II CHRONICLES

Chapter 31

 

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
is provided by
http://www.theseason.org/ 

"Restoration of the Offerings. [3 - 10]"
"Preparation for the Worship of YHVH. [11 - 19]"

II Chronicles 31:1 "Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the highplaces and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities."

When the fourteen days of Passover were over, the people moved through their communities and destroyed the images, altars and groves that were made for the worship to Baal. This clean up was not restricted to Judah, but the men of Israel moved also through Ephraim and Manasseh and the other tribal areas and destroyed the altars and images to Baal, and tore down the groves there also.

To put this in modern day times, think of all the things that have entered into our lives to cover over those important feast days, such as Passover, and Christmas. Today it is almost an insult to many people of our land to bring up the name of Christ, and those feast times and days. Our Heavenly Father told us to remember each of those holy feast days to the final generation of flesh man in this earth age. Today most churches simply do not know what is from the laws of God, or what is celebrated by tradition. The word "Easter", comes from the heathen goddess "Ishtar", from the ancient sun goddess following the time of Nimrod [of Genesis 11]. Those early sunrise morning times of bowing to the eastern rising sun, paid tribute to that goddess Ishtar [the wife of Nimrod], yet by their claiming this worship act is of Christ, most Christians think that this mixing of heathen with the things of God makes it alright.

The rolling of the Easter eggs seems so cute to watch the children out in the field, but it also is the reminder to the adults of those sex orgies in the groves. Hezekiah was cleaning up those wicked reminders to make his kingdom right before the Lord. The Kenites have many little lies and cute stories about the Christmas time, and their lies have become our traditions. Christ is being left out of His feast time all together. We like to call ourselves a Christian nation, but even the churches [the Beth-aven, houses of nothingness] are becoming comfortable in their redefining of the Word of God. Why? So the Word can fit into their acceptance of the things of the devil.

After the cleanup of the things of idolatry the priests taught the people from the laws of God so they could understand why the priests offer the appointed courses at the appropriate times, and in the right order. The priest must offer the sin offering when it is necessary and due, and the peace offering when it is in order. We will now get into those different offerings that King Hezekiah ordered to take place.

II Chronicles 31:2 "And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the Lord."

It was the duty of the sons of Aaron to make these courses or offerings are being given. They are the only ones designated by God to stand before the altar of God rendering these offerings: "every man according to his service". Here in Hezekiah's day, certain Levites were consecrated to help out where and when there was a shortage of men for the task in certain areas.

The "Olah" were the "Burnt offerings" from the Hebrew; so called from the "Hiphil" of the verb `alah, meaning "to cause to ascend"; as the smoke from the flames ascended to the heavens. It is from the word "alah" that we get the Greek for of the word, "holocausta", conveying the meaning of a complete destruction, being wholly burnt.

The "Shelem" were "peace offerings"; called the "Shelem", meaning "peace"; and it conveys the idea of "peace on the grounds of perfection of compensation or recompense". Thus it is connected with the thought of rendering payment of vows and praises because of peace already enjoyed by the individual, family or nation. Those verses giving us the Law of the Peace Offering are laid out in Leviticus 7:11 - 34. All peace offerings come before the sin offerings; however in the law of the offerings dealing with the communion after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the peace offerings comes last. Why? Until we have dealt with our sins and placed them under the blood of Christ, we can not take delight in Christ, and given Him the praise that He rightfully deserves.

The "Chattath Offering" is the "sin offering", and it comes from the Hebrew word "Chat'a", meaning, "coming short of the mark". Missing of the mark of God's perfection are sins that were committed by commission, for whatever the reason. In the "Piel" it means to purge from such sin as given in Psalms 51:7. In the "Olah" the blood burnt went upward, but here in the "Chattath" the blood flows downward and outward, away from the camp and the people. In the Piel and the Olah, the blood is completely burnt, whereas in the Chattath, it is poured out on the ground away from the altar.

It is important to understand that there is no part of the sin offering that was to be eaten by the priest, because the blood of the sin offering sacrificed was taken into the holy of Holies, the sacred place, and offered for the sins of the people. The Laws governing the sin offering are laid out in Leviticus 6:24 - 7:10.

The "Asam Offering" is the "trespass offering". The trespass offering deals with the sins of omission, which the "chattath" relates to the sins of commission that those people are aware of what they have committed. These sins are from the error of the person arising from ignorance or negligence, or just not paying attention to what you ought to be doing. Leviticus 7:1 - 10 deals with this offering.

The "Nedabah offering" is the "freewill or voluntary offerings", as given in Leviticus 22:18. The nature of this offering is for a peace offering, a voluntary gift to God by the giver. The "nedabah offering" can not be given by force or with a motive in mind.

King Hezekiah assigned to each of the priest and Levites their duties to see that each of these offerings were rendered on time and in the manner and order that it was to be preformed. These offerings were given according to the instructions written down by Moses, and recorded in the first seven chapters of the book of Leviticus.

II Chronicles 31:3 "He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord."

