Awesome Hands – Part 124: “The congregation shall go forward”

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Awesome Hands – part 124

The congregation shall go forward

November 3, 2017

As was seen with our last study, chapter 26 of Leviticus is pretty heavy material for our old man. There are many blessings and “punishments” given by the Lord especially for those that serve Him.

In our study today, we are going to see that along with blessings and punishments from the Lord, we are all, each and every one of us, given a job in His holy temple, for His kingdom and for His service.

The congregation shall go forward

We are going to cover several verses in this study which cover the next mentioning of the Hebrew word H3027 “yad”, and the three verses today go well together for the theme of this study.
The verses we will be covering are Numbers 2:17, 3:3 and 4:28.

Num 2:16  All that were numbered in the camp of Reuben were an hundred thousand and fifty and one thousand and four hundred and fifty, throughout their armies. And they shall set forth in the second rank.
Num 2:17  Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place H3027 by their standards.

In verse 2:17 the word in English used as 'place' is yad. Most translations have this word translated as 'place'. There are only a handful of times this Hebrew word is translated as 'place', so we will look at those seven times.

Deu 2:37  Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the LORD our God forbad us.

1Sa 15:12  And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.

2Sa 18:18  Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place.

Isa 56:5  Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

Jer 6:3  The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.

Eze 21:19  Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city.

When we look at our original verse in Numbers 2:17, the CEV translation gives us a hint as to why this same Hebrew word translated mostly 'hand' or 'hands' is used now as “place”.

Num 2:17  Marching behind Reuben will be the Levites, arranged in groups, just as they are camped. They will carry the sacred tent and their own banners.

So the Levites “carry” the sacred tent and their own banners. We use our hands a lot when we carry things. However, that is only a hint as to the meaning, so what else are we being told?

Isa 56:5  Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place/hand and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

I have listed Isaiah 56:5 here again, but this time I have inserted 'hand' as another way to read it. With the verse now saying 'hand', it starts to become a slightly different meaning than when you read it as “place”.

“Will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name”

“Will I give in mine house and within my walls a hand and a name”

What am I getting at? As we will see with the other two times that 'hand' is mentioned within Numbers and within this study’s context, having a place or a hand in the holy temple is VERY important indeed, but it may not mean what it seems to mean initially.

Our next mentioning of the H3027 is Numbers 3:3.

Num 3:3  These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecratedH3027 to minister in the priest's office.

We have covered H3027 in the past as it pertains to “consecration,” so I will not go into depth with this study. However, this is a similar example of “yad” being used slightly differently than most of the time in scripture.

Review the Awesome Hands part 109 for a deeper dive into this translation as “consecrated”, but for this present study the connotation is that it means “to fill the hand”. Once your hand is filled, or consecrated, you are able to minister to the Lord in His temple.

So, the Lord will “give us a hand” or a place in His temple. He will fill our hands with what is needed to do the work of the tabernacle, so what is the next and last connection to Numbers 4:28 that is contained in our study today?

Num 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.

Num 4:28  ThisH2063 is the serviceH5656 of the familiesH4940 of the sonsH1121 of GershonH1649 in the tabernacleH168 of the congregation:H4150 and their chargeH4931 shall be under the handH3027 of IthamarH385 the sonH1121 of AaronH175 the priest.H3548

To understand the connection of these three verses found in Numbers, we are going to need to look at little deeper into the context and background of Numbers 4.

The situation about which we are reading in Numbers 4 is dealing with the assignments that the Lord gave Moses and Aaron to give to the Levites. Each of the sons of Levi was given job roles that were to be distributed to the males in their families.

You might be thinking that we do not want to compare ourselves to the Levites since we are being trained as kings and priests, but we all can take away very valuable lessons on being a Levite and the services they perform for the tabernacle. Indeed, we must first be a Levite in spirit before the Lord creates in us the ability and calling to be a king and a priest. We all start off as Levites when we are called to be saints.

Num 4:1  And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
Num 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,
Num 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.
Num 4:4  This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:

The first thing to note is that the men being used for these services were to be between the ages of 30 and 50. This means to you were in service to the tabernacle for 20 years. Additionally, we read in Numbers 8:24 that the age is stated as starting at 25.

Num 8:23  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 8:24  This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:
Num 8:25  And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:
Num 8:26  But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.

