Posts Tagged 'Tithing'

2 Kings Chapter 22

Hezekiah had been a righteous leader in Judah. On the other hand, his son Manasseh, was extremely wicked, and brought the people of Judah along with him into great sin. Manasseh’s son, Amos, followed in the wickedness of his father and continued to lead the people in idolatry. All of these had died and at this point, Josiah, the son of Amos, had become king. This chapter begins with:

1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

At the age of eight, Josiah became king of Judah. He ruled for 31 years, or until he was about 39 years old. He was not like his father Amos, but lived and ruled in righteousness like King David. (see also 2 Chronicles 34)

3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying,
4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people:
5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the Lord, to repair the breaches of the house,
6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.
7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

After 18 years had passed, Josiah being about 26 at the time, he sent a servant, named Shaphan, to the temple priest, Hilkiah, to take total of the money gathered from the people for the work of repairing the temple. This money was the tithes and offerings of their day. The priests had been faithful and did not require a reckoning of the money they were given to have the work done, because they could be trusted.

Tithes and offerings are for the purposes of building up the kingdom of God on Earth. Today, this money goes to the building and maintaining of temples and other church buildings around the world. The churches and temples are sacred places, consecrated for the faithful to gather, teach and uplift one another, worship God, covenant and serve. In ancient times, the temple of the Lord served the same purposes. It is right, that a faithful and righteous leader would desire to use the offerings of the people to rededicate the house of the Lord. If you would like to see more about temples in the LDS faith, I just saw this great, simple video about them: Mormon Temples

Trust in the work of the Lord, is so important to the uplifting and edification of all those who serve. Trust in God, of course, is of greatest importance. Those who serve in His kingdom, need to trust that God will keep his promises and covenants, and that He will be there to help them when they ask for help. Trust in others is also needed. So much of the work of the Lord, is Priesthood leaders, such as the prophets and high priests, giving callings and assignments to others, such as these priests in the temple, and then trusting that they will do their part in the work. When the work is accomplished the one who delegates is able to continue His work, others are able to come and participate in worship and service to the Lord, and most of all, those who were trusted and followed through, have opportunities to learn; grow in testimony, wisdom and knowledge; and become more as individuals. Additionally, we each individually, need to have trust in ourselves, that we are strong enough to do the work of the Lord. In one of the greatest paradoxes of the gospel, we are strong enough, when we become completely humble and submissive to the will of the Lord, becoming, in a sense, our weakest, in order to grow the most. Trusting the Lord, others and ourselves, is the only way that we can truly further the work of the Lord and reach our greatest potential as individuals.

8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord.
10 And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying,
13 Go ye, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.

The book of the law was found in the temple and given to Shaphan, who read it and returned to Josiah to give a report of what had happened. He told Josiah that the money of the temple had been gathered and given to workers. He also showed the king that the book of the law had been found. He read it to Josiah. Josiah responded by renting his clothes. He told the Shaphan, his son Ahikam, a man named Achbor, and his servant Asahiah, to ask the Lord about the words of the book of the law, in behalf of Josiah and the people of Judah. Josiah was concerned for the people because their ancestors had so often willingly disobeyed the words of the book. The men went to Huldah the prophetess, to her home in the northwest part of Jerusalem, and communed with her.

What a huge blessing it must have been, to have found the record of the law. This was their scriptures, even the record of the law of Moses. Nations who loose the records of their laws, forget what that law is and create their own laws in order to make civilization work. The lessons from the past, especially those found in our own scriptures, show that the nations who are strongest, both physically and spiritually, are those who know the law because they keep the records and use them. People who are raised up without the laws, are so much more likely to fall away from the traditions of the past. (This is one of the themes we can read about this throughout The Book of Mormon.) The laws of God, such as the law of Moses for the ancient Israelites, had not changed. This law was still in complete effect at the time the book was given to Josiah. Because it had not been preserved by the kings, as they had been commanded when first given to Moses and passed on to Joshua, it had been forgotten. Josiah did not know the fulness of the law, until he was able to read it. Our scriptures our precious, but only if we read them and apply them to our lives.

15 And she said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me,
16 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:
17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.
18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;
19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.
20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

Huldah prophsied that evil would come to the people of Judah just as the book of the law had said it would, or rather all the evil and curses brought upon the wicked found in the record, because they had chosen to worship other gods of their own creation. The words of verse 17, sound as though the curses would come because the people deliberately turned to idolatry to upset the Lord. Their wickedness may have been more rebellion than being raised in ignorance of what was right. Their choice to practice wickedness would have strong consequences. However, to Josiah, the Lord had heard his humble weeping and she prophesied that he would die in peace and not be the one to see the destruction of his people. The men returned to Josiah and told him what she had spoken.

Josiah would be blessed for his choice to do what was right, once he had learned of it from the word of the Lord. Three things happened to him in order to receive these blessings. First, his heart was tender. This sounds like he had an open heart, softened to the word, sensitive to it and ready to receive it, because he was willing. Second, he humbled himself to the Lord. In Alma 32:14, Alma was teaching the Zoramites who were poor and brought to humility by their circumstances. He said, “And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?” Greater blessings come to those who are humbled when they learn the gospel, just as Josiah had done. In his humility, Josiah was concerned for others who would be destroyed, and was mourning for their loss. This humility and care for others, was seen by the Lord and blessings were promised as a result. If we are compelled into a situation where we become humble and then turn to the Lord with greater commitment, we will be blessed, but the greatest blessings and the most growth to our souls, comes in actively studying the word of God, and choosing for ourselves to have faith in that word and live what is taught. And third, Josiah heard or read the words and heard the spirit’s influence and inspiration. The word of the Lord will do nothing for us, if we read them, but refuse to hear what they can teach us. The blessing that was his, and can be ours if we follow this example and pattern, is peace. Peace is something that men desire for their lives, and he was promised to have this, even knowing what would come of his people.

