1 Corinthians 10:11                                                                            Sivan12/ בסיבן יב

These things happened to them as an example . . .
were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 

It seems that few things exacerbate the Father more than his people griping and complaining. He can freely set before us the best food ever concocted in the kitchens of heaven, but we will still complain and would rather have the dainties brought by slavery. And why do we complain? There is really nothing wrong with the food Hashem gives us except that, it is not what we want.

Woe unto us and to our evil inclination! This tendency to complain and always wanting more was the basic lusting nature behind the sin in the Garden of Eden. We always seem to want what Hashem in his goodness and wisdom withholds from us, and like today’s manufacturers of goods, the devil is always happy to oblige. The worst of it is that today’s worldly merchants know about our natural bend to whine and gripe and they constantly play on it in order to make a profit. They constantly tell people, “Aren’t you tired of this or that, behold I have the solution that will help you not to have work so hard, be more comfortable, or here is the food that will delight your palate, all for only $ . . . ! How can you live without it?” They make a profit and feed on our complaining nature.

It is so easy to look at the children of Israel in the desert and wonder how they could complain so much, but in reality, we complain as much as they do and about the same things. Food, hard work, leadership, and the sometimes-monotonous daily grind of life seem to be our main areas of complaint. We feel that the way God does things is not good enough. We must improve on his plan for us and make every decision in our lives from the color and consistency of our hair to whether or not to have children. We even want to decide the day of our death and call it Death with Dignity as if Hashem was not able to do that for us. We always think that we deserve more than the simple life our Father would have us live according to his will, so we enslave ourselves to another master: the Master Card! But Yeshua told us that we cannot serve two masters, that we cannot serve God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24, KJV).

The area of complaint that seems the most destructive in the congregational body of Messiah seems to be each other. Whereas we complain about having to put up with others, we seem to forget that also others have to put up with us. We always feel that people should have learned certain lessons by now so we show ourselves intolerant and impatient. We forget that in the Father’s eyes, we probably should be a bit more advanced ourselves in our spiritual growth and that we only exist by the mercy of his great compassion.

May we learn from the lessons of the children of Israel in the desert and realize that these things happened to them as an example. They were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:11).

P. Gabriel Lumbroso

Matthew 18:21–22 
Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  . . .

Yeshua said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

As they were leaving Egypt, God gave Israel commands concerning their lives in their Land. One of them was to celebrate the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:19). If this command was already given in Exodus and in Leviticus 23, why is it repeated in Numbers (Numbers 9:1–5)?

The distance from Mt. Horeb to the borders of Israel is not great and at the times of Numbers, the children of Israel should already have been in the Land. The problem was that they were delayed at least three months by the golden calf incident. The Torah allows second chances. We may orchestrate the most elaborate fail-safe plan against sin, but life has a habit of throwing curve balls at us. In spite of our loftier dreams and ideals, at the end of the day, we have to deal with the reality on the ground, and it seems that Hashem is fully aware of it.

In Numbers 9 we also have the case of a family who would miss the precious Passover celebration because of a death. In this case, Hashem again gives them the chance to celebrate Passover on the following month. This case foreshadowed Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. The two men cared for the Master’s body on the night of Passover 2,000 years ago so being ritually contaminated, they could not eat of the Passover lamb that year.  It was a traditional belief with the early Jerusalem believers that the two men reclined at the Passover table on the second month of the year for what is called: Pesach Sheni: The Second Passover.

It takes maturity and godliness to not be frustrated at the way things are compared to the way they should be. I know someone who when things do not work out the way he has dreamed he says, “It is what it is.” I think sometimes that Hashem looks at us with empathy and says, “It is what it is,” and then, he tries to give us a second chance. He tells us that we can celebrate the Passover in the desert instead of in the Land, or that we can celebrate it on the second month if reality kept us from doing it on the first. The whole idea of redemption and atonement is in fact about second chances.

Again we stand in awe at the perfect Almighty God, creator of the universe, as he seems to be able to bend to the bare facts of our lives on earth. He proposes and offers us the great ideals of his Torah with the full knowledge of our imperfectness towards it and seems to say, "It is what it is."

