“And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the Lord: and the bullock shall be killed before the Lord.”-Leviticus 4:15
At the end of verse Leviticus 4:15, we encounter a phrase that we would do well to firmly embed into our memory banks.
It is the phrase “before the Lord”.
Other translations may say “in the presence of the Lord”.
This phrase is important because is it indicates exactly where a given action is taking place.
Here’s what you need to know.
Whenever you come across the phrase “before the Lord”, understand that whatever action is taking place (usually ritual sacrifice) is happening to the EAST of the door into the Sanctuary (the Holy Place).
“Before the Lord” = Eastwards of the Sanctuary Entrance
It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about the days during the Wilderness Tabernacle, the 1st Temple era, or even the 2nd Temple era in the New Testament.
The main idea being put forth is that if one was standing in front of the door leading into the sanctuary or Holy Place, he should be able to see the ritual action occurring.
This idea is also demonstrated in the Red Heifer offering which also had to be done BEFORE the Lord.
Yet it also had to take place about 3000 feet away from the sanctuary’s entrance because this particular sacrifice had to take place OUTSIDE OF THE CAMP.
So logically speaking, how can one offer up a ritual sacrifice from a location 3000 feet away and still be able to see the ritual action occurring?
Simple, the sacrifice has to take place at a spot high enough for the officiating priest to be able to view the sanctuary from such a considerable distance.
That’s why the area selected for the MIPHKAD Altar where the Red Heifer sacrifice was performed was near the summit of the Mount of Olives.
This spot perfectly fulfilled the two conditions of a) having to be outside the camp and b) being high enough so that the door to the sanctuary could be seen.
In the minds of the ancient Hebrews, they believed the Lord’s presence was inhabiting the Holy of Holies in the Sanctuary which faced directly EAST!
So it was very important to the Biblical Hebrews that the ritual sacrifices be performed to the East and in view of the door to the sanctuary because they envisioned the Lord literally sitting on top of the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies…in other words, the Lord Himself was facing East.
We may find this idea laughable, but that’s not my point here.
The point is the phrase “before the Lord” is an indication that an action is taking place East of the Sanctuary door in view of it.
This enables us to identify to a fairly precise degree the exact location of that action.