Bible Study with Jairus – Numbers 26
Numbers 26 tells the story of the second generation of Israelites being counted. After the counting, God divided the Promised Land by lot. Why had the land already been divided when they hadn’t entered the Promised Land yet? God’s planned time had come and the Israelites had already been wandering in the wilderness for forty years. The first generation of Israelites had already been judged, so the second generation was tired and discouraged. God’s grace and mercy were manifested at this time. He led them into the land He had promised. Although they had not yet entered the Promised Land, there is no concept of time to God. Thus, God divided the land by lot before they entered the Promised Land. Also, this time was a great encouragement to their faith, helping them have more faith in fighting against the evil spirits that occupied the Promised Land. Today, we will discuss God’s perfect timing and sovereignty in the lives of both generations of Israel and in our own lives today.
God’s Promises vs. Our Experiences
This chapter starts with the Lord asking Moses to count the people of Israel a second time. The first count was in Numbers 1. At that time, the number of the people of Israel was 603,550. This time, the number of people was 601,730. These were two generations of Israelites. Both generations had a chance to enter the land the Lord promised them. But after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the first generation fell in the wilderness because of unbelief. The second generation also had God’s promise that they would enter the Promised Land.
We must look at the problem from the perspective of the second generation. Like the first generation of Israelites, the second generation also experienced all kinds of unbelief, weakness, and failure. They might have thought, “The first generation also had the promise of God, but because of their unbelief, they were not able to enter the Promised Land. We have God’s promise, but we also have failures, weaknesses, and unbelief. Will we also be disciplined by God and not be allowed to enter the Promised Land like the first generation?” It’s very normal to have this kind of thinking. For example, after God sent the flood to wipe out all humanity except Noah’s family, He made a covenant with Noah with the sign of the rainbow, saying that He would never send a flood again to wipe out the earth. From here we see that God knows that people understood His warning. He made this covenant so that people would not fear His judgment by flood every time it rains. Similarly, the failure of the first generation of Israelites had a negative impact on the hearts of the second generation of Israelites.
Similar ideas have also emerged in the 2020 US election. Many Christians believed the prophecies of some prophets, saying that God chose Trump to be the President of the United States for eight consecutive years. But so far (as of March 11, 2021), this has not been fulfilled. Two attitudes emerged at this time. One attitude says that these were false prophecies. Some of the prophets who made such prophecies apologized and admitted their mistakes. Another attitude says that the prophecy was not wrong. Trump was indeed elected, but the election was stolen. These people believe that God is working behind the scenes to miraculously bring Trump back to the White House.
There is a further breakdown of beliefs among the Christians who believe in the prophecy that God chose Trump. One side believes that we didn’t repent enough, so God didn’t intervene. He handed us over to the enemy so that we would repent more. Many of God’s prophetic words are conditional. For example, God wanted to destroy Nineveh. But if Nineveh repented, God would change His mind. Similarly, God promised the first generation of Israelites that they could enter the Promised Land, but because they failed to meet the conditions of having faith, God did not bring them into the Promised Land.
Others believe that we do have enough people to repent. If Sodom had had ten righteous people, God promised to not destroy it. Currently, there are more than ten people in the United States who are repenting, and there are Christians all over the world who are praying for the United States and Trump. Because the United States has been a major light for the gospel, Christians all over the world hope that the United States can continue to be ruled by those who support Christians and the gospel. Therefore, it is not that God does not interfere with what happens here on earth, but that He has greater wisdom. He does not “play chess” according to our time and thinking. God’s prophecy to save America this time is not conditional, but unconditional. The time of God has come. God wants to release a great revival in the United States and in the rest of the world. His interference is unstoppable.
Conditional vs. Unconditional Promises
Is the prophecy about the second generation of Israel entering the Promised Land conditional or unconditional? Let’s consider this in detail. First, let’s review. When Moses struck the rock the first time, God was angry and punished Moses, saying that he did not uphold Him as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel. When Korah and others rebelled, God severely judged the first generation of Israel. But when Moses hit the rock the second time, the second generation of Israelites were the ones who wanted water. God was unwilling to severely judge the second generation of Israelites because they were spiritual infants, and God’s grace and mercy were far greater than His judgment on them. In our spiritual experience, the first generation of Israelites represents our old man, while the second generation of Israelites represents our immature life in Christ. Both have weaknesses and flesh, but the natures of the two are completely different. In this matter, God definitely abided by His prophetic words and brought the second generation of Israelites into the Promised Land.
It is precisely because of this, and the fact that there is no time to God, that God divided the land by lot in the wilderness for the second generation of Israelites before they entered the Promised Land. This was to increase their faith and ability, and for them to be able to fight and defeat God’s enemies when entering the Promised Land. The time of God had come. He had commanded the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Therefore, regardless of the second generation of Israelites’ weaknesses, God had to lead them into the Promised Land. In other words, God’s promises to the first generation of Israelites were conditional. They were not united by faith with those who listened (Hebrews 4:2), and therefore could not enter the Land God had promised. But this prophecy was unconditional for the second generation, because God’s sovereignty arranged them to enter the Promised Land at that time.
The Location of the Second Counting
After looking at God’s timing, we will look at the importance of where they were. Let’s look at two scriptures that the Holy Spirit illuminated to me as I studied this passage. The first verse is Numbers 26:3, “Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with the Israelites in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho…” This verse talks about the place where Moses and the priest counted the Israelites. Similarly, verse 26:63 repeated this phrase and said, “These were those listed by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who listed the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.” We all know that one written word of the Bible is worth a thousand pieces of gold. The Bible is written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If it is not absolutely necessary, it was not recorded in the Bible. The apostle John said, “If every one of the things which Jesus did were to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). From this point of view, the words repeated in the Bible must have a very important meaning. Otherwise there is absolutely no need to repeat them. Therefore, from this principle, it is very meaningful that Numbers 26 repeated the place where the counting happened.
Moab is the descendant of incest between Lot and his daughter. It is a representation of our flesh and sins in the flesh. Jericho is a city occupied by the Canaanites, the enemies of God. It represents the evil spirits and the strongholds that the evil spirits build in us. The Jordan River is a dividing line that separates the wilderness from the Promised Land. The Israelites had to cross the Jordan River to leave the wilderness and enter the land promised by God. In our spiritual experience, crossing the Jordan River represents our spiritual victory of overcoming the world, our flesh, and sin; being able to enter the abundant spiritual life God has prepared for us; being able to break the evil spirits and the strongholds built by the evil spirits in us; and defeating our spiritual enemies. This spiritual representation applies not only to the spiritual experience of individual Christians, but also to the collective spiritual experience of the Church.
Therefore, the place where the Israelites were counted has a very special spiritual significance. We can imagine ourselves as the Israelites here. They had been wandering in the flesh and in the wilderness for forty years. They were full of failures and weaknesses. But they also had God’s promise and His presence. On the one hand, the place where God wanted to lead them was the land He had promised. But on the other hand, it was occupied by the enemy. The fear and lack of faith of the first generation of Israelites led to God’s anger and discipline, preventing them from entering the Promised Land. The Jordan River was also in front of them. Although the Jordan River is not as big as the Red Sea, they didn’t know if God would perform miracles and dry up the Jordan River for them to cross over. They had seen their parents fail. They were also tired and discouraged, not knowing whether God would bring them into the Promised Land according to what He had promised them.
Not only do many Christians in the United States feel this way about the election, but many individual Christians also have similar situations in their lives. How many people have God’s words, but are still unsure if God will fulfill His promises? This includes personal prophetic words, or universal prophetic words in the Bible (for example, “by His stripes, we are healed”). Many people believe that God will fulfill His promises, but the fulfillment is delayed. I think this is many people’s experience. In this US election, some people who believed in the prophetic words about Trump’s reelection feel this way. Is it true that God promised that Trump would be re-elected? If God really promised this, is it a conditional promise or an unconditional promise? Many people are confused.
I personally feel that God’s promise to the second generation of Israelites here is an unconditional promise. In God’s sovereignty this was the time, arrangement, and place He had planned. So, no matter the weaknesses and failures of this generation of Israelites, God would sustain them as they entered the Promised Land. He does the same for us in situations we face. We may be bound by our flesh, but He brings us into His promises and helps us defeat the enemies that lie ahead.
How God Encourages
God’s comfort and encouragement were very important at this time. God had to let the second generation of Israelites know clearly that it was His sovereign plan to bring them into the Promised Land. As God was with Moses, He promised to be with them and also with Joshua. The goal of prophecy is upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation (1 Corinthians 14:3). Prophecy is not to prove how accurate someone prophesying can be or to prove that we are able to foresee what God will do. The goal of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ because His testimony is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). Prophecy is the light in the darkness. Peter said, “We have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” (2 Peter 1:19).
When people who prophesy focus on themselves, they often make mistakes because the focus of prophecy should not be on us, but on Jesus’ testimony and on consolation, upbuilding, and encouraging the discouraged.
For example, let’s look at modern day prophecies. Although the prophecies about Trump have caused a lot of controversy, many people who prophesy have apologized for their “false prophecies”. Unfulfilled prophecies do not mean that we should no longer prophesy or pay attention to God’s prophetic words. On the contrary, we need to pay more attention to God’s prophetic words and the people who share them. But what we must focus on is Jesus’ testimony and strengthening, comforting, and encouraging others. When we prophesy and release prophetic words, we must understand God’s heart and His love. When we rebel against God in the flesh, God will discipline us. His promises may be delayed because of our unbelief and rebellion. In this case, the prophecies seem to be conditional. It is about whether we have faith or not.
Even if we are weak in the flesh or are discouraged with ourselves and reality, God’s faithfulness and power will give us strength. Although God disciplines us, His purpose is to love us and help us be spiritually mature, not to make us fall. Therefore, when we are weak, He stretches out His steadfast hand to give us support. In the end, we will win spiritual battles not by relying on our flesh, but by the mercy and faithfulness of God, who will sustain us to the end. Whether it is a Red Sea moment for the first generation of the Israelites or a Jordan River moment for the second generation of the Israelites, the prophecies are unconditional. It is about God’s faithfulness to us. Remember that the Bible tells us, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
In the Flesh or in the Spirit?
So, it is not a question of true or false prophecies, but a question of whether we are in the flesh. Similarly, it is not the law’s fault, but whether the person who obeys the law is of the flesh or the spirit. If we set our mind on the flesh, it is death, but if we set our mind on the Spirit, it is life and peace (Romans 8:6). God’s prophecy for the first generation of Israelites was not wrong. But because the Israelites were in the flesh, full of unbelief and rebellion, they were not united by faith with God’s promise. So, this promise could not be fulfilled. But the flesh of the second generation of Israelites had already been dealt with to a considerable extent after forty years in the wilderness. Although they still had their flesh, God’s mercy and faithfulness held them back, allowing them to manifest God’s strength and power when their flesh was weak.
As David said, “The battle is the Lord’s” (1 Samuel 17:47). 2 Chronicles 20:2 records the Moabites and Ammonites attacking Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. If the Jews represent our spiritual person, and the Moabites and Ammonites represent our flesh, we can see that the disturbances and harm of the flesh toward our spirit lasts for a long time. Even after we arrive at the Promised Land, we have to face the evil spirits and strongholds (represented by the Canaanites). We also need to face the bondage of the flesh. Faced with such a situation, Jehoshaphat said to the Israelites: “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” (2 Chronicles 20:20) Jehoshaphat led the Israelites to pray and praise the Lord, and they won the battle. We also need this in our spiritual journeys today.
In summary, when the time of wandering in the wilderness had passed and it was time for the second generation of Israelites to cross the Jordan, God confirmed His promise to them and brought them into the Promised Land. The spiritual meaning of counting the Israelites is like when the angel measured the temple in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 40:5). The purpose of it was to check and inspect the spiritual condition of the Israelites. Only God can measure us. In God’s eyes, when David counted the Israelites, he sinned seriously. When God was there to count the Israelites, the spiritual condition of the Israelites was measured on the scale. The Canaanites’ sin had also reached its full measure, so God’s time had come. Therefore, the scale has been tipped toward the judgment of darkness and evil. You can see this picture again in Revelation 8. When the prayers of the saints collected on the golden altar became full to a certain extent, the judgment of God poured down. We also know everything has a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). The season of chastising in the wilderness was 40 years and it was fulfilled. So, God brought them into the Promised Land.
At the beginning of the Book of Numbers, God did a counting. That counting manifested the result of God’s power in saving the Israelites from Egypt. The second counting manifested the result of God’s power in dealing with the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years. The former represents saving us from sin; the latter represents saving us from the world and our flesh. The last two verses of this chapter say: “But among these there was not one of those listed by Moses and Aaron the priest, who had listed the people of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. For the Lord had said of them, ‘They shall die in the wilderness.’ Not one of them was left, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.” (Numbers 26:64-65) These two verses show what we have discussed. In the eyes of God, the first generation of unbelievers had already died in the wilderness, and Aaron had also died. It was Moses and Eleazar the priest, the son of Aaron, who counted the Israelites this time. God’s anger had also subsided. His faithfulness and mercy led the second generation of Israelites into the land He had promised them. The spiritual meaning of it is that our flesh has been crucified with Christ (crossing the Red Sea) and has been disciplined by the Holy Spirit (wandering in the wilderness and crossing the Jordan River).
Dear Christian, are you discouraged today by the situation of the world, politics, and the state of the church? Do you question whether God’s promises will really be fulfilled? Do you think your weaknesses and flesh are greater than God’s promise? I personally feel that the church has reached the end of flesh today, just like the end of the wilderness. God will lead us to experience a breakthrough, which is leaving the wilderness, crossing the Jordan River, entering the Land He promised, and defeating His enemies. The great revival is coming, and the political situation of the world is going to change drastically. Everything is for the development and effectiveness of the Gospel. Fellow believer, don’t be disappointed and discouraged. God’s faithfulness and mercy will never change. When we are discouraged and weak, He gives us His support and manifests His power. If we wait in prayer, praise, and belief in God and His prophets, we will surely triumph in the final battle. The battle is not ours, but the Lord’s!
We are entering a different age that God has planned for us to walk into. It is beyond a worldwide revival. Some people call it the third Great Awakening (as compared to the previous two Great Awakenings in the history of American Christianity). Others say that it is the second Reformation movement (as compared with the history of Martin Luther’s Reformation movement). It has been over 500 years since the Reformation. I personally believe that God has shifted us into a second reformation movement which may comprise a great revival in the church and societal transformation worldwide. Nothing can stop this as this is God’s sovereign plan. In prophetic dreams, God has shown me many details about the future revival of China and how it affects the world. After this revival, China will become a democratic nation that worships God. God has also made many personal promises to me about my role during the coming great revivals in both China and America. I have been preparing for this all my life. Don’t tell me they are not coming, as I have seen them in the spirit many times. In my view, the prophecies about Trump and American politics are unconditional. Though it looks backwards in the physical world right now, it is a setback that the enemy sent. It is NOT ABOUT Trump or politics. It is about stopping the coming revivals and reformation. I don’t know how or when God will change American politics to an administration who promotes God and the Gospel. But what I do know is this will happen. If you have an administration who promotes unbiblical values, it is like a train going in the wrong direction. The purpose is to stop the coming of this revival and reformation. I know this revival is unstoppable. The direction of this train must change. Please watch and see how our God will do the impossible.
Written by Jairus Bible World Ministries on March 11, 2021
 All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.