Numbers 26:1-34  Are You Being Counted? Part 2

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Numbers 26:1-34  Are You Being Counted? Census – Part 2

[Study Aired October 30, 2023]


This chapter deals with the second census that the Lord commanded Moses and Eleazer to undertake. The purpose for this census was different from the first census held when the Israelites were in the desert of Sinai (Numbers Chapter 1). The first census focused on the formation of an army with the aim of uniting the people of Israelites for one purpose – that is, to obey their commanding officer (Jesus Christ) as He led them to fight their way to possess the promised land when they began their journey in the wilderness.  This second census was different. It was to serve as the basis of apportioning their inheritance even though the Israelites had not yet taken possession of the promised land. Indeed, our Lord sees the end from the beginning.

Num 26:52  The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 
Num 26:53  “Among these the land shall be divided for inheritance according to the number of names. 
Num 26:54  To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance; every tribe shall be given its inheritance in proportion to its list. 

Isa 46:9  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 
Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

We, His elect, are therefore to have confidence in the Lord that whatever He starts, He is able to bring to completion. Are you worried that you do not see any significant progress in your walk with Christ as you are still plagued by sin? Lift up your eyes from yourself and your failures, and focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Our help does not come by focusing on ourselves but by lifting our eyes to the hills from where our help comes!

Psa 121:1  A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 
Psa 121:2  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 
Psa 121:3  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 
Psa 121:4  Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psa 121:5  The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
Psa 121:6  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
Psa 121:7  The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
Psa 121:8  The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

We must also take note that almost all the people who were counted initially in Numbers chapter 1 did not end up possessing the promised land as a result of their rebellion against their commanding officer, Jesus Christ. They did not believe that the Lord would give them the promised land. 

Num 14:26  And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
Num 14:27  “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me.
Num 14:28  Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the LORD, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you:
Num 14:29  your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me,
Num 14:30  not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.
Num 14:31  But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected.
Num 14:32  But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness.

This second census, however, focused on a new generation of Israelites who were to inherit the promise. Spiritually, the people of Israel in the first census represent our old man who rebels against the Lord and therefore is doomed to die in this wilderness of life to give way to the new man, represented here by the new generation of the Israelites who were to possess the land. As we go through our daily lives, all we need to do to possess our inheritance is to have faith that the Lord will accomplish whatever concerns us in order to drag us to the finish line. Since we do not know the Lord’s timing, we are required to be patient as we see the Lord unfold His plan for our lives. 

Heb 6:9  Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 
Heb 6:10  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 
Heb 6:11  And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 
Heb 6:12  so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The Command to Count the People of Israel

Num 26:1  And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, 
Num 26:2  Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all that are able to go to war in Israel.

As we learned in the previous chapter, the plague mentioned in verse 1 relates to our spiritually dead state because of the plague of sin. It is when we are helpless or spiritually dead that the Lord comes to us to give us a future and hope by enrolling us in His army.

Eph 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 
Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 
Eph 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 
Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 
Eph 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 
Eph 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

The Lord ordered for the second time, a census to be conducted for all males of the tribe of Israel above 20 years old. As we know, all things are for our benefit. Thus, this census was part of the Lord’s plan to unveil to His elect, who would come centuries later, what is required to be part of the Lord’s army. 

1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22  Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

Being a male of 20 years old signifies that we are ready to handle the word of truth as the Lord guides us to engage the flesh in battle on a daily basis. This implies that at age 20, we are not being blown about by every wind of doctrine. 

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 
Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 
Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 
Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 

Verse 2 says that these armies to be numbered were to come from every tribe of Israel. It shows that the Lord is redeeming people from every tribe and kindred from every generation to be enrolled in His army. 

Rev 5:9  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

This numbering excluded all females of Israel. This is because spiritually, there is only one church who is the bride of Christ and therefore cannot be counted. This church is that of the firstborn, or Jerusalem which is above, which is contrasted with Jerusalem which is, and is in bondage with her children. As Paul indicated, Jerusalem which is, has many divisions and therefore cannot constitute an army, as no army that is divided can stand any chance against an enemy.

