The portion that is being read in all the synagogues around the world this next Shabbat is called Noah. The reading from the Torah is from Genesis 6:9-11:32, from the prophets the reading is from Isaiah 54:1-55:5, and from the New Testament the reading is from Luke 17:20-27.
I want to concentrate my sharing for this Shabbat on the story of Noah. When people read this Torah portion the concentration is on the mechanics of the flood. The building of the ark on which Noah loaded the animals, birds, clean animals that are to be eaten and unclean animals that are not to be eaten.
One truth that comes out of this text that most Christians sadly miss is that, long before Moses and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, Noah already knew which animals are clean and are for food, and which are not clean and ought not to be used for human consumption.
Here is the text right out of God’s word:
“You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female… Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth…” – Genesis 7:2,8 [NKJV]
I am not bringing this text to condemn anyone who has a BLT sandwich. I am not teaching this to convince my non-Jewish brothers and sisters that they ought not to eat a wonderful Maine lobster, or a New England King Crab.
As a Jew, long before I believed in God and in Yeshua (Jesus), I ate everything and enjoyed every bite of the scallops, shrimp, and lobster. And in my home in Jerusalem, long before I believed in God or in Yeshua, pork and beans was a staple.
When my father was home there was not a day that we didn’t eat bean soup, and there was no bean soup in my house that didn’t have a good white cube of pork fat. I am sharing these texts from our Torah portion of this week to establish a biblical fact, and the fact is that long before the giving of the Torah, Noah already knew which was a clean animal and which was not a clean animal.
The Lord commanded Noah to take seven pairs of the clean animals and only two pairs of the unclean animals. As a Jewish disciple of Yeshua (Jesus), this fact that God had commanded Noah to have seven pairs of the clean animals, is a little unsettling.
Add to this narrative of Noah, that the book of Genesis says that Abraham not only believed in God and his faith was counted to him as righteousness, but that Abraham also kept the commandments of God and God’s statues, and even kept God’s Torah… this is some 400 years or more before the Torah was given to Moses and to Israel on Mount Sinai after the Exodus from Egypt. But, it is a biblical fact nonetheless!
God repeats the promises that He gave to Abraham and there is a clear causality in the text from Genesis 26:4,5:
“And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” – Genesis 26:4,5 [NKJV]
Let me get back to Noah, another point that is often missed by preachers and scholars is the relativity that is expressed in the text that is read in the synagogue this Shabbat. Here is the source of that relativity that says to me so much about how God works and how God looks at us and how God evaluates our worth as His children in relationship to the world that we live in and not in absolute terms and values.
“This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” – Genesis 6:9,10 [NKJV]
Does the word of God say that Noah was a perfect man? No, we all know that Noah was not a perfect man, but what makes him perfect in the sight of God is that in relationship to his wicked and evil generation, Noah was a just (righteous, upright) man!
That relativity in which God looks and evaluates us and judges us is of such a great important and it is so often totally ignored in the way our Christian brothers evaluate and judge and condemn each other. In fact God takes His judgement of every generation and every person in a very relative way, and the punishment and the expiation of our sins is also evaluated and punished and required of us by God relatively and never absolutely.
Here are some texts to demonstrate and prove that what I am saying is true throughout the whole bible and throughout all of human history. If this was not so there would be a need for a universal flood to wipe out humanity every several hundred years! God’s mercy and justice are mixed and influence each other that is why God does not judge us all with the same measure! He judges us individually, each according to his ability, and to his responsibility
“And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing; and he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin. If he is not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring to the Lord, for his trespass which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons: one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. And he shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off its head from its neck, but shall not divide it completely. Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, and the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar. It is a sin offering. And he shall offer the second as a burnt offering according to the prescribed manner. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him. But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. Then he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it as a memorial portion, and burn it on the altar according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord. It is a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for him, for his sin that he has committed in any of these matters; and it shall be forgiven him. The rest shall be the priest’s as a grain offering.” – Leviticus 5:5-13 [NKJV]
The relativity that the Torah shows here of how the Lord looks at us is something that is of first-class importance. It is important because we see from Christian and from Jewish religious history the harshness and immovable judgment in reverse of what the Torah is revealing to us.
We tend to look down and step on our brothers who are less successful in this world. The western church preaches that prosperity in the worldly parameter is a measure of the “favor and blessing of the Lord!”
The poor and struggling brothers and sisters and the unfortunate are less blessed by the Lord. The Lord in the Torah reveals for all that He does not discriminate or show partiality toward a person who is less fortunate in the arena of worldly success.
On the contrary, the Lord grades us on the bell curve and He demands more from those who have more and are more successful in this world. Yes, on the contrary, the Lord is the giver of the same atonement for all, and forgives the sins of the poor just as much and as graciously by charging a handful of grain as to what a rich person should offer with a bull or a sheep.
This is precisely the principle that is pointed out by our Lord Yeshua in Luke 12:48,
“But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” – Luke 12:48 [NKJV]
I really hope that I and my brothers in the faith will learn this principle and practice this divine principle. Because the reverse of these principles is also true and we see it also in the scriptures.
The one who gives a little will also receive a little. The one who gives much will also receive much.
This is a law of nature, it is a law that in the churches of our brothers around the world is hammered hard and repeated often, but only in regard to one area, that is in giving money to the church. However, this principle works not only on giving money to the church. The principle is universal and the Lord God of Israel practices it even in regard to atonement in the Torah.
This universality of relativity, globally and universally, and even in the vast expanse of space, is a good and true principle that Alfred Einstein discovered through science in the 20th Century, but Moses and Israel already had known it from the Torah itself.
The Lord will bless those who learn to bless and show grace to God’s children – the whole human race! I thank God for His revelation of Himself and of His Son Yeshua in such a way that even I can get to know Him better from His Word!
I pray that you do too!
This article originally appeared on Netivyah and is reposted with permission.