Torah Portion: Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1
HafTorah: Judges 11:1-33
Tonight I would like to look at a couple of issues that I think will help us to move forward in our understanding of G-d’s word and in our own personal spiritual growth. We will start with my question of the week. Why did Moses say in Numbers 19:1 that this is the statute of the Torah? What about this would embody the entire Torah? What can this teach us?
This is one of those commandments that seems to have no logical reason behind it. In fact as we read this chapter it becomes harder not easier to understand. Even King Solomon was stumped by it. When we do those things for G-d that we can easily understand and reason out what does it require of our faith? No much. However, those things that G-d asks of us that seems beyond our rational understanding is sometimes harder to do. Those times do require a step of faith so to speak. I would like to further put forth that even those things that seem pretty open and shut have a deeper meaning that we must be open to. Everything G-d asks of us is more than just the act of doing. Each day as G-d directs us we are on a spiritual mission not just a physical journey. It is for this that we were created – to bring the real truth into the world. For example: not to slander or speak badly of any person. It isn’t enough to just not speak badly of another person. It is also, and probably more important to teach us to focus on the good in everyone, to gradually change our perspective. So as we read these difficult passages always look for the deeper meaning to what G-d requires of each of us.
Now I would like to see what connection we can make between this Torah portion and the New Testament. G-d’s Temple here on earth was to be a place of life and anything touched by death could not enter it. So, since the earthly Temple is a shadow of the Heavenly Temple, the Heavenly Temple is also a place of life, eternal life. Yeshua and each of us leave our mortal flesh here and transcend it to enter the heavenly Temple with incorruptible bodies.
Hebrews has much to say about this Torah section in Hebrews 13:11-13. It tells us that just as the bodies of animals brought for the sin sacrifice were burned outside the camp, so Yeshua suffered and died outside the camp (outside the walls of Jerusalem). Just as the ashes of the red heifer cleansed the people from the touching of a dead body (death) so Yeshua’s sacrifice cleanses us from the contamination of sin that leads to death. (Hebrews 9:13-14)
Even when we read of Miriam’s death in Numbers 20:1-3 we can see Messiah. In these verses we see the first complaint about lack of water for almost forty years. Kadesh was an oasis but outside of that where did millions of people get water everyday? In Exodus 17 we read about the people complaining about no water. That was the last time until the verses in Numbers 20. So, where did they get water? Ancient Jewish commentaries give a creative answer that we would likely dismiss. They say that the rock Moses struck in Exodus 17 followed them around for the next 40 years. Could this possibly be backed up with scripture? In I Cor. 10:4 we read Paul saying this rock was Messiah and just as it provided water for the Israelites in the desert Yeshua provides spiritual water for us. The water that flowed in the desert can be applied to our lives as the rivers of spiritual water that flows into our lives each second of the day. They sustain us (John 7:38) Yeshua is our spiritual source and that sustains us each day.