The Zeal of Phinehas – Numbers 25-27

Zeal - Phinehas

Wednesday 02/13/19

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – The Zeal of Phinehas – Numbers 25-27

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The Zeal of Phinehas – Thru the Bible

Numbers 25

25:1-18, HCSB “(1) While Israel was staying in Abel Hash Shettiem [Acacia Grove], the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. (2) The women invited them to the sacrifices for their gods, and the people ate and bowed in worship to their gods. (3) So Israel aligned itself with Baal of Peor, and the LORD’s anger burned against Israel.”

Baal of Peor – Baal was the great Canaanite fertility god, and the worship of Baal was a constant enticement for the children of Israel.

“(4) The LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the LORD so that His burning anger may turn away from Israel.” (5) So Moses told Israel’s judges, “Kill each of the men who aligned themselves with Baal of Peor.” (6) An Israelite man came bringing a Midianite woman to his relatives in the sight of Moses and the whole Israelite community while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. (7) When Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he got up from the assembly, took a spear in his hand, (8) followed the Israelite man into the tent, and drove it through both the Israelite man and the woman–through her belly. Then the plague on the Israelites was stopped, (9) but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000. (10) The LORD spoke to Moses, (11) “Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites because he was zealous among them with My zeal, so that I did not destroy the Israelites in My zeal. (12) Therefore declare: I grant him My covenant of peace. (13) It will be a covenant of perpetual priesthood for him and his descendants, because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”

Again, God condoned their death.

“(14) The name of the slain Israelite man, who was struck dead with the Midianite woman, was Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a Simeonite ancestral house. (15) The name of the slain Midianite woman was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur, a tribal head of an ancestral house in Midian.

(16) The LORD told Moses: (17) “Attack the Midianites and strike them dead. (18) For they attacked you with the treachery that they used against you in the Peor incident. They did the same in the case involving their sister Cozbi, daughter of the Midianite leader who was killed the day the plague came at Peor.”

Instead of open war, the Midianites always plotted insidious ways of accomplishing Israel’s ruin by idolatry and corruption.

Guzik says,

God tells Israel to harass the Midianites, and attack them; for they harassed you with their schemes by which they seduced you in the matter of Peor: They were to show no tolerance towards that which brought the sin in their midst and turned their hearts away from God. They were to battle against the Midianites every opportunity they had.

Numbers 26

Num. 26:1-65, HCSB “(1) After the plague, the LORD said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, (2) “Take a census of the entire Israelite community by their ancestral houses of those 20 years old or more who can serve in Israel’s army.” (3) So Moses and Eleazar the priest said to them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, (4) “Take a census of those 20 years old or more, as the LORD had commanded Moses and the Israelites who came out of the land of Egypt.”

About 38 years prior, when they began their journey having left their camp at Mount Sinai, God commanded them to take a census.

That first census was largely a military one or for military organization. It was God’s way to making preparations for a military invasion of the Promised land EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW, they would not go…He was still prepared. So as they approached the promised land they knew  how many troops they had, as well as the best way to organize them.

This second census, like the first, was for military purposes and is stated as such in the text.

38 years before Israel was organized enough; they just did not have enough faith to take the Promised Land. Organization is good, and the work of God can suffer from a lack of it; but the best organization can never replace bold trust in God.

Reuben was the firstborn of Israel. His descendants registered men numbered 43,730. (8)

On of Reuben’s descendants was Eliab the son of Pallu. It was two of Eliab’s sons Dathan and Abiram who were chosen by the community, to fight against Moses and Aaron; they and Korah’s followers fought against the LORD.  That was the incident where the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, when his followers died and the fire consumed 250 men. They serve as a warning sign. [The sons of Korah, however, did not die.]

Simeon’s descendants by their clans numbered 22,200 men.

Gad’s descendants by their clans numbered 40,500.

Judah’s descendants by their clans numbered 76,500.

Issachar’s descendants by their clans numbered 64,300.

Zebulun’s descendants by their clans numbered 60,500.

Joseph’s descendants by their clans from Manasseh and Ephraim:

    • Manasseh’s descendants numbered 52,700.
  • Ephraim’s descendants by their clans numbered 32,500.

Benjamin’s descendants by their clans numbered 45,600.

Dan’s descendants by their clans numbered 64,400.

Asher’s descendants by their clans numbered 53,400.

Naphtali’s descendants by their clans numbered 45,400.

Total 601,730. (-1,820)

The total of the first census was 603,550 so their numbers had been reduced NOT increased, which only went to demonstrate that numbers were NOT enough and were NEVER the foundation of their strength against their enemies – but only God’s power working through their trust.

“(52) The LORD spoke to Moses,

(53) “The land is to be divided among them as an inheritance based on the number of names. (54) Increase the inheritance for a large tribe, and decrease it for a small one. Each is to be given its inheritance according to those who were registered in it.

(55) The land must be divided by lot; they will receive an inheritance according to the names of their ancestral tribes. (56) Each inheritance will be divided by lot among the larger and smaller tribes.”

(57) These were the Levites registered by their clans: the Gershonite clan from Gershon; the Kohathite clan from Kohath; the Merarite clan from Merari. (58) These were the Levite family groups: the Libnite clan, the Hebronite clan, the Mahlite clan, the Mushite clan, and the Korahite clan. Kohath was the ancestor of Amram. (59) The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, a descendant of Levi, born to Levi in Egypt. She bore to Amram: Aaron, Moses, and their sister Miriam. (60) Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar were born to Aaron, (61) but Nadab and Abihu died when they presented unauthorized fire before the LORD. (62) Those registered were 23,000, every male one month old or more; they were not registered among the other Israelites, because no inheritance was given to them among the Israelites.

(63) These were the ones registered by Moses and Eleazar the priest when they registered the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho. (64) But among them there was not one of those who had been registered by Moses and Aaron the priest when they registered the Israelites in the Wilderness of Sinai. (65) For the LORD had said to them that they would all die in the wilderness. None of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.”

Numbers 27

Num. 27:1-23 HCSB “(1) The daughters of Zelophehad approached; Zelophehad was the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh from the clans of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. These were the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. (2) They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and the entire community at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, (3) “Our father died in the wilderness, but he was not among Korah’s followers, who gathered together against the LORD. Instead, he died because of his own sin, and he had no sons. (4) Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan? Since he had no son, give us property among our father’s brothers.” (5) Moses brought their case before the LORD, (6) and the LORD answered him, (7) “What Zelophehad’s daughters say is correct. You are to give them hereditary property among their father’s brothers and transfer their father’s inheritance to them. (8) Tell the Israelites: When a man dies without having a son, transfer his inheritance to his daughter. (9) If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. (10) If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. (11) If his father has no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative of his clan, and he will take possession of it. This is to be a statutory ordinance for the Israelites as the LORD commanded Moses.”

(12) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim range and see the land that I have given the Israelites. (13) After you have seen it, you will also be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was. (14) When the community quarreled in the Wilderness of Zin, both of you rebelled against My command to show My holiness in their sight at the waters.” Those were the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin. (15) So Moses appealed to the LORD, (16) “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the community (17) who will go out before them and come back in before them, and who will bring them out and bring them in, so that the LORD’s community won’t be like sheep without a shepherd.”

(18) The LORD replied to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man who has the Spirit in him, and lay your hands on him. (19) Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole community, and commission him in their sight. (20) Confer some of your authority on him so that the entire Israelite community will obey him.

(21) He will stand before Eleazar who will consult the LORD for him with the decision of the Urim. He and all the Israelites with him, even the entire community, will go out and come back in at his command.”

(22) Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua, had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire community, (23) laid his hands on him, and commissioned him, as the LORD had spoken through Moses.”



I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

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Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!