Saturday, April 27, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Leviticus 16 and Justin Martyr's First Apology 56-58

Leviticus 16 - Day of Atonement—When Aaron goes into the sanctuary he needs to bring a young bullock for a sin offering and a ram for a holocaust.  From the community he shall receive two male goats to the entrance and cast lots to determine which one will be for the Lord and which one will be for “Azazal” - a name for Satan the note suggests—it translates the word as “escaping goat” hence “scapegoat”.  The one for the Lord shall be offered up as a sin offering (hattat).  The other shall be “set alive before the Lord” and then sent into the desert.

The bullock Aaron brings for himself shall be offered up to atone for himself and his family.  Incense from the altar of sacrifice shall be brought inside the veil, placed on the fire so that a cloud of incense covers the propitiatory.  The blood of the bullock shall be sprinkled on the propitiatory. 

Then he offers the people’s sin offering and does the same with its blood—he makes atonement for the sanctuary, the meeting tent, for himself and for the community, for the altar—mixing the blood of both sacrifices. When he comes out he shall place his hands on the head of the other goat and confess the sins of the community.  Then the goat is escorted out of the community, out into the desert.  He leaves his vestments in the sanctuary, bathes and puts them on again and then offers up the holocaust and burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
There shall be a fast on this day as well every year in perpetuity.

Early Christian Writers
Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) – First Apology
The Demons Still Mislead Men
56 – Not only did “the evil spirits” rely on their pre-incarnation stories of Jupiter and his sons, even AFTER Christ’s appearance and AFTER they learned of the prophesies regarding Him and AFTER they should have believed, the still continued to set their eyes on lesser men like Simon Magus and Menander.

We pray that the “sacred senate” and you leaders help people to avoid those evil doctrines and destroy the statue set up to honor them.

And Cause Persecution
57 – The devils can’t persuade us that there will be no eventual punishment of evil – just as they couldn’t keep Him hidden after He came.

The only thing “they who live irrationally, and were brought up licentiously in wicked customs, and are prejudiced in their own opinions, should kill and hate us.” But not only do we NOT hate them, we pity and try to lead them to repentance.

We do not fear death; all die. If they don’t believe that we exists after death, they help us by setting us free.

And Raise Up Heretics
58 – These same devils have tried to get us to list to Marcion of Pontus, “who is even now teaching men to deny that God is the maker of all things in heaven and on earth, and that the Christ predicted by the prophets is His Son, and preaches another god besides the Creator of all, and likewise another son. And this man many have believed, as if he alone knew the truth, and laugh at us, though they have no proof of what they say, but are carried away irrationally as lambs by a wolf, and become the prey of atheistical doctrines, and of devils. For they who are called devils attempt nothing else than to seduce men from God who made them, and from Christ His first-begotten; and those who are unable to raise themselves above the earth they have riveted, and do now rivet to things earthly and to the works of their own hands; but those who devote themselves to the contemplation of things divine, they secretly beat back; and if they have not a wise sober-mindedness, and a pure and passionless life, they drive them into godlessness.”

Marcion was not trying to lure men TO THE WORLD but away from all things physical. And that is not what we are about as Christians anyway. Our savior came in human flesh to redeem the lives we live.

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