Deuteronomy--Moses' first speech, Part 3
Jun 14, 2012
The 12 spies returned to give their report on the 50th Jubilee from Adam. The Jubilee calendar had been functioning prior since the beginning, no doubt, as evidenced by the events throughout Jacob's life, but there was not yet any such thing as a Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement, which is celebrated on the same day as the Jubilee, was a reminder of Israel's lack of faith when they believed the evil report of the ten spies. Deut. 1:25 says of these spies,
(25) Then they took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us; and they brought us back a report and said, "It is a good land which the Lord our God is about to give us."
Further details are given in Numbers 13,
(20) . . . Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes. . . . (23) Then they came to the valley of Eshcol and from there cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes; and they carried it on a pole between two men, with some of the pomegranates and the figs.
The 12 spies were supposed to encourage the people to return to the land of their inheritance. They had been gone for over 400 years, and this Jubilee was the time for their return. A study of Chronology shows it to be the 50th Jubilee from Adam. Lev. 25:10 says, "It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property."
Because it was the 50th Jubilee from Adam, proclaiming the Jubilee would have cancelled the debt of Adam's sin. Potentially, the people would have returned to the immortal body that was Adam's inheritance prior to sin. This was the will of God, but the plan called for a delay, and so God merely offered them the physical land of Canaan as a lesser inheritance. Even so, this lesser inheritance prophesied of the greater one yet to come later.
(26) Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God.
They believed the evil report of the ten spies, rather than the good report of the two spies. Hebrews 3:19 attributes this to their lack of faith, or unbelief. They did not believe that God was capable of fulfilling His promise, because they thought that the success of God's promises depended upon their own fleshly strength.
We read later in Deut. 29:4 and 5 where Moses told the Israelites,
(4) Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear. (5) And I have led you forty years in the wilderness...
Hence, it is plain that if God had given the Israelites eyes to see and ears to hear, they would have had sufficient faith to enter Canaan on the 50th Jubilee. The Lord had already given Moses the revelation that He Himself is the one who makes men deaf, dumb, and blind (Ex. 4:11). So although God commanded them inherit at that time, He withheld from them seeing eyes and hearing ears so that they would not enter at that time. Hence, Israel was prevented from bringing judgment upon the Canaanites before their grace period had expired.
Furthermore, God never intended for that Jubilee to overcome mortality brought about by Adam's sin, for then men would have been perfected too soon, and the fullness of the Kingdom would have been established apart from the coming of Christ. Up to that point, they had been given only the type of Christ, the Passover lambs. The blood of an animal was insufficient to bring any man into immortality.
It is plain, then, that God was not taken by surprise when Israel refused to enter Canaan at the 50th Jubilee. Though their entry was God's will, it was certainly not His plan. So God applied the brakes by not giving them seeing eyes and hearing ears.
This blind and deaf condition still prevails in the church as it did in Moses' day, although it is my expectation that this will change soon. It will change with the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we anticipate. This will then remove the divine brake that has been the true hindrance of seeing the full Kingdom of God upon the earth.
(27) and you grumbled in your tents, and said, "Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us. (28) Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, 'The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven.' And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there."
Their spiritual immaturity is evident here, for they had little faith and obviously did not understand the divine plan. They attributed their situation to God hating them. They were like children, who, when disciplined, think that their parents hate them.
(29) Then I said to you, "Do not be shocked, nor fear them. (30) The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, (31) and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked, until you came to this place."
Even though God had been feeding them daily with manna, and had protected them from Pharaoh's army at the Red Sea, they did not think God loved them. They were too immature to comprehend God's love, because as children they were yet incapable of a serious understanding of unselfish love.
(32) But for all this, you did not trust the Lord your God, (33) who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go.
God led them by the pillar of fire and the cloud to lead them to specific encampments. Fenton translates this, "to choose your encampments." Each place where Israel camped provided a new revelation for them. Israel had 41 encampments prior to crossing the Jordan River. The first 32 are listed in Numbers 33:5-36, leading to the death of Aaron. The final camps are listed in verses 41-49.
Their 42nd encampment was in the plains of Jericho after crossing the Jordan River. This too is prophetic. The number 41 is the biblical number that means "separation," and 42 means "arrival." While Israel was in its 41st encampment, they were still separated by the Jordan River from their inheritance. After crossing the Jordan, they had arrived in the Promised Land.
This connects with the 42 generations of Christ in Matthew 1:17. As we can see, only 41 generations are actually given--not 42. It is 41 generations to Jesus. It is 42 generations to the "Christ" that includes His body. In other words, we are the 42nd generation as the body of Christ.
Jesus, being the 41st generation, was like Moses (Acts 7:37), who died during Israel's 41st encampment. But Jesus is also Joshua (Yeshua) the Ephraimite in His second coming. Thus, when Joshua (Yeshua) led Israel across the river to the 42nd encampment, it was the time for the body of Joshua to inherit with Him. And when Jesus comes as Joshua the Ephraimite, He comes not only by Himself but as a body of overcomers. These inherit the birthright with Him, for Joseph-Ephraim was given the birthright (1 Chron. 5:1, 2).
We can see, then, that God carefully planned each encampment to give Israel revelation that they needed and which was also prophetic of the New Testament "church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). We are fortunate to be living in the time of the final "encampments."
This is the third part of a series titled "Moses' First Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones