Torah Portion: Tzav (Command) Leviticus 6:8-8:36
HafTorah: Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23
This week we read what could be called the priestly manual concerning the sacrifices. It starts with the word Tzav or command. Usually when G-d wanted Moses to communicate something to the people or priests He would tell Moses to “speak” or “tell.” But here He says “command.” Why? Was He worried they would forget or do something other than what He had told them? This Hebrew word carries with it the urgency of the moment but also to be consistent over time. It would be easy to do things G-d’s way when things were new and fresh, not so much as time went on. Here in lies our lesson as priests. Consistency. Our lives should show that same consistency, that same hunger as the first days. If what we have received from G-d is important we must live like it and carry on doing it until we are gathered together with Him. That thought is carried on with the first “how to” command of the burnt offering. What was unique about this? It indicated a complete sold out-ness to G-d. Everything was consumed on the altar and it was kept on the altar 24/7, even on the Sabbath. Here it is a physical picture of a spiritual reality. We are to live each day burned up for G-d, so to speak, especially as priests.
In Lev. 6:14-18 we read the instructions for the grain offering. The sons of Aaron offered it on the altar. Some was kept for them to eat but it was not to be taken outside the confines of the Tabernacle. Why? Because it was “most holy” meaning whatever it touched became holy as well – such as the pan it was cooked in. So lesser things were made holy by coming in contact with the most holy grain offering. This teaches us something about Messiah. Last week we looked at how each of these offering found their fullness in Him. So here we see that by touching the grain offering something that was not holy becomes holy. What a wonderful picture of our lives. When we are touched by the Messiah we share in His holiness. We are made holy by Him. Yeshua associated with people and by His spiritual touch elevated them to a place of holiness where they could enter the presence of G-d.
In Leviticus 6:27 we read about the blood of the sin offering. It also was viewed as “most holy” meaning none of it could be taken out of the confines of the Tabernacle. If it splashed on the clothes of the priest what happened? The garment had to be washed out before it could be taken out of the sanctuary. Not because the garment was unclean but because it had become “most holy” by having the blood on it. It was the same with the pots which were used to cook the sin offering. What happened? If they were porous they were broken. If they were not porous they could be scrubbed. This gives us some insight into Hebrews 10:29. Concerning the blood of Messiah, how do we regard His blood as common? By living our lives however we please with no regard for the price Yeshua paid that we might be sprinkled by His blood.
Leviticus 7:11 gives the laws of the peace offering. The peace offering is listed after the sin offering, burnt offering and only then peace offering. What does this teach us? It is a beautiful picture of G-d’s process for us to draw near to Him. First our sin has to be dealt with. Then our lives are to be lived completely dedicated to the Father and dying to self. Then we enjoy the peace that comes from such a life of commitment to G-d. Yeshua was called the Prince of Peace because He provides that way for us to be at peace with G-d. Eph. 6:15 speaks about us as priests through Messiah bringing the good news of Peace.
In Lev. 7:17 we read the law that nothing from an offering could be eaten on the 3rd day after sacrifice. Why? Because by day three it would have begun to go bad. The Tabernacle was a picture of life and was incorruptible. So nothing related to decay could remain. Which might help us to understand Acts 2:27. Yeshua was raised on the 3rd day so that His body did not see decay.
I want to stop here but I think you can see the spiritual lessons for us as we read these commandments. We are to live our lives in light of what these sacrifices teach us of the Messiah.
Tonight at sundown, March 19th, is the beginning of Purim. Read the book of Esther and see how G-d saved the Jews of Persia.