can make a way. Not only can He, but He does time after time, day after day. No situation… no life is hopeless. We need simply to pursue Him. He is the one who brings cleansing.
What makes something clean or unclean? What gives one thing value over another? Is it its color, its shape, its size? How about its purpose, the way it’s used, or how strong it is? What gives you and i value?
We live our lives day after day giving value to one thing over another. We set priorities in our lives. Yes, i will take that call. No, i don’t have time for that meeting. Will i rise early and do my devotions, or will i shut off the alarm and get some much needed extra sleep. In everything we do we are giving things, people, and situations value and purpose in our lives.
In this chapter, YHWH is doing the same thing. God is saying, these kinds of animals have value when it comes to what you eat. These others are not worth keeping around. If you eat these animals it’s alright, if you even touch the carcasses of these you will be unclean. You should definitely not touch them to eat them. They are forbidden.
It’s interesting to me seeing what makes the clean different from the unclean. The clean animals are all herbivores. None of them purposefully eat another living creature. Thus the carrion birds are forbidden. Those who eat unclean things are forbidden. Thus pigs are rejected. Insects that have jointed legs with which to jump are clean. So grasshoppers and locusts are clean, but spiders and ants are not.
One of the things that really interests me is understanding the very nature of these kinds of animals for food. For instance, sheep, the most common animal used for meat for the Israelites, are the healthiest meat there is other than buffalo. Meanwhile, fish with scales and fins are very healthy for you with oils that are very good for you. What YHWH has called the “clean” animals have time and again proven to be the best meats nutritionally and health wise.
It’s almost like God’s rules about food and meats actually work to help keep you healthy! Imagine that! I wonder how many other of His rules and regulations benefit man in the same kinds of ways?
It becomes the responsibility of Aaron and his sons to serve the LORD; to come between the people and YHWH; to bring the people, their requests, their need for cleansing to the LORD. As such Aaron and his sons needed to have one foot on the earth, and the other in the doorway to heaven. How do you balance the impurity and sin that is so prevalent in the world with the awesome purity and Holiness of God? Talk about a difficult task; yet that is what Aaron and his sons are charged with doing.
The first steps in fulfilling that role are described here. Before anything else, Aaron and his sons need to be separated from the group and cleansed both physically and spiritually. They are responsible for being representatives / ambassadors / spokesmen of men to God. Therefore in coming into God’s presence they must be as close to clean and pure as humanly possible. So in this process, Moses is responsible to follow YHWH’s instruction and purify Aaron and his sons.
Could you imagine having the responsibility of being the one that stands between man and YHWH? Every day you must perform your duties and bring the sacrifices and offerings of the people before Him. Thus the process of being set apart for God is extremely important.
One thing of interest that i did note, in these first 25 verses of Exodus 29, is that in verse 22 it talks about taking the fat from the ram and from all of these different parts, and then it says, “and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination)“. When i was looking at this, i thought it was kind of weird that it said to take the fat from the kidneys, and the fat from the entrails, and the fat tail, etc. and then randomly talked about the right thigh because it is a ram of ordination.
It does seem kind of strange, but not so much when you refer back to Genesis 32:24-32. This passage in Genesis is where Jacob, who had been blessed and set apart by God, wrestles with God. God touches his thigh socket and he has a limp from then on, and the sons of Jacob do not touch the sinew of the thigh of the meat that they eat. It is an interesting parallel. I don’t know beyond a doubt that this is what this is referring to, but it sure does give you pause to think.