I Samuel 11:14–12:22
This week’s Scripture Portion begins with the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, Abiram and 250 of the leaders of the congregation of Israel. Again Moses is being accused of setting himself apart from the rest of the congregation, but this time they include Aaron. Now these are the men of ‘name’ which means they are the Levities that have been separated from the rest of the congregation of Yahweh to perform the work that was needed in the Dwelling place. From what I can see this is a very peculiar time in the congregations journey through the wilderness, as now we see not the regular folks rising against Moses but the head or leaders of the people who were already set apart by Yahweh to perform very special duties. Moses tells them to come before the Tent of meeting with their fire holders. We are going to focus on two points of this Scripture portion:
1. Why did this group of already set apart Levities feel that they had to rebel?
2. Why almonds on Aaron’s rod?
The theme of this Scripture portion is coveting. The tenth Commandment of Yahweh tells us not to covet. What will a coveting heart do? Think about it, when people are wanting what someone else has many times they will go to any extreme to obtain what they ‘think’ their neighbor has. This was the case with Korach, Dathan and Abiram, because when they approached Moses and Aaron, Moses told them to do what Nadab and Abihu where destroyed for and because they were so consumed by covetness they fell right into his own demise. Moses told them to bring their fire holders to burn incense before Father and that whomever was wrong let the earth open up and consume them. Seems that these men should have thought maybe that was a little dangerous considering Father had destroyed Aaron’s sons because of the very same thing. The mixing of the incense was supposed to be done exactly as Yahweh had prescribed, and when not done correctly it meant death, Korach, Dathan and Abiram saw this first hand. They were consumed and became swallowed up by the earth, and in my view this was symbolic of them being swallowed up by their jealousy in wanting what Yahweh had given to someone else. They wanted to be the ‘big kehunnah’ (the word in Hebrew for priesthood H3550) and wanted to set themselves up in a place that Father had set for another…their hearts were not right.Coveting is a strange spirit. It causes people to hate others without having prior knowledge or understanding of a situation. There’s much to say concerning the statement “the grass always looks greener on the other side.”
The tenth Commandment states: Exodus 20:17 “You do not covet your neighbour’s house, you do not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbour.”
One really key point in this portion is that they knew the danger of presenting Yahweh with ‘strange fire’ but because they we so engulfed in their own wants and desires that they dispelled Father’s Power. It reminds me of a child who knows the punishment for disobedience but does the deed anyway saying in his own mind that the pleasure of doing the deed outweighs the punishment. This is a great case scenario for that way of thinking. At no time should disobedience be an option for the people of Yahweh. This is why Messiah Yahshuah said it is better to be obedient than to give of sacrifices, why because in Scripture sacrifices are given when one had sinned, so what Messiah was saying was to not sin so that sacrifices would not be required. The story does not end there because the 250 men of ’name’ stand against Moses and Aaron and Father consumes them with fire…they become their own burnt offering and then Father says something very important to us in this as He goes on to tell Moses to take their fire holders beat them down and place them on the Dwelling Place. Father accepted them as sacrifices, for their own deeds.
It is clear in: Number 15:24 – 31, the Word says: Then it shall be, if it is done by mistake, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall prepare one young bull as a burnt offering, as a sweet fragrance to Yahweh, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the right-ruling, and one male goat as a sin offering. ‘Then the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl, and it shall be forgiven them, for it was by mistake. And they shall bring their offering, an offering made by fire toYahweh, and their sin offering before Yahweh, for their mistake. ‘And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl and the stranger who sojourns in their midst, because all the people did it by mistake. ‘And if a being sins by mistake, then he shall bring a female goat a year old as a sin offering. ‘And the priest shall make atonement for the being who strays by mistake, when he sins by mistake before Yahweh, to make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. ‘For him who does whatever by mistake there is one Torah, both for him who is native among the children of Yisra’ĕl and for the stranger who sojourns in their midst. ‘But the being who doeswhatever defiantly, whether he is native or a stranger, he reviles Yahweh, and that being shall be cut off from among his people. ‘Because he has despised the word of Yahweh, and has broken His command, that being shall certainly be cut off, his crookedness is upon him.’ ”
In the above Scriptures Yahweh is clear that if a man makes a error by ‘mistake’ that he can present a sacrifice and it be accepted and received but then we see something that people tend to look over and that is, ‘But the being who does whatever defiantly, whether he is native or a stranger, he reviles Yahweh, and that being shall be cut off from among his people. ‘Because he has despised the word of Yahweh, and has broken His command, that being shall certainly be cut off, his crookedness is upon him.’ ” What does this mean? When you sin defiantly your sins will be upon you…as in Korah, Dathan, Abiram and the 250 men of ‘name.’ Father Yahweh is not a respecter of person. Yahweh goes on to say again in this same portion, ‘For him who does whatever by mistake there is one Torah, both for him who is native among the children of Yisra’ĕl and for the stranger who sojourns in their midst. This completely dispels that thought that there is a Law/Torah/Word (they are the same) for the Jews and another for ‘strangers of gentiles.’ As I have stated in past commentaries according to Ephesians 2, once we come into the belief of Messiah Yahshuah and receive His Blood for the atonement of sins we are no longer ‘gentiles’ but have come into the commonwealth of Israel, so we are to look like Israel and walk like Israel…we are no longer without Yahweh and excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, HalleluYah! In this there is accountability and we will be held accountable for the deeds done in this body and we will be measured by Yahweh’s Measuring Tool. In John the 9th chapter Yahshuah heals a man born blind on the Sabbath and the Pharisees argue with the man concerning who Messiah is. This seems very familiar in relationship to the man picking up sticks on the Sabbath in Numbers 15:32? Messiah is the Kohen Gadol (“High Priest”), if a boy child is born on and the eighth day falls on the Sabbath what happens? The child is circumcised just as the Torah/Word commands. This would be classified as doing good or ‘right’ on the Sabbath, and Yahshuah Messiah knew this, but as Scripture tells us many of the leaders of Israel fought Him for doing ‘good’ on the Sabbath. The High Priest has a call to perform the duties for the community of Israel and sometimes those duties such as this which was ‘time sensitive’. The Scripture does not give an explanation on why the man was picking up sticks, but it does not say that he was called to any specific assignment therefore Father Yahweh made the judgment call and said that he should be destroyed from among the people.
All of the above tells us that there are clear assignments given and we as people Yahweh must follow the guidelines set in place for us in accordance with our duties within the kingdom of Yahweh. We must be careful that we are not working outside of what Father commands for the work that we are called to do. In ministry I see so many people who lust and covet other’s gifts and positions. The coveters almost always, do not have a clue on what Father is calling them to; not that they don’t hear or already know what they are supposed to do, but they are in denial of what they were chosen for in ministry or their gifts are leading them in one way and they are constantly trying to seek out something they think to be more ‘glamorous’ in their minds, absolutely disregarding the call of the Father, ultimately making decisions that can not only disrupt their progress but others working with them in ministry. This is a very dangerous person and they may sometimes destroy everything around them because they have the spirit of rebellion, as stated in 1Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as wickedness and idolatry.” The Prophet Samuel was speaking to King Saul concerning him not carrying out the work that he was called to do, King Saul was in violation of a direct command from Yahweh and in the end result was the loss of Yahweh’s Spirit with him and finally death. The most important point that I want to focus on concerning in this is that the very ‘thing’ that Father commanded King Saul to destroy came back and destroyed. Be careful that you do not have the spirit of coveting, because that spirit can lead to rebellion and ultimately on to self-destruction.
As we continue through this portion of Scripture we see Father confirming that He has chosen Aaron by allowing Aaron’s rod to bud almonds. I actually searched the internet and found some wonderful qualities in the almond that I believe symbolize the characteristics of the position of the Kohen Gadol (high priest).
Known as the king of nuts, is a highly nutritious food.
· It is rich in almost all the elements needed by the Body.
· It is an effective health-building food, both for the body and mind
· Valuable food remedy for several common ailments.
There are two varieties of almonds, the sweet and the bitter. There are thin-skinned and thick-skinned among the sweet variety. The thin-skinned, known as Kagzi in vernacular, is the best for use. The bitter variety of almonds should not be used as they contain prussic acid, a deadly poison. They have, however, some commercial importance and are used for producing almond oil, perfume and cosmetics. Priests were called to stand and be the keepers of the Dwelling Place, the cities of refuge if an accident occurred and finally make atonement for the people when they sin. In my eyes this would be the sweet almond, standing in a place a ministry for the people of Yahweh. Then there is the warrior in that same job description, they would destroy anyone attempting to come into the Dwelling Place who does not belong there, kill the sacrifice and sprinkle blood around the alter and curtain in the Holy Place; this would be the bitter. So we have the sweet and the bitter in the levitical priest as represented in the almonds budding from the rod of the Aaron the high priest. Only the Father would make such a connection as He is constantly teaching us of how Great He Is through all of our senses, HalleluYah!
In closing we must be mindful and attentive to the Voice of the Ruach Kodesh (Holy Spirit) so that we know what our call is and that we will be satisfied in what Father has placed in our hands for ministry. Rabbi Shaul (Paul) states in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak concerning need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am.” Father Yahweh knows the work that He created you for; be obedient and do that and you will perform work unto Righteousness not to destruction. Just as the 250 men of ‘name’ and King Saul became their own sacrifices you do not want your sins to be on your head by being rebellious, because that spirit is the spirit of the anti-messiah and in that there is only destruction and death.
Blessings and Shalom!