Readings and Commentaries
Year 2 Sabbath Forty-eight (February 8, 2003)
(In the wilderness) Ish al diglo (Each man by his own
banner), commonly called Numbers 2
1 Amen* 2:1 Now Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 "The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers' households; they shall camp around the tent of meeting at a distance. 3 "Now those who camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah, by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Judah: Nahshon the son of Amminadab, 4 and his army, even their numbered men, 74,600.
2 Amen* 5 "And those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Issachar, and the leader of the sons of Issachar: Nethanel the son of Zuar, 6 and his army, even their numbered men, 54,400. 7 "Then comes the tribe of Zebulun, and the leader of the sons of Zebulun: Eliab the son of Helon, 8 and his army, even his numbered men, 57,400. 9 "The total of the numbered men of the camp of Judah: 186,400, by their armies. They shall set out first.
3 Amen* 10 "On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Reuben: Elizur the son of Shedeur, 11 and his army, even their numbered men, 46,500. 12 "And those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Simeon, and the leader of the sons of Simeon: Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, 13 and his army, even their numbered men, 59,300.
4 Amen* 14 "Then comes the tribe of Gad, and the leader of the sons of Gad: Eliasaph the son of Deuel, 15 and his army, even their numbered men, 45,650. 16 "The total of the numbered men of the camp of Reuben: 151,450 by their armies. And they shall set out second. 17 "Then the tent of meeting shall set out with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camps; just as they camp, so they shall set out, every man in his place, by their standards.
5 Amen* 18 "On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud, 19 and his army, even their numbered men, 40,500. 20 "And next to him shall be the tribe of Manasseh, and the leader of the sons of Manasseh: Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, 21 and his army, even their numbered men, 32,200. 22 "Then comes the tribe of Benjamin, and the leader of the sons of Benjamin: Abidan the son of Gideoni, 23 and his army, even their numbered men, 35,400. 24 "The total of the numbered men of the camp of Ephraim: 108,100, by their armies. And they shall set out third.
6 Amen* 25 "On the north side shall be the standard of the camp of Dan by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Dan: Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, 26 and his army, even their numbered men, 62,700. 27 "And those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Asher, and the leader of the sons of Asher: Pagiel the son of Ochran, 28 and his army, even their numbered men, 41,500. 29 "Then comes the tribe of Naphtali, and the leader of the sons of Naphtali: Ahira the son of Enan, 30 and his army, even their numbered men, 53,400.
7 Amen* 31 "The total of the numbered men of the camp of Dan, was 157,600. They shall set out last by their standards." 32 These are the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers' households; the total of the numbered men of the camps by their armies, 603,550. 33 The Levites, however, were not numbered among the sons of Israel, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses. 34 Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all that Yahweh commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, every one by his family, according to his father's household.
Psalm 92 A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day.
1 It is good to give thanks to Yahweh, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High; 2 to declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night, 3 with the ten-stringed lute, and with the harp; with resounding music upon the lyre. 4 For Thou, O Yahweh, hast made me glad by what Thou hast done, I will sing for joy at the works of Thy hands. 5 How great are Thy works, O Yahweh! Thy thoughts are very deep. 6 A senseless man has no knowledge; nor does a stupid man understand this: 7 that when the wicked sprouted up like grass, and all who did iniquity flourished, it was only that they might be destroyed forevermore. 8 But Thou, O Yahweh, art on high forever. 9 For, behold, Thine enemies, O Yahweh, for, behold, Thine enemies will perish; all who do iniquity will be scattered. 10 But Thou hast exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil. 11 And my eye has looked exultantly upon my foes, my ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me. 12 The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Planted in the house of Yahweh, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, 15 to declare that Yahweh is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
1 Now all the tax-gatherers and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2 And both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3 And He told them this parable, saying, 4 "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? 5 "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' 7 "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Numbers 2 is God’s picture-plan for the encampment of the tribes of Israel around the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.
While it is common to see pictures showing tents of the twelve tribes all around the Tabernacle, it may be noted here that they were required to camp at a distance from the Tabernacle (v.2). The camps stretched about eight miles (Talmud), holding something like three million people.
The Levites camped around the south, west, and north of the Tabernacle, and Moses and Aaron camped in front of the entrance, to the east.
If one goes four directions from the Tabernacle, with three camps in each direction, a cross is formed. The Torah says that Benjamin was to camp “over” (al) the banner of the bull, Manasseh was to camp “over” Benjamin, and Ephraim was to camp “over” Manasseh. Though our translation read “under” the banner and “beside” the other tribe, the preposition (al) “over” would seem to mean beyond.
Approaching the cross from the top (west), one comes to “Causing to Forget” (Manasseh), and “Doubly Fruitful” (Ephraim), then “The Son of My Right Hand” (Benjamin). The former two seem to picture Yeshua as our two atonements – taking away sin and imputing to us righteousness, and the latter obviously representing the Son of God.
From the east, the world (Revelation 17:15, Matthew 13:47) comes to the “Haven of the Sea” (Zebulun); then “The Hired One” (Issachar) – “Make me as a hired servant” (Luke 15:19); and then reaches the entrance to the place of worship through “Praisers of Yahweh”, Judah.
If we consider Yeshua facing us on the cross, at His right hand is “Good Fortune” (Gad), from whence we come to “Hear” (Simeon or Shimon, which is related to Sh’ma) and “Behold a Son” (Reuben). At His left is “Judgment” (Dan), after “My Wrestling” (Naphtali) and “Happiness” (Asher) – perhaps alluding to the happiness of this world. This brings to mind the two who were crucified, one on each side of Yeshua (Luke 23:39-43), one going to Paradise and the other to judgment.
When we get to the place of worship, we have an “Escort” (Levi) – the Torah teachers, to lead us to the door (Yeshua): “The Torah is our schoolmaster, to lead us to Messiah” (Galatians 3:24). Moses, a type of Messiah, is at the door.
There are four standards, or banners, behind which each group of tribes must camp. To the east, the banner of Judah is a lion. To the west, the banner of Ephraim is a bull. To the south, the banner of Reuben is an eagle. To the north, the banner of Dan is a serpent.
has a parable. In Numbers 2, we see that God had very specific numbers of
people in His army, and they were a minority group. In Yeshua’s parable,
we see that every one of God’s people – His sheep – is going to be brought
in to the fold. He will seek out every last one. Whereas in Leviticus, His
people are referred to as Israel – in contrast to gentiles, in Luke they
are referred to as His sheep – in contrast to goats (Matthew 25:32-33).
Yeshua laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:11; see also Matthew
Psalm 92 is the third of the eleven Psalms by Moses. As Psalm 90 was dedicated* to Reuben, and Psalm 91 to Levi, this one was to Judah. It is, specifically, a song for the Sabbath. If we were going to the Tabernacle for Sabbath service, we would go through the camp of Judah, the praisers of Yahweh. So, the Psalm begins, “It is good to give thanks to Yahweh, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High”.
* [Psalm 93 was to Benjamin, 94 to Gad, 95 to Issachar, 96 to Zebulun, 97 to Joseph, 98 to Naphtali, 99 to Dan, and 100 to Asher. Simeon was excluded.]
Year 2 Sabbath Forty-nine (February 15, 2003)
(In the wilderness) V’elech toldot (These are the
generations), commonly called Numbers 3:1-4:16
1 Amen* 3:1 Now these are the records of the generations of Aaron and Moses at the time when Yahweh spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. 2 These then are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the first-born, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he ordained to serve as priests. 4 But Nadab and Abihu died before Yahweh when they offered strange fire before Yahweh in the wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests in the lifetime of their father Aaron. 5 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 6 "Bring the tribe of Levi near and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. 7 "And they shall perform the duties for him and for the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. 8 "They shall also keep all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, along with the duties of the sons of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. 9 "You shall thus give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the sons of Israel. 10 "So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons that they may keep their priesthood, but the layman who comes near shall be put to death."
2 Amen* 11 Again Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 12 "Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every first-born, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. 13 "For all the first-born are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the first-born in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am Yahweh." 14 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, 15 "Number the sons of Levi by their fathers' households, by their families; every male from a month old and upward you shall number." 16 So Moses numbered them according to the word of Yahweh, just as he had been commanded. 17 These then are the sons of Levi by their names: Gershon and Kohath and Merari.
3 Amen* 18 And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families: Libni and Shimei; 19 and the sons of Kohath by their families: Amram and Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel; 20 and the sons of Merari by their families: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their fathers' households. 21 Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites and the family of the Shimeites; these were the families of the Gershonites. 22 Their numbered men, in the numbering of every male from a month old and upward, even their numbered men were 7,500. 23 The families of the Gershonites were to camp behind the tabernacle westward, 24 and the leader of the fathers' households of the Gershonites was Eliasaph the son of Lael. 25 Now the duties of the sons of Gershon in the tent of meeting involved the tabernacle and the tent, its covering, and the screen for the doorway of the tent of meeting, 26 and the hangings of the court, and the screen for the doorway of the court, which is around the tabernacle and the altar, and its cords, according to all the service concerning them.
4 Amen* 27 And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites and the family of the Izharites and the family of the Hebronites and the family of the Uzzielites; these were the families of the Kohathites. 28 In the numbering of every male from a month old and upward, there were 8,600, performing the duties of the sanctuary. 29 The families of the sons of Kohath were to camp on the southward side of the tabernacle, 30 and the leader of the fathers' households of the Kohathite families was Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. 31 Now their duties involved the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, and the utensils of the sanctuary with which they minister, and the screen, and all the service concerning them; 32 and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest was the chief of the leaders of Levi, and had the oversight of those who perform the duties of the sanctuary.
33 Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites and the family of the Mushites; these were the families of Merari. 34 Their numbered men in the numbering of every male from a month old and upward, were 6,200. 35 And the leader of the fathers' households of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail. They were to camp on the northward side of the tabernacle. 36 Now the appointed duties of the sons of Merari involved the frames of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, all its equipment, and the service concerning them, 37 and the pillars around the court with their sockets and their pegs and their cords.
5 Amen* 38 Now those who were to camp before the tabernacle eastward, before the tent of meeting toward the sunrise, are Moses and Aaron and his sons, performing the duties of the sanctuary for the obligation of the sons of Israel; but the layman coming near was to be put to death. 39 All the numbered men of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered at the command of Yahweh by their families, every male from a month old and upward, were 22,000. 40 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Number every first-born male of the sons of Israel from a month old and upward, and make a list of their names. 41 "And you shall take the Levites for Me, I am Yahweh, instead of all the first-born among the sons of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the first-born among the cattle of the sons of Israel." 42 So Moses numbered all the first-born among the sons of Israel, just as Yahweh had commanded him; 43 and all the first-born males by the number of names from a month old and upward, for their numbered men were 22,273. 44 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 45 "Take the Levites instead of all the first-born among the sons of Israel and the cattle of the Levites. And the Levites shall be Mine; I am Yahweh. 46 "And for the ransom of the 273 of the first-born of the sons of Israel who are in excess beyond the Levites, 47 you shall take five shekels apiece, per head; you shall take them in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), 48 and give the money, the ransom of those who are in excess among them, to Aaron and to his sons." 49 So Moses took the ransom money from those who were in excess, beyond those ransomed by the Levites; 50 from the first-born of the sons of Israel he took the money in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, 1,365. 51 Then Moses gave the ransom money to Aaron and to his sons, at the command of Yahweh, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses.
6 Amen* 4:1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 "Take a census of the descendants of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, by their families, by their fathers' households, 3 from thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tent of meeting. 4 "This is the work of the descendants of Kohath in the tent of meeting, concerning the most holy things. 5 "When the camp sets out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and they shall take down the veil of the screen and cover the ark of the testimony with it; 6 and they shall lay a covering of porpoise skin on it, and shall spread over it a cloth of pure blue, and shall insert its poles. 7 "Over the table of the bread of the Presence they shall also spread a cloth of blue and put on it the dishes and the pans and the sacrificial bowls and the jars for the libation, and the continual bread shall be on it. 8 "And they shall spread over them a cloth of scarlet material, and cover the same with a covering of porpoise skin, and they shall insert its poles.
7 Amen* 9 "Then they shall take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand for the light, along with its lamps and its snuffers, and its trays and all its oil vessels, by which they serve it; 10 and they shall put it and all its utensils in a covering of porpoise skin, and shall put it on the carrying bars. 11 "And over the golden altar they shall spread a blue cloth and cover it with a covering of porpoise skin, and shall insert its poles; 12 and they shall take all the utensils of service, with which they serve in the sanctuary, and put them in a blue cloth and cover them with a covering of porpoise skin, and put them on the carrying bars. 13 "Then they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth over it. 14 "They shall also put on it all its utensils by which they serve in connection with it: the firepans, the forks and shovels and the basins, all the utensils of the altar; and they shall spread a cover of porpoise skin over it and insert its poles. 15 "And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy objects and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is to set out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them, so that they may not touch the holy objects and die. These are the things in the tent of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry. 16 "And the responsibility of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest is the oil for the light and the fragrant incense and the continual grain offering and the anointing oil-- the responsibility of all the tabernacle and of all that is in it, with the sanctuary and its furnishings."
All the nations have gathered together In order that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified, or let them hear and say, "It is true."
1 Yahweh reigns, He is clothed with majesty; Yahweh has clothed and girded Himself with strength; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. 2 Thy throne is established from of old; Thou art from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O Yahweh, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their pounding waves. 4 More than the sounds of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, Yahweh on high is mighty. 5 Thy testimonies are fully confirmed; holiness befits Thy house, O Yahweh, forevermore.
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives." 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. 18 For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned." 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, "I am full of fear and trembling." 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. 25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven." 27 And this expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
(Psalm 93) Yahweh reigns; He is clothed with majesty. The world is firmly established, it will not be moved. His testimonies are fully confirmed; holiness befits Yahweh’s house forevermore.
He established a priesthood, for intercession for the people, to maintain righteousness and knowledge of God.
(Isaiah 43:9) “All the nations have gathered together in order that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified, or let them hear and say, ‘It is true.’ ”
The original order of the priesthood, showing Year of the World for birth and death: (see chart at end of commentary)
Adam: 1 –
930, priest for 930 years;
Noah held the position the longest, their lives spanning almost from
creation to Abraham. Omitting Noah: Adam, Methuselah and Shem held it
longest, spanning from creation to Israel, as the most direct links for
transmitting Torah (God’s instruction).
God henceforth took the Levites “instead of the firstborn”. Since there were more “firstborn” than Levites, a ransom was required for the additional firstborn, who belonged to God. The Levites were counted: 22,000. The firstborn of Israel were counted: 22,273. For each of the 273 additional, a five shekel ransom was paid.
The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Gershon was to camp to the west of the Tabernacle, and be responsible for carrying the coverings. Kohath was to camp tp the south of the Tabernacle, and be responsible for the Ark and furnishings. Merari was to camp to the north of the Tabernacle, and be responsible for carrying the frames and poles.
John the baptizer was a priest of the Levitical order, of the division of Abijah. Just before John’s conception, his father was performing the priestly duties in the Temple (Luke 1:5-17).
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. 8 Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14 "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb. 16 "And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 "And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
John the baptizer, who was born six months before Yeshua, said that Yeshua “was before me” – John 1:30. John came to decrease, but to have Yeshua increase – John 3:30. Yeshua was to become the high priest – Hebrews 2:17.
Yeshua was a priest after the order of the firstborn, the rulers of righteousness – malchi tzedek. He was even “before Abraham” – John 8:58. He is called the “firstborn of the dead” – Colossians 1:18 & Revelation 1:5, being the first to be resurrected in a glorified body.
We have a high priest who is eternal. He can relate to our weaknesses. He can perfectly make intercession for us. He will lead us in paths of righteousness. He will take us to our eternal home.
We need to keep in mind the significance of whom we are to follow, and the importance of growing in righteousness.
* * *
600,000 men from age 20 to 60 fit
for war is estimated to represent at least 3,000,000 who left Egypt one
The firstborn were killed 1 year ago – except Hebrews. Many from the 70 nations were joined to the Hebrews who left Egypt. Most of the 3,000,000 may have been converts from the 70 nations, their firstborn having been killed!
Priesthood – Order of the Firstborn
Year 2 Sabbath Fifty (February 22, 2003)
Bamidbar (In the wilderness) El tachritu (Do not let . . . be cut off), commonly called Numbers 4:17 - 20
Amen* 17 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 18 "Do not let the tribe of the families of the Kohathites be cut off from among the Levites. 19 "But do this to them that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy objects: Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load; 20 but they shall not go in to see the holy objects even for a moment, lest they die."
1 Samuel 6
1 Now the ark of Yahweh had been in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, "What shall we do with the ark of Yahweh? Tell us how we shall send it to its place." 3 And they said, "If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but you shall surely return to Him a guilt offering. Then you shall be healed and it shall be known to you why His hand is not removed from you." 4 Then they said, "What shall be the guilt offering which we shall return to Him?" And they said, "Five golden tumors and five golden mice according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for one plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 "So you shall make likenesses of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will ease His hand from you, your gods, and your land. 6 "Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them, did they not allow the people to go, and they departed? 7 "Now therefore take and prepare a new cart and two milch cows on which there has never been a yoke; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves home, away from them. 8 "And take the ark of Yahweh and place it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it away that it may go. 9 "And watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we shall know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance." 10 Then the men did so, and took two milch cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of Yahweh on the cart, and the box with the golden mice and the likenesses of their tumors. 12 And the cows took the straight way in the direction of Beth-shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. And the lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh. 13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, and they raised their eyes and saw the ark and were glad to see it. 14 And the cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stood there where there was a large stone; and they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to Yahweh. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of Yahweh and the box that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices that day to Yahweh. 16 And when the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned to Ekron that day. 17 And these are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned for a guilt offering to Yahweh: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fortified cities and of country villages. The large stone on which they set the ark of Yahweh is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite. 19 And He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of Yahweh. He struck down of all the people, 50,070 men, and the people mourned because Yahweh had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20 And the men of Beth-shemesh said, "Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?" 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, "The Philistines have brought back the ark of Yahweh; come down and take it up to you."
1 O Lord, God of vengeance; God of vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O Judge of the earth; Render recompense to the proud. 3 How long shall the wicked, O Yahweh, How long shall the wicked exult? 4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; all who do wickedness vaunt themselves. 5 They crush Thy people, O Yahweh, and afflict Thy heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the orphans. 7 And they have said, "Yahweh does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed." 8 Pay heed, you senseless among the people; and when will you understand, stupid ones? 9 He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see? 10 He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke, even He who teaches man knowledge? 11 Yahweh knows the thoughts of man, that they are a mere breath. 12 Blessed is the man whom Thou dost chasten, O Yahweh, and dost teach out of Thy law; 13 That Thou mayest grant him relief from the days of adversity, until a pit is dug for the wicked. 14 For Yahweh will not abandon His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. 15 For judgment will again be righteous; and all the upright in heart will follow it. 16 Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness? 17 If Yahweh had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. 18 If I should say, "My foot has slipped," Thy lovingkindness, O Yahweh, will hold me up. 19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul. 20 Can a throne of destruction be allied with Thee, one which devises mischief by decree? 21 They band themselves together against the life of the righteous, and condemn the innocent to death. 22 But Yahweh has been my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. 23 And He has brought back their wickedness upon them, and will destroy them in their evil; Yahweh our God will destroy them.
1 Corinthians 12:
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, 24 whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.
Moses and Aaron were responsible for planning and supervising the work of the Kohathites, so that they did not commit any capital offenses in carrying out their duties. Each of the 2,750 eligible Kohathites, by name (v. 32), was given a specific task to be performed in a specific order, so that there would be no accidental overstepping of boundaries, which would bring death. (V.20) Aaron and his sons were required to wrap the holiest items, and then the Kohathites could carry them, without being able to look upon them.
There is a debate about what the problem was: were the Kohathites afraid to perform tasks for the Tabernacle, and therefore had to be assigned definite tasks? Or were they so eager to do the work, that they had to be assigned limited tasks so as not to accidentally push too far and die?
