Monday, April 22, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Leviticus 7-8 and Justin Martyr's First Apology 41-43

Leviticus 7Instructions for the Guilt Offering: The ceremony for making guilt offerings—the priests may eat of it as with cereal offerings and sin offerings.  The peace offering is different.  They are made in thanksgiving, and may include loaves of leavened bread along with unleavened cakes and an animal.  A portion of each shall be for the priest, but any “clean” or “unpolluted” person may eat of it too

The fat of ox, sheep or goat is not to be eaten (7:24).  Fat from animals who die naturally or are killed by other beasts may be used for “other things” but not for eating.  A portion of peace offerings—typically the fat together with the breast is offered to the priest.  The fat shall be burned and the meat given to the priest as a “wave offering” or “offering raised up” (7:30).

Leviticus 8 – The ordination ceremony: Aaron and his sons are washed before the community, clothed with the vestments including a miter on his head with gold plate and sacred diadem; the dwelling is anointed and consecrated, oil sprinkled on the altar and appurtenances; some anointing oil on Aaron’s head.

The sacrifices are a sin offering, the fat is burned on the altar with innards, etc.  Then there is a burnt offering (holocaust or “offering-up”) offering; the second ram is the “ordination” (“giving-mandate”) ram.  They may not depart from the entrance of the meeting tent for seven days.  The ordination lasts that long.  This is all to make atonement for them as priests.

Early Christian Writers
Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) – First Apology
The Crucifixion Predicted
41 – Again, “in another prophecy, the Spirit of prophecy, through the same David, intimated that Christ, after He has been crucified, should reign, and spoke as follows: ‘Sing to the Lord, all the earth, and day by day declare His salvation. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, to be feared above all the gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols of devils; but God made the heavens. Glory and praise are before His face, strength and glorying are in the habitation of His holiness. Give Glory to the Lord, the Father everlasting. Receive grace, and enter His presence, and worship in His holy courts. Let all the earth fear before His face; let it be established, and not shaken. Let them rejoice among the nations. The Lord hath reigned from the tree.’” A note adds that this last sentence is not in any of copes we have of Psalm 96. When I tried to find more information about this, I found this online:

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible (1832) has this in it:
“It appears that this reading did exist anciently in the Septuagint, or at least in some ancient copies of that work, for the reading has been quoted by Tertullian, Lactantius, Arnobius, Augustine, Cassiodorus, Pope Leo, Gregory of Tours, and others. . . . It is necessary, however, to add, that no such words exist in any copy of the Hebrew text now extant, nor in any MS. yet collated, nor in any of the ancient Versions. Neither Eusebius nor Jerome even refer to it, who wrote comments on the Psalms; nor is it mentioned by any Greek writer except Justin Martyr” (

Prophecy Using the Past Tense
42 – “[T]he Spirit of prophecy speaks of things that are about to come to pass as if they had already taken place.” The words cited were all “uttered 1500 years before Christ become a man and was crucified.” This number is a mistake and commentators are not sure if it was Justin Martyr’s error or an error in transcription of his work.

“But our Jesus Christ, being crucified and dead, rose again, and having ascended to heaven, reigned; and by those things which were published in His name among all nations by the apostles, there is joy afforded to those who expect the immortality promised by Him.”

Responsibility Asserted
43 – Justin Martyr, while he finds excitement and convincement from his exploration of predictions made in the Jewish scriptures, he does not want to make it look as if he thinks everything is predestined in this life.

“We have [also] learned from the prophets . . . that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g, be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed.”

“Unless the human race [has] the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be.”

We see people transitioning from good to evil and also from evil to good, so there must be some element of choice going on in their lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment