‘Parsha Acharei Mot / Kedoshim’ - Forgiveness and redemption

Leviticus 17:11: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

The ‘parsha’ (‘Torah’ portion) this week consists of two ‘parshiot’, ‘Acharei Mot’ (after death) and ‘Kedoshim’ (holy ones), and is found in Leviticus 16:1 – 20:27. They make up the twenty ninth and thirtieth weekly ‘Torah’ portions in the annual Jewish cycle of ‘Torah’ reading; the corresponding ‘haftorah’ (reading of the prophets) is found in Amos 9:7-15.

‘Parshiot Acharei Mot’ and ‘Kedoshim’ tell us that following the deaths of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, who “came close to G-d and died”, G-d warned against unauthorized entry into the Holy of Holies. Only one person, the ‘Kohen Gadol’ (High Priest), was allowed to, once a year on ‘Yom Kippur’ (Day of Atonement), enter the innermost chamber in the Sanctuary to offer the sacred ‘ketoret’ (incense) to G-d.

Another feature of the Day of Atonement service was the casting of lots over two goats to determine which one would be offered to G-d as a sin offering and which one would be dispatched into the wilderness to carry off the sins of Israel.

‘Parsha Acharei Mot’ warns against bringing ‘korbanot’ (animal or meal offerings) anywhere but in the Holy Temple. The ‘parsha’ forbids the consumption of blood, and details the laws prohibiting incest and other deviant sexual behaviours.

‘Parsha Kedoshim’ begins with the statement: “You shall be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.” This is followed by numerous ‘mitzvot’ (divine commandments) through which Jewish people sanctify themselves, and relate to the holiness of G-d.
These include: the prohibition against idolatry; the ‘mitzvah’ of charity; the principle of equality before the law; ‘Shabbat’; sexual morality; honesty in business; honour and awe of one’s parents; and the sacredness of life.

‘Kedoshim’ concludes with a list of prohibitions against illicit sexual relations: adultery; various incestuous relationships (a father's wife, a daughter-in-law, an aunt, a sister, a sister-in-law, etc.); homosexuality; bestiality; relations with a menstruating woman; and G-d’s instruction: “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” (Leviticus 20:26)

This week's ‘haftorah’ foretells the exiles and punishments that would befall the Jews because they strayed after the ways of the heathens - behaviour that this week's ‘Torah’ reading forbids.

The prophet Amos delivered G-d’s message, reminding the people of G-d’s kindness to them - taking them out of Egypt and singling them out as His chosen nation. Nevertheless, because of their misdeeds, G-d would destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel. However, He would not completely destroy the house of Jacob.
The Jews would be scattered amongst the nations, but eventually they would return to their land. G-d would then reinstall the House of David to its former glory and there would be peace and abundance upon the land.

The ‘haftorah’ ends with G-d’s promise, found in Amos 9:14-15: ““I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.”

‘Parshiot Acharei Mot’ / ‘Kedoshim’ focuses on two extremely important issues – forgiveness of sin and salvation.

In Leviticus 16:15-22, we read the account of the two goats.
One goat had to be killed as a sin offering and its blood brought inside the veil and sprinkled on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. This was to make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions and sins.
Aaron then had to lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, all their transgressions and all their sins, which were transferred to the goat. The goat then had to be sent away into the wilderness.
Thus the goat became the scapegoat, bearing on itself all the iniquities of the children of Israel.

G-d has an expectation of people – both Jews and Gentiles to live blameless and holy lives before Him.
Allow me to give you some synonyms for “Holy”: Sacred; consecrated; sanctified; righteous; saintly; pious; virtuous; faithful; sublime.

Do these words describe you?
Are you holy; blameless; righteous; saintly; pious; virtuous; faithful and sublime before Almighty G-d? You should be, as this is what G-d expects of you.
The truth is that only through Yeshua can one live holy and blameless lives before G-d.
1 John 1:7-9 declares: “…and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Just as the blood of the sacrificial animals sprinkled on the altar and on the people made atonement for the sins of the children of Israel, so the Blood of Yeshua cleanses those who believe in and follow Yeshua, and who have confessed and repented of their sins – both Jews and Gentiles.

We then see in Leviticus 17:11 that the only way to atone for one’s soul is through the sacrificial system and the shedding of blood - “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
And this is the only way that mankind’s soul can be atoned for; again, this is for both Jews and Gentiles.
However the Temple has been destroyed, therefore there is no sacrificial system. If there is no sacrificial system, then there is no shedding of blood; how, then, does one make atonement for one’s soul?

Scripture records that Yeshua became the perfect sacrifice when He died on the cross, shedding every last drop of His blood, thus taking our sins upon Himself, guaranteeing all who believe in His death and resurrection, and who invite Him to become Lord of their lives, atonement for their soul and eternal life in heaven – John 3:14-17: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

You see, Yeshua shed every last drop of His blood to usher in the New Covenant that would ultimately result in the redemption of mankind. In other words, the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, became the ultimate scapegoat and the ultimate sacrifice for mankind - both Jews and Gentiles.
Only by accepting Yeshua and G-d’s gift of salvation can your sins be forgiven you and eternal life in heaven be granted to you. The alternative is eternal life in Hades and G-d’s judgment…and you don’t want this.

Will you accept G-d’s gift of the forgiveness of sin, salvation and everlasting life in heaven? All you need to do is confess your sins, repent of them and ask Yeshua to come into your life as your L-rd and Saviour; and you can do this by praying the Prayer of Salvation found at the end of this article.

And by believing in and following Yeshua, not only will you have the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life in heaven, but you will be able to live lives that are holy and blameless before Almighty G-d.

We love you.

Shalom.

Scripture of the week: Leviticus 16:15-22


SALVATION PRAYER

Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.
Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.
I confess that I have sinned.
I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.
I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.
By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.

Tags: ‘Parsha’ of the Week