All posts by Jeff

Leviticus 9-11; Mark 7; Acts 10: Become clean and holy from the inside out

Yisra’el has a long history of forgetting what makes people “holy,” what makes them “clean” to approach the Presence of the Name. The LORD does that; the person doesn’t make himself or herself holy. It’s also often been lost that being declared tamé (“unclean”) doesn’t make one sinful or wicked either. Understanding the parable of “clean” and “unclean” is key to understanding Yeshua’s instructions on hand-washing in Mark 7 and Peter’s vision of unclean meats in Acts 10.

Yeshua’s frequently argued with the Pharisees over their emphasis on their man-made traditions over the plain word of scripture and how their man-made traditions were doing more to keep people away from God than bringing them into God’s embrace.

Even after Yeshua’s death and resurrection, these false ideas about the inherent holiness of the Jewish people and the inherent wickedness of the Gentiles was hindering God’s goal to lift up, bring near, make clean and declare holy believers from the nations in the same way Heaven does for the “native-born.”

Continue reading Leviticus 9-11; Mark 7; Acts 10: Become clean and holy from the inside out

Leviticus 1:1-6:7: Entering God’s Presence via the sacrifice of a contrite heart

None of these sacrifices or offerings of the Tabernacle or Temple of ancient Israel apply to us today, yet all of them apply to us today. That paradox comes to us because forgiveness for diverging from the Creator’s plan has always come to mankind the same way: the old way of life must die. Offerings of blood and food never accomplished that — and never were meant to.

So then, what’s the deal with all the detailed instructions in the Bible about killing animals, pouring and sprinkling blood, burning carcasses and bringing in offerings of produce? Yeshua the Mashiakh taught in parables, and the Word of God teaches through the parable of the Tabernacle.

The punchline of the parable: When we sin, something has to die. The offerings that involved death of the animal teach that the contrite person — humble and seeking change — is transformed on the approach toward God, ultimately coming face to face with the Creator by way of the blood of the perfectly pure and innocent presented at the Tabernacle doorway. This parable memorializes Heaven’s mercy in forgiving humanity’s oopsies, carelessness, wanton disregard and even rebellion against the LORD by the Offering that only needed to be offered “once for all” (Heb. 9:11–14; 10:8–10).

Continue reading Leviticus 1:1-6:7: Entering God’s Presence via the sacrifice of a contrite heart

Exodus 30:11–34:35: You are not ‘just a number’ to God

How are we made holy or “set apart”?  Our good deeds or the good deeds of an illustrious ancestor? It isn’t by genealogy, John the Baptist made that clear. He counts us among His people when we answer God’s call upon our heart and actions through Messiah Yeshua. The foundation for that holiness through the Messiah is put down in Torah reading כי תשא Ki Tisa (“when you take,” Exodus 30:11–34:35).

Continue reading Exodus 30:11–34:35: You are not ‘just a number’ to God

Genesis 44:18–47:27: Yosef foreshadows Yeshua’s grace

Aesop’s ancient saying “familiarity breeds contempt” could easily sum up how Yosef’s brothers treated him in his early years and how many leaders of Yisra’el treated Yeshua. The prophetic parallels between Yosef and Yeshua the Mashiakh sharpen further in the Torah section ויגש Vayigash (“he approached”).

Continue reading Genesis 44:18–47:27: Yosef foreshadows Yeshua’s grace

Genesis 37–40: What’s your legacy in the Kingdom of God?

“Now Ya’akov lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. These are the records of the generations of Ya’akov.” (Genesis 37:1–2 NASB)

The previous parashah, Vayishlach, ends with Esaw dwelling in Seir, which is in southwest Jordan today. This Torah section, וישב Vayeshev (“and he dwelled”), begins with Ya’akov living in Canaan.

This ties Ya’akov, rather than Eysau, to the legacy of Abraham and Yitzhak. Legacy is more than generating children. This is something special, unique that is passed down from one generation to another. In our age, we don’t seem to be interested in legacy, but we should be. We are quick to blame our parents for their mistakes but we aren’t as quick to thank them for the good they have taught us.

Continue reading Genesis 37–40: What’s your legacy in the Kingdom of God?

Genesis 28:10–32:2: Underestimating the strength of the ‘weak’

“Then Ya’akov departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.” (Genesis 28:10–11 NASB)

The rock Ya’akov put under his head at the beginning of the Torah section וַיֵּצֵא Vayetze (“he went out,” Genesis 28:10–32:2) reminds me of the rock Aharon and Khur provided for Moshe to sit on while Yehoshua was leading Yisrael in the battle against Amalek (Exodus 17:12).

Continue reading Genesis 28:10–32:2: Underestimating the strength of the ‘weak’

Genesis 23:1–25:18: Sarah’s ‘lives’ and our ‘new creation’

When we are pushed to our limits, God promises us that the ways of the Kingdom of God are far more profitable in the long term than trying to avoid pain. That’s what Abraham and Sarah learned over many years of their lives. It’s all the more relevant today for increasing social and physical pressure put on believers in the Holy One of Israel and the Anointed One of God. This lesson of faith is the backdrop of the Torah portion (parashah) חיי שרה Chayei Sarah (“life of Sarah,” Gen. 23:1–25:18).

Continue reading Genesis 23:1–25:18: Sarah’s ‘lives’ and our ‘new creation’