Over the last couple of articles, I undertook quite a deep investigation into the differences between Greek rational/logical thought and the style of thinking of the Bible writers, which is ANALOGICAL THOUGHT.
So I think by now the conclusion should be quite clear.
We must throwaway our Greek mindsets and abandon the search for “why?” when reading Scripture.
Instead we must seek out the basic PATTERNS, PRINCIPLES, and MODELS established for us in the Torah.
And again, I reiterate, you are only going to find these patterns, principles, and models in the Torah folks.
Ya ain’t gonna find ’em in the New Testament!
Today I want to take a look at one fundamental Torah pattern God has provided for us.
If you don’t understand this pattern, you will not be able to understand the real Hebrew meaning (not Greek rational/logical babble) behind the Kosher food laws as well as many other parts of Scripture.
So let me start off by reinforcing a point I’ve mentioned a couple of times in previous posts.
The universe we live in consists of four dimensions.
Those four dimensions are time, length, width,and height.
Now within our 4-dimensional universe, the Lord has always set apart and reserved a space HOLY unto Himself and for His People.
The first Holy space on earth was the Garden of Eden.
The second Holy space on earth was Mount Sinai.
The third Holy space on earth was the portable Tabernacle.
The fourth Holy space was the Temple built at Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.
Next, all of the Lord’s Holy places have always been divided into THREE ZONES OF VARYING DEGREES OF HOLINESS.
These three zones of holiness can be seen at Mount Sinai, the Wilderness Tabernacle, the priesthood and even in the bodies of the sacrificial animals.
Let’s take a look at how this PATTERN of the three zones of holiness can be seen in each one.
THE 3 ZONES OF HOLINESS AT MOUNT SINAI
First, the very top or the summit of Mount Sinai was where God’s presence rested and ONLY Moses was allowed to go up there. At the time, not only was the summit of Sinai the holiest place on the mountain, it was the holiest place on the whole planet.
Second, the next holiest zone on the mountain was its slope. Only the future High Priest Aaron, his sons, and the 70 elders (the government of Israel) were permitted to enter this holy zone.
Third, the final zone of lesser holiness but still holy nevertheless was the bottom of the mountain where the common Israelites could come and worship.
THE 3 ZONES OF HOLINESS AT THE WILDERNESS TABERNACLE
First, we have the Holy of Holies which was the innermost part of the wilderness Tabernacle. Only YHVH’s presence and his appointed High Priest entered this area.
Second, we have the space termed the Holy Place. This was an area of lesser holiness than the Holy of Holies and only the common priests had the privilege of entering here but they weren’t permitted to go any further.
Third, outside of the tented sanctuary, we have what was called the Outer Courtyard. Only your ordinary Israelite was allowed into this area. Keep in mind that this was a NO GENTILE ZONE. Per the Biblical definition, a gentile was COMMON or another way to put it, a gentile was somebody who had not been declared holy by the Lord.
This reminds me of why it is important to have a proper understanding of the term “Outside the Camp”. Because “outside the camp” is referring to any space OUTSIDE of the 3 zones of holiness we are now discussing.
THE 3 ZONES OF HOLINESS IN THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD
First, the High Priest is the Most Holy person within the Levitical Priesthood and it is ONLY the High Priest who can enter the most holy place called the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle.
Second, we have the Common Priests who are a notch down on the totem pole of holiness. The Common Priests served as sort of a buffer between the Lord and the ordinary Israelites and they were only allowed to enter the Holy Place of the Tabernacle.
Third, we have the non-priest Levites. These folks were still God’s specially appointed servants but they were NOT priests and their movements were restricted to the Tabernacle courtyard-the 3rd zone of holiness.
So we can see that even the priesthood reflects the 3-ZONES of holiness pattern. Again, be aware that a person OUTSIDE of the Priesthood was forbidden from performing any of the tasks reserved for only the Common Priests and non-priest Levites.
THE 3 ZONES OF HOLINESS IN THE BODY OF THE SACRIFICIAL ANIMAL
The body parts of the sacrificial animal were placed on the altar one on top of each other in a certain order that reflected the 3-ZONES OF HOLINESS pattern.
First, the innermost parts of the animal, its entrails, were placed at the very top of the pile or the summit. So metaphorically speaking, the “Holiest of Holies” of the animal was placed at the very top of the pile.
Second, underneath the entrails, the fat that originally covered the entrails was placed. In Hebrew, this type of fat was called HELEV and could NOT be eaten because obviously it was HOLY unto the Lord. Keep in mind that this is different than the fat that can be eaten by the way, which is called SHUMAN in Hebrew. SHUMAN is that glistening white marbly stuff we can see in the meat wrapped in cellophane on display at the meat counter of your favorite supermarket. That is OKAY to eat.
What’s interesting is that the layer of fat (HELEV) surrounds the inner entrails so thoroughly, you can’t even see the organs until the fat is removed. This fat was equivalent to the Holy Place (the 2nd Zone of Holiness) in the Tabernacle.
Third, at the very bottom of the pile of animal parts was the head. Why? Because the head is the part of the animal’s body the FARTHEST away from the inner organs (the entrails) and was equivalent to the Outer Courtyard of the Tabernacle.
So we can see that even the body parts AND the way they were placed on the altar reflected the 3 holiness zones. The innermost parts of the animal were the MOST HOLY. The HELEV fat served as a buffer (just like the Common Priests) and separated the HOLY OF HOLIES part of the animal (the entrails) from the rest of the body and the head which was classified as the least holy.
To conclude, we can see that it is the PATTERNS in Scripture that weave everything together and I just demonstrated how one pattern can be seen at Sinai, the Tabernacle, the Priesthood, and even in the body of the sacrificial animal.
This same 3-zone holiness pattern can also be seen at the Garden of Eden by the way.
So when your Greek rational/logical brain begins to raise its head and ask questions like the following:
“WHY are the laws for the Priesthood designed the way they are?”
“WHY are the laws concerning the structure and organization of the Tabernacle ordained as they are?”
“WHY are the laws for how the body parts of the sacrificial animal arranged as they are on the altar?”
The answer for ALL of these questions is simply because THEY CONFORM to the PATTERN of the HOLINESS ZONES the Lord established since the foundation of the world.
There is no other answer and there never will be any other answer.
What I’ve just presented to you is analogical thinking at its finest.
AND THIS WAS THE THINKING STYLE OF THE HEBREWS!!!
The answer to many of your Scriptural questions are to be found in God’s ordained patterns!
Forget the WHYs and look for the WHICHs, in other words, “Which pattern will fit what I’m looking at here?” is what you need to ask yourself.
Next time, let’s see “WHICH” holiness pattern can be applied to God’s Kosher food laws.