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This week, a previously overlooked pattern emerged.

“And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron shall be gathered to his people and shall die there.” Numbers 20:26

The pattern is the specific men that were “gathered to his people.” The following are others that possessed the same description in regard to their death:

  • Abraham – Genesis 25:8
  • Ishmael – Genesis 25:17
  • Isaac – Genesis 35:29
  • Jacob – Genesis 49:33
  • Moses – Deuteronomy 32:50

Those who were gathered to their fathers were:

  • “All that generation” – Judges 2:10
  • King Josiah – 2 Kings 22:20

The first list of men clearly contains the Patriarchs with the exception of Ishmael. G-d did bless Ishmael and increase his offspring (Gen. 17:20) but G-d established the everlasting covenant with Isaac. (Gen. 17:19) However, each man was a father, a leader, and an important part of G-d’s plan. These men comprise a significant portion of the foundation of the Bible! It appears that being gathered to your people reflected a position of leadership and was perhaps referencing, according to the Gesenius’s Lexicon, a reuniting with ancestors after death. Although, it would seem that the phrase’s specificity indicates something more unique than simply reuniting with ancestors. Would not the whole remnant be gathered to their people after death if this is simply referencing the World to Come? It is also plausible being gathered to the people referred to a special ceremonial burial or even resting the body near other ancestors. Still these are simply guesses. The context of each death is different and there is no biblical description I have found of being gathered to your people. Nevertheless, the Patriarchs were special and remain sterling examples. If nothing else, we should view this common phrase as an enhancement of each man’s distinctive life and testimony.

On the other hand, King Josiah as well as Joshua’s generation were “gathered to their fathers.” King Josiah was an incredible example for all to follow. Not only was he an ancestor of Yeshua (Matt. 1:10) but he also demonstrated true repentance.

“But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’ And they brought back word to the king.” 2 Kings 22:18-20

This passage encompassed G-d’s grace, love, and salvation for those who humble themselves and seek His face. (2 Chr. 7:14) Those who were gathered to the people demonstrated how to lead. Those who were gathered to their fathers demonstrated how to serve. Has the Word of G-d caused a similar reaction in your life to that of King Josiah? It should.

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This week’s portion is filled with practical examples of various trials and situations regarding leadership. One important trait Moses demonstrated was complete trust in G-d and recognition of G-d as the source of his position. In Moses’ response to Korah he obviated a defensive explanation for his position by simply declaring G-d as the judge. If G-d bestows a position He will also sustain it. (ex. Joshua, King David, Ester, Yeshua, etc.) The wicked intentions of Korah were manifested through his deliberate assignment of his own audacity to Moses.  “You have gone too far!” (Num. 16:3) Korah ridiculously claimed. Moses rightly returned the same phrase as if to say, “You are the one who challenges the L-rd, oh wicked Korah, not I.” In addition, it appears that the actions of Korah and his assembly perhaps revealed hidden doubt in the success of their own plan.

“And Moses said to Korah, ‘Be present, you and all your company, before the Lord, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the Lord his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.’  So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron.” Numbers 16:16-18

Essentially, Korah challenged the authority of Moses, Aaron, and ultimately G-d then obeyed Moses’ command!  Every word of it! Korah may have been courageous enough to speak against Moses and Aaron but he and his assembly were not courageous enough to rebel against Moses’ command. One reason could be that deep down these brazen men doubted their own authority and merely hoped that the outcome would be in their favor. Although it could also have been haughtiness that influenced Korah’s decision instead of doubt, but either way it is humorous that Korah fully adhered to the command of Moses. Nevertheless Korah and his assembly’s behavior was atrocious and they blatantly opposed G-d. A crime worthy of “something new.” (Num. 16:30)

In conclusion, this portion also contained an illusion to Messiah Yeshua in the form of a public confirmation of Aaron’s position.

“On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds” Numbers 17:8

Yet another miraculous manifestation! G-d has repeatedly produced signs and wonders before the Children of Israel. The particular case of the blossoming staff was a beautiful method of demonstrating Aaron’s divinely elected position. A method that shares similarities with a specific prophecy of Messiah Yeshua.

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1

Both instances symbolically describe the progression from a lifeless hewn tree to astonishingly bearing fruit. G-d used a dead branch to produce ripe almonds. G-d also used a virgin, unfertilized woman to bring forth the Savior of the world “from the Holy Spirit.” (Mt. 1:18, Is. 11:2) G-d also established Messiah Yeshua’s position by revealing early on many characteristics and occurrences involving His Anointed One. Then Messiah Yeshua came and fulfilled many with a promise to fulfill the remainder upon His return. These passages strengthen faith and disclose a series of signs and events surrounding Messiah Yeshua’s return. Stay alert. Remain steadfast. Draw closer to G-d.

This week’s portion is just one of the many places in Scripture where the phrase “with milk and honey” resides.

“And they told him, ‘We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.’”  Numbers 13:27

In fact, it is used about 20 times throughout the Bible. Why is this unusual phrase repeated so often to describe the Promise Land and what is significant about the phrase? Both answers are the same. The significance of the phrase is revealed in examining the two delicacies. Both milk and honey come from animals. Therefore man cannot simply grow milk or honey as they could other food. The existence of milk-producing animals and honey-producing bees in a land is entirely a miracle of G-d! Initially, the climate would have to be conducive and the land would have to be fertile in order to sustain plant and animal life. Both of which depend solely on G-d. By using the phrase “flows with milk and honey” G-d encapsulates all the blessings contained in the Promise Land. G-d demonstrated the preparations that were made and His promised sustenance. Since G-d established the Promise Land it is no longer a mystery as to why the details would be repeated so frequently. G-d continually reinforced the correlation between the Promise Land and His miraculous involvement.

In conclusion, a seemingly unimportant word actually demonstrates a beautiful truth.

“Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.” Numbers 14:45

Numbers 14 verse 45 is the first usage of the word “Hormah.” The word in Hebrew is Chormah and means devotion. This verse does not divulge any information other than the deduction, based on context, that Hormah is the name of a place. In particular, a place where the Children of Israel attempted to enter even though “neither the ark of the covenant of the L-RD nor Moses departed out of the camp.” (Num. 14:44) The summery of this occurrence was that the Children of Israel pursued devotion without G-d (ark of the covenant) and without Moses (the law). The next appearance of Chormah is in chapter 21 of Numbers.

“And Israel vowed a vow to the L-RD and said, ‘If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.’ And the L-RD heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the name of the place was called Hormah.” Numbers 21:2-3

In this occurrence Israel made a vow unto the L-RD first before proceeding. The result was that G-d delivered the Canaanites to Israel and the place was named after their devotion. This is such an interesting parallel to approaching G-d and eternal salvation. Without the law (and obedience to it) one cannot physically approach G-d. (Lev. 22:9) Without Messiah Yeshua a person cannot spiritually approach G-d nor dwell forever with Him. (Jn. 14:6) Rabbi Gimpel once said that Scripture recounts the mistakes made by the people to help us avoid the same mistakes. Indeed, learning from history aids in avoiding repetition of past errors. This is an excellent approach to use during Torah study. There is much to be learned from the detailed journey through the wilderness which is at least one reason why the wilderness experience constitutes an entire book of the Torah. Take not for granted G-d’s gracious preservation of His Word. Remember:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

The Hebrew language contains many fascinating aspects but one in particular is the ability for one Hebrew word to contain capacious description. Here, in this week’s parasha, there is a unique word and it describes an exclusive occurrence.

“but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome (zara) to you, because you have rejected the L-RD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, ‘Why did we come out of Egypt?’” Numbers 11:20

As if the disturbing imagery was not enough the word for loathsome is zara and is only used here out of the whole Tanach. The main reason this falls under the category of interesting is because the unique word zara appears with a unique punishment. All who are alive have the breath of life in their nostrils but the irksome group ignored the blessings and selfishly pursued their own desires. As punishment it was as if the true desires of their heart were manifested publicly.

“Therefore G-d gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,” Romans 1:24

Remember our prior way of life? Remember our vain pursuits before G-d graciously saved us through His Son?

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” Ephesians 2:3

The Bible possesses a repertoire of horrific descriptions but nasally excreted quail is an original. With this in mind the punishment for complaining becomes intensely serious. Hopefully reading this passage and understanding the punishment will reveal the severity of complaining against G-d and distrusting His promises.

In conclusion, this week’s portion contains a subtle allusion to the beginning of the Days of Messiah.

“The L-RD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Make two silver trumpets. Of hammered work you shall make them, and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for breaking camp. And when both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting.’” Numbers 10:1-3

Note that the purpose for the trumpets was to summon the people and gather them together in a specific place. Now look at Yeshua’s declaration in the Gospel of Matthew.

“And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” Matthew 24:31

G-d’s consistency is undeniable. Just as He gathered His people through a trumpet blast in the wilderness so too will He gather His elect. Prepare. Stay alert. For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

Yet another census greets the reader in the opening passage of this week’s parasha.  The counting began with Gershon, then Merari, and concluded with Kohath. This interesting order emerges from other lists in this parasha enshrouded in a mysterious deliberateness. Based on the fact that names are significant and may also contain prophetic elements, a closer investigation of the aforementioned names reveals a remarkable parallel.

Gershon = Exile

Merari  = Bitter

Kohath = Assembly

Already this resembles a pattern similar to that of Exodus. The Children of Israel are “exiled” or at least sojourning in the land of Egypt, the oppression was bitter, then G-d delivered them and assembled the people at Mount Sinai. Nevertheless the order of names parallels another occurrence yet to come.

“when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands,  and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations.  Then they shall know that I am the L-rd their G-d, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore.  And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the L-rd G-d.” Ezekiel 39:27-29

G-d revealed His amazing promise through Ezekiel of a time when He will gather the exiled people and assemble them in the Land of Israel. It is during this time that our blessed Savior Messiah Yeshua will return to Mount Zion. (Is. 59:20) May that time come soon and in our days. Although until that time continue to prepare through diligent study and seeking to draw closer to G-d. This week’s portion is a perfect example of action being the major focus of the Torah. Of course there are prophecies, parallels, and illusions to Yeshua throughout the entire Torah. Just remember that the plain meaning of the text details our responsibility as servants of the Most High which is adherence to His commandments. By faith we walk. By faith we study. By faith we live. Come quickly L-rd Yeshua!

We have just completed studying the gracious instruction contained in Leviticus and now we resume the peregrination toward the Promise Land. Naturally the journey in bamidbar (wilderness) begins with a census with the tribe of Levi being excluded from the initial count described in chapter 1.

“Only the tribe of Levi you shall not list, and you shall not take a census of them among the people of Israel.” Numbers 1:49

Here in chapter 3 Levi is counted but done so apart from “the people of Israel.”

“List the sons of Levi, by fathers’ houses and by clans; every male from a month old and upward you shall list.” Numbers 3:15

This is yet another example of the distinction between Levi and the rest of the tribes. Not only did G-d declare they were different (Num. 3:12) but He demonstrated the difference through His commandments. As a brief aside, are G-d’s commandments not what demonstrate our difference from the world?

“So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your G-d.” Numbers 15:40

To be holy is to heed G-d’s instruction which naturally extracts us from the wickedness of the world. In regard to the tribal enumeration the people of Israel were counted only if the following qualifications applied.

So all those listed of the people of Israel, by their fathers’ houses, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war in Israel –“ Numbers 1:45

Compare the stipulations to that of Levi.

“List the sons of Levi, by fathers’ houses and by clans; every male from a month old and upward you shall list.” Numbers 3:15

Twenty years old is the age when the highest monetary value applies as described in Leviticus 27. The additional qualification for one who was twenty years old and upward was the ability to go to war, which clearly exhibited a physical requirement. However, a month old, which was Levi’s minimum age, is the very first age at which a person has a monetary value. The distinction demonstrates that from as early as possible the Levites were designated for the work of HaShem and were recognized as bearing that responsibility. In other words their vocation and service to G-d was based more on birth than ability.

The encampment instructions are vivid and full of parallels. One item that differentiated the first tribe from the rest was a subtle piece of additional information.

“Those to camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah by their companies, the chief of the people of Judah being Nahshon the son of Amminadab,” Numbers 2:3

“Toward the sunrise” seems redundant following “the east side.” The Hebrew word for “sunrise” in this case is mitzrach and the Hebrew word for “east side” is kedem so redundancy is no longer an issue. Although the phrase “toward the sunrise” and it’s relation to the tribe of Judah demands further investigation. Our blessed Messiah Yeshua is of the tribe of Judah. (Matt. 2:1-6) Therefore Numbers 2:3 should relate in some way to Messiah.  The following are a couple of passages that use the Hebrew word mitzrach.

“For I am the L-RD your G-d, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east (mitzrach), and from the west I will gather you.” Isaiah 43:3-5

“So they shall fear the name of the L-RD from the west, and his glory from the rising (mitzrach) of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the L-RD drives. ‘And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,’ declares the L-RD.” Isaiah 59:19-20

Both passages are clearly Messianic and reveal additional truth about the east where the sun rises and the affiliation with Messiah Yeshua. Why is this important? The correlation between the encampment of Judah and Messiah Yeshua help answer questions and increase understanding. From where will Messiah come? From what tribe will He descend? What signs will surround His coming? For which characteristics should we look? Just as Philip saw Yeshua and recognized that He was “him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote” (Jn.1:45) we too should be prepared in order to recognize the Son of Man as He returns to Zion.

“For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:27

To begin in the opening chapter of this week’s portions out of many other options it is apropos that G-d commands that the jubilee year is consecrated on the Day of Atonement.

“Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan.” Leviticus 25:9-10

This beseeches the question “why?”, because a day to begin a year of liberty, elation, and agrarian rest seems unrelated to a day on which we afflict our souls. (Lev. 23:32) An important commonality between both days is the requirement for selfless reliance on G-d.  During the jubilee year sowing, reaping, and gathering are forbidden. One must place his trust in G-d for provision and sustenance. The same helpless dependency is our only response to obtain atonement as well. We are unable to provide atonement for ourselves whether temporal or eternal. In addition, G-d demands our obedience in both cases. Adherence to the commandments is an expected response to the abundant endowment of sustenance during the jubilee year (among the other cyclical Sabbath rests for the land) as well as our rebirth as new creatures in Messiah Yeshua. Upon receiving G-d’s loving and gracious largesse we are obligated to obey Him. Not because our obedience induces salvation or provision but because it confirms submission to His perfect will and demonstrates our love for Him.

To conclude, the “valuation of persons” in Leviticus 27 was intriguing and puzzling.

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, If anyone makes a special vow to the L-RD involving the valuation of persons,” Leviticus 27:2

It is intriguing because the passage lacks further explanation and puzzling because I do not understand when we would value a person in regard to a vow. Is it a vow to protect them and if they should die we would pay the appropriate price? Is this the price to make a vow to dedicate someone or to dedicate one’s self? If one were to make a vow and break it would this be a list of the prices they must pay? Oddly enough there is a passage in Acts that describes a group of new believers by their value.

“And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.” Act 19:19

If the redeemed sorcerers were all men between twenty and sixty year’s old then 1000 men were reckoned. Perhaps instead of recording the number of people the passage in Acts deliberately states the value to evince a connection with the explanation of Leviticus 27 and what occurred to the new believers. However I did discover, possibly an unrelated, correlation between the redemption price of a male firstborn who is one month old and the valuation price for a one month old male.

“Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the L-rd, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.  And their redemption price (at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.” Numbers 18:15-16

“If the person is from a month old up to five years old, the valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female the valuation shall be three shekels of silver.”  Leviticus 27:6

Nevertheless it is likely the valuation of persons is listed so that we may know the standard redemption price for a general person (possibly even one’s self). Although it does not seem as if Leviticus 27 is referring to redeeming a brother because that price “shall vary with the number of years” (Lev. 25:50) Otherwise I intend to study this further and I welcome your comments.

For fear of over-spiritualization I leave this verse without explanation and personally use this as an opportunity to reflect on our Blessed Messiah who paid the ultimate price.

“You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men.” 1 Corinthians 7:23

At times it is easy to inadvertently evade the literal interpretation of priestly regulations in favor of simile. In some cases people deliberately obviate literal interpretation based on its societal relevance taking a “that was then, this is now” approach to Scripture. I seek to do neither and if I have written about parallels in the past it was because the plain interpretation was obvious while the supporting Apostolic Scripture reference was less so. This week, it is interesting to note the almost identical list of blemishes for both the Kohen and an offering.

“For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles.” Leviticus 21:18-20

“Animals blind or disabled or mutilated or having a discharge or an itch or scabs you shall not offer to the L-RD or give them to the L-RD as a food offering on the altar. You may present a bull or a lamb that has a part too long or too short for a freewill offering, but for a vow offering it cannot be accepted.  Any animal that has its testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut you shall not offer to the L-RD; you shall not do it within your land,” Leviticus 22:22-24

The similarity should come as no surprise because both the Kohen and the offering were presented before HaShem Himself. Therefore both would have equal holiness standards so as not to profane the sanctuary. (Lev. 21:23) Additionally, the Kohen’s service was, in a sense, a sacrifice. The priests had stricter standards and more limiting commandments bestowed upon them. The chief priest could not even go out of the sanctuary. (Lev. 21:12) This was indeed a selfless and sacrificial life in service to HaShem. Just as the priest selected the offering to be presented, so too did HaShem select the Levites to serve before Him.

“For the L-rd your G-d has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the name of the L-rd, him and his sons for all time.” Deuteronomy 18:5

It is important to note as well that our Messiah was a perfect and acceptable sacrifice before the Father. As Peter so elegantly describes Him, He was and is “like that of a lamb without spot or blemish.” (1 Pet. 1:19)

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:14-19

Is it not convenient that the Torah generously contains the arrangement of the festivals and set times in exclusive sections? (Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28-29) Focusing this week on Leviticus 23 it is subtle yet characteristic that Yom Kippur is the only festival without “Speak to the Children of Israel.” The description of Pesach does not include this phrase right before the entry but it is amalgamated together with the Sabbath details, which does carry the phrase. The omission demonstrates, not that the information was inapplicable to the Children of Israel, but that Yom Kippur constitutes personal reflection and an individual affliction of the soul. There is no celebration, no festival, and no mention of congregating with others. This is a “Sabbath of solemn rest.” (Lev. 23:32) Yet another illustration of G-d’s grace is placing such a pensive time between two “holy convocations”, Rosh HaShanah and Sukkot. Both set times are jovial, celebratory, and communal. Reading through the spectacular festivals that are soon approaching augments my anticipation and excitement! The next set time is Shavu’ot! The counting is coming to an end and the opportunity to lovingly keep several of G-d’s commandments is close at hand.

“And you shall make proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.” Leviticus 23:21

It is fascinating to read footnotes such as the following: “The meaning of Azazel is uncertain; possibly the name of a place or a demon, traditionally a scapegoat; also verses 10, 26.” Uncertain? Mystery impetrates curiosity. Well, what do the Sages suggest?

1“Ibn Ezra and Naḥmanides both interpret Azazel as the name of the goat and this view is also found in the Talmud: “The school of Rabbi Ishmael explained it is called Azazel because it atones for the acts of the fallen *angels *Uzza and Azael” (Yoma 67b, cf. Targ. Jon., Gen. 6:1; Deut. R. 11:10).”

2“According to the sages and Rashi it meant “a steep, rocky or hard place,” in other words a description of its destination. According to Ibn Ezra (cryptically) and Nahmanides (explicitly), Azazel was the name of a spirit or demon, one of the fallen angels referred to in Genesis 6:2, similar to the goat-spirit called Pan in Greek mythology, Faunus in Latin. The third interpretation is that the word simply means “the goat [ez] that was sent away [azal].” Hence the English word “(e)scapegoat” coined by William Tyndale in his 1530 English translation of the Bible.”

