Opioids: The Crisis Next Door

IN 2018, MORE THAN 2 MILLION AMERICANS WILL SUFFER FROM ADDICTION TO PRESCRIPTION OR ILLICIT OPIOIDS

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Opioids killed more people last year than either car accidents or gun violence. This crisis of addiction can affect any American, from all-state football captains to stay-at-home mothers.

As a result, Americans across the country are feeling the weight of the crisis next door.

Share your story below by uploading a video about how you overcame addiction, volunteered at a recovery center, or worked as a family to help a loved one get on the path to recovery.

Opioids: The Crisis Next Door

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Torah Commentary – Mattot/Massei “Tribes” / “Journeys” – POSSESS THE LAND – SCRIPTURES FOR July 14, 2018

POSSESS THE LAND

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Mattot/Massei “Tribes” / “Journeys”

Numbers 30:2–36:13

Jeremiah 2:4–28, 3:4

Hebrews 1-6

Over three thousand years ago the Hebrews stood on the east bank of the Jordan River, their time in the desert near the end.  Aaron had died and Moses would soon follow.  HaShem spoke to the people and gave them specific instructions regarding the land they were soon to possess.  First He gave them specific borders for the land.  Then He told them that each tribe would possess a specific area in the land, gave instructions for the Levites and for cities of refuge, and gave the command to possess the land.

What is it that is so special about this land?  It is a rather small piece of real estate with a certain beauty, but nothing really when compared to the Smokey Mountains or the Cape of South Africa.  It is mostly desert.  But it is His desert!  There is a spiritual beauty to the land of Israel that cannot be described.  This is God’s land!  Yes I know that He owns everything and is everywhere at all times, but in Israel there is a special presence.  In Numbers 35:34, He states that He lives there in The Land.  As an acquaintance of mine puts it, this is God’s neighborhood!  This will one day be the capitol of His Kingdom.

In this week’s Torah portion the Hebrews are told to possess this land where HaShem states He lives.  But not once since the time of the original commandment have they been able to do so.  Why?  Numbers 33:50-55 gives instructions for how they are to possess the land.  They are to drive out everyone in the land who serves another god, to utterly destroy any image or high place which was devoted to another god, and to rid the land of anyone and anything that does not submit to the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!  This was the message then; this is the message today!

Most of us have watched the news over the past years concerning Israel.  The land is not being possessed, but is being given away piece by piece.  Jericho, Bethlehem, Hevron, and the list goes on and on of Biblical Land being given over to the enemies of God, while the Palestinians mock with murders and terrorism, while Godless leaders of governments conspire against God and His people.

What is the answer?  It is past time for God’s people to take a stand, whether you live in Israel or not.  It is time to do what you can do.  If you live in Israel, possess it or get out of the way of the people who are obeying God.  Do not be concerned about the consequences.  Psalm 81 is a clear promise to you; God will defeat your enemies.

For those of us not in Israel, what can we do?  Please allow me a few ideas.  First of all, if at all possible go to Israel!  Stand arm in arm with the people of faith and allow your presence to strengthen their resolve. If you are part of a congregation, go to the leadership and make a stand.  Tell them you desire to stand with Israel and ask how you can start a prayer meeting and awareness campaign in your congregation.  If they refuse, leave and find a congregation who will. Yes, leave, shake the dust off your feet and find somewhere that will support Israel.

If you and I say we desire to pursue Torah, we must stand with God and with His land.  We must not back down from His Word.  The Land has always been and forever will be His.  It is His neighborhood and will soon be the capitol of His Kingdom.  It is time for the dominion of the King to drive out the thorns and the thistles and possess His Land once and for all!

On a final note. I realize that today most of us are not able to physically move to Israel and enter into our inheritance. What can we do? We can stand with those who today are there, our Jewish brothers and sisters. We can stand against anyone who desires to usurp the inheritance by saying the land does not belong to the Jews, that the Jews are not really Jews or that the Palestinians are the true Jews.  This is not a time to sit on the sidelines quietly or decide that the soil where we place our feet is just as good as what He said to possess. Take action? Yes. How? With a vow to do whatever He asks to stand with the place He also calls home. (Click to Source)

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Shalom, New Moon

New Moon July 13, 2018 – 1st of Av

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The New Moon has been seen in Israel. We enter into the Biblical Fifth Month!
Look toward the western sky at sundowntonight and celebrate the goodness of HaShem in our lives.

Celebration Tips
Lighting of the Menorah
Reading Psalms
Sounding of the shofar
Celebration dinner
Special time of thanks and blessing.
Prayer for peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6) and regathering of the family of Israel.
(EZ 37)
May HaShem open His floodgates of blessing upon you in this new month.
Chodesh Tov. (Good month)
Be Strong,
Mike Clayton
Joined To HaShem
 
Disclaimer: This email is not intended to set a calendar or appointed time. It is only to announce the sighting of the New Moon in Israel. It is to be a reminder to those in exile that Jerusalem should be the focus and center of all we do.

CLICK HERE for the finest faith based personalized and compassionate addiction recovery program – right from the comfort of your home.

Torah Reading – One New Man Bible – Matot – Numbers 30:2 – 36:13 – July 14, 2018

Matot

Numbers 30:2 – 36:13

Vows

30:2. And Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the LORD* has commanded.

30:3. “If a man makes a vow to the LORD*, or swears an oath to bind himself with a bond, he will not break his word, he will do according to all that proceeds from his mouth. (Matt. 5:33, Jcb. 5:12) 4. If a woman also makes a vow to the LORD* and binds herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth, 5. and her father hears her vow and her bond with which she has bound herself and her father will hold his peace at her, then all her vows will stand and every bond with which she has bound herself will stand.

