A People Ransomed by God

Looking for spiritual deliverance? The last day of Passover commemorates the crossing of the Red Sea, the final deliverance from bondage, and the miracle of immersion.

April 27,2019

Portion Summary

On the final day of Passover, which commemorates the crossing of the Red Sea, there is a custom to end the season of redemption with an additional, less formal seder. Called Se’udat Mashiach, this event focuses on the ultimate redemption and the messianic banquet that will take place in the future.

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Shemini Shel Pesach (שמיני של פסח | Eighth Day of Passover)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17
  • Maftir: Numbers 28:19-28:25
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 10:32-12:6
  • Gospel: John 20:15-20

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Deuteronomy 14:22 | Regulations concerning Tithes
    • Deuteronomy 15:1 | Laws concerning the Sabbatical Year
    • Deuteronomy 15:19 | The Firstborn of Livestock
    • Deuteronomy 16:1 | The Passover Reviewed
    • Deuteronomy 16:9 | The Festival of Weeks Reviewed
    • Deuteronomy 16:13 | The Festival of Booths Reviewed

Portion Summary

On the final day of Passover, which commemorates the crossing of the Red Sea, there is a custom to end the season of redemption with an additional, less formal seder. Called Se’udat Mashiach, this event focuses on the ultimate redemption and the messianic banquet that will take place in the future. Learn more about it here.


Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).In Paul’s day, one who wanted to become a disciple of Yeshua had to go through a ritual immersion. This rule applied to both Jews and Gentiles. Prior to the immersion, the new disciple confessed and renounced his sins in keeping with the tradition of John’s immersion. Then he descended into a gathering of living water “for the name of Yeshua.” The immersion brought ceremonial cleansing from Levitical impurity, and it symbolized spiritual cleansing, death, and resurrection.

Judaism teaches that one who immerses in a mikvah (immersion pool) symbolically dies as he descends into the water and is reborn as he leaves the water. The apostles applied the death and rebirth imagery of the immersion ritual:

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Messiah Yeshua have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death … if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. (Romans 6:3-5)

For the apostles, immersion into the name of Messiah represented the transition from death to life, from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. By way of analogy, Paul saw the same imagery at work in the crossing of the sea. The children of Israel left Egypt, Pharaoh, and slavery behind as they descended into the water, and they arose on the other side as free men—a people ransomed by God.

Paul warned the Corinthians not to think too highly of themselves. Paul warned them that the generation that perished in the wilderness had similar credentials to their own. They had all been “immersed into Moses in the cloud and the sea,” yet they did not enter the Promised Land (which is compared to the Messianic Era).

Paul was not the only Torah teacher to compare the crossing of the Red Sea to the water of the mikvah. In the Midrash Rabbah, the nation of Israel passes through the Red Sea to purify themselves in preparation for their journey to Mount Sinai:

The crossing of the sea can be compared to a woman who, having completed the days of uncleanness, purified herself and came to her husband. When he saw her he asked, “Who can testify that you are clean?” She replied, “Behold, my maid can testify that I have purified myself by immersion in the mikvah.” (Exodus Rabbah 23:12) (Click to Source)

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A Memorial

For the Jewish people, Passover is a day of remembrance of the exodus from Egypt, but disciples of Yeshua have another important aspect of Passover to remember.

Portion Summary

The sixteenth reading from the Torah is named Beshalach(בשלח), which means “When he sent.” The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which can be literally translated to say, “And it happened when Pharaoh sent out the people.” This is also the Shabbat reading when Passover coincides with the weekly Shabbat. The reading tells the adventures of the Israelites as they leave Egypt, cross the Red Sea, receive miraculous provision in the wilderness and face their first battle.

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Pesach (פסח | Passover)
  • Torah: Exodus 12:21-51
  • Haftarah: Joshua 3:5-7, 5:2-6:1, 6:27
  • Gospel: John 19:31-20:1

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Exodus 13:17 | The Pillars of Cloud and Fire
    • Exodus 14:1 | Crossing the Red Sea
    • Exodus 14:26 | The Pursuers Drowned
    • Exodus 15:1 | The Song of Moses
    • Exodus 15:20 | The Song of Miriam
    • Exodus 15:22 | Bitter Water Made Sweet
    • Exodus 16:1 | Bread from Heaven
    • Exodus 17:1 | Water from the Rock
    • Exodus 17:8 | Amalek Attacks Israel and Is Defeated
  • PROPHETS
    • Jdg 4:1 | Deborah and Barak
    • Jdg 5:1 | The Song of Deborah

Portion Summary

The sixteenth reading from the Torah is named Beshalach(בשלח), which means “When he sent.” The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which can be literally translated to say, “And it happened when Pharaoh sent out the people.” This is also the Shabbat reading when Passover coincides with the weekly Shabbat. The reading tells the adventures of the Israelites as they leave Egypt, cross the Red Sea, receive miraculous provision in the wilderness and face their first battle.


Fourteen hundred years after the exodus from Egypt, Yeshua went to Jerusalem with His disciples to keep the appointed time of Passover. He and His disciples had been to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover many times, but this time, as they neared Jerusalem, Yeshua said, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover” (Matthew 26:18). He knew that He was going to fulfill the appointed time in a marvelous and unexpected way.

The Torah instructs the Jewish people to keep the first day of Passover as a “memorial” of the exodus from Egypt. It works as one of God’s reminders. God rescued Israel from Egypt and told the people to keep the festival as an appointed time and a remembrance of their salvation.

Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. (Exodus 12:14)

The Master kept the seder meal with His disciples in Jerusalem. He took the unleavened bread and the customary Passover cup and instructed His disciples to do so henceforth in remembrance of Him. On the day of the sacrifice, He became a spiritual sacrifice—Israel’s Passover lamb. At the appointed time for the Jewish people to sacrifice their Passover lambs in remembrance of the nation’s salvation from Egypt, Yeshua went to the cross.

When believers keep Passover, we have two things to remember. We remember the historic salvation from Egypt as the Torah commands us, but we also remember the salvation granted to us through the sacrifice of Yeshua. The two remembrances are not mutually exclusive. They naturally complement one another.

Every year we keep Passover in remembrance of Yeshua. Messiah Himself told us to do so: “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19). Did He have in mind only the breaking bread and a sip from the fruit of the vine? No. He spoke within the specific context of Passover. The commandment to do “this” in remembrance of Yeshua refers to the Passover Seder meal. It is not one cup but the traditional cups of Passover. It is not any bread; it is the unleavened matzah bread of Passover. What could be more appropriate for a disciple of Yeshua to do than to keep the festival of Passover in remembrance of Him, just as He told His disciples? (Click to Source)

TORAHSCOPE – Shemini – Eighth – 30 Mar 2019

Shemini

Eighth

True Shock and Awe

Leviticus 9:1-11:47
2 Samuel 6:1-7:17 (A); 6:1-19 (S)

The title of our Torah portion for this week, Shemini or “Eighth,” points one to the chronological context of the “eighth day” that begins this section of Leviticus. A glance at the concluding statements from Tzav last week, notes how the seven days of consecration which God required of Aaron and his sons has just been completed. Aaron and his sons had been very busy anointing and consecrating the Tabernacle, various implements for sacrifice, different accoutrements for the Tent of Meeting, and even themselves:

At the doorway of the tent of meeting, moreover, you shall remain day and night for seven days and keep the charge of the LORD, so that you will not die, for so I have been commanded. Thus Aaron and his sons did all the things which the LORD had commanded through Moses” (Leviticus 8:35-36).

Our selection in Shemini begins with, Now it came about on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel” (Leviticus 9:1). Now that the seven days of consecration are completed, the glory of God is ready to manifest itself before the Ancient Israelites. The Tabernacle’s system of offerings and sacrifices is ready to begin its designated function:

Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he stepped down after making the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces” (Leviticus 9:22-24).

This is a very dramatic and exciting section of Scripture to contemplate and imagine in one’s mind’s eye. Now that the anointing and consecration of the Tabernacle have been completed, and all of the required sacrifices have been offered, the glory of the Lord, kavod-ADONAI, appears.

Aaron first lifts up his hands, and then Moses blesses the people. Then, God’s glory falls upon the Tent of Meeting. In a powerful way, a fire comes down and consumes the burnt offering and portions of fat on the altar. The appearance of the all-consuming fire was so overwhelming that the people shouted for joy that their offerings were acceptable and fell on their faces in awe.[1]

Aaron’s Sons Consumed

Following Leviticus ch. 9, there is a distinct break as the scene of the Tabernacle changes from readers seeing the glory of God manifested—to a very tragic incident involving the deaths of Nadab and Abihu. For some unstated reason in the text, the two eldest sons of Aaron decided to offer up some “strange fire” (Heb. eish zarah) that was unauthorized by the Holy One of Israel. They soon discover that unsanctioned activities at this sacred placebased on their own volitional choiceshave terminal consequences:

“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD” (Leviticus 10:1-2).

The death of these two men was a stunning and unexpected tragedy. It was a clear display of God’s apparent displeasure with the actions of Nadab and Abihu. Moments before in the text, a holy fire consumes sacrificial offerings. But then, for offering up “unholy fire” (RSV) or “unauthorized fire” (NIV), the heirs-apparent of Aaron are consumed. As the Hebrew verb akal describes it, they were “eat[en], devour[ed], consume[d]” (AMG).[2] This is the same verb used previously for the consumption of the offering (Leviticus 9:24). The same God who demonstrated His pleasure with the presentation of offerings before Him in Leviticus 9, is now displeased with the presentation of inappropriate fire before Him in Leviticus 10.

Aaron was in total shock after seeing his two sons die by the force of God. Because of the severity of the Levitical service, Moses communicates these direct commands to Aaron, which he had received from the Lord:

“Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘It is what the LORD spoke, saying, “By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.”’ So Aaron, therefore, kept silent” (Leviticus 10:3).

Certainly, these words from God spoken by Moses, struck a chord with Aaron. Could it have been possible that Aaron thought back to the admonition uttered just before the Decalogue was received at Mount Sinai? Here the instruction was, “Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them” (Exodus 19:22).

At this juncture, Moses was warning not just the Levites, but by extension all of the Ancient Israelites, to not be presumptuous about approaching their Creator. The priests needed to be reminded about the necessity of personal consecration, lest they be punished for presenting something unholy or inappropriate before the Lord.

Leviticus 10:3 is clear how “Aaron remained silent” (NIV) as Moses delivered instruction following the deaths of Nadab and Abihu. Can you imagine what was going through his mind? He was responsible for the golden calf incident in Exodus 32, and yet here he was still standing, in spite of three thousand Israelites slaughtered. For what could seem to be a far lesser offense than committing idolatry against the Holy One, he had to look at the charred remains of his sons. Aaron understood in a very visible way that in order to be in the presence of the Lord, one must be sanctified unto Him.

What can we learn from this today, in the era of New Covenant when Yeshua’s sacrifice has offered permanent forgiveness from sins? The Lord still requires His people to be holy in order for them to access to His presence. He demands that He be glorified and properly honored by His creatures. It is quite possible that Aaron was terrified into thinking that he could be the next victim of the consuming fire of God. While Believers today might have the sacrifice of Yeshua covering their transgressions, even the Apostolic Scriptures admonish us, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

Pleasing the Holy One

There is speculation by the Jewish Rabbis that Nadab and Abihu were perhaps under the influence of alcohol when they made the bad decision to offer up strange fire on the altar.[3] This is a possibility, as they could have been intoxicated so as to not properly follow the procedures that the Lord required of them as consecrated priests. The mention of this prohibition, several verses later in Leviticus 10, is a good textual clue that they could have indeed been drunk:

“Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die—it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations—and so as to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean, and so as to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them through Moses” (Leviticus 10:9-11).

The problem with alcohol may provide some explanation, but we need not overlook some of the verses which appear between the description of Nadab and Abihu’s death (Leviticus 10:1-3) and then the description of how priests were not to drink while on duty (Leviticus 10:9-11). Some intriguing statements are made in Leviticus 10:6-7, succinctly describing how holy God considers the priestly office to be:

“Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, ‘Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, so that you will not die and that He will not become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, shall bewail the burning which the LORD has brought about. You shall not even go out from the doorway of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for the LORD’s anointing oil is upon you.’ So they did according to the word of Moses” (Leviticus 10:6-7).

Aaron’s other two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, will take the place of Nadab and Abihu as priests. They are all instructed not to mourn for the untimely deaths of their brothers. Then they are told to not even leave the Tent of Meeting, because “the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you” (RSV).

The God of Israel was very serious about His chosen priests honoring the office in which they were to serve. In some respects, you can ascertain that from the shock of the consuming deaths of Nadab and Abihu, a genuine awe and reverence of the Lord has settled in the hearts of Aaron and his other sons. Obedience to these directives was adhered to without question. As this section of Leviticus closes, Moses asks Aaron and his sons why they have not followed the instructions to partake of the “holy” offerings that were clear instructions from the Most High:

“‘Why did you not eat the sin offering at the holy place? For it is most holy, and He gave it to you to bear away the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD. Behold, since its blood had not been brought inside, into the sanctuary, you should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, just as I commanded.’ But Aaron spoke to Moses, ‘Behold, this very day they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD. When things like these happened to me, if I had eaten a sin offering today, would it have been good in the sight of the LORD?’ When Moses heard that, it seemed good in his sight” (Leviticus 10:17-20).

Aaron responds to this rebuke with a very heartfelt reply, which indicates that the circumstances of his sons’ deaths, in his mind, prohibited them from eating the sin offering. Having seen his two sons die in a very tragic way, and having heard the admonitions about mourning and leaving the presence of the Lord while under the anointing, Aaron’s heart seems to finally be in the right place.

Even with the potential for immediate Divine retribution, Aaron’s contrite response was, “would the LORD have approved?” (NJPS). Apparently, this was what the Lord was looking for from His high priest and his sons, and Moses was satisfied with the response (Leviticus 10:20). Since Aaron was not consumed for disregarding the requirements for the sin offering, the Lord was pleased with his service as high priest of Israel.

In Shemini, God makes it clear through a very dramatic episode, what He required of the Levitical priesthood. As exemplified in Aaron and his sons, He desires a set-apart people who understand the call upon their lives, and who put His interests as Creator ahead of their own as mortals. Aaron learns from the shocking deaths of Nadab and Abihu that being presumptuous with how someone approaches God can bring significant consequences. Aaron was a changed man. Is it possible that he went through some kind of a mental checklist, asking the question of whether or not God would approve, before every priestly action he took? These initial scenes had to be preparatory for the great responsibility that being the high priest of Israel would entail.

Conforming to His Image

Today, as representatives of the God of Israel in the Earth, we need to approach our service unto Him with the same kind of sobriety that Aaron developed. We need to understand His ways, a very important part of which involves personal Torah study. So much knowledge and understanding about God’s holiness can be imparted to us by a review of the weekly parashah, as we contemplate not only the continuing trajectory of God’s Word, but also His mission and calling for our individual lives.

In Leviticus 11, a part of our Torah portion for this week, we encounter the first major instruction detailing the kosher dietary laws. Many Believers today will casually dismiss these directions given by God, because they think they were only for a previous time or age. But at the same time, several prominent evangelical Christians today—because of the poor health of many in our society—have spoken in favor of the health benefits that are derived from not eating certain meats. Are God’s people to be regulated by Him in simple matters like their diet? Can you learn anything about God’s holiness by what you eat?[4]

As we search our own hearts in these days of “shock and awe,”[5] perhaps we should ask the Lord to give us hearts that are reminiscent of Aaron’s heart—hopefully without having to witness the same kind of dramatic encounters that he saw! Learning from Shemini, before we take actions, we should learn to ask the simple question of whether or not God would approve. By training our hearts and minds to such a pattern of behavior, those called into His service can demonstrate how they are being conformed to the image of Yeshua:

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

Let us be reminded that Yeshua only did what the Father instructed Him to do:

“So Yeshua said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me’” (John 8:28).

By His grace, may we also be reminded that we, as obedient servants, should be doing only that which the Lord has instructed us. By being sensitive to His will, not only will He be glorified—but we might find ourselves truly in awe of His work through us. If we choose otherwise, we may be in for an unexpected shock! (Click to Source)


NOTES

[1] As an aside, it is interesting to note two things from this account. First, witnessing supernatural actions in person can generate enough fear to buckle the stiffest of knees. Second, the witnesses to God’s glory falling and the fire consuming the offerings caused the Ancient Israelites to fall on their faces. This incident, and others throughout the Scriptures (i.e., Genesis 17:3; Numbers 16:4; Joshua 5:14; Daniel 8:17; Matthew 17:6), indicate how people generally respond to the genuine presence of God.

Back in the early to mid-1990s, a phenomenon was moving through various charismatic circles known by a variety of names such as the “Toronto blessing” or “holy laughter.” As people claimed to have been blessed by various speakers, etc., many were falling down under the supposed power of the Holy Spirit. In many cases, as they were being prayed for, the typical response was to see people fall on their backs as they were being touched—rather than fall forward on the face, as is typical from the Scriptural examples.

Things like this should make one pause and ask just what kind of a “spirit” was being served. If more of the participants had been conscious of the Biblical examples where people fall on their facesbefore God, there could have been a recognition that these actions needed to be viewed with a more critical eye. Thankfully today, as more and more Believers become better acquainted with the basic principles of God’s Torah, He will equip us to more properly question the origins of the various spiritual phenomenon we encounter.

[2] Baker and Carpenter, 49.

[3] J.H. Hertz, ed., Pentateuch & Haftorahs (London: Soncino Press, 1960), 445.

[4] For a further discussion, consult the articles “To Eat or Not to Eat?” and “How Do We Properly Keep Kosher?” by J.K. McKee.

[5] The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (2002-2003).

Torah Commentary – Sh’mini (Eighth) – Convictions Do Not Change – SCRIPTURES FOR March 30, 2019

Torah Commentary
Leviticus 9:1-11:47
2 Samuel 6:1-19
Mark 7:1-23
Acts 5:1-11;10:1-35
Sh’mini (Eighth)
Convictions Do Not Change
The sacrifices are to teach us about life. They give us instructions of how to approach YH VH. This Torah portion will also instruct us in how not to approach him. The sons of Aaron decide they have a right to their opinion regarding their duties and it does not go very well for them. Simply put, they died.
These verses and the event they describe should teach us that the first thing which must be put on an altar is our opinion. Yah has set up His ways of doing things and expects us to follow through without inserting our thoughts into the situation. It is the very heart of true conviction.
Conviction is when we do something, not because we understand it all, but because it is the right thing to do, one-hundred percent of the time, because He tells us to. Conviction does not have a place for wiggle room when we find ourselves in a compromising situation. Conviction stands firm, no matter the cost.
It is interesting that the verses of unauthorized fire would be followed with instructions for what is food and what is not food, for if there is an area of our life which conviction is tested almost daily, it is in what we put in our mouths.
I am not going to get into the list of what Abba says is food or not as you can read the list for yourself. The question is what are we going to do with the list when we are finished? Will we treat it with the conviction it deserves as the Word of YHVH, or water it down with a bit of convenience? To expound on this, let’s make up a scenario most of us are familiar with.
Let’s say your neighbor invites you over for dinner one night. You have not told them about your faith or your lifestyle of Torah. You figure they go to church on Sundays as you can see their car leave every Sunday morning at 10:50 and return at 12:10. You have been meaning to talk to them about your faith, but have been putting it off because you don’t want to be marked as “Those People” by all your neighbors.
So you show up for dinner and walk in the door only to be greeted by the sight of pork chops frying in a pan. Oy Vey! Now what do you do? Here are your options.
  1. 1.  Tell your neighbors that the whole family has just been diagnosed with high blood pressure and can not eat pork due to doctors orders.
  2. 2.  Explain to them the scientific reasons pigs should not be considered food.
  3. 3.  Tell the children to just eat a little so as not to offend your neighbors. By the way, this means offending your God.
  4. 4.  Be honest with the neighbors and use it as a place of conviction and an opportunity to share the lifestyle your faith in Yeshua has brought you to. Tell them you do not eat pork because your convicted not to based on Scripture.
Now I think we all know what our response should be. The question though is not what we should do, but what have we been doing?
It is amazing to me how the dietary commands are the ones people do not think should be taken seriously. I have heard most every excuse in the book for breaking these commands. Why do people think these are somehow less of the heart of Abba than others. I mean, do we do that with other commandments like, “Just a little sexual immorality is fine. We don’t want to offend anyone!” How about, “Just steal a little bit!” How ridiculous, right?
If you are as fed up with this world situation as I am, stop and ask what got us into it in the first place? Was it not Eve putting something in her mouth she was not supposed to? Was not this whole thing started when Adam and Eve walked in convenience instead of conviction?
So next time you go to your neighbors house for dinner, or dare we say your mothers house, ask yourself a question. Are we truly walking in conviction or is our life based on convenience? You never know if maybe Abba has placed you in a situation because he wants to convict someone else through you. (Click to Source)
Shalom and Be Strong,
Mike Clayton
Joined To HaShem

Buffalo, Bacon or Sloth?

I would certainly eat that delicious bacon, but My Father in heaven has forbidden me to eat of it, so I will not.

Special Shabbat Reading

Shabbat Parah: Special readings are applicable this Shabbat.

  • Shabbat Parah (פרה | Cow)
  • Maftir: Numbers 19:1-19:22
  • Haftarah: Ezekiel 36:16-36:38
  • Gospel: John 11:47-57

Shabbat Parah (“Sabbath [of the] red heifer” שבת פרה) takes place on the Shabbat before Shabbat HaChodesh, in preparation for Passover. Numbers 19:1-22 describes the parah adumah (“red heifer”) in the Jewish temple as part of the manner in which the kohanim and the Jewish people purified themselves so that they would be ready (“pure”) to sacrifice the korban Pesach.

Regular Shabbat Readings

READ / LISTEN TO THESE PORTIONS

  • Shemini (שמיני | Eighth)
  • Torah: Leviticus 9:1-11:47
  • Haftarah: 2 Sam. 6:1-7:17
  • Gospel: Matthew 3:11-17

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Leviticus 9:1 | Aaron’s Priesthood Inaugurated
    • Leviticus 10:1 | Nadab and Abihu
    • Leviticus 11:1 | Clean and Unclean Foods
    • Leviticus 11:24 | Unclean Animals
  • PROPHETS
    • 2 Samuel 6:1 | David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem
    • 2 Samuel 7:1 | God’s Covenant with David

Portion Summary

Shemini is the twenty-sixth reading from the Torah and third reading from the book of Leviticus. The word shemini (שמיני) means “eighth,” and it comes from the first words of Exodus 9:1, which says, “Now it came about on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel” (Leviticus 9:1). The text goes on to describe the events of the eight day after setting up the Tabernacle, a phenomenal worship service followed by a tragic incident. The reading concludes with the biblical dietary laws regarding animals fit for consumption and prohibitions regarding those that are unfit.

 

Some people regard the thought of eating an unclean animal as revolting. Personal taste preferences and appetites are the wrong reasons for avoiding unfit foods. Likewise, health reasons alone are not a good motivation for keeping kosher. A famous rabbi once said that a person should not say, “I think pork is disgusting.” Instead he should say, “I would certainly eat it, but My Father in heaven has forbidden me to eat of it, so I will not.”

Why does God say that some animals are clean (ritually fit) while others are unclean (ritually unfit)? Surely God, in His wisdom, knew what foods would be good for His people and what foods would be harmful for them. But there is more to it than simply good health. The kosher laws are not God’s version of a health food diet.

The laws of what is clean and what is unclean have to do with being able to participate in the Levitical worship system. Things that make a person ritually unfit include death, leprosy, mildew, and human mortality. Some of the animals designated as “unfit” are predators or scavengers that feed on carrion. Some of them carry associations with ritual contamination. Perhaps the Almighty designated some animals as unfit because of their associations with ritual uncleanness. God desires His people to be a kingdom of priests, and that requires implementing ritual concern in daily life.

These are just guesses. We really do not know the reason some animals are called fit and others are not. The rabbis explain that the kosher laws belong to a category of commandment that has no rational explanation. Asking why a buffalo is kosher while a giant sloth is not kosher is like asking why the Sabbath is on the seventh day of the week and not the first day of the week or why the sun rises in the east instead of the west. Some things we have to accept simply because God says so. Who are we to question God? He decided that certain creatures are not food for His people Israel. That is completely within His prerogative.

If we obey God only when it makes good sense to us or when we happen to have a similar inclination, that is not really obedience. This can be compared to a child whose father insisted on an eight o’clock bedtime. On the first night, the child felt drowsy around seven thirty, so he obeyed his father. “How wise my father is to send me to bed at eight,” the child thought. The next night, however, he did not feel tired. He could think of no rational reason for going to bed so early. The eight o’clock bedtime mandate seemed arbitrary and unnecessary, so he chose to ignore it. It is not obedience if we only obey when it suits us to do so.

Though we may not be able to deduce why God designated some animals as clean and others as unclean, we do know why He imposed the dietary laws on His people Israel. The Torah tells us that it is a matter of holiness:

You shall not make yourselves unclean with them so that you become unclean. For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy. (Leviticus 11:43-45)

God gave Israel the dietary laws to make them holy. The word holy does not necessarily refer to a moral or ethical quality. It means to be set apart for the LORD. The distinctive requirements of the Torah’s dietary laws accomplish that by forcing the Jewish people to cluster together in communities while limiting their potential interactions with other communities.

Do the prohibtions on eating unclean animals apply to Gentile believers? The dietary laws for God-fearing Gentile believers forbid them from food contaminated by idols, from blood, and from the meat of incorrectly slaughtered animals. Although the dietary laws of Leviticus 11 do not pertain directly to non-Jewish believers, many God-fearing Gentile believers abide by them in keeping with the spirit of the law and in honor of their position as strangers among the Jewish people and servants of the Jewish king. (Click to Source)

 

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Torah Commentary – Tzav”Command” – The Lesson of the Ashes – SCRIPTURES FOR March 23, 2019

Torah Commentary
Tzav”Command”
Leviticus 6:1-8:36
Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23
Luke 4-6
The Lesson of the Ashes
The Tabernacle has now been built and the presence of HaShem is visible in the midst of the people.  Just a momentary thought about the scene causes the imagination to run wild.  What a sight it must have been, and what a witness to those who would see it from a distance.  I wonder just how many “foreigners” came to Moses while they journeyed through the wilderness asking to become a part of this special people who worshipped a very special God?
The people have now been set free from the bondage of Egypt.  They have been miraculously delivered and brought to Mount Sinai to receive the words to keep them free. They have build a tent for HaShem so that He could dwell in their midst, and they have seen the fire fall.  Now it is time to settle into the daily life of the journey they have been called to.  No problems from here on.  Right?
Well, maybe there would be something more they would need to do.  They would need to keep the fire of His presence real, not only in the Tabernacle, but also in their hearts on a daily basis.
You would think that a people who are eating the miraculous food of manna, receiving water from a rock that followed them, and seeing the visible presence of their God in their lives on a daily basis just should not have a hard time keeping their lives in order. But humans being so human can certainly cause problems in this area. There would be times along the way that the fire might still be on the altar, but it would be absent from the people’s hearts.
They would fail to see the lesson being lived out daily on the altar of the Tabernacle, the lesson of the ashes.
Each day the priest would be required to clean out the ashes of yesterday’s fire, making room for the fire of the present day.  If the priest did not clean out the ashes for a few days they could even smother the fire and eventually put it out.  This was a lesson the people needed to learn, but many did not.  They went about their daily business content with what God had accomplished in the past, not concerned about His presence in the present.
Will Rodgers again had it right when he said, “People change, but not much.”  It seems this trait of living on what God did in the past is not only a Hebrew thing, but it is a human thing.  How many denominations and non-denominations have not only begun through the years, but continue to perpetuate, not because of God’s presence today, but based on a testimony of what was done in the past. Before we point fingers though, maybe it would be a good idea to not look at others, but to take a few moments of self-examination as Paul told us to do.
Let’s put this to a test in our own lives right now. Ready? It is now testimony night at your local congregation and you have been asked to give a testimony of the grace and power of God in your life.  How far back would you have to go?  Would it be a month, a year or maybe even five years?  Are you maybe even having a hard time remembering anything of real meaning since the moment you gave your life to Him?  Just how long has it been since your Tabernacle has felt the fire of His presence?  How full of ashes have the altars of our hearts become?  Is it time for a good cleaning in hopes that there is still a coal left to spark the flame again?
It is so easy to go through the motions of a relationship with God.  In fact, we can do so long enough that we really think that what we are doing is fire, when all that is there is cold, dry ashes.  What is the difference between ashes and fire in your life? Think fire.  On a scale of 0 – 10, how hot is your love of HaShem, of His Truth, of your fellowman, of action?  Are you excited and exciting?  Are you making a difference?  Do you glow? Are others attracted to HaShem because of you?  Does light radiate from you?
Cold ashes can even happen to those who live by Torah.  Obedience to the letter of Torah can cause some of the coldest and driest people I have ever known.  Obedience can in fact become ashes when we refuse to allow Torah to grow and mold our lives and our relationship not only with our God, but also with each other. We must never allow our obedience to come from the ashes of yesterday, but rather make sure it is fueled by the fire of today.
Let us continue to learn lessons of life from our brothers and sisters who have walked the journey before us. If we make the same mistakes they did, we truly have no excuse! (Click to Source)
Shalom and Be Strong,
Mike Clayton
Joined To HaShem

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TorahScope: Vayikra – He called – “Sacrificial Identification” – 10 March, 2019

Vayikra

He called

Leviticus 1:1-5:26[6:7]
Isaiah 43:21-44:23

“Sacrificial Identification”


by Mark Huey

The Torah portion Vayikra begins the Book of Leviticus, and serves as the Hebrew name for the entire text. Chs. 1-7 detail sacrificial laws for individuals, for the congregation of Israel, and for priests. This is followed by chs. 8-10 describing the worship in the completed Tabernacle. Chs. 11-17 focus on the laws of clean and unclean, purity and purification, and conclude with the institution of the Day of Atonement. Chs. 18-26 compose laws of marriage, personal and social ethics, the appointed times, land tenure, and national welfare. The final chapter of Leviticus, ch. 27, deals with oath making and tithes.

If you will recall from Pequdei’s closing verses from the end of Exodus, the Tabernacle was completed and the glory of God took up residence in the midst of Israel (Exodus 40:34-38). Now that the means to offer sacrifices were available, a description of the sacrificial system is given. Please note how the Pentateuch is not necessarily narrated for us in absolute chronological order, because if this were the case, then Exodus 40 should be followed by Numbers 7, which records the consecration of the Tabernacle. Instead, the different books of the Pentateuch have been organized for us the way they have because of theological and literary reasons.

With the Tabernacle now in place at the end of Exodus, the Book of Leviticus begins by describing the sacrificial system which would be able to cover the sins of the Ancient Israelites. In our parashah for this week, the differentiations between the burnt offering,[1] grain offering,[2] peace offering,[3] sin offering,[4] and guilt offering[5] are described. There is also some clarification between unintentional sins and intentional sins, and how different people are supposed to handle the different offerings in order to receive forgiveness. One of the verses that immediate jumped out at me, when I started reading Vayikra, was Leviticus 1:4:

“He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.”

Offerings Defined

In contemplating all the different offerings, and the distinctions between the intentional and unintentional sins, seen in Vayikra, I thought about a number of things. Making free will offerings to God was an expected “given” among the Ancient Israelites. These offerings were to be presented before the Lord as a token of their appreciation of His goodness toward them. Perhaps, I reckoned, the people knew that as limited mortals they were not necessarily in right relationship with an Eternal God, and so they would feel led to just give something to Him. Such an innate desire to offer up the best of one’s flocks or herds as burnt offerings, or simply a sacrifice to please the Lord, might salve one’s conscience for a short time.

Early in our Torah reading, we encounter the Hebrew word qorban, used for “offering,” and simply means “offering, oblation” (BDB):[6]

“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering [qorban] to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. If his offering is a burnt offering [qorban] from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD’” (Leviticus 1:2-3).

Apparently, there is not a completely accurate English word to describe all the things that qorban could fully entail. The term qorban is derived from the root qarav, basically meaning “come near, approach, enter into” (TWOT).[7] When an Israelite brought forth a qorban offering, it was designed by God to draw His people closer to Him. The physical act, of offering up a farm animal that had economic value, was a far greater “sacrifice” than simply taking the time to pray or observe the daily worship of the Tabernacle. There was a realized cost associated with offering up one’s prized agricultural possession. Some of the individual’s “treasures” or assets were losing their lives.

Millennia later, Yeshua described how one could tell where a heart was located. He taught, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

When one of the Ancient Israelites would make an offering of a prized animal, the individual was tangibly displaying his or her desire to be in communion with the Creator, frequently having to make restitution for some kind of sin or error committed. And on another level, by offering a living animal as a covering for sin, the message of substitution would be visibly communicated. The one who was offering up the animal had to identify with it, by laying his hands upon it right before it is killed:

“He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. He shall slay the young bull before the LORD; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting” (Leviticus 1:4-5).

In the Book of Leviticus, now that the Tabernacle was constructed and the sacrificial altar was erected, the priests had the venue and the God-given directions on how to properly offer sacrifices. Here in Vayikra, we are reminded once again that our Creator has required a blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin. As it will be later stated, animals’ lives will have to be offered before God in order to (temporarily) cover the errors committed by humans (Leviticus 17:11).

Identification

The next thing that really seemed to catch my attention, in reading through Vayikra this week, was the overwhelming reminder that various Israelites were frequently having to lay their hands on the heads of animals being sacrificed. By doing so, they were having to identify with these animals, and recognize that the shed blood of the animals were, in essence, covering for punishment that was rightfully theirs.Whether one was offering a bull, lamb, or goat, the laying on of hands was standard procedure. Consider the following passages from our selection:

“He shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood around on the altar” (Leviticus 3:2).

“If he is going to offer a lamb for his offering, then he shall offer it before the LORD, and he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it before the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar” (Leviticus 3:7-8).

“Moreover, if his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD, and he shall lay his hand on its head and slay it before the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar” (Leviticus 3:12-13).

“He shall bring the bull to the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull and slay the bull before the LORD. Then the anointed priest is to take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the tent of meeting, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil of the sanctuary” (Leviticus 4:4-6).

What you also might have noticed is that after the identification with the animal by the laying on of hands, the person making the confession has to watch it being killed, and then witness its blood sprinkled. This method of covering for sin should have left a lasting impression on the one who has brought the live animal to the priest. Even if one became somewhat desensitized to seeing animals killed, the animal still had economic value—an economic value which in some way was being thrown away as a punishment for improper deeds.

It is difficult for us living in the Twenty-First Century to often identify with what is recorded in much of Leviticus. Most of us have never even seen a farm animal slaughtered, and then butchered so that we might enjoy some fresh, homegrown meat. But if you ever have seen this occur, then you should vividly remember how, as the blood drained from the animal, its life force leaves. By the laying on of hands for identification purposes, and then watching the blood being sprinkled around the altar and various places, the qorban achieves its purpose to bring some person a covering for sins.

From Shadow to Reality

For the most part, in order to really study the sacrificial system as described in this parashah, I had to turn to the Rabbinical authorities for answers. My examination did not uncover too many Messianic interpretations of these procedures, and evangelical Christian sources are often most concerned about what the sacrificial system meant within the religious milieu of the Ancient Near East. While such historical information is good, what does a Torah portion like Vayikra really communicate to Messianic Believers today?

I simply remembered how the Apostolic Scriptures have some excellent things to say about the sacrificial system seen in the Torah. The author of Hebrews summarizes the need for the ultimate sacrifice, only available through the shed blood of the Lamb. He asserts how the animal sacrifices of the Torah, because they have to be repeated over and over again, do not provide the permanent covering for sins that the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua provides for us:

“For the Law, since it hasa shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE. THEN I SAID, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD”’ [Psalm 40:6-8]. After saying above, ‘SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them’ [Psalm 40:6] (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL’ [Psalm 40:7]. He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua the Messiah once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD [Psalm 110:1], waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET [Psalm 110:1]. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:1-14).

Here, the author of Hebrews reminds his audience of the need for a sacrifice, so that one can draw near to the Lord. And of course, what we find in this passage is that Yeshua Himself willingly became the offering for those who believe in Him, inaugurating a Melchizedkian priesthood before the Father in Heaven. In this post-resurrection era, animal sacrifices would at best be redundant reminders of how He had to come and provide a permanent sacrifice for sinful humanity. Our author plainly tells us, “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14, NIV).

The challenge for us is that, by faith, we must believe the report that the Messiah has come and has died for our sins—providing permanent restitution that the animal sacrifices of Vayikra could not provide. We have to believe that He is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, waiting for that day when His enemies will be made a footstool for His feet. We have to identify with Him, lay our hands upon His head, and let His blood atone for our sins. For many, confessing their sins before the Lord is very difficult, as it forces them to recognize that they are yet to be perfected. We are limited mortals in need of the mercy of an Eternal God!

As you consider the varied offerings of Vayikra, we need to pray for others who need to accept the precious blood of the Messiah of Israel and His willing sacrifice! We need to pray that as people read through these chapters of Leviticus, they might recognize how animal sacrifices can only go so far. (Click to Source)


NOTES

[1] Leviticus 1:1-17.

[2] Leviticus 2:1-16.

[3] Leviticus 3:1-17.

[4] Leviticus 4:1-35.

[5] Leviticus 5:1-6:7.

[6] Francis Brown, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), 898.

[7] Leonard J. Coppes, “qarav,” in TWOT, 2:811.

 

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Torah Commentary – Vayikra (He Called) – Take Possession – SCRIPTURES FOR March 16, 2019

Vayikra (He Called)

SCRIPTURES FOR March 16, 2019

Leviticus 1:1-5:26

Isaiah 43:21-44:23

Romans 8:1-13

Hebrews 10:1-14; 13:10-16

Take Possession

This week we begin the Book of Leviticus. For many people it is a book of meaningless details, but in truth it is a glimpse into the Father’s Heart. In order to grasp Father’s Heart we must first open our hearts to Him. Let us stop now to invite Him to reveal Himself to us through the entire book of Leviticus. May we not rush through the verses, but meditate on Father’s purposes. As a royal priesthood let us ask, “Is there something more for us written between the lines?”

In Jeremiah 17:9 we read that Father knows our hearts better than we do and declares it to be a very dark place. From previous teachings, we have found this word heart to not be the organ in our chest, but rather our inward man, that part of us which makes us…well, us.

In order to cleanse this inner man an offering was brought to the Tabernacle and presented to the priest. At one level we would understand this as a substitution sacrifice pointing to the complete work of Messiah. Notice in chapter one, verse 4, that the person presenting the offering did not simply leave his sacrifice at the “drop off” door of the Tabernacle. Instead the person brought it to the door for inspection, then led it to the Altar of Sacrifice and laid his hands upon it. He was to cut the throat of the innocent animal, skin it and cut it into pieces. You may wonder what the priest’s role was during that time. They were there to assist, if the person could not go through with the bloody procedure.

What is the message here? Why could the man not just let the priest do the work? After all, that is what they were getting “Paid” to do. It was their “Job.”

In order for sins to be atoned for the man had to own up to his sin and take possession of it. He could not simply present the offering out of some duty or instruction. Rather, in the act of placing his hands on the animal, he acknowledged it was personal. On a side note, it is recorded that many men could not follow through with the task. When they came to the understanding the guiltless animal was being put to death in their place, reality set in. The priest would then have to intervene and finish the task.

In just a few short days most of us will be celebrating the Feast of Passover. Except for a few people, we do not have sheep or goats to slaughter, “Not Sacrifice”, for our table. We will go to the store, and purchase a nicely wrapped lamb roast for our celebration. When taking the roast out of the package, maybe we will get a few drops of blood on our hands, but it can be quickly washed off without meaning. We were not there when the lamb was slaughtered by a disinterested party. In fact, we can go through our complete Seder and really not think of the price paid for our sin. Caught up in the motions, we may forget the judgment of death we had on our lives and the sacrifice which took place to atone for it. We can just enjoy the meal as we would any other and dream of the chocolate covered matzah at the end. We can, but will we? That is an individual question.

The Torah portion goes on and speaks of various sins and offerings. Notice in chapter 5, verse 5, the person is to confess the sin he or she committed. Now I am not saying we should all drive down to the Catholic Church around the corner and sit in the little booth behind a curtain! Instead, I suggest James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

As Passover approaches let us make it a point to not spend all of our time on the outward appearance of which plates and glasses we will use, but look to the “inner part” of the matter, the “Heart” of Passover. Spend some quality time asking Holy Spirit to do a leaven search of your inner man. Take pause before Passover to consider those things which need to be confessed unto Him or to another. Make amends with those you may have offended. If you are serving lamb, take a moment before your knife cuts the meat to think of the man instructed in Leviticus to take a knife, not just to the piece of roast on the plate, but to the throat of the innocent animal before him. Spend a quiet moment considering the lamb before you and the work done in our place by Messiah. Let us celebrate this season with clean hands and a pure heart! His Great Love willingly paid a high price for us!

As a last note. Rabbinic writings state a principle I would like to expound on. If a man brought an offering but did not bring his own inner man of repentance and humility, the offering meant nothing. It was as if he were not honoring the One the offerings were looking to and would harden him to the true message. We could see then that his last state would be worse than his first state for he had not drawn closer to Yah, but closer to spiritual death. Could this be the same message Saul (Paul) was speaking in 1Cor 11:23-32? You read it and be the judge. Judge of your own life that is! (Click to Source)

 

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Torah Commentary – P’kudei (Accounts) – Now What? – SCRIPTURES FOR March 9, 2019

Torah Commentary
P’kudei (Accounts)
Exodus 38:21-40:38
1Kings 7:13-26
2Corinthians 9:1-15
Hebrews 9:1-14
Revelation 11:1-13
Now What?
The last chapters of Exodus speak of putting the instructions of the Tabernacle and garments into reality. As I read the details, I can sense a growing excitement in the camp of the Hebrews. With each item completed and each curtain sown, the excitement builds. At one point the people become so enthralled with the experience that their giving has to be halted by Moshe. The people are giving too much! Consider that one.
The days would turn to weeks and the weeks to months, then in an instant, it was done. We just can not imagine the emotions behind Ex 39:43 as Moshe and the people looked at the completed work of the Tabernacle in front of them. Not only was it finished, but it was finished exactly as Moshe had told them to do, exactly as he had been shown on the mountain. Consider that one. Not a single man’s opinion had entered into the equation.
The final pieces are put into place, but now what are they to do? Moshe had been told to build it and the people all come together and did it. Yah had told them He would then inhabit this tent, but what was that going to look like? They had not been given those instructions and in the excitement of coming together as one for the purpose of building the Tabernacle, no one had thought to ask.
I can just imagine these people, Moshe included, standing there at the base of Mt. Sinai and looking at this structure. Now there is one thing I have learned through my years of serving HaShem is that He acts like He has all the time in the world. What are the chances the glory did not come into the Tabernacle five seconds after it was finished? What are the chances that He waited just a little longer than most of the Hebrews thought He should wait to do something. What are the chances the people were getting a bit antsy and uncomfortable with their, “Now what?” looks.
I, for one, sure hope someone got a video of what happened in Ex 40:34, because I doubt anyone could possibly put the event into words. The glory enters the tent at a level that Moshe could not even walk in? It must have been a “WOW!” moment for all.
So what have we learned from these 16 chapters on the Tabernacle?
  1. We must have a model to go by: We can not think we can come up with our own model, ie, different days and diets, and expect Him to show up.
  2. We must have a pattern, and the pattern in Scripture is clear. It takes time, effort and giving of ourselves to be a Tabernacle worthy of His presence.
  3. We must have authority:  Not only must we submit to His authority, but also to those on earth He has chosen to lead us.
  4. We must leave our opinions at the door: His way of doing things is not open for our interpretation.
  5. We must expect the unexpected: The day we have it all figured out of how everything is going to happen will be the day nothing happens. Well, it will still happen, but we will miss it because we may be looking the wrong direction.
  6. We need to keep our poles in the Ark and our tent pegs shallow: Remember those poles which were to be left in the Ark? Remember that the tent pegs were only to be half in the ground and half out of the ground? The purpose was to be a reminder that this Tabernacle is not to stay in one place and become a museum. It was to be a guide to take the people home. And guess what, He still is! (Click to Source)
Shalom and Be Strong,
Mike Clayton
Joined To HaShem
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Torah Commentary – Vayak’hel – “And assembled” – Breaking the 80/20 Rule – SCRIPTURES FOR March 2, 2019

Vayak’hel”And assembled”
Exodus 35:1-38:20
1 Kings 7:51-8:21
Romans 1-5
Breaking the 80/20 Rule
It has been said that twenty percent of the people in the world do eighty percent of the work, while eighty percent of the people just sit around and watch them work. Based on my observations of people through the years I would say this may be a bit optimistic. This may be fine though for the world because they really do not have a purpose or a destination to give thought to. What happens though when this statistical rule affects the people of Elohim?
Ask yourself a few questions before we go on. Have you made the choice to be a part of the Kingdom of The Almighty? If so, are you made in His image? Do you think for a moment that He created you and called you to just take up space and suck in oxygen everyday? Do you think that maybe if He went to all the trouble to create you, call you and redeem you that He has a purpose and a plan for your life? Do you think you should, as a follower of The Most High be part of the eighty percent who do nothing of value in the world or part of the maybe less than twenty percent who work to make a difference? I think the answer is quite clear!
One reason many people never do anything is because they have not been told they have a purpose in life or if they have a clue about this they are not sure how to get going. They have never been instructed in how to take that first step. In the wilderness, HaShem took care of this with specific plans for a tabernacle they could build. The people had specific plans and instructions and on a daily basis could see the work and progress taking place before them. Today our job is a bit harder to envision. We do not always see the fruit of the labor on a daily basis and can at times loose track of the importance of the task at hand. This is one of the reasons many people never make it on board; they cannot see and envision the importance of the task.
There is another group who never get involved. They sit on the sidelines for a wide variety of reasons. They may be lazy, self-centered, selfish of just down right unconcerned about what happens around them. The world is all about them, their blessings, their “Getting Fed”, or some other self-envolved excuse. They live by the motto, “Bless me and mine, us four and no more.” If you are part of this crowd you are probably not reading this commentary so I am not going to spend much time talking about them. In the end they are a waste of time anyway.
I do however want to address many people who are kind of caught in the middle of the 80/20 rule. You are not part of the workers and givers that Moses knew, but you desire is to do something. You are just not sure what to do. Let me give you some help. How do you get started? You get started the same way you drive a car, by starting it and putting it in drive. Many never do anything because they are afraid of starting or they are waiting for someone else to start it for them. Go ahead and take the chance by deciding to do something! Need some help with ideas, read on.
Moses worked with a group who were willing to work. Ask yourself before you go on if you have a willing heart. If you have read this far the answer is probably yes. Now find somehow that you can bless someone today. Hold a door open at a store for someone or give a dollar to that person holding the sign on the corner. Yes, they may be a scam, but it may be the test is not for them, but for you. How about calling the leader of the congregation you attend and asking what work needs to be done. If cleaning the restroom is beneath your thoughts, it may be that is just where you need to begin.
Of course I cannot write this without a word on giving. This is where some will decide to stop reading because they have more important things to do. If you are that person it is you I am writing to. On a weekly basis so many people listen to Internet Radio, Video Streams and the like, but have never given on dime to help with the expenses of these teachings. People think just because it is free for them that it is free to the person or ministry that provides it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you are receiving blessing from a ministry today, you need to help keep it going, not so you can continue to receive, but because it is the right thing to do.
Moses broke the 80/20 rule in the wilderness and the end result was a Tabernacle erected for The Almighty to dwell in. Just think what we could do together if we each decided to do what we could personally do and break that rule again? (Click to Source)

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