Our Redeemer: the One who is Near

Parashat B’har (V’yikra/Leviticus 25-26:2) 5782 B”H

In Leviticus 25:25-28, we read a passage that quickly brings to mind Ruth and Boaz:

“If your brother becomes poor and sells some of his property, then his nearest kinsman may come and redeem what his brother has sold. If a man has no kinsman-redeemer, but he himself recovers and finds sufficient means to redeem it, then let him reckon the years since its sale and restore the surplus to the man to whom he sold it. 

Then he will return to his property. But if he is not able to get it back for himself, then what he has sold is to remain in the hand of the one who has bought it until the Year of Jubilee. Then in the Jubilee it should be released, so he may return to his property."  Lev.25:25-28, TLV

This passage contains a very significant Hebrew word: go’el

Are you at all familiar with this term? It is incredibly central to understanding redemption!

גֹּאֵ֑ל Hebrew: go’el.

Go’el translates to “kinsman-redeemer” or “redeeming relative.”

Yeshua (Jesus) is our relative. He is so closely related to us that He qualifies as our kinsman-redeemer.

In a sense, this is obvious, but if you really spend a moment to meditate on this fact, I am sure you will be touched by how truly glorious it is that our Savior is our relative.

Redeemer Goel Ruth
“… Blessed be ADONAI, who has not left you without a go’el (Redeemer) today. May His Name be famous throughout Israel.” Ruth 4:14

Redemption was only possible if certain parameters were met.

The nearest kinsman had a choice. He could freely choose whether or not he wanted to redeem his brother. Ruth’s first-in-line kinsman redeemer actually rejected the proposition. Initially, he was interested, but once he realized he would have to marry Ruth and also take on the obligation to care for the widowed Naomi as well, he decided not to go through with the redemption.

He was concerned that he could endanger his inheritance, perhaps fearing things would be divided among a large family if he were to serve as redeemer. We do not know his reasons, but they may well have been financial. Boaz was probably wealthier and in a better position to take on the Redeemer-responsibility of a wife and mother-in-law.

Then Boaz took ten of the town’s elders and said, “Sit down here,” so they sat down. Then he said to the goel, “Naomi, who has returned from the region of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belongs to our brother Elimelech. I thought I should inform you saying, ‘Buy it in the presence of the people sitting here, and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you want to redeem it, redeem it. But if it will not be redeemed, then tell me, so that I can know, because there is no one else in line to redeem it. I am after you.’”

“I will redeem it,” he said.

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from Naomi’s hand, you will also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased over his inheritance.”

The kinsman said, “Then I cannot redeem it for myself, or else I might endanger my own inheritance. You, take my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

Now in the past in Israel, one removed his sandal and gave it to another, in order to finalize the redemption and transfer of a matter. This was a legal transaction in Israel.

So the kinsman said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” then took off his shoe.

Boaz announced to the elders and all the people: “You are witnesses today that I have bought from Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased over his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the gate of his town. You are witnesses today.”  Ruth 4:2-10

The one in need of redemption is described in the Bible as “having become poor.”

You and I are spiritually bankrupt without the LORD, but He freely chose to redeem us out of our spiritual poverty.

“Becoming poor” means that we started out ok, but something, ie. the fall, happened to separate us from the LORD. If you have done something that makes you feel “less than” or completely “unworthy” or “unable” to “attain” salvation, know this: your poor condition doesn’t have to define your future.

Sin creeps in with the intent of robbing us of relationship with our Merciful Savior, but if you will confess your need and reject sin, you reject spiritual poverty. You can’t earn a place at His banqueting table, but you can accept His generous gift of mercy. He can set you free today from your fears, your anxiety, from anything that is between you and Him. The LORD wants to redeem you today!

The One who is Near

גֹֽאֲלֹו֙ הַקָּרֹ֣ב The full Hebrew description in Leviticus 25:25 for an individual to bring redemption to their “poor brother” is “go’el haqarob.”

קָרוֹב Hebrew: qarob. This means “near.”

“Kinsman” in Hebrew then could be expressed as one’s “near one.” Someone near and dear to you.

Forms of this same verb are used throughout the Psalms to express the nearness of God.

"ADONAI is near (קָר֣וֹב) to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth." Psalm 145:18 (TLV)

The LORD is near, the LORD is qarob – He is near to you when you call on Him in Truth.

He is near, qarob, as your next-of-kin. He is Elohim qarob, the God who is near.

You are part of the family of God, and He, your Savior, redeems you as your kinsman-redeemer.

Yeshua (Jesus) is your Brother and His Father is your Father, too.

Our Redeemer Lives and He is Near

“For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?" Deut.4:7, NKJV

Here again, a form of the term “qarob” is used to describe the spectacular Truth that our Redeemer God is near to us. Who else is so privileged to have God on their side? The LORD is with His nation, Israel; we are members of this holy nation. He not only protects and guides us, He is so near to us, nearer than our own breathing. He is not some distant god. He is not powerless, He is not uninterested in our future. He is deeply involved in our day-to-day lives because He cares for us so profoundly. And whenever we call upon His Name, He is listening. What a privilege!

Our Redeemer lives and He is near to us. Our slavery to sin is ended, our inheritance is restored, and we await our Bridegroom’s return.

my Redeemer Lives Job
“Yet I know that my Redeemer lives and in the end, He will stand on earth.” Job 19:25

Here are some encouraging songs about our Redeemer for you that you may enjoy listening to today!

We used to sing this song, “My Redeemer Lives” during praise time at a wonderful church I attended when I was first saved. It is a song sure to bring you some joy today!

My Redeemer Lives” by Nicole C. Mullen is another encouraging song about our redemption.

There is a Redeemer (Love has won)” by Darlene Zschech will usher you in to worship of our Great Redeemer!


You have an invitation to meet our Kinsman-Redeemer

Let me reiterate that God isn’t some distant, far-off jeffersonian god.

He is near, and His return is likewise near.

He has invited you beyond gleaning in some far away fields. He invites you to draw near to Him because you are His beloved. He is the King of all kings, and He owns everything because He made everything. He will pour out the richness of His grace upon you and prosper you in your daily living. He will heal you and restore you, and yes, redeem you. He is your Father, and He wants to be in relationship with you, His precious child.

Will you accept His invitation today?

Will you draw near to Him and allow Him to bless you today?

If you have questions about just who is this God of Israel, please write to me. I would love to share more with you about our Messiah’s love. You can leave a comment below or send an email to [email protected]. Subscribe to our newsletter to get encouragement sent straight to your inbox. If you already know the LORD, share a testimony about when you came to know your Redeemer to encourage others! Shalom!

Gleaning law of Moses

15 Important Instructions from the Leviticus Holiness Code

Parashat Kedoshim (V’yikra/Leviticus 19-20) 5782 B”H

The Leviticus Holiness Code

The Holiness Code found in Leviticus 19 tells the people of God that they are to be holy, for ADONAI is holy.

The term in Hebrew is קְדֹשִׁים q’doshim (also spelled, kedoshim) – you shall be among those who are holy; the holy ones.

The instructions here are meant for the entirety of Israel, not just the priests and leaders.

"Speak to all the congregation of Bnei-Yisrael and tell them: You shall be kedoshim, for I, ADONAI your God, am holy."  Lev.19:2, emphasis added

Though the Torah was written so very long ago, there are 15 points that are still completely relevant to us today.

These points contain important instructions to help us live in holiness (another term for “sanctification.”)

“This is the will of God — your sanctification.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3

We have been made holy through what our Messiah did for us on the cross at Calvary (Col.1:20-22). We cannot be holy on our own or achieve holiness by doing good works. However, once we have received the gift of salvation, we are to continue to live as sanctified people:

"Therefore, since we have these promises, loved ones, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of body and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."  2 Corinthians 7:1, emphasis added

The fruit of our salvation is that we choose to live rightly. We choose holiness.

Here are instructions on how to do it!

Related post: The Leviticus 11 Controversy

Major points of the Leviticus Holiness Code:

1. Holiness requires that we must respect our father and mother (Lev.19:3).

"Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God."  Leviticus 19:3 (NKJV)

“Each one of you is to respect his mother and his father, and keep My Shabbatot. I am ADONAI your God."  Lev.19:3 (TLV)

This seems so basic, yet look around us. How many people truly respect and honor their parents? Are you training your children to be respectful?

We must be cautious as to what we allow our children to watch. Many shows and movies targeted to young people today encourage aloofness and rebellion. We must oversee their usage of technology and encourage positive, godly friendships. Our job is harder than generations past – children today are truly inundated by information – both good and bad, and are targeted for their innocence.

How about grown up children? If their parent is in an assisted living facility, do they visit? Sadly, I have seen far too many of our elders in this country practically abandoned by their adult children, left to be cared for entirely by health professionals. I am thankful for the professionals, who give so much love, but it is never the same as the bond that ought to exist between a parent and their child.

The denigration of traditional family by modern society is ha-satan‘s way to attack this basic, fundamental principle.

To live in holiness, we must be respectful of our parents.

2. We are to keep God’s Shabbats (Sabbath Days) (Lev.19:3)

Notice that in the same verse that we are instructed to care for our parents, we are also instructed to keep God’s Sabbath days. That is because these concepts go hand-in-hand. If we love our families, we will want to spend time with them, and we will honor our LORD. Sabbath is about spending time with the LORD and with our families, resting and enjoying the presence of the LORD and our loved ones as well as our brothers and sisters in Messiah.

Assuming that our parents taught us to keep Shabbat (which many didn’t, because this has been lost over time), we then keep the Shabbat to honor their teaching to us, as well. Shabbat is ultimately about family and keeping our generations on the right path.

The wording of this verse catches my attention. “Keep my Shabbatot.” “Keep my Sabbaths.” God tells us the Sabbath belongs to Him – consistent with our Messiah’s teaching that He is the LORD of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). It is an important day to our LORD, so it should be important to us, too. Sabbath was established after creation – God rested on the seventh day and sanctified it (Genesis 2:3). Sabbath, according to the Bible, is Saturday, rather than Sunday.

This point is so important to the LORD that He reiterates it just a few verses later in Leviticus 19:30. “You are to keep My Shabbatot, and reverence My Sanctuary. I am ADONAI.” We must take seriously the command to rest.

What does rest have to do with holiness? Spending time at rest allows us to minister from a place of restoration.

We cannot help others if we don’t care for ourselves.

3. We are to not turn to idols (Lev.19:4)

A few years ago, we drove from the Texas border down to south central Mexico. During our trip, we saw many handmade shrines along the dusty paths bordering the Chihuahuan desert. The conditions in some of these desert regions are so harsh and desolate that the improvised, crude nature of these altars seemed to aptly reflect the difficulties of life in these places.

Why do people turn to idols? When do people feel inspired to build their own high place?

When they long for a relationship.

When they want answers to life’s hard questions.

When they genuinely seek, but have not yet found.

When they are trapped in a generational cycle of idolatry.

There is true hope in the LORD, but some people have not yet heard. And some who hear will reject the Truth, in favor of their idolatrous traditions and customs. But the stronghold on their lives is rooted in the idolatry of generations before, pagan traditions passed down with the hope of finding a better life, but missing the mark.

In several different villages in southern Mexico, we witnessed processions of people walking down the roads carrying wooden idols they had made.

I had never seen idolatry in such a pure and unabashed form. Sure, I had seen statues and carvings, but never entire communities of people parading these objects for purposes of worship.

In a sense, we are blessed in the United States because this isn’t something we “see.”

But we are also blind because we don’t realize that idolatry is just as rampant here, it just takes other forms.

You see, ha-satan is astute. Historically, our Protestant-influenced culture did not make easy room for idolatrous religious images and carvings. Holiness was taken more seriously. So the devil has found ways to lure people into less obvious forms of idolatry. Worship of self, materialism, obsession over celebrities, the love of money . . . there are so many forms of idolatry. It is sinful to look to these things as though they are deity.

We are clearly told in the Bible’s Holiness Code that in order to be holy as the LORD is holy, we mustn’t have idols of any sort.

“Do not turn to idols or make molten gods for yourselves. I am ADONAI your God.” Lev.19:4

4. We are to provide for the poor. (Leviticus 19:9)

Did you know that Ruth was able to glean from the fields of Boaz (Ruth 2) because of the law found in the Leviticus Holiness Code of Leviticus 19:9? It’s true!

Those who owned land were obligated by the Word of God in the Torah to intentionally leave the corners of the field unharvested and not to glean the leftovers of their crops in the fields. Specifically, landowners were not even to pick up fallen grapes from their vineyards (Lev.19:10). These remnants were to be left for the poor and the stranger.

There is always a lesson about hospitality to be found in the Word of God. We are to love and help the poor with kindness.

True holiness embraces abundant, radical hospitality.


5. We mustn’t steal, lie, or deceive. (Leviticus 19:11)

Stealing, lying, and deception all go together. We must be careful, especially those of us in ministry positions.

Peter warned that judgment begins in the house of the LORD. How many ministries have brought embarrassment and shame upon themselves for lying and deceiving people or stealing tithe money?

Resist all temptation to participate in schemes that will harm the LORD’s flock!

You are responsible to set an example for believers by living in true holiness, according to the Word of God.

"For the time has come for judgment to begin with the house of God. If judgment begins with us first, what will be the end for those who disobey the Good News of God?" 1 Peter 4:17
1 Peter 4:17

6. We must never swear by YHVH’s Name falsely. (Leviticus 19:12)

Swearing by YHVH’s Name falsely profanes the Name of your God, according to this Scripture.

I don’t know about you, but I shudder at the thought. We must live in holiness and honor the Name of the LORD.

This is written, though, because it is inevitable that certain members of the house of the LORD will fall into error. We must not follow suit.

7. You are not to oppress your neighbor nor rob him.

We need to learn to live in peace with everyone. We must be honest and good to our neighbors.

Many of the commands in the Leviticus Holiness Code sound like the Aseret HaDibrot: The Ten Words (i.e., the Decalogue or “Ten Commandments). They are rules to live by, for our own good and the good of our communities.

If you truly want to live in holiness, find ways to bless your neighbors.

8. If you are a day employer, you are to pay your hired worker at the end of their work day, not hold the money overnight. (Leviticus 19:13)

The Leviticus Holiness Code provides for workplace fairness as well as the proper handling of money.

Day laborers are usually at a disadvantage, lacking their own land or company.

Day employers who obey the LORD will not take advantage of their workers or cheat them and will compensate them fairly and at a reasonable time.

I knew a wealthy man, who claimed to be a devout Christian, who thrived off of cheap labor. He would hire unskilled laborers and pay them the very least amount possible to retain their services. His workers would come and go because they were paid so little they would try to find work elsewhere. To his credit, I heard that he did pay his workers fairly quickly, but a person truly living in holiness will not take advantage of people or try to intentionally maintain them at poverty level. If you are in a position where you have financial advantages, find ways to bless those who work for you. Your team will stick with you and you will prosper, as well.

Leviticus 19:13

9. We must care for the rights of those with disabilities. (Leviticus 19:14)

Specifically, the Torah here is concerned for those who are deaf or blind.

We are not to curse anyone who has a disability nor make their lives difficult (putting a “stumbling block” before them).

Related post: A Cure Changes Everything.

If you truly seek to live in holiness, look for ways to help and befriend the disabled. You will be blessed.

Leviticus 19:14

10. We must be impartial in our judgments. (Leviticus 19:15)

When you are in the position to make a decision that will affect others, you need to show impartiality. These verses deal with justice. We must seek justice, whether it is in the workplace or in our neighborhoods. We cannot allow political preferences to cloud our judgment, either.

In all things, we must be fair. If you are a judge or someone in authority, you mustn’t show favoritism to others in similar positions. All cases must be dealt with fairly, regardless of financial or social status.

"You are not to be partial toward the poor nor show favoritism toward the great . . ."  Leviticus 19:15

We need godly judges and lawyers who seek to live in holiness! Pray for those who are studying law, that a new generation of godly lawyers would be raised up. That they would make rulings that honor the Word of God and that they would not be swayed by either political party, but rather make all decisions based on God’s Word.


11. There is no place for slander or hatred. (Leviticus 19:16-17)

The Bible clearly teaches that we mustn’t go telling tall tales about people. In our day of YouTube and social media, so many horrible TikTok “challenges” and slandering occurs. Leviticus 19:16 says, “You are not to endanger the life of your neighbor.”

We are not to hold grudges or take revenge or do anything that could harm another human being.

If we want to live in holiness, we must use social media with caution. We should use the power of technology to spread the Good News of our Savior rather than slander and hatred.

12. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18)

Yeshua (Jesus) told us that the second greatest commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31

He got that from the Torah, you know! He wanted us to understand the heart of our Father as revealed in the entirety of the Scriptures.

How do we love our neighbors as ourselves? We learn to love ourselves, not in an idolatrous way, but seeing ourselves as God sees us. He loves us and He has made us worthy by the blood of His Son, the Lamb of God. If we love ourselves, we can love those around us, most primarily our families, and that love extends to our neighbors.

True holiness requires us to learn to love.

Leviticus 19:18

13. We must “rise up in the presence of the gray-haired and honor the presence of the elderly.” (Leviticus 19:32)

Just as we must honor our parents, we are to honor the elderly. They have lived long lives and have much wisdom to share. Our family has been watching a Korean series on Netflix because my children are learning about Asian culture and we have all been struck by the amount of deference to elders depicted. This type of respect truly is foreign to American culture and we could learn a thing or two.

As discussed above, we will live in holiness if we respect and honor our parents and elders.


14. We must show love and hospitality to the immigrant (Leviticus 19:33-34)

Immigration is a controversial subject…. yet another overly-politicized issue of our day.

While our nation must have laws and borders, we also must demonstrate kindness to immigrants. There is no place for racism if we are living in holiness.

Some of the very best people I know are immigrants to our country!

If you want to live in holiness, be welcoming of those who are newcomers to our nation.

Lev 19:33-34

15. Honesty is the best policy (Leviticus 19:35-36)

The Scriptures are clear that we must be honest in all things. All items used for measurements, weights, and balances must honest according to the Leviticus Holiness Code.

Here, the LORD reminds Israel that He brought them out of Egypt.

God’s people were brought out of Egypt so they could live differently from the Egyptians. I would expect that dishonest measurements were probably used in ancient Egypt to take advantage of the Israelites living in bondage. Surely the freed people of God should be expected to demonstrate honesty in all matters which is a way of showing gratitude as well for all the LORD has done.

A person who lives in holiness is honest.

Lev 19:35-36

Are these points still relevant to us today as followers of our Savior Yeshua (Jesus)?

Each of these points help us to live in kindness, with righteousness, putting others ahead of ourselves. There are more instructions found in Leviticus 19, but they deal with more specific situations such as if a man lies with a slave girl or if you are planting in the land of Israel. Perhaps they don’t seem “as relevant” to us, but if we read them carefully, we can see how applicable even these remain even to this day.

For example, it remains prudent not to “eat any meat with the blood still in it,” (Lev.19:26) and it certainly remains forbidden for disciples of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) to practice any type of “sorcery” (Lev.19:26). It is in this same passage we find the prohibition against tattoos (Lev.19:28). I know my view is unpopular today as many try to justify “Christian” tattooing, but Biblically-speaking, it does not make sense to pick and choose what we like and don’t like if it is all in the same portion of Scripture, in the Holiness Code.

A few years ago, when we pastored a church in Tennessee, one of the sisters in the congregation got a tattoo around her wrist. She came to show it off one day, and I fear I offended her when I was not nearly as excited about it as she was. I should have sat her down and spoken more gently to her, but my initial reaction was that she had made quite a mistake! We have an obligation to protect the Temple, not put graffiti all over it.

"Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body."  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Interestingly, it has become cultural. Our congregation was comprised of both English-speakers and Spanish-speaking Hispanic immigrants. Our Hispanic members were very wary of the sister’s tattoo, while the English-speaking folks raved about it. It really caused a controversy between the groups! In this case, I believe the Hispanic folks knew the darker undercurrent of tattooing from their experiences with the occult in their home countries.

Ok, time to change the subject! I know that not everyone will agree on this!

In all things, seek the LORD in all His Holiness

Allow the Holy Spirit to illumine your understanding. He will show you the incredible connections made throughout the entirety of God’s Word; how the Bible’s text is so interwoven and contains no error. When I first went to undergraduate school to learn theology, I went there with the intent of disproving the Scriptures. I didn’t think it was possible for the Bible to be faultless. But the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the Truth and I was able to continue my studies, fully convinced of the inerrant nature of the Bible.

If He could do that for me, He can do that for you.

Ask Him to show you His will and His ways, and your life will be forever changed!

Be encouraged today, that He can help you to walk in holiness and in the fullness of His love and grace!

Please leave a comment and subscribe today! We all need encouragement to live holy. Which of these points would you like to work on, in your personal life? I would love to hear from you!

What Leviticus reveals about the Day of Atonement and Passover

Parashat Acharei Mot (V’yikra/Leviticus 16-18) 5782 B”H


That’s not a word most of us use every day, so if you aren’t quite sure of its meaning, let me suggest that breaking it into its three syllables.


It is a theological term meaning to be made whole again, reconciled to God.

God’s Son, Yeshua (Jesus), sacrificed His life to make atonement for our sins.

I was asked an interesting question about the atonement recently and it fits perfectly into our study:

If Yeshua (Jesus) is our atonement, why did He make His sacrifice following the Passover meal rather than on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)?

This is a very fair question.

Our reading from Leviticus 16-18 addresses this question since this very week we will celebrate the Passover Feast, yet this passage discusses Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur included a necessary sin offering and burnt offering, sprinkling of blood around the Ark of the Covenant’s atonement cover, as well as a ritual involving a literal scapegoat.

When Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified, He who knew no sin became sin for us.

Yeshua (Jesus) was our sin offering.

“We have an altar from which those serving in the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals—whose blood is brought into the Holies by the kohen gadol as an offering for sin—are burned outside the camp. Therefore, to make the people holy through His own blood, Yeshua also suffered outside the gate. So let us go to Him outside the camp, bearing His disgrace.” Hebrews 13:10-13

Remember the 5 offerings listed in Leviticus and their purposes?

The purpose of the sin offering was to cleanse the penitent of their unintentional sins. Yeshua (Jesus) knows we will fail. He knows we will sin unintentionally, despite all of our best efforts to please our LORD. The atonement included forgiveness for these mistakes.

He was also our burnt offering.

The burnt offering had an aroma that pleased God. The smoke rose like incense before Him. “…walk in love, just as Messiah also loved us and gave Himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice to God for a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:2 (emphasis added)

According to Leviticus 1:3, the burnt offering also had to be a male, without blemish.

We see that Yeshua fulfilled the spiritual requirements related to the burnt offering for atonement of sin.

“You know that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors—not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 (emphasis added)

But our Savior didn’t stop there.

He fulfilled the requirements of the Yom Kippur sacrifices, but He actually did more than that.

He went above-and-beyond.

You see, every year on Yom Kippur (this occurs in the autumn), the High Priest would make atonement on behalf of the people. Israel was symbolically restored as God’s people one time every year.

Can you imagine the burden of sin?

How would you feel if your sins could only be forgiven once per year, and the rest of the time you carried that weight on your shoulders?

The only perk would be that sin was taken seriously. Great effort was made to avoid sin. Nowadays, many people sin nonchalantly, figuring they are “forgiven” so there is no need to flee sin. This is an error in thought. We should always flee from sin and immorality (2 Tim.2:22).

Yeshua (Jesus) shed His blood; the perfect atonement sacrifice. And in so doing, He actually fulfilled the other 3 offerings of Leviticus.

Our Messiah became the meal/grain (matzah) offering

Remember the meal or grain offering? The type of grain being referred to here is matzah, the same unleavened substance we use every Passover. The meal or matzah offering consisted of unleavened flour and oil mixed with frankincense and salt. It was placed over fire.

Have you ever studied a piece of matzah?

Notice that it is striped and pierced.

“But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities.
The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Yeshua (Jesus) became our meal offering. At his birth, He was given frankincense by the wise men (Matthew 2:11). Yeshua used matzah at the Passover meal.

And while they were eating, He took matzah; and after He offered the bracha, He broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take; this is My body.” Mark 14:22

Our Savior’s body was broken for us, just like we break the matzah during the Passover meal.

Our Savior was offered up as a fragrant aroma, just as the meal offering was matzah and oil mixed with frankincense.

Matzah + oil?

The body of Messiah + the anointing, abiding, consoling Presence of the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh).

The atonement was seasoned with salt.

Salt was not only a preservative, it was used to treat wounds.

He was wounded for our transgressions, but this holy sacrifice would bring healing to the nations and we would become the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).

He was raised up by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

Do you see all of the connections here?

Do you see how intricately interwoven the Scriptures are, truly?

I bet you never thought of frankincense having anything to do with Passover!

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) also became our guilt offering

This is the offering that required restitution. We have willingly and disobediently gone against God’s Word. Our Redeemer chose to forgive us of our grievous offenses by making atonement for our sin.

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) became our shalom offering

Remember that verse above, Isaiah 53:5? The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him.

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him.

We couldn’t have peace if it weren’t for His sacrifice.

The common peace offering in Leviticus was a lamb.

“…Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

So to answer the question: Why did Messiah die at Passover rather than Yom Kippur?

The LORD has His reasons, but it seems to me that He chose Passover because He did more than what could’ve ever been done on Yom Kippur.

At Passover, Yeshua (Jesus) truly embodied every aspect of the meal. He symbolically shared His body and His blood with the disciples at the Passover seder meal and then went on to literally give up His body and blood for the sake of lost humanity as He was horrifically nailed to the cross as atonement.

He is our Passover Lamb and He died so we would be able to see how throughout history, He has masterfully planned every detail of our divine rescue.

He came to rescue us from sin and death, and He did it in the most profound way.

Be encouraged today, that our LORD made a way where there seemed to be no way and bridged the chasm so we could be forgiven. He has atoned for our sin!

The atonement that Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) made for us is a permanent atonement. Not once a year, not once in a lifetime, it is a permanent, ongoing atonement that ensures we are covered by His blood and presented as cleansed and holy before our Perfect and Holy God.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! In His great mercy He caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua from the dead. An incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance has been reserved in heaven for you. 

By trusting, you are being protected by God’s power for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. 

These trials are so that the true metal of your faith (far more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire) may come to light in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua. 

