PARASHA: “Shemini” (Eighth)
LEVITICUS 9:1-11:47………………2 SAM 6:1-7:17……………. MARK 14:1-72
This is when Adonai came down to officially "live" amongst his people, He "Moved into" the Tabernacle, lit the first fire, and He also lives amongst us ALL! through his Holy Spirit.
We know that a week is seven days, We count starting Sunday, and seven days later, we come to “Yom Shabbat” the 7th day, a day to rest. So, what is the “eighth” day? It is another way of saying “Sunday” the number “8” symbolizes “a new beginning” the beginning of the week, the old week is gone, a new week is before us. So, we begin the week with “Shemini”. Now this word is interesting, within this word “Shemini” we find two words, “Shem’ (name) and “Shemen” (oil) what could these words convey to us as believers?
One could say that “HaShem” (The NAME) (Adonai) has just finished anointing Aaron and sons as high priests with oil, and now, they are ready to officiate the office of the priesthood, they are waiting for YHVH to come down and consume the animal offerings. It is a “New Beginning” because Adonai will come to live amongst them all.
When a believer is “born again” that believer has a “new beginning” a new life in Messiah Yeshua. We all hold the office of the “priesthood” representing Adonai on this earth.
Aaron and his sons had been preparing for the priesthood for seven days. So, we see a period of “7” days, that Aaron and his sons have been in the Mishkan, preparing, praying, being “ordained” by YHVH to take on the ministry of High Priest (Aaron) and “priests” Nadav, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Is it any surprise that we see the number “7” here since it is God’s number of perfection? The Hebrew letter “Zayin” has the equivalent of the number “7” in gematria. “Zayin” symbolizes “weapon”. The Holiness of Yeshua is our “weapon” against HaSatan.
On the “eighth” day, the sacrifices begin, the whole ministry begins, and YHVH himself will ignite the first fire on the brazen altar, saying, “I AM HERE, in your presence” Chapter nine tells of the animal sacrifices that the priests offered. They symbolize “Yeshua” who took our place and paid our sin debt. The brazen altar is the “Cross” upon which “Yeshua” was judged for our iniquities. Yet we can also recall that during the Feast of Tabernacles, there was an “eighth day” the day which is called “Shemini Atzeret”
A little more about the animal sacrifices, Yes, they are no longer because Yeshua, the sacrificial Lamb was the ultimate sacrifice, yet the animal sacrifices are meaningful in that they represent Yeshua in different ways. The bullock = the strength of Adonai, the ram; the atonement for Isaac, Isaac symbolizes us all, and the ram, which took the place of Isaac, Yeshua, who took our place. The lamb = Yeshua, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the goats on Yom Kippur = One was sacrificed, as Yeshua was sacrificed, the “scapegoat” which took upon itself all of our sins and led away to the desert, never to return. The Talmud tells that a Levite would take the scapegoat and take it far away, and push it over a cliff to die, and that way, never return. But if this did not happen, would the goat follow the Levite back to the camp? Perhaps it would. It is like our sin nature, the “Yetzer Hara” we need to take the goat of our sin nature and “push it over a cliff” so it will never follow us home, yet this is easier said than done, it always finds a way to grab hold and follow us home, especially the sin of evil or lustful thought. It is a constant battle of the mind vs “Yetzer Hara” the sin nature is part of our being; it is the goat that climbs back over the cliff to follow us home.
“7” symbolizes the ending of the week, the Sabbath, the “Perfect” Sabbath which Adonai had ordained for man since the beginning. The 7-day week symbolizes a complete unit, and the “eighth” day, is like “starting over at a new level” The Children of Israel have accomplished “leaving Egypt” via “Yad Elohim” (The Hand of G-d), “Receiving the Torah” (At Sinai) “Building the Mishkan” (Per instructions of Elohim via Moshe) and now, “The beginning of offerings” They will come “close” to G-d through the offerings, via the cohanim.
For us as believers, we get “Close” to G-d through Yeshua, who is the realization and culmination of ALL the Levitical offerings. Getting “close” to Adonai was what the animal offerings symbolized. But wait a minute, something is about to go wrong! Inauguration day is about to be smudged. The football is about to be fumbled. The waiter carrying the wedding cake is about to slip and fall.
Vs 10, “Then Nadab and Abihu, “b’nei Aaron” (sons of Aaron) each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane (Tamei) fire before YHVH which He had not commanded them. So, fire went out from YHVH and devoured them, and they died before YHVH”
Many Bible students look for meaning in all of this. What was the “Esh Tamei” (profane fire)? The Torah is not crystal clear on that, so we can only assume, or come to an educated guess taking into account “clues” Perhaps, Nadab and Abihu were not asked or commanded to offer incense PERIOD! Or at least at that time, perhaps they thought, “Yo bro, this might be a good idea! Let’s try this!” well, they got fried! Many believe that they can come to God “their own way” or might think; “There are many ways to get to God” YHVH has set the record straight, the ONLY way is through YESHUA, through simple FAITH. Yeshua said; “I AM the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE, NO ONE comes to the Father but by ME, (John 14:6)
Another thought is that perhaps Nadav and Abihu had too much to drink, that they might have been drunk when they offered the incense, that they were not in their right minds, with clouded reason, so the “incense offering became “profane” their “holiness” was marred, so, being a God of Holiness, HE could not accept the sacrifice, and so, HE burned THEM up! We can understand this concept by Moshe’s words:
” By those who come near Me, I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people, I must be glorified”
We see that the LORD speaks and says; “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you when you go into the Tabernacle of Meeting, lest you DIE”.
The other thought is that they made their own “fire” instead of taking the fire from the brazen Altar and placing the incense on IT. This also could be “profane fire” that would symbolize that entrance to the Holiness of YHVH could be from OTHER sources, other than the Brazen Altar, remember, it symbolizes the cross and Yeshua was crucified on it to pay our sin debt. By making their own fire, they were in a way saying, “We can come to God by OUR OWN WAY. Not the “Yeshua” way.
If this is indeed the meaning, perhaps they erred in their reasoning because they were not in their right mind, because of “strong drink?” so we are back to the “strong drink prohibition” Well, it makes sense when ministers serve in the pulpit, behind the Bema, and they are teaching Torah, they need to be in their right mind, clear thinking and not have their reasoning clouded because of alcohol or other drugs. It isn’t that alcoholic beverages are prohibited to believers, they are prohibited when we are “Ministering” before the LORD and others. Wine helps the digestion of food; did you know that? But many are of the opinion that it is better to abstain at all times, so as “not to fall” into temptation of “overdoing it” by taking “one cup too many.”
Here is another interesting fact. Aaron refused to eat of the offering because of what had befallen him, (losing his two sons in one day). Torah says that “Moshe INQUIRED about the goat of the purification offering” (10:16) the word “Inquired” is written as, in the Hebrew “Derosh, Darash” which mean “inquire, search out, find out” These two words are right in the middle of the Torah!(The Pentateuch) There are 1188 verses before this and 1188 verses after these words. It reminds us of John 5:39 “You SEARCH the scriptures because you think you have everlasting life through them, and these are the ones that bear witness to me”
Every single offering/sacrifice symbolizes Yeshua in one way of another, so, when we “derosh, derash” the scriptures, they lead us to Messiah Yeshua.
The other aspect of this Parashah is Chapter 11. It talks about the food we are to eat. This is where some believers get upset, start misinterpreting scripture, by saying; “God has cleansed ALL FOOD” so now we can eat “porky the pig” and dive into the seafood restaurants and indulge in lobster, crabs, oysters, clams, crawdads, shrimp, and other marine cockroaches, which God never intended for human consumption. “ALL FOODS” are what HE has ALREADY DEEMED as our FOOD! Which are the animals listed in Lev 11! Not what “man” has come up with to be “food” as if God’s menu is lacking!
Many will go to Acts 10 to the vision of Sh’mon Kefa and say, “You see, God told him to eat all those creepy, crawly things!” but Adonai was using food as a “focal point” to get Kefa’s attention, it wasn’t about food at all. Kefa only ate “kosher’ food, from Lev 11, He knew it, God knew it, so, in a way, God is saying to Kefa, “The same way you feel about all these creepy-crawly beasts in the sheet, you won’t touch them, you feel that way about the Gentiles! He says, “Don’t call unclean, what I call Clean” in other words, “I have “cleaned” the Gentiles! (it wasn’t about food at all). ALL PEOPLES from ALL OVER THE EARTH, are considered “Tahor” (clean) when we come to Yeshua as LORD and Savior, not just the Israelis from Israel.
So why the prohibition of many of the popular “food” items we see today; like pork, pork sausage, ham, shellfish, catfish, shrimp, etc.? God made our bodies and our physical makeup, so as our creator, HE KNOWS what should go into our bodies and what needs to stay OUT. Those animals are “scavengers” and will eat almost ANYTHING dead or alive, many have toxins in their fatty flesh, high levels of cholesterol, etc, so, even though all that Italian prosciutto and hard salami looks and smells great! Resist it! Chose turkey sausage and bacon rather than the pork sausage and bacon. Yeah, Yeah, it doesn’t taste the same, Yo dude, deal with it!!
Yes, we are free to eat anything we want to, it is a free world, we are in a free society, and we have free choice So did Adam and Eve, and see where it got them, they ate something they weren’t supposed to have eaten! If we want optimum health and feel good, stay with God’s diet, if we want something less than God’s best for our health, go for Porky P. Our LORD and God wants the best for our Spiritual health as well as for our physical health, that’s why he gave us his Torah. Read it, study it, and learn from it, put it into practice.
2 SAMUEL 6:1-7:17
We see another case of “good intentions” which ended up bad. The Aron Ha Kodesh (Ark of the Covenant) had been in the hands of the Philistines for some time, YHVH cursed them and caused them to return it to Israel. David received it with glory and honor, HOWEVER, He did not transport it CORRECTLY, to Yerushalayim. It should have been brought back on the shoulders of the Levites, bearing it on the appropriate staves. Instead, it was on an ox cart being driven by oxen. As we read the story, the oxen stumbled, and in order to keep the Ark from falling off the cart, Uzzah put out his hands and touched the ark, held it to keep it from falling.
ZAP! Uzzah was fried! He meant well, he was sincere, but…he was sincerely WRONG. NO ONE was allowed to touch the Ark, NO ONE! Only the Levite priests and they could only carry it on poles. Today, many might seem to want to come to the LORD on THEIR STANDARDS, doing THEIR OWN THING. If today’s times were like the times back in the old days, back in the old Bible days, we might all have been ZAPPED! Years ago
Yet we serve a loving, forgiving God, who will put up with our issues, ways of doing things, our tongues, attitudes, etc., By the death of Yeshua our Mashiach, we have free access to the Throne of Grace. But “Kodesh” (Holiness) still comes ONLY through YESHUA.
YESHUA and his talmidim celebrate Passover. The original Passover in Goshen consisted only of roasted lamb or goat, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. But during this time of fellowship, the “last Supper” a few more elements had been added, the “sop” (Charoseth) which is a mix of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and honey, and wine.
He has his twelve together, Y’hudah Ish Kariot, made his exit, the worse mistake a man can do, He lived and followed Messiah for three years and learned nothing.
The unleavened bread symbolized his body, which was/would be broken, for THEM and for ALL OF US.
The wine symbolized his Blood, which was shed/would be shed for THEM and for ALL OF US.
The shepherd was struck, and the sheep were scattered! Yet 50 days later, the shepherd returned in Spirit form and HE is STILL WITH US. Yeshua rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and returned with his Holy Spirit. Indeed, the curse of sin and death had been conquered, Baruch HaShem!!
As Yeshua submitted to the will of the FATHER, right there in the Garden, let us also be guided by the perfect will of YHVH, in ALL areas of our life.
Shabbat Shalom… Ben Avraham