Tag Archives: Numbers

Parashot Matot/Massei (מטות/מסעי): Numbers 30–36

“As God is my witness, I will do that.” Such words can roll off our tongues easily, but we can forget that One is witnessing such a vow and watching to see whether we respect the Creator enough to follow through. That’s why Moshe (Moses), Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ) and His apostle Ya’akob (James) warned us against dragging the LORD in to co-sign on our promises.

Yisrael’s promise to remain faithful to the One Who delivered the people out of bondage in Mitsraim (Egypt) eroded under the temptation of a flesh-friendly religion. So a former ally of 40 years ago became an existential enemy and had to be defeated. The wisdom of being very careful in making promises and seeking the strength to keep them is the subtext of the Torah reading מטות Matot (“tribes”), covering Numbers 30–32.

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. Our journey from our old life is much like Israel’s journey from bondage in Mitsraim 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”), covering Numbers 33–36.

Note: Because of special Bible readings during God’s appointed times, the readings Massei and Matot are combined into one week this year.

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.

Parashat Matot (מטות): Numbers 30–32

“As God is my witness, I will do that.” Such words can roll off our tongues easily, but we can forget that One is witnessing such a vow and watching to see whether we respect the Creator enough to follow through. That’s why Moshe (Moses), Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ) and His apostle Ya’akob (James) warned us against dragging the LORD in to co-sign on our promises.

Yisrael’s promise to remain faithful to the One Who delivered the people out of bondage in Mitsraim (Egypt) eroded under the temptation of a flesh-friendly religion. So a former ally of 40 years ago became an existential enemy and had to be defeated. The wisdom of being very careful in making promises and seeking the strength to keep them is the subtext of the Torah reading מטות Matot (“tribes”), covering Numbers 30–32.

The traditional companion passage (haftarah) for Matot is Jer. 1:1–2:3.

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

Parashah: Numbers 30–32

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.

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 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.

Parashat Pinchas (פינחס): Numbers 25:10-30:1

Adultery is seen as no big deal in today’s society. Consider, though, how the hurt person in the relationship feels. That’s why Israel’s running after false gods and treating YHWH with contempt or apathy is compared to adultery many times in Scripture. This kind of unfaithfulness and rebuilding of the relationship between Creator and created is the subtext of this passage — פינחס Pinchas (“Phinehas”).

The traditional companion reading (haftarah) for this passage is 1Kings 18:46-19:21 (see below). It fits well with the aftermath of the judgment that followed Israel’s chasing after the false god Ba’al of Peor with the women of Moab.

Listen to recorded discussions and read study notes from Hallel Fellowship teachers Richard, Daniel and Jeff.

Parashah: Num. 25:10–30:1

Numbers 25: Perpetual priesthood of peace and mercy for wayward Israel

Have you been “dragged away and enticed” by something that seems irresistibly appealing? Feel like God could never take you back? A false prophet enticed Israel away from God with sex, but God’s ambassador was there to mend the relationship.

Numbers 26–27: Accounting for light and righteousness in Israel

After various plagues and judgments over the 40 years of wandering in wilderness, God called for Israel to be counted again. It was also time to divide the Promised Land among the 12 tribes, based on the wisdom of God’s light and righteousness.

Does ‏אלף ’elef mean ‘thousand’ or ‘clan’ in Exodus and Numbers?

Some have asserted that the huge numbers of people listed in various places in Exodus and Numbers are impossible or unlikely for a number of real-world reasons. Those include lack of mention of such big numbers in Egyptian and other secular accounts, archaeological estimates of populations at the time, food supply and other logistics for such huge numbers during the Exodus, number of years Israel was in Egypt, smaller numbers mentioned in the Bible hundreds of years later, trepidation of Israel to invade the Land despite having huge army, etc. Rather than exegesis — a critical examination of a text from the text — this is eisegesis — a critical examination of a text from considerations outside the text. What follows is a close study of the numbers listed in Numbers 1 (cf. Ex. 12:37 and 38:26), the pattern for which is used in following chapters and elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. The plain reading of the text is that the Hebrew word אלף ’elef (Strong’s lexicon No. 505) means “thousand,” rather than “clan,” “chief,” or “group.”

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

Learn how to see Messiah Yeshua in the qorbanot (offerings, sacrifices) presented at the Tabernacle of Israel as the tamid (continual, morning and evening) and Shabbat (Sabbath) offerings.

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

Learn how to see Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) in the Rosh Chodesh (New Moon), Pesakh (Passover) and Shavu’ot (Pentecost) offerings.

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

Learn how to see Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) in the Yom Teruah (Day of Blowing Trumpets), Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Tabernacles) offerings.

Haftarah: 1Kings 18:46-19:21

1st Kings 18: Eliyahu of YHWH challenges Ahab and Yezebel of Ba’al and Asherah

The clash on Mt. Carmel between Eliyahu (Elijah) and the priests of Ba’al was part of bigger clash between a rebellious king of the northern kingdom, Ahab, and his foreign queen, Yezebel (Jezebel), and her false gods. Among the prophets of the north who Eliyahu saves from the purge of YHWH’s servants was ObidaYah (Obidaiah), possibly the same one who wrote a short book of the Bible.

1st Kings 19: Did Eliyahu understand what God wanted?

Just as God didn’t let the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) quit from the mission, God doesn’t want us to become discouraged and quit our tasks.

Parashat Balak (בלק): Numbers 22:2-25:9

A talking donkey may seem like fodder for a cartoon, but this passage — בָּלָק Balak, Num. 22:2-25:9 — contains a very real message for Israel about its future and the Messiah. Often, the Creator uses what we don’t expect — an animal, a prophet not of Israel — to shake up the complacent and underscore the gravity of the situation.

The traditional companion reading (haftarah) for Parashat Balak is Mic. 5:6–6:8.

Listen to recorded discussions and read notes from studies by Hallel Fellowship teacher Richard.

Parashah: Num. 22:2-25:9

Numbers 22: The unintended prophesy of Balaam, part 1

Skeptics like to poke fun at this story because of the talking donkey. Yet sometimes, our way is so set upon evil that a talking donkey doesn’t even phase us and give us pause to turn away from our direction. Balaam wasn’t ignorant of the identity of the Creator God. He knew YHWH by name, and Balak, the king of Moab, knew of Him too.

If Balaam knew that, then he knew that God had the power to make a donkey talk. Balaam didn’t fully understand the error of his way until one of the most powerful messengers in God’s hosts, the Angel of YHWH, confronts him with a sword in his hand.

Numbers 23-24: The unintended prophesy of Balaam, part 2

Bilam (Balaam) is not a member of God’s covenant and was a foreigner to them, although he was from the land of Aram, the ancestral homeland of Abraham. Yet, God saw fit to give him His words, His visions and to Bilam and use Bilam as God’s instrument among the people.

Numbers 23: Balaam prophesies of Israel and Messiah

Though he was reluctant to pass it along, Balaam’s prophecy would stretch long into the future of Israel and foretell actions of the Messiah.

Numbers 24: Balaam sees Messiah’s not-yet coming

The cryptic lines of Balaam’s reluctant blessing of Israel contains pictures of what Israel should expect in its Messiah.

Parashat Chukat (חקת): Numbers 19:1-22:1

Death seems normal, because we see it all around us. But a major message of the Bible is death is out of place in the order God created. The mysterious ritual of the red heifer sacrifice detailed in this week’s reading —  חֻקַּת‎ Chukat (“statute of”) — is a pattern of what Heaven had planned for the healing mission of Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ).

The companion passage for Chukat is Judges 11, a sobering account of someone who made a rash vow and sealed the fate of his daughter.

Check out the following recorded discussions and study notes on these passages from Hallel Fellowship teachers Richard and Daniel.

Parashah: Numbers 19:1–22:1

Numbers 19 — The red heifer

One of the most mysterious passages regarding the sacrifices involved with the sanctuary and temple of Israel is the red heifer. In fact, this teaching in Numbers 19 is intimately connected with the mission of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).

Numbers 18-19: High priest as a type of the Messiah; lesson of the mysterious red heifer

There is a very special but blunt message in Numbers 18–19, targeted to the High Priest and his family. Moses is not addressed at all. God impresses upon the High Priest family and the Levites the seriousness of their charge. They are given certain rights within in the community of Israel but also gives them very serious responsibilities. God also places serious consequences on the High Priestly family and the Levites if they are derelict in their Temple duties.

Numbers 19: Red heifer a picture of Messiah

God did not create the ritual of the red heifer, described in Numbers 19, to prevent the spread of disease but to make sure we don’t treat the death of a fellow human being casually. That’s regardless of whether their death was recent or many years ago. Death is our enemy. Death is not natural. Death is not our friend. The symbol of the red heifer points to the Messiah, and we can learn how much Yeshua did for us through that symbol.

Numbers 20: Deaths of Miriam and Aaron

We will look at this chapter carefully. The events of this chapter occur near the end 40 year wilderness exile. After nearly 40 years, the people still complain about being removed from Egypt and “dying in the wilderness.”

Numbers 20: Moses is barred from entering the Land

It’s often taught that God barred Moshe (Moses) from entering Canaan because he hit the rock to start water flowing, rather than speaking to the rock. Yet it seems Moshe’s rebel yell had more to do with it and fits more with the lesson God had been teaching the people since the Exodus.

Numbers 21: Serpent on a pole, Messiah on a cross

Yeast is often associated with sin, yet Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ) used it in a parable to describe a vital work of Heaven. A serpent is a frequent Bible symbol for haSatan (the Adversary), yet Yeshua connected the Moshe’s bronze serpent on a pole in Numbers 21 with healing from His death on the cross. Let’s get to the naked truth of God’s lesson here.

Numbers 21: Israel fights Amorites; God sends deadly serpents among Israel — and the Cure

Israel didn’t credit God with the victory over the Amorites and other blessings, namely the coming of manna each morning to feed the people. God sent death amid the people — and the cure in the image of the instrument of that death. There’s an important prophecy about the work of Messiah Yeshua in this account, something Yeshua didn’t want Nicodemus to miss from his studies of the Torah.

Haftarah: Judges 11:1–33

Judges 10:1–11:11: Israel’s backsliding leaders Tola, Jair, Jephthah

This passage looks at three leaders of ancient Israel: Tola, Yair (Jair), and Yeftah (Jephthah). After 45 years under the guidance of the first two, Israel then slid into devotion to the gods of surrounding nations. Israel finally realized the oppression under Philistia and Ammon was to turn them back to the LORD, Who led the nation out of bondage in Egypt.

Judges 11:12-40: Jephthah’s rash vow seals daughter’s future

Yeeftakh (Jephthah), whose name means “he opens,” is one of the most tragic of the judges of ancient Israel. His rash vow to God that ended being fulfilled by his daughter as a sacrifice disturbs many people. However, a close look at the account suggests quite a different outcome.

Parashat Korach (קרח): Numbers 16-18

Jealousy vs. contentment. Covetousness vs. peace. Humility vs. pride. This continual battle against short-sighted self-will and trust in the LORD’s over-the-horizon view underlies the rebellion against Aharon (Aaron), God’s anointed, led by Korakh (Korah) in this week’s reading — קֹרַח Korakh, Leviticus 16-18. This foreshadows the rebellion against the ultimate of God’s anointed, Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus).

The companion reading (haftarah) is 1Sam. 11:14–12:22, recounting time when the people rejected the the LORD’s choice to lead through prophets and judges vs. kings.

The following are recorded studies and notes from Hallel Fellowship teachers Richard and Daniel over the years.

Numbers 16: Korah rebels against God’s anointed

 Numbers 16: Korah rebels against God’s anointed
The betrayal by Korakh (Korah) against Aharon (Aaron) mirrors the rejection of Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus) by leaders of Yisrael (Israel) at in the first century A.D. We can see a foreshadowing of Yeshua’s grace through Aharon’s reaction to the rebellion.

Numbers 16-17: Rebel against God’s appointed leaders, rebel against God

When we are not satisfied with the position God placed us and we covet someone else’s job or position, we are in grave spiritual danger. We may experience physical consequences for our rebellion, maybe not in the extreme manner recorded in Numbers 16–17, but God does not like complainers. Any insight we have about our condition comes from God.

Numbers 17–18: Aaron’s budding leadership and God’s fairness

“That’s not fair!” The impulse to feel jealousy and resentment for seemingly being unjustly passed over for promotion, rewards, privilege, talent, looks, opportunity, etc. is what we battle against from cradle to grave. And the battle Moshe (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron) faced with fellow leaders of Yisrael (Israel) and of Levi parallels the jealousy Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus) faced with leaders of Yisrael and why they plotted to kill Him.

Numbers 18-19: High priest as a type of the Messiah; lesson of the mysterious red heifer

There is a very special but blunt message in Numbers 18–19, targeted to the High Priest and his family. Moses is not addressed at all. God impresses upon the High Priest family and the Levites the seriousness of their charge. They are given certain rights within in the community of Israel but also gives them very serious responsibilities. God also places serious consequences on the High Priestly family and the Levites if they are derelict in their Temple duties.

Haftarah: 1Samuel 11:14–12:22

1st Samuel 11 — Saul proves himself as a leader

The “Snake” of Ammon picks a fight with Israel, giving Saul his first test as leader. His success cemented his authority. Yet some despising of him mirrors the rejection of Yeshua as God’s Messiah.

1st Samuel 12 — Samuel’s ‘farewell’

The leaders of Israel tell the prophet and judge Samuel to retire. This treatment is similar to the rebellion of the people against Moses.

1st Samuel 11-17 recap

The pattern we find in 1st Samuel is a pattern of preparing and delivering. He sends two witnesses for each delivery, a preparer and deliverer. We continue with this pattern with the beginning of Saul’s reign. These stories are not just history, or entertainment. The book of 1st Samuel also shows us how Sh’mu’el (Samuel), Sha’ul (Saul), Yahunatan/Yonatan (Jonathan) and David are a foreshadowing of the Messiah to come. This history helped the prophets see and reveal the Messiah to us.