1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 

Mar 3:24  And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mar 3:25  And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 

Num 26:3  And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, 
Num 26:4  Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt.

Moses and Eleazer spoke to the people of Israel in the plains of Moab, close to the river Jordan with Jericho on the other side of the river. What this implies is that as the Lord’s elect, we were still in Babylon (signified by the plains of Moab) and about to have access to the truth of the word of the Lord (symbolized by river Jordan). Knowing the truth of the word of the Lord is all part of equipping us with the whole armor of God to start waging war with the flesh signified by Jericho. 

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The Counting of the Tribes

Num 26:5  Reuben, the eldest son of Israel: the children of Reuben; Hanoch, of whom cometh the family of the Hanochites: of Pallu, the family of the Palluites:
Num 26:6  Of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites.
Num 26:7  These are the families of the Reubenites: and they that were numbered of them were forty and three thousand and seven hundred and thirty. 
Num 26:8  And the sons of Pallu; Eliab. 
Num 26:9  And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the LORD:
Num 26:10  And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign.
Num 26:11  Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.

Reuben means “Behold a son”. The Lord is excited to have many sons whom He calls His brothers. 

Heb 2:10  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 
Heb 2:11  For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 
Heb 2:12  saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” 
Heb 2:13  And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” 
Heb 2:14  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 

The tribe of Reuben was counted first since Reuben was the firstborn son of Jacob. The total number of the Reubenites was 43,730. The significant numbers here are 3, 4 and 7. As indicated in the introductory section, it is from all the tribes of the earth that the Lord selects His army. The number 4 signifies the whole of the issue under discussion, and in this case, we are dealing with the whole of the tribes of the earth from whom the Lord selects His elect from every generation to become part of the army of the Lord. The number 3 means that those who are being selected shall go through the process of spiritual maturity through judgment. A significant aspect of being of the army of the Lord is that we are required to endure hardships which is our judgment.

2Ti 2:3  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

The number 7 in this case shows us that those selected shall be made complete in Him.  In other words, the Lord who has started His work in us shall see to its completion.

Php 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Verses 9 and 10 bring to the forefront, the fact that despite being chosen by the Lord for His army, we were carnal as we rebelled against the Lord’s elect (Moses and Aaron) by rejecting their words and were swallowed up by Babylon (the earth) and became spiritually dead. The two hundred and fifty men who died by fire also represent us who became spiritually dead as the fire of the word (tribulations and persecutions) caused us to be offended. The 250 men signify that it is grace through faith (the significance of the number 5) to become the Lord’s witness (the significance of the number 2).

Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 

The Lord not destroying all the tribe of Korah in verse 11 is to let us know that in spite of our failures, the Lord showed mercy to us by not destroying us. In the fullness of time, this mercy we have received shall be extended to the whole world through us.

Rom 11:30  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 
Rom 11:31  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 
Rom 11:32  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 

Num 26:12  The sons of Simeon after their families: of Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites: of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites: of Jachin, the family of the Jachinites:
Num 26:13  Of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites: of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites.
Num 26:14  These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred.

Simeon means ‘God hears.’ In spite of our failures, the Lord heard us in our desperation and came to us. We must remember that the tribe of Simeon was cursed by Jacob and therefore, humanly speaking, they do not qualify to become the Lord’s witnesses. However, the Lord in His mercy, canceled everything that mitigates against our election. The families of Simeon were 22,200 in number. This shows us that those being counted are the Lord’s witnesses (the significance of the number 2). 

Gen 49:5  Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. 
Gen 49:6  O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. 
Gen 49:7  Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

Col 2:13  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 
Col 2:14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Num 26:15  The children of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites: 
Num 26:16  Of Ozni, the family of the Oznites: of Eri, the family of the Erites: 
Num 26:17  Of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites. 
Num 26:18  These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred. 

Gad means ‘good fortune.’ The best thing that can happen to us in this life is to be counted as part of the Lord’s army. That is good fortune. This good fortune is the same as the treasure hidden in the field that a man found and sold all he had to possess the field.

Mat 13:44  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

The families of the children of Gad who were males and twenty years old and above were 40,500. This implies that the Lord is selecting His army or elect from the whole of the tribes of the earth, and it is all being done by grace through faith.  

Num 26:19  The sons of Judah were Er and Onan: and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. 
Num 26:20  And the sons of Judah after their families were; of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites: of Pharez, the family of the Pharzites: of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites. 
Num 26:21  And the sons of Pharez were; of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites. 
Num 26:22  These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and sixteen thousand and five hundred. 

Judah means praise. We cannot praise the Lord enough for counting us as part of the Lord’s army to inherit the promise. 

Psa 34:1  A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psa 34:2  My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
Psa 34:3  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
Psa 34:4  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

The sum of the males who were counted for the families of Judah was 76,500. The number six means mankind. This suggests that the Lord’s elect are selected from the people of the earth, and it is by grace through faith that the Lord will complete His work in us to be able to possess our inheritance.

Num 26:23  Of the sons of Issachar after their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites: of Pua, the family of the Punites: 
Num 26:24  Of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites: of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites. 
Num 26:25  These are the families of Issachar according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and four thousand and three hundred.

Issachar means ‘the Lord will bring a reward.’ The Lord is indeed a rewarder. We are therefore privileged to be part of this army of the Lord. 

1Co 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 
1Co 2:10  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 

Rev 22:12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 

The number of the sons of Issachar was 64,300. This means that the Lord is selecting the whole of His elect from the people of the earth of every generation. After being enrolled in His army, the Lord takes us through the process of spiritual maturity through judgment.

Num 26:26  Of the sons of Zebulun after their families: of Sered, the family of the Sardites: of Elon, the family of the Elonites: of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites.
Num 26:27  These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those that were numbered of them, threescore thousand and five hundred.

Zebulun means ‘habitation.’ The best thing that can happen to us is to be the habitation for the Lord. Being part of the army of the Lord means that He is preparing our bodies to be His habitation. 

Eph 2:21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 
Eph 2:22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The tribe of Zebulun numbered 60,500. This implies that it is by grace through faith that the Lord has picked us from among men to become part of the Lord’s army to inherit His promises. 

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Num 26:28  The sons of Joseph after their families were Manasseh and Ephraim. 
Num 26:29  Of the sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites: and Machir begat Gilead: of Gilead come the family of the Gileadites. 
Num 26:30  These are the sons of Gilead: of Jeezer, the family of the Jeezerites: of Helek, the family of the Helekites: 
Num 26:31  And of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites: and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites: 
Num 26:32  And of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites: and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites. 
Num 26:33  And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
Num 26:34  These are the families of Manasseh, and those that were numbered of them, fifty and two thousand and seven hundred.

Joseph means ‘may he add.’ The Lord will add to us whatever is necessary for us to win the prize of His higher calling. Joseph is represented by his two sons, Manesseh and Ephraim, who constitute two of the twelve tribes of Israel. It is worth noting that the Levite tribe was not counted as part of the army of Israel. Its place was taken by one of the sons of Joseph in order to have twelve tribes. Manasseh means ‘causing to forget.’ The Lord will indeed cause us to forget the suffering we are going through. It is another way of saying that the current suffering we are going through cannot be compared with the glory to be revealed. 

Rom 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

The total number of the tribe of Manasseh who were counted was 52,700. What this suggests is that it takes grace through faith to become a witness for Christ, and it is the Lord who shall complete what He started in us. 

Zec 4:6  Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
Zec 4:7  Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. 
Zec 4:8  Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Zec 4:9  The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.
Zec 4:10  For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

We have the full assurance of the Lord that what He has started in us, He is capable of completing. We should therefore not regard the work He has started in us as something small. 

May the Lord therefore grant us the grace to walk by faith and not by sight. Amen!!

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