Genesis Through Joshua- Numbers: Overview

The Extrinsic Agents
1) Critical Views
Critics claim that ‘J’ (see JEDP theory) the 10th century writer wrote numbers to support David’s Kingdom.
The final edition was the work of P the priestly writer from the 6th century. He was concerned about returning to the land.

2) Mosaic Authorship
We believe that Moses wrote the book. Moses would have experienced direct revelations from God (1:1).
22-24 Could have been a separate story reported to Moses by human agents
33:2 At the Lords command Moses recorded the stages of the journey.
21:14 = direct reference to another source. This book is likely to be a book of poetry and adoration to God. It was named ‘the Book of the Wars of the Lord.’

The Hebrew of Numbers has been updated from the Hebrew that Moses wrote in.
Numbers 12:3 says that Moses was a humble man. How can he be humble if he wrote it? It could be that Moses wrote what God told him to write. It could also be an addition under the Spirit of God.

3) The date of final composition
‘Across from Jericho’ occurs nine times in the book. This hints that Israel is looking ahead to taking the Promised Land in the plains of Moab. The book was written to the 2nd generation of Israelites on the plains of Moab

Redemptive Historical Observations
The book follows the story of the Israelites from the constitution made with the 1st generation at Sinai. We read Moses account of the first generation travelling through the wilderness and their destruction (minus 2 Israelites). The book continues describe the constitution made with the second generation in the plains of Moab.

Literary Structure
1-10 The constituting of the 1st generation army
10-25 The failures of the 1st generation when marching towards the land
26-36 The constitution of the 2nd generation army

The Message of the Book of Numbers
1) Original Application
What was the original meaning of the book of Numbers?

Chapters 1-10 deal with the first generation being formed into a holy army.
In chapter 1 we read a long census for the purpose of counting the number of soldiers available for fighting. Regulations are given to the new army.

Chapters 10-25 tell the story of the failures of the first generation. The whole generation with the exception of Joshua and Caleb died in the wilderness.

Chapters 26-36 show the second generation being formed into a holy army.
We are left with a question. What will the 2nd generation do? Will they fail like the 1st generation did? The book of Numbers was written to get the 2nd generation going into the promise land

The second generation should learn to be God’s holy army from the failure of the first generation army.

2) Contemporary Application
The Israelite army was not established for a human just war. The army existed to depend on the miraculous power of God in fighting.
The army was regulated by holy orders. They were to be separated from the world. Israelite had to be faithful to God to be successful.

Eph 6:10-28, 2 Cor 10:1-6 tell us about the NT army.

Eph 6 tells us that our holy war is a battle against spiritual powers. We are not called to fight a physical war. The OT army fight a physical war. WE need to be putting on the Messiahs armour to win the holy war.

2 Cor 10 tells us that we do not wage war as the world does. Our weapons are not physical weapons they are spiritual weapons full of power from the Holy Spirit. We fight against demonic belief systems.

The church today is regulated by holy orders to be successful in our spiritual battles.

The OT people fought a physical and a spiritual war. In the NT covenant these dimensions are separated. We fight the same spiritual war without the physical elements.


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