Category Archives: Torah

Numbers 34–36: Big vision for Israel’s borders in Messianic age

The borders of the modern state of Israel are a fraction of the territory the LORD granted the long ago. The promises for a much larger area from Genesis to Revelation speak to the wider vision of many nations in the Kingdom of Heaven and how our vision for our own potential may be too narrow.

Thought questions

Numbers 34

  • Why is it important to know the borders of the Promised Land God brought Israel into?
    • Which location did God start from in delineating Israel’s borders?
    • What are the meanings of the names of these places?
    • What’s the connection of the location of the southern border and where the spies entered?
    • Where is Mt. Hor on the northern border?
  • When looking at modern Israel, how does it compare to the land God established?
    • What about the writings in the prophets about Israel being cast out of the land?
    • Upon Messiah’s return, will the inheritance go to the original owners (Ezek. 47:13-20)?

Numbers 35

  • What is the significance of the names of people?
    • What do the names mean, such as Ephraim and Manasseh?
  • How many cities did the Levites inherit in the land and where were those cities located?
  • How does God view murder and capital punishment?
    • Is the ransoming of a murderer what we call a “plea bargain”?
      • Does God see different degrees of murder, like we do today?
      • How does this compare with the passage, “Vengeance is mine, says the LORD, I will repay” (Deut. 32:35)?
    • Is the rite about the “blood avenger” advocating lynching?
      • How do the refuge cities factor into this?
    • Modern case law and pundits say that capital punishment makes society no better than the murderer. Does this mean that God is “mean,” “barbaric” or “archaic”?
      • How does the account of the Flood and God’s reaction to having to send it answer this question?
      • What does this chapter say about the attitude of the blood avenger in carrying out the execution?
    • How does bloodshed pollute the land?
    • What is the lesson of capital punishment and the sacrifices?
      • What is the connection between the Messiah and the blood avenger?

Numbers 32–33: Reuben and Gad linger east of Jordan; remembering the Exodus

We may be tempted to give up when the end of our jobs, our relationships or lives are looming. Yet Moshe embodies apostle Paul’s encouragement to “fight the good fight” and “run the race” with all we have until we reach our goal or it’s time to pass the baton to the next person. Moshe encouraged the tribes of Reuben and Gad to pitch in to the hard settlement of Canaan, even when their new home was secured.

Thought questions

  • What are the “high places”?
  • How many campsites were there between Egypt to the entry into Canaan?
    • What’s the significance of the number of sites?
  • What is the setting of the book of Deuteronomy?
  • Why did Reuben and Gad want to stay on the east side of the Jordan?
    • What was involved in conquering that?
    • What geography is east of that area?
    • What was Moses’ response to their request?
    • What would be the consequence if they weren’t part of the conquest of Canaan?
    • How did God deal with the first generation that rebelled against God?
      • How did God impress this upon the second generation?
    • How would Reuben’s and Gad’s reticence affect the rest of the tribes?
    • How was the message that God got across during the 40 years in the desert related to their relationship to each other and to God?
    • How did Gad and Reuben respond?
      • Did all the people of those two tribes go over the Jordan with the other tribes?
  • Who were the leaders of the people and did most of the leadership?
    • Moshe (Moses)?
    • Aharon (Aaron)?
    • Eleazar?
    • How’s that form of government similar to our form of government?
  • Num. 32:28-30 is one of the first times Moshe makes provision for how things will work after he is no longer around. How long did Moshe have to conquer the east side of Jordan?
    • How was that timeframe connected to Moshe’s  coming death?
    • What does that diligence say about Moshe’s character?
    • What did he realize about the importance of what God has been building in the people of Israel after the Exodus?
  • How is the division of the territory of Manasseh important to keeping the tribes together?
    • What was the significance of the half-tribe that was on the east side of the Jordan?
    • What did Gad andf Reuben do with the cities they conquered? How did the east half of Manasseh do it?
    • How much did Moshe know about Israel’s future?
      • How did that play into the division of the territory of Manasseh?
      • What does that say?
  • Most of the meanings of the of place names in Moses’ list  of camps has been lost. What’s the signifcance in the number of generations to Messiah and the number of campsites from Moshe’s leaving Egypt to Joshua’s entering Canaan?
    • What’s the significance of the multiples of 6 and 7?
    • Some ideas have surfaced about the meaning of the 42 camp sites:
      1. Could they be 42 steps to achieve godliness?
      2. Could the place names be symbolic of the generations connected in the previously mentioned time spans?
        • Ramses to Sukkot
        • Abram to when Abram was called out
  • What were the five requirements for Israel in conquering the land?
    1. Expel people.
    2. Destroy carved images.
    3. Demolish high places.
    4. Divide the land by lots.
    5. Live in the land.
  • How successful was Israel in these five?
    • How do the sages interpret “barbs” and “thorns” in the curse for nonobedience?
    • How did God follow through with this promise to “to to you what I plan to do to them”?

Numbers 31: Israel battles Midian after prurient sneak attack

The call for Israel to attack Midian, located on the southwestern coast of modern-day Saudi Arabia, comes after Midian’s plot to send in women to lure Israel away from the LORD. That, in turn, came because the LORD wouldn’t allow Bilam (Balaam) to curse Israel.

Numbers 30: Daughter of Zion and the Father’s prerogative

Asking for a father’s permission to marry his daughter is viewed as comically anachronistic today. Likewise, these instructions for a father’s ability to annul a daughter’s vow seem a relic of yesteryear. Yet God teaches through object lessons, and what’s being communicated here is far more important than a surface impression.

Parallel passages: Deut. 23:21-23; Eccl. 5:1-7

Thought questions

  • How do these instruction on vows relate to the fact Adam sinned and Eve was deceived?
  • How do these instructions relate to our lives today?
  • Who are these vows to?
  • Does a widow or divorced person need permission from her father to remarry (see Num. 30:9)?
  • Is marriage different than a vow?
  • How is the relation between a man and wife as well as between a father and daughter?
  • Is Israel “married” to Messiah?
    • If so, how does that relationship work?
  • Why is Jerusalem called the “daughter of Zion”?
    • Who set up Zion?
  • Is the assembly of Israel to respond emotionally and rashly?
  • How should we approach our prayer life if we are like a bride or a daughter to God?
  • Do these instructions on vows relate to obedience of a wife or daughter or to blessings?
  • What lessons in mercy and commitment are there for husbands and fathers?

כל עולה kol ’olah (whole burnt) offerings and life today

  • What are the requirements for an עולה ’olah (burnt) offering?
    • no disfigurement
    • entirely burnt up
  • How does that relate to apostle Paul’s instruction to be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1)?
  • What happens if you have sinned and are no longer “spotless” how can you present yourself as a “living sacrifice”? (Read 1st John 1:9.)
  • When we present ourselves, shouldn’t we ask whether our thoughts and words and actions are pure and true?

Numbers 29: Messiah in offerings on Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles

Learn how to see Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) in the קרבנות qorbanot (offerings, sacrifices) presented in the Tabernacle on the מועדים moedim (appointed times, festivals) of יום תרעה Yom Teruah (Day of Blowing Trumpets), יום כפרים Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement) and סכות Sukkot (Tabernacles).

These annual memorials of God’s action pointed forward to what Yeshua would do, has done, is doing and will do in the last days.

Thought questions

  • What patterns are there in which sacrifices are offer on which Holy Day? What do those patterns tell us?
  • Why must each grain/minhakh offering have salt, and what does it have to do with Abraham?
  • Should we “count the omer” between Firstfruits or count the weeks heading to Shavuot (Feast of Weeks or Pentecost)?
  • What’s the significance of 14 lambs offered each day of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)? How does that relate to apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 8:36 that he was like sheep “killed all day long”?
  • Where did the animals for the sacrifices come from? How many animals did each family have? What responsibility did the leadership have in this regard?
  • What do each of the offerings represent?
  • What happens to a priest who acts contrary to the will of the LORD?
  • How are the leaders reconciled? Why are five different offerings required of errant leaders? What if there is not “peace” between a leader, and God when the leader approaches with a peace/fellowship offering?
  • Why were there so many dynasties in the Kingdom of Israel (the northern kingdom) and only one in the Kingdom of Judah (the southern kingdom)?
  • How do these offerings relate to us today?What do we offer God for sin today?
    • Chol offering = whole body, all of us
    • Minhakh/grain offering = sincerity & truth
    • Sin/guilt offering = eliminate half of the offering and burn the rest on the altar to eliminate it from your life
    • Repentance/fellowship offering = turn around
  • What’s the process for reconciliation with our High Priest, Messiah Yeshua?
    • How does this relate to the two greatest commandments?
    • Can Yeshua offer us without repentence of sin, transgression and iniquity, if the high priests of Israel couldn’t do so?
  • What is the object of the Holy Days? How much does God require of us?

Numbers 28:11–31: Meaning behind monthly, Passover and Pentecost offerings

Learn how to see Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) in the קרבנות qorbanot (offerings, sacrifices) presented at the Tabernacle of Israel on each ראש חדש Rosh Chodesh (New Moon), פסח Pesakh (Passover) and שבעות Shavu’ot (Pentecost).

These monthly and annual memorials of God’s action pointed forward to what Yeshua would do.

Numbers 28:1-10: Messiah in daily and Sabbath offerings

Learn how to see Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) in the תמיד tamid (continual, morning and evening) and שבת Shabbat (Sabbath) offerings.

These daily and weekly memorials of God’s action pointed forward to what Yeshua would do and is doing.