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6. But if her father disallows her in the day that he hears, not any of her vows or of her bonds with which she has bound herself will stand, and the LORD* will forgive her, because her father disallowed her. 7. And if she had a husband when she vowed or uttered anything out of her lips, with which she bound her soul, 8. and her husband heard it and held his peace at her in the day that he heard, then her vows will stand and her bonds with which she bound herself will stand. 9.But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard, then he will make void her vow which she vowed and that which she uttered with her lips, with which she bound herself, and the LORD* will forgive her. 10. But every vow of a widow and of her that is divorced with which they have bound themselves, will stand against her. 11. And if she vowed in her husband’s house or bound herself by a bond with an oath 12. and her husband heard and held his peace at her and did not disallow her, then all her vows will stand and every bond with which she bound herself will stand.13. But if her husband has utterly made them void on the day he heard, whatever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning the bond of herself will not stand, her husband has made them void and the LORD* will forgive her. 14. Her husband may establish every vow and every binding oath to afflict the soul, or her husband may make it void. 15. But if her husband altogether holds his peace at her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her bonds, which are upon her; he confirms them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard16. But if he will make them void after he has heard them, then he will bear her iniquity.”

30:17. These are the statutes, which the LORD* commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being in her youth in her father’s house.

War against Midian

31.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses, saying, 2. “Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward you will be gathered to your people.”

31:3. And Moses spoke to the people saying, “Arm some of yourselves for war and let them go against the Midianites, to execute the LORD’s* vengeance on Midian. 4. A thousand from every tribe, throughout all the tribes of Israel, you will send to the war.”

31:5. So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from a tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6. And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from a tribe, those and Phineas the son of Elazar the priest to the war with the holy vessels and the trumpets to blow in his hand. 7. And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD* commanded Moses, and they slew all the males. 8. And they slew the kings of Midian, besides the rest of them that were slain; Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: they also slew Balaam the son of Beor with the sword.

31:9. And the sons of Israel took all the women of Midian and their little ones captives, and took the spoil of all their cattle and all their flocks, and all their goods. 10. And all their cities in which they dwelled and all their villages they burned with fire. 11. And they took all the spoil and all the prey, of mankind and of beasts. 12. And they brought the captives, the prey, and the spoil to Moses and Elazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by the Jordan near Jericho.

31:13. And Moses, Elazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation went forth to meet them outside the camp. 14. And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds that came from the battle. 15. And Moses said to them, “Have you saved all the women alive? 16. Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD* in the matter of Peor and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD*. (Jude 11) 17. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones and kill every woman that has known a man by lying with him. 18. But all the female children who have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. 19. And stay outside the camp seven days. Whoever has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day. 20. And purify all your clothes and all that is made of skins, all work of goats’ hair, and all things made of wood.”

31:21. And Elazar the priest said to the men of war who went to the battle, “This is the ordinance of the instruction which the LORD* commanded Moses, 22. only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23.everything that can stand the fire, you will make go through the fire and it will be clean, nevertheless it will be purified with the water of sprinkling. And all that cannot stand the fire you will make go through the water. 24. And you will wash your clothes on the seventh day and you will be clean, and afterward you will come into the camp.”

31:25. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 26. “Count the prey that was taken, of mankind and of beast, you, Elazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation, 27. and divide the prey into two parts, between those who took the war against them, who went out to battle, and between the whole congregation,

28. and levy a tribute to the LORD* from the men of war who went out to battle one individual of five hundred, of the persons, of the cattle, of the donkeys, and of the sheep: 29. take from their half and give it to Elazar the priest for a heave offering of the LORD*. 30. And of the children of Israel’s half, you will take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the cattle, of the donkeys, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts and give them to the Levites, who keep the charge of the Tabernacle of the LORD*.”

31:31. And Moses and Elazar the priest did as the LORD* commanded Moses. 32. And the booty, the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred seventy-five thousand sheep, 33. and seventy-two thousand cattle, 34. sixty-one thousand donkeys, 35. and thirty-two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known a man by lying with him. 36. And the half, which was the portion of those that went out to war, was in number three hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 37. and the LORD’s* tribute of the sheep was six hundred seventy-five. 38. And there were thirty-six thousand cattle, of which the LORD’s* tribute was seventy-two.39. And there were thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, of which the LORD’s* tribute was sixty-one. 40. And there were sixteen thousand people, of which the LORD’s* tribute was thirty-two people. 41. And Moses gave the tribute, the LORD’s* heave offering, to Elazar the priest, as the LORD* commanded Moses. 42. And of the children of Israel’s half, which Moses divided from the men who fought, 43. (Now the congregation’s half was three hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 44. thirty-six thousand cattle, 45. thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, 46.and sixteen thousand people) 47. Even of the children of Israel’s half, Moses took one portion of fifty, of mankind and of beast and gave them to the Levites who kept the charge of the Tabernacle of the LORD*, as the LORD* commanded Moses.

31:48. And the officers that were over thousands of the army, the captains of thousands and captains of hundreds came near to Moses, 49. and they said to Moses, “Your servants have taken the count of the men of war that are under our charge and there lacks not one man of us. 50. We have therefore brought an offering for the LORD*, what every man has gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, bracelets, rings, earrings, and belts to make atonement for our lives before the LORD*.”

31:51. And Moses and Elazar the priest took the gold from them, even all wrought jewels. 52. And all the gold of the offering that they offered up to the LORD*, of the captains of thousands and of the captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred fifty shekels. 53. (For the men of war had taken spoil, each man for himself.) 54.And Moses and Elazar the priest took the gold from the captains of thousands and of hundreds and brought it into the Tent of Meeting, for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD*.

