Messianic Torah Portion Shemini "Eighth"
Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:1- 11:47
1Yochanan 5:3 states "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." According to this passage the love of HaShem is keeping HaShem's commandments. This ideology is contrary to what most individuals are taught. In fact, most denominations teach that keeping the commandments of HaShem is a burden that was replaced after the crucifixion of Yeshua. However, this is not true. The crucifixion of Yeshua did not replace the love that HaShem expresses through the Torah. The Torah expresses HaShem's love daily, because it is gives mankind a set of rules that guarantee our welfare and safety. One example of this is the fact that the Torah teaches us the appropriate way to approach and worship HaShem. The Torah teaches that approaching HaShem requires us to be holy and respectful. When we approach HaShem appropriately we become a holy and acceptable offering. When the children of Yisrael walked in holiness, they were acceptable. When the children of Yisrael walked in sin they were not acceptable. The Torah goal was to perfect the children of Yisrael. As a result, the children of Yisrael were allowed to live in HaShem's presence. The Torah united the children of Yisrael with HaShem in holiness. When any of HaShem's people live a holy lifestyle as described by the Torah, it unites them with HaShem. In other words, the Torah is a tutor that teaches us how to walk in the presence of HaShem. Therefore, the Torah should be central part of every believer's life. We should use the Torah as a tutor to train us how to live and how to serve HaShem. In Shemini, we can see the importance of using the lessons of the Torah when approaching HaShem.
Vayikra 10:1-2 states, "Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." The sin of Nadab and Abihu was their arrogance. Nadab and Abihu's destruction was a direct result of their desire to present fire from a source that was not acceptable to HaShem. In other words, Nadab and Abihu wanted to approach HaShem in their own understanding, and not in the way, HaShem commanded. Nadab and Abihu were arrogant in their belief that they knew, best. They had no regard for HaShem's instruction. Therefore, HaShem removed His protection from them, and they were consumed. Vayikra 10:3 states "By those who come near me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified." Clearly, respect for HaShem's holiness glorifies Him and allows us to enter His presence. We can also see a parallel, passage in Acts 5:1-10 which states: "a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her,How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young mencame in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband." The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was also arrogance. Ananias and Sapphira assumed that presenting an offering to HaShem under false pretenses was acceptable. However, when they lied they became unclean and their offering became unclean. Like Nadab and Abihu, Ananias and Sapphira violated the Torah. Vayikra 19:11 states, "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another." Ananias and Sapphira's violation of the Torah, by lying to the Holy Spirit, resulted in their deaths. Ananias, and Sapphira, neglected to approach HaShem the way He commanded in the Torah.
Living a Torah observant lifestyle teaches us that HaShem loves us and desires for us to enter His presence. Unfortunately, by creating our own rules, and trying to approach HaShem outside the bounds He prescribed, inhibits our ability to enter his presence. As a result, we become unable to glorify Him, and we grieve the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our offerings become unacceptable. For acceptable offerings we must follow HaShem's teachings obediently and keep his commandments because we love Him as stated in Yochanan 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Keeping HaShem's commandments is the greatest love, we can offer. Therefore, when we keep His commandments, our offerings become acceptable and we are allowed to approach Him and experience His holy presence.
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