April 29 is Day #9 of “Counting the Omer” to Pentecost!
The readings for Synagogues in Israel (*) this week 28 April—4 May 2019 are called Kedoshim—“Holy Ones”:
*Levitucus 19:1-2. “YHWH spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘Speak to the entire community of the Children of Israel, and say to them: “Holy are you to be, for holy am I, YHWH your God!”’” (Everett Fox Trans.).
As Everett Fox points out in the commentary to his translation, “As the key chapter of this part of Leviticus, Chapter 19 is wide-ranging and rhetorically powerful. It extends holiness to virtually all areas of life—family, calendar, cult, business, civil and criminal law, social relations, and sexuality. Most (but not all) of the laws deal with what we would term ethics, that is, relations between people…As such, they have become an exemplar and a cornerstone, at least in idealized form, in Western thinking about these issues.”
For Chapter 20, “We move now into laws dealing with some of the more serious offenses against God in the biblical view: idolatry (Including worship of the “Molekh” and consulting spirits), insulting parents, adultery, and sexual crimes. These are distinguished from the previous chapter by the inclusion of punishments; their seriousness is indicated by their capital nature.” (Fox, Everett: The Five Books of Moses…©1995, Shocken Books, New York).
*Leviticus 19:3 (Fox Translation). “Each-man—his mother and his father you are to hold-in-awe, and my Sabbaths you are to keep: I am YHWH your God!” (Everett Fox Trans.).
The first specific directive in this chapter (regarding the initial call to holiness) combines the reverent respect for one’s parents with that of the first thing ever recorded as being “holy”—the Sabbath (“Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it [ VaYekadesh, i.e. “made it holy], because in it He ceased from all His work which Elohim had created and made.”—Genesis 2:3). The phrases “I am YHWH!” or “I am YHWH your God!” are used at least 15 times in this chapter. YHWH (The exact pronunciation is today uncertain, some scholars think Yehovah, others Ya’hweh) is different than all the other gods served by the inhabitants of the lands Israel would be entering. As He is different, so the life-styles of His followers must be different! He is YHWH! The very power of that NAME released with His directives would provide sufficient grace and authority for those who would be willing to obey.
*Leviticus 19:17-18. “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of Your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am YHVH.”
Yeshua would equate this command to “love one’s neighbor as one’s self” with the First Commandment, to “Love YHVH our God with all our hearts, souls and minds” (Matthew 22:39). In the New Covenant, John would teach further that
“He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (I John 2:9-11).
*Leviticus 19:32. “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.”
The first part of this verse, Mifnei seva takum!— “Before the aged, Arise!” is today posted on little signs (see below) over the first seats behind the driver in public buses in Jerusalem!
PLEASE PRAY for the aged in Israel—that they will draw near to their God. Pray for the younger, that there will be a renewal of respect and honour for age in the Land—with the realization that this is linked to the “Fear of God” and honoring the Name of the LORD.
*Leviticus 20:7-8. “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am YHVH your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am YHVH who sanctifies you.”
The words “consecrate”, “holy” and “sanctifies” in this passage all have within them the root of the Hebrew word kadosh. Here we have man’s responsibility in “setting himself apart”—by guarding and walking in God’s directives—but we also see that becoming truly Holy will ultimately require a work of the LORD Himself!
*Amos 9:11.“In that day I will raise up the fallen sukka [hut, temporary shelter, tent, tabernacle] of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old. That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Nations who are called by My name.”
This passage has traditionally been interpreted as relating to the restoration of Israel in her land. We believe this to be true. David built his first palace on Mount Zion, just south and below Mount Moria where his son Solomon would eventually raise the First Temple. Zechariah 12:10 makes clear that a day of grace for conviction and repentance is coming to the “House of David” in Jerusalem. And Ezekiel 34:23-30 and 37:22-28 prophecy that in latter days a united kingdom of Israel under David will be restored.
Yet, in Acts 15:12-17, we find James (Jacob) a leader in the early Messianic congregation in Jerusalem, applying this passage to God’s raising up of a spiritual structure within which not only Jews, but also “the rest of humankind may seek the LORD, even the Nations who are called by My name.”
And within the past 30 years, the Holy Spirit has revealed yet another aspect of the “Tabernacle of David.” David was “a man after God’s own heart.” As such, he was first and last a worshiper “in Spirit and in truth”. He brought the Ark of the Covenant, above which dwelt the Presence of the LORD, up to Jerusalem, placed it in a tent (a temporary dwelling, sukka), and stationed worshipers around it ministering continually before the LORD for some 32 years (I Chronicles 16:1). We see in this the phenomenon in our own day of the Holy Spirit’s raising up places of continual Davidic worship and intercession, in Israel and around the world, as an earnest of—a “prelude to—the ultimate fulfillment of the Amos 9:11 prophecy, which will be a blessing to Israel and all of the World.
PLEASE PRAY: that God’s “Kingdom Come!” over the Covenant Hebrew people and the land which He has promised to them forever. Over the City of David, the ancient location just south and below the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where David built his first palace and erected the tent for the Ark. The area is currently home to both a Muslim Arab and an Orthodox Jewish population. Pray for God’s righteousness and justice, His wisdom, courage, compassion and timing over Israel’s Prime Minister and Jerusalem’s Mayor, who continue to face decisions of great import regarding this area. Pray for the Arabs and Orthodox Jews who are often hostile neighbors on this tiny strip of land…that a Light would shine in their darkness—a revelation of the Son of David who is also the Son of God, who came once as a Man into this world, and who will one day return to rule.
For barriers to come down between the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the other Nations—that they draw together as One New Man in the mercy of God the Father for all the descendants of Adam in the work of His Son.
Pray that houses of corporate praise, worship and intercession, as modeled by David and nourished by the Holy Spirit of Truth, will continue to be established and grow in Israel and around the world!
– Your Friends in Jerusalem
(*) Because of the extra day of Passover Week observed outside of Israel (which this year occurred on a Sabbath), the readings in the Nations will be one week behind those read in Jerusalem until 3 August, when a “double-reading” will cause the readings for both to again coincide.
[The Parashah for next week 5-11 May 2019 is called Emor—“Say!” TORAH: Leviticus 21:1—24:23; HAFTARAH: Ezekiel 44:15-31]