Leviticus- Instructions for a Nation of Priests; An Imperishable Offering of Choice Parts
Micah 6;6 “With what can I come before Adonai to bow down before God on high?
Should I come before him with burnt offerings? with calves in their first year?
7 Would Adonai take delight in thousands of rams with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Could I give my firstborn to pay for my crimes, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 Human being, you have already been told what is good, what Adonai demands of you —no more than to act justly, love grace and walk in purity with your God.
–Vayikra (Leviticus)- to CALL OUT. We begin the next book of the Torah which is very much connected with the last few chapters of Exodus. Moses was on the mountain receiving the instructions for the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and he comes down the mountain to witness perhaps the greatest episode of tragedy between God and His people…the newly ransomed bride caught being openly adulterous (the Children of Israel and the golden calf). Moshe has pleaded with God asking that the people be forgiven and although God grants forgiveness it is clear the relationship is not as it was. Moshe intercedes again and puts his life on the line stating that if God will not cause His presence to lead the people and rest with them, He might as well blot Moshe out. God promises He will rest His presence with the people and the construction of the Tabernacle begins and is whole heartedly completed by the power of the Spirit God has put into the workers and craftsmen of the people. Then comes the pinnacle, the purpose and goal of the entire Mishkan assembly…the Glory of God fills the Tabernacle.
[Exodus 40; 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle. 35 Moshe was unable to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle.
36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Isra’el continued with all their travels. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not travel onward until the day when it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of Adonai was above the tabernacle during the day, and fire was in (the cloud) at night, so that all the house of Isra’el could see it throughout all their travels.]
Leviticus is known formally as Torat Kohanim, “instructions for the priests” (Mishnah Megillot 1:5). This title defines Leviticus as a prescription for the proper worship of the God of Israel. The most vital of the central concerns of the ancient Israelites was to know how they were to express their loyalty to the Lord. Leviticus describes how Israel was to live as a holy nation and when ‘trouble’ arose God explains in detail the method and avenue for atonement. Keeping in mind that the word often translated as sacrifice is usually the word Qorban, which means to DRAW NEAR. This is the very purpose for all the offerings, whether serving as worship and thanksgiving or to return a child in repentance for guilt or transgression. The point and purpose of bringing offerings is to live out an active relationship with the Lord seeking His presence.
See this blog entry for a detailed breakdown of the different types of offerings: https://safeguardingtheeternal.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/parasha-vayikra-thoughtsinsightsconnections-the-called-approach-the-altar/
REYACH (ray-awkh)- odor (as of blown.)
NICHOWACH (nee-kho-akh)-restful, i.e. pleasant; abstractly delight.
Ezekiel 20; 40 For on My holy mountain, on the high mountain of Israel,” declares the Lord God, “there the whole house of Israel, all of them, will serve Me in the land; there I will accept them and there I will seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your holy things.
41 As a soothing (NICHOWACH) aroma (REYACH) I will accept you when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered; and I will prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.
42 And you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the land which I swore to give to your forefathers.
43 There you will remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all the evil things that you have done.
44 Then you will know that I am the Lord when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your evil ways or according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord God.’”
-This Reyach Nichowach, translated as Sweet Savor or Pleasing Aroma rises from certain offerings and serves as something “pleasing” to the Lord. In the Ezekiel text it is the acceptable offerings to the Lord which serve as an indication that He is sanctified among His people in the sight of the nations. The people will remember their ways when they offer to HASHEM, why? We will uncover the repeating theme of Israel, idolatry, remorse, repentance and a return to draw near to God. What in this text is the sweet savor? Could it be the remorse for their defamation of God’s Name among the people with their evil deeds and ways?
QORBAN (kowr-bawn)- something BROUGHT NEAR the altar; a sacrificial present.
TAMAYIM (taw-meem)- ENTIRE (literally, figuratively, morally); also as a noun INTEGRITY, truth.
Leviticus 1;1 And He called to Moses, and the Lord spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying,
2. Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When a man from [among] you brings a sacrifice (QORBAN) to the Lord; from animals, from cattle or from the flock you shall bring your sacrifice (QORBAN).
3. If his sacrifice (QORBAN) is a burnt offering from cattle, an unblemished (TAMAYIM) male he shall bring it. He shall bring it willingly to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, before the Lord.
4. And he shall lean his hand [forcefully] upon the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted for him to atone for him.
5. And he shall slaughter the young bull before the Lord. And Aaron’s descendants, the kohanim, shall bring the blood, and dash the blood upon the altar, around [the altar] which is at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.
6. And he shall skin the burnt offering, and cut it into its [prescribed] sections.
7. And the descendants of Aaron the kohen shall place fire on the altar, and arrange wood on the fire.
8. And Aaron’s descendants, the kohanim, shall then arrange the pieces, the head and the fat, on top of the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar.
9. And its innards and its legs, he shall wash with water. Then, the kohen shall cause to [go up in] smoke all [of the animal] on the altar, as a burnt offering, a fire offering, [with] a pleasing (NICHOWACH) fragrance (REYACH) to the Lord.
–This cycle I noticed an interesting parallel between the “meat” offerings and the “meal” offerings. What really stuck out to me was that the one bringing the offering invested himself into the Qorban in different but essential ways. The offerer was always a participant, and when they did so it surely would have been with much thought and anticipation.
Animal offerings: an animal of the herd, flock or a fowl (each level of value indicating that God wanted all His people to be a part of the Temple service worship not matter what their monetary means were).
The animals brought were to be unblemished. The participant would lean his hands on the head of the offering- investing his identity or transferring his ‘sin’ onto the ‘innocent’. The Kohen then takes the blood of the offering and sprinkles it on the Altar, evidence and witness of the atonement.
When we have placed Yeshua over us as our banner, died to our former selves, taken up our stake with him and transformed our identity into becoming “His”, we can rest knowing that the perfect spotless Lamb was assigned by God to be the offering which would ‘cover’ all of our sins.
The participant who could not afford a ‘meat’ offering but instead brought of what he could, is called most holy…why? Even from the little he has he brings and this is most pleasing to the Lord. The meal offering (MINCHAH) he brings is to be of FINE flour, it is brought humble…unleavened. The participant takes part by anointing the meal offering with oil and frankincense. The Kohen then takes out a fistful and causes the memorial portion to go up in smoke on the altar.
The Bread of Life, Yeshua, anointed King and himself High Priest. He was the unleavened and anointed meal offering for our sins, his offered portion a remembrance forever and parallel to the blood of the ‘meat’ offering on the Altar.
QAMATS (kaw-mats)- to grasp with the hand.
QATAR (kaw-tar)- to smoke i.e. to turn into fragrance by fire ( especially as an act of worship. )
AZKARAH (az-kaw-raw)- a reminder, specifically remembrance offering.
MINCHAH (min-khaw) -apportion, bestow, a donation; tribute, a sacrificially offering (usually bloodless and voluntary.)
YATHAR (yaw-thar)- to jut over or exceed; to excel, to remain or be left; to leave, cause to abound, preserve.
MASHACH (Maw-shakh)- to rub with oil, to anoint, to consecrate.
Leviticus 2;1 And if a person brings a meal offering to the Lord, his offering (QORBAN) shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil over it and place frankincense upon it.
2. And he shall bring it to Aaron’s descendants, the kohanim, and from there, he [the kohen] shall scoop out (QAMATS) his fistful of its fine flour and its oil, in addition to all its frankincense. Then, the kohen shall cause its reminder (AZKARAH) to [go up in] smoke (QATAR) on the altar; [it is] a fire offering [with] a pleasing fragrance to the Lord.
3. And what remains (YATHAR) of the meal offering (MINCHAH)shall belong to Aaron and to his descendants; [it is] holy of holies from the fire offerings of the Lord.
4. And if one brings a meal offering baked in an oven, it shall consist of [either] unleavened loaves [made] of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed (MASHACH) with oil.
5. And if a meal offering on a pan is your sacrifice, it shall be [made] of fine flour, mixed with oil; it shall be unleavened.
6. Break it into pieces, and you shall [then] pour oil over it. It is a meal offering.
7. And if your sacrifice is a meal offering [made] in a deep pot, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.
–In Leviticus 1;8 you can read in the English: …you shall bring the meal offering…and he shall bring it to the Kohen…and he shall bring it close to the Altar. Is this a verse you would linger on very long? Lets think about it using the three different Hebrew terms translated as bring. There is a progression here.
Bo- first the offerer is to come with his meal offering. When we are going to give a gift or offering to the Lord it should be with intention and purpose. It should be with an attitude of sanctification so when we desire to bring an offering its a good idea to consider in what ‘state’ we come.
Qarab- the offerer next approaches with his offering. How is this different than the ‘come’? There is a sense of movement, advancement. The offerer has started by being in the right state of mind and spirit when he comes to bring his offering and worship, now he advances and approaches to present this offering to the Kohen who will officiate from this point. When we pray, sing, praise, teach any act of offering or worship we should always bear in mind whom we approach and realize that in Yeshua’s name, our acting High Priest…we should be performing all these things. Through Yeshua’s intercession and service our prayers and thanksgivings reach the Father.
Nagash- to bring near. The offerer now watches as the Kohen brings his gift close to the Altar. This term comes with a sense of intimacy. The progressing in a single verse of the Torah teaches us that there are levels of closeness that can be reached, only through our Mediator and Savior…it is he who makes it possible for this intimacy with the Father. This is a beautiful picture of the oneness He desires for us.
BOW (bo)- to go or come.
QARAB (kaw-rab)-to approach, causatively to bring near for whatever purpose.
NAGASH (naw-gash)- to bring, come, bring near; euphemistically to lie with a woman; as an enemy to attack; to worship to present.
Leviticus 2; 8. Thus you shall bring (BOW) the meal offering (MINCHAH) which shall be made from these [types], to the Lord. And he shall bring (QARAB) it to the kohen, and he shall bring it close (NAGASH) to the altar.
9. And the kohen shall lift out, from the meal offering, its reminder (AZKARAH) and cause it to [go up in] smoke on the altar; [it is] a fire offering [with] a pleasing (NICHOWACH) fragrance (REYACH) to the Lord.
10. And what remains (YATHAR) of the meal offering shall belong to Aaron and his descendants; [it is] holy of holies from the fire offerings of the Lord.
John 17;4 “I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world — just as I myself do not belong to the world. 15 I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the Evil One. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Set them apart for holiness by means of the truth — your word is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 On their behalf I am setting myself apart for holiness, so that they too may be set apart for holiness by means of the truth.
20 “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word, 21 that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are united with me and I with you, I pray that they may be united with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one — 23 I united with them and you with me, so that they may be completely one, and the world thus realize that you sent me, and that you have loved them just as you have loved me.
MELACH מלח- powder (salt) as easily pulverized and dissolved.
MALACH מלח- to rub pieces to pulverize, to disappear to dust; to salt internally to season, externally to rub.
Leviticus 2; 11 No meal offering (MINCHAH) that you sacrifice to the Lord shall be made [out of anything] leavened. For you shall not cause to [go up in] smoke any leavening or any honey, [as] a fire offering to the Lord;
12. [However,] you shall bring them as a first [fruit] offering to the Lord; nevertheless, they shall not go up on the altar as a pleasing fragrance to the Lord.
13. And you shall salt (MALACH) every one of your meal offering sacrifices with salt (MELACH), and you shall not omit the salt (MELCAH) of your God’s covenant from [being placed] upon your meal offerings (MINCHAH). You shall offer (QARAB) salt (MELACH) on all your sacrifices (QORBAN).
— Salt was always present with offerings. The meat offerings were rubbed with salt and meal offerings were mixed with salt. Salt is mentioned four times in verse 13. Salt speaks of covenant. Salt speaks of preservation. Salt speaks of imperishability. The Master Yeshua spoke once of salt, light and the Torah.
Matthew 5; 13 “You are salt for the Land. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except being thrown out for people to trample on.
14 “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
17 “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened.
II Corinthians 6;16 What agreement can there be between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God — as God said, “I will house myself in them, . . .and I will walk among you. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”17 Therefore Adonai says, “‘Go out from their midst; separate yourselves; don’t even touch what is unclean. Then I myself will receive you. 18 In fact, I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters.’
-Why did God give commandments in the Torah scripture regarding diet, dress, business, family, marriage, worship, etc? Why did the scripture of the Prophets confirm such commands? Why without reading in context do some assume that Yeshua came to change and do away with many of these Torah commands? Why would Paul or any of Yeshua’s disciples teach contrary to scripture? Why, overwhelmingly does the “Church” preach only 9 out of the Ten Utterances? Go back to the first question.
The Children of Israel (all children of God) required a determined structure set out by God. This is the testimony of the King as to what His expectations are for His Kingdom.
He set apart His servants and sons from the pagan nations and their practices in nearly every single wonderfully straightforward yet complex command. While ‘everyone else’
could eat whatever they laid their hands on, the Lord has a wider vision and understanding of what will be best for our bodies, minds and souls…what will sanctify us for His service. Thus the laws of clean and unclean ‘foods’. (That is just one example.) The laws regarding refraining from fat and blood are clearly to separate from the pagan practices with included things such as drinking blood, etc. However there is a deeper meaning here. Let us investigate.
CHELEB (kheh-leb)- fat; the richest or choicest parts.
OWLAM (o-lawm)- the vanishing point; time out of mind (past or future); eternity, ALWAYS.
MOWSHAB (mo-shawb)- a seat; a sites; a session; an abode (the place or the time); by implication a population.
Leviticus 3;9 And from the peace offering, he shall bring a fire offering to the Lord [comprised of] its choicest part (CHELEB) the complete tail, which he shall remove opposite the kidneys, and the fat (CHELEB) covering the innards and all the fat (CHELEB) which is on the innards,
10. and the two kidneys [along] with the fat (CHELEB) that is upon them, which is over the flanks. And he shall remove the diaphragm with the liver, along with the kidneys.
11. And the kohen shall cause it to [go up in] smoke on the altar, as food for the fire, to the Lord.
12. And if his sacrifice is a goat, he shall bring it before the Lord,
13. and he shall lean his hand [forcefully] upon its head and slaughter it before the Tent of Meeting, and Aaron’s descendants shall dash its blood upon the altar, around.
14. And from it, he shall bring his offering a fire offering to the Lord [comprised of] the fat (CHELEB) covering the innards, and all the fat (CHELEB) which is on the innards,
15. and the two kidneys with the fat (CHELEB) that is upon them, which is over the flanks. And he shall remove the diaphragm with the liver; along with the kidneys he shall remove it.
16. And the kohen shall cause it to [go up in] smoke (QATAR) on the altar, consumed as a fire offering, [with] a pleasing (NICHOWACH) fragrance (REYACH). All [sacrificial] fat (CHELEB) belongs to the Lord.
17. [This is] an eternal (OWLAM) statute for all your generations, in all your dwelling places (MOWSHAB) : You shall not eat any fat or any blood.
–What does fat represent? The Lord’s offerings were to be OF fat, placed as food for the fire on the ‘table of the Lord’ yet his people were forbidden to ingest such fat? Not only is this command an OLAWM command (meaning ETERNAL), but the Lord underlines this note so to speak by making it clear…wherever you go, wherever you live…in ALL of your DWELLINGS- Mowshab (therefore this is a command we can keep even outside of Jerusalem, even though there is no Temple set up, yet.)
In scripture, fat seems to be an indication of pleasure, richness, delight. The word fat is used interchangeably with Choice Parts. This is the concept that God wishes that we would offer to Him the very best parts, all that which we take the most pride and pleasure from…we should offer to Him. Every single gift, joy, delight, gratification…we should offer to Him wholeheartedly. When we place all the ‘extra’ the ‘abundance’ that we can possibly give (which He has granted us in the first place) in His hands, just witness what He will do with it! It becomes something much more valuable than we could have imagined through our own devises.
MASHMAN (mash-mawn)- fat; fatness; a rich dish, a fertile field; a robust man.
Genesis 27; 38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” So Esau lifted his voice and wept.
39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, “Behold, away from the fertility (MASHMAN) of the earth shall be your dwelling (MOWSHAB), and away from the dew of heaven from above.
40 “By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; but it shall come about when you become restless, that you will break his yoke from your neck.”
–Read the Nehemiah text in the English: …eat of the fat. Does that mean he is saying after they just finished attentively listening to this public Torah reading…that they can now eat fat? Mashman in the Hebrew can mean of the fatness as in the richness, fertility, etc. We need to read scripture from the Hebrew and Greek if we are going to understand what is actually written there and we need to be reading in context. (Context= entire books and with reference from the whole of scripture. Context- ancient language, geography, history and Ancient Near East Culture study. Context does not = a few verses in front of or behind the phrase you’d like to site from.)
I love this section of scripture because the people were actively seeking out “What does GOD have to say?” Where did they look? The Torah. What happened? The eternal words of the Lord identified for them where they had been wandering, why things hadn’t been going so well for them, and how much they had sinned against God. This is why they wept, their leader gives them hope and answers that they instead rejoice in the knowledge they now were seeking, understanding that they could again come before the Lord and that they had the direct means by which they could restore and continue a RELATIONSHIP with Him as HE prescribed.
Nehemiah 8;1 And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring (BOW) the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel.
2 Then Ezra the priest brought (BOW) the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.
3 He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose….
5 Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
6 Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
8 They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
9 Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.
10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat (MASHMAN) , drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.”
12 All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.
13 Then on the second day the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests and the Levites were gathered to Ezra the scribe that they might gain insight into the words of the law.
–The Lord is constantly calling His people back to Him in His word. His people. Not the one’s who have not found God yet, not the World…His people. I challenge you to find an instance of God calling for repentance which is void of the mention of His word, His Torah, His ways, His commandments, His teachings or His covenant. The men of Israel who had become fattened, stout and robust He subdues…because they continually rebelled against His Torah.
Psalm 78; 1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
4 We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.
5 For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children,
6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children,
7 That they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments,
8 And not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
29 So they ate and were well filled, and their desire He gave to them.
30 Before they had satisfied their desire, while their food was in their mouths,
31 The anger of God rose against them and killed some of their stoutest ones (MASHMAN), and subdued the choice men of Israel.
32 In spite of all this they still sinned and did not believe in His wonderful works.
33 So He brought their days to an end in futility and their years in sudden terror.
34 When He killed them, then they sought Him, and returned and searched diligently for God;
35 And they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.
36 But they deceived Him with their mouth and lied to Him with their tongue.
37 For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, nor were they faithful in His covenant.
38 But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; and often He restrained His anger and did not arouse all His wrath.
39 Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and does not return.
40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert!
41 Again and again they tempted God, and pained the Holy One of Israel.
–There is a promise for the remnant, for all those who repent and return to the Lord and His word, His ways, His covenant, His law and order…the promise of a return to trust and reliance upon the Lord alone, and deliverance from certain destruction. This promise is being fulfilled before our very eyes with many believers returning to the Torah and active relationship with God.
Isaiah 10; 15 Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.
16 Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors (MASHMAN); and under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.
17 And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.
18 And He will destroy the glory of his forest and of his fruitful garden, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest will be so small in number that a child could write them down.
20 Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22 For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant within them will return;
a destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.
23 For a complete destruction, one that is decreed, the Lord God of hosts will execute in the midst of the whole land.
–There seems to be a few themes emerging in these texts containing the word MASHMAN. Themes of fatness, success, might being futile and folly before the hand of the Lord. Themes of forsaking, rebellion and idolatry…continual forgetfulness of the Creator and His covenant. Themes of desolation and judgment and yet the chance of repentance and deliverance. Fatness has caused the people to forget the Rock of their refuge. Let us keep looking.
Isaiah 17; 4 Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, and the fatness (MASHMAN) of his flesh will become lean.
5 It will be even like the reaper gathering the standing grain, as his arm harvests the ears, or it will be like one gleaning ears of grain in the valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives on the topmost bough, four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree, declares the Lord, the God of Israel.
7 In that day man will have regard for his Maker and his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel.
8 He will not have regard for the altars, the work of his hands, nor will he look to that which his fingers have made, even the Asherim and incense stands.
9 In that day their strong cities will be like forsaken places in the forest, or like branches which they abandoned before the sons of Israel; and the land will be a desolation.
10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the rock of your refuge.
Daniel 11;20 “Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle. 21 In his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22 The overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant. 23 After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people. 24 In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest (MASHMAN) parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time.
-Isn’t it so, when things are going wonderfully for us…then the blessings are raining down and we are free to spend our days rejoicing and enjoying the richness of the fat of the earth…we often forget about God. Its more common for one to call out and seek God when we are in trouble or in need or in pain. The challenge is for us to remember Him amidst the fullness and sanctify Him in it all…giving Him the glory and honor and allowing Him to be the broker of the abundance not an afterthought. In the Deuteronomy text the fatness causes the people to scorn, neglect and forget the Rock Who begot them.
JESHURUN-upright; referring to Israel.
KASAH (kaw-saw)- to grow fat (covered with flesh).
BA’AT- to trample down; despise.
Deuteronomy 32; 9 “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.
10 “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.
11 “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.
12 “The Lord alone guided him, and there was no foreign god with him.
13 “He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he ate the produce of the field; and He made him suck honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock,
14 Curds of cows, and milk of the flock, with fat (CHELEB) of lambs, and rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the finest (CHELEB) of the wheat— and of the blood of grapes you drank wine.
15 “But Jeshurun grew fat (SHAMAN) and kicked (BA’AT)—you are grown fat (SHAMAN) thick(KASAH), , and sleek—then he forsook God who made him, and scorned the Rock of his salvation.
16 “They made Him jealous with strange gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 “They sacrificed to demons who were not God, to gods whom they have not known, new gods who came lately, whom your fathers did not dread.
18 “You neglected the Rock who begot you, and forgot the God who gave you birth.
SHAMAN (shaw-man)-to shine; by analogy to make oily (or gross).
–The Jeremiah text speaks of the fatness of the people, of their rebellious hearts. In this text the fatness of the people has caused them to forget those in need. From their own abundance they have neglected the ones who have no one else to care for them. It is very important to God that we do good deeds for His Namesake. It honors God when we, bearing His Name and identity upon us, help others in need by giving of our time and money (visiting the sick, helping the widow and orphan, etc.)
Jeremiah 5; 20 “Declare this in the house of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah, saying,
21 ‘Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see; who have ears but do not hear.
22 ‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.
23 ‘But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and departed.
24 ‘They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain in its season, both the autumn rain and the spring rain, Who keeps for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
25 ‘Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have withheld good from you.
26 ‘For wicked men are found among My people, they watch like fowlers lying in wait; they set a trap, they catch men.
27 ‘Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich.
28 ‘They are fat (SHAMAN), they are sleek, they also excel in deeds of wickedness; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the poor.
29 ‘Shall I not punish these people?’ declares the Lord, ‘On a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself?’
–Let us take a very close look at the following text which is a witness to the reason why things have gone wrong for the people. In the abundance and fatness of the promised land the people have…become disobedient and rebelled;cast the Torah behind their backs.
God calls them back to His Torah ; they people arrogantly do not listen to God’s commandments and sin against His ordinances (verse 29 Torah Observance= Life.)
Nehemiah 9; 24 “So their sons entered and possessed the land. And You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and You gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, to do with them as they desired.
25 “They captured fortified cities and a fertile land. They took possession of houses full of every good thing, hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled and grew fat (SHAMAN), and reveled in Your great goodness.
26 “But they became disobedient and rebelled against You, and cast Your Torah behind their backs
and killed Your prophets who had admonished them so that they might return to You, and they committed great blasphemies.
27 “Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them, but when they cried to You in the time of their distress, You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors.
28 “But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You; therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them. When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven, and many times You rescued them according to Your compassion,
29 and admonished them in order to turn them back to Your Torah. Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances, by which if a man observes them he shall live. And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.
30 “However, You bore with them for many years, and admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets, yet they would not give ear. Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
31 “Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them,
for You are a gracious and compassionate God.
32 “Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness, do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You, which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.
33 “However, You are just in all that has come upon us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.
34 “For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your Torah or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them.
–We have established some interesting and revealing connections in scripture regarding fat. Now let’s look at blood. What does blood represent? What ‘power’ is there in the blood? What is its significance in the sacrificial system? Why is it forbidden by God to ingest?
Leviticus 17;10 ‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ 12 Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’ 13 So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.
14 “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.’
–The Leviticus text above defines for us that LIFE and BLOOD are synonymous. The Life is in the Blood. This is why when the Lord “sees” the blood on the walls of the Altar He ‘remembers’ the life that was offered and the offerer who was atoned for. In keeping with some of the questions posed above, Deuteronomy explains for us what keeping the commandments of God ‘mean’ for us. It is not so much that these are ‘health’ issues…the Torah IS how we know what God see’s as right, and when we walk in the Torah we are doing things as God see’s they should be. Not for salvation, for salvation is through the blood of Yeshua…for relationship. Faith by our works as instructed by God.
Deuteronomy 12; 22 Eat it as you would gazelle or deer; the unclean and clean alike may eat it. 23 Just take care not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you are not to eat the life with the meat. 24 Don’t eat it, but pour it out on the ground like water. 25 Do not eat it, so that things will go well with you and with your children after you, as you do what Adonai sees as right.
–This Shabbat as I studied Vayikra with my daughter we ‘came across’ Ezekiel 16. We were astounded by the number of connections to the last portions of Exodus and these Leviticus texts we saw. I believe this text exemplifies our savior and His nature. How He took pity on a people who were in the grips of slavery and death. He not only saved them, redeemed them and covered them with a hand of total providence…but He loves them. He swore :”They are Mine”. Ezekiel paints a portrait of a groom who clothed His bride with splendor. In this text we notice the many similarities to the Temple Service offerings of our Torah portion. We see an offering unwashed, unsalted and abhorred become bathed, washed of blood and anointed. ALL of the elements, fabrics, etc. in this text describe the Mishkan. The space God asked His kids to make Him so that He could rest within them. The Sanctuary they could come to and bring close their heartfelt gifts…the destination in a quest for closeness with the Most High God of their fathers. The Mishkan (and Temple’s) would set Israel apart from any other nation, whom else would travel with the Glory of God in their midst? This is how the world would know that Israel is God’s chosen people…when His presence rests within them. So too it is with us. Let us strive to identify where we may have become fattened and forgotten God, to bring offerings in humility unleavened and anointed by the magnification and shining light of the Messiah Yeshua.
Ezekiel 16; 1 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem, “Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. 5 No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born. 6 “When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you numerous like plants of the field. Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare. 8 “Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord God. 9 “Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. 10 I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. 12 I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord God.
–God’s gift to humanity was the imperishable offering, rubbed with eternal promises. God’s offering to mankind was the perfect, wholehearted, blameless lamb…his blood is the perpetual witness on the walls of the altar that we have been atoned for. There is nothing higher or greater or more everlasting than this once and for all offering.
Baruch attah ADONAI Eloheinu melech haOlam
Blessed are You LORD our God King of the universe
You alone have planted among us life eternal
Blessed are You LORD, Gracious Giver of the Torah
BShem Yeshua Ha Mashiac Amein.
ADONAI, thank You for giving us ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart to seek understanding. Put in us the desire to learn and cherish Your eternal commands. There is nothing missing from us because You have given us everything we need. As we enter into the season of Your Feasts and Your heavenly signs we want to recall Your kindnesses and draw near to You as You have prescribed. Please remove from us all the fat and extra that you do not find favor in, identify for us the acceptable offerings that we may bring. May we approach and draw near intimately Lord…through the blood of Yeshua.
Be with us while we await You, teach us how You desire our worship to look and sound.
In accordance with Your perfect will, by the power of Your Holy Spirit in Yeshua’s name I ask these things.
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