Yeshua – The Final Sacrifice of Atonement | VAYIKRA – WEEK 24
By Evan Levine
Lev 1:1 – 5:26
Somehow, I am connected to this portion in a way that I don’t fully understand.
As we read through the Torah on a yearly basis, each portion is assigned a particular Shabbat on which it is to be read. This Shabbat falls more or less during the same time on the calendar every year. It just so happens that the time of this portion is right around the time of my birthday, and therefore, the date of my Bar Mitzvah.
Vayikra was my Bar Mitzvah portion and was also, without my intervention, assigned to me for the purposes of this blog project. Thus making it the second time in my life I have been formally asked to to study and discern the meaning of these 5 chapters.
Perhaps it’s due to my personal, Levitical heritage and the fact that, had I been alive during the days of the temple or tabernacle, I myself would have been a part of the sacrificial process? Perhaps God just gets a kick out of watching me try to get a profound message out of the specific details of how to separate the organs of a bull? Who knows?
The passage is divided into 5 chapters, each one dealing with a different type of offering – Burnt, Grain, Peace, Sin, and Guilt.
Rather than go over the minute details, I want to focus on the dirty, visceral reality of sacrifice.
Lev 1: 3-4 states “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.”
The phrase, “that he may be accepted before the Lord” is so very jarring if we think about it.
Something must die for us to be accepted.
This statement goes all the way back to Adam. In the garden, in the absence of sin, there was eternal life. However, the moment sin entered into the world for the first time through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, death became our inheritance. The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death. When we sin, and we all have, we earn a death sentence. Our death sentence cannot be commuted; it can only be transferred.
Something must die for us to be accepted.
There is no other way to have the sin and the death removed from us. No repetition of prayers, performance of good deeds, vow of self-denial, pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, or discovery of inner peace can suffice to make us acceptable before God our maker. Something must die, for God is not mocked; and our death sentence must be paid.
The tabernacle and the temple ran like a well-oiled machine, and thousands upon thousands of animals were slaughtered there. Rivers of blood ran on its floor, and the altar itself was constantly sprinkled with it. The death was constant – a constant reminder that we needed a solution to our problem. How many times could we sin, confess, slaughter, sin confess, slaughter? It grew to be sickening, I must imagine. What good was it all for? What was it pointing us to? Would we be doing this forever?
It was, of course, pointing us to Him, to Yeshua – to the final sacrifice of atonement.
Before that fateful moment in the garden, God knew. He knew that we would need a way back to him. He knew that we would need a scapegoat. He knew that He would have to die on our behalf, so that He could atone for us and give us back the eternal life we were created to possess.
The tabernacle of Lev. 1-5 was God’s great object lesson showing us over and over again the reality of our situation. It kept us, as the solution of His Son waited for the fullness of time to be revealed.
Had we been there to look upon the scene of the cross, it surely would have elicited even stronger reactions to see the absolute weight of the consequence of rebellion and disobedience borne by one who was underserving.
Praise be to God that the Lamb was slain and that His blood truly cures the malady of death.
Click HERE to be directed to our Portions Podcast.
About the Author
Evan was raised in a Reform Jewish family and came to faith in Yeshua shortly before his Bar Mitzvah at the age of 12. Guided by a singular passion to see the Jewish people come to faith in the Messiah, Evan has been involved in Jewish ministry throughout his life. In 2009 Evan and his wife, Elisa moved to Israel and helped to found the ministry, HaTikva Project, where Evan serves as the executive director. The ministry meets the needs of poor Israeli believers, provides dental care to thousands of patients a year in their dental clinics and promotes and facilitates adoption and foster care in Israel. Evan is also an accomplished public speaker and worship leader and serves as the worship director of an indigenous, Hebrew speaking, Messianic congregation in Jerusalem. Evan and his wife live just outside of Jerusalem with their three children.
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