For those of you who have been following the Parashot (parashas) each week, recently, in Parashat Shmini (shortly after the death of Nadav and Avihu, Aaron’s oldest two), an interesting episode concerning Aaron’s two other sons is being described. It is this incident that prompted one of those “Oh wow, I’ve not seen this previously!” But before we go there, I want to interject that lately my mind has been focused on Yeshua’s last Pesach meal with His disciples. In John 18:1 it says: “When Yeshua had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.” What were the words that Yeshua had just spoken? What did He say to His disciples before they entered the garden? Actually, in order to find out what Yeshua shared with them at that time we need to go all the way back to John 13:31, to the moment after He sent Judas Iscariot out on a mission, which the others thought was to buy food for the next night’s Seder. So with the “last supper” in mind, we go back now to Moses, who was scolding Aaron because Itamar and Elazar, who when sacrificing the sin offering (korban chatat) were supposed to eat it, so that the congregation of Israel could be forgiven, did not do so. Instead, they let it burn up completely, which means that its purpose was lost while what they did could be classified as profaning the holy which may have even cost them their lives. This was the reason Moses was so angry at Aaron. (See Leviticus 10:12-20, especially vs. 16-18.)
It seems strange that this mistake by the two boys (which brought about an insight) somehow eluded me, when just a couple of Parashot ago we were taught about korban chatat that was to be eaten by the officiating priests (Lev. 6:25-26). But what now caught my inner eye was twofold. At that last meal Yeshua focused on the “sin offering” that He was to become for humanity (see John 1:29; Rom. 8:3b; 2nd Cor. 5:21). Therefore, when He said to His disciples “take eat, this is my body,” He was referring to that specific offering. What’s more, because only the priests were to partake of this offering, it brought me back to YHVH’s declared intent for Israel to become His priestly nation (see Exodus 19:6).
Is this another birthmark of our identity as Israel, and why we can no longer be identified with any other nation? Formerly, you from the lost sheep of the House of Israel, were totally identified to the nation of your residence, but now you belong to the commonwealth of Israel, and all that pertains to it.