Parashat Emor (Say) Leviticus 21:1-24:23 ; Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31


Parashat Emor (Say) Leviticus 21:1-24:23

Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31

Both in the reading from the Torah and the Prophets there are instructions concerning the cohenim (priests). One learns that although a man is born into a priestly family, he can lose the privilege of serving as a priest if he violates certain rules. One of these rules concerns marriage. Ezekiel echoes what the Torah portion states, namely that a priest can only marry a virgin. It is clearly stated that a priest may not marry a divorced woman.

Marriage is a highly important covenant in which HaShem has blessed humanity. One of its major purposes is to reflect the glory of G-d and serve as an example of the relationship that G-d has with His people. Ezekiel states that the priests serve as the teachers of the children of Israel. The question that needs to be asked is:  Is there is a relationship between marriage and communicating the truths of Scripture to others? The answer is absolutely.

Today there are gross violations of the Biblical admonitions concerning sexual purity and HaShem’s laws for marriage by the leaders among G-d’s people. By and large studies have shown than those who have acknowledged a faith in Messiah Yeshua do not behave differently in regard to these admonitions. There is not a significant difference in regard to the divorce rate for believers and non-believers. Those who are involved in leadership among G-d’s people similarly have violated these laws and principles, yet often they continue to serve in their capacity as leaders. When one stands for these Biblical standards, he is accused of being legalistic and not understanding the freedom and grace that is revealed in the New Covenant.

This is simply another example of how an ever increasing percentage of believers fail to understand the New Covenant concepts of freedom / liberty and grace. The freedom we have in Messiah is to be liberated from sin, both its punishment and its rule in our lives. People who accept the Gospel should have been motivated to do so because one of their primary desires is to turn away from sin. Messiah did not die so we could remain in sin, but by means of His Spirit, reflect a holiness that is demonstrated by obedience to His word. Grace teaches that we should deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. – Titus 2:12.

If the leaders refuse to follow these clear principles from the Bible, it only stands to reason that the people in general will not either. Perhaps this is why the “believing” community seems not to be having the influence in the world that the Scripture states we should. If we will not embrace the moral standards for marriage, but pursue the fleshly and selfish ways of the world, why would HaShem entrust to us the power and authority that would make us the salt and the light of the world?

This week’s reading from the Torah and the Prophets reveals that violators of Biblical truth are in essence blaspheming G-d. In other words, how you and I behave communicates to others our thoughts in regard to the Living L-rd.

Something to think about this Shabbat.

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