Numbers 4 – 5

Numbers 4

At this point the counting of the Levites from one month old and upward as an exchange for the firstborn of Israel has been completed; and Moses is now commanded to count the number of Levites qualified to serve the priesthood in the heavy work of the tabernacle, being those between 30 and 50 years old. 

This means that today’s spiritual Ekklesia should follow the command of God and the example of Jesus who began his ministry at age 30, and no elder under the age of 30 should be ordained.  See also the articles on the ministry here.

This is in preparation for moving the tabernacle and beginning the journey into the promised land.

Remember that all of the descendants of Levi were Levites, while the priesthood belonged only to the descendants of Aaron the descendant of Levi. 

The duties of the non-Aaronic Levites were about moving the tabernacle and about assisting the priests the descendants of Aaron in the physical aspects of the temple functions.  It is from this office of Levites, that the office of deacons to help the physical New Covenant called out elders came.

Today the elders are to remain focused on spiritual service and intense study of the whole Word of God; to study continually, to learn, to set a godly example and to rebuke all sin, and teach the righteousness of the Word of God.  They are to leave physical activities like organizing sports or camps or other functions to others [that is what deacons were ordained for]; and the ministry is to focus on the spiritual!

Numbers 4:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 4:2 Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers, 4:3 From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.

This is speaking of serving Levites as helps for the priests. 

4:4 This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:

When the tabernacle was to be moved, the high priest and all the priests were to wrap all of the things of the tabernacle in coverings: so that the Levitical Kohath family which will carry them, will not come into direct contact with the holy things which only the priests are allowed to touch.

4:5 And when the camp setteth forward [is to be moved], Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it:

4:6 And shall put thereon the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.

Badgers skins: The word “tachash,” mistakenly rendered “badger” in the Authorized Version, refers to ram’s skins dyed royal blue.  The ancient versions seem nearly all agreed that it denotes not an animal but the color, royal-blue.  Badgers did not live in that region and are unclean; we should know by now what God thinks of any unclean thing associated with him, his tabernacle or his temple. 

The royal blue covering of ram’s skins dyed blue, represents Jesus Christ as BOTH King and Atoning Sacrifice, while the blue cloth pictures the kingship and sovereignty of Christ as Husband of Israel.

The twelve pieces of unleavened bread were covered with scarlet picturing the twelve tribes of physical Israel, representing spiritual Israel being covered by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

The table of the Lord [in this case the table of the bread of presence] was to be covered with a royal blue tablecloth; then the twelve pieces of the Unleavened Bread of Life were to be covered by a cloth of scarlet on the bread including the dishes, picturing the atoning sacrifice of Christ; which scarlet cloth is in its turn to be covered by the ram’s skins dyed royal blue as a sign of God’s Royal Sovereignty over the twelve tribes.

This is the meaning of the table of the Lord in Malachi 1, which is called contemptible by the church of God today. 

How So? They reject the sovereignty of God the Father and Jesus Christ and therefore reject the Bread of God’s Presence by choosing to follow their own false traditions above living by every Word of God!

 

The Table of the Lord

4:7 And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon: 4:8 And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers’ skins [ram’s skin dyed royal blue], and shall put in the staves thereof.

 

The Menorah

4:9 And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick [lamp stand of oil burning lamps; menorah] of the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, and his snuffdishes, and all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it: 4:10 And they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers’ skins [Ram’s skins dyed royal blue], and shall put it upon a bar [as a hanging curtain].

 

How to Move The Golden Altar and It’s Implements

4:11 And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of badgers’ skins [ram’s skins dyed royal blue], and shall put to the staves thereof:

4:12 And they shall take all the instruments of ministry, wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of badgers’ skins [ram’s skins dyed blue], and shall put them on a bar: 4:13 And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon: 4:14 And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, and the basons, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers’ skins [rams skins dyed blue], and put to the staves of it.

After the holy things have been prepared by Aaron and his descendants the priests; then the sons of Kohath the Levites may come to move them.

4:15 And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.

The high priest is to supply the pure olive oil for the lamps, the anointing oil and the Unleavened Bread offering; which is symbolic of Jesus Christ our High Priest supplying the sinless unleavened Bread of Life, and the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit of salvation so that the light of the Word of God may shine within us.

4:16 And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat [unleavened bread] offering, and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.

The Levitical family of Kohath may not even see the holy things uncovered by the priests.

4:17 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron saying,

The priests were not to allow the Kothathites to be destroyed by touching or seeing the holy things uncovered.

4:18 Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites: 4:19 But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden: 4:20 But they shall not go in [be curious to see what these things look like and open their coverings] to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.

 

The Levitical duties of the sons of Gershon

4:21 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 4:22 Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon, throughout the houses of their fathers, by their families; 4:23 From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.

4:24 This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens: 4:25 And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers’ skins [ram’s skins dyed blue] that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, 4:26 And the hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve.

The Levitical sons of Gershon were under the hand [authority of] of Ithamar [and his descendants], the son of Aaron the priest.

4:27 At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burdens. 4:28 This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation: and their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

 

The Levitical service of the sons of Merari

4:29 As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers; 4:30 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.

4:31 And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and sockets thereof, 4:32 And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden.

4:33 This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

Moses obeyed God and numbered the Levites from 30 to 50 years old for their service in the tabernacle.

4:34 And Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites after their families, and after the house of their fathers, 4:35 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation: 4:36 And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty. [2,750] 4:37 These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

4:38 And those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, throughout their families, and by the house of their fathers, 4:39 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation, 4:40 Even those that were numbered of them, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty. [2,630] 4:41 These are they that were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD.

4:42 And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, 4:43 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation, 4:44 Even those that were numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred. [3,200] 4:45 These be those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

4:46 All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers, 4:47 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation. 4:48 Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore, [The serving Levites at Sinai totaled 8,560]

4:49 According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses

 

RECAP

The whole tribe, all the children of Levi, were separated out as belonging to God. Later the male descendants of Aaron were called out of Levi to be the priests of God.

The Levites who were not descendants of Aaron, were to be helps and to assist the priests, the sons of Aaron.  

The Levites were not priests but assisted the priests.  The priests carried out the tasks involving the sacrifices and directly serving God, while the Levites served and assisted in the physical necessities of the tabernacle and later the temple. 

Later the Levites were given additional duties including singing at the tabernacle/temple and teaching the people in the Synagogue schools across the land, especially at the Levitical cities.  For details see the Priests and Levites article.

The physical Mosaic high priest as the intermediary between men and God is typical of the New Covenant High Priest Jesus Christ, being the ONLY intercessor between God the Father and humanity.

The New Covenant High Priest Jesus Christ is the ONLY Mediator of the New Covenant and stands between the people and God the Father; and all those Called Out to become priests of Jesus Christ are to perform the works of a Holy Priesthood and teach the way to reconciliation with God the Father and salvation through Jesus Christ. See the Hebrews study.

1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone [Jesus Christ], disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

We are being called to the priesthood of Jesus Christ, and we are to offer spiritual sacrifices which is our intense zeal to learn and live by every Word of God.  A thing that we, for the most part have left off doing, in order to exalt our idols of men and corporate entities.

2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

To believe is not enough, for belief without the works of sincere repentance and faith is dead.

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

1 Peter 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Jesus Christ is a stumbling block to the disobedient, because the wicked believe that Christ winks at and tolerates disobedience.

2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the [obedience to the whole Word of God] word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

The Called Out are called into the priesthood of Jesus Christ; who has REPLACED the high priesthood of Aaron, restoring the priesthood of Melchizedek which office Jesus Christ had held before he was made flesh and BEFORE Aaron ever existed. The New Covenant Spiritual Ekklesia are called to follow Jesus Christ [Melchizedek] as our High Priest and to qualify to replace the priests of Aaron in the resurrection.

2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar [special] people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him [By setting an example of living by every Word of God] who hath called you out of darkness [of ignorance and sin (commandment breaking)] into his marvellous light [the light of learning and keeping the whole Word of God]; 2:10 Which in time past were not a people [being individuals], but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

We see then that the high priest of Aaron was only a physical type of the spiritual High Priest, Jesus Christ; and that the priests of Aaron were only physical types of those called to become spiritual priests of our spiritual High Priest, Jesus Christ.

