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The position of high priest
Query for the Month
Next up-date: September 1st 2011 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Do you know the difference between the "love"
that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world? Click here to find out!
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends. It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!
(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in. Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )
In the meantime, try this site. And here's one where you can read it online.
Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.
In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding. Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly. All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.
[The LORD said] “And take you to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons”.
Why didn’t Moses become the high priest?
First of all, Moses politely rejected the job!
10 And Moses said to the LORD, “O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since You have spoken to Your servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue”. 11 And the LORD said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall say”.
13 And he said, “O my LORD, send, I pray you, by the hand of him whom You will send [Please choose someone else]”.
14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said, “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he comes forth to meet you: and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
15 “And you shall speak to him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with your mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. 16 And he shall be your spokesman to the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to you instead of a mouth, and you shall be to him instead of God”.
However, later, when they were on their way to freedom, the people decided that they wanted a statue of their God and chose the image of a strong young bull (called a “golden calf” in our Bibles, Exodus 32:1-24.), as a picture of the god of force, Baal, (which they copied from the Egyptian “Apis”. See note 1.)
It was this representation that they had put in their tent of worship. We should note that it was Aaron who organised it and the worship rites which went with it.
“And Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people to you, that you have brought so great a sin upon them?’ And Aaron said, ‘Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: you know the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said to me, “Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him”. And I said to them, Whosoever has any gold, let them break it off’. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf’.” Exodus 32:21-24.
After that the Son of God told them that He couldn’t stay with them any more for He would be a danger to them while they had that attitude.
1 And the LORD said to Moses, “Depart, and go up hence [from here], you and the people which you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying,
‘To your seed will I give it: 2 and I will send an Angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite’:
3 [Now you will have to go] to a land flowing with milk and honey [by yourselves]: for I will not go up in the midst of you; for you are a stiffnecked [arrogant] people: lest I consume you in the way [lest I have to let you have your own way entirely, which will kill you]”.
4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his [religious] ornaments. 5 For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, You are a stiffnecked [proud] people: I will come up into the midst of you in a moment, and consume you: therefore now put off your [Pagan] ornaments from you, that I may know what to do to you”.
6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb [Mount Sinai].
7 And Moses took the tabernacle [the tent which they had already set aside for their God], and pitched it without [outside] the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the “Tabernacle of the Congregation” [the peoples’ tent]. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out to the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.
8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle [there was no courtyard for their tent, so he stood at the door].
9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle [stood at the door], the cloudy Pillar [in which the LORD concealed Himself] descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle [with him], and the LORD talked with Moses.
10 And all the people saw the cloudy Pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door [copying Moses, but from a distance].
11 And the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
And he [Moses] turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle [he stayed at the door for a while].
That’s why, when the time had come to give the people the Ten Commandments (only a few weeks before this), the Son of God had appeared in His great majesty and spoken to them. But they were frightened and only wanted to keep Him at a distance even at that time.
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said to Moses, “Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” [We want a mediator between us and God].
20 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear [respect] may be before your faces, that you sin not”.
21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was [as a demonstration].
22 And the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall not make with Me gods of silver, neither shall you make to you gods of gold. 24 An altar of earth you shall make to Me, and shall sacrifice thereon your “burnt offerings [of dedication]”, and your “peace offerings [of thanks]”, your sheep, and your oxen: in all places where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you”.
But they did not want a God who was that close to them (which is why they had already made a separate tent for Him), for He would be too aware of what they were thinking and doing if He was close! (At least, that’s how they saw it.) So they wanted a barrier between them and Him, and desired a religious building with religious rites staffed by religious people, by which they could satisfy their desire without too much change in their daily lives.
So God came back with His plan:
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering:
of every man that gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.
3 And this is the offering which you shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, 4 and blue, and purple, and scarlet [cloth], and fine [white] linen, and goats' hair, 5 and rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood, 6 oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, 7 onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate [it will be expensive].
8 And let [allow] them make Me a [better] sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 [But] according to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle [which is in heaven], and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall you make it.
But He would rather have had a face-to-face relationship with each one of them.
You can probably see that conditions for Him haven’t changed much today – most professed Christians still want Him segregated into a building (the bigger the better to show their devotion), while He hungers to be our Friend and live with us.
Not until the early New Testament times was He able to make this plain. He said to His disciples, “You are My friends, if you do whatsoever I command [ask of] you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known to you. [A characteristic of friendship is the revealing of our plans to them.] You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you”. John 15:14-16.
But present-day behaviour has mostly slipped back to the “old ways”.
Centuries after the exodus, He had this to say to one of His prophets:
21 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;
“Put your burnt offerings [proclamations of devotion] to your sacrifices [your thanks], and eat [the] flesh [yourselves].
“Not every one that says to Me, LORD, LORD, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘LORD, LORD, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess to them, I NEVER knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity”. Matthew 7:21-23.
22 “For I spoke not to your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23 but this thing commanded I them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people: and walk you in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well to you’. 24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
25 “Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt to this day [about 700 years] I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: 26 yet they [the bulk of the people] hearkened not to Me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
27 “Therefore [Jeremiah] you shall speak all these words to them; but they will not hearken to you: you shall also call to them; but they will not answer you”.
So we see that the reason for the sanctuary and the deaths of those thousands (maybe millions) of animals for about one and a half thousand years was simply so that the people could do many “religious” things without being too spiritual!
For that is what it was – “play acts” of worship settled around a building, which is why when the women were prohibited from attending the rituals, they really didn’t miss much. They were far better off looking after the children and trying to set them straight.
Why wasn’t Moses given the job of being high priest? Because he was too close to his “Friend”, and couldn’t play-act the role! It needed someone with less of a connection to God to be able to do this. The earthly sanctuary/temple, although based on the one in heaven, was only a “shadow” of the original, and the priests who worked in it were merely demonstrating what the Son of God was really doing.
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,
but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Next query. To be discussed from September 1st 2011,
“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
This scripture is very puzzling. Just who were these locusts and when did they appear? And who gave them their power?
Like to E-mail me and give me your thoughts on this subject?
Send in your thought on this current query.
Apis was the most important of all the sacred animals in Egypt, and, as with the others, its importance increased as time went on. Greek and Roman authors have much to say about Apis, the marks by which the black bull-calf was recognized, the manner of his conception by a ray from heaven, his house at Memphis with court for disporting himself, the mode of prognostication from his actions, the mourning at his death, his costly burial, and the rejoicings throughout the country when a new Apis was found. Mariette's excavation of the Serapeum at Memphis revealed the tombs of over sixty animals, ranging from the time of Amenophis III to that of Ptolemy Alexander. At first each animal was buried in a separate tomb with a chapel built above it. Khamuis, the priestly son of Ramesses II (c. 1300 B.C.), excavated a great gallery to be lined with the tomb chambers; another similar gallery was added by Psammetichus I. The careful statement of the ages of the animals in the later instances, with the regnal dates for their birth, enthronization, and death have thrown much light on the chronology from the Twenty-second dynasty onwards. The name of the mother-cow and the place of birth often are recorded. The sarcophagi are of immense size, and the burial must have entailed enormous expense. It is therefore remarkable that the priests contrived to bury one of the animals in the fourth year of Cambyses. BACK