Reading through the Bible together
The Holy Place of the Sanctuary had no windows. To have light, the people had to beat olives to produce oil for the seven-branched lampstand, and Aaron was responsible to keep the lamps burning. The light had to be kept burning day and night for it represented God’s presence among the people.
Twelve round flat cakes of bread (one for each tribe of Israel), and two cups containing frankincense, were placed on the Table of Showbread. The flat cakes reminded the people that God was their Bread of Life.
These instructions tell us that God loves us and reminds us of what He is to us. The symbols inform us that God is always with us and is our spiritual food sustaining our very life.
The son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian father, who had joined the Israelites when leaving Egypt, came into the camp and claimed the right to set up his tent inside the camp among one of the tribes. When he was told that this could be done, but not right away, he cursed the Lord, and came into the camp anyway. The young man was placed into custody until the Lord indicated what should be done. The young man had to bear his sin and be stoned to death.
In ancient times, when God was blasphemed it was a civil offence that must be punished. If forgiveness was sought, it was granted, but civil crimes, such as open defiance of God or murder, could not be settled on the basis of forgiveness alone, whether the crime was committed by an Israelite or non-Israelite. Otherwise, God knew people would repent primarily to avoid the penalty.
Atlantic Union College