|BIBLE STUDY SERIES #314, 315 and 316|
30 November, 1997
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
This series of ongoing Bible Studies, which began in Genesis 12 with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram, has been pursued down the succession of subsequent Scripture passages found in Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, to our present study in the early chapters of the Book of Numbers. The Children of Jacob (Israel) now include families of which the mature males fitted to go forth to war number many hundreds of thousands, and the total population figure is therefore estimated to have reached several millions of individuals by this time. Tribal organization must also have provided for those responsibilities relating to the care, watering and feeding of the domestic herds belonging to each tribal assemblage. Organization was essential, and The Almighty was not negligent in bringing the necessary pattern of encampment organization into reality.
Having emerged by Divine will from the Egyptian bondage experience, the whole people were brought together into a new relationship as the national wife of God, Himself, in the wilderness at Mount Sinai. In the Books of Moses, they are now being given God's directions, through Moses regarding the organisation of their encampments. God thus moved at Sinai, and also after the encampment experiences there, to give Moses the orders for the general organization of this great mass of people. They have been assigned, tribe by tribe, to raise up tribal banners upon which each tribe is to represent the tribal symbol or symbols which emerged out of the last prophetic dispositions given in Genesis 49 to Jacob's twelve sons, Israel's tribal ancestors by the Prophetic Patriarch Jacob (Israel), their forefather, himself. In Numbers 2:1-2 we read these words:
1. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
2. Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.
These symbols will relate each particular tribe's destined future tribal characteristics as nations in the last days to the personal character and actions of the individual tribal ancestor of each clan among Israel's descendants. These past natural individual human tendencies, achievements and failings are to become the inheritances of each tribe, and they are, in consequence, to be raised on the tribal banner around which each tribe will gather and become regimented, to bring order to Israel on the march and in their encampments.
We had shown the general organization of the whole tribal assemblage about the Tabernacle, as a massed defensive square formation, in which each tribe was allocated a particular position, shoulder-to shoulder, so to speak, as far as possible, with the most closely related fraternal tribes and separated as far as possible from other tribes with whom quarrels might erupt during times of stress in war. We must remember that Jacob had fathered his twelve sons, their clan Patriarchal ancestors, by four different women, and so they and the tribe descended from each, were not all directly connected as full blood-brothers to one another.
In review, let us note the tribes on the four sides of the square encampment, their banner symbols, and a suggested connected concept in the various gods and goddesses of the Egyptians above each of which, in turn, Israel's God manifested His glory through these symbolic pairings. The Almighty, you may remember, had stated, in Exodus 11:7 that these things were done "that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."
To the east was positioned Judah, assigned foremost as the shock-troops of the nation, bearing the symbol of the lion, and leading with him Issachar with a banner showing an ass couching down between two burdens and the three lights, sun, moon and stars, and Zebulun with its symbol of the ship. Judah's Lion, I would match as victor over Sechmet, the Egyptian lioness-headed goddess of fire pestilence and war; the victory being seen in the altar ashes thrown to the air by Moses, which created boils upon Pharaoh's priests so they fled before Moses.
Sechmet, Lioness-headed goddess of fire, pestilence and war
Issachar's three lights pair against three days of darkness over Egypt, during which the Egyptians did the "couching down" thus besting Ra, the sun god.
Ra, the sun god
The Red Sea (or Sea of Edom) personalised in Nu, god of primordial waste of waters, drowned Pharaoh's chariots and horsemen. They did not possess the safe passage through water symbolised by Zebulun's ship.
Nun, or Nu, god of "chaos" or "primordial waste of waters"
On the south side of the square were Reuben, with the symbol of a man or mandrake, being the firstborn, with a secondary symbol showing waves of water. Simeon on one side, held aloft the banners of Simeon's sword which laid waste the city of Shechem, and a secondary symbol of that city's gate. Gad, at Reuben's other side, was symbolised as a troop of armed men. These, while not all so definite as the first three, appear to be paired against the efforts of Nekhebet, the vulture goddess assigned to protection of childbirth, Geb, the earth god, and Khephri or Beelzebub, lord of the flies, for these reasons. Reuben's position as firstborn, described by Jacob as the beginning of his strength, may be paired to the deaths of the firstborn of Egypt. Simeon's striking with the sword, equated to Aaron's rod striking the dust, (i.e. Geb, the earth god), to bring forth a plague of lice, while Gad's troop (i.e. a "swarm" of men) equates to "swarms" (of flies) to curse and plague Egypt.
Nekhebet, the vulture goddess assigned to protection of childbirth
Geb, the earth god
On the west of Israel's encampment were Joseph's birthright double portion in his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim held aloft the Wild Ox, Bull, or Unicorn, while Manasseh inherited the arrows and olive branch over a well of water described in Exodus 49:22-24. These were accompanied by Benjamin holding the banner showing a wolf.
Ephraim's bull opposed Apis the bull-god, as the plague of murrain spread upon Egypt's domestic herds.
Apis the bull-god
Manasseh's supply of well-water draws to our memory the scene of Moses' rod smiting the waters of the Nile, (i.e. Hapi, the Nile god), causing Nile water to turn to blood, and killing the fish. This forced the Egyptians to dig for new water supplies for seven days.
Hapi, the Nile god
Benjamin's wolf, which, at the onset of night, would "divide the spoil", I consider to have bested Upuaut, Egypt's wolf-headed god of conquest, guide of warriors, "he who opens the way", for Israel, upon leaving Egypt received the fortunes of Egypt, as back-wages for their service through the years of bondage, which thus prepared the way for them to leave with wages paid up and wealth in hand.
Upuaut, Egypt's wolf-headed god of conquest, guide of warriors, "he who opens the way"
Incidentally, when I spoke of Benjamin on a recent programme, I neglected to mention that this tribe, bearing the wolf as a banner, may today be represented in the people of Norway and Iceland. Prior to the Second World War, a proposed Norwegian statue was designed to show a lion atop a column with its base guarded by four wolves. A model was created and photographed, but the statue was not built due to the invasion, and the plans appear subsequently to have been lost. An element of Benjamin may have participated in the founding of Rome. The estimated date of Rome's founding would be generally consistent with the hypothesis. Classical mythology describes a she-wolf suckling the brothers Romulus and Remus and later Romulus kills Remus. This fratricide may reflect in a somewhat scrambled manner the fratricidal war described in Judges 20 and 21 in which most of the tribe of Benjamin was wiped out and the remainder fled to the "rock Rimmon" - which sounds a bit like "Rome." The Rape of the Sabines account parallels the acquisition of wives by the two hundred Benjamites for whom none could be supplied by the rest of Israel.
On the north lay the camp of Dan, with the serpent and eagle as banners, being the tribe of ancient Greece and Ireland, and modern Denmark, with the lion in heraldry from Deuteronomy 33:22. On one side was Asher with the covered cup and on the other, Naphtali with the leaping hind as symbols. Here, in Dan's serpent, we see Moses rod, changed into a snake, eating the snakes of Jannes and Jambres, priests, one assumes, of Buto, the cobra-goddess, who was the personal protector of the Pharaoh himself, and symbolically worn upon the forehead as part of his crown.
Buto, the cobra-goddess, (here shown on the head of Rameses II)
Dan's symbol thus "brought Pharaoh down to earth."
The Egyptian equivalent to the cover over Asher's goblet was Serapis, presumed to be protector from locusts. The locust plague demonstrated the failure of this god.
The plague of leaping, croaking frogs of Heket, the frog-headed goddess contrasts to the beauty of Naphtali's "hind let loose", and Jacob's description of that tribe as a giver of "goodly words."
Heket, the frog-headed goddess
Levi, holding the breastplate of sparkling stones as emblematic of that tribe is matched against Min, the thunderbolt, and protector of travellers, for the plague of hail-stones and fire which ran along the ground pelted Egypt, destroying crops, and trees, and smiting all unprotected men and beasts.
In a few moments, I shall be giving our address, and you may wish to write for a sheet which tabulates the material in today's study for reference. (* - For the Table of these matching elements of heraldry, see "Table of Exodus Signs and Wonders", under "Biblical Exposition and Presentations of Bible Studies", on this Web Page, or, to switch directly there now, click switch over to "Plagues".)
Now I have examined these various "signs and wonders upon Egypt", not in their actual chronological order as listed in scripture, but rather, for present convenience, by taking up the banner of each tribe in Israel as we passed about the great square encampment of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. Each of these signs and wonders, does find a place however, in the chronological record in Exodus as The Almighty God moved with miraculous power to break the grip of Pharaoh and the Egyptians which held His people in bondage and servitude. Modern Israel is chiefly found in the Anglo-Celto-Saxon countries, whose heraldry reflects these ancient roots.
7 December, 1997
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
This series of ongoing Bible Studies, which began in Genesis 12 with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram, has been pursued down the succession of subsequent Scripture passages found in Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, to our present study in the early chapters of the Book of Numbers. We, of the British-Israel-World Federation pursue these studies in order to reveal, at least in part, something of the heritage of the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon world in particular, and of all who associate their own lives with that of The LORD God, Whose incarnate expression among men is the Lord Jesus Christ, in a wider sense.
We had been examining the make-up of the great tribal encampments of Israel in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the time of Moses and Aaron, and the symbolism of the tribal banners in the camp of Israel. These Israelites, so recently emerged from Egyptian bondage, had now to take up the challenges and stresses of life as they met the varied new experiences of a different existence amid the toils and lessons of their wilderness environment. They were learning to move under the tutelage and guidance of the Mighty God of all the earth, Who moved ahead of them in the towering column of cloud by day and fire by night, or hovered above the Tabernacle in the centre of the Camp in the wilderness when they were halted to rest. Always, they had to be ready to move or to camp as instructed by The LORD whenever He signalled that it was to be done, whether by day or night. They had to learn to trust His holy power and wisdom, and to move or stay, as directed by His will, expressed through their leader, Moses, with whom He would talk, face to face, as scripture expresses it in Deuteronomy 34:10. The organization of the camp had, therefore, to be particularly well directed and administered. Thus the use of tribal banners was not just an expression of family heraldry, in the nature of a patriotic identification as it might be among people today, supporting some sports team, but rather it was to signal the people in what could turn into a life or death situation if not instantly heeded. The signals had to be adapted to the sometimes dangerous and transient nature of this wilderness existence. To put it in brief, they had to keep their eyes upon God, or at least that channel through which they would receive His commands, and act thereon without delay. Perhaps we, today, are preparing to enter upon a parallel experience but on a far greater scale as we are about to emerge from the economic, the religious, and the political grip of more recent forms of service in a greater Pharaonic and Babylonian bondage. As I said on the last study, ancient Israel used such banners, flags or standards as are here mentioned in Numbers 2:1-2:
1. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
2. Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.
There is yet one more banner which needs to be named, and of which the symbolism must be examined. One of the deplorable aspects of our present bondage is the insistence by the present-day overlords and task-masters of the alien creeds that we of the stock of Israel of old time must yield up our banners, which reveal our spiritual roots, and connect us to the source of our true direction, and our wisdom in the God of our fathers, and adopt instead, in subservience to the sensitivities of aliens, the meaningless substitute mosaics holding no root significance of our ancient past. Do bear in mind the fact that, as we of the British-Israel-World Federation continually aver, the present-day descendants of these same Israelites are, for the most part, the Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples of the world. Thus we continually suggest that the study of such emblems of heraldry among these people will prove not only a most fascinating pursuit, especially to these descendants of ancient Israel, but also provide or enhance our safety, and the meaning of our very existence as we regain the signals of direction drawing us under the wise guidance of The Almighty God of our heritage. One of these banners, which we have been persuaded to cast aside of late in the modern world is the Union flag, or Union Jack. We, in Canada, lost ours as a national emblem a short generation ago when we were persuaded that a dead leaf was sufficient substitute for the Tree of Life, but by God's grace, it was rescued at least in part, being incorporated into the official flags of some provinces. Australians are presently being propagandized in order to persuade them that it is more in concert with the times and political winds of international change to follow our example and moreover, to move even further than Canadians did by adopting a republican form of government today. Such trends must be actively resisted by those who have a personal commitment to the God of our fathers.
The Union Flag of Great Britain, commonly called The Union Jack is a well-known standard which, along with The Royal Standard, has recently played a role in the foremost events of the week following the lamentable death of the late Princess Diana which drew it before the eyes of multiplied millions of people. The lowering of The Union Flag or "Union Jack" to half-staff over Buckingham Palace was unprecedented, and held wide attention.
In an attempt to dissimulate and cut off the true meaning of the name of this symbolic flag from those who include this banner among the articles of their heritage, and thus to ease the way to its removal, the term "jack" in connection with this flag is said to be taken, not from Jacob, but merely from the use of that flag when displayed at the bowsprit of a ship. The connection is seen in the term "Jack-block" meaning a block of pulleys used for raising and lowering the topgallant-masts of sailing vessels, while "jack-flag" also pertains to a flag hoisted at the spritsail topmast-head and "Jack-Cross-Tree" is the cross-tree at the head of a topgallant-mast. These connections are quite true, but the motivation in bringing them forward seems to be to confuse the flag's true origins in a cloud of details, and to disparage the heritage behind all these terms. It is an interesting fact that a connection may be derived for all of these ship-board elements with the Biblical Patriarch, Jacob after all, when it is realised that a "Jacob's-ladder" on such a ship, which is a rope ladder with wooden steps, used to ascend such rigging, admittedly does indeed take its name without question from the visionary ladder seen by Jacob in Genesis 28 when The Almighty covenanted with our Patriarch to bring us into existence as His people! Hence the name "Jack" thus used, whether on board ship or ashore, can indeed be derived from that Patriarch after all!
We would further add that, when used on land, this flag is flown by a combination of peoples who are, in the main, descendants of Jacob, and this "Union Flag" does, in its several parts, symbolise the union of those who are, especially, descended of ancient Israel and now resident within the British Isles and the main bodies of their descendants wherever found in the world. I believe that it will be found that this is the reason why anti-Christian elements work towards its elimination from our heraldry. The story of Jacob crossing his arms when blessing Joseph's two sons in Genesis 48 draws attention to the crossed crosses of the flag. The ancient Hebrew Aleph formed as a saltire cross of St. Andrew, upon which a later century provided the Crucifixion cross known in heraldry as a St. George Cross, in the form of the Hebrew letter Tau, the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Thus the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, reflecting the Greek equivalents, the Alpha and Omega of Christ's name in Revelation, combine in the symbolic crossed crosses of the Union Jack. (Incidentally, those two equivalently placed Greek letters, the first and the last of the Greek alphabet, are derived from the head of an ox, and the form of the human eye, and indicate the nature of Christ's office as Sacrifice at the First Advent and as Judge at the Second Advent.). The Union Jack colours, bright blood-red, pure white, and deep blue of the starlit heavens, which are used in that flag, and also in the flag of the first daughter nation, the U.S.A., are the colours of the ancient Tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai, and they were accompanied by royal purple and gold in that focal tent of ancient worship. The gold "Jacobus" coin circulated during the reign James VI of Scotland and I of Great Britain. That monarch who by certain evidences, saw his combined kingdom as uniting Israel in England with an element of Judah in Scotland, was a motivating influence behind the translation of the Bible known as the Authorised Version of 1611. As "Jacobus" is the Latin for "James", supporters of the claims of James II and his descendants to the throne were thus termed "Jacobites."
We shall leave further consideration of the topic for study on the next programme.
14 December, 1997
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
Our ongoing series of Bible Studies, starting several years ago with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, has taken us through successive Scripture passages following the tribal history of God's people as Abraham's son, Isaac, and Isaac's son, Jacob (re-named Israel), became Patriarchs of the tribal nation of God's selection. They moved down into Egypt, then suffered bondage there, from which The Almighty God drew them forth with great wealth, through the miracles of The Exodus. Now, they form a tribal encampment under the guidance of The Almighty Himself, and are under the supervision of God's Prophet, Moses.
On more recent programmes, we have seen how the tribal encampments were to be carefully organized as a great defensive square about the Tabernacle. Each tribe was to encamp by that tribe's tribal banner, and we have been examining how God used these banners, in part, to symbolise some important prophetic characteristics of the descendants of each of these tribes in the latter days.
In a recent study, we read some verses from the first part of Numbers 3. One portion, from Numbers 3:32-34 stated:
32. These are those which were numbered of the children of Israel by the house of their fathers: all those that were numbered of the camps throughout their hosts were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.
33. But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses.
34. And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers.
The numbers will be of greater significance than at first appears, but of the details we shall learn later. We had also, you may remember, noted how the Levites were assigned to their several tasks. This tribe of Levites were divided into four parts which were to encamp on the four sides of The Tabernacle. To the west were the 7,500 Gershonites to look after the actual tabernacle, tent. To the south were 8,600 of Kohath to look after the ark, and other vessels of the sanctuary. To the north were to camp the 6200 of Merari, to look after the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars, pillars and the sockets, and all the vessels. To the east were Moses and Aaron, and the priests.
I must now also read the Scripture portion taken from Numbers 3:40-43, as there will be a further need to make reference to something mentioned herein.
40. And the LORD said unto Moses, Number all the firstborn of the males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names.
41. And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the LORD) instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel.
42. And Moses numbered, as the LORD commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel.
43. And all the firstborn males by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those that were numbered of them, were twenty and two thousand two hundred and threescore and thirteen.
Before we move to the last portion of that chapter, I think it might be of interest to examine some comments concerning the numbering of the parts of the Tribe of Levi which we did not have time to consider on the last study. We ought to ponder the statistics provided in the Biblical census descriptions of those three parts of the main sections of Levi, namely those of Gershon, Kohath and Merari, together with the assigned tasks and locations for each on the sides of the Tabernacle. The fourth portion, stationed at the door of the Tabernacle, consisted of the families of Moses and Aaron. The New Bible Commentary, when dealing with this Scripture, draws a problem to the attention of its readers, and it suggests the solution offered by another commentary. When the census numbers of the first three segments of Levi are totaled; Gershon at 7500, Kohath at 8600, and Merari at 6200, these are immediately seen to amount to 22,300, to which the unstated number for the families of Moses and Aaron must be added, so the stated summary total of 22,000, does not match the section figures given, because the first three alone exceed this total!
Perhaps I ought to read the relevant passage in The New Bible Commentary. It says this: "Verse 39 concludes this section by giving the total number of Levites as 22,000. At first sight this appears to be a round number, since the three divisions, 7500, 8,600 and 6,200, give a total of 22,300. It is clear, however, that 22,000 is not a round number, but the exact number, since verse 46 states that the total number of firstborn, namely 22,273 (given at 43), is 273 more than the total number of the Levites. This presents a serious problem. Probably the best solution is that of Keil, who suggests that an error of one letter has occurred in the course of copying the manuscripts. He points out that the insertion of one letter in verse 28 of our text would change 8,600 to 8,300, since there is only a difference of one letter in the consonantal text between shish, 'six', and shalosh, 'three'."
Lacking other immediate explanations, I have sufficient respect for these opinions to quote them. However I should also mention that my general experience with opinions which seek to explain away difficulties by assuming a transmission error involving the loss or corruption of some letter within the Hebrew text, however slight, has led me to reserve my own opinion in such cases. It is to the effect that later hindsight may possibly reveal alternative hidden explanations which do no violence to the traditional text.
One line of investigation which I would consider, for example, and one I might mention here, relates to the recently discovered evidence for hidden Bible codes. These, by use of computers, may be found threading through many portions of the Hebrew Scriptures, picking up letters at equidistant measures of words or, alternatively, of the actual individual letters, as they progress and after collecting these like a succession of selected beads threaded on a string for a necklace, reveal thereby hidden meaningful texts in words or phrases which amplify or confirm the sense, and thereby offer verification to, the initiating open texts, and, by extension, likewise, evidently, to the God-breathed exactitude of every jot and tittle of the text. In a sense, we may think of the matter somewhat like a crossword puzzle, wherein words must be found to "fit" not only within the defining numbered clues and the blank squares provided to house these themselves, but also to other apparently unrelated words in the whole matrix of the puzzle which intersect them! The whole of the canon of Scriptures as presently found in the Bible, by this evidence, forms an exact texture of intricately fitted words which bear even greater witness to the glory of their Creator in this recently discovered aspect than had heretofore been realised.
Certain sources have outlined these embedded Bible codes in the Hebrew text, and they stretch through many portions of scripture. They must be sought, however, only in an exact Masoretic copy which does no violence to the word and letter counts of the Hebrew characters. Other versions which have varied letter counts cannot, of course, reveal the coded hidden texts which rely upon exact equality of count between letters to become exposed. These, revelations, in their own manner, may offer the required degree of exactitude to present meaningful clues to establish such matters as we have in view in today's study. The new discoveries appear to provide some surprising clues that tend to offer an additional means to verify or deny any suggestions of error. It would be satisfying to discover upon investigation that these can prove fruitful in the present case.
[* - N.B. - Since these thoughts were presented, some have found reason to question the whole matter critically, as is certainly proper. However, one source which does give further substantive evidence to support the concept is provided by a book written by Yacov Rambsel, entitled "His Name Is Jesus", (Frontier Research Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 129, Station "U", Toronto, Ontario, M8Z 5M4 - 1997), in which a particularly striking study of Isaiah, Chapters 52 and 53, brings forward remarkable evidence demonstrating that within these chapters, there appear about 40 names and terms which represent just about every prominent person except Judas, among those involved, one way or another, with Jesus Christ at His Crucifixion! The substance of this particular study I find most impressive, as it can be checked out for one's self by hand counting the letters within the parameters of a couple of chapters of the Hebrew source text.]
During the next couple of weeks, I shall digress from the regular studies as I shall have some seasonal thoughts to present. Later, in the next study in this series, we shall be looking at the selection of the Levites instead of all the Israelite firstborn, so I shall just end today's presentation by reading Numbers 3:44-51 by way of advanced preparation.
44. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
45. Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the LORD.
46. And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites;
47. Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:)
48. And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons.
49. And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites:
50. Of the firstborn of the children of Israel took he the money; a thousand three hundred and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
51. And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons, according to the word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.
May you find these thoughts of help and interest as you continue your meditations upon God's Holy Word during the coming week.
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