As I read this chapter, I think back on a time in my life, after having three of my six children, when the hard drive that held all my digital photos and videos, had stopped working. I had lost all of them and experienced a mourning for something non-living, that I had never known was possible. (It seems a given to mourn for the loss of something living.)
I was beside myself with grief for weeks, as we did all that we could to possibly get something back. I felt as though I would not be able to remember my children as babies, and memories are so important to me. After several weeks, we got word, that the majority of the files had been recovered. My joy was so full. I know now, just how much I could mourn for the loss of non-living things of great value to me. This taught me to have greater gratitude for these things. Likewise, I am so grateful for the scriptures. I love them more than other things of this world, much like family photos, because of the happiness I feel as I study them. I am so glad that there are so many ways to have the scriptures available to us, because if they were lost to me now, I would be heartbroken. I know I would mourn them, because my memory will not always hold on to the words I study. I would forget them and yearn for the peace they bring. Knowing that the scriptures have not always been as available to mankind, and reflecting on just how short a time anyone in the world has even known about the Book of Mormon, enlarges my gratitude for being able to live today and have them. Finding the scriptures in the temple, truly was a blessing for Josiah and the people of Israel.

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Deuteronomy Chapter 26

There is so much in the Old Testament, that called the people to remember how the Lord had delivered them and blessed them in abundance. At this point, the Israelites were still encamped on the east side of the River Jordan, receiving instruction from Moses, as to how the Lord would expect his people to live. They had been greatly blessed already and were about to enter a developed land of plenty. They did not have to start from scratch in a barren dessert, but were going to be blessed by the work of others before them. It was fitting that the Lord would expect the offerings, which begin this chapter.

1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;
2 That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there.
3 And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us.
4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God.
5 And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
7 And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
8 And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
9 And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God:
11 And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.

The Israelites were commanded to give an offering at the house of the Lord, of the first fruits of the land. The harvest was there for them as a result of the protection and power of the Lord. As part of the ritual, they were to speak the remembrance of God’s blessings to their ancestors in Egypt. They were to remember their father Jacob, as he was stranger in the land, and how his family was blessed to become a mighty nation there. Then, they were to remember their deliverance from the bondage there. In a way, I think this would have been how they could consecrate their personal land of inheritance, to the Lord. Finally, they were to rejoice, and I would add give thanks, for all that they had been blessed with by the Lord.

12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
13 Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:
14 I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.
15 Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

The Israelites were commanded to keep the law of tithing. In this law, they could be perfect in life. As a result, they could ask that God continue to bless their land for them. The Lord would then fulfill the promise of prosperity in the land. The law of tithing exists still today. I am grateful that I can take an account of this in my own life, and know that I am perfect in this commandment. It gives me a greater hope of becoming perfect in all the commandments of God. I am also grateful for the trust I can place in the Lord, that as I am keeping this law, I will continue to be blessed as promised.

16 This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
17 Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:
18 And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.

The Israelite made or renewed their covenant with God, that He would be the God they worshipped, that they would keep his statutes, commandments and ordinances, and that they would listen to His voice. The Lord covenanted with them, that the Israelites would be His people as long as they kept His commandments, and that He would bless them above all nations. The Israelites were promised to be a holy people, continuing in the all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The footnote for peculiar in verse 18, says “or treasured”. I have often referred to myself as peculiar, for my devotions and commitment to study of the word of the Lord in particular. It seems like a negative term, because it’s not the popular way to be these days, but I think that I will think of this meaning of the word as I use it instead. Those who are peculiar for striving to follow the commandments and being a disciple of Jesus Christ, are treasured by the Lord.

Just as the Israelites were able to make covenants and give offerings to the Lord, we are able to make our own covenants and give our own offerings. The blessings that we can receive from these things are great and will help us to endure through this life. I believe also, that the blessings that will come in the eternities, will be the greatest there are to be received. I am grateful for the knowledge of covenants, and for the opportunity to strive each and every day to live worthy of them.

Deuteronomy Chapter 18

Moses continues his sermons to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the promised land. In the last chapter he shared teachings on the need for righteous leaders in their judges, priests and kings. We can learn from it, that the people have a greater chance at continuing in righteousness, when their leaders follow the laws of God and are just and true. Moses continues by teaching more about the priests of Israel.

1 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance.
2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
3 And this shall be the priest’s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.
4 The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.
5 For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever.

The Levites had a sacred calling, to be responsible for the tabernacle and sacrifices for the Lord. Because of their calling, they were not treated as the remaining tribes were, as far as inheritances were concerned. All that they had, was to be provided by the offerings of the remainder of the Israelites. In this way, those who were called to be the most holy in their duties, were also called to rely on the blessings of the Lord for all that they had. There is a lesson in this, and for me, that is that we draw nearer to the Lord, when we rely on Him in every part of our lives. We are not called to go without, but if we can recognize that we owe thanks to the Lord in all things, we will also be blessed to draw closer to Him. Moreover, the blessings we receive in return, will be the best portion of all that the Savior has to offer us, just as the Levites received the best portion of all that the Israelites had.

Also, the priests were then dependent upon a people who recognized the Lord in their lives. If the people began to go astray, and follow after other gods, the priests (and their families) would no longer be provided for by the sacrifices and offerings others would have given. It was important for the priests to have faith in the promises of the Lord, no matter how the people were, but it was also important that the people remained faithful in the commandments to give offerings. As disciples of Christ today, it is our duty to give all that we are able to provide for those who do not have their own “inheritance”. We give tithes and offerings in order to build up the kingdom of God on the earth, to live as Christ lived, and to help uplift other around us. When we give, we are recognizing that the hand of the Lord is in our lives and we can give of what he has provided to us.

