Parashah Vayyikra 2019 (And he called) Leviticus 1 – 5

We are now starting the third book of the Torah, which is the central book. This book has also been called the Torah of the Priests, mainly because it is almost exclusively about the priestly duties, to include knowing what is sinful and what is not with regards to our everyday activities.

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The first 7 chapters deal with the sacrificial system, and this parashah outlines the regulations for the sacrifice, which also includes offerings. There are two main offerings: the meal offering and the First Fruits offering. This parashah also tells us the rules for the Sin and Guilt sacrifice.

Sin sacrifices are for those sins committed against other people and the guilt sacrifice is for those sins committed against the tabernacle by causing a loss of holiness, such as misappropriation of property belonging to the Lord or failure to give the Priest his due share of the sacrifice.

One of the things that demonstrates God’s compassion and understanding is that God takes into account those people who may be too poor to be able to give a bull or an ox, or even a sheep. He states that even though a sacrifice may call for the slaughter of a bull, if the person is too poor to afford the animal that is required, he can offer grain and oil and he will receive the same forgiveness as the one sacrificing a bull.

If you ask me, the most important thing we learn from this parashah is Leviticus 5:17, which says:

And if any one sin, and do any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, though he know it not, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity.

I could do an entire series on that verse, alone, but the lesson I want to share with you today is that the sacrificial system was not done away with when Yeshua was sacrificed. In fact, the sacrificial system is still in effect and just as valid today as it was back when God gave these commandments to Moses.

What stopped us from sacrificing animals was the destruction of the Temple, because in Deuteronomy 12:5-6 we are told that the sacrifice must be made only where God places his name, which was (of course) the Temple in Jerusalem. Before the Temple, the sacrifices were made at Shiloh, where the Tent of Meeting Moses constructed was located.

The sacrificial system is a process that involves 5 separate steps:

  1. The first thing we have to do is sin;
  2. We have to recognize and admit that we have sinned;
  3. We need to repent of that sin- without heartfelt repentance, no sacrifice will be accepted;
  4. The next step is to slaughter the animal called for; and
  5. We must humbly ask for forgiveness by means of the innocent blood that was shed for us (Leviticus 17:11);

When Yeshua died on the execution stake, his innocent blood was shed so that through him, we can be forgiven. The sacrificial system is still in effect, but what changed with Yeshua was that the 4th step- bringing the animal to be slain to the Temple in Jerusalem- was replaced with the substitutionary sacrifice of Yeshua.

The animal sacrifice, which has never been done away with but was replaced by Yeshua, will continue in the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) when the Temple will be reconstructed. The only difference is that there will not be a need for the sin or guilt sacrifice, but the wholly burnt and thanksgiving/peace sacrifice will once again be performed.

There is no biblical reference I can give that absolutely confirms what I just said about the sacrifices continuing in the End Days. However, there is nothing in the Bible that confirms the sacrificial system was ever done away with, either. Today’s message is strictly from my understanding of how the sacrificial system works and how it will be utilized in the End Days.

Whether or not I am right about what will happen in the End Days will not be known for certain until the End Days. In the meantime, I think we can all agree that we should thank God for Yeshua’s substitutionary sacrifice which allows us to fulfill our requirements under the sacrificial system to receive forgiveness of sin.

 

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Tonight begins the Sabbath, so Shabbat Shalom, and until next time L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Parashah V’yikra (And He called…) Leviticus 1-5:26

We begin the second book of the Pentateuch with the regulations regarding the offering of a sacrifice for atonement of sin.

Now that the Sanctuary has been completed and is in service (end of Exodus), the use of the altar and initiation of the sacrificial system is to begin. The animals allowed to be used as sacrifice are domestic animals which are clean (which will be identified later in Chapter 11, although even in Noah’s time it was already known which were clean and unclean; see Genesis 7:2.) Wild animals were not allowed because they cost the person nothing, and unclean animals were not allowed because they were, well…unclean. Also any animal that kills other animals is unacceptable, or if the animal had killed someone, such as if a bull had gored someone to death, even if it is a “clean” animal it would now be unfit to be used as a sacrifice.

