Parashat Shemini (Eighth)

VaYiqra (Leviticus) 9:1–11:47

After a two-week “break” from the regular study of the Parasha (weekly reading of Scripture which is read in synagogues) due to Pesach (Passover), this week we return to the scheduled readings.

This week’s portion (for those living outside of Israel) opens with some very interesting verses:

Now it came about on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel; and he said to Aaron, “Take for yourself a calf, a bull, for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defect, and offer them before the LORD.” Then to the sons of Israel you shall speak, saying, “Take a male goat for a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both one year old, without defect, for a burnt offering, and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD, and a grain offering mixed with oil; for today the LORD shall appear to you.” So they took what Moses had commanded to the front of the tent of meeting, and the whole congregation came near and stood before the LORD. And Moses said, “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded you to do, that the glory of the LORD may appear to you.” Moses then said to Aaron, “Come near to the altar and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, that you may make atonement for yourself and for the people; then make the offering for the people, that you may make atonement for them, just as the LORD has commanded.”
Leviticus 9:1–7

Immediately, we notice the mentioning of the “eighth day.” In biblical scholarship, the number eight symbolizes a new beginning and some scholars even call it the number of “redemption” or the “Kingdom” number. One example of an eighth-day related commandment is found in Genesis 17:12, where the circumcision of every baby boy is to take place on the eighth day. Not only would his foreskin be cut, but he would also receive his name, symbolizing a new member joined the people of Israel. The eighth day is also the first day of the new week, which was the day that our Messiah was resurrected, hence the connection to redemption and the kingdom.

It is significant that the instruction to take a male goat as a sin offering was made on the eighth day. God was revealing something important about the connection between the sin offering and a new beginning. It is not by accident that the sin offering was the first offering that God commanded here; only after came the burnt, peace, and grain offerings.

It's important to understand that Moses instructed not just the priests and elders of Israel, but rather everyone in the assembly. Each person was responsible to offer a sin offering, and I believe that verse six clarifies the reason why: “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded you to do, that the glory of the LORD may appear to you.” In order for the glory of the Lord to be revealed to a person, a sacrifice is needed, and the specific sacrifice required here is the sin sacrifice. Again, this is not accidental!

Paul reminds us of a similar idea in Romans 14:12 where he writes that each person will need to give an account of him/herself to God: “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.” And Romans 3:23 says that, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...

My dear friends, God is very consistent! From the beginning of His relationship with Israel, we see that in order for anyone to have the revelation of His Glory in his/her life, there must be a sacrifice offered. There is one person, Yeshua our promised Messiah, who although had no sin became sin for us:  “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Only because of Yeshua's perfect, final sacrifice for our sin, can we know God’s glory in our lives. If you have accepted His redemptive power in your life, then I encourage you to take time this weekend to reflect on how powerful this is for you every single day. You have the glory of the living God revealed to you and through you!

Shabbat Shalom,

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One Comment on “Parashat Shemini (Eighth)”

  1. I love the way you teach and am embarrassed that I have not told you so before. I have heard you speak at Beth Yachad in Phoenix but when they moved toward Sun City I had to move my membership to a closer Messianic congregation. Blessings on you and your ministry and on Ner Yah and on the military personnel you minister to in Israel, and on all other many things you do for God’s Kingdom!

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