Messianic Torah Portion Balak
Bamidbar (Numbers) 22:2- 25:9 12
Scripture describes HaShem's appearance as terrifying. Sh'mu'el says in 2 Sh'mu'el 22:810 that HaShem has smoke coming out of His nostrils and fire out of his mouth. Shemot 20:18-21 also describes listening to HaShem as a terrifying experience for the Children of Yisrael. Revelations 20:11 states that on HaShem's appearance heaven and earth flee. Shemot 33:20 says Moshe was not allowed to see HaShem's face. Regardless of how terrifying and difficult it is, HaShem still desires to have his presence known. Shemot 33:22-23 states "while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen." To allow Moshe to see Him, HaShem required that Moshe only look at Him from behind. In spite of this, for a dynamic relationship people need to communicate with HaShem. To communicate with mankind HaShem uses intermediaries. The intermediary's primary duty is to reveal the fullness of HaShem to mankind. HaShem's intermediary was an extension of HaShem. John 1:18 of the Complete Jewish Bible describes it this way "No one has ever seen God; but the only and unique son, who is identical with God and is at the Father's side - he has made him known"
In the Torah, and in the rest of the Tanach HaShem's intermediary is often called the Angel of the LORD. The Angel of the LORD'S mission is to make all facets of HaShem known to mankind. The Angel of the LORD was an exact image of HaShem. The authority of the Angel was given by the power of HaShem's name. In Balak we can see how the authority of HaShem's name makes the Angel of the LORD worthy of worship. Bamidbar 22:31 states "the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face." When the Angel appeared, Balaam was overcome with the feeling that he needed to worship the Angel. Balaam was witnessing the power and the authority that HaShem had given the Angel. Therefore, Balaam bowed and fell on his face. Balaam reacted this way because the Angel of the LORD carried the name of HaShem as Shemot 23:21 states; "Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him". The Angel of the LORD was given HaShem's name in order to act in HaShem's stead. Therefore, the Angel of the LORD is entitled to the same respect that HaShem receives.
The Angel of the LORD is also entitled to the same obedience that HaShem receives. The Children of Yisrael were reminded of this when the Angel of the LORD reiterated how He led them out of Egypt. Shof'tim 2:1-4 states "I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I swore unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And you shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spoke these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept."
The Children of Yisrael wept because they recognized disobeying the Angel of the LORD was equivalent to disobeying HaShem. When the Angel of the LORD commanded Balaam to speak, Balaam was required to obey or be responsible for a transgression against HaShem. If Balaam had not obeyed the Angel he would have been punished. Balaam submitted to the Angel's authority as Bamidbar 22:38 states "Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God puts in my mouth, that shall I speak." Balaam knew that the authority that came with HaShem's name made the Angel equivalent to HaShem.
Balaam was also convinced that the Angel of the LORD was entitled to worship. Bamidbar 22:31 states "the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face." As HaShem's intermediary the Angel of the LORD is worthy to receive the same type of worship HaShem receives. Shof'tim 13:20-22 states "it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God." As the Angel of the LORD ascended on the flame, Manoah and his wife were convinced the Angel was God. As a result, Manoah feared for his life. Balaam also understood that the Angel of the LORD was the essence of HaShem. Therefore, Balaam was also willing to worship the Angel.
HaShem's appearance and His voice are so foreign to us that we are terrified. HaShem's glory is so consuming that to experience it would cause our death. Mankind cannot endure the holiness of HaShem. Therefore, we cannot speak to HaShem face to face. To overcome the problem HaShem works through intermediaries. The intermediary's responsibility to HaShem is to completely reveal His nature to the world. In order to fulfill this the intermediary is given the power and the authority of HaShem's name. The Angel of the LORD is sent in the place of HaShem to display HaShem's power and authority. As a result, the angel of the LORD becomes an extension of the fullness of HaShem on earth. Therefore, bowing, worshiping, sacrificing, and obeying were expected of any individual who encountered the Angel of the LORD. Not to do so was considered a sin against HaShem himself. Balaam recognized this. Therefore, Balaam was willing to bow, worship, and obey the angel of the LORD. Like the Angel of the LORD Yeshua is sent in the authority of HaShem's name. Therefore, like the Angel of the LORD, Yeshua is entitled to the same reverence that HaShem receives.
Torah Portion Study Questions For Each Weeks Torah Portion
These questions and answers are to use in individual study or as a foundation for individuals creating Shabbat School lessons. Feel free to use the Torah Portion comments as templates to enhance your Torah study.
Balak Study Guide Questions
- Why is it impossible for mankind to look on the face of HaShem?
- How was Moshe protected from the face of HaShem?
- How does HaShem allow followers of Yeshua to see Him?
- In the Torah and the Tenach what emissary of HaShem represented the presence of HaShem?
- What makes the Angel of the Lord uniquely greater than other beings?
- Why is the angel of the LORD entitled to the same respect HaShem receives?
- What scripture states that as HaShem's emissary the angle of the LORD was authorized to make binding covenants?
- What scriptures imply Yeshua made a binding covenant?
- What is different about the covenant Yeshua established in the name of HaShem?
- What passage in Philippians proves Yeshua entitled to the same respect and obedience given to HaShem?
Balak Study Guide Answers
- Shemot 33:20 states that looking on HaShem’s face causes death
- HaShem covered Moshe with His hand as He passed, than allowed Moshe to look at Him from behind
- Through Yeshua
- The Angel of the LORD
- Judges 13:17- 22 states that The Angel of The Lord ascended on the sacrificial fire built by Manoah and his wife. In fact, after seeing the Angel of the Lord Manoah and his wife believed they had seen God
- Shemot 23:21 states that the Angel of the Lord has HaShem’s name in him.
- Shof'tim 2:1-2 or Judges 2:1-2
- The word testament is more accurately translated covenant. Therefore, when Yeshua speaks of a new testament He is referring to a covenant. Therefore, in Mt 26:28, Mr 14:24, Lu 22:20 Yeshua is establishing a covenant.
- Yeshua’s mission was to place the Torah in our minds and our hearts as Heb 8:10 states "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:"
- Philippians 2:10 which states "That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;"
By Rabbi Yaakov benYosef ABOUT-Torah.org© 2010 About Torah