The value of human life

Parashat B’chukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27) 5782 B”H

The Supreme Court’s Draft opinion: Will our nation finally stop killing babies?

The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion is captivating the nation’s attention and has brought the discussion about the value of human life front and center.

Wouldn’t it be an answer to prayer if our nation reversed course and stopped shamelessly killing babies?

As God’s own children, we know that there is inherent value and worth in every child, born and not-yet-born.

And yet this week’s parashat is one of those Scriptures that makes me uncomfortable!

What to do when the Scriptures make you squirm

As soon as one of my sons overheard that I was studying Leviticus 27‘s unsettling “valuations” of human beings he immediately said,

Oh great. God supports slavery?”

It is more complicated than that, but . . . any monetary amount placed on the value of human life is very hard for us to understand.

And pretty much the only time I ever hear the word, “valuation” is on Shark Tank. 😉

So what should you do if you read a passage that just really bothers you?

First, don’t jump to any conclusions.

Pause, and pray.

Ask the LORD to speak to you and teach you through.

Be willing to do some research. Learn about history, context, culture, and any other details that the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) leads you to.

Talk to trusted believers such as your pastor, ministry leaders, and other reliable Bible teachers.

And finally, pray some more!

You will almost always arrive at a place of peace, if you will surrender to the LORD’s leading, and He will instruct you from His very Word about why the Bible says what it does! There are some mysteries, of course, that we will just have to wait until we are in the heavenly kingdom to ask about, but I assure you, if you are willing to put in the work, you will find many answers that you seek!

Back to our disconcerting passage:

If a person made a special vow, these were the valuations for redemption:

Men ages 60+: 15 shekels
Women ages 60+: 10 shekels
Men ages 20–60: 50 shekels
Women ages 20–60: 30 shekels
Boys/young men ages 5–20 years: 20 shekels
Girls/young women ages 5–20: 10 shekels
Boys ages 1 month – 5 years: 5 shekels
Girls ages 1 month – 5 years: 3 shekels

This seems to be way outside of anything we are used to in America.

We wonder immediately, how could someone be worth more or worth less than someone else?

And are men worth more than women?

Why are 20-60 year olds worth the most?

Notice, these were the valuations for redemption related to a special vow. (We discussed a bit about redemption last week; you can read about it here). The redemption price didn’t actually have to do with inherent worth. All humans have inherent worth:

“God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

Well, that is reassuring . . .

So then what was this about?

The redemption valuation wasn’t about inherent worth. Personhood and value was assumed, and Torah commands us to preserve and cherish life!

The valuation had to do with how much a person could produce, how much they were worth as a worker. What I find surprising is that a value is placed even on one month olds!

The 20-60 year old age group naturally would include the strongest, most productive workers.

We value the ability of each person to contribute to the success of the wider community.

However, this still seems somewhat unsettling.

What about those with dis-ability?

What about the poor?

The valuation list doesn’t make a distinction. This is actually highly inclusive! Ability didn’t matter! The valuations are based on age alone! As for the poor, there is no discrimination either: If a poor person made a vow, but could not afford the redemption prices, an exception would be made. The poor person would go before the priest, and the priest would set a value that would be manageable. (Leviticus 27:8)

No one is ever left out in God’s economy.

He makes a way, for each and ever person, who seeks redemption.

Human life is worth so very much that God our Father sent His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) to die on the cross to take away your sin. You are worth so much, but sin has tainted His beautiful creation. You are a precious treasure, but there is a tarnish until you allow Him to wipe you clean and polish you up anew.

The Scriptures are so very clear that the LORD loves you and made you with a purpose!

Remember, whenever you come across something that makes you question that Truth, be sure to pray, and to seek more deeply answers to your questions in the Word of God.

Have you ever questioned your worth? Do you pray for new generations to live and to learn to love the LORD and His Word? Do you know how valuable you are? Will you join us in praying for our nation and for each other? Please, comment or send an email to [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you! And subscribe to our monthly newsletter! We promise not to overwhelm your inbox!

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 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!

Yom Kippur and Messiah’s return

updated 10/3/22 5783 B”H

What would it be like to experience forgiveness . . . only one time a year?

If you know anything about the Jewish holy days (Biblical feast days), you may know that Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement.

Strict repentance and special rituals had to be completed (as outlined in Leviticus 16 and Leviticus 23) in order for the Israelites to – yearly – receive forgiveness.

Forever Forgiven: The LORD has made a way for you

It has been traditionally believed that the names of the forgiven are written in the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah, and sealed for the year on Yom Kippur.

The pressure must have felt intense. The fear of missing the mark could have been debilitating.

