Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Vayikra / Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26 (Leviticus 1:1 – 6:7)

Vayikra 1:1 – 5:26   (Leviticus 1:1 – 6:7)
“He called”

Day 1 – 1:1 – 13     Day 2 – 1:14 – 2:6     Day 3 – 2:7 – 16     Day 4 – 3:1 – 17
Day 5 – 4:1 – 26     Day 6 – 4:27 – 5:10     Shabbat – 5:11 – 26 (6:7)
In looking over the parashot for this week,
I would like to concentrate my comments in regards to the first parasha.
            In the closing of last week’s parashot the cloud was covering the tabernacle and the glory of HaShem filled the tabernacle.  A thought that comes to mind regarding this is that man looks upon the outward, but HaShem looks upon the inward man (I Sh’mu’el 16:7b).  The tabernacle, following its dedication, was filled within and covered without by the essence of The Holy One.  It was holy, and it is no stretch to project that that holiness within and without was also been evident in Yeshua’s life in the form of a man as He tabernacled among us.
            In the following verse, Shemot (Exodus) 40:35, we were told that Moshe was unable to enter the tent of meeting “because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle.”  It is for that reason that this week’s readings begin with the following phrasing, “Adonai called to Moshe and spoke to him from the tent of meeting.”  Moshe is no longer able to meet with HaShem within the tabernacle.  Though the Lord will continue to speak to Moshe, He will do so from within the tent of meeting, and Moshe will be outside the tent. 
            This is similar to what we find in the book of Esther when we are informed that no one may enter into the presence of the king unless he calls for them.  For anyone to enter presumptuously means certain execution, unless the king holds out his scepter as a sign of acceptance of the petitioner.  Our King only holds out His scepter on Yom Kippur, and only to one individual per year.  Moshe is not that individual; Moshe is not the kohen hagadol, the high priest.
            What I find most compelling in this parasha are verses four through nine, though verses eleven through thirteen are basically a repitition.
            Permit me to go delineate the process of this sacrificial offering as presented here.  The offerer is to place his hand (singular) upon the head of the animal.  This makes it a acceptable offering for his drawing near to the Lord. 
            He is then to kill the animal.  One hand is upon the animal’s head and the other is slitting the throat in the prescribed manner.  The priests did NOT sacrifice the animal; the offerer did.  After all, it was for His atonement, His need to be able to draw near to HaShem.  What did the priest do?  He caught the blood and sprinkled it about the altar.
            Next the animal was to be flayed, skinned and cut into pieces.  As I read verse six, it is the presenter who is to perform this task.  The sons of Aharon were preparing the altar to receive the gift being presented (vs. 7).
Following this, the priests then took the parts that had been flayed upon the altar in the proper fashion.
Meanwhile, the “common person” who brought the free will offering was not done with his task.  He still had to wash the legs and the innards of the animal prior to their having been burnt upon the altar.  It seems from a human standpoint that the question could be asked, “Why wash the inward parts if they are just going to be burnt to a crisp on the altar anyways?”
            My only response is that the animal, in “representing” us, is to be cleansed within and without.  And with that in mind, it takes me back to my introductory paragraph regarding the tabernacle.  At the same time, it has been revealed to me that the offering of a bullock or lamb was a messy task, but not a messy as what our Redeemer went through in order to draw us near to HaShem through the cleansing of His blood.
            I mentioned earlier that the process dissected above was essentially repeated in verses eleven through thirteen, and it is.  The only difference in these two is that the first one is in reference to the sacrifice of a bullock while the second one refers to the offering of a lamb.  Other than the type of animal involved, the steps of the process are identical.
            The events of Luke 2:41 – 52 come to mind whenever I read this portion, and specifically verse 42.  It is my understanding (a teaching from Ray Vander Laan, I believe) that when a you man had been bar-mitzvaed, he had the honor / responsibility of offering the next Pesach sacrifice at the Temple.  I know I am presuming at this point, but I do not find it unlikely that this selection in Luke fits this pattern.
            So let’s assume that this is the case.  Yeshua is presenting a sacrifice to HaShem, but it cannot be a sacrifice for sin, or for His sin anyhow.  Sacrifices were meant as a means of being able to draw near to our heavenly Father.  If a sacrifice, any animal sacrifice, could be sufficient for the remission for sin(s), there would then be no need for the willing sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, for an animal could give us the same result.
            This is an issue that I feel many of our Christian brethren do not comprehend, and to be honest, neither did I for quite a long time.  However, once my eyes and understanding were opened to this, I had and maintain to this day, a much different view of the purpose of the sacrificial system.
            May His Name be blessed as we read, attempt to understand, and live His Word.  Amen. 

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