B'Midbar/Numbers 8:2 "Speak to Aharon and say to him, 'When you kindle the lamps ...'"
From the English translation, we would have expected the Hebrew verb used here to be , which in the Hif'il stem means 'to kindle or set on fire' as we find in the blessings recited when lighting the candles at Hanukkah: , l'hadliych neyr shel Hanukkah. Instead, we find the verb , which in its simply form means 'to go up or ascend' and from which the modern word 'aliyah' - going up to live in the Land of Israel - is derived. In its Hiphil stem, as used here, it becomes causative: Aharon is told to make or cause the lights to rise up.Rashi comments that in order to make sure that the light is burning properly, it is necessary to kindle - hold the fire to the wick - for long enough that the flame rises from the light of its own accord; the light has been caused to rise.
G-d tells the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the scrublands of the Negev, "I will light a fire in you ... a blazing, unquenchable flame that will scorch every face ... All humanity will see that I, Adonai, lit it; it will not be put out" (Ezekiel 21:3-4, CJB). G-d lit a fire to raise up an unmistakable sign. He made sure the fire was large enough that it couldn't be put out - the fire was raised up to be unquenchable.
It is common among believers to talk of G-d raising up leaders, missionaries, teachers or other functions within the body - a recognition that it is G-d who calls and equips His people to accomplish the things that He has purposed. Indeed, the process of ordaining men as pastors and elders is simply man recognising what G-d has already done - other leaders lay hands on those who G-d has already raised up to occupy these positions. But G-d has not only raised up leaders - He has raised up each one of us. Each of us has been raised to spiritual life in Yeshua, and will be raised up by Yeshua on the last day (John 6:40).
The most significant act of raising that has ever been carried out is when G-d raised Yeshua from death. As Rav Sha'ul says, "But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep" (1 Cor 15:20, NASB). G-d caused Him to be raised from death, not only that death should be defeated and stripped of its power, but to demonstrate G-d's victory over sin and death through the obedience of the stake/cross and because death could not hold Yeshua. It is when we "confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that G-d raised Him from the dead" (Romans 10:9) that we are raised by G-d. He applies the fire of the Ruach HaKodesh to us until the light is raised up in us.
Further Study: 2 Corinthians 4:6-10; Matthew 5:14-16
Application: How is G-d's fire burning in your life? If your relationship with G-d simply smouldering, a gentle flame or an unquenchable blaze for all to see? How can you kindle a fresh flame of enthusiasm for G-d?
© Jonathan Allen, 2004
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