From the vast majority of the various commentaries that I have read, this difference in five years was supposed to indicate that an apprenticeship took place for five years leading up to full service of their tabernacle.

Initially, I was thinking that this seems like a long time to learn your job before actually starting your job until I realized just how important it was to do it right. After all, in many cases doing it wrong could end in certain death.

Even if we do not consider this viewpoint, we still must accept that the age to start was 25 or 30 years old. However, the end of your service was at the age of 50. You could continue to go to the sanctuary and perform in different offices from time to time “to keep the charge”, but you were generally retired.

Num 8:25  And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:
Num 8:26  But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.

The Lord has enabled those among us to serve Him until our capacities no longer allow this to happen. I am sure we have all seen or witnessed someone who was well beyond the years of being vigorous in serving the Lord. This simply comes with age and has been provided acknowledgement by the Lord.

Of course, this is the old testament law, and the new testament law of Christ is a bit different.

This is a good thing because the law was ministry of death and of condemnation!

2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
2Co 3:7  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
2Co 3:8  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
2Co 3:9  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

The law worked wrath.

Rom 4:14  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
Rom 4:15  Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

It was a law of bondage and fear.

Rom 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Rom 8:15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

The law “gendered to bondage”, and it was an unbearable yoke.

Gal 4:23  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Gal 4:24  Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Act 15:10  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Act 15:11  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Yes, the law was full of fear, condemnation and wrath. Within the context of this study I ask, which of the Levites chose to be born to Kohath, Gershon or Merari?

Indeed, none of them willingly chose this birth; yet, when they were 25 to 30 years old they were indebted to serve the tabernacle.

Still, the Lord allowed and caused the entire situation with the nation of Israel so they could draw near to the Lord as a whole via the tabernacle and the services therein and in which He made His presence known.

Yet, the conditions that the Levites faced were quite burdensome. The priests were commanded to not cut off the tribe of Levi, which was quite small in comparison to the others, so that they didn’t die. They were told to make sure the Levites didn’t approach the holy things by appointing them to their service and burden.

Num 4:17  And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
Num 4:18  Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites:
Num 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:
Num 4:20  But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.

For lack of time, I will not read all of Numbers 4 here, but there were very strict rules on what the Levites and the priests themselves could do as it pertained to serving the tabernacle. Even the high priest would die if he didn’t go in once and only once a year to the holy of holies.

What are our comparison and lessons to take away from this study of start of the of book of Numbers?

Jesus Christ has torn the veil (Mat 27:51, Mar 15:38). These old testament laws are abolished because we have received the spirit of adoption, and we have been called and chosen to go into the holy of holies.

We still must worship God the Father with reverence and godly fear.

Heb 12:27  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Heb 12:28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Heb 12:29  For our God is a consuming fire.

Most importantly, we must realize that if the Lord took the time to have it completed and recorded that there would be a certain number of men from Kohath, Gershon or Merari to serve His physical tabernacle, how much important is it to realize that we have all been called and chosen to be SERVANTS to His SPIRITUAL TEMPLE?

Eph 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Eph 4:2  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Eph 4:3  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

If we read 1 Corinthians 12, there is no other conclusion that can honestly be made than the conclusion that the Lord has one body with many VERY important members, all having very special spiritual gifts.

Each of these families of the tribe of Levi was assigned different services in the tabernacle, but Kohath was given the honor and duty to carry things on their shoulders… mainly the holy things of the temple that they could neither touch nor look upon or they would die. Does that mean that the servants from the families of Gershon and Merari didn’t have very important jobs as well?

Of course, they had important jobs! This tabernacle was torn down and built up again every time Israel moved. If one of these families had gone on strike, the whole of Israel would have been put on hold.

Had one of these families decided their job wasn’t that important, or certainly not as important as the next family over, then the whole of Israel would have paid for their actions.

If these things were considerations for the “law for a lawless and disobedient people,” how much more consideration we must give to our own roles and service to the spiritually temple of the Living God!

Jer 33:22  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

If there are innumerable Levites doing the service of the tabernacle, how much more consideration we must give to the jobs that the Lord has given us as the kings and priests we are being raised to be in His kingdom!

I hope this study has briefly touched upon the importance that each of us are to the calling and choosing the Lord has called us to.

Without each of us realizing our roles in the body of Christ, and then performing our services faithfully, the entire church is put in a holding pattern. Find your calling, and do whatever it is that the Lord has called you to do to His eternal glory.

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