Sunday, May 6, 2012

On the Eighth Day, God...

One of the ten commandments was to keep the Sabbath.  The commandment was given once to the Israelites of the exodus and once to their grown children some 37 years later.  To the earlier group, the reason for keeping the Sabbath, was because God rested from His work of creation on the seventh day (Exo. 20:11).  The reason given to the later group was that it serves as a reminder that they were slaves in Egypt and that Jehovah thy God brought thee out thence with a powerful hand and with a stretched-out arm (Deut 5:15).  Certain groups of believers today think that believers should observe the Sabbath today.  I, personally do not because:

  • The Sabbath was a type (Col 2:16)
  • The antitype to the Sabbath is the Christ (Col 2:17, Heb. 3-4)
  • The commandment to keep the Sabbath was to Israel (Deut 5:15)
  • The commandment to keep the Sabbath is the only one of the ten commandments that is not repeated in the New Testament

Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9). After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the disciples met on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7).   The first day of the week is also the eighth day of the previous week.

On the eighth day of the first week, God went back to work.  Creation took the first six days, on the 7th God rested. As best I can tell, this is the only record of God resting, so on the eighth day, He must have returned to work.

On the eighth day, God commanded that baby boys be circumcised and their moms were no longer  ‘unclean’ (Lev 12:1).

On the eighth day, God commanded that the cleansed leper offer a series of sacrifices (Lev 14:8-10).

On the eighth day, God commanded that the first born (both animal and people) be present to Him (Exd 22:29-30).

So, it looks like the eighth day was a day of resurrection, regeneration and restoration.

On the eighth day, God killed Nadab and Abihu.

After Aaron and his sons were selected to be priests, God prescribed an eight day consecration before they could actually serve as priests.  This was a preparation time.  The eight days went something like this:

On the first day, with a crowd gathered, Aaron approached the newly constructed tabernacle with a series of offerings and bread.  Moses bathes Aaron and his four sons then dressed Aaron in his high priestly garments for the very first time. Moses then anointed and hallowed the the tabernacle and everything in it, anointed Aaron and then dressed Aaron’s sons.  A sin offering was offered then an offering of consecration offered. A series of rituals was performed and they were commanded to dwell in the tabernacle for seven days (Lev. 8).   

On the eighth day, a series of offerings were offered for the atonement of the sins of the priests.  Each of the offerings were burned on the altar.  The offerings were burning as the burning of incense. Once the offerings were all smoldering on the altar, there went out fire from before Jehovah, and consumed on the altar the burnt-offering, and the pieces of fat; and all the people saw it, and they shouted, and fell on their face (Lev. 9:24). Offering accepted.

By this point of the eighth day, the separated priestly family was cleansed, and sins atoned for.  Aaron’s two oldest sons took their censers and offered strange fire...and fire went out from Jehovah and consumed them. I don’t know about you, but to me, the punishment does not seem to fit the offense.

Most commentators and folks that post sermons on just say the flame of God slain them just because they did something that God did not command.  There has to be more because later that day, Aaron’s two surviving sons disobeyed God, and lived.

The two younger sons had to keep the eighth day going.  The show must go on!  The 2 younger sons got so wrapped up in the events of the day, that they inadvertently left the priest’s portion of the sacrifices on the altar fire a little too long.  Their portion burnt to a crisp and there was nothing for the them to eat.

On the eighth day, all four sons of Aaron sinned, two were saved and two were lost.  Reminds me of the thieves on the crosses with Jesus, one was saved the other lost  .  Which also reminds me of the cupbearer and the baker, one saved the other lost.  So why was one sin deserving of instant incineration and the other not?  Lets look at the two:

The sin of Nadab and Abihu was intentional, the sin of Eleazar and Ithamar was not.  But more important, the sin of Nadab and Abihu ruined the type.  Every offering ever offered (including those offered on the eighth day) represents the death of Jesus on the cross.  The offering represents Jesus, the fact that it was burned by God represents God’s acceptance of the offering, just like God was satisfied with the sacrifice of Jesus.  

With the death of Jesus, the work is complete.  There is nothing more that can be done.  Redemption is done. The price paid. There is nothing we can add to the work.  Offering strange fire is adding works to the work of Jesus.

Eating the priest portion of the offering, on the other hand represents fellowship.  The priest shared fellowship between them, the High Priest and God.  We, believers today, are priests and share fellowship with our High Priest (Jesus) and God the Father.  Is fellowship a requirement for redemption? Fellowship between believers, between a believer and Jesus and between a believer and God the Father is optional, it not a requirement of salvation.  Look at it this way, you can be saved and not have fellowship, but you cannot be saved without the death of Jesus.  The death of Jesus was necessary and there is nothing you or I can do to what Jesus has done.  His sacrificial offering satisfies the Father...nothing can be added.

So, what about you?  Is Jesus’s death on the cross enough for you?  It is enough for God...

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me. - Eli­za E. Hew­itt

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