This week’s Torah portion is called שְׁמִינִי Shemini – Strong’s H8066 which means ‘eighth’ and, in the Hebrew text, we see that this portion begins with the phrase, ‘And on the eighth day’, which is written, in the Hebrew text, as follows: וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי – vay’hiy bayyom hasheminiy, where we see that the Hebrew word that is written as: הַשְּׁמִינִ֔י – ha Shemini means, ‘the eighth’!
What we see here, at the outset of this chapter, is that it was now time for Aharon and his sons to step up and do what they had been set-apart to do! In the preceding chapter, we see how Mosheh performed the necessary sacrifices and cleansing instructions, in order to set the Dwelling Place and all its furnishings apart, as well as for Aharon and his sons!
And now that they have, in effect, been shown what to do and have been set-apart to do the service of the Tabernacle, they would now, on the eighth day, begin to do what was required.
They had been in the tabernacle for 7 days, as a period of cleansing and being set-apart, and were now ready to perform their duties!
The picture that we can draw from this, is a wonderful reflection of just how יהושע Messiah came and walked this earth, showing us how we ought to live according to the instructions (Torah) of יהוה and so, we too, like Aharon and his sons, have a responsibility to do what has been shown to us, in the Torah of Elohim, and walk as Messiah walked!
Mosheh is a metaphoric picture for us, of the Torah that instructs us to walk in righteousness and so, Messiah, the Living embodiment of the Torah – the Word made flesh – came to instruct us, on how we are to live in righteousness before Him, as we serve as a called out and set-apart priesthood!
Now we all know that there is no ‘eighth’ day of the week and so, this number carries great insight and significance for us too, in instructing us on how we are to walk continually in Messiah, and what this also pictures for us, is that the Kingdom of יהוה will be made up of responsible and set-apart servants, who are always at the immediate beck and call of יהוה.
The 8th day is also the day when a young baby boy was to be circumcised and this symbolised being turned over to the Covenant. A firstborn animal was taken from its mother, on the 8th day, and given to יהוה.
We also take note that a leper was also to be cleansed on the 8th day (Wayyiqra/Leviticus 14)
At the Feast of Sukkoth, the last day (which is the 8th day) is called the ‘Shemini Atsereth’ – and refers to the set-apart assembling/gathering that is to take place on the eighth day!
The Hebrew word שְׁמִינִי Shemini – Strong’s H8066, as we said, means ‘eighth’ and the Hebrew word עֲצֶרֶת atsereth – Strong’s H6116 means, ‘a set-apart assembling together, solemn assembly’.
The very thing that we are instructed to do on the 8th day of Sukkoth (Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:36 – both these words are used here).
It was on the 8th day of Sukkoth, where יהושע spoke the following words:
Yoḥanan/John 7:37-38 “And on the last day, the great day of the festival, יהושע stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and let him who believes in Me drink. 38 “As the Scripture said, out of His innermost shall flow rivers of living water.”
How do we know that this was the last day (8th) of Sukkoth?
Well, in Yoḥanan/John 7:2 we see the clear reference to the Feast of Booths that was near!
Yoḥanan/John 7:2 “And the festival of the Yehuḏim was near, the Festival of Sukkot.”
This Shemini Atzeret is a celebration of New Beginnings.
As we see from Scripture, the 8th day is always symbolic of a renewal or new beginning or a completion and readiness for new things. The priests did not start their service to יהוה until the 8th day, after a period of 7 days of consecration.
Anyone who had an infectious skin disease, or a bodily discharge, was unclean for 7 days and would be separated from the camp and only re-enter on the 8th day, after their status change, through mikvah cleansing.
From the time of the waving of the sheaf of the first, during Matzot, to Shaḇuoth/ Pentecost was 50 days – which is a period of 7 weeks and one day! In the “8th week”, the Ruach was poured out upon the emissaries, who were sitting in the house where they were gathered for Shaḇuoth (Ma’asei/Acts 2:1-2).
The prophetic shadow picture of the 8th day, is a picture of eternity rather than a return to the first day, as we usually do after the Sabbath, and thus it illustrates the “new heaven and the new earth“, when all that is accomplished during the 7,000 years of building the Kingdom, will be finished (for even during the Kingdom there will still be major adjustments to make), and we will finally BE the Kingdom.
Each week, we typically have an ‘8th day’ after the weekly Sabbath, so to speak, and while we know that this is the 1st day of the week, what we see symbolically being expressed here, is that we are to go out from the 1st day of the week and live according to that which we have been shown, in the Torah (Mosheh) on the 7th day!!!
As we continue to live set-apart lives, in service to יהוה, we must grow from week to week and not find ourselves in the position of having slipped back, or shrunk back, into the captivity of the traditions and doctrines of man, but rather, press on with great endurance toward the goal – that is Messiah – as we live according to His Torah that He teaches us each week! And that which we learn weekly, on His Shabbat, is now expected to be ‘performed’, in faith, straight away on the ‘8th day’ (1st day) and we are not to procrastinate about our responsibility of serving as a set-apart, chosen and royal priesthood!
What is also interesting to note, at the beginning of this chapter, is that Mosheh is the one who called Aharon and his sons and the elders and then instructs Aharon what to do.
Mosheh now represents the Torah which יהוה had given to Yisra’ĕl.
Another aspect of the prophetic understanding of ‘the 8th day’, is that if we have not been properly set-apart and prepared during the 7 days (7 Millennia) then we shall not enter into the eternal reign of the renewed heavens and earth, but will be destroyed by the fiery judgement of Elohim, as pictured through this Torah portion, as we will look at, through the example of the two sons of Aharon that were disobedient on the 8th day and were struck dead by the fiery wrath of Elohim!
In verse 2 we see that Aharon was now told to do, for himself, everything that Mosheh did on his behalf, on the first day. He had been in the tent of appointment for the last seven days; so how did he sin again?
He did not, but until his own hands had dealt with his sin, the sin still had a foothold and could come back to haunt him. What was done on the first day (Chapter 8), is what will be done on the eighth; this is a picture of the spiral that is eternity. But Mosheh did it the first time, as an example, and bore the burden that time; and now, the priests were to do it for themselves, in the way that Mosheh had trained them to do it.
They had to offer exactly what Mosheh did, but it had to come from them this time.
What Mosheh brought was sufficient for seven days, but it would not see him through to the eighth day.
By the eighth day, we must take responsibility for our own sins and the places that we still have to deal with in our flesh.
יהושע offered himself so that we could learn to offer ourselves and so, it is a clear picture that we are to be doers of the Word and not just hearers only:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:22-25 “And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, 24 for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like. 25 But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah.”
In verses 3-6 we see that Mosheh tells Aharon to instruct Yisra’ĕl what must be brought as offerings and so, we see how the whole community’s involvement taking place and in doing so they were told that יהוה would appear to them that day.
There must have been great excitement and anticipation by all, as the whole congregation ‘drew near’ and stood before יהוה.
This was commanded by יהוה, so that the esteem of יהוה would appear to the gathered assembly:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:8 “Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded!”
When drawing near to יהוה, we must get rid of all doubts, for if we doubt, we shall not ‘see’ His esteem!
The way to draw near to Him, is to have our hands washed – a picture of the bronze laver that was before the Set-Apart Place, and our hearts are to have His Torah written upon them and not have conflicting belief systems that war against one another, causing a double mindedness – for if there is, then the ability to draw near grows dim!
When we offer up our lives as a daily living sacrifice and expel all doubts and embrace His True Word at face value and determine to walk in it with our all, we will then ‘see’ or embrace the proof of His presence!
When the Torah becomes a true reality within us, we will begin to clearly see as a community in one another that He is real!!!
The call had gone out – from Mosheh to Aharon to the people and now, the people were to draw near in order to see the esteem of the Almighty!
The Word (Torah) has gone forth and has been announced, through Mosheh and the prophets, and was manifested before us, in the life, death and resurrection of Messiah and so now, just as they drew near back then, so too do we need to be a people who draw near to Elohim in the correct and appropriate manner of set-apartness.
Aharon then performed all that was required, according to the instructions of the Father, as given through Mosheh and Mosheh would have been there with Aharon every step of the way. יהושע said Himself that He only does that which the Father tells Him to and that He was not left alone:
Yoḥanan/John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.”
Yoḥanan/John 12:49 “Because I spoke not from Myself, but the Father who sent Me has given Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.”
Yoḥanan/John 6:37-40 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out. 38 “Because I have come down out of the heaven, not to do My own desire, but the desire of Him who sent Me. 39 “This is the desire of the Father who sent Me, that all He has given Me I should not lose of it, but should raise it in the last day. 40 “And this is the desire of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him should possess everlasting life. And I shall raise him up in the last day.”
This is a great truth, of the reflection of what we see happening in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 9, as pictured through the obedience of Aharon the high priest and all the congregation who were gathered to witness, and see, the esteem of Elohim. Aharon was doing the desire of the Father and all who were gathered would see Him and live!
יהושע is our High Priest, who has come and done the desire of the Father, and we who see Him (as we draw close to Him) and believe in Him and guard to do all He commands and follow in His steps, have the assurance of eternal life – the picture of the symbolism of the 8th day, in that it represents eternity!!!
Verse 6 highlights for is a very valuable lesson! And that is, that when we guard to do all that Elohim has commanded us to do, then we have the assurance of the esteem of Elohim appearing to us! We will take a closer look at the esteem of יהוה in this Torah portion, when looking at Chapter 10.
Verse 7-21 gives us the clear account of the obedience of Aharon and his sons, doing all that יהוה had commanded them, through Mosheh!
They had presented the ascending offerings, sin offerings, grain offering and peace offerings, as Mosheh had commanded! Last week’s Torah portion from Wayyiqra/Leviticus 6:8-8:36 is called צַו ‘tsav’, which means ‘COMMAND’ and comes from the root word צָוָה tsavah – Strong’s H6680 which means, ‘to lay charge, give charge, command, order, decree, i.e., state with force/authority what others must do’.
What we see very clearly being documented for us here in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 9, is that Aharon and his sons did all that they were commanded to, bringing all of the offerings that were commanded, according to the strict commands for each offering! This teaches us that we cannot assume to do things our own way, when we have been clearly commanded how we are to live set-apart lives, and give our lives as a daily living offering, in our reasonable worship unto Elohim. Any departure from the clear obedience to the commands of Elohim will render our attempt at drawing near, as defiled and unacceptable!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘prepare’ in verse 7 comes from the root word עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 meaning, ‘to do, work, make, produce, ta act with effect, to observe, to bring about, institute’ and can also mean, ‘celebrate’.
A derivative of this root word עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 is the word מַעֲשֶׂה ma’aseh – Strong’s H4639 which means ‘a deed, work or acts, accomplishments’
The Book of Acts is known in the Hebrew as ‘Ma’asei’, which is a record of the ‘Acts of the Apostles’!
The “Acts” of the Apostles, speak of the deeds, or acts, of that which the Apostles did and it records their ‘acts’ of obedience, from which we are able to learn many great and valuable lessons from.
We shall be known by our fruits based on our proper reverence and submission to our Master, which shall be evidenced in our “acts of obedience”, as we walk in righteousness, guarding to do all He has commanded us to do, all the time!!!
As we consider how all was made and prepared, according to all that יהוה commanded through Mosheh, we are able to glean some valuable insight, in terms of how we, as living stones that are being built up in the Master, are to ensure that we are guarding to do all that יהוה has commanded, as through Mosheh, so that we can be the perfect Dwelling Place of the Most-High!
We are to become doers of the Word and not just hearers only!
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:22-25 “And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, 24 for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like. 25 But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah.”
As we consider this root verb עָשָׂה asah in terms of our need to be doers of the Word, we recognise that we can only be proper doers if we are in fact looking intently into the Word, and when we see this word in the ancient pictographic script we gain further understanding of what it is to be a proper doer of the Word!
In the ancient pictographic script, the verb עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 looks like this:
Ayin – עָ:
The original pictograph for this letter is: and represents the idea of ‘seeing and watching’, as well as ‘knowledge’ as the eye is the window of knowledge.
Sin – שָׂ:
This is the letter ‘sin/shin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as: , which is ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’; which is what the teeth do, and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth, as the teeth ‘chew’ or ‘meditate’ on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food.
Hey – ה:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as a man standing with his arms raised up and out as if pointing to something, and in essence carries the meaning of ‘behold’ as in when looking at something very great. It can also have the meaning to ‘breath’ or ‘sigh’ as when looking at a great sight and having your breath taken away so to speak! It also has the meaning of ‘revelation’ or to reveal something by pointing it out, as well as ‘praise’ through the lifting up of our hands in complete awe and surrender.
When looking at this word עָשָׂה asah in the ancient pictographic form, we are able to further understand how critical it is for us to be doers of the Word and so perform and do that which is instructed for us to do. From this picture we can see the meaning of:
LOOKING AT THE WORD THAT HAS BEEN REVEALED!
This clearly teaches us that we are unable to DO or PERFORM the Word if we are not looking intently at the Word!
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us! The clear revelation of the Word, יהושע Messiah, has been made known to us; and as we look to the Princely Leader and Perfecter of our belief we are able to lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and be enabled to run, with endurance, the race set before us, as we look at the Word and actually DO IT!!!
All that יהוה has commanded Mosheh!!! Commanded does not mean suggested or requested but commanded!!!
Today, there are far too many who claim that they are believers yet they lay aside the commands of Elohim as if they are not important or necessary and this sadly reveals their lack of love for the Truth and the Truth Giver!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:3 “For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy.”
The Greek word used for ‘commands’ is ἐντολή entolē – Strong’s G1785 which means, ‘an injunction, order, command, commandment’, and speaks of ‘a prescribed rule in accordance with which a thing is done’, and is ethically used in Greek to relate to the commands of Elohim as given in the Torah.
This word ἐντολή entolē – Strong’s G1785 is used 187 times in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak – O.T.), and is used to translate the following Hebrew words:
1) מִצְוָה mitzvah – Strong’s H4687 which means, ‘commandment, command, obligation, precept’,
2) פִּקּוּד piqquḏ – Strong’s H6490 which means, ‘precepts, commandments, statutes, regulations’, and
3) חֻקָּה ḥuqqah – Strong’s H2708 which means, ‘ordinances, custom, manner, something prescribed, an enactment, statute, fixed order’.
This simply reaffirms for us the clear truth given here by Yoḥanan, even in the Greek text; and that is that he was to guard to commands, precepts, instructions and ordinances of Elohim, blamelessly and spotless, as we express our true ardent and zealous love for Elohim!
What Mosheh speaks (that is what the Torah of Mosheh says) we are to take heed of and guard to do what it instructs – if we want to be about building the Tabernacle, which we are!!!
For more on each of these offerings and the prescribed torah for each, please see the last Torah portion, which deals with the clear Torah of each of the offerings that were to be brought by Aharon and his sons!
Aharon did all that Mosheh had commanded and when he was done, he lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them.
This blessing would possibly have been the blessing, which is seen in:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 6:22-27 “And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, 23 “Speak to Aharon and his sons, saying, ‘This is how you bless the children of Yisra’ĕl. Say to them: 24 “יהוה bless you and guard you; 25 יהוה make His face shine upon you, and show favour to you; 26 יהוה lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.”’ 27 “Thus they shall put My Name on the children of Yisra’ĕl, and I Myself shall bless them.”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘blessed’ here in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 9:21 comes from the root word בָּרַךְ baraḵ – Strong’s H1288 which carries the meaning ‘bend the knees or kneel down and to abundantly bless’.
As we look a little deeper into the ‘blessing’ of the children of Yisra’ĕl, as instructed above, we learn a great deal from the Hebrew words that are used and more specifically, the words used for ‘bless’ and ‘guard’:
We have just seen what ‘bless/blessed’ means and a ‘Beraḵah’ is a “blessing“, but more literally, the bringing of a gift to another on a “bended knee”.
When we bless Elohim or others, we are, in essence, bringing a gift on “bended knee“.
A true king is one who serves his people, one who will humble himself and come to his people on a bended knee.
The Hebrew word for “guard” is שָׁמַר shamar – Strong’s H8104 which literally means ‘to guard, to keep watch over, preserve’.
Another Hebrew word that is closely related to the root word שָׁמַר shamar is the word שָׁמִיר shamir – Strong’s H8068 which means ‘thorn’. When the shepherd was out in the wilderness with his flock, he would construct a corral of thorn bushes to protect the sheep from predators, which was a guarding over of the sheep.
With this more Hebraic concept of Hebrew words, we can now read the beginning of what has been referred to as ‘the Aaronic blessing’ as, ‘יהוה will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection’.
The remaining portions of the Aaronic blessing can also be examined for its original Hebraic meaning revealing the following:
THE PRIESTLY BLESSING
יהוה spoke to Mosheh and told him to tell Aharon how he was to bless the children of Yisra’ĕl, and by this יהוה would put His Name on us as He Himself would bless us.
Let us take a closer look at the words of this ‘blessing’ and get a further understanding to it powerful meaning:
1 – BLESS – is the Hebrew word – בָּרַךְ baraḵ – Strong’s H1288 and means, ‘to abundantly bless’ and literally carries the meaning, ‘to kneel or bow down, to show respect, to bring a gift to another while kneeling out of respect’.
2 – GUARD/KEEP – in the Hebrew is שָׁמַר shamar – Strong’s H8104 – ‘keep watch, preserve, guard, protect’.
3 – FACE – is from the root word – פָּנִים paniym or פָּנֶה paneh – Strong’s 6441 – ‘face, faces, appearance, presence’ and can also carry the understanding of the presence or wholeness of being.
4 – SHINE – אוֹר ‘or’ – Strong’s H215 – ‘light (noun) and give light or shine (verb) – bring illumination’.
5 – FAVOUR – חָנַן ḥanan – Strong’s H2603 – ‘merciful, favour’ and also carries the meaning of providing protection.
6 – GIVE –שׂוּם suwm – Strong’s H7760 – ‘to put, to place, to set; set down in a fixed and arranged place’
7 – PEACE – שָׁלוֹם shalom – Strong’s H7965 – ‘wholeness, completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, health, prosperity, well-being, safety, protection’, and is from the primitive root שָׁלֵם shalem – Strong’s H7999 which means, ‘to be complete or sound, rewarded, make full restitution’.
7 powerful words that are contained in this blessing as commanded by יהוה that not only blesses us and puts His Name upon us, but also wonderfully expresses His marvellous love and compassion for us and what He does for us through His blessing us as He in a sense has ‘bowed down/ come down and given us the gift of life through His own as he promises to guard and protect us and keep us safe in Him.
This blessing, in light of the understanding of the meaning of these 7 words, could be expressed in English as follows:
יהוה WILL KNEEL BEFORE YOU PRESENTING GIFTS AND WILL GUARD YOU WITH A HEDGE OF PROTECTION.
יהוה WILL ILLUMINATE THE WHOLENESS OF HIS BEING TOWARD YOU BRINGING ORDER AND HE WILL BEAUTIFY YOU.
יהוה WILL LIFT UP HIS WHOLENESS OF BEING AND LOOK UPON YOU AND HE WILL SET IN PLACE ALL YOU NEED TO BE WHOLE AND COMPLETE.
The ancient pictographic script has the Hebrew word for bless – בָּרַךְ baraḵ – Strong’s H1288 pictured as follows:
Beyt – בָּ:
The ancient script has this letter as , which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself.
Resh – רַ:
The ancient pictographic script has this letter pictured as , which is ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief.
Kaph – ךְ:
The ancient pictographic script has this letter pictured as – – which is a picture of an open palm of a hand and can symbolise that to which submission is given – ‘under the hand’
From the pictographic rendering of this word we are able to clearly see who it is who blesses us –
THE HOUSE/ASSEMBLY OF ELOHIM IS BLESSED AS THE HEAD/CHIEF, COMES DOWN AND EXTENDS HIS OPEN AND REVEALED HAND TO HIS OWN!
Verse 23 – Mosheh and Aharon go in to the Tent of Appointment
Aharon had ‘lifted his hand and blessed the people’ and then came down from making the offerings and proceeded to go with Mosheh into the Tent of Appointment.
This is a wonderful picture of the pure and powerful work of Messiah, who was ‘lifted up’ for our sin and who ‘came down’ and humbled Himself as a servant bringing us the gift of life, and in turn was obedient, even unto death and was exalted high above every Name – that at His Name every knee shall bow:
Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:5-11 “For, let this mind be in you which was also in Messiah יהושע, 6 who, being in the form of Elohim, did not regard equality with Elohim a matter to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and came to be in the likeness of men. 8 And having been found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, death even of a stake. 9 Elohim, therefore, has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name, 10 that at the Name of יהושע every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that יהושע Messiah is Master, to the esteem of Elohim the Father.”
With Mosheh and Aharon going in to the Tent and coming out, is a picture of Messiah, the Living Torah and High Priest, ascending to the Heavenly Tabernacle, and we are guaranteed of His blessed soon return and after His reign, once all have been raised from the dead – every knee shall bow before Him, as the esteem of Elohim will be seen by all!
Fire came out from before יהוה and consumed the ascending offering and fat and everyone saw and fell on their faces in great reverence and worship!
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘cried aloud/shouted’ comes from the root word רָנַן ranan – Strong’s H7442 which means, ‘to overcome, cry out, shout for joy, give a ringing cry, sing aloud’.
When the temple was restored after exile, we see that Yisra’ĕl had a similar response as seen in:
Ezra 3:11 “And they responded by praising and giving thanks to יהוה, “For He is good, for His kindness towards Yisra’ĕl is forever.” And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised יהוה, because the foundation of the House of יהוה was laid.”
There was a state of ecstatic joy, as יהוה had come and shown Himself again to the children of Yisra’ĕl.
With all the joy and excitement and jubilation among Yisra’ĕl, one would have truly thought that they would have learned a great lesson and had now sought to heed all of the instructions very carefully, yet what we see, at the start of this chapter is the exact opposite!
This chapter carries critical lessons for us, in our ‘approach’ to יהוה, or in how we are to be careful to draw near to Him as he has instructed us to – for anything beyond that could be fatal!
Let us first look at Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu, the sons of Aharon, who each brought their own fire before יהוה:
Naḏaḇ – נָדָב Strong’s H5070 is the name of one of these sons who brought strange fire, after having gone through an entire consecration process and the meaning of his name comes from the primitive root נָדַב Naḏaḇ – Strong’s H5068 which means, ‘to incite, impel: a freewill offering; given as a freewill offering; makes offerings willingly’ and so, this son’s name could be best described as meaning ‘generous’.
Aḇihu – אֲבִיהוּא Strong’s H30, the name of the second son who joined Naḏaḇ in offering strange fire, simply means, ‘he is (my) father’.
Two sons, who sadly did not live up to the full potential of their given names and paid the price for stepping out of the clear instructions regarding the offering of fire upon the incense altar before יהוה and brought a profane fire offering before יהוה.
As we break down verse 1, we see why what they did was wrong:
Firstly, we are told that they each took their own fire holder – what they did here was that they mixed the set-apart with the profane or common – they took their own fire holders and not the fire holder made for the purpose of the service in the Set-Apart Place.
They had made their own – a very clear picture of how so many today tend to ‘mimic’ the real and present their worship and obedience as real, when in fact it is an object of their own making and is outside the very clear commands of יהוה.
They then took that which was their own and put fire in it!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘put’ comes from the root word נָתַן nathan – Strong’s H5414 which means, ‘to give, consecrate, bestow, contribute, add, dedicate’; and is fine in its typical understanding of the word, however what they did was simply ‘provide’ their own fire!
As noble and sincere as that may have seemed to them; just as so many today who are caught in the same deceptive approach to worship; they were wrong, as the fire did not come from the fire which יהוה had provided, but was of their own making!
So many today are trying to make their own ‘fire’, so to speak, in their attempted approach to worship, and this is not acceptable in the eyes of יהוה.
They then took incense and put it with their fire and therefore brought ‘strange fire’ before יהוה.
This is a classic picture of that which is happening at large today as so many will make a form of worship that is constructed out of their own selfish approach to worship and add that which is set-apart and try to draw near to Elohim.
If we approach יהוה in any other manner than that by which he has commanded then we must realise that it is simply ‘strange’ and not acceptable!
What we must understand here, is that Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu did what was not commanded, as they put incense in their fire holders – the incense was to be brought in to The Tent of Appointment and burned on the slaughter-place of incense, not put on the fire holder/censer!!!
It was possibly due to this incident, that we see the clear instructions being given, after these events had occurred, as commanded in:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16:12-13 “and shall take a fire holder filled with burning coals of fire from the altar before יהוה, with his hands filled with sweet incense beaten fine, and shall bring it inside the veil. 13 “And he shall put the incense on the fire before יהוה, and the cloud of incense shall cover the lid of atonement which is on the Witness, lest he die.”
Now, while some may argue that if they had not yet been instructed in this regard, then it seems a little harsh to have been consumed; however, the fact that they may have not been taught by either Mosheh or Aharon further emphasizes the importance of not doing that which you may think is right, yet have not been instructed in that regard; for to act without instruction makes it very clearly an unauthorized fire!
Just because someone has not received or learnt an instruction, does not give them license to assume what can be done by their own design and making! We are to only do that which has been commanded!
Burning incense near temples, was common in most pagan religions and continues to this day, through Catholicism, and is ‘strange/profane’ in the eyes of יהוה, as it is not according to His clear instructions!
In our life of praise unto יהוה, we must be very careful not to bring a worship that is strange.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘strange’ here comes from the root word זָרָא zara – Strong’s H2214 and is best described as ‘a loathsome thing’; and is often translated as unauthorised or profane.
This word זָרָא zara – Strong’s H2214 comes from the root word זוּר zur – Strong’s H2114 which means ‘strange, stranger, adulterer, adulterous, enemy’.
What they brought was an adulterous fire – which is a mixed fire, as their attempted means of drawing near to the presence of יהוה.
In looking at these events we are quickly reminded just how there is but a fine line between the praise that we are to bring in obedience versus doing our own thing and present a profane form of worship.
What does it mean to profane?
The word profane means ‘to treat something set-apart with abuse, irreverence or contempt’.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘profane’ comes from the root word 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 a root word for praise, in Hebrew, is הלל – halal – 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 of the stroke of the pen, by means of a little tiny gap!
In the Hebrew word for ‘praise’, the letter ה (hey) is used and in the Hebrew word for ‘profane’, the letter ח (ḥet) is used.
At a glance, these may be similar looking letters 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 the line it is, between pure worship and profanity!
Let me tell you why I find this very interesting, in considering the closeness of these written 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’ of today is clearly 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!
In order to seem “generous” (which is what Naḏaḇ means), Christians have allowed rituals from other (pagan) sources to continue and have tried to fit them into the categories that יהוה has prescribed.
If we try to keep the Sabbath on a different day than what He has prescribed, He will not accept it, period!!!
Profane worship is happening, as we speak, in the world today!
Just think of all the Baḇelonian feasts of sun-worship that is being followed, as we know that Christmas is actually rooted in child sacrifice fertility rituals, as well as Easter, where infants were offered up on the altar of Tammuz and Semiramis. Child sacrifice, through murder and idolatry in fire offerings unto Moleḵ, are still being rehearsed, as it were, today, in the form of profane worship unto the Almighty.
These profanities and defilements, are what caused יהוה to scatter His people, yet for the sake of His Name and His compassion for His Name, He promises to take, gather and bring His people back to the Set-Apart Land!
The incense that Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu used may have even been correct; as it does not say that the incense was wrong or that it stank. It was the source of the fire that was wrong.
Incense ascends from the earth to the heavens, so it clearly represents for us the picture of prayer; but the fire represents the motive that carries it upward.
Even if everything was done, just the way He said, what we must note, and realise, is that if the motive is wrong, it is “strange fire”.
Whether for power and self-will or just being caught up in the emotion of the moment – either of these motives are a foreign motivation for people, whose calling is to serve the people of Yisra’ĕl and יהוה.
It may have seemed like the Set-Apart Spirit, but since Mosheh had not commanded them to do this, it was a different spirit.
It does not matter how great your idea is, or even if everyone around you agrees; it must line up with יהוה’s instruction! If it does not, then it will more than likely turn out to be strange and profane!
There is a very fine line between true praise and that which profanes, as we remember from last week’s portion, that we are to keep the fire burning and not construct our own fire, so to speak.
So many today, may indeed be extremely sincere in their presentation of worship and the ‘fire’ which they present it with, yet when it does not adhere to, or line up with, the clear Torah and instructions of Elohim, then it is nothing more than a ‘strange fire’, which is unacceptable before the face of our Master and Elohim!
In order to help visualise the difference between the two root words for ‘praise’ and ‘profane’, I have put these two words, side by side in the following chart:
Verse 2 – consumed by fire!
What is interesting to see clearly, is that in the previous chapter, when the instructions were carried out correctly, and in total obedience, and the ascending offerings were acceptable to יהוה, we see in 9:24 that fire came out from before יהוה and consumed the ascending offering and the fat on the slaughter place, after which all the people fell in reverence before His presence of the consuming fire; and now here, two verses later, fire, once again, comes out from יהוה – but this time it was not to consume the acceptable offering, but was to destroy, and consume, the false and profane worship!
The very same fire of יהוה accepts that which is right and destroys that which is wrong!
This we must realise and therefore we must know that He is a consuming fire!
The question you should ask yourself is this: is He consuming you in His good pleasure, as you offer up your life daily as a living sacrifice and are well pleasing to Him, or will you be found to be one who shall be consumed in His wrath, due to profanities and strange and compromised worship standards?
The reality of this reminds me of what Yeshayahu warns us about in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 1:19-20 “If you submit and obey, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword, for the mouth of יהוה has spoken.”
The Hebrew word used for ‘eat’ and ‘devoured’ is the same word – אָכַל aḵal – Strong’s H398 and means ‘eat, consume, devour or be devoured’ and this is the same root word that is translated as ‘consumed’ in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 9:24 and 10:2.
So, in essence, what is being declared here, is simply this: if you submit and obey you will eat and enjoy the good of the land – if you rebel and refuse to submit and obey you will be eaten by the sword – that is – His Word that will consume you up and devour you in judgement according to His righteous right ruling!
We have a choice – eat His Word and walk in Him and be satisfied or eat all the junk that is on offer and neglect His Word and be eaten by the very Word that is rejected. It is not a difficult concept to grasp – the question remains – how is your diet, and more importantly – what is filling you?
Eat right and live or live wrong and be eaten:
Ḥazon/Revelation 19:15 “And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. And He shall shepherd them with a rod of iron. And He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Ěl Shaddai.”
Ḥazon/Revelation 19:21 “And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
EAT OR BE EATEN; or, in light of what we are reading, in the example of Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu, burn, as in keep burning for יהוה and do not let the fire of His Truth go out, through compromised worship practices that are contrary to His Torah OR be burned!!!
Verse 3 – Let יהוה be Set-Apart!
After completely consuming the two sons of Aharon, יהוה makes it very clear that anyone who comes near to Him, had to recognise, and acknowledge, that יהוה is set-apart, as He says that those who come near to Him, must let יהוה be set-apart to them!!!
This gripped me greatly, as I often wonder if many people realise the power in these words.
How set-apart is יהוה to you?
This may sound like a very pedantic question, but hold on for a second; I ask this simply because I believe that there are many today who are claiming to walk in Messiah and live a faithful set-apart walk, while their actions do not always match the confession of their mouth and it can only be due to the fact that יהוה is not totally set-apart to them!!!
If He was set-apart to Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu, would they have even considered bringing strange fire?
I don’t think so! Too many treat יהוה as common and think of Him as a ‘buddy’ while neglecting the truth of His total set-apart nature and character.
It was very clear here that the sons of Aharon were not taking יהוה seriously enough!
A severe lesson that many people today need to learn before it is too late.
An example for us, in Scripture, of hearts that also took to compromise, in their attempted approach in worship, is as we see being recorded for us in Ma’asei/Acts 5, in regards to the events that took place when Ḥananyah and Shappirah also brought, what could be classed as, ‘strange fire’ before יהוה, in withholding the Truth of the sale of their possession and kept back the price, and so lied to the Set-Apart Spirit.
They had lied to Elohim and not to men. Ḥananyah and Shappirah had pretended to be ‘generous’ (Naḏaḇ) and were struck down immediately. Often some think that they can ‘get away’ with a little compromise, as they feel that no one will notice or know – yet יהוה does and to have any ‘strange/profane’ actions, or motives, in our life of worship, renders the rest as unacceptable before Elohim!
Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu had become puffed up with pride and sadly, they must have thought that they were know in a position to do as they please, as they possibly saw themselves no longer as part of the people or rather ones who were to serve the people, because they assumed a higher ranking and Messiah warns against this:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 23:11-12 “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
We are to recognise and realise just how set-apart יהוה is and serve Him appropriately.
I often feel that there is truly a lack of reverence for Elohim and too many make light of His commands and right them off as not important while devising their own means of worship which they assume to be real and sincere yet are worshipping contrary to the set-apart commands of Elohim, simply because He is not being regarded as SET-APART as He is!
Tehillah/Psalm 119:120 “My flesh has trembled for fear of You, and I am in awe of Your right-rulings”
At these very sobering words of Wayyiqra/Leviticus 10:3, notice that this verse ends with – ‘and Aharon was silent’! WOW! Aharon had just seen his two sons consumed by fire and may have had much to say in his heart, in response to the tragic events, yet he was silent.
This is a great lesson for us and we would do well to do the same, by being quiet when we often find ourselves saying things out of emotional responses, that we regret and later need to repent of!
The Set-Apartness of יהוה left no room for any comment or response from Aharon – what was done was not to be argued against and the rest of the congregation would certainly learn a valuable lesson that day, about what happens when treating יהוה with contempt.
This incident left Aharon speechless, as he could not challenge or speak against the clear set-apartness of Elohim, as the clear disregard for complete set-apartness for Elohim was evidenced, by the profane actions of the sons of Aharon against the complete set-apartness of Elohim, which consumes that which is not set-apart
How often have you lashed out when you think that you or someone close to you has been wronged, while in fact the consequences of your actions were deserved as you did not act in accordance to the plumb line of the Torah but tried to do things your own way?
Often, when we are disciplined, we tend to react in a defensive approach that refuses correction, while Aharon is an example here of keeping quiet and accept that which יהוה does, for He will never operate outside of His righteous right-rulings!
Often, the biggest mouth or the biggest talkers are the ones who are living a compromised lifestyle and will ‘chirp’ and criticise everything in others, while they would do best to learn to keep silent!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘be set-apart’, in verse 3, is אֶקָּדֵשׁ – eqaḏesh – which comes from the primitive root verb קָדַשׁ qaḏash – Strong’s H6942 which is a denominative verb which means, ‘to be set-apart or consecrated’ and a derivative of this root word is the noun קֹדֶשׁ qoḏesh – Strong’s H6944 which means, ‘apartness/ consecrated/ dedicated/ that which is dedicated and separated unto יהוה’.
This root word is written in the ‘niphal’ verb tense which expresses a reflexive action and can be understood as meaning, ‘to be honoured, treated as dedicated and set-apart’.
יהוה expects and requires that His set-apart and chosen people are to treat Him as set-apart and not make light of His esteem and the clear weight and importance of His set-apartness! In doing so we can therefore take seriously our need to be set-apart – as He is set-apart! Perhaps the reason why many struggles with living true set-apart lives unto Elohim, is that He is not set-apart to them!!!
The Greek word that is used here in the LXX (Septuagint) for ‘set-apart’ is ἁγιάζω hagiazō – Strong’s G37 which means, ‘make set-apart, be set-apart, to separate from profane things and dedicate to Elohim’, which comes from the primitive root ἅγιος hagios – Strong’s G40 and its fundamental idea is one of ‘separation, consecration, and devotion to the service of Elohim’.
Our Master and Elohim expects us to be set-apart just as He is set-apart and this can only become a complete reality when He is seen and known as set-apart before our eyes!
As we come near to Elohim, by the Blood of Messiah, and let Him be set-apart then we too will be driven to pursue apartness and be completely set-apart before His face and not be found to profane our worship!
The Hebrew word קֹדֶשׁ qoḏesh – Strong’s H6944 which means ‘apartness/ consecrated/ dedicated/ that which is dedicated and separated unto יהוה’, is rendered as follows in the ancient pictographic letter/symbols:
Quph – קֹ:
This is the letter ‘quph’, which is pictured as , and is a ‘horizon’ and depicts the elements of ‘time’, as it pictures the sun in its rising and setting. It therefore carries the meaning of ‘circle’ or ‘to go around’, representing for us both, appointed cycles or times as well as eternity and speaks of continual adherence to the Appointed Times.
Dalet – דֶ:
This is the letter ‘dalet’ which is pictured as , which is a ‘tent door’. It can also have the meaning of a back and forth movement, as one goes back and forth through a tent door and so speaks of an access point. It can also carry the meaning of ‘dangle’ or hanging as the tent door would hang from the roof pole of the tent. It speaks a great deal in terms of understanding the door of the tent of appointment as the only means of access. And we also know that Messiah is ‘The Door’, for we only are able to have access into the Kingdom through Him! The commands are also to be written on the doorposts teaching us to remember to guard the commands of Elohim as we go out and come in, so that our going out and coming is in peace!
Shin – שׁ:
This is the letter ‘shin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as, , which is ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’; which is what the teeth do, and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth as the teeth ‘chew’ or ‘meditate’ on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food.
Looking at the rendering of this Hebrew word קֹדֶשׁ qoḏesh – Strong’s H6944 in the pictographic form that renders set-apartness or to be set-apart we, are able to see what this clearly implies as we take note that this word can render for us the following meaning:
CONTINUALLY COMING TO THE DOOR OF APPOINTMENT TO MEDITATE ON THE WORD!
Our ability to be properly set-apart involves our ability to properly meditate on the Word, on a daily basis, as well as making sure that we do not neglect the set-apart Appointed Times that are clearly commanded as ‘set-apart gatherings’, which are All the Appointed Times of יהוה, as outlined and instructed in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23, which includes the weekly Sabbath!
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:2-4 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘The appointed times of יהוה, which you are to proclaim as set-apart gatherings, My appointed times, are these: 3 ‘Six days work is done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a set-apart gathering. You do no work, it is a Sabbath to יהוה in all your dwellings. 4 ‘These are the appointed times of יהוה, set-apart gatherings which you are to proclaim at their appointed times.”
The Sabbaths and Appointed Times of יהוה are the set-apart gatherings that are to be proclaimed and kept!
The noun קֹדֶשׁ qoḏesh – Strong’s H6944 is used here 3 times along with the word ‘gatherings’, which in Hebrew is the word מִקְרָא miqra – Strong’s H4744, meaning: assembly/ group/ convocation/ a collective of people gathered for a purpose/a calling together.
Without going into further detail here, I think that the Scriptures are very clear about the set-apart gatherings of יהוה, as they are exactly that – SET-APART GATHERINGS! Simply put: we are commanded to gather!
Berěshith/Genesis 2:3 “And Elohim blessed the seventh day and set it apart, because on it He rested from all His work which Elohim in creating had made.”
Elohim set the Sabbath apart from the very first time there was a 7th day and remains set-apart forever! While all mankind did not keep the Sabbath set-apart, יהוה made a Covenant with Aḇram and chose Yisra’ĕl to be a nation of priests and gave them the Sabbath as a sign between us and Him for ever, that it is He who sets us apart!
When we grasp this properly as we should then to blur the line of separation between the set-apart and the profane cannot be done at all, especially when it comes to the Sabbath!
Please note that our lives are to be set-apart unto Elohim every single day, yet the Sabbath is distinguishably different from the rest of the week and our observance of the weekly Sabbath and Appointed Times of יהוה as being commanded set-apart gatherings that we faithfully observe without fail will mark us as a people that are being set-apart by יהוה!
We also take note that not only is יהוה to be set-apart to those who come near to Him, He is also to be ‘esteemed’!!! The actions of the sons of Aharon who brought profane worship not only showed a lack of proper set-apartness, showing that they had not let יהוה be set-apart to them, but they also, through their profane actions, showed no respect and honour for יהוה. He was not esteemed by them and when we consider this we can also be reminded of the rebuke that יהוה gave to Yisra’ěl, as seen in:
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:6 “A son esteems his father, and a servant his master. And if I am the Father, where is My esteem? And if I am a Master, where is My fear? said יהוה of hosts to you priests who despise My Name. But you asked, ‘In what way have we despised Your Name?’”
יהוה was making a clear statement that the hearers would be able to identify with and not be able to deny its truth as He simply asks a rebellious people who should have let Him be esteemed: “And if I am the Father, where is My esteem? And if I am a Master, where is My fear?”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘esteems’ is the root verb כָּבֵד kaḇeḏ – Strong’s H3513 which means, ‘to be heavy, weighty or burdensome, to give high esteem and respect and honour’ and it is from this root verb that we get the noun that is translated as ‘esteem’ which is כָּבוֹד kaḇoḏ – Strong’s H3519 which means, ‘honour, esteem, reverence, splendid’.
The verb כָּבֵד kaḇeḏ – Strong’s H3513 is often translated as ‘praise’ that is to be given to יהוה and this word is used in the 10 Words (Commandments) where we are told to ‘respect’ our parents; and so what is, in effect, being told to us here in the 10 Words is that we must carefully consider and ‘give weight to’ the Word of Elohim and guard the Truth in order that we may live long in the land which יהוה is giving us, and not be kept out or expelled as our forefathers were for disobedience and a lack of faith!
A son treats his father with much respect and considers him to be very important.
The opposite of this, is to treat ‘lightly’ and give no honour to the instructions and discipline of a father.
This question that יהוה was asking of Yehuḏah was clear:
“If I am the Father then where is My esteem?”
This is a question of identity!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘if’ is אִם im – Strong’s H518 which is a conditional participle or primary conjunction which renders, ‘if, though, either, neither, when, whenever’.
The basic meaning is “if” and this meaning can be seen in most of its occurrences and usually occurs in conditional clauses, which we are able to see very clearly here!
If He is the Father… where then is His esteem?
Many people want to be identified as being children of The Most-High, yet they give no weight to His commands and cast aside the need to obey His Torah and instructions and, in the process, are unable to properly praise His Name!
Lots of people today, will even recite the words that our Master and Elohim taught, as a pattern of how we ought to pray, yet their lawlessness and compromised lifestyles reveal that they are not sons or daughters of Elohim.
Many will recite the following: Our Father who is in the heavens, let Your Name be set-apart – yet are not bringing esteem to His Name, as they do not take Him serious enough and have no clue what His word teaches about set-apartness!
Yisra’ĕl had no clue about how they were despising the Name of יהוה which is to be esteemed!
They did not see their compromised and corrupt worship and festivals as wrong, simply because the priesthood had been corrupted and no proper Torah was being taught.
Blemished offerings were being brought and they even called the Table of יהוה despicable!
When we consider this Hebrew word for ‘esteem’ – כָּבוֹד kaḇoḏ – Strong’s H3519 in the ancient script we gain further insight in the revelation of the esteem of יהוה.
In the ancient pictographic script, the word כָּבוֹד kaḇoḏ looks like this:
Kaph – כָּ:
The ancient form of this letter is – meaning ‘the open palm of a hand’. The meaning behind this letter is ‘to bend and curve’ from the shape of a palm as well as ‘to tame or subdue’ as one has been bent to another’s will (under their hand), as an open hand symbolises submission. This also can picture for us a palm or palm branch from the curved palm shape. The hand also speaks of one’s work, or under whose hand you submit and obey, and can also speak of a covering, as in the covering of a hand.
Beyt – ב:
The ancient script has this letter as , which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself, and is the Dwelling Place of the Most High, which we are, as we are as living stones being built up in Messiah.
Waw – וֹ:
The ancient pictographic form of this letter is , which is a peg or ‘tent peg’ or nail, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope from slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.
Dalet – ד:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as a ‘tent door’. It can also have the meaning of ‘a back and forth movement’, as one goes back and forth through a tent door, and so speaks of an access point. It can also carry the meaning of ‘dangle’ or hanging as the tent door would hang from the roof pole of the tent. It speaks a great deal in terms of understanding the door of the tent of appointment as the only means of access.
When we look at these pictographic letters for ‘esteem’ we are able to see some wonderful insight into the esteem of יהוה being revealed to us. The collective rendering of these pictographic letters can give us the meaning:
THE COVERING OF THE HOUSE THAT HAS BEEN SECURED AND ENTRANCE GIVEN!
We also take note that we are able to recognise that the esteem we are to give to Elohim, and Elohim alone, is because He is the builder of the House! By His Hand He has built us and by His Mighty Saving Hand He has secured for us an entrance into His presence, as we are built up in Him who is greater than the House!
For the builder of the House is greater that the House! We are the dwelling Place and He is the Master Builder who covers us as we take our stand upon Him, our Rock and Refuge!
For more on the esteem of יהוה please see the notes of a messages called ‘THE ESTEEM OF YHWH!’ which can be viewed on our site (https://atfotc.com) under the ‘sermons 2015/2016’ menu or by clicking on the following link:
In verse 4-7 we see how Aharon and his other sons were not allowed to touch the 2 that had just died and so, other relatives were called in to take the dead bodies outside the camp.
Aharon and his other two sons were to stay in their service and not go out from the door of the Tent of Appointment, lest they die!
They were not allowed to mourn for the loss of their relatives as they were still in the service of the Dwelling Place and what this clearly pictures for us is that Aharon and his sons are representing the Torah which represents ‘life’ and not ‘death’, therefore no mourning allowed!
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.”
As יהושע said, the dead can bury the dead; those whom He has called must take a more set-apart path, for they have a job to do among those still living. Once they put their hand to the plough, they may not look back even for their own family’s sake. יהושע does not allow us to choose family members over devotion to him:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
Verse 9-11 – No drink
After the incident of fire consuming the sons of Aharon for bringing strange fire, we see the clear command of abstaining from wine of strong drink when going in to the Tent of Appointment.
This may give us a clue as to what Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu were up to before making their own fire to approach יהוה, although many would argue that this is not the case, what we do see here is the fact that this command is given immediately after the strange fire was offered and rejected, and so we have here a very hotly debated topic being set forth in regards to the drinking of alcohol.
The primary reason for the instruction, to not drink alcohol, was so that proper right-ruling could be administered and the priest would be able to distinguish between the set-apart and the profane and between the clean and the unclean.
One thing is certainly a known, and proven, fact – and that is that alcohol, in even a very small and limited quantity, can cause one’s ability to make sound decisions, and have clear judgement, to be drastically affected and while there may be many conflicting views and standpoints on the very tender issue of drinking, let us look briefly at some Scriptures that will hopefully shed some much needed insight in this regard:
First of all, it is wise to begin this with the verse that we are reading, in this Torah portion:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 10:9 “Do not drink wine or strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, lest you die – a law forever throughout your generations”
It is very clear – do not drink when you go in to The Tent of meeting!
Why, you may ask?
The next 2 verses tell us the ‘why’:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 10:10-11 “so as to make a distinction between the set-apart and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean, 11 and to teach the children of Yisra’ĕl all the laws which יהוה has spoken to them by the hand of Mosheh.”
Based on the events that preceded this command it is fairly obvious that Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu could not or rather did not make a distinction between the set-apart and profane, and would therefore be unfit to teach the rest of Yisra’ĕl!
As a serving priest able to make a clear distinction between what is set-apart and profane or between what is clean and unclean, being sober is a must!!!
Sha’ul also gives Timotiyos clear instructions regarding the qualifications of one who desires to be an overseer in Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 3: 1-7 and in verse 3 we read that they must not be given to wine.
The use of alcohol and drunkenness has certainly been the cause of many sins or lawless actions.
And while there may be a strong argument for the use of alcohol as acceptable as can be verified in various events in Scripture where there is clearly drinking taking place, what we have to ask ourselves in light of the current Torah portion is simply this, “are you serving or not?”
The priests would go in to the Tent of Meeting to serve on behalf of the people before יהוה and to do so faithfully they were required to be sober minded in order to rightfully guard to do that which was expected.
As we have learnt over the past couple of months, in regards to the Dwelling Place, we have clearly seen how this portrays and foreshadows for us the picture of us being a body together in Messiah where the presence of Elohim can dwell by His Spirit; and in light of this we truly understand the words of Sha’ul in:
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are a Dwelling Place of Elohim and that the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys the Dwelling Place of Elohim, Elohim shall destroy him. For the Dwelling Place of Elohim is set-apart, which you are.”
We are the Dwelling Place of Elohim!!!
Now, in the Dwelling Place, there are clear procedures and instructions, in regards to its function and service which we have covered, as we went through Shemoth/Exodus; and therefore, we begin to further understand that we are ‘in service’ while we are the Dwelling Place of the Most-High and based on this text in Wayyiqra/Leviticus, we cannot move away from the fact that יהוה is making a clear distinction in instructing us to not drink while ‘in service’ in His Dwelling Place.
Many would argue that this is only for the priests and not for the rest; however, I would like to remind you of Kěpha’s words:
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9 “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.”
We are a royal priesthood… but what for?
We’ll let us look at the preceding verse to this one as they are self-explanatory in light of us understanding the Tabernacle and its service:
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:1-8 “Having put aside, then, all evil, and all deceit, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil words, 2 as newborn babes, desire the unadulterated milk of the Word, in order that you grow by it, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Master is good. 4 Drawing near to Him, a living Stone – rejected indeed by men, but chosen by Elohim and precious – 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up, a spiritual house, a set-apart priesthood, to offer up spiritual slaughter offerings acceptable to Elohim through יהושע Messiah. 6 Because it is contained in the Scripture, “See, I lay in Tsiyon a chief corner-stone, chosen, precious, and he who believes on Him shall by no means be put to shame.” 7 This preciousness, then, is for you who believe; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling and a rock that makes for falling,” who stumble because they are disobedient to the Word, to which they also were appointed.”
We are chosen to be a people who ‘offer up’ spiritual slaughter offerings acceptable to Elohim through Messiah!!! This is a clear reference to the work and service of the Dwelling Place, which you now are in Him!!!
Now, in order to do this effectively, and with great joy and assurance of being pleasing to the Master, this can only be done, while being able to distinguish between the set-apart and profane, which, can only be done when one is of a sober mind!
Let us look at the words of Yeshayahu that speaks clearly of the result of drinking instead of serving faithfully:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 5: 11-13 “Woe to those who rise early in the morning pursuing strong drink, who stay up late at night – wine inflames them! 12 And the lyre and the harp, the tambourine and flute, and wine are in their feasts; but they do not regard the deeds of יהוה, nor see the work of His hands. 13 Therefore my people have gone into exile, because they have no knowledge. And their esteemed men are starved, and their crowd dried up with thirst.”
Drinking certainly leads to having no regard for the deeds of יהוה and was one of the primary causes of a nation who was to be set-apart to be sent into exile!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 28:7 “And these too have gone astray through wine, and through strong drink wandered about. Priest and prophet have gone astray through strong drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they wander about through strong drink, they go astray in vision, they stumble in right-ruling.”
Drinking causes one to stray and start to falsify visions and stumble in the right-rulings of יהוה.
In Yeḥezqěl we see a clear picture of the service taking place in the Millennial Reign and the clear instruction to the priests:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 44:21 “And no priest is to drink wine when he comes into the inner court.”
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:15-21 “See then that you walk exactly, not as unwise, but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are wicked. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the desire of יהוה is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is loose behaviour, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to each other in psalms and songs of praise and spiritual songs, singing and striking the strings in your heart to the Master, 20 giving thanks always for all to Elohim the Father, in the Name of our Master יהושע Messiah, 21 subjecting yourselves to each other in the fear of Elohim.”
There are certainly many verses that could be added to this, in order to expand on what I am bringing across here, and certainly many more that could be used in opposition, by some; however, the point that I would like to bring across, is that we ought to learn from the mistakes of the sons of Aharon, who brought strange fire and, in doing so, I echo the words of Sha’ul, in saying that we are living in wicked times and we are to be redeeming the time, serving the body in Truth, and my advice is simply this – rather leave alcohol out of the equation as in doing so you will continually be equipped to serve at any time and be able to subject yourselves to one another in fear of Elohim.
Hear the wisdom is these words:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 31:4-5 “Not for sovereigns, O Lemu’ĕl, not for sovereigns to drink wine, nor for princes to desire strong drink; 5 Lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the right of all the afflicted.”
Galatiyim/Galatians 5:13 “For you, brothers, have been called to freedom, only do not use freedom as an occasion for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Emphasis here, is being on serving one another through love – love being obedience and service speaking of a priesthood serving the body/Dwelling Place – to do that you must not drink!!!
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘strong drink’, in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 9:9, comes from the word שֵׁכָר sheḵar – Strong’s H7941 which means, ‘intoxicating drink, liquor, string drink’, which comes from the root verb שָׁכַר shaḵar – Strong’s H7937 which means, ‘to be or become drunk, drunken, make yourself drunk’.
