LEVITICUS 7:1 – 9:24 and MATTHEW 26:1–46
Chapter 7 is a continuation of requirements and specifics regarding the various offerings. In verses 1-10 we see the portion that is to be given unto the priests from the trespass, sin and meal offerings. Those who labour in priestly functions are to be compensated. Their position is not to be abused such as seen with Eli’s sons (1 Sam 2:17). Priests function in their office to serve God and the people. It is a high calling and one of great privilege.
In verses 11-21 we see additional insights regarding the Peace Offerings. This would be a follow-up to Leviticus 3. It is interesting to note how the Peace Offering is linked with Thanksgiving (vs 12, 13, 15). One of the keys in being able to have Peace with God and the Peace of God is to have a thankful heart. The Peace Offering is a voluntary one so it requires initiative on the part of the one bringing the offering. The ability to rejoice in the midst of a crisis is a way where we can experience His Peace. It is a fruit of the Spirit. This offering renders great damage to the kingdom of darkness. There is something about being a thankful person that gladdens the heart of God. A merry heart is like a medicine in contrast to an unthankful bitter disposition (Pro 17:22). When we learn to rejoice and give thanks in all things we come into that place of knowing the Peace of God. This is a way we can fulfil the Peace Offering in our day. We again see the portion that is to be given to the priests in verses 31-34. We see that chapters 1-7 represent an overview and summary of the 5 different offerings and its related functions. The focus will now be directed to the consecration of priests.
The consecration, calling and equipping of a priest is addressed in this chapter. As we earlier noted, the call to be a priest was afforded to all of Israel but only Levi qualified. The New Testament Priesthood has that same opportunity but how many will respond and rise up to the challenge? Not all believers are priests, it is a calling. In the life of Moses we examined the three divisions of his life.
|From birth to age 40||Called while in Egypt|
|From age 40-80||Chosen while in the land of Midian. (Isa 48:10)|
|From age 80-120||Faithful as God’s leader and priest in the land of Midian|
The Bible makes clear that many are called but only few are chosen (Mat 22:14). We have seen that only the priests could enter beyond the Outer Court into the Holy Place. The consecration elements of becoming priests (that we will examine in chapter 8) will be instructive to us in how we can become priests for our day.
The priests had to be washed at the brass laver. We noted the significance of the brass laver in Exo 38:8. Brass is a substance that has been tried and tested. The brass laver helps us to see ourselves in light of God’s Word. It gives us a reflection of who we are.
Jas 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Jas 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Psa 119:9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
There were several pieces of clothing and articles that a priest was to wear as seen in verses 7-10. A few of them are listed below:
1. Coat-Speaks of righteousness. This is the fine linen of the saints (Rev 19:8) as well as the garment that was placed on Joshua the high priest from Zech 3:3-4. In of ourselves we have no righteousness.
Isa 64:5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
The Bible has much to say about garments. We see man’s form of righteousness as illustrated in the the fig leaves (Gen 3:7). God has His form of covering as seen in the animal skins (Gen 3:21). We are also exhorted to put on the holy garments as seen in Col 3:12-15.
Psa 132:9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
2. Girdle-Speaks of strength. This is derived from righteousness. People may not always agree with you but they will respect a person who has this measure of authority. Righteousness is the strength of the ministry. There are 3 colors that characterize the linen covering that hung before the veil and could be found in the linen garment of the priest. (Please see Exo 25:4, 26:1, and 36:37)
a) Blue-Speaks of the Word of God
b) Purple-Speaks of Royalty
c) Scarlet-Speaks of the power of the blood.
These qualities enable a priest to function with authority and strength. It speaks of a priest that lives out the message that he speaks.
3. Robe-Speaks of position and character
Exo 29:5 And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:
Exo 28:31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
We can see that Lev 8 is an enactment of what God prescribed to Moses when he was with God upon Mt. Sinai. This was during the 40 day encounter that Moses had with God. We see how meticulous God was in the preparation of the priesthood. This was before the test of the priesthood that came forth in Exo 32. You will notice in one of the above verses how the robe of the ephod had to be all in blue. A true priest must be immersed in the whole of God’s Word. This will prepare the priest to function effectively in the next essential item that a priest had to have.
4. Ephod-Speaks of Divine guidance, an absolute essential for a priest.
Exo 28:6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
Exo 28:7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
A priest would put his hand in the ephod and pull out a stone. The term “Urim” would speak of guilt and Thummim would refer to innocence. The ephod was made of gold which signifies God’s role in the judgement. There was nothing special in the ephod or either of the stones but was solely based on the anointing. It had to be done in God’s prescribed order. There was abuse in this during the time of Gideon and it serves as a warning to the church of our day.
Jdg 8:27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.
We need to bear in mind that all of the functioning in the tabernacles be it the furniture or the instruments used had to be anointed with oil (Exo 30:20-31). The priests were also to be anointed with this oil. This anointing oil was called “most holy” so you can see the need for an emphasis on “holiness” as it pertained to the priesthood. We shall see the consequences of a priesthood that acts presumptuously a bit later on. The above account with Gideon is an example of priestly presumption.
5. The Breastplate of Judgment
This is taken from Exo 28:15-21. We see an array of 12 stones consisting of different gems speaking as a whole of the 12 tribes of Israel. This signifies the priestly role of bearing the sins of a nation. We see this attribute in Moses and Ezra when they stood before God on behalf of the people when making confession.
Ezr 9:6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
Notice in the priestly prayer above how Ezra is assuming responsibility for the sins and iniquities of the people. Though Daniel was not a priest, he displayed priestly attributes when he prayed “we have sinned”(Dan 9:5, 8, 11, 15). A true priest of the last days must be one who can assume the sins of a nation while making intercession before God.
6. Mitre-Speaks of submission and humility
This was to be placed on the head as an act of submission to Christ. It was created of gold and was to be engraved with the words “Holiness to the Lord” (Exo 28:36-38). Joshua, the priest had this experience after receiving an exchange of garments (Zech 3:5-8). Joshua became a man wondered at and was used to help pave the way for the coming of the BRANCH (The Lord). Joshua is a beautiful picture of the last day priest. He also is a picture that fulfils the requirements that are seen here in Lev 8
There were various offerings that the priests had to make in preparation for the presence of God to appear (vs 4). If done properly, the glory of the Lord would manifest (vs 6). The priests would make an offering for themselves, whether it would be a sin or burnt offering which would serve as an atonement. Then they were in a position to take the offering of the people for their atonement (vs 7).
To be true priests we must first allow the Lord to deal in our own lives before we can effectively minister in the lives of others. This is seen in the familiar account of Math 7 regarding judgement. We are very quick in administering judgment to others without allowing an inner work to be done within us. This is what the work of circumcision does. It cuts deep within the heart of the priest. This is why a priest had to have an ephod covered totally in “blue” which speaks of the Word of God. The Word cuts deep making a distinction between soul and spirit and getting to the intents of the heart (Heb 4:12).
If we allow the Word that kind of access into our lives we then become candidates in being able to discern the hearts of people. This is why Jesus could manage and handle seemingly difficult situations so well with great wisdom. He was “bathed” in the Word, He was the Word. The priest was one who had to be anointed and prepared before God and before He could minister to the people. How many are willing to do this today? We must never presume the role of a priest but rather allow God to implement the process of the Levitical form to make us priests after the order of Melchizedec (Psa 110:4). The fruit of this preparation resulted in the glory and fire coming down upon the altar of the Lord. Our God is a consuming fire; Our God is a holy God and one who is not to be trifled with or lightly regarded (Heb 12:29).
This is a fast moving chapter where we see many events taking place. Jesus announces in verse 2 that in 2 days the Passover will be observed and that He will be crucified. It will be the fulfilment of that which began in “type” form in Egypt. I have enjoyed the Old and New Testament approach in our Bible reading program due to the applications that can be made. In observing the life of Christ we are able to see and understand the priestly role in the Tabernacle by way of the Levitical Offerings. This approach has also helped in being able to understand the qualifications and responsibilities that we have today as believers. Jesus has been clear in his teaching and as a result has stirred the ire of the chief priests, scribes and elders. Their rage has now peaked so they devise the means in how they can destroy the Lord.
The plan of the Father is now all coming together. There will now be an acceleration of events that will lead to the Son of God going to the Cross as the Passover Lamb. Jesus is very clear as to who He is and the timing of when things need to happen. He is composed as He is led of the Spirit towards his destiny with the cross. It is a beautiful picture for us. The first event seen here is the breaking of the alabaster jar in the house of Simon the leper (vs 6-13).
Mat 26:8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
Judas is not specifically mentioned here and it’s interesting that there were others who were offended over this act. This was one of those “teachable moments” where the motive of hearts is revealed. On the surface you can look like you have the interest of the poor in mind. You can make the case that the perfume that was spilt upon the ground could have been translated into a tangible means of helping the needy. This encounter was all about the matter of the heart; it revealed the heart of the disciples and the heart of Mary. What we see in this account is an act of a true worshipper (Joh 4:24). Mary saw Jesus as one who was worthy of all that she had. Try and imagine this scene. An expensive measure of a costly ointment (spikenard) is being broken and poured out upon Jesus. (An estimated years’ worth of wages) No doubt, a tremendous amount of saving and sacrifice went into this effort, yet she willingly gave it all to Jesus. Here is an example of a “free will” burnt type of offering as seen in the Book of Leviticus. This act of worship agitated others due to not having the same motivation of heart. By the way, spikenard speaks of Peace. It was the fruit of Peace that governed the Lord in His final hours before the Cross.
