Torah Portion: Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1

HafTorah I Kings 18:46-19:21

1.In Numbers 25:11 it says Pinchas was zealous for G-d. This word is usually translated as jealous.  Where can you find the word jealous used in a positive way in scripture? 

In Numbers 25:11 it says Pinchas was zealous with the zeal of G-d. In I Kings 19:10 we see Elijah saying that he was zealous (kanah, kaniti) for the L-rd. Because of this use of the word zealous, the Rabbis picked this reading in I Kings 18:46-19:21 for the Haftorah reading to be read along with the Torah portion named Pinchas.The Hebrew word Keenah in Numbers 25:11 and I Kings 19:10 is translated as zeal. But it can also be translated as jealous. So Pinchas was jealous for G-d and was moved to act.   II Corinthians 11:1-3 Paul uses the term that he was jealous for the believers he was speaking to.  Also there are many verses describing G-d as a jealous G-d.

2. If you translate Numbers 25:11 as zealous can you find other passages where the word zeal is used?  To be zealous or jealous can be a good trait and sometimes not so good. What makes the difference? How are we to have the right kind of zeal  

In John 2:15-17 Yeshua was zealous for G-d. By the way, zeal is mentioned quite often in scripture, Psalms 69:9, Psalms 119:139, I Kings 19:10, Revelations 3:19, Romans 10:2 and Titus 2:14. In some of these verses it is mentioned as a good trait and some not so good. We must be aware of our motives. Are we zealous to sanctify the Name or are we zealous because it is something in our own agenda or our own makeup. Both Yeshua and Pinchas had zeal for G-d, not for themselves.

Yeshua can clearly be called one who is jealous for G-d – to the point of laying down His own life for the salvation of Israel.  As Pinchas turned away G-d’s wrath so does Yeshua take upon Himself the punishment or wrath of G-d for us by laying down His life for us. G-d granted Pinchas and his descendants a perpetual priesthood on this earth and Yeshua has taken His place in heaven as our eternal High Priest.

As a point of interest the New King James version of Matt 10:4 translates one of Yeshua’s disciples as Simon the Canaanite instead of Simon the Zealot. When it was translated from Greek to English it was mistranslated leading readers to believe he was a non-Jew from Canaan when actually he was associated with the Zealots, a radical sect of Jewish patriots committed to overthrowing Rome.

3. G-d rewarded Pinchas for his action when he killed Zimri and Cosbi for their sin. Our verses read that G-d rewarded him with a covenant of peace and an eternal priesthood for his actions in Numbers 25:12-13. Do we see any further scripture passage of evidence of this covenant of peace working out in his life? 

We find him again in Joshua 22:10-34 where the tribes of Israel almost come to war between themselves over the action of the tribes that had their inheritance on the west side of the Jordan River. The tribes in Israel proper sent a delegation to try and avert the conflict. This delegation was headed up by Pinchas. War was averted and peace was made between the tribes. Pinchas lived out this covenant between G-d and himself. In fact we read of no other time when he took the law into his own hands. In our own lives it is also important for us, as believers, to live our life in the covenant of peace. The word used here in Numbers 25:12 is shalom. At its root this is an interesting word. Broken down the root of the word is “Shalim” which is Hebrew means complete or whole. So here and to us as well, G-d is granting a covenant of completeness, a covenant of wholeness.  It means so much more than just the absence of conflict. It speaks to every area of our lives. As the people of G-d we can, with His help, His Covenant, live above the things that try to drag us down and defeat us spiritually. We can live in wholeness and completeness. May G-d grant us the spiritual insight to realize who we belong to each day as we live our lives and give us the ability, as with Pinchas, to bring peace wherever we are. I think this is especially important today when our world is so fractured along so many lines.

Having said this however, it does not mean that we are to compromise our faith and beliefs. Pinchas took action when no one else did. All of us are clearly to stand on the side of right even if we stand alone. We are to be ready to stand if that is what it takes. However even in that, our motives and stand must be in sync with our Father. If we do not stand up for the right we then are on the side of sin. (James 4:17) We all must have a bottom line so to speak, when the world or people defile the name of G-d or the honor of G-d, our faith demands we stand up for the right. Pinchas was not worried about how his actions would be seen. He saw his leaders paralyzed so he took action. The boy David took action when all of Israel stood by while Goliath blasphemed G-d.

4.I would like us to now look at verses Numbers 28:3-8, 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 and purpose of the Tamid offering?  What hours of the morning and the evening did this offering occur? Can you think of any other event in scripture that corresponds with these specific offering hours? 

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 visible 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 did 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 3rdhour (6-9 am) In Mark 15:25 it says, “Now it was the third hour and they crucified Him.” In Mark 15:34 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.

5.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. My questions is why was a sin offering necessary? 

The word is Chatat in Hebrew. What does this word refer to: It refers to an unintentional sin. 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