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Ministry (3009) (leitourgia from leitourgeo = to be a public servant, to perform religious or charitable function, to minister; English = liturgy - body of rites prescribed for public worship) generally used of a servant of a superior and suggests a function to be discharged or a necessary service to be rendered. The word was used in secular Greek to refer to a public service or office, such as in Athens and elsewhere, administered by the citizens at their own expense as a part of the system of finance. In the NT, leitourgia referred to service or ministry as of the public ministrations of the Jewish priesthood. Leitourgias - 6x in 6v - Usage: ministry(2), priestly service(1), service(3). Luke 1:23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home. 2 Corinthians 9:12 For the ministry (diakonia) of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Philippians 2:17-note But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith (NLT = just like your faithful service is an offering to God), I rejoice and share my joy with you all. Philippians 2:30-note because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me. Hebrews 8:6-note But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Hebrews 9:21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. Leitourgia is regularly used in Septuagint (LXX) of the service of priests, particularly their service at the altar (6.9" class="scriptRef">Nu 16:9; 18:4, 6; 1Chr 9:13, 19, 28; 2Chr 31:4; 35:16) Thus writer's use of this word in a sense shows how Jesus' Priesthood was the reality the shadow had been pointing to for centuries. Leitourgias - 41 verses in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - 21" class="scriptRef">Ex 38:21; Nu 4:24, 27f, 33; 7:5, 7f; 8:22, 25; 16.9" class="scriptRef">16:9; 18:4, 6f, 21, 23, 31; 19" class="scriptRef">19.18" class="scriptRef">2Sa 19:18; 1Chr 6:32, 48; 9:13, 19, 28" class="scriptRef">28; 23:24, 26, 28; 24:3, 19; 26:30; 28:13, 20f; 2Chr 8:14; 31:2, 4, 16; 35:10, 15f; Ezra 7:19; Ezek 29:20 Barclay on Christian Service as described by the word group - leitourgia, leitourgos ,leitourgeo, leitourgikos... Leitourgia, from which comes our English word 'liturgy', and its kindred words form a group of words of unsurpassed interest. In classical and Hellenistic Greek these words go through four stages of meaning. (i) In the very early days leitourgein, the verb, meant to undertake some service of the state voluntarily and of one's own free will, voluntarily to shoulder some public task in order patriotically to serve the state. (ii) Later leitourgein came to mean to perform the services which the State laid upon citizens specially qualified to perform them. The services were the same, but now instead of being voluntary they have become compulsory. Certain duties were liable to be laid on any citizen who possessed more than three talents, that is about £700. Four typical such duties were : (a) Choregia, which meant the supplying of all the expenses to maintain and train a chorus for the great dramatic performances. (b) Gymnasarchia, which meant the paying of the expenses involved in the training of outstanding athletes for the games. (c) Architheoria, which was the defraying of the expenses of embassies sent out by the state on solemn or sacred occasions. (d) Trierarchia, which meant the shouldering of all the expenses of a trireme or warship in time of national crisis. Still later, especially in Egypt, nearly all municipal duties were leitourgiai. The state picked out a suitable man and laid on him the duty of serving in some capacity his town or village or county. (iii) Still later leitourgein came to describe any kind of service. It is used, for instance, of dancing girls, flute-players, musicians who are hired for some entertainment; of a workman working for any master; and even, strangely enough, of a prostitute giving her services. (iv) In NT times leitourgein was the regular word for the service that a priest or servant rendered in a temple of the gods. So we read of `Thanes and Taous, the twins, who serve in the great temple of Serapis at Memphis'. In the NT the words have three main uses. (i) They are used of the service rendered by man to man. So Paul, when he is set on taking the collection for the poor saints of Jerusalem, uses leitourgein and leitourgia (Ro 15.27; 2Cor. 9.12). He uses them of the service of the Philippians and of Epaphroditus to himself (Phil. 2.17, 30). To serve others is a 'liturgy' laid on the citizen of the Kingdom by God. (ii) They are used of specifically religious service (Luke 1.23; Acts 13.2). They are actually used of the high-priestly work of Jesus himself (Heb. 8.6; 8.2). Our Church work is a 'liturgy' again laid on us by God. (iii) There are two specially interesting uses in Paul. (a) The magistrate, the person in power, is called by Paul a leitourgos (Ro 13.6). A man's public service must be done for God. (b) Paul uses it of himself when he calls himself Jesus Christ's leitourgos to the Gentiles (Rom. 15.16). Just as Athens in the old days sent out its leitourgoi to represent the state, so Paul is sent by God to the Gentiles. Perhaps the most interesting fact of all about the word leitourgos is that in later Greek it came simply to mean a 'workman', for that simple fact has in it the great truth that all work is a 'liturgy' laid on men by God, and that the commonest task is glorious because it is done for him. The great fact about leitourgia is that it has a double background. (i) It describes voluntary service, spontaneously shouldered. (ii) It describes that service which the state lays compulsorily upon its