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Leviticus 7The Message (MSG)

1-6 “These are the instructions for the Compensation-Offering. It is most holy. Slaughter the Compensation-Offering in the same place that the Whole-Burnt-Offering is slaughtered. Splash its blood against all sides of the Altar. Offer up all the fat: the fat tail, the fat covering the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat encasing them at the loins, and the lobe of the liver that is removed with the kidneys. The priest burns them on the Altar as a gift to God. It is a Compensation-Offering. Any male from among the priests’ families may eat it. But it must be eaten in a holy place; it is most holy.

7-10 “The Compensation-Offering is the same as the Absolution-Offering—the same rules apply to both. The offering belongs to the priest who makes atonement with it. The priest who presents a Whole-Burnt-Offering for someone gets the hide for himself. Every Grain-Offering baked in an oven or prepared in a pan or on a griddle belongs to the priest who presents it. It’s his. Every Grain-Offering, whether dry or mixed with oil, belongs equally to all the sons of Aaron.

11-15 “These are the instructions for the Peace-Offering which is presented to God. If you bring it to offer thanksgiving, then along with the Thanksgiving-Offering present unraised loaves of bread mixed with oil, unraised wafers spread with oil, and cakes of fine flour, well-kneaded and mixed with oil. Along with the Peace-Offering of thanksgiving, present loaves of yeast bread as an offering. Bring one of each kind as an offering, a Contribution-Offering to God; it goes to the priest who throws the blood of the Peace-Offering. Eat the meat from the Peace-Offering of thanksgiving the same day it is offered. Don’t leave any of it overnight.

16-21 “If the offering is a Votive-Offering or a Freewill-Offering, it may be eaten the same day it is sacrificed and whatever is left over on the next day may also be eaten. But any meat from the sacrifice that is left to the third day must be burned up. If any of the meat from the Peace-Offering is eaten on the third day, the person who has brought it will not be accepted. It won’t benefit him a bit—it has become defiled meat. And whoever eats it must take responsibility for his iniquity. Don’t eat meat that has touched anything ritually unclean; burn it up. Any other meat can be eaten by those who are ritually clean. But if you’re not ritually clean and eat meat from the Peace-Offering for God, you will be excluded from the congregation. And if you touch anything ritually unclean, whether human or animal uncleanness or an obscene object, and go ahead and eat from a Peace-Offering for God, you’ll be excluded from the congregation.”

22-27 God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, Don’t eat any fat of cattle or sheep or goats. The fat of an animal found dead or torn by wild animals can be put to some other purpose, but you may not eat it. If you eat fat from an animal from which a gift has been presented to God, you’ll be excluded from the congregation. And don’t eat blood, whether of birds or animals, no matter where you end up living. If you eat blood you’ll be excluded from the congregation.”

28-34 God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, When you present a Peace-Offering to God, bring some of your Peace-Offering as a special sacrifice to God, a gift to God in your own hands. Bring the fat with the breast and then wave the breast before God as a Wave-Offering. The priest will burn the fat on the Altar; Aaron and his sons get the breast. Give the right thigh from your Peace-Offerings as a Contribution-Offering to the priest. Give a portion of the right thigh to the son of Aaron who offers the blood and fat of the Peace-Offering as his portion. From the Peace-Offerings of Israel, I’m giving the breast of the Wave-Offering and the thigh of the Contribution-Offering to Aaron the priest and his sons. This is their fixed compensation from the People of Israel.”

35-36 From the day they are presented to serve as priests to God, Aaron and his sons can expect to receive these allotments from the gifts of God. This is what God commanded the People of Israel to give the priests from the day of their anointing. This is the fixed rule down through the generations.

37-38 These are the instructions for the Whole-Burnt-Offering, the Grain-Offering, the Absolution-Offering, the Compensation-Offering, the Ordination-Offering, and the Peace-Offering which God gave Moses at Mount Sinai on the day he commanded the People of Israel to present their offerings to God in the wilderness of Sinai.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Leviticus 8The Message (MSG)

The Ordination of Priests

1-4 God spoke to Moses: He said, “Take Aaron and with him his sons, the garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the Absolution-Offering, the two rams, and the basket of unraised bread. Gather the entire congregation at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.” Moses did just as God commanded him and the congregation gathered at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

Moses addressed the congregation: “This is what God has commanded to be done.”

6-9 Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. He put the tunic on Aaron and tied it around him with a sash. Then he put the robe on him and placed the Ephod on him. He fastened the Ephod with a woven belt, making it snug. He put the Breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim in the pouch of the Breastpiece. He placed the turban on his head with the gold plate fixed to the front of it, the holy crown, just as God had commanded Moses.

10-12 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed The Dwelling and everything that was in it, consecrating them. He sprinkled some of the oil on the Altar seven times, anointing the Altar and all its utensils, the Washbasin and its stand, consecrating them. He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and thus consecrating him.

