The Beauty of Numbers – 2

The Holy Herringbone

Part 1 here.

We’ve covered the first “Covenant cycle” in Numbers, which in theory should set the pattern (fractally) for the remainder of the book. Here’s my go at the second cycle, which (again, in theory, if my suspicions are correct), should be an “exposition” of the second part of the first cycle, which concerned the “military” arrangement of the tribes around the Tent of Meeting (Delegation). So, even though this cycle works through all seven steps, each step should reflect an “Exodus/Hierarchy” or Delegation theme. Each step thus has two literary “spatial coordinates,” an X and a Y. Each step must thus employ a symbol that pertains to two different Covenant steps, or describes the relationship between them.

This is no mean feat, yet we see it everywhere in the Bible. It’s probably wise to demonstrate this process with a diagram:

X: Exodus/Hierarchy   x   Y: Genesis/Transcendence
X: Exodus/Hierarchy   x   Y: Exodus/Hierarchy
X: Exodus/Hierarchy   x   Y: Leviticus/Ethics Given
X: Exodus/Hierarchy   x   Y: Numbers/Ethics Opened
X: Exodus/Hierarchy   x   Y: Deuteronomy/Ethics Received
X: Exodus/Hierarchy   x   Y: Joshua/Oath-Sanctions
X: Exodus/Hierarchy   x   Y: Judges/Succession

When laid out vertically, or “in series,” the text looks like DNA. However, when laid out “in parallel,” this literary architecture is like the “warp and weft” of weaving. It is a tapestry, but not in the warm-fuzzy quilting circle type way that most commentators use the word “tapestry.” It is a precise, mathematically-ordered grid of ideas. [1] (I have also diagrammed this process using the feasts. Click here for a graphic.) So, that’s the theory. Let’s see if it works.

