TorahScope: Vayikra – He called – “Sacrificial Identification” – 10 March, 2019

Vayikra

He called

Leviticus 1:1-5:26[6:7]
Isaiah 43:21-44:23

“Sacrificial Identification”


by Mark Huey

The Torah portion Vayikra begins the Book of Leviticus, and serves as the Hebrew name for the entire text. Chs. 1-7 detail sacrificial laws for individuals, for the congregation of Israel, and for priests. This is followed by chs. 8-10 describing the worship in the completed Tabernacle. Chs. 11-17 focus on the laws of clean and unclean, purity and purification, and conclude with the institution of the Day of Atonement. Chs. 18-26 compose laws of marriage, personal and social ethics, the appointed times, land tenure, and national welfare. The final chapter of Leviticus, ch. 27, deals with oath making and tithes.

If you will recall from Pequdei’s closing verses from the end of Exodus, the Tabernacle was completed and the glory of God took up residence in the midst of Israel (Exodus 40:34-38). Now that the means to offer sacrifices were available, a description of the sacrificial system is given. Please note how the Pentateuch is not necessarily narrated for us in absolute chronological order, because if this were the case, then Exodus 40 should be followed by Numbers 7, which records the consecration of the Tabernacle. Instead, the different books of the Pentateuch have been organized for us the way they have because of theological and literary reasons.

With the Tabernacle now in place at the end of Exodus, the Book of Leviticus begins by describing the sacrificial system which would be able to cover the sins of the Ancient Israelites. In our parashah for this week, the differentiations between the burnt offering,[1] grain offering,[2] peace offering,[3] sin offering,[4] and guilt offering[5] are described. There is also some clarification between unintentional sins and intentional sins, and how different people are supposed to handle the different offerings in order to receive forgiveness. One of the verses that immediate jumped out at me, when I started reading Vayikra, was Leviticus 1:4:

“He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.”

Offerings Defined

In contemplating all the different offerings, and the distinctions between the intentional and unintentional sins, seen in Vayikra, I thought about a number of things. Making free will offerings to God was an expected “given” among the Ancient Israelites. These offerings were to be presented before the Lord as a token of their appreciation of His goodness toward them. Perhaps, I reckoned, the people knew that as limited mortals they were not necessarily in right relationship with an Eternal God, and so they would feel led to just give something to Him. Such an innate desire to offer up the best of one’s flocks or herds as burnt offerings, or simply a sacrifice to please the Lord, might salve one’s conscience for a short time.

Early in our Torah reading, we encounter the Hebrew word qorban, used for “offering,” and simply means “offering, oblation” (BDB):[6]

“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering [qorban] to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. If his offering is a burnt offering [qorban] from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD’” (Leviticus 1:2-3).

Apparently, there is not a completely accurate English word to describe all the things that qorban could fully entail. The term qorban is derived from the root qarav, basically meaning “come near, approach, enter into” (TWOT).[7] When an Israelite brought forth a qorban offering, it was designed by God to draw His people closer to Him. The physical act, of offering up a farm animal that had economic value, was a far greater “sacrifice” than simply taking the time to pray or observe the daily worship of the Tabernacle. There was a realized cost associated with offering up one’s prized agricultural possession. Some of the individual’s “treasures” or assets were losing their lives.

Millennia later, Yeshua described how one could tell where a heart was located. He taught, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

When one of the Ancient Israelites would make an offering of a prized animal, the individual was tangibly displaying his or her desire to be in communion with the Creator, frequently having to make restitution for some kind of sin or error committed. And on another level, by offering a living animal as a covering for sin, the message of substitution would be visibly communicated. The one who was offering up the animal had to identify with it, by laying his hands upon it right before it is killed:

“He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. He shall slay the young bull before the LORD; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting” (Leviticus 1:4-5).

In the Book of Leviticus, now that the Tabernacle was constructed and the sacrificial altar was erected, the priests had the venue and the God-given directions on how to properly offer sacrifices. Here in Vayikra, we are reminded once again that our Creator has required a blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin. As it will be later stated, animals’ lives will have to be offered before God in order to (temporarily) cover the errors committed by humans (Leviticus 17:11).

Identification

The next thing that really seemed to catch my attention, in reading through Vayikra this week, was the overwhelming reminder that various Israelites were frequently having to lay their hands on the heads of animals being sacrificed. By doing so, they were having to identify with these animals, and recognize that the shed blood of the animals were, in essence, covering for punishment that was rightfully theirs.Whether one was offering a bull, lamb, or goat, the laying on of hands was standard procedure. Consider the following passages from our selection:

“He shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood around on the altar” (Leviticus 3:2).

