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AM Bible Study Archives
"Handling Holy Things"
Wednesday AM Bible Study
December 13, 2006
Theme: This chapter illustrates the reverence and care with which we are to handle the holy things of Christ.
As the last chapter dealt with the holy character that was required of the priest, this chapter deals with a holy attitude toward the things that the priests were to handle. It deals with the attitude of reverence and care that was to characterize both the priests and the people when it came to the offerings and holy things of God.
The offerings were not to be treated as common things. They were types that pointed ahead to the holy offering of Christ Himself. It teaches us not to treat the things of Christ in a common and careless manner, but to be reverent in our approach to Him. (See Malachi 1:6-14 as an illustration of this principle being disobeyed by Israel. Also see 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 for a New Testament application of this principle.)
To truly appreciate the thrust of this chapter, look carefully at verses 31-33. There, God gives the reasons for the commands contained in this chapter. Dr. Andrew Bonar notes the five motives “strewn on their path to constrain them to close obedience”: (1) “I am the LORD”, (2) “I will be hallowed among the children of Israel”, (3) “I am the LORD who sanctifies you”, (4) “who brought you out of the land of Egypt”, (5) “to be your God”. How important it is that we handle the things of God in a way that demonstrates a genuine reverence toward Him!
I. REVERENCE ON THE PART OF THE PRIESTS TOWARD THE HOLY THINGS OF GOD (vv. 1-16).
A. Priests must not be “unclean” in handling or eating the holy offering (vv. 1-9). They must “separate themselves” (v. 2) in the sense that they do not handle these things when uncleanness is upon them. Note that this would, in some cases, require extreme honesty. God permitted that they may eat after a time of cleansing.
B. It must not be given to an outsider (vv. 10-13). It was for the community of faith.
C. It must not be eaten unintentionally by someone (vv. 14-16). If handled carelessly by accident, guilt is still incurred because the things of God still must be treated reverently.
II. REVERENCE ON THE PART OF THE PEOPLE TOWARD THE HOLY THINGS OF GOD (vv. 17-30).
A. Nothing may be offered that has a defect or from a foreigner (vv. 17-25). They picture Christ in His perfection as our holy offering for sin.
B. A newly born bull or sheep or calf must not be offered too soon (vv. 26-28). Christ Himself was 33 years old when He was offered. This pictures the love that the Father had for the Son whom He gave.
C. It must be given of free will (v. 29). Compulsion defiles the offering; because God loves a cheerful giver.
D. It must not be allowed to remain until morning (v. 30). God's holy offerings must not become “leftovers”.
III. SUMMARY COMMAND (vv. 31-33).