Parashat Naso - June 3rd

נשא Naso

Numbers 4.21—7.89

God chose one family to serve as his priests in the Tabernacle and the Temple. One of the main duties of the priest was to bless the people. A very special blessing was reserved exclusively for Aaron, the High Priest, and for all High Priests who would follow him. This blessing contained everything the people would need: God’s protection, his presence to accompany them, and his peace.

Part of the High Priest’s unique wardrobe was a kind of large pocket. Attached to this pocket, worn over Aaron’s heart, were twelve precious stones, each one engraved with the name of one of the tribes of Israel. “When Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will wear this breastpiece engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel, so that I, the Lord, will always remember my people.” (Exodus 28.29)

Just as Aaron entered into the Tabernacle in the wilderness carrying his people over his heart before God, and just as he came out from the presence of God to bless the people three times using the name of the LORD, so also one day many centuries later a much greater High Priest entered into the very presence of God in heaven.

“When Messiah went through the tent and entered once and for all into the Most Holy Place, . . . he took his own blood and obtained eternal salvation for us . . . For Messiah did not go into a Holy Place made by human hands, which was a copy of the real one. He went into heaven itself, where he now appears on our behalf in the presence of God.” (Hebrews 9.12, 24)

Jesus, God’s Messiah and Son, carried our names over his heart as he entered God’s eternal Tabernacle. Even now he continues to represent his people before his Father, carrying my name and yours over his heart.

 “Who, then, will condemn them? Not Messiah Jesus, who died, or rather, who was raised to life and is at the right side of God, pleading with him for us!” (Romans 8.34)

“Jesus lives on forever, and his work as priest does not pass on to someone else. And so he is able, now and always, to save those who come to God through him, because he lives forever to plead with God for them.” (Hebrews 7.24-25)

How glorious to know that our risen Lord is constantly representing us before his father!

[BSI/rp]

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Haftarah: Judges 13.2-25

Judges 13.3-6: “And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Behold, you are barren and have no children; but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore beware, and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for lo, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.’ Then the woman came and told her husband, ‘A man of God came to me, and his countenance was like the countenance of the angel of God, very terrible; I did not ask him whence he was, and he did not tell me his name.’”

Many see this as one of the appearances of the Messiah in the form of the Angel of the Lord. As in other places, he seems to those who see him to be a man, and yet they know that there is something supernatural about him (see Genesis 32.24 and Hosea 12.4; Joshua 5.13-15).

[BSI/rp]

 

 

A key part of this week's Torah Portion is the Aharonic blessing. "The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace". This blessing is referred to in the Psalm reading, and it's one of the most beautiful blessings in the Bible. As mentioned above, it appears on the oldest fragment of a biblical text ever found. In Jewish tradition we have made it a custom to bless our children with this blessing every Shabbat. Will the Lord listen to this prayer and bless us? Yes he will, as long as we are pure and our sin is atoned. And that can only be achieved through Jesus Christ.

 

The Aharonic blessing in Hebrew:

יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ.

יָאֵר יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ.

יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם.

 

Yevarechecha Adonai veYishmerecha.

Ya'er Adonai panav elecha vichuneka

Yisa Adonai panav elecha vaYasem lecha Shalom

 

Shabbat Shalom

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