And the priest who offers any man’s burn offering shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering that he has offered.
Leviticus 7:8 ESV
This is the only time the hide of the animal is mentioned as being gifted in the text of Scripture.
For me, this has stood out for a few weeks, and I have been pondering why the skin of the burnt offering?
What is being done here?
The whole offering is being offered to the L-rd, so why is the skin so special here to be singled out as a gift.
Skins turn to leather, which has a boatload of uses. Perosnally I love the smell of tanned leather.
So, let’s grab some commentators and see what they have to say.
Roy Gane mentions nothing about the skins (NIV Application Commentary). Richard Hess only mentions the fact of the skins transferring to the priest with no exposition as to why (Expositor’s Bible Commentary). Allen Ross, author of “Holiness to the L-rd: A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus) mentions the L-rd took care of the practical needs of the priest in the offering. “Not only did they eat the meat, but they also received the skins. In addition to providing clothing for the families of the priests, no doubt a lively trade could have been sustained from the skins taken from the sacrifices. G-d takes care of those who minister thorugh the giving of worshipers.” There, in the sacrificial system instituted by Moses, is found “spiritual satisfaction [for] the worshiper and practical needs [for] the priest in service” (Ross, 176).
And finally, Jacob Milgrom says nothing as to the purpose of the hides, though he does mention it is passing, and talking about the volume of hides produced from personal burnt offerings, he menitons these all belong to the priests.
What is the purpose of the hides from the burnt offering.
Being left to speculate with my gut based on the rest of the text. I will note that the L-rd covered the first man and his bride with skins from a sin offering:
And the L-RD G-d made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21 ESV
I wonder if the L-rd’s assignment of hides from the burnt offering to the priests was designed to be a perpetual reminder of his mercy to the first couple in the garden, a memorial of His mercy. And as we hand Him everything in that portion called the burnt offering in recognition of all He has done, as the children of Israel handed the L-rd the whole of the burnt offerings in regonition of His transplanting and sustaining the nation of Israel in Mizraim, perhaps it ws a reminder of the extent of His mercy in making sure the priests, and we by extension, as members of a royal priesthood, are covered, regadless of our behavior, perpetually by His mercy. The burnt offering is also the only offering that has to be executed morning and evening regardless of the state of Israel. The other offerings are only executed WHEN an event happens. The burnt offering, however, is mandated without respect to event. Therefore, baked into the process of the burnt offering is a picture of Father’s unfailing love toward us.
This is speculation, but it is speculation that makes sense.
Consider this today as you read the text, that His mercy and his love must always burn, and there is never a time when that fire does not burn out (Leviticus 6:13), and that fire is powered by the never-faiing burnt offering, morning and evening.
Before I realized I was a Mercy the first time, about 3-ish years ago, I pondered the Prophet, Teacher, and Exhorter relentlessly.
Of all the gifts, I speak to the Teacher the strongest, because of the relentless nature of the specific attacks and accusations against them. And because of my mind for the Scripture, I have landed as Teacher before with a number of people. But then I realized that I carry the office of Teacher, and Scribe, beyond everything else, and so, that actually explains my penchant for writing and the things of Scripture adequately.
Further, every time Arthur or anyone else discussed Mercy, my Mercy portion (which I now recognize sharply) would always speak forth about it to me. You sometimes just know.
I was not able to see this about myself, because of a number of issues, particuarly woundedness, not the least of which is I frequently have an opinion about most things all the time, and I am pretty good at articulating with a great deal of words what my views are on a particular topic.
Most of the time though, my private life, and my interior castle, are things that have occupied a considerable amount of my reality. Just because I can cut like a Prophet, or hold forth like an Exhorter, or process like a Teacher, does not mean I am always like that. My default, contrary to the views of others, is toward gooey intimacy, and without exception, I have always went the way of mothering and pain avoidance.
But under the plethora of words, and open sharing, and scribal editions, and parchments, and ink, and quills, no one would have guessed that.
As a matter of fact, when I first articulated Jesus coming into my office with a scribal desk, quill, parchments, and ink, it was during a deliverance session, and the person ministering to me assumed that was a negative manifestation. Accusations /insinuations of a religious spirit soon followed.
Most don’t understand that one of my intimate places is in my office, with ink on my hands, writing, penning. It was the first place I hated, because in Kindergarten, I was always losing my box of crayons (my first writing/creating utensils) and when Mrs. Hartley had us writing paragraphs, I recall deeply loathing the exercise. It was indeed my first palce of suffering. And the first test I clearly recall knowing where I was constatnly being resisted in the spirit by clowns.
The second time I discussed Jesus as a Scribe, joining me at my desk and scribing with me, and what He called me, I was again reproved.
But it is okay. I will continue chugging along with or without others who either understand me or do not understand me.
Some Markers for the Mercy
Instead of my usual list of bulletpoints, for the Mercy, I wish to highlight some dynamics that are not really better-articulated through a list, and rather are better for more fluid writing, and in no particular order.
So, we talk about the Prophet being identified for the bold, and ideological way they look at things. Always with a sword out, as Megan Caldecourt once told me in Dalton, GA, back when I was discussing being an Exhorter (yes I have been back-and-forth over several gifts, and it is a running joke within the tribe about which gift I am this month.). They have a sword out even when they don’t want to. The sword is usually draped across their lap, or like a pistol at a poker table.
And the Servant bustling about and taking care of the felt needs and apologizing for existing, or because the gravy is too thin, or the mashed potatoes have a lump in them (for your information, if you have no lumps in your mashed potatoes, you need to repent because lumpy potatoes is correct doctrine of mashed potatoes).
And the Teacher’s obsession with primary sources and their preference for the original langauges and the exposition and the references, and their slow butts and their deliberation, and their big frame.
And the Exhorter’s capacity to derive truths and revelation and their social butterfly status. and the capacity to hold forth and deal with large and diverse groups and get them moving in a particular direction.
And the Giver who just looks for a deal, and sniffs out hidden agendas, and always wants to renegotiate, and has a plethora of divers interests.
And the Ruler/Judge/Deliverer who sets up systems to take over some aspect of the world.
So, where does that leave the Mercy?
I am glad you asked.
Bryan Trapp, my close Exhorter friend, would tell you about their discussing things in ethereal otherworldly terms.
Mercies are designed to understand beingness. Ethereal. Rest. Satisfied fulfillment. Fullness. Their expression of the character of G-d is in His, pardon the iinvention of the word, isness.
You heard me. Is. Ness. Isness.
In the beginning, G-d did not merely exist.
And we with all of our Ruler-season apologetics and defense of the faith and exposure of heretics, and, and, and this movie that proves his existence, or this book that talks about the manuscripts. That does not prove the existence of G-d, and we do not need to somehow prove that G-d exists or defend Him. Seriously.
As if G-d was like a bump on a log without effective actual kinetic movingness and flow. And as if He needed us poor, witless souls to defend Him.
God does not exist. And those passages that use that term in Scripture are inadequate.
Rather, G-d is the root of all that is. And G-d is the foundation and ground of all being.
He is ever moving, ever-revealing, and every is-ing.
G-d is not a rock that sits around and does nothing, but THE Rock in a weary land.
Neither are rocks mere inanimate objects. According to Jesus, they have the capacity to speak. It is not a freaking metaphor to say “the rocks would cry out”.
So what was G-d doing while creation was humming along on the seventh day?
He was BEING. He was G-dding along.
He was emantating effulgent, active, effective, holifying, radiance.
Now Bryan Trapp sees my Mercy-ness with my esoteric language bursting forth.
His essence and light were humming forth.
And now that I have used that word “humming”, I understand that some are going to make the link between sound and light.
There is a connection, but the connection is not as much of a two-way street, or one-to-one ratio as one might think.
Sound is a vibrational wave.
Light is both a wave and a particle.
Sound does not have mass. Light does.
Sound is a disturbance. Light impacts more deeply.
Back to Mercying along though.
More Ether and Greater Fulfillment
Mercies are frequently the most aware of the concepts of being and existing. And they are capable of feeling all the weird feely things all at once. They are usually the ones who peer with ease, deeply into people.
And they love a deep problem. And the subjects they love they love to research deeply, and they love to curate the best books and materials on that subjects.
This is why I have 85 billion commentaries on Scripture.
This is also why I do not have a Nintendo Switch Lite. I have a Switch.
Many times, a Mercy can be pointed out by their tastes in that which is a cut above.
Sometimes, a Mercy can be pointed out because they are often the odd one out that everyone else is making fun of their points of view.
Sometimes they seem as if they are on another planet.
And the frequent obsession with purple. Purple is correct doctrine.
And many a male Mercy has been cast from his dad’s side because he was perceived as effeminate, and if I let that weird son of mine into my garage, he won’t understand, and he will break something because he doesn’t know how to fix things like my other more analytical son over here.
Often, Mercies are not the jacks of all trades.
Though some can surprise you.
And then there is Albert Einsten, and King David.
And the maker of empanadas and street food extrordinaire, John Walquist.
With his gift for fragrance, and his capacity to cultivate ambiance.
Many a Mercy’s love and need for physical touch and intimacy is mistaken for homosexuality. And so the accusations get hurled. And they often either have too many relationships that turn into trainwrecks, or they go to the opposite extreme to prove they can be like every other believer and not need physical touch.
And so an unmet need gets stuffed, lest they get mistreated or misunderstood by others.
And all they want frequently is one loyal friend that will not hold them in judgment as weird as they and their ideas might seem, who can jive with them, and with whom they can build somethng unusual.
Loyal Friends Who Are Registered Democrats And Republicans
After your heads stop exploding, conservative evangelicals, read the following.
One can be a Christian and a Democrat. Or a Jew and a Democrat.
I have a friend who is a Mercy and they are also a follower of Christ, and they happen to be a registered Democrat.
Here is the thing. If you are able to handle being friends with someone and suspend judgment based on their denominational or political affiliation, there is no telling what treasures G-d will bring you.
My Giver grandmother, once wanted to host the Democrat Governor of Florida, Bob Martinez, at our local Chamber of Commerce in Starke, and the Republicans who got wind of this got up in arms. And she responded saying, she did not care what their political affiliation was, she was going to connect and work with whomever the governor was. And she got to host him.
Gang, sometimes the best thing, and the most G-d-Oorchestrated thing you can do is withhold judgment. You never know what the L-d will do in your midst and whom He will connect you with, if you just walk with Him.
And Mercies are capable of restraining judgment quite skillfully. And they are judged frequently because of the mentality that it is better to live in a bawdy, gonads-out manner, with not a lick of shrewdness.
What was the line from that movie?
“I would rather stand with G-d and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by G-d.”
The problem with that quote is not the quote itself. Rather it’s this idiotic perception that a dichotomy must always be present.
Well, of course you would rather stand with G-d and be judged by the world.
What you might be missing is there are a crapload of ways to spread the gospel than just with an apologetic-driven and a tract-driven form of ministry.
Some methods of sharing the gospel are so 1920’s that they need to be ditched because they simply do not work anymore. The reason certain movies do not appeal to or convert present-day postmodern, Mercy-season people is because the capacity to coherently speak propositional truth is not the prevailing factor in bringing someone into the kingdom.
Showing an atheist the movie G-d’s Not Dead and G-d’s Not Dead 2 will not convince them.
Rather, not being a serial rapist, adulterer, or child pimp is what is going to win them. In other words, it is about consistency and integrity and grit.
It is about relationship and intimacy, not whether or not they see you as a credible authority or whether or not you have dotted ever I or crossed every T in our presentation of the Romans Road.
In other words, did I bother to give a shit about actually wanting a relationship with that person and connecting with them, and putting up with their mouths and behavior, or am I just in it to put a notch in my belt.
One With the Spirit and Six With The Soul. That Is Not How It Works. That Is Not How Any of This Works.
One other dynamic is that Mercies are often known for leading with their emotions, where the other six gifts frequently lead with their minds.
I know I am likely going to catch grief because I didn’t use the same language here that Arthur used about a Mercy receving something first in their spirits.
There is a large reason for that.
In Nurturing Your Spirit: Basic Seminar, Level 1, Arthur made the comment that “G-d does not deal with us on the level of our souls, but rather on the level of our spirits”.
This is different to what he said in his video on the Mercy that says the Mercy connects with G-d on the spirit level while the other six connect with G-d with their minds.
So, why the disparity? I think I understand why.
When I have watched G-d work with each of the gifts, I have seen Him or felt Him attempt to connect with each first on the level of their spirits. And with a Mercy, the first evidence this has happened is a touch in the emotions. With the other six, there is another point of registering that they have gotten the memo.
Again, this is my take, as is this entire post. And y’all are welcome to take or leave as much as you want.
I am just reporting I have seen, and I think there is a better way to articulate this interaction and differentiation between the Mercy and the other six gifts in how they interact with G-d.
Data Vs. Gut
One other dynamic of the Mercy that differentiates them from the other gifts, is that while the other six like to present data for proving G-d is over here, the Mercy doesn’t do that, but insteads has a gut reaction and knowledge that G-d is somewhere and often cannot expian why or provide a litany of hard data proving G-d is in a certain thing or place.
And this often extends to a lot of their interactions with others. If they have a friend who is getting ready to do something, and there is a danger that no one can predict or see, the Mercy will often get a…something somwhere….and they tell their friend that it might not be wise for them to proceed along that course of their plan.
Mercies can often feel the what without knowing why.
Another indicator you are dealing with a Mercy or that you are a Mercy, has very little to do with how much Mercy you show.
Good, now that I have that out of the way….ahem…
Magnets For Wounded Peeps + Feelings
Mercies also are magnets for every wounded or rejected person in an area. If you have ever been in a situation where someone who is a stranger comes up and dumps their complete lifestory onto your lap, you might be a Mercy.
And Mercies often double as empaths. Or burden bearers. Pick your term. Some might get up in arms because “empath” is too New Agey, and “burden bearer” is a more Christian term, to which I have to shrug my shoulders and let them figure it out.
That is, they feel when people share things.
They feel all the feely feels.
And for those who are irritated with the feeling language and how we have a generation of men who are effeminate. No, we have had feminine men who are in touch with their emotions in every generation, including President Lincoln, and instead of calling us gay or castrated, you need to learn how to accept our love, affection, and embrace, and feeling through a problem, and maybe recognize that some of us are not going to look the way you think a typical man should.
By the way, if you are dealing with a Mercy, though they might seem incompetent to help you in your workshop, if you give them instruction on what to do and you are willing to coach and teach a LOT, you might have a reliable worker who because they connected deeply with you, might also be willing to do the DEEP research necessary to help your projects arrive and a place of excellence.
And I know many who will say Prophet and Exhorter are the only visionary and verbal expressives of the bunch, and Mercies are generally soft-spoken, but if you get a Mercy going on a topic they love, or you cross something about which they are zealous, they can get really lippy and mouthy (think King David with Goliath). I know many a Mercy who by their talk can peel the stubborn paint off of a wall, or command a stop sign to say GO. Give them a track and they may outvision and outtalk even a Prophet or Exhorter. Doubly so if they are given to socialization or slightly extroverted.
Granted, that is not the usual way with a Mercy, but I have seen it happen.
On the topic of Churches in Revelation here is your fractal of the names of G-d from Revelation, each with its Fractal of Two
Prophet: G-d of the Seven Stars/G-d Who Walks Among the Seven Lampstands Servant: The G-d Who Came to Life/ G-d The First and Last Teacher: G-d of the Sharp Two-Edged Sword Exhorter: The Son of G-d/G-d with Burnished Feet and Fiery Eyes Giver: G-d Who Has the Seven Spirits/ G-d who Has the Seven Stars RJD: G-d the Holy And True/G-d Who Has the Key of David Mercy: G-d the Amen, the Faithful Witness, and the True Witness/The Beginning of G-d’s Creation
Can G-d Use Me?
The dynamic of this Mercy Season is not whether you are hot or cold, as if cold was a bad thing. The question is “can you be both hot and cold by turns, as needed?” The question is whether or not G-d can used you as the situation demands.
Laodecia was not rebuked for being for or against. Cold was just as good and useful as hot, depeding on the context. The only thing G-d hated was lukewarmth. Sloth. Entropy. Devolving to only ever hunting for the path of least resistance.
So, gang, I bless each of you in this sequence to consider your gift, as you read through the sequence. May your day be blessed and filled with all His fullness and may you walk in extravagent fulfillment.
By Eric Hatch
July 2, 2018
As we read Ezekiel’s writings, including most of the last post about it, God would forgive you (if you asked!) for thinking the prophet only describes a God who revels in judgment. However, Ezekiel’s audience finds bountiful hope and a cornucopia of details throughout his book, including amazingly detailed maps and powerful drama. Both continue to provide color in our process of learning God’s true character. We will study the unique way God directs Ezekiel to use plays to explain God’s response to His people’s sin. First, though, we will provide some context for Chapters 40 to 48.
Maps Detail God’s Redemptive Heart
This closing section foretells the merciful plans of the Eternal God of Isaac and Jacob for their descendants. Ezekiel receives The Word of The Lord with boundary lines for how God will apportion the restored land first promised to Abraham and his children. This may seem straight forward – that God has a specific plan to give each tribe a place to build and call home. However, Christians may find these chapters difficult to harmonize with Apostle John’s words in The Revelation and other end-time prophecies.
In this layout of a future kingdom promised by God to the nation of Israel, Ezekiel provides pinpoint, “GPS” cartography, laying out of the boundaries of each tribe of Israel’s allotment of land in a restored and future kingdom. From my view, this detailed description may have provided John with his framework of Jewish apocalyptic writings. Yes, I believe that God directly inspired John’s description of numbers: for example, the 144,000 Jewish converts to Christ during the Great Tribulation period and the New Jerusalem, a city over 1,000 miles wide, and just as long and high (yes, tall enough to stretch into Outer Space). With reformed Temple worship including animal sacrifice, even seemingly after Christ’s “once for all” sacrifice (Romans 6:10), these last 9 chapters may scare away more Christians and theologians than any of Ezekiel’s writings, even the graphic descriptions of 16 and 23!
I will note here that I don’t feel qualified yet to interpret the closing passages of Ezekiel and all of its minute detail. However, we can know for sure that Ezekiel completes his prophecies in the same place as John does in Revelation. At the end of his writings, Ezekiel writes in 48:35, “the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.” Then, as John finishes The New Testament, John writes in Revelation 21:3 this description of the New Jerusalem in language complementary to Ezekiel’s hope-filled name of our future home:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.”
With these passages, let us build our hope on The One True God and His desire to reveal Himself in the short-term, when we commune in the spiritual realm, and His promise to live with us in the long-term, when He will physically and perfectly inhabit our new home.
Looking at both John and Ezekiel’s writings, I admit to confusion. I try to understand how God sees present-day rulers in Israel/Palestine, and the ongoing fight for land in The Middle East, and the promise of a perfect nation ruled by “The Prince of Israel”. I also don’t understand when and how the Lord’s coming will occur, as described by John. Nevertheless, God promises His mercy, and He even maps it out in detail because He will fulfill His words. His grace is consummated for all women and men who care for Him.
Profound Plays Tell God’s Tragic Tale
Still, Ezekiel contains an even more uncommon narrative style, when compared to other parts of The Bible: 2 forms of drama. In Chapter 4, Ezekiel acts out a true “One Man Play” among the exiles from Judah in Babylon, preaching each day while laying down outside for over a year (390 days)! To depict God’s wrath on Jerusalem, he also builds dirt dioramas of The City of David and shows in excruciating detail how The Babylonians will destroy Judah.
In the second form of drama, Ezekiel performs as God’s avatar, his direct reflection to reveal how God acts in relationship with His rebellious children. In Chapter 24, God tells Ezekiel of his wife’s impending death, but God requires Ezekiel NOT to mourn her passing. Seemingly the cruelest job of any prophet, God wants the exiles in Israel to understand their deep, ongoing sin. It’s almost like God says to His people, “See, look at Ezekiel. He doesn’t even grieve the loss of ‘the delight of [his] eyes’. Like him, I have no more tears to cry for you. My wrath will be spent.”
This harsh picture of God shows the other side of God’s character, seemingly in contrast to the tender story in Amos about God’s buying back unfaithful Israel. There, Amos, acting in the part of God, marries the prostitute Gomer, who bore children not fathered by Amos. Then, when Gomer returned to prostitution, Amos bought her back, knowing that she still was unfaithful to him.
Both of these examples of “prophet as performance artist” complement each other, similar to the proverbial “two sides of the coin”. We can’t have a coin… without 2 sides! God acts at different times and in different circumstances with wrath toward His children in rebellious disobedience and with mercy toward the sinner. These sets of actions provide more evidence of the significance of reading the writings of Ezekiel.
See, many preachers and seekers of The Lord Jesus Christ (including myself, occasionally) emphasize God’s mercy when responding to sin and unfaithfulness, as seen in the “reality drama” of Amos and Gomer. However, just like the best human fathers, God not only provides mercy, but He also doles out discipline. By reading all of the prophets and their proclamations, we see a glimpse of the true depth of God’s personality. What majesty I see in this nuanced revelation of God’s goodness: just, fierce, forgiving, merciful, and always trustworthy! And I know this about God because I read all of the counsel about Him in scripture.
God Reveals Both His Mercy and Justice
How should this two-sided (NOT two-faced!) picture of God affect His followers and our sharing of His grace with humanity? For one thing, we only understand the character and actions of God as we seek Him in and through His past words in The Holy Bible. For both believers and seekers of The Lord God, we can and should use our studies of the Old and New Testaments to push our awareness of His divine nature. Remember that God doesn’t expect us to somehow discover a jewel about Him after innumerable unfruitful searches in the garbage heaps of Worldly Wisdom. I am, similar to greater minds of the past like Isaac Newton, a follower of Jesus Christ and a person concerned with living my life in the logical world created by Him. Therefore, I “use a metaphor popular at the time [of Newton]: God created two books, the book of Scripture and the book of Nature, and both books are true.” (Seen at https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-book-of-nature-the-book-of-scripture). We need not worry if reality seems hazy at times, whether within one of God’s “two books” or when comparing Nature with Scripture. As we wrestle with the meaning of The Bible, and as we learn more every day about the intricacies of God’s Creation, let us seek to find both what is real and what is holy. As we do, we will know more about how God relates to us and what we must know to follow Him.
Thank you for your consideration… and remember: Holy Spirit is directing us all on a journey to unity in Him, through Christ, bringing us all closer to unity in Heavenly Father. “God, bless those who read this. In Jesus’ name, amen!”
I will share in my next post about more of the somewhat obscure parts of Ezekiel.