What Does the Bible Say About.../Part 8 | John Ankerberg Show

What Does the Bible Say About…/Part 8

By: Dr. Thomas Figart
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By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2003
Dr. Thomas Figart answers more delightfully honest questions from middle school aged kids. Topics include : sea cows; offerings for sin; Nazirite vows; holy water; and the value of women vs. men.

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Students from Manheim Christian Day School (PA) ask Questions About the Bible

Answered by Dr. Thomas Figart

In Numbers 4:6 what are ‘sea cows’?

BK asks, “In Numbers 4:6 what are ‘sea cows’?”

Answer: The Hebrew word used here is tachash, which has been defined in a number of ways, including the seal, dolphin, badger, porpoise or manatee.

  • In King James and New King James, “badger skins.”
  • In American Standard Version, “seal skins.”
  • In New American Standard Version, “porpoise,” or “dolphin.”

The skin of this particular sea creature was used in making shoes, or sandals. Ezekiel 16:10: “I also clothed you with embroidered cloth, and put sandals of porpoise (tachash) skins on your feet.” (NASB) This skin was also used as one of the coverings of the Taber­nacle (Exodus 25:5, NASB)

If all sins are equal, why were the Israelites supposed to have different offerings for different sins?

BM asks, “If all sins are equal, why were the Israelites supposed to have different offerings for different sins?”

Answer: This reasoning is not Biblical. Sins are not equal; we have the greatest author­ity for saying this. Jesus said to Pilate, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above; therefore, he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin” (John 19:11).

In Matthew 23:14 Jesus declared, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows houses, and for a pretense make long prayers; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”

We know the basis for the judgment of each unsaved person—Revelation 20:12: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened, and an­other book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” What we do not know is the exact nature of that judgment, except that all unbelievers will be separated from God in hell, in everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8).

=What is separation to the Lord and what is a Nazirite vow?

BM asks, “What is separation to the Lord and what is a Nazirite vow?”

Answer: Separation unto God in Scripture is both negative (separation from those things which are contrary to the mind and will of God) and positive (Separation unto God) which results in unhindered communion with God, worship of Him in prayer, study of Scriptures and fellowship with God’s people. (See Hebrews 13:13-17 for details.) To take the Nazirite (from the verb nazar, “to separate”) vow included both aspects of separation. (Read Num­bers 6:1-21 for details.)

Be sure not to confuse the exclusively Old Testament word Nazirite (from the verb nazar, “to separate”) with exclusively the New Testament word Nazareth, which means “guardian,’ or “watchtower”). The New Testament word Nazarene simply means “someone from Nazareth.” Thus, Jesus was a Nazarene, because His hometown was Nazareth, but He was not a Nazirite, because He was sinless and never had to separate Himself from sin, and was always separated unto God.

What is ‘holy water’ and also what does the word ‘hearth’ mean in Leviticus 6:9?

From BN, “What is ‘holy water’ and also what does the word ‘hearth’ mean in Leviticus 6:9?”

Answer: “Holy water” was that water which was in the Laver, and sanctified by the priest. The Laver was a round basin, made from bronze, filled with water so the priests could cleanse their hands and feet before they offered burnt offerings unto the Lord. (Exo­dus 30:18-20). Thus, in Numbers 5:17 it is called “holy water” which served for holy pur­poses, one of which was to determine the innocence or guilt of a wife accused of adultery.

The word “hearth” in Leviticus 6:9 is mokdich, defined as “the part of the altar on which the burnt offering was consumed, perhaps “heap of fuel (from Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon, p. 459). In Isaiah 30:14 it says, “fire from the hearth.”

In Leviticus, when God is telling Moses rules for the priests, I read something that did not sit well with me. Why did God say that no one with a defect could come into the Temple?

