The Beauty of Numbers – 4

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Strange Fire

We’ve reach the central “cycle” of the book of Numbers, the attempt by Balak to destroy Israel. To the unbeliever, it is a story about a talking donkey. For believers, it is a story about a wicked prophet and a carnal people. For those with a wide angle “Bible Matrix” lens, the entire landscape suddenly comes into focus as something familiar and terrifying.

Firstly, we should get our bearings. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it seems we have seven major cycles in the book of Numbers. The first cycle laid out the basic structure of the rest of the book. What was at the centre—Testing—of cycle one? Numbers 5, the strange chapter where a woman suspected of adultery was to be subjected to the “inspection of jealousy.”

Basically, the woman would drink the Covenant, and God would become an internal witness, seeing her from the inside out. Whatever was behind her legal witness, the truth or the lie, would be reflected in her own flesh and in her offspring. In Numbers 5, the priest recites the process aloud (external law) and then carries it out (internal inspection). Like some kind of liturgical X-ray, this process would take what went on behind closed doors (whether good or evil) and expose it, shout it from the rooftops. [1]

That “personal” inspection is what all Israel will now pass through. All the events so far in Numbers have been leading up to this “liturgically.” Testing in the Garden of Eden involved a false king (the serpent), a false prophet (Adam, who failed to speak the Word) and the Woman. The scene is set for a stadium-sized reenactment of the events of Genesis 3. The individuals of Eden have become “corporate.” As Numbers is at the centre of Israel’s sevenfold story, so the story of Balaam and Phinehas is at the centre of Numbers.

Understanding these events “structurally” answers the questions that remain once the action is over and the blood thickens on the ground. One thing we must keep in mind is the sacrificial structure of these events. Firstfruits put Israel on the Altar. Pentecost puts fire on the Altar. The test here is whether Israel will tolerate strange fire not only in their Tabernacle, but in their own tents and hearts.

Numbers 22:1-21 Genesis/TranscendenceCreation/The Kingly Call:
As the Firstfruits cycle began with the Levitical call, this “Pentecostal” cycle begins with the call of the prophet Balaam by Balak, the king of Moab. You may remember that Ammon and Moab were the sons of Lot by his own daughters, who took a short cut to gain a tribal future. Balaam is reluctant to heed the call. James Jordan has pointed out that, as far as the text is concerned, Balaam is initially presented as a godly prophet. Despite later meanings attached to his name, some believe it simply means “a lord (Baal) of Moab.” If so, he was a courtly advisor, like Job’s friends, and David’s mighty men. And Adam. Like Adam, he begins in innocence. Like Adam, he transgresses the bounds of the authority given to him and heeds the serpent-king.
Numbers 22:22-40 Exodus/HierarchyDivision/Delegation/Passover: Balaam and the princes of Moab are the ungodly delegation here. It should be noted that Balaam rides a donkey, a sign that he comes in peace, when in reality he brings a sword against the children of Israel, to cut them off. We should remember the Lord bringing a sword against the firstborn of Moses, and the firstborn of Egypt. All Israel here is the firstborn son (Exodus 4:22). But that is in the background. In the foreground here is an angel with a sword, which is the first Edenic symbol. A talking animal is the second. Animals on earth correspond to angels in heaven. They are servants who die for their masters. Like Adam, Balaam’s eyes are initially closed, although he is warned against cursing the offspring of the Woman. The donkey is also a picture of faithful Gentile believers (like Ishmael), whose mouths are opened to shame God’s apostate prophets and provoke them to jealousy (another Pentecostal symbol). [2] So, Balaam himself passes under the “Passover” sword, and is given a ministry of Covenant blessing instead of Canaanite cursing.
Numbers 22:41-24:25 Leviticus/Ethics GivenAscension/Firstfruits/Altar:
Balak takes Balaam up—Ascension—and it begins this section, so it is also a false Mountain of God, from where a demonic word would be spoken (there’s the “two coordinate” process again!). Balaam calls for the building of seven altars, and the preparation of seven bulls and rams. God puts only blessing into Balaam’s mouth.
Now, this is where the NZT-48 of the Bible Matrix really kicks in. Thanks to Luke Andrew Welch for this nootropic observation. Balaam pronounces four oracles in all, from four different locations surrounding the camp of Israel. Each location is a mountain peak and blood is shed before the prophecy. If we zoom out visually, we see that the stage for this event is a gigantic “Bronze Altar” with four bloodied horns. Balak wants the horns turned inwards upon Israel, the firstborn (Table) upon the Altar.
The first blessing has a Genesis/Day 1 theme; the second an Exodus/Day 2 theme; the third a Levitical (Sanctuary) Day 3 theme; and the fourth a Numbers/Day 4 theme. Day 4 concerns the government of stars. Here, “a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Not only this, but this sceptre would crush the forehead of Moab. So all that nasty stuff I said above about the king of Moab being “serpentine” is true.
But wait, there are only three mountains mentioned. It seems Balaam himself becomes the fourth horn (a little horn) as he pronounces curses upon the Canaanite kings. This gives us a complete “head and body” or Jew and Gentile pattern in the prophecies.
Numbers 25: Numbers/Ethics OpenedTesting/Pentecost:
To get the Covenantal “context” of this chapter, we should review the events placed at this section in previous cycles: the jealous inspection (Creation), Israel’s failure to enter the Land (Division), and the rites of purification (Ascension). What we have here is Testing x Testing.
Israel commits “harlotry” with the daughters of Moab, which for any reasonable person would be a reminder of Genesis 6. Those events were at the centre of the Adam-to-Noah cycle, a corporate version of the seduction in Eden, an intermarriage with idolatry (see also Daniel 2:43 [lit. "intermarry"] and Matthew 24:36).
Numbers 25, like every one of these major steps, also follows the matrix structure, which is also reflected in the structure of the Ten Words. The process here is liturgical, and an awareness of its reflection of the rite of sacrifice makes it all the more gut-wrenching. At the centre of the Ten Words are Knife (Adam) and Fire (Eve). Under Covenant, their passion is a fire that pleases God. But when strange fire enters in, it devours like a flaming sword. David discovered this. So here, liturgically, Israel does not make it through the fire. Perhaps it is a good idea to zoom in and observe the structure within the structure. Israel takes the Ten Words and smashes them one by one. [3]

Closeup on Numbers 25

1: Israel bows down to false gods. 2: Israel swears by (is yoked to) these false gods.
3: The Lord orders the chiefs to be hanged (Work).
Leviticus/Ethics GivenAscension/Firstfruits/Altar:
4: In Israelite brings in a Moabitess in the sight of the tent (Offspring). Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, rises up.
Numbers/Ethics OpenedTesting/Pentecost:
5. and 6. He takes a spear (Murder/Knife) and pierces the Israelite and the Moabitess together through the private parts (Adultery/Fire)
Deuteronomy/Ethics ReceivedMaturity/Trumpets:
7. The curse (for Adamic theft) is stopped. 8. The Lord Himself is a legal witness for the righteousness of Phinehas.
Joshua/SanctionsAtonement/Vindication: 9. Phinehas is granted the Aaronic succession because “he made atonement for the people of Israel.” This concerns “coveting” the house.
Judges/Succession – Booths/Glory: 10. The death of the Jew is to be meted out upon the Midianites. This concerns “coveting” what is in the house. House and contents are Adam and Eve, at least at this point. This changes in Deuteronomy. In Moses’ repeat of the Law, an Eve “converted” by Adam’s faithfulness moves from the “contents” to co-regent of the house.  [4]

What amazing artistry. The first fulfilment of Balaam’s “sceptre” prophecy was Phinehas. And he crushed the “forehead” of Moab by putting a spear through—circumcising—the offspring of the serpent. [5]

One final thought on this closeup. Can you think of another event which involved a “cup of testing,” spiritual harlotry, a spear, and a grant of High Priestly Succession? Yes, the death and resurrection of Christ as Adam. Then the entire process is repeated “corporately” for Israel as Eve, the harlot-bride who must drink the cup and be cut in two by the jealousy of God, into flesh and Spirit.

Okay, back to the major structure.

Numbers 26: Deuteronomy/Ethics ReceivedMaturity/Trumpets: At the Feast of Trumpets, the soldiers of Israel were assembled. Here, the Lord commands Moses and Eleazar (son of Aaron) to take a census. After a long list of names it is announced that not one name is left of those who were condemned to die at Sinai — except for Joshua (a faithful Israelite) and Caleb (a converted Kenizite), picturing the “one new man” of a resurrected priesthood, two faithful spies who became legal witnesses of a new Israel. Getting the New Covenant drift here? It should also be noted that only Israelites are “counted.” We see the same process in the Revelation: Sainted numbered; Saints pass through death and resurrection; Saints renumbered. In that case, there were also Gentile saints, but they were not numbered. Only the sacrificial “Head” is counted. Isaiah 53:12 says of Jesus, “He was counted among the rebels.”
Numbers 27:1-11: Joshua/SanctionsAtonement/Vindication: An inheritance for the daughters of Zelophedad. See how this reflects Joshua and Covenant blessing? Their father was a faithful son, so these women, as a corporate “bride” robed like Esther, come boldly before the throne.
Numbers 27:12-23: Judges/SuccessionBooths/Glory: Finally, this cycle which began on a mountain of false prophecy ends on the mountain with a faultless seer. Moses, “drawn from the water” of Egypt, is allowed to see the Land, but the waters of salvation will be crossed by Joshua.

The beauty of this literature is sublime. And its fractal structure silences every critic. Every mouth will be stopped. Help me to share this material where you can. The lack of interest by Christians stuns me.

[1] See Behind Closed Doors.
[2] See the notes at the end of What Lies Beneath.
[3] I use the “scroll” division of the commandments because it fits the matrix. See Bible Matrix II for a full explanation.
[4] See Esther and the Ten Words.
[5] See The Circumcision of Satan.

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3 Responses to “The Beauty of Numbers – 4”

  • Doug Roorda Says:


    This is beautiful, and overwhelming. Don’t be discouraged that not everyone sees it. Just keep digging the ground and scattering seed, and watering, and God will give the increase.

    Doug Roorda

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Doug. You are right.

    One further thought, the “closeup” event (Phinehas) is at the centre of this pattern, at the centre of the central cycle of the book of Numbers. So, althought it’s not at the centre of the Torah, it’s the central event for Israel’s initial history.

  • Victor Says:

    “The lack of interest by Christians stuns me.”

    Hi Mike,

    It is really surprising how much people simply ignore hard evidence. It seems that even some seasoned Christians often have this tendency to take for granted things that, although in line with Christian thought and tradition, make them feel even this little uncomfortable.

    But don’t worry, things take time. Specially when you study Church history. Just look at it, for instance: even the central doctrine of the faith, the Triunity of God, took centuries to shape! The acceptance of under-the-surface patterns in Scripture will take a while yet, probably beyond our lifetime.

    God bless,