Parashah #24: Vayikra (He called) Vayikra ( Leviticus) 1:1-5:26

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

The Book of Leviticus is often completely ignored by Christians who consider the commands for the priestly ritual of slaughtering animals and offering them to G-d as commanded, the specific instructions on what one was to wear and eat as antiquated practices that have no application to our current time. Any clergyperson who teaches such an errant belief that the Book of Leviticus or any other scriptures found in the Old Testament can be “ignored” fails in their duty to teach the complete Word of G-d that is as applicable in conceptual meaning as it was when it was written. Perhaps this lesson will enlighten those who have not been taught the importance of Leviticus and ignite a new sense of inquiry to understand G-d’s instructions with zeal.
The Book of Leviticus addresses the constitution, or the Mosaic laws which consisted of three parts: moral, sacrificial, and legal. There was a fourth area that addressed specific models of worship and laws for living as a nation. These instructions covered observance of the Sabbath, dietary laws, and cleanliness, all of which were not abrogated when Yahshua was executed. All the areas addressed served as the grounding for every aspect of life, which if followed today as G-d commanded, would result in a very different world than that witnessed today.
It was the first three areas that established the Mosaic constitution. The moral aspect provided the optimal ethical instructions for maintaining a style of living pleasing to G-d and benefiting man. The sacrificial system describes the antitype of the salvation process, yes process that is still intact today. There are no shortcuts to or instantaneous salvation, an erroneous doctrine taught in Christianity. Individual and collective accountability is also introduced through the various sacrifices required for both sins of omission and commission. One may wonder how we are accountable for what we may have not known was sin at the time. The answer is that the Ruach shows us through personal conviction and G-d’s Torah where we have erred. When we become aware of the sin, we must repent (Lev.4:13-14). In Biblical times a repentant heart was part of the process as it remains today. In Biblical times a physical sacrifice was required with the leaders of the community laying hands on the animal to be sacrificed. Since that time, Yahshua gave Himself as the perfect unblemished Olah (complete burnt) offering for our PAST sins (Rom. 3:25; 2 Pet. 1:9). From the point of repentance, we are required to learn and walk in G-d’s instructions/ways/Torah just as the Israelites were instructed with the 10 Commands given after they crossed the Sea of Reeds. They were not automatically once-saved-always-saved, anymore that we are today.
Although the sacrificial element for atonement was fulfilled when Yahshua came to earth, we read in Ezekiel 40-48 that the sacrificial system will be reinstated during the millennial reign. This is not a “re-sacrificing Jesus” as many Christians claim. This is because there will be people who live through the Great Tribulation that have not accepted Yahshua as their Messiah. They will have to make sacrifices as described in this parashah. Hopefully, there will be some who will finally “get it” and repent, accepting Yahshua as their Messiah and change their behavior. This issue of the continued existence of unrepentant souls is at least one reason Yahshua is described in the Book of Revelation as ruling with an iron hand (Rev. 2:27-9). This indicates that not everyone during this time will love and follow Yahshua, but for a time will be made to during the millennial reign. After that, those who followed His commands unwillingly will eventually be part of those who rebel against Him for the last time when Yahshua will strike them with a sharp sword that proceeds from His mouth (Rev. 19:15-21).
So, what will happen to the Mosaic Covenant in the future? No, it will not be voided out. Rather, it will be merged with the “New Covenant” of the Messianic kingdom. Indeed, in the Book of Revelation we find that one of the requirements for salvation is to carry the testimony of Yahshua and guard the commands of G-d. This truth is stated seven ways, again showing us that the song of Moshe, and the song of the Lamb are synonymous with G-d’s Law/ Torah and Grace. The seven-fold-witness is found in the following scriptures: Rev. 1) 12:17; 2) 14:12; 3) 15:2-3 where the overcomers are described as those who sing the song of Moshe (the Law and teachings) and the song of the Lamb (grace).
The other four witnesses: “Word, “Command,” and “Teachings” are often used as parallel words, or synonyms. Proof texts: Ps.119:42; 151;160. Compare also Psalms 119:105 with Proverbs 6:23; 13:13: 4) Rev. 1:2;5) Rev. 1:9;6) Rev. 6:9;7) Rev. 20:4. This makes a total of Seven Perfect witnesses in the Book of Revelation.
