Beginning the book of Vayikra is full of expectation and joy. Vayikra means "and called." To understand the calling of the saints, read the book that describes that holy calling in detail. A book that may have seemed beyond comprehension or impossibly boring or irrelevant in years past can be approached like every young Jewish child who first begins his Torah education in the book of purities.
The Jewish sages said, "Teach that which is pure to the pure." Although not five-year-olds, perhaps an adult can do as the Scripture says, cleanse sinful hands and purify hearts as he or she learns the difference between what is holy and what is profane; what is life and what is death; what is the Kingdom of God and what is the Kingdom Not of God. All disciples can humble themselves as little children to learn what is pure. The book of purities, Vayikra, is just like Shemot in teaching brotherhood and cooperation as an Israelite.
An interesting tradition is that there are four stages of growth in the righteous dead while they await the resurrection of their bodies.
In one source, upon entry, those who enter Gan Eden (the lower Garden of Eden, or Paradise), are changed into a child and tastes the joys of childhood (Raphael, p. 187). This correlates with Yeshua's statement to his disciples:
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, '
Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them;
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.' And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. (Mk 10:13-16)
The best way to begin studying Leviticus is with the bright-eyed, eager eyes of a child.
There are four types of sacrifices taught in Vayikra. These are not always translated or explained so well in English, but since so much of Scripture's theme is sacrifice, we do well to learn the general meaning of each sacrifice. It is impossible to comprehend the Book of Hebrews until one has a fundamental grasp of the sacrifices. The sacrifices are important because they function as parables of a reality found in Messiah Yeshua. The Torah teaches human beings with these symbolic types:
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type
of Him who was to come. (Romans 5:14)
He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. (Hebrews 11:19)
The first chapter of Leviticus begins with Adonai calling to Moses from the Tent of Meeting and saying, "Speak to the children of Israel..." When Scripture calls the Tabernacle a Tent of Meeting, it is particularly functioning as a Tent of Communication. The Father wanted to communicate something to the people.
They must communicate with one another when they gather there, share the knowledge, and carry it back to their families, clans, and tribes. This all requires closeness to the will of the Father in carrying out the prescribed rituals of the Tent and closeness to one another. In Hebrew, the Tent of Meeting is the Ohel Moed. Indeed, the Mishkan, and eventually the Mikdash (Temple), were central to the celebration of moedim and its rituals.
These priestly instructions are addressed to the Children of Israel specifically, not to the priests alone. How many religions try to retain some sort of secret knowledge available only to the priest or to the elite? Not so in Israel. The priestly knowledge is available to the entire Kingdom of Priests, and it is assumed that this Kingdom will conduct their lives in a high degree of holiness corresponding to the knowledge they have been given. Once an Israelite gains the knowledge of Vayikra, the Holy One demands a response commensurate with that knowledge.
It is also in Vayikra that Moses teaches Israel that the Torah is to promote unity and brotherhood, to love neighbors as one's self. For the duration of the wilderness journey, no man may slaughter a sacrifice at an altar of his own choosing, but he must bring it to the Tent of Meeting. A man may no longer build a private altar. Forsaking assembly with the Body of Messiah for prayer and worship is accomplished through self-deception.
Before Israel even entered the Land of Israel, they were required to worship together. The sacrifices cannot be offered without the assistance of the Levites and priests, and by giving a portion to them, we learn the sacrificial system rests on giving to one's neighbors. The priests and Levites were teachers of Torah.
To bring an offering meant to invite friends and family, and then to share the sacrificial barbecue with Torah teachers who would expound the ordinances of the Lord with family and friends. In Shiloh today, millions of shards of broken pottery lie within view of the former Mishkan site. The (Leviticus 6:21; Ariel, 2005, p. 243) plates were broken following the fellowship meals over hundreds of years, for the meal was a holy one. The slaughter of animals was not the primary object, but the prayers, supplications, fellowship, Torah teaching, and soul searching was. This is the means by which an individual "as a little child" can begin to break the hold of sin, just as the earthen plates were broken subsequent to their holy use.
The parade of the recent Torah portion titles hold a simple message for the more childlike types among us:
"When you elevate..." Ki Tisa is a paleo-prophecy of the resurrection of the Body of Messiah in their going up to the cloud.
"And assembled..." Vayekhel is the assembly of the righteous.
"Accounts of..." Pekudei is the reckoning at the assembly, a type of inventory when we see who is assembled.
"And called..." Vayikra is how we are called, as children, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, Levites and priests, known collectively as Israel.
All these "types" of Israel have something in common: they assemble at the appointed times like little children being prepared and blessed in Yeshua's arms. They await the resurrection of the dead when they will ascend with the righteous who have fallen asleep before them.
The children learn the rules of holiness in purity of heart, for with their copy of the priestly manual, these little children learn to close firmly the doors to unclean things, i.e., unclean spirits that lead to demonic activity, which is attracted by bloods. Little children learn to manage states of blood purification and other important purity rules to give no place to the adversary.
Why is it that so few sermons and teachings cover the vital blood and purity laws contained in Vayikra, leaving innocent children vulnerable to the troubler of Israel?
Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,
but that we write to them that they abstain from
things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since
he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath."Acts 15:19-21
No matter what your blood type, it's time to B Positive even if we are A (bit) Negative about why, O why, Leviticus is so full of rules about blood and unclean things. The life is in the blood, and the best way to progress to maturity in Messiah is not to bypass the purity of childhood where Yeshua teaches the holies to the Father's children.
Don't be intimidated by Leviticus. Yeshua will not forbid you, but bless you while you learn. After all, Yeshua's our type raised from the dead!
Gr. Tupos-An example to be imitated or duplicated
Gr. Parabole- a comparing, comparison of one thing with another, likeness, similitude; a parable: an earthly story with a heavenly meaning