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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A cure changes everything

Parashats Tazria-Metzora (V’Yikra/Leviticus 12-15) 5782 B’H

This article contains a few links to related books you may be interested in. I do want to disclose that I am an Amazon affiliate which means I would earn a little from your purchase, but it won’t cost you extra.

The pandemic has actually helped us be able to understand Leviticus 13 better

Any time there is an incurable and highly contagious disease, protocols must be kept to prevent the spread of disease.

God commanded Israel to develop quarantining and cleanliness practices well before scientists figured it out.

A cure changes everything Lev 12 15

Prior to the pandemic, few of us had ever experienced quarantine. We would hear about travel quarantines from time to time, but all in all it was difficult to relate to and understand the isolation and quarantines described in Scriptural passages like Leviticus 13.

According to Leviticus 13, when someone had symptoms of a contagious skin disease, they were subjected to a 14-day quarantine (with examinations each week).

It had to be clear that the individual who had tested positive was not a threat to the rest of the community.

This became standard practice that we see evidence of still today. Hospitals didn’t invent these rules, the LORD did!

Sickness & Loss of Identity

Leprosy used to be one of those diseases that resulted not only in quarantine but in complete ostracization. Sadly, the leper’s affliction became his or her identity.

 All the days during which the plague is on him he will be unclean. He is unclean. He is to dwell alone. Outside of the camp will be his dwelling.” Leviticus 13:46

Covid-19 started out that way. You were either Covid-positive or Covid-negative. It didn’t matter who you were. You would be alone. Sad. Afraid. Isolated.

God-given knowledge and medical breakthroughs bring hope

During the pandemic, I read a book to my children called The Polio Pioneer by Linda Elovitz Marshall. It explains the incredible achievement of Jewish research doctor Dr.Jonas Salk who invented the polio vaccine in 1952.

When medical breakthroughs occur, everything changes. Suddenly, there’s hope and the disease doesn’t have to define people anymore.

That’s miraculous!

What I have personally found exasperating throughout the Covid-19 pandemic were the number of people who refused to wear a mask or support vaccination research. Medical breakthroughs like vaccines have saved so many lives in so many nations! Polio is such a great example. According to that children’s book, our grandparents couldn’t swim in public swimming pools for fear of getting debilitating polio! Our generation never had to worry about getting that disease.

If we pray that our Great Physician will inspire and lead the hearts and hands of doctors and bring healing and wholeness, shouldn’t we have rejoiced at the God-given knowledge researchers had to make a Covid-19 vaccine possible?

Honestly, Covid should never have become political. For believers, if we truly love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we can put on a mask for a few weeks. That mask doesn’t rob us of our identity the way the disease itself can.

Many Christians in the United States were adamantly against the quarantines and health mandates while Christians in other countries supported and insisted upon their use. None of us like governmental overreach, so perhaps some of the “mandates” in the US went too far, but if we are true believers trusting in the LORD not in man, we should not jump so quickly to conclusions that the public health policies were intended to restrict our freedoms so much as they were legitimately trying their best to protect the vulnerable from a deadly pandemic.

We need to give one another grace.

And the Bible sets a precedent for protecting a community from sickness and plague.

We learn the rules and the mandates in Leviticus 13. Though grace is present even in Torah (aka the Pentateuch), it is more obvious for us to understand it through Messiah Yeshua’s (Jesus’) teachings and actions.

We live in a sin-sick world. The consequence of sin is death.

“For sin’s payment is death, but God’s gracious gift is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (TLV)

Stated differently,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

The problem is, sickness is associated with sin.

“As Yeshua [Jesus] was passing by, He saw a man who had been blind since birth. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?”

Yeshua answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be brought to light in him.” John 9:1-3

Miryam’s leprosy was a punishment for her sin of speaking against Moshe (Moses). Often times, our spiritual condition does end up reflected in our physical health.

But not every sickness is directly related to a specific sin like Miryam’s.

The disciples didn’t understand that, though, which is why they (as was customary) assumed the blind man (or his parents) had committed a sin which directly caused his blindness.

I know many a hurt believer who has been told they “must’ve sinned.” Supposedly that’s why they are dealing with a difficult diagnosis.

It’s not quite that simple. Our Savior Yeshua (Jesus) demonstrated that in His response to the disciples: neither the man nor his parents had sinned. The man’s condition was permitted so that God could be glorified through him.

Surely you know a faithful believer who has struggled through terrible illness. While we cannot always comprehend it, oftentimes it is so that God can be glorified.

There is sickness in this fallen world and it can affect anyone. We must rely on the LORD to help us through.

We are in need of a cure.

There is one cure you need to know about

On this earth, in this life, there may never be the one cure you or a loved one desperately needs, at the time in which it is needed.

The disease might not respond to treatment, or the injury might be too severe. The illness might be too advanced or the trauma just too damaging.

But if your heart is hurt and in need of mending, I assure you there is a cure.

It might not seem so instantaneous as we might like, but I assure you, it is one hundred percent effective.

The cure is this: putting your trust, your faith, and all your hope in the Messiah, the Savior of all mankind – the One who was and who is and who is to come, Yeshua, Jesus the Christ.

Because He is the cure.

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) is the cure

He is God’s Son and He died on the cross to repair all the damage that had been done by sin. He took all the fallenness, all the sinfulness, all the destruction, all the diseases, all the afflictions, every single problem upon Himself. He was nailed to that wooden cross along with all the guilt, all the pain, all the grief, all the sorrow that this world contains to lift it up off of you. He bore our iniquities. He was wounded for our transgressions. All the debts, all the terror, all the war, all the rage. All the loneliness. He absorbed it all.

Death thought it had its victory.

As the body of the LORD hung in what appeared to be final surrender, the devil smirked. The physical damage was done. Yeshua’s (Jesus’) body hung as blood gushed out from him. His body bruised and beaten, seemingly no match for hope. Where was the cure now? Where was the victory? Could the battle be won?

Absolutely. He won the victory. Death couldn’t hold Him down. He rose again in victory, resurrected in power!

Yeshua Resurrection Victory

You see, He Himself is the cure. The cure for all of humanities ailments. The cure for lost identities and the cure for the darkest depression.

His blood washed the earth anew. The blood of the perfect, spotless Lamb had been sacrificed on the biggest altar ever known.

So now there is hope for you and me.

The Bible says that by His wounds, you have been healed. The crucifixion, death, and resurrection of the Messiah was prophesied at least seven hundred years earlier:

“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

If you are in need of any type of healing, turn your heart and your prayers to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He has made a way for hope to reign and the possibilities of innumerable healing miracles and restoration.

Don’t be defined by your pain.

Or your diagnosis.

Don’t allow the devil to rob you of your joy.

If you are a child of the King, a child of God, you were bought for a price and no one can take your future away from you.

The Son of God has made a way:

That cure changes everything.

Have you put all of your trust in the Savior? Do you have a true relationship with your Heavenly Father and with His Son, the Messiah, Yeshua haMaschiah (Jesus the Christ)? Are you in need of healing? Wholeness? Peace? Do you need His comfort? The Holy Spirit comforts us in our times of need. Please, leave a comment with your thoughts and we would love the opportunity to pray for you. Please consider subscribing as well so you can stay up-to-date on our latest Bible studies and teachings. During this season of the Spring Feasts when we focus even more on the resurrection victory, I invite you to check out this free PDF of the Biblical Feast Days and other important holidays that you might like to print out and keep with your calendar or on your refrigerator!

Leviticus and Children’s Ministry

Parashat Tzav (V’yikra/Leviticus 6-8) 5782 B”H

Last week, I posed the question of whether or not you would list Leviticus among your top favorite books of the Bible.

Don’t feel bad if it didn’t make your top 10.

It’s tough to compete with the comfort of David’s Psalms,

the passion of the Gospel writers’ testimonies,

or the intensity of fire falling from heaven.

You realize fire falls from heaven quite a bit in Scripture.

Fire 🔥 at Sinai, fire 🔥 when Elijah prayed, fire 🔥in the Upper Room.

But here is a new question.

A great question for parents and children’s ministry leaders.

When introducing a young child to the Bible, would you start with Leviticus?!

I know I haven’t started with it.

I’ve always focused on the Gospel stories and the Psalms and the power of Pentecost (Shavu’ot). I love to share with them stories of Messiah Yeshua’s (Jesus’) miracles and ministry. The first verse my children memorized was Genesis 1:1. You can’t go wrong with starting at the beginning!

But did you know that it is actually fairly common in Jewish households to begin a child’s spiritual education with Leviticus?

The rationale is that because a child is pure, they ought to be taught the laws of purity. Not bad logic.

Who needs Noah’s ark sing-alongs when you can toss a list of burnt offering requirements at your three to six year olds? 🤨🤔😬

All joking aside, there’s a reason I’ve always respected the studious nature of Judaism. They don’t shy away from the hard topics. They don’t pretend that those tough passages aren’t in the Torah. And rather than run from them, they delve straight in, head-first. Master that which is difficult, and the rest will be a piece of cake. Speaking of cake, we will get to that in a moment.

There’s something we all can learn there.

Finding salvation in the pages of Leviticus

Introducing children to the concept of the sacrificial system at a young age might seem counterintuitive. Often, we want to protect children from the harsh realities of life such as sacrifice, suffering, and death. But sheltering them from these difficult concepts may actually do more harm than good. If a child gains understanding from the outset that death and life are both very much real, they can, also at a much younger age, begin to understand just how valuable the sacrifice that the LORD made for us through His death on the cross really is.

That is the goal, right? That our children would be saved, from an early age! Not through any type of manipulative techniques, but rather through honest engagement with the Word of God and related thoughtful, age-appropriate discussion.

Children ask all sorts of interesting questions. Let their curiosity be your guide.

Make connections with things your children already know. Like bread!

Bread? 🥖

Yes! Bread!

Every child in every nation eats some form of bread. From baguettes to flour tortillas to naan, bread is a staple to most people’s diets.

That’s why Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) told us He is the Bread of Life in John 6:35. He spoke in ways that are relatable! We know we need sustenance.

“Yeshua said to them, ‘I AM the Bread of Life.'” John 6:35

Kids understand the importance of eating when they are hungry. They also know they are supposed to say “please” and “thank you.”

So when you reach a passage like Leviticus 7, explain to your children how the LORD expected people to be thankful! And when they wanted to express their thankfulness and have peace with God, they would bring a special offering to the LORD – bread. And lots of it. Unleavened cakes, flour cakes, (yes, CAKE! 🎂) and leavened bread. It would be eaten by God’s representative and his family – Aaron the priest and his sons.

Leviticus 7:11-14a, Tree of Life Version

 “Now this is the Torah of the sacrifice of fellowship offerings which may be offered to ADONAI. If he brings it for a thanksgiving, then he is to present with the sacrifice of thanksgiving matzah cakes mixed with oil, matzah wafers anointed with oil, and fine flour cakes mixed with oil. He is to present his offering with the sacrifice of his fellowship offerings for thanksgiving along with cakes of bread with hametz. From each he is to offer one out of every offering as a gift to ADONAI.

You may be more familiar with a version like the New King James Version which reads:

“This is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings which he shall offer to the LORD: If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer, with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, or cakes of blended flour mixed with oil. Besides the cakes, as his offering he shall offer leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offering. And from it he shall offer one cake from each offering as a heave offering to the LORD.” (Leviticus 7:11-14a, NKJV)

Leviticus teaches honor

Leviticus 8 describes the consecration of the priests and their ordination. The offerings were brought to them – so ultimately, people were expected to honor these leaders of the Israelite community.

Romans 12:10 says, “Be tenderly devoted to one another in brotherly love; outdo one another in giving honor.”

In American culture, the concept of “giving honor” isn’t something we talk about much.

Things like deference, submission, and putting someone else’s needs above our own aren’t real popular in a culture that emphasizes individual achievement and personal prosperity.

We don’t think to “honor” anyone who doesn’t “deserve” it.

To make matters worse, we hear of scandals in churches involving clergy and we determine that congregational leaders can’t be trusted and should not be honored. Listen, I know there is a ton of hurt there and a lot of evil that has been perpetrated in the name of faith, but we must not allow our faith and judgment to be clouded by the sinful examples. We must be wise and make sure there is accountability in every church position and structure, but we must not become overly cynical or disrespectful.

We must learn to honor, in a godly and safe manner. We must teach our children how to honor their teachers – all of those wonderful people who pour time and encouragement into their little hearts. Instead of always having to “win,” it is important to instill the value of kindness which naturally leads to honoring others.

The Bible clearly teaches that honor is something we must not only value, but give.

You can’t give something you don’t have, though.

Surely you know that you were awesomely and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God chose to create you, and in so doing, He honored you so that you could in turn honor Him.

So you have to know that you are honorable. Before sin enters the calculation, your form was perfect and you have a deep inherent worth!

If you have that confidence, you should have no difficulty in submitting yourself to another with love and with kindness without losing your sense of self-esteem.

The Word of God shows us we are each responsible to learn to honor our brothers and sisters in the LORD. Children should be taught to respect and to honor their elders. Likewise as believers grow in faith, it is our duty within the family of faith to honor each other. Honoring another should not mean losing one’s autonomy and should never result in abusive relationships. Honoring ought be mutual, but we must be willing to serve even those we would rather not serve.

If we learn to honor one another, then we genuinely gain the ability to give honor to Adonai.

The fight for the souls of our children

Children’s ministries must take into account the fact that children come from so many different backgrounds and walks of life. If we water down the message and shy away from the more difficult subjects, we could be missing huge opportunities to help children. Whether a child’s perception or reality of a problem is large or small, if a ministry is there to guide them with love, kindness, and the unfailing Truth of the Word of God, the child will be receptive to the message about our wonderful Savior.

Today’s world is full of conflicting messages, ideas, philosophies, and religions. The devil is hard at work to rob our children, in so many ways. False religions work very hard to instill their values and beliefs into young people, so as believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) and disciples in His Truth, how much harder ought we be working to bless our children with the knowledge of His Glorious Truth.

I’ve grown tired of the repetitive nature of most children’s ministry programs that seem to simply seek to entertain the children.

I’d rather arm them for the real world with the real armor of God. Children are smart! Let’s give them a deep and strong foundation!

Maybe even start with . . . your new favorite, Leviticus!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what you think! Is Leviticus growing on you, my friend? Please consider subscribing so you can stay up-to-date on our latest posts!

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The 5 Offerings of Leviticus and the Good News

Parashat V’yikra (V’yikra/Leviticus 1-5)

Does Leviticus top your list of favorite books of the Bible?

It is pretty safe to say most people would not list Leviticus as one of their favorite books of the Bible.

When I served as a chaplain, I would often ask patients to share their favorite verse or book of the Bible.

9 times out of 10, the patient would cite the Psalms, regardless of their denominational tradition.

And it’s no wonder. Psalms engage the emotions – they help us make sense out of suffering, bring comfort in times of need, and help us verbalize our praise of our Eternal Father.

Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, these books tend to be among the favorites.

Leviticus . . . not so much.

Holiness, Holy-days, and Hope

I do know one Torah observant sister who did tell me that Leviticus is one of her favorites. I told her she is unusual. 😉

But you see, she understands that there is more to Leviticus than lists of burnt offerings and rules.

Leviticus: Holiness, Holy Days, and Hope

Leviticus is about holiness.

Yes, Leviticus outlines the sacrificial system and it can get to be a bit difficult for our modern sensibilities to read about killing bulls and doves, but I assure you, there is more to Leviticus than that. The sacrificial system was needed in order for us to understand the magnitude of what Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) came to do for us.

The LORD is holy and He requires us to be made holy. ” . . . be holy, for I am holy . . .” (Leviticus 11:44). In order to enter into a true relationship with our Heavenly Father, we must first understand the gravity of our sin – the depraved state we find ourselves in without our Savior. We realize through a thorough reading of Leviticus just what exactly is required to obtain holiness. This deepens our gratitude for what Messiah accomplished through His death on the cross! He has made a way for us to be holy as He is holy, if we believe and trust in His Name.

Leviticus is about holy-days.

Who doesn’t enjoy holidays? Leviticus defines for us the holy-days of the LORD. It is in Leviticus that what are known as the moedim (the appointed times) are explained in great detail. The appointed times refers to specific dates and times of year when the LORD desires to meet with His people. Divine appointments. Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles are two of the better known celebrations.

Sorry to be the bearer of unwelcome news, but Christmas and Easter are not moedim – they are manmade holidays of pagan origin reappropriated by some of the Christian church. Certainly the Lord Yeshua (Jesus) is our Emmanuel and our Triumphant Redeemer. The intent is good! But these holidays fall outside that which is Scripturally mandated and at worse, perpetuate many untruths.

Leviticus is about hope.

Ultimately, as I have alluded, Leviticus is about salvation and hope.

If we know what the LORD expects and what pleases Him, we can strive to live our lives for Him. But we know we will fall short. “There is no one righteous—no, not one” (Romans 3:10).

The Good News of salvation is available to all, and part of that reality started way back in Leviticus. How could we understand our need for a Savior if we didn’t know our shortcomings?

We are so blessed to be living in these days because we know the fullness of the Good News – that the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) came to the earth, lived, ministered, was crucified, buried, rose again, ascended into heaven, and poured out His Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) upon His people.

The offerings outlined in Leviticus help us understand the Good News

Leviticus 1-5 describes the different offerings that were required in order for people to make themselves right with God again. We can gain a greater understanding of so much of what occurred in the New Testament (Brit Chadasha) if we understand more fully these offerings.

Offerings & Wholeheartedness

It can be hard for us in modern times, especially in the United States, to conceptualize the 5 offerings listed in Leviticus. We are accustomed to giving “an offering” – a sum of money apart from our tithe that we feel led to give to the LORD’s work. Notice, our modern understanding of an “offering” is almost always monetary.

When I traveled to Mexico and preached in the village church, I noticed something very profound. Most of the congregation members are quite poor, but like the widow who gave her mite, the brothers and sisters did not come empty-handed. One sister would bring flowers, a fragrant gift to adorn the pulpit area. A brother would carry a basket of fruit or vegetables, a first fruits offering that would bless the pastor’s family or another family in need. These offerings required planning, love, and care.

It is easy to take out our wallet and toss a few dollars into a collection plate. It would require more forethought on our part to go out to the garden (if we even have one!) and share of our harvest. If we can learn one thing from our brethren in Mexico it is to give our offering wholeheartedly.

Following the time of Leviticus all the way through the Second Temple period, money would have been exchanged (think of the Temple moneychangers) in order to obtain what was needed for the offerings, but the money wasn’t just tossed nonchalantly into an offering plate. The individual seeking pardon had to be more involved than that to obtain purity.

Voluntary offerings and Mandatory offerings.

The offerings in Leviticus can be divided into two types: voluntary and mandatory.

