BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 5: Deuteronomy 30

Summary of passage:  If God’s people turn back to Him, He will bless them and gather them together and prosper them and curse their enemies.  God only desires love and obedience.

Questions:

10a)  “Take his commands to heart” that is obey Him and love Him.

b)  Circumcise them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is always just one step away, one prayer away, one repentance away.  He is waiting to pick us up when we fall and He never tires of this no matter how many times we sin.  It is a great comfort because I sin all the time so knowing God loves me anyways gives me the faith to keep pursuing Him.

11a)  A choice of life or death

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Life.  Through believe in Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life.

12)  If you read all of Galatians 3, you will see the whole answer here.  Paul’s argument is this:  Abraham who lived before the law was given merely believed in God and was considered righteous.  Then the law was given (and Paul says the reason the law was given was to lead the people to Christ.  Verse 19 has the answer:  The purpose of the law was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Jesus) had come.)  The law’s purpose was to show people that it is impossible to gain God’s acceptance and be with Him on our own–that we need a Savior to do it for us.  But once Jesus stepped foot on this planet, God required faith in Jesus who took our transgressions upon himself.

Therefore, the law was to show us our inadequacies and just how much we truly need God and a Savior.

The people needed the Law because Jesus hadn’t come yet.  They needed a way to be with God and the Old Covenant was it.  The problem:  as we’ve seen this year, the people were never cleansed enough to be with God.  The system of blood sacrifice was not enough.  The people needed to see that and to live that out.  It was to prepare people for the Truth and make them desperate for a Savior.

Conclusions:  LOVED the last question.  Perfect!  Sums up our whole study.

End Notes:  The modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise here to regather His people that have been scattered for centuries all over the world.  Scholars say this promise was not fulfilled after their Babylonian exile because the Israelites were still being ruled over.  Now, the modern state of Israel is larger, stronger, and richer than any other time in history.  Israel needs our prayers.

However, Israel today is a secular society despite its Jewish heritage.  Only the ancient Israelites had a true theocracy.  Hence, this prophecy is only partially filled.  Furthermore, most Jews do not accept Jesus, which in essence is a rejection of God.  But God is faithful and He will keep His promise in these verses.

Ezekiel 37 says that first the Jews will gather together and then God will put His spirit in them.  God is not done with His people yet.

Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites had to obey the law, offer sacrifices, and believe in its power to atone and to understand another would come.  Under the New Covenant, we only have to believe in Jesus as the Savior; we don’t have to do anything.  How full of grace is our God!

We see God pleading with His people through Moses to choose Him.  We can see God pleading with His people through Jesus to believe in him.  We see God telling His people to love Him, listen to Him, and hold on to Him.  He is our life.

God makes it simple:  understand (mouth), believe (heart), and obey His word.  Paul says the same thing when he quotes this passage in Romans 10:6-10:  Confess Jesus is your Lord and believe in your heart he is the Savior.  And you will be saved.  Period.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 3: Deuteronomy 28

Summary of passage:  If the Israelites obey all of the Lord’s commands, they will be blessed in everything:  food, livestock, children, defeat of enemies, and everything they lay a hand on.  They will be His holy people.  If the Israelites disobey, they will be cursed in everything they touch, defeated by their enemies, and scattered throughout all the nations (the Diaspora).

Questions:

5)  Obey God and you will be blessed.  Disobey God and face the consequences.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation.”

b)  After Joshua died, Samaria, Israel, Assyria, Babylon, and the Roman empire.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably all areas of my life.

Conclusions:  Granted, there was nothing new here we haven’t read already.  Moses is repeating himself.  Still, this is the first time I can remember in a long time where my answers are one-liners.  I was stumped on 6c.  Too broad.  All I know is I’m a sinner and can improve in every aspect of my walk with Him.

End Notes: The Israelites must decide if they will be cursed or blessed.  Nothing is hidden here.  If you obey and are blessed, you receive everything.  If you disobey and are cursed, you receive nothing.

The consequences of disobedience are almost overwhelming here.  This is purposeful.  Moses was trying to scare the people to obey because disobedience would not be a pretty picture.

The book of Lamentations is the grief suffered after Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  Lamentations 4 describes the hunger and starvation that resulted in women eating their own children.  How tragic.

The total destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 72 AD was horrendous.  Starvation from the siege.  Jewish people were sold into slavery.  There was in-fighting.  Even Christians persecuted the Jews especially in the Middle Ages, mistakenly applying this passage to themselves as being God’s instrument  who should curse the Jews.  The Diaspora.

Yet, God is not done with Israel.  No other nation on earth has lasted as long.  The greats are gone:  Egypt, Rome, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Assyria, etc.  Only Israel still stands.  They shall always be His chosen people.  As such, we need to pray for them.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 26, Day 5: Deuteronomy 17-26

Survival Tip of the Day:  If you just read Deuteronomy 17, 18 & 26, you’ll be able to answer the questions fairly quickly.

End Notes: My end notes will only cover the passages we are asked questions about. It is too much to do them all in one week.

Summary of passages:  Deuteronomy 17:  A person should be stoned if they are found guilty by two or more witnesses of doing evil in violation of His covenant or bowing down to other gods.  Have your cases judges in difficult circumstances and abide by the judge’s rulings.  If you want to appoint a king over you, it must a king of the Lord’s choosing and a native.  He must not be greedy and go back to Egypt for horses nor accumulate great wealth.  He must not take many wives.  He is to copy the law and read it always.

Deuteronomy 18:  Review of the offerings the people are to give the Levites.  If a Levite moves towns, he is to minister in the new town and receive a share of the offerings.  God warns against detestable practices, which would turn that person to detestable if they practiced it (child sacrifice, divination, etc).  God says He will send another prophet to speak for Him (Jesus).  A false prophet who says things that doesn’t come true must be put to death.

Deuteronomy 19:  Review of cities of refuge (Numbers 35).  Need more than one witness to convict a man of a crime.  False witnesses are to be killed.  Exodus 21:24 is repeated “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

Deuteronomy 20:  Do not be afraid in war for God will be with you.  The priest shall offer up a pep talk.  The officers will allow soldiers with new homes, a fiancee, new vineyards, or just plain scared a chance to go home if they choose (very unconventional for that time).  Before battle, the Israelites are to offer the people peace.  If they accept, they all will become slaves.  If they don’t, lay siege to the city, kill all the men and the rest is plunder.  However, the cities that are your inheritance, you are to kill everyone and anything that breathes.  This is so all the detestable things will not infect you.  Do not cut down any fruit-bearing trees for use in battle; only use non-fruit-bearing trees.

Deuteronomy 21:  If a man is found murdered and the criminal is unknown, the priests must make atonement for the shedding of blood with a heifer that has never been worked.  The Israelites may take a captive woman as a wife after a month of mourning and she may leave if you are not pleased with her.  The firstborn son receives the inheritance despite which wife bore him.  A rebellious son is to be stoned to death.  Don’t desecrate the land God is giving you by leaving a hung man hanging from a tree.

Deuteronomy 22:  Various laws described here including returning your neighbor’s stray animals, not wearing the other sex’s clothing, not capturing a mother bird, building a parapet for your house, etc.  A man may not slander the name of his wife because he is displeased with her.  However, if the wife did have premarital sex, she must be stoned.  If you commit adultery, both the man and woman must die.  Rape is punishable by death.  A man must marry a girl he rapes if they are both unbetrothed.  A man must never marry his father’s wife.

Deuteronomy 23:  No one emasculated may enter the assembly.  No one born out of wedlock may enter.  No Amorite nor Moabite nor descendants for 10 generations may enter as punishment for Balaam.  Keep the camp clean by disposing of waste products in the ground.  Avoid anything impure.  A list of miscellaneous laws including give refuge to a runaway slave, don’t become a shrine prostitute, don’t charge a brother interest, keep your vows, and eat of your neighbor’s vineyard and grain but do not take any with you.

Deuteronomy 24:  A continuation of miscellaneous laws from Deut 23.  Do not re-marry a spouse.  Do not take away a man’s livelihood to pay a debt.  Don’t kinda an Israelite or you will be put to death. Follow the priests in the case of dealing with leprous diseases.  Do not take advantage of employees, orphans, foreigners, or widows.  Leave sheaves of grain, olives, and grapes behind for the poor to reap.

Deuteronomy 25:  More miscellaneous laws:  Take disputes to courts before a judge to decide.  A man should marry his brother’s wife if he die  without an heir.  Cut off the hand of a woman who touches a man’s private parts.  Use accurate measures and weights.

Deuteronomy 26:  Review of first fruits from Numbers 18:12 but this was a special one right after the people celebrated their harvest after entering the Promised Land.  (Leviticus 23) and tithes (Deuteronomy 14; Leviticus 27).  Moses tells the people one of the first things they must do when they enter the Promised Land is make an offering to the Lord of their firstfruits in thanks for what the Lord has done for them.  Set aside the tenth for the Levite, widows, orphans, and foreigners in the third year.  Walk in the Lord’s ways as His treasured possession.

Questions:

11a)  The king must be one God chooses and a native.  He must not acquire a great number of horses nor return to Egypt to get more.  He must not take many wives nor accumulate vast wealth.  He is to write a copy of these laws on a scroll and carry with it and read it daily so he can follow the Lord’s decrees all of his days.

b)  Solomon

12a)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Sacrificing sons and daughters in a fire, practice of divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, casts spells, is a medium or a spiritist, or someone who consults the dead.  No.

b)  Jesus.  (Also see Acts 7:37)

c)  If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.

13a)  As a giving back to the Lord what He has given them.  As a goodwill offering for God’s promise of bringing them to the land of milk and honey.  As a celebration of God.

b)  Joyful (verse 11).

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Work harder.  Sleep even less.  Remove my complacency and lack of motivation that has set in the last few weeks.

Conclusions:  Raise your hand if you knew the answer to 12b was Jesus without having to look it up?  Great nuggets in here that we just don’t have time to study (I highlighted some below:  care for animals and trees and the poor).  Loved Deuteronomy 24:5  “For one year he (newlywed husband) is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”  God so loves marriage and knows a strong bond is needed to endure.  Isn’t this awesome?

End Notes:  Deuteronomy 17:  Reflecting Exodus 21-23, the first part is directed towards judges.

By requiring the witnesses to be the first to cast the first stone, this ensured they were absolutely sure of what they saw and were testifying about.  John 8:7 refers to this.

Here we see the Biblical validation of appellate court system and contempt of court.

God knew 400 years into the future Israel would demand a king.  1 Samuel 8:6-9 records the moment.  It appears to be that God did not want an earthly king for He alone is king.  Furthermore, I’m sure “as all the other nations have” didn’t please God either since they were supposed to remain apart.  We see the difference immediately in following God’s word:  Saul versus David.  Which one was chosen by God and which wasn’t?  Maybe a king would do better since the Israelites history is not all that good.

Solomon broke all of God’s commands despite His closeness with God.  He wanted power, pleasure, and money–the sins that trip most of us up.

No better advice in the Bible is found here.  Carrying the word around with you, reading it and studying it daily, revering the Lord, staying humble, and knowing right from wrong.  There is no better way to keep one from sinning than reading and praying and studying God’s word.

Fun Fact:  Martin Luther once said he’d rather live in hell with the Bible than in Paradise without one.

Fun Fact:  The name “Deuteronomy” comes from this chapter and it’s a result of mistranslation.  “A copy of this law” used to read “this second law”.

Deuteronomy 18:  Witchcraft is a broad term here that could mean any thing dealing in the occult.  It is the same word used in Ezekiel 21:21.  Witchcraft is the work of Satan.  Period.  This includes so called “benevolent” witchcraft such as Wicca.

Astrology is forbidden as well since it encourages people to trust in things of creation (stars, moon, etc) instead of the Creator.

Those who “interpret omens” are the psychics.  The word omen means “to hiss” or “to whisper”.

A sorcerer is one who uses drugs to gain knowledge, which alters the mind.  Modern-day drug use is classified as this as well.  Same word seen in Micah 5:12.

A medium stands between our world and the spirit world and claims to channel both.

All are powers of the darkness and God does not look upon these sins lightly.  This is one of the reasons the Canaanites were judged so harshly by God.  Other cultures sinned, but not all of them engaged in the powers of darkness.

If God tells us something, that doesn’t mean we are commanded to speak it.  Prophets knowledge will come true if it is from God.

Deuteronomy 20:  A great example of God’s care for all of His creations–the trees!  He ordered His people to leave the fruit-bearers alone.  God is practical.

Deuteronomy 22:  This is the most interesting thing to me in these chapters:  Leave the mother bird alone!  Can you imagine out of all the animals in the world God chose this?  God’s love for all His creations shines through here.  Even more reason we should all be animal lovers.

Deuteronomy 24:  Gleaning is still practiced today even in America.  Religious organizations contract with farmers to harvest what is left after the harvest in order to feed the poor.

Deuteronomy 26:  Even though Egypt was a pagan society God chose it to grow the Israelites into a nation.  Why?  The Egyptians were racists and looked down upon the Israelites so much that they would not intermarry with them.  They could be completely isolated per se; yet still in a protected place to grow.

The firstfruits offering was a way to worship the Lord as are our tithes.

Follow God with your HEART.  That is the message of Deuteronomy.

DEUTERONOMY WRAP-UP:  In Deuteronomy 4-26 Moses has reminded Israel of God’s commands.  He has warned of disobedience and encouraged in obedience.  He has done everything in his power to prepare the people before he leaves them.  He has instructed, reminded, and encouraged.  The rest is up to them and God.

Although Deuteronomy repeats large portions of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, Deuteronomy focuses on why people should obey the aforementioned laws:  because God loves them.  God asks for obedience in return.  15 times Deuteronomy says to love God.  Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 as the greatest commandment to Love God.  Important, wouldn’t you think?

Moses emphasizes the laws are for our good.  There would be no excuse from man about what was required of him.  Obeying the rules would be a whole other matter.

