From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2012 9:56 PM
The Hebrew Scriptures
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem,
Welcome to our Torah study on this week’s portion of Scripture called Parsha
Behaalotecha (When you raise), which will be read this Shabbat (Saturday)
morning in synagogues around the world.
PARSHA BEHAALOTECHA (When You Raise)
Numbers 8:1 – 12:16, Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7, Revelations 11:1–14
“Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the seven lamps, they
are to light the area in front of the lampstand.’” (Numbers 18:1)
Last week, in Parsha Naso, we read that the Levite men between the ages of
30 and 50 were counted and assigned tasks for transportating the Tabernacle.
This week, in Parsha Behaalotecha, we read that Aaron set the lights of the
Menorah (which was hammered from a single piece of gold according to the
pattern that God showed Moses) so that the area in front of the Menorah
Torah ark at the Western (Wailing) Wall: Instead of praying in a regular
synagogue in Jerusalem, what a special feeling and priviledge it is to
actually attend services at the Holiest place for the Jewish people!
Only Aaron and his sons, the Cohanim (priests), were entrusted with the
important duty of lighting the menorah.
The rabbis say that Moses’ brother Aaron was chosen because of his reliability
in performing a menial task day after day.
There is a lesson in that for us. It’s easy to feel enthusiastic about a task
that is new and fresh, but we need to master the ability to sustain our
enthusiasm, even once the novelty wears off.
God honors this kind of reliability.
Three Orthodox Jewish men view the Western
Wall, also called the Kotel, from the plaza.
Even the most mundane of our daily chores can be a joy when we do them
‘unto the Lord.’
God is not only interested in what we consider our “spiritual activities;”
He also wants to be involved in our everyday life.
He is not just pleased with us when we are reading our Bible, attending
congregational services, praying, or sharing our faith.
Adonai enjoys being part of every detail of our life, whether we are working,
playing, resting, eating, or just doing our chores – everything from feeding
our pets to folding the laundry.
He also enjoys being part of our interaction with others.
An Orthodox Jewish man kindles the lights of the chanukiah (Chanukah
menorah) with his child. On the last day of Chanukah, all the candles are lit.
Prominent Jewish Symbol: The Menorah
“I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it,
with seven channels to the lights.” (Zechariah 4:2)
The Menorah is probably Judaism’s best known symbol.
It is especially prominent during the season of Chanukah, when the rededication
of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem is celebrated.
In fact, lighting the Menorah was one of the very first tasks that the
Maccabees (Jewish freedom fighters) accomplished when they reclaimed the
Holy Temple, which had been desecrated by Antiochus who erected an altar to
Zeus in the Temple and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar.
That is one of the reasons why the Menorah has come to symbolize spiritual
victory that is gained “not by might, nor by power” (Zechariah 4:6), but by
God’s Spirit, as is clearly emphasized in today’s Haftarah (prophetic portion)
The priests light the Menorah in the Temple
When we are aware of our complete inability to gain the victory, God can
show His strength in our weakness.
Although we need to be strong and overcome all the obstacles that are
preventing us from fulfilling our destiny in Messiah, the Apostle Paul (Rabbi
Shaul) said, “When I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)”
Why? Because we are to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power”
(Ephesians 6: 10) and not strong in ourselves and our own power.
It’s also good to remember that darkness is not driven out by force, but
by light. Just as the Menorah’s seven lamps brought light to the Temple,
Yeshua brings light to our hearts, minds and lives.
His light dispels the darkness, and we are to bring His light to the world
(Matthew 5:14, see also John 12:36).
While the Temple Menorah had only seven lights, the
chanukiah has eight to symbolize the miracle of a single
day’s supply of oil that lasted eight days found in the story
of Chanukah. The candle in the middle is called the
Shamash (servant), and it is used to light all the candles
on the menorah. As such, it’s a wonderful symbol of
Yeshua, the Light of the World.
The Meaning of the Menorah
“Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of
God.” (Revelation 4:5)
The seven branches of the Menorah can be understood to represent
These are described in the Messianic Prophecy in Isaiah chapter 11:
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and
understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and
of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
The Spirit of the Lord is at the center of the Menorah, with the other six
branches representing the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might,
knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
A yad (Torah pointer) usually assists the reader in keeping his or her place
while reading the Torah. This prevents damage to the parchment and the
painstakingly handwritten lettering created by a scribe.
Yeshua, the Light of the World, certainly fulfilled this prophecy, as can
be seen in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament):
• The Spirit of the Lord rested on Him (Matthew 3:16; Luke 4:1,14,18,21);
• He was wise and because of that, able to pronounce sound judgment,
and answer the ensnaring questions of the Pharisees;
• He was not only a gifted counselor, He was courageous and mighty
in the execution of His counsel (Luke 4: 31,36; 5: 4-8); and
• He knew the deep things of God, and was also genuinely reverential
and obedient to the Father (John 5:30).
Jewish men praying at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem
The Seven Lamp Stands
The Book of Revelation can help us discover deeper meaning in the seven
lights of the Menorah.
Yochanan (John) had a vision of Yeshua standing in the midst of seven golden
lamp stands, holding in His right hand seven stars.
“I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was
someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and
with a golden sash around His chest. … In His right hand He held seven stars,
and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.” (Revelation 1: 12–16)
Yeshua explained to Yochanan that the seven stars were the angels of the seven
churches and the seven lamp stands were the seven churches.
“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven
golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven
churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1: 20)
A gold reconstruction of the Menorah, made by the Temple Mount Institute:
According to the Jewish historian Josephus, the Roman legions took the
Menorah to Rome, Italy in 70 AD, when the Temple was destroyed.
Further along in the Book of Revelation, John describes, “Seven lamps of fire
burning before the throne of God which are the seven spirits of God.”
Obviously, the number seven figures prominently in the lights of the Menorah,
and in the Book of Revelation. But why?
Since seven in the Bible represents perfection or completion, as in the seventh
day Shabbat (Sabbath), we know that no improvements can be made to that
which God has made. It’s perfect and complete on the Divine side of things.
So too with those who follow Yeshua. Although on the Divine side, the Church
is complete and perfect, on the human side, we need to hold fast to the Light
of the World, and follow His leading. Otherwise, we fall back into sin
(Revelation 2:5; see also 2:16 and 3:3).
A life-size replica of the Tabernacle in Israel’s Timna Valley
Following God’s Lead
“On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up, the cloud
covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked
like fire.” (Numbers 9:15)
In this Parsha, we read that as soon as the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was set
up, the cloud—God’s manifest presence—covered it.
When the cloud tarried, the people of Israel remained in place, whether it was
for one day or for one year.
Just think of it! None of us have ever experienced a moving day of this
magnitude. The entire nation would pack up and move.
And it was no small task to dissemble the Tabernacle with all of its parts
and furnishings, and took a team of Levite men between the ages of 30 to 50
to get the job done.
“Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a
year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted,
they would set out.” (Numbers 9:22)
Likewise, in our walk with God, we should be seeking direction from
Sometimes we move ahead quickly and make great progress in a short period
of time. Other times we simply stay in camp and wait until He gives the signal
to move again.
Trying to move ahead of the cloud, the manifest presence of God, will only
bring frustration. So will lagging behind if the cloud has moved on.
“He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in
darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails.” (1 Samuel 2:9)
As Believers in Yeshua, our light that comes from the Lord, the True Light,
is not meant to be hidden but to be like a beacon on a hill, which beckons
all to come towards the light.
Bjoern, we take this calling very seriously. Please partner with us
this Shabbat in bringing the Light of the World to Israel and the nations.
Shabbat Shalom from our ministry staff!
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
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