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
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Normally when God spoke to Moses and gave him an instruction, God said “tell,” “speak” or “instruct.” This time, God told Moses to “command” Aaron.
The relationship that God wants with you is a relationship that responds and grows. If we respond and grow, we are like a tree that will produce good fruit. If we don’t grow and respond, we won’t produce good fruit. The High Priest is supposed to encourage the relationship between God and His people produce good fruit for eternity.
When God commands one to do something, deviation from the instruction isn’t tolerated. The Torah reading צו Tzav (“command,” Lev. 6:8–8:36) includes detailed instructions on how the priests are to handle other people’s offerings, symbolizing their approach to God. The LORD told Aaron that doing this right matters, not just to the people, but to God.
Continue reading Leviticus 6:8–8:36: God wants a relationship with you that responds and grows
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
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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
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