Without Blemish—Why, What and Who

Leviticus 3:2, Without blemish. Heb. tamiym meaning “complete, whole, entire, sound, healthful, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity.” Of this word, The TWOT states, [Tamiym r]efers to animals which are without blemish; also translates as such related adjectives as full, whole, upright, perfect. It represents the divine standard for man’s attainment.” Tamiyn occurs in the Tanakh 91 times, and the KJV translates it  in a variety of ways: without blemish, perfect, upright, without spot, uprightly, whole, sincerely, complete, full. Here are some examples of how tamiym is used in the Tanakh:

  • Noah was a just, perfect or upright (tamiym) man (Gen 6:9).
  • YHVH admonished Abraham to walk perfectly or blamelessly (tamiym) before him (Gen 17:1).
  • The Passover lamb was to be without blemish (tamiym, Exod 12:5) as were all the other animals offered to YHVH as sacrifices (e.g. Exod 29:1; Lev 1:3, 10; 3:1, 6, 9; 4:3, 23, 28, etc.).
  • YHVH instructed the Israelites to be blameless (tamiym) before him by not being like the wicked, abominable and idolatrous nations around them (Deut 18:13).
  • Elohim is perfect (tamiym, Deut 32:4).
  • The people of Elohim are to fear him and to serve him in sincerity (tamiym) and truth and to put away the gods of Egypt (this world) and to serve Elohim (Josh 24:14).
  • David was blameless or upright (tamiym) before Elohim (2 Sam 22:24). Even thought David committed adultery, murder and egregiously disobeyed in some other areas, Elohim viewed him as tamiym because of he had repented of and turned away from his sins.
  • When a person is upright or blameless (tamiym) before Elohim, Elohim will be blameless (tamam meaning “to be complete, be sound, be unimpaired, be upright or to deal in integrity, to act uprightly) in response to that person (2 Sam 24:26).
  • The ways of Elohim are perfect (tamiym, 2 Sam 22:31).
  • Elohim makes the ways of the saint perfect (tamiym, 2 Sam 22:33).
  • Those who walk uprightly (tamiym) will be allowed to dwell in the presence of Elohim (Ps 15:2).
  • The Torah-law of YHVH is perfect (tamiym, Ps 19:7).
  • YHVH blesses or withholds no good thing from the upright (tamiym, Ps 84:11 cp. Ps 119:1; Prov 2:21; 28:10, 18).
  • The righteous are to walk perfectly or blamelessly (tamiym) before Elohim (Ps 101:2, 6; 119:80; Prov 11:5).
  • YHVH delights in the blameless (tamiym) person (Prov 11:20).
  • The wicked abhor those who speak uprightly (tamiym, Amos 5:10).

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matt 5:48)

 

What good thing must you do?

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Matthew 19:16, What good thing. Yeshua’s answer to the rich young ruler when he asks him what he must do to have eternal life might, in a cursory reading, appear that Yeshua is promoting a works based salvation. However this is not the case. Yeshua cleverly shows the young man that he is incapable of obtaining eternal life through good works, for man isn’t capable of perfectly following the Torah. In the case of the young man, he thought himself to be perfectly righteous, when in reality, Yeshua showed him that he was covetous, and therefore still an unrighteous sinner thus disqualifying himself from reward of eternal life. Yeshua, on the contrary, instead of promoting a works-based salvation model, instructs the young man to deal with his sin by selling his possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor, and then becoming a follower of him. The lesson here is that salvation and eternal life can come only as we turn from our sin and become a follower of Yeshua.

What Yeshua is really saying when he answers the young man’s question in verse 21 is this: “If you want to be perfect [Gr. teleios meaning “brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness”],” turn from sin by obeying the Torah more completely, but also follow the Messiah by becoming his disciple. Remember, to hear and to obey (Heb. shema) the Messiah was a command of the Torah as well (Deut 18:15), and to not believe in him is sin (John 16:9 cp. 3:18). So according to the Bible, to be spiritually perfect or complete one must, as Yeshua said, love him by keeping his (Torah) commandments (John 14:15). It is the Torah that shows us how to love Elohim (and our fellow man as well).

Yeshua makes a similar point in his exchange with a scribe in Mark 12:28–34. While extolling the virtues of Torah-obedience, and commending the scribe for his understanding of the deeper heart issues of Torah-obedience, Yeshua makes an interesting concluding statement. He tells the scribe, “You are not far from the kingdom of Elohim (v. 34) as if to tell him, “You’re on the right spiritual track with regard to your Torah-obedience, and you’re heading for the kingdom, but that alone won’t get you into the kingdom. You must also become a disciple of Yeshua.

 

Do you know how to add? If so, you’re on the road to perfection.

2 Peter 1:5–7, Add to your faith. This list of seven character qualities shows us the progressive steps one must go through to become mature spiritually.

Faith: First there is initial faith in YHVH Elohim, which is the starting point in our spiritual walk. This is the same faith Abraham had when YHVH told him to leave Babylonia, and it was accounted to him for righteousness sake (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3).

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Virtue: Next, initial faith in Elohim is “filled out with” (as J. P. Green translates it) virtue, which is defined as “moral excellence.” This is can be no less than one’s learning to conform our lives to the high standards of the Torah, which tells us how to walk in relationship with Elohim (as summarized by the first four of the ten commandments) and our fellow man (as summarized by the last six of the ten commandments). Virtue is the opposite of sin, and the Torah shows us what sin and moral excellence are by showing us what to do (the path of blessing and life) and what not to do (the path of curses and death).

Knowledge: Second, as one begins to walk out Torah-obedience, one gains a deeper and more perfect understanding of the heart, will and mind of Elohim as expressed in the Creator’s instruction manual for living — the Torah, which is the path that leads to life. At the same time, one gains an understanding of the opposite side, which is that of sin that leads to death.

Self-control: Third, as one gains a fuller understanding of the difference between good and evil, right and wrong as defined by YHVH’s instructions in righteousness, the Torah, and as one fortifies oneself morally by choosing consistently to do the right thing, one gains self-control. One learns to control or master one’s fleshly passions and desires including selfishness, pride, greed, anger and lust and all the other works of the flesh (Gal 5:19–21).

Perseverance or patience: Fourth, as one becomes proficient and consistent in self-control, one begins to learn patience or perseverance, which is steadfastness, constancy and endurance. At this stage in one’s spiritual development, one becomes less likely to be buffeted or thrown off balance by one’s own carnal impulses or by those of other people that are directed at us (persecution).

Godliness: Fifth, as our life more consistently begins to reflect the heart, mind and will of YHVH Elohim as exemplified in his Torah and as walked out by Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word, then our words, thoughts and actions will begin to reflect the very character and nature of our Father in heaven, which is godliness, to those around us, even as the moon reflects the light of the sun into the darkness of the night world. At this point, who we are is more defined by the character of Elohim than by the carnal, sin nature of the typical man.

Brotherly kindness: Sixth, obedience to the Torah naturally results in our being kinder and gentler to those around us, since the Torah demands that we treat others how we want to be treated (Matt 7:12; Rom 13:8–10).

Love: The seventh step to spiritual maturity is love, which is the summation of all the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–24) and is the highest level of spiritual attainment (1 Cor 13:1–13). This type of love is unconditional, and is an unselfish love for others even when there is no personal benefit to be gained. This is the love of Elohim — the love that he has for men, and the love that he wants us to develop, so that we will be like him, so that he can live with us forever in his eternal kingdom. After we have matured through these seven steps, we become spiritually and morally complete or perfect and are ready to spend eternity with YHVH Elohim in the New Jerusalem of heaven on earth.