The Creator of all that is reveals how different He is from the creation. YHWH’s servants, the priesthood, are called to be different from the world that lives as if the Creator isn’t in control, and the priests are to show the better way — the Way of YHWH.
That’s the message of Torah reading אמר Emor (“say”), covering Leviticus 21-24. It’s a Bible reading that includes teachings from YHWH about special anniversaries, annual reminders of what the Creator is doing, particularly through the Word of YHWH made human — Yeshua haMashiakh, or Jesus the Christ.
Continue reading Parashat Emor (אמר): Leviticus 21–24
Should we feel shame for going against the Creator’s instructions? What do we do about that guilt?
Discussed at length in the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement) is one of the most important lessons in the parables connected to the Moedim (appointed times) of the LORD and the Tabernacle. It teaches the grace and mercy the Creator offers by covering all offenses, pointing to the work of the Mashiakh (Christ).
Also part of the dual readings of אחרי מות Acharei Mot (“after the deaths,” Leviticus 16–18) and קדושים Kedoshim (“holies/holy,” Leviticus 19–20) are instructions on eating blood, nakedness and sexual perversion, discernment of things that shouldn’t go together, the “golden rule” and banishment from the people of Israel.
Yom haKippurim is about freedom from the old life and getting closer to the Giver of Life.
Continue reading Parashot Acharei Mot (אחרי מות) & Kedoshim (קדושים): Leviticus 16–20
A house with toxic mold can be a hidden chronic health hazard. And an unsightly discoloration of the skin could be the harbinger of a creeping killer, if not diagnosed properly and quickly. The physical necessities of dealing with such “leprosy” in body and stuff illustrate well the cancers of character that grow and consume, if left untreated.
The Torah reading, מְּצֹרָע Metzora (“leper,” Leviticus 14–15) reveals how entering the Presence of the Creator of Heaven and Earth requires cleanliness that’s more than skin-deep. That cleanup job is something that’s described in Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16) and reaches its reality in the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ).
Continue reading Parashat Metzora (מצורע): Leviticus 14–15
Why would God want newborns and their mothers to be purified shortly after birth? Why is God so concerned about leprosy amid instructions for living life differently from the rest of the world? If we stick with appearances, our understanding the heart of God will be only skin deep. That’s what’s between the lines of this week’s Torah reading, תזריע Tazria (“she will conceive”), covering Leviticus 12–13.
The lesson about childbirth goes back to the beginning of the world and stretches to our time. The teaching on leprosy is more about what’s going on inside a person.
Continue reading Parashat Tazria (תזריע): Leviticus 12–13
In our joy to come into close relationship with the Creator, we may forget to have respect of Who He is. One of the lessons of this week’s Torah reading, שמיני Shemini (“eighth”), covering Lev. 9:1–11:47, is remembering how to discern what God has set apart — cleaned up — from what isn’t. That’s behind the object lesson of clean and unclean foods, and put into sharp focus in Acts 10.
Continue reading Parashat Shemini (שמיני): Leviticus 9–11
The extended Tabernacle parable of how the contrite enter the Creator’s presence continues with instructions for the priesthood, detailed in this week’s Torah reading, צו Tzav (“command”), covering Lev. 6:8–8:36.
Continue reading Parashat Tzav (צו): Leviticus 6:8–8:36
What on Earth is the point of all the detailed instructions in the third book of the Bible, Leviticus? What’s with all the butchering of animals and proportioning grains, oils and incense to burn, roast, wave, sprinkle, etc. around the tent home of the God of Israel? Many fall asleep as their through-the-Bible reading plans reach Leviticus, are turned off by the seemingly senseless gore or breathe a sigh of relief that “all that changed at the Cross.”
But the exclusionary design of the Tabernacle design and its rituals and the repugnance of so much spilled animal blood is key to seeing the big picture. For those who long to be in the Presence of the loving Creator and learn His lessons — what works long-term — this 50,000-foot view of the LORD at work reveals what’s “under the hood,” what’s the not-so-secret ingredients to the “recipe” of moving from an Earth off course to a new Earth where peace reigns.
The Torah reading ויקרא Vayikra (“and He called”), covering Lev. 1:1–6:7, starts the journey toward understanding the heart and thoughts of the Father and His Christ, Yeshua.
Continue reading Parashat Vayikra (ויקרא): Leviticus 1:1-6:7