Numbers 1

Called Numbers

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 the deliverance from bondage to sin of the Called out of God.

3. Leviticus is instructions for the physical and the spiritual priesthood. The physical priesthood of Aaron was to offer the 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; and after their resurrection are to teach the spiritual meaning of the physical sacrificial lessons.

4. Numbers is about the wondering after Sinai and before entering the promised land. This is a lesson on the life of the converted, 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. As 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 INTRODUCTION

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 sanctuary. The task before them is 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 about the authority of Moses and Aaron. 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 take possession of it, 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.

Summary

God orders Moses, in the wilderness of Sinai, to number those able to bear arms—of all the men “from twenty years old and upward,” and God appoints princes 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. 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 the place of the first-born sons, who hitherto had performed that service.

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

The first journey of the Israelites after the Tabernacle had been constructed is commenced. 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.

With the two hundred fifty censers left after God’s destruction of Korah’s band for questioning the authority of Moses and Aaron, Moses is ordered by God to make plates to cover the altar. The children of Israel murmur against Moses and Aaron on account of the destruction of Korah’s men and are stricken with the 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 are to 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 surrender 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. Moses is ordered by God to speak to a rock but disobeys, and is punished by the announcement that he shall not enter Canaan. The king of Edom refuses permission to the Israelites to pass through his land and they go round it. Aaron dies on Mount Hor. The Israelites are bitten by Fiery flying 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. The land shall 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.

As Egypt is a type of bondage, and 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, compromisers with sin and tolerators of sin 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 of each tribe.

Numbers 1

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

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 wants 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 chosen by God are 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.

The following is 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 to be the Levites [helpers of the priests] ; but the whole tribe of Levi was to be the tribe 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 priest offers the sacrifices; while the responsibilities of the Levites are ordained by God here.  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 [with his family] belonged to his own regiment under his own 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 shall camp around the tabernacle of God as the intercessors of the Mosaic Covenant between Israel and God; that no person would be destroyed for approaching God. In the same way, Jesus Christ is now our High Priest and our ONLY Intercessor between us and God the Father, atoning for us; so that we may not be destroyed for our sins.

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. I am delighted to hear that Constance will be writing for us again! There is little joy in this present evil world and of the few joyful things her writings have become one of them for me. Praise God for his Mercy to allow her the strength to continue!

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