Old Testament: Numbers 6:1-7:89
Numbers 6: 1 – 21 No Razorites
What did Samson, Samuel, Paul, and John The Baptist have in common? They were all Nazirites Judges 13: 5, 7, 16: 17; 1Samuel 1:11-28; Luke 1: 45; Acts 18:18). (Jesus was a Nazarene from Nazareth not a Nazirite). Nazirites took a vow of commitment and devotion to the Lord that included three things 1) no drinking of wine, alcoholic beverages, or eating any part of the vine or seed 2) no cutting of their hair 3) no touching or coming close to dead bodies even of close relatives. The vow could be taken for life or for a designated period of time. A man or a woman could take a Nazirite vow. If a Nazirite touched a dead body accidentally, there had to be an elaborate ceremony before the time of consecration could be resumed.
Numbers 6: 22 – 27 Bless You!
Aaron’s benediction was one of the best in the Bible. You can use it in church. Numbers 6: 25, “Make His face shine on you,” was a blessing of prosperity. Numbers 6: 26, “Peace,” was Shalom, the Hebrew word which connoted contentment and joy.
Numbers 7: 1- 9 No. 2, But Trying Harder
Except for Ps. 119, this is the longest chapter in the Bible. That makes it No. 2.
A month earlier, the commands had been given on how to transport the Tabernacle. The 12 tribal leaders brought gifts of six wagons and 12 oxen for this purpose. They were for the Levites (v. 4, 5). The Gershonites received two carts and four oxen (v. 7). The Mararites received four carts and eight oxen (v. 8). Kohathites received no carts and no oxen because they were supposed to move things on their shoulders (v. 9 cf. 4: 15). One of the most consternating accounts in Scripture is in 2Sam. 3 – 8 when Uzzah is . . . well, you should read it. It haunted me for years after seminary. I thought if poor Uzzah didn’t have a chance, how could I please God in ministry? The answer is that God’s stipulations were repeated in the Old Testament and very clear. Certain items were supposed to be transported in a certain way. I’m sure Uzzah is in Heaven and was well-meaning. But it’s not like he wasn’t warned.
The Merarites had to transport the heavier items of the Tabernacle’s wooden and metal framework (cf. Num. 4:31-32). That’s why they were given more carts and oxen than the Gershonites.
Numbers 7: 10- 89 Gifts x 12
The 12 leaders were literally, “elevated ones.” They all brought identical items as gifts on 12 consecutive days. This section seems to be written in the Department of Redundancy Department. The emphasis shows God’s appreciation for the leaders and their gifts. The gifts were for the maintenance of the Tabernacle. The Lord was so pleased that He spoke to Moses audibly from between the cherubim on the Mercy Seat of the Ark.
New Testament: Mark 12:38-13:13
Mark 12: 38 – 40 Going Down?
Dante wrote an allegory of Hell called The Inferno. He was a Roman Catholic. Despite this, he places religious leaders in some of the deepest parts of Hell. He writes of nine levels and has several popes in the eighth level. Satan is on the bottom of the ninth floor. Was Dante right to write of degrees of punishment in Hell. Yes, he was. This passage would indicate such. They will receive “greater condemnation” (v. 40). Also, check out Mt. 11:20-22; Luke 12: 47, 48; John 19:11 and Heb. 10: 29. These dudes were clearly in the ministry for the wrong reason.
Mark 12: 41 – 44 A Rich Poor Woman
Jesus was watching people put money into the treasury of the Temple. Rich people were putting in a lot of money but a poor woman only put in a couple lepta, the smallest bronze coin in circulation in Palestine (cf. Bible Knowledge Commentary). They were worth 1/64 of a Roman denarius or approximately a day’s wage for a common laborer (see BKC). Mark converted the amount for his Gentile Roman readers, “a cent.”
Should we tithe? That would be giving ten percent. Jesus said if someone had two coats he should give one away (Luke 3: 11). That would be fifty percent. The widow put in 100%. The most extensive passage on giving is in 2Cor. 8, 9. Those two chapters could be summed up in 2Cor. 9:6, 7, “Now this [I say], he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one [must do] just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” God knows our hearts. We should give accordingly and only with joy.
Mark 13: 1 – 13 I’ll Take A Court
Jesus was taking a tour of the Temple with the disciples. The boys were raving about the building. Jesus told them the entire edifice would be completely razed.
The twelve guys wanted to know when that would happen. Jesus said that there would be antichrists that would come (v. 6) and wars, earthquakes, and famines. These things will only be the “beginning of birth pangs” (v. 8). Those of us who are Dads know what that means. The contractions have started and it’s time to head quickly to the hospital! It’s just about that time. Do you notice earthquakes, wars, or famines? (Luke 21: 25 may even speak of tsunamis!) An antichrist is anyone who preaches a gospel other than the one in the Bible. Theological liberalism, cults, watering down the gospel of faith alone all fall into this category. The Apostle John said there were antichrists in his time already (1John 2: 18). They have multiplied exponentially in our day.
Jesus warned the disciples that they would be taken to the courts and flogged. They will stand before kings and governors to testify about Jesus. They need to worry about what to say because the Holy Spirit will help them (v. 11). The gospel will be preached to all the nations (v. 10). During this time, even close family will betray believers (v. 12) and even turn them over to be killed. Everyone will hate believers during this time but whoever “endures to the end . . . will be saved.” The events described in this passage have a dual fulfillment. They were true for the disciples in the first century. They will also have a fulfillment in the time of the tribulation after the Rapture. Whoever endures through this seven-year period will be “saved” into the New Age of the Millennium and Christ’s reign. They will receive their glorified bodies.