Parashat Emor - May 13th

אמר Emor

Leviticus 21.1 — Lev. 24.23

In the middle of this week's Parasha, in Leviticus 23.10-14, it reads like this: “Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest; and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the Lord. And the cereal offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire to the Lord, a pleasing odor; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”

1 Corinthians 15.20-21 says “Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” Here Paul may have in mind the waving first fruits of the omer; he sees it as a symbol of Messiah raised from the dead and also of our own resurrection. Some have understood the waving of the omer in Leviticus 23 to happen on the third day. The omer is made of the first fruits of the year in the life given back from the earth.

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Leviticus 23.24: “Say to the people of Israel, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.”

The Feast of Trumpets was appointed for the first day of the seventh month. Since the trumpet was blown on every new moon, it was really “the seventh trumpet” that was heard by Israel on that day. Prophetically regarded, the Feast of Trumpets may be viewed as foreshadowing “that day” when God will call the attention of his Church and Israel, as well as of the nations, to the most solemn last events of the age. While these events will be characterized by the most terrible judgments, they will culminate in the antitypical Feast of Tabernacles, when God’s harvest, including the vintage, shall at last have been reaped and gathered, and when he, as undisputed Lord, shall be king over all the earth, and the Lord shall be one, and his name one (Zechariah 14.9).

What are the special future events which will be ushered in by the antitypical “Feast of Trumpets”? I would mention particularly—

(a) The regathering of scattered Israel preparatory to the solemn events which shall issue in their national conversion in their own land, when “it shall come to pass in that day that a great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and they that were outcasts in the land of Egypt; and they shall worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27.13).

(b) And this gathering of Israel nationally will be but the earthly counterpart of that other yet more stupendous and blessed event, which is the hope of the Church in the New Testament, when “he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24.31). Yea, when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we that are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we be ever with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4.16-17).

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Leviticus 23.26-32: The Day of Atonement was a day for expiation and cleansing, not so much of the individual as of the people as a whole. It was Israel’s national day of reconciliation, and hence points to an event in Israel’s history yet unfulfilled and future.

A simple illustration from the experience of Hagar in the wilderness of Beersheba may help us to understand this. When the water in her bottle was spent and she put down the lad, as she thought, to die, she herself went to a distance, and in the anguish of her spirit lifted up her voice and wept. But God heard not only her voice but the voice of the lad, and had pity on them. “Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water” (Genesis 21.19). The well was most probably there all the time, but her eyes, dimmed by her very sorrow and tears, could not see it, and it was to her, as she was filling her skin bottle, as if the well had just sprung up. So it will be with Israel. The fountain for sin and for uncleanness has been opened in the wounds of their Messiah nineteen centuries ago, but “in that day” when the Spirit of grace and of supplication is poured out upon them as a nation, “the eyes of the blind shall be opened,” (Isaiah 35.5), and the Spirit of God will apply to their hearts and consciences as a people the great redeeming work accomplished on Calvary, and the words used in connection with the Day of Atonement shall receive a fulfillment as never before: For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord. (Leviticus 16.30).

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Haftarah: Ezekiel 44.15-31

Shabbat Shalom!

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