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firstfruits
Seasoning

by haRold Smith

a citizen of the Commonwealth

(Ephesians 2:12)

"You are to season every grain offering of yours with salt - do not omit from your grain offering the salt of the covenant with your Elohim, but offer salt with ALL your offerings."
Leviticus 2:13


"For everyone will be salted with fire and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another."
Mark 9:49-50



"Have you not perceived that the ones working out of the sacred place (Temple) are to eat from the sacred place and those who serve at the altar of the sacred place, get a portion of what is offered there? In the same way, Yeshua directed those proclaiming the Well Message should live out of the Well Message."
1Corinthians 9:13-14



The first article (click on highlighted words to view content)) of this series focused on how the Temple is now elevated by Spirit to be within those who embrace the Nature of Spirit by keeping the Words of YHVH in the Life exampled by Yeshua. Today's hirelings that are employed at their local place of worship believe the verse from 1Corinthians above justifies their wages from "the flock" as a select few - elevating themselves to benefit themselves. But, read this verse again from the Interlinear Version (it is the straight translation without all the additions, assumptions and corruption to the words accumulated over time). Those serving from out of the sacred place (the Temple) that is now within should also be living out of the offerings placed before YHVH as Yeshua directed. Are YOU involved in the work of the ministry proclaiming the Well Message through the embrace, the living of the Life of Yeshua so that everyone can see (not the Christian gospel)? If you are, then you are also allowed to live out of the sacred place as a priest set apart to YHVH and to partake of the offerings brought there by other members of Yeshua's Body. Yeshua never told anyone to NOT present offerings or tithes - just to do them according to the Nature of Spirit.

In His elevated temple, since all those in His Kingdom come from a Nation of Priests, those receiving the offerings are also the presenters of the offering. Romans 12:1 tells us that, just as the temple itself has been elevated by Spirit, even so the life we live is now our elevated offering of worship. However, since "the church" has disassociated itself from the Hebraic underpinnings of the words of Yeshua and the epistles, dismissing them as not relevant any more, most of those claiming to follow the Messiah do not have a clue as to what the grain offering of Leviticus 2:13 that Yeshua was referencing in Mark 9:49-50 above is all about. So, let's look at these words from the perspective of the Hebrew authors who wrote them out of a Hebraic mindset influenced by a Hebrew culture and see what they really wanted to convey.

The Hebrew word for "grain offering" is minchah. In secular use, it is often connected to the tribute a servant gives to a master or the gift from a vassal to a king. It's not always about grain (Abel's offering is a minchah), but it is always primarily about a gift offered in tribute to the one being served - the "first fruits" of life, the best that I have to offer to YHVH. This is an offering that is performed daily, always following the daily burnt offering; but unlike the peace offering and the burnt offering it did not involve animal sacrifice. Furthermore, only a handful of the grain offering was actually burned. Most was given to the priests for food (thus Paul's comment).

The most common spice used in biblical Israel was salt (Hebrew melach), there being hardly any food which was not seasoned with it. Salt served the additional function of symbolizing the making of a covenant (2Chronicles 13:5). Salt was very important in the ancient world, not only to flavor food, but was also of utmost importance in the ancient world as a preservative. In fact, it was so important that wars were fought over the control of salt production. Without refrigeration, there was simply no way to keep meat unless it was preserved with salt. So, salt became the great symbol of the prevention of decay. Salt retards corruption, both physically and spiritually which is why the covenant with the Levites, the priests set apart to YHVH, was so important to retard any plague from consuming those coming near the Presence of YHVH since Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

Salt Sea
...sunset on the Salt Sea
It was from this Hebrew perspective of retarding corruption that Yeshua calls all of His followers "salt". Are you following Yeshua? Is your life retarding corruption? Are you living in such a way that your very existence prevents the decay of YHVH's Words in the world? Yes, YHVH's Words because Yeshua's Words were not His, but those of His Father's and YHVH's Words are the Source of LIFE. That is the test of your saltiness. We all have the property essential to retard decay available to us through the indwelling of His Spirit, but not all of us are using that property. His Spirit is given to bring to our remembrance His Words. Some of us are so polluted with elements of this world that our saltiness is lost in the confusion. Too many are still attempting to coexist with Babylon (Hebrew Babel, which means confusion), mixing the traditions of the world with their salt in the belief that salt cannot be compromised. People who heard Yeshua knew this phenomenon quite well, however. Living near the Salt Sea (what is inaccurately called the "Dead Sea"), they were in close proximity to one of the saltiest places on earth. But the salt from this Sea was useless in retarding corruption and decay. It was so polluted by other elements that it was unfit for use as a preservative - in spite of the fact that it was salty.

"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see YHVH." Matthew 5:8

The religious hirelings tell us we can barter holiness for convenience, faithfulness for success, wisdom for sermons, sound doctrine for personal gain and our lives will still be acceptable worship to YHVH. But, Yeshua says that if you are going to be the salt of the world, you will have to remain pure to YHVH's purposes. That means doing as He instructs - not bringing our favorite agenda to the table. The real translation of the word used for "pure" in this verse is "clean." It comes from the Greek word katharos, meaning to "purge or cleanse.” The Hebrew word for "pure" is barar which carries this same meaning (as used in Psalm 18:26 and its derivative, bar, used in Psalm 19:8 to declare YHVH's commandments, His Words, to be pure). Of course, what is cleansed is pure; thus, katharos is the same word Kiefer (the apostle Peter) uses in 1Peter 1:22 telling us HOW our lives are cleansed and made pure - by obedience to the Truth. That Truth is contained in YHVH's Words, Who IS Truth (remember, Yeshua said He only spoke what He was taught; of His Father; Yeshua is the Way to the Truth Who Is the Source of Life). It is the practice of the Words of Spirit that makes us clean, "bringing forth" the purity of Spirit through our lives into this earthly realm. Interestingly, the only place where salt loses its saltiness is in the crucible of fire. Yeshua came to baptize with ruach hakodesh (Hebrew for the spirit of holiness) AND WITH FIRE. It is the fire of life's tribulation that causes the impure to separate from the pure - not the other way around. Mixing motives for selfish gain, concerns for self-protection, preoccupation with selfish desires and moral "holidays" with the real salt only turns us into Salt Sea salt - salty, but useless in YHVH's Kingdom.

So, what does this have to do with us today? We are not living in the 15th century BC - but notice this: the Septuagint translates the Hebrew minchah with the Greek word thysia meaning "sacrifice". However, minchah is used only 5 times as "sacrifice" in the Original Writings while being used 164 times as "offering". Thysia is the same word that Paul uses in Romans 12:1 and Yeshua uses in Mark 9:49-50. Regardless of the language used, they both knew perfectly well the grain offering was a daily tribute to the sovereignty of YHVH. Isn't that exactly what is suggested by the exhortation to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, a living offering? It isn't once; it's every day. It isn't just some of my life; it is ALL I have. It isn't just plain vanilla; it's my best - salted with the covenant of YHVH's Words. This is what it means TO BE a holy consecration. This is the sacred offering that we both present and receive out of His Temple, His Sacred Place now abiding within those whose lives conform to the example of Yeshua's life whose standard are the Words of His Father.

offering
...the sacred offering of firstfruit
The grain offering was presented every morning and every evening in Israel, at the beginning of the day's production and at the end. We might not physically take a handful of wheat to the temple altar today, but if we don't understand the meaning of the grain offering, we will neglect to perform its elevated representation every day in our interaction with those of His Kingdom - thereby denying YHVH's sovereignty over our lives and ignoring Yeshua's specific commandment of John 13:34-35 below. When Yeshua spoke these words, it was not to a crowd or even to the multitude of believers following Him. These words were spoken to the twelve who had dedicated their lives to following His example of Life. How we care for the other Members of Yeshua's Body just as dedicated (not those of the world) is how the Body (His Temple) is built and is what it means to be an "acceptable and perfect" offering. This is how the world will perceive who His disciples are and then desire to join in His Body. Ah-h-h, and here you thought it was about "morals" and living "correctly according to the precepts of the church" (both of which are, essentially, the constructs of men).

If you thought the sacrifices were abolished when Yeshua died at the cross - you missed the point. The sacrifices were expanded by elevation into the hearts of men - not abolished. That's the direction of the restored covenant. So, the next time you sit down with your toasted oatmeal, think about the grain offering. Present yourself into His Storehouse as grain dedicated to YHVH, sharing with His priests - a tribute to His Lordship over you this one day. And then do it again tomorrow.

the Temple Series
Part One: Without to Within
Part Two: the Tithe
Part Three: Seasoning
Part Four: the Elevation

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

???Questions???
Please feel free to email me at harold@hethathasanear.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.
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