Archive for Numbers

Revelation: Pergamum; Food, Sex, and the gods…

Posted in Prophecy, Revelation with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2017 by paulthepoke

Revelation 2:14  But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 

The Bible introduces us to Balaam and Balak in the book of Numbers chapters 22-25. The meanings of their names are not pleasant. Balak means “devastator”. And Balaam means “not of the people” or “devourer”.

The general overview of how these two got together is noted in Numbers 23:7 And Balaam took up his discourse and said, “From Aram Balak has brought me, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: ‘Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!’

Balaam was from Aram or modern day Syria. He was a prophet. Balak was the King of Moab or modern day Jordan. Moab was the area east of the Dead Sea south of modern day Ammon, Jordan. Balak needed a curse on nation Israel. And Balak called on Balaam to do the job.

Granted, Balaam never cursed Israel as Balak begged repeatedly. But it was Balaam and Balak who introduced practices that were in direct disobedience to God’s Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law. They are summarized in Numbers 25:1-3.

Numbers 25:1 While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.

The Israeli men began to לזנות/zanah in the Hebrew. Translated and defined as: commit fornication or adultery; to be a cult prostitute; figuratively, to be unfaithful to God. The women were from Moab under King Balak.

Numbers 25:2 For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.

Food sacrifices to gods are noted throughout time. Give thanks for the food…to our god. Balaam and Balak were a part of this practice. The church at Corinth had issues with this practice as did the church at Pergamum. Today, animal sacrifices and gifting the meat are part of the Muslim holiday Eid.

Numbers 25:3 So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel.

Balaam would go on to encourage another religion, Baal worship. He is the son of Peor. Numbers 22:5 So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor…

Israel הנצמדים/tsamad with the worship of Baal. They fastened or yoked with a false god.

Israelis were led to a false god by sexual enticement and a full belly. Israel had become unequally yoked to a false god.

The church at Pergamum was having the same problems as ancient Israel. The church was falling into the same trap set by a prophet and a king from the book of Numbers. Balaam and Balak’s influence had been baked into Jewish culture for over 1,600 years. History was repeating itself. Jesus is making an observation relative to history. A point was being made to the local body at Pergamum.

God’s attitude toward this behavior has not changed…and the LORD was angry against Israel.

Isaiah 11:3a The Smell of Obedience

Posted in Gospel, Isaiah, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2014 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 11:3a And He will delight in the fear of the LORD…

The Hebrew text reads literally, “and his smelling is in the fear of the Lord.” (NET Bible).

Reyach is Hebrew for smell. The word is translated as “delight” by the NASB version. It can be translated as scent, fragrance, aroma, odor of soothing (technical term for sacrifice to God). Definition provided by Strong’s Concordance.

He, Jesus, will enjoy and desire to respect and revere the LORD as if it had a pleasant smell.

“Reyach” is the word used as God’s response to the sacrificial system in the Old Testament.

Numbers 15:7 and for the drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a soothing aroma to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:13 ‘Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. This is a recipe for bread. God delights in the smell of baked bread. This aspect of the sacrificial system is also looking to the future. Notice the elements, bread and wine. The New Testament equivalent is Communion.

Animal sacrifices were required in the Old Testament to be a reminder of sin. These animal sacrifices upon a burning altar produced a soothing aroma to God. The smell of burning animals with spices, God likes the smell of grilled meat. The blood of these animals could not take away sin. But the blood of Jesus could. See Hebrews 10 for detail.

This same word “reyach” is used for “delight” in Amos 5:21 “I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Translation to the religious ones of the day, your religious actions stink. God does not care for performance religion. He wants your heart.

Our response to all of this is to pray. In the throne room of Heaven, prayers are equated with incense. Our prayers are a fragrant aroma to God. Revelation 8:3-4 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Prayers smell good to God and He likes them.

He, Jesus, will enjoy and desire to respect and revere the LORD as if it had a pleasant smell.

Isaiah 4:5-6 Smoke and Fire

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 4:5 then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.

Although this event is future, the imagery conjures up memories from the time of Moses. The cloud, smoke, and fire were guidance for Israel in the desert wonderings. Exodus 13:21-22 The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

The smoke and the fire were sources of protection and leadership. Exodus14:19, 24 The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. At the morning watch, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.

It will be different in the future. The Lord Himself will be bodily present to protect and guide Israel. We know this to be a resurrected Jesus. He will return to Earth and establish His Kingdom. The second half of this verse also draws up memories from the time of Moses and the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34-35 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

Isaiah 4:6 There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.

Jerusalem is a shelter from the elements of weather. Finally peace and protection have come after judgment and cleansing.

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