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Vayikra/Leviticus 6:13(20) This is the offering of Aharon and his sons that each shall offer to Adonai on the day he is initiated ... continually
Rashi was neither the first nor the last to comment on the apparent contradiction in this text: is this offering made once upon the day of first taking office, or is it a continuous offering? The Sages spent some time on the issue (Menachot 51b) and Rashi concludes that this grain offering was brought once in his career by an ordinary priest, when he first starts officiating in the sanctuary and every day by the Cohen Gadol, High Priest - those sons of Aharon who succeed him in that office. Hirsch adds that "The High Priest, on the day of his entry into that office, has to bring the offering twice and if he was appointed High Priest before being active as an ordinary priest, he would have brought it three times" (cf. Menachot 78a). This can be seen as a symbol of availability: the regular priests served in turns - later to be set in a rota by King David (1 Chronicles 24) - whereas the High Priest was technically 'on duty' every day, to supervise the work of the priests, use the Urim and Thumim and be the visible intermediary between G-d and the people.
Access to and availability of one's gods was a serious issue in the ancient world. Greek and Roman myths about their gods are full of stories that illustrate not only how fickle they were, but how often they were not available: on journeys, at parties, asleep, fighting or simply living their own lives. The prophet Elijah taunted the prophets of Ba'al, "Call a little louder - maybe he's off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he's got involved in a project, or maybe he's on vacation. You don't suppose he's overslept, do you, and needs to be woken up?" (1 Kings 18:27-28, The Message). The Psalmist portrays the opposite picture of the G-d of Israel: "He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:3-4, NASB). Our G-d is never asleep or 'off-duty'. He is always available to protect and guard His people, to stop them slipping or stumbling, and to preserve them as His witnesses.
In the book of Hebrews, the writer expounds the virtues of Yeshua as the great High Priest. As believers, we are urged to "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in times of need" (Hebrew 4:16, NASB). He is available on a 24 x 7 basis for all those who trust in Him for help, encouragement, support and companionship. As the writer goes on to say, "He is able to save forever those who drawn near to G-d through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrew 7:25, NASB). Yeshua made the one perfect sacrifice (Heb 10:12) when He took up office - and now serves as our perfect intermediary (1 Tim 2:5) between Father G-d and His people, continually, always, for ever. Yeshua Himself echoed Moshe's words, "He will never leave you or forsake you" (D'varim 31:6, KJV), when He said, "I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20, CJB).
Further Study: Psalm 118:5-14; Matthew 18:19-20
Application: When things get tough, it is all to easy to think that G-d has forsaken us and is just leaving us to get on with it. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is when things are toughest that Yeshua is closest to us, just waiting for us to cry out to Him. Try it today!
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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