Thought for the week

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new ‘Parsha Pinchas’ – Are you zealous for G-d?_

 

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’” (Numbers 25:10-13)

 

The ‘parsha’ (‘Torah’ portion) this week, ‘Parsha Pinchas (Phinehas)’, is found in Numbers 25:10 – 30:1, and it is the 41st weekly ‘Torah’ portion in the annual Jewish cycle of ‘Torah’ reading. The corresponding ‘haftorah’ (reading of the prophets) is found in 1 Kings 18:46 - 19:21.

 

‘Parsha Pinchas’ opens with G-d saying to Moses that Pinchas, the son of Eleazar and the grandson of Aaron the high priest, turned G-d’s wrath away from the children of Israel because he was zealous for G-d.

 

In the closing verses of last week’s ‘Parsha’, we see that Israel committed harlotry with the daughters of Midian. They invited the children of Israel to the sacrifices of their gods, and the children of Israel ate with them and bowed down to their gods. 

A certain man, Zimri, took a Midianite princess into his tent in front of Moses and the people of Israel; G-d’s anger was aroused and He brought a plague on Israel. When Pinchas saw it, he rose, took a spear and went after the man of Israel into his tent and thrust both the man and the woman through their bodies; the plague then stopped among the children of Israel.

Because of his zeal, G-d promised Pinchas His covenant of peace and promised him and his descendants “the covenant of an everlasting priesthood”.

 

Moses was instructed by G-d to hang all the offenders out in the sun so that His anger would be turned away from Israel. G-d then told Moses to wage war against the Midianites, because they were enemies of Israel who were plotting against them by turning Israel to Baal of Peor.

 

In the opening chapters of the book of Numbers, back in ‘Parsha Bamidbar’, we read of the census of Israel conducted one year after the Exodus. It was now 39 years later, and that entire generation (i.e. those over the age of 20 at the time) had died out and a new generation had grown up to enter the Promised Land. In the wake of the plague which Pinchas stopped, G-d instructed Moses and Eleazar to conduct another census.

The census showed that among those counted, there wasn’t one man left – except Caleb and Joshua - of those whom Moses and Aaron had numbered when they counted the children of Israel in the Sinai Desert; for G-d had said of them that they shall surely die in the wilderness.

 

Our ‘parsha’ goes on to tell us that Machlah, Noah, Chaglah, Milkah and Tirtzah who were the five daughters of Zelophehad presented a petition to Moses: They stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and all the congregation and said to Moses that their father had died in the desert, however he was not one of those who rebelled against G-d during the revolt of Korach; however, he had died and he had no sons.

They asked why the name of their father should be eliminated from his family because he had no son. They then asked Moses to give them land in Canaan.

Moses brought their petition to G-d and He replied that the daughters of Zelophehad were correct and that Moses should give them their inheritance. 

G-d then proceeded to include this provision in the ‘Torah’s’ ‘laws of inheritance’.

 

G-d then told Moses that the time was approaching that he would be “gathered to his people”. He commanded Moses to climb Mount Abarim so that he could see the land which G-d had given to the children of Israel after which he would be gathered to his people.

Moses asked G-d to set a man over the congregation who would lead Israel into the Promised Land and be over them so that they would not be as sheep that has no shepherd.

G-d instructed Moses to take Joshua, the son of Nun, with him as he was a man in whom the Spirit of G-d dwelt. Moses was to lay his hand on him and inaugurate him before Eleazar the priest and before the congregation. Moses was to give some of his authority to him so that all the congregation of the children of Israel would obey him.

Moses did as the L-rd commanded him and he took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation; he then laid his hands on him and inaugurated him. 

 

‘Parsha Pinchas’ concludes with a detailed list of the “communal offerings” that had to be brought by the people into the Tabernacle.

