Emor / Speak
HafTorah Ezekiel 44:15-31
Brit Chadasha 1 Peter 2:4-10
Emor begins with the instructions for the priest’s conduct and the holiness of the offerings, (chapters 21 and 22). Leviticus 23 is dedicated to the appointed times of Adonai. There are five other similar passages in the Torah. Two, both in Exodus 22 and 23, are very brief, referring to the three pilgrimage festivals: Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. This leaves three other accounts: the one in this parsha, a second one in Numbers 28-29, dedicated to special sacrifices, and the third in Deuteronomy 16 about Israel. Moses at the end of his life told the next generation where they had come from, where they were going to, and what of society they were to construct. It was to be under One God - the opposite of Egypt - and that they were to worship “in the place that God will choose,” which turned out to be Jerusalem.
Emor is unique because of the way it includes the Shabbat: ‘And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: The appointed times [moadei] of the Lord, which you are to proclaim [tikre’u] as sacred assemblies [mikra’ei kodesh]. These are my appointed festivals [mo’adai]. Six days shall you work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of sabbaths, a day of sacred assembly [mikra kodesh]. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:1-3.
The word kodesh/holy appears no less than twelve times in Leviticus 23. This chapter also emphasizes the number and impression of seven. There are not only seven holy days in the annual calendar but there are also seven paragraphs in the chapter. The word “seven” or “seventh” occurs repeatedly (eighteen times) as does the word for the seventh day Shabbat in one or other of its forms (fifteen times) and the word “harvest” appears seven times.
We are called to live and worship in spirit, but we are physical beings living in the flesh. How can we be spiritual all the time as we battle the daily fleshly happenings in the world? That is why there are secular times as well as holy times. One day in seven, we stop working, stop the worldly affairs and enter the presence of the God of creation. During the appointed festivals on certain days of the year, we celebrate the God of history because each festival represents something, some event. But the holiness of Shabbat was set at the time of creation. We can’t always be spiritual, for God put us in the flesh in a fleshly world in which to live in and maneuver about. But on the seventh day of the week, the Shabbat, God has given us a space in time to feel the closeness of Him, and rest in His truth and love. Literally taking part of creation.
Then what is the opposition? Not only did Elohim place us in a material world but if you are reading this then most likely you live in one of the fifty states and thus, living in the Diaspora. That is the opposition. We were/are taught to turn away from the true Sabbath and claim Sunday as Sabbath.
Opposition towards the Shabbat not only began in the times of Egypt captivity but continues:
The Council of Nice (Laodecia) for the Catholic Church changed Sabbath to Sunday on March 7, 321AD.
In 1852 President Brigham Young said, “As to keeping the Sabbath according to the Mosaic law, indeed, I do not; for it would be almost beyond my power. Still, under the new covenant, we should remember to preserve holy one day in the week as a day of rest…”
Tom Schreiner opposes the Sabbath as he writes in His book 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law: ‘I do not believe the Sabbath is required for believers now that the new covenant has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ…Jesus’ observance of the Sabbath does not constitute strong evidence for its continuation in the new covenant. His observance of the Sabbath makes excellent sense, for he lived under the Old Testament law. He was “born under the law” as Paul says. On the other hand, a careful reading of the Gospel accounts intimates that the Sabbath will not continue to play a significant role.’
Biblereasons.com intentionally refutes the Sabbath in a confusing way. Notice how they very subtly tie in the word ‘salvation’, when there is not a verse that states God or Yeshua uses the word salvation and Sabbath in the same context, thus their argument is tricky: “There is so much confusion about what is the Sabbath Day and are Christians required to keep the fourth commandment, the Sabbath? No, Christians are not required to keep the Sabbath Day like many strict legalistic groups say. This is dangerous. Requiring someone to keep the Sabbath for salvation is salvation by faith and works. This is putting chains back on those who were free from those chains by Christ.” Yet we know salvation comes from Adonai and not by our works: Psalm 62:1 ‘Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.’
