Exodus 29-30 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Instructions for Ordaining Priests
The Lord said to Moses:
29 When you ordain one of Aaron’s sons as my priest, choose a young bull and two rams that have nothing wrong with them. 2 Then from your finest flour make three batches of dough without yeast. Shape some of it into larger loaves, some into smaller loaves mixed with olive oil, and the rest into thin wafers brushed with oil. 3 Put all of this bread in a basket and bring it when you come to sacrifice the three animals to me.
4 Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the sacred tent and have them wash themselves. 5 Dress Aaron in the priestly shirt, the robe that goes under the sacred vest, the vest itself, the breastpiece, and the sash. 6 Put on his turban with its narrow strip of engraved gold 7 and then ordain him by pouring olive oil on his head.
8 Next, dress Aaron’s sons in their special shirts 9 and caps and their sashes,[a] then ordain them, because they and their descendants will always be priests.
10 Lead the bull to the entrance of the sacred tent, where Aaron and his sons will lay their hands on its head. 11 Kill the bull near my altar in front of the tent. 12 Use a finger to smear some of its blood on each of the four corners of the altar and pour out the rest of the blood on the ground next to the altar. 13 Then take the fat from the animal’s insides, as well as the lower part of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat, and send them up in smoke on the altar. 14 But the meat, the skin, and the food still in the bull’s stomach must be burned outside the camp as an offering to ask forgiveness for the sins of the priests.[b]
15 Bring one of the rams to Aaron and his sons and have them lay their hands on its head. 16 Kill the ram and splatter its blood against all four sides of the altar. 17 Cut up the ram, wash its insides and legs, and lay all of its parts on the altar, including the head. 18 Then make sure that the whole animal goes up in smoke with a smell that pleases me.
19 Bring the other ram to Aaron and his sons and have them lay their hands on its head. 20 Kill the ram and place some of its blood on Aaron’s right ear lobe, his right thumb, and the big toe of his right foot. Do the same for each of his sons and splatter the rest of the blood against the four sides of the altar. 21 Then take some of the blood from the altar, mix it with the oil used for ordination, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his clothes, and also on his sons and their clothes. This will show that they and their clothes have been dedicated to me.
22 This ram is part of the ordination service. So remove its right hind leg,[c] its fat tail, the fat on its insides, as well as the lower part of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat. 23 Take one loaf of each kind of bread[d] from the basket, 24 and put this bread, together with the meat, into the hands of Aaron and his sons. Then they will lift it all up[e] to show that it is dedicated to me. 25 After this, the meat and bread are to be placed on the altar and sent up in smoke with a smell that pleases me.
26 You may eat the choice ribs from this second ram, but you must first lift them up[f] to show that this meat is dedicated to me.
27-28 In the future, when anyone from Israel offers the ribs and a hind leg of a ram either to ordain a priest or to ask for my blessing, the meat belongs to me, but it may be eaten by the priests. This law will never change.
29-30 After Aaron’s death, his priestly clothes are to be handed down to each descendant who succeeds him as high priest, and these clothes must be worn during the seven-day ceremony of ordination.
31 Boil the meat of the ordination ram in a sacred place, 32 then have Aaron and his sons eat it together with the three kinds of bread [g] at the entrance to the sacred tent. 33 At their ordination, a ceremony of forgiveness was performed for them with this sacred food, and only they have the right to eat it. 34 If any of the sacred food is left until morning, it must be burned up.
35 Repeat this ordination ceremony for Aaron and his sons seven days in a row, just as I have instructed you. 36 Each day you must offer a bull as a sacrifice for sin and as a way of purifying the altar. In addition, you must smear the altar with olive oil to make it completely holy. 37 Do this for seven days, and the altar will become so holy that anyone who touches it will become holy.
The Lord said:
38 Each day you must sacrifice two lambs a year old, 39 one in the morning and one in the evening. 40-41 With each lamb offer two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of pure olive oil, and also pour out a quart of wine as an offering. The smell of this sacrifice on the fires of the altar will be pleasing to me. 42-43 You and your descendants must always offer this sacrifice on the altar at the entrance to the sacred tent.
People of Israel, I will meet and speak with you there, and my shining glory will make the place holy. 44 Because of who I am, the tent will become sacred, and Aaron and his sons will become worthy to serve as my priests. 45 I will live among you as your God, 46 and you will know that I am the Lord your God, the one who rescued you from Egypt, so that I could live among you.
