Bechukotai / By My Decrees
This Torah portion ends the book of Leviticus or Vayikra. Bechukotai speaks about confession: ‘But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt— then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.’
There are some important concepts within this paragraph; ‘iniquity’, ‘unfaithful’ and ‘confess’.
God is requiring that we as a people confess our iniquity which is equated with being unfaithful to Him in regards to walking contrary to His ways. This does not include sins that are indoctrinated within a certain denomination, for instance, the consumption of caffeine or dancing. We as His people have to be diligent in truly understanding what iniquity really is.
Within the Scriptures we have sin, transgression and iniquity. Although closely related, they all carry slightly different meanings.
Sin might refer to the sin nature mentioned in Romans 5:12 which can lead to transgressions and iniquities. Transgression refers to presumptuous sin. To transgress is to choose to intentionally disobey; transgression is willful trespassing. David was referring to this kind of sin when he wrote, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” in Psalm 32:1.
Iniquity is more deeply rooted. Iniquity refers to a premeditated choice; to commit iniquity is to continue without repentance. David’s sin with Bathsheba that led to the killing of her husband, Uriah, was iniquity: 2 Samuel 11:3–4; 2 Samuel 12:9. Micah 2:1 says, “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.” In Psalm 51:2 David cries out to God saying: “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
In Bechukotai God implores His people to confess the iniquities of the fathers, humble the uncircumcised heart and accept the guilt. Then, and only then, God states, will He remember His covenant.
The sages teach that this concept applies universally and individually. Some examples in Scripture are:
Exodus 34:7 “Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
Numbers 14:18 ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’
Psalm 79:8 ‘Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low.’
The important thing is to confess our iniquities, sins and transgressions and those of our forefathers, repent, return, humble our heart and walk in the ways of Elohim.
Behar / On the Mountain
In Leviticus 26, God is giving His children a choice. It’s a ‘but if’ choice. This type of choice comes with directions, direct consequences and the rewards for obedience. Leviticus 26 also lays out the consequences for when we do not obey His Word. It seems to be a given, why wouldn’t we follow God’s instruction regarding the well-being of our lives? Exactly. But, more often than not, we stray, we stumble, we complain and we don’t.
Towards the end of chapter 26 God states that He will remember the land:
But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me,
and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt— then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.’
This paragraph is on the heels of God explaining to His people the rewards for obedience and the consequences for disobedience. We are given the knowledge of the exact reward and the exact consequence. We are given the opportunity to prepare for a life of blessings or a life of turmoil.
Leviticus 26:3 ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.’
Leviticus 26:14-17 ‘But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. and you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.’
Leviticus 26:21 God states that if we are not willing to obey Him. Willing to obey Him. What a powerful statement. This alone puts the consequence in our court, it is our choice. It is our willingness to obey Him or our arrogance and pride to live in rebellion.
Some of the synonyms for disobedience are: defiance, insubordination, revolt, stubbornness, unruliness and violation. Those words strike a different chord as they add a deeper visual than just ‘disobedience’. We become defiant, insubordinate, and stubborn. We revolt against God, we violate His Word.
Some of the synonyms for obedience are: conformity, reverence, respect, meekness, and accordance. When we obey Him, we conform our lives to God’s will, we give Him reverence and respect, and we live in accordance with Him in meekness knowing that He is the creator of all.
Emor / Speak
Emor begins with the instructions regarding the priests, ‘And the Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them…’
These instructions are a prelude of what is to come, as we remember first the physical then the spiritual. No high priest could accept an offering if they had a deformity and no offering with a deformity could be given. Initially this may seem judgmental and harsh, but connecting it to The High Priest Yeshua we gain clarity.
Being the High Priest now, Yeshua without blemish receives our offerings. But our offerings must be without blemish, and without any deformity. We must come before Him with humility, honor and truth. For He is a God of truth and loving kindness so if we defile the offering we are not acceptable.
Leviticus chapter 21 is regarding the holiness of the one accepting the offering and Leviticus 22 is in regards to the holiness of the offering being given. This parsha not only reveals the mindset of the perfectness of God, but the perfectness of Yeshua and the perfectness of the final offering that He gave for us.
Emor continues with Leviticus 23 and the High Holy Days where upon God is quite clear on the importance of these times, ‘And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’ Leviticus 23:1-2.
This declaration regarding the Sabbath, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits, Feast of Weeks, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot is a statement that concerns all believers. God states that these moadim, these appointed times are His and to be as holy convocations.
When His High Holy Days are refuted and ignored, He is ignored. When believers make their own days and disregard His anointed times, we disregard Him.
Revelation 2:18-19 ‘I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.’
Deuteronomy 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
Proverbs 30:6 ‘Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.’
Proverbs 30:5-6 ‘Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.’
Deuteronomy 12:32 “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.’
Emor is the continuation of holiness, of being set-apart and bringing a holy unblemished offering unto The Lord.
Kedoshim / Holy Ones
The Art of Holiness
To be holy, kadosh is an intangible thing. We can’t make ourselves holy. We are holy because we are created in the image of a holy God. However, the oxymoron is that we are commanded to be holy for “I am holy” says the Lord.
'For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.'"
"Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, 'You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.
'Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
1 Peter 1:16
‘…because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
'You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.’
1 Peter 1:15
‘…but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;’
'You shall consecrate him, therefore, for he offers the food of your God; he shall be holy to you; for I the LORD, who sanctifies you, am holy.’
"Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.’
What are the tangible things that will make us un-holy? Our walk in life, which includes our speech, our thoughts, our mindset, the company we keep, the places we go, the gossip we hear, the gossip we spread, the lack of reverence for the High Holy Days, the Sabbaths we ignore, a mentality other than that which represents the truth of Yeshua and The Word.
There are seven definite things that will keep us in the season of un-holiness:
‘These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.’
‘Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.’
To quote Zacharias;
‘To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.’
Baruch HaShem~ Rabbi Jay
Acharei Mot / After the Death
In the first paragraph of this Torah portion, Elohim gives the instructions for approaching the Tabernacle after the death of Aaron's two sons as a result of the strange fire that they offered. It is as though God is reiterating the fact that His presence is holy and we are to come before Him His way and with a humble heart.
‘Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before the Lord, and died; and the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.’ “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on. And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.’ Leviticus 16:1-5.
The key words are: ‘…not to come just any time into the holy place…shall come with the blood…holy linen on his body…he shall wash his body in water and put them on…’
These are instructions of preparations, of humbleness, of a mikveh, and of a status change. These instructions from God regarding His holy place are instructions to an imperfect people coming to a perfect and holy place to worship a perfect and holy God. These are instructions for life.
How do we in our lives come before God? With accusations? Desires? Do we come before Him with doubt? With arrogance? Do we enter into the holy of holies with our vision? Our way? Our seasons? Are we truly washed in water? Have we begun the process of clean hands?
Or do we come before Him in all humility, sincerity and truth. Do we come before Him as Queen Esther approached the king.
Psalm 24:3-4 ‘Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully.’
Is the psalmist referring back to story of Aaron's sons; the two men who came before the LORD with strange fire? Maybe. This is the continuation of the instructions on how to approach YHWH.
James 4:8 refers to clean hands: ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’
Isaiah 55:6-7 ‘Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.’
Psalm 145:18 ‘The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.’
Psalm 10:22 ‘Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.’
Leviticus 16 continues with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In the verses leading up to Yom Kippur, God reveals the rituals and instructions for the priest. God commands him to bathe three times: Leviticus 16:24-28 ‘ And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar. And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. And they shall burn in the fire their skins, their flesh, and their offal. Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.’
We are still in the season of Pesach, and these instructions regarding coming into the holy of holies and the washing with the cleanliness of the water are such a metaphor for our lives today. May you be blessed as you study Acharei Mot and approach Elohim.
Metsora / Infected One
This Torah portion contains the instructions concerning the tzaraat of the flesh and of the house. This Hebrew word often translated as leprosy, tzaraat, is not the same as the disease we call leprosy (also known as Hansen’s disease) today. In the Bible, tzaraat is a skin disease that can take many different forms, and in particularly bad cases can manifest itself on one’s clothing, belongings, and house, in addition to the skin. According to the rabbis, tzaraat is caused by sin. This makes it a part medical condition and part spiritual. We understand this from the examples of tzaratt in the Renewed Covenant where Yeshua makes the lepers ‘clean’ as it was an ‘unclean’ disease.
Nahmanides viewed tzaraat as a withdrawal of godliness from the world. This explained why it could manifest itself in the walls of one’s home. If someone sinned, and then began noticing green or red streaks on the wall of his house, this was an indication that as a result of his sin, God’s presence was no longer there.
