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First let's get something clear about erroneous notions of Paul and his founding a new religion, which he didn't. True, the halakhah of his Judaism switched from the Pharisaic oral law to the Ruach Hakodesh, but his religion was still one of the Judaisms of the time, not a new non-Judaism Gentile religion.
Give me an undivided heart that I might fear your Name. Like Caleb and Joshua, we have to unreservedly follow the L-rd (Nu 32:12). Not all the leaders were like that, however. Some were ready to worship Aaron's idol and were complainers with evil hearts that looked back to Egypt and were being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. These were the ones that forgot what G-d had done for them. So they led the people astray at Kadesh Barnea, where G-d intended the people to move directly into the Promised Land to possess the life He intended for them. Now you may be a leader of G-d's people and you may think you don't have an idol. But during a life crisis or a time when you are being sifted by the devil, the idol suddenly appears in your heart. Sooner or later this could happen. Sooner or later, Satan may place a Kadesh Barnea temptation before you. The tzitzit were worn to remind you not to spy out or explore or search out (see TAV VAV RAYSH Nu 15:39, page 51 last line, 14th word, TAV TAV VAV RAYSH VAV) your own wicked heart or your own wicked eyes after which you used to go a-whoring (see Nu 15:39). The idol in your heart may at just this point bring you to rebellion and imperil your walk and your ministry. It is at this crucial Kadesh Barnea ("Consecration") point in your life that you must decide this: which spy will I be (remember there were 12 spies that went in to spy out the land)--the one with the report of faith that pleases G-d or the one with the negative report of rebellion and unbelief that displeased Him and excites His Wrath? When we get to that portion in our study of Numbers we will see that the 10 spies listed who led the people astray leave a horrific legacy. For this reason, "Not many of you should be" leaders, the Bible says, because the leaders "will be more strictly judged"--in this case because a whole people, that is, a whole generation, died in the wilderness because of leaders who misled them, the blind leading the blind, necessitating a new generation to do what G-d commanded the disobedient sinners at Kadesh Barnea to do. This is one of the vital lessons we must glean from the book of Numbers. It has to do with Numbers 15:39 which warns about the heart and the eyes and how these can become allied with the devil to cause ruin not only of leaders but of those they influence (the 10 scouts who are leaders in Numbers chp 13 are dead mean walking as we discover in Num 14:36-38). See Deut 1:19f and Nu chapter 13 and 14. If every leader of every kehillah in the world would spend time each day meditating on Numbers and Yehudah, there would be fewer ministers defrocked and fewer cults spawned and also fewer liberal congregations. In 2Co 10:4-5 we see that we must cast down imaginations and unbiblical demonic reasonings (Gen 3:1-8), giving Satan no foothold in the mind, fixing our eyes on Moshiach, renewing our minds as citizens of heaven, and not letting wrath-provoking imaginations rule in our thought life but instead demolishing strongholds and taking captive every thought, every thought, EVERY thought to obey Moshiach, knowing NOTHING is hidden from G-d's sight (MJ 4:13). The "One who searches the hearts" (Ro 8:27; Rev 2:23) knows the mind of the Ruach Hakodesh; and the more we pray in the Spirit, the more the Ruach Hakodesh makes intercession with groanings that cannot be intelligibly uttered, so that the Ruach Hakodesh comes to the aid of our weaknesses, especially in temptation and in times when we are confounded by troubles. Rav Shaul said, I pray in glossolalia "more than you all." Truly, when we study Ro 8:26-27 we see why our hearts, which Satan yearns to darken, need such Intercessors as the Ruach Hakodesh and Moshiach to protect our hearts, helping us pray "as we ought," particularly during times of temptation when we are weak and other times when we don't know what to pray for as we ought (see on the word "weak" Ro 6:19; 8:26; 4:19; 8:3; 14:2; 14:21; 15:1; 5:6). G-d may be in the Head Office and our little cubicle may be in the remotest basement of the building, but the glorious fact is that Ro 8:26-27 says we have an "intercom" connection with the Ruach Hakodesh and Moshiach Himself helping us in our prayers. This means that if we pray at all times "in the Spirit" according to 1Cor 14:15 the Ruach Hakodesh and Moshiach Himself pray on the "intercom" as Moshiach searches our hearts (Ro 8:26; Rev 2:23) and, knowing the mind of the Ruach Hakodesh, pleads along with the Ruach Hakodesh for us through our prayer language "according to G-d" (Ro 8:27). With such a magnificent "intercom" connection of prayer, no wonder Rav Shaul says "To me Chayim is Moshiach and Mavet is gain," death being only the corridor to the Head Office where we will meet the "Boss" face to face (Phil 1:21; Ro 14:10; 2Co 5:10). And this is how G-d makes a way of escape during times of temptation. For all 12 spies saw the same thing but ten of them did not control their thoughts in such a way that their thoughts were acceptable to G-d. May the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. And what they spoke brought death to many.
Numbers tells the story of a remnant going forward while most
people backslide or lose their way in rebellion and self-will.
Israel is on her way from Mount Sinai to the plains of Moab on
the border of Canaan, where, through the temptations of the
Moabites and Midianites, many will succomb to "Balaam's error" of
idolatry and immorality (see Numbers 25; 31:16 and II Shliach
Kefa 2:15 and Jude II) and rebel against the L-rd and His leaders
and die in the wilderness. "Balaam's error" surely turned the
L-rd against Israel then and it will turn the L-rd against the
Brit Chadasha kehillah today, though many who are lukewarm in the
Brit Chadasha kehillah think such sins are not so serious. But
Phinehas was the zealous minister (he was a kohen and, as the
grandson of Aaron, he serves as a "military chaplain" in Num.
31:6) who put to death Cozbi the immoral Midianite woman and her
Israelite lover (25:1-15), because of this same kind of sin,
which precipitated the holy war against the Midianites. Num.
10-21 tells of the 38 years, almost 40 years (1447-1407 BCE) of
wandering that the rebellious Israelites were divinely
sentenced to, wandering not only in the Transjordan but
particularly in the five different wildernesses of the Sinai
Peninsula: the Wildernesses of Zin, Shur, Etham, Paran, and Sin.
In eleven days they traveled from Mt. Sinai (Horeb) to the hill
country of the Amorites, Kadesh-barnea, which is about 40 miles
south of Beersheba. G-d had given the Amorites over to them, but
this became the fateful turning point of unbelief, and it was not
till near the end of Moses' life, some thirty-eight years later,
that these Amorites (both Sihon and Og were Amorite kings--see
Deut. 3:8; 4:47) were defeated. The people of Israel were so
close and yet so far from the Promised Land, but it was at this
time that they rebelled and were defeated by the Amalekites (Num.
11:39-45). It says these latter defeated them because they
"presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, even
though the ark of the covenant of the L-rd, and Moses, had not
left the camp." If we run ahead of the leadership the L-rd has
assigned over us, we run the risk of spiritual defeat as
From the book of Numbers we can learn much about the function of
administration (Greek diakonia), meaning the spiritual authority
to rule or administer a ministry--see Romans 12:7). Those who say
they lack this gift (and can therefore excuse themselves) are
wrong, because the Parable of the Talents emphasizes that we all
will have to give an accounting for our stewardship of our
talents (Matt. 25:14-30; Rom. 14:10; II Cor 5:10) and this would
include the way we administer the ministries G-d entrusts with
us. The message of Numbers is that we must humbly learn to
administer our assigned duties, because unclean rebellion will
bring chaos and death in the wilderness.
Num. 1:2 says, "Take a census of the whole Israelite community."
A first principle of Brit Chadasha kehillah growth strategy is to
count what you've got, and then to count what you've had, and
then to see if you are growing, and if so, at what rate. Here it
is ominous statistics gathering indeed, because we know from
14:29 this is in reality a body count of those rebels who would
be put to death in the wilderness for failing to carry their
burden of obedience in order to see the Promised Land (see
26:63-65). Compare the army muster in chapter 1 with the army
muster in chapter 26. In the L-rd's march to victory, the rebels
fell out of step with their G-d and were "numbered" for death and
were not called out to be part of the victorious assembly (kahal
or ecclessia from the root meaning "called out," that is, a
congregation called out from a world alienated from G-d, the Brit
Chadasha kehillah, the community of the elect, the chosen
people). G-d "had their number." Moses makes the first count
with Aaron and then, a generation later, shortly before his own
death, makes the last count with Aaron's surviving son Eleazar
(Aaron's generation having died off) serving as kohen gadol.