1 Samuel 6
Israel experienced a great defeat in battle with the Philistines, losing about 4,000 soldiers (1 Samuel 4:2). So, the elders of Israel decided to take the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh with them to defeat the enemy. But, the Philistines took the Ark, and killed the two sons of Eli, who were with it. Upon hearing the news, Eli, a heavy, elderly man, fell backwards and broke his neck, dying on the spot. His daughter-in-law gave birth immediately, without showing interest for her child, because of the news about the Ark of Yahweh.
Now, the Philistines took the Ark of Yahweh to the house of their god Dagon. The next morning, the great stone Dagon was found lying on the floor. So, he was set upright again. But, the following morning, Dagon was found lying on the floor again, with his head and hands smashed on the threshold. Never again would the priests of Dagon tread on the thresholds of his house.
Then, God smote the Philistines with rats, and hemorrhoids so severe that many were dying. The priests of Dagon responded that the Ark should be returned to Israel, with an offering of five golden hemorrhoids and five golden rats!
Two cows that were nursing mothers were to pull a new wooden cart with the Ark and a box containing the offerings. If the cows did not turn after their nursing calves, but headed straight to Beit Shemesh (House of the Sun), then they were to know that Yahweh had brought the plagues upon them.
When the Ark returned, the cart was broken up for fire-wood, and the cows used for an offering to Yahweh, for the return of the Ark. But, many of the Israelites looked into the Ark, and died there. So, the people of Beit Shemesh sent for the Levites to take the Ark to its appropriate place.
The Haftarah tells us that 50,070 Israelites were killed for looking into the Ark, when it was sent back from the land of the Philistines. The people then said: “Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God?” The holiness of Yahweh is a major point of this Torah portion.
Those who take pride in their own ways, pouring forth their own words, are called “stupid ones” in today’s Psalm. Do they think that God, who created eyes, does not see? Or He who created ears, does He not hear? Yahweh knows our thoughts, and blessed are the ones whom He chastens, that they may learn Torah!
1 Corinthians 12
Paul tells us how each member of the body has different gifts, all to be used for helping the body to be healthy. Like the consideration of the Kohathite problem, we should earnestly desire gifts to further God’s work, but not push further than is proper. We must not arrogantly claim “gifts” to make a front of being spiritual. We must not pour forth our own words. One who is “prophesying” must expound God’s Words – Torah, regardless of language. “If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” – Isaiah 8:20.
In today’s “Messianic” world, we have at least two major areas of spiritual pride: those who claim “spiritual gifts”, such as a false “speaking in tongues” or “words of knowledge”; and Kabalistic teaching, where “reading between the lines” of Torah is taught by those who lack understanding of the real lines of Torah. Those who seek salvation and recognition through this kind of “wonderful works” will hear, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who work iniquity” – Matthew 7:23.
Salvation is by Yeshua, through faith in Him, not by our “wonderful works”. Our gifts and duties here are for the purpose of building-up His church (Matthew 16:18), not for our glory but for God’s glory.
God is holy – different from us. Our ways are not His ways. We are to learn holiness – a requirement for seeing Him (Hebrews 12:14).
Year 2 Sabbath Fifty-one (March 1, 2003)
Bamidbar (In the wilderness) Nasso (Take), commonly called Numbers 4:21 – 5:10 (*Divided for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 21 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 22 "Take a census of the sons of Gershon also, by their fathers' households, by their families; 23 from thirty years and upward to fifty years old, you shall number them; all who enter to perform the service to do the work in the tent of meeting.
2 Amen* 24 "This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, in serving and in carrying: 25 they shall carry the curtains of the tabernacle and the tent of meeting with its covering and the covering of porpoise skin that is on top of it, and the screen for the doorway of the tent of meeting, 26 and the hangings of the court, and the screen for the doorway of the gate of the court which is around the tabernacle and the altar, and their cords and all the equipment for their service; and all that is to be done, they shall perform. 27 "All the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their loads and in all their work, shall be performed at the command of Aaron and his sons; and you shall assign to them as a duty all their loads. 28 "This is the service of the families of the sons of the Gershonites in the tent of meeting, and their duties shall be under the direction of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
3 Amen* 29 "As for the sons of Merari, you shall number them by their families, by their fathers' households; 30 from thirty years and upward even to fifty years old, you shall number them, everyone who enters the service to do the work of the tent of meeting. 31 "Now this is the duty of their loads, for all their service in the tent of meeting: the boards of the tabernacle and its bars and its pillars and its sockets, 32 and the pillars around the court and their sockets and their pegs and their cords, with all their equipment and with all their service; and you shall assign each man by name the items he is to carry. 33 "This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service in the tent of meeting, under the direction of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest."
4 Amen* 34 So Moses and Aaron and the leaders of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites by their families, and by their fathers' households, 35 from thirty years and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who entered the service for work in the tent of meeting. 36 And their numbered men by their families were 2,750. 37 These are the numbered men of the Kohathite families, everyone who was serving in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the commandment of Yahweh through Moses.
5 Amen* 38 And the
numbered men of the sons of Gershon by
their families, and by their fathers' households, 39 from thirty years and
upward even to fifty years old, everyone who entered the service for work
in the tent of meeting. 40 And their numbered men by their families, by
their fathers' households, were 2,630. 41
These are the numbered men of the families of the sons of Gershon,
everyone who was serving in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron
numbered according to the commandment of Yahweh.
46 All the numbered men of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the leaders of Israel numbered, by their families and by their fathers' households, 47 from thirty years and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who could enter to do the work of service and the work of carrying in the tent of meeting. 48 And their numbered men were 8,580. 49 According to the commandment of Yahweh through Moses, they were numbered, everyone by his serving or carrying; thus these were his numbered men, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses.
7 Amen* 5:1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Command the sons of Israel that they send away from the camp every leper and everyone having a discharge and everyone who is unclean because of a dead person. 3 "You shall send away both male and female; you shall send them outside the camp so that they will not defile their camp where I dwell in their midst." 4 And the sons of Israel did so and sent them outside the camp; just as Yahweh had spoken to Moses, thus the sons of Israel did. 5 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 6 "Speak to the sons of Israel, 'When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind, acting unfaithfully against Yahweh, and that person is guilty, 7 then he shall confess his sins which he has committed, and he shall make restitution in full for his wrong, and add to it one-fifth of it, and give it to him whom he has wronged. 8 'But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution which is made for the wrong must go to Yahweh for the priest, besides the ram of atonement, by which atonement is made for him. 9 'Also every contribution pertaining to all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they offer to the priest, shall be his. 10 'So every man's holy gifts shall be his; whatever any man gives to the priest, it becomes his.'"
1 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of Yahweh, so that Yahweh gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. 2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. 3 Then the angel of Yahweh appeared to the woman, and said to her, "Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4 "Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. 5 "For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines." 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, "A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 7 "But he said to me, 'Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'" 8 Then Manoah entreated Yahweh and said, "O Lord, please let the man of God whom Thou hast sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born." 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, "Behold, the man who came the other day has appeared to me." 11 Then Manoah arose and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to the woman?" And he said, "I am." 12 And Manoah said, "Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy's mode of life and his vocation?" 13 So the angel of Yahweh said to Manoah, "Let the woman pay attention to all that I said. 14 "She should not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; let her observe all that I commanded." 15 Then Manoah said to the angel of Yahweh, "Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a kid for you." 16 And the angel of Yahweh said to Manoah, "Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to Yahweh." For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of Yahweh. 17 And Manoah said to the angel of Yahweh, "What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?" 18 But the angel of Yahweh said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?" 19 So Manoah took the kid with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to Yahweh, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of Yahweh ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 Now the angel of Yahweh appeared no more to Manoah or his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Yahweh. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, for we have seen God." 23 But his wife said to him, "If Yahweh had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time." 24 Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and Yahweh blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of Yahweh began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Psalm 95 A Psalm of David.
1 To Thee, O Yahweh, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in Thee I trust, do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none of those who wait for Thee will be ashamed; those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. 4 Make me know Thy ways, O Yahweh; teach me Thy paths. 5 Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day. 6 Remember, O Yahweh, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been from of old. 7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Thy lovingkindness remember Thou me, for Thy goodness' sake, O Yahweh. 8 Good and upright is Yahweh; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. 9 He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. 10 All the paths of Yahweh are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. 11 For Thy name's sake, O Yahweh, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. 12 Who is the man who fears Yahweh? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. 13 His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14 The secret of Yahweh is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant. 15 My eyes are continually toward Yahweh, For He will pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. 18 Look upon my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. 19 Look upon my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with violent hatred. 20 Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in Thee. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for Thee. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife's full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God." 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 And the young men arose and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. 7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter responded to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?" And she said, "Yes, that was the price." 9 Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they shall carry you out as well." 10 And she fell immediately at his feet, and breathed her last; and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things. 12 And at the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico. 13 But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. 14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number; 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets, and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 And also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits; and they were all being healed.
Today’s portion is about duties and service.
The total number of males from one month old in the tribe of Levi was 22,300. Service-eligible male Levites from age 30 – 50 were: family of Gershon – 2630, Kohath – 2750, Merari – 3200; total 8580. The remaining two-thirds were younger than 30, older than 50, or otherwise ineligible.
Their duties were very specifically assigned and supervised. While the family of Kohath was responsible for carrying the sacred articles, all three families were equally important and to be equally honored: this is based on (v.22) God’s instruction that the Gershonites should also be “raised up” – counted.
Beside the work of carrying, the “work of service” (v.47) is explained as performing musical accompaniment (Arachin 11a).
(Lev 5) Before the Tabernacle could be erected, the camp
must be purified of tumah – contamination associated with death or
a result of the fall.
One who has stolen, failed to repay a loan, or failed to pay wages on time – in order to become clean before God, is required to make confession, repay with an added twenty percent, and bring a ram for atonement. If the victim is deceased with no kin, then the restitution is to be given to the priests serving in the Temple.
The Torah is here teaching that it is forbidden for us to take anything that God has not given to us, whether great or small, whether from a wealthy person or someone whom we think “owes us”, or anything we have dedicated – such as tithes separated but not distributed.
The person, who would serve God, must have this heart attitude to desire holiness. Continual repentance is a requirement to be clean. Saying, “If I have sinned, forgive me,” is insufficient toward God or man. One needs to seek God’s word to show him his errors, and make restitution, and correction of his ways.
So the Psalmist says, (Psalm 95:4-13),
“Make me know Thy ways, O Yahweh; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day. Remember, O Yahweh, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Thy lovingkindness remember Thou me, for Thy goodness' sake, O Yahweh. Good and upright is Yahweh; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. 1All the paths of Yahweh are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Thy name's sake, O Yahweh, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Who is the man who fears Yahweh? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.”
Ananias and Sapphira owned property: it was in their control, and they could have legitimately sold it and kept all of the money. But, they sold it and said that they were giving all of the money to the church – which means it was dedicated to God. However, they actually kept part of the money. Peter said that was “lying to the Holy Spirit” (v.3). Each of them fell dead upon confirming that they had “given the whole price”. They stole dedicated property, and they lied before the church, in order to falsely appear as spiritual as others who gave all.
This was written “for our admonition,” that we should know our hearts, and not make a pretense of spirituality.
Such fear came upon others, concerning this Holy God, that they were afraid to join the church, though they held it in high esteem! Do we have to see people die for disrespecting God, before we recognize His holiness? Are we convinced, by the religious world of today, that God only attributed sin to former generations; that we live in a different age, when we can do whatever seems right to us? Do outsiders hold us in high esteem because they can recognize the honest level of holiness by which we live?
We have an Holy God. We must be truthful, and honest in our dealings. We must learn to repent with confession and restitution, to be in right standing with God. Yeshua did not “do it all,” such that we are “free” to do whatever we wish with impunity.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” – Galatians 6:7.
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” – Ephesians 1:4.
“Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Messiah” – 1 Peter 1:13-1
The purpose of the Tabernacle and priesthood is to show us God’s holiness, and our promise of future glory in righteousness. We cannot live for sin here, and truthfully say that our hope is in a future righteous state.
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