Christians often wonder why bad things happen to them when God promises so many good things.  Christians often get the Old Testament mixed up with the New Testament and forget that once Jesus came he changed everything.

The Old Testament covenant was only with the ancient Israelites.  It was nulled when Jesus came.  God promised prosperity beyond their dreams, protection, and even free from disease IF the people obeyed.  God said, “Do good; get blessed.  Do evil; get punished.”  Well, we all know they didn’t obey; hence, they never received the fulfillment of God’s promises.

We cannot apply Old Testament promises that were not made to us–to us!  Jesus promised certain rewards for Christians, most of which are not of this world.  He spoke of poverty, rejection, and persecution.  Our reward is eternal life in heaven.  Could we ask for anything more worthy?

Time Fact to Complete This Lesson: 3 days and 5 hours.

Total Time and Days to Complete This Lesson:  7 days and 18 hours!  I’m wore out!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 26, Day 4: Deuteronomy 12-16

End Notes: My end notes will only cover the passages we are asked questions about. It is too many chapters to do in one week.

Summary of passages:  Deuteronomy 12:  Moses tells the people to destroy all the altars to other gods, burn their Ashram poles, and cut down their idols.  Don’t worship God in the way the pagans worshipped their gods.  The people shall rest once they have finished defeating the pagans.  Then God will chose the place they will worship Him and they are to bring their offerings to Him there.  Moses says they may kill animals but never eat their blood.  They are to eat their tithe only in the presence of the Lord.  Do exactly what God says to do without adding or detracting in any way.

Deuteronomy 13:  Do not believe false prophets who try to lead you into worshipping other gods.  This is a test sent by the Lord to test your heart.  That prophet must be put to death for his crimes.  If your brother, sister, son or daughter try to lead you to other gods, they must be put to death as well.  If people in your town are leading you astray, they must be killed and the town destroyed along with all the livestock as a burnt offering to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 14:  Lists clean and unclean food the Israelites could eat (repetition of Leviticus 11).  Moses reminds the Israelites about tithing.  Set aside one tenth of your produce each year for the Lord to eat in His presence or exchange it for silver if you live far away to but items at the tabernacle to be consumed in the Lord’s presence.  Every three years the tithes are to be stored for the Levites, aliens, orphans, and widows to live on.

Deuteronomy 15:  Review of Jubilee year (Leviticus 25), freeing servants (Leviticus 25), and setting aside the firstborn animal for God (Exodus 13).

Deuteronomy 16:  Review of the Passover Festivals, Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23).   Moses tells the people to appoint judges for each tribe in every town.

Questions:

9a)  Destroy completely all the places where the nations worshipped their gods.  Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, and burn their Ashram poles.  Cut down their idols and wipe out their names from those places.

b)  Because only in that place would the presence of God dwell.  The people are to worship in His presence.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be worshipping with God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Worship is to be taken seriously and if God is not invited in and not present, then it’s meaningless.  We are to worship Him and He is to receive it.  Going through the motions is unacceptable to God.

10)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  False prophets, relatives (brother, son, daughter, wife or other relatives), and townspeople (wicked men).  Honestly, they don’t trouble me because I don’t associate with them.  False prophets are easy to spot.  My relatives are mostly believers and the ones that aren’t aren’t close to me.  I also don’t associate with friends who would lead me astray (Admittedly, I don’t have much contact with the outside world so my connections are limited).

Conclusions:  Loved the emphasis on worshipping God where He is and taking it seriously.  Question 10 was a toss-out.  I am a very strong personality, very strong beliefs, and am very opinionated and not afraid to say it.  So it’s hard for me to be influenced by others.

Much of this passage was review of Leviticus.  Thank goodness!

End Notes:  Deuteronomy 12:  The destroying of the places of worship went completely against contemporary practice.  In the ancient world, it was difficult to build buildings and time consuming.  They had only simple tools and machines.  Nothing like we have today.  So the ancients would re-use buildings and if one empire conquered another, they’d simply remove the old temple’s accessories and replace it with theirs.  Not here.  God wanted no part in a building not meant for Him.

As usual, the Israelites did not fully follow these rules and tear down the places.  Hundreds of years later in a temple renovation a priest discovered the Book of the Law (scholars believe it was a copy of Deuteronomy), which resulted in a renewed vigor for God (2 Kings 22-23).  God’s work never ceases to mystify–how He uses disobedience for obedience hundreds of years later.

The Israelites had been doing their own thing with regards to worship.  “No more,” God says.  “Once you are settled, there will be a place dedicated to me.”  Rejoicing is commanded, both here and in the New Testament (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Animals could be killed for purposes of meat only.  It didn’t have to be just for a sacrifice.

