The Number Thirty-eight in the Bible

 

Thirty-eight is mentioned five times in the Bible.  Well, 1 Chronicles is 38,000 but that still counts because it is 38 x 1000.  Notes on the verses are below.

If you do an internet search, it is obvious that there are many thoughts about this number.  The people who wrote about thirty-eight have done some impressive research.  I guess I am taking a slightly different thought toward it, so please add this post to the mix.  Numbers in the Bible are part of the Father’s creation and He uses them in His story (history)! I have always wanted to do that:)

So, please do not try and have numbers direct your life; His peace and righteousness is God’s gift for direction in your life.

I have grouped the thirty-eights into three groups – Deuteronomy/Numbers and John, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.  Why!  Because this number, like many other numbers God uses, has several thoughts associated with it.

The best place to start is at its first mention/reference in Numbers 14.  Okay, anybody with a concordance knows that thirty-eight is not mentioned in Numbers.  But it was in God’s heart!   The number that is mentioned is forty (verses 33 + 34), but Deuteronomy 2: 14 explains how God carried out His plan.  There are four different viewpoints in Deuteronomy that need to be looked at:

Group 1

Deuteronomy

  1. The People – Predictably they rebelled, but they had already done that. (Remeber, they had tested God ten times.)   Now, there are two sets of people in this group.  The twenty an older group who were being held accountable and the nineteen and under who were going to suffer for the first group’s grumbling.  Knowing teenagers, they would have been in on the complaining, but God drew His line at nineteen years of age.  The thought of going back to Egypt dissolved when they thought about slavery and that they were not allowed to go into the Land.
  2. Joshua and Caleb – they were in the “right” and would still have to wait to get their promises from God. If anybody had the right to be mad it was these guys!  But since they had better spirits than the others I want to image they started working with the youngsters.
  3. Moses, Aaron, (Miriam) – Once again they fell to their knees, but you have to think they may have been annoyed with the people. The people had already tested God ten times and this refusal to go into the Land was serious.  The brothers stood in the middle of this scene and worked for the people.
  4. God – Mad, yes! Out of love for Abraham, He listened to Moses.  He said forty and gave them credit for the first two years.  Or, He cut it short for the sake of the spies.  40 – Joshua and Caleb = 38.  (Well, it makes sense if it was common core math.).   His viewpoint, there is mercy and cleansing in this number.

John –The man at the pool was there for thirty-eight years.  That number directed Jesus’ actions for him.  Like the people in the wilderness, he was “sick” and had a death sentence.  Verse fourteen is a warning that he “stop sinning”, which is pretty much what the nineteen and under group had to do.  I have mixed feelings about the fact he told on Jesus, was this bragging or trying to get favor? (See Psalm 95: 10.)

At the end of these thirty-eights, there were better times and promises ahead.

Group 2

1 Kings 16: 29 and 2 Kings 15: 8 have many similarities besides the number thirty-eight.  Both of these verses are timestamps of when kings of the northern tribes (Israel) came into power.  1 Kings tells of Ahab (Israel) becoming king in the thirty-eighth year of Asa (Judah). 2 Kings is the story of Zechariah (Israel) and Azariah (Judah).  Both of the kings of Judah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”.  These two kings had a severe illness at the end of their reigns.  Neither of the kings of Israel did what was “right” in eyes of the Lord.

Asa– His story is recorded in 1 Kings 15: 9-24 and 2 Chronicles 14: 2- 16: 14.  I will use the later reference for now.  Asa had everything going for him until he made a deal with Ben-Hadad of Aram.  God lifted His protective covering from Asa as a warning/lesson for later kings.  Asa contracted a disease in his feet (possibly gout).  His treaty with Aram probably took place in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, and he went from a good king to a bad king.  16: 12 says that is when he became ill and refused to seek God.  For thirty-eight years he was walking in blessings and then he shut God out!

Azariah/Uzziah– His story is in 2 Kings 15: 1-7 and 2 Chronicles 26.  2 Chronicles 26: 16 talks of pride and unfaithfulness in a king who had been doing right and was blessed.  He also had the Lord’s shield lifted from him and developed leprosy.  I have no clues to support this, but this could have happened in his thirty-eighth year.  The thirty-eight of Uzziah is for Zechariah of Israel, who is the fulfillment of the promise to Jehu.

Group 3

1 Chronicles 23: 3 is part of the preparation David made for the Temple that Solomon was to build.  Well, it is 38,000 but David requiring that the Levities once again take part in the worship of God is a major development.  In Judges, it seemed that only the sons of Aaron were working with the Ark and worship of God.

Reflections– People like definite answers for things – that will not work here!  Numbers frequently have more than one aspect to them and thirty-eight is no different. Having pondered this for a while the best idea, I have, is that thirty-eight signals A SHIFT! This may be to the better or for the worse. Group 1 and 2 easily show a shift. Group 1 went to a better state, while Group 2 declined.  Group 3 is a shift back to the way it was.

The nineteen-year-olds had thirty-eight years to THINK, listen to Joshua and Caleb, or the now regretful older generation.  Some believed Joshua and listened, looked, and learned, some did not.  But the new generation knew where the Promised Land was and that they would get back there.  They even got their own “Red Sea” experience – see Joshua’s Passover.

MY NOTES

Deuteronomy 2: 14 – This passage in Deuteronomy is a recounting of the journey to Promise Land. It was thirty-eight years from when the spies brought the bad report to them getting ready to enter the land.  The reason for the delay was the “fighting men” of the camp had to die off.  The number forty is associated with the wandering.  I feel God gave them credit for the two years of battle training, constructing the Ark, and seeing miracles when He handed out the sentence.

1 Chronicles 23: 3 – David was preparing for the Temple.  He counted 38, 000 Levites and divided them into working units – 24,000 for working on the Temple, 6,000 for officials and judges, 4,000 for gatekeepers, and 4,000 to praise the Lord. This was done while he was alive before any work began on the Temple.

1 Kings 16: 29 – In the thirty-eighth year of Asa, Ahab became king in the Northern Kingdom.  Asa was a king who did what was right and Ahab was not.  Ahab was the seventh king of Israel during the reign of Asa (Jeroboam to Ahab).

2 Kings 15: 8 – in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah, Zechariah became king of Israel.  He is the grandson of Jehu (2 Kings 9 to 10) and completes the prophecy in 2 Kings 10: 30. (See 2 Kings 15: 12). Azariah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord- 2 Kings 15: 3.

John 5: 5 – Jesus was at a Feast of the Jews (vs. 1).  He healed a man of the Sabbath, who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years.  Jesus told the man to take his mat and walk.  The man was caught and threatened by the Jews for breaking the Sabbath, carrying the mat was work.  Verses 14 and 15 end the story with the man being warned and then he tells the Jews who healed him.

Weeds or Standards

Church it is time!  As Pentecost approaches, I think it is time for a check-up.  This post has been stirring inside of me for a while but a verse in Psalm 74 finally put a voice to what I have been feeling.

This started with a “kingdom parable” in Matthew 13: 25.  Good seed was sown, but while we were asleep the enemy came in and sowed weeds. The master of the field had an unusual response – leave the weeds alone so you do not pull up the wheat!  And all of the gardeners said, “What!”  And all the church people said, “But that is not how I read the Bible, my doctrine must be correct.” 

Weeds – a plant that is not wanted were it is.  Unfortunately, that is a huge definition when it comes to plants.  I have cut down some huge weeds because I did not want that tree there.  But I quit fighting the false dandelions in my lawn just because they are pleasant to look at when in bloom.   Another example is penny and dollar wort, I don’t like them in my lawn and they are a pain in a garden/flower bed.  To get rid of them I can pull them up or poison them.  One method may work in a flower bed and the other may be okay in the lawn, but it is a decision that must be made carefully.  Oh, if those plants are in a sand dune they are wonderful at helping establish the stability of the dune along the beaches here in south Texas. 

The weeds the enemy has sown come in many shapes and sizes.  Throw in the human condition of pride and it can be war in the printing presses.  The “weed” that set me off is found in Genesis 1. The problem was not that God created the world, a Christian should agree to that, but how long it took and how it was done.  I have followed this argument for many years.  Some of this “weed pulling” comes from what Study Bible you use.  So, the Church of my Living God has battled itself for truth and let evolution take over the education system!

The verse in Psalm 74 that divided weeds from standards is #4.  “Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs.” (NIV) Pick your favorite translation the meaning is clear!

Acts 2:36 needs to be a common point for all Christians – Jesus is Lord and Christ.  Unfortunately, weed seeds have been sprinkled into the rest of Peter’s sermon, that first birthday of the Church!  Verse 40 holds the last part of this post. “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Church, they are in our meeting halls – roaring their standards.  New Age thought has been brought in, and we have let postmodernism change definitions in the Church.  Postmodernism works by changing (usually it is a slow change) the meaning of words!  Words they are changing or at least trying to change – Father God, Jesus, Christ, love, sin, family, and others!  The Great Commission has not changed and that needs to be the work of the Church.  Asaph is credited with writing Psalm 73 to 83; as I have read them recently, many sound like prayers against the foes of God and the Church of Jesus.           

Additional Thoughts – fellow Christians should not be an enemy, you may not agree with them on everything; the Seed is still good; Jesus has confidence in the Seed/Plants even with weeds trying to suck the life from the plants’ roots; Jesus still wins in the end! 

Seven Miracles of Jesus Plus One

While studying for my Kingdom series, I kept reading about Jesus “walking through” angry crowds or “concealing” Himself.  Using the parallel function in the Bible Gateway app it was easy to look at several different translations and paraphrases at one time.  I am amazed at how this habit of Jesus is handled in them.  Some could have a possible explanation, while others don’t! I will give the verse/story, the Strong’s Concordance number, and the Greek word with a simple translation. John is the writer who has the most references to Jesus “hiding” Himself.  With that said I will start with the one in Luke. (I am using the NIV.)

  • Luke 4: 30 – #1330 dierchomai – to pass through. Jesus was at Nazareth teaching the morning lesson. (This could also be Matthew 13:53. Luke seems to group things differently, so I will go with Matthew for chronology.  For my study this starts Jesus’ third block of teaching.). He makes the town’s people mad and they are going to throw Him off the “brow of the hill”.  He “passed through” an angry crowd intent on hurting/killing Him. Really!  They just let Him pass!  Okay, I am not sure what He did, but something powerful quelled/confused the mob.  I find it hard to believe they just “lost” Him on their own.
  • John 7: 10 – #2927 kruptos – secret, hidden. Jesus’ brothers are giving Him a bad time because they do not believe He is the Christ.  So, Jesus goes to the Feast of Tabernacles in secret.  This one does not need a miracle to explain how this happened.  A good hoodie would have worked.  But it is hard to imagine that no one recognized Him until He went to the Temple to teach. There was no one trying to kill or harm Him in this story.
  • John 8: 59 – #2928 krupto – to conceal.  Jesus is at the Feast in John 7.  He is teaching and answering questions.  The crowd does not like His statements about Himself and His relationship to the Father.  They are going to stone Jesus! How do you lose track of someone you are trying to kill?  I just feel that since it was not His time to die Jesus did a miracle and concealed Himself.
  • John 10: 39 – #1831- exerchomai – escape, go out. Jesus is at the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah).  He is again being questioned by a crowd and they don’t like His answers.  Doing miracles in the Father’s name was not enough proof as to who He was!  So, He escapes!  Again, this could a simple “He outruns them” but that sounds weak, or He punched His way out, no that is weak also.  He was in the Temple, with people everywhere, and was being questioned by what should have been a crowd.  How do you escape that scenario without a miracle? I have a feeling that harming Him was on their minds!
  • John 12: 36 – #2928 – to conceal. This is Monday of Holy Week. Jesus is telling the crowd how He is to die.  A voice came from Heaven to comfort Jesus and challenge the Jews.  His statement in verse 36 surely made them mad!  But He had not shared His last meal the disciples, so He was not ready to be taken, prisoner.  This could be a natural “hiding” Himself and I would not argue or try to defend a miracle here.