Failing in just one point could render the religious practitioner disqualified.

Talk about feeling burdened.

Maybe depressed.

Probably overwhelmed.

And definitely hungry. (It is a day of fasting!)

There was an element of hope, though.

Yom (Hebrew for “day“) Kippur (Hebrew for “atonement”) was considered the most Holy day of the year because the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to conduct the requirements for atonement on behalf of the nation of Israel.

Every year, the ceremony was to be repeated, a rehearsal for a future spiritual reality.

Besides prayer, song, and worship, the shofar is sounded, both to bring the assembly together and serves as an alarm of proclamation.

Yom Kippur is an amazing picture of what Messiah came to do

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), God’s Son, came to earth to serve as the atoning sacrifice for our sins – once and for all.

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) came to cleanse us of our sins

Now, instead of a yearly propitiation, forgiveness became available to all who would put their trust in Him and follow His Way.

Interestingly enough, the observance of Yom Kippur changed quite drastically after Messiah’s resurrection and the prophesied destruction of the Temple in 70AD. Now, the day no longer centers on animal sacrifices.

Isn’t it intriguing that today’s not-yet-believing Jews have to wrestle with this reality?

Many who refuse to accept that Yeshua (Jesus) is indeed the Messiah have to accept that the sacrificial element of Yom Kippur was interrupted.

Rather than accept substitutionary atonement, there are new, man-made “substitutions.”

Today, in the place of the now-absent Yom Kippur sacrifice, there is a great emphasis throughout the Jewish High Holy Days on teshuvah (repentance) and liturgical prayer or davening.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with intentional reflective times and repentance, and nothing wrong with praying and seeking God, the point of the Atonement of Yeshua is what He has done, not what we can accomplish, because truly without Him we can accomplish no-thing.

The reality is, Messiah died in our place. To save us.

Yom Kippur

Should Christians fast on Yom Kippur?

I personally believe that followers of the Savior ought to fast in solidarity with the God’s chosen people of Israel.

It is my opinion that those of us who have experienced redemption and the ongoing, everlasting, merciful, abundant forgiveness of our loving Messiah ought to spend some extra time on Yom Kippur fasting and praying for those who are in Yom Kippur services and yet do not yet understand that their Messiah has already come and is coming back soon.

Fast and pray, not out of obligation, but out of love for Israel.

Yom Kippur and the Coming Reign of Messiah

There are many Messianic prophecies in the Bible, but what is found in Zechariah 12 in particular regarding mourning (i.e. genuine, travailing repentance) is very much related to Yom Kippur. We know that Messiah Yeshua will come back after the time of the tribulation and wicked nations will be about to attack Jerusalem.

ADONAI Tzva’ot will handle it: “It will happen in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zech.12:9).

It will be a troubling time and two out of three inhabitants of the land won’t survive all that occurs.

One third will remain, and will call upon the Name of the Lord, and He will answer them, as He always does.

This third I will bring through the fire.
    I will refine them as silver is refined,
    and will test them as gold is tested.
    They will call on My Name
        and I will answer them.
    I will say, ‘They are My people,’
    and they will answer, ‘ADONAI is my God.’

Zechariah 13:9

Some of the text in Zechariah 12-14 can be complex, but the important detail that you must not overlook is the glorious fact that Yeshua Himself will save Jerusalem!

Then ADONAI will go forth and fight against those nations as He fights in a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which lies to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a huge valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you will flee through My mountain valley because the mountain valley will reach to Azel. Yes, you will flee like you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then ADONAI my God will come and all the kedoshim with Him. In that day there will be no light, cold or frost. It will be a day known only to ADONAI neither day nor night—even in the evening time there will be light.  Moreover, in that day living waters will flow from Jerusalem, half toward the eastern sea and half toward the western sea, both in the summer and in the winter. ADONAI will then be King over all the earth. In that day ADONAI will be Echad and His Name Echad.

Zechariah 14:3-9

The vivid descriptions of the end of days in Matthew 24 and in other passages use imagery that relates to the Biblical feasts of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. A “Great Shofar” will sound, just like the Shofar HaGadol used for Yom Kippur services.

“He will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 24:31

It will be the inauguration of Messiah Yeshua, ben Elohim, ben David, ben Adam ruling New Jerusalem as King as He reigns during the Messianic age! We gain a much richer depth of understanding when we realize that the feasts outlined in Scripture are intended to very clearly show us what is to come and give us great hope in which to anchor our faith. Much of the “future” spiritual reality is very much an already-present reality – so rest in Him and enjoy life in abundance!

