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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

BeMidbar 34-3

In the desert of

Numbers 2:1-34

The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathersī houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side. Those to camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah by their companies, the chief of the people of Judah being Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

Num. 2:2-3 ESV

Can there be unity in diversity?

The people of Israel were divided in twelve tribes. Each tribe had specific characteristics and blessings. To keep order in the camp, every tribe had their flag and in that way it was easy to see where the identity of each group was. Tribal belonging creates a sub-identity within the higher identity which was the general identity of belonging to the people of Israel.

So, within a common identity there may be different identities that divide the people. General unity was kept by the Israelite identity while particularity was kept by tribal identity. In this way, there can be unity in diversity. The flags of the tribes represented their particular identity within the general identity of the whole people.

This principle can be transferred to what we could call "all the people of the Eternal", composed of Jews and non-Jews. In Acts 15:14 it's written: "Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name." (ESV) Through faith in the message of salvation the hearts of the gentiles are purified to be able to receive the Spirit of the Eternal. When this happens they become part of the people of the Eternal from among the gentiles. They don't become Israel nor Israelites nor Ephraimites, but a people of the Almighty among the gentiles as it is written in Romans 15:10: "And again it is said, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people."" (ESV)

These people have been grafted in the heavenly olive, the heavenly Israel, but not in the earthly Israel. There is however, a common element between both peoples: they are both the Eternal's people. But each one has a particular identity which should be kept so that there is order in the people.

In Revelation 5:9-10 it's written: "And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." (NIVUK)

Those who were bought and allowed themselves to be redeemed by the Lamb are part of a heavenly priestly nation that will reign on earth. That nation is Yeshua's congregation and is composed of Jews and gentiles who have a first citizenship in heaven and the second one on earth.

The general identity doesn't remove the particular or specific one; and in such way, unity, and at the same time the diversity of each one's calling, can be kept.

Dear disciple of the Messiah: don't envy others. Fulfill your calling and be faithful in anything the Eternal has given you. Keep the general identity but don't come out from your specific identity. In this way, we will work better and we'll all reach the goal.



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