Posts Tagged 'Worthiness'

1 Chronicles Chapter 26

The Levites were give specific duties within the tribes of Israel, most of which pertained to service in the temple. Some were set apart as musicians. Some were the sons of Aaron and were set apart as priests who served with the sacred priesthood responsibilities of the temple. This chapter begins with those who were set apart as porters and goes on to explain those in charge of the treasures and other business in Israel.

1 Concerning the divisions of the porters: Of the Korhites was Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph.
2 And the sons of Meshelemiah were, Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth,
3 Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Elioenai the seventh.
4 Moreover the sons of Obed-edom were, Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth,
5 Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him.
6 Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born, that ruled throughout the house of their father: for they were mighty men of valour.
7 The sons of Shemaiah; Othni, and Rephael, and Obed, Elzabad, whose brethren were strong men, Elihu, and Semachiah.
8 All these of the sons of Obed-edom: they and their sons and their brethren, able men for strength for the service, were threescore and two of Obed-edom.
9 And Meshelemiah had sons and brethren, strong men, eighteen.
10 Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons; Simri the chief, (for though he was not the firstborn, yet his father made him the chief;)
11 Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth: all the sons and brethren of Hosah were thirteen.
12 Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men, having wards one against another, to minister in the house of the Lord.

Porters were doorkeepers in charge of the gates, or the entrances of the temple. There were divided in their duties of the temple. There were porters of the Korhites and children of Merari. In the family of Korhites, and the line of Asaph and Kore, there was Meshelemiah. He was the father of Zechariah, Jediael, Zebadiah, Jathniel, Elam, Jehohanan, and Elioenai. Of their family, there were 18 men for service. There was also Obed-edom, the father of Shemaiah, Jehozabad, Joah, Sacar, Nethaneel, Ammiel, Issachar, and Peulthai. (Obed-edom had been the man who housed the ark before it was returned to its proper place in Israel.) Shemaiah was the father of men of valour, including Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, along with Elihu and Semachiah. The sons of Obed-edom were 62 in total and were capable men for the service they were given. Of the children of Merari, there was Hosah, the father of Simri, Hilkiah, Tebaliah, an Zechariah. The sons of Hosah were thirteen in number, with Simri as the leader. Simri was not the firstborn, but he was given the role as their leader.

13 And they cast lots, as well the small as the great, according to the house of their fathers, for every gate.
14 And the lot eastward fell to Shelemiah. Then for Zechariah his son, a wise counsellor, they cast lots; and his lot came out northward.
15 To Obed-edom southward; and to his sons the house of Asuppim.
16 To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came forth westward, with the gate Shallecheth, by the causeway of the going up, ward against ward.
17 Eastward were six Levites, northward four a day, southward four a day, and toward Asuppim two and two.
18 At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar.
19 These are the divisions of the porters among the sons of Kore, and among the sons of Merari.

Lots were cast among the sons of Kore and Merari, to determine the gate responsibility each group would have. If this is understood correctly, the east gate was assigned to Shelemiah, and there was to be six men serving there at a time. The north gate was assigned to Zechariah, the wise cousellor and son of Shelemiah, and there was to be four men serving there each day. The south gate was assigned to Obed-edom and the house of Asuppim, and there were to be four men serving there each day as well. The west gate was assigned to Shuppim and Hosah, along with the gate Shallecheth, by the causeway (a separate raised path), and there were to be four serving there each day. Two served at Parbar, which may have been a suburb of the temple.

20 And of the Levites, Ahijah was over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things.
21 As concerning the sons of Laadan; the sons of the Gershonite Laadan, chief fathers, even of Laadan the Gershonite, were Jehieli.
22 The sons of Jehieli; Zetham, and Joel his brother, which were over the treasures of the house of the Lord.
23 Of the Amramites, and the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites:
24 And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the treasures.
25 And his brethren by Eliezer; Rehabiah his son, and Jeshaiah his son, and Joram his son, and Zichri his son, and Shelomith his son.
26 Which Shelomith and his brethren were over all the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated.
27 Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord.
28 And all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, had dedicated; and whosoever had dedicated any thing, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren.

Ahijah was assigned to be over the treasures of the temple, as well as those treasures that had been dedicated. Those serving with him included Zetham and Joel, who were sons of Jehieli of the sons of the Gershonite Laadan. Also over treasures was Shebuel, the son of Gershom, who was the son of Moses. The sons of Eliezer, including Rehabiah, Jeshaiah, Joram, Zichri, and Shelomith, were responsible for the dedicated treasures. These treasures were dedicated from the spoils of battles by King David, the chief fathers, and the captains of the host. They were also dedicated by Samuel the seer, King Saul, Abner the captain of Saul’s armies, and Joab, among others.

29 Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were for the outward business over Israel, for officers and judges.
30 And of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brethren, men of valour, a thousand and seven hundred, were officers among them of Israel on this side Jordan westward in all the business of the Lord, and in the service of the king.
31 Among the Hebronites was Jerijah the chief, even among the Hebronites, according to the generations of his fathers. In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought for, and there were found among them mighty men of valour at Jazer of Gilead.
32 And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.

The outward business of the Israelites, of officers and judges, was the responsibility of the Izharites, the family of Chenaniah. Hashabiah and his family of the Hebronites, 1,700 men of valour, became officers in the business of the Lord and in service of the king, on the west side of the Jordan. Jerijah was their chief leader. During the fortieth year of David’s reign, there was a search for mighty men of valor, and they were found at Jazer and Gilead. 2,700 of his brethren were assigned to take care of the business of the Lord and service of the king, on the east side of the Jordan, among the Reubenites, Gadites and half of the tribe of Manasseh.

