Rock Of Israel Congregation
          Weekly  Parasha Blog 
By Rabbi Jeff Grillo 

Week ending July 14,2018

Parasha/ Portion: Mattot - Massei

 

Torah - Numbers 32:1-36:13  

Haftarah - Jeremiah 1:1-2:28; 3:4 

Brit Chadasha - Matthew 5:33-37; James 4:1-12

 

Once again, I’m finding it hard to believe we have come to the end of another book of Torah!  We have a study that most years are read together as in this year.  Mattot is Hebrew for “tribes” while Massei means “journeys.”

 

There is a lot of material to cover as usual, but for our purposes here we will focus mainly on a single idea.  I encourage you to read the totality of the above listed Scriptures as you study this week’s verses.  I won’t quote it here, but my focus will be mainly on chapter 33 of Numbers.  So before you go on here, I suggest you take a moment and read chapter 33.

 

To set the scene, the generations that G-d swore would not enter the Promised Land have died out in the wilderness and Moshe is preparing the next generation to enter the Land.  They have just taken vengeance upon the Midianites for leading the Children of HaShem (YHVH) into sexual sin and idolatry, which cost them, the Israelites, dearly.

 

Here in the last chapter of Bemidbar (Numbers) we remember the journey from Mitzreim (Egypt) to the Promised Land.  In a previous year, you may recall I took you through each stop in the wilderness.  Every Hebrew name has significant meaning and is worth your time to go back and look each one up for yourself.

 

The Word and indeed the Torah itself has many places where we are actually commanded to remember lest we forget.  Moshe set up memorial stones to remind the people of the miracles the L-RD had done for them already in certain places and times.  We are commanded to remember this journey specifically as part of our Pesach (Passover) observances.

 

Why is this?  If you are alive and have ever experienced a trial, then you can likely relate to what I’m going to say here.  And, of course, this is tongue-in-cheek as this obviously applies to everyone!

 

 

In the midst of our trials, we call out to the L-RD to save us out of our troubles.  More often than not we experience the love, mercy and goodness of ADONAI.  We are likely very thankful and moved at the time of the occurrence.  Let a little time pass and the next trial presents itself and what happens?  Again, for those of us who are still in fleshly bodies, we likely call out to G-d again.  The difference this time is that maybe we in our desperation of the moment forget what G-d has already done for us in the past! 

 

Making it a practice to remember the goodness and deeds of ADONAI is essential to us remaining close to Him both in the good times as well as when we face new challenges.

 

As we complete this final study in Bemidbar and prepare to embark upon Devarim (Deuteronomy), may each of us take a moment to reflect not only on G-d’s goodness and mighty deeds in Biblical times, but in our own lives as well.

 

Chazak! Chazak! Ve’nit - Chazak!

Be Strong! Be Strong! And may we be strengthened!

Week Ending June 30, 2018

Parasha/ Portion: Balak

Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9

 Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8 

Brit Chadashah: Romans 11:25-32

A bit of an unusual parasha (portion) this week. We look at Balak, king of Midian. Normally, the name of a parasha in the Hebrew has a translation into English, but this week that is not the case. Balak translates as Balak!

A primary focus for this Holy Scripture is actually upon two rather unholy men in the persons of Balak and the evil Balaam.

Jumping right in, I want to look at an interesting verse and give you what the sages have to say about it. It’s a pretty interesting side note at most, and I thought it would be interesting to start out with this.

Numbers 24:5, “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!” (NKJV)

This observation and statement by Balaam can easily be overlooked and the lesson missed. What is so good about their tents? Why was it unusual and yet noticed by this man?

The sages say that within the camps of Yisra’el that no door to a tent faced another tent’s door. This testifies to the purity and modesty of the people that dwelt there. The tent doors faced away from one another that their eyes may not catch a glimpse of anything they ought not to see, thus protecting the modesty of their neighbors and guarding their own gates! Gates here referring to the “eye gate” to their minds.

This surely stood out to Balaam, who was of a people who lived lifestyles in stark contrast to that of the purity of the Jewish people.

Next, I want to take a quick look at a Messianic prophecy given through Balaam.

Numbers 24:17, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.”

This of course, points to Yeshua the coming Messiah to Yisra’el and the nations. It points specifically to the heavenly sign in the constellations that will be observed announcing His coming.

Now let’s see what Rabbi Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) has to say in this week’s parasha.

Before I do, I urge you to read the entirety of Romans chapter 11 as it will be helpful to understand the portion actually noted above as part of this week’s study. Only Scripture can interpret Scripture so it is important for you to gain understanding in context.

Let’s read Romans 11:29-32,”For the gifts and the calling of God [are] irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.”

This portion and indeed the entire chapter of Romans 11 is a problem for those ascribing to replacement theology. There is a fundamental problem with that way of thinking. This portion clearly shows that G-d is not in any way shape or form “done with the Jewish people.” In no way have they been replaced by the church. In no way have the nations become the “new Jerusalem.”

G-d’s calling is indeed irrevocable! Over the past few weeks, we have seen how the sin of the people whom G-d had chosen prevented them from entering into the Promised Land. Keep in mind; you learned that ALL the people were not prevented from entering. Only those of 20 years of age and up and then only the males were prevented according to the sages.

So “the people” still eventually were given possession of the Promise. We know that their sin lead to them being disbursed amongst the nations. This does not mean that a temporary punishment gives them over to an eternal replacement! That is absurd.

Paul shows us that HaShem’s turning to the nations serves multiple purposes. First, its intent was to make His people jealous that they might run back to their G-d. Secondly, it was to display His awesome love and His magnificent mercy unto the gentiles! The whole picture Paul gives of the olive tree is beautiful in that we are taught that the branches grafted in (gentiles) are NOT greater than the root (the Jewish people). He also clearly points out that the natural branches can also be grafted BACK into the olive tree. So there is no permanent exile or exclusion. In fact, we are told that it is His desire that ALL Israel be saved.

Shalom.