How much more then should we be able to bear with each other’s imperfection? How much patience and forgiveness and bending ability the Father has for each one of us should be the standard of ours towards others? The novice forgets about his own imperfections and looks at others condescendingly wondering how come they don’t toe the line better. The seasoned mature leader and disciple of the Master knows life, that “It is what it is,” and deals with it not according to his lofty dreams but according to the realities on the ground.

May we learn from Hashem, the great Father who loves us so much that he gave us a second chance in his Messiah. May we also have the maturity to accord that second chance to those we meet in this life's journey. 

P. Gabriel Lumbroso
Revelation 5:6                                                                                     
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 

As we read into Moses’ Tabernacle assignments, we must never forget that what he was told to make was an earthly replica of what he saw on the Mount (Exodus 26:30). Looking at the tabernacle tells us what God’s throne room looks like. It actually does correspond to the throne room vision of all the prophets including that of John in the Book of Revelation.

We read in the text of Aaron being in charge of the seven lights shining before the Almighty (Numbers 8:2; Exodus 25:37; 37:18–19, 23; 40:25). We are not directly told very much about the function and property of these lights, but studying the Torah  in a thematic manner sheds some light (pun unintended) on the matter.

These lamps are to burn continually before God (Leviticus 24:1–2) so In the Tabernacle, they are placed in the anteroom before the Holy of Holies. The apocryphal Book of Tobit tells us of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One (Tobit 12:15). In Enoch, another apocryphal book early believers were familiar with, we are given the names and functions of these angels (Enoch 20:1–8).

These go in and go out Tobit says, just like the seven eyes in Zechariah’s vision that run to and fro through the whole earth (Zechariah 4:10). In the Book of Hebrews, it is revealed to us that he (Hashem) makes his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire (Hebrews 1:7). Finally, Zechariah tells us that these were like seven eyes in a stone (Zechariah 3:9). The stone is Yeshua (Psalms 118:22), the heavenly high priest who tends to the light, a function foreshadowed by Aaron in the Book of Leviticus (Hebrews 8–9; Leviticus 8:2).

These angels/spirits/lights roam the earth and bring our prayers to God. An ancient tradition tells us that on Friday evenings, angels enter the home of God’s people and see how much priority they have given to the Sabbath. That is why we sing the famous Sabbath angel welcoming song, Shalom Aleichem עלכם שלום . Whether that really happens or not, I do not know, but I do know that Hashem's looks at how we remember and set-aside his Sabbath. I also know that these seven angels go in and out before the glory of the Holy One roaming the earth. They are like God’s little spies. They come and look upon us and tell God what they saw, how we react to each other, how we carry our responsibilities as members of his Kingdom, as husbands, as wives, and as parents. They also report to him on the priority that we give to Torah study.

Does this scare you? It shouldn’t unless you know in your heart that you have failed to prioritize your life according to Hashem’s commandments. Maybe it is time to take stock of things and start living a life Hashem can brag about even to the devil like he did Job (Job 1:8).

We all could be older than we think; anyone of us could die tomorrow and miss a good chance at repentance in this realm.

1 Peter 1:14                                                                                   
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.

One of the laws of holiness, of the laws that set us apart from the world is, “Every one of you shall revere your mother and your father” (Leviticus 19:3). Reverence towards our parents sets us aside from the world so we should be seen honoring and revering our parents. This was the first commandment given with a conditional promise, that your days might be long in the land that Adonai your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12). There are two commandments with a longevity conditional clause, and they are both related to parenthood (Deuteronomy 22:7–8). Yes, to honor and reverence our parents is an integral law of the Kingdom of God; it will also be the rule of law in the world to come under the iron rule of Messiah when he reigns on earth.

It is easy to direct such a commandment towards our Western generation of teenagers. The society we have created around them seems to teach them very little respect for their parents. Could it be though that we need to direct this command towards ourselves? How much honor and reverence do we have for our parents? To honor our parents in the terms of the Torah means to support them. Exodus 20:12 basically says, (my suggested interpretation) "you shall support your parents in their old age, not send them to a government institution to be taken care of by strangers whose sole interest is to get paid for the job." If caring for them and helping to feed and assist them cramps our style, we must remember that they allowed their style to be cramped in order to care for us in the same manner that they now need us. We must also remember that one day we shall be in a similar situation.

Revering parents speaks of respect. It is understandable that some of us may have had abusive parents who seem unworthy of respect or even of the title but these are different situations that are outside of this commandment. Whereas our parents may not be respectable, our children should not hear negative feelings towards them out of our mouths. If they do, these same words will most certainly come back to us in their mouths because we are not perfect parents either. Forgiveness is not an option; it’s a commandment from the Master who himself followed Hashem’s commands to forgive by forgiving the abuse of his persecutors (Luke 19:18; Mark 11:25–26; Luke 23:24). Sad to say, in too many homes children hear their parents speak negatively, disparagingly, disrespectfully, or even mockingly about their older parents. 

We often think of teaching as speaking, and of learning as listening, and as a result many of us try to teach others by telling them how to live. This was not the way of the Master. Like the rabbis of the day, the Master taught by exemplifying the Torah, by living it and encouraging his disciples to follow his example. Paul was cradled in the same pedagogy and taught it (1 Corinthians 11:1). Teaching is by doing, and learning is by emulating. 

The way we react towards our parents is closely tied to the way we react to God. If we know how to trust our wiser parents, we will know how to trust the wiser leadership of the Master. 

 P. Gabriel Lumbroso

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Hebrews 4:1                                                                                                            
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Working alongside the idea of a census of Israel in Numbers 1, we have a section in the text of the prophet Hoseah that tells us that Israel, "shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered" (Hoseah 1:10 [2:1]). Today, according to Jewish accounting, there are about 15 million Jews in the world. Despite being one of the smallest religious entities in the world, it is still quite a miracle. We must remember that from the onset of their history, from barren mothers to international threats of annihilation, it seems that the Jewish people were not destined to survive. A friend of mine who has worked much of her life to promote Jewish identity told me once that in the Holocaust it was not 6 million people who were killed, but 100 million. Her notion about this was that along with these people, were destroyed all the generations that should have come out of them. If we applied this principle all the way back to when the Romans killed millions of Jews in the first century C.E., Hoseah's prophecy should have been fulfilled by now.

Moses foresaw the present-day Great Exile when the children of Israel would become few in numbers. He said,

"When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of Adonai your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And Adonai will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where Adonai will drive you. (Deuteronomy 4:25–27)."

But using the promise in Hoseah, Jewish sages concluded that "In the Messianic Age, the sons of Israel will 'be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered'" (Numbers Rabbah 2:14;20:25).

Hoseah tells us in his prophecy that in that day, "The children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land (Ezekiel 37) for great shall be the day of Jezreel" (Hoseah 1:11). This head is none other than Messiah, the only legitimate king to sit on the throne of Jerusalem. Even now he is doing his work that he started 2,000 years ago of re-gathering all the tribes of Israel into one flock to serve Hashem under his command.

As of the 20th century, entire families who have been lost under the forced conversions of the Inquisition rediscovered their Jewish identities. Whole villages of people with Jewish ancestries in places such as India, Ethiopia, Russia, and China are returning to their ancient roots. Through DNA testing, people's lives are being changed as they discover their Jewish lineage. And best of all, is the latest Jewish trend to recognize the head that will lead them to their glorious destiny: Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.

Hoseah speaks of a time when Hashem turned his face and said to the Northern tribes, "You are not my people" but in our Messiah is certainly fulfilled the rest of Hoseah's prophecy, the part when Hashem calls them again, "Children of the living God" (Hoseah 1:10 [2:1]).   

 P. Gabriel Lumbroso

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Revelations 14: 4

These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb.

