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The Use of Holy Offerings


The L ord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Direct Aaron and his sons to deal carefully with the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they dedicate to me, so that they may not profane my holy name; I am the L ord. 3Say to them: If anyone among all your offspring throughout your generations comes near the sacred donations, which the people of Israel dedicate to the L ord, while he is in a state of uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from my presence: I am the L ord. 4No one of Aaron’s offspring who has a leprous disease or suffers a discharge may eat of the sacred donations until he is clean. Whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse or a man who has had an emission of semen, 5and whoever touches any swarming thing by which he may be made unclean or any human being by whom he may be made unclean—whatever his uncleanness may be— 6the person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening and shall not eat of the sacred donations unless he has washed his body in water. 7When the sun sets he shall be clean; and afterward he may eat of the sacred donations, for they are his food. 8That which died or was torn by wild animals he shall not eat, becoming unclean by it: I am the L ord. 9They shall keep my charge, so that they may not incur guilt and die in the sanctuary for having profaned it: I am the L ord; I sanctify them.

10 No lay person shall eat of the sacred donations. No bound or hired servant of the priest shall eat of the sacred donations; 11but if a priest acquires anyone by purchase, the person may eat of them; and those that are born in his house may eat of his food. 12If a priest’s daughter marries a layman, she shall not eat of the offering of the sacred donations; 13but if a priest’s daughter is widowed or divorced, without offspring, and returns to her father’s house, as in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food. No lay person shall eat of it. 14If a man eats of the sacred donation unintentionally, he shall add one-fifth of its value to it, and give the sacred donation to the priest. 15No one shall profane the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they offer to the L ord, 16causing them to bear guilt requiring a guilt offering, by eating their sacred donations: for I am the L ord; I sanctify them.

Acceptable Offerings

17 The L ord spoke to Moses, saying: 18Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel and say to them: When anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing in Israel presents an offering, whether in payment of a vow or as a freewill offering that is offered to the L ord as a burnt offering, 19to be acceptable in your behalf it shall be a male without blemish, of the cattle or the sheep or the goats. 20You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable in your behalf.

21 When anyone offers a sacrifice of well-being to the L ord, in fulfillment of a vow or as a freewill offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be acceptable it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. 22Anything blind, or injured, or maimed, or having a discharge or an itch or scabs—these you shall not offer to the L ord or put any of them on the altar as offerings by fire to the L ord. 23An ox or a lamb that has a limb too long or too short you may present for a freewill offering; but it will not be accepted for a vow. 24Any animal that has its testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut, you shall not offer to the L ord; such you shall not do within your land, 25nor shall you accept any such animals from a foreigner to offer as food to your God; since they are mutilated, with a blemish in them, they shall not be accepted in your behalf.

26 The L ord spoke to Moses, saying: 27When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it shall be acceptable as the L ord’s offering by fire. 28But you shall not slaughter, from the herd or the flock, an animal with its young on the same day. 29When you sacrifice a thanksgiving offering to the L ord, you shall sacrifice it so that it may be acceptable in your behalf. 30It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall not leave any of it until morning: I am the L ord.

31 Thus you shall keep my commandments and observe them: I am the L ord. 32You shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel: I am the L ord; I sanctify you, 33I who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the L ord.

Leviticus 22:17. And the Lord spake. He now more clearly teaches and more copiously inculcates what he has frequently adverted to heretofore, that it is sinful to offer to God a maimed, or weak, or otherwise imperfect animal. Now this external soundness admonished the ancient people that God is served amiss when He is served by halves, since He abominates a double heart. 292292     A. V., “They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the Lord.” The word עקש, however, says Cocceius, quoted in Taylor’s Concordance, “expresseth the character of a man who walketh in a double way,” etc. (Proverbs 11:20.) At the same time, in this symbol was shewn forth the perfect purity of that victim by which God was at length to be reconciled. We know in how great liberties the world indulges itself in the service of God; for whilst it lightly and contemptuously obtrudes mere trifling upon Him as if He were a child, it still fancies that its duty is properly discharged. Hence it is that it claims reward for any rubbish (sordibus,) and exults in mere mockeries of God, as if it were laying Him under obligation. A notable example of this stupid security is seen now-a-days in the Papacy, when they mock God with no less audacity than as if they were dealing with a block of wood. To omit innumerable other cases, what can be more monstrous than this arrogance of theirs, when, as they mutter their prayers, their minds wander not only into frivolous but even into unholy imaginations, and yet they pretend that the final intention, as they call it, is meritorious and approved by God? 293293     “Wherefore the schoolmen grossly err when they lay it down that actual attention, as they call it, is not required in our prayers, but that it is sufficient for us to give virtual attention, as they say, since our hearts, they affirm, are not in our own power; and hence it is enough if, at the commencement, we resolve to wish to pray to God.” — Petr. Mart. Loci Com. C1. 3 chap. 13:11.
   Luther ridicules this mode of praying in his “Simplex Orandi Modus,” (Witteb. 1558,) vol. 7:132: “Quemadmodum sacrificulus ille rurestris ipsis periculis (precibus?) subinde aliena miscebat, ad hunc modum, Deus in adjutorium meum intende; (Heus, serve, deme helcia equis.) Domine ad adjuvandum me festina; (Vade, famula, mulge vaccas.) Gloria Patri, etc.; (Etiam cessas, puer? Dii te perdant, etc.) Tales preculas audivi sub Papatu quamplurimas, atque omnes adeo eorum orationes fere ejusmodi fuere."
Suppose a priest (sacrificus) shall have proposed to recite the godly prayers of his breviary, and, when scarcely three words have been said, his mind shall be occupied with dishes, shall run away now to his cups, now to dicing, or other pastimes, still, as if his task were performed, he will boast that he has offered worship to God. In order, therefore, to obviate this fault, God commands that sacrifices free from all blemish should be presented to Him. Hence that sharp expostulation of His in Malachi 1:7, 8, because the Jews polluted His altar and thought His table contemptible, when they said that their blind, and lame, and sick victims were not evil. “Offer it now (he says) to thy governor, will he — accept thy person?” not because God cared for the fatness or the juiciness of the animals, but because it thus was made plain that true piety was neglected, nay, altogether despised. We perceive, then, that all defective sacrifices were rejected, that the Israelites might learn sincerely and seriously to consecrate themselves entirely to God, and not to play childishly with Him, as is often the case. Elsewhere we have seen indeed that all uncleanness is repudiated by God; but we must remember that two things are required for legitimate worship; first, that he who approaches God should be purged from every stain, and secondly, that he should offer nothing except what is pure and free from all imperfection. What Solomon says, that “the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,” (Proverbs 15:8,) is true, although it be fat and splendid. But in order that the things which are offered by the good should be pleasing to God, another point must also be attended to, viz., that the offering should not be poor, and stingy, and deficient; and again, by this symbol, as I have already said, they were directed to Christ, besides whom no integrity will anywhere be found which will satisfy God.

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