The parashah this Shabbat is called Shemini, which means eighth. It is from Leviticus 9:1- 11:47 and in it, the first verse begins, "It was on the eighth day." Now, we all know that the eighth day is also the first day of the week, and so it is appropriate that Aaron was consecrated on this day. You see, for seven days, only Moses, the Father of the Faith, performed all of the required duties in the Tabernacle. On the eighth day, he consecrated Aaron and from that time forward, only Aaron or one of his sons, all called Kohanim or Priests, would minister to the L-rd.
In like manner, it was on the first day of the week that Y'shua rose from the grave to become our High Priest forever. Until that time, the Heavenly Father performed all that was required, but now, we who are spiritual descendents of the Great High Priest, heirs and joint heirs with Him; now we minister to Him and through Him, to all of those around us.
According to chapter 9 verses 22-24, having finished the first day's sacrificial service, Aaron raised his hands and blessed all of the people; then he and Moses did the same and the glory of the L-rd appeared to the entire people. When the power of the Father is united with the outstretched hands of His Anointed One, the Glory of G-d appears. The Hebrew word for "anointed one" is Moshiach, which is translated as Messiah.
A very interesting note is that this parasha contains the exact half-way point in the Torah. In the beginning of 0:16, we read, Moses inquired insistently and it is this that is the very center of the entire Torah. written in Hebrew. This should indicate that we too should inquire insistently as we read the Holy Word of G-d. We must not just read through the Bible in a year, but we must seek insistently what the L-rd is telling us at every reading.
Chapter 11 deals with the instructions of kashrut, what is clean for food and what is not. G-d is clear in His instruction that by doing as He instructs in this matter, we are elevated in the way of holiness. People often ask me about this issue. "Are Gentile Christians obligated to keep "kosher?" My answer is that all Christians are obligated to be obedient to the commandments of G-d. Will eating a ham sandwich or a shrimp cocktail separate you from G-d? no, His grace is sufficient to cover all of our sins. Is it sin to eat what G-d says not to eat? Y'shua instructed His closest friends, "If you love Me, you will do My commandments. "But this is Old Testament Law" and we are not under the Law, but under grace!" often answers the questioner. "What about the vision that Peter had when G-d told him to eat of every un-kosher animal known to man?" they continue.
You are right, we are not under the authority of the Law; but under obligation to live by the grace of G-d. Paul wrote, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? G-d forbid!" For is we are bond servants to Messiah, then we are obligated to do as He instructs. And I believe that the Son and the Father are One; whatever is required by the Father is likewise required by the Son. The difference in the Torah in ancient times and the Torah today is that under the Torah, the penalty of sin is death. Now, under grace, the penalty of sin is death, but Y'shua has already died to pay this price. Baruch HaShem!!! (Praise the L-rd). But beloved, should this give us license to sin?
What about the sheet from heaven? Read the rest of the text. It is clear to Peter that the vision was to indicate that he could go to the home of the Gentile who had sent for him. Later, it reminded him and he told about it in Jerusalem to validate his claim that these Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit, just like "we" did. I bless G-d for the vision of the sheet filled with every kind of unclean food. Without it, you would probably not be a part of the Family of the Faithful, but it in no way made invalid G-d's instruction regarding that which is holy and that which is profane.
Should you refrain from eating these foods? According to every health expert in the world, eating any of the forbidden foods will reduce your life span and bring nothing healthy into your body. Carol and I are trying to do whatever it takes to maintain our lives and to live in health, so we mostly eat as G-d instructed and He blesses us according to His promise to do so. Do we slip up sometimes? Of course! His grace is sufficient and we can count on that! But do not ignore the cautionary word of Proverbs 28:9. In Hebrew, it says, "If a person will not listen to Torah, even his prayer is an abomination."