Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #25: Tzav ( Give an order) Vayikra (Leviticus) 6:1(8)-8:36
Haftarah: Yirmeyahu ( Jeremiah) 7:21-8:3 ; 9:22(23)- 23(24)
B’rit Chadashah: 1 Cor. 10:14-23
To reiterate that G-d is a G-d of detail, we learn of the specifics G-d expects from the priests as they receive offerings and sacrifices from the people. Throughout this lesson, we should keep in mind that those who follow G-d’s laws/commands in this day are the new priesthood described in 1 Peter 2:9. That is, we are expected to offer our praise and offerings with reverence just as Aharon and his sons were to do.
There is an interesting contrast with the order of the sacrifices in this parashah and that of the last parashah. That is, in the last parashah, in-communion offerings were described in the reverse order from the order in this parashah of the out-of-communion offerings. This is of profound significance when we consider the work of the Messiah. In-communion offerings include the olah offering as a dedication of the whole person to G-d’s service. Yahshua was the olah offering. Out-of-communion offerings restore the relationship between those who are making the offering and G-d. The purification offering purifies or “de-toxifies” the individual. The reparation offering requires whole-hearted repentance and restitution. This order reversal alludes to the requirement for whole-hearted repentance and G-d’s grace in order to be resorted to a right relationship with G-d. This theme is also illustrated through the process of the burnt offering.
One of the functions of the priest officiating at the time was to make sure the fire on the altar of burnt offering never went out. Originally kindled by G-d (Lev. 9:24), this fire emphasized the divinely prescribed order of worship and the importance of the altar. Even when the Israelites travelled, the priests kept the coals burning. It mattered not whether day or night; the priests kept the fire burning. This became a reminder to Israel that the G-d of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. It is also a reminder that true believers as the new priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), must keep our fire burning to serve G-d exemplified through a zeal for G-d’s Torah.
The burnt offering was not a mere act by an Israelite in a unilateral demonstration of obedience. It took the individual’s willingness and G-d’s acceptance to complete this act of dedication. This is no different today. Unless we are willing to repent and give our best to our G-d and unless He accepts our lives as a living “Temple,” all of the sacrifices, donations, offerings, etc. mean nothing and we will not enter through the narrow gate to an eternity with Him. The process of Yahshua’s sacrifice echoes the process described in this parashah. He was the only acceptable sacrifice for mans sins; an unblemished Lamb who gave His life for the sins of man and indeed He “ is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Note this is not a “given.” Scripture does not say “ no one will perish.” Think about it.
Although I will not go into great detail concerning all of the offerings, I will discuss the sin offering. For detailed information on the offerings and sacrificial system. I refer you to our website at rabdavis.org. Click on the “teachings” and scroll down until you find the article on the sacrifices. This will provide mush more information on this subject.
The sin offering described in Lev. 6:24-30 is another reminder that this offering was regarded as being most holy. In the process of the exchange of life, one could receive forgiveness of sin on the altar of G-d (ch.4). This is another “type” being Yahshua’s act of sacrificing himself for our sins, releasing those who choose to follow him from the imputed sin of spiritual death acquired through the fall of Adam, providing us with the most holy gift of eternal life.
Although the sin offering was holy, G-d provided food for the priests who served at the altar through the flesh of these sacrifices. This was an act of grace and mercy. In keeping with the sanctity of this offering, the priests had to eat the meat away from the laypeople, in the courtyard of the tent of meeting. This was a very clear sign that the priests were set apart from the others; not better than the others; but set apart for G-d’s service in a special way. Similarly, true believers are also set apart as a special treasure for G-d; not better than others but given a responsibility to set the example of holy living just as the priests who ministered the Tabernacle. Just as any priest who fed off the sin offerings of the people and then turned around and violated G-d’s commands were held accountable, so too will those who profess to be true believers have to answer to G-d. (Hos. 4:8). This behavior is an act of desecrating Yahshua’s death and His Torah.
G-d added a number of warnings regarding the food of the sin offering to further emphasize its holiness. If any blood from the food splashed on clothing, it had to be washed n a holy place, separate from the people. In this way the blood which symbolizes new life was to be regarded as sacred and was not to be desecrated in any way. The blood of this sacrifice was made possible only through the sacrifice of an innocent animal for the sins of man. This represents another type comparing this concept to the blood of Yahshua who willingly gave his life that man might be saved.
Another warning involved the way the meat was cooked. If it was cooked in an earthenware vessel, it had to be broken afterwards because there was no way to thoroughly clean it. The juices would completely penetrate the pot. But if the meat was cooked in a bronze pot that would not absorb the juices, it had to be scrubbed thoroughly. The sacredness and holiness of the animal sacrificed for sin was not only preserved but emphasized.
The final warning was that no flesh of the offering was to be eaten if its blood was offered inside the tent of meeting or the temple (ch. 4:6,17). These offerings were those made on behalf of priests who had committed errors or those in which sin was chargeable to the congregation. These offerings were especially holy perhaps as they prefigure into Messiah’s sacrifice. He suffered and died outside the city gates of Jerusalem; an innocent life given for the guilty (Heb. 13:12).
The Israelites and those who chose to follow them understood the sacrificial system and its import even though Yahshua had not yet come to Earth to explicate and explain His Torah. Most may not have understood the animal sacrifices that served as a type of the sacrifice Yahshua would make for the complete remission of sins for those who willingly choose to follow Him, just as those who made the sacrifices took an active part in making them. Today people have no excuse for not repenting and following Yahshua (Rom. 1:18-32).
Today G-d has those who are part of the new priesthood to keep the light of the “Temple” burning and the light of the “Menorah” shining forward. Just as the priests in Old Testament times carried out their duties with reverence and precision, may those who are part of the new priesthood do the same. May our spiritual sacrifices of love and service be as acceptable to G-d as were those in the days of old.
Haftarah: Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 7:21-8:3
This is one of the first haftarot that doesn’t end with a happy note. Jeremiah is told by G-d not to pray, cry, or intercede on the behalf of Israel for the sins it has committed. As we have read so many times in our Torah studies, G-d is a G-d of detail. He reminds the people that He had not given the orders concerning the offerings while bringing them out of Egypt. He orders them to pay attention to what he said and to live according to the way He ordered. Here we can clearly see that nothing has been abrogated. G-d expected obedience in these verses, and Yahshua, who came to do His Father’s will confirms it throughout the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament). If you read these verses, you will see that G-d’s justice is alive, well, and used, contrary to the “all love and grace” taught by many Christian clergy.
G-d does not change; Yahshua, as part of the compound unity of the G-dhead cannot become a separate entity as taught under the doctrine of the Trinity which is inconsistent with the whole integrity (Echad) of G-d and is not a biblically supported concept. G-d tells Jeremiah ahead of time that the people will not heed his words, so Jeremiah need not be surprised. Similarly, we need to accept the same truth in our society. There are many who are not interested in the Word of G-d, let alone follow it. There is an increasing undercurrent of anti-Semitism that we must accept just as Yahshua warned us would happen if we chose to follow Him (John 15:18-25). The sacrifices mandated in our parashah set a conceptual template for us to follow until the Temple is rebuilt. This is evidenced by the statement within each paragraph for each offering: Lev. 6:6(13); 11(18);15(22); 7:34. You will notice that the absence of a statement to this effect regarding the sin and guilt offerings. I encourage you to research the possible reason for the absence of a statement mandating these two offerings perpetually throughout the generations. You can also access a specific teaching on the offerings on the website https://www.rabdavis.org for further information.
This haftarah ends with G-d admonishing, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, nor the strong man boast of his strength, nor the rich man boast of his riches. But let him that boasts exult in this, that he knows and understands me, for I am G-d who practices kindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for in these things I delight, says G-d. Note that G-d does not say “ I am all love, kindness, and grace.” Any doubt about whether or not He will execute His righteous judgment in the near future? Look around you and compare what you see to prophecy throughout the Bible. Compare what has happened to what is happening now. Prepare while it is still day! (John 9:4)
B’rit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 10:14-23
Sha’ul begins this section by telling us to run from idolatry. We are not to meander, stroll by or participate in an idolatrous atmosphere thinking we are strong enough to resist if we hang around anyway. A Biblical example is found in the narrative of Yosef and Potifer’s wife (Gen. 39:11-12). Hasatan is going to tempt us at our weakest point, whether it is a family member, the opposite sex, jewelry, food, money, cars, sleep, “fun” activities, or anything else that takes priority over serving G-d as He commands. We just read the haftarah that describes G-d’s punishment for Israel’s rebellion. How dare we think we are above such retribution for our own rebellion! We are not to associate with those who are anti-Torah. We are not to partake in activities that leave room for misinterpretation. Paul uses the example of food offered to idols. Although we know that there is no significance to this, we are not to take part. This is what Sha’ul is talking about. We have to be on guard at all times. The Ruach (Holy Spirit) will guide us in all things if we remain in Torah and follow all His ways. One way to do this is to keep in mind the offerings described in our parashah. By studying the concepts of each one and looking up their significance, we can apply them to our lives just as a form is laid before pouring the cement for a more solid and uniform structure.
Rabbi Tamah Davis -Hart