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. And even though you don’t see Him now, you trust Him and are filled with a joy that is glorious beyond words, receiving the outcome of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

Those of us who have a relationship with our Savior Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus Christ) know that He made atonement for our sins. If you do not know this important Truth and do not yet have a relationship with your Creator, please know this: God sent His Son to die in your place, as atonement for you, so that you could be reconciled to God. If you will trust Him today with your eternal future, you can have the confidence and peace of knowing you will live eternally with Him. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to find out more about our LORD and His ways!

A Simple Passover in light of the Resurrection

Preparing a simple Passover meal does not have to be complicated. But if you google Passover seder ideas, you may get overwhelmed!

Because Passover is such a central celebration, many wives and mothers love to focus on a beautiful table setting complete with fresh flowers and an exquisite meal.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’ve done my share of elegant Passover meals.

But this year, I’m going simple.

Simple can be better. Have a blessed Passover celebration!

Post-Resurrection Passover

What does Passover mean for us, now, post-resurrection? Should we still celebrate the Passover meal?

Of course!

Miraculous things have happened during Passover. Not only does Passover commemorate the Israelites receiving freedom from Pharaoh, the Lamb of God – Messiah Yeshua (Jesus the Christ) was our paschal offering. We have been freed from bondage to sin and death!

“Yet I know that my Redeemer lives and in the end, He will stand on earth.” Job 19:25

Even after the resurrection, Passover remained a central celebration.

In the book of Acts, we see that the believers continued to recognize the various Biblical feasts.

In Acts 12, Peter was captured during Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread, but the LORD sent an angel to break the chains and free him from Herod.

It was yet another sign to the believers that the LORD was with them. They would have clearly understood the connection that Peter was set free during the celebration of their collective freedom.

So yes, we absolutely should have a Passover meal, but Martha, dear, we absolutely don’t need to stress out over it.

Now while they were traveling, Yeshua entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. She had a sister called Miriam, who was seated at the Master’s feet, listening to His teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving; so she approached Yeshua and said, “Master, doesn’t it concern you that my sister has left me to serve alone? Then tell her to help me!”

But answering her, the Lord said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and bothered about many things; but only one thing is necessary. For Miriam has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Remember, Messiah Yeshua took our stresses for us.

Teaching our children

Everyone I know uses a hagaddah for Passover. Hagaddahs are Passover reading guides. They contain lots of Scripture and explanations of why we celebrate Passover at all. The hagaddah can be especially useful for explaining the Messianic fulfillment of Passover to young believers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it but as the years go along, my little family is getting tired of it. (It is quite lengthy!) Now I know, I know, just because you find something to be (gasp!) a bit redundant or boring doesn’t mean it should be abandoned. But, on the other hand, why do something if you aren’t finding it to be refreshing to your soul? It is ok to take a break!

We are mandated by God to remind and train our children – to teach the generations of the victory won. So we do not abandon Passover! We will still gather and we will still have a wonderful meal together. But we don’t “have to” use a hagaddah.

This year, we plan to do a more simplistic explanation and just enjoy our time together as a family. When we hold congregational seders, I believe using a hagaddah is appropriate, and we have done that many times in the past. If we don’t use it this year, quite possibly we would next year, but give yourself permission to change it up a bit. We don’t want to become “religious” about this. Be led by the Spirit of the LORD – allow Him to help you to teach your children and honor the specialness of the Passover.

Now when it happens that your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’  You are to say, ‘It is the sacrifice of ADONAI’s Passover, because He passed over the houses of Bnei-Yisrael in Egypt, when He struck down the Egyptians, but spared our households.’” So the people bowed their heads and worshipped. Then Bnei-Yisrael went and did it. They did just as ADONAI had commanded Moses and Aaron.” Exodus 12:26-28

The important thing is to ensure that everyone seated at the table understands the purpose and meaning of the seder meal as well as related Scriptures.

Happy Passover!

Some suggestions for a simple Passover meal

  1. Set a simple table setting. Use a table runner or tablecloth that you already have. There’s no need to go out and spend extra money (especially with all the inflation right now). Some people like to use a blue runner that reminds of the Red Sea. Be creative! I have an Amazon link below for the table runner I bought this year. (I’m an Amazon associate and I do get a small commission if you decide to buy something, but it won’t cost you extra)
  2. Don’t have a seder plate? You honestly don’t need one. Use any large platter, and just put each symbolic item on there. We choose not to use the boiled egg because of its similitude to Easter’s fertility symbology. We do have a seder plate which does make it seem special.
  3. Make a simple grocery list ahead of time. If you would like to use the traditional seder meal items, you will need a package of matzah (unleavened bread), parsley, apples, horseradish, and a shank bone, if you can find one. There are a million different versions of charoset, but here is one recipe I’m considering trying this year. Charoset is designed to remind you of the mortar used by the Israelite slaves. Decide what your main dish will be, and get everything a few days before Passover so you don’t have to worry about it. I usually find matzah at local grocery stores like Kroger/PickNSave or Publix. If you need it in bulk for a congregation, Amazon sells it that way, too.
  4. Plan when and how you will pray and read Scripture. We love to sing many of the traditional songs, like Dayenu and Eliyahu haNavi. Focus on the continuity of the Gospel, that salvation has come!
“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and trusts in Him may have eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40

Do our Passover observances as followers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) differ from that of traditional Judaism?

Some time I will write about the significance of each aspect of the traditional seder meal.

As followers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), we are able to understand the seder in a more profound way than a nonbeliever. We can see the parallels between the striped and punctured matzah and His bruised and broken body. We can observe that the 3 pieces of matzot represent the unity of the Godhead – the Oneness of Elohim. The seder meal consists of 4 cups of wine. Our Savior drank the cup of judgment/deliverance for us – we do not partake of this. He will drink the fourth cup – the cup of praise and ultimate redemption with us, in the Kingdom.

We have a significant difference in terms of the understanding of Yom HaBikkurim, the Day of First Fruits. You see, this refers to the glorious day of the Resurrection!

Unbelievers certainly would not value the significance of Resurrection Day, but we should be testifying to Jewish people who do not yet know their Messiah that He has fulfilled this important feast!

I long to travel to Israel just to see that empty tomb with this sign on the door: “He is not here – for He is Risen!”

You see, I was raised in a pluralistic environment. I was taught the lie that Jesus was no different than Mohammed or Buddha, and I believed it for a long time.

But you see, you can go visit Mohammed’s tomb.

Same with the Buddha.

Their remains are marked at their burial place.

But if we go to visit the tomb of Messiah Jesus. . . there is no body there. No remains.

For He is not there! He is Risen! He is Alive!

Our Passover observances are filled with this great joy!

I’ve seen some churches hold seder meals that seem kind of solemn. That is totally the wrong way to go about it.

Passover is a true celebration of freedom and salvation!

It should be joyful!

Give joyous witness to the fact that our Savior lives. Just like the early believers went to tell everyone what they had seen and heard, may you be inspired to do the same. Reach out to your friends, family, and neighbors with the Good News of the Resurrection of our LORD!

How will you be celebrating Passover this year? Leave a comment below, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter! Shalom, and Chag Pesach Sameach (Happy Passover!)

The Biblical Spring Feasts

Parashat Emor (V’yikra/Leviticus 21-24)

Are you familiar with the springtime Biblical feasts?

Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First Fruits, and the Feast of Weeks are special days outlined in the Bible.

Each of the Biblical Spring Feasts can also be called by its Hebrew term:

The Feast of Passover = Pesach

The Feast of Unleavened Bread = Chag HaMatzot

The Feast of First Fruits = Yom HaBikkurim

The Feast of Weeks = Shavu’ot

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) fulfilled the prophetic meaning of each of these Biblical spring feasts (moedim).

Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Perhaps your church has held a Passover Seder meal or you have tasted matzah bread at some point in your life.

Passover is so clearly mentioned in the Gospels and we know the Lamb of God came to take away the sin of the world, so most Christians have at least a basic understanding of what the Passover feast is all about. The amazing Truth of Redemption.

However, most do not realize that Passover leads right into the 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread.

It is also common for many believers to admit they do not know much about the Feast of First Fruits or the Feast of Weeks.

No worries.

I can help you sort this out.

Before we go any further, let me reassure you, you do not need to be “Jewish” in order to celebrate the “Jewish” feasts.

Followers of Messiah, whether native Israeli or grafted-in, are now part of Israel.

Together, truly a nation under God. Israel’s history is our history. We do not compete with Israel, we do not supersede or replace Israel: we are Israel. We have been united by the blood of the Lamb and saved by His unfailing grace.

More and more Christians are learning about our Father’s established feasts!

He has prepared a banquet before you and you don’t have to wait until you get to heaven to feast and celebrate with Him.

The Feast of Firstfruits

The Feast of First Fruits is about harvest. The LORD established it so that the people would bring the first and the best of their harvest. It was a feast day for this expression of worship. (Leviticus 23:9-14)

So what does this mean for us today? Most of us are not farmers. It seems a bit challenging to fully understand agriculturally-centric feasts, but we can understand the simple Gospel teaching that spiritually-speaking, the fields are white and ready for harvest (John 4:35).

This Biblical feast illustrates the victory of the Gospel in the most powerful and marvelous way possible.

You see, Passover is about freedom from death and bondage. The Feast of Unleavened Bread reminds us that He was buried and in that tomb. The Feast of Firstfruits is about the Resurrection!

“But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20

Messiah Yeshua was the first of the harvest – raised into His glorified, resurrected body. If you read about what was involved with the celebration of First Fruits, you will learn that a sheaf had to be waved before the LORD back and forth.

Waving the sheaf surely seems to represent the movement of the wind through the crops.

A mighty rushing wind.

The power of the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) breathing new life!

The Spirit of the LORD stirring up salvation!

We know that in the last days, the harvest will include people from the east and west, north and south.

So back and forth the wave offering was made: prophesying the harvest of the latter days and prophesying the Truth of Resurrection Day!

The Feast of Firstfruits is the Celebration of Resurrection Day!

“The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Ruach (Holy Spirit) without limit.” John 3:34

The Feast of Weeks

Speaking of the awesome power of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:1 begins “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come . . . “

The Day of Pentecost as a holy day wasn’t something new.

Bible translators chose to translate the Hebraic term, “Shavu’ot,” with the Greek term “Pentecost.”

Ironically, there are language barriers

It is debatable as to whether those who translated were legitimately trying to help readers understand the Hebrew here or whether they were trying to obstruct it (sadly, it is plausible). Preference for Greek terms in translation led to a loss of the original meanings and intent and propelled the wide separation between the early Messianic movements and later church movements.

Before you start thinking I’m anti-Pentecost, hold it right there.

I love Pentecost. I am an ordained Pentecostal pastor. Yet, using solely the term “Pentecost” actually obscures the fullness of the meaning of the Scriptures here!

We need to become more aware of the deficiencies caused by language. (This is nothing new to us Spirit-filled believers. We know language barriers have been overcome by the amazing infilling power of the Holy Spirit!). The limitations of our vocabulary lead to slight discrepancies in doctrine and practice which over time can become huge discrepancies.

For example: I don’t know any Christians who say, “Happy Shavu’ot Sunday!”

It’s always “Pentecost Sunday” in our vocabulary! And that is ok, in the sense that this is how we understand a word in our language.

But, we are missing half of the meaning!

We know the Holy Spirit came down. However, many do not realize that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit coincided with the ongoing celebration of the Biblical feast day. The disciples present in the Upper Room literally lived the Messianic fulfillment of the feast day.

The reality is, Shavu’ot (i.e. Pentecost) has been celebrated since the days of Exodus!

Exodus 34:22 says “You are to observe the Feast of Shavuot, which is the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, as well as the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.”

It became traditional to celebrate the giving of the Torah on Shavu’ot. As you can see, the Word which was written on tablets of stone would now be written on the hearts of all who would receive Him. Now we also celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit on Shavu’ot! The LORD never leaves us without instruction and never leaves us comfortless.

The Messianic significance of the omer count

Beginning at the Feast of First Fruits, a special omer count was to begin every year. This was a measurement used for dry goods. Each day, for 50 consecutive days after First Fruits, the day’s omer was to be counted. This had gone on for generations prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day we know as Pentecost.

The word, “Pentecost,” is highly appropriate here because it was exactly 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits (Resurrection Day) when the Holy Spirit fell upon the gathered, praying believers and endued them with power from on high.

When the LORD Yeshua (Jesus) walked on this earth, He came to fulfill the prophecies, not to abolish them. He promised that He would send another Comforter (John 14:16, KJV) and that is exactly what He did. Every single action He took and Word He spoke correlated with His mission and He never contradicted Himself.

All of the Biblical Feast Days were established before God sent His Son. Today we are just focusing on the spring feasts, but each Biblical feast day is a part of the divinely orchestrated plan to show us the way of salvation. (If you are interested in the fall feasts, those include what is known as Yom Teruah (aka Rosh Hashanah), Yom Kippur, and Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles).

What shall we do?

On that same Shavu’ot day, Peter preached a Spirit-empowered sermon that resulted in 3,000 immersion baptisms.

When people felt convicted of their need for repentance, they asked, “Fellow brethren,what shall we do?” Acts 2:37 (emphasis added)

“Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua for the removal of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh.  For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away—as many as ADONAI our God calls to Himself.”

With many other words he warned them and kept urging them, saying, “Save yourselves from this twisted generation!” Acts 2:38-40

The question posed by the crowd should be the same question we still ask.

What shall we do?

And the exhortation of Peter continues to direct us:

  1. Repent
  2. Be immersed (baptized) in water
  3. Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit
  4. Be saved from this twisted generation

Our journey of faith doesn’t end when we are baptized in water. We must seek the infilling of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us for the task of ministry.

How can we be saved from this “twisted” (some translations read, “perverted”) generation?

By doing things God’s way, not our way.

That includes surrendering our manmade traditions.

The Biblical Spring Feasts are about doing things God’s way, not our way. Learn about why you might consider trading in man’s holidays for God’s holy days.

By Acts chapter 5, there was so much going on in the way of outreach and missions that the Jewish authorities became very upset. Miraculous healings, supernatural deliverances, prison doors being opened . . .

“And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?

And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:27c-29 (emphases added)

Obey God rather than men

This verse isn’t a license to stop listening to the wise people that God has placed in your path. Heed godly counsel. Submit to righteous authority.

But carefully discern what is truly godly.

If we are to obey God rather than men, let me ask you this question today.

Why continue with manmade festivities?

Why not celebrate the LORD in the way the LORD established?

Why allow the world to creep in to our faith practices?

What do the Springtime Biblical Feasts represent?

spring Biblical feasts

Easter, Eostre, and Ishtar

It is no secret that the word Easter has been derived from several pagan sources. Do we really need to “Christianize” these false gods?

Look at the linguistics.

We get the term, “Easter” from Eostre, an English goddess, who is likely the same personage as Ishtar, the Babylonian fertility goddess. It is no surprise then, that we see the reappropriation of fertility symbols such as eggs and rabbits in Easter celebrations.

What, then, shall we do?

Obey God rather than men!

Our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) died to free us from idolatry and sin.

We need to reject the pagan practices that have managed to invade our celebrations of our Savior’s Resurrection.

Resurrection Day exists in Scripture as the Fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits. We should celebration Resurrection Day! But we really don’t need “Easter.”

Consider celebrating each of the Biblical spring feasts. Consider trading in man’s Lent for God’s teshuvah (time of repentance). Trade in man’s Easter for Yom HaBikkurim (the Feast of First Fruits). In the fall and winter, (I know this one will be controversial) trade in man’s Christmas for the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), the most amazing celebration of the Word being made flesh and coming to dwell with us! If you decide to truly follow what Scripture says rather than what the majority of tradition has invented, you will gain so much!

If following the LORD at His Word is important to you, please comment below! If you have questions about the Biblical spring Feasts we would love to help you! And most importantly, if you have questions about the Messiah, please let us know and we would love to share the Good News with you. Please subscribe so you don’t miss any new posts! Shalom!

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