Beha’alotecha 2019 “When you set up” June 22, 2019
Haftorah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
New Testament: Mat. 14:14-21
Num 8:1-4 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (2″Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.” (3 And Aaron did so: he set up its lamps in front of the lampstand, as the LORD commanded Moses. (4 And this was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
The root of the phrase beha’alotecha is “alah” (ayin-lamed-hey) means to raise or to rise or to go up. Jews make aliyah when they relocate to Israel. Aliyah means to ascend. Regarding the Holy City where Elohim has chosen to put His great name, it is always said, no matter if one comes from the north, south, east, or west, one “goes up” to Jerusalem. In the physical, it is because Jerusalem is located on a mountain. Thus, a steep ascent is necessary. It is true in the spiritual, as well.
Psalm 24:3-6 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4) He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5) He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6) Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.
Isaiah 66:2 “…But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word. “
To enter into the Kingdom of Elohim, we have to climb, or ascend, leaving behind the impure, unholy, unclean, and unprofitable. In Hebrew, the word olah, most often translated as burnt offering in our bibles, is spelled exactly the same as “alah.” The smoke, or fragrance of the whole burnt offering ascends or rises to Heaven. Abba declares (Exodus 29:18) “It is a burnt offering (olah) to the LORD. It is a pleasing aroma…”
The purpose of the olah offering is to teach us to draw near to God by ascending. We ascend or raise ourselves by leaving behind the ways of this world and, instead, observe, guard, and teach the ways of the Elohim of Israel. This is what Yeshua did as He walked in the earth.
1 John 2:4-6 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, (5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6) whoever says he abides in him (Yeshua) ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
As we walk in the way that Yeshua walked, that is, observing, guarding, and teaching His commandments, statutes, and ordinances, we draw near to Yahweh. We become an olah offering that renders the sweet fragrance of Messiah. Remember, the essence of the commandments, statutes, and ordinances is to love Yahweh with all our heart, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor s as ourselves, according to Yeshua (Mat. 22:40) who said on these two “hang all the law and the prophets.”
Rom 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What is “good,” “acceptable” and “perfect” is Abba’s torah or instruction for holiness.
Psa 19:7 The law (torah) of the Yahweh is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; (8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; (9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. (10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. (13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. (14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Going back to the opening verses, the Artscroll Tanach renders the verses as “Speak to Aharon and say to him, ‘when you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light’”. And Aharon did so: toward the face of the Menorah he kindled its lamps, as YHWH commanded Moshe.
Aaron, the High Priest, whose name means “light bearer,” is representative of Messiah, our Great High Priest. If our faces are always set toward the face (the light of) Messiah Yeshua, which constantly radiates the light of torah and the love of the Father, we will reflect His light and His love in the world.
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Mat 5:14-20 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15) Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 17) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18) For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19) Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20) For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Let’s examine this light for a minute.
Gen 1:1-5 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. (5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
It is written that the sun, moon, and stars were not created until the fourth day.
Gen 1:14-18 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: (15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. (16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, (18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
So, what was this light that Elohim called “good” on the first day?
Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
The menorah represents the Spirit of Elohim.
Isa 11:1-5 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, (4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. (5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
As you look at the menorah, you can see the higher center light, the servant or shamash in Hebrew, as the Spirit of Yahweh, flanked by three lights on either side: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of Yahweh. But, remember, the seven are one. There is no separation. The menorah is a solid piece of beaten gold. It represents the Body of Messiah filled with Ruach ha Kodesh (the Holy Spirit), made up of many members.
Now I don’t know about any of you, but there have been times in my life when I have been pretty badly beaten, spiritually speaking. However, the chastening is always with cords of love. If I am submitted to the authority of Yeshua, as my Husband He is obligated to shine a light on deeds or attitudes that misrepresent Him or fail to demonstrate loyalty to Him. We were exhorted on Shavuot to understand that it is Yahweh’s responsibility to help us to increase our loyalty by applying the necessary pressure for our eyes to be opened.
We turn now to the setting apart of the Levites. Why is this important to us? Isaiah informs us that some Israelites scattered among the Gentiles will be selected to serve as priests and Levites!
