Sermon given 13 October 2007

The Blessing in Numbers 6

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

At the Feast in Kentucky this year we had the blessing of the children and in that particular blessing of the children I personally like to use the scripture you find over in Numbers 6:22-27; I use this because it does seem to give an indication that these were the words that were used when blessings were placed on people in Old Testament times:

"And the [Eternal] spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them [now I agreed it was addressed to Aaron but I would imagine that Christ could certainly have used something like this], The [Eternal] bless thee, and keep thee: The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:22-26)

But the question is, what does it mean? What does it actually mean? In some ways, you can almost rabbit this off like a Catholic spiritual mumbo-jumbo. Literally; "The Eternal bless you and keep thee, the Eternal make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, the Eternal lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace." What does it mean? Why is it put this way? It says in Numbers 6:27:

"And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." (Numbers 6:27)

What is actually being done here? Is it just simply a vain repetition that you find in a scripture? Was is done without any real understanding or meaning? I thought is was appropriate since, we have used these words and the blessing of the children, to actually give us all a deeper understanding of the blessing that is found here in Numbers 6. And I want to show you, that far from being something that is meaningless or vain repetition or spiritual mumbo-jumbo, it has a great deal to actually teach us in the Church today. So that is what I would like to do today.

1. Verse 23: "Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them" (Numbers 6:23). So the question I want to ask first of all is, who is Israel?

2. Verse 24: "The [Eternal] bless thee, and keep thee:" (Numbers 6:24).

3. Verse 25: "The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:25). What does that mean?

4. Verse 26: "The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:26). What does that mean?

5. And the final verse where it says; "And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." (Numbers 6:27). So that is point number five.

So it breaks itself down very readily into a very easy application of the sermon outline onto these five verses that we have here. But I do feel that just going through it, it should give us all a greater understanding of this blessing that is found in Numbers 6. And it also, as I'll go on and show you, how it has a great deal to teach us in the Church today; it has a great deal to teach spiritual Israel.

Who Is Israel (PLAY FROM 03:22)

So in that concept, let's have a look therefore at this subject of who is Israel in God's eyes; in God's eyes who actually is Israel? Turn over to Romans 2:25. Mr Armstrong was reading from this section and it is not planned in that sense, it was simply a case that it was the next World Tomorrow in the list. {1} But he was dealing with this subject to a large degree within the 'World Tomorrow' today. But here it says:

"For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision [a lot of the Jews at that time were resting in the fact that they were circumcised, they were the promised people, they were Israel and therefore they were holding on to this]. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law [here were a group of Gentiles keeping the righteousness of the Law], shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?" (Romans 2:25-26)

In other words, they weren't circumcised on the eighth day as they should have been; but as soon as they understood about the Law and the way the Law had to be kept, they were keeping the Law to the best of their ability. Romans 2:27:

"And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?" (Romans 2:27)

You are doing things which are breaking the Law of God, even though you might have been circumcised the eighth day and have done the various rituals that are necessary. Romans 2:28:

"For he is not a Jew [the word 'Jew' literally means praise], which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew [or praised], which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:28-29)

It is the way God looks at people, it is the way God actually looks at who in fact is Israel in that regard. If you turn over to Romans 9:1, which again Mr Armstrong was quoting from this section of Romans 9, 10 and 11, where Paul is dealing with this subject. Here he begins the concept and it says:

"I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed [literally cut off] from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh [he has so much sorrow for the people that he sees, that he knew in the Pharisaical circles that he worked in before, who literally have not got the understanding]: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came [Christ was an Israelite of the tribe of Judah], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:" (Romans 9:1-6)

They are not all spiritually Israel, just has he was mentioning earlier on in chapter 2; the Jew is one that is inward, inward of the Spirit, and not after the flesh. Romans 9:6:

"...For they are not all Israel [they are not all spiritual Israel that are physical Israel], which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God..." (Romans 9:6-8)

Now notice that, they are not the children of God. Now you actually find where Israel's name was given to him; "And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." (Genesis 32:28). And he was wrestling with the one who became Christ and because he basically stuck to his guns, he hung onto things. He hung on to Him in this wrestling match, then Christ blessed him, he was asking for a blessing. So in this case, He actually said; "because you have striven with God, you have been a prince with God, you will therefore be called Israel", which means the prince of God. Now we are to be kings and priests. Isaiah 32:1:

"Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment." (Isaiah 32:1)

We will read that later. And those princes seem to be the ones who are within the Church today. It says here in Romans 9:8:

"That is, They which are the children of the flesh [that's fleshly Israelites], these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." (Romans 9:8)

They are counted as Israelites and as Mr Armstrong was reading earlier on, the Gentiles were actually grafted into Israel. We find in Revelation 12, that there is a continuation. That Israel carries on from the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose name was changed and it goes right the way through without a break and Christ comes into this Israel and the Church then carries on with that same name - spiritual Israel as the children of God.

Now we see this in Psalm 125. Turn back with me here and notice what this particular psalm actually says because it is talking about Israel, talking about Zion. And we find here that in God's eyes, the way He is looking at it and the way the psalmist, which I think is David, a song of degrees anyway:

"They that trust in the [Eternal] shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever." (Psalm 125:1)

Notice what it is saying here now, "They that trust in the Eternal". Remember all the children are not the children of God, all the seed are not the children of God. Here we are saying that "they that trust in the Eternal shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but abides for ever".

Now Mount Zion was removed physically, literally. You go to Jerusalem today the area that was Mount Zion, it was a mountain just South of the Temple Mount, and that particular area - because there was so much of a problem there - the whole area was scraped off. The entire mountain was removed. It says:

"...mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever [so it is not talking physically, it is not talking about the physical mountain at all]. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the [Eternal] is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity." (Psalm 125:1-3)

In other words you are not going to have the mixture that is there. Remember what it said at the beginning; "They that trust in the [Eternal] shall be as mount Zion..." (Psalm 125:1). And He is not going to mix the two together. Psalm 125:4:

"Do good, O [Eternal], unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the [Eternal] shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel." (Psalm 125:4-5)

Now this is talking again about spiritual Israel. Spiritual Israel which are trusting in the Eternal, being as mount Zion which is never going to be removed. It is not the physical mount Zion because that was removed. It is talking about a spiritual mount Zion. We find the same thing mentioned over in Galatians 6:11, we find here how Paul finishes the book of Galatians, it says:

"Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand [much of Galatians is talking about this Hellenistic Gnosticism which was incorporated not only in pagan religions but also in Jewish religions as well]. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ." (Galatians 6:11-12)

So there was this Gnosticism which was being mixed with the Judaism of the day and that they was actually constraining them to be circumcised, and constraining them to do much of the Cabbala that you will find in this Cabbala religion within Judaism today; that branch of Judaism. But here in Galatians 6:13 it says:

"For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, [except] in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new [creation, a new creation is what is important and this is what he is pointing out within the rest of the book]. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." (Galatians 6:13-16)

So here we see the Israel of God being talked about here; the true Israel. So when we are looking over in; "Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel..." (Numbers 6:23). And it is talking, yes, the children of Israel, but the true children of Israel are to be the children of God. That is what we are looking at in the future, saying unto them. So the blessing on who is Israel in God's eyes is very much the Israel of God, the people who are going to become kings and priests in the future. Princes ruling in judgement and administering the very law of God in a spiritual way, through the very Spirit of God. And this name of Israel, which means the prince of God, is being transferred across to the people of God themselves, as it says in Galatians 6:16:

"And as many as walk according to this rule [becoming a new creature, a new creation, the way God is actually working, creating His sons], peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." (Galatians 6:16).

It is that group that is so vitally important in God's mind and therefore in God's eyes as to who Israel is, you are looking at spiritual Israel today. You are not just looking at the physical Israelites. Now the physical Israelites are important in so far as He will gather them back into their land within the actual Millennial rule, but the people who will be over them, the people administering the very Kingdom of God will be the spiritual Israelites.

The Eternal Bless You, and Keep You (PLAY FROM 15:11)

So we therefore come to the first section, of this blessing, where it says:

"The [Eternal] bless thee, and keep thee:" (Numbers 6:24)

Now its basically understandable, I mean we can understand that pretty well, there is not a problem with that particular verse; "The [Eternal] bless thee, and keep thee:" (Numbers 6:24). Allow us to be blessed in whatever we do, look after us and keep us.

But if we want to get a greater insight into the words, it is very useful to find that particular word and the way in which it is used first of all within scripture. It is a principle that you find when you are doing Bible study, find what the word is in Hebrew or Greek or whatever, then go to the place where it is actually used first. If we do that and apply that principle here, we turn over to Genesis 1:21. Let us look at some of the times where this word 'bless', (Strong's H1288) is actually used, the first few times, that it is used Genesis 1:21:

"And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." (Genesis 1:21-22)

It was very much a physical blessing, a blessing that they would multiply and fill the earth. We find the same thing applied when we come down to Genesis 1:27 it says:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea..." (Genesis 1:27-28)

So here again we are seeing the same use of the word 'blessed'. And Genesis 2:3 is also quite interesting, the next time it is used:

"And God blessed the seventh day [there's a memorial of the creation, there's a blessing that is on the seventh day and those who actually keep it, incidently], and sanctified it [set it apart]: because that in it he had rested [He had Sabbatised] from all his work which God created and made." (Genesis 2:3)

So the blessing that we see is on the physical creation, the physical creation is blessed that is multiplies and fills the earth. Man himself is blessed in being over that physical creation and He then gives a Sabbath as a blessing as well.

It is interesting that when we come into the marriage ceremony, we actually refer to the blessing of marriage. When two people are married within the Church we point back to this area in Genesis about a man leaving his father and mother and cleaving to his wife and they shall be one flesh. And it talks about the actual blessing that is there, again from this verse that talks about how they are blessed; "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply..." (Genesis 1:28). It is a blessing within the marriage union. And certainly when we are looking at this initial blessing that is put on Israel of old and certainly I believe it can be applied to the Church as well, you see this word and the way it is used in these first cases.

What about the word keep? (Strong's H8104) Well again here in Genesis 2:15 we can find an interesting use of the word keep:

"And the [Eternal] God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." (Genesis 2:15)

The word 'keep' is the same word as being used in Numbers 6:24. So you understand now a little bit more about what God says when He says; "The [Eternal] bless thee, and keep thee:" (Numbers 6:24). It is looking after you the way man should be looking after this earth, and looking after the garden of Eden. Keeping it and looking after it, tending to it. In Genesis 3:22 you will find it also, which I thought was quite interesting:

"And the [Eternal] God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: [Verse 24] So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Genesis 3:22,24)

So here again we find it's protecting it, it is looking after it, making sure that the Tree of Life is preserved and used for the purpose that God requires. Interesting, the next one where the word used is translated as keep, is Genesis 4:9:

"And the [Eternal] said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9)

So that is the third use of that particular word in Genesis. Many times as we go to find what words mean and how they should be applied, they become quite interesting when you look at the first few uses of those words. And the first use of both the words 'to bless' and also 'to keep' is very interesting.

You can go a little bit further and you can then start; what about the use of these two words in proximity to one another? Within a few words of each other the same way as you will find over in Numbers 6:24. Well the first use in proximity is Genesis 18:18-19:

"Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the [Eternal], to do justice and judgment; that the [Eternal] may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." (Genesis 18:18,19)

However it is not used quite in the same way. It is talking about how Abraham kept the Laws; but where you are looking at 'blessing and keeping', turn over to Genesis 28:10:

"And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the [Eternal] stood above it, and said, I am the [Eternal] God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;" (Genesis 28:10-13)

And we are looking again; the seed is not just the physical seed, when we looked at who is Israel, you are looking at the ones who are the seed of God. Who are actually the children of God, that reflect the same mindset as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had. Genesis 28:14:

"And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed [there is a blessing]. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." (Genesis 28:14-15)

Now this is a pretty important event, particularly when you consider this particular pillow-stone, Genesis 28:22:

"And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." (Genesis 28:22)

That particular stone as far as we know is the stone of Scone. It is currently in Edinburgh for safe keeping, I personally believe. It was in Westminster Abbey. And we certainly wonder why was it moved? Every indication is that Christ will be crowned over that stone. Because every single king as far as they know was crowned, whether over it or I believe along side it, with a hand on it, in Israel. Certainly it is very, very likely indeed that that particular pillow-stone will survive and be used in the very coronation of the Messiah when He returns.

Interestingly there is even a tradition that the actual stone that Moses struck, the rock where out came water, again tradition in certain Jewish traditions are that this was the stone. This stone was actually carried with them through the desert. You do wonder about it. So here is the very beginning of the dynasty and the start of the tradition of that particular stone and it is talking about both blessing and keeping. And Jacob - the one who then became Israel, the very prince of God - this blessing and keeping was certainly linked right from the very word go.

Turn over to Revelation 3. When we look at the last usage of these words - now obviously you can't use the same word in Greek, because it was written in Hebrew in Numbers 6 - but it's the same basic intent. Over here you find as far as 'keeping' is concerned the application to Philadelphia. Now this, as we will go on and see as we go on into the other areas of the blessing, there is a great deal of significance as we come into these other areas of the blessing, we will find that they have an awful lot to teach us today at this specific time. Here it says:

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience [the keeping of the Commandments is certainly linked up to that in Revelation 14:12; because you have done this], I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial], which shall come upon all the world, to [test] them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10)

Now the hour of trial, as far as we can tell - certainly within the Church, this is the way we have always understood it - we are looking at the Great Tribulation. It is a case of keeping this particular group of people from that Tribulation. We can also see the blessing, the way the blessing is implied in Revelation 19:9 we find here it says:

"And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:9)

So there is a blessing on those as part of that marriage supper. Again that is an important aspect because that is the Firstfruits, the ones that are part of the first resurrection. Revelation 20:6 notice, deals with them, it says:

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6)

So again here we find the word blessing being used, it is also in Revelation 22:7:

"Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. [Verse 14] Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:7,14)

So again when we see these words being used and we see the blessing and keeping, it certainly has a great deal to say to us within the Church. Both from the use in Genesis and the marriage ceremony, the fact that blessed is he who comes to the marriage ceremony of the Lamb, looking forward into the future. And blessing and keeping, and certainly the word keep was used in regard to Philadelphia, the Church era of Philadelphia.

His Face Shine Upon You and be Gracious to You (PLAY FROM 27:11)

But what really starts to become interesting when you are looking at this subject of Numbers chapter 6 is when you start to look at these other two segments:

"The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee [and also going on]: The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:25-26)

Because on the surface of it, it sounds kind of spiritual mumbo-jumbo; why phrase things like that? Well let's turn over to Isaiah 8:16, because the use of the light within scripture is extensive and here it says:

"Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my [students]." (Isaiah 8:16)

Now we should be students of that Law, of that way of life that is mentioned here. And it has got to be sealed within those students, ready to be used in the world tomorrow. Down in verse 20 it says:

"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20)

What are we saying when the blessing is given? "The [Eternal] bless thee, and keep thee: The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:24-25). There is a light coming from God that then gives a blessing to mankind, by being gracious to them, to the people that it is actually being applied to. And it says here:

"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them [that light isn't there, they can't see where they are going, they can't see the path of their steps]. And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness." (Isaiah 8:20-22)

The world is going to be in darkness through the Tribulation and looking here it says in Isaiah 9:1:

"Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." (Isaiah 9:1-2)

So what are we saying? We are saying; "The [Eternal] bless thee, and keep thee: The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:24-25). Now the interesting point is these verses are actually quoted. Turn over to Matthew 4:12 and I just wonder whether you have noticed how they are quoted and how they are applied. Because up to this point, when Christ actually appeared on the earth, the world literally was in darkness. Remember the way to the tree of life was cut off, it was kept, it was preserved, until Christ finally appeared. Notice here it says:

"Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up [he quotes that section, but what I want you to notice is what comes next]. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:12-17)

It was that, it was the fact that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. The Kingdom of God was being explained and this light of that kingdom suddenly came into the world. People could actually see for the first time the way of God. What was God doing? He was actually creating sons. He was creating the Israel of God. It wasn't ancient Israel we are talking about, it is Israel of God, it's the sons of God; "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17). And it is from that particular time.

It is interesting; "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105). Talks about the law being a lamp to our feet. But unless you have the understanding of that law, unless the revelation is there, how can it be a lamp to you feet. Yes, it shows you the way, it shows you the pathway, but you are keeping it in a physical way only. But what was happening here was the very Kingdom of God, the mind of God - the mind and character of God being created within human beings so as potential sons and daughters of God- this is what actually began.

Remember He had just defeated Satan! In the preceding verses He had just defeated Satan. Then comes this section here quoting back to Isaiah 9, and just before that in Isaiah 8 we find; "...seal the law among my [students]." (Isaiah 8:16). And; "...if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20). The people in darkness saw a great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Isaiah 9:2) And then is the beginning of the very preaching of the kingdom of God by Jesus Christ. And the beginning of the preaching which led to the very Church itself.

I don't know how many of you have ever actually been in a cave when the lights actually go off. If you were to have something that was totally black, absolutely black. Also if you are outside on an evening when there is no moon. Sometimes it is grey and overcast. I remember one particular time when I went skiing with my father, I was about 13 or 14 years old. There was no ski lift, no chair lift, or anything like that, you had to walk up the hill and then you skied down for about 30 seconds and you walked back up the hill - great fun! And you then finally had to trudge about two or three miles back to my uncle's home. But it was so disorienting, you couldn't see, it was snowing at the time and it was therefore dark overhead, no moon that particular night and it just became worse and worse and worse as we were trying to walk through and then all of a sudden you saw a light in the distance where my aunt had put this light on and we had something to actually aim for.

It is the same, this is what God is saying; "Thy [Law] is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105). You can see something to aim for, this light is shining, you can see the purpose of life; the meaning of human life. Why are we here? Until this particular time it wasn't really understood. So when we are looking at; "The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:25), when we apply it to spiritual Israel you start to see in a much greater, much bigger expressive manner than just merely a blessing that you find in ancient Israel. Turn over to John 1:1, again the use of light is being mentioned:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:1-4)

But as it says here, "And the light shone in the darkness; and the darkness [just couldn't grasp it.]" (John 1:5) Unless the revelation is there. Unless the Eternal make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, so that you can grasp what is going on. Here it says, the darkness just couldn't grasp it, couldn't get hold of it, couldn't understand it. And John 1:6 says:

"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:6-9)

Through that sacrifice, yes, which then forgives the sin that allows us then to have access to the Father and with that relationship we can then begin to understand and our minds can start to be illuminated. And as it says in John 1:14:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth [again; "The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:25), and this is where the graciousness comes in]. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given[through] by Moses... grace and truth came [through] Jesus Christ." (John 1:14-17)

And grace and truth with the light that there and what is that? What is he talking about. Notice John 1:10:

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him [may, "The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:25); as many as received him], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were [begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:10-13)

They became the Israel of God and that Israel of God, the face shining and the with the understanding. What we are looking at is the light of God's word. For the first time - when Christ came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom - for the first time it was generally available to mankind. Not just the prophets here and there, specifically selected. But to mankind as a group - as a Church specifically called - but mankind nevertheless. That they would start to understand the very word of God. Turn over to John 8:12, you find the same thing mentioned here:

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)

It is true life; "...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10). It is the real understanding of what God's word actually says. The understanding of the Commandments and what the way of God actually is.

It is like myself in that snow storm, until you can have that light, until you can see something that you are focussing on, you're lost. You are completely lost. You go outside, into the world outside and they are lost. They don't know why they are there, what the purpose of life is. It is only simply to have enjoyment, heaven, whatever they happen to believe. But once that light shines, once they can actually see the path of their feet and can see the direction in which life needs to go, it is an awesome, awesome thing to actually become the children of God. And that is certainly a blessing. May; "The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:25). This Israel of God and this blessing on the Israel of God.

Under this particular segment, in point number three. II Corinthians 3:14 says:

"But their minds were blinded [talking of ancient Israel]: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament [yet within those words are spiritual words and spiritual understanding of the way of God, but they don't understand it]; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Corinthians 3:14-18)

It is interesting, that when Moses went up to receive the Law, the segment of the Law which dealt with relationships, between man and man, between man and God, between man and animals, man and land, those relationships. He went up and received that; what happened? He came down and what was happening to his face? His face was shining. Because why? "The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:25). He had given him that Law and that Law was then coming down. People didn't recognise it, they wanted him to cover his face up. But we, looking into that same Law, are being changed into the same image as glory to the glory. II Corinthians 4:1:

"Therefore seeing we have this ministry [that is the ministry that has been given unto us], as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid [that gospel is the same gospel as Christ preached when He came into the land of Zabulon, the land of Nephthalim and so on, as mentioned over in Matthew 4, quoting back into Isaiah 'the people in darkness saw a great light'], it is hid to them that are lost [those out in a snow storm and can't find their way around]: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (II Corinthians 4:1-4)

May; "The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:25). Lest that happens, II Corinthians 4:5:

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels..." (II Corinthians 4:5-7)

We are only flesh and blood now, but the knowledge and the actual character, the sterling character, that is being produced is indeed coming from a light and an understanding of God's word that simply was not possible previously.

So when we are looking at the Israel of God, when we are looking at the blessing in Numbers 6 and we apply the spiritual understanding into those verses we start to see a much bigger, much broader spectrum there. It is not just a case of a blessing on Israel of old. It is a blessing that also applies to us, specifically where it talks about; "The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:" (Numbers 6:25). It is indeed the light of God's word, the living word of God which is Jesus Christ, who is the only light - who lights every man that comes into the world. And that light is something that is absolutely priceless. As a blessing there is no greater blessing except one, and that we come onto the next one.

His Countenance On You and Give Us Peace (PLAY FROM 44:12)

And that's number four where it talks about:

"The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:26)

This ratchets it up, yet once more, so to start it off with; "The [Eternal] bless thee, and keep thee: The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee [and then it comes to]: The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:24-26). If we turn over to James 3:11 and understand how we actually receive peace. How does peace actually come? Here we find a scripture that says:

"Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." (James 3:11-12)

You are not going to have two kinds of water coming out of one source. He is talking about the use of the tongue here and remember the word spirit in Hebrew and Greek is also equated with breath. So what actually comes out of our mouth reflects the breath that is being used. Also the Spirit of God is equated with water and fluid and things that are poured out. So we can see here that the fountain sending forth at the same place sweet water and bitter in this context; he is talking about God's Spirit. And within that context, James 3:17:

"But the wisdom that is from above..." (James 3:17)

Now notice where it is coming from, the wisdom that is from above , and what does this blessing say? "The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee [it is coming down from above], and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:26). James 3:17:

"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure..." (James 3:17)

You have got to have the Spirit of God. If you are trying to get it out of a fountain which is giving both bitter and sweet it won't work - it doesn't work. As it says; "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8), and it is the same thing here. James 3:17:

"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure [once that is right, once the wisdom from above, first pure; pure from the very spirit, the breath of God, then it goes on], then peaceable ..." (James 3:17)

Then the peace comes; and what is the blessing? "The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:26). This word peace is shalom, (Strong's H7965), it means much more than just absence of war. But it is the peace really of God's Holy Spirit. When you look at the spiritual application of this verse you are seeing that the very peace of God's Holy Spirit. James 3:17:

"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then [once you have got the purity there coming from the Spirit of God] peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James 3:17-18)

But coming from that one source, coming from that one spring; which produces a certain type of fruit, because it is a certain type of spring, a certain type of fountain. And that fountain has got to be pure.

Turn back to Isaiah 32:1, this scripture I referred to earlier on, but it also re-emphasises what in fact is going to happen in the future, it says:

"Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment." (Isaiah 32:1)

And remember what does the word Israel mean? It means the prince of God. The princes are going to rule in judgment; the king priests are going to rule in judgement with the right kind of judgment. It says in Isaiah 32:9, talking to women, and women so often in scripture, are referring to churches and we within the Church of God need to listen to this and understand it:

"Rise up, ye women [you churches] that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech. Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come. Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins. They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever [or for as long the conditions exist], a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high [what is the blessing? "The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:26)], and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness [of these priests ruling in judgment, the righteousness of the king who will reign] shall be peace ..." (Isaiah 32:9-17)

That is where the peace will come from - spiritual Israel, that's when the true real peace shall come onto this earth. The true peace will come when that spirit is going to be poured out from on high. So when we are looking at the blessing which you find in Numbers 6, we are looking at this blessing of lifting up His countenance upon you and giving you peace. Remember that word peace, when it says here; "And the work of righteousness shall be [shalom]..." (Isaiah 32:17).