The responsibility of porters was important, though it may seem a bit strange. It can sound like they were a type of ancient-day bouncer, guarding the doors of the temple, but its not quite that. The holy house of the Lord should have been kept holy by allowing only those who were worthy to enter there. In modern temples, there are priesthood holders who are called and set apart to welcome patrons to the temple, as well as to verify that they are indeed worthy to enter the house of the Lord. Worthiness to worship in the temple is important for both the maintaining of a sacred edifice for the Lord, and for the patrons, who are to be held to a standard of worthiness for the covenants made there. I am grateful for the expectations of worthiness on my part as well as others who enter the temple, because it means that I can depend on the blessings of the spirit of the Lord in that space, when the world is becoming increasingly confusing and dark around me.

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1 Chronicles Chapter 22

The children of Israel had been instructed to create the tabernacle as the place of worship, which could be moved as they traveled in the wilderness. Now that they were established in the promised land, David had the desire to build a house of the Lord, or a temple, for a more permanent place to worship God. When he had prepared to do this, the Lord had instructed him, that he was not to be the one who would build it, but that one of his children would be given that responsibility. In the meantime, David had been working to protect Israel from their enemies and other nations around them. This chapter begins:

1 Then David said, This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.
2 And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God.
3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight;
4 Also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David.
5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.

As David grew older, he felt the continued desire for a permanent house of the Lord. He may not have been given the specific charge to build it, but he wanted to do all that he could to make the preparations for it during his life, especially since Solomon was still so young. He gathered laborers from the bondsmen and found masons to begin preparing the stones for it. He had iron nails made, which would fasten the gate doors and such. Then, he had brass gathered and trees of cedar brought from the Zidonians and Tyre. The Zidonians were known for there work with timber (see 1 Kings 5:6). David wanted the temple to be grand and glorious, so that it would be known throughout all the nations.

6 Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the Lord God of Israel.
7 And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God:
8 But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.
9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.
10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.
11 Now, my son, the Lord be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the Lord thy God, as he hath said of thee.
12 Only the Lord give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the Lord thy God.
13 Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the Lord charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.
14 Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the Lord an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto.
15 Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work.
16 Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee.

David gave a charge to his son, Solomon, that he was to build the house of the Lord. He told Solomon of his desire to build the temple, and of the Lord’s instructions against it. It teaches in these verses that David was given the reason for the Lord refusing his desires to build it. David had been a force of a lot of destruction among men, and because he had killed many people, he was not worthy of or possibly prepared for the task of building it. David told Solomon that the Lord had told him he would have a son called Solomon, who would have peace from their enemies and be prepared for the task of building it. Solomon would be blessed by the Lord as the ruler of Israel. David tells Solomon to build the temple as the Lord commands him, that the Lord would be with him and prosper him. David desired for Solomon to be blessed with wisdom and understanding, and to continue faithful in keeping the laws of God. He teaches Solomon that he would prosper if he would follow all the statutes and judgments which were given to Moses. He also told him to be strong and have courage, and to be not dismayed. Solomon was told that David had prepared gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone for the building of the temple, along with laborers and artisans, who could help him in this work.

17 David also commanded all the princes of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying,
18 Is not the Lord your God with you? and hath he not given you rest on every side? for he hath given the inhabitants of the land into mine hand; and the land is subdued before the Lord, and before his people.
19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the Lord.

Moreover, David commanded the princes of Israel to help Solomon in building the temple. He reminded them that the Lord had preserved them from all of their enemies, giving them peace and subduing the land for them. In response, they were given the duty to seek the Lord in their gratitude, by building the temple and relocating the ark and other vessels of God there, which were in the tabernacle at Gibeon during this time.

The house of the Lord that David desired to build was to be a holy place from the first stone to the last. David had lived a life that was not prepared for this. His son, Solomon, would be prepared from his youth. David recognized this as the will of the Lord, but he did not turn from the idea. Instead, he devoted time in the remainder of his days, to do all he could and prepare for his son to be able to build this holy house. This is an example of being a good parent. We should seek to prepare our own children for the service they will have the opportunity to give. The temples built in our day are every bit as holy and sacred as the temple that Solomon built. They are dedicated places for the spirit of the Lord to dwell. It is our responsibility to be worthy in our own building of these temples, and then to continue to be worthy when we serve in them. I am so grateful for temples and for the eternal significance of the teachings and sacred ordinances and covenants performed in them.

1 Kings Chapter 8

Temple

The temple was built in Jerusalem and was prepared to be dedicated to the Lord. This chapter tells of the final steps needed to take this grand building that Solomon had built and make it truly the House of the Lord rather than just a pretty bulding. It begins with the following:

1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
4 And they brought up the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.
5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,
11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.

The leaders of Israel were gathered together, so that the ark of the covenant could be brought to the temple, from where it had been placed prior to this. Once assembled, the elders had a feast. The priests and Levites brought the ark, as well as the tabernacle and all that went with it, and placed it within the holy place of the temple, just as they had been commanded in the tabernacle under the direction of Moses. The congregation of Israel made sacrifices in great number. It was placed under the wings of the cherubs, as it’s permanent location. There was no intention of it being moved again now that the there was a permanent structure instead of the portable tabernacle, so they removed the staves which were connected to the ark in order to carry it as they traveled. The two tablets of stone, brought down from the mount by Moses, which contained the words of the Lord regarding the covenants of Israel, remained in the ark. A cloud and the glory of the Lord filled the temple to the point where the priests were unable to stand and minister. The cloud showed the people that God accepted the temple.

The cloud was a physical representation of the presence of God among the Israelites. There was a cloud that led them from Egypt and was there when Moses received the law. There was a cloud with the tabernacle as they wandered in the desert. When they could see the cloud, they knew that God was there. Sometimes I wonder how people today, including myself, would behave if they were able to witness a physical representation of God in this way. I believe that we do not have this experience as a people, because we live in a time, even the latter days, when greater faith is required of us. In order to stand in the battle we have against evil, our faith must be strong. We can have our own personal witnesses after we act in faith. A personal witness has the power to convert our hearts and shape our character in ways that draw us nearer to God.

12 Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)
15 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,
16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.
17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
18 And the Lord said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.
20 And the Lord hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.

King Solomon gave a blessing upon the congregation of Israel. He praised God for fulfilling the promise he made to his father, David. He spoke of the word of the Lord to David, telling him that his son would build the house to His name, which David desired to build. David spoke of building a place for the ark, which contained the words of the covenants made between God and the Israelites who were brought out of bondage in Egypt.

22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:
23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
25 Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.
27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:
29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

Solomon prayed to the Lord, giving praise to God. He asked that the Lord also continue to fulfill another promise made to David, which was that David’s line would continue on the throne according to their faithfulness. He asked if God would dwell among them, even though the house they build could not contain Him. He prayed that the temple would be watched over as His house, with His name, and that the prayer of Solomon would be heard, as well as the prayers of those who would turn towards the temple, that they might be forgiven.

31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:
32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

Solomon prayed that all their oaths would go before the altar of the Lord, and that they would be judged by them to the condemning of the wicked and blessing of the righteous.

33 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:
34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

He prayed that when the people fell away and were brought down by their enemies, repenting and praying to the Lord, they might be forgiven and restored to the land of promise.

35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:
36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.

He prayed that when times of drought, brought upon them by sin, caused that they returned to the Lord and to the temple, then God would hear them and forgive them, teaching them to walk in righteousness through the word of God and revelations, and allowing the rain to come upon the land of promise.

37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;
38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:
39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake;
42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.

He prayed that the prayers of those who suffered from any plague, whether upon the land or in one heart, would be heard. He prayed that God would forgive them and bless each man according to his heart. He prayed that as long as they live in the promised land, they would fear the Lord, and that any who left their own lands seeking for the Lord, praying towards the temple, could be blessed by having their prayers answered. He prayed that people all over the earth would know the Lord and fear Him as the people of Israel feared Him. He prayed that all would know that this temple was the Lord’s house.

44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:
45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:
52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.
53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
60 That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.
61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

Solomon prayed that those faithful who prayed towards the temple would be blessed in the battles with their enemies (at least those who God would command them to fight). He prayed that sinners, who would be carried away captive by their enemies, but repent and turn their hearts back to God in prayer, would be forgiven and blessed that their enemies would have compassion on them. He asked that the Lord would remember them as His people when they had repented. When Solomon finished his prayer, he blessed the congregation, with a reminder that the Lord would be with them, if they would turn their hearts to God and keep the commandments. The Lord had fulfilled all that He had promised them regarding the rest among their people, and for this they should have been grateful. God always keeps his word and promises to mankind. He asked that all the earth would come to know that the Lord was the true and only God, as they strived to keep the commandments.

62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.
63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the Lord was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

The people then made sacrifices at the dedication of the temple. Solomon held a feast and the people were worshipping there for fourteen days. Then Solomon sent the people back to their homes, and they were full of joy and gladness because of the blessings that the Lord had given to David and all Israel. The completion of the temples today, followed by the sacred dedications, also bring much joy and gladness to the hearts of disciples of Christ.

There is great importance in having dedicatory prayers. When we want the Lord to accept our sacrifices and offerings, we need to commit them through our words to Him. When we want to serve the Lord in our personal lives, we need to dedicate our time to Him through prayer. The spirit can attend us, just as it can be in the house of the Lord, after we dedicate our bodies, hearts, minds and time to Him.

This chapter is an indication of the love that Solomon had for the Lord. He clearly desired to do the will of God and lead his people to do the same. He showed gratitude and praise for God, and recognized His hand in the lives of his predecessors as well as his own life. Solomon did not take credit for the peace of his people, but owed that to the Lord. He feared God and loved his people.

One other thing that this chapter causes me to ponder on, is the need to pray towards the temple. The children of Israel were told to physically turn towards Jerusalem and pray towards the temple. We have not been told to do this physically in our day, but we too must face ourselves towards the temple if we desire to have the Spirit as our companion. This means that we pray with the intent to keep our covenants and the commandments of God. It means that we will strive to live the gospel, with a continued prayer in our hearts. It means that we will live worthy of the temple, even when we are not in the walls of the temple. I am grateful for the temple and the figure of holiness it is in my life. It is a constant reminder of my personal desire to draw nearer to God.

The temple is truly the house of the Lord. I know that the Lord continues to command His people to build temples today. I have seen the dedication and rededication of a handful of temples and I have felt the spirit there. I know that this prayer of Solomon is much like the dedicatory prayers of the temples today. And like the people of Israel, the Lord will bless those who repent of their sins, turn to Him, worship Him, and serve in His holy house.

1 Samuel Chapter 21

David went into hiding, in order to escape the hand of king Saul. Saul desired to kill David, because others gave him honor, which Saul felt were greater than his own honors. Saul had become a jealous and hateful man. He had even cursed and threatened his own son, because of his friendship with David. The story of David continues:

1 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?
2 And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.
3 Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.
4 And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.
5 And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.
6 So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.

David fled to Nob, where the priest, Ahimelech, was. Ahimelech was not entirely pleased with meeting David there. He asked him why he had come alone. I can imagine that having the leader of the Israelite armies, and son-in-law to the king, would not have gone out alone very often. David told the priest, that he had been sent on secret business by the king, and that he sent his servants away. David asked for bread or some other food from the priest. All the priest had to offer was the shewbread, which had been blessed and sanctified for the priest. Only the worthy could partake of it. David told him that they were worthy, and he took the shewbread from the priest. A servant of Saul was there. His name was Doeg.

8 And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.
9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

David asked the priest for a weapon and said that he had been required to leave quickly, so he did not have his own weapon with him. The sword that had belonged to Goliath, was all that he had there in Nod, and so the priest offered it to David. David knew that the sword was unlike any other sword.

