May 6, 2023: Haftorah - Ezekiel 44:15-31
This week's Haftorah reading is from Ezekiel 44:15-31. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he lays out the responsibilities of the Cohanim, the priests, and the higher standard of holiness they had to adhere to. And as sons and daughters of the King of Kings, we too are also called to this same higher standard of holiness, today!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Ezekiel 44:15-31
The parashah and haftorah speak about the responsibilities of the Cohanim. The priest was called to be an ambassador of holiness to the people. If we are symbolically called priests and kings in Rev. 1:6. “And hath made us kings and priests unto Elohim and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”, then we should know what the description entails. The Cohanim had to adhere to a higher standard of holiness. They had to be careful who they came in contact with, who they married; how they looked; what they drank; where they put their clothes; and yet they were not allowed to have any inheritance of land in Israel. Why? Because Adonai said, “I am their possession.” (Ezekiel 44:28). They also had a responsibility to teach the people the differences between holy and common and enable them to distinguish between clean and unclean.” (Ezekiel 44:23).
I Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a holy nation, Elohim’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” They were not to be like the world in any shape or form. We also see in I Peter 1:14-19 that it says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy”. Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Yeshua, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
As symbolic priests before Adonai and before men we cannot allow ourselves to be polluted and defiled. We must not allow unclean thoughts to dominate our minds; sinful acts to contaminate our bodies; impure words to proceed from our lips or allow evil deeds to proceed from our hands. We are His holy temple, His dwelling place of choice. We have been purchased with a high price of blood and chosen to be priest…this means responsibility and accountability to Elohim and the calling He has called us to.
I know we falter and fail many times in this walk of holiness but it doesn’t mean we throw in the towel and give up. Adonai is aware of who we are, what we’re going through, and He knows the number of our failures- YET- He is the one who calls us to holiness. He is the one who commands us to be holy. His focus is not on our weakness but rather on our surrender, our commitment, our consecration to becoming like Him. In full knowledge of who we are He still calls us to walk in this divine calling of priest. He desires us to present our bodies as living sacrifices on His altar, holy and acceptable to Him. He asks us to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body, spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for Him. We are commanded to be sanctified by avoiding sexual immorality and learning to control our own bodies in a way that is holy and honorable. We are ask to die to sins and live for righteousness keeping ourselves blameless, through and through, body, soul, and spirit, until Yeshua comes. Our Creator and Redeemer calls us to holiness, to walk in the symbolic office of a priest and therefore we can be holy. He doesn’t call us if we can’t do it! We are called to please Him in every way. Everything holy is good; nothing unholy is good. So, we must pursue holiness with all of our heart. That is the goal we strive for: to purify ourselves just as Yeshua is pure. He inhabits us, we are His representatives here in this world.
It is Yah Himself who calls us to holiness, and He does it because He is holy. We cannot possibly coexist for Him without holiness. We cannot fulfill the purpose for which He created us without holiness. We cannot possibly be vessels used in His service without holiness. We are to be holy in thought, deed, and word; in character, attitude and action; in intellect, emotions, and will—in everything we are to practically and pragmatically walk in holiness.
Is anyone, other than Yeshua, worthy of our love, our service, our sacrifices, our devotion, our very lives? So, we grab hold of His strength and support and determine to live for Him and love Him all the days of our lives, full throttle, holding nothing back, walking in holiness in the office He has called and equipped us to perform. We must refuse to be deterred by weakness and shortcomings. We will not be side-tracked by the trickery of Satan. Whatever the world throws at us, it will not hinder or stop us. Elohim’s grace is more than enough and where sin abounds grace abound even more!
We must prepare our minds for action, submitting ourselves to our Master. We must give our heart to Yeshua without reserve holding nothing back. “Be holy” is what Elohim said and He will settle for nothing less.
The priest was to wear linen clothing not mixed with wool while serving. These garments represent the purely physical aspect, which must be pure and untarnished. The pants “atoned” for sexual transgressions. The turban “atoned” for conceited thoughts. The tunic covered the entire body and “atoned” for murder. We must be pure! Wine was forbidden because it affected the memory, and such may cause them to forget the law and doctrines of His Word they are to deliver or hear and may say or do that which is improper and indecent.
These are a few of the commandments of being a priest but they represent surrendering to the will and purpose of Elohim over your own wants and desires.
The responsibility of teaching people the difference between holy and common and clean and unclean is an important part of our calling. This only is possible when we believe the Word to be true, believe it is Elohim’s holy Word, believe it is the same yesterday, today, and forever. There is no guessing game needed because everything is spelled out in His Torah.
Men love darkness more than light or truth. The truth came into the world and man’s love of darkness killed truth—they hung Him on a tree! In an effort to live a holy life we need to deliberately be distinct from those who do not know Yeshua. D.L. Moody said, “A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.” What we all needs is a fresh understanding of Elohim’s holiness, a new glimpse of this “kodesh”, a broader vista, a higher view of Elohim’s holiness. When we do it will change us! We will take our priesthood seriously. We must never lessen Elohim’s holiness. If we lessen the view of Elohim, then sin is diminished and “alternative lifestyles” and unholy sins are acceptable. Where Elohim is not holy, there is little incentive to change our behavior. If Elohim is not holy, there is no gospel. If we forfeit the doctrine of holiness of Elohim, there is a lower level of commitment even among those who would be believers. In fact, the whole doctrine of Elohim disintegrates if His holiness is diminished.
We need to remember: The Ruach HaKodesh is in us right now so we are therefore in the presence of this same Holy Yah as Isaiah, as John, as Moses, Yeshua, the Holy One said He is with us forever—that means—we are in presence of a Holy Yah. In view of that reality of Elohim’s holy and constant presence…how shall we live? But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written”. “Be holy, because I am holy” (I Peter 1:15-16).
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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Walk in the power of holiness! Surrendering your entire life to Yeshua HaMashiach. Join us as we gather at the Kehillah to honor and remember Adonai’s Sabbath. Come rejoicing with praise and worship on your lips. Be the living sacrifice He requires, and I will see you at the altar!