Ezra 3.1-6 tells us that the korbanot that we have been looking at were reinstituted after the return from captivity. However, in Neh 7.64-65, some claimed to be kohanim but were unable to prove it. Having searched for verification and none were found, individuals were considered “tamai” (unclean ritually) for the priesthood, and were excluded. Then the governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things (kodshai kodeshim could only be eaten within the azarah/courtyard) until a priest arose with the Urim and Thummim, This tells us that by the time of the return from captivity, the Urim and Thummim was lost. This allowed the priest to inquire directly to the Lord for an answer to a question. That meant that they were not used in the Second Temple.
Eschatologically, this will happen again when the coming Third Temple is built. Only people who can be positively identified as kohanim will serve in that Temple. After the Birth-pains, Ezekiel’s Temple will be built and Jews from all over the world will come back to the land. The consecration ceremony in Lev 8.1-36 will be done again very soon, and done again with Ezekiel’s Temple. Isa 66.21 says that the Lord will “take some of them for priests and for Levites.” Of course, Yeshua will not need the Urim and Thummim because he will know who they are and who are of priestly descent. Now, let’s go back to Ezek 3.1-6 and pick up some very important eschatological information. We believe this passage is very prophetic.
The catching away of the believers (or the Natzal seen in 1 Thes 4 and 1 Cor 15) will happen on Yom Teruah (day of the awakening shofar sound), also known as Rosh Ha Shannah, year 6001 from creation. Ezra says that the altar was set up but the foundation of the Temple had not been laid yet. They began to offer korbanot on the first day of the seventhe month (Rosh Ha Shannah). That means the kohanim had to be consecrated at least seven days prior (Elul 24).
Likewise, we believe that it possible that before the catching away of the believers, priests will begin to be consecrated seven days prior in order to begin to offer the korbanot on Tom Teruah, or Rosh Ha Shannah. The Temple does not need to be rebuilt yet based on our passage in Ezra, but they will need to have control of the Temple Mount in order to have an altar. That means that believers will have a “heads up” before the Natzal (rapture) by at least seven days. This happens to be the time needed to consecrate the Temple Mount, the vessels and the priests.
Even before that, the Temple Mount must return to Jewish control. The Dome of the Rock must be removed also. We believe that this will come about through a massive earthquake, like in the days of King Uzziah (the days of King Uzziah is a picture of the days leading up the Birth-pains). That means that the Dome of the Rock and all the other buildings that are there right now will come down. Nobody will be able to blame Israel for such an earthquake, and the situation will be such that Israel will take advantage of it. So, Lev 8.1-36 and the consecration of the priests will play an important role in Bible prophecy. We have additional information on these concepts in other teachings on this site.
The next Torah portion is called “Shemini” (“eighth”) and it goes from Lev 9.1 to 11.47. It is a continuation of the previous portion (Tzav) where Aaron and his sons are consecrated as priests. Lev 9.1 tells us it was the “eighth day” after the consecration ceremony and the number “eight” means a “new beginning.” These passages refer back to what the Lord said in Exo 29.43-46.
Lev 9.22-24 tells us that at first Aaron got it right, and the Lord will appear to them (Lev 9.24). Lev 10.1-7 then continues and it tells us that his two eldest sons die because they will offer “strange fire” with the incense before the Lord. They did not follow the pattern of worship given by God in the Torah. They offered the right incense but they did not do it at the appointed time and not by the appointed people. Remember the definition of “kedusha” and “keep and observe?” The definition of kedusha is “to designate or to set apart for the service of God. This is done by formal and legal restrictions and limitations. The kedusha of time is marked by limits on man’s actions in regard to work and construction.” The definition of “keep and observe” means “to incorporate the things of God into our lives, and staying true to the blueprint (tavnit) God has given in his word. This is done by doing specific things, at a specific time, at a specific place, by specific people.”
Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, tried to do something “which he had not commanded them (Lev 10.1-3.” This was not part of the service. Did they consult their teachers about this (Moses and Aaron)? No, they did not. Independent thought and inspiration must be channeled through what God has already said. No “freelancing” was allowed in the worship of God in the Mishkan and temple if God has already told them what to do. And it doesn’t take two people to offer the incense. The services, festivals, and so on cannot be changed by any human authority, not even the sons of the High Priest. This is the basis as to why we can’t keep the festivals (and many other things) today. People are “freelancing” and not keeping and observing the blueprint set down by God. They are trying to “keep” a festival, or do something else, by not doing specific things, at a specific time, at a specific place, by specific people. That violates the very definition of “keep and observe.”
In Lev 10.17-20 we learn that Aaron was asked by Moses why he did not eat of the korban chata (sin offering). The kohanim were leaders and teachers now (Ezek 44.23) and they must “stomach” the mistakes, failures and suffering of the congregational community (the Kahal). The people were to share in the grief of the priests as well. Aaron did not have the right attitude to eat of the korban chata. Lev 10.19-20 says that Aaron answered Moses by saying, “Behold, this very day they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord. When things like these happened to me, if I had eaten a sin offering today, would it have been good in the sight of the Lord? And when Moses heard that, it seemed good in his sight.”
Now, the Torah said that it should have been eaten but Moses had sympathy for his brother, and his shock and grief, and did not press his brother any further. He understood. Tragedies happen and difficult questions have no simple answers, but, faith in the Lord as the true judge must be repeated. There are no fast answers. Aaron knew what happened and why it happened, nothing more can be said. It was a hard lesson to learn. What should have been a happy day in his life turned out to be tragic.
Leviticus 11.1-47 is a very well known chapter, especially in the Messianic Movement. It tells us about the creatures that we are allowed to eat, and those that we are not allowed to eat. This part of what has been called the “Dietary Laws.” For a good teaching on the dietary laws, go to the Hertz Pentateuch and Haftorahs on Leviticus 11. The terms “clean” (tahor) and “unclean” (tamai) are never used to denote physical uncleanness, but these terms relate to ritual purity. These laws will only apply if one is going to enter the Mishkan or the Temple, or have contact with objects that have a kedusha (p. 459 of the Hertz Pentateuch).
In Part 12, we will pick up here and discuss these laws in Leviticus 11. We will pick up some valuable concepts here that will give us more clarity about this chapter and these concepts will help apply these laws into our lives.