Touching Life or Receiving Death
For Parashat Chukat
By Messianic Torah 6-19-2010
Chukat (Num 19:1-22:1 Haftarah Jdg 11:1-33) is the 6th parashat of the book of Bamidbar also called Numbers, and is called Chukat which means ‘Statute’. In this week’s parashat:
– The law of the red heifer sacrifice is given
– The laws of purification for touching a dead body are given
– A clean person shall sprinkle the one defiled with the water of separation on the 3rd and 7th day
– Miryam dies in Kadesh
– The people complain about not having water
– YHWH commands Moshe to take the rod and speak to the rock and it shall bring forth water
– Moshe told the people they were rebels and smote the rock twice and water came forth
– YHWH told Moshe and Aharon because they didn’t believe Him they would not bring the people into the land
– Moshe asks Edom if Yisra’el can pass through their land but Edom refused
– YHWH told Aharon he shall die on Mt. Hor for rebelling and El’azar his son shall replace him
– King Arad the Kena’ani fought against Yisra’el
– Yisra’el vowed to destroy them and YHWH delivered them into their hand
– The people murmmered against the food, water, and the manna
– YHWH sent fiery serpents among them and many died
– YHWH commanded Moshe to make the nahushtan
– The journeys of the children of Yisra’el
– Yisra’el went to Be’er and sang a song by the well
– Yisra’el asked to pass through the land of the Amori but they refused
– Sichon fought with Yisra’el and was destroyed
– Og King of Bashan came against Yisra’el and was destroyed
– Haftarah – Yiftach fights the King of Ammon who wants to take back the land of the Ammoni
In this weeks parashat, we might see an interesting pattern about things you touch and the affect they have on you. We start off with the concept of the red heifer and the resulting uncleanness from touching a dead body. There is a process of making yourself clean again described in the Torah portion. This reminds me of the story of Chavah (Eve) and Adam in the garden. Chavah says she was told not to even touch the fruit. But the instruction we have in the beginning is that Elohim told Adam not to eat it. It reminds me of the verse:
Pr 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
You don’t have to be in the fire to be burned by it. Just drawing near to it can burn you. This is exemplified in the dialog between Chavah and the serpent.
The serpent starts a dialog about the sin:
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which YHWH Elohim (the LORD God) had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, has Elohim said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Then the woman knows what the right way to think about the sin is:
Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.
The serpent challenges Chavah’s belief and puts the sin in a good light and shows benefits of partaking in the sin:
Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die:
Gen 3:5 For Elohim does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as elohim, knowing good and evil.
Notice the first two things were imagined. She used to associate sin with looking at the fruit, and she has never eaten it so she doesn’t know that it is good for food other than what the serpent said about it making you wise. So really she just decided to listen to the serpent explain the fruit instead of Elohim who had previously described it as sin that leads to death:
Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Not only did she sin, but she spread the sin.
Lets see how this has worked in our modern life. Homosexuality will be the example. If we look back even 40 years ago it was considered an immoral sin. Being in the closet meant you hid it and did it in secret. Then comedians made jokes about it at one point and even though it was negative, they started a dialog about it and brought it into people’s thoughts that wouldn’t have thought about it before that. People were repulsed and thought it was a sin, then hollywood started pointing out positive things about gays like they were good decorators, and kept their home up nice, and a whole bunch of other things to start to introduce them into normal society. Later the gay movement continued to push for what they called rights (which was really acceptance) to subtly say that it was OK. Later reality shows put gays on there to start a stir, but also to normalize being gay and show how they are just like other members in any group. From there there were gay movies and now if you go into a movie store there are many gay themed movies on the shelf next to regular movies where kids are looking. Now when you ask people about homosexuality they either think it is OK, normal, a person’s choice or wrong. A far cry from 40 years ago. Society has drawn near to the fire and changed the way they think about sin and as a result more and more people are gay. This is a practical illustration of how people can change something that was once a sin into something that they think is actually good. It started with drawing closer and touching it.
In the Torah touching things that are unclean transfer the uncleanness to you. Complaining also spreads and comes from a root of an unclean spirit. This spirit like the fiery serpents spreads among the camp and bites people. The ungratefulness and rebellion brings death to Yisra’el. The fruit of this spirit manifests itself and has brought death to Yisra’el many times so far in the wilderness but people aren’t seeing it. It is modeled in the fiery serpents that come and actually move among the camp spreading death. Is that enough of a visual for you. Just to make sure people see their sin, Moshe is to make a copper serpent for the people to look on. After they look on it they will be healed otherwise they will die. I love this illustration which could be seen as a lesson in recognizing your sin. The crooked spirit of testing is the problem in Yisra’el that is the model of the fiery serpent. Last parashat YHWH says the people have tested Him these ten times. Their rebellion and complaints are the source of their death and it seems to me that Elohim is making them recognize its affects. They must look on the serpent to be healed. It is not alive nor does crookedness lead to life.
Next we will look at the concept of Moshe talking to the rock and it bringing forth water for the people. Mashiach calls himself the rock, a Rock represents truth, it is unmovable. We are to build our house upon the unmovable truth that was laid down first (the Torah). Water in the scriptures is likened to words. The words of truth were to be what sustained the people in the wilderness or time of testing. Moshe was supposed to speak to the rock or speak to the truth, instead he struck it. This is likened to demanding words of truth instead of speaking which is like studying. Studying requires a dialog and patience in waiting for the water that flows from it. Striking it is to try and extract the water by force instantly because of desire to have it. When we compare this to how people deal with the Word of Elohim we see a pattern. Some people dialog with the Word every day and through patience and study, the word reveals the truth. Others demand truth from it instantly and want the promises, blessings, salvation, holy spirit, and all other things instantly. They are not patient enough for the truth given by Elohim. This is part of the reason for complaining. They were not patient enough for Elohim’s gifts. They disrespected the ones He already gave them. How many Torah students want to jump to the conclusions without study, How many want to learn from others instead of speaking with the rock, how many want complex things instead of the simple truths like the ten commandments. The boring diligent daily bread that YHWH gives to us is not enough for many. Thus like Korach, they try and take something not given to them and it leads to their own destruction like Chavah.
Next we will look at this same concept of Aharon not entering in to the promised land but Elazar taking over for him. Just Like Yisra’el who wasn’t allowed in because of their sin, yet their children were allowed to go in. This meant the instant gratification of the adults going in was not going to happen. The slower process of their children growing and gowing in when the right time comes would happen. There is a pattern in the scriptures that mercy is being given more time. Just like a pregnancy, time is required for the child to be made ready so that they may be born and go from one kingdom to the next. An untimely birth is like people crying, “Come Mashiach now!”, when in fact they are not ready. It is going presumptiously up when Elohim has not told you to. It is to complain for meat and not appreciate what has or has not been given to you yet. All things in His time and not ours. We must learn not to touch wickedness, and learn to wait and quietly hope on the salvation of YHWH. Shalom!
Lam 3:24 YHWH is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.
Lam 3:25 YHWH is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks Him.
Lam 3:26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of YHWH.
Psa 25:5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me: for you are the Elohim of my salvation; on you do I wait all the day.