Parashah Shemini 2020 (Eighth day) Leviticus 9 – 11

We have events happening in each chapter of today’s reading that holds a vital lesson for everyone.

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First, in Chapter 9 we are told what to do when preparing to come into the presence of the Lord.

Chapter 10 tells of the death of Aaron’s two oldest sons, Nadab and Abihu, which came about as punishment for their offering fire to the Lord in a manner that was not only wrong but demonstrated their disrespect for him and the Sanctuary.

And Chapter 11, the Laws of Kashrut (Kosher), is probably the most abused, misunderstood and ignored set of God’s instructions that we find anywhere in the Bible.

There has been so much written on the Kosher laws, by me and others, that I feel anyone who doesn’t understand how Acts 10 and Mark 7 have been misunderstood and incorrectly interpreted by now probably never will.

If you are unsure of what I mean, please take a moment to go to this link:  The Truth About Mark 7 and Acts 10

 

What I want to talk about today is what we read in Chapter 9. The eighth day referenced at the beginning of this reading is the eighth day of the ceremonial anointing of Aaron and his sons as Cohanim. It is on this day that their anointing is completed, and God is going to demonstrate his acceptance by having his Shekinah glory appear for all the people to see. In order to prepare for this most holy of events, there are three offerings that must be presented:

  1.  A sin-offering is made for Aaron, his sons, and the entire congregation;
  2.  A burnt offering is next; finally
  3.  A Thanksgiving or Peace offering is made.

 

When we know what each of the offerings represents, the reason for them being done in this particular order makes sense.

The sin offering is pretty much self-explanatory, and it is done first for the Cohanim (Priests). Once they have been cleansed, they are then able to approach the Lord and intercede for the people.

After the Cohanim and the congregation have been cleansed of their sins, they offer the wholly burnt sacrifice. This sacrifice is representative of T’Shuvah, turning from a sinful life to a righteous life, and the offering is completely burned up to demonstrate their total commitment to God.

Lastly, the Thanksgiving offering, which is, as the name implies, to give thanks to God for all that he does for us, from healing to protection to the giving of blessings. This is the only offering in which the one offering the animal also partakes in the eating of the sacrifice, to represent communion with God, i.e. being in his presence.

Here is an interesting note: the Passover sacrifice is not for sin, but is a thanksgiving sacrifice. Even though Yeshua died for our sins, his sacrifice on Passover served as both a Yom Kippur sin sacrifice and as a Passover thanksgiving sacrifice, thanking God for his protection from death, i.e. eternal damnation. 

So, looking at these three sacrifices as one continuous event, when we wish to be in the presence of the Almighty we need to first ask for forgiveness of our sin so we can be cleansed before the Lord, who cannot condone sin in his presence. Once cleansed of our sin, we then reconfirm ourselves to worshiping and obeying God as he commanded in the Torah. Finally, now that we are clean and back in covenant, we can come into the presence of God to give thanks to him for his protection and blessings.

The bad news is that these offerings cannot be done today because the temple in Jerusalem is no longer there, but the good news is that they have been replaced by the death and resurrection of Yeshua. Not all three though- the sin and thanksgiving sacrifices are replaced with Yeshua’s sacrifice; however, the burnt offering is something we can’t do at the temple, but we can demonstrate in our daily lives. We must live in accordance with the instructions God gave us in order to be in covenant with him; and, not through just a spiritual connection, but through the way we live our lives.

If you want to be in the presence of God you need to do more than just count on Yeshua…you need to live as God wants you to live, as he told us we all should live, and you find those instructions not in the New Covenant, and not in the Apocrypha, and not by watching Dr. Phil or listening to some TV evangelist, but by reading the Torah.

Just like we are reading in this weeks’ parashah.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

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