Divine Symmetry: 110

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Today's post is brought to you by the number 110.

I have posted on this before, but as it was back in the early days when I averaged about 1 hit a fortnight, there's no harm in revisiting it. Anyone who can remember it from the first time round gets extra brownie-points!

Joseph lived 110 years, as did Joshua. I am struck by this symmetry in the Word, between the man who led the people of Israel into Egypt, and the man who led them back into Canaan.

Both Joseph and Joshua are types of Christ. I have already mentioned about the typology of Joseph, but the typology of Joshua is just as strong. Joshua was the conquering commander of God's people who led them in victory after victory to take hold of their inheritance. In fact even his name is identical to Jesus. It is only because Joshua is transliterated directly from the Hebrew Old Testament, and Jesus is transliterated via the Greek of the New Testament that the names are different. In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) Joshua is called Jesus too!

The early church historian Eusebius makes much of this. In a great insight he points out that the two men that Moses had with him in the tent of God's presence, both had their names changed prophetically. Aaron became the high priest, the anointed one; and Hoshea son of Nun, had his name changed to Joshua. Thus in the Greek, these two men with Moses before the Lord were "Christ" and "Jesus"; just one more way the whole testimony of Scripture points forwards to our Lord.

This symmetry then becomes highly significant. Egypt was a time of sorrow and trial for God's people. Yet God wants it to be clear, that the same Lord who led them in would also lead them out! This is something we see repeated many times in Scripture, in particular in the book of Daniel. God does not always spare his people from the time of trial, but he is always with them in it, they only last an allotted time, and he always leads them out stronger than when they went in. The people of Israel went into Egypt as 70 individuals, but emerged as a mighty nation of over half a million!

So apart from this symmetry, is 110 in itself significant as a number? Maybe! I'd like to put forward that 110 is significant, in terms of times of trial for God's people, as being 40 + 70. We see this pattern in the very last chapter of Genesis. In the same passage where we are told that Joseph lived 110 years, we are also told the times of preparation and mourning for Israel (Jacob): 40 days, and 70 days respectively. Just like the flood, this period of 40 days reoccurs in Scripture as a time of preparation and testing; and both 40 years and 70 years represent times of mourning for Israel (the people) as the time in the wilderness, and the exile in Babylon.

By placing these two types of Christ, like book ends, either side of the time of trial in Egypt, and linking them with a number also representative of trials, God is revealing himself as the God who is there for us in every fiery-furnace of life. Trials may come, but God is always faithful. He is always with you, his strength is always available to you. You can and will overcome all that life can throw at you, and in the end, God will lead you out with increased strength to a place of greater blessing. In the 24 years of my walk with the Lord, I can testify this is always true.

Enough of the shadows and types, let us come out into the light, and see what the reality himself has to say on this matter:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (Jn 16:33)


Godzheart said...

Interesting thought...

Matthew said...

Chris, I think 70 is also related to judgment - Moses chose 70 judges, one of the judges (forget which one) had seventy sons who also judged, Jesus sent out 70 (or 72) to demonstrate that the ruler of this age had been judged, God's final judgment on Jerusalem occured in AD70. Add this to 40 - signifying a time of proving...

What about Psalm 110? The most quoted psalm by the NT writers - I know we would be looking at some editorial manipulation in this case, but that surely could be inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Chris HH said...

Matthew, I like it!!
Gideon had seventy sons, and Abdon had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys and judged Israel [I confess, I used a concordance for that one!]

Something else about AD70 I spotted when I prepared the Daniel masterclass: it occurred 40 years after the resurrection. The same period of time for "this generation will not pass away" as "until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone".

I had not thought of Psalm 110, but I really like that too! If such "accidents" of symmetry can be found in God's creation, how much more in the Word which he carefully crafted.

Matthew said...

I agree that the events of AD70 are important both in relation to Daniel's prophecy and Jesus' comments about "this generation will not pass away."

I am not however a preterist (certainly not a full preterist) and I know that you are not either! I believe that AD70 is best seen as "the end of the beginning" of the Church Age!

Chris HH said...

Agreed. The fact that something has already happened does not stop it being prophetic about the future — the whole of the Old Testament shows us this.

The "last days" and "final judgement" on Jerusalem is highly prophetic about the last days and final judgement on the world. Probably why Jesus discusses them both almost without distinction (Mt 24).

I think I would class myself as a "mostly preterist", in that I find the futurist and historicist interpretations so far off beam! (e.g. the temple does not have to be rebuilt again so it can be destroyed to fulfil the prophecies of the end times!) but I do readily accept the multiple layers of prophetic significance that point to events still to come, so certainly not "full-preterist".

Matthew said...

Yes Chris - I mainly wish to dissociate myself from the idea that Christ's parousia (second coming) occured in AD70 which is part of the Full-Preterist position.

(If Anna's reading all these comments she will have a head start at April's SotW lectures!)

Christopher Alton said...

Are you sure you guys have just not had too much coffee?!