Feb. 22. Dealing with Leprosy

Lev. 13:1-14:57

Leprosy was a dreaded skin disease suffered by many. The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them instructions for identifying and managing active and inactive cases of the disease. Other conditions such as rot, fungus and mildew may have also been referred to as leprosy. Clothing and houses could be infected. Persons or objects with active cases of leprosy were deemed to be unclean.

An unclean person was to be isolated from others to prevent the spread of the disease. Laws were also presented that dealt with the cleansing of individuals whose cases of leprosy had become inactive.

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Feb. 21. Clean and Unclean Animals; Purification after Childbirth

Lev. 11:1-12:8

Even though no prior description of clean and unclean animals had been recorded, God had made that distinction during the days of Noah. Two of a kind of unclean animals and seven each of clean animals boarded the ark at the time of the flood.

As God continued instructing Moses and Aaron regarding life and conduct, He gave them specific descriptions of each clean and unclean species. There were clean and unclean animals of the land, air and waters included. Eating or even touching an unclean animal caused the person to be unclean. If a carcass or part of a carcass touched a person or object, that person or object became unclean.

God had His reasons for labeling various animals unclean. Whether one understands the purpose of various commands is not important. The important thing is to obey.

Childbirth rendered the mother unclean for a period of time. After the birth of a male child, she would be unclean for seven days. The child was to be circumcised on the eighth day and she would continue in her purification until a total of forty days. A mother of a newborn female child would be unclean for two weeks and then continue in her purification for sixty-six more days. This purification was due to the presence of blood during the birth process.

Following the period of purification, the mother was required to bring to the priest a burnt offering and sin offering—not because she had sinned, but because of the sacredness of birth to the Israelites.

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Feb. 20. Nadab and Abihu Destroyed

Lev. 10:1-20

God had given specific instructions to Aaron’s sons, the priests for presiding over the various burnt offerings. On one occasion, Nadab and Abihu offered strange or profane fire on the altar. It is not known what made their fire different, but it is known that God was not pleased with the fire. Instead of accepting their sacrifice, He sent fire from heaven and “devoured” them. God demands true worship from His people today.

Aaron’s other sons, Eleazar and Ithamar were given more responsibilities following the death of their other brothers. They and their father were also given further instructions. Among those, was the prohibition of consuming strong drink when they went into the tabernacle.

Aaron was not permitted to publicly grieve for his sons, lest the people consider his grief as condoning his sons’ sin. In his private grief, he burned the sin offering instead of eating it. Upon hearing his reasoning, Moses was satisfied with his answer and accepted his feelings.

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Feb. 19. Priests Consecrated and Begin Ministry Lev.

8:1-9:24

After receiving the instructions for the various offerings, final preparations for the worship of God were complete. Moses brought Aaron and his sons before the congregation of Israel and prepared them for their consecration/inauguration to their positions of ministry.

Aaron being the high priest was the first to be cleansed and clothed in his priestly garments. Moses then prepared Aaron’s sons, the priests for their consecration. These ceremonies were followed by the offering of the sin, burnt and wave offering that God had commanded. The new high priest and priests were to remain inside the tabernacle for seven (a number signifying completeness) days to finalize their consecration.

On the eighth day, Aaron and his sons began their work. Aaron was required to offer sin and burnt offerings for his own purification before offering for others. Following that, he was to preside over the offerings for the people. It is significant that Christ, the sinless One is our High Priest today.

God showed His approval by sending out fire that, “Consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar.”

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Feb. 18. Concluding Instructions for Offerings

Lev. 6:8-7:38

After having given commandments for the burnt, grain, peace, sin and trespass offerings, God concluded His instructions to Moses regarding their performance. Some parts were to be burned on the altar; some were to be burned outside the camp; some were to be eaten by Aaron and his sons as their portion and some parts such as fat and blood were strictly forbidden to be eaten.

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Feb. 17. Various Offerings Continued

Lev. 4:1-6:7

All of us sin at various times without realizing it. God devised a plan even with the Israelites to remedy such a situation. He set up regulations for different classes of people with varying ratios according to the moral responsibilities of the people involved. Sin offerings from priests for their own sins were more expensive than those from the common people with varying degrees for other classes between them. Blood from animals or birds was required to atone for unintentional sins once the people had been made aware of them. If a person was too poor to offer an animal sacrifice, he could substitute an offering of fine flour.

A trespass offering was required for certain offences against God. Refusing to reveal information probably in court or touching a dead body of beast or man, including anything else unclean making him unclean required a trespass offering.

Sins of fraud, theft or loss of property entrusted to one’s care required a trespass offering. Those sins also required restitution of the property’s full value plus one-fifth.

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Feb. 16. Directions for Various Offerings

Lev. 1:1-3:17

Upon completion of the tabernacle, God spoke to Moses and gave him instructions for a series of offerings that were to be made by the people. He was specific and precise in His requirements for those offerings. One can see through a study of the New Testament how these offerings were forerunners of the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for man.

Of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi was selected as the priestly tribe. Aaron and his sons were chosen as high priest and priests with the remainder of the tribe being assistants (teachers, scribes and other types of ministers) to the priests.

These priests were to administer the offerings brought by the Israelites. By being fully occupied by the duties of the priesthood, they had no means of producing for their own needs. It was the responsibility of the other tribes to care for the necessities of the Levites.

The burnt offering was a free will sacrifice brought as atonement for their sins. It could be from the herd, flock or birds. If the offering was from the herd or flock, it must be a male without blemish. Birds were to be young. God expected the best from the Israelites. Likewise, He expects the best from us today.

As a grain offering, meal, cakes or firstfruits heads of grain could be brought to the priests. No leaven or honey was to be involved in the preparation of these sacrifices. Salt, however, was required as its seasoning.

The third offering required by God was a peace offering. This sacrifice could be a male or female from the herd or flock. As with the burnt offering, those animals were to be without blemish.

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Feb. 15. Priestly Garments Made; Tabernacle Set up and Furnished

Ex. 39:1-40:38

After finishing the furnishings for the tabernacle, the craftsmen turned their attention to making the priestly garments for Aaron, the high priest and his sons, the priests.

The ephod was a garment that was worn over the shoulders. For protection, a breastplate was attached to the ephod. Many of the components of the tabernacle, furnishings and garments were symbolic of things and events past, present and future. Twelve stones were set in both the ephod and breastplate, three in each of four rows to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

As high priest, Aaron’s garment was exquisite. In addition to the ephod and breastplate, he wore short trousers, a tunic, robe, turban and crown. An inscription on the crown read, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD.”

When all of the work was completed, they brought it to Moses. “According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the Children of Israel did all the work.” It was/is imperative that all be done according to what the Lord commanded.

One year after the Israelites left Egypt, they had been given the Ten Commandments and the laws associated with them. They had been at Mt. Sinai for nine months and the courtyard and tabernacle were ready to be erected. God instructed Moses to assemble the parts and to set up the furnishings on the first day of the month of the second year of their journey.

The entrance to the courtyard was in the east end. Just inside the court was the altar of burnt offering. The bronze laver for washing the priests’ hands and feet was beyond the altar and near the entrance of the tabernacle. As one entered the tabernacle, the table of showbread was to his right on the north side. The golden lampstand was directly across on the south side of the tabernacle. Near the entrance to the Most Holy place and centered near the end of the holy place was the altar of incense. A curtain separated the holy place from the Most Holy.

Inside the Most Holy place was the ark of the Testimony/Covenant which contained the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. The mercy seat with the two cherubim was placed on top of the ark. No one but the high priest was allowed inside the Most Holy place and he was to go in only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people.

Once the tabernacle was fully assembled with water in the laver; the showbread on its table and the candles lit, God’s glory filled the place showing His approval of all that had been accomplished. The cloud that had once hovered over Mt. Sinai was hovering over His new dwelling place—the tabernacle.

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Feb. 14. Tabernacle and Furnishings Built

Ex. 35:1-38:31

God had given Moses the specifications for the construction of the tabernacle. It was time to put His words into action. Whenever there is work to do, it is necessary to procure workmen and materials to accomplish the job. Earlier, God had selected two men with special skills to be His main craftsmen.

A call was issued throughout the camp for the needed materials for the tabernacle. When God’s people are asked for support for a specific need, they usually respond favorably. The response of the Israelites for a free-will offering was very generous. It became necessary for Moses to ask that they stop giving, “for the material they had was sufficient for the work to be done—indeed too much.”

God, the Master Architect and Engineer had given the exact specifications to Moses for the construction of the tabernacle. The materials had been collected and the skilled workmen had been commissioned for the job. They followed His instructions exactly as they were specified. The various curtains and boards were completely fabricated and ready for assembly into the finished tabernacle.

After making the components of the tabernacle, Bezalel and his workmen began the task of building the various articles for worship to be placed inside the completed structure.

As an example of the importance of following instructions, the specifications and materials for the tabernacle and its furnishings that had been pointed out earlier were repeated as the account of their building was recorded.

God demanded/demands the best that man has. It is said that acacia wood is close-grained. This would make it hard and durable for the purposes God had intended.

A talent weighed approximately seventy-five pounds and a shekel four-tenths of an ounce. Using these weights, there were about 2,193 pounds of gold, 7,544 pounds of silver and 5,310 pounds of bronze in the tabernacle complex. That amount of precious metal indicates the splendor of God’s house. Those materials having been given as a free-will offering showed the sacrificial spirit of the Israelites as they prepared to worship God.

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Feb. 13. God Tells Israelites to Leave Mt. Sinai and Replaces Broken Stone

Tablets Ex. 33:1-34:35

God notified Moses that it was time to depart from the area of Mt. Sinai and to continue toward occupying the Promised Land. However, due to their grievous sin of worshipping the golden calf, God was going to depart from their presence. Instead of leading them Himself, He was going to send His Angel as His representative. Sin separates man from God!

The news of their separation from God grieved the children of Israel. As a sign of their repentance, they mourned and removed their jewelry.

Again, Moses mediated between God and the Israelites. Since God was no longer in their presence, Moses took his tent as a substitute for the yet to be built tabernacle and met with Him far from the camp.

Joshua, the son of Nun had accompanied Moses upon Mt. Sinai when he went to receive the law from God. That young man also went with Moses to meet with God outside the camp. He was to become another prominent personality in the history of the Israelite nation.

After seeing the repentance of the people and hearing Moses plead for His return, God relented and returned to their presence and promised to remain. He continues to have compassion toward penitent sinners when they return to Him.

God commanded Moses to prepare two more tablets of stone to replace the two that he had broken. He was to meet with God up on the mountain early the next morning. Moses went alone and neither ate nor drank during the forty days and nights that he was in the presence of God.

During the previous meeting of Moses with God on Mt. Sinai, the people had broken the covenant that they had made with Him. Since He is a merciful and forgiving God, He renewed the covenant with Moses. He also rewrote the ten commandments on the stone tablets.

The time for entering the Promised Land was near. God stated that He would drive the various peoples out of the land. The Israelites were responsible for destroying all of the items of idol worship that were being used by the inhabitants. They also were not to marry or make any other covenants with the people, lest they be drawn into their idol worship. He is a jealous God and wants our complete allegiance.

God’s glory was so magnificent that Moses’ face shown a brilliant white when he came down from the mountain. In order for the people to view him when he spoke, he placed a veil on his face to hide the brightness until he had finished speaking. He would speak with God with his face uncovered.

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Feb. 12. Sin in the Camp!!

Ex. 32:1-35

The Israelites had been delivered from a land that like other peoples worshipped idols instead of the true God. Since Moses had been gone for several weeks, they supposed that he was not returning. Therefore, they asked Aaron to make them gods that they could worship. Everyone today, worships something—whether God, idol images, family, celebrities, pleasures or any number of items that can come instead of God.

Upon seeing His people worshipping the golden calf that Aaron had formed from their gold, God determined to destroy them for breaking their covenant with Him. He would make of Moses a great nation.

Moses interceded for the Israelites and God spared them. However, Moses was so angry upon seeing the behavior of the people, that he threw the two stone tablets to the ground and broke them. Moses, with God’s support, burned the golden calf and ground it into a powder. He then scattered it over their drinking water and made them drink it.