Regardless of which interpretation suits your preference the Bible deliberately provides no explanation. During the service in which the goat for azazel is used an additional verse incited my curiosity.

“And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness.” Leviticus 16:21

The last phrase is particularly puzzling. “By the hand of a man who is in readiness.” Further more the word for “readiness” in Hebrew is itti (עִתִּי) and this is the only time it is used in the whole Tanach. Here, I believe is a parallel to Yeshua. All of the people’s sins were affixed to the goat which meant there was need to expel the goat and thereby remove the sin. One of the most significant responsibilities rested on the man willing to contaminate himself to send the goat away into the wilderness. This action was the final step in removal of sin. Our Messiah Yeshua was also willing to bear the sin of the world, contaminate himself, and become the final step in removal of sin. He was a man who was in readiness. Gesenius’s lexicon suggests “opportune, at hand” as a suitable translation for itti. The following verse occurred right before Yeshua’s capture and contains Yeshua’s declaration that His time was at hand.

He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, “The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.”’ Matthew 26:18

To follow the previous rumination and conclude with an additional parallel to Yeshua the following verse demonstrates why Yeshua had to suffer and die for our sins.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” Leviticus 17:11

Ultimately it is the life that substantiates the blood to be sufficient for atonement. The animals that were sacrificed to atone for ritual impurity must die for the blood to function. Messiah Yeshua died for us so that by His life His blood would provide atonement. He taught His disciples this truth:

“for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.’” Mark 9:31

For such incredible grace and such humble sacrifice we should have His salvation on our lips daily. (1 Chr. 16:23) Praise the L-RD that this was His will that we might be saved!

“Yet it was the will of the L-RD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the L-RD shall prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:10


1 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0002_0_01741.html

2 http://www.chiefrabbi.org/author/ben/#.T6MsSo7GU3g

Yeshua is the mediator of the New Covenant and it is by His blood alone that we are saved. (Hb 9:15) This week’s portions contain hints to this truth, which should come as no surprise to us. Let’s begin with an interesting excerpt from Leviticus 14.

“He shall take the live bird with the cedarwood and the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, and dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed of the leprous disease. Then he shall pronounce him clean and shall let the living bird go into the open field.”  Leviticus 14:6-7

Now read Hebrews 9.

“18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that G-d commanded for you.’ 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of G-d on our behalf.” Hebrews 9:18-24

Here are the symbolic parallels I found:

Torah

Apostolic Scriptures

…blood of the bird that was killed… (Lev. 14) …but G-d shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of G-d…(Rom. 5)
…scarlet yarn…(Lev. 14) And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,…(Mat. 27)
…and the hyssop…(Lev. 14) so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.(Jn. 19)
…with the cedarwood…(Lev. 14) They put him to death by hanging him on a tree…(Acts 10)
…over fresh water…(Lev. 14) and since we have a great priest over the house of G-d, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10)
…sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed…(Lev. 14) … sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,…(Heb. 9)

 

Parallels and comparisons are not meant to distract us from the plain reading and understanding of the Torah portion, but serve the purpose to display revelation and enrich our study. Yeshua and the disciples would draw attention during their expositions to whole sections of Scripture by mentioning key words and phrases. Further your study this week and discover the many other parallels throughout these portions. The verses I listed above describe the ritual to cleanse a person or a house from tzarat. Also, the same items were thrown into the fire with the red heifer whose ashes were used to cleanse one who touched a dead body. (Num. 19:6) As the Book of Hebrews so eloquently elucidates the lengthy descriptions of priestly rituals foreshadow our blessed Savior and His gracious sacrifice. Therefore we read the Book of Leviticus with earnest to learn more of G-d, to understand the Levitical system, to keep the non-temple related commandments contained within, and to discover Messiah Yeshua on every page. Be encouraged and speak of His salvation daily! (1 Chr 16:23)

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