Tragically, the Israelites were infected by the Canaanite worship of their god, Molech, that demanded children as sacrifices.  From Solomon on, the worship of Molech is recorded and was a systemic problem throughout Israel’s history.  One can only wonder what would have happened if the Israelites had done as the Lord said–destroyed the people and their places of worship and followed Him whole-hearted.  Wonder if earth would be any better off?

Deuteronomy 13:  It is rare for God to speak solely through a dream.  One must look for confirmation of that dream.  Deuteronomy 18:22 speaks of the easier one to discern:  a dreamer whose prediction does not come to pass.  Here we examine a dreamer whose prediction does come to pass but then tries to turn you away from God.  This is a test from God of your heart for Him.

Jesus warns in Mark 16:17 that signs follow believers; believers are not to follow signs as Satan will arrive, performing miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

We must remember ancient Israel was a theocracy where the civil laws matched the religious laws.  Hence, some penalties that seem harsh to us today were permitted by God before Jesus came and ushered in the New Covenant.  Israel was the only true theocracy sanctioned by the One, True God.  Some say some Islamic countries are theocracies but non of them are pure–some secular laws are in existence there.

As we studied in Matthew 10:37 last year, God is above family.  The same is here.  Leading someone away from the Almighty is punishable by death since God is the giver of eternal life, you essentially have damned them.  Again, casting of the first stone is seen here as well.  (See also Matthew 18:6).

“Detestable” used to be translated “abomination”, which is a much stronger word and much more correct in translation.  It meant anything God could not stand and was impure, unholy, and unclean.

By destroying all within the city, it ensured no one would profit from the ruin of the city.  This deterred false reports.

The city was to remain a ruin forever.  Archaeologists believe these ruins (known as tel or tells) are the towns mentioned here.  Click HERE and HERE for examples.

Map Showing the King’s Highway and Israel’s Camp:  http://www.biblenews1.com/maps/moabcamp.gif

Time Fact to Complete This Lesson:  3 days and 4 hours.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 25, Day 3: Numbers 27:12-23

Summary of passage:  The Lord tells Moses it is his time to die for his sins against him (Numbers 20:1-13).  But first he may climb a mountain and see the Promised Land before he dies.  Moses asks for a leader to be appointed to follow him so the people are not leaderless.  God said to appoint Joshua, a man with the Spirit in him, to take his spot through a ceremony performed by Eleazar, the high priest, to pass on Moses’s authority.  He will command the movements of the Israelites.  Moses did as the Lord commanded.

Questions:

5a)  He allowed Moses to climb a mountain and lay eyes upon the Land.

b)  That someone else be appointed as leader of the people.  His only concern seemed to be the people.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would pray for peace and faith when I died.  And no pain.  I would spend every waking moment with my family and pour out my heart to them.  I’d pray.  I’d cry.

6)  He had Joshua proclaimed leader in front of the entire community so all would know in the priest’s presence. He had Moses give him some of his authority so the whole community would obey him.  He had to ask the priest, Eleazar who would ask the Urim (see end note for more) for decisions.  He will command when the Israelites move.

He did not receive the fellowship of God like Moses did (no one has).  He did not know God face-to-face nor could he perform miraculous signs and wonders or awesome deeds and power that Moses could.  I wonder if God had been too close to Moses and too hurt by him to be as close to a human again while the human was on earth?

Conclusions:  Just like with Aaron and Eleazar, God laid out a plan of succession for Moses and Joshua since Moses was the only leader the Israelites had ever known in their lives.

I wish we would have read the parallel passages in Numbers with Deuteronomy instead of reading the whole book (almost) by itself and glossing over it (Lesson 26 coming up).  I loved it when we did that in the Study of Matthew last year.  That way we could see the different comparisons and glean more details and more understanding.  I learned a lot by studying just Numbers, but I feel I could have learned more.

End Notes:  Moses does get to step foot in the Promised Land in the Transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9).  God is so gracious!

With the word shepherd here, Moses is previewing Jesus and showing us that Jesus will be the ultimate shepherd.

It is a specific mountain God wants Moses to climb but scholars are not sure which one it was.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 21, Day 5: Numbers 17-19

Summary of passages:  Numbers 17:  In an effort to end future rebellions, God told Moses to get 12 staffs, one from each leader of the tribes, put them in the Tent of Meeting, and God will make the staff of the one He chooses sprout.  Aaron’s staff sprouted, bloomed, and produced almonds.  God told Moses to put Aaron’s staff in front of the ark as a reminder to the people of His choice.

Numbers 18:  God told Aaron he and his sons were responsible to bear the offenses against the sanctuary and the priesthood.  The Levites are to help Aaron but not go near the furnishings of the Tabernacle or the altar.  Aaron is responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar.  God gives the priests a portion of the sacrifices for their consumption including meat, olive oil, wine, and grain.  Everything.  They are to receive no land.

The Levites are to receive the tithes for their work but are to give a tenth of that to God, which goes to Aaron.

Numbers 19:  God commands Eleazar the priest to sacrifice a red heifer without defect, sprinkle its blood in front of the Tent of Meeting, and burn it up.  The ashes are to be gathered up for use in the water of cleansing to be purified of sin–specifically to be used when touching a dead body, removing a dead body, or touches a human bone or grave.  If the person does not cleanse themselves, they are to be cut off from the community.

Questions:

10a)  God told Moses to get 12 staffs, one from each leader of the tribes, put them in the Tent of Meeting, and God will make the staff of the one He chooses sprout. Aaron’s staff sprouted, bloomed, and produced almonds.

b)  Here, God wants to end all rebellion against Him.  The responsibility of the high priest is to atone for the people and make them right with God.  Every high priest is selected by God to administer such an important role.  Jesus was selected by God to be our forever high priest and atone for our sins.  God chose Jesus like He chose Aaron.  It shows God’s keeps His promises to man.

11a)  They were responsible to bear the offenses against the sanctuary and the priesthood. Aaron is responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar.

b)  God gives the priests a portion of the sacrifices for their consumption including meat, olive oil, wine, and grain.  The priests also received the firstborn, which would usually be redeemed with money.  The Levites are to receive the tithes for their work but are to give a tenth of that to God, which goes to Aaron.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That the Israelites were to use the ashes of a dead animal to cleanse themselves of touching a dead person.  That death cleansed death.  Like Jesus.

Conclusions:  The Hebrews passage is a long one.  Focus on Hebrews 7:11-8:6.  Questions 12 was a throw away in my opinion.  A waste.  Didn’t learn anything from it.  A question on the symbolism of Jesus here would be more edifying.

The lengths God goes to just for us is amazing.  He does all these miracles just to save us from ourselves.  Love is everywhere here and anyone who doubts God’s love for them should read Numbers 13-17.

End Notes:  Numbers 17: The staff is a symbol of an apostle’s Godly-authority over the people.  We see this since God gave Moses the staff of God (Exodus 4:17, 20).

The grumbling is an indication of the heart.  God here is giving them one more chance to show His sovereignty.  After this, judgment only.

God gives us more than enough as evinced by the blossoming of the staff.

Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek and thus is our high priest.  We studied this either in Acts or Matthew I can’t remember.

Note there are now three things in the Ark:  The Ten Commandment tablets, manna, and now Aaron’s staff.

The people are definitely afraid now and realize the severity of their sin.  But are their hearts changed?  We shall soon find out!

Numbers 18:  God grants Aaron authority and accountability.  They always go together.

Salt was considered pure and unchangeable.  A covenant of salt then was a covenant to last forever and never be amended.

Tithing is not mandated by the New Testament (and therefore the New Covenant).  However, we are to be a giving people and that looks different for all (2 Corinthians 9).  Deuteronomy 14:28-29 extends this and shows how once every 3 years, the tithes were shared with the poor.

The Levites had a job to do and were expected to do it in return for their pay–just as we are.

The Levites had to give a tenth of their tenth; they needed to be givers as well.

We have seen the amount the Levites gave was well over the tithe.  They gave offerings and freewill offerings and all the special offerings for festivals and any special projects like the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:4-9).  The Israelites were a giving, generous people.  God commanded all of this so they would become giving and generous like He wants us to be–like Jesus.

Numbers 19:  A heifer is a female cow that has never been pregnant.  So we are looking for a pure cow of a red color with no defects–quite rare.

The difference between this sacrifice and others was that the cow’s blood was to be burnt up as well instead of being drained out.

Cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet was used in Leviticus 14:4-6 to cleanse a leper.  These three items point to Jesus–some say Jesus’ cross was made of cedar.  Hyssop was offered to Jesus while he hung from the cross (Matthew 27:48), and scarlet represented Jesus’ blood.

Being unclean was not a sin; it just meant you couldn’t be with the community or with God.  Luckily for us, we are bathed by Jesus every day (John 13:5-11).

A dead body was the result of sin; hence, if you touched it, you were touching sin in essence and thus unclean.  The primary reason here was not the spread of disease because most people who die are found relatively soon afterwards.

Note the symbolism:  ashes of the heifer (Jesus) combined with living waters (Word of God & Holy Spirit).

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 14, Day 4: Leviticus 11-15

Introductory Note:  Leviticus 8-10 is studied in Lesson 15.  There’s some good lessons in there especially Chapter 10 where Aaron’s sons are killed by God when they do not follow His instructions.

Summary of passages:  Leviticus 11:  God tells Moses and Aaron that the people may only eat animals that have a split hoof completely divided and chews the cud.  They may eat any animal that has fins and scales.  God lists the birds to not eat.  The people may eat only those winged insects that walk on all fours and have jointed legs for hopping.  God lists the ground animals that can not be eaten and says do not touch carcasses of dead animals or you will be unclean.

Leviticus 12:  A woman who gives birth is ceremonially unclean afterwards.  She must wait a certain number of days so that she may quit bleeding and then offer a sacrifice to make atonement and be clean from her flow of blood.

Leviticus 13:  If anyone has a spot on their skin, he is to go to Aaron to have it examined and diagnosed.  Aaron will decide if the person needs to be quarantined or cleaned.  If the disease is infectious, that person is to cry out “unclean, unclean” and live apart from others as long as he has the disease.  If any clothing is contaminated by mildew, it must be shown to the priest who will determine if it is destructive mildew or not and burn it if it is.

Leviticus 14:  If a diseased person with skin disease is cured, then he must be ceremonially cleaned by the priest who will sprinkle him with eh blood of a bird.  He must then wash, bathe, and shave and bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb to the Tent of Meeting as offerings or doves or pigeons if he cannot afford the others.

The priests are to inspect homes infected with mildew and remove the infected stones and areas.  If the mildew returns, then the house is unclean and most be torn down.  If there is no mildew, then the house will be considered clean and purify it with the blood of a bird.

Leviticus 15:  God lays down regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen, for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or a woman with a discharge, and for a man who lies with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.  If you become unclean, you must atone by bringing a sacrifice to become clean again and wait seven days after the ceremony.

Questions:

8 )  11:1-47:  Clean and unclean food and animals.  Eating of dead carcasses could have bacteria that can kill people or make them sick.  Pork carries many parasites.  Dead animal carcasses lying around attract disease and can spread disease (think Bubonic Plague here).

12:1-8:  Purification after Childbirth.  I see this as a protection from the woman’s husband who may try to have sex with her too soon after childbirth.  This regulation is to allow the woman to fully heal before sex again.

13:1-46:  Regulations about Infectious Skin Diseases.  To protect the people from contracting infectious diseases.

13:47-59:  Regulations about Mildew.  This was to prevent the spread of disease through the clothes people wore.

14:1-32:  Cleansing from Infectious Skin Diseases.  The only practical benefit I see here is this allowed the cured person to be accepted back into Hebrew society.  It does reflect Jesus’s ritual sacrifice for us however, which may have been the point by God.

14:33-57:  Cleansing from Mildew.  To ensure no one gets sick from mildew from the home.  If we use the translation of mildew, this is true as mildew can sicken us today if left in the home.

15:1-33:  Discharges causing Uncleanness.  These rules would help the Israelites avoid venereal diseases that plagued their neighbors.

9a)  Jesus explains in Mark that it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean, not what goes in–for the heart is what is reflected by evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, slander, etc.  Acts says God makes things impure or unclean.  They were for spiritual health and to help the people follow God’s laws for their lives.  Jesus declares that all things are clean.  And if you believe in him, you are clean.

b)  That God is holy and His desire was for them to be holy as well, to be separate from other peoples.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are to be mindful of what we ingest since our body is a temple to God.  We are to be mindful of what comes out, so we are clean which includes words, actions, and good works.  As long as I remember God’s purpose for my life and His ways, I will try to do my best to be more and more like Jesus every day.

Conclusions:  For Question 8, I just used the titles my Bible had given these sections.  Seemed to sum it up pretty well.  Most of us cannot imagine leading such lives where we’d become unclean and have to avoid such items and people and purify ourselves with sacrifices.  Yet, the lesson to learn is we must watch our own lives with just as much care and attention.  God is watching us with no less.

Keep reading the Mark passage.  Jesus goes on even further with specifics.

End Notes:  Dietary laws were meant to keep the Israelites apart from their neighbors.  Pigs were prominent in Canaanite worship; therefore the Israelites were not to eat pigs.  A different dietary standard would keep the two groups from mixing socially, for a meal was always part of Middle Eastern hospitality.

Some scholars think these rules fit into what the Israelites already thought was unclean–creeping insects, scavenger birds, bodily emissions, and skin diseases.

The point was not if you became clean or unclean since it was unavoidable in life.  The point was to watch your life with care in order to prepare themselves to meet God.  Clear standards were laid out about what was acceptable to God and God demands purity.

Jesus declared all things clean (Mark 7:19 and Acts 10:9-16).  He healed the lepers, made a bleeding woman clean.  Still, God may not be approached carelessly.  Your life must make sure God’s purity is not violated.  Jesus is the only thing that makes clean the unclean–forever.

