77. Leviticus 24: “Light from the Law”
Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 7/27/2017
(edited May 2021)
Verses 1-4: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually. Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations. He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.”
Back then, there was a Golden Lampstand:
1. It stood as the source of light in the Holy Place, just outside of the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.
2. By the Law of God, it was to remain lit, day and night, 24 hours a day, until it was time to pack up the camp and move to a new location.
3. The Tabernacle priests were to keep the Lampstand’s oil reservoirs replenished and the seven lamp’s wicks trimmed.
4. Besides providing functional lighting for the windowless Holy Place in the Tabernacle, the Golden Lampstand, I think, may have provided a welcoming glow for the Camp of Israel throughout the wee hours of the evening.
Today, there is a Church:
1. And we, as the New Testament “People of God,” also need to remain “aglow.”
2. We must “burn” the oil of the Holy Spirit within us in order to function as we should.
3. And we need to, spiritually, “leave a welcoming light on” so this dark world can see the Truth of God.
4. Christ once told a group of hypocritical Jewish leaders that He was the Light of the World (see John 8:12).
The Tribes of Ancient Israel also had a special Shewbread to prepare and spread out on display in the Holy Place:
Verses 5-9: “And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord. Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual statute.”
Back then, there was Shewbread in the Tabernacle:
1. Its twelve loaves represented the twelve tribes of Israel.
2. Not everyone could eat it, but I’ll bet they could all smell it! I imagine it gave the Tabernacle a wonderful aroma. (Realtors in our day will often bake something in the kitchen of a house they are showing for sale.)
3. The shewbread was more than just for general use or display, it was set out before the Lord in His Tabernacle as an offering to Him.
4. The shewbread would be replenished once a week and the old shewbread was then made available as food for Aaron and his sons and their families.
Today, there is the Bread of Life for every Christian:
1. Christ once had to tell a hungry crowd that He was the Bread of Life, and what He really meant was that the true nourishment He came to offer was only obtainable through the heart by faith and not through the stomach (see John 6). Some in the crowd had been hoping for a steady supply of free meals after witnessing the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes!
2. Born-again believers, as His Royal priests today, have exclusive access to His Body (the Bread) and His Blood (the wine) of the Communion Table.
Now finally, as this chapter of Leviticus closes, we see God’s Word, Law, and Justice clearly shown to Moses and The People:
Verses 10-23: “And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp; And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:) And they put him in ward, that the mind of the Lord might be shewed them. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death. Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the Lord your God. And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses.”
Ancient Israel had a true Theocracy during their Wilderness Journey. They were directly governed by God’s commands. God spoke directly to Moses, and Moses, in turn, spoke directly to the People (and to us, by the way). And, to be fair, Ancient Israel did try to obey God. But by the time Christ came on the scene they had strayed far, far away from God’s Commands. When the Jewish leadership decided to turn on Christ and kill Him, they didn’t even try to carry it out by the Law of Moses. Instead, they had to use trickery to get the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, to execute Jesus. “You are no friend of Caesar!” they told him when he tried to back away from doing their bidding.
You see, at the time of Christ, the occupying forces of Rome had forbidden Israel from using capital punishment. Even the Gentiles could see that God’s People had corrupted the Law of Moses, and couldn’t be trusted to carry out severe justice.
In our day many political and judicial groups have banned capital punishment too, citing cases that show man is incapable of absolute fairness and equity in these areas. So, they say, the best thing is to give up on the “Old Testament” style of justice altogether. Sometimes it is even mentioned that Christ has come to extend grace and forgiveness to all, regardless of their crimes. Well, Praise God, so He has!
But Christ, the “Light of the World” (pictured by the Golden Lampstand), is also the Light of Heaven. Today He resides in Heaven, and one Day he will return to this Earth to restore and establish the Justice of Heaven here. You know that, over time, Ancient Israel could not bear up under the scrutiny of the Law of Moses. And to be honest with you about myself, I could never bear up to it either. It’s true. God could have easily struck me down many times, over and over, for my offenses.
But I praise the Lord that we are all blessed right now to be living in a wonderful time! What the Bible calls a Day of Grace when anyone can still come and take freely of Christ, the “Bread of Life” (once pictured by the Shewbread in the Tabernacle). Have you partaken of Christ yet? Don’t wait for Him to return and restore Devine Justice, that will be too late. Come to God now, through Jesus, by your own choosing and by Grace. He is waiting for you today, with open arms. Let’s pray.