Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #24: Vayikra(He called) Vayikra (Leviticus) 1:1-5:26
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 43:21-44:23
B’rit Chadashah: Romans 8:1-13; Hebrews 10:1-14; 13:10-16
Today we are going to discuss the offerings with a focus on sin and the sin offering. All of the offerings included sacrifices that involved blood the consumption which is forbidden whether from a sacrificial or other animal. This law was established in genesis 9:4 where we are informed that life is in the blood. As a side bar, this does not mean that a human cannot receive a blood transfusion. Eating/consuming is in no way related to a transfusion. He penalty for eating blood was well understood. This law has not changed because our G-d does not change. Yahshua never ate the blood of an animal, and we are commanded to refrain from this practice as His followers. Rare steaks are not on the believers’ menu!
Before we leave this train of thought, it is important to explain the command of not eating blood a little further. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Lev. 17:11). Since man and animals cannot survive without blood, only blood can adequately typify life. This critical “component” of life helps us to establish the connection and importance of Yahshua’s complete sacrifice for the expiation of our past sins (Rom. 3;25; 2 Pet. 1:9) that allows us to be reconciled to G-d and start our walk with YHVH/Yahshua. Sins committed before this reconciliation are removed as far as the east is from the west, but those committed after this reconciliation must be prayerfully and humbly repented of with resolve to make the necessary life changes/corrections. We will all stand alone before Yahshua one day and all of our deeds will be made known(Luke 8:17), whether good or bad for which we will be judged. The efficacy of Yahshua’s sacrifice provided his blood which is the covering for our sins and the water which flowed(Living Water), provide what true believers must accept and integrate into their lives if we are to win the prize at the end of our earthly race (1 Cor. 9:24).
Now let’s look at the law of the offerings and individual regulations. Chapters 1 and 2 describe G-d’s laws for dedicatory offerings and chapter 3 describes the principles for the thanksgiving sacrifice. Chapters 4 through 6:7 describe the trespass and sin offerings, the latter which we will delve into specifically. The entire book of Leviticus provides a constant reminder for all generations that sin costs and an innocent animal must be sacrificed for that sin. The offering was not accepted in an of itself. Although one may follow the procedure for offering sacrifices to the letter, it is the attitude of the offerer that makes the sacrificial act complete. But the sacrifice alone was not enough. The heart/attitude of the offerer and following the correct procedure is what made the sacrifice acceptable. This is evidenced in many scriptures including Prov. 21;3, Ex. 5:1, Isaiah 1:11-18, Jer. 7:21, Hos. 6:6, Micah 6:6-8, Mal. 3:3-4, and Amos 5:21-24. Our tithes and offerings are not efficacious without an attitude of gratitude, humility, and love for G-d. For Adam and Eve, an innocent animal had to die so they could be clothed in an animal skin to cover their nakedness that only became known to them when Adam sinned, and Eve was deceived. The repetition of the animal sacrifices emphasized the fact that there was no complete atonement for the people which would not occur until Yahshua sacrificed himself for the sins of man.
Yahshua provided the perfect and only acceptable sacrifice to provide a way for man to be reconciled to G-d through his sacrifice. But His sacrifice does not erase all past, present, and future sins. Just as the Israelites crossed the Reed Sea but had to start a new life and follow the commands of G-d as they were given, anyone who expects to become one of G-d’s chosen people must accept Yahshua’s sacrifice, then begin the race to win the prize of salvation. This is not salvation by works and following G-d’s law alone. It is following G-d’s commands that were never abrogated out of our love for Him (see Deuteronomy 6:4-11). Unfortunately, man being what he is tends to make attempts to downplay the fact that sin does not go unpunished, and that salvation is not a “once saved-always saved” reality. No one is saved yet and we will be judged on our thoughts, words, and deeds when we stand before Yahshua. To emphasize the import and place of atonement, the Israelites were instructed that they had to begin with the sin offering and the trespass offering. These were essential and only after making these offerings could the Israelites move on to the dedicatory and thanksgiving offerings. In this way, the message of salvation would be constantly at the forefront of their minds.
There is a plethora of information on the typology of the offerings and there is an article with the same title on the website at rabdavis.org under teachings and featured on the main page. Today I am going to focus on the sin offering because many people do not understand the true meaning of unintentional sin and the requirement for atonement. Let’s go to the Hebrew for an explanation.
The first recorded sin offering took place with the consecration of Aharon and his sons to the priesthood (Lev. 8:14). No others are recorded as specific offerings although we know that an innocent animal was sacrificed to provide a covering for Adam and Eve when Adam sinned and Eve was deceived. In the case of the sin offering, the Israelites gained a deeper understanding of the importance of the need for pardon and the nature of sin and our personal responsibility to actively repent. The sin offering is the easiest to understand of the five basic offerings because there is so much antitype information related to it. Considering the idea that the offerer had to personally kill the animal, personal responsibility for sin was driven home. Indeed, during Passover, the head of the family had to place his hand on the head of the animal, a young innocent lamb before killing it. Having the lamb in the home for four days before killing it surely made it more difficult to sacrifice. These requirements were meant to elicit compassion for the innocent lamb, the sacrifice and blood of which would cause the angel of death to pass over the homes of the obedient who obeyed out of love for G-d. This act of obedience also illustrates the requirement that we cannot passively expect to be saved from sin and attain eternal life with YHVH/Yahshua without following His commands. Again, this reality has not changed because our G-d has not changed.
Those who disregard the truth that sin is transgression of the law(1 John 3:4) including Christians who are taught that the law is “dead”, do not comprehend the seriousness of transgressing G-d’s commands/laws and the penalty for such antinomian behavior. During Old Testament times, the sin offering brought the offerer back to the reality of sin, the need to repent, and the cost of innocent life; animals that had to be perfect and without blemish sacrificed until Yahshua came to teach humankind the spirit of the law and to die so that we may live.
Those who study the scriptures are often confused about the narrative in Lev. 5:17: “ If someone sins by doing something against any of the mitzvot[commands] of Adonai concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty, even if he is unaware of it; and he bears the consequences of his wrongdoing.”
The confusion comes in the translation of the word “unaware.” How can one be held responsible for that of which he is unaware? To find the answer, we must look to the Hebrew. The correct translation of the Hebrew word used for ignorance or being unaware does not mean lacking knowledge. Rather, the correct translation is inadvertently. The concept is one of carelessness, forgetfulness, or actions/behavior without regard to G-d. Numbers 15;22-29 also deals with sins of ignorance but in this case we may apply the meaning of lacking knowledge. G-d knows the hearts of men and he knew there would be cases of true ignorance that would lead to violation of one or more laws and the process of carrying them out. G-d made provision of this, dealing with the sin of omission in this case, and with the sin of commission in Leviticus 4.
Only presumptuous/high-handed sin was and is unpardonable (Num 15:30; Matthew 12:31). Both Old and “New” Testaments provided mercy for sins of omission and commission, but not for high-handed sin. This is a very serious subject for the definition of presumptuous sin is committed with full knowledge of the wrong and unwillingness to repent, admit guilt, and change one’s behavior ( Heb 10:26). Sadly, there are many Christian clergy who teach that G-d’s laws are dead; there is no need to follow the designated times of G-d, no need to keep the biblical Sabbath, and no need to follow the dietary laws. This is high-handed sin. I leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions regarding the destiny of those who teach such untruths and those who listen. Human nature tends to cause man to disassociate himself from any responsibility for sin, even to the point of blaming others , claiming ignorance, or beyond his control. But as we have seen in the description of the sin offering, everyone had to participate.
