Leviticus Overview

 

The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord

Joel 1:9 KJV

 

The Hebrew verb above is the singular “is.” The translated verb cannot be editorialized to “are” without changing the meaning. Compare the two sentences:

 

1.      My husband and the love of my life is patiently waiting for me.

 

2.      My husband and the love of my life are patiently waiting for me.

 

The first sentence portrays a woman who shows love for her husband by taking the time to re-describe him as the love of her life; and a man who shows love for his wife by waiting patiently. The second sentence portrays a likely adulterous woman; and two men – each of whom is waiting for her to tell the other one to scram. The two sentences paint two entirely different pictures. And the damage to this woman’s image is immeasurable – caused only by a so-called scholar thinking he understands the Message better than the Author.

 

You cannot editorialize the Bible. You can accept it or you can rewrite it. But to editorialize it is to reject what it says, and to decide for yourself that you know better than the Author what the message should say. And that is exactly what ASV, Contemporary English, ESV, God’s Word, Good News, Holman, JB Phillips, NASB, New Century, NIV, NEW KING JAMES VERSION, New Life Version, New Living Translation, RSV and likely anything else published this side of 1899 have done. The KJV alone translates Joel 1:9 accurately! But be careful: The Scofield publication of what is marketed as KJV just changes “is” to “are,” even as they omit the vertical bars that customarily alert the reader that they are substituting a modern word where an archaic word appears in KJV.

 

Unless you are reading out of KJV non-Scofield (or perhaps something even older, such as Wycliffe), your translation of Joel 1:9 is in error. I did not say the Bible is in error. But the team of translators that published your Bible can be in error.

 

It seems to indicate an unclearness about the entire book of Leviticus. The meat1 offering and the drink offering forms a “collective idea” – one person described twice. And that Person is Jesus Christ.

 

So before you enter Leviticus, I place into contrast two statements of Joel 1:9:

 

1.      The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD;

 

2.      The meat offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the LORD;

 

If “are” be correct, then Joel 1:9 describes an inconvenience – a non-event by today’s standards, and the whole book of Leviticus describes the gory details of an antiquated institution of sacrifice wherein I can function quite nicely for a long period of time without ever knowing.

 

If “is” be correct, then Joel 1:9 describes spiritual death in Israel – the removal of all things Christ, and Leviticus becomes worth the effort. For Leviticus now becomes the only source in the entire history of literature where the Creator rolls back the curtain and gives us a private back-stage tour of all that went on when His Son was offered up.

 

The two sentences paint two entirely different pictures, indeed.

 

Jesus Christ is the Burnt Offering of Leviticus 1

 

And walk in love, [because] Christ also has loved us [to such an extreme level of love that he has] given Himself for us, [to be] an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:2

 

Jesus Christ is the Grain Offering of Leviticus 2

 

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. John 12:3

 

Jesus Christ is the Peace Offering of Leviticus 3

 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access - Romans 5:1-2a

 

Jesus Christ is the Sin Offering of Leviticus 4

 

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

Jesus Christ is the Trespass Offering of Leviticus 5

 

[Jesus our Lord] was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 4:25

 

1 The traditional definition of “meat” is non-liquid food, as distinguished from drink. Since KJV typically cites the specific animal or other species that underlies the modern concept of meat, when KJV says “meat,” it usually means starch or vegetable, etc. Modern versions tend to converge to translating the word as “meal.”

 

 

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