The price of blood
Tzav (Command) Vayikra/Leviticus 6:1-8:36
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 7:21-9:24
Today we will look at the Torah portion Tzav or Command. I would like us to pay special attention to Leviticus 8:19 where it speaks of the setting apart of Aaron and his sons. Aaron was High Priest and his sons were priests to the L-rd. They were to serve as the priests in the Tabernacle and later their descendants as priests in the temple in Jerusalem.
In chapter eight of Leviticus we read of the details of this ceremony. As we look at these verses I also want to make the connection between what happened here and the connection to our own experience when we came to faith. I do this to remind us of the unchanging nature of our Heavenly Father. I hope this will help each of us understand on a deeper level our own personal experience and see the connection between our faith and that of our Jewish brothers and sisters.
To begin let us look at Leviticus 8:19. In this verse we read that Moshe slaughtered the ram for the burnt offering. He took the blood and sprinkled it on all sides of the altar. This offering was the second of the three offerings offered in this ceremony. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. Moshe killed it and took the blood and sprinkled it around the altar.
Let’s think about this process a bit. Aaron and his sons put their hands on the head of the animal as it was being offered. They watched it being killed, its blood being collected and sprinkled on the altar before G-d. By this burnt offering, and the same process with the sin offering and the offering of consecration, the priests were acutely aware of the symbolism playing out before them. Their lives were to be completely dedicated to G-d.
In the sin offering the ram died to take away the guilt of their sins before the Father. This was not an action to be taken lightly but rather with remorse. There was a price to be paid. These sins covered a wide range of offenses, including those that came about through disobedience and those that were done in ignorance. Blood had to be shed. Remember, the ram had no part in their sinful actions but it died for them. In Leviticus 4:4 it says, “He shall bring the bull to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before the L-rd and lay his hands on the head of the bull and kill the bull before the L-rd.”
After their ordination the priests were then responsible for leading the people of Israel through this same process in the Mishkan. The sinner who came with his sin offering would be confronted by the need to identify with this animal and then to slaughter it. The sinner came face to face with the cost of his sins.
Now, let us look at the Messianic scriptures to see what light Leviticus can shed on Yeshua’s death. Let’s look at I John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Here we see the same process laid out as in Leviticus, confession, forgiveness and cleansing. The first step we must take, we come to G-d and ask for His forgiveness, confessing our sins. G-d then forgives us by the blood of His Son, Yeshua. (I John 1:7) The act of confessing begins with acknowledging we have sinned. We have sinned whether knowingly or unknowingly. It makes no difference. We confess without attempts at self-justification. Confession also involves admitting we cannot put these things right by ourselves. We are entirely dependent on G-d to remove the sins.
When we confess our sins we are looking at Yeshua’s shed blood and His death (Romans 6:23) to pay for those sins just as in Leviticus the person brought the sacrificial animal and identified with it as it was sacrificed for their sins. Yeshua died in our place. His blood was sprinkled around us and the altar and brings us atonement and cleansing.
I pray we never let our sins go unconfessed. I pray we keep the slate clean before our loving Father who shed His son’s blood for us and live our lives to bring glory to Him for what He has done for us.