Sin is sin and the bible defines it as transgression of the law. So, if according to Christianity the law is dead, then there is no sin. All we need do is look around us today and we can see where that philosophy and doctrine has taken our society. If everyone is right; if everyone is a winner, if there is no deity, or if the deity is not the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we are setting ourselves up to accept the One World Government in which the Adversary will rule for a time. All of the things we are experiencing today and all that is to come is found in Deuteronomy chapter 28. I encourage the reader to review this scripture closely and consider the consequences mankind has and is about to suffer due to chosen defiance of G-d’s laws/commands/instructions and pray that true repentance ensues.
Haftarah: Isaiah 43:21-44:23.
This week’s haftarah begins with words that should shame us all and cause us to examine and consecrate ourselves once again to the service of our YHVH/Yahshua. In this passage, G-d rebukes the Israelites for abandoning Him through neglecting to follow His laws on offering Temple sacrifices and running to worship empty idols (anything that takes us away from serving G-d). We can almost feel the weariness and sorrow G-d must have felt then and feels now when we say we are bored with keeping his mitzvot and reading the Torah or decide we can put them off for a more convenient time. He reminds them and us that we do not always Him His rightful due through our hearts, souls, or resources as we are commanded. He reminds them and us that his Torah is not burdensome, that he forgives our sins if we will do our part. He tells the people that those of whom they have turned to in idolatrous worship know nothing, understand nothing (44:18) He tells them and us how futile it is to worship empty idols. He confirms that Yahshua is G-d in verse 44:6, “Thus says Adonai, Israel’s King and Redeemer, Adonai Tzva’ot: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no other G-d.” Compare this to Revelation 22:13, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” He admonishes Israel to return to him and serve him because he is the one who formed them, will forgive, and redeem them.
B’rit Chadashah: Hebrews 10:1-14
This passage speaks of a subject Christians love to claim as proof they are eternally saved while here on earth. Christian clergy love to teach that all of the Temple sacrifices were for nothing, and G-d wanted no part of it. Let’s examine the truth of the matter.
We are told in the beginning verses of this passage that the Torah provides shadows of the originals, not the manifestations of the originals. The Temple sacrifices were designed to provide the people a way of having their sin acts forgiven before Yahshua came to provide forgiveness for our PAST sins. In 10:5-8 we are told that continuation of such animal sacrifices was not the ultimate will of G-d for the forgiveness of sin, because they were not effectual in providing a way to overcome our sin nature. The animal sacrifices atoned for the sin acts of the people only. This is an extremely important point that we must clearly understand. Heb. 10:9 tells us that Yahshua came to set up a different system by which we may come into a saving relationship with him. The single sacrifice spoken of in verse 12 is that of Yahshua whose sacrifice provides us a way to overcome our sin nature. Does that mean that we do not struggle daily with sin? Does it mean that we no longer have a sin nature? The answer is no to both questions. We were born with a sinful nature. However, we do not have to act on the tendency to sin. We have a way out, a way of escape, “No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience and G-d can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide a way out, so that you will be able to endure. Therefore, my dear friends run from idolatry!” (1 Cor. 10:13-14).
What we have seen in the (4) foregoing Parashot of Sh’mot is YHVH bringing together the material and spiritual into One, Echad. It is a blueprint for our service to Him, and in this Parasha we learn the whole purpose for the construction of the Mishkan. It is found in the word Korban, which means sacrifice in Hebrew; Korban is related to the word Kiruv meaning, “close.” First, we must build the Tabernacle according to the Pattern (Torah) YHVH has given us. Then we are to draw “close” to Him through the Written and Living Torah, Yahshua. Only through both can we ascend towards Him with our physical and spiritual selves. Even now you and I are constructing our tabernacle within our material selves by being doers of His Torah through the power of the Ruach HaKodesh who was sent on Shavuot to empower us after Yahshua’s ascension. YHVH wants to live within His people Yisrael (true believers), but we cannot change the pattern He has given us. We cannot abandon or abridge His Torah to suit our own desires if we truly want to have YHVH live in our bodily tabernacle. If we obey His Torah and carry the Testimony of Messiah Yahshua, we can truly bring the material and spiritual together as ONE-Echad, He in us and we in Him.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart