We are continuing our search to find a command that is not directly related to the Mishkan. We started in Exo 25 and have moved to Exo 40 and we have found that all 16 chapters are related to the Mishkan. Now we are moving to the book of Vayikra (Leviticus).
Lev 1-7 have all the korbanot connected to the Mishkan/Temple. Lev 8 has the consecration of Aaron and his sons. Lev 9 tells us that the ministry of the kohanim has begun. Lev 10 tells us of the death of Nadab and Abihu when they offered the incense at a time and way not commanded in the Torah. Lev 11 is where we have the forbidden and permitted foods related to the Miahkan/Temple. It tells us about the concept of Tamai and Tahor, unclean and clean. This is to be understood as pertaining to the Mishkan. These are Mishkan and Temple commands.
We know from Lev 10 that Nadab and Abihu burned “strange fire” before the Lord. First off, what was strange about it? It was the same incense that was used earlier. But, they are launching a new priesthood and it took seven days to consecrate them. The eighth day of their consecration was supposed to be a happy day for them, but these two sons burned strange fire. It was the same incense but they came at a time that was not allowed by God. There was an appointed time for burning the incenses. Certain people were selected to do this, and they were not to come two at a time. They did not “keep” the tavnit (blueprint).
We learn later in Lev 10.17-20 that Aaron and the remaining sons Abiathar and Eleazar did not eat the sin offering as required. Moses is upset with them and confronts Aaron. Aaron says they let it burn (not on the altar) where they were cooking it. Aaron and his sons did not eat it because of what just happened. Aaron asks whether God would have accepted it or not? Their hearts were grieving and there was no joy. In other words, their attitude was not right, and Moses let it alone.
Lev 11 goes into what animals and creatures can be eaten or not. It is directly related to what just happened in Lev 10, a Mishkan and Temple command. The word “clean” is “tahor” and it basically proper, in place. The word for “unclean” is “tamai” and it means improper, out of place. The idea of “keep and observe” is defined as the “incorporation of the things of God into our lives (in this case eating) and to stay true to the tavnit (blueprint) that God has given for specific thing to be done at specific times, at a specific place by specific people.” This cpater also goes into the vessels these creatures are cooked in.
Lev 12 deals with a woman after childbirth and what she must do in order to enter the Mishkan/Temple again. Lev 13 deals with Zara’at (leprosy) and another Mishkan/Temple command. Lev 14 it the ceremony for cleansing a Metzora (one with zara’at). Lev 15 deals with discharges that make one unclean (tamai) and unable to enter the Sanctuary. Lev 16 deals with the Yom Kippur ceremony and Lev 17 deals with the sanctity (kedusha) of blood.
It is not till Lev 18 that we have a command not directly related to the Mishkan/Temple. So, we have 33 chapters directly related to the Sanctuary. First off, we would think that the Lord is putting an emphasis on these things. He has 33 chapters of what “you shall do or not do” until he goes into other commands not directly related to the sanctuary.
Right there, that should get our attention. It causes us to realize that the Lord is putting an emphasis on this. If we do not understand the commandments connected to the Mishkan/Temple, we will not understand the other commandments. So, what about the Sabbath law given at the end of Exo 31? First, we have the word “kodesh” that is usually translated as “holy.” Then we have the Beit ha Mikdash (Temple) and we can see right away that the word “kadosh” is in the word “Mikdash” so Beit Ha Mikdash means “House of Kedusha.”
Kedusha has “levels” and most people think they know what “holy” or “holiness” means, and most think it means “to set apart.” But, that is an incomplete definition. There is a book called “The Temple: Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now” by Joshua Berman. The first chapter of that book is called “What is Kedusha?” There is no way one can understand the Temple, the House of Kedusha, without understanding kedusha.
So, Berman asks some questions in his book like, “How many times is the word “holy” used in Genesis?” The answer is, one time (Gen 2.3). It is used in reference to the Sabbath, where God “sanctified” it. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Noah, David, Elijah are never called “holy.” There is a passage in 2 Kings 4.9 that says in English bibles, “Behold, now, I perceive that there is a holy man of God passing by us continually.” She is talking about Elisha. But, in Hebrew, it says, “a man of a holy God.” Other than that, we never see a man called “holy.” The Lord is holy, Israel as a nation is called a holy nation (Exo 19.6), we have offices that have a kedusha on them, like the high priest, but never people.
Now, if we go through and see “kadosh” or any of its derivatives, you will see there are restrictions. So, let’s define “kedusha.” It means “to designate, to set apart for the service of God by formal and legal restrictions and limitations. The kedusha of periods of time are marked by limits on what man’s activities are in regards to work and construction.” Israel has a kedusha and is called a holy nation “if you keep my commandments.” We have the kohanim at large (priests), but they have restrictions and limitations like who they can marry, where they can wear their garments, avoiding contact with the dead and many others.
There are items with a kedusha, like the Ark of the Covenant. You can’t touch it and it needs to be handled a certain way. The Menorah, the table of bread, the incense altar, the great altar all have a kedusha. The vessels used have a kedusha. The garments of the priests have a kedusha, and certain places in the Temple have levels of kedusha. Certain times have a kedusha, like the festivals and on certain ones no work was allowed. The Sabbath has a kedusha, and no work is allowed, and “rest” is the key word. So, “work” and “rest” need to be defined. On the high Sabbaths (called a Shabbaton or Yom Tov). One is not allowed to work, or customary or servile work.
When is the second time “kadosh” is used? We have the one time in Genesis, and the next time is in Exo 3.5. This is where Moses sees the burning bush and goes up Sinai to investigate. God tells him to stay way from the bush and to take off his sandals because the he was standing on holy ground (adamat kodesh). We know that kedusha (kadosh) can apply to certain offices, but not to individuals. It can apply to items set apart for the Mishkan/Temple. There are no items with a kedusha that were not for use in the Mishkan/Temple.
We have heard people say, “He is a holy man of God” but they don’t know what they are saying. We have been places where people say, “this is a holy building” or place. No, its not. We can’t make something holy. A church or synagogue is not considered holy. A bible is not holy. Only the Mishkan/Temple and the vessels associated with it have a kedusha. There are items that are dedicated to God, like the tithe, that has a kedusha on it because there were restrictions and limitations associated with it like where it was grown or raised, who it was to be given to, when it was given, and how it was to be distributed.
We have heard the teaching where people were to “bring their tithe” into a church. This is done all over the world in Christianity, but these people don’t know what they are saying. We also have what is called the “terumot” (contributions) or free will offerings. You can have terumot that are actually “required.” It says it is “free-will” but you have the “Hotzi Shekel” (half shekel) that is required (Exo 30.11-16) and it is called a “terumot” or contribution (verse 15). This was to be given when a census was taken to number warriors, potential life takers. In later ages, the half shekel became another tax devoted to Temple maintenance. So, how can it be a “required” free will offering? It is going to deal with attitude.
In Part 43, we will pick up here with the kedusha of time.