The Hosts Above and the Hosts Below

The unseen spiritual world above casts a reflection onto the surface of the material world. Sometimes we find that which is above in some other form down here below.

Collage of views of earth from space. (Image © FFOZ/Bigstock)


Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Bamidbar (במדבר | In the wilderness)
  • Torah: Numbers 1:1-4:20
  • Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-22
  • Gospel: Matthew 4:1-17

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Numbers 1:1 | The First Census of Israel
    • Numbers 2:1 | The Order of Encampment and Marching
    • Numbers 3:1 | The Sons of Aaron
    • Numbers 3:5 | The Duties of the Levites
    • Numbers 3:14 | A Census of the Levites
    • Numbers 3:40 | The Redemption of the Firstborn
    • Numbers 4:1 | The Kohathites
  • Prophets
    • Hos 2:2 | Israel's Infidelity, Punishment, and Redemption

Portion Summary

The Hebrew name of the fourth book of the Torah (also the name of the first reading) is Bamidbar (במדבר), which means "In the wilderness." It comes from the first words of the first verse, which say, "Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai" (Numbers 1:1). The English title of the book is "Numbers," which is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Torah. The book of Numbers tells the story of Israel's trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, their failure at the edge of the land and the subsequent forty years of wandering. It concludes with the story of the second generation's triumphs over the first Canaanite resistance. The book ends with the Israelites poised on the edge of Canaan, ready to take their inheritance. Woven in the midst of these narratives is a significant amount of legal material.

The first reading from Bamidbar and the thirty-fourth reading from the Torah begin with a census of the tribes of Israel and the Levitical families just prior to the departure from Sinai.

Earthly things reflect heavenly things. The Sanctuary on earth is a copy of the true heavenly Tabernacle above—the eternal dwelling place of the living God. The priesthood of the Sanctuary has a corresponding priesthood in the Tabernacle above; namely, the priesthood of the Messiah. Earthly institutions ordained by the Torah reflect heavenly realities.

If that which is below is a reflection of that which is above, then the hosts of Israel on earth must correspond to the hosts in heaven. This Torah portion offers a close look at the hosts of Israel. We see them numbered and counted. We see them divided into tribal identities. We see them encamped around the Tabernacle.

According to the sages, the encampments of Israel around the Tabernacle correspond to the placement of the angels around God’s throne. Likewise, the mustering of the hosts of Israel can be compared to the mustering of the hosts of heaven.

Revelation 19 offers us a glimpse of the Messiah as commander of the LORD’s hosts prepared for battle. He rides at the head of the host of heaven. As in the beginning of the book of Numbers, the hosts of the LORD are arrayed for war, ready to swoop into action. Angelic hosts will accompany Messiah into battle at the time of the second coming. Yeshua has twelve legions of angels at His disposal. The twelve legions correspond to the twelve tribes.

Revelation 19:14 describes “armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” The reference to the fine linen suggests more than just angels. Revelation 19:7-8 describes the righteous bride of Messiah as those clothed “in fine linen, bright and clean, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8). The ranks of the heavenly cavalry, mounted upon the white horses, include the righteous of the generations.

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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Torah Club is an interactive group Bible study that brings together disciples from diverse backgrounds to share the common ground of new discovery. This year only, Torah Clubs have the option of following the main study track commentary, Shadows of the Messiah. This deep dive into the Torah employs Jewish commentary and ancient Christian texts to reveal Messiah in the books of Moses.

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