7 March 2017 Bible Reading
Those serving in the Tabernacle were required to keep themselves clean in many ways. Their service was even limited to their prime years. The detail surrounding the Tabernacle and the cult associated with it says a lot about God and those who would serve Him. Contrary to popular opinion today, God deserves and expects our best. There is no indication that God accepts a careless approach. There is nothing to support the idea that we are each free to choose how we will serve God. No one would expect a supervisor at McDonald’s (or any other business) to be happy with an employee showing up when they want, dressed how they want and doing things their way, but we somehow think that God should accept whatever we feel like giving. Having things “your way” is possibly okay for employees at Burger King, but certainly not McDonald’s.
8 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron, and tell him, ‘When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lamp stand.’”
3 Aaron did so. He lit its lamps to light the area in front of the lamp stand, as Yahweh commanded Moses. 4 This was the workmanship of the lamp stand, beaten work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was beaten work: according to the pattern which Yahweh had shown Moses, so he made the lamp stand.
5 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. 7 You shall do this to them, to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of cleansing on them, let them shave their whole bodies with a razor, and let them wash their clothes, and cleanse themselves. 8 Then let them take a young bull, and its meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil; and another young bull you shall take for a sin offering. 9 You shall present the Levites before the Tent of Meeting. You shall assemble the whole congregation of the children of Israel. 10 You shall present the Levites before Yahweh. The children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before Yahweh for a wave offering, on the behalf of the children of Israel, that it may be theirs to do the service of Yahweh.
12 “The Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering to Yahweh, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 You shall set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them as a wave offering to Yahweh. 14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine.
15 “After that, the Levites shall go in to do the service of the Tent of Meeting: and you shall cleanse them, and offer them as a wave offering. 16 For they are wholly given to me from among the children of Israel; instead of all who open the womb, even the firstborn of all the children of Israel, I have taken them to me. 17 For all the firstborn among the children of Israel are mine, both man and animal. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified them for myself. 18 I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel. 19 I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the Tent of Meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel; that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come near to the sanctuary.”
20 Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel did so to the Levites. According to all that Yahweh commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so the children of Israel did to them. 21 The Levites purified themselves from sin, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them for a wave offering before Yahweh; and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 After that, the Levites went in to do their service in the Tent of Meeting before Aaron, and before his sons: as Yahweh had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.
23 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This is that which belongs to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall go in to wait on the service in the work of the Tent of Meeting; 25 and from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting on the work, and shall serve no more, 26 but shall minister with their brothers in the Tent of Meeting, to perform the duty, and shall do no service. You shall do thus to the Levites concerning their duties.”
9 Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “Moreover let the children of Israel keep the Passover in its appointed season. 3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at evening, you shall keep it in its appointed season—according to all its statutes, and according to all its ordinances, you shall keep it.”
4 Moses spoke to the children of Israel, that they should keep the Passover. 5 They kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at evening, in the wilderness of Sinai. According to all that Yahweh commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did. 6 There were certain men, who were unclean because of the dead body of a man, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day. 7 Those men said to him, “We are unclean because of the dead body of a man. Why are we kept back, that we may not offer the offering of Yahweh in its appointed season among the children of Israel?”
8 Moses answered them, “Wait, that I may hear what Yahweh will command concerning you.”
9 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Say to the children of Israel, ‘If any man of you or of your generations is unclean by reason of a dead body, or is on a journey far away, he shall still keep the Passover to Yahweh. 11 In the second month, on the fourteenth day at evening they shall keep it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break a bone of it. According to all the statute of the Passover they shall keep it. 13 But the man who is clean, and is not on a journey, and fails to keep the Passover, that soul shall be cut off from his people. Because he didn’t offer the offering of Yahweh in its appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.
14 “‘If a foreigner lives among you, and desires to keep the Passover to Yahweh; according to the statute of the Passover, and according to its ordinance, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the foreigner, and for him who is born in the land.’”
15 On the day that the tabernacle was raised up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, even the Tent of the Testimony: and at evening it was over the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until morning. 16 So it was continually. The cloud covered it, and the appearance of fire by night. 17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the Tent, then after that the children of Israel traveled; and in the place where the cloud remained, there the children of Israel encamped. 18 At the commandment of Yahweh, the children of Israel traveled, and at the commandment of Yahweh they encamped. As long as the cloud remained on the tabernacle they remained encamped. 19 When the cloud stayed on the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept Yahweh’s command, and didn’t travel. 20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days on the tabernacle; then according to the commandment of Yahweh they remained encamped, and according to the commandment of Yahweh they traveled. 21 Sometimes the cloud was from evening until morning; and when the cloud was taken up in the morning, they traveled: or by day and by night, when the cloud was taken up, they traveled. 22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a year that the cloud stayed on the tabernacle, remaining on it, the children of Israel remained encamped, and didn’t travel; but when it was taken up, they traveled. 23 At the commandment of Yahweh they encamped, and at the commandment of Yahweh they traveled. They kept Yahweh’s command, at the commandment of Yahweh by Moses.
14 But when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, 15 and let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter in, to take anything out of his house. 16 Let him who is in the field not return back to take his cloak. 17 But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babies in those days! 18 Pray that your flight won’t be in the winter. 19 For in those days there will be oppression, such as there has not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be. 20 Unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved; but for the sake of the chosen ones, whom he picked out, he shortened the days. 21 Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there!’ don’t believe it. 22 For there will arise false christs and false prophets, and will show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones. 23 But you watch.
“Behold, I have told you all things beforehand. 24 But in those days, after that oppression, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, 25 the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out his angels, and will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the sky.
28 “Now from the fig tree, learn this parable. When the branch has now become tender, and produces its leaves, you know that the summer is near; 29 even so you also, when you see these things coming to pass, know that it is near, at the doors. 30 Most certainly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 32 But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Watch, keep alert, and pray; for you don’t know when the time is.
34 “It is like a man, traveling to another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants, and to each one his work, and also commanded the doorkeeper to keep watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you don’t know when the lord of the house is coming, whether at evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning; 36 lest coming suddenly he might find you sleeping. 37 What I tell you, I tell all: Watch.”
A Psalm by Asaph.
50 The Mighty One, God, Yahweh, speaks,
and calls the earth from sunrise to sunset.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines out.
3 Our God comes, and does not keep silent.
A fire devours before him.
It is very stormy around him.
4 He calls to the heavens above,
to the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather my saints together to me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
6 The heavens shall declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge.
7 “Hear, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, and I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
8 I don’t rebuke you for your sacrifices.
Your burnt offerings are continually before me.
9 I have no need for a bull from your stall,
nor male goats from your pens.
10 For every animal of the forest is mine,
and the livestock on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the mountains.
The wild animals of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Pay your vows to the Most High.
15 Call on me in the day of trouble.
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
16 But to the wicked God says,
“What right do you have to declare my statutes,
that you have taken my covenant on your lips,
17 since you hate instruction,
and throw my words behind you?
18 When you saw a thief, you consented with him,
and have participated with adulterers.
19 “You give your mouth to evil.
Your tongue frames deceit.
20 You sit and speak against your brother.
You slander your own mother’s son.
21 You have done these things, and I kept silent.
You thought that I was just like you.
I will rebuke you, and accuse you in front of your eyes.
22 “Now consider this, you who forget God,
lest I tear you into pieces, and there be no one to deliver.
23 Whoever offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifies me,
and prepares his way so that I will show God’s salvation to him.”
29 The way of Yahweh is a stronghold to the upright,
but it is a destruction to the workers of iniquity.
30 The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not dwell in the land.