“If he is going to offer a lamb for his offering, then he shall offer it before the LORD, and he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it before the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar” (Leviticus 3:7-8).

“Moreover, if his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD, and he shall lay his hand on its head and slay it before the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar” (Leviticus 3:12-13).

“He shall bring the bull to the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull and slay the bull before the LORD. Then the anointed priest is to take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the tent of meeting, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil of the sanctuary” (Leviticus 4:4-6).

What you also might have noticed is that after the identification with the animal by the laying on of hands, the person making the confession has to watch it being killed, and then witness its blood sprinkled. This method of covering for sin should have left a lasting impression on the one who has brought the live animal to the priest. Even if one became somewhat desensitized to seeing animals killed, the animal still had economic value—an economic value which in some way was being thrown away as a punishment for improper deeds.

It is difficult for us living in the Twenty-First Century to often identify with what is recorded in much of Leviticus. Most of us have never even seen a farm animal slaughtered, and then butchered so that we might enjoy some fresh, homegrown meat. But if you ever have seen this occur, then you should vividly remember how, as the blood drained from the animal, its life force leaves. By the laying on of hands for identification purposes, and then watching the blood being sprinkled around the altar and various places, the qorban achieves its purpose to bring some person a covering for sins.

From Shadow to Reality

For the most part, in order to really study the sacrificial system as described in this parashah, I had to turn to the Rabbinical authorities for answers. My examination did not uncover too many Messianic interpretations of these procedures, and evangelical Christian sources are often most concerned about what the sacrificial system meant within the religious milieu of the Ancient Near East. While such historical information is good, what does a Torah portion like Vayikra really communicate to Messianic Believers today?

I simply remembered how the Apostolic Scriptures have some excellent things to say about the sacrificial system seen in the Torah. The author of Hebrews summarizes the need for the ultimate sacrifice, only available through the shed blood of the Lamb. He asserts how the animal sacrifices of the Torah, because they have to be repeated over and over again, do not provide the permanent covering for sins that the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua provides for us:

“For the Law, since it hasa shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE. THEN I SAID, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD”’ [Psalm 40:6-8]. After saying above, ‘SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them’ [Psalm 40:6] (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL’ [Psalm 40:7]. He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua the Messiah once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD [Psalm 110:1], waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET [Psalm 110:1]. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:1-14).

Here, the author of Hebrews reminds his audience of the need for a sacrifice, so that one can draw near to the Lord. And of course, what we find in this passage is that Yeshua Himself willingly became the offering for those who believe in Him, inaugurating a Melchizedkian priesthood before the Father in Heaven. In this post-resurrection era, animal sacrifices would at best be redundant reminders of how He had to come and provide a permanent sacrifice for sinful humanity. Our author plainly tells us, “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14, NIV).

The challenge for us is that, by faith, we must believe the report that the Messiah has come and has died for our sins—providing permanent restitution that the animal sacrifices of Vayikra could not provide. We have to believe that He is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, waiting for that day when His enemies will be made a footstool for His feet. We have to identify with Him, lay our hands upon His head, and let His blood atone for our sins. For many, confessing their sins before the Lord is very difficult, as it forces them to recognize that they are yet to be perfected. We are limited mortals in need of the mercy of an Eternal God!

As you consider the varied offerings of Vayikra, we need to pray for others who need to accept the precious blood of the Messiah of Israel and His willing sacrifice! We need to pray that as people read through these chapters of Leviticus, they might recognize how animal sacrifices can only go so far. (Click to Source)


NOTES

[1] Leviticus 1:1-17.

[2] Leviticus 2:1-16.

[3] Leviticus 3:1-17.

[4] Leviticus 4:1-35.

[5] Leviticus 5:1-6:7.

[6] Francis Brown, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), 898.

[7] Leonard J. Coppes, “qarav,” in TWOT, 2:811.

 

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One New Man Bible – Weekly Torah Readings: Vayikra – Mar 15, 2019

Vayikra

1.1. And the LORD* called to Moses, and spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting saying, 2. “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, If any man of you brings an offering to the LORD*, you will bring your offering of the cattle, of the herd and of the flock.”

Burnt Offering

1:3. “If his offering is a burnt offering of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he will offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the Tent of Meeting before the LORD*. 4. And he will put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5. And he will kill the bull before the LORD*. The priests, Aaron’s sons, will bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the Tent of Meeting. 6. And he will flay the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces. 7. And the sons of Aaron the priest will put fire upon the altar and lay the wood in order on the fire, 8. and the priests, Aaron’s sons, will lay the parts, the head and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is on the altar. 9. But its innards and its legs will be washed in water and the priest will burn all on the altar, a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the LORD*.

1:10. “And if his offering is from the flocks, of the sheep or of the goats, for a burnt offering he will bring a male without blemish. 11. And he will kill it on the north side of the altar before the LORD*, and the priests, Aaron’s sons, will sprinkle its blood all around upon the altar. 12. And he will cut it into its pieces, with its head and its fat, and the priest will lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar, 13. but he will wash the innards and the legs with water and the priest will bring it all, and burn it upon the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the LORD*.

1:14. “And if the burnt offering for his offering to the LORD* is of fowls, then he will bring his offering of turtle-doves or of young pigeons. 15. And the priest will bring it to the altar and wring off its head, and burn it on the altar, and its blood will be wrung out at the side of the altar. 16. And he will pluck its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes. 17. And he will split it with its wings, not dividing it in parts, and the priest will burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, a sweet savor to the LORD*.”

Grain Offering

2.1. “And when anyone will offer a grain offering to the LORD*, his offering will be fine flour and he will pour oil on it and put frankincense on it. 2. And he will bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests and he will take out his handful of its flour and of its oil, with all its frankincense, and the priest will burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, a sweet savor to the LORD*. 3. And the remainder of the grain offering will be Aaron’s and his sons’. It is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD* made by fire.

2:4. “And if you bring an offering of a grain offering baked in the oven, it will be unleavened cakes and fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.

2:5. “And if your offering is a grain offering baked in a pan, it will be unleavened fine flour mixed with oil. 6. You will break it in pieces and pour oil on it. It is a grain offering.

2:7. “And if your offering is a grain offering baked in a sauce pan, it will be of fine flour in oil.

2:8. “And you will bring the grain offering that is made of these things to the LORD* and when it is presented to the priest, he will bring it to the altar. 9. And the priest will take from the grain offering a memorial serving of it, and will burn it upon the altar. It is an offering made by fire, a sweet savor to the LORD*. 10. And that which is left of the grain offering will be Aaron’s and his sons. It is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD* made by fire. 11. No grain offering that you bring to the LORD* will be made with leaven, for you will burn no leaven, nor any honey, in an offering of the LORD* made by fire. 12. As for the offering of the First Fruits, you will offer them to the LORD*, but they will not be burned on the altar for a sweet savor. 13. And you will season with salt every offering of your grain offering. Neither will you permit the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering: with all your offerings you will offer salt.

2:14. “And if you offer a grain offering of your First Fruits to the LORD*, you will offer for the grain offering of your First Fruits green kernels of grain dried by the fire, grain beaten out of full kernals. 15. And you will put oil on it and lay frankincense on it. It is a grain offering. 16. And the priest will burn the memorial serving of it, to be made of the beaten grain and the oil, with all the frankincense of it: it is an offering made by fire to the LORD*.”

Peace Offering

3.1. “And if his offering is a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offers from the herd, whether it is a male or female, he will offer it without blemish before the LORD*. 2. And he will lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the door of the Tent of Meeting and Aaron’s sons, the priests, will sprinkle the blood all around upon the altar. 3. And he will offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering, an offering made by fire to the LORD*, the fat that covers the innards and all the fat that is on the innards, 4. the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the lobe above the liver with the kidneys, he will take it away. 5. And Aaron’s sons will burn it on the altar on the burnt sacrifice, which is on the wood that is on the fire, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the LORD*.

3:6. “And if his offering for an offering of peace offering to the LORD* is of the flock, male or female, he will offer it without blemish. 7. If he offers a lamb for his offering, then he will offer it before the LORD*. And he will lay his hand 8. upon the head of his offering and kill it in front of the Tent of Meeting and Aaron’s sons will sprinkle its blood all around upon the altar. 9. And he will offer of the offering of the peace offering, an offering made by fire to the LORD*, its fat and the whole rump, he will take it off hard by the backbone, and the fat that covers the innards and all the fat that is on the innards, 10. the two kidneys and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and he will take away the lobe above the liver with the kidneys. 11. And the priest will burn it upon the altar: the food of the offering made by fire to the LORD*.

3:12. “And if his offering is a goat, then he will offer it before the LORD*. 13. And he will lay his hand upon its head and kill it in front of the Tent of Meeting and the sons of Aaron will sprinkle its blood upon the altar all around. 14. And he will bring from it his offering, an offering made by fire to the LORD*, the fat that covers the innards and all the fat that is upon the innards, 15. the two kidneys and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and he will take away the lobe above the liver with the kidneys. 16. And the priest will burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savor: all the fat is the LORD’s*. 17. It will be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that you eat neither fat nor blood.”

Sin Offerings

4.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 2. “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, “If someone sins through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD*, things which ought not to be done and will do against any of them:

4:3. “If the priest that is anointed sins, putting guilt for the sin on the people, then let him bring for his sin, which he has sinned, a young bull without blemish to the LORD* for a sin offering. 4. And he will bring the bull to the door of the Tent of Meeting before the LORD* and will lay his hand upon the bull’s head and kill the bull before the LORD*. 5. And the priest that is anointed will take of the bull’s blood and bring it to the Tent of Meeting, 6. and the priest will dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD*, before the veil of the Sanctuary. 7. And the priest will put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense, which is in the Tent of Meeting before the LORD* and will pour all the blood of the bull at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 8. And he will take off from it all the fat of the bull for the sin offering, the fat that covers the innards and all the fat that is upon the innards, 9. the two kidneys and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the lobe above the liver with the kidneys, he will take away, 10. as it was taken off from the bull of the offering of peace offerings and the priest will burn them upon the altar of the burnt offering. 11. And the skin of the bull and all its flesh, with its head, with its legs, its innards, and its dung, 12. even the whole bull he will carry forth outside the camp to a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on the wood with fire. It will be burned where the ashes are poured out.

4:13. “And if the whole congregation of Israel sins through ignorance and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the LORD*, things which should not be done, and are guilty: 14. when the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation will offer a young bull for the sin and bring it before the Tent of Meeting. 15. And the elders of the congregation will lay their hands upon the head of the bull before the LORD* and the bull will be killed before the LORD*. 16. And the priest that is anointed will bring some of the bull’s blood to the Tent of Meeting 17. and the priest will dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD*, in front of the veil. 18. And he will put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar, which is before the LORD* that is in the Tent of Meeting and will pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 19. And he will take all its fat from it and burn it upon the altar. 20. And he will do with the bull as he did with the bull for a sin offering, so will he do with this and the priest will make atonement for them, and it will be forgiven them. 21. And he will carry the bull outside the camp, and burn it as he burned the first bull. It is a sin offering for the congregation.

4:22. “When a leader has sinned and done something through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD* his God, things which should not be done, and is guilty, 23. or if his sin in which he has sinned comes to his knowledge, he will bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish, 24. and he will lay his hand upon the head of the goat and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD*. It is a sin offering. 25. And the priest will take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering and will pour out its blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering. 26. And he will burn all its fat upon the altar, as the fat of the offering of peace offerings, and the priest will make atonement for him as concerning his sin and it will be forgiven him.

4:27. “And if anyone of the common people sins through ignorance, while he does something against any of the commandments of the LORD*, a thing which ought not to be done, and is guilty, 28. or if his sin, which he has sinned, comes to his knowledge, then he will bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has sinned. 29. And he will lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering. 30. And the priest will take of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and will pour out all its blood at the bottom of the altar. 31. And he will take away all its fat, as the fat is taken away from off the offering of peace offerings, and the priest will burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor to the LORD* and the priest will make atonement for him, and it will be forgiven him.

4:32. “And if he brings a lamb for a sin offering, he will bring a female without blemish. 33. And he will lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34. And the priest will take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and will pour out all its blood at the bottom of the altar, 35. and he will take away all its fat, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the offering of the peace offerings, and the priest will burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire to the LORD*, and the priest will make atonement for his sin that he has committed, and it will be forgiven him.”

Oaths and Touching Unclean

5.1. “And if someone sins and hears the voice of swearing and is a witness, whether he has seen or known it; if he does not utter it, then he will bear his iniquity.

5:2. “Or if someone touches any unclean thing, whether it is a carcass of an unclean beast or a carcass of unclean cattle or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and it is hidden from him, he also will be unclean and guilty. 3. Or if he touches the uncleanness of a person, whatever uncleanness it is that a person will be defiled by, and it is hidden from him, when he knows of it, then he will be guilty. 4. Or if a person swears, pronouncing with his lips to do bad or to do good, whatever it is that a man will pronounce with an oath, and it is hidden from him, when he knows, then he will be guilty in one of these. 5. And it will be when he will be guilty in one of these things, that he will confess that he has sinned in that thing, 6. and he will bring his trespass offering to the LORD* for his sin which he has sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering and the priest will make atonement for him concerning his sin. 7. And if he is not able to bring a lamb, then he will bring for his sin, which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons, to the LORD*; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering. 8. And he will bring them to the priest who will offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off its head from its neck, but will not divide it asunder, 9. and he will sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar and the rest of the blood will be wrung out at the bottom of the altar. It is a sin offering. 10. And he will offer the second, a burnt offering, according to the manner and the priest will make atonement for him for his sin which he has sinned and it will be forgiven him.