In the beginning of the Book of Numbers, we learn about the redemption of the firstborn (Numbers 3:43–51). Joseph and Miriam brought Yeshua, their firstborn to the Temple to be redeemed. The functioning priest who performed the redemption that day was Simeon (Luke 2:22–26). Since there is no Temple today there cannot be a functioning priest so the redemption ceremony that Jews currently practice is only ceremonial one as they wait for the days of the third Temple. Though non-applicable at this time, the principle is still rich.

Israel, as the biological descent of Jacob is called God’s firstborn (Exodus 4:22), and according to the Torah, the firstborn has a special status in the family. They receive a double inheritance and carry the role of patriarchs of the family, clan, or tribe. The role of firstborn is not necessarily according to chronological birth. God often usurped it because of the unrighteousness of the actual firstborn. We see this principle at work in the cases of Isaac against Ishmael, Jacob against Esau and Joseph against Reuben.

The idea of firstborn is linked to the idea of firstfruit. A harvest is dedicated to God by the waving of the firstfruit, of the first harvested omer. In the very same manner, a family of sheep or goats is consecrated to God by the giving up and consecration of the one who opens the matrix. The Book of Revelation tells us about the consecrated firstborn of the harvest of the earth. They come from the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob’s descendants). They have been chosen and sealed by Hashem with his name and that of the Lamb. In essence, they are Messiah believers from the twelve tribes of Israel and they represent the harvest of believers from the whole world before the Father (Revelation 7; 14:1–4). Yeshua himself is their firstborn who represents them before the Father (1 Corinthians 15:20).

We are approaching the end of the season of counting the Omer. On the first day of the Counting of the Omer the first sheave of barley was brought to the temple for the dedication of the harvest. Messiah rose on the Day of Firstfruits. Later during the counting of Omer he appointed his intimate disciples, his firstborn harvest from the Land of Israel as his representatives to the rest of the tribes in Diaspora, and to the world (Matthew 28).

The fiftieth and last day of the Omer, which is Pentecost, is the time for the firstfruit of Israel’s wheat to be brought to the Temple.  On that day also, Israelites and God-fearers from other countries brought their firstfruit to Jerusalem, as they did also during the time of the book of Acts. These became the firstfruit of Diaspora Israelites (Acts 2). Through them, the Words of the Master were carried to the rest of the world until today. Hallelu-Yah!

 P. Gabriel Lumbroso

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Matthew 10:31                                                                                  
Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 

In the first chapter of the Book of Numbers we read about a census taken of the Children of Israel. It is not the first census in the Torah and neither will it be the last. Censuses are conducted with different parameters and for different purposes. This census in the Book of Numbers was a military census (Numbers 1:3).

One could be left to wonder "what is it with God and censuses?" To what can it be compared? It can be compared to a man collecting precious pearls. Each day he dives to the bottom of the abyss to gather oysters. After opening the shell, he puts all the pearl into a box. He then rubs each one against his teeth to verify its purity, and sorts them by sizes. One can go through a ton of pearls to get three or four very valuable ones. These are precious to him. They come at the price of very intense and dangerous labor. In the evening he sets them before him and counts them. He admires and loves his pearls; they are his pride. It is the same with Hashem: censuses are a sign of his affection for his people.

Here is what Rashi, a famous sage of Israel, said about God’s censuses:

Because of Israel’s dearness before Him, he counts them all the time. When they departed from Egypt he counted them (Exodus 12:37). After some fell from the sin of the golden calf, he counted them to determine how many remained (Exodus 38:25–26). And when his Shekinah came to rest upon them, he counted them again.

There is an ancient teaching that on ten occasions Israel was numbered. First when they went down to Egypt (Deuteronomy 10:22), second when they came out of Egypt (Exodus 12:37), and a third time after the incident of the golden calf (Exodus 30:12). They were counted twice in the Book of Numbers, once in connection  with the standards, once in connection with the division of the Land, and twice in the days of Saul (1 Samuel 11:8; 15:4). The eight time was in the days of David (2 Samuel 24:9) and the ninth in the days of Ezra after the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 2:64).

Prophet Jeremiah tells us that there will be a tenth census the   in the future,

Thus says Adonai of hosts: In this place that is waste, without man or beast, and in all of its cities, there shall again be habitations of shepherds resting their flocks. In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb, in the land of Benjamin, the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, flocks shall again pass under the hands of the one who counts them, says Adonai. "Behold, the days are coming, declares Adonai, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jeremiah 33:12–14).

In those days, the whole of the Israel of God, the last harvest of the souls of the world will be counted. See you there!

 P. Gabriel Lumbroso

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Matthew 4:1 
Then Yeshua was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness …

"Adonai spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai" (Numbers 1:1).

Maybe you are going through a dry spiritual season; a time of wilderness. Neither fear nor despair, for it is the creator of your soul who brought you there.

Wildernesses hold special places in our lives. They become reference points in our lives forever. They often are places of refuge (Revelations 12:6), provision (Deuteronomy 8:16), revelation (Revelation 17:3), and maturation (Deuteronomy 8:2–3).

Our fathers’ crossing the desert was really their honey-moon with Hashem. Relatively speaking they had very little cares or worries. Supplied with a constant provision of the most healthy food you can get on this earth and a fountain of water that followed them, they were under Hashem’s never failing trust fund. . On top of it, through the person of Moses, they had direct access to Hashem. It is no wonder they did not want to enter the Land. They were going to have to start planting and sowing fields, reaping harvests, organize a government as well as an effective army.

Adonai remembers these years in the desert with the nostalgia of a husband remembering his early espousals. Through the prophet Hoseah he speaks of alluring his Bride to a desert place where she could give him her full attention (Hoseah 2:14), then he says, "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown (Jeremiah 2:2). Each year at the Feast of Tabernacles we are to remember these simple beginnings of our walk Hashem (Leviticus 23:41–43).

Just like our fathers spent forty years in the desert learning to lean and depend on God in obedience and trust for even their daily food, Yeshua spent forty days and forty nights in the wilderness learning the same lessons (Matthew 4:1–12). If both our Fathers and the Master had to go though these things, why should we feel slighted when Hashem decides to have us to endure what seems to be a dry time?

Cherish your wilderness times. They are times for you to focus your attention on the only things that really matter which are Hashem, his will in your life, and his Words. May we, like our Fathers and our Master also learn, grow, and mature from our wilderness times.

 P. Gabriel Lumbroso

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Matthew 23:39 
For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'

Leviticus 26 tells us the woes Hashem puts on his children for disobedience. The first woe tells of sickness, and, military and agricultural failure. The second woe speaks of the Temple. Then Hashem says,

And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins, and I will break the pride of your power and I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain, for your land shall not yield its increase, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit. (Leviticus 26:18–20).

The prophet Ezekiel used that theme just before the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, said, “Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the yearning of your soul, and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword "(Ezekiel 24:21). At that time, because of sin in the land, the first temple was destroyed by the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar.

Israel’s history tells us that another Temple was built after the Babylonian exile. It was not as beautiful and glorious as the first one but in an effort to win the favor of the Jewish people, King Herod, the one who tried to have the Master killed at birth, transformed that second temple into one of the marvels of the ancient world. As beautiful as it was, that Temple was also destroyed, this time by Titus, a Roman General. On Titus’ victory arch, you can see engravings of enslaved Jews bringing their riches to Rome. You can even see someone carrying the Temple menorah. What an ironic monument now that Israel had resurrected from the ashes of the Roman extermination.

There is a story in the Talmud that tells of a king who twice gave a beautiful coat to his son but twice the son irresponsibly spoiled the coat. The king then decided that he will again buy for his son the most beautiful coat he could get, but will give it to him when he has learned to be more responsible.

As in the story, the Father has a beautiful third garment in store for Israel (Exodus 4:22). It will be the most glorious of all and it will be given to him, when he has matured and learned to say again, Baruch habah b’shem Adonai  יי בשם הבא ברוך, Blessed is he Who comes in the Name of Adonai (Matthew 23:29).

May it come soon, Abba, even in our days!

 P. Gabriel Lumbroso

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