Now shalom means more than peace. It can apply to having life and having that life more abundantly, as Christ mentioned. It applies to excellence, it applies to an abundance. Well just think of the auditorium. Think of the mentality that Mr Armstrong had when he made the auditorium; the house of God. And the mentality that was there was one of quality, the kind of mindset that was being reflected was the mindset of God. That is all to do with shalom, this abundance that you find. The Millennium also. Look at the auditorium, look even at Ambassador College. The way it was put together, the way the quality was actually imprinted on every building, on every blade of grass virtually. The way that everything was trying to reflect God's standard to the utmost. And yet all the time knowing that the Millennium would have to come, that the Tribulation would probably wipe it all out. But what was he doing it for? Because it was reflecting the kind of mentality of God.

So when we are looking at this; "The Eternal lift up his countenance upon you - the spirit of God on you - and give you shalom." Give you the same kind of excellence. Give you the same kind of mindset that He has, that He looks on His creation and says; "...behold, it was very good..." (Genesis 1:31). Everything is excellent, everything is good. Isaiah 32:17 says here:

"And the work of righteousness shall be [shalom]; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;" (Isaiah 32:17-18)

And so we see here the result being from the very Spirit of God being poured out. Turn back to John 14:15, we again find how the very Spirit of God is given it says:

"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [parakletos, Strong's G3875, one called to the side], that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:15-18)

Christ will come through that very spirit and allow us to have the kind of understanding that is necessary. As I say, lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. And it goes through this section where John 14:22 says:

"Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:22-23)

You are looking therefore back at the blessing that is: may the Eternal's face shine upon you and be gracious to you. That you keep the very words of God. But here, once that countenance is raised over us and we are then given this shalom, the very abode of God is there with him. John 14:24:

"He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, it shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace [shalom, the Greek is actually 'eirene', Strong's G1515, but it implies shalom] I leave with you, my peace [my shalom] I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:24-27)

So again the very Spirit of God is lifted up over us - it flows from the application of the Holy Spirit. It flows into John 14:27 and the peace that results there.

Another couple of scriptures you can put in your notes: Luke 11:9-13, where is talks about giving the Holy Spirit to those that ask Him, we receive that Holy Spirit by asking for it. You can also put in your notes, Philippians 4:6-7 which talks about how we can in fact go to God and ask Him. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep our minds in that way. And it is actually in prayer that we have the Spirit of God, He lifts up His countenance upon us and gives us peace, gives us shalom.

Placing His Name (PLAY FROM 55:04)

When we look at placing the very name upon God's people, let's just go back and read what it says in Numbers 6:27:

"And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." (Numbers 6:27)

Turn over to Deuteronomy 28:1 which is to do with the blessings and cursings; and it says:

"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the [Eternal] thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the [Eternal] thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt [listen] unto the voice of the [Eternal] thy God [and down in verse 9]. The [Eternal] shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the [Eternal] thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the [Eternal]; and they shall be afraid of thee." (Deuteronomy 28:1-2,9-10)

Now this was a physical blessing that is there and you read the rest of it between those verses; "Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field...and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle...the flocks...thy basket and thy store..." (Deuteronomy 28:3-8 paraphrased). And so on, but it was a blessing and the blessing involved placing the name of God actually on His people. Matthew 28:19 is interesting:

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:" (Matthew 28:19)

We are baptised into the name of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. The Spirit being the spirit that binds Father and Son together as one God, the very God family. That is what we are baptised into. And we are told in Matthew 5:13-16, how people will see your good works and they will then glorify the Father that is in heaven. So again it is being reflected on the very name of God.

What I want to concentrate on just in closing though is Daniel 12:12. Because when we are looking at the blessing and we are looking at the prophecies of the Church, and remember that the Church is spiritual Israel. When the blessing will come upon spiritual Israel - there is a specific time that that blessing is going to come, or a blessing is going to be coming on the Church, and Daniel 12:12 it mentions it:

"Blessed is he that waiteth [and that is what we are in the process of doing right now], and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." (Daniel 12:12)

It goes into the next verse how Daniel will stand in his lot at the end of the days - all the days, 1290, 1260, 1335. They all end with the return of Christ, when Daniel will stand in his lot at the end of those days. But a time of blessing will actually occur at the 1335 days. If we turn over to Malachi 3:16 it says:

"Then they that feared the [Eternal] spake often one to another: and the [Eternal] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [Eternal], and that thought upon his name." (Malachi 3:16)

Now we have just come back from the Feast and we have all enjoyed the Feast, all enjoyed the additional fellowship that we were able to have at the Feast. That was certainly the purpose of getting us all across to Kentucky; so that we could actually get to know some of these people on the other side of the water, and them us. So that we could continue this electronic communication afterwards and be able to at least be in contact with each another.

But it says here that; "...a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [Eternal], and that thought upon his name." (Malachi 3:16). They also were speaking oft one with another, there was this unity, there was this communication. We've got communication today in a way that there has never been. We can even get on Skype, we can phone somebody on the other side of the world for free, once we have purchased the connection into the internet, which most of us have these days. Malachi 3:17:

"And they shall be mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." (Malachi 3:17-18)

So we are looking here at a time that will come when there is a group of people who will be spared, and will be spared what is coming on this earth. We know that that Tribulation is going to come, we know that 1260 days that the Tribulation will actually last. You go back another 30 days to 1290 and you come to the time when Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies; and whoever is in Judea will have to get out of that area. And the abomination that makes desolate set up with the Jerusalem surrounded by armies. But then you come back to this 1335 where there is a blessing. It is almost certainly is associated in some way with this delineation within the Church, where 'these people shall be Mine and they shall be making up My jewels'. There will be a blessing on these individuals who will be separated out and God will therefore do the separation at that particular time.

The interesting thing is - if you turn to Revelation 3 - because as it says here; "And they shall be mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels..." (Malachi 3:17). They will be, if you like, called by the name of God. And there is a distinction that you find in Revelation 3:10 and we need to realise that that distinction is there. We have read already the fact that:

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth [notice it then goes and says]. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown [it's therefore implied that men will indeed be taking the crown, but notice verse 12]. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God [we recognise that bit, we know that the blessing on Philadelphia is to be pillars in the temple of God, pillars within the very temple to which Christ will return and pillars which will then take the rulership of God out to the nations], and he shall go no more out [no more shattering that we have experienced, no more out from fellowships that we were continually having to leave because there was a problem with them]: and I will write upon him the name of my God..." (Revelation 3:10-12)

Have you noticed that, that it is the name of God that is written on these particular individuals, this is part of the blessing that is there. Now you come to 1335 days and there is a blessing that happens. It is linked in some way to the Tribulation, it is linked in some way to the fleeing. And whatever that may be, it is interesting when there seems to be a separation - whether it is at that particular time, 1335 when the actual separation takes place...it is very likely that that is the case - but that separation is between the people who have the name of God. Revelation 3:12 says here:

"...and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem..." (Revelation 3:12)

Again we are looking new Jerusalem, the very temple of God also. Being pillars in the temple of God in new Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven from my God: "...and I will write upon him my new name." The name of God being stamped on these individuals, seems to be one of the distinguishing marks of Philadelphia.

So we need to be aware of this and be aware that this blessing over in Numbers 6 certainly fits in a spiritual way. It is not just a blessing that is given on ancient Israel, although it was. They gave the blessing by rote, they gave it because it said do it. But when you start to understand a little bit more about what is in that wording that you find within that section in Numbers 6 it has a great deal to say to us within the New Testament Church, within the very Church of God.

And so, very much so; "The Eternal bless thee, and keep thee: The [Eternal] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The [Eternal] lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:24-26). Shalom and every good thing.

{1} The 'World Tomorrow' programme referred to was; 'Christ's Authority Over Disease'.