Leviticus 24:1-9~ 20170312 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
03/12 Leviticus 24:1-9; Light and Bread in His Presence Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20170312_leviticus-24_1-9.mp3
We are in Leviticus 24. Leviticus 23 reminded us of holy time, time set apart to rest, to reflect and remember all that God has done, to celebrate, and to look forward in anticipation to all that God has promised to us. Our ultimate longing is to one day be in the presence of God, to no longer see through a glass dimly, but then face to face (1Cor13:12). Chapter 23 deals with the annual feasts of Israel. Chapter 24 reminds us that the priests are to enter daily into God's presence. Worship is not reserved only for special occasions, but God is to be enjoyed day in and day out, all day every day. The focus of the first 9 verses of chapter 24 are light and bread.
An Offering of the People
Notice this section begins and ends with the offering of the people. In verse 2 God instructs Moses 'Command he people of Israel to bring you pure oil.' Verse 8 concludes 'it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever'. This is to be a contribution from the people. The pure oil from beaten olives and the fine flour and the frankincense for the bread of the presence is to be faithfully provided to the tabernacle by the people of Israel. The light is to be fueled by pure oil from beaten olives. This is the highest quality, produced with the greatest care. The loaves are to be baked with fine flour, most carefully prepared. The portions are generous. Each loaf was to be made with two tenths of an ephah. That is almost four and a half liters of flour for each of the twelve loaves. All Israel was to gather on specific feast days at the tabernacle three times annually. But daily, their best oil fueled the lamps in the tabernacle, and their finest bread was continually in the presence of God. The people had a continual connection with the holy presence of God.
Continual Light Before the LORD
The lights must be kept burning regularly. The priest is to trim the lights from evening until morning before the LORD regularly, forever, throughout your generations. The lamps were to be arranged on the lampstand before the LORD regularly. There was to be continual light in the presence of God. Morning and evening the lights were to be carefully maintained. Oil was to be continually supplied to the lamps to keep them burning.
What is the significance of light? All the way back at the beginning,
Light is God's good creation. God spoke light into being. Light is separated from darkness.
Light is necessary for life.
Light is connected with life. The proverbs warn
The lamp is a symbol for life and a future. When David was weary in battle and narrowly escaped death at the hand of a Philistine giant,
David's men feared that if David was killed, it would extinguish the hope and future of Israel. In 2 Chronicles 21 we read of king Jehoram, who 'did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.'
The lamp carries the idea of life and continuance and a future hope.
Light also carries the idea of truth and clarity and guidance.
Light speaks of life and hope an a future, of truth and clarity and guidance in the right path.
These seven lamps were to be kept burning 'before the LORD continually'. In God's presence there is truth and vision and clear guidance, there is life and hope and a permanent future.
Continual Bread Before the LORD
The light of the lamps were positioned in the holy place to illumine the table for bread. Bread was to be piled up before the LORD each week. Twelve loaves, representing the twelve tribes, bread in abundance. Likely large round flat unleavened loaves of bread. Each loaf was made with about 18.5 cups of flour or a full five pound bag of flour. These were huge loaves of bread. Something like 60 pounds of bread piled up on the small gold table before the LORD. Pure frankincense was to be put with each pile of bread. This was likely burned as a memorial before the LORD.
Bread was the basic necessity of life, and the common denominator of every meal. Jesus taught his disciples to pray 'give us this day our daily bread' (Mat.6:11). During his temptation in Matthew 4, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3
Bread is equated with God's words. We see this also in Amos 8:11
The most basic necessity to sustain life, God's word, on which we are utterly dependent.
Pure frankincense is to be put on each pile. We see clearly in Revelation 5 that
The incense, the prayers of the saints, ascends to God as a sweet fragrance. The Word of God and prayer before God.
Jesus The Light
We see this all come together in Jesus.
Jesus is the Word, in the presence of God. Jesus is the light shining in the darkness.
Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus brings life and hope and a future. Jesus illumines our path, bringing truth and clear direction.
Jesus is our only access into the presence of a holy God.
Jesus is the Bread
Jesus is the bread of life. He is the Word made flesh. He is the only place our souls can find nourishment and satisfaction.
Jesus is the Pure Incense
If the bowls of incense in Revelation are the prayers of the saints, then how much more pure are the prayers of Jesus. The pure incense is the intercession of Jesus for us
Romans 8:34 tells us
The Missing Wine
To complete this picture, we need to look back on the construction of the table for bread in the tabernacle. We are told in Exodus 25:
Along with this table for bread, there are plates and dishes for incense. We see the incense in this passage. But also associated with this table are its flagons and bowls for drink offerings. What are the drink offerings? Where are these poured out? Drink offerings are only mentioned a few times in Leviticus 23 in association with some of the feasts. They are mentioned much more frequently in the book of Numbers, especially chapter 28. It seems these drink offerings are associated with the sacrifices to be burnt on the altar, but it is not clear exactly what is done with these drink offerings. Numbers 28:7 says:
This verse indicates that the wine or strong drink is poured out in the Holy Place. Somehow the drink offerings of wine are closely connected to this table of the bread of the presence.
We see Jesus bringing these two symbols together when he gave his followers bread, "saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Lk.22:19-20)
Light of the World
When we look back on the lampstand, it gave light to the holy place. It illuminated the bread on the table. Only the priests were allowed to enter there. Only the priests were allowed to eat of that bread. But when Jesus came, he said that he came down from heaven to give his flesh for the life of the world. He claimed to be the light of the world, even specifically a light to the Gentiles (Lk.2:32; Is.42;6; 49:6). He went so far as to say to his followers
In the vision of Revelation we are told:
In Acts 26, God sent Paul to the Gentiles,
We, broken vessels, clay pots, proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord;
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org