Today is the 24th Sabbath of the annual Torah cycle: parashah (Torah portion) Tzav / Command, Lev 6:8-8:36. Read Lev 6:8-8:36 at Bible Gateway.
(The chapter and verse numberings can sometimes be different in Hebrew Bibles than in the English translations commonly available in book stores, which most of us use. In the Hebrew Bible, the parashah begins with Lev 6:1. This same verse in English Bibles is Lev 6:8, so I have adjusted the chapter and verse numbers accordingly.)
Here is my outline for this week’s parashah:
Lev 6:8-18 p The offerings made by fire brought by the people
Lev 6:8-13 s The law of the perpetual whole burnt offering (olah)
Lev 6:14-18 p The law of the grain offering (minchah) that must be eaten
Lev 6:19-23 p The law of the perpetual grain offering (minchah) that must not be eaten (brought by the priests)
Lev 6:24-30 p The priests’ portion of the sin offering (chattath)
Lev 7:1-10 p The priests’ portion of the trespass offering (asham) + the other offerings
Lev 7:11-21 p The law of the peace offering (shelem) , its grain offerings + may and must not be eaten
Lev 7:22-38 p Eat no fat or blood + priests’ portion of the peace offering + summary
Lev 8:1-36 s Consecration of the tabernacle + priesthood
I could only make this week’s torah portion form a chiastic structure in conjunction with last week’s torah portion as follows:
1a) Lev 1:1-2:16, The law of the burnt offering + grain offering;
1b) Lev 3:1-16a, The law of the peace offering;
1c) Lev 3:16b-17, You shall eat neither fat nor blood;
1d) Lev 4:1-6:23, The law of the offerings + grain offering that must not be eaten;
1) Lev 4:1-35, The law of the sin offering;
2) Lev 5:1-6:7, The law of the trespass offering;
3) Lev 6:8-18, The law of the burnt offering + grain offerings;
4) Lev 6:19-23, The law of the perpetual grain offering that must not be eaten;
central axis) Lev 6:24, “Also the LORD spoke to Moses, saying;”
2d) Lev 6:25-7:21, The law of the offerings + the peace offering that must be eaten;
1) Lev 6:25-30, The law of the sin offering;
2) Lev 7:1-7, The law of the trespass offering;
3) Lev 7:8-10, What is the priests’ of the burnt offering + grain offerings;
4) Lev 7:11-21, The law of the peace offering that must be eaten;
2c) Lev 7:22-27, You shall not eat the fat or the blood;
2b) Lev 7:28-36, The law of the peace offering;
2a) Lev 7:37-38, Summary of the law of the offerings.
Now clearly the chiastic structure cannot be made any other way. This leaves the final chapter of the parashah, Lev 8, hanging as a loose end. Loose ends bother me! Loose ends are one way the Scripture sets up puzzles asking to be solved.
I realized that the loose end of Lev 8 is the account of Moses establishing, or setting up, if you will, the Aaronic priesthood. The form and language of the chapter is very similar to the close of Exodus, when once the tabernacle furnishings were completed, Moses set them all up (or established them) as he had been commanded.
So the end of the above structure can have appended to it:
Lev 8:1-36, Moses established the Aaronic priesthood.
And the beginning of the above structure can have appended to it:
Exo 40:1-38, Moses established the Tabernacle.
So, very interesting, but what is the point? The central axis is very unusual: “The LORD spoke to Moses.” In other words, Moses did not establish either the Tabernacle, the offerings, or the priesthood because he had nothing else better to do. All of these things were done at the word of the LORD.
Yeshua said of Moses that, “He wrote about Me,” (Joh 5:46). How? The design and function of the Tabernacle prophesies of Messiah. The sacrifices prophesy of Messiah. The priesthood prophesies of Messiah. These things teach us about our justification and sanctification in Messiah; they teach us about being in covenant and relationship with the LORD God.
What does the Tabernacle tell us? God desires to dwell with us! However, sin is the problem, which keeps us separated from Him.
What do the sacrifices tell us? God will accept atonement for our sins!
What does the priesthood tell us? It is through the mediation of the priest, that acceptable atonement is possible! Messiah Yeshua is our Tabernacle (our dwelling place), our Atoning Sacrifice, and our High Priest; His work on the cross is finished! In other words, sin is no longer separating us from the presence of the LORD God! Now all that is left to us, is to draw near in worship!