Accidental Holiness - RR172E09

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Accidental Holiness
Course: Course - Leviticus; The Law of Holiness and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 9
Length: 0:27:48
TapeCode: RR172E9
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Leviticus The Law of Holiness and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

Let us worship God. This is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. Having these promises, let us draw near to the throne of grace with true hearts, in full assurance of faith. “My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, oh Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee and will look up.” Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God, we give thanks unto Thee, that Thou art He who doest reign on the throne of the universe, that Thy judgment shall prevail, that all the workers of iniquity shall in due time, Thy time, receive their reward. And so we come into Thy presence, to be armed by Thy Word and by Thy Spirit, to be empowered to do Thy work. To be sent forth in the confidence that this is the victory that overcometh the World, even our faith. Bless us therefore our Father, in Thy service, and to Thy victory. In Christ’s name we pray, amen. [00:01:33]

Our scripture this morning is Leviticus ...

Our scripture this morning is Leviticus 6:24-30. Our subject: accidental holiness. Leviticus 6:24-30:

24 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

25 speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, this is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy.

26 The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.

27 Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place.

28 But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both scoured, and rinsed in water.

29 All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy.

30 And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burned in the fire.”

The sin offering is dealt with briefly in these verses, but there is one facet that is of critical importance, for our time and all time. Briefly then, the sin offering, as {?} has commented on it, “Every sin offers to God what ought not to be offered: an offense, and at the same time withholds from God what ought to have been to Him: obedience. If the sin offering rectifies the former, the trespass offering would then make restitution for the latter. In its ritual procedure, it closely resembles the sin offering, as we might expect on this view. The trespass offering derives unique interest from the fact that it is the only class of sacrifice with which the sacrificial death of Christ is directly connected in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 53:10, the self-surrender of the servant of Jehovah is designated in Asham, a trespass offering. And this is quite in harmony with the idea prevailing in the context, that the servant not merely atones for the sin of the people, but gives to God what by their disobedience they have withheld.” [00:04:27]

There was no communion meal after a sin offering

There was no communion meal after a sin offering. However, that part of the sacrifice not burned on the altar was eaten by the priests on the premises, as verses 26 and 29 tell us. The exception was the priest’s sin offering which was to be burned on the altar, according to verse 30. If course pottery were used, it had to be broken, since it absorbed what properly belonged to God. It was then too holy for any other use. The priests were types of Christ and their duty to eat the sin offering was serious. As Samuel Clark said, in commenting on verse 25, “The key to the subject must, it would seem, be found in those words of Moses to the priest, in which he tells them that God required them to eat the flesh in order that they might bear the iniquity of the congregation to make atonement for them before the Lord.”

If a stray drop of blood fell on any of the garments, it had to be washed and washed in the sanctuary area. The holiness of the ritual is rigorously held. In verses 18 and 2, we are told that anyone touching the holy offerings shall be holy. What does this mean? Is the person holy in the sense of being sanctified in the inner sense? In Haggai 2:12-14 we have a statement on holiness which gives us a facet of the meaning. Haggai says, “If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread or pottage or wine or oil or any meat, it shall holy? And the priest answered and said, ‘No.’ Then said Haggai, if one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priest answered and said, ‘It shall be unclean.’ Then answered Haggai and said, ‘So is this people and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord, and so is every work of their hands and that which they offer there is unclean.’” Man’s salvation and sanctification are acts of God’s grace and not of human effort. Men cannot communicate holiness, Haggai is making clear, but they can communicate uncleanness, because man is both fallen, and he is a creature. [00:07:15]

Now holiness means ...

Now holiness means ‘separation.’ It means separation from evil, and to God. It means morally, obedience to God. Not ‘morality is the best policy,’ but as obedience to God’s every word. Things as well as persons can be set apart for God’s use. And the goal of holiness is that all creation must be made holy, according to Zachariah 14:20-21.

Now the holiness of God is not to be taken lightly, as Hebrews 12:29 says, “Our God is a consuming fire.” We can only approach God in His appointed way: through Christ. And since Christ restores us into the covenant, we are bound by the covenant law of holiness. Any false approach to God assumes a personal holiness or the wisdom of our way, rather than God’s way, and therefore incurs His wrath.

Now, we’re going to look at a couple of episodes in the Bible in order to come to the present and see what this passage, when it talks about accidental holiness has to say. It points also to presumptuous holiness, or presumptive holiness. We have an episode when David was bringing the Ark into Jerusalem to be housed there. When it was being moved by an ox cart, Uzzah tried to steady it by taking hold of it. He had no right to touch the Ark. Only those designated of the house of Aaron, priests and Levites, could touch it. And he was immediately struck dead. We have the account of it in 2 Samuel 6:1-8. In other words, he said, “I am necessary. And without Me, the Ark will not ride steady.” Later, we have King Uzziah some generations later, attempting to combine Church and State in his own person, to function as both priest and king and to usurp what belonged to the realm of the church. And he was struck with leprosy when he went into the most holy place. And he died a leper. In Acts 5:1-11, we have Ananias and Sapphira claiming a holiness which did not belong to them. And they are struck dead. [00:10:31]

In Leviticus 6:18, 27, our text, we are given the law concerning accidental holiness, the inadvertent touching of sacrifices by unauthorized persons. The reference is not to cases of deliberate and presumptive holiness. James Moffatt translates verse 18, “Anyone who touches these most sacred offering shall be taboo.” As Wenham has commented on this, “Certainly Leviticus underlies the dangers attended on holiness. Judgment falls when the unclean meets the holy."

In Leviticus 7:20, we have deliberate transgressions, presumptuous holiness; and it requires being cut off from his people, which could mean either excommunication, and sometimes death. In the case of Nadab and Abihu, two priests who brought strange fire before the Lord, that is fire from fertility cult altars brought to the altar of the Lord. In other words, saying, “We believe that all religions have a common element.” And for this, they died.

In Leviticus 27, we have the laws of de-consecration for people who returned to the common life after having taken a vow as Nazarites. And for their de-consecration they had to offer every kind of sacrifice, except reparation offering. We read about this in Numbers 13-20. And these may have been required for cases of accidental holiness. [00:12:38]

What this passage tells us is that God has firm boundaries

What this passage tells us is that God has firm boundaries which cannot be violated. If a man today were to trespass lawlessly the boundaries of Windsor Palace, or the White House, it would not be taken lightly. In fact somebody who tried it at the White House under Ford was shot and killed. God makes clear that even an accidental trespass is not unimportant. It is serious, if it is deliberate.

Now modern churchmen casually bypass this law of accidental holiness, and trespass on what belongs to God. This can be done in many ways, such as laying hands on God’s tithe. Accidental holiness is not deliberate or willful. It is a failure to recognize and to maintain strictly the laws of holiness—what belongs to God. So, by treating this seriously, we are told how serious deliberate trespass, presumptive holiness, claiming things and a status that are not ours is in the sight of God.

What are examples of that today? Well, what we’re seeing the country-over now: the State claiming a jurisdiction over that which belongs to God—the Church. That’s presumptuous. The State has, under God, a holy function, a separated function, a ministry of justice. All civil officials are called ministers of God. They have a ministry. But it’s a strictly restricted one—to justice. This does not give them jurisdiction over areas which go beyond justice. It does not give them a right to intrude in the life of the church, or of the family, or of business, or of any sphere that is outside the ministry of justice. Now, that’s what this text is about. Even accidental trespass, God says, is serious. How much more so deliberate trespass? And I cited the examples where the penalties are death. And God makes clear it is judgment. Judgment on a people. Judgment on a church, which claims more than it has the proper jurisdiction over. On any institution, or on any man, because very often men claim a power in the family that is not godly and act as though they have an authority that is self-created, which is a fact of their male-ness rather than of God’s ordination. [00:16:12]

This is what our text is dealing with

This is what our text is dealing with. Trespass. Trespass beyond our appointed areas. We are holy, that is, we are separated, because holiness means separated (dedicated) to a particular function, to a calling under God. We have no jurisdiction over spheres that belong to another. I have no right to rule in another man’s business or his family. And the State has no right in jurisdictions outside the ministry of justice, or the Church outside the ministry of grace, and of teaching. God has appointed the spheres of life, the boundaries of men’s habitations. And He says that we are blessed, when we pursue our course in terms of His Word, in terms of our responsibilities.

But today we have a willful usurpation in one sphere after another. To cite a very conspicuous one: lawmaking. God says He is the lawmaker. He has given us His Law. But today, laws are churned out by the library-full, by every branch of civil government, day after day. Laws that have no relationship to the reality of justice, but are geared instead to power. And churches endlessly churn out laws—laws to enhance their power and their control, and their jurisdiction. And in one sphere after another, men have usurped the law-making power that properly belongs to God. We have all the laws necessary for life; the laws of justice, the laws of life in one book. But men are going to replace them with their own word. In this they follow the tempter who said, “Ye shall be as god, every man his own god, knowing (that is determining for yourself) what constitutes good and evil; redefining all things in terms of your word.” That’s claiming a holiness that is not ours. That is trespassing the lines of holiness. [00:19:24]

To give a modern analogy, God is in effect saying that

To give a modern analogy, God is in effect saying that you have your calling. When you fulfill that calling, you are blessed. You have your place, as a man, as a woman, as a husband, as a wife, as a child, as a workman in your appointed sphere, as a citizen, as a ruler, as a pastor, as a church member, whatever the sphere. When you fulfill your obligations, you are blessed mightily. And we are told that these blessings are irresistible, they will pursue us and overtake us. But that if we transgress those boundaries, it is as though we’ve touched a live wire. Death comes into our lives, and our social system. The lines of demarcation, God says, are important. And when you transgress them accidentally, you are holy, you are separated.

Now this brings us to an interesting aspect of the word ‘holy.’ It means in the Hebrew, “separated; dedicated” and it can mean either to blessing, or to destruction. So that when a man was sentenced to death he was said to be holy. He was given over to death, to destruction, to reprobation. And when a man was blessed by God, he was also said to be holy. God was manifesting his grace, and his power and his blessing in that man, and in his life, so that we trespass and when we do, that trespass holiness is death. When we walk in the way that God has appointed, the holiness then is life. Thus, if we separate ourselves to a function which is not properly ours, we have sinned by assuming a separation of holiness that is not ours. The so-called Biblical Feminists are guilty, for example, of such claims. Uzzah’s holiness was not accidental but presumptuous. He assumed a freedom and a status which he had no right to claim and the penalty was death. [00:22:15]

Our age is well beyond accidental holiness

Our age is well beyond accidental holiness. It claims prerogatives it has no right to, and it separates itself to functions which belong only to God. It will therefore experience the judgment of Uzzah and Uzziah. Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God, give unto us and unto our generation grace and humility to know our boundaries and to do our work therein; to be faithful, to be zealous, to be strong in Thy service, and to be free of trespass. Thy Word is truth, oh Lord, and Thy Word gives us light upon our way, and we thank Thee. In Christ’s name, amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson?


[Audience] People are not taught to protect themselves against {?} uh, I remember when psychological testing was uh, popular. There were protests that the questions were invasions of privacy, but nobody seemed to teach the individual that he didn’t have to allow his privacy to be invaded. He would have to cooperate before his privacy could be invaded by questionnaire. And what seems to be missing is the idea that no right, the rights of any people do not really exist unless the people protect them.

[Rushdoony] Very good. These psychological tests are a good example of precisely the kind of thing this text is dealing with. And we have the all ‘round us, continually, and nobody has any sense of boundaries any more. It’s interesting that this is a forgotten text now; nobody preaches about it. Because nobody sees boundaries as important. The Bible gives us laws telling us of the limits that exist between a man and a woman as far as trespass is concerned. And yet, ah, nobody’s interested in those limits. Everybody in their own way wants to play God and trespass all boundaries, and that’s the appeal of sin in our age. Trespass


[Audience] Well, as this whole idea privacy goes, in biographies now there’s no limits to what the biographer will discuss, and {?} means that the public sector becomes indistinguishable from the private sector. [00:25:39]

[Rushdoony] Yes, and, ah, especially with the rise

[Rushdoony] Yes, and, ah, especially with the rise of psychobiography, you have ostensible scholars placing themselves in the mid of the person they are writing about, and coming up with a good revelation of themselves, rather than the truth about the person they’re writing about. Ten, fifteen years ago, psychobiography was severely criticized and now, it is accepted, and I understand a book dealing with it as an important area of historiography has just been published.

Any other questions or comments? Well if not, let us bow our heads in prayer.

Lord, it is good for us to be here. Thy Word is Truth, and Thy Word speaks to our every condition and our every need. Give us strength by Thy Word and by Thy Spirit, and send us forth to bring all things into captivity to Christ our King. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day, and always. Amen. [00:27:27]

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