This Scripture portion is full of the understanding that we as Israel are our Messiah’s ‘close kin.’ The Scripture starts with Yahweh telling Moses how the Kohen or priests are to deal with life situations as they happen, such as when someone dies, who they should marry and how the offerings must be presented and who should take part in them. In Leviticus 21:1-3 we read, “And Yahweh said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: ‘No one is to be defiled for the dead among his people, except for his relatives who are nearest to him: for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother; and for his maiden sister who is near to him, who has had no husband – for her he is defiled.” This statement is so profound in its intent that it literally brings tears to my eyes. Messiah stated in Matthew 15:24 that He was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, to redeemed what was lost and to bring back the captivity of those who once were His people and then became ‘not His people’ (Hosea 1:10) but then become again the ‘Son’s of the living God;’ Romans 9:26 states, “And it shall be in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they shall be called sons of the living Elohim.” This is awesome!
These statements are directly related to those whom were once a people unto the One, True and Living God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ephesians 2:13 states, “But now in Messiah (Jesus) you who sometimes were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah.” So what is this saying to us, let's look a little closer into this portion of Scripture as sometimes we tend to look over the sacrificial system because we think that it does not affect us today because the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D., but the Scripture has a two-fold purpose; which is for us to see the importance of the literal implication and Spiritual, both are relevant, even though the literal sacrifices may not seem to be applicable today; not because it's old and antiquated, but because our Wonderful Messiah shed His Blood making atonement for us making the sacrificial system quit important to us of the sheep that were, then were not, and now are again His through Yahshuah Messiah. His Blood stands forever as our Atonement. Amen!
The Spiritual aspect of the sacrificial system will always stand and it is very important that we understand it and not just skip over it. All through the Scriptures Yahweh wants us to see both aspects of these very important charges so that we can truly have a better understanding and that closer walk with Him that we so desperately ask Him for. There are buried treasurers within that system of redemption that we as believers really need to understand. Let's take a look The above Scriptures speak of a Kohen Gadol or High Priest and how he cannot defile himself with anyone other than a 'close' relative. This would be a father, mother, wife, brother, sister (who is unwed, because once she is married she falls under the authority of her husband). Isaiah 63:1 says, “Who is this coming from Edom, with garments of glowing colours from Botsrah, who is robed in splendour, striding forward in the greatness of His strength? “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is there red on Your raiment, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. And I trod them down in My displeasure, and I trampled them in My wrath. Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have defiled all My raiment.” Who is this speaking of, let's look a little further. The sacrificial laws tell us that a High Priest can only touch the dead of close kindred; he would not be able to touch just anyone. So what does this say to us who are redeemed by the Blood Yahshuah? Messiah is our Redeemer and Kinsman Redeemer as Boaz was to Ruth, because He was without sin, and to break the Torah is sin, being our High Priest going into the temple to redeem His people once and for all by shedding His Blood, as confirmed all through the book of Hebrews; Hebrews 2:17 states, “So in every way He (Yahshuah) had to be made like His brothers, in order to become a compassionate and trustworthy High Priest in matters related to Elohim, to make atonement for the sins of the people.” This statement proves that He would have to be without sin/blemish to be offered as a sacrifice for His people., and that He is our High Priest and He can defile Himself for His 'close relatives.
Yahweh through the Scriptures is very clear when He gives the duties of His priests. One example beside the above Scriptures is: Ezekiel 44:23 - 24 “And they are to teach My people the difference between the set-apart and the profane, and make them know what is unclean and clean. “And they are to stand as judges in a dispute, and judge it according to My right-rulings. And they are to guard My Torot (Torah Yahweh’s Teachings and Instructions) and My laws in all My appointed festivals, and set apart My Sabbaths. These are the charges made to all priests of the Most High God of Israel. So Yahshuah defiled Himself for His people who are 'close' relatives not strangers. Not that He cannot bring strangers close to Him and accept them into the commonwealth of Israel, because it is truly a heart issue. But understand once you become of the commonwealth of Israel you come into the Teachings and Instructions that the Master of the house has established as stated in Ephesians 2:12-13, “that at that time you were without Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Yisra’ĕl and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no expectation and without Elohim in the world. But now in Messiah Yahshuah you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.” For far too long we have been told that we are good little gentiles who gave our life to Messiah, but Messiah said that He didn't come for gentiles, but that He came for those who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel. So if you were once without Yahweh and now have been brought near by the Blood of Yahshuah you are now the commonwealth of Israel, NO LONGER GENTILES.
Yahshuah states in Luke 15:6 “And having come home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ Messiah also speaks of this in the teaching on the prodigal son. This is what the Yehudim did not understand as they counted Him talking time with 'gentiles' as wasting time, but they were blinded from being able to see who their real brother was right in front of the their eyes, Messiah speaks to a Samaritan woman and then He invites Himself to the house of a tax collector, another time he restores a woman to wholeness who was unclean due to an 'issue of blood,” interesting….. we have to look deeper into the woks of our Great Redeemer to see who He was focusing on. Now, am I saying that we all are of the actual lineage of Israel, no, I can't say that for sure, only a DNA test would show that, but what I am saying is that We worship the Hebrew Messiah, who said that He came only to retrieve the lost sheep that were once of His house and now are gone astray. His Blood redeems us whether we are of the blood line or not, as He has the ability to bring all those wanting to be a part of Israel to Him and sprinkling His blood of redemption over them because of their belief. In Luke 18 Messiah begins with a story of two men one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. Their prayers are totally different as the Pharisee prays as though he is righteous and has no faults, but the tax collector finds favor in Yahweh because he humbles himself and asks Father to show favor because he is a sinner. Then Messiah says, “And shall Elohim not do right by all means to His own chosen ones who are crying out day and night to Him, and being patient over them? He speaks of those who are His own, not by the standards of this world but by Yahweh's Standards. He continues on to say, “I say to you, this man (tax collector) went down to his house declared right, rather than the other. For everyone who is exalting himself shall be humbled, and he who is humbling himself shall be exalted.”
I ask you does this Scripture reading mean that we continue to call ourselves sinners? No, let it not be, once we come into the knowledge of what sin is, let us turn from what is impure and turn to what pure, and from what profaned to what is holy. We are called to be set apart and perfect as He our Messiah is Perfect. Perfection as in what, that you never ever sin again, no, but that if you do sin you will quickly humble yourself as the tax collector above repent and ask the Father for His Favor. 'Beating the breast' means to say to yourself, “but for the Grace of God go I.” We should always take our example for walking right from the righteous people in the Scriptures. David walked perfectly before the Father because he would humble himself and repent. Further in that chapter Messiah tells us that we have to be as children, children of whom, of the Most High not of the stranger or of disobedience. We have to view ourselves as part of the vine and not apart from the vine. To humble ourselves and understand the Righteousness of our Maker and Creator will cause us to want to walk perfect before Him and this wicked and dark world, but if we don't understand what that means how can we possibly achieve that goal.
Further down in the 18th Chapter of Luke Messiah is still trying to relay His message of holiness from the Heavenly view as He talk about a rich man coming and asking what he needs to do to enter into the reign of Yahweh, and Messiah quotes some of the more common Commandments; Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Respect your father and your mother ” (as we all want to quote these as they are felt to be easily attainable) and the rich man says, I have kept those all my life (as most people would say), but Messiah says something to try the heart of this man, 'sell everything that you own and give it to the poor and follow me and you will have treasure in Heaven. What happened to the young man, he became sad because he had much....I believe that Yahshuah is saying this very phrase to this generation, give up your stuff, things that you hold to, things that you have made treasures in your life, maybe traditions that don't line up in Scriptures. I ask you, how many of the traditions that we hold to presently; do not line up with Yahweh's Word? We must examine our hearts to see if Yahweh asked us to give up some things would we walk away with our head down and intensely sad, or would we gladly give it up to follow His Ways. The most important part of this particular scripture is Messiah’s point in Luke 18:26 – 27: And those who heard it said, “And who is able to be saved?” And He (Yahshuah) said, “What is impossible with men is possible with Elohim.” HalleluYah, we can't do it by our strength, but there is nothing to hard for Yahweh. So if you desire to walk more like Messiah, ask of the Perfect One Who can make it possible for you. Let us not give in to the thoughts and mindset of this society that says, you can't be perfect, because if that were so He would never have told us to be perfect. Matthew 5:48 says, “Therefore, be perfect, as your Father in the heavens is perfect. (Read Exodus 17:1, Psalm 119:1, 1 John 2:5, Hebrews 6:1)
Finally, Yahweh has redeemed His people through the Blood of Messiah and that since He is our High Priest therefore being defiled by taking on our burden of sin and we being His 'close' relative regain entrance to the good place 'back' in Him. We humble ourselves understanding that He is Holy and that He calls us to be also. Not being puffed up within ourselves, but being humbled under His Mighty hand so that He will exalt us. Giving up those things that distance us from Him and follow His Ways will insure us to reap the harvest of Blessings from His Mighty Hand.
I believe that if that rich man had humbled himself and asked Yahshuah to help his unbelief that Messiah would have had a totally different response, for by our strength we would not be able to put a camel through a needle's eye nor a harbor rope through one either, but with Yahweh, all things are possible. Remember what comes out of a man is what is in him...what we speak has power over us, Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those loving it eat its fruit.
Blessings and Shalom!