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Archive for the ‘Leviticus’ Category

Rite Reasons: Studies in Worship
No. 90 Copyright (c) 2005 Biblical Horizons July, 2004 

At the last supper, Jesus took bread and, having given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples while saying, “Take, eat, this is My body given for you. Do this for My memorial.”

 What Jesus did was recognized by the disciples, because it took place every morning and evening. It was the rite of the Tribute, which is described in Leviticus 2. English Bibles generally mistranslate this as “grain offering,” or “meal offering” or “cereal offering,” or simply and very unhelpfully “offering.” But while this rite consists of grain or bread, the name for it is minchah, which means “gift” or “tribute.”

The daily Tribute is set forth in Numbers 28:3-8, and consisted of raw wheat flour mixed with oil. The other varieties of Tribute, however, were baked in various ways, and some were broken up. All were divided, with the priest receiving a portion after the Lord had been given His. The part given to the Lord was called a “memorial” (Lev. 2:2, 9, 16).

A memorial is an action done before God, or an object placed before God, that reminds Him of what He has done in the past, reminds Him of the covenant, and calls upon Him to come and pass judgment and renew that covenant. In a broad sense, all the rites done before God at the Tabernacle were memorials, but only bread rites are ever actually called memorials (Lev. 5:12; 24:7; Num. 5:15).
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I was asked to provide comments on the rainbow in the Bible. Here are some for starters:

1. God puts his warbow in the sky for HIM to see and remember the covenant.

2. In Revelation 4-5, this warbow is around His throne, so He sees it all the time.

        a. It’s green, emerald.

        b. Emerald is the stone of Levi (BHOP 19: Behind the Scenes)

        c. The Levites were camped in a square closest around the Tabernacle.

3. The other tribes have other colors, and at are the next rank around the Tabernacle.

        a. In Revelation 21-22, the City has these twelve colored stones at her border.

        b. The colored stones are chips of frozen rainbow.

        c. God’s people are His rainbow, through which He views the world.

4. Baptism, especially by sprinkling, puts rainbow on us.

        a. Rainbow is caused by light prisming through water.

        b. In baptism, God’s light is prismed through water to us, rainbowizing us, so we join the rainbow.

        c. Baptism washes away sin, but also glorifies (rainbowizes) and enlists us in the Rainbow Army for holy war.

5. In the Tabernacle, two tapestries encircled the rooms inside and out, at the upper and lower levels.

        a. These had cherubim (guardians) on them.

        b. They were woven of red, blue, purple, and white: rainbow colors. (Red and Blue-purple are the extremes of the rainbow prism.)

        c. They signified the angelic rainbow host around God.

6. The High Priest had the same rainbow colors on him.

        a. His garment had the same colors.

        b. He wore the rainbow stones on his chest.

        c. Now we are all made high priests, living rainbow warriors.

7. In the ritual of Ascension (Leviticus 1), the worshipper is by proxy put into the rainbow colors of the fire, after being divested of his old skin-clothes, and receives new fire-rainbow clothes.

        a. Again, this is like the High Priest.

        b. It is also the rainbow colors of the bride, as the worshipper ascends by proxy as an ‘ishsheh, a bride for Yahweh.

        c. Psalm 45 is a human explication of this ritual.

        d. We are all dressed in rainbow to be part of the bride of Christ.

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. . . and the whole thing gets muddled. The words we traditionally use to translate Hebrew terms in the “sacrificial” system are confusing and often convey the wrong ideas. If we are going to understand Leviticus and the old world system of sacrifices and offerings, the first thing we have to do is get the words right.

This was brought home to me again this past week at the AAPC lectures. Peter Leithart spoke on the “purification offering.” But, in fact, it’s really not an “offering” at all. And I don’t believe”purification” really best translates the meaning of the Hebrew term. I highly recommend Peter’s lecture. But even he could not avoid talking about all of the rituals in Leviticus 1 as “offerings.” It’s ingrained in us. It’s very hard to overcome. Let’s talk about it.

We use English words to translate some of the Hebrew terms in Leviticus that are not helpful, but are in fact loaded with all sorts of unfortunate connotations. The book of Leviticus is a book of rituals (mostly) and the Hebrew terms used are extremely precise. I believe our Bible translations make these rituals obscure because of traditional, but inappropriate designations.

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