Leviticus Chapter 9—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Leviticus 9:1, 9, 15, 18, Take for yourself…sons of Aaron…the people’s offering. Redemption (along with obedience to YHVH’s commands leading to righteousness and holiness) starts with the individual (in this case, Aaron the high priest)—especially the head or priest of the home (i.e. the husband or father) and then ripples out to the immediate family (“the sons of Aaron”) and then spreads to those around us (“the people”). 

Leviticus 9:2–4, YHVH will appear. It is impossible to appear before YHVH Elohim without the shedding of innocent blood for the atonement of man’s sins. Man is too sinful and unholy to be able to come before his perfect and holy Creator. The sooner human’s realize their sinfulness and unworthiness, and the need to deal with the sorry state their live is in, the sooner they will be able to fill their inner (some say the “God-shaped) void and the unmet need of having an intimate relationship with their Creator.

Leviticus 9:6, This is the thing. When atonement for sin is made, and a person comes to their Creator on that basis, YHVH and his glory will appear in one way or another in that person’s life.

Leviticus 9:6, 23, The glory [kobowd] of YHVH. Kobowd means “glory, honour, glorious, abundance, riches, splendour, dignity, reputation, reverence.” The root word of kobowd is the verb kabad or kabed meaning “to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome and be honoured.” According to The TWOT, the literal meaning of kabad/kabed is rarely used in Scripture; rather, its figurative meaning (e.g. to be heavy with sin) is more commonly used. As such, in Scripture it often refers to a weighty, impressive or prominent person in society who is worthy of honor and respect. 

Derivatives of kabed include kabed meaning “great,” kabed meaning “liver,” kobed meaning ­“great,” kabod meaning “glorious” (Ps 45:14; Exek 43:41), kabod meaning “glory,” k’budda meaning “abundance, riches” (Judg 18:21) and k’bedut meaning “heaviness” (Exod 14:24).

In Lev 9:6 and 23, kabod is a noun referring to glory, glorious, honor or honorable and is often used combination with another noun as a noun-adjective (e.g. the glorious king).

Leviticus 9:7, Go to the altar…sin offering…make atonement. For the glory of YHVH to appear in one’s life, one must first go to the altar of the cross, and must do two things: lay one’s life down as an offering or living sacrifice (i.e. die to one’s carnal sin nature) before YHVH, and then receive Yeshua as an atoning sin offering in payment for one’s sins. 

Leviticus 9:12, Sprinkled all around. (Other references to sprinkling of the blood include Exod 24:6; 24:8; Lev 6:27; 8:11; 8:19, 24, 30; 9:12, 18.) This is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s shedding or sprinkling his blood on the cross. The apostolic writers use the term sprinkling on several occasions to describe what happened on the cross for the atonement of sin (1 Pet 1:2; Heb 9:13–14; 10:22; 12:24).

Leviticus 9:22–23, Aaron lifted his hand…blessed the people…the glory of YHVH…fell on their faces. The acceptance of and the blessings from heaven flow down to us when what we are doing lines up with heaven’s word and will. Aaron lifting his arms up and blessing the people pictures the river of life flowing from heaven through him and onto all the people. This river of life occurred because Aaron had followed the instructions Moses had received from YHVH (i.e. the Torah), then he cleansed himself of sin (v. 1), then the spiritual renewal and the river of life and redemption flowed to his immediate family (v. 9), then outward to the people around him (vv. 15 and 18). This done, the people were blessed and “the glory of YHVH appeared to all the people” (v. 23), and their sin offering was accepted as in heaven and earth came into agreement with each other resulting in the people worshipping Elohim (v. 24). 

Leviticus 9:24 and 10:1,Fire from heaven versus profane fire. Fire is a biblical metaphor for spiritual light and truth. Divinely revealed Truth originates only from heaven. Man, because of his fallen, sinful condition, is incapable of originating Truth. Whatever religion, philosophy or ideology man invents out of his own carnal mind will, at best, be a mixture of Truth and error. This mixture is the result of humans feeding from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and listening to the fork-tongued two-pathed serpent (i.e. of good and evil or talking out of both sides of his mouth at once), who is lurking in that tree waiting to subvert and deceive man into joining his sinful rebellion against the Almighty Creator. That is why walking away from YHVH’s the divinely revealed (Torah) instructions—the spiritual light and fire of YHVH, is so perilous. This is what Nadab and Abihu did when they offered up strange fire to Elohim; they followed the inclinations of their sinful and fallen natures instead of walking in the light of YHVH’s truth by following his instructions. Playing with fire is a double-edged sword; fire both enlighten, energizes and purifies, but is also a symbol of divine judgement in that it destroys and consumes the carnal and often sinful works (the wood, hay and stubble, 1 Cor 3:12–15) of rebellious and prideful man.

 

What Is the Purpose of the Torah?

Deuteronomy 28:1, Commandments. Most people with whom I have engaged in discussions about the Torah-law of Elohim have a limited understanding of the breadth, scope and purpose of Elohim’s law. If they were to understand the full ramifications of the Torah, they would likely be less inclined to dismiss its validity in their lives. When discussing the Torah with people who have a traditional Christian view of  “the law,” it might be helpful to keep the following truths in mind; they help to “blow the lid” off of people’s theological boxes!


(Excerpted from a larger work by Ya’acov Natan Lawrence entitled, YHVH’s Instructions In Righteousness—A Messianic Believer’s Introduction to the Torah available online at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/torahprimer.pdf)

The purpose of the Torah is to show man how to walk in right relationship (or righteousness) with his Creator. To do this, we must love YHVH with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut 6:5; Mark 12:30) and love our neighbor as ourself (Lev 19:18; Mark 12:30). Once one is saved by grace through faith (See my teaching article entitled: The Abrahamic Covenant: The Covenant of Salvation, available at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/abracov.pdf.), Torah helps show man how to walk in the straight and narrow path that leads to blessings and life and avoids the curses of the law (Deut 30:15; 32:47). The Torah shows man how to avoid sin (which is the violation of YHVH’s Torah-commandments, 1 John 3:4), which is walking contrary to YHVH’s instructions in righteousness that are for our blessing and benefit.

The Torah does not set an impossible standard by which to live. We must ask ourselves, would a righteous and just Creator and a loving Heavenly Father give to his chosen people and children a set of standards that were humanly impossible to perform, and then curse them for their inability to meet these standards? Of course not! Rather, the Torah (including both the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants) sets a standard of faith, trusting in Elohim, and of following its system of repentance and sacrifice for obtaining forgiveness from Elohim and restoring a condition of being considered righteous in his sight. After all, Moses, the human instrument through whom YHVH revealed the Torah to the Children of Israel, states in Deuteronomy 30:11–14:

For this [Torah] commandment which I command you this day, it is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?” But the word is very near unto you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.

Paul quotes this very passage in Romans 10:6–8 where he relates the written Torah to Yeshua, the Living Torah or Word of Elohim incarnate (in the flesh, see John 1:1, 14). He shows that they are one in the same and that Messiah Yeshua came to live and reveal to us the righteousness of the Torah-law (verse 4) that is available to us if we will but have a heartfelt faith in him (verses 4, 9–10) and allow him to live out his righteousness in us through the empowering work of the Spirit of Elohim. In verses 11 through 21, Paul goes on to relate this very truth to being the central message of the gospel that Isaiah prophesied (Isa 52:7) would be preached to redeem both houses of Israel to Yeshua their Messiah.

It might be said that in a sense that the Torah itself is neutral; neither positive nor negative, for it is like a mirror simply reflecting the image portrayed in it. Torah reacts according to human action. Those who obey it are blessed and those who disobey it are cursed. David Stern in his Jewish New Testament Commentary lists both some of the “negative” and some of the positive functions of the Torah.

On the “negative” side:

1) The Torah has the capacity to stir up sin in an individual. This capacity of the Torah to make us sin is not a fault in the Torah but a fault in ourselves. A healthy person thrives in an environment deadly to someone who is ill; likewise, the Torah, beneficial to a believer living by faith, is an instrument of death to these controlled by their sinful nature (p. 375).

2) The Torah can still produce guilt feelings in a believer—as it rightly should whenever he contemplates how his behavior falls short of the standard Elohim sets in the Torah. But these feelings are not irremediable. The remedy is once-and-for-all trust in Yeshua the Messiah’s final atonement for sin (Rom 3:21–26), followed by ongoing confession of and repentance from sins (1 John 1:9) (Ibid.).

3) The Torah also provides a framework of justice by which Elohim, the Just Judge of the universe, will judge the actions of men to determine both their level of punishment for its violation and their level of reward for obedience to it.

4) Because of the righteous standards the Torah sets out, for the sinner it points out the fact that they have sinned and how far they have fallen short of the glory of YHVH (Rom 3:23) and hence their need for a Savior or Redeemer. The Torah actually points the way to Yeshua as Paul points out in the book of Galatians (3:25).

On the positive side:

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Deuteronomy 1—Lessons from Israel’s Journey Through the Wilderness

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Cor 10:11)

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (Rom 15:4)

Deuteronomy 1:2, Eleven days. Horeb (Mount Sinai) was only an 11-days’ journey to the edge of the Promised Land (Kadesh Barnea), yet because of Israel’s bad conduct (disobedience to YHVH’s commands, lack of trust and faith in YHVH’s Word evidenced by complaining, murmuring and even outright rebellion) they were made to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. What is holding you back from going forward in your spiritual walk? What sin, what fear, what wrong beliefs or false religious concepts are you refusing to let go that are hindering you? If you are serious about serving YHVH, it is time to repent and go onward and upward in Yeshua!

Deuteronomy 1:5, Moses began to declare this law (KJV). This is a poor translation of the Hebrew. A better translation would be: “Moses began to explain this law [Torah]…” (NKJV), or “Moses undertook to expound this law [Torah] … “ (NAS), or “Moses began explaining the Torah …” (ASET). To whom was Moses explaining the Torah? (Read verse 39 and cp. with Deut 6:7). Moses was the dutiful parent faithfully teaching Torah to the younger generation about to enter the Promised Land. How are you preparing the young people in your life to enter into the Promised Land of YHVH’s eternal kingdom?

Deuteronomy 1:11, Add to you a thousand times yourselves. If the children of Israel numbered between several million (there were approximately 600,000 men of fighting age numbered among the Israelites), then when was this prophetic promise of YHVH ever fulfilled in Israel’s history? Where are the several billion Israelites (1000 times two to three million) today? (See Gen 26:4; 32:12; Exod 32:13 cp. Hos 7:8; 8:8.)

Deuteronomy 1:12–13, Choose…men. Choosing leaders to help govern Israel and to maintain the peace was of first priority because the people were prone to strife and complaining. Without a dispute and conflict resolution plan in place, the nation of Israel would have been one of total anarchy, strife and confusion.

Deuteronomy 1:13 and 15, Provide for yourselves distinguished men, who are wise, understanding, and well known … so I took … of your tribes distinguished men, who were wise and well known.Compare the two lists. What character trait is not listed in the second list? Why? The word understanding (biyn, Strong’s H995/TWOT 239) means “discerning, perceptive, discreet, intelligent, observant and prudent.” Why did Moses have such a difficult time finding understanding men to be leaders in Israel? Are people any different today? Only two men out of hundreds of thousands had understanding: Caleb and Joshua.

Deuteronomy 1:26–28, Moving forward in the face of obstacles. Many times in our spiritual walk we are just at the point of spiritual breakthrough, but we receive an evil report about some spiritual giants that is blocking our forward movement and our resolve to advance melts. It seems sometimes that if we could just see what the future holds for us that it would be much easier for us to go forward! Yet Yeshua said, Blessed are those who haven’t seen, yet still believe in YHVH’s promises (John 20:29). Do you have what it takes to go on without being deterred by the world, the flesh and the devil? How can one go forward in faith if one cannot see where one is going? It gets down to personal and intimate relationship with your Heavenly Father, through Yeshua. He directs us through his Spirit. Can you hear his voice with your spirit when he tells you, “This is the way, walk you in it,” (Isa 30:21)?

Deuteronomy 1:29, He will fight for you.How does Elohim fight for us? Let’s look at the example of the children of Israel. We can learn a lot from them (1 Cor 10:11). How many examples are there of the Israelites sitting down and doing nothing while YHVH fought for them? Few if any. What then does YHVH require? 

We must do our part, and he will do the rest. What is the part we are to do? That depends. Sometimes it depends on what we we’re capable of doing. Often he requires us to come to the end of our resources and abilities, and then he will step in and finish the fight on our behalf to the victorious end. We also have to fight only the battles he has told us to fight. 

Sometimes we choose to fight battles he has not instructed us to fight. This was the case with the Israelites who chose to go up and take the Promised Land when YHVH had told them not to do so. As a result of their disobedience, they were defeated (Deut 1:42–45). YHVH will not support his people in a battle he has not sanctioned. 

When YHVH tells us to go to battle, we must fight how he tells us to fight, who he tells us to fight, and when he tells us to fight. For example, if the Israelites had gone up against Jericho using conventional warfare tactics, they would have been defeated because that’s not how YHVH instructed them to defeat that city. The same is true of Gideon’s unconventional method of defeating the vast Midianite army with only three hundred soldiers armed with candles in clay jars and shofars. 

YHVH will only fight for us when we submit to his battle plans and fight the enemy his way. For example, the Israelites defeated the Amalakites when Moses stood on a hill with his arms outstretched in a cross-like formation. Likewise, they overcame Jericho by marching around it blowing shofars. Gideon used lamps and shofars to defeat the enemy. David used a slingshot and a pebble. Once the Israel defeated their enemy with the help of the ark of covenant, through prayer and praise. 

The biblical list of unconventional methods of YHVH’s people defeating their enemies is a long and inspiring one! What can we learn from all of this? For YHVH to fight for us, we must first do things his way so that he’ll fight for us. This means knowing when and who to fight and how to fight. Often we have to wait on YHVH for the answers to these questions even as a military officer has to wait for headquarters to give him his marching orders. Headquarters won’t back or support the soldier who takes matters into his own hands. Conversely, headquarters won’t tolerate a solider who refuses to obey orders. The same is true of YHVH.

Deuteronomy 1:36, Because he has wholly followed YHVH. What does this statement say about the heart of Caleb? If you check most Hebrew lexicons, you will find that the name Caleb (or Calev) means “dog.” But this is not the whole story. Hebrew is a very flexible language, and one word can have multiple definitions. The Hebrew word kal and lev/cKliterally mean “all heart.” When you think of a dog, what comes to mind? Always happy to see its master, unconditional love, a faithful companion, guarding and protecting its family no matter the cost. How does Calev’s name fit his spiritual characteristics? What can we learn from Calev about what is pleasing to YHVH. (For more on Calev, read Num 13:30; 14:6, 24, 30; 32:12; Josh 14:6–14.) Be inspired by this mighty man of faith.

Deuteronomy 1:39, Little ones…knowledge of good and evil.“Little ones” were those under the age of 20 (see Num 14:29; 32:11). Certainly, children under the age of 20 should have by then, if they were raised properly, have a sense of the difference between good and evil. However, YHVH is extremely gracious. He gives children ample time choose to follow him. By age 20, children will have had enough time to learn the difference between good and evil, and have had enough experience to have made an informed and intelligent choice whether to follow the path of good or evil. Those who reject YHVH at this age can no longer plead ignorance of his ways or inexperience in coming to an understanding the consequences of their actions. If they choose to go against YHVH it’s because they have stiff-necks, and hard and rebellious hearts.

 

Welcome to Deuteronomy/Devarim!

Outline of Sefer Devarim/Deuteronomy: Moses’ Farewell Address

Chapter 1:1–5, Introduction

Chapters 1:6–4:40, First Discourse

Moses gives a veiled rebuke for sin and disobedience, and gives a review of the journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh with exhortations to obedience.

Chapters 4:44–11, Second Discourse, Part 1

The religious foundations of the covenant, the spirit in which it is to be kept and the motives to right obedience are discussed. Moses shows how the covenant defines the relationship between YHVH and Israel and emphasizes the basic spiritual demands that such a relationship imposes upon Israel.

Chapters 12–26, Second Discourse, Part 2

The code of law dealing with:

Worship, Chapters 12:1–16:17

Government, Chapters 16:18–18

Criminal Law, Chapters 19:1–21:9

Domestic Life, Chapters 21:10–25

Rituals and the Sanctuary, Chapter 26

Chapters 27–30, Third Discourse

The enforcement of the Torah-law with its blessings and curses; establishment of a fresh covenant between YHVH and Israel (i.e. the younger generation).

Chapters 31–34, The Last Days of Moses

Chapter 31, Committal of the law to the keeping of the priests.

Chapter 32, The Song of Moses (a prophecy about Israel’s future).

Chapter 33, Moses’ patriarchal blessing over the tribes of Israel.

Chapter 34, The death of Moses.

Overview of the Book of Deuteronomy/Devarim from Various Commentators

This last book of the Torah starts out with “These are the words which Moses spoke ….” The Hebrew name for Deuteronomy is Devarim meaning “words,” which is the plural form of devar meaning “word, speech, a matter or thing, a commandment, a report, a message, promise.” Note the similarity in meaning between the Hebrew word devar and the Greek word logos from John 1:1 (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.”). Logos means “speech, word or thing.” From this connection, we see that Yeshua was the Word of both the Old Testament (OT or Tanakh) and the New Testament (NT or Testimony of Yeshuah). He is the message of the entire Bible (Spirit Filled Life Bible, from the “Word Wealth” at Deut 1:1).

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Is the Torah just the books of Moses or the whole Bible?

1 Corinthians 14:21, In the law. Usually the word law (in Gr. nomos and in Heb. torah meaning “teachings, instructions or precepts) in the Scriptures refers to the first five books of Moses, but here Paul uses the term to apply to the writings of Isaiah the prophet. Obviously, Paul had a more expansive view of the law than just to the five books of Moses, for here he applies it to the prophets sections of the Tanakh or Old Testament. 

Similarly, in the Gospel of John, Yeshua refers to the Psalms (which were contained in the Writings part of the Tanakh) as the law (John 10:34), and Jewish people, like Paul, regarded Isaiah as part of the law as well (John 12:34). 

What all this means is that Yeshua, Paul and the Jewish people in a general sense viewed the entire Tanakh as the law, or more correctly, the instructions or teaching of YHVH, since the Hebrew word for law (i.e. torah) means exactly this. What this means to us is that Elohim’s entire word should be viewed as his legal code or instructions to men on how to act. As such, no parts of it can be eliminated, relegated to the past or “done away with.” It is thus important to view the entire Word of Elohim as equally binding and relevant to all people at all times.

 

General Overview of the Book of Numbers (B’midbar)

The English name Numbers derives from the fact that in this book the Israelites are counted or numbered on several occasions (see chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 26). Leviticus ends with YHVH instructing his people to count their flocks for tithe purposes, while Numbers begins with YHVH, as the ultimate Good Shepherd (or in Hebrews, YHVH Rohee), counting the Israelites themselves, who are the sheep of his pasture (Pss 74:1; 79:13; 95:7; 100:3). The fact that this counting took place in the wilderness proves that it was not for political or national economic reasons, but was in fulfillment of YHVH’s Torah instructions. Each Israelite was to give a half-shekel of silver toward the maintenance of the tabernacle. The shekels then counted would give the exact number of Israelites (Exod 30:12–16).

The Hebrew name B’midbar meaning “in the wilderness” originates from the fact that this book chronicles Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. The book of Exodus, on the other hand, records the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, its establishment as a nation, its covenantal relationship with YHVH and the construction of the tabernacle (mishkan), which was the symbol of YHVH dwelling or tabernacling in the midst of his chosen people. The Book of Leviticus deals with the inner workings of that tabernacle and the mechanics of how sinful man could maintain a right spiritual relationship with a righteous Elohim. This was accomplished through the agency of the Levitical priesthood that would function within the tabernacle as a human intermediary between man and his Creator.

The book of Numbers covers much of Israel’s forty years wandering in the wilderness and recounts the early years of this nation under YHVH’s theocratic rule. Recorded are Israel’s triumphs and defeats, its obedience and disobedience to YHVH’s rule of law and the resulting consequences whether blessing or curses.

In this book, we see several main subdivisions. Chapters 1:1–10:10 cover instructions from YHVH to Israel while still at Mount Sinai. Chapters 10:11–36:13 cover the Israelite’s actual wilderness journey. The second section dealing with the wilderness journey has two main parts: the perishing in the wilderness of the older generation (Num 10:11–25:18), and the preparation of the second generation of Israelites to enter the Promised Land (chapters 26–36).

Reoccurring themes in the book of Numbers include the continual murmuring of Israelites and the divine punishment on them as a result. YHVH made promises to care for them and lead them into the Promised Land. Instead of having faith and trust in him, with few exceptions, the Israelites exhibited doubt and unbelief in YHVH. As a result, the entire older generation, with the exception of faithful Joshua and Caleb, perished in the wilderness never to realize the promises YHVH had made to them concerning the Promised Land. This is a poignant lesson for all believers in their faith walk. The spiritual application of this lesson is not missed by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews in chapter four of that book. When YHVH makes promises, his people need to embrace those promises with enthusiastic and optimistic faith and never let them go. After all, if we cannot trust our Creator, then who or what can we trust?

In this book, we see revealed the grace of YHVH, that he is longsuffering and slow to anger (Num 14:20–38), but that he is also just, and as a father, he disciplines those he loves. His judgments are measured and progressive. The more his children refuse to obey him and resist him, the stronger the judgments. Eventually, the older generation of Israelites died off in the wilderness. This teaches us that death is the final judgment against the sin of rebellion and unbelief. There are no eternal rewards or spiritual inheritance for those who refuse to take hold of YHVH’s promises and to go forward in faith and faithful obedience to him.

We see the work and person of the future Yeshua the Messiah in the book of Numbers as well. As Provider, he meets all of Israel’s needs both physical and spiritual. Paul reveals that Yeshua was the spiritual Rock that gave them water in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:4). Twice, Israel received water from the rock (Exod 17:1–7 and Num 20:1–13). Additionally, the secular prophet, Balaam, prophesied about the Messiah who was to rise out of Israel like a star (Num 24:17). Leading rabbinic Jews sages, such as Akiva ben Joseph of the early modern era, mistakenly applied this verse to the Jewish zealot, Bar Kokhba, when he endeavored to throw off the yoke of Roman rule over the Jewish people during the Second Jewish Revolt of A.D. 133–135.

 

Tabernacle of Moses Resources

If I didn’t post anything more on this blog until we’re finished with Exodus, the resources posted below would be sufficient to keep most people busy for a while. That’s how much there is to learn about the Tabernacle of Moses!

Written teachings by Natan: https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#tabernacle

See my video play list on the Tabernacle of Moses on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/HoshanaRabbah

Happy studying. There’s enough to keep you busy here for a few days. The Tabernacle of Moses is one of my most popular video series on our YouTube channel.

Please enjoy and be blessed!