February 9, 2015

Leviticus 13-15 -  God spoke to Moses and Aaron: “When someone has a swelling or a blister or a shiny spot on the skin that might signal a serious skin disease on the body, bring him to Aaron the priest or to one of his priest sons. The priest will examine the sore on the skin. If the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears more than skin deep, it is a serious skin disease and infectious. After the priest has examined it, he will pronounce the person unclean…the priest will quarantine the person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest will examine it again; if, in his judgment, the sore is the same and has not spread, the priest will keep him in quarantine for another seven days. On the seventh day the priest will examine him a second time;… 

When a person has a burn on his skin and the raw flesh turns into a reddish-white or white shiny spot, the priest is to examine it. If the hair has turned white in the shiny spot and it looks like it’s more than skin deep, a serious skin disease has erupted in the area of the burn… The priest will pronounce him unclean;…the priest will put him in quarantine for seven days. On the seventh day the priest will reexamine him…
 
If a man or woman develops a sore on the head or chin, the priest will offer a diagnosis… he will put the person in quarantine for seven days. On the seventh day he will reexamine the sore; if the itch has not spread, there is no yellow hair in it, and it looks as if the itch is only skin deep, the person must shave, except for the itch; the priest will send him back to quarantine for another seven days…

When a man loses his hair and goes bald, he is clean…

Any person with a serious skin disease must wear torn clothes, leave his hair loose and unbrushed, cover his upper lip, and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as anyone has the sores, that one continues to be ritually unclean. That person must live alone; he or she must live outside the camp…

 God spoke to Moses: “These are the instructions for the infected person at the time of his cleansing. First, bring him to the priest. ..The cleansed person, after washing his clothes, shaving off all his hair, and bathing with water, is clean. Afterwards he may again enter the camp, but he has to live outside his tent for seven days. On the seventh day, he must shave off all his hair—from his head, beard, eyebrows, all of it. He then must wash his clothes and bathe all over with water. He will be clean.  The next day, the eighth day, he will bring two lambs without defect and a yearling ewe without defect, along with roughly six quarts of fine flour mixed with oil…“If he is poor and cannot afford these offerings, he will bring one male lamb as a Compensation-Offering to be offered as a Wave-Offering to make atonement for him, and with it a couple of quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for a Grain-Offering, a pint of oil, and two doves or pigeons which he can afford, one for an Absolution-Offering and the other for a Whole-Burnt-Offering…
These are the instructions to be followed for anyone who has a serious skin disease and cannot afford the regular offerings for his cleansing.

God spoke to Moses and Aaron: “When you enter the land of Canaan, which I’m giving to you as a possession, and I put a serious fungus in a house in the land of your possession, the householder is to go and tell the priest,… When the priest comes and examines the house, if the fungus on the walls of the house has greenish or rusty swelling that appears to go deeper than the surface of the wall, the priest is to walk out the door and shut the house up for seven days. On the seventh day he is to come back and conduct another examination…. Then he is to replace the stones and replaster the house…

God spoke to Moses and Aaron: “Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, When a man has a discharge from his genitals, the discharge is unclean. Whether it comes from a seepage or an obstruction he is unclean. He is unclean all the days his body has a seepage or an obstruction…Every bed on which he lies is ritually unclean, everything on which he sits is unclean. If someone touches his bed or sits on anything he’s sat on, or touches the man with the discharge, he has to wash his clothes and bathe in water; he remains unclean until evening…

When a person with a discharge is cleansed from it, he is to count off seven days for his cleansing, wash his clothes, and bathe in running water. Then he is clean. On the eighth day he is to take two doves or two pigeons and come before God at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and give them to the priest. The priest then offers one as an Absolution-Offering and one as a Whole-Burnt-Offering and makes atonement for him in the presence of God because of his discharge.

When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his entire body in water; he remains unclean until evening. Every piece of clothing and everything made of leather which gets semen on it must be washed with water; it remains unclean until evening. When a man sleeps with a woman and has an emission of semen, both are to wash in water; they remain unclean until evening.

When a woman has a discharge of blood, the impurity of her menstrual period lasts seven days. Anyone who touches her is unclean until evening. Everything on which she lies or sits during her period is unclean. Anyone who touches her bed or anything on which she sits must wash his clothes and bathe in water; he remains unclean until evening…When she is cleansed from her discharge, she is to count off seven days; then she is clean. On the eighth day she is to take two doves or two pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. The priest will offer one for an Absolution-Offering and the other for a Whole-Burnt-Offering. The priest will make atonement for her in the presence of God because of the discharge that made her unclean.


Hebrews 7-8 - Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of the Highest God.  He met Abraham... and gave him his blessing.  Abraham in turn gave him a tenth of the spoils.  

“Melchizedek" means “king of righteousness.”   “Salem” means “Peace.”  So he is also “King of Peace.”  Melchizedek towers out of the past---without record of family ties, no account of beginning or end.  In this way, he is like the Son of God, one huge priestly presence dominating the landscape always.  You realize just how great Melchizedek is when you see that Father Abraham gave him a tenth of the captured treasure...

But this man, a complete outsider, collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him, the one to whom the promises had been given.  In acts of blessing, the lesser is blessed by the greater....

If the priesthood of Levi and Aaron...could really make people perfect, there wouldn’t have been the need for a new priesthood like that of Melchizedek.  But since it didn’t get the job done, there was a change of priesthood, which brought with it a radical new kind of law.  There is no way of understanding this in terms of the old Levitical priesthood, which is why there is nothing in Jesus’ family tree connecting him with that priestly line.


But the Melchizedek story provides a perfect analogy:  Jesus, a priest like Melchizedek, not by genealogical descent but by the sheer force of resurrection life --he lives!--”priest forever in the royal order of Melchizedek.”  

The former way of doing things, a system of commandments that never worked out the way it was supposed to, was set aside;  the law brought nothing to maturity.  Another way--Jesus! -- a way that does work, that brings us right into the presence of God, is put in its place.  

The old priesthood of Aaron perpetuated itself automatically...without explicit confirmation by God.  but then God intervened, and called this new, permanent priesthood into being with an added promise that he wouldn’t take it back...

This makes Jesus the guarantee of a far better way between us and God---one that really works!  A new covenant... Jesus’ priesthood is permanent...So now we have a high priest who perfectly fits our needs: completely holy, uncompromised by sin, with authority extending as high as God’s presence in heaven itself.

Heads up!  The days are coming when I’ll set up a new plan...This time I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.  I’ll be their God, they’ll be my people...They’ll get to know me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped out.