God gives Moses the instructions for the burnt offering (the entire animal is burnt to demonstrate total devotion to God), thanksgiving offering, sin offering, and guilt offering.

The sin and guilt offerings are both for having sinned against God (all sins are sins directly against God, no matter who we actually sin against in our personal relationships), but the sin sacrifice was more specifically for sins such as false witnessing, becoming impure, failing to perform an oath, or failing to do as God has prescribed. The guilt offering was for sins against any of the holy things of the Sanctuary, whether intentional or not.

In all the sacrifices God has made provision for the poor, in that they are allowed to offer an animal that is in accordance with their ability to pay, i.e. a wealthy person would be required to bring a bull, whereas a poor person would be allowed to sacrifice doves or grain.

I think the way the sacrificial system works has been one of the most misunderstood things in the bible, and that is frightening when we consider that our very salvation is rooted in this system. The sacrifice was made to cleanse us of the sin we have committed, and when we sin again, we need to confess, ask forgiveness and offer the sacrifice in order to be forgiven. Most people “get” that, with regards to the Old Covenant system, but don’t really see how it relates to Yeshua’s (Jesus) sacrifice.

Under the old system, God commanded the sacrifice had to be made at the entrance to the Sanctuary, and later at the Temple in Jerusalem. After the Temple was completely destroyed by the Romans in or around 73 AD, there was no longer the opportunity to be forgiven. Imagine how devastating that was to the Jewish community! For those who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah (back then as now), the need to bring the sacrifice to the Temple was no longer necessary because Yeshua’s sacrifice was a once-and-for-all sacrifice.

Here’s where it gets all screwed up: many Christian religions have been teaching that Yeshua did away with the sacrificial system and that we are now made clean by His blood, which is true, but they imply that there is nothing else that needs to be done. This is not true- you still need to try not to sin, to do T’shuvah (turn) from your sinful activities, and continually ask for forgiveness because the forgiveness of sin is available, but it is not given until the sin is confessed and forgiveness requested.

The sacrificial system is a threefold process:

  1. You come before the Lord and confess your sin;
  2. You offer the sacrifice;
  3. You ask for forgiveness, and to be made clean, through the shedding of the blood that you have just presented before the Lord.

The only part of this that Yeshua completed already is the second step- the sacrifice- but we still have to recognize and confess our sins, and ask for forgiveness by means of the blood of  Yeshua.

Don’t be suckered into the teaching that because of Yeshua you are clean forever- you can be, but you aren’t: you still have to confess your sin and ask forgiveness. Forgiveness through Yeshua is available for the asking, but it is not automatically given. That is what much of Christianity teaches, that you are automatically cleansed before the Lord by means of Yeshua’s sacrifice…..WRONG!!

You are not cleansed until you confess your sin, do T’shuvah (repent), and ask to be cleansed.

The sacrificial system is still in effect, only modified by Yeshua, in that now we do not have to take our sacrifice to the Temple in Jerusalem. We still have to confess, repent and ask forgiveness.

As I said above, and I feel it is so important to remember: Yeshua made forgiveness available for all, and for all time, but it is not given automatically.

Empowerment or Excuse

Shabbat Shalom. I usually have a Parashah message on Friday but I glanced at an article in the morning paper and feel so strongly about what it said to my spirit that I am going to rant and rave today.

The article was about a group of women who wanted to protest the backing by the Governor of Florida of a law that will remove a lot of funding for abortion clinics by forcing the doctors to have stricter regulations on their licensing, as well as stricter demands for inspections of clinics and restrictions on how fetal remains are handled. The government says this law is to improve the quality of the existing clinics and protect the health of the women using them; the protesters say it will just close more clinics and that the Governor is a hypocrite.

It came to me, after all these years of Roe vs. Wade conflicts, that the real reason women who choose to have sex outside of marriage want abortion clinics has nothing at all to do with their empowerment or rights regarding how they treat their body.

Let me say this, first, about right to life: I do not believe anyone should have sex if they are not married (and I mean to each other- sex between married people is still wrong if they are each married to someone else.) Let me also say that I was just as guilty of this sin, called fornication, as anyone else ever has been or will be. Before I was saved I had no problem with it, at all; in fact, when I was single (and before I knew the Lord) I not only was interesting in nailing anyone who was willing, but their marriage status was not a concern. That is different now, of course.

The bible is absolutely clear that fornication is a sin- it is not implied, or hinted at, or hidden in between the lines- according to Strong’s Concordance there are some 36 references throughout the bible against fornication. It’s a sin, plain and simple. What I really can’t stand to hear is the childish and irresponsible whining of people who choose to commit a sin and then say that it isn’t really a sin.

DUH!! If the bible says it is a sin, it is a S-I-N; what part of , “This is a sin” don’t you understand? Yet those who do what they want, feeling (to some degree, to their credit) a level of remorse, will not admit to their sinfulness and weakness but instead will rationalize it away by saying that what they did is not really a sin. At least, it shouldn’t be.

I took your possessions but that isn’t really stealing. I hit you in the face five times but that isn’t really assault. I shot you thirty-five times times in the head, but it was an accident.

Oy!

Fornication is a sin, and the abortion clinic argument is not about empowerment- it is about excuses. Abortion does not support a woman’s right to control her own body- it is a way to avoid the accountability of making a mistake. It is her “get out of jail (pregnancy) card” that she can throw on the table when her sinful actions have resulted in a new life that she is not willing to be responsible for.

The demand to allow abortion is, at it’s core, the demand for the right to commit murder and thereby avoid the consequences of a sin.

How can you avoid the consequence of a sin by committing another one? Any sin, no matter how “big” or how “small”, is a sin in God’s eyes. Fornication (from a human viewpoint) is less of a sin than murder;  murder made it to the Top Ten Hit list of sins, whereas fornication is low on the charts. That said, abortion clinics are the way that someone who chooses to fornicate can avoid the consequence of that action.

I do not want you to think that I am judging those who have sex outside of marriage- as I said, I was as guilty in my youth as anyone today. I am not judging people who fornicate when I call it a sin: I am simply defining what the bible says their actions are.

What I am ranting about is the irresponsibility and immaturity, both emotionally and spiritually, of people who demand to be allowed to have an abortion when they have failed to take the proper precautions or who become pregnant and don’t want to deal with it.

Didn’t your mother ever tell you when you first learned the attraction of matches: “If you play with fire you will get burned.”

Sin is a fire: it burns us, it consumes everything it touches, and it leaves scars. Yeshua can remove the scars and without Him, we have no hope. Abortion cannot remove the scars.

What this boils down to is sin if you want to- that is your choice. But stop trying to cover it up and excuse it away. If you fornicate and get pregnant, then deal with what you have done. I have heard from people that have had that “accident” and found they love that child as much, if not more so, than the “planned” ones. If you want to fornicate, do so- you were given, by God, free will to choose to commit sin. And you were also given, by God, the sacrificial death of His son to let you escape the eternal consequences of your sin. Mind you- I said the eternal consequences, not the physical, current consequences. A murderer can be forgiven murder through Yeshua, but he or she will still have to go to jail. Sin always has consequences on Earth which we cannot avoid.

I believe that abortion clinics are wrong and should be outlawed; not as a means of denying women the right to control what they do with their own body, but because they represent an escape from accountability. And, yes, I also believe that legal abortion is state-authorized murder.

We purposefully sin but don’t want to be held accountable. Fine. Live that way, make your excuses, use science or philosophy, make arguments about rights to control your body and empowerment, but it is all a smoke screen and misdirection. Abortion has nothing to do with empowerment or rights- it is all about lack of accountability and escaping the consequences of one’s actions.

If you fornicate and get pregnant, do your duty to the life you created and then give the baby up for adoption so someone who is not blessed with fertility can raise the child with the love you don’t have for it. Abortion is wrong, adding sin upon sin, and abortion clinics are state-authorized slaughterhouses. It’s that simple, it’s that easy to understand, and it’s that terrible.

Stop rationalizing your sin and own up to it, people! At least have the guts to admit you made a mistake and then show the maturity and strength of character to finish what you started.

Real empowerment doesn’t come from excuses- real empowerment comes from personal accountability.