B’Har – “On the Mountain”

Our Parasha this week is titled B’Har, meaning “on the mountain“. It covers Leviticus 25:1-55. Adonai sets forth the laws requiring that the land and crops be allowed to rest every seven years, as well as the Jubilee year every 50 years. God allows the use of slaves but provides stipulations for their humane treatment, including the obligation to eventually free those enslaved to you.

The Lord commanded Israel to have a rest every seventh year. Adonai had already established this pattern of six-to-one. Six days He took to create everything and rested on the seventh. He commanded us six days of labor and then one day of rest: six years of labor and then one year of rest. This Sabbatical Year was not just for native-born Israelis. It applied to sojourners, servants and even animals. God went further and commanded that when the Israelis entered the Land of Promise, they were to ensure that the land would enjoy its own Sabbatical Year.

During that year, no vines or trees were to be pruned, no fields were to be sown and the people were to simply eat what grew on its own, trusting in the provision of Adonai. Next, He commanded a year of Jubilee which would take place every 50 years, in which individuals would be released from all debts, and all lands be restored to the original families.

Anyone who had once forfeited their property due to financial hardship could now return to that land. In fact, Adonai declared that they were never to sell any of His land permanently. At the Jubilee, the land was always to be given back to the original owners. Can you imagine if our corporations and city and state governments would follow this example and forgive all debts in a Jubilee year?

I submit that it would be an economic boost and would revitalize entire economies! To have your property returned after it’s been foreclosed would bring a great restoration to those not as fortunate as others.

This Jubilee year and the idea of rest, redemption, the forgiveness of debts and a new beginning, is a preview or a foretaste of the greater Rest and Redemption that Messiah Yeshua provides us.

Adonai, through Messiah Yeshua, has forgiven us our sins, and restored us to God the Father. He has taken our rebellion and our unbelief, and restored us in the sight of God. In Yeshua we enter a greater Sabbath Rest promised to the faithful throughout all the ages.

The Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews) describes Yeshua as our Sabbath rest. Specifically, chapter 4, verses 9 and 10 say: “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His.”

In order to understand and appreciate how Yeshua is our Sabbath rest, we need to properly understand what the Sabbath means. The Hebrew word Shabbat means “rest” in the Old Testament. It was first used regarding God “resting” from creation on the seventh day. The Sabbath would later become part of the Law of Moses, referring to the Sabbath day, where the Jewish people and those camped with them were to do no work.

Yeshua actually declared Himself to be the “Lord of the Sabbath,” and stated that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”

The Letter to the Messianic Jews further develops the concept of Yeshua as our Sabbath rest, revealing how being in relationship with Him frees human beings from the works of the Law, and allows us to rest in the fully accomplished work of Yeshua for the forgiveness of sin. The writer goes on to say that those who believe in Yeshua will ultimately spend eternity in a “Sabbath rest” with Him.

Today, many people continue to live as if their salvation depends on how many good deeds or Mitzvot they perform. Yet Yeshua is the only one who can sufficiently cover our sins and offer us eternal life. It is by His grace that we receive salvation, and only through faith in Him and His completed work. As Rabbi Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Yeshua serves as our Sabbath rest in the sense that He provides freedom from our striving in vain to accomplish the works of the Law. Instead, His sacrifice has paid the full price for our salvation. We accept salvation as His free gift, entering into His rest, both now and for all eternity.

Hebrews 4 ends with words of comfort for those who decide to enter into Adonai’s Sabbath rest. It says: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

May you find your rest in Yeshua this Sabbath Day.