August 13

Numbers 3:1-5:10

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

For those who were wondering, the B’nei Yisrael phrase is “sons of Israel”.  And “Cohen” is Hebrew for priest.  Therefore Kohanim is Hebrew for “priests” / “Priesthood” (it’s the plural version)

3 – The Priesthood and its Tent of Meeting was such a serious matter – Believers today can hardly perceive the gravity that hung over this whole assignment.  Did you notice that a commoner who approached the Tent of Meeting was to be executed.  We need to remember and understand that all the legitimate religious branches / denominations of the world trace their faith back to this. It was a 13 century long preparation for the arrival of Christ and His sacrifice that would cover for all time the souls of those who would confess His Name in faith.  This had to be right. The participants had to do right and be in the right. The articles and implements of every aspect of this Tent of Meeting had to be handled and employed properly.  It’s like a restaurant today that was determined to keep its perfect record of 100% satisfaction along with its record of having no one contract food poisoning ever since their inception.  This would require fastidious supervision along with stringent training of new workers.

Notice the treatment of the firstborn and their consecration to the Lord.  Jesus was also the “first-born” along with being the firstborn from the dead.  This is amazing to realize all the implications.
4 – and next there is the rigorous and monumental task of preparing the entire structure for moving and the actual moving of it.  During these first 40 years out of Egypt these people were a very mobile people. We will see in Numbers 13 that their being stuck in the wilderness is their own doing (and their own fault).  But all the same, a great army must work like clockwork as their existence and purpose is to be mobile and ready to launch in a moment’s notice.  Well, in a less intense manner but no less important, the Israelites along with their tent of meeting/tabernacle must be organized and precise in their readiness for moving as God directed.  And extra verses are dedicated to describe the lives of those who served and handled these tent matters and their preparation for transport and reassembly at the next location.
5 – Going back to the restaurant motif that we used in illustrating ch. 3, Here in ch. 5 the issue of purity is reiterated.  In a restaurant all workers must have clean hands, clean shoes, clean outfits.  A cook hunching over boiling pots cannot have a runny nose, goop coming out of his eyes, cuts on his hands or weeping infections  – nor can anyone serving food to people seated at tables.  We all get that.  So in the tent of meeting area and other parts of this culture, anyone who has anything regarding his body that is unclean, he needs to go outside and clean it up, heal up, deal with it, purify, wait, clarify it (check it twice…pardon the Santa Clause lyric!) then go back in.  This was dire for maintaining reverence and purity and sustaining this most vital of rites within the Hebrew culture – the place where we inherit our faith from.

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