I know this is not one of the traditional “Seven Miracles” and there is no foreshadowing of this type of miracle (That I could think of!).  Really, I think it may be too far out there for many people’s comfort zone. Jesus was not ready to die!  He picked the time and the place – Passover and Jerusalem.  He was in control, not the crowds!  I know that my observations will not change the number of miracles, but if I get a chance to teach it I will add them to the list:-}

These are the Seven Miracles, I copied them from a previous post.  (Click the blue link to see the post.)

·  Turning water into wine in Cana (2:1-11)

·  Healing an official’s son in Capernaum (4:46-54)

·  Healing an invalid at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (5:1-18)

·  Feeding the 5,000 near the Sea of Galilee (6:5-14)

·  Walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee (6:16-21)

·  Healing a blind man in Jerusalem (9:1-7)

·  Raising dead Lazarus in Bethany (11:1-45)

Pic http://clipart.christiansunite.com/

Psalm 59

You have to love Psalms!  This is one of many that I have marked with repeated phrases.  The yellow and blue sections are great. The other highlighted sections are just similar thoughts. The shading was done by me for comparison.  

In my Bible, there is an introduction to this Psalm.  (This Psalm was copied from BibleGateway.com and is the New International Version.)  Apparently, at one time the introduction may have been the first verse.  It was written by David after the events of 1 Samuel 19: 11.  It would be fun to hear the actual tune that went with it when David wrote this song. Was it is up tempo or a slow mournful tune?

It is fair to say that David was not happy when he wrote it.  He was probably in his early twenties and not angry and fearful about what was being done to him!  Even in this very forceful wording, we find verse three, which is a shadow of the Pharisees and how they treated Jesus.  

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

On His Way to Jerusalem #2 and Heaven

I am borrowing the title of this post from my Easter post and I got that from Luke.  Luke also uses this idea for the third phase/block of Jesus’ ministry by saying He was getting ready to go to Heaven.  (This will not look polished because Word Press does not play nice when you import some things from Word.  This is more of a study than a “telling”.  I am trying to connect where Jesus was with the teachings and actions of others and focus on “kingdom”.)  Jesus’ movements and His teachings are very purposeful in this phase of His ministry as He is preparing the disciples for Easter/Passover and for the Book of Acts/Pentecost.  Matthew and Luke have different events in this time period, I will try to join them but that has proven hard.  One idea that might help join all the events is that the disciples (the Twelve) were not always by Jesus’ side in this time period.  Another fact is the Holy Land is not a huge area, several days of focused walking will get you from Jerusalem to Caesarea Philippi and Tyre and Sidon to the East Bank.   

From Matthew 13: 53 to 28: 20 there are eighteen times/parables that the term “kingdom” is used. (actual number of times it appears is higher, I counted groupings) I will add material from Luke and John when it seems right.  Some of this will be subjective because Luke adds many things not found in Matthew or Mark, John’s focus is just different! 

Matthew 13: 53– His hometown (Nazareth) – rejected as He taught in the synagogue – “prophet without honor” I have wondered if that is why He never went back to Bethlehem!  The mention of what happened to John the Baptist not only signals this is a different section of Jesus’ ministry but clears the stage for things to come.

Matthew 14: 13 – a solitary place – feeds the 5000 and walks on water.  The miracles reflect events of the Exodus and the march to Sinai (days to Pentecost) and Jesus’ authority over nature.

Matthew 14:34 – Gennesaret – Pharisees from Jerusalem asked about the Law (washing hands). Teaching on clean and unclean.

Matthew 15: 21 – the region of Tyre and Sidon.  This is as far west as Jesus traveled, it is also as far north as He went; Caesarea Philippi is about the same latitude north.  Jesus found “great faith” in a woman who the disciples wanted to send away.  She wanted mercy for her daughter’s healing.

Matthew 15: 29Sea of Galilee. Feeds the 4000.

Matthew 15: 39 – vicinity of Magadan, by boat– Pharisees wanted a sign from Heaven.

Matthew 16: 5 – crossed lake.  Yeast of Pharisees and Sadducees.

Matthew 16: 13 – Caesarea Philippi *Kingdom (2) * – Who I am, Peter’s confession, started explaining His suffering at Jerusalem, Peter’s rebuke, denying self 

Matthew 17: 1 – high mountain for Transfiguration.  This could be in Caesarea Philippi or “the mountain” in Galilee.  I vote for Galilee because of Jesus wanting them to go back there during the days of “counting the omer” or waiting on Pentecost.

Luke 10: 1 to 17: 11– My main interest here is that Jesus sends out seventy-two disciples to at least thirty-six towns.  Luke puts many parables/teachings in these chapters that may appear somewhere else in a different Gospels.

Matthew 17: 22 – they came together!  Matthew does not say any more than that!  This is why I put Luke 10 into the list.  Realizing that the disciples (the 12) may not have always been “right there” helped the possibilities and melding of the Gospel accounts.

This section is from the first post and overlaps a little. I will add some from Matthew for #8. 

  1. John 10: 22 has Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah.  He makes the Jews mad so He “escapes”.
  2. Jesus goes to where John baptized on the east bank of the Jordan. John 10: 40.
  3. Bethany is Jesus’ next destination to raise Lazarus from the dead. John 11: 17
  4. Because of a plot to kill Him, He goes to a village called Ephraim that is in the desert.  John 11: 54 We would call it wilderness – English and Hebrew ideas on this topic are opposites of each other. 
  5. Capernaum– dealing with the Temple tax. Matthew 17: 24
  6. Samaria and Galilee border – healed ten lepers. Luke 17: 11
  7. Crosses the Jordan River to be on the east bank. Matthew 19: 1
  8. Crosses back to the west bank and goes to Jericho.
  9. Goes to Bethany/Bethphage and the Mount of Olives for the “Triumphal Entry”. Matthew 21: 1, Luke19: 28

    Jesus on the Donkey

Matthew 18 to 21 – There are seven references to the * kingdom* in this section of Matthew.  Six are by Jesus and one by “the mother of Zebedee’s sons” (James and John).  

Matthew 20: 17 – going up to Jerusalem.  He probably was on the east bank of the Jordan going to Jericho.  This period of time reflects Joshua’s entry into the Land and his Passover (#8).

Matthew 20: 29 – Leaving Jericho going to the Mount of Olives (#9) for His ride into Jerusalem.  Jesus only visited the Temple and then He left for Bethany (Mark 11:11). This is Palm Sunday, I will switch to days of the week so that it will be easier to visualize. 

Monday– To put this is context with Passover, the next four days are when the Passover lamb was separated, “inspected”, and taken care of before it became the main part of the remembrance of what God had done for the people.  I am also going to focus on where Jesus went during these days, not what He taught or said. The links will take you to another post that adds more to the story.  I will extend this section to the Ascension.  Jesus’ movements are scattered throughout the Gospels, so they are not in one place for reference.  Matthew 21: 12 – the Temple and back to Bethany.

Tuesday– Matthew 21: 18, Mark 11: 27 – to the fig tree and the Temple Court where He taught. Matthew has seven references to the *kingdom* on Tuesday; Luke has one.

Wednesday– Matthew 26: 6 – Jesus is in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper.

Thursday– Matthew 26: 17 the Upper Room, (26: 30) Mt. of Olives/Gethsemane, (26: 57) Caiaphas house.  There is one reference to the *kingdom* during Jesus’ last supper; Luke has three.

Friday– Matthew 27:1 Jesus goes to Pilate, (27:27) Praetorium, (27:33) to Golgotha and the Cross. He was then put in the Tomb.  Luke has three mentions of the Kingdom- one to the Thief and one about Joseph of Arimathea.

Saturday – Jesus went into Hell and got the Keys back and while He was there He preached and set captives free.

Sunday (Easter) Matthew 28 – the Garden Tomb, (Luke 24:13) Emmaus, (Luke 24:36) the first visit to the Upper Room.

One week later – John 20: 24 + 26 – the Upper Room for the second time for Thomas.

To Galilee – To the mountain and the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee).

Mt. of Olives/Area of Bethany – for the Ascension.

I wrote a post called – After the Cloud to envision what may have taken place next and where He went.

pics –