Shall we turn now to Leviticus chapter 16, and the sixteenth chapter of the book of Leviticus deals with the most holy day in the year, in the Jewish calendar; and this is Yom Kippur. The day of atonement.
Now, the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered the strange fire before the Lord and died.
And the Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron your brother not to come at simply any time into the holy place, inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark: lest he die. For I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat (16:2).
The mercy seat, inside of the veil was where man was to meet God. You weren’t to go in there at any time. There was only one day in the year that the high priest could go behind the veil into the mercy seat. On this particular day, he went in twice. The warning of God is, “Just don’t come in at any time, lest you die.” You only come on the prescribed day, in the prescribed way. When the day did come that the priest was to go into the mercy seat to offer the sacrifice, first of all, for his own sins and then to come in again to offer the sacrifice for the sins of the nation. As he would go into the holy of holies, he would be wearing, or he would have, tied around his ankle, a rope, in case the priest would die before the Lord. They would not go in to get him, they would just drag him out, under the mercy seat. But, God is warning now, in light of the fact that two of Aaron’s sons died in that they were seeking to offer the strange fire to the Lord, that He did not command.
Our service for the Lord isn’t something at our own whim or caprice, “Oh I think I’ll do this for God.” Really, our service for God needs to be directed service. If God leads you, then you should. But if God doesn’t lead you, then you’re intruding in areas where God hasn’t called you and you’re apt to be just spinning your wheels, at best. It’s important that we be led in our service for the Lord. Paul declared, as he wrote to the Ephesian church, “Paul an apostle, by the will of God.” Good! But you just are not an apostle because, “I want to be an apostle.” You’re not just an evangelist because, “I want to be an evangelist.” You are what you are by the will of God, and if you are what you are by the will of God, then you will be successful and prosperous in it. If you are what you are by your own will, then you’re going to be finding yourself in complete frustration, because you just cannot do the service of God, unless called of God to do so, and anointed by God to do so. So, it has to be in the right way. Your approach to God has to be in the right way.
And thus Aaron shall come into the holy place with the blood of the young bull as a sin offering of the ram, as a burnt offering (16:3).
On this particular day he was not to wear the royal priestly garments of the high priest, but he was to put on linen tunic, linen trousers, with a linen sash, and a linen turban. These are the holy garments, and thus he is to, first of all, take a bath, wash himself in water and then put on these linen garments. Then he was to take from the congregation of the children of Israel, two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.
And Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. And then take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then he cast lots upon the goats. The one lot is for the Lord, and the other lot is for the scapegoat. And he is to bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering, but the lot on which the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the Lord to make an atonement upon it: and to let it go as a scapegoat into the wilderness (16:6-10).
Now that basically is the overall deal. Now he comes back to specifics. So he, first of all, just lays it out in an overall way. There is to be a bull for himself and his family’s sin, offered with a ram, for a burnt offering for himself and his family. Then there were to be the two goats for the sins of the nation. Lots were to be cast. One goat was to be sacrificed to the Lord, slain and sacrificed. The other goat was to be released in the wilderness. There was also to be the ram for the burnt offering. Now he tells him how he is to go about doing this.
Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and he shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself: And shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar, and with his hands full of sweet incense that’s been beaten fine, he is to bring it inside of the veil: And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the testimony, lest he die (16:12-13).
Now he is going to enter into the very presence of God. The cloud of God’s presence is to rest within the holy of holies. The holy of holies is to be lit by an incandescent glow of God’s presence. The other outer place, the holy place, the outer tent, was lighted by the seven candles of that lampstand. Inside the veil, inside of that room, lit by the presence of God. Coming into the very presence of God Himself, for the people. He is to approach this with this incense, this little burner of live coals, and put the incense on so that he comes in, there’s a cloud of incense that fills the room, covers the mercy seat.
And then he shall take some blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat, and on the east side: and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood, with his finger, seven times. And then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, [then he goes out, and now he kills the goat of the sin offering], which is for the people: And he brings it’s blood inside of the veil to do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull and sprinkle it on the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat. And so shall he make atonement for the holy place because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all of their sins, so shall he do for the tabernacle of meeting, which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting, when he goes in to make the atonement in the holy place [he is to do this alone] (16:15-17).
On all the other days of the year, the other priests are the ones that did the sacrifices. They were the ones who butchered the animals, cut them up, and laid the pieces upon the altar. But on this day of atonement, Aaron was to act alone for the people. He had to do the whole thing himself, no one could come into the place of the tent of meeting while Aaron was involved in this particular ministry.
And he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord, and make atonement for it; and take [this is the outside altar the place where they burn the sacrifices], and he shall take some of the blood of the bull and blood of the goat and put it upon the horns of the altar and all around. And he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times, to cleanse it. And when he has made an end of atoning for the holy place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring then the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and 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 him away by the hand of a suitable man (16:18-21).
So, the first goat is killed and the blood is sprinkled seven times before the mercy seat and seven times on the altar outside. But then the live goat is brought, and he puts his hands on the head of this live goat, and confesses all the sins of the nation, laying them on this goat. Then the goat is led by a suitable man, one of the priests, out into the wilderness. When he gets out into the wilderness, the goat is released. It’s called the scapegoat. It is released into the wilderness that it might flee over the mountains.
This is a symbol of the two-fold work of Jesus Christ, as far as our sins are concerned. Christ died for us, that He might forgive us our sins. But He has also separated our sins from us, never to be remembered against us again. Now that is to me, a tremendous thing to me, that God doesn’t bring up my past. God doesn’t remember my sins against me again. Jesus has put away my sins, He has separated me from my past. And so, the scapegoat, escaping into the wilderness, being lost in the wilderness. Gone, is a symbol of how my sins are gone.
Years ago in the days of youth for Christ, we used to sing a chorus, “Gone, gone, gone, gone. All my sins are gone! Now my soul is free and in my heart’s the song, buried in the deepest sea, yes that’s good enough for me.” Oh how thankful I am that Jesus has put away my sins. We often times talk about forgiveness, but when we do, we really don’t understand forgiveness from a scriptural standpoint. Because when we talk about forgiveness, we don’t talk about a complete or total forgiveness, which we have from God. You may do some stupid thing and I would say, “Why would you do that?” And you would say, “Oh, I’m sorry, forgive me.” “Okay, I forgive you.” And tomorrow you come by and you do the same stupid thing. I say, “What’s the matter with you? Didn’t you learn yesterday that you shouldn’t do that?” “Oh, I’m so sorry, forgive me.” “Well okay.” You come along the next day and you do the same thing again! And I say, “Alright, what’s the matter with you? You’re really weird you know. You do the same thing over again, when you know you ought not to!” You say, “Oh, forgive me!” “Wait a minute, come on. I forgave you yesterday, and the day before, and I’ve had it!” Well, I really didn’t forgive you yesterday and the day before, in a true sense of forgiveness, because if I had truly forgiven, I wouldn’t be bringing that up! So, watch out when you say, “Okay, I forgive you.” Because you’re never to bring that up again. Or you didn’t truly forgive. Now, we are told to forgive, even as our Father in heaven forgives us. Wait a minute! If I truly forgive, I’ll not bring it up again. I’ll not bring up your past. Some future time, when maybe you’ve done some other thing I won’t say, “Oh you just have a pattern, you’re doing this and this. Don’t you remember how you did that five years, ten years ago?” Always throwing up the past. That isn’t true forgiveness. That is one thing God will never do to you. Your sins that He has put away, He has put away completely. Your sins that He has forgiven, He has forgiven completely. I mean, He has erased the book clean! Never to be remembered against us again. How glorious is that forgiveness of God.
When this goat was released in the wilderness, they would send a signal back, the priest would stand on high places, all the way out. Several priests would leave with the goat, and at each mountain peak the priest would wait. And they would go out, out, out until the priest would be out in the wilderness by himself with the goat, he’d turn the thing loose, untie it, turn it loose, chase it off, and when it went over the hill, he would turn and wave to the priest on the hill behind him. It’s gone. He would in turn, wave to the priest on the next hill, who would wave to the priest on the next hill, who would wave to the priest on the next hill, who would wave to the priest on the top of the Mount of Olives, who would signal to the high priest, standing at the door of the tented meeting. It’s gone. He then would go out and announce to the people, “You’re sins are gone!” They’re gone! And the people naturally would rejoice. You know, “Our sins are gone! The goat is disappeared and the sins are gone!” Great cause for celebration.
