Numbers 8:5-26 (Part 3) – The Polar Opposites – Old Testament Sin Offerings & Abortions

Posted: July 31, 2016 in Book of Numbers, Current Events

Numbers 8:5-26 (Part 3)

The Levites Dedicated

 

Have you ever really thought about what abortion really is? It is sacrificing a human being for the sins of another. Sure, there are those who say that we should allow abortions because there those who are victims of rape or incest. Such pregnancies arrived at in such a manner account for 1% of all abortions according to an October 1989 article in the New York Times. This issue is an ethical one for Christians for this one percent of cases. How do you justify being against abortion in such cases? First, it begs the assumption that all of these “1% women” are going to unanimously want abortions.  For example, it is commonly assumed that rape victims who become pregnant would naturally want abortions. But in the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion (Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69.) This evidence alone should cause people to pause and reflect on the presumption that abortion is wanted or even best for sexual assault victims. According to David Rearden, Ph.D.’s article “Rape, Incest & Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myths”, he says the following:

 

Several reasons are given for not aborting. First, approximately 70 percent of all women believe abortion is immoral, even though many also feel it should be a legal choice for others. Approximately the same percentage of pregnant rape victims believe abortion would be just another act of violence perpetrated against their bodies and their children.

 

Second, some believe that their child’s life may have some intrinsic meaning or purpose which they do not yet understand. This child was brought into their lives by a horrible, repulsive act. But perhaps God, or fate, will use the child for some greater purpose. Good can come from evil.

 

Third, victims of assault often become introspective. Their sense of the value of life and respect for others is heightened. They have been victimized, and the thought that they in turn might victimize their own innocent child through abortion is repulsive.

 

Fourth, at least at a subconscious level, the victim may sense that if she can get through the pregnancy, she will have conquered the rape. By giving birth, she can reclaim some of her lost self-esteem. Giving birth, especially when conception was not desired, is a totally selfless act, a generous act, a display of courage, strength and honor. It is proof that she is better than the rapist. While he was selfish, she can be generous. While he was destroying, she can be nurturing.

 

So, in justifying the immorality of 99% of abortions, we use the 1%’ers to make them OK. However, the overwhelming majority of abortions are simply to cover up sexual immorality and to avoid the responsibility that often goes along with sexual intercourse. It is making a child pay for the sexual promiscuity of two people (the woman AND the man involved). This is not just a woman thing. It has to do with both sexual partners who typically have had sex outside the marriage covenant and do not want the responsibilities that come with sex. The child of such episodes of unrestrained sex is sacrificed on the altar of sexual freedom. The child is offered up as a victim to release us from the real problem in our society of the devaluation of sex to physical exercise rather than the joy of a man and woman inside the marriage covenant. And, this writer, is not some bitter old Christian man who is against sexual promiscuity because I wish I could have had all that fun. Although I have never been involved in abortion or ever involved in a pregnancy outside of marriage, it is only by the grace of God that I didn’t. I am a statistic of the sexual promiscuity of our age. It is only through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit where I progressively am convicted of each of the sins that previously justified and must repent of them. As Christ followers, the Holy Spirit battles with our flesh to reveal to us the sins that we did not realize were sins or battle with our flesh to convince us that we must give up our pet sins – those stubborn sins that we refuse to see as sins initially and those that we doggedly hold on to. It is only through the Holy Spirit that I now see my sexual past as shameful and not as a point of pride as to the number of notches on my belt.

 

So, abortion is an optional form of birth control in our society when all of our other forms of birth control did not work. We sacrifice life for a life. We sacrifice a child with growing and multiplying cells because men and women desire sex without restraint. An innocent child is sacrificed for our sexual desire for sex with no consequences. We are offering up beating hearts of unborn children for our sexual sins. When I look at my first grandchild and see the amazing miracle that is life as it expressed in a young baby and knowing that she was once life inside my daughter’s belly, how grieved is God each time a life of a baby is snuffed out through abortion. I thank God for the beautiful innocence of my grandchild who was conceived by a husband and wife inside the marriage covenant. I thank God for that innocent little life. She already has personality at 6 days old. She is a unique child of God that will bring gifts and talents to the world that God deems necessary. Even after only 6 days, it pains me to think of that life not being lived.

 

We may look back on the Old Testament sacrificial system and see it as the brutal killing of animals for the sins of the people of Israel and see it in in other ancient societies as an archaic practice to appease imagined but unreal gods. However, in the name of sexual sin, are we not doing the same thing today and calling it the right to choose. What right are we choosing? Are we not offering up innocent lives for our sins?

