- 1 Lesson 6 – Leviticus – Numbers – Deuteronomy
- 1.1 Leviticus
- 1.2 The Book of Numbers
- 1.3 Deuteronomy
- 1.3.1 Meaning of the word: Deuteronomy
- 1.3.2 When and by whom was it written?
- 1.3.3 Dispossession
- 1.3.4 The editions
- 1.3.5 The “small remainder”
- 1.3.6 The “nation” of Israel
- 1.3.7 Circumcision of the heart
- 1.3.8 Choice between benediction and malediction
- 1.3.9 Moses announces the Messiah
- 1.3.10 Abraham the Syrian
- 1.3.11 Conditional divine promise
- 1.3.12 Death of Moses
- 1.4 Questionnaire
Lesson 6 – Leviticus – Numbers – Deuteronomy
With this lesson we will terminate the last three books of the Torah, or Pentateuch, also called the “Law” by the Jews. The Book of Exodus reports the narrative of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. These final three books of the Law end just before their entry into Palestine with the death of Moses.
This book is indigestible and obsolete. However, it is necessary to know it to acquire a solid biblical formation, but without stopping at the foreign rites prescribed therein. They are all well outdated today. Read this book without stopping on it much, then come back to the reading of the course.
Leviticus was written by the scribes and Levite priests, from whom its name is derived. They interrupt the narration of events of the Exodus by presenting a collection of rites prescribed by the priests and in their interests. To give weight to these rites, the priests attributed them to God. It was He who would have asked Moses and Aaron to apply these sacrificial rituals (Leviticus 1-7), the ceremonial investiture of priests and the material profits accruing to them (Leviticus 8-10), the rules related to clean and unclean, etc…
To grasp the meaning of Leviticus, we must keep in mind that it was the priests who wrote in order to safeguard their material interests, and their spiritual and psychological hegemony over the community. This attitude is noticed today with all the clergy who monopolize, in the name of God, the spiritual “economy”.
Chapters 1-7 flaunts over the variety of produce offered “to God”, ie to the priest. We distinguish them below:
The animal sacrifices which are offered, be it in holocaust (the victim is completely consumed by fire, nothing left to the priest), be it for sin (the priests take parts of the victim for themselves), or in praise or communion to fulfill a vow (the flesh of the victim is taken by the sacrificer priest of course, and the fat is burnt for God…).
The oblation consists of offering a handful of produce from the soil to God, but “the remainder is to revert to Aaron and his sons, a most holy portion of the burnt offerings of Yahweh” (Leviticus 2,1-3). We distinguish among the offerings the “holy portions”, and the “very holy portions”. The latter purify all those who touch them (Exodus 29,37).
I have already signaled that the prophet Jeremiah had denounced these fraudulent practices as not having been prescribed by God, but by the scribes (Jeremiah 7,22 / 8,22). Other prophets also informed of their pointlessness (Hosea 6,6 / Amos 5,21-24). Psalm 51,16-17 adds: “Sacrifice gives You no pleasure… My sacrifice is this broken spirit (by repentance), You will not scorn this crushed and broken heart.” And Jesus also reminds us that for God, “Mercy is what pleases Me, not sacrifice (of animals)” (Matthew 12,7).
Chapters 8-10 speak of the rites of investiture of the priests. These ceremonials, old and ridiculous, are inspired by paganism (especially Egyptian), and are impregnated with superstitious gestures. They have nothing of divinity. The attire of a priest is internal and, in the apocalyptic era, we are all called to be priests through faith and compassion… without theatrical rites of investiture (Revelation 1,6 / 5,9-10).
Chapters 11-27 expose in meticulous detail, the various recommendations for worship. Among others, there are, in the eyes of scribes and Levite priests, what is clean or unclean, and warnings against the violation of the Sabbath (Leviticus 19,2 / 19,30 / 26,2). This was already prescribed in Exodus 20,8-11 / 35,1-3. Believers were overloaded with the amount of precepts falsely attributed to God. All these laws have nothing sanctifying or salutary about them. Well to the contrary, as the prophets had revealed initially and Jesus and his Apostles after, they are a dangerous obstacle for spiritual evolution. Those who practice them stumble over: “Precepts over precepts, rules over rules, so that when they walk they may fall over backward and be broken, snared and made captive” under the yoke of such laws, as Isaiah expressed (Isaiah 28,13). Jesus also warned against the scribes and clergy who “tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders…” (Matthew 23,4) Jesus also taught that nothing of what one eats makes him unclean; and this shocked the Jews (Matthew 15,10-12).
The warning against the violation of the Sabbath is solemnly repeated in the books of the Law. In case of its infringement, the punishment is death by stoning (Exodus 35,1-3). The Book of Numbers reports the case of a man who dared to collect wood on a Saturday. He was simply stoned (Numbers 15,32-36). The Gospel reveals that the Jews were furious against the Apostles who plucked ears of corn on a Saturday (Matthew 12,1-8). Jesus was also persecuted because He performed miracles on the Sabbath (John 5,16-18). For fanatics, this represented work, therefore the penalty was death. They were vexed even more against Jesus in hearing Him say that He was “Master of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12,8) and that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2,27).
Moses could not give the right image of God. By the murders he committed in the name of Yahweh, he disfigured the true Face of the Creator. Following that, the scribes and priests tarnish the Divine Visage even more. They did not understand His Spirit.
To know God is to understand God. Only Jesus revealed to us the true Face of the Father. Through Him only, we are able to penetrate the Divine Spirit, totally opposed to the spirit of the Law (Torah).
God is the Father of all races. He opens His arms to all men of pure heart, not only to the Israelites. It is why John writes: “though the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” (John 1,17-18) So Moses neither saw nor understood God. Otherwise, he would not have ordered assassinations in His Name. The Law that he prescribed was not inspired by God.
Was it Moses who, in the Name of the Holy One, prescribed all this Law or was it the scribes and priests? Moses certainly did part; the rest having been added by the scribes and Levite priests. And both parts are huge, terribly grave. The consequences have been grave along the centuries. Up to our days…
The Book of the Acts of the Apostles describes the bitter feuds waged by the Apostles to show the Law’s conceit. Paul, in his letters to the Romans and Galatians, explains that salvation is obtained by faith in Jesus, the Law being no more than the letter that brings death, ineffective for Eternal Life (Read Romans 3,28-30 / Galatians 3,10-24 / Ephesians 2,14-16 / Hebrews 10,10).
The Book of Leviticus contains some lessons of present valor which are part of the gold buried in the books of the Old Testament.
This harmful practice is a human attempt to contact the Afterlife by different material means. It was condemned: “You must not practice divination or magic” (Leviticus 19,26) … “If a man has recourse to the spirits of the dead or to magicians, to prostitute himself by following them, I shall set my face against that man and outlaw him from his people” (Leviticus 20,6) … “Any man or woman who is a necromancer or magician must be put to death…” (Leviticus 20,27) This demonstrates that spiritism was practiced for a long period, as testified further down in the Bible, in the story of king Saul with the woman necromancer who conjured up Samuel for him (1 Samuel 28).
Widespread throughout the world still today, spiritism misleads many. The explicit biblical condemnation of this practice will always remain valid, because when we conjure good spirits (angels, saints), it is actually evil spirits which present themselves, spirits or souls attached to the earth. God does not intervene because the adepts who indulge in it are, in most cases, neither thirsty for the spiritual, nor have the deep desire to seek the Divine Truth in order to submit to it. They seek answers of a temporal, affectionate, or economic nature. Or still, they pose questions of curiosity about their entourage. It is the reason for which God is disinterested and allows evil spirits to intervene in these sessions, spirits which, according to St Peter, “are prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5,8)
On the contrary, it so happens that God Himself takes the initiative to contact the people of His choice, whom He sees thirsty for Light and Truth. He manifests Himself to these hearts who sincerely desire to know Him, willing to renounce everything to follow Him. In these cases, the result is always beneficial because the intervention comes from God, not from man and for strictly spiritual reasons, not material. This celestial contact is directed either by God Himself, or through one of His envoys (angels or saints).
God or His envoys appear in dreams, in visions (Joel 3,1-2), or even in a state of total awakening: apparitions of the risen Christ to his Apostles (Luke 24) and of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, La Salette, and Fatima.
The Bible is rich in divine interventions, in dreams, in visions, and in apparitions. The celestial message can be communicated in a symbolic style, or in a clear way.
In dreams (during sleep): the dreams of Joseph (Genesis 37,5+), of the cupbearer and the baker (Genesis 40,5+), of Pharaoh (Genesis 41,1+), of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2,1+), of Daniel (Daniel 7,1+), of Joseph, Mary’s husband (Matthew 1,20 / 2,13-22), of Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27,19).
In visions (during sleep or in a state of semi-consciousness): Abraham (Genesis 15,1), Samuel (1 Samuel 3), the centurion and Peter (Acts 10), John with Revelation, Isaiah’s visions (Isaiah 6), etc…
In apparitions (in the state of awakening): Abraham (Genesis 18), Zechariah (Luke 1,11), the Virgin Mary (Luke 1,26), the Apostles (Luke 24 / John 20 / John 21 / Acts 1,3-9), Paul (Acts 9), etc…
In addition, the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima, etc… are biblical signs of the end of times announced by Jesus: “There will be great signs from heaven” (Luke 21,11), “a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman…” (Revelation 12,1+).
A meditation inspired by the Book of Job: To rectify man, “God speaks first in one way, and then in another… by dreams and visions that come in the night… to turn him away from evil-doing, and make an end of his pride; to save his soul from the pit…” (Job 33,14-18) These are the reasons for which God contacts men.
Likewise, Jesus promised to show Himself to those who love him: “Anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him… If anyone loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14,21-23)
If God then, wants to show Himself to us, why not put ourselves in the disposition that He demands? Why do some people insist on calling spirits when the Holy Spirit asks us to call Him? Why go to uncertain servants when the Master calls us?
If the invocation of spirits is condemned, the invocation of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is recommended. It is necessary to contact God for supernatural reasons. This divino-human bond is an intrinsic necessity of human nature, a thirst that some have choked, replacing it with spiritism which is only a dangerous “phony” of reality, a “counterfeit currency”, which sensible souls recognize and would not exchange with their heavenly treasure, that is the manifestation of God and His Messiah, Jesus, in us.
We can contact our pious deceased through contemplation and prayer. We can have recourse to them to gain support in the daily spiritual struggle. The souls of the saints and the spirits of the angels burn with the desire to contact us to support us spiritually. Saint Therese of Lisieux said: “I will spend my time in Heaven doing good on earth”. So we must also be docile and receptive to heavenly solicitations. It is the opposite of spiritism. Let us believe in the power of intercession of the heavenly souls and their complicity.
It is explicitly condemned. The following shows that this sexual deviation is from the days of antiquity as can be seen in the narrative of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18,20 / 19,25).
“You must not lie with a man as with a woman. This is a hateful thing.” (Leviticus 18,22).
“The man who lies with a man in the same way as with a woman: they have done a hateful thing together…” (Leviticus 20,13).
In his letter to the Romans, Paul comes back to this condemnation, applying it as well to sexual relations between women: “That is why God left them to their filthy enjoyments and the practices with which they dishonor their own bodies… and why their women have turned from natural intercourse to unnatural practices and why their menfolk have given up natural intercourse to be consumed with passion for each other…” (Romans 1,24-32)
In the twenty-first century of ours, movements in support of homosexuality have arisen, demanding, in the name of liberty (?), that this practice be admitted as natural and normal, a practice which nature loathes and rejects as contrary to its vital and evolutionary impulse towards sublimation. With Paul we recall that these “degrading passions are unnatural practices” (Romans 1,26). We cannot consider natural what is against nature, because with Isaiah, we proclaim: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness…” (Isaiah 5,20).
In the name of the Creator, in the name of real and responsible liberty, in the name of nature and its grandeur, we blame those who support an alleged natural, even moral right to homosexuality. Some so-called “religious” Christians have gone so far as to “marry” homosexuals, forgetting that the Bible denounces and condemns these practices and those who “do it; and what is worse, encourage others to do the same.” (Romans 1,32)
This sexual deviation, in all its forms, is known since times of antiquity. The “Oedipus complex” is not prerogative of modern times as Leviticus testifies: “You will not have intercourse with your father or your mother. She is your mother you will not have intercourse with her” (Leviticus 18,7).
Paternal incest is not explicitly mentioned. But this moral decay, so often present in families with the psychological destruction that it involves, is indirectly and implicitly denounced since it is commanded: “None of you will approach a woman who is closely related to him, to have intercourse with her. I am Yahweh” (Leviticus 18,6). If it is necessary to move away from the “close relatives”, fortiori it is necessary to move away from one’s own daughter, especially since it is still clarified that “you will not uncover the nakedness of your son’s or your daughter’s daughter; for their nakedness is your own.” (Leviticus 18,10)
Fraternal incest, another insidious practice which is secretly amidst millions of victims, is condemned: “You will not have intercourse with your sister, whether she is your father’s or your mother’s daughter (half-sister)” (Leviticus 18,9). Similar deviations have all been condemned by Leviticus, because of their practice within the Israelite community, as the narrative of Amnon and his half-sister Tamar testifies (2 Samuel 13), as well as that of Reuben’s with his father Jacob’s concubine (Genesis 35,22).
Fraternal incest extends to the brother’s wife: “You will not have intercourse with your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s sexual prerogative” (Leviticus 18,16). strongly supported by this highly moral principle, John the Baptist condemned king Herod (Matthew 14,3-4).
This pagan worship was largely practiced within the Israelite community, even though monotheistic: “Yes, the sons of Judah have done what displeases me—it is Yahweh who speaks… they have built the high place of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, to burn their sons and daughters (to Baal); a thing I never commanded, a thing that never entered my thoughts.” (Jeremiah 7,30-31 / 19,5 / 32,34).
Human sacrifices are explicitly mentioned in 1 Kings 16,34: “It was in his time that Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho; he laid its foundations at the price of Abiram (sacrificing him), his first-born; its gates he erected at the price of his youngest son Segub”. King Ahaz himself made his son “pass through fire” to ward off fate (2 Kings 16,3).
It is in such an atmosphere of paganism that Levite priests prescribed in Leviticus: “You must not hand over any of your children to have them passed (through fire) to Molech…” (Leviticus 18,21), “Any son of Israel or any stranger living in Israel (the Palestinians were regarded as foreigners) must die if he hands over any of his children to Molech…” (Leviticus 20,1-5).
We note with regret that the Israelites allowed themselves to be contaminated by pagan customs instead of enlightening others by faith in the one God.
Impediments to the Jewish Priesthood
The physical defects were and are still an impediment to the Levite priesthood: “None of your descendants, in any generation, must come forward to offer the food of his God if he has any infirmity… such as blindness or lameness, if he is disfigured or deformed, if he has an injured foot or arm, etc… he must not go near the veil or approach the altar, because he has an infirmity, and must not profane my holy things…” (Leviticus 21,16-24).
Mosaic law confuses between bodily infirmity and moral defilement. The disabled do not soil objects of worship. The unclean man is the sinner. But if the sinner repents, he is purified by divine grace. Grace is more powerful than the defilement and, according to the words of Paul: “however great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater” (Romans 5,20).
Physical impediments to the Levite priesthood were adopted by the Christian churches. They refuse to ordain priests who are physically disabled, yet healthy in spirit. Furthermore, they deny priests the right of marriage. In doing so, they consider matrimonial union as a defilement. Now, marriage is a sacrament which purifies the soul.
The impediment to the marriage of priests falls under a divine condemnation revealed by St Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1-3. The female sex is still, in itself, an obstacle to the Levite priesthood. The clergymen are attached to these human precepts, but hesitate not, alas, to ordain priests of distorted psychologies, morally disabled and amputees of love, without heart or compassion for his fellow man. The words of Jesus once addressed to the Pharisees are applicable today to the Christian clergy of all denominations, whose cults are just as vain as those of their Levite predecessors (see Matthew 15,1-20).
The Apocalyptic priesthood has fortunately escaped all these Judeo-Christian considerations. Christ, alive among us (Immanuel), has chosen us himself as the premise of His new priestly-people. All those who “open the door to share a meal with Him” (Revelation 3,20) belong to this sacerdotal people. The physically disabled can belong to it, if they want, thus forming the living Apocalyptic Temple, invisible to men. This Holy Temple is devoid of infirmity and spiritual stain as “nothing unclean may come into it: none who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21,27). Therein are inscribed those who have recognized the Apocalyptic Beast and fought it (Revelation 13,18 / 13,8 / 20,12).
In the parable of the wedding feast, Jesus says to His servants: “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” (Matthew 22,7-10) In these end times, the servants of Jesus (who we are) realized -with bitterness and sadness- how unworthy the alleged ecclesiastical priests are. Pioneers of the Apocalyptic Covenant, we were picked up at these crossroads. We were at the crossroads that lead to supernatural life, in search of a way out. The Hand of God takes us there, for a new birth. Pioneers of a new journey, we have started to build the “new Heaven and the new Earth” seen by Peter (2 Peter 3,13) and John (Revelation 21,1). With us, Jesus carries “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” according to the world (Luke 14,21) to confuse those who reject these “disabled persons” from their ineffective human priesthood for the salvation of the soul. And as a sign of our new departure towards the construction of the new holy society on earth, women are, with the “disabled”, part of the Priesthood of Jesus, aware that “there can be neither male nor female in the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 3,28).
According to the Mosaic law, Jesus, not from the tribe of Levi, is not considered a priest (Hebrews 8,4). On the contrary, according to the Divine Spirit, He is “the High Priest” of the New Covenant (Hebrews 4,14 to 5,10 / 9,11 etc…) Likewise, you men and women Apostles and priests of the Apocalyptic Covenant are not recognized as priests of God, neither by the synagogue, nor the Church. But according to the Divine Spirit, you are indeed the “line of kings, priests” founded by Jesus “to serve His God and Father”, who is also our Father (Revelation 1,5-6).
