“And He Called”
Torah: Leviticus 1:1–6:7 [5:26 HEB]
PROPHETS: Isaiah 42:21–44:23
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Hebrews 10:1–18
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
God Calls, “Come Near!”
Exodus ended with God’s visible manifest presence entering the Mishkan (Tabernacle, cf. Exodus 40:34). His radiant glory was so intense, that Moses could not even enter inside the Mishkan to meet with God (cf. Exodus 40:35, contrast with Leviticus 9:23 and Numbers 1:1 where Moses actually goes in).
From within the Mishkan, God calls out to Moses and gives him the basic instructions regarding the system of offerings. These offerings primarily allowed people to approach God, now dwelling in their midst, as well as maintain the holiness necessary for this relationship to continue in good standing. There are five basic offerings. The first three we will look at today and tomorrow (chapters 1–3) and the last two we will look at over the next two days.
The first type of offering, the Olah (“Ascent” or “Burnt” offering) is completely burned up on the altar (except the hide, cf. 7:8) and must be a perfect male animal coming from either the herd (i.e. bull, vv. 3–9) or flock (i.e. sheep or goat, vv. 10–13).
God Provides The Way For All People To “Come Near!”
God makes allowances for the poor by not only accepting a costly bull as an Olah but also an inexpensive bird (vv. 14–17). In this way, God sets up a kind of “sliding scale” pricing program that requires payment on a “what you can afford” basis. Because God looks first at the heart, He makes allowances for everyone to come and worship Him, regardless of economic status. By being completely set apart for God on the altar how might the Olah point to Yeshua (cf. Luke 22:42)? How can you be like an Olah (cf. Romans 12:1)?
Along with the “meat” of the Olah,there was also usually “bread” required as part of a worshiper’s offering.
The Mincha (“Grain” offering), consisted of raw ingredients of flour mixed with oil and incense.
This mixture was then either oven–baked (v. 4) or griddle–cooked (vv. 5–6) to make the “bread” for this atoning food gift offered to God. From this Mincha offering, the priest took a handful and put it on the fire of the altar where it would go “up in smoke” (v. 2). The rest of the bread was given to the kohanim (priests) to eat (v. 3).
Consider how the Olah’s flesh and Mincha’s bread being offered up to God point to Yeshua’s bodily offering on our behalf? Because Yeshua offered up himself, by faith in Him you too are now acceptable to God. How “good” is this news to you? If the intensity of this goodness is less real to you today, perhaps spend a few minutes prayerfully considering the “bad news.” Where is the reality of your own sin most obvious to you right now? Can you believe that God has forgiven you and promises to give you the power to change through His Holy Spirit? Walk this out today and tell someone else about it!
Torah 3 & 4
A Mincha can also be pan–fried (v. 7), must be without leaven if it is to be burned on the altar (v. 11), and must be salted (v. 13). The Olah and Mincha are noteworthy in that the worshiper, the one who brings the offering, may not partake of the elements. God gets the entire Olah as well as the Mincha’s “memorial portion.” They go up in smoke as a “pleasing aroma.” Furthermore, only a kohen (priest) gets to partake of the remaining Mincha.
What implication does receiving a holy “priestly-status” under the New Covenant have on your ability to partake of the gifts of God (cf. Acts 10:45; 11:17)?
Intimacy in Covenant Relationship
The Zevach Sh’lamim (Sacrifice of “Fellowship” or “Peace” offering) can be either a male or female animal coming from the herd (i.e. cattle animal, vv. 1–5) or flock (v. 6: either sheep, vv. 7–11; or goats, vv. 12–16). A worshiper voluntarily brings a Sh’lamim to God and the gift is shared by all (God, priest and worshiper) in a covenant meal of communion/fellowship. This is the only type of offering of which the worshiper can partake! The covenant between God and Israel made at Mt. Sinai concluded with this kind of fellowship meal (Exodus 24:9–11) that had come from the Sh’lamim (Exodus 24:5).
How was that covenant meal on top of Mt. Sinai similar to the meal shared by Yeshua’s first disciples (Luke 22:19–20)? How is it similar to the one shared by us during Nizkor (1 Corinthians 11:23–25—Nizkor means literally “we remember”)? Consider the benefits Israel received as a result of being in covenant relationship with God. Consider too how these benefits apply to you as a member of God’s new covenant (cf. Jeremiah 31:31–34).
torah 5 & 6
Purification Is Required
Olah (Chapter 1), Mincha (Chapter 2) and Sh’lamim (Chapter 3) were all offerings with which the ancient Israelites would have been very familiar. In fact, these types of offerings had been previously made by the Patriarchs (Genesis 22:7), Noah (Genesis 8:20), and even Abel (Genesis 4:4). The remaining two offerings, however, were unique to the Mishkan system of worship. The Chatat (“Sin” or better yet “Purification” offering) “wipes away” the uncleanness of defilement. We usually think of defilement resulting from moral transgressions like murder or lying. While this is certainly true, there is more to holiness than merely moral purity. With a holy God living in the midst of a community of people, physical defilement could also occur by actions that are not morally wrong but in fact divinely prescribed (like giving birth, Chapter 12). These kinds of actions are not immoral but still require a Chatat to restore purity (make “clean” what has become “unclean”) and restore access to God’s holy Presence in worship. Again, “unclean” does not mean “bad”! It was a natural state that exists to teach us more about the holiness of God. It was natural for people to go back and forth between being “clean” and “unclean.”
