From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/24:

“Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” God modeled the seventh day of rest during creation. The Sabbath is not just for rest but also a day of holy convocation, meaning a day to gather together as a congregation to worship the Lord, pray, and hear teaching by the Levites from God’s word. In addition to the weekly sabbath, there will be a Sabbath Year – “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord.” The Lord says there shall be a sabbath year after seven cycles of seven years (forty-nine years) called the Year of Jubilee. In this year, all slaves are to be released, debts forgiven, possessions returned, and rest from work for the people and the land. This is a beautiful picture of the rest to come in Jesus.

Tim Keller explains this final rest through Jesus Christ in his book Hidden Christmas – “Finally we learn from the genealogies that Jesus is the ultimate rest. At the end of the genealogy, Matthew makes much of the numbers of generations. In Matthew 1:17 he says there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen generations from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen generations from the exile to Christ. So there have been “six sevens” of generations, and that makes Jesus the beginning of the seventh seven… The seventh seven, the Sabbath of Sabbaths, was a foretaste of the final rest that all will have when God renews the earth (Romans 8:18-23, Hebrews 4:1-11).” How amazing is that?! We have an orderly God who is working His perfect plan for our ultimate rest! Under the New Covenant with Christ, everyday will be a day of rest for Christians. We can rest knowing that our salvation is secure through the completed work of the Lord by His Son Jesus Christ.

God also gives instructions for seven annual feasts which the children of Israel are to celebrate in remembrance of His goodness, faithfulness, and provisions He provided and continues to provide for His people: 

  1. The Passover – To be celebrated on the fourteenth day of the first month in remembrance of God’s delivery of His people from Egypt and how the wrath of God passed over those under the blood of the lamb. 
  2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread – To be celebrated along with the Passover starting with the fifteenth day of the first month and lasting seven days. They are to eat unleavened bread, (bread without yeast), as a testimony of how the Lord quickly brought them out of Egypt and an illustration of how God desires his people to be pure, as yeast is symbolic for sin in the Bible (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).
  3. The Feast of Firstfruits – A day celebrating the harvest once the Israelites enter the promised land. It is a day to show gratitude to the Lord for the harvest once a year on the day after the Sabbath that ended the Passover and began the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  4. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) – A celebration at the end of the grain harvest, fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits, giving thanks to the Lord for the harvest. While giving the instructions for the Feast of Weeks, the Lord reminds the Israelites to leave the corners of their fields for the strangers and the poor to harvest. We will see later in the story, in the Judges Era, that this provision for the strangers and the poor is how a Moabite widow, Ruth, is going to meet Boaz and become a relative of Jesus Christ.
  5. The Feast of Trumpets – The first day of the seventh month is to be a day of rest and memorial blowing of trumpets to gather the people for a holy convocation.
  6. The Day of Atonement – On the tenth day of the seventh month, offerings are made to atone for the sins of the people. 
  7. The Feast of Tabernacles – On the fifteenth day of the seventh month and for seven days the Israelites are to rest, worship, and offer sacrifices to the Lord. This feast is to be a rejoicing celebration of God’s provisions. Per Jewish tradition, the priest took water from the Pool of Siloam and brought it back to the altar and poured the water in a basin while the people sang Psalms 113-118. The people camp together in booths for seven days in remembrance of the wilderness living. On the last day of this feast, when Jesus arrives on the scene, He is going to shout to the crowds, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).

Each of these feasts points to the arrival of Jesus. He is the coming Lamb of God who will be slaughtered on the Passover and buried during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus will rise from the dead during the celebration of the Firstfruits, becoming the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20). Fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven, on the day of Pentecost, Jesus will pour the Holy Spirit upon His people, which seals our salvation and restores us to the Lord. And one day Jesus Christ will return again. One day the trumpets will sound, pouring out God’s wrath upon the world. However, anyone under the final atoning Lamb, the blood of Christ, will experience eternal rest which is foreshadowed in the Feast of Tabernacles. 

Tomorrow the Israelites receive the blessings for obedience and the punishments for disobedience. Keep reading. (Leviticus 23:1-25:23)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/23:

The Lord instructs Moses to tell the Israelites, “Whoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who gives any of his descendants to Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people, because he has given some of his descendants to Molech, to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name. And if the people of the land should in any way hide their eyes from the man, when he gives some of his descendants to Molech, and they do not kill him, then I will set My face against that man and against his family; and I will cut him off from his people, and all who prostitute themselves with him to commit harlotry with Molech.”

