The Priestly Blessing
Skeptics of the Bible
At the beginning of the twentieth century, we didn’t have any ancient copies (meaning BC) of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The oldest existing copy dated back to about 1000 AD (AD stands for the Latin phrase: Anno Domini, the year of our LORD).
Critics of God’s Word questioned the accuracy of the Bible.
1949.The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, pushing back the date of the oldest Scriptures by 1,000 years. 300 years before Jesus’ birth.
A Rare Find from an Annoying Kid
1979.Due to a small budget, an archeologist named Barkai had 12 and 13 year old volunteer scouts helping out, as part of a field project in Israel.
There was one thirteen-year-old digger, an annoying kid named Nathan, who was always tugging at Barkai’s shirt.
Barkai sent him off to clean one of the tombs. Barkai thought this was an ideal place to get him out of his sight.
But God had other plans… After cleaning, Nathan got bored and started randomly banging on the floor.
To his surprise, the stone floor broke and Nathan found an almost completely intact piece of pottery. He brought it to Barkai and long story short it led to the discovery of a whole room full of treasure!
Bringing in the pros. This excavation now warranted a professional team who worked under strict confidentiality.
Gold, ivory, glass, ceramics, oil lamps, 150 semi-precious stones, iron arrowheads and more.
The Big Find
Later that same year one of the pros that was brought is, Dr. Judith Hadley of Villanova University, found two tiny silver scrolls there.
One of the oldest and smallest silver scrolls in archaeological history was found. It contained text that was 2,800 year olds. And guess what? This was more proof for the skeptics that the Bible was true.
It took several years for Israeli scientists to clean and unroll the little scrolls, but when they did, they found the oldest known fragment of Scripture, dating back to the time of David, Israel’s second king.
The verses were actually carved right into silver.
Inscribed on those scrolls, which are now in the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem, is our text for today—Aaron’s Blessing.
Function of the High Priest
Called to be holy and set apart. He actually wore a turbin with a gold plate that was inscribed “Holy Unto the LORD” on their forehead.
God said bring me Aaron and his sons to minister to “Me” (God).
First thing God did after calling them out was He told them what to wear. We reviewed the priestly garments in the context of the armor of God last week. It was rich!!
Then God told them what to do…
They were to:
o To stand before God representing the people. Sinful man could not approach a holy God.
o Priest would bring man’s sacrifice or offering to God.
o The high priest was the only mediator between God and man.
The entire Jewish worship system (the tabernacle and priesthood), demonstrated the great gap sin caused between God and man. Man could not reach God on his own.
The Jews could only approach God through the High Priest.
o NT says Jesus is our High Priest.
o We can only approach God through Jesus Christ our High Priest.
o He is the only intercessor.
The priest stood before the people representing God.
Coming out from the presence of God, the priest would raise his hands over the people and pronounce a blessing.
What is The Blessing?
Found in Numbers 6:22-27
·The word “blessing” means the act of declaring (pronouncement of) God’s favor and goodness upon others.
22 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
God Himself spoke to Moses
LORD - proper name, of deity Yahweh,
Transliteration: YHWH. Phonetic Spelling: (yeh-ho-vaw)
God’s is self-existence and self-sufficient. He is the I AM.
How God described himself to Moses.
23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel.
You shall say to them:
Moses you tell Aaron (High Priest) and his sons to bless Israel, the Jews.
God told him the exact words to use
In Hebrews 5
o 1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; 2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; 3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.
It saysthat the high priest job is to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people but also for his own sinsbecause he himself is weak.
Hebrews 5:9-10 He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
24 The Lord bless you, and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’
27 So they shall invoke (put) My name on the sons of Israel,
and I then will bless them.”
God is the subject of each line
God is the initiator: bless, keep, shines, be gracious, lift up countenance, and give peace.
The "you" is singular. This is personal.
Then there is a shift in verse 27 – it becomes corporate. It concerns all the people of God.
God’s blessing is corporate and personal. He’s concerned about you and he is concerned about all His people.
The Lord bless you, and keep you;
“Bless” occurs 415 times in OT.
DT 28 shows us the what blessing means. Blessings on where you live, your country, your children, your work, prosperity… basically a blessing everywhere you place your foot.
“Now it shall be, if you diligently obeythe Lord your God…
2 All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you
if you obeythe Lord your God:
3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
4 “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
Bless. The word bless - Hebrew word Barak
Also means kneel
Psalm 95:6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel(bless Him) before the LORD our God our Maker.
