This week’s Torah portion is called ‘Qoraḥ’, wherein which we see a continuation of the theme of rebellion, and these chapters are very critical for us to take careful heed too, lest we find ourselves being caught in the sick sin of rebellion against יהוה, or against any that He has called and appointed to lead and teach His people!
We are also able to see in the Renewed Writings (N.T.) a very serious ‘woe’ being given to the wicked and rebellious, who err in the same way that Qoraḥ did – in fact this kind of rebellion is ranked up high with that of Qayin and Bilʽam and there are many wicked today who have fallen in this way:
Yehuḏah/Jude 1:11 “Woe to them! Because they have gone in the way of Qayin, and gave themselves to the delusion of Bilʽam for a reward, and perished in the rebellion of Qoraḥ̣.”
The name ‘Qoraḥ’ – קֹרַח – Strong’s H7141 simply means, ‘bald’, and comes from the root word קָרַח qaraḥ – Strong’s H7139 which means, ‘to make bald, make yourself bald, shave your head’.
In terms of this being a lesson on rebellion for us, we come to understand clearly that this ‘baldness’ is picturing for us a reference to a ‘baldness’ that is not natural, as many will go ‘bald’ as they age, but rather this baldness is a picture of a ‘self-imposed shaving of the head’! Understanding this, we then see how serious this lesson is for us, as we also recognise and realise that the ‘head’ speaks of a covering, and the shaving of one’s head is actually forbidden for Yisra’ĕl, with a few exceptions – such as:
The following are instructions in regards to when one’s head was to be shaved
1 – with regards to an infection on the head or beard as part of the inspection/cleansing process:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 13:33 “then he shall shave himself, but the eruption he does not shave. And the priest shall shut up the one with the eruption another seven days.”
2 – with regards to the Torah for the cleansing of a leper:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 14:8-9 “And he who is to be cleansed shall wash his garments, and shall shave off all his hair and wash himself in water, and shall be clean. Then after that he comes into the camp, but shall stay outside his tent seven days. 9 “And on the seventh day it shall be that he shaves all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shaves off. And he shall wash his garments and wash his body in water, and shall be clean.”
3 – with regards to one taking a Nazirite vow who has become defiled during his days of separation by being in the presence of someone who dies:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 6:9 “And when anyone dies beside him in an instant, suddenly, and he has defiled the head of his separation, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing – on the seventh day he shaves it.”
4 – with regards to the Torah when the days of separation for a Nazirite are completed:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 6:18 “And the Nazirite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the Tent of Meeting, and shall take the hair from the head of his separation and shall put it on the fire which is under the slaughtering of the peace offering.”
5 – with regards to the ‘cleansing’ process of the Lěwites having to shave their whole body:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 8:6-7 “Take the Lěwites from among the children of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall cleanse them, 7 and do this to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of sin offering on them, and they shall shave all their body, and shall wash their garments, and cleanse themselves”
There is also the clear instruction and stern warning when you are NOT to ‘shave your head’:
1 – with regards to the requirements for a leader to not defile themselves:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 21:4-5 “A leader does not defile himself among his people, to profane himself; 5 they do not make any bald place on their heads, and they do not shave the corner of their beard, and they do not make a cutting in their flesh.”
2 – with regards to the shaving of one’s head to mourn for the dead not permitted for the children of Yisra’ĕl:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 14:1 “You are the children of יהוה your Elohim. Do not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead, 2 for you are a set-apart people to יהוה your Elohim, and יהוה has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a treasured possession above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
I have just listed some of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ with regards to the Torah’s instructions around the idea of shaving one’s head. Many people today argue that they do not shave their head for the dead and their shaving of the head is either simply just a preference of fashion or convenience or in support of a cause.
Now while this may sound acceptable, and is deemed to be so in the world’s eyes, we must recognise what the Word of Elohim says!!! Today we see a very popular trend of having campaigns to reach money for cancer research that call for people to ‘shave their heads’ in support for this much-needed cause!
Once again this may sound like a very uplifting and worthy cause, yet it is not what the Torah accepts!!!
Cancer is a deadly sickness and to shave one’s head for a cancer drive is a picture of ‘shaving one’s head for the dead’, which is prohibited for any of the children of יהוה, and we are not to follow after the ways of the nations who have for millennia followed this ancient custom that has simply been dressed in a subtle approach at doing that which יהוה forbids.
The only time any child of Elohim was to shave their head is made clear from the above Scriptures.
Now while there are certainly times when a person’s head may need to be shaved in an emergency for medical operations, this is not seen as part of one’s daily walk but are times where it is certainly permissible to save a life.
What we are talking about is the shaving of one’s head by choice, either by doing it by self or by going to a hairdresser to have it done.
The shaving of any hair on one’s head (beard included) is also seen in Scripture as a symbol of shame as we see in the example of when Dawiḏ sent messengers to comfort Ḥanun son of Naḥash the sovereign of the children of Ammon who died, because his father showed kindness to Dawiḏ:
Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 19:4-5 “So Ḥanun took Dawiḏ’s servants, and shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 And when some went and informed Dawiḏ about the men, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the sovereign said, “Remain at Yeriḥo until your beards have grown, then return.”
In Yisra’ĕl’s rebellious state they had obviously resorted to the practice of the nations by making one’s self bald for the dead, and in Yirmeyahu יהוה is speaking of how this rebellious nation would not continue to do such practices when and in the process of Him cleaning up and throwing this rebellious and corrupt people out of the land, those who would face His coming wrath would not even have the chance to continue in their compromised lifestyles:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 16:6 “Both great and small shall die in this land. They shall not be buried, and no one shall lament for them, or cut themselves, or make themselves bald for them.”
There is another instance where the shaving of a woman’s head was required:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 21:10-13 “When you go out to fight against your enemies, and יהוה your Elohim shall give them into your hand, and you shall take them captive, 11 and shall see among the captives a woman fair of form, and shall delight in her and take her for your wife, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails, 13 and put aside the mantle of her captivity, and shall dwell in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a month of days. And after that you shall go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.”
In order for a foreign woman to be taken as a wife, you will notice that she had to shave her head – and this is also a picture of a willingness to surrender under a new authority. The shaving of her head was a symbol of her removing her ‘covering’ and at the same time be a time of mourning for her father and mother, under whose authority she has been taken from. Her hair would be a picture of her pride and also identified her as a member of her former culture, so she can now make a fresh start. A woman’s hair is symbolic of her being under authority:
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 11:15 “And if a woman has long hair, it is an esteem to her, because the long hair has been given to her over against a veil.”
Having been captured and taken to be a wife, she is no longer under her old authority which she has been removed from, and therefore she symbolically removes all that resembled her old authority. She is in essence stripped of all authority and submits under a new headship/covering of her new husband.
We as a Bride having been taken out of captivity, have too in a sense been ‘captured’ by יהוה and it is up to us to put off that which we served before and become identified with our new Head and Husband!
So, as we have looked a little more deeply into the shaving of the head, we can clearly see that in terms of this week’s portion, how Qoraḥ represents and pictures for us a truly wicked form of pride and rebellion that is constantly ‘mourning’ the loss of perceived rights!!!
Let us look at the meaning of the names given here in verse 1:
Qoraḥ, as we have already seen, means and pictures ‘a making oneself bald’, and he was the son of יִצְהָר Yitshar – Strong’s H3324 which carries the meaning, ‘shining oil’, who was the son of קְהָת Qehath – Strong’s H6955 meaning, ‘assembly’, who was the son of לֵוִי Lĕwi – Strong’s H3878 meaning, ‘joined to’.
Qoraḥ came from a good line, yet made himself ‘bald’, in a direct act of rebellion as a result of not being happy with his position. It may be possible that Qoraḥ was not happy with the fact that he was not the leader of the Qehathites, as we see that Elitsaphan the son of Ḥeḇron was. He may have felt that he was ‘higher’ in the birthing order of Elitsaphan his younger cousin and he was possibly upset against Mosheh’s decision to put Elitsaphan ahead of Qoraḥ.
Shemoth/Exodus 6:18 “And the sons of Qehath: Amram, and Yitshar, and Ḥeḇron, and Uzzi’ěl. And the years of the life of Qehath were one hundred and thirty-three”
You will notice that Ḥeḇron, the father of Elitsaphan, was the 4th son of Qehath, while Yitshar, the father of Qoraḥ, was the 2nd!
Aharon and Mosheh were sons of Amram, Qehath’s 1st born, and so Qoraḥ may have been grieved at the fact that he perceived he should be next in line, yet we see that we never hear of Qoraḥ doing anything worth noting of, in serving faithfully, while Elitsaphan is mentioned with his brother Misha’ĕl as being faithful to their charge of carrying away the two dead sons of Aharon:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 10:4 “And Mosheh called to Misha’ĕl and to Eltsaphan, the sons of Ḥeḇron the uncle of Aharon, and said to them, “Come near, take your brothers from before the set-apart place out of the camp.”
The metaphoric picture that we see here from these events is very clear – Qoraḥ had the assumption that he deserved to be a leader and was grieved over the seeming loss of his perceived right to be in charge, yet his character was clearly shown as one who was unwilling to serve and pictures for us a pride filled person who expects to be served and wishes to exercise authority over others who must serve him. Many today expect the same thing – they feel that they are ‘owed’ something and when they do not get their perceived way, they carry a huge chip on their shoulder and reject and rebel against all authority! He wanted to be great, without paying the price of becoming a humble servant!
יהושע tells us in:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 23:10-12 “Neither be called leaders, for One is your Leader, the Messiah. 11 “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 “And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Qoraḥ wanted a title but did not want the responsibility that comes with being a true servant leader, as Mosheh and his younger cousin, Elitsaphan, was!
As already quoted, we take note that in the letter of Yehuḏah (Jude) there is the clear warning that is given in order to warn us against the wicked that have perverted the favour of Elohim and have denied the only Master יהושע; and they are classed as being likened to those who had perished in the rebellion of Qoraḥ.
The Greek word that is translated as ‘rebellion’ in Yehuḏah/Jude 1:11 is ἀντιλογία antilogia – Strong’s G485 which means, ‘rebellion, gainsaying, contradiction, dispute, hostility’, and it comes from the root word ἀντιλέγω antilegō – Strong’s G483 which means, ‘to speak against, contradict, oppose, object, obstinate, decline to obey, refuse to have anything to do with him’, which comes from the two words:
1) – ἀντί anti – Strong’s G473 which is a primary preposition that means, ‘over against, opposite, instead of’ and
2) – λέγω legō – Strong’s G3004 which means, ‘to say, address, speak, call, command, exhort, advise’. The root word ἀντιλέγω antilegō – Strong’s G483 is translated as ‘back-talking’ in:
Romiyim/Romans 10:21 “And to Yisra’ĕl He says, “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and back-talking people.”
The Greek word that is translated as ‘disobedient’ is ἀπειθέω apeitheō – Strong’s G544 which means, ‘to disobey, disbelieved’.
Sha’ul was quoting from the following verse:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 65:2 “I have held out My hands all day long to a stubborn people, who walk in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts”
Sha’ul was quoting this when referring to the clear fact that while the Word of Elohim had gone out into all the earth, there were still many who refused to submit and obey to the clear call to turn to יהוה and put their trust in Him.
In Chapter 11 Sha’ul goes on and quotes the words of Ěliyahu and says that the rebellious had killed יהוה’s prophets and overthrown יהוה’s altars!
While Ěliyahu felt all alone after fleeing the threats of Izeḇel, he was clearly reminded that יהוה had left 7000 who had not bowed their knee to Ba’al, and Sha’ul confidently proclaims that there was still a true remnant of faithful servants of the Most-High – even amidst a wicked and rebellious generation! Today is no different – the majority of mankind is still very rebellious, disobedient and vicious back-talkers!
The Aramaic translation of Yeshayahu renders this verse as “I have sent my prophets”; and what we are able to see from these words of יהוה, in telling us that He has held out His hand all day long, is that He is making it clear that He has continually made known His Outstretched Arm and Hand through His servants, the prophets!
The prophets were called to call the backsliding and rebellious back to Elohim, yet they refused to listen! What we can clearly see from this is how Elohim has continually made His Hand readily available to a people who disobey and speak against His clear commands!
Both of these Greek words (ἀπειθέω apeitheō – Strong’s G544 and ἀντιλέγω antilegō – Strong’s G483) are used in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak) in Yeshayahu/Isaiah 65:2 to described a ‘stubborn’ people and the Hebrew word that is used here for ‘stubborn’ is סָרַר sarar – Strong’s H5637 which means, ‘stubborn, rebellious, backslide’.
It is a very dangerous thing to be stubborn and rebellious toward the Truth, and those who refuse to humble themselves and submit to walking in the Truth, a Truth that has been made known to all, stand the risk of facing an extreme judgement of fire This root word – סָרַר sarar – Strong’s H5637 – basically speaks of being obstinate and rebellious, and lays stress on the attitude of a person – a wrong attitude that results in wrong actions!
For more on the severe warning against stubbornness that we see being clearly given in Scripture, please see the notes of a message called, ‘WARNING AGAINST STUBBORNNESS!’ which can be found on our site (https://atfotc.com) under the ‘sermons 2014/2015’ menu or by clicking on the following link:
Qoraḥ’s rebellion is something that we continue to see happening today as many are stubbornly rebelling against the authority of the Word of Elohim and His appointed leaders, and those who are rebelling and back-talking will always seek to gain others on their side, in order to substantiate their own rebellion as an acceptable stand.
Qoraḥ had to get others on his side and so he went and took Dathan and Aḇiram and On:
דָּתָן Dathan – Strong’s H1885 means, ‘belonging to a fountain’ and אֲבִירָם Aḇiram – Strong’s H48 means, ‘exalted father / my father is exalted / the exalted One is my father’. They were sons of אֱלִיאָב Eliyaḇ – Strong’s H446 meaning, ‘El is my Father’. אוֹן On – Strong’s H203 means, ‘wealthy/vigour’, who was the son of פֶּלֶת Peleth – Strong’s H6431 meaning, ‘swiftness, to flee’.
Qoraḥ went and took these three men: Dathan, Aḇiram and On, and by doing so he gained some momentum in his rebellious uprising!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘took’ comes from the root verb לָקַח laqaḥ – Strong’s H3947 and carries the meaning, ‘take, fetch, lay hold of, seize, snatch away, take away, lead’. Now we may recognise this term as it can speak in a positive sense the picture of Messiah coming to lift up and take His Bride, and is used in Ruth when we see when Bo’az took Ruth and she became his wife (Ruth 4:13).
Yet here, in this Torah portion, the use of this word is not in a positive sense but rather speaks of a ‘seizing’ or ‘gathering for ill intent’! These three were seized/gathered in the wrong way for a wrong purpose, and they were willing participants in the rebellion against Mosheh and Aharon!!!
In verse 2 we see the phrase, “they rose up”, and the root word in Hebrew for ‘rose up’ is קוּם qum – Strong’s H6965 which means, ‘to rise, arise (in a hostile sense), stand up in defiance’. This was an orchestrated uprising, or better termed in today’s language – ‘a riot in the making’!
Who were they rising up against? Mosheh and Aharon!!!
What they did not recognise, was that to rebel and rise up against Mosheh is a picture of rebelling and rising up against the Torah and against יהוה Himself – which so many are doing today! To rebel and rise up against Aharon is to rise up and rebel against the work of יהוה upon the altar and against the order of יהוה, and ultimately rebelling and rising up against and a rejecting of יהושע Messiah, the High Priest who came to do all according to the Torah!
Verse 3 – Enough of you!
These rebels had now gathered 250 men – men who were known leaders and people who the masses would have looked up to for guidance and direction, and in a defiance of the set authority of יהוה, they stood up against Mosheh and Aharon and declared that they had now had enough of their leadership, and basically taunted them by saying in a nutshell what many do today to those in leadership that they do not respect or submit to:
“What makes you so special?”, or “Why do you think you are special, we are all set-apart?”
Those who are unwilling to submit humbly and serve as they should, in the community of Yisra’ĕl, will always be the ones who have the most to say, in a negative reaction to any perceived violation of their personal rights that they claim to have! The ones who do this will naturally rebel against those whom יהוה has appointed and will claim that they have no need to submit to another as they themselves are able to direct their own lives.
This was not the first time someone had this kind of accusation against Mosheh – way back in Mitsrayim when he tried to stop two Yisra’ĕlites from fighting, they said, “who made you ruler and judge over us?”. This time Mosheh did not flee, but rather he fell on his face!!!
While the rebels were ‘standing up’, the humble leader fell down!!!
Let us briefly look at some of the tactics of rebellious people, which are those who refuse to submit under any authority that יהוה has called and ordained:
The ‘bald’ rebels will:
1 – Always find others to share in their gripes and will seek out other grumblers who they will be able to seize in their plot to gain a following of others who will take their side. They are those who do not like it that they are not the ones who are in the leadership role, yet are never serving in any way and will always find something to moan about with others and will carefully seek out those who will agree with them, as they will take any who will be ‘swift’ to bring a false accusation against a leader, just because they do not like what he says, or if they do not get their own way, and feel that their personal rights have been attacked!
2 – The Rebellious will then get those that they have gathered, to identify with their problem and look for sympathy, while playing on the emotions of those that they have seized to hear their gripes, and in the process, they will emotionally manipulate others who may also be falsely disgruntled and gain their support for their united rebellion. This happens so often today as we even see how when someone may become disgruntled at the leadership of those called of יהוה, simply because the disagree with those who are declaring the truth, and when the truth hurts due to an exposing of any areas of compromise or lack of commitment, the rebellious will speak out against the servant leader who makes their compromise known through the Word; which then causes them to find others who too may have been disgruntled by the manner in which the Truth, that has been boldly delivered by honourable and humble leadership that יהוה has appointed, has clearly exposed any hidden compromised lifestyles and areas of hypocrisy, which they simply are unwilling to admit and fix! The grumblers will therefore seek others to gain their support in agreement against a leader that they collectively do not like.
3 – A disgruntled rebel will then create a false perception or image of the one that they are disgruntled with, and ‘paint a picture’ to the others that is not valid, yet what we must recognise in life is that one’s perception of another becomes a reality to the ones perceiving what is being told to them, whether the picture that has been created is a picture of the truth or not. We base our perceptions on what we know by the evidence we have being presented to us. Now a disgruntled rebel will always give their side and anyone being manipulated and drawn into gossip and slander by such negativity and lies will perceive their lies as truth.
4 – The disgruntled and rebellious one will always assume that יהוה is one their side and that being the case, they assume that יהוה is then naturally against the one that they are upset with, as they begin to believe and think that ‘numbers’ prove them right – that is why they will gather a crowd for an uprising, instead of confronting an issue one on one, possibly knowing that a one on one confrontation will expose their rebellion quicker than with a collective audience of others who have been influenced by their negativity!
Qoraḥ is guilty here of gossip and slander at its peak, and when you have wicked and evil thoughts and hatred towards your brother, we must take note of what our Master says: יהושע says that it is as good as having committed murder!!! Qoraḥ was guilty of such and was leading people astray.
He was demanding to be heard – and this is a very dangerous option to take – especially when you are grumbling against יהוה’s chosen order!!! Grumbling fuels and feeds on pride and is a picture of an un-renewed mind, unwilling to allow the Truth to renew their wicked and stiff-necked rebellion against authority.
What we see here is the clear picture of humility versus pride. Qoraḥ is standing up for his self-imposed rights and Mosheh falls down – a picture which is wonderfully portrayed in the parable of the wheat and the darnel or tares, where the darnel pictures the proud and lofty who have refused to submit to, and obey, His Word and as a result will be cut off and gathered into bundles that will be thrown into the fire, whereas the wheat pictures His faithful Bride who has washed and readied Herself for His return, by fearing יהוה and walking humbly before Him.
A farmer sows seed with the expectation of a fruitful harvest. The Good seed is the Word of Elohim which brings forth the wheat; and the field is the world, but the enemy has also sown seed which brings forth darnel (a counterfeit) and so what we also recognise is that wheat and darnel grows up together. Taking the darnel out prematurely could result in uprooting good wheat and the major factor that distinguishes the wheat from the darnel/tares is at the ripening of harvest time where the ‘ear’ must develop! As the ear of the wheat develops it becomes heavy and causes the entire plant to ‘droop’ or hang down, whereas in darnel the ‘ear’ does not develop and remains upright – a picture of pride and stubbornness to hear. What happens at harvest when the sickle is put to the harvest – the upright is chopped down!
We know that the darnel grows up as a result of seed sown by the devil and wheat as a result of seed sown by יהוה; and so it is in life that we can begin to clearly recognise the wheat from the darnel in that those who have ears – that is – those who are listening and obeying – hearing and doing, for those who display their ‘faith with works’ of righteousness are the wheat, as they are hearers and doers of the Word, whereas those who have no ear to hear the Truth are in fact the darnel and may even resemble the wheat on the surface, only to be exposed at harvest time.
Qoraḥ being unwilling to bow down and submit is a clear picture of darnel without and ear for the Truth, whereas Mosheh is ‘all ears’ and humbly falls down!
What were Qoraḥ’s motives here? He basically wanted to overthrow his cousin Elitsaphan and then take the place of High Priest by force.
What worth taking note of is that the people who Qoraḥ took with him were from Re’uḇĕn’s line, and we know that Re’uḇĕn had the similar covetousness who lost his firstborn status when he sinned, and when sin is left unchecked and not dealt with, we see how it can affect even down to the 3rd and 4th generations! Dathan, Aḇiram and On were great grandsons of Re’uḇĕn who fell into the same trap of assuming to take a position that what not theirs to take.
Verse 5-11 – Message to Qoraḥ
This is a message that Mosheh spoke to Qoraḥ and all who were with him.
It is still a very clear message today to all who have assumed to take their own position of authority in how they live their life; and the Torah speaks clearly to them all:
By the way you draw near and bring your fire holder – will be made known as to whether it is the correct way to draw near or not – for יהוה will make known who He has chosen, and will judge according to His Torah.
Many who rebel against the need to submit and walk in the Torah have a very big awakening and shocking sentence coming. There are so many who, in their rebellious and stiff necked state in refusing to walk in the Torah, while having the perception that what they are doing is right and justified and try to lay claim to an assumed position of authority in Messiah, will find themselves having fallen very short of being found to be walking in the righteous standards of the Torah, and shall be exposed for their rebellion against the authority of The True Messiah – The Living Torah – and their heads will be exposed as having been ‘shaved’ of their willingness to love and obey Elohim by guarding His commands:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens. 22 “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ 23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’”
There is a clear difference between those who are ‘with’ יהוה and submit and walk in His Torah as a fervent and zealous expression of their love for Him, as opposed to those who just want יהוה to be with them in their selfish pursuit of trying to claim all the blessings that are contained in His Word, yet are clearly unwilling to follow the clear directions of His Torah, as given through Mosheh and revealed by the life, death and resurrection of Messiah – the Living Torah!
Verse 9 – Isn’t being chosen enough?
When Mosheh confronted the rebels in verse 9, he in effect was saying to them words that we need to take heed of today too and that is that he said in a nutshell, “is it a small matter to you that you have been chosen to serve יהוה – what more do you want?”
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25:55 “Because the children of Yisra’ĕl are servants to Me, they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Mitsrayim. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
The root word in Hebrew for ‘chosen’ is בָּחַר baḥar – Strong’s H977 and means, ‘to choose, choicest, selected, preferred’, and this word is used to express that choosing which has ultimate and eternal significance. We see in Scripture how יהוה chooses a people, certain tribes, specific individuals, and a place for His Name; and in all these cases service and obedience is at the heart of the choosing. Thus, יהוה chose Yisra’ĕl to be set-apart and thereby to serve as His witness among the nations.
Qoraḥ had been separated for service – yet he didn’t really want to serve, as he only wanted the power of leadership to rule over many who would serve him. Qoraḥ wanted the priesthood, yet certainly did not understand what the priesthood entailed. Dathan and Aḇiram wanted the good life now!
We see 2 agendas brewing out of this uprising – one is for the priesthood and power to rule and the other is for fleshly desires and worldly lusts to be satisfied.
This is a classic picture of what the Catholic Church and Christianity seeks without true submission to the Truth: They seek to hold spiritual power and worldly wealth and so be able to control a ‘one world system’ where they pull all the strings and enslave a people under their authority that runs contrary to the Authority of the Torah of Elohim!
One of the problems that Qoraḥ and his rebellion picture for us to day, is the reality of how some will cause fighting and striving within the body, when they do not get their way or what they want! When considering this rebellious event, I cannot help but think of Ya’aqoḇ/James Chapter 4.
Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:1-4 “Where do fightings and strivings come from among you? Do they not come from your pleasures that battle in your members? 2 You desire, and do not have. You murder, and are jealous, and are unable to obtain. You strive and fight, and you do not possess, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask evilly, in order to spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim?1 Whoever therefore intends to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim.”
These words of Ya’aqoḇ would have been spoken here to Qoraḥ and those who joined to him in rebellion, and we must always be careful to not fall into rebellion by speaking against the Word and not be found resisting the called for submission.
These guys were rebelling against their leaders, and this is not permitted! We also see in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:7 “Remember those leading you, who spoke the Word of Elohim to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their belief.”
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:17 “Obey those leading you, and be subject to them, for they watch for your lives, as having to give account. Let them do so with joy and not groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
The bottom line is this – there is no advantage for those who grumble and rebel against the Authority of Elohim!
Verse 12-14 Mosheh called for Dathan and Aḇiram and they refused to come and made all their slanderous accusations from a distance! This is exactly the same thing we see happening so often today – the ones who are criticising and making rash statements of slander and negative gossip do so ‘from a distance’. And what do people do form a distance? They twist words and ‘bend the truth’ so to speak! This is exactly what Dathan and Aḇiram did.
In verse 13 they are accusing Mosheh of taking them away from the land of milk and honey just to seize total rule over them! This is a serious thing – when people twist the Words of יהוה! Rebellion against the instructions (Torah) of יהוה will cause those who rebel to see enslavement in the world as that which flows with milk and honey and call it freedom! They wanted to go back to Mitsrayim and were highly upset with Mosheh – יהוה’s chosen leader who was to instruct and guide the children of Yisra’ĕl to that which had been promised.
Their accusation against Mosheh in saying that Mosheh wanted to seize total rule over them is the typical response of so many today who refuse to walk in the Torah when they say slanderous statements ‘from a distance’ like, “You are trying to put us under law”! I say from a distance simply because they do not want to ‘draw near’ according to the instructions of יהוה and by their own standards assume that they know best, and wilfully reject the authority of the Torah as represented by Mosheh!
So many misguided rebels today think that the Torah kills, yet we see in Scripture the opposite:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:45-47 “And when Mosheh ended speaking all these words to all Yisra’ĕl, 46 he said to them, “Set your heart on all the words with which I warn you today, so that you command your children to guard to do all the Words of this Torah. 47 “For it is not a worthless Word for you, because it is your life, and by this Word you prolong your days on the soil which you pass over the Yardĕn to possess.”
Dathan and Aḇiram were accusing Mosheh (a picture of Torah) of taking them away from the land of milk and honey, when in fact they were on their way to the land flowing with milk and honey and were to heed the instructions of Mosheh when they enter in:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 27:3 “and write on them all the Words of this Torah, when you have passed over, so that you go into the land which יהוה your Elohim is giving you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ as יהוה Elohim of your fathers has spoken to you.”
When Yisra’ĕl was in Mitsrayim they had no Torah – they were enslaved to a world system – and that is what Dathan and Aḇiram wanted to go back to. As soon as people who come out of the lawless church system and start to walk the Torah walk, some of them grow tired and weary and begin to grumble when they no longer wish to submit to the Torah of Freedom that calls for a loving obedience of walking in the commands, but rather want to resort to a ‘lawless’ mind-set and call that the freedom they long for and twist the Truth to appease their rebellion and disobedience!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 28:4 “Those who forsake the Torah praise the wrong, those who guard the Torah strive with them.”
How true was this here with Qoraḥ and Dathan and Aḇiram!!! They, who were forsaking the requirements to follow the leading and instructions of Mosheh (Torah) praised each other in their wrong and even began to praise Mitsrayim for being the land flowing with milk and honey, and they were striving with those who guard the Word!
Verse 14 we see that their inability to see the Truth increases as they begin to blame Mosheh for not having brought them into the land as promised – as if it was Mosheh’s fault. They quickly forgot how they had all fallen prey to the negative report of the 10 spies and as a result were sentenced to die in the Wilderness and spend 40 years sojourning until that complaining generation had passed away. Now they want to blame Mosheh for their own negative rebellion!
All that these guys were after was their physical well-being and material wealth – never mind that they had the presence of יהוה!!!
They did not like the leadership that they were to listen to and so they rebelled and refused to listen! This is how you will be able to recognise the leader that you DO NOT NEED – if you are comfortable with everything they say!!!
By that I mean if you are simply seeking those who will tickle your ears and not give sound teaching – then realise that they are not true leaders.
A true leader will lead in humility and rightly handle the Word of Truth, even when it hurts and a true leader does not have to cater to the weaknesses of others and compromise standards in fear of not receiving from those who are supposed to support them.
Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 4:3 “For there shall be a time when they shall not bear sound teaching, but according to their own desires, they shall heap up for themselves teachers tickling the ear”
Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 4:2 “Proclaim the Word! Be urgent in season, out of season. Reprove, warn, appeal, with all patience and teaching.”
Titos/Titus 1:9 “clinging to the trustworthy word, according to the teaching, in order to be able both to encourage by sound teaching, and to reprove those who oppose it.”
Verse 15 – Mosheh now becomes very displeased – In other words he was getting really angry and tells יהוה to not accept their offering!!! He made it clear that he did not take anyone’s donkey, nor done any harm to any and these are very similar words that we see Shemuʼěl speaking in:
Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 12:3 “Look, here I am. Witness against me before יהוה and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I oppressed? Whom have I abused, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? – then I restore it to you.”
These were words he spoke when they wanted a king like all the nations while they had rejected Elohim as their Sovereign!
One’s ox or donkey speaks of that which one would use to plough a field or carry a burden/load of goods. Mosheh and Shemuʼěl are both making it clear here that they did not take advantage of anyone and did not load any burden upon them. When we see how both Mosheh and Shemuʼěl are basically saying the same thing we can see a wonderful picture of how the Torah and the Prophets are not burdensome and it does not steal from you, but rather it brings life and support and sustenance! יהושע tells us that He did not come to do away with the Torah and the Prophets but rather He came to fully meet its requirements that we may be able to follow in Him and meet the requirements of the Torah as we too carry one another’s burdens.
Verse 16-35 THE TEST – BRING YOUR FIRE HOLDER!
All 250 leaders that had been gathered in the joint rebellion of Qoraḥ and his men were now told to get their fire holders, put fire in them and assemble before the door of the Tent of Appointment. Qoraḥ was the leader who gathered all the congregation together, and he may even have seen this as an opportunity to put Mosheh and Aharon down! At that point, the esteem of יהוה appears and יהוה tells Mosheh and Aharon to separate themselves from the congregation so that He could wipe them out in a moment!
And once again we see Mosheh and Aharon fall on their faces and intercede for the congregation and appeal to יהוה, as Mosheh, although very angry, knew that it was not the whole congregation that was guilty, and here a clear separation is made when יהוה then tells Mosheh to speak to Yisra’ĕl and command them to move away from the tents of the rebel ring leaders.
Mosheh then went and spoke to the congregation and in verse 26 he says, ‘turn way’ from these wrong men and ‘do not touch’ what belongs to them or else you too will be consumed!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘turn away’ comes from the root word שׂוּר sur – Strong’s H5493 which means, ‘turn aside, depart, avoid, be removed from’.
Turn away – leave – depart – come out from among them!!!
The Hebrew root word that is translated here as ‘touch’ is נָגַע naga – Strong’s H5060 which means, ‘to touch, strike, reach, cause to touch, join’; and the Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint) is ἅπτομαι haptomai – Strong’s G680 which means, ‘touch, fasten oneself to, cling’ and is used to describe the practice of having no fellowship with pagan practices, as we see the clear command given in:
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.”
The Greek word translated as ‘not’ is μή mē – Strong’s G3361 which is a primary participle of a qualified negation, meaning, ‘not, know, neither, none’
We see Sha’ul warning the believers in Colossae with this too:
Qolasim/Colossians 2:20-22 “If, then, you died with Messiah from the elementary matters of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to dogmas: 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle” – 22 which are all to perish with use – according to the commands and teachings of men?”
In these words, we see Sha’ul saying not to touch, taste or handle that which is of the world and has been the construct of dogmas that have been enforced through traditions which are developed according to the command and teachings of men!
The reason that I am highlighting these words and its uses in various verses is to simply point out the wonderful work that our Master and Redeemer has done for us, as He was stricken for our transgressions, cleansing us from that which defiles and now, we are to makes sure we do not touch that which does not pertain to complete set-apartness!
Ḥazon/Revelation 18:4 “And I heard another voice from the heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 52:11 “Turn aside! Turn aside! Come out from there, touch not the unclean. Come out of her midst, be clean, you who bear the vessels of יהוה.”
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 51:6 “Flee from the midst of Baḇel, and let each one save his life! Do not be cut off in her crookedness, for this is the time of the vengeance of יהוה, the recompense He is repaying her.”
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 51:45 “Come out of her midst, My people! And let everyone deliver his being from the burning displeasure of יהוה.”
What is worth taking note of is that this root word שׂוּר sur – Strong’s H5493 which is used as a command for the children of Yisra’ĕl to ‘turn away’ from the troublemakers, is the same root word used to describe Yisra’ĕl as being ‘rebels’ who have rebelled against יהוה in:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 2:3 “And He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Yisra’ĕl, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against Me. They and their fathers have transgressed against Me, until this day.”
Rebels who have rebelled!
The first word that is translated as ‘rebels’ is סוּר sur – Strong’s H5493 meaning, ‘turn, turn aside, depart from a way, avoid, be removed from, put away’; while the second word translated as ‘rebels’ is סָרַר sarar – Strong’s H5637 which means, ‘stubborn, rebellious, backslide’.
What we can see from this instruction to turn away, given by Mosheh, is the clear call to turn away from those who have turned away! This is what it also means to come out and be separate – turn away from those who refuse to obey, or else they will affect you and cause you to be led astray, along with them!
Mosheh then said that if these men would die as other men do then it was not from יהוה, but if they died by what is unheard of then it is of יהוה.
To make this statement before a congregation of misfits took great confidence, and this was a true test of a true prophet – the people who had opened up their mouth against Mosheh would now be swallowed up by the earth opening up its mouth and swallowing up not only those who rebelled and brought false and slanderous accusations against Mosheh, but it swallowed up everything they owned too.
Anyone who had not turned away from them would be swallowed up too! So many people today are procrastinating in their need to come out and be separate, and this is a very dangerous thing! Let us hear the clear call to come out and be set-apart, as we guard the Torah with joy and no longer grumble against that which we have been commanded to do!
Verse 35 – fire consumes the 250 leaders who were offering incense:
Tas’loniqim Bět/2 Thessalonians 1:8 “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know Elohim, and on those who do not obey the Good News of our Master יהושע Messiah”
Our Elohim is a consuming fire and His fiery wrath is coming to destroy the sons of disobedience! What is important for us to take note of here is that the fire of Elohim destroyed those who presumptuously did as they pleased. These 250 rebels were those who were offering incense and this carries a powerful picture for us of so many who claim to be believers and think that their prayers and service are acceptable before Elohim, yet they are in for a fiery wrath that is coming upon those who work lawlessness!
In verse 36-40 we see that Elʽazar was then instructed to take the 250 fire holders of those who had been consumed and make them into a beaten plate for the Slaughter Place, as a sign and remembrance to Yisra’ĕl forever, so that no stranger who is not of the seed of Aharon should ever come near to offer incense before יהוה.
This was a clear statement being made here – and that was that there would only be One Mediator and Intercessor and none of these men who were consumed would ever be it – only One:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 42:8 “I am יהוה, that is My Name, and My esteem I do not give to another, nor My praise to idols.”
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one Elohim, and one Mediator between Elohim and men, the Man Messiah יהושע”
We are able to come near to offer up our prayers and petitions and thanksgiving before
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 4:14-16 “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, יהושע the Son of Elohim, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was tried in all respects as we are, apart from sin. 16 Therefore, let us come boldly to the throne of favour, in order to receive compassion, and find favour for timely help.”
This also carries a sobering warning against those who cast aside the Torah of Elohim, while thinking that they have claim to His Covenant promises! When considering this I am reminded of the words contained in as Psalm that highlights the clear truth that those who cast aside the Torah will not be heard, while the obedient will!
Tehillah/Psalm 50:14-23 “Slaughter thanksgiving to Elohim, and pay your vows to the Most–High. 15 And call upon Me in the day of distress – let Me rescue you, and you esteem Me. 16 But to the wrong Elohim said, “What right have you to recite My laws, or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 while you hated instruction and cast My Words behind you? 18 When you saw a thief, you were pleased with him, and you take part with adulterers. 19 You let your mouth loose to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. 20 You sit, speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. 21 You have done this, and I kept silent; you have thought that I was altogether like you – I rebuke you, and set it in order before your eyes. 22 Understand this please, you who forget Eloah, lest I tear you in pieces, with no one to deliver: 23 Whoever slaughters praise esteems Me; and to him who prepares a way, I show the deliverance of Elohim.”
Verse 41 – THEY MOAN AGAIN!
It seems as if they just do not learn – they have seen the 10 spies being dealt with, they have seen how Qoraḥ and all his men were swallowed up and they had seen how the 250 were consumed with fire – yet they persisted in moaning and they blamed the deaths on Mosheh and Aharon!!! This is a picture of so many today, believe it or not! So many will not stop complaining as they want to complain yet are unwilling to be corrected.
And then they once again accuse Mosheh and Aharon! Mosheh and Aharon did not kill them; however, the spiritually blind will always misinterpret the Word and Work of יהוה and they will, with great aggression in their words, come up against the anointed and appointed of יהוה.
Verse 44-45 יהוה again tells Mosheh to leave this people so He can consume them in a moment, and once again Mosheh and Aharon fall on their faces – they had such a great heart of intercession – something we can learn greatly from, as I am sure that most of us would have moved out of the way by now – not these two and this is a picture of the loving commitment of our Saviour and King, יהושע Messiah!
