BibleProject - Old Testament - Lesson 7

Numbers - BibleProject

In this lesson, the Bible Project provides an overview of the book of Numbers in the Bible. The lesson explains the background and structure of Numbers, as well as its themes and messages. The book emphasizes the importance of trusting in God's promises and the consequences of unbelief and rebellion. The lesson also highlights the significance of Numbers in the Bible, including its connections to other books of the Old and New Testament, and the lessons that can be learned from it by contemporary readers.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject - Old Testament
Lesson 7
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Numbers - BibleProject

I. Introduction to Numbers

A. Overview and Background

B. Structure and Content

II. Themes and Message in Numbers

A. Trusting God's Promises

B. Consequences of Unbelief and Rebellion

C. Importance of Obedience

III. Significance of Numbers in the Bible

A. Connections to the Old and New Testament

B. Lessons for Today's Readers

  • By watching this video, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, including its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn about the different sections of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. You will also gain insights into the stories, themes, and messages of each of these sections and how they contribute to the overall narrative of God's relationship with humanity.
  • By studying Genesis, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament and its key themes and characters, as well as the literary features of the book, such as its structure, style, and genre. The creation story is a key part of the book, as are the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs, the fall and sin, the flood and Noah, and God's covenant with Israel. Additionally, Genesis introduces readers to the Old Testament and sets the stage for the Pentateuch and Books of Moses, while also introducing many themes and motifs that continue throughout the Bible.
  • Discover the captivating stories of the patriarchs in Genesis Part 2, exploring themes of covenant, God's sovereignty, human responsibility, faith, and obedience.
  • Explore the Bible's book of Exodus to gain insight into God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the significance of the covenant and law, and its connection to the New Testament.
  • Gain insight into the book of Exodus and its themes of salvation and redemption, revealing God's character through his interactions with Israel, with significant influence on Jewish and Christian traditions and connections to the New Testament through its foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
  • By studying Leviticus with The Bible Project, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and literary context, themes, and structure of this important book in the Old Testament. You will also learn about the significance of Leviticus for understanding the Torah and its relevance for Christians today.
  • By studying The Bible Project's lesson on Numbers, you'll comprehensively understand its structure, themes, and significance, gaining insight into the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, God's guidance, rebellion, priesthood, and offerings, as well as its historical, theological, and contemporary relevance.
  • Explore Numbers' authorship, context, structure, and theology to gain a comprehensive understanding of its significance to the Pentateuch and the Old Testament, as well as its relevance to the Christian faith today.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the book of Joshua, including its historical context, literary genre, and summary. You will learn about the book's themes, such as God's faithfulness, obedience, and judgment, and its significance in foreshadowing Christ's work and providing historical and theological implications.
  • Explore the historical and cultural context, literary design, and theological significance of the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and learn how it fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its relevance for today.
  • Explore the Book of Ruth to understand its historical context, literary features, themes of loyalty and faithfulness, redemption, the kinsman-redeemer's role, and its Old Testament significance.
  • Studying the Book of Samuel provides insight into the rise of the Israelite monarchy, the lives of Saul and David, and the importance of obedience to God, covering themes of leadership and kingship with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • By exploring the story of Absalom in 2 Samuel and the broader context of the Old Testament Historical Books, you will gain insight into the themes and messages of these books, as well as their historical and modern-day significance.
  • Through the study of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, you will gain a deeper understanding of the history of Israel and Judah, as well as valuable spiritual lessons from these Old Testament books.
  • By studying this lesson, you understand the historical and literary aspects of 1 and 2 Chronicles, emphasizing God's sovereignty, covenant faithfulness, worship, and obedience.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the historical context, key themes, and modern applications of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, enriching your understanding of faith, community, and commitment to God's Word.
  • You will gain an understanding of the book of Esther, a narrative in the Hebrew Bible that tells the story of a Jewish woman named Esther who becomes queen in the Persian court and, with the help of her cousin Mordecai, saves the Jews from genocide orchestrated by the villain Haman. The story highlights God's sovereignty and providential care, and the feast of Purim celebrates the Jews' victory.