The Voluntary Offerings

  1. The Burnt Offering

The burnt offering had to be a male without blemish out of the cattle or sheep, or doves or pigeons, depending upon one’s financial ability. the Bible calls this a food offering, an aroma that pleased the LORD. It was to be killed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (Leviticus 1:3).

That it would be killed at the doorway is significant because Yeshua (Jesus) said, “I am the Door.” The Good Shepherd laid down at the threshold of the doorway and ultimately gave up His life for His sheep. The Lamb’s blood on the doorposts prevents death from entering our lives.

2. The Meal/Grain Offering

This offering consisted of unleavened flour & oil mixed with frankincense and salt placed over fire. Mmmm . . . if you enjoy fresh baked bread, imagine the smell of a perfumed version! Throughout the Bible, oil represents anointing and sanctification – the Presence of the Spirit of the LORD. Salt was a preservative and was even involved in covenant-making! Because of its preserving quality, salt indicates an everlasting Covenant.

2 Chronicles 13:5 “Don’t you know that ADONAI, God of Israel, has given kingship over Israel to David forever—to him and his sons by a covenant of salt?”

John 7:42 “Didn’t the Scripture say that the Messiah comes from the seed of David and from Bethlehem, David’s town?”

The meal offering, as simplistic as it may seem, gives us a picture of the Everlasting Covenant we have as children of the Most High.

3. The Shalom/Peace Offering

Similar to the the burnt offering, the shalom offering had to be of cattle, lamb, or goat. This reconciliation offering restored fellowship. It foreshadowed the shalom (peace) that we receive through the sacrifice of our Savior.

The Mandatory Offerings: Sacrifices for Unintentional Sins

4. The Sin Offering (Leviticus 4-5:13)

If you have been following this blog, you may have read about the 13 (Biblical) Attributes of God listed in the book of Exodus.

Attribute 12, נֹשֵׂ֥א חַטָּאָ֑ה Nosei Chatah, describes the LORD as the “Forgiver of sin.” This verb refers to unintentional sins, meaning He forgives our mistakes and the sins we commit it ignorance.

A form of this Hebrew term is found beginning in Leviticus 4. Chata’at means to “miss the mark,” to “miss the target.”

So the sin offering was a mandatory offering for unintentional sins against God. This offering had to be completed before a person could make any other type of offering.

Different sacrifices were acceptable depending upon an individual’s rank/social status. A bull had to be sacrificed for the sins of Israel as a whole. A male goat was brought to be sacrificed on behalf of a leader. The ordinary folk were to bring a female goat or a lamb. The poor could bring a dove or pigeon to be sacrificed as the sin offering. Did you realize this was the type of offering Mary and Joseph brought when they went to Jerusalem to present the Holy Child to the LORD?

As Allen P. Ross writes in Holiness to the LORD: A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus, “The point is that no one was barred from access or from worship on the basis of income or ability (Ross, 89).

5. The Guilt (Trespass) Offering (Leviticus 5:14-6:7)

Like the sin offering, the guilt offering was a mandatory offering but rather than it being for unintentional sins against God, this offering is for unintentional sins against another person.

Restitution was required because the offender was guilty of trespassing against or defrauding another person. If someone’s rights had been violated, a guilt offering was necessary to make things right again. We are so very guilty, but our Savior, Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) has come to save us and take all our guilt away.

Leviticus gives us a portion, and the Gospel gives us the full picture

I hope you have been able to see how each one of the offerings in the book of Leviticus relates to the Good News! As Rabbi Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) said, it may seem as though we are looking through a glass dimly, but we know that one day we will indeed see Him face to face. If we study the Scriptures in depth, we will find that passages that seem obscure or completely irrelevant to us can actually be extremely revelatory and far more intriguing than we initially expect.

I hope you found this short study on the five offerings of Leviticus 1-5 of blessing to you. I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or consider subscribing to our monthly newsletter!


It is finished: How the Completion of the Tabernacle relates to Calvary’s Victory

Parashat P’kudei (Shemot/Exodus 38:21-40:38)

Completion of the Tabernacle

This passage starts out where we left off discussing the Tabernacle’s skilled artisans, Betzalel and Oholiab. They were the wise-hearted, skilled artisans who were responsible for the craftsmanship associated with the building of the Tabernacle.

Betzalel & Oholiab

Betzalel, of the tribe of Judah “made all that the LORD commanded Moses.” Exodus 38:22. He was like an ideal congregation member. He would hear the pastor/leader’s vision and make it happen.

Likewise, Oholiab, of the tribe of Dan, was “a craftsman, a skillful workman, and a weaver of colors, in blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen.” Exodus 38:23.

Tabernacle set-up

The final chapter of Exodus details how Moshe (Moses) set up the Tabernacle. He followed the instructions of the LORD very carefully.

Exodus 40:33 “He set up the courtyard around the Tabernacle and the altar and set up the screen at the gate of the courtyard. So Moses finished the work. (emphasis added)

Moses finished that work. It was necessary and surely it was arduous, but it was done. The tabernacle was built to foreshadow the unfolding of the story of salvation.

When the work was finished, then the glory of the LORD could come and fill that place.

And that’s exactly what happened!

Exodus 40:34 “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of ADONAI filled the Tabernacle.”

It is finished

The glory of the LORD filling the Tabernacle would have been absolutely amazing. Can you imagine being there!? But as awe-inspiring as that was, the salvation story was still being written.

You see, One greater-than-Moses would come: Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus the Christ). He would finish a greater work. He would complete the story of salvation. A story which is HIStory – the truest, greatest story ever told.

On the cross at Calvary’s hill, Yeshua said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

John 19:30

Now, let me remind you what is truly remarkable.

Yeshua, Himself the Temple of the Holy Spirit, imparts to us His Spirit. He died and rose again, and breathed upon the disciples so that they could receive the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh). Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Just as the Glory of God came to fill the Tabernacle, He is willing to come upon you and to fill you with His Spirit. If you have not yet received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, please let us know and we will pray for you!

We end our reading of Shemot/Exodus as the Tabernacle is completed and gloriously filled with the Presence of the Most High. The book of Exodus is a book about freedom. The Greatest Freedom you can ever experience is the freedom from sin and death.

Will you trust Yeshua (Jesus) as your Savior today? He alone can free you from all bondage and give you eternal life.

As you can see, the Bible is full of amazing connections that demonstrate the continuity between the time of Moses and the time of Yeshua! Maybe you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments and please consider subscribing to our newsletter! Are you placing your trust in Messiah Yeshua for the first time? Are you renewing your commitment to Him? Let us know how we can pray with and for you! Shalom!

The Tabernacle’s skilled artisans

Parashat V’yekhel (Shemot/Exodus 35-38:20)

Skill + Dedication + Divine Inspiration

Exodus 35-38 describes the preparations needed for the realization of the Tabernacle’s construction. It answers these types of questions:

What materials? How much would people need to contribute? Who would gather the measurements? What other objects would be made? Who were the Tabernacle’s skilled artisans?

Along with the Tabernacle would be the tent, pillars, bases, the Ark of the Covenant, a menorah, table, incense altar, and holy anointing oil. It was quite an undertaking!

Exodus 35:14

It would require skill.


And, some divine inspiration.

Exodus 35:10 says “Let every wise-hearted man among you come and make everything that ADONAI has commanded . . .” (emphasis added)

The High Value of Artisanship

Some translations read “gifted artisans” here. Every gifted artisan was to come help with the project. At that time, to be an artisan wasn’t some undervalued, underfunded craft. The Tabernacle budget wasn’t cutting out art! Quite the contrary! Artisanship was so important that the very Spirit of the LORD filled selected individuals with the gifts needed for intricate, beautiful art. God invested in the Tabernacle’s skilled artisans!

And lest you think this was a select club for men only, worry not!

Exodus 35:25 “Also all the women who were wise-hearted spun with their hands, and brought what they had woven—the blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen.” (emphasis added)

Chakam-lev חֲכַם־ לֵ֖ב

The term found in Scripture here is chakam-lev. It refers to the skilled, to those who literally are wise of heart. Most English language Bible translations translate this term as “gifted or skilled artisan.” The TLV (Tree of Life Version) Bible translation chooses the literal translation of “wise of heart.” Thus, the TLV is expressing more literally this Hebrew term. Nevertheless, the NKJV and NIV’s translations using “skilled craftsman” or gifted artisan” help us more wholly understand the term.

So to be a “gifted artisan” is to be “wise of heart.”

Now isn’t that interesting?

“Chakam-lev” literally means “wise of heart”

It is rare to use the word “wise” to describe artists in our society. Most do not receive well-deserved compensation for their efforts, and they live in the shadows, somewhat outcast due to lack of funding and perceived instability.

Indeed, artists are often misunderstood.They have to defend their work because most of us don’t quite “get” their level of creativity. Just the other day, I had an email conversation with the author/illustrator of the Word for Word Bible Comic I reviewed for him. I wasn’t grasping why he had chosen to use a specific image for a page in his forthcoming Gospel of Luke graphic novel. I imagine he finds himself explaining many different illustrations to people who might have different perspectives.

Being an artist isn’t easy!

Yet talented artists have a gift that most of us do not possess.

And that gift comes from God! God who Himself is an Artist: the Potter who molds us and the Painter who created the beautiful canvas of the universe.

Isaiah 64:7

The LORD chose two men, Betzelel and Oholiab, for the artisan work needed for the Tabernacle.

Again, notice Scripture describes the Tabernacle’s skilled artisans as “wise-hearted” and “filled with wisdom of heart.”

Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, “See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, understanding and knowledge in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make ingenious designs, to forge with gold, silver and bronze, as well as cutting stones for setting and carving wood, to work in all manner of craftsmanship. Also look, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. Within the hearts of all who are wise-hearted I have placed skill, so that they may make everything that I have commanded you.” Exodus 31:1-6 (emphasis added)

“Then Moses said to Bnei-Yisrael, “See, Adonai has called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He has filled him with the Ruach of God, with wisdom, understanding and knowledge, in all manner of craftsmanship,  to make ingenious designs, to work in gold, silver and bronze, as well as cutting gemstones for setting, wood carving, to make all kinds of skillful craftsmanship.  He has also placed in his heart the ability to teach—both he and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with wisdom of heart to forge all the works of an engraver, an artisan, and an embroiderer in blue, purple, scarlet and in fine linen, as well as weaving—they can perform every craft and ingenious designs.” Exodus 35:30-35 (emphasis added)

The Tabernacle was literally built with Wisdom!

By wisdom a house is built,
by understanding it is prepared,
 and by knowledge its rooms are filled
with every rare and pleasing treasure.

Proverbs 24:3-4

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) is Wisdom Incarnate. (The Proverbs express Wisdom as personified). Thus, He was ever-present in the Tabernacle! From start to finish, Wisdom inspired the craftsmen. He chose to dwell among us and prepare a meeting place.

Now, are you ready for this?

Betzalel’s name in Hebrew means “under the protection of God!”

And Oholiab (also spelled Aholiab) means “the Father’s tent“!

Oholiab was working on the Tent of Meeting! It was to be the Father’s tent!

And when you are in the Father’s tent, surely you are under the protection of the Almighty One!

Our Heavenly Father wanted His Presence to be near us, despite the separation that was occurring due to the curse of sin and death. The Father’s tent was the place where heaven could meet earth, even if only temporary. He made a temporary way, a temporary dwelling place, but the veil was still separating us. The Holy of Holies was restricted to the high priests and the yearly days of atonement. But He sent His Son! God’s selfless Son, Messiah Jesus, came to restore what had been lost. He was the Word Incarnate and came to dwell among us. Now, His Spirit dwells within us!

See how every aspect of Scripture points to the Good News?!

Isn’t that absolutely stunning?

It leaves me speechless (which, if you know me, that’s incredibly hard to do!).

The Tent of Meeting

Truly, the Tent of Meeting was the Father’s tent.

Tents are so important to God there is even a Biblical feast featuring them!

Every year, during the Feast of Tabernacles (aka Sukkot), all of Israel is to build temporary structures (tents!) to live in for the duration of the feast. Many English Bibles translate these tents as “booths” or “tabernacles.” The Hebrew term for these temporary dwellings is “sukkah.”

Nearly every Christian believer is familiar with John 1:14a: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

But most people do not realize that the term “dwelt” there literally means “tabernacled.” The TLV translates it this way:

“And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” (John 1:14a, emphasis added)

John 1:14

I hope you are able to see how the sukkah represents so much Biblical revelation! He came to dwell among us, to tabernacle with us – to celebrate the goodness of Life and to show us the Way of His Salvation.

More than enough

Exodus 36 describes how Betzalel and Oholiab led the work and many other wise-hearted men joined in the effort.

The people worked wholeheartedly and selflessly. So much so, the Tabernacle’s skilled artisans noticed. They said to Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for the work of this construction that ADONAI has commanded to be done.” Exodus 36:5

What an example for our congregations today!

They actually had to stop making so many preparations!

Moses gave an order to restrain people from bringing anything more.

For the work material they had was sufficient for all the work, with much left over.” Ex.36:7

When we do our work in alignment with the will of our Father, there will always be abundance. There will always be enough and more than enough. There may be setbacks and times when we don’t sense any bit of abundance, but if we persist in faith, it will come.

Final thoughts for today

Finally, if there is just one thing I would want my readers to take away from this is that every tiny detail in Scripture always points back to revelation of God. Even the clasps of gold for the curtains were to be coupled together by the Tabernacle’s skilled artisans “so that the Tabernacle was One.” (Ex.36:13). This immediately brings to mind the Shema, that the Lord is One. When you read the Bible, look for these small details! They may seem insignificant, but I assure you, they aren’t.

So, I hope you have enjoyed delving a bit into Exodus today and learning a bit more about the Tabernacle’s skilled artisans! I would love to hear your insights. What is it you have found in the Scriptures today? How is this passage of encouragement to you? Do you know any artists or architects who have felt under-appreciated? Is there someone you can encourage today with the Word of God? Please leave a comment and share on social media! Let’s increase Biblical literacy among believers so we can be a light for unbelievers!

Do you know the 13 attributes of God?

Parashat Ki Tisa (Shemot/Exodus 30:11 – 34:35)

Many core beliefs of Judaism are completely unknown to most Christians today despite sharing the same Hebrew Scriptures.

One central doctrine in Judaism has to do with the 13 Attributes of the Holy One.

13 attributes of God

I find that many Christians become quickly dismissive of things like this because they believe this refers to a Jewish tradition rather than Biblical tradition. Judaism is well-known for its inclusion of oral tradition and Mishnah and extraBiblical texts such as the Talmud . . .

But did you know that the 13 Attributes are found in the Bible?

Tell me, when was the last time you heard a sermon on the 13 Attributes of God at your local church?

Do you realize that knowing the 13 Attributes of God can enrich your prayer life?

Can you list the 13 attributes?

By the end of this article, you will be able to name all 13 Attributes of God!

The lamentable separation between Judaism and Christianity

Misunderstanding, prejudice, and even antiSemitic preaching have robbed many of a relationship with the Jewish community. Most Christians do not have a “Hebraic” vocabulary and do not realize what they have been missing from the earliest pages in their Bible. Some Christian groups do not even use the “Old Testament,” citing it as just that – old, outdated, and done away with.

It would be better to realize that Judaism and Christianity have several things in common:

We can all agree there is a Creator who is our Father.

Also, we agree that though mysterious, He is One.

Jews and Christians share the history of Adam and Eve, and rejoice together about the parting of the Red Sea. We share a common history of prophets, battles, and victories. Jews and Christians alike cherish the Psalms and the Proverbs.

Yet doctrines and disputes abound.

Most hotly contested between the faiths is of course the deity of the Son of God: our Messiah Yeshua who was killed and rose again to life in victory.

So there has been a major divergence and many have abandoned any notion of unity because many feel the differences are too great between Christianity and Judaism.

But what if I reminded you, the very first Christians were Jewish Christians? There does not need to be such a sharp divide. Today’s Messianic expressions of faith bring both worlds together.

I encourage all Christians to study Jewish texts and learn as much Hebrew as you can! Your faith will be greatly enriched.

And, you will be a stronger witness if you are ever given the opportunity to share your faith with a Jewish person who does not yet know their Messiah if you know some of Judaism’s basic beliefs such as the 13 (Biblical!) Attributes of God!


Much of Israel rejects Christian preaching because Christians are unfamiliar with these core Judaic Biblical doctrines such as the 13 Attributes

The Jewish tradition is very rich. It is full of wise scholarship, dedication, and quite a dose of seriousness.

Jewish people who do not yet know their Messiah see a lot of the shallow commitments within Christianity and rightfully question the validity of an unexamined faith.

They also know that many Christians do not know much if anything at all about the Torah, the shared first five books of the Holy Bible. That leads many Jewish people to reject anything preached by a Christian. Why? Because they revere the instructions that YHVH gave to them and cannot fathom why most Christians are unfamiliar with them if we claim to worship the same God.

If we are going to reach all of Israel with the saving news of the incarnation and resurrection, we need to truly know the God of Israel ourselves and value Judaism’s contribution to the faith history of Christianity.

How is it that we as believers know about Moses and the 10 Commandments (10 Words/D’varim)? How is it that we know about King David and King Solomon? We inherited these wonderful Scripture texts from our Jewish brothers and sisters! And if we dig deeply enough in the Scriptures, we will discover the 13 Attributes of God in the book of Exodus.

The 13 (Biblical!) Attributes of God

Exodus 34:6-7 lists the 13 Attributes of God.

 וַיַּעֲבֹ֨ר יְהוָ֥ה׀ עַל־פָּנָיו֮ וַיִּקְרָא֒ יְהוָ֣ה׀ יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֥ל רַח֖וּם וְחַנּ֑וּן אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם וְרַב־חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת׃

 נֹצֵ֥ר חֶ֙סֶד֙ לָאֲלָפִ֔ים נֹשֵׂ֥א עָוֺ֛ן וָפֶ֖שַׁע וְחַטָּאָ֑ה וְנַקֵּה֙ לֹ֣א יְנַקֶּ֔ה פֹּקֵ֣ד׀ עֲוֺ֣ן אָב֗וֹת עַל־בָּנִים֙ וְעַל־בְּנֵ֣י בָנִ֔ים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁ֖ים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִֽים׃

“Then ADONAI passed before him, and proclaimed, “ADONAIADONAI, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, showing mercy to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means leaving the guilty unpunished, but bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7

At first glance, these two verses may not seem very significant at all. But notice, it is ADONAI the LORD speaking, and the Bible says Moses quickly bowed his head down to the earth immediately following this revelation. There’s something greater going on here than perhaps first grasps our attention.

Indeed, too often we gloss right over these very rich passages in Scripture and completely miss something incredibly poignant.

Dare I say it, most Christian pastors today are more interested in their 13 week hipster sermon series more than digging deeply into the treasure of Scripture. There, I said it.

May the LORD bring a renewed desire for Biblical literacy among believers! May there be repentance starting from the pulpits. May there be true revival once again.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6a

See why I have emphasized the richness of Jewish Biblical scholarship? Passages like Exodus 34 aren’t overlooked in the Jewish tradition, but are instead well-known, beloved aspects of Jewish worship.

YHVH Himself revealed the 13 Attributes

YHVH Himself, the King of kings, “descended in the cloud” and “stood with [Moses] there as he called on the Name of ADONAI.” (Ex.34:5)

Hallelujah! Baruch ata Adonai! As Moses called upon the Name of the LORD, the LORD Himself descended to where he was. Call upon the LORD, dear friend, the LORD will meet you where you are.

Exodus 34:6 records that the LORD Himself proclaimed these attributes. He repeats His Holy Name YHVH twice to begin.

The 13 Attributes of God – Exodus 34:6

Attribute 1:  יְהוָ֔הYHVH. Just as in the 10 Commandments/10 Words, the LORD is revealing that He is God alone and we should have no other. His Name is His essence. He is who He is, He is the Great I AM. He is Holy and we should be in awe of His presence. When you pray, remember who He is, and be in awe of His majesty!

Attribute 2:  יְהוָ֔הYHVH. By repeating His Name, He reminds us that He does not change. His Name should always grasp our attention. Whenever anything is repeated in Hebrew, pay close attention, because the repetition is there to highlight something important. It is common in Jewish tradition to interpret the repetition here as a divine reminder that YHVH is merciful even before we sin and merciful even when we do sin. I am pointing this out as part of Jewish tradition to carefully distinguish between all that is Biblical versus what man has interpreted or added over the years. When you pray, know that He is the unchanging God, the Eternal One, undeniably merciful and ever-present.

Attribute 3: אֵ֥לEL: YHVH is EL, our Elohim, our God. It is a wonder that He is willing to be our God and reveals Himself to us!

Attribute 4: רַח֖וּם Rachum. Rachum means compassionate. According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, this term is always only used in reference to God. He is El Rachum – the Compassionate God, full of mercy. The only One who is truly merciful and full of genuine compassion. Pray using the names of God – LORD, El-Rachum, the One who shows you the depths of His care. You may enjoy listening to this touching song, “Rachem” which is a plea for the LORD’s mercy.

“Rachem” (related to Heb.”rachum.”): Mercy

Attribute 5: חַנּ֑וּן Chanan. Chanan means gracious, showing favor. He is El-Chanan, the LORD Most Gracious and by the grace of His redemption, He grants us unmerited favor.

Attribute 6: אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם Erech Apayim. Erech comes from a Hebrew root meaning “to stretch” or “to lengthen.Apayim is the word for anger. This is usually translated as “slow-to-anger.” Truly, He stretches out His response when angered, elongating it for our benefit. His compassion is listed prior to any mention of anger – showing us that His compassions fail not and He is truly slow to anger.

Attribute 7: רַב־חֶ֥סֶד Rav Chesed. Rav means “abundant” and “great” and Chesed is “lovingkindness.” His great, abundant lovingkindness sustains us. Kindness is underrated in our society today. Take some time to really think about what it is to be kind. The LORD is so kind to us.

Attribute 8: אֱמֶֽת Emet. Emet is Truth. Rav chesed v’emet: abundant in lovingkindness and truth. The world wants to claim relative truth, but we know that in God we find the Absolute Truth.

The 13 Attributes of God – Exodus 34:7

Attribute 9: נֹצֵ֥ר חֶ֙סֶד֙ לָאֲלָפִ֔ים Notzer chesed la’alafim. “Preserver of kindness for thousands.” [of generations].

Attribute 10: נֹשֵׂ֥א עָוֺ֛ן Nosei Avon. “Forgiver of iniquity.” “Nosei” refers to “carrying”, “lifting”, “bearing”, “taking away.” He promises to lift off our burden of sin. There seems to be a nuance between “avon” and “chatah” – that “avon” is best translated “iniquity.” Nosei avon: He forgives our willful, intentional sin.

Attribute 11:נֹשֵׂ֥א פֶ֖שַׁע Nosei Pesha. “Forgiver of rebellious sins.” The LORD is willing to forgive our defiance and our transgressions, no matter how treacherously we have breached the covenant.

Attribute 12: נֹשֵׂ֥א חַטָּאָ֑ה Nosei Chatah. “Forgiver of sin.” He forgives our mistakes – our unintentional sins committed due to our ignorance.

Attribute 13: נַקֵּה֙ Naqeh. Strong’s Concordance describes the root naqab as “to be empty or clean.” He literally empties us of our impurities.

So, listing the 13 Attributes, we see that

He is the LORD. The LORD God.

He is the Compassionate and Gracious One.

He is slow to anger and abundant in Lovingkindness and Truth.

He is the Preserver of Kindness for thousands.

He is the Forgiver of iniquity, rebellious transgression, and sin.

And He cleanses us.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

All of that in just TWO verses!

Exodus 33:18-19

You may be aware that just one chapter earlier in the Scriptures Moshe (Moses) pleaded with God, “Please, show me Your Glory!” Notice how the LORD responded:

1Then he said, “Please, show me Your glory!”

19 So He said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you, and call out the Name of ADONAI before you. I will be gracious toward whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will be merciful.”

Exodus 33:18-19

The LORD kept His Promise to Moshe (Moses) made in Exodus 33

As you can see with the revealed 13 Attributes, the LORD kept His promise to Moshe. He said He would cause His goodness to pass before him – which is what happened upon on Mount Sinai. Then, He promised He would call out His Name before him. In the 13 Attributes text of Exodus 34:6-7, the LORD pronounced His Name (twice!) as introduction to the revealing of His merciful characteristics. In the 13 Attributes, we discovered that He describes Himself as the Compassionate and Gracious One, just as He foretold in Exodus 33.

I hope you were able to sense the power behind the words spoken by the LORD to Moses. The Word of God is astounding! There is always something new to learn and discover. May your faith be refreshed and your confidence in His love strengthened.

Shalom, friends.

I hope this study was of blessing to you! May you be able to meditate on the Word of God and these thirteen divinely-revealed attributes! We’d love to hear from you – comment below and share with your friends or congregation! If you would like to receive teachings like this straight to your inbox, please subscribe below!

