Should this verse be taken literally?
ESV - 26 And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.
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This verse is one of many that describes very specific laws regarding OT worship, including regulations for how the altar was to be constructed and regulations for priests. The priests wore flowing garments that were long, but open at the bottom, much like the traditional robes that we see men wearing today in the Middle East. In the OT, all of the regulations that pertained to worship had to do with holiness, the honoring of God and only God, and making certain that the practices of the Israelites set them apart from pagan nations. Sexual perversion was widely practiced by the surrounding pagan nations, including their practices in worship. The commandment in this verse to keep the altar at ground level serves to 1) prevent the Israelites from erroneously creating an altar high off the ground in an attempt to reach God physically, like the pagans, and 2) prevent the indecent exposure of the priests to the place of worship by ascending steps leading up to an altar at the top. I'm sure there are other reasons, but I think these are the main points that pertain to your question.
Clothing has to do with our calling and our righteous acts. The true remnant bride is clothed in fine linen, which is her righteous acts (Revelation 19:7-8). Her fine linen is different then other robes or garments. Righteous acts are those acts that I "do" in obedience to the voice of Father God (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) to fulfill my God ordained and predestined plan of good works for me personally (Ephesians 2:8-10 esp V 10). In I Kings 21:25-29 we see Ahab repenting of his abominable ways by tearing his clothes, putting on sackcloth and humbling himself. By this God relented in his punishment. In Revelation 3:14-22 Jesus says "...I know your deeds..." Your acts or deeds will be judged! Lukewarm Christians think they are rich and wealthy and in need of nothing but Jesus says he is among other things naked. Jesus councils them to "buy" to not be naked. How do we buy? By accomplishing our God ordained purpose for being on this earth. IF he has called with His voice. We need to open our hearts when He knocks. In speaking about the priest in the scripture God was meaning that he is a teacher of His sheep and he should be called and anointed for that position of leadership. Don't think God's requirements for leaders has changed nor the stricter judgment it brings (James 2:14-3:2) OT truth never passes. The physical pictures passed away put the spiritual truth behind all of them has not. They hold a wealth of information about the mysteries of heaven, just like all of the parables (Matthew 13:10-17). If he is in the position God ordained him to be he will not be naked. About the relevance of the OT. As a prelude warning to the Lord's Supper (a blood covenant commitment on MY part to follow Jesus - Luke 9:23-24) Paul tells us twice that the judgments that befell Israel were given to us as examples (I Corinthians 10:1-17). If you think God somehow overlooks rebellion in this age of grace you are in error. Read Romans 2:25-4:25. Circumcision of the heart is OT (Deuteronomy 10:16) and NT (Romans 2:28-29). Paul's main point of these three chapters is that Abraham was saved by grace through faith in accomplishing his righteous acts. If Abraham is held up as the Father of the faith and we are saved by grace THROUGH faith. Bottom line is from Adam to the last man on earth we are saved by grace through faith. And hopefully we know that faith without works is dead. And those works cover our nakedness.
God's Word tells us from the beginning Adam and Eve were naked, but not ashamed [Genesis 2:25].Then [Genesis 3:7] their eyes were opened and they were ashamed and tried to cover themselves, but God made them garments of skins to cover them Himself, shed blood in the application. [Genesis 3:21] Noah, got drunk and apparently passed out naked on his bed. [Genesis 9:20-23] and his nakedness was exposed, Ham saw him naked, his brothers covered him, not looking on his nakedness. [Revelation 16:15] finishes God's words on being naked and exposed at Jesus's coming. I cite these verses as how God sees our Spiritual nakedness exposed through our physical nakedness, when it comes to being Holy before God and His Holy altar of our worship and service to Him. God's desire is for us to be holy or set apart in our spirit that directs our physical nature. If God's servants do not honor God's altar of worship then how can we expect the unbelieving to respect the things of God?
What does God mean ''and you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it''? Should this verse be taken literally? Responsibility for unintentional flashing is its meaning and in this context. "Yes," but this does not apply so much to men who wear pants, but a short dress could bring a problem into play. This could create a distraction and even a stumbling block for the weaker. In those days people worshipped many idols and fertility idols, the priest or priestess were often nude and even participate in intercourse as a form of worship. Yahweh was adamant that His people would not behave as those around them. Remember Jesus said to look upon a person to lust after them was adultery beginning in the heart. David and Bathsheba is a classic example of the sin starting with looking upon another's nakedness. God is Holy, and will not promote unrightous activity. Maranatha
When we read the Bible... We must realize that the secret things belong to God, but it is an honour to us to discover these secret. The Bible says that we should worship God in Spirit and in truth. In understanding the Old Testament we must be in the Spirit and interprete the Old Testament in the light of new. Going up the alter of the Lord in steps to us Spiritual Israel means that we should walk in the Spirit. We should not go up to God through predetermined steps. For no one knows the way of the Spirit. It's like the wind. Steps are permanent structures with predetermined heights. If we do this it will certainly unclothed us and make us spiritually Naked. We are only fully clothed and separated from the world when we walk in the Spirit. If we use our Understanding we expose our nakedness for worldly Spirits to feast on.....from spiritual fornication we may end up in physical fornication out of disobedience
God mandated that the Jewish priests wear special clothing to cover their nakedness (Exodus 28:42-43; Leviticus 6:10), and if they disobeyed, they risked being killed (Exodus 28:35, 43). Exodus 28:35 Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die. Leviticus 6:10 The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar. Exodus 28:42-43 "Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh. 43Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die. "This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants. Exodus 20:26 NET © And you must not go up by steps to my altar, so that your nakedness is not exposed.’ 1 NIV © And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.’ NASB © And you may not approach my altar by steps. If you do, someone might look up under the skirts of your clothing and see your nakedness. ‘Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.’ KJV NET © And you must not go up by steps to my altar, so that your nakedness is not exposed.’ 1 NET © Notes 1 tn Heb “uncovered” (so ASV, NAB).
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