“Ritual is in fact an inevitable component of culture, extending from the largest-scale social and political processes to the most intimate aspects of our self-experience. Yet within this universality, the inherent multiplicity of ritual practices, both between and within cultures, also reflects the full diversity of the human experience.”-Kevin Carrico, Ritual https://culanth.org/curated_collections/4-ritual
Sorry, its been a while since I last posted.
As you may or may not know (if you’ve been following me on Facebook, you know for sure), I just flew into Jerusalem a couple of days ago and things have been hectic just settling into what will be my new home for the next couple of weeks.
I invite you all to follow my wall on Facebook to see many of the awesome photos I’ve been putting up as well as my random musings.
Anyway, let’s get back to our study of the mind-blowing and awesome Book of Numbers.
Today, I want to talk a little bit about “rituals” because we’re going to find much ritual woven into the narrative of Numbers.
Coming originally from a Christian background, when I first joined a Messianic congregation and later attended synagogue services (reform and conservative), I found all of the group-based rituals to be a serious pain in the neck and quite tedious at times.
In terms of rituals, in general the Christian church doesn’t really foster a sense of communal responsibility (especially in the United States).
The church places its focus on the individual.
Matters of faith and how to express one’s faith is for the most part considered to be a private matter between you and God, and this includes salvation.
Have a look at any Christian commentary on the Torah, and you’ll find that the treatment they give to the roles of the Levite priests and the many priestly rituals reflects a very superficial understanding and even a contempt for things they consider to be too “Jewish” and not for the believer today.
Unfortunately, this disdain for the Old Testament rituals has been passed down and is also taught in the many gentile seminaries.
Well, let me make it very clear in the strongest way possible!!!
UNDERSTANDING THE TORAH RITUALS IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE!!!
The Torah rituals also provide the KEY to understanding the plan God has for ALL of mankind.
Any cultural anthropologist will tell you that the key to understanding a society and its rhythms is to begin with its rituals.
It is a nation’s rituals that reveal what is most important to its people and the values they so deeply cherish.
The Biblical rituals are doubly important because not only do they reveal the culture of the ancient Israelites during Biblical times but also contain eternal truths spoken directly from the mouth of the Almighty in the heavens.
It is this eternal component that makes the rituals of the Hebrews different than any other nation or group of people in the history of mankind.
As the Apostle Paul said:
“Then what advantage has the Jew?
What is the value of being circumcised?
Much in every way!
In the first place,
the Jews were entrusted
with the very words of God.”
I don’t about you but for that reason alone, I would be literally meditating on God’s Words day and night!
Yet how unfortunate it is that there is no subject more misunderstood than the many rituals contained in the Torah.
A Christian pastor may preach how “Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial system”, but does he really understand the deep implications of that statement?
I highly doubt it.
Make no mistake about it.
Rituals are at the very heart of Biblical worship.
One of the most significant discoveries in the field of psychology is that our emotions are dictated by our actions, NOT vice versa!
If you act happy, you will begin to feel happy and if you feel sad, you will begin to feel sad.
And if you participate in the God-ordained rituals whether you feel like it or not, over time a strong reverence for the things of God will begin to well up within you.
Like it or not, God has chosen to speak to mankind through the vehicle of ritual.
The Biblical rituals uncover the very essence of our relationship with HASHEM.
Recall from everything we’ve studied thus far that rituals were NOT spectator sports.
The worshipper was a very active participant.
It was the worshipper who had to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (3 times a year) and carry the sacrificial animal up to the temple and it was the worshipper who had to take that sharp blade and slit that animal’s throat.
The idea of purification via the shedding of blood was a concept that was firmly embedded in his mind.
During my years of attending the Christian church, I can’t recall very many rituals that involved the worshipper.
It was just go to the church and sit on your butt for a good two hours listening to doctrine-based theology.
In the Book of Leviticus, we have studied the theory and the abstract behind the rituals.
Now in the Book of Numbers, we’re going to move beyond mere theory abstract concept and actually see what we’ve learned put into practice.
Man this is going to be a fun study!!!
Posted from Jerusalem, Israel, Sunday, August 6th, 2017.