Bits of Torah Truths, Parashat Vayikra, פרשת ויקרא, The Torah is the Outcome of the Gospel Message

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Parashat Vayikra has us looking at the opening five chapters of the book of Leviticus.  Reading through these Scriptures, we are given the basic plan the Lord has to provide for the forgiveness of sin that is found in repentance, atonement, and going before God and His anointed one (Mashiach) priest.  This sounds very familiar to what we call the “Gospel Message.”  According to the Apostolic Writings, the Lord comes to deliver His people at the hand of His anointed One, the Messiah (Mashiach), redemption is provided, salvation from our enemies and from slavery (sin, diseases, etc) is given, and in the priesthood we are provided a way to receive the forgiveness of sin (Vayikra / Leviticus 1-5).  When thinking on these things, we need to be mindful not to fall into the way of thinking in relation to the Torah that “we simply have a difference in opinion,” as it is related to the Gospel Message.  Pagans and witches have a difference in their opinion of God and the Scriptures.  The goal of these studies are to understand who we are as the people of God and what the Lord expects of us as a holy, righteous, and just community.  If we relate our understanding of God’s Word simply to a difference in opinion, there would be no reasoning together, or growth spiritually in our relationship with the Lord and with others.  There is no greater message to be heard than the message of the greatness of our God that is coupled to His mercy at the hand of his Messiah (the Gospel Message).  As important as this message is, it has often been given to a massive distortion or oversimplifications in modern theologies and teachings today. People actually think they are “preaching the gospel” when they say “you can have a purpose to your life” or “you can have meaning to your life” or “you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.”  The concept of the Gospel Message is intimately connected to the power of God to deliver His people both from our enemies and from slavery (sin, diseases, etc).  The gospel is called the “Good News” because it addresses what we are reading here in Parashat Vayikra, quite simply put, God is Holy, Righteous, and Just, while we are not.  The Torah portion speaks of standing before God at the Tabernacle, and at one point in our lives, be it the end of our lives, we will stand before a Just and Holy God and we will be judged for the deeds committed in the body.  The point of going before the Lord, according to Parashat Vayikra, is given according to Vayikra / Leviticus 1:4-5, ד   וְסָמַךְ יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ הָעֹלָה וְנִרְצָה לוֹ לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו: ה   וְשָׁחַט אֶת-בֶּן הַבָּקָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וְהִקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת-הַדָּם וְזָרְקוּ אֶת-הַדָּם עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב אֲשֶׁר-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:  1:4 ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 1:5 ‘He shall slay the young bull before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. (NASB) We receive atonement for sin through blood and we trust in the anointed priest to do this on our behalf.  The point of the priesthood was that they were able to do what we are unable to do for ourselves, to make atonement on our behalf in order to satisfy God’s Justice and Righteousness.  A great misconception today in modern theologies is that the Lord God of Israel is not concerned about His own integrity, where He just gives forgiveness to anybody who asks.  What we learn in Parashat Vayikra is that atonement is very costly and requires a sacrifice of both the life of an animal and of ourselves.  This is the message that we are given in the Apostolic Writings, where Yeshua the Messiah laid down his life on our behalf, and the Lord God our Father in heaven raised him up from death to demonstrate our justification by faith.  We are then called to abide in God’s Word and in His Messiah.  The raising up from the grave was the declaration that Yeshua did what he came to do as the Messiah of God.  There is a subjective dimension here in Yeshua’s sacrifice which is illustrated in Parashat Vayikra, that describes how we “get” this atonement that is provided by Yeshua.  The Scriptures makes it clear that we appropriate forgiveness and atonement by faith.  Faith however is coupled to our actions.  The book of Vayikra opens saying,    וַיִּקְרָא אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָֹה אֵלָיו מֵאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֵאמֹר: ב   דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַיהוָֹה מִן-הַבְּהֵמָה מִן-הַבָּקָר וּמִן-הַצֹּאן תַּקְרִיבוּ אֶת-קָרְבַּנְכֶם: 1:1 Then the Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, 1:2 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. (NASB)  The idea provided to us in these Scriptures, where our faith is coupled to our actions, is illustrated here where we are called to actively seek and live our lives for the Lord.  Our motivation to live for the Lord in Righteousness, Holiness, Justice, and Truth demonstrates our love for the Lord and what He has done.  If we say that we have faith in Yeshua, and are not motivated to live for Him according to God’s Word, can we say what Yeshua has done has been subjectively appropriated to us?  The only way to receive the benefit of the Messiah’s life, death, and resurrection, is by abiding in Him which means we are putting our trust in him and determining our hearts and lives to seek the Lord on a daily basis.  The concept here that is taken from Parashat Vayikra is that our faith is demonstrated by our willingness to obey God’s Word and to turn from sin.  Sure we all fall short of doing so.  This does not cause fault with the Law of God but with ourselves as sinful creatures.  The point is, the lack of trying demonstrates a much deeper spiritual problem when it comes to salvation and faith in the Messiah Yeshua that illustrates a deadness of the spirit.  Let’s discuss these things further in this week’s Torah portion.

The Scriptures we are looking at this week are from Vayikra / Leviticus 1:1-17:

Vayikra / Leviticus 1:1-17
1:1 Then the Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, 1:2 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. 1:3 ‘If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. 1:4 ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 1:5 ‘He shall slay the young bull before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 1:6 ‘He shall then skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces. 1:7 ‘The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 1:8 ‘Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head and the fat over the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar. 1:9 ‘Its entrails, however, and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer up in smoke all of it on the altar for a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord. 1:10 ‘But if his offering is from the flock, of the sheep or of the goats, for a burnt offering, he shall offer it a male without defect. 1:11 ‘He shall slay it on the side of the altar northward before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar. 1:12 ‘He shall then cut it into its pieces with its head and its fat, and the priest shall arrange them on the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar. 1:13 ‘The entrails, however, and the legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer all of it, and offer it up in smoke on the altar; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord. 1:14 ‘But if his offering to the Lord is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering from the turtledoves or from young pigeons. 1:15 ‘The priest shall bring it to the altar, and wring off its head and offer it up in smoke on the altar; and its blood is to be drained out on the side of the altar. 1:16 ‘He shall also take away its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar eastward, to the place of the ashes. 1:17 ‘Then he shall tear it by its wings, but shall not sever it. And the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar on the wood which is on the fire; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord. (NASB)

