The firstborn of an unclean animal had to be redeemed by an estimation of the priest, with the addition of one-fifth (Lev 27:27; Num 18:15). According to Exod. 13:13; 34:20, the firstborn of an ass was either ransomed by a sheep or lamb, or its neck had to be broken.
Figuratively, Israel was God’s “firstborn” (Exod 4:22; Jer 31:9) and enjoyed priority status. God compared His relationship to Israel with the relationship of a father and his firstborn son. Within Israel, the tribe of Levi represented the firstborn of the nation in its worship ceremony (Num 3:40-41; 8:18).
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During the Roman era, tax collectors and the manner in which taxes were collected evolved and varied from one region to the next. Here we offer a general picture of the process that will allow us to appreciate the role tax collectors played in the Gospels. Taxes were paid to both the temple and the state, each of which established its own tax code without consideration of the other. First-century Jews paid a religious tithe of their produce, herd, and flock (Lev 27:30-32); they were also required to pay the half-shekel or two-drachma tax for sanctuary upkeep (Exod 30:13; Matt 17:24). The state demanded taxes that included a poll tax levied on males fourteen to sixty-five years of age and females twelve to sixty-five, real estate tax, customs tax collected at road and harbor stations, a tax on produce that amounted to 10 percent on grain and 20 percent on wine, fruit, and oil, a 1 percent income tax, and sales and inheritance taxes.
Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TAX COLLECTOR PT1)
These laws sound rigid and austere in their proclamations, and we cannot say for sure how often this particular punishment was employed. What we can say for sure is that exceptions were allowed, as illustrated by Jesus. He did not demand that the woman caught in adultery be executed but instead disarmed her executioners and urged her to leave her lift of sin (John 8:3-11).
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God has given us a very explicit ruling on homosexuality. Read what His Word says.
46. Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. . .Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: and the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. (Lev 18:22, 24-25).
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To pursue game for food or pleasure. Hunting was an important supplementary food source, especially in the seminomadic stage of civilization. Genesis mentions several hunters by name, none of whom are Israelite ancestors (Nimrod, 10:9; Ishmael 21:20; Esau, 25:27), perhaps suggesting that hunting was more characteristic of Israel’s neighbors than of Israel. Hunting was, however, regulated by Mosaic law. The blood of captured game was to be poured out on the ground (Lev 17:13). Deuteronomy 14:3-5 outlines what game was permitted as ritually clean food.
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Weaving was a very creative process that allowed the weavers to express themselves in a variety of ways. In extreme cases, alteration in thread colors and interlacing technique could produce cloth that was intricately designed and had a unique texture. The only limitation on this creative process for the Israelites was the requirement that they not mix different types of thread when making clothing (Lev 19:19; Deut 22:11). Cloth was also woven to play a role in the worship life of God’s Old Testament people. During their early years, the worship facility they used had to be light and portable because they were traveling so often.
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Heavy or uncontrollable bleeding the KJV translates the underlying Hebrew and Greek terms as “issue of blood” (Lev 12:7; Matt 9:20) or “fountain of blood” (Mark 5:29). Modern translations render these terms as hemorrhage, flow, or discharge of blood, Mosaic law said any discharge of blood, whether associated with the birthing process (Lev 12:7), with menstruation (Lev 15:19), or continued bleeding (Lev 15:25; Matt 9:20) rendered a woman unclean.
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GREAT HIGH PRIEST
When Christ is called our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) it is because he and he alone was chosen by God to make the perfect sacrifice and intercession for us before God’s merciful throne-and not before an earthly throne, but before the very throne of God’s presence!
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Any priest could offer incense accompanied by some of the grain offering on the altar of incense. It is possible that priests offered incense by itself, although there are no clear indications for this practice (Leviticus 10:1-3; Numbers 16:16-18; Deuteronomy 33:10; 1 Samuel 2:28; Ezekiel 8:10-11).
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The issue of purity was very important for the Israelites. The Tabernacle was at the center of all of Israel’s life. God’s presence in the midst of the camp determined the life of the people. An important function of the Mosaic Law was to instruct people on how to live in the presence of a holy God. The holy and the impure cannot coexist. Thus, God provided a means to cleanse what had become impure. God chose purification rites and sacrifices to prevent the destruction of the people when they became impure. The following table shows the main causes for ritual and moral impurity and the prescription for achieving purity anew.
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