Judas is now featured in verses 14-16 as he goes about fulfilling his role as the betrayer. We need to be clear that though he is fulfilling scripture he is doing so based on choices that he has made. The Bible identifies him as a thief (Joh 12:6) and as one who rejected the truth of the Lord’s teaching. This was His choosing; God did not force him or make an arrangement with him to be the betrayer so that Old Testament scripture could be realized.
Psa 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
This act of worship was the final straw for Judas; it pushed him over the edge and he now sought the means of how he could betray the Son of Man for a price. We read an account like this and we try to imagine as to how foolish could he be? Well, we can say the same thing about Esau and others who sell out cheaply or to those who trivialize the things of God. The matters of the heart can prove treacherous if we are not careful.
We will answer to our heart and accommodate its whims and desires unless we allow God’s Word to change us. The more we walk with the Lord the more accountable we will become. Judas witnessed the finest of teaching; he saw the power and demonstration of the power of God yet was still willing to sell out the Lord for 30 pieces of silver. This is the danger of an uncircumcised heart. Judas violated the law of God due to being covetous. This allowed Satan to gain access to a significant leader who would later betray the Lord at an opportune moment (Joh 13:2, 27).
The power of the New Covenant is the ability for God to get to the root of where “all sin” originates. This is why a true understanding of God’s Law must be presented to the church. To have the Law of God etched and written upon the heart is a miracle and a beautiful illustration of to the extent that God will go in establishing an intimate relationship with man. God gave Moses His Law etched in stone (Exo 31:18) but for us it can be written and etched upon our hearts. If we consistently reject truth we can set ourselves up for a hardened and indifferent heart. We can set ourselves up for a “doctrine” that appeases yet may lead down a contrary road. We will see events take place in our days that will reveal what is truly in our hearts. The heart cry of people will be answered but we better be sure of what we are crying out for. Will we be crying out for God or for Barabbas? That day seems to now be upon us.
The next event points to the event of the last supper. This is covered in the other gospels and will be elaborated on a bit later. I would like to address an event as seen in verses 36-46. It is the time when Jesus is in prayer with His Father. It is hard to truly appreciate the dynamic of all that is taking place here. Jesus, in HIs humanity is struggling in the area of His will. We see that on three occasions (vs 39, 42, and 44) He cries out to His Father if there could be a different way to fulfill His will. Jesus was about to fulfill the plan of the Father that was enacted before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).
This was such a pivotal moment because it involves all of us. Jesus had to become sin, but He first had to live a spotless life so as to qualify to be the Lamb. In his humanity He knew that He was about to face the wrath of an angry, vengeful God who would judge sin once and for all at the Cross. Still, He had the ability to utter those words “not my will, but thine be done” This was an intense battle but the Lord was able to come to the place where he was able to release Himself to the will of the Father. In doing this He was overcoming in the very area where Lucifer fell which was in the area of the will. (Isa 14:13-14).
Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
It is the area of the will where we too need to gain victory. It is in the area of the will where we make choices. We either choose to serve God or serve ourselves. As we progress in our walk with God the consecration and commitment to God becomes greater. The question is whether we can learn to relinquish our will and ways to Him. It is a day by day process. This is why the Levitical study is important because it shows the varying level and degrees of consecration of those who choose to move on with God. Let us learn from Mary’s example; to see Jesus as the one who is worthy of our best in every way. In doing so we will have a clean and pure heart that will delight in serving the Lord daily and coming to a place of knowing and doing His will.
One really has to wonder how Judas, who just hours before was seated with the Lord and the others in the upper room could now be leading a band of vile men who are looking to take Him captive. This man had witnessed the demonstration of God’s power and teaching through the Son of God as one of his disciples over the past few years. Judas had to have distinctive qualities about him in being able to be part of the original 12, yet now is in the position to betray the Son of God. How does this happen? To me it comes down to the heart. What was the distinguishing characteristic that distinguished Saul from David? When comparing the sins of the two it appears that David is far guiltier, yet he found forgiveness and favor.
1Sa 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
David had a heart that loved God. After he sinned in the matter of Uriah and Bathsheba, David had an ability to acknowledge sin and repent. This is an attitude of heart that God can work through. Saul presumed upon God in the matter of performing a priestly office. Saul did not seek after the Ark during his reign signifying his lack of regard for the things of God.
1Ch 13:3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.
