“Will You Go Your Own Way?” by Ariel Ehrmantrout

This Weeks Torah Portion is Shemini -or  8

Leviticus 9:1-11:47

Haftarah 2 Samuel 6: 1-19

Priestly Instructions Exodus 34:1-28

“Will You Go Your Own Way?”

This weeks Torah portion is called Shemini–which is Hebrew for the number Eight.  This is the exact mid point in our Torah reading schedule for the entire yearly cycle.  Additionally, today is the 1st day of the Omer.

Remember that the Torah is broken up into 54 portions that cover the entire cycle of the Jewish calendar.  This weekly reading calendar is the same whether you are in California or Poland, Brazil or Jerusalem.

The central issue surrounding Judaism is community (or family–Mispocha).  God is building a family that is committed to following and observing His ways and statutes, His commands and decree’s by faith, even as our Father Abraham did and our Lord and Savior Yeshua did.  Part of following in the footsteps of our Master is doing the things that he did.  When you see Y’shua in Luke chapter 4 and verse 16 going into the synagogue to read the HafTorah, you are witnessing Jesus reading in the synagogue on September 4th.

The reason that I know it was on September 4th is that the Torah portion for that Shabbat is called Ki Tavo which means “When you enter in.”  It is the reading that covers Deuteronomy 26:1-29 with a HafTorah reading of Isaiah 60:1-22.  The HafTorah for those of you new to Messianism is the portion of the Prophets that accompanies the traditional Torah portion.  It is interesting to see that Yeshua our Messiah kept the same Torah reading schedule that we are today and that by knowing our Jewish heritage, events of the Bible come alive to us in an entirely new way that we might not have been exposed to without knowing out heritage roots.

In this week’s parashot, (portion) this is the parashot that covers the beginnings of the Priesthood and its function before Israel.  Aaron and his sons have now been instructed by the Lord in the proper ways of operating before the Living God in the MishKhan–or portable temple.  This is a clear reference to Y’shua as our High Priest.  We know in fact that the Levitical Priesthood was a tutor that was given to us by God to tutor us as Rabbi Sha’ul indicates in Galatians; in so doing we see the work of Yeshua as our high Priest–Or Kohen Gadol, in that he is offering sacrifices on behalf of the people of Israel for the sins of the Nation.  But unlike Yeshua–Aaron had to first offer a sin offering for himself, so as to not die in the presence of the Lord.

This portion also shows the very real nature of the Holiness of God and how what God says is life and death in our lives as we walk before Him.  In this portion we are taught about the sons of Aaron the High Priest.  His two oldest sons are named Nadab and Abihu.  Like all good Jewish fathers, Aaron wanted his sons to grow up to have notoriety, and to be famous for their achievements.  Unfortunately, these two boys became known for being more infamous than famous–much to Aarons chagrin!

You see the Lord had commanded how certain offerings were to be presented before the alter of the Lord.  As with the entire Torah–there are instructions about dates times and seasons that we are to follow.  As the priests serving before the Lord, Nadab and Abihu were fully cognicient of their responsibilities in service before the Lord.  You may say to me, “Rabbi–didn’t you just say that this is the portion that Aaron and his sons BEGAN serving before the Lord?” Yes, but if you have been reading along with the parashot–you will note that Moses had been providing some On the Job training for Aaron and his sons, so they fully knew what the Lord expected of them.

So you see these two boys get it in their minds that they are going to bring a fire offering before the Lord–the only problem with that is they were not following the strict commandment of the Lord.  Turning then to this week’s portion, let’s begins with Leviticus Chapter 10; beginning in verse 1:

Aaron’s son Nadab and Abihu took their censors, put fire on them and added incense; they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to His command.  So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.  Moshe then said the Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when He said: Among those who approach me I will show myself Holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.”  Aaron remained silent.

Today I want to talk to you about what God requires from his servants.  In this same portion we read in Leviticus chapter 11: and verse 45, “I am the Lord who brought you up out of the house of Egypt to be your God; therefore be Holy, because I am Holy.” You see it is Gods requirement for his people that once he delivers us out of our land of slavery and torment–which Egypt is a clear metaphor for what our lives were like before the Lord gave us the faith to make Teshuvah (Which is Hebrew for repent–it means to turn around and go the other way.)

As I clearly stated last week in my message, Abraham was chosen by the Most High and God told him to walk before Him and be blameless.  This same command is repeated by the Apostle Kepha (Peter) in 1 Peter 1:14-16 where he clearly states,” As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as He who calls you is Holy, so be Holy in all you do.” It has always been Gods intention that Man be Holy even as God himself is holy.

This requires us to commit to a sanctified lifestyle–one that is separate from the world around us.  Yet far too many of us today are seeking to be more like the world and less like the Torah of God and the testimony of His son Yeshua.  God is a God of standards and a God of laws; there are certain ways the King of the Universe wants us to behave once we have called upon his name and asked him to be the Lord of our lives.  God does not change his mind, as the scripture clearly states in 1 Samuel 15:29, “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind, for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” This scripture clearly proves to us that the nay Sayers out there who run around and say that we are free from Gods righteous requirements that are found in His Torah, are not only incorrect, but they are preaching words of heresy.

You see beloved, even as God had a very specific set of regulations regarding the offerings that were performed by his servants the Kohanim (Priests) so long ago, He still maintains a strict code of behavior that we are to follow, now that we are striving after him and his righteousness.  Yet even as Aarons sons, we so many times find ourselves in a position where we are standing before a Holy God trying to make Him fit into our little box of doctrine–our little pattern of “well it has always been that way.”  The point of this parashot this week is to indicate to us what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in Gods sight.  We love to do it our way, it is an American anthem, but it is not the anthem of the Most High God–nor is it the Anthem of Yeshua our Lord.

In this parashot we see very clearly what happens to the priests who follow after their own ways and not in obedience to the Torah (or Instructions) of the most high.  Additionally, we are introduced to the concept of Kashrut (What is clean and what is unclean for us to eat).  To Obey Gods word is better than sacrifice, and we are to be in obedience, but unfortunately, far too many of us walk in willful disobedience to the Torah of God.  In Mark Chapter 7 beginning in verse 5 we see our Lord dealing with this situation, “So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Yeshua, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of our elders instead of eating their food with unclean hands?”  He replied Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.  You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions.”

You see the situation here is that the Pharisee’s and other teachers of the Torah at the time of Messiah had written hundreds of additional laws in addition to the ones laid out for us in this weeks portion on what is clean to eat and what is not clean to eat.  Further, they had instituted a tradition called Al Natilat Yadayim–or the washing of the hands.  In other words they were criticizing the disciples of the Messiah for not washing their hands in a ritual manner before eating–and you see how very clearly Messiah answered them back.  In scathing commentary Yeshua points out that they had forsaken the commands of God for the sake of tradition.

This week I had a conversation with a well meaning Sister in the Lord about the origins of the phrase “Christian.”  Now before you pick up rocks to stone your Rabbi–even the Rev. Billy Graham, in 1963 wrote on behalf of the US. Government, “that the phrase Christian was a derogatory term that the Greeks used to describe Grecian followers of Yeshua, who had converted away from paganism, to follow after the God of Abraham-Isaac and Jacob and his son Yeshua.”   But anyway, this sister said to me–why is it important what we call things today?  I know what I mean, and isn’t that enough?  This is an interesting argument, and perhaps one that Nadab and Abihu may in fact have made for themselves–had they lived long enough to make it!  The truth is that not following Gods way of doing things and not subscribing to what God has named things is Idolatry.

The Greek work for idolatry is, “ eidololatreia {i-do-lol-at-ri’-ah which is described in the scripture as:      An Abomination to the Lord; Hateful to God; Vain and foolish; Bloody; Abominable; Unprofitable; Irrational; and defiling.

Further, those who practice going their own way and not Gods way practice–Forgetting God; Going astray from God; they Pollute the name of God; they defile the sanctuary of God; They are estranged from God;  They Hate God and they have fellowship with devils.

You see beloved, going your own way is idolatry before God.  This is the very reason that in this weeks Torah reading, we have chronicled for us in vivid detail the deaths of Nadab and Abihu.  They were both Priests of the most high God and they were called out from among the peoples to the service of the Lord, yet they practiced the idolatry of doing things their own way and not as God had commanded them to do.  Undoubtedly there are going to be some of you Bible scholars who will be sitting there in your chairs thinking like I used to, “well Rabbi that is the God of the Old Testament–the God of wrath.  We now have Messiah and the scripture is all about Love, Grace and mercy.”  So in keeping with wanting to make sure that you all experience the entire breadth of Gods word, I have thought this through ahead of time.

Please turn with me to the book of Acts, chapter 5.  We will be beginning with verse 1, “Now a man named Annanias, together with his wife Sapphirah, sold a piece of property.  With his wifes full knowledge, he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest of it and laid it at the Apostles feet.  Then Kepha said ‘ Annanias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold?  And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?  What made you think of doing such a thing?  You have not lied to men but you have lied to God.  When Annanias heard this he fell down and died, and a great fear seized all who had heard what had happened.  Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.  About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  Kepha asked her, ‘ tell me, is this the price that you and Annanias got for the land?’ Yes she said that is the price.  Kepha said to her, ‘ how could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord.  Look!  The feet of the men who buried your husband and they will carry you out also.  At that moment she fell down at his feet and died.  Then the young men came in and carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  Great fear seized the whole congregation and all who heard about these events.

This is in the New Testament!  The testament of love and grace!  We have become so watered down today that we are being swept aside by every wind of doctrine that rolls along.  We have strayed so far from Gods way’s of doing things that we would actually consider agreeing with gay marriages, or that we would turn our heads in silence as religious leaders who are leading our local pastorates are self-reporting that 4 out of ten of then are addicted to internet pornography.  Teenage children in the church of the living God are ending up pregnant with no fear of the Lord.  There is drug us and alcohol consumption to drunkenness.  There is infidelity and men not leading their homes in the ways of the Lord.  Yet we turn a blind eye believing it to be someone else’s problem or someone else’s world–not really ours.  Beloved all of these sins stem from us practicing idolatry in our own lives.  What are the places that you have walked away from the Torah of God?  The Torah clearly teaches us that we are to Love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our strength–and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Are you doing these two things?  This week when you were at work–did you love the people you work with?  Did you tell anyone about Yeshua and ask them to make Yeshua lord?  Or did you work on increasing the wealth of your own house–while thinking very little about the souls of those sitting next to you on the Max–or in the lunchroom?

Listen Mishpocha (Family)– if your neighbors house was on fire, what would you do?  Would you lie in bed ignoring their screams for help–ignoring their pleas for assistance?  Of course you wouldn’t.  You would do everything in your power to get them out of there.  You wouldn’t think twice about breaking down their doors, or crashing in their windows to get inside to help save their lives.  Yet the reality of our lives is such that most of us have gone about living our daily lives so far detached from Gods ways or his Torah that we don’t even think about the people we work next to every day.  God may have sent you to that job to lead them to the Lord, or to bring them here to fulfill a vital role in the last days outreach but far too often we will stand outside their burning houses while we throw sand at the side of the blazing inferno.  We are throwing sand because we do not know the way to put of a real fire, and we refuse to read the instructions manual.

God is not playing with us–judgment begins with the House of God and God is going to present a Congregation to himself without spot or wrinkle.  You will see that as we pull closer to the last days that the Spirit of God is crying out for Holiness like never before in the history of mankind.  The church of God has become and unfaithful harlot, turning to any wind of doctrine that rolls along and impregnating itself with an in futility that it has never known since the history of the congregations began.  People look at believers with scorn and disgust, as ministers steal from ministries, and run off with their secretaries.  Men of weak character run off stranding innocent women and children, and withdrawing the headship that God placed in the Home–clearly violating what God has joined together–by openly putting that asunder.  This leaves our women to follow after men from outside the camp. The desire for souls has been replaced with the desire to seek the greatest psychological healing–since we all had such horrific childhoods. However this probably sounds funny to young people from the most impoverished nations who live starving and naked, while many of us who grew up abused were warm and well fed.