Isaiah 58:12-14 defines the complexity and at the same time the simplicity of Shabbat; ‘Those from among you shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Isaiah 66:22-23 reveals that we are not finished with Shabbat, ‘For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.’
Ezekiel 20:18-20 uses the word ‘will’ as in a future continual tense and at the same time comparing non-Sabbath observance as a defilement: “But I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; 20 hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’
To remember where we came from: Deuteronomy 5:15 ‘And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.’
Emor ends with instructions to keep the lamp lit continuously with pressed olive oil. Leviticus 24:5-9 gives the instructions for the baking of twelve fresh cakes every Sabbath. The final instructions are the penalties for blaspheming the Name of The Lord.
Synonyms for blasphemy: affront, insult, violation, contamination, abuse, indignity, etc.
Antonyms for blasphemy: respect, godliness, reverence, glorification, adoration, etc.
When we disregard the Sabbath, a holy day made at the time of creation by the God of creation, do we blaspheme the Name of The Lord?
Emor / Say
1 Peter 2:4-10
These are the feasts of the LORD…
God’s Chosen People have been observing the days of Adonai since He brought them out of Egypt. In the wilderness, God appointed certain times called moadim to honor Him. The singular form of moadim is moed (מוֹעֵד); it comes from the root yaad (יָעַד), which means appointed, designated or designed.
What happened? Why did we, why do we….forsake the feasts of the LORD and transgress with the holidays of man? “Throughout the centuries, however, many Christians have thought of them as “Jewish holidays,” so they have feared observing them, lest they appear “too Jewish”. For this very reason, early Greek and Roman church leaders replaced these appointed times with holidays of their own making. We especially see this with Easter replacing Passover. In the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia (volume 5, p. 228), we find this entry: “The emperor himself [Constantine] writing to the churches after the council of Nicaea [in AD 325], exhorts, ‘At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present [Even though Yeshua and the disciples celebrated Passover: Matthew 26:17-30 that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day [Easter Sunday] …(freeemessianicbible.com).
The Christian Church claims that by observing these appointed days, they are coming “under the Torah (Law). They might ‘do’ a Passover, but that might be show only. It is easy for a Christian church to ‘do a Passover’. That way they would never have to complete the cycle – that would be the Shabbat. But God calls them HIS feasts—His appointed times. “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are My appointed feasts.'” Leviticus 23:2. So, if God has feasts that belong only to Him, then celebrating them are the privilege of the people of God, whoever we may be.
These are not the holidays of man, but rather the High Holy Moadim of The LORD. What a difference!
To continue in holiness: Leviticus 21:16-20 God commands Moshe to tell Aaron that no man with any defect shall approach God in the Holy place, and in Leviticus 21:17-24 God commands Moshe to tell Aaron that an animal with any defect shall not be brought as an offering. We might look at these verses as though it would seem that God is punishing those that may have a handicap or an animal with a deformity. But if we look closely at these verses we see that God is showing His people what is to come.
No High Priest may receive an offering if it has a deformity and no offering may be received if it has a deformity.
Putting this into context:
- Yeshua is the High Priest – Hebrews 5:6 ‘…just as He says also in another passage
“You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:20 –‘where Yeshua has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
- Without any defect - ‘ Ephesians 5:27 ‘That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’
- We are the offerings – Romans 12:1 ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.’
- How are we defiled? – Ezekiel 5:11 ‘So as I live,’ declares the Lord God, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable idols and with all your abominations, therefore I will also withdraw, and My eye will have no pity and I will not spare.’
Anything that strays from the walk of Adonai, anything that substitutes or changes or denies, defiles the man/woman who is walking outside of the Torah. It is up to us, each as individuals to seek out the truth, and remove the idols of our heart – the idols that are keeping us from being the unblemished offering.
Baruch HaShem ~