Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/Kidoshim

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Kedoshim Leviticus 19:1- 20:27

"And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Yisrael, and say unto them, You shall be Holy: for I Yahweh your Elohim am holy. You shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths: I am Yahweh your Elohim. Turn you not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am Yahweh your Elohim. " Leviticus 19:1-4

'Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I Yahweh am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine' Leviticus :26).

The word qodesh in Hebrew is the equivalent of holy and means to 'separate' or 'a setting apart from'. This means that when something is 'set apart' it is no longer available for general use, but separated and designated specifically for Yahweh. Likewise, when a man marries and puts the ring on his bride's finger, he proclaims, "With this act you have become sanctified to me - separated from the entire world and specifically designated only for me."

Kedoshim means holy, set aside for a special purpose, different from others. When He demands of His people to be holy, He means that they must elevate themselves above the mundane materialistic world and conduct themselves in an exalted way which reflects His holiness.

The overriding premise of Kedoshim begins and closes with the admonition to the children of Israel to be holy, for Yahweh is holy. In between is a list of 'dos and don'ts' that promote this requirement for the pursuit of holiness. From simple ways to handle harvest, labor and foreign relations, to restrictions about occult and deviant sexual activity, the wide variety of instructions are all designed to set apart a sanctified people for the pleasure of Yahweh.


The parashah deals with issues of holiness:

19:3 Parents 19:4 Idols 19:5-8 Holy meat

19:9-11 Property 19:12 Swearing 19:13-15 Oppression

19:16-18 Gossip/ Hate/Vengeance 19:19 Mixed crops/cattle 19:20-22 Relations with a slave

19:23-25 Fruit of the land 19:26 Blood/ divination 19:27-28 Hair/ tattoos/cuttings

19:29 Child concubinage 19:30 Shabbat 19:31 Spiritism

19:32 Honoring elderly 19:33-34 Protecting aliens 19:35-37 Just measures

20:1-5 Molech/ child sacrifice 20:6-8 Spiritism 20:9 Cursing parents

20:10 Adultery 20:11-12 Incest 20:13-21 Sexual sins


As one meditates upon each of these mitzvot(commandments), a sense of protection from the wickedness of the world system comes to mind. Even though the thought of participating in many of these activities has never been considered, the sad reality is these depraved activities do occur in many civilizations. Sadly, even in the Judeo/Christian culture of America, the laxity of moral codes and basic human ethics is fostering a proliferation of many of these formerly illegal actions. One could readily conclude from observing the society that surrounds us that we are definitely in the Last Days that Paul warned Timothy about in his final epistle.

'But know this, that in the last days hard times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves,lovers of money, boastful, arrogant,blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful,unholy, without natural affection,irreconcilable, malicious slanderers, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, betrayers,reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of piety, although they have denied its power; and turn away from such men as these ' (2 Timotheos/Timothy 3:1-5).

When you take a look at this list of how men would behave in the Last Days, you can readily detect that each of these despicable end-time characteristics are almost part and parcel with men ignoring the list of commandments detailed in Kedoshim.

Rather than focus on all of the negative aspects of Kedoshim, one small section of the reading had to do with actions among the people, brethren and neighbors of Israel. The positive commandments about how we should treat our neighbors is something that we will consider, as the distinction of our walk with the Messiah of Israel should testify that we are indeed the people of Israel.

When Yeshua came to us, He came as the Holy One of God. The disciples of Yeshua called Him by this title. (John 6:69) Even the demons recognized Him as the Holy One of God. (Mark 1:24) Yeshua is called the Holy One of God because His holiness is derived directly from obeying the Father's commandments. He said, “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” (John 8:28) And again he says, “I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10) He always did the Father's will (Luke 22:42) He was the embodiment of the Word of God, the commandments lived out in a human being, as He said, “He who has seen me, has seen the Father.” (John 14:9), because the commandments are an expression of the nature and character of God. They are a revelation of godliness (God-like-ness). Therefore by keeping His commandments, we are conforming ourselves to His standards of behaviour and become reflections of His character and nature - His person, being holy, as He is holy.

Not that we become god-like by an external performance of the commandments given to us, but that when we do them from the heart as an act of obedience, His Word by the operation of His Spirit, sanctifies us (i.e. makes us holy), as Yeshua said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him". His Word is the Father's commandments which He kept. We become holy by His indwelling presence as a result of keeping the Word of God. John 14:15-23; 17:17


Obeying the Commandments

The holiness that Yahweh sets before us, therefore, in the passage of scripture above, can only be accomplished by setting oneself apart from all that is sinful, impure, and morally imperfect. The Torah tells us that we are to become holy in every area of our lives. Yahweh's concern in all the instructions that He gives us is that we would not think like, worship like or live like the nations around about us. He called His people to be to be radically different so that they were a testimony and a reflection of His own nature and character. The essential attributes of holiness, which is the nature of God, requires putting forth a diligent effort on our part, and will require an exertion of one’s own free will to achieve, involving the denial of our own inclinations and reasonings which have been formed by those around us.

The holiness of Yahweh is the essential attribute of His divine nature. All moral law and perfection have its eternal origin and unchangeable basis in His own nature. Therefore, His eternal holiness revealed to men sets before them the highest goal of their aspiration, their hope, and their endeavor to honor and live before His divine presence.

The motivation of the instruction to be holy is centred in the fact that He is holy. We are to be imitators of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. We do not earn merit or greater acceptance with Him by obeying His commands to separate ourselves from all that is contrary to Him. His love is unconditional toward us and is based on the merits of Yeshua's atonement for us alone and not by any attempt on our part to gain favour with God. But we are able to come closer to Him when we remove the unclean things which separate us from Him. Isaiah 59: 1-2

Our motivation should be that because He is holy and He is our Father, in love we want to respond to His goodness to us and be like Him, and bless Him with our obedience to His commands, which are for our good. By so doing we honour His parental care of us and magnify Him in the sight of the world.

Many of the commandments were given so that the Hebrew people would be different from other nations and so that they would not look like the idol worshippers who used to shave off their sideburns and the corners of their beards or tattooing themselves, see Jeremiah 7:25-26. Also that they would not practice their divination and sorcery.

Yeshua said, "You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy’— Loving your neighbor is a commandment from the parashah for this week (Lev 19:18). Hating your enemy is not a biblical commandment. Nor is it found in any Jewish literature. What could Yeshua have been referring to? Matthew 5:43-48

Hating the enemy in first century Judaism — It may very well have been that Yeshua referred to a popular saying, but one can easily see how he was referring to an attitude prevalent in first century Judaism: hatred for Rome (and for opposing religious and political parties). One of Yeshua’s messages for his generation was to love the enemy, to turn the other cheek when insulted, and to go the extra mile when conscripted into labor. Israel was dominated by Rome for a reason — or not following God. Yeshua taught that the way for Israel to be free from Rome was to follow God, not to start a revolution.

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven, because He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have. Do not the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you be perfect,l, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect ' (Mattityahu/Matthew 5:43-48).

This is the measure of the standard of holiness which Yeshua set for His people. This is the perfection of the law, which is the standard of holiness found in Yeshua, the express image of the Father's Person - the Word made flesh. We are called to allow His Word to dwell in us in all its fullness working out in us His holiness

We love, because he first loved us."(1 John 4:19HNV revised) Our love is in direct proportion to the amount of love we have received from the Father. In other words, if we cultivate our relationship with Him, we will be able to receive of His love and then we will be able to love our neighbor in the same way that we are loved by our Father.

Interestingly, He concludes this admonition by reminding His listeners that they needed to be perfect or holy, just as the Father is perfect or holy. Of course this degree of holiness or perfection can only be obtained from the imputed righteousness available by the atoning blood of the Messiah.


The Process of Becoming Holy

The last two Torah parashot have focused upon the mercy seat of Yahweh and its significance, with the blood of the sacrifice sprinkled upon the mercy seat representing that forgiveness of our sins is only possible by Yahweh’ grace and His mercy, and not because of any work that we have done. We have come to understand that our sins are blotted out through substitutionary atonement. This is also known as regeneration and justification. This imparts to us a new nature which is the first requirement to becoming 'holy'. Without this impartation of His divine nature it is impossible to achieve god-like-ness through any of our own efforts. Justification does not make one righteous, neither does it bestow righteousness, but rather what it does, is to declare a person potentially to be justified before Yahweh. That is, our sins are remitted or put away from us by the sacrificial atonement of Yeshua in dying for us and being cleansed by His blood. So the sinner now becomes righteous in Yahweh’ sight when he is in Messiah Yeshua. Once we have become justified before Yahweh, we now need to become sanctified by setting ourselves apart from that which is sinful, impure, and morally imperfect. There is a need to change our former lifestyle by taking heed to the Word of God and following its directions for living.

Perhaps the most oft quoted reference is described in triplicate by the gospel accounts of Matthew,Mark, and Luke. When Yeshua was asked what the greatest commandment was he responded with the following coupling. 'Yeshua answered, 'The foremost is: 'Hear,O Yisrael! Adonai is our God; Adonai is one; and you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. 'The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no other commandment greater than these.' And the scribe said to Him, 'Very well, Teacher, You have truly stated that He is One; and that there is no one else except Him;and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,and to love one's neighbor as himself,abounds all the more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.' And when Yeshua saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, 'You are not far from the Kingdom of God.' And after that, no one had the courage to ask Him any more questions' (Mark12:29-34).

If you look at these three separate passages you will detect that the two questions had three similar but not identical answers recorded by the three different gospel writers. Each coupled the question about what was the greatest commandment or how might one inherit eternal life with the concept of loving the Father with all one's heart, mind, soul and strength. This was considered the First Commandment and the requirement to love one's neighbor as himself was coupled as the Second.

So when you boil it all down, and consider the referenced verses in Kedoshim, they lay the very foundation for one of the most important commandments in the Holy Writ. Many refer to this as the 'Golden Rule' or 'doing unto others what you would have them do unto you.' Remember after loving our Heavenly Father, we are supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves. If you take the time to do some introspection, you might realize that obedience to the second greatest commandment is more theory than reality in your life.

"We love, because he first loved us."(1 John 4:19HNV revised) Our love is in direct proportion to the amount of love we have received from the Father. In other words, if we cultivate our relationship with Him, we will be able to receive of His love and then we will be able to love our neighbor in the same way that we are loved by our Father.

Interestingly, He concludes this admonition by reminding His listeners that they needed to be perfect or holy, just as the Father is perfect or holy. Of course this degree of holiness or perfection can only be obtained from the imputed righteousness available by the atoning blood of the Messiah.


Positional Sanctification:

There are three aspects of sanctification. The first aspect is positional, which is achieved once we are justified before Yahweh. When we make a decision to follow Yeshua, He stands before Yahweh the Holy One who judges and judicially declares righteous the sinner who believes in Him. And the justified believer then emerges from Yahweh’ eternal court room with a consciousness that Yeshua is now his substitute, and has borne his guilt, penalty and punishment and that he/she now stands without accusation before Yahweh. The believer has the Position of being "justified" - just-as-if he had never sinned. He has been made righteous on the basis of Yeshua's atonement for him which is not based on anything that he has done other than putting his trust in that work of atonement and receiving the undeserved benefit and mercy from Yahweh. This first step of positional sanctification, therefore, becomes the possession of everyone who comes to faith in Messiah Yeshua. But our 'salvation' - that which we have inherited, needs to be made our possession and incorporated into our lives. We are exhorted to - "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" Philippians 2:12 As we go onwards in our pilgrim journey of being conformed to His likeness, it requires our faith in the same grace and mercy from Yahweh to appropriate the promises by faith in His son, Yeshua. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see Yahweh. " Hebrews 12:14


Experiential Sanctification Today, as well as long ago, His people are constantly faced with the people of the surrounding nations whose amoral sexual and religious practices ran contrary to the holiness of Yahweh. It was always Yahweh’s will that His divine presence would rest in the midst of the entire assembly of the children of Yisrael, and that they would elevate themselves to be consecrated to His calling of being a holy people. This aspect of sanctification takes one’s lifestyle to task as it relates to becoming changed to be like Yahweh Himself. The philosophical doctrine of men runs counterproductive to the words and instructions of life given Israel from Yahweh. To have experientially real sanctification, requires us to exert authority over sin by coming out of its clutches by choosing to separate ourselves from it. This form of sanctification is actual holiness whereby we separate ourselves from all forms of idolatry, impurity of lifestyle, and immorality. For Yahweh says that He has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. That means that we have to change.

We need to establish a different set of standards and life-purpose for ourselves than those in the world. Because of that, we will often be at variance with them and unable to join in their pattern of living. Therefore, "Come out from among them and be separate says Yahweh, do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says Yahweh the Almighty' Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the sight of God" 2 Corinthians 6:17-7: 1

The world may entertain itself on a diet of impurity contrary to Yahweh’ commandments, but we refuse to sell our birthright as did Esau to gratify our fleshly desires. The Presence of God will reside only in a holy place. The Master’s power was derived directly from the Holy Spirit; that is, the Spirit of the Holy God, which rested upon Him and moved through Him without measure. Finally, the Master’s holiness is derived from His imitation of the Father. Inasmuch as the commandments are the definitions of holiness, Messiah is likewise defined by the commandments because He kept them. Therefore, He was able to fulfill the commandment “You shall be holy, for I Yahweh your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2) His holiness is a complete holiness. There are no holes in his holiness. For us, sin is a hole in the holiness. Each sin is an area of life where we have failed to uphold the standard of separation and change our orientation to the values and lifestyle of this world.


Ultimate Sanctification:

"For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. " To the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to Yahweh the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Yeshua the mediator of the renewed covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks of better things than that of Abel. " Hebrews 12:3-4; Hebrews 12:23-24 The blood of Yeshua which effected the covenant atones completely for all sin and therefore is powerful and effective to deliver us from the power of sin in all its forms. We are given exceedingly great promises whereby we may be partakers of the divine nature and come to the perfection of walking in His divine love and truth. 2 Peter 1: 2-11

He is able to present us faultless before His Presence (Jude 24-25) if we but give the diligence to appropriate what He has purchased for us and promised to us as our inheritance. The complete and ultimate glorification and conformity to the likeness of God will be at Messiah Yeshua’s coming to those who have been walking in conformity to His will, according to His commandments.


Faithfulness to Yahweh’s call to Holiness.

Because Yahweh’ people are to bear His name (Yisrael), they are to be like Him and reflect His divine nature by manifesting a separate lifestyle from the ungodly customs and sins of the surrounding nations. This manifestation of sanctification can only be expressed with a devotion to serving Yahweh in gladness and righteousness. For if we love Yahweh then we will keep His commands and detest those things which He abhors, and love those things which He cherishes. His commandments are not burdensome to those who love Him.

Choosing those things which please Him goes beyond "not breaking the commandments." In fact, it is taught that it is possible for someone to live a very "un-holy" life without really breaking any of the written commandments. For example, if someone sat home every day and overate kosher food, they are not technically breaking a moral commandment. However, that is not "holy" behaviour - whatever is centred in self is sinful. Rather, "holy" means to take the physical aspects of life and elevate them to achieve a harmony with the spiritual aspect of divine life - to live as Yeshua would motivate you to live in this world in your circumstances of life.

In Leviticus 19:2-3 where Yahweh says, "You shall be holy since I, God, Yahweh your God, am holy", it goes on to give the instructions in the outworking of that holiness. Every man should revere his mother and his father and you should observe my Sabbaths etc. , on through the moral and ceremonial laws - "I am Yahweh your God". Why does God command us to be holy and then list dozens of commandments in order to achieve this goal? The commandments become a blueprint to follow to achieve the desired end. The mirror and reflection of His holiness. What is necessary is that we become a "hearer and a doer" of the Word - the Torah.

The New Covenant tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 We must permeate our hearing, and thereby our lives, with the holy words of God in order to be made holy. How can a person obey Yahweh if he does not know what He has instructed us?

To be holy is to be obedient to the concepts and precepts of Torah because Torah is the expressed will of Yahweh God in writing. Only by practicing what is written does one become holy, and the motivation to do so must come from the heart. With a willingness of heart there is a joyful performance of His Word rather than a dutiful compliance.