Netzarim, Original followers of Yeshua & His 12
TODAY'S SHABBAT LESSON:
Parashah 33: B'chukkotai (By my regulations), Leviticus 26:3 - 27:34; Haftarah reading: Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14. B'rit Hadasha suggested reading: John 14:15-21; 15:10-12; 1 John.
Both Leviticus 25 and 26, when read in context, reveals the remarkable social pattern our God set up - the underlying message being: Fair treatment and honesty, with everyone obeying the rules so that everyone is "on the same sheet of music; and, everything belongs to YHWH! Whenever we borrow from what has been consecrated to Him, it must be returned with with an addition (one-fifth). In this way, the society of our Creator is self-sustaining. Compare this to today's world governments which oppress the poor with high costs, punish the productive with great taxes on their productivity, and emphasize massive debt and double-digit growth over self-sustaining growth which renews itself every 50 years! Oh! If only we would all obey YHWH's guidance!
In Leviticus 26 the first thing we see is YHWH telling His people "not to make any idols, erect a carved statue or a standing-stone, or place any carved stone anywhere in your land in order to bow down to it" (Lev. 26:1). Here, He is clear that HE alone is God! Note, this isn't referring to the hanging pictures of our children on the walls, or putting a carved image of a horse or whatever on our living room tables; it refers directly to idols - things we worship.
This would include statues or images of things borrowed from other religions, such as Buddha or Krishna or whatever else some people consider "god." In all honesty, we shouldn't put up crosses, either, because crosses in Yeshua's day symbolized pagan death devices....Not to mention, hanging Jesus hanging on a cross on your living room wall, or dangling from your rearview mirror denotes DEATH; you're showing the world that you worship a "dead god"....Yes, Yeshua died on our behalf, but it's the RESURRECTION that matters, not the brutal and inhumane way in which He was killed.
Leviticus 26:2 says, "Keep my Shabbats and revere my sanctuary; I am ADONAI." Note "Shabbats" is plural, indicating not just the seventh Day Sabbath, but ALL of his holy Feasts. If you worship Him, you MUST OBEY His "forever" commands....Yeshua's death on the stake did not in any way supersede or negate that fact! (Please see http://therefinersfire.org/torah_rules1.htm)
And in today's Parasha YHWH goes on to explain what He will do for us when we obey....
Leviticus 26: 3 "'If you live by my regulations, observe my mitzvot and obey them; 4 then I will provide the rain you need in its season, the land will yield its produce, and the trees in the field will yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing time will extend until the grape harvest, and your grape harvesting will extend until the time for sowing seed. You will eat as much food as you want and live securely in your land. 6 "'I will give shalom in the land -you will lie down to sleep unafraid of anyone. I will rid the land of wild animals. The sword will not go through your land. 7 You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall before your sword. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand -your enemies will fall before your sword. 9 "'I will turn toward you, make you productive, increase your numbers and uphold my covenant with you. 10 You will eat all you want from last year's harvest and throw out what remains of the old to make room for the new. 11 I will put my tabernacle among you, and I will not reject you, 12 but I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would not be their slaves. I have broken the bars of your yoke, so that you can walk upright.
....While 14-46 advise in gory detail what happens when we do not....
Leviticus 26: 14 "'But if you will not listen to me and obey all these mitzvot, 15 if you loathe my regulations and reject my rulings, in order not to obey all my mitzvot but cancel my covenant; 16 then I, for my part, will do this to you: I will bring terror upon you -wasting disease and chronic fever to dim your sight and sap your strength. You will sow your seed for nothing, because your enemies will eat the crops. 17 I will set my face against you - your enemies will defeat you, those who hate you will hound you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you. 18 If these things don't make you listen to me, then I will discipline you seven times over for your sins. 19 I will break the pride you have in your own power. I will make your sky like iron, your soil like bronze - 20 you will spend your strength in vain, because the land will not yield its produce or the trees in the field their fruit.
21 "'Yes, if you go against me and don't listen to me, I will increase your calamities sevenfold, according to your sins. 22 I will send wild animals among you; they will rob you of your children, destroy your livestock and reduce your numbers, until your roads are deserted. 23 "'If, in spite of all this, you refuse my correction and still go against me; 24 then I too will go against you; and I, yes I, will strike you seven times over for your sins. 25 I will bring a sword against you which will execute the vengeance of the covenant. You will be huddled inside your cities, I will send sickness among you, and you will be handed over to the power of the enemy. 26 I will cut off your supply of bread, so that ten women will bake your bread in one oven and dole out your bread by weight, and you will eat but not be satisfied. 27 "'And if, for all this, you still will not listen to me, but go against me; 28 then I will go against you furiously, and I also will chastise you yet seven times more for your sins.
29 You will eat the flesh of your own sons, you will eat the flesh of your own daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your pillars for sun-worship, and throw your carcasses on the carcasses of your idols; and I will detest you. 31 I will lay waste to your cities and make your sanctuaries desolate, so as not to smell your fragrant aromas. 32 I will desolate the land, so that your enemies living in it will be astounded by it. 33 You I will disperse among the nations, and I will draw out the sword in pursuit after you; your land will be a desolation and your cities a wasteland. 34 Then, at last, the land will be paid its Shabbats. As long as it lies desolate and you are in the lands of your enemies, the land will rest and be repaid its Shabbats. 35 Yes, as long as it lies desolate it will have rest, the rest it did not have during your Shabbats, when you lived there.
36 As for those of you who are left, I will fill their hearts with anxiety in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf will frighten them, so that they will flee as one flees from the sword and fall when no one is pursuing. 37 Yes, with no one pursuing they will stumble over each other as if fleeing the sword - you will have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 And among the nations you will perish; the land of your enemies will devour you. 39 Those of you who remain will pine away in the lands of your enemies from guilt over your misdeeds and those of your ancestors. 40 Then they will confess their misdeeds and those of their ancestors which they committed against me in their rebellion; they will admit that they went against me. 41 At that time I will be going against them, bringing them into the lands of their enemies. But if their uncircumcised hearts will grow humble, and they are paid the punishment for their misdeeds;
42 then I will remember my covenant with Ya'akov, also my covenant with Yitz'chak and my covenant with Avraham; and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will lie abandoned without them, and it will be paid its Shabbats while it lies desolate without them; and they will be paid the punishment for their misdeeds, because they rejected my rulings and loathed my regulations. 44 Yet, in spite of all that, I will not reject them when they are in the lands of their enemies, nor will I loathe them to the point of utterly destroying them and thus break my covenant with them, because I am ADONAI their God. 45 Rather, for their sakes, I will remember the covenant of their ancestors whom I brought out of the land of Egypt -with the nations watching -so that I might be their God; I am ADONAI.'" 46 These are the laws, rulings and teachings that ADONAI himself gave to the people of Isra'el on Mount Sinai through Moshe.
Most people today are under the erroneous impression that YHWH's rules were "just Old Testament stuff" or that they applied "only to the Jews." Throughout the Tanach, however, we see how adamant YHWH was about His people being holy. It's all about holiness! Did His rules for holiness change just because "Jesus died"? NO - He still expects obedience! The only thing that changed is that today's believers no longer have to kill innocent animals to atone for their sins because Yeshua - the Torah observant, tallit-wearing, Seventh Day Sabbath and Feast-keeping kosher JEW was our Final SIN Sacrifice! He didn't come to abolish anything His Father said.
Matthew 5: 17. Do not think that I have come to loosen  Torah or the prophets, I have not come to loosen but to fulfill.  18. For truly I say to you that until heaven and earth pass away not one Yodh or one stroke will pass from Torah until everything happens. 19. All who loosen, therefore, from one (of) these small commandments and teach thus to the sons of man, will be called little in the Kingdom of Heaven, but all who do and teach this will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20. For I say to you that unless your righteousness exceeds more than that of the scribes and the Pharisees,  you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
 Deuteronomy4:2; 13:1. Y’shua at no time “loosened” either Torah or the Prophets! The prophetic Word YHWH gave to His prophets cannot be loosed or annulled, and neither can the Torah of YHWH. These are two witnesses that stand as One. The Word of YHWH is both Torah (instruction in righteousness) and Prophecy declaring, foretelling and revealing the Will of YHWH to each generation.
 “Fulfill” means to carry out or to bring to realization, to perform or do, as in a person’s duty; or to obey or follow the Commandments, as in satisfying the Commandments by obeying them, Isaiah 42:21 “YHWH is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify Torah, and make him (it) honorable.” Isaiah 42 reveals the work of Mashiyach; we have full prophetic assurance that Mashiyach would never annul Torah; rather he magnified Torah and wrote Torah upon the hearts and imaginations of his people. Y’shua carried out (fulfilled) the prophecies regarding Mashiyach. He carried them out, made them happen, just like he performed Torah which was his duty and obligation as Mashiyach; otherwise he would not have qualified to be Mashiyach ben Yoseph.
 Y’shua would certainly not mention “the Pharisees” in this context, except that they walked in a degree of righteousness. Most ancient and modern Pharisees (Orthodox) have disciplined and righteous lifestyles; therefore Y’shua is stating the difference. As the Ruach haKodesh writes Torah upon the hearts of his followers, they will surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees who elevate tradition rather than Torah. Those without Torah have no righteousness, and they are certainly not “borrowing” any from Mashiyach’s righteousness while they continue in sin, regardless of what their theologians have to say. Mashiyach imparts his righteousness to those who follow him, and keep Torah. Through Y’shua, YHWH is raising up a Set Apart people who Keep His Commandments rather than making up their own religious traditions.
Take a look at Leviticus 26:9 which says: "I will turn toward you, make you productive, increase your numbers and uphold my covenant with you."
That is a powerful statement when you consider how valuable and productive His "Chosen People" have been to this world! Please see http://www.jinfo.org/Nobel_Prizes.html and http://www.science.co.il/Nobel.asp which shows that Jews currently make up approximately 0.25% of the world's population and 2% of the US population, yet they also comprise the greatest percentage of Nobel Prize Winners:
Also - check out facts about Jews in places such as Aish.Com (http://www.aish.com/jl/h/48951681.html ) where it talks, in part about how the key tools of navigators in Columbus' time were of Jewish manufacture, and included the "quadrant and the astrolabe". The article at Aish states that the type of quadrant in use at the time was called "Jacob's Staff which had been invented by Rabbi Levi ben Gershon", and also that "Jews had a virtual monopoly at map making then, culling information from Jewish merchants from all over the known world".
HOWEVER! Look at what has happened to the Land of Israel because "the Jews" (which includes all those who are part of spiritual Israel through their belief in Messiah Yeshua) have allowed the Land to be defiled by "other gods" and people who do not worship YHWH according to HIS commandments! Israel is in a constant state of war and is divided today because of our disobedience - and the abomination of a Muslim mosque sitting on YHWH's Holy Temple Mount is ample evidence of that! YHWH constantly commanded that His People NOT allow themselves to become tainted with pagan customs and rituals; He even ordered the deaths of pagans and those who consorted with them...Yet take a look at Israel today: It's a place "the world" has made desolate with three religions perched around a Temple Mount that is ruled by a "foreign god"....
Only the return of Yeshua will remedy what has taken place in Israel today! Come Yeshua, come soon to fulfill the last few prophecies outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation!!! Cleanse this world of its filth. We need You to return this world to its original state wherein mankind lived for and obeyed the holy commands of Your Father!
Before I close today's lesson, I would like to draw your attention to a couple of other passages in today's lesson:
John 15: 10. If you keep my Commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept the Commandments of my Father, and I abide in His love. 11. I have spoken these things with you that my joy may be in you and that your joy might be full in you. 12. This is my Commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you.
Footnote: The “Commandments of my Father” always refers to Torah; see also John 15:5. Y’shua and his Talmidim (disciples) keep his Father’s Commandments, but mainstream Christianity is not only anti-Torah; they turned rebellion against Torah into a “fashionable” form of lawlessness. See Daniel 7:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 2 Timothy 2:19; Titus 2:14; 2 Peter 2:21; 1 John 3:4; Hebrews 2:2-4; Romans 4:15; Matthew 7:23; 13:41.
Note in the above that Yeshua was Torah observant; He kept the commandments of Torah! He said, "If you keep my Commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept the Commandments of my Father, and I abide in His love." Those two facts ("love" and "commandments") cannot be separated! To "love one another" is to share with each other the keeping of the commandments!
Jeremiah 17: 5 Here is what ADONAI says: "A curse on the person who trusts in humans, who relies on merely human strength, whose heart turns away from ADONAI. 6 He will be like a tamarisk in the 'Aravah - when relief comes, it is unaffected; for it lives in the sun-baked desert, in salty, uninhabited land. 7 Blessed is the man who trusts in ADONAI; ADONAI will be his security. 8 He will be like a tree planted near water; it spreads out its roots by the river; it does not notice when heat comes; and its foliage is luxuriant; it is not anxious in a year of drought but keeps on yielding fruit. 9 "The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it? 10 I, ADONAI, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve."
Today's lesson completed the studies of the Book of Leviticus. Therefore, we end our study with these words: Hazak, hazak, v'nit'chazek! (Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened!)
May the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) continue to work in all of us to not only help us better understand YHWH's Word so that we can keep striving for holiness in our lives, but also to keep us humble and ever willing to keep learning and obeying so that we may one day stand before Him to hear Him say: "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and I pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH.