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Join us for Midrash of Bamidbar/Numbers starting NOW!
Prepare for war! The Book of Numbers will tell you how to win, and equally important, it will tell you how not to lose.
Join us each week for this indispensible Tsiyon study. It's all free on Tsiyon Road! Go here to download the updated Torah Reading Schedule and Tsiyon Messianic Scriptures - Bamidbar /Numbers. Be sure you don't miss anything - sign up as a Tsiyon member here.
Ordered for Victory Charts - Beginning with our study of Bamidbar /Numbers 2 we are offering free charts to help you visualize the camp of the tribes of Israel as explained in Scripture. You will find a link to all the charts with this post. The principal illustration for this study is posted to the left for your convenience.
The Tsiyon illustration of Numbers 2 above shows how Israel was ordered for victory. The first thing we notice here is that the camp of Israel was carefully and precisely arranged in the shape of a giant square. When I say "giant" I am not kidding! Look at the numbers of warriors posted with each of the tribes here. Realize this is just the warriors, since only the warriors were numbered. If we were to add the civilian population the size of the square must be much larger still - estimates range from 12 to 20 miles across the entire width of the camp.
In our program we will begin to explore the spiritual aspects of the camp of Israel to understand its relevance to us and our conflict with the forces of the enemy. Here I would simply like to make a few observations about the military formation YHWH utilized with Israel in the wilderness. The point of these observations is simply this: YHWH of hosts is a brilliant "Man of war" using superb military methods and tactics centuries before they were ever employed by the best military organizations the world could produce.
Flags and Banners
Here is a deceptively simple example: flags and banners as a means of organizing the troops. Some sources say flags in the form of rudimentary standards originated with the Romans about 2000 years ago. Here is a source that pushes this back to the Egyptians 1000 years earlier:
The historical origin of flags dates back to around 1000 BC, when the Egyptians used primitive versions of flags - some were even made out of wood or metal. Flags were originally used for the purpose of identification or to signal to others. [http://www.worldflags101.com/]
1000 BC is the era of the Kingdom of David and Solomon.
Israel had come out of Egypt almost 500 years earlier than that! (see 1 Kings 6:1)
That means the use of standards and banners in the camp of Israel predates the first use of the same by the Egyptians or any other worldly army by 5 centuries! Further, the origin of this profound military advantage is documented for us forever in the book of Numbers as proceeding from YHWH for His people, Israel.
Another aspect of Numbers 2 revealing the military brilliance of YHWH is His innovation using the square to provide protection from the enemies of Israel. This formation allowed protected war-fighting support to flow from the civilians within the camp to the ranks of soldiers providing a protective barrier all the way around on four sides. Further, the troops were under disciplined yet fluid command that could adjust to the pressures of any attack.
The square battle formation, though on a much smaller size scale than that of Israel, was later adopted by some of the most successful armies in the world, including the Romans and later the British. This formation was stellar in ancient times at repelling attacks, as this YouTube video illustrates.
To the left is a picture of the British army defeating the Zulus at Ulundi in 1874 using their famous square battle formation. The British repeatedly defeated armies much larger than their own by relying on the square as their defensive formation.
The British famously defeated Napoleon at Waterloo using the square. Here is a YouTube video of that.
The great strength of the square was against infantry and cavalry. Among other advantages, it was impossible to out-flank. Only with the rise of gunpowder and cannon could the well-ordered square be defeated. The square battle formation was so effective in pre-artillery days that it was used down into the 19th century, and even a little into the 20th century. That YHWH innovated this defensive military formation about 3 and a half millennia ago, as reported in Numbers 2, is a testimony to His absolute mastery of the battlefield.
While it is true that armies today have technology and methods unknown to the people of those ancient times in which YHWH first prepared Israel for war, it is also true that YHWH remains just as far ahead and absolutely superior today in His knowledge, tactics, resources and war-fighting capability as He was against the Egyptians at the Red Sea. Keep watching as world events unfold, for all the proof of the effective war-fighting capability of YHWH any sane person will ever need!
Bottom line: YHWH is there to help you fight your battles - and our battles - as He forms us together into a formidable nation, as He did at the foot of Mount Sinai so many years ago. Numbers 2 - you need to hear this message!
Blessings and Shalom,
Eliyahu Ben David