Verse 45 – יהוה tells Mosheh to ‘arise’ from amidst the congregation. This is the third time in this chapter that we see יהוה speaking to Mosheh, instructing him to move away and be separated – twice He spoke directly to Mosheh so that יהוה could consume them in a moment (:21,45) and once as an instruction to the congregation to move away from the tents of the rebellious (:24):
Separate (verse 21); move away (verse 24) and arise (verse 45); let us look at the Hebrew root words for each:
Separate – בָּדַל baḏal – Strong’s H914 meaning, ‘to be divided, separated, make a separation, make a distinction, sever, set-apart’. This word carries the clear understanding of making a definite distinction, just as Yisra’ĕl was to make a distinction between the clean and unclean:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 20:24-26 “But I say to you, “You are going to possess their land, and I Myself give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am יהוה your Elohim, who has separated you from the peoples. 25 ‘And you shall make a distinction between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean birds and clean. And do not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird, or whatever creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. 26 ‘And you shall be set-apart to Me, for I יהוה am set-apart, and have separated you from the peoples to be Mine.”
3 times in these 3 verses we see the word בָּדַל baḏal being used – twice translated as ‘separated’ and once as ‘make a distinction’.
It is יהוה who has separated us from all peoples, to be a set-apart nation unto Him and therefore we are called to make a clear distinction between what is clean and what is not, and so by the hearing of His Torah and the obedience of keeping His Times and laws we are called to active separation from that which is not pleasing to Him!
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.”
Being separated involves a coming out from among that which foreign and contrary to the Torah! The Greek word used here for ‘separate’ is ἀφορίζω aphorizō – Strong’s G873 which means, ‘to mark off by boundaries, ostracise, separate, set-apart’ and comes from the two words:
1 – ἀπό apo – Strong’s G575 which is a preposition and primitive particle, meaning, ‘from, away from, against’ and
2 – ὁρίζω horizon – Strong’s G3724 which means, ‘predetermined, fixed, appointed, to mark off by boundaries’.
What is very clear throughout Scripture is that we are called to come out and be separate. If we do not heed this call to come out and be separate then we may find ourselves among those whom the Messengers of יהוה will ‘separate’ from the congregation!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:49-50 “Thus shall it be at the end of the age: the messengers shall come forth, and separate the wicked out of the midst of the righteous, 50 and shall throw them into the furnace of fire – there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
The choice is very clear – separate yourselves from all foreign worship and its practices or you will be separated for destruction and thrown into outer darkness!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 25:30 “And throw the worthless servant out into the outer darkness – there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
There is a clear separation that is called for, and the true royal priesthood has been separated unto Elohim, and therefore must no longer be ‘joined’ to the ways of the world:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:7-11 “Therefore do not become partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light 9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth 10 proving what is well-pleasing to the Master. 11 And have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
Move away – עָלָה alah – Strong’s H5927 meaning, ‘to go up, ascend, climb, approach, go’. A derivative of this root is the term used for ‘whole burnt offering – עֹלָה olah – Strong’s H5930 meaning, ‘whole burnt offering, ascent, staircase, stairway’. The olah offering represents a giving totally of oneself to יהוה, just as Messiah offered up His Body as an ‘olah’ offering, so too are we to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice and our lives are to be given totally up unto service and worship to יהוה. This instruction was to be given to the congregation – in other words the congregation was to totally be moved away from the tents of the wicked and be given totally up to יהוה.
As we surrender our lives unto יהוה, we are to have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness and we must move away from the dwelling of unrighteousness and lawlessness and rebellion, lest we be consumed in all its sins!
Another translation renders this ‘move away’ as ‘pull up your tent pegs and get away’, and the picture of this is showing us is the clear call to be uprooted from all that is wicked and a negative influence, in order to be able to truly ascend unto the Set-Apart presence of יהוה, and this is done through the instructions given by יהוה through Mosheh to all the congregation – we can only truly be uprooted from the places of rebellion and wickedness and lawlessness, where we once dwelt, and be able to draw near to Elohim through the Living Torah – יהושע Messiah – and by His Life Giving Word of the Torah (instructions) we, as a congregation can do so. We need to walk in the Torah to ‘move away’ from the tents of rebellion!
Arise – רָמֹם ramom – Strong’s H7426 meaning, ‘to be exalted, get oneself up, lift up (self), mount up’.
This they once again fell on their faces and Mosheh recognises that now this is a time for Aharon to do his duty as high priest and mediator, which had just been established by יהוה to all.
As we look at the verse that follow we see a great shadow picture of the work of Messiah in His ascending to the Most Set-Apart Place in the Heavenly Tabernacle in order to become the Mediator of the Renewed Covenant!
Verse 46-50 – The Mediator and High Priest
Aharon, under the clear instructions of Mosheh, takes the fire holder and puts fire in it with incense and makes atonement for the congregation and stood between the living and the dead at which point the plague stopped!
The High Priest goes at the mouth of the Torah and remains in the Torah!
Aharon is a picture of the work of Messiah as High Priest, and we see clearly how יהושע came to do only that which was required and instructed through the Torah as He came and dwelt among the congregation and made atonement by giving up His Body and ascended to the Most Set-Apart Place where He makes intercession for us and is the One who stands between the living and the dead. Just as Aharon ‘returned’ to Mosheh, we see the power of the Truth that the Word of יהוה does not return void but does all that it is set forth to do. יהושע was sent forth as the Word made flesh and accomplished His role and duty as High Priest and Mediator and returned to the Father, and He is the Door at the Tent of Appointment – He is the only way and only through Him and His atoning work are we able to draw near to Elohim, for through His work the plague is stopped!
When Aharon made atonement for the people stood in his position the plague was stopped. What we see happening here is a restoration of order out of chaos. יהושע came to restore order and establish His prescribed order for His people and those who stand opposed to His order and Kingdom rules will die and those who submit and follow will live!!!
This rebellion brought chaos and destruction and order had now been restored, which is exactly what יהושע came to do – restore the True order so that all may walk in and live according to the Torah (instructions) of Elohim.
Another 14 700 died and what we can clearly learn from these events is this – Rebellion kills!!! We must learn to guard our mouths and be careful not to speak out against the order or Elohim and be careful who we speak out against – especially if they are the called and set-apart servants of Elohim!
THE ROD THAT BUDS
Now that the plague had stopped and right order had been restored it was time to put an end to any debates and questions in regards to the authority and leadership that יהוה had established and ordained. Despite all the grumblings and complaints that have been going on, especially against Mosheh and Aharon, we continue to see that יהוה still speaks through Mosheh. יהוה was not interested whether Mosheh was the popular choice, and neither does He today, as He does not go and give the role of leadership to someone else based in the grumbling that took place!
Sometimes people think that if they moan and groan enough then they will be able to get a change in leadership and get the person they want as opposed the one יהוה has called and chosen; but יהוה does not fall for unmerited complaints against His chosen!
And so, for this wicked and rebellious generation, יהוה was going to give them a sign, a sign that only He can bring that will clearly show who is His chosen servant!
This is a great shadow picture of how a wicked and adulterous generation would be given one sign only, despite all their rebellion and demands for proof, they would be given one only – foreshadowing the very sign that would show the wicked and adulterous that Messiah was who He said He was – and that was the sign of Yonah:
Luqas/Luke 11:29 “And while the crowds were thronging, He began to say, “This generation is wicked. It seeks a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Yonah the prophet.”
The sign that יהוה gives to show the authenticity of His Chosen is not for the faithful followers but rather for the wicked and rebellious who refuse to submit and surrender to His order and His Kingdom rules! Today we still find ourselves amidst a wicked and rebellious generation who do not even accept the one sign that proves that יהושע is the Messiah and that is the sign of Yonah the prophet – 3 days and 3 nights! Christianity, which resembles the arrogant rebels who demand position and authority, have neglected to see the true authenticity of this sign and continue to lead masses astray by not acknowledging who the real and true Messiah is, and have set up a falsified copy that does not line up to the one sign that reveals who Messiah is.
Here in the Wilderness יהוה was going to put an end to all the grumbling about who was in charge and so each tribe would have to bring a rod from each father’s house and take the rod from each leader from the 12 tribes and write their leaders name on each of their rods. Aharon would then write his name on the rod of Lĕwi. A rod is a symbol of authority and ability to lead and teach, and here it was going to be revealed who the chosen leader was that would lead and teach and serve under the hand of Mosheh.
All the rods would then be placed in the Tent of Appointment before the Witness and the rod that buds would be the one that יהוה chooses and there would be an end to all the grumblings.
It is יהוה who chooses and not man!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 42:1 “See, My Servant whom I uphold, My Chosen One My being has delighted in! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He brings forth right-ruling to the nations.”
These twelve rods with the names on each would be in the Tent of Appointment and what we must realise is that these ‘rods’ were wooden staffs or branches from a tree – and so to have one of them budding forth would be a miracle in itself and by this sign there would be a clarification as to the One יהוה had called and all other presumed leaders would be brought down and put in their rightful place!
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 17:24 “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, יהוה, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish. I, יהוה, have spoken and shall do it.”
Aharon’s rod was once Mosheh’s rod! In Shemoth/Exodus 4:1-17 we see that it was with the rod in Mosheh’s hand that he would do all the signs he was told to do and this rod was put into Aharon’s hand and so here when we see the rod of Aharon being put forward and the leadership of Lĕwi we see that it collectively represents both the Authority of Mosheh and Aharon, as Aharon’s authority was that of Mosheh as he was Mosheh’s spokesman and the High Priests authority is that of the Torah, for it is by the plumb line of the Torah that His Righteous Right Ruling is brought forth!
יהושע also derived His authority from the Torah. His life means nothing apart from the Torah as he is the Living Torah – the Word made flesh. He is also referred to as the Rod in:
Miḵah/Micah 6:9 “The voice of יהוה cries to the city – and let sound wisdom see Your Name! “Hear the Rod and Him who appointed it!”
He is the Mediator between Yisra’ĕl and יהוה, foreshadowed here by Aharon, remembering of course that Aharon’s name means “light bringer”.
What we can learn from these accounts that certainly foreshadow the authenticity of Messiah, is that is any leadership that יהוה has appointed, He will choose by the one who blossoms in his leadership in light of the witnesses to His Covenant.
He does not need to choose the one who has the most degrees or accolades of man, but will choose the one who is bearing fruit! Aharon’s rod bore fruit while the others did not and in Scripture we are told that we will be able to distinguish true leadership against the false by their fruit:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:15-20 “But beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are savage wolves. 16 “By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 “So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicked fruit. 18 “A good tree is unable to yield wicked fruit, and a rotten tree to yield good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, by their fruits you shall know them”
Beware of those who are teaching man-made doctrines as opposed to the pure unadulterated Truth of the Torah – you shall know them by their fruit of righteousness – do they walk in and guard the commands of Elohim or not? And most certainly, the clear litmus tests we have today is whether they are keeping and teaching the keeping of the Shabbat and the Feasts of יהוה or not – if not then the fruit that they are bearing is wicked fruit and must be avoided!
Aharon’s rod budded and brought forth ripe almonds!!! Just think for a moment here the power of this amazing and miraculous sign – a stick that may have been very old and cut from a tree many years ago blossoms and bears fruit in one night!!!
The word for ‘almond’ in Hebrew שָׁקֵד shaqeḏ – Strong’s H8247 comes from the root of the same spelling שָׁקַד shaqaḏ – Strong’s H8245, which means ‘to watch, keep watch, and lie awake’. We see the use of this word being used as a play on words in:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 1:11-12 “And the word of יהוה came to me, saying, “What do you see, Yirmeyahu?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 12 And יהוה said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to do it.”
Almond tree here in the above verse 11 is שָׁקֵד shaqeḏ – Strong’s H8247 and ‘watching over’ in verse 12 is שָׁקַד shaqaḏ – Strong’s H8245.
We are to be awake and watching, guarding the Torah and not be found to be sleeping and unable to bear the fruit of righteousness. This budding of almonds was a very clear statement that was being made to all Yisra’ĕl and that was that they were to be an alert people!
יהושע continually reminds us to be an awake people:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 24:42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Master is coming.”
Mattithyahu/Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, because you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Aḏam is coming”
Mattithyahu/Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into trial. The spirit indeed is eager, but the flesh is weak.”
Ḥazon/Revelation 3:2-3 “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before Elohim. 3 “Remember, then, how you have received, and heard. And watch and repent. If, then, you do not wake up, I shall come upon you as a thief, and you shall not know at all what hour I come upon you.”
Marqos/Mark 13:33 “Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time is”
Luqas/Luke 21:36 “Watch then at all times, and pray that you be counted worthy to escape all this about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Aḏam.”
Two words in the Greek are used here for watch and the word used here for ‘watch’ in the first 4 passages that I have quoted here above is – γρηγορέω grēgoreō – Strong’s G1127 and means, ‘to be awake, alert, keep watching, stay alert’ and comes from the primitive verb – ἐγείρω egeirō – Strong’s G1453 meaning, ‘to waken, to raise up, awaken’; and the Greek word that is translated as ‘watch’ in the last 2 verses above is – ἀγρυπνέω agrupneō – Strong’s G69 which carries the meaning, ‘to be sleepless, wakeful, keep on the alert, keep watch’.
We need to always be awake and alert and watchful. Aharon’s rod is symbolic of the authority of the Word. It was Aharon’s rod that budded first after the rebellion against the leadership of Mosheh and Aharon and as high priest this rod is a shadow picture of יהושע Messiah having come down as the Word made flesh to show us His Right-Ruling and to firmly establish His Authority as He set His ‘plumb-line’ in our midst and would be a witness against all who rebel against the Authority of His Word, for he will bring forth His Judgement with right ruling:
Amos 7:7-9 “This is what He showed me, and see, יהוה stood on a wall made with a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in His hand, 8 and יהוה said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb-line.” And יהוה said, “See, I am setting a plumb-line in the midst of My people Yisra’ĕl, no longer do I pardon them. 9 “And the high places of Yitsḥaq shall be laid waste, and the set-apart places of Yisra’ĕl shall be destroyed. And I shall rise with the sword against the house of Yaroḇ’am.”
What is a plumb-line? The Hebrew word used here for ‘plumb-line’ is אֲנָךְ anaḵ – Strong’s H594 which means, ‘to plummet, plumb-line, lead-weight’.
It is a length of string or light rope with a weight (Latin – plumbum, meaning, ‘lead’) attached at one end that, when suspended by the other end, will show a true vertical line. It is used in the construction of any object that needs to be vertically true, such as a wall of a building or a fence. Today a similar tool called a water level is used. What יהוה was showing Amos here in this vision was clear – that being measured against His Torah, Yisra’ĕl had been way out of line and they did not measure up to the true building standards that He had set for His called out and chosen nation that was to be set-apart!
While this rebellious nation may have escaped the visions of being completely destroyed by locusts and fire, what they could not escape was the clear judgement of being measured up against the plumb-line of His Word and instructions for righteousness! The plumb line is a regulation appliance and a testing instrument with which the building must give an account or match and be true.
As we look at the imagery of the plumb line, we know that it pictures for us the standard of righteousness: Righteousness is to guard to do all that Elohim has commanded us to do (Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25).
The clear plumb-line of righteousness is measured against the clear Torah and instructions of Elohim!
The Word of Elohim is the plumb line, exposing every deviation from the moral perpendicular.
In other words, יהוה’s Word reveals any crookedness, as it is used to measure the standards it has set forth, and יהושע Messiah came in the flesh in order to redeem us form all lawlessness and reveal, in our very midst, the clear standard that is to be kept, by showing us the Way we are to follow, as we stay in Him and walk, even as He walked! With the plumb-line having been placed in our midst, and there now being no excuse, we recognise that there comes with this, the needed testing!
Here in this Torah portion we see a clear testing taking place as each tribe was to bring forth a rod for testing and the rod that blossomed would be the one that revealed whom יהוה had appointed.
Aharon’s rod was the rod that blossomed and bore ripe almonds and is a picture of the true fruit of true leadership based on that which יהוה has chosen and not by man’s standards, and the almonds were symbolic of being watchful and alert – showing us that יהושע, our High Priest is constantly watching over us and never sleeps and the rod would be a witness against future grumblings.
The almond tree is usually a tree that blossoms first but is one of the last to bear fruit and it is also known as the resurrection tree and we can prophetically see here, by the miracle that takes place in a ‘dead’ stick coming to life again, the power of the resurrection life we have in Messiah, as we submit to His authority!!!
Almond like blossoms were part of the design on the Menorah/Lampstand and the lampstand has 22 almond blossoms, which is again another picture for us of His complete Word as there are 22 letters in the Hebrew Alphabet! He has, by His Word, called us out of darkness and brought us into His marvellous Light!
The use of the almond blossoms on the Lampstand is a reminder for us to ‘keep watch and be alert’ and with the 7 lamps being symbolic of His Appointed Times, we recognise how we faithfully keep watch by observing His appointed Times!!!
Verse 9 – Rods brought out
Mosheh brought the rods out and all the congregation looked and each man took his rod. The dispute was over – they now all knew their place and position, and had now accepted it!
Then Aharon’s rod was placed before the Witness as a sign against the rebels, and the next time there would be any grumbling all Mosheh would have to do was show them Aharon’s rod and that would quickly shut them up!
After this there was finally a breakthrough – yet it took the death of almost 15 000 lives to bring about this reality of the authority that יהוה had appointed to the High Priest through the Torah!
The congregation recognised their guilt and that actions have consequences and if they got what they really deserved they would be in big trouble. We have a High Priest who intercedes for us and does all according to the plumb line of the Torah and because of His life, death and resurrection we who acknowledge and accept our guilt before Him, He will cause us to blossom with His Good Fruit!
The Key lesson in all of this is pretty simple:
DO NOT GRUMBLE!!!
We now come to the chapter which clearly outlines the fact that serving יהוה is a privilege and not a chore and we are to serve יהוה cheerfully, in whatever place He gives you, being constantly aware that the opportunity to serve is a wonderful gift.
In verse 1 we are able to see straightaway the responsibility of the priesthood – and that is – bearing the crookednesses against the set-apart place and the crookednesses against the priesthood. This was a very serious responsibility and if they did not do their job, and people would where they are not supposed to go then people would die!
Ministering before יהוה is a privilege and a wonderful thing, but caring for יהוה‘s people is a huge part of that as well as it is the service that we, as a royal priesthood are required to do. Those who spend all of their time in a close relationship with יהוה all on their own, but wilfully choose to ignore the sins of those for whom they are responsible to encourage and teach – in other words they are ‘praying but not serving’ – will ultimately become of no value. We are to serve one another and bear each other’s burdens:
Galatiyim/Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so complete the Torah of Messiah.”
If we do not walk in the Authority that we have been given by Messiah then there is a very real danger of there being few people left. We have a role as a priesthood – to serve and do it with great alertness and joy, guarding the commands of Elohim that is not heavy!!!
This is a clear call for servanthood – they had just dealt with the rebellion of those who want position and power yet do not want to serve – well here we as a priesthood are called and commissioned to serve!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 20:25-28 “But יהושע called them near and said, “You know that the rulers of the gentiles are masters over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 “But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 “And whoever wishes to be first among you, let him be your servant, 28 even as the Son of Aḏam did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
The Greek word for ‘serve’ here is διακονέω diakoneō – Strong’s G1247 and means, ‘to be an attendant, wait upon, serve, minister, support’. This is our role too – the English word ‘deacon’ is derived from this word and speaks of being in a responsible position of serving others and ‘waiting on them’.
The role of the priesthood is service – and that service is a service which guards the duty of the Set-Apart Place. We are not here to serve the whims of all but serve in the clear boundaries of the Duty/Charge of the Tent of Appointment.
In verse 3,4 and 5 here in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 18 we see the command to the priesthood in their roles of accountable service being describes as to ‘guard the charge/ guard the duty’.
The two Hebrew words used for this very important command are:
‘Guard’ – In Hebrew, this is the word שָׁמַר shamar – Strong’s H8104 which means, ‘keep, watch, present, attend to, pay close attention, guard’ and the basic idea of the root of this word is ‘to exercise great care over’. We are to exercise great care over His Torah! When used in combination with other verbs the meaning is ‘do carefully or diligently’, i.e. perform carefully by paying strict attention as to what must be done as it expresses the careful attention to be paid to the obligations of a covenant, to laws, statutes, etc. Another aspect of this word carries the meaning of having to guard carefully and tend to or ‘take care of’. When one takes care of a valued possession then the utmost diligence is exercised in ensuring that it is protected at all costs and it is taken care of through the correct maintenance and observance of its functional requirements to keep it in tact; and as it is with the Torah – we must guard it in our hearts and exercise it diligently, keeping ourselves free from the clutter or weeds of wickedness. Aḏam was commanded to ‘guard’ (Shamar) the garden which carried with it great responsibility and the need to be watchful and at work; and we are to guard the good deposit in the soil of our hearts as we do all that we are commanded, nurturing the very growth that the Good Seed of His Living Word produces in our lives!
‘Duty’ – מִשְׁמֶרֶת mishmereth – Strong’s H4931 – ‘watch, charge, function, allegiance, duty, guard, keep, obligation’.
We are to keep watch over and pay close attention to our duty and function in the body of Messiah as we diligently guard His charge over His House!
Verse 4 – joined to Him
יהוה tells Aharon that the Lěwites shall be joined with Him, and it is a picture of how we are joined together in Messiah. The word for ‘joined’ is לָוָה lavah – Strong’s H3867 and means, ‘to be joined to, cleave, unite, abide, lend’ and more significantly in Scripture we see the term being used of those who seek to ‘join themselves’ to Elohim and this is what shall happen in these last days:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 50:4-5 “In those days and at that time,” declares יהוה, “the children of Yisra’ĕl shall come, they and the children of Yehuḏah together, weeping as they come, and seek יהוה their Elohim. 5 “They shall ask the way to Tsiyon, their faces toward it, ‘Come and let us join ourselves to יהוה, in an everlasting covenant, never to be forgotten.’”
Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 2:11 “And many gentiles shall be joined to יהוה in that day, and they shall become My people. And I shall dwell in your midst. And you shall know that יהוה of hosts has sent Me to you.”
We are joined together in Messiah, our High Priest as a kingdom of priests able and equipped in Him to guard the duty of the Dwelling Place.
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:19-22 “So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the set-apart ones and members of the household of Elohim, 20 having been built upon the foundation of the emissaries and prophets, יהושע Messiah Himself being chief corner-stone, 21 in whom all the building, being joined together, grows into a set-apart Dwelling Place in יהוה, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of Elohim in the Spirit.”
We are now joined to our High Priest and as verse 5 tells us what our duty is – and that is to guard the duty of the set-apart place, so that there be no more wrath on the children of Yisra’ĕl!!!
As we consider this ‘being joined’ to our High Priest we can see a great lesson of this when looking at the ancient pictographic letters of these words that describe our being ‘joined to Messiah’.
The tribe of Lĕwi was the tribe set-apart as a gift to Aharon, for service and when we look at the ancient letters of this word we see the following:
Lĕwi – לֵוִי – Strong’s H3878 meaning, ‘joined to’, and in the ancient script looks like:
– this is the Hebrew letter ‘lamed’, which is pictured as a ‘shepherd’s staff’, representing ‘authority’ and can give the meaning of ‘to or toward’ and can represent that which pushes or pulls a flock in a direction, and can speak of authority or a yoke that is used to lead and guide, as well as the ability to bring back by Authority.
– this is the Hebrew letter ‘waw’ or ‘vav’ which in the ancient script is pictured as a peg or ‘tent peg’, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope form slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.
– this is the Hebrew letter ‘yad or yod’ which in the ancient script is pictured as ‘an arm and hand’ and carries the meaning of ‘work, make, throw’, from the primary functions of the arm and hand, and it also represents worship or giving thanks in the extending of hands as a gesture of this. The work of one’s hands is the basic meaning of this letter!
BY THE BLOOD OF MESSIAH, WE HAVE BEEN JOINED TO HIM AND SUBMIT UNDER HIS AUTHORITY, BY HIS SECURING FOR US AS A PRIESTHOOD IN HIS COVENANT, THROUGH THE WORK OF HIS HAND
This word Lĕwi – לֵוִי – Strong’s H3878 comes from the root word that is used in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 18:4, which tells us that the children of Lĕwi shall be joined to Aharon the high priest; and that root verb is: לָוָה lavah – Strong’s H3876 as mentioned above. What we notice here in the difference between this root word and the word that is used as a name for the tribe of Lĕwi, is that the root has the letter ‘hey’ at the end and not the letter ‘yod’.
In the ancient pictographic script, this root verb לָוָה lavah – Strong’s H3876 looks like this:
– this is the Hebrew letter ‘hey’, which in the ancient script is pictured as a ‘man with his hands raised’, and carries the meaning of ‘behold’, as when looking at something spectacular, or also carries the meaning of, ‘what comes from’, and can also mean to breath or sigh when looking at a great sight and can also give the meaning of revealing or a revelation from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out.
When looking at this verb – לָוָה lavah – Strong’s H3876 – in the ancient pictographic script, we are able to see that we, as the body of Messiah, have been made secure under the authority of our Good Shepherd, who is our Head, and unto Whom we have been joined to, in order to serve as His faithful body that declares the wonder of His Besorah!
In Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:21 (quoted above) the Greek word used for ‘joined together’ is συναρμολογέω sunarmologeō – Strong’s G4883 meaning, ‘fitted together, joined together, fitly framed together’, and comes from the words:
1) σύν sun – Strong’s G4862 which is a primary preposition meaning, ‘with, together with (expresses association with), accompany, companion’, and a
2) derivative of a compound of ἁρμός harmos – Strong’s G719 which means, ‘joint, to join together’, and λέγω legō – Strong’s G3004 which means, ‘to say, address, speak, call, command, exhort, advise’, used in its original sense of ‘laying, or to pick up’.
This clearly speaks of us, as living stones, being perfectly fitted and framed together, as the body of our Master, and are fitted for every good work, as a royal priesthood that is joined to the High Priest!
Verse 6 – separated to serve
יהוה separated the Lěwites from the rest of Yisra’ĕl to do the service in the tent of Appointment as a gift to Aharon the high priest. The Hebrew word that is used here for ‘serve’ is – עֲבֹדָה aḇoḏah – Strong’s H5656 meaning, ‘service, labour, servitude, ministry’ and this comes from the root word – עָבַד aḇaḏ – Strong’s H5647 which means, ‘to work, serve, become slaves, cultivate, perform, serve, worship’; and the word for a servant is עֶבֶד eḇeḏ – Strong’s H5650 meaning, ‘servant, slave, bondservant’, and as a child of Yisra’ĕl, which we have become by the Blood of Messiah, we are servants of יהוה:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25:55 “Because the children of Yisra’ĕl are servants to Me, they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Mitsrayim. I am יהוה your Elohim.”
The equivalent Greek word for servant is δοῦλος doulos – Strong’s G1401 and is translated as, ‘slave, servant, bondservant, bondslaves – both men and women’, and is used repeatedly throughout the Renewed Writings (N.T.).
The word עֶבֶד eḇeḏ – Strong’s H5650 is used 800 times in the Tanak (O.T.) and is used as a noun and comes from the primitive root verb עָבַד aḇaḏ and carries the understanding of ‘expending considerable energy and intensity in performing a task or function’ – in other words – ‘giving it your all’!
In the ancient pictographic script, the word עֶבֶד eḇeḏ – Strong’s H5650 is pictured as:
Ayin – עֶ:
The original pictograph for this letter is and represents the idea of seeing and watching, as well as knowledge as the eye is the window of knowledge
Beyt – בֶ:
The ancient script has this letter as , which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself.
Dalet – ד:
The ancient script has this letter as , which is a ‘tent door’. It can also have the meaning of a back and forth movement, as one goes back and forth through a tent door and so speaks of an access point. It can also carry the meaning of ‘dangle’ or hanging as the tent door would hang from the roof pole of the tent. It speaks a great deal in terms of understanding the door of the tent of appointment as the only means of access. And we also know that Messiah is ‘the Door’, for we only are able to have access into the Kingdom through Him!
When we look at this word in the ancient script for a servant, we can see that it speaks of:
ONE WHO WATCHES AT THE DOOR OF THE HOUSE
And this is what our Master calls us to do! And when we consider that יהושע Messiah is The Door, then we are further enabled to see our need to be continually looking at Him, and praising Him as we are diligently serving in spirit and truth, guarding to do all His commands! And this is how we too keep watch over the House/Body of Messiah with true joy!
In verse 7 we see that any stranger who comes near to the slaughter place shall be put to death – we are no longer strangers and foreigners but now have been brought near through the Blood of Messiah and the Kingdom responsibility is a gift that we must not take lightly, but guard its charge diligently in all we do as we continue to serve and do so without grumbling!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘gift’ in verse 6 and ‘gift for service’ in verse 7 is מַתָּנָה Mattanah – Strong’s H4979 which means, ‘gift, as he is able, reward’, and is the feminine of the word מַתָּן Mattan – Strong’s H4976 which simply means, ‘a gift’, which in turn comes from the root verb נָתַן Nathan – Strong’s H5414 which means, ‘to give, put, set, appointed, delivered, given, placed’.
It is from this word that we get the plural term נְתִינִים Nethinim which means, ‘given ones’.
This teaches us a very vital lesson, as we consider here that the Lěwites were given as a gift, a gift for service to Aharon the high priest, that this shadow pictures for us how we, as a called out, set-apart, chosen and royal priesthood, are the ‘given ones’, given as a gift – that is a gift for service unto our High Priest and King, יהושע Messiah!
As we consider this we need to take great care in how we present ourselves, as a gift to our High Priest and King! When you give a gift to someone, you do not give them something that is broken and dysfunctional, and so too must we see how our lives must never be presented to our Master and Elohim as something that is dysfunctional.
We, as Sha’ul tells us in Romiyim/Romans 12, are to present our bodies as a daily living offering, set-apart and well pleasing to Elohim – for this is our reasonable worship! Many people today give gifts to people from their ‘used’ stuff, or ‘hand me down’, and while this may have a place in another’s life, what we must learn here is that our lives cannot be presented to Elohim as something that has already been used and then present to Him a ‘hand me down’ left over! We must give Him our best – always – making our lives as a gift that is precious and well-pleasing in His eyes! How are you presenting yourself, as a gift, to our High Priest, King and Elohim? Is the wrapping our set-apartness torn and dirty, and if so, do you think that it can be presentable as an acceptable gift?
He gives us gifts, gifts that equip us to present ourselves as an acceptable gift back to Him, and that is as a gift for service’!!!
יהוה put the Lěwites in charge of all the offerings that were to be presented to Him. Once the offerings were given, they then belonged to the Lěwites and were to be treated with set-apartness like the set-apart furnishings in the tabernacle.
יהוה didn’t need the contributions, it was his way of providing for those whom He had chosen to serve in the capacity of ministering to the Body!
The Hebrew word for ‘contributions’ is תְּרוּמָה terumah – Strong’s H8641 – ‘contribution, offering, allotment, heave offering, offered by lifting’, and comes from the root word רוּם rum – Strong’s H7311 which means, ‘to be high, exalted, rise, raised, set-apart’. And so, we see that this which was called for was that which was to be given or raised up and given for a set-apart use and it was to be given as a voluntary offering!
The word for ‘contributions’ – תְּרוּמָה terumah – Strong’s H8641 in the ancient pictographic text looks like this:
= תְּ – this is the letter ‘taw or tav’ which in the ancient script is pictured as – – which is the picture of two crossed sticks, and can represent for us ‘seal, covenant, mark or sign’; as this once again points to the complete work of Messiah in the renewal of the Covenant in His Blood that brings the two Houses of Yisra’ĕl and Yehuḏah together in Him, as One, for He is not only the ‘aleph’, but is also the ‘taw’ – the beginning and the end of all creation!
= ר – this is the letter ‘resh’- which in the ancient script is pictured as ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief.
= וּ – this is the letter ‘waw’ or ‘vav’ and the ancient pictographic form of this letter is , a peg or ‘tent peg’, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope from slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.
= מָ – this is the letter ‘mem’, which in the early script is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. This can also picture for us the function of water in terms of that which washes us, and can be understood as also representing the Word that washes us to serve as a faithful and royal priesthood
= ה – this is the Hebrew letter ‘hey’, which in the ancient script is pictured as a ‘man standing with his arms raised out’. The meaning of this letter is “behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation”; from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out. It also carries for us the meaning of surrender, as we lift up our hands and submit to יהוה as we lift our hands in praise, declaring His authority under which we humbly submit!
When we consider these pictures that make up the word תְּרוּמָה terumah – Strong’s H8641, giving us the meaning of ‘offering, contribution, offered by lifting’, we can further see how this word shows us unto whom it is that we give our lives as a daily offering:
THE SEAL OF THE COVENANT AS GIVEN THROUGH OUR HEAD HAS BEEN SEALED IN HIS BLOOD THAT WASHES US FROM OUR SIN, AND EQUIPS US TO LIFT OUR HANDS AND OFFER OUR LIVES CONTINUALLY BEFORE HIM!
The word for ‘tithes’ in Hebrew is – מַעֲשֵׂר ma’aser – Strong’s H4643 – ‘tenth part, tithe’
Offerings are gifts brought to יהוה above and beyond the tithes and therefore we must understand that ‘offerings’ did not make void the tithe that was due. People, who brought the offerings made sure that they had tithed first and then brought their freewill offering.
The tithes and offerings that are given to יהוה belonged to the Lěwites as an inheritance in return for their work of guarding the duty of the Tent of Appointment and this was an ordinance to them forever. They would then in turn give a tenth of their tithes received to Aharon the high priest.
Those who are to receive of the tithes and offerings today are these whom יהוה has called, separated and chosen to serve and teach the body of believers His Word and are those who teach the difference between the set-apart and the profane, between the clean and the unclean and teach the instructions on keeping His Feasts and are rendering right ruling according to His Torah.
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 9:14 “So also the Master instituted that those announcing the Good News should live from the Good News.”
Galatiyim/Galatians 6:6 “And let him who is instructed in the Word share in all that is good, with him who is instructing.”
Today many need to understand the need to support and take care of the “Lěwites” among us – that is those who are instructing others in the Word. Sadly, we do see that due to the corruption as witnessed by so many in many churches today, those who have come out of the church system or Baḇelon so to speak are neglecting to take up this responsibility of giving their tithes and offerings and gifts to those whom יהוה has chosen and those who are teaching and instructing in the Word.
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 5:17-18 “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double respect, especially those who labour in the word and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The labourer is worthy of his wages.”
Due to the neglect of so many, we find that those who have been called to instruct and teach and therefore are to be supported by the body are resorting to try and find alternative incomes just to survive and this should not be so, and must be a serious warning and witness against those who are refusing to follow the clear instructions to tithe and support those who should have their hands filled with teaching and instructing in the Word!
The tithe that is due is a test of one’s heart to see if they will follow יהוה’s instructions, as it is a gift from Him. יהוה has already included that which he expects His children to give back to Him. The whole earth is His and everything in it and he has given each one the opportunity to show that by doing their part in cheerfully and obediently returning to Him what belongs to Him and be faithful with what He has entrusted to each one.
This is the simple principle of sowing and reaping. If you are faithful then He will be faithful to His promise and will multiply, reproduce and abundantly increase.
When we consider the fact that Scripture tells us that Aḇraham gave tithes to Malkitseḏeq, and that by his giving tithes Lĕwi gave tithes through him we can learn a great deal:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 7:4-10 “Now see how great this one was, to whom even the ancestor Aḇraham gave a tenth of the choicest booty. 5 And truly, those who are of the sons of Lĕwi, who receive the priesthood, have a command to receive tithes from the people according to the Torah, that is, from their brothers, though they have come from the loins of Aḇraham, 6 however, the one whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Aḇraham, and blessed the one who held the promises. 7 And it is beyond all dispute that the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 And here it is men who die that receive tithes, but there it is someone of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 And one might say that through Aḇraham even Lĕwi, who received tithes, gave tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Malkitseḏeq met him.”
When we understand that which Aḇraham, our father in the faith did, and look at this word for ‘tithes’ in its ancient pictographic form, we are able to get greater confidence and clarity in regards to being faithful in our loving-commitment toward our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah.
The Lĕwitical priesthood and its functions serve as a type or picture of how we are to now serve in the order of Malkitseḏeq, as tithes are still valid, and are given to those whom Messiah has appointed to serve and teach in equipping and building up of the body of Messiah unto maturity in Him. Let us look at this word in its ancient pictographic form:
מַעֲשֵׂר ma’aser – Strong’s H4643 – ‘tenth part, tithe’ in the ancient pictographic script looks like this:
– this is the letter ‘mem’, which in the early script is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture.
– this is the Hebrew letter ‘ayin’, which is pictured as an ‘eye’ and carries the meaning ‘to watch, pay attention, take heed, look’ in the understanding of ‘keeping one’s eye on something’ and illustrates the importance of what one sets their eyes upon.
– this is the letter ‘sin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’, which is what the teeth do and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth as the teeth ‘chew’ or meditate on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food.
– this is the letter ‘resh’- which in the ancient script is pictured as ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief.
From this pictographic description of this word we can see the following:
THE NATIONS HAVE SEEN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HEAD/FIRST BORN!
יהוה told Aḇraham that He would make him a great nation, and then asked Aḇraham to sacrifice his only son (Yitsḥaq was the ‘only son’ according to the Promise). The word for ‘tithe’ can, in many ways, picture Aḇraham (the great nation), seeing the destruction of the first son (the son of the promise). Understanding this picture, we can also see how the tithe can in many ways represent the act that was reciprocated by Elohim, in part, due to Aḇraham’s obedience, and so Elohim ‘gave of Himself’ as seen in His ‘Outstretched Arm and Hand’ as revealed through the ‘firstborn of all creation’ – יהושע Messiah – The Right Hand of Elohim!
At the death of Messiah on the stake, the nations saw the destruction of Elohim’s firstborn, who is the head of all creation! Aḇraham ‘tithed’ to Malkitseḏeq, after having been blessed by him, and Aḇraham’s grandson, Lĕwi, got credit for it, as he received ‘tithes’ from the rest of the nation!
Bearing in mind that Lĕwi means ‘joined to’, we see how we have become a royal priesthood, having been grafted in and joined to the Body of Messiah by His Own Blood, and can therefore faithfully give back to Him, our all! Let us therefore look at Lĕwi in the ancient script to get a better understanding of the authority under which we are led, having been joined to our Head and King, יהושע Messiah – who has, by His own blood secured for us His Covenant Promises in Him, having worked redemption through Him taking the punishment of death on a stake, having nailed death to the stake, giving all who call upon Him the ability to be joined to Him, as Head, High Priest and King, making us, who are in Him, a royal priesthood that are able to serve in Him Spirit and Truth and walk with confidence in the Spirit, putting to death the flesh!
In verse 12-13 we see the instructions regarding the best of the land – be it oil, new wine, grain or first fruits – they all belonged to יהוה as a first fruit offering – also given to the Lěwites as a means of provision and support. This is a true picture of giving your best to יהוה! What we need to recognise here is that anyone who grew grapes, or olives trees or any other fruit or grain, never got to have of the best for themselves as it went to the Lěwites! This was above their tithes and freewill offerings!!!
Today many struggle with the giving of their tithes and yet what we learn over and over in Scripture is that tithes is a non-negotiable thing; and yet what we also learn is that the first fruits were a non-negotiable too! What was negotiable? And by negotiable, I mean ‘what was done by a choice of whether to give or not and how much to give’. What was negotiable, over and above that which was not negotiable, was the freewill offerings that were given in proportion to how He had blessed you and was done as a thanksgiving offering. Today so many are giving a ‘freewill offering’ before their tithes and first fruits and assume that they have met the requirements of the Torah when in fact they have not and as a result there are many of יהוה’s chosen servants, who are supposed to be supported through tithes and offerings, that are suffering as a result of this blatant negligence.
This was one of the major problems that Neḥemyah encountered as recorded in Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 13; as there was neglect on financial priorities – he learned that there was a huge financial fiasco going on!
The word ‘fiasco’ simply means a complete failure – the Lěwites were not being cared for and the House of Elohim had been forsaken! This quite frankly is the first thing that will happen when you chuck out obedience for compromise! The first rooms so to speak that are normally emptied for compromised living standards are in fact tithes and offerings. Here the people were robbing יהוה in keeping what was not theirs for themselves.
What was the result – Toḇiyah had gotten himself a nice big room where the tithes were supposed to be kept and so the people in the Temple no longer had any support and as a result had to abandon their duties in order to try to make a living for their families; and the result of all this was simply that the worship in the Temple and the work of the Temple suffered!
This ticked Neḥemyah off, and he immediately made reforms and got things back to the way they were supposed to be. He did call for a financial strategy meeting – he rebuked the officials and asked them ‘why was the work and service of the Temple neglected?’ and brought all who were supposed to be serving, back to service.
When people go ‘flat’ spiritually speaking, for whatever reason, and compromise sets in, the first place it usually affects them, is in their giving, which will only result in a fiasco financially and spiritually – both in the individual’s life and that of the body!
Where are you at in your support of giving tithes and offerings – have you set aside other priorities and allowed other needs to take precedence and residence in rooms that are supposed to have that which is required? Sha’ul says that you are to give as you purpose in your heart and not grudgingly and we know that which is to be upon our heart – His Torah. But if some of the chambers of the heart have been emptied of Torah for compromise then most likely the rooms that were emptied are the financial rooms – how is your heart?
יהוה commanded the children of Yisra’ĕl to bring freely from their hearts the offerings for the building of the Dwelling Place as written in Shemoth/Exodus 25:1-9. Once the Dwelling Place was built יהוה commanded the freewill offerings to be used to maintain it; to be given to those who served in it and taught His Kingdom order to others!
When the ancient people of Yisra’ĕl scattered their tithes instead of giving them to the priesthood, they too became a scattered people – over the nations. It is a serious lesson that we, as the children of Yisra’ĕl today, must learn – do not ‘scatter’ your tithes and offerings!
Verse 19 – COVENANT OF SALT
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 2:13: “And season with salt every offering of your grain offering, and do not allow the salt of the covenant of your Elohim to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you bring salt.”
All your offerings you are to bring with salt! What does this mean for us today? Now we know that Romiyim/Romans 12:1 tells us that we are to offer up our bodies as a living offering, set-apart and well pleasing to Elohim for this is our reasonable worship. Having said that, it is clear then that if we are to be an offering, living that is, unto יהוה, then we too are to be salted – for all offerings must have salt!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:10-13 “Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’ sake, because theirs is the reign of the heavens. 11 “Blessed are you when they reproach and persecute you, and falsely say every wicked word against you, for My sake. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, because your reward in the heavens is great. For in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt becomes tasteless, how shall it be seasoned? For it is no longer of any use but to be thrown out and to be trodden down by men.”
Marqos/Mark 9:49-50 “For everyone shall be seasoned with fire, and every offering shall be seasoned with salt. 50 “Salt is good, but if the salt becomes tasteless, how shall you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace among one another.”
Luqas/Luke 14:34-35 “The salt is good, but if the salt becomes tasteless, with what shall it be seasoned? 35 “It is not fit for land, nor for manure, they throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
In the passages that we have just read we see the words of יהושע speaking of salt; In Mattithyahu/Matthew it is at the beginning of what is known as “the Sermon on the Mount” connected with what has been labelled “the Beatitudes” and we will see why that is shortly. In Marqos/Mark it is joined immediately to not causing offense or others to sin and in Luqas/Luke it is supplemented to a series of sayings regarding the conditions for discipleship. In other words, it is clear that salt carries with it significant meaning in our lives being offered up as a daily living offering. But why salt, what is it about salt that gives the offerings as being acceptable and carrying such depth of meaning?
Salt or otherwise known as Sodium Chloride is a substance that became a symbol of fidelity (which is a quality or state of being faithful) and constancy or consistency. In the Leviticus offerings salt was used as a preservative to typify the eternal nature of the ‘Covenant of Salt’ existing between יהוה and Yisra’ĕl. The term covenant of salt refers to an everlasting ordinance, and is a figurative form of expression founded upon the conservative property of salt which keeps meat from corruption.
We see the instruction for salting being used over 35 times in the Scriptures:
Salt is used for:
Seasoning – Iyoḇ/Job 6:6 “Is tasteless food eaten without salt? Is there any flavour in the juice of mallows?”
Offerings – Wayyiqra/Leviticus 2:13 (as above)
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 43:24 “And you shall bring them before יהוה, and the priests shall throw salt on them and offer them up as a burnt offering to יהוה.”
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 18:19 (this Torah portion)
Purifying waters – Melaḵim Bět/2 Kings 2:20-21
Scattered on site of a devoted city – Shophetim/Judges 9:45 “And Aḇimeleḵ fought against the city all that day, and captured the city and slew the people who were in it. And he broke down the city and sowed it with salt.”
As we all know, I am sure, salt preserves, and the application of this scripturally is a picture of eternity and as I have said the perpetuity of the covenant. Salt is also a cleansing and healing agent and it renders the slaughtered animal unsusceptible to outside influences and is a very clear reminder to us that the absolute covenant of יהוה is not be altered in any way. Salt can be ground up finer and finer, yet it is always salt – so too with the Word of יהוה – we can dig deeper and deeper and make it finer – it is still His eternal Word!
The Hebrew word for salt is מֶלַח melaḥ – Strong’s H4417 and comes from the word that means ‘to rub together, pulverise’. To season (with salt) is מָלַח malaḥ – Strong’s H4414 which also means to rub with salt.
The understanding of the Hebrew word for salt gives us the meaning and picture of that which is pulverised – into fine grains! Heat or water cannot destroy it, and the only thing that can destroy salt is another chemical agent, and if salt loses its saltiness in cannot be made salt again! But we also have to ask how does salt lose its saltiness or flavour and preserving or purifying properties? By sitting idle for long periods exposed to the elements, not being used!!!
The English word seasoned is from the French word ‘assaisoner’ which means to ripen and so the idea of salt also bringing to maturity that which is not, through seasoning is a great picture of how the Word matures us as we season ourselves with it constantly. When maturing meat – it is the salt that brings to maturity the meat keeping it from any bacteria.
As followers of the Messiah living as a daily living offering, we are called in a sense to be ‘salty’ believers’. Salt represents also a person’s willingness to do what יהושע demands of His talmidim (disciples). In Luqas/Luke 14:34-35 which we read we see that if the willingness turns into unwillingness – in other words – if a talmid (disciple) returns to worldly ways after experiencing the truth and joy of following יהוה’s way – what else is left to restore him? NOTHING!
“Are you seasoned?” “Are you seasoned with the salt of the pure unadulterated Word of יהוה that has not been mixed with other worldly chemical substances of profane worship?”
The context of יהושע’s words in calling us the ‘salt of the earth’ was linked to persecution!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’ sake, because theirs is the reign of the heavens.”
If we undergo His grinding up, we must put what it teaches us into practice right away, or its purpose will be lost and we may just get pulverised!!!
That is why I read, in context Mattithyahu (Matthew) 5:10-13, for יהושע tells us that we are the salt of the earth, straight after telling us how blessed we are when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake and for the sake of His Name.
It is the very persecutions and trials that will ‘grind’ us, or rather ‘pulverise’ us, to becoming effective salt that can be used. If we undergo the grinding process of His Word – Living obediently to it and a disobedient world, we must put in to practice straight away that which we learn and discover or else the purpose will be lost, and besides Ya’aqoḇ (James) tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, as it matures us. If we complain instead, sadly the salt of the Word being worked out in us will be wasted!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12 tells us that discipline is not always pleasant yet it yields great results – fruit of righteousness, and so we are to not moan at circumstances and ‘waste the salt’ so to speak but rather strengthen the hands that hang down and the weak knees and make straight paths for your feet – in other words stop moaning about the difficulties of being obedient – just walk it – walk according to the Truth and enjoy the salt being produced in you.
We do not know what tomorrow holds for us, and worrying does not help. What value is it to יהוה to teach us if we simply do nothing about what He teaches us? However, if we apply what we learn and do it right the first time – the effects will last forever – that is the eternal properties of salt!
We are the salt of the earth – in other words we are here to preserve the world from quickly becoming totally corrupt – there are many salty believers – more than Sodom and Gomorrah! If we become tasteless or neutralised with what will the earth be salted? The Greek word used for ‘tasteless’ is μωραίνω moraine – Strong’s G3471 which means ‘lose its flavour, become neutralised or become foolish – that which is without knowledge’! How are we ‘neutralised’ or rather how are we brought to the point of being ‘of no effect’? By mixing with foreign substances – anything that is not in line with obedience to the purity of the Word!
Salt was used in war time when a city was captured – the crops and soil would be salted in order that the enemy’s city would no longer be able to produce from the ground – destroying the productivity of the enemy. In Shophetim/Judges 9:45 we see Aḇimeleḵ after conquering the city of Sheḵem, he salted the city. Salting a city was a ritual to symbolise the perpetual desolation of the city, salting it around so no crops could grow there. It is worthy to note that Sheḵem was not built for another 150 years after this act of salting!
We are the salt of the earth, and through being crushed through persecution, as we walk in total obedience to the Word we salt the earth preventing the evil crops of the enemy from growing where we have walked and we take back ground. Every place where your foot shall tread! As we walk in obedience to the witness of יהושע not even the gates of hades will be able to stand – and we destroy the very working of the seed of the enemy in and around our lives!
This speaks to us corporately as a body of Messiah as well as individually – perhaps there are still some evil crops growing in your backyard so to speak as you have not used the salt required which has now become ineffective and useless!
Living sacrifices, offered with salt – this is total dedication – excuses are a sign that there is no salt in you!!! Yes, trying to excuse pure dedication and devotion to following the unadulterated Word of יהוה shows that salt, His salt is not in or being produced in you!
יהושע said we will be salted with fire, and if you do not want to go through the ‘fire’ of trials and persecution then you will not be salted – and will and up making excuses! יהוה is a consuming fire and the fire of His Torah is His salt that is produced in us, that seasons us – to preserve us and protect us from contamination. When one tries to remove the salt by nullifying the Word they become useless – pretty much what the western church has become – ‘useless salt’ – as they have nullified this very Word of Elohim! Nullifying His Torah, His very instruction and commands for set-apart living and mixing it with foreign substances of man’s traditions and customs!
We are to be salty believers – seasoned with salt!
So, what are salty believers?
A – SALTY BELIEVERS ARE NOT AFRAID TO LIVE SET-APART LIVES IN A CORRUPT AND LAWLESS WORLD!
Salty believers are bold in their faith. Many in the world are very bold about their likes and beliefs – you get bold politicians, bold sport fans who are very vocal about their loyalties. Salty believers are bold for יהושע, not afraid to live set-apart.
Sadly, though the world has produced a salt substitute or counterfeit salt – having the appearance of salt and even carrying ‘good intentions’ yet it is not real salt and therefore does not last – does not heal – does not preserve and does not mature.
What are some of these substitutes?
1 – Education for edification!!!
Is education wrong? By no means – however what is being taught and the programmed system of education on shaping the minds according to man’s ways as opposed to the way of יהוה is a counterfeit salt! You can educate the flesh till it speaks and acts and looks so sophisticated – yet it will still be lost if the person does not know יהושע and receive the free gift of salvation and walk it out in obedience!
Education must be from the basis and foundation of edifying יהוה, sadly the world has replaced all form of edification unto יהוה by offering a counterfeit salt of ‘education’ as the means to survive.
2 – Good deeds for Good doctrine!!!
Again, are good deeds wrong? By no means – but what good works does the Scriptures speak of – the good works are the living practical obedience to the Word of Elohim. Today many have substituted what they would call ‘good works’ for sound Scriptural Truth. They have turned and twisted the Scriptures to make them meet their lifestyle until they have eventually forgotten what the Word actually says. The emerging church is an example – they adapt the Word to meet the culture – this is twisting and corrupting the Word for self-gain and having a sense of ‘feeling good’ about oneself never being changed by the true fire of the Torah as it is substituted for good deeds in order to appease the conscience.
Education and good deeds do not save you – that is only by the Blood of יהושע – our perfect sacrifice. What we must do is become educated in the Word and let the good deeds of the Word be lived out daily that the world may acknowledge יהוה on the day He comes!
3 – Social ‘gospel’ for the True Way!!!
So many today have been trapped by the counterfeit salt of a social ‘gospel’ – going to a church on a Sun-day to make an appearance and be sociable, they may hear a sermon and yet leave as empty as they came. It has become socially acceptable to go to church on Sun-day! As I look at Scriptures the early believers were far from being socially accepted – they were persecuted – they were the salt of the earth that preserved the Word for us today! The social gospel has synchronised pagan worship with it in an attempt at worshipping the Creator, yet this form of worship יהוה tells us is an abomination unto Him. The True way is not Sun-day!!! Keeping His commands and remembering His Sabbath is the sign between us and יהוה forever, and boy let me tell you that remembering to keep the Sabbath as the Torah instructs is not socially acceptable today, even within the western pagan influenced worship system called ‘church’. However, you need to ask yourself whether you want to be socially acceptable or walk in the True Way?
Walking in the Truth will mean for many that they will have to let go off some of their socially acceptable practices on a Shabbat – like rugby braais etc.
We are to not substitute the purity of His Word the True salty way for a counterfeit salt, and the social gospel being preached today is an out and out counterfeit salt. May we be encouraged to walk the True Way – the salty way – with no substitutes!!!
There are many substitutes or rather counterfeit salts if you will, and we must ensure that we are the True salt of the earth – that which lasts, preserves, protects, seasons, flavours and nourishes unto maturity.
B – SALTY BELIEVERS ARE OF GREAT VALUE!
When יהושע said these words – You are the salt of the earth – He was speaking to a handful of disciples. May I remind you that True Salty Believers have never been the majority! We have great value. In ancient times salt served as money and our word ‘salary’ comes from the Latin word ‘solarium’ which referred to the payment of Roman soldiers in salt, and hence we also have the expression, ‘he is worth his salt’!
Salt was actually paid in large chunks and you would not grind up any portion until it was ready to be used in order to maintain its flavour and preserving properties. In those days they did not have fridges and freezers for their meat and it was used to preserve food and was actually the main means to keeping food.
Today we think of salt in a shaker on a table at food time which is often wasted. Yet if we depended upon it to preserve our food, boy would it quickly become very valuable. We are the salt of the earth, witnesses of His salvation, for through His salvation poured out for us we are preserved through eternity – henceforth the ‘covenant of salt’.
The more we witness the more we keep moral decay and moral corruption from taking over. We are the salt that must preserve the Good News – the Torah which is now written upon our hearts and present it to the world through our obedient living. We are great value – as you know in our modern society with advancing technology, anything that lasts is considered as having greater value. Much of what you buy today barely lasts for a year before needing to be replaced. But we as the salt of the earth have great value – we carry the value of eternity – salt represents our eternal everlasting value in Messiah!
C – SALTY BELIEVERS REPRESENT A MIRACLE!
Did you know that salt in itself is a miracle? It is made up of Chloride and Sodium, Chloride (chlorine) on its own can be very harmful, but together with Sodium it makes an essential part of our diet. On our own we are just poison, but being made salt in Him we become an essential part to the life of the Body of Messiah!
The fact that He can take us, sinners and in washing our impurities away through the Blood of יהושע and the continual sanctification through the very Living Word we are miraculously changed from being a poison to being a preservative!!!
Now we must also realise some properties of salt – salt can irritate – if put on open wounds or in the eyes for healing, or even for sinus rinsing – it irritates and burns! Well the same effect we may see as we walk salty – many are irritated by a salty believer’s witnessing. Walking in Torah ‘rubs’ many people the wrong way, as it is very irritating in their wounds of sin which is lawlessness or Torahlesness. Now, we obviously do not go out there intentionally to irritate people, but by our witnessing we must be aware that many will fail to see the good intent and loving concern of our witness – do not let this cause you to become salt-less and useless – use it and be useful in the hands of the Almighty!
Salt as we know seasons and we are told in:
Qolasim/Colossians 4:6 “Let your word always be with favour, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you ought to answer each one.”
Our conversations must be seasoned, which also carried the meaning of being prepared – always prepared to give an answer for the hope we have. If someone asks us why we do something that is in accordance with Torah – we are to be able to answer and show them.
For example – Why do we wear tzitzit? Do you say, “Well I am not sure, let me go and ask so and so” – No!!! Take them to Bemiḏbar/Numbers 15:38-41, which is part of last week’s Torah portion, and show them from the Word, allowing your life to be seen to be lining up with the Word!
Our speech seasoned with the Torah of יהוה will preserve us in this age and bring good flavour to others as we bring the peace and joy of His Word in every way!
I hope you get the principle here – you got to be a salty believer. But just how do we have salt in ourselves? By being immersed in the Word of יהוה. Listen, the world can be very attractive, yet a very distracting and destructive influence that can contaminate us and cause us to become salt-less.
Our flesh would easily rather have us live in selfishness and we are daily tempted to forsake יהוה’s Truths, yet we are to ‘soak’ ourselves in His Word that we become changed and ‘salted’ for good use! I see this as a process of osmosis. Osmosis is the process of absorption in taking the particles of a solution and passing it through the membranes of another object. This process is used when one puts meat in a brine solution – or rather a salt solution. What I learnt in my hotel and catering years was that the best way of preparing meat of any kind was to first soak it in a brine solution, together with other substances such as sugar, honey and herbs etc.
By doing this the process of osmosis causes the brine to enhance and effect the meat, by carrying the water through the meat and allowing the meat to soften and be flavoured throughout as the salt does the work of pulling all the flavours through… Brining causes a state change in the cells so that they will draw and hold more water than before.
Osmosis also inhibits bacterial and fungal growth, so leaving meat rubbed in salt, such as drying for biltong prevents bacterial and fungal growth in the drying process
Now this is exactly the same process that is required – soaking or brining in the Word will cause a state change to our cells able to hold more water – perhaps a great metaphor for the Ruaḥ (Spirit) – the more we salt ourselves the more we are able to hold the Ruaḥ.
Brining meat tenders the meat no matter how tough it is making it juicy and pleasing to the taste, and so too the soaking or salting process of the Word will soften the hardest of hearts and prevent fungal growth. Now soaking takes time and is so worth it! When you want to soak some meat in salt solution for a great meal, you need to let it soak for a while – depending on the size of the meat it can take anything from a couple of hours to days – which takes diligent planning and discipline.
We live in a time where people do not think what they are going to eat for tomorrow or even for dinner today, they decide at the point of needing to eat – that is why fast food has become so popular and easy, although carries no benefits for a healthy diet. The same is true for us today, in order to be of effect and ‘taste’ like the Word, we need to be diligent and disciplined in soaking, always being prepared to give an answer for the hope we have in Messiah.
We are to be seasoned with salt and when we spend time in the Word, immersed in the Word not just dipping a finger to taste but truly immersed in the Word, we in a sense receive the reward or payment of this – a deposit if you will, like a large chunk of salt that will need to be pulverised in order to be of great effect – this will happen through fire – the trials of life – yet the eternal preserving properties of the Word will keep you from decaying and becoming infected. As we are salted we are to use that salt to eliminate the soil of the enemy, rendering it barren from bearing bad fruit. In other words, take the Word each day and live it out and apply The Truth of it in your life every day, do not discard it and so become useless and unfit for any other than being thrown out and trodden underfoot!
As we are seasoned with salt and are actively living as the salt of the earth may we truly render null and void the work of the enemy in our lives and preserve יהוה’s eternal Word in us, which will keep us fungal free until the Day of יהוה! We are the salt of the earth – we are to be seasoned with salt – and pulverised to be of great value!!! Being seasoned with salt will keep us free from GRUMBLING and we will serve with joy and when we consider the term of “a covenant of salt” we recognise how the preserving properties of the ever-lasting Covenant that יהוה has established with Yisra’ĕl His Bride and His loving commitment toward us in sealing and preserving His steadfast love for us in the Blood of Messiah. The salt covenant relates to the attributes and character of the priesthood, as they are both about preserving purity and set-apartness according to יהוה’s Word. Based on these attributes and characteristics, we are learning that what comes out of a priest’s mouth ought to preserve the Word and Besorah (good News) of יהושע Messiah and plant a seed of righteousness in the heart of the hearer.
Aharon was told that he was not to have an inheritance in the land, nor have any portion in their midst; for יהוה was his portion and his inheritance! This is a prophetic shadow picture of Messiah, our High Priest, who clearly tells us that he is from above and not of this world:
Yoḥanan/John 8:23 “And He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world.”
יהוה then further tells Aharon in verse 21 that he has given the tithes from all the children of Yisra’ĕl to Lĕwi as an inheritance! This is an important lesson for us to learn, as we consider once again the importance of tithes not being neglected! As I have already mentioned, the Lĕwitical priesthood and its function are a picture for us of how we are to operate in the order of Malkitseḏeq.
While Lĕwi was to receive tithes from the children of Yisra’ĕl, we learn that today, as a priesthood, or rather a royal nation of priests, tithes are still to be given to those whom the Master has Appointed to teach and equip the body, for that is the inheritance of those whom יהושע has appointed to serve, as described in:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:11-16 “And He Himself gave some as emissaries, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as shepherds and teachers 12 for the perfecting of the set-apart ones, to the work of service to a building up of the body of the Messiah, 13 until we all come to the unity of the belief and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the completeness of Messiah, 14 so that we should no longer be children, tossed and borne about by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men, in cleverness, unto the craftiness of leading astray, 15 but, maintaining the truth in love, we grow up in all respects into Him who is the head, Messiah, 16 from whom the entire body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the working by which each part does its share, causes growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
Tithes that are withheld from being given is a serious offence, as it is restricting those who have been appointed by the Master from having a proper inheritance among the rest of the body. If tithes were an inheritance to Lĕwi, and Lĕwi, as a tribe, belong to יהוה, as He has chosen them to take the place of all the first born of all the children of Yisra’ĕl; then it is safe to say that to withhold tithes is ‘stealing’ from יהוה; hence the clear warning given by the prophet Mal’aḵi in:
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 3:8-11 “Would a man rob Elohim? Yet you are robbing Me! But you said, ‘In what have we robbed You?’ In the tithe and the offering! 9 “You have cursed Me with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this nation, all of it! 10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, and let there be food in My house. And please prove Me in this,” said יהוה of hosts, “whether I do not open for you the windows of the heavens, and shall pour out for you boundless blessing! 11 “And I shall rebuke the devourer for you, so that it does not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor does the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” said יהוה of hosts.”
As we consider the great lessons that we can take from this week’s torah portion, what we can and must learn is that we must guard ourselves against any forms of grumbling and recognise the true authority of the Torah, as given through Mosheh and revealed through the life, death and resurrection of Messiah, and that our role now, as a called out and set-apart nation and royal priesthood, is to guard the charge and duty of walking in righteousness and be the salt of the earth that brings the life-giving power of His Word to the world, as we represent the true order of the Kingdom of Heaven amidst a world that has become formless and chaotic through lawless living.
The time for grumbling is over – the time to walk in the righteous right-rulings of Messiah is now – that we may be a true worshipper who worships the Father in Spirit and Truth and not allow any circumstances or compromise to cause us to become ‘bald’ but submit continually under the headship of Messiah as we choose daily to walk in Him and love Him by guarding His commands; and guarding ourselves and each other from profaning the set-apart duty of being a daily living sacrifice, so that we can joyfully give our best and our all unto Him!