When you look at the white hair of the aging Moses and when you
look at Joshua and Caleb, you see that only non-rebels live to
see the promise fulfilled. The rebels lose the vision and perish
in the wilderness (Prov. 29:18). This is an important theological
idea in the book. The Levites are numbered in chapters 3 and 4,
and they are literal stand-ins for the Firstborn of Israel who
were in turn given to the L-rd in exchange for the Firstborn of
Egypt (see 3:11-13). Chapter 2 shows the "decent and in order"
way the tribal camp was masterfully arranged and administered by
their true Leader, the L-rd of Glory.
Num. 1:16 speaks the chieftains elected by their tribes, so the
election of zekenim (elders) and leaders by ministers and
congregations is not the injection of unbiblical politics into
Brit Chadasha kehillah polity or government. Therefore, we are to
be members of a congregation, having been "enrolled" or "counted"
or "numbered" [PAKAD] for war (1:3). The idea here is of a group
of troops divinely summoned into assembly to be counted and
enlisted by means of a military roll call and we are not to sniff
at or run from congregational business meetings and elections as
beneath us, though the danger of overweening bureaucratic control
and politicking in the L-rd's body is real.
Num. 1:47-53 shows there has to be a set-apart leadership to
protect the purity of the faith from the distortions of the
ignorant and the unqualified. The ministers literally camp around
the Word (the Aseres Ha-Dibros or Ten Commandments are in the Ark
of the Covenant) to protect sound doctrine. Therefore, semicha or
ordination is G-d's will for those accountable for sound doctrine
and the care of souls. Aaron and his sons (the kohanim descended
from Levi through Kohath and Aaron--see Ex. 6:16-20; Num.
4:5,15,19; 18:1-20) are distinguised from the Levites, who do not
touch the holy things or enter the sacred areas, on pain of
death, but assist the kohanim (see 1:47-53; 3:5-37; 18:2-7),
which non-Levites are not permitted to do. This is important to
keep in mind to understand the sin of Korah because as a Levite
he tried to usurp the kohen's authority. This was also the sin of
Antiochus Epiphanes who allowed the kehunnah to be usurped. "He
has allowed you to approach him, and all your brother Levites
with you; yet you seek the kehunnah as well" (16:10). Every
minister-baiting rebellious layman, every false teacher and false
prophet commits the sin of Korah (see Jude 11).
Chapter 2 highlights the wisdom of G-d as an administrator with
each tribe given its own position, each person his own clan,
family, and tribal grouping, each tribe its own order of breaking
camp, its own assigned leadership hierarchy, its own identifying
banner, its own order of march, its own position relative to the
mobile central sanctuary, with the Levites in the middle
protecting the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and with the tribe of Judah
(the tribe of G-d's anointed leader, the Moshiach) leading out as
the vanguard and with the tribe of Dan coming last as the
rearguard. Here is a place where the Word of G-d and the Moshiach
are connected in the Tanakh, as in the Logos-Moshiach in Yochanan
chapter 1. Judah is the tribe of the Moshiach (Genesis 49:10)
and is therefore the first to break camp (Numbers 2:3,9) and
makes the first offering (7:12) and sets out first in the march
from Sinai (10:14). See Proverbs 8:23 where G-d's Wisdom, His
Word, is "first" as well as Judges 20:18, where the Moshiach's
tribe is likewise called "first."
Notice in 3:5-10 there is full delegation of the work of the
ministry throughout the tribe of Levi, just as there should be
today in the Body of the L-rd. 4:16 says, "Responsibility shall
rest with Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen for the lighting oil."
Each believer has a responsibilty in the ministry that should be
delegated to him. Shliach Sha'ul says, "See to it that you
fulfill (the responsibilities) of your ministry (Col. 4: 17)."
In 3:11-13 we see the Levites as a type of the elect, those
called to be G-d's own possession, those who are not their own,
but have been bought with a price (3:44-51). However, since they
have no land and receive the MA'ASER (tithe) in compensation
(18:21-24), there is a definite corollary between them and the
In chapter 5 we witness a trial by ordeal for an allegedly
unfaithful wife that points forward to a better kind of probe,
the word of knowledge, a spiritual gift that has replaced this
Sinai Covenant lie detector test and, moreover, has made it as
applicable to men as to women. (See I Cor. 12:8)
In chapter 6 we see an example of a vow of commitment that the
laity, men or women, could take, the ascetic NAZIR (Nazarite)
vow, where they set themselves apart for temporary withdrawal
from the world unto G-d and this included avoiding intoxicating
beverages, contact with the dead, and cutting the hair.
Chapter 7 emphasizes that when one initiates any type of new
ministry one should first dedicate it formally to the L-rd.
Moreover, every Sabbatical year (seventh year) the unfarmed land
rested (Lev. 25:1-7 on Shemittah, see also Deut. 15:1f) and the
children of Israel rededicated themselves by gathering on Sukkoth
(the Feast of Tabernacles) and publically reciting the covenant
provisions of the Torah to which Israel under Moses had committed
itself (see Deut. 31:10; 15:9-18.). Also at the end of seven
Shabbaths of years of seven times seven years, the so-called Year
of Jubilee [Yovel] the Hebrew slaves went free, debt was
forgiven, and land was returned to the original tribal occupants
(Lev. 25:8-54). The poor were liberated from the debts and the
enslavement to the rich into which they had fallen, and the rich,
who had accumulated vast land acquisitions, were divested of some
of their filthy lucre. All this happened on Yom Kippur every 49
years (Lev. 25:8-9) and such is the essential background for
understanding Isa. 61 as Moshiach Yehoshua quotes it in Luke
4:18. This was theoretically how the law worked, if it were
actually enforced, which would keep too much wealth from falling
into the hands of a few. Unfortuately evil rulers do not always
enforce just and merciful laws, and the period of the 70 years of
Exile was actually a punishment for violating this part of the
Torah, as G-d said in effect, "I am not mocked: if you will not
give me my Sabbaths and let the land rest every seven years, I
will take my Sabbaths anyway and you will sit in Exile waiting
for the land to rest until its appointed Sabbaths are completed"
(see Lev. 26:34-35; II Chron. 36:20-21).
Chapter 8:6,15,21,22 show that your ministry begins with your
water initiation, and therefore we need to create pre-tevilah
instructional materials and classes so that we give Moshiach's
tevilah only to serious people willing to became serious talmidim
and lay ministers, not double-minded people intent on
backsliding. This means we must have pre-tevilah as well as
Chapter 8:19 shows where Shliach Sha'ul gets his ecclesiology.
He sees ordained ministers as MATANOT (gifts) to the Brit
Chadasha kehillah in Ephes. 4:11.
Chapter 9:15-23 shows that we must stay deep in prayer in order
to discern when the L-rd is moving us out in a new venture and
when he is encamping us. Many prayerless grumblers, their
feelings or their pride hurt by some imagined slight, stay with a
congregation only until their patience runs out or they get bored
and then they drift to something else, which instead of another
congregation may be the world, because these malcontents often
backslide completely. They moved without looking for the cloud
ascending from the Mishkan, without watching for the place where
it settled down (9:15-23). Their ears were not attuned to the
sound of the two silver trumpets, one blowing to assemble the
leaders (which departing backslider cares if he is a leader?) and
both trumpets blowing to assemble the whole congregation to move
out together (10:1-10). See I Thes. 4:13-18 on how our ears are
to be tuned to the rapture's trumpet. Read Ps. 90 to see the
wrath of G-d being revealed from Shomayim (Rom. 1:18) against
Israel in the wilderness.
Chapter 10:8 says that the Israelites didn't make war without
music. This shows how important the ministers of music are in
the L-rd's body. From 10:11 to 14:45 we march with the
Israelites from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, which takes us no more
than 2 months. The complaining started here in the wilderness of
Paran and the Israelites provoked G-d to anger (11:1-3,4-35; Psa.
78:26-31; 106:13-l5). But, when Moses is rebelled against, we are
told that Moses is greater than a prophet and in this sense a
unique mediator of revelation (12:6-8); it surely is in this
sense that the Moshiach will be "like me" (Deut. 18:15), but he
too will have his Shliach Kefa's and his Judas's rebel against
Chapter 11:25b says of those set apart for ministry with the 15th
century BCE lawgiver Moses, "And when the Spirit that was on him
(Moses) rested upon them, they prophesied but did not continue."
Is this unfortunate situation also true of you? Yehuda 1:20 says
that we should continue to daven in the Spirit (meaning leshonot)
as we build ourselves up in the most holy faith, studying and
meditating on the Scriptures.
In chapter 12 Miriam the prophetess has to be physically healed
to cure her of a rebellious mouth. Her offense was that she
slandered G-d's leader. 13:32 says that 10 of the 12 spies
slandered the vision of G-d's prophet and so turned the people
away from it, refusing to urge the people to conquest. For that
crime a whole generation wandered in the wilderness under divine
wrath and a death sentence (14:21-23, 34-35). Let us not give an
evil report by saying, "It can't be done here, the giants are too
big!" Such an unbelieving leader will be doomed to become a mere
caretaker of wandering dead men walking in their own blind flesh.
Numbers is a book that shows the folly of wandering in the lusts
of one's flesh. Num. 15:1-21:20 tell the story of this wilderness
wandering. And, lest the backslider harden his heart and go all
the way and apostatize, Num. 15:22-31 warns (along with Heb.
10:26) that there is no kapporah for deliberate, defiant sin. The
wilderness period was remembered by some of the prophets as the
time of Israel's apostasy (Amos 5:25-26), when she did not keep
covenant faithfulness with her L-rd (see Josh. 5:2-9 and compare
Acts 21:21). The TSITSIT (Num. 15:38) were to be worn to remind
the Israelites not to forget the word and follow their own lusts.
But the final refutation to the folly of the old-timers who focus
on the "giants" and say "it can't be done" is that it in fact was
done, with 1,820 fewer people the second time around, when the
Israelites finally went in and possessed the Promised Land
(compare the census in 26:51 and 1:46).
Chapter 18:21-32 says that not just anyone is to receive the
MA'ASER [tithe] but only G-d's ordained leadership. Some love the
tithes but not the years of ministerial training and the
accountability of ordination that goes with them.
Chapter 19:1-10 shows that because of our uncleanness we must
have faith in the kaparrah of Moshiach and have a tevilah into
him, for he is the antitype of the red cow who died outside the
camp and became the tevilah that cleanses us from our sins
Chapter 20:12 gives the ominous warning that even Moses would die
outside the Promised Land like Miriam (20:1) and Aaron (20:22)
because, although he was beseiged by rebellion from his own
mishpochah and others, Moses did not trust G-d enough to keep his
head in all situations (II Tim. 4:5) and did not obediently honor
the L-rd who delivers us from all our critics and slanderers.
Moses did not honor G-d as holy before the people and so he too
lost a blessing (27:14) Moses should have known that no weapon
formed against us will prosper. Then he would have honored G-d
as holy before the people no matter how they taxed their leader's
patience. The disobedience of the people does not excuse the
disobedience of the leader.
Notice that bitterness against G-d's leaders is just a step
removed from bitterness toward G-d himself (21:5).
Chapter 21:8 points toward the One who, though He was the Ben
HaElohim and without sin, yet he took the form of the likeness of
sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), the flesh of the corrupt children of
the Serpent (Gen. 3:15; Yochanan 8:44), and was lifted up, so
that men might look on him and live. See Yochanan 3:14-15. The
snake Moses lifted up on a standard at the end of the wilderness
wanderings, before the the conquest of the Transjordan began,
points to the Ben HaAdam Moshiach being lifted up and drawing all
men unto himself (Yochanan 12:32).
Balaam's donkey speaks because "the L-rd opened its mouth"
(22:28). The Syrian prophet Balaam with his talking donkey
points toward Saul the persecutor, who, on his horse on the way
to Damascus, wanted to curse the people of G-d, the Messianic
Jews, but could only bless them (24:9). Like the talking snake in
Gen. 3, this talking donkey is placed at a cross-roads as far as
human destiny is concerned. Those who make the decision of faith
will be blessed (24:9; Gen. 12:3). Balak (bah-LAHk) is king of
Moab (his G-d is Chemosh--Num. 21:29). And he looks down from a
mountain and sees Israel camping tribe by tribe on his territory
as they are passing through on their way to the Promised Land.
He in league with the Midianites, whom Moses will defeat in Num.
31 and whom Gideon will have to fight later in the time of the
Judges. King Balak knew he needed divine help to oppose Israel,
so he looked for the type of professional preacher who is always
harshly denouncing everybody, so he could unleash such a maggid
on Moses and the Israelites and defeat them with curses. So
Balak begins by trying to tell Balaam what to preach and what to
prophesy and attempts to persuade this Gentile prophet Balaam
(beel-AHM) to curse the chosen people. Of course, we know that
Balaam will be killed later (31:8) and G-d knows that even his
donkey knows the fear of the L-rd better than Balaam, but for the
moment money does not corrupt his ministry (22:18). Later, even
illicit sex will become a source of corruption to the true faith
as well (25:1). The most important prophecy Balaam utters is
24:17 which is the KOKHAV (star) that shall come out of Jacob and
shall become the star of David, the Moshiach.
Notice how Korah starts a rebellion against Moses in chapter 16
even though Moses has taken nothing for himself (16:15). It is
important to note that the only thing that keeps the people from
going down to Sheol is that they do not rebel against G-d and his
leadership (16:26-34). Our muttering can be the death of us
(17:25). The battle cry of Brit Chadasha kehillah-splitting
rebels is Numbers 12:2-3.
Chapter 27 (also 36) speaks of the equal inheritance promised to
women, so the laws of inheritance included provisions for
daughters. This should be seen within the larger context of the
book as a whole, since Israel was herself nearly disinherited as
a nation on at least two occasions (see chapters 11 and 14).
Moses had married a non-Israelite (12:1) woman, a fact that might
have set a bad example for the people about the sanctity of their
inheritance, but this was actually just a pretext Aaron and
Miriam used to challenge the authority of Moses for the sake of
their own personal ambitions. We see that G-d grants us our
inheritance as a gift, but we still have to fight the good fight
and seek first the kingdom in order to enjoy it (note the tribes
of Gad, Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph
received the Transjordan land as a gift but they still had to
fight with the other tribes first before, they could enjoy their
inheritance--see Num. 32).
Chapter 27:15-23 teaches that leaders should have assistants they
are equipping to take over their ministries (as Moses equipped
Joshua). The ministry can continue in a manner that is decent
and in order only when these transitions are anticipated and
See chapters 25 and 31:15-16 on the consequences of sexual sin.
Notice the Levites were given 48 towns but no land allotments.
Would it be a bad application of exegesis to say that the
Levitical towns and pastures (chapter 35) might be warrant for a
congregation providing its spiritual leader with a place to live
In 35:13 we see there were six cities of refuge. Even today,
people who have disagreements in one congregation seek refuge in
another. But where there has been a case of unrepented sin and a
person flees one congregation to join another as a kind of "city
of refuge," spiritual leaders should co-operate in matters of
Notice that the kohanim and Levites are responsible to Aaron
(18:3). A congregational board and its shammashim should be
responsible to the congregational leader. A "board-run"
congregation is not Scriptural, because they can make the
congregational leader a mere errand boy to do their bidding, and
he loses his prophetic voice in the body. However, leadership
must be shared, as Jethro emphasized to Moses.
Yehoshua (Joshua) (called Yeshua in Nehemiah 8:17) is called the
Servant of the L-rd in Numbers 27:18, "the man in whom is (the)
Spirit," making him a prophetic sign of the One who is to come,
the Servant of the L-rd filled with "My Spirit" (see Isaiah
42:1). See also Zechariah 3:8; 6:12 where another later
Yehoshua is similarly pointed to as a portent or ominous sign of
The Bible of the Jewish Diaspora from the third century B.C.E.
until the Messianic era of Moshiach Yehoshua was the Greek, the
Septuagint. In Greek the name of Joshua/Yeshua/Yehoshua in
Nehemiah 8:17 and in the Torah is IEsous or Moshiach Yehoshua.
G-d always has his two witnesses because Deuteronomy 19:15 says
that everything has to be supported by two witnesses. So at
crucial junctures, like at the transition from the wilderness
into the Promised Land or at the return from the Exile, G-d had
as his two witnesses one man from the tribe of the Moshiach and
one man bearing the personal name of the Moshiach: that is, Caleb
from the tribe of Judah and "Yehoshua" (Joshua) entering the
Promised Land; and Zerubbabel from the tribe of Judah with
"Yehoshua" (the Kohen Gadol Joshua) returning from the Exile (see
the book of Zechariah). One set of two witnesses were raised up
from the "tomb" of Egypt and the wilderness, and the other set
were raised up from the "tomb" of the Babylonian Exile. Wherever
at least two witnesses meet, there is the L-rd with his true Brit
Chadasha kehillah in their midst.
Notice the elaborate dedication of the altar HAMITZBE'ACH in
The Israelites leave Mt. Sinai and eventually arrive in Moab
(Num. 22-36), with major stops at Hazeroth (10:11-12:15), Paran
(12:16-19:22), and Kadesh (20:1-21:4). There are some 18
encampments from Kadesh-barnea to the wilderness and back to
Kadesh-barnea (33:18-36). It is in the wilderness of Zin, at the
end of the wanderings, that Moses and Aaron anger G-d and are
also sentenced to die in the wilderness. Moab is the last stop,
where Moses' last will and testament, the book of Deuteronomy,
will be delivered. G-d commanded Moses to keep this travel diary
(Luke kept one undoubtedly in writing the book of Acts), and you
may wish some day that you had kept a spiritual diary. How could
Wesley have benefited the Brit Chadasha kehillah as he did with
his writing gift if he had not kept his journals?
Notice the L-rd speaks from the Mishkan in Numbers 1:1 and not
from Mt. Sinai, so the Word emanates from the tabernacle where
the glory of G-d resides. The Word of G-d will likewise
"tabernacle" in the Moshiach (Yochanan 1:14) and emanate from
Him. The Heavenly L-rd is travelling from Egypt to Israel
embodied in the tabernacle. The people, by murmuring against
Him, are opting out of being His heavenly fellow travellers. So
this paradigm will speak its object lesson for all time to Ideal
Kadesh-barnea, (kah-DESH bar-NAY-ah) an oasis at the southern
edge of Israel, is the area the Israelites used as a staging
arena for their conquest of Canaan (Numbers 13:26), encamping
there while their spies scouted the land (13-14; Deut. 1). It
was from there that Moses tries to have a successful "kehillah"
business meeting to vote to take the land, a vote that took 38
years to attain, because the rebels were wandering in the
wilderness until they returned to the same place nearly forty
years later (33:36-37). Aaron died there. It was also at this
place that the Israelites complained about the hardship of their
wanderings, so angering Moses that he struck the rock (Num.
20:1-13; Exod. 17:1-7) and forfeited his own marching privileges
with those who went in and possessed the land.
We can conclude our services with the Aaronic benediction
(6:24-26) remembering, if a woman lights the Shabbos candles,
that the Aaronic kohenim lit the seven-lamped menorah (8:1-4).
We need to approach the study of this book with "fear and
trembling" and with Rom. 15:4 and I Cor. 10:11-12 in mind.
Notice the death of the Kohen Gadol provides release for the
guilty (35:25) just as the death of the Moshiach-Kohen (Psalm
110; Isaiah 53) provides release for us.
"There was an order of march for the Israelites, company by
company, when they set out," (10:28) and so there is for us.
Know your leaders and loyally hang tough with them.
Important verses to meditate on: Num. 32:23. Are you qualified
for work relating to the OHEL MOED tent of meeting (see 4:35)?
You have been charged with a literal responsibility to carry
(4:47); do you know what it is, and are you doing it? The
Israelites all had people over them in the L-rd (7:2); do you
(Heb. 13:17)? They brought to the Lord's House talents and
valuable things that could be used in the service of the L-rd
(7:4-5); what are you bringing to the L-rd? Look at 10:10. Some
live in New York City, the largest Jewish city in the world, and
feel no obligation whatsoever to remember them with a messianic
congregation or a messianic calender. Hobab a relative of Moses
by marriage, is offered a blessing for continuing in Jewish
ministry (10:32): that blessing is offered to you. 10:33-34
speaks of seeking a resting place, and how G-d does this for
us--compare this theme in Heb. chps. 3 and 4. Compare Moses'
question in 11:13 to Moshiach Yehoshua's question to Philip in
Yochanan 6:5. Some get out of step with G-d because of a good
thing; but if we put a good thing before G-d, He may give us too
much of a good thing, until it becomes loathsome to us, even a
It says the Spirit rested upon them and they prophesied--11:25.
Compare Acts 19:6 and the tevilah in the Ruach Hakodesh. Meditate
on Num. 14. So often we have heard, "They will never be able to
start a messianic congregation. They are Gentiles. Jews will
never go for this. It's going to fall apart. There are two many
giants againt them!" See 16:13-14. Men blame leaders instead of
their own sins--16:14. Men make false accusations--16:15. Avoid
the waters of Meribah ("Quarreling")--20:13. We need a different
spirit, the spirit of Caleb -- 14:24. The rabbis say that the
Gentiles can be righteous by following the laws of Noah, but
15:15 says the same sacrifice is necessary for both Gentiles and
See 18:16 where you see the words PIDYON HABEN (the redemption of
the son) a ceremony on the 31st day of the firstborn Jewish boy's
life when five shekels (or silver dollars) are given to a Jewish
person, a Kohen, who buys the boy back or redeems him from the
L-rd, since all firstborn males of Israel belong to the L-rd.
This ceremony is not performed on a Shabbos and/or to the
firstborn of parents who are Kohens.
Isn't it time to come back to your spiritual home?
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