When Yeshua was five years old, He began to study the book of Vayikra. In the days of the Master (and even in modern Judaism) the formal religious education of a child begins at the age of five, and it begins with the study of Leviticus. It is somewhat puzzling for us to think that little children should be forced to study the dreadful laws of blood and sacrifice which constitute the first chapters of Leviticus. We wouldn't even impose a serious study of Leviticus upon our seminary students, much less our five-year-olds.
The reason for our aversion to Leviticus is largely based upon our revulsion at the thought of animal sacrifice. Within the mainstream of Western Christianity, there exists an unconscious reluctance to acknowledge that our God is a God who not only chose to be worshipped through the sacrifice of animals but, in fact, took pleasure in the fragrance of burning meat rising from the altar. We have so sanitized and white-washed God that the demand for animal sacrifice seems to contradict everything we have made God into. The laws of sacrifice and sacrificing disconcert us. When the biblical text begins to teach us about priests throwing blood around and cutting out the fat surrounding the diaphragm and the two kidneys, we tend to become nauseous rather than blessed. We quickly explain that the sacrifices were only to teach the Israelites about Yeshua, and we comfort ourselves with the notion that the 'New Testament' abolishes sacrifice.
But this statement is a gross oversimplification. There are five different classifications of sacrifice, each brought for different reasons. There are dozens of types of bread offerings, wine libations, water libations, additional offerings, complex ritual procedures and chapters and chapters of text. There are the procedures for ordaining priests and instructions for their sanctification and purification. The Bible is not stingy on details concerning the ritual services. But of what value is it for us to profess that the Messiah fulfills the sacrifices when we know virtually nothing about those same sacrifices? To simply dismiss it all by saying, 'Yeshua fulfilled the sacrifices,' does a great disservice to the text and to the Master Himself.
If we truly believe that Yeshua's death and resurrection fulfilled the institutions of sacrifice and sacrificing, then we as believers are all the more obligated to invest our energy in studying those institutions. Only to the extent that we understand those institutions can we hope to understand the work of Messiah.