“The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out” (Lev. 6:13). Pictured above is the eternal flame which burns over the grave of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Leviticus 6:8 – 7:38 (NRSV)
from Leviticus, by Samuel E. Ballentine
The instructions concerning sacrifices are set forth in two sections. The first, Lev. 1:1 – 6:7, has primarily addressed the laity, with the objective of teaching them their role in bringing gifts to God. The second, Lev. 6:8 – 7:38, primarily addresses the priests, to teach them their role in administering the rituals of sacrifice that comprise worship.
Instructions concerning the Burnt Offering
8The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 9Command Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the ritual of the burnt offering. The burnt offering itself shall remain on the hearth upon the altar all night until the morning, while the fire on the altar shall be kept burning. 10The priest shall put on his linen vestments after putting on his linen undergarments next to his body; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar, and place them beside the altar. 11Then he shall take off his vestments and put on other garments, and carry the ashes out to a clean place outside the camp. 12The fire on the altar shall be kept burning; it shall not go out. Every morning the priest shall add wood to it, lay out the burnt offering on it, and turn into smoke the fat pieces of the offerings of well-being. 13A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar; it shall not go out.
Mark 12:32-33 (New Living Translation)
The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”
Instructions concerning the Grain Offering
14This is the ritual of the grain offering: The sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, in front of the altar. 15They shall take from it a handful of the choice flour and oil of the grain offering, with all the frankincense that is on the offering, and they shall turn its memorial portion into smoke on the altar as a pleasing odor to the Lord. 16Aaron and his sons shall eat what is left of it; it shall be eaten as unleavened cakes in a holy place; in the court of the tent of meeting they shall eat it. 17It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of my offerings by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the guilt offering. 18Every male among the descendants of Aaron shall eat of it, as their perpetual due throughout your generations, from the Lord’s offerings by fire; anything that touches them shall become holy.
19The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 20This is the offering that Aaron and his sons shall offer to the Lord on the day when he is anointed: one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour as a regular offering, half of it in the morning and half in the evening. 21It shall be made with oil on a griddle; you shall bring it well soaked, as a grain offering of baked pieces, and you shall present it as a pleasing odor to the Lord. 22And so the priest, anointed from among Aaron’s descendants as a successor, shall prepare it; it is the Lord’s—a perpetual due—to be turned entirely into smoke. 23Every grain offering of a priest shall be wholly burned; it shall not be eaten.
(New International Version)
Be imitators of God, therefore,
as dearly loved children
and live a life of love,
just as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Instructions concerning the Sin Offering
24The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 25Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the ritual of the sin offering. The sin offering shall be slaughtered before the Lord at the spot where the burnt offering is slaughtered; it is most holy. 26The priest who offers it as a sin offering shall eat of it; it shall be eaten in a holy place, in the court of the tent of meeting. 27Whatever touches its flesh shall become holy; and when any of its blood is spattered on a garment, you shall wash the bespattered part in a holy place. 28An earthen vessel in which it was boiled shall be broken; but if it is boiled in a bronze vessel, that shall be scoured and rinsed in water. 29Every male among the priests shall eat of it; it is most holy. 30But no sin offering shall be eaten from which any blood is brought into the tent of meeting for atonement in the holy place; it shall be burned with fire.
(Contemporary English Version)
After the high priest offers the blood of animals as a sin offering, the bodies of those
animals are burned outside the camp. Jesus himself suffered outside the city gate,
so that his blood would make people holy.
Instructions concerning the Guilt Offering
7) This is the ritual of the guilt offering. It is most holy; 2at the spot where the burnt offering is slaughtered, they shall slaughter the guilt offering, and its blood shall be dashed against all sides of the altar. 3All its fat shall be offered: the broad tail, the fat that covers the entrails, 4the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the appendage of the liver, which shall be removed with the kidneys. 5The priest shall turn them into smoke on the altar as an offering by fire to the Lord; it is a guilt offering. 6Every male among the priests shall eat of it; it shall be eaten in a holy place; it is most holy. 7The guilt offering is like the sin offering, there is the same ritual for them; the priest who makes atonement with it shall have it. 8So, too, the priest who offers anyone’s burnt offering shall keep the skin of the burnt offering that he has offered. 9And every grain offering baked in the oven, and all that is prepared in a pan or on a griddle, shall belong to the priest who offers it. 10But every other grain offering, mixed with oil or dry, shall belong to all the sons of Aaron equally.
Instructions concerning the Offering of Well-Being
11This is the ritual of the sacrifice of the offering of well-being that one may offer to the Lord.