  • By studying the Book of Job, you will explore the complexities of human suffering, the search for divine wisdom, and the tension between God's sovereignty and human limitations within a unique literary structure.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Psalms, including its background, structure, authorship, and theology. You will also learn about the various themes and motifs present in the Psalms, which will help you better understand and appreciate this important book in the Old Testament.
  • By studying Proverbs, you will understand the definition and purpose of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, and the personification of wisdom in the book. You will also gain insights into the literary structure of Proverbs and the themes of the book, including the importance of listening to wisdom, the power of words, and the value of hard work.
  • In the Ecclesiastes lesson, you gain insights into the book's structure, themes, and significance, while exploring the search for meaning, vanity, and the importance of fearing God and enjoying life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the literary features, interpretation, theology, and application of the book Song of Songs, including its authorship, historical and cultural context, allegorical and literal interpretation, and its teachings on God and human love, sexuality, and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Isaiah's historical context, literary features, major themes, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover how Isaiah's prophetic message of judgment and hope for Jerusalem evolves, as it predicts the fall of Israel's kingdom and envisions a new, purified Jerusalem where God's kingdom will be restored through a future messianic king, uniting all nations in peace.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain understanding of the book of Jeremiah, including its historical and cultural context, literary features, major themes and message, and significance in the Old Testament.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the Book of Lamentations, its structure, themes, and the role of God in the midst of suffering and divine judgment, while ultimately highlighting His faithfulness and mercy.
  • In the book of Ezekiel, you follow the story of a priest named Ezekiel who has a vision of God's glory riding on a royal throne chariot, and is commissioned by God to accuse Israel of rebellion and warn them of their impending destruction due to their covenant violations and rampant social injustice, while also providing a small glimmer of hope for the future.
  • By viewing this lesson on Daniel, you will gain understanding of its structure, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, gaining knowledge about living as faithful exiles in a hostile culture, God's sovereignty and faithfulness in times of trial, and remaining faithful to God even in difficult circumstances.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the complexities of Hosea, discovering the book's themes, messages, and its role in the Old Testament, emphasizing the relationship between Israel's unfaithfulness and God's unwavering love.
  • By studying the book of Joel, you will gain insight into the historical and cultural context of Judah, the literary features of prophetic literature, and the themes of repentance, restoration, and the Day of the Lord. Joel's prophecy also has significance in the New Testament as it is quoted by Peter at Pentecost, emphasizing the fulfillment of Joel's vision through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Amos lesson, you explore its historical context, literary features, and themes, enhancing your understanding of justice, the Day of the Lord, and God's sovereignty within the Old Testament.
  • By studying Obadiah, you will gain insight into the historical context and literary features of this prophetic oracle. You will learn about the pride of Edom, their judgment, and the hope for Israel. Through understanding the significance of Obadiah in the Old Testament, you will have a deeper appreciation for the themes and message of this book.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jonah's themes, including God's mercy, human rebellion, repentance, and the significance of mission, while also understanding its connections to other biblical narratives.
  • Studying the book of Micah will give you an understanding of its historical context, literary genre, prophetic message of judgment and restoration, and insights into God's character and how He interacts with His people.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the historical context, structure, and themes of the book of Nahum, learning about God's sovereignty, justice, and the relevance of these concepts in today's world.
  • Studying Habakkuk will deepen your understanding of how to wrestle with difficult questions about God's character and the problem of evil and respond with faith and trust in God's sovereignty.
  • In this lesson, you explore the book of Zephaniah, gaining insights into its background, context, literary features, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, including the central message of the Day of the Lord and the promise of future hope.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Book of Haggai, including its historical and cultural context, literary structure, purpose and themes, individual sections, and theological significance in relation to the Exile, Restoration, and Messiah.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Zechariah's historical context, structure, themes of restoration, the coming Messiah, God's sovereignty, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover the last book of the Old Testament and its themes, such as God's love for Israel, the importance of worship, and the coming of the messenger and the day of the Lord, as well as its connection to the New Testament, which prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and calls for a return to God.