When we bless the Lord we kneel before God.
But Numbers 6 says The LORD bless you.
Remember you is singular.
This means the LORD is humbling Himself to kneel before you, bless you.
Think of a man on bended knee giving his future bride an engagement ring!!!
We are the bride of Christ.
God says I love you and want to give you the ultimate gift – Jesus.
It’s so intimate!
But maybe you are thinking…Is it in God’s nature to humble Himself and bless us?
Think of when Jesus knelt down and humbled Himself before the disciples as He washed their feet.
Phil 2: 7-8 God humbled himself and died on the cross
Keep – Hebrew: shamar
Means to surround (hedge about) with thorns.
When a shepherd was out in the wilderness with his flock, he would gather thorn bushes to erect a corral to place his flock in at night.
The thorns would stop predators and protect/guard the sheep from harm.
Means protection. Safety. God will guard and protect you.
Focusing on God's sheltering the people from evil and its effects, especially pertinent for wilderness wandering.
Are you wandering in the wilderness?
25 The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;
My face lights up (or shines) when I see you because I delight in you.
The Lord delights in you and His face lights up and shines on you.
Exodus 34. 29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.
God face shined on Moses and then Moses face shined on the Israelites.
And be gracious to you;Grace. What is grace?
Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting better than what we deserve. We all need grace.
God’s grace is His unmerited favor towards those who do not deserve anything at all from Him.
We do not deserve anything but God gives us everything.
This is apromise of forgiveness.
Pause and think for a second. The children of Israel are at Mount Sinai.
What had happened literally just a few weeks before this?
Just a reminder… God had just said on Mt. Sinai – you shall be a kingdom of priests. Then in Exodus 32 Moses was delayed coming down form the mountain so what does Aaron do.
Aaron, the High Priest, had built a golden calf, and the children of Israel had worshiped a false god.
He tells everyone to take off their gold jewelry and made a golden calf from it and said Ex 32:4 – This is your god O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. He even built an altar. And they worshiped the statue and brought sacrifice to it.
So it is extraordinary that Aaron and his sons were the ones who were called to be priest of God.
Now God is telling Moses that through Aaron to bless the people saying that He (God) is gracious to forgive sin.
God is saying…
‘Before the children of Israel leave the desert, Aaron, I want you to tell them something. Tell them I forgive them. I want that coming from your mouth, Aaron. Because I forgive you! That blessing, that promise, I want it coming from your mouth to the people of God, because you are Exhibit A. Think I’m not a kind, forgiving, gracious, forbearing God?
I present to you Aaron, who has a message for you tonight: God forgives you.’
QUESTION. What have you done that you think is so horrible? And you think “I cannot be used by God”? The New Testament says if you have accepted Jesus as your LORD and Savior, you ARE a priest of God. It doesn’t matter what you think. It’s not because of what you have or haven’t done. It is because of God’s mercy and grace – what He did on the cross.
Isn’t God incredible?
He drives home His grace, because Satan wants to tempt us that He is not gracious and He will not forgive us.
And so He sends Aaron out to say, “May the Lord make His face to shine on you in delight, and be gracious to you in the forgiveness of your sins.”
The greatest act of graciousness is the forgiveness of our sins.
26 The Lordlift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’
Lift up His countenance upon you. Opposite is to scowl.
Gen 4:6 Cain- why is your countenance fallen?
Look up and smile. I want to smile upon you when you come into My presence.
Think about this. God is up in heaven. We are down here. But He lifts upHis countenance to us. He looks up.
Father lifting up child.
And give you peace
Phil 4:7 peace surpasses all understanding
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom.
When you trust Jesus Christ to save you, your sins are forgiven, and you have peace with God. He will never call you into judgment for them.
“The peace of God” is not the absence of problems; it is the presence of PEACE in the midst of problems.
Before Jesus stops speaking to His disciples and goes to prayer on the night of His betrayal, what does He say to them? (John 16:33). ‘In this world you have tribulation, but I give you My peace. Don’t be afraid. I have overcome the world. Receive My peace.’
God wants to put His name on your forehead. Satan wants to give you a number!
27 So they shall invoke (put) My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”
Revelation 22:4 – God wants to put His name on your forehead ---they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.
Revelation 14:9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his foreheador on his hand,
Revelation 13 – a number from Satan, not a name 16….. given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 this verse says the number is 666.