These three chapters each have their own instructions.
Chapter 21 gives us the instructions and requirements for priests regarding being allowed to become unclean for a close family member who died, rules regarding the eating of the holy food, and who the priest may marry.
If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.
Chapter 23 is the chapter that defines the Moedim, the Holy Days. These are the only festivals that God has created and commanded that all who worship him must celebrate.
Chapter 24 is what we could call a Penal Code, specifying the punishment for specific crimes, in which we are told two very important things: the punishment must be equitable to the crime, and that whether a foreigner or a native-born the law is to be administered equally to both.
Many years ago, after I had been saved for only a few months, I was blessed to be part of a video that was made by the Assemblies of God church because the Messianic synagogue I was attending was supported in part by their outreach program to the Jewish people. In that video, I was asked to give my personal testimony about how I, a Jew, found my Messiah.
If you are interested in seeing this, here is a link to it: Steve Bruck Testimony.
That congregation of Messianic Jews was actually composed of more Christians who were seeking the Jewishness of their Messiah than it was Jews who found Yeshua. In fact, many of the Messianic synagogues and Hebraic Roots churches I have been to or heard about have more Gentiles than Jews as congregants!
Yet many of the Gentiles in these places of worship, seeking to know their Jewish Messiah, often maintain many Christian doctrines and holidays, rejecting much of what God said we should do in the Torah.
The point of all this, in conjunction with today’s parashah, is this: whether Jew or Gentile, anyone who accepts the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, as their Messiah is grafted into the body of the Messiah (Romans 11) and, thereby, into the Jewish religion…like it or not.
Here is what God, himself, says about anyone who joins with the Jewish people:
Leviticus 24:22– Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for the home-born; for I am the Lord your God.
Over the centuries, people have influenced the Gentiles who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah to separate themselves from their Jewish roots. This started in the latter part of the First Century as a political strategy because the Jews living in Judea were being persecuted by the Romans for revolting against Roman rule. Later on, the letters that Shaul (Paul) wrote were being misinterpreted in order to further separate these newly converting pagans away from learning how to live a Jewish lifestyle and worship to something different.
You see, Shaul wrote in such a way as to slowly bring these Gentiles into Judaism, as we read in Isaiah 28, where he chides the people saying that they are so confused by their own sins that they must be treated like little children, learning the Torah line by line, precept by precept, a little here and a little there.
This is exactly the way that Shaul was teaching the Gentiles he brought into the body of Messiah how to live as a Jew.
What happened is after he died, and the ones following him were not Jews but converted Gentiles, this purity of worship was contaminated by a personal desire to create their own form of worship, which was cemented in time by the Council of Nicene when Emperor Constantine created (what is today) modern Christianity, with its own rules, holidays, and dogma.
He also rebranded the Jewish Messiah into some blue-eyed, blonde-haired Christian who wants all Jews to reject the Torah and convert to his religion, which worships Jesus instead of God.
So, to all who have accepted Jesus as their Savior (I am using Christin terminology), know this: as far as God is concerned, he tells us here in Leviticus 24 that because you have been grafted in you are to be treated as any natural-born Jewish person is to be treated under the Torah, and as such, you are also obligated to follow the laws which are in the Torah.
Not so nice a thing to consider, is it? I am absolutely certain I will get many who disagree, quoting every mistaken interpretation of the letters Shaul wrote to justify that as Gentiles they are NOT required to obey the Torah, except for, of course, those moral laws which God gave us.
How much more “moral” can one be than to obey ALL that God says? If God says to do something that isn’t moral, doesn’t that mean he is, himself, immoral? So if there are moral laws and ceremonial laws, does that mean the ceremonies are immoral?
No one will ever receive salvation through the Torah alone, for the simple reason that no one can be perfectly obedient to it. That’s why we had to have a Messiah, who came to the Jew first, then the Gentile, but not so that the Gentile would have a different set of rules and commandments!
Recently, someone told me that the New Covenant (he properly identified it as Jeremiah 31:31) supersedes the Mosaic Covenant because God says he will make a new covenant, and then he gives me the standard Christian misinterpretation of what Shaul says in Hebrews about what is new makes the old obsolete. What he didn’t do was actually read what God said through Jeremiah: he never said this new covenant replaces anything, he simply said it would be different from the old one, in that instead of being written on a scroll God was going to write his Torah on our hearts. Not a new Torah, not one making the old Torah obsolete, but the same, exact Torah he gave to Moses, only this time it would be spiritually a part of us; we would live and breathe it as our hearts pumped Torah throughout our bodies. This is the lesson that Yeshua taught- the Remes, not the P’shat, of God’s instructions for living.
So if you consider yourself grafted into the Body of the Messiah, that means you are both protected by and subject to the Torah. That’s not what I say, that’s what God said in Leviticus.
So, nu– you can go along with your traditional man-made religion called Christianity, or you can rethink your position. I suggest you read the Torah (if you haven’t already) – it’s the first 5 books of the Bible. And, by the way, it is the ONLY place where God dictated how we are to worship him and how we are to treat each other. The words he gave the Prophets had to do with returning to those laws, not changing them, and if you look for the term “God said unto (so-and-so), tell the people this is what the Lord says…” anywhere in the New Covenant, you won’t find it there.
But you will find it, as God’s direct instructions to all who choose to worship him, in the Torah.
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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!