“A picture is worth a thousand words.” The Lord God gives us both to reveal Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. Do you want to see Him? Look in the book. You will find His portrait being painted in Genesis’ Seed of promise, Exodus’ Passover Lamb, and Leviticus’ High Priest.
What will the book of Numbers add? Some familiar pictures…
“But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes…Num. 11:6; I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of the bread, he shall live for ever and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him … He is despised and rejected of men….” (John 6:51,66 Isa. 53:3a;).
“And Moses lifted up his hand, and with the rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also…Num.20:11; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1Cor. 10:4.
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived…Num.21:9; And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14,15.
And a couple of not so familiar pictures, one from Numbers 19.
“This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke…
a red heifer without spot…Why a heifer-“ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel… For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham… made in the likeness of man…(1Peter 3:7;Heb. 2:16;Phil.3:7).
…bring her forth without the camp…”Wherefore Jesus also that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” Heb. 13:12,13.
…and one shall slay her before his face…”And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified him…And the people stood beholding.” Luke 23:33,34).
…sprinkle her blood… “And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words… And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling…” (Ex.24:8; Heb. 12:24).
…burn the heifer…her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn…”For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Heb. 9 13,14.
And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer… “And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel… Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Num. 19:17; Titus 3:5,6).
Cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet cloth are all used in the purification of a leper. Our sin is as vile as this disease. Cedar wood is a lasting, durable wood and some see it as a symbol of the “once for all” sacrifice of Christ on the tree. David pleaded for the Lord to cleanse him with hyssop, Ps. 51:7. It is considered as an agent for healing, as well. The scarlet thread and the red of the heifer may symbolize the blood atonement of Christ.
The last picture from Numbers, I will use, is found in chapter 24:17 by one we would consider an unlikely artist. Balaam, described by Peter as leading others astray and loving wages of unrighteousness, painted the glory of the One to come.
“I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” Num. 24:17.
He is our bread of life, our Rock, and our brass serpent wrapped in the body of a red heifer, who is the Star of Jacob, who after being offered for our sins, ”shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” Heb. 9:28.
Do you want to see Him? If not now, in faith, whether you want to or not, you will see Him.
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Rev. 1:7.
Which picture speaks to your heart?