(Numbers 1:1-4:20) Week 34
B’MIDBAR: In the wilderness (desert) “Adonai spoke to Moshe in the Sinai Desert…”
NASO: To Lift a Head!
The word NASO, the name of this week’s Parashah is a verb of an extraordinary range of meaning: to lift, to carry, and to forgive.
Here, and elsewhere in B’MIDBAR, it is used in conjunction with the phrase et rosh (“the head”) meaning “to count.”
Biblical Hebrew is not short of other verbs meaning to count, such as: limnot, lispor, lifkod, and lachshov. Why not use one of these verbs?
Why not simply say “count” instead of “lift the head”?
The answer takes us into one of the most revolutionary of all Jewish beliefs. If we are each created in the image of God, then every one of us has infinite value. We are each unique. Even genetically identical twins share only approximately fifty percent of their attributes.
None of us is substitutable for any other. This may well be the single most important consequence of monotheism.
Discovering God, singular and utterly unique, our ancestors discovered the human individual, singular and utterly unique!
CENSUS of 2,449: A second Census on Iyyar 1, 2,449 exactly 1 month after the dedication of the Mishkan was commanded by Adonai. The word CENSUS in these 2 commands came from a MILITARY position of “The assembly of the ranks”; yet EACH individual warrior was uniquely created by God, and indispensable!
To count EACH qualified male, meant the Leaders had to literally make EYE CONTACT…as they lifted the chin of EACH PERSON to make a mark on the list. (all males 20 yrs. and older)
To Count in THIS way, with the MILITARY positioning of the ranks, also had an over-arching intentionality that EACH ONE COUNTED, as they LIFTED EYES to the Leaders, they were APPOINTED into the ranks! Utterly, profoundly, beautifully, HEBREW!
THE CORONATION COUNT: On the day of a King’s Coronation, his army would make a procession before him by rank and file, already counted, already appointed, and READY for WAR to defend their King and Country!
COUNTED BY 12 TRIBAL LEADERS AND DESCENDANTS / Placed strategically around Mishkan
*Rueben (46,500) Simon (59,300), Gad (45,650) SOUTH! (151,140)
*Judah (74,600) Issachar (54,400) Zebulon (57,400) EAST! (186,400)
*Efraim (40,500) Manasseh (32,200) Benjamin (35,400) WEST! (108,100)
*Dan (62,700) Asher (41,500) Naftali (53,400) NORTH! (157,600)
GRAND TOTAL of the Military Census: 603,550; 22,273 were First Born Sons.
The Levites were given CHARGE over maintaining and guarding the Mishkan. They were not to be counted in the Census, as their role in the functions of the Tribes of Israel was established by Adonai as the ‘Priestly Guards’ for His Tabernacle and all the furnishings, coverings, partitions.
SHEVATIM: 12 TRIBES
CAMPING BY TRIBAL CLAN: Each man under HIS own BANNER … The 12 Tribes each had a Tribal Banner to bring about ORDER as they were MIGRATING during their Wilderness experience. They were to camp by Tribal Clan, around the Mishkan, but at a distance. (Moses and the Kohen at the Eastern Entrance)
The entire Tribe of Levites were commissioned by Adonai to serve under Aaron and the Kohanim, and the census counted Levites MALES from over one month old: 22,000!
Each (3-Tribe) Group camped facing the Mishkan, their Identifying BANNER flew overhead!
It was a SIGHT TO BEHOLD…The New Nation of Israel’s encampment under their KING ADONAI!
*Gershon (7,500) WEST! Was responsible for the BOUNDARIES of the TABERNACLE! Boundaries: Woven coverings, screens of protection, all fixtures that held them in place, ropes
*Kohath (8,600) SOUTH! Was responsible for the Holy of Holies; HOLIEST VESSELS & FIXTURES
Holiest Fixtures: The Ark, Bread of Face Table, Menorah, Altars, Utensils, Perochet or Veil!
*Merari (6,200) NORTH! This tribe was responsible for: Framework, WALLS, FLOORS, Skeletal structure and wooden frames of the Tabernacle, crossbars, sockets, floors, and walls.
*The Kohenim EAST! (Avodah) Sacred Service, Sacrificial Service, Priestly duties…
(The design elements of the Tabernacle, measurements, compartments, the architecture of it.
THE WRAPPING OF THE SACRED TABERNACLE for moving;
Aron Kadosh or Holy Ark (covered by the Parochet, then wrapped in waterproof leather skin, finally covered in wool cloth dyed blue (techelet), the symbol of heaven)
Table of Showbread, Lampstand, Altar of Incense: (wrapped in wool dyed blue (techelet) then covered with waterproof leather skins)
The Brazen Altar (covered with a metal cover over the fire…then spread over it was a purple cloth, and finally an outer layer of (tachash) skin was laid over it)
Eleazar, Aaron’s son, was commissioned to oversee all the work of the Kohath to ensure everything was covered properly to be moved. Eleazar was appointed to carry the oil for the Menorah, the incense, and daily grain offering and holy anointing oil.
Esah Zarah: Unauthorized Fire…or STRANGE FIRE unto the Lord / the strange fire which caused Nahav and Avidu, Aaron’s 2 eldest sons, to be consumed by fire before the Lord for presenting unauthorized fire, unattended by Aaron, High Priest, who was the ONLY Priest who could enter the Holiest Place.
The census of the firstborn general assembly of Israelite males, compared to the firstborn males of the Levites:
There was an overage of 273 males from the general assembly of Israel and therefore there had to be a “redemption” cost for each male child. The Sanctuary Shekel was used and paid to the Priesthood as the redemption money.
K’Hat, 30 to 50 Years of Age: These were to serve in the Corps of the Mishkan to clean, prepare for moving, cover according to the instructions and carry all parts on their pre-designed carrying poles.
Only the Cohanim or Great High Priest could actually TOUCH the Holy Things!
These were the vessels and utensils “SET APART FOR ADONAI”. They were especially Holy unto the Lord!
See the correlation of what WE voluntarily GIVE the Lord, and how HE makes it holy unto Himself! There is so much power in this knowledge to build our faith.
Instructions in verse 4:18-20…Do not cut off the K’hat from among the Levites! We see that the K’hat were to serve INSIDE the Holy Place and protect, cover and move the Holy Things.
Please SEE the MERCY of the LORD in this admonition to the Levites to protect the K’hat by attending their service inside the Mishkan.
Adonai is continually aware of the areas where we may fail and be harmed! He goes before us to send help, especially when we are serving…yet may still fall short and miss the mark! YHVH NISSI!
The ‘Water Bearing Rock’ accompanied the Israelites in the Wilderness and later was named, “The Well of Miriam”. When the Israelites prepared to camp the 12 Leaders of the tribes would sing praises unto the Lord and Miriam’s Rock would gush forth!
One stream surrounded the Mishkan, and the other stream surrounded the Levites and another the Israelites. The 4th Stream marked the boundary for each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Paul correlated the water-bearing rock to be Yeshua Ha Massiache! “For I will give you living water and you will thirst no more!”
The 4 divisions of Levites, Jacob’s son Levi: Gershonites, Kohathites, Merarites, Kohanim
AMAZINGLY, WHEN ISRAEL ENTERED THE PROMISED LAND UNDER THE LEADERHSIP OF JOSHUA THE LAND WAS APPORTIONED TO THE TRIBES LARGELY ACCORDING TO THEIR ORDER OF ENAMPMENT IN THE SINAI DESERT; except for the ROYAL tribe of Judah, which was stationed in the CENTER of the country around Jerusalem.
Before each journey the Kohanim carefully wrapped the sacred vessels of the Tabernacle as commanded by Adonai. Each had its own coverings. When covering the Holy Ark, the Kohanim entered backwards to drape the veil over the Ark.
Remember Noah’s sons, who when they found him naked in his tent walked backwards, honoring the presence of the father.
Finally, it was wrapped in a cloth of wool dyed blue as the symbol of heaven! The Holy and Heavenly PRESENCE or Shekinah!
See the foreshadow of Yeshua as “God’s HOLINESS” wrapped in sacrificial SKIN!
HAFTARAH (Old Covenant) READING: Hosea 2:1 (1-10) -2:22 (20)
“Nevertheless, the people of Israel will number as many as the grains of sand by the sea, which cannot be measured or counted; so that the time will come when instead of being told, “You are not my people”’, it will be said to them, “You are the children of the living God.” Then the people of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together; they will appoint for themselves one leader; and they will go up out of the land; for that will be a great day,
The Day of Yizre’el.
Mother Israel has reduced herself to the level of an unfaithful wife! In the first chapter of Hosea we read the command of Adonai to Hosea to:
“Go and marry a whore and have children with this whore; for the land is engaged in flagrant whoring, whoring away from Adonai.”
She betrayed her first love! She will be punished, and the joy of the land removed from her. BUT God promises to have mercy on Israel again! The Lord will ‘speak tenderly’ to Israel and restore her to the condition when He ransomed her from the bondage of Egypt.
Israel will be FULLY RESTORED as God’s Am Segulah!
BRIT CHADASHAH (New Covenant) READING: Luke 2:1-7, 1 Corinthians 12; 12-31
“Everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. So, Yosef, because he was a descendant of David, went up from the town of Natzeret in Galil to the town of David, called Beit-Lechem, in Y’hudah, to be registered with Mary to whom he was engaged and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a cloth and laid him down in a feeding trough, because there was no space for them in the living-quarters.”
Yeshua, firstborn of Mary, from the Kingly line of King David, was not of the sub clan, Kohen. According to TORAH…Jesus had to be redeemed at the Temple. “The first issue of every womb among the Israelites is MINE”.
Firstborn sons were consecrated as Priests in their families. Adonai spared the first-born Hebrew sons during the 10th Plague!
Pidyon Ha Ben: ‘The Redemption of the firstborn’ son…on the 31st day after birth. (5 shekels)
Ironically the Jewish Priests, the Cohenim, should have redeemed Jesus and were to represent Yeshua before God…yet were the ones who offered HIM UP for our SINS, and Yeshua became Se Ha Elohym…Lamb of God; for the sins of the world by their decree.
“For just as the body is one but has many parts; and all the parts of the body, though many, constitute one body, so it is with the Messiah. For it was by one Spirit that we were all immersed into one body; whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free; and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” 1 Cor. 12:12-13
In the END there will be ONE New MAN!
Both Jews and Gentiles will live the COVENANT LIFE with Jesus the Messiah, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Oh! The delicious IRONY OF THE LORD!