The Apocalyptic Priesthood knows only one obstacle: the defilement of the soul by bad faith (Revelation 21,27). But bodily infirmity is not an impediment.
Happy and blessed are those who take part in the first resurrection! They will be “priests of God and of Christ” (Revelation 20,6). The logical conclusion of our faith is that we are these priests. Our faith in the apocalyptic message is the witness and the guarantee of our participation in the First Resurrection and, consequently, to the priesthood of God and of His Christ, Jesus. A witness and a guarantee of this is still found in these words of Paul: “You have been buried with him, when you were baptized; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up (First Resurrection) with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. You were dead, because you were sinners and had not been circumcised: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins…” (Colossians 2,12-13). “I tell you most solemnly, the hour will come—indeed it is here already—when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live.” (John 5,25) We have heard this divine voice a first time in the Gospels, to reveal to us the face of Christ, and a second time in the Book of Revelation to reveal the face of the Antichrist. And we believed in both voices! And this faith transformed us, all at once, from dead to living priests, like Lazarus who came out of his tomb to the voice of the Son of Man (John 11). The life-giving divine lightning has fallen on us to resurrect us and, in a flash of light, we have come back to life: “because the coming of the Son of Man will be like lightning striking in the east and flashing far into the West” (Matthew 24,27), this flash “which strikes in the East and flashes far into the West” is launched by “the Angel rising where the sun rises (from the East)” (Revelation 7,2).
We are priests, priests to prepare this return of Jesus by announcing it… to ourselves first and by welcoming this great “Revenant” in us, so that He launches us from the crossroads, from the crossroads where we are, towards where He destines for us “to pull out the chestnuts from the fire”, saving what can still be saved of this miserable humanity.
“Be like men waiting for their Master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the Master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them.” (Luke 12,36-37) I confirm these words of Christ in saying: “Happy are those who opened to Him the door with eagerness, love and simplicity, without encumbering themselves with rites in these Apocalyptic times of the twentieth century. He put us all at his Table, to share his meal, side by side with him” (Revelation 3,20). The Book of Revelation thus confirms what the Gospels had already announced. Everything revolves around the apocalyptic priesthood, whose spiritual level cannot be compared to the Levitical and ecclesiastical priesthoods… both so far from the hearts of true believers who sup in intimacy, without theatrical worship, with the Bridegroom.
Priests we are, but our priesthood is hidden from the world because, “the life you have is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3,3), and with Christ in us. Because “the Morning Star” has already risen, radiant, in our hearts, warmed by his holy luster which, like “a flash”, has brought back our wounded souls to life (1 Peter 1,19 / Revelation 2,28 and 22,16).
The Book of Leviticus did not neglect the principles of social justice. However, it is a relative justice and aims in privileging Jews at the expense of others, placing them above other nations. Divine Justice, on the contrary, places all men, all nations, all races at the same level.
It is true that it is said: “You must not exploit or rob your neighbor. You must not keep back the laborer’s wage until next morning.” (Leviticus 19,13) Who is considered the neighbor here? The question lies there.
According to Leviticus, the Jew must hold special favor towards his fellow Jew, like him. Other inhabitants of the country (the Palestinians) were considered “strangers” or citizens of second class, as is the case still today in Israel: “You must not slander your own people, and you must not jeopardize your neighbor’s (Jewish) life. I am Yahweh. You must not bear hatred for your brother (Jewish)… You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19,16-18) This “neighbor” is the Jew; the non-Jews (Palestinians and “goyim”) are considered strangers.
There exists however, one verse in favor of the stranger: “If a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest him. You must count him as one of your own countrymen and love him as yourself…” (Leviticus 19,33-34) It must be stressed that the foreigner in question is none other than the original inhabitants of the country, expropriated by the Jewish colonists.
The Jewish prophets rose against the chauvinism of their co-religious peers. They denounced the unjustified vexations against the stranger, proclaiming that true justice is “not to exploit the stranger, the orphan, the widow…” (Jeremiah 22,3) Ezekiel also says: “The people of the country have taken to extortion and banditry… and ill-treated the settler for no reason.” (Ezekiel 22,29) This still applies in modern Israel, which deprives Palestinians of their elementary rights.
Jesus rose too against Israeli injustice: “You have learned how it was said: You must love your (Jewish) neighbor and hate your enemy (any non-Jew; a precept mentioned in the talmudic tradition, not in the Bible). But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (today they are called ‘terrorists’: love them because they are in the right, not you!) … For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers (Jews), are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not?” (Matthew 5, 43-47) Christ was addressing his words to all the extremist masses, and not to His disciples: “But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies… etc.” (Luke 6,27) Now, those who were listening to Him were nationalists eager to proclaim Him the political king of Israel (see John 6,15). They did not understand His “pacifism” regarding strangers, the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine.
Jesus taught of Justice in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It invites us to overcome the discriminatory conception of the scribes: “If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5,20) Jesus indissolubly binds justice and love for thy neighbor (Luke 10,27); he does not give as an example of the neighbor a Levite, a priest, or a Jew, but a Samaritan, considered enemies by Jews (Luke 10,29-37). He knew well that “Jews do not associate with Samaritans” (John 4,9). With this parable, he confounds chauvinism and tries to redress what the scribes and Pharisees, in the name of the Mosaic Law, made tortuous: “Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.” (Matthew 5,17) This accomplishment occurs by the opening of all hearts of good faith, be they strangers to “my” people; and by the rejection of all men of bad faith, be they of my people.
To be your God
After four centuries in Egypt, the Israelites forgot the One who revealed himself to Abraham. Surrounded by Pharaonic idols and cults, they turned to idolatry. God’s Messianic plan was thus in danger. God then led the Hebrews out of Egypt in order to bring them back to Him: “I who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God.” (Leviticus 22,33 / 25,38).
The Hebrews selfishly interpreted the expression “your God”, seeing it as an exclusivity to God. They believed themselves privileged, adulated, and the only people chosen by Him. Jealous of this possession, they wanted God for themselves alone. He must not also be the God of other peoples. Now, divine intention was to tear the Jews away from the idols in order to continue His Messianic plan.
They had received knowledge of the one God. Their mission was to make Him known to other peoples, revealing to them the divine plan of sending the Messiah. And yet, being out of Egypt, they believed they were the only ones called by God. The Messiah came to rectify this deviation, teaching that many will come to God from the four quarters of the earth, but that the Jews, because of their fanaticism, will be rejected by the One who made them leave Egypt: “And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom (of Israel) will be turned out into the dark…” (Matthew 8,11-12) The Christ revealed this upsetting fact to His disciples, asking them to proclaim it in their turn. It is why Peter, after the resurrection of Christ, proclaimed before the Jews: “… God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us. God made no distinction between them and us…” (Acts 15,7-9) “Is God the God of Jews alone and not of the pagans too? Of the pagans too, most certainly” Paul also writes (Romans 3,29).
God allowed the Jews out of Egypt not for the glory of Israel, but in order to be able to send the Messiah, who will make Him known to the whole world. The prophet Ezekiel exclaimed: “The Lord Yahweh says this: I am not doing this for your sake, House of Israel, but for the sake of my holy Name, which you have profaned…” (Ezekiel 36,22) Likewise, God proclaimed through Isaiah: “Listen to this, House of Jacob, you who bear the name Israel… and invoke the God of Israel, though not in good faith or uprightness… for I knew how treacherous you were, and that you have deserved the name of rebel from your birth. For the sake of my Name I deferred my anger, for the sake of my honor I curbed it; I did not destroy you… For My sake and My sake only have I acted—is my Name to be profaned? Never will I yield my glory to another.” (Isaiah 48,1-11).
If the Jews had remained in Egypt, they would have continued to practice Egyptian worship and the forgetfulness of God would have been total. God’s universal plan, initiated with Abraham, could not have been accomplished to reach us. The Messiah could not have been sent except through a community knowledgeable of God and His Messianic plan. Without this community, the prophecies concerning the Messiah could never have been revealed since there would have been no prophets to whom God could entrust them. A base was needed, however imperfect, to welcome the Messiah. God was watching over His plan in leading the Jewish community out of Egypt. His plan was materialized in the Messiah, not in an Israeli people or State.
The Messiah already came 2000 years ago. He addressed Himself and still does to the whole world today. “Jesus stood there and cried out: ‘If any man (Jew or other) is thirsty, let him come and drink…’ He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in Him were to receive…” (John 7,37-39) All those who are searching, who find themselves at the spiritual “crossroads” discover him and receive this Divine Spirit. On receiving it, they come back to life and become sons of God (John 1,12). This is the First Resurrection (John 5,25 / Revelation 20,6), the return of the soul to Life. It is a marvelous experience that only those who enjoy it experience. We owe our faith in God and Christ to the exit of the Jews from Egypt in the 13th century BC. God in the end brought them out to be the God of all believers, to be our God and our Father.
We must be well aware of the intimate link between the “Exit” from Egypt and us. The Exodus with Moses is not a simple passage from one country to another, but the symbol of the transfer from one state of mind to another, an exit from ignorance to the knowledge of God. This knowledge gives life back to our souls by the rediscovery of eternal life: “And Eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God…” (John 17,3)
Jesus chose the feast of the Jewish Passover to institute the Eucharist, which celebrates the “Exit” from Egypt (Matthew 26,17). This Bread of Eternal Life snatches away our souls from death: “Anyone who does eat my Flesh and drink my Blood has eternal life (in Him) … lives in Me and I live in him… will live forever”, says Jesus (John 6,51-58).
Without the exit from Egypt, God’s plan would have failed: we would not have had the Messiah, the Bible, the Gospels, or the Book of Revelation. We would not have known the first resurrection, which is the Paradise found on earth. This is the real Promised Land and not geographic Palestine, as those who have their hearts attached to matter and the earth believe.
With Abraham, this was the first step towards the first resurrection. The following step was the exit from Egypt. Then there was the call made by Jesus, inviting believers from all over the world to participate. With the Book of Revelation, this promise becomes a living reality, a royal priesthood. We owe our apocalyptic priesthood to the divine initiative of extracting the Jews out of Egypt, thereby also saving us, by the same fate, from spiritual ignorance and the death of the soul. How to thank Him? By Jesus!
Without this exit from Egypt, what would become of us? Worshipers or priests of the gods Ra, Baal, Jupiter, Zeus, Diane or Astarte… !
Do you think that we are saved through faith in Jesus or by the practicing of the Mosaic Law (circumcision, Sabbath, clean and unclean, etc…)?
Do you think that the sacrifice of animals and their offering in holocausts can reconcile the sinner with God?
According to the answers to these questions, one is a follower or an enemy of Jesus.
The Book of Numbers
This book begins with a census of the Israelites in order to define their “number “, hence its name. It is important not to dwell on these figures. At first, only Levites were not listed to be registered (Numbers 1,48), to be enrolled in the service of the “Dwelling of Testimony”. This Dwelling is the Tent of Meeting where sacrifices were offered in testimony to the one God. Aaron and his sons, and none other, “are to carry out their priestly duty. But any layman who comes near is to be put to death” (Numbers 3,10); saying that Yahweh said so, to safeguard the rights of the priests…
This book must be skimmed through quickly and then return to the Biblical Course where the most important points to remember are noted down and explained.
The narrative of the march of the Jews in the desert reported here was put down in writing about three centuries later. As already explained, the scribe-priests added whatever evidence to show the indisputable roles of worship and of the priesthood of Aaron and his descendants. The community spent forty years in the desert, sufficient time to organize a cult around the Dwelling of the Testimony, considered as a Temple. In its interior was found the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two tablets of the Ten Commandments. It signified the Presence of God, hence its importance (Numbers 10,33-35). It opened the people’s march as in some modern religious processions preceded by religious symbols.
The Levites had a servitor role in worship, but the priesthood was reserved to Aaron and his sons. This is often repeated in the Torah and in Numbers emphatically. Numbers 3,1-4 designates Aaron and his sons as unique priests in all the Levite tribe, even in all the community. The rest of the tribe of Levi has save one task to carry out in worship, that of serving Aaron and his sons: “Muster the tribe of Levi and put it at the disposal of Aaron the priest: they are to be at his service etc…” (Numbers 3,6+) In exchange, “To the sons of Levi I give as their inheritance all the tithes collected in Israel, in return for their services…” (Numbers 18,21) This is quite a plum sum. However, the tithe of this tithe should return to Yahweh (Numbers 18,26), ie to fill the pockets of the priest Aaron since, as the scribes specify, what is offered to God returns to the priest: “Thus you too will set aside a portion for Yahweh, of all the tithes you receive from the sons of Israel. You will give what you have set aside for Yahweh to Aaron the priest”, requiring moreover that “From the best of all these things you will set aside the sacred portion.” (Numbers 18,28-29) The first fruits of the harvest represent the best part.
The scribes wrote these texts ten centuries after Aaron; they were themselves priests, descendants of Aaron. Wanting to safeguard their privileges, they hastened to include verses in their favor, attributing them to God: “Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them: When you have entered the land to which I am bringing you, you must set aside a portion for Yahweh (ie for the priests) when you eat the bread of this country. You must set one loaf as the first fruits of your meal… You are to set aside for Yahweh a portion of the best of your meal. This applies to your descendants.” (Numbers 15,17-21). In doing so, the scribe-priests perpetuated their “divine rights” over the community’s descendants.
Do not believe that God is asking to found a priesthood to exploit the best of the good of others; we can still see there “the lying pen of the scribes” (Jeremiah 8,8). Some clergy, so-called Christians, fell into the same economic abyss. In the Book of Revelation, God invites His people to take “free” the flood of graces which He pours onto those who believe (Revelation 21,6 / 22,17). “You received without charge, give without charge”, still recommends Jesus (Matthew 10,8 / Luke 9,2).
The killing of Aaron’s two sons
The Book of Numbers laconically reports the death, in Sinai, of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, the two eldest. The death of these two brothers is attributed to Yahweh. In reality, it was a death sentence: “Nadab and Abihu died in Yahweh’s presence, in the wilderness of Sinai, when they offered fire that was unlawful.” (Numbers 3,4) Leviticus is more explicit: “Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his censer… and presented unlawful fire before Yahweh… Then from Yahweh’s presence a flame leaped out and consumed them, and they perished in the presence of Yahweh.” (Leviticus 10,1-2).
These two men, Levites and priests, were found dead on the same day of their sacerdotal investiture (Numbers 8,13). The fire that devoured them was none other than the bludgeon arm of Moses and his gang. What was their crime? They wanted to offer Yahweh, in their burning censer of incense, a fire considered irregular, as it was not prescribed by Moses. Did they want to cense in Aaron’s place? The fact remains, they aroused the murderous rage of their uncle Moses, who decreed their death sentence by “order of Yahweh”, according to his custom. He was also irritated, afterwards, against their two other surviving brothers over a dispute of food: “Why did you not eat this victim in the holy place? … Since its blood was not taken inside the sanctuary, you should have eaten its flesh there, as I ordered you.” Moses did not calm down until after Aaron’s explanatory and fearful intervention (Leviticus 10,16-20).
The death of his two sons left Aaron terrified before Moses. Because in front of the explanations given by his brother, “Aaron remained dumb”, paralyzed by fear before this unexpected violence. The shock of the surprise execution of his two priest sons on the same day of the joyous ceremony immobilized Aaron and his two other sons. Moses, seeing the anguish taking hold of his brother and his two nephews, reassures them: “Do not disorder your hair nor tear your garments; you are not going to die (like the two others) … Do not leave the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, lest you die” (Leviticus 10,6-7). It was that outside the tent there was a popular uprising led by Moses against all those who did not yield to the rigorous requirements of worship as he demanded. Aaron and his two surviving sons were at the risk of being lynched.
If a flame had devoured Nadab and Abihu, it would have reduced their sacerdotal tunics to ashes. And yet, “they came and carried them away, still in their tunics, out of the camp, as Moses had ordered.” (Leviticus 10,5) In reality, the fatal flame can only be the blazing and armed rage of Moses. Believing himself entrusted by Yahweh to organize a cult, he does not procrastinate, he imposes a “regulation” by the force of the sword. Let us not forget that Moses was a violent man, capable of killing. Hadn’t he already killed an Egyptian before fleeing from Egypt? (Exodus 2,11-15) Did he not personally order the Israelite chiefs: “‘Every one of you must put to death those of his people who have committed themselves to the Baal of Peor…’ And the plague that had struck the sons of Israel was arrested. In the plague twenty-four thousand of them had died.” (Numbers 25,1-9) Nowadays, politicians are condemned in the name of human rights for lesser crimes! Furthermore, the expression “a flame leaps out to devour…” is clarified in Numbers 21,28: “For a fire came out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon, it devoured Ar of Moab”. This “fire” is none other than the battle in which Sihon, the Moabite king perishes (Numbers 21,21-30).
However, the scribes present Moses as “the most humble of men, the humblest man on earth.” (Numbers 12,3) This humility is all relative to the violence of his admirers. If so is the judicial case of “the most humble of men”, what would their verdict of the more violent be? And what would the degree of kindness and humility of Jesus of Nazareth be? He was right to say of John the Baptist: “Of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is.” (Matthew 11,11) The violence of Moses places him far behind John.
Revolt of Miriam and Aaron against Moses
“Miriam, and Aaron too, spoke against Moses in connection with the Cushite woman he had had taken… They said, ‘Has Yahweh spoken to Moses only? Has he not spoken to us too?! …” (Numbers 12,1-3) The irritation of Miriam and Aaron against their brother can only be explained by the latter’s marriage to a non-Jew. There is also on their part a claim to be God’s interlocutors. And this claim is legitimate. We must understand that Moses appropriated to himself the exclusive right to speak to God and to hear Him. From this standpoint, it was necessary to accomplish all that Moses requested and as he demanded. Otherwise it was the killing that was decreed on behalf of God. Thus, in the name of Yahweh, a regime of terror was installed. It is why, overcome with fear, Aaron did not know how to evade himself from Moses and his two remaining sons, and beg for his mercy (Numbers 12,4-15).
The Rebellion of Korah
The petulance of Moses is still remarked in the revolt of the Levite clan of Korah. The excessive material privileges granted by Moses (not by God) to his brother Aaron and to his nephews created much discontent, who saw not a divine will, but human profit. The Levites themselves felt frustrated because they had to give to Aaron and his sons “the best portion” of the tithe they levied. Yet, it was also the other tribes who felt the effect of this abusive exploitation negatively, carried out under the guise of God. Hence Korah’s revolt, the Levite of noble birth who joined two princes of the house of Ruben, Eliab and Abiram and many others. Outraged by the devouring appetite of the priests, they “rebelled against Moses, together with two hundred and fifty of the sons of Israel, leaders of the community… (who thus represented the whole community). They then joined forces against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You take too much on yourselves! The whole community and all its members are consecrated, and Yahweh lives among them. Why set yourselves higher than the community of Yahweh?” (Numbers 16,1-3). They were right!
Faced with this revolt, Moses chose to dialogue separately with Korah first, then with Dathan and Abiram. They refused with contempt to appear before Moses, which provoked his “rage” (Numbers 16,12-15). Moses summoned Korah to be satisfied with the privileges of the Levites, reproaching him for wanting to be “in the office of priesthood as well!” (Numbers 16,8-10)
The scribes claimed that the ground miraculously split open to swallow up the rebels, and that “a fire came down from Yahweh and consumed the two hundred and fifty men carrying incense” who accompanied them (Numbers 16,28-35). This “fire” is the same which already assassinated Aaron’s two sons: they were killed by Moses and his men.
Why do the scribes report similar narratives? It is because, writing them three centuries later, and being themselves priests, descendants of Aaron, jealously held on to their prerogatives. They reported these events as “a reminder to the sons of Israel that no layman, no one outside Aaron’s line, may come near Yahweh with incense to burn, under pain of suffering the lot of Korah and his followers, according to the order given by Yahweh through Moses.” (Numbers 17,5).
I do not believe in the historical reality of this narrative. I do not believe that the ground split open to swallow up Korah and “his band”, of which I belong to in spirit. Because I believe, like Korah, that “the priests have taken too much on themselves, that the whole community of God is consecrated”, and that Our Heavenly Father is among us, that we live the Immanuel, and that we practice the apocalyptic priesthood desired by God and His Messiah, Jesus.
The truth is that Moses and his armed gang killed Korah and his followers. The “ground which opened” to swallow the latter and the “flame” which devoured the two sons of Aaron were but the bludgeon swords of the mafia of Moses. This is brought up again in the reaction of the community against Moses and Aaron after this butchery: “On the following day, the entire community of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, ’You have brought death to the people of Yahweh…” (Numbers 17,6).
One must be mentally stupid to believe indiscriminately in everything that the scribe-priests recount in the historical books of the Old Testament. The prophets indict this mental deficiency by saying on behalf of God: “Israel knows nothing, my people understands nothing… etc…” (Isaiah 1,3) And Jeremiah: “This is because my people are stupid, they do not know me, they are slow-witted children, they have no understanding: they are clever enough at doing wrong, but do not know how to do right.” (Jeremiah 4,22)
These grave faults on behalf of the Jewish “priests” deformed the Face of God, making him unrecognizable by men. Knowledge of His true holy character would have been impossible without Jesus. If the Jews, as the prophets revealed, were incapable of knowing God, Jesus, on the contrary, was well aware of really knowing Him: “Father, Righteous One, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me”, he said, adding: “I have made your Name known to them and will reveal it again…” (John 17,25-26) It was Jesus who revealed the true Face of God, His true “Name”.
If we have indeed understood this essential point of spiritual life, the primordial concern would be to pray, as Jesus taught us, so that in us “the name of God is sanctified”, ie that we know God and make Him known as He truly is, not as some present Him. Because eternal life is to know God: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17,3). It is the reason why the first prayer taught by Jesus was as follows: “Father… Hallow be thy Name”. Our mission is to sanctify this holy, this wonderful Name of Our Father, Creator.
Some other highlights
Gift of the Spirit (Numbers 11)
Seeing the dismay of the Israelis in the desert, Moses was discouraged. He found his mission too weighty. He spoke to God: “Why do you treat your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor with you, so that you load on me the weight of all this nation?” (Numbers 11,10-11) The Lord asks him to choose 70 among the elders of Israel and some scribes to whom He will give His Spirit, to help him in his task. After having assembled them, “the Spirit came on them, they prophesied, but not again.” (Numbers 11,24-25) Why didn’t they prophesy again? Probably because Moses decided after this, to be the only one to prophesy, ie to govern alone in the name of God. To prophesy means to speak in the name of God, to be his spokesman, to reveal the divine opinion on the events that occur. This cannot be done without direct assistance from God. It is the reason for which God gives His Spirit to the ones He chooses for a mission.
Note that two men, Eldad and Medad, prophesied independently of the 70 united together around Moses. Joshua, the servant of Moses, wanted to prevent them, but Moses stopped him saying: “If only the whole people of Yahweh were prophets, and Yahweh gave his spirit to them all!” (Numbers 11,26-29) This did not prevent Moses from exhibiting his anger against Aaron and Korah for saying that God spoke to them. Joshua’s attitude is similar to that of John’s in the Gospel: “John said to him, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.’” (Mark 9,38-40) These cases of the gift of the Spirit outside a traditional setting illustrate the words of Jesus to Nicodemus: “The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.” (John 3,8)
The Spirit of God often spoke to Moses. This is undeniable! But it is also true that Moses often made personal decisions believing them to be inspired by God. Also, we should discern, in the books of the Old Testament, between what is inspired by God and what comes from Moses; we must have recourse to the lights that Jesus gives us in the Gospels.
The first mention of Joshua is found in Exodus 17,9: “Moses said to Joshua, ‘pick out men for yourself, and tomorrow morning march out to engage Amalek’”. He was the only one to mount up with Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24,13). He served him faithfully, being attached to the cult and the Tent (Exodus 33,11). The Book of Numbers mentions him for the first time when he wanted to prevent the two men, Eldad and Medad from prophesying (Numbers 11,26-29). This fact reveals his great jealousy for Moses. He belonged to the twelve men sent by Moses to explore the Country of Canaan: He is that “Hoshea, son of Nun, from the tribe of Ephraim” (Numbers 13,8), whose name Moses changed to Joshua (Numbers 13,16). Moses designated him as his successor (Numbers 27,15-23). The Book of Joshua, the first book after the Pentateuch, bears his name and reports how he introduced the Israelites to Canaan.
Reconnaissance mission in Canaan
Moses sent twelve spies to Canaan, one from each tribe to explore the terrain and to probe the population so to invade the country. Joshua was one of them. They left from Kadesh, a name to remember. On return from their expedition after forty days, the spies reported that the country of Canaan was civilized and fortified: “It does indeed flow with milk and honey; this is its produce.” (Numbers 13,27) They had brought back with them samples of grapes, pomegranates and figs. The grapes were so big that “two men had to carry them away on a pole…” (Numbers 13,23) There was a major inconvenience: “At the same time, its inhabitants are a powerful people; the towns are fortified and very big…” (Numbers 13,28) This had frightened the ten spies, who advised to give up the invasion: “We are not able to march against these people; they are stronger than we are… Every man we saw there were of enormous size… We felt like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13,31-33) Only Joshua and Caleb had opinions to the contrary.
The people rallied behind the opinion of the majority of the spies (Numbers 14,1-4) and prepared, despite the encouragements of Joshua and Caleb, to stone Moses and his clan: “The whole community was talking of stoning them” (Numbers 14,10). On the contrary, it was Moses who ended up putting them to death. “The men whom Moses had sent to reconnoiter the land, who on their return had incited the whole community of Israel to grumble against Yahweh by disparaging it, these men who had disparaged the land were all struck dead before Yahweh… only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh remained alive.” (Numbers 14,36-38)
So Palestine has never been deserted as some claim. For millennia, it has never ceased to be civilized and planted with all kinds of fruit trees. To claim to transform the “Palestinian desert” into an “Israeli garden” is a lie which appeals only to the ignorant.
Faced with the power of the Canaanites, only Joshua and Caleb wanted to expedite an entry into the country. Later, the Israelites decided to enter it anyway; it was too late, God no longer being with them: “The Amalekite and the Canaanite who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them, and harried them all the way to Hormah.” (Numbers 14,45) The moral of this story: never hesitate to act when it is God’s time, and always abstain from taking any action, however good it may seem, when it is accomplished without God. It is why Moses advised of giving up the project (Numbers 14,41-42). According to the scribes, they were defeated because “neither the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh nor Moses left the camp.” (Numbers 14,44)
Unable to enter through Kadesh, through the most direct route, the Israelites had to go around the territory of Edom. The King of Edom, fearing to let such a great number pass, refused them passage (Numbers 20,14-21). They thus gave up this shortcut and went down towards the south, then turned up north towards Moab, an immense, difficult and dangerous trajectory which took 38 years to cross. Many did not enter Palestine, even Moses and Aaron did not see it (Numbers 14,29-38).
Various prescriptions of worship
The story of the stay in Kadesh is interrupted by a series of prescriptions of worship described in chapters 15-19. I point out the most important:
Any work is forbidden on the Sabbath. A man collecting wood on the Sabbath was regarded as a violation of the “divine” law of the Sabbath. The man was put to death “as Yahweh had ordered Moses” (Numbers 15,36). Such a severe attitude does not correspond to the Spirit of God. Compare that with the attitude of Jesus in front of the Pharisees who criticized the Apostles for having picked out ears of corn on a Saturday (Matthew 12,1-8).
Moses claims that God requires “the sons of Israel to put tassels on the hems of their garments, and to put a violet cord on this tassel at the hem.” (Numbers 15,37) This ridiculous “religious” memorabilia have been followed by Christians, especially in the Catholic Church (cardinals and bishops). Jesus condemns these dress customs (Matthew 23,5) and insists on faith and simplicity, not on garments.
The red heifer
According to a disposition of the Law prescribed by Yahweh, the ashes of a red heifer, mixed with water by the priests, is capable of purification (Numbers 19,1-10). The ashes “must be kept for ritual usage of the community of the sons of Israel for making lustral water; it is a sacrifice for sin. (Numbers 19,9) Once again, a pagan rite which passes, with its superstitions, in Jewish worship. The moral purification with water is a practice known in religions of antiquity. It corresponds to “holy water” for Christians, ablutions for Muslims, the River Ganges for Hindus etc…
It is clear that this “purification” is illusory, being material and defiled itself by sorcery and pagan superstition. Think of the religious importance given to the “white” cow in India (the color of the cow differs, but not the spirit of the cult). The difference is that the scribes attribute this worship to… Yahweh! The real reason is that it suits the priests well because a hefty sum is paid to be purified by a “red” cow, not always easy to find. Some time ago, some Israelis joyfully announced that the Messianic time is here, because they found a red heifer in Spain which, finally, corresponds to the requirements of the Torah… !
To know spiritual purification through repentance, a new evolutionary step was needed. It was Jesus who, at the price of His sacrifice, taught us to purify ourselves by the sacrifice of our bad inclinations and ask him for forgiveness, not by an illusory external worship. It is God who forgives and purifies the repented soul.
The water that gushed from the rock
The community, running out of water and food, once again, revolted against Moses. They regretted to have left Egypt for a deserted place (Numbers 20,1-5). God thus says to Moses: “‘Take the Branch (that of Aaron, supposed to have blossomed to the detriment of that of Korah during the latter’s revolt against Moses: Numbers 17,21-26), and call the community together, you and your brother Aaron. Then, in full view of them, order this rock to give water…’ Then Moses and Aaron called the assembly together in front of the rock… And Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the branch; water gushed in abundance, and the community drank and their cattle too” (Numbers 20,6-11). The location of this assembly is disputed, as we will see further on: was this around a rock or a well?
After this miracle, God was irritated with Moses and Aaron: “Because you did not believe that I could proclaim my holiness in the eyes of the sons of Israel (to manifest my Omnipotence), you shall not lead this assembly into the land I am giving them.” (Numbers 20,11-12) Indeed, it was Joshua who lead them into Palestine (Numbers 27,12-22). What was the fault of Moses and Aaron? Why this divine wrath against them? Such a reaction by God, after such a miracle, cannot be conceived. Moses struck the rock twice. Should he have struck it only once, with confidence, not a second time after having been hesitant. He, to whom God speaks, shouldn’t he have acted with conviction and force knowing God “is capable of sanctifying himself” in front of all?
The answer lies in the place where the gathering was to be held to drink water: was it really around a rock as the scribes claim in Numbers 20,1-13 to make believe in the miracle? This place is contradicted by Numbers 21,16-18, which reveals that the gathering took place around a well: “and from there they went on to Beer (name of a place which means well) … It was of the well here that Yahweh had said to Moses, ‘Call the people together and I will give them water.’ Then it was that Israel sang this song: ‘For the well! Sing out for the well, that was sunk by the princes…” (Numbers 21,16-18) In Hebrew, as in Arabic, the word “beer” means “well”. This place thus draws its name from the well that was there.
So, to drink, “the assembly” took place, not around a rock, but quite simply around a well. Moreover, by drinking the water from the well, Moses did not respect his commitment “not to drink the water of the wells” in regions that the community would cross (Numbers 20,17 / 21,22).
The reason for God’s anger against Moses and Aaron was rather because of their extreme violence and the institution of an uncompromising form of worship, modeled on paganism, never prescribed by God. And all this, in his Name!
The death of Aaron (Numbers 20,14-21)
We have seen that the Edomites prevented the Israelites from crossing their territory. They thus had to take the long and painful road southward. Aaron died on route to “Hor”. His son Eleazar succeeded him as high priest.
The bronze snake (Numbers 21,4-9)
Fabricated at God’s request, this bronze snake was hung horizontally on a vertical pole, thus forming a cross. Those who were bitten by snakes in the desert, but who looked at this bronze snake with faith, were physically healed, forgiven for having rebelled against God.
The bronze snake
This cross prefigures another more important one, whose power of healing is of the spiritual non-corporal order, eternal, non-temporal. The cross formed by the bronze snake on the vertical pole announces the crucifixion of Christ and the healing of those who believe in Him. Jesus brings back this narrative, attributing life-giving valor to His crucifixion, but this time on the level of the soul. The bronze snake as a cross symbolized His passion: “As Moses lifted up the (bronze) serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man (Christ) be lifted up (on the cross) so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him”, said Jesus (John 3,14).
This bronze snake was venerated for a long time by the Jews, to the point that they worshiped it. This is why, 600 years later, king Hezekiah destroys it (2 Kings 18,4).
The rite of “Urim and Tummim” (Numbers 27,21: see also Exodus 28,30)
Urim and Tummim were two types of stone or dices which the high priest carried with him to consult God on an affair; the priest threw the Urim and Tummim and, according to the position after their fall or the inscriptions which they carried, the high priest interpreted “yes” or “no” as a divine answer to the question posed. It is a bad system to consult God and that often has disastrous results.
Yahweh’s food destined to the priests
Chapter 28 repeats some prescriptions of the Mosaic law. Regarding sacrifices, “God” says to the people: “Take care to bring at the appointed time my offering, my sustenance in the form of burnt offering…” (Numbers 28,1-2) All this food “offered to Yahweh” came laid on the table of the priests and the Levites who wrote these texts (read 1 Samuel 2,12-17). So it was convenient for the priests, scribes and Levites to have the greatest number of sacrifices offered to… Yahweh… a food they consumed themselves… in the name of Yahweh!
Balaam and his prophecies on the Messiah (Numbers 22-24)
The most important theme in Numbers is that of the prophecies of Balaam, a non-Jewish soothsayer, concerning the Messiah.
To enter Palestine, the Israelis had to pass by the country of Moab (currently Jordan). Balak, the Moabite king, wanted to prevent them by force. He called Balaam, a wizard of the region. He asked him to cast a bad fate on the Israelis, to curse them so that he could overcome them easily: “The elders of Moab and the elders of Midian set out (towards Balaam) taking fees for the divination with them (for the curse against the Jews)” (Numbers 22,7).
God prevented Balaam from cursing them: “There is no omen against Jacob, no divination against Israel.” (Numbers 23,23) Why? Because Balaam the magician says “A hero arises from their stock, he reigns over countless peoples… (Numbers 24,7) … I see him—but not in the present, I behold him—but not close at hand: a Star from Jacob takes the leadership, a scepter arises from Israel.” (Numbers 24,17).
Therefore, the only reason why these people were protected by God was that the Messiah will come from them. He is this “Hero” who comes from their lineage and this “Star” that Balaam sees later, “not close at hand”. Indeed, it was but 13 centuries later that Jesus came. He is “the Star of the morning” as the Book of Revelation calls Him (Revelation 2,28 / 22,16). It is clear here that the only vocation of the Israelites is the coming of the Messiah. Today, after the Advent of this Messiah in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, any Israelis who reject Him can no longer claim any divine blessing any more than any person who turns his back on this Star-Hero.
Balaam is a figure to be retained because, unable to curse the Jews, pushed them to debauchery with the prostitutes of Moab to arouse the divine wrath against them (Numbers 25,1-3). Notice that the Moabites and Midians are both accused by the Jews (Numbers 25,6-16), but it is Balaam who is held to be the main culprit in this affair of Shittim, and the reason why the Israelites later killed him (Numbers 31,8). The Book of Revelation also mentions Balaam and compares the wicked of the end of times to this “Balaam, who taught Balak to set a trap for the Israelites so that they committed adultery”, and deserve the divine wrath (Revelation 2,14). These wicked people are the subjects of the Beast who corrupt the disciples of Christ to distance them from God as did Balaam (read the book “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”).
Borders of Israel
The Book of Numbers ends with the Israelis at the doors of Palestine to the East of Jordan on Mount Nébo, which faced the Palestinian town of Jericho (Ariha). Moses died there (Deuteronomy 34,1-5).
According to the scribes, the borders given to the Jews, always by God, start from Sinai to the town of Hamat in the North of Syria (34,8) and terminates in the East with the River Jordan and the Dead Sea (34,12).
These borders are fanciful and depend, not on God, but on the varying ambitions of the Israeli scribes who, according to their more or less voracious appetites, sometimes place the borders from the Sinai to the Jordan, as it is the case here, and sometimes from the Nile to the Euphrates, as is indicated in Joshua 1,3-4. If it had been God who had allotted the Israeli borders, they would not have varied from one scribe to another, they would have been fixed, well defined and above all, permanent historically.
Modern Israelis are not very satisfied with the country that “God” has given them, described by Moses as being the country where “milk and honey flow” (Exodus 3,8 / Numbers 13,27). Once before already, in the desert, the Jews regretted “the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onion and garlic” that they ate for “free” in Egypt (Numbers 11,5-6). In 1977, the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meïr said: “Israel will never forgive Moses his short-sightedness: he led the Jews out of Egypt and struck the rock to quench their thirst: but he made them walk for 40 years in the desert to establish them in the only region deprived of oil”.
Meaning of the word: Deuteronomy
This word comes from the Greek “deftero”, which means “second” or “a second time”, and “noma” which means “law”. So Deuteronomy means “Second Law” or “the Law a second time”. This book is thus named because it is a recapitulation of the four books of the Law that precede it. It is a collection, a summary or a synthesis of the Torah.
When and by whom was it written?
Deuteronomy was written eight centuries BC, approximately 200 years after the four books that precede it, and at least 400 years after the entry of the Israelites into Palestine. It was written by a group of scribes and priests to assemble, in a single volume, the essential teachings of Moses. They added to it what they wanted him to prescribe in their favor. To give more weight to the precepts therein, the authors make Moses himself speak. The successive speeches form his moral testament. Apart from the laws and ordinances, Deuteronomy contains accounts of the principal events that took place in the desert.
The drafting of the book was made after the institution of the Israeli Kingdom. Its goal is to avoid in the future, the faults already committed in the past: “When you reach the land given that Yahweh your God gives you, and take possession of it and live there, if you say to yourself, ’I will appoint a king over me like all the surrounding nations‘… Nor must he (this king) increase the number of his wives (like David and Solomon had already done) … Nor must he increase his silver and gold excessively. When he is seated on his royal throne he must write a copy of this Law (Deuteronomy) on a scroll for his own use at the dictation of the levitical priests… he must read it every day of his life…” (Deuteronomy 17,14-20). Note the importance of the priests in the biblical drafting. This text is to be compared to that of 1 Samuel 8,5-19 where the Jews, when there was still no kingdom in the 11th century BC, asked Samuel for a king: “Give us a king to judge us like the other nations”. Elsewhere, in 1 Kings 10,14-18 and 1 Kings 11,1-8, we find mentioned the gold, the horses and the numerous women of Solomon. Deuteronomy’s aim is to avoid the recurrence of similar abuses in the future. An entire volume was written to remind everyone, the kings above all, of their duties towards God: “Understand this today, therefore, and take it to heart: Yahweh is God indeed, in heaven above as on earth beneath, he and no other. Keep his laws and commandments as I give them to you today…” (Deuteronomy 4,39-40)
Deuteronomy was neglected for a long time after its drafting. It was found hidden and neglected in the Temple, under king Josiah in 622 BC. It is “the Book of the Law found in the Temple of Yahweh” (2 Kings 22,8) and the “Book of Moses”, which Nehemiah 13,1-3 refers to.
To give more weight to their words, the Levite scribes endeavored -evidently- to give the impression that Moses himself had written and entrusted it to the Levites: “When Moses had finished writing in a book the words of this Law to the very end, he gave this command to the Levites… ’Take this Book of the Law… etc…‘” (Deuteronomy 31,24-26).
The Deuteronomy text demonstrates that its author was not Moses until the end. He cannot be the author of the final chapter dealing with his death and burial (Deuteronomy 34). He would not have written: “Here are the words that Moses addressed…” (Deuteronomy 1,1), but: “Here are the words which I addressed…”, nor “Moses then set aside three towns in the east” (Deuteronomy 4,41), but “I then set aside three towns…” Everything indicates that the priests and scribes worked to draft Deuteronomy under the monarchical regime in Israel, before the Babylonian invasion in 586 BC. In his introduction to Deuteronomy, Andre Chouraqui, author of the French Bible that bears his name, recognizes that “there are indications that this book does not show the work of the great Legislator (Moses)”.
We must, at this stage, read the whole Book of Deuteronomy, then return to the explanation of the important points in the following Biblical Course.
The duty of dispossessing nations often comes up in Deuteronomy. The Israelites were led by Moses, in the name of God, to drive out the occupants of Canaan and to seize their property: “driving out in front of you nations greater and more powerful than yourself, and brought you into their land to give it you for your heritage” (Deuteronomy 4,38).
“Listen, Israel; today you are about to cross the Jordan, to go and dispossess nations greater and stronger than yourself” (Deuteronomy 9,1).
“When Yahweh has brought you into the land which he swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would give you, with great and prosperous cities not of your building, houses full of good things not furnished by you, wells you did not dig, vineyards and olives you did not plant, when you have eaten these and had your fill, then take care you don’t forget Yahweh…” (Deuteronomy 6,10-12).
We are impressed by the number of times the command to dispossess and ransack other nations is repeated… in the name of God! In one verse, this duty of dispossession is repeated twice: “When Yahweh your God has annihilated in front of you the nations that you are to dispossess, and when you have dispossessed them and made your home in their country…” (Deuteronomy 12,29).
But to dispossess was not enough: “When you advance to the attack on any town, first offer it terms of peace (!!). If it accepts these and opens its gates to you, all the people to be found in it shall do forced labor for you and be subject to you (!!). But if it refuses peace and offers resistance, you must lay siege to it. Yahweh your God shall deliver it into your power and you are to put all its menfolk to the sword. But the women, the children, the livestock and all that the town contains, all its spoil, you may take for yourselves as booty. You will devour the spoil of your enemies… But as regards the towns of those peoples whom Yahweh your God gives you as your own inheritance, you must not spare the life of any living thing” (Deuteronomy 20,10-16). Dispossession, vandalism and crimes in the name of God. The list of texts would be very long to report. This is what profanes the Holy Name of God.
However, the Ten Commandments contain three clear precepts: “You shall not kill… You shall not steal… You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.” (Exodus 20,13-17) To sidestep these commandments, scribes and priests subtly interpret the meaning of the word “neighbor”. For the Jew, the neighbor is the Jew. These commandments are only valid with regard to himself. The goyim are enemies who are even recommended to rob or even kill. That did not stop Moses from ordering the death of his own nephews and a great number of Jews. The Samaritans themselves were considered enemies. The Pharisees, to insult Jesus, treated him as a Samaritan: “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and possessed by a devil?” (John 8,48) Jesus corrected the interpretation of these commandments by designating a Samaritan, the traditional enemy of the Jews, as an example of loving thy neighbor (Luke 10,29-37). He even went further by praising the Roman Centurion, a Pagan, and blamed the Jews: “When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of Heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom (of Israel, the Zionist Jews) will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” (Matthew 8,10-13) This is why Jesus invites the Jews to love their enemies and to stop reserving their greetings to their brothers: “Love your enemies… For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit?” (Matthew 5,44-46).
This insistence on dispossession and murder undoubtedly sheds light on the source of such commandments: “The devil is your father, and you prefer to do what your father wants. He was a murderer from the start…”, Jesus hurled at his negators (John 8,44). It was these orders given by Moses that drew the divine anger against him. Having led the Israelites out of Egypt, he wanted to possess the nations from the Sinai to Lebanon and beyond. He confessed in front of the community “to have pleaded then with Yahweh. My Lord Yahweh… may I not go across and see this prosperous land beyond the Jordan, this prosperous country of hills, and Lebanon? But, because of you”, he reproached the people, “Yahweh was angry with me and would take no notice of me: ‘Enough!’ he said, ‘Speak to me no more of this!” (Deuteronomy 3,23-26) The shear anger of God was not due to the people as Moses thought. It aimed to limit the appetite of possession of the latter (Deuteronomy 4,21).
In assessing the behavior of Moses, must we take into account certain extenuating circumstances: the mentality and customs of the time, the difficulty of the mission, the hardness of the people… ?
Moses confessed that God added nothing to the words of the Ten Commandments: “These are the words Yahweh spoke to you when you were all assembled on the mountain… He added nothing, but wrote them on two tablets of stone which he gave to me.” (Deuteronomy 5,22) Moses also prescribed: “You must add nothing to what I command you, and take nothing from it” (Deuteronomy 4,2). And yet, ritual and cult editions at a large scale were added in favor of the material well-being of priests. Where did they come from? From “the lying pen” of the scribes (Jeremiah 8,8). We are able today to detect these impurities and exorcise the Torah through the teachings of Jesus.