East of the Jordan

32.1. Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle and when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead that, behold, the place was a place for cattle. 2. The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Elazar the priest, and to the princes of the congregation saying, 3.“Atarot, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Shebam, Nebo, and Beon, 4. even the country which the LORD* struck before the congregation of Israel is a land for cattle, and your servants have cattle. 5. Therefore, they said, if we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession, and do not bring us over the Jordan.”

32:6. And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, “Will your brothers go to war and will you sit here? 7. And why do you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD* has given them 8. like your fathers did, when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to see the land. 9. For when they went up to the valley of Eshkol and saw the land they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel that they should not go into the land which the LORD* had given them. 10. And the LORD’s* anger was kindled the same time, and He swore saying, 11. ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward will see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob because they have not wholly followed Me, 12. except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the LORD*.’ 13. And the LORD’s* anger was kindled against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years until the entire generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD* was consumed. 14. And, behold, you are raised up in your fathers’ stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the LORD* toward Israel. 15. For if you turn away from after Him, He will yet again leave them in the wilderness and you will destroy all these people.”

32:16. And they came near to him and said, “We will build sheep folds here for our cattle and cities for our little ones, 17. but we ourselves will go ready, armed before the children of Israel until we have brought them to their place, and our little ones will dwell in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. 18. We will not return to our houses until every man of the children of Israel has inherited his inheritance. 19. For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan forward, westward, because our inheritance has fallen to us on this side of the Jordan eastward.”

32:20. And Moses said to them, “If you will do this thing, if you go before armed for war, 21. and every armed man of you will cross over the Jordan before the LORD*, until He has driven out His enemies from before Him, 22. and the land is subdued before the LORD*: then afterward you will return and be guiltless before the LORD* and before Israel, then this land will be your possession before the LORD*. 23. But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD*, and be sure your sin will find you out. 24. Build cities for yourselves, your little ones and folds for your sheep, and do that which has proceeded out of your mouth.”

32:25. And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spoke to Moses saying, “Your servants will do as my lord commands. 26. Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our cattle will be there in the cities of Gilead. 27. But your servants will cross over, every man armed for war, before the LORD* to battle, as my lord says.”

32:28. So, concerning them Moses commanded Elazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel 29. and Moses said to them, “If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will cross with you over the Jordan, every man armed for battle before the LORD*, and the land will be subdued before you, then you will give them the land of Gilead for a possession, 30. but if they will not cross over with you armed, they will have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.”

32:31. And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered saying, “As the LORD* has said to your servants, so we will do. 32. We will cross over armed before the LORD* into the land of Canaan, so the possession of our inheritance on this side of the Jordan will be ours.”

32:33. And Moses gave to them, to the children of Gad, to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land with the cities of it in the borders, the cities of the surrounding country. 34. And the children of Gad built Dibon, Atarot, Aroer, 35. Atrot-Shofan, Jazer, Jagbeha,36. Beit Nimrah, and Beit Haran, fenced cities and folds for sheep.

32:37. And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriataim, 38. Nebo, Baal Meon, (their names being changed) and Shibmah, and gave other names to the cities which they built. 39. And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, took it, and dispossessed the Amorite that were in it. 40. And Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh and he lived there. 41.And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its small towns and called them Havot Jair. 42. And Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and called it Nobah, after his own name.

Masei

33.1. These are the journeys of the children of Israel when they went out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. 2. And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD*, and these are their journeys according to their goings out.

33:3. And they departed from Rameses in the first month on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. 4. For the Egyptians buried all the firstborn that the LORD* had smitten among them: the LORD* also executed judgments upon their gods. 5. And the children of Israel left Rameses and pitched in Sukkot. 6. Then they left Sukkot and pitched in Itam, which is in the edge of the wilderness. 7. And they left Itam and turned again to Pi Hakhirot, which isbefore Baal Zephon, and they pitched before Migdol. 8. And they left Pi Hakhirot and crossed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Itam and pitched in Marah. 9.And they left Marah and came to Elim and in Elim there were twelve fountains of water and seventy palm trees, and they pitched there.10. Then they left Elim and camped by the Reed Sea.11. And they left the Reed Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. 12. And they took their journey from the wilderness of Sin and camped in Dafkah. 13. And they left Dafkah and camped in Alush. 14. And they left Alush and camped at Refidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.15. And they left Refidim and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai. 16. Then they left the desert of Sinai and pitched at Kibrot Hattaavah. 17. And they left Kibrot Hattaavah and camped at Hazerot, 18. and they left Hazerot and pitched in Ritmah. 19. And they left Ritmah and pitched at Rimmon Perez. 20. And they left Rimmon Perez and pitched in Libnah. 21. And they left Libnah and pitched at Rissah. 22. And they traveled from Rissah and pitched in Keheletah.23. Then they went from Keheletah and pitched at Mount Shefer. 24. And they left Mount Shefer and camped at Haradah. 25. And they left Haradah and pitched in Makehelot. 26. Then they left Makehelot and camped at Tahat.27. And they departed from Tahat and pitched at Terah. 28. And they left Terah and pitched in Mitkah. 29. And they went from Mitkah and pitched in Hashmonah. 30. And they departed from Hashmonah and camped at Moserot. 31.And they left Moserot and pitched in Benai Jaakan. 32. And they traveled from Benai Jaakan and camped at Hor Hagidgad. 33. And they went from Hor Hagidgad and pitched in Jotbah. 34. And they left Jotbah and camped at Avronah. 35.And they left Avronah and camped at Ezion-geber. 36. And they left Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh. 37. And they left Kadesh and pitched at Mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom.

33:38. And Aaron the priest went up on Mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD* and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, on the first of the fifth month. 39. And Aaron was a hundred twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

33:40. And king Arad the Canaanite, who dwelled in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel. 41. And they departed from Mount Hor and camped in Zalmonah.42. And they left Zalmonah and camped in Punon. 43. And they left Punon and pitched in Obot. 44.And they left Obot and camped in Ije Haavarim, in the border of Moab. 45. And they left Ijim and camped in Dibon Gad. 46. And they traveled from Dibon Gad and camped in Almon Diblathaim.47. And they left Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Avarim, before Nebo. 48. And they left the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan near Jericho.49.And they camped by the Jordan from Beit Jeshimoth to Abel Shittim in the plains of Moab.

Marching Orders

33:50. And the LORD* spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan near Jericho saying,51. “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them,

‘When you have crossed over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52. then you will drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their wood and stone images, destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places. 53. And you will dispossess the inhabitants of the land and live there, for I have given you the land to possess it. 54. And you will divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families. To the more numerous you will give more inheritance, and to the fewer you will give less inheritance: every man’s inheritance will be in the place where his lot falls. You will inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. 55. But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it will be that those that you let remain of them will be pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides and will trouble you in the land in which you live. 56. And it will be that I shall do to you as I thought to do to them.’”

Future Borders of Israel

34.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 2. “Command the children of Israel and say to them,

“‘When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that will fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan according to its borders. 3. Then your south side will be from the wilderness of Zin along by the border of Edom and your south border will be the outermost end of the Salt Sea eastward, 4. and your border will turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim and pass on to Zin and from there it will be from the south to Kadesh Barnea, and will go on to Hazaraddar and pass on to Azmonah. 5. And the border will turn about from Azmonah to the river of Egypt, and from there it will go to the sea. 6. And as the western border, you will even have the Great Sea for a border: this will be your west border. 7. And this will be yournorth border, from the Great Sea you will point out for yourselves Mount Hor, 8. from Mount Hor you will point out to the entrance of Hamat, and from there the border will be to Zedadah, 9. and the border will go on to Ziphronah, and from there it will be at Hazar-Enan: this will be your north border. 10. And you will point out your east border from Hazar-Enan to Shefamah, 11. and the border will go down from Shefamah to Riblah, on the east side of Ayin, and the border will descend and will reach to the side of the lake of Kinneret eastward 12. and the border will go down to the Jordan, and from there it will go to the Salt Sea: this will be your land according to its borders all around.’”

34:13. And Moses commanded the children of Israel saying, “This is the land which you will inherit by lot, which the LORD* commanded to give to the nine tribes and to the half-tribe. 14. For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers have taken their inheritance; and half the tribe of Manasseh have taken their inheritance. 15. The two tribes and the half tribe have taken their inheritance on this side of the Jordan near Jericho eastward, toward the sunrising.”

34:16. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 17. “These are the names of the men who will divide the land for you: Elazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun. 18. And you will take one prince of every tribe to divide the land for inheritance. 19. And these are the names of the men: of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. 20. And of the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud. 21. Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon. 22. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki the son of Jogli. 23. The prince of the children of Joseph, for the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel the son of Ephod. 24. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel the son of Shiftan. 25. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan the son of Parnah. 26. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel the son of Azzan. 27. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud the son of Shelomi. 28. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud. 29. These are they to whom the LORD* commanded to divide the inheritance to the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.”

Levites Given Cities

35.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan near Jericho saying, 2.“Command the children of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in and you will give to the Levites open land around the cities. 3. And they will have the cities to live in, and the open land around them will be for their cattle, for their goods, and for all their beasts. 4. And the open land around the cities, which you will give to the Levites, from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits all around. 5. And you will measure from outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, and the city will be in the middle: this will be to them the open land around the cities. 6. And among the cities which you will give to the Levites there will be six cities for refuge, which you will appoint for the man-slayer, so he may flee there, and to them you will add forty-two cities. 7. So all the cities which you will give the Levites will be forty-eight cities. You will give them with their open land. 8. And the cities which you will give will be of the possession of the children of Israel, from many you will give many; but from few you will give few: everyone will give of his cities to the Levites according to his inheritance which he inherits.”

Cities of Refuge

35:9. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 10. “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you have come over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11. then you will appoint for yourselves cities to be cities of refuge for you, so the slayer can flee there, the one who kills any person unawares. 12. And they will be cities for refuge from the avenger for you, so the man-slayer does not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment. 13.And of these cities which you will give you will have six cities for refuge. 14. You will give three cities on this side of the Jordan and you will give three cities in the land of Canaan, cities of refuge. 15. These six cities will be a refuge, for the children of Israel, for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them, so everyone who kills any person unawares may flee there. 16. And if he strikes him with an instrument of iron so that he dies, he is a murderer: the murderer will surely be put to death. 17. And if he strikes him with a stone in the hand, by which he may die and he dies, he is a murderer: the murderer will surely be put to death. 18. Or if he strikes him with a hand weapon of wood from which he may die and he dies, he is a murderer: the murderer will surely be put to death. 19. The avenger of blood himself will slay the murderer when he meets him, he will slay him. 20. But if he thrusts him from hatred or hurls at him by lying in wait, for that he dies, 21. or strikes him in enmity with his hand so he dies: he that struck him will surely be put to death, he is a murderer: the avenger of blood will slay the murderer when he meets him. 22. But if he thrusts him suddenly without enmity or has cast upon him anything without lying in wait 23. or with any stone, by which a man may die, not seeing him, and casts it upon him so he dies, and was not his enemy, nor sought his harm, 24.then the congregation will judge between the slayer and the avenger of blood according to these judgments. 25. And the congregation will deliver the slayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood and the congregation will restore him to the city of his refuge where he fled, and he will stay in it to the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil. 26. But if the slayer will at any time come outside the border of the city of his refuge where he fled, 27. and the avenger of blood finds him outside the borders of the city of his refuge and the avenger of blood kills the slayer, he will not be guilty of blood 28. because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest, but after the death of the high priest the slayer will return to the land of his possession. 29. So these things will be for a statute of judgment for you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.’

