When Star Wars Start Wars
Shavuot and Bamidbar "In the wilderness"
Numbers 1:1-4:20
Hosea 2:1-2:23
Psalm 122 
Hebrews 12:22-23
Photo by  Vincentiu Solomon  on  Unsplash

We've begun a new book of the Torah,  Bamidbar , which means "In the wilderness" (Book of Numbers in English translations).  The wilderness seems like a strange place to begin a courtship.  It's dry, with little vegetation.  Days are hot and windy, and nights are cold and windy.  It's windy in the wadis, and it's windier on the mountains.  Dry skin, bleak scenery, and every day's a bad hair day.  Not exactly conducive to romance, is it?  

Nevertheless, the wilderness is where Adonai took Israel to woo her and prepare her for her ascent to the Promised Land.  The clarification from the haftorah reading in Hosea gives a clue:

Therefore, behold!- I shall seduce her and lead her to the wilderness, and speak to her heart.  I shall give her vineyards from there and  the desolate valley will be  a portal of hope ; and she will call out there as in the days of her youth and as on the day of  her ascent ( alotah from Egypt." (Ho 2:16-17)

Let's think what was established in the wilderness that could be prophecy and a portal of hope.  First, there were signs ( otot) and miracles that led Israel into the wilderness.  Second, there was an established order by which the tribes arranged themselves.  Third, there was a Mishkan (Tabernacle) established at the center of the camp.  

The Mishkan

The Mishkan was the focal point of the Israelite camps and their worship. By commandment, ( mitzvah) the sacrifices were brought to the door, or patach, the "portal" of the Mishkan for slaughter.  In each of those sacrifices was some prophecy of the steps needed to ascend to both physical Israel and the Garden: olah (ascent), asham (guilt, debt repayment), shlamim (wholeness, peace), chataat (sin) etc. In Yeshua, the Living Word, each of those sacrifices brought hope to the portal in the desolate wilderness valleys.

Where there is hope, a human being can bear fruit.  Where there is no hope, a human being becomes confused, and then she freezes, unable to grow.  The Hope of Israel, Yeshua, opens the doorway to restoration even in a desert place.  Things are sorted out in the wilderness, and in that ordered place, Israel can grow into a beautiful vineyard in dry places.

The mitzvot of sacrifice opened a portal of hope in the desolate place. From the foundational Ten Commandments grew the additional statutes and ordinances to prepare Israel for a new habitation on the other side of the wilderness.  Review the root of mitzvah:

צָוָה   tsâvâh ; to  constitute, enjoin:-appoint, (for-) bid, (give a) charge, (give a, give in, send with) command(- er , - ment ), send a messenger
put, (set) in order .

The order of the camps around the Mishkan, and the Levites who camped around the inner precinct to guard the portal, established an orderly system by which Israel could grow, just as the Ten Utterances established a Creation whereby humankind could grow and bring forth fruit:

By faith we understand that  the worlds were prepared by the word of God , so that what is seen was not made out  of  things which are visible
(He 11:3)

Yeshua is the Living Word of God.  By the commandment of the Father, the Word prepared the order of Creation in the visible world.  The Father sent the messenger, the Word.  This helps us to understand why the commandment is both a messenger and a order-keeper.  The days of Creation are carefully numbered and ordered.  Faith is the essential element to having hope that there is a portal in the wilderness, that even though we can't "see" the spirit of Life in the commandments, we know that Yeshua has ordered and opened the way.  What kind of Israelite keeps commandments only because they make sense?  Their deepest essence is invisible!

The Armies of Israel

There are homophones in Hebrew, words that sound alike, but have different meanings.  Sometimes those two words are complementary, lending insight to the other.  In Bamidbar, Numbers 1:2-3, a census was taken of each tribal camp (except Levi) by how many males above the age of 20 could go out to war (tzavah). Hear the similarity between mitzvah (to order) and tzavah (to make war)?  