א   וַיִּקְרָא אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָֹה אֵלָיו מֵאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֵאמֹר: ב   דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַיהוָֹה מִן-הַבְּהֵמָה מִן-הַבָּקָר וּמִן-הַצֹּאן תַּקְרִיבוּ אֶת-קָרְבַּנְכֶם: ג   אִם-עֹלָה קָרְבָּנוֹ מִן-הַבָּקָר זָכָר תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ אֶל-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד יַקְרִיב אֹתוֹ לִרְצֹנוֹ לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה: ד   וְסָמַךְ יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ הָעֹלָה וְנִרְצָה לוֹ לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו: ה   וְשָׁחַט אֶת-בֶּן הַבָּקָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וְהִקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת-הַדָּם וְזָרְקוּ אֶת-הַדָּם עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב אֲשֶׁר-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד: ו   וְהִפְשִׁיט אֶת-הָעֹלָה וְנִתַּח אֹתָהּ לִנְתָחֶיהָ: ז   וְנָתְנוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אֵשׁ עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְעָרְכוּ עֵצִים עַל-הָאֵשׁ: ח   וְעָרְכוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֵת הַנְּתָחִים אֶת-הָרֹאשׁ וְאֶת-הַפָּדֶר עַל-הָעֵצִים אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ: ט   וְקִרְבּוֹ וּכְרָעָיו יִרְחַץ בַּמָּיִם וְהִקְטִיר הַכֹּהֵן אֶת-הַכֹּל הַמִּזְבֵּחָה עֹלָה אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ-נִיחוֹחַ לַיהוָֹה:   ס   י   וְאִם-מִן-הַצֹּאן קָרְבָּנוֹ מִן-הַכְּשָֹבִים אוֹ מִן-הָעִזִּים לְעֹלָה זָכָר תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ: יא   וְשָׁחַט אֹתוֹ עַל יֶרֶךְ הַמִּזְבֵּחַ צָפֹנָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וְזָרְקוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת-דָּמוֹ עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב: יב   וְנִתַּח אֹתוֹ לִנְתָחָיו וְאֶת-רֹאשׁוֹ וְאֶת-פִּדְרוֹ וְעָרַךְ הַכֹּהֵן אֹתָם עַל-הָעֵצִים אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ: יג   וְהַקֶּרֶב וְהַכְּרָעַיִם יִרְחַץ בַּמָּיִם וְהִקְרִיב הַכֹּהֵן אֶת-הַכֹּל וְהִקְטִיר הַמִּזְבֵּחָה עֹלָה הוּא אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָֹה:   פ   [שני] יד   וְאִם מִן-הָעוֹף עֹלָה קָרְבָּנוֹ לַיהוָֹה וְהִקְרִיב מִן-הַתֹּרִים אוֹ מִן-בְּנֵי הַיּוֹנָה אֶת-קָרְבָּנוֹ: טו   וְהִקְרִיבוֹ הַכֹּהֵן אֶל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וּמָלַק אֶת-רֹאשׁוֹ וְהִקְטִיר הַמִּזְבֵּחָה וְנִמְצָה דָמוֹ עַל קִיר הַמִּזְבֵּחַ: טז   וְהֵסִיר אֶת-מֻרְאָתוֹ בְּנֹצָתָהּ וְהִשְׁלִיךְ אֹתָהּ אֵצֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ קֵדְמָה אֶל-מְקוֹם הַדָּשֶׁן: יז   וְשִׁסַּע אֹתוֹ בִכְנָפָיו לֹא יַבְדִּיל וְהִקְטִיר אֹתוֹ הַכֹּהֵן הַמִּזְבֵּחָה עַל-הָעֵצִים אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאֵשׁ עֹלָה הוּא אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָֹה:

Based upon Vayikra / Leviticus 1, the most significant aspect of the sacrificial system is to direct us to repentance, to the confession of sin, and to the blood used for atonement from sin and the forgiveness of sin in our lives.  Vayikra / Leviticus 1:4-5 states,  ד   וְסָמַךְ יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ הָעֹלָה וְנִרְצָה לוֹ לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו: ה   וְשָׁחַט אֶת-בֶּן הַבָּקָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וְהִקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת-הַדָּם וְזָרְקוּ אֶת-הַדָּם עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב אֲשֶׁר-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:  1:4 ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 1:5 ‘He shall slay the young bull before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. (NASB)  This summary is consistent with the rabbinic interpretations of the Scriptures, within the descriptions of the Tanach (Torah, Prophets, and Writings), and of the Apostolic Writings as they are related to the Gospel Message.

Take for example what Sforno states in regard to Vayikra / Leviticus 1:2:

Sforno on Vayikra / Leviticus 1:2
אדם כי יקריב מכם, when he brings himself close to G’d by means of a confession of his sins and by humbling himself. The concept parallels the verse in Hosea 14,3 ונשלמה פרים שפתינו, “we will pay with bulls after having done so first with our lips.” Psalms 51:19 warns זבחי אלוקים רוח נשברה, “an offering of sacrificial meat is such only if accompanied by a crushed spirit.” The psalmist means that G’d is not interested in the fools who offer sacrificial animals if they have not first humbled themselves. Our sages paraphrase this when pointing out that the Torah does not write here כולכם, your entire selves, but מכם, something emanating from you, i.e. “by excreting the spiritually unworthy parts of you.” (compare Rashi)

Sforno states that when one brings himself to the Lord by means of confession of sin, he must humble himself.  This parallels Hosea and the Psalms which provide insight in the sense that making an offering before the Lord “must” be accompanied by a crushed spirit.  The idea again is that our faith is coupled to our actions, where we are called to actively seek and live our lives for the Lord.  Sforno says that the foolish man brings a sacrifice before the Lord without first humbling himself.  This humbling is something that comes from deep within, the hidden part of our lives, our hearts.

This is further illustrated according to the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 55:7-9) who states the following:

Isaiah 55:7-9
55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 55:8 ”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 55:9 ”For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (NASB, ז   יַעֲזֹב רָשָׁע דַּרְכּוֹ וְאִישׁ אָוֶן מַחְשְׁבֹתָיו וְיָשֹׁב אֶל-יְהֹוָה וִירַחֲמֵהוּ וְאֶל-אֱלֹהֵינוּ כִּי-יַרְבֶּה לִסְלוֹחַ: ח   כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי נְאֻם יְהֹוָה: ט   כִּי-גָבְהוּ שָׁמַיִם מֵאָרֶץ כֵּן גָּבְהוּ דְרָכַי מִדַּרְכֵיכֶם וּמַחְשְׁבֹתַי מִמַּחְשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם:)

Take note of the sequence of events, (i) let the wicked forsake his way and his thoughts, (ii) let him return to the Lord, and (iii) the Lord will have compassion (mercy, וִירַחֲמֵהוּ) on him.  The Lord desires for the wicked man to forsake not only his ways but his thoughts also.  This is the basic definition of Teshuvah (repentance) that is necessary to receive the forgiveness of God.  The concept here is יַעֲזֹב רָשָׁע דַּרְכּוֹ וְאִישׁ אָוֶן מַחְשְׁבֹתָיו “the wicked is to forsake his ways and the man of sin his thoughts,” and then וְיָשֹׁב אֶל-יְהֹוָה “return/turn to the Lord,” to perform Teshuvah in repentance for the Lord is merciful (וִירַחֲמֵהוּ).  The great misconception today in modern theologies is the absence of the teaching of Repentance where we go before the Lord God of Israel in repentance from our ways to seek His help to walk in His ways of Righteousness, Holiness, Justice, and Truth (the Torah) and to receive the forgiveness of sins by faith in His Messiah Yeshua.  This is why the commentary suggested earlier, the Lord “is” concerned with His own integrity, He does not hand out forgiveness simply to anybody who asks.  Forgiveness comes by the way of repentance which is defined by our faith coupled to our actions, where we are called to actively seek and live our lives for the Lord!  This is where modern theologies error saying “all we have to do is get them to say they believe in Jesus” and then let them go on their merry way without follow up or discipleship in the sense of “working out your salvation” (Philippians 2:12) as Paul described to the Philippians.  Paul is describing keeping the faith by the way we live and seek to live for the Lord.  These things cause us to struggle with sin and the choice of whether or not to turn from sin!

Rambam describes repentance in the following way.

Mishneh Torah, Repentance 2:2
What is teshuvah? It is when a person abandons the sin that he sinned and removes it from his thoughts and commits in his heart that he will not do it again, as it says, The wicked should abandon his path etc. (Isaiah 55:7). And also that he regrets sinning, as it says, After I returned I regretted (Jeremiah 31:18). And the One Who Knows Hidden Things testifies about him that he will never return to this sin, as it says, And we will no longer call the work of our hands “god” etc. (Hosea 14:4). And he must confess verbally and say these things that he has committed in his heart.

Notice how Rambam defines Teshuvah as when the person confesses his sin, removes sinful thoughts from his heart, and commits his heart and life to not sin any further.  This is the major premise of what one was to do when bringing a sacrifice before the Lord at the Tabernacle and the laying on of the hands on the head of the animal.  This was the process of preparation of our hearts before receiving atonement before God.  According to Vayikra / Leviticus 1:4-5, ד   וְסָמַךְ יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ הָעֹלָה וְנִרְצָה לוֹ לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו: ה   וְשָׁחַט אֶת-בֶּן הַבָּקָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וְהִקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת-הַדָּם וְזָרְקוּ אֶת-הַדָּם עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב אֲשֶׁר-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:  1:4 ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 1:5 ‘He shall slay the young bull before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. (NASB)  We are told in order to receive atonement for sin there must be blood and we must trust in the anointed one to do this on our behalf.  Notice how Rambam states “And we will no longer call the work of our hands ‘god’ etc. (Hosea 14:4).”  This suggests that sin becomes a god in one’s life.  The idea is that the Lord will help to break down the idol that has been established in the heart due to sin.  Rambam says “he must confess verbally and say these things that he has committed in his heart.”  This drives home the point that the Lord wants for us to outwardly show what has taken place on the inside in the deliverance from sin.  Are you actively living out your faith?

Rambam continues on his commentary on Repentance saying the following:

Mishneh Torah, Repentance 2:3
Anyone who confesses verbally and does not commit in his heart to abandon [sin], this is like a person who immerses [in a purity pool] while holding an unclean creature in his hand, so that the bath is not effective until he sends away the unclean creature, and so it says, One who admits and abandons is given mercy (Proverbs 28:13). And he must specify the sin, as it says, This nation has sinned a great sin and made a golden god for themselves (Exodus 32:31).

Rambam definition of repentance follows with an analogy to the mikvah.  The mikvah, we know historically was later shown to be baptism in the sense that John performed a baptism of repentance on the people in the Jordan river according to the Gospels.  The Mikvah was performed in order to cleanse one of uncleanness and to turn one’s life in Teshuvah (Repentance) back to God’s ways, to a Torah way of life.  This was part of the Teshuvah process as Rambam states, “Anyone who confesses verbally and does not commit in his heart to abandon [sin], this is like a person who immerses [in a purity pool] while holding an unclean creature in his hand, so that the bath is not effective until he sends away the unclean creature.”  This is related to the connection of the inward with the outward.  These are the concepts of keeping uncleanness in our hearts (sin) and going before the Lord and asking for forgiveness in Jesus Name without first being repentant.  We must set out hearts right before the Lord before coming to Him seeking forgiveness of sins.  This is similar to the spiritual counterparts that are part of the sacrificial ritual, that one repents, lays his hand upon the head of the animal, confesses his sins, and the animal is slaughtered and the blood is spread around the altar. (Vayikra / Leviticus 1:4-5)

Rashbam continues in his definition on Repentance (Teshuvah) saying the following:

Mishneh Torah, Repentance 7:3
Do not say that there is only teshuvah for sins that have an action, such as fornication, robbery, and theft; rather, just as a person must do teshuvah for these, so too he must search out his bad character traits, and do teshuvah for anger, hatred, jealousy, laziness, pursuit of money and honor, gluttony, and so on. A person must return in teshuvah from all of these. And these sins are harder than those which have an action, because once a person is immersed in them it is difficult for him to break free from them. Thus the verse says, Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts (Isaiah 55:7).

Rashbam states Teshuvah involves both the physical sins and those that are involved in the heart.  We understand this based upon Isaiah 55:7, יַעֲזֹב רָשָׁע דַּרְכּוֹ וְאִישׁ אָוֶן מַחְשְׁבֹתָיו “the wicked is to forsake his ways and the man of sin his thoughts,” and then וְיָשֹׁב אֶל-יְהֹוָה “return/turn to the Lord.”  The Gospel Message that is related to the Torah in regards to our turning from sin, being delivered from the sin in our lives, being transformed from the inside out, being set free from bondage (slavery), and the Lord God empowering us to do so by His Spirit, through faith in His Messiah Yeshua.  This is related to walking in God’s ways of righteousness, justice, and truth, to serve the Lord God of Israel, and to overcome the earthly desires.  Paul wrote in Galatians 5 that the Gospel Message is related to the Lord changing us on the inside, and to put in our hearts love, faithfulness, gentleness, peacefulness, joy, self-control and righteousness.  These things are related to the Torah command and to overcoming the flesh, conquering the desires of the flesh, which Paul lists in Galatians 5 as greed, envy, lust, deceit, pride and immorality.  The reason Repentance is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, is that we are to be a people who are known by God.  We do not live in sin and then try to represent a Holy and Righteous God to this world.  The Lord God in heaven, our faith and our lives do not work that way based upon what the Scriptures teach us.  These things are illustrated in Tehillim / Psalms 114:1-2 from the Aramaic Targum.

