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Numbers 30, the Vows of Women, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ

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I recently noticed something in the Old Testament that is quite striking when you think about it. It seems to be something that looks “sexist,” and certainly out of date. However, it has an application that is EXTREMELY significant to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, I think it is worth being explored.

A Sticky Passage In The Old Testament

In Numbers 30, there is a law given to the people of Israel about what happens when men and women make vows. There is a significant difference between men and women and the agreements they make with other people or to God. Take a look:

Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

“If a woman vows a vow to the Lord and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the Lord will forgive her, because her father opposed her.

“If she marries a husband, while under her vows or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound herself, and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the Lord will forgive her. (But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her.) And if she vowed in her husband’s house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath, and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand. But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and the Lord will forgive her. Any vow and any binding oath to afflict herself, [Footnote: or “to fast”] her husband may establish, [Footnote: or “may allow to stand”] or her husband may make void. But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them. But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he shall bear her iniquity.

These are the statutes that the Lord commanded Moses about a man and his wife and about a father and his daughter while she is in her youth within her father’s house. (Numbers 30:1-16, ESV)

Now, you may think that this reflects something “patriarchal” and “sexist” in the Old Testament. Fine. Whatever. But just keep that opinion in the back of your head until you get to the end. We need to explain how this applies to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Law of Moses on the Vows of Men and Women in Numbers 30

First, we need to explain the basic ins and outs of what is discussed in this passage, because it is a little complicated. It doesn’t resonate with our modern understanding of things.

Men and Their Vows

The first rule is quite clear: Men are held to their vows. It doesn’t matter if the men are a part of their father’s household or not. Instead, Men are bound by their word. A vow is a promise made to the Lord.

We can see examples of this rule about vows in the Bible, both before and after the rule was given. For instance, remember what happened with Jacob and Esau:

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom [Footnote: Edom sounds like the Hebrew for red]) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:29-34)

What is remarkable here is that we have absolutely no idea how old the two men were. Based on the fact that Esau was NOT actually about to die, and Jacob is being a little punk about serving some food, I would say they were rather young. But regardless, Esau is held to his word. You might think that this is something between Esau and Jacob, not Esau and God. But the covenant God made with Abraham is what is being passed down. As such, though Esau THINKS that it is only a disagreement about stew between him and his punk brother, God recognizes that this is really an issue between Esau and God.

And if you don’t believe me, note that the New Testament explains that this is the justification for Abraham’s covenant running through Jacob and not Esau:

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (Hebrews 12:15-17)

In other words, the vows of men are VERY serious. You don’t get out of them. A great example of this is the famous “rash vow” in the book of Judges:

Then the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever [Footnote: or “whoever”] comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it [Footnote: or “him”] up for a burnt offering.” So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand.  And he struck them from Aroer to the neighborhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a great blow. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel.

Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.” (Judges 11:29-35)

And sure enough, Jephthah kills his daughter. The end.

Now, many pastors reading this passage imagine that Jephthah thought that some animal or sheep or donkey or something would come out of his house, and as such, this story is one of a strange “be careful what you wish for” story. But that’s not the case at all. The entire story of Jephthah is one of vows and the consequences of vows. It is a “vow” in Judges 11:9-12 that makes Jephthah a leader in Gilead, and the Lord is a witness of that vow. In other words, if a party breaks their pledge, then the Lord will avenge it.

When Jephthah made his vow, he knew EXACTLY what he was doing. He just didn’t know who he would end up doing it to. Just as it was a vow with the Lord as witness that made Jephthah the judge over Gilead, now Jephthah is making a vow of a human sacrifice to the Lord in exchange for victory in battle.

But God doesn’t like that.

Because unfortunately for Jephthah, the people of Israel had already made a vow. They vowed never to do such a thing. Before the people of Israel went into the land of Canaan, Moses renewed the covenant that the Lord made with Israel, commanding them to keep all of the statutes that he had given. And one of the statutes he had given was this:

“When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:29-31)

Jephthah knew EXACTLY what he was doing, and he was worshipping the Lord in a way that the Lord hated. He was worshipping the Lord in the way that the Ammonites did. If his servant or if his servant’s son came out of his house to greet him, you can bet Jephthah would have sacrificed him. But God, in protecting the others, caused it to be that Jephthah’s child, and no one else’s, was the one to meet this fate.

And surprisingly, Jephthah’s daughter takes it on the chin like a champ. Here is what we read:

And she said to him, “My father, you have opened your mouth to the Lord; do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that the Lord has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.” So she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.” So he said, “Go.” Then he sent her away for two months, and she departed, she and her companions, and wept for her virginity on the mountains. And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year. (Judges 11:36-40)

You might wonder why this story is in your Bible, because it looks like the rule is to kill your daughter if you rashly promised to do so. But that’s not the case. Instead, the ASSUMPTION is something we have forgotten in modern times: Men are held to their vows.

The LESSON is something quite amazing, with Jephthah’s daughter as the hero in the story. Jephthah’s vow was “human sacrifice in exchange for victory over the Ammonites.” If Jephthah does not fulfill his vow, the God, noticing the breach of the vow, will obviously take back what he gave Israel. If the daughter is not killed, the then Ammonites will defeat Israel. That’s how vows work. And Jephthah’s daughter knows this. She can save herself (and resist her father, who doesn’t want to do it), or she can give up her life, and save her nation. And so, she sacrifices herself for the benefit of Israel.

So think of the LESSON of this story, as it applies to Israel (or to the church). If Jephthah can honor the promise and submit to the harsh rule of her wicked father, why can’t Israel (or the church) honor the promise and submit to the gracious rule of our father in heaven? If Jephthah’s daughter submits to her father’s word, she will die. And she (with astonishing force of will) submits to the word and dies. In contrast, the law of God, which Israel spurned, is far easier, as Deuteronomy makes clear:

“And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. And you shall consume all the peoples that the Lord your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you. (Deuteronomy 7:12-16)

That is the lesson of Jephthah’s rash vow, and that is the way that men are held to their vows.

Women and Their Vows

The rule on women and their vows in Numbers 30 is more complicated. A cursory reading will cause a sloppy reader to conclude that women do not have the ability to make vows. But that is not the truth. Remember the rule about vows of widows and divorced women:

But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. (Numbers 30:9)

As such, there is nothing about “being a woman” that prevents a woman from making a vow. Instead, it is an issue of authority. A woman is under the authority of her father and her husband, and so all vows she makes are subject to the approval (or disapproval) of her father or husband if they are in the picture. As such, fathers (until she is married) and husbands (until divorce or death) have veto-power over the vows that women makes.

But this means that a woman can be held to a vow she makes by the approval or inaction of her father:

If a woman vows a vow to the Lord and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the Lord will forgive her, because her father opposed her. (Numbers 30:3-4)

The father has the power to veto the vow, and the Lord will release her from the requirement. But the father can also let it stand. The husband has the same veto power as the father:

But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and the Lord will forgive her. (Numbers 30:12)

As such, we have two ways to cancel vows of women. A woman’s father can cancel them, and a woman’s husband can cancel them. We also have two ways to allow vows to stand: A woman’s father can let them stand and a woman’s husband can let them stand.

We have a clear example of this happening, when Hannah vows to give her son Samuel as a servant to the Lord:

After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” (1 Samuel 1:9-11)

Hannah’s husband is definitely around, and he would have had the power to make this promise null and void. But he didn’t, because if he had, 1 and 2 Samuel would be much shorter. As such, women can make vows, and these vows are allowed to stand, even as it relates to their children. It’s just that the husband has veto power, if he wishes to exercise that vow.

However, there is one more situation that we have not covered: What if a woman’s father lets the vow stand, but a woman’s husband hears of the vow, and doesn’t want it to stand? Well, there is a rule for that:

Any vow and any binding oath to afflict herself, her husband may establish, or her husband may make void. But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them. But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he shall bear her iniquity.” (Numbers 30:13-15)

And this is pretty important. A husband is allowed to make a previously-made vow (and previously affirmed by the father) stand against a woman. However, when the woman becomes his wife, he is allowed to make that vow null and void. When he does this, he “bears her iniquity,” and this involves making certain sacrifices that are described in Numbers 15. In other words, if a promise is broken with the Lord, you have to make it right with a sacrifice. And Numbers 30 makes clear that it is the husband’s responsibility to make it right, even if it was the wife who made the vow when she was with her father and her father allowed the vow to stand.

Is that clear? I hope so.

Why Does This Ancient Law About Vows Matter?

So why does this matter? Well, the answer is quite amazing when you dig into it. The thing about the Old Testament law is that EVERYTHING in it is written for a purpose, and ALL OF IT is relevant to the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross.

So, let me ask a question: Who is your father? No, not your ACTUAL father. Who is the ultimate father that you have? You could say “Adam,” who is the universal father of all human beings. However, in the Bible, there were certain “fathers” of nations. The father of Moab was Lot. The Father of Israel was Abraham.

In the time of Jesus, the Jews think that they can rightly claim to be the children of Abraham. However, Jesus does not take the same view. He notes that the Jews are not ACTUALLY the children of Abraham, even though they are the descendants of Abraham:

They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (John 8:39-47)

This is applicable to gentiles and the church as well. It was not only Israel who was following Satan. When it comes to humanity, we can rightly say that we all have a single father, who is God, the creator of heaven and earth. As Paul explains in Athens:

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

as even some of your own poets have said,

“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. (Acts 17:26-29)

But on the other hand, though we are all the offspring of God, we are also the offspring of Adam. Adam was a husband who (unlike Jephthah’s daughter) did not choose to take on the burden of releasing his wife from the rash vow that she unwittingly made by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Instead, he took and ate, too. And the vow between God and man stood:

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

As such, all of humanity does have a “Father,” but that father is the one whose works we do. And all of humanity – not only the Jews in Jesus’s time – are doing the works of our father:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Notice all the genealogical language there. We do have a father. And that father is Satan.

Humanity has made promises and vows that are more rash than anything Jephthah claimed. And our father has allowed those vows to stand.

When writing about the seven signs of Jesus in the book of John, I made a point about who stands for what in the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine at the Wedding of Cana. I made the point that the “bridegroom” is a stand-in for Jesus. I made the point that Jesus is a stand-in for God. I made the point that Mary, the mother of Jesus is a stand in for “Eve,” and that running out of wine is a stand-in for being cast out of the garden. As such, the “sign” is a demonstration of what humanity should do when they find themselves cast out of paradise. The answer comes with Mary’s response to Jesus’s question of “What do we do?” Pointing to Jesus, she says to the servants:

“Whatever he may possibly tell you to do, do it.”

I made the point that I made the point that the “servants” who filled the jars with water were the prophets and those who follow Jesus. I made the point that the “water” is the law of Moses, which is a stand-in for being cleansed and washed. But I also made the point that the “bridegroom” in the situation, who gets blamed by the master of the house, is a stand-in for Jesus.

In other words, the cause of the trouble gets placed ON JESUS.

But there is something more I noted. There is the character of the “Master of the House.” Because he is the one in charge of the whole party, the problem of running out of wine is technically HIS FAULT. After all, it is his house. And for some reason, he wrongfully blames the bridegroom who sits silent (much like Jesus did at his crucifixion). And in the sign of the wedding at Cana, the “Master of the House” is a stand-in FOR SATAN. Read about that here at this link if you want to see all of that.

The Work of Jesus Christ in Numbers 30 and Women and Vows

But there is something more that I realized by looking at Numbers 30. You see, the “master of the house” is the one who is at fault in the situation. But I neglected something. The “master of the house” is not the household manager or the steward. He is the actual “master of the house.” Who would that be in the context of the wedding at Cana? Because of the way that weddings are described in the Bible, with the bridegroom going to the home of the bride, this means that the master of the house is quite literally

THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE

Except…. …we already said that the father of humanity is Satan. Now you’re getting it.

The picture of Christ and the Church is that we have an evil and abusive father who is our accuser and who is holding us to vows that we rashly made in the garden. We chose death and knowledge rather than life and obedience to God.

But look at the rule for when a woman makes a rash vow that her father allows to stand, but that the husband wishes to make null and void:

“If she marries a husband, while under her vows or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound herself, and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the Lord will forgive her. (Numbers 30:6-8)

But this ability does not come without cost:

But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he shall bear her iniquity. (Numbers 30:15)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Vows of Women

The word “gospel” means good news. And this is the Good News of Jesus Christ. Humanity is in trouble in the deepest sense. We are not in trouble because we lack knowledge, though we do. We are not in trouble because we suffer disease, though we do. We are not in trouble because we are poor, though we are. In a very deep sense, we are in the same trouble that was described in Genesis 3. We desire things that we should not desire – things that seem pleasing and beneficial, but which lead to death.

We are under the dominion and power of our father, Satan. If God were our father, then we would look like God and do the works of God. But instead, we are intelligent, crafty, vicious, and prideful. We feel we are wronged, we we are the ones who wrong. We feel that we are cheated when we are the ones who cheat. We do the works of our father, Satan, because we desire what he desires, and we love death, just as he loves death.

But God loved us in spite of our wrongdoing. And he sent us the only help that the law allows to release us from the vows that we made and which are being held against us.

He sent us a bridegroom.

The bridegroom is Jesus. He came to the earth in the form of a man, so that he could be married to his bride, the church. It is in this way that just like Adam, God can say:

This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh

And as Paul explained:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31-32)

Just as Numbers 30 said, our husband does not allow our rash vows to stand. But unlike anyone else, only he can bear the iniquity of the wayward bride. The soul that sins shall die. The iniquity of mankind is death.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

How is it possible to bear that iniquity? One can die for another, but if a bridegroom dies for his bride, she is a widow, and her vows stand. No one can save us, except for one:

This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. (Hebrews 7:15-16)

As such, we are not widows, and only God can bear the iniquity of humanity, the wayward bride:

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12-14)

And this is what the Lord was planning to do from the beginning of time. He put away our rash vows which we continued to make until the day we were given to Christ:

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” (John 19:5-6)

So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:24-25)

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
(John 19:7-16)

Looking at the grave offenses that we have thrown against the Lord, how is it possible for such rash words and evil vows to be forgiven? Solar systems have been destroyed in supernovas for smaller offenses than what was accomplished by wicked men following our father the devil in Jerusalem in 33AD.

But the answer comes in Numbers 30:

But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the Lord will forgive her. . . . But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he shall bear her iniquity. (Numbers 30:8, 15)

On the day that Jesus was united with humanity, on the same day he heard these rash and thoughtless words, he made our vows null and void, on the authority he had as a husband:

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

This was no accident. Jesus knew what was happening the whole time. In a very deep and cosmic sense, the affliction of all humanity was removed by a legal act of a husband redeeming his bride:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.

And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. (Zechariah 3:1-9)

As I stated at the beginning of this section, the problem of humanity is that we desire and love things that seems beneficial, but lead to death. The dominion that Satan – our “father” has over us is one and the same with this sinful desire. But God is making things new, by giving us a husband who can free us of our affliction which we have taken on ourselves and continue to take upon ourselves by rash and thoughtless vows.

And now, in light of this great work of him, the Church, as the bride of Christ, must love our husband. He has redeemed us and removed our iniquity in a single day.

Great is the Lord and worthy to be praised. Now follow him.

Conclusion

So, in conclusion, be careful with that Bible of yours. It is a WILDLY sophisticated, interconnected, and complex book. And that includes random passages in the book of Numbers.

If you want to know what is going on with Christianity, you need to understand that things are WAY more cosmic and complex than you could ever imagine. The law of God is not “random.” It is not the product of “bronze age people” who weren’t as “advanced” as we are today. Instead, the law of God is an unchangeable standard of righteousness that God has made so that humanity can be redeemed despite our disobedience. You might think that you’re making an intelligent point on “egalitarianism” when it comes to the equality of men and women and vows, but what you do not realize is that on a conceptual level, you might be destroying the foundation of the redemption of humanity through the work of Jesus Christ.

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