“When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to Adonai, offer it in a way that will make you accepted. It is to be eaten the same day you offer it and the following day; but if any of it remains until the third day, it is to be burned up completely. If any of it is eaten on the third day, it will have become a disgusting thing and will not be accepted; moreover, everyone who eats it will bear the consequences of profaning something holy meant for Adonai — that person will be cut off from his people.”-Leviticus 19:5-8
In verses 5 and 6 of Leviticus chapter 19, sacrificial offerings are being discussed.
However, what is being spoken of are NOT sacrificial offerings in general.
There is one specific sacrifice being called out here and it is the ZEVAH SHELAMIM category of offerings.
The Lord makes it clear there are two important rules the worshipper MUST adhere to when offering up this type of sacrifice:
First, the offering must be performed exactly the way God has ordained.
Second, this offering MUST be eaten on the 1st day.
All of these instructions were originally given back in Leviticus chapter 7.
Now, out of all the 5 different classes of offerings we studied, why would the Lord single out the ZEVAH?
One reason is because the ZEVAH category of offerings would far outpace all the other sacrifices in quantity and frequency.
An Israelite was allowed to offer up his animal as a ZEVAH whenever he wanted to and this particular sacrifice allowed him to keep the largest portion of the meat for himself and his family compared to the other sacrifices.
The other more important reason is that he who eats of this sacrifice in an improper manner would be judged by God and if found guilty would be KARET or “cut-off” from his people.
The person who broke this command would either be excommunicated from the nation of Israel which includes separation from God or he would be executed.
This was no light transgression we’re talking about here.
Let me quickly review an important point since it’s been quite a while since we talked about this aspect of the sacrifices.
Notice in verse 8 that the reason improper eating of the sacrificial meat is so wrong is because it is “profaning something holy meant for Adonai”.
Do you remember the concepts and rules governing God’s holy property?
Whenever an animal is selected to be sacrificed to HASHEM, at that very instant, the ownership of the animal is transferred from the worshipper to God.
Once that happens, that animal is now God’s HOLY PROPERTY.
And there is no more serious crime an Israelite could commit than to violate God’s holy property.
That is why the person who improperly ate of the animal was subjected to the severe penalty of being “cut-off” from his people.
He had improperly eaten an animal that had been turned over to God.
He had violated the Lord’s holy property and thus suffered the harshest consequences.
This was also the very reason why the Lord killed Ananias and Sapphira.
Many Christians don’t really understand this.
They think that the Lord just went off and killed Ananias and Sapphira for lying.
For example, here’s a quote from the popular Christian site gotquestions.org commenting on this NT story.
“God’s reasons for bringing about the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira involve His abhorrence of sin, the hypocrisy of the couple, and the lesson for the rest of the church, both then and now.”
And then the site goes on to say…
“The sad story of Ananias and Sapphira is not some obscure incident from the Old Testament regarding a violation of Mosaic Law. This occurred in the first-century church to believers in Jesus Christ. The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a reminder to us today that God sees the heart, that He hates sin, and that He is concerned for the purity of His church.”
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
The very and ONLY reason Ananias and Sapphira were killed was for violating God’s Holy Property.
Once they purposed in their heart to give the proceeds from selling their house to the Lord, from that instant that money became the Lord’s Holy Property.
As bad as lying and hypocrisy is, there is no Torah stipulation saying they deserve the death penalty.
However, violation of the Lord’s holy property is a totally different, much more severe matter all together.
If anything, the story of Ananias and Sapphira is a story that illustrates that TORAH and its principles, far from being done away with, are alive and well in our day.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“But there was a man named Hananyah who,
with his wife Shappirah, sold some property
and, with his wife’s knowledge,
withheld some of the proceeds for himself;
although he did bring the rest to the emissaries.
Then Kefa said,
“Why has the Adversary so filled your heart that you
lie to the Ruach HaKodesh and keep back some of
the money you received for the land?
Before you sold it, the property was yours;
and after you sold it,
the money was yours to use as you pleased.
So what made you decide to do such a thing?
You have lied not to human beings but to God!”
On hearing these words, Hananyah fell down dead;
and everyone who heard about it was terrified.
The young men got up,
wrapped his body in a shroud,
carried him out and buried him.
Some three hours later, his wife came in,
unaware of what had happened.
Kefa challenged her:
“Tell me, is it true that you sold the land f
or such-and-such a price?”
“Yes,” she answered,
“that is what we were paid for it.”
But Kefa came back at her,
“Then why did you people plot
to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen!
The men who buried your husband are at the door.
They will carry you out too!”
Instantly she collapsed at his feet and died.
The young men entered, found her there dead,
carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
As a result of this, great fear came over the whole
Messianic community, and indeed over everyone
who heard about it.”