In those days of the Judges, prior to when there was a king in Israel, the priests and Levites judged and governed the land. The King over Israel then was YHVH our Heavenly Father. The Laws of God were the laws of the land that governed the people, and by the laws of God people were judged. The tenth was for the Lord, it was given and brought to the house of the Lord for the use of running of the affairs of the house of the Lord. The tithe was used as well for taking care of those things that later fell under the government. When God gave the people of Israel a king, then those powers of church and state were separated. However when a king or queen did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, God dealt harshly with him or her, such as in Saul's case, and many of the other kings we have read about in these books of the kings.

During the time of the Judges, Israel wanted a king, and God granted their request by Samuel appointing and anointing Saul as their king. David was anointed to be king of Israel also by the prophet Samuel at Saul's death. God warned the people that if they had a king over them, the king would take the choice of the land, wealth, animals and crops, as well as their sons and daughters as his servants, and to serve in his military. They willingly agreed to the terms God set forth through the prophets. So taxes came into being, and we have the same being levied on us to this day. There is a difference between the taxes, and the tithe, for the taxes run the government, while the tithe is the Lords, and it goes to the place where you receive your spiritual food, the teaching and the guidance for your life and that of your family.

The Taxes are regulated by the king or in our case, by the elected body of government that is set over us that we have voted and appointed. If you cheat on your taxes and get caught in an audit, for what ever the reason, then there are penalties to be paid, and if intentionally, even jail terms. This is no difference than when there is a king reigning over you, but in the case of your tithe; [that is not yours, but God's] you give to where every you receive your spiritual instruction. If there are two places, then it is divided in accordance with the percentage you receive from each. God is the judge here, and He reads your heart and mind, and He knows the intent of what and why you are doing it. This is where the blessings and cursings come in, for if your heart is right, and the intent of what you do is pure, He will bless you.

In verse 3, King Hezekiah has ordered that the priests and Levites sanctify themselves and make themselves ready for this series of animal sacrifices, and to make the preparations for the people to come to Jerusalem. This requires a lot of food to feed them, as well as the animals to be used in the sacrifices. These sacrifices have not been made by and for the people in many years on such a massive scale, and King Hezekiah is committing part of his "kings portion", those taxes due him. He made the food and animals available where it was needed for both the priests and Levites, and for the substance for the people. If you are going to have animal sacrifices, and the people don't bring them, then those animals must come from somewhere.

During the time of the Passover feast, and the fourteen day feast of the unleavened bread King Hezekiah demanded that the morning and evening sacrifices be given daily. The priests also made the offerings and sacrifices of the Sabbaths to be continued. Until the people provided for those sacrifices, the animals, flour and bread; those items will come from the kings portion [taxes]. Remember these sacrifices had not been made prior to this for several hundred years. Both Israel and Judah had sunk deep into Baal worship, idolatry, and the sexual orgies of the groves.

II Chronicles 31:4 "Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord."

King Hezekiah also asked the people of Jerusalem to share freely with their brethren that came to Jerusalem from the cities of Judah, as well as the house of Israel. This would encourage the people coming to Jerusalem to respond and support the house of the Lord after the Passover feast was completed. The King could count on his portion coming in, for they are the taxes on the land and people; but it is the tithe that he is thinking of here. The people must support for the house of God, the priests and Levites to carrying on their duties and represent them before the Lord.

II Chronicles 31:5 "And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly."

After the king spoke the people brought the tithe and the first fruits came pouring into the house of the Lord. There was no holding back by the people, for they gave of their tithe that belonged to the Lord. "The tithe of all things brought they in abundantly".

II Chronicles 31:6 "And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps."

II Chronicles 31:7 "In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month."

The foundation for the fall harvest feast and the feast of booths of the seventh month started right after they finished with the fourteenth day of the feast of unleavened bread. The King and Levites knew that those same people would be back to the house of the Lord in that seventh day to make their sacrifices.

II Chronicles 31:8 "And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord, and His People Israel."

II Chronicles 31:9 "Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps."

King Hezekiah came to the house of the Lord and viewed the massive amounts of goods and animals that were given as the tithe to the Levites and priests. Hezekiah could see problems arising in the future, and he knew that preparation for the distribution must be made. The needs of the Temple and the care of the Levites and priests must tended to. King Hezekiah made room for the storage, and appointed the men to record and plan for the acceptance of the tithe, so that financial responsibility could be met.

II Chronicles 31:10 "And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, "Since the People began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed His People; and that which is left is this great store."

II Chronicles 31:11 "Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the Lord; and they prepared them,"

Notice that the priests and Levites were there when the tithe and offerings came pouring in, yet it took the leadership of the king to demand that the means of accountability be set up. This is done in all church houses today, the accounting of the money and goods given to the Lord's house.

II Chronicles 31:12 "And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next."

The first thing that is done with the tithe is asking God's blessing over the tithe, for it is no different in our church houses today, than it was in Hezekiah's day.

II Chronicles 31:13 "And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ishachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God."

In church houses today we have the deacons, the elders, the financial secretary, and all the other positions made to handle the paying of the bills, to cleaning the church, ushering and singing in the choir. In that these things had not had an order or form prior to this time for several hundred years, the king had to oversee the setting up of those assignments and duties. These men chosen to do these tasks are from the tribe of Levi, and their tasks will be in accordance to the assignments that Moses gave those four families back in the wilderness.

II Chronicles 31:14 "And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the Lord, and the most holy things."

II Chronicles 31:15 "And next him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in their set office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small:"

II Chronicles 31:16 "Beside their genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, even unto every one that entereth into the house of the Lord, his daily portion for their service in their charges according to their courses;"

From the age of three, the males of the Levites started their training, and each male was assigned a daily portion individually that came directly from the tithe. Of course different duties required different portions, just as today. The pastor of the church should receive a greater income, than his assistant; because the responsibility is greater. The Levites portion to a little child was little more than food, cloths, and what it took to live. The life's occupation for each child of the tribe of Levi, was based on the family lineage, and each family had prescribed duties for the rest of their life.

II Chronicles 31:17 "Both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their charges by their courses;"

Each Levite entered into the service of the house of the Lord at the age of twenty one. Their individual assignments were determined by what family they were born into. There were four different family groups within the tribe of Levi. The sons of Aaron were assigned the service of making the sacrifices on the altar before the Lord, and the entering into the hole of holies to stand before God for the people. Numbers 4 gives us the duties of each of the families of the Levites.

Numbers 4:4 - 6 "This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:" [4] "And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it:" [5] "And shall put thereon the covering of the badgers' skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue and shall put in the staves. [6]

The sons of Kohath duties were to move and care for those holy items of the Temple. "Holy", meaning items to be used only for the worship in the Temple.

Numbers 4:15 "And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation."

In Numbers 4:24 we see the duties of the son of Gershon. "This is the sevice of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens:" These Gershonites took care of the heavy things that must be moved and handled.

Numbers 4:25 "And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the handing for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation."

The Gershonites were to move the curtains of the tabernacle and all the items of covering that have the badgers' skins covering them. They are also responsible for the taking down, moving and setting up of the main door to the tabernacle, and the Holy of Holies. All the cords and partitions of the tabernacle, and everything not covered by badgers' skins were their duties. The real work horses of the Levites were the sons of Merari, the youngest son of Levi. All the heavy panels, the tent, poles and heavy items were handled by the Merarites. They were given extra oxen and carts for the movement, but this would be their life's occupation within the house of the Lord.

When the Temple of God was about to be built in Jerusalem, the need for these occupations were no longer needed, and God instructed David what their new tasks of responsibility would be. David then was the person that designated those things that were to be holy and used in the Temple of the Lord, and the things that would not be used. The designation to be "holy", meant that the only place that item or person could be used was in the Temple for the worship of YHVH our heavenly Father. These are the duties then that King Hezekiah assigned to each of these priest and Levites, and the items that would be made holy for the use by the Priests and Levites. So it became important to trace the lineage of each Levites, to identify what families each belonged and where he would be assigned.

II Chronicles 31:18 "And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness:"

"Sanctified" meant that they were set aside for a specified task, and "in holiness", meant that that task was strictly for the use of the Lord's work before the congregation within the Temple. King Hezekiah saw to it that the parents of each child would devote themselves completely as a holy body to be given to service within the assembly.

II Chronicles 31:19 "Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, which were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every several city, the men that were expressed by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites."

This meant that each man of the tribe of Levite, no matter what there family, had to go on record stating their family heritage so the priests could assign them to the area of responsibility. Many of these men had become farmers in the country side, and took up other occupations in the cities, but when this census was taken, these men and their families took up their new role in the community. This was much the same way that the selective service works. Men at the age of eighteen are required to place their name on a list to make themselves available during a time of war, and to prop up our military. This list of Levites designated where a young man would serve in the Temple.

For several hundred years the house of Judah had been bowing to Baal, chasing around in the groves in their orgies form of worship, and making their little gods that they would bow down to. The sons of Aaron had no congregation to lead, so to take care of their families they went to farming in the countryside, and other occupations in the cities. By registering their names as being the sons of Aaron identified each man in the records in Jerusalem, to be set aside for service in the Temple of the Lord.

II Chronicles 31:20 "And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God."

King Hezekiah sought to please the Lord in all manners that he did; from the way that the worship service and offerings and sacrifices were made, to the people that would be performing the service. It was good because it conformed to the laws God set forth. Hezekiah was right, and truthful in the manner done, with nothing hidden and in secret.

II Chronicles 31:21 "And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered."

When you do what is right before the Lord, then expect those blessings to come your way, for God promised that they would. Moses told us in Deuteronomy 28 exactly what we could expect when we lived our lives by His laws, and the curses that would come our way, when we did not follow God's laws. When you follow the ways of the Lord, the blessing will come.

 

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