Thursday, April 12, 2007

Strange Rituals

Numbers 19:1-10 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: "This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting.

While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and offal. The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer.

After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening. The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening.

"A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin. The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the aliens living among them.


PERSONAL COMMENTARY


The Bible has many of these strange rituals. Why does an omnipotent, omniscient, infinite God need these types of rituals to interact with his creation?

6 comments:

jason said...

I don't see where the Bible says that God "needs" these types of rituals to Interact with his creation. An omnipotent God doesn't "need" to do anything. The laws were meant to 1. bring the people closer to God (not vice versa), and 2. foreshadow the sacrifice of Christ and the bringing in of the new law.

On the surface these things might seem bizarre but we can rest assured there's a reason behind every single one of these God-enacted requirements. It's no good looking at it from 10,000 feet. Getting up close and personal and doing a little digging is what it's all about. :)

What are the ashes for? What do they represent? Is there a link between the "ceremonial clean place" and the tomb in which Christ was placed? Is there a link between washing and baptism? Who knows, but it'd certainly be a great study!

lenny said...

Jason,

You're right on the surface these things do seem bizarre but like you, I'm sure there's a purpose behind it. Just not sure what it is.

Lenny

jason said...

I wonder if ashes somehow symbolically represent the sin that was been burned/destroyed when the sin offering was sacrificed? It's interesting that the ashes were disposed of outside of the encampment in the same way the sin was removed from the people or individual.

Hm. Just a random thought :)

alan said...

guys

you're deluded, or on crack, or both.

On what basis is anyone to trust your assertion that god has a reason for this nonsense? Is it because somewhere in the bible, you can see a vague consistency that makes you believe there is a connection (e.g. the ashes comment)?

You can't even show me evidence of the existence of a supernatural being, let alone evidence of its purposes.

There is no deeper purpose, because it's all made up any way. It was all concocted by primitive people who desperately sought an explanation for events in the world. Lacking a science to explain it, they did the best they could.

Tell me this, why don't you see all of these crazy things happening any longer? Is it because god grew tired of demonstrations like you see in the bible, or is because they never happened in the first place; and now that we can verify truth or fiction, deluded people can't get away with feigning credibility and frightening people.

mitzi said...

there is no limit to the rediculous excuses chrisrtians can come up with for their childish and insane god

faith is poison

Salutations75 said...

The Bible is perfectly connected from back to front, and the main story line is clearly seen through every book. From the beginning in Genesis where God says "I will send a child of the woman" to Abraham where God says one of his descendants will be blessing to the nations, to Moses where God says he will raise up a person with the word of God in his mouth (and in the NT Jesus is the word of God) to king David where God promises one of his descendants will reign for eternity once he takes the throne (Jesus took the throne after his resurrection) to all the prophecy books which explain in startling detail the events of Jesus' life hundreds of years before he even lived.

As for the rituals, all of the sacrifices were pictures of what the promised Messiah would do for the nation - as the animals died for the sins of the people as a picture, so Jesus died for the sins of the people to finally pay them off.

All throughout the old testament there are people and events which are symbolic of Jesus - king David, King Solomon, Jonah, Abraham, Moses, Adam, the list goes on and on. Just how you see previews of a movie, so they were previews of Jesus. The previews do not reveal everything, but they show enough for you to get an understanding of what the directors wanted you to see.

I was an atheist until God proved me wrong.
As for the Bible being taken literally... What does common sense tell you about reading a book? Take poems as poems, take songs as songs, take parables as parables, take allusions as allusions, take hyperbole as hyperbole, and take what has no indication of being any of the things i previously listed, as being literal. If you come to me and say "I read in Pslams that God has wings, therefore He has wings", then I say to you that you have failed to use common sense while reading and have taken poetry as being literal. If you come to me and say "Jesus didn't really rise from the dead, it was a nice strange poem about symbolic victory over death", then I say to you that you once again have failed to read with common sense. If you make it a habit to mock the Bible, it is mostly because you also make it a habit to turn off your brain when you read it and forget that there are rules to the language it is written in which must be followed.

Woe to you, atheists, the answers to your questions are nothing but question marks. You take theories and call them facts, and you do so with the vigor of the religious fanatics! Woe to you atheists, you laugh at people because of what you do not understand, calling them ignorant because you yourself lack understanding.

May God have mercy on stupid people - may God have mercy on atheists.