This Shabbat the reading is a double portion. We are reading the last two portions of the book of Leviticus, Behar and Bechukotai, Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34. From the Prophets the reading is Jeremiah 16:19 – 17:14. From the New Testament we read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. All these readings are interesting and full of important revelations.
The Torah portion of Leviticus chapters 25-27 is one of great importance. In these chapters there are the blessings and the curses. The blessings are a reward for faith and faithfulness toward God and to His demands, or maybe I should say opportunities to do good.
I have changed my outlook regarding the commandments of the Lord through re-reading the letters of the Apostle Paul. Texts like Ephesians 2:10 have been ignored by so many “great Christian leaders” because of the inbreeding of anti-Torah and anti-Old Testament teachings into the Christian churches.
I say the Christian churches and am not singling out this or the other denomination. Even churches that have been committed to the restoration of the New Testament Church have never even taken one serious step in the direction of first study and second implementation of a restoration.
Now those churches that were born in the early 19th Century for the purpose of restoring the church of the first century have already given up this important paradigm that gave these denominations their reason for existing.
Here are some interesting points that make these chapters so interesting:
Every seven years – the Shmita (Sabbatical year). This is the year that Israeli farmers stop farming their lands. I mean totally stop, stop ploughing, stop sowing the seeds, and harvesting, just leave the fields untended for a whole season of 12 months.
This means that they would have nearly two years of no farm produce. There were no refrigerators and cold storage, or a way of preserving the farm goods. The Lord knew what He was doing.
In the year before the Sabbatical year, the fields gave more than double their normal yield so that they had enough to live on for two years, the Sabbatical year and the year after they plowed and seeded their fields.
This is the greatest demonstration of the teaching that the Lord does not test us or challenge us beyond the strength that He has provided us with. The sabbatical year teaching from this portion of the Torah is connected with the Jubilee year that is seven Sabbatical years that come to a total of 49 years with the 50th year being the Jubilee year.
The second important thing in this reading are the blessings that will come to those who hear and obey the commandments of the Lord. There are 11 verses of blessings for obedience to God and to His Law. The curses for a rebellious and disobedient nation are 33 verses. Three times more than the blessings for obedience. Now the differences between the blessings and the curses are in two categories.
The blessings are 100 percent good and positive, and are the kind that stay with you for a prolonged time.
“So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments, and perform them; and you will dwell in the land in safety. Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill, and dwell there in safety.” – Leviticus 25:18,19 [NKJV]
Here is the secret of making peace with our neighbors. Not religion but faith and observation and obedience to the Lord’s judgments and commandments. If you think that this is not true, I challenge you to read the letter of James and 1 John.
There are additional blessings with wonderful consequences and rewards for obedience and hearing the Lord. Note the following verses of the blessings:
“If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.” – Leviticus 26:3-5 [NKJV]
The curses are mostly the other side of the blessings:
“But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.” – Leviticus 26:14-17 [NKJV]
I encourage you to read chapters 25 through 27 of Leviticus. You will find some very interesting and inspiring words given to Israel and all those like you who have entered into a covenant relationship with Israel. Now you might say to yourselves, “What is this that Joe is talking about?” We are Gentiles and have nothing to do with the so called “Old Covenant.”
All you have to do is read the letter of Paul to the Ephesians 2:11-18, and see that through and in Christ you have inherited the covenants of God (in the plural) and that you who were strangers to the commonwealth of Israel have now through the blood of the Messiah (Christ) received all the good things that as pagans you did not have. Now you have it all!
You will find in the rest of the reading of these chapters in Leviticus some horrible curses that God puts on Israel. We had two wonderful orthodox Jews in our congregation from 1972 until last year when David, the younger brother, died at 100 years old.
You will be encouraged and inspired, and then you will be full of fear and encouraged not to test the Lord your God. Then you will see history unveiled and all of God’s promises fulfilled. David and Joseph Vactor, the two orthodox Jewish brothers who were among the first members of our ministry in the early 1970s – went through the Nazi death camps of Eastern Europe.
Joseph said every year in the reading of this text of Leviticus that he has seen every one of these promises of the Lord fulfilled with his own eyes and in his own flesh. God’s promises are not man’s promises. God keeps every one of His promises and He does it to the smallest detail.
According to the chapter of curses in the Law of Moses, there is always a great and wonderful end when the grace of God and His love for us all wins in the end. Israel is saved and safe, and the world, the Gentiles, has come to worship the Lord God of Israel, and abandon idolatry and come to know and worship the Lord God who took us all out of Egypt and brought us into our inheritance forever and ever!
Just a short paragraph on the reading from Jeremiah 16 and from 2 Corinthians.
The reading from Jeremiah 16:19 is so strong and clear, and we are today seeing this happening all around the world. The disciples of Yeshua are arising from the islands of the Pacific Ocean to the frozen plains of Lapland near the North Pole. Immigrants from more than 103 different countries are still flowing to Israel.
You can walk in the streets of Jerusalem or any other town or village in Israel and see Jews of every color, and race walking the streets. The young ones often are in the uniform of the army units in which they serve. The older ones are wearing the symbols of the Jewish faith and nation. Yes, God is faithful and keeping His promises that He gave to Moses in the wilderness and repeated to the prophets of Israel. Please note the following text:
“O Lord, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You From the ends of the earth and say, ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.’ Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods? ‘Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is the Lord.’” – Jeremiah 16:19-21 [NKJV]
Note dear brothers: Jeremiah is predicting that the Gentiles, the nations, will wake up and see the futility of the worship of idols and worthless statues and unprofitable idols and turn to the Lord. This process started in the book of Acts with Cornelius the Roman centurion and his family, but more than 2000 years later the process continues.
The Roman church and her daughter denominations have tried to do everything to divert and stop this movement of God and the Holy Spirit. Christians around the world are discovering the lies that the Christian denominations have spread, fake news and fake good news.
People from around the world, Christians, are reading the word of God on their own and discovering false teachings, and false holidays, false teachings that divide and estrange a brother from brother and a sister from sister over nonsensical issues that have no root or mention in the holy scriptures, that they hold to and some are maintaining. Don’t worry, if you read the rest of the reading from Jeremiah you will see that the Lord does not spare Israel either.
The text from 2 Corinthians is also a challenge for me, and I suppose for many brothers and sisters:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them .I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters,’ Says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 [NKJV]
This text from 2 Corinthians 6 is not an easy text to accept and agree with. The situation of the Christian churches today is actually working against this text. If you would like to live out the instructions of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom that the Lord gives us in this text you would be considered in most churches as a radical, loveless, and ungracious, person. You will be ostracized and rejected.
However, it must be stated here that keeping this command of God’s word does not indicate that you don’t have love for those idolatrous and immoral people, some of which could be your own relatives. It just means that you don’t enter in a contractual relationship with people who are living in darkness and worshiping idols. You show them love and grace and encourage them to see the light of the Messiah and the wisdom of His words and be a good example and watch out for the traps and pitfalls that they will put in front of you to test you!
This article originally appeared on Netivyah and reposted with permission.