Parashat Tzav(Command) Leviticus 6:8–8:36
9 “Give this order to Aharon and his sons: ‘This is the law for the burnt offering [Hebrew: ‘olah]: it is what goes up [Hebrew: ‘olah] on its firewood upon the altar all night long, until morning; in this way the fire of the altar will be kept burning.
(13) Fire is to be kept burning on the altar continually; it is not to go out.
We learn here that the fire is to be kept burning, this begs the question of why since the fire can be restarted at any time. We learn in Leviticus 9:24 that the fire came down from the Lord’s presence and wasn’t lit by the priests. The fire consumes the Olah which is the burnt offering and this is a daily process. As the Torah points to the Messiah Yeshua we have to look and see how this fits.
The book of Hebrews looks back to the sacrifice on the altar which the Jews are well familiar with stating that “God is a consuming fire”.
28 Therefore, since we have received an unshakeable Kingdom, let us have grace, through which we may offer service that will please God, with reverence and fear. 29 For indeed,
“Our God is a consuming fire!”
This looks back to the idiom of the fire consuming the burnt offering. We also see that the Holy Spirit comes down as fire in Acts 2 and Paul states in his first letter to the Thessalonians that we are not to quench the Spirit.
19 Don’t quench the Spirit, 20 don’t despise inspired messages. 21 But do test everything — hold onto what is good, 22 but keep away from every form of evil.
This means that we are not to put out the Holy Spirit’s fire, just as the Priests were not to allow the fire on the altar to go out. While this idiom can be lost on gentile believers, the believers in the first century would have been well aware of the connection as the Temple was still standing and sacrifices were continuing.
Leviticus clearly defines what sin is and the the atonement for sin is through the offerings. God’s definition of sin has not changed and we’re to allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin.
19 Meat which touches something unclean is not to be eaten but burned up completely. As for the meat, everyone who is clean may eat it; 20 but a person in a state of uncleanness who eats any meat from the sacrifice of peace offerings made to Adonai will be cut off from his people. 21 Anyone who touches something unclean — whether the uncleanness be from a person, from an unclean animal or from some other unclean detestable thing — and then eats the meat from the sacrifice of peace offerings for Adonai, that person will be cut off from his people.’”
We learn an important principal here. Uncleanliness can be transferred by contact, not the other way around. Holiness is not attained through touching, but through ritual washing. Baptism is symbolic of that.
1 John 1
7 But if we are walking in the light, as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of his Son Yeshua purifies us from all sin.
As followers of Yeshua, we understand that it’s His blood that makes us clean with His once and for all sacrifice on the cross.
Leviticus 8-10 presents the ordination of the first Priesthood of Israel and there is a great deal of detail presented. What we can learn from this is that God is precise and that we need to pay attention to detail. Worship isn’t a subjective feeling that you have at a concert. There is no concept in Leviticus of singing to feel the presence of God. Worship has to do with obedience while praise has to do with singing. As gentile believers, we need to understand the difference. Living for Yeshua is not a prayer that anybody can say and then continue on as we have been. We’re a Royal Priesthood and we need to act as such. Being a priest as we can see had a lot to do with obedience and attention to detail. The early believers understood this commitment
Peter states in his first letter:
9 But you are a chosen people,[e] the King’s cohanim,[f] a holy nation,[g] a people for God to pos-sess![h] Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; before, you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.[i]
We need to understand this commitment, understand what sin is and live a holy life. This can only be done with the Holy Spirit as our guide and we’re not to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit.