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PECULIARITIES OF THE LAW OF MOSES


  • Its National Aspects. The law of Moses was given to, and for, a single nation (Exodus 19:1-25; 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:1-33; Malachi 4:4). It developed a national worship. Previous to it, worship was confined to the family (Genesis 12:6-7; 46:1-3). Under it God recorded His name at the altar (Exodus 20:24-26), and required all Israel to assemble there and worship through the Divinely ordained priesthood (Numbers 18:1-7; Deuteronomy 12:12-16). The law of Moses was given orally (Exodus 20:1-23), and perpetuated,
    • by being written on tables of stone (Exodus 24:12; 31:18),
    • by being written in a book (Exodus 24:4,7-8; Deuteronomy 31:24-26; Hebrews 9:18-19),
    • and it was made a part of the national life by being taught to each new generation, talked of in their homes, bound upon their hands, written upon the posts of their houses, on their gates (Deuteronomy 27:1-8) and publicly proclaimed in the ears of the nation (Deuteronomy 11:26-32; 31:9-13).
  • Its Simplicity. The law of Moses was given to a nation that had been out of bondage only a short time, and was adapted to their necessities just as it found them. God intended that they should understand and obey it, for
    • the masses were ignorant, and disposed to forsake Him (Exodus 20:1-5; Deuteronomy 27:1-8);
    • through it they received the knowledge of sin (Exodus 20:1-7; Numbers 25:1-15; Romans 3:19-21);
    • it was their bond of union (Deuteronomy 7:12-16);
    • it carried with it a blessing and a curse (Deuteronomy 11:26-32);
    • it foreshadowed the gospel of Christ (Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 10:1).
  • Greatness of Its Blessings. The blessings of the law were,
    • perpetual possession of the land promised to their fathers (Deuteronomy 7:1-13; 30:16),
    • long life and good days (Deuteronomy 30:20),
    • the good things of this world (Deuteronomy 28:1-14),
    • protection from their enemies (Deuteronomy 20:10-18; 23:14),
    • superiority to all other nations (Deuteronomy 15:5-6; 26:19; 28:12-13).
  • Greatness of Its Curses. The curses of the law were numerous and terrible (Deuteronomy 27:11-26; 28:15-68). In addition to this, many crimes were punishable with death or expulsion from the congregation of Israel:
    • Murder (Exodus 21:12-14; Numbers 35:30),
    • unlawfully smiting a servant (Exodus 21:20-21),
    • death by vicious animals uncontrolled (Exodus 21:28-30),
    • robbery in the night (Exodus 22:2-4),
    • idolatry (Exodus 22:20; Leviticus 20:1-5),
    • witchcraft (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27),
    • afflicting the widow or fatherless (Exodus 22:22-24),
    • disobedience to priests or judges (Exodus 22:28; Deuteronomy 17:12),
    • the neglect of a priest to wash in the laver before entering the tabernacle (Exodus 30:18-21),
    • Sabbath-breaking (Exodus 31:15-16; Numbers 15:32-36),
    • adultery (Leviticus 20:10),
    • incest (Leviticus 20:11-12),
    • sodomy (Leviticus 20:13),
    • bestiality (Leviticus 20:15-16),
    • disrespect to parents (Leviticus 20:9),
    • blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16),
    • unlawfully approaching the tabernacle (Numbers 1:51),
    • false prophecy (Deuteronomy 13:1-5),
    • enticers to idolatry (Deuteronomy 13:6-11),
    • gluttony and drunkenness (Deuteronomy 21:18-21),
    • rape of a married or betrothed woman (Deuteronomy 22:13-27),
    • kidnapping (Deuteronomy 24:7),
    • eating leavened bread at the feast of unleavened bread (Exodus 12:15-17),
    • making or using the sacred oil for anointing (Exodus 30:23-33),
    • making or using the holy perfume (Exodus 30:34-38),
    • eating the sacrifices of peace offerings, being unclean (Leviticus 17:10-14),
    • uncovering the nakedness of near kin (Leviticus 18:6-18, 29),
    • eating the sacrifices of peace offerings on the third day (Leviticus 19:5-8),
    • uncovering the nakedness of a woman with her sickness upon her (Leviticus 20:18),
    • refusing to be afflicted and doing work on the day of atonement (Leviticus 23:27-30),
    • neglecting to keep the passover (Numbers 9:13).
  • Election. Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), Isaac (Genesis 26:1-5; Jacob (Genesis 28:10-14) and the nation of Israel were elected in order to the unfolding of the purpose of God (Exodus 19:1-8). The law, however, made provisions for aliens (Exodus 20:10; Leviticus 19:33-34). It provided a home for the Edomites (Deuteronomy 2:1-5), and made provision for the entrance of the Edomites and the Egyptians into the congregation of the Lord in Their third generation (Deuteronomy 23:7-8).


POPULATION OF THE EARTH IN THE EARLY TIMES


Even in the days of Cain and Abel there were doubtless very many People whose names are not recorded. In the testimony of Moses we have This statement: "And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were Eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters" (Genesis 5:4). Other evidences are

  • Cain's fear of death at the hands of his fellowmen,
  • God's recognition of the ground of this fear and the means used to protect him,
  • Cain had a wife (Genesis 4:14-17).


POSTDILUVIAN CHRONOLOGY


We have already seen that it was 1656 years from the creation of Adam to the flood. Now in order to find how long it was from the flood To the death of Terah, we must add to the two years from the flood to The birth of Arphaxad, the ages of the patriarchs--Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor--at the births of their first sons and To this the years that Terah lived, and we have four hundred Twenty-seven years (Genesis 11:10-32).



PRIESTHOOD, THE


  • Ancient History. The idea of a priest and his intercessory Work underlies all religion. From the time that the smoke of Abel's Sacrifice ascended to God to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, The history of the human race is inseparably associated with altars, Priests and sacrifices. It may be safely asserted that in the early Ages every man was his own priest. Cain and Abel "brought" their Sacrifices and presented them to Jehovah (Genesis 4:1-5). The fact that the distinctions "clean" and "unclean" (Genesis 7:1-3) were recognized in the antediluvian ages, goes to prove that offering sacrifice was a general Custom among men. After the flood, Noah, in acknowledgment of God's Goodness, erected an altar upon the purified earth and offered Sacrifices to his great Deliverer (Genesis 8:20). Further on, the head of the family officiated at the altar and led the family worship. Numerous Examples are offered"
    • Abram built altars at Sichem, between Bethel and Hai (Genesis 12:6-8; 13:1-3) and on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-9;
    • Isaac built an altar at Beersheba (Genesis 26:18,23-25);
    • Jacob offered sacrifices at Beersheba on his way to Egypt (Genesis 46:1).

    During the ages before the exodus there was not established priesthood, And no special law regulating the offering of sacrifices; but the Sacrifices were undoubtedly offered in obedience to Divine command (Genesis 4:1-5; 22:1-9; 35:1-3; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:4). God was gradually preparing the people of his choice for a more perfect revelation of Himself and a more explicit code of laws for their government. He was Gradually cutting them off from other nations in order to preserve the Blood of Abraham. During the sojourn in Egypt the chosen people largely Fell into the corruptions of their surroundings. Tribal relations and Conditions had to some extent been developed and preserved, even during The enslavement; but there is no proof that there was any general bond Of union or any public worship.

  • The Lords Choice'. During the last night in Egypt the angel of The Lord passed through the land of Egypt, smiting all the firstborn of Man and beast among the Egyptians (Exodus 12:1-29). In memory of the preservation of the firstborn of the children of Israel, he Subsequently took unto Himself the firstborn of man and beast (Exodus 13:2,11-16). After this, He chose the entire tribe of Levi in place of the firstborn of the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites in the place of their cattle (Numbers 3:40-43).
  • Divisions of the Levites. The first intimation of the selection Of the Levites was in the choice of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 3:1-10; 4:14-16). The Levites first showed their devotion to God when Moses returned from the mountain and found all Israel engaged in idol Worship. In obedience to the invitation of Moses they gathered around Him, and, at his command, slew many of the idolaters (Exodus 32:1-28). The tribe was divided as follows:
    • Aaron and his sons were to be priests (Exodus 28:1; Numbers 18:1-7);
    • the Kohathites were charged with the responsibility of transporting the holy vessels of the tabernacle and court (Numbers 4:1-15);
    • the Gershonites had charge of the coverings, curtains, hanging and cords, or fabrics of the tabernacle (Numbers 4:21-28);
    • the Merarites had charge of the boards, bars, pillars, sockets, pins and cords of the tabernacle and court, and the tools needed in setting them up (Numbers 4:29-33).
  • Period of Service. The Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites entered partially upon their service at the age of Twenty-five (Numbers 8:24), fully upon their duties at the age of thirty (Numbers 4:2-49), and were relieved at the age of fifty (Numbers 8:23-26; The age at which the sons of Aaron became priests were not specified by The law. In the time of David they entered upon their duties at age of Twenty (2 Chronicles 31:17).
  • Consecration of the Levites. The rites by which the Levites Were consecrated to the service of the Lord were, first, they had water Of purifying sprinkled upon them; they then shaved themselves and Washed their clothes; afterward they offered a young bullock with its Meat offering for a burnt offering, and a second bullock for a sin Offering; the Israelites approached and laid their hands on the heads Of the Levites to the Lord as an offering from the Israelites; the Levites then placed their hands on their burnt offering and sin Offering which were slain, and atonement was made for them (Numbers 8:5-15).
  • Consecration of Aaron and His Sons. The Lord commanded Moses to bring Aaron and his sons before the door of the tabernacle and Call all the congregation of Israel together. A young bullock for a sin Offering, a ram for a burnt offering, and a ram of consecration were Then brought, with a basket containing loaves of unleavened bread, Oiled cakes of unleavened bread and wafers anointed with oil. Aaron and His sons were then washed, and their official raiment, which was made For "glory and for beauty" (Exodus 28:2), and was put on them, and the holy anointing oil was poured upon Aaron's head. The bullock was then Brought to the north side of the altar, and was killed after Aaron and His sons put their hands upon its head; Moses then took its blood upon His finger and put it upon the horns of the altar and poured the Remainder at the side of the altar. The fat of the bullock he burned Upon the altar, but the skin, flesh and dung he burned without the Camp. Aaron and his sons then placed their hands on the head of the ram For a burnt offering; it was then killed, and Moses took of its blood And sprinkled it upon and round about the altar; he then cleansed and Washed it and burned its fat and flesh upon the altar. The ram of Consecration was next brought, and after Aaron and his sons had put Their hands on its head, it was slain, and Moses took its blood upon His finger and put it upon the tip of the right ears of Aaron and his Sons, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the great toes of Their right feet. Moses then took the fat and rump, and placed them Upon the right shoulder of the ram, and also took a loaf of the Unleavened bread and a cake of the oiled unleavened bread, and an Oil-anointed wafer, and placed them all on the hands of Aaron and his Sons to be waved before the Lord; after which he burned them on the Altar. And Moses took the breast of the ram of consecration and waved It before the Lord. Moses then took the anointing oil and the blood Which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron and his sons. He Also took the flesh of the ram of consecration and boiled it, and Commanded Aaron and his sons to eat it with the unleavened bread in the Basket, requiring them to remain at the door of the tabernacle for Seven days. On each of the seven days of consecration a bullock was Sacrificed at the altar to consecrate it. On the eighth day Aaron and His sons offered sin, burnt and peace offerings on the altar; and Aaron Lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and came down From the altar. Then Moses and Aaron went into the holy place, and when They came out Aaron blessed the people, and fire came out from the Presence of the Lord and consumed the offerings on the altar, and when The congregation saw it, they fell on their faces and shouted (Exodus 29:1-37; Leviticus 8:1-36; 9:1-24).
  • Dress of the Priests. The dress of the ordinary priest was made Of fine linen and consisted of a coat, girdle, bonnet and breeches (Exodus 28:40-42; 39:27-29).
  • Dress of the High Priest. The dress of the high priest Consisted of breeches, broidered coat, girdle, robe of the ephod, Ephod, curious girdle, breastplate, mitre, in all eight parts (Exodus 28:4, 40-42; Leviticus 8:7).
    • The breeches were made of fine twined linen, and reached from The loins to the thighs (Exodus 28:42).
    • The broidered coat was a long robe of fine twined linen, with Sleeves, and reached from the neck to the ankles (Exodus 28:39; 39:27).
    • The girdle was made of fine twined linen embroidered with blue, Purple and scarlet (Exodus 28:40; 39:29).
    • The robe of the ephod was made entirely of blue material, and Was woven (Exodus 39:22). It was worn under the ephod, but was much longer than the ephod. It had a hole for the head to pass Through. It had a strong band around the hole to prevent it from Rending. The bottom of it was ornamented with bells alternating With pomegranates (Exodus 28:31-35; 39:22-26).
    • The ephod was made of gold wire, blue, purple, scarlet and fine Twined linen. It consisted of two parts; one part covered the Back and the other the front of the upper portion of the body. The two parts were fastened together on the shoulders with two Large onyx stones on which were engraved the names of the Children of Israel according to their birth. It was further United by the curious girdle (Exodus 28:6-14; 39:2-4).
    • The curious girdle was made of blue, the same material as the Ephod (Exodus 28:8; 39:5).
    • The breastplate was the high priest's outermost article of Dress, and was worn above the ephod to which it was closely Bound. It was made of gold wire, blue, purple, scarlet and fine Twined linen, and was two spans long and one span wide; but It was doubled and was therefore square. It was fastened at the Top by rings and chains of gold to the two onyx stones on the Shoulders, and at the bottom to the ephod by a lace of blue, Fastened in its rings and the rings of the ephod (Exodus 28:15-29; 39:8-21). Three rows, of four each, of precious stones in gold settings, were inserted in the breastplate, having Engraven on them the names of the twelve sons of Jacob--one on Each stone (Exodus 28:16-21; 39:8-14). The great mystery of the high priest's dress was the Urim and Thummim. In some way not Explained in Scripture the Lord communicated to the high priest Through the stones of the breastplate (Exodus 28:30; Judges 20:28; 1 Samuel 14:3, 18-19; 23:2-3,11-12).
    • The mitre was the high priest's head dress and was made of fine Linen. A plate of gold with the words "Holiness to the Lord" inscribed on it, was fastened with a blue ribbon to the Forefront of the mitre (Exodus 28:36-38; 39:30-31-).
  • Stones of the Breastplate.
       | Carbuncle  | Topaz          |  Sardius       |
        | Zebulon    | Issachar       |  Judah         |
        | Fire-red   | Golden tinge   |  Blood-red     |
        | Diamond    | Sapphire       |  Emerald       |
        | Gad        | Simeon         |  Reuben        |
        |            |  Sky-blue      |  Shining-green |
        | Amethyst   | Agate          |  Ligure        |
        | Benjamin   | Manasseh       |  Ephraim       |
        | Violet-blue| Diverse colors |                |
        | Jasper     | Onyx           |  Beryl         |
        | Naphtali   | Dan            |  Asher         |
        | Dark-red   | Sea-green      |  Deep golden   |
    
