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Featured The Levitical Laws and New Testament Expositions

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by mark kennedy, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    When exploring books like the Revelation, Hebrews and even some of the writings of Paul I've found a cursory understanding of Leviticus to be invaluable. What follows is a general exposition, not intended to be dogmatic, just some of my thoughts about the book and how it relates to New Testament theology.

    First of all, have you ever noticed how a lot of things come in sevens? Let's take for example what I call the Laws of Levitical sacrifice. God commands the establishment of a sacrificial system, the laws regarding the sacrifices were pretty detailed, then the priests (always from the tribe of Levi) had to be ordained (sanctified) and finally the key element to the sacrifice was the fire that came from before the Lord. It looks something like this:

    Lev. 1: Burnt Offerings: Completely reduced to ashes, the death of the old nature.
    Lev. 2: Firstfruits/Grain Offerings: Representing the very best, akin to the firstborn.
    Lev. 3: Fellowship Offerings: This one was a special time of thanksgiving.
    Lev. 4: Sin Offerings: Sin being an offense against God.
    Lev. 5: Guilt Offerings: This is an offense against the laws of holiness.
    Lev. 8: Consecration of the Priests: Sanctification of the priesthood.
    Lev. 9: Ordination of the Priests: The key here is the fire that came from before the Lord.​

    Bear in mind, this is a general overview, not intended to be a full exposition. This is what I think the key to the sacrificial system was, I also think this is very much a picture of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

    Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown. Lev. 9:23-24)
    Now I'm not trying to do an exhaustive exposition here and feel free to point out any mistakes I made. I'm just curious if some of our better read members see a picture of New Testament salvation. I know I see a logical progression that could be very easily, an effective analogy for how salvation works in the New Testament. I'm really just testing the waters to see if there is any interest in this approach.

    I'm not looking for a debate, just your thoughts on the possibilities. Respond as you see fit, I just ask you give any due consideration and criticisms of this thumbnail exposition are certainly welcome.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  2. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Hey Mark. Very thought provoking so going to have to let this simmer in the brain housing group a bit. However, did you see a linkage between the various offerings and actual feast days/weeks? And then the linkage of the feast days/weeks with fulfillment of Messianic prophecies?
     
  3. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I don't know so much about the link between the sacrifices and the feasts, but the feasts are pivotal in New Testament revelation. The Day of Atonement and the Trumpets are important and of course the Passover and Easter is an easy one. But ok, you brought it up. Consider this, Passover leads the whole thing off (Lev. 23), then there is the feast of Unleavened Bread. This could indicate the death of the old nature, the transition from slavery, to purging the the leaven of the previous life. If you wanted to link that to the sacrifices that would be reaping the first fruits.

    I don't know, it's an interesting thought, it would take some time to develop it as an exposition, or an analogy as the case might be.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  4. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    There are many allusions and allegories found all over the place. I'm not too sure about the things you briefly wrote about, other than some of the simple typology we find in the sacrifices, priesthood, etc.

    I am curious about your opinion, Mark. What do you think about this allegorical picture:

    Moses typically represents the first advent of Christ, Joshua typically represents the second advent.

    One comes as a Savior, the other comes as a Judge. One delivers a people out of bondage, leading them into the wilderness. The other brings the people into the land and executes judgment on the nations. :)
     
  5. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Never looked at it that way but very interesting.
     
  6. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    I think we will get quite a few responses now that we are discussing the feast days. But really don't want to derail your thread which is on the actual Levitical sacrifices as they are shadows of our redemption and walk in the Lord.
     
  7. icxn

    icxn Bραδύγλωσσος αἰπόλος μαθητεύων κνίζειν συκάμινα

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    St Cyril of Alexandria - whom incidentally we commemorate today - wrote a book explaining this very thing, that what was foreshadowed in the Levitical Law was/is accomplished in Christ. The title of this book is, "On Worship in Spirit and in Truth" and as far as I know it hasn't been translated into English yet. A google search came up with the following short description:

    On Worship in Spirit and in Truth.

    The work is composed in the form of a dialogue, and its design is to show that the law of Moses, as well as the precepts and all the ceremonies which it prescribes, being understood aright, relate to the adoration of God in spirit and in truth, which the gospel hath discovered. To prove this proposition, the author seeks out all the allegories in the histories of the Old Testament. In the first book he shows that that which happened to Adam, Abraham, and Lot teaches men how they fall into sin, and after what manner they may raise themselves again. The pleasure which allures them is figured by the woman, by the delights of Egypt, by earthly good things; the grace of our Saviour by the calling of Abraham, by the protection which God vouchsafed Lot, by the care which he takes of his people; lastly, repentance, flight from sin, love of virtue, by the actions of the ancient patriarchs. In the second and third, he makes use of several places of the law to show that the fall of man could not be repaired but by the coming of Jesus Christ; that he alone can deliver him from the lamentable consequences of sin, which are death, the tyranny of the devil, an inclination to evil and concupiscence; lastly, that he alone can redeem and justify men. He finds baptism and redemption by Jesus Christ figured in many places of the law and prophets. In the fourth, he uses the exhortations, promises, and threatenings laid down in the law to incline Christians, whom Jesus Christ hath redeemed, to follow their callings, renounce vice, and embrace virtue. In the fifth, he affirms that the constancy and courage of the ancients in suffering evils and opposing their enemies is a figure of the strength and vigor with which Christians ought to resist their vices and irregular passions. In the sixth, he demonstrates that the law commands the worship and love of one God only, and that it hath condemned all superstitions and profaneness contrary to that worship. In the two following books he also prescribes charity toward our brethren and love toward our neighbor. In the ninth and the tenth, he finds infinite resemblances between the tabernacle and the church. The priesthood of the old law, the consecration of the high-priests, the sacerdotal vestments, the ministry of the Levites, etc., furnish him with abundance of matter for allegories, which he treats of in the three following books. The profane and unclean persons under the law, who were shut out of the tabernacle and temple, are the figure of sinners, which ought to be expelled out of churches, and do teach us that none but those that are pure may present themselves before God. Clean and unclean beasts are the subjects of some allegories, being the subject of the fourteenth and fifteenth books. Lastly, the obligations and sacrifices of the law are types of the spiritual obligations which we ought to offer to God, and the solemn festivals of the Jews denote to us the celestial rewards —this is the subject of the last two books. It is easy to judge, by what we have said, how mystical a work this is, and how full of allegorical and unusual explications.​
     
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  8. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I noticed this enigmatic statement about his legacy in the article:

    His writings and his theology have remained central to tradition of the Fathers and to all Orthodox even up today. (Cyril of Alexandria, Orthodox Wiki)
    That is interesting, I don't know what it means to be the 'Pope of Alexandria' in his day or what the significance of 'seal of all the fathers' actually means, but a strange coincidence I post this on a day celebrating this fascinating individual:

    Cyril is among the patristic fathers, and his reputation within the Orthodox Christian world has led to his acquiring the title "Seal of all the Fathers." His feast day is celebrated on June 9 and, with St. Athanasius of Alexandria, on January 18.
    It just never fails, you start to do a simple exposition and find out that the subject matter goes way deeper then you ever imagined. I'll have to look into this more when I get some time. Thank you so much for sharing that, you've given me a lot to think about.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  9. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I was wanting to get to this last night but got a little weary and it's something I've been putting off for sometime, simply because of all that is involved. That's not going to derail the thread, it's just going to move it forward faster then I expected. First just let me try to walk though what I am seeing with the sacrifices. The death of the old nature completely consumed to ashes, followed by the firstfruits offering. This looks like a picture of repentance followed by the early fruits of discipleship. So sacrificing the firstfruits, perhaps early successes leads one to a time of fellowship, thus the sacrifice of the peace offering. We all come to Christ with sin in our lives so the practical application of repentance and the putting away of old work, sins against God, is a natural part of the process of discipleship. The guilt offering is over holiness, not committing offenses against God, isn't holiness so the process of sanctification, along with it's failures along the way are addressed. Having gone through this process the believer is equipped for service and the key element is the fire of the altar, that comes from before the Lord (the holy of holies). That can be none other then the Holy Spirit of promise.

    That's the general idea of how the sacrifices, but let's give the feasts their due consideration. Let's just keep in mind a full exposition with exegetical notes would be an enormous work, St Cyril of Alexandria could have told us that. :)

    Look I'm not trying to over burden the discussion here but I noticed something I think is significant. Here is a brief outline I did for Leviticus years ago. Revisiting it I found something that peaked my interest, submitted here just to speak to the context:

    Lev. 19: Be Holy Because I Am Holy
    Lev. 20: Punishments
    Lev. 21: Contact with the Dead
    Lev. 22: Unacceptable Sacrifices
    Lev. 23: The Seven Feasts
    Lev. 24: Menorah and Bread
    Lev. 25: Sabbath Year and Jubilee
    Lev. 26: Blessings and Retribution
    Lev. 27: Redemption

