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Commentary - Leap Year Sabbath +1

Exodus 30:11-16   -   2 Kings 12:1-17   -   Psalm 62  -   John 2:13-25

 

 

II Adar 8, 5765 / Mar 19, 2005

I  Adar 8, 5774 / Feb   8, 2014

I  Adar 4, 5776 / Feb 13, 2016

 

Shekalim / Shekels (Coins)   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

Worship – Service for Yeshua

 

(V.12) When a census was taken, each man twenty years and older was to contribute a half-shekel silver coin: counting these dime-size coins was the only allowed method of determining the number of people. King David violated this command, making a direct head-count, for which cause a plague came upon Israel (II Samuel 24), as foretold in today’s portion (v.12).

 

These contributions were to be used for the worship service in the Tabernacle. A collection was made annually, in this month of Adar, for the communal offerings (sacrifices) of the coming Passover season. “When you take a census” would more literally translate “When you elevate the heads . . .”: the contributions are seen as worshipfully “lifting the heads” of the contributors.

 

Note: The words “holy” and “sanctified” are from the same Hebrew root (Chodesh), meaning to be distinct and set apart, or dedicated for a particular use – as for God’s purpose.

 

“For the service of the tent of meeting” – Exodus 30:16.

 

“We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Yeshua also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His Name” – Hebrews 13:10-15.

 

By virtue of our very existence, we owe our lives to our creator. As those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we owe our lives to serve Him. We have no basis for being proud that God has separated us from those who live for themselves. Rather, we need to be diligent about learning how to please Him in love, as those who are chosen by grace.

 

“Moreover, they (the priests) shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean . . . They shall also keep My Torah, and My statutes in all My appointed feasts, and sanctify My Sabbaths” – Ezekiel 44:23-24..

 

God has declared the Sabbath to be holy (Genesis 2:3), and we are to make it holy. By lighting candles just before and after the Holy Sabbath, we distinguish it from the work week. Between the candle-lightings, when we are not to kindle fires (Exodus 35:3), we remember through that device to keep the time holy – dedicated to worship.

 

“Be ye holy, for I am holy” – Leviticus 11:44, 45, 20:26, 1 Peter 1:16.

 

God has declared us to be holy, and we are to be holy. When we light the Sabbath candles, before we read God’s Word, and before we sing Psalms, we say, “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us by His Word, and instructed us . . .” God has made us distinct from the world by His Word. Before we spend a day in worship, read or sing His inspired words, and before we fulfill other specific instructions from His Word, we recognize that by giving us these things God has distinguished us from others. We are to be set apart as holy to our God – dedicated to His service.

 

II Kings 2

Elijah and Elisha are examples of men that were holy: their lives were dedicated to the service of God. We do not all have the same role to fulfill in this life, but we are all created to be dedicated to the service of our savior.

 

Incidentally, it appears that the “mantle” (adderet) of Elijah that Elisha took, and used it to separate the waters of the Jordan, was his tallit – the cloak with tzitzit that symbolize the commandments of God.

 

John 2

(V.13) The time of the Passover sacrifice is approaching, and we would do well to cleanse our temples. (V.17) Yeshua, as prophesied, was filled with zeal for the House of the Holy One: we are also “His Temple”.

 

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the Temple of God, God will destroy him, for the Temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” – I Corinthians 3:16-17.

 

If we are to be holy, set apart, “sanctified by His Word”, then we must know what His Word is! We cannot be His servants unless we know how He wants us to serve Him.

 

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Torah of Yahweh, and in His Torah he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” – Psalm 1:1-3.

 

“Those who love Your Torah have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble” – Psalm 119:165.

 

Many people erroneously try to serve Him by doing whatever they think would be good, without knowing His instructions. They may be believers who are unlearned, or they may be religious but unbelievers. In any case, we are not allowed to worship based on what is naturally in us.

 

(V.24-25) “But Yeshua, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.”

 

“From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” – Psalm 119:104-105.