Let’s now make a comparison between Peter and Judas. Both of these men walked with the Lord and were first hand witnesses to His ministry. Both of these men were targeted by Satan. Peter became a vehicle that Satan could speak through in the matter of the Lord making clear His mission in going to Jerusalem to die (Math 16:23). Peter was also warned by the Lord that Satan desired to have him (Luk 22:31). Peter even denied the Lord three times yet found favor and forgiveness. There was something about the heart of Peter that the Lord could work through. He paid a great price and went through fires and judgments that could have been avoided but still was one who came through in the end. Consider Judas on the other hand who had a heart that became hardened and indifferent. The Bible says that he was a thief (John 12:6). Satan found in Judas a heart that was fertile ground for him to work in.
Joh 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;
The devil cannot just plant the seeds of betrayal into any heart; it must be conditioned and hardened against truth. This later led to Satan himself entering into Judas (John 13:27). Once this happened, Judas could not help but fulfill scripture. The fruit of this account is now taking place as Jesus is being betrayed in the garden.
We discussed earlier regarding Pharaoh and his hardened heart that it was the result of his choices that allowed him to be in that position to be an instrument of God’s wrath. God had a timetable for Egypt’s deliverance and he needed a king who would allow iniquity to become ripe for judgment. Pharaoh became that instrument due to an evil, hardened heart. As that day of the Exodus drew nearer and as the leadership qualities of Moses was being fine-tuned, God moved in rapid succession. He took a man (Pharaoh) who already had a hardened heart and accelerated His purpose by bringing forth the plagues and judgment upon Egypt. This only hardened his heart further and in doing so he (Pharaoh) was fulfilling scripture. God had a timetable for His Son going to the cross. The events that surround the Cross are taking place in rapid succession. There had to be a betrayer to fulfill scripture just like the need for a Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus. The question is did God just randomly handpick Pharaoh and Judas to fulfill these roles? He did choose them based on His foreknowledge of decisions and choices they would make. He did choose them based on knowing what would be in their heart. The bottom line issue here is that Pharaoh, Saul and Judas are all products of what was in their heart. David, Peter and others are also products of what was in their heart. God was able to use and choose these vessels due to their sensitivity to the things of God, their ability to respond to Truth when they had sinned.
Psa_51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
What we have seen in Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus and in the life of Saul when he became the first king of Israel and in Judas at the time of the Lord’s betrayal is that which will be seen in these last days. We need to be very sensitive to God’s timetable and help ensure that our hearts are always tender and pure before Him. It seems that at such times we can be sealed as to the condition of our heart. Saul had early success as a king and probably felt his presumptions were allowable. He did not recognize and discern God’s intent of destroying Amalek. He took God’s presence for granted and it cost him at a time when God was looking for a king to exercise His wrath and judgment upon a long time enemy of Israel.
Judas had to know he was not living as he should in allowing his heart to be covetous in light of the Lord’s teaching and example. I am sure he never knew to the extent that he would be used by Satan to fulfill the role of the betrayer. His covetous heart sold out the Lord for 30 pieces of silver. (Remember Esau) In the last days there will be an acceleration of events; an acceleration of God’s timetable. Where is our heart today? Do we cry out for a clean heart? Do we have a love for the Law of God which exposes our heart and allows for sin to be repented of? There comes a time when God answers a people according to what is in their heart.
I feel a burden and quickening on the above point. When God’s timetable is beginning to be fulfilled there is an acceleration of events that begins to take place. We have reflected on this verse from Revelation on previous occasions but it bears repeating.
Rev 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Try and think of yourself in a stream where the current is a bit strong but manageable. You are able to maneuver in the direction you want but you can still feel the pull of the current. Then all of a sudden the current intensifies and before you know it you are caught up in it and cannot get out. This is a picture of what happens to a person who entertains a hardened heart. It seems manageable for a time but suddenly an event(s) changes everything. God is warning the church over and over to allow His to work within our hearts. Now is the time of the Lord’s visitation, are we heeding or are we playing with fire?
I was born and raised in Buffalo New York, which is about 20 miles from Niagara Falls. If you were to be taking a boat ride around Grand Island which lies between Buffalo and Niagara Falls you would notice the currents gaining strength. You can navigate your boat in the direction you want but it would be with increasing difficulty. There is a point of no return where the current will overwhelm the rower and unless there is a dramatic rescue the boat will end up going over the falls. I sense in the Spirit that we are getting closer to that point. “He who hath ears to hear, let him hear”.
This portion of Mathew 26 has been entirely focused upon Judas fulfilling scripture but it serves as a warning for us today. The spirit of antichrist is already in the world paving the way for the soon coming man of sin. He will have “Absalom” like qualities in being able to stand in the pathway of God’s people seeking to steal away their hearts.
2Sa 15:6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
This is why we are exhorted to keep our hearts with all diligence (Pro 4:23). It was the condition of the respective hearts of Pharaoh, Saul, and Judas that distinguished them from men like David and Peter.
Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Updated on 12 Feb 2017