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Showing posts from February 18, 2018

Getting Clean

What does it take to get clean? There is a fascinating ceremony described in Leviticus 14. The person getting clean was a leper who was required to live outside the camp of Israel unless he could be declared healed by a priest. Then, he could return to a normal life within the camp. When requested, the priest had to go outside the camp to inspect the leper's condition. If he found that he had been healed then he would perform a purification ceremony using "two live birds that are ceremonially clean, a stick of cedar, and some scarlet yarn, and a hyssop branch." (Leviticus 14:4) Seems like a strange mix of elements but let's go with it to see what happened. First, one bird was slaughtered over a clay pot filled with fresh water. Not one drop of blood was to be lost on the ground. Then, he would use the scarlet yarn (used for its red color) to wrap together the live bird, the cedar stick (an extremely durable substance with an oil that is highly resistant to decay), and …

Perpetual Fire

In reading through the book of Leviticus you find many rules and regulations. After all, this is a "manual" for the priests of Israel in their job of helping to reconcile the people of Israel to their God and a compendium of ways we can go wrong and need to be made right. One passage captured my thoughts. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Give Aaron and his sons [the priests] the following instructions regarding the burnt offering. The burnt offering must be left on top of the altar until the next morning, and the fire on the altar must be kept burning all night…the fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must never go out…remember, the fire must be kept burningat all times. It must never go out." (Leviticus 6:8-13) I was struck by the repetition of God suggesting the importance of the fire burning perpetually on the brazen altar and never being allowed to cease. It was so important that God said it three times. So I asked myself, "what could be the reason(s…