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Parashat Vayikra has us looking at the opening five chapters of the book of Leviticus. Reading through these Scriptures, we are given the basic plan the Lord has to provide for the forgiveness of sin that is found in repentance, atonement, and going before God and His annointed one (Mashiach) priest. This sounds very familiar to what we call the “Gospel Message.” According to the Apostolic Writings, the Lord comes to deliver His people at the hand of His annointed One, the Messiah (Mashiach), redemption is provided, salvation from our enemies and from slavery (sin, diseases, etc) is given, and in the priesthood we are provided a way to receive the forgiveness of sin (Vayikra / Leviticus 1-5). When thinking on these things, we need to be mindful not to fall into the way of thinking in relation to the Torah that “we simply have a difference in opinion,” as it is related to the Gospel Message. Pagans and witches have a difference in their opinion of God and the Scriptures. The goal of these studies are to understand who we are as the people of God and what the Lord expects of us as a holy, righteous, and just community. If we relate our understanding of God’s Word simply to a difference in opinion, there would be no reasoning together, or growth spiritually in our relationship with the Lord and with others. There is no greater message to be heard than the message of the greatness of our God that is coupled to His mercy at the hand of his Messiah (the Gospel Message). As important as this message is, it has often been given to a massive distortion or oversimplifications in modern theologies and teachings today. People actually think they are “preaching the gospel” when they say “you can have a purpose to your life” or “you can have meaning to your life” or “you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.” The concept of the Gospel Message is intimately connected to the power of God to deliver His people both from our enemies and from slavery (sin, diseases, etc). The gospel is called the “Good News” because it addresses what we are reading here in Parashat Vayikra, quite simply put, God is Holy, Righteous, and Just, while we are not. The Torah portion speaks of standing before God at the Tabernacle, and at one point in our lives, be it the end of our lives, we will stand before a Just and Holy God and we will be judged for the deeds committed in the body. The point of going before the Lord, according to Parashat Vayikra, is given according to Vayikra / Leviticus 1:4-5, ד וְסָמַךְ יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ הָעֹלָה וְנִרְצָה לוֹ לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו: ה וְשָׁחַט אֶת-בֶּן הַבָּקָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וְהִקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת-הַדָּם וְזָרְקוּ אֶת-הַדָּם עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב אֲשֶׁר-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד: 1:4 ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 1:5 ‘He shall slay the young bull before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. (NASB) We receive atonement for sin through blood and we trust in the anointed priest to do this on our behalf. The point of the priesthood was that they were able to do what we are unable to do for ourselves, to make atonement on our behalf in order to satisfy God’s Justice and Righteousness. A great misconception today in modern theologies is that the Lord God of Israel is not concerned about His own integrity, where He just gives forgiveness to anybody who asks. What we learn in Parashat Vayikra is that atonement is very costly and requires a sacrifice of both the life of an animal and of ourselves. This is the message that we are given in the Apostolic Writings, where Yeshua the Messiah laid down his life on our behalf, and the Lord God our Father in heaven raised him up from death to demonstrate our justification by faith. We are then called to abide in God’s Word and in His Messiah. The raising up from the grave was the declaration that Yeshua did what he came to do as the Messiah of God. There is a subjective dimension here in Yeshua’s sacrifice which is illustrated in Parashat Vayikra, that describes how we “get” this atonement that is provided by Yeshua. The Scriptures makes it clear that we appropriate forgiveness and atonement by faith. Faith however is coupled to our actions…

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