Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 30

Leviticus 17–20, Hebrews 9–10

Bible text(s)

The Sacredness of Blood

1The Lord commanded Moses 2to give Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel the following regulations. 3-4An Israelite who kills a cow or a sheep or a goat as an offering to the LORD anywhere except at the entrance of the Tent of the LORD's presence has broken the Law. He has shed blood and shall no longer be considered one of God's people. 5The meaning of this command is that the people of Israel shall now bring to the LORD the animals which they used to kill in the open country. They shall now bring them to the priest at the entrance of the Tent and kill them as fellowship offerings. 6The priest shall throw the blood against the sides of the altar at the entrance of the Tent and burn the fat to produce a smell that is pleasing to the LORD. 7The people of Israel must no longer be unfaithful to the LORD by killing their animals in the fields as sacrifices to the goat-demons. The people of Israel must keep this regulation for all time to come.

8Any Israelite or any foreigner living in the community who offers a burnt offering or any other sacrifice 9as an offering to the LORD anywhere except at the entrance of the Tent shall no longer be considered one of God's people.

10If any Israelite or any foreigner living in the community eats meat with blood still in it, the LORD will turn against him and no longer consider him one of his people. 11The life of every living thing is in the blood, and that is why the LORD has commanded that all blood be poured out on the altar to take away the people's sins. Blood, which is life, takes away sins. 12That is why the LORD has told the people of Israel that neither they nor any foreigner living among them shall eat any meat with blood still in it.

13If any Israelite or any foreigner living in the community hunts an animal or a bird which is ritually clean, he must pour out its blood on the ground and cover it with earth. 14The life of every living thing is in the blood, and that is why the LORD has told the people of Israel that they shall not eat any meat with blood still in it and that anyone who does so will no longer be considered one of his people.

15Any person, Israelite or foreigner, who eats meat from an animal that has died a natural death or has been killed by wild animals must wash his clothes, have a bath, and wait until evening before he is ritually clean. 16If he does not, he must suffer the consequences.

Leviticus 17GNBOpen in Bible reader

Forbidden Sexual Practices

1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel, “I am the LORD your God. 3Do not follow the practices of the people of Egypt, where you once lived, or of the people in the land of Canaan, where I am now taking you. 4Obey my laws and do what I command. I am the LORD your God. 5Follow the practices and the laws that I give you; you will save your life by doing so. I am the LORD.”

6The LORD gave the following regulations. Do not have sexual intercourse with any of your relatives. 7Do not disgrace your father by having intercourse with your mother. You must not disgrace your own mother. 8Do not disgrace your father by having intercourse with any of his other wives. 9Do not have intercourse with your sister or your stepsister, whether or not she was brought up in the same house with you. 10Do not have intercourse with your granddaughter; that would be a disgrace to you. 11Do not have intercourse with a half-sister; she, too, is your sister. 12-13Do not have intercourse with an aunt, whether she is your father's sister or your mother's sister. 14Do not have intercourse with your uncle's wife; she, too, is your aunt. 15Do not have intercourse with your daughter-in-law 16or with your brother's wife. 17Do not have intercourse with the daughter or granddaughter of a woman with whom you have had intercourse; they may be related to you, and that would be incest. 18Do not take your wife's sister as one of your wives, as long as your wife is living.

19Do not have intercourse with a woman during her monthly period, because she is ritually unclean. 20Do not have intercourse with another man's wife; that would make you ritually unclean. 21Do not hand over any of your children to be used in the worship of the god Molech, because that would bring disgrace on the name of God, the LORD. 22No man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that. 23No man or woman is to have sexual relations with an animal; that perversion makes you ritually unclean.

24Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these acts, for that is how the pagans made themselves unclean, those pagans who lived in the land before you and whom the LORD is driving out so that you can go in. 25Their actions made the land unclean, and so the LORD is punishing the land and making it reject the people who lived there. 26-27They did all these disgusting things and made the land unclean, but you must not do them. All of you, whether Israelites or foreigners living with you, must keep the LORD's laws and commands, 28and then the land will not reject you, as it rejected the pagans who lived there before you. 29You know that whoever does any of these disgusting things will no longer be considered one of God's people.

30And the LORD said, “Obey the commands I give and do not follow the practices of the people who lived in the land before you, and do not make yourselves unclean by doing any of these things. I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus 18GNBOpen in Bible reader

Laws of Holiness and Justice

1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel, “Be holy, because I, the LORD your God, am holy. 3Each of you must respect his mother and his father, and must keep the Sabbath, as I have commanded. I am the LORD your God.

