Numbers 3 – Jesus in Numbers
Do you ever have one of those moments when you are reading the word of God and the words on the page seem to jump out at you? It’s as if the passage is pulsing with life. You respond to the passage you are reading with, “wait, what??” John 5:46-47 was just such a passage for me.
We’ve been studying our way through the book of Numbers and find ourselves in chapter three. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but when studying a given passage in the Bible it is important to compare scripture with scripture. We might refer to this Bible study principle as correlation. John 5:46-47 can lend some perspective on the book of Numbers so let’s take a look.
46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
If you have a red-letter Bible the above two verses are in red signifying that these are the words Jesus spoke.
Jesus clearly tells us that Moses wrote about Him.
Really? Do you remember reading Moses’ writings and saying to yourself, “oh yeah, Obviously Moses is talking about Jesus here”? Maybe the first question we should ask ourselves is what did Moses write? One need not be a student of the Bible for very long before learning that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). If your Bible includes titles for the Psalms you’ll notice Psalm 90 was also written by Moses. I’m certainly not a Bible scholar, but as far as I know, that’s the extent of Moses’ authorship.
I can think of a couple of places in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) where it’s not much of a stretch to see a type of Christ. One such example is the serpent on a brass pole in Numbers 21:4-8, and the rock that gave water in Exodus 17:1-7. Is this what Jesus is talking about? Are there just a few examples scattered through the works of Moses? Or is it possible that Jesus is saying the core of what Moses wrote about, the very theme of his works was the person of Jesus Christ?
Read John 5:46-47 again. Those two verses seem to cut through the gray. If you believed Moses you’d believe Jesus, so you obviously don’t believe Moses because you don’t believe Jesus. The two are inextricably linked. Let’s jump ahead to our time for a second. Jesus is exposing the myth that the Jews follow Moses’ teachings and the Christians follow Christ. Nope, not according to Jesus’ own words. Moses wrote about Jesus!
Genesis 3:15 is often talked about as the initial prophecy of Jesus Christ. That may be, but it certainly is not the first scriptural reference of the second person in the Godhead or Trinity. Consider the first four words (in English anyway) in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…”
The word “God” is the Hebrew word Elohim. Which is the plural form of the word for God (we would say, gods). However, the passage is not communicating the idea of more than one God because, without getting into Hebrew language rules, the sentence structure makes it clear the reference is to a solitary God. Scholars, therefore, conclude that the word Elohim is actually communicating the idea of the Trinity! Look at that! Right there in the first few words in the Bible Jesus is referenced. Are you thinking about now that I’m making quite a stretch? If that’s what you’re thinking read Genesis chapter one, then read John chapter one – my point will be made for me.
I want to talk about Numbers 3:12-13, but in the interest of keeping these posts down to a reasonable size, it will have to wait until next time.
12 “Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine,
13 because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the Lord.”
I’m so excited about the truth in Numbers 3:12-13 that I can’t wait until next week! I hope I’ve piqued your interest!
God’s word is so full of incredible detail that it is obvious He is the ultimate author working through human penmen. I fall in love with His word more and more as a read, study, and attempt to understand what He has so graciously and lovingly delivered to us. God and God alone is worthy of all praise and worship!
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.