The Altar for Burning Incense
The Lord said to Moses:
30 Build an altar of acacia wood where you can burn incense. 2 Make it eighteen inches square and thirty-six inches high, and make each of its four corners stick up like the horn of a bull. 3 Cover it with pure gold and put a gold edging around it. 4 Then below the edging on opposite sides attach two gold rings through which you can put the poles for carrying the altar. 5 These poles are also to be made of acacia wood covered with gold.
6 Put the altar in front of the inside curtain of the sacred tent. The chest with the place of mercy[h] is kept behind that curtain, and I will talk with you there. 7-8 From now on, when Aaron tends the lamp each morning and evening, he must burn sweet-smelling incense to me on the altar. 9 Burn only the proper incense on the altar and never use it for grain sacrifices or animal sacrifices or drink offerings. 10 Once a year Aaron must purify the altar by smearing on its four corners[i] the blood of an animal sacrificed for sin, and this practice must always be followed. The altar is sacred because it is dedicated to me.
The Money for the Sacred Tent
11 The Lord said to Moses:
12 Find out how many grown men there are in Israel and require each of them to pay me to keep him safe from danger while you are counting them. 13-15 Each man over nineteen, whether rich or poor, must pay me the same amount of money, weighed according to the official standards. 16 This money is to be used for the upkeep of the sacred tent, and because of it, I will never forget my people.
The Large Bronze Bowl
17 The Lord said to Moses:
18-21 Make a large bronze bowl and a bronze stand for it. Then put them between the altar for sacrifice and the sacred tent, so the priests can wash their hands and feet before entering the tent or offering a sacrifice on the altar. Each priest in every generation must wash himself in this way, or else he will die right there.
The Oil for Dedication and Ordination
22 The Lord said to Moses:
23-25 Mix a gallon of olive oil with the following costly spices: twelve pounds of myrrh, six pounds of cinnamon, six pounds of cane, and twelve pounds of cassia. Measure these according to the official standards. Then use this sacred mixture 26 for dedicating the tent and chest, 27 the table with its equipment, the lampstand with its equipment, the incense altar with all its utensils, 28 the altar for sacrifices, and the large bowl with its stand. 29 By dedicating them in this way, you will make them so holy that anyone who even touches them will become holy.
30 When you ordain Aaron and his sons as my priests, sprinkle them with some of this oil, 31 and say to the people of Israel: “This oil must always be used in the ordination service of a priest. It is holy because it is dedicated to the Lord. 32 So treat it as holy! Don’t ever use it for everyday purposes or mix any for yourselves. 33 If you do, you will no longer belong to the Lord’s people.”
The Sweet-Smelling Incense
34-35 Mix equal amounts of the costly spices stacte, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense, then add salt to make the mixture pure and holy. 36 Pound some of it into powder and sprinkle it in front of the sacred chest, where I meet with you. Be sure to treat this incense as something very holy. 37 It is truly holy because it is dedicated to me, so don’t ever make any for yourselves. 38 If you ever make any of it to use as perfume, you will no longer belong to my people.
Matthew 21:23-46 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
A Question about Jesus' Authority
23 Jesus had gone into the temple and was teaching when the chief priests and the leaders of the people came up to him. They asked, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus answered, “I have just one question to ask you. If you answer it, I will tell you where I got the right to do these things. 25 Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?”
They thought it over and said to each other, “We can’t say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 On the other hand, these people think that John was a prophet, and we are afraid of what they might do to us. That’s why we can’t say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize.” 27 So they told Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you who gave me the right to do what I do.”
A Story about Two Sons
28 Jesus said:
I will tell you a story about a man who had two sons. Then you can tell me what you think. The father went to the older son and said, “Go work in the vineyard today!” 29 His son told him that he would not do it, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The man then told his younger son to go work in the vineyard. The boy said he would, but he didn’t go. 31 Which one of the sons obeyed his father?
“The older one,” the chief priests and leaders answered.
Then Jesus told them:
You can be sure that tax collectors[a] and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you ever will! 32 When John the Baptist showed you how to do right, you would not believe him. But these evil people did believe. And even when you saw what they did, you still would not change your minds and believe.
Renters of a Vineyard
33 Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:
A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.
34 When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35 But the renters grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36 He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the renters treated them in the same way.
37 Finally, the owner sent his own son to the renters, because he thought they would respect him. 38 But when they saw the man’s son, they said, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39 So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those renters?”
41 The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will rent out his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”
42 Jesus replied, “You surely know that the Scriptures say,
‘The stone that the builders
43 I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44 Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”[b]
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these stories, they knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46 So they looked for a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid to, because the people thought he was a prophet.
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