4“Do not abandon me and worship idols; do not make gods of metal and worship them. I am the LORD your God.

5“When you kill an animal for a fellowship offering, keep the regulations that I have given you, and I will accept the offering. 6The meat must be eaten on the day the animal is killed or on the next day. Any meat left on the third day must be burnt, 7because it is ritually unclean, and if anyone eats it, I will not accept the offering. 8Anyone who eats it will be guilty of treating as ordinary what is dedicated to me, and he will no longer be considered one of my people.

9“When you harvest your fields, do not cut the corn at the edges of the fields, and do not go back to cut the ears of corn that were left. 10Do not go back through your vineyard to gather the grapes that were missed or to pick up the grapes that have fallen; leave them for poor people and foreigners. I am the LORD your God.

11“Do not steal or cheat or lie. 12Do not make a promise in my name if you do not intend to keep it; that brings disgrace on my name. I am the LORD your God.

13“Do not take advantage of anyone or rob him. Do not hold back the wages of someone you have hired, not even for one night. 14Do not curse a deaf man or put something in front of a blind man so as to make him stumble over it. Obey me; I am the LORD your God.

15“Be honest and just when you make decisions in legal cases; do not show favouritism to the poor or fear the rich. 16Do not spread lies about anyone, and when someone is on trial for his life, speak out if your testimony can help him. I am the LORD.

17“Do not bear a grudge against anyone, but settle your differences with him, so that you will not commit a sin because of him. 18Do not take revenge on anyone or continue to hate him, but love your neighbour as you love yourself. I am the LORD.

19“Obey my commands. Do not crossbreed domestic animals. Do not plant two kinds of seed in the same field. Do not wear clothes made of two kinds of material.

20“If a slave woman is the recognized concubine of a man and she has not been paid for and freed, then if another man has sexual relations with her, they will be punished but not put to death, since she is a slave. 21The man shall bring a ram to the entrance of the Tent of my presence as his repayment offering, 22and with it the priest shall perform the ritual of purification to remove the man's sin, and God will forgive him.

23“When you come into the land of Canaan and plant any kind of fruit tree, consider the fruit ritually unclean for the first three years. During that time you must not eat it. 24In the fourth year all the fruit shall be dedicated as an offering to show your gratitude to me, the LORD. 25But in the fifth year you may eat the fruit. If you do all this, your trees will bear more fruit. I am the LORD your God.

26“Do not eat any meat with blood still in it. Do not practise any kind of magic. 27Do not cut the hair on the sides of your head or trim your beard 28or tattoo yourselves or cut gashes in your body to mourn for the dead. I am the LORD.

29“Do not disgrace your daughters by making them temple prostitutes; if you do, you will turn to other gods and the land will be full of immorality. 30Keep the Sabbath, and honour the place where I am worshipped. I am the LORD.

31“Do not go for advice to people who consult the spirits of the dead. If you do, you will be ritually unclean. I am the LORD your God.

32“Show respect for old people and honour them. Reverently obey me; I am the LORD.

33“Do not ill-treat foreigners who are living in your land. 34Treat them as you would a fellow-Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

35“Do not cheat anyone by using false measures of length, weight, or quantity. 36Use honest scales, honest weights, and honest measures. I am the LORD your God, and I brought you out of Egypt. 37Obey all my laws and commands. I am the LORD.”

Leviticus 19GNBOpen in Bible reader

Penalties for Disobedience

1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel, “Any of you or any foreigner living among you who gives any of his or her children to be used in the worship of the god Molech shall be stoned to death by the whole community. 3If anyone gives one of his children to Molech and makes my sacred Tent unclean and disgraces my holy name, I will turn against him and will no longer consider him one of my people. 4But if the community ignores what he has done and does not put him to death, 5I myself will turn against the man and his whole family and against all who join him in being unfaithful to me and worshipping Molech. I will no longer consider them my people.

6“If anyone goes for advice to people who consult the spirits of the dead, I will turn against him and will no longer consider him one of my people. 7Keep yourselves holy, because I am the LORD your God. 8Obey my laws, because I am the LORD and I make you holy.”

9The LORD gave the following regulations. Anyone who curses his father or his mother shall be put to death; he is responsible for his own death.

10If a man commits adultery with the wife of a fellow-Israelite, both he and the woman shall be put to death. 11A man who has intercourse with one of his father's wives disgraces his father, and both he and the woman shall be put to death. They are responsible for their own death. 12If a man has intercourse with his daughter-in-law, they shall both be put to death. They have committed incest and are responsible for their own death. 13If a man has sexual relations with another man, they have done a disgusting thing, and both shall be put to death. They are responsible for their own death. 14If a man marries a woman and her mother, all three shall be burnt to death because of the disgraceful thing they have done; such a thing must not be permitted among you. 15If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he and the animal shall be put to death. 16If a woman tries to have sexual relations with an animal, she and the animal shall be put to death. They are responsible for their own death.

17If a man marries his sister or half-sister, they shall be publicly disgraced and driven out of the community. He has had intercourse with his sister and must suffer the consequences. 18If a man has intercourse with a woman during her monthly period, both of them are to be driven out of the community, because they have broken the regulations about ritual uncleanness.

19If a man has intercourse with his aunt, both of them must suffer the consequences for incest. 20If a man has intercourse with his uncle's wife, he disgraces his uncle, and he and the woman will pay the penalty; neither of them will have children. 21If a man marries his brother's wife, they will die childless. He has done a ritually unclean thing and has disgraced his brother.

22The LORD said, “Keep all my laws and commands, so that you will not be rejected by the land of Canaan, into which I am bringing you. 23Do not adopt the customs of people who live there; I am driving out those pagans so that you can enter the land. They have disgusted me with all their evil practices. 24But I have promised you this rich and fertile land as your possession, and I will give it to you. I am the LORD your God, and I have set you apart from the other nations. 25So then, you must make a clear distinction between animals and birds that are ritually clean and those that are not. Do not eat unclean animals or birds. I have declared them unclean, and eating them would make you unclean. 26You shall be holy and belong only to me, because I am the LORD and I am holy. I have set you apart from the other nations so that you would belong to me alone.

27“Any man or woman who consults the spirits of the dead shall be stoned to death; any person who does this is responsible for his own death.”

Leviticus 20GNBOpen in Bible reader

Earthly and Heavenly Worship

1The first covenant had rules for worship and an earthly place for worship as well. 2A Tent was put up, the outer one, which was called the Holy Place. In it were the lampstand and the table with the bread offered to God. 3Behind the second curtain was the Tent called the Most Holy Place. 4In it were the gold altar for the burning of incense and the Covenant Box all covered with gold and containing the gold jar with the manna in it, Aaron's stick that had sprouted leaves, and the two stone tablets with the commandments written on them. 5Above the Box were the winged creatures representing God's presence, with their wings spread over the place where sins were forgiven. But now is not the time to explain everything in detail.

6This is how those things have been arranged. The priests go into the outer Tent every day to perform their duties, 7but only the High Priest goes into the inner Tent, and he does so only once a year. He takes with him blood which he offers to God on behalf of himself and for the sins which the people have committed without knowing they were sinning. 8The Holy Spirit clearly teaches from all these arrangements that the way into the Most Holy Place has not yet been opened as long as the outer Tent still stands. 9This is an illustration which points to the present time. It means that the offerings and animal sacrifices presented to God cannot make the worshipper's heart perfect, 10since they have to do only with food, drink, and various purification ceremonies. These are all outward rules, which apply only until the time when God will establish the new order.

11But Christ has already come as the High Priest of the good things that are already here. The tent in which he serves is greater and more perfect; it is not a tent made by human hands, that is, it is not a part of this created world. 12When Christ went through the tent and entered once and for all into the Most Holy Place, he did not take the blood of goats and bulls to offer as a sacrifice; rather, he took his own blood and obtained eternal salvation for us. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a burnt calf are sprinkled on the people who are ritually unclean, and this purifies them by taking away their ritual impurity. 14Since this is true, how much more is accomplished by the blood of Christ! Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will purify our consciences from useless rituals, so that we may serve the living God.

15For this reason Christ is the one who arranges a new covenant, so that those who have been called by God may receive the eternal blessings that God has promised. This can be done because there has been a death which sets people free from the wrongs they did while the first covenant was in force.

16In the case of a will it is necessary to prove that the person who made it has died, 17for a will means nothing while the person who made it is alive; it comes into effect only after his death. 18That is why even the first covenant came into effect only with the use of blood. 19First, Moses proclaimed to the people all the commandments as set forth in the Law. Then he took the blood of bulls and goats, mixed it with water, and sprinkled it on the book of the Law and all the people, using a sprig of hyssop and some red wool. 20He said, “This is the blood which seals the covenant that God has commanded you to obey.” 21In the same way Moses also sprinkled the blood on the Sacred Tent and over all the things used in worship. 22Indeed, according to the Law almost everything is purified by blood, and sins are forgiven only if blood is poured out.

Christ's Sacrifice Takes Away Sins

23Those things, which are copies of the heavenly originals, had to be purified in that way. But the heavenly things themselves require much better sacrifices. 24For Christ did not go into a Holy Place made by human hands, which was a copy of the real one. He went into heaven itself, where he now appears on our behalf in the presence of God. 25The Jewish High Priest goes into the Most Holy Place every year with the blood of an animal. But Christ did not go in to offer himself many times, 26for then he would have had to suffer many times ever since the creation of the world. Instead, now when all ages of time are nearing the end, he has appeared once and for all, to remove sin through the sacrifice of himself. 27Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God. 28In the same manner Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for him.

1The Jewish Law is not a full and faithful model of the real things; it is only a faint outline of the good things to come. The same sacrifices are offered for ever, year after year. How can the Law, then, by means of these sacrifices make perfect the people who come to God? 2If the people worshipping God had really been purified from their sins, they would not feel guilty of sin any more, and all sacrifices would stop. 3As it is, however, the sacrifices serve year after year to remind people of their sins. 4For the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins.

5For this reason, when Christ was about to come into the world, he said to God:

“You do not want sacrifices and offerings,

but you have prepared a body for me.

6You are not pleased with animals burnt whole on the altar

or with sacrifices to take away sins.

7Then I said, ‘Here I am,

to do your will, O God,

just as it is written of me in the book of the Law.’ ”

8First he said, “You neither want nor are you pleased with sacrifices and offerings or with animals burnt on the altar and the sacrifices to take away sins.” He said this even though all these sacrifices are offered according to the Law. 9Then he said, “Here I am, O God, to do your will.” So God does away with all the old sacrifices and puts the sacrifice of Christ in their place. 10Because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do, we are all purified from sin by the offering that he made of his own body once and for all.

11Every Jewish priest performs his services every day and offers the same sacrifices many times; but these sacrifices can never take away sins. 12Christ, however, offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective for ever, and then he sat down at the right-hand side of God. 13There he now waits until God puts his enemies as a footstool under his feet. 14With one sacrifice, then, he has made perfect for ever those who are purified from sin.

15And the Holy Spirit also gives us his witness. First he says:

16“This is the covenant that I will make with them

in the days to come, says the Lord:

I will put my laws in their hearts

and write them on their minds.”

17And then he says, “I will not remember their sins and evil deeds any longer.” 18So when these have been forgiven, an offering to take away sins is no longer needed.

Let us Come Near to God

19We have, then, my brothers and sisters, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus. 20He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain — that is, through his own body. 21We have a great priest in charge of the house of God. 22So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water. 23Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise. 24Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. 25Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.

26For there is no longer any sacrifice that will take away sins if we purposely go on sinning after the truth has been made known to us. 27Instead, all that is left is to wait in fear for the coming Judgement and the fierce fire which will destroy those who oppose God! 28Anyone who disobeys the Law of Moses is put to death without any mercy when judged guilty on the evidence of two or more witnesses. 29What, then, of those who despise the Son of God? who treat as a cheap thing the blood of God's covenant which purified them from sin? who insult the Spirit of grace? Just think how much worse is the punishment they will deserve! 30For we know who said, “I will take revenge, I will repay”; and who also said, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

32Remember how it was with you in the past. In those days, after God's light had shone on you, you suffered many things, yet were not defeated by the struggle. 33You were at times publicly insulted and ill-treated, and at other times you were ready to join those who were being treated in this way. 34You shared the sufferings of prisoners, and when all your belongings were seized, you endured your loss gladly, because you knew that you still possessed something much better, which would last for ever. 35Do not lose your courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward. 36You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what he promises. 37For, as the scripture says:

“Just a little while longer,

and he who is coming will come;

he will not delay.

38My righteous people, however, will believe and live;

but if any of them turns back,

I will not be pleased with him.”

39We are not people who turn back and are lost. Instead, we have faith and are saved.

Hebrews 10GNBOpen in Bible reader
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