From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2012 1:04 PM
Sefer Torah scroll opened to Leviticus, with a Torah pointer (yad).
Welcome to this week’s Torah study, which is called Parsha Tzav (Command!)
Please read with us this portion of Torah that will be read in synagogues
around the world during this week’s Shabbat (Saturday) service. We know you
will be blessed!
Leviticus 6:1–8:36; Jeremiah 7:21–8:3, 9:22–23; Hebrews 10:19–25
“These, then, are the regulations for the burnt offering, the grain offering,
the sin offering, the guilt offering, the ordination offering and the
fellowship offering, which the Lord gave Moses at Mount Sinai in the Desert of
Sinai.” (Leviticus 7: 37–38)
Jerusalem: the Dome of the Rock sits on the Temple Mount where the First
and Second Temple once stood. In the background is the Mount of Olives,
where Yeshua (Jesus) appeared to His disciples after His Resurrection. He
also ascended into Heaven from this spot, and Orthodox Jewish rabbis
know that according to the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 14:4, this
is the exact spot where the Messiah will arrive when He comes to earth.
In the book of Acts, the angels tell the desciples that from this place where
Yeshua accended to heaven, He will also return. (Acts 1:9-11)
Bjoern, in last week’s Parsha, God gave to Moses the laws of the korbanot
(animal and meal offerings). Those offerings include the olah (ascending offering),
minchah (meal offering), shelamim (peace offering), chatat (sin offering for
unintentional sin), and the asham (guilt offering).
In this week’s Torah portion, God describes the different laws of sacrifices,
providing a distinction in the processes for sin offerings, burnt offerings and
God also gives the priests an ordination offering.
While such offerings seem strange, even outrageous, to modern man,
understanding them ultimately helps us to understand what Yeshua (Jesus)
did for us on the tree (cross), and why His death was necessary.
These offerings also shed light on the New Covenant (New
Testament), in particular the challenging Epistle to the Hebrews.
Young woman reading from the Torah scroll.
Torah of the Burnt Offering
“The Lord said to Moses: ‘Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the
regulations [Torah] for the burnt offering.’” (Leviticus 6:8–9)
The burnt offerings, which are blood sacrifices of innocent animals, impressed
upon the penitent the seriousness of their sin before God.
Tzav describes the burnt offerings which were offered every morning and evening
on a fire that burned continually.
“The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go
out.” (Leviticus 6:13)
That eternal flame is a good analogy for our love for God. Let us tend to the
fire in our heart for God and never let it go out.
An Orthodox Jewish man praying at the Western (Wailing) Wall
Suffering Outside the Camp
“The High Priest [Cohen Hagadol] carries the blood of animals into the Most
Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And
so Jesus [Yeshua] also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy
through His own blood.” (Hebrews 13:11–12)
Leviticus specifies that the Cohen (priests) were to carry the ashes of the
burnt offerings outside the camp (Leviticus 8:11).
In prophetic fulfillment of this, Yeshua (Jesus) also gave himself as an
offering outside the gates of the camp.
Although, we are required to go ‘outside the camp to Yeshua’ where we may
become objects of reproach and be considered unclean, we are in God’s sight
holy as He is holy.
“Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore.” (Hebrews 13:13)
Although we might be hated by men, and sometimes feel defeated and downcast, we
know we are deeply accepted by our Beloved Father in Heaven (Ephesians 1:6).
May God so fill you with the deep knowledge of His love that you will be
willing to suffer outside the camp and stand alone in the Truth if need be.
God delights in you, Bjoern!
A street party in Haifa
Thank Offerings – The Sacrifice of Praise
“If he offers it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank
offering he is to offer cakes of bread made without yeast and mixed with oil,
wafers made without yeast and spread with oil, and cakes of fine flour
well-kneaded and mixed with oil.” (Leviticus 7:12)
The peace offering of thanksgiving is so important that when King David brought
the Ark of God back to its place in the Tabernacle, the first thing he did was
offer burnt offerings and peace offerings.
He also appointed some of the Levites to minister before the Ark of the Lord,
to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel with psalms, stringed instruments,
harps, cymbals and the shofar.
“He [David] appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the
Lord, to extol, thank, and praise the Lord, the God of Israel.” (1 Chronicles 16:4)
Tehillim (the Book of Psalms in Hebrew)
God is good, merciful, faithful, and He has done so much for us.
There are times when all we can do is stand in awe and say, ‘Thank you Abba (Father).”
Thank offerings are regarded by the Rabbis as a supreme type of sacrifice.
According to Rabbinic tradition, in the Messianic Era, all sacrifices will have
completed their educational mission – all except the one duty of gratitude.
This sacrifice of praise is to remain and continue forever.
Even in eternity, we will be singing with the angels, “Give thanks to the Lord
for He is good and His mercy endures forever.” (Hodu l’Adonai Ki tov; Ki
A Jewish man who is draped in a tallit (prayer shawl) reading from the
Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures).
“Through Jesus [Yeshua], therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice
of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
Offering our thanksgiving and praise to God is perhaps, the greatest sacrifice
we can give – especially when things don’t seem to be going our way and our
flesh doesn’t feel like praising and thanking the Almighty.
“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I
may show him the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)
Gratitude is so important. Becoming a truly thankful person is transforming!
We need to notice the good things that God does for us each day, and cultivate
an attitude of gratitude for those people God has placed in our lives.
Albert Einstein, the most famous Jewish physicist said, “A hundred times every
day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other
men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the
measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
We are so thankful for you Bjoern–our ministry partners–people who love God
and the Jewish people, and are determined to stand with Israel. You are such a
blessing to us.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945), who was a Lutheran Pastor killed by the
Nazis in WWII for his stand for the Jews, said:
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we
give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It is very
easy to overestimate the value of our achievements in comparison to what we
A busy street in Jerusalem on a Friday afternoon right before Shabbat.
The Consecration of Priests
“Moses slaughtered the ram and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of
Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his
right foot. Moses also brought Aaron’s sons forward and put some of the blood
on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the
big toes of their right feet.” (Leviticus 8:23–24)
In the eighth chapter of Leviticus, we read that Moses consecrated Aaron and
his sons to serve the Lord by taking the blood of the purification offering and
putting it upon their right earlobe, the thumb of his right hand, and the big
toe of his right foot.
This represented the consecration of the entire body for the priestly service.
It also provides an important lesson for the type of lives we are to lead as Believers.
To live a consecrated life, we must have the following:
- Consecrated ears that are attentive to God;
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
- Consecrated hands that are ready to do His will and the good works He has
pre-appointed for us to perform;
“…bearing fruit in every good work…” (Colossians 1:10)
- Consecrated feet that continually walk in His holy ways
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.” (Psalm 37:23)
The Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem at dusk.
The Haftorah (Prophetic Portion)
“When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just
give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this
command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in
obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”
(Jeremiah 7: 22–23)
In the Haftorah (prophetic) portion of Tzav, the Prophet Jeremiah denounced
mechanical acts of worship that were combined with ungodliness and
God’s blessing comes with worship accompanied by real obedience.
It remains a central teaching of the Tanakh (Old Testament Jewish Scriptures)
that God desires obedience and a right heart rather than empty compliance to
the sacrificial system.
Yeshua (Jesus) also drew attention to the problem of going through the motions
of worshipping God, when the heart was in reality far from God.
Quoting Isaiah 29:11, He said, “These people honor me with their lips, but
their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but
rules taught by men.” (Matthew 15: 8–9)
Reading from the Sefer Torah at the Western (Wailing) Wall
The people of Israel held an almost superstitious belief that Temple rituals
would guarantee their spiritual security, even while being divorced from God’s
moral laws regarding justice and righteousness.
As followers of Yeshua, we can fall into the same trap, believing that going to
a congregation and singing worship songs equals a right relationship with God.
Worshipping God is so much more than “punching in and out of the time clock”
at congregational services.
Religious ritual cannot justify us or save us.
If we want to progress in our spiritual journey, to move forward, and not
backward, then God has to be our beginning, end, and centre. We need to obey
God at all times (Jeremiah 7:24).
Secular Israeli Jewish boys visiting the Kotel (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.
If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that our sin nature resists God.
“For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws
[Torah], and it never will.” (Romans 8:7)
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; … And I will put my
Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my
laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26–27)
Nevertheless, in Messiah Yeshua we are transformed into a new person, and our
innermost being comes to desire a life that follows in the footsteps of the
Master to do His good works, and to also share the Gospel of His love with
Shabbat Shalom from all our ministry staff!
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