This week’s Torah portion is called ‘Qeḏoshim’ – קְדֹשִׁים which means, Set-Apart ones and this is written in the plural of the root word קָדוֹשׁ qaḏosh – Strong’s H6918 which means, ‘set-apart, consecrated’.
This week’s Torah portion continues with the clear instruction for us to be a set-apart people and so, the fitting heading for this portion makes clear the direct command from Elohim for us to be set-apart as He is set-apart and we now dig further into the instructions of ‘how’ we are to be a set-apart people.
We have, through the last Torah portion, learnt that we cannot draw near to Elohim any which way we please, and be found to be offering strange fire as the sons of Aharon did and died, but rather, we are to guard the commands, laws, right-rulings and charge of יהוה and not do as the nations do.
In this week’s Torah portion, we learn more of how we, as a set-apart nation, ought to live and be found to be continually guarding all the commands of Elohim and keep all the Feasts of יהוה as prescribed.
Let us therefore take a closer look at the text and learn how we must continually live set-apart lives and be the ‘qeḏoshim’ – קְדֹשִׁים – Set-Apart ones belonging to יהוה.
The Hebrew root word קָדוֹשׁ qaḏosh – Strong’s H6918 which means, ‘set-apart, consecrated’, comes from the primitive root verb קָדַשׁ qaḏash – Strong’s H6942 which means, ‘to be set-apart, consecrated, dedicated’ – and that is what we have been called to be, and it is from this root, that we get the noun קֹדֶשׁ qoḏesh – Strong’s H6944 which means ‘apartness/ consecrated/ dedicated/ that which is dedicated and separated unto יהוה’ and this word 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!
The word for ‘set-apartness’, in the Greek, is ἁγιασμός hagiasmos – Strong’s G38 – ‘consecration, sanctifying’.
In English, to ‘consecrate’ means ‘to make or declare to be set-apart and be devoted to a purpose with the deepest irrevocable dedication’.
We, as a chosen, set-apart and royal priesthood unto Elohim, declare and make our lives solely devoted to the purpose of serving and worshipping יהוה our Elohim! And as we have certainly learnt, through the Torah portions of ‘drawing near’ to Elohim, we can only do so by the Blood of Messiah and as we are continually being set-apart in Him through an on-going process of being sanctified as a people for a possession.
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 “For this is the desire of Elohim: your set-apartness! – that you should abstain from whoring, 4 that each one of you should know how to possess his own vessel in set-apartness and respect, 5 not in passion of lust, like the gentiles who do not know Elohim, 6 not to overstep and take advantage of his brother in this matter, because the Master is the revenger of all such, as we indeed said to you before and earnestly warned. 7 For Elohim did not call us to uncleanness, but in set-apartness.”
Being set-apart requires the ability of being a people who judge themselves according to יהוה’s standard and are able to rightly discern between the clean and the unclean, the set-apart and the common.
In our ability, in being ready to hear from יהוה, we must recognise that our minds must be continually renewed as we set things apart in our minds as well, no longer being conformed to the standards of the world – for we are now required to live according to the highest standard – that is יהוה’s clear standard for His ‘set-apart ones’ – His ‘Qeḏoshim’ – קְדֹשִׁים.
Those who refuse to judge themselves, or be judged by the Word, can, by definition, never be set apart, as it is clear that their ears are not open to hear and are as Yeshayahu says – they are hearing yet not perceiving!
As יהוה prepared to bring His bride to be into the covenant of betrothal at Mount Sinai, He wanted Yisra’ĕl to have no doubt in their minds that He loves no one but her, as His treasured possession – which He bought at a price.
He came to Mitsrayim to call unto Himself His Bride and destroyed all other false mighty ones before Her face and delivered Her at took her into the Wilderness to speak His commitment of love to Her!
Before beginning our journey through these verses what we must take note of is this:
The use of the 3 phrases: “I AM יהוה, I יהוה your Elohim or I AM יהוה your Elohim” is collectively seen 16 times in this chapter alone! What this emphasises very clearly to us is the fact that in obeying יהוה we come to know Him as the I AM – The One who causes us to be!!!
In this opening verse of the chapter, we again see, as always, that יהוה spoke to Mosheh and commanded him to speak to Yisra’ĕl. This is still the way that יהוה speaks to us today – as we recognise that it is still through ‘Mosheh’ – which is represented metaphorically as being the Torah, for it is through the Torah that we receive His clear instructions for set-apart living.
Verse 2 – Speak to all the congregation!
On most occasions יהוה spoke to Mosheh and then Mosheh spoke to Aharon and the leaders, but here, we see clearly the command for Mosheh to speak to the whole congregation, and the reason for this, is that this message is of vital importance – so much so, that all need to hear it first hand, so that there can be none with any excuse that they did not hear!
What is also clear is that the importance of these words emphasises that the set-apart call is not simply for a select few but rather it is for all the congregation of Yisra’ĕl.
This is an urgent call, for a called out and chosen people, to gird up their loins and listen carefully on how to be set-apart and not be found to be looking like the foreign nations!
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 1:13-16 “Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, set your expectation perfectly upon the favour that is to be brought to you at the revelation of יהושע Messiah, 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance, 15 instead, as the One who called you is set-apart, so you also should become set-apart in all behaviour, 16 because it has been written, “Be set-apart, for I am set-apart.”
The word ‘qeḏoshim’ speaks of us being totally set-apart; set-apart from the world that is. And being separated from all that is not of Yisra’ĕl! This, of course, results in a very harsh response from the rest of the nations, as what truly makes Yisra’ĕl a set-apart and separated nation of priests unto Elohim is His Torah, and His Torah made flesh through the life, death and resurrection gives us our true identity as a people belonging to Elohim as long as we ‘stay’ in Him and walk as He walked!
Another way we could actually describe being set-apart unto Elohim is that we are ‘defined by the Torah’, for in it we find our identity as talmidim (disciples/taught ones) of יהושע Messiah, the Living Torah!
What is made clear, from this verse, is the fact that יהוה makes clear that He is set-apart and He wants us to be like Him, as He paid the price for our sin, in order that we can be redeemed and shaped into His likeness and image; and to know Him is to be like Him and the Torah teaches us ‘how’ we can ‘know’ Him and be like Him!
In being a set-apart nation, a royal priesthood, a chosen people for a possession we must clearly be able to distinguish the difference between clean and unclean and between the profane and the set-apart; which if we do not listen to, and guard to do the Torah, we will not be able to do so!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘speak’ comes from the root word דָּבַר daḇar – Strong’s H1696 which means, ‘to speak, command, counsel, declare, proclaimed, converse, warn, threaten, promise’, and this is also the Hebrew word that is used for ‘WORD’.
In a nutshell, we see here that The Word for Yisra’ĕl is this:
And it is obedience to The WORD that sets us apart!
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 4:1-7 “For the rest then, brothers, we beg you and call upon you in the Master יהושע, that as you received from us how you should walk and to please Elohim, you should excel still more, 2 for you know what commands we gave you through the Master יהושע. 3 For this is the desire of Elohim: your set-apartness! – that you should abstain from whoring, 4 that each one of you should know how to possess his own vessel in set-apartness and respect, 5 not in passion of lust, like the gentiles who do not know Elohim, 6 not to overstep and take advantage of his brother in this matter, because the Master is the revenger of all such, as we indeed said to you before and earnestly warned. 7 For Elohim did not call us to uncleanness, but in set-apartness.”
Set-apartness in the Greek, as mentioned, is ἁγιασμός hagiasmos – Strong’s G38 which means, ‘consecration, sanctifying’.
In English, to ‘consecrate’ means, ‘to make or declare to be set-apart and be devoted to a purpose with the deepest irrevocable dedication’.
We, as chosen, set-apart and royal priesthood unto Elohim, declare, and make, our lives to be solely devoted to the purpose of serving and worshipping יהוה our Elohim. And as we have certainly learnt, through the Torah portions of ‘drawing near’ to Elohim, that we can only do so by the Blood of Messiah and we are continually being set-apart in Him, through an on-going process of being sanctified as a people for a possession.
The Hebrew term that is equivalent to this Greek word ἁγιασμός hagiasmos – Strong’s G38 is קָדוֹשׁ qaḏosh – Strong’s H6918 meaning, ‘consecrated, set-apart’, for which we have been called:
Shemoth/Exodus 19:6 “and you shall be to Me a reign of priests and a set-apart nation.’ Those are the words which you are to speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl.”
Being set-apart has to do with separation and that is exactly what we have been called to do – be separated from that which is of the world, while still living in the world:
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.”
To be set-apart we must not be found to be whoring after the nations as Yisra’ĕl did and were vomited out by the land!
Verse 3 – Fear your mother and father – guard My Sabbaths!
What is interesting here, is that the first instruction after being told to be set-apart, is to fear one’s mother and father and in the same breath, the command to guard the Sabbaths is given too.
On a literal level, this is a clear command to revere the instructions of our parents, who teach and instruct us in the Torah of Elohim and we also know that we are commanded to respect our father and mother and that it is the first command with a promise:
Shemoth/Exodus 20:12 “Respect your father and your mother, so that your days are prolonged upon the soil which יהוה your Elohim is giving you.”
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Master, for this is right. 2 “Respect your father and mother,” which is the first command with promise, 3 in order that it might be well with you, and you might live long on the earth.”
Qolasim/Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all, for this is well-pleasing to the Master.”
What we see clearly from these verses from the Renewed Writings, is that they continue to confirm our need to be a set-apart people who are obeying the Torah of Elohim, and as we live out our lives here, we must, first and foremost, recognise that we are the people of Elohim and we must be totally separated from all that is not of Him.
And here, this chapter gives the practical expression of how we live it out in our daily lives, in relationships with others.
This command to respect/fear our parents, comes with the promise of life and is the beginning of learning how to live set-apart, as we learn to obey our parent’s instructions and take heed to their teaching and discipline.
This, of course, presupposes that the parents are in fact walking set-apart lives too, as parents are held accountable for bringing up their children in the ways of the Torah:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart, 7 and you shall impress them upon your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he turns not away from it.”
We are also warned not to forsake our parent’s instruction:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1:8 “My son, heed the discipline of your father, and do not forsake the Torah of your mother”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6:20 “My son, watch over your father’s command, and do not forsake the Torah of your mother”
When we understand these clear instructions and principles, on a literal level, we further understand the clear picture that obeying our parents foreshadows for us, as children of Elohim who are to obey Him.
We have a Father in Heaven whom we are to obey and heed His discipline, and often, in Scripture, the Torah is likened to that element of being described as being a mother teaching her kids.
And so, as we heed the Father’s very clear discipline and cleave to the Torah, we too will receive the promise of prolonged life here in earth, as we, the meek, shall inherit the earth!
The first instruction we are to heed and not forsake, is to guard the Sabbaths of יהוה!
Shemoth/Exodus 31:14 “And you shall guard the Sabbath, for it is set-apart to you. Everyone who profanes it shall certainly be put to death, for anyone who does work on it, that being shall be cut off from among his people.”
Shemoth/Exodus 31:16 “And the children of Yisra’ĕl shall guard the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant.”
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 5:12 “Guard the Sabbath day, to set it apart, as יהוה your Elohim commanded you.”
The Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary tells us that the word ‘sabbath’ is the middle English form from the Anglo-French and Old English which is from the Latin ‘sabbatum’, which is derived from the Greek ‘sabbaton’ coming originally from the Hebrew ‘shabbāth’ and its literal meaning means rest.
The dictionary goes on to say the following:
1 a: the seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews and some Christians
b: Sunday observed among Christians as a day of rest and worship
2 : a time of rest
According to the definition above we can see two conflicting arguments as to which day is Sabbath and what determines the Sabbath. The seventh day of the week being observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening by both Jew and Christian, yet at the same time it also states, ‘Sunday observance’ as the Sabbath and can this be correct?
Well, what we ought to determine, firstly, is the root of the word ‘Sabbath’, in its original form and then determine the numbering of the days of the week, and when a day starts, in order to get the fuller picture to become clear.
In the account given to us in Berěshith/Genesis 2, on creation, we do not see the specific word: שַׁבָּת shabbâth – Strong’s H7676 being used, however, we do see the root from which the word is derived in Chapter 2:2-3:
Berěshith/Genesis 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 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.”
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘seventh’ is שְּׁבִיעִי shâḇiy`iy – Strong’s H7637 which simply means seventh. What seventh?
In Hebrew, the root word that is typically used for ‘day’, is יוֹם yom – Strong’s H3117 which means, ‘day, time, continually, day (as in a 24-hour period)’.
Elohim completed His work on the 7th day and then rested on it, and the Hebrew word that is translated as ‘rested’, here in verse 3, is שָׁבַת shâḇath – Strong’s H7673 which means, ‘rest’ – and by that, I mean that it primarily means, ‘to desist from exertion’.
The difference between shabbâth – Strong’s H7676 and שָׁבַת shâḇath – Strong’s H7673 is that שַׁבָּת shabbâth – Strong’s H7676 is the intensive form, coming from שָׁבַת shâḇath – Strong’s H7673, which means ‘to rest or observe’ and the intensive form of שַׁבָּת shabbâth – Strong’s H7676 refers specifically to ‘THE’ Sabbath, as in ‘THE’ 7th day of the week.
It was on this very day – the 7th day of the week, that Elohim set-apart one specific day from the others and He very specifically He blessed this 7th day to be a day of rest in Him.
This has greater implications for us, as we understand how the creation week itself, gives us great insight in His redemptive plan and His Appointed Times and so, to misunderstand, or incorrectly recognise, the 7th day as a clear marker for us, could be detrimental to us knowing Him and walking fully in Him, as we should.
As we can see from Scripture, Elohim blessed, and set apar,t the 7th day, not the 1st or 2nd or 3rd etc. – He blessed the 7th day and set it (7th day) apart from the rest.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘guard’ comes from the root word שָׁמַר shamar – Strong’s H8104 which carries the meaning, ‘keep watch’, ‘observe’, ‘perform’, ‘protect’, ‘pay attention’, and the basic idea of the root of this word is ‘to exercise great care over’.
We are to ‘exercise great care over observing and keeping’ His Sabbath.
As we guard His Torah, and exercise great care over our need to walk upright, we will be protected against the luring lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eyes that the whore tries to use against her prey.
When one is ‘guarding’ something, being ‘awake’ and alert is imperative or else, the risk of a theft or loss of possessions are high.
One of the biggest problems we find today, among claiming Torah observant followers of Messiah, is their ability to quickly compromise their diligent duty required in guarding the Sabbath, and we must take great care to not be found slipping in the slightest!
When used in combination with other verbs, the meaning of this root verb is ‘do carefully or diligently’, i.e. perform carefully by paying strict attention as to what must be done, as it expresses the careful attention to be paid to the obligations of a covenant, to laws, statutes, etc.
What is interesting, in taking note of, is the frequent use of the word שָׁמַר shamar – Strong’s H8104 in the Torah.
It is used 139 times in the Torah – 15 times in Berěshith/Genesis, 24 times in Shemoth/Exodus; 16 times in Bemiḏbar/Numbers and 65 times in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy!!!
With Deḇarim/Deuteronomy being seen and understood as the ‘second reading of the Torah’, as it was the instructions given to the new generation, we can see why the greater emphasis on the use of שָׁמַר shamar – Strong’s H8104 to the generation that was about to enter into the Promised Land!
This teaches us how we too must place much emphasis on the guarding of the Word, lest we find that we are not found worthy to enter into the Reign of Messiah, for a lack of knowledge and discipline in the Word!
We, as set-apart people, must guard the Sabbath – why?
THE SABBATH IS A SIGN
Why the Sabbath is of utmost importance to us, and what we are to quickly realise, is that our sign, or mark, of our worship unto יהוה our Elohim, is, in fact, seen in our remembering to ‘keep’ His Sabbath.
Sabbath observance is key to worship! In fact, it is our definitive sign that sets us apart from others.
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 20:12 “And I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, to know that I AM יהוה who sets them apart!”
Shemoth/Exodus 31:16-17 “And the children of Yisra’ĕl shall guard the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant. 17 ‘Between Me and the children of Yisra’ĕl it is a sign forever. For in six days יהוה made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”
We, as His children, are to ‘guard’ and ‘observe’ the Sabbath for all time! יהוה makes it very clear, in the above two passages, that the Sabbath is, in fact, the sign that we are His!!!
How awesome is that! His Sabbath is a sign of His power to create and His power to redeem.
In the Scriptures, the words seal, sign, mark, and token are used interchangeably.
Elohim’s sign, the Sabbath, represents His mighty power to rule as Creator and Saviour, and it is a sign forever, between us, as children of Yisra’ĕl and Elohim!!!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 4:9 “So there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim.”
You cannot get any clearer than this verse, although it has sadly been twisted into many erroneously teaching that this Sabbath rest, being spoken of here, only refers to the millennial reign, which is simply a twisted lie of the enemy.
The Greek word that is used here for ‘Sabbath-keeping’ is: σαββατισμός ‘sabbatismos’ – Strong’s G4520 which literally means ‘a Sabbath keeping’ or ‘Sabbath observance’ and is very clear in its instruction for us today; that to keep Sabbath is still of vital importance – after all it is an everlasting sign for us – a sign that will prove to be a critical dividing factor in showing who truly worships Elohim and who does not!
The weekly Sabbath-keeping, is not only for us a sign, but it is also the first of His Commanded Appointed Time of all His Appointed Times, according to Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:1-2. יהוה has given us this day as a sign of His everlasting covenant and what we must therefore also realise, is that the enemy will always have a counterfeit sign, in seeking any means at luring people into the delusion of false worship, making people believe that they are in fact worshipping the Creator, when clearly, they are in error by having the wrong ‘sign’ of their worship.
I have taken an excerpt from the book Fossilized Customs by Lew White showing some quotes by various theologians and preachers of the past:
(From pages 86 & 87 Fossilized Customs – sixth edition)
Below are quotes from theologians and preachers from a wide spectrum of denominations who have been very open in ADMITTING that there is no Scriptural authority for observing Sun-day as a Sabbath:
ANGLICAN / EPISCOPAL
Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, vol. 1, pp. 334, 336:
“And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded
to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day . . . The reason we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it.”
T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884:
“I have repeatedly offered $1000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the Holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy’. The Catholic Church says: ‘NO. By my divine power I abolish
the Sabbath day, and command you to keep holy the first day of the week’. And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.”
Canon Eyton, The Ten Commandments, pp. 52, 63, 65:
“There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday . . . Into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters . . . The observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday.”
Bishop Seymour, Why We Keep Sunday:
“We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy Catholic Church.”
Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, a paper read before the New York ministers’ conference, Nov. 13, 1893, reported in New York Examiner, Nov. 16, 1893:
“There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week. Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament—absolutely not. To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years’ intercourse with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question . . . Never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history. . . But what a pity it comes branded with the mark of Paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!”
William Owen Carver, The Lord’s Day In Our Day:
“There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath to the Christian first-day observance.”
Dr. R.W. Dale, The Ten Commandments (New York: Eaton & Mains), p. 127-129:
“It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath . . . The Sabbath was founded on a specific Divine command. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday . . . There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.”
Timothy Dwight, Theology; Explained and Defended (1823), Ser. 107, vol. 3, p. 258:
The Christian Sabbath [Sunday] is not in the Scriptures, and was not by the primitive Church called the Sabbath.”
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, Feb. 2, 1824, vol. 1, no. 7, p. 164:
“’But’, say some, ‘it was changed from the seventh to the first day’. Where? When? And by whom? No man can tell. NO; it never was changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through again; for the reason assigned must be changed before the observance, or respect to the reason, can be changed! It is all old wives’ fables to talk of the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that
august personage changed it who changes times and laws EX OFFICIO– I think his name is DOCTOR ANTICHRIST.”
First Day Observance, pp. 17, 19:
“The first day of the week is commonly called the Sabbath. This is a mistake. The Sabbath of the Bible was the day just proceeding the first day of the week. The first day of the week is never called the Sabbath anywhere in the entire Scriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change.”
The Sunday Problem, a study book of the United Lutheran Church (1923), p. 36:
“We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish Sabbath faded from the mind of the Christian Church, and how completely the newer thought underlying the observance of the first day took possession of the church. We have seen that the Christians of the first three centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated both.”
Augsburg Confession of Faith., art. 28; written by Melanchthon, approved by Martin Luther, 1530; as published in The Book of Concord of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Henry Jacobs, ed. (1911), p. 63:
“They [Roman Catholics] refer to the Sabbath Day, as having been changed into the Lord’s Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath Day. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments!”
Dr. Augustus Neander, The History of the Christian Religion and Church, Henry John Rose, tr. (1843), p. 186:
“The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divine Command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.”
John Theodore Mueller, Sabbath or Sunday:
“But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh day had to be kept by the children of Israel . . . These churches err in their teaching, for Scripture has in no way ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in
the New Testament to that effect.”
John Wesley, The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., John Emory, ed. (New York: Eaton & Mains), Sermon 25, vol. 1, p. 221:
“But, the Moral Law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, he [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design of His coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken . . . Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of God and the
nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other.”
DWIGHT L. MOODY D.L. Moody, Weighed and Wanting, pp. 7, 48:
“The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word ‘remember’, showing that the Sabbath already existed when God wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with when they will admit that the other nine are still binding?”
T.C. Blake, D.D., Theology Condensed, pp. 474:
“The Sabbath is a part of the Decalogue-the Ten Commandments. This alone forever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution. Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole Moral Law has been repealed, the Sabbath will stand . . . The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath.”
(Taken from Fossilized Customs by Lew White – sixth edition pages 86-87)
Ok, I am sure that if you had never read, or heard of, any of these clear confessions before, then you may be a little stunned, to say the least… and you should be!
So why then is there still such a fight, and struggle, to simply follow the Truth of Scripture?
The enemy wants control and so, through the paganised programme of Christianity, which has syncretised Truth with the error of sun-worship, has in fact, drawn many to take on the ‘mark of the beast’.
The papacy has declared that ‘Sun-day observance’ is her ‘mark’ of Authority.
Now, for many people reading this, the common error that is often too quickly jumped too, is the declaration that they are not Catholic, so it does not apply to them.
The plain truth, is that the Catholic Church is the mother of Christianity – she is the whore who has made the nations drunk with here maddening adulteries and has brought forth many children – consisting of the 1000’s of various denominations that exist within Christianity today and the sign, or mark, of the authority, and worship, of the whore and the Beast, is none other than ‘sun-day observance’.
One only has to look around the Vatican website, at the Catechisms, to see how man has deliberately changed the Word of Elohim, to suite his own agenda and have power and control over man – and the sign of this authority has been established, by the institution of Sun-day observance that, according to traditions of man, which have now been instituted as law, has replaced the Sabbath with a counterfeit day or days!
Listen to this quote from the Catholic Catechisms, # 2190:
2190 The sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.
WHERE DOES IT SAY THIS IN SCRIPTURE??? NOWHERE – YOU WILL NOT FIND THIS ANYWHERE IN THE WORD OF ELOHIM – WHY? BECAUSE HIS SABBATH HAS NEVER CHANGED AND NEVER WILL!
Some more quotes taken from the Vatican website in their catechisms regarding the Sabbath and what they call the Lord’s Day (Bearing in mind that Ba’al means ‘Lord’):
(Copied and pasted directly from the website: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7O.HTM)
106 St. Justin, I Apol. 67: PG 6, 429 and 432.
We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.
108 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Magn. 9, 1: SCh 10, 88.
Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord’s Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.
109 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II 122, 4.
2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship “as a sign of his universal beneficence to all.”
Notice this last statement (109) by St. Thomas Aquinas – ‘Sunday observance as a sign’.
But wait a minute – יהוה has given us a sign – His Sabbath – so who is man to change that?
The Word is clear – do not add or take away! Man has clearly taken away and added, in this one severe change of what יהוה has instituted, from the Creation week, as a perpetual sign of His Everlasting Covenant with His children.
What we need to understand is that there is a clear wrestle for worship. Satan wants man to worship him and will stop at nothing, in doing everything he can to achieve this.
What each person needs to ask themselves is simply this: “Who am I worshipping?”
And this will become clear by the ‘sign’ or ‘mark’ of their worship and that is in either keeping the Sabbath of יהוה or in subjecting themselves to Sun-day observance (which is ‘the dare of the Church’)!
For unity in the Roman Empire, Emperor Constantine, while bowing down to the sun and praying to the sun-deity Mithras, saw and image in the sky as he looked up. And that image was the “cross”, which simply happens as the light of the sunrise defrags and causes the light to be ‘split’. Yet he saw this as a sign of how he would be able to gain control over the world through religion and thus, he declared ‘Christianity’ to be the state religion and while he continued to worship the sun, moon and stars, he declared that everyone was to give honour to ‘Sol Dies’ or ‘Sol Invictus’, which means ‘the unconquered sun/ unconquerable sun’.
This decree was made under a penalty of death for all who refused to bow down to the ‘sun’.
Many true believers did flee, while most submitted to this new religious system in fear of their lives.
In the formulation of this decree it was declared that all ‘Christians’ must now worship on the ‘Day of the Sun’ and anyone who was found to be ‘keeping’, what he called the ‘Jewish’ Sabbath would be put to death!!!
Hence, Constantine initiated a change in times and commanded appointments for which Scripture warns us would happen:
Dani’ěl/Daniel 7:25 “and it speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times and law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time.”
The ‘it’, in this verse, is referring to the 4th beast, as described in Dani’ěl/Daniel 7.
It speaks blasphemy against the Most-High, and intends to change appointed times and law.
Intends to change – that is that despite man’s efforts at changing any of the Creator’s times, they will never succeed – they may follow their own schedule – yet the one that matters, and is of utmost importance, is our Creator’s Appointed Times, whilst also understanding that His Sabbath is critical in this topic.
To ‘change law’ is simply to become ‘lawless’ as changing ‘law’ leads to lawlessness and it is the lawless that will be judged!
‘Mark’ on the hand and/or forehead
Ḥazon/Revelation 13:16 “And he causes all, both small and great, and rich and poor, and free and slave, to be given a mark upon their right hand or upon their foreheads.”
What is this ‘mark’ being spoken of here?
There are so many theories and much guess work in this, however, as one looks at Scripture, the reality of what this mark is, becomes clear.
I have just discussed how the Sabbath is a ‘sign’ between us and יהוה, and also how the catholic church are very vocal, in their arrogant declaration, in saying that they changed the Sabbath to Sun-day worship and the mere fact that people observe this is proof of their ecclesiastical power:
“The Convert’s catechism of Catholic Doctrine” pg. 50, third edition tells us more of where the Sunday Sabbath came from. “We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 364), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”
Who changed the day, Elohim or man?
We find this answer declared by Cardinal Gibbons, “The Catholic church by virtue of her divine mission changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”
“A doctrinal Catechism” by Stephen Keenan, pg. 174 tells us that the Universal Church authorities was asked, “Have you any other way of proving that the church (RC) has power to institute festivals of precept? They responded with, “Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her- she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no scriptural authority.”
So, on one hand you have the Catholic Church declaring her authority, in the fact that she claims to have the authority to ‘change’ Scripture, while יהוה makes it very clear to us, in Scripture, that He does not change!!!
The dilemma that those who claim to worship the Creator are faced with, is whether they will follow man or follow the Truth – the unchangeable Word of Elohim – will they accept the Truth or the Dare?
Let us look at the true understanding of the right hand and the forehead:
The ‘mark of the beast, as described in Ḥazon/Revelation, is not limited to being a visible mark – but rather, it is an “action”. To have the mark received on the right hand, means that it is ‘performed’ – in other words, an action is performed but does not necessarily mean that the person believes it to be the right thing to do, as they may just be ‘going with the flow’, in ignorance.
To have the mark upon the ‘forehead’, represents one’s intellect and cognitive decision-making process, where one chooses to accept the action of submission to an authority that they follow.
To receive the ‘mark’ on the forehead then, implies that the action is performed without any regret or remorse – like a whore without shame and therefore, indicates that the person performing the action is in full agreement with the act.
So, in line of what we are discussing here, in regard to worship, it is clear that the one who actively performs the agreed submission to the decrees of the one they worship, will reveal whose mark, or sign, they have upon their right hands and foreheads.
If one chooses to ‘work’ on the Sabbath and observe sun-day worship, then they must realise that they are taking on the mark of the beast upon their right hand and when they do this willingly and are in agreement with all the decrees of man, in following the lies that the Sabbath has been done away with, or changed, then they are taking the mark upon their forehead.
The use of the term “Right hand” implies work and “forehead” implies a clear conscious choice.
When you willingly choose to walk in obedience to the commands of the Creator and remember to keep the True Sabbath and do not work on the Sabbath and willing choose to ‘delight’ in the Sabbath, then we are ‘marked’ by יהוה.
The Sabbath is יהוה’s set-apart day for us to come together and delight in Him and not do our own pleasure nor even think our own thoughts:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you do turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My set-apart day, and shall call the Sabbath ‘a delight,’ the set-apart day of יהוה ‘esteemed,’ and shall esteem it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, 14 then you shall delight yourself in יהוה. And I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth, and feed you with the inheritance of Ya’aqoḇ your father. For the mouth of יהוה has spoken!”
When looking at the Hebrew word שַׁבָּת Sabbath – Strong’s H7676, in the ancient pictographic text, we recognise the importance of our proper observance of His Sabbaths as we see the following being rendering in the pictographic letters:
Shin – שַׁ:
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.
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.
Taw – ת
The ancient script has this letter as which is pictured as two crossed sticks, and can represent for us ‘seal, covenant, mark or sign’; as this once again points to the complete work of Messiah in the renewal of the Covenant in His Blood that brings the two Houses of Yisra’ĕl and Yehuḏah together in Him, as One, for He is not only the ‘aleph’, but is also the ‘taw’ – the beginning and the end of all creation!
As we look at the rendering of the word שַׁבָּת Sabbath – Strong’s H7676 in the ancient pictographic lettering, we are able see the following:
THE WORD OF THE HOUSE IS SEALED
This emphasises how the Sabbath is a sign that we are the House of Elohim, for it is His Word that marks us and the sign of that mark, is our proper observance of His Sabbaths!
If we do not guard to keep and observe His Sabbaths, then we are not sealed, nor are we guarding His Covenant that His Blood causes us to be grafted in to and the one who does not observe the Sabbaths of Elohim shall be cut off from His Everlasting Covenants of Promise!
Verse 4 – Do not turn to idols
Shemoth/Exodus 20:3-6 “You have no other mighty ones against My face. 4 “You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth, 5 you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘turn’ comes from the root word פָּנָה panah – Strong’s H6437 meaning, ‘to turn, turn towards a direction’, and in order for us to ‘turn towards a direction’ we must ‘turn from’ another direction!
We must learn to ‘turn our backs’ on many things that we picked up in the enslavement of Mitsrayim and all its inherited lies and dogmas of man, especially after the hearing of the Torah, in recognition of where and what we are heading for!
Having then ‘turned away from’ the world and the things of the flesh, in order to follow and serve our Master and Elohim, we need to heed this warning to not ‘turn back’ to the worthless ways from which we have been redeemed from.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘idols’, here in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19, comes from the root word אֱלִיל eliyl – Strong’s H457 which means, ‘insufficiency, worthlessness, things of nought, idol, no value, good for nothing’.
The instruction is clear – do not turn to worthless, things of nought – things that do not matter!
Do not turn to things that do not exist in the false hope of allusions that can never deliver what you expect – in fact anything outside of יהוה is worthless!
Do not put your trust in things of nought:
Shemuʼĕl Aleph/1 Samuel 12:21 “and do not turn aside after worthless matters which do not profit or deliver, for they are worthless.”
How will we be best equipped to recognise that which is worthless against that which is not?
By knowing the real thing with great intimacy!
We are to be intimately engaged in seeking out and knowing the set-apart matters of Elohim, and intimacy takes effort, diligence and much well laboured time with our Creator, Redeemer and King learning His True ways that we will be able to separate the worthless from the Truth!
Dawiḏ expressed his desire to only look at and seek the matters that matter:
Tehillah/Psalm 119:37 “Turn away my eyes from looking at falsehood, and revive me in Your way.”
So many today are not turning their eyes from falsehood and, as a result, are finding themselves turning to worthless matters that are only enslaving them to falsehood and are therefore, unable to be truly revived in The Way – for our Messiah, יהושע, the Word made flesh – the Living Torah, is The Way, The Truth and The Life!!!
When we turn to the True Master the veil of worthless falsehood that has gripped so many to destruction is removed!
The bottom line is this – anything that we find ourselves submitting to that is not clearly defined by the Torah is in danger of being an idol; whether it be a physical object or a commitment to a purpose that seems right or even an idea that will in the end prove to be pursued in vain!
Verse 5-8 – Messiah our Peace Offering!
The Peace offering speaks of our fellowship.
Now that we have been atoned for and share in the Meal offering of Pěsaḥ, remembering our Messiah, we are now able to draw near to Elohim for now we have peace with Him!
Romiyim/Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been declared right by belief, we have peace with Elohim through our Master יהושע Messiah”
This offering represents our intimacy with Messiah and with one another as a body being knit together by Him!
The Hebrew word that is used here for the peace offerings is שְׁלָמִים ‘shelemim’ which is the plural of the word שֶׁלֶם shelem – Strong’s H8002 which means, ‘a sacrifice for alliance or friendship, peace offering’ and this word comes from the root verb שָׁלֵם shalem – Strong’s H7999 which means, ‘to be complete or sound, finished, fully repay, make and end, make full restitution’.
This is such a wonderful picture, as we dig into the meaning of these words, for they all declare the great and full restitution that Messiah has done for us that we may be complete and sound in Him!
A word that is derived from this root verb שָׁלֵם shalem – Strong’s H7999 is the word that we all may use on a frequent basis, which is the Hebrew word שָׁלוֹם shalom – Strong’s H7965 which means, ‘completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, prosperity, health, safety, security’.
The root meaning of שָׁלוֹם shalom – Strong’s H7965 is to be whole or sound, and this leads to various translations that speak of completeness, wholeness, well-being, welfare and peace.
This word שָׁלוֹם shalom – Strong’s H7965 also includes the idea of vigour and vitality, in all dimensions of life.
Shalom carries a wealth of meaning that is almost impossible to summarise in a few sittings, yet the concept of shalom entails a completeness and wholeness in our Master and Elohim, who has redeemed us from enslavement to the chaos of sin!
In the ancient pictographic text, the Hebrew word שָׁלוֹם shalom – Strong’s H7965 looks like this:
Shin – שֵׁ:
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.
Lamed – לֵ:
The ancient script has this letter as , and is pictured as a ‘shepherd’s staff’, can give the meaning of ‘to or toward’ and can represent that which pushes or pulls a flock in a direction, and can speak of authority or a yoke that is used to lead and guide, as well as the ability to bring back by Authority.
Waw/Vav – וּ:
This is the Hebrew letter ‘waw’ or ‘vav’ which in the ancient script is pictured as , which 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’ as well as ‘bind’.
Mem – מ:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. Knowing this letter represents ‘water’, we are also able to see how this can render for us the meaning of ‘washing’ or ‘cleansing’.
Now when looking at this word in the ancient pictographic script, we are able to recognise what the true Shalom of Elohim brings and does for us, for its ancient meaning could be rendered, among others, as follows:
THAT WHICH DESTROYS OR BREAKS THE FALSE AUTHORITY THAT BOUND US TO THE CHAOS OF THE NATIONS!
And further, it also renders the meaning:
THE WORD OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD THAT SECURES FOR US A COMPLETE CLEANSING!
This word speaks of a complete restoration of what was lost and broken and ensures the provision for what is needed to make one whole and complete, lacking nought!
For we have been given all we need for life and reverence, having been grafted into the Covenant of Peace by the Blood of Messiah!
This offering was brought, as a freewill offering, in thanksgiving for peace, friendship and fellowship they experienced with יהוה and His faithfulness to fulfil the Covenant to them.
It was a volunteer gift to bless יהוה or offered as praise to Him.
Qolasim/Colossians 1:19-23 “Because in Him all the completeness was well pleased to dwell, 20 and through Him to completely restore to favour all unto Himself, whether on earth or in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of His stake. 21 And you, who once were estranged and enemies in the mind by wicked works, but now He has completely restored to favour 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you set-apart, and blameless, and unreprovable before Him, 23 if indeed you continue in the belief, founded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the expectation of the Good News which you heard, which was proclaimed to every creature under the heaven, of which I, Sha’ul, became a servant”
We are now able to continually partake in this voluntary offering of peace, as we fellowship together in unity of spirit and allow our hearts to be knit together as one, and, as a body, we can draw near to Elohim each and every week, on His Shabbat, and His Feast Days and be further equipped to dwell in peace with one another.
As you may notice here, in these verses, יהוה sets a standard, and that is, with the peace offerings, unleavened bread must be brought too and this clearly speaks of community, as bread is a picture of community:
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 10:17 “Because there is one bread, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”
What this pictures for us here, in regards to the peace or thanksgiving offerings, is that we cannot truly offer up a thanksgiving offering if we are not serving His Body, our community!!!
The slaughtering of the peace offering may, if it was a vow or a voluntary offering, be eaten on the next day. However, on the 3rd day it was not allowed to be eaten as this would render the offering to be regarded as unaccepted and would be regarded as unclean to him who brought it and anyone who eats of it would be guilty too!
This is perfect picture of the work of Messiah and the Appointed Times of Elohim.
2 days the peace offering would be acceptable to eat! יהושע, our High Priest, through His sacrifice and offering of Himself we have peace with Elohim and we are able to ‘eat’ of the flesh of this peace offering for 2 days only.
Let me explain this wonderful picture being described here:
Kěpha tells us that we should not let one matter be hidden form us:
Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved ones, let not this one matter be hidden from you: that with יהוה one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Here is a wonderful clue into the great plan and appointed times of יהוה, for when this one matter is hidden form you then you will not understand His Plans and the fullness of His Word.
However, when understanding this then it makes great sense in that the Creation week of 7 days in itself relates to us His plan for 7000 years and the sure promise of an eternal rest in Him!
When understanding Creation, we know clearly that ‘LIGHT’ came to be on the very first day and the LIGHT was good! On the 4th day gave the appointment for the ‘lights’ and gave them for His Appointed Times (Feasts) and gave the rule in order to separate the light from the darkness.
When we understand that which Kěpha tells us what should not be hidden from us, then we are able to clearly see how, יהושע, The LIGHT of the world, who was in the beginning, came and dwelt among us on the 4th day (4th Millennium) and through His sacrifice separated the light from the darkness and called us out of darkness into His marvellous light! Being our peace offering, we have been ‘clothed in Him’ and we have been permitted to eat of His Flesh for 2 days (5th and 6th Millennium).
Anyone who is found to ‘eat’ or try to partake in sharing in His offering on the 3rd day (7Th Millennium) will bear his own crookedness for the peace offering is no longer accepted, as the 2 days are over! It is crucial for us to understand this, for we see the same picture being given at Mount Sinai when Yisra’ĕl was given ‘2 days’ to get ready and on the 3rd Day:
Shemoth/Exodus 19:10-11 “And יהוה said to Mosheh, “Go to the people and set them apart today and tomorrow. And they shall wash their garments, 11 and shall be prepared by the third day. For on the third day יהוה shall come down upon Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people.”
2 Days to wash their garments and be prepared by the 3rd – this was the allocation for the Bride to prepare herself, for on the 3rd Day He came down before the eyes of all.
This will once again happen, as we shall see that on the 3rd day (that is the 7th day or 7th millennium) יהושע shall come down and every eye shall see Him and those who did not eat of His flesh during the 2 days permitted will be found guilty and would bear their own crookedness, while those who have partaken in the Peace Offering of Messiah during the 2 days will be cleansed form all guilt and death shall no longer have mastery over them!
Verse 9-10 – do not reap the corners
This is a clear instruction that would certainly test many in regard to being generous or being selfish!
When one had gleaned over their field, they were not to go over it again or reap from the ‘corners’, for this would be the provision left for the poor and needy.
This leaving of the corners would certainly require faith, remembering that this is an instruction which applies after the giving of the tithe of your harvest – how much of your hard work are you willing to donate to the poor and needy among you???
This was a way of providing for the whole community. Now while this is not a free hand-out to the poor and needy, it was for those who did not have their own fields to work in and were possibly the hired servants that actually worked the field.
The story of Ruth and Boaz is a wonderful picture of this instruction being obeyed as Ruth gleaned from the fields of Boaz, her Kinsman Redeemer and is a picture of Messiah and His called our Bride.
In this instruction, in regard to the gleanings and that which was left on the corners of the field, the farmer cannot choose those who deserve to receive it; he has to leave that to יהוה‘s sovereign justice. If we worry about the part that is left behind, we will not carry out the things that we ARE responsible to do–serve each other and become a community, a Temple for Him to fill.
The Hebrew word that is translated as corner comes from the root word פֵּאָה peah – Strong’s H6285 and means, ‘corner, boundary, side, extremity, end, quarter, edge’.
Now while there is no specific measurement for what constitutes one’s ‘edge’, it is clear that each one has an obligation to leave the edges, and while some may make their edges small and other large, what we see here is the value of ‘faith in action’ and trust in יהוה‘s provision for the entire community.
Today we are able to see how some crop fields are reaped in circles and so this would naturally create an ‘edge’ or ‘corners’ in a square or rectangular piece of land and so, how far would one’s circles reach with the equipment and how much would be left for the poor and needy in the community would certainly test the heart of each farmer and his commitment, to the life of the shared community, in helping equip others who lack or do not have by sharing what he has in abundance!
Today, not many of us have farms or fields to plough, but all of us who do have abundance in our lives, ought to share with others, especially the poor among us and the fatherless, widows and orphans.
Verses 11-18 – watch your tongue!
Do not lie, cheat or steal!
The Hebrew root word that is translated as ‘lie’ is שָׁקַר shaqar – Strong’s H8266 which means, ‘to do or deal falsely, lie’, and the Hebrew root word that is translated as ‘cheat’ is כָּחַשׁ kaḥash – Strong’s H3584 which means, ‘to be untrue, to lie, deny, disown, fail’.
The Hebrew root word that is translated as ‘steal’ is גָּנַב ganaḇ – Strong’s H1589 which means, ‘to steal, kidnap, be stolen, take without consent’.
In speaking of the righteous remnant that shall be delivered, we are told in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 63:8 “And He said, “They are My people, children who do not act falsely.” And He became their Saviour.”
The true remnant Bride of Elohim does not act falsely or lie!
In the account of Aḵan who stole that which was under the ban we are told in:
Yehoshua/Joshua 7:11 “Yisra’ĕl has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of that which is under the ban, and have both stolen and deceived, and also put it among their own goods.”
יהוה says that they had ‘stolen’ and ‘deceived’, where both words – גָּנַב ganaḇ – Strong’s H1589 and כָּחַשׁ kaḥash – Strong’s H3584 is used!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘deceived’ is כָּחַשׁ kaḥash – Strong’s H3584 which means, ‘to be untrue, to lie, deny, disown, fail’, and we see this word being used in:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 30:8-9 “Remove falsehood and a lying word far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me my lawful bread; 9 Lest I become satisfied and deny You, and say, “Who is יהוה?” And lest I be poor, and steal, and seize the Name of my Elohim.”
The Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word כָּחַשׁ kaḥash – Strong’s H3584 is ἀρνέομαι arneomai – Strong’s G720 which means, ‘contradict, deny, reject, renounce, disown’, and Sha’ul warns Timotiyos to turn away from people who deceive and deny, people who have a form of reverence, yet deny the power of the Truth being fully functional in their lives:
Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of reverence but denying its power. and turn away from these!”
Turn away from who?
Those who are untrue to the Covenant and do as they please, without seeking the clear guidance of the Word as being the prescribed standard for set-apart living!
Turn away from those who claim to be righteous yet they claim that the standard of righteousness has changed!
The Greek word used in the LXX for ‘steal’ is κλέπτω kleptō – Strong’s G2813 which means, ‘steal, commit theft’, and is used in:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:28-29 “Let him who stole steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, so that he has somewhat to share with those in need. 29 Let no corrupt word come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for the use of building up, so as to impart what is pleasant to the hearers.”
It is from this Greek word that we get the English word ‘kleptomania’ which is a persistent neurotic impulse to steal especially without any economic motive.
Look at the warning that is given for practising deceit and speaking lies:
Tehillah/Psalm 101:7 “He who practises deceit does not dwell in my house; he who speaks lies does not stand in my presence.”
The Hebrew word that is translated here for ‘deceit’ is רְמִיָּה remiyyah – Strong’s H7423 which means, ‘deceit, treachery, slothful, slack, idle’, which comes from the root verb רָמָה ramah – Strong’s H7411 which means, ‘to beguile, betray, deal treacherously with’.
Practising deceit and speaking lies and falsehood will keep you out of the House of Elohim!!!
Qolasim/Colossians 3:9 “Do not lie to each other, since you have put off the old man with his practices”
Here in Qolasim/Colossians, the Greek word for ‘lie’ is ψεύδομαι pseudomai – Strong’s G5574 which means, ‘to lie, speak deliberate falsehoods’.
To steal, is not limited to the theft or unauthorised taking of physical possessions only, as one can also be found to be stealing another’s time, joy, courage, or strength or even somebody’s reputation, through the use of slander and gossip; or taking advantage of another’s kindness in making the person feel they have to do more than they already have done so freely with joy and kindness of heart.
To lie, deceive or steal are all variations of the same thing as deceit can also be a form of stealing, just as lying can, and to be found doing any of these reveals a lack of the character of Messiah being shaped and fashioned in one’s life and as we see from the above verses, those who practice such, risk being expelled from the Kingdom!
To ‘swear’, in Hebrew, comes from the root word שָׁבַע shaḇa – Strong’s H7650 which means, ‘to swear, exchange oaths, take an oath, vow’, and here we are clearly commanded not to do so ‘falsely’, which is the word שֶׁקֶר sheqer – Strong’s H8267 which means, ‘deception, disappointment, falsehood’, and comes from the root verb we have already mentioned for ‘lie’, which is שָׁקַר shaqar – Strong’s H8266 which means, ‘to do or deal falsely, lie’
To not swear falsely in יהוה‘s Name is a very serious instruction!
Many do this as they pass off their own agendas and ideas as that of יהוה.
It also speaks of not fulfilling something that we have declared to complete; and now we have all said we will follow His commands and obey them as we have dedicated our lives to following Messiah and therefore we must be careful not to be found faltering in our commitment, for this would be an example of ‘swearing falsely’ in His Name when we fail to do that which we have committed to doing and being marked and sealed as a set-apart nation unto Him!
Messiah reiterates this command by saying we should not swear falsely by anything, but rather let our yes be yes and our no be no as anything beyond this is form the evil one!!!
He was not saying that we cannot swear or make an oath – He was saying that we should not do it falsely!!! Do not give your word and then break it!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:33-37 “Again, you heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to יהוה.’ 34 “But I say to you, do not swear vainly at all, neither by the heaven, because it is Elohim’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Yerushalayim, for it is the city of the great Sovereign; 36 nor swear by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. 37 “But let your word ‘Yea’ be ‘Yea,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’ And what goes beyond these is from the wicked one.”
The reason that the Scriptures 2009 edition has correctly inserted the word ‘vainly’ in verse 34, is that we find that the Shem Tob Hebrew text of Mattithyahu/Matthew has ‘vainly’ and could be literally rendered into English as, “do not swear, to lie”, in other words do not swear through deceit, let you yes be yes and your no be no – do not do so deceivingly at all!
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 the 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 in the stroke of the pen, so to speak, 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.
Similar looking letters at first glance and hence the words, even at a glance, may seem to be the same, while they are the total opposite of each other!
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 is, between pure worship and profanity!
Let me tell you why I find this very interesting, in the closeness of these words – we see in the world today that there are many who claim to be born again believers of the Almighty, yet in their attempt at worship they are simply offering profane worship and they cannot distinguish between the set-apart and the profane, because they do not submit to a proper guarding and doing of the Torah! The ‘church’ today is profaning the Name of יהוה and have not only brought His Name to nought, but have profaned it by treating it with abuse, irreverence and contempt!
Profaning the Name of יהוה literally means to ‘bore or pierce, weaken or wound’, and we have seen how the western church, at large, has done this by the impact of adding/replacing His Name with pagan rooted titles and names, out of a supposed respect for His True Name and character, while, in the process, are simply profaning His Name, by causing confusion to so many.
It was in Baḇelon (confusion by mixing of On) that the Name of יהוה was profaned through the replacement of titles, and this profaning of His Name, has had an impact for many generations, where we see that so many do not know His Name and as a result cannot find themselves obeying Him.
It is, as I said at the beginning of these notes, that in the obeying of His Torah that we come to know that He is יהוה our Elohim!
We, as His children, have His Name put upon us, through the blessing, as commanded to Aharon, in:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 6:23-27 “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.”
Now that we have His Name upon us, by the Blood of our High Priest and King, we have a responsibility to walk according to His ways and not be found to be bringing His Name into disrepute, through profane or strange ways!
Carrying His Name correctly, requires us to do no unrighteousness in any of our ways and always be found to be guarding the right-rulings of Elohim and rightly rule each other according to His Torah!
The love we show toward one another is expressed in walking in righteousness and guarding the right-rulings of יהוה, and we must never show partiality in right-ruling:
James/Ya’aqoḇ 2:8-9 “If you truly accomplish the sovereign law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you do well, 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, being found guilty by the Torah as transgressors.”
There is a very fine line between praise and profane as outlined below in this chart:
Verse 13 – Do not oppress your neighbour or rob him
The Hebrew root word that is used here for oppress is עָשַׁק ashaq – Strong’s H6231 which means, ‘to oppress, wrong, extort, defraud, intimidate’.
This word is concerned with the acts of abuse of power or authority, the burdening, trampling, and crushing of those lower in position or stature. This kind of acts of oppression against another are a breach of faith in יהוה.
To oppress another is equated with witchcraft, adultery and falsehood!
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 3:5 “And I shall draw near to you for right-ruling. And I shall be a swift witness against the practisers of witchcraft, and against adulterers, and against them that swear to falsehood, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages and widows and the fatherless, and those who turn away a sojourner and do not fear Me,” said יהוה of hosts.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 14:31 “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who esteems Him shows favour to the needy.”
To withhold wages from him who has been hired will be sin in you when they cry out to יהוה!
Ya’aqoḇ/James 5:4 “See, the wages of the workmen who mowed your fields, which you kept back, cry out. And the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of יהוה of hosts.”
One of the primary faults with the modern Christian mind-set is to always try to bargain a reduced wage with the expectation of discount for claiming faith in the Creator, when the Word is very clear that fair pay must be given to him whom you hire! We as true believers must not adopt the error of expecting to get reduced rates but rather pay what is due!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘rob’ is גָּזַל gazal – Strong’s H1497 which means, ‘to tear away, seize, rob, steal, snatch away’.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 22:22 “Do not rob the poor because he is poor, and oppress not the afflicted at the gate.”
Wages were not to be withheld, and were to be paid on the day that the worker or hired servant had done his work. This was extremely important in a culture that lived day to day and hand to mouth, and to keep one’s wages overnight would deprive the one who had worked the means to support himself and his family with the needed supply of food for that day or the next!
To withhold that which is due is to take bread out of people’s mouths, so to speak, and we are also reminded in Scripture that when it is in our hand to do good, we should not withhold it:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.”
To rob someone simply reveals that the one who is robbing another sees themselves as independent of community and possible sees themselves as better than others, but to give what is rightfully due at the right time shows respect, honour and shows true integrity in that one’s word can be trusted.
We must always consider others first and do our utmost to meet the needs of others if it is in ur power to do so.
Ya’aqoḇ/James 2:15-17 “And if a brother or sister is naked and in need of daily food, 16 but one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” but you do not give them the bodily needs, what use is it? 17 So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead.”
Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:3-4 “doing none at all through selfishness or self-conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each one should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Verse 14 – Do not curse the deaf nor cause the blind to stumble!
The Hebrew root word that is used here for ‘curse’ is קָלַל qalal – Strong’s H7043 which means, ‘to be light, swift, trifling, cursed, despised’, and it is written in the ‘piel’ form, which renders the meaning as, ‘to make despicable’.
We must not make fun of or insult those who are deaf and blind, for this יהוה hates!
What we can also learn from this is that we must also take heed not to talk behind another’s back, for in that moment the one being spoken of is deaf to what is being spoken about him! We must also not make it more difficult for those who are blind and deaf to the Truth, but rather do our utmost to lead them to the Truth so that the Master can open their ears and eyes to His Truth.
Sadly, there are so many today who wilfully remain stubbornly blind and deaf to the Truth as they choose not to see and not to hear, of which Yeshayahu prophesied well about when speaking of those who hold fast to traditions while forsaking the commands of men.
Verse 15 – Rightly Rule and show No partiality!
To ‘rightly rule’ is to do so according to the righteous right ruling of the Torah, while showing no partiality!
Today we find that many claim the ‘do not judge’ clause, while they clearly are lacking in their understanding of the Torah, when here we see clearly that we are to ‘judge’ righteously!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘rightly rule’ comes from the root word שָׁפַט shaphat – Strong’s H8199 which means, ‘to judge, govern, decide, rule’; and we do this, according to the Word of יהוה.
Qolasim/Colossians 2:16-17 “Let no one therefore judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths – 17 which are a shadow of what is to come – but the Body of the Messiah.”
This verse, which is often misinterpreted and misunderstood by those who do not understand the Torah, is actually telling us, the Body of Messiah, to not let outsiders (those not walking in the Covenant) judge us, but we are to judge each other in the Body according to the righteous right-ruling and standards of the Torah and hold each other accountable to uphold the righteous standards of righteous living!
While we are to hold each other accountable, we do this by showing each other our sins/lawlessness so that we can realign our walk to be pure and righteous in Messiah, we certainly do not ‘pass sentence’ on each other, for while there is One Judge – יהושע Messiah – and all right-ruling belongs to Him, we are His Body who He has called to rightly rule according to His right-ruling!
We have a responsibility to uphold the righteousness of His Torah and call each to account when that standard is not being upheld and ‘judge righteously without partiality’, not being afraid of any face!
When there are those who claim to be walking in Messiah and are not doing what his Torah calls for, be it in not adhering to the clear dietary commands or whether they neglect to gather at the set-apart gatherings commanded (including the weekly Sabbath), we must call them to account and judge righteously!
Too many today are neglecting to gather for Sabbath fellowship (which is commanded for us to do in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23), and when confronted they raise up the feeble wall of ‘do not judge’ – it is time we actually begin to judge righteously by that which belongs to Elohim!
Romiyim/Romans 2:11 “For there is no partiality with Elohim.”
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.”
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6:9 “And, masters, do the same to them, refrain from threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in the heavens, and there is no partiality with Him.”
Qolasim/Colossians 3:25 “But he who does wrong shall be repaid for the wrong which he has done, and there is no partiality.”
Ya’aqoḇ/James 2:1-9 “My brothers, do not hold the belief of our Master יהושע Messiah, the Master of esteem, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your meeting a man with gold rings, in a splendid robe, and there should also come in a poor one dressed in rags, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the splendid robe and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor one, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves, and become judges with wicked thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers: Has Elohim not chosen the poor of this world, rich in belief and heirs of the reign which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have shown disrespect towards the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that good Name by which you are called? 8 If you truly accomplish the sovereign law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you do well, 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, being found guilty by the Torah as transgressors.”
Kěpha Aleph/ 1Peter 1:17 “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear”
Verse 16 – Do not slander!
The Hebrew root word translated here as ‘slanderer’ is רָכִיל raḵil – Strong’s H7400 which means, ‘slander, slanderer, talebearer, informer, carry tales’, and comes from the root verb רָכַל raḵal – Strong’s H7402 which means, ‘to go about (meaning dubious), trader, merchant, trafficker’.
A ‘slanderer’ is a person who goes about spreading information, whether true of false, with the motive of diminishing another, and goes about telling everyone matters that should not be revealed but rather kept a secret.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 11:13 “A slanderer is a revealer of secrets, but one with a trustworthy spirit conceals a matter.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 20:19 “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with him who speaks smoothly with his lips.”
To stand against the blood of your neighbour is understood as bearing false witness and speaking against the life of another!
Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:11 “Brothers, do not speak against one another. He that speaks against a brother and judges his brother, speaks against Torah and judges Torah. And if you judge Torah, you are not a doer of Torah but a judge.”
Verse 17 – Do not hate your brother in your heart!
This is a very powerful verse, for we can clearly see here that יהוה is instructing us on how we are to ‘feel’, or better put, He is getting to the heart of the matter!
Some people may put on an outward show of an assumed friendliness, yet deep inside they hate a brother! Once again, we are able to see how the Torah is to be upon our hearts, as we meditate day and night on it, so that we are able to guard against envy, hatred, and folly toward another.
The Hebrew word that is translated here for ‘hate’ comes from the primitive root word שָׂנֵא sane – Strong’s H8130 which means, ‘to hate, detest, turn against’.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 26:24-26 “He who hates, pretends with his lips, and lays up deceit within him; 25 though he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. 26 Hatred is covered by deceit. His evil is disclosed in the assembly.”
While many may try to hide their hatred for another by deceit, it will be revealed in the assembly, for it is in true community where the Word is tested, in order to see if there is a true love for one another through selfless service, or whether there is an underlying hatred that refuses to serve!
Here, in Wayyiqra/Leviticus, we are clearly told to reprove a brother, but do not bear sin by hating him in your heart!
No one may know the hate in one’s heart but themselves, and Elohim of course and to have hate in your heart toward a brother is already a sin, and renders you unfit for true and complete worship:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:22-24 “But I say to you that whoever is wroth with his brother without a cause shall be liable to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raka!’ shall be liable to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to fire of Gehenna. 23 “If, then, you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother holds whatever against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go, first make peace with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘reprove’ is יָכַח ‘yaḵaḥ’ – Strong’s H3198 which means ‘to decide, prove, judge or correct’.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9:8 “Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you; reprove a wise one, and he loves you.”
How do we ‘reprove’ our neighbour? With the Word!
The Greek word used here in the LXX (Septuagint) for ‘reprove’ is the verb ἐλέγχω elegchō – Strong’s G1651 which means, ‘to expose, convict, reprove, reprimanded, rebuke’, and the noun that comes from this verb is ἔλεγχος elegchos – Strong’s G1650 which means, ‘reproof, test, conviction’, and is used in:
Timotiyos Bet/2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.”
יהושע reproves those He loves:
Ḥazon/Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I reprove and discipline. So be ardent and repent.”
Sha’ul was also very clear in instructing us to reprove those who are out of line:
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 5:20 “Reprove those who are sinning, in the presence of all, so that the rest also might fear.”
We are to also reprove the works of darkness:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5: 11-13 “And have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of what is done by them in secret. 13 But all matters being reproved are manifested by the light, for whatever is manifested is light.”
We need to exercise boldness and unfeigned humility when we reprove another; and today there seems to be a mental block against proper reproof for fear of offending another when correcting their behaviour, yet we need to learn to do so with love and respect, in order that we can build one another up in the Most Set-Apart faith!
Titos/Titus 2:15 “Speak these matters, urge, and reprove with all authority. Let no one despise you.”
Reproof must always be done on the basis of the pure plumb line of the Word and not on a twisted interpretation that diminishes the Word!
We must not reproof another when we do not like the way they do things, when it is not against the Torah, but we must exercise proper discernment, in distinguishing the set-apart and profane and when one’s actions are not set-apart, but are profaning the Truth, then we must boldly reprove the one in error, so that they learn to fear יהוה.
Verse 18 – do not take vengeance!
Here the word for ‘vengeance’ is נָקַם naqam – Strong’s H5358 which means, ‘to avenge, take vengeance, execute punishment, take revenge’.
When we do obey His commands, and stay on the Way of Set-Apartness, not turning to the left or right, but fixing our eyes upon our Elohim, and run with perseverance the race set before us, this coming vengeance of Elohim is a strengthening comfort for us, the set-apart ones of the Most-High! יהושע Messiah tells us that we are blessed when we are persecuted for righteousness sake – that is we are blessed when we are persecuted and ridiculed and slandered and hated for walking the Way of Set-Apartness.
While this may not always feel blessed, and our natural fleshly response to any persecution, slander or hatred is often one of a desired revenge that we would like to execute personally, we need to recognise that vengeance is not ours – it belongs to Elohim!
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:35 “Vengeance is Mine, and repayment, at the time their foot slips; for near is the day of their calamity, and the matters prepared are hastening to them.”
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:41 “If I have sharpened My flashing sword, and My hand takes hold on judgment, I shall return vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me.”
The term ‘vengeance’, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, means the following:
“Punishment inflicted, in relation to an injury or offense”.
It also means that it is done with great force, or done on an extreme and excessive degree!
As we consider this, we can understand with what great and excessive force the punishment of Elohim is coming upon those who have ‘injured’ His Torah and walked contrary to His commands!
We, as the body of Messiah, have no right to execute His vengeance – a vengeance that He alone will bring with excessive and extreme force – for His jealousy for His Bride shall cause Him to come with great force and repay the enemies of His Bride and His Covenant!
After Shimshon had been captured by the Philistines and had his eyes plucked out, they called for Shimshon to entertain them, and before he took hold of the two middle columns, he prayed to יהוה and asked that יהוה strengthen him to take vengeance upon the Philistines, as we see in:
Shophetim/Judges 16:28 “And Shimshon called to יהוה, saying, “O Master יהוה, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, only this time, O Elohim, and let me avenge myself on the Philistines with vengeance for my two eyes!”
He killed more Philistines at his death than those he killed in his life! This is a picture of the excessive and great vengeance of Elohim that is coming on the wicked!
Tehillah/Psalm 58:10-11 “The righteous rejoices when he has seen the vengeance, he washes his feet in the blood of the wrong, 11 and man says, “Truly, the righteous are rewarded; truly, there is an Elohim judging in the earth.”
The righteous shall rejoice when they see the vengeance of Elohim!!!
In speaking of the day of יהוה, we see in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 34:8 “For it is the day of the vengeance of יהוה, the year of recompense for the cause of Tsiyon.”
When יהוה saw that there was no man, nor any intercessor, His own Arm saved for Him and we are told in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 59:17 “And He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of deliverance on His head. And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped Himself with ardour as a mantle.”
He shall put on ‘garments of vengeance’ – He is coming in intense wrath to repay His enemies for all their wickedness and rebellion to His Word!
His vengeance shall be proclaimed!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 61:2 “to proclaim the acceptable year of יהוה, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim, to comfort all who mourn”
When יהושע Messiah stood up in the Assembly and read from the scroll of Yeshayahu/Isaiah He read part of this verse and then rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all the congregants were fixed on Him!!!
He read Yeshayahu/Isaiah 61:1 and half of this verse 2, and stopped before reading, “… and the day of vengeance of our Elohim…”, for the vengeance of Elohim is not until יהושע Messiah returns again. He did proclaim a release, and those who knew Yeshayahu would have known this passage very well, and at these words their eyes were fixed on the One who is once again coming in vengeance – and to those who are in Him this is good news, while to those who are not, it is not! Some were astonished at His words, while others scoffed at them!
The Word of יהוה to a rebellious people who refuse to obey Him, through the prophet Miḵah is also very clear:
Miḵah/Micah 5:15 “And I shall take vengeance in wrath and rage on the gentiles who did not obey.”
Love your neighbour!
When we obey the Torah, and do so from a heart that is filled with the Torah, we will love our neighbour as ourselves, and herein lies the urgent need for us to walk in the clear commands of Elohim, as we show our love for Him through our obedience to His commands.
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:9-11 “The one who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother stays in the light, and there is no stumbling-block in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands. 3 For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy”
Verse 19 – Do Not Mix!
In this verse, we see the clear instructions not to mix livestock, seed or threads!
All of which helps us to understand how we are to be a set-apart people, not mixed in any way with the matters of this world!
Each one of these carries great insight and significance for us in helping us to live set-apart lives as sojourners here until our Master returns.
We must be careful not to mix theologies, relationships or worship as we walk set-apart lives.
We must not try to ‘create’ our own form of livestock by making them mate with each other.
Sadly, the world has done this literally and tries to bring about a mixed breed of animal, which is strictly forbidden. While strictly adhering to these commands literally, we can also glean a great spiritual truth that will guard us against the attempt to mix that which is of Elohim with that which is of the world.
Livestock were both a means of provision for food as well as the ability to work our fields, and each have their designated tasks or abilities.
We cannot mix these and here we see that we cannot mix the working of set-apartness with the working of lawlessness and expect to get the desired results.
In speaking of not sowing your field with mixed seed, we can learn from the parable of the sower that the seed is the Besorah/Good News (Word) and the field is the world; and in doing so we can then quickly deduce that in keeping this literal command we will be reminded too that we cannot sow the field of the world with mixed doctrines and theologies devised by man.
We cannot mix paganism and its deep-rooted practices with the Truth of Scripture – the very thing that Christianity has done. Just as we see in the world today how fruit and vegetables are being genetically engineered, so too have we seen the Truth of Elohim being engineered by the church to suite its selfish needs while in the process breaking this command and causing many to be so mixed in their worship that they are unable to divide the set-apart from the profane as their ‘engineers’ (false teachers) have altered the state of the ‘seed’ that is producing fruit that is foreign and not of the Spirit of Elohim!
When it comes to our clothing, we would do well to heed these instructions literally, even as difficult as it may be today in a consumer driven world that has mixed almost every fabric. What we learn from this separation of linen and wool is the following: Linen is brought forth from the produce of the earth, while wool comes forth from an animal with ‘life’ as it carries blood which, when shed, pictures for us redemption which is from above.
There is a place for each and they must not be mixed!
Now on a literal level this does not mean that you cannot wear two different garments, one of wool and one of linen, but rather that you cannot wear a single garment that is a mix between the two.
And a good example of this is seen in the High Priest garments where we find linen garments and a woollen garment that is dyed (Shemoth/Exodus 28:6).
These garments however were reserved for duty in the set-apart place, and so even in our garments, which represent our works, we are to recognise and remember that we are not to mix that which is from above with that which is of this world and so put aside the works of the flesh and be about doing the good works of Torah that has been prepared beforehand for us to do!
Our ‘clothes’ represent our covering and worship and our covering is either from above or from that which originates from man; and so, we are commanded to not be lukewarm, having been found with mixed garments but rather be found with the purity of walking in righteousness (linen garments) and being ‘covered’ by the woollen garments (from above) of Messiah and His shed blood!
A garment woven of two sorts of thread’ – וּבֶגֶד כִּלְאַיִם שַׁעַטְנֵז – ‘ubegeḏ kil’aiym sha’atnez’
1) – The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘garments’ is בֶּגֶד beggeḏ – Strong’s H899 which means, ‘garment, covering, treachery, to deceive’ and can also give reference to any kind of garment, from the robes of the rich and mighty to the rags of the poor and the leper.
2) – The Hebrew word used here for ‘woven of two sorts’ is כִּלְאַיִם kilayim – Strong’s H3610 meaning, ‘two kinds’, and comes from the word כָּלָא kala – Strong’s H3607 which means, ‘restrain, shut up withhold’.
3) – The Hebrew word that is used for ‘thread’ is שַׁעַטְנֵז shaatnez – Strong’s H8162 which means, ‘mixed stuff, material mixed together, fabric of mixed weave, a kind of cloth forbidden for garments, cloth made by weaving linen and wool together’.
What is being prohibited here is the wearing of a garment that is of a mixed weave of linen and wool. This does not mean that we cannot wear two different garments together, just that each individual garment must not be made of a mixed weave of linen and wool!
This is further confirmed for us in:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 22:11 “Do not put on a garment of different kinds, of wool and linen together.”
In the Hebrew this verse is written as: לֹא תִלְבַּשׁ שַׁעַטְנֵז צֶמֶר וּפִשְׁתִּים יַחְדָּו – ‘lo tilbash sha’atnez tseymer uphishtiym yaḥday’
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘put on’ comes from the root word לָבַשׁ laḇash – Strong’s H3847 which means, ‘wear, put on, be clothed, apparel, dress’, and the ‘lo’ before it is the root word לאֹ lo – Strong’s H3808 which is the primitive adverb that means, ‘not, no, never, neither’; and we therefore have the clear instruction to not wear or never wear… !
What is it that we must never wear?
We must never a garment of different kinds, and here in the Hebrew it tells us what this refers to is clear, for the Hebrew word used here for ‘garment of different kinds’ is שַׁעַטְנֵז sha’atnez – Strong’s H8162 which means, ‘mixed stuff, material mixed together, fabric of mixed weave, a kind of cloth forbidden for garments, cloth made by weaving linen and wool together’.
שַׁעַטְנֵז sha’atnez is simply referring to that which is made by the mixing of wool and linen together – and this must never be worn!
This verse in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 22 further explains what שַׁעַטְנֵז sha’atnez is:
The Hebrew word for wool here is צֶמֶר tsemer – Strong’s H6785 which is the product taken from animals; and the word used here for linen is פֵּשֶׁת pesheth – Strong’s H6593 which means, ‘flax, linen, linen made from flax’, which is a product made from plants. The Hebrew root word translated as ‘together’ is יַחַד yaḥaḏ – Strong’s H3162 meaning, ‘unitedness, alike, one accord, unity’.
The instruction here is very simply and very clear – do not wear a garment that contains both wool and linen together as one. You may wear 2 garments or more at a time – a woollen garment and a linen garment at the same time, as long as they are not made together as one garment but are separate garments!
This should clear up any confusion one has – wool and linen together as one is what makes a garment שַׁעַטְנֵז sha’atnez. This does not expand further into nylon or any other fabricated products that are made from that which is extracted from natural plants or substances and chemically produced.
Verse 20 continues with another practical example of mixing seed that causes complications- that with a servant who is betrothed or engaged. It tells us that those who are bound to Torah should not be intimate with those who have not bound themselves to Torah, thinking they are “free” from it (which truly is bondage).
Nor must we mix ourselves with things that would enslave us or be intimate with people who are enslaved to any other system.
Verse 21-22 we see the requirement of a guilt offering to be brought by the man who has done that which is spoken of in verse 20.
The wonderful shadow picture we see in this verse is that יהושע is our ram offering and He is also the Door through which we enter:
Yoḥanan/John 10:9 “I am the door. Whoever enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and shall go out and find pasture.”
The Hebrew word for ‘guilt offering’ is אָשָׁם asham – Strong’s H817 which means ‘offence, guilt, be guilty, acknowledge guilt’.
The regulations for the asham offering are also considered as most set-apart.
If we walk in dishonour, we will incur the guilty consequence of that sin. יהושע has fulfilled the asham requirements for the past, present and future, however יהוה requires us to be accountable for the sin and the guilt that incurs from our dishonouring thoughts and actions, by taking responsibility for them and repenting.
Verse 23-25 – Trees and their fruit
In the first couple of years, a trees fruit is often very bitter; and many trees do not even bear fruit in the first 1-3 years. If any fruit is eaten before its time, it can actually result in being harmful to us rather than doing us any good. For 3 years the fruit is as uncircumcised – that is it has not been ‘cut’ and made edible for us to eat and in the 4th year the fruit is set-apart – all of it.
The first fruits of the edible yield belong to יהוה in any case, yet in this 4th year He requires it all – this is so that the tree may become as fruitful and effective as possible for our sakes.
In Scripture, a tree is often spoken of as representing people:
Tehillah/Psalm 1:3 “For he shall be as a tree planted by the rivers of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither, and whatever he does prospers.”
So what we can also learn from this, metaphorically, is the clear instructions that Sha’ul gave to Timotiyos in that a leader of a congregation/assembly must not be a ‘new convert’ lest takes his position to his head and he falls, but one who seeks to be an overseer must be mature, able to rule his own home and family and meet the requirements that Sha’ul lists for Timotiyos and Titos:
Timotiyos Aleph/1Timothy 3:6 “Not a new convert, lest he become puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment of the devil.”
What makes this interesting, in understanding the picture of the fruit of trees not able to be eaten for the first 4 years, is in this word that is used in Timotiyos for ‘new convert’, which is the Greek word νεόφυτος neophutos – Strong’s H3504 which means, ‘newly planted’ and comes from two words:
1) νέος neos – Strong’s G3501 meaning, ‘new, young’ and
2) φύω phuō – Strong’s G5453 which is a verb meaning, ‘to bring forth, produce, spring up, to be born’.
What we see from this is very clear, in light of the instruction for newly planted trees, and that is that a new tree (convert) still needs to let its roots be well established and set in the ground, as it is in danger of being uprooted when adverse weather conditions come and can even be uprooted by hand by a thief, if still young and tender!
But as we can see from Tehillah/Psalm 1 – a mature believer, who is rooted in and meditating day and night upon the Torah, will be a well planted and established tree able to give off fruit for others to eat.
A very clear danger of a ‘new convert’ becoming a leader/teacher is that he is likely to become puffed up with pride and boast about how special he is, if has been allowed to teach prematurely, for it would be only about self and not about יהוה.
Before he is pruned (before he can properly praise יהוה and is mature enough to teach – picture of the 4th year of the fruit that is all set-apart resulting in praises to יהוה), his fruit may be very genuine, but we learn from this that it is not to be partaken of – why?
Because It lacks a well-rounded perspective that only time and study can bring and a ‘new convert’ may have much fruit and very genuine fruit too, yet we risk a disaster if we allow the fruit of ‘trees’ to be eaten before they ought to be! The revelation given to him in his patience and life experience is what will feed a great multitude.
The other aspect we all must not neglect regarding the producing of good fruit for others to eat is simply this – after a certain period of time we all ought to be bearing fruit that lasts and fruit that is able to nourish, teach, encourage and build others up – if we are not able to teach others then what fruit are we bearing?
Or, are we even growing?
יהושע tells us that the tree that bears no fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire!
As we are rooted in Messiah, being set-apart through the meditating day and night upon His Torah, we ought to be branches bearing fruit – if not we will be cut off:
Yoḥanan/John 15: 2 “Every branch in Me that bears no fruit He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit He prunes, so that it bears more fruit.”
Listen to what Iḇ’rim/Hebrews says about this:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 5:12-14 “For indeed, although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first elements of the Words of Elohim. And you have become such as need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone partaking of milk is inexperienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food is for the mature whose senses have been trained by practice to discern both good and evil.”
Hear what is being said here!!! So many people ought to have been teachers already – like trees that has been around for more than 4 years, yet they still needed nurturing as they understood not the first elements of the Torah! How true is that today!
Many people have been claiming to walk in Messiah for many years yet they are unable to teach others, as they – like babes are still stumbling in elementary matters; and so they reveal their inexperience of true righteous living and are unable to eat the meat of The Word and therefore are unable to distinguish between good and evil.
Another aspect that struck me when considering how trees are a good analogy of people, I remember when I was in the hospitality industry and worked at a prestigious golf estate, that when a new golf course was designed and made, the owner bought massive trees that were transported from hundreds of kilometres away and replanted into the new soil of the golf course and so within a very short time you had a new golf course with trees that were well over 20 years old which made the course seem like a well-established course.
However, these trees that were replanted into the new soil were stabilised by heavy steel ropes on 4 sides to prevent it from being uprooted whilst it was knitting its way into the new soil which would take some time.
What I glean from this picture is that we also find at times how many well people in the Torah find themselves being ‘replanted’ or grafted in to a new family (soil) of believers and we need to also learn that while these well-established ‘trees’ may have a lot to teach, time is also required for them to be grafted in to the new community and be humble in getting to know everyone in the community through serving faithfully at even the most mundane tasks, in order that they become well grafted into the new environment after which they will be able to bear the necessary fruit that is able to be given to others. Far too often we see the newcomers to a group (not new to Torah) come in and disturb and divide a family as they push their agendas based on their previous knowledge in previous groups or communities, while not having submitted for a season or two or three before being in a respectable position to teach.
So, while time is of great importance before letting just anyone free to teach others, there are too many who have taken too much time and simply reveal their laziness in the responsibility as a branch of Messiah to be growing strong and bearing mighty fruit – and they risk being cut off!
Where are you at?
We have seen people in this walk, who after 2 or even 3 years are still at the same place, of a lack of understanding, regarding issues in the Torah that they question each year, as they go through the annual cycle, never able to come to an understanding that can equip others who are continually being grafted in, and this has to change, as we certainly expect a large number of people being grafted in, in these last days, and we will need able, mature and fruit bearing ‘trees’ to feed the hungry!
The 5th year of fruit being able to be eaten of a fruit tree can also be a great picture of one being who is well trained in the Torah – the 5 books of Mosheh – for when one is well grounded and well trained in this important foundation, then that person can become a teacher who can teach others!
Verse 26 – No Divination or Magic
We already know the clear instruction that we are not permitted to eat any blood; and here we see the connection being made to this practice being done alongside the evil practices of divination and magic.
In fact, it is a common practice in the occult to drink blood and we also see that vampires are portrayed as those who drink the blood of other humans – a sick practice of witchcraft that is being done in the world today.
The Hebrew root word for ‘divination’ is נָחַשׁ naḥash – Strong’s H5172 and means, ‘to practice divination, observe signs, fortune telling’.
This is the same word used for the serpent in the garden of Eden and its root meaning can also mean ‘to hiss’ which is the sound a snake makes and is also understood as ‘one who whispers a magic spell or enchants’.
This is exactly what Satan did to Ḥawwah in the garden – he whispered a magic spell and enchanted her with his craftiness and trickery which led to her breaking the commands of יהוה.
Sadly, the trend we see all too often today is that people would rather listen to a ‘whisperer’ than to the one who proclaims the Truth! Whisperers have a way of sneaking in to people’s lives and causing destruction, and they know full well that if they speak loudly then the mature in the Word will quickly expose them!
Whether these wicked ‘whisperers’ who practice divination come true or not is not the point – the point is clearly that divination is to be forbidden as it is a false way of obtaining information in the wrong way.
Seeking one’s ‘fortune’ is strictly forbidden and today many are seeking a “whispering comfort” to ease their stressful lives caused by submitting to worldly system that does not build up but rather only enslaves and breaks down; and so, things like tarot cards, palm reading and crustal balls are totally off limits for the set-apart people of יהוה. Reading the horoscopes is also a form of divination that is prohibited; but even more subtle that reading one’s horoscope in the weekly magazine is the sad routine of pulling out a ‘verse of the day’ out of a box in the hope of ‘getting a good promise’ for the day, while the need to spend earnest time in the Word is greatly lacking and so many search for a ‘quick fix’ and run along into their rat race lifestyle thinking that they have received a Word from above!!!
Seek first יהוה and His Kingdom and His righteousness – pulling a verse out of a ‘promise of the day’ box while rushing to work or heading in to your busy schedule is not seeking יהוה – it is a form of divination that is rooted in selfishness!
Playing the lottery is also a form of divination and magic as you are placing your expectations and hopes on that which is not from above but in a game of chance that displaces hope in יהוה’s ability to provide all needs.
When looking at terms such as ‘luck’ or ‘fortune’ or ‘chance’, we see clearly that they are concepts that run totally against the Torah of יהוה. Look at the following verse:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 65:11 “But you are those who forsake יהוה, who forget My set-apart mountain, who prepare a table for Gaḏ, and who fill a drink offering for Meni.”
Forsaking יהוה and forgetting His set-apart mountain speaks of neglecting His Word and His provision of deliverance and redemption and neglect the Pěsaḥ/Passover of יהוה. But what does prepare a table for Gaḏ and fill a drink offering for Meni mean?
At first glance when having no insight into the original text one can lose the stern warning contained for us today. ‘Gaḏ’ was the name of one of the sons of Ya’aqoḇ, but here in this text, this is not who it is referring to and this verse is part of an end time prophecy, where יהוה warns of the great apostasy of His people.
It is well known, and understood, that ‘Gaḏ’ was the name of a pagan deity, and so was Meni.
The Hebrew word גַּד Gaḏ – Strong’s H1408 means ‘fortune, good fortune’ and was a Baḇelonian deity of fortune, which was often interpreted as the Syrian version of Kenaʽanite deity of ‘Good Luck’ – a sobering reality check for many of us who have often found ourselves saying these words to others, while we should rather be encouraging them in the strength of Messiah!
The Hebrew word מְנִי Meni – Strong’s H4507 means ‘award, fate or fortune’ and was the name of a pagan deity of ‘destiny’ who was sadly also worshipped by many Yehuḏi while exiled in Baḇelon.
Gaḏ is often referred to, by many pagan definitions, as the Sun-deity and the name of Gaḏ is applicable in its referring back to Nimroḏ, who was characterised by Semiramis (also Ishtar, Astarte, Easter), his wife, as being that of a Sun-god; while Gaḏ being referred to as the Sun-god, Meni was and still is regarded by many today as ‘The Lord Moon’. The ancient Egyptian view renders Gaḏ as the Sun-god of fortune and Meni as the lunar goddess of fate.
For more insight and understanding in this regard I encourage you to read Alexander Hyslop’s book, The Two Babylons and C.J. Koster’s book, Come out of Her My People.
The point I am trying to stress here, in light of this Torah portion, is that we are not to seek our destiny or fortune or fate in falsehood and sources of divinity and magic, but rather, we are to put our total trust in יהוה our Elohim, for He is our Trust and in Him we have eternal Life through the Blood of Messiah and we eat at His Table and not at the table of demons!
Verse 27 – The Beard!
Do not round the corner of your head, nor destroy the corner of your beard.
To beard or not to beard – a much debated topic which I hope to bring some insight in, as to what Scripture clearly requires and therefore, bring to rest any doubts there are regarding the clear and precise instructions of יהוה.
What is interesting to note, is that the instruction given here not to ‘round the corner of your head or beard’ is given straight after the command to not practice divination and magic; and what is important for us to realise is that the rounding of the head and beard, were in fact done as worship rites in pagan cultures, and is still practiced by many today.
So, what is the instruction saying to us?
Let us look at the Hebrew words that always brings clarity to our understanding:
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘round’ is תַקִּפוּ takifu meaning, ‘to go or come around’ in regards to time or a cycle and also means, ‘trim around’ the head or beard, as being clear in this verse and comes from the root word נָקַף naqaph Strong’s H5362 which carries the meaning, ‘to go around, encircle, encompass, to make round, round off’ as well as ‘to strike or strike off skin, cut down or destroy’.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘destroy’ comes from the root word שָׁחַת shaḥath – Strong’s H7843 meaning, ‘destroy, ruin, spoil, pervert, corrupt’.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘corner’ is פֵּאָה peah – Strong’s H6285 meaning, ‘corner, side, boundary, edges’.
What is very clear from this verse, is the strict prohibition of rounding off the hair of one’s head at “the edges” or the trimming “the edges” of one’s beard.
Now, as simple as this instruction may seem, sadly so many wrestle against this very straight forward command; and while it may seem meaningless and of no effect, we must recognize that this command is found listed with other abominations, such as body piercings or cuttings, tattooing, and even cultic prostitution.
Cutting (shaving) the hair at the sides of one’s head was a pagan ritual, done as a mourning/grieving rite for the dead, and is still practiced in many cultures today.
Hair was also used as a form of divination, as those who worshipped the stars and solar system would cut their hair evenly around and shave the edges off. It was a custom of the Arabs to shave the hair around the head, and let a tuft stand up on the crown, in honour of Bacchus; a custom which is still very prominent in India and China and is fast becoming a fashion statement being made by many today.
The trimming, or cutting, of the beard was an ancient pagan practice associated with the dead, as offerings of the hair would be placed with the deceased to appease the ‘spirits’ of the underworld, a practice clearly forbidden and prohibited for the set-apart one’s of יהוה our Elohim.
A typical question arises, that if one is not cutting the edges of their beard, in relation to funeral rites of the dead, then is it acceptable to יהוה?
My answer to this is simply NO – it is not acceptable to יהוה, as we do not see anywhere in Scripture that the cutting of the beard is acceptable to יהוה. So, cutting it in relation to say, one’s desires vs. paganism, is not acceptable either. One might ask another question that should help us to see the answer clearer.
Is one free to celebrate Christmas if one doesn’t worship Tammuz, but יהושע? Although we find no explicit reference in Scripture not to celebrate Christmas, there are many indirect references not to, as it is clearly not a feast of יהוה.
And while we find no explicit references not to trim one’s beard outside the concept of paganism, we find numerous references to the untrimmed beard as being the standard, with this verse in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:27 forming the background.
The reason for this instruction has to do with pagan practices and idolatry and so to destroy the sides of one’s beard is prohibited, whether it be for pagan practices or for other reasons.
There is, however, a time when one is permitted to and, in fact, must shave off all his hair and that is for the cleansing requirements of a leper (Wayyiqra/Leviticus 14:8-9) as well as for the Nazirite vow of separation, both done at the end of their time of separation!
In Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 5 we see that he was instructed to cut off his beard, to signify Yisra’ĕl being cut off, and this is certainly not a picture that we want to be associated with – being cut off!!!
The uncut beard is a symbol of being a Yisra’ĕlite; Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel chapter 5 uses the cutting off of the beard to symbolize the destruction of the house of Yisra’ĕl, so we do not wish to participate in this picture by shaping our beards according to Gentile standards and obscuring our Yisra’ĕlite identity at the very time יהוה is bringing it back to light.
In Shemuʼěl Bět/2 Samuel 10:4-5 we see that Dawiḏ instructed his servants, who had been captured and had their garments cut to the buttocks and half of their beard shaved off, to stay at Yeriḥo until their beards had grown and then return.
By shaving half their beard Ḥanun not only treated Dawiḏ’s ambassadors with contempt, but made them objects of ridicule and shaving the beard of a slave was also recognised as a sign of servitude and a stripping away of authority. Now, if one was permitted to shave your beard then why did Dawiḏ tell them to wait until the beard grew back instead of telling them to shave of the other half?
Well that is easy – because we are supposed to have full beards!!!
Dawiḏ had a beard and we see in the account when he came before Aḵish the sovereign of Gath, that he acted like a madman and let his saliva run down his beard (Shemuʼĕl Aleph/1 Samuel 21:13).
Aharon, the high priest had a beard upon which the oil of anointing ran down upon as a picture of unity of brothers dwelling together (Tehillah/Psalm 133).
יהושע Messiah, our High Priest and King had a beard, as we see in the prophetic words describing Him being handed over to be tortured and having His beard plucked out of his cheeks in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 50:6 “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard, I did not hide My face from humiliation and spitting.”
My point in stressing the issue of not cutting (shaving or rounding) the corner of the beard, is the fact that we are to heed these very simply instructions.
In Wayyiqra/Leviticus 21:4-5 we again see this instruction being repeated for a leader and I find this very interesting for I must admit that when I see someone proclaiming to be a Torah teacher and they do not have a beard, I begin to question the validity of that which they are teaching.
I want to make it very clear that we are not to cut off or make bald patches on our heads and circle them, as the monks do for example, nor are we to shave the head in a circular fashion as we have already discussed; and we are not to cut off the edges of our beards – that part which grows on our cheeks!
A goatee is not acceptable for a Torah observant follower of Messiah; a moustache alone is not acceptable for a Torah observant follower of Messiah, nor is any fashioned or ‘styled’ beard acceptable!
We are to grow a full beard and keep it tidy, and we are not to grow our hair too long, as we see, when speaking of the priesthood in the Millennial Reign, the instruction in:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 44: 20 “And their heads they shall not shave, nor shall they let their hair grow long – they shall keep their hair well-trimmed.”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘well-trimmed’ is כָּסַם kasam – Strong’s H3697 which means, ‘to shear, clip (only trim – not shave)’, and in this, we recognise our need to be ‘tidy’ and well groomed with a FULL BEARD!!!
This does not allow for any ‘shaping’ or styling by shaving parts of the beard, but rather it tells us, as a royal priesthood, that we are to keep a well-trimmed FULL beard!!!
We are a royal priesthood and are expected to look like it!
Any Torah claiming follower of Messiah that tells you he is allowed to shave his beard, neglects the authority of the Torah, and if the outward picture is neglected who knows what is in the heart!!!
When the world makes a statement that “a best a man can get” is to be clean shaven, as we see being promoted by Gillette’s advertising campaigns, we certainly recognise how this goes totally against the plumb-line of the Torah, and that they are wrong in their promoting of falsehood and lies.
It further reveals a lack of submission to the authority of the instructions of יהוה in order to rule self, which will only lead to destruction.
The best a man can get is to walk as Messiah walked and guard the commands of Elohim – so men – GROW YOUR FULL BEARDS!!!
For a more in-depth look at the much-debated topic of beards, please see the article on our site (https://atfotc.com) called, The Beard – All Set-Apart men should have one! from the following link:
Verse 28 – No tattoos or cuttings for the dead
The ritual of cutting oneself for the dead is a common pagan practice in many cultures and is strictly forbidden.
We are reminded of the Ba’al prophets on Mount Karmel who contended with Eliyahu and cut themselves trying to appease their falsely worshipped Ba’al.
Cutting for the dead is a form of ancestral worship in trying to bring the strength of the dead ancestor into one’s own body – a custom practiced in many rural cultures to this day, and in fact ancestralism is one of the main forms of worship throughout the continent of Africa as many tribes worship their dead ancestors and cut themselves in rituals in the hope of enticing the ancestral spirits to bring fertility and blessing.
Tattoos speak of marking one’s flesh with a form of writing of words or graphics and many pagan religions encourage the tattooing of their deities they worship upon their bodies. Sadly, we even see how tattooing one’s self has become such an acceptable practice all over the world, that while not being done for any direct form of worship; as many say they do it for fun, what we must realise is that tattoos are strictly forbidden!
