4. Numbers: The Old Testament
THE BOOK OF NUMBERS
The Fourth Book of Old Covenant Law
The Spiritual Significance:
We Are Numbered by God,
and Especially Chosen By Him
The Book of Numbers: Receiving from God in the New Covenant gospel seems to be as hard as giving to him in the Old Covenant law. Our minds play tricks on us. We build whole doctrines from one lone verse. We sometimes can’t tell the difference between Kingdom truth and religious fiction — between half beliefs and totally wrong assumptions. We are so bombarded with different thoughts and theologies it seems like The Second Tower of Babel.
God does everything he can to assure us of our salvation — the Jesus won’t turn away anyone who comes to him — that we were chosen before the foundation of the world. Yet we read a passage, like Matthew 7:13-14, and get into deep fear, or at least personal inspection: am I saved? This verse reads, “Enter at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in there. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it.”
I don’t see this being a salvation verse at all. Jesus has just been talking about giving good gifts to us, and we know he gives us his entire Kingdom (Luke 12:32). But we have a real hard time believing what God says, and receiving what he gives. God’s whole intent is to give to us, and he does so by means of the gospel. I believe this verse is talking about entering into truth that will turn us from darkness to light. When we live in gospel truth, we live in a whole different dimension of heavenly reality and perspective.
The gospel causes us to have gratitude for, and to have joy in Kingdom things that last an eternity, not in natural, earthly things that always disappoint us and lead to deception. Jesus says we will have problems in this life (John 16:33), yet most of us try everything we can to keep problems away from our doorstep.
What we must see in the New Covenant is that God has chosen us since the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). He called us for his own purpose and grace before the world even began (II Tim 1:9). The fact is, we have been ‘NUMBERED’ by God, — or ‘marked’ by him before we were even born. We can’t understand this. This is outside of our ability to reason and understand. But we can believe it because God says it. This is born out of TRUST in God, as we saw in Exodus, but we see it many other places too.
EVEN IN OUR LIVES TODAY
In Numbers we see folks traveling for 40 years over a stretch that should only take them days. And 2 million or more never entered the Promised Land. Talk about a LONG life lesson. God’s design for the gospel is for it to shorten our learning curve. But like the ancient Hebrews we have to believe and trust God, and what he says.
Like the Hebrews, so many wander this earth aimless their entire lives, never seeing the revealed gospel truth of God. They live life in the wilderness, at least spiritually speaking. God even gives us the Holy Spirit to show us any of his free gifts we may miss (I Cor 2:12).
This is where THE PARABLES OF JESUS, which are also a part of this website, are so important to see. In this case, ‘The Parable of the Lost Coin,’ and ‘The Parable of the Lost Sheep,’ and ‘The Parables of the Older Son and the Younger Son’ are so important. God knows that sheep are prone to wander, and to only be consumed by life in the moment. They have no thought for tomorrow. If they were human, they would be called narcissistic. But this does describe us as humans, and it shows how we think and feel.
But the truth is God is always after us, and will never let go of us, once we are his. He will pursue us until the end. It’s one of his great character traits as God.
ENGAGE THE GOSPEL TO LIVE
THE ABUNDANT LIFE OF JESUS
The Old Testament Jews had to engage the law to live any type of life in God. Today, we must believe and live God’s gospel to live the abundant life of Jesus.
Gospel revelation is so much like Numbers. If the Hebrews had taken Leviticus seriously, the book of Numbers would have been totally different. Christians today are called to live God’s ‘new and living way’ (Heb 10:20). This is The Gospel Road that leads to Christ’s abundant life. But we must walk this road to avoid living in spiritual wilderness our whole, entire lives.
God gives us no other road, as you’ll see in Deuteronomy.
The ancient Jews were unbelieving, and did not seriously listen to God (Heb 3:7-19). “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them, but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them who heard it” (Heb 4:2).
No, the ancient Jews did not have revelation of the full gospel as we do today. Their prophets worked diligently to understand the glory that would come to us in the life of Jesus (I Pet 1:9-12). But it was preached to Abraham, at least in some elementary form (Gal 3:8). Revelation of gospel reality should keep us from complaining and grumbling like the ancient Jews, and it also empowers us to trust God and follow him more fully, and not to live our whole life in a spiritual wilderness.
All of my sites are a labor of love, and are
ongoing and developing. The message on Numbers