Weekending June 23,2018

Parasha/ Portion : Chukat

 

Torah - Numbers 19:1-22:1  

Haftarah - Judges 11:1-33   

Brit Chadashah - Hebrews 9:11-28; John 3:10-21

 

Parasha (portion) Chukat is a fairly short but don’t let that deceive you.  This parasha is packed with plenty for you to chew on.  Chukat is Hebrew for “decree of” and opens with one of the most mysterious Mitzvah (commands or instructions) of G-d, that of the Red Heifer.  The portion also covers the death of Miriam as well as the death of Aaron.  We read of the struggles of the Israelites with several peoples including the Edomites, Canaanites and Amorites.  We find the event that caused Moshe (Moses) to be barred from entering the Promised Land and we see the punishment of the fiery serpents among the Children of Israel.

 

I will pretty much focus on just one main thought through from the Torah portion and tie it into the portion from Hebrews.

 

Numbers 19:1-10, “The L-RD spoke to Moshe and to Aharon, saying, 2 This is the statute of the law which the L-RD has commanded, saying, Speak to the children of Yisra'el, that they bring you a red heifer without spot, in which is no blemish, [and] on which never came yoke. 3 You shall give her to El`azar the Kohen, and he shall bring her forth outside of the camp, and one shall kill her before his face: 4 and El`azar the Kohen shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle her blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 One shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: 6 and the Kohen shall take cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. 7 Then the Kohen shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the Kohen shall be unclean until the even. 8 He who burns her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. 9 A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up outside of the camp in a clean place; and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Yisra'el for a water for impurity: it is a sin-offering. 10 He who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be to the children of Yisra'el, and to the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them, for a statute forever.” (HNV)

 

The mystery of the Red Heifer has been hidden from the time it was written.  Moshe likely understood its meaning.  Solomon mentioned that his wisdom was for nothing when it came to this mystery.  So we will look at this portion in a broader sense.  Along with the other sacrifices for sin it is important to note that the offerings did not take away our sin but merely covered them.  This enabled us to come before G-d without suffering death.  This was the best that the blood of goats and bulls could do.  Hebrews explains the more perfect sacrifice of Yeshua.

 

Hebrews 9:11-14, “But Messiah having come as a Kohen Gadol of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, 12 nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh: 14 how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to G-d, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living G-d?”

 

Now let’s go back and look at one more thing from the above verses in Numbers, specifically in verse 6.

 

The idea of cedar and hyssop is interesting.  These are two of the things placed on the fire to be consumed.  Cedar is the largest of trees and is not only associated with strength and stature but has ties with pride.  Hyssop in stark contrast is considered a lowly plant associated with humility.

 

I find it interesting that not only are we being called to offer up and burn our pride but our humility as well.  That seems a bit odd at first, does it not?  I think on one level it speaks that we ought to offer up our whole selves, but there is something more than that even.  Remember our righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight.  This is a good reminder for us to be careful because we could be tempted to take pride in our humility.  Shalom!

 

 

Week ending June 16, 2018

Parasha/ Portion:  Korach

 

Torah - Numbers 16:1-18:32

Haftarah - 1 Samuel 11:14-12:22 

Brit Chadashah - Romans 13:1-7

 

Korach is the parasha (portion) for this week.  It is an extremely powerful portion of Scripture that we ought to take a very close look at as we go through this Shabbat (Sabbath).

 

The timing is very interesting as well.  We have just finished with last week’s study about the 12 spies that went through the Promised Land and brought back a bad report…ten of them did so while the two did good in the sight of the L-RD.  This is the first week of the month of Tamuz, which begins the 40 days that they spied out the Land.  This period ends on the 9th day of the month of Av which is an important day to say the least.  This is the day of the destruction of the Temple and other sobering events.

 

One last thing before we get into the meat of this week’s lesson: be careful not to fall into the trap of wrong thinking.  It is easy to see the repeated round after round of sin in the hearts of the Children of Israel.  It is easy to point fingers and wonder how they could continually fall into such sin.  The fact is that we are all part of this family if you stop and honestly assess your own life.  Don’t we do the same things?  It seems we no sooner repent for a certain sin that we find ourselves in the midst of the same thing or some other sin we struggle with that still has roots in us.

 

I’m going to add one Scripture to this week’s references because I believe it touches the heart of the matter when it comes to the sin of Korach.

 

1 Chronicles 16:22, “Don't touch my anointed ones, Do my prophets no harm.” (HNV)

 

You will see as we go through this study, and as you dig deeper on your own that Korach had a lot of issues.  He suffered seemingly from issues of pride, arrogance and a complete lack of emunah (trust) in the L-RD and His plan and chain of authority that He established.  On top of these things, he dared to challenge and thereby touch G-d’s Anointed!

 

Numbers 16:1-11, “Now Korach, the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi, with Datan and Aviram, the sons of Eli'av, and On, the son of Pelet, sons of Re'uven, took [men]: 2 and they rose up before Moshe, with certain of the children of Yisra'el, two hundred fifty princes of the congregation, called to the assembly, men of renown; 3 and they assembled themselves together against Moshe and against Aharon, and said to them, You take too much on you, seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and the L-RD is among them: why then lift yourselves up above the assembly of the L-RD? 4 When Moshe heard it, he fell on his face: 5 and he spoke to Korach and to all his company, saying, In the morning the L-RD will show who are his, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to him: even him whom he shall choose will he cause to come near to him. 6 This do: take you censers, Korach, and all his company; 7 and put fire in them, and put incense on them before the L-RD tomorrow: and it shall be that the man whom the L-RD does choose, he [shall be] holy: you take too much on you, you sons of Levi. 8 Moshe said to Korach, Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 [seems it but] a small thing to you, that the God of Yisra'el has separated you from the congregation of Yisra'el, to bring you near to himself, to do the service of the tent of the L-RD, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them; 10 and that he has brought you near, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? and seek you the priesthood also? 11 Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against the L-RD: and Aharon, what is he who you murmur against him?”

 

Really you should read the entirety of the Torah references this week.  There is so much there!  Just looking at this small part you can see quite a bit going on.  First off, I love the response of Moses and Aaron.  They don't argue or debate the issue with men.  They instead fall on their faces immediately taking the matter to G-d.  They do this not in order to preserve their position or authority, but to intervene on behalf of Korach and those entering into such sin against G-d Himself and His authority and plan.

 

Moses does eventually address a serious issue in Korach’s heart that was evident.  The issue of pride, jealousy and covetousness.  When he asked “isn’t it enough?”  Korach was indeed a man of position and authority.  He was involved in the work of the Mishkan (Tabernacle.)  The sages say that he was even one of those who carried the Ark!

 

Finally, take a look at the instruction Moshe gives to bring the incense so that G-d may show who really is Holy and who therefore has the authority.

 

The scene of course is reminiscent of Nadav and Avihu, the two sons of Ahron (Aaron) that brought strange fire before the L-RD!  When these two men brought incense before the L-RD, they were consumed by fire for they were not “Holy” or set apart unto this work.  They did not have the authority to do what they did.  Even though the argument has been made that their motives were pure, the fact remains that the right thing done in the wrong way, is in the end, still wrong!  We must endeavor to always do the right things in the way that G-d requires them to be done.  See the first seventeen verses of Isaiah to get a better handle on this concept.

 

In the end, Korach and his household were swallowed up and descended alive into Sheol while the 250 men who bore strange fire were consumed by fire suffering the same fate as Nadav and Avihu. 

 

Shalom.


Week ending June 9, 2018

Parasha/ Portion: Shelach Lekha

 

Torah - Numbers 13:1-15:41

 Haftarah - Joshua 2:1-24 

 Brit Chadashah - Hebrews 3:7-4:1

 

We will take a quick look at one small part of this week’s parasha (portion.)  Shelech Lekha is Hebrew for “send out for yourself.”

 

There are so many things to learn when it comes to the account of the 12 spies sent out by Moshe (Moses.)  This time around we will focus on l’shon hara (evil tongue) and emunah (trust/faith).

 

Numbers 13:17-33, “Moshe sent them to spy out the land of Kana`an, and said to them, Go up this way by the South, and go up into the hill-country: 18 and see the land, what it is; and the people who dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many; 19 and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds; 20 and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. Be of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes. 21 So they went up, and spied out the land from the wilderness of Tzin to Rechov, to the entrance of Hamat. 22 They went up by the South, and came to Hevron; and Achiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of `Anak, were there. (Now Hevron was built seven years before Tzo`an in Mitzrayim.) 23 They came to the valley of Eshkol, and cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bore it on a staff between two; [they brought] also of the pomegranates, and of the figs. 24 That place was called the valley of Eshkol, because of the cluster which the children of Yisra'el cut down from there. 25 They returned from spying out the land at the end of forty days. 26 They went and came to Moshe, and to Aharon, and to all the congregation of the children of Yisra'el, to the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word to them, and to all the congregation, and shown them the fruit of the land. 27 They told him, and said, We came to the land where you sent us; and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28 However the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified, [and] very great: and moreover we saw the children of `Anak there. 29 `Amalek dwells in the land of the South: and the Hittite, and the Yevusi, and the Amori, dwell in the hill-country; and the Kana`ani dwells by the sea, and along by the side of the Yarden. 30 Kalev stilled the people before Moshe, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31 But the men who went up with him said, We aren't able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 They brought up an evil report of the land which they had spied out to the children of Yisra'el, saying, The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eats up the inhabitants of it; and all the people who we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the Nefilim, the sons of `Anak, who come of the Nefilim: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (HNV)

 

Let’s also go and take a look at the Brit Chadashah portion as well.

 

Hebrews  3:7-13, “Therefore, even as the Ruach HaKodesh says, "Today if you will hear his voice, 8 Don't harden your hearts, as in the provocation, Like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested me by proving me, And saw my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was displeased with that generation, And said, 'They always err in their heart, But they didn't know my ways;' 11 As I swore in my wrath, 'They will not enter into my rest.'" 12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living G-d; 13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called "today;" lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

 

Hebrews rightly points out that the error of the people was a matter of the heart.  That is where sin entered in.  From the exodus from Egypt until now they have seen many amazing miracles and manifestations of G-d in their sight.  They have witnessed much.  Yet, despite all they had seen their hearts were not full of emunah but rather than being focused on G-d and His Word they were focused on themselves.

 

The portioned mentioned  in Numbers above points out that the ten gave a truthful report of all they had seen.  That is not where the sin entered.  It was in the fact that their hearts focused upon themselves instead of G-d. 

 

They said we were as grasshoppers in our sight…and in theirs.

 

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he!  This false belief  that they were small and too weak to take the Land was birthed in fear.  Fear of course  is essentially the act of taking our emunah away from where it belongs, with G-d and handing it over to the enemy!

 

As you study the Scriptures this Shabbot  examine your hearts.  Make certain that you guard your tongue.  No matter what we see in our lives we should take great care to speak life over our situations.  Speak the promises of G-d over every aspect of your life no matter how things appear. 

 

Eventually the reality in which you find yourself will catch up with what your tongue declares!  Shalom!

Week Ending June 2, 2018

Parasha / Portion: Beha’alotekha

 

Torah – Numbers 8:1-12:16;

Haftarah – Zechariah 2:14-4:7(8);

Brit Chadesha – 1 Corinthians 10:6013, Revelation 11:1-19

 

Parasha Beha’alotekha means, ‘when you set up.’  This study has so much in it that it is hard to limit myself to a single topic.    Or even two! 

 

We start our overview in chapter 8 of Numbers.  It opens with a description of the Menorah and moves quickly into instructions given to Ahron regarding the cleansing of the Levites. 

 

Chapter 9 deals with a very interesting encounter between Moses and men who were unclean because of contact with the dead man and therefore were excluded from participation in Pesach (Passover).  They would be exempt from this Holy Feast of ADONAI and were upset that they would have to bear their sins.  Moses took the matter to the L-RD and the remedy that G-d gave for this instance was to institute a second Pesach exactly 30 days after the first one.  You see, Passover is required for all to participate.  These men who were ceremonially unclean were actually doing a good mitzvoth, or good deed in that ‘the dead man’ they were in contact with was none other than Yosef Ha Tzadik (Joseph the Righteous).  Remember that Joseph wanted his bones to be buried in the Promised Land one day.  So it is amazing to see here that his wishes were carried out, but that some very interesting things transpired in carrying it out.  G-d is many things, but here we see He is the G-d of second chances.  He knew that Passover was to be celebrated 7 days and that the men would have to go through 7 days of purification in order to be clean and would miss it and as a consequence of their good deed be punished by being forced to bear their sin!  This second Passover was not for everyone though.  If you were clean and local you were required to observe the command of Pesach.  But for those who were afar off travelling or unclean there was provision made for this second chance.  All of the statutes involved in the first Passover were to be observed just as though it was that time.  Num 9:10-11 “Say to the children of Yisra’el, if any man of you or your generations is unclean by reason of a dead body, or is on a journey far away, he shall still keep the Pesach to the L-RD.  In the second month, on the fourteenth day at evening they shall keep it: they shall eat it with Matza and bitter herbs.”

 

Chapter ten of Numbers gives the instructions of the making of the Shofars.  Instructions are given as to when and how they are to be sounded and what the meaning of the alerts shall be.  Also it gives the order in which the people were to move. 

 

Numbers 11 tells the story of when the children of Yisra’el were complaining and tired of Manna.  They longed for the days when they were in Egypt and had fish and onions and leeks and so on to eat.  This kindled the anger of the L-RD who was upset that the people weren’t satisfied with what they had been given, and oh yeah, that G-d Himself was in their midst.  He sent a wind which brought them meat to eat in the form of quail.  There was so much that it was enough for everyone to eat a whole month.  Before they could eat it, they were struck with a plague. 

 

Finally the Torah portion concludes in Numbers 12.  We read here where G-d’s anger was kindled against Miriam for speaking ill of Moses.  He told her that she would not utter a word against the prophets who only heard G-d in dreams or visions or in riddles.  Moses, He pointed out, spoke to G-d mouth to mouth and saw His form.  In other words, they spoke to each other in conversation unlike any other prophet, making Moses the greatest among prophets.  But, because she dared speak against him she was stricken with leprosy and was charged to leave the camp for 7 days so she could be made clean again.  The entire camp of Yisra’el waited until this time was over and she returned to the camp, and then the cloud of Glory lead them on. 

 

 

Zechariah 4:2-3, “”He said to me, ‘What do you see?’  I said, ‘I have seen, and, behold, a menorah all of gold, with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes to each of the lamps, which are on the top of it.  And two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl, and the other on the left side of it.  “There are many layers that are woven through the readings this week.  It is far too involved for me to adequately teach in great depth but what I will now start to illustrate for you how Scripture interprets itself.  Above we read the prophets description of the seven lamps in the menorah, and in the previous chapter the seven eyes upon the rock.  If you go to Isaiah chapter 11 you will read about the seven spirits of G-d.  What this refers to are the seven characteristics of G-d.  Not a literal 7 spirits, because we know there is only ONE Holy Spirit.  In chapter 4 you also read about the two olive trees which the portion from Revelation gives us the interpretation that these two olive trees are “my two witnesses” which are testifying before the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.  They are testifying that Yeshua was indeed the Messiah and the man claiming to be is nothing more than the false messiah. 

 

One final point I’d like to bring out is the thought process that goes with the account of the murmuring Israelites over their plight to endure the manna.    The sages tell us that the Tzadik, or the ‘righteous’ found the taste of the manna to be something wonderful while the Reshaim or the wicked found it to be dry and boring.    Now we know that Yeshua (Jesus) is the bread of life and He was the Word made flesh.  In other words He and Torah are one!  Now let’s apply this idea of perception of the manna by the righteous and the wicked and look at it with respect to the Word.  For people who love and serve G-d and spend time growing in His Word, we find it to be wonderful, alive, refreshing and utterly amazing!  But how often do you speak of the Word and you hear a non-believer or someone who isn’t right with the L-RD say something like, “I tried reading the Bible but it is so dull and boring and doesn’t mean anything to me.”    Just an observation of mine and I hope you see what I do.  I hope your time in the Word is a sweet savor!

Week ending May 26, 2018

Parasha - Portion : Naso

 

Torah - Numbers 4:21-7:89 

Haftarah - Judges 13:2-25 

 Brit Chadashah - Acts 21:17-26

 

We look at the parasha (portion) of Naso this week.  Naso translates as “take up.”  First, we will take a very brief overview of what Torah covers, as it is quite a lot. 

 

Chapter 4 continues with the taking up of the census or numbering of the tribes.  Then in chapter five, we look at impurity and how it is to be kept out of the camp and then we dive into what will be our focus this week, the Sotah, or suspected adulteress.  Chapter six as well as our Brit Chadashah portion this week covers the Mitzvah (command) of the Nazarite vow.  Finally, we conclude in chapter 7 with a look at the offerings brought by the heads of each of the tribes.

 

Proverbs teaches us that Torah and all its ways are paths of peace.  So why then do the commands of the Sotah or suspected adulteress wife seem so harsh?  After all, they seem to end in the death penalty!  The key word here is “seem”.  Let’s dive in and see what is really going on.

 

Numbers 5:11-31, “The L-RD spoke to Moshe, saying, 12 "Speak to the children of Yisra'el, and tell them: If any man's wife goes astray, and is unfaithful to him, 13 and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and is kept close, and she is defiled, and there is no witness against her, and she isn't taken in the act; 14 and the spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, and she is defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, and she isn't defiled: 15 then the man shall bring his wife to the Kohen, and shall bring her offering for her: the tenth part of an efah of barley meal. He shall pour no oil on it, nor put frankincense on it, for it is a meal offering of jealousy, a meal offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to memory. 16 The Kohen shall bring her near, and set her before the L-RD; 17 and the Kohen shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle the Kohen shall take, and put it into the water. 18 The Kohen shall set the woman before the L-RD, and let the hair of the woman's head go loose, and put the meal offering of memorial in her hands, which is the meal offering of jealousy. The Kohen shall have in his hand the water of bitterness that brings a curse. 19 The Kohen shall cause her to swear, and shall tell the woman, 'If no man has lain with you, and if you haven't gone aside to uncleanness, being under your husband, be free from this water of bitterness that brings a curse. 20 But if you have gone astray, being under your husband, and if you are defiled, and some man has lain with you besides your husband:' 21 then the Kohen shall cause the woman to swear with the oath of cursing, and the Kohen shall tell the woman, 'The L-RD make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the L-RD allows your thigh to fall away, and your body to swell; 22 and this water that brings a curse will go into your bowels, and make your body swell, and your thigh fall away.' The woman shall say, 'Amein, Amein.' 23 "The Kohen shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out into the water of bitterness. 24 He shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that causes the curse; and the water that causes the curse shall enter into her and become bitter. 25 The Kohen shall take the meal offering of jealousy out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the meal offering before the L-RD, and bring it to the altar. 26 The Kohen shall take a handful of the meal offering, as the memorial of it, and burn it on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water. 27 When he has made her drink the water, then it shall happen, if she is defiled, and has committed a trespass against her husband, that the water that causes the curse will enter into her and become bitter, and her body will swell, and her thigh will fall away: and the woman will be a curse among her people. 28 If the woman isn't defiled, but is clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. 29 "This is the law of jealousy, when a wife, being under her husband, goes astray, and is defiled; 30 or when the spirit of jealousy comes on a man, and he is jealous of his wife; then he shall set the woman before the L-RD, and the Kohen shall execute on her all this law. 31 The man shall be free from iniquity, and that woman shall bear her iniquity.” (HNV)

 

There is so much to consider here so keep in mind I am only picking out a couple concepts to get you thinking.  This is by no means an exhaustive look at the section above.

 

The first thing that is worthy of note is that the sages explain that this whole ordeal of going before the Kohenim and following the prescribed rituals and drinking the bitter waters that may bring death is completely voluntary.  The accused wife is under no obligation to participate in this process.

 

As the focus of suspicion with respect to breaking the command to not commit adultery, she has the right to confess, thereby ending the marriage in divorce.  In this case, the marriage ends with no penalty of death.  In the event of an oppressively jealous husband and where no immoral act has been committed by the wife, again she may refuse the rituals in the above Scriptures and the marriage would be ended.

 

Now in the event the woman agrees to endure the rituals, there are a few things to consider there as well.  If she really was guilty, but under the fear of death agrees to go through with the ritual this was seen and described by the sages as repentance.  And if she was indeed not guilty in the least, then, of course, there are blessings that the fulfillment of the ritual brings about.

 

The whole point of this dramatic scene was to cleanse the marriage of suspicion and restore Shalom.  The sages point out that no woman was ever killed as a result of participating in this process!

 

One last thing to point out  is what the sages teach on the topic.  First of all, none of this took place unless the husband was utterly without sin himself.  He could not have brought the matter to the Kohen if he himself had committed adultery in any way.  Also, at the time this was in use, it was a rare thing indeed.  The rituals were abandoned eventually because immorality, and more specifically, adultery became too common amongst the people.

 

So in the end, what may seem to be a rather harsh command with harsh penalties was in fact a merciful tool of restoration.

 

   

Week ending May 19,2018

 Parash - Portion: Benidbar 


Torah – Numbers 1:1-4:20;

Haftarah Hosea 2:1-23;

Brit Chadeshah Romans 9:22-33


Parasha this week begins the fourth of the five books of Moses (Torah), Bemidbar, the book of Numbers. The entirety of the four chapters covered deal with the census that G-d commanded Moses to take of the children of Yisra’el. Numbers 1:2-3, “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Yisra’el, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, every male, one by one; from twenty years old and upward, all who are able to go out to war in Yisra’el. You and Ahron shall number them by their divisions.”

As you read through the four chapters of Numbers that are this week’s portion, you will see not only the listing of the children of Yisra’el but you will see how carefully G-d shows us not only the genealogies of the twelve tribes of Yisra’el, but also their numbers according to tribe and family. You will also learn of their placement and position around the Mishkan and the specific jobs that each tribe was entrusted to carry out. There is much to learn here but as always, my task is not to offer an exhaustive study but to offer a summary and to share a lesson that is upon my heart.


I will come back to Numbers chapter 3 for the specific lesson this week, but for now let’s move over to look at Hosea. This is a beautiful and powerful portion from Haftarah. You catch a glimpse of the love, passion and long-suffering heart of our Father. Yisra’el had gone astray from the marriage to G-d which occurred at Har Sini (Mount Sinai). The nation of Israel had prostituted and corrupted herself by chasing after false gods. Instead of destroying her and being finished with her we see how G-d chooses to win her back. I love how he says he will place a hedge of thorns around her so that her lovers will turn away from her and He places a wall around her so she will not be able to follow after Ba’al. What is the purpose of this? In doing so, she (Yisra’el) will have awakened and realized that all of her chasing after these things had lead her to nothing and that she would return to her first love! The chastisements of the Father are more often than not intended not to destroy, but to redeem. Baruch HaShem! (Praise the Name)


In Romans we see a continuation of sorts of the idea of G-d’s patience, love and mercy in Hosea. Rabbi Sha’ul presents the question of ‘What if?” What if G-d, in order to display His patience and power, endured vessels that were destined to destruction? In other words we are all vessels intended to contain His glory and walk out His purposes in the earth. But, because of our own wrong choices and rejection of His gift of salvation through Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah we ultimately become these vessels doomed for destruction. And by the way, this applies to both Jew and gentile alike. Then Paul looks at the vessels of mercy! This or these are those whom have attained glory, salvation through Yeshua the Messiah, again Jew and gentile alike! Look at how patient G-d is! Sure, He displays great patience in each of our individual lives. But on a much grander scale the course His chosen have taken over thousands of years! It is not just the flow of the multitude of individuals who have lived and are living, but also the corporate actions of nations and peoples.


Alright, let’s go back to Numbers chapter 3 where we again see G-d pointing out the sin of Ahron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, which lead to their deaths. It is a pretty simple concept, but, clearly it was important enough for G-d to reiterate so it’s surely important enough for me to draw your attention to here. We know that these two sons had been trained up in the proper and prescribed ways of service in the Tabernacle. They clearly knew and understood the instructions of G-d in these matters. However they made the wrong choice of doing things their own way and circumvented the will of the Father by offering ‘strange fire’ to the L-RD. It was strange because it was something that was outside the norm. It was not at all what G-d had instructed. So, as a consequence, they brought upon themselves the due penalty. What I find interesting is the comparison of how Moses approached G-d, and how Nadav and Avihu approached him. What I am referring to is not the actions they walked out but rather in the position of their hearts. Solomon tells us in Proverbs that only a man of a humble heart and contrite spirit can see G-d. Moses had both of those things going for him. He is said to have been the most humble man alive! Because of his humility and his obedience, he was able to approach G-d. In stark contrast, these two men had to have been pretty high minded and arrogant. They thought in their hearts that they had some right to have what Moses had and somehow this authorized them to shortcut the patterns and boundaries set before them by G-d.


Personal will is an amazing thing. It is both a beautiful gift from a Father who loves us so much and wants us to want Him. It is also, as we see in this parasha, a dangerous and serious thing. It is our will which charts the course of our eternal destinies. But think about this. It is the will of our Savior which even allowed our wills to matter in the first place. What it means is this. The Father of course, exercised His will by setting forth His sovereign and omnipotent plan of creation and redemption. G-d laid down His very own life to redeem us through the person of Yeshua. Read Matthew 26:39 and you will read something that blows me away every time I read it or think about it. Here we see Messiah crying out to the Father prior to being placed on the execution stake of the Romans. Understand this, he did NOT want to endure what he knew was coming. He did not want to endure the humiliation. He did not want to endure the flogging, beating and shame. He did not want to endure the spikes which would be driven through his flesh. He did not want to experience death itself! Think about this! Yeshua was not merely some good man who came to teach us the way. He WAS the way! He was G-d Himself, incarnate in the flesh. Do you understand how amazing this is? The very one who is ALL life himself was about to experience the curse of death and pay the penalty of sin so that we, mere flesh could be redeemed from eternal damnation which we were more than deserving of! Holy is the L-RD G-d Almighty!!!


You see, Yeshua like the sons of Ahron had a choice to make. Unlike Ahron’s sons, Messiah made the right choice. The choice to set aside self-will and follow even unto death the will of the Father. Praise G-d He did! All of history, all of humanity teetered on the precipice of this one decision. You and I would have been lost forever had Yeshua followed his flesh. Whose example are you going to follow? Nadav and Avihu? They followed their flesh and it lead to death. Perhaps we should ask G-d to search our hearts now and show us any area of our life where we are following after our flesh instead of His Spirit. Father forgive us. Help us to have pure hearts which follow whole-heartedly after you and you alone. Thank you for Yeshua and His steadfast will to follow your will.

Week Ending May 11,2018

Parasha Portion : Behar - Bechukotai

 

Torah - Leviticus 25:1-27:34 

Haftarah - Jeremiah 32:6-27; Jeremiah 16”19-17:14 

Brit Chadashah - Luke 4:16-21; Matthew 21:33-446

 

Once again, our studies have us looking at a double portion.  Behar (in the Mountain) referring, of course, to Mt. Sinai, and Bechukotai (in My Statutes.).

 

It may seem at first glance a strange departure from the instructions concerning the Priesthood to now jump back to the Revelation of G-d’s Torah at that Holy site.  You might ask yourself why the repetition of the Mitzvah (instructions) concerning the Sabbatical cycle of days, weeks years and the jubilee? 

 

Keep in mind the Divine inspiration of our Biblical text.  Every thought, concept, instruction, order and even every letter and spacing is also Divinely inspired.  Everything is rich with meaning on many levels

 

The timing is especially important for us to look at this week as we are in the midst of counting the Omer.  At the time of writing this, we are on day 40 and this will most likely be published on day 41 with just over a week left until Shavuot ( Pentecost.)  There is a lot going on and I only want to take a moment to point you in the right direction so you can pursue even deeper meaning as you study on your own the above listed Scriptures.

 

For a point of reference, let’s take a look at what this week’s parashot (portions) are referring.

 

Leviticus 23:15-16, “You shall count from the next day after the Shabbat, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Shabbatot shall be completed: 16 even to the next day after the seventh Shabbat you shall number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meal offering to the L-RD.”  (HNV)

Pesach ( Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost.) 

 

Leviticus 25:8-11, “You shall number seven Shabbatot of years to you, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Shabbatot of years, even forty-nine years. 9 Then shall you send abroad the loud shofar on the tenth day of the seventh month; in Yom Kippur shall you send abroad the shofar throughout all your land. 10 You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants of it: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family. 11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather [the grapes] in it of the undressed vines.”

 

Here at the outset of  this week’s parasha Behar, we are being reminded to keep the cycle of years.  Seven year cycles.  The pattern of seven repeats over and over.  From the beginning, we are taught of the pattern of seven days.  Six days we work and rest on the seventh.  We have a cycle of days in this case.  We are in the midst of counting a cycle of weeks.  We count seven weeks which lead to a most Holy Shabbat.  This pattern continues throughout creation.  Six thousand year cycle of human history leading to the thousand years, or Millennial reign of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus.)

 

Finally, this week let’s take a brief look at a concept that may seem quite strange to you if you are not part of a Messianic Congregation, or if you have not been part of one very long.  The modern Christian “church” is in love with the concepts associated with the prosperity gospel.  Much of it is a self-centered gospel based upon discovering keys that unlock our best life now.  They want to learn secrets that amount to nothing more than relegating G-d to little more than a genie in a bottle that is there for OUR pleasure, to bless us according to our will with nearly no regard for what His true will is.

 

Much of what they preach is tied to the idea that we are His children and all is tied to the free gift that comes with the salvation package prize!  While it is indeed true that our salvation is a free gift, not of works lest any man should boast, that does not carry over into anything beyond our salvation itself.

 

The question post salvation is what now?  The Word of G-d is full to the brim of “what now” from Genesis to Revelation we are told over and over in many ways what He expects of His children.  Prior to salvation, we are NOT His.  So the works that follow salvation are what next.  They come after and not tied to salvation as again, it is indeed a free gift.  So if you’ve ever struggled with the question “what now” then keep reading!

 

In my humble opinion, the next step is all about pleasing G-d and building His Kingdom here on the earth, which of course simultaneously expands, magnifies and glorifies His eternal Kingdom.

 

What of those blessings that the church is so keen on?  Many blessings are intended for Heaven.  But, there are also plenty of blessings that are available for us in this life.  We can expect to be blessed…”IF” you qualify!  What kind of statement is this?  This is the piece of the puzzle those flashy TV preachers are not telling you.  While G-d’s love is unconditional, His blessings are absolutely CONDITIONAL!

 

Leviticus 25:3-13, “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in the fruits of it; 4 but in the seventh year shall be a Shabbat of solemn rest for the land, a Shabbat to the L-RD: you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard. 5 That which grows of itself of your harvest you shall not reap, and the grapes of your undressed vine you shall not gather: it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 The Shabbat of the land shall be for food for you; for you, and for your servant and for your maid, and for your hired servant and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. 7 For your cattle, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all the increase of it be for food. 8 You shall number seven Shabbatot of years to you, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Shabbatot of years, even forty-nine years. 9 Then shall you send abroad the loud shofar on the tenth day of the seventh month; in Yom Kippur shall you send abroad the shofar throughout all your land. 10 You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants of it: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family. 11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather [the grapes] in it of the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat the increase of it out of the field. 13 In this year of jubilee you shall return every man to his possession.”

 

This is by no means the only place where If/then statements or conditional promises are mentioned.  They are all throughout the Word.  Always they are tied to (the key if you will) keeping His ‘Mitzvah or commands!!!  The blessings…or the part AFTER the word THEN come ONLY after we have honored and kept his instructions, they are inseparable.

 

So you want to be blessed?  I will save you thousands of dollars and give you the secret right here,  right now for FREE.  Honor G-d by honoring His Word, His Holy Torah all of His Commands.  Learn them, apply them, do your utmost best to keep them as best you can.  Seek first to Bless the Father by loving and honoring His Holy instructions to us.  When we do these things because we love Him, not out of some sort of obligation then you will see those promises begin to manifest in your life.  Not just the far off eternal ones, but yes, even some of those blessings we all would love to see in this life as well.  Set your priorities according to His priorities.  Do it for the right reasons.  Salvation is Free.  Blessing has a price.  The price is obedience to His Word.  Shalom!

 

Week Ending May 5, 2018

Parasha Portion :  Emor 


 

Torah - Leviticus 21:1-24:23 

Haftarah - Ezekiel 44:15-31 

Brit Chadashah - 1 Peter 2:4-10

 

We are looking at parasha (portion) Emor this week.  Emor is the Hebrew word for “say.”  We will not get too far into the above listed verses.  In fact, we will pretty much stay in the first four verses, so be certain to study the rest on your own.

 

Leviticus 21:1-4, “the L-RD said to Moshe, "Speak to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon, and say to them, 'A Kohen shall not defile himself for the dead among his people; 2 except for his relatives that are near to him: for his mother, for his father, for his son, for his daughter, for his brother, 3 and for his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband; for her he may defile himself. 4 He shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.” (HNV)

 

First, we will look at what is likely pretty obvious.  We will ask the question, why the prohibition of contact with the dead?  Why is this something that defiles us and specifically the Priests?

 

Remember that we are talking about ritual purity or being ceremonially clean.  The uncleanness of contact with a corpse and preparation for burial is not sin.  So why then the Mitzvah to not have this contact?

 

The Priests were not to have contact, except for the mentioned relationships, in order to protect them.  Unnecessary exposure to death can contaminate one’s mind.  When we see a lifeless body, it is easy to be tempted to think of death as final, or the end.  This simply is not true, or course!  Death is merely an illusion.  It is a transition where the individual simply moves from this dimension of reality to that which lies beyond.  For believers and followers in Yeshua, death is the entrance into a Glorious and eternal existence with the King of Kings.  While death for the non-believer is an entrance into an altogether different and eternal reality.  This reality is so horrible, I wish to only focus on the intended reality for all, that, of course, is Heaven.

 

Our Haftarah portion this week reflects the Mitzvah for the Priest to avoid contact with the dead person, except for certain relationships as listed in bothTorah and here in Ezekiel.

 

Ezekiel 44:25-26, “They shall go in to no dead person to defile themselves; but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister who has had no husband, they may defile themselves. 26 After he is cleansed, they shall reckon to him seven days.”

 

Now let’s focus briefly on the very first verse of our Torah portion, Leviticus 21:1.

 

As Rabbi Cliff often points out to us, when G-d says something it is truly important.  If He repeats something multiple times, it is a huge clue for us to slow down and pay attention because there is something very important for us to uncover.

 

In the opening verse, we see the words “said, speak and say”— all forms of the same word.  We also see something we might easily miss.  Why would G-d choose to tell Moses to speak to the Cohenim and then as if to clarify, He says the sons of Ahron (Aaron).  Of course, G-d is speaking about Aaron’s sons because they were the only ones that were Cohenim, or Priests!

 

One of the teachings of the sages is pretty interesting and worth sharing.  It is sort of separating the adults from the children in a way.  The Cohenim is related to the Priests, the adults trained in Torah and in service to the L-RD, while the sons of Aaron refers to the little ones and those to come.

 

It is an admonition for the Priests to be sure to not only pass on what they know, but to in a way humble themselves by spending time with and teaching the younger generation.  This was not to be a job for others of lesser or lower position.  This is tied to Deuteronomy chapter 6, when we are told to teach the Torah diligently to our children.

 

We see this modeled in various other places in the Word.  It is so important that G-d Himself took on lowly human form in order to mingle with us, His children in order to teach us.

 

Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that you think of him? The son of man, that you care for him?”

 

Matthew 19:14, “But Yeshua said, "Allow the little children, and don't forbid them to come to me; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.”

 

We ought to take to heart that we are all called to be Priests in His Kingdom.  Therefore, we all ought to be busy in service to the King, but also we should give attention to the little ones and pay attention to teach correctly even the smallest of details.

 

Matthew 10:30, “but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

 

If G-d gives such attention to creating such a massive and awesome Universe where every detail matters, even though we may never see it, how much then should we pay attention to details?  G-d who gave names to every star in the heavens and masterfully created and supports them, also cares enough to know how many hairs are on our heads…wow!  May we all endeavor to be a people also concerned with the smallest of details when it comes to His Word and how we ought to live.

  Shalom!

 

Week Ending April 28th, 2018

Parasha Portion : Acharei -Mot  /  Kedoshim

 

Torah - Leviticus 16:1-20:27  

Haftarah - Ezekiel 22:1-19; Amos 9:7-15  

Brit Chadashah - Hebrews 9:11-28; 1 Peter 1:13-16; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20

 

This week is a double portion in our studies of the parashot.  Acharei-Mot, which is translated as “after the death,” and Kedoshim, which means “Holy ones.”

 

Our main focus will be in Acharei-Mot, but we will touch upon Kedoshim and even travel back in time a bit to parasha (portion) Shemini (eighth.)

 

There is quite a bit to cover this time around, but before we dive in I want to remind you that the Word is much like a diamond with many facets.  As you turn the diamond in your hand and look at it from different angles, it reflects the light in many different ways and will appear as many different colors.  They are all true parts of the same, one light that is coming in.  So no one interpretation discounts the others, but rather comes together to paint a broader picture of the amazing deep reservoir of knowledge that is available to us in Torah and throughout our Bible.

 

If you follow along with the weekly studies, it may, at first glance, appear to be disjointed and odd.  Something like watching a modern Hollywood movie with many twists and turns and flashbacks or jumps ahead that at the time you watch may seem difficult to understand, but by the end of the movie everything suddenly comes together and makes perfect sense.

 

The Word is like that.  For example, in chapter ten of Leviticus right in the middle of the reading for parasha Shemini we read the account of the sons of Ahron (Aaron) that were consumed by the L-RD for offering up “strange fire.”

 

Leviticus 10:1-10, “Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, each took his censer, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and offered strange fire before the L-RD, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came forth from before the L-RD, and devoured them, and they died before the L-RD. 3 Then Moshe said to Aharon, "This is what the L-RD spoke of, saying, "'I will show myself holy to those who come near me, And before all the people I will be glorified.'" Aharon held his shalom. 4 Moshe called Misha'el and Eltzafan, the sons of `Uzzi'el the uncle of Aharon, and said to them, "Draw near, carry your brothers from before the sanctuary out of the camp." 5 So they drew near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp, as Moshe had said. 6 Moshe said to Aharon, and to El`azar and to Itamar, his sons, "Don't let the hair of your heads go loose, neither tear your clothes; that you don't die, and that he not be angry with all the congregation: but let your brothers, the whole house of Yisra'el, bewail the burning which the L-RD has kindled. 7 You shall not go out from the door of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die; for the anointing oil of the L-RD is on you." They did according to the word of Moshe. 8 The L-RD spoke to Aharon, saying, 9 "Drink no wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, that you don't die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations: 10 and that you are to make a distinction between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean.” (HNV)

 

The account is given to us and then moves on.  In fact, the following two weeks of study, Tazria and Metzora break away with accounts and instructions concerning ceremonial cleanliness with regards to child birth and then in Metzorah to teach about the ceremonial instructions when it comes to leprosy.

 

Now this week it “seems” like Moshe (Moses) remembers to go back and finish telling us about Nadav  and Avihu with “after the death,” which is clearly talking about their deaths.

 

Leviticus 16:1-4, “The L-RD spoke to Moshe, after the death of the two sons of Aharon, when they drew near before the L-RD, and died; 2 and the L-RD said to Moshe, "Tell Aharon your brother, not to come at all times into the Most Holy Place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark; lest he die: for I will appear in the cloud on the mercy seat. 3 "Herewith shall Aharon come into the sanctuary: with a young bull for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches on his body, and shall put on the linen sash, and he shall be dressed with the linen turban. They are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water, and put them on.”

 

Clearly, we now pick up where Shemini left off.  There are many things going on here, much of which points to pictures of the Messiah Yeshua.  We will touch on a few.  It is not a coincidence that our study this week goes back to Shemini which means “eighth.”  The number eight points to new beginnings, the millennial reign and the Messiah.  Then you will recall some of the lessons from Tazria and the time of purification and the correlation to the age of Yeshua at his execution.  There are many more connections than this, but for the sake of time and space we will move on.

 

Typically, in churches that even mention the sons of Aaron and the strange fire, they normally talk about the negatives.  They mention that there were sins of pride, impatience, drunkenness and so many other things are taught.  Some of the sages have taught that there was also a good side to this story.  Beyond all the things that were done wrong and outside of the parameters for this Divine service, there was still the motivation of drawing nearer to G-d.  There are also teachings that this boldness opened up their generation to a closer relationship to G-d in that as a result of what happened, G-d introduced Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement.

 

See verses 2 and 3 of the last portion given above.  These are the instructions concerning Yom Kippur. 

 

There is so much more here, but I want to focus on two instructions to the High Priest for this Holiest of services, which has great application to us today.

 

The two sacrifices that are to be brought before G-d are a goat and bull (Ox).  Why these two sacrifices?  It is significant in that when we look deeper, beyond the surface we begin to understand something with great meaning today.  A goat is a destructive animal.  It will eat a field destroying it because it will even take up the roots.  This leaves the field barren and dead.  Many of our sins are not only destructive to our own souls, but have ramifications that reach out and destroy others around us.  The Ox is a constructive animal in that it is used to carry and to move heavy loads.  It can be harnessed to till the ground for cultivation of crops.  When we come to the Holy of Holies and make teshuva (repentance or turning away from sin), we lay down both our sin, but also give back to the L-RD even that which is good, for it all belongs to Him. 

 

 

 

The story of Nadav and Avihu is one we should take to heart.  Perhaps they did have good intentions at the root of what they did.  We can see how this tragic event did indeed ultimately get turned around to bring good not only to their generation, but to every generation that followed.  But it reminds me of the lesson taught in Isaiah chapter one.  In the first seventeen verses, we learn that the right thing done in the wrong way is still wrong!  There is one way to please G-d, and that is to walk in His Way.

 

Finally, let’s look at verse four of chapter 16 of Leviticus.  Even something like the instructions of the linen garments that the High Priest was commanded to wear has great significance and speaks to us today.

 

Linen points to the idea of being Echad, or one with G-d.  The plant where linen comes from bears one stalk from one seed.  At the very smallest level, in a linen garment there is a picture of oneness.  We too should be certain to not only be covered with the Oneness of G-d, but for us to be woven into that oneness and be Echad with our beloved G-d.