Who and what is a priest? YOU?!

Genesis 14:8, Priest. (Heb.cohen). The Meaning of the Term Cohen Explored. This is the first occurrence of this Hebrew word in Scripture. According to The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (or The TWOT), the exact etymological meaning of cohen is unknown since it underlying verbal root does not appear in the Tanakh. 

However, in light of the usage of the word cohen in the Bible, the verbal root is assumed to mean “serving as minister.” This is because the Bible uses cohen not only in reference to those who served in ecclesiastically (as in the Levitical priesthood), but also those who were the first born (or patriarchal) and spiritual heads of their families (Exod 19:22). A cohen could also refer to non-Levitical spiritual ministers (e.g. Melchizekek in Gen 14:8 and Jethro in Exod 2:16; 18:1). The word was also used of those holding ministry offices in a secular or civil government (1 Kgs 4:5; 20:26; 1 Chron 18:16, 17). Truthfully, it is not known whether some of these government officials were actual descendant of Aaron or not such as Ira the Jairite, who was David’s chief minister or cohen (2 Sam 20:26). In at least one case, cohen is used in reference to the sons of King David who served as officials in his administration (2 Sam 8:18), although, as The TWOT points out, the Hebrew of the MS may be in error since the LXX fails to include the term cohen in this verse. 

Moreover, in a sense, all Israel were priests (Exod 19:6), or at least that was to be their spiritual destiny presuming they served YHVH faithfully and did not forget his Torah-law (Hos 4:6). The Bible’s looser designation of the term priest to include non-Levites, and eventually and potentially all Israelites prefigures the eventual royal priesthood of all believers as predicted in Exodus 19:6 and Isaiah 66:21 and was carried forth to its prophetic fulfillment by the apostolic writers to include all Israelites (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). who are “the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16).


Below is an article that I wrote nearly 20 years ago as I was just starting out as a congregational pastor. This was one of the first article that I wrote and published on our near Hoshana Rabbah website. It is still as relevant now as it was then, for the Word of Elohim is timeless, his Truth and standards of righteousness never change and human nature remains the same.

If Yeshua Calls You a Priest, Then Act Like One!

Scripture reveals that the saints are to be a holy or set-apart (kadosh) priesthood, not a profane (worldly and polluted) one. Which are you? Kadosh or profane?

YHVH Is Preparing His Saints to Be a Kingdom of Priests

In the Bible, YHVH declared that it was the destiny of the Israelite nation to become a kingdom of priests (Exod 19:6). As such, he commissioned them to become a light to the heathen nations around them and to lead them to YHVH—the one true Elohim (Deut 4:6–8). This is why YHVH in his sovereignty positioned the nation of Israel at the crossroads of the major trade routes of the ancient world—between three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. Israel did not fulfill this prophetic destiny because of sin and rebellion. They desired to conform their lives to the standards of the wicked nations around them rather than conform to YHVH’s standards of righteousness as revealed in the Torah-law. 

Those who come to faith in Yeshua the Messiah become children of Abraham and are thus Israelites (Rom 4:16; 9:8-11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28-29) who have been grafted in to the olive tree of Israel (Rom 11:11–32); they are the current “Israel of Elohim” (Gal 6:16). Ancient Israel never fulfilled its divine calling to be a kingdom of priests and a light to the nations of the world. YHVH’s calling and purposes for Israel are without repentance (Rom. 11:29). What ancient Israel failed to accomplish because of disobedience, rebellion and faithlessness will be left to grafted in Israel—the one new man in Yeshua the Messiah—to accomplish. Yeshua commissioned his disciples to preach the good news (or gospel) of the kingdom of Elohim to the world (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). But more than that, his disciples were to become that kingdom of priests that ancient Israel missed the opportunity to become.

We read in the Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament) that the saints of YHVH will be called kings and priests (or a kingdom of priests) of YHVH-Yeshua the Messiah and will reign with him during the 1000-year Millennium or Messianic Age.

…[T]o him, the one who loves us, who has freed us from our sins at the cost of his blood, who has caused us to be a kingdom, that is, cohanim [priests] for YHVH, his Father… (Rev 1:5–6, CJB)

…[At] the cost of blood you ransomed for YHVH persons from every tribe, language, people and nation. You made them into a kingdom for YHVH to rule, cohanim [priests] to serve him and they will rule over the earth. (Rev 5:9–10, CJB)

Blessed and set-apart is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be cohanim [priests] of YHVH and of Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years. (Rev 20:6, CJB)

During the Millennium, Messiah will be the King of kings. His government will be a theocracy with him, as the High Priest-King, at the head. The children of Israel operated under a theocratic from of government with Moses as the priest-king (he was from the priestly tribe of Levi and was called a king in Deut 33:4-5) as the human head of state. David Stern in his Jewish New Testament Commentary (p. 10) describes the role of the biblical priest to be like that of a prophet and to serve as spokesman and mediator between YHVH and man. The prophet speaks to man on behalf of YHVH, the priest to YHVH on behalf of man. In terms of practical job-description their primary duty was to offer sacrificial animals on the altar.

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Hebrews 8–9 on the “Old” versus “New” Covenants and the two tabernacles

Hebrews 8

Hebrews 8:2, 5, The true tabernacle…heavenly things. The Tabernacle of Moses was merely an earthly or physical replica of the one that exists in heaven where Yeshua is no ministering as our Great High Priest before the throne of YHVH Elohim the Father (see Heb 9:11, 23–24; Rev 8:3–5; 9:13; 14:17, 18; 16:7, 17; 11:19; 15:5, 6). 

Hebrews 8:6, Better covenant … better promises. (See Heb 9:11–15.) In the Greek, the word better is kreitton meaning “more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous, more excellent.” The Renewed Covenant is a better covenant for the reasons discussed in the notes in verse eight. In 2 Cor 3:7 calls it “the ministry of the Spirit” and refers to it as “more glorious” than the former covenant. The Renewed Covenant comes with Yeshua’s promise that from within our heart the Set-Apart Spirit will empower and lead us into all truth. Moreover, under the Renewed Covenant, the promise of salvation resulting in eternal life in the kingdom of Elohim is spelled out more clearly. The Renewed Covenant also carries with it relief from the penalty of the law, which is death, for those who put their faith in Yeshua’s atoning and substitutionary death (see notes at 2 Cor 3:7). Through the Spirit and blood of Yeshua, one’s sin conscience is now cleansed in that the guilt from sin is removed (Heb 9:14). Also, as discussed in the verse eight notes, the covenant (or contract) is the actual agreement between two parties. The terms and conditions of a covenant (or contract) are something else. Torah was the terms and conditions of YHVH’s agreement between himself and his people. When the author here uses phrase like “better covenant,” this in no way implies that the Torah has been abrogated. If this were true, then this flies in the face of what is said elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua to the contrary (e.g. Matt 5:17–19; Acts 21:24; 24:14; 25:8; Rom 3:31; 7:14; 1 John 2: 3–6; 3:4; Rev 12:17; 14:17; 22:14).

Hebrews 8:8, Finding fault with them. What was the fault of the first covenant? The Torah-law of Elohim, or the people who failed to abide by the terms of the covenant, i.e, the Torah? The next verse gives us the answer: “because they continued not in my covenant…” The Israelites were at fault.

YHVH gave Israel his Torah-laws (or instructions in righteousness) to teach them how to love him and to love their neighbors (Mark 12:29–31). If they followed his Torah-instructions, he promised to bless them (Deut 28:1–14), and declared that all would go well with them (Deut 4:30). Of course, we know the sad history of ancient Israel and how they rebelled against YHVH again and again. There was nothing wrong with his Torah laws, which said, you shall not murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, covet, kidnap, commit homosexuality or incest, worship false gods, take YHVH’s name in vain, keep his Sabbaths, don’t practice divination, honor your parents and so on. What’s wrong with these? Nothing. The fault was with the people who failed to abide by these standards of righteousness, and this is exactly what the author of Hebrews is saying here. Because the people broke their contractual or covenantal agreement with YHVH and literally abandoned him for false gods, he was forced to make a new covenant with other people who would have the heart and love and obey him. This is exactly what Jeremiah prophesied would occur, and the writer of Hebrews is simply quoting Jeremiah in this passage. What is the main difference between the first and second covenants? As the Israelites of old didn’t have the heart to obey YHVH because of the hardness (or carnality) of their hearts (Heb 3:8, 15; 4:2, 7), YHVH promised through Jeremiah to renew his covenant with the descendants of the ancient Israelites (i.e. the house of Israel and the house of Judah, Jer 31:31; Heb 8:8), but this time, by his Spirit, he would write his Torah-laws on their hearts and in their inward parts, so they wouldn’t resist obeying him, but would desire to be pleasing in his sight. So the fault was with the hard-hearted Israelites, not with YHVH standards of righteousness called his Torah-laws!

New covenant. (For a discussion on the etymology behind the phrase new covenant see notes at Matt 26:28.)The (renewed) covenant of Jeremiah 31:31 is the same covenant to which the writer of Hebrews makes reference in Hebrews 8:7–13. From the author’s perspective, the renewed covenant isn’t fully in place yet, and the former covenant is decaying (wearing out), growing old and vanishing away (disappearing). The indication is that it has not totally gone away yet.

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The Overview of the Red Heifer Ceremony and Its Greater Implications

Numbers 19:1–11. The red heifer (Heb. parah adumah). 

The Jewish sages teach that the commandment (mitzvah) of the red cow is “beyond human understanding.” Like the afikoman (the middle broken matzah that is “buried” and “resurrected,” which is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua) in the Passover (Pesach) Seder, the meaning of which to this day remains unclear to the Jewish scholars, the red cow is a ritual that makes sense only when Yeshua the Messiah is added to the picture.

While the symbolism of the red heifer was, to Jewish Torah scholars, admittedly incomprehensible to human reason, by the second temple era they began to speculate about its spiritual significance in their aggadic literature. Some felt that it was an atonement for the sin of the golden calf (The Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion, Massada – P.E.C. Press, 1965, p. 327; The ArtScroll Chumash, p. 839). Others viewed it as somehow relating to the azazel or scapegoat and the bullock sin offering of Yom Kippur, since all were sacrificed outside the camp of Israel (Lev 16:27).

The sacrifice of the red heifer was for the purpose of purifying someone who had become ritually impure or polluted through contact with the dead, or for purifying metal war booty (Num 31:21ff). This sacrifice was to be made outside of the camp of Israel, and later occurred outside of the walls of the city of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, not far from the Temple. The concept of the camp signifies outside of or away from the divine presence or shekinah of YHVH meaning outside the tabernacle courtyard (The ArtScroll Chumash, p. 839).

The heifer was to be three to five years of age and totally red in color, blemish free and to have never born a burden and, according to Jewish tradition, to be without a single black or white hair on its body. The animal was slaughtered with the priest sprinkling its blood seven times toward the tabernacle’s entrance (later this occurred at the temple in Jerusalem). The entire carcass (hide, entrails and meat) was then burned on a wood pyre. Into the fire were tossed cedar wood, hyssop and a scarlet thread. The ashes were then divided into three portion: one part was kept in a secure place on the Mount of Olives (during the second temple period), one part was kept in the area immediately outside the wall of the temple courtyard, and one part was divided among the priests throughout the land of Israel to be used, as needed, in purifying the people (Mishnah Parah 3:11). The ashes to be used in the temple service were then mixed with fresh water (in Jerusalem, from the Pool of Siloam), and then called “waters of separation” (meyi nidahnidah means “impurity, filthiness, menstruous, set apart, ceremonial impurity”), and were ritually sprinkled over something or someone that was impure. Numbers 19:9 states that the waters of sprinkling were for purification. The Hebrew word for purification is chatat, which according to some rabbinic interpreters is a reference to a sin offering (Ibid.). Others disagree arguing that the plain (pashat) meaning of the text does not speak of the red heifer atoning for sin (see Rashi’s commentary on this verse). This is an interesting debate, but regardless of what the Jewish sages think, the ritual of the red heifer shows striking parallels to Yeshua’s salvific work at the cross, as we discuss below.

The crucifixion implications of the red heifer were not missed by the Jewish-Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim. He links the Yom Kippur scapegoat, which was to remove the personal guilt of the Israelites (Lev 16), with the red heifer, which was to take away the defilement of death that stood between man and Elohim, with the “living bird,” dipped in “the water and the blood,” and then “let loose in the field” at the purification from leprosy (Lev 14:1–7), which symbolized the living death of personal sinfulness, were all, either wholly offered, or in their essentials completely outside the sanctuary. He then observes that the Old Testament sanctuary had no real provision for spiritual wants to which they symbolically pointed; their removal lay outside its sanctuary and beyond its symbols (The Temple and Its Ministry, pp. 280–281). This is why Yeshua had to be sacrificed outside of the temple area. Additionally, he had to be the sacrifice for sin outside of the temple area (Heb 13:12), which symbolized the shekinah or divine presence of YHVH. This speaks of the fact that the Father looked away, turned his back on and forsook Yeshua while he bore the sins of the world on his shoulders (Isa 53:4–6Matt 27:46).

The writer of Hebrews understood the greater implications of the red heifer as it pointed to Yeshua when he wrote:

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and various washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Messiah being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to Elohim, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim? And for this cause he is the mediator of the renewed covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (Heb 9:11–15, emphasis added)

Eighteenth-century Christian commentator, Matthew Henry, asks why does the Torah make a corpse a defiling thing? He answers that it is because death is the wages of sin, which entered into the world by it, and reigns by the power of it. The law could not conquer death, nor abolish it, as the gospel does, by bringing life and immortality to light, and so introducing a better hope. As the ashes signified the merits of Messiah’s perfect sin-free life, so the running water signified the power and grace of the blessed Spirit, who is compared to rivers of living water; and it is by his work that the righteousness of Messiah is applied to us for our cleansing (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 137, Moody).

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Are YOU a living menorah?

Numbers 8:2, The menorah. The phrase toward the face of the menorah is an interesting one. The Jewish sages teach that the three wicks on the right and the three on the left were all directed toward the menorah’s central stem, thus concentrating light toward the center. The menorah symbolized that YHVH is the Source of all light (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 775). What are the connotations of this for a believer in Yeshua? How did Yeshua describe himself? (See John 8:12; 9:5.) Moreover, what did he mean when he said that “I am the vine and you are the branches?” (John 15:5) What does this mean and how is this pointing to a type of human menorah? Now relate this to the seven Messianic assemblies of Revelation 2 and 3 being likened to menorahs (Rev 1:13, 20). Is Yeshua the center of all that we do? Do we place all of our focus on him? Can we say, as the Apostle Paul did, that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)? Does the power of his resurrected life and anointing flow through you even as oil was in the menorah and sap flows through a tree to its branches?

Redeemed Israelites Are That Menorah

The Scriptures plainly states that Yeshua and his body of followers are likened to a tree of which the seven-branched menorah that adorned the mishkan (tabernacle) in the wilderness as well as the sanctuary of Solomon’s Temple is a picture. Furthermore, remember what Yeshua said in John 15:5? “I am the vine and you are the branches …” This is a perfect picture of the menorah, which has a central trunk with six (the number representing man) branches growing out of the trunk. Remember what Yeshua said in Matthew 5:14–15, that his followers were to be lights upon a lampstand on a hill for all the world to see—a clear allusion in the mind of anyone in Yeshua’s audience to the temple’s menorah (which was upon the Temple Mount like a light on a hill).

Additionally, when a redeemed believer in and follower of Yeshua is in a sacred state of worshipping his Master and Savior, he will often lift his arms heavenward. Not only is this the universal sign of surrender (in this case to one’s Heavenly Master), but when we lift our hands our bodies are actually forming a human menorah. By doing this, in worship we are acting out what we are—a lampstand to the world radiating forth the good news of the truth and love of Yeshua.

In fact, The Scriptures shows us that the menorah, and not the cross, is the symbol of Yeshua’s spiritual body of believers. We see this in Revelation 1:12, 20 and 2:1 where the seven congregations are symbolized as a seven-branched menorah! The menorah here is the symbol of the congregation of redeemed believers.

Though the cross is representative of the redemptive work Yeshua accomplished on our behalf, it is not the symbol of the body of believers, commonly called the “church,” but the menorah is! Furthermore, in Jewish thought, the menorah is analogous to an olive tree (the ancient temple menorah was constructed of hollow tubes of solid gold filled with olive oil that burned when lit), to which the Apostle Paul makes reference in Romans 11, as representing the tree of life (which ultimately represents Yeshua) into which all must be grafted if they are to be part the spiritual body of Yeshua and have his eternal life.

 

The Aaronic or Priestly Blessing Explained

Numbers 6:22–27, The Aaronic or Priestly Blessing. The Aaronic Blessing is about the power of blessing and the power of our words. The Scriptures teach us that our words can heal, build up and encourage, or kill, tear down and curse, that the power of life and death is in the tongue. What kind of words come from your mouth—especially to your spouse and children? Charity begins at home. How often do you speak blessings over your children and spouse? Do you bless those who curse you as Yeshua instructed his disciples to do?

The Levitical priesthood was one of YHVH’s blessings or marriage gifts to his bride, Israel. It was given to her at the time of their marriage to him at Mount Sinai. The Aaronic or Priestly Blessings of Numbers 6:22–27 indicate that the priests were to be a conduit of YHVH’s blessings to his people. The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash correctly states it this way: “[The priests did not] have any independent power to confer or withhold blessings—only God can assure people of success, abundance, and happiness—but that part of their Temple service is to be the conduit through which God’s blessing would be pronounced on His people” (p. 762). Hirsch in his commentary on the priestly blessing states that it is Jewish tradition for the human instrument conveying the blessing to raise his hands (vertically and not horizontally) to heaven while reciting this blessing so as not to give the people the impression that the priest is conveying the blessing, but that it is coming from heaven (The Pentateuch Numbers, p. 99, Judaica Press). The Jewish sages further note that in Numbers 6:22–23, the Torah uses the word saying three times to emphasize the fact that the blessings flow from YHVH to the Israelites and are to be passed on to subsequent generations. The saints are YHVH’s priesthood now (“a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a kadosh nation, a peculiar people,” 1 Pet 2:9). Are you an instrument of blessing everywhere you go? Do you ask YHVH to use you every day to spread the light of his truth and his love to others?

The Aaronic Blessing can be subdivided into three sections:

(a) The First Blessing: May YHVH bless you and safeguard you. The Jewish sages take this to refer to the material and physical blessings that Torah obedience brings as enumerated in Deuteronomy 28:1–14. This includes good health, wealth, divine protection and victory over enemies. YHVH’s blessing and his safeguarding of those blessings from those who would kill, steal and destroy them go hand-in-hand. The sages teach that “the best way for someone to preserve his wealth is to use it for charity and good deeds. That assures him of God’s continued blessing” (ibid. p. 763).

(b) The Second Blessing: May YHVH illuminate his countenance for you and be gracious to you. The sages teach that this illumination refers to the light of the Torah and they cite Proverbs 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp and the Torah is a light.” Compare this with what John said about Yeshua in John 1:1–14; 8:12; 9:5 about Yeshua being the Light of the world. YHVH’s grace also involves him granting his people Torah knowledge, wisdom and understanding to utilize Torah properly and fully; to use the insights gained therefrom to comprehend his purposes (ibid. p. 763).

(c) The Third Blessing: May YHVH lift his countenance and establish peace/shalom for you. In Hebraic poetic symbolism, the idea of YHVH’s face or countenance shining toward his people is a metaphor of divine grace and favor. Contrariwise, when his face is turned against his people, this represents divine disapproval and shame upon his people (For examples of this in the Scriptures see Pss 4:6; 31:16; 67:1 cp. Lev 17:10; 20:5, 6, 17; Deut 31:17; 2 Chron 30:9; Ps 34:16 ; Jer 44:11; Ezek 7:22.). The sages note that peace is an essential component of the other blessings, for what good is physical blessings and spiritual insight if one’s life is devoid of peace? What is the Jewish concept of peace? It is balance, which is the absence of strife between the opposing forces in one’s life. Sin disrupts this balance and causes strife and warfare as well as creating a barrier between YHVH and his people (Read what Yeshua, the greatest and only true Rabbi of all, taught about this in Matthew 5:23–24.). When such strife and barriers exist causing the negation of peace, what are some things one must do to restore the peace? After all, Yeshua said, “Blessed [Happy] are the peacemakers …” Does peace just happen or is it necessary to exert effort to create it? Can there be peace where there is sin (i.e. Torahlessness)? Does it logically follow that the more our ways line up with the Torah of YHVH, the more our ways are pleasing to him, the more peace we will experience in all our relationships? (Read Proverbs 16:7.)

 

Are YOU the priest of your own home and what does that mean?

Numbers 3:11–13, I myself have taken. Here YHVH chooses the tribe of Levi instead of the firstborn male of each Israelite family to be Israel’s spiritual leaders. When the Israelites exited Egypt, YHVH chose and sanctified the firstborn male of each family to the be spiritual leader of his home in what is called the law of the firstborn (Exod 13:2, 11–16). As it had been the responsibility of the firstborn to lead his family spiritually, and, as the patriarch of his family, to pass down the family legacy and spiritual traditions to the next generation, YHVH now placed this mantle on the shoulders of the Levites. It was now their responsibility to teach the Israelites what YHVH had commanded them to do (Deut 24:8). They became the Torah teachers in Israel (Deut 33:10; Neh 8:7, 9, 13; 2 Chron 30:22) along with the priests (Lev 10:11; Mal 2:7). They were scattered throughout the land of Israel for this purpose (2 Chron 17:8–9). The reason that YHVH gave this responsibility over to the sons of Levi was because the firstborn of each family had failed to lead their families in YHVH’s paths of righteousness, and they failed to prevent the Israelites from golden calf worship (Exod 32). Only Levi remained faithful to YHVH during the golden calf incident, and thus YHVH granted them the blessing of the priestly service (Exod 32:26–29).

Originally, it had been YHVH’s intent for the entire nation of Israel to be a kingdom of priests (Exod 19:6) in order to be a light to the nations and lead the nations to YHVH and his Torah by their righteous example (Deut 4:6–8). This is why YHVH placed the land of Israel, and specifically Jerusalem, at the center of the major trade routes of the ancient world between Africa, Asia and Europe.

The Levitical priesthood (along with the elaborate tabernacle sacrificial system) was a temporary institution that YHVH added (Gal 3:19 cp. Jer 7:21–22) to the nation of Israel’s legal system because of the firstborn’s failure to prevent Israel from worshipping the golden calf idol. In a general sense, YHVH didn’t give the Israelites the Torah at this time—the principles of which they and their forefathers already had been given (e.g., Gen 26:5). So what other law was added? At Mount Sinai, the Torah was codified into a legal system (with civil penalties including the institution of a sacrificial system as a penalty for sin) and became the constitution of the nation of Israel, and YHVH also gave them the institution of the Levitical priesthood and the sacrificial system (Gal 3:19), which (along with the rest of the Torah) pointed them to Yeshua (Gal 4:16, 2). The sacrificial and Levitical systems were completely fulfilled by the Messiah as the writer of Hebrews goes into great detail to explain to us (Heb 5–11).

As already noted, it was YHVH’s intention for all Israel to become a kingdom of priests (not just the tribe of Levi) to teach the nations his spiritual truths. YHVH’s original purpose for Israel is now being fulfilled in the royal priesthood of all redeemed believers to which Peter makes reference in his first epistle (1 Pet 2:9). When the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, the Levitical priesthood along with the sacrificial system ceased to exist. This occurred some forty years after the death and resurrection of Yeshua who, at that time, became man’s sacrifice for sin once and for all and is now in heaven officiating as our Great High Priest as the writer of Hebrews reveals to us. When the temple priesthood was destroyed, YHVH’s royal priesthood of all believers was ready to take its place. In a sense, the present priesthood model defaults to the original priesthood model where the leader of each family was the priest of his home. The only difference is that the patriarchal priesthood model has been expanded and now all redeemed believers have the opportunity to become a priest in Yeshua’s eternal kingdom regardless of gender and family birth order.

Presently, the saints are preparing to be a kingdom of priest as they learn to live out and to teach others YHVH’s Torah truths. This learning process is preparing them to become kings and priests (or a kingdom of priests, Exod 19:6) in Yeshua’s millennial kingdom after his second coming where they will teach the nations the truth of YHVH (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6), even as the Levites of old taught the nation of Israel YHVH’s Torah.

 

Cracking the Case of the Menorah, 12 Loaves of Bread and the Blasphemer as It Relates to the Modern Church

Leviticus 24 Overview

Leviticus 24 is one complete thought. The next thought begins with “And YHVH spoke to Moses in Mount Sinai saying…” in chapter 25. Caring for the tabernacle’s menorah, the 12 loaves of show bread and dealing with a blasphemer upon closer analysis aren’t three disparate and unrelated subjects, but indicate a continuum of thought that eventually relates to the modern mainstream church. Let’s see how.

Leviticus 24 is divided into three subsections: caring for the menorah, baking and placing the show bread, and punishment for the blasphemer. Each new section begins with the Hebrew word vav meaning “and,” which expresses a new thought, but is also a continuation of the previous thought. What do these three sections have to do with each other?

The menorah is a spiritual picture of Yeshua and the redeemed believer. It is also a prophetic picture of Yeshua who is the tree of life to which each redeemed Israelite is attached and draws his spiritual sustenance through the Spirit of Elohim. (Yeshua is the vine and the saints are his branches, John 15:1.) The gold in the menorah represents pure, godly character of righteousness. A menorah produces heat and light through its flame. Light represents the fruit of the Spirit of Elohim, and heat represents the power of the gifts of the Spirit. This is how a saint reaches the world: he is a light in the darkness around him and lets his light shine through the fruit of the spirit, and then reaches the world through the supernatural power gifts of the Spirit. The menorah also represents the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot when YHVH gave his people his Torah instructions in righteousness, and then latter wrote his Torah on their hearts by his Spirit in Acts chapter two on the day of Pentecost.

The show bread is a picture of redeemed Israel (the twelve tribes) bringing the bread of life, the Word of Elohim, to the world. The bread was covered in frankincense representing the prayers of the saints not only praising YHVH, but interceding for those who are spiritually lost.

The death of the young blasphemer is what happens when parents don’t raise their children correctly by reaching out to them with the truth of Torah—they blaspheme Elohim and are killed in judgment. Perhaps the Israelite woman had married an Egyptian who was not a believer in Elohim and the Torah and thus she was unequally yoked with a heathen unbeliever. Perhaps they were both followers of Elohim, but they raised their child incorrectly by not teaching him the lover and fear of Elohim—giving him the spiritual bread of life (represented by the table of  showbread). Either way, the Israelite woman (a picture of the church) was not discipling her child in the word of Elohim and not being a spiritual light to him (represented by the menorah) and she lost her child because of it. How many redeemed believers (and church leaders) spiritually abort their children because they didn’t properly disciple or raise them in the Torah-Word of Elohim?