The Beauty of Numbers – 6

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

We have reached the sixth cycle of Numbers, which seems to include chapters 30-34. Seeing as it has been a while since we looked at Numbers, here’s the overview again, with this next cycle in red.

Overview of Numbers

1 – Israel called and arranged as a New Creation
2 – Leadership disputes, failures and judgments
Leviticus/Ethics GivenAscension/Firstfruits/Altar:
3 – Levitical offerings and “firstfruits” victories
Numbers/Ethics OpenedTesting/Pentecost:
4 – Israel fails the jealous inspection
Deuteronomy/Ethics ReceivedMaturity/Trumpets:
5 – Israel’s national festal offerings
6 – Vengeance upon Midian, Dividing the Land
7 – Yet to see

The first step towards identifying what this cycle consists of is its “liturgical” significance in the book. We should be looking for Atonement motifs, purging of sin and a claiming of the promised inheritance. We might also find “Covenant vows” as Conquest in the Bible Matrix corresponds to Sanctions in the Covenant pattern.

Numbers 30: Genesis/TranscendenceCreation/Sabbath/Covenant Vows:
This cycle is the “Day 6″ of the Book of Numbers. As such, we find it begins with an Adam and an Eve. This is reflected in the two approaches of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement (the sixth feast). He makes a covering for the head (the blood of a bull) and then a covering for the body (the blood of the first goat). So, that is one “coordinate” here, but it is also the first step in this cycle, and, interestingly, it concerns Covenant vows. This ties it to the first section of the Ten Words. Adam: Word from God; Eve: Word to God. [1] Notice that the “male” vows are relatively simple, covered in only two verses. As usual, the female section is a multiplication of the male. The man stands alone before God (as Covenant Head) but a woman makes a vow as a wife or a daughter.
Numbers 31:1-11: Exodus/HierarchyDivision/Passover/Delegation: Now, this is REALLY INTERESTING. At the centre of the pattern in Genesis concerning the qualification of Adam is his Testing by the serpent. At Conquest, Adam was to crush that serpent. At Testing in the Book of Numbers (cycle 4), Israel committed adultery and idolatry with Midianite women. Here, at Conquest, the Lord calls for vengeance upon Midian. However, the Covenant Sanctions are a two-edged sword, which brings both redemption and vengeance, the two “bridal” goats of Atonement.
As in Eden, two old foes clash once again. The hero-priest, Phinehas (as Adam) is sent by God into battle with the holy vessels (Ark – Head, Lampstand & Table – Arms, and signal Trumpets – Body). This is holy war. Mount Sinai itself, incarnate in Israel, has come to Midian. Balaam, the serpentine prophet, is slain in the battle. His crimes against Israel are atoned for. The lying sword of his mouth finally met its match in a New Israel.
Read verses 1-11 and see how they follow the matrix pattern.
Numbers 31:12-54 Leviticus/Ethics GivenAscension/Firstfruits/Altar & Table:
Just as the first step concerned vows for Adam and vows for Eve, this battle has two parts. Delegation was about going out to war. This second part is about the return. Verses 1-11 were very “male.” Israel killed all the males, including Balaam and the five kings of Midian. But this second part concerns the females, and again, females complicate things wonderfully. Moses’ commands seem brutal but they are intended to “cut off” the Midianite culture entirely. Only the virgins who could be married into Israel were to be spared. His commands to Israel concerning the purification of all those who have shed Midianite blood make perfect sense when we understand this step as the “Altar” of this Atonement process. “You shall purify every garment, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”
However, there is a second part to this step, and it presents the sacrifice on the Altar. It is the “Table” of this cycle. Eleazar the priest and the fathers divide the spoil, with a part taken for the Levites who keep the Tabernacle. This ties it perfectly to Firstfruits.
Now read the whole chapter and see how both parts follow the matrix, but combined as head-and-body they also follow it.
Numbers 32: Numbers/Ethics OpenedTesting/Pentecost/Flaming Sword:
Reuben and Gad propose that they settle on the wilderness side of the Jordan. Moses brings to mind the fact that their failure to “go up” and inherit by faith is like that of their fathers. “And behold, you have risen in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the Lord against Israel! For if you iturn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all this people.” But Reuben and Gad pass the test in this case, as they vow to take up arms against any who would attack the other tribes until they have settled. This chapter follows the Covenant pattern beautifully, so perhaps the significance of these two tribes remaining behind is to stand as two witnesses, two trees, two pillars, two angels at the gate of God.
Numbers 33:1-49: Deuteronomy/Ethics ReceivedMaturity/Trumpets/Witness: When I tell people that following the Bible Matrix in the text is very often “ticking the boxes” they don’t believe me. Well, we are up to the Deuteronomy step, and guess what? Moses recounts Israel’s journey. This section prefigures the next book in the Bible.
Numbers 33:50-56: Joshua/SanctionsConquest/Atonement/Vindication: The Lord gives Moses instructions for the conquest of Canaan. He finishes with a Covenant curse, a sanction: “…if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”
Numbers 34: Judges/SuccessionBooths/Glory: The final step concerns Succession, inheritance. Here, the Lord appoints the boundaries of Canaan: Edom, the Great Sea, Mount Hor and the Jordan. If we step out “fractally,” this is the beginning of Israel’s Land as a giant four-horned altar (this is where the stupid “flat earth” criticism originates from). Eleazar and Joshua were to divide the Land. Eleazar was the “priestly” ruler (Ascension of the Head – Garden) and Joshua the Kingly one (Conquest of the Body – Land). What was bound in heaven by the High Priest would be bound on earth by the faithful conqueror.
Finally, a list of tribal chiefs is given who would serve these two leaders, so the “Head/Body” pattern in Eleazar and Joshua is replicated fractally in Priest/King and Prophetic People. This not only carries the Head-Body Covenant theme throughout this cycle, it mirrors chiastically the vows in step one of this cycle. That is, if we have eyes to see.

Two observations to close:

The first concerns the process of maturity inherent in the Covenant process. At Passover, and in the wilderness, Israel was under the angelic sword. Angels were “tutors” until Israel was qualified to bear the sword as worthy representatives of their God. At Atonement, the veil is opened and it is the “firstborn,” the Man who bears the sword. But he is all grown up now. Angels slew the unfaithful in Egypt, but it was Israelite soldiers who would slay the unfaithful in Jericho. This originated in Eden, where Adam was “cut” by an angelic hand (graven?) for the purpose of building Eve, but Adam was expected to bear the sword-word of the Covenant against the serpent. That is the background, and here is the observation (finally). It was an angelic sword that “passed over” Balaam, but it was an Israelite sword that passed through him. [2] After the sin with the Midianites, God instructed the Israelites to wear robes with “wings.” Israel was now the fiery Spirit-messenger of God. Of course, all this prefigures the New Covenant, and explains the references to Balaam and the false prophet in the Revelation.

The second is from James Jordan’s “Sand Trek” lectures on Numbers. Balaam is frustrated three times by the angel and the donkey, until finally the donkey speaks for God. Balaam is behaving just like his boss, Balak, who is forcing Balaam, as his faithful donkey, to disobey the Lord. Balaam attempts to curse Israel three times, and finally prophesies concerning all Israel’s future. You can purchase these lectures in the complete set in the column at right (scroll down if necessary).

[1] See Bible Matrix II: The Covenant Key, for the way in which the Ten Commandments follow the Covenant Matrix in two columns, one for Adam (odd numbers) and one for Eve (even (!) numbers).
[2] See Pass-over and Pass-through and The Angels of Death Are We. As you will see, this has great import for the change from circumcision (under the sword) to credobaptism (bearing the sword as a mature, qualified vow-keeper).

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