From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Saturday, May 05, 2012 12:50 PM
Sefer Torah scroll in a synagogue
Welcome to our Torah study.
This week, two Torah readings, Parsha Acharei Mot (After the Death) and
Kedoshim (Holy Ones), are combined to accommodate the number of Sabbaths
in this calendar year.
Please read along with us, and discover Torah truths in this portion of Scripture
that is read in synagogues around the world this morning.
PARSHA ACHAREI (After)-KEDOSHIM (Holy Ones)
Leviticus 16:1–20:27; Amos 9: 7–15; Ezekiel 20: 2–20; 1Corinthians 6: 9–20
“The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when
they approached the Lord.” (Leviticus 16:1)
Jewish men seeking God in prayer at dawn at the
Western (Wailing) Wall, which is a supporting wall
for the Temple Mount. It has remained intact since
the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.
and is considered holy due to its proximity to the
spot where the Holy of Holies once stood.
Last week’s combined Torah portion, Tazria-Metzora, discussed the laws of
tumah v’taharah, ritual impurity and purity.
This week’s combined Torah portion, Parsha Acharei-Kedoshim, discusses
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and holiness, and begins with Aharon, the
Cohen Hagadol (high priest), preparing for the crucial once-a-year sacrifice on
the Day of Atonement.
In order to minister before the Lord on this holy day, Aharon first immersed
himself in the mikvah (ritual cleansing).
Before he brought the ketoret (incense offering) into the Holy of Holies, the
innermost chamber of the Sanctuary, he donned simple, white linen clothing,
representing purity and humility, which was appropriate for this sacred day,
instead of his resplendent golden garments.
So too today, many observant Jewish people wear white linen when attending
Yom Kippur services.
Day of Atonement, by Isador Kaufman
“The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see
the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I
strike Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)
The rabbis provide insight into the reason for wearing simple, white linen
garments on this holy day:
When men are summoned before an earthly ruler to defend themselves
against some charge, they appear downcast and dressed in black like
mourners. Israel appears before God arrayed in white, as if going to a
feast, confident that all who return penitently to their Maker will receive
not condemnation but pardon at His hands. (The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, p. 480)
This speaks of a wonderful confidence in God and His provision for atonement.
To symbolize purity, and a confident reliance
in the mercy of God, many Jewish people
wear white on the Day of Atonement.
The Blood Sacrifice
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make
atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for
one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11)
This week’s Parsha reveals that only a blood sacrifice can atone for sin.
This atonement was foreshadowed in Egypt, when the Israelite slaves applied
the blood of the lamb to the sides and tops of the door frames of their houses,
according to God’s instructions through Moses, so that the judgment of God
would pass over them.
“When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, He will
see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that
doorway, and He will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and
strike you down.” (Exodus 12: 23)
A white lamb among the sheep
That shed blood of the lamb also foreshadowed the perfect atonement
accomplished by Messiah Yeshua—the Lamb of God who was slain. His
blood now protects those who believe in Him from God’s wrath and judgment.
“John [Yochanan] saw Jesus [Yeshua] coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29)
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are
healed… the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
It’s been almost 2000 years, since the Temple was destroyed and therefore no
blood sacrifices have been offered.
However, we who believe that Yeshua fulfilled the Messianic prophecy
of Isaiah 53, can be assured that Yeshua, the Suffering Messiah, was
God’s provision for the blood atonement of all humankind.
Reading the Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible on the Tel Aviv Beach.
“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is
right and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
For the past 2000 years, Jewish people have been instructed by the rabbis to
believe that the Temple sacrifices have been replaced with prayer (tefilah),
repentance (t’shuvah), and charity (tzedakah).
Despite the confident expectation on Holiest day of the year (Yom Kippur), that
all will be forgiven, the rabbis do recognize that every man is in need of
atonement for his sins.
Ultra-orthodox “head rabbis” conversing on a street in Jerusalem.
A story is recorded in the Talmud (Berakhot 28) in which the most distinguished
disciple of Hillel, Yohanan ben Zakkai, was dying.
Some years after the destruction of the Temple, the disciples of this important
leader gathered around him as he lay on his deathbed and found him weeping.
They asked him, “Rabbi, you are the light of Israel, the pillar on which we
lean, the hammer that crushes all heresy. Why should you weep?”
This Second Temple era sage confessed to his disciples that he was weeping
because he was about to stand before the “King of Kings, the Holy One,”
and he wasn’t sure whether he would end up in Paradise or hell!
However, we are confident that, by our faith in the blood atonement of the
Suffering Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), our sins are covered and we will end up
Can we be Holy?
“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I,
the Lord your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19: 2)
The Kedoshim (Holy Ones) portion of today’s Parsha emphasizes holiness.
The word kedoshim comes from the Hebrew word kadosh, which means holy,
sanctified, or set apart.
God expects His people to be kadosh (holy) as He is kadosh (holy).
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without
holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
The obvious question is HOW can we be holy?
We must be capable of it, since God would not ask us to do something we
simply can’t do.
We know that we are made holy through faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (Yeshua
the Messiah), and that we are sanctified through His blood.
But how is a holy life lived out on a practical, day-to-day basis?
The streets in the Old City of Jerusalem
The Torah: A Guide to Holiness
Rather than turn to our own manmade idea of what constitutes a holy
life, we can rely on the Torah, especially the Ten Commandments, to
discover God’s standards of holiness.
The first commandment is twofold: honor one’s mother and father, and keep
God’s Shabbats (Sabbaths).
The reason these two are given side by side, the rabbis explain, is that
honoring one’s parents is the first step towards maintaining good earthly
relations with our fellow man.
Keeping the Shabbat is the first step in maintaining a good spiritual
relationship with God.
Indeed, this Torah portion makes it plain that loving God and loving
our neighbor is foundational to holy living.
Yeshua confirmed this when He was asked which commandment was the
“‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord
our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with
all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second
is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater
than these.” (Mark 12: 29 – 31)
Ornately embroidered velvet Torah mantles cover these precious scrolls of
Torah, which are stored inside a Torah ark
Yeshua’s statement in no way obliterates the commandments, it reaffirms
them; therefore, we simply need to read Torah to discover that loving God and
our neighbor as ourselves includes the following:
• Consideration for the poor and needy;
• Prompt wages for reasonable hours;
• Honorable dealings;
• No slander or malice;
• Kindness to the alien or stranger;
• Sexual morality;
• Equal justice to rich and poor; and
• Abhorrence of idolatry.
An Orthodox Jewish woman with her children in Mea
Shearim, one of the largest religious Jewish
neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
Holy Conduct in an Unholy World
“You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you
apart from the nations to be my own.” (Leviticus 20: 26)
During the Temple times, the Cohen Gadol (high priest) was instructed to wear
a plate upon his forehead that bore the words “Holy unto the Lord.” With his
every movement, this plate reminded him that He was to be holy.
We also are to remember—when conducting business dealings, meeting
strangers, interacting with family and friends, and sitting by ourselves in
front of the television or Internet—that we are to be holy in all our conduct.
“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is
written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
May we all lead Holy lives that give glory to the Lord.
Shabbat shalom and blessings from our ministry staff!
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