Torah Portion: Shmini (Eight) Leviticus 9:1-11:47
HafTorah: II Samuel 6:1-7:17
Tonight I would like to continue building the spiritual picture we have been working on the last few weeks, that of the physical tabernacle and the priests being a shadow of heavenly spiritual truths. This week we see Aaron and his sons assuming their role as earthly priests and how that gives us insight into Yeshua. Remember on the mountain G-d showed Moses the heavenly tabernacle and told him to build an earthly model of what he had seen in heaven. This is mentioned in Hebrews 11:8. This same idea is expressed in many rabbinic writings. In Christian thought this shadow and copy language has been seen to diminish the earthly structure. While in Hebrew it is simply a way of comparing and contrasting the two. Each was G-d ordained and each had its unique purpose.
This idea of contrast is used over and over in scripture, dry land – water, day – night, clean – unclean, heaven – earth, etc. Here too we can contrast the different role of the earthly priest and Yeshua. Yeshua could not serve as priest in the earthly Temple, nor did he ever try. However He does serve as High Priest in the heavenly Temple. So the two are not in competition nor does one replace the other. They are two different realms entirely. This helps us understand a later verse in Leviticus 17:11. Here we can see the two different realms set out. The word here for soul is nefesh. This refers to our earthly fleshly soul. Paul refers to it as our flesh. This stands in contrast to our spiritual soul or neshema, as when G-d breathed life into Adam and Eve. So we see the earthly Tabernacle bringing atonement for this fleshly man while spiritual atonement is only brought in the heavenly Temple.
This helps me understand the role of Messiah and our condition as people. The sacrifices could take care of our ritual purity but only the blood of the Lamb could give us entry into the heavenly Temple. Our earthly works and deeds might be clean and appear to glorify G-d but what matters even more is how our spiritual soul appears. G-d sees the inside. G-d sees our motives and inward thoughts. It has always been this way. G-d’s way to spiritual life has never changed. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses all relied on the mercy and grace of G-d and believed on the coming redemption of the Messiah for spiritual life just as we do, by faith in the promise of G-d of a Redeemer. This idea permeates scripture from the beginning in Genesis 3 furthered by the symbolism of the sacrifices of Isaac by Abraham and G-d providing a substitute. Hebrews 4:3 tells us that Messiah’s works were finished before the foundation of the world. Later in Acts 4:12 Paul says there is no other name by which we are saved. So, the way to salvation has always been the same, through Messiah as an expression of G-d’s mercy and grace. They anticipated a coming Redeemer. We know that Redeemer’s name. Romans 3:25 says G-d passed over their former sins. Yeshua offers atonement for those before His physical coming in the flesh, who had faith in the promises of G-d. He offers us that same atonement, we just have the benefit of having seen the fulfillment of G-d’s promises. Yeshua accepted his role as High Priest for us in the heavenly Temple and brings us before the Father each day each minute. How can we ignore so great a gift!