Mark 2:5, New Testament/Brit Hadashah
Luke 8:48, New Testament/Brit Hadashah

May you and your family enjoy the fall feasts together as we eagerly await the triumphant return of our Savior, Messiah Yeshua!

Do you have questions about the fall feasts? Leave a comment, and we will be happy to do our best to assist you! Shalom!

Pray for Israel on Yom Kippur
G’mar chatima tova. A verse for Yom Kippur: Revelation 3:5 “The one who overcomes thus will be dressed in white clothes; I will never blot his name out of the Book of Life and will confess his name before My Father and His angels.”
Luke 7:48-50
The Good News of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus the Christ)

The Leviticus 11 Controversy

Parashat Shemini (V’yikra/Leviticus 9-11) 5782 B”H

Updated: 3/24/22

We have reached a more controversial portion of Leviticus. We have looked at the five offerings of Leviticus and how they relate to the Good News, how Leviticus might be made a more central part of children’s ministry, and today, we have arrived at the controversial Leviticus 11.

This is one of those posts where I know some people will love it and some people will not read to the end.

Please, bear with me. Let me make my case, and then you can decide for yourself.

Leviticus 11 gives us a definition for “food”

Leviticus 11 identifies that which God considered acceptable for His people to eat as well as that which was prohibited.

It is easy to identify what is acceptable. Foods that are common to us today like chicken, beef, and fish with fins and scales.

It sounds really weird to us today, but it was also acceptable to eat crickets, locusts, and grasshoppers. Yikes.

These particular creatures were not considered food for human consumption:

Camels, rabbits, pigs, shellfish, vultures, ravens, owls, hawks, storks, herons, bats, weasels, rats, lizards, geckos, skinks, chameleons.

I wouldn’t want to eat a chameleon or a bat. You either? See, the list makes sense.

But what about the pigs and shellfish?

As you can see, pork and shrimp are lumped in with the animals considered abominable for the people of Israel to eat.

Harsh, right? Abominable! The word is meant to get our attention. To stir things up. To cause a controversy even.

The foods in Leviticus 11 are usually referred to as kosher vs. non-kosher. Those who follow strict Orthodox law describe this as the laws of kashrut.

It is easier (and totally Biblical) to simply think of them as clean vs. unclean.

In Leviticus 11:44-47, the LORD summarizes His reasons for giving these dietary laws:

“For I am ADONAI your God. Therefore, sanctify yourselves, and be holy, for I am holy.

You are not to defile yourselves with any kind of creeping thing that moves on the earth. For I am ADONAI who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God.

Therefore, you shall be holy, for I am holy.

This is the Torah of the animal, the bird, every living creature that moves in the waters, and every creature that creeps on the earth, 

to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the living thing that may be eaten and the living thing that may not be eaten.” Leviticus 11:44-47, (emphases added)

The LORD God says twice: be holy, for I am holy.

He doesn’t want His people to be defiled.

Why? He wants there to be a distinction.

Distinction between the unclean and the clean, distinction between that which is holy and that which is not, distinction between those who belong to Him and those who . . . don’t.

For consistency, a very similar passage is found in Deuteronomy:

You are not to eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat,  the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. Among the animals, you may eat any animal that splits the hoof—the hoof completely split in two—and chews the cud. Yet of those that chew the cud or have a split hoof, you are not to eat the camel, the hare, and the rabbit—because they chew the cud but do not split the hoof, they are unclean to you. 

The pig, because it splits the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you—you are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses. Of all that are in the waters, these you may eat: whatever has fins and scales you may eat, but whatever does not have fins and scales you are not to eat—it is unclean to you. 

You may eat all clean birds, but these are the ones you are not to eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, the red kite, the black kite, and any bird of prey of that kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the owl, the seagull, a hawk of any kind, the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, the pelican, the Egyptian vulture, the cormorant, the stork, a heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. 

All winged insects are unclean to you—they are not to be eaten. You may eat any clean bird. You are not to eat anything that dies of itself. You may give it to the outsider within your gates so that he may eat it or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a holy people to ADONAI your God. . . .” D’varim/Deuteronomy14:3-20

But I know, most believers point to Acts 10 to say what we find in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 are not at all relevant to us today.

the Leviticus 11 Controversy

So let’s take a careful look at Acts 10:9-16

“The next day, as the soldiers were traveling and approaching the city, Peter went up to the rooftop to pray, at about the sixth hour. Now he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they were preparing something, he fell into a trance.  He saw the heavens opened, and something like a great sheet coming down, lowered by its four corners to the earth. In it were all sorts of four-footed animals and reptiles and birds of the air.

A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord! For never have I eaten anything unholy or unclean.”

