Parashah #33: B’chukkotai (By my regulations) Vayikra (Leviticus) 26:3-27;34

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue

Parashah #33 B’chukkotai (By my regulations) Vayikra (Leviticus 26:3-27:34)
Haftarah: Yirmeyahu (Jeramiah) 16:19-17:14
B’rit Chadashah: Yochanan (John) 14:15-21; 15:10-12

The commandments of G-d, specifically 1,2, and 4 were emphatically reinforced in this parashah including obedience to His appointed times. Specifically, that Adonai is G-d who brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, that He is to be first, his people were not to make any idols, Shabbat was to be observed and kept holy, and that they were to appear before the L-rd at His appointed times. Failure to hear, internalize, and act upon these commands was and is the root of spiritual and moral breakdown. Today we would do well to review this parashah alongside Deuteronomy 28:15-69 for a detailed description of what was initiated in punishments G-d warned would occur from a willing disobedience of the world majority to G-d’s Torah. This disobedience and defiance are waxing and will continue to progress until Yahshua’s return. The fall of an individual or nation occurs because of a progressive series of sin that wear away at the spiritual and moral strengths like small drops of water that eventually wear away stone. Iniquity and sin pile up to a point where such deviant behavior seems “normal” as G-d and His Word are relegated to history and not applicable for discerning truth or instructions for proper relationships with G-d and man. Severe sadness and sorrow results at some point, unfortunately usually not until the people find themselves in captivity in some form. Even at this point, many do not and will not realize they are to blame for their own situation. Moshe spoke about the people’s relation with G-d and the blessings and curses. He warned them to keep G-d’s commands before them as a guide for every detail in life. Neither the blessings resulting from loving obedience to G-d’s Word nor the curses that result from defiant disobedience to that same Word cannot be overstated.
We can see the wisdom of G-d in His disciplinary actions that will be revisited on Deuteronomy 28:15-69. The terms of the Abrahamic covenant preclude any disappearance of the sons of Israel from the pages of history (Gen. 17:7). True believers may take great comfort that the resounding mantra by G-d’s enemies “from the river to the sea” will never come to pass. I submit to the reader that the majority of those protestors don’t even know what river or what sea is being referenced.
In G-d’s loving kindness and mercy, if the people will confess their iniquity, their contamination with tzara’at, if they acknowledge their unfaithfulness before Israel’s G-d, and if they humble their uncircumcised hearts (vv.40-41), G-d will remember the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and will “remember the land”(v.42).Recall that the Abrahamic covenant is unconditional and guarantees the perpetuity of Jacob’s line and allots geographic Israel to Jacob’s descendants as long as humans inhabit the world. Restoration to G-d’s favor and blessings on the land are intermingled with a right relationship between G-d and His people. Someday, Israel will be delivered from all captivity and will be fully restored to her Land (Zech. 13:9-14:8-11).
Leviticus 27 addresses the dedication of people and their possessions to G-d. True worship of G-d includes presenting ourselves and our possessions/property to G-d who created us in the first place for His glory and to make His Name known throughout the nations, and who provides all that has been given to us for our benefit.
Vows were never made privately. When someone vowed themselves or another person. It was always done publicly, and the community had to acknowledge the vow to prevent gossip (Prov. 20:25). The vow was then a visible, external declaration of the internal intent, secured by a payment of the valuation. No substitutions were allowed such as property instead of money. Once the vow was made such as Levites who paid the valuation at the time they entered service (Num. 4:23,35,43), or women who ministered in a special way (Ex. 38:8), that person or persons were marked as having been turned over to G-d. Worship in this sense was considered one of the highest privileges.
No one knows us better than our Creator who even made opportunities for those who dedicated a blemished animal. Clean animals of course were regarded as holy and belonging to the L-rd and were not to be exchanged or replaced under any circumstances (v.10). If someone had second thoughts about dedicating his best animal, G-d taught an important lesson that one must pay what he vowed to the L-rd (Ecc. 5:4). If someone offered an unacceptable animal and then felt guilty, realizing he was being stingy, the Law gave him a learning opportunity. The offeror could make a substitute, but he had to give the original animal offered and the substitute, both of which became holy unto G-d (v.11). Indeed our G-d is merciful and patient.
Let’s take a look at another example this time using unclean animals. Unclean animals such as camels or donkeys could be given to the priest who determined a value for the animal since it could not be offered on the altar (vv.11-12). But let’s say the camel was a superior specimen and the valuation seemed unreasonable. In this case, the offeror could arrange for a substitute animal, but this was considered a trespass (ch.5), and one-fifth of the original valuation was added as a fine (v.13). This case presents a valuable object lesson: We must follow through with our original intentions or pay for our lack of faith. G-d’s Word is final and He does not suffer those with little faith lightly.
Houses and fields were also dedicated with an explanation in our parashah for how this was accomplished. In all cases of valuation, the sanctuary shekel was the standard. This prevented from anyone establishing his own standard whereby the purchaser might lower the value and the seller would inflate it. Enforcement for a standard measure that would reflect G-d’s holiness was left to the priests.

Haftarah: Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 32:6-17
G-d tells us in the parashah that if we follow his path (Torah), He will bless the Land and us. If however, we fail to do so, then we will be punished. Our haftarah tells us that if we put our faith in people, we will be like a tree in the desert, always wondering how it will get water. However, if we put our trust in Yahshua’s faithfulness, we will be like a tree in the river, never fearing from where it will receive its “living water,” even during a drought. Our Living Water (John 4:13-14; Rev. 21:6) is provided by none other than The Tree of Life Himself, Yahshua HaMoshiach.

B’rit Chadashah: Yochanan 14:15-21; 15: 10-12

John 14:14 reads “If you ask me for something in my name, I will do it.” The word “me” is missing in many later translations of the New Testament. The translations including “me” were supplied because translators thought there was convincing evidence in the manuscript to include it. Since then, even those translators whose translations underlie the King James Version omit it. If you include “me”, it creates a “Jewish problem,” because it makes it appear that people should “Pray to let “Jesus”, and not to YHVH.” In denial of the correct doctrine, that prayer should be to YHVH alone. In the same manner, the translation of Yahshua (YHVH Saves) to “Jesus” meaning “savior”, makes it appear that “Jesus” saves and not YHVH.

Elsewhere, we see that Yahshua taught His followers to pray to YHVH (16:23; Matt. 6:9). Even if we receive the text with “me” included as correct, it does not present a contradiction because Yahshua taught us that he is One with the Father, petitioning Yahshua is petitioning the Father because they ARE One (Echad), and because the Son is the divine agent of the Father, He may be addressed in prayer. Certainly, we may correctly address our prayers of repentance to Yahshua Who is our Cohen Gadol for He is sinless (Rom. 3:23) and represents us to the Father as the Cohen Gadol of the Levite priesthood did in ancient Israel. There is a condition for YHVH to hear prayers of petition since YHVH is not obligated to hear the prayers of sinners (Isaiah 59:1-2 quoted in Rom. 3:23). So, what does this all mean? First, seek forgiveness through Yahshua then address YHVH directly for your petition if He is to hear it, let alone grant it.

In verse 15 Yahshua says “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” Again, let me reiterate that Yahshua is One (Echad) with YHVH and therefore cannot command something contrary to YHVH’s Torah. It is incorrect to think of Christianity or even messianic Judaism as something “easy” requiring only feelings of love without actions to prove it. I repeatedly refer you to the seven-fold witness in Revelation of trusting Yahshua AND obeying G-ds Torah as the definition of a true worshipper. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible lists 1,050 New Testament commands, which according to this verse, are to be obeyed by those who profess to love Yahshua. Read them and see that the Torah is to be obeyed as well, pointing out to us additional elements inherent to that obedience. No longer is the physical act of adultery the only problem/sin; even the desire to commit it is a sin. If we open our minds to the truth of G-d’s Torah, we will learn that both the Old and “New” Testaments are based on Law and Love respectfully, justice and mercy in tandem. It has always been so and will always be as such for YHVH/ Yahshua never changes; neither does His Torah.
V. 16-17 promises the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) for all true believers. The Greek word “parakletos” literally means “one called alongside” but infers a “counselor, comforter, exhorter.” This is an astounding concept for Jewish people for in the Old Testament we see the Ruach was only given to a selected few. Also we read that they had the Ruach “with” or “upon” them and NOT “in” them. Moshe and the seventy elders, Gideon, Samson, King Saul, and David, having the Ruach “with” or “upon” them and even fewer of having the Ruach HaKodesh “in” them: Joseph (Gen. 41:38) and Betzal’el (ex. 31:3). This is a phenomenon worth further research and consideration.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart