Dr. Allen and Dr. Karen Ranney
March 23, 2018 (16 Adar II 5779) Tzav "command"
March 23, 2018 (16 Adar II 5779) Tzav "command"
1 Samuel 15:2-34
This Torah study titled “Tzav” in Hebrew means “command.” It teaches us Aaron and his sons were priests and they kept the altar fires burning while also preparing the daily offering and sacrifice. We too are priests, but it’s our old lives we are to lay on the altar of sacrifice unto the Lord.
Psalm 66:10 Hebrews 5:10-7:25; 10:11-12
Malachi 3:3 1 Peter 1:7-9
Mark 7:8-16 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Romans 12:1-2 John 15:12-14
1 Corinthians 3:11-15
The Torah portion titled “Tzav” is in Leviticus 6:1, 8-8:36
Leviticus 6:1 (Interlinear Bible) reads, “and Yahweh spoke to Moses saying, “Tzav #6680” “command” Aaron and his sons, saying this is the law of the burnt offering.”
Leviticus 6:8 records the law of the Burnt offering, Grain offering and Sin offering.
Leviticus 7 records the law of the Trespass offering, Peace offering, sanctions about eating fat and blood, and the portion of the offerings to be given to Aaron and his sons.
Leviticus 8 records when Aaron and his sons are consecrated as priests.
The Haftarah or prophet’s portion is in 1 Samuel 15:2-34
1 Samuel 15:2-34 records the Lord promising to punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, but Saul spares King Agag, causing him to be rejected as king of Israel.
The Gospel portion is in Mark 7:31-9:1
Mark 7:31-9:1 records a deaf and mute man being healed in the region of Tyre and Sidon.
Mark 8 records Jesus feeding 4,000 men along with women and children with just seven loaves of bread and a few small fish, the Pharisees seek a sign, the disciples do not understand Jesus’ teaching about the bread, a blind man is healed at Bethsaida, Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, and Jesus explains the cost of discipleship.
Mark 9:1 records the Transfiguration.
Our Torah study today starts in Leviticus 6:1 in the Interlinear Bible and in the New King James Version it is in Leviticus 6:8.
“Vayadabar YHVH el Mosheh laamar: Tzav et Aharon va ot beni laamar zehot torah.”
“And said Jehovah to Moses saying, ‘command Aaron and his sons saying, “this is Torah.”’”
Aaron and his sons were basically in training to be priests at this time (Exodus 29). They were still learning the law “Torah#8542” and how to worship, sacrifice and make offerings to our Holy God. Our just and gracious God, our forgiving God, our God of second chances. Remember, back in the first part of Exodus, Aaron presided over the children of Israel’s idolatry. The tribes had Aaron make the golden calf, but God gave Aaron a second chance by allowing him to be ordained as God’s own High priest and Torah teacher. Wow and Amen.
Aaron’s new ministry would now affect all of the children of Israel by atoning for that sin and bringing them into fellowship and relationship with the Creator of all, our Elohim.
The Hebrew word for priest is “Kohen #3548.” The concept of a priesthood was not unique to the Israelites, it was common among the ancient world, from the ancient Egyptian to the Philistines, all the ancient Middle Eastern nations had a class of priests. But at Mount Sinai, God consecrated Aaron and his sons and their descendants as priests. They were Levites and would represent the rest of the tribes before God, offering sacrifices and prayer on their behalf. Furthermore, they in turn would teach the tribes about their religious duties and about the character of God. Also, as priests they would act as intercessors for the people. Priests were the intercessors in the Old Testament.
The New Testament describes Jesus Christ, Yeshua Messiah as our High priest, of the order of “Melek tsedeq# 4428 and 6664” (Hebrews 5 v 10) by His death on the cross. Now He lives ever to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). Through His death on the cross, the formal, sacrificial priesthood was abolished (Hebrews 10:11-12). Now all believers become priests and kings (Revelation 1:5-6), not to offer sacrifices, but to pray, praise, worship God and witness to others about Jesus Christ. Amen.
That’s our reasonable and acceptable sacrifice, this is what we learned last week; our most costly, valuable and irreplaceable sacrifice is our time, time in prayer, time and praise, time in worship and time in service glorifying Him.
Aaron and his sons, as Old Testament priests, were responsible for the correct preparation and presentation of all the animal sacrifices and other offerings. Other duties were to keep oil in the Menorah, bread “lechem #3899” on the Show Table and to keep the fires in the Altars burning. This could only be accomplished by the endless succession of daily sacrifices, morning and evening seven days a week.
The command in Leviticus 6:9-13 that the altar fires be kept burning at all times and shall not be put out is repeated three times in just this short paragraph. God places great importance on this and there are a few reasons why.