To be intoxicated can also mean to be poisoned, and when walking according to the lusts of the flesh we can be in danger of being poisoned or drunk with power, greed, lust and coveting fleshly things.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a scoffer, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
A drunkard cannot exercise proper discernment nor be transformed to meditating soberly on the Truth, and herein lies a severe caution against drinking strong drink and becoming intoxicated, for then one’s works would be as useless as a vain proverb in the mouth of a fool!
While the understanding of ‘strong drink’ may be very clear on a literal level and therefore equips us to make sure that we remain sober and alert so that we can distinguish between the set-apart and the profane, we also take note of the metaphor that ‘strong drink’ presents, as it can also represent for us the maddening adulteries of the whore, as we see how so many are pursuing the drunken teachings and ways of lawlessness and are earnestly seeking that which clouds their ability to see the Truth, revealing, by their lawless actions, that they are not rising early to diligently seek Elohim but are rather rising early to pursue falsehood and corrupted traditions that fuel the flesh and destroy the spirit, rendering any attempt at an assumed worship as profane!
Mosheh instructed Aharon, and his two remaining sons, to eat what was left of the grain offering and eat it, which he did not do and when Mosheh came looking for the goat of the sin offering and saw that it was burnt up he was angry with Aharon and his sons.
Aharon tells Mosheh that he could not eat of it or of the sin offering, in light of the tragic events that had taken place and Mosheh heard and accepted it as a good reason.
Aharon could not partake of the offerings, that had, in one sense, due to the error of his sons, become defiled and was no longer acceptable. If he had eaten of it, he may have deemed to be hypocritical, as he recognises that when he and his sons eat of these, it represents יהוה eating it and he recognises that he had failed that day, in restraining his sons from doing that which was no permitted; and there was no way he could ‘put on a show’ and pretend to have done well enough in representing יהוה.
He could not eat these offerings in an ‘unworthy manner’, in light of the defilement that his sons brought in to the Tent of Appointment and this is a great lesson for us, in being careful to not try to ‘fake’ our obedience and worship before others!!!
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 11:26-29 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Master until He comes. 27 So that whoever should eat this bread or drink this cup of the Master unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Master. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. 29 For the one who is eating and drinking unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Master.”
Aharon had not violated the Torah in any way as an offering is seen acceptable only when it is either burnt up or eaten and so although he did not eat of the offerings they were in fact burnt up and therefore become acceptable.
Mosheh was also pleased because he saw that Aharon was finally seeing that eating the sacrificial animals actually meant more than just a meal provided for these men who had no inheritance of their own so they could serve the whole nation.
CHAPTER 11 – WHAT IS FOOD?
This chapter, as well as Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 14, are very important chapters for us to understand, and clearly see, what יהוה has declared for us to eat and what we may not eat.
What is interesting to note, is that after the clear instruction given for the priests not to drink, in order to teach the difference between the profane and the set-apart and between the clean and the unclean, is that the very next instructions that are given, are in regard to what is regarded as food and clean to eat and what is not!
Sadly, the western church (modern Christianity) is unable to distinguish the difference between unclean and clean, as they have been made ‘drunk’ on the maddening adulteries of the harlot whore and have no ability to discern or teach the differences between what is clean and what is not! יהוה is so specific about our ability to have a relationship with Him and He even instructs us in what is food for us; and even right down to what we eat will help us in constantly being reminded that we are a set-apart people serving a Set-Apart Elohim!
Understanding “Clean and Unclean”
All too often we are told and have been taught to believe that since the Messiah came, we are free to eat anything we wish, and are not bound by any of the dietary laws of Scripture. In fact, one of the ways throughout history that ‘Jews’ were called on to prove they were truly converting to Christianity (and not just pretending for reasons of personal advantage) was by eating pork!
It even became traditional to eat ham on ‘Easter/Ishtar’ to celebrate the “triumph of Christ over the old Jewish ways”. How sick is that!!!!
But this could not be further from the spirit of יהושע the Messiah or His earliest followers who wrote the New Testament.
But Didn’t He Declare All Foods Clean?
This is a widespread belief that highlights the very real danger inherent in building doctrines based on English translations that were steered by the adherence to traditions and doctrines of man rather than the Truth of the original Scriptures.
One popular version of Marqos/Mark 7:18-19 reads,
“…whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated. (Thus, He declared all foods clean.)”
Yet what we can see from the Greek from which it was translated, it actually says the following:
“…because it does not enter into his heart, but into his stomach, and goes out into the toilet, purging all foods.”
The word for “purging” is the word καθαρίζω katharizō – Strong’s G2511 from which we get “catharsis“–i.e., a cleaning-out. In other words, the body cleans itself out naturally. “Catharsis” can mean “cleansing“, but this does not fit the grammatical context.
The whole phrase “thus he declared” is NOWHERE to be found in the original texts!
If He did mean to contradict יהוה‘s earlier instruction, then He was, by His own measure, someone of very little consequence:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:19 “Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.”
No, יהוה did not change His mind. He still considers eating swine’s flesh abominable.
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 65:4 “who sit among the graves, and spend the night in secret places, who eat flesh of pigs, and the broth of unclean meat is in their pots”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 66:17 “those who set themselves apart and cleanse themselves at the gardens after ‘One’ in the midst, eating flesh of pigs and the abomination and the mouse, are snatched away, together,” declares יהוה.”
יהושע was not even talking about different kinds of food in Marqos/Mark 6. What He did mean is clear; He explains in the next verse that men don’t have to eat with unclean hands in order to be defiled; they are already defiled by what is in their hearts.
Getting a little dirt from unwashed hands into one’s system (which is what started the argument in the first place and had nothing to do with what ‘foods’ were being eaten) is so minor in comparison to that, that it is basically a joke.
When Sha’ul says things like, “Nothing is unclean in itself” or “One man has faith that he may eat anything“, we have to remember that every Scripture must be taken within the parameters set by the earlier Scriptures. Most of what he said about foods had to do with meat offered to idols, anyway, not unclean meats!!!
They were not even considered food to start with, so they were already excluded from the question.
Whatever he said has to fit with the rest of Scripture, especially the five books of Mosheh (The Torah):
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 8:20 “To the Torah and to the witness! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no daybreak.”
Wasn’t Kěpha/Peter Told to Eat Unclean Beasts?
Shim‘on Kěpha, one of יהושע‘s closest followers, had a vision in Yapho (Joppa, in which a sheet full of all kinds of animals, clean and unclean, was lowered from the sky.
He was told, “Arise, Kěpha, kill and eat!” (Ma’asei/Acts 10)
When he objected, he was told, “What יהוה has cleansed, do not call unclean.“
So that means, according to an adulterated and corrupt worship system, that יהוה cleansed every kind of food after all, right? Can we now eat anything we want, without being concerned about those ‘old-fashioned regulations’?
NO, NO and again NO!!!
That’s NOT the message Kěpha (Peter) got from this vision in Ma’asei/Acts 10.
In fact, after the same thing had happened three times, he was still very puzzled about what this could mean (verse 17). He knew Scripture well enough to know what it could not mean, but what did it mean?
The answer came right away. Some Gentile men were at the door of the house where he was lodging, and when Kěpha (Peter) told them the story of what had happened, he made clear what the only meaning that he had drawn from it was:
Ma’asei/Acts 10:34-35 “And opening his mouth, Kěpha said, “Truly I see that Elohim shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation, he who fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”
It was people, not food that יהוה was concerned about! (See Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 9:9-10.)
The sheet of unclean animals was just an illustration used as a clear parable that he would get further understanding in after he had gone to the house of Cornelius and seen the Spirit of Elohim being poured out on the nations.
Now, there is much to say for the physical benefits of the diet יהוה prescribed:
Shemoth/Exodus. 15:26″ And He said, “If you diligently obey the voice of יהוה your Elohim and do what is right in His eyes, and shall listen to His commands and shall guard all His laws, I shall bring on you none of the diseases I brought on the Mitsrites, for I am יהוה who heals you.”
In a very real way, “we are what we eat“. Eating blood has indeed been found to cause many types of cancer.
The danger of trichinosis, from eating pork, is well known. Shellfish are actually poisonous several months out of the year. And we could go on and on. So yes, there are definitely hygienic reasons to eat clean foods as the Scriptures define them.
But this reason can only be taken so far. The priests who worked in the Temple had to have a doctor on hand because of the stomach problems they incurred by eating so much meat, yet they were obeying יהוה by doing so. Ultimately:
Romiyim/Romans 14:17 “For the reign of Elohim is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Set-apart Spirit.“
יהוה is concerned about what we eat, as we learn from it more and more on how we are to be a set-apart people who walk in Righteousness. The main point of the dietary laws is what they teach us.
Now this verse in Romiyim does not cancel the literal commands:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you tithe the mint and the anise and the cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah: the right-ruling and the compassion and the belief. These need to have been done, without neglecting the others.”
יהושע said that we are to get to the heart of the matter; but we can’t learn much from what we aren’t doing. But יהוה constantly reiterates that we must both “do and observe” the things He commands us to and not just “jump through hoops” but find out the deeper meaning behind the loving instruction of our Heavenly Father.
It is a gift He gives to help us know Him better. Do we really want to refuse such a gift?
SO, WHAT KIND OF THINGS CAN WE LEARN?
Clean animals must both have a divided hoof and they must chew the cud (Wayyiqra/Leviticus 11:3), like the cow, sheep, goat, or deer. A divided hoof makes an animal sure-footed. The three pilgrimage-festivals are literally called “three feet” (or legs) in Hebrew. (Shemoth/Exodus 23:14) A three-legged piece of furniture is the most stable. If we follow יהוה‘s calendar instead of man’s, we will have stability.
Our “walk” also means the way we live out our faith.
Chewing the cud, as a cow does, is a picture of meditating on יהוה ‘s Word “day and night” (Yehoshua/Joshua 1:8) — i.e., over and over, until it goes deep into our hearts and can be eventually feed those who are young in faith.
A pig, on the other hand, has a cloven hoof and therefore looks clean on the outside.
His “walk” may look wonderful, but it will eat anything and cannot pass impurities from its body since it cannot sweat. It is a picture of indiscriminately taking in any and every “wind of doctrine”, whether from יהוה or men. So we are not to eat swine.
Learning to Make Distinctions
One of the explicit reasons יהוה gave Israel His instructions was so that we would learn to “make a distinction between Set-apart and the profane, between unclean and clean.” (Wayyiqra/Leviticus. 10:10; 11:46-47)
This does not just refer to food.
One of the most poignant examples of being unclean was the disease of leprosy.
Every time in Scripture that we see someone specifically stricken with this affliction (Miryam, Elisha’s servant Gĕḥazi, and King Uzziyahu), he or she was desiring a position he or she had not been allotted.
Thus, being ritually “unclean” is a picture of being selfish.
Other types of ritual uncleanness involve activities necessary in this world but which somehow touch death or corruption. (Wayyiqra/Leviticus 5:2; Wayyiqra/Leviticus 11-15; Bemiḏbar/Numbers. 19; Deḇarim/Deuteronomy. 23:14)
Likewise, a selfish choice may not in itself be a sin, but it is a path that leads us away from love for one another, which is life as יהוה defines it.
So, it is something to be avoided–a plague to our souls.
As we see, in the Sermon on the Mount, יהושע does not relax the commandments in the least; rather He often makes them stricter. The Apostles did the same.
When deciding on the “ground rules” for new believers who were returning to יהוה from among the Gentiles, they considered four prohibitions indispensable:
Ma’asei/Acts 15:20“but that we write to them to abstain from the defilements of idols, and from whoring, and from what is strangled, and from blood.”
A meat can be clean yet not kosher (which means “acceptable” or “appropriate“). Chicken is a “clean” meat, but if its blood is not removed, it is still not to be eaten, since we may not eat animals with their life [literally, soul] still in them (Berěshith/Genesis 9:4), and “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Wayyiqra/Leviticus 17:11)
But this word that is rendered as “strangled foods” was specifically used of any animal that was killed without being bled, with the wider connotation of anything that not killed according to Yehuḏi practices.
Though Mosheh only said all the blood must be taken out, the Apostles went further and said Gentiles should eat only what is ‘kosher’ by Torah standards.
This was so that Yehuḏi (Jews) and ‘Gentiles’ could begin to share the same dinner tables, since Yehuḏi (Jews), from whom these Gentiles needed to learn how to live a set-apart life, would not eat from a table where unclean meats were being eaten. Any further argument is a moot point.
All who accept the Messiah are now part of the Commonwealth of Yisra’ĕl (Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:12), so the Covenant made with Yisra’ĕl for all its generations applies to us all:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus. 20:24-26“ But I say to you, “You are going to possess their land, and I Myself give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am יהוה your Elohim, who has separated you from the peoples. 25 ‘And you shall make a distinction between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean birds and clean. And do not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird, or whatever creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. 26 ‘And you shall be set-apart to Me, for I יהוה am set-apart, and have separated you from the peoples to be Mine.”
In other words, “Your body is the Dwelling Place of the Set-Apart Spirit.” (Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians. 6:19) What we do with it matters; we can’t just spiritualize it away.
He wants us to “both divide the hoof and chew the cud“: not choose between the letter and the spirit of His instruction, as so many have done, but be among those who both “believe and are zealous for the Torah” (Ma’asei/Acts 21:20), who “keep the commandments of יהוה AND have the Testimony of יהושע“. (Ḥazon/Revelation. 12:17)
A couple of interesting pictures that we can learn, from that which is clean for us to eat, and teach us more than simply the object of our food is:
As I have mentioned already – chewing the cud and having a split hoof, speaks of us being able to be sure-footed and stable in our walk.
A mountain goat with its split hoof can climb a rugged mountain cliff with relative ease as its split hoofs provide great stability even in the toughest terrains!
We are to rightly divide/handle the Word:
Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your utmost to present yourself approved to Elohim, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth.”
We can only do this if we are not ‘eating’ all the twisted and unclean junk out there, and so by eating what is declared clean for us to eat, helps us be aware of how we are to watch what ‘teachings’ we eat.
Often people reminisce of how they used to love prawns and crayfish and mussels etc. – well this week’s Torah portion makes it very clear in stating 3 times very clearly that they are to be an abomination to you!!!
They are ‘cleaners’ of the sea, so to speak, and eat all the junk in the sea – it is not for us to eat and be contaminated by their poisons!!!
Again, a picture of how we are not to simply fish for any doctrine that may sound pleasing and taste edible without having tested to see if it has some ‘fins and scales’ – a picture of whether it lines up with the precepts and commands of Elohim!
In verse 41 we are told that we are not to eat any swarming creature, as they are an abomination!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘abomination’ is שֶׁקֶץ sheqets – Strong’s H8263 and means, ‘detestable, abominable, a loathing’.
Listen, when the Scripture tells you that something must be detestable to you, then listen and do what it says – it will keep you clean! This is a picture of staying pure and not trying to give room for compromise by ‘just taking a look’ or ‘just tasting’! No!!! Eat that which is lawful for you to eat and go no further!
In regards to the swarming creatures, what is very interesting to note here is that most swarming creatures (like bees or ants) have feminine leaders!!!
This is a clear picture for us to not tolerate the deceptive manipulations of Izeḇel/Jezebel and is also a warning against following the crowds to do evil!
To the assembly in Thyatira we see the following instructions as recorded in Ḥazon/Revelation:
Ḥazon/Revelation 20-25 “But I hold against you that you allow that woman Izeḇel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and lead My servants astray to commit whoring and to eat food offered to idols. 21 “And I gave her time to repent of her whoring, and she did not repent. 22 “See, I am throwing her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great affliction, unless they repent of their works. 23 “And I shall slay her children with death. And all the assemblies shall know that I am the One searching the kidneys and hearts. And I shall give to each one of you according to your works. 24 “And to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not possess this teaching, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they call them, I am not putting on you another burden. 25 “But hold fast what you have until I come.”
The old saying ‘we are what we eat’ is not so far off from the truth, and so when we see the dietary instructions in the Torah we must recognise that they are more than about just eating – our eating too has to remind us continually how we are a set-apart nation and how we are to be sure footed, single minded and sober in our service unto Elohim, so that we do not bring strange fire before Him, but are able to not only distinguish between the unclean and the clean and between the profane and set-apart, but are also equipped to faithfully teach others.
As we consider things that creep and swarm, we recognise that the Hebrew root word that is translated as ‘creeping creatures’ as well as ‘swarming creatures’ is the same root word, which is שֶׁרֶץ sherets – Strong’s H8318 which means, ‘swarming things, teeming, creepers and swarmers, of insects, animals, swarmers and quadrupeds’ and comes from the root verb שָׁרַץ sharats – Strong’s H8317 which means, ‘to swarm, teem, breed abundantly, multiply, creep’ and is translated in this chapter as ‘creep’ and ‘swarm’.
So, verses 29-43 primarily deals with the swarming and creeping things.
As we consider these instructions, we take note that a question that is often asked by some, is whether or not we are permitted to eat honey from bees.
In order to answer this, we need to take a closer look at some key passages in Scripture that will help us get clarity on this topic. We certainly know that we cannot eat bees, but are we allowed to eat honey that is made by bees?
There are some who suggest that the honey that we see being mentioned in Scripture, may not be honey from bees but could possibly be date or fig honey, or the sap from trees.
What is worth taking note of is that bees make honey from nectar, which makes honey from bees a plant product.
Bees do not secrete honey but are simply carriers and facilitators for the honey that is produced by them.
Both date honey and fig honey are made through a process of boiling the fruit and making a fruit mash, resulting in a thick syrup that’s extracted from the fruit.
There are also various trees that produce sap or gum that can be eaten. Maple syrup being the most commonly eaten tree sap, of course. While many tree saps can be eaten directly from the tree, it is recommended that the tree sap be boiled and reduced in order to remove any impurities and facilitate in thickening the sap into a syrup.
In the ISR Scriptures translation, the English word ‘honey’ is found 56 times in 56 verses (52 verses in the Tanak and 4 verses in the Renewed Writings)
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘honey’ is דְּבַשׁ deḇash – Strong’s H1706 which means, ‘honey, honeycomb’ and comes from an unused root meaning, ‘gummy’.
According to the Dictionary of Biblical Languages, ‘honey’ is described as, ‘the sweet viscid product of bees collecting pollen, with the associative meaning of abundance or sustenance’.
In answering the debate of whether ‘honey’, in Scripture, is relating to the product of bees or of sap from trees or the boiled syrup from date and figs, we can see from the use of the Hebrew word דְּבַשׁ deḇash – Strong’s H1706 that it is in fact referring to the product of bees.
While the majority of the use of this word, being translated as ‘honey’, is in reference to the description of the abundant sweet land of promise, we do have passages that equip us with a clear understanding of what this word is referring to. Let us take a closer look at some key examples that clearly highlight this for us.
In Shophetim/Judges 14 we are given the account of Shimshon who ate honey that he had found in the carcass of the lion he had killed on his way to Timnah:
Shophetim/Judges 14:8-9 “And when he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion, and saw a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. 9 And he took some of it in his hands and went along, eating. And he came to his father and mother, and gave them, and they ate. But he did not make known to them that he took the honey out of the carcass of the lion.”
This text is very clear in its description of the honey that Shimshon ate and gave to his parents to eat too. What we must take note of here, is that he should not have taken the honey from the carcass of the lion, as the carcass would render the honey as being unclean, yet when giving some of the honey to his parents, they did not know that it came from a carcass of a lion, and ate of it assuming it was clean! While we know that Shimshon should not have eaten the honey, simply because he took it from a carcass, we are able see, firstly, that is was honey from bees, and secondly, with the text telling us that he did not make it known to his parents that he took the honey from the carcass, highlights to us that his parents did not object to eating it, and we know that his parents walked in the fear of יהוה, amidst a crooked generation!
We get further confirmation of the fact that this was indeed honey from bees, in the riddle that Shimshon had set forth, and had been answered by the young men, in:
Shophetim/Judges 14:18 “And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” And he said to them, “If you had not ploughed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle!” ”
The next example that we can take a look it, in confirming to us that ‘honey’, in Scripture, refers to that which is from bees, is in the account of Yonathan, as seen in:
Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 14:24-30 “And the men of Yisra’ěl were distressed that day, for Sha’ul had placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until evening, and I have taken revenge on my enemies.” Therefore none of the people tasted food. 25 And all they of the land came into the woods, and there was honey on the ground. 26 And the people came into the woods and saw the honey, dripping. But no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Yonathan had not heard that his father had taken an oath of the people, and he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth. And his eyes lit up. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly took an oath of the people, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today.’” And the people were weary. 29 And Yonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Now see how my eyes lit up when I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had well eaten today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For then, would not the slaughter among the Philistines have been greater?”
In the above text, the root word דְּבַשׁ deḇash – Strong’s H1706 is used 4 times. The root word that is used along with דְּבַשׁ deḇash, when translated as ‘honeycomb’ is יַעְרָה yarah – Strong’s H3295 which means, ‘honeycomb’, which is described in the Dictionary of Biblical Languages as ‘a structure of wax cells that contains honey’.
What is literally being told to us in verse 27 is that he dipped the end of his rod in the honey of a honeycomb.
While some may try to argue that Yonathan may have eaten sap from a tree, we are clearly told here that he ate honey from a honeycomb. What is a great confirmation for us, on whether honey is permissible to eat or not, is in the fact that this text highlights that a decree had gone out from Sha’ul that no one was permitted to have any food! It is in this Torah portion that we are learning what is considered food and what is not!!!
Yonathan did not eat what is abominable to eat, he simply ate without knowing of the command that had been given by his father, saying that no one was allowed to eat! After eating some honey and being strengthened by it, he was informed of his father’s command and then states that if the people had eaten that day the slaughter among the enemy would have been greater!
The next passage that is worth taking note of, is in the prophecy of Messiah, and that he would eat honey!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 7:14-15 “Therefore יהוה Himself gives you a sign: Look, the ‘almah’ conceives and gives birth to a son, and shall call His Name Immanu’ěl. 15 “He eats curds and honey when He knows to refuse evil and choose the good.”
We see this prophecy of Messiah, who would eat ‘honey’, being fulfilled, after His resurrection, when He appeared to His taught ones, in:
Luqas/Luke 24:36-45 “And as they were saying this, יהושע Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 And being startled and frightened, they thought they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 40 And saying this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 And while they were still not believing for joy, and marvelling, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And taking it He ate in their presence. 44 And He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all have to be filled that were written in the Torah of Mosheh and the Prophets and the Tehillim concerning Me.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”
These events took place after His resurrection and fulfilled the prophecy of Yeshayahu/Isaiah 7, as Messiah stood in their midst and ate honey!
The Name עִמָּנוּאֵל Immanuel – Strong’s H6005 means, ‘with us is El or El is with us’ and highlights the clear prophecy that Elohim would come in the flesh and dwell among us and after His resurrection, Elohim came to be in their midst and ate honey!!! This is another text that highlights the clear truth that יהושע Messiah is Elohim!!!
The 2 Greek words that are translated here as ‘honeycomb’ are:
1) μελίσσιος melissios – Strong’s G3193 which means, ‘made by bees, belonging to bees, coming from bees’ and comes from the root word μέλι meli – Strong’s G3192 which means, ‘honey’.
2) κηρίον kerion – Strong’s G2781 which means, ‘honeycomb’, coming from a root word that means, ‘wax’ and is only used once in Scripture, here in connection with the above root word and highlights that this word that is used here is referring to the honeycomb wax.
What is abundantly clear here, is that our Master and Elohim ate honey from a honeycomb, the product from bees!
We know that Messiah did not violate or destroy the Torah, and He certainly did not change any food laws! Therefore, we can clearly see from Scripture that honey is permissible to eat, just don’t eat the bees!!!
This Torah of the beasts and the birds and every living being, is given to us to teach us to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between that which is eaten and that which is not! In adhering to this Torah, we are able to learn how to live set-apart lives and not be misguided in a compromised lifestyle that joins to that which renders one unclean or unfit for service.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘to make a distinction is לְהַבְדִּ֕יל – lehaḇeddiyl which comes from the primitive root verb בָּדַל baḏal – Strong’s H914 which means, ‘to be divided, separate, make a difference, make a distinction’.
This root word is used in:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 20:24-26 “But I say to you, “You are going to possess their land, and I Myself give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am יהוה your Elohim, who has separated you from the peoples. 25 ‘And you shall make a distinction between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean birds and clean. And do not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird, or whatever creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. 26 ‘And you shall be set-apart to Me, for I יהוה am set-apart, and have separated you from the peoples to be Mine.”
3 times in these 3 verses we see the root word בָּדַל baḏal – Strong’s H914 being used – twice it is translated as ‘separated’ and once as ‘make a distinction’.
It is יהוה who has separated us from all peoples, to be a set-apart nation unto Him and therefore we are called to make a clear distinction between what is clean and what is not, and so by the hearing of His Torah and the obedience of keeping His Times and laws we are called to active separation from that which is not pleasing to Him!
Our diet plays an enormous part in helping us get disciplined in making a distinction between that which is clean and that which is unclean. There is a clear separation that is called for; and the true royal priesthood has been separated unto Elohim, and therefore must no longer be ‘joined’ to the ways of the world:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:7-11 “Therefore do not become partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light 9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth 10 proving what is well-pleasing to the Master. 11 And have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
To ‘be separated’ is a clear continual theme we find in Scripture yet why is it that so many fail to separate themselves as they should unto our Mighty Master, Elohim and King?
Many are not separating themselves as they are not coming out from that which they should and in so doing they never are able to get to the place where they are able to hear the clear Word of Elohim that equips and builds belief!
When we are separated from the things of the world, we are to make a clear distinction between that which is of the world and that which is of Elohim and our lives should clearly shine that distinction. Although we are in the world we are not of the world and so we are to sever those things of darkness from our lives that have no place in the light of His Truth. The first time this root word בָּדַל baḏal – Strong’s H914 is used in Scripture is right back in:
Berěshith/Genesis 1:4 “And Elohim saw the light, that it was good. And Elohim separated the light from the darkness.”
Elohim separated the light from the darkness!!!
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9 “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.”
יהוה declared the end from the beginning – He has separated light from darkness and we have been called out of darkness and so we should live as such as we walk as children of light:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light”
In learning to walk as children of light, we see that this word בָּדַל baḏal – Strong’s H914 is also used in:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 10:10 “so as to make a distinction between the set-apart and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 11:47 “to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the living creature that is eaten and the living creature that is not eaten.”
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.”
Make a distinction between the clean and the unclean!
The Hebrew word that is translated here for ‘clean’ is טָהוֹר tahor – Strong’s H2889 which means, ‘clean, pure, purity, who is clean’ and comes from the root verb טָהֵר taher – Strong’s H2891 and means the following: “to be clean; to cleanse; purify’ made clean”, “properly to be bright; to be pure – that is physically sound, clear, unadulterated, morally innocent”, “to be purged, purify, to declare something or someone clean.”
It is His word that makes us clean as we cleanse ourselves daily through the washing of His Word. It is He who makes us clean – really clean – by His Blood! This Word ‘tâhêr’ is also used in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16:19 where the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the sin offering on the horns of the altar and all around, seven times – 7 as we know signifies perfection and so there is a perfect cleansing, and our perfect reconciliation by the Blood of יהושע!
In Tehillah/Psalm 19 Dawiḏ proclaims that the fear of יהוה is ‘clean’:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 19:9-10 “The fear of יהוה is clean, standing forever; the right-rulings of יהוה are true, they are righteous altogether, 10 more desirable than gold, than much fine gold; and sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.”
The Hebrew word for ‘clean’ here is written in the feminine as טְהוֹרָה – t’horah. When we look at this word in the ancient script we are able to recognise the wonderful aspect of what pure and clean fear of יהוה entails for us as a cleansed Bride:
The original pictograph of these letters (from right to left):
Tet – טְ:
The original pictograph for this letter is , ‘a container made of wicker or clay’. Containers were a very important item among the nomadic Hebrews. They were used for storing grains and other items. Wicker baskets were used as nets for catching fish. The meanings of this letter are ‘basket, contain, store and clay’.
The original pictograph for this letter is , a man standing with his arms raised out. The meaning of the letter is ‘behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation’ from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out. It also carries for us the meaning of surrender as we lift up our hands and submit to יהוה as we lift our hands in praise, declaring His authority under which we humbly submit!
Waw – וֹ:
This is the letter ‘waw’ or ‘vav’ and the ancient pictographic form of this letter is , a peg or ‘tent peg’, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope from slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.
Resh – ר:
The Ancient picture for this letter is , ‘the head of a man’. This letter has the meanings of ‘head or man’ as well as ‘chief, top, beginning or first’.
Now in terms of the cleansing process we see the following message through this pictograph lettering of טְהוֹרָה – t’horah:
We, as ‘clay baskets’ come and surrender and ‘raise our hands’ in acknowledgement and confess our sins/lawlessness before the One who has secured for us His Covenants of Promise in His own Blood – our ‘head’ and High Priest, יהושע Messiah, and we put our lives in the hands of Him who ‘lifts us up’ from the miry clay and makes us clean and purifies us from all unrighteousness!
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 4:7 “And we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power might be of Elohim, and not of us”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 15:26 “Evil thoughts are an abomination to יהוה, but pleasant words are clean”
What we recognise here, in this parable of Shelomoh, is that by saying that pleasant words are clean, we are able to clearly identify how clean and pure the Torah of Elohim is.
His Word is clean and therefore the words that we ought to meditate upon and bring forth on our lips are His clean Words!!!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 12:35 “The good man brings forth what is good from the good treasures of his heart, and the wicked man brings forth what is wicked from the wicked treasure.”
When the Torah is truly upon our hearts, we will think and speak that which is clean, yet when one neglects to meditate day and night on the Torah of Elohim they inevitably will begin to think their own thoughts and bring out the wicked treasure that is abominable to יהוה.
After declaring that the fear of יהוה is clean, Dawiḏ then asks the following:
Tehillah/Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing before You, O יהוה, my rock and my redeemer.”
Our words and thoughts (the meditation of our hearts) are to be pleasing to יהוה, as they are to be in line with His clean, pure and true Word, lest we find that our thoughts and words are wicked and abominable in His sight!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘unclean’ is טָמֵא tamey – Strong’s H2931 which means, ‘unclean, defiled’ and comes from the root verb טָמֵא tamey – Strong’s H2930 which means, ‘to be or become unclean, defiled, become impure’ and when written in the ‘piel form’ which expresses an “intensive” or “intentional” action, it can render the following meaning, ‘to defile: sexually, religiously, or ceremonially; to pronounce or declare unclean; profane the Name of Elohim’.
The Greek word that is used in the LXX (Septuagint) for ‘unclean’ is ἀκάθαρτος akathartos – Strong’s G169 which means, ‘unclean, impure’, and we are told to not ‘touch’ that which is unclean but come out and be separate:
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.”
An adjective derived from this word is the Greek word ἀκαθαρσία akatharsia – Strong’s G167 which means, ‘uncleanness, impurity – physically and in the moral sense: the impurity of lustful, luxurious, extravagant and self-indulgent living’; which we are told should not even be named among us:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:3 “But whoring and all uncleanness, or greed of gain, let it not even be named among you, as is proper among set-apart ones”
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For Elohim did not call us to uncleanness, but in set-apartness.”
The reason for me highlighting these various Hebrew and Greek words, for ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’, is to further help us understand just how important this chapter is, on what is permitted for us to eat and what is not, for in learning to make a distinction between the clean and the unclean, when it comes to what is food and what is not, we are further equipped to discern and make a clear distinction between that which pleases יהוה and that which does not, between that which sets us apart and that which defiles!!!
As we consider this Torah portion that is called ‘Shemini’ – Eighth – we are able to be reminded how we have been cleansed by the Blood of Messiah and that we must make sure that we continue to stay in Him and guard His Word as we meditate on His Torah day and night, learning to properly discern between the set-apart and the profane and be able to make a distinction between the clean and the unclean, so that we are not found to be bringing a strange fire – and that includes what we eat and what we do not eat!!!