The Aramaic Targum states, א  במיפק ישראל ממצרים בית יעקב מעמי ברבראי׃  ב  הוות כנישתא דבית יהודה אחידא לקדישיה לקודשיה ישראל לשליטוי׃ 114:1 When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from barbarian peoples 114:2 The company of the house of Judah became property of his Holy One, Israel of his rulers. (EMC)  The strange language is described by the rabbis as being taking from a barbarian people, a people with no rule of law in their lives.  When the people were taken from this strange land, they become the property of the Lord God in heaven.  The Lord God of Israel knows that for a nation to be prosperous and free, this is only possible when each individual is governed by a rule of law that is coupled with ethics and morality.  When this rule is weakened (i.e. when theologies are developed causing the Torah to become non-applicable to one’s life, etc.) then society becomes a nation of barbarians which have no use for any rules or laws that they perceive to get in their way.  This idea of a barbarian people, is in the sense of a nation that forsakes God’s Torah, and not conforming one’s life to God’s ways, which essentially causes one to develop a fantasy world, and the desire to force their imaginary concept of how the world should be upon others (i.e. LGBT movement).  When the rules of civil society are tossed aside, brutality, plunder, and tyranny enter into the picture, and this was demonstrated very well in the President Trump election where the “left” went crazy destroying property and violating the law because of what they perceived an unjust election.  Such an outcome is never but one individual away of doing things.  The Torah causes us to take ownership of our sins and to confess them, to turn from them, and to lead us back to God’s ways which were demonstrated for us by His Messiah.  The moral standards that each individual is given based upon the Torah, each person is to decide whether he is part of a civil society or a barbarian society.  This is the point of individual ethics and why the Torah (the Law of Moses) focuses upon loving God and loving those around us and not on the formal, ceremonial worship service in a physical temple.  The Law of God does not depend upon “temple worship,” and this is why Yeshua did not mention temple worship when asked about the greatest commandment that is found in the Torah.  God’s Law is focused on instructing us in how to love our Creator and how to love each other rather than on the worship service at the physical temple which may or may not be available.  Our worshiping God in heaven is coupled to our faith, which is coupled to our actions.   This is how the two greatest commandments summarize all of the rest of the commandments.  The Torah is all about loving our Creator and loving each other.

In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Vayikra, we are told our faith is coupled to our actions as it is related to the forgiveness of sin, repentance, atonement, and going before God and His AnointedBTT_Parashat-Vayikra-2017 One.  This is illustrated (Vayikra / Leviticus 1-5) where we are called to actively seek and live our lives for the Lord.  Our motivation to live for the Lord in Righteousness, Holiness, Justice, and Truth demonstrates our love for the Lord and what He has done.  If we say that we have faith in Yeshua, and are not motivated to live for Him according to God’s Word, can we say what Yeshua has done has been subjectively appropriated to us?  The only way to receive the benefit of the Messiah’s life, death, and resurrection, is by abiding in Him which means we are putting our trust in him and determining our hearts and lives to seek the Lord on a daily basis.  The concept here that is taken from Parashat Vayikra is that our faith is demonstrated by our willingness to obey God’s Word and to turn from sin.  Sure we all fall short of doing so.  This does not cause fault with the Law of God but with ourselves as sinful creatures.  The point is, the lack of trying demonstrates a much deeper spiritual problem when it comes to salvation and faith in the Messiah Yeshua.  If we go on in life not seeking the righteousness of God in our lives by the way we live our lives, we would be described as dead in the spirit.  This is why the Torah is the outcome of the Gospel Message!

BTT_Parashat-Vayikra-2017

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