His Kingdom Come

Parashat Metzora (Leprosy)
Vayikra (Leviticus) 14:1-15:33
Shabbat HaGadol!
Haftarah: Malachi 3:4-24 (4:6 English Bibles)

This week we have a special reading from Malachi 3:4-24 for what is called the “Shabbat HaGadol” (Great Shabbat) which is the Shabbat before the Passover. The name comes from two possible sources. The sages believe that the Shabbat HaGadol took place on the tenth of Nisan right before the first Passover as we read in Exodus 12:1-6:

ADONAI spoke to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Egypt; he said, “You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you. Speak to all the assembly of Israel and say, ‘On the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb or kid for his family, one per household — except that if the household is too small for a whole lamb or kid, then he and his next-door neighbor should share one, dividing it in proportion to the number of people eating it. Your animal must be without defect, a male in its first year, and you may choose it from either the sheep or the goats. You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month.’”

Another possibility is found in the special Haftarah portion when we read in Malachi 3:23 (4:5 in English bibles): 

Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.

The word “great” in this verse is a translation of the Hebrew word “gadol”, which means great or big; hence, this could explain the term “Shabbat HaGadol” (“Great” or “Big” Shabbat).

As I read the Parashah and the Haftarah for this week, I was reflecting on the possible connection between the two. In general, the Parashah speaks about the issues of leprosy and various bodily discharges, while the Haftara speaks of God’s judgment over the “sorcerers, the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, those who oppress the wage earner in his wages or the widow or the orphan, and those who turn away the stranger from justice and do not fear [God]” (Malachi 3:5), and over the children of Israel for misusing God’s money (Malachi 3:6-12) . In my understanding, what connects both Scripture portions is the separation between righteous/pure and unrighteous/defiled in the coming day of judgment.

But, the connection doesn’t stop there. It tells us something about God’s heart and what He desires for His kingdom. As I wrote, the Parashah speaks of those who were impure due to physical ailments; they were the outcasts of society. God, in His mercy and kindness, provided a way for them to be purified and cleansed. This, I believe, is the reason that in Malachi 3:22 (4:4), we read of the importance of remembering the Torah of Moshe (Moses):

Remember the Torah of Moshe My servant, the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. 

While some followers of Messiah tend to view the Torah of Moshe negatively, I would like to suggest that it is a wonderful gift - it is God’s Word, after all – because it shows us who God is, and because God never changes, we know that His precepts handed down through Moses still hold spiritual value. The Torah of Moses also points us to Yeshua as He Himself said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.”
John 5:46

I don't believe it is coincidental that when we connect the two portions with Passover, we find a form of redemption through God’s provision of purification. I also believe that as Malachi speaks of the importance of returning to God as the “gadol” (great) day of the LORD approaches, we, His followers, need to be reminded of our role to be salt and light so that those who aren’t yet purified & redeemed by the blood of the Lamb have an opportunity to do that.

As followers of Messiah, we often seek and expect perfection rather than repentance, purification, and holiness. But let’s not be deceived; the Kingdom of God is not about perfect people but about people who have been purified & cleansed by Yeshua and are free to live holy lives by the power of the Holy Spirit, having been reconciled to the Father.

He seeks purified hearts – not perfect people.

I would like to close with one final thought. In Malachi 3:16-18 it is written:

Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened attentively and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and esteem His name. “And they will be Mine,” says the LORD of armies, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will have compassion for them just as a man has compassion for his own son who serves him.” So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”

As we are entering this very special season of the Passover, I would like to remind us all that the day of the Lord is coming. It will indeed be a great day in which each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. The biggest question, which is the most important one, is if your name is written in the book of remembrance? While we might be quick to answer “yes”, I would challenge each of us to also ask “How do I know?” The above verses from Malachi say that “those who fear the Lord and esteem His name” will be written in the book of remembrance…

Do you fear the Lord and esteem His name? If so, how does the knowledge of the one and only true God reflect in and through your life?

Shabbat Shalom,

Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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2 Comments on “His Kingdom Come”

  1. His name was conceived in the mouth of Moses by the Holy Spirit.
    Yahoshua the messiah is our passover.
    There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
    I love him with all my heart and soul. I love his name and to speak often with others who also desire to fear and ascribe greatness to his awesome name..

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