This week’s teaching is the 2nd This week’s Parsha of Leviticus and is called Tzav (“Command”)
Keep the fire burning!
It is written in Leviticus 6:8-9, 12-13 “The LORD said to Moses: "Give Aaron and his sons this command: `These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. …The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out"
The 5 Sacrifices
When the laws of the sacrifices were given to the Priests (Kohanim), the ORDER is according to the holiness of the offering.
- Burnt Offering
- Grain Offering
- Sin Sacrifice
- Guilt Sacrifice
- Peace Offering
WHY? Last week’s Parsha, ‘Vayikra,’ was a ‘Halachic Catalog’ informing the Children of Israel what offering to bring. This week’s Parsha, ‘Tzav,’ serves as an ‘Instruction Manual,’ teaching the Priest HOW to offer each type of offering.
How serious was this understanding? Adonai does not tell Moses to SPEAK or TEACH Aaron. He Tells Moses “TZAV Es Aaron” - COMMAND Aaron.
“TZAV” is a very powerful word. It means, “Command with a charge that is to be executed with speed and diligence.” It is used ONLY for situations that have eternal ramifications
I. The Whole Burnt Offering – called in Hebrew KORBAN OLAH, “That which goes up” or “to ascend.” In the Septuagint, it is called the “Holocaust.”
II. The Cereal/grain Offering – It’s also called the Meal offering and Drink offering. These offerings where offered to the Lord in recognition of God’s sovereignty. They knew that Adonai was the one who provided earthly blessings. So they were instructed to give their first fruits and gifts to him.
III. The Peace Offering –
This offering has its roots in God’s grace and fellowship. In this feast the individuals involved would partake of part of the offering being sacrificed.
The sacrifice was consumed by three means;
i. Part was consumed on the altar
ii. Part was given to the Priests.
iii. Part was given to the individual to be consumed in communal supper
IV. The Sin Offering –
This was a sacrifice made to forgive by atonement through repentance for sins committed through ignorance (Leviticus 4:2). This signifies general redemption.
V. The Guilt Offering/Trespass Offering –
This also is a sacrifice of repentance for sins, but also involved the need of restitution; This offering may be regarded as representing ransom for a special wrong, while the sin offering symbolized general redemption.
The Priest offered all the sacrifices on the altar. This brings us to a question:
Why would a gracious, loving God—the God I know from the rest of the Bible, the God I know in Yeshua, the Messiah —require sacrifices?”
Being God, He could choose to forgive without the giving of a life as the cost of redemption. Why doesn’t He? That would be like saying the brokenness caused by sin doesn’t matter to him. That would be like saying that, not only does he love us despite our sins (which he does), but he is willing to let us remain in our sins (which he isn’t).
God loves us more than that. God wants us back—but He wants us back whole, unbroken by the sin that separated us from him in the first place.
Remember: God delivered the Hebrews from Egypt to be his chosen people, but He wanted them to know the seriousness of sin, and to have a way to be redeemed.
The sin offering showed the seriousness of sin and provided a way of redemption from sin. When individuals placed their hands upon the animal to be sacrificed, the animal symbolically became their substitute, and its blood was shed for their forgiveness. God requires sacrifice precisely because he is gracious and loving.
The Whole Burnt Offering – Leviticus 6:8-13
The name of this offering is given because the whole item had to be consumed on the altar where the others where only partially consumed.
The Burnt Offering symbolized the entire surrender to God of the individual or the congregation. God’s acceptance gave the renewal and sanctification of the entire man, and consecration to a course of life pleasing to God.
The Burnt Offering did not cover atonement for sin. Why? That was covered by the Sin & Guilt Offering. The Burnt Offering was based on the belief that Israel had been placed into a covenant of grace with Adonai. Those who kept their standing in the covenant could only offer it.
This Offering consisted of a male-lamb, ram, or male-goat, offered in the morning and evening daily. The blood of the sacrifice was used to show consecration; It symbolized the love between Adonai and Israel, and consecrated the altar for the other sacrifices for the day.
This ability to come into God’s presence is only made possible by the sacrifice and this sacrifice was to be consumed 100%, and the rules are carried out in obedience.
Note this Principle about obedience and sacrifice, “Revival is nothing more or less than a new obedience to God!” This sacrifices were done on a consistent, regular basis, with passionate obedience to the Lord being the main reason for doing it.
The Sin Offering
Take a look at the Sin Offering. Detailed instructions are given for what animal to use in what circumstance.
- For a priest (as for the whole community) - a male bull.
- For a leader- a male goat.
- For an individual - a female goat or lamb. Or,
- if the individual is poor - two doves or two pigeons. Or,
- if the individual is really poor - a handful of flour.
Notice two things:
First, the value of the offering is proportional to the power and/or wealth of the one making the offering.
Second, nothing is said anywhere about different sins requiring different sacrifices; the value of the offering is totally unrelated to the “magnitude” of the sin.
This aspect of the Offering suggests three things.
First, it isn’t the size of the sin that matters. All sin separates us from God, and All sin leads to death. All sin requires the giving of life in order to restore life. “Little” sins do not escape unnoticed. “Big” sins do not cast us beyond the reach of redemption. The price is the same for every sin.
Second, no one is left out.
Everyone was provided a way to atone for sin, return to relationship with God, and have his life restored. The most unimportant member of the community had a place at the altar. The more influential members of the community required a more expensive offering, but the size of their offering did not grant greater access to God.
What does that mean? How much blood was poured at his altar was not the important thing to God. The important thing to God was that the sacrifice be a mark of true repentance and obedience.
A sacrifice that costs us little, means little to God. A handful of flour from a poor man means more to God than the blood of ten goats offered in indifference or pride out of the abundance of a rich man. Yet, a rich man was required to give only one goat—as long it marked true repentance and obedience.
Third, if the price is the same for every sin, and the price must be costly to the one offering the sacrifice, ask yourself this question: When the one offering the sacrifice is the God of all creation himself, what sacrifice is sufficient?
There is nothing in creation that God needs. The only thing he can possibly give that is truly costly to him is Himself. So, in the fullness of time, God offered the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, he gave his only Son, Yeshua the Messiah. He could do no less.
When Yeshua offered himself, it was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. Unlike the bull, the goat, or the pigeon, Yeshua took on the role of sacrificial offering willingly as an act of obedience and love.
When a man laid his hand upon the animal given as a sin offering, he symbolized the transferring of his sin to the animal. The animal symbolically carried only the present sin of the person offering the sacrifice. New sin required a new animal. When Yeshua went willingly to His death, he bore the sin of the world—past, present, and future.
Yeshua was the perfect sacrifice— because the sacrifice was made, it never needs to be made again. It was complete
Yeshua is also the perfect priest—because he sits at the right hand of God, always interceding for those who come to God through him, and because his priesthood is permanent. Every earthly priest eventually dies and must be replaced by a successor. Having faced death and been raised to new life, Yeshua lives forever. He takes no breaks and he needs no successor.