In Leviticus 14:33-34 notice that it is God who strikes the house, ‘And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: “When you have come into the land of Canaan, which I give you as a possession, and I put the leprous plague in a house in the land of your possession…”’
By Elohim afflicting the house with the disease shows that it is sin or ungodliness that has caused the house to be infected. It is the result of an ‘unclean’ lifestyle. It was then a plague inflicted by God upon that house.
The afflicted house (habayit ham’nugga) was more of a moral warning rather than a natural occurrence just as cases of skin disease was likened to be a moral warning. This is due to the statement from God: “I inflict.” Verses 36-53 continue with the instructions for the cleansing of the house, whether the house continues in the disease, (the person continuing in the unclean lifestyle) or the house becoming pure again, (the person repenting and returning to the holiness of God). Yeshua references this in John 5:13-15.
2 Corinthians 5 refers our earthly body to the house of God and 1 Corinthians 3:16 references that our bodies are likened to the living temple of God. Isaiah 32:18 makes reference that God’s people who walk in His ways are living a life of Shalom, ‘My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.’
In Matthew 7:25 Yeshua explains that if we build our lives, our house upon The Rock, we will live with strength, ‘The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the Rock.’
In Leviticus 14:37-38 the word deep can refer to lower, ‘And he shall examine the plague; and indeed if the plague is on the walls of the house with ingrained streaks, greenish or reddish, which appear to be deep in the wall, then the priest shall go out of the house, to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days.’ This verse also mentions that the priest shall shut the house for seven days.
Some commentaries state that because tzaraat was treated by priests, rather than doctors, it shouldn’t be interpreted as a medical problem at all, but rather as an exclusively spiritual ailment. According to Yeshua, He is the entity that cleanses us from all unrighteousness and just as the priest inspects the house and announces that it was clean or unclean, so does Yeshua, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9.
Proverbs 3:33 mentions the affliction of Leviticus 14:34 ‘The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous’, and 1 John 5:17 explains what unrighteousness is: ‘All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.’
Romans 1:18 mentions the hiding of the truth: ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.’
Ungodliness would mean to be away from God and His ways. Unrighteousness would refer to lacking the righteousness of God, His Son and Torah. Sin is chata in Hebrew and is translated as ‘to miss the mark, to fall short.’ When we stray from the ways of Elohim, from Yeshua we miss the mark of His Word and Living Waters, we fall short. But God is merciful as Yeshua reminds us in 1 John 1:9.
Tazria / She Bears Seed
Tazria contains the laws for childbirth and the leper. In Leviticus 13:45 God instructs: “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.’
In biblical days, the treatment for a variety of skin diseases was elaborate and complex. It was the priest who was called upon to assess the disease. Did the priest have a medical background or was he called upon strictly for his ritual expertise? There are many opinions: "As portrayed in Leviticus, the Israelite priest is not a physician. His role is entirely ritualistic; he does not attempt to cure tzara-at" (Gunther Plaut). And yet Baruch Levine, editor of the JPS Torah Commentary, claims that the priest "combined medical and ritual procedures". A third opinion of Harvey Fields says, in A Torah Commentary for Our Times that "the priest functions not only in his religious role but also as a kind of diagnostician".
These differences of opinion among biblical scholars shouldn't surprise us. Instead, they should remind us how our health is based on a closely between medical and spiritual needs or the lack of medical and spiritual properties. It is not a coincidence that many of the great rabbis such as Moses Maimonides, were both rabbis and physicians. Those who were priests and those who were doctors were both, rightly, referred to as healers.
This exact thought that our health is based with medical and spiritual needs leads us right to the Torah and Yeshua.
Yeshua is the High Priest and also the healer. In the Renewed Covenant He exemplifies both and not only makes the unclean clean but heals the sick.
Matthew 8:1-3 ‘When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.’
Luke 17:11-14 ‘Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.’
1 John1-7 ‘But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.’
Ephesians 5:26 ‘so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.’
Matthew 14:14 ‘When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.’
Luke 4:40 ‘While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them.’
Mark 6:56 ‘Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.’
Yeshua heals the unclean spirits:
Luke 6:18 ‘who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured.’
When we are out of the will and ways of Elohim, we are common, we are unclean, we are ill. Our walk is not a straight way and the path we are on is the wide choice. We are out of sync with God and His Torah. There is a great example in John 5:1-15. It is coming of a High Holy Day and Yeshua travels to Jerusalem as commanded in the Torah, and there is a pool where the sick gather, ‘Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches…(the five books of Torah). There is a man who is ill and Yeshua says to him: “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.’ The man walks and is confronted by the Pharisees, whereupon: ‘He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ” Yeshua once again sees this man: ‘Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” Yeshua’s instructions are to sin no more.
This man’s path, his walk was cleansed; he was healed from the debilitating infirmity that kept his walk from being that of The Father’s. He was taken out of the common and put into the uncommon, the walk of the Father, and the healing waters of the Living Water.
Yeshua is our High Priest who cleanses us from all sin and unrighteousness and heals us.
Shemini / Eighth
Purifying Power of the Mikveh
Shemini begins with the instruction, ‘It came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel…’ The number eight is an important factor in Torah and all of Scripture. It represents ‘new beginning’ and is used over 73 times in the Bible. This understanding of numbers is the practice of gematria, or the spiritual interpretation of numbers.
Eight is the significant number in God’s moadim, the Holy Days as this is the Last Great Day or the Eighth Day of the Feasts of God as referenced in Leviticus 23 and John 7: 37. Chanukah is also an eight day celebration. The Tabernacle was dedicated in an eight-day ceremony. Male children are circumcised on the eighth day, specifically Genesis 17:10 instructs that circumcision is part of the covenant ‘…and it shall be a token of the covenant…’and Luke 2:21 where Yeshua was circumcised.
Shemini also includes the strange fire and death of Nadab and Abihu: ‘Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ”
Interesting that right after God devours them He mentions that those that go near to Him must regard Him as holy. Was that a reference to Nadab and Abihu? Were they so arrogant in their offering, that their reverence to God was negated?
Leviticus 10:8-10 commands us to be sober when entering into the Holiness of God. In this way we remain clean; our thoughts, our prayers, and our speech as we come before Elohim. ‘Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean…’ This is referenced in 1 Peter 5:8 ‘Be sober, (self-controlled) be vigilant (watchful); because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’
In Leviticus 11:32 the reference to water is made to clean the unclean, ‘Anything on which any of them falls, when they are dead shall be unclean, whether it is any item of wood or clothing or skin or sack, whatever item it is, in which any work is done, it must be put in water.’
Mikveh is an ancient ritual practice of water immersion, traditionally used for cleansing, purification and transformation. Water also signifies the transformative movement from slavery in Egypt, through the parted Red Sea, and into freedom. The topic of ritual impurity is a difficult one. This impurity is not a tangible quality that may be seen or felt for it is a spiritual contamination, the result of association with the unclean as stated in Leviticus. We immerse ourselves in a natural spring or a ritual bath, the mikveh to purify ourselves spiritually.
The Sages teach that the results of Torah study are likened to that of a purifying spring: “Why did Balaam in Numbers 24:6 compare the tents of Israel to streams? This teaches us that just as a spring raises one from impurity to purity, so too; the tents [of Torah learning] raise one from a state of culpability to a state of merit.”
Yeshua is referred to as the Living Word, the Torah; John 1:1-5. He is also the Living Water in John 4:4-26 and 7:37-39. The verses in Jeremiah and Zechariah reference God as the fountain of Living Water. Jeremiah 17:13 ‘O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD. ‘ And in Zechariah 14:8-9 ‘And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.’
We are spiritually clean by the immersion of Yeshua, the Living Water, in our lives. We are commanded to not touch the unclean, but remain clean, sober and vigilant. We immerse in the Fountain of Living Water, Elohim and His Word.
Shemini is complete with instructions for our walk with Elohim today. May you be blessed as you study this Torah portion.
Tzav / Command
The Eternal Light
This Torah portion continues with the instructions of the five offerings. Within the first set of instructions regarding the law of the burnt offering are the instructions regarding the fire on the altar.
Leviticus 6:12-13 ‘And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.’
In Hebrew this is called the Ner Tamid, which translates ‘Eternal Light’. Today it is the lamp that burns perpetually in synagogues before or near the ark of the Law (aron ha-qodesh). ... The ner tamid also represents the pillar of fire that guided the Hebrew people on their early journey.
This is the perpetual fire burning on the altar, the Ner Tamid shining perpetually above the Torah Scrolls and the Light of the world with shines perpetually for us and within us. It is the light of Yeshua who represents the Living Word, the Torah, which is the light unto all men.
This is the perpetual light that began with God, through Him, through the Torah, through Yeshua and now through us. This is a light that divides us from the darkness, that separates good from evil through the Living Word and the Living Light. We understand as we walk through these Scriptures how the Eternal Light connects us to the Light of the world.
Genesis 1:3’ Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.’
Genesis 1:4 ‘And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.’
Exodus 13:21 ‘ And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.’
Exodus 25:37 ‘You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it.’
Exodus 27:20 ‘And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually.’
Psalm 4:6 ‘There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.’
Psalm 18:28 ‘For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.’
Psalm 27:1 ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’
Psalm 36:9 ‘For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.’
Psalm 43:3 ‘Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.’
Psalm 89:15 ‘Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.’
Psalm 118:27 ‘God is the Lord, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.’
Psalm 119:105 ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.’
Matthew 4:16 ‘The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.’
Matthew 5:14-16 ‘You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Matthew Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’
John 1:4 ‘In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.’
John 8:12 ‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 9:5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Romans 13:12 ‘The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.’
2 Corinthians 4:6 ‘For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’
Philippians 2:15 ‘…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…’
1 Peter 2:9 ‘But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’
Revelation 22:5 ‘There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.’
If we don’t acknowledge that Yeshua is the Light of the World, which comes from the Living Word, John 1:1, which comes from God, then what light do we have?
Vayikra / And He Called
This Sabbath begins the book of Leviticus / Vayikra, the third book of the Torah. It begins with God calling to Moshe, 'Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of the livestock of the herd and of the flock.' Leviticus 1:1-2.
It continues with the different types of offerings and their qualifications; the ascending offering (olah), the grain offering (minchah), the peace offering (shelamim), the sin offering (chatat) and the trespass offering (asham).
Last Shabbat we saw how intertwined the tabernacle, the temple and the temple of the Living God were and are. They are all one, echad, as we are now one with Yeshua and He is one with the Father. Concentrating on the very first sentence; we see from where God called to Moshe. He called from the tabernacle, not from the sky or the clouds or Moshe’s heart or thoughts, but from the tabernacle. Now if we connect that with the knowledge that we are now the temple of the Living God, we see that God calls to us from the temple within. It is the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh that calls us, that summons us, that moves and convicts us.
It is through the Ruach HaKodesh that each offering connects us to The Living God, Yeshua. The ascending offering, which has been translated to the burnt offering, offers the sacrifice of an animal as a sweet aroma ascending to the LORD. Our prayers and praise are offerings ascending unto the LORD. Hebrews 13:15 ‘Through Yeshua, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.’
The grain offerings could be of the type that included fine flour, oil and frankincense offered up in smoke, described as a soothing aroma to the Lord. It could also be an offering of baked items like cakes, or cooked in a pan. But they all had something in common: salt. Salt was to season every grain offering. They also lacked something in common: leaven. Leaven was to be excluded from all grain offerings. It’s easy to understand – leaven is a symbol for sin; especially the sin of pride. We are to be seasoned with salt, Colossians 4:6 and we are the salt of the earth, Matthew 5:13-20 and 1 Corinthians 5:7 instructs us to come before God without leaven.
The peace offering forbids consumption of fat and blood, which are the vital ingredients of this offering. We already know from Genesis chapter nine that God prohibited the consumption of blood because of its sacredness, containing in it the very substance of our life. It is for that same reason that there can be no atonement for sin without the shedding of blood as with our Savior, Colossians 1:20, Ephesians 1:7, and Hebrews 9:14-22.
The sin offering in chapter four can relate to a single person or the entire community. The word ‘unintentionally’ is listed after every incident. It is a fault that was not premeditated.
Chapter five is the offering for the Trespass. These chapters make it clear that unintentional sins are no less demanding of atonement than willful, high-handed sins. God is holy; His righteous requirements are not options. We cannot afford to lie to ourselves and presume that our good intentions render sin acceptable. We must still confess our sins to God and bring blood for atonement through the Messiah. Proverbs 28:13 reminds us of the instructions in the sin and trespass offerings of Leviticus 5:5 ‘And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing…’
‘Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.’ Proverbs 28:13.
May you find favor as you begin your study of Vayikra~