Numbers 10: Genesis/Transcendence – The Calls to Assemble:
GARDEN – Two trumpets blown together: All Israel assembles at the Tent (Father).
LAND – One trumpet blown: The Tribal Heads gather to Moses (Son).
WORLD – Advance sounded: The camps begin their journeys (Spirit). [2]
Numbers 11: Exodus/Hierarchy – Delegation/Passover/Division: God “cuts around” (circumcises) the edges of the camp with fire. The non-Hebrew people are not satisfied with manna (bread of humility) and grumble that they have no (kingly) meat (Priestly Division). The Lord is angry and He sends quails, whose dead bodies lie divided between north and south. (“You want meat, I’ll give you meat.”) He puts His Spirit upon seventy elders to help Moses.
Numbers 12-13: Leviticus/Ethics Given – Firstfruits/Altar: Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses’ lawful Gentile marriage. Miriam is struck with leprosy, clothed in white, the sterility of salt and linen. (“You want white, I’ll give you white.”) Moses intercedes and after seven days she returns to the camp. The contrast at this “betrothal” step is between the sister according to the flesh and the sister according to the Spirit. [3] Israel’s refusal to minister to the nations is what defiled her, and the same sin defiles Christian churches (Acts 10:15). Firstfruits/Table: The tribal heads, as twelve loaves, are cast as sacrificial bread to spy out the Land and bring back some fruit. Grapes are a promise of wine. The table is a promise of future rest. Day 3 concerns the Land. Here the promise is a Land flowing with milk (offspring according to the flesh) and honey (offspring according to the Spirit, an army or “swarm.”) [4] Step 3 is Ascension, which also explains the expression “to go up” and possess the Land.
Numbers 14: Numbers/Ethics Opened – Testing: The people fail to enter into rest and are cursed to wander for forty years and die in the wilderness. (Symbolically, Israel’s claim that they were grasshoppers implies that they should have been locusts, which are the same species but which change in both physiology and character when conditions are right). This is Israel’s tenth sin, and the ten faithless spies (God’s Lampstand eyes) are snuffed out, leaving two faithful witnesses. The tribes attempt to fulfill the promise in the flesh, go up to the Land without God, and are defeated.
Numbers 15: Deuteronomy/Ethics Received – Maturity/Trumpets: Moses gives “resurrection” commandments concerning the native born and the stranger. He speaks concerning unintentional and intentional (high-handed) sins (this ties in with the post-Pentecost apostolic witness. At the cross, the Jews were forgiven for they did not know what they were doing. After Pentecost, the “opening of the Law” by the Spirit, the Jewish persecutors knew exactly what they were doing, and would be cut off. There would be “no more sacrifice for sins”). Tassels on garments were to be a (deutero-nomic) reminder of the Laws of God. [5]
Numbers 16: Joshua/Sanctions – Atonement/Vindication: Korah (a Levite – false Priestly Head) and sons of Reuben (false Kingly Body) rise up against the true priesthood, disputing the hierarchical nature of the Lord’s arrangement of Israel. Notice that this is Day 6, so we have a false prophet (Adam) and a deceived harlot (Eve). Also, vindication matches Hierarchy chiastically, so this is a fleshly usurping of a priestly delegation. Their “egalitarian” disputing is a mask for satanic envy. The “division” this time is between the tents of Koran, Dathan and Abiram (priestly head and governmental shoulders), and the other tents of Israel. (Notice that Korah does not stand outside his tent, like Dathan and Abiram). The ground swallows them up, along with their families. God and His priests and elders are vindicated. This scenario is replayed in the Jewish War, which vindicated Jesus and His apostles. Well, the Day of Atonement has two approaches, head and body, so there is more to be done. The people complain about the Lord’s severity and there is a plague among the people. Aaron stands “in the gap,” in the Veil, with the Covenant rainbow upon His chest, and there is Noahic rest.
Numbers 17: Judges/Succession – Booths/Glory: The second witness concerning Aaron’s delegation by God is a symbol of offspring: Aaron’s rod which buds, blossoms and produces ripe almonds. This process itself follows the matrix pattern as a “three-fold Ethics” (the Lampstand was an almond tree, also known as a “Watcher Tree,” filled with God’s eyes. So Aaron’s authority as Great Servant is not only vindicated but glorified with a Pentecostal rod, a Lampstand, seven stars, in his right hand.) At this stage in history, the priestly Succession was genealogical, external, flesh. Since Pentecost, the Succession is one of Spirit, a succession that cannot be cut off, but rather buds and blooms and produces more saints, more holy ones, the more it is attacked.

As mentioned previously, it seems that Numbers only consists of five cycles (an “un-opened scroll”) but I think the central cycle might consist of three sections, making the entire book a sort of miscarried seven. We’ll see.

[1] See also Warp and Weft.
[2] Only the Eastern and Southern tribes are mentioned in the Hebrew. “One alarm was the recognized signal for the eastern division of the camp (the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun) to march; two alarms gave the signal for the southern to move; and, though it is not in our present Hebrew text, the Septuagint has, that on three alarms being sounded, those on the west; while on four blasts, those on the north decamped. Thus the greatest order and discipline were established in the Israelitish camp–no military march could be better regulated.” (JFB) The head tribes of east and south were Judah and Reuben, the lion and the man, so perhaps the omission is deliberate. Structurally, the four separate commands concerning the trumpets are already FOUR HORNS for the Altar.
[3] We see the same ironic reversal when Elisha cuts off the children of Jezebel (Bethel’s golden calf) and yet reverses the miscarriages of the believing Gentiles in Jericho using a bowl of salt. Israel’s offense and sterility brought life to the Gentiles (Romans 11).
[4] Israel turned these blessings into curses. See Kids in the Kitchen: Passover in the Motherland.
[5] See Red Cord, Blue Threads 1, 2 and 3.

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One Response to “The Beauty of Numbers – 2”

  • Mike Bull Says:

    A further thought: Korah’s rebellion was a pull back towards a Noahic “Melchizedekian” priesthood (priest-king: left hand and right hand) from an Aaronic priesthood (right ear, right thumb and right toe bloodied and anointed). But the challenge of the Herodian High Priesthood in the first century was a clinging onto an Aaronic priesthood and a rejection of a Greater Melchizedekian priesthood of Jesus: one new man.