Leviticus 24:1 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Leviticus 24:2 Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.
Leviticus 24:3 Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the LORD continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.
Leviticus 24:4 He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually.
In these verses God commands Aaron, the High Priest, to ensure that there is always a light burning in the holy place outside the vail that housed the ark of the covenant. He was to use pure olive oil, the liquid produced by beating the olives, to fuel the seven lamps on the menorah, the candlestick. The oil was to be replenished evening and morning. The lampstand itself was to be pure gold.
Exodus 25:31–32 “And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side….”
We have learned that everything about the temple points to Jesus. That the candlestick consisted of seven lights reminds one of the fullness of the spirit of God as described in Isaiah.
Isaiah 11:2 “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD….”
The “spirit of the LORD” would be the center branch; wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the LORD would be represented by the branches on each side.
The continual light emanating from the menorah represents Jesus as the light of the world that is always accessible to the child of God.
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
The beaten olive oil that fuels the lamps represents the truth that Jesus was beaten and suffered death to position Himself as the life-giving light of the world. That life-giving light is given to each believer in the person of the Holy Spirit, typified by the oil.
Leviticus 24:5 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.
Leviticus 24:6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD.
Leviticus 24:7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
Leviticus 24:8 Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.
Leviticus 24:9 And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute.
These verses provide instruction regarding the twelve loaves of bread that were always to be present in that light. I think the twelve loaves represented the twelve tribes of Israel. Each loaf is to be made from fine flour and sprinkled with pure frankincense as a memorial offering made by fire. It is referenced in Exodus as “shewbread.” The loaves are to be replaced with fresh loaves every sabbath and the old loaves eaten by Aaron and his sons in the holy place.
Note that the loaves are to be displayed on a pure gold table as well; everything used to picture Jesus is to be valuable, pure and without blemish.
I think it is interesting to note that frankincense represents prayer, something that should always be part of our fellowship with God when partaking of the bread of His word.
Deuteronomy 8:3 “… man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”
Leviticus 24:10 ¶ And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp;
Leviticus 24:11 And the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the LORD, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:)
Leviticus 24:12 And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them.
All of a sudden the narrative turns to a fight between a full-blooded Israelite and a man who is half Egyptian (an Israeli mother of the tribe of Dan and an Egyptian father). In the course of the fight the man of mixed blood curses and blasphemes the name of the LORD. Evidently, witnesses to the fight intervene at this point and basically arrest the man and take him to Moses. Note that there is no rush to pronounce judgment; they in effect put him in a holding cell to seek guidance from the LORD.
Leviticus 24:13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Leviticus 24:14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
Leviticus 24:15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.
Leviticus 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.
The LORD instructs Moses to bring the blasphemer outside the camp and have all witnesses to his blasphemy lay hands upon his head testifying to his guilt. Then the whole congregation is to stone him to death. Moses is to then warn all the people that the same will happen to any person that curses the name of the LORD. No regard is to be given as to the person’s heritage.
Leviticus 24:17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
The LORD goes on to declare the judgment against some other crimes. Any man that kills another will be put to death.
Leviticus 24:18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
Any man that kills an animal belonging to someone else is to make restitution—beast for beast.
Leviticus 24:19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
Leviticus 24:20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.
Any man that causes injury to another man is to be injured in the same way—break for break, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc.
Leviticus 24:21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.
Leviticus 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
Then the LORD has Moses repeat these judgments to be sure that there is no misunderstanding. He again emphasizes that these laws applied to every person in Israel without regard to their nationality. (It would be nice if this principle were true regarding all immigrants in America today.)
As He addresses this multitude through Moses, the LORD declares that He is “the LORD your God”—whether you choose to accept me as such or not is inferred.
Leviticus 24:23 And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.
The chapter closes with a statement that Moses instructed the people according to God’s word and that the blasphemer was stoned to death outside the camp according to those instructions.
I can’t help but think that if our justice system today would execute judgment expeditiously, it would better serve as a deterrence to crime. It can take years before criminals today suffer the rightful consequences (if ever) for their crime, especially in America today. Much of our “justice” system is corrupt, but that is to be expected since it is rooted in the wisdom of man and not in the principles of the word of God. It functions according to the dictates of fallen men rather than the dictates of Almighty God. Judgment is more dependent upon who has the craftiest lawyer or the most influential backers than it is on dispensing right judgment.
I think it is important to note that God’s dealings with Israel under the law were intended to produce in Israel a nation that rightly represented God to the world. His laws were intended as a protection against the spreading corruption that always results when sin is tolerated. When Jesus came and instituted the new covenant of grace, He provided the truest representation of God possible—God in flesh. Through His provision for us in the person of His Spirit, we are to now strive to example Him before the world as One who sacrificially gave of Himself in love to provide forgiveness for man’s sin. We are to example His supernatural love and forgiveness.
Matthew 5:38–45 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”