Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 14


The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 14
Watching Now

I. Introduction

II. Outline and Contents

A. Preparing for the journey from Sinai

B. Sinai to Kadesh

C. Kadesh to Moab

D. Preparing to enter the Promised Land

III. Numbers chapters 13-14

IV. The Gospel Promised Beforehand

  • Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


Recommended Books

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt

Survey of the Old Testament



I. Introduction (00:13):

We're now in the book of Numbers, which is the fourth book of the Pentateuch. In Hebrew, it's called BaMidbar, which means, or is translated, "in the wilderness," but this time it's the fifth word in the first verse of the book, not the first word for some reason.

The opening words are, "and Yahweh spoke to Moses BaMidbar in the wilderness of Sinai in, the Tent of Meeting." Note again, the presence of the conjunction, "and," and it's very important because it connects Genesis, with Exodus, with Leviticus, and now with Numbers. We've got one narrative unity. It's intended that Numbers is to be seen as the sequel to Leviticus.

The Hebrew name selected for this book captures well the events recorded in it because they happened in the wilderness. This book more than any other book records the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness before entering into the Promised Land after the death of Moses.

So we can say wilderness wanderings. The book explains why the Israelites had to spend 40 years in the wilderness. The book also describes the transition from the first generation who left Egypt, to the second generation who will enter the Promised Land.

The generation who came out of Egypt to the Red Sea as adults, will not enter into the land except for two, Joshua and Caleb. Not even Moses, not even Aaron will make it in, and it's this next generation that will go in.

In terms of basic geography, Israel is camped at Sinai in the beginning of the book, and that encampment began in Exodus 19, and it won't end until Numbers 10. This encampment is a very big swath of time covered by Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.

So you can think of Exodus 19 all the way through Exodus 40. The entire book of Leviticus, and now Numbers one through 10. In chapter 10, verse 11, it says, "in the second year, in the second month, on the 20th day of the month, the cloud lifted from the tabernacle of the testimony, and the people of Israel set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud settled down in the wilderness Paran. They set out for the first time at the command of the Lord by Moses."

Here we can see that journeying is the theme of the book, and you can see it in this outline right here. So we've got basically one through 10, 10 through 20, 20 to 25, and 26 to 36. Those are the 4 big chunks. I always tell the people I'm training if they have to get examined like in ordination, you just think of these big block outlines in, for your answers, and so this is it.

In chapter 1, through the half of 10, Israel's going to prepare for the journey to get out of town. In chapters 10 and a half through 20 and a half, they're going to journey from Sinai to Kadesh, a new location. Then from 20:14 to 25:18 from Kadesh to Moab, that's where they're going to battle Sihon and Og. Then in 26 to 36, they're going to prepare to enter the land.

All right, this is an 11 day journey that took a short 40 years. It really sounds a lot like my life. That was my doctoral studies. It was a five year journey that took 12 years.

II. Outline and Contents (03:31):

Now the purpose of the Book of Numbers, this is an important thing. The purpose of the book of numbers overall is to contrast the faithfulness of God, with the faithlessness and the rebellion of the Israelites. This is very much the theme that we see running across the former prophets Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The faithfulness of God to sustain, maintain, and provide for His people in light of the continuing and relentless unfaithfulness of God's people.

A. Preparing for the journey from Sinai (04:06):

The former that is God's faithfulness is seen in God, keeping His covenant promise to make Israel a numerous people as shown by the 2 censuses. The latter is attested by the record of Israel's grumbling about their living conditions, rebellion against God's leadership, and refusal to enter the land. Thus, the people tested God at every level while God is providing for their every need.

God continues to protect and to provide for them and even bring them to the land. They're like coming, kicking and screaming. They're complaining about leadership. They're complaining about water, and they're afraid to go in the land. They just say, "no, no, no,”. They're the ultimate or the paradigm rebellious kid.

The English book name Numbers likely comes from the synthesis that they took. So they were counting the people. Those are in chapters 1 and chapters 26. So in chapter 1, they count the people of that first generation, basically the male military figures. So anyone whose eligible to fight, they count those there. In chapter 26, they count the second generation. Those that have come up and raised in the wilderness.

In terms of the theme, the divine presence that we're tracing through these books, the book of Exodus laid the foundation for the theme of divine presence, especially as it relates to God's name, God's presence over the Red Sea, God's presence on Sinai, and God's presence in the tabernacle. Even the 70 elders got to go up and see God's feet and eat with Him in the middle part of the book. The book of Leviticus provides the system that allows for a holy God to dwell among an unholy people. So priestly mediation, and a sacrificial system.

The Book of Numbers sets forth, the consequences for living in God's presence, without faith in God's provision and obedience, to the terms of the covenant. Failure to enter into God's rest and death in the wilderness are the result of their disobedience.

In terms of genre like Exodus and Leviticus, Numbers continues the theological history of the wanderings in the wilderness, in combination with some law and legal material. There's going to be some interesting stuff here. Some battles, some rebellions, some grumbling, that kind of thing. Now let's look further about some of the content that occur under these headings.

In the first section, preparing for the journey of Sinai in chapters 1 through 10, we have the census of the men of war. We'll note that largest number in terms of census was the Tribe of Judah at 603,550 fighting men. Over half a million from the Tribe of Judah.

Again, the highlighting of Judah began all the way back in Genesis 49, with the blessing of Jacob. It's going to continue in Deuteronomy with some other things as well, and then it's also going to continue in the Davidic line, in the Book of Judges, and then throughout.

We've also got the separation of the Levites from the congregation, and the purity of the camp established so they can move out. That's what happens. So it's the census, it's the separation of Levites, and then the concern for the period of the camp in that section.

B. Sinai to Kadesh (07:21):

In section 2, the first journey, this is from Sinai to Kadesh, God provides quail for a hungry people. They're tired of the manna, so they eat quail until they get sick. Then there's the sending out of the 12 spies for them to see the land. They come back and they bring a very favorable report about the condition of the land.

Yes. You know, there are houses we have not built, and vineyards we have not grown, and great things there, but the people are huge. We're like grasshoppers in their presence. There's no way we can conquer them. Then it starts a rebellion, and the Lord gets very mad, and it's contrasted with Joshua and Caleb who bring back a positive report saying, "Yes they're bigger than us, but the Lord's with us, we can do this."

Those were men of faith. They knew that what they saw with their eyes wasn't necessarily what was really the reality behind the matter. The invisible realm was more real than the visible realm to them. Then we have the rebellion of the people, the 40 years of wandering, and more rebellion, and then it climaxes is with Moses' failure at Meribah.

We touched on that programmatic text in Exodus, and it's a doublet of that. It's not the same one, but it's a different one. Miriam dies here, Moses dies, so sorry. It's actually really interesting as bracketed by the death of Miriam, then you've got the waters of Meribah again, and then you've got the death of Aaron at the end of that. So it's really not only is it the end of that first generation, but it's into that first generation of leadership too. So Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Moses, knowing that he won't get into the promised land.

Here's the account of Meribah. Now there was no water for the congregation. They assembled themselves together against Moses and Aaron, and the people quarreled with Moses and said, see, that's what the same word quarreled is, they entered into a lawsuit with Moses, right, and said, "Would that we have perished when our brothers perished before the Lord, why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness that we should die here, both we and our cattle?"

It's an exact restatement of Exodus, they haven't learned a thing in a year's time. "And why have you made us come out of Egypt to bring us up to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates. There is no water to drink."

Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them. And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, "Take the staff, assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water" or to give its water. So to speak to the rock.

"So you shall bring water out from the rock for them and give a drink to the congregation and their cattle." And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he had commanded him. Now, here we go. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, "Hear now you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?" And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, or a second time, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank and their livestock as well.

And then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe in Me to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you should not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them." These are the waters of Meribah where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them, He showed Himself holy.

Okay. Now I want to concentrate on a couple of things. One is that the actions here are slightly different than Exodus 17. They're quarreling for lack of water, and so they're impugning the divine presence again, and they're questioning His holiness.

What is holiness? That's an important thing to think about. We normally think of holiness as moral purity. Wouldn't you say that's the general concept? Be holy as I am holy moral purity, but I want you to understand this. Moral purity is the fruit of holiness. It's not holiness itself. Holiness is consecration. That is being 100% devoted to something.  So if I'm going to be holy in my marriage, I'm going to be 100%, not 99%, not 98%, but 100% devoted to my wife.

What that does is it promotes moral purity in the marriage. If you're 100% consecrated, that kind of thing. This is why the Lord can call the ground holy. It's not that it's morally pure. It's 100% set apart for Him to stand on.

So this comes from a guy named Peter Gentry, the same author of Dominion and Dynasty who's done a lot of work on this. I think it's very good where he talks about holiness is not being set apart from, but it's being set apart too. It means you're subsequently set apart from other things. I'll use the illustration of marriage again, since holiness is a major theme we have been talking about.

In my holiness in marriage, I'm not set apart from my wife, I'm set apart to her. For that reason I'm cut off from other women.  The first thing is the consecration. The second thing is the result of that consecration. Somehow we got it switched and it was like a word study fallacy that went on and got perpetuated. Somehow it just became an issue of moral purity.

In Isaiah 6, when the angels are declaring the seraphim. They're saying He's devoted, devoted, devoted to His people 100% and they're idolaters, which is the opposite of holiness, because they're not completely devoted to the Lord. So remember that. He's saying, because you did not believe in me to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people that is 100% committed to them.

It meant that Moses just had to go out and to speak to the rock, and God would say, "I'm committed to you, here's some water." But Moses went out and it appears in anger and struck the rock twice, or a second time saying that there needed to be judgment again. But no, that's not the case. Then it says at the very end, "though He showed himself wholly to people." God didn't show Himself morally pure to the people He showed Himself completely committed to their needs. So that's a huge paradigm shift. I was slapped in the face when I got that, because the tradition in which I grew up in to be holy is to be morally pure, but God is not asking you to be that because you can't, against a crushing weight, but you can be totally devoted to him.

In that way, holiness comes through sanctification. You know, that moral, the moral, I'll call it not holiness, the moral transformation comes in the process of sanctification. So that's an important text because it comes up several times like Moses begs the Lord earlier and in the beginning of Deuteronomy, begs him, the Lord says back off, right? Don't ask me about it again. At the end of Deuteronomy says, Hey guys, I'm not getting here because you. He's really, he's really mad about this for the whole time He's miffed, and so it's a serious little thing.

C. Kadesh to Moab (14:49):

Then we get to this next section, the journey from Kadesh to Moab, and the Plains of Moab, where Aaron dies. There's the bronze serpent, where the people are afflicted and snakes are biting them because of their disobedience. The defeat of Sihon and Og, and then Balaam King of Moab who is hiring Balaam to curse Israel. So that's the Balaam incident and the world famous talking donkey. A great thing.

Which is funny because at the beginning, in Genesis chapter 3, we have a talking snake, and hear more towards, we have a talking donkey. I like the illustrations there. Then the very last part in numbers, 26 to 36, we have the second census of the men in war. There are 601,730. Again, the largest tribe is Judah. So the Lord is prospering Judah.

D. Preparing to enter the Promised Land  (15:44):

Joshua is chosen to succeed Moses. Then there're more rules on offerings and feasts, war against Midian, the Trans-Jordanian tribes. Then Reuben, Gad, and the half Tribe of Manasseh occupy their Trans-Jordanian territory. I'll draw this crude picture here of Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, Dead Sea, the Mediterranean Ocean over here, Egypt down here.

The 12 tribes occupy this area over here. All the way down, down, down. Then part of the area over here, there's Edom and Moab down here. Then there are some Amorites up here. These are called Trans-Jordanian tribes because this is Jordan, they're on the other side of the Jordan. So it's [inaudible 00:16:46] and the half Tribe of Manasseh are going to be over there. You'll see in the Book of Judges, there's going to be some hostility and fighting back and forth. Lots of things happen at the fords of the Jordan. It becomes important at that particular place.

Also here we have in this particular section that there are cities designated for Levites to live in, and there are cities of refuge. Why do Levites need cities? Levites needs cities because they do not have an inheritance of land in this section at all.

It means if you look at a map and I have a map that we’ll look at tomorrow, when we talk about Joshua,  Judges, and the conquest , you'll see that there's no allotment to Levi. That's what it means that Levi has no inheritance, but there are still 12 tribes. So Levi's allotment is the Lord. His portion is the Lord and he gets special clothes. We've mentioned that. So Levi's inheritance is the Lord himself, clothes to handle that, to simplify that. The Lord takes care of their salary. The Lord takes care of their provisioning through the sacrificial system, the ties, and the offerings. The reason we still have 12 tribes is because we don't have a tribe of Joseph either. We have a tribe of Ephraim and Manasseh, but Ephraim and Manasseh are not one of the original 12 patriarchs.

Ephraim and Manasseh are Joseph's two sons that Jacob adopts by putting them on his knees, and then the switch blessing, and we get how it works. It comes back to haunt him. Joseph was not the oldest. But he got the first born blessing, and now his two sons, it works out the same way. He's saying, wait, dad, wait. He goes, I know what I'm doing.

So even though he is older, so that's how that works out. So that's how we still have 12 tribes, but no tribe for Levi, no allotment for Levi. The Levitical cities are scattered around, and then the Levites would come at the age of 30 once every 3 months to serve in the tabernacle, and then they go back for the other 9 months to farm and to do all their stuff they did to make their own living.

A Levite will play a big role at the end of Judges to Levi and his concubine, and stuff like that. And then finally, cities of refuge. These are cities designated by God that when there was a case of manslaughter, that is the accidental killing of someone. Let's say, you're out chopping wood together, your Axe handle flew off, clunked the guy right in the head, and he died, it's not intentional. That guy could run to one of these cities of refuge, where the avenger of blood, the next-of-kin relative couldn't come and get him. Then you would have to stay there until the high priest died, and there was a change of the high priesthood. That was just a way of not spilling innocent blood in the land, even though there'd be hostilities. It was a place that God provided. So cities for Levites, so they could be provided for. Cities of refuge, so manslaughter victims could have a place of refuge and escape, and not experience an unintentional death like that.

III. Numbers Chapters 13-14 (19:43):

Let’s look at the specific issues in Numbers Chapters 13 and 14. That's where the 12 spies spend 40 days in the land, and so let me just summarize some of that for you. The wilderness experience was designed as a period of testing like Adam in the garden and Jesus in the wilderness, after his baptism. Listen to Deuteronomy 8:2, "and you shall remember the whole way that Lord, your God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness, that He might humble you. Testing you to know what's in your heart, whether you would keep His commands or not." That's what the wilderness period is.

Well, Joshua and Caleb report, and Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb, the son of Josephine, were among those who had spied out the land. They tore their clothes at the hearing of the 10 spies report and said to all the congregation of people, "The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into the land and give it to us. A land flowing with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord and do not fear the people of the land for they are bred for us. Their protection is removed from them. And Lord is with us, do not fear them."

So notice that his confidence in the divine presence, The Lord is with us, they don't have to fear them. So that's, again, another continuing theme of the divine presence is so important. So here's the Lord's judgment in 14:21 and following, "But truly, as I live says the Lord, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, none of these men who have seen my glory and my signs I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these 10 times and have not obeyed my voice. None of them should shall see the land that I support to give to their fathers. And none of those who despise me shall see it."

Verse 33 of chapter 14, "And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness 40 years and shall suffer for your faithlessness until the last of your dead bodies lie in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land. 40 days. A Year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity 40 years and you shall know my displeasure."

Then we already talked about the fact that Moses and Aaron are precluded from entering the Promise Land for similar disobedience. The book of Numbers as the gospel promise beforehand, let's wrap this up. Remember the Book of Numbers, we’ve got people, Israel wandering in the wilderness as an unfaithful son that’s disobedient to the Lord.

IV. The Gospel Promised Beforehand (22:17):

But Jesus is the true and better Israel who passed through the test in the wilderness 40 days and 40 nights without food and water. Israel had manna, quail and water from a rock and failed to obey. They saw all of God's great signs and wonders and failed to obey. They were the ones who marched through the Red Sea, and saw Pharaoh's entire army drown before their eyes, while they didn't lift one bow, one arrow, one sword, or ride one chariot.

They were completely defenseless except they had the Lord who was the warrior, and He fought for them. They had total provision and couldn't believe. Jesus had no provision and was faithful. The presence of God is no longer smoke and fire on, and above the tabernacle. Now it is the presence of the holy spirit in each and every believer. After Pentecost with the saint of the spirit, every individual believer is a mini tabernacle wandering in the wilderness.

First Corinthians 6:19. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit within you? Whom you have from God, you are not your own. And so we are, in some sense, at this point, we are the true and better tabernacle because the work that Jesus has done, and we live very much like in a time, similar to Israel's wilderness wanderings,". We live in a time like Abraham, between promise and fulfillment. God said, I'm going to give you this land. You're going occupy it and be fruitful, multiply, but he never was given a piece of it.

VII. Conclusion (23:51):

So he lived between promise and fulfillment, wandering, believing, and hoping. Israel had this promise. They were wandering, wandering, wandering, but they haven't had it fulfilled yet. We lived very much like that. We live in the times of Abraham and the wilderness. We do not live in the time of the occupation of the land. That's a revelation 21 and 22 reality. So right now we are, it's the same trying to think about, we are the wandering Tabernacles of God's presence in the wilderness of this world. It's a great way to think about life.