“You shall be blameless before the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 18:13). The Lord warns the children of Israel from committing the different abominations that the nations that dwelt in the land of Israel committed prior the conquest of the land.
The word that is used for “blameless” in Hebrew is “tamim” (תמים). This word is a special word in Hebrew, full of meaning, which we will look at here.
It comes from the root word “T.M.M.” (תממ) which to most Israelis today usually means ‘innocent’ or ‘naïve’. However in the biblical text, the word “tamim” is used to describe someone who is blameless, pure, and perfect. Far from being gullible or naïve, as it is in Modern Hebrew today, the Biblical concept is full of power and perfection. The actual definition of the word means “perfect, that does not lack anything, without defect, fault, shortcoming or blemish”.
One in four billion
The first time that this word is used in scripture is in Genesis 6:9 when describing who Noah was. It is written that “…Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.”, the word “perfect” being the “tamim” in Hebrew. Noah was the only one in his generations that was blameless before the Lord, therefore he and his offspring were the only ones that the Lord desired to save from the flood and repopulate the world through. I never thought in depth about how many people lived during Noah’s time, just prior to the flood, but I never thought there to be too many people. This however was probably not the case. We see that within a few hundred years the children of Israel multiplied in Egypt from 70 (give or take a few) to a number of million at the exodus. From the creation of man until the flood there were approximately 1656 years, meaning that the population of the world would have been in the millions, if not hundreds of millions or even billions, some scholars predicting around 4 billion people. Now that is a lot of people, and out of all of them, Noah was the only one who was found to be “tamim”, blameless, before the Lord. Think for a moment of your own country and the millions that live in it. Think for a moment of how you would be the only one saved out of the entire nation because you were blameless before the Lord. This attribute also is connected with finding favour in the sight of the Lord as it is written that Noah found favour in the eyes of God.
In Deuteronomy 18:13 the Lord commands us to be blameless before Him. This command was given to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless”. Later on in the Torah, this is the word used to describe the sacrifices that were to be given to the Lord. Exodus 12:5 speaks of the Passover Lamb: “…Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year”, again the word “tamim” being the original word.
Only the best for the King
Later, in the book of Malachi, the prophet rebukes the children of Israel for presenting the Lord with sacrifices that are not “tamim”, nor for doing so with a heart that is blameless before Him ““And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the Lord. “But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And takes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished — For I am a great King,”Says the Lord of hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations.” (Malachi 1:13-14).
Our spotless sacrifice
Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning for the destroyed temples here in Israel. However, the Rabbis have found all kinds of ways for Judaism to continue without the temple, causing some to not even be interested in seeing the temple rebuilt (as it would jeopardise the positions of the Rabbis and change traditions that are centuries old), but despite this, seeing the temple rebuilt and the sacrificial system reinstated is still what many long for. Of course we know that this system is not needed anymore, at least not physically, since the Messiah Himself is fulfilling this requirement continually.
1 Peter 1:17-19 tells us that in the same way that the Passover lamb, and all of the other sacrifices, were without blemish but were perfect, so Messiah Yeshua was “tamim” before the Lord and was the perfect sacrifice:
“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Even the Talmud states that 40 years prior to the destruction of the 2nd temple that the “Shkina”, the dwelling of God’s Spirit departed from the temple and it became like an empty building who’s doors flung open on their own (Yoma, chapter 4, pages 39a, 39b). This was about the time same time that our eternal sacrifice was given for us and the “Shkina”, God’s living Spirit moved into our hearts.
A high calling
Let us remember this high calling that the Lord has given us, to walk blamelessly before Him in all of our ways, in our thoughts, our words, our actions and the attitudes of our hearts. These are the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord and He requires that they be “tamim”, without blemish.
Pray that the Lord will cause His people to walk before Him in purity, or “tmimut”, once again and that they will see who the real Lamb without blemish is; Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel.