Shabbat Bible Study for February 24, 2018
©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
B’Midbar 4.17-5.10 – 1Sh’muel 6.1-21 – Tehellim 94, 95 – 1Corinthians 12
Num.4.17-20 – Y’hovah was concerned that the Kohathi would do something inadvertent that would cause them to die, like bumping into the ark when they put their shoulders to it, or got too close to the Kadosh Kadashim and saw the ark uncovered even in the corner of their eyes. They would have their boundaries set by Aharon and ElAzar, and would not be permitted into the Kodesh Place while the coverings were being placed on the furnishings for transport. From the messianic.ws website:
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?
I think it was a case of ‘mind your own business’, the Kohanim had the right to go into the Kodesh Place during their service to Y’hovah, but not at any other time. They had two one-week periods of service every year in which they could go into the Kodesh Place to serve. None of them had any business there at any other time. Only Aharon’s family had the right to be in the Kodesh place daily, and even that had to be in compliance with their duties in the service of Y’hovah. Nadav and Avihu found that out the hard way, going unbidden into the Kodesh place and performing what Y’hovah had not commanded, offering ‘strange fire’. Aharon, ElAzar and Ithamar had learned that lesson, as well. It was the Amramite’s job to cover the furniture and set the poles for transport. It was the Kohathites’ job to shoulder the furnishings during transport.
4.21-28 – The Gershonites got to tear down and set up the coverings of the Tabernacle itself, after the furnishings were covered. Each of the families within the tribe of Levi had a specific burden assigned by Y’hovah through ElAzar. I think they were given burdens commensurate with their numbers and abilities to carry. There were 7500 Gershonites from the age of 1 month, 2630 of age to serve in the Mishkan. Most could bear some load during the journeys from camp to camp and in the land. I think they got the coverings for the Kodesh and Kadosh Kadashim because they were of a greater weight than the curtains of the outer court and it may have been more labor intensive than packing up the outer court or it’s furniture. There were 2 wagons to carry the heavy stuff (Num.7.3, 6-7). Ithamar was the captain to whom Gershon reported during any movement.
4.29-33 – The Merarites had the burden of the outer court hangings and the poles and boards of the Tabernacle. Because they were the smallest family, 6200 from 1 month, 3200 of age to serve in the Mishkan, and got the lions share of the weight (the hangings of the outer court, the poles of the outer court and the Tabernacle and the boards of the Tabernacle) they got 4 wagons to carry all the heavy stuff (Num.7.8). More than ½ the Merarites were able to perform service in the tabernacle. Merari also reported to Ithamar.
The Kohathites were the largest tribe at 8600 from 1 month, but with only 2750 of age to serve in the Mishkan. Their job in transit was to actually carry the ark, the table of showbread, the altar of incense and the 7 light lampstand/menorrah. The Kohathites reported to ElAzar. What do all these numbers mean? I haven’t a clue! But they are important and are dripping with substance or Y’hovah would not have revealed it to us. It could have to do with the numbers 8600 and 2750 both adding to 14 – 2×7. The gematria is a fascinating, and extremely deep and mysterious method of interpretation of scripture, one into which I am not equipped to delve. So, I will leave it to better-trained minds than mine.
5.1-10 – Anyone who was defiled or unclean was put without the camp until such time as they were made clean again. For some it would be a matter of a mikvah and wait until evening. For others it would take quite some time, if it ever happened. The leprosy, tzara’ath, was a symbol of sin in the camp, which is why the leper was put out of the camp until such time as he was healed and could show himself to the priest. Y’hovah would not have sin or anything that defiles in his presence.
The restitution made for a trespass was to be made for the benefit of the one who committed the trespass, as well as for the victim. It was important that the restitution be made to impress on the trespasser what the fleeting benefit actually cost him. I don’t think the money was the issue, but the spiritual cost of trespasses. That is why Y’hovah made provision that if there was no next-of-kin to whom to give the restitution; it was to go to the priests as unto Y’hovah. Y’hovah certainly didn’t need the money, so it must have been to show the spiritual cost of stealing, and that it was ultimately stealing from Y’hovah. Again, from the messianic.ws website:
The Torah is here teaching that it is forbidden for us to take anything that Eloha 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 Eloha, 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 Eloha or man. One needs to seek Eloha’s word to show him his errors, and make restitution, and correction of his ways. Q&C
1Sam.6 – V.1 – Y’hovah MUST have waited for a while to start bringing the plagues of the mice and rrhoids on the Plishtim gen-pop, because the ark was in Plesheth for 7 months [v.1] before they sent it away. If those plagues had come upon chol Plesheth from the beginning, they would not have kept it a week. Well, *I* wouldn’t have, anyway. I’d have been 100% ready to send it away when Dagon was turned into a plain old headless fish after the 2nd night; and I’d have been more than 50% sure after the 1st night.
But the Plishtim had a DI-lemma on their hands. They knew that they had REALLY ticked Y’hovah off and wanted to get the plagues shut off NOW! Maybe just sending the ark back to Israel wouldn’t be enough and the plagues would continue. So [v.2] they got all their prophets, pastors and evangelists together to work through all the doctrinal folderol and figure out how to appease Y’hovah.
At least SOME of these men of GAW-AWD must have been regular prophets for hire, like Bila’am, because they came to a conclusion quickly [which would NOT happen at ALL if they were all 21st century CE Christian and Messianic leaders]; they would send the ark of Elohim on a freshly built cart [v.7] made with freshly milled wood and drawn by 2 milk-cows which had never before been yoked for work. WITH it they would send a trespass [vv.3-5] offering of 5 golden mice and 5 golden rrhoids in a wooden box; one mouse and one rrhoid for each of the kings of the Pentapolis [v.8]. These guys were the corporate leaders of their fiefdoms, like the commanding officer of a ship of the line in the US Navy. Each of the kings, WAS the city like each of the ships’ COs IS the ship. When ANY CO of ANY Navy ship steps aboard or off any ship, his own or another, he is piped aboard or ashore as “USS X, arriving/departing.” So, each king of each city had a golden rrhoid and a golden mouse made and placed them in the wooden box. I assume there was one mold made of the rrhoid and one of the mouse and the kings provided the gold to be cast in them, though it COULD be that each king had to have a replica of his own personal rrhoid made to place in the box/coffer. I ALSO assume that each king then placed his rrhoid and mouse of gold into the box himself, the images consecrated by each of the kings unto Y’hovah, the Elohim of Israel. This was SERIOUS; these kings HUMBLED themselves before Y’hovah AND their own people [at least the sculptor who fashioned the rrhoids]. KJV says they made a ‘coffer’ into which these kings put their ‘golden jewels’, double entendre NOT intended – but still kinda funny. The word that’s translated ‘coffer’ in KJV is H712 argaz [ארגז], which is probably from the root H7364 ragaz [רגז], which means to quiver or tremble in fear. These kings were literally quaking in their boots – well … sandals. BTW, the word argaz is used 3 times in TNK, all in this chapter [vv.8, 11 and 15]. This word was coined specifically for this story IM[not so]HO. The point is, the Plishtim kings were scared spitless.
The prophets for hire also recommended a way to know if this stuff was truly from Y’hovah or if it was just happenstance [v.9]. The test would be that they would put the ark and the box with the trespass offerings inside on the new cart of newly milled wood and then yoke the milk cows to the harness of the cart, point it in a neutral direction and just let the yoked cows go where they would. If they got to the road and turned toward Israel, the whole incident was a judgment from Y’hovah. If they just went straight ahead into a field or turned away from Israel, the whole thing was just happenstance and the kings could get their gold back.
Vv.10-12 says they did exactly that and the milch-kine went by the quickest route toward BethShemesh, the nearest Israeli city to Ekron, Plishtim kings following at a respectful distance [v.12&16]. The cows made the typical bovine ‘lowing sound’ as they went, I assume so get the Israelis attention to the return of the ark.
Well, that worked, because the Bethshemites who were out reaping their wheat fields [v.13] saw the ark and shouted for joy at the ark’s return to Israel. That they were reaping the wheat, I think, times this to sometime before either Shavuoth or Sukkoth. When the cart got to Israel, they stopped in the field of Yehoshua, a BethShemite, in which field was a large stone [H68 – even] on which the men of BethShemesh offered burnt offerings of the milch-kine using the wood of the cart for the fire [v.14]. The events of v.15-18 must have preceded those of v.14, since the Levi’im had to remove the ark and the coffer before the men could tear the cart up to use to burn the offering of the cows. Now, the Levi’im were probably not there immediately upon the ark’s return to Israel and did not move the ark or the box before the event of v.19, because I don’t think the Levi’im would have allowed the men of the town to remove the kapporeth, had they been there. But the men looked INTO the ark, so they HAD to remove the mercy seat/cheruvim from it. For this bit of foolishness, I also blame Eli and his sons, as well as the local Levi’im, because if Torah had been properly taught to the people they would not have chanced Y’hovah’s wrath. 50,070 men died in this particular plague sent by Y’hovah for their temerity. So, joy turned to mourning that day in BethShemesh. I think news of this incident would have cured Israel of any such foolishness in the future. The BethShemites certainly learned a lesson that day. Perhaps it is still alive in the corporate memory of the town? The Bethshemites learned that Y’hovah is not One with Whom to trifle. They learned to ask if such actions were permissible, first, before taking their lives into their hands again. They learned the lesson well enough [v.21] that they sent embassage to KirYath Je’arim to come and get the ark and take it up their way. Notice that they didn’t admit to KiriathYe’arim WHY they wanted them to come get the ark. They were as frightened as had been the Plishtim.
Ps.94.1-6 – This psalm illustrates the passage in Is.43.5-10. The exiles are crying out to Y’hovah in vv.1-11. Basic compassion is a thing of the past, because their religion is false and unclean:
Pure religion and undefiled before Eloha and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)
Abortion and Infanticide are commonplace among the people of the world. So-called ‘ethicists’ in America have decided that killing a perfectly healthy newborn who would live in poverty is morally right. The words ‘ethics’ and ‘morally right’ have become lies to mollify the consciences of the wicked and convince them of their righteousness. Those in exile see this perversion of the wicked and cry out for Y’hovah’s deliverance.
Vv.7-11 – speaks about us all at times. Even those of us who are called by his Name choose to NOT recognize his omniscience and omnipresence. Even WE sin in the false notion that he will not see or hear us, don’t we? I do. When we forget or ignore his omni-everything; THAT is when we sin. But he created the eye and the ear! Are we STUPID? Or are we just arrogant? Fear of Y’hovah is keeping him in the forefront of our thoughts in all that we do and think; not to relegate him to some recess of our brains only to be trotted out when we need something.
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with Eloha. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Master knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. (1Cor.3.18-20)
The exiles recognize their error in vv.12-15 and make teshuvah, repentance, and I think this refers to the believing remnant in both Yehudism and the ‘church’. Though individuals have and will be broken off from the natural olive tree due to their personal unbelief (Rom.11.16ff), the whole nation of Israel has never been and never will be forsaken by Y’hovah, regardless the replacement theology of modern Xianity. Replacement theologians pick and choose the part of the metaphor of the root, olive trees and branches that Paul uses in Rom.11 (all of which is ancient Hebrew ‘mystical’ thinking – mystery, or sod). They grab the root and branches, but disregard the trees themselves. It follows, as spring follows winter, that if the root is Messiah (and it is), and the branches are individuals that partake of the fatness of the root (and they are), then the trunk of the tree must be chol Israel from which SOME of the natural branches were removed to make room for the wild branches. And if SOME of the natural branches were removed, then SOME or MOST of the natural branches remain in the trunk that carries the fatness of the root to the various branches, or members of the tree.
Whence comes the ‘wild tree’? From the ‘cutting’ that Sennacharib took and planted into the foreign ground in Assyria when he carried off the 10 northern tribes of the nation of Israel. That cutting took root and then cuttings from it were taken throughout the world, where they took root, as well. That ‘the church’ has the ‘graffed in’ revelation painted quite clearly by Rav Sha’ul, she is, therefore, even MORE accountable than was Israel and MORE likely to be broken off for unbelief than was Israel.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if Eloha spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. (Rom.11.18-21)
In vv.16-23 the repentant become witnesses to his truth. Will YOU and I stand up for him and his truth? Will we call out the unrighteous and their works to and for all who will hear or listen? If you WILL stand and speak for him, Y’hovah will be your strength, and his mercy towards those to whom you speak will hold you up, when you are in danger of slipping. When you are in the midst of troubles and the enemy puts various and contrary thoughts in your head, it is Y’hovah’s comfort that will delight your soul.
Vv.20-21 describe our satanic world system to a ‘T’. The governments of the NWO system pass new laws every day that make more and more of things we do in everyday life new crimes. Is this NOT what they did to Daniel in 6.5 of that book?
Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Dani’el, except we find it against him concerning the law of his Eloha. (Daniel 6:5)
That’s what they are outlawing in America today with Congressional broad-brush regulations and the presidential ‘end-arounds’ of Executive Orders as if he were the sovereign king of the United States. When they come for you, and it is likely they will, maintain your INNOCENCE and your 1st Amendment RIGHT to freely practice your sincerely held beliefs, which MANDATE you to call out their wickedness for all to see and hear. YOU stay faithful to Y’hovah’s Truth and pray him to help you hold it up for all who can to see and hear. He will be your defense and your Rock of Refuge. He will bring swift judgment against your persecutors in his time. Let HIM bring the judgment and the condemnation on them. You proclaim his Truth, as he gives you the utterance.
Ps.95 – More of the witnesses to truth witnessing to truth. The first 6½ verses are the witnesses praising Y’hovah for his mercy and grace in delivering them from the exile. Then in v.7b he changes direction by pleading with the redeemed to hear Y’hovah’s voice and not harden our hearts as our fathers did at Sinai. Those who were graffed into Yisrael’s olive tree, made members of her Commonwealth, and made partakers in the vine could be removed as easily as they were added. The generation that hardened their hearts were the ones who had lived under the Egyptian thumb and been partakers of the Egyptian culture and religion. They hardened their hearts because they knew the Egyptian system and incorporated it into their worship of Y’hovah. We need to guard against this same type of hardening, or their end may be ours – denial of the rest we are promised due to our unbelief. Q&C
1Cor12 – The engrafted Gentile children of Ephraim had gone after ‘dumb idols’, the very thing the psalmist warned us about in 95. “When you see a ‘wherefore’ or a ‘therefore’, look to see what it’s there for.” It is BECAUSE we were led away by dumb idols that Sha’ul takes the time to address spiritual gifts. There is a possibility that the gentile Ephraimites might return to the pagan Satanic counterfeits of the Y’hovah given spiritual gifts, which are very real (both the counterfeit & true). Just because something ‘spiritual’ is happening doesn’t mean it’s of Y’hovah. That is a truth many don’t or won’t understand.
Spiritual gifts are given for the profit of the entire body of Messiah, not primarily for the profit of the individual (vv.7, 12). Each is given ALL of the gifts, some gifts being stronger in one individual than others, but each having a primary gift for the edification and profit of the entire body. Each needs the other in order to function. If I have the gift of prophecy and you have the gift of healing, what profit has the body if I die because I didn’t come to you because you are not a prophet? The point is that we ought not be proud of how Yeshua is using us and our particular gift (as if it was due to our efforts), we ought to be about using our gifts to the profit of the entire body, Ephraim and Judah.
Acts 5.1-16 – ChananYahu (Ananias) lied to the Spirit of Y’hovah by SAYING they were giving the total of what they’d sold their possession for when they actually held some back. This was a sin of covetousness, which they tried to cover with the lie. ChananYahu’s wife was a conspirator with him in the covetousness and the cover-up. As with the provocation spoken of in our 1Cor. passage, there was only one way to deal with it. To quote Barney Fife, “Ya gotta nip it in the bud, Andy. Nip it in the bud!” The sin could not be in the camp. Y’hovah made extreme examples of ChananYahu (Y’hovah has favored) and Sapphira to protect the infant body of Messiah from the infection. The next few verses show what happens when the camp is pure and set-apart – the immediate result is fear of Y’hovah and there is great growth in both the spiritual maturity and numbers of talmidim. As a side effect, the power of Abba is seen in the miracles that follow the talmidim’s proclamation of the gospel of peace.
Juxtapose the 1Cor12 passage on ‘spiritual gifts’ to the signs that followed the schlichim of Yeshua. When Sha’ul said ‘best gifts,’ what did he mean? In Acts 5, it seems the best gift was that of healing. It was an unmistakable sign of the power of Y’hovah and it caused people to ‘fear’ him. I think that ultimately to ‘fear’ Y’hovah is the opposite of despising him. When you fear Y’hovah, you consider him and his will in your every move or thought, as we spoke of earlier. When people started thinking about Y’hovah’s will for them and that he cared enough to touch them individually, Ruach brought many to knowledge of himself. I think the case can be made that, at that time anyway, healing was the best gift. Perhaps today it is the discerning of spirits, or prophecy. I believe that each era has its own ‘best gift’ – and not just each era, but each little congregation has its own best gift. But I think Yeshua told us what the best gift is:
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (John 13:12-17)
Service is the best gift. That was the point of the Torah portion for today – the Levites and their service.