Thursday, April 26, 2018

Acharei Mot “after the death” Exodus (Vayikra) 16:1-18:30


Acharei Mot “after the death”

Exodus (Vayikra) 16:1-18:30

This weeks parashah starting with Exodus 16 holds within itself a divine alignment between the procedures instructed by HaShem during Yom Kippur, and the death, blood, and resurrection of Yeshua.

It’s possible HaShem saw Aarons grief after the death of his son’s, and therefore made sure Moshe told Aaron to wait for the right time before entering the Holy place so he didn’t die. Maybe Aaron would have come before God hastily with the  wrong attitude, or in self hurt and not with the right motive on the day of atonement - no matter how Aaron felt, his opinions, or where his emotions were at, after entering at the right time in the presence of HaShem, I’m sure Aaron would quickly be in ore of HaShem’s Majesty.

        16:3 says:
        “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull 
         as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.

The procedures from here continue. After washing in water, Aaron is required to dress in his more standard priestly attire perhaps identifying more so as a Priest needing cleansing from his sin. After taking two goats for sin offering, a ram for a burnt offering, and a bull as a sin offering for himself and his house, he then cast lots to determine which of the two goats is for HaShem to be used as the sin offering goat, and which would be used as a scapegoat, which would carry all the sins of Yishrael away. Aaron’s first sacrificial step points back to verse 2, as Aaron took the bull which was for a sin offering for himself and his house, killed it, he then took:

        “a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his          
         hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil.
        “And he shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of 
         incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die.

And so the procedure continues. Aaron first offered to HaShem so that he and his house would be cleansed before offering for all of Yishrael to be cleansed. Perhaps a resemblance as Yeshua first lived as a man in righteousness, blameless and pure before He offered Himself for all mankind.

After these sacrifices Aaron sprinkled blood all around the tabernacle cleansing it from the sins of Yishrael before bringing the scapegoat in, and confessing all the sins of Yishrael upon the goat, then sending it away into the wilderness. There are many theories and traditional ideas as to what happened with the scape goat. Many Christian scholars think "Azazel" comes from the verb azal (אָזַל), meaning to "go away" (i.e., to banish), the Jewish sages generally regarded the name as a reference to a geographical location of some kind, perhaps to a mountainous region with cliffs and therefore the goats death (Bavli Yoma 67b). The Torah simply states that the goat should be”sent away"(וְ ִשׁלַּח) into the wilderness, after all, if the animal was meant to be killed as a sacrifice for sin, why wasn't it slaughtered at the Tabernacle, as was required for all other sin offerings? 

Is it not unreasonable to think that as Yeshua took the sins of humanity and is alive so the scapegoat also was able to live?

After all of this and on the dismissal of the scapegoat, Aaron the high priest prepared for the important parts of the service which still remained. For the performance of these he laid aside his plain linen clothes, and, having bathed himself in water, he assumed his pontifical dress. Thus gorgeously attired, he went to present the burnt offerings which were prescribed for himself and the people, consisting of the two rams which had been brought with the sin offerings, but reserved till now. The fat was ordered to be burnt upon the altar; the rest of the carcasses to be cut down and given to some priestly attendants to burn without the camp, in conformity with the general law for the sin offerings ( Leviticus 4:8-12 , 8:14-17 ). The persons employed in burning them, as well as the conductor of the scapegoat, were obliged to wash their clothes and bathe their flesh in water before they were allowed to return into the camp.

In chapter 17 HaShem considers the habits and tendencies to follow old Egyptian ways of sacrifice and worship to idols. As life is in the blood 17:14 HaShem counters the Egyptian ways by requiring an offering at the tabernacle door of any animal that was killed either in or out of the camp. The Egyptians were known for making sacrifices to their gods in the open fields, also in drinking the blood of animals. HaShem made extremely clear that this was not to happen and that any who did would be cut of from Yishrael. Perhaps also this is why HaShem required the offering at the door of the Tabernacle, to draw them away from what was familiar to them in Egypt in the open field.

Chapter 18 continues in the same vein with HaShem explaining the difference between the past and the new, between the Egyptian rule and His Lordship. It’s clear that after 210 years Egyptian culture is ingrained in the Hebrews and HaShem is challenging their every way of thought, practise and perception. 

From the land of Egypt going to the land of Canaan HaShem declares that He alone is their God and the ways behind and before them are not their ways, they are set apart, chosen and live by a different, new code. This chapter talks of sexual immorality, who can be with who, and that HaShem considered other wise to be an abomination. This chapter clearly shows the mind and heart of HaShem in sexual matters that today seems murky and unclear not only to those that don’t accept His love and grace, but also amongst the Saints. 

Perhaps chapter 18 needs to be read a little more!
Both the Torah (Numbers 23:19) and the New Testament (Hebrews 13:8) reminds us that HaShem is unchanging, and therefore the clarity shared in this chapter remains for the current day.


Graeme Politanski

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