Leviticus 24: Lessons for Spirit-Led Leadership

Introduction: In Moses’s day, no state government existed. Thus, God’s priests had at least two separate roles in helping society to function. First, they led in worship and teaching. Second, they also administered God’s system of civil justice, including trials. In Leviticus Chapter 24, God uses both historic accounts and symbolism to convey His guiding principles for His leaders in society. The first half of chapter 24 describes the priest’s instructions for the oil used in the golden lampstand in the Tabernacle, the frankincense for the altar of incense, and the 12 loaves of bread on the table of “shewbread”. The second half of Chapter 24 covers God’s instructions to the priests for disciplining persons who violate the Third Commandment and His standards for punishing wrongs in civil society. Today, the roles of church and state are now mostly separate in western society. Likewise, the Tabernacle no longer exists. Thus, it might be tempting for a modern reader to conclude that the instructions in this chapter are now irrelevant. Indeed, this is a chapter that is rarely preached on in church. Yet, ignoring this chapter is a mistake. God tells us that He conceals hidden truths in His Word. He also invites believers to try to find them: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (Prov. 25:2). He also makes clear that all Scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching (2 Tim. 3:16). Thus, if you believe that a certain part of Scripture has nothing to teach you, you are not looking hard enough. To understand how this chapter is relevant today, you must understand how to interpret its symbolism. Today, any believer in Christ is part of God’s holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Thus, the instructions for the priests apply to every believer. The Tabernacle was also a “type and shadow” of Christ (Heb. 8:1-5). Today, your body is also the temple where the Holy Spirit resides (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22; Heb. 3:6). Thus, regardless of whether you are a judge, a minister, a parent, or any other kind of leader, this chapter contains several inspired principles for Spirit-led leadership and governance.

First, through the symbolism of the oil used in the golden lampstand in the Tabernacle, God instructs His leaders in society to be led by the Spirit in all their actions. Second, through the symbolism of the light from the golden lampstand, He instructs believers to be light to the rest of society. Third, through the symbolism of frankincense for the altar of incense, He instructs believers to be in constant prayer for others. Fourth, through the symbolism of the 12 loaves of bread on the table of “shewbread”, He instructs believers to provide for those in need. Fifth, through the symbolism of the priests dining in His presence, He instructed His leaders to be in constant fellowship with Him so that they can discern His will. Sixth, through the account of a believer being punished for breaking the Third Commandment, He advises leaders to treat His name as Holy. Finally, in this chapter, He provides His law of proportionality in civil punishment. For any civil government, He requires that the punishment in society be proportionate to the crime committed. In cases not involving intentional homicide, this requires restitution proportionate to the wrong committed.

1. God’s Leaders Should Always Be Led by the Spirit. Lev. 24:1-2.

  • The oil for the golden lampstand. God’s first instruction to the priests was to use “beaten olives” for the oil for the golden lampstand in the Tabernacle: “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Command the sons of Israel that they bring to you clear oil from beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually.’” (Lev. 24:1-2). Each part of these instructions had both a literal and a symbolic meaning. The instructions provided the literal directions for the priests to keep the golden lampstand lit as a beacon of light for others. The burning olives also created holy smoke for God to be in the presence of His people.

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  • The “beaten” olives of life and the Holy Spirit. In addition to providing instructions for the priests, these verses also provide instructions for any leader in Christ. In the Bible, oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13; Zech. 4:2-6). Like the Holy Spirit, the olive branch is a symbol of life. It was the first thing that God had the dove bring to Noah to show him that He would provide for Noah and his family (Gen. 8:11). The fact that the olives had to be “crushed” also has symbolic meaning. In order to have the Holy Spirit be fully manifest in your life, your own will needs to be crushed (2 Cor. 4:8). Are you emptying out your own pride, vanity, and the desires of the flesh so that the Holy Spirit can help you lead?

2. God’s Leaders Should be a Light to Others. Lev. 24:3-4.

  • The continuously burning light from the lampstand. God’s second instruction to the priests was to ensure that the golden lampstand remained continually burning to provide a beacon of light: “Outside the veil of testimony in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the Lord continually; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations. He shall keep the lamps in order on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord continually.”’ (Lev. 24:3-4). The golden lampstand was kept “outside the veil of the testimony”. This was immediately next to the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant. The “testimony” referenced the Ten Commandments that was kept inside the Ark. It was the duty of the priests to ensure that the light remained continuously lit to guide the nation.

  • The symbolism of the light. Like the oil, the light has symbolic meaning for believers. Jesus is the true light of the world (Jo. 8:12). His light is now inside every believer through the Holy Spirit. Thus, every believer has fulfilled the role of the golden lampstand by being Jesus’ light to the rest of the world (Matt. 5:14). Are you a light to others? Are you an example of love, kindness, and compassion to others when you face adversity?

  • The symbolism of the golden lampstand. There is also symbolism in the golden lampstand. The lampstand was meant to look like a golden tree. It had three branches on each side and a trunk in the middle (Ex. 25:31-40; Nu. 8:1-4). God promises that believers will one day see this same golden lampstand in heaven (Zech. 4:1-6). Jesus is the trunk of the lampstand (Jo. 15:1-4; 11:25-26). God created mankind on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26-27). The six branches symbolize the guiding light and the power of faith in believers that comes exclusively through your connection to Christ (Jo. 15:1-4). The branch contained three symbols which also represent the stages of a believer’s walk with Christ. The branches included buds, flowers, and almonds. The buds symbolize a life of potential in Christ. The flowers symbolize the beauty of life in Him. The almonds symbolize the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23). Does your life show the fruit of the Spirit? Likewise, is your life filled with acts of compassion?

3. God’s Leaders Should Provide for Those in Need. Lev. 24:5-6.

  • The fine flour for the 12 loaves of bread. God’s third instruction to the priests was to require the preparation of 12 loaves of bread using fine flour set to exact specifications: “Then you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. You shall set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure gold table before the Lord.” (Lev. 24:5-6). The priests placed the “shewbread” on a table in front of the Holy of Holies (Lev. 24:6; Ex. 25:30). The number 12 symbolized God’s perfect government. The 12 loaves symbolized His provision through His appointed leaders. In the wilderness, He provided manna and quail after the Jews grumbled (Ex. 16:1-8). He later again provided meat when the Jews grumbled (Nu. 11:4-6, 32-33). He transformed the waters of Marah to provide drinking water (Ex. 15:22-27). He made water come out from a rock at Horeb (Ex. 17:6). He also caused the waters to gush out of a rock at Meribah (Nu. 20:10-11; Ps. 81:16; 106:41; Isa. 48:21). He also guided the Jews by a pillar of light by day and by night (Ex. 13:21-22; 14:19). He even protected the Jews’ feet from swelling (Dt. 8:4).

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  • The symbolism of Jesus. The bread also symbolized Jesus. He is our spiritual manna, the bread of life: “Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I present myself as the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” (Jo. 6:34-35; Matt. 6:31). “‘I constitute the bread that came down out of heaven.’” (Jo. 3:41). He was also the “Word” that “became flesh.” (Jo. 1:1, 14). Like the oil, the flour had to be beaten to create the flour. To be our bread of life, He was also beaten and then crucified at the cross (Jo. 19:1, 16). As symbolized by the 12 loaves, He also promises to feed everyone who seeks after His righteousness (Matt. 6:25-34). Are you trusting Jesus to provide for you when times are tough?

  • Provide for God’s people. Today, these instructions also symbolically apply to God’s believers in two ways. First, the instructions spelled out the type of life offering a person could make out of gratitude. The thank offering for God’s forgiveness of sin was done through a bread offering (Lev. 3). Nothing was left to individual discretion. For each kind of sacrifice, He gave specific numbers of “ephahs” of fine flour that were required (Lev. 2:1, 7; 8:26; 14:10; Nu. 28:5; 8:8; 7:13; 15:3-12). These instructions also apply to us. You should not pick and choose which laws to follow when offering yourself as a “living sacrifice” to Him (Ro. 12:1). Second, like the bread that God offered to all His tribes, He wants you to provide for those in need. Moreover, you are not just commanded to give, you are commanded to be a generous giver (Ex. 36:2-7; 2 Cor. 9:6, 8-14). This includes tithing. If you hold back your tithes, you sin against God. ‘“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’” (Mal. 3:8-10). Are you withholding a tenth of your wages out of joy and not obligation? Will you trust God and give with joy even when times are bad?

4. God’s Leaders Should be in Constant Prayer. Lev. 24:7-8.

  • The frankincense for the altar of incense. God’s fourth instruction to the priests was to prepare pure frankincense: “You shall put pure frankincense on each row that it may be a memorial portion for the bread, even an offering by fire to the Lord. Every sabbath day he shall set it in order before the Lord continually; it is an everlasting covenant for the sons of Israel.” (Lev. 24:7-8). The priests used frankincense for their thank offerings (Lev. 2:2). They also used pure frankincense for the altar of incense. When burned, the incense created smoke that was a “sweet aroma” to God (Lev. 24:7; Ex. 30:22-37). Because it was valuable, frankincense was brought to Jesus by the wise men at His birth (Matt. 2:11).

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  • Offer prayer as a sweet aroma to God. Christ’s sacrifice later became that soothing aroma to God the Father (Eph. 5:2). Today, instead of smoke, any believer in Christ can offer prayers as a sweet aroma to Him (Ps. 141:2; Rev. 5:8; 8:3). Yet, when you openly sin, your prayers may be “hindered” and will not smell good to Him (1 Pet. 3:7; Jo. 9:31; Ps. 66:18; Prov. 28:9; Isa. 1:15). Yet, having your prayers hindered by sin does not mean that God will forsake you or leave you (Heb. 13:5). Thus, sin should never cause you to lose hope. Yet, to avoid having your prayers possibly hindered, you need to confess your sins: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Jam. 5:16). Likewise, if you pray with doubt, your prayers also may be hindered (Jam. 1:6-8). Are you confessing your sins so that your prayers will not be hindered?

  • God will give wisdom to those who seek Him in prayer. If you diligently seek God’s will in prayer, He also promises to give you wisdom: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (Jam. 1:5). “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” (Ps. 51:6). “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6). “But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.” (Job 32:8). Are you seeking God’s wisdom only in times of crisis? Or, are you seeking His direction in all that you do?

  • Pray at least twice a day. The priests created a soothing aroma through incense (prayer) in the morning and in the evening every day (Lev. 6:20; Ex. 30:7-8). The psalmist David prayed in the morning (Ps. 5:3; 88:13), and he also prayed at twilight (Ps. 63:6; 141:2). He gave us an example to follow. Are you praying in faith at least twice a day?

5. God’s Leaders Should Constantly Seek Fellowship with Him. Lev. 24:9.

  • The Communion meal of fellowship with God. God’s fifth instruction to the priests was for them to dine in His presence on the Holy food that He gave them: “It shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the Lord’s offerings by fire, his portion forever.” (Lev. 24:9; Ex. 19:4; 25:8; 24:9-11). This “Shalom meal” was an act of fellowship that kept the priests in peace and communion with God.

  • The peace offering or Shalom sacrifice with God. The Shalom offering symbolized a believer who was in peaceful fellowship with the Lord. It is not a temporary condition. It instead is a state of being. This offering was the only offering that was voluntary. It was also the only offering where the believer could eat a part of the sacrifice. It symbolized a higher walk with God. The Jews shared this Shalom meal in His presence out of devotion, not obligation. God in turn brought them peace.

  • The relevance of the Shalom offering to Christians today. Today, Christians make “spiritual sacrifices,” not physical ones (1 Pet. 2:5). Christ’s death ripped the Temple “veil” and gave us direct access to God through Christ (Matt. 27:51; Mk. 15:38). Yet, our “access” to God does not automatically mean that we have “fellowship” with Him (Rev. 3:20). An example of a saved believer who is not in fellowship with God is a believer trapped in addiction, rebellion, stress, or a lack of faith. Thus, atonement is merely the first step to finding fellowship with God. Christ also offered to believers the joy of spiritual intimacy with Him, symbolized by dining together with Him, like the Shalom offering: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20). Christ offered this so that we could find both fellowship and peace through Him (Jo. 16:33). One of the reasons to take communion on a “frequent” basis is to remind believers of the need to constantly seek out fellowship with Christ (Lk. 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-34). Your future wedding in heaven to Christ will also be celebrated through a great feast (Rev. 19:9). Sadly, many believers have been led to believe that being saved is the end-all be-all of being a Christian. But it is only the first step in a person’s walk with Christ. If you want true peace and fellowship with Him, you must accept His knock on the door of your heart. “For He Himself is our peace . . .” (Eph. 2:14). Are you seeking out Christ’s fellowship to find His peace in your life?

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6 God’s Leaders Should Teach Others To Treat God’s Name as Holy. Lev. 24:10-16, 23.

  • God’s people should be careful not to violate the Third Commandment. After God gave His instructions regarding the Tabernacle, the subject of Leviticus Chapter 24 shifts to an account of a person of mixed descent who fought with a Jew. The Jewish person of mixed descent blasphemed God, and He ordered that the man be killed: “10 Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the sons of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel struggled with each other in the camp. 11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. (Now his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) 12 They put him in custody so that the command of the Lord might be made clear to them. 13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 14 “Bring the one who has cursed outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him. 15 You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone curses his God, then he will bear his sin. 16 Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.” (Lev. 24:10-16). Jews were not allowed to marry persons who were not Jewish (Dt. 7:3). By describing a person who was on mixed lineage, God was describing someone of mixed loyalties. Later in this Chapter, Moses followed God’s commandment and ordered that the man be stoned: “23 Then Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and they brought the one who had cursed outside the camp and stoned him with stones. Thus the sons of Israel did, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Lev. 24:23). The Jews considered God’s name to be so holy that they did not say His name “YHWH” out of fear for mispronouncing it.

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  • The meaning of a name in the Bible. The prohibition against taking the Lord’s name in vain is the Third Commandment (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11). But why would God care if someone takes His name in vain? In the Bible, a name was not only a means of identification. It expressed a person’s identity as well. “A good name is to be more desired than great riches.” (Prov. 22:1). Commentator Walter Kaiser once stated: “What then is involved in the ‘name’ of God? His name includes: (1) his nature, being, and very person (Ps. 20:1; Lk. 24:47; Jo. 1:12; cf. Rev. 3:4), (2) his teachings and doctrines (Ps. 22:22; Jo. 17:6, 26), and (3) his ethical directions and morals (Mic. 4:5).” His holy attributes are revealed through countless adjectives, nouns, and at least 21 proper names in the Old Testament. When you profane His name, you profane each of these attributes that are used to describe Him.

  • Adjectives used to describe God. Adjectives used to reveal God’s holy character include: holy (Lev. 11:44; Rev. 15:4), loving kindness (Ex. 20:4-6; Dt. 5:8-10; Ps. 144:2), omnipotent (Rev. 19:6), omniscient (Ps. 147:5; 1 Cor. 2:10), omnipresent (1 Ki. 8:27; Ps. 139:7), eternal (Dt. 33:27; 1 Jo. 5:20), everlasting (Gen. 21:33; Is. 9:6), majestic (Ex. 15:6), heavenly (Matt. 5:48), excellent (Ps. 148:13), compassionate (Dt. 4:31), forgiving (Nu. 14:18), merciful (Jer. 3:12), slow to anger (Nu. 14:18), mighty (Is. 9:6, 60:16), most upright (Is. 26:7), comforting (2 Sam 14:17), perfection (Ps. 50:2), almighty (Rev. 15:3), and wonderful (Is. 9:6).

  • Nouns used to describe God. A noun is also frequently used in the Bible to describe God’s holy name and character. Examples include, but are not limited to the following: “my redeemer” (Job 19:25), “my rock . . . my salvation” (Ps. 18:2), “my strength” (Ps. 28:7; Jer. 16:19), “my shield” (Ps. 28:7; Gen. 15:1), “my deliverer . . . my merciful one, my fortress, my stronghold” (Ps. 144:2; Na. 1:7), the “strong tower” (Prov. 18:10), “fortress” (Jer. 16:19), “refuge” (Jer. 16:19), “our shade” (Ps. 121:5), “hiding place” (Ps. 32:7), “my savior,” (2 Sam. 22:3), “consuming fire” (Dt. 4:24; Heb. 12:29), “the wall of fire” (Zech. 2:5), “refiner’s fire” (Mal. 3:2), our “purifier” (Mal. 3:3), “judge” (Ps. 82:8), “fountain of living waters” (Jer. 2:13), “love” (Dt. 7:7), “truth” (Gen. 24:27), “creator” (Ecc. 12:1), “maker” (Job 35:10; Ps. 95:6), “architect” (Heb. 11:10), “breath of life” (Gen. 2:7, Rev. 11:11), “gentle whisper” (1 Ki. 19:12), “Jah” (Ps. 68:4)(kjv), “keeper” (Ps. 121:5), “lawgiver” (Is. 33:22), “Like an Eagle” (Dt. 32:11), “lily of the valleys” (So. 2:1), “living God” (Dan. 6:20), “our portion” (Ps. 73:26; 119:57), the “potter” (Is. 64:8), our “Shiloh” (Gen 49:10), our “song” (Ex. 15:2; Is. 12:2), the “Stone of Israel” (Gen. 49:24), “Scepter” (Nu. 24:17), “our Father” (Matt. 6:9), and “Abba” (Ro. 8:15). The name Abba stresses God the Father’s provision, discipline, care, and how believers are to address Him in prayer (Matt. 7:11; Jam. 1:17; Heb. 12:5-11; Jo. 15:16; 16:23; Eph. 2:18; 3:15; 1 Thess. 3:11).

  • The 21 Old Testament proper names for God. God also has multiple proper names. Because there is no equivalent for these terms in English, they are lumped together under the generic terms “God” and “Lord.” In the order that they first appear in the Old Testament, the following is a list of the 21 Hebrew or Latin proper names for God. These names reveal things about His character and His identity: (1) Elohim (el-o-heem'); (2) YHWH (pronounced either Yahweh (yah-weh) or Yehowah; (3) Jehovah (yeh-ho-vaw'); (4) El Elyon (el el-yone'); (5) Adonai (ad-o-noy'); (6) El Roi (el-rowee); (7) El Shaddai (el shad-di'); (8) El Olam (el o-lawm'); (9) Jehovah-Jireh (yeh-ho-vaw' yir-eh'); (10) Jehovah-Raah (yeh-ho-vaw' raw-aw'); (11) Ehyeh or Ehye-Asher-EhyehI am” or “I will be” or “I Am that I Am;” (12) Jehovah-Rapha (yeh-ho-vaw' raw-faw'); (13) Jehovah-Nissi (yeh-ho-vaw' nis-see'); (14) Jehovah-Maccaddeshem (yeh-ho-vaw' M-qadash); (15) Jehovah-Shalom (yeh-ho-vaw' shaw-lome'); (16) Yahweh Elohim Israel (yeh-ho-vaw' el-o-heem' Yisra’el) “The Lord, the God of Israel; ” (17) Jehovah Sabbaoth (yeh-ho-vaw' se ba'ôt); (18) Jehovah-Rohi; (19) Jehovah-Tsidkenu (yeh-ho-vaw' tsid-kay'-noo); (20) Jehovah-Gmolah (yeh-ho-vaw' gimolah); and (21) Jehovah-Shammah (yeh-ho-vaw' shawm'-maw).

  • The divinity of Jesus Christ’s name. Throughout the New Testament, the divinity of Christ is confirmed by the names given to Him. In Greek, the name “Theos” means “God”. The name Theos is also used for Jesus (Jo. 1:1, 18; 20:28; 1 Jo. 5:20; Tit. 2:13; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:1). Likewise, in Greek, the name “Kurios” means “Lord.” The term stresses authority or supremacy. Although the term can refer to Jesus as a rabbi (Matt. 8:6), it is also used to refer to Him as God as well (Jo. 13:13; 20:28; Acts 2:36; Rom. 10:9; Phil. 2:11). The term “despotes” in Greek for “Master” is also used in reference to Jesus (Lk. 2:29; 5:5; Acts 4:24; Rev. 6:10; 2 Pet. 2:1; Jude 1:4). He “manifested [God’s] name to the men who [God] gave to [Jesus].” (Jo. 17:6). He also prayed “Holy Father, keep them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me.” (Jo. 17:11). Many other names stress His divinity. He is the Lord of All (Acts. 10:36). He is the King of Glory (1 Tim. 1:17). He is also the King Eternal (1 Tim. 1:17). He is the creator (1 Pet. 4:19). He was also called “Emmanuel” which means “God is with us.” (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23). He is the “firstborn,” which means preeminent one (Ro. 8:29; Col. 1:15; Rev. 1:5). He is the only begotten son (Jo. 1:18). He is the “highest” (Lk. 1:76). He is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 1:3). He is also the gift of God (Jo. 4:10). He is also the “Word” of God that became flesh (Jo. 1:1, 14; Rev. 19:13). He is described as omnipresent (Matt. 28:20), omniscient (Jo. 16:30), omnipotent (Matt. 28:18), and as the holy one (Acts 2:27; 3:14). He is our “all in all” (Col. 3:11) and the “heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2). He is the “ancient of days.” (Da. 7:9). He is also the author of our peace (1 Cor. 14:33). He is the author of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He is our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57). He is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:24). He is the Radiance of God’s Glory (Heb. 1:3). He is potentate, the supreme power (1 Tim. 6:15). He is the Lord of Glory (1 Cor. 2:8). He is the Lord of Lords (1 Tim. 6:15). He is the Lord of Harvest (Matt. 9:38). He is the Lord of Righteousness (Jer. 23:6). He is Love (1 Jo. 4:8). He is the Majesty on High (Heb. 1:3). He is the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 22:13). He is also the “beginning” and the “end” (Rev. 21:6).

  • Salvation comes through Jesus Christ’s name. Belief in the name of Jesus Christ alone brings salvation (Jo. 1:12). He is both the “anointed one” and “chosen one” (Ps. 2:2; Is. 42:4). He is both the “branch” (Jer. 33:15) and the “vine” (Jo. 15:5) leading to salvation. He is the “Christ.” (Matt. 16:16; 22:42; Lk. 2:11; 9:20). He is Jesus (Matt. 1:21). He is also Jesus Christ our Lord (Ro. 6:23). He is the “door” leading to salvation for those who believe in Him (Jo. 10:7). He is the “truth” and the “way” (Jo. 14:6). He is the “true light” (Jo. 1:9). He is the Light of the World (Jo. 8:12). He is the Arm of the Lord (Is. 53:1). He is the Bishop of Souls (1 Pet. 2:25). He is the King of Saints (Rev. 15:3). He is the Messenger of the Covenant (Mal. 3:1). He is the Messiah (Jo. 4:25). He is the King of Kings (1 Tim. 6:15). He is our Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). He is our peace (Eph. 2:14). He is the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15). He is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). He is our propitiation (1 Jo. 2:2; 1 Jo. 4:10). He is the resurrection (Jo. 11:25). He is the rewarder (Heb. 11:6). He is the righteous one (1 Jo. 2:1). He is our rock (1 Cor. 10:4). He is our stone (1 Pet. 2:8). He is the Witness of God (Is. 55:4). He is the son of righteousness (Mal. 4:2). He is our Temple (Rev. 21:22). He is the Ruler over Israel (Mi. 5:2). He is our Savior (Lk. 2:11). He is the blessed and Holy ruler (1 Tim. 6:16). He is the Captain of Salvation (Heb. 2:10). He is the “fuller’s soap” (Mal. 3:2)(kjv). He is the “desired of all nations” (Hag. 2:7). He is the “just one” (Acts 22:14). He is life (Jo. 14:6). He is the living stone (1 Pet. 2:4). He is the lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5) He is the living water (Jo. 4:10) He is also the “true witness” (Rev. 3:14) He is the “wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24) He is both our “cornerstone” and “foundation” (Is. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:11). He is both the bread of God and the bread of life (Jo. 6:33-35). He is the author of both our salvation and our faith (Heb. 5:9; 12:2). He is also our “deliverer” (Ro. 11:26). He is both the “elect one” (Is. 42:1) or “the one” (Ps. 144:2, 10). He is the “horn” or power behind our salvation (Lk. 1:69). He is the holy one of Israel (Is. 49:7). He is the bright morning star (Rev. 22:16). It is the name of Jesus that everyone will one day bow down to and confess as Lord (Phil. 2:10-11).

  • The compassion, humility, and humanity of Jesus Christ’s Names. The names given to Christ reveal that He also humbled Himself so that we would know that He can relate to us in our earthly needs. His other names include: carpenter (Mark 6:3), avenger (1 Thess. 4:6), advocate (1 Jo. 2:1), intercessor (Ro. 8:26-27, 34; Heb. 7:25), counselor (Is. 9:6), mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), chief shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4), the good shepherd (Jo. 10:11), the great shepherd (Heb. 13:20), the high priest (Heb. 3:1; 4:14; 6:20), friend (Matt. 11:19), faithful and true (Rev. 19:11), faithful witness and our hope (Tim. 2:13), commander (Is. 55:4), consolation of Israel (Lk. 2:25), dayspring (Lk. 1:78), crown of beauty (Is. 28:5), “diadem of beauty” (Is. 28:5), King (Zech. 9:9), King of the Jews (Matt. 27:11), the “Lamb of God” (Jo. 1:29), the “Last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), leader (Is 55:4), man of sorrows (Is. 53:3), bridegroom (Is. 62:5), and husband (Is. 54:5; Jer. 31:32; Ho. 2:16). He was a Nazarene (Matt. 2:23). He is the offspring of David (Rev. 22:16). He is our physician (Lk. 4:23). He is a prophet (Acts 3:22). He is the prophet of the Highest (Lk. 1:76). He is a Rabboni or teacher (Jo. 13:13; 20:16). He is the Root of David (Rev. 22:16). He is the Rose of Sharon (So. 2:1). He is the Son of David (Matt. 1:1). The Son of Man (Matt. 8:20). He is the Servant (Is. 42:1). He is the Star out of Jacob (Nu. 24:17). He is also the Seed (Gen. 3:15).

  • The power of attorney given to use Christ’s name. Believers are also commanded to gather in Jesus’ name (Matt. 18:20). We are to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19). In the book of Acts, the early disciples also frequently referred to their service, worship, and suffering as being done in Jesus Christ’s “name.” (e.g, Acts 4:18; 5:28, 41; 10:43; 19:17). The name of Christ will, however, be a stumbling block to non-believers. He warns that those who bear His name will be hated (Matt. 10:22). Yet, for those believers who pray in faith, He has given us the legal equivalent of a power of attorney to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it (Jo. 14:13-14). “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” (Jo. 15:16). “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” (Jo. 16:23). The name is so powerful that the archangel Michael was able to drive Satan away merely by rebuking him in Jesus’ name (Jude 1:9).

  • Satan’s goal is to have you profane God’s Holy name. When Satan afflicted Job, his wife at one point advised him: “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). Satan was at this point speaking through Job’s wife. While we might understand the word “die” at the end of this to be a mere flippant expression, Satan knew that Job would have suffered an eternal death if not a physical death if he had cursed God. When we are angry, depressed, or consumed by our flesh, Satan always tries to have us use the Lord’s name flippantly or without good purpose. Satan’s goal is to have us insult and reject each and every aspect of His Holy character as identified by the many names listed above. If someone says “Jesus C _ _ _ _ !” as a swear word, that person is treating with contempt the name that holds the power of creation over a trivial daily dilemma. We say these names when we are angry or consumed with ourselves. Do you have control over your flesh? Do you stop and pray when you are angry? Or, does Satan allow you to profane the Lord’s Holy name by your words or your conduct?

7 God’s Justice Requires that the Punishment of Restitution Fit the Crime. Lev. 24:17-22.

  • First degree murder is the only crime that requires capital punishment today. After giving the instructions regarding those who blaspheme God’s holy name, He then gave instructions that those who intentionally kill be subject to capital punishment: “17 If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.” (Lev. 24:17). God says that He is a God of justice (Jer. 9:24; Is. 30:18). Christ freed believers from the eternal consequences of breaking the Ten Commandments by taking the punishment for their actions (Gal. 3:13). Yet, for non-believers, those who break the Ten Commandments will still face judgment in heaven (Rev. 20:11-15). Today, the only crime that God requires that people punish through death is first degree murder. When an intentional homicide is not punished according to His Law, the victim’s blood cries out to Him for judgment against the nation: “So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. And you shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.” (Nu. 35:33-34). If our nation allows the innocents’ “blood to pollute the land” without being punished, should we expect God’s blessings on our nation to continue?

  • Why justice requires punishment. Some people complain that a just and loving God would not punish His children. But He would not be a God of justice if He did not punish wrongs. If you were to create the ideal society, would you punish wrongdoers or would you let crime go unpunished? Is it reasonable to expect a lesser standard from God in heaven?

  • Capital punishment requires at least two witnesses. In other parts of the Torah, God limited capital punishment to circumstances where two or more witnesses to the crime existed: “If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” (Nu. 35:30). “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.” (Dt. 17:6). Capital punishment is maligned because of innocent deaths based upon the faulty testimony of only one witness. Yet, would these problems exist if governments used God’s standards of due process for capital crimes?

  • The difference between punishments in the Old and New Testaments. God allows for murders to be punished. Jesus, however, tells us not to resist evil but to turn your cheek (Matt. 5:38-43). Some suppose that Jesus was repudiating capital punishment. Jesus instead sought to distinguish between the responsibility of the state and the individual. Vengeance belongs to God alone (Dt. 32:35; Ps. 94:1-2, 16, 23; Ro. 12:17, 19). Yet, God uses government officials to carry out His vengeance: “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” (Ro. 13:3-4; 1 Pet. 2:14). Thus, it is the duty of the state, not the individual, to ensure that wrongs are properly punished. When others cause you wrong, are you trying to take justice into your own hands?

  • In cases not involving homicide, the punishment of restitution must fit the crime. Finally, after giving the instructions for capital punishment for intentional homicide, God set forth the requirement that the punishment for other crimes be proportional to the type of crime committed: “18 The one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. 19 If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. 21 Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death. 22 There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’” (Lev. 24:18-22). This law of proportionality appears throughout the Torah: “24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (Ex. 21:22-24). “Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” (Dt. 19:21). Mohandas Gandhi once famously criticized these passages in the Old Testament by stating: “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Yet, according to the Jewish rabbi Rashi (1040 -1105 A.D.), the meaning behind this rule is that the punishment must fit the crime. In cases involving only injury, the punishment required financial reimbursement equal to the value of the damages inflicted on the innocent person. Thus, God would not allow for a thief to have his right arm cut off as some Muslims teach under their Sharia law. The lesson for believers is that they should always seek to “restore” those who they harm with financial restitution to commensurate the harm that they have caused. If you have wronged someone, Jesus requires that you first reconcile with your brother before you seek His forgiveness (Matt. 5:23-26). After Zacchaeus accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, he promised to pay restitution four times above the amount that he had defrauded from others in the past: “‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’” (Lk. 19:8). Jesus did not correct him or say that this was unnecessary. Whenever you have done something wrong, He always wants you to do what is just: “learn to do good, seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, [and] plead for the widow.” (Is. 1:17; Mi. 6:8; Matt. 23:23). Saying sorry will allow Him to forgive you (1 Jo. 1:9). Yet, an apology without restitution will not by itself restore a brother or sister that you have hurt. Is there anyone who you have hurt or wronged that you still need to restore?