Left Behind and Systems Thinking

2/9/2006 3:43 AM


S: Leviticus 10:16-20 NKJV  (16)  Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and there it was–burned up. And he was angry with Elemazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying,  (17)  “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?  (18)  See! Its blood was not brought inside the holy place; [1] indeed you should have eaten it in a holy place, as I commanded.”  (19)  And Aaron said to Moses, “Look, this day they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD, and such things have befallen me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD?”  (20)  So when Moses heard that, he was content.

O: There are a couple of things to notice here.  The first thing I want to notice is that in verse 16, the sons of Aaron “who were left.”  I want to put that into context of Jesus and his constant use of the OT.

Matthew 24:40-41 NKJV  Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.  (41)  Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.

Luke 17:34-36 NKJV  I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.  (35)  Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.  (36)  Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”[6]

Jesus says that when the Kingdom comes, one will be taken, the other left.  Most Christians feel that this is precisely the words needed to prove the (secret) rapture.  They feel that the one taken is the one who is saved.  Yet if you go back to Leviticus 10, you see that the ones “taken” were Nadab and Abihu – they were destroyed.  But the ones left were Elemazar and Ithamar.  They continued to serve before the Lord as priests.

This just shows that the idea that scripture continued to interpret itself.  Strong’s defines it this way:





A primitive root; to jut over or exceed; by implication to excel; (intransitively) to remain or be left; causatively to leave, cause to abound, preserve: – excel, leave (a remnant), left behind, too much, make plenteous, preserve, (be, let) remain (-der, -ing, -nant), reserve, residue, rest.

Strong’s uses the words, leave, remnant, left behind, etc.

I realize that this is likely an arguable point.  I also understand that the use of words can change and that going from Hebrew to Greek can change.  But it works to say that “things could be different than you’ve always thought.”  In other words, I don’t put this down as the most definitive understanding of scripture on this point.  But it is illustrative of another side of the coin for those who believe in the (secret) rapture.

On another note, the whole thing about Aaron not doing the sacrifice thing according to the prescribed plan of God: Moses comes in and let’s them have it.  Moses is addressing Aaron’s sons, but Aaron himself answers and basically says, “Look!  It wasn’t them, it was me!”  And Moses says, “Okay.”  Why?

Why is this different than Nadab and Abihu?  Was it because they knew better and here, Aaron simply forgot?  Was it that God had just destroyed Nadab and Abihu and he couldn’t afford to also lose the High Priest, Aaron?  If leadership is held to a higher standard, could it be that judgment may be more severe, but that because of leadership, leaders are left in power longer?  It’s the idea that everything rises and falls on leadership.  When a leader makes a mistake, then he can be forgiven.  When a leader makes a move on purpose to disobey, God steps in.

In A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown it says:

Lev 10:16-20

Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt — In a sacrifice presented, as that had been, on behalf of the people, it was the duty of the priests, as typically representing them and bearing their sins, to have eaten the flesh after the blood had been sprinkled upon the altar. Instead of using it, however, for a sacred feast, they had burnt it without the camp; and Moses, who discovered this departure from the prescribed ritual, probably from a dread of some further chastisements, challenged, not Aaron, whose heart was too much lacerated to bear a new cause of distress but his two surviving sons in the priesthood for the great irregularity. Their father, however, who heard the charge and by whose directions the error had been committed, hastened to give the explanation. The import of his apology is, that all the duty pertaining to the presentation of the offering had been duly and sacredly performed, except the festive part of the observance, which privately devolved upon the priest and his family. And that this had been omitted, either because his heart was too dejected to join in the celebration of a cheerful feast, or that he supposed, from the appalling judgments that had been inflicted, that all the services of that occasion were so vitiated that he did not complete them. Aaron was decidedly in the wrong. By the express command of God, the sin offering was to be eaten in the holy place; and no fanciful view of expediency or propriety ought to have led him to dispense at discretion with a positive statute. The law of God was clear and, where that is the case, it is sin to deviate a hair’s breadth from the path of duty. But Moses sympathized with his deeply afflicted brother and, having pointed out the error, said no more.

It seems that this is 1) a deeply rooted story in God’s grace, and 2) an understanding that God doesn’t just work in system 4, but also in system 5 and 6.  In other words, God IS concerned about right and wrong, but he’s also takes into account the circumstances around the issues.

A: System 1= Physical Safety.  System 2 = Personal Safety.  System 3 = Physical Safety.  System 4 = Moral and Social Stability.  System 5 = Personal Effectiveness and Achievement.  System 6 = Intimacy and Mutual Support.  System 7 = Averting Polarization.  System 8 = Sense of Oneness. 

    I wonder if this also mimics, or coincides with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
Physiological = System 1
Safety = Systems 1, 2, 3, and 4
Love/Belonging = Systems 4, 6
Esteem = System 5
Actualization = Systems 7, 8

We need all the systems.  We need to be supportive of all the systems.  Even though we may stand at different places, or we may spend our time thinking differently about the issues before us, it’s certainly clear that we need each of these systems.  The difference with Maslow is that that it is also clear that the systems are more of a continuum and not a hierarchy.

As God was forbearing with Aaron, even though he was in direct contradiction to the command of God, we also should be forbearing with each other on different issues as well.

P: Lord, I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me.  The whole systems thing, Lord, is challenging me.  It’s challenging me because for the first time I realized why the Todd’s of the world have opposed reaping meetings and why they have never come back and said it works.  They think in a different mindset.  It’s not about truth to them, it’s about relationship.  I believe, Lord, that people like Todd are System 6 gone to seed, because they never feel like they need more relationship, they have enough. 

Lord, give me wisdom as I seek to lead.  Most churches are about 40+% of System 4 and 20+% each of System 5 and 6.  I think The Adventure is about a 20-30-40 split on System 4, 5 and 6 respectively.

Lord, I need wisdom to know how to lead.  I need wisdom to know exactly what I should be saying and what I should be leading to.  I pray, Lord, for the Holy Spirit to focus my attention on you and your pathway.  I pray, Lord, for the Holy Spirit to guide me and for the Holy Spirit to focus me.