Torah Portion: Shemini (Eighth) Vayikra Lev. 9:1-11:47

HafTorah: II Sam 6:1-7:17

Tonight we read and study the Torah portion of Shemini or eighth. This eighth day was at the conclusion of the seven day training period for Aaron and his sons. Eighth in Torah has special significance. It usually is connected with something that transcends the ordinary but is still connected to that which it transcended. Here the priests had been practicing their role in the Mishkan. Now was the time to step out of practice into reality. If you think about it Yeshua rose on the eighth day or what became know as Sunday. He, with His resurrection, entered another realm. This realm was that for which He came. He was to take His place at the Father’s side and intercede for us. So this eighth concept can help us further understand the order of G-d. Yeshua was not separated from what had gone before, His people, His land, but entered the spiritual world, which is that which should be the pattern for our physical life.

So after the preparation Aaron and his sons entered into the real purpose for which G-d had called them. A big part of that role was the offering of sacrifices to G-d for themselves, for the nation and for individuals. What does the Hebrew word for sacrifice mean? Korban means to draw close. These sacrifices allowed man to approach G-d. It covered them or took their place so they could fellowship with the Father.

One of my questions this week had to do with the order in which they offered their sacrifices. What was this order? Sin offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offering – they were offered in that order. What can we learn from this process described here in Leviticus? When an Israelite felt the need to approach the Father he had to conform to this pattern. First the sin in his life had to be confessed and a sacrifice brought so he could enter into the presence of G-d. Then he brought a burnt offering which was what? It represented his giving over of himself completely to the will and purpose of G-d with nothing held back. All was put on the fire. Lastly, came the peace offering which was exactly what it sounded like. It represented the spiritual fact that the person and G-d were okay, at peace with each other. So much so they sat and ate a memorial meal with the priests, themselves and G-d in attendance. This was symbolized by each partaking of the offering.

How does this pattern our lives spiritually? It should be an exact pattern for us. We realize that there are sins in our lives which must be covered and dealt with by the sacrifice Yeshua made for us. Then we should proceed to the burnt offering stage which signifies our complete unreserved dedication of ourselves to the Father and His will for our lives. Then we are at peace with the Father and can sit and share with Him and our priest Yeshua. If we have not proceeded to these last two offerings then we are stuck. To grow, I think requires us to finish this cycle of offerings so we can go on to the heights to which G-d has for us. This could be the reason so many believers do not reach their potential of what G-d has for them. They never proceed past the repentance sacrifice. I pray we go on through the burnt offering and peace offering.

Lastly I want us to take a moment to look at my last question about the spiritual lessons behind the Kosher and unkosher foods listed in Lev. 11, especially kosher sea life. What do they have to possess. They must have fins and scales. Why? Scales protect us from the pitfalls of life. In our lives you might equate it with integrity. We don’t fall into the trap of cheating, no matter what is the reward. We do not lie, we do not let our lives be ruled by whims. Integrity preserves our souls from falling into temptation. We need scales. Fins push the fish forward. In our lives it might be like ambition. Ambition can be good and it is necessary. It pushes us to fulfill our potential. Unbridled ambition however can be a problem. Our sense of integrity steps in to keep us from bull dozing people or taking advantage of someone for our own interest. One without the other makes us unkosher so to speak. As the children of G-d we are required to be kosher. So the lowly kosher fish can show us the way by balancing our ambition with a strong sense of integrity. So may it be with each of us.