Parashah Pinchas Numbers 25:10 – 30:1

We left the last Parashah with Pinchus killing a prince of Simeon and the daughter of a Midianite Chieftain. God tells Moses that because of Pinchus’ zeal for God that he stopped the plague He sent as punishment for the sin at Ba’al-Peor, and as reward Pinchus and his descendants were to be given the Priesthood, forever. God’s promise also was a means to protect Pinchus from avenging by anyone in the family of the slain man.

God commands a census to be taken, which is to establish the size of the army (God commands Moses to attack Midian as retaliation for their sin against Israel, which is where Balaam gets his), and also to see how many are left alive after the plague. It is interesting to note that the tribe of Simeon, from whom the man Pinchus killed came from, had the greatest loss of numbers: when they first did a census at the beginning of Numbers Simeon had 59,300 men, but now they have only 22,200.

The question of what happens if a man has no sons to inherit the land is presented by the the daughters of Zelophehad; it is determined that the daughters inherit the land, although they must marry within their tribe so the tribal inheritance is not diminished. God then gives Moses the full Order of Inheritance to be used.

Moses is told that his time to die has come, and instead of whining or asking for more time, his first thought is of the people and he asks God to appoint a successor. That person is, of course, Joshua. But Moses doesn’t die yet. The rest of this parashah is a restatement of the daily and special sacrifices that are to be performed. Each daily and festival sacrifice is described in detail; God is restating these requirements to the people as a refresher, so to speak, since they will soon be in the land.

This is the first time we hear God telling Moses he will die, even though the event, itself, doesn’t happen until the end of the Torah. The rest of the book of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy is a refresher course in all that happened and all that God requires of the Children of Israel. Moses gets to see the land, but he is not allowed to enter it. Why? Isn’t God forgiving? Why, after all the times Moses asks to be allowed in, won’t God relent, forgive and allow Moses to enter the Land?

I don’t know. But, if I were to guess, I would say it’s to show us that forgiveness is spiritual, but the consequence of sin is physical. There is no doubt in my mind that Moses is in God’s presence and was saved by his faithfulness and actions during his lifetime. Yet, the sin he committed at the waters of Meribah had consequences that his forgiveness in the spiritual world could not remove from his existence in the physical world.

How many times have we, the Jewish people, looked to the Promised Land but not entered because of our sin?  What I am talking about here is the sin of rejecting salvation through Messiah Yeshua. The Messiah is like the land God promised- long awaited and longed for.  But, the sins we commit in life prevent us from entering; sin such as rejecting Torah, rejecting Yeshua (this is what Judaism has done) , being unrepentant and (worse) being unforgiving. We can see the Promised land ahead of us, but our sins keep us from entering.

Unlike Moses, though, we have a chance to get in: we can enter by doing T’shuvah, by receiving the Grace of God through Yeshua the Messiah, and by forgiving those who have sinned against us. Moses did not enter the land of Israel, yet he is with God, forever. What he lost during his lifetime (which is only a mist, anyway) he received for eternity. We must keep our eyes on the eternal, and for those Christians that have been taught Torah was done away with when Yeshua rose from the dead, well, that’s a fence preventing your entering the land.  And for those Jews who have been told Yeshua is not the Messiah, that is a fence preventing you from entering the land. And for anyone who has been taught “once saved, always saved”- that is a really big fence preventing you from entering the land.

We need to open the gates to these fences, and the way we do that is with the three-sided key of truth: Yeshua is the Messiah, Torah is still valid, and forgiveness is required to be forgiven. These three truths will open any fence, break down any wall and allow anyone to enter into the Promised Land.


Parashah Pinchas Numbers 25:10 – 30:1

The plague was just stopped by the zealousness of Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron, when he killed a prince of Israel who was with a Midianite woman (also of high birth) and blatantly showing disdain and rebellion against Moses’s command to not have any relations (especially physical ones) with the Midianites. God makes a covenant with Pinchas that throughout his generations his seed will serve in the Priesthood.

The Israelites are at the end of their wandering, and God has already demonstrated His support as they have defeated two kings and taken their lands. Now He has them take another census, and after 40 years of living in a desert, the difference in the size from when they came out of Egypt and now is less than 3/10 of 1%. Essentially, there are as many now before entering the Land as there were when they left Egypt. Some of the tribes are less but the nation, as a whole, is the same size.

The rules for inheritance are stipulated and God reminds the people about the regulations for sacrifices, Joshua is appointed as Moses’s replacement and Moses is allowed to view the land, although he is still not to cross over and enter it.

Isn’t it amazing that when the Jews were in Egypt as slaves, with plenty of food, water and shelter they were able, despite their slavery, to grow into a great nation, and then after 40 years in a desert, devoid of food, water and shelter, they were still able to maintain their great size? Well, maybe it is amazing to someone who is secular minded, but to me it is just what I would expect from God. He said that the generation which had rebelled would die in the desert, and they did, but still we read in this parashah that not only did God maintain the size of His people, but even the descendants of Korach have survived (26:11) to enter the land.

Now, as God prepares the people for what is to come, He reviews the laws for the daily sacrifice and the holy convocations, since these were first given to the prior generation (Leviticus) before they were to enter the land. They didn’t get in, though, and it has been 40 years, so God is reminding them what to do when they enter.

The lesson I see here is simple: God’s plans, whatever they are, will be accomplished. He is flexible enough to make it seem to us, with our limited ability to understand, that He changes His mind or doesn’t accomplish what He said, but what is really happening is that the ship is moving. We may have to take a round-a-bout way to avoid some reefs and rough waters that weren’t on the chart, but it is always going to the place it is sailing to.

God’s plan of salvation has been working itself out since before Adam was created. The Israelites in the desert got to see miracles daily, and these have been recorded for us because we are too “sophisticated” and too “scientifically wise” to see the miracles that are still happening today, every day. We think that just because we can explain how an event occurs that knowing how it happens makes it less of a miracle. I can describe how the digestive system works, but does that make it less of a miracle? Could anyone of us design that system? Could any one of us make a stomach? Can we create a physical being that can spontaneously create hydrochloric acid inside itself and not burn itself to death from the inside out?

God needed a nation to enter the land that was big enough and strong enough (and faithful enough) to be His weapon of judgement against the nations that had been defiling His land for centuries. The first group didn’t meet that criteria, so God got rid of them and had the second group, just as large but more faithful, do the job. When all was said and done, what God wanted was accomplished. Oh, yes, not all of the baddies were destroyed and, yes, the people screwed up royally and ended up being thrown out of the land, also. But has that stopped God’s plan? No, of course not: God is this very day actually completing His plan. We see the regathering of the people back to the land and the land becoming a fruitful garden, again. And we see the world starting to suffer the judgement that God promised would happen through the words of the Prophets and in Revelations.

This parashah shows us that whatever God plans to do gets done. Maybe not when it was first started, maybe not with the people that it was first intended to use, but it will be done, one way or another. That is something that the enemies of God should find totally frightening, and the children of God should find totally encouraging.

The generations we are reading about in today’s parashah got to see God up close; they saw Him on the mountain when they were children, they have been miraculously fed and watered by him in a desert for forty years, and now they see Him supporting them in their battles, allowing them to defeat bigger and stronger nations, easily. They saw His plan to free them from slavery and lead them into the land evolve and succeed. We, today, are also seeing His plan evolve and succeed. We have seen the Messiah overcome sin, we have seen the gathering of the people back to the land happening for the past 60 years, and we are seeing the earth being judged and in turmoil, weather-wise, politically and spiritually. The enemy is on the move, this is his time and we are seeing it happen. We need to steel ourselves against what is to come because it will come! Don’t listen to the prophets that advised Ahab, or the ones that told Zedekiah everything is fine. We are coming into the End Days, and it won’t be pretty.

Take hope, no matter how bad it gets, in the knowledge and the proven, historical evidence that God’s plan WILL be done, and the promises He made and the ones He will make are all absolutely trustworthy.

And also remember that you are responsible to do your part- God will keep His word to you, but you need to hold up your end of the bargain.