1. The continuously burning fire represented continuous worship of YHVH.
2. The continuous fire symbolized the people’s continuous need for atonement.
3. Fire burns away all impurities, even as the refiner’s fire purifies gold or silver.
That’s Old Testament, sacrifices, offerings, incense and fire burning in Altars.
In the New Testament church, we are to offer up our lives as a living sacrifice unto the Lord. Romans 12:1-2 reads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
The Hebrew word for “command or commended” is “Tzav #6680” and is used 15 times in this Torah portion alone, out of 411 times in the Old Testament (New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). It makes you wonder how this nation, the USA, the largest producer of Bibles in the world has gotten to the place where a minority of malcontents impose their immoral standards and beliefs on the majority by demanding that the 10 Commandments, in any form, be taken out of government buildings, colleges and schools. Let us pray for the USA. Remember we have not been given license to act this way.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law (Torah) but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:14-15)
I suggest a thorough reading of the book of Romans for all believers.
In Matthew 19:17, Yeshua makes the point of keeping the Commandments perfectly clear to the rich young ruler. “So He said to him, ‘why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the Commandments.’” Jesus then quoted several of the Ten Commandments.
1 Samuel 15:2-34
1 Samuel 15:2-3 reads, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
King Saul then disobeys God’s “Tzav” command not to take the spoils of war or spare any of the Amalekites. 1 Samuel 15:9 reads, “but Saul and the people spared king Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fat lings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.”
The Prophet Samuel says to Saul in verse 22, “has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed then the fat of rams.” God desires obedience not sacrifice. There are blessings for obedience and there are curses for disobedience. These can be found in chapter 28 of the book of Deuteronomy.
“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand and he will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 28:8)
The law, Torah, God’s “Tzav “command actually frees us so we can lead a peaceful life. Think about it. Left to our own devices, rules or morals, however you want to say it, enslaves us to sin.
After healing a deaf and mute man in the region of the sea of Galilee and feeding a group of 4,000 men+ with seven loaves and a few small fish, Yeshua and His disciples came to the region of Dalmanutha where He has to contend with the Pharisees about law and the traditions of men. This is from our Gospel portion last week, but it seems to fit nicely here. Mark 7:9-13 reads, “He said to them, ‘all too well you reject the “Tzav” commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, “honor your father and your mother,” and, “he who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.” But you say, “if a man says to his father or mother, “whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban” (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.’”
The Hebrew word “Corban #2878, a gift, a votive, an offering to God,” in this pretext has been perverted, being influenced by the traditions of the Pharisees and Sadducees, selfishness being the primary motivation, Yeshua stresses to the Pharisees that they are breaking God’s “Tzav” command to “honor your father and mother” as it is a direct commandment, one of 10, that the Lord Himself gave Moses to hand down to us. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, “God desires obedience not sacrifice, Psalm 51:16-17 reads, “for You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, oh God, You will not despise.”
The Pharisees’ religious traditions foreshadow much of today’s denominational doctrines. We as believers in Jesus Christ, true followers, have the awesome responsibility of maintaining the simplicity of Yeshua Messiah’s message, and that is in John 15:12-14. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, then to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I “Tzav” command you.” And in verse 17, “these things I “Tzav” command you, that you love one another.”
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
We are to be living sacrifices, obeying every “Tzav” command of our Lord. All we build, as we are the temple of God. All we say, do, preach, teach, minister, write or record will be tested by fire, as if laid out on an altar before God. All our actions and every word we speak will be burned as a sweet savor to God. All our works put into the refiner’s fiery crucible to be purified. Yes, that is prophecy, every bit backed up by the word of God.
People, beloved of God, all our sins have been judged on the cross over 1900 years ago, but we are urged to judge ourselves by His “Tzav” command. If you would like to start a new life in Christ Jesus, lay your old life on that proverbial fiery altar of sacrifice as a sweet savor to the Lord. It’s as easy as ABC.
A. Admit, admit that you have sinned, and are sorry that you have.
B. Believe, believe Jesus died for that sin, then rose from the grave three days later.
C. Confess, confess that Jesus is Lord and make Him King in your life.
Read John 3:15-18 and Romans 10:8-13 and pray to God, repenting and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, that you could hear and understand His command. Ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God, I would like to encourage you to tell a Pastor, Messianic Rabbi or a Christian friend what you did they will know what to do next. Contact us here jewandgentileministries.org
Bibliography for Tzav “command”
Interlinear Bible, the Hendrickson publishing, 2006
New King James Version of the Bible, Thomas Nelson publishers, 2007
Strong’s Complete Dictionary of the Bible Words, Thomas Nelson publishing