The Passover

Exodus 12:1-20

Highlight from this Passage

  • The Lord institutes the Passover.
  • The Passover foreshadows Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

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The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.

“‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you.And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

“‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean. And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean. Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.

“‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite,any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

“‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground.Of these you may eat any kind of locust,katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other flying insects that have four legs you are to regard as unclean.

“‘You will make yourselves unclean by these;whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash their clothes,and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘Every animal that does not have a divided hoof or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass of any of them will be unclean. Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. Anyone who picks up their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. These animals are unclean for you.

“‘Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. Of all those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you. Whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean till evening. When one of them dies and falls on something, that article, whatever its use, will be unclean, whether it is made of wood, cloth, hide or sackcloth. Put it in water; it will be unclean till evening, and then it will be clean.If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean, and you must break the pot. Any food you are allowed to eat that has come into contact with water from any such pot is unclean, and any liquid that is drunk from such a pot is unclean. Anything that one of their carcasses falls on becomes unclean; an oven or cooking pot must be broken up. They are unclean, and you are to regard them as unclean. A spring, however, or a cistern for collecting water remains clean, but anyone who touches one of these carcasses is unclean. If a carcass falls on any seeds that are to be planted, they remain clean. But if water has been put on the seed and a carcass falls on it, it is unclean for you.

“‘If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who touches its carcass will be unclean till evening. Anyone who eats some of its carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. Anyone who picks up the carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘Every creature that moves along the ground is to be regarded as unclean; it is not to be eaten. You are not to eat any creature that moves along the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is unclean. Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. I am the Lordyour God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God;therefore be holy, because I am holy.

“‘These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground. You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.’”

The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

“‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.

“‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a shiny spot on their skin that may be a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest.The priest is to examine the sore on the skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling skin disease. When the priest examines that person, he shall pronounce them ceremonially unclean. If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days.On the seventh day the priest is to examine them, and if he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is to isolate them for another seven days.On the seventh day the priest is to examine them again, and if the sore has faded and has not spread in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them clean; it is only a rash. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean. But if the rash does spread in their skin after they have shown themselves to the priest to be pronounced clean, they must appear before the priest again. The priest is to examine that person, and if the rash has spread in the skin, he shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease.

“When anyone has a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to the priest. The priest is to examine them, and if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white and if there is raw flesh in the swelling, it is a chronic skin disease and the priest shall pronounce them unclean. He is not to isolate them, because they are already unclean.

“If the disease breaks out all over their skin and, so far as the priest can see, it covers all the skin of the affected person from head to foot, the priest is to examine them, and if the disease has covered their whole body, he shall pronounce them clean. Since it has all turned white, they are clean. But whenever raw flesh appears on them, they will be unclean. When the priest sees the raw flesh, he shall pronounce them unclean. The raw flesh is unclean; they have a defiling disease. If the raw flesh changes and turns white, they must go to the priest. The priest is to examine them, and if the sores have turned white, the priest shall pronounce the affected person clean; then they will be clean.

“When someone has a boil on their skin and it heals, and in the place where the boil was, a white swelling or reddish-white spotappears, they must present themselves to the priest. The priest is to examine it, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has turned white, the priest shall pronounce that person unclean. It is a defiling skin disease that has broken out where the boil was. But if, when the priest examines it, there is no white hair in it and it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the priest is to isolate them for seven days. If it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling disease. But if the spot is unchanged and has not spread, it is only a scar from the boil, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.

“When someone has a burn on their skin and a reddish-white or white spot appears in the raw flesh of the burn, the priest is to examine the spot, and if the hair in it has turned white, and it appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling disease that has broken out in the burn. The priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease. But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in the spot and if it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the priest is to isolate them for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine that person, and if it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease. If, however, the spot is unchanged and has not spread in the skin but has faded, it is a swelling from the burn, and the priest shall pronounce them clean; it is only a scar from the burn.

