This week our parasha is Emor which means “Speak” and covers Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23. In this parasha we see God’s plan for redeeming us through the biblical holidays and that Adonai is the source of holiness.
We begin in Leviticus 21, which continues the theme of holiness found at the end of the previous chapter. Throughout this chapter, and Leviticus 22, the Lord gives us many specific commands. These regulations relate to the Aaronic Priesthood, how they are to act and what disqualifies them as priests. There are also several commands about what acceptable sacrifices are. In these two chapters Adonai’s commandments regarding hair, offerings, and staying clean are connected to holiness. We are repeatedly told to be holy, that these things the Lord is commanding us to do are holy, and that He is the source of holiness. Holiness comes from the Lord, and He is the one who transforms us and these objects from not holy to holy.
Holy is a word we use often, but to quote Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” Typically, holy in Hebrew is the word Kadosh, and in its most simple form refers to something being separate, set apart. The Lord is completely different than this universe and so is the source of holiness. There is none like Him.
Because Adonai is a holy God, we are commanded to be holy as He is holy. We need to act different than the rest of humanity, to be distinct and set apart. The Mosaic Covenant was given to our people to make us holy. To transform us from being fallen and broken like the rest of creation, into being more like our great Creator. The Lord determines who and what is holy since He is the source of holiness and the only one equipped to judge. So, the priesthood was not made holy because they kept their hair a certain way, or because they had on the right clothes. Holiness is more than just keeping a set of rules, checking off a list. They were holy because they chose to follow the commands of Adonai. Because they desired to do His will, they were different than the rest of humanity, and they were made holy by Adonai.
I’d like to skip ahead to Leviticus 24 before returning to Leviticus 23. In the final chapter of our parasha we have commands concerning the lamps that are to burn forever in the Lord’s tent, along with the show bread placed before the Lord. The parasha ends with a story about a blasphemer being executed and the Lord telling us that anyone who murders someone without cause is to be executed. Anyone who harms another should be harmed the same way and restitution must be made for crimes against others, this is true for our people and for those who are foreigners in our lands.
An entire Drasha series can be given on Leviticus 23, which contains all the biblical holidays. In fact, on our website we have a message about how Yeshua connects to the biblical Jewish holidays. Tomorrow I will be delivering a very similar message as well at a Church in XXX if you want to attend.
If you are a follower of Yeshua you should be familiar with each of the holidays in Leviticus 23. They are the blueprint for understanding God’s plan of redemption, as each holiday point us to Messiah Yeshua. He fulfilled the spring holidays with His first coming, and the fall holidays He will fulfill when He returns.
As we go through Leviticus 23 we see how God has a master plan to save fallen humanity revealed in the Jewish holidays. To reach the goal which the holidays point us to, we must start at the beginning of God’s calendar with the Sabbath. We must end our own works and enter the Sabbath rest that the Messiah alone provides. We must believe that Yeshua is the Passover Lamb who died for our sins, and that He is the sinless unleavened bread that was victorious over sin. We must believe that He is the fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits, the One who was raised from the dead. In fulfillment of Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks) you must receive His Spirit and become part of the Messianic Community.
We can then look forward to His return and take part in the Feast of Trumpets, connected today with Rosh Hashanah. As part of Yom Kippur, we need to remember that when He returns to planet Earth, judgment will take place. Those who believe in Him will not be condemned but have already passed out of judgment and into life. Then at the very end, we will be welcomed into that glorious and eternal kingdom awaiting redeemed humanity. We that have been reconciled to the God of Israel, through the wonderful Messiah whom He sent, will reign with Him forever and ever, which is the fulfillment of the Feast of Sukkot. If you want to know more about these holidays, how they connect to Messiah, and God’s plan for salvation you can find it on our website or come hear me speak on it tomorrow.
So parasha Emor has the Lord speaking to us about many important things. But the key to understanding the holidays and the commandments is that they were given by the Lord to make us holy, set apart and different, like He is.
When the Lord speaks there are only two choices we have, to follow or to forsake. To choose to listen to His commands and allow Him to transform us or choose that we know better and walk away from Him. But there is no backdoor into heaven, no alternative way to become holy. In the days of Moses, we came to Him through the Sinai Covenant, today the path has been laid in the blood of our wonderful Messiah.
Parasha Emor challenges us to really examine if we are being made holy or if we have allowed sin to entangle us. The Lord is faithful to forgive us all our sins, if we confess them, and to make us holy through the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua. May the Lord, the source of Holiness, make us all completely holy, may each of us be transformed every day to be closer to the image of holiness found in Messiah Yeshua.