Leviticus 1–7 An Overview of the Sacrificial System

 

Although Jewish and Christian scholars disagree about whether the sacrifices were to cease after the coming of the Messiah, as Edersheim points out, all agree that the object of a sacrifice was substitution for the offender (The Temple – Its Ministry and Service, p. 90). He also notes that the Jewish fathers along with the Scriptures that all these substitutionary sacrifices pointed to none other than the Messiah. This understanding is especially expressed in the proto-rabbinic biblical Aramaic commentaries or Targumim (e.g. Tarum Jonathan and the Jerusalem Targum; ibid., p. 92). Later rabbinic sages, in light of the rise of Christianity, were loath to accept this interpretation and, to this day, pretend it was never the belief of their ancient predecessors.

As the Tanakh progresses, the concept of the substitutionary sacrifice as it relates to the sinner and to the Messiah expands and unfolds. The unity of the Tanakh in this regard and its progression of revelation on this subject must be taken into consideration when studying the sacrifices listed in Leviticus and the rest of the Torah if we are to understand completely the biblical concept of substitutionary sacrifice as well as the Messianic prophecies. The concept of sacrifice in the Tanakh point us prophetically in progressive stages to the sin atoning death of the Messiah on behalf of sinners. Such passages in the Tanakh as Pss 2, 22, 35, 69, 72, 89, 110, 118 along with Isa 52:13–53:12 (many other scriptural passages could be cited here as well) point undeniably to the Person and work of Yeshua the Messiah including his suffering and glorification. The apostolic writers understood these prophecies and how Yeshua fulfilled them perfectly (e.g. Isa 52:13–53:12 cp. Heb 9:11–15; 10:4–7, 1; etc.), and this understanding forms the basis for the New Testament, which the authors thereof refer to as The Testimony of Yeshua (Rev 1:9; 6:2; etc.).

The Prophetic Significance of the Offerings

Along with the burnt offering there were five other types of offerings each representing different aspects of a follower of Yeshua dealing with sin in his life. They are listed in Leviticus and elsewhere in the Torah. They are:

  • the meal or cereal offering (Lev 2; 6:14–23)
  • the guilt or sin offering (Lev 4; 6:24–30)
  • the trespass offering (Lev 5:14–6:7)
  • the peace or wave offering (Lev 3; 7:11–21)
  • the drink offering (Exod 29:40;–41; 30:9; Lev 23:13; Num 6:17; 15:5, 7, 10, 24; 28:7–10, 15, 24; 29:16, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 38)

In these offerings, there is great spiritual symbolism. For example, the oil, salt, flour, frankincense and baking over fire of the meal offering all point to Yeshua. In scriptural Continue reading

 

Dealing With Sin at the Red Heifer Altar and the Altar of Sacrifice

Exodus 27:1–8, An altar. Just inside the door of the tabernacle was the altar of sacrifice. It was made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze, which is a shadow picture of Yeshua bearing the judgment for men’s sins on the cross. The blood of the sacrifice was poured out on the ground at the base of the altar picturing Yeshua shedding his blood at the cross. Two lambs were offered at the altar morning and evening (Exod 29:38–42). This pictures our need to come humbly before our Father in heaven morning and evening in prayerful devotion as living sacrifices to confess our sins, to praise and thank him (Ps 51:16–17; Heb 13:15; 1 John 1:7–9).

The Altar of Sacrifice in More Details. Upon understanding that the Person and work of Yeshua is the way into life, spiritual light and truth, one must also recognize that one’s sin liability keeps one from a having personal relationship with one’s Creator. The broken fellowship with one’s Creator due to the uncleanness of sin is the reason for this. For one to have a relationship with a sinless, perfect, totally set-apart or holy Elohim,the sin problem has to be dealt with. Sin must be atoned along with the resulting guilt, shame and penalty (death) that sin brings. In the Tabernacle of Moses, liability and effect of sin is dealt with at the altar of the red heifer outside the gate of the tabernacle, which represents the work of Yeshua at the cross (Heb 13:10–13). There one was purified and made ready to come into the actual tabernacle. Upon doing so, the first thing one encountered when entering the tabernacle was the altar of sacrifice where both kosher animals and unleavened bread (made of the finest flour and the purest olive oil) were offered, and a fermented wine libation was poured out twice daily (morning and afternoon, Num 28:1–8). These all picture the body of Yeshua being broken and slain for us and our need to “eat” his body and “drink” his blood in a spiritual sense (John 6:35–58). The supper on Passover night which overlaps on to the first Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also picture of this since the participants would eat fire-roasted lamb, unleavened bread and fermented wine.

The fire on the altar was to be kept burning at all times; it was never to go out (Lev 6:13). Additionally, before ministering at the altar, a priest was to always wash his hands and feet at the bronze laver (Exod 30:17–21) and to put on the priestly robes (Lev 6:10). These things are prophetic shadows that point to the ministry of Yeshua before the throne of the Father in heaven. There, as our heavenly high priest, he, in an ultimate state of purity and perfection he is ever making intercession for us and reconciling us to the Father (Eph 2:18; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 7:25–26; 8:1–2, 5–6; 9:11–22; 10:19–22; 1 John 2:1).

At the twice daily offering (the morning shacharit and the afternoon minchah), a yearling lamb was sacrificed on the north side of the altar, or its left side as viewed from the holy of holies, which represents the throne of Elohim. (Furthermore, north is significant since Scripture seems to indicate that the third heaven where Elohim dwells is in the northern region of the sky [Isa 14:13].) The lamb’s blood was then sprinkled round about the altar as an atonement for sin, while a wine libation was poured out onto the altar, and unleavened bread was cooked and offered at the same time on the altar (Num 28:1–8; Lev 1:11). The fact that the lamb was killed on the north or left side of the altar is prophetically significant since it points to Yeshua’s first coming as the Suffering Servant Messiah, the Lamb of Elohim. The left side is significant since the left hand (usually the weaker hand), in Jewish thought, represents grace and mercy, while the right hand (usually the stronger hand) represents strength, power and judgment. At his first coming, Yeshua was like a lamb led to the slaughter (Isa 52:13–53:12, especially note 53:7) as he spilled his blood as an atonement for men’s sins (Isa 53:5–6,10). Upon his death and glorious resurrection, he returned to heaven where he took his rightful place as the right arm of YHVH Elohim (Acts 7:55–56; Rom 8:34). At Yeshua’s second coming, he will come, not as a lamb led to the slaughter this time, but in power and glory as a warrior on a white stallion to judge the wicked and to reward the righteous. After that, he will assume his position as King of kings and Lord of lords over the earth during the Millennium as revealed in the Book of Revelation.

Now let’s consider the actual construction of the altar of sacrifice to see how it pointed prophetically to Yeshua in other ways. It was constructed of acacia wood overlaid in bronze. Wood and trees represent men (Ps 1:1,3; Jer 5:14). Yeshua was a carpenter. Bronze speaks of judgment. Yeshua, a man who worked in wood (representing humanity) and died on a tree took the fire of judgment upon himself for humanity’s sins.

All the animals slaughtered in the sacrificial system were similar to the minimum amount due on a credit card statement of a bill so huge one cannot possible pay the balance, so one pays the minimum until somehow, miraculously, someone will step in to pay the full amount. Yeshua paid that debt for each of us at the cross.

The first sacrifice was lit by fire from heaven. This signifies that the blood of Yeshua delivers us from the wrath of Elohim (Rom 5:9).

YHVH sent fire from heaven once to light the altar of sacrifice, but it was up to the priests to maintain that fire. The fire had to be constantly fed and the old ashes had to be removed to keep the fire burning. Similarly, when a person is redeemed spiritually and born again by the Spirit of Elohim, he has to maintain the spiritual fire in his life to ensure that it doesn’t die out due to lack of fuel, or get choked due to the ashes of traditions and dead works.

Offerings were made on the altar of sacrifice in the morning and in the evening. This teaches us that twice daily we must come before YHVH’s throne in heaven and at the altar there leave our prayers and confess our sins (1 John 1:9), drawing close to our loving Creator in communion and devotion of service to him.

 

Is There a Connection Between Sin and Sickness?

Exodus 15:26, I am YHVH that heals you. This is the first place in the Scriptures where YHVH promises to heal his people of sickness. Here is a list of other biblical verses containing similar promises: Deut 7:12 and 15; Pss 30:2–4; 34:18–19; 41:1;91 (entire chapter); 103 (entire chapter); Isa 40:28–31; 53:4–5; Jer 17:13–14; Mal 4:2; Mark 11:23–24; Luke 10:19; John 14:13; 15:7; 15:16; 16:23–24; Rom 8:31; 8:37; Phil 4:13; Jas 5:14–16; 1 Pet 2:24. Notice the stipulations that YHVH makes for his promise of healing to be fulfilled upon his people. His people must “diligently heed [Heb. shema meaning “to hear and to do”] the voice of YHVH by doing what is upright [Heb. yashar meaning “right, righteous, correct, straight] in his sight by obeying his Torah.

What if any is the connection between the sins we commit and the sicknesses and diseases that come upon us? Much, as the Bible teaches.

First, let’s establish some basic truths.

Everyone will eventually die, so not all sickness is a result of sin (Heb 9:27).

Some sickness isn’t due to sin, but so that YHVH might be glorified when the person is miraculously healed (John 9:2–3).

The purpose of some sickness is for spiritual refinement to bring us to a higher level spiritually as was the case with Job.

