PARASHAH: “Emor” (say) LEVITICUS 21:1-24:23
Just as the Levite priests in the ancient Bible days were called to be blameless and holy, should we not all strive for the same? being Holy and sanctifying ourselves to do the work that Adonai has set apart for us? I would say YES.
It is interesting when we look at the Hebrew word "Emor" (say) the Hebrew spelling has three letters; "Aleph' "Mem" and "Resh" We might see some symbolism in these three letters. "Aleph" (Adonai) "Mem" (Messiah) and "Resh" (Rosh, the head, or the first). What might God be saying here? Perhaps; "Say to the people of Israel, that here speaks Adonai and the Messiah, who is the head of and first in Creation, with a message and Torah (instruction) for all the people of Israel, so take note and listen, and obey."
In this parashah study we see more details on the sanctity, Holiness, and comportment of priests. When we read in chapter 21, we read that YHVH is very particular and pays much attention to the physical. We might think that God only looks upon the heart, but thousands of years ago, the physical appearance was important, some with any kind of imperfection; like a broken foot, blind in one eye, hunchback, dwarf…It doesn’t say that they could not serve in the tabernacle or later on, the temple, but they couldn’t offer sacrifices.
We must remember that the priest was a kind of mediator between the people and YHVH, Today, YESHUA the Messiah is our mediator, between us and the Father, and Yeshua was/IS without sin, perfect in all ways, both inside and outside. We may not know what he looked like physically, but we can know that he didn’t have any physical deformities, being God in the flesh.
We read about the priest; “offering the food to Adonai” and many regulations in reference to “food”. It is talking about the animal offerings that were offered on the altar, yet the Hebrew word for “food” in this case is “Lechem” (bread). The priest had to be in perfect physical condition because he represented a perfect G-d. To be any less than “perfect” would have probably been a distraction.
Today, Adonai does not look at our physical bodily conditions, as many people are born with physical defects. Adonai looks at the heart and into our spirit being. Before, the priests would offer up the “lechem” (food, bread) to Adonai, 2000 years ago, the “Bread of Life” was offered up for US!
Today, what could be the “bread” that we could “offer to Adonai?” One could say that we offer up our service and spiritual gifts to HIM, through exercising the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, by teaching others, preaching the Word, evangelizing, giving to others, etc…we are in a way, giving back “bread” to HaShem. He has given to us, and we give back to HIM through serving others and being faithful “priests” on earth.
We can take note of Leviticus 22:31 and apply this to our lives as “Yeshua’s priests.” Therefore, you shall keep my commandments and perform them: I AM the LORD. You shall not profane my Holy Name, but I will be “Kadoshed” among “B’nei Yisrael” I AM Adonai who sanctified you.”
Of course, we can not keep ALL of the commandments set down in ancient times, yet many still apply to today’s life. We should learn them and take heed to them, and teach others HIS Torah! In doing this, we ARE hallowing HIS Holy Name.
We also see regulations on marriage, touching dead things, etc.…the priest was in a class of his own. The priest was “God’s man” his “representative” on earth, so, as the priests had a higher calling, their expectations were much higher than the regular “Joe Israelite” There is a repeated phrase: “You shall not profane my Holy Name, I am YHVH (Yod Hey Vav Hey) “ when we act contrary to His commandments, expectations as “b’nei Elohim” (children of God) we ARE profaning HIS Holy name, be it in words, or deeds. If the Israelites were observed by God through a looking glass, then the priests were observed by God through a microscope! If you get my drift! How are WE seen by our HOLY, SINLESS, GOD? Our standards are based on the Torah of Adonai. HIS standards should be OURS as well, yet we always come up lacking, because of our inborn sin nature.
Thank Adonai for YESHUA, who bridged the gap caused by sin, to be our “high priest” before a Holy God, although our sin in dark and ugly, and we should see ourselves as such, because it is reality, through YESHUA, Our Heavenly Father sees us as “white as snow” or “white a wool” and now, under the new covenant, we are all “high priests” in his eyes, should not our expectations be as a “higher calling” just like the priests of old? We must also take into thought the phrase “Kiddush HaShem” which is “honoring/blessing/Holiness to the Name of Adonai” There are two Hebrew words that are almost the same; “Halel” and “Chilul” “Bless/praise” and “profane” in Hebrew, they are just three letters. The difference is the first letter; the “Hey” and the Chet” the difference between the two is just a space which is about one millimeter.
What can we say? There is just a fine line between “blessing” the name of God, or “profaning” the name of God. We must be careful of our words, and deeds, least we “bless” with one breath, and then take another breath and “profane”. The idea of the “priests being holy, for I AM Holy” is there in this parashah. The difference in the words, “Kadosh” (Holy) and “Kadoshim” (holy ones) is that when YHVH talks about HIS Holiness, the word “Kadosh” has the “vav”, the letter “o” that letter symbolizes the “nail” whereas our “holiness” lacks the “vav” since we did NOT receive the “nails” only YESHUA did, who received them in our place!