6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the Lord shall choose;
7 Then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the Lord.
8 They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony.

Any man of Levite heritage, who desired to go to the tabernacle and serve in the name of the Lord, was to do so. He could come from any of the cities provided for the Levites, and was to be treated as any of the Levites in the service of the Lord.

9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
13 Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.
14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

Moses goes on to teach the people that they were not to learn the ways of abomination, which other nations learned and practiced at that time. These things included the sacrificing of their children to false gods, divination, enchantments or sorcery, witchcraft, charms, spiritualism, wizardry, or necromancy. These things have existed through out the ages, and are a tool of the adversary to lead people after him, by giving them powers of wickedness. Because these were abominations to the Lord, he would cause the nations who practiced them, to be driven out before the Israelites were settled in the land. The Israelites were set apart to be a holy people to the Lord, and were not to practice these any of these things. There are still things such as this practiced today. There are some who live by superstitions and rely heavily on horoscopes and such. There are even some who do participate in the practices of what we would call today, dark magic. Satan uses these tools as he has through the ages, and brings many into bondage with them. Disciples of Christ should avoid these things as part of their lifestyles, and should find answers, comfort and peace through Jesus Christ instead.

The Israelites were given instruction, to be perfect with the Lord. This part of the law of the Lord is repeated by the Savior, during the sermon on the mount, when He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” We grow in life, ‘line upon line and precept upon precept’. This applies to the perfection that is required of us as well. Eternal perfection will not be accomplished in this life, by any mortal man. It cannot. We cannot actually reach eternal perfection, until the atonement has been accomplished for us individually. We can however, keep the commandments that we have been given, to perfection. As we learn to be a little better each day, we become the kind of perfect that the Lord has asked us to be in this life. We do this, by relying on the Lord and having faith in Him. In 1 Nephi 3:7, we read, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” We can accomplish all things with His help. We can be perfect in what is asked of us here in mortality, and eventually, we will be made complete through Christ. In that eternal perfection, gained only by the atonement of Christ, we will be able to live forever in the presence of our Father in Heaven.

15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
16 According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17 And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Jesus-Portrait

A prophet would be raised from among the Israelites, who would be like Moses. This prophet, was the Lord, Jesus Christ. In 3 Nephi 20:23, the Savior confirmed these words to the Nephites. He said, “Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.” The Israelites were taught to hearken to Christ. Christ would be the mouthpiece for God on the earth, so that the people would know the will of God for them. This was the role, which Moses had taken for the people, because they had feared that hearing the voice of the Lord directly would have brought death upon them. Anyone, who was not willing to hearken to the words of the Christ, would be held accountable for it. Likewise, we are taught to follow the words of Christ, which he taught while in his mortal ministry. If we learn of His teachings, and choose not to follow after them, we will also be held accountable for it.

Any false prophet, who claimed to speak the word of God, as directed by God, would die. One cannot lie to God, or claim to do his will without his authority, and continue in leading people astray. They could know that a man was a false prophet, if the things he claimed in the name of the Lord, did not come to pass. They were not to fear or reverence any false prophets among them. False prophets have existed since the days of Adam. People desire to follow after those who claim to be called and directed by the Lord. We can know if they are true prophets, by the works of their hands. God will not allow men to continue to lead others astray in the name of the Lord. One of the greatest blessings given to men, is the light of Christ, which we all have within us. If we trust and believe in God, the light of Christ will help us to discern or to recognize a false prophet from a man truly called of God.

I am so grateful for the restored gospel on earth today. I feel so blessed to live in a time, when the Lord calls righteous men to lead and direct us. I am grateful for the Lord’s prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and for the apostles and other leaders which He has called to assist the prophet in helping us to do what is right. They have helped to shape my life into what it is today. I know that we should listen to the words of the prophets and hearken to them, as if from the mouth of the Lord. I know that peace and happiness in life, come from following the prophet. I strive daily to follow their teachings because it feels right in my heart and mind. I have felt peace and happiness in my life as a result of this and I would not want to live any other way. I hope that others will recognize that the Lord loves us enough to guide us today, just as he did in the days of Moses.

Deuteronomy Chapter 14

Moses continues his final sermons to the Israelites, with a repeat of the law established when they were around Mount Sinai. There were many customs and rituals in their lives then, and a lot of things were not according to the design of the Lord for His people. This chapter begins with a review of the forbidden customs of mourning.

1 Ye are the children of the Lord your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.
2 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

The Israelites, as the chosen people and children of God, had the promises of salvation for the righteous, promises which are eternal and do not end with mortal death. People of God should not make a show of mourning when loved ones die, by hurting themselves or removing part of their hair. I think that there should be hope found in death, along with the normal feelings of loss we experience. Death has never been a good reason for a person to purposely hurt the God-given gift of their body. Death is just a part of our eternal lives and should be seen as the opportunity to progress further. Those who are left behind by a loved one who dies, should allow themselves to naturally go through the mourning process without drawing this kind of unnecessary attention to their own personal suffering or sorrow.

3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
4 These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat,
5 The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.
6 And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.
7 Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.
8 And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.

The Israelites were still to refrain from eating those meats which the Lord considered to be unclean or abominable, which had also been established before their wanderings in the wilderness. This commandment was the ancient version of word of wisdom, which is found in modern revelation today (see Doctrine and Covenants section 89). It was a law of health, I believe meant to keep their bodies healthy and their minds clear and able to be influenced by the spirit. It continues:

9 These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:
10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.

They were not to eat anything that was not a fish with fins and scales.

11 Of all clean birds ye shall eat.
12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
13 And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,
14 And every raven after his kind,
15 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
16 The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
17 And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,
18 And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
19 And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten.
20 But of all clean fowls ye may eat.

Specific birds and other animals that could fly, like insects, were listed as unclean and not to be eaten.

21 Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.
24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:
25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose:
26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.

Those things that were already dead, even among their own herds, was not to be eaten by those who had made covenants with the Lord. Verse 21 reads that they were told that they could give or sell them to others, but according to the Joseph Smith translation of this verse, it should read that they were not to give it to the stranger and not to sell it to the alien. This would seem to make more sense to me, because they have already been told that they were to treat the stranger (“clean” or “unclean”, part of the covenant people or not – see Deuteronomy 12:15) as part of their people, when abiding in their home. To offer something to another, which they considered abominable in the eyes of the Lord, seems wrong to me.

In addition to the laws of what they could and could not eat, they were given the laws of tithing. They were to give tithing on all the increase of their crops or seed. All their tithing was to be taken to the holy place of the Lord, the tabernacle or eventually the temple. When they did this, it was to help them remember all that the Lord provided for them. If they could take it as the food, wine, oil or animals, they were to do so, but if they could not take it that far, they were to take the money from those things to the holy place, and buy what they could to make the offerings to the Lord. In all these things they were reminded again that they were not to forget the Levites, who lived off of the tithes that the people brought to the temple.

28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

Every third year, their tithing was to be given to the levites and the poor among them. If they remembered these things, the Lord promised to bless them with the work they did in the future.

Tithes and offerings are still a part of our discipleship. We follow the Lord, when we give a willing heart in service, and also when we give of our own substance to the poor and needy. We are to learn how to put others needs before our appetites and desires, just as the Lord has done for us. I know that we are blessed greatly when we give of the things that the Lord has given us. If nothing else were to come from the act of paying tithes and offerings, I am still blessed to be reminded that all that I have is a gift from God and I should be willing to share it.

Deuteronomy Chapter 12

At this point, Moses continued his sermons to the Israelites, as they prepare to gain the promised land. I am imagining this sermon as being given at a large conference of the elders of the Israelites. And then, its being recorded and taken to the different tribes to be heard by all the people. I think it helps to imagine this kind of setting because it helps me to think of it, like a general conference for our day. We have a conference, where the prophet and apostles give us the word of the Lord for our day. If I was an Israelite at this time, how would I have responded to the instruction and commandments that were being given to me? Likewise, how do I respond to the counsel given to me at conferences I attend or watch? What can we learn from this example? This chapter begins:

1 These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.
2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

The first thing established in this chapter, is that the children of Israel were commanded to destroy all the places of worship that existed in the land. Nothing was to remain of the idols, altars, pillars, or groves where the other nations served the false gods they followed. Anything that remained would have been a temptation for those who may have been quick to return to the old ways of worship, and therefore cause them to lose the promises of their fathers.

4 Ye shall not do so unto the Lord your God.
5 But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:
6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:
7 And there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.

There was only one location where it was authorized by the Lord, to bring their offerings and make their sacrifices. Just as they only had one tabernacle in that time, they would eventually only have one temple designed and sanctified for the purposes of the Lord. I like the call to be grateful or to rejoice in the things that the Lord had blessed them. Our gratitude to the Lord for the blessings He continues to give, is one of the things that keeps our hearts turned to Him continually. When we forget to be grateful to Him, we begin to forget the Lord and turn to other things for our worship.

8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
9 For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you.
10 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;
11 Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord:
12 And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.
13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest:
14 But in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.
15 Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.
16 Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.

The commandment was that their lives would require commitment to the will of the Lord and they were not to follow after their own ideas of righteousness. Eventually, they would all be established in the land of promise, and have peace from their enemies. At that time, the Lord would establish the place for their worship. They were not to make a habit of making offerings along the way, in places that had not been established by God for their sacrifices to God. There would have been many places built up by the other nations, for the purpose of making offering to gods. Even they themselves were not to build up places of sacrifice to the Lord. They had already received very strict laws regarding the proper place and order to the ordinance of sacrifice. They were however, allowed to eat whatever meat they wished, where they wished, which the Lord had blessed them with, so long as it was not to be an offering to the Lord. They were commanded specifically that they were not to eat blood.

17 Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand:
18 But thou must eat them before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.
19 Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth.

They were commanded that they were not to eat the tithes or offerings in their own homes. These things were only to be eaten where the Lord established a place of worship. They were also reminded that they were not to forsake the Levites, who were provided for entirely by the offerings given by the people.

20 When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.
21 If the place which the Lord thy God hath chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the Lord hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.
22 Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike.
23 Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.
24 Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water.
25 Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.
26 Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the Lord shall choose:
27 And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the Lord thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the Lord thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.
28 Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God.

These commandments applied to all those who would live close to the established place of worship, as well as those who lived far from it. They were allowed to eat what they chose, as long as they did not eat of blood. If they obeyed this commandment to refrain from eating blood, the Lord promised that things would go well for them and their families. Even if they were far away, they were to take the tithes and offerings to the place that the Lord designated for them.

Today, there are places of worship dedicated for the purpose of performing sacred ordinances, specifically His temples. The Lord will only recognize the work done, in the places that He has established, in the proper order and by the proper authority of the priesthood. We will be held accountable if we choose to perform any ordinances in a manner that is not according to the will of the Lord.

29 When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;
30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
31 Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

The Israelites needed to be careful not to follow after the ways of the people who inhabited the land before them. All that the other nations had done to worship their gods, was seen as an abomination to the Lord. They had even gone so far as to sacrifice their children by fire. The Israelites were not to adapt anything that the Lord had commanded them, to fit their own desires. They needed to follow the Lord’s commandments with strict obedience, in order to receive the blessings of the Lord. These were the standards that the Lord had set for them.