    
  • Terms of Office. All the priests continued in office from the Time of their consecration until their death (Hebrews 7:23,28). The firstborn of Aaron's family in regular succession was the high priest, And to him the holy garments descended by Divine requirement (Exodus 29:29; Numbers 20:20-29).
  • Appellation of the High Priest. The high priest was known as the Anointed priest (Leviticus 4:3-16; Psalms 133:1-3). At the consecration of Aaron and his sons the anointing oil was poured profusely upon Aaron's head (Leviticus 8:12). He was also anointed with blood and oil combined, while the other priests were only anointed with the blood and oil (Leviticus 8:30).
  • Personal Duties of the High Priest. The high priest was Required to lead a life of sobriety, marry and live according to the Requirements of the laws of God (Leviticus 10:8-11; 21:1-12).
  • Qualifications Necessary to the Priestly Office. Every priest Was required to prove his descent from Aaron, but only those who were Without physical imperfections were eligible to the office (Leviticus 21:16-24).
  • Representative Character of the High Priest. The high priest Represented the entire nation, hence he bore upon his shoulders and his Breast the names of all the tribes of Israel (Exodus 28:9-21).
  • Duties of the Priests, Aarons Sons'. The priests, Aaron's sons, Officiated at the brazen altar and in the holy place from day to day (Leviticus 1:1-17; Hebrews 9:6).
  • Public Duties of the High Priest. The high priest was required To attend to the golden candlestick, burn incense morning and evening (Exodus 30:1-10), and stand before the ark of the covenant and make atonement for the children of Israel once every year (Leviticus 16:1-34; Hebrews 10:9). He was also required to teach the people the law of God (Leviticus 10:8-11; Deuteronomy 17:8-13).
  • Blessing the People. It was the high priest's duty to bless the People. The occasions on which he was to do this are not specified, but We may reasonably suppose that it was at the national festivities (Leviticus 9:22-24). The form of the blessing is given and is superlatively grand. He called upon the Lord to bless and keep them, to make his face Shine upon them, and be gracious unto them; to lift His countenance upon Them, and give them peace (Numbers 6:22-27).
  • Priests as Types.
    • The priests were types of Christians (Exodus 29:38-42; Romans 12:1; Hebrews 10:5-7).
    • The high priest was a type of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 16:1-34; Hebrews 10:7-14).
  • Support of the Priesthood. The priests derived their living from:
    • One-tenth of the tithes which the people paid to the Levites (Numbers 18:26-28);
    • a special tithe every third year (Deuteronomy 14:28;; 26:12);
    • redemption money (Numbers 18:14-19);
    • redemption money of things specially devoted to the Lord (Leviticus 27:1-34);
    • spoils of war (Numbers 31:25-47);
    • showbread and parts of certain offerings (Leviticus 6:25-30; 7:6-10; Numbers 18:8-14);
    • an undefined amount of the first fruits of corn, wine and oil (Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 2:14; Deuteronomy 26:1-10);
    • on their settlement in Canaan they were given thirteen cities, with pasture grounds of their flocks (Joshua 21:13-19).


PRIMITIVE SACRIFICES


It is evident that the Bible does not record all that was Communicated to man; however, the careful student sees that sacrificial Worship was a Divine revelation. The statements that Cain BROUGHT and Abel BROUGHT their respective sacrifices, may indicate that there was a Specific time and place where offerings were presented to God (Genesis 4:1-4). In addition to this, we learn that Abel offered his sacrifice by faith, (Hebrews 11:4), and that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17); that Cain sinned (Genesis 4:7); is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).



PROCLAMATION OF THE LAW


  • Date.
    • It was (2083) two thousand and eighty-three years from the creation of Adam to the death of Terah or Abram's entrance into Canaan (Genesis 5:3-32; 7:6; 11:10-32; 12:1-4; Acts 7:1-4),
    • and it was (430) four hundred and thirty years from these events to the exodus (Exodus 12:40-41; Galatians 3:17).
    • It was (50) fifty days from the exodus to to proclamation of the law (Exodus 12:37; 16:1-2; 19:1-25; 20:1-17; Numbers 33:3<).
  • The Ten Commandments. These commandments were proclaimed by the Lord, in person, from Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1-25; 20:1-17; Hebrews 12:18-20). They,
    • required strict submission to the one true and living God;
    • prohibited idolatry in all forms;
    • prohibited the taking of the name of the Lord in vain;
    • required the keeping of the Sabbath;
    • required the people to honor their parents;
    • prohibited murder;
    • prohibited adultery;
    • prohibited stealing;
    • prohibited the bearing of false witness;
    • and prohibited covetousness (Exodus 20:1-17).

    These commandments were subsequently given to Moses on tables of stone In order that he might teach them to the people (Exodus 24:12), and preserve them (Exodus 31:18). These tables were deposited in the ark of the Lord for safekeeping (Deuteronomy 10:1-5; Hebrews 9:4). These commandments were called

    • "the words of the covenant," because they constituted the basis of the covenant between the Lord and his people (Exodus 20:1-17; 34:28;
    • "the testimony," because they constantly testified to the fact that the Lord had spoken to them (Exodus 20:1-17; 25:16);
    • "the tables of the covenant," because the words of the covenant were written upon them by the finger of God (Exodus 31:18; 32:15-16; Deuteronomy 9:7-11).
  • Laws Given Previously. The law proclaimed by Jehovah from Mount Sinai was the first law that was ever given for a whole nation. Laws had previously been given to individuals only:
    • the law prohibiting the use of the fruit of the three of life (Genesis 2:16-17);
    • the law of marriage (Genesis 2:24);
    • the law of sacrifice (Genesis 4:1-7; Hebrews 11:4);
    • the law against eating blood, and murder (Genesis 9:4-6);
    • and the law of circumcision (Genesis 17:1-14).

    Two reasons are given for the keeping of the sabbath day:

    • the resting of the Lord on the seventh day;
    • the deliverance of the Hebrews from bondage (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15).


PROMISED LAND


God promised to show Abram a land (Genesis 12:1). After a long and perilous journey he pitched his tent in the plain of Moreh and the Lord Assured him that he was in the land intended for his possession (Genesis 12:6-7). However, he was a sojourner during his entire life (Acts 7:1-5; Hebrews 11:8-9). This land extended from the river Euphrates to the river of Egypt (Genesis 15:18-21).



PROPERTY GIVEN TO RELIGION


The firstborn of man and beast was by Divine requirement given to The Lord (Exodus 13:2). In addition to this the Hebrews were required to give,

  • one-tenth of the products of their land (Leviticus 27:30);
  • one-tenth of the increase of flocks and herds (Leviticus 37:32-34);
  • a special tithe every third year (Deuteronomy 14:28-29);
  • to the poor at all times (Deuteronomy 15:7-11);
  • according to their ability when they attended their annual feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16-17);
  • the first fruits of the land (Exodus 22:29; Deuteronomy 26:1-11).


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