The last Torah portion in Leviticus is called “B’Chukatai” meaning “in my statutes” (Lev 26.3 to 27.34). There are several Torah portions that strike “terror” in the heart of every believer and this is one of them because it deals with the blessing and the curse. This portion and the one at the end of Deuteronomy takes on the style of a rebuke.
This last portion in Leviticus calls on man to walk in the Torah in spirit (essence) and in deeds. God will reward those who walk in “my statutes” (26.3-13), but will also punish disobedience (26.14-39). The blessings begin with an aleph in Hebrew and end with a tav (the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet). The curses begin with a vav and ends with a heh, the last two letters of God’s name Yehovah (YHVH). God is a judge and demands judgment. We have a choice.
There are reasons things happen. This is a basic understanding of any “god.” Reward and punishment is related to the truth and its consequences. There are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. That is why these verses and those in Deut 28.6 to 29.8 strike fear in the hearts of any believer in this God.
Christianity gets around all that by saying “We aren’t under the law anymore. We have been set free from the curses and we have all the blessings under Jesus.” But, that is not what the Scriptures teach. It is very easy to understand and God has not changed. The basic proposition in verses 14-39 is, “If you do not obey me, I will curse you.” Now, there is a word used here seven times (26.21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 40, 41) and nowhere else in the Torah. That word is “keri” and it means “against me” or “contrary.” God is personally involved here.
When a person believes God is merely “there” but not actively involved in their life, they feel less responsible to him and his plans. However, if we believe he is there and plays a role in the events of our life, we will be more inclined to “work” with him, which means we first “hear” and “obey.” The only manual that claims to know and teach that is the Torah. God’s providence is not a concept but a reality. The biggest curse of all is to have no sense at all of being part of a curse!
The First Temple was destroyed and the people were exiled, but they returned after 70 years. Then the Messiah came, the rightful heir to the throne of Israel, and they killed him. The Second Temple was destroyed and the people exiled. Some were taken to Egypt in ships by orders of Titus. This began a cycle of inquisitions, pogroms, persecutions and the Holocaust. Only in recent times have we seen the Jewish people come back to the land. In the middle of all this is the blessing. The land will not accept the presence of our enemies and will not produce. This is yet another proof of God’s divine hand on the land. No nation has been successful working the land. But when the Jewish people began to return, it began to flourish again. Here is an application of God’s hand in eschatology based on this portion in Leviticus.
The Babylonian Captivity ended in 536 BC, with 360 years remaining of the judgment in years (430 years total). These years are based on Ezek 4.3-6 (390 years for the north and 40 years for the south). The Lord says if they do not repent they will be punished “seven more times” in Lev 26.21-28. So, the captivity began in 606 BC and ended in 536 BC after 70 years (Jer 25.11). 360 years remain of the 430, multiplied seven times because they did not repent and rejected Yeshua, equals 2520 years (2520 times 360 years is 907,200 days). Now, take 907,200 and divide it by 365.25 and it comes out to 2483.8 years. Subtract 536.4 (when Israel returned) from 2483.4 and it comes to 1947.4. Adjust for no year (“0”) between 1 BC and 1 AD and you come to 1948.4, or May 1948 when Israel became a nation again.
But, we hear “God rejected Israel” because of unbelief. However, their religious instruction is baased in Replacement Theology. If you believe the commandments in the Torah as spoken by Moses, you will not believe in Replacement Theology. However, sooner or later, you will meet opposition. They will hold you responsible for their unbelief. The Torah teaches us about God and we are to know him (Jer 9.23). These commandments will separate you from the world (Deut 4.1-8).
The more you know him, the more you want to keep the commandments. Legalism is defined as keeping man’s commandments. Keeping God’s commandments is called obedience. The purpose of the commandments is to know the Lord (1 John 2.1-4). They do not make you righteous or justify you before God, that is another work of God. If the commandments separate us from the world to God, then not keeping them separates you from God to the world.
Do we want to get “exiled?” Then don’t keep the Torah and say “we aren’t under the law.” Do we want to be “confused?” Then don’t keep the commandments of God. Do we want to be “lawless” and have Yeshua say to us, “I never knew you?” Then don’t keep them (Matt 7.21-23). Truth be told, we resist authority. Remember how we felt when we first believed? Then we heard about “commandments” and we didn’t like the “obey” part. People are told all that “has been done away with” and all we had to to is “love.” But, we can’t say we love the Lord and disobey his commands. We can’t say we love the Lord and disregard his Sabbath. He is Lord of the Sabbath! We can’t say we love our neighbor and steal from him, lie about him and hate him.
1 John 2.3-4 says, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. The one who says ‘I have come to know him’ and does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.” Now go to Matt 7.21-23 and read where it says, “Not everyone who says to me on that day (when Messiah comes) ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father (Torah) who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness (Greek word for lawlessness here is “anomos” meaning “against or no Torah”).”
We don’t keep the commandments if we don’t know him. Something happens to us when the presence of God comes into our hearts-it changes us. We want to obey and our nature changes. We see the blessings and we want life, and we are motivated to learn. But, most people give the Lord “lip service.” How do we know we know the Lord? We keep and teach the commandments of the Lord. If we teach “church” commandments, you know the church. If we teach man’s commandments, we know man. Religious people and religions want us to keep their commandments.
Two thousand years ago there was a conflict between the Jewish religious leaders (in particular the Pharisees from Beit Shammai) and God/Yeshua. These religious leaders were not following Moses, but they had new commands called the “Oral Law” (tradition). Yeshua said in Matt 22.29, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures or the power of God.”
Rabbinical Judaism didn’t start until after Yeshua. The architect for it was a man named Yochanon Ben Zakkai, who was 63 years old when Yeshua died, meaning he knew Yeshua and rejected him as Messiah, and his teachings. Ben Zakkai died in 90 AD (120 years old). The oldest known documents on what was done in the First Century is the Gospels and Epistles. They are older than the Mishnah and the Talmud. And just like Rabbinical Judaism, you won’t find “the faith” in many Christian churches either because they changed the nature of God, the covenants, the Messiah, the Basar (gospel), the commandments, the festivals, the dietary laws and much more.
Jer 31.31-34 contains what is known as the “new covenant.” Verse 31 says that the Torah will be written on the heart of a believer. This will be written so deep down in our hearts that we will know the Lord. If we want too to know someone, walk with them and spend time with them. We need to listen to what they say and be interested in what they are doing. If you are reading this and you are not sure you know “this God” because your behavior and beliefs do not match up with the Torah, and you realize you are not obeying him, here is what you should do.
Ask yourself, “How is my Mishkan set up?” Have you met the priest (Yeshua) at the door? Is there a fire (the cross/redemption) on your altar? Does your Menorah have light (understanding of the word)? Is there bread on your table (the Word of God)? Is there incense (prayer) on the golden altar? Are the commandments of God (Torah) in your ark (heart)? If not, confess your sins and iniquities and turn (“teshuvah”) to the Lord and begin to walk with him through his commandments. Show your faith (emunah) by your works (Hebrew “mitzvot” meaning commandments).
In closing, there is a tradition (not all tradition is bad if it does not violate a commandment) that after a portion of Scripture is studied, the following is recited: “Chazak, chazak, venit’chasek” which means, “Be strong, be strong, let us be strengthened.” We have received instruction from the Book of Leviticus. It is to make us stronger in the Lord, so stand up in that strength and rise up to the next level.