We have a need to follow this counsel today. Too often, people who have heard the commandments and the word of the Lord, as spoken by his modern prophets, decide that something does not apply to them. Too often, we think that we can adapt the will of the Lord to be more convenient or to fit into our lifestyles better. This is a great tool of the adversary, which pulls people away into sin. The commandments do not have gray areas. They are black and white, even if we do not want to see them as such. We are expected to follow with strict obedience, to those things that we are told to do. If we are unsure of how to understand those things that the are expected of us, we have the right to turn to the Lord and ask. In fact, this is what the Lord wants of us. When we ask sincerely, the Lord can give us personal guidance through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will not have us do anything that goes against the word of the Lord that has been received by the prophets. The Holy Ghost will teach us how our lives can be changed to follow the commandments, and bring the blessings we seek. In most cases, I think this is not something that is easy or convenient. Choosing to follow the Lord and His commandments will require sacrifices. For some of us, they may be easier to make because of our distance from the Lord. I believe, however, that the further we have to go, to make the required sacrifices that the Lord asks of us, the greater our blessings will be for being obedient. I am grateful for the courage that I have been blessed with in my life, to make some large sacrifices in order to draw closer to the Lord. I am a better person for it and my life has been greatly blessed because of it.

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.

Numbers Chapter 7

The Israelites were organized by God, through Moses, into camps. Each camp was made up of some of the tribes of Israel, each with a prince of Israel, or captain, at its head. They were the patriarchs of their families. They were responsible for leading their family tribes under the direction of Moses. (For more on the organization of the camps of Israel see the first and second chapters of Numbers.) This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;
2 That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered:
3 And they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle.
4 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
5 Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.
6 And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.
7 Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service:
8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.

When the tabernacle was prepared and ready for its designed purposes, the princes of Israel went to it to give their offerings to the Lord. (This was in the beginning of the second year, as they recorded it.) There was a wagon for every two, and an ox for every one of the twelve princes. The Lord instructed Moses to take the offerings and give them to the Levites. Each of the tribes of the Levites had specific duties of the service in the tabernacle and they were given the offerings according to the duties they had. Those who were going to serve in the temple with the offerings given, received a portion of the offerings as the tithing they received. The sons of Kohath, who did not have a responsibility to carry out at that time, did not receive of the offerings.

10 And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar.
11 And the Lord said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on
his day, for the dedicating of the altar.

The offerings were made for the dedication of the altar when it had been anointed. They were to give the offerings of one tribe each day for twelve days.

12 And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah:
13 And his offering was one silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
14 One spoon of ten shekels of gold, full of incense:
15 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
16 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
17 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

On the first day, Nahshon, of Judah, gave his offering of a silver charger and a silver bowl of flour for the meat offering; a golden spoon of incense; a bullock, ram, and a first-year lamb for the burnt offering; a goat kid for the sin offering; and two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, and five first-year lambs for the peace offering.

18 On the second day Nethaneel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, did offer:
19 He offered for his offering one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
20 One spoon of gold of ten shekels, full of incense:
21 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
22 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
23 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nethaneel the son of Zuar.

Nethaneel of the tribe of Issachar, gave his offering on the second day. His was an offering of the same things.

24 On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, prince of the children of Zebulun, did offer:
25 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
26 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
27 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
28 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
29 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliab the son of Helon.

The third day, the offering was made by Eliab of Zebulun. His offering was of the same items.

30 On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, prince of the children of Reuben, did offer:
31 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
32 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
33 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
34 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
35 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elizur the son of Shedeur.

The fourth day was the day for Elizur, of the tribe of Reuben, to give his offering. Again, he gave the same items for his offering.

36 On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, prince of the children of Simeon, did offer:
37 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
38 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
39 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
40 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
41 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

The fifth day, Shelumiel, of Simeon, offered his offering of the same things.

42 On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, prince of the children of Gad, offered:
43 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, a silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
44 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
45 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
46 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
47 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

On day six, Eliasaph, of the tribe of Gad, gave his offering, like the others.

48 On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, prince of the children of Ephraim, offered:
49 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
50 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
51 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
52 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
53 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elishama the son of Ammihud.

The seventh day, was the day for Elishama, of Ephraim, to give the same offering.

54 On the eighth day offered Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, prince of the children of Manasseh:
55 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
56 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
57 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
58 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
59 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

Gamaliel, of the tribe of Manasseh, offered the same offering on the eighth day.

60 On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, prince of the children of Benjamin, offered:
61 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
62 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
63 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
64 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
65 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Abidan the son of Gideoni.

The ninth day, was the day for the tribe of Benjamin to give their offering by the prince Abindan. This offering was also of the same things.

66 On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, prince of the children of Dan, offered:
67 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
68 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
69 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
70 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
71 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

On day ten, Ahiezer, of Dan, gave the same offering for his people.

72 On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ocran, prince of the children of Asher, offered:
73 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
74 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
75 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
76 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
77 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Pagiel the son of Ocran.

Pagiel, of Asher, gave the same offering on the eleventh day.

78 On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali, offered:
79 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
80 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
81 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
82 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
83 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan.
84 This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:
85 Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
86 The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels.
87 All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve.
88 And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.
89 And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

The twelfth day was the day for Enan, of the tribe of Naphtali, to give the same offering. In total, there were twelve silver chargers and twelve silver bowls, each with flour for the meat offering; twelve golden spoons with twelve portions of incense; twelve bullocks, twelve rams, and twelve first-year lambs for the burnt offerings; twelve goat kids for the sin offering; twenty four bullocks, sixty rams, sixty he-goats, and sixty first-year lambs, for the peace offering. Once these offerings were given, the altar had been anointed and dedicated for its purposes. Moses went in to the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with the Lord, as had been promised (see Exodus 25:22). The voice of the Lord, was heard from the mercy seat.

I think that this is a type for our own lives as well. The tribes of Israel were commanded to bring the offerings (both tithes and sacrifices) to the tabernacle. We are commanded to be holy by giving a full tithe to the Lord. In addition, we are asked to give of offerings of our time, energy, and means. In doing so, the Israelites consecrated and dedicated the tabernacle to the Lord. When we give tithes and offerings, we give so that temples of our day can be dedicated, but moreover, we give in order to dedicate ourselves to the Lord. When the Israelites dedicated the tabernacle, the Lord was able to be there and speak with the prophet, Moses. When our temples are dedicated today, they are houses of the Lord and He visits His prophets there to give instruction and inspiration, just as was given to Moses. Additionally, when we personally dedicate ourselves to the Lord, we make our bodies a place where the spirit of the Lord can be at all times. Then, we can have our own communication with God through the constant companionship of the Spirit. There is great power in being obedient to the law of tithing and to the commandment to sacrifice and dedicate ourselves to the Lord. I have felt the blessings of the spirit from being an honest tithe payer and from giving more of myself to the Lord. It is real. It is a truly amazing blessing and one that every person can claim through keeping the commandments.

Numbers Chapter 3

The Lord instructed the ancient Israelites in many things before they left their Sinai encampment. He organized them into their family tribes and camps of the army of Israel, with the Levites set apart to do the work of moving the tabernacle. This chapter includes further instruction for the Levites. It begins:

1 These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the Lord spake with Moses in mount Sinai.
2 And these are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office.
4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.

We read of the sons of Aaron, earlier in the bible. The firstborn was Nadab, with Abihu next in line. They had both died because they offered a sacrifice which was not acceptable to the Lord. Neither of them had children. The eldest of the remaining sons, was Eleazar, and then came Ithamar. Aaron and his sons had been set apart, anointed and ordained to perform the duties of the priesthood, to serve in the tabernacle.

5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
6 Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him.
7 And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle.
8 And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle.
9 And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel.
10 And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
12 And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;
13 Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the Lord.

Moses was commanded to call the tribe of Levi, or the Levites, to him. They were to be presented to Aaron, who was the high priest, because they had been chosen to serve the Lord by having charge over the tabernacle, all the furniture and other accessories within it, and helping the sons of Aaron. The Levites were to be given to Aaron and his sons for this service, which I think means, they were to be set apart within the priesthood of Aaron, to perform these duties. Only they were allowed to do this service. Anyone else who attempted to do the service, or perform these duties of the priesthood which the Levites were called and set apart for, would be put to death. The Levites replaced all the firstborn of each family in the host of Israel. With the protection of the passover, the Lord had commanded all the firstborn of Israel should be his, or should be set apart to do his work. Now the Levites were chosen to take this role upon themselves.

14 And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying,
15 Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them.
16 And Moses numbered them according to the word of the Lord, as he was commanded.
17 And these were the sons of Levi by their names; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari.
18 And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families; Libni, and Shimei.
19 And the sons of Kohath by their families; Amram, and Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
20 And the sons of Merari by their families; Mahli, and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to the house of their fathers.
21 Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites, and the family of the Shimites: these are the families of the Gershonites.
22 Those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, even those that were numbered of them were seven thousand and five hundred.
23 The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward.
24 And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael.
25 And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,
26 And the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it for all the service thereof.

The Levites were to be numbered, or another census was to be taken, of every male older then one month, from every Levite family. Moses had the census taken. The families of the tribe of Levi included Gershon (Gershonites) and his sons, Libni (Libnites) and Shemei (Shimites) who numbered 7,500; Kohath and his sons Amram, Izehar, Hebron and Uzziel; and Merari and his sons Mahli and Mushi. According to the footnote for the word Levi in verse 15, Moses and Aaron were sons of Amram, from the family of Kohath. The Gershonites were instructed to dwell to the west side of the tabernacle with Eliasaph as their chief. They were given the specific charge was to carry and attend to the tabernacle, the tent, the tent covering, the door hangings of the tabernacle of the congregation, the hangings of the court, the court door curtain and its cords.

27 And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites, and the family of the Izeharites, and the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites: these are the families of the Kohathites.
28 In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary.
29 The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward.
30 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.
31 And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof.
32 And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary.

Kohath (Kohathites) and his sons Amram (Amramites), Izehar (Izeharites), Hebron (Hebronites) and Uzziel (Uzzielites) were in number, 8,600. They were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle, with Elizaphan as their chief. Their specific charge, was to carry the ark of the covenant, table, candlestick, altars, all the vessels for the sanctuary, and the hanging for the sanctuary. We read later in the book of Numbers (chapter 18), that they were not called to do anything with the items of the sanctuary until they were covered and prepared for carrying. Only Aaron and his sons were to prepare these sacred items for their travels. Eleazar was then called to be over the chief, Elizaphan, and all that was done with the items of the sanctuary, much like a counselor of any presidency in the church, is called to be over a specific group of saints today.

33 Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites, and the family of the Mushites: these are the families of Merari.
34 And those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were six thousand and two hundred.
35 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail: these shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward.
36 And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all the vessels thereof, and all that serveth thereto,
37 And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords.

Merari (Merarites) and his sons Mahli (Mahlites) and Mushi (Mushites) totaled 6,200. They were to dwell on the north side of the tabernacle and their chief was Zuriel. They were given specific charge over the boards, bars, pillars, sockets and vessels of the tabernacle, including all that had to do with the pillars in the court.

38 But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
39 All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the Lord, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand.

To the east of the tabernacle, was where Moses, Aaron and his sons were to dwell. No one who was not authorized was allowed to be there. If anyone else came near to their camp, they were to be put to death. The total of the men of the Levites was just about 22,000.

40 And the Lord said unto Moses, Number all the firstborn of the males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names.
41 And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the Lord) instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel.
42 And Moses numbered, as the Lord commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel.
43 And all the firstborn males by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those that were numbered of them, were twenty and two thousand two hundred and threescore and thirteen.

All of the firstborn Israelite boys and men older than a month, were numbered. The Levites were to be serve in proxy of the firstborn males of Israel. Likewise, the firstling of the cattle of the Levites was to stand in place of all the firstling cattle of the Israelites. The number of males that Moses counted, was 22,273.

44 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
45 Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord.
46 And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites;
47 Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:)
48 And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons.
49 And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites:
50 Of the firstborn of the children of Israel took he the money; a thousand three hundred and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
51 And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

The Levites and their cattle were to be given to the Lord for service. A redemption money was to be given for those who were redeemed since the Levites had fewer than they. In the Bible Dictionary we read the following under ‘Firstborn’, “Under the law of Moses, the firstborn son was regarded as belonging to God, and special ordinances were provided for his redemption.” The description of the Levites in the Bible Dictionary helps to gain a better understanding. It reads, “The work of ministering in the sanctuary was assigned to this tribe. The Levites are sometimes spoken of as distinct from the priests; sometimes as though all Levites were also priests, “the priests, the Levites”. The work of the Levites was to assist the priests. They acted as musicians; slaughtered the sacrifices; and generally assisted in the temple. The Levites were themselves offered as a wave-offering on behalf of the children of Israel; they thus became God’s peculiar property, given to Him in place of the firstborn. They were cleansed for their office. They had no inheritance in Canaan; but they had the tithe, 48 cities, and a claim on the alms of the people at feast times.”
The Israelites paid redemption money for all of the firstborn males. Some (or maybe all, I’m not sure) of this money was then given to the Levites by Moses, because they were those serving in proxy for all the Israelite firstborn males and had no other inheritance to provide for them. (If I am remembering correctly, the inheritance of Levi and his family was taken because of his act anger, when his sister was defiled.) Even in ancient times, the Lord provided temporally for those who are called into His service.

This chapter is focused on the calling of the men who would serve the Lord in His holy tabernacle (other than Aaron and his sons). I learn from this, more of the importance that the Lord places on the work of the tabernacle, which was the temple of their day. Those who were to serve there in any capacity, were called to the priesthood of Aaron. There was a sacred responsibility in the placement, use, and movement of all the physical pieces belonging to the tabernacle. Likewise, all the parts of the temples today, are sacred. Those who serve in the temple today have a sacred responsibility to their duties. Everything there deserves to be treated, used, and handled with the most reverence and respect that man can give, because the temple and all items in it, belong to the Lord. Those who serve in the temples today, give themselves to the Lord for His service at that time. I am grateful for the service which others give to be temple workers, because it gives me the opportunity to serve in the temple as well. I know that great blessings come to their lives when they serve in this capacity.

Leviticus Chapter 27

As the Israelites were encamped around Sinai, they received many commandments and statutes from the Lord. These teachings are continued in this last chapter of the book of Leviticus. The chapter begins:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation.
3 And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.
4 And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels.
5 And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels.
6 And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver.
7 And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.
8 But if he be poorer than thy estimation, then he shall present himself before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to his ability that vowed shall the priest value him.
9 And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the Lord, all that any man giveth of such unto the Lord shall be holy.
10 He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good: and if he shall at all change beast for beast, then it and the exchange thereof shall be holy.
11 And if it be any unclean beast, of which they do not offer a sacrifice unto the Lord, then he shall present the beast before the priest:
12 And the priest shall value it, whether it be good or bad: as thou valuest it, who art the priest, so shall it be.
13 But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation.

Moses was given the instruction regarding the estimation of the people of Israel. It says this began when they made their singular vow, which reminds me of making the covenants of baptism for us. At that time, they would be included in the numbers counted of Israel, for the consecration of properties to the Lord. Men who were between 20 and 60 years old were to give their payment to the temple and then 50 silver shekels. For females it was to be 30 shekels. Boys from 5 to 20 was 20 shekels, and girls of the same age was 10 shekels. A baby from 1 month to 5 was to be 5 for a boy and 3 for a girl. Any male 60 or older was to give 15 shekels and females of the same age were to give 10. If anyone could not afford to make this contribution, then the priests were to determine what they could pay. Any animals consecrated to the Lord, was holy. Any exchange of animals for this purpose was holy. Any animal that was considered unclean, was to be seen by a priest to determine the value of it. If it was returned, then a fifth of its value would be added to the estimation.

14 And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the Lord, then the priest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, so shall it stand.
15 And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his.
16 And if a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.
17 If he sanctify his field from the year of jubilee, according to thy estimation it shall stand.
18 But if he sanctify his field after the jubilee, then the priest shall reckon unto him the money according to the years that remain, even unto the year of the jubilee, and it shall be abated from thy estimation.
19 And if he that sanctified the field will in any wise redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be assured to him.
20 And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed any more.
21 But the field, when it goeth out in the jubilee, shall be holy unto the Lord, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest’s.
22 And if a man sanctify unto the Lord a field which he hath bought, which is not of the fields of his possession;
23 Then the priest shall reckon unto him the worth of thy estimation, even unto the year of the jubilee: and he shall give thine estimation in that day, as a holy thing unto the Lord.
24 In the year of the jubilee the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong.
25 And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel.

