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Vayikra/Leviticus 14:13 He shall slaughter the lamb in the place that he will slaughter the sin-offering
Having brought the lamb into the courtyard as a guilt offering (v12), the cohen is now to slaughter the lamb at the place where the sin offering is normally slaughtered.Rashi tells us that this is at the side of the alter, on the north, and then goes on to ask why the Torah had to say this in any case. In parasha Tzav (Vayikra 7:2) the Torah clearly states that the general rule is that the guilt offerings are slaughtered in the same place as the burnt offerings, which in turn is to be on the north side of the altar (Vayikra 1:11), so since the Torah doesn't waste words, Rashi's question seems appropriate. The answer seems to be that this offering is unique because the offerer and the offering have been 'placed' before HaShem at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting (v11) - on the east - perhaps suggesting that the offering should be slaughtered there; this is why the Torah states that the slaughtering is to be done as usual where the other guilt offerings are slaughtered.
Such precision and attention to detail, particularly with regard to the Temple and its ritual is consistent throughout Scripture; perhaps no more strikingly than in the instructions and measurements for the 'new' Temple shown to the prophet Ezekiel. After being told to pay particular attention to all the details, Ezekiel's first observation is that the 'man' showing him the vision had "a measuring rod of six cubits, each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth" (Ezekiel 40:5, NASB) - every cubit measured not the usual eighteen inches, but is an extra three inches long, to make twenty one inches. Then all the rooms and the overall building sizes are detailed: "the guardroom was one rod long and one rod wide", (v7the side pillars sixty cubits high" (v14), "the width from the front of the lower gate to the front of the exterior of the inner court, a hundred cubits on the west and on the north" (v19, NASB). As we now know, such a temple is many times the size of Solomon's temple and still much larger than that of Herod. The exact measurements serve not only as the building/architectural frame, but also as a specific sign of design: this is not to be a haphazard collection of rooms built as they are needed, or slowly growing over time - G-d has a plan and it to be built that way from the start.
In Matthew's gospel, which is the most marked for this characteristic, we find time and again the phrase "this happened in order to fulfil what was written", "all the words that the prophet said" and so on. Matthew is emphasising that Messiah didn't happen by accident. Yeshua wasn't just a good man and good teacher whom G-d used because He was there at the time. Yeshua is "the lamb slain before the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8, KJV) and everything that happened was "in accordance with G-d's predetermined plan and foreknowledge" (Acts 2:23, CJB).
Further Study: Matthew 21:1-17; Amos 3:6-7
Application: As we are preparing for Pesach this year, why not spend a little while reasoning just how many things that happened in the week before and including Yeshua's death and resurrection were designed and described beforehand by G-d.
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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