Do you know the 13 Attributes of God?

Kohanim & the Priesthood of all Believers

Parashat T’tzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Hebrews 5:1 tells us “For every kohen gadol [high priest] taken from among men is appointed to act on behalf of people in matters relating to God, so that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

This verse shows that every priest

  1. is chosen/set apart from others
  2. is appointed
  3. serves as an intermediary between people and G-D
  4. offers gifts and sacrifices for sins


The priest has garnered a level of favor making him “more worthy” than others to stand before the throne of the Most High.

We must realize that to be the appointee means there is an Appointer. In Torah, we see that the LORD Himself chooses who will serve as His priests. In the B’rit Chadasha (New Testament), the Eternal One reveals that His Son, Yeshua, (Jesus), is the Great High Priest for us, the divine and perfect kohen gadol.

While Aaron, Eleazar, and the other priests (kohanim) certainly did their best in their human capacity to serve this important role of standing between the people and God, they would never be “worthy enough” to completely save the people from their sin. Every year, on Yom Kippur, atonement would be made, but after that appointed hour, sin would continue to hold a grasp on the people and guilt would never be fully eradicated. The sacrificial system was in place to help cleanse an imperfect people of their sin, but a perfect sacrifice was needed: the perfect Lamb of God.

1 Peter 2 exhorts followers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) to understand that they are now part of the royal priesthood.

Yeshua (Jesus) came for us, served as our Great High Priest, died for us, and is resurrected in eternal new life and is seated at the right hand of God our Father. He lived on the earth in this way to teach us how to live. He served as High Priest not only to save us, but to empower us in our new roles as among the divinely-appointed priesthood. Peter describes our role as to be “pleasing” to God. We obey the LORD, not because we must or should, but because we love Him.

Now, let us consider what is truly remarkable!

From unworthy to made worthy

Formerly, we were all completely unworthy.

We could not be appointed to such a noble task as standing between earth and heaven in the Holy Place.

No sacrifice we would have offered could have ever been enough to earn forgiveness.

No gift, no gold, nothing on this earth could have served as a gift fine enough to present before the King of kings in exchange for His favor and forgiveness.


We were without hope. We were completely dependent upon the mercy of God and the obedience of an earthly priest.

Now, we are appointed as priests, and not just any old priest: we are priests of the royal lineage. We are princes and princesses, sons and daughters of the King of kings, and He delights that we serve Him. No longer does an earthly man stand between us and our Creator. We need only turn to Yeshua (Jesus), who makes intercession for us, and He Himself welcomes us, for He and the Father are One. (John 10:30).

It was revolutionary for our Lord Yeshua to say this. Every day, Jews would recite the Sh’ma, that the LORD our God, the LORD is One (Deut.6:4). So when He said, “I and the Father are One” in John 10:30, many eyes would have been opened to the Truth of His identity. Truly, this is the Son of God!

Sh’ma Y’Israel

Priestly garments

The vestments of YHVH’s priests were very specific. Today, when many people think of priests, they think of the Catholic or Mormon religion or pagan priesthoods. The fact that there are so many different religious groups that have their own priesthoods and priestly rituals shows that humanity in general understands its need for a priestly function, a moderator between us and the divine. Deep down, we know that we ourselves can do nothing and are in desperate need of a spiritual connection with the Holy One.

Unfortunately, everything outside of Scripture is errant, so we must look to what the Bible actually required and instituted. Roman Catholic priests, for example, base their apparel and actions on papal directives, not on Biblical mandate. One most obvious difference – Roman Catholics priests are famously not allowed to marry or have children, but Biblically, we know that Aaron the priest married Elisheba and had four sons.

Let’s look further at what the Bible describes as related to Biblical priesthood.

The priesthood garments of the Bible were made specifically to endow “splendor and beauty.” (Shemot/Exodus 28:2)

Exodus 28:2

The garments were skillfully woven (Ex.28:8), made of finely twisted linen (Ex.28:6, 8), and crafted of the beautiful colors of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet (Ex.28:5, 6, 8). The colors are repeated and reflect the same color scheme used for the Tabernacle. Gold surely reminds us of the Glorious nature of HaShem. Blue was an incredibly expensive color sourced using exotic snails.

I recently saw a documentary that reminded me of this. In it, the presenter explained that the land of Phoenicia translates to the “land of purple,” as the people there were famous for their dyes. Did you know it took more than 20,000 snails to source the ink just to make one purple-dyed Roman toga! It was a costly process and not just anybody could afford purple or blue clothing and tapestries.

The Israelites were a people familiar with oppression and hardship. Can you imagine the self-esteem boost the LORD was giving them by instructing them to use the most expensive of products to prove their esteemed status as the chosen people?

The crimson red reminds us of course of the costly sacrifice Yeshua made, a reality foreshadowed by the tabernacle and priestly vestments and paid for in full on the cross of Calvary.

The priests wore a breastplate covered in precious jewels engraved with the names of the children of Israel (B’nei-Y’israel) (Ex.28:15ff). Notice that in Exodus 28:15, this is a breastplate of judgment. It is reasonable to say here judgment is synonymous with such an expression as discernment rather than a more punishing role.

Yeshua’s people are exhorted to use the full armor of God in Ephesians 6:10ff. Here, the breastplate of the royal priesthood of all believers is called the breastplate of righteousness (Eph.6:14). Good judgment can be termed “right-thinking,” “right-decision-making,” but that which makes us righteous is the shed blood of the Righteous One alone. The breastplate is intended as a protection for the heart – so discernment and judgment become tempered and perfected by the righteousness imputed to the saved ones.

Shemot/Exodus 28:15-21

Today, we wear the breastplate of righteousness and our feet present the Good News of peace. Scholars believe the Israelite priests entered barefoot into the Holy of Holies. We too, ought be bare of anything except the glorious message of salvation. The garments of the priesthood were intended to display splendor and beauty.

May your life be reflective of the splendor and beauty that is yours as a child of the Most High!

We’d love to hear your thoughts about the Biblical priesthood and the priesthood of all believers! Please leave a comment, like, and share with your friends!

The Shema

Sh’ma Y’israel

“Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These words, which I am commanding you today, are to be on your heart. You are to teach them diligently to your children, and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.  Bind them as a sign on your hand, they are to be as frontlets between your eyes, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Devarim/Deuteronomy 6:4-9