Posts Tagged With: unity

The Unity of the Scroll

close-up-of-torah-scrollJust before Rosh HaShanah, I had the pleasure of being up close and personal with a Torah scroll. My mentor, Dr. Hollisa Alewine, author of the Creation Gospel, was preparing to sing the Akedia (Binding of Isaac) for their Rosh Hashanah service. I was like a fly on the wall watching her careful handling of the leaves (pages of the scroll) and the Words. The Scroll was rolled out to reveal Bereshit (Genesis) 22 in the Torah.

Although I’ve seen Torah scrolls open before, this time was different. As a matter of fact, many things really resonated down to my bones at this particular season of teshuvah. I gazed upon the leaf with its beautifully penned black letters. The deer skin hide upon which they were written 300 or so years ago had turned into a rich amber patina. What struck me so hard was the flow of the Hebrew letters. I was instantly reminded of the River of Life.

I knew that the vowel points would be absent, but the lack of spacing between the words caused my eyes to see (in the spirit) the unity and oneness of the Word of God. Each section of the Torah appears as one ginormous vowel-less Word! To put it another way, each letter is one building block in a stream of continuous Truth. There is no separation. No division. Nothing is disjointed. Everything is connected and cohesive. Removing even a single letter would diminish the beauty, oneness, and unity of YHWH’s Word.

However, to make these consonant letters come to life requires breath or Spirit. One must open their mouth and like a shofar become the vowels that ignite the fiery Words of our Elohim. The ebb and flow of the cantillation flows like rushing waters from the flesh of the Living. The scroll is made from the flesh of a beast created on day six, but it is the spirit of a man/woman made in the image of Elohim that gives it life. Are we a vessel that gives the letter life? Or is our focus only on the dead things of the flesh?

Though touching the letters can harm the scroll’s integrity, I was able to touch the baby soft under side of the scroll. A beast only shows or gives access to its most vulnerable parts when it is submissive to a Higher Power, the Alpha. When we submit our lower or beastly nature (flesh) to the Word of the Almighty God, we become like the deerskin scroll. Through the death of our flesh, we become a living testimony to the Life and Light and Power of a Greater Resurrected Life.

The Words of Life are inscribed on the flesh (of a beast). You are either a man (woman) created in the image of Adonai or you are ruled by the lower nature, the image of a beast. This is true in the beginning in Genesis 1 on day 6 and at the end in the Book of Revelation. Abba desires that His Word be upon a heart of clean flesh. Long after these flesh and blood bodies have worn out and passed away, the Word written on hearts of flesh LIVES.

When Abba teaches a lesson, He usually gives more than one example. When the Hidden Day (Feast of Trumpets) finally arrived, I witnessed this same message through the Living Stones of the people at the Olive Branch. During the service this same scroll was carried around the assembly in a processional and then lifted up high before the people. The Body was One with her King. The King was the focus and the unity was profound. We were of one accord, all connected like the letters on the scroll. All flesh was submissive showing its soft under belly to the Master of the Universe.[1] Words of Life were being etched upon clean flesh.

abrahamWhen Dr. Alewine began to sing the Akeida, the Shekinah (Divine Presence) was heavy and awe inspiring. I could barely stand on my feet. Abraham was willing to take the thing He loved most in this world and give it to Adonai. We also must be willing to submit ourselves to one another and to our King. Flesh must be sacrificed before one can enter the Presence. This is how unity is accomplished and where the glory of Adonai dwells. (Ps. 84)

During these Days of Awe, my prayer is that we learn to walk out the unity of the scroll. We are the Living Letters of Life that flow out from the throne of the King of the Universe. When we open our mouths of flesh, may they be filled with truth, mercy, and righteousness. May we be vessels of reconciliation, love, and light.

L’Shanah Tovah!

  As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. (Ps. 42:1)


[1] The unified Word written on flesh is not just about submitting to the King. It also requires submitting to and loving one another. These are the two great commandments. We will continue to see divisions and separations when the beast (person ruled by the flesh) reigns in our hearts and in our midst. May Abba send us a minister like Nathan to tell us that, “we are that man/woman.” If we have given ourselves over to the beast/flesh, may we repent.

 

Categories: Creation Gospel, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Light of the World Part II

The mystery of light still baffles modern scientists and theologians alike. We explored some of the reasons why in The Light of World Part I. In this post, I hope to take the scientific and spiritual dynamics a step further.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is the term used by scientists to describe the entire range of natural light. This spectrum is broken into seven specific regions. Subdividing into smaller spectra is done mostly on the basis of how each region of electromagnetic waves interacts with matter. The diagram below depicts the electromagnetic spectrum’s seven regions.

light spectrum

As the graphic above shows, visible light only comprises about 1.5% of the entire light spectrum. Thus, we could say that we are “blind” to the vast majority of light. And the only reason we can see visible light is because God built special receivers right into our heads: our eyes.

If the natural world teaches us about the spiritual world, then we can deduce that (left to ourselves) we are “blinded” to at least 98.5% of spiritual light as well. Since light in the Bible is often synonymous with the Torah (Law), Word, and Yeshua (Jesus), is it any wonder that God compares us to a blind person when we reject His Law, Word, and/or Yeshua? Consider the following Scripture verses:

The Torah (law), the Word and Yeshua are LIGHT

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  (Ps.119:105)

The entrance of thy words give light; it gives understanding to the simple. (Ps.119:130)

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law (Torah) is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: (Pr. 6:23)

To the law (Torah) and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Is. 8:20)

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  (20)  “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  (21)  “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (Jn. 3:19-21) 

“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. (Jn. 12:46)

 

What the above verses teach us is that God’s light is the only true light. Only His light can illuminate our darkness. Therefore, it is vital that we receive His light. Sadly, many of those that claim to follow Yeshua (Jesus) reject His Torah or law, and replace it with traditions of their own making. According to Isaiah (8:20), there is no light in this type of worldview.

Perhaps Israel (God’s people — including both Jews and Gentiles), truly are “blind in part” as Paul stated in Romans 11. Something is missing. But this is a lengthy discussion best treated with its own set of posts. For now, consider that God uses the Torah (law), the Word and Yeshua as equivalent expressions throughout Scripture. Each of these concepts is what YHWH judges to be His LIGHT.  And they are NOT mutually exclusive of one another no matter what modern theology claims.

It is no coincidence that the electromagnetic spectrum has SEVEN ranges or types of natural light. Spiritually speaking, this is a perfect picture of the SEVEN branched menorah — the epitome of God’s Spiritual light that radiates through and by our Messiah, Yeshua.

Visible Light

If all the different wavelengths of visible light fall on the eye at the same time, white light is seen. However, if that light is refracted, there are SEVEN (that number keeps popping up!) possible colors visible to the human eye as shown in the figure below.

light prism

ROY-G-BIV is the acronym that represents all of the colors in the visible spectrum of light. R (red) – O (orange) – Y (yellow) – G (green) – B (blue) – I (indigo) – V (violet). Not only are those the colors we can see as humans, but they are also in the right order. Red has the longest wavelength and violet has the shortest. In other words, red is the least energetic and violet is the most energetic of the visible spectrum[1]. We will look more closely at these colors when we explore the “rainbow” in a later post.

The prophet Ezekiel was blessed with a colorful vision of heaven. In the verses below, notice the many colored stones, the mention of fire (a form of light), and the reference to the rainbow. All these images are given to us by the prophet to describe the throne room and glory of YHWH.

Ezek. 1:26-28  And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.  (27)  And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.  (28)  As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of YHWH. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

In a like manner, the Beloved disciple John was also given a vision of the throne room. Notice the similarities and the reference to colors and light.

Rev 4:2-3  And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.  (3)  And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

Ezekiel and John could see a rainbow (refracted light) surrounding the throne of YHWH, which means the one at its center, must be nothing less than pure white light! Also notice Ezekiel’s description of seeing amber. Amber has a GOLDEN look and sheen. Can you think of a symbol in scripture that is amber or golden in color and also displays light?

The Menorah

There is no better symbol in all of scripture to encompass the theme of “YHWH/Yeshua as Light” than the Menorah. The menorah was first described to us through Moses when YHWH gave him instructions for the furnishings of the holy place in the tabernacle. Menorah is the Hebrew word for a candlestick or lamp stand. This word literally denotes the means by which light comes or that which bears light. The menorah had a very specific design. Speaking of this holy piece of furniture, YHWH said:

Ex. 25:31-39  And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made… (32)  And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:  (33)  Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick… (37)  And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it…(39)  Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.

While other implements of the sanctuary were to be overlaid with gold, ONLY the menorah was to be made of ONE solid piece of PURE gold. In three passages of scripture, the menorah is called “the pure menorah”[2]. All the tabernacle furnishings were to be made precisely as YHWH showed Moses on the mountain[3], but He repeats the instruction only in reference to the menorah emphasizing its significance.

Ex. 25:40  “So see, and do according to the pattern which was shown to you on the mountain”

Let’s look at some facts about the menorah[4]:

  • It is fashioned out of ONE piece of hammered gold.
  • It’s designed to resemble and almond tree. (Notice its decorations)
  • It has ONE central shaft with 3 out workings on each side. (7 Branches)
  • Common Israelites, not the priests, provided the pure olive oil that kept the menorah continually burning. (Ex. 27:20-21)

One Piece of Hammered Gold

The menorah was the only piece of holy furniture that was made solely of pure gold. Even the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place was made of acacia wood overlaid in gold. The fact that it took one piece of gold measuring a talent to make the menorah speaks to the oneness of this set apart object. Since the Holy Place was completely covered, the menorah would be the only light source for the priests to perform their duties. When you look at or think of the golden menorah, your first thought should be the on its first description: One. Which is UNITY.

Dt. 6:4  “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

Almond Tree

God’s instructions for the menorah included decorations from the almond tree. In Hebrew, the almond is called esh’kedia, which literally translated means “to be alert, watchful, and to be awake”. Interestingly, the almond tree is the first tree to bloom or “wake-up” in Israel in the early spring. Moreover, an almond is shaped like the human eye, thus in Hebrew it is named after the function of the eye. Jeremiah has a passage that illustrates these concepts beautifully.

Jer. 1:11-12  Moreover the word of YHWH came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see the branch of an almond tree [esh kedia]. (12) Then said YHWH unto me, “Thou hast well seen: for I am watching [sho’ked] over my word to perform it.”

In this passage, YHWH uses something very tangible (the almond tree) to picture something abstract (His watchful eyes). Zechariah confirms this image.

Zec. 4:2-6  And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a menorah all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it.  (3)  And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”  (4)  And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”  (5)  Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.”  (6)  Then he said to me, “This is the word of YHWH to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says YHWH of hosts.

The angel goes on to further explain the vision.

Zec. 4:10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. “These seven are the eyes of Yahweh, which range through the whole earth.”

The seven flames of the golden Menorah are like seven eyes proceeding from YHWH (the LORD), that scan to and fro throughout the earth. In both Jeremiah and Zechariah, the emphasis is on seeing and YHWH’s continual watchfulness over the fulfillment of His Word.

Ps. 121:4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.

This motif also suggests that YHWH is the Light (the menorah itself) and that the branches are truly His eyes. These are the seven spirits that John describes in Revelation[5]. In nature, it is through the one pure white channel of visible light refracting into six branches that we are able to see glorious color; and so it is through the one main shaft of the menorah branching into six other flames that we see the glory of our Holy God. Perhaps this why Isaiah says of the BRANCH (Messiah):

Is. 11:1-2  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 YHWH shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of YHWH.

The 7 Branches and 7 Spirits of YHWH

Like the Menorah’s seven branches, there are seven Spirits of God. The fullness of the Spirit of YHWH is represented in the main shaft of the golden menorah. All the other 6 branches are rooted and spring forth from this single shaft: wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and reverence (fear). Each of these manifestations of God’s Spirit operates as creative forces or agents in creation, restoration and renewal from Genesis to Revelation.

As I’ve mentioned in several other places on this blog, Dr. Hollisa Alewine’s The Creation Gospel explores these spirits in detail. If I could recommend one thematic study or biblical paradigm for you to learn, The Creation Gospel would be at the top of the list every time. This study helps you to build understanding by showing you how the smaller pictures found in the Scriptures fits into the greater picture. For now, consider that the 7 Spirits of God are like the 7 tongues of fire that illuminate the golden menorah.

In the following diagram, the electromagnetic spectrum is transposed with a likeness of the tabernacle menorah. Notice the visible spectrum’s 7 colors coming forth from the main stem of “white” light. Remember the heavenly throne room pictured by Ezekiel and John? What better symbolism could have been given to these men to illustrate the majesty of the God of LIGHT? He truly covers Himself with light as a garment!

  Ps. 104:2  Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.

 menorah and light

Conclusion

  • The electromagnetic spectrum depicts 7 forms of light. Of these 7, we can only see 1 tiny sliver equaling 1.5% of the spectrum.
  • Visible white light refracts into 7 seven colors or wavelengths that increase in intensity.
  • YHWH uses a 7 branched golden menorah to symbolize His Light.
  • Imagery in Scripture equates YHWH’s Light with the Torah (Law), His Spirit, Messiah, His Word, His Eyes, His Power, etc.

Do you think it is a coincidence that “science” describes natural light with 7 “manifestations” long after YHWH established this fact in Scripture with the menorah?

More to come on the Rainbow and YHWH’s Throne, The Menorah, the Tree of Life, Mt. Moriah and Resurrection. Click here for Part III.


[1] Creation Gospel students will find this truth rather fascinating because the “spring” side of the menorah deals more with families and individuals while the “fall” side deals with a nation or the nations. There is a direct increase in intensity as the spring feasts of YHWH progress into the fall festivals. This mimics increase in intensity of the colors energy wavelengths as they progress on the spectrum.

[2] Ex. 31:8, 39:37, Lev. 24:4

[3] Ex. 25:9

[4] Valerie Moody has an excellent workbook on the menorah called: Secrets of the Menorah. Even seasoned Hebraic Roots followers will find some treasures in its pages. Although I didn’t see this particular book at her website, you can contact her about possibly obtaining a copy. http://www.vmoody.com/

[5] Rev. 1:4

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Torah Portion: Korach

Numbers 16:1-18:32; 1 Sam. 11:14-12:22; 2 Tim. 2:8-21; Jude 1-25   (K. Gallagher 2011)

 

Korach’s Rebellion

Do we sometimes feel that YHWH has been unfair to us? I shamefully have at times. We know from reading the p’shat or literal meaning of this portion that Korach’s desire is wicked and rebellious. Yet, Korach felt that he was a better choice to lead the people. I’ve been around people like Korach; they desire a form of the priesthood also. They are those that always find fault with leadership and as a result they begin to vocalize their opinions to others in the congregation. Whether they realize it or not, like Korach, they are drawing others unto themselves.

Those that participate in such activities usually do so under the banner of holiness or righteousness. They accuse the leadership in place of not being as righteous or as holy as they should be. Perhaps they accuse the leadership of not being as Torah observant as themselves. They forget that those leaders have been allowed to operate and function by YHWH Himself. Sure there are some legitimate reasons to confront a leader—- like when there is proof of blatant or unrepentant sin. However, far more often than not, that leader is functioning just as YHWH has planned. Among Messianics, there is usually a family or group of families that comes against the leadership because of particular halachah (specific ways a community keeps a commandment) and not sin. And thus, I must wonder if they are in the rebellion like Korach.

Korach felt that he and all Israel were holy. While it is true that those that follow the Elohim of Israel and keep His commandments are holy, the real question is holy for what? In Hebrew the word for holy is “kadosh”; it means to be set-apart for something. But that something can be good or wicked. Kadosh doesn’t function like our English word for holy. This is why in Hebrew a harlot is also called holy; she is set apart for her task or god. The question is to what or to whom are you set apart? We must strive to be “kadosh l’YHWH”—Holy unto Yahweh. There is a big difference.

One striking thing that cannot be overlooked is the condition of the camp at the time this rebellion took place. Last week, the Israelites learned that their lack of fear and trust in the God of Israel would cost their generation the Promised Land. They believed the report given by the 10 negative spies and once again grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The consequences of their sin must have seemed unbearable. Emotions had to be running high in the camp as they pondered their predicament: They would spend the rest of their earthly lives in the wilderness.

With a judgment like that looming over your head, Korach’s message would have been enticing to say the least. Thoughts would race through your mind possibly like the following: “Perhaps, Moses heard wrong. Maybe Korach is right. YHWH loves us too, right? He said we were holy. Look where Moses and Aaron have gotten us—nowhere! It’s not as if Moses and Aaron are perfect. They make mistakes too! Perhaps He will start all over with us! Yes, that’s it! We will get to the Promised Land; glory to God, A-men!” And on and on it would go. You see, it would feel like the right thing to do because it would make your flesh feel better about your lot in life. When YHWH says we don’t get to go somewhere or we don’t get to do something—He means it. We must learn to rest in His sovereignty and FEAR Him and Him alone. YHWH always has us right where He wants us. Whether or not we like it doesn’t matter. Our duty is to fear Him and Keep His commandments and to do so with a spirit of joy! It is possible… with Him. (Mt. 19:26)

Back Up

Let’s rewind this story a bit and ensure that we don’t find ourselves wearing the shoes of rebellion. The first spark of dissent happens after the people (20 years and older) realize that their dreams of entering the Land will NEVER be grasped. People that have had their dreams or agendas are crushed are dangerous. Sadly, their fate is a consequence of their own making (sin). Instead of accepting the Creator’s sovereign ruling, the people want someone to blame. They look to the earthly leadership and plan a mutiny, even though the real culprits are their own evil inclinations and mistakes. Do you suppose that we are any different today?

Moses realizes the enormity of the people’s actions and humbly tries to quiet their emotions by bowing (he has a servant heart!) and reasoning with them. He then devises a plan for all those in rebellion and the current leadership to offer incense before YHWH. In this YHWH would assert His choice (again). But Moses’ words of wisdom do not appease the people. As a matter of fact, they have become so prideful that they continue the onslaught of accusations against Moses and refuse to come when he requests their presence. (vs. 12)

Wow. Instead of looking at the real problem (their own evil hearts), they blame Moses. I believe this occurs again and again in our own assemblies. In 16:13-14, it becomes obvious that the people have deluded themselves into believing that their punishment is Moses’ fault. While it is most apparent to us that their accusations are completely unwarranted, the people feel justified in their actions.

When issues of halachah surfaces in our assemblies, often the accusers are simply rebelling as Korach did. They refuse to submit to the ruling of the leadership under the guise of “righteousness”. These people, like Korach, really believe that their interpretation of halachah is more divine or biblical than the community’s current standards. And somehow they feel that it is their duty to “set everyone else straight”. When the leadership humbly tries to reason with the accusers, they puff-up in pride and usually spew verbal bullets (scripture proof texts) in retaliation. Is this not exactly what Korach and his company did?

You see, like Korach and his cohorts, we often react in similar fashion when we don’t get our way. Like little children, we kick and scream and blurt out false accusations toward leadership. Our evil inclinations can conjure up a myriad of threats, allegations, and blame. If the accused tries to humbly squelch the outrage, the people usually respond as Dathan and Abriam and refuse to make amends. I believe that by this point, pride has such a hold on the person or persons that they cannot repent. Like Korach, pride has completely blinded them to the truth and to reason. Sadly, what results is usually a sharp division of fellowship. But, the leadership cannot allow this spirit to proliferate. Like Moses, they must turn them over to YHWH.

The thing I don’t want you to miss is how “subtle” Korach’s initial argument was. In 16:3, everything Korach said about the people was true: the people were holy and YHWH was in their midst. This was the hook Korach used to drag the people away in his revolt. In reality, the people and Korach didn’t like the judgment YHWH made about their sin. They wanted to leave the wilderness and enter the Land. Realizing that they would never get there with “Moses” as leader, they decided that just perhaps, another would get them there.

In our assemblies today, this same thing plays out again and again. The “people” have a set desire (and that desire may not be wrong in and of itself). Upon realizing that the current leadership is not going to get them there or submit to what they perceive is the best halachah; they begin mouthing these things to other assembly members. Some with similar aspirations become carried away with the Korachs. Eventually, there is a “meeting” challenging the leadership. If the leadership refuses their demands, they throw a tantrum and leave the assembly, usually dragging others with them.

This saddens me very deeply. Even worse, looking back, I realize that I have been a cohort with a Korach before. I was so blinded by my “righteous” aspirations that I failed to recognize the authority that YHWH had placed in our midst. What resulted was a split and broken relationships. And guess what? When YHWH’s timing was right, that assembly did walk out the very thing that we aspired to! So the real lacking was my own humility and patience. We forget how powerful pride actually is. Pride’s favorite disguise is a form of godliness, holiness, and righteousness. Rarely is it overtly evil.

Since I’ve had a bad experience with a Korach, I really have to check myself when things aren’t done the way “I” believe they should be. When emotions are running high, we are primed for the enemy to slither in and plant seeds of dissent.

So, I said all of that to say this: I believe this is the biggest problem in Messianic assemblies today. We are so zealous for YHWH, His Torah, and Mashiach, that we often forget the two most vital keys to unity: humility and authority. When everyone is his own master; serving others is nonexistent. Or as my mother says, too many chiefs and no Indians.

We must get to a place where loving YHWH and loving others trumps our pet doctrines and halachah. This is not compromise, it is humility. Too often our desire to be right far exceeds our desire to love, exercise mercy, and live in unity. Moreover, we have a real issue with authority. Where are the people that are willing to commit, lift up, serve, and stand with today’s leaders? Sure they aren’t perfect; yes they will make some mistakes. If you think (like Korach) that you would be a better leader — you are deluded by your own pride and rebellion.

