Tag Archives: Sinai

An Awakened Spirit can Avoid a Dead Body

An Awakened Spirit can Avoid a Dead Body

It all started when I got to wondering about the word “profane” as used in the OId Testament. I had a feeling it meant to dishonor. While this is true, as with most Hebrew words there is a range of interpretation. Not only that, but there are two different Hebrew words that get translated as profane: zur and halal. Zur is the most frequently used word—76 times in the Old Testament, while halal is used only 21 times. Zur in the King James bible is almost exclusively translated as “strange.” But in many modern translations zur is translated as profane. Halal on the other hand is almost exclusively translated as profane.

So, you’re probably asking, “what’s your point?” Well, it’s this, my New King James Bible search of “profane” took me to the “profane” fire offered by Nadab and Abihu. How could their incense offering be profane? The offering was described by the Hebrew word zur—strange. Maybe then it was not the offering, but something more spiritually profound to which the Lord reacted.

Let’s revisit the event and see what might have been at play.
Nadab and Abihu, were the two eldest sons of Aaron, Moses’ brother.
Their tragic story is told primarily in the tenth chapter of Leviticus. The chapter opens describing the young men making an offering to the Lord which had not been commanded by God and which resulted in their death.

In acting as they did, Nadab and Abihu assumed a familiarity with God that was totally at odds with the solemnity of the occasion. They upstaged not only Moses, but also their father, Aaron, the High Priest. Their offering was a spontaneous act which they performed at the conclusion of at least seven days of very intense spiritual significance—the dedication of the priesthood.

Aaron and his four sons were each in their respective priestly garments. They were before the altar in the newly constructed Tabernacle. The sons’ father, the High Priest, had just blessed the thousands gathered to observe the event. The fire of the Lord had spectacularly roared forth and consumed the prescribed offering on the altar.

In their youth and in the exuberance of the event they apparently gave no thought as to how presumptuous and offensive their actions would be to God—how they were drawing attention to themselves and away from their father and from Moses. Their actions diminished the sacred impact of the pageantry of the event—Nadab and Abihu were editing the script—all this High Priest decorum wasn’t necessary, two kids with their own censers could define how you approached and worshipped God.

Their actions profaned, made God common, before the people. The judgment of Nadab and Abihu by God was deserved, swift and just. God did not want another repeat of the Israelites’ faithlessness evidenced at His descent on Mt Sinai the year before. It was there, gathered at the base of Mt Sinai, witnessing the awesome power of God, that the nation vacillated. In the intensity of that experience the Israelites opted to exchange an offered intimacy of relationship with God for one of intercession—as one voice they said, “Moses, you listen to God for us.” Now, in this climactic moment of pageantry in the dedication of the priesthood, God had to quickly, decisively restore His position of holiness, His preeminence and His plan for His chosen.

Although the text does not use both Hebrew words, I make the following distinction. The young men offered a strange, zur, offering, however, it was their inappropriate actions in the circumstance that profaned, made common, were halal to God. Nadab and Abihu attempted to define God in their image—to create a god that He is not—an idol god. Their individual spirit did not perceive God’s spirit—resulting in their dead bodies. God is a jealous God.

There is a tendency today to make God a buddy, a big, huggable bear. Let us not forget that although He loves each of us with a passion and is intimately approachable, He must be respected, esteemed, honored and worshipped. It is best to let Him decide how He wants to present Himself to us in any given situation. I may want the big teddy bear, but in His wisdom, I may need the correction of a father.

When my spirit is awake to His Spirit I will always make better choices, resulting in life for my body.

A Sabbath Thought

Identity

(Exodus 31:12-18, Rom 11:16-17, Eph 1:20 & 2:6)


I sought for an identity,

I had no sense of worth,

Until Yeshua drew me and cleansed me,

And placed me on His throne. 

At the right hand of Father
I heard that ancient truth,

The one He spoke on Sinai’s mount:

”I, the Lord, do sanctify you and give to you as sign—

My Sabbath—keep it forever, evidence you are mine.”

Lacking identity no longer, I walk with inner strength,

Child of God forever, His  day I faithfully keep. 

Kennedy Brown
February 28, 2018

Sins of the Fathers

Sins of the Fathers

In the Torah portion Chukat (Num 19:1-22:1) we find the Israelites for the second time approaching the river Jordan and entry into the promised land. But again as over 40 years ago they cry out, “If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! Why have you brought up the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.”(Nu 21:3-5) How many times has Moses heard this grumbling lament from God’s chosen?

The first time is recorded as being sometime in the second month after their miraculous deliverance from Egypt; after the manna starts falling and quail has been provided. They’re thirsty and cry out, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Ex 16:2)

You might ask, “How could this new generation have possibly forgotten all the lessons learned for disobedience, rebellion, idol worship and lack of faith that has been experienced these past forty years?” The answer would seem to me to be one of sowing and reaping. It was Yahweh’s judgment in Numbers 14:29 that: “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.” Couple this with Yahweh’s pronouncement in Exodus 34:7 after the golden calf incident: , “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (italics added) –the sins of the fathers would come home to roost—there would be a reaping.

At the time of this last iteration of water lack complaint, the entire assembly which had engaged in the pilgrimage of faithless wanderings was gone. Every one who had been twenty years of age or older was gone. Only Caleb and Joshua remained. Even Miriam and Aaron were gone. Moses’ denial of entry into the promised land was sealed. As an aside I questioned how Eleazar was still on the scene (Nu 26:1). Was he not clothed in priestly tunic along with his father, Aaron, and his brothers Nedab and Abihu? (Ex 29:9) Yes, he was, but he must have been less than 20 at the time of the Sinai census.

Back to my theme. We can so easily see the failings of the fathers from the perspective of Moses’ recording of the historical events which occurred as many as 3500 years ago. We can take admonition as to the need to avoid idol worship, disbelief and rebellion, but there is one other truth we must also come away with: the urgency as fathers and mothers to warn, admonish, cajole, entreat, implore, oh, yes, and pray for our children that they not walk in our sin—in the sins of their fathers.

In Yahweh’s pronouncement in Exodus 34:7, the operative word is visiting. This changes the charge from sin being a certainty to one that says our children and our children’s children will be visited. They will be tempted to sin as we have sinned—including their generational history of sin..

I submit that one of two things happened in the forty years of desert wanderings by the Israelites. Either the fathers were so self-absorbed and fatalistically oriented that they did not practice the instruction of the Shema and teach their children. Or, the children did not heed the teaching and admonition and failed as the opportunity (temptation) to repeat the sins of their parents were presented to them (visited upon them). The Shema is the ancient prayer/command from Deuteronomy 6:6-9 prayed today in Judaism and by Messianic believers alike. It says we are to teach our children.

An additional observation can also be made of the responsibility of our teen agers. Eleazar, the High Priest, at the time of the crossing over of the Jordan, was by then a man at least in his 50’s. He, along with all his contemporaries who were in their teens at Sinai and who also observed the response to the spies’ report, could have been a powerful influence on this second and third generation preparing to enter the promised land. They were now the leaders. Their voices should have forcefully warned the community of the danger of challenging Yahweh and Moses’ leadership. The record seems silent—the visiting was again successful. Today’s teens must not be oblivious to what is happening outside their world. They must observe and prepare for that day when their voice should be sounded to avoid the mistakes of our spiritual history—our sin.

Yahweh has made every provision for us to take heed and take a positive action. Has not the blood of Yeshua given us a perfect shield against the forces of the visit? Yes, but as with every generation, the human spirit must be alert and active, the will exercised to withstand successfully the attack of the visit—the sins of the fathers. The blood of Yeshua will stop the “visitors” from becoming “residents.”

A Lament for Bezalel

A Lament for Bezalel, Chosen of Yahweh
Parshat Vayakhel, especially Exodus 35:30-35

Bezalel, O Bezalel, you by Yahweh commended
To craft the work of His own designation−
Chosen alone from all the Hebrew nation
Upon whom the Spirit of God descended.

That you were a young man, it is surmised,
Yet with the engraver’s eye and jeweler’s skill
You wrought wonders−the tabernacle to fill.
Everyone except Yahweh was surprised.

Bezalel, anointed by Yahweh in Sinai land,
Tell us, now, what is your great reward?
You surely fell as though slain by sword;
Your bones remain in the desert’s sand.

Was it the spies’ report with which you agreed−
Or your lust for a Midianite maiden fair?
What fatal sin will your eternal records bare?
Was there not a lesson Yahweh’s children need?

A lament, O Bezalel, I now humbly offer:
Though my giftings flow from God’s own hand,
I too may find my bones in desert sand.
“Run the race to win”−that my reward not suffer.

Kennedy Brown
Gerizim
Erev Shabbat, March 4, 2016

While reading the Torah portion, Vayakhel, I was impressed with all the favor of Yahweh that resulted in Bezalel being called and equipped for construction of the tabernacle. Aleph Beta makes it even more impressive in that the past tense is used in describing Bezalel’s preparation as being from the “days of Creation.”

But then the reality hit me that Bezalel did not go into the promised land. He died with his generation in the desert wilderness. That is what can tritely be called a “sobering experience!” One which could call for some sober introspection.

I trust the “lament” somewhat captures this reality.

Day of Atonement–Yom Kippur

We observed Yom Kippur from sundown Friday, October 3 to sundown Sabbath, October 4. Part of our prayer and intercession considered the following:
Satan’s Plot
It’s interesting that the original prejudice against the disciples of Yeshua came from the unbelieving, ungrafted-in Jews principally led by the practitioners of Judaism. The Gentiles initially were not the problem. Remember Yeshua’s words, “render unto Caesar….” The Romans initially did not have any problems with the followers of Yeshua–it was again the ungrafted-in Jews (rightly or wrongly) who were creating the problems. My premise is that the whole doctrinal conflict between the Jews of Judaism and the Jewish followers of Messiah was a finely crafted,satanic plot to begin to separate the followers of Yeshua (Jew and Greek) from their Hebrew (not Rabinic/Pharisaic) roots. Then with Paul’s effective ministry the grafted-in Gentiles slowly became a majority of those in Yeshua’s vanguard. With Paul’s passing and the leadership shifting away from its First Century founders, self-serving heresies started coming into the movement. All the while there’s enough satanic junk on both sides to widen the gap. Anti-Gentilism and anti-Semitism become the vogue. Even though the ungrafted-in Jew has missed Messiah, he has not missed the blessing of keeping Torah (even faultily). This favor of God ironically fosters more jealousy, hatred, division and persecution. So who do you hate for the sin of the other? I would suggest the battle is not against either people group, “for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12). The Messianic can be a bridge of reconciliation recognizing the problem and not fostering it, but being part of the solution. I believe many Christians are unknowingly closet Messianics and are waiting to be loved into understanding.