Contrary to the popular Christian belief that Leviticus was written “just for the Jews.” These precise guidelines for sacrifice, worship, and service were not written just for the nation Israel. We need to look at what Yahshua told his disciples concerning to whom they were to teach the Word of G-d. First, He sends them out to the lost sheep of Israel (Matt. 10:6; Matt. 15:24).). Yahshua’s priority was the lost sheep of Israel, which were and are those who were/are rabbinic Jews who did not know of or understand that Yahshua was G-d incarnate and that He arose three days after being crucified; that He is both Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David, who they were taught were two different Messiah’s . The lost sheep of Israel did not recognize Yahshua for who He was and Is. Therefore the disciples were sent out to share the good news that Yahshua is the Messiah and that He will return one day as Messiah ben David. The disciples were not yet sent to the Gentiles. This second commission to the nations is described later in Matthew 28:16. The point is that G-d’s commands and laws apply to everyone, Jew and Gentile.
Everything that Moshe said was exactly what G-d instructed him to tell the people. Moshe was G-d’s appointed writer and in many cases, G-d’s “voice.” Yahshua validated Moshe’s authorship in Matthew 8:4 where He told the lepers whom He healed to show themselves to the priest and to present the offering Moshe had prescribed, the only place of which is mentioned in Leviticus 14:10-32.
The purpose of the commands given in the Book of Leviticus may be described as follows:
1. Israel was and is an elect nation. They were and are to remain separate from pagan nations. Leviticus was a code of laws that were prescribed for daily living in a way that kept them separated from other nations (Gentiles).
2. Leviticus revealed G-d’s holiness (19:2). All other attributes of G-d used by humans to describe Him are related to His holiness: righteousness, truthfulness, mercy, faithfulness, and love. Holiness may be considered G-d’s essence. He told the Israelites, which applies to all true believers, that “You are to be holy to me because I, the L-rd, am holy” (Lev. 20:26).
3. Leviticus outlined the system of sacrifices that reveals (yes, ongoing), the way of salvation. Although Christians believe that Israel/the Jews are “under the law,” they do not understand the difference between G-d’s perpetual Laws/His Torah, and the laws and traditions of men written and taught by the rabbinical teachers. The sacrificial system revealed the great mercy and grace of G-d in tandem with His righteousness and justice. An innocent life was always required to atone for sin from a sacrificial animal that knew no sin/ was without blemish.
4. Israel was and is to be a blessing to all people. There is a plethora of evidence demonstrating the fact that many strangers/foreigners from pagan nations converted becoming a true Israelite when they saw how G-d blessed the nation, Israel. They came to understand the meaning of salvation in the Levitical sacrificial system, and accepted G-d’s laws out of love and devotion. Indeed if we want to be considered as part of true Israel, we must understand that “all Israel shall be saved” does not mean that those who are in geographical Israel will be saved. The truth is found in Romans 1-3 where the definition of a “true Jew” is defined; John chapter 14, and in the Sevon-fold witness in the Book of revelation previously described. Ezekiel 37 also explains what we must do to be grafted into the one stick/house comprised of Judah-Israel and Ephraim-Israel: one stick in G-d’s hand.
The Book of Leviticus gives us instructions on how an elect, holy people should worship G-d. There is nothing in the instructions/commands regarding worship of G-d that indicates practices in some so-called “houses of God” such as flailing around, running up and down the aisles, speaking in unknown tongues, or “holy kisses” between men, are in any way acceptable to G-d. Those who claim to be “filled with the spirit” need to seriously examine which “sprit” has taken over their mind/heart. Remember what Yahshua taught through John in 1John 4:1-6 about the need to discern the spirits because of the many false prophets who have gone out into the world. Ha Satan who is the Prince of the power of the air is roaming about more than ever seeking whom he may devour (Job 1:7;1 Pet.5:8).

Haftarah: Isaiah 43:21-44:23.
This week’s haftarah begins with words that should shame us 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 often claim as proof they are eternally saved while here on earth. Many Christian clergy not only teach that all the Temple sacrifices were for nothing, but they maintain that G-d wanted no part of them, the clergy taking scriptures out of context that speak of G-d not honoring sacrifices that are not offered with a humble heart. Now for 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 crucial 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 Parashah 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.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart