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The Weekly eDrash

Gain new understanding from the ancient writings! Learn messianic insight from the Torah every week through the Weekly eDrash.

Extended details on this Torah Portion: Massei »

The Land of Israel

Tags: Land of Israel, presence of God

Thought for the Week:

"Command the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance, even the land of Canaan according to its borders.'" (Numbers 34:2)

Commentary:

Numbers 34 sketches out the borders for the land of Israel, which Joshua was to distribute among the nine and a half tribes that remained to be settled. The tribes of Reuben and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh had already made claim to territories east of the Jordan. The Levites were not to receive tribal territory. Joshua and Eleazar were to cast lots to parcel out the land among the remaining tribes. Numbers 34:19-29 gives a list of the tribal leaders responsible for dividing the parcel among the clans and families of the tribe.

It is easy for believers in Messiah to read about geographical Israel with little interest. Descriptions of the land seem inconsequential to us. After all, Christianity provides a spiritual inheritance in heaven, not an earthly inheritance. Why should believers care about the land of Israel?

One reason we should take an interest in the land of Israel is that God does. The Bible is filled with details about this particular piece of real estate. The land of Israel is the stage on which the majority of the Bible is played out. In God's Book, the land of Israel is a central concern. If it matters to God, it should matter to His children.

When Christian believers first visit the land of Israel, they typically say things like, "The Bible has become so real to me now," or, "I never realized how much I was missing," or "I feel like I've come home." All believers have a special relationship to the land of Israel. It is the cradle of our faith. Our Master's feet tread upon its soil and stones. It is God's holy land in which He placed His city (Jerusalem) and His Temple and caused His presence to dwell.

For a Jewish believer the connection is even more relevant. Not only is the land of Israel the place of his spiritual origin, it is his literal inheritance in this world.

Christians have been making pilgrimages to the Holy Land since the first century. At FFOZ, we encourage all believers in Messiah to make at least one visit to Israel. In a spiritual sense, the land of Israel is the homeland of all believers. The presence of God permeates the land. It is "a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year" (Deuteronomy 11:12). The prophets say that when the Messiah comes, He will gather all the people of Israel back to the land of Israel.

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Torah Portions from previous weeks

Parasha: Mattot

The Sin of Triangulation

In an effort to ensnare the Israelites, the Midianites and Moabites had sent their daughters to use sexual seduction to entice the men of Israel into worshipping Baal of Peor. The plan worked. Many Israelite men were led away by the seductive allure of the Moabite and Midianite women. They committed fornication with them and worshipped idols. Their wickedness incited the wrath of the LORD, who struck Israel with a...
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Parasha: Pinchas

Religion is a Two-edged Sword

Tags: flesh, fundamentalists, ruthlessness, terrorism, vigilance, violence, zeal

Parashat Pinchas is named for Pinchas (Phinehas), the zealous grandson of Aaron the priest who turned aside the LORD’s wrath by publicly skewering two flagrant transgressors of Torah. Without trial and without due process, Phinehas rose up as a court of one—the witness, the judge, and the executioner. The commentary in Torah Club Volume Oneaddresses the troubling ramifications of the story. For our purposes, we simply note that the Almighty...
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Parasha: Balak

Life's Little Interruptions

The angel of the LORD appeared on the road with a drawn sword to stop him. To Balaam the angel was invisible, but the donkey on which Balaam was riding could see the angel. To avoid the angel with the drawn sword, the donkey veered from the road into a field. Irritated with his steed, Balaam struck the donkey to force her back onto the road. A second time the...
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Parasha: Chukat

Aaron the Peacemaker

Tags: peacemakers, reconciliation, relationship, shalom, shalom bayit, unity

When all the congregation saw that Aaron had died, all the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days. (Numbers 20:29) Why did Israel weep for Aaron thirty days? Aaron was 123 years old when he died, a ripe old age, full of years, yet all Israel wept for Aaron thirty days. Thirty days is the customary term of mourning for a close relative, and Aaron, as high priest over...
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Parasha: Korach

Three Offices of Messiah

Tags: ark of the covenant, king, kingship, manna, priest, prophet, rod

The LORD commanded Moses to keep Aaron’s rod before the ark to be kept as a sign for future generations. The writer of the book of Hebrews claims that three things were kept inside the Ark of the Covenant: … the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the...
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Parasha: Shelach

One Law and the Gentiles

Tags: Acts 15, Didache, ger, Numbers 15:16, one law, sojourning

There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you. (Numbers 15:16) The Torah says there is to be only one law for both Jews and aliens sojourning with the Jewish people. On the surface, this appears to be a simple statement, but when we dig deeper into biblical studies and interpretations, it becomes a complicated issue. Most Gentile Christians do...
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