    The expression 'Be holy because I am holy' pretty much sums up the book of Leviticus. For three chapters it covers putting away dead works, I won't get into that right now, then the 7 feasts. Then following there is the Menorah and the shewbread that are in the Holy Place just outside the Holy of Holies. The Sabbath Year was so important the time of the exile is inextricably linked to the number of Sabbath years they failed to observe. These things may not be terribly interesting or significant but I found that fascinating. Anyway, on to the feasts in Leviticus 23:

    The Sabbath

    Passover
    Feast of Unleavened Bread
    Feast of Firstfruits
    Pentecost
    Trumpets
    The Day of Atonement
    Tabernacles

    As a creationist I find the Sabbath being a remembrance of creation profoundly important, that's why it stands alone in the list. The Passover follows, let's say God's divine fiat of salvation, just for the sake of having an analogy. The Passover which is celebrated after a fashion in our Easter holiday. The leaven of the Egyptians had to be purged coming out of Egypt, the leaven of the scribes and pharisees comes to mind (Matt. 16:6). Which brings us to firstfruits which sounds a lot like the early efforts of the disciple to honor God in thought, word and deed, then laying the very best of them on the altar. Pentecost is clearly associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Trumpets brings to mind the trumpet judgments of the Revelation and the Day of Atonement is a key issue with Romans and Hebrews. Then finally Tabernacles, let's take a look at that one briefly.

    You are a pious Jew so you must attend the holy convocations in Jerusalem, which includes sleeping in tents to commemorate the wilderness wanderings. Picture the scene, across the Mount of Olives and all around Jerusalem there are literally, thousands of tents. The Hebrews hall of faith comes to mind:

    By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. (Hebrews 11:9)​

    There's the tents, now the reason behind it. Pardon the length of the quote but context is important:

    All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
    That's a once over, not a simple task but if you are willing to step back and take it in with a broad view, some things start to emerge.

    I don't want to bog the thread down with my commentary. I'm hoping others will have some insights they would like to toss into the mix. But I've been noticing this for years and I'm puzzled that those involved in Eschatology and just Christian theology at large, don't revisit this book more.

    Appreciate your impute Red, as always.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  10. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Great run down. Yes some great lines of operation so to speak to breakdown.

    Here’s more for the pile:

    God’s calling: sends Moses to announce His deliverance for Israel.
    Let my people go in bondage. Plagues demonstrates God’s Power sealing His Promise.

    God’s deliverance: the people leave Egypt freeing them of bondage.

    God’s baptism of His people: the parting of the Red Sea thus sealing their deliverance.

    I could go on but even Exodus gives us types and shadows.
     
  11. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    Did you know there was a second baptism? They crossed the Jordon the same way, removing twelve stones from the river bed to erect a memorial of the event. You know what I think about the Day of Atonement and the New Testament witness but the Passover and feast of unleavened bread leading up to Sinai, that one is pretty interesting as well. Before the plagues Moses demanded that the Hebrews be allowed to make sacrifice, Pharaoh reluctantly agreed. There wouldn't be more sacrifices until Sinai when the Levitical sacrifices were implemented, the Passover Lamb not withstanding.

    Jesus used the Passover to be a reminder of his sacrifice, the cross. In the interim between then and Pentecost there was a purging of leaven, the Apostles would reside in Jerusalem as judges. I think there is a process here that speaks to salvation, the exodus out of the world is a difficult one, only a series of miracles will provide that.

    As far as baptism I've always thought the idea that it somehow saves a person did a disservice to the analogy employed. You don't have a funeral for someone alive, that would be pretty sick. It means the person has died to sin and raised in the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Your effectively commemorating the event that is conversion, but that's really just an aside for the time being.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  12. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Very thought provoking aside though. :)
     
  13. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    Oh I like that, sounds very compelling. The Trumpets at Jericho come to mind. That's actually one of the things I was trying to get at but Red had me a little distracted for a while, good ole Red. It would begin with the crossing of the Jordon, an event not unlike the crossing of the Red Sea. The unbelievers having died in the wilderness (the falling away?), the time of the conquest moves forward in earnest. I'm just wondering if there is a corollary to the Trumpet blasts in the Revelation, the corollary of the trumpets to the vials of wrath are certainly unmistakable. In the Revelation we see Jesus resembling a High Priest in the opening vision of the Son of Man, Daniel has a similar experience. The imagery is unmistakable, the golden lampstand, the breast plate resembling the ephod etc. Certainly the title the Lamb of God has profound ties to the Levitical system.

    The judgment of the nations huh? Wow that actually fits.

    Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. (Isaiah 34:1-3)​

    Isaiah circumvents the compass, kind of does a prophetic pass and review of the nations, starting with Babylon and ending with Babylon. Then he comes to this chapter and back to the historic accounts. That certainly fits, although a full exposition might take some time.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  14. icxn

    icxn Bραδύγλωσσος αἰπόλος μαθητεύων κνίζειν συκάμινα

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    Pope is just another word for Patriarch, the leading Bishop. It doesn't exactly match with the Roman Catholic use of the term. 'Seal of the Fathers' is probably just a honorific term.
    You have no idea! Allow me to post something from St Neilos the Ascetic (disciple of St John Chrysostom). It's not a commentary on Leviticus, but it explains the spiritual application of some of the sacrifices.

    Quote:
    Avarice, anger and dejection are all offshoots of gluttony. For the glutton needs money first of all, so as to satisfy his ever-present desire — even though it never can be satisfied. His anger is inevitably aroused against those who obstruct his acquisition of money, and in turn gives place to dejection when he proves too weak to get his way. He is like the snake which goes 'on its breast and belly' (Genesis 3:14 LXX). For when he possesses the material means for pleasure, he goes on his belly; but when he lacks these he goes on his breast, since this is where the incensive power (the capacity for anger) has its seat. For those who love pleasure, when deprived of it, grow angry and embittered. Moses therefore made the priest wear a breastplate, intimating through this symbol that he should inwardly restrain every impulse to anger by means of the intelligence; for it is termed 'the breastplate of judgment' (Exodus 28:15). Now the priest must control this passion by means of the intelligence, for he is imperfect. Moses, however, being perfect, totally removed from himself the impulse to anger; figuratively speaking, he does not wear a breastplate but removes, as it were, his own breast. Thus Scripture says: 'Moses removed the breast, and brought it as an offering before the Lord' (Leviticus 8:29 LXX). There are others who neither eliminate anger completely nor control it with the intelligence, but who overcome it by laborious efforts. They are said to remove the breast 'with their arm', the arm being a symbol of toil and work. Similarly, to go 'on the belly' is a very apt symbol for the life of pleasure, since the belly is the cause of virtually all the pleasures: when the belly has been filled, our desires for other pleasures are intensified, but when it is not full they subside.
    Here is another illustration of the difference between one who is perfect and one who is still making progress. Moses, completely rejecting the pleasures of food, 'washed the belly and the feet with water' (Leviticus 8:21). Here 'belly' signifies pleasure, and 'feet' a man's ascent and progress. He who is still progressing, on the other hand, washes what is inside the belly, but not the belly as a whole. Note that in this passage it says 'he washed', not 'they shall wash'. The first represents something voluntary, while the second indicates an action performed in obedience to a command. He who is perfect does what is right, not because of any command, but by his own free choice; whereas he who is still progressing acts in obedience to his superior. With very great care he removes, as it were, the breast in its entirety, but he does not remove the belly - he only washes it. The wise man is able altogether to renounce and eradicate wrath, but he is unable to eliminate the belly, since nature compels even the most ascetic to eat a bare minimum of food.
    When, however, the soul does not submit to the true and stable guidance of the intelligence, but has been corrupted by impure pleasures, the belly becomes distended; for even when the body is sated, desire is unsatisfied. And if the belly is swollen, the thigh will rot (cf. Numbers 5:22); for when the belly is inflamed by luxurious foods, the mind loses all power to conceive what is good and is paralyzed in its spiritual efforts. It is to these spiritual efforts that the Law is referring when it talks about the thigh.
    The lover of pleasure, then, goes on his belly, wallowing in sensual indulgence. But one who is beginning to pursue the spiritual way gets rid of the fat round his belly by giving up rich food. One who has progressed further cleanses what is inside his belly, while he who is perfect washes the whole of the belly, entirely rejecting what is superfluous to his basic needs. Very appropriately, Scripture applies the word 'goes' (Genesis 3:14) to the man who has sunk down upon his chest and belly, for sensual pleasure is characteristic of those who are restless and fall of agitation, not of those who are still and calm.
    Sexual desire is even more closely related to gluttony than are the passions of anger and dejection mentioned above. Nature herself has indicated the intimate connection between the two by placing the organs of sexual intercourse immediately below the belly. If lust is weak, it is because the belly has been made to go in want; while if lust is easily excited, it is from the belly that it derives its strength.
    As well as nursing and feeding these passions, gluttony also destroys everything good. Once it gains the upper hand, it drives out self-control, moderation, courage, fortitude and all the other virtues. This is what Jeremiah cryptically indicates when he says: 'And the chief cook of the Babylonians pulled down the wall of Jerusalem round about' (cf. 2 Kings 25:9-10; Jeremiah 52:14. LXX). Here the 'chief cook' signifies the passion of gluttony; for a chef makes every effort to minister to the belly, devising innumerable ways of giving it pleasure, and gluttony does just the same. A great variety of different foods overthrows the fortress of the virtues and razes it to the ground. Sauces and condiments are the siege-engines that batter against virtue and overthrow it, even when it is already firmly established. And while over-indulgence destroys the virtues, frugality destroys the stronghold of vice. Just as the chief cook of the Babylonians pulled down the walls of Jerusalem (and Jerusalem means a soul that is at peace) by encouraging fleshly pleasures through the art of cooking, so in the dream the Israelite's cake of barley bread, rolling down the hill, knocked down the Midianite tent (cf. Judges 7:13); for a frugal diet, steadily maintained – gathering impetus, as it were, from year to year - destroys the impulse to unchastity. The Midianites symbolize the passions of unchastity, because it was they who introduced this vice into Israel and deceived a great number of the young people (cf. Numbers 31:9). Scripture aptly says that the Midianites had tents while Jerusalem had a wall; for all the things that contain virtue are well-founded and firm, whereas those that contain vice are an external appearance - a tent – and are no different from fantasy.
    In order to escape such vice, the saints fled from the towns and avoided meeting a large number of people, for they knew that the company of corrupt men is more destructive than a plague. This is why, indifferent to gain, they let their estates become sheep-pastures, so as to avoid distractions. This is why Elijah left Judea and went to live on Mount Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 18:19), which was desolate and full of wild animals; and apart from what grew on trees and shrubs there was nothing to eat, so he kept himself alive on nuts and berries. Elisha followed the same mode of life, inheriting from his teacher, besides many other good things, a love of the wilderness (cf. 2 Kings 2:25). John, too, dwelt in the wilderness of Jordan, 'eating locusts and wild honey' (Mark 1:6); thus he showed us that our bodily needs can be satisfied without much trouble, and he reproached us for our elaborate pleasures. Possibly Moses was instituting a general law in this matter when he commanded the Israelites to gather daily no more than one day's supply of manna (cf. Exodus 16:16-17), thereby ordaining in a concealed fashion that men should live from day to day and not make preparations for the morrow. He thought it right that creatures made in the divine image should be content with whatever comes to hand and should trust God to supply the rest; otherwise, by making provision for the future, they seem to lack faith in God's gifts of grace and to be afraid that He will cease to bestow His continual blessings upon mankind.
     
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  15. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I've been over this several times, I'm still trying to figure it out. An interesting exposition obviously indicating getting you natural appetites in line with the will of God. The quote indicates some pretty important periods, Moses, Elijah and that enigmatic prophet John.
     
  16. ~Zao~

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    Surprising to me is that the sacrifices of the wilderness in the eyes of God were not sacrifices to Him at all.
    Acts of the Apostles 7:42-43; Amos 5:25-27
     
  17. icxn

    icxn Bραδύγλωσσος αἰπόλος μαθητεύων κνίζειν συκάμινα

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    It’s not surprising that fasting and self-control should be the subject (directly or indirectly) of many scriptural passages, after all, it was our failure to control our appetite that caused the fall. Christ, too, showed us an example to follow in this respect when He began His ministry with a 40 day fast. St Paul also spoke of the need to master the body in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27.

    I realize St Neilos’ quote talked more about how we apply those Laws and not how Christ fulfilled them (St Cyril focusses on the latter). Still the two are not mutually exclusive, what Christ did we are called to imitate according to the gift of grace we have received.

    So Christ is the flour (Leviticus 2:1) from whom the bread of life is made and every word that comes from the mouth of God and nourishes our soul. He is the one who has been anointed with the oil of gladness above all His companions (Psalms 45:7) and the frankincense that makes our thoughts fragrant. He is the one who has been baked in the oven of temptations (Matthew 4:1) and came out victorious, a meat offering to the Lord. He is the one who underwent the frying pan of the cross, a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire (Leviticus 2:10).

