Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/Acharei Mot

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Acharei Mot- After the Death Leviticus16:1-18:30; Amos 9:7-15

Leviticus 16 begins, “Now Yahweh spoke to Moshe after the death of Nadab and Abihu.” The death of Nadab and Abihu happened in Leviticus 10. Leviticus 16 is the logical successor to Leviticus 10, describing how to cleanse the sanctuary from the uncleanness caused by Nadab and Abihu. They had polluted the sanctuary in two ways: their sin and their death inside the sacred area (corpses were unclean). The laws of impurities were placed between Chapters 10 and 16 to explain other causes of pollution requiring the annual day of purgation (atonement).

The Day of Atonement

On that day, the High Priest immersed (in a mikvah) five times, and washed his hands and feet from the kiyyor ("basin") that stood before the Sanctuary ten times: each time he changed his clothes, he was required to immerse once, and wash twice (once before removing the first set of clothes, and again after dressing in the second set). For there were five sets of services performed by him on that day:

1) The regular morning services, performed in the "golden garments" throughout the year).

2) The special services of the day (reciting the confession over the Yom Kippur offerings, casting the lots, entering the Holy of Holies to offer the ketoret and to sprinkle the blood of the Yom Kippur offerings)--performed in the linen garments.

3) The two rams brought as "ascending offerings" and the day's musaf offerings--in the golden garments.

4) returning to the Holy of Holies to remove the pan of burning incense--in linen garments.

5) the regular afternoon services--in the golden garments.

Priests offered bulls for their own cleansing (Lev. 4:3). A bull was the most expensive sacrificial animal and was required to cleanse the priest to make him fit to perform the ministry to cleanse others. (Vs.11) "He shall put incense on the fire before Yahweh that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat" The altar of incense was usually in the outer room of the sanctuary, but on Yom Kippur (The Day of Purgation) it was brought behind the veil to the inner room, the Holy of Holies. The incense smoke was a protection from the glory of God so that the priest would not die. (Vs.13) In order to enter the presence of the Shekhinah (glorious presence) the High Priest needed two protections: a sacrifice for purification from uncleanness for himself and incense to shelter him from God’s holiness.

"Then he shall slaughter the goat of the purification offering" (v.15) Usually a purification offering for the whole congregation would be a bull, as for the priest (Lev. 4:14). The offering for a leader of the people was a male goat (Lev. 4:23), which is what God prescribes for Yom Kippur. In this case, the male goat is for the people as a whole. As with the bull, the blood is sprinkled 7 times in front of the ark. The number of sprinklings suggests complete cleansing. Thus the climax of holiness is reached in the ceremony of purification performed in the Sanctuary on the Day of Atonement.

The Two Goats

“When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. 21 “Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat,and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. 22 “The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. Leviticus16:-22

What Aaron, as the High Priest of Israel, is being instructed to do regarding the laying on of hands upon the goat designated to receive the sins of Israel and what Messiah Yeshua did on our behalf as part of the people of Israel.

During this ceremony two goats of equal size and appearance are taken. One goes “toward God” and the other “away from God" Aaron as High Priest has been empowered to atone for the holy place, the tent of meeting and the altar. In order to do this he will offer one of the goats as a sacrifice. Then he is to lay his hands upon the head of the other goat and confess the sins of the people. After doing this, the goat is to be led away into the wilderness with the sins of the nation of Israel upon its head.

In later times the goat was taken away from the city into the wilderness, twelve miles up the mountain and shoved over the cliff where it’s bowels burst open on the rocks, to ensure it would not return to the camp and later to Jerusalem. (see Acts 1:16-19) . As the scapegoat was led away the people knew that now their sins were also forgotten, in fact they were ‘removed from the congregation.’ Yoma 6:8 says “a strip of crimson wool was tied to the door of the sanctuary and when the he-goat reached the wilderness the strip turned white; as it is said, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as the snow.'"

The goat becomes a sin-bearer, an idea that is repeated in Isaiah 53:6, “Yahweh has laid upon him the iniquities of us all.” Now we see the closest thing in the Torah to the cross. Whereas sacrifices cleansed the sanctuary and the land, the scapegoat removed sins from the people. The rabbis said the sacrifices purged the Temple, but the scapegoat purged Israel’s sins.

Sacrifices for Sin

We do not appreciate the extent of how God views our sins. In verse 21 sin is described as iniquities and transgression. The Hebrew word for iniquity carries the meaning of perversity, depravity, iniquity and guilt. This implies much more than what we consider to be sin. God takes sin to a whole other level. While we may mouth pretty prayers about the sinners we are, do we really understand that we are sinners. Each and every one of us is a sinner before the face of God. Our sin causes us not be able to stand in the presence of God or else we would die. It is only through the intercession of the High Priest of Israel that a temporary covering was placed over Israel that cleansed them in the eyes of God.

In addition to the sin or iniquity, Aaron also placed upon the goat the transgressions of Israel. In Hebrew the word is ‘pesha’ and means transgression or rebellion. While these are two different words they mean essentially the same thing because to transgress against God is to disobey His commandments and that constitutes rebellion. Remember the first sin committed was by Adam and Eve (Chava) disobeying a direct command from God not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

This was not mere disobedience but direct rebellion and transgression of a command from God. No matter how God defines sin in the Torah or how many various sins He shows us the basic sin is transgression and rebellion against the word of God. The New Covenant defines sin as this: Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4

The Greek word for lawlessness is ‘anomia’ which the opposite of ‘nomos’ which means law and is the equivalent to the Hebrew word Torah. So sin is defined by the Apostle John as transgressing the Torah.

5771‘avown(2 Ki 7:9, Ps 51:5 [7]) {aw-vone’}Meaning:perversity,depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity

5588[v;peh'-shah}Meaning:rebellion, transgression (nation against nation), transgression(against God), in general, as recognized by sinner, as God deals with it, as God forgives, guilt of transgression, punishment for transgression, offering for transgression

3034hd’y"yadah{yaw-daw’} Meaning:to throw, shoot, cast, to shoot (arrows), to give thanks, laud,praise, to confess, confess (the name of God), to confess (sin), to give thanks

The Hebrew word for confess is ‘yadah’ and carries a similar meaning and is connected to the Hebrew word ‘yarah’ and is used in connection with describing the purpose of the Torah. The Torah becomes the arrow that is shot at its mark, us, and when it hits its mark it should convict us of our sin and cause us to desire to fix the problem.

What Yahweh is communicating in Leviticus, especially through verses like 16:16 and 15:31, is that His presence could not remain in a land of sinful men and women unless sin and impurity was constantly cleansed through the means he provided. These included daily sacrifices, morning and evening, additional sacrifices for Shabbat and holy days, additional sacrifices and ritual washings for various circumstances, and the continual ministry of the priests. If the land needed to be cleansed so God could remain in it, how much more will we need to be cleansed in order to appear before God.

The Blood Atonement

Leviticus 17:11 is a crucial Scripture theologically regarding the blood atonement. For believers in Yeshua the message of Messiah and him crucified addresses this issue. The importance of the blood of the Lamb in the atonement for sins as well as in overcoming sin, sickness (1 Peter 2:24) and the powers of hell (Rev. 12:11) cannot be over emphasized. How thorough is our understanding of the power of the blood? We should appropriate its power on a regular basis in our lives? The power of the blood is central to the efficacy of the communion elements. The concept of the blood of Yeshua is central to the Gospel message with 40 to 50 references to it in the Apostolic Writings. Such terms are used as “blood of the Lamb”, “blood of Messiah”, “precious blood of Messiah”, “blood of the everlasting covenant”, “redemption through Messiah’s blood”, “blood of His cross”, “communion of the blood of Messiah”, “faith in his blood”, and “purchased with his blood.” The reality of the blood of Messiah needs to be central in our faith walk, for it is only through the blood that we have redemption. In this parasha Yahweh has taught us how to have life in the Mishkan and to dwell in His presence. He shared about clean and unclean, holy and unholy practices and what separates us physically and spiritually from Him by us becoming contaminated by the foods we eat, actions we participate in or by our thoughts and speech. Chapter 16 is the clarification of holiness and how to go about it, which continues year after year. This is not about salvation; it’s about Temple maintenance, our Temple - the body. It is about how to retain His indwelling Presence in a sanctified vessel - one which is holy - a vessel unto honour.

Prophetical Application

•Yom Kippur is the day when:

(a) Yahweh's judgment upon the earth will occur prior to the Second Coming of Yeshua the Messiah culminating in the battle at Megiddo.

(b) The beast and false prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire

(c) Satan will be cast into the bottomless pit.

Yom Kippur is the day of completion:

It is the time when Yahweh will have the last word on man's 6000 (rebellious and sinful) years on earth.

Satan is judged.
The Babylon the Great system is judged.
The earth is cleansed and readied for Messiah to "touch down" upon the Mount of Olives.

Comarison of Leviticus 16 Event and the Apocalypse Event of Revelation 15-16

•Smoke and fire in the Temple of Yahweh before the Mercy Seat: Leviticus 16:13; Revelation 15:8

•Revelation 8:3-4 Incense on the Golden Altar before the throne of Yahweh are the prayers of the Saints.

•No man could enter the Tabernacle/Temple while the High Priest made Atonement: Leviticus 16:17

•Revelation 15:8 No one could enter the Temple until the seven last plagues were completed; i.e., there was no access to the Mercy Seat/no prayers to Yahweh/no salvation granted. Men had their chance to repent from the wicked ways up to and during the 30 days of teshuvah (the thirty days of the sixth month preceding Yom Teruah) and during the ten days of awe (Tribulation period) between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur.

•The Mercy Seat and the ground were sprinkled seven times for cleansing.

•Leviticus 16:14 The blood of the bull is sprinkled on the Mercy Seat and on the ground seven times. The four horns of the altar represent the whole earth or the four corners of the earth north, south, east and west.

•Revelation 16 Yahweh cleanses the earth via the seven bowl judgments (called “Wrath of Yahweh”). The blood of the wicked rebels is poured out on the ground (14:20).

•Why must this happen? - The soul that sins shall die (Ezek. 18:4, 20) and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Either one is held accountable for his own sin and suffers the consequences of his sin or he receives the kippur (covering) of the blood of Yeshua for the remission of sins. There are no other avenues for sinners. For those who reject Messiah and his sin offering they are under the penalty of death and there is no way out.

•The earth has been defiled by so much unrepentant wickedness that a great cleansing process must occur men dying for their own sins.

•This proves the truth of Yahweh’s divine justice. There is divine retribution for sin a price must eventually be paid for sin.

•The earth will be prepared or cleansed for Messiah’s arrival.

•The earth will be ready to receive Messiah and his kingdom.

•Messiah, blessed be his holiness(!), cannot set foot on a defiled earth without becoming defiled himself. This is proof that Messiah cannot set foot on this earth until after the wrath of Yahweh is poured out i.e., after Yom Kippur and at the beginning of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) when Yahweh Yeshua will tabernacle with his bride, the saints, who has made herself ready by putting on robes of righteousness.

•Acts 3:18-21 “The restitution of all things” (KJV) or “Fullness of times”. Messiah can’t return until after the earth is cleansed and restored.

Prophetic Concepts

•The Fall Harvest: This time period lasts from Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) to Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) (lasting 15 days). Revelation 14 speaks of two endtime “harvests” of which the fall festivals are a shadow picture: Harvest of saints to their reward Revelation 14:4-5 (and Matt. 24:30-31) and Matthew 25:31-46 (the sheep and goats judgment pictures both groups).

•Harvest of wicked to their reward Revelation 14:15-20

•There is no mention of the Saints during the Seven Bowls Wrath of Yahweh. They’ve already been “harvested” and are gathered into Yahweh’s “barn” for safekeeping.

•The Seventh Bowl Judgment is poured out on the Babylonian (Rev. 18:23; 19:2) system the deceiver and corrupter of the world.