In our world today all followers of Yahweh may be divided into three categories: (1) Those who are quite satisfied with the way things are going and have decided to make the best of what life is offering; (2) Those who are not satisfied with the way things are going and have also decided to make the best of what life is offering and (3) Those who are not satisfied with the way things are going and have decided to invest their time, energy and efforts into a lifestyle based upon the conviction that we are progressing towards a future restoration of all things. I believe that Scriptures are pointing towards this third approach to life and that all of us should have our eyes firmly fixed upon the future restoration of all things.
Those who love the Father often become confused and disillusioned when they read Scriptures and discover that their own experiences and walk with Yahweh do not match up with that of people like Mosheh and Shemuél and Daniél, to mention just a few. Towards the end of this week’s Torah portion, for example, we come across the following testimony about Mosheh’s walk with Yahweh and the way he experienced his relationship with the Father: Num 7:89 “And when Mosheh went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice of One speaking to him from above the lid of atonement that was on the ark of the Witness, from between the two keruvim. Thus He spoke to him.” Why don’t we have that, too, many would ask today. Why can’t we hear the voice of Yahweh, like Mosheh did? Why don’t we feel the tangible presence of the Almighty like some of our ancestors did? Why don’t we see the same kind of signs and miracles and wonders …?
Without trying to present a complete answer to these kind of questions, it may be helpful to point out only one aspect that many people tend to oversee or forget: Our own experience is different from that of our forerunners in belief, due to the fact that Yahweh chose to withdraw his presence (and the visible signs that go along with that presence) from among his people, BECAUSE OF SIN. How do we know this? We know this, among other things, by looking at the example of the physical temple. From day one, both the tabernacle and the temple were supposed to symbolize the very presence of Yahweh among his people. This may be seen quite clearly in a passage like Ex 25:8-9 “And they shall make Me a Set-apart Place, and I shall dwell in their midst. According to all that I show you – the pattern of the Dwelling Place and the pattern of all its furnishings – make it exactly so.”
Similarly, also from day one, it was pointed out very clearly that should Yisraél choose to disobey Yahweh’s commandments and disregard his words, He would remove his physical dwelling place from among their midst, as an indication that his presence is no longer with them. So, for example:
Deut 28:45-65 “And all these curses shall come upon you, and they shall pursue and overtake you … because you did not obey the voice of Yahweh your Elohim, to guard His commands and His laws which He commanded you … Yahweh brings a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth … and they shall besiege you at all your gates till your high and fenced walls, in which you are trusting, come down in all your land … and Yahweh shall scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other … and among those nations you are to find no rest, nor have a resting place for the sole of your foot.”
1 Kings 9:6-7 “If you at all turn back, you or your sons, from following Me, and do not guard My commands, My laws, which I have set before you, but shall go and serve other mighty ones and bow yourselves to them, then I shall cut off Yisraél from the face of the soil which I have given them, and send away from My presence this house which I have set apart for My Name. And Yisraél shall be a proverb and a mockery among all the peoples.”
Jer 26:4-6 “Thus said Yahweh, If you do not listen to Me, to walk in My Torah which I set before you, to listen to the words of My servants the prophets I am sending you, even rising up early and sending them – though you have not listened – then I shall make this house like Shiloh, and make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.”
This, of course, does not mean that Yahweh is not at all present in our world today. Or that his works cannot be seen at all or will never again be seen. Or that his words cannot be heard at all. Or that He has turned his back on Yisraél altogether and will never allow them to sense his presence again. There are prophesies in Scriptures that clearly indicate that Yahweh will reveal Himself and his majestic presence again and again, even in our own day, and most certainly later, when the world will see the restoration of all things and when his chosen people, Yisraél (in the widest sense of the word) will once again be the apple of Yahweh’s eye.
But looking at the absence of the temple today, and understanding why it has been destroyed, not once or twice but several times during the course of history, will most definitely help us to understand why our own experience of Yahweh’s presence is so different from that of the priests and the prophets and the apostles of old. By focusing on the Torah portion of this week only, it becomes clear just how pivotal and important the physical tabernacle and the temple had been, for the people of Yisraél to relate to Yahweh and to respond to his commandments.
1.The Lewites between the ages of 30 and 50 years had to be registered to do the service in the Tabernacle (Num 4:17-49 – GIVING ONE’S BEST YEARS FOR YAHWEH)
2. Anyone of the people of Yisraél who had committed a sin, was required to confess that transgression, do what is needed to restore the person affected and bring an atonement offering to the Tabernacle (Num 5:5-10 – ADOPTING A LIFESTYLE OF CONFESSION AND RESTORATION).
3.Any woman who is suspected to have transgressed against her husband, had to undergo a certain ritual in the Tabernacle to determine whether she was guilty or not (Num 5:11-31 – STANDING UP AGAINST ADULTERY AND INFIDELITY).
4.Any man or woman who had taken a Nazrite vow, had to comply with certain regulations and could only complete their days of separation by going to the Tabernacle (Num 6:1-21 – TAKING VOWS, WHEN NEEDED, TO HONOUR YAHWEH).
5.Anyone of the people of Yisraél who desired to receive a blessing from Yahweh, had to go to the Tabernacle so that one of the priests could bless them with the blessing of Aharon (Num 6:22-27 – REPEATING THE SAME, POWERFUL BLESSING UP TO THIS DAY).
6.All of the twelve tribe leaders of Yisraél were required to draw near to Yahweh by bringing a dedication offering to the Tabernacle (Num 7:1-88 – URGING LEADERS OF OUR DAY TO DRAW NEAR TO YAHWEH).
7.Mosheh went into the Tabernacle regularly, and when he did so, “he heard the voice of One speaking to him from above the lid of atonement that was on the ark of the Witness (Num 7:89 – SEEKING TO HEAR THE VOICE OF YAHWEH AND TALK BACK TO HIM, REGULARLY).
Even though we do not have a tabernacle or a temple today, we should never stop focusing on the restoration of all things. We can do this by taking to heart the eternal words and unchanging principles that were taught to his people since the beginning of time (some of which are printed in bold letters, above). And we can progress even one step further by helping others, that are not yet aware of these principles, to also see how valuable they are and how desperately the world need to adhere to them.