“The Lesson of the Law of Kashrut”
Parashah SH’MINI (Leviticus 9:1-11:47) Week 26
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“Aharon raised his hands toward the people, blessed them and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering and the peace offerings. Moshe and Aharon entered the tent of meeting, came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of ADONAI appeared to all the people! Fire came forth from the presence of ADONAI, consuming the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” (Leviticus 9:22-24 CJB)
But Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon, each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered unauthorized fire before ADONAI, something he had not ordered them to do. At this, fire came forth from the presence of ADONAI and consumed them, so that they died in the presence of ADONAI. The recording of the deaths of Aharon’s sons on the eighth day of ordination of the Tabernacle or Mishkan, at the new moon of Nisan, called Rosh Chodashim, which begins the Jewish New Year, has brought forth concern and questioning by Jewish and Messianic believers from the beginning of this recorded story of SH’MINI.
Parashah SH’MINI, translated eighth day, is so full of the glory of Adonai! This was the time of transference of the responsibility of offering sacrifices to Adonai on behalf of the priesthood and the people, from Moshe to Aharon, who Moshe had just ordained as Kohen Gadol or High Priest. It was the High Priest who had to intercede with the sacrifice for sin. The office of Kohen Gadol is a foreshadow of the great High Priest of the New Covenant, Jesus the Messiah.
With the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, students of God’s word may become focused on the harsh recording of their consuming deaths by holy fire. Each had been trained for seven consecutive days by Moshe, who taught the priests through repeated daily services, all Adonai had commanded as acceptable and authorized, in order to draw near to His Holiness.
By way of the life for life sacrificial system of the Covenant relationship between Israel and Adonai, there could be a pleasing and acceptable aroma burning day and night as an offering of honor and obedience on behalf of a sinful people. The role of the priesthood or Kohanim, was holy. They, just like each tabernacle vessel and the divine recipe for the incense used only on the altar of incense, were considered sanctified and holy unto Adonai. Their headgear held a golden insignia reading; “Set Apart for Adonai”.
During the celebration of the consecration of the Tabernacle or Mishkan, on the eighth day of newness, Adonai consumed the first formal sacrifice called Korban, by holy fire. This consuming fire was a sign that Adonai would dwell with His people and be their God. The two sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, took personal license to add to the instructions given by Adonai Himself, for what would be pleasing and glorify His presence, as He dwelt among the chosen Nation of Israel inside the Tent of Meeting.
In their exuberance to fulfill their role as priests under Aharon, their father and newly appointed High Priest, they co-authored a plan which seemed right in their own eyes. The brothers sought to delight Adonai with their personal holy service or Avodah. Instead of meditating on God’s overwhelming holiness and power, or His love which is a consuming fire, they conspired to offer Adonai an act of worship outside the boundaries of His divine instruction for the Priesthood.
Nadav and Avihu missed the mark! They missed the divine details of holy service. They missed the meaning of the sacrifice as set forth by Adonai. The blueprint from heaven of the Tabernacle and its holy order of service was God’s preparation for the coming of His son, as the Mediator of a New Covenant yet to be fulfilled.
This is the Lesson of the Law of Kashrut. The Kosher Laws (Kashrut) divide clean from unclean. What is acceptable for us as God’s people to consume from His provision? This is the mirrored image for us, of Adonai’s Levitical Laws for the priesthood, ministering to a Holy God in a way that is acceptable and pleasing to Him. The first lessons of Kashrut are in the same Parashah with strange fire, offered by Nadav and Avihu. In order to please a Holy Father who resides in Heaven, yet makes a way for us to draw near his magnificent glory, we must honor His ways as holy and better than our own. We are commanded to be holy, as He is holy. The only way to begin this journey into holiness is in utter obedience to His instructions!
This is the Lesson of the Law of Kashrut. When we close our eyes in reverence, entering the Tabernacle (Mishkan) over the threshold of the crossbar of Christ, passing the Altar which smolders for the atonement of sin, and face the Laver to be washed clean, illuminated in the glow of the Menorah which lights our way into the Holy Place, we step nearer and nearer to His holy Presence. We feel deep desires to offer Him all we have; voluntarily laying our sacrifices down onto the golden Bread-of-Face table. Meditate on this golden table, only eighteen inches tall, commanding one to kneel in order to service it. Breathe in the fragrant incense wafting upward in beauty from our humble worship. This is His prescription for worship! Adonai has given us His blueprint for intimacy with Him. It is the blueprint of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) in every detail, from its construction, its vessels, and the prescribed order of Priestly service which honors His Divine Presence called Shekinah!
This is the Lesson of the Law of Kashrut! We were created for intimacy with Adonai. He has made the way for us. When Nadav and Avihu walked purposefully through the Mishkan and into the Holy of Holies with their prized burning censers, they dishonored the steps needed to kindle a holy fire in their own hearts. Their very lives became the sacrifice! Adonai took them unto Himself. “Through those who are near me I will be consecrated, and before all the people I will be glorified.” (Leviticus 10:3 CJB)
CANDLEGLOW LESSON FOR SHABBAT
May we enter humbly on this Sabbath evening to follow the shadow of our Kohen Gadol Yeshua, as we approach our Father in heaven with fear and trembling! May we take our priestly walk through the Tabernacle, step by step, with repentant hearts and adoration; having kindled a fresh, holy fire needed for true worship. With sweet repentance and sincere thanksgiving to the ONE who made our way IN possible, we may enter into the glory of His dwelling place, where He waits for us. It will be by our giving weight to honor Him first, before we make our needs known, that He will be consecrated before all the people, and He will be glorified.
Dear seekers, enter His courts with PRAISE!