March 28, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study
©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3 Sabbath 3
Numbers 9:21-10:36 – [No Prophet] – Psalm 102 – 1 Corinthians 14:1-19
B’Midbar 9.21-23 – Once again, The description of when and how the camp moved when the cloud was taken up from the Mishkan reminds me of Ezekiel 1. Ezekiel saw a whirlwind coming out of the north and in the whirlwind he saw the likeness of 4 living creatures (Rev.4-22?) having faces looking in the 4 cardinal directions, and the entire ‘chariot’ didn’t turn, but moved in the direction the 4 beast’s faces looked. All were the faces of men with characteristics of the 4 ‘beasts’. The one coming toward him from the north (so it was the one facing toward the south that he saw first) has the face of a man. The likeness of a lion was to the right, or east. The likeness of an ox was to the left, or west. And the likeness of an eagle was on the back or north side. The likeness of the lion looks to the east, which was the direction of the Yehudi camp, so the likeness and the lead tribe correspond. The likeness of the ox (or Cheruv) looks west, the direction of the Ephraimite camp, so they correspond. The likeness of the man is toward the direction of the Reubenite camp, so they correspond. The likeness of the eagle is toward the direction of the Danite camp, so they must correspond, as well, though I have a hard time seeing it. Perhaps it has to do with Dan’s position as the ‘rear guard’. From the Yashanet article on Ezekiel’s chariot:
Ezekiel … goes on to explain the “movement” of these beings. It is imperative at this point to recall what “movement” is with regard to (beings in) spiritual space… angelic movement is not related to physical movement, but to carrying out the will of God…
…the vision of the chariot shows a heavenly beast, which is really four beasts, that Ezekiel identifies as cherubim, which are angels. These angels are carrying out the purpose of God, though no specific mention is given of the particulars of their assignments. Here we have an example of the relationship between spiritual light (the divine cause or will of God), spiritual mass (the angels carrying out the will of God), and the resulting spiritual energy (the effect of their action upon man/creation)…
… As for the wheels, there are two main opinions as to what they are. One is that these are also angelic beings called ophanim, who are of a lower order than the cherubim. There is also an opinion that these wheels represent various heavenly realms. In actuality, both opinions can be true as there is a close relationship between angels and the realms (both spiritual and physical) that are assigned to them …
… What we see from Ezekiel is a connection between these orders of angels, as well as between the angels and the firmaments they operate in. Ezekiel makes it clear that the Ophanim only move according to how the Cherubim move. This would indicate something of a “chain of command,” whereby the Cherubim receive more direct instruction than do the ophanim, although the divine purpose resides in both. This concept is supported by Ezekiel’s explanation that there is a connection between the “throne” and the Cherubim, a second connection between the Cherubim and the Ophanim, and a third connection between the Ophanim and the earth.
I cannot recommend the Yashanet website and book studies highly enough. Behanu (his PT handle) has done a wonderful job of breaking down the deepest concepts so that even I can get an idea of what it is all about. He uses scripture skillfully and also extra-biblical sources. What I have quoted above is from one article of the background information from his deepest and most extensive book study on Revelation. If you go there, start at the beginning; Matthew. Then proceed through the intermediate; Romans. Only THEN should you start to wade through Revelation. Expect to spend a LOT of time on this, if you decide to do it. Behanu had to spend YEARS researching, writing and publishing it.
The angels over the 4 ‘winds’ in Rev.7 would be the “Ophanim” that Yashanet discusses. They would probably be the angels over the camps in the wilderness, as well. So when the cloud of Yehovah’s presence lifted off the Mishkan, the angels began to move. I think in this metaphor, the Cheruvim would be over the Levite camps, and the Ophanim over the tribal camps, wheel within a wheel. While the motion of the camp is in a particular direction, Yehuda’s camp is to move first, so the corresponding Ophan must move first after the Cheruv corresponding to the Kohanim. As the ‘firmament’ (cloud) moved, the Cheruvim (Levites) moved, and as the Cheruvim moved, the Ophanim (tribes) moved.
As Yehovah moved or rested, so did Israel. As the firmament moved in Ez.1, so did the wheels. And it seems that the ‘chain of command’ worked well. We’ll see a little more detail of the movement in ch.10. Q&C (and I hope I can do some justice to any questions you ask.)
10.1-10– Moshe was ordered to make 2 silver trumpets for himself. They were made in the same manner as the menorah; of one piece of silver and beaten into the proper shape. They were to be his OWN, not anyone else’s (v.2), though he was commanded to have Elazar and Ithamar wind them (v.3, 8) at the appropriate times. These trumpets were for rousing Israel to gather at the Tabernacle or to prepare to march. When BOTH trumpets were winded in a tekiah, or a long, sustained blast, the entire assembly was being called. When only ONE was blown in a sustained, tekiah blast only the elders were being summoned. When Moshe winded one trumpet in a Teruah, or series of short, stacatto blasts; it was time for Yehudah’s camp to move out. When it was blown the second time, Reuven’s camp marched off. And, everyone logically assumes, so on around the camp. When the tekiah was sounded while they were on the march, they were to make camp. When BOTH trumpets were sounded in a Teruah alarm, they were to ready for community action in time of distress, like war (v.9). So the tekiah was the call for assembly and the Teruah was the call to move. When the cloud lifted from the Mishkan and rested over the camp of Yehudah, that was the signal to break camp. The camps did not move until the trumpet(s) sounded. Schottenstein’s Chumash has some interesting notes on these trumpet blasts; see the notes on vv.9-10 [pg.71]. On the shabbats and Feast days, the teruah would be preceded and followed by a tekiah. The sages think this was ALWAYS the case though there is no command for it in Torah.
The trumpets are not MERELY to call the tribes to move or to meet. When Yehovah heard the trumpet being blown in obedience, he knew that his people were ready to be led. When you know it is time to assemble because of the commandment to do so, and that assembly is to be called by the winding of a trumpet, it’s a good idea to let Yehovah know that you are willing to be led by giving him the signal he has commanded, don’t you think? V.8 tells us that the commandment is an everlasting commandment. We don’t have the silver trumpets. They were Moshe’s. Let Yehovah know that you are ready for him to lead you and you are ready to follow him. Blow your shofars, if you have them.
Vv.11-28 deal with the order of breaking camp for all the tribal camps and the Levi’im. On the 20th day of the 2nd month, after the 2nd Passover that year, the cloud lifted from the Mishkan and Israel left Sinai behind. They had been in camp at the foot of the mountain for about 10½ months. The cloud rested in the Wilderness of Paran, about a 3-day journey from Sinai. When the trumpet sounded the teruah, Yehudah led the march with their standard and Nachshon, the elder of the tribe in the lead. After the tribe of Yehudah came Issachar with her elder Nethane’el at its head. Then came Zevulon with her elder Eliav at its head. Meanwhile, the tabernacle was taken down and packed on its wagons and immediately following Zevulon were the tribes of Gershon and then Merari, driving their wagons.
When the trumpet sounded the 2nd Teruah, the camp of Reuven set out with her standard and the elder of Reuven, Elizur at its head. Next was Shimon with her elder Shelumiel leading, followed by Gad and her elder, Eliasaph, heading the tribe. Immediately behind Gad, the Kohathites set out bearing the Mishkan furnishings on their shoulders. When the cloud stopped the Gershonites and Merarites would have some time to set up the Mishkan to receive the furnishings while the camp of Reuven caught up. It is likely that the Kohathites would arrive as the last curtain was being hung on the Mishkan. Yehovah is just that way, a master of drama making everything work out just in time.
When the trumpet sounded the 3rd Teruah, the standard of Ephraim set out with her tribal elder, Elishama at the head of the tribe. Menashe followed Ephraim with her tribal elder, Gamaliel at her head. BenYamin marched after Menashe with her tribal elder, Abidan at her head. Then the trumpet sounded a 4th Teruah and the standard and elder of Dan, Ahiezer at the head of the tribe. The tribe of Asher moved next with Pagiel, her elder at the head, followed by the tribe of Naphtali, lead by her elder, Ahira. Dan was the ‘rear guard’. The northern camp was very numerous and they would guard the flank, as well as pick up stragglers or even stuff lost by the other tribes. Some say that Dan’s camp was so numerous and had so much time to set out that they could spread their numbers out across the rear of the formation and do a kind of FOD walk-down behind the rest of the tribes. If any of you have been in military aviation, you know what I mean.
Vv.29-34 – Moshe invited Yithro to stay with Israel. He’d been with them the whole time they were at Sinai and now he was getting ready to depart. Moshe told him that they would love to have Yithro stay with them, but Yithro said he just wanted to go home. Moshe told him that he would be treated the same as any native Israelite, as Torah said to do with any ger who decided to sojourn with Israel. It is unclear from the text whether Yithro stayed with them, or not.
In v.33 we see the Ark traveling before the column in the wilderness, but it didn’t leave camp until more than ½ the nation left. The sages differ in what happened. Some say there were 2 arks, one with the intact 10 words in the middle of the formation, the other with the original tables of broken stone in another box at the head of the column. I have a 3rd idea that allows one Ark leaving as we saw earlier in the chapter (v.21) and yet leading the whole procession. We’ve already discussed a number of times the idea that Yehovah carried the ark and those who carried it, possibly in the same manner that he carried Israel across the Red Sea dry, even though the floor of the Sea had to be mushy, silty, mud, as Paroh found out when Yehovah removed the barrier between them and the muck when the last Israelite foot stepped on the land on the Midianite side. He could easily have carried them right to the front of the line in a kind of ‘Philip’s transport’ (Acts 8.39).
Vv.35-36 tell us what Moshe would proclaim as the cloud lifted from the Mishkan and set out to the east. As the silver trumpet sounded the teruah to announce it was time to break camp, Moshe would say, “Arise, Yehovah, and let your enemies be scattered! May those who hate you flee from before you!” And when the cloud stopped and the tekiah sounded assembly, Moshe would say, “Return, Yehovah, to the myriads of Israel.” These last 2 verses are set-apart from the rest of the Torah by a pair of inverted nuns, one before and one after.
Tehellim 102.1-28 – Israel is calling out to Yehovah in its affliction and oppression. After what we just learned about the trumpets/shofars, how do you think Yehovah will know we’re serious in this corporate call? How about when we obey his commands to usward? Isn’t that how Israel showed him they were ready to follow? If we are not obedient now, how will he know we will be obedient later? The more we obey him, the more we indicate our willingness to obey and the quicker he is likely to respond when we call. WE keep the channel open and WE keep ourselves in close proximity to him through our obedience and willingness to obey.
Israel is under a weight of oppression in her spirit in vv.3-5. Nothing we do prospers. Everything we do seems to be for nothing. In vv.5-7 Israel is out of her element, like a pelican is a sea bird and the owl is a bird of the forest (each in a desert wilderness), and alone like a lone sparrow on a housetop, lost and separated from the flock to which he’s accustomed. V.8 translates as ‘mad’ H1984, the root verb halal. Strong’s says this about halal
primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify.
Stultify, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary means “1) to make foolish; to make one a fool, and 2) In law, to allege or prove to be insane, for avoiding some act.” Our enemies make themselves fools in Yehovah’s eyes to make us look foolish or insane to the world when we refuse to do what it considers ‘normal’ in our obedience to Yehovah. Look at how the average Xian is treated by the media. Now look at how the Notzrei are treated by the average Xian. We are the outcast’s outcasts! We are the madman’s madman! But they are halal against us! Let me say that ‘halal’, either this hatred OR the Moslem sanctification of food, is not ‘kosher’. The slaughter is done in the same manner as a kosher slaughter, but all halal flesh is offered to the false god of Moslemism. Different spirit than I wish to associate with, if you know what I mean. And one we definitely do NOT want to associate with if there is a former Moslem among us who is a new believer, as it may cause our younger brother to stumble. I prefer to NOT buy ‘halal’ foods, to try to keep as much cash out of the Moslemists hands as possible. I want to keep the cash in the family as much as possible.
I think separating ourselves to Yehovah will go further toward our good than just eating and associating as our flesh desires. For sure, vv.9-10 show us what happens when we go our own ways. Have you ever seen Pro Wrestling? I think v.10 describes a ‘Suplex’ move in that stupidly entertaining show – ‘pick me up and throw me down’. Israel is in the dusk in v.11, just enough light to see dimly, with shadows beginning to merge into darkness. I think we will see political Israel actually see days like this before long. Israel will find itself on the verge of destruction before she calls out to Yehovah for her deliverance.
V.12 is the sea change. Instead of kvetching, Israel recalls Yehovah’s faithfulness to her in the past, when she walked in HIS Way instead of her own. Yehovah’s remembrance is not recalling, like ours is. He never forgets something unless he decides to do so, like he forgets our sins by blotting them out of his ‘book of remembrance’ (which I think is the ‘time line’ of creation into which he can impose himself anywhen and where)
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalms 51:1)
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. (Psalms 51:9)
Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. (Malachi 3:16)
Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. [Moshe speaks of Israel after the calf] (Exodus 32:32)
And Yehovah said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. [Yehovah says only the unrepentant will be blotted out] (Exodus 32:33)
V.13 speaks of a ‘set time’, a moad, or appointed feast. Which do you think he’s talking about? I think it’s the last Yom Kippur of this age, when all the kings of the earth will be set to attack Zion in the Valley of Megiddo. I also think that Zion will be OBSERVING Yom Kippur, like Israel was doing in 1973 when the Sinai/Golan war started and Israel was almost overrun. It could be that they will KNOW the attack is coming and they will decide to TRUST Yehovah to deliver them and call on him in one accord – echad, and if they die, they die. But they will TRUST him, even if they die. V.14 shows that this set time will be in Zion, where his servants, the Seed of Avraham love his land. This is when Yehovah will build up Zion. It is Yisrael that will be the destitute, and the ‘people who SHALL BE created shall halal Yehovah, HalleluYah! (same root as halal above – here meaning ‘celebrate’.
Yehovah looks down from the heavens and sees our affliction. He allows it until we make teshuvah and trust him to do what he promised to his faithful. He comes to deliver us from it so that we can sing his praises to the heathen when they are gathered together to serve Yehovah in his Kingdom. Look at verses 23-28 as a paragraph, all the verses related specifically to each other. He weakened his servant’s strength in the Way and shortened his days and his servant pleaded with him to NOT take him from his service to him, but to lengthen his days according to HIS years, as he laid the foundation of the earth and spread the heavens with his own hands. Because even the heavens and earth shall perish, wax old like a threadbare garment (like the jeans I’m wearing as I type) but Yehovah endures eternally. And then he gives his servant a ‘change of vesture’ and he shall be changed! Resurrection! Translation from this corruptible mortal body to incorruptible immortality! And the servant’s children’s seed will be established in him. All this will happen beginning in the day of Yeshua’s return and continuing through the Kingdom, the GWT and the into the New Heavens and Earth. That is when Zech.3.3-7 will be fulfilled
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. (Zech.3.3-5)
Yoshi’s evil inclination was removed in that passage when his iniquity was taken from him. This is New Heavens and New Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, and the righteous who dwell there will be the seed of the faithful who would die rather than NOT TRUST Yehovah to deliver them. HalleluYah! Q&C
1CorinthYah 14.1-19 – In ch.12, Rav Sha’ul enumerates some spiritual gifts and then in ch.13, he describes the greatest spiritual gift of all – charity, or agape. Agape is the kind of self-less love that Yehovah showed for us when he took on human flesh and submitted himself to experiencing everything we experience so that he could have real 1st-hand knowledge of our troubles in living within this meatsuit from conception through normal human life and an agonizing physical death. Make no mistake; Yehovah was in total control of Yeshua’s physical body and would not allow Yeshua to sin.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
But Yehovah did not exercise the full power he has through Yeshua’s flesh, except as it came to dealing specifically with fulfilling Messianic prophecies, like giving sight to the blind, raising some people from the dead, opening deaf ears, etc. What is important to remember is that it was Yehovah’s Spirit that energized Yeshua’s flesh and NOT a human spirit.
What was the purpose of those spiritual gifts he gave us? That is the subject of ch.14 – practical application of the spiritual gifts for the edification of Moshiach’s ‘body’. Prophecy is NOT for self-aggrandizement, but for service to the ‘body of Moshiach’. And prophecy is not primarily to tell what is going to happen in the future. Prophecy’s main purpose is to speak the truth to the edification of believers, whether they are ready to receive it or not. If they are ready to receive the truth from a teaching prophet, they will be drawn to him like a moth to a flame. If they are NOT ready to be taught by a prophet, they will denounce him and work to kill him as the heretic they deem him to be.
22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is truly Moshiach. 23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: (Acts 9.22-23)
Even Yochanan the Immerser questioned whether Yeshua was Moshiach
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Moshiach, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Matt.11.2-6)
Yeshua did NOT say, “I am Moshiach” in so many words. But he DID say “I am Moshiach” with that answer, because all those things were prophesied of Moshiach, and he knew full well that Yochanan fully knew that, and that he was just seeking reassurance that he did not labor and was not about to die in vain. His answer to Yochanan was ‘perfect’, and Yochanan continued to confidently preach until Herodias demanded his head.
What I am about to say is going to cause some people to leave the room. Amein. So let it be. Tongues is an important gift to the body of Moshiach IF there is an interpreter there. And this is the reason that this passage was chosen for this Torah portion, it refers to Num.10.1-10, the sounding of the silver trumpets in “The Wilderness Adventure”. The trumpets gave a ‘certain’, precise meaning, a known signal – “Assembly” and “Execute”. All military orders have 2 components, 1) Prepare to do receive a command and 2) Execute that command, like “1) Company!, 2) Atten – HUT!” And the company comes to attention in unison. If a person in the assembly speaks an unknown tongue and there is noone to interpret that tongue how will the assembly know what the exhortation or command is to receive or obey? The tekiah and the teruah were known commands, the cloud lifting was the preparatory command. An unknown tongue spoken in the assembly where there is no interpreter is pretty much useless and if LOTS of folks speak in their own personal tongue all at once, outsiders will consider you a bunch of nut-jobs and take off without the exhortation they may have needed, even if the tongues were profitable to the speaker. But a prophet speaks in the clear where everyone profits. Speaking in an unknown tongue in the assembly without interpreting for the group is actually dissembly and will foment confusion. And v.5 is clear that the tongues speaker needs to interpret, or confirm an interpreter’s interpretation. If someone speaks in an unknown tongue but doesn’t understand the revelation being given, the tongue profited NOONE and was just so much noise, a cacophony. I will go so far as to say that if there is no clear revelation given from the tongues speaker or a recognized interpreter (which should be CONFIRMED by the speaker), the tongue was a counterfeit that can be, and probably WILL be, used by haSatan to confuse and draw undiscerning men away from Yehovah.
V.12 is the point of the whole passage – Speak to edification of the body in the assembly. To prophesy to the edification of the church is the purpose of ALL the spiritual gifts. It all comes down to having the mind of Moshiach – It ain’t about ME! It’s about Moshiach’s body. Q&C
End of Midrash notes