citizens. The Christian is a man who works for God and men, first, because he desires to, with his whole heart, and second, because he is compelled to, because the love of Christ constrains him. (New Testament Words) Blood (129) (haima) refers to blood as the basis of life or what constitutes the life of an individual. Jehovah explained that... the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.' (Lev 17:11) Blood is the basic component of a living organism. The shedding of Christ's blood (death) was the penalty price for sin. What was foreshadowed (shadow) in the Levitical system was realized (substance) at the Cross when the Son of God laid down His life in death and ransomed men from sin. His precious blood paid the ransom price for our redemption (Cf 1Pe 1:18-notes; Rev 5:9-note, Ro 3:24-note; Ro 3:25-note) Blood was also used in the cleansing rites on the annual day of atonement. As Steven Cole explains... God’s uniform method for the forgiveness of sins has been the shedding of blood. God decreed that “the wages of sin is death” (Ro 5:23- note). In Leviticus 17:11, God explains why blood must be shed: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” God’s justice demands the payment of the penalty, which is death. In His mercy, He will accept the death of an acceptable substitute in place of the death of the sinner. The system of animal sacrifices under the old covenant pictured and pointed ahead to Christ, the lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Note three things: A. Sin leads to physical and spiritual death. God told Adam and Eve that in the day that they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would surely die (Gen. 2:17). But they ate of the fruit and did not drop dead that day. Why not? At the moment that they ate of the fruit, they died spiritually. Previously, they had enjoyed intimate fellowship with God, with no barriers between them. But instantly they were alienated from Him and tried to hide themselves from His holy presence. On that same day, the process of physical death set in. Al-though in God’s providence and purpose, those early humans lived for hundreds of years, they all died. Their bodies became subject to aging and disease. Sin resulted in death through murder and war. All of the ugly horrors of the world, whether the ravages of disease, the atrocities of crime, terrorism, and war, or the environmental devastation of the world’s resources, are the result of sin. When I have read stories about missionaries going into savage tribes with the gospel, I have marveled that these tribes had not annihilated themselves centuries before. Their histories are one long account of one tribe wronging the other tribe, and then that tribe taking revenge in brutal ways. Then the other tribe retaliates and the cycle goes on and on. The same thing is true, however, in more “civilized” parts of the world. The entire history of the world is a history of battles over territory or resources. Proud men lord it over other proud men, until they are overthrown. Sin is at the root of all of the physical death in the world. And sin results in every person being spiritually dead, alienated from the life of God. B. Blood graphically pictures the costliness of sin. The word blood occurs six times in Hebrews 9:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, plus death or dead three times in Hebrews 9:15-17. Have you ever thought about how gory and messy the Jewish religion was? Everything was sprinkled with blood. The priests slaughtered dozens and sometimes hundreds or thousands of animals at the altar. They took bowls full of blood and sprinkled it on the altar. The carcasses were burned on the altar, so that the smell would have been constant and overwhelming. I’ve never seen the slaughter of a bull or sheep or goat. I buy my meat pre-cut and shrink-wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store. To be transported back in time and witness the sacrifices at the tabernacle would be a shocking experience for most of us. The blood graphically pictured the cost of sin. C. The old covenant was inaugurated with blood, because death is God’s decreed penalty for sin. The author mentions details in Heb 9:19 (note) that are not included in the account in Exodus 24. There is no mention there of goats, water, scarlet wool, hyssop, or the sprinkling of the book. Other texts mention some of these things in other rituals (Lev 1:10; 14:4, 5, 6; Nu 19:6, 18). Either the author is collectively gathering up all of these rituals into one, since he is dealing with the general subject of all things in the Old Testament being cleansed by blood (so Calvin and John Owen). Or, he may be relying on oral tradition, with which all of the Jews were familiar. But, his point is, “according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood” (He 9:22-note). The exception was that a poor man could offer a grain offering instead of an animal sacrifice (Lev. 5:11, 12, 13). But the exception did not negate the rule, that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” God was making the point that death is His decreed penalty for our sins. Thus every person needs forgiveness of sins. God’s uniform method for the forgiveness of sins has been the shedding of blood. (Forgiveness Through Christ’s Blood ) Hebrews 9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (NASB: Lockman) Greek: kai schedon en haimati panta katharizetai (3SPPI) kata ton nomon, kai choris haimatekchusias ou ginetai (3SPMI) aphesis. Amplified: In fact under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins. (Amplified Bible - Lockman) Barclay: Under the conditions which the law lays down it is true to say that almost everything is cleansed by blood. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Westminster Press) NLT: In fact, we can say that according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified by sprinkling with blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. (NLT - Tyndale House) (Phillips: Touchstone) Wuest: And one may almost say that with blood all things are cleansed according to the law. And without blood shedding there is no remission. (Eerdmans) Young's Literal: and with blood almost all things are purified according to the law, and apart from blood-shedding forgiveness doth not come. AND ACCORDING TO THE LAW, ALMOST ALL THINGS ARE CLEANSED WITH BLOOD: kai schedon en haimati panta katharizetai (3SPPI) kata ton nomon: (14.6" class="scriptRef">Leviticus 14:6,14,25,51,52) According to the Law - As prescribed in the Pentateuch or under the guidelines of the Mosaic or Old Covenant. Remember that what the writer is doing in this section is explaining to his readers why Christ had to die. He first stated that a will or testament demands a death for the will to become effective. In Hebrews 9:18, he explains the necessity of the shedding of blood in order to bring about forgiveness. Almost (4975) (schedon) means nearly or nigh. Below are some of the OT exceptions to the necessity of blood for cleansing. Lev 5:11-13 'But if his means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons (thus providing an exception for the extremely poor individual, suggesting that even the poorest would always at least have flour to offer), then for his offering for that which he has sinned, he shall bring the tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall not put oil on it or place incense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12 'And he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it as its memorial portion and offer it up in smoke on the altar, with the offerings of the LORD by fire: it is a sin offering. 13 'So the priest shall make atonement (Hebrew = Kaphar = cover over) for him concerning his sin which he has committed from one of these, and it shall be forgiven (Lxx = aphiemi) him; then the rest shall become the priest's, like the grain offering.' Comment: In a sense, the flour "symbolized" the offering of an animal's blood. The fact that there is a non-blood offering for sin supports the fact that the OT sacrifices were symbolic. Note that this OT "exception clause" refers to atonement under the Old Covenant an atonement which brought about covering for sin. Although this passage does use the word forgiveness, the concept of forgiveness is different than the forgiveness made possible under the New Covenant as the result of the shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God. Perfect forgiveness is only possible based on the substitutionary sacrificial blood of Christ. The remainder of Hebrews 9 compares and contrasts the efficacy of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. As A T Robertson says "The blood of Christ sets aside all other plans for pardon." Spurgeon adds "This solemn truth needs to be well learned and remembered. Nothing can cleanse us but the blood of Jesus. Sacraments, prayers, repentances are all useless as a substitute for faith in the blood." Nu 16:46 (Context = God's judgment after the rebellion of Korah) And Moses said to Aaron, "Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the LORD, the plague has begun!" Nu 31:50 (Context = When the soldiers were counted and not one had been killed their gratitude stimulated them to make a freewill offering to the LORD) So we have brought as an offering to the LORD what each man found, (not blood but) articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD. MacDonald mentions another exception noting that... For instance, when a man was to be numbered in a census among the children of Israel, he could bring a half-shekel of silver as “atonement money” instead of a blood offering (Ex. 30:11–16). The coin was a token symbolizing atonement for the man’s soul in order for him to be reckoned as one of God’s people. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos) Vincent adds that the emphatic word... Almost provides for such exceptions as Ex. 19:10; 32:30-32; 5:11, 12, 13; Lev. 15:5; 16:26, 27, 28; 12:6; Num. 16:46, 47, 48; 31:23, 24; Ps. 51:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-17; 32:1, 2. John Phillips commenting on "almost" writes... The word almost is a prefix to the entire clause. Some things were not cleansed with blood; some were cleansed with water, as the writer of the epistle has but recently shown. Some sins were not cleansed at all by the Levitical ritual, for example, presumptuous sins (Nu 15:30). Study David's prayer in the light of his presumptuous sins of adultery and murder (Ps 51:17-note). Some time after the public ratification of the covenant, the Tabernacle was built, and Moses sprinkled this, too, with blood. The temporary structure of the Tabernacle and the temporary agreement of the law alike had to be sprinkled with blood. Such is human sin. (Phillips, John: Exploring Hebrews: An Expository Commentary) "Copy and paste the address below into your web browser in order to go to the original page which will allow you to access live links related to the material on this page - these links include Scriptures (which can be read in context), Scripture pop-ups on mouse over, and a variety of related resources such as Bible dictionary articles, commentaries, sermon notes and theological journal articles related to the topic under discussion."

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