10 And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.
11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.
14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?
15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?

David fled to the city of Gath, where Achish ruled. The servants of the ruler, recognized David as the one who had been praised for killing thousands more than Saul. David became worried of the ruler, Achish. He decided to pretend to be mad, and the king did not want David to come into his house.

In verse 11, David heard the servants talking about the things that the women had said about him. David did not know why Saul was so angry with him and desired to kill him, and Jonathan had tried to learn the reason for him, but was unsuccessful. This time in Gath, may have been the first time that he had heard the words which were said of him in the songs of the women. The verse here, says that he laid up the words in his heart, which sounds like he took them to heart. David could now see the reason for Saul’s anger with him, even though it was an unjust reason. Knowing the reasons behind the things that an enemy does, can help in the defense against them. Up to this point, it may have been frustrating to not have an understanding of the offense that Saul felt was against him. Now, David knew the cause and could understand that Saul was acting out of jealousy towards him. I’m sure that this would have been helpful for David.

Joshua Chapter 3

The Israelites were commanded to prepare their things, because in three days time, they would be starting their movement into the promised land. The first city they were going to arrive at, would be Jericho. Joshua, as their leader, sent spies into the land, who returned to say that the people there had heard of the great and terrible things the Israelites had done, and feared them. God had told Moses and Joshua that this is how the nations would feel, and so with faith, the Israelites continued to prepare.

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

Joshua and the people left the camp in Shittim and arrived at the shore of the Jordan River. They stayed there for three days. The instruction was given to the people, that when they saw the ark of the covenant and Levite priests go before them, they were to follow it. They were specifically instructed to have a distance between themselves and the ark, so that the Lord could lead them into this unknown land. The Lord was not going to send them into this land, without his guidance as to where they should go. He would lead them, much like he had led them before with the cloud that went before them in the wilderness. This reminds me of the story of the Book of Mormon, when the family of the prophet Lehi were guided to their promised land by the Liahona, which was a gift from God.

Joshua instructed the people to sanctify themselves because the Lord would do wonders for them. Finally, Joshua gave the command to the priests, to take the ark and go before the people, which they did. This command to be sanctified for the wonders of the Lord, was much like the commandment given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when they would witness the glory of the Lord on the mount. They had physically prepared themselves for the journey to come, and now they were being called to be spiritually prepared to receive the blessings of God. I imagine it is a lot like the call for us today, to become worthy to enter temples. The latter-day saint temples are dedicated houses of the Lord, in which the righteous can receive great blessings from the Lord. People must be sanctified to enter, because the spirit of the Lord dwells there.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

Joshua is given a promise that the Lord would show the Israelites that he was indeed the prophet of God, just as Moses had been. It is so important for us to have a testimony of the Lord’s prophet, so that we will not doubt that we are being guided by the words of God. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had in my life, which have strengthened my own testimony in the modern prophets, and help me to know that we have a living prophet on the earth today.

God told Joshua to tell the priests that bore the ark, to go into the first part of the water and stand still in it. This was to be an act of faith on the part of the priests. Moses, when he parted the Red Sea, had to first stretch out his hand as an act of faith in God. We can follow these examples in our own lives, by taking a step in the direction of the council we are given by the Lord and his servants. When we go forward in faith, rather than waiting for something to happen first, we can do great things, just as these worthy men of the priesthood would do.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.
10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

Joshua called the people forward and told them that the Lord would show them that he was there with them and would lead them to victory over the nations of the land. Then, he gave the instructions to the people that twelve men, one from each tribe, were to be chosen. He also told them that as the priests took the ark into the water, the Lord would cut the waters off and cause them to stand up in a heap. This would have been much like the waters of the Red Sea, when Moses parted them by the power of God.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

The Jordan River, which is described here as being high water at the time of harvest, was stopped when the feet of the priests went into the brink. I think the additional description of the Jordan, was given so that we could know that the water was not some simple stream, but an overflowing river. Once the water stopped, the people of Israel crossed over on dry land. It is interesting to me to see that the waters mark the journey of the Israelites. The beginning of their journey through the wilderness, involved the parting of the Red Sea and the Israelites crossing the dry land. Then, their journey ends with the waters stopped in the Jordan, and the Israelites crossing the dry land again. Both times, the Lord, who is the living water, made the waters of the earth do His bidding. Both times proved to the people that the prophet was indeed a man of God, chosen to lead them forward. The water was the symbol of the next phase of their lives.

Baptism

Water is a very symbolic thing in the gospel. I can’t help but reflect on the most significant moment in my life that is relating to water, which was my baptism. In my own life, entering into the waters of baptism, marked the next phase of my existence. It is a time I can often reflect on, and remember the decision that was laid before me. Taking that faithful step into the water, has led me on a path of discipleship and great blessings. Additionally, the Lord caused that water to do His bidding, which was to cleanse me and give me new life. I am very grateful for that choice and the opportunities, lessons, and growth it has given to me.

Deuteronomy Chapter 23

The Lord instructed Moses to leave his people with a repetition of the law of Moses. These sermons contained commandments and instruction from the Lord, which, if followed, would have allowed the people to be holy and protected from the world. The sermons of Moses continued in this chapter with rules about who would be allowed to enter the congregation of the Lord.

1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:
4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
5 Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee.
6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.

Those who were not well or whole (without blemish) physically, or a person born to an unwed mother and any of his family for ten generations, were not to enter the congregation of the Lord. Likewise, anyone with Ammonite or Moabite blood for ten generations, was not to enter either, because their ancestors had been a stumbling block to the Israelites as they journeyed to the promised land. Being able to attend the tabernacle and congregation, required a holiness or worthiness of the Lord’s standards. Likewise, in our day there is a standard set in order for anyone to enter the holy temples of the Lord. The standards are not the same, but the principle is. Only those who are worthy to enter and serve there, may do so. This standard applies, so that the temple will not be defiled, because it is the house of the Lord, where the Lord can be among us.

7 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.
8 The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the Lord in their third generation.

Those who were from Edom were not to be hated, because they were their family, the children of Esau. The family of Esau was the extended family to the Israelites, however, they were not of the covenant.
The Israelites were also not to hate the Egyptians, because Egypt had been there for the family of Jacob in a time of need and allowed them to live in their land. Anyone with Edomite or Egyptian blood, would be allowed into the congregation after three generations had passed. I am guessing that would mean being the grandchild of one having married into the Israelite nation, when they were only something like 1/8th Edomite or less.

9 When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.

The Israelites are warned to avoid all wicked things, when they went out to fight their enemies. I am sure moments when they were at war would have been very tempting times.They would have been deep in the world, surrounded by a lot of alluring wickedness, and yet expected to not be of the world. It was a standard of the times, to take the spoils of war for yourself or your nation. I am sure that this also applied to the things they would choose to return home with, or would allow other nations to give to them for their victories and strength.

10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:
11 But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.

In order to keep others from becoming unclean, those who were not considered to be clean were to remain out of the camp until they could wash and become clean. If they did this, more of the nation would be preserved.

12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:
13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:
14 For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

It was necessary that they had a way to keep the land clean from their own waste. They were told to go outside of the camp and use a paddle to cover their waste. The land in their camp, was to be a holier place, where the Lord could walk among them. This was part of the early laws of sanitation and something I am so glad we don’t have to deal with where I live today.

15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:
16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.

If a servant came to them, after having escaped from his master, they were allow him to live with them, and not return him to his master. They were also to treat him with kindness. I am not sure if this only applied to those men of Israel, who entered servitude, but it teaches that the Lord felt they were not to be treated as lost property, but as people who deserved kindness.

17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

There were not to make any Israelite man or woman, into a harlot or prostitute. These acts would have led to a great falling away of Israel, and needed to be avoided completely. Those who were in a life of prostitution and immorality, were also not to be brought to the house of the Lord for any vows or promises. I believe this was due to their unworthiness to make promises there.

19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:
20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

They were not to demand unreasonable amounts of money or goods from their family and neighbors, as part of their payments or exchanges. No additional interests were to be gained from the trades and transactions between the Israelites. This law did not apply to how they dealt with strangers, but among the Israelites, they were to treat others with a kindness and give the things they sold or used, a proper value. Because they were not to bring others into unnecessary amounts of debt and bondage, this law would promote unity and bless the entire nation of Israel.

21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.

It was better not to make a vow with the Lord, than to make a vow without the intent or follow-through to make the expected offerings. Likewise, in our day, it is better that one waits to make covenants with God, until they are truly ready to keep those covenants. Making covenants with God, is eternally binding. One should not take them lightly, or make them for a reason other then they are intended. This is why it is so important that covenants are made with an understanding of what they are and what will be expected of one who makes them.

24 When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.
25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

They were allowed to partake of the field of their neighbors, but not to gather and take them or move them out of the field.

Most of this chapter, seems to be a reminder to the Israelites of the little details of life that could either keep them a holy and worthy people, or cause them to be unworthy of the presence of the Lord. The world may be different in our day, but we are still expected to live the standard of the Lord for us. If we do so, we can be worthy of his spirit among us, and of being able to make covenants and promises in the holy temples on earth today. If we fail to live according to the Lord’s standards, and have no desire to hold to them, we should not attempt to make sacred promises with God, because they will lead to our eternal damnation when we face our own judgement. I am grateful for the gospel, which teaches me how to be worthy to make and keep covenants with God, because I cannot imagine life without the spirit of God, to help and comfort me.

Numbers Chapter 19

The Israelites were wandering in the wilderness at this point in the bible. They had been given the law of Moses with many laws and ordinances. Part of the law, was the law of sacrifice. Each sacrifice had a specific purpose in the purification and sanctification of the children of Israel. The Lord had further instruction in this chapter, which begins:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
2 This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:
4 And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:
5 And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:
6 And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.
7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.
8 And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.
9 And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.
10 And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.

The Israelites were commanded to sacrifice a young red calf, without blemish, which had never borne a yoke. Eleazar, the son of Aaron and priest, was to be given the cow. He was to take her out of the camp, where someone would kill her in front of him. Then Eleazar was to take her blood and sprinkle it seven times, in front of the tabernacle of congregation. The cow was to be burned with cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet. Eleazar, the priest, and anyone who helped to burn the cow, was to wash and return to the camp unclean for the rest of the day. One who was considered clean or worthy, was to gather the ashes and put them in a clean place outside of camp for the water of separation, which was used for purification from sin. The one who gathered the ashes, was then to wash his clothes and be considered unclean for the rest of the day.

11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.
12 He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.
13 Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.
14 This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.
15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean.
16 And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
17 And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:
18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:
19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.
20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.
21 And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even.
22 And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even.

Those who touched the dead, or entered into the tent when someone had died there, were considered unclean for seven days. If they went through purification on the third day, they would be considered clean on the seventh day. If purification was not done, then the person was unclean, and defiled the tabernacle. As a result, they were to be cut off from the people or excommunicated from the church. Part of the purification process, was a sprinkling of the water of separation. The uncovered vessels within a tent where one had died, were also unclean. Those who touched someone who died by sword in battle, any dead body, any bones of a person, or any grave for the dead, were also considered unclean for the seven days. The purification process for these unclean people, was that they were to take the cow ashes and add them to running water in a vessel. Then one who was clean, would then take hyssop, dip it into the water and sprinkle it upon the tent, vessels and any person who had become unclean by the dead. The unclean person was to be sprinkled on the third day. On the seventh day, they were to purify themselves, wash and remain unclean for that day. The person who sprinkled the water of separation was to wash his clothes and be unclean for the remainder of the day. Any individual who touched the water was unclean for the rest of the day as well. Anything that was touched by the unclean, was also considered unclean. Anyone who touched anything considered unclean, was also unclean for the rest of the day.

The Israelites were taught to be clean, and went through a very physical process to be purified. They did this so that they would be considered worthy to the Lord. Today, we should also strive to be found clean and worthy. For us, the process is much more spiritual. It involves sincere repentance and returning to the Lord every step of the way. In Doctrine and Covenants 76:114 and 116, we read, “But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom . . . Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him” We must be purified, in order to be worthy of the companionship of the Spirit. Since true conversion, learning, and growth can only happen when the Spirit can be there with us, we should strive to be pure and clean all the time. I am grateful for atonement and that it covers all things that may cause me to be unworthy. The challenge in life, is to remember to use the atonement everyday through repentance, and then to live according to the will of the Lord. I know that the result of worthiness to the Lord is of great importance and will lead to receiving countless blessings from the Lord.

Numbers Chapter 9

At this point in the bible, the children of Israel were encamped in the desert of Sinai, near mount Sinai. Moses had received instruction in the mount, regarding laws and statutes for his people. They were commanded to build the tabernacle in such a way that they would be able to carry it with them as they traveled to the promised land. I believe they still continued to receive daily bread from the Lord at this time, in the form of manna from heaven. Once the tabernacle was built and dedicated to the Lord, He accepted it and spoke with Moses from the mercy seat. There were pretty constant reminders that the Lord was their God, who had freed them from bondage and saved them both from physical harm and from the spiritual harm that would have been caused if they had continued to be a people of the world. This chapter begins:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2 Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.
3 In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.
4 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.
5 And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.

The Israelites were reminded that this was now the time to keep the Passover. They had already been commanded to remember to keep the Passover all their days, when the Lord first instituted it in the land of Egypt. So, the children of Israel celebrated the Passover, just as they had been commanded.

6 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:
7 And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the Lord in his appointed season among the children of Israel?
8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you.

There were men who did not know what to do, because they were no worthy to keep the passover. They had touched a dead body, which, as the Israelites had been taught, made them unclean or defiled. They went to their priesthood leaders, Moses and Aaron, to learn what should be done. Moses did not know what to do, so he took the issue to the Lord. It is good to have this example of the priesthood line of authority and how to receive revelation on important matters like this. We have modern revelation about this, found in Doctrine and Covenants 102:23, which reads, “In case of difficulty respecting doctrine or principle, if there is not a sufficiency written to make the case clear to the minds of the council, the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.”

9 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the Lord.
11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
12 They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.
13 But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the Lord in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.
14 And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the Lord; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.

Moses was told, that no matter if he was defiled by the dead or journeying, any man of Israel, he was to keep the passover. All the rites and ordinances of the passover were to be kept strictly as they had been commanded. This was the Lord’s answer to their question, and it was kept as doctrine from that time, for all those who would live the law of Moses. By this, I think that being defiled by the dead, was not so serious as some other things that caused uncleanliness in that day. Just as certain sins could be considered lesser sins, today. Like the need to keep the passover, we have a need to partake of the sacrament each week. No one is perfect though, and we are to partake of it worthily. Just as they were told that they were still to participate in the passover, our imperfections and lesser sins should not keep us from partaking of the sacrament. There are things that would cause us to be unworthy to partake of the sacrament. These are the kinds of things that a priesthood leader, such as a Bishop, would need to help us with. Otherwise, the desire to keep the commandment to partake, and the added desire to return to the Lord and renew our covenants, causes us to be worthy to partake of it.

Any man who was able and chose not to keep the passover, would be cut off from the people for his disobedience to the commandment of the Lord. Disobedience to this is the greater sin, I think. To keep the passover, was a commandment, just as remaining worthy was a commandment. However, making the choice to not keep the passover, was worthy of separation from the righteous people and the presence of the Lord. Also, any stranger with them, was to keep the passover along with the Israelites.

15 And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.
16 So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
17 And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.
18 At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.
19 And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not.
20 And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed.
21 And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.
22 Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
23 At the commandment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

When the tabernacle was raised, the cloud of the Lord covered the tent. When the night came, there was the fire of the Lord upon it. The fire remained until morning, when it was covered by cloud. The Israelites were going to be led by the same ways, as they had been led out of Egypt. They were to remain where they were until the cloud lifted. Then they were to travel until they came to the cloud again. They were to camp were ever the cloud was. If the cloud did not raise from the tabernacle, they were to stay where they were until it did, no matter how short or long a period of time that was. If, on any given morning, the cloud raised, they were to continue on their journey.

I am filled with wonder at just how constant the reminder of the Lord’s hand in their life was for these people. They were entirely dependent upon Him, for food, for direction, for guidance and so much more. They were in a desert, far from the things that would have provided others, the necessities of life. And even greater, they had the presence of the Lord with them, with a physical manifestation resting upon the tabernacle. The presence of the Lord is not as obvious in our own lives, but He is always there for us as well. The Lord provides for us in all ways, just as he did for the Israelites. We can come to recognize these same blessings in our lives, as we live according to his commandments. When we are obedient, God has promised that we can each have the spirit of God, as a companion in our lives. The Spirit will be our cloud and fire. The Spirit will protect, provide, direct and guide each of us personally, according to our faithfulness. What an awesome blessing this is.

Leviticus Chapter 15

The previous two chapters dealt with leprosy and the cleansing of lepers, which was part of the law of Moses. The act of cleansing, was not to be rid of the disease, but rather to become worthy to participate in the ordinances and rituals of the Lord. Being unclean with leprosy, was to be unworthy in the sight of the Lord, and I think there are several occasions throughout the bible, where leprosy was brought on by some type of sin. The laws regarding being unclean in other ways, continue in this chapter as well.

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.
3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness.
4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.
5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
6 And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
7 And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
8 And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
9 And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean.
10 And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
11 And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
12 And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.

The header of this chapter, clarifies that an issue means a discharge. Therefore a discharge from the flesh of a man, made him unclean. According to Numbers chapter 5, they were sent outside of the encampment, just as the lepers were. Anywhere he slept or sat, was to be considered unclean. If anyone else touched, sat or slept where the unclean man had been, they were to wash their clothes, bathe and be considered unclean until evening. Anyone who touched someone with this or was spat upon by him, was also to wash his clothes, bathe and be considered unclean until evening. The saddle he sat on, or anything that was under him, was considered unclean. If they carried any of these things, they were considered unclean until evening. If the unclean washed in an earthen vessel, it was to be broken and if it was wood, it was to be rinsed with water.

As a side note, I think that when it says they would be “unclean until the even”, it probably means that they would be considered unclean for the remainder of that day.

13 And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.
14 And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest:
15 And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord for his issue.
16 And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

Once the man was free of the issue, he was to go through the cleansing ritual for seven days. He would wash his clothes and bathe each day. On the eighth day, he would take two turtle doves or young pigeons and offer them at the door of the tabernacle. One would be for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord. The priest would make atonement for the man. Any relations between a man and woman would cause them to be unclean until evening.

19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.
25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
26 Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.
27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

A woman with an issue was separated from others for seven days. Anyone who touched her would be considered unclean. All that she sat or laid on was unclean. Anyone who touched her bed, or anything she touched, would be unclean and would need to wash their clothes and bathe. If a man had relations with a woman who was unclean from an issue of blood, he was also unclean for seven days. If the issue lasted longer, she was to continue to be separated and considered unclean.

28 But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
29 And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
30 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness.
31 Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.
32 This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;
33 And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.

Her cleansing would also be seven days, and then she was to take two turtle doves or two young pigeons to the door of the tabernacle and offer them to the priest. They would be her sin offering and burnt offering, and the priest would make atonement for her.

I’m not sure if these issues of uncleanliness had anything to do with the spiritual worthiness of the individual. It seems that for those with an issue, like those of leprosy, if they were required to be sent out of the camp, they were unworthy of the spirit of the Lord to dwell with them. I think that a lot of this chapter, has to do with the very physical laws of hygene, which needed to be in place to keep the people of Israel a healthy and thriving community. There were some very physical parts of the law of Moses, that remind me that the Lord was in the details of their lives. He is in the details of our lives today. I know this. When we are unhealthy, sick, and such, our minds and bodies become consumed with that very physical need. It is very hard to focus on spiritual things when this happens. It is very important for us to be mindful of how to take care of the bodies we have been given. If we knowingly rebel against those things which will keep our bodies clean and well, we are not worthy of the spirit in the same sense as those who pollute the spirit within themselves, with the effects of sin. Part of the reason for us coming here to gain a body, is to learn mastery of it. This was a lesson for the Israelites, just as it is for us today. And just like it was for them, we can only be worthy of the spirit’s companionship, when we repent and return with our sacrifice of a willing heart and mind to the Lord. Then, the Lord’s atonement will take affect in our lives and we will be clean and worthy of the spirit and the covenants with the Lord.

Leviticus Chapter 14

The Lord revealed his law to the children of Israel. We know this as the law of Moses, because it was revealed to the prophet Moses. The previous chapter of Leviticus, covered some of Gods law regarding leprosy. The Bible Dictionary defines leprosy as, “A terrible form of skin disease spoken of in the Bible.” Under leper we can read, “The disease was regarded as a living death.” In chapter 13, it discussed the law of Moses with regard to the leper and his garments. The law of leprosy continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
8 And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.
9 But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.

When a leper was cleansed, he went before the priest out of the camp and the priest would look to determine if the leprosy was healed. Then, two living birds, along with cedar wood, a scarlet cloth (according to the footnotes) and hysop, were taken and one was killed in an earthen vessel over running water. Then the remaining bird, the wood, scarlet and hysop, were dipped in the blood of the first bird. Then the leper was to be sprinkled seven times, pronounced clean and the bird let loose. Then, the cleansed leper was to wash his clothes, shave his hair, and wash in the water. At that point, he was to return to the camp and remain out of his own tent for seven days. On the seventh day, he was to shave all his hair again and wash his clothes and his body in water to be clean. I think at this point, the person was prepared to return to the tabernacle because he was clean.

10 And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.
11 And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
12 And the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:
13 And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest’s, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy:
14 And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
15 And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand:
16 And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord:
17 And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering:
18 And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord.

On the eighth day, the cleansed man, was to take two lambs without blemish, a year old ewe without blemish, flour mixed with oil for the meat offering, and a log of oil, and return to the door of the tabernacle. Then the priest who cleansed him, was to present the man before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle. The priest was to take one lamb for a trespass offering, and then make a wave offering with the lamb and log of oil. Blood of the offering was placed on the right ear, right thumb and right big toe, of the cleansed man. The priest was to place oil is his left palm, and then with his right hand, he was to use his right finger and sprinkle the oil seven times before the Lord. With the remaining oil in his hand, he was to touch the cleansed man’s right ear, right thumb and his right big toe where the blood had been placed, and then it was to be poured on his head.

19 And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering:
20 And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.

The priest was to offer an atonement offering, after the sin offering, and then he would sacrifice the burnt offering. The meat offering would be made as well. Then after the offerings were made and the atonement made for this man, he would be considered clean.

21 And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth deal of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil;
22 And two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get; and the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering.
23 And he shall bring them on the eighth day for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the Lord.
24 And the priest shall take the lamb of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:
25 And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
26 And the priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own left hand:
27 And the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord:
28 And the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering:
29 And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the Lord.
30 And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get;
31 Even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, with the meat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the Lord.
32 This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.

If the man was poor, he could use a lamb and oil for the trespass and meat offerings, and two turtledoves or young pigeons for the sin and burnt offerings. Likewise, he was to bring them on the eighth day to the tabernacle door. The priest would still make the trespass offering of the lamb and oil as before and use the blood and oil on the cleansed man as mentioned before. Then, the priest would offer one of the birds for the sin offering and the other for the burnt offering, and make an atonement for the man.

33 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
34 When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;
35 And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house:
36 Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:
37 And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall;
38 Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:
39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;
40 Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:
41 And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:
42 And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house.
43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plastered;
44 Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.
45 And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.

The Lord went further to tell Moses and Aaron how to deal with leprosy when they finally arrived in the land of Canaan. At that time, if there was leprosy in a house, the owner was to tell the priest. I find it interesting that it would say in verse 34, “and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land”. It sounds like this was the case when a person was cursed of the Lord, and I wonder if that will come up again later in the Bible. In any case, the priest was to see that the house was made empty before he would look to determine if the plaque was there, so that the people of the house would not be made unclean. The priest would look to see the house, and if it appeared to have leprosy, it was to be shut for seven days. The priest was to look again, and if it had spread, the stones were to be removed and cast out of the city, the remaining house was scraped and the dust that was scraped off, was to be removed from the city. Then new stones, mortar and plaster, was to be placed on the house. If the plaque came again, the priest was to look again and pronounce it unclean. Then the house was to be destroyed completely and all the parts taken out of the city.

46 Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even.
47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.

Anyone who was in the house with leprosy, was considered unclean until the evening. Those who slept or ate there, were to wash their clothes.

48 And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plastered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
49 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:
51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:
52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:
53 But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.
54 This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,
55 And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,
56 And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:
57 To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.

If the house looked the same or better when the priest came to see it the after the new plaster had been put on the walls, then it was pronounced clean. The priest would take two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop to cleanse the house. One bird was killed in an earthen vessel over running water. Then the living bird, wood, scarlet and hyssop were dipped in the blood and running water. The the house was sprinkled seven times. The blood of the bird and the water was used in the house, along with the wood, hyssop and scarlet, in order to cleanse it. The living bird was then let go out of the city and an atonement will have been made for the house. It would then be clean.

The notes here, are my own interpretation of what I have read. It is interesting to me, to read how leprosy would affect people, their clothing and their homes like this. I have heard of experiences where death has left decay and rot in a home, so that is the closest I can come to understanding. It sounds like leprosy was a type of decay of the body, so maybe the idea is pretty close. The Bible Dictionary says the following with regards to leprosy:

There were apparently several types of leprosy, and the word is used in the Bible to designate other sicknesses or diseases. For example, clothing and walls were said to be leprous when they had patches of mildew or some fungous growth, as in Lev. 13:47–59; 14:33–37.

I don’t think I can adequately imagine what it was like, without witnessing the effects of leprosy for myself, and I am glad that I don’t have to at this point.

I think that while this was a very physical law for the people of Israel, which as I mentioned in my previous post, would have been a way to protect the people from destruction within, it is also in the scriptures to remind us of the way sin effects us and should be treated. Sin, like leprosy, is an infectious and cancerous condition of the spirit. It causes spiritual decay when left to spread. If a sin is great enough, it must be taken to the priest, meaning we must confess to our priesthood leadership, like a bishop. The bishop has the authority from God, to determine if the sin has reached the point of making us an unworthy individual to participate in the ordinances of the gospel. If we need to make a change, he will let us know. If we talk with him again, he will determine then if it causes us to be unworthy, or if we can again return to our normal standing within the gospel. We are not made to declare to the world that we are unclean, but the feeling of not being allowed to participate in sacred ordinances, or not being allowed to say prayers or participate during classes in church, is just as lonely a feeling as the lepers had, which were sent out of the city. It can feel like everyone knows and often times like many judge. Worst of all, you can feel the separation from the spirit that one has when they are worthy of it. When the efforts of repentance have been made, and the sin no longer thrives within us, we are asked to come to the Lord and partake of the holy ordinance of the sacrament. This is the ordinance of sacrifice that we participate in today. When we can worthily partake of the sacrament, we can be considered clean from that sin.

(NOTE: The manual I am reading along with this says that the birds represented first, the leper or natural man and the second, the man freed from bondage of sin.)

Jesus-Portrait

I may not be perfect in my interpretation, but when I think of the sacrifice ritual performed for cleansing, it makes me think of the Savior. If the stories of Christ healing the lepers in his minstry, is not enough to cause us to think of Him, there is more here. Two birds are like two individuals brought before the judge or priest, much like we will be brought before God, who is the final judge of us all. One, in an earthen vessel, or in his earthly body, is sacrificed along with wood, a scarlet cloth, and hysop. I’m not sure how the cedar wood was used then, but it reminds me of the wood of the cross, which the Savior was raised upon. A scarlet cloth is a clear reminder to me of the Savior; the symbol of being our king (used even by the soldiers who beat him), the imagery of removing our sins, and a reminder of the clothing he will wear when he returns again. Matthew 27:28 says, “And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.” Then Isaiah 1:18 quotes the Lord as saying, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”. Finally, In Doctrine and Covenants, the words of Isaiah are repeated in section 133 as follows:

46 And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?
47 And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.
48 And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.

Then, the hyssop is a plant which was used during the Savior’s crucifixion. In John 19:29 we read, “Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.” The blood, like His blood, is used with the water to cleanse the remaining individual. We are anointed by his blood and may be pronounced clean, or purified, through the blood of Christ, just as the bird was cleansed by the blood in the ritual. When we are made clean through Christ, we can be worthy to participate in all the ordinances of the priesthood. Therefore, we can be made worthy to receive all the blessings of the priesthood, promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


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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