35:30. “Whoever kills any person, the murderer will be put to death by the mouth of witnesses, but one witness will not testify against any person to cause him to die. 31. Moreover you will take redemption money for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he will surely be put to death. 32. And you will take no redemption money for him who fled to the city of his refuge, so he could come again to live in the land until the death of the priest. 33. So you will not pollute the land in which you are, for blood defiles the land. And no atonement can be made to the land for the blood that is shed in it, but by the blood of him that shed it. 34. Therefore do not defile the land which you will inhabit, in which I dwell, for I the LORD* dwell among the children of Israel.”

Daughters of Zelophehad Inheritance

36.1. And the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph came near and spoke before Moses, and before the princes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel. 2. And they said, “The LORD* commanded my lord to give the land for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel, and my lord was commanded by the LORD* to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. 3.And if they are married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our fathers and will be put to the inheritance of the tribe where they are received, so it will be taken from the lot of our inheritance, 4. and when there is a jubilee of the children of Israel, then their inheritance will be placed with the inheritance of the tribe where they are received, so their inheritance will be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.”

36:5. And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the LORD* saying, “The tribe of the sons of Joseph has said well. 6. This is the thing which the LORD* commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad saying, ‘Let them marry to whom they think best, only to the family of the tribe of their father will they marry. 7. So the inheritance of the children of Israel will not remove from tribe to tribe, for each one of the children of Israel will keep for himself the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. 8. And every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, will be wife to one of the family of the tribe of her father, so every man of the children of Israel may enjoy the inheritance of his fathers. 9. So no inheritance will remove from one tribe to another tribe, but everyone from the tribes of the children of Israel will keep himself to his own inheritance.’”

36:10. The LORD* commanded Moses, so the daughters of Zelophehad did. 11. For Mahlah, Tirzah, Haglah, Milkah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married to their father’s brothers’ sons, 12. and they were married into the families of the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father.

36:13. These are the commandments and the judgments, which the LORD* commanded by the hand of Moses to the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan near Jericho.

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Torah Commentary – “Double Portion: Final Instructions” – Mattot – Tribes – Mas’ei – Stages – July 14, 2018

Mattot

Tribes

Numbers 30:2[1]-32:42
Jeremiah 1:1-2:3

Mas’ei

Stages

Numbers 33:1-36:13
Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4 (A); 2:4-28; 4:1-2 (S)

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“Double Portion: Final Instructions”


by Mark Huey

This week as the Book of Numbers comes to a close, its final two Torah readings give the generation of Joshua some final instructions before embarking on the invasion of Canaan. Recall that after the trauma associated with the sin of Baal-peor was tragically resolved, a census was conducted, to number the survivors of the plague, followed by the transfer of Moses’ authority to Joshua (Numbers 27:15-23). This was followed by a reiteration of various daily offerings and sacrifices (Numbers 28:1-29:40).

In our two Torah portions for this week, Moses was instructed to remind the Israelites about the seriousness of personal vows (Numbers 30:1-16), the proper military means to address the chronic threat from the Midianites (Numbers 31:1-24), and how to handle the request of the tribes of Reuben and Gad to settle the land east of the Jordan River (Numbers 32:1-42). There is then a textual review of the forty-two different encampments during the nearly forty-year sojourn through the desert (Numbers 33:1-49). Next, the means to equitably distribute the territory to the twelve tribes of Israel, by lot, to settle forty-two cities with special attention to the Levitical priesthood, and the establishment of six additional cities of refuge to deal with unintentional deaths (Numbers 33:50-35:34)—adds considerably to maintaining an orderly transition from the plains of Moab, once the Promised Land is conquered. Finally, the Lord gave Moses some explicit instructions on how to handle the issue presented earlier by the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 36:1-13). Obviously, Moses knew that his days were numbered and that the Lord had already told him he was not going to be allowed to enter into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12-13), because of his presumptuous actions at the waters of Meribah. As the leader of Israel, Moses’ intention was to fulfill his mission to communicate the word of the Lord before expiring.

With so much to elucidate to those who survived the arduous journey, modern-day students of God’s Word may think that they have a “double portion” blessing, of reviewing these key instructions—so that they might learn from them and properly apply them in the modern era.

One aspect of our Torah selection concerns the issue of wives or daughters making vows, and the ability for the father to cancel these vows. It is not as easy for modern readers to understand the importance of this, because we live in a time when women have an unbelievable amount of rights, responsibilities, and opportunities that the ancients did not have. The very fact that women would largely even be able to make binding oaths on behalf of a family, must be recognized here. The instructions, regarding a husband or father being able to cancel the word of a wife or daughter, need to be understood first in the context of Ancient Israel in the Ancient Near East. Today, in a definitively egalitarian post-resurrection era (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 2:11), where husbands and wives are to serve one another as co-leaders of the home in mutual submission (Ephesians 5:21), looking out for one another, these instructions should be more readily applied with that in mind:

“Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the sons of Israel, saying, ‘This is the word which the LORD has commanded. If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. Also if a woman makes a vow to the LORD, and binds herself by an obligation in her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears her vow and her obligation by which she has bound herself, and her father says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father should forbid her on the day he hears of it, none of her vows or her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the LORD will forgive her because her father had forbidden her. However, if she should marry while under her vows or the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself, and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day he hears it, then her vows shall stand and her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if on the day her husband hears of it, he forbids her, then he shall annul her vow which she is under and the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself; and the LORD will forgive her. But the vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, everything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. However, if she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an obligation with an oath, and her husband heard it, but said nothing to her and did not forbid her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she bound herself shall stand. But if her husband indeed annuls them on the day he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning the obligation of herself shall not stand; her husband has annulled them, and the LORD will forgive her. Every vow and every binding oath to humble herself, her husband may confirm it or her husband may annul it. But if her husband indeed says nothing to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all her obligations which are on her; he has confirmed them, because he said nothing to her on the day he heard them. But if he indeed annuls them after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt.’ These are the statutes which the LORD commanded Moses, as between a man and his wife, and as between a father and his daughter, while she is in her youth in her father’s house” (Numbers 30:1-16).