 

‘Haftorah Pinchas’, found in 1 Kings 18:46 - 19:21, focuses on the prophet Elijah who, according to Jewish tradition, shared the same soul as Pinchas, the hero of this week's Torah portion. They also both zealously fought on G d’s behalf, disregarding the dangers involved.

Following the showdown with the prophets of Baal  on Mount Carmel which led to the execution of the Baal priests, the evil Queen Jezebel issued a death sentence for Elijah.

 

Elijah fled to the Judean desert and asked G d to take his life. While he slept, an angel awoke him and provided him with food and drink. Re-energized, Elijah walked for forty days until he arrived at Mount Horeb in the Sinai Dessert where he slept in a cave on the mountain.

The L-rd came to him and asked him what he was doing there; we see Elijah’s answer in 1 Kings 19:10: ““I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”” 

 

G-d instructed Elijah to leave the cave and stand on the mountain and said to him that His presence would pass by. This passage of scripture tell us that there was a great and strong wind, splitting mountains and shattering boulders; however G-d was not in the wind. Then an earthquake came followed by fire; but again G-d was neither in the earthquake nor the fire.

After the fire there was a subtle, silent voice; and Elijah realized that G-d’s Divine Presence had appeared.

 

G-d again asked Elijah why he was there and Elijah repeated his earlier response. G d then instructed Elijah to go to Damascus and anoint Hazael as king of Aram (Syria) and Jehu as king of Israel; G-d also instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha as a prophet in his place; these three would continue Elijah's battle against the Baal. G-d also tells Elijah that He had reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal.

Elijah followed G-d’s instructions and he immediately found Elisha and recruited him as his aide and eventual successor.

 

What with the current state of the world – The Covid-9 pandemic; the threat of war in Israel; wars in the Middle East; terrorist attacks in many different countries; chaos all over the world; numerous natural disasters around the world; Iran on the brink of obtaining nuclear weapons and the threat of North Korea, things are not looking too great in the world – although all that is happening now is a fulfilment of prophecy.

Coupled with the above, there seems to be more and more fanatics on the world stage; terrorist fanatics, cult and sect fanatics, racist fanatics, anti-Semitic fanatics, religious fanatics, Islamic fanatics and the list goes on and on.

 

Most people are afraid of fanatics and for good reason. We see today how a few fanatics can cause so much damage and trouble and how dangerous they can be.

We think of the carnage and death caused by certain Muslim fanatics; the carnage and damage caused when a natural disaster or a demonstration occurs, with certian fanatics trashing the streets and vandalizing businesses and cars; as well as fanatics who drive their vehicles into innocent people including women and children or shoot up a synagogue, church or school. 

We even see fanatics who shoot up or bomb a synagogue, a church or a mosque…and all these fanatics think that what they are doing is ok, and many do these atrocities in the ‘name of G-d’.

Most fanatics are usually crazed in their thinking and actions. However, there is one time when being a fanatic is the absolute correct thing – and that is when one is fanatical for G-d. Another way of putting this is ‘when one is zealous for G-d’.

 

In Numbers 25:10-13, we read: “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’”

 

In the event related above, one would definitely call the act of Pinchas fanatical. Yet He was honoured and rewarded by G-d for his fanatical act – Why? Because Pinchas was zealous for G-d.

 

In light of this, I have some questions that I would like to ask you:

Are you zealous for G-d? Do you allow people to blaspheme G-d without reprimanding them? Do you watch movies or TV programs in which G-d is blasphemed and His name used in vain?

Do you compromise G-d and His word?

Are you zealous to be righteous and holy before G-d or do you compromise when it comes to sin – even denying that you sin?

David was zealous for righteousness before G-d even though he sinned on more than one occasion. Because of his zealousness for righteousness and his quickness to repent - G-d called David “a man after My own heart”. 

 

Are you zealous for Yeshua? Some Christians seem ashamed of their faith and embarrassed by Yeshua. Are you one of them? Or are you proud of this awesome, amazing, fearless, gracious and loving Saviour who laid down His life for the salvation of mankind.

