Torah Portion: Pinchas (Bamidbar) Numbers 25:10-30:1
HafTorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21
NT Matt 26:1-30, John 2:13-22, Acts 2:1-21
In this Torah portion we see another census being taken of the men 20 years old and up, who can go to war. In fact this census takes up Numbers 26:1-65, an entire chapter. For your information if we look at the census in Numbers 1 and compare it to this one at the end of their journey we notice the total number stays almost the same. Chapter I total was 603,550 and here in chapter 26 it is 601,730. Not much change in the total. However, when we look closer we see that seven of the 12 tribes went up in population and five went down. But the tribe of Shimon went from 59,300 to 22, 200. This is a drop of over 60%. What could have caused such a drop? Sages believe it may be connected with the sin of Zimri. The story of Zimri precedes this census. He belonged to the tribe of Shimon. Whatever the reason it began the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:7. The tribe of Shimon was eventually be absorbed by the other tribes of Israel.
I would like us to now look at verses Numbers 28:3-5, the instituting of the Tamid offering. This offering was carried out in the morning before any other offering and was the final offering of the day in the afternoon. It was to be done every day in addition to all other offerings. In verse 6 it says this offering was ordained at Sinai. Why and what was the meaning? We have talked before about how the miracles and wonders of Sinai, which included G-d speaking to everyone, fire, smoke and His words being visable as well as heard. Yet this did not last very long. Very soon we see the sin of the golden calf. Maybe one reason for this daily offering was to offer a visual reminder of what G-d had done on the mountain. Maybe it was to inspire the people to rise above their flesh and connect to the Spirit each day, to not get caught up in the world but focus on the spiritual. This was an offering of ascendance – everything was consumed and rose as a sweet aroma to G-d. In effect an example for the people that they were, or should be, committed to G-d. Now for us as believers in the Messiah these should hold special interest for us. The morning Tamid offering occurred between dawn and the 3rd hour (6-9 am) In Mark 15:25 it says, “Now it was the third hour and they crucified Him.” In Mark 25:34 it is said to be the ninth hour when He died. These hours match the time of the morning and the evening Tamid sacrifices. It is no accident that Yeshua’s crucifixion occurred during the time of the morning and evening sacrifices. As the sacrifices themselves were to remind the people what G-d had done at Sinai, so for us these sacrifices are to remind us of what the Messiah has done for us. He gives us the spiritual strength and wisdom to rise above the material world to offer ourselves totally to the Father and what His will is for us. These Tamid sacrifices are still memorialized in synagogues around the world as the Shacrit or morning prayers and the Minchah, or afternoon prayers.
Now let us look at Numbers 28:15 where we see the sin offering as an additional offering added to the New Moon offering and the holiday or festival offerings. One of my questions was why was a sin offering necessary? The word is Chatat in Hebrew. What does this word refer to: It refers to an unintentional sin. So here with all the people coming into the Miskan or Temple, there probably would be someone who was unclean but unaware of it. This uncleanness would defile the Mishkan. So to guard against this happening, a sin offering was offered. Can we draw a parallel between this and what Messiah does for us? Our faith in Him allows us into the presence of the Father. He covers even the smallest unintentional sin we might commit and makes a way for us to enter G-d’s presence to seek forgiveness for any and everything we have done, even those things we might be unaware of. Praise G-d that He loves us so much that He provided a way for us to approach Him