“If a man or woman has a sore on their heador chin, the priest is to examine the sore, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease on the head or chin. But if, when the priest examines the sore, it does not seem to be more than skin deep and there is no black hair in it, then the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread and there is no yellow hair in it and it does not appear to be more than skin deep, then the man or woman must shave themselves, except for the affected area, and the priest is to keep them isolated another seven days.On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread in the skin and appears to be no more than skin deep, the priest shall pronounce them clean. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean. But if the sore does spread in the skin after they are pronounced clean, the priest is to examine them, and if he finds that the sore has spread in the skin, he does not need to look for yellow hair; they are unclean. If, however, the sore is unchanged so far as the priest can see, and if black hair has grown in it, the affected person is healed. They are clean, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.

“When a man or woman has white spots on the skin, the priest is to examine them, and if the spots are dull white, it is a harmless rash that has broken out on the skin; they are clean.

“A man who has lost his hair and is bald is clean. If he has lost his hair from the front of his scalp and has a bald forehead, he is clean. But if he has a reddish-white sore on his bald head or forehead, it is a defiling disease breaking out on his head or forehead. The priest is to examine him, and if the swollen sore on his head or forehead is reddish-white like a defiling skin disease,the man is diseased and is unclean. The priest shall pronounce him unclean because of the sore on his head.

“Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt,cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

“As for any fabric that is spoiled with a defiling mold—any woolen or linen clothing,any woven or knitted material of linen or wool, any leather or anything made of leather— if the affected area in the fabric, the leather, the woven or knitted material, or any leather article, is greenish or reddish, it is a defiling mold and must be shown to the priest. The priest is to examine the affected area and isolate the article for seven days.On the seventh day he is to examine it, and if the mold has spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather, whatever its use, it is a persistent defiling mold; the article is unclean. He must burn the fabric, the woven or knitted material of wool or linen, or any leather article that has been spoiled; because the defiling mold is persistent, the article must be burned.

“But if, when the priest examines it, the mold has not spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather article, he shall order that the spoiled article be washed. Then he is to isolate it for another seven days. After the article has been washed, the priest is to examine it again, and if the mold has not changed its appearance, even though it has not spread, it is unclean. Burn it, no matter which side of the fabric has been spoiled. If, when the priest examines it, the mold has faded after the article has been washed, he is to tear the spoiled part out of the fabric, the leather, or the woven or knitted material. But if it reappears in the fabric, in the woven or knitted material, or in the leather article, it is a spreading mold; whatever has the mold must be burned. Any fabric, woven or knitted material, or any leather article that has been washed and is rid of the mold, must be washed again. Then it will be clean.”

These are the regulations concerning defiling molds in woolen or linen clothing, woven or knitted material, or any leather article, for pronouncing them clean or unclean.

The Lord said to Moses, “These are the regulations for any diseased person at the time of their ceremonial cleansing, when they are brought to the priest: The priest is to go outside the camp and examine them. If they have been healed of their defiling skin disease, the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed. Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot. He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. Seven times he shall sprinklethe one to be cleansed of the defiling disease, and then pronounce them clean. After that, he is to release the live bird in the open fields.

“The person to be cleansed must wash their clothes, shave off all their hair and bathe with water; then they will be ceremonially clean. After this they may come into the camp, but they must stay outside their tent for seven days. On the seventh day they must shave off all their hair; they must shave their head, their beard, their eyebrows and the rest of their hair. They must wash their clothes and bathe themselves with water, and they will be clean.

“On the eighth day they must bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb a year old, each without defect, along with three-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, and one log of oil.The priest who pronounces them clean shall present both the one to be cleansed and their offerings before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

“Then the priest is to take one of the male lambs and offer it as a guilt offering, along with the log of oil; he shall wave them before the Lord as a wave offering. He is to slaughter the lamb in the sanctuary areawhere the sin offering and the burnt offering are slaughtered. Like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest; it is most holy. The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand, dip his right forefinger into the oil in his palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of it before the Lord seven times. The priest is to put some of the oil remaining in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering. The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed and make atonement for them before the Lord.

“Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from their uncleanness. After that, the priest shall slaughter the burnt offering and offer it on the altar, together with the grain offering, and make atonement for them, and they will be clean.

“If, however, they are poor and cannot afford these, they must take one male lamb as a guilt offering to be waved to make atonement for them, together with a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, a log of oil, and two doves or two young pigeons, such as they can afford, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.

“On the eighth day they must bring them for their cleansing to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the Lord. The priest is to take the lamb for the guilt offering, together with the log of oil, and wave them before the Lord as a wave offering. He shall slaughter the lamb for the guilt offering and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot.The priest is to pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand, and with his right forefinger sprinkle some of the oil from his palm seven times before the Lord. Some of the oil in his palm he is to put on the same places he put the blood of the guilt offering—on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot.The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed, to make atonement for them before the Lord. Then he shall sacrifice the doves or the young pigeons, such as the person can afford, one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, together with the grain offering. In this way the priest will make atonement before the Lord on behalf of the one to be cleansed.”

These are the regulations for anyone who has a defiling skin disease and who cannot afford the regular offerings for their cleansing.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession, and I put a spreading mold in a house in that land, the owner of the house must go and tell the priest, ‘I have seen something that looks like a defiling mold in my house.’ The priest is to order the house to be emptied before he goes in to examine the mold, so that nothing in the house will be pronounced unclean. After this the priest is to go in and inspect the house. He is to examine the mold on the walls, and if it has greenish or reddishdepressions that appear to be deeper than the surface of the wall, the priest shall go out the doorway of the house and close it up for seven days. On the seventh day the priest shall return to inspect the house. If the mold has spread on the walls, he is to order that the contaminated stones be torn out and thrown into an unclean place outside the town. He must have all the inside walls of the house scraped and the material that is scraped off dumped into an unclean place outside the town. Then they are to take other stones to replace these and take new clay and plaster the house.

“If the defiling mold reappears in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house scraped and plastered, the priest is to go and examine it and, if the mold has spread in the house, it is a persistent defiling mold; the house is unclean. It must be torn down—its stones, timbers and all the plaster—and taken out of the town to an unclean place.

“Anyone who goes into the house while it is closed up will be unclean till evening.Anyone who sleeps or eats in the house must wash their clothes.

“But if the priest comes to examine it and the mold has not spread after the house has been plastered, he shall pronounce the house clean, because the defiling mold is gone. To purify the house he is to take two birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop. He shall kill one of the birds over fresh water in a clay pot. Then he is to take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet yarn and the live bird, dip them into the blood of the dead bird and the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times. He shall purify the house with the bird’s blood, the fresh water, the live bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop and the scarlet yarn. Then he is to release the live bird in the open fieldsoutside the town. In this way he will make atonement for the house, and it will be clean.”

These are the regulations for any defiling skin disease, for a sore, for defiling molds in fabric or in a house, and for a swelling, a rash or a shiny spot, to determine when something is clean or unclean.

These are the regulations for defiling skin diseases and defiling molds.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any man has an unusual bodily discharge, such a discharge is unclean. Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean. This is how his discharge will bring about uncleanness:

“‘Any bed the man with a discharge lies on will be unclean, and anything he sits on will be unclean. Anyone who touches his bed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.Whoever sits on anything that the man with a discharge sat on must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘Whoever touches the man who has a discharge must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘If the man with the discharge spits on anyone who is clean, they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘Everything the man sits on when riding will be unclean, and whoever touches any of the things that were under him will be unclean till evening; whoever picks up those thingsmust wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘Anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘A clay pot that the man touches must be broken, and any wooden article is to be rinsed with water.

“‘When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing; he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water, and he will be clean. On the eighth day he must take two doves or two young pigeonsand come before the Lord to the entrance to the tent of meeting and give them to the priest. The priest is to sacrifice them, the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement before the Lord for the man because of his discharge.

“‘When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening. When a man has sexual relations with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both of them must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly periodwill last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.

“‘Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. Anyone who touches anything she sits on will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, they will be unclean till evening.

“‘If a man has sexual relations with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days; any bed he lies on will be unclean.

