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Leviticus 10:8-20 (Absolute Zero)

Jul 9, 2017   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Leviticus, Leviticus (written), Old Testament, Sermons, Torah, Torah (written)  //  No Comments

Leviticus 10:8-20
Absolute Zero

The last few verses of this chapter are almost always wholly mis-analyzed by scholars, and their comments are, thus, completely wrong. I think the reason why this is stems from a human desire to prove that we somehow can merit a favorable opinion from God, even when we completely blow what we are doing.

In other words, it comes back to works-based salvation, even by those who claim that they have no works which merit their salvation. Somehow, deep inside, we try to find good, even despite that which is completely bad.

Can you name two things which are impossible for us to do as humans? Well, there are a lot of things that are impossible. Making me handsome is certainly beyond the realm of possibility, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What are some scientific things which are literally impossible for us to do?

Well two of them are attaining the speed of light, and cooling to absolute zero. Both face the identical problem. Getting to the speed of light requires an infinite amount of work, or energy, in order to overcome the mass which is being propelled forward. Getting down to absolute zero requires extracting an infinite amount of heat from the thing being cooled. Both of these are impossible.

Spiritually, what is something impossible for us to do? Well, if you

know even basic theology, you know that there is nothing you can actively do to please God in order to be saved, no matter how much you do, just like going the speed of light. It’s simply not possible. And the reason why is because we can never get ourselves to the spiritual state of absolute zero sin.

If you’ve been paying attention to the Leviticus sermons, you know that man is born in sin. It is a part of his very nature. If we equate the heat that we need to extract in order to reach absolute zero, to the sin we need to extract in order to reach absolute perfection, we have a great parallel. The sin is in us, and we, of ourselves, can never fully extract it. And the Law of Moses, which was to be our sin-extractor, simply wasn’t up to the task.

Text Verse: “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” Hebrews 5:1 

The law says, “You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:5). Whoo hoo! The sin extractor is given. The Law of Moses says that we can live if we do the things of it. Strap on your sin-extractor and set it to “eternal life” mode. It’s a snap I tell you.

Well, maybe not. Aaron’s words to Moses in verse 19 show us that there is a snag in the snap. In verse 20, we read that Moses was content with Aaron’s words, but if he stopped, sat down, and contemplated the words Aaron spoke, he probably would have broken down in tears and said, “Just take me now Lord.” Or maybe he would have said what King Solomon said 500 years later –

Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
3 What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun? Ecclesiastes 1:2, 3

The sin infection is too deep, the sin-extractor is ineffective, and man remains separated from His infinitely glorious heavenly Father. What a sad state of affairs. But thanks be to God for the true sin-Extractor. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ our Lord who can take away our sin. The law was given to show us what was impossible, but what is impossible with man is possible with God. Yepperino… It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Word From the Lord to Aaron (verses 8-11)

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying:

v’daber Yehovah el aharon lemor – “And spoke Yehovah unto Aaron, saying.” Verse 8 is one which is unique in all of Scripture. The Lord speaks directly to Aaron alone. In Exodus 7:8 and 12:1, the Lord spoke to both Moses and Aaron. This will occur again several times in Leviticus and Numbers after this. But in this verse alone, the Lord speaks directly to Aaron. It is something which concerns him and the priesthood, and it is an order which is therefore directed solely to him.

It is also an advanced indication that what has just occurred in the death of his sons is directly related to what will now be said. The two are being connected together. Though it is merely conjecture that this is so, it is sound conjecture. Nearly one half of the priest-hood has been destroyed by the fire of the Lord. Those remaining have been told that they are not to mourn over what occurred.

Because of these things, there could be the assumption on their part that the Lord is displeased with the newly established priesthood. They could also assume that they will all die before the Lord over the slightest infraction. But this is not so. The law of the sin-offering was given, and the first sacrifice in that law was specifically for the high priest who had sinned. Therefore, they could rest assured that not all infractions would lead to death.

With the Lord’s words being directly spoken to Aaron, there is an assurance that what has happened is not the standard, as long as the holiness of the Lord was not violated by their actions. However, if the Lord was truly displeased with the priests, they could expect judgment. And so, the Lord now speaks to Aaron with a command to him and those who issue from him who will minister as priests. These words will keep the priests from a sad repeat of what has occurred in the deaths of Nadab and Abihu.

“Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die.

yayin v’shekhar al teshet – “Wine and super-strong drink, no drink.” The word yayin, or wine, is explained in this and other passages, such as when it was introduced in Genesis 9:21 when Noah got drunk, as fermented wine with an alcohol content. The word shekhar is introduced into Scripture here, and it indicates a beverage with a very high alcohol content – blinko juice.

If one were to stop with the first few words of this verse, as many seem to enjoy doing when citing their aversion to people drinking alcohol, there might be made a case for no person ever drinking. But the words do not stop with “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink.” They go on to a further explanation – “…you nor your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting.” There is a specific group who are named and a set time when the prohibition is given.

Further, along with the priests during the conduct of their duties, the only other time alcohol is prohibited in the entire Bible is in the rules for the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6. People like Samson and John the Baptist were considered as Nazirites from birth, and thus the prohibition extended to them. At all other times, no such prohibition exists, and the drinking of wine and shekhar are condoned throughout Scripture as long as it does not lead to brawling, addiction, and the like. One time when their consumption is specifically stated as a good thing is in the law of the tithe in Deuteronomy –

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. 24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. 26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. 27 You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.” Deuteronomy 14:22-27

In the New Testament, Paul says the following to the saints at Corinth –

Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.” 1 Corinthians 11:20-22

There Paul doesn’t tell them not to drink alcohol. Instead, he tells them that if they want to do so (the word he uses indicates this), to not do so at the Lord’s Supper, but rather do it at home. The ceremony was to be conducted with respect. Paul’s prohibition to Timothy and Titus concerning elders not being given to wine uses a word which indicates being “quarrelsome over wine” and thus an abusive brawler. It cannot be seen as a prohibition against any consumption, as he tells Timothy that it is OK elsewhere.

This is not my attempt to change anyone’s mind on whether they will drink or not. Rather, it is an analysis which is necessary from time to time, like everything else in Scripture, to avoid the unbiblical and legalistic rules which are constantly pounded into believer’s heads. Whether it is the law of the tithe, or the law of alcohol for the priests in the sanctuary, there is a context which needs to be considered and not carried beyond that context.

9 (con’)It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,

huqat olam l’dorotekem – “statute forever to your generations.” The prohibition is only for the times that the priests were engaged in their official duties, but it was for all times henceforth. If a priest were to drink, he was expected to not do so when ministering before the Lord. Until the coming of Christ, and the fulfillment of the law through His work, the statute was to be adhered to by all of Aaron’s sons in their official duties.

10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean,

Though perfectly understandable, the verse here is not well translated. Each noun is preceded by a definite article. It should read, “that you may distinguish between the holy and the unholy, and between the unclean and the pure.” There are definite and set categories being described. One of those categories is seen for the first time in Scripture, khol, or “unholy.” It will be used only seven times, once in Leviticus, twice in 1 Samuel, and the rest in Ezekiel. It refers to that which is ordinary rather than holy.

The verse is given to show the importance of not being inebriated when performing the duties of a priest. Again, what is implied is that Nadab and Abihu failed to do this, and it cost them their lives. What is rather sad are the countless comments concerning alcohol by scholars which are tied to this verse which insist, at the expense of the rest of the body of Scripture, on the prohibition of drinking for either some or all believers. It is inappropriate to insert personal biases into Scripture to form a doctrine about a matter.

11 and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”

What is peculiar to me is to see how almost all translations which did a good job in verse 10, turn around and did a marginal job with verse 11, and vice versa. The NKJV perfectly translates this verse, even to the term “by the hand of Moses.” It is an exact translation showing that when the Lord spoke to Moses, he carefully recorded, by hand, everything he heard. The term, b’yad, or “by the hand,” is an idiom which indicates authority, or capability to accomplish. This is what is seen in the words as they are used here of Moses. The inspiration of Scripture is exactingly implied in these words. The Lord spoke, and Moses’ hand responded accordingly.

As far as this verse, the prohibition of the priests drinking while serving is further explained here. It is because they were to be instructors of the people concerning the law. If they were drunk while on duty, they would be ineffective teachers. But this is the Lord’s word, received directly by the hand of Moses, and therefore, they were to treat its instruction as a holy duty. The teaching of the priests is noted in Malachi 2 –

For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And 
people should seek the law from his mouth;
For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 2:7

However, throughout the years, the priests are seen to have been negligent, and even failures, at the task to which they were called. This is seen, for example, in Ezekiel 22 –

Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean…” Ezekiel 22:26

Because of the failure of the prophets, the priests, and the kings of Israel to perform their duties in the holy manner to which they were called, the people fell away and eventually were judged for having completely left the way of the Lord.

Do not imbibe while attending to your station
Not wine or something stronger shall you at that time partake
You are the instructors of Israel, your nation
And so fermented drink you shall forsake

That which is holy and that which is unholy do not mix
That which is unclean and that which is pure you shall separate
If you are drunk, how can you other people’s problems fix?
Only greater problems will you create

Be holy as I am holy, this I am instructing you
Tend to your duties with that always on your mind
To your tasks you shall be faithful and you shall be true
Carefully execute the duties you have been assigned

II. Obedience to the Law (verses 12-15)

12 And Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons who were left:

As a reminder, the four names given in this verse mean: Moses – He who draws out; Aaron – Very High; Eleazar – God has helped; and Ithamar – Land of Palms, palms being a symbol of uprightness. Moses, speaks to Aaron and his two sons who remain with explicit instructions. By specifically naming Eleazar and Ithamar, and in using the term ha’notarim, or “the remaining,” it is showing us that Moses does not want any others in his family to make a similar mistake and also die before the Lord.

12 (con’t) “Take the grain offering that remains of the offerings made by fire to the Lord, and eat it without leaven beside the altar; for it is most holy.

Despite what happened with the two oldest sons, they were still to continue with the rites of the final day of ordination. This included eating the most holy grain offering. Moses’ instructions now have already been given to the priests, but he is ensuring that they are fully aware of the need to continue through with their duties regardless of what else has taken place among them. This is the grain offering of the people noted in verse 9:17. It was considered most holy, and so it had to be consumed within the courtyard, and it could only be eaten by the designated priests.

13 You shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons’ due, of the sacrifices made by fire to the Lord; for so I have been commanded.

Because the grain offering was most holy, it could not be taken outside of the courtyard, nor could it be eaten by anyone else. It was the due of the priests by a statute, and therefore it had to be treated in accordance with the command given to Moses.

14 The breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering you shall eat in a clean place, you, your sons, and your daughters with you;

These were the offerings of the people mentioned in verses 9:18-21. As they were not most holy, they could be eaten anywhere in the camp as long as it was a clean place, meaning where there was nothing defiled. Chapter 7 showed that these portions of the offerings were given for the maintenance of the priests and their families. This even included the daughters of the priests as long as they were unmarried, widows, or divorced. However, if they were married, they were to be cared for by the husband’s house.

14 (con’t) for they are your due and your sons’ due, which are given from the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel.

As I said, this was recorded in the law of the peace offerings in Chapter 7. There it said –

For the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering I have taken from the children of Israel, from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and I have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons from the children of Israel by a statute forever.” Leviticus 7:34

In order to sustain the priests, these portions of the offerings were set aside and consecrated for them alone. Moses is reminding them of this and ensuring that the meat of these portions is properly tended to so that no other negative occurrences arise.

15 The thigh of the heave offering and the breast of the wave offering they shall bring with the offerings of fat made by fire, to offer as a wave offering before the Lord.

The word “they” in this verse, as in “they shall bring with the offerings,” is not speaking of the priests, but of the people of Israel. When they brought their offerings, they would include the heaved thigh and the raised breast along with all of the fat. This was a part of the rite of these offerings, and Moses is reminding them that once such an offering was made, the thigh and the breast would then belong to them.

This has been explained before, but the breast, or khazeh, comes from khazah which means “to see” because it is the part that is most seen when looking at the front of the animal. That, in turn, comes from a root which indicates to gaze at, and to mentally perceive, as in a vision. The shoq, or thigh, actually can mean the thigh, shoulder, hip, or leg. It comes from a word meaning “overflow,” and thus “abundant.” And so it is the abundant area of meat on an appendage. The right thigh was set aside as the priest’s part. This signifies the honorable side. But it further reflects the power and strength of the animal.

Of these parts, the breast was offered as a tenuphah, or wave offering, whereas the right thigh is offered as a terumah, or a heave offering. The terumah comes from the word rum which means to be high, or exalted. 

Thus one can see the idea of something being offered up, like an oblation. The breast which indicates seeing and vision, and thus the acquisition of wisdom, is waved in acknowledgment of God’s omnipresence, and the right thigh which indicates strength and honor is lifted in acknowledgment of God’s omnipotence.