The home of a covenant man, was given a value and was also a consecration to the Lord. If it was redeemed, it was to be worth a fifth part more than the estimation by the priest. The fields consecrated to the Lord, were also given a value according to the amount of crops and number of years from the last jubilee. If it was redeemed, it was to be valued at a fifth part of the estimation. If it was not redeemed, it would become a holy field for the priests in the year of jubilee. If it was a field that ultimately belonged to another, then in the year of jubilee it would be returned to the owner.

26 Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lord’s firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the Lord’s.
27 And if it be of an unclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to thine estimation, and shall add a fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy estimation.
28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord.
29 None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.
30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.
31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.
33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
34 These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

The firstlings of the flocks were the Lord’s. Any thing that was devoted to the Lord, was to be considered holy. All tithes of the land were holy unto the Lord. A tenth of the tithe of flocks given to the Lord, was to be holy unto the Lord.

In this chapter, the Israelites are commanded to pay a tithing of their crops of the fields, and of their flocks and herds of animals. I can’t say that I really have a firm understanding of all the little details of how their property was given to the Lord, but it was a commandment specific to their time and the sacrifices that were meant to be given. We have been given commandment today, to pay an honest tithe of ten percent of our increase. In addition, we make covenants to give of our time and energies as well, so that the work of the Lord may be furthered on this earth. When we make covenants at baptism and in the temple, were are then expected by the Lord, to give tithing and offerings to the Lord. Really, it all belongs to God anyway. We give the tenth, and then we are to use the rest to do that which is good in the sight of God. I have been blessed by giving tithing and offerings in many ways. I have also been blessed by the tithes and offerings that have been given by others, to which I am so grateful. I am very grateful for this law, as it is today, and I know that it is perfect in its ability to build up the church of God on this earth.

Exodus Chapter 30

Moses and the children of Israel received instruction from the Lord while encamped around Mt. Sinai. As Moses spoke with the Lord, the details for a tabernacle were revealed. In the past several chapters, we read of how the tabernacle would be built with an inner court, holy place and the holy of holies. They were instructed on the crafting of items such as the ark of the covenant and mercy seat, as well as how to make the sacred clothing which Aaron and the sons of Aaron were to wear as they served in the tabernacle. Moses was told how they were to consecrate the priests and specific sacrifices which were to be given upon the sacred altar, and much more. For more specifics, see Exodus chapters 25-29 (or my posts regarding these). The instruction regarding the tabernacle continues as follows:

1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.
2 A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same.
3 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.
4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.
5 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
6 And thou shalt put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.
7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord.

A golden altar was to be made for incense. It was to have horns which were attached with the altar as one piece. It needed to be able to carry when they traveled, just as the other pieces of the tabernacle, so they would bear it with staves through golden rings. It would be placed before the veil of the holy of holies. Aaron was called to burn incense there every day, when he took care of the lamps there. There would be continual light and incense for generations. Once a year, the ritual of a sin offering of blood, was to be performed on it. I think this ritual may have been performed to consecrate its purposes to the Lord, to continue to keep it holy and sacred. These sin offerings were another way of looking forward to the ultimate atonement given by the Lord for all the sins of mankind.

11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord.
14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord.
15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.
16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.

They were to count the Israelites like in a census, and keep a number of those who had covenanted with the Lord. Everyone was to pay half a shekel as an offering as soon as they were twenty (according to the header, this was for the men over twenty). This was an offering for their sins, that their souls would be saved by the Lord. This money was to go towards the service in the tabernacle. Today, we offer tithes and offerings to the Lord. Our tithes are based on our increase, which we each receive because of the blessings of the Lord. When I think of this, I think of how we would not have an income if it were not for our talents and knowledge, both gifts from God. I don’t think that the Israelites had a lot of money while living in Egypt, since they were slaves. However, when they left, the Egyptians gave them many riches. If it had not been for the Lord, they would not have been led out of the hands of the Egyptians. This offering of money to the Lord, was a small sacrifice in comparison to the great blessings that the Lord had given them in order for their increase. Throughout time, people have always been in debt to the Lord, and He asks very little of us in comparison. I am so glad that we have the opportunity to give something back through tithes, which help to further the work of the Lord on Earth.

17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord:
21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

In the tabernacle, there was to be a brass basin for the priests to wash their hands and feet when the entered the tabernacle of the congregation. This was to make them clean and worthy to perform their temple duties.

22 Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
24 And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:
25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
28 And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
33 Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.

The Lord told Moses what spices and oil was to be used. They were to use myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, cassia, and olive oil. The oil would be used for anointing, or consecrating, the things found inside the tabernacle, as well as the priests. They were not to make this particular oil for any other purposes outside of the temple, or for any other person outside of the priesthood, because it was a holy oil. Anyone being found to make it, would be cast out from the Israelites.

34 And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:
35 And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:
36 And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.
37 And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord.
38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

Additionally, they were to use stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense, to make a holy perfume for the tabernacle of the congregation. I imagine it was a lot like a potpourri, used to make the air of the tabernacle smell sweet. Again, anyone making it for any other purpose would be cast out from the Israelites.

There is so much of these details about the building of the temple, that is pleasing to the senses. It was to be made of the finest materials, best needlework, and the sweet aromas of incense and perfume. I imagine this would set it apart greatly from the rest of the encampment. In my minds eye, I can picture how beautiful this was, even though it was not a permanent structure and it was to be set up in the wilderness of the ancient lands. It makes me think about the beautiful temples today and how breathtaking they are. I think that it is just a taste of the beauty of heaven that I look forward to seeing someday.


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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