- (Shabbat HaGadol): Malachi 3:4—4:6
The readings for this week April 7-13, 2019 are called Metsora—“Skin Disease/Leprosy”:
Because this is the Sabbath preceding Passover, the usual Haftarah (II Kings 7:3-20) is replaced by Malachi 3:4-4:6—centered around a call to prepare for the coming Great Day (Yom Gadol) of the LORD (Malachai 4:5)—thus, it is called Shabbat haGadol.
As we wrote last week, after focusing on the importance of Israel’s being ‘set apart’ to God in a special way, of her distinguishing between the holy and unholy, the unclean and clean (Lev. 10:10)—both last week’s and this week’s portions continue in instruction of how this was to be worked out in everyday life. There needed to be purification and atonement made for a mother when bringing forth children; there must be measures of isolation and testing taken for outbreaks of surface diseases or blights (both on physical bodies and on dwellings), and for contaminating discharges from the body. And there was a way prescribed for restoration once healing had occurred.
When Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus) came to be born in a stable, his mother Miriam (Mary) submitted to these same instructions for purification (Luke 2:22), and when it was time for the sacrifice, she and Joseph could only afford the humble offering mentioned here (Lev 12:8; Luke 2:24). Yeshua’s coming was to “undo the works of the devil” manifest in all of these diseases, to bring atonement, redemption healing and cleansing. It is very significant that among his healing miracles, special mention is made of those involving lepers and a woman with an ‘issue of blood’.
PLEASE PRAY: as those in synagogues this coming weekend hear these words which so graphically picture the presence and result of sin in our midst and man’s need for healing and being pronounced clean, that the Holy Spirit will convict of sin and righteousness and judgment, and draw Jews to seek cleansing through the One who washes white as snow!
SHABBAT HAGADOL: Malachi 3:4—4:6
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).
– Your Friends in Jerusalem
[Next Saturday 20 April 2019 is Pesach—“Passover.” The readings for that Shabbat will be:
Torah: Exodus 12:21-51; Numbers 29:16-25; Haftarah: Joshua 3:5-7; 5:2—6:1; 6:27]