This week’s Torah Portion opens with instructions on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), described in Vayikra / Leviticus 16. This holiday is practiced today along with the preceding month of repentance (the month of Elul), the sixth month of the Hebrew year, which immediately precedes Rosh Hashanah. The month of Elul has no specific importance in the Torah or in the early rabbinic writings, various customs however have arisen during the first millennium that designated Elul as the time to prepare for the High Holy Days through repentance. Yom Kippur is characterized by a total fast as it was practiced in ancient times. Many have heard of this day, and its significance. It might be surprising however to learn that the Devil is in the details of Parashat Acharei Mot. We are given a clue to this as we read the following according to Vayikra / Leviticus 17:7, וְלֹא־יִזְבְּח֥וּ עוֹד֙ אֶת־זִבְחֵיהֶ֔ם לַשְּׂעִירִ֕ם אֲשֶׁ֛ר הֵ֥ם זֹנִ֖ים אַחֲרֵיהֶ֑ם חֻקַּ֥ת עוֹלָ֛ם תִּֽהְיֶה־זֹּ֥את לָהֶ֖ם לְדֹרֹתָֽם׃ 17:7 and that they may offer their sacrifices no more to the goat-demons after whom they stray. This shall be to them a law for all time, throughout the ages. The warning in Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 17 begins with the sacrifice and slaughtering inside vs. outside of the camp as Moshe wrote saying, 17:3 if anyone of the house of Israel slaughters an ox or sheep or goat in the camp, or does so outside the camp, 17:4 and does not bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD, before the LORD’s Tabernacle, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man: he has shed blood; that man shall be cut off from among his people. (ג אִישׁ אִישׁ מִבֵּית יִשְֹרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחַט שׁוֹר אוֹ-כֶשֶֹב אוֹ-עֵז בַּמַּחֲנֶה אוֹ אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחָט מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה: ד וְאֶל-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֹא הֱבִיאוֹ לְהַקְרִיב קָרְבָּן לַיהֹוָה לִפְנֵי מִשְׁכַּן יְהוָֹה דָּם יֵחָשֵׁב לָאִישׁ הַהוּא דָּם שָׁפָךְ וְנִכְרַת הָאִישׁ הַהוּא מִקֶּרֶב עַמּוֹ:) The Torah states the one who slaughters in any other place besides at the entrance to the Tabernacle, blood will be imputed unto the man (דָּם יֵחָשֵׁב לָאִישׁ) which suggests such a person would be guilty of murder. This is the meaning of “bloodguilt,” one would be guilty of shedding blood and defiling the land (Bamidbar / Numbers 35:33). The rabbis discuss this issue in the Talmud Bavli Avodah Zarah 51b. According to the description in the Talmud, the context of these verses is related to sacrificing upon a personal or private altar. Based on this text, it seems as if to sacrifice upon a private altar was allowed up until the Tabernacle was erected and put into service. Moshe however speaks of sacrificing to demons by which the people had been led astray. (i.e. Vayikra / Leviticus 17:7 sacrificing to Demons לַשְּׂעִירִ֕ם). The idea of sacrificing to demons draws in the concept of Avodah Zara, or idolatry, draws in a broad spectrum of verses, i.e. Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:17 and 1 Corinthians 10:20. One of the sins most often spoken about in the Torah and throughout Scripture is idolatry. The rabbis in the Talmud and Jewish commentaries describe these things in regard to sacrificing on personal altars, and the sprinkling the blood upon an altar other than the altar of God at the Tabernacle, or to sacrificing non-sacred animals. (see Zevachim 106a:17, Avodah Zarah 51b:2, Chullin 85a:18, Kiddushin 57b:12)
The Torah describes Yom Kippur and defines the sacrifices to be used requiring a ram, a bull, and two goats (Vayikra / Leviticus 16:3-7). The ram was to be used as a whole burnt offering before God (Vayikra / Leviticus 16:3). The bull, taken from the herd, served as a sin offering for Aaron (the high priest) and his family. This enabled the High priest to go before God to make atonement on behalf of the nation. The two goats were taken and one was slaughtered for the people (Vayikra / Leviticus 16:5, אֶל-מִבֵּית לַפָּרֹכֶת וְעָשָֹה אֶת-דָּמוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָֹה לְדַם הַפָּר וְהִזָּה אֹתוֹ עַל-הַכַּפֹּרֶת וְלִפְנֵי הַכַּפֹּרֶת:) The high priest would cast lots over the two goats, with one chosen as a sacrifice for the Lord (Vayikra / Leviticus 16:8). The blood of the goat was sprinkled upon the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies and before the covering of the holy ark. The second goat, the priest would lay his hand upon its head and pronounce all of the sins of the nation over the goat. The Hebrew text describes this in the following way:
ספר ויקרא פרק טז
ח וְנָתַן אַהֲרֹן עַל-שְׁנֵי הַשְּׂעִירִם גֹּרָלוֹת גּוֹרָל אֶחָד לַיהֹוָה וְגוֹרָל אֶחָד לַעֲזָאזֵל: ט וְהִקְרִיב אַהֲרֹן אֶת-הַשָּׂעִיר אֲשֶׁר עָלָה עָלָיו הַגּוֹרָל לַיהוָֹה וְעָשָֹהוּ חַטָּאת: י וְהַשָּׂעִיר אֲשֶׁר עָלָה עָלָיו הַגּוֹרָל לַעֲזָאזֵל יָעֳמַד-חַי לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו לְשַׁלַּח אֹתוֹ לַעֲזָאזֵל הַמִּדְבָּרָה:
Vayikra / Leviticus 16:7-10
16:8 ‘Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. 16:9 ‘Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the Lord fell, and make it a sin offering. 16:10 ‘But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat. (NASB)
Targum Pseudo Jonathan Vayikra / Leviticus 16:6-10
ומן כנישתא דבני ישראל יסב תרין צפירי בני עיזי דלא עירובין לקרבן חטאתא ודכר חד לעלתא ויקרב אהרן ית תורא דחטאתא דהוא מן ממוניה ויכפר באשתעות מיליא עלוי ועל אינש ביתיה ויסב ית תרין צפירין ויקם יתהון קדם ייי בתרע משכן זימנא ויתן אהרן על תרין צפירין עדבין שוין עדבא חד לשמא דייי ועדבא חד לעזאזל ויטריף בקילפי וינפיקינון ויטלקינון על צפיריא ויקריב אהרן ית צפירא דסליק עלוי עדבא לשמא דייי ויעבדיניה קרבן חטאתא וצפירא דסליק עלוי עדבא לעזאזל יתוקם בחיין קדם ייי לכפרא על סורחנות עמא בית ישראל לשדרא יתיה ליממת באתר תקיף וקשי דבמדברא דצוק דהוא בית הדורי
And from the congregation of the sons of Israel let him take two kids of the goats, without mixture, for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aharon shall offer the bullock of the sin offering which (hath been purchased) with his own money, and make an atonement with words of confession for himself and for the men of his house. And he shall take the two goats, and cause them to stand before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance. And Aharon shall put upon the goats equal lots; one lot for the Name of the Lord, and one lot for Azazel: and he shall throw them into the vase, and draw them out, and put them upon the goats. And Aharon shall bring the goat upon which came up the lot for the Name of the Lord, and make him a sin offering. And the goat on which came up the lot for Azazel he shall make to stand alive before the Lord, to expiate for the sins of the people of the house of Israel, by sending him to die in a place rough and hard in the rocky desert which is Beth hadurey.
A few additional notes are given in the Targum Pseudo Jonathan. These instructions are given in response to Nadav and Avihu going before the Lord with strange fire. This is connected back to the idea of sacrificing in a different manner, in a different way than what the Lord had commanded, to demons, as we read later in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:7. The Targum Pseudo Jonathan states that the goat was to be taken by lot, and the one with the sins of Israel pronounced over it is “for Azazel.” This is a significant point from the Hebrew text that is written saying, לְשַׁלַּח אֹתוֹ לַעֲזָאזֵל הַמִּדְבָּרָה a literal translation saying “to send it for/to azazel the wilderness.” Here we find the community as a whole receiving atonement for sin before God by the blood of the goat on the altar during Yom Kippur. The other goat carries the sins of the nation out into the wilderness to die. Following this section, we find the command against offering sacrifices upon personal altars and Vayikra / Leviticus 17:7 states not to sacrifice to Demons (לַשְּׂעִירִ֕ם, goat-demons). Avodah Zara (idolatry) is one of the most often spoken about sins in all of the Bible. A very interesting point is how this second goat was not sacrificed or designated “for the Lord.” On the contrary, this goat, the one that symbolically carried the sins away from the camp of Israel into the wilderness, was designated “for Azazel” (לַעֲזָאזֵל) (Vayikra / Leviticus 16:8-10).
The question is “What or who is Azazel?” The traditional English translation of this verse is “scapegoat.” There are stories throughout the rabbinic literature that speak about this goat being sent (led) out into the wilderness to die. Note how the Targum Pseudo Jonathan states “And the goat on which came up the lot for Azazel he shall make to stand alive before the Lord, to expiate for the sins of the people of the house of Israel, by sending him to die in a place rough and hard in the rocky desert which is Beth hadurey.” Beth-hadurey / בית הדורא translated as “the place of a steep hill, spiral road” (Jastrow 1903: 332–333) is a place name analogous to the בית הרן (= Tel er-Rân) in Bamidbar / Numbers 32:36, with the הדרורא being the singular of the הדרורים “hills, swelling places, land swells” mentioned in Isaiah 45:2, which the Septuagint translated simply as “mountains,” whereas the KJV opted for “crooked places.” It would be a synonym ofצוק “peak, precipice” (Jastrow 1270). The בית הדורא need not mean a particular precipice, but any precipice, just as עזאזלwas considered to be any hard, rough, rocky, desert mountain or height. We are told historically at one point the goat made it back to the camp as if the sin was returning, and this was seen as a bad sign. So it was put into the procedure to take the goat and cast the goat off of a cliff so it would die and so this situation would not happen again. The Jewish Encyclopedia describes this in the following way:
The Rabbis, interpreting “Azazel” as “Azaz” (rugged), and “el” (strong), refer it to the rugged and rough mountain cliff from which the goat was cast down (Yoma 67b; Sifra, Aḥare, ii. 2; Targ. Yer. Lev. xiv. 10, and most medieval commentators). Most modern scholars, after having for some time endorsed the old view, have accepted the opinion mysteriously hinted at by Ibn Ezra and expressly stated by Naḥmanides to Lev. xvi. 8, that Azazel belongs to the class of “se’irim,” goat-like demons, jinn haunting the desert, to which the Israelites were wont to offer sacrifice (Lev. xvii. 7 [A. V. “devils”]; compare “the roes and the hinds,” Cant. ii. 7, iii. 5, by which Sulamith administers an oath to the daughters of Jerusalem. The critics were probably thinking of a Roman faun). (Jewish Encyclopedia on “Azazel”)
The desert and hollow place is connected to demons, unholy creatures that are set for destruction. The Hebrew term azazel (עזאזל) occurs four times in Leviticus 16 but nowhere else in the Bible. Many translations prefer to translate the term as a phrase, “the goat that is sent away,” which is the same idea conveyed in the King James Version’s translation of “scapegoat.” Other translations treat the word as a transliterated name Azazel like we see here in our text from the NASB (i.e. NLT, ESV, GNT, HCSB, NET, GNB, JPS, ASV, DBT, ERV). The “scapegoat” translation is possible, however, studying the Hebrew text reveals how the phrase “one for Azazel” (אֶחָד לַעֲזָאזֵל) parallels the phrase “one for YHVH” (אֶחָד לַיהֹוָה) in Vayikra / Leviticus 16:8 (ח וְנָתַן אַהֲרֹן עַל-שְׁנֵי הַשְּׂעִירִם גֹּרָלוֹת גּוֹרָל אֶחָד לַיהֹוָה וְגוֹרָל אֶחָד לַעֲזָאזֵל:), the wording suggests this may be a personification of impurity which is being contrasted by the two goats.
Nahmanides states that the Azazel was a symbolic expression of the idea that the people’s sins and their evil consequences were to be sent back to the spirit of desolation and ruin, the source of all impurity, illustrated by sending the goat with the sins of all the people into the wilderness. The idea that both goats were presented before the Lord illustrates this idea of the personification of wickedness being contrasted with the righteousness and holiness of the Lord God of Israel. The rabbinic literature draws out some interesting points from the Tanach by referencing Zechariah 5:5-11 and Vayikra / Leviticus 14:7.
5:5 Then the angel who was speaking with me went out and said to me, ‘Lift up now your eyes and see what this is going forth.’ 5:6 I said, ‘What is it?’ And he said, ‘This is the ephah going forth.’ Again he said, ‘This is their appearance in all the land 5:7 (and behold, a lead cover was lifted up); and this is a woman sitting inside the ephah.’ 5:8 Then he said, ‘This is Wickedness!’ And he threw her down into the middle of the ephah and cast the lead weight on its opening. 5:9 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens. 5:10 I said to the angel who was speaking with me, ‘Where are they taking the ephah?’ 5:11 Then he said to me, ‘To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar; and when it is prepared, she will be set there on her own pedestal.’ (NASB)
Vayikra / Leviticus 14:7
14:7 ‘He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field. (NASB)
The rabbinic literature connects the sending off of the ephah and the woman that embodies wickedness, (Zechariah 5) to the bird being let loose in the open field for the cleansed leper, (Vayikra / Leviticus 14:7) where these things are interpreted as one ridding oneself of the sins committed during the year, finding the connection to Yom Kippur and to Azazel. They would pull the goat’s hair to make it hasten forth, carrying the burden of sins away with it (Talmud Bavli Yoma 66b and the Epistle of Barnabas 7), and then the goat arriving at the bottom of the valley of the rock of Bet Ḥadudo, twelve miles away from the city, was symbolized by the waving of shawls to the people of Jerusalem, who celebrated the event with joy amid dancing on the hills (Mishnah Yoma 6:6-8, Taan. 4:8). By this the figure of Azazel was an object of general fear, as a demon of the desert, it seems to have been closely interwoven with the mountainous region of Jerusalem and of ancient origin. (see Jewish Encyclopedia on “Azazel”)
We also read of Azazel in the book of Enoch chapter 8.
1. And Enoch went and said: ‘Azâzêl, thou shalt have no peace: a severe sentence has gone forth against thee to put thee in bonds: 2. And thou shalt not have toleration nor request granted to thee, because of the unrighteousness which thou hast taught, and because of all the works of godlessness and unrighteousness and sin which thou hast shown to men.’ 3. Then I went and spoke to them all together, and they were all afraid, and fear and trembling seized them. 4. And they besought me to draw up a petition for them that they might find forgiveness, and to read their petition in the presence of the Lord of heaven. 5. For from thenceforward they could not speak (with Him) nor lift up their eyes to heaven for shame of their sins for which they had been condemned. 6. Then I wrote out their petition, and the prayer in regard to their spirits and their deeds individually and in regard to their requests that they should have forgiveness and length of days. 7. And I went off and sat down at the waters of Dan, in the land of Dan, to the south of the west of Hermon: I read their petition till I fell asleep. 8. And behold a dream came to me, and visions fell down upon me, and I saw visions of chastisement, and a voice came bidding (me) I to tell it to the sons of heaven, and reprimand them. 9. And when I awaked, I came unto them, and they were all sitting gathered together, weeping in ’Abelsjâîl, which is between Lebanon and Sênêsêr, with their faces covered. 10. And I recounted before them all the visions which I had seen in sleep, and I began to speak the words of righteousness, and to reprimand the heavenly Watchers.
In the book of Enoch, Azazel is a fallen angel who is kept in chains in utter darkness. He is also connected to teaching men how to sin, to be godlessness, and unrighteousness before God. The rabbis connect the story of the fallen angels to Azazel to a gathering place of demons from old of which a man (Enoch) spoke words of righteousness reprimanding these fallen beings. Azazel in the Book of Enoch represents the rebellious giants preceding the flood and Azazel was the one who taught men about warfare, making swords, knives, shields, and coats of mail. He taught women to be seductive in their jewelry, coloring the hair, and putting makeup on their faces. He also taught the people how to perform witchcraft and all forms of corruption, rebelliousness, and impurity. It was at the Lord’s command that Azazel was bound hand and foot by the archangel Raphael and chained in the rough and jagged rocks of Beth Hadudo where he abides in utter darkness until the great day of judgement. (Enoch 7, 9, 10, 54, 88) Note the NT states something similar according to Jude 1:6 “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” (NASB) The Jewish encyclopedia continues saying the following:
The story of Azazel as the seducer of men and women was familiar also to the rabbis, as may be learned from Tanna d. b. R. Yishma’el: “The Azazel goat was to atone for the wicked deeds of ‘Uzza and ‘Azzael, the leaders of the rebellious hosts in the time of Enoch” (Yoma 67b); and still better from Midrash Abkir, end, Yalḳ., Gen. 44, where Azazel is represented as the seducer of women, teaching them the art of beautifying the body by dye and paint (compare “Chronicles of Jerahmeel,” trans. by Gaster, xxv. 13). According to Pirḳe R. El. xlvi. (comp. Tos. Meg. 31a), the goat is offered to Azazel as a bribe that he who is identical with Samael or Satan should not by his accusations prevent the atonement of the sins on that day. (Jewish Encyclopedia)
The Jewish Encyclopedia considers this goat designated “for Azazel” (לַעֲזָאזֵל) which carries the sins of all of Israel, Azazel himself is the same figure as Samael or Satan. Various authors have studied this figure (Azazel) and have reported their findings saying that this figure was known in Mandæan, Sabean, and Arabian mythology. (Brandt, “Mandaisch Theologie,” pp. 197, 198; Norberg’s “Onomasticon,” pp. 89; Kamus “Azazel” Delitzsch, “Zeitsch. F. Kirchl. Wissensch. U. Leben,” 1880, pp. 182.) Azazel was associated with Samael (Satan), and Nahmanides associates Azazel with the spirit of Esau and heathenism. A strong case can be made for the connection of demons to the term Azazel. Ancient Jewish texts report that Azazel was understood to be a demonic figure associated with the wilderness where the goat carrying the sins of the nation was his bride. This is what is suggested at by Moshe’s statement according to Vayikra / Leviticus 17:7, וְלֹא־יִזְבְּח֥וּ עוֹד֙ אֶת־זִבְחֵיהֶ֔ם לַשְּׂעִירִ֕ם אֲשֶׁ֛ר הֵ֥ם זֹנִ֖ים אַחֲרֵיהֶ֑ם חֻקַּ֥ת עוֹלָ֛ם תִּֽהְיֶה־זֹּ֥את לָהֶ֖ם לְדֹרֹתָֽם׃ 17:7 and that they may offer their sacrifices no more to the goat-demons after whom they stray. This shall be to them a law for all time, throughout the ages. The Hebrew text states, “after whom they prostituted (זֹנִ֖ים) themselves.” This draws in a sexual intimacy component which may also draw in the Avodah Zarah aspect of the act of sacrificing to demons. (Remember, Avodah Zarah is the most often spoken about sin in the bible!)
The Talmud states in the Gemara that the goat chosen for atonement (to be sacrificed) atoned for the impurities of the children of Israel and atoned for the sanctuary (HaKodesh) from the defiling of anything sacred. (Talmud Bavli Shevuot 8a) This is the point of the verse in Vayikra / Leviticus 16:16, וְכִפֶּ֣ר עַל־הַקֹּ֗דֶשׁ מִטֻּמְאֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וּמִפִּשְׁעֵיהֶ֖ם לְכָל־חַטֹּאתָ֑ם וְכֵ֤ן יַעֲשֶׂה֙ לְאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד הַשֹּׁכֵ֣ן אִתָּ֔ם בְּת֖וֹךְ טֻמְאֹתָֽם׃ 16:16 Thus he shall purge the Shrine of the uncleanness and transgression of the Israelites, whatever their sins; and he shall do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which abides with them in the midst of their uncleanness. The Mishnah taught that the High priest sprinkled from the blood of the bull on the curtain opposite the Ark from the outside of the Holy of Holies. (Talmud Bavli Yoma 56b) What is interesting is how the Mishnah Yoma 6:6 records that the goat for Azazel was led to a cliff and pushed over, ensuring it would die and not return. Note also this connection to the Evil One (Satan) being associated with the wilderness and the story in the Apostolic Writings when Yeshua met the devil (Matthew 4:1) being tempted in the wilderness for 40 days. This is an important point since the people’s sins and their evil consequences were to be sent back to the spirit of desolation and ruin, the source of all impurity, illustrated by sending the goat with the sins of all the nation into the wilderness. We are told the Spirit led Yeshua to a desolate place in the desert to be tempted by the sins of an entire nation, and he did not sin! This provides some insights into why Yeshua was led into the wilderness to be tempted. Yeshua had a conversation with the Devil as the evil one tempted him to sin with his mind and body.