Isaiah 66:19-21 …I will send survivors to the nations… to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20) And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. 21) And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD.
Being a Levite required radical consecration, radical dedication!
Num 8:5-19 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 6) Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. 7) And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. 8) Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering. 9) And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together: 10) And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: 11) And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD. 12) And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites. 13) And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD. 14) Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine. 15) And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering. 16) For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me. 17) For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself. 18) And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. 19) And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary.
When I think back many years ago to my first twelve months of trying to understand and walk out the commandments, statutes, and ordinances, it was indeed a stripping or being shaved of “fleshly” things and continually washing my mind with the word of God. While it wasn’t terribly difficult to switch from Sunday to Saturday observance, as YHWH had been teaching me for a few years to truly set apart His holy days, it was quite the shock to understand that Sabbath was far more than the 7th day of each week and to learn that much of what my family considered “good ole home cooking” was not considered fit for consumption by Yahweh.
Isn’t it odd that the congregation will lay their hands on the Levites, while the Levites lay their hands on the animals upon the altar! Throughout Leviticus, the one who brings the sin offering lays his hands upon the animal that became the propitiation for the sin. But, here, the congregation places their hands upon the Levites who have surrendered everything in service to the community. Ray Gardner demystifies this statute (page 4): “This is a picture of the substitutionary sacrifice with the Levites acting as intercessors or Priests. They are bringing the sins of the people before YHWH as the Priests would do. This is the first time we see YHWH replacing a man for another. We have seen an animal being substituted for a man and being sacrificed for his sins. YHWH is now showing a picture of the redemptive work of the Messiah in His substitutionary death for our sins.” HalleluYah!
Next, let’s touch on the provision for the second Passover.
Num 9:6-14 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day: 7) And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel? 8) And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you. 9) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 10) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD. 11) The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12) They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it. 13) But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin. 14) And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.
It has occurred to me for several years when we get to this parsha that we, Ephraim, are pictured here. The phrase “afar off” is a euphemism for the exiled and scattered (see 1 Kings 8:46, 2 Chron. 6:36, Est. 9:20, Isa. 33:13). We, the former strangers and aliens to the Commonwealth of Israel are those “who were defiled by the dead body of a man.” Hosea declared (Hos. 13:1-2) “when he (Ephraim) offended in Baal, he died. 2) And now they sin more and more…”
Paul taught that we have been resurrected with Messiah to walk in the commandments, statutes, and ordinances:
Eph 2:1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins… 4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
What was the sin of Jeroboam, the first ruler of the Northern Kingdom after Abba separated the ten tribes away from Brother Judah? Golden calves, changing calendar (1 Kings 12:32), banishment of the Levites (2 Chron. 11:14), establishing his own priesthood (1 Kings 13:33). Dead things… we are so blessed to have second chances. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us! How can we present this good news to entice our brothers in mainstream Christianity to join us for Passover next year?
Touching on the silver trumpets, the Hebrew word for trumpet is H2689 khats-o-tser-aw’ and not H7782 which is shofar or ram’s horn. They are two different instruments.
Num 10:2 Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece (mik-shaw’ H4749) shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.
The word mik-shaw’ means to be molded by hammering or to be beaten out of one piece or work, an upright, whole piece. Doing so would make it possible to construct instruments that could be played in harmony, unlike animal horns which each have their own unique sound. This is yet another allusion to the work of hammering and beating that is necessary to prepare each part of the body to be united as one. Silver is the requirement for redemption of the firstborn (Lev. 18:17-18).
“Moreover, Moses was the inventor of the form of their trumpet, which was made of silver. – Josephus Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews; III.2.6, translated by Whiston, William, 1773. Numerous ancient coins preserve the images of these trumpets, as can be seen here.
Keep your ears tuned! We will journey again during the Second Exodus.
Jeremiah 23:7 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 8) but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”
Time does not permit me to comment this week on the departure from Sinai and the accompanying fear and doubt that such transition often brings, or the issue of complaining and being stuffed with quail, nor of the connection of jealousy and leprosy. Perhaps next year we will begin with these.