1 And all the congregation [Kol HaEdah] lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people [HaAm] wept that night.
2 And all [Kol] the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] murmured against Moses [Moshe] and against Aaron [Aharon] : and the whole congregation [ Kol HaEdah] said unto them, Would El that [If only] we had died in the land of Egypt! [Eretz Mitzrayim!] or would El we had died in this wilderness! [midbar]
3 And wherefore hath Yahweh brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword [cherev], that our wives [nasheinu] and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? [Mitzrayim?]
Rest from sin and its bondage, that was to be the goal of God's People and the object of their longings; the memory of their sufferings in Egypt should therefore quicken their appreciation of God's saving work and be the inspiration of their obedience...
Law and Grace Ch 6
4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain [Rosh], and let us return into Egypt [Mitzrayim].
The nation being adopted as the kingdom of God, and having received its constitution three days afterwards, which was fifty days from its redemption as Yahweh's first-born of nations; and also having received its religion, and civil laws, as related in Exodus and Leviticus -- all things were prepared for transferring the tribes from the wilderness to the land of Canaan.
Moses had announced to them this consummation while groaning in Egypt. But they hearkened not for anguish of spirit. When, however, they were
"baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,"
they came to believe on the Lord and in him as his servant. But their probation in the wilderness was too much for their faith. They were continually turning back in their hearts to Egypt. The time, however, had now arrived to put this fourth generation to a final test.
Elpis Israel 2.4.
18 Yahweh is longsuffering [slow of anger], and of great mercy [rav chesed], forgiving iniquity and transgression [avon and peysha], and by no means clearing [exonerating] the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers [avon of the avot] upon the children [banim] unto the third and fourth generation.
The apparent contradiction may be manifested thus: if God by no means clears the guilty, how can He be said to forgive any, seeing it is only the guilty that need forgiveness? The answer is to be found in the sense attaching to the word 'guilty' as used in this connection.
It is not in the sense of having committed an offence merely, but in the sense of having done it with guile and without that acceptable repentance towards God, which is the basis of forgiveness and which secured the pardon of David in the most heinous of offences.
Achan may be taken as a type of the guilty that will not be cleared... So Korah, Dathan and Abiram... God will by no means 'clear,' either under Moses or Christ. There is no provision for the remission of presumptuous sin. Even under the law, no sacrifice was to be accepted for such...
But for those who are not presumptuous, but who on the contrary are broken and contrite in heart, and tremble at Yahweh's word, there is forgiveness".
23 Surely they shall not see the land [HaAretz] which I sware unto their fathers [ avot], neither shall any of them that provoked me [treated Me with contempt] see it:
The Law was given in the wilderness. This was in itself a fact of the greatest import. If a man understood (as he was meant to understand) that his wilderness journey was but a parable of his earthly life as a whole then he would come to view the future Rest in Canaan properly, regarding it as but a parable in its turn of the life to come.
How significant in the light of that fact would two outstanding historical events become for him-firstly, the death of the ten spies and their supporters in the wilderness, and secondly, the death of Moses before the entry into the Land.
The ten spies brought back an evil report of the Promised Land.
For Caleb and Joshua the fact that it was the Promised Land was sufficient. What God had promised He was able also to perform and, moreover, would perform.
"Let us go up at once", then, said Caleb, "and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it" (Num. 13: 30).
The people preferred the prospect of returning to Egypt. Caleb and Joshua expostulated with them:
"If Yahweh delight in us,
then he will bring us into this land and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey"
; but the congregation merely "bade stone them with stones". For this God, in His anger, wished to disinherit the entire nation, but Moses successfully interceded, appealing to God to be true to Himself as revealed in the Covenant Name (Exod. 34: 5-7; Num. 14: 17-18), saying,
"Pardon I pray thee the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and according as thou hast forgiven this people from Egypt even until now".
God made a most significant reply to his plea. The people would indeed enter the Land, but not those who had chosen to doubt the divine promise; and, moreover, the intimation was given that the fulfilment of that promise would be but the harbinger of that time of world-wide Rest envisaged in the Covenant to the fathers...
In pointed contrast to this sentence of exclusion, there came next the gracious promise to Caleb...
24 But my servant Caleb [Avdi Kalev], because he had another spirit [ruach acheret] with him, and hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land [HaAretz] whereinto he went; and his seed [zera] shall possess it.
We note the reason for this distinction: he (Caleb) had another spirit in him. How had he shown it? By taking God at His word, saying,
"He will bring us into this land, and give it us".
God Himself would do what they as men were powerless to do; and the Land would become theirs as a gift from Him. There lay the secret of Caleb's blessing - his faith.
He realized the tenancy of the Land to be a gift, not a right; a boon of the first Covenant, not the second. But as for the faithless, their doom was,
"Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers".
Now if this was the principle which held good in the case of the physical and material inheritance, how much more was it valid for the eternal Rest which this foreshadowed. Faith it was, not human merit or prowess, which would bring them to it; and the proof lay in the heavy sentence of exclusion from the earthly inheritance passed upon the unbelieving (cf. Psa. 95: 6-11; Heb. 3: 7-19).
Law and Grace Ch 12
29 Your carcases [corpses] shall fall in this wilderness [midbar]; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number [entire mispar], from 20 years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
20 years old - responsibility and accountability - those guilty of contempt against Yahweh held guilty for their rebellion!
30 Doubtless ye [Not one of you] shall not come into the land [HaAretz], concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun [Kalev ben Yephunneh, and Yehoshua ben Nun].
The fourth generation...
"could not enter in because of unbelief."
Neither can we unless we also believe what they rejected; for the same gospel that was preached to them, was preached by the apostles to the forty-second generation...
...God's rest in Canaan -- by which is not meant that all his saints will be living there, though all that abide there will be a righteous people; the things which belong to Canaan will overspread the world; and where there are nations to be governed there will there be saints to rule -- but this rest, I say, is the great theme of the gospel whether preached by Moses, by Jesus, or by the apostles.
The rest and the kingdom are but different terms, though substantially the same. They will both be of Canaan, and are both the subject of the promise made of God to Abraham and his seed for ever.
Elpis Israel 2.4.
Elpis Israel 1847 (The calling out from Egypt) - Forty years a generation means that current Christadelphians are the 5th generation. It was the 5th generation that entered into the land
(rest prepared for the people of Yahweh) under Joshua.
34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land [ explored HaAretz], even 40 days [arba'im], each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even 40 years [arba'im shanah], and ye shall know my breach of promise [Tenu'a (Opposition).]
35 I Yahweh have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation [Kol HaEdah], that are gathered together against ME: in this wilderness [midbar] they shall be consumed [come to an end], and there they shall die.
Day for a year principle
This principle of the ideal condensation of a great while into a little, is practically exhibited in Numbers xiv. While the twelve tribes of Israel were in the wilderness, they sent twelve spies to search out the land of promise;
"and they returned from searching of the land after forty days."
Now these were literal days, and so would have remained purely and simply, but for an incident which was made the occasion of converting them into typical or symbolical days.
The spies caused the tribes to despise the land, so that they refused to go up and take possession of it. Therefore the Spirit said, they should wander in the wilderness forty years. His words are,
...Here is the day for a year rule plainly indicated. Forty days searching of the land in a faithless spirit, working disobedience in the multitude, made typical of forty years bearing of iniquity, ending in death in the wilderness.