BP100-07 Numbers

The Book of Numbers. This fourth book of the Bible carries forward the story of Israel after their exodus from slavery in Egypt. God had brought them to Mount Sinai and He entered into a covenant with them there, and despite Israel's rebellion, God had graciously provided a way for Israel to live near his holy presence in the tabernacle. So the Book of Numbers begins as Israel wraps up their one-year stay at Mount Sinai and they head out into the wilderness on their way to the land that God promised to Abraham. Now the book's storyline is designed according to the stages of their journey. So the first section begins at Mount Sinai, but then they set out in travel to the wilderness of Paran. And then from there they travel to the plains of Moab, which is right across from the promised land. Now the first part opens with a census where the people are numbered. That's where the book gets its name. And then there are laws about how the tribes of Israel were to be arranged in their camp. So the tabernacle was to be at the center, and then around that the priests and the Levites, and then around them the twelve tribes neatly arranged with Judah at their head. Now this was all an elaborate symbol about how God's holy presence was at the center of their existence as a people. This is all followed by a whole series of laws that developed the purity laws from the book of Leviticus. If God's presence was going to be in their midst, every effort should be made to make the camp pure--a place that welcomes God's holiness. In chapter 10, the cloud of God's presence lifts from the tabernacle and guides Israel away from Sinai out into the wilderness and immediately things go terribly wrong. So in chapter 11 the people start complaining about their hunger and thirst and how they want to go back to Egypt. And then in chapter 12, Moses's own brother and sister began opposing and bad-mouthing him in front of all of the people. This trip is not off to a good start. The next section begins as the Israelites arrived in the desert of Paran--about halfway to the promised land. And God tells Moses to send out the twelve spies, one for each tribe, so they can scout out the Promised Land. So when the spies all return, ten of them say that there is no chance Israel can survive there because the Canaanites will destroy them. But there are two spies, Caleb and Joshua, who say that God can save them but the 10 whip up the people into a fearful rage and they start planning a mutiny! They're going to appoint a new leader and head back to Egypt. So God is understandably angry and Moses intercedes on the people's behalf. He calls God to be faithful to His promises to Abraham. And so God does, but not at the expense of his justice. He gives these Israelites what they want--to not enter the land. And God sentences this generation to wander in the wilderness for forty years until they die. Only their children will get to enter the Promised Land. Now you'd think this severe consequence would wake them up, but it gets even worse. So, in the next story there's a whole group of Levites that began a rebellion and they challenged Moses and Aaron's leadership, saying that they have gone way too far. So God deals severely with these Levites and he renews his commitment to Moses and Aaron as Israel's leaders. Now as they leave the region of Paran and hit the road, it goes downhill yet again. The Israelites start complaining again about their thirst and they ask why Moses even brought them out of Egypt in the first place. So God tells Moses to speak to a rock, to bring out water for all of the people. But Moses doesn't really do this. He oversteps his bounds. He hits the rock twice and then says, "You rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock?" So Moses dishonors God by putting himself in God's place as the one who brings out the water. And so Moses brings down on himself the same fate as the wilderness generation. He too will die in the desert and never get to enter the Promised Land. After this the Israelites rebel yet again and God brings a very strange judgment on them. Venomous snakes to come and bite the people. And so Moses again intercedes on behalf of the people and God tells Moses to do this: to make a bronze snake and lift it up on a pole so that whoever looks at this snake would be healed of the poisonous snake bite. It's a very strange symbol, but it speaks to the challenge that God has by being faithful to His covenant. He's right to bring justice on the Israelites' evil. But even God's justice gets transformed into a source of life for those who will look to God for healing. From here the people head into the plains of Moab. The first main part of this section focuses on the strange figure of Balaam. So the king of Moab is freaked out at this huge group of people traveling through his territory, so he hires a pagan sorcerer, Balaam, to pronounce curses on Israel. And three different times Balaam finds that he cannot curse them. He can utter only blessing upon Israel. Remember God's promise to Abraham from Genesis 12. So not only can Balaam not curse Israel, but God actually gives him a vision about a future Israelite king who will one day bring God's justice to all of the nations. This vision recalls Jacob's promise to Judah in Genesis chapter 49. Now it's worth stopping to reflect on the flow of the book so far. The rebellion stories in the wilderness, they just heap up on one another, getting worse and worse. And while God does bring partial acts of judgment on Israel, he's also kept showing mercy, providing food and water along the way. And so the Balaam story, it shows God's grace in bright colors because here's Israel-- they're down on the camp grumbling and rebelling--but up in the hills, unbeknownst to them, God is protecting and even blessing them. And it's this contrast between Israel's rebellion and God's faithfulness in the wilderness that has made these stories so important for later generations of Israel. So the wilderness stories are retold time and again by later biblical prophets and poets and even by the apostles in the New Testament. And these stories always serve as a warning that while God will remain faithful to His covenant promises, he will also allow his people to walk away in rebellion and face the consequences. After this, the rest of the book focuses on the children of the wilderness generation and they begin preparing to inherit the promised land. They take another census of the new generation, then they go on and win a number of battles with the people groups around them and then a few tribes even begin to settle in the Promised Land. So the book ends with the new generation poised to enter into the land and Moses is about to deliver his final words of wisdom and warning. But for now, that's what the book of Numbers is all about.