Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jesus Christ in Numbers

Jesus our Holy, Set apart One: Nazirite Vow (Numbers 6:1-21).

No strong drink (v. 3), His joy is to be in the Lord.

Not to shave head (v. 5), He is to bear shame (1 Corinthians 11:4)

Not to touch a dead body (v. 7), He is to forsake father and mother.

Triune Blessing on such a person (v. 22-27)

Jesus our Great High Priest/Intercessor: Aaron the High Priest stood between the living and the dead waving the censer (symbol of intercession) to stop the plague (Numbers 16:48).


Two generations (Numbers 1-14; 21-36)

Two numberings (Numbers 1, 26)

Two journeys (Numbers 10-14; 21-27)

Two arrivals at Kadesh-barnea

Two sets of instructions (Numbers 5-9; 28-36)

Jesus our Bread of Life: The daily manna is Christ our Bread of Life who came down from heaven (John 6:32)

Jesus our Guide: The Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night, the Presence of Christ.

Jesus our Resurrection: Budding of Aaron’s Staff (Numbers 17:8).

Jesus our Rock: The Rock from which the thirsting multitude drank. He is to be only struck once to provide living water for us (Numbers 20:8-13; 1 Corinthians 10:4).

Jesus our Lifted Up One: Bronze Serpent (Numbers 21:6-9), who became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and was lifted up (John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32) on a pole (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13; Genesis 3:17). All of us have felt the serpent’s sting of sin (Genesis 3:17), but if we will only look up to the one who took on sin for our sake, we will live (John 3:14-15).

Jesus our Coming King: Like a song helps interpret a musical, so also poetry interprets passages of Biblical narrative in the Torah (see Genesis 49; Numbers 23-24; Deuteronomy 32-33). Numbers 23-24 is important in understanding the Torah as a whole because of its links with important prophetic passages. Here a pagan prophet named Balaam, hired to curse Israel, instead prophesies a blessing and a King to come.

Balaam’s prophecy links Genesis 49:9-10 with a King to come like the Lion of Judah (Numbers 24:9)

Balaam links the Abrahamic Covenant to this King to Come (Numbers 24:9; Genesis 12:3; 27:29). Further, the blessing on Abraham’s seed (Genesis 22:18; 26:24; 28:14 is directly connected to Numbers 24:9. Genesis 17:6 tells us that Abraham’s descendants would be royal since Sarah (“princess”) is to be the mother of kings.

Samuel’s speech to Saul in 1 Samuel 15:29 is a direct allusion to Balaam’s prophecy of a King to come in Numbers 23:19. Notice that immediately after Samuel’s speech, the Lord directs Samuel to anoint a new king – David (1 Samuel 16:1-2, 13).

Numbers 24:7 prophesies a king to come who is greater than Agag. Agag? Who is that? He is found in 1 Samuel 13 as the defeated king of the Amalekites (Numbers 24:20) whom King Saul did not execute. As a result, Saul lost the monarchy. We find Agag’s apparent descendant, Haman the Agagite, in the book of Esther prepared to liquidate the Jewish people. Esther and Mordecai, from the same tribe as Saul (Benjamin) must deal with this national threat.

Psalm 2 links Balaam’s prophecy with the Coming King who will hold a scepter-rod (Numbers 24:17).

Jacob’s prayer for Judah (Genesis 49:10) is directly referenced by Moses’ prayer for One to come from Judah (Deuteronomy 33:7) It in turn is linked with Balaam’s prophecy who sees him coming like a star (Numbers 24:17), as a ruler (Numbers 24:19). Micah sees also a ruler coming from Judah (Micah 5:2). The Magi recognized the star that Balaam, a sorcerer of the East, had prophesied (Matthew 2:1-2).