Life-Study of Numbersby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we will begin to consider the fighting of the children of Israel.
Numbers 21:1-3, 21-35 reveals that the children of Israel defeated the kings of Arad, of the Amorites, and of Bashan. These kings were gate guards of the good land; their territory was east of the Jordan. In order for the children of Israel to enter into the good land, they had to pass through the territory controlled by these kings who were guarding the land of Canaan for Satan. These kings, therefore, were gate guards of the kingdom of darkness, and they had to be defeated before the children of Israel could enter into the land usurped and occupied by Satan.
What does Canaan signify in typology? A common, shallow understanding is that Canaan signifies heaven. Certain hymns speak of crossing "the cold waves of Jordan" on the way to heaven. This understanding of the spiritual significance of Canaan surely is not accurate. In the land of Canaan there were all kinds of enemies. If Canaan signifies heaven, this would mean that there are enemies in heaven. If this were the situation, heaven would not be a pleasant place, and no one would want to go there.
In typology, Canaan signifies the aerial part, the heavenly part, of the dark kingdom of Satan. Matthew 12:26 indicates that Satan has a kingdom. As the ruler of this world (John 12:31) and as the ruler of the authority of the air (Eph. 2:2), Satan has his authority (Acts 26:18) and his angels (Matt. 25:41), who are his subordinates as principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12). Hence, he has his kingdom, the authority of darkness (Col. 1:13). Satan and his kingdom are at war, at enmity, with God and His kingdom. Formerly, we were in the kingdom of Satan, but God's salvation has brought us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God's love (Col. 1:13). Now we are no longer in the kingdom of Satan but are in the kingdom of God.
The point we would emphasize here is that Canaan does not signify heaven in a positive sense; on the contrary, Canaan typifies the main part, the leading part, the aerial part, of Satan's kingdom, with its authorities and rulers. In typology, the giants in the land of Canaan signify the evil angels, the rebellious angels who follow Satan (Rev. 12:4, 7).
During the past twenty-five years, we have stressed the fact that Canaan, the good land, is a type of Christ. Now we are saying that Canaan is a type of the kingdom of Satan, with its evil spirits. This may seem contradictory, but actually it is not. If we study the typology carefully, we will see that Canaan has two features. On the one hand, Canaan is a land of riches, as revealed in Deuteronomy 8. Using this portion of the Word as the basis, we released the messages that have been printed in the book The All-inclusive Christ. On the other hand, Canaan was a land full of evil persons and enemies, all of whom were to be eradicated by the children of Israel. This feature, or aspect, of Canaan signifies the most evil part of Satan's dark kingdom. As we consider these two features of Canaan, we see that whether or not we can enjoy Christ as the all-inclusive land depends on whether or not we defeat the enemies typified by the Canaanites. This indicates that the church as a whole, including all the members, should engage in the spiritual warfare revealed in Ephesians 6.
Ephesians is a book on the all-inclusive Christ. Ephesians 3:8 tells us that the riches of Christ are untraceable. In order to enjoy such a Christ, we need to fight against the spiritual enemies, against "the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies" (Eph. 6:12). We must defeat and crush the enemies signified by the king of Arad, Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan. We all need to keep in mind that the Canaanites typify the fallen angels, who have become the powers, rulers, and authorities in Satan's kingdom, and that a war is raging between these evil spirits and the church. The typology in Numbers 21 shows us how to fight in this war. The slaughtering of the gate guards in this chapter indicates our need to defeat the evil spirits in the kingdom of Satan. It is helpful to have this view as we now consider 21:1-3, 21-35.
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