Again a voice came to him, a second time: “What God has made clean, you must not consider unholy.” 

This happened three times, and the sheet was immediately taken up to heaven.” (Acts 10:9-16).

This text, along with

“It’s not what goes into the mouth that makes the man unholy; but what comes out of the mouth, this makes the man unholy.” Matthew 15:11

are often used as prooftexts to claim that God Himself declared all animals clean for eating.

Are we getting more controversial yet?

Hold on, it gets better:

Have you ever considered that Peter’s vision had little to do with food?

Peter was hungry and God used his hunger for a teachable moment.

In the vision, Peter saw some unclean animals presented to him on the sheet.

The revelation here is that Peter is not to call PEOPLE unholy or unclean.

He is not to judge the Gentiles as unclean – as unworthy to follow Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). Peter is to preach to Jew and Gentile alike.

See, God didn’t change His mind about what constitutes food and what doesn’t. The vision was about preaching to all nations.

“[Peter] said to them, “You yourselves know that it is not permitted for a Jewish man to associate with a non-Jew or to visit him. Yet God has shown me that I should call no one unholy or unclean.” Acts 10:28

What pleases God?

We know what pleases God because He revealed to us plainly what animals are abominable for human consumption.

Let’s put this in today’s language. He revealed what animals are GROSS to eat.

Shrimp are bottom feeders. They are the garbage trucks of the ocean. Some go so far as to call shrimp the cockroaches of the sea! Pigs are dirty critters, too, you know, but also function as vacuum cleaners. You wouldn’t eat a vulture, would you? They clean up the roads nicely, but according to the Word, God really doesn’t want us eating them.

This really isn’t about being “under the law” or not – we are no longer under the curse of the law. But the law reveals to us that which has pleased our Father. Only Yeshua (Jesus) could fulfill it in its entirety, but as we live into our sanctification, it is fair to say we should strive to do all that which pleases God. Not for our salvation, but as fruit of our salvation.

Our lifestyle should reflect godliness!

Many preach that Christian believers should now eat whatever they want because we have been freed from the law and are now under grace. I can appreciate the intent, but in my view celebrating being freed from the curse of the law is much different than declaring independence from God’s wise and Holy Instructions. We can’t possibly keep every aspect of the law, that’s why Yeshua (Jesus) came, but it does give us, at the very least, an outline for holy living.

What pleased God?

“Yet it pleased ADONAI to bruise Him. He caused Him to suffer. If He makes His soul a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the will of ADONAI will succeed by His hand.” Isaiah 53:10

For me, this is a hard passage. It pleased God to bruise His Son. We have to ask the question, “why?” I believe it is because at the point this Scripture was fulfilled, Yeshua (Jesus) had taken our sin upon Him and sin is such an affront to a Holy God that it actually pleased Him to see it dealt with. And what is sin? Lawlessness.

The Bible says so – in the New Testament.

“Everyone practicing sin also practices lawlessness—indeed, sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4

So we need something to go by, a standard. God’s instructions give us that standard and Yeshua (Jesus) died for it.

So what about pork bacon? Pork barbecues? Shrimp scampi?

Well, let me tell you a story. A true one.

When I was in grad school, I used to attend a small Pentecostal church just a few miles from the university. I loved that church. I loved the people, I loved the music, I loved the ministry! The believers at this church loved the LORD and really did a good job of including newcomers and students (like me) and sharing the Gospel with love. It didn’t feel cliquish like so many small churches, and it was a wonderful place for any young believer to grow in their faith.

Like most evangelical churches, the pastor and leaders emphasized such spiritual practices as fasting and prayer and encouraged everyone to read the Bible for themselves. If you didn’t bring a Bible with you, an usher would have given you one.

The preaching seemed balanced and examples of Biblical praise and worship were cited from both Testaments.

These folks knew the Scriptures, and knew them well.

But I wasn’t entirely prepared for the fact that these believers had a slightly different understanding of the Christian’s relationship to the Hebrew Scriptures than I did. After accepting Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) during my undergrad years in Chicago, I have since held to what gets labeled as a “Messianic” (albeit thoroughly Pentecostal!) theological perspective.

I never struggled with the fact that my Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) was a Jewish Rabbi! When I moved out of my college bubble, I discovered most believers were not really interested in the Jewishness of Jesus, much less studying Torah’s relationship to the New Testament. Yeshua (Jesus) followed and fulfilled Torah so it seemed strange to me that everyone seemed to want to delete the first half of the Bible.

And I will never forget the day when many of us from the church went out for lunch at a little restaurant.

I guess I shouldn’t have been at all surprised when the pastor and the church leaders all ordered pork bbq plates. But I’m certain I unwittingly raised an eyebrow!

