The common Torah reading for this week (נָשֹׂא Nasso, “take up” or “carry,” Num. 4:21–7:89) continues the census of the priesthood of Israel, caretakers of the earthly embassy of the Creator. Yes, there’s a Messiah-centered connection between determining who could enter the מִשְׁכָּן Mishkan (“Tabernacle”), testing the faithfulness of a wife, commissioning and decommissioning someone under a Nazirite vow and the 12 days of gifts from each of the tribes of Israel at the dedication of the Mishkan.
The usual companion reading (haftarah) is Judges 13:2–5, covering the Nazirite vow for Shimshon (Samson).
God is careful to make sure that holy things are treated with respect and covered up. Anyone who touched a holy thing unworthily would die. However, if God’s holy people — His assembly — sins, that sin will be uncovered and dealt with by Him. He will make sure it’s exposed. However, if someone is falsely accused, He will vindicate them too.
The inner sanctuary items were so holy that the sons of Aaron had to cover them before the Levites could come and carry them away. The chapter goes on to mention the names of the families of Levi who were designated to perform the various tasks of the sanctuary. Chapter 5 seems to take a divergent path with instructions on how a jealous husband can find out whether his wife committed adultery. In chapter 6, that will be a little more clear.
The Nazarite vow is one of the most serious vows a man or woman can take upon themselves. This chapter gives us the details of this vow but also shows us the spiritual application — even today — in the days without a temple or Aaronic priesthood.
The Nazarite vow is a special vow. It’s an extraordinary one not taken lightly. It also is not a vow that is easy to do. It is not a vow of terror or weakness, but of strength. You have to count the cost before you take a vow like this. It’s a serious vow. When Yeshua said, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29), He was taking on a Nazarite vow, a vow that He is still under until the Messianic age.
Many take Acts 18:6 to mean God gave up on the Jews. Is that what it says in context? If so, why did he take a Nazarite vow after his year and a half in Corinth?
The account of Samson, the strongman of ancient Israel is well-known. Yet what was so important about the Nazirite vow, which partly involved no haircuts, he and his mother were made to take? Who is God’s mystery angel named Wonderful and God-like?
This chapter gives us an example of unity and diversity. Each tribe had its function in regards to the dedication of the temple but each tribe was required to bring the exact same number of items in a set pattern over the course of 12 days. Within the tribe of Levi, each family had their functions and received different gifts to fulfill that function. Their individual functions did not dilute their unity as the people of Israel. All the tribes had to participate to accomplish the dedication of the altar. This chapter is one of those chapters we read and question the modern day relevance. There’s lots of accounting in this chapter, giving an account of individual tribal offerings and adding them up overall. It also gives the names of individual tribal leaders we don’t know.
Each leader of the tribes of Israel had a different job and function based on how the tribes were placed around the tabernacle. They had to go through a ceremonial pattern in order to be “ordained” to the job God was calling them to do. Every prince accepted their anointing. All the names listed here are a play on words that teach us about God’s love and the Messiah’s sacrifice.
Moshe (Moses) is still on the mountain and receiving the instruction from God about how to build the Tabernacle but in this chapter, God is telling Moshe the procedure He wants Moshe to do to prepare Aharon (Aaron) and his sons for ministry in the Temple. Why does God ask Moshe to this complicated, seven-day ritual? The end of the chapter tell us the punchline. Although Moshe will be doing all of this but it really God will do all the sanctification, not Moshe. The entire purpose of ordaining Aharon in this laborious process is shown at he end of the chapter. Moshe did all this so God could dwell with His people in the Tabernacle and so Aharon and his sons could perform all the duties of the Tabernacle. Yeshua did what He did so God can dwell with us.
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