christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

leviticus 6:8-8:36, tzav, the perpetual whole burnt offering

Read Leviticus 6:8-8:36 at Bible Gateway.

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic. The paragraph divisions reveal the chiastic structures: narratives which zero in on the main point of the narrative at its center, like a bull’s eye at the center of a target. The main point is revealed, because the narrative elements before the main point (or central axis) are repeated after the central axis, in reverse order, while the central axis itself is not repeated.)

The Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structure formed by tzav is posted here. This Torah portion forms a chiastic structure with last week’s Torah portion. I noticed while I was studying the passsage, that the strong paragraphs within tzav also form chiastic structures:

Lev 6:8-18 s+p
1a) Lev 6:8-11, This is the law of the burnt offering (olah);
1b) Lev 6:12a, And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it, it shall not be put out;
central axis) Lev 6:12b, “And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings;”
2b) Lev 6:13 s, A fire shall always be burning on the altar, it shall never go out;
2a) Lev 6:14-18 p, This is the law of the grain offering (minchah).

Even though no animal sacrifices are being offered today, since the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, we learned that like everything that is in the Law, there is a modern day fulfillment of this command. We are to be living olahs:

“Now Paul encourages us today to become a living olah ourselves: to present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Living whole burnt offerings. Whole, because we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; burnt, because Jesus our Olah baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and with fire; and offering, because we are crucified with Christ, and we are no longer living for ourselves, but for Him who loved us and gave Himself for us!”

Knowing this, it is interesting that the fire on the altar is to be kept burning and not allowed to ever go out; that the olah is to be offered on the altar, morning and evening, perpetually. We are to keep our love and fervency for the Lord hot and not allow it to ever go out. We tend the fire and feed it with fresh fuel, morning and evening. And the fat of our peace offerings are laid on top of the olah to be consumed. Our praise and thanksgiving to God ascends up from the base of our lives, given as a living and holy sacrifice, offered as a living olah.

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