An army (tzavah) must obey commands (mitzvot) of the Commander (Metzaveh)!  Like the camps from which they are counted, the tzavah must have an established order, which gives hope that Israel can protect the inner camp of the Levites, who in turn protect the portal of hope at the center of Israel, the Mishkan. Now here's an interesting turn of phrase: 

Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women ( ha-tzovot ) who served ( tzva-u ) at the doorway ( petach ) of the tent of meeting. (Ex 38:8)

וַי ַּ עַש ׂ  אֵת  הַכ ִּ יּוֹר  נְחֹש ֶׁ ת  וְאֵת  כ ַּ נּו ֹ  נְחֹש ֶׁ ת  ב ְּ מַרְאֹת   הַצֹּבְאֹת  אֲש ֶׁ ר  צָבְאו ּ   פֶּתַח  אֹהֶל  מוֹעֵד ׃

In this description, there are women described as "serving" at the portal of the Tent of Meeting, or Ohel Moed, in the wilderness.  In Hebrew, the doubled use of tzavah denotes warriors, armies, hosts executing commandments: "the female armies who made war at the doorway..."

Compare the above description of the portal to Psalm 68:11:

The Lord gives the  command; t he women who proclaim the  good  tidings (basar, gospel) are a great host (צָבָא).

There is more than one way to make war.  There are armies who go out and fight with spears and shields, and there are those who guard the portal of hope in the wilderness and proclaim the Good News of the Living Word.  This principle is immediately applicable in all generations.  Guard your hope in the Word, Yeshua.  Proclaim it.  Camp and serve on the foundation of that faith and hope.  The prophetess Channah did so in faith until and after she saw the infant Yeshua:

She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.   At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Lk 2:37-38)

Armies, or "hosts" are first mentioned in Genesis 2:1:  " Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts."  Here are the definitions of tzavah צָבָא:
  1. that which goes forth, army, war, warfare, host
    1. army, host
      1. host (of organised army)
      2. host (of angels)
      3. of sun, moon, and stars
      4. of whole creation
    2. war, warfare, service, go out to war
So a tzavah can be a human army, a division of angels, or the sun, moon, and stars.  In all cases, it is a large number, or "host."  Exodus 6:26 refers to Israel as hosts:  "the LORD said, 'Bring out the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts.'"  Each of those hosts of Israel was assigned to a tribe, and each tribe was assigned a place to camp.  It was in these ordered camps that warriors were made, whether to go out to war or to go in to the portal of hope.

The Camp

Every person has a camp, a standard, and an army.  The individual really has no identity apart from these three.

The  sons of Israel shall camp, each man by his own  camp , and each man by his own  standard (degel) , according to their  armies .   But  the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony (Mishkan HaEdut)...  (Nu 1:52-53)

The standard was a degel, which is a division, an object, banner, or flag marking that division.  In modern use, it is a flag. On each degel was an ot, or insignia of that tribe. 

The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own  standard ( degel ), with the  banners ( otot of their fathers' households; they shall camp  around ( saviv the tent of  meeting ( ohel moed ) at  a distance . (Nu 2:2)

Our First Mention clues are  saviv , the description of how the Rivers of Eden moved around the Garden.  The second clue is moed , which is the seasons/feast days established on Earth on Day Four of Creation.  The next clue is otot , or signs, from Day Four of Creation:

Then God said, "Let there be  lights  in the  expanse  of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for  signs (ototand for 
seasons (moedim and for days and  years...He made the stars also." (Ge 1:14-16)

The lights in the heavens are signs to Israel, and they are the signs of Israel. What the idolatrous world has twisted into signs of the zodiac was actually a system of signs placed into the stars and planets of the Fourth Day of Creation.  The stars, like the sun, moon, and planets, gave testimony concerning the moedim, the appointed times of Israel, which are actually the appointed times of Heaven's hosts.  

Only in synchronizing with the moedim, the feasts of Israel, does Israel confirm their signs in the Heavens from Creation, the signs established by the Living Word, Yeshua.  It is then that they experience the portal of hope established by Yeshua at the Tent of Meeting (Ohel Moed) and Tabernacle of Testimony (Mishkan HaEdut).  The heavenly hosts, as well of the hosts of Israel, testify to the CREATOR at the appointed times and seasons.  Abraham's children are the stars he counted on to testify to the appointed times established by the Ancient of Days:

It is He who  sits above the  circle (chug) of the earth... Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain a nd spreads them out like a tent (ohel) to dwell in. (Is 40:22)

A chug is the same root word as chag, another word for moedim, the appointed times of Israel.  Here is the last two words of the verse above. Examine the last part of the verse ("like a tent to dwell in") without vowels:

כָּאֹהֶל לָשָֽׁבֶת

Do you see the double-entendre?  "Like a tent for Shabbat."  What a hope is prophesied by the camps, banners, and insignias of Israel!  What a testimony!
Do you realize what a star you are when you observe the Shabbat and appointed sabbaths of His moedim?  

The prophetess and judge Deborah was a righteous woman who proclaimed the Good News to Israel.  When by Adonai's command she raised an army to fight against Sisera's iron chariots, not every tribe would go with her.  Some did, though, and with that remnant who went out to war at Deborah's command, there was victory.  In fact, the "stars" in Heaven fought for Israel:

The stars fought from  heaven, from  their courses they fought against  Sisera . (Judges 5:20)

Jewish tradition says that when the Israelites saw the divisions of angels accompanying the Holy One at the giving of the Torah at Sinai, they, too, desired to be arrayed in divisions, or degelim, to mirror those righteous messengers and warriors of Heaven.  Those divisions represented the aspect of angels, who are not jealous of one another, for they exist only to serve and execute the commands of their Creator.  This is derived from the degel of the Levites camped close to the portal of hope and who  represented all the tribes:

All  who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, by their families, all the males from a month old and above, were twenty-two thousand . (Nu 3:39)

This number apparently matched the hosts of angels that descended at Sinai with the Holy One at the giving of the Torah:  

The chariots of God are two myriads, two thousands; God is among them at Sinai, in holiness. (Ps 68:18)

The chariots of Sisera were no match for the stars, the chariots of God who fought for Deborah and the Israelites.  When Israel makes war to protect the holy commandments, then stars and chariots are activated above, in holiness.  The portal of hope in the wilderness opens up.

He has brought me to his  banquet hall, and  his banner  ( degel ) over  me is love . (Song of Songs 2:4) 

T he Jewish interpretation of " degel " is that it exists in two realms: lower and upper, natural and spiritual.  It is merged in the Garden in a relationship of love, wine, and fruits.  How we "camp" now is how we will camp at the resurrection.  As Paul wrote, faith, hope, and love are the passwords and life skills of successful camping by the portal in the wilderness.  

With faith, hope, and love, the eyes are healed, and Israel sees that it is really camping in a vineyard potentially full of fruit at Sinai.  They are preparing to continue their ascent from Egypt:

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of  angels,  to the general assembly  and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.   (He 12:22-23)

The "general assembly"?

Okay, you're gonna love this.  Really, you are.  The Greek definition of "general assembly" is cognate to moed in Hebrew:

STRONGS  NT 3831:    b.  universally,  a public festal assembly ; so in  Hebrews 12:22 (23) where the word is to be connected with  ἀγγέλω . The  Septuagint for מועֵד

The myriads gathered to the  moedim  below prophesy of the myriads gathered to the  moedim in Heaven  above.  The hosts mirror one another. What a star you are when you testify to the appointed times, obey them, camp in their order, and "war" for them in faith, hope, and love!  Israel's faith on earth starts the angelic chariot wheels rolling, Star Wars in Heaven.  

Do you not know? Have you not heard?   Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?   Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? (Is 40:21)

Don't know which camp, degel, or ot you should be assigned to?  It doesn't matter!  The fact that you gladly desire to go up to Jerusalem at the appointed times is a sign and signature itself in Psalm 122:

I was glad when they said to me,  "Let us go to the house of the L ORD ."
Our feet are standing w ithin your gates, O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, that is built a s a city that is compact together;
To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the L ORD
An ordinance for Israel- t o give thanks to the name of the L ORD .
For there thrones were set for judgment, t he thrones of the house of David.

The Word has order, and all will eventually be put in order.  Even when some tribes were feckless, like those who wouldn't follow Deborah to war, other tribes stepped up and operated in the signs of the missing ones. Cultivate fruit in the wilderness vineyard; cultivate from the Word.  Be glad to go up at the appointed times, especially Shabbat.  That's how you put a foot in the portal in the wilderness.  Make war with your faith and hope in Yeshua, the Door of Heaven in the wilderness. His degel over you is love.

And now abide faith, hope,  love , these three; but the  greatest  of these  is   love .  (1 Co 13:13)

As we camp, so shall our journey be.  

Chag Shavuot Sameach!

!חג שבועות שמח

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