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Tzav Explaination of Offerings in Ancient Israel

Since the beginning of human life, faithful humans have realized and shown faith through the sacrificing of animals to God. The smoke from the burning animals rising towards heaven was a symbol of a request for forgiveness of sins. The first person mentioned in the Bible doing this was Abel. (Genesis 4:4) He built an altar and sacrificed an animal from his herd. He recognized that the sin in his body, affecting him, needed a corresponding blood sacrifice in order to be forgiven.

Through the Bible we see faithful men and women have been offering animals to God in order to obtain forgiveness for their sins. When Noah left the ark, he took clean animals and made an offering of thanks to God. When Abraham did not have to slaughter his son Isaac he offered a ram to God instead.

TZAV is a Hebrew word for “command”. When the nation of Israel was organized, they received commands about these offerings. The nation was the chosen people to receive Messiah and they had to be reminded of the importance of forgiveness of sins. Messiah or Christ was the one who was destined to come and do so. Therefore the law to the Israelites was a tutor leading to Christ. (Galatians 3:24, 25)

In the holy Bible we can read the details about this command. Leviticus six, seven and eight contain all the details. It is a command about what kind of sacrifices God expected from the Israelites. It is a detailed instruction about whom and what and when to make these holy sacrifices. Hence all of them served the purpose of reminding the nation that they needed forgiveness of their sins. (Hebrews 9:22) Both the Israelite and the alien resident who worshiped God were included in presenting the various offerings

The different sacrifices were:  Peace, Sin, Guilt and Meal Offerings

All these offerings were assigned to be done by the Levite priests and nobody else. Some of these offerings invited the priests to take a part. The peace offerings and the meal offerings were communion offers.

The sacrifices were different to cover all parts of imperfection. When you had to ask forgiveness for sins, the animals were to be: a bull, a ram, a male goat, a turtledove, or a young pigeon, all according to financial circumstances. It is interesting to note that Joseph and Mary offered two young pigeons, after Jesus was born. That indicates that they were not so wealthy but obeyed the law.

Today, Christ has arrived and the tutor of offerings is not needed any more. From all nations people can ask forgiveness through the real offering for sins – Jesus Christ. He offered up his perfect life once and for all time and gave it to God as a ransom for us. The Bible book Hebrews is written to a people that once were part of the Israelite law. Paul really makes it clear:

(Hebrews 9:12-14) He entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!