The Lesson Israel Failed to Learn
Have we learned the lesson?
When Elohim (God) brought the nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt, He set up the sanctuary service for them to follow and learn from and from which we can learn invaluable lessons also. “Thy way, O Elohim, is in the sanctuary” (Psalm 77:13). Elohim’s plan of salvation for mankind was depicted in the services connected with the sanctuary and in the sanctuary itself.
One of those services was the slaying and offering of the female kid goat for the sins committed by any individual – the sin offering. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22). A person, according to the law, after having sinned could purchase a female kid goat, bring it to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation of the sanctuary and slit its throat in order to receive forgiveness.
“And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of Yahuwah [the LORD] concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. He shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering” (Leviticus 4:27-29, emphasis added). “If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto Yahuwah for a sin offering. And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before Yahuwah; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock’s head, and kill the bullock before Yahuwah” (Leviticus 4:3-4, emphasis added). It required a greater sacrifice for the priest than for a common person in Israel. Sin required the sacrifice of an innocent victim without blemish (Leviticus 1:10). It also required the one who had sinned to kill that animal.
In ancient Israel this practice became so commonplace that people would perform the service required and eventually never give it another thought until the Day of Atonement when Israel was to afflict their souls and examine their hearts to make sure there was no unconfessed sin. If there was, then supposedly that sinner could be cut down by the judgment of Yahuwah. A very solemn time of heart searching was to take place. That is what the Feast of Trumpets was to announce ten days prior to the Day of Atonement. That the Day of Atonement was approaching, and it was a time to begin the searching of their hearts.
Unfortunately, Israel failed to learn from this service what Elohim had intended for them and for us to learn. It became so commonplace that they could slit the little goat’s or young bullock’s throat without even feeling anything for what the animal being sacrificed had to suffer and endure. I want you to think about this for a moment. Just pause and reflect on the scene. A little goat of a year old which is so pure and innocent without a care in the world suddenly is required to give up its life for your sin! Hardly seems fair, does it? And if it was a goat from your own flock that you had cared for since its birth think of how hard that would have been for you to slit its throat and end its life! But yet this is what Elohim required in order to teach one of the most important lessons in all of the Scriptures. When people can take the life of that little goat or young bullock without any feeling or emotion something is wrong! It reveals the condition of the heart of the individual performing (maybe that is a good term for what was being done!) that rite or ordinance which was ordained by Elohim. They were just going through the motions without giving it any serious thought.
Could our hearts become so hardened that we could do this without it touching us emotionally? Yet it seems like that is what happened to Israel, and they became so insensitive (hardened) to sin and the price to be paid for it that they just continued to sin and repent. Yes, you could pay the monetary price for the little goat or in the priest’s case a young bullock, and it would cost you, but if it never has an effect on your heart, you failed to learn the lesson. The people continued to sin and repent and finally Elohim said “I am weary of [your] repenting” (Jeremiah 15:6).
How hardhearted did they become? They could take the life of their children or their husband or wife and eat them during the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and again by the Romans in AD 70 when people were experiencing starvation. Elohim foretold that they would do this in Leviticus 26:29. “And you shall eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters shall you eat.” This is what would happen if they walked contrary to Elohim. “And if you will not for all this hearken unto Me, but walk contrary unto Me” (Leviticus 26:27). Elohim tried to save them from doing these horrible things, but Israel never learned the lessons Elohim tried and tried to teach them for nearly 1,500 years.
“The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates” (Deuteronomy 28:56-57, emphasis added). “The hands of the pitiful women have sodden [boiled or roasted] their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of My people” (Lamentations 4:10, emphasis added).
So how could they have prevented themselves from developing such hard hearts and have tender compassionate hearts like Elohim’s? If they had learned the lessons Elohim was trying to teach them in the sanctuary service they would have been saved from those horrendous things.
What should have happened to them when they came to the door of tabernacle of the congregation to slay that little goat or young bullock? It should have broken their hearts with grief for what they were about to do! My wife asked me how I would feel if I were to have to slay my dog, Bella, which we have had for three years. Think of people who have had to put down their pet after they have lived a lifetime with you in order to prevent them from suffering any longer. We had a border collie by the name of Mocha who died in our arms from a reaction to her immunizations after having her only three months. It was hard! Very hard!
That is what Elohim wanted to bring His people to experience when they were required to bring a little goat without blemish of a year old and slit its throat. We are memorizing Psalm 51 at the present time. A little background of this Psalm is that it was written by King David after he had had an affair with Bathsheba. Knowing the background to this Psalm helps us understand what David is saying at the end of the Psalm. “For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else I would give: Thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of Elohim are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O Elohim, Thou wilt not despise. Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt Thou be pleased with sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar” (Psalm 51:16-19).
David’s heart was broken because his sin with Bathsheba did not just cost him a little goat, but it cost him the death of his son that Bathsheba had conceived because of David’s sin. As the sin of the priest required a greater sacrifice than that of a common man so the king’s sin would require an even greater sacrifice. The Prophet Nathan had told David that the son Bathsheba would bare “shall surely die” (2 Samuel 12:14). That child was stricken and “was very sick.” For the entire time the child suffered David “besought Elohim for the [life of the] child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.” Seven days later the child died. See 2 Samuel 12:15-23. But David’s heart was not yet fully broken. Nathan in pronouncing judgment upon David for his sin told him that Yahuwah would “raise evil against thee out of thine own house” (2 Samuel 12:11).
In 2 Samuel 18 another of David’s sons, Absalom, was slain. Absalom had done great evil against his father and yet when David received news that Absalom had been killed, we find this response by King David. “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would Elohim I died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33). David’s heart had been broken, and he knew whereof he spoke in Psalm 51:16-19.
If our hearts are affected, broken and contrite, then only can Elohim be pleased with our sacrifices. When our hearts are affected, we will stop sinning because we know at what great cost it will bring to that little goat who must give up her life for my sins. That was the lesson Israel should have learned. What is the lesson we are to learn from this sanctuary service?
What has it cost for our redemption? Not the death of a little goat, but the death of the Lamb of Elohim! Elohim’s only begotten Son! Has what was done for us at Calvary affected our hearts? Are our hearts “broken and contrite” (What repentance really is.)? Has it become so commonplace to sin and repent expecting Elohim to forgive us because He has promised, that we do not stop and contemplate what took place at Gethsemane and Calvary? Have we read Isaiah 53 and have seen what took place for our sin? Has what is pictured there touched your heart? Have we seen what the Father and His Son did for you and me? Have our hearts been touched – “broken and contrite?” Do we see what sin does t0 the heart of Elohim and His Son when we continue to sin even today?
I pray that as you read Isaiah 53, and often stop and contemplate what is being described that Elohim’s Spirit may touch your heart.
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of Yahuwah revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. [Only the beauty of heavenly truth was to draw the people to Yahuwah.] He is despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him: He was despised, and we esteemed Him not [He Who was the adored of heaven.]. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of Elohim, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned everyone to his own way; and Yahuwah hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased Yahuwah to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of Yahuwah shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many: for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12, emphasis added).
Yahushua bore every insult and abuse that Satan could inspire men to heap upon Him and yet He never retaliated, but only spoke words of forgiveness for those who were physically and verbally abusing Him (Luke 23:34). He kept it upper most in His mind why He was going through all of it. He knew someday “He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). He refused to take a stupefying potion so He could think clearly and not have His mind clouded and confused (Luke 23:36).
Have we become so hardened that what Yahushua did for us and went through for us does not affect our hearts – “broken and contrite?” Yahushua told Nicodemus, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14).
What happened on the cross of Calvary? The heart of the “Son of man” was broken so we could be healed of the sting of sin, just as the children of Israel were healed when they looked upon the cross with the brazen serpent on it in the wilderness and were healed of the sting of the serpents that had bitten them. They were dying and would have died if they did not “look” to the cross. Do you think they looked at it intently, waiting for the healing promised to take place? I think they did! They did not just give it a glance but stared at it until they were healed. However there were many that refused to look and perished.
Was the heart of Yahushua Messiah broken as He hung upon the cross at Calvary? When they came to break the legs of Yahushua and the two thieves, they did not need to break the legs of Yahushua because He was already dead. Death from crucifixion could last for days, but Yahushua was dead in just a very short time. “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation [It was the preparation day for the Passover not the preparation day for the Sabbath (John 19:14).], that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) [The annual feast days were referred to as High Sabbaths.] besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was with him. But when they came to Yahushua, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:31-34, emphasis added).
“Blood and water.” It was unheard of for one to die within six hours of being crucified. When that soldier pierced Messiah’s side with that spear and “blood and water” flowed from the wound, it declared that Yahushua had died of a broken heart. His heart was broken by the mental anguish He had experienced. He was slain by the sins of the world being placed upon Him just as that little goat or that young bullock were slain when the sins of the sinner were placed on them as seen in Leviticus Chapter 4. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses what sin has done to Elohim and His Son and still does ever since sin began in heaven with Lucifer. Every time we sin we brake the heart of Elohim and Yahushua!
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And IF any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yahushua Messiah the righteous” Who “cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin” (1 John 2:1, Hebrews 4:15, emphasis added). “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He [Yahushua] also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). Yahushua was thinking of us and the deliverance that would be ours if He went through the pain and agony of the cross. His was a selfless life of sacrifice for the salvation of mankind.
Yahushua tried to point a most learned Rabbi named Nicodemus to His sacrifice that would be made, during their visit that night. Nicodemus did not understand, and Yahushua asked him “art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not of these things” (John 3:10). Yahushua told Nicodemus about being “born again” and how it happens. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). It was by looking, personally, for yourself, that you can be healed from the contagious disease of sin, just as those who looked in the wilderness looked at the serpent of brass upon the pole were healed from the deadly bite of the serpent (Numbers 21:8). We have all been bitten by that snake, the devil, just as Eve was in the Garden of Eden. We must be “born again” and have “a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O Elohim, Thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17). When we truly see how we have treated our Savior and His Father, our Elohim, it should break our hearts. Let us look long and intently at the cross. Not some wooden image of the cross. But with our mind’s eye look until we are healed and have been broken and are contrite.
And Yahuwah will not leave us in that repentant state for “Yahuwah is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18). He desires nothing but our salvation and not our condemnation. “For Elohim sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). We are already under condemnation of a guilty conscience and when we see to what lengths Elohim and His Son have gone for our salvation it will break our hearts from our rebellious spirit, and we will gladly invite the Spirit of Elohim to come in and change us back into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).