The “small remainder”
In Deuteronomy 4,25-31, Moses prophesied the spiritual treason of the Israelites: “Only a small number of you will remain” (Deuteronomy 4,27). For all times, it is only a “small number”, a “little rest” that remains faithful to God and his Messiah, who succeed in the test of faith. Indeed, it was to save a tiny minority of the Israelite community who recognized Jesus as the coming Messiah, and a tiny minority who recognize the Antichrist today: “Someone said to him: ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘… many will try to enter and will not succeed.’” (Luke 13,23-24) Jesus also said with regards to this subject: “Then they will hand you over to be tortured and put to death… And many will fall away; men will betray one another… love in most men will grow cold; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24,9-13) He still asked: “But when the Son of man comes, will he find any faith on earth?” (Luke 18,8) He will find it only in the hearts of a very small remainder who will set the world ablaze.
The “nation” of Israel
Deuteronomy 4,34 presents Israel as a nation chosen by God: “Has any god ventured to take to himself one nation from the midst of another… all this that Yahweh your God did for you before your eyes in Egypt?” There are two errors in this declaration: it is false to claim that God chose a nation; the divine choice was fixed on a man, Abraham. It is still false to say to the Jews: “… all this that Yahweh your God did for you”. We have seen that God acted to accomplish His Messianic plan in favor of all men, not exclusively for the glory of the Jewish community.
Circumcision of the heart
We find in Deuteronomy an evolution in the comprehension of circumcision according to the spirit, not according to the letter. For the first time, it is a question of circumcision of the heart in Deuteronomy 10,16: “Circumcise your heart then and be obstinate no longer”. The prophet Jeremiah comes back to this spiritual circumcision a few centuries later: “Circumcise yourselves for Yahweh, off with the foreskin of your hearts” (Jeremiah 4,4).
In spite of that, some still insist on the physical circumcision of the foreskin. This practice was a cause of great dissension among the first Apostles of Jesus: “Then some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15,1) True circumcision is that of the heart, as Paul reports: “The real Jew is the one who is inwardly a Jew, and real circumcision is in the heart—something not of the letter but of the spirit.” (Romans 2,29)
Choice between benediction and malediction
Blessings are granted to the Israelis if they are faithful, and maledictions if unfaithful: “Today, look, I am offering you a blessing and a curse…” (Deuteronomy 11,26-30). The blessing was placed on Mount Garizim, in Samaria, and the malediction was placed on Mount Ebal facing it (Deuteronomy 11,29). Mount Garizim, being the place of blessings, was chosen as a sanctuary and a place of worship by the Samaritans. It still remains there today. As for the Jews, they practiced their worship in the Temple of Jerusalem (read the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan in John 4,20-24).
Moses announces the Messiah
The most important subject in this book is Moses’ announcement of the Messiah-Prophet: “Yahweh your God will raise up a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen”. Moses added: “… and Yahweh said to me: All they have spoken is well said. I will raise up a prophet like yourself for them from their own brothers; I will put my words into his mouth and he shall tell them all I command him. The man who does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name shall be answerable to me for it.” (Deuteronomy 18,15-19).
We must remember this important Messianic prophecy to which Jesus refers: “since it was I that he (Moses) was writing about” (John 5,46). Likewise, the Apostles referred to this verse: “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote…” (John 1,45). When the Pharisees asked John the baptist if he was “the Prophet”, they were referring to the prophecy of Moses (John 1,45).
Remember that the announced prophet is “similar” to Moses, as great as him. When Jesus came, He turned out to be even greater than Moses as Paul reveals: “He (Jesus) has been found to deserve a greater glory than Moses. It is the difference between the honor given to the man that built the house and to the house itself.” (Hebrews 3,3).
The Messiah announced by Moses comes for the salvation of all who believe in Him, Jews or non-Jews, and for the condemnation of all who refuse Him (Deuteronomy 18,19). Jesus proclaimed: “No one who believes in him will be condemned, but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the Name of God’s only Son.” (John 3,18)
“See, today I set before you life and prosperity, death and disaster” God says in Deuteronomy 30,15. Life is on the Messiah’s side, Jesus. Death is on the side of the Zionist State opposed to the Spirit of God and His Messiah. “No one can be the slave of two masters” (Matthew 6,24).
Abraham the Syrian
The scribes introduced Abraham as a Hebrew: “A survivor came to tell Abraham the Hebrew…” (Genesis 14,13). Their intention is to make believe that the Hebrew “race” pre-existed the election of Abraham, who was himself a member. Thus, by choosing Abraham, all the Hebrews are chosen in him. This is their logic, not that of God, not ours.
That is why Moses asked his community: “In the sight of Yahweh your God, you must make this pronouncement: ‘My father was a wandering Aramaean. He went down into Egypt…” (Deuteronomy 26,5) Moses therefore reminded the Jews that their father Abraham was of Syrian origin, not Hebraic. During Abraham’s time there were no Hebrews. This development by Moses confuses and denounces Zionist racism.
Conditional divine promise
The loyalty of the Israelites to God is the primordial and indispensable condition to own the Promised Land: “… but only if you follow his ways… but only if you keep all his commandments…” (Deuteronomy 26,17-18) Now, this condition was not observed: “This people will start playing the harlot, following the alien gods… They will desert me and break this covenant of mine that I have made with them”, Yahweh declared to Moses (Deuteronomy 31,16).
Moses cautioned against unfaithfulness: “For not obeying the voice of Yahweh your God… You will be torn from the land which you are entering to make your own.” (Deuteronomy 28,63-68) Jeremiah in turn denounced the Israelite infidelity and the rupturing of the Covenant with God: “They broke that covenant of mine”, says the Lord (Jeremiah 31,32).
Only a “handful” will remain faithful (Deuteronomy 28,62) to pursue God’s plan by welcoming the Messiah, the initiator of the New Covenant foretold by the prophets: “I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors… They broke that covenant of mine” (Jeremiah 31,31-32). Through His Martyrdom Jesus instituted this New Eternal Covenant (Matthew 26,28).
The rupture of the first Covenant takes away from Israelis of the 20th century any pretext for the possession of Palestine in the name of God. Their unfaithfulness towards the Creator, by their rejection of Jesus, will once again cuts them out from the land. If they are there today, it is not because of a divine intervention. The Book of Revelation reveals to us that they are drawn there from “the four quarters of the earth (by Satan)” (Revelation 20,7-9). They are drawn there with the illusion of being the chosen people returning from the four quarters of the earth to the Promised Land. Israel thus became, as Paul reveals, this “power to delude them and make them believe what is untrue”, but “the Lord will kill him with the breath of his mouth and will annihilate him with his glorious appearance at his Coming” (2 Thessalonians 2,8-12).
Death of Moses
The death of Moses and Aaron outside Palestine is the punishment announced by God (Numbers 20,12). The death of the great legislator outside “the Promised Land” means that the practice of the Mosaic Law is incapable of ushering into the Kingdom of God, since its founder himself could not enter the Promised Land, symbol of Heaven.
The Bible is a gold mine. Like all gold mines, it contains impurities mixed with the Treasure it contains. You have to be able to detect them and separate them from the essential.
The impurities are the precepts and abominable cults attributed to God. Those who prescribed them profaned “the Holy Name”. These repugnant actions are mentioned in abundance and only in the Old Testament. They were denounced by the prophets, Jesus and the Apostles.
In the Old Testament, gold is the Revelation of the one God, the fall of man and its cause, the divine determination to save humanity, the call of Abraham, the formation of the first monotheistic community, the announcement of the Messiah’s advent by the prophets, etc…
In the New Testament, everything is gold. The moment has come to purify the biblical gold in the crucible of the apocalyptic message where Christ says: “I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you really rich…” (Revelation 3,18) To purify gold, we must recognize it and separate it from impurities. It takes divine grace and biblical experience.
- Draw a map of the region including Egypt, Sinai, the Dead Sea, Jordan, Lake Tiberias, then trace the route of the Israelis in the desert of Sinai. Locate Midian, Kadesh, Edom, Hor, Shittim, Moab, Nebo, Jericho, Mount Garizim.
- In Deuteronomy 33,8-11 Moses blesses the tribe of Levi. How do you understand this blessing in comparing it with the curse that Jacob proclaimed on Levi (Genesis 49,5-7)?
- Why was Balaam killed by the Israelites (Numbers 31,1-12) and what does he symbolize?
- What happened at Kadesh (Numbers 13)?
- What happened at Shittim (Numbers 25,1)?
- Moses and Aaron did not deserve to enter Palestine? What was their fault?
- What are Urim and Tummim?
- Do you think that God literally inspired all the points of the Mosaic law? How do you understand the verses of Jeremiah 7,22 and 8,8?
- Was Abraham a Hebrew?
- God wanted to form a nation with Abraham or to pass on a universal message?
- Circumcision of the foreskin or of the heart? Baptism of the body by water or of the soul by biblical knowledge and faith? Are circumcision and Baptism sanctifying, or nothing but symbols to get past?
- What is the Promised Land? Who was it promised to?
- The Covenant between God and the Israelite community is still valid? Why?