Or perhaps you believe that you must isolate yourself and family from the main assemblies. Many that do this fear “contamination”, opposing doctrine or halachah, or the like. This too is pride, because the negative side of pride is FEAR — fear of man and circumstances. Congratulations, you’ve just made your fear holy or kadosh.

This may sound harsh, but when I look around our “movement”, instead of seeing steadfast believers walking in unity, I see too many fickle and inconsistent people. Today, I doubt that their would be an Aaron or a Hur to help Moses hold his hands up to defeat an Amalek. [1]

This is to our shame. My prayer is that we wake-up and mature. We have to accept the fact that we are each in different places in our restoration. We cannot demand that everyone be exactly where we are in our walk. Nor can we demand that everyone become a cookie-cutter version of ourselves in matters of halachah. If you dislike diversity (in halachah), then you need to reevaluate the creation and get over yourself. Prayerfully find an assembly. Stick with them. Support the leadership. Be steadfast. Serve the community with humility. Crucify your own desires and agendas and flow with the camp.

For which do you believe that YHWH will judge more harshly: having incorrect halachah and submitting to an imperfect leader or refusing to serve and love His people in unity?


[1] Ex. 12:8-13

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Torah Portion: Nasso

“Take” Numbers 4:21-7:89; Judges 13:2-25; John 7:53-8:11; Acts 21:17-32

Parsha Focal Points

  • Finishing of the counting of Levites
  • Purification of the Camp (separation of infected people/the sotah or adulterous wife)
  • Nazarite Vow
  • Aaronic Benediction
  • Offerings of the Leaders

Introduction

This is the longest portion in the Torah (176 verses). Interesting, the longest Psalm, 119, also has 176 verses. The context of Psalm 119 is David’s delight in the Torah, and I hope to show you that Nasso contains some very relative instructions in how and why the Torah is a delight. To begin with, the Hebrew word Nasso means much more than to “take”. It means to elevate, lift up, to bear, and even to forgive. The following bold terms in the verses below contain our study word, Nasso.

Exo 10:17  Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat YHWH your God, that he may take away from me this death only.

Exo 19:4  Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

Exo 20:7  Thou shalt not take the name of YHWH thy God in vain; for YHWH will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Lev 16:21-22  And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: (22)  And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

Num 6:22-27  And YHWH spake unto Moses, saying,  (23)  Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,  (24)  YHWH bless thee, and keep thee:  (25)  YHWH make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:  (26)  YHWH lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.  (27)  And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

Moreover, Nasso is spelled in Hebrew as: nun-seen-aleph. The Hebrew pictograph can mean that “Life comes when our own strength is diminished”. Therefore, our trust must be in YHWH, the One that forgives, lifts up, and bears our iniquities through Yeshua our Mashiach! As we continue to study this parsha (portion), we will clearly see how YHWH nasso(‘s) in our behalf!

Purification of the Camp

Our previous portion (B’midbar) details the arrangement of the camp and the ordering of the march in the wilderness; therefore, these laws command that the purity of the camp also be safeguarded. The Israelites were (are) set apart unto YHWH and as such are to remain in a state of purity. Any person that contracts impurity must be removed from the camp so as not to defile the camp or the place where YHWH dwells in their midst. (Num. 5:3) Interestingly, the Sages midrash that this section speaks to the idea that blemished souls (spirits) [those guilty of sin] will eventually be reflected in the form of physical blemishes or sickness.

Those manifesting these “blemishes” must be removed from the camp to show us that the affected person is contagious both physically and spiritually. They are immediately followed by those in need of making restitutions for wrongs. In this, we see that the removal of physical impurities must be accompanied by the removal of moral wrongs. Verse 6 teaches that any wrong which a man commits against his fellow is at the same time treason against God. The largest part of rectifying such a condition was through the act of confession.(vs. 7). The Sages teach from this same verse that there is no atonement for sins against God without confession of sins[1].

The camp of Israel is to remain pure. Sin is an infectious disease as sin propagates more sin. By removing the contagion from our midst, the camp is protected and ironically so is the infected person[2]. The apostle Paul speaks to this matter in the believing community, teaching us that these measures must still be upheld by our communities today if we are to remain undefiled. I fear that we, like the Corinthians, have become arrogant by allowing people to remain in our “camp” that are committing all sorts of abominations. Whether we realize it or not, their sin affects and infects the whole body.

1Co 5:1-13  It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.  (2)  You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.  (3)  For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.  (4)  In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  (5)  I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.  (6)  Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?  (7)  Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed.  (8)  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  (9)  I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;  (10)  I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.  (11)  But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one.  (12)  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?  (13)  But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

Sotah

The sotah, a woman accused of adultery, has many prophetic and spiritual implications for us. At first glance, this ritual may seem barbaric and even unfair. What if the tables are turned and the husband is thought to be guilty of adultery? Does the woman have no recourse?  The Torah seems to be silent on this issue. However, we must not forget what Yeshua told us:

Mat 5:27-28  “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’;  (28)  but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Therefore, men do NOT get a free pass to desecrate the marriage covenant[3]. Their sin will eventually be brought to light and they will give an account of their sins before the Great Judge of heaven and earth. So, what is this section of the Torah really teaching us?

The sotah (adulterous woman) is a definite spiritual picture of us. For we truly are an adulterous generation[4]. Idolatry is spiritual adultery. When we put ANYTHING in the place of our service to YHWH, we have committed adultery (idolatry) against YHWH.

Ex. 20:4-6  “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  (5)  “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, YHWH your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,  (6)  but showing loving-kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

We are the adulterous wife and our husband has a spirit of jealousy; for our God is a jealous God[5]. Like the Sotah’s husband, YHWH brings the offering (Yeshua). The offering consists of grain; it is an 1/10 of an ephah. That is equal to an omer[6] (the amount of daily manna[7]) and its value is equal to a ½ shekel, or the atonement price of a person[8].

If she was guilty, her belly would swell and her thigh would rot. The swelling of the stomach is a picture of a false pregnancy. She has no fruit. Her thigh rotting is a picture of her reproductive organs shriveling up. She can produce no fruit. A guilty woman will always look pregnant but never deliver. This would be a curse (alah) to her. If she is innocent, she will conceive and be fruitful (a blessing).

Amazingly, there is not one recorded instance in all of Scripture or in any of the Jewish histories that this ritual was ever carried out. The Sage’s consensus is that YHWH placed this section in the Torah for our sakes today!

Num. 5:13 literally says: “…and a man lies with her with seed….” She has received another’s seed or “WORD”.

Spiritually, if we have received the seed (word) of another lover and not of YHWH our Elohim (God), then although we may have the appearance of fruitfulness or pregnancy, we will never deliver. Our very capacity to bear fruit has rotted away. The seed of the enemy is poisonous! While it may contain some truth, it is mingled with lies. Though it may promise prosperity, it only gives us a swollen belly.

So, we have our Father (husband) bringing the offering (Yeshua) on our behalf. This offering is equal to our daily bread (manna/Word of God) and the ½ shekel required for our atonement. All these half shekels will later be smelted together to build all the sockets or bases to support the Tabernacle[9].

Can you see the picture?

The price of our atonement (silver) is what actually provides the sockets/bases in the House of God. They “receive” and “hold together” the entire structure. Yeshua was sold for 30 pieces of silver[10]… And He is what “holds” all things[11] (including His body of believers) together. He is the Word; He is our daily Bread; He is the manna or Bread from Heaven; He is our barley offering in the Feast of Early Firstfruits———lifted up and waved before the Father. And all of this is done on OUR behalf. We deserve the curse; we are guilty. But, our Elohim takes (nasso[‘s]) this curse for us[12]! He drinks the bitter waters from the cup[13]!

If you have never had the pleasure of listening to Rico Cortes’ teaching called “The Bitter Waters”, I highly recommend you do so. The entire teaching is about the sotah ritual and how Yeshua has fulfilled it on our behalf. Rico’s website is wisdomintorah.com.

Nazarite Vow

I can imagine that if you are an average Israelite and not a Levite or Priest that you may often feel as if your capacity to serve YHWH is somehow limited. Enter the Nazarite Vow. First, I find it fascinating that the instructions for the Nazarite fall between the ritual of the sotah (adulterous woman) and the priestly blessing. What is the Torah trying to say? What is the real significance of this vow and how does it relate to my life? Who should participate in this vow?

Second, the fact that the Judge Samson, the Prophet Samuel[14], John the Baptist[15] and the Apostle Paul were (at least at some point) a Nazarite is intriguing. Samson was born a Nazarite[16]. His mother didn’t even eat/drink of the vine as long as she was pregnant[17], and Samson’s great strength was somehow linked to his long (holy) hair! Paul fulfilled a Nazarite vow[18] at the Beit (Temple) and later paid for the costly offerings of four other Nazarites————— all t0 prove that he wasn’t teaching against the Torah or Moses!

Act 21:23-24  “Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow;  (24)  take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.

The Nazarite could be a man or woman from any tribe. While under the vow, they lived by a strict order likened most closely to the priestly regulations. For example, until the days of the vow were fulfilled he/she was to be set apart unto YHWH.  The free growth of the hair is called, in Numbers 6:7, the nezer, and is usually translated as separation or consecration. This same Hebrew word is used for the crown of the holy turban worn by the High Priest in Exodus 29:6.

Exo 29:5-6  Then you shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the coat and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod.  (6)  And you shall set the turban on his head and put the holy crown (nezer) on the turban.

Therefore, we can see that the uncut hair of the Nazarite was akin to the crown of not only the priest, but the High Priest! Their head was quite literally kodosh l’YHWH (Holy to the LORD). Also like the priesthood, a Nazarite couldn’t defile himself by a dead person during the vow, not even for his parents, or his brothers and sisters. This also was an obligation reserved for the High Priest.

Lev 21:10-12  ‘The priest who is the highest among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes;  (11)  nor shall he approach any dead person, nor defile himself even for his father or his mother;  (12)  nor shall he go out of the sanctuary nor profane the sanctuary of his God, for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him; I am YHWH.

A Nazarite was to guard most carefully against other defilements, not only like ordinary Israelites, but also like the priests. Taking this vow was to (at least for a season) take on a greater yoke of YHWH’s holy instructions in the Torah. One must be overcome and I would say “filled” with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) in order to fulfill such a commitment. A person taking this vow without the leading of Ruach HaKodesh would be in danger of pride and self-righteousness, the opposite of what this vow should accomplish.

The Nazarite becomes a public reminder of YHWH as he or she lives out life among the brethren. If the culture is walking in awareness of and obedience to God, then the public reminder is a blessing and the Nazirites contribute to the blessing of the society. But if the culture is in rebellion against God, then the Nazarites are an ever-present rebuke to the godless self-seeking society that surrounds them. That is why the people of Israel in Amos’ day suppressed the Nazarites[19]. Greater light reveals what is hidden in the darkness…

I cannot help but to wonder how many Nazarites are called (by the Ruach) in every generation. It seems to me as though a Nazarite has a role similar to that of prophet as the Amos account lumps them together[20]. A prophet may be a mouth speaking the Words of Elohim, but a Nazarite speaks to people simply by action. Perhaps our old English adage is true in many cases: actions speak louder than words. That is the duty of a Nazarite.

Seeing their devotion and separation should heighten our desire to be obedient and (re)ignite our passion to serve the Holy One. But a wicked generation is put off by this type of godly devotion, for it only reveals the ugly and dark places of their hearts. This is why the people in Amos’ (and dare I say our) day forced the Nazarites either by seduction or force to break their vows and commanded the prophets to shut their mouths[21].

One last note about Amos. Amos testified fearlessly before the idolatry of courts and priests. The primary crimes committed by God’s people in Amos’ day were those of luxury and excess. Does this sound familiar? The Nazarite was a marked man, and because his vow was regarded as an unspoken condemnation of the popular self-indulgence, he was exposed to the scorn of the worldly, and the temptations of the base. Like Israel of old, we live in a society that has forgotten her God and has no desire to remember Him. If we read through the entire book of Amos, we discover the outcome of this type of behavior and how to be spared from the wrath of the Almighty.

Amos 3:7  Surely Adonai YHWH does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets.

Aaronic Benediction

Right after the instructions for the Nazarites, we are given six highly significant verses. This blessing or benediction comes straight from the mouth of YHWH to Moses as an instruction on how to bless the people, Israel (us!). The Israel museum in Jerusalem actually has a tiny fragment of parchment that contains these precious words. Remarkably, this fragment, dating to the time of the First Temple, is the oldest known surviving parchment of biblical literature!

Num 6:24-26 YHWH bless you, and keep you;  (25)  YHWH make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;  (26)  YHWH lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’

The Aaronic blessing has three vital parts:

1. Physical Blessing. These are our basic earthly needs. This first part of the blessing includes all the physical provisions we need and the safeguard of those provisions. This is our physical prosperity. This would include our physical life and the life of those in our camp.

2. Spiritual blessing. Having YHWH’s face shine upon us is likened to His face being turned toward us. In strong opposition to this is YHWH hiding His face from us. Being gracious to us is having underserved mercy without which we would surely perish in this life and the next. When YHWH shines His face toward us, our face begins to shine with His light and His “house” increases. This is lived out in our actions: Loving YHWH and loving our neighbor as ourselves. This second part of the blessing ensures us that the Almighty is concerned for our eternity.

3. Shalom Blessing. The last part of the blessing encompasses both the physical and spiritual realms. Do you remember what the Hebrew name of our portion means? Nasso means to elevate, lift-up, bear, take, and even forgive. Verse 26 uses our Hebrew word nasso translated as to “lift up”. Here we have YHWH Nasso(ing) His countenance. But the word countenance is the same Hebrew word from verse 25 translated as “face”. He is literally “lifting-up His face” toward us————- in order to give us peace or shalom.

I think we miss the full impact of this summation without first expressing the Hebrew meaning of peace or shalom. Shalom is much more than without war, strife, or conflict. Shalom is completeness. It speaks of your entire being. A common Hebrew greeting is “Mashlomchah”? Or literally, “What is your peace”? In other words, anything that is out of order in your physical or spiritual life affects your peace or shalom. The verb form of the root word is shalam and is usually used in the context of making restitution. When a person has caused another to become deficient in some way, such as a loss of livestock, it is the responsibility of the person who created the deficiency to restore what has been taken, lost or stolen. Therefore, to be in shalom, you are in a state of wholeness. Nothing is lacking.

Is it just me or does the idea of restitution take you right back to beginning of this Torah portion? This type of righting a wrong was given just before the ritual of the sotah or adulterous woman. The desire of the Holy One is for us to be in a state of shalom; however, this can only be accomplished if we are living by His righteous standards. Man’s laws and wisdom will inevitably leave us lacking and thus without shalom. So in a way, shalom can be a choice because it is so closely linked with life.

Rom 8:6  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace

The Talmud tells us that in Temple times the priests would lift up their hands over the people while pronouncing the Aaronic blessing. When they did this, they spread their fingers apart in such a way as to make the shape of the ancient letter, shin[22]. Traditionally, this is known as the abbreviation for El Shaddai (God Almighty). This custom was their way of “putting His Name on the children of Israel”. (verse 27)

Messiah Yeshua actually blessed His disciples in this manner right before He ascended into heaven.

Luk 24:50-51  And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.  (51)  While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

Yeshua as the High Priest of the Melchizedek order has full authority to bless His people. According to the Luke passage above, His manner in bestowing the blessing is consistent with the traditions of the Levitical system.

Heb 7:15-17  And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,  (16)  who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.  (17)  For it is attested of Him, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.”

Once again we see the Hebrew term “nasso”. Yeshua nasso(ed) “lifted up” His hands as He blessed His disciples. Can you imagine the Master pronouncing this blessing over your life? After they not only saw and heard the Master’s last earthly words spoken over them in the form of a blessing, they witnessed Him ascending into heaven! What would your reaction to this magnificent spectacle be?

Luk 24:52-53  And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy,  (53)  and were continually in the temple praising God.

The disciples experienced a great emotional high that sparked a desire to be as close to God as possible. Every free moment you could find them in the House of Yah (the Temple) praising our Elohim! Wow, I can only imagine what that would have been like. I could see how their enthusiasm would be contagious. If I didn’t know the Master, I would at the very least be curious if I witnessed the zeal these men must have had. I love sitting near an enthusiastic worshiper. Something about their unabashed joy really is infectious. This is the type of contagion that the body does need.

If we meditate on what the Aaronic Blessing is actually asserting: that the Creator of Heaven and Earth cares for our entire being and desires us to be completely whole (mind, body, & spirit), then perhaps we will be filled with an infectious joy that permeates the entire camp! Talk about worshiping Him in Spirit and in Truth! If that doesn’t make you want to get up and scream HalleluYah, then what will?

Offerings of the Leaders

Nachshon, the Prince of the tribe of Judah, was the first to bring his offering; and, each of the other princes brought the exact same offering, as you’ll see from the text. There can be no coincidence that Judah, the fourth son, was the first to bring the offering. Judah represents the rule of authority and the Messiah. He would be the one to lead by example for us to follow.

Rashi has some very interesting things to say about these offerings. I have included his summations below. Taking them in order, Rashi explains:

1) “A silver bowl weighing 130 shekels. The numerical value of ‘silver bowl’ in Hebrew is 930, corresponding to the years of Adam’s life. 130 corresponds to the age at which Adam and Chavah gave birth to Seth (Replacement).

2) “One silver basin weighing 70 shekels. The numerical value of ‘one silver basin’ is 520, corresponding to Noah’s age of 500 when he gave birth to his children, and 20 for the years before he began to give birth that God told him of the coming of the flood. The weight of 70 corresponds to the 70 nations that descend from Noah, those who involved in the tower of Babel.”

3) “One ladle weighing 10 shekels full of incense. ‘One ladle’ represents the totality of Torah, given by the ‘One God’. The weight of 10 represents the ’10 Commandments’, the seminal teachings of the Torah. The word for ‘incense’ (in some of its spellings) equals 613, the number of mitzvoth in the Torah.”

4) “’One bull’. This alludes to Avraham, who fed a young bull to the messengers (angels) who visited him on their way to Sodom.”

5) “’One ram’. This hints to the ram that was taken by Avraham in place of offering his son Yitzaq.”

6) “’One sheep’. This alludes to the sheep of Laban that Ya’aqob was able to breed in an ingenious way, in order that they would become his sheep, according to an agreement he had made with Laban.”

7) “’One goat’, in order to atone for the sale of Yoseph by his brothers. A goat was used in particular for the brothers had dipped his special ‘coat or tunic’ in the blood of a goat to trick Ya’aqob into thinking Yoseph was dead.”

8) “’Two cattle for peace offerings’. This corresponds to Moshe and Aharon, who brought peace between HaShem and Israel.”

9) “’Five rams, five male goats and five sheep’. These three sets of animals corresponds to Israel, who are divided into three divisions (Kohanim, Levites and Israelites), as well as the three divisions of Scripture (Torah, Prophets and Writings). The number five (5) also corresponds to the five books of Moshe and the five commandments that were written on each of the two tablets that Moshe brought down from Mt. Sinai.”

Is this really what the offerings represented? It is a good speculation and gives us some food for thought. What I know for sure is that these offerings weren’t arbitrary; each one did and does have significance. There are no idle words in the Bible. Perhaps Rashi is correct or perhaps these things are yet to be revealed.

One thing is certain; all 12 tribes were in unity following the lead of the tribe of Judah. They were acting as a unified whole; as One man. This is the desire of our Master Yeshua and our Father. That we are one. That we become the One New Man.

Eph 2:13-22  But now in Messiah Yeshua you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah.  (14)  For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,  (15)  by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,  (16)  and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.  (17)  AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR;  (18)  for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.  (19)  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,  (20)  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the corner stone,  (21)  in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,  (22)  in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

The Lion of the tribe of Judah, our Master, our example, our authority, His blood makes us one and establishes our PEACE or shalom. He makes us whole and complete. He desires that we lack nothing. We are being plucked one by one and joined together with like kind as a living Beit (Temple). We bring the bulls of our lips[23] and offer them to our King.

I leave you with one thought to ponder. What is the key to our unity?


[1] Hil. Teshuvah 1:1

[2] James 5:19-20, 1 Tim. 1:20, 1 Pet. 4:6

[3] Heb. 13:4

[4] Mt. 12:39, Mt. 16:4, Mar. 8:38

[5] Ex. 20:5, Ex. 34:14, Dt. 4:24, Dt. 5:9,  Dt. 6:15, Dt. 32:21,  Jos. 24:19,  Nah. 1:2,

[6] Ex. 16:36

[7] Ex. 16:14-16

[8] Ex. 30:11-16

[9] Ex. 38:25-28

[10] Zech. 11:13, Mt. 27:6

[11] Col. 1:17

[12] Gal. 3:13

[13] Mt. 27:48, Mar. 15:36, Jn. 18:11

[14] 1 Sam. 1:11

[15] Luke 1:15

[16] Jud. 13:5

[17] Jud. 13:14

[18] Acts 18:18

[19] Amos 2:11-12

[20] Ibid

[21] Ibid

[22] Those familiar with the Star Trek series will remember Spock’s odd hand pose and salutation, “Live long and prosper”. Both his hand gesture and greeting are based on the Aaronic Benediction.

[23] Hos. 14:2

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