The Torah portion for this past week focused on Purim, so Happy Purim to everyone. We also read from the book of Leviticus or in Hebrew Vaykira meaning He Called. Now honestly when is the last time you picked up your bible and thought wow why don’t I read from that thrilling, and energizing book of Leviticus. Okay so it is not the easiest book to read, all the rules and regulation set before the children of Israel. Why all these laws, all these sacrificial commandments which have nothing to do with how we live our lives today. The point of all these rules and regulations including the reading portion for this past week, mainly chapters 1-5 is this: the people of Israel were living in a foreign land as slave for the past 400 years. They had forgotten the Word of God, the stories of the patriarchs and did not practice their faith often. When they were finally freed from bondage and now were living in the desert, God needed to reign His people in, give them rules and regulations, give them a system of worship and continue to make Himself known to them as the God who delivered them from Egypt. The sacrifices we read about were for various kinds of transgressions and thanksgiving. There were Peace offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, guilt offerings and sin offerings. All of these were two-fold in purpose, and known as the Mosaic Covenant, which by the way is still in effect today. The Mosaic Covenant was to be the bylaws and constitution for the Israelites, since they needed order in their lives. The second purpose was to point to the coming of a Messiah, as all through the Old Testament we see Yeshua. The sacrifices gave the people a way to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The priests were to follow very precise ways to sacrifice animals, sprinkle their blood and burn much of the animals as God wanted to enjoy the aroma. The same with other types of sacrifices, always to please God. These sacrifices gave the Israelites a way to turn from sinful behavior back to Him who gave them freedom from bondage.
So where is Yeshua in all this? God taught the people that sacrifices were needed to atone for sinfulness. So when Yeshua became our sacrificial lamb and shed His blood for us, we had the former knowledge of the meaning of a sacrifice. Only Yeshua’s sacrifice became the only sacrifice we would ever need, His was for all people, for all their transgressions, past, present and future. Yeshua was the sacrifice that replaced the need for animal and grain sacrifices forever. He was the High Priest or Cohen HaGadol, and by our believing in Him we get to partake in the promise of eternal life with Him and forgiveness of sin. Instead of bringing an animal to sacrifice we now just have to turn to Yeshua our LORD and savior and ask for forgiveness. The Israelites needed this early type of sacrificial system, which was a type of pre-incarnate sacrifice.
The book of Leviticus may not be one of the more exciting books of the bible but its meaning is deep. It sets up the true meaning of Yeshua’s sacrifice in a way that we would never understand had it not been used for worship in the Old Testament by God’s children. We are still under the Mosaic Covenant but in a different way. Sacrifices are no longer needed and many of the 613 commandments are no longer applicable to us, but certainly the Ten Commandments and many other of the laws and regulations are still valid today. The big difference is that we are not under the penalty of the law as the Israelites once were. We now have our Messiah to turn to, our final and awesome sacrifice, that will take our sins and send them as far as the east is from the west. Now that is exciting. It is all about connecting the dots between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The foundation for the New is the Old, just as a second story building could not stand without a foundation, the New Testament needs the Old Testament to stand.