Moses, Miriam, Leprosy and Israel...

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#1
I have the Bible in audio form and I was listening through it till I got to Numbers 12 a while back...

My first impression of reading the passage below was "uh?!"

I felt the Spirit impressed upon me - "dig deeper..."

Anyway - this is what it said...

"1And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. 3(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) 4And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. 5And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.

6And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

7My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.

8With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

9And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. 10And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. 11And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 12Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb.13And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. 14And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. 15And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.

16And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran."
 





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#2
The first thing I noticed was the way that Moses described himself in verse 3...

"(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)"

Sounded a bit overblown! Almost like Jesus...

And he took a Gentile Bride.

"1And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman."

So I wondered - are there any other examples or ways in which Moses is a "type" of Christ - i.e. following a pattern, his life in some ways being prophetic?

This is what I located!

http://thirdmill.org/answers/answer.asp/file/43255
 





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#3
And this led me to discover this...

"We see Moses here as a type of Christ. He prayed for His enemies, even for those who stood up against Him and mocked Him: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23: 34). Just as Miriam was restored on the basis of Moses' intercession, so the people of Israel were shown mercy because of Christ's prayer on the cross. In the book of Acts we see how the way of salvation and restoration was shown to Israel (cf. Acts 3: 17).

But there are more prophetic lessons in the story of Numbers 12. Moses is a clear type of Christ as the great Prophet, Apostle and Teacher of His people (Deut. 18: 15; John 5: 46; Acts 3: 22; Heb. 3: 1-6). Well then, if Moses is a type of Christ what does his marriage to a foreign woman have to say to us? The answer is obvious: Christ took a Gentile bride. Moses' Ethiopian wife was a stranger-she did not belong to the people of God. Yet this Gentile woman became the bride of Moses. Likewise, the church, which is now the bride of Christ, is made up mostly of believers from the Gentiles. We can also see Zipporah as such a type of the church (and similarly Asenath, the Egyptian wife of Joseph). The grace and love of God that have been revealed in Christ could not be limited to the Jews. The core of the gospel is that all men are equal before God. They are all sinners but God wants to bestow His grace on all. Jews and Gentiles are alike "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2: 1). God has made us alive together with Christ and has created one new man from the two. That is the church, which is the body and the bride of Christ, the habitation of God in the Spirit.

This grace shown to the Gentiles, however, resulted in a breach with the people of Israel, just as Moses' love for his Gentile bride (temporarily) broke off his ties with Miriam. Christ was rejected by His own, His kinsmen according to the flesh (John 1: 11). He had to endure such hostility from sinners against Himself (Heb. 12: 3), but He endured it in a patient and gentle way. He acted just like Moses, who resigned himself to the opposition from his relatives and left it in the Lord's hands. Israel's rejection of the Servant of the Lord, however, resulted in the Nation being set aside, just as Miriam's rebellion against Moses (who was God's servant, v. 8) resulted in her being shut out of the camp. Because of their rejection of the Messiah, God has (temporarily) rejected Israel as His people. He has now stretched out His hands towards the nations and the Lord Jesus is joined with bonds of love to His Gentile bride.

In this matter between Miriam and Moses, God Himself pronounced the verdict. Because of her sin she was put out for a certain period of time. Likewise, Israel has become Lo-ammi, Not-My-People (Hosea 1: 9). Just as the cloud of God's presence departed from above the tabernacle when He had spoken to Aaron and Miriam (vv. 9-10), so God has now withdrawn from His people. The glory of the Lord has left the people of Israel and it will only return at the beginning of the kingdom of peace (Ezek. 43). Miriam was shut out of the camp, outside the place of blessing in the presence of God. Similarly, wrath has come upon Israel as a rebellious people and the blessing of God's presence is now found in the midst of the church.

But there is a glorious and gracious "until." Israel's rejection is not final. The story of Numbers 12 did not end with the sad message of Miriam's exclusion but with her restoration. God's wrath may have come upon Israel to the uttermost (i.e., fully), yet He is gracious and even in His wrath He remembers mercy (1 Thess. 2: 16; Hab. 3: 2). He determines the extent and measure of Israel's suffering, as He also determined the period of "seven days" of Miriam's exclusion. He will be merciful to Israel and comfort His people when her warfare is ended and her iniquity is pardoned (Isa. 40: 1-2). This serious story thus has a happy ending. As Miriam was received again (v. 14) and was cleansed from her leprosy, so also Israel will be received again as God's people (after the rapture of the church) and be cleansed from all ungodliness.

It was the apostle Paul, who suffered so much opposition from the Jews as he preached the gospel of God's grace to the nations, who revealed to us the divine mystery of Israel's restoration ("that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." Rom. 11: 25-27). In this passage we find the gracious "until," the announcement of a time determined by God in which He will restore the fortunes of His people.

Just as the Lord (as the One who heals His people) acted in favour of Miriam and healed her, so He will save His earthly people in a coming day. And He will save them not only from their enemies that oppress them from outside but also from their sins that accuse them inwardly. He took away the leprosy from Miriam and likewise He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob and will accept His people. They will be raised spiritually from death to life. Israel's rejection meant the reconciling of the world, for God stretched out His hands to all mankind and extended the word of reconciliation to both Jews and Gentiles. So what will their acceptance be but life from the dead (Rom. 11: 15)? Just as Miriam as a cleansed person was received again in the camp, so Israel will be received again by God as a nation that has been raised from its death sleep and has been cleansed from the sickness which branded it "as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed" (v. 12).

Some translations read that Miriam was to be "brought back," or "brought in again" (v. 14). The original meaning of the word seems to be "to gather," or "to collect." That is also the meaning of the word "receiving" in Romans 11: 15. God will gather the people to Himself again, the Nation from which He had to hide His face for a certain period of time. He will bring them back to the place of blessing in His presence. That will mean a new beginning, a spiritual revival: life from the dead (cf. Ezek. 37)."

http://biblecentre.org/content.php?mode=7&item=1070
 





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#4
Very interesting connection red. I remember reading the same story and leaving with a question mark too. It was difficult to not feel that this was harsh in my case, but in every case, I think people will have questions that are specific to what they expect to gain from reading scripture. For me it was hard to understand how Miriam was rejected because of her mistake at first. It seemed harsh to me because I wanted to see an example of mercy. This is just because I felt guilty at the time.

Anyways, I have come to understand that she was not making a mistake because she didn’t know better. She was refusing to repent of the way she saw god based on her experience. Even when we experience blessing, it is difficult to let go of the deception that god has betrayed us because we have experienced the effects of sin in the past.

Miriam responded to this false sense of betrayal that caused her to become greedy for the same privilege as Moses instead of enjoying the freedom she was given from the past condition of bondage.

So that was my original question and solution to this subject. The article was interesting. However, I do feel it neglects the Jewish presence in the church now. If we look at how the conclusion is formed and how Miriam was healed because of intersession. Miriam’s separation and restoration did not have an effect on the whole that was following Moses. She would more closely represent the remnant than suggest that the church is a gentile bride. In fact, this illustration does mirror what we are told about the church being comprised of jew and gentile without distinction with a remnant who will be restored at a later point in time.

There was a question recently about why the Protestants view Jews differently than the church has done in the past. I think this might have something to do with a better understanding of history and the ability to study the Bible ourselves.

When I was taking a study of the New Testament in college, I learned that the book of Romans was written to a Jew and gentile audience. This book stands out to me in particular because when I had a conversation with a messianic Jew, this person made a point of telling me that many people don’t realize that this is the case. People don’t often know that the book of romans was written to a combo church made up of Jew and gentile trying to live together when they were formerly separated.

So it possible that for some portion of history when the Bible was not accessible to the general public, the church didn’t realize that the New Testament was directed at a Jewish audience because they only knew Jews to reject Jesus.

This also prevented Jews from accepting Christ because there was a false perception that they were not included in the New Testament teachings. So some portion of time, we forgot that Jews did convert to Christianity in large enough numbers that many books of the New Testament are directed towards them besides the book of Galatians.

So translating and being able to study the Bible on a larger scale has played a role in improving our understanding of the Jewish presence in the church from a historical perspective. As a result, it would be interesting to know what role translating this plays in bringing about repentance of the remnant and the eventual fulfillment of prophecy.
 





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#5
Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses. However it was Miriam who was punished because she spoke out of place as a woman.

Btw a gentile represents those from the lost tribes. Meaning the other 10 tribes who was cast off by God. That’s why the NT states over and over that “christ” was only sent to the lost tribes of Israel. They were cut off by God thus making them gentiles.
 





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#6
Aaron and Miriam's transgression is similar to that of Korah and his fellow rebels. They questioned authority and by extension, God's judgement. Aaron was let off the 'leprosy hook' because he was a priest.

As for Moses being a type of Christ, he was resurrected after 3 days, hence his appearance with Elijah at Christ's transfiguration.