7Questions & Observations
Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily reading. Read on, some answers may surprise you. Most of all, they can help you understand the Bible, which helps us lead a life that fulfills God and us. Let us know if you have any comments to add.
Q. (Exodus 29:10-28): I for one, am glad that we don’t have to do all of these animal sacrifices today. I am surprised at all the specifics of these instructions. I guess I shouldn’t be after seeing the instructions for the Tabernacle. I’m just wondering what some of the specifics mean, like blood on the right ear lobes, right thumbs, right toes.
A. This ritual symbolized the cleansing of the priesthood of their own sin (by offering the sin offering of the bull and other animals), so that they would be ritually pure in order to accept the offerings of the rest of the community. We will see this explained further in the next book, Leviticus. The blood on the ear lobes represented a discerning ear for what God desired of the priests, and the blood on the hands and feet (thumbs/toes) represented the life of service that the priesthood would carry out on behalf of the Israelite community.
Q. (30:8) … from generation to generation. I notice that many of these instructions are not for a week or two. The Lord’s instructions imply, to me, that they will be wandering for years and years and years and more.
A. Yes, they will wander for an entire generation (one of the things 40 represents in the Bible is a generation). But more importantly, these instructions are given for the community for ALL time! Thus, they will still be true in the time of David and Solomon (though the offerings are made at the temple instead of the tabernacle), and also in the time of Jesus. For reasons that we will — I’m sure — learn about, Jews today treat the sacrifice system differently, and offer prayers to make their atonement.
Q. (31:16) Gotcha, I think. Rob, you said the Sabbath was no longer a law, but here it says, “The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation.” This is a covenant obligation for ALL time.
A. That’s true, as we talked about in the last question. But we as Christians are no longer bound to follow this Law, whereas devout Jews ARE. This is a big parting of the ways between Jews and Christians: observant Jews still hold to what we call the Old covenant (they of course hold that it is the ONLY covenant!), where as Christians are under the freedom that Christ offers by His eternal sacrifice. We will see how this gets explained in the NT when writers like Paul and whomever wrote the book of Hebrews start to explain why we are different because of Christ. So hang on, the answers are coming. You’ll just have to wait until late in the year to get them. So, there’s your reason to keep reading!