Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter we see God giving specific instruction regarding the killing of animals for sacrifices. Moses was to tell Aaron and his sons and all of Israel that if they kill an ox, lamb, or goat, they must bring it to the door of the tabernacle as an offering. And if they did not do this, they were to be cut off from being part of the people of Israel.. In other words, they could not stay in the fields and make their sacrifice there; they had to bring it to the tabernacle.
As we look at this command, we wonder why the location is so important because there were times when God did allow His people to build altars and offer their sacrifices wherever they were. So as long as they made their sacrifice, it shouldn’t really make a difference if they offered it in the field or at the door of the tabernacle, should it?
However, a few verses further down, we see another problem: sacrifices to idols and spirits. Though the children of Israel had left Egypt, they had not left all the pagan rituals behind. Certain forms of obscene idolatry were still being practiced by the Israelites in the fields, thus giving significance to the expression, “They have gone a whoring!” So the restriction to bring the sacrifices to the tabernacle was a necessary safeguard against these idolatrous practices.
The sacrificial system has been done away with by Christ dying on the cross as the universal lamb. Now our sacrifice is a broken and a contrite heart. And we don’t have to go to a specific physical location to seek restitution for our sins. However, there’s one location that has not changed. We must come to the foot of the cross for atonement, as symbolized by the altar of sacrifice in the courtyard of the sanctuary. If we try to take our sacrifice elsewhere than to the cross, we will have no part in the kingdom. As Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me."
Melodious Echo Mason
Director of Programming, ARME Bible Camp Ministries