Both then speak of Christ’s mediatorial abilities which are acknowledged in the waving and heaving of the different parts. He is the wisdom and power of God for His people, and the One from whom all knowledge and strength is derived. This is why these parts were given to the priests, and this is why Moses is, once again, being very specific concerning the offerings.

The priests were the mediators between the people and the Lord. Jesus is our One final Mediator between God and man. Moses is carefully ensuring that the typology is not violated by the actions of Aaron or his sons, because it would then violate the picture of the fulfillment of the typology seen in Christ.

15 (con’t) And it shall be yours and your sons’ with you, by a statute forever, as the Lord has commanded.”

These parts, which in type looked forward to Christ’s greater ministry, were given to Aaron and his sons as a statute for as long as the Law of Moses was in effect. As the priesthood of Aaron was assigned the priestly duties of this law, they were to receive these benefits of their priesthood until such time as the law itself was annulled. This occurred when Christ shed His blood in fulfillment of the law, and in initiation of the New Covenant.

A statute forever, throughout your generations
This is how it shall be from now on
Though will rise and fall many surrounding nations
You shall continue until this law is gone

Until the time it is fulfilled, and thus taken away
You shall continue on as I am instructing you
The requirements must be met from day to day
Until it is fulfilled, and along comes something New

And that day will come, be sure of that in your heart
But it will not be because of you or one of your sons
From another tribe of Israel, will come a brand new start
And those who follow Him, will be His chosen ones

I will send the Redeemer, and He will finally take away
All of these statutes which I give You today

III. The Sin Problem (verses 16-20)

16 Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and there it was—burned up.

These final verses bring in the importance of paying attention to what occurs with the blood of each offering, and what is to happen to that offering after the ritual of the blood is complete. Each offering was to be handled in a way unique to its particular requirements. This sin offering is no different and Moses knew that. And so the Hebrew reads darosh darash mosheh – “investigating, Moses investigated.”

As there was a set procedure to be followed, and as he did not see that it was followed, he made a very careful investigation into the matter. There had been enough death for one day, and he didn’t want to see more. The inquiry is concerning the flesh of the sin-offering which was presented on behalf of the nation for the eighth day of the ordination. It was the people’s offering noted in verse 9:15. The blood rite for that offering was conducted at the altar of burnt-offering. The blood was not taken into the holy place, and it was also not for Aaron’s sin, but for that of the congregation. Therefore, the meat of the offering was to have been eaten by the priests, not burned up. But, that is just what happened to it.

Some assume the reason why is because they were grieved at the loss of their brothers and simply had no desire to eat. But nobody except the priests was allowed to eat the meat of this offering. And so to keep it from becoming corrupt, or so that it might not inadvertently be eaten by someone else, they burnt it on the altar.

16  (con’t)And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying,

Moses singles out the sons of Aaron for his anger. This tells us that it was they who burnt the meat up on the altar. He had investigated, and the investigation pointed to them. If Aaron had participated in it, he would have included him in his rebuke as well.

They had actually violated a command of the Lord and had aggravated the situation even more. This is why, once again, the term ha’notarim, or “the remaining,” is used concerning them. The fact that they didn’t die, shows that they should have been even more attentive to their duties than ever before. They were not, and Moses is more than displeased with them because of it.

It appears that the sons readily assumed that their eating this meat, or their burning it up on the altar, was an insignificant difference. However, they will now be corrected on this point of the law…

17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord?

The error of the sons of Aaron was not perceiving that their eating of the sin offering actually had more significance than merely being something they could eat as a graciously offered meal – something they could accept or reject at will. In the eating of the sin offering, they actually bore the guilt of the congregation, thus making atonement for them.

The blood was never taken into the holy place. If that had happened, then the animal would have been handled in a different way. But the blood had merely been cast out upon the altar of burnt-offering. In the eating of the flesh, they therefore actually took the sin of the congregation upon themselves for the purpose of canceling it, or making expiation for it. This is what was symbolically intended in eating it. This is described by Keil –

This effect or signification could only be ascribed to the eating, by its being regarded as an incorporation of the victim laden with sin, whereby the priests actually took away the sin by virtue of the holiness and sanctifying power belonging to their office, and not merely declared it removed.” 

The importance of this picture is realized in what Christ did for us. First, John the Baptist, and then Isaiah exactingly describe the work of the Lord, showing that what we are looking at here in Leviticus is but a mere shadow of the reality which lay ahead in His marvelous work –

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Here, Christ Jesus is said to be the sacrifice. The sin of the people Israel was placed upon an innocent animal that would bear their sin. From there, the sin was then placed upon the priest who mediated between the people and God. In eating the flesh, they then took on the guilt which had been passed to the animal –

He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:11, 12

From there, the sin was completely atoned for through the mediator’s duties. In this, the words of Jesus concerning defilement are more readily understood. In Mark 7, we read this –

Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:18-23

You might ask, “How can the priest, picturing Christ, eat the sin-bearing animal and not take on its sin in a final way, thus being forever separated from God?” I was actually emailed this question by a faithful viewer not too long ago. If Christ took on our sin, becoming sin for us, then how could He have been resurrected? The wages of sin is death, and He bore our sin.

The answer is because the priest is already acceptable because of his ordained position. In consuming something from outside, he cannot become defiled, instead, it passes through him and is purified. The priest symbolically consumed all of the evil things which came out of the nation of Israel, and purified them. This is exactly what Jesus is speaking of because this is exactly what Jesus did. He bore upon Himself all the sin of the world, but because He was already pure, and ordained by God for the task, the defilement could not cause Him to become defiled. Instead, it was purified and eliminated through His work, a work which was accomplished as this verse says liphne Yehovah, or “in the face of Yehovah.”

Jesus was actually speaking to the people of priestly matters because He is the One, true, and final high priest of God. The sons of Aaron had missed the typology, and therefore, they had missed the picture of Christ’s work on behalf of the people. Moses continues to explain this…

18 See! Its blood was not brought inside the holy place; indeed you should have eaten it in a holy place, as I commanded.”

Two different things are intended with the word “holy” in this verse. The first is speaking of the blood being brought into the holy place within the tent of meeting. This did not happen with this sacrifice, and therefore the meat was to be eaten, not burned up. The place where it was to be eaten is in a holy place, meaning within the sanctuary, but not within the holy place of the tent of meeting. For this reason, and to avoid misunderstandings, a new word is introduced into the Bible, penimah. It means “inside.” In this case, it is specifying “inside the holy place.” This is the first of 13 times the word will be used in the Bible.

Again, as I said before, it is the rite of the blood which determines what occurs with the rest of the sacrifice. The typology must be maintained in order to ensure the picture of Christ to come. The sons of Aaron failed in this.

19 And Aaron said to Moses, “Look, this day they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and such things have befallen me!

Almost all scholars tie Aaron’s words in with his grief, and the grief of his sons, as being the reason for not eating the sin offering of the people, something prescribed by the law. However, this is not the case. Aaron will ask a conditional question based on what he has just noted to Moses, which is that the sons had offered their sin offering, and they had offered their burnt offering before the Lord. And further, they had done it before Nadab and Abihu had died. The offerings were on behalf of all the sons, not just the two living ones. And yet, two of them still died in sin on that day!

How could they eat the sin offering of someone else when they had not attained to the state of holiness which kept them from dying in their own sin? It is a giant mark upon the Aaronic priesthood, coming on the last day of the ordination process which shows its completely fallible nature. It couldn’t even perfect its priests. As this is so, how could it be expected to perfect those who came to the Lord through those priests? Indeed, something much greater was needed for that to come about.

The book of Hebrews, which is the 58th book of the Bible, will explain what that “greater than” is. We will be there before you know it, and it will all be explained to you then. Don’t miss a single Sunday sermon in the meantime.

19 (con’t) If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord?”

The answer to his question is obvious, “No.” If the sin offering and the burnt offerings which were intended to take care of the sins of the priests before they tended to the sins of the congregation were tainted by what occurred, thus meaning they were also tainted, then how could they take on the sin of the people in order to purify them? Aaron’s logic is impeccable, and it shows us how vastly inferior this priesthood is to that of Christ – infinitely so.

The sin of man could never be taken away by the blood of bulls and goats – case in point is the death of Nadab and Abihu. Add into that the future death of Aaron, and then the death of Moses who performed the installation of Aaron, and you have a completely failed system. However, the system itself is not the failure, it is the people within the system. And within the people is the true failure, sin. Contemplating David’s words of the 51st Psalm shows to us the seed of failure contained within the Law of Moses –

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51;5

*20 So when Moses heard that, he was content.

The word “content” is insufficient here. It makes the account end sounding as if Moses accepted the word as satisfactory and nothing more. The Hebrew says, va’yishma mosheh va’yitav b’enav – “and heard Moses, and (it was) well-pleasing in his eyes.” There was a failure within the law, and that failure was corrected by what Aaron had done, at least as far as it could be corrected in this regard.


When Moses realized the astuteness of Aaron in regards to his solemn duties, he wasn’t just content. Rather, he was well-pleased. Where the law had broken down, the high priest had readjusted and overcome. It is a look back on the fall of man, and a look forward to the greater High Priest who would correct that fall. The law of the Garden of Eden had broken down; the true High Priest, our Lord Jesus, had corrected that failing. Surely, when God the Father saw what had been wrought, it was well-pleasing in His eyes.

The question for each of us concerning Chapter 10 is directed at the first seven verses, and it concerns the tragedy which befell Nadab and Abihu. Adam Clarke defines the parameters they used for their actions for us, and then he explains how we can either follow them, or follow the right path…

Nadab and Abihu would perform the worship of God not according to his command, but in their own way; and God not only would not receive the sacrifice from their hands, but, while encompassing themselves with their own sparks, and warming themselves with their own fire, this had they from the hand of the Lord – they lay down in sorrow, for there went out a fire from the Lord, and devoured them. What is written above is to be understood of persons who make a religion for themselves, leaving Divine revelation; for, being wilfully ignorant of God’s righteousness, they go about to establish their own. This is a high offense in the sight of God. Reader, God is a Spirit, and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth. Such worshippers the Father seeketh.” Adam Clarke

The story of Nadab and Abihu highlights to us the impossibility that we could ever reach absolute zero on the sin-scale on our own. We are humans existing within the stream of time. The infection is in us, and we can’t go backwards in order to reverse the curse.

Instead, what we need is something, or better – Someone, that can take us from the corrupt physical world which we dwell in and are a part of, and lead us to the place of where the spiritual can take us to absolute zero sin. That Someone is Jesus. What Moses, Aaron, and the law that they received and mediated, could not do, Jesus Christ could. He was born without the infection, He lived under the Law that He gave to Israel without becoming infected, and He died in fulfillment of it, thus ending it. And in its ending, He offers His work to us as a gift – free and clear. There is nothing we need to do except receive it as the gift it is. Today is the day folks. Be reconciled to God through the gift of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Closing Verse:  “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13, 14 

Next Week: Leviticus 11:1-23 There won’t be any eating crab’s claws, no, none of that fun (Dietary Laws, Part I) (16th Leviticus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if you have a lifetime of sin heaped up behind you, He can wash it away and purify you completely and wholly. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Sin Problem

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying:
To His high priest he was thus relaying

Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink
You, nor your sons with you
When you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die
This thing you shall not do

It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations
That you may distinguish between holy and unholy
And between unclean and clean
These things certainly shall be

And that you may teach the children of Israel
All the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them
By the hand of Moses; all the things He did tell

And Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar also
His sons who were left: for them to know

Take the grain offering that remains
Of the offerings made by fire to the Lord
And eat it without leaven beside the altar
For it is most holy; hearken to this word 

You shall eat it in a holy place
Because it is your due and your sons’ due
Of the sacrifices made by fire to the Lord
For so I have been commanded to instruct you 

The breast of the wave offering
And the thigh of the heave offering too
You shall eat in a clean place
You, your sons, and your daughters with you

For they are your due and your sons’ due
Which are given from the sacrifices
Of peace offerings of the children of Israel to you

The thigh of the heave offering
And the breast of the wave offering, according to this word
They shall bring with the offerings of fat made by fire
To offer as a wave offering before the Lord

And it shall be yours and your sons’ with you as well
By a statute forever, as the Lord has commanded; as to you I tell

Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat
Of the sin offering, and there it was—burned up
————–Of this he made note

And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar
The sons of Aaron who were left, saying
Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place
Since it is most holy; answer me this I am praying

And God has given it to you
To bear the guilt of the congregation
To make atonement for them before the Lord
Atonement for the Israelite nation

See! Its blood was not brought inside the holy place
This you did not do
Indeed you should have eaten it in a holy place
As I commanded you

And Aaron said to Moses
Look, this day they have offered their sin offering, you see
And their burnt offering before the Lord
And such things have befallen me! 

If I had eaten the sin offering today
Would it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord?”
So when Moses heard that, he was content
Upon hearing Aaron’s word

Thank You, O God, for such a wonderful word
Thank You for the mysteries which are hidden there
Each that we pull out speaks of Jesus our Lord
Thank you that in His goodness we too can share

For all eternity we shall sing to You our praise
Yes, from this time forth and for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…

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