Parashah #35:Naso (Take) B’midbar (Numbers) 4:21-7:89

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #35: Naso (Take) B’midbar (Numbers) 4:21-7:89
Haftarah: Shof’tim (Judges) 13:2-25
B’rit Chadashah: Yochanan 7:53-8:11

Today I am going to expound upon our discussion concerning the importance of order and organization on earth as it is in heaven. Indeed, YHVH/Yahshua is a G-d of order. The Kingdom of heaven is just one example of an organization that will have rules and regulations, and a hierarchy designed according to G-d’s Torah which provides us numerous examples of the type of order and organization we can expect to see and experience during Yahshua’s Millennial reign.
At the point in history described in our parashah, everything focused on the occupation of the Land by Israel that had not yet come to fruition. G-d accomplished all the necessary preparations for the Israelite occupation. He delivered them from Egypt, formed them into a great nation as He promised Avraham (Gen. 12:2), and encouraged the Israelites toward the reality of occupying Canaan by way of setting up a government and way of life and worship that would reflect their status as an example to the pagan world and as G-d’s holy people.
The first four chapters in the book of Numbers provide us with the directions Adonai gave Moshe as he prepared to make the journey, leading approximately 1.2 million men, women, and children to the promised land. In the first chapter, a census was taken to identify all who were eligible for military service. Chapter 2 provides the information on how the tribes were to be arranged and their marching order. In chapters 3-4 the provisions for care and protection of the tabernacle were given. Moving to chapter 5, the focus shifts from instructions for the nation to individuals within the nation.
The first task was to get rid of the unclean, to expel from the camp, everyone with tzara’at, everyone with a discharge, and whoever was unclean because they touched a corpse. The unclean had to be expelled from the camp because Adonai said “I live among you” (Num.5:3). There is a deeper meaning to this concrete command that the Israelites were accustomed to, so Adonai used the visual, tangible, and audible terminology and examples to make His point. The leper represented the ugliness of sin, if not healed, continues to take its toll. Defilement of a corpse was a reminder of the ultimate result of sin, eternal death and separation from G-d. The point of these commands was that G-d and sin cannot live together. True believers must continually remain cognizant of this reality and remain ever aware that if we provide a spiritual entry point for sin, Satan will enter and corrupt/defile our minds and hearts. We must insulate ourselves physically and spiritually, just as Noach insulated the ark inside and out.
The remainder of chapter 5 describes a case whereby a man suspects his wife of adultery although there were no witnesses. How could she be vindicated if she were innocent, and if she were guilty, who could accurately judge her? The process of “testing” for guilt or innocence was directed by Adonai, and it makes the point that concerning all sin, G-d knows and G-d judges. He alone is the rightful Judge.
Looking at the nation of Israel collectively, there is no doubt that many sins would be committed on the way to Canaan and many people would be suspected of committing a sin even though they were innocent. Ther would have to be a very clear consistent understanding of G-d’s justice system by the leaders and the people to insure that people were dealt with consistent fairness. From this one example of accused adultery and how Adonai addressed it, the Israelites were clearly taught that sins committed by the flesh are basically sins of the heart and only G-d knows the heart and is the only rightful Judge. This truth was emphasized in Yahshua’s teachings in the B’rit Chadashah (Refreshed, renewed Covenant). In Ecclesiastes 3:17; 12:14, Romans 2:6-11, Matthew 16:27, 1 Corinthians 4-5, and Revelation 20:12 make it very clear that we will be judged for all of our thoughts ad deeds/works. The instructions Adonai gave to the Israelites described in our parashah, established the “house rules” to which G-d will hold us accountable, just as He did the new nation of Israel. Remember, G-d is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Malachi 3:6). Concerning His Torah/Instructions, we are told “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Matt. 5:18 NIV).
Haftarah: Shof’tim (Judges) 13:2-25
This chapter describes G-d’s rescue of the people of Israel after a 40-year rule under the Philistines. Of course, this was not a straight-forward rescue. G-d works in mysterious ways. Man could never have predicted the use of Shimshon (Samson) in the way he was blessed and used by G-d, allowed to fall from grace with Delilah, and then redeemed through his self-nullification and repentance with his final mitzvoth being the destruction of more Philistines than he’d killed in his life. One lesson of many in this passage is that we must learn to trust G-d for our every need. Situations that may seem hopeless in our lives are in reality situations orchestrated or allowed by G-d to demonstrate His power and be glorified as the One True G-d. This is the whole point of living. We recited the Akdamus during Shavu’ot that contained several verses addressing this very point. Ezekiel 39:7 speaks against Magog in the context of the Gog/Magog war waged against Israel that will also result in the nations’ acknowledgement that G-d is Adonai; the Holy One of Israel. We read: “I will also send fire against Magog and against those living securely in the coastlands; then they will know that I am Adonai. I will make my holy name known among my people Israel; I will not allow my holy name to be profaned any longer. Then the Goyim will know that I am Adonai, the Holy One of Israel. Yes, this is coming, and it will be done,’ says Adonai Elohim; ‘this is the day about which I have spoken.’”
B’rit Chadashah: Yochanan (John) 7:53-8:11
This passage takes us back to the issue of a woman who becomes impure by lying with another man. But before we address this, we must understand that the Torah teachers and the Pharisees were trying to trap Yahshua. Under Roman rule it was illegal for Jewish courts to enforce a death sentence, but that did not always succeed in preventing them (Acts 7:58-9). Furthermore the Torah states in Lev. 20:10, “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, that is, with the wife of a fellow countryman, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” However there is a difference in what happened in this account and that of our parashah. In John 8:3 the woman was caught in the act of lying with a man. Just what happened to the man we are not told. Regardless, in the parashah, G-d established the test of purity for a woman whose husband was suspicious of her but had no proof that she was unfaithful. Num. 5:13 states “if another man goes to bed with her without her husband’s knowledge, so that she becomes impure secretly, and there is no witness against her, and she was not caught in the act…;” In John, the accusers make the woman stand in the middle of the group (John 8:3). In Num. 5:15 the woman was to be taken to the Cohen with an offering for the husband’s jealousy. The woman was then taken to stand alone before Adonai. The Torah teachers and the Pharisees unknowingly placed the woman before YHVH/Yahshua, yet there was no husband present to condemn her of adultery. With no husband to condemn her, there was no reason to judge her (John 8:10-11). In verse 5 Moshe is cited as is the Torah for the prescribed punishment. Yahshua’s response showed four things: He was not against the Torah, He was merciful toward the woman, He opposed her sin (Ex. 20:14), and He could silence hecklers and put them to shame (compare Mt. 22:46).
YHVH/Yahshua knows our motives before we ever act, and we will be held accountable for every deed (Rev. 20:12). We must examine ourselves carefully and often (Psalm 139:23) striving for the goal of being declared a “good and faithful servant…”
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart