We’ve covered a lot of territory so far in Numbers chapter 3.
We’ve learned that every firstborn male Israelite baby by default belongs to the Lord and is His Holy property unless that baby is redeemed.
We also learned that it was the tradition in the ancient Middle East for the firstborn son to serve as the family priest when he became an adult.
We then learned that this tradition was put to a swift end in Israel when the Lord made a sovereign decision that all the firstborn males would no longer serve as priests in Israel because they were going to be replaced by the Levites.
Next, we learned after the total number of Levites and firstborn Israelites were tallied up, we found there were exactly 273 more firstborn common Israelites than Levites.
Finally, we learned that each of the excess 273 firstborn common Israelites had to be purchased back from God with the redemption price being five shekels per person.
Well, today I want to introduce another famous firstborn Biblical figure who was also redeemed.
His name is Yeshua and we can read the story about his redemption in the Gospel of Luke.
Let’s read the story first and then I’ll go over some interesting points from a Torah perspective.
Let’s read the Gospel of Luke Chapter 2, verses 21-35.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
Did you read it?
Although it’s a part of the Bible we’re all pretty familiar with, given your newly acquired Torah knowledge that we’ve gained by studying Numbers carefully, I’m sure you were now able to read it with a much more enhanced understanding.
What we have just read was nothing less and nothing more than your average, everyday redemption of a firstborn Jewish baby boy who in this case just happens to be Yeshua.
Let’s take a look at a couple of points.
“On the eighth day, when it was time for his circumcision, he was given the name Yeshua, which is what the angel had called him before his conception.”-Luke 2:21
First, notice that Yeshua wasn’t given his proper Hebrew name until after his circumcision on the 8th day.
The reason for this is until his circumcision, Yeshua was not under the Abrahamic Covenant.
Once Yeshua was circumcised, he officially became an Israelite and thus was eligible to receive his Hebrew name.
In those days, names held great importance and weren’t just titles of identification.
The name YESHUA means “salvation“.
“When the time came for their purification according to the Torah of Moshe, they took him up to Yerushalayim to present him to Adonai (as it is written in the Torah of Adonai…)“-Luke 2:22-23
The purification mentioned here has NOTHING to do with Yeshua.
It’s about Miriam (or “Mary”).
According to the Torah, whenever a Jewish female gives birth to a male child, she is considered unclean for 40 days and is prohibited from entering the Temple in her unclean state.
Hence, we can know for sure that the events being related here in Luke chapter 2 took place AFTER 40 days.
“…and also to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the Torah of Adonai.”-Luke 2:24
Again, the sacrifice of two doves or two young pigeons has nothing to do with Yeshua.
This sacrifice was the last thing that had to be done for the completion of Miriam’s ritual purification after giving birth to Yeshua.
Since it was a pain in the neck for some folks to have to travel all the way up to the Temple, when several obligations could be taken care of at once, they were.
In this case, two birds were being killed with one stone here as both Yeshua’s redemption and Miriam’s purification were being taken care of.
And although there’s no mention of it here in Luke, five shekels would have been paid for Yeshua.
How do we know this?
Because of what we’ve studying here in Numbers man!
Five shekels was the fixed redemption amount for every Hebrew firstborn regardless of how wealthy or poor an Israelite family was.
Isn’t it exciting studying the Torah knowing that when you go back to read the New Testament, your understanding is going to be so much richer and fuller?!
Remember a full 50% of the NT comes from the OT and that ain’t no exaggeration folks!
There’s one last interesting point I want to bring up before closing.
Have you heard the legend that James was Yeshua’s older brother?
First of all, if that’s the case, he would have been born to a different wife of Joseph.
But more importantly, James could NOT have been Yeshua’s older brother because here we see Yeshua being redeemed from his firstborn status.
Admittedly, one could argue that since Joseph was not Yeshua’s biological father, Yeshua’s situation was different and maybe Joseph was just ordered by God to redeem Yeshua.
Well, that’s another story for another time.
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN NUMBERS CHAPTER FOUR