Parashah 26: Sh'mini (Eighth)
Leviticus 9:1 through 11:47
Parashah 26: Sh'mini (Eighth) - Leviticus 9:1 through 11:47.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): 2 Samuel: 6:1 - 7:17.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Mark 7:1-23; Acts 5:1-11; 10:1-35; 2 Cor. 6:14 - 7:1; Galatians 2:11-16; 1 Peter 1:14-16.
Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the AENT.
Welcome "newbies" and "oldies!" As you all know, Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, transliterated into English as YHWH, and most likely pronounced "Yah-way" (see Exodus 3:13-15). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah"). Enjoy this week's Torah portion!
We begin this week's study with a new sense of excitement as we begin to experience the Spring moedim (Festivals/Appointed Times) - Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and the Counting of the Omer that takes us into Shavuot/Pentecost. In the course of the celebration of these awesome appointments with the Creator each year YHWH, invites us to experience the great miracles He performed in the past, and will continue to perform in the future. During these celebrations we reflect upon (and testify to the world) His people's deliverance from oppression, the liberation from forced labor, the salvation through Yeshua who was our Final SIN Sacrifice/Offering and the redemption from bondage of all kinds.
This parashah was powerful on several levels! First of all, Leviticus 10 gives us just a tiny inkling about what all transpired during the consecration of Aharon and his sons:
Leviticus 9: 6 Moshe said, "This is what ADONAI has ordered you to do, so that the glory of ADONAI will appear to you.
In how many of today's churches or Messianic synagogues do we get to see the "glory of ADONAI"? This is because most aren't doing anything to glorify Him! Most teachings don't reflect YHWH's Word; instead, they reflect man's interpretation or opinion. There isn't a religion on earth except for Judaism that comes close to what YHWH commanded. More on this later but, right now, let's skip to Leviticus 10:1- 3 where YHWH gives His people a lesson in unmitigated obedience when He kills the sons of Aaron on the spot for adding "unauthorized fire before ADONAI":
Leviticus 10: 1 But Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon, each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered unauthorized fire before ADONAI, something he had not ordered them to do. 2 At this, fire came forth from the presence of ADONAI and consumed them, so that they died in the presence of ADONAI. Moshe said to Aharon, "This is what ADONAI said: 'Through those who are near me I will be consecrated, and before all the people I will be glorified.'" Aharon kept silent.
Notice that Aharon was too stunned to speak over his the deaths of his sons. As a matter of fact, he and the other brothers were so distraught, they couldn't even bring themselves to eat the goat of the sin offering as Moshe had ordered (Leviticus 16-20). How unimaginably tragic and shocking it must have been for Aharon yet, as high priest, he had no choice but to carry on with the holy activities! Nadav and Avihu were certainly not guilty of worshiping other gods or being purposely disrespectful; they apparently thought YHWH would be pleased if they added incense to the smoke....
As hard as it is to hear, unlike most priests, pastors and rabbis who are often prone to "think carnally" and overlook "little indiscretions," YHWH our God shows over and over again that He is NOT tolerant of anything that adds to or subtracts from His Word! (This is why we at The Refiner's Fire constantly reiterate the importance of stopping the nonsense of "religiosity" which insists it's okay for believers to ignore the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Biblical Feasts and to eat "unclean" foods.)
Leviticus 11: 44 For I am ADONAI your God; therefore, consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy…. 45 For I am ADONAI, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.
Please consult the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) as you read these powerful words which tell the Levites to remain sober in mind, thought and deed while in the tent of meeting, whenever they are explaining YHWH's holiness to the people:
Leviticus 10: 8 ADONAI said to Aharon, 9 "Don't drink any wine or other intoxicating liquor, neither you nor your sons with you, when you enter the tent of meeting, so that you will not die. This is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations, 10 so that you will distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; 11 and so that you will teach the people of Isra'el all the laws ADONAI has told them through Moshe."
Take a look at the recent history of the Catholic church where it was revealed that prominent Church leaders were guilty of trying to hide the pedophelia that has been rampant in the Church for years! In other words, YHWH's holiness and all it entails takes a back seat to the "appearance" of holiness.
YHWH killed the sons of Aharon for merely being guilty of adding incense to the smoke - yet the "Church" leaders have seen nothing wrong with sweeping pedophelia in their midst under the carpet! Not only is the "Church" guilty of worshipping according to the ideas of MAN, but its leaders have, in essence, condoned sinful acts by allowing perpetrators to continue "serving God!"
Did YHWH try to hide the error of Nadav and Avihu so the "appearance" of holiness could continue? NO! He put them to death! So, what makes anyone think they have the right to dismiss anything YHWH ever said? If you want a lesson in what NOT to do for God, just turn on your TV on Sunday morning and listen to a plethora of "televangelists" from any one of the nearly 40,000 Christian "denominations" shoving their "ear tickling" nonsense down the throats of spiritually parched blinded people who can't wait to reach deep into their pockets and support these "pastors" who are in it only for the money!
Referring back to Leviticus 10:8-11 above we see something very powerful as Aharon is told his responsibilities.
Remember, "the people of Israel" include ALL who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! We are to know His laws. Can we keep them all? Of course not! Most were for the priests of the day; some were only for men while others were only for women. But there were some "forever" rules.
In Leviticus 11, we see YHWH handing down rules concerning what constitutes "clean and unclean" animals.
Leviticus 11: 1 ADONAI said to Moshe and Aharon, 2 "Tell the people of Isra'el, 'These are the living creatures which you may eat among all the land animals....
Leviticus 11: 8 You are not to eat meat from these or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
All of chapter 11 goes on to outline what YHWH's people may and may not eat; many of these animals are the world's "garbage disposals" eating anything that's put in front of them, including other dead and/or diseased animal carcasses. Whether we agree with YHWH or not, the bottom line is, HE said NOT to eat certain things, and therefore, if we are truly His, to honor Him, we must NOT eat them!
Think about some of the reality shows on TV today, and the things those people put in their mouths just for the "shock factor"....
Many attempt to use the various writings of Paul to show that Gentiles don't have to obey YHWH's Torah, or Peter's vision in Acts 11 to show that since the death of Yeshua we can now eat whatever we want. Unfortunately, these writings have been very much taken out of context, as revealed in Carmen Welker's book, Should Christians be Torah Observant?, which says in part:
The passages in Romans are dealing with animals Yahweh gave us to eat and whether they are ceremonially clean and can be eaten at that time. Even in Peter's vision (Acts 11), Peter would never have eaten the kosher animals that had been in contact with treif (non-kosher) animals. The vision was to show that, as Peter knew which animals were clean and which were not because as God had shown him, Peter was to accept the Gentiles as God had now shown him they were "clean". The rest of the passage in Acts 11 shows that this is the correct interpretation and what the vision was all about (see Acts 11:18).
Throughout Scripture we see that YHWH is adamant about obedience; He alone has the power to reward and punish! Take a look at the following verses from today's Haftarah portion:
2 Samuel 6: 1 Again David summoned all the picked troops of Isra'el, 30,000 men. 2 Then David, taking along the entire force he had with him then, set out for Ba'alei-Y'hudah to bring up from there the ark of God, which bears the Name, the name of ADONAITzva'ot enthroned above the k'ruvim. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Avinadav on the hill, with 'Uzah and Achyo, the sons of Avinadav, driving the new cart. 4 They led it from the house of Avinadav on the hill, with the ark of God; Achyo walked in front of the ark.
5 David and the whole house of Isra'el celebrated in the presence of ADONAI with all kinds of musical instruments made of cypress-wood, including lyres, lutes, tambourines, rattles and cymbals. 6 When they arrived at Nakhon's threshing-floor, the oxen stumbled; and 'Uzah put out his hand to steady the ark of God. 7 But ADONAI's anger blazed up against 'Uzah, and God struck him down on the spot for his offense, so that he died there by the ark of God.
