Sunday, December 2, 2012

There Was No Such Thing as The Sacrifices in The Tabernacle

One important point that I have not really made so far was that there were no sacrifices in the Tabernacle. Yes, this is right. The idea that any animal was "sacrificed" on the Altar of Burnt Offering is simply a colloquial mistranslation and misunderstanding of the original Hebrew text. 

All animals killings at the Tabernacle site bore strictly practical and specific purpose, thus making it a glorified animal slaughter rather than the "sacrifice" (in the proper understanding of this word). So the proper translation of the word "זבח" (zevach) should be something along the lines of "offering" or "slaughter", rather than "sacrifice" as, the word sacrifice usually implies complete "waste" of the victim in favor of some God. 

However, in the case of the Pentateuch and the Tabernacle, the "sacrifices" were purely ritualistic as most of the edible meat of the animal would go to the Levites (i.e Numbers 18). In fact, there is an explicit reference in the Pentateuch when the animal was burnt without any practical purpose, which produced anger from Moses (Leviticus 10:16-20). 

Even in the explicit cases, where the animal was indeed completely burnt (i.e Red Heifer, Numbers 19:5-6), it was still done for practical purposes. In this case, its ashes were utilized to produce what I believe to be either soap or a soapy water, as animal ashes are rich in fat and can be easily used to produce soap (Numbers 19:9)

So as you can see, the Tabernacle and its practices bore practical and specific purposes. Nothing was wasted and nothing was done in vain, as compared to other religions, especially the pagan ones. Everything in the Tabernacle, in this case the "sacrifices" were done primarily to feed the Levites as a reward for their services at the Tabernacle and for the congregation of the Hebrews.

And last, but not least, I would like to again to point out that there was no ramp leading to the Altar of Burnt Offerings in the Tabernacle. As you can see from the image below, the Altar was 3 cubit high in total (this includes the Copper Grate), which was the perfect height to operate the Altar.

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