 

For some reason today, the Holy Spirit lead me to think about how in an immoral way we are offering up innocent lives to cover up sexual sin in abortion. However, that can be contrasted with God’s prescribed way for us to publicly recognize or sin in the sin offerings of the Old Testament. Abortion is a sacrifice of innocent life to cover up sin whereas the sin offerings were a public way to admit sin and repent of it. Abortion allows us to continue sinning whereas the sin offering was the way to repentance before the Lord and turn away from sin. The sin offerings were a prelude to the innocent life that was sacrificed for our sin in the once and final sacrifice on the cross by Jesus Christ.

 

Let’s read the full passage together and then let’s concentrate on vv. 8-9 for today after we have read through it:

 

5 The Lord said to Moses: 6 “Take the Levites from among all the Israelites and make them ceremonially clean. 7 To purify them, do this: Sprinkle the water of cleansing on them; then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes. And so they will purify themselves. 8 Have them take a young bull with its grain offering of the finest flour mixed with olive oil; then you are to take a second young bull for a sin offering.[a] 9 Bring the Levites to the front of the tent of meeting and assemble the whole Israelite community. 10 You are to bring the Levites before the Lord, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them. 11 Aaron is to present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the Lord.

 

12 “Then the Levites are to lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, using one for a sin offering to the Lord and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to the Lord. 14 In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.

 

15 “After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the tent of meeting. 16 They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman. 17 Every firstborn male in Israel, whether human or animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself. 18 And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel. 19 From among all the Israelites, I have given the Levites as gifts to Aaron and his sons to do the work at the tent of meeting on behalf of the Israelites and to make atonement for them so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary.”

 

20 Moses, Aaron and the whole Israelite community did with the Levites just as the Lord commanded Moses. 21 The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes. Then Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the Lord and made atonement for them to purify them. 22 After that, the Levites came to do their work at the tent of meeting under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. They did with the Levites just as the Lord commanded Moses.

 

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, 25 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. 26 They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”

 

It is the sin offering that the Isrealites offered up to the Lord as us realizing that we committed a sin. We recognize our sin and we want the Lord to know that we know it and that we are condemned by it. The sin offerings were God’s allowed way for us to make ourselves right with him. A life of an innocent animal was offered up in our place. The Israelite knew that it should be he that should have been punished not the innocent animal. There was humility that came with that realization. Humility was also in the fact that I publicly recognized my sin before God and before the nation of Israel. I admitted that I sinned against God and against the fabric of Israelite society. It was a prelude to the once and final sacrifice at the cross of Jesus Christ that ended and concluded the Old Testament sacrificial system.

 

In Jesus Christ, we have a life that was sacrificed before God to atone for our sins. It was not a one person for one sin sacrifice. He was the Son of God who took on the wrath of a perfect and just God for the sins of all mankind for all time. All we have to do is express to God with our mouths that we are sinners who are destined for our deserved fate in hell in the absence of Jesus Christ. All we have to do is believe and express that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that we are made right through Him, the Son of God. His sacrifice for our eternal lives. His sacrificial death gives us life. We must admit that we have sinned and stand before all those will hear and say I am a sinner and it is only through Jesus’ sacrificial death that I have life. Jesus’ death is the last sacrifice. No more sacrificial death for atonement and to give new life is necessary. He finished it forever.

 

That is the thing that makes the OT sacrificial system that ended at the cross with Jesus different. It was a death for the purpose of our repentance. It is a line in the sand that we accept and turn away from our sins. We are made perfect in Christ’s covering for our sins and thus allows the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and convict us of our fleshly sins and desires and to make us holy and righteous as time progresses toward that day we are perfected in heaven.

 

Abortion though is the opposite of that. It is covering up sin. It takes away the consequences of sin but there is no conviction. It allows us to continue our sinning. It is the sacrifice of an innocent life so that we can continue sinning. The OT sacrifices that ended with Jesus was God’s avenue for us to recognize that we are indeed sinners and that we are destined for punishment and consequences not only in this life but in the life eternal. We must recognize our sins to take advantage of the sacrifice of Christ. We must say we are sinners to be covered by this sacrifice.

 

In saying that I am against abortion, though does not mean that I bomb abortion clinics or protest outside them. It means that I praise God for the woman who goes through with her pregnancy and brings new life into this world and I help her in any way that I can. It means that I pray for those who have had abortions and are dealing with the devastating emotional consequences of said abortions to come to our fellowship of believers and lead her to the cross where she will find grace just as we all have. Let us love those who have unwanted pregnancies and those who have aborted them. God has grace for them through Jesus Christ. They can bring their sins to the cross and find repentance and joy in Jesus Christ there.

 

I pity those whose eyes have not been opened and pray for them too. May the eyes of those who see abortion as a birth control choice be opened to the truth that they are sacrificing children at the altar of sexual freedom and justifying it as revolutionary freedom for women. May their eyes be opened to their sacrifices at the wrong altar.

 

Amen and Amen.

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