Then he was to take off his linen outfit that he’d been wearing, and he was to wash himself again. Take another bath. Then he is to put on the high priestly garments. Those beautiful priestly garments that are described in Exodus. The one who released the scapegoat in the wilderness is to come back and bathe his body in water, wash his clothes. The bull that was taken for the sin offering, and the goat were to be taken out of the camp and burned completely. The person who did that was also to wash their clothes and bathe in water, before they came back into camp.
Now this is the statute forever, it’s to take place in the seventh month, in the religious calendar of the Jews. The religious calendar began in April, and so on the tenth day of the seventh month, was Yom Kippur, and it usually fell in October, this day of atonement. Now, the Jews still celebrate Yom Kippur today. It is still one of their Sabbath days. However, rather than approaching God with the sacrifice of the animals, through the high priest, Yom Kippur is now a day of reflection, and it is the day of reckoning. The day when you reflect upon the past year, and your good deeds and your bad deeds, and it is the day in which you are hoping that in this past year you’re good deeds have exceeded your bad deeds, and that is why the week before Yom Kippur, you’ll find many Jews scurrying around trying to do benevolent and wonderful things. They’re trying to get the calendar caught up before the day arrives, so that when they reflect on Yom Kippur, they can be comfortable and satisfied. “Well I’ve done more good than I did evil.” And they are seeking now to approach God through their works of goodness and with that anticipation of hope that they overbalance my evil works that I have done.
In the seventeenth chapter, God deals with the subject of offering sacrifices, not in the open field, but just at the door of the tabernacle. Now, up until this time, up until the establishing of the priesthood in Israel, every family had their own priest. The families would offer their own sacrifices. Going back into the book of Genesis. Noah offered a sacrifice before the Lord. Cain and Abel had offered their sacrifices before the Lord. When they offered their sacrifices, they would offer them in open fields. When Abraham offered his sacrifice, they were in open fields. They did not have the sanctuary. They did not have the place of meeting, and thus sacrifices were offered almost any place. Now that they had the tabernacle, the sanctuary, there were to be no more sacrifices offered in open fields. This was the practice of the heathen nations around them, as they would sacrifice to their pagan deities, they would sacrifice anywhere in the open fields or wherever. And God said, “It’s not to be so. When you offer a sacrifice, you are to bring that sacrifice, now, into the tent of meeting.” And if you do not bring it to the tent of meeting, to offer it there, then it isn’t to be accepted by God.
As they offer their sacrifices, the priest then takes the blood of the sacrifice and offers it to the Lord. Verse seven:
They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot (17:7).
So there were sacrifices to the pagan deities, and God said, “That’s to be over. This is a statute forever.” Then in verse ten:
And whatever man of the house of Israel or of strangers who sojourn among you who eats any blood, I will set my face after that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people (17:10).
Whenever they killed an animal, they were to bleed that animal thoroughly. That is why an animal wasn’t to be strangled. If you strangle the animal, then the blood remains in the flesh. They were to kill the animal actually by the slitting of the jugular vein, and then let the thing bleed thoroughly. Even to the present day, when they eat meat, they can only eat meat that has been killed under the supervision of a priest or a rabbi who makes certain that the animal is bled properly and bled thoroughly, because they have the prohibition of eating blood. The sanctity of the blood. For God said, “The life of the flesh, is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make an atonement for your souls.” It is the blood that makes atonement for your souls. So they were to have a high respect for the blood, because, first of all, the blood was the life of the flesh. It is the stream of life, the red river of life, it’s been called, whereby our bodies are sustained; and the shedding of the blood is equivalent to the dying. It is a symbol of dying, the blood being shed. But God required it because the penalty of the law against sin, was death. So that animal that you brought for a sacrifice was your substitute. It was taking your place. It was dying in your stead. It was receiving your just dues for your sins.
It was necessary that the blood be shed, in order for there to be an atonement for sins. “For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Now, God, in His word, never abrogated this law. God never changed or altered this law. God did provide a sacrifice through Jesus Christ. A permanent sacrifice through Jesus Christ. In the book of Hebrews as there is the comparison made between the Levitical sacrifices, and especially on the day of atonement, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is pointing out that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is superior and better to the sacrifice made by the Levitical priest, because, it points out that, he had to go in yearly with a sacrifice, and daily sacrifices were to be made. But Jesus, having sacrificed Himself, once and for all, has now sat down at the right hand of the Father, waiting until His enemies become His footstool. Waiting until all things have been brought into subjection unto Himself. So, the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice, in that it was one sacrifice and for all. But, we still approach God today through sacrifice. It’s the sacrifice of Jesus, through the shed blood of Jesus who gave His life for us, we have our approach to God. But you have no approach to God, apart from sacrifice.
That is the dilemma that a Jew must face today, who seeks to come to God on Yom Kippur, weighing his good works against his evil. There is no atonement. There is nothing in the scriptures that speaks of atonement through good works. The scripture only speaks of atonement through the sacrifice, through the shedding of blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. Now these Old Testament sacrifices were all of them looking forward to that sacrifice that Jesus would make, as the Lamb of God, slain for our sins. But if you do not have Jesus Christ, and have received His sacrifice for your sins, then you are still in your sins. There is no atonement. For the blood makes atonement for the soul.
Therefore I said to the children of Israel, No one among you shall eat blood. [Why? Because the blood is sacred, it is the atonement for the soul, it’s the life of the flesh.] No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who sojourns with you eat blood. And whatever man of the children of Israel that sojourn among you who hunts and catches any animal or bird, that it may be eaten (17:14).
When you’re hunting the animal, and you’ve shot it, then you bleed it out there, and then you cover the blood with dirt. You can’t bring that animal into the priest, you’ve already shot it, but you bleed it thoroughly and then you cover it with dirt.
And if any man eats something that died naturally, [you see, it didn’t have a chance to bleed], or was torn by beast, whether he is a native of your country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe in water and be unclean until evening, and then he shall be clean. But if he doesn’t wash, then he shall bear his guilt (17:15-16).
Now in chapter eighteen, he deals first of all, with incestual relationships, and suffice it to say that God has thoroughly forbidden incestual relationships.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the men of Israel speak to them saying, I am the Lord your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwell, you’re not to do. 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 judgements and my ordinances and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. You shall keep my statutes and my judgements; and if a man does, he will live by them (18:1-5).
So the law and life through the law, depended on your keeping the law. “He that doeth them shall live by them.” Now, in Egypt, it was alright to marry your sister. It was an accepted practice for years in Egypt. Inter marriages within the family. You could actually marry your mother, and so it also was in Canaan and they did not think much of incestual practices, but they are something that God completely forbid and so, He goes ahead, in case you say, “Well ours is a special case, she’s you know, my uncle’s wife.” Well, no. He covers that. He just goes through and covers each relationship, so that a person, “Well, He didn’t cover this one, so this one’s alright.” you know. He was pretty thorough, He covers them all, any kind of relationship that you might think of, sister-in -law, brother-in-law, or whatever, He covers, and says that it’s not to be done. Verse nineteen,
A woman wasn’t to be approached sexually during her menstrual period. You’re not to lie carnally with your neighbors’ wife. You’re not to let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech. Nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord (18:19-21).
It was very common in those days to offer infant sacrifices to the god Molech. They would heat this little iron god, to the point of the iron glowing a red hot glow, and then they would put their babies in the outstretched arms of this little iron god, and sacrifice their babies. Cause them to pass through the fires to Molech. God is strictly forbidding this. This was a common practice in Canaan. And on any special occasion, you’d bring one of your babies and sacrifice it to your pagan God. If you were going to build a house, you want good luck for the house, you would take your baby and sacrifice it to your god, and then the baby’s remains would be put in a jar, and placed in the walls of the house, as you build the house, it would be encased in the jar of the wall of the house. Many of the houses that the archeologists have unearthed, in the walls, they have found the jars with the remains of the infants who were sacrificed as a good luck potion, really, in the building of the houses, and God is strictly forbidding these kind of things.
Homosexuality is forbidden in verse twenty two, we’ll get to that further in chapter nineteen. Not to lie with a male as with a woman. It’s an abomination. Nor beastiality, and it is forbidden both men and of course, women too. But he deals with both. These of the things that the nations before them were doing. They weren’t to follow it. It’s because of these things that God caused the nations to vomit out the people. It’s because of these things that these people were dispossessed from the land, therefore you’re not to follow those practices, lest you also become dispossessed in the land. Verse twenty seven,
For all of these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled. Unless the land vomit you out also, when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you (18:27).
And if anyone were to do these things they were to be cut off out of the nation.
Now in chapter nineteen, the key is in verse two, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” So God’s requirement of holiness from his people because He is a holy God, and:
Thus you are to reverence, or revere your mother and father, and keep His Sabbath. Do not turn to idols or make molded Gods. And your offerings that you offer to God, [verse five] are to be of your own free will (19:3-5).
That’s the only kind of service that God wants. That’s the only kind of gift that God wants from you. Something that you give of your own free will. God does not force you to give to Him. God doesn’t pressure you to give to Him. If He did, it would no longer be meaningful. God wants a meaningful, loving relationship with you. Not a legal relationship. “Oh, I have to do that, I guess.” And God says, “Forget it!” God doesn’t want you to feel like you’re forced to give service to Him. It’s got to be from your heart, of your free will.
Now, when you reap your harvest, verse nine,
You’re not to wholly reap the corners of your field, nor are you to gather the gleanings of your harvest. You’re not to glean your vineyard. You’re not to gather every grape of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and the stranger, for I am the Lord your God (19:9-10).
This was one of the welfare provisions of the law, we’ll get it more completely in the book of Deuteronomy. When you were going through, and cutting your grain, you got one shot. If you didn’t make a clean cut when you first shot it, you couldn’t go back and hit it the second time, you had to leave that for the poor people. As your servants were gathering the grain, if they dropped some on the ground, they could not pick it up off the ground. That had to be left for the poor people. So, God’s provision when you picked your crop, you only picked once, you didn’t go through and have the second picking. When you shake your walnut trees, you get one shake. Whatever green walnuts hung on, you had to leave them there. Then later on the poor people could come in and jump on the branches and get the walnuts that were left. If you went through the peak picked your apricots, you had one picking. Those that were green that were left on the tree, let them ripen later, the poor of the land could come and have them. So it was a very excellent welfare law, as I see it. As God has always interested in the cause of the poor.
You should not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another, you’re not to swear by the name of God falsely, nor profane the name of God. You’re not to defraud your neighbor (19:11-13).
If you hire someone to do work for you, you’re not to keep his wages overnight. I mean, you had to pay them at the end of the day. You couldn’t say, “Well I’ll pay you tomorrow.” Not like today where you get paid once a week or twice a month. You had to get paid the day that you finished your work. Then I find that this is quite interesting.
You’re not to curse the deaf. [That would be sort of a mean thing anyway. I mean they can’t hear you. You’re not to take advantage of that fact, that he can’t hear you, and curse him, just because he can’t hear you.] Nor are you to put a stumbling block before the blind (19:14).
Now, that would be a dirty trick. There’s a blind man coming so you lay a block out there and watch him trip over it. Basically the Lord is telling us that we ought to be kind to people with handicaps. Now, it’s interesting to me how cruel children can be, to a child that has a handicap. You know if a child has to wear glasses, “Oh four eyes!”, you know, and they can be very cruel to a child. And I guess there’s something in our nature, because in a pen of chickens if there’s one that’s weird or odd, the others will peck it to death. They call it hen-pecked. Just thought you’d be interested in the origin of that word. So God is taking up the cause of the handicapped. You’re not to mistreat them because of their handicap.
Then also you’re not to be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty, but your judgement should be equitable (19:15).
No matter if the person is poor, you say, “Oh he’s so poor, you know, better let him off.” No, if he’s done wrong, he’s to pay the penalty for his wrongdoing. If he’s rich, you’re not to say, “Oh boy, he’s so influential and rich you know, lets just let him pass.” No you’re not to show partiality, but be straight across the board. Equitable in judgement. You’re not to go around as a gossiper.
You shall not hate your brother in your heart, you shall not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, [Now, here it is.] you shall love your neighbor as yourself (19:17).
Now, when Jesus was questioned by the lawyer, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. And the second is like unto the first, You shalt love your neighbor as yourself.” So, he quotes this as one of the greatest commandments. The first one is loving God. The vertical axis upon which your life revolves. Loving God foremost, above and beyond everything else, but then, along with that, and in conjunction with that, and not separate from that, you are to love your neighbor as yourself. And upon these two, Jesus said, “Is all of the law and the prophets.” It’s all fulfilled in these two. Now, go back to the tables of stones, the two tables of stone upon which God had inscribed the ten commandments. The first four commandments had to do with your relationship with God. “Thou shalt not have any other Gods before me. Thou shalt not make any graven images. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” Had to do with man’s relationship with God. It is dealing mainly with the negative, “Thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not.” Jesus puts it in the positive. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. Completely, totally. That takes care of the negatives. If you have a positive love for God, then you don’t have to worry about the negatives. The second table had to do with your relationship with your fellow man. “Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not murder. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie.”, and the not, not, nots’. Jesus here picked up the positive, “Just love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is the fulfilling of the law. Loving God fulfills every relationship of the law. Loving God foremost. That will fulfill every law that deals with your relationship with God, and loving your neighbor as yourself fulfills every obligation to your neighbor.
Now, I refuse, as heresy, the statement that you’ve got to love yourself in order to love your neighbor. That’s a bunch of baloney! You all love yourselves! Why do you spend so much time in front of the mirror? You say, “Oh I hate myself, I’m so ugly.” No you don’t hate yourself! If you really hated yourself, you’d be glad you were so ugly. The bible says, “No man hates his own flesh, he loves himself”, and so this business, “Oh you’ve got to learn to love yourself so you can love your neighbor”, is not really scriptural. There is already that implied assumption and truth that basically we do love ourselves. Let us say that we could take, at this point, a good wide angle lens picture, maybe using a pitch high lens or something, and we could get a picture of the congregation here, and we would blow it up, real big. We would put it on the back wall. So you would go back to look at the picture. Who’s’ the first one you’re gonna look for? Don’t tell me you don’t love yourself. And you may say, “Oh that’s a horrible picture”, “What do you mean? I look great!”, “It’s not the right profile”, “Aah it’s an ugly picture”. Well, you know, they caught you, you blinked or something, in the camera, and you’re talking about yourself. The rest of us, all of the rest of us look great. But it’s a horrible picture because it didn’t catch you right, you see. But I hate myself. No you don’t. You just love your neighbor as you love yourself. Do you see that you’re fed three times a day? Do you see that you have a roof over your head? Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Do you see that you’re comfortable? Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Who’s my neighbor? Oh, we’d better not go into that! A man was going to Jericho, and he was beset by robbers, and he lie bleeding on the ground, and the priest came by and he walked around him. The Levite came by and he skirted around him. The hated Samaritan, as far as the Jew was concerned, came by, and he saw the man and he picked him up and he put him on his beast, brought him to the inn. He washed his wounds, he said to the man in charge of the inn, “Take care of him. I’ll give you the money to take care of him, until he’s strong and healthy again. If there’s anything owing, I’ll pay you when I get back, when I come back by this way.” Jesus said, “Who was his neighbor?” Who is my neighbor? The man who is in need. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Now, you’re not to have mixed breeding with your livestock, you’re not to sow your field with mixed seed, nor are you to wear mixed materials in your garments (19:19).
That was for their day, it’s different now. But they weren’t to mix linen and wool in a garment.
Then it deals with relationships with a woman who is a part of a concubine of another man, and what is to be done in order to get an atonement for the sin.
Interesting, when you come into the land, you plant your fruit trees. The first three years, you’re not to eat of the fruit. The fourth year, whatever is on the tree belongs to the Lord, and the fifth year, you can start enjoying the fruit of the trees.
You’re not to eat anything with it’s blood. [You’re to thoroughly bleed anything that you eat.] You’re not to practice divination or soothsaying. [Ouija boards or the rest.] You’re not to shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard (19:26-27).