 

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The first way for us to be set apart, is to know Yahweh as our God, as opposed to having a god of our own creation – a god that is whatever we think he should be. This is the first of the Ten Commandments: Yahweh is our God, and we shall have no other gods. We must learn what God says are His attributes. We must recognize that He is the creator of all things – like the beginning of The Book says. We must learn that He is in control of all of His creation, and then we will have a proper basis for prayer and worship. When we partake in His Sabbaths and Festivals, great truths about Him are regularly set before us.

 

The Bible begins by telling us that God is our creator, and by setting the perspective of our standing before Him.

 

Only when we understand that He holds all power, do we have a basis to make requests of Him. Only when we are doing His will are we told that He will hear us (I John 5:14); only when we are acting as His representatives – asking “in His Name – are we promised fulfillment of prayers (John 14:13).

 

His Sabbaths and Festivals are shadow pictures of Yeshua Himself (Colossians 2:16-17).

 

The second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40), which is expanded in the last five of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13-17), is to love our neighbor as one who is created in the image of God.

 

Here we need to learn such things as how to judge righteously, and how to avoid gossip and slander. We need to understand the meaning of covetousness.

 

Gossip is symbolized by leaven. The words spread uncontrolled, and cannot be taken back.

 

Consider this saying: If you say of a teacher that he cannot sing, or of a cantor that he is ignorant, you have slandered his name. But, if you say of a teacher that he is ignorant, or of a cantor that he has no voice for singing, you have committed murder. (This is not meant to deny a proper place for righteous judgment.) Slander does not mean saying something false: it means saying something that is destructive about another’s standing.

 

In worship of our sacrificed savior, let us study His Word to learn where we stand before Him, and to learn how He would have us serve Him. We need to learn to keep our thoughts on things that are honorable and right and pure (Philippians 4:8). We need to learn correct motives. We need to learn what is proper to say, and when, and how: this is not what we naturally presume.

 

We should learn to help one another to overcome sin, and we should learn to accept correction. These are naturally difficult, contrary to our prideful natures.

 

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother” – Matthew 18:15.

 

In conclusion, as we approach the Passover offering, let us “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed” – I Corinthians 5:7-8.

 

A great Promised Land awaits us. As we go through the Festival Year, we rehearse how Yeshua redeemed us, how that He will return for us, and how that He will fulfill His promise of a new world for us where He will dwell with us eternally in righteousness.

Readings:

"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 Torah."

 

(Ki Tissa et-Rosh / When you take a census)

 

Reader 1*  Amen. 11 Yahweh also spoke to Moses, saying, 12 "When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to Yahweh, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them. 13 "This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to Yahweh.

Reader 2*  Amen. 14 "Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to Yahweh. 15 "The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to Yahweh to make atonement for yourselves. 16 "You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before Yahweh, to make atonement for yourselves."

 

"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 Torah."

______________________

 

"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 righteousness."

 

II Kings 2:1-17

Reader 3*  Amen. 1 And it came about when Yahweh was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here please, for Yahweh has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that Yahweh will take away your master from over you today?" And he said, "Yes, I know; be still." 4 Elijah said to him, "Elisha, please stay here, for Yahweh has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As Yahweh lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho. 5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that Yahweh will take away your master from over you today?" And he answered, "Yes, I know; be still." 6 Then Elijah said to him, "Please stay here, for Yahweh has sent me to the Jordan." And he said, "As Yahweh lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on. Reader 4*  Amen. 7 Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." 10 He said, "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so." 11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

Reader 5*  Amen. 12 Elisha saw it and cried out, "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, "Where is Yahweh, the God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over. 15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16 They said to him, "Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men, please let them go and search for your master; perhaps the Spirit of Yahweh has taken him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley." And he said, "You shall not send." 17 But when they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, "Send." They sent therefore fifty men; and they searched three days but did not find him.

 

Psalm 62

 

John 2:13-25

Reader 6*  Amen. 13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Yeshua went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your House will consume me."

Reader 7*  Amen. 18 The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?" 19 Yeshua answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20 The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. 23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. 24 But Yeshua, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.

 

"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 and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


 

© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)