Shabbat Bible Study for 13 February 2021
©2021 Mark Pitrone & Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 2 Sabbath 48 – 13Feb2021
Numbers 2:1-34 – [No Prophet] – Psalm 92 – Luke 15:1-7
Open the link above in another browser window to see a graphic of some of what we will be discussing over the next few minutes.
B’midbar 2:1-34 – Each Tribe had its own standard, H1714 – degel, a banner or flag by which the families were to pitch their sukkoth, each family in the camp corresponding to his tribe. I assume that each camped according to his family, as well. The ‘ensign’, H226 – oth, of his father’s house was the individual tribal banner. So the degel of the House of Yehudah was the ‘Standard’ of Yehudah’s camp, which included the tribes of Yehudah, I think flanked by the tribes of Yissachar and Zevulon, each camping under their oth. I picture them in my military mind leaving camp by ranks; the center rank being Yehudah, followed by the right rank of Yissachar and then the left rank of Zevulon; and so on through the camps. It could also be that Yehudah camped to the East side of the camp, then Yissachar immediately to his west and Zevulon between Yissachar and the camp of Moshe, Aharon and their families. The Mishkan was at the center of the camp, as we discussed last week. The camp’s leading tribe’s oth, Yehudah’s in our example above, was also the camp’s degel, or main banner, I think. Stone’s Chumash has a good note on v.2 concerning the banners and ensigns on pg.732-733. So the eastern camp was under Yehudah’s banner and ensign. Which led off when they broke camp, followed by Yissachar and Zevulon. The Chumash notes that the camp had a radius of not more than 2000 cubits, or the outliers would be unable to go to the Mishkan on Shabbat. I do not think that is correct, because getting all 2.5 million Israelites into a circle of at most 4000 cubits diameter, or an area of about 12.5 million square cubits, including the Mishkan and its court and the adjacent camps of the Levites, would be very tight. There were no hi-rise sukkahs.
The tribal camps correspond to the main constellations of the zodiac/Mazzeroth, and the main camps correspond to the 4 creatures of Revelation and the 4 sides of Ezekiel chapter 1’s chariot. Here’s how I think it looks:
Judah – Aries
Issachar – Taurus East Camp – Lion’s face
Zebulun – Gemini
Reuben – Cancer
Simeon – Leo South Camp – Man’s face
Gad – Virgo
Ephraim – Libra
Menashe – Scorpio West Camp – Ox’s Face
Benjamin – Sagittarius
Dan – Capricorn
Asher – Aquarius North Camp – Eagle’s face
Naphtali – Pisces
This order of tribes and their corresponding constellations is exactly how they appear in the heavens. The Mishkan and its furnishings and the aron, or ark was central to the nation both in the camp and in the 42 moves during the Wilderness Adventure. Yehudah’s camp moved first, followed by Reuven’s camp, followed by the Levi’im and the Mishkan, followed by Ephraim, Menashe and BenYamin, the sons of Rachel’s camp, followed lastly by Dan’ camp. Chumash says that there is dispute about where the Levites were in the marches, but v.17 looks pretty unambiguous to me; the Mishkan, priests, and Levite attendees went after Reuven and were followed by Yoseph. We’ll get a good look at the Levites’ camps next week. Q&C
No prophet today (though Ezekiel 1 would have been good, because the camp in the Wilderness resembles the chariot with the ‘wheel within a wheel’ [camp within a camp], the 4 faces [corresponding to the major camps in both wheels] on the sides facing the cardinal points of the compass, that the angels can only move as the Spirit of Y’hovah moves, and the lesser follows the greater all through the spiritual hierarchy – all very mystical. Didn’t have a lot of time to study through that, and the rabbis think that if you do so before you’ve gotten a VERY good handle on Torah, it will drive you stark, raving mad. I’m already crazy enough, so it’s probably for the best. If y’all have looked into it, we can discuss it a bit – I think we’ll have time today.)
David Negley [a friend of mine who died a couple of years ago; we’ve been discussing this for about 10 years] added: I just looked at the full-sized pic for the first time. Is anyone else reminded of, “Ezekiel saw the wheel… the wheel in the middle of the wheel”?
I replied: Yes, David. That’s a good catch, too. Now I see the 30 degree∘ pie-shape of the tribal camps even better: A center circle for the tent of meeting, then  90∘ degree pie-shaped wedges (less the center circle of the ToM) for each of the Levitical camps; then another, much larger, circle of 12 30∘ wedges on the outside edge. Each set of 3 tribes representing the quarters or seasons of the years, and each tribe representing a chodesh of the year. (This is illustrated below – I HOPE)
Then: Also the 4 camps could be represented on Ezekiel’s chariot by the ‘faces’ on each side.
Then, upon checking Ezek.1, v.10 that: Face of a man in front, a lion on the right, an ox on the left and an eagle on the opposite side – Was Ezekiel looking toward the north at the chariot coming towards him? That’s where the whirlwind is coming from, so I’ll assume “Yes!” Ezekiel was facing toward the whirlwind and the chariot is coming from the north, showing Reuven’s camp (man’s face/south side) coming towards him, Judah’s camp (lion’s face/east side) on the right, Ephraim’s camp (ox’s face/west side) to the left and Dan’s camp (eagle’s face/north side) on the other side of the chariot, opposite Ezekiel. Getting cooler! Add that the meeting of the 75 [Yah, Moshe, Aharon, Nadav and Avihu + the 70 Elders of Israel] on the mount in Ex 24 was on the north side of Horeb and it’s even COOLER!
Tehellim 92.1-5a – “To give thanks to Y’hovah and to sing praises to Elyon’s Name is good”,
is as literal a translation as can be made to v.1. It is a mitzvah, a righteous act, to give thanks and sing praises to his Name. We are supposed to do mitzvoth, to bring praises to the Most High’s Name thereby, to ‘prove’ to ourselves and to those who see our good works ‘what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of Elyon’ (Rom.12.2). No good deed will go unpunished (by the world), or unrewarded (by Y’hovah). When we show his faithfulness to deliver on his promises to us, we generally tick the world off and it tries to shut us up, which brings even MORE reward from Y’hovah, if we remain faithful to him. HaSatan hates it when Y’hovah gets the hodoth (glory) and zamriym (praises). So when we sing his praises we get a double blessing; the blessing from Y’hovah and the attack of the enemy, which results in more blessing from Y’hovah, if we endure it with patience, trusting him to lead us, to flank us and to cover our 6 (there are those 4 camps again, seen from a different angle).
Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. (Psalms 142:7)
Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. (Psalms 32:7)
In what do we triumph? We triumph in the works of Elyon’s hands, not our own. He receives our praises in the same manner in which we offer them; in the how AND in the why. V.5 is a transition from our praise to Y’hovah for his works to our wonder at Y’hovah for his ways.
Vv.5b-9 – When it talks about Y’hovah’s thoughts being deep, the Hebrew word is machsh’votheycha which has a root chashav (H2803) that means ‘to weave a plan’. Isn’t that exactly what he does? He pronounces a judgment for example against YechonYah’s seed that none will prosper on the throne of David – and none ever does. But he’s also promised David that his seed would rule a worldwide kingdom. How can these BOTH be true?! By the plans of Y’hovah, who weaves the thread of his truth around all the seemingly insurmountable judgments that he has pronounced on his unfaithful children, like he had Bezaleel work the gold and fine linen with the woolen yarn in the Mishkan and the High Priest’s vestures.
YechonYah certainly will have none of his seed prosper on the throne of David. And David will certainly have his Seed rule a worldwide Kingdom. And it will be true, both in metaphor and in physical fact. Y’hovah is a wise painter, who will not paint himself into a corner. We may not see the escape route in advance, but rest assured that it is there.
The carpenter of Nazareth, Yoseph, was the legal heir to David’s throne by direct father-to-son inheritance through the seed of YechonYah, as can be seen in Matthew’s genealogy. It is obvious to even the most casual observer that Y’hovah’s judgment was in full force at that time.
But in Luke’s genealogy, we see Miriam’s lineage through a different son of David. So Yeshua IS a literal, physical son of David through Miriam’s umpty-ump grandfather Nathan, and legally the Seed of David through Yoseph, Miriam’s husband, the rightful heir to the throne through his umpty-ump grandfather, YechonYah. Yoseph’s act of naming the boy at his CC and his dedication conferred all the rights and privileges of the firstborn on his adopted son, Yeshua. Y’hovah’s thoughts, his machsh’vot are very deep indeed – intricately woven and of cunning work, like the fabric of the Mishkan and Aharon’s vestures. The man who sees only the pashat, which is like a skin of flesh, without seeing the deeper truths; the bones, meat, and sinews that the skin of pashat covers; may know the works of Y’hovah, but will not know his ways:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Y’hovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
And so we begin to understand why the wicked prosper, when we understand that there is a natural law of sowing and reaping, that what we do has consequences, whether for good or ill. We reap what we sow. The most wicked man who ever lived has done some mitzvoth, even if by accident, and MUST reap the rewards of those mitzvoth. This is why the wicked live better than they deserve in this life, because they have no eternal life in which to garner the reward for their mitzvoth. V.9 says they will be scattered, yithpardu. I think this may speak of the complete dissolution of the wicked in the Lake of Fire. This is also why the righteous seem to suffer more than they deserve in this life (especially when seen in light of the wicked living well), because they will receive no condemnation in the olam haba, the world to come, and MUST therefore reap the harvest of their fleshly deeds in the flesh.
Vv.10-15 give us a preview of the great blessing that comes to the righteous in the olam haba. It is also briefly described in Rev.21-22.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev.21.1-4)
1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Rev.22.1-4)
Luke 15.1-7 – 165). Parable of the Lost Sheep – Remember that he used the last passage to weed out the show seekers, those who were just hanging on to see miracles, and who are really not seeking after the Father.
25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 14.25-35)
So here we have publicans and sinners, who heard what he just said, coming near to him. They were hearing a message of hope for themselves that they never heard from the Jews, the leaders of the Hebrew religion. The scribes’ and Pharisees’ attitude toward them was clear in v.2. These were the scum of the earth, as far as the Jews were concerned, and never mind that they were sons of Avraham as well. The Jews, the political/religious leadership of the Hebrews, didn’t offer the gospel of the kingdom to the gentiles like they were supposed to, and now we know why. They didn’t even offer it to sons of Avraham that they deemed unworthy, so why offer it to Goyim? I mean, besides the fact that they were commanded to preach the gospel of peace between Y’hovah and man
44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. (Ps.18.44)
9 Y’hovah preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. (Ps.146.9)
1 For Y’hovah will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. (Is.14.1)
9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold Elohechem! (Is.40.9)
7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Elohecha reigneth! (Is.52.7)
15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off. (Nahum1.15)
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Rom.10.15)
Yeshua begins to preach the gospel in a parable that noone could misunderstand. If you have a flock of 100 and 99 are always nearby, but 1 strays, you go looking for him, right? You’re relatively certain the 99 will still be near the sheepfold when you return from your search, so you go looking. Now, will not Y’hovah do the same? When he has a flock of 100 and 99 of them don’t stray from the safety of the fold, but one goes missing, he looks for that stray until he finds him. The publicans and sinners must have rejoiced to hear this parable. It told them that Y’hovah had not and would not forsake them, anymore than he’d forsake you. Jn.10.27-30 speaks to this end. Yeshua and Abba will not leave us nor forsake us. We may backslide, we may forsake him, but he will not forsake us. He will look for us until he finds us. He will not, however, force us to return, but, like the father of the prodigal son (Lk.15.11-32), will give us time to repent and return to him. The implication is that the Father sends his Spirit to seek us, and he calls us to repentance. It is then up to us to heed the call and turn to him. When we turn to him and begin to approach, he takes hold of us and carries us into the safety of the fold. And then he throws a rip-roaring party. The key is the repentance, the change of mind from that which we want to that which he wants for us. This is occasioned by the renewing of our minds by the application of the Word of Y’hovah, and transformation thereby into the likeness of Moshiach, the living, breathing Word, so we can “PROVE that good and acceptable and perfect will of Eloha”. As the old saying goes, ‘The proof is in the putting,’ or in the doing of the will of Avinu. Q&C