In the old King James Version (1611) and the English Standard Version (2001) of the Bible, this offering is called the peace offering. It points us to Christ —
Ephesians 2:14 (New Living Translation)
For Christ himself has brought peace to us.
Colossians 1:19-20 (New Living Translation)
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
12If you offer it for thanksgiving, you shall offer with the thank offering unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of choice flour well soaked in oil. 13With your thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being you shall bring your offering with cakes of leavened bread. 14From this you shall offer one cake from each offering, as a gift to the Lord; it shall belong to the priest who dashes the blood of the offering of well-being. 15And the flesh of your thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being shall be eaten on the day it is offered; you shall not leave any of it until morning.
Psalm 50:14-15 (New American Standard Bible)
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
And pay your vows to the Most High;
Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
16But if the sacrifice you offer is a votive offering or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that you offer your sacrifice, and what is left of it shall be eaten the next day; 17but what is left of the flesh of the sacrifice shall be burned up on the third day. 18If any of the flesh of your sacrifice of well-being is eaten on the third day, it shall not be acceptable, nor shall it be credited to the one who offers it; it shall be an abomination, and the one who eats of it shall incur guilt.
19Flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten; it shall be burned up. As for other flesh, all who are clean may eat such flesh. 20But those who eat flesh from the Lord’s sacrifice of well-being while in a state of uncleanness shall be cut off from their kin. 21When any one of you touches any unclean thing—human uncleanness or an unclean animal or any unclean creature—and then eats flesh from the Lord’s sacrifice of well-being, you shall be cut off from your kin.
22The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23Speak to the people of Israel, saying: You shall eat no fat of ox or sheep or goat. 24The fat of an animal that died or was torn by wild animals may be put to any use, but you must not eat it. 25If any one of you eats the fat from an animal of which an offering by fire may be made to the Lord, you who eat it shall be cut off from your kin. 26You must not eat any blood whatever, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. 27Any one of you who eats any blood shall be cut off from your kin.
Which month is clergy appreciation month? Every month that has a vowel! When last did you encourage your pastor with an email or note? Aaron and his sons were well cared for by the Israelites, as we will read below — let us not forget our responsibility in this regard!
28The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 29Speak to the people of Israel, saying: Any one of you who would offer to the Lord your sacrifice of well-being must yourself bring to the Lord your offering from your sacrifice of well-being. 30Your own hands shall bring the Lord’s offering by fire; you shall bring the fat with the breast, so that the breast may be raised as an elevation offering before the Lord. 31The priest shall turn the fat into smoke on the altar, but the breast shall belong to Aaron and his sons. 32And the right thigh from your sacrifices of well-being you shall give to the priest as an offering; 33the one among the sons of Aaron who offers the blood and fat of the offering of well-being shall have the right thigh for a portion. 34For I have taken the breast of the elevation offering, and the thigh that is offered, from the people of Israel, from their sacrifices of well-being, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons, as a perpetual due from the people of Israel.
35This is the portion allotted to Aaron and to his sons from the offerings made by fire to the Lord, once they have been brought forward to serve the Lord as priests; 36these the Lord commanded to be given them, when he anointed them, as a perpetual due from the people of Israel throughout their generations.
1 Corinthians 9:11-14 (Contemporary English Version)
When we told the message to you, it was like planting spiritual seed. So we have the right to accept material things as our harvest from you. If others have the right to do this, we have an even greater right. But we haven’t used this right of ours. We are willing to put up with anything to keep from causing trouble for the message about Christ.
Don’t you know that people who work in the temple make their living from what is brought to the temple? Don’t you know that a person who serves at the altar is given part of what is offered? In the same way, the Lord wants everyone who preaches the good news to make a living from preaching this message.
37This is the ritual of the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the offering of ordination, and the sacrifice of well-being, 38which the Lord commanded Moses on Mount Sinai, when he commanded the people of Israel to bring their offerings to the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai.
We don’t bring animals and grain to the Lord anymore. Third Day tells us what is to be our “Offering.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
eternal flame. http://static.squidoo.com/resize/squidoo_images/-1/draft_lens1902476module8714428photo_JFK_Eternalflame.jpg1205610608
love God and neighbor. http://www.sxc.hu/pic/m/s/sr/sraburton/1162404_love_god_and_your_neighbor_1.jpg
Jesus on the cross. http://www.barrowworshipcenter.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/jesus-cross-dkgray.gif
girl with lifted arms. http://missionaryjourneys.info/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/girl-with-arms-open-wide-to-the-sky.jpg
clergy appreciation month. http://media.photobucket.com/image/pastor%20appreciation%20month/sweetmummyof3/CAMLogoWhite-710crop.jpg