"A Pleasing Fragrance to the L-rd."
Nissan 8, 5769/April 2, 2009
"And its innards and its legs, he shall wash with water. Then, the kohen shall cause to go up in smoke all of the animal on the altar, as a burnt offering, a fire offering, a pleasing fragrance to the L-rd."
In commenting upon the above quoted verse, a connection between the expression, "rey-ach nicho-ach," translated as "pleasing fragrance," or "sweet savor," and the more commonly used expression, "nachat ruach," which can be defined as satisfaction, contentment, gratification, fulfillment, enjoyment, wholeness. Having thus explained the enigmatic "rey-ach nicho-ach," we see it is the source of G-d's contentment: "Because I said so, and you performed My will."
When G-d tells Avraham to offer up his son Yitzchak on Mount Moriah, the moral dilemma is clear to us, and so is the depth of Avraham's commitment to G-d, as seen in his ability to overcome his own compassion, and so submit his will to G-d's will. Perhaps the Temple offerings are not about the physical or sensual pleasures of eating meat or of inhaling the scent of the meat as it is being cooked. They certainly aren't about "appeasing" G-d, pacifying or placating His anger, or providing Him with a bite to eat. All these misconceptions expose within our own selves a great distance from G-d, and the very need to draw nearer, (lekarev), to His will via the offering of korbanot.
"Then, the kohen shall cause to go up in smoke all of the animal on the altar, as a burnt offering, a fire offering, a pleasing fragrance to the L-rd." "Rey-ach nicho-ach" - the "pleasing fragrance,"
G-d's supernal contentment with man, His most beloved creation, when man, dropping all pretenses, fulfills the simple instructions that are His will!
It is amazing to know and at least try and understand the workings of the Temple and the sacrifices. To put them into the relevance of our Savior Yeshua.
We know that we, as sinners, cannot pull ourselves up and out of sin by ourselves. The Jewish people knew that they needed a way for their sins to be forgiven for they had been among the pagans and knew of their gods and that they had to do certain things to appease their gods.
The God Of Israel had always been a forgiving but stern Father. He had set up certain laws at the time of Noah that had set His Way apart from all other gods. But now, after the Exodus, there needed to be a better way. A more secure way to receive forgiveness and so the Laws of the Priesthood were set forth.
Even if we believe we are good and we say..."Oh God will overlook my sin because I have tried to live the right way"...it is not the Way of God. This thinking that everything will be ok is taken right from the first offer of the enemy....that we can be our own god. This thinking fails to evaluate sin against the eternal holiness to God and rests on a lie because the holiness of God demands full payment for sin. To think otherwise is to believe the falsehood that God is less than infinitly holy.
How do we draw near to God? In Leviticus we see that thru the sacrificial and Priest service God makes sinners holy and draws them to Him in faith.
God desired all to draw close to him regardless of economic state. In this He set Himself apart from the pagan gods who demanded more than a person could ever give and were never satisfied with the offering. But our God is concerned with the heart...the motivations...the reasons....for bringing the offering
in the first place.
Ihe olah...the whole burnt offering....is to be "from the herd or the flock, meaning larger animals...cows or sheep and goats. but God made a provision that one could offer a lesser animal..a bird...if one did not have herds or flocks or the money to obtain one. God wants us close to Him...our economic state is not an issue.
We are to give from our heart....give our full dedication to Him. The whole burnt offering..set before Him was about loving Him with our whole heart, our whole soul, and with all our might. Everything....what we can give from our heart...our means...burned up in the sacrificial flames of utter devotion and consecration.
It is pleasing to God. He accepts and rejoices in it.
But even with the whole sacrificial priesthood it was not enough...God wanted a people set apart for Him from their hearts...
The whole burnt offering points to the sacrificial death of Yeshua our Messiah...Ephisians 5:2..."and walk in love, just as Messiah also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."
This connects Yeshua's death with the whole burnt offering. In Him, we draw near to God. In Him we are accepted into God's presence. and this is possible because Yeshua, fully dedicated to His Father, completely offered Himself to the Father for our redemption.
This is a voluntary offering as a matter of worship of the LORD to celebrate the goodness of God in one's life or a matter of dedication to the LORD.
The grain offering...minchah....was a voluntary offering to the LORD also. The grain offering being less expensive represented the everyday kind of blessing that constantly evoked thanksgiving to God in the heart of the worshipper....for the daily blessings of life. The grain offering was to be of wheat ground fine mixed with oil and frankencense.
The connection of both offerings speak to the dedication of one's life to God. The need to dedicate one's life without reservation. Offering one's life up to the LORD as ini the life and death of Yeshua. This life of full dedication to the LORD is one characterized by righteous living....."Be holy as I am holy".
Yeshua offered Himself, both in life and in death, fully to the Father, so our lives must be a 'pleasing aroma' to Him. This is possiblle only as we draw close to God and in the power of Holy Spirit...walking as Yeshua walked, fully and passionately dedicated to the sanctification of God in our lives.
May my prayers be set before You as incense, may the lifting of my hands be as the evening sacrifice. Therefore, in view of Your mercies, I offer myself as a sacrifice....living and set apart....holy and pleasing for You....for I am to You the aroma of Your Son, Yeshua haMashiach.