Studies in Torah

Parashat Massei (מסעי): Numbers 33–36

When life or our trust in the LORD seems to get too tough for too long, it’s tempting to give up. Yet we should look back on how far we have come in our new life in the Kingdom of Heaven through the mercy given us on the name of Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ). Our journey from our old life is much like Israel’s journey from bondage in Mitsraim (Egypt) to freedom at Sinai and rest in the Promised Land, a trek recounted for the second generation in the Torah passage (parashah) מסעי Massei (or Mase’y, “journeys of”).

The traditional companion passage (haftarah) for Massei is Jer. 2:4–28; 3:4.

The following are Bible study recordings and notes from Hallel Fellowship teacher Richard.

Parashah: Num. 33:1–36:13

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 or they get too tough. 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.

Numbers 33:1-17: Lessons of the Exodus and wilderness wanderings: Ramses to Hazeroth

This is a difficult, laborious chapter with lots of hard-to-pronounce names — 40, 42 or 43 depending on the count. Yet the name of each encampment carries important teachings from what happened at each site and the meaning of the names themselves.

Numbers 33:18-27: Lessons of the Exodus and wilderness wanderings: Rithmah to Tahath

It might not be the literal meaning of the name but based on the symbolism of what occurred at that place. These are God’s names for these places, not necessarily the common names given to those places by the inhabitants at the time.

Numbers 33:28-56: Lessons of the Exodus and wanderings: Mithkah to Abel-Shittim

There’s a bigger picture to be found in the names of these places that Moses records and we endeavor to discover God’s picture.

Numbers 34-36: Maximum justice, maximum mercy

In the closing chapters of the book of Numbers, among a discussion of land grants to the tribes of Israel we read of a justice-and-mercy system for murderers that prophetically links ransom of the accidentally guilty to the death of the high priest.

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.

Book of Numbers recap: Important messages behind the censuses, travelogues

The book of Numbers is more than just a collection of long lists of numbers of people in the tribes and families of Israel and of places where the people camped for 40 years. It shows us how God prepares His people then and now to move forward into the tasks He has for them. Numbers contains lessons of character refinement of a people.

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