Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Numbers-Part 9

In Num 9.1-14 we have some very interesting passages about Passover. In the second year, the first month (of Nisan or Aviv) Yehovah spoke to Moses saying he wanted the sons of Israel to observe the Passover at its appointed time (Aviv/Nisan 14) between the evenings, in the wilderness of Sinai. It will be the only time they will do this in the wilderness.

However, there were some who were ritually unclean because of the dead, so they could not observe Passover on the appointed day, but they wanted to. They came to Moses and Aaron and they asked them why they couldn’t keep it at its appointed time (v 6-7). So Moses told them to wait and he would ask the Lord. Then the Lord said that if anyone becomes unclean because of the dead, or is away on a journey and cannot come to the Mishkan/Temple, he may keep the Passover a month later (v 10-12). God allowed this Passover to be kept outside of the land because he told them to do it, and they had the Mishkan. He also made some changes to the observance since their departure from Egypt.

Now, if you could keep the Passover anywhere, why would the Lord put this into the Torah? If you were away on a journey, why couldn’t you keep the Passover where you were? For more information on these questions, and keeping the festivals today, go to our teaching called “Can You Keep the Festivals Outside of Jerusalem and the Temple Today” on this site. This provision also tells us something else.

The phrase “distant journey” can be applied spiritually as well. Everyone gets a second chance to “come back to the Lord.” We must stress love, mercy and forgiveness and give others a second (and many more) chance. The Torah is not “all or nothing.” We must accept what a person is willing to do, and respect and love them wherever they may be as far as ritual observance.

Num 9.15-23 tells us about the cloud on the Mishkan. When they were to move, the cloud would move showing them where to go. This was not a simple thing in the wilderness. They had to pack up the Mishkan, their tents and belongings, and the animals in order to do this. But life must continue in the Lord. There is a major concept here. We shouldn’t waste our time “waiting on the Lord.” He will lead us in the right way and tell us to move when it is time and when to stop (Psa 37.23). Until then, do what he has told you to do.

In Num 10.1-10 we learn about the “silver trumpets.” Here in these verses we have two silver trumpets, and in 2 Chr 5.12 we have one-hundred and twenty. These trumpets were straight and are called “tzotzrot.” There are several reasons to blow the tzotzrot. When both are blown, all the congregation set out (v 2). In addition, when both are blown all the congregation shall gather at the doorway of the tent of meeting (Ohel Moed).

If only one is blown, then the leaders (nasi), the heads of the divisions (rosh alufim) shall assemble (Isa 13.2; Num 29.1). These are the nobles. These passages allude to the catching away of believers on Yom Teruah and the resurrection of the righteous. Believers will be caught up to heaven to attend the wedding and coronation of the Messiah, and for judgment of our works. Now, when you blow an alarm (a “teruah” note which has short blasts), the camps on the east side will set out (Judah, Issachar, Zebulon). When a tekiah note (one long blast) is blown the second time, the camps that are on the south side (Gad, Reuben, Simeon) shall set out. When the congregation is to be gathered they were to blow without sounding a teruah blast (short notes). The priests blew the tzotzrot.

When they went to war, they were to sound an alarm with the trumpets (v 9). In the day of “your gladness” (five of the festivals) and at the appointed feasts (the two other festivals of Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur)), Rosh Chodesh (new moon), they were to blow the tzotzrot over the Korban Shelemim (peace offerings), the Korban Olah (burnt offering) and they were to be reminders (zikaron) of Israel before Yehovah (v 10).

In Num 10.11-36 we find out that in the second year, in the second month (Iyar) on the twentieth day, the cloud lifted from over the Mishkan, and Israel set out from the wilderness of Sinai. It seems Hobab (Moses’ brother-in-law) did not want to go. He knew he would not have a portion in the land and he wanted to go back to the non-Jewish world and teach them about what he had seen and experienced. He was linked to Israel by emunah (faith) and the God of Israel, and he was going to be a teacher.

Moses persisted with Hobab, and it seems he went with them eventually (v 31-32). He would guide them and be their “eyes” to show them where shade might be, water and of course pasture land. Later, Jericho was given to the sons of Yitro (Judges 1.16) as well as other places (Judges 4.11), and they had a portion in Canaan. So, Israel departed, and Moses said the prayer contained in Num 10.35. When they stopped, Num 10.36 was said. These verses are recited in synagogues today when the Torah is taken out of the ark and when it is put back.

In another interesting concept, in a Torah scroll there are inverted Hebrew letters (nun) at the beginning of v 35 and at the end of v 36. The Hebrew letter “nun” carries the meaning of continuance, activity and life. Inverted or backward “nuns” allude to a quickening of life from the dead (resurrection). Num 10.35 says, “Rise up, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” This describes the resurrection of the Messiah when he gained victory over death, hell and the grave, and all his enemies were scattered. In Num 10.36 it says, “Return, O Lord, to the myriad thousands of Israel.” This speaks of our resurrection at his return. So, the two inverted nuns speak of two great resurrections.

Num 11.1-35 tells us of a group of troublemakers who got together and began to broadcast their complaints These people were complainers by nature. They had not gone very far after they set out from Sinai, so they weren’t tired and thirsty. They were looking for an excuse to quit and go back to Egypt. They were meditating on the complaints before they ever set out. As a result, the Lord consumed some of the outer camp with fire to warn them.

What is the lesson of Num 11? Don’t complain! Turn complaints into questions when someone complains to us. Ask, “What do you want?” They will tell you and you can resolve the issue.. What did the people want? They wanted meat (v 4) because all they had was manna, right? Wrong! They had herds, flocks and fish (11.22). But that was “their stuff” and they figured that the Lord brought them out into this wilderness so he should provide meat for them, you know, three square meals a day.

Moses was very upset at this and goes to the Lord. He can’t do all of this alone and begins to complain himself. He says “Why have you been so hard on me” and “Why have I not found favor in your sight?” He goes on to say it wasn’t his idea to bring them out of Egypt and now take care of them. Where is he supposed to get meat to feed all these people? He says this is just too hard for him so he might as well just kill him right there. So the Lord tells him to gather seventy men from the elders together and the Lord will come down and the Spirit that was on Moses on the seventy. Then he says the people will have meat the next day. Moses doesn’t know how that will happen (v 22) and the Lord tells him, “Is the Lord’s power limited?” Well, Moses knew the answer to that, so he went out and gathered seventy men around the Ohel Moed. Nobody can lead a bunch of complainers. Life is how you look at it. Some see what’s right in a situation and some see what’s wrong. Everything God did had good in it, and when you see the good and don’t complain life is great.

In Part 10 we will pick up here. We are going to have a great prophecy coming up about the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) coming upon the believers of the Kahal (Eschatological Congregation) that Yeshua was going to build, starting in Acts 2.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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