BIBLE STUDY SERIES #356, 357 and 358

20 September, 1998

WILDERNESS SCHOOLING - PART II

By Douglas C. Nesbit B.A.

Our series of Bible Studies, which began several years ago with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, has taken us down the generations of his progeny through Jacob (Israel) to Egypt and Exodus, to Mount Sinai and Canaan's border. But at the border, on hearing the adverse report of the majority of the spies sent to search out The Promised Land, the people of Israel had failed to enter in, though promised The Lord's Strength. At the Land of Promise, they had balked, and thus they had forfeited their chance; their "window of opportunity." The penalty was that the whole generation above twenty years of age, which had stopped at the border in unbelief, must stay another thirty-eight years to wander in the wilderness for a total of forty years, having been assessed a year for each day that the spies had searched the land, until all that generation had died out except the few who had remained faithful, namely Joshua and Caleb.

On our last Bible Study, I further spoke concerning those who, upon hearing the announcement of God's judgment and punishment for their unbelief pronounced upon them, and with that prospect of enduring until they died, the stress of such a wilderness existence, had reversed their intentions. Ignoring God's announcement of the judgment, these Israelites decided, in their own strength and without the sanction of God or the presence of Moses or of the Ark of the Covenant among them, to assail the Canaanites. In effect, they were refusing to accept a judgment already passed upon them for their failure. They thought that saying they were sorry, so to speak, would allow them to escape their punishment. It was not to be, for once God speaks a judgment such as this upon people who have not then submitted to Him in the acceptance of that punishment, there is no "short-cut" way to evade the result. They were, of course, defeated, and were pursued "even unto Hormah" as Numbers 14:45 so succinctly puts it.

On the last study, I devoted the time to my comments concerning the present-day attitudes of the Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples, many of whom have been led into humanist and anti-Christ positions by their academic mentors and their own pride of heart. Those to whom I addressed my thoughts are those humanist descendants of the Israelites, of whom we have been taking note in Numbers 14 and I directed my words towards the preparation of all our people to meet the crisis of The Second Advent Signal, which I do not doubt will become manifest at the appointed time. The prophetic marks are upon our time, and this speaks to the certainty of what is to follow.

Ending our last study, I ventured the statement that, as with those ancient Israelite ancestors of the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples today, their present day progeny are attempting something which will simply not work. I stated that "Today's humanists are adamant in forcing God's word out of our midst in every official and humanly legal way possible. They seek to accomplish the desirable social goals on their own. It simply will not work, the way they are going about it, and there are very logical reasons why it will not work."

Today, before we leave that point, I might add a few thoughts concerning Moses himself. While the rest of the Israelites who were of mature age were to die during those forty years of wandering and schooling in the wilderness for their unbelief, one might ask why God did not permit Moses himself, who had proven so faithful on so many occasions, to enter Canaan.

Of course, as we will later discover, Moses' sin, and the cause of his being forbidden to come with the younger generation of Israel into that inheritance, was that he later, with great impatience, struck "the rock", on a second occasion at another location, namely, Kadesh, to bring forth water for the people. The sense of the condemnation of The Almighty for this seemingly slight excess of energy during the stress of the occasion is totally missed if we do not understand that the rock which he struck on this second occasion was the same rock which had been previously struck at Horeb, and it symbolised the source of Living Water (John 4:14), the Anointed or "Christ" One, namely Jesus.

Keep in mind that the adjective "Christ", as applied to Our Lord, simply describes Him as being "The Anointed", and there was only one anointed, or "christed" Rock of paramount significance in scripture at the time of the Exodus, and this was described as accompanying (or "following") the Israelites in their wilderness wanderings, as Paul mentions in I Corinthians 10:4. That rock was the Bethel Stone, or Jacob's Pillow Stone, which that Patriarch had anointed, or, as we might say, "christed", on the occasion following the magnificent dream of the ladder reaching to heaven. Remember that the name "Bethel" simply means "House of God", and so it had been this "House of God" stone, that was anointed by Jacob in Genesis 28:18-22 and thus could be named a "christ-rock."

It was this rock which Jacob himself had later assigned to the care of the shepherding tribe of Joseph, in Genesis 49:24, and in their Exodus, they would certainly not have left it behind! The Almighty, Whom we must identify as a Pre-Incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ, identified that anointed stone as a prophetic symbol of Himself by standing upon that "christed" rock in Horeb (Mount Sinai) while it was struck by Moses and water flowed from it to His people (Exodus 17:6). On that first occasion, by identifying with the Stone while it was struck, the event was prophetically assignable to Christ's First Advent wherein He would be struck and Crucified, in order that Living waters might flow to His people.

The Christ-stone with which The Almighty had identified Himself at Horeb, was only to be struck on one occasion, for the smiting represented His Crucifixion. When, in anger, Moses struck this same stone a second time, years later at Kadesh, he did more than simply make a minor error in his assignment, for he had, on this second occasion been told simply to speak to the rock. When he struck it he broke the prophetic type to anti-type identity of the rock on this occasion with Christ's Second Advent. As striking the rock on the first occasion was the symbol of Christ's Crucifixion, speaking to the rock was, on this second occasion, to be a symbolic prophetic act relating to the Second Advent, when Jesus Christ is destined to return in person, with great power and glory. Christ was not to suffer a second Crucifixion. *N.B. Footnote

But let us also consider the fact that, just as God's judgment had passed upon those of Israel who had ascended at the last moment to attempt entry to Canaan in their own power and were defeated and unable to enter the land, so it happened also with Moses. As Moses had been told only to speak to the rock (not to strike it) at Kadesh in order to bring forth water for the people, his further action of actually striking the rock on that occasion was done to provide the water in his own strength and power. Instead of honouring God by doing it through words only, under God's direction, he hit the rock., as I say, and by doing this he was breaking the match of "type" to "antitype", and so destroyed the whole point of the directive, for it was intended to be a teaching demonstration and prophetic act.

Here, then, Moses, perhaps in a fit of impatience and anger with the demands of the people, but also perhaps with a hint of unbelief in the ability of the LORD to answer his word only, without the assistance of a blow upon the rock, likewise broke a direct order of The Almighty. This, in his turn, would place Moses in the same condemnation as that which Israel of the previous generation had encountered. As that generation had suffered their punishment by death during those forty years of wilderness wandering, it would not, now, be just for The Almighty to allow Moses to escape the same punishment, the more so as he had witnessed what such unbelief had brought upon his people.

So there is identification of the resulting judgment upon Moses for that failure at Kadesh just as there had been upon the rest of the mature Israelites. They all died before the nation of Israel was enabled to make an entrance to their Promised Land.

Now, Israel was guided through the Jordan water-course by the "doorway" provided by the Ark of the Covenant carried by those priests who stood in the midst of the river course while the waters were held in check, and Israel could, as with the crossing of the Red Sea, once more go across a watercourse dryshod. Joshua, as you might remember, undertook the invasion of Canaan under the direction of the "captain of the host of the LORD" in Joshua 5:13-15.

Next week we will be moving ahead to study something of Numbers 15. Let me leave with you the thought that the same Almighty God, Who is firm in assessing judgments for transgression of His Commandments, is also the Christ Who was willing to undergo the identical death which He had to impose on those who had displayed such disregard of His orders. (Moreover those orders had been issued not to benefit Himself, but to benefit the progeny of His people, and all of "whomsoever will" down the entire concourse of unfolding history, much as a friend might give us a map to guide us away from the rocks and shoals of life, steering us to smooth sailing if we will but follow the course laid out for us to the desired harbour.) He, in the flesh, went into the Crucifixion death for the purpose of providing a Door of Escape for His people, whom He loved. When it was essential, He imposed punishment for transgression. When it was likewise essential, He took their place that they might be brought again into a wonderful and tranquil relationship of Peace with the totality of The Godhead. May this provide you a meditation for the coming week.

*N.B.Asking for water to flow from the Rock as it rested at Kadesh, on the border of land inhabited by Esau's Edomite (Idumaean) descendants, the Amalekites (Gen. 36:12 and Num. 13:29) was also to be a symbol wherein we, His people, are prophetically described as seen in Ezekiel 36:1-37 -
1 Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD:
2 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession:
3 Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people:
4 Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;
5 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.
6 Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen:
7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame.
8 But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.
9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:
10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:
11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
12 Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men.
13 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations;
14 Therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord GOD.
15 Neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord GOD.
16 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.
18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them
for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it:
19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.
20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land.
21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.
22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.
34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.
37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.

27 September, 1998

WILDERNESS SCHOOLING - PART III

By Douglas C. Nesbit B.A.

Our series of Bible Studies, which began several years ago with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, has taken us down the generations of his progeny through Jacob (Israel) to Egypt and Exodus, to Mount Sinai and to Canaan's border. But at the border, on hearing the adverse report of the majority of the spies sent to search out The Promised Land, the people of Israel had failed to enter in, though promised The Lord's Strength. Thus they had forfeited their chance; and that whole mature generation must now wander for a further thirty-eight years in the detested conditions of the wilderness for a total of forty years, having been assessed a year for each day that the spies had searched the land. Only the two, Joshua and Caleb, whose testimony upon return from the spy mission had told the truth would survive to lead the following generation where their parents feared to tread.

We have now reached Numbers 15:1, and we will pick up the Scriptural account at that point but first, I might read the introductory remarks for this chapter found in The New Bible Commentary. Under the heading "X. Laws After The Crisis. xv. 1-41" it tells us: "Chapters xv to xx encompass a period of about thirty eight years, most of which is passed over in silence. There is no indication of the exact time of the events from xv. 1 to xx. 13. The condemnation at Kadesh-barnea was fulfilled. Nearly forty years were spent in the wilderness, and an entire generation passed away. It had been made clear that Israel was not yet ready for the Promised Land."

Keil and Delitzsch have a somewhat longer comment but it also pertains to chapters 15 through 19, and we may only need to note from that reference that "After the unhappy issue of the attempt to penetrate into Canaan, in opposition to the will of God and the advice of Moses, the Israelites remained 'many days' in Kadesh, as the Lord did not hearken to their lamentations concerning the defeat which they had suffered at the hands of the Canaanites and Amalekites. Then they turned, and took their journey, as the Lord had commanded... into the wilderness, in the direction towards the Red Sea...; and in the first month of the fortieth year they came again into the desert of Zin to Kadesh." Noting that we cannot pinpoint most of the various encampments through these years accurately on a map, they add that during this period the most important event was the rebellion of Korah against Moses and Aaron and the re-establishment of the Aaronic priesthood and confirmation of their rights which this occasioned. The few laws issued during that period of wandering prove the continuance of the covenant which the Lord had made with the nation of Israel at Sinai. The supposed "void" in the history of this period was due to the fact that there was simply a gradual dying-out of the older generation, and the emergence of the young to take their places. We should simply add, from The Companion Bible, the affirmation at verse 2 which shows that the intent of The Lord was still to eventually "bring them in" to The Promised Land. Let us now pick up the Scriptural account at Numbers 15:1:

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you,
3. And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock:
4. Then shall he that offereth his offering unto the LORD bring a meat offering of a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of oil.
5. And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb.
6. Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meat offering two tenth deals of flour mingled with the third part of an hin of oil.
7. And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
8. And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in performing a vow, or peace offerings unto the LORD:
9. Then shall he bring with a bullock a meat offering of three tenth deals of flour mingled with half an hin of oil.
10. And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
11. Thus shall it be done for one bullock, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid. 12. According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number.
13. All that are born of the country shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
14. And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do.
15. One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.
16. One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.

So we can see from these laws that there was still a Covenant operating between the God of Sinai and the Nation of Israel, even though this was a generation in Israel under punishment for refusing to go forward as The LORD had commanded. That ought to form a cautionary meditation for those who say, as many do today, that God replaced His "Old Covenant" with the Nation of Israel with a "New Covenant" made with a generality formed of a different collection of people known as "the Church." Remember that the "Old Covenant" was replaced by the "New Covenant" between the same two parties, namely The Almighty God and the people of Israel. It is only a "New Covenant" if it is between the same parties that had previously been bound by the "Old Covenant". That is distinctly what is stated in Jeremiah 31:31-36 where we read that this New Covenant is made with "the house of Israel", and incidentally, please note that Jeremiah differentiates between the house of Israel and the house of Judah, each of which was a separate entity. This is clearly not a repetitive reference to the same people under another name. Judahites were, by ancestry, Israelites, but Judah was not the house of Israel that was comprised of the ten and a half tribes which had separated from Judah and its Davidic line of kings.

31. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
35. Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
36. If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

In Ezekiel 11:15-20, we find a parallel passage confirming this and in Ezekiel 36:26 we find the same applies. Speaking to "the house of Israel" specifically in verse 22, who have profaned God's holy name among the heathen, God says (verses 24-27):

24. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Heb. 8:7-13 further confirm this:

7. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

It is unfortunate that many pastors and ministers, get confused over this point because they have never been taught that the literal descendants of ancient Israel now comprise a far larger company of people that simply "the Jews", being, in fact, the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples of the earth.

We shall have to leave the rest of Numbers 15 for the next study.

4 October, 1998

WILDERNESS SCHOOLING - PART IV

By Douglas C. Nesbit B.A.

Our series of Bible Studies, which began several years ago with the Call of The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, has taken us down the generations of his progeny through Jacob (Israel) to Egypt and Exodus, to Mount Sinai and to Canaan's border. But at the border, on hearing the adverse report of the majority of the spies sent to search out The Promised Land, the people of Israel had failed to enter in, though promised The Lord's Strength. Thus they had forfeited their chance; and that whole mature generation must now wander for a further thirty-eight years in the detested conditions of the wilderness for a total of forty years, having been assessed a year for each day that the spies had searched the land. Only the two, Joshua and Caleb, whose testimony upon return from the spy mission had told the truth would survive to lead the following generation where their parents feared to tread.

