In our OT passage, it begins by God speaking to Moses in regards to someone being found guilty of sinning and how they are to repay restitution for their sin. In this reading, the offender is guilty of honesty or integrity in his dealings with either his neighbours or the priests. Whatever the damage incurred here, it has to be restored and compensated with a 20% penalty in addition to the sacrifice of an unblemished ram.
I wonder if the same restitution penalties were enforced today, would people think twice about doing what they do?
These instructions served as the framework for the people of Israel to know what to do when they sin. The next commands given by God to Moses were regulations to be followed by the priests.
We read that this fire had to burn 24 hours each day, seven days each week. Every morning one of the priests had to put on his priestly garment and go empty the ashes of the altar. After removing the ashes, he changed clothes before he carried the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. This priest refueled and stoked the fire in this process, and the ashes were removed while the fire was burning.
Back then they had the altar burning 24/7 and it was always ready for an offering to make atonement for ones sin. Today, we have Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and is always ready and waiting for us to bring Him our sins. How fitting that we would be reading this passage at this time of year!
The instructions for the grain offering I found to repeat of those found in Leviticus 2:1-16 with a couple of additions. First of all, the priests are told in this passage how they are to eat their portion of this sacrifice brought by the people. Secondly, we find instructions regarding this sacrifice when it is brought by the priests themselves on the day of their anointing for the priesthood. On this occasion, this sacrifice is not eaten, but wholly offered and consumed on the altar.
For the sin offering, it would appear from these verses that one of the big sights to see in the outer court area of the Tabernacle was a bunch of the priests feasting on the sin offerings brought to them by the people; these meals had to be eaten there. Everything had to be thoroughly washed of this sacrificial blood.
During the guilt offering, not only do the priests eat this food there on the premises, but the priest that assisted in the sacrifice gets to keep the skin (Leviticus 7:8).
And finally the peace offering. We see three occasions as to why someone might bring a peace offering.
- as an expression of thanksgiving (12)
- as the result of a vow (16)
- as a freewill offering (16).
In verses 28-36 we see the parts of the fellowship offering that belonged to the priest - the breast (vs 30) and the right thigh (vs 33).
In our Hebrews passage, the writer continues from chapter 7 indicating a change with regard to the law.
Obviously, Jesus is the high priest of verse 1, and he's seated in heaven where the "true tabernacle" is located in contrast to the tabernacle/temple on earth.
With the old covenant, it consisted of temporary priests and a temporary tabernacle. While the new covenant will consist of an eternal priest and a heavenly tabernacle.
Verses 3-5 tie in well with our Leviticus passage saying that the priests had prescribed gifts and offerings on the old covenant. So it was necessary for the High Priest of the New Covenant to offer it too. Jesus made one offering once for all. The writer explains that the Messiah (verses 1-7) is not working from a pattern of true things like Moses and Aaron, but he is working with the true things themselves in Heaven.
I imagine it would have been very difficult for the Hebrew Christians at the time to fully understand what was happening. We have the luxury of reading what was, and is, and is to come. I am preparing this posting on Easter Sunday and what this day means. How thankful I am for Jesus as my High Priest and the sacrifice He made for me, for which I did not deserve!