Old Testament Survey The Book of Numbers

The Book Of Numbers

 Introduction: This fourth Book of the Law, was named due to the fact that it records the numbering or census of the Nation of Israel. Historically, the Book of Numbers begins where the Book of Exodus leaves off.

This is also a book of wilderness wanderings of the redeemed Israelites and their failure to enter the Promised Land  at Kadesh – barnea.

                                                  Genesis – is a Book of creation and fall

                                                  Exodus –  is a book of  redemption

                                                  Leviticus – is a book of worship and fellowship

                                                  Numbers – is a book of service and walk

From Sinai to Kadesh-barnea was approximately 150-200 miles; a trip of about 11 days. Yet, the Children of Israel took 40 years to cover the same ground. As a result of their wandering, they learned many lessons. The Nation was purified by weeding out the rebellious generation and they were molded by God into a nation ready to obey God and then enter into the Promised Land.

The human writer was Moses. Jesus attested to that fact in the New Testament; Luke 24:44.

The author is the Holy Spirit;  II Peter 1:21.

The value of the Book of Numbers as well as the entire Old testament – I Corinthians 10:1-11. They  were (vs 6 & 11) written for “ensamples” or types; examples for us).

The focus of this Book – their failures; unbelief; disobedience; chastisement; and their eventual victory by God; His divine guidance and His sovereign will.

The Preparation To Depart From Sinai Or The Order Of The Host

chapters 1-10

  1. The numbering of the fighting men chap. #1

note:  vs 47-50

  1. Arrangement of the camp chap #2

note: numbering of fighting men and arrangement of the camp was for

military purposes.

This is to protect the Tabernacle of God

  1. The duties of the Levites and their families chapters 3-4

note: the priestly tribe was given charge of moving the Tabernacle

  1. Priestly instructions chapters 5-10
  2. chapter 5 deals with purity – segregation of lepers for health reasons;

trespass or sins;  adultery; jealousy

  1. chapter 6:1-21 the Nazarite vow

Note: this is for one wholly separated unto the Lord; voluntarily done

Sampson and John the Baptist are examples of men who took the

Nazarite vow

Many have thought that Jesus took this vow; He did not. He is

referred to as “Jesus of  Nazareth” which is a city, not a vow.

  1. chapters  7-8 deal with Free – will offerings  and consecration of the


  1. The Keeping of the Passover chapter 9
  2. vs 1 & 5= April 14th
  3. In the New Testament, for Christians, we observe the Lord’s Supper
  4. The silver trumpets chapter 10
  5. vs 1-2 – for calling assembly; to journey or march; also to sound alarm for  war
  6. silver is a typology of redemption

 From Sinai To The Wilderness  – chap. 10:11 – chap. 14   

  1. The people complained after only 3 days journey 10:33
  2. chap 11:1 God gets angry when His people complain
  3. vs 5-6 the self pity of the Israelites
  4. vs 10-15 Moses gets discouraged
  5. Israel gets what they want – flesh to eat
  6. Numbers 11:4 – they ask for flesh to eat
  7. vs 5  they long for Egypt – they place where they were enslaved; the place that God                                                                                                   had delivered them out of the sin was not in wanting some meat to eat – but in the fact of their                                                               murmuring and  complaining against God and against God’s man
  8. Numbers 11:18-20 God gives them flesh to eat
  9. vs 20 – “… until … it be loathsome unto you, … ”
  10. vs 20- they despised the Lord – Why did we come out of Egypt?

   They are second guessing the Lord; questioning Him.

Israel pays the price of complaining and murmuring

Numbers 11:3 – fire Numbers 11:31-35 – vs 33 – a “very  great plague.”

NOTES: Be careful of what we ask for; how we ask for it. Be careful of our attitudes;

Be careful of griping, complaining and murmuring against God and God’s man.

  1. God gives them another opportunity to receive His blessings – chap 13-14
  2. 12 spies were sent out to check out the land that God had promised to Israel 13:1 & 17
  3. 10 came back with an evil report and incited a rebellion among God’s people:                                                                                                       vs 26-33 & 14:1-2 – this is the problem with committees

          NOTES: God gives them  a tremendous blessing; instead of receiving the blessing, they

have to “check it out.”  “Do  we want God’s blessing?”  “What is God doing to us?”

“God’s blessing just  won’t work.”  “We don’t like it; we don’t agree with it.”

Many Christians today do the same with what God’s Word compels us to do.

The question here is: OBEDIENCE to God’s Word – God’s way or man’s way –

which  will it be.

  1. The Israelites unknowingly proclaimed their own curse   14:2b
  2. Joshua and Caleb were the 2 spies who said: vs 8-9
  3. The congregation reacted vs 10

Notice what Moses tells them vs 11 – they forgot the power of God and what He had                                                                                         already done for them: the price to be paid for murmuring Numbers 14:26-33

a. when we are out of God’s will, there is a price to be paid

b. when we do not obey God and His Word, there is a price to be paid

c. when we murmur and complain, there is a price to be paid

Numbers 14:44-45 – God allows their enemies to bring a catastrophe  against  Israel

III.  In The Wilderness For 38 Years – chapters 15- 25

  1. Chapters 15-19 God gives various instructions
  2. chap 15-19 – Second set of priestly instructions
  3. chap 16 – instructions about offerings
  4. chap 17 – instructions about Aaron & family being chosen as the priestly family
  5. chap 18 – confirmation of Levites and priestly family of Aaron
  6. chap 19 – instructions concerning the red heifer and water of purification
  7. The rebellion of Korah – chap 16
  8. Vs 1-3 – Korah says that Moses and Aaron are doing too much & that he and his                                                                                           followers are  led by God just as much as Moses is
  9. Moses replies – vs 8-11
  10. vs 9 – hmmmm … out of ALL of the congregation, God picked you to lead the                                                                                           congregation?

vs 10 – do you want to be a priest also?

vs 11 – Korah caused the people in his following to go against the Lord                                                                                                                             God deals with rebellion vs 19-21 & 29-35 Num. 26:10

vs 36 God speaks to Moses – God always calls and uses a particular man to lead a                                                                                                                congregation

16:49 – 14,700 died in the plague + those that died  with Korah  vs 35 – 250 men

The sin of Moses    Numbers 20:8-12

vs 8 – God said to “speak” unto the rock

vs 11 – Moses smote or beat / hit the rock 2 X’s

Moses did God’s will Moses way

Moses punishment for his sin vs 12

The serpent of brass chap 21

vs 5-9 – Israel still complaining. Why? They are out of God’s will

when God’s people are out of God’s will, they murmur and complain

it is never God’s will for His people to murmur and complain

Philippians 2:14  “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”

John 3:14 – this is a type of Christ.

 NOTES: Among the Jews, the brazen serpent was considered a type of the resurrection-through it the dying lived; and so, by the voice of God, they that were dead shall be raised to life. As the serpent was raised up, so shall Christ be lifted up: as they who were stung by the fiery serpents were restored by looking up to the brazen serpent, so those who are infected with and dying through sin are healed and saved, by looking up to and believing in Christ crucified. These are all the analogies which we can legitimately trace between the lifting up of  the brazen serpent, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The lifting up of the Son of man may refer to his mediatorial office at the right hand of God.

Preparations For Entering The Land Chaps. 26-36

  1. Taking a census of the new generation Chap. 26
  2. The old generation is dead or about to die
  3. verses 1- 4 the census is taken  of those 20 years old & older
  4. Chap. 27 – The law of inheritance and Joshua appointed to succeed Moses
  5. Num. 27:12-13
  6. vs 18-22 Joshua appointed by God to replace Moses to lead the congregation of Israel
  7. More priestly instructions chaps. 28-30
  8. Laws concerning women’s vows chap. 30
  9. man’s vow is always binding 30:1-2
  10. women’s vows can be annulled by her father or husband if married 30:5-8
  11. this shows the responsibility given by God to the man as the leader of his home                                                                                               and to protect his wife / daughter

The  judgment of Midian chap. 31

they sinned by not destroying all of the enemy

this was a repeat of their previous sin vs 16

Gad &  Reuben refuse to help their brothers  fight the battle 32:6

they are punished for their sin vs 11-15

they fall into sin later on also I Chronicles 5:25-26

A summary of Israel’s journey’s from Egypt to Jordan  chap. 33:1-49

Law of the possession of the land 33:50-56

God  sets the borders for the  Land of Canaan  chap 34

The  cities of refuge  chap. 35

The inheritance   chap. 36

In the Book of Numbers, we see the consequences of unbelief; disobedience  and  the  cleansing or purging of the Nation of Israel.  The Nation of Israel was purified in the wilderness  so that they could receive their eventual victory  which  was God’s will for them.

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