Following the verses on Yom Kippur (Vayikra / Leviticus 16) we read in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:1–7 that some Israelites had been accustomed to sacrificing offerings to “goat-demons.” (לַשְּׂעִירִ֕ם) The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) replaced this illegitimate practice and the command was to bring all sacrifices to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. The goat over which was pronounced all of the sins of Israel and sent out into the wilderness, was set as a symbol of sending all of the sins of the people to where they belonged, to the demonic realm. The idea is one goat was sacrificed to bring purification and access to God and one goat was sent to carry the people’s sins to the demonic realm, this annual ritual reinforced the identity of the One True God that is coupled to His mercy and holiness.
There are many things we can learn from this week’s Torah portion on Yom Kippur and the wilderness. What we are being taught here is to be careful not to offer sacrifices upon an altar of our own making (personal altars) since these are synonymous to sacrificing to foreign gods. The reason this is the case is related to what Ezekiel states in Ezekiel 14, men set up idols in their hearts. Note the connection between Avodah Zara and sacrificing to demons. Worship is important to God’s people, and we must worship God in the way in which He is pleased. The reason being, if we set up idols in our hearts (sin, pride, pornography, sexual immorality, sports, all of these things and more are idols), the presence of God will depart and we will not have fellowship with God. According to Tehillim / Psalms 115:1-9, the worshiper begins to resemble (to become like) that which he trusts in. The physical idols which were so prevalent in those days were made from silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. These idols are helpless, mute, blind, deaf, and lame, and these idols are impotent, unable to communicate or meet the needs of the worshiper. Today we do not struggle with worshiping a molten image per-say as they did in ancient times. Today men struggle with the idols that are created in the heart. There is a great stumbling block that is rooted in the rebellious heart. The Torah describes these things in relation to Pharaoh, he was hard of heart; he was like the Egyptian idols he worshiped, cold, blind, and dumb because he did not worship the one true God of Israel. In the Yom Kippur festival, we are directed to trust and worship the one who is Faithful and true and to trust in the Anointed One of God! To trust in the One who is able to take away the sins of the nation and make atonement for everyone delivering us from sin and sending our sins out to desolate places! Consider the NT description when Yeshua went to the cross taking upon himself our sins, he was crucified outside of the city which parallels the sins of the people being cast to the wilderness via the goat of Azazel. The Lord God we serve is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, all things created are subject to His lordship. These things reveal to us how important it is, according to the Torah, to walk in the way of God, and follow the leading of His Anointed One (the Messiah). As faithful followers of God we are chosen to submit ourselves to God’s authority and to His reign in our lives! Have you submitted your life to God in heaven and to His Messiah Yeshua? Notice how the Torah draws us back to these things, humbleness, faith, prayer, and faithfulness in God and His anointed one. We see the power of God in the Apostolic Writings to cast out the devil, and deliver men, women, and children from the power of the evil one. If we consider all of these things that we have been learning about, specifically the significance of Vayikra / Leviticus 17:7 on personal altars, demons, and Avodah Zara, one point that comes to mind is how the evil one wants to influence each and every one of us at a personal level. What also comes to mind, is how setting up an idol is connected to sacrificing to demons. If one sets up an idol in his/her heart, how much ground is one giving to the evil one to come and take up residence in his life? In Yeshua the Messiah we are set free from this, however, if you are setting up an idol, bowing down at the feet of whatever it is that takes precedence over the Lord God of Israel and Yeshua, how much ground is being given to the demonic realm to influence your life? These are very significant questions for us today! All of these things connect back to the Torah, and why the Torah is so important for us to study. The Words of the Torah and the words of the Messiah Yeshua go hand-in-had! This is how the Torah and the Gospel Message are connected!