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Thursday, December 5 2013
Numbers 17: Aaron's Almond Rod
"Behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds"
The almond is an ancient tree that originated in the Middle East, where humanity itself originated (see Genesis 10: The First Nations Of The New World). As such, almonds were well-known to the Israelites and to the nations from which they originated (e.g. see The LORD's Seed Covenants With The Two Men Of Iraq and Genesis 38: The First Jews). Similar in appearance to the peach tree, to which it is related, the almond tree has early blossoms that are quite beautiful (see the illustration below).
The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ; see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) had the lampstands, or "candlesticks" as the King James Version translates them, decorated with oil bowls in the shape of almond blossoms (see the Fact Finder question below). Aaron's rod, that was used for various miracles, including defeating Pharaoh's sorcerers (see also What Is Sorcery?), was made from a branch of an almond tree (see Exodus 4: Signs For Israel, Exodus 7: The Waters Turned To Blood and Exodus 8: Let My People Go).
The tribe of Levi had been set apart to serve the LORD, by teaching and serving His people through the priesthood (see Exodus 26: The First Christian Tabernacle and Numbers 4: The Levite Clans). Moreover, the Levite High Priest was a prophetic figure of Christianity and of the Messiah (see Leviticus 8: The Prophecy Of The Blood Upon The Anointed One and Leviticus 23: The True Christian Holy Days).
Unfortunately, the Israelites that came out of Egypt chose to become stubborn and rebellious (see Numbers 11: Winners and Whiners). They repeatedly rebelled against the LORD, to which the LORD repeatedly responded with signs and wonders to help the rebels see the Light. Immediately after a most-recent uprising, the LORD provided them with another demonstration "to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you." The word "children" there refers to the fully-adult descendants (i.e. "children") of Jacob (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria, Genesis 32: The Origin Of Israel, Genesis 46: The First Census Of Israel and Exodus 1: I Will There Make Of Thee A Great Nation). As it would happen, it would be the first and second generation children of those "children" who would enter the Promised Land forty years later (see Deuteronomy: The Law and History Lessons By Moses) because the adults of the Exodus refused their opportunity to be home (see Numbers 13: The Exploration Of The Promised Land and Numbers 14: Why 40 Years In The Sinai?; also Numbers 15: Why Fringes On The Border?).
"17:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 17:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod. 17:3 And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers. 17:4 And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you. 17:5 And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you." (Numbers 17:1-5 KJV)
A rod from each tribe (see also Numbers 2: Israel's Battle Formation) was brought to the Tabernacle for the demonstration.
"17:6 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. 17:7 And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness." (Numbers 17:6-7 KJV)
The next morning, "the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds."
"17:8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. 17:9 And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod." (Numbers 17:8-9 KJV)
The LORD was giving them yet another opportunity to wake up and live: "Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not."
"17:10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not. 17:11 And Moses did so: as the LORD commanded him, so did he.
Everything that the Levite priesthood was given to do, and the place where they were given to do it, was a living prophecy of Christianity and the Messiah (again, see Leviticus 8: The Prophecy Of The Blood Upon The Anointed One and Leviticus 23: The True Christian Holy Days). Aaron's rod of almonds was placed in the Ark of the Covenant, where it remains to this day.
"9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Fact Finder: Did the Menorah have oil "bowls made like unto almonds" (KJV)?
This Day In History, December 5
63 BC: Marcus Tullius Cicero (commonly-known simply as Cicero), consul of Rome, delivered the fourth and final of the Catiline Orations. The Catiline Orations (or Catilinarian Orations) were speeches to reveal to the Roman Senate the plot of Lucius Sergius Catilina and his allies to overthrow the Roman government. Rome existed as a republic (see The Politics Of Rome) before it restored its monarchy to begin its empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
1484: Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull (see Papal Bull) condemning the spread of witchcraft and "heresy" in Germany; he ordered that all accused persons were to be executed.
1492: Christopher Columbus "discovered" Haiti (the existing people of the island already knew that it was there; see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).
1496: King Manuel I expelled Jews from Portugal.
1560: King Francis II of France died at age 16 after reigning 1 year.
1594: Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator died at age 82. The still commonly-used Mercator Projection map is named after him.
1766: Christie's of London held their first auction.
1791: Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died at age 35.
1904: Japanese forces devastated the Russian fleet at Port Arthur in Korea.
1916: David Lloyd George became the Prime Minister of Britain.
1921: Britain reached an accord with Sinn Fein to permit Ireland to become an independent country.
1945: In one of the most famous "Bermuda Triangle" disappearances, the "Lost Squadron" (5 U.S. Navy Avenger bombers with a total of 14 crew) took off on a routine training mission from the Naval Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While many believe that the lead pilot simply became lost due to disorientation and/or navigational equipment failure (as radio transmissions within the flight overheard by other aircraft in the area indicated) and led the squadron out to sea where they ran out of fuel and were lost, others regard the disappearance as somehow supernatural.
1975: Less than a month after describing Zionism as racism (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism), the United Nations General Assembly (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Balfour Declaration to understand the role of the UN in the establishment of the modern state of Israel) ordered Israel to return all "occupied Arab land" (that the Arab nations lost in battle after they attacked Israel) without qualification (that is, without peace treaties), and to "restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinians." It was one of the most anti-Jewish, hypocritical demands ever made by the United Nations General Assembly, and the Israeli government rightfully refused.
1978: The Soviet Union signed a 20 year "friendship pact" with then-communist Afghanistan. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan a year later, in December 1979, at the "request of the government of Afghanistan" to assist in the fight against the Mujahideen, an allied group of Afghan opposition groups who were being supported and armed by the U.S. and Britain (as well as a number of Muslim nations in the Middle East whose existing pro-western dictatorships were being threatened by the communist dictatorships). Ironically, when the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan, and the U.S. invaded Afghanistan after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. ended up fighting the same insurgents that it once armed and supplied in their fight against the Russians - they were called "freedom fighters" when they were fighting the Russians but "terrorists" when they fought the U.S.
1999: Bert Hoffmeister died at age 92. He was the most decorated Canadian solder of the First World War; he also received the Legion of Merit from the U.S., the Order of Orange Nassau from the Netherlands and the Military Order of Italy (listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).