Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36
Today (Shabbat, April 1st) is an important day in the biblical calendar. It is the 10th of Nisan, the day the Israelites were to choose a lamb, the Passover lamb, and keep it until the 14th of the month, the day when they were to sacrifice it (Exd.12:3-6).
It is also the day of the Triumphal Entry, when Yeshua entered Jerusalem. Four days later, on the 14th, He offered Himself as the Lamb of God, at the same time the Passover Lamb was sacrificed. And the Parashah today could not have been more appropriate as it is filled with messianic images and prophecies concerning the redemption we find in Yeshua.
The Parashah today is called Parashah Tzav. It is composed of 3 powerful chapters; chapters 6 to 8 of Leviticus. Tzav means to command, and this Hebrew word is the first word we find in the second verse of Leviticus 6. It says, Tzav et HaAron, which means, command Aaron. It is this very command which runs through these 3 chapters. And in these three chapters we have the five main sacrifices which frame the sacrificial system. It contains, as well, instructions concerning the anointing of the Tabernacle and the High Priest. Both these sections lead us directly to Yeshua, the Messiah.
Let me bring three main points found in these chapters. First, we notice from the 5 main sacrifices that three of them were offered inside the Tabernacle to maintain communion and fellowship with God; these being the Burnt Offering, the Cereal Offering and the Peace offering. The two others, the Sin offering and the Guilt offering were given before one even enters the perimeter of the Tabernacle, where the presence of God dwelled in the Holy of Holies.
But see how the Bible prophesied that it is this very sacrifice, the Asham that is the one that the Messiah fulfilled for us so we can approach God. It is in His powerful prophecy of Isaiah 53, that a strong messianic connection was made even by the rabbis before, during and after the time of Yeshua. It is clearly stated in vs.10 that the Messiah makes His soul, an Asham, a guilt offering for us. The most wonderful thing here is that this is the offering where we can see Yeshua’s death bringing us reconciliation with the Father.
This being the necessary first sacrifice reminds us that Yeshua is the way, the truth and the life, for it is only after the Asham, that one can then enter the sheepfold and begin one’s communion with God.
In many ways, chapter 53 of Isaiah could be seen nailed at the entrance to the Tabernacle of God. This is where the first part of the Parasha Tzav leads us to.
There is another command in this part of Leviticus, which stresses the continuous and timeless redemption of the Messiah. Yeshua does not only allow us to enter the presence of God, He walks along with us. This new command specifies that the fire on the altar was to be kept burning continually, without interruption. This rule is so stressed, it is repeated 5 times in just Leviticus 6 alone.
We read that every morning, Baboker Baboker, the priest had to bring the wood so the fire would never be extinguished. The fact that this fire was always burning, 24 hours a day, confirms that both redemption and forgiveness are always there, always present. God is always at work to save, to bless and to heal. The Temple, the fire, and the sacrifices were operating 7 days a week with no closure on Shabbat. On the contrary, the number of usual Burnt Offerings was doubled on that day.
All this calms us so that at nighttime, we can go to bed in peace, for we read that He who keeps Israel, and all those who know Him, will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4). This was a mark of God’s assurance and our dependance on Him.
And the third element is found in Chapter 8 and it brings us to the anointing of the Tabernacle and the High Priest. Beginning at vs.10, the anointing with oil began with the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. This included anointing the ark of the covenant, the veil, the altar of incense, the lampstand, and the table of showbread with all its utensils. Then, in vs.11 the anointing with oil then moved to the outer court, first to the brazen altar, including its utensils, which was sprinkled with oil 7 times, and then to the laver and its stand.
Then, in vs.12, the anointing and consecrating moved onto the ordination of the High Priest. Notice the direction of the anointing; from the Tabernacle, to the altar, to the other items and then to the High Priest himself. This reminds us of the Messiah’s path, from heaven to earth. It is as if the Messiah came out of the Tabernacle to the altar to be our sacrifice and our High Priest.
After this, we are given a description of the High Priest’s beautiful 8-piece garment. The robe was made of purple colored wool, the color of kings. We also learn that the garment had bells attached to it all around. Now just imagine – wherever the High Priest went, he was preceded by the sound of the bells. It must have been an imposing reminder of the presence of God which he typified, a sound that awakens and alerts the soul.
Now, all of these descriptions do not really magnify the fuller purpose of this beautiful garment; not until you consider vs.30 of Chapter 8. This must have triggered a reaction from all the people who were witnessing this perfect ordination until something unusual happened.
There we read that, Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments. Blood and oil were sprinkled on this beautiful garment. Seeing this, the people present must have together voiced one strong opinion of “Oh no!” But the message here is powerful. The Savior, the Messiah cannot be without the blood first. This sprinkling of the blood and the oil became a prophecy of His First Coming.
And all of these things are so timely for this particular Sabbath, which is called Sabbath HaGadol, the Great Sabbath for it is one preceding the Passover when Yeshua offered Himself as the Asham so that we may have everlasting life.