Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.Luke 24:27
The Book of Numbers
As we have done with previous sites, we need to provide some Biblical context for our new excavation site. By now we must have learned that artifacts without God’s Word remain just a pile of dry bones. But oh, when God speaks!
Our search for Jesus in the book of Numbers requires us to use different excavation tools than we’ve used at other sites. Why? Because the whole contents of the book of Numbers is a singular type. This book testifies to the Church in the wilderness. As we shall see in greater detail, the Church, and therefore you and I, are pioneers, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Christ Jesus, as the pioneer, made the way for us to join him and participate in His work, through Him. Even though victory was secured at the cross, His Church is still in this world and therefore in a spiritual war. “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:10-11) And now, for a little while, we are at war. Not against people, for people are made in the image of God, but against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The unseen heavenly host of rulers and authorities, along with the saints that have completed their race, comprise a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), cheering us on as we fulfill our assigned roles in God’s kingdom, pressing forward for the joy that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has set before us.
The difficulties, battles, and temptations which the Church faces, have been choreographed to us through the Israelites travail in their
The difficulties, battles, and temptations the Church faces have been choreographed to us through the Israelites’ travails on their wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan. Their wilderness journey speaks to the journey of “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:9)
The descendants of the Jews that entered the Promised Land will someday recognize their Messiah, Jesus, and take their rightful place within the Church. The Jewish voices, as recorded in the book of Numbers, tell the Church to be on guard, to be sure that we are near God’s “tabernacle”, that we learn our assigned tasks and we do them as unto the Lord.
“So the Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Numbers 1:54)
“So the people of Israel did everything as the Lord had commanded Moses. Each clan and family set up camp and marched under their banners exactly as the Lord had instructed them.” (Number 2:34)
There was a time in their wilderness journey that the Israelites did as the Lord commanded. We often forget that. We just remember their disobedience. Now, for those of us that have asked and been made bondservants of Christ, let us be obedient until our end, remembering what the writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 12:18-25:
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom, and storm; to a trumpet blast or to a voice that made its hearers beg that no further word be spoken. For they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that even Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to myriads of angels in joyful assembly, to the congregation of the firstborn, enrolled in heaven. You have come to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if the people did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns us from heaven?
Well, I think we’re ready to dust off the book of Numbers and find Jesus in this book. Until then, I pray this blessing upon all God’s people:
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
Photo: Mario Modesto Mata / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
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