We had seen that the last passages which we read, comprising the first sixteen verses of the chapter, included a general recapitulation of a number of the ceremonial laws which we had previously examined, and the Commentaries indicate that God used this means in order to assure the whole nation of His continuing covenanted promise to bring that people of Israel into the Promised Land, although the generation which had refused to enter it, in The Lord's strength, was to gradually perish in the wilderness during the succeeding 38 years.

As The New Bible Commentary notes: "There is little in these rules that is not already contained in the laws given at Sinai for the priests. The purpose of the section is an indirect one. It focuses attention on the certainty that God will bring His people into the Promised Land. (Cf. verses 2 and 18.) Just when they have failed so miserably and a whole generation has been doomed to die in the wilderness, specific stress is laid on God's plan for His people in Canaan, an indirect means of giving them assurance that His promises will be carried out in due time, It is to be noted that the various parts of this chapter are addressed to the nation as a whole (2, 8, 38) rather than to Aaron or to the Levites. Contrast xviii. 1." (There, by contrast, as we shall be observing shortly, Aaron and the Levites are given specific charge by The LORD, concerning their duties which pertained especially to the sanctity of the Tabernacle.)

Keil and Delitzsch give much the same view. Of verses 1-16, they explain "For the purpose of reviving the hopes of the new generation that was growing up, and directing their minds to the promised land, during the mournful and barren time when judgment was being executed upon the race that had been condemned, Jehovah communicated various laws through Moses concerning the presentation of sacrifices in the land that He would give them... ." That reference goes into a more detailed examination of the variations in this sacrificial list and, passing to verses 17-21, they give information concerning the heave offering which Israel is to produce, of the bread which they would eat in the land of Canaan., namely "groat-meal baked as cake", being of "groats or meal coarsely bruised... ." Like all the gifts of first-fruits, they explain, "this cake also fell to the portion of the priests." Passing on to verses 22-31, they speak of the sin offerings, and the nature of the sin addressed, as being "not doing all that Jehovah had spoken through Moses.", rather than the committing of sin by specifically breaking certain commandments. "Consequently, the allusion here is not to sins of commission, but to sins of omission, not following the law of God... ." It would seem from this, that this injunction has in view not so much the breaking of specific laws, but rather to a general malaise in the Israelite society, or to a general shift towards practices which are not completely compatible with God's Law; the people being seduced by evil rulers or foreign religious practices, for example, to the point where they themselves permit a situation in their social conduct, incompatible with God's Law, to become the accepted norm of society. Keil and Delitzsch mention a general neglect of their religious duties, "or to adopt and join in certain customs and usages of the heathen, which appeared to be reconcilable with the law of Jehovah, though they really led to contempt and neglect of the commandments of the Lord." Does that situation sound familiar to you today, I wonder? The burnt offering had to be added to the sin offering, "that the separation of the congregation from the Lord, which had arisen from the sin of omission, might be entirely removed." The sin offering had to be presented first, in order that the sin should be expiated before the congregation could sanctify its life and efforts afresh to the Lord in the burnt-offering.

This sin of omission is to be distinguished from those sins which were committed, either by a native or a foreigner "with a high hand", as shown in verses 32-36, "i.e. so that he raised his hand, as it were, against Jehovah, or acted in open rebellion against Him."

Today, we return to Numbers 15, beginning at verse 17. Let us see how matters proceeded from that point:

17. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
18. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land whither I bring you,
19. Then it shall be, that, when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall offer up an heave offering unto the LORD.
20. Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough for an heave offering: as ye do the heave offering of the threshingfloor, so shall ye heave it.
21. Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the LORD an heave offering in your generations.
22. And if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses,
23. Even all that the LORD hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the LORD commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations;
24. Then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour unto the LORD, with his meat offering, and his drink offering, according to the manner, and one kid of the goats for a sin offering.
25. And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their ignorance:
26. And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance.
27. And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.
28. And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.

While stress is here being laid on those sins which are done in a general state of ignorance, I want to draw attention to the specifics found in this next verse, for there are great implications for our present day Israel peoples in the ramifications, and I shall make some comments by way of observation after we treat of the whole passage. Continuing at verse 29:

29. Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
30. But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
31. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

Here is that sin committed "with a high hand", or in other words, in open defiance, or rebellion or derision against God's authority, demonstrating, so to speak, "contempt of court."

32. And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
33. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
34. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
35. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

It is sometimes thought that merely to gather a few sticks on a sabbath seems such a small thing to be treated as a capital offence. However, as we note from the general thrust of the Scriptures at this point, the real sin, in the case of this gatherer of sticks was one of open rebellion against The LORD. What today might comprise such an attitude in modern western society, do you think? Perhaps I might leave that question with you as a topic for meditation during the coming week.

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