Hebrew 4:16 |
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
This week we are studying the gory details of the beginning of the Book of Leviticus concerning the Levitical offerings. These consist of an uncomfortable text more worthy of a conversation between butchers than a spiritual manual on the concepts of communication with God. Yet, it may surprise many to know that at the age of five, Leviticus used to be the first book required of Jewish children to learn for their spiritual education.
Today, because there is no temple, the Book of Leviticus is 'tossed under the bus' of irrelevancy. Yet, in full knowledge of what will happen to the Temple, God gave these important words as part of the main oracles of His manifestation on Mt Horeb. They are a substantial part of God's Word; how can so many Christians claim God's Word to be obsolete just because it seems so far removed from their current culture that they don't understand it.
In spite of Paul's statement that the Levitical offerings were never intended for salvation (Hebrews 9:9), many people endorse the notion that the Levitical offerings were for the purpose of sin atonement and that therefore they are obsolete in these post Yeshua-death-and-resurrection days. If it is so, somehow Yeshua forgot to inform the disciples who lived with Him for three years, as in the Book of Acts, they attend the twice daily worship times at the Temple which consists of an animal offering (Acts 3:1). Also, when Paul came to Jerusalem, he paid the expenses for the animal offerings to break not only his own Nazarite vow, but that of four other Jewish believers in Yeshua (Acts 21). History books tell us that Jewish believers in Israel actually continued Temple attendance until it was destroyed. The sacrificial system was never an issue for them; they always understood that these were forever ordinances. Yeshua Himself said that He did not come to abolish the Torah (that includes the sacrificial system of worship), but to complete it (Matthew 5:17).
A closer look at the Hebrew language used in the text reveals that actually Leviticus is a lesson on approaching God with protocol, honor, and respect. It also teaches us the role of Yeshua in our lives. Even the Hebrew word for atonement; caphar' reveals the nature of the offering as not being a ransom, or a price for sins, but a protective covering: a shield. God is Holy and a 'consuming fire'. We need the protective shield of the Master Yeshua in order to approach God and this is what the Levitical offerings teach us in many levels. David actually called the Messiah: the shield of salvation.
Thanks be to Hashem. He has provided the shield/covering of the Lamb to cover our nakedness (Genesis 3:21) that we may approach Him confidently with our requests. Yeshua simply brought the final piece of the puzzle that activated the whole system: His innocent death as a righteous person. May you and yours also all come under His covering, that you may approach the Father with all confidence with your requests.
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