We start the book of Leviticus, this part of the Torah has to do with the Mishkan (the tabernacle) now ready to be used, and the sacrificial system that will be instituted within the Mishkan. All the sacrifices point to and illustrate MESSIAH YESHUA who he is and what his one-time sacrifice means to us as believers. Even though the sacrificial system was completed with Messiah's death on Calvary, it is still worthwhile studying the meaning of it all, since it is a very integral part of the Torah.
One interesting part of the word; “Vayikra” is that in the Hebrew, there is a small “Aleph” at the end of the word. Some ask as to why? Why is the “Aleph” small and a bit elevated? One answer is that it reminds us that we must approach God in a humble way, we must humble ourselves when we look up to HIM.
The first thing you must do is read over the scripture verses, from Chapter 1:1 through 6:7. Now we are ready for a discussion. The whole idea of a “Korban” (offering) is to generate the idea of “substitution”. Also, the word “Korban” symbolizes “coming close to God.” Our sin separates us from God, yet through the blood, in our case, the blood of Yeshua, we come “close” to God.
The sacrificial system involves; a gift, a death, a substitute, a renewed “close” relationship. “The gift (HaMatanah)” comes from the person offering, which is an animal. The animal, which would be a goat, a lamb, a bull, or a bird, would be killed and the blood splattered on the altar (Mizbeach), the animal would be a “substitute” for the person who offers it. The sins of the person “transfer” to the animal. Through the sacrifice, the relationship between the offerer and YHVH is renewed. But remember that the “sacrifices” are just symbolic of what they really mean, which is Messiah Yeshua taking on ALL of our sins and him being nailed to the cross, and shedding his blood for our sins, giving us a “renewed” relationship with Him, through a “born-again” experience.
There were 5 kinds of “korbanot” (offerings); 1. The burnt offering (Olah) 2. The sin offering, 3. The guilt or trespass offering; 4. The Peace offering (Korban Shelamim) 5. The grain or meat offering (Minchah). Each one identifies our relationship with Messiah Yeshua.
THE BURNT OFFERING (Olah) This involved animal sacrifice, the animal was completely burned on the altar and the ashes taken away and buried “outside the camp” the head, the inner organs, and the legs were burned as well. The pieces of the animal were arranged on the altar and burned. The head could symbolize our “thoughts” the inner organs could represent our “inner being, the heart, and the legs, our “walk” all of these were “offered up” to YHVH, thus symbolizing our “complete surrender to God in all that we are and have. The altar as you remember was made of hardwood overlaid with bronze and had a grill in the middle, and under the grill was earth and stones. Wood was laid on the grill and the animals were cut up and laid on the grill and burned. This reminds us of Yeshua who was “sacrificed” by his own free will on a WOODEN cross and was consumed by the “fires of judgment” He was judged for OUR SINS. The animal’s throat was cut and the blood was poured out and splashed on the altar. The person offering the animal showed that he/his family was “offering themselves to the LORD”. It also symbolizes our awareness of our sin nature. This sacrifice originated in Genesis, with Adam and Eve, Abel offered an “Olah Korban” so did Abraham, when he offered up the ram instead of his son Isaac, so did Noah, when he left the ark.
THE SIN OFFERING (korban chatat) This also involved animal sacrifice. It symbolized our specific sins that we commit by mistake, (active) or something we do not do, or forget to do (passive). In this korban, the person would offer the animal as a sacrifice, the person would place his hands on the head of the animal, transferring his “sins” into the animal, which would be the “substitute. The animal’s throat would be cut and the blood splattered on the altar. The priest would offer on the altar the fat, the liver, and the kidneys of the animal. These could symbolize our inner being. In this, the person confessed their sins and they did it by free will, and the animal symbolized Yeshua who paid our sin price in full.
THE TRESPASS OR GUILT OFFERING; This involved the same process, only that the person who committed an offense against another would also have to bring compensation for the wrongdoing, either in payment in silver or gold, or payment with animals. When we offend another person, be the person a brother or sister in Messiah or an unbeliever, we need to “compensate” the sin, if we can do it, sometimes, we cannot, if the sin is against the person’s character, no amount of money can repay the damage done, only a sincere confession in humbleness. So, we need to watch our “walk”.
THE PEACE OFFERING (Shelamim). The word “Shelamim” comes from “Shalom” (peace) this was an enjoyable sacrifice in which both the priest and the offerer and his family would enjoy “roast beef, goat, or lamb”
This was a “thankfulness” offering for blessings received. The animal was offered in the same way, only the meat was shared between the priest and his family, and the offerer and his family. We see this kind of “korban” even today in the parks, when families go out and BBQ ribs (hopefully beef and not pork) chicken, beef sausage, steaks, etc., many times they invite friends and family to enjoy in the “grilling and BBQ” they also have bread, or tostadas, tortillas, drinks, salad, etc. to accompany the meal.
THE MEAL OR MEAT OFFERING (Minchah) this was a non-blood offering on the altar, in this korban, fine flour was offered, mixed with olive oil, frankincense, and also, the flour was made into cakes, rolls of bread, or flatbreads (tortillas) but made without leaven or honey. These usually accompanied the peace offerings, to make the meal a “feast”. The fine flour symbolizes “YESHUA THE BREAD OF LIFE” the oil THE RUACH HA KODESH (The Holy Spirit) the frankincense, OUR FELLOWSHIP THROUGH PRAYER. The animal itself represented Yeshua who gave his life for us and took upon himself ALL of our sins, past, present, and future. The word “KORBAN” (sacrifice) comes from the Hebrew verb KARAV which means; “to come near”
We can only come near to YHVH through the shed blood of Messiah Yeshua, who was the “sacrificed lamb” the Bible says that “without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sins” Our sins were “atoned for once and forever. That is why the “new covenant” or “renewed” covenant is a BETTER covenant because there is no more need for animal sacrifices because YESHUA took their place.
YHVH speaks through the Prophet Yeshayahu and is complaining that Israel has forgotten about God, they no longer bring sacrifices but are engrossed in sin, He explains that craftsmen will use their skill to make idols, that have no value, what a waste of craftsmanship! They can take iron and make a plowshare, swords, and even an idol. Is the fault in the iron? Or in the craftsman? Iron is just material from the ground, the craftsman can turn it into something for usefulness or for idolatry. The worker in wood can cut down trees, make perhaps a plow, a wheel, use the wood for fuel for the fire, or make a wooden idol. Is it the wood’s fault? or does the fault lie with the craftsman? Even today, we can use money either to buy food for our family, pay our bills, or buy and sell drugs! Does the fault lie in the money? Or the use of it? We can use money to honor or dishonor God and those around us, the choice is ours. God cries out to Israel; “I SHALL WIPE OUT YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS LIKE A CLOUD, AND YOUR SINS LIKE A MIST, RETURN TO ME AND I SHALL REDEEM YOU” (44:22) The promise still stands. If we “shuv” to HIM, HE will save us!
There are several themes in these verses. Yeshua is in all of them. One theme is that when he went into the temple in Yerushalayim, he threw over the money tables and chased out the money changers, saying “My house is a House of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves” there are many synagogues and some churches that refuse to conduct business on the Sabbath or on the day of worship because they are reminded of that verse. However, Yeshua called them “thieves” these money changers were exchanging foreign money such as Greek “drachmas” and Roman “Denarii” for Israel “Shekels” in order to buy sacrifice animals. Many times, the money changers would not honor the exchange rate, and would “cheat” the clients. If 12 Mexican pesos equaled 1 US dollar, it would be like accepting the 12 pesos and giving the person 75 cents! Perhaps these money changers were cheating in this way.
In 12:29-31 Yeshua quotes the “Shema” Hear O Israel YHVH is our Elohim, YHVH is ONE (Echad) and he continues, Love Elohim with all your heart, being, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Yeshua just summed up all the 613 commandments in two verses! Because all the commandments have to do with our relationship with YHVH and our relationship with our fellow man. That is the purpose of Bible study, to learn of these commandments and put them into practice, so as to deepen our relationship with Messiah Yeshua and to be a good witness to our fellow man, and…bring lost mankind to a saving relationship with Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ)