Sivan 7, 5763 /
June 7, 2003
Sivan 7, 5766 / June 3, 2006
Sivan 7, 5769/ May 30, 2009
Sivan 5, 5772 /
Sivan 5, 5775 /
May 23, 2015
Sivan 5, 5778 /
May 19, 2018
The 49th day
of the Omer
V'qach Meitam Mattah
/ Take from Them a Staff
SCRIPTURES should be read first
“Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among
the sons of Israel instead of every first-born, the first issue of the womb
among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. For all the first-born
are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt,
I sanctified to Myself all the first-born in Israel, from man to beast. They
shall be Mine; I am Yahweh” – Numbers 3:12-13.
More than two-hundred-fifty firstborn had just died
before the assembly, for usurping the role of Levites (Numbers 16).
Leaders of the
twelve tribes were instructed to each bring a representative rod, to be placed
in the Tabernacle before the Ark.
sprouted, blossomed, and produced almonds – all in one day! Thus Yahweh verified
His Word concerning whom He had chosen to fulfill the specific office.
(V.5) God gives signs to verify His
intentions, to lessen our evil speech. “Thus
I shall lessen from upon Myself the grumblings of the sons of Israel, who are
grumbling against you (Moses).” He did so
at Sinai, He did so in the case of Aaron’s rod that budded, and He did so at the
Jerusalem Pentecost following Yeshua’s ascension. In our maturing, we are to, “by
practice, have (our) senses trained to discern good and evil” –
(V.12-13) “Then the sons of Israel spoke to
Moses, saying, ‘Behold, we perish, we are dying, we are all dying!’ ” (1) “We
perish” – part of Korah’s company had been swallowed up by the earth; (2)
“We are dying” – the rest were consumed by fire; (3) “We are all dying” – 14,700
died in the plague before it could be stopped. “Everyone who comes near, who
comes near to the tabernacle of Yahweh, must die. Are we to perish completely?”
It seemed as if those who got closest to the Tabernacle kept being killed, in
cycles: so they questioned: where would this end? It would end when the people
got the picture – don’t put your own aspirations above God’s instruction
(V.18:1-6) God then reiterated His pattern for
safety about the Tabernacle: Aaron and the Levites had the responsibility of
guarding the Tabernacle against trespass by the people. The priests were
responsible for guarding the Holy Things against trespass by the Levites: it
would be sin for priests to allow Levites to participate in sacrificial
services. Trespassing meant death.
(V.7-21) The priests’ service was called a ‘gift’ to
the priests. They also received ‘gifts’ for their service.
A priests’ due came from sacrificial offerings, that
which was left after a portion was burned on the Altar. Since it came from the
fire, it was considered God’s portion, and so it was as if they were eating at
God’s table, and it had to be eaten within the Tabernacle Courtyard. Also, parts
of peace offerings, thanksgiving offerings, and nazirite offerings were gifts to
the priests (Leviticus 7:33-34). The first and best portions (terumah) of
crops were gifts to the priests. The firstborn of kosher animals were likewise
gifts, with all other firstborn requiring redemption.
(V.22-24) There are three tithes: the first tithe is
for the Levites, the second is for the Feasts (Deuteronomy 14:22-27), and the
third tithe is for the poor (Deuteronomy 26:12). Tithes are mentioned twice in
this passage, explaining that the first tithes, given after the labor is
performed on them, is in return for their labor in sacred service, and the crops
themselves are to make up for the lack of apportioned land.
(V.25-32) Interestingly, the
Day of Firstfruits is followed by the paragraph on how the Levites were to deal
with the tithe.
As for the Levites who led the people into idolatry,
God said that they could not come near His holy things, but they would be guards
at the Tabernacle, and slay the personal offerings of the people.
Today, it is common for all kinds of men to claim a
presumed “right” to lead worship in the way that seems good to them. The worship
that Yahweh established is often considered outmoded, and its pattern is not
even generally recognized. We have “Jews” who falsely claim to be perpetuating
God’s order, and various so-called “Christians” who claim to have received
authority to replace it. But, thousands of people died, in God’s purpose to get
the picture across to us! Must we be so stubborn, that we would die rather than
accept God’s good instruction?
Judaism is not following Moses: it has rejected the one whom Moses prefigured,
and thus rejected the Torah. Its teaching is based upon personal worthiness, and
“seeks his own glory”. “But when it was
now the midst of the Feast (of Tabernacles) Yeshua went up into the Temple, and
began to teach. The Jews therefore were marveling, saying, ‘How has this man
become learned, having never been educated?’ Yeshua therefore answered them, and
said, ‘My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If any man is willing to do
His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I
speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is
seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no
unrighteousness in Him. Did not Moses give you the Torah, and yet none of you
carries out the Torah? Why do you seek to kill Me?’
” – John 7:14-19.
Christianity is not following Torah. It proclaims a redefined “New Covenant”
that supposedly replaces the Torah.
We seem to be
at a disadvantage, being in a time when there are no (Biblical) judges and
everyone does what is right in his own eyes (see Deuteronomy 11:8). That which
naturally seems right to us, as “decent humans”, is not the same as what God
calls holiness to Him. That which intuitively seems true or proper to us as
believers, is not necessarily “of the Holy Spirit”. We are required to grow – to
mature – by learning and practicing obedience to Torah principles, thus “training
our senses to discern good and evil” – Hebrews 5:14.
today, we lack the prescribed system of leadership, we know the ultimate High
Priest, Yeshua. He makes intercession for our sins, which we cannot do for
ourselves; however, we are required to “confess” and seek forgiveness – 1
John 1:9. The plague of death will not be stopped by our saying “I believe”,
while we go through life proving otherwise by ignoring God’s Word.
Aaron did not
seek the honor of High Priest for himself (Hebrews 5:4). So likewise, Yeshua did
not seek His own honor, but God said, “Thou art a priest forever according to
the order of Melchizedek” (v.6), and that is the order of the firstborn,
from before the Levites were taken as a substitute (Yeshua is not a Levite).
understands our fears and weaknesses. He is a High Priest who has sympathy with
us. If we really trust Him as our sin-bearer, we will learn to respect His Word
– from “In the beginning” to “the Unveiling (Revelation) of Yeshua the Messiah”.
Thy lovingkindness is great above the heavens; and Thy truth reaches to the
While the plain application of the Psalm concerns deliverance from earthly
enemies, the spiritual application concerns sin. For sin, “deliverance by man
is in vain. Through God we shall do valiantly”.
Ezekiel 44:20 - Incidental
Concerning the Levites, “Also they shall not shave their heads, yet they
shall not let their locks grow long; they shall only trim the hair of their
heads”. This may relate to Paul’s statement, “Does
not even custom itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor
to him?” – 1 Corinthians 11:14.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who chose us from among all peoples by
giving us Your Torah.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to
the sons of Israel, and get from them a rod for each father's household: twelve
rods, from all their leaders according to their fathers' households. You shall
write each name on his rod, 3 and write Aaron's name on the rod of
Levi; for there is one rod for the head of each of their fathers' households.
4 "You shall then deposit them in the tent of meeting in front of the
testimony, where I meet with you. 5 "It will come about that the rod
of the man whom I choose will sprout. Thus I will lessen from upon Myself the
grumblings of the sons of Israel, who are grumbling against you."
6 Moses therefore spoke to the sons of Israel, and all their
leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers'
households, twelve rods, with the rod of Aaron among their rods. 7 So
Moses deposited the rods before Yahweh in the tent of the testimony. 8
Now on the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the
rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced
blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. 9 Moses then brought out all the
rods from the presence of Yahweh to all the sons of Israel; and they looked, and
each man took his rod. 10 But Yahweh said to Moses, "Put back the rod
of Aaron before the testimony to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you
may put an end to their grumblings against Me, so that they will not die."
11 Thus Moses did; just as Yahweh had commanded him, so he did.
12 Then the sons of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, "Behold, we
perish, we are dying, we are all dying! 13 "Everyone who comes near,
who comes near to the tabernacle of Yahweh, must die. Are we to perish
18:1 So Yahweh said to Aaron,
"You and your sons and your father's household with you shall bear the guilt in
connection with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the
guilt in connection with your priesthood. 2 "But bring with you also
your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be
joined with you and serve you, while you and your sons with you are before the
tent of the testimony. 3 "And they shall thus attend to your
obligation and the obligation of all the tent, but they shall not come near to
the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you will die.
4 "They shall be joined with you and attend to the obligations of the
tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; but an outsider may not come
near you. 5 "So you shall attend to the obligations of the sanctuary
and the obligations of the altar, so that there will no longer be wrath on the
sons of Israel.
Amen. 6 "Behold, I Myself have taken your fellow Levites from
among the sons of Israel; they are a gift to you, dedicated to Yahweh, to
perform the service for the tent of meeting. 7 "But you and your sons
with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything concerning the altar and
inside the veil, and you are to perform service. I am giving you the priesthood
as a bestowed service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death."
8 Then Yahweh spoke to Aaron, "Now behold, I Myself have given you
charge of My offerings, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have
given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual allotment. 9
"This shall be yours from the most holy gifts reserved from the fire; every
offering of theirs, even every grain offering and every sin offering and every
guilt offering, which they shall render to Me, shall be most holy for you and
for your sons. 10 "As the most holy gifts you shall eat it; every
male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you. 11 "This also is yours,
the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I
have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual
allotment. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it.
Amen. 12 "All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of
the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to
Yahweh, I give them to you. 13 "The first ripe fruits of all that is
in their land, which they bring to Yahweh, shall be yours; everyone of your
household who is clean may eat it. 14 "Every devoted thing in Israel
shall be yours. 15 "Every first issue of the womb of all flesh,
whether man or animal, which they offer to Yahweh, shall be yours; nevertheless
the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean
animals you shall redeem. 16 "As to their redemption price, from a
month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five shekels in silver,
according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
Amen. 17 "But the firstborn of an ox or the firstborn of a
sheep or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall
sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke as an
offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to Yahweh. 18 "Their meat
shall be yours; it shall be yours like the breast of a wave offering and like
the right thigh. 19 "All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the
sons of Israel offer to Yahweh, I have given to you and your sons and your
daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of
salt before Yahweh to you and your descendants with you."
Amen. 20 Then Yahweh said to Aaron, "You shall have no
inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and
your inheritance among the sons of Israel. 21 "To the sons of Levi,
behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for
their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting. 22
"The sons of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting again, or they will
bear sin and die. 23 "Only the Levites shall perform the service of
the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a perpetual
statute throughout your generations, and among the sons of Israel they shall
have no inheritance. 24 "For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which
they offer as an offering to Yahweh, I have given to the Levites for an
inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, 'They shall have no
inheritance among the sons of Israel.'"
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living
Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who selected good prophets, delighting
in their words which were spoken truthfully.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the
Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,
and the prophets of truth and
Amen. 10 "But the Levites who went far from Me when Israel
went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, shall bear the
punishment for their iniquity. 11 "Yet they shall be ministers in My
sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the house and ministering in the
house; they shall slaughter the elevation offering and the sacrifice for the
people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. 12
"Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block
of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn against them,"
declares Lord Yahweh, "that they shall bear the punishment for their iniquity.
13 "And they shall not come near to Me to serve as a priest to Me,
nor come near to any of My holy things, to the things that are most holy; but
they will bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed.
14 "Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the house, of all its
service and of all that shall be done in it.
Amen. 15 "But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who
kept charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, shall
come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer Me
the fat and the blood," declares Lord Yahweh. 16 "They shall enter My
sanctuary; they shall come near to My table to minister to Me and keep My
charge. 17 "It shall be that when they enter at the gates of the
inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and wool shall not be on
them while they are ministering in the gates of the inner court and in the
house. 18 "Linen turbans shall be on their heads and linen
undergarments shall be on their loins; they shall not gird themselves with
anything which makes them sweat. 19 "When they go out into the outer
court, into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments in
which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers; then they
shall put on other garments so that they will not transmit holiness to the
people with their garments. 20 "Also they shall not shave their
heads, yet they shall not let their locks grow long; they shall only trim the
hair of their heads.
(To be sung.) A Song, a Psalm
My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing,
I will sing praises, even with my soul. 2 Awake, harp and lyre; I
will awaken the dawn! 3 I will give thanks to You, O Yahweh, among
the peoples, and I will sing praises to You among the nations. 4 For
Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens, and Your truth reaches to the
skies. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above
all the earth. 6 That Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your
right hand, and answer me! 7 God has spoken in His holiness: "I will
exult, I will portion out Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth. 8
"Gilead is Mine, Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah
is My scepter. 9 "Moab is My washbowl; over Edom I shall throw My
shoe; over Philistia I will shout aloud." 10 Who will bring me into
the besieged city? Who will lead me to Edom? 11 Have not You
Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God?
12 Oh give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is
in vain. 13 Through God we will do valiantly, and it is He who shall
tread down our adversaries.
Song version (108C):
1. My heart is ready, O God! I’m
rejoicing! I will sing, yes, sing Your praises! My glad soul awaken! Waken, O
harp! Let my sweet lyre awaken! With my song I’ll rouse the dawning; I will
You praise, Yahweh.
2. Praises to You will I chant through
the nations, For Your grace skies cannot measure; Your truth reaches heaven.
High over heavens, O God, be exalted! Let Your glory cover all earth, So
rescue Your beloved.
3. Save by Your right hand, O God; give
me an answer! In His temple God has promised, “I’ll portion out Shechem;
Measure in triumph the valley of Succoth; Mine is Gilead, Mine Manasseh, My
4. “While over My land My sceptre is
Judah, I use Moab as a washbowl, My shoe toss on Edom; Over Philistia I shout
loud in triumph.” Who will lead me to the fortress And me to Edom bring?
5. God, have You thrown us away? Have
You spurned us? You go not forth with our armies; Your help, O God, grant us!
Fighting the enemy man’s help is empty, But with God we strive with valor;
He’ll trample down our foes.
Hebrews 5:1 – 6:3
Amen. 1 For every high priest taken
from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in
order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; 2 he can deal
gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with
weakness; 3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for
sins, as for the people, so also for himself. 4 And no one takes the
honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.
5 So also Messiah did not glorify Himself so as to become a high
priest, but He who said to Him, "You are My Son, today I have begotten You";
6 just as He says also in another passage, "You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek." 7 In the days of His flesh,
He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the
One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him
the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high
priest according to the order of Melchizedek. 11 Concerning him we
have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of
hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you
have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the
oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of
righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the
mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and
6:1 Therefore leaving the
elementary teaching about the Messiah, let us press on to maturity, not laying
again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2
of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of
the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh
our God, King of the Universe,
Rock of Ages, righteous
throughout all generations.
You are the faithful God,
promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,
for all Your words are true
Faithful are You, Yahweh
our God, and faithful are Your words,
for no word of Yours shall
You are a faithful and
merciful God and King.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our
God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."