There were some cultural factors at play.

North Carolina is famous for pork barbecue, and I know from experience finding a place that serves turkey or chicken bbq is not easy. But this was actually a seafood restaurant. There were Biblically cleaner foods on the menu than swine flesh.

When the food arrived, one of the church elders actually said, “Thank you Jesus, for allowing us now to eat this pork!” I didn’t know to laugh or cry!

I realized that day in the restaurant that there was disconnect in traditional Christian practice from what is actually written in the Bible.

Leviticus Traditional Christian doctrine disconnect from what Bible actually says

These same Christians who routinely practiced fasting and prayer were ok with the dietary restriction of fasting (another concept introduced in the Old, rather than New, Testament), but they were anti-dietary restriction regarding consumable foods.

Ultimately, aren’t we all guilty of picking and choosing at times, to strictly adhere to the things we like and to less fervently notice those things we don’t like?!

But, I simply posit this today: why not adhere to the LORD’s dietary instructions? For the most part, the only foods being argued about among Christians in America are pork chops, pork bacon, pork ham, and shrimp.

“‘Everything is permitted for me’”—but not everything is helpful.” (1 Cor.6:12)

Paul (Rabbi Sh’aul) invites believers in 1 Corinthians 6:12 to ask themselves an important question. Just because something is lawful to you, is it beneficial?

Something may or may not be permitted, but is it helpful?

Is it healthful?

“Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Matthew 15:11

A certain meal may not defile spiritually, but is it truly of benefit to me physically, especially when consumed with frequency?

The United States has a Judeo-Christian heritage. It seems to me that believers in the United States used to have a more holistic and pure understanding of the Scriptures. As a nation, we collectively know that certain animals should not be consumed!

No one is upset that restaurants don’t serve owls and bats.

But today, we have become divided by denominationalism and agendas.

And pork is cheap (and some would argue, delicious).

This has led to a selective and collective cultural amnesia.

We have forgotten where we came from.

It is no secret that our country has strayed farther and farther from God’s Word and ways.

Have you ever noticed the amount of fast food advertisements that obsess about pork bacon?

It is a symptom of a much larger problem.

Doctrines have been misaligned over the years to assimilate into our culture. I’m picking on the pigs today, but this applies to so many other Biblical issues, not just dietary choices.

What happened to Christians being in the world, but not of it?

Even if it is unintentional, most believers pick and choose when it comes to obeying the Word of God. We really ought to work hard not to over or under emphasize verses of Scripture to suit our personal desires.

The blame has to start at the top because so many Christians have simply been taught this way for their whole lives.

We have to guard our testimony because it can get a little tarnished by stuff like this.

What does Leviticus 11 have to do with our testimony?

The Gospel is intended to be preached to all, but specifically to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

“For I am not ashamed of the Good News, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who trusts—to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

If we do not take passages like Leviticus 11 seriously, it is difficult to share our testimony in communities that may look different from our own.

Reaching Jews and Muslims with the Good News

Christian outreach efforts in Jewish communities often fall flat.


Why won’t Jewish people accept the Good News?

A lot of it has to do with controversial passages such as Leviticus 11.

A Jewish person is simply not going to attend the local church pork barbecue event.

The pig is considered the most repulsive of all the unclean animals to most Jews! Can you see how it would seem very strange to a potential convert to see Christians eating unclean meats and praying a blessing over it in the name the same God of Israel?

How about the Muslim community? I have known many a Muslim who have very openly said to me that they are surprised Christians in our country eat “forbidden” meats. Like Jews, Muslims do not eat just anything.

Whether we eat or drink, we are to do so to the glory of God (1 Cor.10:31). We are free, yes. But let’s align our lifestyles to the Scriptures! Sometimes, for the sake of another, we must refrain from certain things. Even Paul had Timothy circumcised – not for the sake of salvation, but for the sake of the Jews in the region they were going to testify in of the goodness of Gospel Truth.

The enemy loves when we as Christians sabotage the message. Why not seek to avoid the appearance of evil? (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The King James Version translates that as Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thess.5:22, KJV). Maturity in our faith will require sacrifice and choosing to abstain from that which many would interpret as evil. It may indeed become a very strong testimony.

By no means am I telling you you “must” do these things in order to be a “good Christian.”

Instead, I would simply like you to reflect and pray on this topic.

For whatever you do, whether you eat or drink,

Always keep in line with Scripture, and study the Word for yourself!

Allow the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) to guide your decisions and interpretations.

Is that controversial enough?! 🙂

What do you think? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below! Shalom!

Leviticus holiness holy days hope