Tag Archives: Parashot

Parashat Shelach (שלח): Numbers 13-15

Rebelliousness, laziness and fear lead us to fight against, avoid and run from what we know — or should know — we should do. This week’s reading, שְׁלַח Shelakh (“send,” Numbers 13–15), takes a deep dive into a pivotal moment where all three killers of Israel’s faith in the LORD and His messengers.

The common companion passage to Shelakh is Joshua 2, covering the infiltration of Caleb and Yoshua (Joshua) into Yericho (Jericho). God favored her trust in the LORD over the gods of Canaan by putting her in the genealogy of Mashiakh Yeshua (Jesus) and making her a high symbol of faith (Matt. 1:5; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25).

The following are recordings and notes from previous Hallel Fellowship studies from Numbers 13–15.

Numbers 13–14

Aaron and Miriam ‘speak evil’ against Moses; spies ‘speak evil’ against the Land

Numbers 12 shows us the consequences of Miriam and Aaron’s jealously of God’s special relationship with Moses. Since they could not openly complained about God’s special treatment of Moses, they struck out against Moses’s by attacking his Cushite wife.

Numbers 13 shows us the story of the first spies who went out into the land of Israel to scout out the land. God told Moses to call out one leader from each tribe to be the spies of the land.

A bad report, a promise delayed

Instead of facing their fears about the “giants” in the Land, the spies ancient Israel sent into Canaan after the long journey from captivity in Mitsraim (Egypt) cowered and backed away and encouraged most of the people to do likewise. They lost their prize when they refused to walk forward where God told them to walk.

The same is true today: We will lose out on many blessings if we don’t move forward when God tells us to. When the Israelites doubted God’s word and refused to enter the Land, He took the blessing away from the majority of that generation of forever. They never entered into the promise. But for Caleb and Joshua, the promise was delayed to them for 40 years. Joshua and Caleb paid a price for the cowardice and unbelief of their peers.

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.

12 spies ‘bad’ and ‘faithful’ reports on the Land

Not only did the people believe the “evil” report, they actually wanted to stone the two spies who brought back the faithful report.

Bad report about Promised Land sparks rebellion

The “bad report” brought by the spies about the land God promised to give Israel was a dishonest report. Yet because the majority of the spies were willing to spread lies, the honest report of the two faithful spies was drowned out. The leaders of Israel believed the false report so completely that they were planning an insurrection to have Moses and Aaron stoned and then appoint a “leader” who would return them to Mitsraim (Egypt).

Numbers 14 is an example of democracy gone wrong. It also shows us God’s great patience with us in our lack of trust. We would not have tolerated the 10 times of grumbling that God tolerated from ancient Israel during the journey from Mitsraim. Yet He had to enact discipline too.

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.

One law for Israelite and foreigner

There is a difference between sins done in ignorance vs. those done willfully. But there is no substantial difference between how the native Israelite and the sojourner are judged under God’s instructions and called to repent.

Tzitzitot a sign against rebellion; rebellions of ‘stick man,’ Korah and Reubenites

This section could be titled, “The Three Stories of Rebellion”: of a man collecting firewood on Shabbat, of Korah, of two families of the tribe of Reuben. God dealt with each rebellion in a different way. All imprinted in the minds of the people over and again God was the one in charge, and it was God’s prerogative to choose Moses and Aaron.

Parashat Nasso (נשא): Numbers 4:21–7:89

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).

Numbers 4–5

How to take care of holy things; judgment beings in God’s house

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.

Function of priests with the holiest Tabernacle items; test of jealousy of a husband

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.

Numbers 6

Nazarite vow and its meaning today

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.

Messianic meaning in the Nazirite vow

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.

Acts 18:1–22: Did Paul kiss off the Jews?

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?

Judges 12–13: Samson also rises

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?

Numbers 7

Heart of God in the 12 offerings of the 12 tribes

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.

Accepting the anointing

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.

Exodus 29: Consecration of the High Priest reveals Messiah

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.

Parashat Bamidbar (במדבר): Numbers 1:1–4:20

All of us will face trying times that will reveal who we really are, our character. The common reading בְּמִדְבַּר Bamidbar (“in the wilderness”) over Num. 1:1–4:20 takes us along with our ancient ancestors in faith on a journey toward true rest God provides. That’s a trek that’s as relevant now as it was then.

The usual complementary reading, or haftarah, is Hos. 2:1-22.

Read and listen to the following studies and discussions by teachers Richard and Jeff.

Overview of Numbers

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.

Numbers 1

Meaning behind the names; Moses’ first census teaches us about Yeshua’s burdensome cup

Num. 1:1-16 foretells Yeshua’s burden, the burden He tried to give up three times in the garden before His crucifixion (Matt. 26:39–44). That message is embedded in the meanings of the names of the tribes and clans, and that message becomes clear when the meanings are read together.

From freedom to war

The lists of numbers in the book of Numbers can be somewhat overwhelming. The first chapters are talking about how they are to count and assemble an army, not the entire community. We don’t pay attention to Numbers 1 because it is “just a bunch of names and a bunch of numbers,” but these were real men who had to be ready to fight in a real war (Num. 1:17-54).

Were there hundreds of thousands or thousands in the army of Israel?

The book of Numbers immediately starts out with a census, with lots of numbers. The book is named very well. If you just think of numbers for the sake of numbers, this chapter is very easy to skip. However, there are some important lessons we can glean from this chapter. First, notice the names of the heads of these families. Many of them have the name of “El” or “Shaddai” in their own names. This shows us that they know. [part 1, part 2]

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. 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.

Numbers 2–3

How the army of Israel surrounds the Tabernacle and prepares for war

Numbers 1 told us the names of the leaders of the tribes of Israel and the numbers of their fighting men. Numbers 2 places them in rank and shows us how they were strategically camped around the Tabernacle and in what order they are to move in case of danger or battle. The names of these men not only shows us how the Messiah fights His own battle but how God’s army is going to fight His battle.

Lessons in the numbers of men and their order around the Tabernacle

For many, the book of Numbers is the most boring book of the Bible because it seems to focus so much on numbers. God did not put this book in the Bible to bore us but to educate us.

Becoming Levites in the Spirit

Even if you aren’t a literal descendant of Aaron this chapter is about you. If you are joined to the High Priest Messiah Yeshua, you are joined, in a spiritual sense to the priestly Levites. Numbers 3 tells you how.

Numbers 4–5

How to take care of holy things; judgment beings in God’s house

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.

Function of priests with the holiest Tabernacle items; test of jealousy of a husband

The inner sanctuary items were so holy that the sons of Aaron had to cover them before the Levites could come an 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.

Parashat Bechukotai (בחקתי): Leviticus 26-27

Part of the Golden Rule (Lev. 19:18) is concern for other people. One way to view the somber warnings in the common Torah reading בְּחֻקֹּתַי Bechukotai (“in My statutes”) is God is concerned about the world so much that its lifeline — Israel — has to remain pure.

The usual complementary reading to Leviticus 26-27 from the Prophets is Jer. 16:19-17:14.

Leviticus 26-27

Blessings of obedience and curses of disobedience

It is only God Who can restore life from death, not only the death of a person but the death of a nation. God warns Israel, and He will destroy their nation if they walk in idolatry. But He will also restore their nation if they will humble themselves and accept their guilt.

God mixes justice with mercy

The topic of Leviticus 26-27 is God’s anger: the just anger that comes when His people do not follow the way He has laid out for them. God reveals the blessings He will give them if they obey Him and give their hearts to Him and the curses that will come upon them they disobey Him by running towards other gods.

Recap of major themes in Leviticus

The book of Leviticus is not written in chronological order but in thematic order. God may also repeat a point several times as an emphasis on that particular point.

Parashat Behar (בהר): Leviticus 25:1-26:2 

A common catchphrase for believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus the Christ) is “walk by faith and not by sight” (2Cor. 5:7). Key memorials from God’s calendar that help with practicing the faith that is preached are the שְּׁבִיעִת  Shevi’it or שְׁמִטָּה Shemitah (“seventh” [year] and “release,” respectively, i.e., sabbatical year) and the יוֹבֵל Yobel (Jubilee). They are the focus of the Torah reading this week, בְּהַר  Behar (“on mount” [Sinai]), covering Lev. 25:1-26:2.

The complementary reading (haftarah) commonly accompanying Behar is Jer. 32:6-27.

Leviticus 25

Shabbat and jubilee years

Keeping the Jubilee year with both crops and servants was an act of faith by the people of Israel. It is difficult to live in freedom — liberty — and it is so easy to fall into bondage and slavery. God set up a safety net to protect the people from permanent bondage and slavery and to protect the land from being over consumed and dried up.

Shemitah (sabbatical year) and Yobel (Jubilee)

The shabbats (sabbaths) of the land and the Yobel (Jubilee) are not about the U.S. or other countries, but about the land of Israel. Yet even in the diaspora (outside the land), there are lessons we can learn about how we should trust in God, how far God can take care of His people and how we are to take care of our families and each other.

Parashat Emor (אמר): Leviticus 21-24

This week’s reading from the Torah (Genesis–Deuteronomy) is Leviticus 21:1-24:23. This parashah, or portion, is called אמר Emor, which means “say” in Hebrew.

The common reading from the Prophets to accompany Emor is Ezekiel 44:15-31.

Below are study notes and recorded discussions covering Parashat Emor by teacher Richard over the years.

Leviticus 21–22

Purity of Messiah as Melchizedekian priest foretold

All of Leviticus is primarily addressed to the priesthood, but Leviticus 21 is about qualifications of the High Priest, not regular priests or the lay Israelites. There are things that other Israelites can do, within limits that are totally forbidden to the High Priest. His family, descendants of Aharon (Aaron) is held to a higher standard than other families. This chapter also shows us how holy — set apart — our High Priest, Yeshua, was to be.

Priests separate themselves for holy work

Is this of any value to us in the 21st century? Just as in The previous chapter, Leviticus 22 is about the function and lifestyle of the High Priest in the physical plane. I want to reiterate this to try to not move this in the 21st century. Imagine you were living in Moshe: You were only a year beyond Mitsraim (Egypt), and you are learning this for the first time.

George Washington’s vision at Valley Forge and God’s approach to sanctification

Leviticus 21-22 and the vision George Washington had at Valley Forge have some interesting connections.

Leviticus 23–24

Shabbat and the moedim (appointments with God)

An appointment can be a place, a time or an event. When we use the word moedim, it’s an appointment or an assignment. The Tabernacle of Meeting is the Tabernacle of Appointments. When we “proclaim” His holy days, God can work in us to sanctify us. How do you proclaim an appointed time? Proclaiming is an active verb, not a passive verb. It’s not something we say, it’s something we do. You proclaim an appointed time or moedim by what you do on that day. You either do it or don’t do it. You show up or you don’t. If you do it, you are proclaiming it. If you ignore it and don’t do it, you aren’t proclaiming it.

‘Feasts to the LORD’; ‘the LORD spoke to…’

The 23rd chapter of Leviticus is a relatively obvious passage. The explanations are simple and self-explanatory, except for questions about the biblical timing of Firstfruits and Pentecost. The 24th chapter is a bit unusual and not so simple to decipher. When you read the book of Leviticus and you find the phrase “the LORD spoke to…” pay attention whom is supposed to hear the message. There were some messages for the sons of Aaron, but some messages were for the people of Israel. Each group had their own duties and responsibilities, and it’s God Himself Who decides.

Parashat Pekudei (פקודי): Exodus 38:21-40:38

Read study notes and listen to recorded discussions by teacher Richard on this week’s Torah reading, פקודי Pekudei (“countings”), covering Ex. 38:21–40:38.

Also, check out teacher Daniel’s studies on the standard Haftarah (Writings and Prophets) reading for this week.

Exodus 38–40

Second witness of instructions for building the Tabernacle

The people of Israel being making the different parts of the Tabernacle in Exodus 38-39. In Exodus 40, the people assemble the Tabernacle with Moses handling the final touches. The book of Exodus ends with God’s signaling His approval of the work of the people’s hands by visibly dwelling within the Tabernacle.

Designs for the Tabernacle implements shows God has a place for each of us

There is a lot of exactness described in Exodus 39-40 for the design of the furniture and implements of the Tabernacle of Israel. One lesson we can draw from this is every piece of furniture had its own exclusive place. Every item had its irreplaceable function in God’s house. We were all brought to God’s High Priest first. Yeshua the High Priest presented us to the Father. When God calls us to Himself, He calls us to our irreplaceable task too. Another lesson from the directed precision is God trained the people to stay where He stayed and move when He moved.

Exodus 12–40 recap

When Yeshua told the elders that the scriptures speak of Him, many of us had no idea how much Messianic foreshadowing is found in this book. The exit from Egypt after Passover and the journey to Canaan was orderly, not chaotic. The journeys to and from Egypt, for Abraham, Joseph, Jacob and the Messiah are a lesson for us.

Haftarah: 1st Kings 7:51–8:21

Lessons from the design of Solomon’s palace

A description of the design of Solomon’s palace seems more appropriate for an architecture textbook than the Scriptures. Yet the elements of the design tap frequent symbols in Scripture, pointing to the roles of “priest” and “king” in the Messianic Age.

Prophecy of the two temple pillars

Like with the previous passages on the design of the temple and Solomon’s palace, the design of the two pillars at the entrance of the temple reveals the prophecy by Ezekiel’s lying on one side and the other. Solomon was prophesying the number of years the temple would stand before being destroyed.

Symbols of the temple cleaning basins

Continuing the lessons from the items in the temple Solomon built for God, we look at the washing basins and see a parallel between the design elements and the role of God’s Spirit in cleaning the lives of believers and our role in that.

Moving from copper Snake world to God’s golden kingdom

Continuing the 1st Kings 7 exploration of the lessons of the design of the temple Solomon built for God, we see a division of copper and gold items. The lesson of copper in the outer temple area and gold in the inner temple area is God wants to clean us by moving us from the world of the Snake to God’s world.

Shadow of Yom Kippur, Sukkot in dedication of first Temple

The lessons of God’s covering His people’s rebellion and moving His dwelling among His people, symbolized in the appointed times of Yom Kippurim and Sukkot, were acted out on a human level during the dedication of the first temple.

Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of God’s people-temple

King Solomon built a structure for God’s presence to occupy in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), but Solomon’s prayer points toward God’s people’s being the dwelling place of God.

Chiastic teaching ties together messianic figures Moshe, David and Shlomo

A chiastic structure buried in 1st Kings 8 compares messianic figures of Moshe (Moses), David and Shlomo (Solomon) by changing up the historical and thematic order of them. This swapping is very important because it reveals elements of the character of the Messiah.