Gene Benjamin II
Enumeration of Human Flesh
Enumeration of Human Flesh
Exodus 30:11-16 “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 12’When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them. 13This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the LORD. 14Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the LORD. 15The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves. 16And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.’”
In this passage of scripture, we see God’s purposes for numbering humans. For Moses, it was only a matter of obedience. God said count them, Moses said yes sir and did it. God the Creator owns His creation, therefore He has certain rights as Creator God. He can do with his creation what He wants to. The great Shepherd has a right to know how many sheep and goats He has. The beauty of this passage is that it reveals the unfolding of the covenant with Abraham. God wanted His people numbered for only one purpose, to REDEEM them. The people were counted so they could then give an offering (known as the Temple tax in the New Testament) to the Lord for the redemption of their lives. The Lord was showing them that a price had to be paid for the redemption of their souls, to atone for their sin. It costs to be a part of the Covenant family of God. Rich and poor alike were commanded to give an offering of the half-shekel (ten gerahs) to ransom their lives. Notice it was to keep plagues from them, to keep them healthy and prosperous. God was and still is interested in the health and welfare of His children. The people participated in the covenant with the Lord by giving a free-will offering to support the tabernacle and the service and work of the priests and Levites. It was another way for the Lord to show them they needed a Redeemer, a constant reminder that they were captives to sin and needed a ransom paid to atone for that sin. The Lord counted His people for a good cause, to bring blessing, healing and salvation to His flock.
I should point out that the Hebrew children were not assigned a number, like a social security number, they were just counted and their names written down by families. This was one way the Hebrews kept their family genealogies. Another point on the human side of this counting is that it’s purpose was to determine how many warriors Moses had in his army.
Twenty years ago, you would have had a hard time getting me to read the Old Testament, especially the book of Numbers. Now I’m actually studying it. In Numbers 1-4 we see more than one census being taken for different purposes.
Numbers 1:1-19;44-54, “1Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: 2“Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, 3from twenty years old and above—all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies. 4And with you there shall be a man from every tribe, each one the head of his father’s house.
5“These are the names of the men who shall stand with you: from Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; 6from Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; 7from Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; 8from Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; 9from Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10from the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11from Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12from Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13from Asher, Pagiel the son of Ocran; 14from Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; 15from Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.” 16These were chosen from the congregation, leaders of their fathers’ tribes, heads of the divisions in Israel.
17Then Moses and Aaron took these men who had been mentioned by name, 18and they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month; and they recited their ancestry by families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, each one individually. 19As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the Wilderness of Sinai.
44These are the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each one representing his father’s house. 45So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers’ houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war in Israel—46all who were numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty.
47But the Levites were not numbered among them by their fathers’ tribe; 48for the LORD had spoken to Moses, saying: 49“Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor take a census of them among the children of Israel; 50but you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony, over all its furnishings, and over all things that belong to it; they shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they shall attend to it and camp around the tabernacle. 51And when the tabernacle is to go forward, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall set it up. The outsider who comes near shall be put to death. 52The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, everyone by his own camp, everyone by his own standard, according to their armies; 53but the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the Testimony, that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the children of Israel; and the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony.”
54Thus the children of Israel did; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so they did.”
In Numbers chapter 1, the Lord tells Moses to count all the male Israelites, 20 years old and above, by their families. He wanted an exact arithmetic accounting of the able-bodied soldiers for the army. In verse 18, it specifically says to number them by their lineage in the family tree. They counted 603,550 warriors that day. Notice that the Levites were excluded from active military duty, so they could perform their priestly functions in the tabernacle.
The first 31 verses of Numbers chapter 2 describe each family’s leader and how many in his tribal army.
Numbers 2:32-34, “32These are the ones who were numbered of the children of Israel by their fathers’ houses. All who were numbered according to their armies of the forces were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty. 33But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel, just as the LORD commanded Moses.
34Thus the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses; so they camped by their standards and so they broke camp, each one by his family, according to their fathers’ houses.”
Numbers 3 describes in more detail the separaton of the Levites unto their ministry duties in serving the priestly family of Aaron and the tabernacle.
Numbers 3, “1Now these are the records of Aaron and Moses when the LORD spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. 2And these are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab, the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he consecrated to minister as priests. 4Nadab and Abihu had died before the LORD when they offered profane fire before the LORD in the Wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests in the presence of Aaron their father.
5And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 6“Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. 7And they shall attend to his needs and the needs of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of meeting, to do the work of the tabernacle. 8Also they shall attend to all the furnishings of the tabernacle of meeting, and to the needs of the children of Israel, to do the work of the tabernacle. 9And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are given entirely to him from among the children of Israel. 10So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall attend to their priesthood; but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”
11Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 12“Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine, 13because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the LORD.”
14Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, saying: 15“Number the children of Levi by their fathers’ houses, by their families; you shall number every male from a month old and above.”
The Lord is getting ready to do a switch here. He had set apart all the firstborn in Israel to be his, now He is going to count the Levites to separate them to be His in place of the firstborn.
“38Moreover those who were to camp before the tabernacle on the east, before the tabernacle of meeting, were Moses, Aaron, and his sons, keeping charge of the sanctuary, to meet the needs of the children of Israel; but the outsider who came near was to be put to death. 39All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, by their families, all the males from a month old and above, were twenty-two thousand.
40Then the LORD said to Moses: “Number all the firstborn males of the children of Israel from a month old and above, and take the number of their names. 41And you shall take the Levites for Me—I am the LORD—instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the livestock of the children of Israel.” 42So Moses numbered all the firstborn among the children of Israel, as the LORD commanded him. 43And all the firstborn males, according to the number of names from a month old and above, of those who were numbered of them, were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.
44Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 45“Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock. The Levites shall be Mine: I am the LORD. 46And for the redemption of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel, who are more than the number of the Levites, 47you shall take five shekels for each one individually; you shall take them in the currency of the shekel of the sanctuary, the shekel of twenty gerahs. 48And you shall give the money, with which the excess number of them is redeemed, to Aaron and his sons.”
49So Moses took the redemption money from those who were over and above those who were redeemed by the Levites. 50From the firstborn of the children of Israel he took the money, one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 51And Moses gave their redemption money to Aaron and his sons, according to the word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.”
The Lord took a census of two groups of people here, one – he counted the Levites, two – he counted all the firstborn males over one month old. There were 273 more firstborn than Levites, so according to covenant, the 273 firstborn males had to redeem themselves out of direct service to the Lord. Each of the 273 firstborn had to pay 5 shekels apiece to redeem themselves from the Lord’s service. The first 22,000 were an even redemption trade, man for man, a life for a life. Thereby, the Lord traded the firstborn whom He had previously set apart unto Himself in Egypt during the first Passover, with the Levites. Now the Levites were officially and legally the Lord’s and Aaron’s servants in the Tabernacle. What I really want you to notice is the purpose of these two counts in chapter 3. Redemption. God counted His people for the purpose of sanctification or redemption. Our blessed Redeemer only needs to know how many people He has so He can redeem them. What a beautiful picture. God doesn’t number His people to tax them into the oppression of slavery, but to redeem them into holy consecrated service unto Him. Wow, the army of Israel is just a symbolic picture of the spiritual army of the Church of Jesus Christ!! People, you’ve been redeemed from the world and its systems, into the glorious privileges of service unto the Almighty, not with shekels of the sanctuary, but with the precious blood of the Sanctuary, Anointed Jesus!
Notice verses 48-51. You won’t hear this preached in too many circles. Those who purchased themselves out of direct service to the Lord were required to give the money to the priests, the preachers, and the pastors. This is how the Lord designed the church’s organization to provide for ministers, so they can be wholly devoted to the work of the Lord and His temple, the body of Jesus. Those not directly involved in full-time ministry are to support ministers with their tithes and offerings. God’s system is so simple, we get off track by making things complicated. I believe that’s human nature in contrast to God’s nature.
In Numbers chapter 4 the Lord has Moses and Aaron count the Levites by family, those 30 to 50 years old only, to give them their specific duties in the Tabernacle. This was the Lord’s method of organizing the Levites into work groups for Tabernacle service. The holy organization chart you might say.
Now, let’s take a look at man’s reasons for numbering human flesh. The best example in the Old Testament is one of the stories of King David, taken from 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21. In 2 Samuel 24, the Scriptures state that God incited David to do the census, but in 1 Chronicles 21, the Scriptures state that it was Satan who incited David to make the count. It is plain that God was angry with Israel again, so he allowed Satan to tempt David with enumeration of the people, so God could destroy them. To put it bluntly, the people of Israel brought this on themselves, Satan and David in his pride, were simply God’s instruments to bring judgement this time.
2 Samuel 24
“1Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and he [Satan] moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
2So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.”
3And Joab said to the king, “Now may the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?” 4Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel.”
David wanted to know how many troops he commanded. Sounds like a reasonable thing for a king to need to know. But as we will see, this was a matter of pride on David’s part. You see, the children of Israel were God’s people, not David’s. This was God’s army, not David’s. God never meant for the children of Israel to have any other King but Him. God is the only One who needed to know how many soldiers He had in his army. David got confused on who was the owner and who was the steward. God owned these souls, He had redeemed them from Egypt. David was usurping authority that God never intended for him to have. It seems a small thing to us from our human perspective, but God takes His business of redeeming humans very seriously.
“5And they crossed over the Jordan and camped in Aroer, on the right side of the town which is in the midst of the ravine of Gad, and toward Jazer. 6Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi; they came to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon; 7and they came to the stronghold of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went out to South Judah as far as Beersheba. 8So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. [see also 1 Chronicles 27:24]
10And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.””
David knew instantly that he had sinned. His was the tenderest heart in the land. He knew he had played the devil’s fool again. He had crossed the fine line between stewardship and ownership. He had wasted almost 10 months of his officer’s time and a lot of kingdom money taking this census, but that was just the beginning of the cost.
“11Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12“Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”’” 13So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”
14And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.””
God in His mercy allowed David to choose the price to be paid for his error. David could pick the judgement of a natural disaster, judgement by attack from his human enemies, or allow the Lord to strike the people directly with a plague. None of these sound too pleasant, but David knew the Lord, so he put His trust in the merciful hands of God.
“15So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
17Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.””
Seventy thousand of David’s finest soldiers died of a plague, because David had begun to believe the people were his, that he could do with them as he willed, not as the Lord willed. It was a costly lesson, but one we should all heed. The flock of God, the children of God, the Church of God does not belong to any human being, no pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet or apostle. If we abuse our privilege of being a steward over the flock of God, we risk punishment from our Father and King.
America’s Founding Fathers understood these principles, but I doubt that many of our so-called leaders in Washington D.C. today understand the dangers of abusing God’s people. Why do our civil authorities number us today? To tax us, to enslave us to conscripted service to the community village.
Our Founding Fathers understood that God called this great nation to bring the Gospel of Anointed Jesus to the world. The pagan cowards leading this nation today are setting themselves and this nation up for severe judgement of God. Did you notice that God was willing to punish the nation of Israel for seven years for one stupid decision of their king? If the leadership of America does not repent of their wickedness of enumerating human flesh, you will see judgement on America. David was instantly repentant, are we?
“18And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. 20Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.
21Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”
And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”
22Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.”
And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.”
24Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.”
David bought physical real estate and built a stone and mortar altar to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings to His God. God heard David’s prayers and stopped the plague. The Lord Jesus has bought the Church with His own blood and is building us into an altar of sacrifice to God. That sacrifice is us, you and me, dying to our selfishness and pride, to serve our living God. We don’t buy and build physical things now to serve a spiritual Kingdom. Jesus is our Great Redeemer who has bought us and is building us into the most marvelous spiritual house of worship imaginable. Hearts changed and molded into instruments of worship and spiritual service. We no longer need to buy pieces of dirt and build brick and mortar altars to pay homage to a vengeful and angry God. That is an Old Covenant, if not pagan, pattern and a resource wasting one at that. It is time to buy and build, but not real estate and rocks.
Jesus said it best in Luke 12, 29“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
32“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old [see also Haggai 1], a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
35“Let your waist be girded [see Ephesians 6:14] and your lamps burning; [see Matthew 25] 36and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
It’s time to clothe yourself with truth and the anointing of the Holy Spirit and do exactly what the Lord tells you to do, when He tells you to do it, how He tells you to do it, and where He tells you to do it. That includes who, when and where to give financial offerings to. Jesus stated in verse 33, not to put your finances into a depository that will wear out or become obsolete. That means He wants you to give into kingdom work. We’ve been a little busy these last few months sending five missionary families to Ufa, Russia. The Bible school is up and running with over 100 students attending and more expected to arrive each week. This is the greatest life-giving Christian work that I know of on the planet today. The message of God’s grace is being poured into the hearts of Russians who have the vision to use what they learn to plant, establish, and pastor churches (not the brick and mortar type) all over Russia. Consider yourself invited to participate financially and prayerfully in this great end-time work.
We are so close to the end when Jesus will come back, it’s mind boggling. Do you realize your bank deposit is just electrons stored on the bank’s computer hard disk? If you could excite those electrons to just one mile per hour faster than the speed of light, your money could literally be transported into your heavenly bank account? Jesus has waited 6,000 years for human technology to catch up to speed with the Kingdom economy. You can now transfer your earthly wealth into a Christian ministry’s bank account at almost the speed of light. If anyone would like to donate to this ministry electronically, let me know, we can give you our bank account and routing information for wire transfers. The only thing that reaches obsolescence quicker than the church bulletin is computer technology, but if you use the technology to invest into the Kingdom of God, you can leapfrog your investment into the eternal realm, receiving a 30, 60, or 100 fold return on your investment. You can be the blessed servant or the beaten servant, it’s your choice. You will always be free to choose what you buy and build.
Blazing new trails,
Gene W. Benjamin II
Individual revenue $aver$ – ir$sm
EMERGENCY WAR POWERS ACT
“Study the Constitution. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislatures, and enforced in courts of justice.” Abraham Lincoln
“You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” John Adams
“I believe there are more instances of abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations..” James Madison
If you have the intestinal fortitude for it, check out the web site http://www.tax-freedom.com/warpowrs.txt It’s a 33 page investigative report written by the American Agriculture Movement at Box 130, Campo, Colorado 81029 on the Emergency War Powers Act. The report is too large to include in this newsletter, sorry. Write to them for information or their book(s) if you do not have internet access. The report reveals how during the Great Depression, FDR effectively cancelled the U.S. Constitution, using emergency powers. Then in cahoots with the privately owned Federal Reserve System, stole American’s gold and silver, by no longer redeeming their gold or silver certificates. The citizens of the United States were made enemies of the State, thereby making it possible for the U.S. Government to cancel contracts with its citizens (enemies under a state of emergency). It’s an ugly story that will make your blood boil, but we’re living in the aftermath. Clinton is just building on the treasonous acts of his communist predecessors. No wonder the Lord calls this the end of the age; it’s been ending for almost a hundred years now.
Abraham Lincoln said, “We the People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts – not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
The United States Supreme Court has said, “It is not the function of government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep government from falling into error.”
At the end of the report posted on the above web page are sample letters you can write to your President and Congressmen. I urge you to get copies of those letters and do just that. The American Agriculture Movement could use your donations also.
Until next time,
Gene W. Benjamin II