BIBLE STUDY SERIES #332, 333 and 334

5 April, 1998

TRIBAL GIFTS - PART III

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our sequence of Bible Studies, beginning at Genesis 12 several years ago with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, has led us down the generations of his progeny to the Sinai Wilderness camp of the Tribes of Israel, directed by God, and with Moses as the national leader. We had reached Numbers 7:71, at a point wherein each of the princes (or leaders) of the Tribes of Israel, by way of an offering before The LORD, had brought an ox and they had co-operated in pairs to supply a wagon, so that there were twelve oxen and six wagons supplied for the use of those who were entrusted with the task of moving the structure of the Tabernacle whenever the camp was ordered to prepare for a march to a new location in the wilderness of Sinai.

We had moved on to consider the individual tribal gifts of ten of these tribes, leaving the remainder for today's study. Each of the gifts was to be presented in a dedicatory ceremony on a succession of days, one day appointed to each prince on behalf of his tribe. We have read of these gifts in a long passage with much repetition, although God never records such repetitious passages without a reason, and we do well to respect His Word in such matters. We pick up the reading at Numbers 7:72, in order to conclude the sequence of verses which detail how each tribal leader brought that tribe's gift for dedication to The LORD when the Tabernacle had been assembled, anointed and sanctified.

72. On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ocran, prince of the children of Asher, offered:
73. His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
74. One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
75. One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
76. One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
77. And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Pagiel the son of Ocran.
78. On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali, offered:
79. His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
80. One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
81. One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
82. One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
83. And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan.

This concludes the repetitive accounts listed for the Tribal Prince for each of the twelve tribes. There follows a summary of all these gifts in the following words.

84. This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:
85. Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
86. The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels.
87. All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve.
88. And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.
89. And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

At this point, I shall quote the comments from The New Bible Commentary, under the sub-heading "Gifts for the Dedicating of the Altar (vii. 10-89)", which follow those notes which we read on the last study. The reference states: "It would seem that the altar was anointed on the first day of the month (10; cf. Ex. xl. 2, 10, 17), but that the actual dedication was spread over twelve days (11), with each prince bringing his gift on a different day. The gifts of each are described in great detail, even though what was given was exactly identical on each separate day. There is great similarity in the things that God requires of each Christian, yet each of us is very important in His sight and He is interested in every detail of our life and service. It is interesting that the order of the tribes here is not that of the encampment in chapter ii. Deuel (42, 47). See note on ii. 14.[* - See this note following the end of this paragraph.] Verses 84-89 summarise the offerings given on the twelve days, which total exactly twelve times what was given by each prince. Full details are given in each case. God keeps record even of our smallest acts and deeds. He desires exactness. Careless and shoddy work is never acceptable to Him. The account of the offerings ends in verse 88. In verse 89 we read that in the Holy of Holies Moses heard a voice speaking to him from above the altar. The next chapter gives us additional messages that God gave to Moses. It is impossible to say whether this verse is introducing viii. 1 or finishing the account of the dedication of the altar."

[* - That note states "Deuel in i. 14, vii. 42, 47 and x. 20. In ancient Hebrew writing D and R looked very much alike. Hence they were confused in transmission far oftener than any other two letters. Cf., for instance, Hadadezer in 2 Sa. viii. 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, with Hadarezer in I Ch. xviii. 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10."]

Regarding the many verses which repeat the description of the ceremony in which a tribal prince brings the tribe's offering, Keil and Delitzsch contribute these thoughts to our understanding: "Every prince offered 'the dedication of the altar,' i.e. what served for the dedication of the altar, equivalent to his sacrificial gift for the consecration of the altar, 'on the day,' i.e. at the time 'that they anointed it.' 'Day:' as in Gen. ii. 4. Moses was directed by God to receive the gifts from the princes on separate days, one after another; so that the presentation extended over twelve days. The reason for this regulation ... was involved in the very nature of the gifts presented. Each prince, for example, offered (1) a silver dish (kearah...) of 130 sacred shekels weight, i.e. about 4 1/2 lbs.; (2) a silver bowl (mizrak, a sacrificial bowl, not a sacrificial can, or wine-can,...) of 70 shekels weight, both filled with fine flour mixed with oil for a meat-offering; (3) a golden spoon (caph, as in Ex. xxv. 29) filled with incense for an incense-offering; (4) a bullock, a ram, and a sheep of a year old for a burnt-offering; (5) a shaggy goat for a sin-offering; (6) two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, and five sheep of a year old for a peace-offering. Out of these gifts the fine flour, the incense, and the sacrificial animals were intended for sacrificing upon the altar, and that not as a provision for a lengthened period, but for immediate use in the way prescribed. This could not have been carried out if more than one prince had presented his gifts, and brought them to be sacrificed on any one day. For the limited space in the court of the tabernacle would not have allowed of 252 animals being received, slaughtered, and prepared for sacrificing all at once, or on the same day; and it would have been also impossible to burn 36 whole animals (oxen, rams and sheep), and the fat portions of 216 animals, upon the altar... . All the princes brought the same gifts. The order in which the twelve princes, whose names have already been given at chap. i. 5-15, made their presentation, corresponded to the order of the tribes in the camp (chap. ii.), the tribe-prince of Judah taking the lead, and the prince of Naphtali coming last. In the statements as to the weight of the silver kearoth and the golden cappoth, the word shekel is invariably omitted, ... . In vers. 84-86, the dedication gifts are summed up, and the total weight given, viz. twelve silver dishes and twelve silver bowls, weighing together 2400 shekels, and twelve golden spoons, weighing 120 shekels in all. ... . The sacrificial animals are added together in the same way in vers. 87, 88."

Now, as I suggested on a previous study, we shall need to look more intently at the quantities which have been so carefully stated and re-stated, as there may indeed be a prophetic meaning to it all. On a previous occasion, when we were examining the measurements prescribed for the Tabernacle, we learned that the measurements in cubits could have such a meaning prophetically, for the cubic volume of the Holy place, being 10 x 10 x 20 cubits, contained 2000 cubic cubits, while the Holy of Holies, being 10 x 10 x 10 cubits, contained 1000 cubic cubits. We further connected these also to the progress of Israel under Joshua, across the Jordan River at a later time, wherein the Ark of the Covenant was sent on ahead to the river, while Israel was to follow it at a distance of "about 2000 cubits." Years appear to equate to these quantities. About 2000 years since Christ's First Advent may bring us to a Millennium experience, equating to the vail separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, and likewise the advancing Israelites entered The Promised Land by drawing abreast of the Ark, upheld by the priests standing in the Jordan River bed at the spot where Jesus was probably baptised by John the Baptist at a later century.

Now we have a weight of precious metals totaling 2400 and 120, in these gifts by Israel's princes, making up 2520 shekels. The number 2520 is connected to a time measure which we have previously discussed, namely, "Seven Times" duration or 7 times 360 years, during which Israel was to wait for the expiry of her times under domination by the Babylonian systems of government, those "times of the Gentiles" which must pass over Jerusalem, and also the various portions of captive Israel. Attempts to draw prophetic charts using these quantities have been made, and I feel confident that with such a coincidence of prophetic numbers, there will almost certainly be such a valid connection based therein. For today, I might just leave the thought with you for this week's meditations.

12 April, 1998

TRIBAL GIFTS - PART IV

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our sequence of Bible Studies, beginning at Genesis 12 several years ago with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, has led us down the generations of his progeny to the Sinai Wilderness camp of the Tribes of Israel, directed by God, and with Moses as the national leader. We had read to the end of Numbers 7, but we had not fully considered the last portion of that Scripture passage. We did consider the matters described up to verse 83. At this point, each of the princes (or leaders) of the Tribes of Israel, by way of an offering before The LORD, had brought an ox and they had co-operated in pairs to supply a wagon, so that there were twelve oxen and six wagons supplied for the use of those who were entrusted with the task of moving the structure of the Tabernacle whenever the camp was ordered to prepare for a march to a new location in the wilderness of Sinai.

We had also considered the individual tribal gifts of each of these tribes, each being presented in a dedicatory ceremony, with one day appointed to each prince on behalf of his tribe, on a succession of days. Each tribe's gifts were recorded separately, in a long passage with much repetition. However, God never records words in His Holy Word without purpose, and so we read each entry in its turn. Doubtless part of the reason for so much repetition was to make certain that the amounts given were distinctly understood, and so that their significant cumulative total would not be lost in a general confusion by readers of a later date who might otherwise assume that a mistake in recording the matter had multiplied a single gift from all the tribes collectively. Each tribal gift became a part of an important and significant total. Now in these gifts, given by these twelve princes, we have total weights of precious metals, measured in shekels, which amount to 2400 shekels of silver and 120 shekels of gold, making up 2520 shekels weight in all. The number 2520 is connected to a time measure which we have previously discussed, namely, "Seven Times" duration or 7 times 360 years, during which Israel was to wait for the expiry of her times under domination by the Babylonian systems of government, those "times of the Gentiles" which must pass over Jerusalem, and also the various portions of captive Israel. While we have given some attention to such matters on previous studies, it may be convenient to remind ourselves of the chief examples of that relationship. The tribes of Israel which lay east of the Jordan River, namely the half tribe of Manasseh, and the tribes of Gad and Reuben, were, in the years 745-734 B.C, the first to suffer defeat and deportation by the Assyrians, thus initiating their period of "seven times" or 2520 years of such punishment for that portion of ancient Israel. When we look for their reappearance from subjugation, we find that the nation of the U.S.A. emerges from subjection in the corresponding years of release, namely 1776 - 1787. The remainder of the Northern Tribes of Israel were deported by these same Assyrians mainly by about 721 B.C.. 2520 years later, when we look for their emergence, we find that 1800 A.D. marks the year when the parts of the British Isles were united to form what has since been known as the United Kingdom, and from that point there emerged the colonial empire and Commonwealth of Nations which followed their loss of the U.S.A.. Jerusalem fell under the forces of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 604 B.C. What happened to Jerusalem after 2520 years? The year was 1917, and it was in December of that year that the Turkish hold on that city was relinquished under the pressure of British and Commonwealth and Allied troops under General Allenby, during the First World War. That was the same year when coins circulating in Palestine were dated with the year 1917 and also the Moslem year of 1335 after the Hegira which began the Moslem period in history. That 1335 number is mentioned in the second-last verse of Daniel 12, if you want to look up its significance. I mentioned that there have been attempts to draw prophetic charts using these quantities, and the further results also look interesting when compared to the timing of the Jubilees of Israel's subsequent history. I feel confident that with such a coincidence of prophetic numbers, there will almost certainly be a valid connection based therein. The passage closing Numbers 7 makes the summary quite clear.

84. This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:
85. Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
86. The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels.
87. All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve.
88. And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.
89. And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

As a comment by Keil and Delitzsch yields some insight regarding the last verse, we might read that note. It states: "Whilst the tribe-princes had thus given to the altar the consecration of a sanctuary of their God, through their sacrificial gifts, Jehovah acknowledged it as His sanctuary, by causing Moses, when he went into the tabernacle to speak to Him, and to present his own entreaties and those of the people, to hear the voice of Him that spake to him from between the two cherubim upon the ark of the covenant." The Commentary gives some linguistic reasons for the assurance that the name Jehovah is intended in the passage. It was here, in "the tent of meeting" that Moses went, to hold conversation. They add a quote in the words "This voice from the inmost sanctuary to Moses, the representative of Israel, was Jehovah's reply to the joyfulness and readiness with which the princes of Israel responded to Him, and made the tent, so far as they were concerned, a place of holy meeting." The reference adds "This was the reason for connecting the remark in ver. 89 with the account of the dedicatory gifts." Lest the significance of that remark escape us, perhaps I might add the reminder that there is no specific chapter division in the original, and one is left to ponder whether the verse placed at the end of Chapter 7 might rather apply instead to the start of the next chapter. The explanation is in regard to the placement within the context of the gifts, rather than with the subject of the next Scripture wherein we will read of the lighting of the candlestick lamps within the Tabernacle.

We have a few moments remaining, but not enough to engage in an introduction to the next chapter of Numbers, so perhaps I can use the time remaining today to bring our listeners a further footnote which concerns the mention of the Israelitish origins of the Roman soldiers at the Crucifixion of Jesus. I had previously mentioned the connection with the Scottish Regiment of the Black Watch. I have since received some further interesting information from another well-placed source which parallels that previous statement. It seems that there were also at the Crucifixion some who formed the original soldiery of another British Regiment. I will quote the information which has been passed along to me. The note reads thus: "The Royal Scots Guards were the soldiers at the Crucifixion. They carry a special insignia and a small book showing their history. They are the world's oldest existing regiment. When Caesar tried to conquer England and Scotland he found it impossible. The Scots particularly were impossible to control. He had one of his officers encourage some of them to learn Roman regimentation and so form a regiment of fighting men used in many places of the Roman occupied world. They were of course Israelites (not Jews), and did not know who Jesus was; their kinsman Redeemer. Israel was then and is still a blinded nation, not knowing her identity; the world also not knowing it.". That is the end of the information which I received. I think that contributions such as these can further assist us to appreciate more of our heritage and indeed, the Israelitish connection which we of the British-Israel-World Federation attest to connect the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples to their own genealogical roots in those tribes of ancient Israel.

I will leave with you for this week's meditation the thought that while many of our people may have lost some of the threads of our ancestry, God has not done so. He well knows who and where are the vast bulk of the present-day descendants whom He promised on His Own Covenant to the Patriarchs of old time, as Scripture records. I am convinced that we will soon see the overwhelming importance of that revelation become obvious to the world. It is also so promised, as the "latter days" draw to a grand climactic focus in world events.

19 April, 1998

LEVITICAL DEDICATION - PART I

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our sequence of Bible Studies, beginning at Genesis 12 several years ago with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, has led us down the generations of his progeny to the Sinai Wilderness camp of the Tribes of Israel, directed by God, and with Moses as the national leader. We had considered the Scriptural passages to the end of Numbers 7 on the last study. We had also added a postscript on the matter of the Roman squad of soldiers assigned to carry out the Crucifixion of Our Lord on Golgotha, stating the substance of a note which came from a well-informed source concerning the regimental roots of the Royal Scots Guards in that assigned body of Roman troops at Jerusalem. This report, reinforcing as it did the reputed connection of The Black Watch Regiment to that event, is interesting to us because we know from Numbers 1:51, and also Numbers 3:10 and 3:38, 16:40, 18:4 and 18:7 that only Levitical Israelites were permitted to enter the holy precincts to approach the sacrifice made unto The LORD. No stranger (Hebrew "Zar", foreigner, or alien), was permitted anywhere near that which was offered as an holy sacrifice unto The LORD, lest his presence contaminate the sacrificial act and affront the God in Whose immediate presence it was performed.

It is important to realise that, for the Christian, Jesus Christ is explicitly the culminating Sacrifice at the focal point of all history, to which the earlier Levitical sacrificial ceremonies pointed forward as type to anti-type, and upon the perfection of which depended the legal efficacy of all such earlier Levitical rites and ceremonies as well as the subsequent Salvation and Redemption of His people. God's Law being so explicit regarding the conditions, even to the point of excluding King Herod from the Temple which he had paid to rebuild, the Roman Soldiers, commissioned to carry out that act of sacrifice, by the Crucifixion had indeed to be descendants of these same Israelites designated in those passages of the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament, albeit unacquainted with Israelite Law because crucifixion was not a permitted legal Israelitish manner of execution.

Thus, a genetic connection between those Scottish folk who have perpetuated these Scottish Regiments and the Israelites of the Assyrian deportations of about 745-721 B.C. is indicated as, before The LORD's presence, this is the only legal construction which He would permit to be placed upon events. Not only is this fact of great interest to members of The British-Israel-World Federation, who affirm the genealogical connection of the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples of the present-day to those tribes of ancient Israel, but it ought, also, to be of great significance to all theologians and Christians who seek more fully to comprehend that supreme Sacrifice of Christ nearly two thousand years ago on Calvary, and the subsequent implications for ourselves today.

Having covered this subject of topical interest at this season in the Christian calendar, we may now re-focus our attention upon the subject of today's study, namely, Numbers 8. Introducing the next four verses, under the sub-heading "The lamps lit", The New Bible Commentary explains: "Now that the gifts have been received for the dedication of the altar, command is given that the lamps in the tabernacle be lit. These have already been described with more detail in Ex. xxv. It is necessary that they be lit before the journey can properly be commenced. We also must have our lamps burning if we are to serve God effectively."

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.
3. And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses.
4. And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.

Here, Keil and Delitzsch explain the particular wording of the directions as being that Aaron was to so position the seven lamps upon the candlestick as to allow them to shine so that each would give its light over against its front, i.e. should throw its light upon the side opposite to the front of the candlestick. They explain this further by stating "Israel was thereby to be represented perpetually before the Lord as a people causing its light to shine in the darkness of this world." Upon reading that, I am reminded of the passage in Revelation 1:20 which tells us that the seven candlesticks or lamps there mentioned are symbols of "the seven churches." We must, in our own dedicated service to Our LORD, seek to make of ourselves a source of light by which both we ourselves and also others can move forward in the Christian walk, and this can only be done if we contain a supply of the necessary oil which we cannot, of ourselves, bring forth. We must be constantly fed that oil, daily, by our Great High Priest, The LORD Himself, just as the priest in the Tabernacle was to service and trim each lamp as part of the continuing symbolic ritual, and renew its position supported by the beautiful golden structure of the Menorah. We continue at verse 5:

5. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
6. Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.
7. And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.

The Companion Bible notes, of this "water of purifying", that it "= sin water: i.e., water prepared as in ch. 19." When we reach Chapter 19 in the course of our studies, we shall find there the ritual provision of the ashes of the red heifer, involved in its preparation. Under the sub-heading "Cleansing of the Levites for service", The New Bible Commentary explains: "At a formal meeting, with appropriate ceremonies, the Levites must be consecrated to God and inducted into His service. Details of their service have already been explained in chapter iv. It was necessary that the work of the altar be done by persons properly prepared for the task. Therefore, the Levites had to be cleansed both ceremonially and physically. Verses 5-19 contain God's command; verses 20-22 describe its performance. Keil and Delitzsch, however, consider the sin-water to have been simply that water contained in the great Laver which stood within the gate of the Tabernacle. Let us read the next passage which describes the command regarding cleansing and dedication.

8. Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering.
9. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together:
10. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:
11. And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD.
12. And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites.
13. And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD.

Keil and Delitzsch note that the Levites were presented symbolically to the Lord as a sacrifice for His service. Here, there is a note in The New Bible Commentary which is well worth pondering. It states: "There are many lessons for the Christian in this section. He sees here the importance of each member of God's family having his own particular task. Cf. 1 Cor. xii. It is necessary that special men be designated for particular duties, and the most important of these duties require ceremonies of installation, in order that the work of God's kingdom shall be done in orderly fashion. Those who do the work of God must be cleansed from all defilement of flesh and spirit. No one is fit in himself to serve God. It is only as we see ourselves as guilty sinners saved through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary that we can do anything that is worth while in God's sight. All our righteousnesses apart from Him are but 'filthy rags' (Is. lxiv. 6).

We might remember that I Corinthians 12 is a chapter which speaks of a diversity of gifts but the same spirit within the body of Christ (verse 27).

We shall have to leave the rest of that chapter for our next study, but perhaps we have left with you sufficient thoughts for meditation this coming week.

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