13 Moses brought Aaron’s sons forward and put tunics on them, belted them with sashes, and put caps on them, just as God had commanded Moses.

14-17 Moses brought out the bull for the Absolution-Offering. Aaron and his sons placed their hands on its head. Moses slaughtered the bull and purified the Altar by smearing the blood on each of the horns of the Altar with his finger. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the Altar. He consecrated it so atonement could be made on it. Moses took all the fat on the entrails and the lobe of liver and the two kidneys with their fat and burned it all on the Altar. The bull with its hide and meat and guts he burned outside the camp, just as God had commanded Moses.

18-21 Moses presented the ram for the Whole-Burnt-Offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. Moses slaughtered it and splashed the blood against all sides of the Altar. He cut the ram up into pieces and then burned the head, the pieces, and the fat. He washed the entrails and the legs with water and then burned the whole ram on the Altar. It was a Whole-Burnt-Offering, a pleasing fragrance—a gift to God, just as God had commanded Moses.

22-29 Moses then presented the second ram, the ram for the Ordination-Offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head. Moses slaughtered it and smeared some of its blood on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. Then Aaron’s sons were brought forward and Moses smeared some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Moses threw the remaining blood against each side of the Altar. He took the fat, the fat tail, all the fat that was on the entrails, the lobe of the liver, the two kidneys with their fat, and the right thigh. From the basket of unraised bread that was in the presence of God he took one loaf of the unraised bread made with oil and one wafer. He placed these on the fat portions and the right thigh. He put all this in the hands of Aaron and his sons who waved them before God as a Wave-Offering. Then Moses took it all back from their hands and burned them on the Altar on top of the Whole-Burnt-Offering. These were the Ordination-Offerings, a pleasing fragrance to God, a gift to God. Then Moses took the breast and raised it up as a Wave-Offering before God; it was Moses’ portion from the Ordination-Offering ram, just as God had commanded Moses.

30 Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood from the Altar and sprinkled Aaron and his garments, and his sons and their garments, consecrating Aaron and his garments and his sons and their garments.

31-35 Moses spoke to Aaron and his sons: “Boil the meat at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and eat it there with the bread from the basket of ordination, just as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons are to eat it.’ Burn up the leftovers from the meat and bread. Don’t leave through the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for the seven days that will complete your ordination. Your ordination will last seven days. God commanded what has been done this day in order to make atonement for you. Stay at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting day and night for seven days. Be sure to do what God requires, lest you die. This is what I have been commanded.”

36 Aaron and his sons did everything that God had commanded by Moses.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Leviticus 9The Message (MSG)

The Priests Go to Work

1-2 On the eighth day, Moses called in Aaron and his sons and the leaders of Israel. He spoke to Aaron: “Take a bull-calf for your Absolution-Offering and a ram for your Whole-Burnt-Offering, both without defect, and offer them to God.

3-4 “Then tell the People of Israel, Take a male goat for an Absolution-Offering and a calf and a lamb, both yearlings without defect, for a Whole-Burnt-Offering and a bull and a ram for a Peace-Offering, to be sacrificed before God with a Grain-Offering mixed with oil, because God will appear to you today.”

5-6 They brought the things that Moses had ordered to the Tent of Meeting. The whole congregation came near and stood before God. Moses said, “This is what God commanded you to do so that the Shining Glory of God will appear to you.”

Moses instructed Aaron, “Approach the Altar and sacrifice your Absolution-Offering and your Whole-Burnt-Offering. Make atonement for yourself and for the people. Sacrifice the offering that is for the people and make atonement for them, just as God commanded.”

8-11 Aaron approached the Altar and slaughtered the calf as an Absolution-Offering for himself. Aaron’s sons brought the blood to him. He dipped his finger in the blood and smeared some of it on the horns of the Altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the Altar. He burned the fat, the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver from the Absolution-Offering on the Altar, just as God had commanded Moses. He burned the meat and the skin outside the camp.

12-14 Then he slaughtered the Whole-Burnt-Offering. Aaron’s sons handed him the blood and he threw it against each side of the Altar. They handed him the pieces and the head and he burned these on the Altar. He washed the entrails and the legs and burned them on top of the Whole-Burnt-Offering on the Altar.

15-21 Next Aaron presented the offerings of the people. He took the male goat, the Absolution-Offering for the people, slaughtered it, and offered it as an Absolution-Offering just as he did with the first offering. He presented the Whole-Burnt-Offering following the same procedures. He presented the Grain-Offering by taking a handful of it and burning it on the Altar along with the morning Whole-Burnt-Offering. He slaughtered the bull and the ram, the people’s Peace-Offerings. Aaron’s sons handed him the blood and he threw it against each side of the Altar. The fat pieces from the bull and the ram—the fat tail and the fat that covers the kidney and the lobe of the liver—they laid on the breasts and Aaron burned it on the Altar. Aaron waved the breasts and the right thigh before God as a Wave-Offering, just as God commanded.

22-24 Aaron lifted his hands over the people and blessed them. Having completed the rituals of the Absolution-Offering, the Whole-Burnt-Offering, and the Peace-Offering, he came down from the Altar. Moses and Aaron entered the Tent of Meeting. When they came out they blessed the people and the Glory of God appeared to all the people. Fire blazed out from God and consumed the Whole-Burnt-Offering and the fat pieces on the Altar. When all the people saw it happen they cheered loudly and then fell down, bowing in reverence.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Acts 15The Message (MSG)

To Let Outsiders Inside

15 1-2 It wasn’t long before some Jews showed up from Judea insisting that everyone be circumcised: “If you’re not circumcised in the Mosaic fashion, you can’t be saved.” Paul and Barnabas were up on their feet at once in fierce protest. The church decided to resolve the matter by sending Paul, Barnabas, and a few others to put it before the apostles and leaders in Jerusalem.

After they were sent off and on their way, they told everyone they met as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria about the breakthrough to the non-Jewish outsiders. Everyone who heard the news cheered—it was terrific news!

4-5 When they got to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were graciously received by the whole church, including the apostles and leaders. They reported on their recent journey and how God had used them to open things up to the outsiders. Some Pharisees stood up to say their piece. They had become believers, but continued to hold to the hard party line of the Pharisees. “You have to circumcise the pagan converts,” they said. “You must make them keep the Law of Moses.”

6-9 The apostles and leaders called a special meeting to consider the matter. The arguments went on and on, back and forth, getting more and more heated. Then Peter took the floor: “Friends, you well know that from early on God made it quite plain that he wanted the pagans to hear the Message of this good news and embrace it—and not in any secondhand or roundabout way, but firsthand, straight from my mouth. And God, who can’t be fooled by any pretense on our part but always knows a person’s thoughts, gave them the Holy Spirit exactly as he gave him to us. He treated the outsiders exactly as he treated us, beginning at the very center of who they were and working from that center outward, cleaning up their lives as they trusted and believed him.

10-11 “So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? Don’t we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us just as he did those from beyond our nation? So what are we arguing about?”

12-13 There was dead silence. No one said a word. With the room quiet, Barnabas and Paul reported matter-of-factly on the miracles and wonders God had done among the other nations through their ministry. The silence deepened; you could hear a pin drop.

13-18 James broke the silence. “Friends, listen. Simeon has told us the story of how God at the very outset made sure that racial outsiders were included. This is in perfect agreement with the words of the prophets:

After this, I’m coming back;
    I’ll rebuild David’s ruined house;
I’ll put all the pieces together again;
    I’ll make it look like new
So outsiders who seek will find,
    so they’ll have a place to come to,
All the pagan peoples
    included in what I’m doing.

“God said it and now he’s doing it. It’s no afterthought; he’s always known he would do this.

19-21 “So here is my decision: We’re not going to unnecessarily burden non-Jewish people who turn to the Master. We’ll write them a letter and tell them, ‘Be careful to not get involved in activities connected with idols, to guard the morality of sex and marriage, to not serve food offensive to Jewish Christians—blood, for instance.’ This is basic wisdom from Moses, preached and honored for centuries now in city after city as we have met and kept the Sabbath.”

22-23 Everyone agreed: apostles, leaders, all the people. They picked Judas (nicknamed Barsabbas) and Silas—they both carried considerable weight in the church—and sent them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas with this letter:

From the apostles and leaders, your friends, to our friends in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Hello!

24-27 We heard that some men from our church went to you and said things that confused and upset you. Mind you, they had no authority from us; we didn’t send them. We have agreed unanimously to pick representatives and send them to you with our good friends Barnabas and Paul. We picked men we knew you could trust, Judas and Silas—they’ve looked death in the face time and again for the sake of our Master Jesus Christ. We’ve sent them to confirm in a face-to-face meeting with you what we’ve written.

28-29 It seemed to the Holy Spirit and to us that you should not be saddled with any crushing burden, but be responsible only for these bare necessities: Be careful not to get involved in activities connected with idols; avoid serving food offensive to Jewish Christians (blood, for instance); and guard the morality of sex and marriage.

These guidelines are sufficient to keep relations congenial between us. And God be with you!

Barnabas and Paul Go Their Separate Ways

30-33 And so off they went to Antioch. On arrival, they gathered the church and read the letter. The people were greatly relieved and pleased. Judas and Silas, good preachers both of them, strengthened their new friends with many words of courage and hope. Then it was time to go home. They were sent off by their new friends with laughter and embraces all around to report back to those who had sent them.

35 Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Word of God. But they weren’t alone. There were a number of teachers and preachers at that time in Antioch.

36 After a few days of this, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit all our friends in each of the towns where we preached the Word of God. Let’s see how they’re doing.”

37-41 Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. But Paul wouldn’t have him; he wasn’t about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia. Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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