8/10 Reading (Leviticus 7-9; Acts 5)

Leviticus 7: The first part of this chapter outlines the ritual for the guilt offering from chapter 5 in Leviticus. The text actually says “the guilt offering is like the sin offering, there is the same ritual for them” (Lev. 7.7). That makes life easy for the priests. Next we get the ritual for the well-being offering from chapter 3. As with the other rituals, the text is very detailed on what an individual is supposed to do in this situation.

Later in this chapter God gives Moses more things to say to the people: “You shall eat no fat of ox or sheep or goat” (Lev. 7.23) and “You must not eat any blood whatever, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements” (Lev. 7.26). In each case God makes it clear that if you violate these commands, you will be “cut off from your kin.” I must have missed the reasons for this in an earlier chapter. My guess is that these parts are considered dirty or unholy. I will need to go back to see if this is accurate. God did say the following in chapter 3: “It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your settlements: you must not eat any fat or any blood” (Lev. 3.17). This doesn’t really clear up why the consumption of fat or blood is prohibited.

So, I purchased the Common English Bible (CEB) study bible with Apocrypha the other day. It arrived today. I had to look to see about the fat and blood thing. According to the notes in that bible, blood is meant to be used for offerings (splashing it on the altar). Um…ok. The fat belongs to God, so no one else can have it. Apparently in the OT, “‘fat’ is a symbol of the lands best produce (Gen 45:18; Pss 63:5; 147:14). So offering literal fat returns the best to God, who provided the land in the first place” (CEB Study bible 3:17 notes, p. 160 OT). One thing I did see here is that in the notes the experts explain that most Christians have abandoned this prohibition (which I knew). But it then suggests to “see 1 Cor 8 on good reasons for both observing and not observing food prohibitions, though without mentioning blood or fat” (CEB Study bible 3:17 notes, p. 160 OT). Will do!

Leviticus 8: This chapter is all about dedication of the tabernacle and the priests (Aaron and his sons). It is very intricate. Moses has to slaughter three different animals and each animal serves a particular purpose. The tabernacle, altar, and Aaron and his sons were anointed with oil. We see in this chapter two references to the number seven: Moses sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times and Moses tells Aaron and his sons they are not to leave the tabernacle for seven days “for it will take seven days to ordain you” (Lev. 8.33). I do wonder how Moses felt doing all of this for his brother and nephews.

Leviticus 9: Now we reach the 8th day. Aaron is tasked with doing the sacrifices described in chapters 1-5 because he is now ordained. He does them all. One thing that I noticed in earlier chapters and am curious about is what’s the significance of the right thigh? In several instances the text says something along the lines of “breast and right thigh” (Lev. 9.21). I can’t seem to find information anywhere explaining this. I’m a little confused at the moment.

Acts 5: This chapter starts with an example of the danger of greed. One man decides to withhold some of the proceeds from the sale of his property. Because he lied to God, he immediately died. His wife knew of this and also died a few hours later in the same spot. These actions as well as the healing that occurred in an earlier chapter led to more people becoming believers in God. More healings occurred. Of course, this led to the arrest of all 12 apostles by the high priest and put in a public prison.

The next part is kinda funny. An angel comes down and releases the apostles and apparently relocked the door. This ends up confusing all the police and guards. The high priest learns of this and that the apostles are now in the temple teaching the people again. They were arrested again, but I do find this to be really funny stuff.

They are told again not to teach God’s word. Peter and the other apostles say “‘We must obey God rather than any human authority’” (Acts 5.29). This statement made me think about people who have said in the past that they only follow the laws of God and not the laws of humans. This, of course, enraged the leaders and they wanted to kill the apostles. Thankfully this was stopped by one of the Pharisees. He convinced them to stop this pursuit and the leaders just flogged the apostles and told them again “not to speak in the name of Jesus” (Acts 5.40). Right! This didn’t work before, but it would surely work now. Spoiler alert, it didn’t.

Ok, so this chapter made me wonder how the apostles (other than Judas) died. A quick Google search led me to a page on National Geographic. Several died violently. In fact, according to this source, only one, John, died by natural causes. Yikes!

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