Parashat Tzav (Command)

Vayikra (Leviticus) 6:1-8:36

This Shabbat is the Shabbat before Passover. It is called the “Shabbat HaGadol” (Great Sabbath) because while in Egypt, it was on Shabbat that God commanded His people to bring the Passover Lamb into their homes and keep it until the 14th day of Nissan, when they sacrificed it and placed its blood upon their doorposts. No doubt, it is a very special time of reflection and thankfulness for all God has done for us.

In our weekly Scripture portion, we read of the consecration of the Kohanim (Priests) throughout Leviticus, chapter 8. As I was reading the chapter again and again, reflecting upon it, and talking to some good friends about it, I saw some very interesting things that I’d like to share, as I feel it will bring us a deeper appreciation of God’s character.

First, it’s important we understand that the priests were ordinary people, just like you and me; they did not have any special supernatural talents or qualities. It was God Himself who chose them, and He equipped them with all they needed to fulfill their tasks. The Priests were not exempt from following God’s commands; on the contrary, they had a bigger responsibility than everyone else, as they were role models for the people!

I found the order of events that precede the actual consecration to be very significant. The first thing that Moses did was to wash them with water: “Then Moses had Aaron and his sons come near, and washed them with water.” Leviticus 8:6. This act of “washing with water” is what I believe we call “immersion” or “baptism”. It was done as an act of purification as well as a ceremonial preparation for a task. The second act of preparation was to put on the special priestly garments with their specific elements (verses 7-9). This was followed by anointing with oil; first, of the sanctuary and then the anointing of the priest himself (verses 10-12). It was only then, after all these preparatory acts were completed, that the actual sacrifice was offered to the Lord on their behalf.

When reflecting on all this, I couldn’t help thinking about Yeshua our Messiah, and how this connects to Him. If we look at key events that took place in His life, we can see He was indeed being prepared to fulfill His role as High Priest in the heavenly tabernacle! He was immersed, not for purification since He was without sin, but in preparation for His priestly role. At Gat Shemanim (Garden of Gethsemane), which literally means “Garden of the Olive Oil Press”, He chose to crush His will in submission to the Father. He then offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice, and clothed Himself in His new role as the Anointed One.

However, unlike the Priests in the past, we need to first and foremost accept His sacrifice, then be immersed in water and put on the “garments” as a new creation in Messiah, while receiving the anointing of the Lord to fulfill His call for us on this earth.

I love the order of God’s Kingdom! It always amazes me how everything eventually points to Him, and gives us something to look forward to in eternity.

Shabbat Shalom,

Moran

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