Parashat Acharei Mot (After the death of) Leviticus 16:1-18:30
Haftarah: Malachi 3:4-24
This Shabbat is the Shabbat prior to Passover. It is called the Great Shabbat and when the Temple stood in Jerusalem, its primary purpose was to remind the people to select the lamb for the sacrifice and on the tenth day of the month of Nisan, to bring this lamb into one’s home until the 14th day of the same month when it was sacrificed.
There are many aspects to Passover, one is purity. I was reminded of this aspect, because it is written at the end of this week’s Torah portion,
“And you shall keep My charge, not doing any of the abominable statues which were done before you, and do not contaminate yourselves with them; I am HaShem your G-d.” Leviticus 18:30
This verse commands Israel to behave very differently than those who dwelt around them. What HaShem called “abominable statues“, were actually the laws of those people who dwelt in the Land of Israel prior to the Children of Israel entering. It is very significant that the word which is used in this verse which many English translations render as “customs” or “traditions” is actually the Hebrew word which refers to a law. In other words, these were not simply things that people were doing, but the very things which were the approved norms of society. This should inform us that although many things might be legal and even sanctioned by the government, this does not mean that followers of Messiah Yeshua should embrace them. Please notice that these things are called abominable by G-d.
3,500 years have passed since Moses wrote down these words, but not much has changed in the world. Many things which our government promotes are in fact an abomination to Yeshua. Little by little, perhaps not so gradually today, governments around the world are moving in a direction which will lead in the near future to a conflict between the governments and believers. I am certainly not advocating violence in this last sentence, rather that eventually, standing faithful to Scriptural truth will lead the government to take legal action against believers. In many countries, standing up and being counted as a follower of Yeshua is already a crime against the State. In Muslim countries, such faith brings about a death sentence.
Scriptural views in regard to marriage, appropriate sexual behavior, and other moral stances are seen as bigoted and offensive by a growing number of people and politicians. For the most part, believers are quiet and way too accepting of these changes. This passive response simply encourages more actions to be leveled against our faith.
It is important to realize that these changes are leading to a specific governmental action. What is this action? It is the intense persecution of believers. Many may hear this and see this as unwarranted alarmism. But consider how much change has occurred, for example, in the United States over the last ten years. Debt has skyrocketed and despite claims of budgetary cuts and deficit reduction, the national debt continues to grow at a most alarming rate. Things which would have been unimaginable a few shorts years ago such as same sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana are being embraced by more States or at least being considered. The purpose of this article is not to provide a full evaluation of the spiritual condition of humanity, but simply to challenge each of us to consider how we are living and ask ourselves if the word “purity” could be accurately used to describe our thoughts and lifestyle choices.
When Moses told the Children of Israel to take a lamb and sacrifice it, this was against the law in Egypt. Yet only those who followed G-d were redeemed, the rest experienced a taste of judgment during the plague of the slaying of the firstborn. As you prepare to observe Passover, remembering the Cross of Messiah Yeshua, why not also remember the call which was placed upon those who came out of Egypt, namely, to be a holy people, sanctified for the things of G-d and not to embrace the ways of this world.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Passover
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