38 Now those to camp before the tabernacle toward the east, before the Tent of Meeting, toward the sunrise, were to be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, performing the duties of the sanctuary for whatever was required of the Israelites; and the [a]layman (non-Levite) who approached [the sanctuary] was to be put to death.
Numbers 3:38This ban against “the layman” or “the unauthorized” from coming near the sanctuary (the sacred tent, the tabernacle proper) should not be construed as discrimination against people who were not Israelites. It included everyone except the ordained descendants of Levi of the house of Aaron. The tabernacle proper was made up of two small rooms which no one except the priest or priests who had the assignment was ever to enter. The congregation entered the outside enclosure (the courtyard) only. This was true also of the later temples. Neither Jesus nor any of his disciples or Paul ever entered the sanctuary. When Jesus “taught in the temple” or “entered into the temple,” the Greek word invariably indicates that He was in the temple enclosure (hieron) and not in the sanctuary (naos). A violation of this ban is recorded in 2 Chr 26:16-21. King Uzziah attempted to enter the sanctuary to burn incense. While he was being confronted and restrained by Azariah the priest and eighty others he broke out in leprosy. He remained a leper for the rest of his life.
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