IV. THE CENTRAL THOUGHT
In a general way, we may say that the central thought of the entire Bible is Christ, for the Bible is focused on Christ as the center. But what is the central thought of the book of Numbers? The central thought of Numbers is that Christ is the meaning of life, the testimony, the center of God’s people, and the Leader, the way, and the goal of their journey and fighting.
A. Christ as the Meaning of Life
In Numbers Christ is revealed as the meaning of the life of God’s people. It seems that during the forty years in the wilderness, the two million Israelites were doing nothing. They did not engage in industry, commerce, or farming. But day by day they were busy with one thing—the ark of God’s testimony (Num. 7:89). The ark of the testimony was the center of the tabernacle, which was called the tabernacle of the testimony (1:50, 53). For forty years the Israelites worked for the keeping of the ark with the tabernacle. The ark with the tabernacle was the meaning of their life. If there had not been an ark, the life of the Israelites would not have had any meaning. Both the ark and the tabernacle were called God’s testimony. Since the ark typifies Christ, the meaning of the Israelites’ life was to take care of Christ as the testimony of God.
B. Christ as God’s Testimony
This Christ, who is the meaning of the life of God’s people, is God’s testimony. In the Old Testament, the testimony refers to the law. The two tablets on which the law was inscribed were called the testimony (Exo. 25:21) and were placed in the ark. Because the testimony was put into the ark, the ark was called the ark of the testimony.
A law is always a testimony of the one who made it. In keeping with this principle, the law of God is a testimony of what God is; it tells us what kind of God our God is. The law tells us that God is love and light and that He is holy and righteous. Love, light, holiness, and righteousness are four of the divine attributes. The law, as a portrait of what God is, typifies Christ as the embodiment of God in all His divine attributes. In Christ we see that God is love and light and that He is holy and righteous. Thus, the New Testament tells us that Christ is the embodiment of God (Col. 2:9). For Christ to be the embodiment of God means that He is the portrait of God, and as such He is the testimony of what God is. Because Christ is the testimony of what God is, He is called "the faithful and true Witness" (Rev. 3:14; 1:5). As God’s Witness, Christ bears God’s testimony to show us what kind of God He is.
God’s people should not only take Christ as the meaning of life but also live a life of testifying Christ. When God’s people have this kind of living, Christ becomes their testimony. In Numbers we see Christ as the testimony of God’s people.
(Life-Study of Numbers, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)