Leviticus 11:  None of these rules are new.  Noah discussed them as well (Genesis 7:2, 8:20).  God was merely putting them on paper.  The birds listed are either predators or scavengers, both of which eat meat that is already dead.  The Jews largely avoided the plague because of their removal of dead rats.  Pigs are known for tapeworms.  Shellfish carry a lot of mercury in their bodies and are the more likely to be improperly stored for food and thus make one sick.

All of these laws promote cleanliness which in the ancient world no one understood germs or viruses or how diseases spread.  But God did.

And all these laws set the Israelites apart from everyone else who ate whatever they could find no matter how diseased.

With Jesus, these laws are nullified as well and Christians are under no obligation to observe the kosher diet (Acts 15; 1 Timothy 4:1, 3-5).  Does that mean we eat junk food all the time?  Everything is permissible but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you!  (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Leviticus 12:  The idea is that children are good but are born sinners and God wanted the Israelites to know this and remember this.  Scholars say the woman here is symbolically responsible for brining forth more sinners in the world.

The girl child was usually not wanted or valued.  The extra time gave the family more time to bond with the child.  Girls were also more likely to be smaller than boys, so they needed extra care.  Plus, again, the mother brought forth a child who will bring forth more children/sinners.

Jesus was poor.  Luke 2:22-24 tells us Mary and Joseph only brought 2 doves for Mary’s atonement.

Leviticus 13:  Old versions of the Bible translated “infectious skin diseases” as “leprosy”, which was wrong.  Leprosy is barely contagious.  Think such diseases as smallpox, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, etc.  There was no cure for such diseases back then.

Leprosy was feared because it did result in the eating away of flesh, was slow and painful, and did lead to death eventually.  However, the Israelites believed it was inflicted as a punishment for sin and was thus feared.  The people were outcast as they believed they were sinners and unable to stand before God as such.  People’s fears led to discrimination and the lepers took the brunt of it.  Today, leprosy is unknown in the modern world due to drugs to cure it, but does still exist in third-world countries.

For a great synopsis I did of Leprosy last year during our study of Matthew, click HERE for Definition of Leprosy and how lepers were treated in ancient times.

Scholars say the Hebrew people were the first to practice isolation of victims suspected of being contagious in order to stop its spread.

Most Bibles have “mildew” translated as “leprosy” and thus these two sections go together.  If you read it with this translation, then it makes more sense.  The Israelites wanted to make sure the clothes were not contaminated with the disease as well.  Today we know clothes do carry disease and because washing was so infrequent back then it was feared the clothes could spread the disease as well.

Debate about how many people get sick from clothes goes on especially in hospitals when doctors wear the same scrubs for operations.  However, the transmission rate is small but possible.  Here, God says to make sure the clothes are clean as well.

[Side Note:  Anyone remember The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams?  The Velveteen Rabbit was the favorite toy of a boy.  But when he contracted scarlet fever, the boy’s doctor orders the room to be disinfected and all of the toys burnt.  He was thrown out by the boy’s nurse for fear he contained the dreaded disease.  Hence, he was unwanted and turned into a real rabbit and lived in the forest next to the boy’s home.

I thought of this story.  In the case of scarlet fever, it can only be spread through bodily contact and cannot survive very long outside the body so the bunny here was safe.  Back in 1922 when the book was written though no one knew that.  However, germs and diseases can survive outside the body for quite some time so it’s better to err on the side of caution God says.]

Leviticus 14:  The regulations for ceremonial cleansing seem to reflect Jesus.  One bird was killed and its blood was applied to a living bird and then the living bird is freed to live out its life, which is what Jesus’s blood does for us on the cross.  Even cedar wood is mentioned which scholars say reference the cross.  Hyssop as you may recall from last year in Matthew 27:48 was offered to Jesus while he was on the cross.  The shaving of the hair was like a rebirth like a newborn babe and live began all over again.

The leper was consecrated the same way as a priest and also anointed.  This meant he or she had a special calling on his life.  However, since the cure for leprosy was unknown in ancient times, this ceremony was undoubtedly rarely performed.

Scholars say here leprosy and mildew are related in the Hebrew word used here.

Leviticus 15:  We are to understand this as not any discharge from the body but an abnormal one.  In the case of sex or masturbation, both men and women had to cleanse themselves.  God is not saying these discharges are sinful, just made you ceremonially unclean to be in His presence.  He also made the distinction clear that sex was not to occur in His tabernacle or as a means of worshipping Him.  This was important because in pagan cultures sex was often associated with worship of gods and occurred quite frequently.  Remember the golden calf?  The people engaged in sexual revelry all in the name of worship.

Semen and menstruation are connected with the seed and the blood of man.

In Mark 7:1-9, Jesus emphasized the need for internal cleanliness, not external.  Our outward cleanliness does not make us right with God.  Only Jesus can cleanse us spiritually.  If you have him, then you are clean.  Period.