In the ancient prophetic text in the book of Joshua there came a time when each of the tribes of Israel was given his share of the inheritance promised to them through their father Abraham nearly 500 years before. Of what did this inheritance consist? How were they able to obtain it? Is there any information hidden in the letters of the Hebrew word that might tell us more than a conventional reading of the text? Does anything in the letters point to the Messiah? Let’s find out.
In Chapter 11 verse 23 of this book written by Joshua, we find the first use of the word inheritance:
So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
As we saw last time, Yahweh’s people entered His rest in the land only after the enemies had been defeated. Here we see that the inheritance also comes with that rest after victory over their enemies.
The word inheritance, nachalah, is spelled Noon, Chet, Lamed, Hey.
Noon is the picture of the fish and reflects life.
Chet is the picture of a fence and points to a sanctuary or a place of protection.
Lamed is the picture of the shepherd’s staff and indicates control or the voice of authority.
Hey is the picture of a man with his arms outstretched and means to behold or to pay attention to what follows.
So the first mystery we see in the Hebrew letters for inheritance is that we are to behold the authority that is providing a sanctuary where we will have life. Remember, an inheritance is something valuable passed from someone who has ownership to an heir, and in the case of the tribes of Israel, the one who granted this place of refuge was Yahweh Himself. He is the authority we behold, to which we look for all we shall receive by His hand.
But the tribes did not all receive the same reward. You might ask why not? Didn’t all twelve tribes deserve the same inheritance?
The difference in the inheritance for the tribe of Simeon and the tribe of Levi goes all the way back to the first book of the Torah. In Genesis Chapter 49 verse 5 through 7 we see the blessing given these two brothers by their father Jacob:
Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
What had they done to earn the displeasure of their father Jacob and the promise that they would be scattered in Israel?
In Chapter 34 of this same ancient book of Genesis, the account is given of a Hivite named Shechem taking Jacob’s only daughter Dinah by force, but then becoming so enamored with her that he asked his father to negotiate a bride price with Jacob so he could marry her. Part of the bride price was that the Hivite city was to have every male circumcised in the same manner as every Hebrew male. On the third day, while they were still sore, Simeon and Levi took their swords and killed every male in the city in retaliation for their sister. Jacob was not pleased and thus the unusual blessing.
In the book of Joshua, the tribe of Simeon only inherits some cities scattered in the territory given to the tribe of Judah, just as Jacob had stated in his blessing. The tribe of Levi is also scattered throughout the Promised Land but in an entirely different way.
In Joshua Chapter 13 verse 14 we read:
Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as said unto them.
And further in verse 33:
But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.
What a picture of grace, that both the offerings by fire and the LORD Himself would be their inheritance.
The numbers that the Hebrew letters represent give us even more understanding. Noon is the number 50 and stands for deliverance. Chet is the number 8 and stands for a new beginning. Lamed is the number 30 and stands for a blood sacrifice. Hey is the number 5 and stands for grace.
So the mystery revealed in the numbers in the word nachalah is that by grace, through the blood sacrifice of Yeshua, we will receive a new beginning and deliverance from our enemies. And who are our enemies? They are sin and death.
And just as Joshua, a type of Yeshua led His people into the inheritance promised to them by Yahweh, Yeshua leads us into our inheritance. The first book of the disciple of Yeshua named Peter in Chapter 1 verse 3 through 5 tells us:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Peter assures us the resurrection of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach from the dead gives us the hope that our inheritance is reserved for us. This is only available to those who by faith have looked to Him for their salvation. If this isn’t you, don’t delay. You will be eternally grateful.
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