Numbers 1

 The Five Books of Moses

1. Genesis is a history from creation to the entering into Egypt of the family of Israel [Jacob].

2. Exodus is a history of the deliverance of physical Israel as an allegory and prophecy of  deliverance from bondage to sin for the Spiritual Ekklesia of the New Covenant.

3. Leviticus is instructions for the physical and the spiritual priesthood.

The physical priesthood of Aaron was to teach godliness to the people and offer physical sacrifices. All of the physical sacrifices were lessons and pictures of the atoning work and sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. All of the called out of the New Covenant are called to become priests of the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ after their resurrection.

4. Numbers is about the wondering after Sinai and before entering the physical promised land. This is a lesson on the life of the New Covenant converted as wanderers in an evil world, from their baptism until their death or change to spirit and entry into that spiritual Promised Land of eternal life.

5. Deuteronomy is the last instructions and warnings to the people immediately before their entry to the promised land. This is also a reminder to us of who may and who may not enter the spiritual Promised Land of eternal life.  Only those who are zealously faithful to live by every Word of God may enter and remain in the spiritual Promised Land of eternal life.

 

Numbers Overview

Numbers begins at Mount Sinai, where the Israelites have received the law and covenant from God; and God has taken up residence among them in the tabernacle sanctuary.  The task before them is now to take possession of the physical promised land.

The people are numbered and preparations are made for resuming their journey.  The Israelites begin the journey, but they “murmur” (complain against God) at the hardships along the way and complain against Moses and Aaron because of the hardships.  For these acts, God destroys approximately 15,000 of them through various means. 

They arrive at the borders of Canaan and send spies into the land, but upon hearing the spies report concerning the conditions in Canaan the Israelites refuse to enter the land, and God condemns them to die in the wilderness until a new generation can grow up and carry out the task.  The book ends with the new generation of Israelites in the plain of Moab ready for the crossing of the Jordan River.

God orders Moses to number those able to bear arms—of all the men “from twenty years old and upward;” and God appoints captains over each tribe. 603,550 Israelite men are found to be fit for military service.  In chapter 26, a generation later and after forty years of wandering the desert, the Lord orders a second census and 601,730 men are counted.

The tribe of Levi is exempted from military service and therefore not included in the census totals.  Moses consecrates the Levites for the service of the tabernacle in place of the first-born sons in Israel.

The Levites are divided into three families, the Gershonites, the Kohathites, and the Merarites, each under a chief, and all headed by the new high priest Aaron, and then Eleazar the son of Aaron.

The first journey of the Israelites after the Tabernacle had been constructed

The people murmur against God and are punished; Moses complains of the stubbornness of the Israelites and is given seventy elders [the later Sanhedrin is based on this model] to assist him in the government of the people.

Miriam and Aaron insult Moses at Hazeroth, which angers God; Miriam is punished with leprosy and is shut out of camp for seven days, at the end of which the Israelites proceed to the desert of Paran.  Twelve spies are sent out into Canaan and come back to report to Moses.

Joshua and Caleb, two of the spies, report that the land is abundant and is “flowing with milk and honey;” the other spies report the land is inhabited by giants, and the Israelites refuse to enter the land. 

Yahweh decrees that the Israelites will be punished for their loss of faith by having to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, thus revealing that only by faith and the works of faith can anyone enter the spiritual Promised land of eternal life.

Moses is ordered by God to make plates to cover the altar with the two hundred fifty censers left after God’s destruction of Korah’s band for trying to usurp the authority of Moses and Aaron.   The children of Israel murmur against Moses and Aaron on account of the destruction of Korah’s men and are stricken with a plague, with 14,700 perishing.

Aaron and his family are declared by God to be responsible for any iniquity committed in connection with the sanctuary.  This means that today’s elders will be held responsible by God for the sin and false doctrine that they permit in the assemblies (Ezekiel 33)!  

The Levites are again appointed to help in the keeping of the tabernacle.  The Levites are ordered to give to the priests a tenth of the tithes given to them.

Miriam dies at Kadesh Barnea and the Israelites set out for Moab, on Canaan’s eastern border. 

The Israelites blame Moses for the lack of water and  Moses is ordered by God to speak to a rock but disobeys striking the rock, and is punished by the announcement that he will not be allowed to enter Canaan. 

The king of Edom refuses permission to the Israelites to pass through his land and they go around it. Aaron dies on Mount Hor.  The Israelites are bitten by fiery serpents for speaking against God and Moses.

The Israelites arrive on the plains of Moab.  A new census gives the total number of males from twenty years and upward as 601,730, and the number of the Levites from a month old and upward as 23,000. 

God commands that the land is to be divided by lot.  The daughters of Zelophehad, their father having no sons, are to share in the allotment. Moses is ordered to appoint Joshua as his successor. Prescriptions for the observance of the feasts, and the offerings for different occasions are enumerated.

Just as Egypt was a type of bondage, and physical Israel was a type of the called out; the Canaanites were types of unrepentant sinners and their total destruction was representative of the final judgment of all unrepentant sinners and all false teaching in the lake of fire.

The Reubenites and the Gadites request Moses to assign them the land east of the Jordan. Moses grants their request after they promise to help in the conquest of the land west of the Jordan. The land east of the Jordan is divided among the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Moses recalls the stations at which the Israelites halted during their forty years’ wanderings and instructs the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites and destroy their idols.  The boundaries of the land are spelled out; the land is to be divided under the supervision of Eleazar, Joshua, and twelve princes, one from each tribe.

 

Numbers 1

Two weeks after Passover in the second year after the exodus, God instructs Moses to prepare to enter the physical promised land. 

Under the Mosaic Covenant the whole nation was to be God’s nation and was to make war by God’s command as the instrument of God’s policies.  When the Mosaic Covenant ended with the death of the Husband of Israel, the God Being who had given up his Godhood to be made flesh;  a New Covenant officially began in part (Jer 31:31).

In this dispensation we are a scattered people and we are not to take part in the unjust wars of this world’s nations.   Right now our warfare is spiritual, warring against the sin within ourselves (2 Cor 10:4). 

During the present dispensation those scattered individuals called to God are in training to enter the New Covenant in its fullness at the resurrection to spirit when we shall be fully born again, this time as a spirit being. 

At present the called out spiritual Ekklesia is not the wife of Christ, we are espoused to and in training to become a part of the resurrected bride; and if we are chosen we will be resurrected to spirit and we will become the full wife of Christ at the Marriage of the Lamb before the throne of God the Father in heaven (Rev 15).  For even more detail see this article on “The Marriage of the Lamb.”   

At this time the spiritual Ekklesia is not a nation but a very scattered people, yet we have been called out to become a spiritual holy nation (1 Pet 2:9) which we are working to become.

The chosen will become a royal priesthood [kings and priests (Rev 1:6, 5:10)] and a holy spiritual nation at the resurrection to spirit and the Marriage of the Lamb, when we will enter in to a New Marriage Covenant with Christ; no longer espoused to Christ but becoming fully married to HIM at the Heavenly Wedding Feast at the Marriage of the Lamb (Rev 15)! 

In this dispensation we are a scattered people and we are not to take part in the unjust wars of this world’s nations.   Right now our warfare is spiritual, warring against the sin within ourselves (2 Cor 10:4). 

Later after the resurrection when we become a holy nation fully married to and at one with Jesus Christ the Lamb of God; and in full unity with God the Father and the very One who had been the Husband and leader of Mosaic Israel, we will make war at his direction alone and not by our own reasoning’s. 

Numbers 1:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 1:2 Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; 1:3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.

God selects and reveals to Moses who God wanted as commander of the fighting men of each tribe of Israel.

1:4 And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers.

1:5 And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.

1:6 Of Simeon; Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

1:7 Of Judah; Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

1:8 Of Issachar; Nethaneel the son of Zuar.

1:9 Of Zebulun; Eliab the son of Helon.

1:10 Of the children of Joseph: of Ephraim; Elishama the son of Ammihud: of Manasseh; Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

1:11 Of Benjamin; Abidan the son of Gideoni.

1:12 Of Dan; Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

1:13 Of Asher; Pagiel the son of Ocran.

1:14 Of Gad; Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

1:15 Of Naphtali; Ahira the son of Enan.

1:16 These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel.

The commanders which God had chosen gathered together and were introduced to the fighting men placed under their charge.

1:17 And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names: 1:18 And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.

1:19 As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.

A list of the numbers of each tribe

1:20 And the children of Reuben, Israel’s eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:21 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Reuben, were forty and six thousand and five hundred.

1:22 Of the children of Simeon, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, those that were numbered of them, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:23 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.

1:24 Of the children of Gad, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:25 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Gad, were forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty.

1:26 Of the children of Judah, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:27 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Judah, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred.

1:28 Of the children of Issachar, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:29 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Issachar, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred.

1:30 Of the children of Zebulun, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:31 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Zebulun, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred.

1:32 Of the children of Joseph, [Joseph was given the right of the first born and had a double portion through his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh] namely, of the children of Ephraim, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:33 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred. 1:34 Of the children of Manasseh, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:35 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred.

1:36 Of the children of Benjamin, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:37 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Benjamin, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred.

1:38 Of the children of Dan, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:39 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Dan, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred.

1:40 Of the children of Asher, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:41 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and five hundred.

1:42 Of the children of Naphtali, throughout their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:43 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Naphtali, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.

These are the twelve tribes of Israel, exclusive of Levi which was the priesthood tribe

1:44 These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers. 1:45 So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; 1:46 Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.

In the following case the term “Levites” refers to the entire tribe of Levi, including both the priests and the Levites.  Aaron and his sons were to be the priests and the other sons of Levi were to be the Levites [helpers of the priests, like modern deacons]; but the whole tribe of Levi was to be the tribe of God, called to serve in the holy things of God.

1:47 But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them.

1:48 For the LORD had spoken unto Moses, saying, 1:49 Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel:

The priests were to offer the sacrifices; while the responsibilities of the Levites are ordained by God here.  Just as Israel was called out of Egypt, the tribe of Levi was called out from Israel to minister before God for them. 

1:50 But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle. 1:51 And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

The armies of Israel were then organized into groups [within their tribes] and each man belonged to his own regiment under his own tribal leader.

1:52 And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts.

The Levites camped around the tabernacle of God so that no person would be destroyed for approaching God improperly. In the same way, Jesus Christ is now our High Priest and the ONLY Intercessor between us and God the Father, atoning for us; so that we are not destroyed for our sins when we approach God the Father.

1:53 But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.

1:54 And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.

 

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  1. Hi James, what do you think happened to the mixed multitude of strangers that came out of Egypt with Israel. Is it to be assumed that none of them made it to this point. Thanks

    Other peoples used the Exodus to escape Egypt, Exodus 12:38. It would appear the the people of Israel were counted by their genealogy in Numbers and the count did not include the other peoples who remained with them, since we are later told that it was this mixt multitude remaining with them which originated much of the complaining Num 11:4.

    God killed off very many of the rebellious at various times and it appears that most of these mixed peoples were either killed or left Israel or were humbled and converted being assimilated into Israel by the time they entered the land over 40 years later. James

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