THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:
From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets.
We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.
The readings for this week April 2-8, 2017 are called Tsav—“Command”.
TORAH: Leviticus 6:8—8:36
HAFTARAH: Malachi 3:4—4:6 (Shabbat haGadol)
Note: On the Shabbat preceding the beginning of Passover (Shabbat haGadol—“The Great Shabbat”) the regular Haftarah (In this case Jeremiah 7:21—8:3, 9:23-24) is replaced by the above reading from Malachi. The name comes from the fact that this passage is centered around a call to prepare for the coming Great Day (Yom haGadol) of the LORD.
In this week’s readings, Moses is told to command Aaron and his sons concerning the offerings they will shortly begin making before God. Careful instruction is made concerning each of these—with emphasis on the holiness of the priest’s activities. Then Aaron and his sons are then consecrated, clothed in their holy garments and anointed, and atonement is made for them before they begin their duties on behalf of the people.
The Sabbath preceding Passover is called Shabbat HaGadol—the “Great Sabbath”. It takes its name from Yom Yehovah haGadol v’haNorah—“The Great and dreadful day of the LORD” found in Malachi 4:5 of the special Haftarah which is read on this occasion. It is an important time for soberly “taking account” of the Day which is coming “burning like an oven”…but also for taking heart from God’s promise that “to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings!”
*Malachi 3:16-18. “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the LORD of Armies, ‘On the day that I make them my jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”
This passage shows that believers who spend time with other believers in conversation characterized by the Fear of the Lord, and who also spend time meditating on the attributes signified by His name—these will be ones who are granted discernment so as to be spared the deception which will prevail more and more until the Lord’s return (Matt. 24:4, 11, 24; Daniel 8:25).
*Malachi 4:1. “For behold, the Day is coming, burning like an oven…”
As darkness gathers (John 9:4; Daniel 12:1-3) we must as believers hold to each other, listening, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…as we see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25). As the world refuses to wait on God’s command, drawing instead the fire of His wrath, another voice will be calling—“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations . . .” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9).
Next week at seders around the world, Jews will put a glass of wine out on the porch “for Elijah”. At the end of the seder someone (often a child) will be sent out to see if he “came”. It is a charming tradition—but one related to a very serious Word from God, who has promised that He will “send Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the LORD” (Malachi 4:5). Yeshua (Jesus) affirmed that “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things.”, even though he had already “come” in the form of John the Baptizer, yet gone unrecognized. However may be the ultimate form of his next coming, the awakened body of Messiah in the land of Israel is in great need of the discernment and power of the gifts and office of prophet which he represented.
PLEASE PRAY: For the desire for and discernment of these gifts in Israel—and that this time their manifestation not be unrecognized!
“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy…For the testimony of Yeshua (Jesus) is the spirit of prophecy” (I Cor. 14:1; Rev. 19:10).
Martin & Norma Sarvis
Passover and the Week of the Festival of Unleavened Bread begin Monday evening April 10th. There will be special Passover readings through the week and on Shabbat Chol haMoed April 15. The next in the regular cycle of Torah readings (Shmini—“Eighth”) will continue on April 22.