People until now have made feeble excuses for their behavior—even since Eve first said that the serpent caused her to eat of the forbidden fruit. Aaron, when confronted by his brother stated that the people caused him to take their gold, “and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

Are we on the Lord’s side? When Moses asked, “Who is on the Lord’s side,” only the tribe of Levi stepped forward. The slaughter that followed killed about three thousand men, probably the leaders of the rebellion against God.

Moses has been referred to as a type of Christ. One can see this similarity in that he asked God to blot his name out of the book (of Life) if He would not forgive the Israelites of their sin. God informed Moses that He would decide who would be blotted out of the book (“Whoever has sinned against Me”). Moses was then told to get back to work and lead the people to the Promised Land.

“So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.”

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Feb. 11. Concluding Instructions and Tablets of Stone Given to Moses

Ex. 30:1-31:18

In addition to the altar of burnt offering in the outer courtyard, there was another much smaller altar to be placed inside the holy place. It was the altar of incense. The altar of incense was approximately eighteen inches square and thirty-six inches high and constructed of gold covered acacia wood. It was placed near the entrance to the most holy place.

Aaron, the high priest was to burn a special incense made from a mixture of spices and olive oil on that altar each morning and evening. Yearly, he was to make atonement for the people’s sins by placing blood from the sin offering of atonement on its horns. Our prayers are described as a sweet-smelling incense to the Lord.

A half shekel of silver was to be given by the Israelites as a ransom for their souls when the census was taken. This money was used in the service of the tabernacle.

God required the priests to wash their hands and feet before entering the holy place. A bronze laver/bowl was placed in the outer court between the altar and the tabernacle for this purpose.

The tabernacle and all of its furnishings were anointed with a special spice and oil mixture according to God’s instructions. Aaron and his sons were also anointed with that same oil.

Two men were chosen by God to be the chief craftsmen of the tabernacle, its furnishings and the priestly garments. Those men were given special abilities to perform their duties.

As God had rested on the seventh day after the creation, He gave instructions that His people would also rest on the seventh day of the week after having worked the first six days.

After concluding His forty days and forty nights meeting with Moses, God presented him with two tablets of stone written with His finger. They may have been written literally by God’s finger or figuratively by His power. He could have done it either way.

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Feb. 10. Priests Named and Consecrated

Ex. 28:1-29:46

Until now, God had dealt with the head of the household as His spokesman for the family. This period is known as the Patriarchal Age. The Mosaic Age began at this point in man’s history. God selected the first priesthood with Aaron as high priest and his sons as priests. No one outside the tribe of Levi could serve in this capacity.

The duties of the priests were numerous. Among those duties was the responsibility to intervene between God and the people. Aaron, as high priest also bore the sins of the people in that he made animal sacrifices for them. According to the writer of Hebrews, Christ is our High Priest today as He has borne our sins with the sacrifice of His life.

God demanded splendor, dignity and solemnity in His priesthood. He gave specific instructions for the types of materials to be used in the priestly garments. That made them easy to recognize as they mingled with the people. Those of the high priest were to be different and even more elaborate than those of the regular priests.

After appointing Aaron and his sons to be high priest and priests, it was necessary that they be ordained to those positions. God specified that certain animals along with unleavened bread and oils would be used as burnt offering sacrifices to Him in that rite.

Specific instructions were given regarding the slaughter, preparation and offering of the sacrificial animals. The blood from the second ram sprinkled and placed on various parts of the bodies of Aaron and his sons signified the total dedication of their bodies to the service of God. Seven days of offerings and cleansing were required to complete their consecration.

The priesthood was to be passed from Aaron and his sons to their sons perpetually. However, the succeeding son would be required to be consecrated through the same seven-day rituals.

At the conclusion of the ordination, only Aaron and his sons were permitted to offer burnt offerings for the people. God would meet and dwell with His people in the tabernacle just as Christ dwells with His children today in His church.

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Feb. 9. Instructions from God Continued

Ex. 26:1-27:21

God did not spare anything for elegance in the construction of His tabernacle. This was the place where He met Moses, the priests and the people at worship times.

The tabernacle consisted of a gold covered acacia wood structure that was fifteen feet high, thirty feet long and nine feet wide. This rigid structure was covered by layers of material.

There were ten curtain panels forty-two feet long and six feet wide made from fine linen. Those were joined together to cover the tabernacle sides and end from front to back. The next covering consisted of eleven panels forty-five feet long and six feet wide. Those curtains were woven from goat’s hair. The top covers for protection from the weather were made of ram’s skins dyed red and badger skins. All of the curtain panels were held together by gold and bronze rings.

Inside the tabernacle was a curtain or veil made from the most elaborate of materials. This veil separated the holy place from the most holy place. Inside the most holy place was the ark of the testimony and mercy seat. The candlestick was placed on the south side and the table for showbread was on the north side in the holy place.

The entrance to the tabernacle was covered by another elaborate curtain.

Having completed His specifications for the construction of the tabernacle, God provided instructions for building the altar. It would be placed in front of the tabernacle and inside the courtyard. The altar was seven and one-half feet square and four and one-half feet high. It was made of acacia wood covered with bronze. The actual burning pit and ash hopper were inside the outer wooden framework. Bronze was also used in making the metal utensils and components of the altar.

The court surrounding the tabernacle was one hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide and seven and one-half feet high. Since the tabernacle was fifteen feet high, it could be easily seen from outside the courtyard. Hangings of fine woven linen covered the walls and gate of the courtyard. The gate opening was thirty feet and was located in the center of the east end of the court.

God also had specific instructions for the location and use of the golden lampstand. It was placed inside the tabernacle in the holy place. Aaron and his sons were to tend the lamp and keep it burning from night till morning. Pure olive oil was used as fuel for the lamp. As that lamp produced light for the Israelites’ worship in that age, we have God’s word—the Bible to provide light for our worship today.

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Feb. 8. God Begins Instructing Moses on Mt. Sinai

Ex. 24:1-25:40

AN AWESOME SIGHT!! The people were gathered around the base of Mt. Sinai. Moses built an altar and placed twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Since the priesthood had not yet been established, he called for young men to prepare the burnt offering for the altar.

The blood of the offering was used to seal the covenant between God and the Israelites. Half was sprinkled on the altar and the other half was sprinkled on the people. After hearing Moses read the covenant of God to them. They all said, “All the words which the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.”

Moses then left the people, taking Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Joshua and seventy of the elders with him up the mountain. At that point, they saw the manifestation of God in His glory. From there, Moses and Joshua proceeded even farther up the mount.

After spending six days on the smoke covered mountain, God called Moses on the seventh day to come alone to the top of Mount Sinai. Again, that was an awesome sight. The people at the base of the mountain saw what seemed to be a devouring fire. Moses was in the midst of that cloud forty days and forty nights without food and water in the presence of God.

God demanded and expected the best from His people. In preparation for the building of a place for Him to meet the Israelites for them to worship Him, He gave orders for a free-will offering to be made. This offering was to consist of precious metals, gems, linens, skins, dyes, acacia wood, oil and spices. These items had been brought from Egypt and some were probably spoils from battle.

One of the most important pieces of furniture to be placed in the sanctuary was the ark (of the Testimony). Using eighteen inches as the length of a cubit, the ark was to be forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide and twenty-seven inches deep. It was to be constructed of acacia wood and overlaid inside and outside with pure gold with a molding of gold around it. Two poles of acacia wood overlain with gold were to be passed through a golden ring on each corner for carrying purposes. Since the Israelites would be moving from time to time, everything needed to be easily transported.

A mercy seat made of pure gold the same length and width of the ark was to be placed on top of the ark. Two golden cherubim were to be fashioned and placed facing one another at each end of the mercy seat with their wings covering it. Various items, including the Testimony were to be stored in the ark. God would meet and talk with Moses there.

The table for the showbread was to be constructed of gold covered acacia wood also. It was to be thirty-six inches long, eighteen inches wide and twenty-seven inches high. A gold covered molding was placed around it. Four golden rings and two gold covered acacia poles were used for transporting. Various golden utensils were to be placed upon the table with one of them always containing the showbread.

Another item to be used in the worship was the pure golden lampstand. All of the six branches with holders and ornaments were to be made of pure gold and according to God’s specifications. The completed lampstand with its lamps was made from a talent of gold. It is thought that a talent was seventy-five pounds or more.

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