    At the same time, our study of the words of God is the flour we offer to Him mingled with the frankincense of our prayers and the oil of our good deeds or to be more precise, the light of knowledge that is born from the application of God’s commandments. If the oven of temptations for pleasure of any kind do not diminish our steadfastness for learning and doing the will of God, this too, is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire (Leviticus 2:3). If we also persevere amidst temptations that involve pain and suffering, the baking of the flour in a frying pan, this, too, is a thing most holy, if not the most holy, expression of love and graditute to the Lord.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  18. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I get that ascetic practices have always been a part of Christianity and Judaism, the chosen fast of Isaiah, for example:

    Is not the fast I have chosen to break the chains of wickedness, to untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and tear off every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6)
    Interesting you made the insight that the thanksgiving offering symbolizes the word of God. In the Holy Place the Menorah stood on the left side and the shewbread was on the right. The Menorah is used in the Revelation to illustrate the ministry of the Church and the bread is often associated with the word of God. The incense is mentioned in this passage, to dramatic effect.

    Then another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne...Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (Rev. 8:3,5)
    The martyrs beneath the altar are praying for justice, this would include the newly converted Jews fleeing the wrath of the Antichrist I expect are part of this. How many other martyrs and saints could we include I wonder, how many believers in this world crying out to God for the judgment of the wicked? Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, the Old Testament tells us. I remember my landlady once was complaining that the light company had shut her off because it was in her deceased husbands name, she is in her 90s and a devout Catholic. She says, 'Holy mother what have I done to deserve this', that innocent little prayer unnerved me, I think God listens to those little old ladies.

    By the way, my compliments on some pretty insightful comments, that's really what I was looking for. The one I like is the sacrifice of the peace offering, it's the only sacrifice actually eaten before the Lord. The lamb sacrificed would be more then a meal for one person so it's speculated that he would have invited friends and family to join in the meal. What's so fascinating to me from a New Testament perspective is that it's the last law of sacrifice mentioned and it indicates fellowship, as close to the Lord any ancient Jew would have gotten. In times of repentance and crisis they would look to the Temple because God actually resided there, this sacrifice was different, this was a time of peace and fellowship. The aroma of the sacrifices and incense would have filled the air, the priests busily going about their work. This would have been done on a massive scale during the Holy Convocations when all of Israel were commanded to be in Jerusalem around the time of the harvest. So there would be wagon loads of grain and wine pouring into Jerusalem. Families making their way through the city streets, some with a small child leading a little year old lamb by a rope. I think it was a time like this that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, in the same valley were Ezra read the Law following the completion of the walls.

    That's what I love about the Old Testament, we get a window into what life and worship was like in ancient Israel. Every time a lamb was sacrificed for the sin offering, the Passover, or the sacrifice of the peace offering it was a picture of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. When Jesus is described as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, to the first century Jews this would have had profound significance for them. There are some amazing things to discover in the Revelation, Romans and Hebrews but the key insights must come from the Pentateuch and I think especially, Leviticus.

    Thank you for contributing to the thread, it's certainly much more then I expected. It's actually kind of interesting how you relate this to Orthodox teachings, I really didn't see that one coming. :) If I know anything about Christian living I know God isn't as interested in oblations as he is in us laying our earthly nature on the altar. Asceticism isn't as popular with my Protestant brethren as it could be, perhaps even should be, when we talk of holiness I think it's always going to be relevant.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  19. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

    +7,253
    Calvinist
    Single
    US-Democrat
    They did sacrifice to idols, it nearly got all of them killed but Moses talked God out of it. Moleck was an especially nasty demonic idol, demanding the death of infants as sacrifices. The ultimate affront to God's sovereignty was to craft this thing from gold and say this is the god that lead us out of Egypt. When the eighth century prophets got their start, Amos was just a sheppard who made a little money on the side picking figs. When he confronts the High Priest with God's message the High Priest says if you want to be a prophet stay away from the High Places, because they belong to the king. The response of Amos was indignation, he in effect says you think I'm looking for a job! I was called to this, I was doing fine herding flocks and picking figs, I'm here because God called me to do this. Those strange idols, those gold and silver gods that were never gods. Paul makes an interesting point with regards to idolatry:

    Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (Col. 3:5-6)
    Idolatry passed away in the ancient world, supposedly, or did it?

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  20. Soyeong

    Soyeong Well-Known Member

    +3,041
    Messianic
    Single
    If you're interested, I can link you to a study on Finding Messiah in Leviticus.
     
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