WAYYIQRA (LEVITICUS) 21:1-24:23 – EMOR – ‘SAY/SPEAK’

This portion is called ‘emor’ which comes from the root word  אָמַר  amar – Strong’s H559 which means, utter, say, speak’. We begin this Torah portion with further instructions for the priesthood as Mosheh is once again commanded to ‘speak’ to the priests, the sons of Aharon; and after being warned and forbidden from any form of communication with the dead, they are now instructed to not even be defiled for the dead.

Here in verse 1 we are given the clear instructions that were to be given to the priests: “no one is to be defiled for the dead among his people”. The Hebrew word for ‘defiled’ is טָמֵא tamey – Strong’s H2930 which means, to be or become unclean, defiled, become impure’. To be ‘defiled’ would render a priest unfit for service as they would be ceremonially unclean and unable to perform the requires set-apart duties of the priesthood. The previous chapter ended with the clear instruction forbidding any communication with the dead, as mediums and spiritists were to be put to death. Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 18:11 tells us that there should not be found anyone in our midst who calls up the dead! Any communication with the dead is prohibited, and now here at the beginning of this chapter the instructions expand to making it clear that the priesthood must not be made unclean for the dead!

The Torah represents life, and the priesthood, who are to be the teachers and instructors of the Torah, are to remain far from the dead as possible. To be defiled for the dead simply means the touching of the body of a dead person.

In verse 2 the exception is made for a priests close relatives, as there may be an occasion where a close relative dies in their household and the Torah grants that this form of ‘defilement’ is as far as it is permitted for the priesthood, as even a dead body in a home would defile the home and the priest living there would be defiled by such.

In ancient Yisra’ĕl there was no funeral services to come and deal with the dead bodies and therefore it was the responsibility for the direct families to take care of burying the dead. A dead corpse is nothing more than meat and bone with no life (נֶפֶשׁ nephesh – Strong’s H5315) in it, and is therefore defiled as it has no life; and so one would become defiled and ritually unclean just by being in the same room as a corpse.

In ancient times the direct family would have to prepare the body for burial; a process of washing and wrapping the body in grave clothes, which would require a significant amount of touching; and so the exception for a priest to be able to do such for an immediate family member was allowed, however a priest could not do the same for more extended family such as cousins or uncles etc.; and this shows how יהוה shows us that precedence over one’s true responsibility for family is taken over any priestly duties in the Tabernacle, and shows what a high regard יהוה actually places on the need to ‘serve’ one’s family, even in the event of death!

The Torah represents life and so it is with great caution that the priesthood must at all times remain undefiled so that they may serve the entire community of Yisra’ĕl, and so the only exception to being exempt from performing such duties would be for the death of a close relative. However we do remember how even Aharon, the high priest, was not allowed to mourn for his two sons who were struck by יהוה and killed for bringing strange fire; bearing in mind that Aharon was still busy with the duty in the Tabernacle and so was unable to mourn the loss of his sons; as the Torah does and must always represent life, for it is our life!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:47 “For it is not a worthless Word for you, because it is your life, and by this Word you prolong your days on the soil which you pass over the Yardĕn to possess.

 

Verse 4-5 further stipulates that a leader may not defile himself among his people to profane himself, and not to make any bald spots on their head nor shave the corners of their beards, nor cut themselves. We must remember that these were typical practices of the pagan nations in mourning their dead, and we see how a leader is one who should lead with integrity and soundness in the Torah.

What does it mean to profane? The word profane means ‘to treat something set-apart with abuse, irreverence or contempt’. The Hebrew word is חלל - ḥālal - Strong’s H2490 (chalal – with a ch.. sound as in loch) and means, ‘to bore or pierce through or kill or wound or defile’.

What is very interesting to me is that the word for praise in Hebrew is הללhalal - Strong’s H1984 (with a soft sound as in ha) and in essence carries the meaning, ‘to shine, be boastful, give praise’.

These two words differ with a slight difference is the stroke of the pen by means of a little tiny gap! In Praise the letter ה (hey) is used and in profane the letter ח (ḥet) is used. Similar looking letters at a glance and hence the words, even at a glance, may seem to be the same, while they are the total opposite of each other and the difference in the written form is but a tiny little gap on the top left corner of the first letter! This may sound a little pedantic to some of you, but for me it makes me realise just how fine line it is between pure worship and profanity!

Let me tell you why I find this very interesting in the closeness of these words – we see in the world today that there are many who claim to be born again believers of the Almighty yet in their worship they are offering profane worship and they cannot distinguish between the set-apart and the profane! The ‘church’ today is profaning the Name of יהוה and have not only brought His Name to nought but have profaned it by treating it with abuse, irreverence and contempt!

A leader here refers also to the head of the home, i.e. the husband who is expected to lead his family according the clear instructions of the Torah and not be found to do as the nations do. Some of these practices of cutting one’s flesh or shaving one’s head is still practiced in many cultures as a form of mourning rites for the dead. Some African cultures call for relatives to cut off the tip of their small finger to mourn for a close relative.

In ancient times the cultic practice of shaving of one’s beard for the dead was done so that the shaved hair would be placed upon the deceased face so as to not make them recognisable to the dead spirits, and was a means to appease the spirits of the underworld. Once again, as we discussed in the last Torah Portion, the cutting or shaving one’s beard is strictly forbidden; and while many may argue that they do not shave for the dead, we must listen to the strict instructions of not cutting the corners of one’s beard, and while in chapter 19 it is clear that this command to not ‘shave’ is for all Yisra’ĕl, here we see the further emphasis placed on leadership, as they are the ones who are to lead the family and community in the correct manner; and so we once again reiterate the strict command to not shave one’s head nor shave one’s beard!!! I again make my concern known that there are many today who are claiming to be true torah teachers and leaders in the greater community of the returning tribes of Yisra’ĕl, while they neglect to heed this command, and when I see a ‘torah’ teacher who is clean shaven or has a ‘goatee’ or even a ‘shaped’ beard that has the majority of the ‘corners or sides’ shaven away, I have to question their validity as true teachers of the torah of Elohim!

While there is much debate over shaving, I am of the firm belief that Scripture makes it clear that men should have beards, as discussed in the last Torah portion. There is the view that this instruction refers specifically to the mourning of the dead and therefore based on this view it is thought that it is ok then to shave for any other reason. While at first glance this may sound like a valid point, let us consider the obvious; and that is that in Scripture the instruction to not shave for the dead presupposes that one has a beard! Secondly, if the argument is used that this instruction on not to shave applies only to the mourning for the dead then one has to ask in the same breath in regards to the instruction given in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19 if it is then ok to have a tattoo if not done for the mourning of the dead? The answer is pretty obvious – NO – no markings or cuttings in the flesh is allowed, period!

These practices, such as tattoos and cutting temporary or permanent designs into one's body were pagan mourning rituals practiced throughout the whole Near East. This generation of priests had grown up in Mitsrayim, where preparation for death consumed the greatest energies of one's life, especially among leaders, as proven by the thousands of mummified bodies found there in the past century of archaeology. But Yisra’ĕl is not to be a people that focuses on death, but on the Torah, which is life.

The Hebrew word for ‘shave’ is גָּלַח gala – Strong’s H1548 which means, to be bald, shave, shave off, cut, and means to be bare, smooth or naked! Among Semites shaving off hair or the beard was a sign of lamentation and distress, as in clearly forbidden for a Yisra’ĕlite!

The word translated as ‘corner’ is פֵּאָה peah – Strong’s H6285 meaning, ‘corner, side, boundary, edges’.

The shaving of the beard was considered a great indignity and in Shemuʼĕl Bět/2 Samuel 10:4-5 we see that Dawiḏ instructed his servants, who had been captured and had their garments cut to the buttocks and half of their beard shaved off, to stay at Yeriḥo until their beards had grown and then return. By shaving half their beard Ḥanun not only treated Dawiḏ’s ambassadors with contempt, but made them objects of ridicule and shaving the beard of a slave was also recognised as a sign of servitude and a stripping away of authority. Now if one was permitted to shave your beard then why did Dawiḏ tell them to wait until the beard grew back instead of telling them to shave of the other half? Well that is easy – because we are supposed to have full beards!!!

Dawiḏ had a beard and we see in the account when he came before Aḵish the sovereign of Gath, that he acted like a madman and let his saliva run down his beard (Shemuʼĕl Aleph/1 Samuel 21:13). Aharon, the high priest had a beard upon which the oil of anointing ran down upon as a picture of unity of brothers dwelling together (Tehillah/Psalm 133).

יהושע Messiah, our High Priest and King had a beard as we see in the prophetic words describing Him being handed over to be tortured and having His beard plucked out of his cheeks in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 50:6 “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard, I did not hide My face from humiliation and spitting.

My point in stressing the issue of not cutting (shaving or rounding) the corner of the beard is the fact that we are to heed these very simply instructions.

I want to make it very clear that we are not to cut off or make bald patches on our heads and circle them as the monks do for example nor shave the head in a circular fashion as we have already discussed; and we are not to cut off the edges of our beards – that part which grows on our cheeks! A goatee is not acceptable for a Torah observant follower of Messiah; a moustache alone is not acceptable for a Torah observant follower of Messiah, nor is any fashioned or ‘styled’ beard acceptable! We are to grow a full beard and keep it tidy, and we are not to grow our hair too long as we see when speaking of the priesthood in the Millennial Reign the instruction in:

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 44: 20 “And their heads they shall not shave, nor shall they let their hair grow long – they shall keep their hair well-trimmed.

The Hebrew word translated as ‘well-trimmed’ is כָּסַם kasam – Strong’s H3697 which means, to shear, clip (only trim – not shave), and in this we recognise our need to be ‘tidy’ and well groomed with a FULL BEARD!!! This does not allow for any ‘shaping’ or styling by shaving parts of the beard, but rather it tells us, as a royal priesthood, that we are to keep a well-trimmed FULL beard!!!

We are a royal priesthood and are expected to look like it! Any Torah claiming follower of Messiah that tells you he is allowed to shave his beard, neglects the authority of the Torah, and if the outward picture is neglected who knows what is in the heart!!!

When the world makes a statement that “a best a man can get” is to be clean shaven, as we see being promoted by Gillette’s advertising campaigns, we certainly recognise how this goes totally against the plumb-line of the Torah, and that they are wrong in their promoting of falsehood and lies. It further reveals a lack of submission to the authority of the instructions of יהוה in order to rule self, which will only lead to destruction. The best a man can get is to walk as Messiah walked and guard the commands of Elohim – so men – GROW YOUR FULL BEARDS!!!

For a more in-depth look at the much debated topic of beards, please see the article on our site (http://atfotc.com) called, The Beard – All Set-Apart men should have one! from the following link:

http://atfotc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=534:the-beard-all-set-apart-men-should-have-one&catid=9&Itemid=313

No cuttings in the flesh! The Hebrew word for ‘cutting’ is שֶׂרֶט seret – Strong’s H8296 which means, incision, cut, and comes from the root verb שָׂרַט sarat – Strong’s H8295 which means, to incise, scratch, make cuts, severely injure. The ritual of cutting oneself for the dead is a common pagan practice in many cultures and is strictly forbidden. We are reminded of the Ba’al prophets on Mount Karmel who contended with Eliyahu and cut themselves trying to appease their falsely worshipped Ba’al. Cutting for the dead is a form of ancestral worship in trying to bring the strength of the dead ancestor into one’s own body – a custom practiced in many rural cultures to this day, and in fact ancestralism is one of the main forms of worship throughout the continent of Africa as many tribes worship their dead ancestors and cut themselves in rituals in the hope of enticing the ancestral spirits to bring fertility and blessing.

 

Verse 6 makes it very clear that this instruction to the priests given here in this chapter is to remind them that they were to continually be set-apart unto Elohim and not be found to profane His Name, as they were the ones who drew near on behalf of the nation. The word for set-apart is קָדוֹשׁ qadosh – Strong’s H6918 which means, ‘set-apart, consecrated’ and so these instructions follow on from the command for us to be ‘qedoshim’ – set-apart ones unto Elohim. There was a stricter expectation placed upon the priests who served in the Tabernacle and the requirement to ensure complete set-apartness was extremely vital, or else they would find themselves being struck by the fire of Elohim, as they had witnessed by the example of Aharon’s two sons who brought profane/strange fire and paid the price for their ignorance and pride. What we must understand now is that we, collectively as the body of Messiah, are a royal priesthood  and therefore set-apartness is vital for us all, as we are reminded through the very clear words of Kěpha:

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9-12 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light, 10 who once were not a people, but now the people of Elohim; who had not obtained compassion, but now obtained compassion. 11 Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the life, 12 having your behaviour among the gentiles good so that when they speak against you as evil-doers, let them, by observing your good works, esteem Elohim in a day of visitation.

We who have been called out of darkness into His marvellous light, must walk ‘in’ Messiah our High Priest and King and  therefore we serve as a royal priesthood, able to draw near to Elohim having our conscience sprinkled by the Blood of Messiah. If we do live set-apart according to is Torah we are in great danger of profaning His Name which we ought to bear as His children!

The word used for profane is חָלַל ḥalal – Strong’s H2490 which means, ‘to bore, tear to pieces, wound or kill’. Now how do we wound, tear to pieces or kill His Name? Well that is very simple – in a nutshell it means that when you misrepresent or misuse His Name through walking in lawlessness and sin while proclaiming to be ‘in’ Him you are profaning or wounding the very name that saves. Walking in disobedience after having been brought into His marvellous light is a way of profaning His Name. In essence what this verse is saying is this: when you do not live set-apart lives you profane the very Name that sets apart! When misusing His Name, or when you make it common, or represent Him wrongly in allowing that which is strictly forbidden to be lived out without regard or reverence for his set-apart instructions we profane His Name; or if we render His Name of no effect by not using it at all, but rather substitute euphemisms or translations or pagan inherited titles for His actual name, יהוה, then we too wound or profane His set-apart Name.

The priests had a job to do – tend to the service in the Tabernacle and bring the fire and the bread to יהוה.

Fire as we know represents the presence of יהוה and the bread is symbolic of His Word that came down to earth as daily provision for His set-apart people, ultimately fulfilled in Messiah, the Bread of Life – the Word made flesh, came and dwelt among us and unless we eat of Him we have no part in Him; and therefore the bread brought before יהוה also represents the body/community and the priests would bring a ‘united’ body of Yisra’ĕl into the presence of יהוה and then teach them the needed unity of יהוה to His people. So when we see this strict and very serious set-apart call on the priests, let us be reminded as stated above in Kěpha that we as the body of Messiah are His priesthood and so be set-apart for He is set-apart; and do not be found to be profaning His Set-Apart Name in any way, means or form!

The pattern of the priesthood of ministering before יהוה is the clear pattern for us as believers in יהושע today; for by His life, death and resurrection the way was made possible for all to approach a Set-Apart Elohim; and therefore the ‘ministry’ of the Tabernacle is still the same, for we ‘in Messiah’ are the Tabernacle of the Most High and now that we have entered through the ‘Door’, which is Messiah, we have a strict protocol to follow in how we are to draw near our Set-Apart Elohim and walk upright in His Kingdom.

The Bride of יהושע walks obediently ‘in’ the Covenants of Promise b which we have been brought near, by His Blood and therefore it is vital that we continually remind ourselves to live set-apart lives unto Messiah!

Verse 7 speaks of how marriage is held in the highest regard, especially for the priesthood. A priest was not allowed to marry a whore or defiled woman, or one who has been put away by her husband. Marriage is a picture of that union between יהוה and His chosen Bride, Yisra’ĕl and is also referred to as the mystery, for what we must realise is that every single marriage has the opportunity to represent the true Marriage between us and our Elohim.

The Hebrew word for ‘whore’ is זָנָה zanah – Strong’s H2181 which means, be a harlot, commit fornication, adulterous, prostitute, unfaithful, and herein lies the very clear call for true Set-Apart believers – do not be joined to a whore! This is a literal command as well as being a clear metaphor for not being joined to following the luring ways of the sinful world and the wicked temptations of Satan!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 23:27 “For a whore is a deep pit, and a strange woman is a narrow well.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 29:3 “He who loves wisdom gladdens his father, but a companion of whores destroys wealth.

Tehillah/Psalm 73:27 “For look, those who are far from You perish; You shall cut off all those who go whoring away from You.

Recognising that we are to be a faithful priesthood, we are also able to recognise how we are to be a faithful bride unto our Master and Husband to whom we have been joined to Him by His Blood.

A wife of a priest is to be reverent, not false accusers, sober, and trustworthy in every way (Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 3:11).

Hoshěa was told to do the opposite of this command – why? In order to show just how defiled Yisra’ĕl had become and reveal how serious her spiritual condition was. It is only the Blood of Messiah that can cleanse all unrighteousness, and so by his Blood He has cleansed for Himself a Bride who was defiled. This is important for us to understand as not just anybody can be the Bride of Messiah – only those who have been ‘washed’ in His Blood through immersion in Water and the eating of the Pěsaḥ Meal.

Sha’ul also warned of the union of a believer with a defiled partner and reminds us that we must not be unequally yoked, for we as children of light must not be yoked with darkness. Now what we also must realise is that we have all sinned and fallen short – we have all ‘whored’ and ‘defiled’ ourselves and therefore יהושע had to die and be raised again in order to firstly ‘cleanse’ His defiled Bride who had whored after the nations and then be able to take up an undefiled, set-apart wife, now cleansed in His Blood from all defilement. What we also learn from this today is that while many of us may query if we can marry someone who has defiled themselves before marriage, we must note that despite a person’s past, if they call upon the Name that saves, יהושע, and are immersed in Him and washed and cleansed by His saving Blood sacrificed that was once for all, then that person becomes a new creature where the old has gone and the new has come and all defilement is washed away!!! And so having said that we must take marriage very seriously and ensure that we do not enter into a marriage covenant that is defiled from the start but make sure that we ensure that the person we are to become one with is also walking in Messiah, and realise that as one in Him the responsibility to remain in a set-apart lifestyle is critical.

Sadly there are many today who have entered into a marriage that is or has become unequally yoked for varying reasons, so let us see what Sha’ul tells us in these circumstances:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 7:10-16 “And to the married I command, not I, but the Master: A wife should not separate from a husband. 11 But if she is indeed separated, let her remain unmarried or be restored to favour with her husband, and let a husband not send away a wife. 12 And to the rest I say, not the Master: If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she thinks well to live with him, let him not send her away. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he thinks well to live with her, let her not send him away. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been set-apart in the wife, and the unbelieving wife has been set-apart in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are set-apart. 15 And, if the unbelieving one separates, let him separate himself. A brother or a sister has not been enslaved in such matters. But Elohim has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you shall save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you shall save your wife?

Verse 9 warns that even by the whoring of a daughter a priest is defiled. Titos/Titus 1:6 tells us that the children of a leader are to be believers that are not to be found being accused of loose behaviour or unruly. This is how serious Elohim takes the role of headship of the home and leadership in the community, for even the priests children are to live set-apart lives, as the sons would inevitably become priests, and daughters are expected to live true set-apart lives. If a daughter is found to be whoring she would have profaned her father who would not be able to serve in the Tabernacle and therefore she would be burned with fire. Now when we see this picture we must recognise that as harsh as it sounds, we shall see the punishment of this at the end of the judgement after the second resurrection where those ‘daughters’ (nations) who are not found in the book of life and have whored shall be burned with fire!

It is only through fire that the lineage of the one who whored can be purged. What we must recognise is that the mother harlot has had many ‘daughters’ who are not walking set-apart lives and are whoring after man’s ways and defile the set-apart name of Elohim and will face their just punishment should they not repent. Once again, Hoshěa is a picture of the daughter who was born to him and was called Lo-Ruḥamah, which means ‘not loved or have no compassion’ and represents the ‘daughters’ of whoring, who are to strive with their mother and come out from her and remove the name of the ‘Ba’al’s’ off of her lips and call upon  יהוה, Her husband and he will take her who had no compassion as a Bride to Himself in righteousness as He shows compassion upon His repentant Bride!

Verse 10 – The High Priest ordained to wear the garments and who has had the anointing oil poured on his head was not allowed to unbind his head or tear his garments. Unbinding of the head speaks of having the anointed authority loosened from one’s head and was a strict command for the High Priest to not take the anointing for granted and so allow His anointing and authority to be trampled upon; and tearing of the garments was a sign of mourning and as we know not even Aharon was permitted to mourn for the loss of his two sons who were killed right before his eyes!

The word for ‘unbind’ is פָּרַע para – Strong’s H6544 and means ‘let go, let alone, lack of restraint, uncover, naked, neglect, out of control’, and is the same word that is translated as ‘let loose’ in:

Shemoth/Exodus 32:25 “And Mosheh saw that the people were let loose, for Aharon had let them loose, to their shame among their enemies.

We see the clear picture of the state of the people – they were ‘naked’ and lacked restraint as they simply followed after the flesh and what initially to Aharon may have seemed like a ‘keeping the peace’ in camp by allowing them to do what they wanted actually turned out to be the reality of him not standing up for what is right and so many fall into this trap today as they prefer to keep quiet for the sake of peace – and this we cannot do. We must stand up for truth and guard it all costs and allow no breach in the camp so to speak!

At the time of the trial of  יהושע, the presiding High Priest, Qayapha, tore his garments and declared that Messiah had blasphemed and so by his actions Qayapha broke this very command, and what becomes very clear is that he may have in fact been an illegitimate high priest, which was supposed to be passed down from father to son, however at the time of Messiah the position often went to the highest bidder as the Romans controlled and had usurped authority over the Temple and would appoint whom they wanted. This tearing of the garments of the high priest is a powerful picture of the change of the priesthood that took place! By Qayapha tearing his garments rendered him unfit to be in the position of high priest and this can certainly explain a part of the ‘changing of the priesthood’ to the order of Malkitseḏeq, as described clearly in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews!

In Verse 11 we are further told that the high priest was not to come near any dead body nor defile himself for his father of mother, and we are further able to understand the words of Messiah who told one of his taught ones to let the dead bury the dead in:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 8:21-22 “And another of His taught ones said to Him, “Master, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But יהושע said to him, “Follow Me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.

In this teaching it is clear that this taught one who wanted to follow Messiah, was not mourning the death of his father, but rather that he wanted to return home and stay there until his father died, so that he could get an inheritance! This taught one’s father may still have lived for many years to come, which would have delayed the taught one from following the Master straight away, and when Messiah tells him that he should let the dead bury the dead, He was making it clear that the cost of following Him means forsaking all – even one’s inheritance!

We are the body of Messiah, and so being His Body, we recognise that we, as being a member of the body of the High Priest, we too need to recognise that we must not become defiled for our natural relatives! This means that when we follow and serve the Master in Spirit and Truth, that we must count the cost and realise that we cannot go back to old ways or try to hold on to those things that may cause us to be unfit for complete set-apartness!

Verse 12 with the instruction given to not go out of the set-apart place and not to profane the Name of Elohim for the sign of dedication is upon him, we are once again reminded that we can never stop being set-apart, as our lives must be continually set-apart as we hear, guard and do His instructions without compromise! His sign of dedication is upon us, as we are told that His Sabbath is a sign between us and Him forever; therefore we recognise that we are to never compromise the Sabbath, not even for family!!! We have seen today how one’s own family may call for a set-apart believer to compromise the Sabbath or any other commands, for the sake of a family event or crisis, and in doing so they are calling for a set-apart priest of the Most High to take of the sign of dedication, which is clearly forbidden, and it is time for true worshippers to take heed of this clear instruction to not take of the sign of their dedication to the Master and His truth!

The rest of the chapter gives clear instructions of how we as priests in His Kingdom are to be found to be spotless in Messiah, in whom there is no defect or deformity. And what this pictures again for us is the wonderful work of Messiah, the Perfect Lamb, who has enabled us to draw near to Elohim. No offspring of Aharon the priest who had a defect was able to draw near to Elohim and bring the required offerings made by fire or the bread of Elohim. A son with a defect may eat of the bread of Elohim but was not allowed to bring it near. This is a marvellous picture for us in showing us that we, who are found to have defects and deformities due to our sinful nature and have fallen short, are unable to draw near in our own strength; however as we partake in the Bread of Elohim – that is Messiah – we are brought near as we remain ‘in Him’ our perfect High Priest. The only way to draw near to Elohim and present our bodies as living sacrifices is by Messiah, and again this chapter proves clearly that there is only One way – and only by that which is perfect – יהושע our Messiah!

In verse 17-23 we are given a clear instruction of who is not able to draw near to bring the bread of his Elohim, and this further emphasises our need for the redemptive and atoning work of Messiah, through whom we have been given access to boldly come to the throne of favour is our time of need.

The Hebrew word translated as ‘defect’ is מוּם mum – Strong’s H3971 which means, blemish, defect, spot, stain and can represent both a physical defect as well as a moral stain. This word is used here 5 times between verses 17 and 23, and is translated as ‘defect’ in the ISR Scriptures 2009 edition. There is another Hebrew word that is also translated as ‘defect’ in this passage and is found in verse 20, which is the Hebrew root word תְּבַלֻּל teḇallul – Strong’s H8400 which means, defect (in vision), confusion, obscurity, and comes from the root verb balal – Strong’s H1101 meaning, to mingle, mix, confuse, confound. This clear restriction on who is able to draw near to Elohim is not a cruel command, but rather separates the clear distinction of who is serving and who is not, and if the animals that were brought as an offering were not to have any defects in them, then neither should the one who is offering them! Verses 18-20 expand on what is considered as a defect, and we are told that no blind, lame, disfigured or deformed may draw near. Even if a man had a broken foot or hand was not permitted to draw near. No hunchback, dwarf or one who vision has been impaired, or one who has a skin problem, or a eunuch is permitted to draw near.

This clear instruction is clear on who may not draw near, and when we consider these on both a physical and a metaphoric level then we are able to recognise that we have all fallen short of the esteem of Elohim, and none of us are able to draw near to Elohim on our own physical and moral attributes!

The Hebrew word for ‘blind’ is עִוֵּר ivver – Strong’s H5787; and the Hebrew root word for ‘lame’ is פִּסֵּחַ pisseaḥ – Strong’s H6455 which comes from the root verb פָּסַח pasaḥ – Strong’s H6452 which means, to limp, hesitate, become lame, leaped; and it is from this root that we get the Hebrew word פֶּסַח Pěsaḥ – Strong’s H6453 which is the word for Passover. The Hebrew word translated as ‘disfigured’ is חָרַם ḥaram Strong’s H2763 means ‘to ban, utterly destroy’, and the word translated as ‘deformed’ is שָׂרַע sara – Strong’s H8311 which means, to extend, stretch, overgrown, deformed. We know that there are some tribal traditions still today that stretch and extend the neck of women with wire bands as a form of worship and identity, which is clearly prohibited in Scripture, for this would render one unable to draw near to Elohim!

The Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint) for ‘defect’ is μῶμος mōmos – Strong’s G3470 which means, blemish, blame, disgrace, insult, of mean who are a disgrace to society, and this word is only used once in the Renewed Writings when speaking of the used in the objective and concrete sense of false teachers who by reason of their moral libertinism are felt to be “defacing blemishes” as they revel in their own deceptions while feasting with set-apart ones!

Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 2:12-13 “But these, like natural unreasoning beasts, having been born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheme that which they do not know, shall be destroyed in their destruction, 13 being about to receive the wages of unrighteousness, deeming indulgence in the day of pleasure, spots and blemishes, revelling in their own deceptions while they feast with you

The Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint) here in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 21:18 for ‘lame’ is χωλός chōlos – Strong’s G5560 which means, lame, halt, limping, cripple, and the Greek word used for ‘blind’ is τυφλός  tuphlos – Strong’s G5185 which can mean physically or mentally blind and comes from the word τυφόω  tuphoō – Strong’s G5187 which means, to be conceited, foolish, arrogance, vanity, to be lifted up with pride, high-minded. It can also render the understanding of being enveloped with smoke and blinded so as not to see.

Both of these Greek words for ‘lame’ and ‘blind’ we find in:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 11:5 “Blind receive sight and lame walk, lepers are cleansed and deaf hear, dead are raised up and poor are brought the Good News.

These were the words that יהושע Messiah told the two taught ones of Yoḥanan to report back to him, for he was in prison.

Mattithyahu/Matthew 15:30-31 “And large crowds came to Him, having with them those who were lame, blind, dumb, crippled, and many others. And they laid them down at the feet of יהושע, and He healed them, 31 so that the crowd marveled when they saw the dumb speaking, the crippled well, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl.

 

With Messiah healing the lame and the blind He was clearly revealing to the crowds that He was the Saviour and Elohim that Scripture prophesied of, who would come to save and heal; and those who believed could be strengthened and filled with great shalom!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 35:4-6 “Say to those with anxious heart, “Be strong, do not fear! See, your Elohim comes with vengeance, with the recompense of Elohim. He is coming to save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf be opened. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing, because waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.

The Hebrew word used in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 21 for ‘draw near’ is קָרַב qaraḇ – Strong’s H7126 which means ‘to come near, approach, appear, bring near, come forward, draw near, and it is from this word that we get the Hebrew word קָרְבָּן Qorban – Strong’s H7133 which is understood as ‘offerings’.

The Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint) for ‘draw near’ is προσέρχομαι proserchomai – Strong’s G4334 which means, to approach, draw near, agree, and comes from the 2 words: 1) - πρός pros – Strong’s G4314 which is a primary preposition meaning, advantageous for, at (denotes local proximity), toward (denotes motion toward a place), and 2) - ἔρχομαι erchomai – Strong’s G2064 which means, to come, go, arrive, brought.

This word προσέρχομαι proserchomai – Strong’s G4334 is used in:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 4:16 “Therefore, let us come boldly to the throne of favour, in order to receive compassion, and find favour for timely help.

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore He is also able to save completely those who draw near to Elohim through Him, ever living to make intercession for them.

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:19-22 “So, brothers, having boldness to enter into the Set-apart Place by the blood of יהושע, 20 by a new and living way which He instituted for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the House of Elohim, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of belief, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water.

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 11:6 “But without belief it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Elohim has to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.

The reason for quoting all these verses from Iḇ’rim/Hebrews is simply to highlight the clear reality of what this powerful letter expresses to us, as we are able to identify the new and living way that the Blood of Messiah, who is the High Priest forever in the order of Malkitseḏeq, has brought to us who were ‘lame, blind, deformed, crippled, and had many blemishes or defects’!

In Berěshith/Genesis 48:10 Yosĕph’s sons were brought near and Ya’aqoḇ kissed them and embraced them. The Hebrew word translated as ‘drew near’ is נָגַשׁ nagash – Strong’s H5066 which means, to draw near, approach, come closer. As they drew near they were kissed and embraced by Ya’aqoḇ, now considered as their ‘father’ by adoption!

The Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak) in this verse for ‘drew near’ is ἐγγίζω eggizō – Strong’s G1448 which means, to make near, come near, approach, draw near, come close, and we see this word used in:

Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:8 “Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the, you double-minded!

Ya’aqoḇ/James 5:8 “You too, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Master has drawn near.

Menashsheh and Ephrayim were brought near to Ya’aqoḇ by Yosĕph, and here we see the clear picture of how we are able to draw near to Elohim by no other means than by the Blood of our High priest and King, יהושע Messiah. No one comes to the father except through the son:

Yoḥanan/John 14:6 “יהושע said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

This is powerfully illustrated here in the metaphoric picture of Yosĕph and Ya’aqoḇ, and further emphasises how יהושע Messiah has no beginning or end and has existed for all time! There are some who try to deny that Messiah is Master and Elohim and make the false claim that He never existed before He came in the flesh, and is simply a Messenger of Elohim. This Scripture above makes it very clear that no one can come to the Father except through the son – metaphoric language of course – but what makes it very clear is that everyone who came to Elohim in the times of the Tanak (before the birth of Messiah), would not have been able to do so without יהושע actually being there and being the One whom they would see, in order to ‘see’ the Father!

The vital lesson we are able to take from the ending of this chapter in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 21 is that it is יהוה who sets us apart, and without Him setting us apart through the Blood of Messiah, we are unable to draw near to Him!

CHAPTER 22

This chapter further emphasis the need for a priesthood to be completely set-apart and not profane the Name of יהוה by treating the set-apart matters of Elohim as common. There are many ‘worldly habits’ that we all still need to get rid of and here we see the instruction that reminds us of just that. A small example yet very critical in understanding for us today on a practical level is how we conduct ourselves in everyday circumstances; and even more importantly how we conduct ourselves when we are gathered together as an assembly/community in Messiah as a set-part gathering. All too often we sadly see that very presence of יהוה during a set-apart gathering is profaned in more ways than one when people use coarse joking or when people slander others and lose total regard for the sanctity of His presence when gathering to hear His set-apart counsel of His Word. What we can also glean from these instructions regarding true set-apartness is the fact that we need to make a concerted effort to ‘pull our lives out of’ those circumstances or events that most wold consider normal; as we recognise that having been in exile for so long we still have many ‘gentile-like’ habits and thought patterns that we desperately need to overcome, for if we are not careful, we will end up defiling the set-apart living standards that we are supposed to uphold!

The Sabbath is the first major change in living out a new set-apart life that others in the world may consider strange, yet we must do our utmost to guard an active set-apart lifestyle that must not be compromised in the least and when we truly delight in His Shabbat we will find that the rest of the week our ability to remove ourselves from the common/unclean matters will becomes a lot easier.

We also learn from these passages that we are to walk in the fear of יהוה, which is the beginning of wisdom and not treat those set-apart matters of יהוה as common. We are a set-apart people and therefore would not find ourselves engaging in what is not set-apart, lest we find ourselves profaning His Name which is upon us and be found guilty of profane living!

These instructions remind us that we are to be constantly aware of where we find ourselves and be sure that we do not ‘touch’ or engage in that which can render us unclean and unable to serve as a priesthood. Praise Elohim that we have an intercessor who intercedes day and night for us and when we sin or re made unclean in any way we can come and confess our sins to Him and be cleansed from all unrighteousness! This of course does not give us the license to sin and be lawless, but rather this should drive us to being ever aware of making sure we live our lives in total set-apartness unto our Saviour and Redeemer and King!

This chapter also pictures for us the work of Messiah as the Pěsaḥ Lamb, of which no stranger may eat of unless the priest buys a being with silver (verse 11).

יהושע Messiah has bought us with silver, as He has paid the price of our redemption and now we are no longer strangers or foreigners to the Covenants of Promise and without Elohim in the world, but have now been brought near by the Blood of Messiah (Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2).

Silver is also a picture of the purity of the Word:

Tehillah/Psalm 12:6 “The Words of יהוה are clean Words, silver tried in a furnace of earth, refined seven times.

We know that Messiah, the pure and clean Word made flesh, bought us and paid the price by His Blood and now we see in verse 11 that the one bought is not only ‘allowed’ to eat the set-apart offering, but rather he is ‘required’ to. We must partake in the Pěsaḥ Meal each year or we have no part in Him; and we are then further able to eat our daily Lawful Bread, having been ‘born’ in His House!

From this chapter it is clear that the requirements for the offering by fire was to be without defect and picture for us Messiah, being our perfect ascending offering.

In verse 23 we are told that a bull or lamb that has any deformed limb or is dwarfed may be prepared as a voluntary offering, but not as a vow offering. What is this saying for us here?

Romiyim/Romans 12:1 “I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship.

We offer up our lives daily as a living offering, as we continue to live set-apart lives that is well pleasing to Elohim and this we are able to do as we voluntarily surrender our lives unto Him. So while we in and of ourselves can never be the ascending offering required, due to our inherent defects and sin, we can offer up our lives as a voluntary offering each and every day! What this also speaks to us is that we can give gifts to Elohim that is not perfect from our excess, yet that which is promised we cannot bring that is not perfect!

Set-apart living calls for a service that seeks to please Elohim and so when reading of all the offerings that are acceptable and those which are not we can deduce from these that what we offer up in rendering our lives in being set-apart must not be done with a half-hearted attempt but rather we must give our all.

What you offer represents yourself and so if your intention is not to bear fruit in the kingdom and let others eat of the good fruit you are supposed to bear; but you only serve when it is beneficial to yourself and you will only give of yourself when it suits and only you can enjoy the fruit of that which you give of yourself then do not offer yourself for service in His House!

CHAPTER 23 – HIS FEASTS – OUR REHEARSALS!

What is very interesting to note is the clear placement of this chapter is laying out for us the Appointed Times of Elohim, as it fits in well in the flow of the instructions for set-apart living, for by observing these Appointed Times we further becomes established as His set-apart Bride!

This is, in my opinion, one of the most critical chapters in Scripture and while I do not in any way attempt to diminish the importance of ALL Scripture; what I mean is that in these last days when many of the returning children of Elohim are coming out of Mitsrayim and Baḇelon, and are stripping away the inherited lies of false traditions we see the great need to get our timing of pure worship in order so that we can truly be a people who worship the Father in Spirit and Truth. This is a chapter that many exiles need to study in great depth, and not only study but apply and allow the great understanding of the Feasts of  יהוה to further our love for Him and grow in intimacy with our King, whose times are set as we eagerly await in great anticipation the  return of our Redeeming King in accordance to the fulfilment of these very Feasts we see recorded in this chapter. Let us now glean through this chapter as we discover the wonder in His appointed times!

Verse 1 – an often repeated verse throughout the Torah – ‘And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying’. Mosheh was the one whom יהוה chose to speak to and is a picture of Messiah who is our intercessor. Inevitably the words that often followed this phrase would be, as it is in this chapter, speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl. What we clearly understand is that our instructions from יהוה come to us through Mosheh – or rather the Torah (first 5 books of the Tanak).

What we can realise is that if we only had this chapter of the Torah available for us, we would actually have enough to be able to ‘draw near’ to Elohim – so listen up!

Verse 2 – The Appointed Times of  יהוה.

Like I have already said – the listed appointments given here in this chapter are יהוה’s appointments. Appointments that we are to rehearse each year. The word for ‘appointed times’ is – מוֹעֲדֵי  -‘mo’edi’ the plural of מוֹעֵד moed – Strong’s H4150 which means, ‘appointed time, place or meeting’.

We see this word being used in

Berěshith/Genesis 1:14 “And Elohim said, “Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and years

Right in the beginning, during the Creation Week, Elohim announces to us that He will have ‘appointed times’ and the way we are to know when these times are would be determined by the lights in the expanse of the heavens which were given for us to not only determine the season and day and night but also for His all-important Appointed Times.

What makes these ‘Appointed Times’ different and special from other times?

They are to be ‘proclaimed’ as ‘set-apart gatherings’! The word for ‘proclaim’ is from the root word קָרָא qara – Strong’s H7121 meaning, ‘proclaim, call, read, summons, invite, to be called out,

Set-Apart Gatherings:

Let us look briefly at these terms to get a clearer understanding of what is commanded of us:

1 – Set-Apart:

Hebrew Word:  קֹדֶש- qodesh/ko-deshStrong’s H6944 – and it means ‘apartness/ consecrated/ dedicated/ that which is dedicated and separated unto יהוה’. The word is really self-explanatory and carries with it great weight in its identification of truly setting something or someone apart from another with a clear distinction of being marked as separate and apart from the rest. Set-apartness in the Greek is ἁγιασμός  hagiasmos – Strong’s G38 – ‘consecration, sanctifying’, and the noun is the word ἅγιος hagios – Strong’s G40.  To ‘consecrate’ means ‘to make or declare to be set-apart and be devoted to a purpose with the deepest irrevocable dedication’. We, as a chosen, set-apart and royal priesthood unto Elohim, declare and make our lives solely devoted to the purpose of serving and worshipping יהוה our Elohim, and as we have certainly learnt through the Torah portions of ‘drawing near’ to Elohim, that we can only do so by the Blood of Messiah, as we are continually being set-apart in Him through an on-going process  of being sanctified as a people for a possession. In most cases the term ‘set-apart’ or ‘qodesh’ is used in a positive sense, a good sense in terms of being set-apart for good use or set-apart unto יהוה, describing the nature of a believer living a set-apart life having thrown off the things of the flesh that hinder and walking set-apart according to the spirit. However set-apart can also be used in a negative sense too in that just as much as someone or something can be set-apart unto יהוה so can someone or something be set-apart unto evil and wicked cultic prostitution.

Understanding that ‘qodesh’ and ‘hagios’ both mean set-apart we must ask ourselves where the term in English ‘holy’ comes from and is this a correct term?

 

Holy – a term used frequently in ‘Christian’ language is used by many as a means for speaking of being ‘qodesh’ or ‘hagios’ and for most this is used simply because they have been taught that the word ‘holy’ means set-apart. However when you dig a little further into the root of a word to understand its intended meaning, then certainly more surfaces than what many would care to consider. According to G. Jobes, Dictionary of Mythology and Folklore and Symbols, page 781 for the word ‘Holy’ it says: In practically all languages, the word for holy has been derived from the ‘divinely honoured sun’. What is also interesting to discover is that the word ‘HOLI’ refers to “the Great Hindu festival and is a spring festival celebration held in honour of Krishna, as the spring sun-god… a personified woman called ‘Holi’ … Holi also tried to kill the babe Krishna…”

According to the Strong’s Concordance we find the G1506 – a word that refers to being judges by the sunlight and comes from the word ‘heile’ (which is the sun’s ray). And this root form is very similar and almost identical to the German and Dutch equivalents of the English ‘holy’, realising that many of our English words today are in fact from German and Dutch descent. There is just too must similarity for us to not recognise and acknowledge the reference to the sun and the worship of sun-gods. For instance the word ‘halo’ in referring to the ‘ring’ above a ‘saint’s’ head starts to make a clearer picture of deliberate sun-worship as it represents the ‘sun-disk’. The German and Dutch word for ‘holy’ is ‘heilig’ derived from the word ‘heil’. Now you have to just ask yourself who or what is ‘Heil’. Heil was a saxon idol!!! How disturbing this becomes for us when we recognise that in fact the lies we have inherited in accepting words and names that have their root in pagan worship as clearly the origin of heil or heilig shows and reveals to us how mixed many of our ancestors worship was as many of our German and Dutch ancestors were calling or referring to the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim by the name of their ancient idols that they worshipped. This is shocking know, but do the math and see that it is clear that we cannot and should not be referring to Elohim by any other names or titles other than that which He Himself has given us in Scripture – original Scripture as given in the Hebrew language!!! Satan’s plan is to redirect any form of worship toward Elohim back to him and sadly many, and I mean many are falling to his trickery, hence the need for writing this book among many others that are exposing the lies in order to set captives free and allow the very Truth of the Living Elohim to set free the prisoners who are in darkness (ignorance).

Yeḥezqĕl/Ezekiel chapter 8 tells us how Elohim in fact shows the prophet the very abominations of mixed sun-worship that was going on in the Temple. Many images are made as supposed pictures of Messiah and Mary and many other apostles and prophets with a sun-disc behind their heads in a wicked attempt at identifying them with sun-worship.

It is clear that when we see the overriding evidence that is available for us all to see as to just where the word for ‘holy’ comes from and what its derivatives actually refer to then we must take action in not using this very pagan rooted word in referring to the Spirit of Elohim or any other aspects of set-apart living, for if we do we are simply in great error and are giving homage to the Sun, which no matter how sincere is may be … it is sincerely wrong and an abomination in the eyes of יהוה. יהוה makes it very clear for us that we are not to adopt the worship practices and forms of the pagan nations and apply their forms and practices unto Him. He has given us His instructions in His Torah and we are not to add or take away from them!

Sacred is another word frequently used in Christianity in its attempt at referring to that which is ‘set-apart’ – ‘qodesh’ in Hebrew and ‘hagios’ in Greek. Interestingly you will find that this word, sacred, is in fact not seen in the King James Version but it used in later translations of the Scriptural text. Many words in English as I have said are traced back to Germanic and Dutch roots, and many also come from Latin and some even earlier languages known as Sanskrit. The word ‘sacred’ is traced back to the Sanskrit ‘Sakra’. Indra was one of the twelve forms of sun-deity and he was also known as Sakra and in the twelfth form he is known as Mitra – the origin of the Roman Mithras who was associated with sun-deity and apparently became the Sun-deity known as ‘Sol Invictus’ – the unconquered Sun-deity. Wow, many of you are thinking that this sounds much like the Roman Catholic Church – and you are right – Mithras was worshipped by the first Pope – Constantine who sought a way of blending the Truth with pagan worship as a means to gain the control of the world – he birthed Christianity giving it all its pagan rooted forms of worship – and it is time for the children of Elohim to come out of this wicked whore!

I encourage you to test all that you read as you go through this book, as it becomes very evident that we are to have a speech renewed and a pure tongue restored as we strip away pagan rooted words linked to pagan sun-deity worship. Therefore we cannot use the terms ‘holy’ or ‘sacred’ when referring to that which is ‘set-apart’ and separated unto Elohim. Therefore know that in referring to the Spirit of Elohim – the Ruach haQodesh – we cannot and must not use the pagan terminology of ‘Holy’ Spirit but rather ‘Set-Apart’ Spirit of Elohim.

We are to live set-apart lives – separated unto Elohim. We are to set-apart and treat as separate the Sabbath – set-apart from the rest, let us look at the term gathering;

2 – Gatherings:

Hebrew word: מִקְרָא miqra Strong’s H4744, meaning: assembly/ group/ convocation/ a collective of people gathered for a purpose/a calling together, which comes from the root word קָרָא qara – Strong’s H7121 which we have already noted in the calling together to read.

The reason I am emphasising these words here is to help us clearly understand before proceeding into each appointed time that these are times we are to take careful note of! If there are any appointments that you should never miss or be late for in life, it is these!!! Sadly what we see in the world today is a total neglect of these very clear appointments we are to have with our Creator, while the enemy has ‘attempted to change’ the times and seasons of Elohim and establish his own as well as keeping people so preoccupied with their own busy lifestyles and schedules that they neglect that most important appointments for the set-apart people of Elohim. These appointments were firmly establish at creation and were always intended for all to keep. Now in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23 the instructions are given to Yisra’ĕl, a chosen nation, who was to be a light to the nations teaching them of these appointed times. So as a royal priesthood let us recognise the importance of understanding these appointments with the Creator of the heavens and the earth, so we are well equipped to teach the nations to follow and keep these set times of יהוה.

Each of the listed appointments are to be called out as set-apart gatherings that are to be rehearsed each year. A set-apart gathering is exactly what it says – a set-apart gathering! These appointments with our Creator cannot be kept alone, but rather must be kept together with the body of Messiah, wherever He chooses. So as the body of Messiah is being restored in these last days it is of vital importance that each of understand that these appointments are not, ‘if we feel like it’ appointments – NO – they are set, and have been set from the beginning and will never change and therefore there should never be an excuse for any child of Yisra’ĕl to miss any of these! A gathering is where the body comes together to hear the reading of The word and celebrate together as we not only look back to what has already been fulfilled but also forward to what will be fulfilled in every way through our Righteous Living King!

So I urge all of you reading this to make it clear in one’s mind that according to the instructions of our Elohim, these appointed Times cannot and must not be missed or neglected in any way; and I say this to emphasise the importance of hearing such a command before even looking at each appointment we have with our Maker!

Verse 3 – The Sabbath

Now that we have established that the appointed times of יהוה are set and will not change, we see straight away the emphasis that יהוה places upon His Sabbath/Shabbat. Of all the Appointments that He has set, He sets apart the Sabbath from the rest in a sense by giving it first mention and so we must therefore recognise that this weekly Sabbath carries a great significance for us, and we are to realise that we must not miss our weekly appointment with our Elohim! יהוה repeats very clearly that His Sabbath is a set-apart gathering and the repetition of this only highlights the importance of gathering as commanded. Sabbath cannot be kept alone and it was never to be kept alone by individual families either. The Sabbath is the times for us to gather together as communities/assemblies all over the world and have a set-apart meeting or assembling of set-apart ones and hear the Torah. The command not to work rules out any excuse for any member of Yisra’ĕl to not be gathered!

The Sabbath is a ‘qodesh miqra’ – set-apart gathering and I continue to repeat myself in this regard for it is of vital importance that each one of us gets it! You cannot sit at home alone and read a few verses, say a few prayers and then sleep the day away and think you are guarding the Sabbath – GATHER is the command!

Why is the Sabbath so important you may ask and does it really matter which day is the Sabbath? Well to answer that bluntly – yes it does matter – it matters a great deal and it is of vital importance for us and that is what I want us to look at – the Truth and validity of the importance of the Sabbath.

We have seen that יהוה had set the Sabbath apart already in the Creation week and this stands firm forever as we, each week, get to ‘rehearse’ by remembering to ‘keep’ His Sabbath as it foreshadows our reign with Him.

But just how important is the Sabbath? What is the significance of us getting it right? For many it seemingly does not matter which day is the Sabbath as they erroneously regard ‘every day’ as a Sabbath, but is that what Scripture says? No – Scripture is clear that it is the 7th day, not the 1st or 2nd or 3rd or any other day but the 7th! In the hearing of the Ten Words, commonly known today as the Ten Commandments, it is clear that the Sabbath is set-apart from the rest of the week and the direct command is to remember it and to set it apart. Set the whole day apart not just some of it but the whole day as in a whole 24 hour period or rather from sunset to sunset! Look at the following verses from the account of the hearing of the 10 Words:

Shemoth/Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart. 9 Six days you labour, and shall do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of יהוה your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days יהוה made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore יהוה blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart.

As you will notice that in terms of the Ten Words, commonly known to us as the ‘Ten Commandments’ – this 4th commandment regarding the Sabbath is the longest of the 10. Longest of the 10 spoken to an entire nation! In the original King James translation into English this command contained 97 words – and that in itself ought to tell us the significance of this day! This was and always is to be a day of rest and a day set-apart unto Elohim. No work is to be done on this day – no work for you, or your servants or your animals or for any ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’ within your gates. This is a day of rest form your weekly labour – that is that which earns you your wages and keep! This is a day set-apart for us to ‘rest’ in Him, יהוה our Elohim and as we see from Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:1-2 in speaking of His Appointed Times and set-apart gatherings, we see clearly the first of these is in fact the weekly Sabbath.

Sabbath is a day of rest from your daily work, but that does not mean you hide out and sleep it away – no – it is to be proclaimed as a set-apart gathering. That means we, as the body of Messiah, are to have a set-apart gathering unto יהוה in all our dwellings. Where two or three are ‘gathered’ there He is in the midst of them! This is a day when we get to spend intimate quality time with our Maker and as His Bride we get to engage in fellowship together as a Bride who is preparing herself with her betrothed Husband.

 

What we must realise here is that the Sabbath is a set-apart day from the rest; and it is a day of gathering together as His body. We are to come together to worship our Elohim. We are to collectively set-apart the Sabbath as we set-aside our own desires and pleasures and work that takes up our time for the previous 6 days and delight ourselves as one in Him. Many today do not see the need for gathering and claim that they are happy to ‘keep’ Sabbath on their own. As well and easy as this sounds – according to the Word of Elohim this is not Scriptural – we are required to gather. And it is more than just gathering and having a kind of social – it is a gathering especially set-apart unto spending the day in fellowship in the Word. There is not too much I can say to add to the simplicity of understanding this term – the Sabbath is a set-apart ‘gathering’, and this happens in the world today in the form of gathering in various size groups that יהוה establishes and builds. When one thinks of the term gathering, one automatically can see the picture of more than just one or two people – it speaks of a body of believers coming together in obedience to Scripture.

I must admit that churches have had a seemingly good way of gathering a crowd – sadly though it is not on the correct day and what is even worse – each one attending feels good about themselves that they gave up an hour or two!!!

We as children of the Living Elohim are to gather – and gather for His Sabbath.

Here at ‘At the Foot of the Covenant Ministries’ we gather in our home, firstly on the evening of Sabbath (that is Friday night for those who still have not understood when a day starts and then more specifically when Sabbath starts) for a time of worship followed by teaching in the Word and fellowship. Then on the morning (Saturday) we gather from 10:00am for more worship and then sit together and go through our weekly Torah portion together with the relevant writings form the Prophets and rest of the Tanak (O.T.) and Renewed Writings (N.T.). We enjoy a ‘bring and share’ lunch together and end the day late in the afternoon having truly set-apart the Sabbath and ‘gathered’ together having immersed ourselves in the wonder and joy of His Word that strengthens us and builds us up in the faith, maturing us in Him. Gathering is critical to the life of the Body of Messiah.

Ok, so now we have looked at when a day begins and which of these days is in fact the Sabbath of Elohim and that we are to proclaim the Sabbath as set-apart gatherings; now let us look a little more at just what the importance of this is for us and just what Scripture instructs us with in regards to His Sabbaths.

The Sabbath is a sign

Why the Sabbath is of utmost importance to us, and what we are to quickly realise is that our sign or mark of our worship unto יהוה our Elohim is in fact our remembering to ‘keep’ His Sabbath. Sabbath observance is key to worship, in fact it is our definitive sign that sets us apart from others.

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 20:12 “And I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, to know that I AM יהוה who sets them apart!

Shemoth/Exodus 31:16-17 “And the children of Yisra’ĕl shall guard the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant. 17 ‘Between Me and the children of Yisra’ĕl it is a sign forever. For in six days יהוה made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.

We as his children are to ‘guard’ and ‘observe’ the Sabbath for all time! יהוה makes it very clear in the above two passages that the Sabbath is in fact the sign that we are His!!! How awesome is that! His Sabbath is a sign of His power to create and His power to redeem. In the Scriptures, the words seal, sign, mark, and token are used interchangeably.

Elohim's sign, the Sabbath, represents His mighty power to rule as Creator and Saviour, and it is a sign forever between us as children of Yisra’ĕl and Elohim!!!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 4:9 “So there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim.

You cannot get any clearer than this verse, although it has sadly been twisted into teaching that this Sabbath rest being spoken of only refers to the millennial reign. The Greek word used here for ‘Sabbath-keeping’ is:

Strong’s G4520σαββατισμός  ‘sabbatismos – which literally means ‘a Sabbath keeping’ or ‘Sabbath observance’ and is very clear in its instruction for us today that to keep Sabbath is still of vital importance – after all it is an everlasting sign for us – a sign that will prove to be a critical dividing factor in showing who truly worships Elohim and who does not! The weekly Sabbath-keeping is for us not only a sign, but it is also the first of His commanded Appointed times according to Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:1-2. יהוה has given us this day as a sign of His everlasting covenant and what we must therefore also realise is that the enemy will always have a counterfeit sign in seeking any means at luring people into the delusion of false worship, making people believe that they are in fact worshipping the Creator when clearly they are in error by having the wrong ‘sign’ of their worship.

Verse 4 – יהוה now repeats once again the emphasis of how His Appointed Times are to be set-apart gatherings, proclaimed at the correct appointed times and not at man’s inherited appointed lies of tradition. After understanding the vital significance the Sabbath plays and is for us each week, we are then further equipped to gather on the rest of our Creator’s Appointments!

Let us now take a look at the yearly cycle of the appointed Times of יהוה:

Verse 5 – 14:

PESAH – MATZOT – BIKKURIM – PASSOVER – UNLEAVENED BREAD – FIRST FRUITS

In the first new moon on the 14th day between the evenings is the Pěsaḥ to יהוה. Here we see that right at the beginning of the year we see the first of the yearly appointed times, and what we must first understand is when does the year begin, because if we do not know that we will be unable to correctly keep this feast of Pěsaḥ; and if that be the case the rest of the year would be out of sync too – Timing is important!

So when does the year begin for us?

The answer is found in Shemoth/Exodus Chapter 12:2 “This new moon is the beginning of new moons for you, it is the first new moon of the year for you.

A highly critical verse for a nation being delivered from many generations of slavery – one we today need also take very careful care to hear, guard and do as we also have come out of many years/centuries of inherited lies. You will also notice that in Shemoth/Exodus 12: 1 that יהוה spoke to Mosheh in Mitsrayim – that is to also show us today just how He also clearly spoke to us while we were still in Mitsrayim (Church) so to speak and it is now clear that a new way of things was truly about to begin. What we must take careful not of here is that יהוה did NOT at this point change His own established order and calendar of His Appointed Times. What He was doing was telling His called out nation to strip away all that they had followed under an enslaved regime and return now to His Way and His reckoning of time!

Yisra’ĕl for over 400 years or so were under the influence of a sun/solar calendar which was a direct worship unto the pagan deity Ra, which יהוה had now clearly shown by His Mighty wonders and power that Ra was no mighty one at all and destroyed the seeming evidence of such erroneous beliefs. In order for Yisra’ĕl to be on their wonderful journey of freedom having been set free from bondage by the Mighty work Hand of Elohim they had to get back to the beginning! This was and always is the beginning of the year according to יהוה, and Yisra’ĕl had lost this under the Mitsrayim way of calendar keeping centred around sun-worship. יהוה was setting back in order His timing and calendar that was instituted at Creation. This was the first instruction given to a nation and the essence was simply this, “have nothing to do with sun-worship and get in line with My Word!”.

For us who have come out of Mitsrayim have too found it very confusing at first to keep track of יהוה’s Scriptural calendar that begins in this month of Aḇiḇ, when the barley is ripe in the ear. Months begin at the sighting of the renewed moon (first sliver) and it is the moon that ‘renews’ every month.

There are many in the Torah walk that have sadly missed the mark with this vital truth – and why I say vital is because if we get the beginning wrong then the rest of the year will be out and we may find ourselves celebrating His Feasts at the wrong times due to ignorance of the True starting point!

Many torah observant believers claim to follow what has been labelled the ‘Enoch calendar’ which sets aside the renewal of the moon for determining the months and holds that the moon is merely there for various ‘planting’ seasons of various plants and vegetables. I will quote a couple of verses from Ḥanoḵ which clearly speaks of the moon giving the marker for months:

Ḥanoḵ chapter 78:

: 6-7 “When the moon begins its cycle, it appears in the sky one half of a seventh part; it will become fully illumined from the fourteenth day; 7 it completes its illumination the fifteenth, becoming fulfilled according to the sign of the year and becoming fifteen parts. Thus the moon waxes in fifteen parts.

Here we see the description of how the moon ‘waxes’ – that is to become full which is completed on the 15th of the month and then begins to ‘wane’ – which is to decrease in its illumination from the sun.

: 11 “During all the seasons when the moon is made to run its cycle, the light is being beamed into it the moon facing the sun until the illumination of the moon is completed in the course of fourteen days; and when it is lit completely, it radiates light in the sky.

During all the seasons the moon is made to run its cycle of illumination – so it clearly not only appointed for seasons but also for the marker of the monthly cycle!

This next verse is the one that I like to show as it is clear when the month begins and lines up with our text in Shemoth:

: 12 “On the first day, it is called the new moon because on that day the illumination begins to set upon it.

The first day of the month is when we ‘SEE’ the illumination begin and so it is also clear that the month cannot begin on what some call the ‘dark moon’ either.

Other arguments to whether our text here in Shemoth/Exodus is referring to the moon are that moon and month are not the same, and so I briefly want to explain a couple of key Hebrew words or terms with Scriptural evidence that show that when speaking the new/renewed month it is clearly speaking of the cycle of the moon.

For many of you this may seem insignificant, but I want to briefly present to you from Scripture when our year begins and this is very significant. So please bear with me!

The Hebrew root words used for ‘beginning of new moons’ in the Scriptures 2009 translation or in other translations as ‘beginning of months’ transliterated as ‘rosh ḥodesh’ is:

H7218 - ראֹשׁ rosh’ – and means ‘head or beginning or source – that is the beginning point. It speaks of the starting point and also carries the meaning of ‘head’ as in the crucial part of the body, and is also translated as chief. In the context of the passage in question it is a clear beginning point of the year.

H2320 - חֹדֶשׁḥodesh – means ‘month’ and by extension also translated and understood as moon

Many argue that this word does not mean moon as the word for moon in Hebrew is:

H3394 - יָרֵחַyareach’ – the word used for moon as is first used in Berěshith/Genesis 37:9. In the Scriptural text it is understood that the word ḥodesh also refers to the moon. In fact there is another word that also describes the moon, when it is full as in:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 7:9 “He took a bag of silver with him; He comes home on the day of the new moon.

This is a wonderful pointer to our Messiah coming to be united with His Bride for Sukkot/Tabernacles which begins on the 15th of the 7th month (which is the full moon).

The Hebrew root for full moon here is;

H3677 - כֶּסֶא kese’ – means full moon or the full covering of the moon – that is when it is fully illumined!

Another Hebrew word used for moon is:

H3842 - לְבָנָהlebanah’ – refers to the full moon when it is fully ‘white’ coming from the root word which means to be or become white and is used in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 24:23 “And the moon shall blush, and the sun shall be ashamed, for יהוה of hosts shall reign on Mount Tsiyon, and in Yerushalayim, and before His elders, in esteem!

This speaking once again of His second coming when the ‘white moon’ will be turned red – Blood Moon – at His Appointed Time!!!

Now why I am showing you these is to show you various words used to describe the moon and now through a couple of Scriptures I will too show you why month and moon are interchangeable and thought of as the same in the Hebraic mind:

Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 6:38 “And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, the eighth month, the house was completed in all its matters and according to all its plans. Thus he built it for seven years.

Month – this is the Hebrew word H3394 - יָרֵחַyareach’, while the next word for month – is H2320 - חֹדֶשׁḥodesh.

Here in the same verse we have both words being used to describe the month, showing us that month and moon are interchangeably used in Scripture. Another example is in:

Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 8:2 “And all the men of Yisra’ĕl assembled to Sovereign Shelomoh at the festival in the month of Ěythanim, which is the seventh month.(colour coded as above)

Another witness that shows 2 verses referring to the same reference to a specific month/moon:

Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 6:1 “And it came to be, in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Yisra’ĕl had come out of the land of Mitsrayim, in the fourth year of the reign of Shelomoh over Yisra’ĕl, in the month of Ziw, which is the second month, that he began to build the House of יהוה.

The reference or definitive marker of time here for us is the month of Ziw – month here using the word - H2320 - חֹדֶשׁḥodesh, while in reference to the same month in:

Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 6:37 “In the fourth year the foundation of the House of יהוה was laid, in the month Ziw.”

Same month name but this time the word for month is H3394 - יָרֵחַyareach’.

If that is not enough for you, just one verse later I have a 3rd witness of both words being used in the same verse for the month:

Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 6:38 “And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, the eighth month, the house was completed in all its matters and according to all its plans. Thus he built it for seven years.

Both yareach and ḥodesh used in reference to the month showing us that moon and month are the same!

Now in clearing all that up, verse 2 here in Shemoth/Exodus 12 tells us that this month/new moon of their departure from Mitsrayim will be the beginning of new moons and it is the first of the year – in other words this is the beginning of the year. ‘Year’ in Hebrew is H8141 - שָׁנָה shanah’ and usually has a ה (hey) before it to make it ‘the year’ – ‘hashanah’ – In Hebrew the New Year is known as Rosh Hashanah – the ‘head’ of the year!

 

In this verse2 the phrase ‘it is the first new moon of the year for you’ is written as follows:

 

רִאשׁוֹן הוּא לָכֶם לְחָדְשֵׁי הַשָּׁנָה  – ‘rishon huw laḵam l’ḥadshey hashana and broken down is as follows:

 

רִאשׁוֹןrishon – Strong’s H7223 which means, former, first, chief, before, beginning and this is from the root word ראֹשׁ rosh – Strong’s H7218 meaning, head, beginning, topas already discussed.

 

הוּאhuw – Strong’s H1931  which is a pronoun that means, he, she, it 

 

לָכֶםlaḵam – this is from the word אַתָּה attah – Strong’s H859 which means, you (masculine singular), and with the ‘lamed – לָ – being used as a preposition meaning, to, for, the construct of the word changes to the plural rendering it as meaning, for you (plural)’.

 

לְחָדְשֵׁיl’ḥadshey is from the root word חֹדֶשׁ ḥodesh – Strong’s H2320 meaning, new moon, month as already discussed.

 

הַשָּׁנָהhashana – ‘the year’ from שָׁנָה shanah Strong’s H8141 meaning, a year, annual, yearly, annually.

 

The reason for breaking this down in this manner is to simply show that the clear instruction being given to Yisra’ĕl is that this first month will be for you (Yisra’ĕl) the month that begins the year!!!

 

In Rabbinical Judaism there are errors in their man made calendars that call Rosh Hashanah at the 1st of the 7th month, when it is Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets). In fact some rabbinic teachings have 4 ‘new years’ in the year to signify different seasons and agriculture. This is simply crazy and very confusing, which the Word of יהוה is not to those who will but just hear and obey! The Rabbinic way of naming the 7th month as the head of the year is in no way different to the major error that Christianity has done in replacing the 7th day Sabbath with the sun-worship practice of worshipping on the 1st day of the week, hence the pagan name of the day called after its man-driven purpose of falsified worship – Sun-Day! Both have tried to change – and I say tried to because no one can change יהוה’s order of Appointed Times as set in the Creation Week – Both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity has attempted to change 7 for 1! Rosh Hashanah always was and is always at the 1st month – the month known as the month of Aḇiḇ - the month Yisra’ĕl came out of Mitsrayim! Aḇiḇ is referred to as the clear marker of which month will be the first in Chapter 13:4 and will briefly explain it in the context of where we are at in discussing the timing of the New Year:

What is Aḇiḇ (Aviv)?

Aḇiḇ refers to a stage that occurs in the development of the barley crops. The meaning of the word Aḇiḇ is the stage in the growth of grain when the seeds have reached full size and are filling with starch, but have not dried yet.

Shemoth/Exodus 9:31 “And the flax and the barley were smitten, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.

The word used for ‘in the head’ is אָבִיב Aḇiḇ - Strong’s H24 which means, fresh young ears, fresh heads of grain, and indicates for us the stage of the barley at the time of the plague of hail. What is interesting for us to notice here is that the barley was damaged but as you read the next verse we see that the wheat and the spelt were not. This gives us clear indication that ‘Aḇiḇ’ is a stage of growth that has passed the early development of ‘green ears’, for as they develop they become lighter in colour and more brittle. The reason that the barley was destroyed and the wheat was not is that the barley had reached the stage in its development called Aḇiḇ and as a result had become brittle enough to be damaged by the hail. In contrast, the wheat and spelt were still early enough in their development, at a stage when they were flexible and not susceptible to being damaged by hail. 

The first month of the year begins at the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon, when the barley is ‘Aḇiḇ’ – or ‘ripe in the ear’. This not only marks for us the clear starting point but also carries great symbolic significance for us as we know that a phrase used very often in Scripture is, ‘he who has an ear to hear’, and what this shows us is the following – that when you are ripe in the ear – that is that when your ear is attentive to the very Living Word – the Torah (instructions) of יהוה, then you are able to begin your ‘journey’ of faith in the Living Word!

2-3 weeks after the beginning of the first month the barley moves on from being ‘Aḇiḇ’ and is ready to be brought as a ‘wave-sheaf’ offering which is a sacrifice brought from the first stalks cut in the harvest and is brought on the day after the Sabbath during the Feast of Matzot (Unleavened Bread) – on the 1st day of the week known as the wave offering of the first – which is a wave offering of the sheaf of the first as described in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:10-11.

So now that we have established when a year begins, and that it is on the 14th of the first month that we keep the Pěsaḥ between the evenings, and so let us look at this term:

 

"Between the evenings": the word for "evening" עֶרֶב ereḇand from the root carries the idea of the time of day when it is becoming or growing dark (sunset/dusk), so it is done between the time we can first notice the decline of daylight and the time daylight transitions into night at sunset and so between the evenings can be better translated as between the sunsets which is a wonderful proof text for us as to the beginning and end of day – from sunset to sunset. Sunset of the 13th which would begin the 14th to sunset on the 14th which would begin the 15th! Here the Pěsaḥ is slaughtered as the 14th of the month is fading into the 15th. By the time of the second Temple, it was offered between the first and second evening oblation, which translates to the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.) on the 14th, which is exactly when יהושע was slain on Passover. Why the 14th? The way to write the number 14 in Hebrew (יד) is with the letters yod י (10) and dalet ד (4), which spell the word for "hand" H3027 - יָד yad. Indeed, יהוה had said He would stretch out His hand over Mitsrayim - Shemoth/Exodus3:20 “And I shall stretch out My hand and smite Mitsrayim with all My wonders which I shall do in its midst. And after that he shall let you go. - and lay His hand on it - Shemoth/Exodus 7:4 “And Pharaoh is not going to listen to you, and I shall lay My hand on Mitsrayim, and bring My divisions and My people, the children of Yisra’ĕl, out of the land of Mitsrayim by great judgments. The Pěsaḥ/Passover lamb was therefore to be kept until the fullness of יהוה's hand (Messiah) comes. יהושע, thus, is the one who strikes Mitsrayim down!

All the assembly of the congregation shall slay it – we are all guilty for His death, yet He lay down His own life showing His intense love for us – taking our sin upon Himself. He died because of our sinfulness. He took our sins upon Himself and died our death. He is the Pěsaḥ/Passover Lamb. He is our redemption. No other sacrifice is needed for our sins. It is finished.

So when do we eat the Pěsaḥ meal?

The Meal is eaten at the beginning of the 15th which starts the Feast of Matzot/Unleavened Bread – Shemoth/Exodus 12:8 confirms this for us: “And they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire – with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

On that night is referring the 15th of the 1st month (in the month the barley is Aḇiḇ), which marks the beginning of the Feast of Matzot (Unleavened Bread). When the Lamb has been prepared on the 14th then after sunset, which starts the new day of the 15th we have the Pěsaḥ/Passover Meal.

Matzot – No leaven for 7 days!

The 15th of the 1st month marks not only for us when we eat the Pěsaḥ Meal, but also the beginning of the Feast of Matzot (Unleavened Bread), and it is during this week that we eat bread without leaven and there is to be no leaven found within our borders before the feast begins and is a picture of getting rid of sin, which is often pictured in Scripture as leaven.

On the 1st day there is a set-apart gathering and then on the 7th day too. What we normally do is on every other day we gather for a time of worship and fellowship and so ‘bring an offering made by fire’ for 7 days as we come each day with a burning passion to rejoice together as a body being knit and having been cleansed of all leaven!

Bikkurim – First Fruits

The waving of the first sheaf of barley takes place during Matzot. It takes place on the 1st day of the week, and always will! Why? Because the command is clear – ‘on the morrow after THE Sabbath the priest waves it.

It is very clear here in Scripture that the Sabbath is the key marker for the waving of the first sheaf of barley. Remember in verse 3 how Elohim makes it very clear that the Sabbath is set-apart and by doing so sets the tone for the rest of the chapter and any reference thereafter is clearly referencing the weekly Sabbath. I want to make it abundantly clear that there is only one Sabbath of יהוה which is on the 7th day each week, besides there only being one other day in the feasts that is referred to as a Sabbath – and that is Yom Kippur, which we will look at shortly.

It is critical in understanding this wave offering taking place on the 1st day of the week; for if we miss this we will certainly miss the work of our Messiah, who became the firstborn among the dead and offered up the first fruit offering of a sure and promised harvest to come at the end of the age!

In the process of revealing His plan of salvation for mankind, יהוה established His annual Appointed Days around the harvest seasons in the Middle East. Just as His people harvested their crops around these three Festival seasons, יהוה’s Appointed Days show us how He is harvesting people for eternal life in His Kingdom. The Appointed Feasts have meanings that build upon each other. Together they progressively reveal how יהוה works with humanity. The fifteenth of Aviv (1st month) begins the Feast of Matzot (Unleavened Bread). It is a seven day feast to יהוה. The day following the Sabbath during Matzot, which will always be on the 1st day of the week, is called the Feast of First Fruits.

In 2012 the beginning of Matzot (15th of Aḇiḇ) and the eating of the Pěsaḥ Meal happened to fall on the weekly Sabbath and therefore the 16th of Aḇiḇ was reckoned as the day we see in Scripture in reference to: “on the morrow after the Sabbath”, which falls during Matzot where we bring a wave offering of the first fruits/Bikkurim. The wave offering is always done on the day after the weekly Sabbath during Matzot and therefore Shaḇu’ot will always be on a 1st day of the week. In Yehoshua/Joshua 5 we see an example of this timing that we are following this year where the Pěsaḥ meal was also eaten on the weekly Sabbath and the roasted grain was eaten the day after Pěsaḥ:

Yehoshua/Joshua 5:10-11 “And the children of Yisra’ĕl camped in Gilgal, and performed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening on the desert plains of Yeriḥo. 11 And they ate of the stored grain of the land on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened bread and roasted grain on this same day.”

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23: 11-15 makes it clear that no roasted grain was to be eaten until the same day that the sheaf of the wave offering was brought which can only be on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath! Sadly many follow the erroneous rabbinic teaching that states the counting of the omer begins on the 16th every year as they claim that the morrow after the Sabbath is referring to the first day of Unleavened Bread, while this day is never referred to as a Sabbath. Although this happens from time to time, like 2012 and as recorded in Yehoshua, where we will begin the count on the 16th because it falls on the day after the Sabbath during Matzot and the counting of the omer must begin on the first day of the week and to assume that it will always fall on the 16th regardless of what day of the week it is, simply denies the work of Messiah! יהושע was 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth and what we celebrate on this day is His offering up of the first fruits of those who were raised after His resurrection, giving us a guarantee of a harvest to come. So while Messiah fulfilled the requirements of this Feast, we will always have, as commanded, The wave offering of the sheaf of the first, which has commonly become known as bikkurim, on the day after ‘the’ Sabbath during Matzot and begin to count the omer on this day!

In 2015 the Pěsaḥ Meal was eaten at the end of the weekly Sabbath where the 15th of the 1st month fell on the 1st day of the week, and therefore the waving of the sheaf of the first fruits took place on the morrow after the Sabbath that would follow, meaning that the Feast of Matzot lasts for 7 days and ended at the end of the Sabbath, making the day after the Feast (the morrow after the Sabbath) as being the day of the waving of the sheaf and the beginning of the count to 50.

When the barley harvest was ready to be reaped, a sheaf of the first grain would be brought to the priest who would wave it before יהוה. This was called the ‘the sheaf of the first fruits’ and would take place on the day after the weekly Sabbath that would fall during or, as in 2015, at the end of Matzot! There will always be a weekly Sabbath during Matzot and it is on the morrow after that Sabbath that the waving of the sheaf of the first fruit takes place!

Sheaf of the first fruits:

This is the command as seen in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:10 – on the morrow after the Sabbath during Matzot – you wave the sheaf of the first fruits. First fruits is typically understood as referring to ‘bikkurim’ yet what we see here in the Hebrew text is the following wording for ‘sheaf of the first fruits’: עֹמֶר רֵאשִׁית  – omer reshiyth. The word translated as ‘sheaf’ is עֹמֶר omer – Strong’s H6016 and the word translated as ‘first-fruits’ is רֵאשִׁית  rěshith – Strong’s H7225 which means, beginning, chief, first fruits, foremost and comes from the primitive root word ראֹשׁ rosh – Strong’s H7218 which means, head, beginning, top, chief.

The term ‘Bikkurim’ is found in verse 17, when commanded to wave the two loaves of bread on Shaḇu’ot, as the word here for ‘first fruits’ is בִּכּוּרִים bikkurim – Strong’s H1601 meaning, first fruits, early ripened thing, ripe fruit, and comes from בָּכַר baḵar – Strong’s H1069 which means, to bear new fruit, to constitute as first born’.

So while the ‘bikkurim’ is waved on Shaḇu’ot, it is on the morrow after the Sabbath during Matzot that we in fact wave the sheaf of the first, or better understood as the first of the first, or first of the bikkurim; and this gives us the full assurance of the fullness of the harvest to come.

 יהוה commanded the people to bring a sheaf of the harvest. Sheaf in the Hebrew is ‘omer’ which was the dry measure of food stuffs, and was a 1/10th part of an ephah – a dry measurement of grain equalling to the approximate amount of 22 litres, therefore an omer was around 2,2 litres dry equivalent. It is described as the measure of the seed resulting from one sheaf of grain. An omer was also deemed by יהוה to be the sufficient measure of ‘manna’ that an average person could eat in one day. Therefore an omer or sheaf also symbolises a single person and is in fact a picture of oneself being turned over to יהוה for the process of becoming useful to His community – His Bride!

We will look at what this ‘counting of the omer’ season means and speaks to us today in a short bit, after we just fully understand the major theme of First Fruits – which is primarily about resurrection and salvation. יהושע has fully met the requirements for these Feasts we are celebrating and speaking of right now – He is our Passover Lamb – the Bread of Life and the First Fruit offering and the High Priest who waves the sheaf of the first fruits!

יהושע was resurrected at the end of Shabbat and at the start of the first day of the week (at Saturday sunset), offering Himself as the first fruits to all generations fulfilling the sign of Yonah (Jonah) – 3 days and 3 nights and becoming the first born among those who sleep!

יהושע is the first fruit of the Barley Harvest! Let us look at some Scriptures that speak of Messiah as the ‘first’:

1. יהושע is the firstborn of Miryam/Mary:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 1:23-25 ““See, a maiden shall conceive, and she shall give birth to a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanu’ĕl,” which translated, means, “Ěl with us.” 24 And Yosĕph, awaking from his sleep, did as the messenger of יהוה commanded him and took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she gave birth to her Son, the first-born. And he called His Name יהושע.

2. יהושע is the first-born of the Father:

 Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 1:6 “And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, “Let all the messengers of Elohim do reverence to Him.

3. יהושע is the firstborn over all creation:

Qolasim/Colossians 1:15 “who is the likeness of the invisible Elohim, the first-born of all creation.

4. יהושע is the firstborn from the dead:

Ḥazon/Revelation 1:5 “and from יהושע Messiah, the trustworthy witness, the first-born from the dead, and the ruler of the sovereigns of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

5. יהושע is the firstborn of many brethren:

Romiyim/Romans 8:29 “Because those whom He knew beforehand, He also ordained beforehand to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, for Him to be the first-born among many brothers.

6. יהושע is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:20 “But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep.

7. יהושע is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Aleph and the Taw:

Ḥazon/Revelation 22:13 “I am the ‘Aleph’ and the ‘Taw’, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

8. יהושע is the head of the body, the assembly – First in all!:

Qolasim/Colossians 1:18 “And He is the Head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that He might become the One who is first in all.

He is the most set-apart One of ELOHIM and He is both the first born of ELOHIM and the first fruit unto ELOHIM.

In Messiah what assurance we have is that ‘in Him’ we are redeemed – Pěsaḥ speaks of our redemption, Matzot or Unleavened Bread speaks of our sanctification –being set-apart (cleaned up from leaven) and First Fruits is the assurance of our promise of eternal life and resurrection in Messiah. Blessed are those who have part in the first resurrection for the second death has no power over them!!!

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:20-24 “But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep. 21 For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man. 22 For as all die in Aḏam, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah . 23 And each in his own order: Messiah the first-fruits, then those who are of Messiah at His coming, 24 then the end, when He delivers up the reign to Elohim the Father, when He has brought to naught all rule and all authority and power.

A wonderful passage that Sha’ul is writing to describe truly what we are celebrating on First Fruits – Messiah is the first fruit among those who have fallen asleep (died) and it is in Messiah that we are made alive. This passage is read as a commentary on the order of resurrection but Sha’ul is also referring here to First Fruits – In that יהושע in being the first to be raised has fulfilled this Feast – securing the future harvest. So at this Feast we celebrate the resurrection of  יהושע and in so doing we also celebrate the future completed resurrection of His Bride as each are made alive in Messiah  - each in his own order!

יהושע’s resurrection was in affect a sheaf wave offering presented before the Father as first fruits of the harvest to come! He also presented His first-fruits offering to the Father on this day:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 27:52-53 “and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the set-apart ones who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they went into the set-apart city and appeared to many.

A scripture not often understood and even very quickly skipped through lack of understanding – יהושע presented a first fruit offering of souls unto the father. Those graves that were opened when He died lay open for 3 days and3 nights and after His resurrection, the dead from the tombs that were opened came out of the tombs and appeared unto many – picture the scene – at His death the temple veil was torn, there was a huge earth quake and tombs of many were opened and they stayed open for 3 days and 3 nights until יהושע was raised, after which the dead of those who were in those tombs came out and appeared to many. These raised ones were taken up when He ascended and presented the first fruit offering unto the Father on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath during Matzot – fulfilling this Feast and its requirements:

Wayyiqra 23:12 “And on that day when you wave the sheaf, you shall prepare a male lamb a year old, a perfect one, as a burnt offering to יהוה.

He is our High Priest who presented the wave offering, being the ‘year old perfect lamb’ ascended up to the Father!

Yoḥanan/John 20:17 “יהושע said to her, “Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My Elohim and your Elohim.’

That day He ascended and presented the first fruit offering and the next evening He came and stood in the midst of His taught ones and breathed on them and they received the Set-Apart Spirit – a first fruit of the Spirit that would later be poured out on many!

 

COUNTING OF THE OMER – Verse 15-16

From the morrow after the Sabbath during Matzot we begin counting off 50 days until we come to the Feast of Weeks or Shaḇu’ot. What is critical, as I said in understanding this timing and the beginning of the count is that the time between Bikkurim and Shaḇu’ot there must be ‘7 completed Sabbaths’. If one begins counting strictly on the 16th of the first month regardless of what day it is, it is possible to count 50 days and have only 6 “completed” Sabbaths (7 full weeks – from 1-7) within the 50 days. 7 completed Sabbaths – 7 weeks = 49 days and then the morrow after the 7th Sabbath will bring us to the 50th day being Shaḇu’ot! Before we look at Shaḇu’ot I want to highlight the significance of counting these days and what they symbolise for us:

Counting the omer is not a time to sit back and relax and in a sense have the misconceived idea of ‘once saved always saved’, no – this is a time of diligent preparation and humble obedience to walking in and becoming more effective as part of His Bride who has prepared Herself. On the morrow after the Sabbath during Matzot a wave offering of the first sheaf of barley is waved and at Shaḇu’ot we see 2 loaves of ‘leavened bread’ being waved before Elohim as Bikkurim – first fruits. Now what is interesting for us to note is that there is a process of being made into a bread (community) of people that is pleasing and acceptable as a wave offering to יהוה and understanding 10 steps of making bread helps understand just how He gathers, refines and shapes us into His Body:

10 steps:

1 – SOWING OR PLANTING: The Hebrew term used for sowing or planting also carries with it the meaning of ‘scattering’ – picture as a farmer ‘scatters his seed. The ancient practice of scattering was called to ‘broadcast’ the seed from a bag that was hung over ones shoulder. We as a people of Elohim have been scattered over the whole earth and long to be replanted, if you will, into our native soil. I am sure we are all aware of the sowing and reaping principle – nothing can be reaped from what was not sown and you cannot reap something different from what has been sown – you reap what you sow – be it attitudes, thoughts, actions or even priorities – do not expect to get something out from that which you did not sow! You want an intimate growing relationship with יהוה - then sow the time and effort in seeking Him! יהוה scattered Yisra’ĕl and we get a greater understanding of this from the book of Hoshěa which I encourage you to read. Scattered but watched over – for this scattered seed will bring in a bountiful harvest for reaping!

The root word for sow or sowing is זֶרַע zera – Strong’s H2233 and means, ‘a sowing, seed, offspring’ and comes from the primitive root זָרַע zara – Strong’s H2232 meaning, ‘to sow or scatter seed’.

Hoshěa/Hosea 2:23 “And I shall sow her for Myself in the earth, and I shall have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion. And I shall say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people,’ while they say, ‘My Elohim!’

Hoshěa/Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap according to kindness, break up your tillable ground, it is time to seek יהוה, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

The beginning process of being made into the Body of Messiah is critical in our sowing righteousness and seek יהוה!

 

2 – GROWING: There is always a season or period between sowing and reaping – it never happens immediately. It is during this time where growth occurs and this season of growth is a time in a sense for us to think about what was done wrong and how we can do better. One of the keys to overcoming the period of growth or period of ‘exile’ if you will, is simply just that – grow and grow and grow – and to grow we have to realise that we have inherited some lies – ok more than just some – a whole lot!!! But in realising this we also begin to grow and realise and know יהוה’s power and more importantly – His NAME!!! To ‘know’ is to walk in His Torah – for as Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3 says that we know that we know Him when we guard His commands! And as love for יהוה and one another grows through obediently guarding his commands we can ‘outgrow’ our ‘exile’ from the Promised Land – the more the world grows dim before our eyes and has no effect on pulling us away from obedience and therefore be ready to be lifted up when He comes and be replanted where we belong – together with Him in His Land!!!  

Two root words translated as grow or growing are 1) הָלַךְ halaḵ – Strong’s H1980 meaning, ‘walk, to go or come, grow, wander, traveland 2) צָמַח tsamaḥ – Strong’s H6779 meaning, ‘to sprout, spring up, grow’ – we know that a derivative of this word is used in prophetically referring to Messiah who shall come forth from the Branch of Dawiḏ. When looking at these two words it makes the verse in Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:6 very clear: The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked. – as we stay in and walk in Messiah we will grow!

The Greek word for ‘walk’ is περιπατέω peripateō – Strong’s G4043 and carries the meaning, ‘to walk, behaviour, to conduct one’s self, to make one’s way, to tread with the feet, to make one’s life’. 

Miḵah/Micah 6:8 “He has declared to you, O man, what is good. And what does יהוה require of you but to do right, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?

Miḵah tells us that we are required to walk ‘humbly’ with Elohim. The root word used here for humble is צָנַע tsana – Strong’s H6800 meaning, ‘to be modest or humble’.

In Miḵah/Micah 6:8 it is expressed as follows: וְהַצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת ve-ha-ts’nea lechet’ which literally expresses ‘a making humble to walk’ or ‘showing a humble walk’, again emphasising that our humility is seen in our walk – that is our walk of obedience.

 

3 – REAPING: This reaping process is simply separating the harvest from the field that it grew in. Grain must be reaped or else it cannot be used. We too, just as Aḇraham, may have to be reaped out of our circumstances and even our families. Grain when reaped is gathered into storehouses – and this is a wonderful picture of what we see happening more and more in these last days – pretty much the equivalent of Him gathering or assembling His grain into communities – because to put is plainly – a single kernel of grain cannot make much bread - and certainly not enough for an offering unto יהוה! Once gathered together this is when the real preparation begins – say what – yes this is when it begins! What has erroneously been taught in the church today is that this is the final stage for those blinded hopefuls and they do not realise what lies ahead in the process of making bread! This is only the beginning and the next steps are what shape us into what we need to become in order to be presented to יהוה as a prepared Bride! This is His storehouse or rather one of His storehouses where He will gather together much grain – grain that is ready to be prepared to be made into an acceptable offering of bread unto  יהוה!

Reaping is translated from קָצַר qatsar – Strong’s H7114 – ‘to reap, harvest

 

4 – THRESHING: Ouch – the sound of this word already makes you realise why the church chooses to stop blindly at reaping, and why they developed a false rapture teaching that sadly for them seemingly removes them from the rest of the bread making process! Admittedly most would prefer to stay at the reaping stage – sitting quietly in a barn being no use to anyone at all and it is easy to understand why – nobody likes to be ‘threshed’. It almost sounds like ‘thrashing’ and guess what – it is!!! Boy – many who have left the reaping stage into threshing or thrashing soon want to jump back to the safe old barn of no good premature stop! The Hebrew word for ‘teach’ literally means to ‘prod with a stick’; and so it is with threshing – which is simply the applying of pressure to grain – be it from beating it or grinding it or letting heavy animals trample on it – with the purpose in mind to loosen the shells and separate the grain from the chaff – or the stalks from the husks – which is still pretty much useless at this stage. It is the stalk that represents that which attached us to the field that we came out of and we do not want that to be an ingredient in the bread!!! Most of what we bring in from the field – be it dogmas of Rome, doctrines of man, theologies, misguided moral codes and even wrong priorities that we have picked up along the way – is no longer useful to us once we have grown enough and been separated from the system – threshed out in other words – not always painless I might add – and are now threshed out enough to begin studying the Torah. The omer basket is filled with kernels and each one has a husk that has to be removed. All too often though we don’t want this to happen as we can so often find ourselves hiding from one another behind the husks so to speak – those very things that need to go! We cannot be a part of the bread if we hang on to the ‘hull’ – the ‘hull’ is the outer part of a seed or fruit. We must begin to be honest and give an account for ourselves and ask, “What am I still attached to that is useless to the Kingdom?In this threshing process we must allow other trusted brothers and sisters in the body to ‘loosen’ our kernels – after all in the process of making bread it is people who do the job!!! Each of us is responsible to help one another in these processes – and is a great honour and privilege that requires faithfulness and trustworthiness! For we are in effect taking what ‘protects’ people into our hands and whatever we learn about them in the process must be used to help them and build them – not harm or destroy them! We need to be ‘threshed’ out of the field from which we have come from and we must realise that we cannot keep holding on to those things that previously shaped our thinking, especially when it contradicts the Torah! All we can do is repent, which is a critical step in being able to move on – threshing is a must – not easy but a must – those husks and hulls must be loosened off of us and we need to let go of those things that we thought gave us security as we realise that in our vulnerable state our only security is in יהוה!

Threshing is the Hebrew word דַּיִשׁ dayish – Strong’s H1786 and is from the primitive root דּוּשׁ dush – Strong’s H1758 meaning, ‘to tread, thresh or trample’, and this root word we see being used in:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 25:4 “Do not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.

Sha’ul teaches us the meaning behind these instructions is making it clear to us that a worker is worthy of his wages – a worker that is threshing that is – those who are out there teaching and calling many out of Babel and Mitsrayim so to speak!

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 9:9 “For it has been written in the Torah of Mosheh, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it about oxen Elohim is concerned?

Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 5:17-18 “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double respect, especially those who labour in the word and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The labourer is worthy of his wages.

To ‘muzzle’ is to put a stop to one’s mouth and this is exactly what man-made traditions and dogmas have enforced through their twisted theologies – putting a stop to the speaking of the Truth, yet the Word of Truth must be proclaimed, and anyone who is proclaiming the Truth must not be muzzled – especially when it is treading out the grain – a clear picture of very sobering and often deep cutting words that most do not want to hear but would rather gather around themselves those who tickle the ears! The sharp Word spoken in Truth will tread out the grain and separate the chaff from the wheat and many will do their utmost to stop this process from happening as they would rather remain in their ‘shells’ of chaff that renders them useless in terms of being made into a set-apart Bread/community that is acceptable before Elohim!

The muzzle was an object placed over the mouth of the ox to prevent it from eating the grain as it was treading on it.

In treading out the grain the ox would either be walked across the threshing floor, thus separating the grains from the ears, or else it would pull a threshing sledge across the floor (or, platform). According to this law the ox should be allowed to eat some of the ears of grain as it worked.

Alternative ways of expressing this verse are:

     You shall not put anything on the mouth of an ox to prevent it from eating while it is treading out the grain.

     You must not prevent an ox from eating while ….

In other words when understood that this refers to those who are teaching the Truth we see that those who are teaching must be able to eat from the ‘threshing floor’ they are treading! There is a duty for those who are being taught the Truth to make sure that the one teaching has sufficient provision and does not lack in any way!

 

5 – WINNOWING: Another step in the process, that involves a ‘fork’ that looks like a rake. The threshed grain is thrown up into the air in order to expose it to the wind which will blow away the lightweight particles and the heavier – that is the more important – will be left behind! This process worked better on a hill top and so you find many threshing floors being on higher ground to allow this process to take place after threshing. This process reflects to us an elevating of one another – lifting one another up in prayer and edifying each other up into the presence of the Almighty where the ‘wind’ or Ruach blow away the unneeded stuff in our lives as we immerse in His presence – letting that which is useless be blown away and what will simply be left is better refined kernels with no chaff! Sha’ul said to the Corinthians that he desires that they all speak in tongues but he would rather prefer that they all prophesy – why? Because prophesy builds up the body – tongues is for the individual unless there is an interpretation for the body but prophesy in itself is there to edify others – edify the body and in so doing elevates others to a place where the Spirit can remove the chaff!

Winnowing is translated from the word זָרָה zarah – Strong’s H2219 meaning, ‘scatter, fan or winnow’.

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 41:16 “You winnow them, the wind lifts them up, and the whirlwind scatters them; but you, you rejoice in יהוה, and boast in the Set-apart One of Yisra’ĕl.

 

6 – PARCHING: After being separated from the lighter elements – all that airy fairy fluffy junk that just clogs up our lives and is actually of no use – all the ‘hot puffed up air’ so to speak – once that is gone guess what? The heat is turned up!!! What – seriously? Yes – it gets hotter! Once we are a taught people who have been elevated we can be exposed to things that we would never have considered before. It is interesting to note at this stage that is would be useless to ‘parch’ a single kernel – so we are all parched together! No one has to go through this alone! This is not a ‘burning’ of the grain but rather a process of removing moisture from the kernels and makes the grain even lighter, and what this pictures for us is that at this stage we begin to give less weight to the ‘me, myself and mine’ attitude and rather consider what is best for one another and the whole bread, so to speak! You know it is so difficult to ‘give up’ individual rights – but we can when we are in it together! Parching may cause tears – in fact more often than not it will as one lets go off selfishness and pride – the removal of moisture!

To parch in Hebrew is the word קָלָה qalah – Strong’s H7033 meaning, to toast, parch, and scorch slowly.

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 29:22 “And because of them all the exiles of Yehuḏah who are in Baḇel shall use a curse, saying, “יהוה make you like Tsiḏqiyahu and Aḥaḇ, whom the sovereign of Baḇel roasted in the fire,

7 – CRUSHING: Come on Craig, crushing… when does it stop? This is even a scarier process I know! In Ancient times all bread was what you would call, ‘stone ground’. In fact at many archaeological sites many ancient ‘millstones’ were found. A millstone is where two huge concrete stones are used from crushing – grains were crushed between two stones – the two stone of a millstone picture the two stone tablets upon which the Torah was written. The kernels are not destroyed in this process – far from it – they in fact now become very useful and fully useable – for now all the kernels have actually become part of one flour mix – inseparable – a picture of a people with the same purpose. It is at this stage where we can safely say that a bird cannot come and snatch away a single kernel as there is no way to identify the part of a single kernel as they are now so mingled and mixed in together. You see it is like this – as we obey the Torah, love יהוה and love one another – what happens? We become inseparable and become as one!

To crush or grind is the Hebrew word טָחַן taḥan – Strong’s H2912 meaning, ‘to grind’ and the word טַחֲנָה taḥanah – Strong’s H2913 is a grinding mill!

 

8 – SIFTING: In the 2nd Temple times the wheat for the offering at Shaḇu’ot was sifted 13 times!!! Each times becoming finer and finer! 13 is the numerical value for the Hebrew word ‘eḥad’ – meaning one or unified and יהושע Himself prayed that we would be one! The closer we get together through obedient living and fellowship, the more refined we become. Those who are crushed with us are our true neighbours!!! One thing we must realise is simply that if I do not bring my part and am causing disruption in the body causing the refining of the body to stumble then as it is sifted again I may just be sifted out!!!

Here we have the Hebrew word for sift as נוּעַ nua – Strong’s H5128 and means, ‘to quiver, wave, waver, tremble, totter, disturb, move to and fro, shake,

Amos 9:9 “For look, I am commanding, and I shall sift the house of Yisra’ĕl among all the gentiles, as one sifts with a sieve, yet not a grain falls to the ground.

9 – TESTING: Then comes the testing – as a body or as a loaf! The Temple treasurer would come at this stage and plunge his hands into the refined flour and it needed to be so fine that no flour was to be seen on his arms. In fact they were so strict that if any adhered to his flesh it would have to be sifted again. This although seemingly a strict procedure pictures for us that we are in this together – it is not a case of ‘well that is their problem’ or ‘it is someone else’s problem’ – no – until all of us are sufficiently refined together none of us can become the bread – this is everyone’s responsibility to become a part! If you do not bring your part into the body or for sake of this teaching the loaf and the batch is failing the test due to your inconsistency then you may, as I have said, be simply sifted out. Satan is the one who desires to sift us out – he asked יהושע if he could sift Kěpha! Let us be careful that we are not sifted out by continually failing the tests!

נָסָה nasah – Strong’s H5254 – ‘to test, prove, try’:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 13:3 “do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for יהוה your Elohim is trying you to know whether you love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being.

10 – BAKING: Once tested it can now be baked and presented fresh unto יהוה as the first fruit of wheat. It is at the feast of Shaḇu’ot leavened bread – why? Because it has been permeated with the Kingdom:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:33 “Another parable He spoke to them, “The reign of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until all was leavened.

This bread is leavened with the Kingdom – not with sin as leaven represents for us at this feast we are in of Unleavened Bread. At Shaḇu’ot 2 loaves are presented representing the 2 houses of Yisra’ĕl which once were scattered but now are being brought back and the promise of this is seen in the fulfilment of both these first fruit offerings of the barley and the wheat.

A couple of different Hebrew words are used for what we translate as ‘bake’ and 3 of them are: 1) אָפָה aphah – Strong’s H644 meaning ‘bake, cook’; 2) בָּשַׁל bashal – Strong’s H1310 – ‘bake, boil, seethe, ripen, grow ripe’ and 3) שָׂרַף seraph – Strong’s H8313 meaning, ‘burn or to be set on fire’. I find that all of these collectively give us a great idea of how the ultimate process of bringing us together as being presentable as an acceptable offering of Bread before the Father is that we are to grow and ‘be on fire’ for Him.

Another word which for me carries wonderful significance in the baking process is the Hebrew word לָבַן laḇan – Strong’s H3835 which means ‘to make bricks’ and in its primitive root means, ‘to make white’. This word was used in Berěshith/Genesis 11:3 when the men wanted to build a tower to the heavens and wanted to male bricks and bake them. This was a wicked time and a wicked plot which caused יהוה to come down and confuse the languages! But when we see these words in use in reference to how the bricks would be made through baking, I reflect on who we have been called to be as living stones being built up in Messiah as a Living Tabernacle/Dwelling Place for the Most High and Messiah tells us that those who overcome shall be given a white stone:

Ḥazon/Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I shall give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I shall give him a white stone, and on the stone a renewed Name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

The process of making bread carries great significance for us in understanding how we are to be overcomers in Messiah and be on fire for Him, aměn!

Feast of weeks – Shaḇu’ot – Pentecost

From Pěsaḥ to Shaḇu’ot we see several progressions:

1 – From barley to wheat

2 – From Matza (unleavened Bread – H4682) to Bread with leaven (Leḥem – H3899) 

3 – From impurity to purity

4 – From Mitsrayim/Egypt to Mount Sinai

What we see is that this truly a significant time for us to remember and recollect at how we have been called out of darkness into His marvellous light, how we have been delivered from bondage to slavery in Mitsrayim/Egypt – that is the world’s systems and enslaved dogmas and set free to live according to the very Torah of freedom! It represents for us a time of recognising how the impurity of sin is removed from our lives and how we are then filled with the good leaven of His Torah that brings us together as a body presentable before Elohim.

Shaḇu’ot is the Feast of the Wheat Harvest and is one of the 3 major feast times when all men were to go up to Yerushalayim to celebrate – each of the 3 major Feasts were Harvest Feasts – Pěsaḥ and Unleavened Bread was at the time of the barley harvest, Shaḇu’ot the Wheat harvest and Sukkot the fruit harvest and all these are a picture of His Harvest of redeeming that which are His own.

There are great parallels between Mount Sinai and Mount Tsiyon in relation to Shaḇu’ot, and they are:

At Mount Sinai - Shaḇu’ot marks the day when יהוה entered into a covenant relationship with His people. When He gave the Torah in written form the people heard the trumpet of His voice – known as the 1st shofar which we will discuss on Shaḇu’ot and they saw and heard the thunder and lightning and the mountain in smoke – they heard and saw the fire of His voice announced with the first trumpet. At this sound they trembled and stayed at a distance and after hearing the first 10 Words they told Moshe to hear the rest and that they would do all he heard from יהוה.

At Mount TsiyonShaḇu’ot marks the establishment of the Renewed Covenant where he wrote the Torah on the tablets of the hearts of the talmidim/disciples of יהושע Messiah. This event marks and celebrates the fulfilment of the prophecy in Yirmeyahu 31 which speaks of a day when his Torah would be written upon the hearts of His Children, Yisra’ĕl

What they saw that day was what seemed to be ‘tongues of fire’ and they too heard the sound of a violent rushing wind form heaven and seeing the very fire of His voice resting upon them. This time they did not stand at a distance as they received the Spirit of Elohim and spoke in tongues and in essence this event was a reversal of the experience at Babel where the language of the people was confused by יהוה as a result of their disobedience in using their unity as a means for self-gain and wicked purposes. The people at babel had a wrong form of unity – worshipping themselves and what יהוה did at Mount Tsiyon on Shaḇu’ot was to cause the languages that had separated the people to now be brought together and understand what was being spoken resulting in praise and awe of יהוה – the correct use if unity bringing worship unto יהוה. It is through our worship and fellowship together unto יהוה that He causes us by His Spirit to understand His Word which is no longer foreign or confusing. At Babel they were confused due to disobedience and at Mount Tsiyon on Shaḇu’ot the confusion was now broken and they understood as a result of obedient worship – the people were obedient in keeping His Feast, enabling them to now receive His Marriage Covenant (Ketuḇah) on their hearts.

