Parashah Studies

Acharai Mot

Parashah 29: Acharai Mot (After the death) Vayikra “He called”

(Leviticus) 16:1-18:30 Psalm 26 Amos 9:7-15 and Yechezk'el (Ezekiel) 22:1-16 1 Corinthians 6:9-20

Leviticus 16 1 Adonai spoke with Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons, when they tried to sacrifice before Adonai and died; 2 Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell your brother Aharon not to come at just any time into the Holy Place beyond the curtain, in front of the ark-cover which is on the ark, so that he will not die; because I appear in the cloud over the ark-cover. 3a Here is how Aharon is to enter the Holy Place ….  This section begins with a reminder of what happened when two of Aharon's sons tried to come to the LORD in a way He did not specify – even though they were sons of the high priest!  Earthly relationships do not commend us to God  Thankfully, neither do they condemn us before God  Fathers are not to be executed for the children, nor are children to be executed for the fathers; every person will be executed for his own sin (Deut 24:16)  Rather, each will die for his own sin; every one who eats sour grapes, his own teeth will be set on edge (Jer 31:30)  The extreme grace of the High and Mighty, Pure, Holy, Perfect, Righteous, Just God is shown in allowing sinful man to ever come into His presence.  BUT, if we are ever to come to God, it must be on His terms, in His way  All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) and were dead in our trespasses and sin (Eph 2:1)  Two of Aaron's sons died trying to approach the LORD in their own efforts  But God is so rich in mercy and loves us with such intense love 5 that, even when we were dead because of our acts of disobedience, He brought us to life along with the Messiah – it is by grace that you have been delivered. 6 That is, God raised us up with the Messiah Yeshua and seated us with Him in heaven, 7 in order to exhibit in the ages to come how infinitely rich is His grace, how great is His kindness toward us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. 8 For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God's gift. 9 You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. 10 For we are of God's making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do. (Eph 2:4-10, emphasis original)  So, brothers, we have confidence to use the way into the Holiest Place opened by the blood of Yeshua. 20 He inaugurated it for us as a new and living way through the parokhet, by means of His flesh. 21 We also have a great cohen over God's household. 22 Therefore, let us approach the Holiest Place with a sincere heart, in the full assurance that comes from trusting – with our hearts sprinkled clean from a bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us continue holding fast to the hope we acknowledge, without wavering; for the One who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 And let us keep paying attention to one another, in order to spur each other on to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting our own congregational meetings, as some have made a practice of doing, but, rather, encouraging each other. And let us do this all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:19-25, emphasis original) 4 He is to put on the holy linen tunic, have the linen shorts next to his bare flesh, have the linen sash wrapped around him, and be wearing the linen turban – they are the holy garments. He is to bathe his body in water and put them on.  The priest (in this case the high priest) was to be washed in water. Hebrews 10 talks about us being washed with pure water. We know from Ephesians 5 that cleansing water includes God's Word:  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Eph 5:25-27, emphasis original)  He was to wear the prescribed holy garments  “holy” here is the Hebrew word קֹדֶשׁ [qo-dehsh] meaning: apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness (used of God, places, things)  the priest's garments were to cover the flesh, set him apart for God's work, and “arm” him for the LORD's service  Although we do live in the world, we do not wage war in a worldly way; 4 because the weapons we use to wage war are not worldly. On the contrary, they have God's power for demolishing strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every arrogance that raises itself up against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah. (2 Cor 10:3-5, emphasis original)  Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with His mighty strength! 11 Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. 12 For we are not struggling against human being, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. 13 So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. 14 Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, 15 and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. 16 Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. 17 And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; 18 as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God's people. (Eph 6:10-18, emphasis original) יהוה created both the Hebrew He used to communicate to us His Tanakh and the Greek He used to communicate His B'rit HaDashah. In Jeremiah 31 we read, Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD (יהוה), when I will make בְּרִית חֲדָשָׁה (b'rit chadashah – a new covenant) with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they break, although I was a husband to them, says the LORD. This b'rit, this covenant, would be חָדָשׁ, (ha-dahsh) meaning it would be new, fresh, novel. This is reiterated and elaborated on in Luke 22:20 where יהוה had Luke record Yeshua saying, “This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by My blood, which is being poured out for you.” The Greek word יהוה used here for “new” is καινός (kai-nos). It is not just “new in time”; it is not a replacement of the same kind. This covenant, יהוה says, was new in quality, another of a different kind, bringing in a superior innovation. It begs the question, superior in what ways? Let's take a quick look: The Old System of Sacrifice The New System of Sacrifice Was temporary (Hebrews 8:13) Is permanent (Hebrews 7:21) Aaron was the first of many high priests (Leviticus 16:32) Yeshua is the only High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) Term limited as conquered by death (Hebrews 7:23) Term eternal as He conquered death (Hebrews 7:23) Those high priests were from tribe of Levi (Hebrews 7:5) Yeshua is from tribe of Y'hudah (Hebrews 7:14) They ministered on earth (Hebrews 8:4) He ministers in heaven (Hebrews 8:1-2) The old system used the blood of animals (Leviticus 16:15) The new system uses the blood of Messiah (Hebrews 10:4-12) Required many sacrifices (Hebrews 10:1-3) Required only one sacrifice (Hebrews 9:28) Needed perfect animals (Leviticus 22:19) Needed a perfect life (Hebrews 5:9) Required careful approach to Tabernacle (Leviticus 16:2) Encourages confident approach to the throne (Hebrews 4:16) Looked forward to new system (Hebrews 10:1) Sets aside old system (Hebrews 10:9) They served in a Tabernacle that was just a shadow (Hebrews 8:5) Yeshua serves in the heavenly, perfect Tabernacle (Hebrews 9:11) Therefore, brothers [and sisters] whom God has set apart, who share in the call from heaven, think carefully about Yeshua, Whom we acknowledge publicly as God's emissary and as cohen gadol. (Heb 3:1) … Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eye on Jesus [on Yeshua], the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1b-2) • This New Covenant was “with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah” Jeremiah says. ◦ The way has always been available for anyone to come to the LORD by coming under the Headship of the God of Isra'el. ▪ This is what Hagar, Rahab, Naaman, Ruth, and so many others did. • They were “grafted into” the commonwealth of Isra'el through faith in the LORD and His provision for them. ◦ This is precisely how we are saved: by being “grafted into” the commonwealth of Isra'el through faith in the LORD and His provision for us in Jesus / Yeshua (Rom 11:13-29). 5 He is to take from the community of the people of Isra'el two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. … 7 He is to take the two goats and place them before Adonai at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 8 Them Aharon is to cast lots for the two goats, one lot for Adonai and the other for 'Az'azel. 9 Aharon is to present the goat whose lot fell to Adonai and offer it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat whose lot fell to 'Az'azel is to be presented alive to Adonai to be used for making atonement over it by sending it away into the desert for 'Az'azel.  the two picture the One – Jesus Who was  presented alive to Adonai and sacrificed as a sin offering for the people (vs 15) so that, by His blood, He could cleanse us from sin and make a way for us to come to the Father, and  also our “scapegoat” Who bore our sins and was sent out of the city to “bear all their transgressions away” (vs 22)  the idea that two can picture One was established by the LORD in Genesis:  So God created humankind in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Gen 1:27)  Then Adonai, God, formed a person [Hebrew: אָדָם (adam)] from the dust of the ground [Hebrew: אֲדָמָה (adamah)] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being. (Gen 2:7)  So the person gave names to all the livestock, to the birds in the air and to every wild animal. But for Adam there was not found a companion suitable for helping him. 21 Then God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the person; and while he was sleeping, He took one of his ribs and closed up the place from which He took it with flesh. 22 The rib which Adonai, God, had taken from the person, He made a woman-person; and He brought her to the man-person. 23 The man-person said, “At last! This is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She is to be called Woman [Hebrew: אִשָּׁה (ishah)], because she was taken out of Man [Hebrew: אִישׁ (ish)].” (Gen 2:20-23)  “cast lots for the two goats”  According to Jewish tradition, “One goat he placed on his right hand, the other on his left. He then put both hands in the urn, took one lot in each hand and placed it upon the corresponding goat. One of the lots was inscribed for the LORD and the other for Azazel.” Azazel being “a compound of azaz, 'to be strong,' and el, 'mighty'; it denotes a precipitous cliff.” (Rashi, the Soncino Chumash, 706)  Some say that the “scapegoat” was taken into the wilderness and thrown over a cliff to insure that the sin-laden goat did not return.  The biblical idea of casting lots is an act of trust in the sovereignty of God, since it is accompanied with prayer, worship, and sacrifice to Him, and leaves the decision to Him.  “Lots” here is rendered κληρον [kleron] in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Tanahk (Old Testament), the same word we find in the B'rit HaDashah when Yeshua was on the stake (Matt 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24). 11 Aharon is to present the bull of the sin offering for himself; he will make atonement for himself and his household; he is to slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself.  sin of the high priest (and his household) must be dealt with first of all  Jesus, our High Priest (Heb 3:1; 4:14, 6:20), was without sin (Heb 4:15) 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before Adonai and, with his hands full of ground, fragrant incense, bring it inside the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before Adonai, so that the cloud from the incense will cover the ark-cover which is over the testimony, in order that he not die.  The cloud from the incense would itself form a type of veil so the high priest would not die in the presence of the All-Mighty, for “'My face,' [Adonai] continued, 'you cannot see, because a human being cannot look at Me and remain alive.'” (Ex 33:20)  When He took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one held a harp and gold bowls filled with pieces of incense, which are the prayers of God's people (Rev 5:8, also see 8:3-4)  So who will bring a charge against God's chosen people? Certainly not God – He is the One Who causes them to be considered righteous! 34 Who punishes them? Certainly not the Messiah Yeshua, Who died and – more than that – has been raised, is at the right hand of God and is actually pleading on our behalf! (Rom 8:33-34) 14 He is to take some of the bull's blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the ark-cover toward the east; and in front of the ark-cover he is to sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.  “ark-cover” is the Hebrew כַּפֹּרֶת (kap-po-reht) referring only to the lid, or cover, of the Ark;  from כָּפַר (ka-phar) meaning  Strong's: to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively, to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel  BDB: to cover, to purge, to make an atonement, to make reconciliation, to cover with pitch  כַּפֹּרֶת – a place of atonement; the golden plate of propitiation on which the High Priest sprinkled the seat seven times on the Day of Atonement symbolically reconciling [the LORD] and His chosen people – the slab of gold on top of the ark of the covenant which measured 2.5 x 1.5 cubits. On it and part of it were the two golden cherubim facing each other whose outstretched wings came together above and constituted the throne of God (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (BDB))  because of it being considered the seat or 'throne of God' (upon whose mercy we are totally dependent), כַּפֹּרֶת is sometimes translated as 'mercy-seat'  the blood was sprinkled on the ark-cover toward the east – direction of the raising sun  But to you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will break out leaping, like calves released from the stall (Mal 4:2)  Among other things, the white shawl worn by Jews and Messianics in prayer and worship can represent the brightness of God's righteousness; the 'wings' being the shawl (tallit) spread or stretched out by uplifted hands. (On each corner of the tallit are tassels (tzitzit) according to Num 15:38-39.)  The tallit can also represent the cloud of the LORD's presence, His blessing, glory, protection, the authority and accountability of His Word … all of which we need and want to be under in our everyday lives.  During times of private prayer some will wrap themselves with their tallit as a way to “get alone” with the LORD (cf Matt 6:6)  During times of blessing, and sometimes prayer, the tallit will be extended to include others.  Malachi 4:2 is a Messianic verse finding its fulfillment in Yeshua  A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years approached Him from behind and touched the tzitzit on His robe. 21 For she said to herself, “If I can only touch His robe, I will be healed.” 22 Yeshua turned, saw her and said, “Courage, daughter! Your trust has healed you.” (Matt 9:20-22, also Luke 8:44)  When the people of the place recognized Him, they sent word throughout the neighborhood and brought Him everyone who was ill. 36 They begged Him that the sick people might only touch the tzitzit on His robe, and all who touched it were completely healed. (Matt 14:34-35; Mark 6:56 says this happened wherever He went)  It is the bloody sacrifice of Jesus that brings us peace and healing in being reconciled with God.  In fact, it was our diseases He bore, our pains from which He suffered; yet we regarded Him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God. 5 But He was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on Him, and by His bruises we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, went astray; we turned, each one, to his own way; yet Adonai laid on Him the guilt of all of us. 7 Though mistreated, He was submissive – He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb let to be slaughtered, like a sheep silent before its shearers, He did not open His mouth. 8 After forcible arrest and sentencing, He was taken away; and none of His generation protested His being cut off from the land of the living for the crimes of my people, who deserved the punishment themselves. 9 He was given a grave among the wicked; in His death He was with a rich man. Although He had done no violence and had said nothing deceptive, 10 yet it pleased Adonai to crush Him with illness, to see if He would present Himself as a guilt offering. If He does, He will see His offspring; and He will prolong His days; and at His hand Adonai's desire will be accomplished. 11 After this ordeal, He will see satisfaction. “By His knowing [pain and sacrifice], My righteous servant makes many righteous; it is for their sins that He suffers. 12 Therefore I will assign Him a share with the great, He will divide the spoil with the mighty, for having exposed Himself to death and being counted among the sinners, while [He Himself was] actually bearing the sin of many and interceding for the offenders.” (Isa 53:4-12, emphasis original)  For among the first things I passed on to you was what I also received, namely this: the Messiah died for our sins, in accordance with what the Tanakh says (1 Cor 15:3)  Grace and shalom to you from God our Father and from the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, so that He might deliver us from the present evil world-system, in obedience to the will of God, our Father. 5 To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen! (Gal 1:3-5)  Also, He is the kapparah (propitiation, atoning sacrifice, expiation) for our sins – and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)  he is to sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times  seven is the number of completion, here pointing us to the blood of Messiah that completely deals with our sins 16 He will make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleannesses of the people of Isra'el and because of their transgressions – all their sins; and he is to do the same for the tent of meeting which is there with them right in the middle of their uncleannesses. … 18 Then he is to go out to the altar that is before Adonai and make atonement for it … 19 He is to sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, thus purifying it and setting it apart from the uncleannesses of the people of Isra'el.  Atonement for sin and uncleanness started in the innermost part of the Tabernacle, and then worked its way out. (See also verse 33)  The same applies to us:  we need to allow the LORD to deal with any sin and uncleanness in our innermost being, and then work outward  our bodies are His tabernacle / temple (1 Cor 3:16-17; 2 Cor 6:16)  Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P'rushim (pharisees)! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Parush (pharisee)! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may be clean too. (Matt 23:25-26, emphasis mine) 21 Aharon is to lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the transgressions, crimes and sins of the people of Isra'el; he is to put them on the head of the goat and then send it away into the desert with a man appointed for the purpose.  lay both hands on the head of the goat  Whatever task comes your way to do, do it with all your strength (Eccl 9:10a)  To him Yeshua said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and keeps looking back is fit to serve in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61)  “confess” here comes from the Hebrew יָדָה (yah-dah) meaning:  Strong's: literally, to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically, to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively, to bemoan (by wringing the hands)  BDB: (here in the Hithpael verb form) – to confess (sin); to give thanks  1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  “confess” here gives us another aspect of the Biblical meaning of this concept, here the word comes from the Greek ὁμολογέω (hŏ-mŏ-lŏ-geh-ō) meaning  Strong's: to assent, i.e. covenant, acknowledge  Thayer's: properly, to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent; universally, to concede (not to refuse; not to deny, confess, declare (John 1:20); to profess (Titus 1:16); to praise, celebrate (Heb 13:15)  transgressions, crimes and sins: these three words come from three different Hebrew words  עָוֹן (ah-von) meaning  Strong's: perversity, i.e. (moral) evil  BDB: depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity  Simon-Resnikoff-Motzkin (First Hebrew Primer): sin, transgression  פֶּשַׁע (pe-sha) meaning  Strong's: a revolt (national, moral or religious)  from פָּשַׁע (pa-sha) meaning to break away (from just authority), i.e. trespass, apostatize, quarrel; to rebel, to revolt, to transgress  BDB: transgression, rebellion (against individuals; nation against nation; against God [in general; as recognized by a sinner; as God deals with it; as God forgives]); guilt of transgression; punishment for transgression; offering for transgression  חַטָּאָה (kha-tah-ah) meaning:  Strong's: an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender  from חָטָא (kha-tah) meaning,  Strong's: properly, to miss; hence (figuratively and generally to sin; by inference, to firfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causatively) lead astray, condemn  BDB: to sin, to miss, to miss the way, to go wrong, to incur guilt, to forfeit, to purify from uncleanness  BDB: sin, sinful; sin, sin-offering (sin, condition of sin, guilt of sin; punishment for sin; a sin-offering; purification from sins of ceremonial uncleanness)  regardless of how we may try to rationalize and justify what we are doing, if God considers it wrong, it needs to be dealt with  My mom says when I was young I asked her about right and wrong. She said, if you would be ashamed to have your father see you doing that, it is wrong. But if you would be happy to have your dad see you doing it, it's okay.  Good advice for us in our daily walk with our Heavenly Father. Would our regenerated-in-Christ conscience be ashamed or happy to have our Father see us doing “whatever”? (He does see, you know?)  He sees what we look at – He hears what we listen to  He knows what we are thinking about – He knows when we're asleep  He knows when we're awake – He knows if we've been bad or good ...  These are attributes of the All-Mighty, not a “jolly ol' elf” who comes around the end of December!  How many of us see it as a “harmless fantasy” to tell our children that Santa Claus is real and has all these attributes, only later to have to confess to them that we lied. Or, maybe worse, to discover for themselves that we can't be trusted. “But, God really is real, and really does have all these wonderful attributes!”  Standing for integrity and credibility, have we “shot ourselves in the foot” or maybe “chopped our legs off at the knees”?!  Yes, there was a real “Saint Nicholas” (15 March 270 – 6 December 343 A.D.) who had a reputation for secret gift-giving and miracle working who became a bishop in 317. Much of the rest is legend. (See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas accessed 27 Apr 15.)  In the vocation of a congregational leader, Nicholas' work would have been pointing people to the risen Christ and doing good (Eph 2:10). In this he is worthy of emulation, but not deification.  By the way, while it is fairly common knowledge that Jesus / Yeshua was not actually born on the 25th of December, that date does connect with Scripture. Applying Kepler's mathematics and computer accuracy in the astronomical program Starry Night, lawyer Frederick Lawson has proven that from the viewpoint of Jerusalem, looking south-by-south-west, the “Star” was clearly visible over Bethlehem on 25 December, 2 B.C. (See The Star of Bethlehem: Unlock the Mystery of the World's Most Famous Star, DVD.)  Though this was approximately two years after Yeshua was born (Matt 2:16), we could say that December 25th was the date of the public announcement of His birth by the magi in Jerusalem (Matt 2:9-10).  Let's not be to quick to dismiss or throw out everything about this one time of the year when many focus on the birth of our Savior. As Jeremiah 15:19 admonishes us, let's “separate the precious from the base” and use the opportunity to share the gift of life in Messiah.  In every area of our lives, let's seek wisdom from the LORD to live “radically balanced” lives. 22 The goat will bear all their transgressions away to some isolated place, and he is to let the goat go in the desert.  As Yeshua was led out of the city when He bore the sins of the world (Matt 27:1, 31) 29 It is to be a permanent regulation for you that on the tenth day of the seventh month you are to deny yourselves and not do any kind of work, both the citizen and the foreigner living with you. 30 For on this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before Adonai from all your sins.  “permanent” here is the Hebrew עוֹלָם (o-lam) meaning:  Strong's: properly, concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity; frequentatively, adverbial (especially with prepositional prefix) always  we can see this idea when looking at a long straight highway or stretch of railroad tracks that go to “the vanishing point” and beyond: from our vantage point, they go on forever  BDB: long duration, antiquity, futurity, forever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient,world;  ancient time, long time (used of the past);  (used of the future) forever, always; continuous existence, perpetual; everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity  Simon-Resnikoff-Motzkin (The First Hebrew Primer): eternity; universe  Google Translate: world, universe, existence, eternity, space (though not strictly Biblical Hebrew, Google Translate gives us a modern understanding of the words it translates)  That עוֹלָם refers to more than time is also shown in the first words commonly used at the beginning of many Hebrew blessings: … בָּרְוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם ha-o-lam me-lekh el-lo-hay-nu Adonai ah-tah bar-rukh of the universe king our God LORD you blessed are  The Sovereign, All-Mighty, Eternal, Omniscient, Creator of all created the Hebrew language and determined to use it to pen His divine love letters to us in His Tanakh.  Could it be that in using the term עוֹלָם that the LORD is not only saying that these commandments were to be in place and followed to “the vanishing point,” and “time out of mind,” but also that they apply to the universe? That His Word is universally applicable?  The idea of the universal applicability of God's Word is touched on in Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler's teen fiction book Truth Slayers; The Battle of Right From Wrong, an excerpt of which is called “The Steps of Truth.”  Writing about the Temple veil that was torn at the time of Jesus' death and this annual sacrifice on Yom-Kippur [Day of Atonement], Messianic Jewish scholar David Stern writes, Exodus 26:31-35 describes this curtain as it existed in the desert Tabernacle. It separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. Only the cohen hagadol [high priest] was allowed to pass through it into the Holy of Holies; and that he could do only once a year, on Yom-Kippur, to make an atonement sacrifice for his sins and for the sins of the Jewish people. When it was ripped in two from top to bottom it symbolized the fact that God was giving everyone access to the most holy place of all in heaven, as taught explicitly at MJ 9:3-9, 10:19-22 [MJ refers to the New Testament book To a Group of Messianic Jews known commonly as the book of Hebrews]. The Talmud bears an amazing witness to the work of Yeshua in altering the system of atonement. The background is that on Yom-Kippur, when the cohen hagadol sacrificed a bull (Leviticus 16), a piece of scarlet cloth was tied between its horns. If it later turned white, it meant that God had forgiven Israel's sin in accordance with Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be white as snow.” “Our Rabbis taught that throughout the forty years that Shim'on the Tzaddik [or HaTzaddik = Simon the Righteous] served, … the scarlet cloth would become white. From then on it would sometimes become white and sometimes not …. Throughout the last forty years before the Temple was destroyed … the scarlet cloth never turned white.” (Yoma 39a-39b) Thus in the days of Shim'on HaTzaddik the sacrificial system established by God in the Tanakh [Hebrew Scriptures, known commonly as the Old Testament] was observed, and it was effective. But afterwards Israel's spirituality declined, so that the sacrificial system was effective only sometimes. Finally, after Yeshua's death, forty years before the destruction of the Temple, it was never effective. The Talmud does not say it, but what had become effective for forgiving Israel's sin was the sacrificial death of Yeshua the Messiah. (Jewish New Testament Commentary: Matthew 27:51) Leviticus 17 1 Adonai said to Moshe, 2 “Speak to Aharon and his sons and to all the people of Isra'el. Tell them that this is what Adonai has ordered: 3 'When someone from the community of Isra'el slaughters an ox, lamb or goat inside or outside the camp 4 without bringing it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to Adonai before the tabernacle of Adonai, he is to be charged with blood – he has shed blood, and that person is to be cut off from his people.  Why? Verse 5 The reason for this is so that the people of Isra'el will bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice out in the field – so that they will bring them to Adonai, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the cohen, and sacrifice them as peace offerings to Adonai. 6 The cohen will splash the blood against the altar of Adonai at the entrance to the tent of meeting and make the fat go up in smoke as a pleasing aroma for Adonai.  emphasis mine: this instead of what they have been doing: 7 No longer will they offer sacrifices to the goat-demons, before who they prostitute themselves! This is a permanent regulation for them through all their generations.' • Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: The reason presupposes that the custom of dedicating the slain animals as sacrifices to some deity, to which a portion of them was offered, was then widely spread among the Israelites. It had probably been adopted form the Egyptians; though this is not expressly stated by ancient writers …. To root out this idolatrous custom from among the Israelites, they were commanded to slay every animal before the tabernacle, as a sacrificial gift to Jehovah, and to bring the slain-offerings, which they would have slain in the open field, to the priest at the tabernacle, as shelamim (praise-offerings and thank-offerings), that he might sprinkle the blood upon the altar, and burn the fat as a sweet-smelling savour for Jehovah (see Lev 3:2-5). … “The altar of Jehovah” is spoken of in v. 6 instead of “the altar” only (Lev 1:5; 11:15, etc.), on account of the contrast drawn between it and the altars upon which they offered sacrifice to Seirim … literally goats … who were supposed to inhabit the desert (Isa 13:21; 34:14), and whose pernicious influence they sought to avert by sacrifices. The Israelites had brought this superstition, and the idolatry to which it gave rise, from Egypt. The Seirim were the gods whom the Israelites worshipped and went a whoring after in Egypt (Josh 24:14; Ezek 20:7; 23:3, 8, 19, 21, 27). Both the thing and the name were derived from the Egyptians, who worshipped goats as gods (Josephus c. Ap. 2 , 7), particularly Pan, who was represented in the form of a goat, a personification of the male and fertilizing principle in nature, whom they called Mendes and reckoned among the eight leading gods, and to whom they had built a splendid and celebrated temple in Thmuis, the capital of the Mendesian Nomos in Lower Egypt, and erected statues in the temples in all directions (cf. Herod. 2, 42, 46; Strabo, xvii. 802; Diod. Sic. i. 18).  Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary: Goat-worship was a form of idolatry enthusiastically practiced by the Egyptians, particularly in the nome or province of Mendes. Pan was supposed especially to preside over mountainous and desert regions; and it was while they were in the wilderness the Israelites seem to have been powerfully influenced by a feeling to propitiate this idol. Moreover, the ceremonies observed in this idolatrous worship were extremely licentious and obscene, and the gross impurity of the rites gives great point and significance to the expression of Moses, “they have gone awhoring.”  Adam Clarke's Commentary: It is well known that Baal Peor and Ashtaroth were worshipped with unclean rites, and that public prostitution formed a grand part of the worship of many deities among the Egyptians, Moabites, Canaanites, Greeks, and Romans. … That there was public prostitution in the patriarchal times, see Gen 38:21. And that there was public prostitution of women to goats in Egypt, see Herodotus, lib. ii., c. 46, p. 108, edit. Gale, who gives a case of this abominable kind that took place in Egypt while he was in that country. On Gen 38:21, referred to above, Clarke writes: Our translators often render different Hebrew words by the same term in English, and thus many important shades of meaning, which involve traits of character, are lost. In Gen 38:15 Tamar is called a harlot, zownaah, which … signifies a person who prostitutes herself for money. In this verse she is called a harlot in our version; but the original is not zownaah but haqadeeshaah, “a holy or consecrated person,” from kaadash, “to make holy,” or “to consecrate to religious purposes.” And the word here must necessarily signify a person consecrated by prostitution to the worship so some impure goddess. Haftarah: Amos 9:11-15 (Ashkenazi reading) from the CJB 11 “When that day comes, I will raise up the fallen sukkah of David. I will close up its gaps, raise up its ruins and rebuild it as it used to be, 12 so that Isra'el can possess what is left of Edom and of all the nations bearing My name,” says Adonai, Who is doing this. 13 “The days will come,” says Adonai, “when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the one treading grapes the one sowing see. Sweet wine will drip down the mountains, and all the hills will flow with it. 14 I will restore the fortunes of My people Isra'el; they will rebuild and inhabit the ruined cities; they will plant vineyards and drink their wine, cultivate gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant them on their own soil, no more to be uprooted from their land, which I gave them,” says Adonai your God. B'rit HaDashah portion Introduction: In the book of Acts we read how people were coming to faith in Messiah and there were many “Jews for Jesus.” The question soon came up, however, was it okay to be a “Gentile for Jesus”? At a council held to help answer that question, Yeshua's half-brother Ya'akov pointed out that God had decided ages earlier “not only to have Isra'el as His people, but also to take from among the Goyim a people to bear His name – to be identified with Him and to honor Him. The Greek word “laos” [λαός] ... refers to a people elected by God. Although [in Acts] 10:2 and 42 it refers to the Jewish people, … [in Acts 15] the implication is that Gentiles do not have to become Jews in order to be included in the laos, because God is now doing something new for the rest of mankind.” (see David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary) B'rit HaDashah: Acts of the Emissaries of Yeshua the Messiah 15:12-18 Then the whole assembly kept still as they listened to Bar-Nabba and Sha'ul tell what signs and miracles God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 Ya'akov broke the silence to reply. “Brothers,” he said, “hear what I have to say. 14 Shim'on has told in detail what God did when He first began to show His concern for taking from among the Goyim a people to bear His name. 15 And the words of the Prophets are in complete harmony with this for it is written, 16 '“After this, I will return; and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David. I will rebuild its ruins, I will restore it, 17 so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, that is, all the Goyim who have been called by My name,” 18 says Adonai, Who is doing these things.' All this has been known for ages.

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

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What's a Parashah?

Parashah is a Hebrew word that means portion. 

Synagogues around the world read the same parashah each Shabbat. The Torah is divided into 54 weekly portions so that the whole Torah is read annually. Selections from the Haftarah (Prophets) are also read each week, and in Messianic congregations, selections from the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) are included. Holiday selections are also listed for the Feast Days.

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