Parashiot Behar (On the Mountain) Leviticus 25:1-26:2
B’chukotai (In My Statutes) Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
This Sabbath is called Shabbat Chazak because we finish one of the five books of the Torah-Leviticus. There are two Torah portions read and we read the Haftarah from the second parasha, B’chukotai. Jeremiah informs Israel that there will be many hard times for the Jewish people. Not only does he speak about the Babylonian exile which is imminent, but also a future great tribulation that will come upon Israel in the last days. Therefore it is not surprising that in our section Jeremiah speaks about HaShem as a source of strength and refuge for His people,
“The L-rd is my strength and my stronghold and my refuge in the day of trouble…”
In other words, when tribulation comes upon the world in the last days G-d will manifest His protection to His people in a supernatural manner. In this same verse the prophet speaks about how the nations will respond when they see HaShem’s faithfulness to the Jewish people during this period,
“…unto You (HaShem) nations will come, (even) from the ends of the earth and they will say ‘Only falsehood our forefathers inherited- vanity is not beneficial.”
This section of the verse speaks about a future day when the nations, who have been pursuing things in contrast to the plans, purposes, and the character of G-d will in the last days fall under conviction and realize that it is the G-d of Israel, Who is the true G-d and turn to Him.
It is important that one understand what will cause nations / gentiles to turn to HaShem during this period. Jeremiah announces in verses fourteen and fifteen,
“Therefore, behold- the days are coming says HaShem when it will no longer be said, ‘As HaShem lives Who lifted the Children of Israel from the land of Egypt. Rather, As HaShem lives Who lifted the Children of Israel from the north land and from all countries which He scattered them there and Who will return them upon their land which I (HaShem) gave to their fathers.”
Once again we see the necessity for the Jewish people to return to the land of Israel not only prior to the Kingdom being established, but HaShem’s faithfulness to the Jewish people will cause many gentiles to take note of Him and turn to Him. In other words G-d is not finished with Israel, neither the people nor the land. Why will HaShem bring the people back to the land of Israel? G-d will bring the people back to the land so when Messiah returns,
“…they will look upon Him Whom they pierced…” Zechariah 21:10
HaShem will return the Jewish people back to Israel in the last days and this group will represent but a remnant of the Jewish people throughout history, but this group will see the Second Coming of Messiah and as the prophet Zechariah says later on in his prophecy, they will respond to Yeshua by mourning His death which they had not recognized as a nation when He came the first time. This mourning implies not just recognition of Yeshua but an acceptance of Him as Messiah.
It is important that one sees the proper picture of redemption in the last days, both Jew and Gentile responding to Messiah and coming together to worship the G-d of Israel. This truth is reflected in the book that is traditional to study prior to the festival of Shavuot- Ruth. The book of Ruth pictures redemption beautifully, as Boaz symbolizes the Redeemer, i.e. Messiah and he blesses through redemption both Naomi, a Jewish woman and Ruth, a Gentile woman. Notice that both Naomi and Ruth come out of Moab and return to Israel as a prerequisite for the redemption to come. This is exactly the point one learns from Jeremiah.
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