Drawing Near To Elohim As Living Sacrifices: Parashat VaYiqra Reflections


Hebrew Vision News

by Miykael Qorbanyahu aka The End Time Scribe


The meaning seems to be as follows: ‘As long as you direct your heart’ says that the final goal of your deeds should be that your heart be directed to [Elohim], whether this comes to you rather easily or takes a great deal of effort. Deeds are to help one direct the heart. This is very true. Here this is said of the gift offering. Since one’s offering is a coming near (korban=sacrifice/drawing near) to [Elohim], and that is the desired goal and the end of the matter, it makes no difference whether you give more or less. The end is one: coming near to [Elohim]. This is the very meaning, in fact, of ‘direct your heart’ – like the offering, you are drawn after your own root. This is the life-force of divinity, which has been placed in every thing.

Sefat Emet: Parashat Va’Yikra. pgs. 148-149

And from the peace offering he shall bring nearas an offering made by fire to יהוהits fat, all the fat tail which he removes close to the backbone, and the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the loins, and the appendage on the liver, which he removes with the kidneys. And the priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire to יהוה.

Leviticus 3.9-11


Related imageWith this week’s parashat we begin reading from the scroll of Leviticus. Considered as the heart of the Torah, the main thrust of this central book of the Pentateuch focuses on ritual purity and moral cleanliness of the priesthood and the people. This dynamic is what is known as set-apartness, or what in Hebrew is called being qadash (קָדַשׁ). And while there is a brief amount of narrative found within its pages, the legal and moral imperative of which this codicil contains distinguishes the book from the other writings of Moshe and sets the precedent for the terms of the relationship between יהוה and Yisrael. In fact, the sages say that roughly 240 of the 613 Torah prescriptions, about 40%, are found within this scroll.

And so it is, with the completion of the Tabernacle it then became necessary for the priesthood to receive specific orders on how to properly administer the services within its veils required to maintain the expected state of set-apartness for the entire nation. Hence, the book of Leviticus, or Torat Kohanim (תורת כהנים‎‎), prescribes the laws of the Temple service as well as other laws relative to the priesthood and their priestly duties.  With parashat Vayiqra (ויקרא), which means and he called, we are formally introduced to the sacrificial system which was provided for both worship, praise, thanksgiving, as well as to make atonement for unintentional sin.

Related imageThe word for sacrifice in Hebrew is qorban (קָרְבָּן), which is best understood as an offering, gift, or to be drawn near; but it also has as a deeper connotation of entering the inner depths in order distinguish the mind through a conscious display by the full utilization of the potential of consciousness. This word comes from the root qarab (קָרַב) which also conveys the idea of drawing near, approaching or entering into. In addition to this, it has a deeper sense of inwardness and suggests to be in the midst of the presence without borders after engaging in combat as a result of the approach. Of this, we think of the patriarch Yahqob at the ford of Yabbok wrestling with the Messenger of יהוה in order to draw closer to Elohim, as he was given a new name after the inward struggle that he experienced. Of this transformative reality, the Stone Edition Tanach has this to say about the sacrificial system;

The word sacrifice implies that the person bringing it is expected to deprive himself of something valuable – but [Elohim] finds no joy in His children’s anguish or deprivation. “Offering” is more positive and closer to the mark…but it too falls far short of the Hebrew qorban. Does [Elohim] require our gifts to appease Him or assuage His anger? And if He did, of what significance is a bull or lamb to Him? ‘If you have acted righteously, what have you given Him?’ (Job 35.7); [Elohim] does not become enriched by man’s largess.

The root of the word qorban is karab, to come near. The person bringing an offering comes closer to [Elohim]; he elevates his level of spirituality. That is the true meaning of the word and the significance of the act. For modern man – who has been weaned on the delusion that anything not measurable or replicable is unworthy of serious consideration, and who, after all, is the product of over nineteen centuries without the Temple – the notion of animal offerings seems bizarre, even primitive. However, let us imagine ourselves among our ancestors when the first Kohanim brought their first offerings in their newly-built Tabernacle. There was palpable recognition of [Elohim]’s [Shekinah] resting upon the handiwork, and a miraculous Heavenly fire descending to consume the offerings. Could they have doubted the efficacy of the service? Would we have felt otherwise if we had been there too?

Artscroll Stone Edition Tanach. Introduction to Leviticus pg. 243

1qorbanotAt this point, let us consider that the first five chapters of Leviticus lays out for the reader the five different types of offerings that are listed throughout all of Scripture. These offerings are classified into two categories; freewill offerings (nedavah/נְדָבָה) and required offerings (chobah/חוֹבָה). The freewill offerings (elevation, meal and peace) were considered to be thanksgiving, praise, wave offerings and the entering into of vows by individuals. These offerings were done by the volition of the worshiper and had no other necessity than the desire of the soul to draw closer to the Most High. The required offerings (sin and guilt), however, were to be brought to the altar in order to make atonement for unintentional sins done in ignorance. Taking these two categories together, the totality of the sacrificial system was put in to place in order to provide the nation of Yisrael with the capacity to substitute life for life in the event of falling short by sinning against the precepts of Torah. According to the Dictionary for Torah Names and Words, the five different types of offerings are identified so as listed below and can be understood with the following insight:

1five offerings of leviticus

  1. Elevation/Burnt (olah/עֹלָה) offering represents the mature, full-sounding manifestation of the principles that expresses the complete performance and fruitfulness of being which maintains all in the level achieved according to the teachings and studies of Torah. This offering is experienced with joy in accordance with the total subjection of all energies and forms in the direction and fulfillment of wisdom in order to bring forth the fruitful productivity which is achieved in us when perfectly aligning each aspect of being with Wisdom unto the formulative work of light.
  2. Grain/Meal (mincha/מִנְחָה) offering pertains to the giving and receiving of instruction to catalyze transformation via the study of the concepts kneaded together and formed into edible food when exposed to the fire of wisdom. This is done by drawing out the potentials of the covenant of Light by which the anointed displays the work of renewal. This offering commemorates the ongoing need to apply understanding in the processes of thought derived from dreams or meditative states, requiring priestly interpretation before being brought to the altar of the heart which then forms shapes that pertain to the building  nature of the thoughts, the branching of the tree of knowledge, or the insight that is obtained via study and meditation allowing one to become acceptable after having been parched with fire—tested by the Spirit by which one is able to be confirmed to be of the Force of Wisdom.
  3. Peace (shalamim/שְׁלָמִים) offerings are able to make an individual complete, whole, full, entire, total, perfect, intact, integral and peaceful. It is also able to requite, pay, or recompense for that which has been lost. Lastly, this offering is what causes matters to be finished and come to an end, or to achieve its goal. This offering contains the wisdom instilling messages of peace.
  4. Sin (cheta/חָטָא) offerings provide a remedy for those who violate, offend, transgress, or miss the mark of Torah as a result of acting immaturely like a spoiled child usually rooted in unresolved issues that causes one’s violations. This offering is able to bring forth  atonement, as having awareness of the offense is the beginning of the process of reconciliation and inspires one with the impetus to triumph over sin when one rearranges self.
  5. Guilt (asham/אָשַׁם) offerings represent the fire of wisdom’s anointing permitting one to have knowledge of fault and confess to the fact that they have been guilty, culpable, and blameworthy due to the reality that they have committed sin. Once guilt is perceived, it then causes one to stop the disruption of fullness so that they are then able to instigate a spiritual release.

1leviticusWhile each of these offerings are intended to draw the worshiper closer to Elohim, the original intent of the offerings were to make atonement for sin. What’s more is that the ultimate purpose of offerings and sacrifices are to express one’s praise, thankfulness and adoration for the Most High. However, due to the fallen nature of humanity, it became necessary for יהוה , in accordance with His beneficence and mercy, to provide man with a proxy life to take away on account of the violation of the law, which requires death, and that was to be accomplished by bringing to the altar a clean and spotless animal victim as an obligatory sin and guilt offering. Though this method of atonement was made available for the children of Yisrael, it was never a matter of being the express will of Elohim. In fact we read in the book of Psalms

Sacrifices and meal offering You did not desire; You have opened my ears; Burnt offering and sin offering You did not ask for. Then I said, ‘See, I have come; in the scroll of the Book it is prescribed for me. I have delighted to do Your pleasure, O my Elohim, and Your Torah is within my heart.’

Psalm 40.6-8

This is confirmed in the scroll of I Samuel, which reads

Does יהוה delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of יהוה? Look, to obey is better than an offering, to heed is better than the fat of rams.

I Samuel 15.22

1offeringtoelohimThat the implicit condition of obedience serves as the expected level of behavior and the greatest offering that we can make in order to receive the promises and blessings of the covenant should present itself as an axiomatic principle as relates to the standard reality of Israel’s collective state of consciousness. What this requires, and is alluded to in the system of offerings and sacrifices, is a spotless and unblemished conscience so as attained by an intimate love for and attachment to our Father and King which then renders us as righteous beings who are made blameless in observance of the principles of Torah. Herein lies the meaning of the words of rav Shaul of Tarsus when he addressed the assembly of the Nazarene’s in Rome, stating

I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect will of Elohim.

Romans 12.1-2

1buriedUltimately, what this all comes down to is that of the involution of Yisrael unto selflessness which consequently causes us to manifest the Elohim-like nature that our Father and King has planted deep within our beings for the purpose of leading the other nations of the world into right relationship with יהוה in holiness. For it is through the offering of ourselves as qorbanot chayyim, or living sacrifices, that we are able to attain higher states of consciousness and, prophetically, enter into the mind of יהוה. Then, when we have acquired the mind of יהוה, we are able to fully discern the living will of Elohim, as well as become completely aware of the Presence of the Almighty, within and about us, and no longer succumb to the temptations of sin, in light of our continuous offering up of true and sincere worship in the form of obedience, praise and thanksgiving. As we have previously stated, the system of sacrifice is intended to provide a proxy of a life for a life in the event of transgressing the Torah. Therefore, it is through the sacrifice of our former life of sin in exchange for a life of righteous thoughts, words and deeds that allows us to enter into the depths of being and experience the true and highest expression of life. Then, the sweet smell of our righteous fruits will go up on from the altar of hearts in to the nostrils of the heaven and our offerings, made in love, Spirit and Truth, will be accepted by our Father and King, and we will be elevated in spirit, soul and body, as it is written,

Or do you not know that as many of us as were immersed into Messiah יהושע were immersed into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through immersion into death, that as Messiah was raised from the dead by the esteem of the Father, so also we should walk in newness of life. For if we have come to be grown together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also of the resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was impaled with Him, so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, to serve sin no longer. For he who has died has been made right from sin. And if we died with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Messiah, having been raised from the dead, dies no more – death no longer rules over Him. For in that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives to Elohim. So you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to Elohim in Messiah יהושע our Master. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, to obey it in its desires, neither offer your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but offer yourselves to Elohim as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to Elohim. For sin shall not rule over you, for you are not under the law but under favor. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Torah but under favor? Let it not be! Do you not know that to whom you offer yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But thanks to Elohim that you were servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which you were entrusted. And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness.

Romans 6.3-18

Image result for living offerings bible



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