It is certainly clear from Numbers ch. 30, that the issue of making vows is quite serious, and no one is to make any sort of rash commitment to God. Centuries later in His Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua the Messiah issued the following instruction to those listening. He quantitatively advised against people making any vows, likely because of their human inability to fully keep them:

“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD’ [Leviticus 19:2; Numbers 30:3; Deuteronomy 23:22]. But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING [Psalm 48:2]. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil” (Matthew 5:33-37).

The need, to watch one’s lips or mouth, and the words, statements, commitments—and yes, even oaths and vows which are made—is absolutely imperative. Instructions such as the following, from the Book of Proverbs and James the Just, give us some key warnings of the potential pitfalls of the tongue:

“He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment” (Proverbs 12:17-19).

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

Following the issue of oath taking, our Torah reading turns to how the Ancient Israelites would affectively deal with the ongoing threat of the Midianites, who continued to want to impede their progress as they were preparing to enter the Promised Land. Here with the explicit instructions of the Lord, the proper way to go to war with His blessing is detailed:

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites; afterward you will be gathered to your people.’ Moses spoke to the people, saying, ‘Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian. A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war.’ So there were furnished from the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. Moses sent them, a thousand from each tribe, to the war, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war with them, and the holy vessels and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. So they made war against Midian, just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed every male. They killed the kings of Midian along with the rest of their slain: Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian; they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword. The sons of Israel captured the women of Midian and their little ones; and all their cattle and all their flocks and all their goods they plundered. Then they burned all their cities where they lived and all their camps with fire. They took all the spoil and all the prey, both of man and of beast. They brought the captives and the prey and the spoil to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest and to the congregation of the sons of Israel, to the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by the Jordan opposite Jericho. Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the congregation went out to meet them outside the camp. Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. And Moses said to them, ‘Have you spared all the women? Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD’” (Numbers 31:1-16).

Not only did Israel choose warriors from each of the tribes, but they were instructed to have the blessings of Phinehas, the son of the high priest Eleazar, with the holy vessels and trumpets accompanying the assault upon Midian. As is later noted, the overwhelming victory by Israel decimating the Midianites was achieved without suffering any mortal casualties (Numbers 31:49), and they received a victor’s booty (Numbers 31:33-47) that was huge and equitably distributed to the valiant warriors (Numbers 31:27). Interestingly in an aside, it is noted that Balaam, the prophet for hire, apparently advised Balak to send the Moabite women into the Israelite camp in order for the people to curse themselves by their licentious and lascivious acts and worship of idols (Numbers 31:16). However, one discovers that Balaam, perhaps frustrated by his inability to curse Israel but rather bless them, was now found among the dead Midianites, having been thrust through by an Israelite sword (Numbers 31:8). The great lesson to learn is that the Holy One’s justice is absolute, and that those who oppose His will are going to eventually be justly judged for their indiscretions.

After the unconditional victory over the Midianites, there is a lengthy description of how Moses handled the request of the tribes of Reuben and Gad to locate their herds of livestock on the east side of the Jordan, before the conquest of the Promised Land would be completed. The following depicts some recollections about their predecessors, and how the Lord was adamant that all twelve tribes collaborate to first secure the territory before the settlement is finalized:

“Now the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad had an exceedingly large number of livestock. So when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, that it was indeed a place suitable for livestock, the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben came and spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, ‘Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon, the land which the LORD conquered before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.’ They said, ‘If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession; do not take us across the Jordan.’ But Moses said to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben, ‘Shall your brothers go to war while you yourselves sit here? Now why are you discouraging the sons of Israel from crossing over into the land which the LORD has given them? This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. For when they went up to the valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the sons of Israel so that they did not go into the land which the LORD had given them. So the LORD’s anger burned in that day, and He swore, saying, “None of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; for they did not follow Me fully, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have followed the LORD fully.” So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of the LORD was destroyed. Now behold, you have risen up in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to add still more to the burning anger of the LORD against Israel. For if you turn away from following Him, He will once more abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all these people.’ Then they came near to him and said, ‘We will build here sheepfolds for our livestock and cities for our little ones; but we ourselves will be armed ready to go before the sons of Israel, until we have brought them to their place, while our little ones live in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our homes until every one of the sons of Israel has possessed his inheritance. For we will not have an inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has fallen to us on this side of the Jordan toward the east.’ So Moses said to them, ‘If you will do this, if you will arm yourselves before the LORD for the war, and all of you armed men cross over the Jordan before the LORD until He has driven His enemies out from before Him, and the land is subdued before the LORD, then afterward you shall return and be free of obligation toward the LORD and toward Israel, and this land shall be yours for a possession before the LORD. But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. Build yourselves cities for your little ones, and sheepfolds for your sheep, and do what you have promised.’ The sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Your servants will do just as my lord commands. Our little ones, our wives, our livestock and all our cattle shall remain there in the cities of Gilead; while your servants, everyone who is armed for war, will cross over in the presence of the LORD to battle, just as my lord says’” (Numbers 32:1-27).

One would think that after experiencing the total victory over the Midianites, the children of Israel would understand the blessings of unified actions. But after the dialogue between Moses and those of Reuben and Gad, the realization that conquering Canaan with a full compliment from every tribe was critical for accomplishing the goal. Hence, the negotiation was agreed upon, with the Reubenites and Gadites agreeing to fight for the Promised Land with their distant cousins, before their final resettlement on the east side of the Jordan River. The lesson to be learned, even today, is that God’s purposes for the Creation will be fulfilled when His people are unified with one mission to complete His work, through the guidance and direction of His Spirit:

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Perhaps for historical and recorded verification purposes, Numbers ch. 33 essentially gives the details of the itinerary of Israel, with some nuances of what had taken place over the previous nearly forty year sojourn from Egypt to the plains of Moab overlooking the Jordan River. At this point, the command to utterly destroy the inhabitants of the Canaan and decimate their idols, in order to cleanse and possess the Promised Land is described, as well as the distribution of the territory by lot:

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places; and you shall take possession of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. You shall inherit the land by lot according to your families; to the larger you shall give more inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give less inheritance. Wherever the lot falls to anyone, that shall be his. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live. And as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you”’” (Numbers 33:50-56).

Of course the key, to a successful occupation of the Promised Land, was for Israel to adhere to the Lord’s commands. Yet as was the case since the taking of the Promised Land, the Lord’s people had not been totally faithful to follow His instructions. The consequences of the propensity to disobey is certainly epitomized by the universal principle that people will reap what they sow. Is there a lesson to be learned?

Our Torah reading includes some explicit instructions the Levites, who were not to receive an inheritance of land because of their responsibilities to exclusively serve the Almighty (Numbers 18:20-21), were to instead be taken care of. Here the six cities of refuge are described in detail:

“Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, ‘Command the sons of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands around the cities. The cities shall be theirs to live in; and their pasture lands shall be for their cattle and for their herds and for all their beasts. The pasture lands of the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits around. You shall also measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, with the city in the center. This shall become theirs as pasture lands for the cities. The cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to; and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. All the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be forty-eight cities, together with their pasture lands. As for the cities which you shall give from the possession of the sons of Israel, you shall take more from the larger and you shall take less from the smaller; each shall give some of his cities to the Levites in proportion to his possession which he inherits’” (Numbers 35:1-8).

Concurrent with this, instructions are given about the cities of refuge to handle the issues of unintentional or accidental deaths. Capital punishment is mentioned here, because the Lord was very concerned about the Promised Land not becoming polluted by the blood of innocent life. The Lord stated that He would be dwelling in the midst of Israel:

“The congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the blood avenger, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he fled; and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. But if the manslayer at any time goes beyond the border of his city of refuge to which he may flee, and the blood avenger finds him outside the border of his city of refuge, and the blood avenger kills the manslayer, he will not be guilty of blood because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return to the land of his possession. These things shall be for a statutory ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest. So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. ‘You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel” (Numbers 35:24-34).

When one contemplates these specific instructions, perhaps in light of the modern-day institution of abortion, there is a serious concern about all of the innocent life which is being casually murdered, without properly respecting and adhering to the thrust of these commands. Obviously, only the Lord knows what the ramifications are for a society, which can so blatantly disrespect life. Without equivocation, may God have mercy on those who promote abortion—and by His grace, let us hope that it stops before His judgment rectifies the flagrant sin, in order to more favorably dwell among His people!

In the last set of instructions seen in our Torah reading, Moses sought the Lord’s word on how to handle the request of the daughters of Zelophedad regarding their inheritance in the Promised Land:

“And the heads of the fathers’ households of the family of the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near and spoke before Moses and before the leaders, the heads of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, and they said, ‘The LORD commanded my lord to give the land by lot to the sons of Israel as an inheritance, and my lord was commanded by the LORD to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. But if they marry one of the sons of the other tribes of the sons of Israel, their inheritance will be withdrawn from the inheritance of our fathers and will be added to the inheritance of the tribe to which they belong; thus it will be withdrawn from our allotted inheritance. When the jubilee of the sons of Israel comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe to which they belong; so their inheritance will be withdrawn from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.’ Then Moses commanded the sons of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying, ‘The tribe of the sons of Joseph are right in their statements. This is what the LORD has commanded concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, “Let them marry whom they wish; only they must marry within the family of the tribe of their father.” Thus no inheritance of the sons of Israel shall be transferred from tribe to tribe, for the sons of Israel shall each hold to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. ‘Every daughter who comes into possession of an inheritance of any tribe of the sons of Israel shall be wife to one of the family of the tribe of her father, so that the sons of Israel each may possess the inheritance of his fathers. Thus no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another tribe, for the tribes of the sons of Israel shall each hold to his own inheritance. Just as the LORD had commanded Moses, so the daughters of Zelophehad did’” (Numbers 36:1-10).

Apparently before the Book of Numbers comes to a close, the issue of how to deal with women’s rights, brought up earlier (Numbers 26:33), needed to be addressed with a direct word from the Lord. Perhaps by this reiteration of how to handle women equitably, the Lord began to return His people to equality among the genders that was lost in Eden (cf. Genesis 3:16). For certainly, as the Book of Numbers finally ends, there is the categorical declarative statement that:

“These are the commandments and the ordinances which the LORD commanded to the sons of Israel through Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho”(Numbers 36:13).

May each of us learn, and take to heart, the great lessons to be learned from what the Lord requires! He constantly wants His people to be unified in the common resolve to fulfill His Word, and complete His mission for the Creation. To this end may we each faithfully serve Him, by advancing His Kingdom today, until the Messianic restoration of all things culminates! 

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15,000 White Farmers Flee South Africa for Russia: ‘It’s Life or Death’

Russian government welcomes South African farmers fleeing over fear of being murdered

By: Jay Greenberg  |@NeonNettle on 10th July 2018 @ 3.00pm

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South African farmers are forced to flee their land over fear of death

Thousands of South African farming families have arrived in Russia after fleeing their farms for fear of death as the government takes back land from White citizens. A delegation of 30 families that have fled South Africa has arrived in Russia’s farm belt Stavropol Region, according to a report by Rossiya 1 TV. The group says it has been forced to leave their farms and land behind after facing violent attacks and death threats at home. South Africa’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to take back land from the countries White minority and give it to Black citizens.

With descendants of the White farmers having occupied the land for up to 400 years, the families have been left with no other option but to seek refuge in Russia where the government is welcoming them in.

A White farmer is murdered every 5 days in South Africa

RT reports: Up to 15,000 Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, are planning to move to Russia amid rising violence stemming from government plans to expropriate their land, according to the delegation. “It’s a matter of life and death – there are attacks on us. It’s got to the point where the politicians are stirring up a wave of violence,” Adi Slebus told the media. “The climate here [Stavropol Region] is temperate, and this land is created by God for farming. “All this is very attractive.”

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to take back land owned by White farmers

The new South African government, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, has pledged to return the lands owned by White farmers since the 1600s to the Black citizens of the country. The government said it is planning to put an end to what it calls the legacy of apartheid, where most of South Africa’s land is still in the hands of its minority white population. Rights groups have said the initiative incites violence. There were 74 farm murders and 638 attacks, primarily against white farmers, in 2016-17 in South Africa, according to data by minority rights group AfriForum. The farmers are prepared to make a contribution to Russia’s booming agricultural sector, according to Rossiya 1.

Each family is ready to bring up to $100,000 for leasing the land. Russia has 43 million hectares of unused farmland and has recently begun giving out free land to Russian citizens to cultivate farming. The land giveaway program, which began in 2014, has been a huge success. (Click to Source)

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Why Millennials are Really Leaving Religion (it’s Not Just Politics)

Jana Riess | Religion News Service | Thursday, June 28, 2018

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A couple of decades ago, when young adults began showing their dissatisfaction with organized religion by voting with their feet, it was fashionable for pundits to say this was happening because those religions weren’t conservative or demanding enough.

Because the exodus was initially most pronounced among liberal, mainline Protestants like Episcopalians and Presbyterians, it was easy to point at liberalism as the root of the problem.

If churches just held fast to their standards, the thinking went, they would be fine, because strictness was what the masses secretly wanted. People craved firm boundaries. Conservatives, you will not be surprised to hear, were the most ardent supporters of this “strict churches” theory, which assured them they were already doing the most important things right.

But now the “strict churches” theory is crumbling because some strict denominations are themselves charting losses, or at least slower growth. The Southern Baptists have lost more than a million members over the last decade, according to LifeWay. Giving and attendance are down, and Baptists are seeing more gray and silver heads in the pews.

Meanwhile, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen its once-enviable U.S. growth rate slow to under 1 percent in each of the last two years. Mormonism, which grew by just .75 percent in this country in 2017, is barely keeping pace with the growth of the U.S. population (+.71 percent).

Now it’s liberal pundits who are quick to point the finger. A HuffPost headline last yearscreeched that “Evangelical Christianity’s Big Turn-Off” was its relentless pursuit of a conservative political agenda. Let’s call this the “political alienation” theory, which says that churches that have waged war against LGBT rights or supported Donald Trump are reaping the fallout: Millennials want nothing to do with them.

There’s evidence to support the political alienation theory, to a point. Millennials are leaving religion in droves, and some of it is related to politics. People who vote or lean Democratic are more likely to be “nones,” defined as people who have no religious affiliation.

But that’s the key: no religious affiliation. If the political alienation theory fully explained what’s going on in American religion, millennials would be leaving conservative religions in favor of ones that are liberal and LGBT-affirming. Plenty of churches like that exist, where those on the political left would feel welcome and comfortable. But they are not growing.

Instead, folks are just leaving religion, full stop. Especially if they’re young.

So if the “strict churches” theory doesn’t explain why many conservative denominations are experiencing losses, and the “political alienation” theory doesn’t account for why people are exiting religion entirely rather than merely switching to a faith that’s more suitable, what does explain it?

No one can deny that religion has fallen on hard times. Four in 10 younger millennials (18-29) are nones, which is four times what it was in the 1980s. In fact, the fastest-growing religion in America is … no religion at all.

The problem is that the real explanation for this should be called the “it’s complicated” theory, and complications make for crappy headlines. Everybody wants simple answers, and the answers just aren’t simple. We can give it a try, though. Here are three factors that all play a role.

1. DELAYED MARRIAGE AND MORE SINGLE ADULTS

Pastors have joked for decades that a certain segment of people showed up to church primarily to be “hatched, matched or dispatched.” We don’t have much choice in the hatching and dispatching departments — we’re going to be born and die whether we like it or not — but what about the “matched” part? One of the biggest demographic trends of our time is that millennials are delaying marriage or not getting married at all. And since there’s a strong correlation between being married and being involved in religion, the fact that fewer Americans are getting married is worrisome news to clergy.

2. FERTILITY

The number of children a family has is related to the couple’s religious involvement — couples without kids are a bit less likely to be religious. So the fact that fertility is on the decline is, again, worrisome news for organized religion. (To say nothing of the long-term implications for things like Social Security.)

3. THE GROWTH OF THE NONES

This seems like a circular argument: The nones are growing because the nones are growing! But sociologically, it makes a kind of sense. Some nonbelievers might have stayed in organized religion in previous generations just because it was socially expected, and there were consequences for not joining the religious crowd. The numeric growth of the nones has removed some of those barriers, so that other closeted nones feel more comfortable leaving religion too. There is an infrastructure and support system for them.

So the next time someone tells you, “Millennials are leaving religion because evangelicals are in love with Donald Trump,” you can tell them they’re partly right. Political frustration isa factor. But … the truth is also much, much more complicated. (Click to Source)

 

The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion NewsService

Courtesy: Religion News Service

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/FluxFactory

Publication date: June 28, 2018

 

 
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