Parshat Bechukotai

Where are we in His story? What comes next? When we hear prophesy or read it what can we tell? Hertz writes on this passage, “The Tochacha (warning/admonition), though it may sound harsh, is true; and truth in its nakedness is not always pleasant. The promises and, alas, also the warnings in this chapter have abundantly been borne out by Jewish history. ‘As a survey of the worldly blessings and tribulations employed by God in His education of Israel in Canaan, this chapter is fairly exhaustive, and is in line with what Prophesy proclaimed, and historical experience taught, in the course of the centuries’ (Dillmann).”[1]

[Read Lev 26:3-46]

Vs. 1-13 talk of the blessings for obedience, and we will get back to this at the end.

The Discipline

Here are the waves of discipline that Adonai brings upon His covenant people:

  1. 14-39 talk of the first series of redemptive punishments, sickness and defeat. (Also See Deut. 28:22) Jeremiah tells how this was fulfilled in his day in 14:18-19 “If I go out into the field, see, those slain by the sword! And if I enter into the city, see, the sick with famine! For both prophet and kohen will travel to a land they do not know. Have You utterly rejected Judah? Has Your soul loathed Zion? Why have You smitten us, and there is no healing for us?  We looked for shalom, but nothing good came, and for a time of healing, but suddenly, terror!”[2] Why do I say these judgements are redemptive? In Lev. 26:18 states that the purpose of the judgements is listen (and therefore obey) Adonai because of these punishments.
  2. 18-20 Adonai promises to escalate the disciplines, by breaking our pride in our power, and bringing a famine to judge the land, to “make your sky like iron and your ground like bronze.” Remember Elijah and the 3 years of drought? (1 Kings 18)
  3. 21-22 Adonai says that if we “keep walking contrary” and continue to not listen, He will multiply the disciplines 7 times more. Plagues and wild animals increased so much that the roads are deserted. (Also see Deut. 8:11-18)
  4. In Vs. 23-26 we notice that Adonai personally brings the discipline, just like Prov. 3:11-12 says, “My son, never despise Adonai’s discipline or dread His correction. For Adonai loves those He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights.” This discipline is in the form of a siege against the cities including pestilence and scarcity.
  5. “I will walk contrary to you in wrath.” The wrath that is mentioned in vs. 27-39, is the point of no return. It is the point where my parents told me, in a “slightly” elevated voice, “That’s it! Go to my bedroom!” National destruction, expulsion, desolation of the land, and all the horrors that exile bring are stated in detail. The prophets talk of the enactment of this outpouring of wrath, (Amos 5:21-23), and Ezekiel calls Babylon the Sword of God. [21:1-5]

But woe to the one who brings the punishment upon Adonai’s covenant people. There are three prophesies that I want to read, one for each of the three exiles.

  1. Concerning the exile of the Northern Kingdom: Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger, and the staff in whos hand is My indignation. [Isa. 10:10-19]
  2. Concerning the exile of the Southern Kingdom: Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon. [Isa. 47:5-9]
  3. Concerning the exile of the whole nation of Israel: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! [Luke19:41-44] (Matt. 23:37-39) Yeshua states that when He returns He will judge the nations based upon their treatment of His brethren in the flesh during the interlude. [Matt. 25:31-46]

The Repentance

We have no reason to be proud, and every reason to humble ourselves. We must personify Matt. 23:30-32 where it says, “And you say, ‘If we’d been alive in the days of our forefathers, we wouldn’t have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers!”

But as with all Adonai’s disciplines, there is hope! Lev. 26:40-45 Adonai promises that when we confess our sins, that “He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness!” (1 Jn. 1:9) And because He is faithful, he will not utterly destroy Israel, [Jer. 46:27-28.] This confession and repentance will bring Israel back into covenant which will lead to what is talked about in the first part of Lev. 26.

The Blessings for Faithfulness

The blessings are wonderful! They include rain in its season, an increase of produce both crops and trees, fullness and a secure living in the land. There is a shalom in the land from both war and wild beasts. In wars 5 will chase 100 to flight and 100 will chase 10,000. (Have you seen the statistics of the recent Israeli wars? 1948, 1967, 1973, etc.)

The greatest promise included in the blessings is found in verses 11 and 12: “I will set My Tabernacle among you, and My soul will not abhor you. I will walk among you and will be your God, and you will be My people.”

Where are we today?

We have watched this entire cycle happen 2 complete times. After the first total exile, to Babylon, the Children of Israel returned, rebuilt the Temple and prepared the land for the first advent of Yeshua. The land had been left desolate and started to rebuild the nation. But they required much encouragement concerning the Temple that they had built. Haggai prophesies that, “the glory of the latter House will be greater than the former.” (Hag. 2:9) This only found fulfilment through Yeshua since that was the Temple He walked in and through.

The second exile started to end in the late 1800’s culminating in the reestablishment of Israel as a nation. Now once again the land is being prepared for the return of the “Son of Man . . .in His glory, and all the angels with Him!” (Matt. 25:31)

[1] Hertz, J.H., The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, (2nd ed., Soncino Press, 1960), 542

[2] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.