Old Testament: Numbers 24:1-25:18
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Numbers 24:1-25 Balaam, Take Three
Just because “the Spirit of God came upon him” (v. 2) didn’t mean Balaam was saved in the Old Testament. It just meant the Holy Spirit came upon him. He did not indwell him as in a saved person in the the New Testament (Rom. 8: 9, 11).
In Nu. 24: 7, the explicit statement is that Israel will have a king which it would. Israel would “eat” its enemies. Not quite the curse Balak was hoping for. He clapped his hands (v. 10), no doubt in frustration and disgust. Balaam says that he’s going to let Balak know how bad it’s going to be for him. He lets him know that it is going to be total destruction for him which looks forward to world domination in Rev. 16: 16 and 19: 19-21. Balak and Balaam went home after this. He is mentioned again as being slain in Nu. 31: 8 and Josh. 13: 22. He is mentioned in an unfavorable light in the New Testament in 2Pet. 2: 15; Jude 11, and by John in Revelation 2: 14.
Numbers 25 : 1 – 10 Those Peor People Get The Point
This was the last time the people rebelled during their wilderness trip. Satan failing to subvert Israel from without, now tries to subvert the nation from within. Who motivated the pagans of Moab to intermingle with God’s people? None other than our antihero, Balaam (Nu. 31:16 cf. Rev. 2: 14).
Baal was the name of the local heathen sun god who was worshipped through gross sexual immorality. Yahweh told Moses to slay all those who had submitted to Baal. One Israelite flouted his Moabite “lover” in front of the entire nation. Phinehas, the son of the current high priest, Eleazar, stuck a spear through the both of them. Did Israel get the point?
The Apostle Paul states that 23,000 died in one day (1Cor. 10:8). Moses says the body count was 24,000 (Nu. 25:9). A contradiction? No, apparently 1,000 died on another day! And the plague came to a screeching halt.
Numbers 25 : 10 -18 Phinehas without Ferb and the Cozbi Show
Because Phinehas showed his zeal for the Lord, the Lord blessed him. The priesthood would come from the line of Phinehas forever.
In contrast, Cozbi was the name of the prostitute who was speared. Her father was a leader of the Midianites. Therefore, Yahweh pronounced a curse on the Midianites.
New Testament: Luke 2:1-35
Luke 2: 1-19 The Biggest Event (So Far)
The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem according to Old Testament prophecy (Micah 5: 2). How did God pull that off? Caesar Augustus, the first emperor of Rome issued a decree for a census. Joseph had to bring Mary, from Nazareth where he was living, back to his hometown to register. Guess where? Bethlehem. This was because he was a descendant of King David of Bethlehem (v. 4). Mary had to ride the sixty-five miles while pregnant with Jesus.
While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. She wrapped the baby in long pieces of cloth like those used for burial. Jesus was born to die (cf. the gift of myrrh, a burial spice, from the wise men, Mat. 2: 11). Jesus’ crib was a manger (v. 7), a feeding trough for animals. All the inns all had no vacancy signs. Jesus’ family was poor and Jesus grew up in poverty (2Cor. 8:9). Shepherds were some of the poorest people in society. God announced the coming of His Son through angel and then putting on a show for shepherds (Lk. 2: 9). A multitude of angels then appeared with the first angel (Lk. 2: 11). The “sign” to the shepherds would be finding a baby wrapped in strips of cloths lying in a manger (Lk. 2:12). That kind of thing didn’t happen every day.
The angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Lk. 2: 14). After that, the shepherds wanted to check it all out. You would, too. They found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the manger. Everyone was in awe (Lk. 2: 18). Mary treasured and thought a lot about what the Shepherds had told her about the angels in the sky. It all served as further proof that she had just given birth to God’s Son (Lk. 2: 19). The shepherds left glorying God because all that was told them was true (Lk. 2:20).
Luke 2: 20-35 Now Presenting . . . Jesus!
The boy was named Jesus as commanded by Gabriel to both Mary and Joseph (1:31; 1:18-21). Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua which means “Yahweh is Salvation.” According to the law, Jesus was circumcised on the eight day (Lev. 12:3).
Jesus was presented as the first son (Lev 13:2, 12) in Jerusalem after Mary’s days of purification were finished (Lev. 12: 1-8). Mary and Joseph presented either two doves or two pigeons which were the offerings for the poor. The normal sacrifice would’ve been a lamb. Jesus was The Lamb Who would take away the sins of the world. The offering was not for Jesus, it was for Mary’s purification.
There was a righteous and devout man in Jerusalem named Simeon who had been intensely waiting for the Messiah (“the consolation of Israel” was the Messiah who would bring peace). God promised Simeon the special grace of beholding the Messiah before he died. And he just “happened” to walk into the Temple as Mary and Joseph were presenting Jesus. He lifted Jesus in his arms and prophesied. He said Jesus would be a light to the Gentiles meaning the gospel was going to go out to the whole world and that He would especially be the “glory . . . of Israel (Lk. 2: 32).” Joseph and Mary were amazed at all that was happening (Lk. 2: 33). Simeon warned that many would “rise” because of Jesus, trust in Him and go to Heaven. Many would also “fall” and oppose Him and go to Hell (Lk. 2: 34). Simeon also warned Mary of her future suffering when Jesus would suffer before her eyes (Lk. 2: 35).