From ES: “In Leviticus, when God is telling Moses rules for the priests, I read something that did not sit well with me. Why did God say that no one with a defect could come into the Temple? I mean God made these people the way they are and now He does not want them in His house. That makes no sense to me. Our parents brought us up telling us to accept them, and now God is telling them they are not welcome in His house.” (Leviticus 21:16-23)

Answer: First, this building is not the Temple, but the Tabernacle. The Temple was not built until much later, by King Solomon, and it was located in Jerusalem. The people were permitted to enter the Temple. However, the Tabernacle was entirely different. The people were not allowed in the Tabernacle; they brought their offerings to “the door of the Taber­nacle” (Leviticus 17:5). Entrance into the Tabernacle was only allowed to the priests and Levites from the tribe of Levi. Thus, 11 of the 12 tribes never saw the inside of the taber­nacle property. Further, the priesthood was restricted. Only men, from 30 to 50 years of age qualified, and these men had to be free from blemishes, as you mentioned.

However, God did accept even these blemished men as ordinary people; they simply were not acceptable for the priesthood. In Leviticus 21:22-23 God does allow them to partake of the most holy sacrifices: “He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. Only he shall not go in unto the veil, nor come near unto the altar, because he hath a blemish” (and then God gives the reason) “that he profane not my sanctuaries; for I the LORD do sanctify them.” In the next chapter, the LORD demands that even the animal sacrifices must be without blemish, because He is a holy God.

“In Leviticus 21:6 what does it mean when it says that offerings by fire are ‘food to God?’”

From BK: “In Leviticus 21:6 what does it mean when it says that offerings by fire are ‘food to God?’”

Answer: Since a similar statement is made in Leviticus 3:11,16, let me quote the answer from the Keil and Delitzsch commentary (p. 301) on these verses:

In verses 11 and 16 the fat portions which were burned are called “food of the firing for Jehovah,” or “food of the firing for a sweet savor,” that is, food which served as a firing for Jehovah, or reached Jehovah by being burned…. Hence not only are the daily burnt offer­ings and burnt sin offerings of the different feasts called, “food of Jehovah” but the sacrifices generally are described as the “food of God” (“the bread of their God,” Leviticus 21:6), as food, that is, which Israel produced and caused to ascend to its God in fire as a sweet-smelling savor.

“When people divided up by tribes, where would you go if your parents were from two separate tribes?”

From TZ: “When people divided up by tribes, where would you go if your parents were from two separate tribes?”

Answer: You would go with the tribe of your father. We have the story of Ruth, a Moabitess (who was descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot). Ruth married Mahlon, from the tribe of Judah, and went with her husband’s family. Even later, when he died, Ruth refused to leave Naomi and go back to Moab with her sister-in-law. She stayed with Naomi and later was married to another man from the tribe of Judah, Boaz. Eventually Ruth be­came listed as part of the ancestry of Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. (Matthew 1:5).

“In Numbers 7 why was God so picky about all the offerings? Why couldn’t they just go out into the woods with their animal, stab it and sacrifice and burn it?”

From TT: “In Numbers 7 why was God so picky about all the offerings? Why couldn’t they just go out into the woods with their animal, stab it and sacrifice and burn it?”

Answer: God established both the method of sacrifice and the one place of sacrifice, the altar of burnt offering. Leviticus 17:3-6:

Whatsoever man there is of the house of Israel who killeth an ox, or a lamb, or a goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not unto the door of the taber­nacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD, blood shall be imputed unto that man, he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people; To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacri­fices which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savor unto the LORD.”

The reason why the LORD made this rule is seen in Leviticus 17:7: “And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto demons, after whom they have played the harlot.” God was only trying to prevent them from going astray after false gods; they had done it before; God did not want them to do it again! He is all-wise; He makes no mistakes.

“In Leviticus 27:1-8 it speaks about values of people. The value of a male is more than a female. Why is that?”

From TT: “In Leviticus 27:1-8 it speaks about values of people. The value of a male is more than a female. Why is that?”

Answer: If you read each evaluation you will see that it was according to the capacity of each individual, male or female, in each age bracket, to produce a given number of years of effectual work. The less years available, the less the value. Also, the male would ordi­narily be expected to be stronger than the female and capable of harder and longer work than the woman, so her value was reckoned at a lesser amount than the male. First Peter 3:7 calls the woman, “the weaker vessel” with no bad meaning intended; it is just the way such situations would work out.

Read Part 9

Dr. Thomas Figart

Dr. Thomas Figart

Dr. Thomas Figart

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