 

Are you zealously fulfilling the ‘Great Commission’ by sharing with people the good news of salvation that comes through Yeshua; or are you leaving it to others to do?

As believers, we should go to sinners and be G-d’s instruments to lead them to salvation. We don’t accept their sin, rather we need to address people’s sin and help them out of their sin by pointing them to Yeshua.

 

Yeshua is the Bridegroom coming for a spotless bride made up of Jewish and Gentile believers. As the bride of Christ, are you zealous for the Bridegroom’s family? After all, Yeshua is Jewish and His family of the flesh are the Jewish people. 

 

Are you one of those people who misguidedly believe that G-d has rejected the Jewish people and that He has replaced the Jewish people with the church, or do you have G-d’s heart for the Jewish people – to love and comfort them.

Do you see Israel as a pariah apartheid nation, or do you realise that Israel is G-d’s land and the people who populate His land, the Jewish people, are His chosen people: 1 Samuel 12:22: “For the LORD will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make Israel His people.”

 

Standing against the Nation of Israel is standing against G-d’s Land. Standing against Israelis is standing against G-d’s chosen people. 

As Christians, standing with the Palestinians who follow Islam is standing with the enemies of G-d’s chosen people, the Jews, G-d’s chosen people, the church, and standing with the enemies of Yeshua Himself.

Conversely, zealously standing with the Nation of Israel is standing with G-d’s Land. Standing with Israelis is standing with G-d’s chosen people. 

Do we sympathize with innocent men, women and children on both sides of the conflict in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza? Absolutely! However instead of just sympathizing with them – both Jews and Arabs, zealously and fervently pray for their salvation.

 

Finally, are you zealous for the salvation of the Jewish people? Are those of you who know Jewish people fulfilling your G-d given mandate as believers by taking the gospel to Jewish people you know, or are you leaving it for me, Emet Ministries and other Jewish believers to do?

For those of you who don’t know Jewish people, are you earnestly praying for the salvation of the Jewish people? 

Are you ashamed of the gospel or are you zealous to take the gospel to all people. You see, zealousness for G-d and the things of G-d is one area where it is absolutely fine to be fanatical.

 

I am unashamedly zealous and a fanatic for the gospel of Christ, and I have a zealousness to get the gospel to all who are unsaved which is what I am going to do right now.

 

G-d, because of His love and compassion for you; because He wants to have an intimate, personal relationship with you; because He wants you to have eternal life not eternal death has, through His Son Yeshua, been faithful to forgive your sins through the work of the cross. He is also faithful to grant you eternal life in heaven, through the death and resurrection of Yeshua. 

All you need do is believe in the death and resurrection of Yeshua; confess your sins and repent of them; receive His forgiveness and invited Yeshua to be your L-rd and Saviour…and this is for both, Jews and Gentiles. 

Scripture records that Yeshua was the perfect sacrifice. He died on the cross, shedding every last drop of His blood, thus taking our sins upon Himself, guaranteeing all who believe in His death and resurrection and who invite Him to become L-rd of their lives, eternal life in heaven. 

 

If you are not saved, please accept Yeshua as your L-rd and Saviour by praying the prayer of salvation found at the end of this article.

 

I end with this; the words ‘fanatic’ or ‘fanatical’ usually conjure up negative connotations.

However having a fanatical zeal for G-d; having a fanatical zeal for righteousness and holiness; having a fanatical zeal to be an instrument that G-d can use for His Kingdom and His glory; having a fanatical zeal to take to message of salvation to all people and having a fanatical zeal to “provoke the Jewish people to jealousy so that they may be saved” is a very, very good thing.

 

Be like Pinchas and like Elijah who had a zeal for G-d that is an example for us all.

 

We love you. 

 

Shalom.

 

Scripture of the week: Numbers 25 

 

SALVATION PRAYER

 

Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.

Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.

I confess that I have sinned.

I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.

I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.

By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.