“‘When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. Anyone who touches them will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

“‘When she is cleansed from her discharge, she must count off seven days, and after that she will be ceremonially clean. On the eighth day she must take two doves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting. The priest is to sacrifice one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement for her before the Lord for the uncleanness of her discharge.

“‘You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.’”

These are the regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen, for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or a woman with a discharge, and for a man who has sexual relations with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.

Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month, they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household; and if the household is too little for a lamb, then he and his neighbor next to his house shall take one according to the number of the souls. You shall make your count for the lamb according to what everyone can eat. Your lamb shall be without defect, a male a year old. You shall take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at evening. They shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel, on the houses in which they shall eat it. They shall eat the meat in that night, roasted with fire, with unleavened bread. They shall eat it with bitter herbs. Don’t eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire; with its head, its legs and its inner parts. You shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; but that which remains of it until the morning you shall burn with fire. This is how you shall eat it: with your belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is Yahweh’s Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and animal. I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. I am Yahweh. The blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be a memorial for you. You shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh. You shall keep it as a feast throughout your generations by an ordinance forever.

“‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away yeast out of your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. In the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no kind of work shall be done in them, except that which every man must eat, only that may be done by you. You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this same day I have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty first day of the month at evening. There shall be no yeast found in your houses for seven days, for whoever eats that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a foreigner, or one who is born in the land. You shall eat nothing leavened. In all your habitations you shall eat unleavened bread.’”

What are the Holy Scriptures?

The Holy Scriptures are found in the Bible. The Old Testament books are the Jewish Scriptures. The New Testament books are the Scriptures that explain how Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. Both testaments form a unified story about the creation, fall, redemption, and restoration of humanity and all of God’s creation. This story is a true revelation from God Himself and inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain, inerrant, and infallible way that we can know the true God, His standard for righteous living, and His plan of salvation. General revelation from nature shows God’s goodness, wisdom, and power, so there is no reason why people should say that there is no Creator. Still, this natural general revelation is insufficient to provide knowledge of God and His will that is necessary for salvation. Therefore, God revealed Himself at different times and in various ways to declare His will to His Church. Afterward, He had people write down His specially revealed truth to preserve and propagate it. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are necessary now that God no longer reveals Himself in His former ways.

The Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament are the following Hebrew books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The Holy Scriptures of the New Testament are the following Greek books: Matthew; Mark; Luke; John; Acts; Romans; 1 & 2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; l & 2 Thessalonians; 1 & 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon; Hebrews; James; 1 & 2 Peter; 1, 2 & 3 John; Jude; and Revelation.

The books commonly called “The Apocrypha” were not divinely inspired and are not considered Scripture. Therefore, they have no authority in the Church and have no use other than as ordinary human writings.

The Holy Scriptures’ authority comes from God Himself, for He is their author. The Scriptures’ authority does not come from any person or the Church. Therefore, the Church receives the Scriptures because they are the very words of God. The Church’s testimony may persuade people to regard the Scriptures highly. However, the full persuasion of its truth comes from God the Holy Spirit, who bears witness to it.

The Holy Scriptures are complete, and nothing more should be added to them. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit may illuminate people’s understanding of the Scriptures and how to wisely apply them today.

Some things in the Scriptures are not immediately plain and clear to everyone. However, all that is necessary to know and believe for salvation is clear and plain so that anyone may clearly understand it through ordinary means.

The human authors penned the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. God the Holy Spirit inspired the books in these languages. However, God’s people have a right to read and understand the Scriptures, so they should be faithfully and accurately translated into other languages.

The best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture. If a portion of Scripture is not immediately clear, readers should consult other portions that address the same doctrine to form a clearer picture of the Scriptures’ teachings.

The Scriptures are the supreme judge for all religious controversies. Opinions and the decrees of councils should be accepted or rejected based on a faithful interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.

For to Us A Child Is Born

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 9:1-7 (ESV)

Does Leviticus 13:45-46 Advise Wearing Masks to Stop the Spread of Disease?

As of this writing, the COVID pandemic continues and variants threaten to render our vaccines ineffective. Discussions on whether or not to reinstate stricter lockdowns and mandates have reemerged. Leviticus 13:45-46 has trended online because a cursory reading of this verse seems to suggest that people should cover their faces when they have a disease.

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.”

Leviticus 13:45-46, ESV

Naturally, people want to know whether this verse suggests wearing masks to stop the spread of disease and whether quarantines are justified. I still believe that the responsible use of masks, quarantines, and vaccines is warranted during this pandemic. These measures are compatible with biblical ethics. However, I do not believe that God commands mask-wearing and quarantining per Leviticus 13 to stop the spread of disease.

Confusing a passage’s application with its interpretation is a common mistake that readers can commit. We have to resist the urge to jump to an application without first knowing the author’s intent and how the original recipients understood it.

Many things about life are perennial throughout time and cultures. However, we can’t assume that ancient people always understood things the way we do today. Nor can we always assume that they did things for the same reasons that we do now.

Germ theory states that microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses cause disease, and it is well accepted by scientists. Most people accept this theory and are familiar with ways to prevent diseases. However, we must realize that ancient people likely did not understand germ theory. Ancient people had no awareness of microorganisms.

Leviticus 13:45-46 is about keeping death from life. The notes in the ESV Reformation Study Bible explain:

13:1–14:57 These chapters contain God’s laws concerning unclean skin diseases referred to as “leprous disease” (13:2, 8). Modern physicians recognize here the symptoms of various modern complaints, but we should remember that the biblical classification is based primarily on spiritual rather than hygienic or medical considerations. The key principle in identifying a skin disease as “unclean” was whether the skin seemed to be rotting away, suggesting the spiritual principle of death. Patchy complaints amounted to uncleanness (vv. 9, 10), but a complaint affecting the whole body did not (vv. 12, 13). Stable conditions were clean, but deteriorating ones were unclean (vv. 5–8, 18–37). Similar principles applied to the diagnosis of uncleanness in clothing: progressive mildews were unclean (vv. 47–52), but stable ones were clean (vv. 53–58). The close association of uncleanness with death is shown in 13:45. The person afflicted with a serious skin disease behaved as a mourner (21:10). He was excluded from the camp, not to protect the health of Israel, but because God was in the camp and uncleanness (death) had to be separated from the presence of God (life).

ESV Reformation Study Bible

Not all skin conditions were considered ceremonially unclean, as shown in chapter 13. However, leprosy was associated with death. In his commentary on Leviticus 13:45-46, Martin Noth explains that lepers made themselves unrecognizable by covering their mouths and looked like they were morning for the dead (p. 106). They called out “unclean” as a warning to others, who presumably came by to deliver food and drink, and isolated themselves until the disease ended.

Some of the laws in Leviticus coincidentally align with modern practices for healthy living and good hygiene. However, that is neither the book’s intent nor the passage’s. The rotting skin of leprosy is death. Death was brought about by sin, which came from Adam and Eve’s disobedience towards God (Genesis 3). Sin literally means to “miss the mark,” and that mark is God’s standard for righteousness. Sin is evil, and anything evil is contrary to God’s established order for the universe. Therefore, death caused by leprosy is evil and it cannot be in God’s presence.

Leviticus describes how God’s people were to approach Him before Jesus died on the cross for the world’s sin. It foreshadows what took place on the first Easter (Romans 3:25). Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law, so we do not uphold it today. Nevertheless, the principles found in Leviticus 13 and the Old Testament ceremony are still applicable.

We should also note that Jesus, who is God the Son, approached lepers to heal them because He has made clean what was once unclean (Mark 1:40-45). We might not necessarily experience skin diseases like leprosy today. Still, we remain spiritually dead to the things of God until He breathes life back into our souls. Unable to approach God or else face His wrath in our sinful state, He poured out His wrath on Jesus as our substitute. We now have the privilege to be in God’s presence, receive the Holy Spirit, and be transformed into His likeness. Jesus Christ died for our sins so that all who die in Him shall be resurrected to life in the end.

The Mark of the Beast and COVID Vaccines

So many conspiracy theories are circulating about the COVID vaccines. One of these theories is that the vaccines are somehow the Mark of the Beast in Revelation. The conspiracy is that these vaccines somehow have the ability to implant microchips into patients so that the Antichrist can track what we do, and Bill Gates is somehow involved.

Revelation is a difficult letter to interpret, and it still perplexes and fascinates both Christians and non-Christians alike. As I wrote about before, there are different views on Revelation and the end times that are within the scope of sound doctrine.

I could be wrong, but do you think ancient first-century Christians in Asia Minor (the recipients) thought about microchips and vaccines when they read Revelation? Several biblical scholars see several allusions to Old Testament passages in Revelation. Does anyone else see the relationship between Revelation 13:16 and Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Matthew 21:12? Let’s look at those three passages:

And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

Revelation 13:15-18, ESV. Emphasis mine.

Here is the Shema found in Deuteronomy:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, ESV. Emphasis mine.

Here is Matthew’s account of Jesus driving out the money-changers from the Temple:

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 

Matthew 21:12, ESV. Emphasis mine.

Are you aware that the Hebrew cryptogram (the sum of the numerical value of letters in a Hebrew word or phrase) for Caesar Nero equals 666? There are alternate manuscripts that read 616. Guess what an alternate spelling of Caesar Nero totals? 616! I’m sure the recipients were not thinking about Bill Gates!

Could it be that the Mark of the Beast is referring to apostate Jews making a mockery of the Jewish religion as they recited the the Shema every day? These apostates’ hearts were far away from God because they rejected their Messiah. Could it be that buying and selling refer to the mockery these apostates made of the temple?

The Romans granted Jews some degree of freedom as part of their political arrangement. As Christianity became recognized as a distinct religion from Judaism, both Jews and Romans persecuted the early Christian church. Could it be that the Jews were guilty of adulterating the covenant they made with God with Rome?

Speaking of adultery, in Revelation 17, we see a harlot seated on the Beast. Take note of what she is wearing and compare it with the priestly garments in Exodus 28.

And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

Revelation 17:3-6, ESV. Emphasis mine.

“And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together. And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel.

Exodus 28:6-9, ESV. Emphasis mine.

Could it be that the harlot of Babylon is another reference to apostate Jews? In the Old Testament, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the Jews. Could it be that the apostate Jews are ironically portrayed as Babylon for persecuting faithful Jewish Christians (see Acts 6:1-8:2)? As for the apostates’ judgment, the Beast (i.e., Rome) with whom they have had a love affair is to attack them (Revelation 17:15-18). The Jewish age came to an end in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem. The faithful remanent of Jewish Christians were preserved and the gospel of Christ went out to the Gentiles (see Peter’s vision in Acts 6:9-23 and also Romans 11).

Also, consider that the Beast’s seven heads in Revelation 17:9-11 is further evidence that Nero is referenced. The seven hills is a reference to the seven hills of the city of Rome. The heads of the Beast represent different Roman emperors. If we start with Julius as the first emperor (as many ancients did) and count forward through the first five that have fallen, the sixth one in line is Nero. Rome had a civil war after the seventh king, Galba, who was emperor “for a little while” (approximately seven months). Rome nearly collapsed after that civil war. An eighth mentioned is Vespasian, who resurrects the empire and “goes to his destruction.” Under Vespasian, Rome attacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple during the First Roman-Jewish War in 70 AD.

Also, note that there appears to be a standing temple in Jerusalem in Revelation 11. There is no temple in the city by the book’s end (Revelation 21:22).

Could it be that the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in the late 60s of the first century and ending in 70 are the key to interpreting Revelation? I believe the internal evidence from the text demonstrates that is the case. Debates continue whether John actually wrote Revelation in the 60s. If so, then this book is a prophecy about Christ’s immediate judgment of unfaithful Jews with His second coming in the distant future to judge the nations.

Today’s majority scholarly opinion is that John wrote Revelation around 95 AD, but this may not rule out a narrative that starts in the late 60s and ends with the second coming. If John indeed wrote Revelation c. 95 AD, he could be describing the future second coming of Christ in types based on the events leading up to 70, linking the theme of Christ’s judgment found in the two events together.