Now, this was to look like those pagan worshipers, who had special ways of cutting their hair and their beards, to look weird, shaving their heads, you know, and leaving a long lock down the back or something. You’re not to look weird like that.
Nor are you to make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, or have any tatoo marks on you: for I am the Lord (19:28).
Today, we are not under the law and if you, in your young years, wanted to show how tough you were, and had a tatoo put on your arm, or whatever, you know, don’t go around feeling guilty or whatever. I like this verse thirty two:
You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man. [That is giving honor to the aged and old people, and I think you should.] And fear your God, for I am the Lord (19:32).
You’re not to mistreat the strangers that dwell in the land, you’re to remember that you were once a stranger in the land of Egypt.
You’re not to be unjust in your measurements (19:36). [Or in the weights or volumes. You’re to have just balances.]
Now, there was a practice you know, their balances, their scales were balanced scales. So you had your little weights, for the selling, you put the little weight on the one side, your eight ounce weight, and then you would put the eight ounces of peanuts on the other side, and came to the balance, you know, you had the eight ounces. Well, some of these unscrupulous merchants had two sets of balances. One for when bought things, and the other for when they sold them. The bible in proverbs speaks about these just balances, and how that God wants just balances. The same balances that you have for buying as you have for selling.
We recognize the importance of standards of weights and measures, and for years the United States government had the standard bureau of weights and measures, to make sure a gallon is a gallon, a quart is a quart, an inch is an inch, a yard is a yard, a pound is a pound. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if we didn’t have standard weights and measures? So God is just establishing a law of the standardization of weights and measures.
Now, in chapter twenty, we deal with sins which are to be punished by death.
If any gives any of his descendants, [if a person offers a sacrifice of his child to Molech] he is to be put to death. If a person turns to fortune tellers, mediums, and familiar spirits: then that person was to be cut off from the people. If a person cursed his father or mother, he was to be put to death. If a man committed adultery with another man’s wife, they were both to be put to death. If a man went into his father’s wife, he was to be put to death. If a man had relationships with his daughter in law, they were both to be put to death. If a man lies with another man, as he lies with a woman, [the homosexual] was to be put to death. If a man marries a woman and her mother, [and of course they did have the plurality of marriages, but you couldn’t marry the mother and the daughter both] they were to be burned with fire. If a man mates with an animal [beastiality], was a sin punishable by death. And a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, she and the beast are to be put to death. If a man takes his sister, his father’s daughter, or mother’s daughter, and it is a wicked thing, he shall bear his guilt. If a man lies with a woman, during her menstrual period, they’re both to be spiritually unclean, bearing their guilt (20:17).
Then the uncle’s wife, and pretty much the same things as we covered in the earlier chapter, as far as, incestual relationships. So, the final verse:
A man or a woman who is a medium, who has a familiar spirit shall surely be put to death: they will stone them with stones, their blood shall be upon them (20:27).
So, people who practiced divination, spiritualism, spiritism, they were to be put to death. Heavy, heavy duty, and yet God was trying to separate a nation, to preserve that nation. Because, these practices that God was forbidding and was so severe against, are the very practices that rot the fiber of a nation and bring destruction upon that nation. It was important to God to preserve the nation until He could bring forth His Son into the world, through the seed of Abraham. And so, God’s preservation of these people were the fulfilling of His divine purposes, and thus the rigidity of the law was important for a strong nation.
Shall we pray.
Father we thank you tonight for your strength, and for your help, and for your word. Let us Lord, live in accordance to it. Walk in it’s light. Lord let us live lives that are pleasing to you. We thank you for the blood of Jesus Christ, that cleanses us from our sins. We thank you Lord that you have made such provisions for us through Jesus. Lord we thank you that He has fulfilled the law for us, so that all we must do today is believe in Him and His sacrifice for us, and the gift of eternal life is ours. Lord be with your people, and bless your people this week. Give them your godly wisdom. Guide them Father in their business dealings. Help them Lord in their school activities. Lord we pray that you’ll just surround us with your love and with your care, that we might walk Lord, in a way pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.