A Riddle: What is as bitter as wormwood and as sweet as honey at the same time?

I got this email question the other day from Rick who teaches about the Tabernacle of Moses in his church. Allow me to share my answer with all of you. — Natan

While teaching on the offerings when I presented the “meal offering” I had a few questions. Since the meal offering was fine flour, green ears, frankincense, oil, or salt, I mentioned that there was not supposed to be any leaven or honey put on the sacrifice. Questions follow;

  1. Why couldn’t honey be put on the offering?
  2. I was also asked “no shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”? I think I know why this is, and that is, that this is a meal offering of fellowship and not for trespass or sin offering. Am I correct in my thinking?

I have looked for the answers to both these and can’t seem to find the answers to either. Can you help? I appreciate your answers to questions I have had so far and am thankful that I have someone that I can call on. I think I have as much curiosity about a deeper study as my class does. Any help, I would be grateful.

Honey is sweet  and delightful to the taste and such has nothing to do with the death or is not an attribute of Yeshua’s death. His atoning death for sin was not a sweet or delightful thing and is therefore not an apt symbolic prophetic representation of his horrific death on the cross! That’s why I believe it was a prohibited ingredient for the meal offering.
The meal or grain offering (it was like matzah) was part of the twice daily (olah-tamid) sacrifices and was baked on the altar of sacrifice, which represented Yeshua’s death on the cross. In fact, Yeshua was crucified during the evening sacrifice at about 3:30PM. The meal offering was also part of the fellowship or peace offering and didn’t represent Yeshua’s death per se. It was as barbecue among friends celebrating a reconciled relationship (now that our sins are forgiven and we’re redeemed and can come into the presence of YHVH in right relationship). Thus, the meal offering was part of both both the expiatory and fellowship aspects of the sacrificial system. Why is that? This is because there are two aspects to Yeshua’s death on the cross: the blood/wine and his body/the bread—which are the communion elements we take during the Passover seder meal as per Yeshua’s command. First, our sins are  remitted by his shed blood, not by his  broken body. His blood is for atonement of sin—it paid the legal debt of our sin. His body, on the other hand, was for our healing (“by his stripes we are healed”). Now that our sin debt has been paid, we can be healed by his life flowing through us unhindered by sin. His body also resurrected. Bread is the staff of life. Our sins are washed away by his blood, but his body or His Word brings us life and resurrection once redemption has occurred. This is why the meal offering was part of the sacrificial and fellowship offerings. It speaks not to redemption, but to life in Yeshua now that we’re redeemed. This is what the communion elements represent. Together, they speak both to the idea of redemption from sin and new life as a result. HalleluYah!
Answer to the riddle: The death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah!
 

A Study on 1 Cor 5:7-8 for this last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 For 5:7–8)

1 Corinthians 5:8, Leaven. What specifically is leavening? Leavening is primarily yeast that makes bread rise and, biblically, is the symbol for the sin of pride. Leavening is also a symbol of decay. The rising of the dough is only possible by the natural process of decay. In ancient times, a pinch of fermented or sour dough was placed into a batch of unleavened dough to make it sour and cause it to rise. Yeast is a living micro organism that is classified as a fungi. Fungi feed on both living and dead and decaying organic matter. Yeast turns food sour through the process of fermentation and this begins the process by which something dies. Yeast is an apt metaphor for the corrupting influences of sin, which invades our lives and turns our souls from sweet to sour leading to spiritual death. Were it not for the curse of death because of Adam and Eve’s sin, it’s quite possible that fungi would not exist.

When YHVH commands us to remove the leavening from our homes during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, he’s teaching us an important lesson: We must remove the contagion of sin from our lives if we’re to be sweet, pure, sinless and holy (or set-apart unto YHVH). Sin, like yeast fungi, causes decay and death, and to remove yeast from our homes is like Continue reading

 

You Have Priestly, Spiritual Authority in Yeshua…Use It!

John 20:22, Remit. Remit or forgive is the  word aphiemi meaning “to send away, to bid going away or depart, to send forth, yield up, to expire, to let go, let alone, let be, to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit, to give up, keep no longer, to permit, allow, not to hinder, to give up a thing to a person, to leave, go way from one.” From the context of the previous verse, those who have received the Set-Apart Spirit have the divine authority to relieve someone of their sin burden, although ultimate forgiveness sins in the ultimate sense resulting in salvation in the final analysis belongs only to Elohim. Perhaps this means that a Spirit-filled believer can act as a high priest and intercede for someone who is burdened down with sin and relieve them of some of that sin burden. A person can become so burdened and bent down with the guilt, condemnation and shame of sin that they cannot easily come to YHVH. By relieving them of some of that burden, they may be more able to come to salvation. This seems to be what the high priest was doing on Yom Kippur in Lev 16, and perhaps Job was doing this when interceding for his children on their birthdays.

John 20:23, If you forgive the sins [NKJV] or Whose soever sins ye remit [KJV]. As in the binding and loosing scriptures (Matt 16:19 and 18:18), Yeshua is giving his disciples judicial authority to declare a person innocent or guilty (or bound or loosed) of the charges made against him by someone else. This seems to go hand-in-hand with Yeshua giving them the keys of the kingdom (Matt 16:19) as his spiritual authorities and representatives on earth. Along with this, he gave them power over demonic forces and Elohim’s enemies (Luke 9:1; 10:19), including over sickness and disease (Mark 16:17–18).

 

Preparing Ourselves for Passover

 

Repent of Sin and Get Under the Lamb’s Blood. As the children of Israel applied the lamb’s blood to the door posts and lintels of their house, so we must apply the sin-cleansing and Satan-defeating blood of Yeshua afresh to our lives (i.e., to your thoughts as represented by the door lintel and actions and to our hands as represented by the door posts). This occurs as we repent of our sins, and pray for and receive YHVH’s forgiveness. He will then cover our sins over or wash away our sins by Yeshua’s blood (1 John 1:9; Rev 1:5)

In Egypt at Passover time, YHVH judged all those who had failed to put the lamb’s blood on the door posts of their houses. In other words, they weren’t under the blood of the lamb, and they were still under the penalty of sin, which is death. Unrepented sin has a death claim on us all. To the degree that one has sin in their life is the degree that the spirit of death has a hold on one’s life. Now is the time to repent of sin by confessing it and seeking Elohim’s forgiveness under the blood of Yeshua and then forsaking that sin through YHVH’s grace.

Here are some things of which to repent.

Pride. Do you always think that you’re right? Your opinion is what matters the most? Do you have a hard time with those who don’t see it your way, when you don’t get your way? Do you have a fit when people disagree with you? Do you criticize others and put others down (especially those who are closest to you)? Do you belittle, mock, scorn and ridicule others? Do you focus on other people’s faults? Do you have a hard time identifying any sins that you have committed? Are you proud of your humility? Are you proud of how Torah-observant you are (compared to others)? Are you overly defensive when someone corrects you or challenges your opinion? Do you blame others when things don’t go right instead of taking personal responsibility for your actions? These are all signs of pride. Pride is self-idolization. Elohim hates pride and calls it an abomination (Prov 6:16–17).

Selfishness and self-absorption (putting self above others too much of the time). Are you ungrateful? Are you discontent about your place in life? Do you always want more? Are your material possessions and personal belongings really important to you? Do you have a hard time giving things away? This is a form of self-idolatry and idolization of things.

Love of this world over love of YHVH and the things that matter to him. This a form of idolatry. You’re concerned with what others think more than what Elohim thinks about things.

Sins of the mouth include mean, selfish, unkind, angry, impatient, egotistical words toward others. This is idolization of self. What matters most is what I have to say, how I feel, my opinions and I have the right to say what I want when I want. This is also pride.

The lack of the fear of Elohim. Are you more concerned with what others think than what YHVH Elohim thinks about something? Anything in our lives that we put ahead of Elohim is idolatry.

Ask yourself this: In everything that I do and say, am I advancing the kingdom of Elohim and bringing glory to Yeshua or am I doing the opposite? Am I being a river of life to all those around me, or am I dragging them downward by being a purveyor of negativity and darkness?