In a general sense, pain, suffering and death came upon all men because of Adam and Eve’s initial rebellion against YHVH Elohim in the Garden of Eden. As a result of the “fall of man,” all men have come under this curse and suffer as a result.

Unto the woman [Elohim] said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Gen 3:16–19)

Some sickness is a direct result of disobeying YHVH’s commandments; it’s YHVH’s judgment against that sin. In Exodus 15:26, YHVH speaks about not putting the diseases of Egypt upon his people if they will follow his commandments.

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of YHVH thy Elohim, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am YHVH that healeth thee.

The Torah further makes the connection between sin and sickness when it lists the curses for Torah disobedience in Deuteronomy 28:21–22.

YHVH will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. YHVH will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish.

In Deuteronomy 7:15, YHVH again mentions not afflicting his people with the sicknesses of Egypt if they will obey his Torah-commandments.

And YHVH will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

The Bible indicates a direct relationship between sin and healing in Psalm 103:3,

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases…

“Leprosy” or the infectious skin disease the Torah refers to as tsaraat (Lev 14:34) was a judgment from YHVH against several specific sins.

When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession…

In several instances in the Scriptures, we read that tsaraat was a direct result of a specific sin. In the case of Miriam, it was the sin of pride and rebellion against spiritual authority and using her tongue in an evil manner against YHVH’s spiritual authority (Num 12:1, 9–10). In the case of Gehazi, he became leprous because of greed and lying (2 Kgs 5:20–27). Uzziah, the king of Judah, became leprous because of his pride and rebellion against YHVH when he dared to violate the Torah by burning incense in the temple (2 Chron 26:16–23).

Envy can bring on bone diseases. Envy can also refer to “jealousy and sexual passion.”

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. (Prov 14:30)

Sexually transmitted diseases are a direct result of sexual promiscuity and idolatry, and is a judgment from Elohim against those who engage in such ungodly practices.

For this cause Elohim gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. (Rom 1:26–27)

Yeshua, on several occasions, equates sin and healing. That is to say, he viewed forgiveness of sin and healing of disease as synonymous concepts. To him, the sickness was a result of sin.

Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? (John 5:24)

Yeshua shows that illness can be a direct punishment for sin, as well, when he states that a man whom he had just healed was sick because of his sin.

Afterward Yeshua findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. (John 5:14)

YHVH’s laws of judgment against sin are still in operation even in the so-called “New Testament era of grace.” YHVH struck down and killed Annaias and Sapphira because they lied to the apostles and the Spirit of Elohim (Acts 5:1–11).

Paul confirms the truth that there is still a correlation between sin and sickness when he states that some within the body of Yeshua get sick and die because of sin. Illness is a direct punishment for sin. Paul teaches that this can occur when a believer doesn’t have the proper fear and respect for YHVH Elohim and those things which are set-apart of kadosh such as blood and body of Yeshua as symbolized in the Passover communion service by the bread and the wine.

For I have received of the Master that which also I delivered unto you, that the Master Yeshua the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Master’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Master, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Master. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Master’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Master, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1 Cor 11:23–32)

When trials of our faith fall on us including sickness and disease, Scripture instructs us to receive it with joy realizing that this is occurring for our spiritual refinement. We are to then ask YHVH for wisdom presumably to help us to understand why the trial is occurring, so that we can repent of sin and learn from our mistakes.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of Elohim, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Jas 1:2–5)

Let us not forget that whom our Father in heaven loves he chastens. Sickness often is a form of loving chastisement or discipline from YHVH Elohim,

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of YHVH, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the YHVH loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, Elohim dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. (Heb 12:5–13)

 

Dealing With the “Leavening” in Our Lives—Overcoming Sin!


Exodus 12:15, Remove leaven from your houses. Leaven is a biblical metaphor for sin. How do we remove sin from our spiritual lives?

Throughout Scripture, leavening is a spiritual metaphor for sin, pride, hypocrisy, malice, bitterness and false religious doctrine (Pss 71:4; 73:21; Hos 7:4; Matt 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:8–6; Gal 5:9). Even as a small amount of leavening agents in bread (e.g. yeast and various chemical agents) will quickly permeate bread dough causing it to rise, so a little sin can rapidly infect our lives (or like a quick spread cancer disease) and take us away from Elohim’s path of righteous-living.

The Scripture teaches us to be overcomers (Rom 12:21; 1 John 2:13–14; 5:4) eradicating the leavening of sin from our lives. We must overcome the world, the flesh and the devil (Jas 3:15). Yeshua admonished each of the seven Messianic assemblies to be overcomers (Rev 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; see also Matt 24:13). For those who overcome, there will be great rewards—a spiritual inheritance; they will be sons of Elohim (Rev 21:7).

The Greek word for overcome is nikao meaning “to conquer, to get the victory, prevail” and Continue reading