As we come to the end of Pesach (Passover) we are reading from the Torah the section where God has Moses remind the people that all the firstborn of the flock and herd belong to God. He states that the sacrifice must be eaten at the place where God puts his name, and that we are not to eat the blood but, instead, pour it out on the ground.
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He further reminds us about the Passover rules and the 7 days of unleavened bread. Passover is, actually, just that first evening; the next 7 days are the Feast of Unleavened bread.
God gives us his instructions for the counting of the Omer, starting on the first Shabbat after the beginning of Pesach, and that when it is over we celebrate Shavuot.
This parashah reading ends with God telling us that three times during the year we are to appear at the place where he chooses to put his name: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.
The Haftorah reading for this special day is Isaiah 10:32-12:6, which is when he prophesized the coming of the Messiah and the regathering of God’s chosen people throughout the world. He also states that the Goyim (literally, the nations, but generally referring to non-Jews, i.e. Gentiles) will also seek out the Messiah. On that day, Isaiah tells us, everyone will give thanks to God for turning away his righteous anger and providing our salvation.
This Shabbat’s message is pretty clear- celebrate the Passover as God said to, and one day the Messiah will come to save us; when that day comes, even the Gentiles will seek him out.
Well, for those of us who recognize that Yeshua (Jesus) was, and still is, the Messiah, we are already saved from the eternal consequences of our sins. Of course, that isn’t automatic: we still need to repent of every sin we commit and ask God’s forgiveness, by means of the sacrifice that Yeshua made.
As I have mentioned before, God tells us, more than once, to make sure we don’t sacrifice to him just anywhere- that is what the pagans do. We are to sacrifice only where God chooses to put his name.
During the 40 years in the desert, that place was the Tent of Meeting (also called the Sanctuary or Tabernacle), and when the people entered the land the tent was set up in different places. Initially it was at their main camp in Gilgal and later at Shiloh, where it stayed for some 369 years until King David moved it and the Ark to Jerusalem (after a short stop-over in the house of Oved-Edom).
After Solomon built the temple and put the Ark of the Covenant inside, God chose that place (demonstrated by his Shekinah Glory filling the house) to be the only place where sacrifices to God could be offered.
Jews came from all over the Middle East to Jerusalem to make the Passover sacrifice; I would guess, although I don’t think the Bible tells us, that if someone lived a long distance away it just made sense to hang around the City of David instead of taking weeks to travel back, only to turn around and go to Jerusalem, again, for the mandatory appearance at Shavuot.
So, we have this Shabbat reading telling us of the requirement to go to the temple, and Isaiah telling us that when Messiah comes all the people will rejoice and give thanks to God for his salvation, one might wonder what these two have in common, since the rabbis have decided they should be read together.
The common factor, as far as I see it, is the requirement to sacrifice where God places his name and the Messiah’s role in salvation.
You see, when the temple was destroyed in 73 AD, there was no way for Jews to be forgiven of their sins, let alone perform the cleansing or peace offerings that are so much a part of our spiritual lives. That was the place God had put his name, the only place God allowed us to sacrifice, and now it was gone!
But through the sacrifice of the Messiah, Yeshua, we could receive forgiveness of sins without the temple. Yeshua’s once-and-for-all sacrifice meant that we no longer had to bring an animal to the place God put his name because Yeshua replaced that part of the sacrificial system.
For the record: when I say his sacrifice was a “once-and-for-all” sacrifice, I do NOT mean once it was done, for all time after that no one had to ask for forgiveness, as the “Once Saved: Always Saved” group would lead you to believe.
No! – What I mean is that his sacrifice was once, and for all PEOPLE!
By the end of the First Century, the Gentiles were already seeking out the Jewish messiah, which was good!
But, unfortunately, over the centuries these early Believers and their followers have so misinterpreted and misconstrued what people have written about Yeshua and what people taught the Gentile followers of Yeshua- who they call Jesus- should do or not do, that the Christian Savior is NOT the Messiah God sent to save them.
We can only pray that when the End Days do arrive, those Christians who have been misled by their leaders will come to know the lies they have been told, and seek out the real Messiah, the one God had Isaiah tell us about.
There is some good news, though: many Christians today are seeking out the real Messiah, and getting back to serving God as he said to.
In light of this, I am going to plug my latest book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews“, which is also for Christians. In this book, I debunk the traditional lies from both Christians and Jews have been taught about Messiah Yeshua. It’s available on Amazon Books in both paperback and Kindle formats, or use the link on my website.
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That’s it for this week so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!