Tzav – “Command”

The name of this week’s parasha is Tzav, which means “command,” and covers Leviticus chapters 6 through 8.  Aaron and his sons are commanded to keep the burnt offering on the altar hearth throughout the night, and to keep the fire on the altar continuously burning.

They are then given commandments on what to offer up and consume from the grain offering – like the sin and guilt offerings, it is most holy, and any of Aaron’s male descendants could eat it.  Commandments are also given for the grain offering Aaron and his sons would present on the day he is anointed.  Every grain offering of a priest was not to be eaten but burned up on the altar.  The chapter ends with commandments for the sin offering – any sin offering whose blood is brought into the Tent of Meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place must not be eaten but burned.

In chapter 7, the commandments for the guilt offering are given – any male in a priest’s family may eat it in a holy place.  The same law applies to the sin offering and the guilt offering: they belong to the priest who makes atonement with them.  The priest presenting a person’s burnt offering may keep its hide.  Every baked or cooked grain offering belongs to the priest offering it, and every grain offering (whether mixed with oil or dry) belongs equally to all the sons of Aaron.

The commandments for the peace offering are given for presenting this offering as either an expression of thanksgiving, or as a vow or freewill offering.  The meat for the thanksgiving offering must be eaten the same day it is offered, while the sacrifice for a vow or freewill offering can be eaten on the same day or by the next day.  However, the leftover meat must be burned up by the third day, or it wouldn’t be accepted; the person eating it would bear their own iniquity.  Commandments regarding cleanliness and consumption of meat are also given – anyone associated with uncleanliness that ate the meat for the peace offering would be cut off from the Israelis.

The Israelis are told what animal fats must not be eaten and are also forbidden from eating blood – anyone who eats fat from an animal used as an offering of fire to God, or who ate blood, will be cut off from the Israelis.  They are also told of Aaron and his sons’ portions from the peace offerings.

Chapter 8 describes the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests – we also see these procedures in Exodus 29. Adonai told Moses to bring Aaron and his sons, their garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, two rams, the basket containing unleavened bread, and to have the entire Israeli community meet at the doorway to the Tent of Meeting.

Moses obeyed Adonai’s commandments, and when the Israeli community arrived there, Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward, washed them with water, and put the required attire on Aaron.  He used the anointing oil to anoint the tabernacle and everything in it, the altar and the items used with the altar, and Aaron’s head, to consecrate Aaron and these items.  Moses then put the required attire on Aaron’s sons.

Moses sacrificed a bull for the sin offering and used its blood to purify the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it, to make atonement for it.  Moses burned the bull, its hide, flesh and refuse outside the camp.  He sacrificed a ram for a burnt offering and sprinkled its blood on the sides of the altar.  Moses then performed the procedures for the ordination offering, placing some of the other ram’s blood on the right ear lobes, the right thumbs and right big toes of Aaron and his sons, and sprinkled the remaining blood around on the altar.

Moses then sprinkled some anointing oil and some of the blood from the altar on Aaron and his sons, and their garments, and consecrated them and their garments.  He instructed Aaron and his sons to cook the meat and eat it with the bread from the basket of ordination offerings at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.  Any leftovers must be burned up, and they must stay there for seven days until their ordination was completed.  God had commanded what was done that day for their atonement, and they must obey His commandments so they would not die.  The parasha ends with Aaron and his sons obeying God’s commandments.

Parasha Tzav shows us the seriousness of obedience to Adonai’s commandments, and the dangers of disobeying Adonai’s holy standards.  Anyone who desires to be in a right relationship with Adonai must do so on His terms because disobedience to His holy standards brings serious consequences. To atone for their sin before God, every sinner needs someone to intercede for them by presenting the required restitution and making atonement for them, because sin separates them from God.

Since the atonement provided through these sacrifices was only temporary, the priests had to continuously offer these sacrifices that were unable to provide permanent atonement.  Thankfully, we have a perfect High Priest who provided the once-for-all-time sacrifice for our sins by offering His own life for our atonement – Messiah Yeshua!  The writer of the book of Hebrews declares in Hebrews 7 that because Yeshua lives forever, His priesthood is permanent and He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.  We truly serve a mighty Savior!

So, if you haven’t done so already, turn from your rebellion and obey what God has commanded by loyally following Yeshua as Lord and Savior, and experience the blessings that He desires to give you!