Rosh Hashana 1 (Shacharit)
The scriptures from which today’s message is drawn include: Genesis 21, Numbers 29:1-6
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 1;1-2-10
B’rit Chadashah: Matt. 24; Mk 13; Luke 21
Genesis 21: As this chapter relates to Rosh Hashana, Avraham had recently (Chapter 20) prayed that G-d would heal Avimelekh, is wife, and slave-girls so that they were able to have children. Later, we are told that Avraham had a previous argument with Avimelekh over a well which Avimelekh’s servants had seized. Avimelekh told Avraham that he had not known of the issue until Avraham made him aware of it. Realizing Avimelekh was innocent of the infringement, Avraham made peace with Avimelekh sheep and cattle and gave them to Avimelekh, and the two made a covenant. The relationship was restored. According to the Chumash, the Sages say the juxtaposition of the section describing the birth of Isaac relates to the last paragraph of the previous parashah in that “Of someone prays for mercy on behalf of another when he himself needs the very same thing, he is answered first.” (Bava Kamma 92a). Now, this is based on the addition of the word “already” in the sentence that says “Adonai remembered Sarah…” according to the Complete Jewish Bible. In the Chumash, the sentence (Genesis 21:1) translates reads “HaShem had remembered Sarah…”According to the Hebrew Bible, the sentence translates as “And the L-rd visited Sarah as he had said, and the L-rd did unto Sarah as he had spoken.” The word “had” in two translations provided implies that G-d had previously taken these actions, but not necessarily before He healed Avimelekh, his wife, and slave-girls. On the other hand, the fact that G-d’s promise to Sarah and Avraham were made before the incident with Avimelekh supports the Sages’ position. Regardless of the reader’s opinion on this interpretation, the most important point is understanding the concept of the narrative and its relationship to Rosh Hashana. During the month of Elul and Rosh Hashana specifically, we are to do our best to right the wrongs we have committed against others as we seek forgiveness for G-d (Matthew 6:14-15).
Numbers 29:1-6: This narrative describes the mandate for observing Rosh Hashana. We are not to do any kind of ordinary work and it is a day to blow the shofar. A burnt offering, a grain offering, and a sin offering were to be made for atonement. These offerings were to be made in addition to those for Rosh Kodesh. So, what is the significance of the burnt, grain, and sin offerings?
The Sin Offering:
The first offering took place at the consecration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood (Leviticus 8:15). To be a mediator between B’nai Yisrael (children of Israel) and YHVH Elohim required a sinless Cohen Gadol (High Priest), a typology of looking ahead to Yahshua. It is the easiest offering to understand.
The sin offering made the people more aware of the cost of sin. An innocent life (animals) had to be sacrificed. This was affected by each individual repentant who had to personally kill the animal learning in the process that sin brought death, which revealed the wrath of YHVH against sin and man’s need for pardon. And only by the remission of blood was YHVH’s wrath satisfied and atonement granted. Again, this prefigured Yahshua. I also want you to remember who Yahshua was; He was YHVH incarnate. YHVH Himself became our sacrifice.
The sin offering was always the first offering because sin separates us from YHVH and atonement is necessary for reconciliation and restoration. Another fact to consider is that no meat or drink offering was made in conjunction with the sin offering. This further amplifies that there must be atonement through the application of blood from the sin offering before YHVH Elohim can grant pardon.
The daily sin offerings were not so much a type of Yahshua’s sacrifice as was the sin offering once a year on the Day of Atonement. The daily sacrifices looked forward to the Day of Atonement that prefigured Yahshua.
Although the wrath of YHVH toward sin and His justice was seen in the death and offering of an animal, the love of YHVH could also be seen in that He had prepared a way for pardon by accepting a substitution sacrifice. This clearly speaks of Yahshua in His vicarious act of accepting the penalty of the Law. If you and I clearly see the depth of our sin and its wickedness we can more clearly see the depth of YHVH’s Love by His taking upon Himself the penalty of our sin.
We see that the offering had to be without blemish as was Yahshua without leaven (sin) as typified in the Passover Lamb. The sacrifice was killed before YHVH on the north side of the brazen altar (Lev. 1:11) the offering had to be killed by the offerer and there was a laying on of hands (Lev. 4:4). Blood from the offering of the High Priest and for the congregation was sprinkled (7) times (the number of spiritual perfection) before the inner veil of the sanctuary. Some was also applied to the horns of the incense altar and the rest was poured out at the bottom of the brazen altar, (Lev. 4:6-7, 17-18; 6:30). Blood of animals offered by the rulers or common people was applied to the horns of the brazen altar and the rest poured out at the bottom of the altar. Bird’s blood for the very poor was sprinkled on the sides of the brazen altar and the rest at the bottom of the altar. The reason for the offering was personal or congregational sin.
We will look at the Burnt Offering next…
The Burnt Offering:
This offering (Olah) actually predates the institution of the Levitical system of sacrifices. Its meaning before the Levitical system was instituted may have been exclusively for expiatory purposes, but after the sin and trespass offerings were instituted it became an offering with a more specific meaning.
It was offered for a variety of reasons but more specifically as a need for renewal and consecration because of sin. Or for a change of circumstances where the offerer might devote more time to YHVH or to an increase in moral knowledge.
For Messianic Believers the burnt offering on one level represents the perfect and total consecration of Yahshua to YHVH. The burning of the whole animal on the brazen altar indicated this. The offerings of only the fat, kidneys and caul of the other offerings were not adequate to represent total consecration. On another level it bespeaks of our need for total consecration.
The sacrificial animals of the burnt offering were more thoroughly examined for imperfections than the animals of the other offerings. This animal had to be flayed (a reference to Yahshua’s scrounging) to afford closer examination for blemishes. If none were found the inwards and legs were washed signifying that the animal was pure. Yahshua in His sinless life was the anti-type of the pure sacrifice acceptable to YHVH Elohim (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, Yahshua was a sweet-savor offering (Eph. 5:2)
The “to make atonement” in Leviticus 1:4 does not here refer to making atonement for sin as in the sin and trespass offerings. The offerer of the burnt offering approached YHVH not as a sinner but as a saint; sin being forgiven with the sin of the trespass offering. The burnt offering here identifies with YHVH in total consecration. Yahshua’s consecration to YHVH made it possible for Him to remove the effects of sin in the world (atonement) allowing for us reconciliation to YHVH. The Olah (burnt offering) represents to the believer what Sha’ul (Paul) obviously had in mind when he said in Romans 12: 1-2, “presenting your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto YHVH which is your reasonable service.” This Olah offering makes it possible for the offerer, cleansed by the Sin and trespass offering of Yahshua, to be consecrated and to remove prior sin from his life (atonement). Again, this speaks of Trust and obedience as the definition of a true worshipper or believer is defined in the Seven-Fold witness in Revelations. It was the perfect obedience of Yahshua that made Yahshua acceptable to YHVH as a sacrifice. We gain entry with the sin or trespass offering as represented by Yahshua, but maintain our status by the Olah offering of consecration and atonement (removal of sin from our lives).
Olah (burnt offering) means to ascend. Only the believer (trust) who has a consecrated life (obedience to YHVH’s Torah) can be acceptable to YHVH and ascend as a sweet savor (2 Cor. 2:15). Jeremiah spoke of a time when the nation of Judah forgot and no longer obeyed His Word (Jer. 6:10) and their burnt offerings were no longer acceptable to Him.
The offering of the whole animal taught that the believer must offer his whole self with all his love, heart, mind and soul; while the variety of animals acceptable teaches that no matter the circumstances of the believer everyone is capable of meeting YHVH’s condition. Everyone is capable of devoting all they possess in their consecration to YHVH Elohim. YHVH requires all from us both spiritually and materially regardless of our station in life for anything less is not consecration.
The rich could express their devotion to YHVH by the value of their offering and at the same time the poor who could not afford the more valuable animals could be as great in YHVH’s sight as the thousand burnt offerings offered by Solomon (2 Chron 1:6). Also, the Burnt Offering was offered on a daily basis speaking of a need for us to offer continual consecration.
The Hebrew word translated “meat” here may mean any kind of food and if you explore chapter two in Leviticus you will discover that this offering was actually flour/grain and olive oil. It is the only bloodless offering of the five principal offerings of the Levitical system.
In Numbers chapter 15 we read that this offering always accompanied the other offerings except the sin and trespass offerings. It should be offered either baked or dry. Its description in Leviticus gives no measure of the fine flour offered in dry meat offerings, however it is given in Numbers 15 along with the amount of oil and wine for the drink offering. A drink offering always accompanied a meat offering. Numbers 15 does not mention the frankincense as in Leviticus 2 or the amount offered. When we read Scripture, the total picture cannot always be gained by only one section surveyed, and that is why so many people evolve contrary doctrines because they do not consult the whole counsel of scripture. This example from the whole counsel of the bible insures us that frankincense was certainly offered. We also see that the amounts of flour, oil and wine varied according to the animal sacrificed. What was not burned on the altar went to the Priests.
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:10
This narrative is the beautiful story of Hannah, her humble, intense supplication to G-d for a son, her joy and recognition of G-d’s sovereignty and righteousness, her trusting and dedication to G-d. She prayed to G-d reveals a profound understanding of G-d’s plan for mankind as she understood it in the present and amazingly in the future. This story also relates how her rival P’ninah taunted her because she was initially barren, how Hannah cried out to the L-rd in deep depression and despair, and how G-d answered her prayer for a son. We also read of how Eli the Cohen misunderstood her prayers because her lips were moving but there was no sound. He initially thought she was drunk and rebuked her. After realizing she was not drunk, but was praying so intensely from her heart, Eli bid her to go in peace and that G-d may answer her prayer. This section of the narrative brings to our attention to our human nature to judge people and situations before we have all of the information. This brings us back to Rosh Hashana; a time when we are to ask forgiveness where we have wronged our fellow man and humbly pray to our G-d who is the rightful Judge for forgiveness. This subject is beautifully stated as part of Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving to G-d. May we pray as she did with the heart of Hannah!
B’rit Chadashah: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21
These narratives are interpretations of Yahshua’s teaching and warnings about what will occur before and during the Tribulation. There is a sense of urgency in His words that we should take very seriously. Today we are experiencing many of the calamities described in these chapters including earthquakes in diverse places, famines, epidemics, fearful sights, and great signs from heaven. But Luke 21 indicates we may be just touching the surface with what we are experiencing today as he states “ But before all this, they will arrest you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons; and you will be brought before kings and governors. This will all be on account of me, but it will prove and opportunity for you to bear witness” Luke 21:10-13. We have heard on the news and read of some who claim to be the Messiah and we are experiencing numerous wars and rumors of wars; people fighting each other. Yahshua describes this time as “ the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt. 24:8).Many people’s hearts will become cold as G-d’s Torah is taken out of society and the minds/hearts of man. The end will not come until the time of the gentiles is fulfilled.
The narrative switches to the exodus that will occur with the utmost urgency when those in Jerusalem must flee to Petra. This will happen when the abomination of desolation occurs. This will occur 3.5 years into the Tribulation. False prophets will abound with amazing miracles and signs “amazing things!- so as to fool even the chosen, if possible” (v.24). We are admonished not to believe these individuals no matter what we see them do. The real Messiah will come “like lightning that flashes out of the east and fills the sky to the western horizon” (v.27).
We are to be on constant watch over our hearts and minds as we prepare for His return. Again, this takes us back to the importance of Rosh Hashana. We are to reflect on and examine our hearts and our behavior over the last year and seek forgiveness where we have fallen short with man and G-d. This is an integral part of preparing for Yahshua’s return. We have no idea how soon His imminent return will occur, but we do know the season. This is the season; the 10 Days of Awe when repentance and return take a front-row seat take priority. G-d commanded observance of this holy day and we need to obey out of an awesome fear and love for His authority and Laws/Commands “for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting him” (v.44).
“Who is the faithful and sensible servant whose master puts him in charge of the household staff, to give them their food and water at the proper time? It will go well with that servant if he is found doing his job when his master comes” (v.45-6).
When our Master returns, may we be found to be good and faithful servants attending to our Master’s sheep. (see Matthew 25:19-23; 34-40)
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart