Numbers Chapter 18

In the previous writings of Moses, we learned that Aaron and his sons were called to bear the priesthood and do the service of the Lord in his holy tabernacle. The remaining Israelites had not been wholly accepting of the words of Moses and had sought after the priesthood. Again, there was a need to teach some things about the priesthood duties. This begins here as follows:

1 And the Lord said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.
2 And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.
3 And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.
4 And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.
5 And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.
6 And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the Lord, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
7 Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for every thing of the altar, and within the veil; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

The sons of Aaron would have the responsibility of bearing the priesthood and doing the work of the sanctuary. In the footnote of verse 1 we read, “bear any guilt incurred in failure to bear the full responsibility thereof.” It was their duty and none else. The tribe of Levi, were given to them, to assist them in their callings, by physically bearing and caring for the tabernacle. The Levites were not allowed to touch the things that belonged with the inner sanctuary. Only those worthy, who had been prepared by their ordination in the priesthood, were to be near the items in the sanctuary. No one else, of any of the tribes of Israel or any unauthorized person, was to try to do the work of the tabernacle. If they did, they would die. In order to keep the wrath of the Lord from destroying the people, as he was doing with the plague in Numbers 16, only those who had been called of God, were to take care of these sacred things.

8 And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.
9 This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.
10 In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.
11 And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.
12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee.
13 And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the Lord, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
14 Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.
15 Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the Lord, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.
16 And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the Lord.
18 And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
19 All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.

Aaron and his sons had the duty to take care of the heave offerings and other hallowed things of the Israelites. This is referring to the offerings of the Israelites given to the sons of Aaron for their service. Anything that was not used up in the offerings, was holy and for them to have. The offerings of food, were made holy to them by the Lord and they were to eat it. It had been a commandment that the sons of Aaron and his family were to partake of these things. For their service, they were given those things that were the first and best of flock and crop. They were also to receive the tithes for the redemption of all the firstborn.

I was pondering on this responsibility and blessing of being sustained by the offerings given, and I find it a good example that the blessings come after the service we give. They could not take of the offerings and partake, until after they had performed the rites and rituals with them to the standard which the Lord held. Once they had done their duty, the blessings were great and were completely theirs. I think that one of the false teachings of the world today, is that blessings should come before the work has been done. People want to be given things for nothing. My daughters often ask for a reward that has been promised, before they have done what was asked of them. This is not the way it should work. With the things that God asks of us, we are meant to learn and grow. We do not grow when we are given things we have not done the work for. We do not grow when we are removed from difficulty without having to struggle. Part of the purpose for this life, is to learn eternally lasting lessons that build our character and shape us into better people than we were before. With God, the promised blessings are the greatest. It will be the first and best of the flock and crop, which we are given for our faithful obedience.

20 And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

The sons of Aaron were not to have an inheritance of land among the people, but instead would receive the Lord and his blessings. The Levites were given to them as an inheritance. The Levites would not have an inheritance of land, but would receive the tithes of the people in order to support them.

25 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe.
27 And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.
28 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord’s heave offering to Aaron the priest.
29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.
31 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

The Levites were to take the tithing of the people, and then they in turn were to give a tenth of that offering, which would go to Aaron who had been given all the heave offerings. The offerings were to be accepted as holy, and none of them were to be polluted or they were to die. To be polluted would have been to do anything with them which was against the commandment of the Lord.

I wonder if this was a area that required more of the faith of those who were not of the Levites or sons of Aaron. To give of the best of what they had, as an offering to the Lord they worshipped, knowing that all of it was going to be given as a gift to others. I know that there is a certain amount of faith required to be willing to pay tithes today. Many struggle financially and giving ten percent of what they have is hard. It takes faith that the Lord will do his will with it, to willingly give it for others to use. There is a hope that the blessings will come to us for being willing to give of what we have worked for. I have great faith in the paying and distributing of tithes and offerings. I believe that the Lord watches over these offerings and makes them holy as he did the offerings of old. I believe that they are then used in His way, because they are His to give. I know that these offerings must have been a huge blessing to the Levites and the sons of Aaron. I know that tithes and offerings given today, have and will continue to bless my life in many ways.


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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.


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