Learn the Principles behind a past Plague and Pinchas’ righteous zealousness against the sins of the Leaders in his day and how they apply in our current events today!
A little Historical Reminder…
B’nei Israel had settled in the Shittim valley (called ‘abhel ha-shiTTim, meaning “the meadow of the Acacias” about 7 miles north of the dead sea and about 7 miles east of the Jordan), and as a result of Bilaam’s plot, the people began to remove themselves from Yah’s blessing and protection by being immoral, through their fornication with Moabite girls. This was were they were right before they were to enter the Promised land and is prophetically just like our time-period today!
Remember Bilaam had said to King Balak of Moab, “Set out the most beautiful of your daughters (Like the world had detracted the descendants of Israel in recent times with the attractions and pleasures of the world today!)… Then send them to be near Israel’s camp, and have them make the young men of the Hebrews desire them; … till they have persuaded [them to] leave off their obedience to their own laws, the worship of that G-d who established them…”
Josephus recounts: “So the Midianites heard about this and sent their daughters too, as Bilaam had exhorted them, and the Hebrew men were allured by their beauty” (Antiq. IV 131).
The First Lesson: Be careful of what you look and think about!
The first lesson is be careful of what you look at and the desires of the self! Whereas Bilaam could not curse the children of Israel when they were unified around the Tabernacle with their focus on Hashem, he devised a way to get them to curse themselves by taking their focus off of Hashem and putting it in a direction that would further lead them astray. Notice that first day see the beautiful women of Moab and then they compromise their principles by embracing bad company from outside the camp and it ends in total immorality an Idol worship!
The Moabites “invited” the Jewish people to the feasts that they made to their gods and the Jewish people ate and bowed down to the Moabite gods. Israel thus became attached to the deity Ba’al Peor and removed themselves inadvertently from Hashem’s protective covering, through their sexual immorality and idol worship.
Lesson 2: Becareful of invitations from unbelievers to join them in their activities…
“Can two walk together in less they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) “By beholding we become changed into that same likeness!”
(Think about what I shared in my Coronavirus video about the judgement the world nations have brought upon themselves through the same sins today and so many following the example of the godless)
And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Take all the chief heads (rosh) of the people, and hang them up unto the LORD in face of the sun, that the wrath of God may turn away from Israel.’
Num 25:5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel: ‘Slay ye every one “his men” (meaning those in leadership of their tribe) that have joined themselves unto the Baal of Peor.’ So in essence God was saying to Moshe, to take all the judges of the people to judge the chief leaders of the people who set a bad example by worshipping idols and to have them hung upon a stake (sound familiar), in the sun under the sky (as they had worshipped the Moabite sky god Ba’al Peor… now Baal of Peor literally means (The Lord of the House of Horus, known as the god of the sky in Egypt, and known also as the god of creation, fertility, weather, lightning, seasons, war, AND AMAZINGLY known as the son of El! As such his title was Lord of the Earth… Sound familiar, they were promoting worshipping the Son of God and were hung upon a stake for it!).
So Moshe said to them, “each of you should hang two chief men who became attached to Ba’al Peor.
Think about how many lives were lost due to this sin! Remember in Ex. 18:25 the judges that Moshe set up as leaders of the people, officials over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Well with 603,550 Israelite men, there ended up being 88600 judges (according to the sages) over the people. If each one of those 88,600 judges hung up two that would be around 176,000 killed (603,550 men = 603 over thousands, 6035 over hundreds, 12,071 over fifties + 60,355 over tens = 79,064+ judges!)
Then, a leading Israelite man named Zimri came and brought a very important Midianite woman to his brothers and took her into a tent in full view of Moshe and in full view of the congregation of the children of Israel, while and he and Aahron and the congregation were weeping at the entrance of the tent of meeting. (This man was a leader of the tribe of Shimon and he did this because Moshe was previously indecisive about what punishment should be) But Pinchas, the son of Elazer, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw what had happened, and remembered the law! (just like we need to!) He stood up from among the congregation and, taking a spear in his hand, he went into the tent after the leader of the tribe of Simeon and pierced both the man and the woman right through the lower abdomen as they were together. The plague then ceased from the children of Israel with a total of 24,000 dying from the plague.”
These were not just any Israelite and Midianite. This was a head and leader of the tribe of Simeon, and a princess in Midian, the daughter of the Leader Tzur.
Lesson 3 – Be careful of following the example of Leaders against Torah!
The Spirit is trying to point out to us that it was the leaders of the erroneous thinking that once again caused the people to sin (just like in the Christian church and it’s leaders today rebelling against Yah’s Torah and causing the people to sin!), and the tribe of Simeon was one of most numerous and powerful of tribes (Just like the Christian Coalition in the US with their power to affect politics over Israel today). Because of this sin, it was Simeon’s tribe that suffered the most damage from the plague, with almost half of their tribe being wiped out. Do you see the connection? Those that were following the leadership of the tribe of Simeon were the ones that partook the most in the sin of their leader. If it was not for the zealous and righteous anger of Pinchas, perhaps the entire tribe of Simeon would have been destroyed. Look at the correlation with our most powerful Nation, the US, full of the descendants of Israel and like the tribe of Simeon, powerful… Our nation has committed all the sins that scripturally bring judgment upon a nation and legalized them!
The blood of the innocent aborted cry out – Gen. 4:10,
Sexual immorality is abundant and encouraged and legalized and sin cries out to Hashem just like it did from Sodom and Amora in Gen. 18:20,
We see oppressive enslavement of the people through debt, just like in Egypt – Ex 2:23, and
our country has mastered defrauding workers of their wages through unjust taxation (Deut. 24:15),
and as if that was not grievous enough – at the end of last year we promoted the dividing of Jerusalem, and we have caused others to follow our example in sin, and have immediately after seen a plague on the people and all who “worship the beast” system, just like at Ba’al Peor!
I projected early on, in my video called “Coronavirus – A wake-up call to the Nations” (see below), at the beginning of this outbreak, while the numbers of COVID-19 were still unknown, that the US would end up seeing the highest numbers and greatest fatalities. Today the US indeed has the highest numbers of cases at 3.2 million, as well as the highest number of deaths of any country in the world now at 560,000.
How are we going to stand for truth today? Sometimes we have to stand up for truth, call the Leaders to repentance and “pierce” them through with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, but not with anger!
Lesson 4 – Act with righteous zealousness, but never anger!
It seems everywhere we turn these days we see blind anger and rage. There is anger provoked by the pandemic. Anger at elected leaders on both sides of the aisle for how they have governed during this unprecedented time. There is anger at the police and anger at those calling to defund the police. Anger at those supporting annexation in Israel and anger at those who could possibly object or question its wisdom or timing.
The simple answer is anger is never good. It never builds, only destroys. It never produces, it just compromises. It never provides clarity, only cloudiness and confusion. Anger never builds bridges; it only creates schisms. The word “rage” comes from the Latin rabies, meaning madness. Giving in to rage is an act of madness because you give up so much and get nothing in return. Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored, than to anything on which it is poured.”
Moses saw his dream of entering Israel shattered because, according to many, he gave in to anger when he hit the rock instead of speaking to it.
In a letter to his son, the Ramban writes that anger is a wicked impulse. The Rambam writes that anger diminishes a person’s overall quality of life:
“Those who frequently become angry have no quality of life; therefore, our rabbis instructed us to distance ourselves from anger to the farthest degree, until a person acts as though he does not sense even those things that would justifiably anger a person.”
(Hilchot Deot, 2:3)
What stimulates positive change, and drives people to pursue justice, equality, goodness, and truth is not anger or rage, but outrage. The Rambam writes that real anger is never healthy, warranted, or productive. But occasionally and strategically, one may exhibit outrage in order to strongly communicate a message or accomplish a goal. Nevertheless, even when expressing outrage, one can never indulge the feeling of rage and let himself be overtaken by the emotion of anger.
Anger is an animalistic emotion; outrage is a call to action. There are things worth being outraged about, but there is nothing worth feeling rage over. Outrage is productive, rage is counterproductive. Outrage brings results, rage creates problems.
I do not believe that Pincus operated with any anger toward the man and woman he speared!
In Fact, we see in the Hebrew that Pinchas’ Shalom was broken that he had to do something so drastic to save the people… but it was selfless and God rewarded him because his act brought peace out of the plague!
In praise of Pincus’ actions, the Torah uses the expression, “because he was zealous for his God” (Numbers 2513), suggesting that this sin was a rebellion against God more than any other as its vengeance is described as a personal act on behalf of God himself. The proof is, that in reward for his zealotry, Pincus was given the honor of priesthood! But surely a priest is a priest by virtue of the fact that he is born with the intrinsic qualities required to be a priest. How is it possible that a person could be rewarded for a particular good deed, and rewarded with the honor becoming a part of the priesthood? Just like God’s people who the book of Revelation describes as being rewarded by Messiah “ according to their works” and allowed to become a kingdom of priests!.
It is important to note, that if Phineas was acting out of hatred or revenge or any other selfish motive, the Almighty would not have approved of his actions. After all, his actions could have, gotten him killed. But the fact that Yah blessed him in his action is because his heart motive was truly out of concern to stop the further sin and deaths of his people that were being caused by these two leaders of different nations and their examples. And in this action, we find, once again, a spiritual principle parallel in how Yeshua also stoped the “plague” of death.
This story tells us that the plague was not going to stop until someone paid for the sins of all Israel with their life. In this case, we discover that it was the leaders of the rebellion that had to die to save the sins of their brothers. But didn’t the righteous Yeshua willingly do the same for us? Did He not take upon Himself the sin of all the people? Was He not also hung up and thrust with a spear causing the life-giving water and blood to flow for all mankind? Was not the plague of “the law of sin and death” destroyed, the second He gave up his life?
Not only does this story tell us that in order to receive life more abundantly, you must first die to the flesh and take up your cross and follow Him in self-denial, it also tells us how Yah feels about people that are sold out and zealous for Him. He loves people with selfless zeal and passion, people that love what He loves and hate what He hates.
Lesson 5 – Understanding the time in which we are Reading this on the Hebrew Calendar!
What is the connection between Pinchas – who Zealously avenged his God, bringing relief from a plague of Judgement upon the people – and the time of year when it is read – toward the beginning of the three weeks of mourning for the destruction of the temple?
Our sages taught that Pinchas possessed the soul of Eliyahu, the Prophet who announces the true and complete redemption. It is thus not surprising that, with his righteous indignation and passionate vengeance, Pinchas achieved a somewhat messianic transformation for the Jewish people of his time from a situation of spiritual deprivation (The worship of Ba’al Peor) and national emergency (the plague), to one of Divine satisfaction.
This divine satisfaction manifested itself in a number of ways: The census which follows, which was an expression of God’s affection for the Jewish people – Rashi says, “Because they are precious to him he counts them all the time”; The permanent inheritance of the land of Israel via a divinely inspired lottery; and finally, the Daily Tamid, Shabbat and its festival sacrifices which are associated with joyfulness and celebration.
The theme of our parsha is that: The Righteous act of one man can bring about the transformation of the people of Israel from spiritual deprivation to virtuousness.
It is no coincidence therefore that parsha Pinchas is always red at the outset of the three weeks , for reading this parsha empowers us to transform these three bleak weeks of Jewish history (from the anniversary of the sin of Golden calf incident to the sin of the false report causing much pain and suffering) into “days of feasting and rejoicing”, with the true and complete redemption.
Lesson 6 -What do we learn from Pinchas?
Practically speaking, Pinchas has set an example for all of us, showing how to bring about this transformation of the people of Israel from spiritual deprivation to virtuousness. Namely, that whenever it is possible to further the moral or spiritual standing of others, one should not stand back and ponder if there is someone greater or better than themselves for the task …rather, like Pinchas one must rise to the moment without hesitation! This means you and me, whenever possible, and with whatever means and knowledge… we must facilitate truth and seek to help the whole house of Israel!
But does this mean we follow his exact example? Should we kill anytime we see someone going against God’s law or hurting the children of Israel or bringing a curse on themselves? I feel led to speak on this lest anyone misunderstand the principle behind what Pincus was doing and think they are justified in acting out any form of violence in the name of God! God granted Pinchas the soul of Eliyahu to carry out his mission , likewise, God will infuse every one of us with the necessary spirit to transform our current exile to a state of redemption! It is our job, however, to galvanize that spirit into action… But with action that is in conformity with the character of God! In other words non violence. Notice that Elijah also used violence and killing the 450 prophets of Ba’al, but then fell into deep despair after. (Both Pinchas and Eliyahu were abiding by the law they knew at that time, as they both new the laws commanding that Idol worshippers be killed. Furthermore there was a law that was passed down from Moshe, that if a man is seen having relations with a non-Jewish woman in public, in other words, in the presence of 10 or more Jews, then if zealots strike him and kill him they are considered to be zealous for Hashem and praiseworthy. This law has been passed down from Moses at Mount Sinai. However, the zealot is only allowed to strike at the actual time when they’re sinning , as in the case of Zimri where the verse states he “pierced both of them right through the abdomen”. However, once they have separated, he is no longer permitted to kill them and if he did kill one of them at this point he would be guilty of murder liable for the death penalty.
The thing is we have been given a greater revelation through the living Torah with the written Torah than even Pinchas and Elijah had through only the written Torah… They were operating with the present truth of that day and with the understanding that they had, but without any self-interest or personal anger they exhibited a righteous indignation for the name of the Lord and upholding the one true God of Israel that we should have as well! Let’s read on from bamidbar numbers 25:10-
Lesson 7 – The Importance of a heart for Peace!
10God spoke to Moshe, saying: ”Pincus, the son of a Elazer the son of Aharon the priest, has turned my anger away from the children of Israel by zealously avenging me in their presence, and I did not destroy the children of Israel because of my zealous anger. 12Therefore, say to him
I am hereby giving him my covenant of peace. It will be an the eternal covenant of priesthood for him, and for his descendants after him, because he was zealous for his God an atoned for the children of Israel!”Numbers 25:12
To insure that there is no question as to Pinchas’ character, Hashem inspired the Torah scribes to write Pinchas פִּינְחָס with a tiny “yod” revealing his selflessness. Here we see he was not acting on his own behalf, nor reacting, but acting on behalf of the Almighty! Hashem said, “He is zealous as I am” showing the selfless spirit in which he acted. And then when Hashem rewarded him saying, “I am giving him my covenant of “shalom”, making a covenant with him and his descendants after him, that the office of Cohen priest will be theirs forever, because he was jealous on behalf of his God and made atonement for the people of Israel” we not only see a hidden prophecy of Yeshua who would come through his future lineage but also the fact that his spirit was grieved in the act in which he performed this atonement is revealed by a broken “vav” in the word Shalom. “vav” is the 6th letter of the Hebrew alphabet representing man and not only was Pincus’ “shalom” broken in vindicating God against his fellow man but it also points to the Prince of peace whose peace was temporarily broken to bring us peace!
Lesson 8 – Character is more important than Lineage!
Another reason the Hebrew scripture may show Pinchas’ peaceful spirit was broken was that Pinchas’ lineage was from intermarriage with someone grafted in from Yitro’s family…. Remember Exodus 6:25 which said,
And Eleazar Aaron’s son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bore him Phinehas…”
Notice the Torah stresses again a second time in verse 11 that Pincus was the son of a Elazer the son of Aaron the priest, even though this was already stated in verse 7. This is because the tribes ridiculed him, saying, “Have you seen the descendant of Puti [referring to Yitro the priest of Midian], whose mother’s father fattened calves for Idol worship, and yet he killed a leader of one of the tribes of Israel?” Therefore, scripture traces his lineage to Aaron from his father’s line.
Kli Yakar tells us that the tribes ridiculed him because it was difficult to believe that a person whose own father Elazar married someone who was not born pure Jewish should feel genuine indignation against Zimri, the leader of the tribe of Shimon, for cohabitating with a non Jewish woman. They felt since Pinchas’ mother was an idolater, it’s hard to believe that he could be genuinely disgusted by the false idol worship of Ba’al Peor. This should give all hope no matter what your lineage!
The tribes felt that this Phineas was not only of an impure lineage but that he was have impure motives (passed down from Yitro) but they were mistaken. Rashi explains scripture traces his lineage to Aaron indicating that Pinchas actually inherited the nature of Aaron, who pursued peace and brought people who were fighting with each other to love each other” And this was further proof that Pinchas’ intentions had indeed been pure. In regards to his lineage, this teaches us that once someone converts to the God of Israel and is grafted into Israel no one can ever after question his being a part of Israel as a native born!
Lesson 9 – The Connection between, Pinchas, Elijah, Yochanan and us with the Elijah message today!
Pinchas, a priest descended from mixed intermarriage,
was zealous for the God of Israel, and in his day stood up against the sins of
the Nation and dealt with the civil leaders who were having a wrong
relationship with beautifully deceptive dancing women and joining in their worship
to a Pagan false god.
Now fast forward to the days of Eliyahu haNavi…
Elijah the prophet, of a priestly line who also had questionable lineage of mixed intermarriage, was said to have had the spirit of Pinchas, was also zealous for the God of Israel against the sins and Idol worship that we’re leading the people astray, and stood up against the sins of the nation And dealt with the civil leaders of his day who were the King and Queen! Ahab, the king of Israel, was having a wrong relationship with a pagan woman named Jezebel, deceiving the people with dancing false prophets and false teachings and killing the prophets of God and thus brought a plague upon the land.
John. a priest from the family of Pinchas and Zadok, was said to have the spirit of Elijah and Pinchas in Yeshua’s day, and he too followed this model of standing up against the sins of the nation of Israel by dealing with the civil leader of his day, Harod who was having a wrong relationship with a pagan woman named Herododus, and she to had a dancing deceiver, her daughter Salome, who deceived Harod into killing God’s prophet John!
In Bible prophecy we seethat a harlot woman represents a false pagan system of worship. In our day it is prophesied that there will be righteous, zealous men with the spirit of Elijah in the final generation preceding Messiah is coming, calling God’s people to repentance and calling out the leaders who are leading the people astray. All who are called to this high calling will have to stand up for truth against the sins of the nation by dealing with the civil leaders and authorities who are having a wrong relationship with a false system of pagan religion which seeks to control the whole world and who will eventually, it is prophesied, kill the prophets and bring about the plagues.
How are we to handle this in our day, with our double portion of understanding in Yeshua?
When we study the Torah do we live in the past? Do we follow each past example exactly? Or are we to learn by the principles behind the righteous patriarchs and prophets of the past and seek to apply them in the present! The stories of old not only teach us certain deeper principles but more than anything teach us about God’s faithfulness and the attributes of the Divine source that we are to emulate!
Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything. There’s a time for correction… and then there is a time of spiritual growth. There’s a time for righteous zealousness like Pincus but there’s also a time for peace and healing and forgiveness… There is also a time for learning from the past while preparing for the future… and a time for prophecy and preparing to be used by God! We should never live in fear of what is going to happen to us, like Pinchas, Elijah and John, for if we did, we would be robbing ourselves of the gift of hearing from Hashem in the present moment! We must seek to not only live in the present moment but to practice hearing God’s voice in the present moment so we know what to do and when to do it!
We must not only know what we will do within the confines of Yah’s character, but also what we will not do, while only living God’s character of selfless love and reflecting it in all situations! Yeshua said, “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword”. If and when we are confronted while speaking out against the sins of the leaders and Nations, we must resolve to not operate in the mentality of defensiveness or reaction… whether faced with opposition when calling people to repentance or even death for our faith… We must resolve not to ever operate in the realm of violence or force… And even while we come out of Babylon, against the powers to be, we must know how to practice civil disobedience without any violence…
For Pinchas, he did something with righteous indignation and zealousness according to the light he had… but we have even greater light in this day and must be sure that we operate on an even higher level as the final generation with a double portion of understanding through Yeshua and reflect Yah’s character of selfless love in all that we do and all that we say!
We must, while learning from the past, also embrace the gift of prophecy and Present Truth while acting upon our knowledge of God in the PRESENT! This is what Pinchas was doing and why God gave him such a wonderful promise and blessing as to have his descendants always in the priesthood!
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Torah Parashah teaching with video and audio and illustrations by Rabbi Isaac. © 2020 Assembly of Called-Out Believers. Use by Permission.