"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Sunday, May 8, 2022


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Numbers by pastor Chuck Smith

NUMBERS 15: “DESIRE the FIRE for the LORD” – by James Fire, For the full message, watch it on the Facebook video!

INTRODUCTION: From EXODUS to LEVITICUS and now in NUMBERS we have been learning about sacrifices, more sacrifices and still more sacrifices. The LORD in this chapter is reminding His people that once they enter into the Promised Land, that they were to offer up sacrifices in the spirit of praise and a heart of thanksgiving: It reminds me of an old church song we used to sing in my young days as a Christian:
“We bring the sacrifice of praise unto the house of the LORD. We bring the sacrifice of praise unto the house of the LORD. And we offer up to You, the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and we offer up to You the sacrifices of joy!”

NUMBERS 15:1-7
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you have come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving to you, 3 'and you make an offering by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering or in your appointed feasts, to make a sweet aroma to the LORD, from the herd or the flock, 4 'then he who presents his offering to the LORD shall bring a grain offering of one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of oil; 5 'and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering you shall prepare with the burnt offering or the sacrifice, for each lamb. 6 'Or for a ram you shall prepare as a grain offering two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-third of a hin of oil; 7 'and as a drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a sweet aroma to the LORD

The LORD is addressing the nation of Israel and pronouncing His commands for the time when they enter the land. Note that the LORD previously stated that some of these will never enter into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s 12 sons, and the 12 tribes and their descendants:

NUMBERS 14:22-24
22 "because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 "they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24 "But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it

This would be the original generation that would be prohibited from entering in and receiving the land promised by GOD. Just as Caleb’s descendants would receive the promise, so too would the next generation – the children of those Hebrews who came out of Egypt – would receive this blessing (NUM 14:31).

Joshua was the only other that would enter the promised land; just these two men out of the original generation would make it in!

Two out of perhaps 2 million? That’s what I love about the LORD. Anybody else would just scrap that whole generation, never mind those two – but not the LORD. He is very careful, with scalpel like precision to preserve the righteous and reserve the unjust for judgment (2 PET 2:9).

We see something of a repetition now concerning various sacrifices and offerings, beginning with the burnt sacrifice as was mentioned previously in EX 29:18; LEV 1:2-3; 7:16; 22:18,21, etc.

In verse 3:  The sacrifice, that is, a peace-offering is given; this is also seen in EX 18:12; LEV 17:5; 23:37; DEUT 12:27. It’s called the peace-offering here in vs. 8.

 From the descriptive words following, peace-offerings were commonly offered either in (1) performance of a vow, (2) or freely from the heart as an expression of love and devotion to the LORD, or (3) by God's command in their solemn feasts, all of which are here expressed.

NUMBERS 15:8-12
 8 'And when you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering, or as a sacrifice to fulfill a vow, or as a peace offering to the LORD, 9 'then shall be offered with the young bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil; 10 'and you shall bring as the drink offering half a hin of wine as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. 11 'Thus it shall be done for each young bull, for each ram, or for each lamb or young goat. 12 'According to the number that you prepare, so you shall do with everyone according to their number

These are either peace-offerings or thank-offerings because such are offered out of gratitude towards God, reverencing His command and honor, thus a thank-offering; whereas with the peace-offerings these were made in performing of a vow by way of making an agreement with the LORD.

It’s vital that when we receive a blessing from GOD, and most especially the blessing of the LORD’s answer as a result of petition and prayer, that we offer up to Him our thanks, and show our heart-felt appreciation to Him.  

Husbands – how would you feel if, on your Wedding Anniversary your wife asked that you do something special for the event, and so you plan a scrumptious breakfast, make all of her favorite foods, and served her in bed; then you take her to her favorite place (fill in the blank), and then bring her to the theater where you watch some chick-flick film she’s been wanting to see and then out to a fancy restaurant for dinner.

And she eats that breakfast, tours her favorite place, watches the film and eats her fancy, expensive meal in silence and not once says, “thank you”.

If we only pray to GOD and receive blessed answers to these prayers, and never offer to Him our appreciation, or maybe express our thanks, but in passing – “Oh yeah, by the way GOD, thanks for that” and then it’s off we go, distracted by whatever… Well, He feels the same way that any of you husbands would!

As it’s been said before, thanksgiving is the way to recognize the goodness of GOD and causes us to reflect on His blessings given freely by grace, and prevents us from murmuring, complaining, griping because we’re just too busy thanking GOD for the multitudes of blessings, including the air we breathe, and the lungs we do it with!

How willing do you think that husband would be on next year’s Wedding anniversary to treat his wife? Thankfully, the LORD is far more forgiving and gracious than even the best of husbands, but nonetheless, this is something to think on.

And it’s a simple joy to express thanks to the LORD, it’s a kind of celebration of GOD’s goodness, and we bless His heart by such offering of thanks! One more question: How much time do we spend thanking the LORD for answered prayer, compared to the time we take praying for our requests?

How about thanking the LORD in advance, before the answer even arrives? Because we know that the LORD only answers those prayers that are in accord with His will: His will is His greatest glory and our greatest good – for which we are truly thankful!

As Christians we should be identified as a people that are thankful to GOD!

There was a hunter, out looking for deer and this huge grizzly comes storming out from the woods and chases the man, pinning him down on the ground. The hunter sees the gaping jaws of this huge beast and rows of fangs coming near his throat and he cries out,

“LORD, please make this bear a Christian!”
Suddenly the bear drops to its knees, and claps its claws together and prays,
“LORD for that which we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful!”

The people of Israel would be right to express the deepest of thanks for ALL that the LORD did for them, for He kept His promises to Abraham Isaac and Jacob, and to the twelve tribes; He kept His promises in delivering Israel from Egypt, kept them safe and provided for them during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

We shall see that GOD proves Himself faithful in granting Israel victory over their enemies in Canaan and blessing the land for their sakes – so, GOD’s provision for such offerings as these!

NUMBERS 15:13-16
 13 'All who are native-born shall do these things in this manner, in presenting an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. 14 'And if a stranger dwells with you, or whoever is among you throughout your generations, and would present an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD, just as you do, so shall he do. 15 'One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. 16 'One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.'

This is in reference to one who is a foreigner to Israel, one who is native born in Canaan who becomes a proselyte. There weren’t many of the national privileges of the Israelites that the Gentile stranger might not fully participate, if they conformed to certain conditions that the Law demanded.

How different is the heart of GOD here in comparison to the views of the Pharisees and religious leaders of Israel in the days of the LORD Jesus. Jews in those days believed that Gentiles were good for nothing except to stoke the fires of hell!

Yet here, GOD in His tender-hearted compassion reached out to the people of Canaan who worshiped false gods galore and committed some extremely offensive practices in the name of their false religion, but nonetheless GOD overlooked these things (ACTS 17:30) and the Gentile people were invited in to participate in the worship of the true and living GOD. These would be converts to Judaism just as was the eunuch of Ethiopia that Philip preached Jesus to in ACTS 8, and Cornelius the centurion, a Roman citizen but quite possibly also a convert to Judaism in ACTS 10. Both came to a saving knowledge of JESUS, Who is the Savior of us all, Jew and Gentile, making us all one body in Christ (1 COR 12:13)!

There are some Christians that relate the church too closely to Israel, saying that the two are essentially the same. Their admonition is that the Christian must keep the Law, because, after all, we are “grafted in” as a wild olive branch into the olive tree that is Israel.

ROMANS 11 addresses this and you can view commentary about it on The TRUTH Under FIRE teaching that makes the proper distinction between Israel and the church.

Briefly from this article, “…the Christian does not inherit the distinctive Jewish promises that we read in the Old Testament but rather, we are of the heavenly seed of Abraham and partake of the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant, while Israel as a nation always has its own place and will know its greatest exaltation as the earthly seed, the Jewish people of GOD.”

Essentially we are indeed grafted into Israel; the question is where? Through the branch that is Moses? No – further down the trunk, all the way down to the stock of the tree: Abraham – the “father of many nations”, not just the Jewish nation, among others – but also the Christian nation (1 PET 2:9).  Abraham who is the father of the faithful 430 years before the Law was ever given (Abraham was saved by faith well before he became the first Jew in history; he was a Gentile saved apart from the Law – just as we Gentiles are also:

ROMANS 4:8-16
8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin." 9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. 13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

NUMBERS 15:17-21
 17 Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 18 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land to which I bring you, 19 'then it will be, when you eat of the bread of the land, that you shall offer up a heave offering to the LORD. 20 'You shall offer up a cake of the first of your ground meal as a heave offering; as a heave offering of the threshing floor, so shall you offer it up. 21 'Of the first of your ground meal you shall give to the LORD a heave offering throughout your generations

Just as the firstborn of children, and of flocks, so also the first of every harvest of grain is to be offered up to the LORD. The heave offering was first mentioned in EXODUS 29 along with the wave offering (and sometimes with tithes to the LORD added in).
The wave offering was presented before the altar in a side to side motion, whereas the heave offering was raised up before the altar (Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but it occurs to me that with a side to side motion, followed by a motion of raising up, that would have the shape of a cross).

This offering was associated with sacrifices of first fruits, free will offerings and burnt and grain offerings. The heave offering, among other offerings had portions reserved strictly for the Levitical priests who depended on the offerings of meat and grain by the other tribes because the priests had no territory of their own to raise livestock or to grow crops.

NUMBERS 15:22-26
 22  'If you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments which the LORD has spoken to Moses  23 'all that the LORD has commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day the LORD gave commandment and onward throughout your generations  24 'then it will be, if it is unintentionally committed, without the knowledge of the congregation, that the whole congregation shall offer one young bull as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one kid of the goats as a sin offering
. 25 'So the priest shall make atonement for the whole congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them, for it was unintentional; they shall bring their offering, an offering made by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their unintended sin. 26 'It shall be forgiven the whole congregation of the children of Israel and the stranger who dwells among them, because all the people did it unintentionally.

The word for “unintentionally” in KJV is “to err” and in the Hebrew it carries the idea of wandering astray. This is a transgression committed by mistake. The LORD has provided a sacrifice for every occasion where Israel might fail, including this circumstance where someone might commit a sin in ignorance.

Even today, if one is driving 65 mph in a 45 mph zone, they might not be aware of the speed limit or how fast they were driving, but they’re still breaking the law and could face a penalty. In this case, the sacrifice for this sin is brought by the entire congregation.

NUMBERS 15:27-29
 27 'And if a person sins unintentionally, then he shall bring a female goat in its first year as a sin offering. 28 'So the priest shall make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally, when he sins unintentionally before the LORD, to make atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. 29 'You shall have one law for him who sins unintentionally, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwells among them

Remember the words of the LORD Jesus Christ at His crucifixion?

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (LK 23:34).

And the plan of redemption that GOD conceived of from the beginning was a wisdom hidden from the rulers of men (The Sanhedrin, the scribes of Israel, Herod, Pontius Pilate, etc.):

 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory

Our ignorance heaped all the more condemnation on us, but the LORD still provided a sacrifice to cleanse us of all of our sins!

NUMBERS 15:30-36
 30 'But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the LORD, and he shall be cut off from among his people. 31 'Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.

This presumptuous sin is in contrast to the sins done in ignorance. Presumptuous sin is the very willful defiance; this action is described as rising up to challenge in contest or protest. This is similar to the days of Nimrod, of whom it is said that “he was a mighty hunter before the LORD”. “Before” refers to facing someone in challenge or defiance, to express an angry countenance, to express impudence – a complete disrespect towards an honorable person, and in his case, complete disrespect towards GOD!

This attitude of pride was evident in Nimrod, and it will be seen again in the antichrist. Anyone who is in open defiance of the LORD is exceedingly full of pride, despising the word of the LORD, and as we know, the LORD casts down the proud, but gives grace to the humble (JAMES 4:6).

So here in the nation of Israel, anyone exhibiting this kind of attitude – just as with any foreigner who was included in the camp who would exhibit the same, these were to be cut off completely and rejected.

NUMBERS 15:32-36
 32 Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp." 36 So, as the LORD commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died

We have a man who was executed, put to death, and why? Because he was picking up sticks on the Sabbath day. Critics of the Bible love to pick on this passage because it seems so extremely unfair, even offensive!

Why should a man die because he was gathering firewood, no matter what day of the week it is?

One could equally ask the question, Why should the entire human race be plunged into the curse of sin because two people bit into a fruit that was forbidden by GOD?

The offense was not in gathering sticks, because sticks could be gathered any time on any day, except for the one day that GOD commanded the people to refrain from this (and any and all forms of work).

The offense was not in eating fruit, because GOD gave generously of every kind of fruit imaginable, from every tree, free for the taking to enjoy, except for the one tree that He forbid.

The offense was not in these actions in themselves, but in disobedience to the will of GOD; disobedience to the holy and perfect will of GOD is sin, transgression, iniquity. And since GOD is the only true source of life, separation from GOD due to sin (IS 59:2) meant death. GOD was demonstrating how serious it is to disobey Him – disobedience means death! The wages of sin is death (ROM 6:23a)! The soul that sins shall surely die (EZ 18:20).

If you were a Hebrew in those days, and you heard the commandment of the LORD that you are not to do any work at all on the Sabbath, under penalty of death – how tempted would you be to gather firewood? Who would ever do such a thing, except for a person who took the commandment of the LORD lightly, “who despised the word of the LORD” and brought a reproach on the LORD?

The fear of the LORD is to take His Word seriously, to believe and obey His Word, to love the LORD Who proved His love for us on the Cross!

NUMBERS 15:37-41
 37 Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 38 "Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. 39 "And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, 40 "and that you may remember and do all My commandments and be holy for your God.  41 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God

This is a similar idea to tying a string around your finger so that you don’t forget something important that you need to do.

These threads were twined together in knotted work with a single blue thread interwoven through each tassel. The blue thread represented the idea of being “heaven-sent”, and the tassels themselves were to bring to the remembrance of GOD’s people to be obedient to all the commandments of the LORD. These were to adorn the bottom of all of their garments, so as they walked, and watched where they were going, these tassels would always be in view, and a constant reminder to be completely devoted to GOD, and if the commands were obeyed, the tassels represented the righteousness of the Jew.

The Pharisees made a big deal of their tassels and made them much bigger than the average Jew, as if to say, “My tassels are bigger than your tassels, which means I’m ‘holier than thou’” – an expression of pride that the LORD hates (ISA 65:1-5); the LORD Jesus rebuked these religious leaders for their prideful self-righteousness and hypocrisy in MATT 23:5.

Whereas people who were in need of healing would often say about the LORD Jesus, “If I may but touch His garment (specifically the tassels), I shall be whole.” MATT 9:22; 14:34-36. They recognized a righteousness in Jesus that they saw in no one else. The blind man that the LORD Jesus healed in JOHN 9 testified that GOD doesn’t hear sinners, but if anyone truly worships, that is, any that from the heart believes and obeys GOD, they are heard of GOD!

The LORD Jesus, the perfect, sinless, holy, righteous LAMB of GOD, whose tassels are true in their representation – may we take hold of these tassels found on the robe of righteousness that we are granted through Christ, and remember the greatest of all commandments that fulfill all the rest:

MATTHEW 22:37-40
37 …'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the first and great commandment. 39 "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets

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