God starts out by telling Moses the regulations that are specifically for the Cohanim, regarding when they are allowed to become unclean by approaching a dead person, the appropriate behavior of their daughters (sons, as well, is implied), who they are allowed to marry and the rules regarding any descendants with a physical deformity.
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Chapter 23 designates God’s required festivals, which we call the Holy Days.
Chapter 24 tells us about the lamps in the Sanctuary and the rules for the shewbread that is to be laid out every week, one loaf for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We are also told of the man who blasphemed God’s name and was stoned, and that God requires equal compensation and fair rendering of justice, which is what he meant when he said to take an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. The administration of justice is to be fair and compensatory, but not retributive or to allow torture.
I have committed an entire chapter in my first book, “Back to Basics: God’s Word vs. Religion” to the difference between a Holy Day, which God has commanded us to celebrate, and a holiday, which is a man-made celebration. Any discussion regarding this is best left until after you read that chapter (which is only possible after you buy the book- it’s worth it, believe me).
I could also give an entire sermon on the real meaning of the “eye for eye; tooth for tooth” thing, but I won’t do that, today.
What I want to talk about is Leviticus 24:22, which says this (CJB):
You are to apply the same standard of judgment to the foreigner as to the citizen, because I am Adonai your God.”
There has been heated and never-ending discussion since the middle of the First Century, as to which laws of the Torah apply to Jews, and which to Gentiles. I have often noted that the earliest Gentiles converting to the new movement which followed the Messiah of the Jews, wanted to separate themselves from the Jews because of the problems the Jews were having with Rome. In order to do so, they changed the Sabbath day and also did not require strict adherence to the Torah laws, only the 4 commands that they received from the Elders in Jerusalem (Acts 15). Later, under Constantine, these (now called) Christians further separated themselves by creating their own doctrine, tenets, and holidays.
This was never what God or Yeshua intended.
The problem with separating yourself and creating new ways of living and worshiping is that you now have to label it so we know who is who. Therefore, the Torah observant lifestyle was called Judaism, and the tenets and doctrines of Constantine were called Christianity. As Christians continued to change what was their idea of correct worship and what was not, they created new religions, each with its own label, until now there are some dozens of different religions within Christianity, all of whom are supposed to be worshiping the same God, who told everyone how he wants us to worship him when he gave those instructions to Moses.
When God said that his laws are to be the same for the foreigner as for the citizen, meaning a blood-descendent of Jacob, he was telling us that these are the only laws that apply, and they apply to everyone. That means the letter the Gentiles received wasn’t superseding these laws, and that they, who were learning how to live according to the Torah, weren’t supposed to secede from Judaism. It simply meant that the only immediate lifestyle changes they must make were those 4 things and because they were going to the synagogue every Shabbat, they would learn the Torah and eventually become adapted to that lifestyle.
God has no religion, only his instructions for how to worship him and how to treat each other. He told Moses when he gave us the Torah that his chosen people were to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6), and since priests are the ones who teach the laity how to worship and live as God wants them to, it is obvious that God gave the Torah to the Jews to bring to the world.
Here’s how it works: God told Moses when we obey the Torah we will be blessed (Deuteronomy 28), and he told Abraham that his descendants will be a blessing to the world (Genesis 22:18), so God gave the Jews the Torah so that, as Abrahams descendants, we could bring the Torah to the world, who could then receive the blessings God has for everyone who obeys his instructions.
In Israel today, the Arabs that live and work in Israel, whether male or female, receive the same pay, the same benefits, and the same coverages as the Israelis- can we say that was ever true in America? Even today? Can we say that for almost anywhere else in the world? Throughout history, legal aliens were not given the same rights to property or work as the indigenous people were. Yet, in Israel, since the beginning, foreigners were treated as equals.
And here is an important thing to understand: the same law for the foreigner as for the citizen doesn’t just mean that the foreigner is to be treated the same way, but that he is also to act the same way.
If you say you worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then you are expected to do what the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob said you should do. And if you accept Yeshua as God’s Messiah and your savior, you should remember that he confirmed and taught everything his father said in the Torah. Really, if you say you believe in God and that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah, how can you possibly justify rejecting the lifestyle and form of worship that God commanded and which Yeshua lived?
Christians always say they want to do as Jesus did, but they reject how he worshiped and how he lived! And what is even more meshuggah is that they think God will be happy about that!
The same law for everyone means everyone is to be under the same law. If you reject God’s instructions, you reject God, and if you reject God you also reject the one he sent (Luke 10:16), so how can anyone be truly saved if they reject their savior?
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!