Why do people today think that Revelation is written to them? Yes, it is written for them to apply its principles today. The book is not about them or else what would be the immediate context for the original recipients?

There are certainly many things from Revelation that we can apply to our lives during this crazy time. Rejecting a life-saving vaccine is not one of them, though. My conviction is that the COVID vaccine is not the Mark of the Beast. No one is making anyone renounce God when taking the shot, and no, there are no microchips in the shot either. Do as you wish, but I urge you to take the vaccine if it is suitable for your health. Let’s all do our part to knock COVID out and end this pandemic.

Avoid Evil Companions: Some Wise Words From Proverbs 1:10-19

My son, if sinners entice you, don’t consent. If they say, “Come with us. Let’s lie in wait for blood. Let’s lurk secretly for the innocent without cause. Let’s swallow them up alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down into the pit. We’ll find all valuable wealth. We’ll fill our houses with plunder. You shall cast your lot among us. We’ll all have one purse.”

My son, don’t walk on the path with them. Keep your foot from their path, for their feet run to evil. They hurry to shed blood.
For the net is spread in vain in the sight of any bird; but these lay in wait for their own blood. They lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain. It takes away the life of its owners.

(WEB)

Are Works Necessary for Salvation?

Many religions teach that performing good works or following a set of rules is the only way to achieve salvation. They teach that their god will not show them any favor if they do not live up to a certain standard. They believe that salvation is something that people must earn. Some cultic groups teach something similar to these religions. They believe that we must work our way into heaven by performing good works:

WORKS = SALVATION

On the other extreme, some have thought that we can continue to live in sin without consequences since we are saved by faith alone. Works have nothing to do with salvation:

FAITH = SALVATION

Others teach that belief in Jesus’ atonement on the cross for our sins provides salvation after all that we do for ourselves:

FAITH + WORKS = SALVATION

Biblical Christianity has always taught that we cannot earn salvation by good works. None of us can live up to God’s standard because of our sinful nature. Paul explains this clearly in his letters (See Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:9, and Romans 3:10 as examples). Salvation is only possible by God’s grace through faith in Jesus (Romans 3:28). What are we to believe about works, then, when other Bible passages say that faith without works is dead? James says:

What is the benefit, my brothers, if someone says that he has faith but does not have works? That faith is not able to save him, is it? If a brother or a sister is poorly clothed and lacking food for the day, and one of you should say to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but does not give them what is necessary for the body, what is the benefit? Thus also faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself. . . . You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. . . . For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. 

James 2:14-17; 24; 26, LEB

Is there a contradiction in the Bible here? Not at all. Although we are saved by faith in Christ, Paul does not suggest that we continue to sin so that grace may abound (Romans 6). Good works are a normal part of the Christian life, but good works alone do nothing to save. Salvation comes through faith without works. We can understand the relationship between faith and works in the following way:

SALVATION = FAITH – WORKS

Let’s rearrange this statement to discover what works are. We find that trusting in works to please God is really faith without salvation:

WORKS = FAITH – SALVATION

So, what does this mean regarding faith? Let’s rearrange the statement to find what faith is. We find that good works accompany salvation that comes through faith in Christ:

FAITH = SALVATION + WORKS

Christian faith is an action, biblically speaking. J. D. Greear explains: 

Often we equate faith with a mental assent to the facts. Faith, however, is synonymous with action: apart from action, there is no faith. . . . Faith is a conviction expressed in a choice. It starts with belief, but if this “belief” does not lead to obedience, it is not yet faith. Your “belief” does not become true faith until you act upon it in obedience. Faith is belief in action.” 

https://jdgreear.com/faith-is-action/, para. 2-3.

So indeed, as James says, faith without works is dead. Christians do not perform good works to try to gain God’s favor and earn salvation, and nor do they perform them to boast about what they can do (Ephesians 2:9). Good works come by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as He conforms us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Without good works, there is no evidence of genuine faith.