TODAY’S READING: NEHEMIAH 8-10
In my Bible, the heading of Nehemiah 10:1-26 is “The People Who Sealed the Covenant.” It was the princes, Levites, and priests listed in these verses that sealed the covenant the returned exiles made with God. But, we know from the New Testament that Jesus is the man who sealed the covenant with God for us.
So how do we see Jesus in these verses?
In verses 1-8 are listed the priests who sealed the covenant. There are 24 priests listed. The number 24 symbolizes the priesthood.
In 1 Chronicles 24, David instituted 24 courses of priests to serve in the temple. And, this is why Revelation repeatedly mentions the 24 elders around the throne.
Psalm 24 speaks of the king of glory. But, this king of glory ascends the hill of the Lord, stands in the holy place, and enters the temple. These are all priestly activities. So, this king is also a priest. And, Psalm 72 speaks of a king. It lists 24 things that this king does. So, we see a link between the king and priest. This pictures Jesus as he is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, who was both king and priest.
Hebrews 2 says Jesus became like us so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest and make propitiation for our sins. Jesus did this on the cross, where he also sealed the covenant with God for us.
In verses 9-13 are listed the Levites who sealed the covenant. There are 17 Levites listed. The number 17 symbolizes victory.
The first mention of 17, actually the 17th, is in Genesis 7:11, 13, which says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened…On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark.” The next mention of the 17th is at the end of the flood. Genesis 8:4 says, “And in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”
So, the flood starts and Noah’s family enters the ark on the 17th. The flood ends and the ark lands on the mountains of Ararat on the 17th. The ark then represents victory over the flood. When we see the ark as a type of Jesus, seventeen speaks to the victory of Jesus.
Jesus, the Passover lamb, the Lamb of God, was selected according to the law on the 10th day of the month. He was crucified, in complete fulfillment of the law, on the 14th day of the month. But, Jesus rose from the grave, was resurrected, won the victory over Satan, sin, and death, three days later on the 17th day of the month.
So, Jesus’ death on the cross was his victory. And he sealed the covenant there.
In verses 14-27 are listed the chiefs of the people who sealed the covenant. There are 44 chiefs of the people listed. The number 44 symbolizes the chosen son.
While the number 44 is not used in the Bible, uses of names have some interesting connections to the number.
Most importantly, the 44th time the name Jesus is used in the gospel of Luke is found in Luke 9:35-36. It says, “And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!’ And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.”
Jesus is the chosen one, the son of God, that sealed the covenant with God for us.
It’s not always obvious, but for those who dig Jesus can be found in everywhere in the Bible.