Many churches allow this practice and many even encourage it as they have their own leaders overhauled with tattoos while it is clearly forbidden by יהוה.
The phrase ‘tattoo marks’ is written as follows in Hebrew – וּכְתֹבֶת קַעֲקַע – uketoḇeth ka’aka – which comes from the two root words:
1) כְּתֹבֶת kethoḇeth – Strong’s H3793 which means, ‘impression, inscription, mark, tattoo’ and this comes from the primitive root verb כָּתַב kathaḇ – Strong’s H3789 which means, ‘to write, decree, inscribe, record, write down’. And
2) קַעֲקַע qaaqa – Strong’s H7085 which means, ‘an incision, imprint, tattoo, mark’.
Verse 29 – A father must take responsibility in teaching his children the Torah and this verse is clear and means that not only should a father never be his daughter’s “pimp”, but also that he must not train her to interact so intimately with the commerce system.
This is not saying that she cannot have a job if she is not too busy at home, but that she should not be sold out to its thought patterns and given over to the worlds systems and ways.
Verse 30 – Guard the Sabbath – a repeat of a clear command that needs to be repeated over and over. Part of ‘guarding’ His Sabbath is to have the utmost reverence for His set-apart place – we are the Dwelling Place of Elohim and when we come and gather on His Shabbat we must not come with ulterior motives and attitudes that have no regard for His Dwelling Place and the reverence required for being set-apart in His presence. Do not come with all your issues and take it out on the rest of the body, get cleaned up before you enter – that is what the bronze laver of washing (Word) is for!
Proper reverence for His set-apart place is of utmost importance!
The Hebrew word that is used for ‘set-apart place’ is The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘Set-Apart Place’ is מִקְדָּשׁ miqdash – Strong’s H4720 which means, ‘a set-apart place, sanctuary’ and this comes from the primitive root verb קָדַשׁ qaḏash – Strong’s H6942 which means, ‘set-apart, consecrated, dedicated’!!!
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!
With the Set-Apart Place being called מִקְדָּשׁ miqdash – Strong’s H4720 we take note of the following form the ancient pictographic script, as it is rendered as follows:
You will notice that with the Hebrew word מִקְדָּשׁ miqdash the letter ‘mem’ (מִ) is at the front of the three letters that are used to describe or represent set-apartness, which you can see at the beginning of this commentary!
Mem – ם:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. Water is also a very clear picture for us of that which washes or cleanses us, as we understand from the picture of the bronze laver in the Tabernacle that was used to clean the priests, and was made from the bronze mirrors that was used by the women who worshipped at the Door of the Tabernacle.
As we look into the mirror of the Word of Elohim, we are to allow it to cleanse us and cause us to remember how we are to look, speak and act, in complete adherence to His clear words of instructions contained therein!
As we study the clear and precise pattern of the Tabernacle and Dwelling Place we are able to get a great picture from these ancient pictographic renderings of the word מִקְדָּשׁ miqdash – Strong’s H4720, especially as we see that the bronze laver that was used for the priests to wash their hands and feet before entering into the Dwelling Place.
As we allow the Word of Elohim to wash us and set us apart, we recognise that we are cleansed through proper obedience to His Word and the proper coming to the Door of Appointment and guard to keep His Sabbaths and Feasts with joy!
It is by the Blood of Messiah that we have been grafted in to His covenants of promise and through the complete washing of the Word we are equipped through His Word to be:
CLEANSED TO CONTIUNALLY COME TO THE DOOR OF APPOINTMENT
TO MEDITATE OF THE WORD!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘reverence’ comes from the root word – יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 which means, ‘to fear, be afraid, be in awe, show reverence and respect’.
True obedience and set-apart servanthood begin with the proper fear of יהוה, which was greatly lacking back then and is still lacking today!
The root word יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 is used in:
Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the entire matter: Fear Elohim and guard His commands, for this applies to all mankind!”
This word יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 is used to describe the reverence and respect we ought to have for Elohim, by being dutiful in our obedience, yet when one is disobedient this ‘fear’ is not out of reverence but is rather a fear as a result of being afraid for being disobedient and the consequences of the punishment for disobedience that are due!
It is used in:
Berěshith/Genesis 3:10 “And he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
Here Aḏam was afraid because he had sinned, however we see this same root word – יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 being used in a positive sense in:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:13 “Fear יהוה your Elohim and serve Him, and swear by His Name.”
The one that fears יהוה will refrain from doing that which is displeasing to Him. Fear of Him does not cause us to shrink back as one would from a fierce enemy or wild beast, but rather it causes us to draw near to Him and fills us with a reverent awe with the urgent zeal and desire in doing our utmost to please Him in every way!
Proper fear of Elohim will lead to a proper service unto Him, revealing who His true set-apart servants are – which are those who guard His commands and hold fast and overcome!
Ḥazon/Revelation 21:7 “The one who overcomes shall inherit all this, and I shall be his Elohim and he shall be My son.”
Ḥazon/Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are those doing His commands, so that the authority shall be theirs unto the tree of life, and to enter through the gates into the city.”
While many may have claimed that they did indeed fear Elohim their actions said otherwise. They had defiled the Table of יהוה and were bringing blemished offerings as we see in:
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:8 “And when you present the blind as a slaughtering, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Bring it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favourably?” said יהוה of hosts.”
These are clear rhetorical questions that are being given here as a severe rebuke for the pathetic display of an assumed fear and esteem that they were bringing before יהוה.
Of course, it is evil to present the blind, lame and sick as a slaughtering:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 15:21 “But when there is any defect in it, lame or blind, or has any evil defect, do not slaughter it to יהוה your Elohim.”
This speaks about not bringing to יהוה that which is blemished!!!
What we can learn from this is that when we understand that we are to be a living sacrifice, and as we are ‘in’ Messiah who is the ‘firstborn’ among the dead and of all creation, we must realise that we cannot bring unto יהוה a blemished or defective walk of faith!
A blemished offering is simply that which is not perfect according to the Word and many are bringing a defective offering of their lives as they are riddled with compromise and the constant justification for their disobedience and lack of proper submission to guarding the Truth in fervent love!
If there is any defect in our daily walk, then we are unable to present our bodies as a living sacrifice!
So many people give their second best to יהוה, while they will ensure that they give their best to their employers and friends. For instance, a simple example would be how many today have no regard for their care for proper time-keeping when it comes to the Feasts of יהוה and will always have an excuse why they were either late or could not attend the commanded set-apart gatherings, yet they will never be late for a business meeting in fear of them losing their jobs!!! Where then is the true fear of יהוה? I think that many employers would be disgusted with the work ethic of their employees if they compromised as much as they do with the lack of properly obeying the commands of Elohim – do not bring a defective worship to Elohim!!!
Why do people bring blemished offerings?
Because they do not fear יהוה! Where has the fear of יהוה gone and where is His esteem? This is a question that this message in Mal’aḵi/Malachi was asking back then and continues to ask the Bride of Messiah today!
We must have a proper reverence for our Master and Elohim and to do that we must also understand the fear of יהוה:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Set-apart One is understanding.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 2:1-6 “My son, if you accept my words, and treasure up my commands with you, 2 so that you make your ear attend to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; 3 for if you cry for discernment, lift up your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures, 5 then you would understand the fear of יהוה, and find the knowledge of Elohim. 6 For יהוה gives wisdom; out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
We all want to understand the fear of יהוה and to do that I encourage you to please go through the notes of a message called, ‘THOSE FEARING ELOHIM LISTEN!’ which can be found on our site (https://atfotc.com) under the ‘sermons 2011/2012’ menu or by clicking on the following link:
Verse 31 makes it clear that we must not turn to mediums, which are people who ‘communicate with the dead’ or seek after ‘spiritists’ – clairvoyants or fortune tellers!
This is forbidden and those who do such practices are trying to seek information for the future and we are told very clearly by our Messiah that we are not to worry about tomorrow or even say ‘this time next year’ but rather say ‘if it is יהוה’s will, then…’.
The Father will always give us what we need to know – if we are seeking Him and listening that is!!!
The essence of this chapter is about not conforming to the world, even down to realising we should not shave our beards or tattoo our bodies as well as always having no unrighteousness in any of our doings (no falsehood whatsoever) as we guard all His laws and right-rulings!
The command to rise up before the grey haired is a command for proper respect that is due to those who are older and have more wisdom and life experience!’
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 20:29 “The comeliness of young men is their strength, and the splendour of old men is their grey hair.”
Verse 33-34 – do not oppress the stranger who sojourns with you!
We should also be hospitable and shine the light of the Truth in every way, and when a stranger (that is one who has not been grafted in to the Covenants of Promise) comes to stay with you, treat them well, so that the Light of your loving service and obedience to the Truth may be evidenced as a witness before them. Your hospitable torah observance may cause the stranger to seek how he/she may be grafted in to the body of Messiah and so we must never treat those strangers who come and sojourn with us with harshness, but serve with love!
Let them be treated as a native born, that is as if they were a family member!
Verse 35-36 – No false scales!
Here it is clear – we must not have different standards for different people or occasions or any dealings we may have, but we must uphold the Truth in its purest form continually.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 11:1 “A false scale is an abomination to יהוה, but a perfect weight is His delight.”
Mishlĕ/proverbs 20:10 “Differing weights and differing measures, both of them are an abomination to יהוה.”
Differing weights and measures is a picture of deceit and greed and we are to have the same measure or standard of right-ruling in all situations.
A common abominable practice of the day was to have differing weights and measures for different classes or groups of people. We see in many places today how tourists are often charged a greater fee than locals at various tourist attractions around the world and what we must learn is that while the world may operate according to differing standards, we are to keep His pure standard of maintaining a perfect weight and measure toward all. For with the same measure we measure it shall be measured back to us!
Do not cheat is clear here and this instruction can carry into every aspect of our lives!!!
Verse 37 – Guard My laws and do them!
This chapter closes with the clear instruction that all of the laws and right-rulings of Elohim must be guarded, and we guard by ‘DOING’ them!
The Hebrew root word for ‘guard’ is שָׁמַר shamar – Strong’s H8104 and carries the meaning, ‘keep watch’, ‘observe’, ‘perform’, ‘protect’, ‘pay attention’, and the basic idea of the root of this word is ‘to exercise great care over’.
The Hebrew word for ‘LAWS’ – חֻקָּה ḥuqqah – Strong’s H2708 often translated as ‘statutes’ and carries the meaning, ‘something prescribed, a statute – that which is written, regulations set forth, ordinances, ’ and comes from the primitive root חָקַק ḥaqaq – Strong’s H2710 and means, ‘to engrave, cut in, inscribe, decree’.
We are to ‘guard’ and ‘keep’ the regulations and decrees of יהוה that has been inscribed or ‘cut in’ – That is His ‘WRITTEN WORD’.
Shemoth/Exodus 24:4 “And Mosheh wrote down all the Words of יהוה, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve standing columns for the twelve tribes of Yisra’ĕl.”
There was NO ORAL TORAH besides that which Mosheh wrote down, and he wrote ALL the Words of יהוה, and so we do not guard and keep man-made oral laws that have since thus been written down as a set of rules and regulations in the form of catechisms from Christianity and the Talmud and Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism; but guard to do all the Written Word of יהוה.
The Hebrew word for ‘RIGHT-RULINGS’ comes from the root word מִשְׁפָּט mishpat – Strong’s H4941 which means, ‘judgement, ordinance, regulations’ and comes from the primitive root verb שָׁפַט shaphat – Strong’s H8199 – meaning, ‘to judge, govern, rule, pronounce judgement, give law’.
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 33:22 “for יהוה is our Judge, יהוה is our Lawgiver, יהוה is our Sovereign, He saves us”
There is only One who gives us the Law by which we must live and by which we are governed and these judgements and right-rulings and regulations given by Him we must DO!!!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘DO’ is עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 and carries the meaning of ‘to do, make, carefully observe to do, practice, work, execute’.
A derivative of this root is the word מַעֲשֶׂה ma’aseh – Strong’s H4639 and means ‘a deed, work or acts, accomplishments’.
The Acts of the Apostles speaks of the deeds or acts of that which the Apostles did and records their ‘acts’ of obedience.
The verb עָשָׂה asah has the basic connotation of ‘do’ or ‘make’ and is used in many expressions. Aside from the numerous occurrences of the meaning “do” or “make” in a general sense, עָשָׂה asah is often used with the sense of ethical obligation. Yisra’ĕl were frequently commanded to “do” all that Elohim had commanded.
The numerous contexts in which this concept occurs attest to the importance of an ethical response to יהוה which goes beyond mere mental abstraction and which is translatable into obedience which is evidenced in demonstrable act. יהושע tells us that we shall be known by our fruit and in a sense, this is what He was speaking about in saying that we will be seen as true obedient followers of Messiah through the clear evidence as seen in our demonstrated acts before Him and all.
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!!!
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.”
As we consider this root verb עָשָׂה asah in terms of our need to ‘do’ or ‘perform’ and 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 which means, ‘to do, work, make, produce, to act with effect, to observe, to bring about, institute, celebrate’ 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 teaches us that we are unable to DO or PERFORM the Word if we are not looking intently at the Word!
Here we see, in this chapter, the clear consequences for failing to do what has been commanded.
When we disobey His instructions, He Himself will cut us off and so in still dealing with how we are to be set-apart we come into a section of what the penalty for disobedience is!
Verse 1-5 – Guard your children
We have mentioned in a previous Torah portion that a common practice of the ancients of Kenaʽan was to pass their children through the fire to Moleḵ. In repeating from last week’s portion for emphasis in this regard, let us look again at who this Moleḵ was and what is represents for us today.
Moleḵ was the deity of the Ammonites and Phoenicians who would sacrifice their infants in ritual fertility worship to by passing their infants through fire in the hope of stimulating the favour of their mighty one to return upon them fruitfulness in their lands and on their homes and their wombs.
Before the Yisra’ĕlites entered the land, Meḡiddo served as a prominent high place where Kenaʽanites worshiped fertility deities. Archaeologists have uncovered a large platform where these pagan practices occurred.
The Kenaʽanites believed that the rains and fertile soil of the coast came from a god named Ba’al.
According to their beliefs, Ba’al lived in the underworld during the dry winter season. When spring came, Ba’al returned to earth to sleep with his mistress, Asherah (Astarte/Ishtar) – a Kenaʽanite female deity of fortune and happiness, so that rains would return to the land.
To encourage Ba’al’s return, the Kenaʽanites sacrificed their firstborn sons, burning infants alive. The priests and priestesses of Ba’al publicly engaged in sexual relations with each other and with the people, hoping to entice Ba’al and Asherah to mate. The pagans committed these abominable acts for one simple purpose: to gain personal and material prosperity. Kenaʽanite worship distorted two of the most beautiful gifts Elohim gave humans: life and the sexual relationship of husband and wife. Elohim placed His people in Kenaʽan so they could confront the evil practices of pagans with Elohim’s truth and love and destroy its practices, while holding fast to and guarding to do all He has commanded His Covenanted People!
Archaeology has turned up urns filled with infants’ bones on which “to Moleḵ” is inscribed, and the names of those offering them had names ending in “-yah”; showing that they were Yisra’ĕlites.
This was done in the Hinnom Valley outside Yerushalayim, and because this custom was so sickening to יהוה, the righteous king Yoshiyahu changed it to a dumping ground where garbage was burned, since it was no longer fit for any nobler use.
Melaḵim Bet/2 Kings 23:10 “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, so that no man could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Moleḵ.”
Moleḵ simply means, ‘the one who rules’ and so the text is telling us not to turn over our children to a foreign false deity who rules in the world!
When we understand this ancient practice of ‘passing children through the fire to Moleḵ’, we get a better picture of some much-needed lessons for us today.
Fire, in Scripture, is also described as that which purifies and when we link this idea to this clear instruction, we need to be on our guard against what we allow our kids to be ‘passing through’.
By this I mean we are to always recognise that as parents our role is to bring up our children in the ways of יהוה; teaching them daily on the matters of His Torah.
What is shaping your child’s mind is a question many parents today do not consider as they allow the world to ‘shape’ their kids into following the ideals and practices of the worldly ways that are at large accepted and even legislated as permissible while some of these permitted practices are abominable before the eyes of Elohim and should be to us too!
Passing our kids through the fire to Moleḵ is a subtle danger that many are doing without even realising it, as the schooling system that is refining and shaping their minds is likened to the fire of Moleḵ, which hoped for a better future and puts its trust in worldly systems of advancement. Now while learning is an important part of any child growing up, what I am saying here is that each parent in still ultimately responsible for their children and what they allow their children to ‘pass through’. While I recognise and know that it is not always possible today for torah observant families to home-school die to the major pressures of both parents having to work, what we need to realise is that we all still, as parents, carry the responsibility as to what or how our children’s minds are being shaped by and kids cannot be left solely to the world’s schooling systems to shape the way they think.
Parents must ultimately be able to train their kids and filter out the junk they may be shown in the world’s classroom.
Passing kids through fire is also a picture of abortion, which is in most parts of the world a legalised procedure, and is not something a Torah observant Yisra’ĕlites should even consider!
Giving our offspring to Moleḵ can also be a picture of spoiling our children with materialism or even using our children for personal wealth, which is simply child abuse. By this I mean that many parents push their young kids into performing tasks for money (such as modelling etc.) and make use of gaining wealth and capitalising from their children’s talents.
Today, most people find it unthinkable that a culture once burned innocent children alive for the sake of their material prosperity. But when we look closely at our own culture, we see that innocence and purity are still sacrificed today.
The entertainment industry promotes sex with nearly every movie, television program, and CD they create. Pornographers produce magazines, web sites, and films that show blatant disregard for Elohim’s sexual values. Why? Because there are fortunes to be made by selling perversity!
Our culture also cheapens life. Abortion takes hundreds of lives each day. Cloning and embryonic stem cell researchers destroy tiny innocent lives in the name of scientific progress. And these practices are socially acceptable because our culture values convenience, choice, and prosperity more than the gift of life.
As Followers of Messiah and children of the Most-High EL, we must fight the good fight of faith and not be tainted by such twisted beliefs, but rather teach our children well in the ways of the Torah.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he turns not away from it.”
We have a responsibility as parents – and if we do not take up that responsibility in bringing them up in the ways of the Torah then ‘another that rules’ will.
Either we teach them the ‘rule’ of יהוה that they will not turn away from or the Moleḵ of this world that rules the fleshly lusts and desires will refine and shape their values and ethical moral standards according to the abominable ways of the world!
Aḇraham was ‘known’ by יהוה, because of his obedience in training up his children in righteousness:
Berěshith/Genesis 18:19 “For I have known him, so that he commands his children and his household after him, to guard the way of יהוה, to do righteousness and right-ruling, so that יהוה brings to Aḇraham what He has spoken to him.”
Verse 6 makes clear the result of not obeying the command that is given in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:31!
יהוה Himself will set His face against the one who turns to mediums and spiritists and He shall cut the off!
King Sha’ul was cut off by יהוה for turning to mediums:
Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 10:13-14 “Thus Sha’ul died for his trespass which he had trespassed against יהוה, because he did not guard the Word of יהוה, and also for asking a medium for to make inquiry, 14 and did not inquire of יהוה. So He put him to death, and turned the reign over to Dawiḏ son of Yishai.”
The account of Sha’ul seeking a medium can be seen in Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 28:7-20.
Verse 7 once again emphasises the clear command to be set-apart as יהוה is set-apart!
The clear command given here is that you shall set yourselves apart and therefore highlights our individual responsibility to set-apart ourselves!
The phrase, ‘and you shall set yourselves apart’ is written in Hebrew as follows: וְהִתְקַדִּשְׁתֶּם – vehithkaddishtem – which comes from the primitive root verb קָדַשׁ qaḏash – Strong’s H6942 which means, ‘to be set-apart, consecrated, dedicated’, and is written in the ‘hithpael’ verb form, which represents the reflexive action, highlighting our proper response to being diligent in setting ourselves apart, because of who יהוה is – for He is our Elohim! יהוה’s set-apartness demands the set-apartness of His called out and chosen people as a condition of a relationship!
The phrase, ‘I am YHWH your Elohim’, is written as follows:
אֲנִי יהוה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם – aniy YAHWEH eloheyḵem coming from the 3 root words:
1) אֲנִי aniy – Strong’s H589 which means, ‘me, I, alone, myself’ and is written in the first-person singular, usually for emphasis, and highlights the clear statement that there is NO Elohim besides
2) יהוה YAHWEH
The Name of יהוה is derived from the root word הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961 which means, ‘to be, to become, to be in existence’, and when Elohim spoke to Mosheh He said, “I AM that which I AM”, and told Him to tell the Yisra’ĕlites that the I AM had sent him. (Shemoth/Exodus 3:14)
I AM THAT WHICH I AM – in Hebrew is – אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה – eyeh asher eyeh – The word ‘eyeh’ comes from the root word הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961; and the word אֲשֶׁר asher – Strong’s H834 is a primitive pronoun that means, ‘who, which, that, that which’ and is a marker of a relative reference to an entity, event, or state.
The first ‘eyeh’ is written as a proper noun, singular, masculine, while the second ‘eyeh’ is written in the qal active verb tense and in essence we see Elohim making it clear here to Mosheh that
“The One who exists is the One who causes to exist, or gives existence” or
“The All existing One is the One who gives existence”
Literally speaking it can render, “I AM the One who causes to be”, or “I AM the One who brings into being”, as well as “I AM the life-giver, the giver of all existence”, and “I AM the ever living self-consistent and unchangeable One”.
This however is not The Name of Elohim, but was rather an explanation that would lead up to the revelation of His Name, which is clearly declared as: יהוה – Strong’s H3068 which is derived from the root word הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961
The word אֶהְיֶה ‘Eyeh’ and is written in the first person singular as it is Elohim, the I AM who is speaking in regards to Himself and then He tells Mosheh that His Name shall be יהוה – “YAHWEH” – Strong’s H3068, which also comes from the root verb הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961 and is believed by most scholars to be the hiphil verb tense (which is the causative) and in the third person singular imperfect, which teaches us that when we say Name of יהוה (YAHWEH) we are proclaiming that it is the ‘I AM’ who gives existence and that He is the One who causes me to be! יהוה is our Creator and He has formed us!
The Name of יהוה – Strong’s H3068 is pictured in the ancient script as follows:
Yod – י
In the Ancient Pictographic Script, this is the letter ‘yad or yod’ which is pictured as – – which is the picture of an arm and hand and carries the meaning of ‘work, make, throw’ from the primary functions of the arm and hand and also represents worship or giving thanks in the extending of hands as a gesture of this. This also reveals to us a stretched-out arm and hand.
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 ‘breathe’ 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.
Waw – ו
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’.
In the pictographic representation of the Name of Elohim we are able to clearly see how He, the All Existing One, revealed Himself to His Creation through His Outstretched Arm and Hand. The two pictures of the man and the peg in between them also gives us insight as to how He would come and reveal Himself in the form of a man and secure the Covenants of promise, and in this we are able to see the two comings of Messiah.
BEHOLD THE OUTSTRETCHED ARM OF THE ALL EXISTING ONE SHALL COME AND SECURE HIS COVENANT AND REDEEM US IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH HIS HOUSE FOR WHICH HE IS COMING AGAIN!
The correct grammatical way to pronounce the Name of יהוה is ‘YAHWEH’. For more on this please see the article I wrote called, “Grammatical study from Scripture on confirming the pronunciation of the Name of יהוה” which can be found under the articles menu on our site (https://atfotc.com) or by simply clicking on the following link:
Shemoth/Exodus 6:6 “Say, therefore, to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am יהוה, and I shall bring you out from under the burdens of the Mitsrites, and shall deliver you from their enslaving, and shall redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 53:1 “Who has believed our report? And to whom was the arm of יהוה revealed?”
When Messiah came many did not believe and were unable to recognise the Arm of יהוה:
Yoḥanan/John 12:37-40 “But though He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Yeshayahu the prophet might be filled, which he spoke, “יהוה, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of יהוה been revealed?” 39 Because of this they were unable to believe, because again Yeshayahu said: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they should not see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and turn, and I should heal them.”
This Yeshayahu said when he saw the esteem of יהוה and spoke of Him! It is this Arm of יהוה that shepherds the flock of Yisra’ĕl!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:10-11 “See, the Master יהוה comes with a strong hand, and His arm rules for Him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. 11 He feeds His flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs with His arm, and carries them in His bosom, gently leading those who are with young.”
The Name יהושע (YAHUSHUA) comes from two words:
1) The Name of יהוה – Strong’s H3068 and
2) the root verb יָשַׁע yasha – Strong’s H3467 meaning, ‘to deliver, save, salvation’, clearly declaring that יהוה is our Saviour!
For more on this please see the following 4 articles on our site under the articles menu or by simply clicking the link for each:
MY MASTER AND MY ELOHIM:
YHWH OUR SAVIOUR! YHWH OUR MESSIAH!
THE MESSENGER OF YHWH
YHWH IS ONE! YAHUSHUA IS YAHWEH OUR SAVIOUR
3) אֱלֹהֵיכֶם – your Elohim – from the two root words:
a) אֱלֹהִים elohim – Strong’s H430 meaning, ‘mighty one’ and
b) אַתָּה attah – Strong’s H859 which means, ‘you, your (masculine singular)’
This phrase that is translated in the Scriptures as: I am YAHWEH your Elohim – is used 42 times in 41 verses and is translated from the following 3 constructs of this phrase:
1 – אֲנִי יהוה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם – aniy YAHWEH eloheyḵem
2 – וְאָנֹכִי יהוה אֱלֹהֶיךָ – v’anoḵiy YAHWEH eloheyḵa
3 – אֲנִי יהוה אֱלֹהֶיךָ – aniy YAHWEH eloheyḵa
I would like to highlight these, in order to grasp the urgent need for many to recognise and acknowledge that YAHWEH is our Elohim!
Shemoth/Exodus 6:7 “and shall take you as My people, and I shall be your Elohim. And you shall know that I am יהוה your Elohim who is bringing you out from under the burdens of the Mitsrites.”
Shemoth/Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the grumblings of the children of Yisra’ěl. Speak to them, saying, ‘Between the evenings you are to eat meat, and in the morning you are to be satisfied with bread. And you shall know that I am יהוה your Elohim”
Shemoth/Exodus 20:2 “I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 11:44 “For I am יהוה your Elohim, and you shall set yourselves apart. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. And do not defile yourselves with any swarming creature – the one creeping on the earth.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 18:2 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ěl, and say to them, I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 18:4 “Do My right-rulings and guard My laws, to walk in them. I am יהוה your Elohim”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 18:30 “And you shall guard My Charge, so as not to do any of these abominable laws which were done before you, so as not to defile yourselves by them. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ěl, and say to them, ‘Be set-apart, for I יהוה your Elohim am set-apart.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:3 “‘Each one of you should fear his mother and his father, and guard My Sabbaths. I am יהוה your Elohim”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:4 “Do not turn to idols, and do not make for yourselves moulded mighty ones. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:10 “And do not glean your vineyard or gather every grape of your vineyard, leave them for the poor and the stranger. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:25 “And in the fifth year you eat its fruit, so that it increases its yield to you. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:31 “Do not turn to mediums, and do not seek after spiritists to be defiled by them. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:34 “Let the stranger who dwells among you be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself. For you were strangers in the land of Mitsrayim. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:36 “Have right scales, right weights, a right ĕphah, and a right hin. I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 20:7 “And you shall set yourselves apart, and shall be set-apart, for I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 20:24 “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.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land do not completely reap the corners of your field when you reap, and do not gather any gleaning from your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:43 “so that your generations know that I made the children of Yisra’ěl dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Mitsrayim. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 24:22 “You are to have one right-ruling, for the stranger and for the native, for I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25:17 “And do not oppress one another, but you shall fear your Elohim. For I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25:38 “I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, to give you the land of Kenaʽan, to be your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25:55 “Because the children of Yisra’ěl are servants to Me, they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Mitsrayim. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 26:1 “Do not make idols for yourselves, and do not set up a carved image or a pillar for yourselves, and do not place a stone image in your land, to bow down to it. For I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 26:13 “I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, from being their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk upright.”
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 10:10 “And in the day of your gladness, and in your appointed times, and at the beginning of your new moons, you shall blow the trumpets over your ascending offerings and over your slaughterings of peace offerings. And they shall be a remembrance for you before your Elohim. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 15:41 “I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, to be your Elohim. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 5:6 “I am יהוה your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of bondage.”
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 29:6 “You ate no bread and drank no wine nor strong drink, so that you might know that I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Shophetim/Judges 6:10 “And I said to you, “I am יהוה your Elohim, do not fear the mighty ones of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. And you have not obeyed My voice.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 43:3 “I am יהוה your Elohim, the Set-apart One of Yisra’ěl, your Saviour; I gave Mitsrayim for your ransom, Kush and Seḇa in your place.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 48:17 “Thus said יהוה, your Redeemer, the Set-apart One of Yisra’ěl, “I am יהוה your Elohim, teaching you what is best, leading you by the way you should go.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 51:15 “But I am יהוה your Elohim, stirring up the sea, and its waves roar. יהוה of hosts is His Name.”
Yeḥezq’ěl/Ezekiel 20:5 “And you shall say to them, ‘Thus said the Master יהוה, “On the day when I chose Yisra’ěl and lifted My hand in an oath to the seed of the house of Ya‛aqoḇ, and made Myself known to them in the land of Mitsrayim, I lifted My hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Yeḥezq’ěl/Ezekiel 20:7 “And I said to them, ‘Each one of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Mitsrayim! I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Yeḥezq’ěl/Ezekiel 20:19 “I am יהוה your Elohim. Walk in My laws, and guard My right-rulings, and do them.”
Yeḥezq’ěl/Ezekiel 20:20 “I am יהוה your Elohim. Walk in My laws, and guard My right-rulings, and do them.”
Hoshěa/Hosea 12:9 “But I am יהוה your Elohim since the land of Mitsrayim, again I shall make you dwell in tents as in the days of the appointed time.”
Hoshěa/Hosea 13:4 “But I am יהוה your Elohim since the land of Mitsrayim, and an Elohim besides Me you shall not know, for there is no Saviour besides Me.”
Yo’ěl/Joel 3:17 “Then you shall know that I am יהוה your Elohim, dwelling in Tsiyon, My set-apart mountain. And Yerushalayim shall be set-apart, and foreigners shall not pass through her again.”
Tehillah/Psalm 81:10 “I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim; open your mouth wide, and I fill it.”
As one goes through all of these verses where יהוה declares to us that He is our Elohim, a clear reminder of who he is and what He has done for us will cause us to be on guard against the defilement of the flesh and make sure that we do not fall away from set-apartness and do not do as the nations do.
Back to Wayyiqra/Leviticus 20:
Verse 8 reiterates our need to be obedient, by guarding יהוה’s laws, as this is how we make sure that we are setting ourselves apart – for it is by His laws that He sets us apart from the nations, in order to be a true ambassador and reflection of His Kingdom!!!
Verse 9-21 sternly warns us of the consequences of breaking the clear instructions for set-apart living that He has clearly laid out for the whole of Yisra’ĕl and so what we see from this chapter, as I mentioned earlier, is the reality of what awaits the being who does not guard the Torah!
Verse 22-26 expresses clearly the much-needed key in understanding the whole of Wayyiqra/Leviticus!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘vomit’ is קוֹא qoa – Strong’s H6958 which means, ‘vomit, spew out, disgorge’.
This primitive root verb is used 8 times in 7 verses. 4 times in 3 verses it is used in Wayyiqra to describe how the land will vomit the crooked, and is also used to describe how Yonah was vomited out by the fish. In speaking of the wrong, we see what Tsophar speaks to Iyoḇ, in:
Iyoḇ/Job 20:15 “He has swallowed down riches, then vomits them up – Ěl drives it out of his stomach.”
The wrong that has chased wealth and riches eat up all they can, yet in the end their riches cannot nourish them as they will be vomited up as it is driven from them by Elohim!
We have been given the Torah and now we are to guard it diligently and not walk in the customs and traditions of the world, and not be found to ben conformed to all the luring patterns of this world but rather hold fast to the life-giving commands of our Creator and Master, as verse 24 tells us clearly that we are going to possess the land!
This is a promise that is yes and aměn in Messiah, and as long as we stay in Him, we will possess the very good inheritance of the earth. Guarding his commands helps us to rightly divide the Word and clearly distinguish between the clean and the unclean and between the profane and the set-apart.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘possess’ comes from the root word יָרֵשׁ yaresh – Strong’s H3423 which means ‘to dispossess, drive out, expel, disinherit, bring to ruin, destroy’, and can also means ‘to take possession of an inheritance, occupy or seize’.
What this, in essence means, is that we are to dispossess or disinherit in order to possess and inherit – make sense? We have inherited a whole lot of lies – lies that have caused us to sin and be lawless and so we need to dispossess and disinherit those very lies and take back ground that is rightfully ours as our inheritance in Messiah, as we take possession by guarding His commands and walking in His ways, being stripped of all lies and falsehood, and being satisfied with the Bread of Life that sustains and satisfies us!
The Hebrew root word that is translated as ‘distinguish’ is בָּדַל baḏal – Strong’s H914 which means, ‘to be divided, separate, make a difference, make a distinction’, and we see this word being 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.”
In verses 24-26 we see the word בָּדַל baḏal – Strong’s H914 being used – twice 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!
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.”
Being separated involves a ‘coming out’ from among that which foreign and contrary to the Torah and the ability to properly separate oneself from that which is common or profanes!
The Greek word used here for ‘separate’ is ἀφορίζω aphorizō – Strong’s G873 which means, ‘to mark off by boundaries, ostracise, separate, set-apart’ and comes from the two words:
1 – ἀπό apo – Strong’s G575 which is a preposition and primitive particle, meaning, ‘from, away from, against’ and
2 – ὁρίζω horizon – Strong’s G3724 which means, ‘predetermined, fixed, appointed, to mark off by boundaries’.
What is very clear throughout Scripture is that we are called to come out and be separate. If we do not heed this call to come out and be separate then we may find ourselves among those whom the Messengers of יהוה will ‘separate’ from the congregation!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:49-50 “Thus shall it be at the end of the age: the messengers shall come forth, and separate the wicked out of the midst of the righteous, 50 and shall throw them into the furnace of fire – there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
The choice is very clear – separate yourself from all foreign worship and its practices or you will be separated for destruction and thrown into outer darkness!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 25:30 “And throw the worthless servant out into the outer darkness – there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The true servants of Elohim know how to distinguish between that which is clean and that which is unclean as they meditate upon the Torah of Elohim day and night and guard to walk in His commands so that their feet do not become defiled by walking in common ways that profane one’s worship.
Titos/Titus 1:15-16 “Indeed, all matters are clean to the clean, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving no matter is clean, but both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know Elohim, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unfit for any good work.”
What Sha’ul was making very clear here is that to the unbelieving no matter is clean!
In other words, they cannot distinguish between the clean and the unclean or between the set-apart and the profane, and as a result they are defiled!
Before we think that this speaks only of those in the world who do not know Elohim, look at what Sha’ul is saying here, as he tells us that those who are unable to distinguish the difference between clean and unclean are defiled, while they profess to know Elohim, yet their works deny Him!
This is speaking of many who might claim to be believers, yet because of their inability to walk in set-apartness as they call no matter clean, highlights that they have no regard for proper set-apartness and obedience that the Word commands!
Their disobedient works of lawlessness and compromise deny the Master and are therefore rendered as unbelievers who are unfit to serve as a royal priesthood, just as Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu were and were killed!
In a clear rebuke given to a corrupt priesthood, we see in:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 22:26 “Her priests have done violence to My teaching and they profane My set-apart matters. They have not distinguished between the set-apart and profane, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean. And they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned in their midst.”
The Hebrew words חֹל ḥol – Strong’s H2455, חלל ḥālal – Strong’s H2490 and קֹדֶשׁ qoḏesh – Strong’s H6944 are used here in this rebuke that is given to Yisra’ĕl, who had treated as common the set-apart things of Elohim!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘violence’ is חָמַס ḥamas – Strong’s H2554 which means, ‘to treat violently or wrong, do violence, injures, drop off’. It is from this root verb that we get the Hebrew noun for ‘violence’, which is חָמָס ḥamas – Strong’s H2555 which means, ‘violence, wrong, malicious’. What is interesting to note is the Arabic term ‘ḥamas’ which is the term used of the Islamic militaristic terrorist group which uses politics and violence to achieve its goals!
When people turn aside from the Torah, their lives inevitably resort to a violent and malicious stand against the need to walk according to the Torah.
The corrupted state of twisted man-made theologies that have shaped Christianity has inevitably caused many professing believers to show anger toward the thought of simply obeying the Torah; and have therefore corrupted their lives into a state of lawlessness, which assumes that the favour of Elohim has given them license to not adhere to His commands as their ability to distinguish between the set-apart and common/profane has been lost!
In a clear vision of the Millennial Reign that Yeḥezqěl was given we see that the priesthood will do as they should:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 44:23-24 “And they are to teach My people the difference between the set-apart and the profane, and make them know what is unclean and clean. 24 “And they are to stand as judges in a dispute, and judge it according to My right-rulings. And they are to guard My Torot and My laws in all My appointed festivals, and set apart My Sabbaths.”
While this vision certainly highlights the service in the Millennial Temple we take note that is also a clear and vital lesson of the kind of priesthood we are to be here and now, as we serve our Master in Spirit and Truth as a royal priesthood in the order of Malkitseḏeq, as we make known the difference between the set-apart and the profane!
We were commanded by our Master to go and make taught ones of all the nations and immerse them in His Name and teach them to guard all He has commanded us to do.
We can only do this properly if we ourselves can in fact distinguish between the set-apart and profane!
And this can only be done if we have properly come out and are being separate and not allowing the common or profane ways of compromise to blur our ability to distinguish as we should!
In closing this Torah portion study, may we again be reminded that we are a chosen people and it is יהוה who sets us apart, and therefore none of us must be found to have gone after any other but remain true and faithful servants to the Great I AM. We are the qeḏoshim – the ‘Set-apart ones’ – and we must live as such!
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 1:13-16 “Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, set your expectation perfectly upon the favour that is to be brought to you at the revelation of יהושע Messiah, 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance, 15 instead, as the One who called you is set-apart, so you also should become set-apart in all behaviour, 16 because it has been written, “Be set-apart, for I am set-apart.”
Tehillah/Psalm 99:5 “Exalt יהוה our Elohim, and bow yourselves at His footstool, He is set-apart.”
Tehillah/Psalm 99:9 “Exalt יהוה our Elohim, and bow down towards His set-apart mountain; for יהוה our Elohim is set-apart.”
Let us be a people who exalt יהוה our Elohim and bow in submission to His commands and rejoice in the work of His Hands, in redeeming us to be a set-apart people, as He is set-apart; and may we never be found to be forsaking Him and forgetting His set-apart mountain, for the worship of any other, but continually be a set-apart, praising people, bearing fruit that lasts.
This Torah portion emphasises the clear call for us to be set-apart, which is what we, as His Dwelling Place, are to be!
Tehillah/Psalm 93:5 “Your witnesses have been very trustworthy. Set-apartness befits Your house, O יהוה, forever.”
After having praised יהוה for His Kingship and His Might, the psalmist closes with great praise for יהוה’s established order and governance, as He declares the trustworthiness of the witnesses of יהוה that makes clear what is fitting for His House – and that is set-apartness!
In Hebrew, the last words of this Tehillah could be taken to mean, “יהוה (is) forever and ever,”, similar to verse 2 which states that יהוה is “from everlasting”.
This Psalm makes clear from the beginning to the end that יהוה reigns, He is from everlasting and He is forever! He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and His standard does not change! Set-apartness always has and always will be that which befits His House! יהוה who lives in His House among His people has spoken His unchanging Word, which clearly teaches us that those who desire to dwell in His House know that set-apartness is an unchanging requirement, hence His very clear and loud call for His Bride to come out from that which is not set-apart and be separate!
Another verse that struck me greatly, in this regard, was that which is found in Yeḥezqěl when יהוה was showing him, in visions, The House and its measurements, which begins from Chapter 40 to the end of Yeḥezqěl.
In Chapter 43 Yeḥezqěl is told to explain the House to the house of Yisra’ĕl, and make known its entire design, laws and forms, so that they when they are ashamed of their crookednesses, they shall measure the measurements!
He was told to write everything down, so that they observe its entire design and laws, and shall DO THEM!
The verse that gripped me in Chapter 43, after being told these things that he was to do, was in:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 43:12 “This is the Torah of the House: Upon the mountaintop, all the boundary of it, all around, is most set-apart. See, this is the Torah of the House.”
Twice in this verse we see the clear phrase, “This is the Torah of the House”, and this is what I would like to highlight here, as we understand that that what is being clearly declared is the following:
“THE TORAH OF THE HOUSE = SET-APARTNESS!”
What is so very clear, in this verse, is the declaration of what The Torah of the House is and it is given between the repetition of this phrase, placing emphasis on recognising what the Torah of the House is, so that the hearer does not neglect to know what is the Torah of the House.
The Hebrew word translated as ‘see’, that is used before the repeated phrase, “this is the Torah of the House”, is הִנֵּה hinneh – Strong’s H2009 which means, ‘Lo! Behold! Look! See!’, which is the prolonged form of הֵן hen – Strong’s H2005, and is an interjection that demands attention and is mainly used to emphasise the information that follows. Having declared ‘this is the Torah of the House’ and then expressed what it is, the interjection of הִנֵּה hinneh – Strong’s H2009 is used to get one’s attention by making it clear that ‘THIS IS the Torah of House’.
While it may sound like I am repeating myself, it is done so with good intention, in order to get your attention, as we embrace what the Torah of the House is!!!
In these visions given to Yeḥezqěl he was told that upon the mountain and all the boundary of it all around is most set-apart! The House of Elohim is most set-apart!!!
The Hebrew phrase that is translated as ‘most set-apart’ is קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים – ‘qoḏesh qoḏeshiym’ and is a phrase that is used for the Most Set-Apart Place in the Tabernacle as well as the offerings that were most set-apart to יהוה.
This qoḏesh qoḏeshiym can be described as “THE SET-APARTNESS OF THE SET-APART”!!!
And what we take note of, in the visions given to Yeḥezqěl, is that it is not only the Most Set-Apart Place that is most set-apart now but the entire house and all its boundaries is most set-apart!!!
This is a wonderful picture for us in our ability in recognising how we, as a set-apart royal priesthood are to live set-apart lives that are ‘most set-apart’, as all our boundaries are most set-apart!
Our whole life is to be most set-apart to יהוה, and not just part of it. We cannot be part-time partakers of set-apartness but must give our all and be most set-apart!
This is the Torah of the House – complete set-apartness!!!
The law of the house is set-apartness, and while I am repeatedly mentioning this, I am doing so in order to emphasise the reality of this important fact!
What we must remember is that there is no true set-apartness without a ‘separateness’ from the world!
While we are to be faithful sojourners in this world, we recognise that we are to live set-apart lives, lives that are not of this world yet live in it, and the only way to do that is to follow the Torah of the House and be most set-apart!!!
We are not to hide because we are not of this world, but rather we are to shine the light of the Truth, in proper set-apartness that does not fade!
When the Torah of the House is maintained by all, unity will be clearly visible, and the blessing of pleasant dwelling together will be the result:
Tehillah/Psalm 133:1-3 “See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity – 2 like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aharon, running down on the collar of his robes – 3 like the dew of Ḥermon, that comes down on the mountains of Tsiyon. For there יהוה commanded the blessing, life forever!”
From His mountain He commands the blessing of life forever, and this is what being most set-apart shall be rewarded with! Without set-apartness no man shall see Elohim, as we see written in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:14 “Pursue peace with all, and pursue apartness without which no one shall see the Master.”
Due to the ‘perfect’ and ‘complete’ work of our Messiah and King, we are able to be perfect and set-apart before Elohim, for that is what we are called to – to set-apartness, and having been grafted into the Covenants of Promise by the Blood of Messiah that cleanses and washes us, we are now called to be a called out people who are ‘perfecting’ set-apartness in the fear of Elohim!
How then are we to ‘perfect’ our set-apartness in the fear of Elohim? By walking in THE PERFECT TORAH!!!
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having, then, these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit, perfecting set-apartness in the fear of Elohim.”
We are to pursue, and perfect, set-apartness!
The Greek word for ‘pursue’ is the verb διώκω diōkō – Strong’s G1377 which means, ‘to put to flight, pursue, persecute’, and also carries the meaning to follow after or to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing or earnestly endeavour to acquire and can also mean to suffer persecution!
Timotiyos Bět /2 Timothy 3:12 “And indeed, all those wishing to live reverently in Messiah יהושע, shall be persecuted.”
Pursuing set-apartness will bring on persecution – and knowing this reality, the question is, “Will I obey the Torah of the House and be most set-apart?”
One could, in many ways, state that the opposite of pursuing apartness would be to forsake apartness, and we are commanded to not forsake the Torah, which includes not forsaking the Torah of the House!
To not forsake, implies a proper pursuit of that which is not be perfected!
The Greek root word that is translated as ‘perfecting’ is ἐπιτελέω epiteleō – Strong’s G2005 which means, ‘to complete, accomplish, finished, perfected, performing’, and therefore we recognise that we are in a race that we must complete, realising that it is Messiah in us that causes us to pursue and perfect set-apartness, as we stay in Him and walk, even as He did!
Many might claim that they have not neglected the Torah of the House while they ‘sit on the fence’, so to speak, and legalistically tick off their boxes of assumed obedience and minimum responsibility required for set-apartness, yet lack the fruit of being MOST SET-APART, and becomes clearly evident of this fact when they find themselves in the midst of those who are being zealous in their pursuit of being most set-apart!
We need to embrace the heart of Dawiḏ:
Tehillah/Psalm 119:29-33 “Remove from me the way of falsehood, and favour me with Your Torah. 30 I have chosen the way of truth; Your right-rulings I have held level. 31 I have clung to Your witnesses; O יהוה, do not put me to shame! 32 I run the way of Your commands, for You enlarge my heart. 33 Teach me, O יהוה, the way of Your laws, and I observe it to the end.”
How fit are you, in your pursuit of apartness?
Are you running the way of the commands of Elohim?
Are you running with exceeding joy and fervency to the esteem of יהוה, or have you, at times, found that you have ‘parked yourself’ in a position that no longer pursues apartness, because of a lack of breath as the result of the worries of this age, the deceitfulness of wealth and desires for other non-set-apart matters that have come and choked out the very word of life from your being, leaving you short of breath?
When one gives way to the pursuit of apartness and slacks off due to compromise and becomes lazy and idle in duty, neglecting the proper gathering and fellowship, and neglecting the proper daily meditating and study of the Word, then what happens?
Well, what may come first, is the heartburn of compromise that eats away at one’s inner most being, that will lead to envy and strife that can cause divisions in the House, after which, contentions may arise and false doctrines be entertained and believed, due to the slackened pursuit of set-apartness, while assuming to maintain a self-constructed image of apartness that does not line up perfectly with the plumb line of the Torah!
What may happen as a result of this, is that the infected ones who have neglected the Torah of the House, and have strayed from the pursuit of apartness, will find the following creeping into their lives: lethargy, inactivity and conformity to worldliness; and if not corrected, these will lead to a losing of their ‘first love for Elohim’ and the House/Body of Messiah, causing them to turn away from true love for Elohim, which is to obey His commands!
Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the Torah of the House is: set-apartness!
When one drifts from pursuing apartness, the House often experiences diminished gatherings, as the desire to be joined in unity, by some, grows colder and colder, to the point where they assume that they can walk a set-apart life on their own, thus deceiving themselves into thinking they do not need help, instruction or fellowship with others.
To do this, is a breaking of the Torah of the House!
Taking set-apartness for granted through the lack of a proper pursuit can cause one to end up being alone and discarded, hence the need to ensure that the zeal for the pursuit of apartness never fails or fades!
As we consider this Torah of the House, let us all take heed to secure our fervent obedience to the Torah of the House and be most set-apart in all matters!
Hoshěa/Hosea 6:3 “So let us know, let us pursue to know יהוה. His going forth is as certain as the morning. And He comes to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.”
Romiyim/Romans 14:19 “So, then, let us pursue the matters of peace and the matters for building up one another.”
Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 14:20-21 “In that day “SET-APART TO יהוה” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. And the pots in the House of יהוה shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Yerushalayim and Yehuḏah shall be set-apart to יהוה of hosts. And all those who slaughter shall come and take them and cook in them. And there shall no longer be a merchant in the House of יהוה of hosts, in that day.”
In speaking of the Reign of our Master and Elohim, Zeḵaryah was clearly prophesying of the pure set-apartness of the House of יהוה, where everything in His House will be set-apart to Him!
When יהושע went into the Set-apart Place of Elohim and drove out all those buying and selling in the Set-apart Place, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves, He was foreshadowing this Day that Zeḵaryah was prophesying about, and made a clear point of how serious He is about His House! (Mattithyahu/Matthew 21:12).
יהוה is a jealous Elohim and He serious about His House and so should we be too, after all we are the Dwelling Place of Elohim:
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.”
The Dwelling Place of Elohim is set-apart, and that which is not set-apart will have no place in His House!
We are called to be set-apart as He is set-apart, so that He will come and dwell in our midst forever, and we are therefore given clear instructions all throughout Scripture on how we are to live set-apart lives and make ourselves ready as a Bride prepared for the soon return of our Husband and King.
We serve a righteous Saviour and King, and as we stay in Him, so that He stays in us, we recognise the urgency of our need to pursue set-apartness and keep our lives free from the stain of anything that is not fitting for His House.
Set-apartness befits His House! The term ‘befits’ is translated from the Hebrew root word נָאָה na’ah – Strong’s H4998 which means, ‘to be comely or befitting, lovely, be beautiful’.
This verb denotes the state of being beautiful or suitable, and is only used 3 times in Scripture.
It is applied in Shir HaShirim/Song of Songs 1:10 to the cheeks of a beautiful woman, and then in Yeshayahu/Isaiah 52:7 to the ‘pleasant’ feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who proclaims deliverance, and who says to Tsiyon, “Your Elohim reigns!”
We are to be proclaiming the reign of our Elohim, and we do so with great beauty as we guard His Word and keep His Feasts, as we recognise that ‘feet’ in Hebrew is often a term that relates to the guarding of the Feasts of יהוה, and the only way to keep His Feasts is to do them as He has commanded us to, in complete set-apartness without compromise! Sadly we find many today who claim to proclaim the reign, yet do not guard His Feasts as commanded, as they try to take shortcuts and excuse their way out of simply doing what is commanded, and think that their actions are deemed acceptable, when we are clearly told that it is only set-apartness that befits His House!
Any deviation from the clear plumb-line of the Word of Elohim is not set-apartness, and this we need to be clearly reminded of. Anyone who claims to walk in our Master and Elohim, yet fails to keep His Sabbaths and Feasts as they should are clearly not living set-apart lives and are therefore in severe danger of not being built up as living stones into the Dwelling Place of Elohim, and risk the reality of being thrown out into outer darkness as worthless servants, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!
On the turban of the High Priest there was placed a plate of clean gold with the engraving: SET-APARTNESS TO יהוה, and this signet was to always be on the head of the High Priest for acceptance of the children of Yisra’ĕl before יהוה.
As our High Priest and King, יהושע Messiah makes continual intercession for us, we recognise our need to perfect set-apartness, as we His body submit to Him as our head and Master that leads us in set-apartness!
There are many verses that instruct and teach us to bow to יהוה in the splendour of set-apartness, and we are to give thanks at the remembrance of His set-apartness, and ascribe esteem to Him is the splendour of set-apartness.
Tehillah/Psalm 29:2 “Ascribe to יהוה the esteem of His Name; bow yourselves to יהוה in the splendour of set-apartness.”
The Hebrew word for ‘splendour’ is הֲדָרָה haḏarah – H1927 which means ‘adornment, beauty, array, attire, honour’, and this highlights for us the need to be adorned with His beauty – His set-apart garments of righteousness, as we worship Him who is set-apart.
This word also expresses the understanding of something that is seen publicly and not only represents an adornment for royalty but also the actions that are worthy of royalty, highlighting for us the need to be active in our loving-commitment and having the fruit of our lives resulting in the beauty of set-apartness.
יהוה reigns, and His reign is coming, and in fact is now already here, as we, as faithful ambassadors proclaim His reign, in splendour of complete set-apartness – for that is the only thing that befits His House!
Are you ‘adorned’ in Him, and are you expressing His greatness in all you do, or have you become tired and bored as a result of whoring after fleshly garments?
Being dressed in the ‘splendour’ of set-apartness must also teach us that when we come together, and gather, in His presence, we are to come adorned with the beauty of a joy-filled praise, and not with the weight of anxiety, stress and worry! Do not come unprepared with long faces into his presence – prepare yourself and be adorned with joyous reverence that is able to give all praise and esteem unto Him!
To ascribe, and bow in, set-apartness before יהוה requires proper preparation, a preparation of being clothed in the set-apart garments of righteousness and throwing off the weight and sin that entangles!
As the Dwelling Place of Elohim, and living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house and a set-apart priesthood that offer up spiritual slaughter offerings acceptable to Elohim through יהושע Messiah, let us be urgent in perfecting set-apartness, for:
יהוה REIGNS AND SET-APARTNESS BEFITS HIS HOUSE!
Set-Apartness befits His House and the Torah of the House is set-apartness!
How set-apart are you?
Let us hear, guard and do the Torah of the House as we pursue and perfect set-apartness together as a body that is being built up as living stones in our Master!
May this week’s Torah portion stir you to fervently assess your walk and be committed to being most set-apart unto our Master and Elohim, and let’s guard the Torah of the House, always, as we pursue apartness and run in the way of the commands of Elohim!
Shalom to the qeḏoshim of יהוה