Tell the Redemption Story. It is the responsibility of parents and elders to pass on to the next generation the Passover story (Exod 12:24–27). Explain how the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt (a metaphor for the world), to Pharaoh (a metaphor for Satan), and how YHVH delivered the Israelites from the judgment of the destroyer (YHVH’s judgment against sin) because they put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts (a picture of Yeshua’s sin-atoning death on the cross). In reality, this is the basic gospel message.

Celebrate the Feasts. Prepare your heart and mind to obey YHVH by keeping his appointed times of Passover and Unleavened Bread. Are you willing to obey his commands pertaining to these observances? How much do you love him (John 14:15)? How much do you want to know him (1 John 2:6–7)? Celebrating YHVH’s feasts help us to love him and to know him better.

Examine Yourself. At this time of the year, we must each examine ourselves to insure that we will not be partaking of the cup of redemption (i.e. the communion cup) unworthily (1 Cor 11:28).

Rediscover the Cross. It is time to rediscover the cross of Yeshua again and your place at its foot. It is also time to rediscover the power of the resurrected Yeshua in one’s life. Marvel at the miracle of the resurrection and consider the fact that you have access to Yeshua’s resurrected life through faith in him and through the work of his Set-Apart Spirit as we obey the Word of Elohim.

A Time of Spiritual Awakening and New Beginnings. Passover occurs in the spring at the beginning of the biblical year. Spring is a time of new beginnings physically and spiritually. It’s the time of year to take stock of one’s life, assess any weaknesses and deficiencies you have, and then resolve to make the necessary changes. It is the time to make improvements through the power of YHVH’s grace, his Word, his Spirit all through a vibrant, daily relationship with Yeshua our Master and Savior.

The Season for Spiritual Housecleaning. It’s Time to Deleaven.  Passover is time of spring cleaning and deleavening our physical houses (Exod 12:15–20) and removing the leaven of sin from our spiritual houses as well (Pss 26:2; 139:1, 23–24). We must root out and eradicate the old sin habits from the crevices and dark areas of our life.

In Scripture, leavening represents sin, pride, hypocrisy and false doctrine.  Do the sinful practices, evil habits and illicit delicacies of Egypt still hold sway on us? Do any unclean spirits or filthy habits still have control over us? It is time to take control of these sins and eliminate them and become wholly consecrated unto YHVH-Yeshua, his Word, his plans and purposes. It is time to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (Matt 6:33). One can’t serve two masters at the same time (i.e. the world and the flesh) and expect to be pleasing to YHVH (Matt 6:24).

It’s time to forsake all these things that drag us down spiritually and pull us away from our Father in heaven. It’s time to move onward and upward spiritually!

Time to Renew Our First Love For Yeshua. It is time to renew our first love for Yeshua our Heavenly Bridegroom (Rev 2:4–5). Now is the time to rekindle our passion and zeal for Yeshua and to repent of spiritual lukewarmness (Rev 3:15–21).

 

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

 

Dealing With Sin at the Red Heifer Altar and the Altar of Sacrifice

Exodus 27:1–8, An altar. Just inside the door of the tabernacle was the altar of sacrifice. It was made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze, which is a shadow picture of Yeshua bearing the judgment for men’s sins on the cross. The blood of the sacrifice was poured out on the ground at the base of the altar picturing Yeshua shedding his blood at the cross. Two lambs were offered at the altar morning and evening (Exod 29:38–42). This pictures our need to come humbly before our Father in heaven morning and evening in prayerful devotion as living sacrifices to confess our sins, to praise and thank him (Ps 51:16–17; Heb 13:15; 1 John 1:7–9).

The Altar of Sacrifice in More Details. Upon understanding that the Person and work of Yeshua is the way into life, spiritual light and truth, one must also recognize that one’s sin liability keeps one from a having personal relationship with one’s Creator. The broken fellowship with one’s Creator due to the uncleanness of sin is the reason for this. For one to have a relationship with a sinless, perfect, totally set-apart or holy Elohim,the sin problem has to be dealt with. Sin must be atoned along with the resulting guilt, shame and penalty (death) that sin brings. In the Tabernacle of Moses, liability and effect of sin is dealt with at the altar of the red heifer outside the gate of the tabernacle, which represents the work of Yeshua at the cross (Heb 13:10–13). There one was purified and made ready to come into the actual tabernacle. Upon doing so, the first thing one encountered when entering the tabernacle was the altar of sacrifice where both kosher animals and unleavened bread (made of the finest flour and the purest olive oil) were offered, and a fermented wine libation was poured out twice daily (morning and afternoon, Num 28:1–8). These all picture the body of Yeshua being broken and slain for us and our need to “eat” his body and “drink” his blood in a spiritual sense (John 6:35–58). The supper on Passover night which overlaps on to the first Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also picture of this since the participants would eat fire-roasted lamb, unleavened bread and fermented wine.

The fire on the altar was to be kept burning at all times; it was never to go out (Lev 6:13). Additionally, before ministering at the altar, a priest was to always wash his hands and feet at the bronze laver (Exod 30:17–21) and to put on the priestly robes (Lev 6:10). These things are prophetic shadows that point to the ministry of Yeshua before the throne of the Father in heaven. There, as our heavenly high priest, he, in an ultimate state of purity and perfection he is ever making intercession for us and reconciling us to the Father (Eph 2:18; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 7:25–26; 8:1–2, 5–6; 9:11–22; 10:19–22; 1 John 2:1).

At the twice daily offering (the morning shacharit and the afternoon minchah), a yearling lamb was sacrificed on the north side of the altar, or its left side as viewed from the holy of holies, which represents the throne of Elohim. (Furthermore, north is significant since Scripture seems to indicate that the third heaven where Elohim dwells is in the northern region of the sky [Isa 14:13].) The lamb’s blood was then sprinkled round about the altar as an atonement for sin, while a wine libation was poured out onto the altar, and unleavened bread was cooked and offered at the same time on the altar (Num 28:1–8; Lev 1:11). The fact that the lamb was killed on the north or left side of the altar is prophetically significant since it points to Yeshua’s first coming as the Suffering Servant Messiah, the Lamb of Elohim. The left side is significant since the left hand (usually the weaker hand), in Jewish thought, represents grace and mercy, while the right hand (usually the stronger hand) represents strength, power and judgment. At his first coming, Yeshua was like a lamb led to the slaughter (Isa 52:13–53:12, especially note 53:7) as he spilled his blood as an atonement for men’s sins (Isa 53:5–6,10). Upon his death and glorious resurrection, he returned to heaven where he took his rightful place as the right arm of YHVH Elohim (Acts 7:55–56; Rom 8:34). At Yeshua’s second coming, he will come, not as a lamb led to the slaughter this time, but in power and glory as a warrior on a white stallion to judge the wicked and to reward the righteous. After that, he will assume his position as King of kings and Lord of lords over the earth during the Millennium as revealed in the Book of Revelation.

Now let’s consider the actual construction of the altar of sacrifice to see how it pointed prophetically to Yeshua in other ways. It was constructed of acacia wood overlaid in bronze. Wood and trees represent men (Ps 1:1,3; Jer 5:14). Yeshua was a carpenter. Bronze speaks of judgment. Yeshua, a man who worked in wood (representing humanity) and died on a tree took the fire of judgment upon himself for humanity’s sins.

All the animals slaughtered in the sacrificial system were similar to the minimum amount due on a credit card statement of a bill so huge one cannot possible pay the balance, so one pays the minimum until somehow, miraculously, someone will step in to pay the full amount. Yeshua paid that debt for each of us at the cross.

The first sacrifice was lit by fire from heaven. This signifies that the blood of Yeshua delivers us from the wrath of Elohim (Rom 5:9).

YHVH sent fire from heaven once to light the altar of sacrifice, but it was up to the priests to maintain that fire. The fire had to be constantly fed and the old ashes had to be removed to keep the fire burning. Similarly, when a person is redeemed spiritually and born again by the Spirit of Elohim, he has to maintain the spiritual fire in his life to ensure that it doesn’t die out due to lack of fuel, or get choked due to the ashes of traditions and dead works.

Offerings were made on the altar of sacrifice in the morning and in the evening. This teaches us that twice daily we must come before YHVH’s throne in heaven and at the altar there leave our prayers and confess our sins (1 John 1:9), drawing close to our loving Creator in communion and devotion of service to him.