Blog Scripture Reading Schedule for 3-26 Through 4-1-17

Aside

THIS WEEK’S SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION:

Parashat Vayikra —Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26 (6:7)*
Haftarah — Isaiah 43:21 – 44:23
Prophets — Isaiah 11:1 – 20:6
Writings — Proverbs 18:1 – 24:34
Testimony — John 15:1 – 19:42

Our new Scripture Reading Schedule for 2016-2017 is available to download!

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day. One each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

* Verse numbers in parenthesis refer to the verse number in Christian English Bibles when they differ from Hebrew Bibles or the Tanakh.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 3/26/17 through 4/1/17.

 

Lessons from a Tree on How to Abide in Yeshua, Who Is Our Tree of Life

Now let’s combine the concept of abiding, humans being like trees and Yeshua as it relates to his teaching about abiding in him in John 15.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide1 in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide2 in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide3 in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth4 in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me5, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide6 in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide7 in his love. (John 15:1–10; the superscripted numbers indicate the word abide occurs seven times in the passage as it relates to a righteous person abiding in Yeshua.)

Yeshua relates the concept of abiding in him to a plant or a tree with branches in John 15:1–10. What are the spiritual implications of abiding in Yeshua and how do we abide in him?

The term abide is found nine times in this passage. Seven of the those nine times are in reference to abiding in Yeshua or his Father. Seven is the biblical number of completion or perfection. When we abide in Yeshua and his Father, then we’re made perfect or complete in all areas of our life: spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. The result is that we will bear much spiritual fruit for him; namely, we will produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal 5:22–23).

Let’s explore the spiritual dynamics of abiding in Yeshua that enable us to be Continue reading

 

Leviticus 1–7 An Overview of the Sacrificial System

 

Although Jewish and Christian scholars disagree about whether the sacrifices were to cease after the coming of the Messiah, as Edersheim points out, all agree that the object of a sacrifice was substitution for the offender (The Temple – Its Ministry and Service, p. 90). He also notes that the Jewish fathers along with the Scriptures that all these substitutionary sacrifices pointed to none other than the Messiah. This understanding is especially expressed in the proto-rabbinic biblical Aramaic commentaries or Targumim (e.g. Tarum Jonathan and the Jerusalem Targum; ibid., p. 92). Later rabbinic sages, in light of the rise of Christianity, were loath to accept this interpretation and, to this day, pretend it was never the belief of their ancient predecessors.

As the Tanakh progresses, the concept of the substitutionary sacrifice as it relates to the sinner and to the Messiah expands and unfolds. The unity of the Tanakh in this regard and its progression of revelation on this subject must be taken into consideration when studying the sacrifices listed in Leviticus and the rest of the Torah if we are to understand completely the biblical concept of substitutionary sacrifice as well as the Messianic prophecies. The concept of sacrifice in the Tanakh point us prophetically in progressive stages to the sin atoning death of the Messiah on behalf of sinners. Such passages in the Tanakh as Pss 2, 22, 35, 69, 72, 89, 110, 118 along with Isa 52:13–53:12 (many other scriptural passages could be cited here as well) point undeniably to the Person and work of Yeshua the Messiah including his suffering and glorification. The apostolic writers understood these prophecies and how Yeshua fulfilled them perfectly (e.g. Isa 52:13–53:12 cp. Heb 9:11–15; 10:4–7, 1; etc.), and this understanding forms the basis for the New Testament, which the authors thereof refer to as The Testimony of Yeshua (Rev 1:9; 6:2; etc.).

The Prophetic Significance of the Offerings

Along with the burnt offering there were five other types of offerings each representing different aspects of a follower of Yeshua dealing with sin in his life. They are listed in Leviticus and elsewhere in the Torah. They are:

  • the meal or cereal offering (Lev 2; 6:14–23)
  • the guilt or sin offering (Lev 4; 6:24–30)
  • the trespass offering (Lev 5:14–6:7)
  • the peace or wave offering (Lev 3; 7:11–21)
  • the drink offering (Exod 29:40;–41; 30:9; Lev 23:13; Num 6:17; 15:5, 7, 10, 24; 28:7–10, 15, 24; 29:16, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 38)

In these offerings, there is great spiritual symbolism. For example, the oil, salt, flour, frankincense and baking over fire of the meal offering all point to Yeshua. In scriptural Continue reading

 

Holiness—The Dominant Theme of Leviticus and the Bible

 

The focus of Leviticus is holiness and holy living. Holiness is the chief attribute of Elohim and the most defining aspect of his character. It has to do with the fact that Elohim is entirely good and without evil and moral defect and is sinless. This is why the spiritual beings around his heavenly throne are continually crying, “Holy, holy, holy” in his Presence (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). This is why one of his titles is The Kadosh One of Israel,which is used more than thirty times in the Tanakh (e.g. 2 Kgs 19:22; Ps 71:22; Isa 1:4; Jer 50:29). This is why the high priest who ministered in the Tabernacle of Moses and later in the temple wore a golden crown or headplate with the words inscribed on it, SET-APARTNESS TO YHVH. Not only was this pointing upward to YHVH’s set-apartness, but man himself is to become holy or set-apart even as YHVH Elohim is set-apart, for we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews that the attribute of holiness is a prerequisite for a man coming into the Presence of Elohim (Heb 12:14).

The Hebrew word for holy and holiness is kadosh, which is defined as “sacredness, consecrated, set-apartness or separateness.” That which is holy or kadosh relates to that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred, godly or heavenly and is distinct or separate from the sphere of the common, profane, defiled or polluted. Everything about Elohim is holy or set-apart compared to man who is completely polluted and defiled by sin and is thus unholy (Jer 17:9; Rom 3:23; Isa 64:6).

The Tabernacle of Moses had two rooms: the kadosh place and the most kadosh place. The nomenclature of these rooms relates to the chief attribute of Elohim, which is his set-apartness. The tabernacle is represents heaven where YHVH dwells with the most kadosh place representing his throne room. The understanding of this reality may help us to appreciate the ceremonial rituals that YHVH required of the priest in order to enter and to minister in the tabernacle. It is a picture man coming into the heavenly presence of Elohim.

Elohim gave Moses, Aaron, the priests and Levites strict protocols to follow to insure that the tabernacle stay holy and keep from becoming profane, polluted or defiled. This involved caring for and properly handling the building and its furnishings as well as the priestly attire and their bodily, ritualistic and spiritual cleanliness. If these protocols weren’t followed, there were penalties — sometimes involving the death of the violator. If they were followed, the result was a blessed relationship with Elohim.

The requirements for coming into and ministering in the Tabernacle of Moses, the dwelling place of Elohim’s Presence (Exod 25:8) teach us several things.

First, Elohim is holy and undefiled and is thus transcendent above the earthly and human plane. He is pure, set-apart and undefiled by.

Second, heaven and the Presence Elohim is a holy and undefiled place. The tabernacle was the earthly dwelling place of Elohim’s Presence (Exod 25:8). It and everything about it was to remain holy or set-apart. Nothing was to defile it.

Third, maintaining a high standard of holiness with regard to everything pertaining to the tabernacle teaches us that no one can come into the Presence of Elohim without first going through proper protocols to become undefiled.

Forth, there was a death sentence upon those who refused or neglected to follow these protocols. This teaches man to fear, honor, respect and even to dread Elohim who has the power over life and death. Man cannot come into Elohim’s Presence in a casual, cavalier or arrogant manner in a defiled or polluted state.

Fifth, the Tabernacle of Moses was a “processing center” to aid man in going from an unholy, polluted and sinful state to progressively becoming more and more holy and sinless. Eventually, man could come to a place — by following YHVH’s protocols of holy living — of intimate fellowship with Elohim. This is pictured by the inner room, or holy of holies, of the tabernacle where the Presence or Kavod of Elohim was dwelt. The holy of holies is representative of Elohim’s heavenly throne room.

Sixth, man was created in Elohim’s image to have an intimate relation with him and with the capability of reflecting his divine character. When man sinned in the garden, man’s relationship with Elohim was cut off. The Tabernacle of Moses shows man how to deal with the pollution or defilement of sin through blood atonement and the eventual sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross to which all the bloody, sacrificial rituals of the tabernacle pointed.

Seventh, there is no other way for man to come into the Presence of Elohim except through the protocols that he has established. Man has to recognize his sinfulness, turn away from his state of unholiness or pollution by making the proper sacrifices. He must then turn to and embrace Elohim’s holy or righteous standards for living a sinless life.

Holiness is the greater message of Leviticus as it relates to the redeemed believer coming into conformity with the exalted and righteous standards of a holy Elohim. This occurs when one recognizes their unholiness or sinfulness, puts their faith in the blood atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of Elohim, Yeshua the Messiah who died on the cross in payment for men’s sins, and then turns from sin by adhering to Elohim’s standards of righteousness as outlined in the Torah and the rest of the Scriptures, and as lived out by Yeshua and his immediate disciples.

Holiness involves heeding Elohim’s call to become his special and treasured possession by following him and allowing him to separate us from the defilement or pollutions of the heathen nations around us (Lev 20:26; Deut 7:6; 14:2; 26:19).

This message of holiness — and the message of the entire Bible — can be succinctly summed up by Elohim’s loving and longing cry to his people on several occasions to be holy as he is holy (Lev 11:44, 45; 20:7, 26; 1 Pet 1:16). The Torah shows us how to be holy (Lev 20:7–8). The Torah (and the rest of Scripture) shows us that being holy not only involves behavior, but man’s thoughts and attitudes, words and physical cleanliness as well as the observance of holy times (e.g. the Sabbath and biblical festivals), and respect of things that are dedicated to Elohim. Men must learn to make a division or separation between the spheres of the holy and the profane and to keep them separate (Ezek 44:23; 22:26), and to not let the latter pollute the former.

The message of holiness has serious implications for each individual, for as the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares, without holiness, no one will see Elohim (Heb 12:14 cp. Ps 15:2ff).

 

Overview of the Book of Leviticus/Vayikra

Outline of Leviticus

Leviticus is divided into to several main parts. Chapters one to 16 deal with laws of sacrifice and purification. In the second section (chapters 17–25), Elohim sets forth his demands for holy living that his people might maintain a right relationship with him. Chapter 26 lays out the blessings and curses for obedience to YHVH’s commands. The final chapter of the book ends with some miscellaneous laws.

  • The five main offerings (Lev 1–7)
  • The ordination of priests (Lev 6:8–7:38)
  • Laws of cleanliness (food, childbirth, diseases, etc.) (Lev 11–15)
  • Day of Atonement (Lev 16–17)
  • Moral laws regulating relationships between humans (Lev 18–20)
  • Regulations for priests, the offerings of the annual feasts (Lev 21:1–24:9)
  • Punishment for blasphemy, murder, etc. (Lev 24:10–23)
  • The Sabbatical year, Jubilee, land laws, slavery (Lev 25)
  • Blessings and curses (Lev 26)
  • Regulations pertaining to vows made to YHVH (Lev 27)

Themes and Main Points of Leviticus

Leviticus stands at the center of the Torah, and there’s a reason for this, since it shows man how to come into relationship with Elohim.

Holiness (or being set-apart) is the key theme of Leviticus. This includes the set-apartness of YHVH and the need for man to become set-apart (Heb. kadosh, Lev 11:44). Leviticus lays out the terms are laid out by which an unholy, profane, polluted or sinful people can come into a spiritual and even contractual and marital relationship with their holy, morally pure and sinless Creator. It also delineates the terms of the contract including penalties for its violation and blessings for adherence to it.

Leviticus carries on to completion the giving of the Torah-law, which started in Exodus 20, and which firmly established the Torah as Israel’s binding covenant with Elohim and the legal corpus that would govern that nation. The Torah literally became Continue reading

 

Leviticus 1:1–5:26 Parashat Vayikra

This is a gospel-oriented Torah study. Our goal is to connect the good news of Yeshua the Messiah (the gospel message) to its Hebraic, pro-Torah roots or foundations. The information given here is more than head knowledge. Understanding and wisdom (the right application of knowledge that is based on truth) is taught thus making biblical truth practical, relevant and applicable to your daily life. The truths of the Bible not only have the power to transform your life here and now for the better, but eventually to take you past the veil of death and into eternity.

This Torah study is subdivided in sections by topic in a magazine format thus making it easy to watch at several sittings.

May you be blessed as you watch this video.

For a free, printable adult and youth Torah study guide on this Torah portion (parashah), please go to http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/parshiot.html

 

                                                    — Light-Hearted First Day—

My good friend Daniel Botkin from Illinois has given me permission to reprint some of his cartoons on this blog. He is a long time Messianic, Hebrew roots pastor, and gifted and anointed Bible teacher, writer, artist, cartoonist and composer. He can be reached at GatesOfEden.org and at danielbotkin.com. I encourage you to subscribe to his magazine, The Gates of Eden—The Botkin Bimonthly. He is one of the most balanced Bible teachers out there. He’s also very funny, as the cartoons below show.