At Mount Sinai – in the Wilderness the people rebelled and in one day 3000 were killed

At Mount Tsiyon - on Shaḇu’ot 3000 people heard the message and believed and were added to the body of believers – A picture of renewal and restoration through obedience!

We now as believers are ministers of the Renewed Covenant! A covenant that יהושע Himself restored and repaired through His Blood, writing His very love letter on our hearts!!!

Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 3:3making it obvious that you are a letter of Messiah, served by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living Elohim, not on tablets of stone but on fleshly tablets of the heart.

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 8:10 “Because this is the covenant that I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, says יהוה, giving My laws in their mind, and I shall write them on their hearts, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.

I want to make it very clear at this point that Shaḇu’ot is a celebration time – in fact we are also commanded to rejoice! It is time to celebrate His Covenant with us and Him writing His Torah upon our hearts – we have His Marriage Covenant with us written on our hearts – we are betrothed to Him – and so this is not a ‘birthing of the church’ this is a wedding anniversary!!!!

It was at Mount Sinai that יהוה betrothed His Bride – Yisra’ĕl was now legally married and were the first fruit of His Harvest – they were the first fruit of the fullness of His Bride that was to make herself ready. It is at this time when we also recollect and recognise our need to make ourselves ready – not on our own that is – but as a body unified as one in Him found to be blameless and without spot by ridding ourselves of the leaven that kills – that is sin and being permeated with the good leaven of His Word that brings life. יהוה had saved His Bride, offered her salvation through the Blood of the Lamb on the doorposts at Passover and then He delivered her and washed her through the Sea of Reeds which had walls of water on both sides signifying full immersion and cleansed her and offered the Marriage covenant to His Bride to which she said ‘I do’ before even hearing what the requirements for the marriage would be!!! In Shemoth/Exodus 19 the nation responded as one body “we shall do” and so they then received the Ketuḇah/Marriage Contract!

We know that Yisra’ĕl committed whoring and adulterated herself with the world and יהוה issued a certificate of divorce (Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 3). According to the Torah – a divorced woman was not permitted to remarry until her husband had died. This is important for us to understand as here you had a divorced wife who could not re-enter the marriage covenant unless her husband died. יהושע came down Himself and died for His adulterous Bride that she would no longer be considered an adulterous woman if she remarried. He took up His Life again in order to renew the Marriage Covenant which His Bride had previously broken, but now could be renewed through His very own Blood that has washed His Bride. This is what יהוה did with Aḇraham when he cut Covenant with in in that he put Aḇraham to sleep and the fire of יהוה came down and passed through the sacrifices declaring that if Aḇraham or any of His descendants would break Covenant that He Himself would come down and pass through the sacrifice and take the punishment for our sins! What great love He has for us and it is here at Shaḇu’ot that we remember and rehearse this very truth that He has now written His Renewed Marriage Covenant on our hearts that we are presented as a pleasing Bride! This is a celebration of His Love for His Bride! And one of the major themes of Shaḇu’ot is revival – a time to truly reflect that which is to be upon our hearts – is His Torah upon your heart and do you walk obediently according to it – this is often a time for many to recognise and realise their need for renewal and cleansing and a re-establishing of His ways in their lives!

Shaḇu’ot is a picture of Yoḇel (Jubilee) for the Yoḇel cycle consists of 7 weeks of 7 years each. Every 7th year is a Sabbatical year where the land is to rest and in the 50th year – (The year after 49 years – 7 completed 7’s) in the year of Yoḇel/Jubilee where debts are cancelled and land and property is returned to the original owners. Yoḇel serves to bring freedom to captives and the land would lie fallow in order to produce food for the poor.

Shaḇu’ot/Feast of Weeks was when the first fruits that had been picked between the barley and the wheat harvest was brought and presented as a freewill offering before יהוה and was presented as a wave offering with great joy and trust for יהוה to provide for the rest of the harvest to come. So the sanctification of the first fruit harvest unto יהוה consecrates the entire harvest as being His – it is all His! The first represents the whole and so it is with those who were resurrected with יהושע and presented as a first fruit offering to Elohim represents and guarantees for us the whole harvest of souls upon the return of Messiah. Shaḇu’ot and its meaning is to be lived out daily in our lives as we daily are inwardly renewed by His Word leading us in Spirit and Truth enabling us to continue to bear fruit – good fruit that lasts – the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, gentleness and self-control which we are daily able to offer back to Him in a life of obedient living according to His Marriage Covenant – His Torah. This harvest festival is a harvest of freewill offerings and rejoicing and we come before Him giving ourselves completely to Him – which includes our time, talents, resources and present them to Him with a cheerful heart. As we know from the records recorded for us in Ma’asei/Acts we can clearly see the effect of living this life of an obedient Marriage out as we see that the true believers were devoted to the apostles teaching – that is to the Torah – they were devoted to fellowship – and this is critical as this is too what Shaḇu’ot represents – the two loaves of Bread being waved symbolic of the two houses coming together – Yehuḏah and Ephrayim as bread leavened with the “Besorah” – Good News and it is critical that we recognise this especially at this time of year that fellowship is critical in the life of the body.

They broke bread and prayed together – they lived for one another and when there was need it was taken care of by all – this is what Shaḇu’ot also speaks to us of – a unified body living as one in Messiah!

They met every day – you know the world tells you that if you see too much of each other you will irritate each other and ruin the friendship – well I want to say that is not Scriptural – for those filled with the Spirit of Elohim can fellowship daily and the relationship never weakens – it only strengthens!!! Can the Spirit of Elohim be seen in your life – does your life represent that of a Spirit filled Believer who has the Torah upon their heart?

This feast is not only a historical event that took place in the desert or in Yerushalayim – this is His Appointed Time – a Feast that has been fulfilled by the work of יהושע Messiah and it shows us how we are to walk and live before יהוה today.

Yom Teruah – Verse 23-25

 

For an overview of this feast please see the sermon notes from a message called ‘Remember the shouting’ from our website from the following link:

 

Yom Kippur – verse 26-32

For an overview of this Feast please see the sermon notes from a message called ‘Yom haKippurim – an overview of Yom Kippur’ from our website from the following link:

http://atfotc.com/~atfotc/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2013/509-yom-hakippurim-the-day-of-coverings-an-overview-of-the-day-of-atonement

As well as ‘Covered-Cleansed-Reunited’ at:

http://atfotc.com/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2011/247-covered-cleansed-reunited-a-yom-kippur-message

Sukkot – Verse 33-44

For an overview of this Feast please see the sermon notes from a message called ‘IT’S SUKKOT – REJOICE, REJOICE AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE!’, from our website from the following link:

http://atfotc.com/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2011/205-it-s-sukkot-rejoice-rejoice-and-again-i-say-rejoice

Just one thing I need to clear up in keeping Sukkot! Many often question whether they should stay in a tent/temporary booth for 7 days as they claim that this command given in verse 42 is only for ‘native born’ and therefore does not apply to all. Well for those who think so, I am going to burst your bubble! What is a native born or better put, what makes one a native born?

Shemoth/Exodus 12:48 “And when a stranger sojourns with you and shall perform the Passover to יהוה, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and perform it, and he shall be as a native of the land. But let no uncircumcised eat of it.

Do you see what this verse tells us? First of all what we must recognise is that only those who are circumcised may eat the Pěsaḥ meal (that is those who have been immersed in Messiah, and we all need to be immersed as there is no slave nor free, Greek, male or female in Messiah), and by eating this Meal we become as a native of the land!!! There you have it – By eating of the Pěsaḥ Meal we become as a native born and there is one Torah, so all who are in Messiah must keep this feast by dwelling in ‘booths/temporary dwellings’ for 7 days. And just a quick note – a hotel is not regarded as a ‘booth’!

CHAPTER 24

In verse 1 we see the word command being used in almost a militaristic way, emphasising the importance of doing what is being called for and here we see the clear instruction give to Yisra’ĕl in making sure that clear oil of pressed olives for the light is brought in so that the lamps burn continually!

There is a responsibility for all of Yisra’ĕl (that includes you and me) to be bringing clear oil and allowing the lamp of His word to continually burn in us. We must not be found to be without oil like the 5 foolish maidens who were shut out for not having oil in their lamps. The high priest was to arrange it day and night before יהוה and we see some very important lessons and picture contained herein. Firstly clear oil could only be obtained by going through the process of being crushed under the weight of a millstone and then put in a mesh bag and placed under an olive press (gethsemane) where the oil would be squeezed out under the immense pressure of the weight of the olive press.

יהושע Messiah, our High Priest, intercedes for us day and night before the throne and He is the One who walks in the midst of the Lampstand, and we can understand from this that there is still a great requirement from each of us to bring the clear oil before our high Priest in order that the lampstand is continually lit!

To the assembly in Ephesos in Ḥazon/Revelation 2 יהושע reveals Himself as the One who walks in the midst of the 7 golden lampstands and warns the assembly at Ephesos that if they do not repent and return to their first works (that of walking in the Torah – the good works prepared beforehand for us to do!) then He would remove their lampstand!

Now understanding that Tehillah/Psalm 119:105 tells us that The Word of יהוה is a lamp for our feet, and as we understand that in the Hebraic mind-set that feet is often a term used in reference to keeping his Feasts and His commands and speaks of actively walking out in obedience in doing the works of faith, then it becomes clear that the ‘clear oil’ that we bring is in our ‘faith with works’ – works of obedience in being a set-apart people who guard His commands and keep His Feasts; and this we do as we walk ‘in’ Messiah and are then able to ‘bring our oil’, as we walk in the Spirit, to Him that He can continually keep our lampstand alight!

We have been instructed on how we are to be a set-apart people and we have seen that as a royal priesthood, set-apart and chosen, we are to be even more urgent in our daily lives in being continually set-apart in Him as we guard His charge and keep His Feasts – for this is well pleasing to Him and it comes at a price as the world and its ways may crush us and persecute us for His Name’s sake yet we rejoice in our trials that we may grow, become mature and be filled with oil and not lack anything as we faithfully serve our High Priest and King!

Verse 5-8 – the Bread

The two rows of bread to be arranged every Sabbath is again the emphasis being placed on us coming together as a body on His Shabbat! The two rows of 6 cakes represent the 12 tribes of Yisra’ĕl being made up from the two Houses of Ephraim and Yehuḏah.

The Bread is that of community but also speaks of the Word – The Bread of Life – the Living Torah – that we eat each week in a set-apart place as we have a set-apart gathering! The clear frankincense on each row would provide a pleasing aroma before Elohim, and the term literally means in its root form ‘clear/transparent whiteness’ and it reminds us that we are the Bride of Messiah, who each week comes together to eat of the set-apart Bread and are continually being made more transparent and able to shine His Bright light as we spend more and more time in his set-apart presence together!

To the assembly in Sardis we see that a remnant will walk with Messiah in white, and we do this as we keep oil in our lamps and hold fast to our work of faith in love for Him and His Torah:

Ḥazon/Revelation 3:4-5 “Nevertheless, you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. 5 “He who overcomes shall be dressed in white robes, and I shall by no means blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I shall confess his name before My Father and before His messengers.

Verse 10-14 – get rid of the immoral

As we continue to shine His presence and be set-apart we find that the things of the world grow dim and we see clearly that we are to have no part of any darkness for what union does light have with darkness and straight after these commands we see the effect of unequal yoking. A child who had a Yisra’ĕlite for a mother and a Mitsrian for a father blasphemed the Name of Elohim, and all who heard him had to lay their hands upon him and the entire nation then stoned him to death.

This laying hands upon the one who cursed is a picture of the goat for Azazel upon which the sins of Yisra’ĕl were placed and sent outside the camp.

Anyone who had witnessed the cursing and refused to put their hands upon the boy would have rendered themselves guilty of partaking in his sin.

Mattithyahu/Matthew 12:32 “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Aḏam, it shall be forgiven him, but whoever speaks against the Set-apart Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

יהושע made it clear here that there is a sin that is unforgiveable and that is to blaspheme and curse and speak against the Set-Apart Spirit which is what this boy did in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 24!

This example is also a stern warning for us as spoken of in not listening and guarding to do the commands of Elohim, especially after we have heard:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrew 10:26 “For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins

 

Verse 16 makes it clear – do not blaspheme the Name of יהוה, and so in a Torah portion where we see further instructions for us as a royal, set-apart priesthood not to blaspheme the Name we are given an example of what will happen if we do!

The closing verses emphasises that there is to always be right-ruling and justice according to the commands of Elohim in our midst. The eye for an eye, tooth for tooth was not done away with when יהושע was here in the flesh! This command speaks of making a right restitution for what has been done; in other words a fair payment should be given for the loss a victim incurs from another who harms him and the right compensation should be given. If a tooth is lost then the injured could not expect to get more than a tooth. Today we see people trying to get more than what they have suffered the loss of and when יהושע quoted this verse he was not replacing it but rather He was emphasising it!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:38-39 “You heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ 39 but I say to you, do not resist the wicked. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

What is interesting to note here is that יהושע does not say, ‘It has been written’, but rather, ‘You heard that it was said’, which implies that He was referring to the attempt of some who were trying to apply this passage here when someone offends our pride by teaching us a lesson. A slap on the cheek was often the prerogative of a master or teacher to his servant or student and we see in:

Ěḵah/Lamentations 3:30 “Let him give his cheek to the one who smites him – he is filled with reproach.

What is being said here is that when one is filled with reproach and is rebellious then give your cheek to the one who leads you or teaches you; and so what יהושע was in essence saying in quoting this verse from Wayyiqra/Leviticus 24 is that "an eye for an eye" did not fit the context of rebellion against authority, and a servant could in no way use this ‘eye for an eye’ concept to get back at their boss or teacher who disciplined or reprimanded them!

This is not a time to retaliate and strike back and so the correct response would be to drop one’s offended pride and humbly ask for more teaching so as to be able to understand why the slap came in the first place and learn from there. This was not about compensation for injury or harm, and so we see the clarity of yet another passage that many had twisted in His day and still do today to fuel their own rebellion against His supreme Authority!

There is one right-ruling for the native and stranger – now let us be set-apart!!!

Shalom!