Scripture about Offerings and Partiality

  • James 2: 
    • If God is the greatest authority, then to accomplish his works, he must believe in himself. If Christ had to believe in his father and obey him (both faith and works) in order to bring about salvation, then that is essentially proof of God believing in himself to accomplish his purpose. When I say “believing in himself”, I’m not talking about self esteem. However, God following through with the plans he was going to work out from the beginning seems like a form of faith to me, or at the very least, works. If God was not confident of his own plan to see out the rest of creation, he would not have moved or created the entire universe to begin with. If God didn’t think action was necessary, none of us would be here.
    • We dishonor the poor man a lot in how we frame politics of poverty and personal worth in the United States. Sounds like a human problem.
    • If you want to work for God’s kingdom instead of just exalting yourself here on earth, work by mercy. I know that we are all fellow sinners, but it’s not like with grace, mercy is impossible, or that God is vague in what he’s asking. He expects the impossible with the assumption of a grace he freely provides. Which means that you and I have some work to do.
  • Deuteronomy 2:4 When the Sanhedrin killed Jesus, they did it because of this reason. Because of their own righteousness, they killed the one who was only truly righteous. Isn’t that how judgment works? When you divide your heart and partially dole out love to the children of God you like or the parts of Scripture that you think encourage (gutting the rest), you are committing the sin of partiality and become a judge.
  • Leviticus 22:17-20 Despite how rejecting Leviticus has become a slogan of supporting gay marriage, if we actually look at this book, there is a lot to love. This particular passage focuses on the importance of having your offerings be without blemish for the Lord to accept them (under the Abrahamic covenant). The fact that Christ was absolutely without blemish is probably  part of what made his life, death, and blood compensation enough to atone for all of creation.
  • Side note: When I say “All of creation”, I’m actually also talking about the animals. We can debate this one. It was human’s job (both genders, Genesis 1:28) to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth”. Given how God cares for every part of creation intimately, this would imply not just authority, but stewardship of the entire earth and everything in it. When we see the destruction of ecosystems, global pollution and species extinction due to negligence, that is also the sin of humanity.
  • Leviticus 2-5 My favorite section of Leviticus, the rules and descriptions for different types of offerings! In these chapters, we can examine how Christ’s coming fulfilled the requirements for all types of offering.
    • Grain offering: Part of the “hidden manna” mentioned in Revelation 2:17 is actually the body and blood of Jesus Christ, who was an offering for man. We represent this by communion, but communion itself is also a throwback to Old Testament sacrifices of grain and livestock (blood) unto God. When Jesus performed the last Supper communion ritual before he went to slaughter, he knew full well what role he was supposed to play. Like the bread and meat brought to Elijah by ravens during a famine (1 Kings 17:6), the honey and milk coming out of Jerusalem, and the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37, Jesus is our source of living water, life, and provision. Having his body be delivered up as food for the spirit achieves this end.
    • Peace offering: This type of offering was to allow for reconciliation with God and other humans. This was the redemption part of the promise that every believer receives by faith and by God’s mercy. The process of God lifting you out of pain and earthly suffering by the strength of his spirit and not necessarily circumstance is him making peace with us, like the rainbow promise given to Noah and the covenants he made with generation after generation of his people. Because Christ is the fulfillment of those promises and all those prophecies, and was the much awaited hope of a lot of people’s steadfast love and hope, it only makes sense that his life and death would be a symbol of joy, as it is because of resurrection.
    • Guilt offering: This is grace. The purpose of this type of offering was to make atonement for the sins of a people. This offering is in order to make restitution for sin, and by the blood of the animal offered, the sins of the believer are forgiven. This is the part about the new name given to Jacob “Israel” (Genesis 35:10) and the new identity given to people in faith mentioned in Revelation 2:17. I like to think of this kind of offering as wiping the slate clean, which was what Christ had to do in order to have God forgive us. It’s not like God is this big terrible being, but by Israel turning from God over and over and over again, their disobedience made it impossible for them to still receive blessing from God (by following his rules, the commandments). Without this crucial piece of paying off debts, it would be a lot harder to bridge the gap. People still have to choose God via free will, but by Jesus, at least there is a way to get to him.
    • Sin offering: This one is my favorite. For this type of offering, you specifically need the blood of a lamb (Get the worship songs now? hehehe kay). Like Passover in Egypt and the blood of lambs applied to the doorways of homes with hyssop (or your body, which is a temple and the house of God), we’ve got Jesus’ blood as the mark of purification over the faith of a believer. For Christ to be a lamb, then it means that he is one who was perfectly blameless (of the disposition of lambs). The horror and destruction that was inflicted upon the Egyptians without the blood of the lamb is echoed again in Revelation, what with the various plagues and opportunities for the people’s repentance. This one is meaningful to me to think about how much Christ’s death cost him, but also his followers; most of all, his mother. It is especially weary for me to realize that Mary both treasured up the joy of having Christ as her son in her heart, and had to watch as he suffered on behalf of all humanity. Any woman who has lost a child to violence or bloodshed can relate to that. I think of the fear of bringing children into a crazy world when I think of Mary’s life, especially with Herod trying to kill Jesus as a toddler and ultimately, the cross. She must have had a really hard life. And yet, thinking about all that sorrow creates a more thorough understanding of the comfort the Lord will bring to Zion, and to his creation. Eventually, there will be some kind of peace.

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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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