Tag Archives: Leviticus

Parashat Bechukotai (בחקתי): Leviticus 26-27

Part of the Golden Rule (Lev. 19:18) is concern for other people. One way to view the somber warnings in the common Torah reading בְּחֻקֹּתַי Bechukotai (“in My statutes”) is God is concerned about the world so much that its lifeline — Israel — has to remain pure.

The usual complementary reading to Leviticus 26-27 from the Prophets is Jer. 16:19-17:14.

Leviticus 26-27

Blessings of obedience and curses of disobedience

It is only God Who can restore life from death, not only the death of a person but the death of a nation. God warns Israel, and He will destroy their nation if they walk in idolatry. But He will also restore their nation if they will humble themselves and accept their guilt.

God mixes justice with mercy

The topic of Leviticus 26-27 is God’s anger: the just anger that comes when His people do not follow the way He has laid out for them. God reveals the blessings He will give them if they obey Him and give their hearts to Him and the curses that will come upon them they disobey Him by running towards other gods.

Recap of major themes in Leviticus

The book of Leviticus is not written in chronological order but in thematic order. God may also repeat a point several times as an emphasis on that particular point.

Parashat Behar (בהר): Leviticus 25:1-26:2 

A common catchphrase for believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus the Christ) is “walk by faith and not by sight” (2Cor. 5:7). Key memorials from God’s calendar that help with practicing the faith that is preached are the שְּׁבִיעִת  Shevi’it or שְׁמִטָּה Shemitah (“seventh” [year] and “release,” respectively, i.e., sabbatical year) and the יוֹבֵל Yobel (Jubilee). They are the focus of the Torah reading this week, בְּהַר  Behar (“on mount” [Sinai]), covering Lev. 25:1-26:2.

The complementary reading (haftarah) commonly accompanying Behar is Jer. 32:6-27.

Leviticus 25

Shabbat and jubilee years

Keeping the Jubilee year with both crops and servants was an act of faith by the people of Israel. It is difficult to live in freedom — liberty — and it is so easy to fall into bondage and slavery. God set up a safety net to protect the people from permanent bondage and slavery and to protect the land from being over consumed and dried up.

Shemitah (sabbatical year) and Yobel (Jubilee)

The shabbats (sabbaths) of the land and the Yobel (Jubilee) are not about the U.S. or other countries, but about the land of Israel. Yet even in the diaspora (outside the land), there are lessons we can learn about how we should trust in God, how far God can take care of His people and how we are to take care of our families and each other.

Parashat Emor (אמר): Leviticus 21-24

This week’s reading from the Torah (Genesis–Deuteronomy) is Leviticus 21:1-24:23. This parashah, or portion, is called אמר Emor, which means “say” in Hebrew.

The common reading from the Prophets to accompany Emor is Ezekiel 44:15-31.

Below are study notes and recorded discussions covering Parashat Emor by teacher Richard over the years.

Leviticus 21–22

Purity of Messiah as Melchizedekian priest foretold

All of Leviticus is primarily addressed to the priesthood, but Leviticus 21 is about qualifications of the High Priest, not regular priests or the lay Israelites. There are things that other Israelites can do, within limits that are totally forbidden to the High Priest. His family, descendants of Aharon (Aaron) is held to a higher standard than other families. This chapter also shows us how holy — set apart — our High Priest, Yeshua, was to be.

Priests separate themselves for holy work

Is this of any value to us in the 21st century? Just as in The previous chapter, Leviticus 22 is about the function and lifestyle of the High Priest in the physical plane. I want to reiterate this to try to not move this in the 21st century. Imagine you were living in Moshe: You were only a year beyond Mitsraim (Egypt), and you are learning this for the first time.

George Washington’s vision at Valley Forge and God’s approach to sanctification

Leviticus 21-22 and the vision George Washington had at Valley Forge have some interesting connections.

Leviticus 23–24

Shabbat and the moedim (appointments with God)

An appointment can be a place, a time or an event. When we use the word moedim, it’s an appointment or an assignment. The Tabernacle of Meeting is the Tabernacle of Appointments. When we “proclaim” His holy days, God can work in us to sanctify us. How do you proclaim an appointed time? Proclaiming is an active verb, not a passive verb. It’s not something we say, it’s something we do. You proclaim an appointed time or moedim by what you do on that day. You either do it or don’t do it. You show up or you don’t. If you do it, you are proclaiming it. If you ignore it and don’t do it, you aren’t proclaiming it.

‘Feasts to the LORD’; ‘the LORD spoke to…’

The 23rd chapter of Leviticus is a relatively obvious passage. The explanations are simple and self-explanatory, except for questions about the biblical timing of Firstfruits and Pentecost. The 24th chapter is a bit unusual and not so simple to decipher. When you read the book of Leviticus and you find the phrase “the LORD spoke to…” pay attention whom is supposed to hear the message. There were some messages for the sons of Aaron, but some messages were for the people of Israel. Each group had their own duties and responsibilities, and it’s God Himself Who decides.

Leviticus 12-13: Profanity makes one a leper

Life starts with contamination. It starts out dirty. Childbirth is messy. It’s not sinful; it’s just a fact of life.

The general Bible term for infections of skin and surfaces is “leprosy,” but it covers a host of conditions. It’s also a good parable for “rot” in our character — if the lesson isn’t taken too far.

The Torah reading תזריע Tazria (“she will conceive,” Leviticus 12–13) is concerned about what is physically dirty vs. clean, but the LORD’s lesson for us is more than skin-deep.

Continue reading Leviticus 12-13: Profanity makes one a leper

Leviticus 9–11: Confidently entering God’s presence with reverence

Because of God’s grace, we can enter God’s presence “boldly” because the perfection of Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ) has covered our “uncleanness.” The distinction between “clean” and “unclean” is powerfully presented by the tragic events of Leviticus 9-10 and the parable of allowable foods in Leviticus 11.

The Torah reading שּׁמיני Shemini (“eighth,” Leviticus 9–11) illustrates the pervasive problem of being internally “unclean” and approaching God presumptuously while so. Yeshua warned against that in the parable of the wedding garment and the recorded confrontation over paying Roman taxes (Matt. 22:2–21).

Continue reading Leviticus 9–11: Confidently entering God’s presence with reverence

Leviticus 1:1–6:7: Getting back into the LORD’s presence

“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.” (Psalms 27:4 NASB)

Ever been homesick? Or finally woken up to the reality, “There’s no place like home!” The Torah reading ויקרא Vayiqra/Vayikra (“and he called,” Leviticus 1:1–6:7) flows from the end of the second book of the Pentateuch (Exodus 40:35), which ends with the exclusion of Moshe and everyone else from God’s Presence in the newly dedicated Tabernacle. The third book of the Pentateuch gives us God’s instructions for how we return to His Presence.

The entire book of Leviticus, called Vayiqra in Hebrew, teaches that true worship is not about entering a building but entering God’s Presence every day of our lives.

Continue reading Leviticus 1:1–6:7: Getting back into the LORD’s presence