A Tithe on War Booty and the Holy Half Shekel — A Memorial Pointing to Yeshua’s Atoning Death

Numbers 31:50, Make atonement. 

Exploring the Concept of Atonement as It Relates to the Tabernacle and Salvation

In this verse we read, “We have therefore brought an oblation for YHVH, what every man has gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before YHVH.” In a similar passage in Exodus 30:15–16, we read, “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto YHVH, to make an atonement for your souls. And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before YHVH, to make an atonement for your souls(emphasis added). The question before us is this: Do these passages in the Torah imply that YHVH grants man absolution based something other than the shedding of blood, and by logical extension, does this call into question our redemption from sin through our faith in Yeshua the Messiah’s blood atonement?

Natan holding an actual 2000 year old silver half-shekel from his biblical antiquities collection. This actual coin likely passed through the temple treasury in Jerusalem.

Natan holding an actual 2000 year old silver half-shekel from his biblical antiquities collection. This actual coin likely passed through the temple treasury in Jerusalem. YHVH commanded the Israelites to a pay yearly temple tax of a half-shekel of silver to help fund the sacrificial system that  was a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross.

The concept of atonement can be a confusing one. Some in rabbinic Jewish circles teach that the Torah (i.e., the first five books of the Bible) does not require the shedding of blood for atonement of one’s sin to occur. According to the above scripture, this could appear to be the case. Before briefly discussing the subject of atonement, let us not forget the stern warnings of the Apostle Peter when he warned end-time saints against false teachers who would lure people away from the simple truth of the gospel:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not…. But these, as natural Continue reading


New Video: Congregation Elim Shabbat Services July 11, 2015

This video includes live praise and worship, prayer and praise reports, teachings on the prophetic implications of the Sabbath, what the Bible says about sexual lust, the spiritual zeal of Phinehas, and the duties of the Levites along with congregational discussion.


Escape YHVH’s judgment …come out of her my people!

Numbers 31:7, 17, They slew all the males … every male among the little ones … and kill every woman that has known man by lying with him. Do you suppose that every Midianite who was slain was directly culpable for causing Israel to fall into idolatry and sexual immorality? If not, why were they slain?

We see a similar situation with Korah and his malcontents where the earth swallowed up not only Korah, Dathan and Abiram, but their families as well (Num 16:31–33).

Even those who are not directly culpable for a particular sin, if they maintain company with sinners they will become morally tainted (1 Cor 5:6; 15:33; Gal 5:9). If the righteous dwell near the wicked is it possible for YHVH’s judgments against the wicked to overlap onto the righteous? If this were not possible then why did YHVH instruct the righteous Israelites to separate themselves from the environs of Korah’s camp (Num 16:23–27), and why does YHVH call his people to come out of Babylon the Great in the end times? (Read Rev 18:4 for the answer.)

How do we separate from the wicked? In the examples just cited, we see two kinds of separation from evil: physical and spiritual. We can start by separating spiritually without separating physically, but will there ever come a time when YHVH’s people will have to separate physically? (See Rev 12:14.) How will the spiritual woman of Revelation 14 know when to do this and where to go? Will the Good Shepherd abandon or lead his sheep in the day of trouble? (Note John 10:1–5.)

May we always be pressed into Yeshua, our spiritual Shepherd, so that we will always hear his voice concerning what to do and where to go and when.


Are you taking vengeance on the “Midianites” in your life?

Numbers 31:3, Take vengeance on the Midianites. YHVH is vehemently opposed to moral looseness. Midian, through its seductive women, nearly destroyed Israel. The decisive actions of a morally straight leadership prevented Israel from going the way of so many nations that have since collapsed due to moral decay.

Sexual looseness and perversion must not be allowed to gain even a momentary toehold into our lives. Do you aggressively resist and fight against the spiritual Midianites that would destroy your life, your family, your marriage and your spiritual destiny, or do you even slightly countenance the enemies of your soul in the secret or hidden areas of your life just to placate the passions of your carnal and sin-bent nature?

The spirit of Midian is to be found everywhere from the magazine rack at the checkout stand to the morning newspaper advertising women’s undergarments, from bumper stickers to billboards, from television ads (not to mention the television shows themselves) to the internet, and among political, religious leaders and entertainment celebrities. How about the modern immodest and decadent clothing styles of our youth, which barely cover the body, and where little is left to the imagination?

How does one defend oneself against this incessant onslaught? Remember, the best defense is a strong offense. Resolve and settle in your heart and mind ahead of time how you will react against the darts of the enemy when you suddenly find them aimed at you, and then stick to your defense plan! Pull down every mental stronghold and take every thought captive to the mind of Yeshua, and flee all lusts. (Strengthen yourself spiritually by reading the following scriptures: 1 Cor 6:18; 10:14; 2 Cor 10:3–6; 2 Tim 2:22.)


The Daughters of Zelophehad: The Proper Way to Redress Grievances

Numbers 27:1–11, The daughters of Zelophehad. A Torah Commentary For Our Times/ATCFOT (UHAC Press, NY, 1993) has an interesting discussion regarding the incident involving the daughters of Zelophehad (Num. 27:1–11) that may answer some questions that contemporary women have regarding the Torah’s view of women. “Modern commentator Jacob Milgrom contrasts ancient Israelite practices of inheritance with those of their neighbors.” He notes that the practice of equality of inheritance between sons and daughters was upheld in Egypt and Mesopotamia one thousand years before the codification of the Torah. Later on the Greeks can be added to this list of countries that practiced “equal rights.” Milgrom then asks, “In face of such ‘equality’ of treatment how then are we to explain the fact that the Bible gives women no inheritance rights except in the case where there are no sons?” Does the Torah seem to discriminate against women regarding the inheritance of land and property from the estates of their parents, he asks? (p. 80).


“Milgrom suggest that in contrast to ancient Israel’s neighbors…where ‘centralized urban societies’ already existed, the early Torah laws of the Israelites reflect a nomadic-clan structure. In such a society ‘the foremost goal of its legal system was the preservation of the clan.’ Equity between members of the tribe or family preserves peaceful relationships and strengthens cooperation between all person.” He goes on to say that this explains the justness of the pleas of the daughters of Zelophehad where the principle of upholding the clan is preserved. The Torah sees that the daughters receive their father’s inheritance and at the same time that the clan and father’s name are preserved. (Ibid.)

This solution does not promote equal rights, as we know it today, with sons regarding inheritance. Both the Torah and Talmud teach that in most cases inheritance of property is from father to son and that women share the lot of their husbands and do not inherit from their fathers (Ibid., quoting from JPS Commentary: Numbers, pp. 482–484).

The Jewish rabbis further note that though the daughters aired their complaints about what they perceived to be an unjust situation, they nonetheless did so in a respectful and organized (not rebellious, loud, boisterous or aggressive) manner. They calmly “drew near” and “stood before Moses,” the high priest and the tribal princes of Israel (verses 1-2) and Continue reading


Are you harassing the Midianites in your life?

Numbers 25:17, Harass … and smite them. Midian is symbolic of the immoral pleasures of the society that surrounds the people of YHVH and that will subvert and overtake the righteous if left unchecked. YHVH commanded Israel to constantly harass and attack the Midianites for their subversion of Israel sexually.

The best defense is a strong offense.

As The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash points out, harassing the Midianites was to be an on-going state of mind (p. 877).

Likewise, fighting the sin that would attempt to gain entrance into our lives must be a constant state of mind. YHVH commanded Israel to harass the Midianites and then to smite them. When sin arises, because our offensive and defensive positions against sin are secure, we will be ready to smite the sin that dogs us.

What are you (especially you men) doing to combat the sexual enticements of the surrounding wicked and perverse generation? What do you watch on television or view on the internet? Do you listen to sexually suggestive or downright immoral music? Are your conversations with your friends and coworkers always clean and pure? Do you allow your eyes ever to see anything that is sexually explicit? Do you vigorously and aggressively confront it for the evil that it is and take a stand against it both in your heart and mind and do so openly?

As YHVH commanded Israel to view Midian as the enemy because of their lust for immoral pleasure, so we must despise the world around us as our enemy in this regard for its debauchery and idolatry. (Read 1 Cor 10:3–5.)

In reality, we need to come to hate and despise sin at all times (as does YHVH) rather than to toy with it. (See Pss 45:7; 97:10; 101:3; 119:104 ; Prov 8:13; Amos 5:15; Rom 12:9 cp. Ps 34:4;Heb 1:9.)


Beware of Modern-Day Balaams!

Balaam — A Subverter of Divine Gifts and a Prophet of Babylon

The name Balaam means “destruction of people.” The Hebrew word bela means “destruction, confuse, confound.” The Hebrew word am means people, tribe, nation. The name Balak means “waster, to annihilate.” He was king of Moab; distant cousins to Israel through Lot, Abraham’s nephew.

Balaam w-Angel 33397719

Balaam was from Pethor, a city located on the Northern Euphrates and Tigress Rivers areas called Mesopotamia in modern Syria and including modern Iraq to the south.

Balaam was a soothsayer or diviner (one who foretells or predicts events, Josh 13:22). The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash says that Balaam was a sorcerer, necromancer or wizard (one who consults evil spirits) and that the sublime prophecies he uttered over Israel were but temporary aberrations that YHVH granted him for the honor of Israel (Ibid., p. 863). These prophecies also served to glorify YHVH in the eyes of the nations. Other commentators consider Balaam to have been a true prophet of YHVH gone bad. Some consider him to have been a bad prophet going good (i.e. learning obedience to YHVH). Some consider him to have been a false prophet seeking personal fame and fortune who had prophetic abilities that he misused by mixing paganism and the truth of YHVH. This seems to be the Scriptures’ view of Balaam, for 2 Peter 2:15 indicates that Balaam had some knowledge of the truth, but turned away from it loving instead the “wages of unrighteousness.” In the book of Revelation, we learn that Continue reading