2 Samuel 7: 1 After the king had been living in his palace awhile and ADONAI had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to Natan the prophet, "Here, I'm living in a cedar-wood palace; but the ark of God is kept in a tent!" 3 Natan said to the king, "Go, do everything that is in your heart, for ADONAI is with you." 4 But that same night the word of ADONAI came to Natan: 5 "Go and tell my servant David that this is what ADONAI says: 'You are going to build me a house to live in? 6 Since the day I brought the people of Isra'el out of Egypt until today, I never lived in a house; rather, I traveled in a tent and a tabernacle. 7 Everywhere I traveled with all the people of Isra'el, did I ever speak a word to any of the tribes of Isra'el, whom I ordered to shepherd my people Isra'el, asking, "Why haven't you built me a cedar-wood house?"'
8 "Therefore say this to my servant David that this is what ADONAI-Tzva'ot says: 'I took you from the sheep-yards, from following the sheep, to make you chief over my people, over Isra'el. 9 I have been with you wherever you went; I have destroyed all your enemies ahead of you; and I am making your reputation great, like the reputations of the greatest people on earth. 10 I will assign a place to my people Isra'el; I will plant them there, so that they can live in their own place without being disturbed any more. The wicked will no longer oppress them, as they did at the beginning, 11 and as they did from the time I ordered judges to be over my people Isra'el; instead, I will give you rest from all your enemies. "'Moreover, ADONAI tells you that ADONAI will make you a house.
12 When your days come to an end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish one of your descendants to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I will set up his rulership. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. 14 I will be a father for him, and he will be a son for me. If he does something wrong, I will punish him with a rod and blows, just as everyone gets punished; 15 nevertheless, my grace will not leave him, as I took it away from Sha'ul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Thus your house and your kingdom will be made secure forever before you; your throne will be set up forever.'" 17 Natan told David all of these words and described this entire vision.
Brit Chadashah reading:
Many have written to The Refiner's Fire with an attitude of stubborn resistence, insisting: "Yes, I love the Lord, but I am NOT giving up my pork!" Our response: "Okay then, who are you really worshipping? - because it certainly isn't the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!"
The Bible tells us we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). We either belong to YHWH, or we don't! While both of the following passages refer to "money" this can actually apply to anything dealing with God. If we wish to serve Him properly, then we MUST be willing to dump our personal religiosity and preconceived notions and start learning what HE said.
1 Peter 1: 15. But you be Set Apart in all your conduct, as he is Set Apart who has called you. 16. Because it is written: Be you Kadosh (holy) even as I am Kadosh. 17. And you are thus, you call on the Father with whom is no respect of persons and who judges everyone according to his deeds, pass the time of your stay with fear; 18. since you know that neither with perishable silver nor with gold you were redeemed from your vain doings which you had by tradition from your fathers; 19. but with the precious blood of that Lamb, in which is no spot nor blemish, namely, the Mashiyach: 20. who was known beforehand to this, before the foundation of the world; and was manifested at the termination of the times for your sakes; 21. Who, by means of him, have believed in Elohim who raised him from the dead and conferred glory on him; that your faith and hope might be in Elohim 22. while your minds became sanctified by obedience to the truth....(AENT)
Many have attempted to use Mark 7 to show that "Jesus declared all foods clean." However, this verse was made up! It didn't exist in the original manuscripts!
Mark 7: 1. And the Pharisees and scribes who came from Urishlim gathered around him. 2. And they saw some of his disciples who were eating bread while their hands were not washed, and they complained. 3. For all the Jews and the Pharisees if they do not carefully wash their hands, they do not eat, because they hold to the traditions of the elders. 4. And goods from the marketplace, unless they are washed, they would not eat. And there are many other traditions that they have received to keep washings of cups and of pots and of brass vessels and of beds. 5. The scribes and the Pharisees asked him. "Why don't your disciples walk according to the traditions of the elders? But while they eat bread their hands are not washed!"
