This week’s Torah portion tells about offerings and consecration of Aaron and his sons as the priests for the Lord, their anointing to that task, as well as anointing and consecration of the tent of meeting. God ordered Moses on Mount Sinai the law for the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the consecration offering and the sacrifice of peace offerings. Then He told Moses to gather the people of Israel to watch the consecration and anointing of Aaron with his sons to serve the Lord on behalf of Israel in the tent of meeting. How do these laws of different offerings, sacrifices and anointing of the priests relate to us and our nations today? We know that Jesus was the ultimate offering on the cross for our sins. He was the sacrificed lamb for our offenses and there is no need for animal sacrifices today because of Jesus’ fulfilled work. Is the passage completely outdated or can we learn something out of it? Let’s take a closer look on the priestly calling and offerings in the New Covenant.
Priests in the Old Testament were servants of God and one of their tasks was to sacrifice on behalf of the people for their sins, thanksgiving and other purposes. They stood between the people and God and for this special calling they also had a special position compared to other tribes of Israel. God has called us as His servants to serve as priests for our nations, separated to Him. He calls us to stand in the gap on behalf of our nations in front of God in prayer and in righteous deeds, working righteousness. (Hezekiel 22:30) It doesn’t mean that all of us need to serve as priests in a church literally, you may fulfill the priestly service being called by God in your workplace, at school, in your ministry and wherever you are sent to. As He designed the special priestly outfit to Aaron and His sons which were suitable for their godly service and represented their consecration to the Lord, so He has given us holy garments. In Ephesians 6:10-18 we are called to wear the full armor of God every day on ourselves. In Colossians 3:12-14 we are asked to clothe ourselves in kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and above all: love. He has called us with a holy calling to position ourselves in front of His throne and represent His Kingdom in the world. He has also equipped us for that task!
So, if we are priests, as were Aaron and his sons, what is our acceptable sacrifice today? In Romans 12:1-2 we are called to offer ourselves “as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please Him, it is the logical Temple worship—”. Paul continues explaining what it means: “In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of this world—“. Even if we serve as priests in our nations we ought not to let the standards of our surrounding culture affect our own. Rather, we as Kingdom representatives should be the ones transforming the culture around us! Wouldn’t we want to see a Kingdom culture break through all the levels of society, media, business, arts, law and other fields? Hebrews 13:15-16 speaks of other kind of sacrifice: “–let us offer God a sacrifice of praise continually. For this is the natural product of lips that acknowledge His name. But don’t forget doing good and sharing with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Worship and thanksgiving, doing good and sharing with others: these are the kind of sacrifices God wants us to offer Him on behalf our nations. It will inevitably have a positive influence in our surroundings.
Israel has a calling from God as a whole nation to glorify Him in a special way among other nations. God tells in Hezekiel 28:25 that He will show His holiness in Israel before all the nations. When we see the New Covenant priests rising up in Israel, sacrificing acceptable and well pleasing offerings to the God of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob, then we know that the salvation to all peoples is near. Let’s pray that God would increase the number of Jews and Arabs in Israel who believe in Jesus as their Saviour and that He would anoint them to declare Good News of salvation all around Israel. Let’s pray that Israel would rise up to its destiny as a holy and separated to God so that the whole world would see the glory of God.
The European Coalition for Israel is a unique grassroots movement, which is seeking to promote better relations between Europe and Israel through advocacy and education. More information: www.ec4i.org