God gives instructions regarding how to cleanse, or purify, the altar (and thus the Mishkan) when it becomes defiled as a result of people disobeying God’s commands, even unintentionally.
This cleansing happens by bringing a Chataton behalf of the offending or “unclean” party. A bullis required on behalf of a “holy” kohen (anointed priest, vv. 3–12) as well as on behalf of the whole community (vv. 13–21).
A male goatis required on behalf of a community leader (vv. 22–26). Try and visualize these offerings being brought and watch for where the blood is applied (i.e. inner golden altar and/or outer bronze altar) and why.
God Provides the Means of Purification
If a “common” community member violates God’s commands or becomes “unclean”, the prescribed Chatatmust be either a female goat (vv. 27–31) or a female lamb (vv. 32–35). Though the NASB has a misleading section break and heading at the beginning of Chapter 5, the instructions regarding Chatat actually continue through 5:13.
Today’s reading ends with two further sections of regulations for when and how to offer Chatat.
This section offers some specific instructions as to when this female flock animal must be brought for a community member.
This section offers more “sliding scale” stipulations to accommodate the poor to be able to continue in right relationship before God in the community.
2 Corinthians 5:21 reads, “God made Him who had no sin to be a chatat for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God!” Yeshua is your Chatat and because of Him you are made “clean” and thus have access to God and His holy Presence! Meditate on this verse and the preciousness of God’s gift to you.
torah 7 &
Leviticus 5:11–6:7 [5:26 Heb]
Today’s reading picks up with the last few verses of instructions for Chatat. Since purification requires blood, why does God make special allowances for someone who is extremely poor by accepting a bloodless sacrifice (cf. Mark 12:41–44)?
The Asham (“Guilt”, “Trespass” or “Reparation” offering) is required when someone trespasses against God by treating as “common” something or someone that is “holy.” This offense requires not only that restitution be made, but also that a twenty percent penalty be paid. Compare Leviticus 5:16, 18; 6:7; and Isaiah 53:10; and reflect on the Suffering Servant’s role in bringing atonement, forgiveness and cleansing.
Violations Against God’s Holy Things
Leviticus 6:5–7 [5:24–26 Heb]
Quoted from Feinberg, J. Walk Leviticus! 2001, p. 24:
“In this week’s haftarah reading, Y’rushalayim has been destroyed. It is no longer possible to bring offerings to the altar of God’s dwelling. Addressing the exiles, Isaiah explains that God has been weighed down by the sins of the people and by offerings which are not heartfelt (Isaiah 43:23–24) So now, God announces a new way—He will wipe away sins for His glory alone (Isaiah 43:25). He will judge offerings given with wholeness of heart as acceptable to Him. ‘I wipe away your offenses,’ God tells Yisra’el (Isaiah 44:22a). The nation will yet fulfill its calling to glorify the LORD. Echoing the words of Isaiah 43:10, the LORD raises up Yisra’el to be His witness. Worshippers from idolatrous nations (Isaiah 44:9) become as blind and unthinking as the wood from their carved idols. But Yisra’el will break out in song—its forests and trees alive, its people redeemed and glorified! The purpose of offerings has always been to maintain the covenant relationship. Abuses led to the defiling of the Temple and God’s resulting departure.
Read Romans 11:25–27. What sin does God promise to remove from Yisra’el?”
Quoted from Feinberg, J. Walk Leviticus! 2001, p. 25:
“In this reading, the author of Hebrews quotes the judgment of Isaiah concerning the abuses of sin [chatat], meal [mincha], and burnt [olah] offerings. Then quoting the psalms, he adds, ‘…you have prepared for me a body … I have come to do your will’ (Hebrews 10:5–7). Messiah cleanses our very bodies, to form a suitable dwelling place for God! By sacrificing His life, shedding His blood as an asham (reparation) (Isaiah 53:10), Messiah cleanses the hearts and purges the consciences of those who believe (Hebrews 10:2). Scripture announces a new way to approach God in holiness (Hebrews 10:9–10), the perfecting (or making whole) of those who are now being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). God’s promise not to remember sins presupposes a putting away or afesis (Greek word meaning removal). Forgiveness means the complete removal of sins, making future purification offerings for sin unnecessary (Hebrews 10:17–18). Leviticus 5:17–19 describes the asham talu’I (the doubtful reparation offering), required whenever a person wonders about unknowingly violating a prohibition. Explain how Messiah’s death purges our conscience from guilt.”
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.