6. And he said to them, Yesha'yahu the prophet did well prophesy about you hypocrites! As it is written that, "This people honor me with their lips. But their hearts are very distant from me. 7. And vainly they fear me while they are teaching the doctrines of the commandments of the sons of men. 8. For you have left the Commandment of Elohim, and you have embraced the tradition of the sons of men, the washing of cups and of pots and many others that are like these. 9. He said to them, You well rejected the Commandment of Elohim that you might establish your tradition. 10. For Moshe said to honor your father and your mother, and anyone who reviles his father and his mother, "Let them be put to death!" 11. But you say, "If a man says to his father or to his mother, 'My offering is what you have gained from me'" 12. Then you do not allow him to do anything for his father or for his mother. 13. And you despise the Word of Elohim, because of the tradition that you have handed down and that resemble these many things that you do.
14. And Y'shua called all the crowd and said to them, Hear me all of you and understand, 15. There isn't anything that is on the outside of a man that enters into him that is able to defile him. But the thing that goes out from him, that is the thing that defiles a man. 16. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 17. And when Y'shua entered into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about that saying. 18. He said to them, You are likewise slow to understand. You do not know that everything which enters into a man from the outside is not able to defile him. 19. Because it does not enter into his heart, rather into his belly and is cast out by excretion, which purifies all the food.  20. But anything that goes out from a man is that which defiles a man. 21. For from the inside, from the heart of the sons of men proceeds evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, theft, murder, 22. Extortion, wickedness, deceit, lust. An evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23. All these evil things, they do proceed from within a man and defile him.
Footnote from AENT: This chapter showcases one of the greatest discussions of oral versus written Jewish law that exists in these writings of the Renewed Covenant. In many ways this presages the heated exchanges that would be recorded in the Talmud some 200 years later. However, a major misunderstanding of this verse found its way into the modern translations with the parenthetical comment "in so doing Y'shua declared all foods clean."
Neither Aramaic nor early Greek manuscripts include this in the text, which is clearly an attempt by Gentile or Christian editors to abandon Torah's dietary laws. The point being established is that if you plot things like murder, lies, adulteries and so forth, then why be concerned about the food you eat, when weightier things are making you much more unclean than your food? Even if a person kept a perfectly kosher diet, but had such unclean thoughts, such a one would rank among the most unkosher of people. See Luke 11:40.
What was Y'shua saying? First of all, everyone He was addressing knew that no true believer would ingest anything YHWH considered "unclean." Secondly, Y'shua wasn't advocating eating unclean foods; He was trying to show that, unless we are living holy/set apart lives consecrated to YHWH, our every thought, deed and action would be viewed as unholy. If we hang out with drunkards, thieves, criminals and prostitutes, we will automatically eventually behave like they do.
We live in a fallen world where it is very hard to refrain from eating anything unclean. Recently, it came to light that the pink coloring in some of Starbuck's drinks and cake products is cochineal extract, an insect-derived red coloring. The Cochineal bug is an insect that sucks the sap of prickly pear cactus and was originally used by the early Mixtec Indians of pre-Hispanic Mexico as a red dye for clothing but the use of cochineal dye eventually moved on to food. In
the United States it is primarily as a food dye, as in pork sausage, pies, dried fish and shrimp, candies, pills, jams, lipstick and rouge, and the brightly colored maraschino cherries....
The thing is, the Cochineal bug isn't considered "kosher" - which means, many unsuspecting Torah observant followers are being sucked into "the world" without their knowledge! Take a look:
Leviticus 11: 20 "'All winged swarming creatures that go on all fours are a detestable thing for you; 21 except that of all winged swarming creatures that go on all fours, you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, enabling them to jump off the ground. 22 Specifically, of these you may eat the various kinds of locusts, grasshoppers, katydids and crickets. 23 But other than that, all winged swarming creatures having four feet are a detestable thing for you.
There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....
Next week's parashah reading will be dual:
Parashah 27 and 28: Tazria (She conceives) Leviticus 12:1 through 13:59 and Mtzora (Person afflicted...) Leviticus 14:1-15:33.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): 2 Kings 4:42-5:19 & 7:3-20.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Matthew 8:1-4; 11:2-6; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 2:22-24; 5:12-16; 7:18-23 & Mark 5:24-34.