We can see a case of “profaning the Name of God” in Leviticus 24:11 when the son of a “mixed marriage” (An Israelite woman married to an Egyptian man) had a fight in the camp and cursed, or profaned, blasphemed the Name of Adonai. He was put to death by stoning. We see the name of the woman though, it was “Shelomith” daughter of “Dibri” The name “Shelomith” can be considered the feminine version of “Shalom’ (peace) and the name “Dibri” can be considered “My Word” from the word “Debar” Almost the same as “Dibrei” (words of) Together, “My words of Peace” yet just the opposite was seen, the son was fighting and profaned the Name of Adonai, so far away from “peace” Could the Egyptian father have had some negative influence on the son? Whenever there is a mixed marriage, a believer with an unbeliever, there is bound to be strife and lack of peace, since the couple are like “pulling against each other on a rope” and sooner or later, the rope is going to break.
Chap 23: “HaMoedim of YHVH” (The feasts of the LORD). Here the special days of worship and assembly are mentioned, the first being the “Sabbath Day” it is a “day of Rest” a time of worship and coming together to worship Adonai and learn from HIS Word through His teachers, pastors, rabbis, evangelists, etc. The Sabbath day was NEVER changed to Sunday. Not that it was bad to come together on Sundays, any day of the week is a good time to come together. It just became customary for the believers in the first century to come together on the “first day of the week” like it is mentioned in Acts, to fellowship and eat together, but the believers ALWAYS considered Saturday, the Sabbath, the special and the official appointed day for rest, worship, and Bible study.
For me, the sabbath and Sunday are both special days to worship God and study his word with other believers.
The Passover and days of unleavened bread, symbolize Messiah Yeshua in our lives as the “Lamb of God” who took away the sin of the world, and who is also, the “Bread of Life”, who was “roasted in the fires of judgment for our sins, whose blood was shed for our sins, once and for ever. The “matzah” bread without leaven symbolizes Yeshua as the Bread of Life, without sin (leaven). And his blood is symbolized by the wine.
The Feast of First Fruits and Shavuot; counting 50 days from the time of Passover, to celebrate the blessing of a good and fruitful harvest of grains, (wheat and barley, the main crops). On Shavuot or “Pentecost” two leavened loaves of bread were made, each weighed about 5 pounds, were “waved” by the priest before the LORD in a special ceremony. These loaves symbolize the blessings of YHVH, they could also represent Israel and the Nations, “2” is the number of “unity” and “division” we are all “united” to YHVH by Messiah Yeshua and have been “divided” or “separated” from the lost world of sin, YET, we still have our sin nature, noted by the leaven in the loaves of bread. It was also on “Shavuot” that the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai
The Feast of Trumpets, “Yom Teruah” symbolizes the start of the “days of Awe” when we reflect on our own relationship with Adonai. How do we measure up to God’s standards? Lacking? Fall short? I would say YES. 10 days later, comes “Yom Kippur” the day of “covering” or “Atonement” which was when the high priest came into the Holy of Holies, once a year, to commune with Adonai. This day points to Calvary, when Yeshua’s blood “atoned” for our sins, past, present, and future. It is a day of fasting, repentance, and soul searching. It is a day when we are accustomed to dress in white.
Feast of Tabernacles, or “Sukkot” is a joyous festival, when the “harvest” is in, kind of like “Thanksgiving” in the US of A. The time when God came to earth in human form as Yeshua, born in Beit Lechem, being raised learning carpentry and Torah, a teacher of Torah, healer of diseases, a raiser of the dead, and a sacrifice for our sins. This festivity was for 7 days, “7” the perfect number,
and a special “8th” day “Hoshanah Raba” when the customary reading of the Torah starts over again from Genesis. It also symbolizes when the Israelites lived in tents, “temporary dwellings” as our bodies are “temporary dwellings” for our souls and for the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
Chapter 24: The Menorah, the lamps were lit from dusk to morning, the menorah was made of gold, which symbolizes perfection. The flame/light symbolizing Yeshua who is the “Light of the World” and the “all-consuming fire” and also, all believers are the “lights of the world” reflecting the SON light!
“Table of Shewbread” which was in the Holy place across from the Menorah. Has 12 loaves of unleavened bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, again, Yeshua the “Bread of Life” Hey, maybe that was where the idea of the “bagel” came from, bread with a hole in middle, who knows! Maybe! The next time you look at the hole in the bagel, remember that the hole is round, like a circle, no beginning, and no end. Like eternity, Eternity in the presence of God, that's something to look forward to.