Category Archives: Torah

Numbers 15: Of tassels of blue, Sabbath reverence and offerings

After the accounts of rebellion and fear in trusting God’s leading into Canaan (Numbers 13–14), there’s this passage talking about types of offerings, tying blue-corded fringes on clothes and setting aside a memorial portion of each loaf, called challah. These may seem like grab-bag topics, but they all are connecting to a life of faith.

Thought questions

  • What is the purposed of the whole congregation’s offering a bull?
    • What does a bull represent?
  • What does the she-goat represent?
    • Why a male goat for the nation and a female goat for the person?
  • What does the Passover lamb symbolize?
  • What’s the difference between the burnt (khol), grain (minkhah), guilt, sin and fellowship (shalom) offerings?
    • Are these sacrifices obsolete, as many Christians teach?
    • What are the sacrifices we offer today, in light of Romans 12:1 and Hebrews 13:15–16?
    • What about freewill offerings?
    • What is the equivalent today?
  • Isn’t killing someone for collecting wood on the Sabbath unreasonably harsh?
    • Why do violations of the Ten Commandments bring death when restitution is available for theft?
  • What is challah bread?
    • Why do we lift the bread to God when we bless it?
  • What are the tassels (in Hebrew, tzitzitot) described in Numbers 15 for?
    • Do they have relevance for us today?
    • What is the blue cord in the tassel?

Reader: Jeff. Teacher: Richard Agee.

Numbers 13–14: Trusting in God and His apostles

The shockwave of Israel’s shrinking back from entering Canaan under the LORD’s protection reverberated for the next 40 years of wandering and throughout time. It’s all about trusting God when the task seems too big and the means so meager.

This faith in God’s apostles — shelakhim, or “sent ones” — is crucial to entering God’s rest. At the helm of that mission recorded in Numbers 13–14 was Yehoshua, whose name and role foreshadowed the greatest of all God will ever send, Yeshua (Jesus) the Mashiakh (Messiah).

Thought questions

  • What is an “evil report”?
    • Why did the 10 spies give this “evil report”?
    • Why did they exaggerate the potential perils of the Promised Land?
    • Why do we often presume the LORD’s blessing when we’re doing things that are divergent from His will?
    • What is the significance of the 40 days of the spies’ mission?
    • What is causing the people to continue to want to go back to Egypt?
    • Who wanted to send spies into Canaan, Moshe or the people?
  • Who are the spies, and why weren’t they the previously mentioned leaders of the tribes?
    • What time of year was this spying?
    • How were the people of Canaan similar to manna, the “daily bread” God gave Israel each morning?
  • How were the reports of Caleb and Yoshua like “pearls before swine”?
    • What kind of spirit did Caleb have, and how was it different from the spirit in the rest of the people?
    • Why did Moshe change Yehoshua’s name?
    • How was Yehoshua’s role similar to Messiah Yeshua’s?
  • What’s the difference between the rebellious of Israel receiving punishment “to the third and fourth generation” and the teaching in Ezekiel that each will die for his own sin?

Reader: Jeff. Teacher: Richard Agee.