Molech worship involves child sacrifices. God takes very seriously the sacrifice of children, whom He created, and He commands the community to punish by death those who are killing babies. But if the community fails to carry out justice on the ones sacrificing children, God ensures that He will serve justice to those doing this sort of practice. The Lord also addresses the worship of mediums, cursing your parents, and sexual sin. If a person violates any of His commandments, that person will either be cut off from the people or killed.

God gives additional instructions for the priests and the high priest on holiness. Yesterday the Lord provided instructions to Israel as a nation for holiness in personal conduct. Today we see the priests are called to a greater standard of holiness and the high priest to an even greater level of holiness. One commentary said, “The threefold degree of holiness among the Israelites – people, the priests, and the high priest – corresponds to the graduation of holiness in the tabernacle – the outer court, the Holy Place, the Most Holy Place” (Rooker from Enduring Word). Since the priests are to represent the Lord to the people and mediate on their behalf, they are called to this higher standard of holiness and purification. That’s why the Lord says over and over again that they are not to profane His ordinances, the sanctuary, or the offerings “for I the Lord sanctify them.”

We end the reading with God describing acceptable sacrifices. The Lord says the offering “must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.” Hebrews chapter 10 explains that animal sacrifices only covered the sins of the people until Jesus’ arrival – “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect… But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.’ Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’… He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:1-10).

One day in this story, the Lord will do away with the sacrificial system, and His Son will do for us what animal blood can’t. In the meantime, God is working His plan for salvation through the Israelites. Therefore, we end the reading with the Lord saying – “you shall keep My commandments, and perform them: I am the Lord. You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord.” Keep reading. (Leviticus 20:1-22:33)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/22:

Today the Lord gives His people the prohibitions against eating blood that we looked at a couple of days ago –  “And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” And it will be the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, whose blood will make the final atonement. 

God chose the Israelites as His people from whom the Messiah will come. He desires for His people to be set apart from the ones around them. Therefore, He commands them not to be like the people in Egypt where they left nor like the people in Canaan where they are going – “According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God.” 

The Lord instructs the Israelites not to uncover the nakedness of their father, mother, sister, aunt, uncle, and so forth. He also says to them, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.” The Lord explains that the people around them, the Canaanites, are engaging in these sexually deviant acts, and that His people are to be set apart as holy – “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.”

Remember the Canaanites are descendants of Ham’s son Canaan. They were cursed as a result of Ham’s perversion toward his father Noah. Apparently the Canaanite people have progressed in their sexual perversion, and the Lord does not want them to negatively influence His people. God desires for His people to be holy. That is why the Lord says to Moses, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.’” Then He gives them instructions on how to be honest, fair, and kind to one another. He says “you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” 

God establishes boundaries for His people, which will distinguish them from the people around them. He expects His people to exhibit self restraint and care for others, including the poor, blind, deaf, and strangers.  And why does God desire for His people to be holy and set apart from the people around them? So they can be a light in this dark world and draw others into His presence – “You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

During the Conquest Era, we will read an amazing story of a Canaanite harlot who is drawn into the light and glorifies the Lord. And during the Judges Era, we will read about a Moabite widow who puts her faith in the Lord and benefits from God’s instructions for His people to leave the grain along the edges of their fields for the poor and foreigners living among them. So keep reading. (Leviticus 17:1-19:37)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/21:

Today the Lord gives Moses and Aaron instructions for the future regarding leprosy – “When you have come into the land of Canaan, which I give you as a possession, and I put the leprous plague in a house in the land of your possession… the priest shall go in to examine the house.” So we see that the Lord is sovereign over all things, including leprosy. We also see that God gives instructions to be applied in the present and distant future since the Israelites don’t currently own any homes in Canaan. So the priests will have another job once settled in the promised land, the job of inspecting leprous homes. 

Then the Lord gives specific instructions regarding bodily discharge, emission of semen, women’s customary discharge of blood, and discharge of blood that isn’t customary. Did you notice how God gives women a period of rest again before they are to re-engage? Yesterday He told the women to rest after childbirth, and today the rest is due to her period of customary discharge of blood. “And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean… But if she is cleansed of her discharge, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.” 

Lastly, we read about the Day of Atonement. This is a very important day that occurs once a year when the high priest atones for the sins of the people in order for them to be in relationship with the Lord. It is the only day the priest can enter the Most Holy Place where the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat are. On this day, after Aaron sacrifices a bull for himself, he is to take two goats for the sins of the people. One is to be sacrificed and the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat, and the other is to be released into the wilderness – “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.” The goat released into the wilderness is the scapegoat, which is another foreshadowing of Christ, the once-and-for-all Scapegoat who is coming to bear our sins – “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). 

After Jesus’ crucifixion there will no longer be a need for animal sacrifices or for the annual scapegoat. Jesus will say, right before He dies while He is hanging on the cross – “It is finished” (John 19:30), meaning that the total fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation has been and is being completed through His Son Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow we learn whose nakedness we can’t uncover among other things, so keep reading. (Leviticus 14:33-16:34)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/20:

The Lord gives the Israelites instructions regarding childbirth. He tells women to rest forty days after the birth of a male and eighty days after the birth of a female allowing them a period of healing before re-engaging. The boy is to be circumcised on the eighth day as the Lord first told Abraham – “and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised” (Genesis 17:11-12).

Then the Lord lays out some pretty detailed instructions regarding skin diseases, identifying leprosy, protecting the community, and treating contaminated items. God provides guidance on how to properly handle people with skin diseases and leprosy in order to protect the person and the community. The priests are the ones who are responsible for caring for the people spiritually and physically. They are to use God’s word as a medical resource to examine the sick. Did you notice that God’s health care plan allows everyone to receive care? “But if he is poor and can not afford it he shall take one male lamb…” The Lord still requires the poor to pay something but not as much as those with more.

God also provides instructions on cleansing a leper who has been healed. Note that the cleansing doesn’t heal the leper; it’s a ceremonial purification where the blood of an animal will be shed on behalf of a leper who has been healed. The lepers should be healed before presenting themselves to the priest. We have read about the Lord turning Moses’ hand leprous and then back to normal (Exodus 4:6-7). And we will soon read about the Lord striking Miriam with leprosy and healing her seven days later (Numbers 12:10-15). 

When Jesus arrives on the scene, He too will supernaturally heal lepers. Jesus will not shy away from people with leprosy. He will actually draw close to a man with leprosy and put his hand on the leper and say be cleansed – “Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them’” (Matthew 8:4). And when Jesus encounters ten lepers, He will tell them “‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14). So we see that Jesus is not made unclean when he encounters the lepers. Quite the opposite. The lepers are healed by Jesus before going to the priest for the cleansing. Jesus Christ obeys His Father’s instructions given in Leviticus 14 when he tells the lepers to go to the priest for the ceremonial cleansing. 

Jesus’ healing of the unclean lepers, who are separated from community, is a beautiful picture of why His Father is sending Him. Jesus is obediently coming as the final sacrificial Lamb to die in order to heal unclean sinners who are separated from His Father and to restore us back to Him. Tomorrow we learn about bodily discharge and where the name scapegoat originated, so keep reading. (Leviticus 12:1-14:32)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/19:

Today the priests offer sacrifices before the Lord just as the Lord instructed. “Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” 

“Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord spoke, saying ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.’”

The Lord instructed the priests in Exodus 30 not to offer strange incense to Him nor shall they make any for themselves, but it shall be holy for the Lord. The incident with Nadab and Abihu is another strong reminder that we must come to the Lord His way. God has laid out clear instructions for the high priests specifying how to approach Him, and any deviation from that will result in death. This might sound harsh to us, but this is how the Lord is revealing His holiness to the Hebrews whom He just brought out of idolatry filled Egypt. This is the first time the priests are offering sacrifices on behalf of the people, and God expects them to be humble and revere Him as holy. The Lord is not going to allow this blatant disobedience to set the stage for how to approach a Holy God. The Lord is working His plan to reconcile His people to Himself through the priests and the Israelites, through whom the Messiah is coming. Later in the story, after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, Paul will write about this reconciliation – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19). God’s plan of reconciling us to Himself is not something to take casually. Our sinful nature is so disgusting that it is going to require the horrific death of His only Son to satisfy the wrath that we deserve. God does not want us to take this lightly, as He didn’t want Nadab and Abihu to take His holiness and worship of Him lightly.

We end the reading with the Lord giving instructions on clean and unclean animals. Noah obviously knew which animals were clean as the Lord said to him before the flood, “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female” (Genesis 7:2). Here, in Leviticus 11, God gives more detailed instructions to the Israelites. These rules regarding clean and unclean animals are intended for more than just health benefits for the Israelites. The Lord is setting His people apart from the people around them – “For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

Tomorrow, the Lord gives instructions for treating diseases. Our Creator knows best how to care for His people, and thankfully He has given us a resource to know Him and His guidance for our lives through the Bible – so keep reading! (Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/18:

Today the Lord gives further instructions for the offerings. He tells Moses to instruct the children of Israel not to eat the fat or the blood of an animal. The Lord gave Noah similar instructions after he stepped off the ark – “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood” (Genesis 9:3-4). 

The Lord explains further in Leviticus 17:11-12 why He commands His people not to eat the blood – “‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.’” And in Leviticus 3:16, the Lord explains why they are not to eat the fat – “And the priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering with a pleasing aroma. All fat is the Lord’s.” 

So the Israelites are not to eat the blood because it is for the atonement of souls, pointing to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is coming to shed His blood on the cross in order to reconcile us to His Father – “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).  And the Israelites are not to eat the fat because it belongs to the Lord. We have seen the term “fat” used symbolically to mean “best”. Remember when Pharaoh invited Jacob’s family to come and live in Egypt, the Lord said to Jacob – “Bring your father and your households and come to me; I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land” (Genesis 45:18). So the Lord expects the Israelites to give Him their best because God is worthy of our best. The Lord taught His children to bring Him their best when He gave them instructions for the Passover before they departed Egypt. He told them to take a lamb without blemish to sacrifice to Him saying, “It is the Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11). God desires His people to bring Him their best because He is sending His best, the Perfect Lamb of God, to redeem us.

We end the reading with the ordination of priests. Moses properly clothes Aaron and his sons as priests and offers sacrifices on their behalf – “Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.” Aaron and his sons will remain in the tabernacle for seven days till the consecration is complete. 

Tomorrow the priests begin their new jobs. However, Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, dishonor the Lord by disobeying His instruction. Keep reading to see what happens when men try to approach God their own way and not the way the Lord laid out for us by His word. (Leviticus 7:1-8:36)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/17:

In today’s reading we see further how seriously the Lord takes our sin. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, our sin is disgusting! Therefore, the process for atoning for our sins is an unpleasant mess. It requires a bloody sacrifice as first demonstrated in the beginning of this story, in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. The fig leaves Adam and Eve tried to use for covering did not suffice. Because sin is costly, God had to kill an innocent animal that he called good to cover the guilty Adam and Eve. Ultimately it cost God His innocent only Son to cover our guilt once for all.

Today the Lord addresses four categories of people: priests, whole congregation, rulers, and common people. We are all sinners, but God ensures a way for everyone to atone for their sins from the highest to the lowest among the people – “If he is not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring to the Lord, for his trespass which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons: one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering… But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering.”

The day is coming when the people will no longer have to bring an animal sacrifice. The day is coming when John the Baptist will arrive on the scene and announce, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus is coming to shed His blood as the final sacrifice, freeing us from our sins and restoring us to His Father. And to Jesus Christ “who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6). 

Tomorrow, the priests get dressed for their new job. Keep reading. (Leviticus 4:1-6:30)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/16:

Today the Lord continues to teach the Israelites how to come to Him through the sacrificial system to atone for their sins, and He starts with the priests because they are sinners just like everyone else. We learned in Exodus 28 that the Lord chose the Levites to serve as priests and to do the work of the tabernacle. Today the Lord dedicates the Levites through ceremonial cleansing and sacrificial offerings. God says to Moses, “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine.” 

Remember during the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, the Lord consecrated all the firstborn of Israel to Himself (Exodus 13:11-16). Today the Lord tells Moses that the Levites “are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel; I have taken them for Myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel. For all the firstborn among the children of Israel are Mine, both man and beast; on the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them to Myself. I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the children of Israel. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the work for the children of Israel in the tabernacle of meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel when the children of Israel come near the sanctuary.”

The Lord is substituting the Levites in place of the firstborn of Israel. This is called the principle of substitution, the principle first seen illustrated by the Passover in Egypt. There a spotless lamb died in place of the firstborn of each household under the blood of a lamb. It is also a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, who is coming to die as the final substitute. Jesus will willingly lay down His life and shed His innocent blood in substitution for our lives. When we enter the Divided Kingdom Era, we will meet a prophet named Isaiah who will speak of the coming Lamb to be slain for us – “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). But for now, the Levites will serve as priests until Jesus arrives on the scene as our Great High Priest.

After dedicating the Levites, God gives instructions regarding offerings. The book of Leviticus describes five major offerings: burnt, grain, peace, sin, and guilt.

Burnt Offering – underscores prayers of petition and praise 

Grain Offering – pleasing aroma; often mirrors emphasis of the offering it accompanies

Peace Offering – fellowship with the Lord by having a communion meal

Sin Offering – atonement of a committed sin, metaphor of purification 

Guilt Offering – atonement of a committed sin; metaphor of compensation for wrongdoing

(Summary of the offerings came from the ESV Study Bible) 

We also read about the priests being presented through a wave offering. A wave offering is when the offering is literally held in the hand and waved in the air to acknowledge the Lord and to show that the offering is for Him. 

Today, the children of Israel celebrate the second Passover as the Lord instructed the Israelites to do annually in remembrance of what He did for them when He brought them out of Egypt. However, thirty nine years will pass before the children of Israel celebrate another Passover like this one. Keep reading to find out why. (Numbers 8:1-9:14, Leviticus 1:1-3:17)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/15:

After Moses anointed and consecrated the tabernacle and all of the items inside it, the leaders of the tribes of Israel made offerings. “And they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered carts and twelve oxen, a cart for every two of the leaders, and for each one an ox; and they presented them before the tabernacle.”

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Accept these from them, that they may be used in doing the work of the tabernacle of meeting; and you shall give them to the Levites, to every man according to his service.’” The Levites are responsible for the care and transportation of the tabernacle. The Lord will divide the Levite tribe into Levitical clans. Each Levitical clan – the Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites from the three sons of Levi – Kohath, Gershon, and Merari (Genesis 11) – will be assigned particular responsibilities and care for the Tabernacle. Moses and his siblings, Aaron and Miriam, are descendants of Kohath (1 Chronicles 6:2-3). The Lord has assigned Aaron and his sons as priests, but the other Levites are also assigned work for the tabernacle. Today Moses gives to the Levites – “Two carts and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon, according to their service; and four carts and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari, according to their service, under the authority of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. But to the sons of Kohath he gave none, because theirs was the service of the holy things, which they carried on their shoulders.” 

The Lord will further explain the duties of each Levitical clan in Numbers 4. But in simple terms, the Kohathites will be responsible for carrying the holy items of the sanctuary, the Gershonites will carry the sanctuary coverings, and the Merarites will carry the pillars, frames, pegs, bases, and cords for the tent of meeting. The Kohathites are not given oxen because the holy things of the tabernacle are to be carried on poles on their shoulders. We will learn that the Kohathites have a very high pressure job because if they even touch the holy items that will be covered by Aaron and his sons, they will die (Numbers 4:15). The fact that they will die if they touch the holy items highlights God’s holiness and our need for a mediator. Aaron and his sons will serve as the temporary mediators before the arrival of Jesus Christ, the final Mediator.

Moses then takes up a second offering. The Lord tells Moses that the twelve leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel are to bring gifts, one each day for twelve days, with all bringing exactly the same gifts. So let’s break down the twelve tribes of Israel because if Jacob had twelve sons and the Levites aren’t supposed to be counted among the twelve tribes, how do we still have twelve tribes? Remember on Jacob’s deathbed he told Joseph that his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, would be like his own (Genesis 48:5). So here is a list in the order mentioned in today’s reading:

Levi – Leah’s son (not counted)

1) Judah – Leah’s son

2) Issachar – Leah’s son

3) Zebulun – Leah’s son

4) Reuben – Leah’s son

5) Simeon – Leah’s son

6) Gad – Leah’s servant’s son

7) Ephraim – Joseph’s son, Rachel’s grandson 

8) Manasseh – Joseph’s son, Rachel’s grandson 

9) Benjamin – Rachel’s son

10) Dan – Rachel’s servant’s son

11) Asher – Leah’s servant’s son

12) Naphtali – Rachel’s servant’s son

Tomorrow the children of Israel celebrate their second Passover, so keep reading. (Numbers 7:1-89)