Brethren, in the spiritual sense; not only the ministry but every single one of the Called Out, has been called to become Priests of the New Covenant! (Rev 1:6, 5:10 and 20:6)!  Yet in the New Covenant several different RESPONSIBILITIES have been given to aid the brethren as helps to focus us on every Word of God!

 

Numbers 5

Remember that this is a Battle Group and not the everyday camp, and that Jesus Christ is to be in their midst leading them into the physical battle against Canaan which was a type of sin!

Therefore purity and godliness is paramount in order that Jesus Christ who will not tolerate any sin, might remain in their midst!

Brethren, just as they were going into physical battle, we are in a spiritual fight with sin, led by Jesus Christ dwelling in us through his Spirit!  Just as Jesus Christ required purity and cleanness in the physical army; even so he requires both physical and spiritual cleanness and purity from any tolerance of or compromise with willful sin among his New Covenant called out.

Tolerance for diversity of doctrine [false teachings] and for sin is an abomination to Jesus Christ!  As priests of Jesus Christ in training we are to rebuke with power all willful sin and we are to destroy every false doctrine while accepting every good thing; by proving it according to the scriptures.

Let us obey this Word of God and put every willful sin and all spiritual uncleanness of tolerating sin out of our lives, so that our Mighty One may dwell among us and lead us to victory over the sin that we are now falling prey to!  Let the bride make herself ready by removing every spot of sin on her garments and be clothed with the righteous of every Word of God!

Numbers 5:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 5:2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: 5:3 Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. 5:4 And the children of Israel did so, and put them out without the camp: as the LORD spake unto Moses, so did the children of Israel.

 

The Law of Trespass

When we do damage to another we are to repay him and add an additional 20% for his trouble.  For example, if we accidentally kill one of his animals we are to repay its value plus an added 20%.

5:5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 5:6 Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty; 5:7 Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.

If the offended person is not found, the repayment is to be made to his family; and if he has no family the money is to be given to the priesthood, in addition to the sacrifice of the trespass offering.

5:8 But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the LORD, even to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him.

5:9 And every offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they bring unto the priest, shall be his [the officiating priest’s]. 5:10 And every man’s hallowed things shall be his: whatsoever any man giveth the priest, it shall be his [the officiating priest’s, the ministry are to be paid according to the extent of their service].

 

The Law of Jealousy

5:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 5:12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, 5:13 And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; 5:14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:

This particular unleavened bread offering can have no symbol of the Holy Spirit [oil], nor the symbol of the sweetness of prayer and praise [frankincense] because its purpose is to expose sin.

5:15 Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.

5:16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD: 5:17 And the priest shall take holy water [pure blessed water, symbolic of the living water of faithfulness to the Word of God] in an earthen vessel; and of the dust [symbolic of the evil being trodden under foot] that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:

5:18 And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover [remove the symbol of loyalty to her husband] the woman’s head [in Israel married women covered their heads [hair] while prostitutes covered their faces to avoid recognition], and put the offering of memorial [the barley meal] in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:

The priest shall pronounce the terms of the trial

5:19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:

5:20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: 5:21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; 5:22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.

5:23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water: 5:24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.

5:25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering [the grain [barley meal) offering] out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar: 5:26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering [the barley meal], even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.

5:27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.

This is a physical lesson that God knows when we follow other gods and we are unfaithful to him, even if such a thing is not openly and publicly evident to the assembly.

Jesus Christ knows who the false wolves in sheep’s clothing are in our assemblies, and he is allowing them to remain for a short time to test the faithfulness of his people as to whether they will remain faithful to live by every Word of God, or whether they will turn to follow after these false teachers.

Those who are falsely accused and persecuted by their brethren, will ultimately be revealed and exonerated and they will bring forth much spiritual fruit.

5:28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.

5:29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled; 5:30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.

If we are guilty of spiritual adultery we shall bear our sin and the correction for our sin, unless we quickly and sincerely repent.

5:31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity

 

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