Messianic Education Trust
(Num 8:1 - 12:16)

B'Midbar/Numbers 8:2   "Speak to Aharon and say to him, 'When you kindle the lamps ...'"

From the English translation, we would have expected the Hebrew verb used here to be , which in the Hif'il stem means 'to kindle or set on fire' as we find in the blessings recited when lighting the candles at Hanukkah: , l'hadliych neyr shel Hanukkah. Instead, we find the verb , which in its simply form means 'to go up or ascend' and from which the modern word 'aliyah' - going up to live in the Land of Israel - is derived. In its Hiphil stem, as used here, it becomes causative: Aharon is told to make or cause the lights to rise up. Who Is ...

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 CE), French rabbi who wrote commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets and the Talmud, lived in Troyes where he founded a yeshiva in 1067; focuses on the plain meaning (p'shat) of the text, although sometimes quite cryptic in his brevity
Rashi comments that in order to make sure that the light is burning properly, it is necessary to kindle - hold the fire to the wick - for long enough that the flame rises from the light of its own accord; the light has been caused to rise.

G-d tells the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the scrublands of the Negev, "I will light a fire in you ... a blazing, unquenchable flame that will scorch every face ... All humanity will see that I, Adonai, lit it; it will not be put out" (Ezekiel 21:3-4, CJB). G-d lit a fire to raise up an unmistakable sign. He made sure the fire was large enough that it couldn't be put out - the fire was raised up to be unquenchable.

It is common among believers to talk of G-d raising up leaders, missionaries, teachers or other functions within the body - a recognition that it is G-d who calls and equips His people to accomplish the things that He has purposed. Indeed, the process of ordaining men as pastors and elders is simply man recognising what G-d has already done - other leaders lay hands on those who G-d has already raised up to occupy these positions. But G-d has not only raised up leaders - He has raised up each one of us. Each of us has been raised to spiritual life in Yeshua, and will be raised up by Yeshua on the last day (John 6:40).

The most significant act of raising that has ever been carried out is when G-d raised Yeshua from death. As Rav Sha'ul says, "But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep" (1 Cor 15:20, NASB). G-d caused Him to be raised from death, not only that death should be defeated and stripped of its power, but to demonstrate G-d's victory over sin and death through the obedience of the stake/cross and because death could not hold Yeshua. It is when we "confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that G-d raised Him from the dead" (Romans 10:9) that we are raised by G-d. He applies the fire of the Ruach HaKodesh to us until the light is raised up in us.

Further Study: 2 Corinthians 4:6-10; Matthew 5:14-16

Application: How is G-d's fire burning in your life? If your relationship with G-d simply smouldering, a gentle flame or an unquenchable blaze for all to see? How can you kindle a fresh flame of enthusiasm for G-d?

© Jonathan Allen, 2004

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