The Rock of Numbers

The Eastern Gate in Jerusalem

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  

Today we are wrapping up our excavation of the Book of Numbers. We have certainly found Jesus in the pages of this book, but we’re not done. Walk with me as I return to the time of the Israelites during their wilderness journey. Let’s discover more places where Jesus was foreshadowing His earthly ministry. 

Jesus in Assignments

Foreshadow: When their names were recorded, as the LORD had commanded through Moses,each man was assigned his task and told what to carry. And so the registration was completed, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. (Numbers 4:49

The Church: But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose (1 Corinthians 12:18).”

Jesus Returns From East to West

The esteemed location: From Job 23:8,9 we know that the term kedem properly means that which is before or in front of a person. This word is used to designate “East”. Therefore, for the Israelites in the wilderness the directions East, West, North, and South were called “Before,” “Behind,” “Right,” and “Left.” So from Numbers 3:28 we learn the most prominent location, “The area in front of the Tabernacle, in the east toward the sunrise, was reserved for the tents of Moses and of Aaron and his sons.” 

The return of Jesus:For as the lightning flashes from the east, and is seen even to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:27).

Here are a few examples of God prophetically pointing us to the East, from where Jesus will return: “Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east.” (Ezekiel 43:1); “As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east,” (Ezekiel 43:4). The idea of a gate on the eastern side as the principal entrance to the court of the sanctuary goes back to the days of the tabernacle (Exodus 27:13-16). 

The Old City of Jerusalem is surrounded by a wall containing eight major gates. Moving counterclockwise from the northern-most gate are Herod’s Gate, the Damascus Gate, the New Gate, Jaffa Gate, Zion Gate, the Dung Gate, the Eastern Gate, and the Lions’ Gate. 

The Eastern Gate of Jerusalem is also called the Golden Gate or the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2). In Hebrew, it is Sha’ar Harahamim, the “Gate of Mercy. The Eastern Gate faces the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley. When Jesus entered Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives in Matthew 21. He would have used the Eastern Gate built during the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:29).

That Rock was Christ

We learn from the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians that Jesus was with the Israelites during their time in the wilderness. Paul writes, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in 1 Corinthians 10:1-5:

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Means of Grace

Once again we’ve seen Jesus in the book of Numbers. I hope we are more acutely aware that all the Scriptures speak to us about Jesus, our Savior.  As believers, we also have to walk in the wilderness, for our wilderness is our journey from our regeneration (Ephesians 2:8-10) to the completion of our race (2 Timothy 4:7), leaving this world and joining Jesus in heaven. Plagued, as we are, by the deceptions and enticements of the world, we should avail ourselves of the “means of grace” God has provided for sustaining us throughout this journey.

The “means of grace” are ministries that God uses to convert, bless, and strengthen His people. These “means” include the reading and preaching of God’s Word (Romans 10:15), prayer, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Acts 16:25, Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), baptism (Acts 22:16), being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and our participation in the Eucharist/Communion/Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Next time we will discover Jesus in the book of Deuteronomy

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