Gods church has become little more than an extension service for the Hellenistic psychobabble shops to reach into the congregation robbing her of her power.  The Bride of Messiah no longer goes out and does business in the name of the Messiah.  We are afraid of how people may be offended if we tell them about Yeshua.  But do we stop to think what their lives will be like if we allow them to go to Hell without ever mentioning the truth of Messiah Yeshua and Him Crucified and resurrected to newness of life!

My friends, the scripture says in Leviticus 19:17 “Rebuke your neighbor frankly to not share in his guilt.” You see this runs right in the face of the carnality of Gods Church as a whole in Churchianity.  God has a better way beloved.  Once we come to God by faith–even as Abraham did, then we are to do what Abraham did–that means we are to keep Gods commandments, laws, precepts and instruction; we are to fully implement the Torah in our daily lives.  Please read it every day and apply it to your life.  Call out to the Lord God of Israel in Yeshua’s name and you will be saved.  Start keeping the feasts of the Lord.  Here is a simple rule of thumb for you to follow. IF IT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE–DON’T DO IT!  IF IT IS–JUST DO IT.  No more and no less.  In Matthew chapter 5 Yeshua is teaching and he said “Do not think that I have come to do away with the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to bring them to fullness (in other words–give you full explanation of the requirements) I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the Torah until everything is accomplished.  Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so–will be called least in the Kingdom of God; But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisee’s and the teachers of the Torah, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”

Let us not be like Nadab and Abihu–let us not be like the majority of those who profess out of one side of their mouth to be believers in Messiah–while their every action denies they know his goodness at all.  Let us be salt and light.  I want to take this city and stand against the demonic strongholds that would exalt itself against the Lord God of Israel and Yeshua our King.  Will you stand with me today?  Can you stand with me today, or will you end up like Nadab and Abihu–or Annanias and Sapphirah.  God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  Be holy as God is holy and we will take this town for the Gospel of our Lord.  Just 10 committed men are all I need; and ladies you are included, because where righteous men go–virtuous women follow.  Are there ten of you in all of Menifee who will stand for the Lord?

Will you stand for the Torah and the Testimony of Yeshua in these last days?  We are Gods and we will follow the Torah of Messiah by faith.

Chag Sameach–Shabbat Shalom

©2010 Ariel Ehrmantrout – All Rights Reserved Worldwide

This Weeks Haftarah: 2 Samuel 6: 1-19

Today’s Haftarah Message: “Uneasy Rider” by Shaun Sailor

Today’s Reading 2 Samuel 6 17 – 19:  “17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings [f] before the LORD. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

In this week’s Haftarah portion, King David is transporting The Ark of the Covenant from Baalah of Judah to Jerusalem by way of the House of Obed-Edom he Gitite. This is the first step in creating a permanent home for The Arc.

Uzzah and Ahio, both sons Abinadab, were accompanying The Ark through this journey.  At one point in the journey, the oxen had stumbled and Uzzah had grabbed the Ark. Because of this act, God struck immediately struck down Uzzah – just like Nadab & Abihu in this week’s Torah Portion when they offered their Unauthorized Fire to God.

2 Samuel 6: 6 & 7 says “6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.

In both the case of Uzzah and Nadab & Abihu, the intentions of the parties were irrelevant. Uzzah, like Nadab & Abihu, was trained in his function, and was responsible for his actions after his training, at the time of his accountability. If Uzzah was not trained and ready to succeed, he would not have been chosen for the task.

Beloved, I bring all this up, because it is both the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Easter. If you have been on this site for any length of time, you are currently being trained to distinguish between God’s ways – which lead to eternal life – and Man’s ways – which lead to death.

Are you using what you are learning to watch what you put in your mouth? Are you eating Matzah or bread with leaven?

Are you celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Counting the Omer or are you celebrating Easter with a ham?

Shalom

Rabbi Shaun Sailor

[5th Year Torah Student and Student Rabbi Shaun S. Sailor appears the courtesy of Temple Ahavah Torah Training Center.  If you enjoy Reb Sailor’s Haftarah commentary each week, take a moment and jot him and encouraging note at shaun.sailor@yahoo.com ]

Thank You!!

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