5:11. “But if he is not able to bring two turtle-doves or two young pigeons, then he that sinned will bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering. He will put no oil upon it, neither will he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12. Then he will bring it to the priest and the priest will take his handful of it, a memorial of it, and burn it on the altar according to the offerings made by fire to the LORD*. It is a sin offering. 13. And the priest will make atonement for him as touching his sin that he has sinned in one of these, and it will be forgiven him, and the remnant will be the priest’s, as a grain offering.”

5:14. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 15. “If someone acts unfaithfully and sins through ignorance in the holy things of the LORD*, then he will bring for his guilt offering to the LORD* a ram without blemish from the flocks, with your estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the Sanctuary, for a guilt offering 16. and he will make amends for the harm that he has done in the holy thing and will add the fifth part to it and give it to the priest and the priest will make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering and it will be forgiven him.

5:17. “And if someone sins and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD*, even though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and will bear his iniquity. 18. And he will bring a ram without blemish from the flock, with your estimation, for a guilt offering to the priest, and the priest will make atonement for him concerning his ignorance in which he erred and did not know, and it will be forgiven him. 19. It is a guilt offering: he is certainly guilty against the LORD*.”

5:20. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 21. “If someone sins and acts faithlessly against the LORD* and lies to his neighbor in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or has deceived his neighbor, 22. or has found that which was lost and lies concerning it and swears falsely; in any of all these that a man does, sinning by that, 23. then it will be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he will restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he has deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing that he found, 24. or all that about which he has sworn falsely; he will even restore it in the principal and will add the fifth part more to it, giving it to him to whom it pertains on the day of his guilt offering. 25. And he will bring his guilt offering to the LORD*, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your estimation for a guilt offering, to the priest 26. and the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD*: and it will be forgiven him for anything of all that he has been guilty. (Click to Source)

Next week’s Torah readings: Tsav

 
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Torah Commentary – Vayikra (He Called) – Take Possession – SCRIPTURES FOR March 16, 2019

Vayikra (He Called)

SCRIPTURES FOR March 16, 2019

Leviticus 1:1-5:26

Isaiah 43:21-44:23

Romans 8:1-13

Hebrews 10:1-14; 13:10-16

Take Possession

This week we begin the Book of Leviticus. For many people it is a book of meaningless details, but in truth it is a glimpse into the Father’s Heart. In order to grasp Father’s Heart we must first open our hearts to Him. Let us stop now to invite Him to reveal Himself to us through the entire book of Leviticus. May we not rush through the verses, but meditate on Father’s purposes. As a royal priesthood let us ask, “Is there something more for us written between the lines?”

In Jeremiah 17:9 we read that Father knows our hearts better than we do and declares it to be a very dark place. From previous teachings, we have found this word heart to not be the organ in our chest, but rather our inward man, that part of us which makes us…well, us.

In order to cleanse this inner man an offering was brought to the Tabernacle and presented to the priest. At one level we would understand this as a substitution sacrifice pointing to the complete work of Messiah. Notice in chapter one, verse 4, that the person presenting the offering did not simply leave his sacrifice at the “drop off” door of the Tabernacle. Instead the person brought it to the door for inspection, then led it to the Altar of Sacrifice and laid his hands upon it. He was to cut the throat of the innocent animal, skin it and cut it into pieces. You may wonder what the priest’s role was during that time. They were there to assist, if the person could not go through with the bloody procedure.

What is the message here? Why could the man not just let the priest do the work? After all, that is what they were getting “Paid” to do. It was their “Job.”

In order for sins to be atoned for the man had to own up to his sin and take possession of it. He could not simply present the offering out of some duty or instruction. Rather, in the act of placing his hands on the animal, he acknowledged it was personal. On a side note, it is recorded that many men could not follow through with the task. When they came to the understanding the guiltless animal was being put to death in their place, reality set in. The priest would then have to intervene and finish the task.

In just a few short days most of us will be celebrating the Feast of Passover. Except for a few people, we do not have sheep or goats to slaughter, “Not Sacrifice”, for our table. We will go to the store, and purchase a nicely wrapped lamb roast for our celebration. When taking the roast out of the package, maybe we will get a few drops of blood on our hands, but it can be quickly washed off without meaning. We were not there when the lamb was slaughtered by a disinterested party. In fact, we can go through our complete Seder and really not think of the price paid for our sin. Caught up in the motions, we may forget the judgment of death we had on our lives and the sacrifice which took place to atone for it. We can just enjoy the meal as we would any other and dream of the chocolate covered matzah at the end. We can, but will we? That is an individual question.

The Torah portion goes on and speaks of various sins and offerings. Notice in chapter 5, verse 5, the person is to confess the sin he or she committed. Now I am not saying we should all drive down to the Catholic Church around the corner and sit in the little booth behind a curtain! Instead, I suggest James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

As Passover approaches let us make it a point to not spend all of our time on the outward appearance of which plates and glasses we will use, but look to the “inner part” of the matter, the “Heart” of Passover. Spend some quality time asking Holy Spirit to do a leaven search of your inner man. Take pause before Passover to consider those things which need to be confessed unto Him or to another. Make amends with those you may have offended. If you are serving lamb, take a moment before your knife cuts the meat to think of the man instructed in Leviticus to take a knife, not just to the piece of roast on the plate, but to the throat of the innocent animal before him. Spend a quiet moment considering the lamb before you and the work done in our place by Messiah. Let us celebrate this season with clean hands and a pure heart! His Great Love willingly paid a high price for us!

As a last note. Rabbinic writings state a principle I would like to expound on. If a man brought an offering but did not bring his own inner man of repentance and humility, the offering meant nothing. It was as if he were not honoring the One the offerings were looking to and would harden him to the true message. We could see then that his last state would be worse than his first state for he had not drawn closer to Yah, but closer to spiritual death. Could this be the same message Saul (Paul) was speaking in 1Cor 11:23-32? You read it and be the judge. Judge of your own life that is! (Click to Source)

 

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Torah Commentary – Vayikra – He called – Faithful Confessions – 11 March, 2018

Vayikra – He calledjesus-in-the-synagogue

Leviticus 1:1-5:26[6:7]
Isaiah 43:21-44:23

“Faithful Confessions”


by Mark Huey

In the Book of Leviticus, Torah students get an opportunity to mainly study the sacrificial system, which was formally instituted, to cover the transgressions of human sin. The Ancient Israelites in the desert have just completed the construction of the Tabernacle, and have witnessed God’s glory descend upon the structure. The weight of His presence was so intense, that Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting in order to communicate directly with the Almighty (Exodus 40:34-35).

At the end of the Book of Exodus, Moses’ credibility with the people of Israel was at its pinnacle. The instructions on how to build the Tabernacle, its furniture, and the elements needed for the priesthood, were followed to precision. The result had to be an awesome sight, to these former Egyptian slaves, who were privileged to participate in the construction projects. From a distance, they were all eyewitnesses to the pillar of fire and cloud that was guiding them by night and day.

A Sacrificial System

The main theme of the Book of Leviticus, easily seen from a survey of the text, is that it details the intricacies of the priesthood and sacrificial system, which are to regulate Israel’s national life. Without any significant interruption, it appears that the Holy One, from His new location in the midst of the community, began to address the need for individual atonement for the sins of the people:

“Then the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.” He shall slay the young bull before the LORD; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting’” (Leviticus 1:1-4).

In these opening verses of Vayikra, we discover that the sacrifices for transgressions are a very personal thing. The one who was guilty of a sin offense was to place his hands on the head of the animal, to transfer his personal guilt to the offering. The animal was then to be personally slayed by the sinner, and Aaron and his sons were to take the blood and disperse it in the appropriate places.

Can you imagine the impact this ceremony would have on you, if you were required to participate in this ritual? If you have ever slaughtered an animal—which the great majority of modern-day people have never done—you might have some understanding of the significance of what was mandatory. But can you visualize actually placing your hands on an innocent animal’s head, with the knowledge that your transgression has required a blood atonement, that (temporarily) returns you to a right relationship with your Creator?

Many of these thoughts are difficult to fathom, but as you read through the the Book of Leviticus, the variety of offerings and their significance for the array of sins of commission and sins of omission, can be overwhelming. It is understandable that many, especially in the past two millennia since the destruction of the Second Temple, have had a tendency to not really comprehend what is being communicated in the Torah about sacrifices. In the post-resurrection era, after all, final atonement for sins has been accomplished in the sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah (Hebrews 9:2810:10). The propensity for Believers to focus on His atoning work can help us understand why there has not been a great deal of Christian examination of Leviticus. The ability to personalize the gravity of sin and what was required to restore a right relationship with God has been mitigated. Many just claim the “blood of Yeshua” when they transgress God’s Instruction, if they are aware of such commandments.

If we are mature Bible readers, then Torah students should be able to properly value the sacrificial instructions of Moses’ Teaching—even with salvation history having moved forward, with a permanent sacrifice for human sins available.

Personal Confession

Having a greater, conscious awareness of what God defines as sin—is one of the primary reasons why the Lord is inspiring many people to return to a foundational understanding of their faith, through a consistent study of the Torah of Moses. For by actually reading through something like Vayikra this week, and meditating upon the sins that require atonement, a man or woman should certainly be able to analyze areas of his or her life where some “fine tuning” would be appropriate. For who among us is not personally guilty of various sins of commission or omission at times? Consider the following words of the Apostle John:

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).

Some have been known to describe 1 John 1:8-10 as a kind of “Christian confessional bar of soap.” If people can acknowledge themselves as fallen sinners, then they can know that they need redemption—something that God is surely faithful to provide! A little further on in the Epistle of 1 John, the Apostle goes on to describe some of the benefits of a true salvation experience for those who have become the children of God:

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:1-10).

We are found to be in Him and abiding in Him—with everything about who we are as people focused on and around the Lord—then we will not sin. The problem is that in our spiritual journey, the sanctification process is not often something instantaneous. We must each learn to abide more and more in Him, and pressing into the Lord must be exercised by our free will and desire to mature.

Where do you stand in the Lord today? Take this one example from Vayikra as a starter in your personal, confessional appraisal:

“Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt”(Leviticus 5:1).

Have you ever been in a predicament where you were a primary eyewitness to some sinful circumstances that were being investigated or adjudicated by some authority? This could be a civil or criminal offense, from a minor misdemeanor to felony. Perhaps you did not want to be involved in the investigation or prosecution, because of your relationship to the offender. Or perhaps you were concerned about your potential loss of time. Nevertheless, for a variety of reasons, you might have justified your decision to disobey this command. On the other hand, by thinking and meditating on many of the different implications from this Torah commandment, you could hopefully become a better corporate citizen to the community where you live—especially when you realize that if you do not come forward as a credible eyewitness, then you will bear the guilt of the offender! Think about this.

But what if you are an employee at a company, and you witness some people stealing some of the company pens and paper for their own personal use? What if the owner of the company asks all the employees to report any known offenders? Are you going to come to the employer and report what you have witnessed? Or are you going to remain silent and bear the guilt of the offender?

On a spiritual level when we witness fellow Believers in sin, there is an admonition that allows us to deal with our brethren in love. In his closing word in his epistle, James gives us a strong encouragement to go to a brother or sister, turning them back to the truth:

“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).

This strongly parallels some teaching of Yeshua, in terms of approaching someone about a sin committed:

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED [Deuteronomy 19:15]. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly; and if he refuses to listen even to the assembly, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17).

The problem we face, on all of these levels throughout the world, is that most people do not know the ramifications of just this one Torah commandment (Leviticus 5:1). If we understood that the guilt of our lack of performance to testify for the society or company or spiritual groups when we have personal first hand knowledge of offenses falls upon us, then perhaps we would follow the instructions. In so doing, our culture would improve as offenders are duly prosecuted. Companies would avoid the loss of assets from internal theft. Congregations and assemblies would function more righteously, as the “sin in the camp” is properly addressed. Most importantly, those who refuse to confront flagrant sin, that they have personal knowledge about, would not be burdened with the guilt that should rest upon the offender, rather than the one who keeps silent.

If you take the time to reflect on all of the different offerings in our Torah portion, I am confident that you will be able to identify with some of the different sins of commission or omission. Let the indwelling Spirit convict you of where you need to confess, repent, and be restored by His grace. The Holy One of Israel is still building a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6), to bring light to all the nations of the Earth (Isaiah 42:6). If you are one of the called out ones, chosen to represent Him in this generation, then it is your responsibility to be holy, because the Lord God is holy (Leviticus 19:2). Do not take this responsibility lightly! (Click to Source)

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Torah Commentary – Vayikra (He Called) – Take Possession – SCRIPTURES FOR March 17, 2017

Torah Commentary
Vayikra (He Called)
jesus-jw
Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Isaiah 43:21-44:23
Romans 8:1-13
Hebrews 10:1-14; 13:10-16
Take Possession
This week we begin the book of Leviticus. For many people it is a book of meaningless details, but in truth it is a glimpse into our Father’s Heart. In order to grasp Father’s Heart we must first open our hearts to Him. Let us stop now to invite Him to reveal Himself to us through the entire book of Leviticus. May we not rush through the verses, but meditate on Father’s purposes. As a royal priesthood let us ask, “Is there something more for us written between the lines?”
In Jeremiah 17:9 we read that Father knows our hearts better than we do and declares it to be a very dark place. From previous teachings, we have found this word heart to not be the organ in our chest, but rather our inward man, that part of us which makes us…well, us.
In order to cleanse this inner man an offering was brought to the Tabernacle and presented to the priest. At one level we would understand this as a substitution sacrifice pointing to the complete work of Messiah. Notice in chapter one, verse 4, that the person presenting the offering did not simply leave his sacrifice at the “drop off” door of the Tabernacle. Instead the person brought it to the door for inspection, then led it to the Altar of Sacrifice and laid his hands upon it. He was to cut the throat of the innocent animal, skin it and cut it into pieces. You may wonder what the priest’s role was during that time. They were there to assist, if the person could not go through with the bloody procedure.
What is the message here? Why could the man not just let the priest do the work? After all, that is what they were getting “paid” to do. It was their “job.”
In order for sins to be atoned for the man had to own up to his sin and take possession of it. He could not simply present the offering out of some duty or instruction. Rather, in the act of placing his hands on the animal, he acknowledged it was personal. On a side note, it is recorded that many men could not follow through with the task. When they came to the understanding the guiltless animal was being put to death in their place, reality set in. The priest would then have to intervene and finish the task.
In just a few short days most of us will be celebrating the Feast of Passover. Except for a few people, we do not have sheep or goats to slaughter, “Not Sacrifice”, for our table. We will go to the store, and purchase a nicely wrapped lamb roast for our celebration. When taking the roast out of the package, maybe we will get a few drops of blood on our hands, but it can be quickly washed off without meaning. We were not there when the lamb was slaughtered by a disinterested party. In fact, we can go through our complete Seder and really not think of the price paid for our sin. Caught up in the motions, we may forget the judgment of death we had on our lives and the sacrifice which took place to atone for it. We can just enjoy the meal as we would any other and dream of the chocolate covered matzah at the end. We can, but will we? That is an individual question.
The Torah portion goes on and speaks of various sins and offerings. Notice in Leviticus 5:5 the person is to confess the sin he or she committed. Now I am not saying we should all drive down to the Catholic Church around the corner and sit in the little booth behind a curtain! Instead, I suggest James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
As Passover approaches let us make it a point to not spend all of our time on the outward appearance of which plates and glasses we will use, but look to the “inner part” of the matter, the “Heart” of Passover. Spend some quality time asking Holy Spirit to do a leaven search of your inner man. Take pause before Passover to consider those things which need to be confessed unto Him or to another. Make amends with those you may have offended. If you are serving lamb, take a moment before your knife cuts the meat to think of the man instructed in Leviticus to take a knife, not just to the piece of roast on the plate, but to the throat of the innocent animal before him. Spend a quiet moment considering the lamb before you and the work done in our place by Messiah. Let us celebrate this season with clean hands and a pure heart! His Great Love willingly paid a high price for us!
As a last note, rabbinic writings state a principle I would like to expound on. If a man brought an offering but did not bring his own inner man of repentance and humility, the offering meant nothing. It was as if he were not honoring the One the offerings were looking to and would harden him to the true message. We could see then that his last state would be worse than his first state for he had not drawn closer to Yah, but closer to spiritual death. Could this be the same message Saul (Paul) was speaking in 1 Corinthians 11:23-32? You read it and judge. Judge of your own life that is! (Click to Source)
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Parashat B’har/B’Chukkotai – Lev. 25:1 – 26:2

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This post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel or myself.

And every tenth of cattle or flock, every [one] that will pass under the staff, the tenth one shall be holy to the L-rd. – Vayikra/Leviticus 27:32

Almost the last command in Vayikra as the book draws to an end, this and its companion two verses earlier, cause some confusion to the commentators. As Gunther Plaut points out, “this tithe of animals is mentioned nowhere else in the Torah.” Whilst we have early examples of Avraham, who gave a tenth of all that he possessed to Melchizedek, the king of Salem and priest of El Elyon, the Most High G-d – “Abram gave him a tenth of everything” (B’resheet 14:20, JPS) – and Ya’akov who expansively promised HaShem that “of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe for You” (28:22, JPS), Baruch Levine affirms that there is no other place where the Torah requires a tithe of one’s entire herd and flock. In fact, even changing the frame from one’s entire stock to simply the increase during the year, he still asserts, “no other Torah legislation ordains a tithe from the annual increments of the herds and flocks.” This change matches the Jewish tradition as Hirsch, writing in the nineteenth century demonstrates: “one tenth of the increase of one’s flocks and herds has to be designated … only those born to the livestock of one owner in each year, or those purchased by him before the age fitting them for offering (seven days).” The Ralbag too affirms that it was applied only to the increase in the flock, when he explains that each animal “must pass under its own power. This teaches that they would put the animals’ mothers outside so that the lambs and calves would hear their voices and go out to them.” (Click to Article)