Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.
In the scriptures, the number four hundred is associated with the subject of bondage. The children of Israel were in bondage in the land of Egypt for four hundred years before God delivered them with a great deliverance. We will look at many aspects of bondage as we examine the following examples:
The number four hundred is closely associated with the subject of bondage. The first time it appears in the scriptures is in connection with a prophecy God gave to Abram in Gen. 15:13 "And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years." God had made a covenant with Abram to give to his seed the land of Canaan, but before they would be given the land, God told him that they would dwell in Egypt in bondage for four hundred years.
When Stephen made his defense before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin court and the Pharisees, Sadducees, and lawyers he recounted that prophecy: Acts 7:6 "And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years."
For the sake of this essay, we will not recall all of the scriptures in connection with the children of Israel dwelling in Egypt for four hundred years in Egyptian captivity. We will limit our space to just a few that shows forth the manner of that bondage:
1. Ex. 1:8 "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. 9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. 11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses." The Pharaoh who arose and knew not Joseph used subtlety to enslave the children of Israel. Israel had not come down into Egypt as slaves, but were brought into slavery by subtlety. Pharaoh set taskmasters over Israel and afflicted them with burdens and forbid them to leave the land of Egypt.
2. Ex. 1:13 "And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour." The lives of the children of Israel were so bitter because of the hard bondage they were placed under by Pharaoh and his minions. They were made to serve with rigour.
3. When the children of Israel had continued to grow in number, Pharaoh had tried to limit their growth by commanding that all the male children born be cast in the river. It was by this commandment of Pharaoh that God intervened and raised up a savior to eventually deliver the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and destroy Pharaoh and his army. This individual was named Moses.
God appeared unto Moses when he was eighty years old and sent him to deliver the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. God used Moses to send his ten sore judgments upon Egypt culminating in the death of the firstborn of all the houses of Egypt. At the end of the tenth judgment Pharaoh gave the commandment to drive out the children of Israel and then he soon repented and gathered his army together to march after the children of Israel to either destroy them or bring them back into bondage.
At the Red Sea God parted the waters of the Red Sea by a strong east wind and the children of Israel crossed on dry ground. When the Egyptian army under Pharaoh attempted to pursue after the children of Israel, God caused the waters to return and destroy both Pharaoh and his army. This, briefly written, is a summary of the manner in which God delivered the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.
There are parallels in the delivering of the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and God delivering his elect people out of the bondage of sin. Below we note some of these parallels:
1. a. Pharaoh was the king over Egypt and used subtlety to bring the children of Israel into captivity.
b. Pharaoh is also a type of Satan. Satan used subtlety to entice Eve and then used her to bring Adam and his posterity under the bondage of the curse of the law of sin and death.
2. a. Pharaoh made the children of Israel to serve with rigor and made their lives bitter with hard bondage.
b. The elect children of God were completed ensared by the bondage of Satan and the flesh that they were made to serve with rigor the works of the flesh and their lives were bitter with the effects of sin.
3. a. Pharaoh had the children of Israel in a position that they could do nothing to deliver themselves from the bondage they were under.
b. Satan had the elect children of God under the bondage of sin and death and they could do nothing to deliver themselves out from under this bondage.
4. a. Pharaoh was not willing to let the children of Israel go.
b. Satan was not willing to let the elect children of God go.
5. a. God sent Moses so that He might show his power unto Pharaoh and through the hand of Moses deliver the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Pharaoh attempted to kill Moses and all the male children of Israel at the time of his birth.
b. God send his only begotten Son to save his elect people from the bondage of the law of sin and death. Satan through Herod attempted to kill the Lord at his birth and did kill the children under two years of age.
6. a. Pharaoh sought to bring back the children of Israel after agreeing to let them go.
b. Satan had no intentions of letting the children of God go.
7. a. God delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage and destroyed their enemies (Pharaoh and his host) at the same place in the Red Sea.
b. God delivered the elect children of God from the bondage of the curse of the law of sin and death and destroyed their enemies (Satan and sin) at the same place at the cross and in his resurrection.
In the last point above, we read of the deliverance from sin and the destruction of sin and Satan in the following New Testament verses:
1. Heb. 1:3 "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"
2. Heb. 2:14 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
3. Rom. 8:33 "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
4. Heb. 10:11 "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
Abraham's Purchase of a Burial Site
When Sarah died, Abraham purchased form the children of Heth a place to bury Sarah: "Gen. 23:12 "And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. 13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. 14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, 15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. 16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city."
In the process of time, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah were all buried in this possession of a burying site that Abraham purchased for four hundred shekels of silver.
Four hundred is closely associated in the scriptures with the subject of bondage. A part of the bondage that the elect come face to face with is death and the grave. Silver is associated in the scriptures with the subject of redemption. Thus, the deliverance from the bondage of death and the grave is found in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
In the history of humankind, the vast majority of people have never seen anyone delivered from death and the grave. From the viewpoint of what we see with our eyes, no one who goes down into the grave ever returns into the land of the living. This bondage of death and the grave strikes fear in the hearts of men. This fear of death torments the hearts of men (1 John 4:18). Not only does the grave hold its occupants, but also the fear of death subjects the living all of their lifetime to the bondage of death (Heb. 2:15). One only need visit a funeral service to see the fear that many who are present are expressing in their faces.
There is deliverance for the elect children of God both from the bondage of the grave and from the fear of death. Job expressed his belief in the resurrection from the grave: Job 19:23 "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:" Thus, Job believed that the same flesh that the skin worms destroyed would one day see God!
Our deliverance from the bondage of the grave and from the fear of death is found in the covenant work of Jesus Christ. This covenant is stated in Rom. 8:29, 30: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." This covenant promise is such that it overcomes the wages of sin, which is death through the justifying blood of Christ. In addition, this covenant promise delivers us from the bondage of the grave in that we will one day stand glorified before God.
Therefore, through this covenant promise, we have hope that the end of this life is not to lie in the grave forever, but that the very flesh that goes to the grave Christ will resurrect from the grave and present to God in a glorified state. For this promise to be fulfilled Jesus came and delivered us from the curse of the law of sin and death. Heb. 2:14 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
For those who understand this covenant promise death and the grave no longer hold the torment over them that they once had. Their hope in the resurrection is very precious unto them.
Esau's pursuit of Jacob with four hundred men
In Gen. 27 we get a hint of Esau's anger at Jacob because of Jacob's taking away his birthright and his blessing: 36 "And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" In verse 41 we find that Esau purposed to kill Jacob: 41 "And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob."
Because of Esau's purpose to kill Jacob, Rebekah sent Jacob to her brother Laban in Haran: 42 "And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;"
When the time came for Jacob to return to Canaan, Esau came out to meet Jacob with a band of four hundred men: Gen. 32:6 "And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him." Jacob was distressed to hear the news: 7 "Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; 8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape."
Jacob then prayed unto the Lord: 9 "And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. 11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. 12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude." In his prayer, Jacob humbled himself, recounted the promises of God, and laid hold by faith upon those promises.
Four hundred is closely associated with the subject of bondage in the scriptures. This scene is not about the bondage of Jacob and his distress, for in his distress he sought the help of the Lord, who had promised and had all power to deliver. This scene is about the bondage of Esau. Before the twins were ever born God loved Jacob and hated Esau: Rom. 9:10 "And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Esau was not of those that God chose before the foundation of the world and, thus, Esau was not born of the Spirit of God.
The fleshly nature and its depravity are described in the following verses of scripture:
1. Rom. 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes."
2. 2 Pet. 2:12 "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:"
Based on his depraved nature and following the example of his predecessor Cain who slew Abel: 1 John 3:12 "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous," Esau had set about to slay Jacob. The non-elect are in bondage to their own flesh nature and hate the upright and would slay the upright except for the restrictions of society and its vengeance. Esau was in bondage to his flesh nature. Further all of the non-elect and all the elect prior to their spiritual birth are in the same bondage to their depraved flesh nature.
It is only after we are born of the Spirit of God that we are delivered from that bondage: Rom. 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Thanks be to God for that deliverance.
The four hundred young virgins of Jabeshgilead
Judg. 21:12 "And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan."
Four hundred is closely associated with the subject of bondage in the scriptures.
Because of gross wickedness that had been found among the tribe of Dan, the remainder of the children of Israel had war against the tribe of Benjamin. As six hundred men of the children of Benjamin had escaped the destruction of the war, yet they had no wives spared. The children of Israel of the other tribes had sworn that they would not give wives to any of Benjamin. Now it would appear that one tribe would disappear from the twelve tribes of Israel and the children of Israel wept because of the situation.
The children of Israel had made an oath that all would come up to the war: Judg. 21:5 "And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death." It turned out that none of the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead had come up to the war and, therefore, came under the curse of the oath.
All of the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead were under the curse of the oath, yet the four hundred virgins were spared from destruction by the favor of the tribes of Israel. These four hundred were bound to be married to four hundred men that remained of the tribe of Benjamin. These four hundred virgins were under the bond of one oath, yet spared from destruction and placed under the bond of another oath.
This is similar to the elect family of God. All the descendents of Adam were under the curse of the law of sin and death. We were all worthy of being eternally punished in the lake of fire. We were under the curse of one covenant. Yet, through the grace and mercy of God, we were delivered from the curse of the covenant of the law of sin and death by the provisions of another covenant: the covenant of redemption. This principle is stated for us in Rom. 8:2: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Though we have been delivered from the bonds of one covenant, we are now under the bonds of another covenant. Under the covenant of redemption, we have become the bondservants of Jesus Christ: 1 Cor. 6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
The four hundred discontented men who came to David
1 Sam. 22:2 "And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men."
Four hundred is very closely
associated with the subject of bondage in the scriptures.
In any kingdom or nation there will be people who are discontented, or distressed, or in debt. However, these who came to David sought David to be their captain and not Saul. They recognized that David was a far better captain than Saul was. They pledged their allegiance to David and were his servants. David and these men did not rebel against Saul, but continued to fight against the enemies of Israel, even though they were outcasts in their own country and, for a while, exiled into the land of the Philistines.
We all are the servants of some kingdom or nation or group. As the four hundred men who sought after David, those who seek the kingdom of God are choosing to put the service to the Kingdom of God priority over the service to the kingdom or nation or group that they are citizens of naturally. Isaiah recognized this in his own experiences: Is. 6:1 "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." Isaiah knew that Uzziah had been king over Israel for a long time, but now he recognized a greater kingdom when he saw the Lord sitting upon a throne. The Lord is king of this kingdom. This kingdom is higher than the kingdoms of this world. This kingdom is the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no reason for any discontent, distress, or debt in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The four hundred had sought after David as their captain. We should seek after King Jesus as our captain and King. He rules and reigns over us in the Kingdom of God. He is a just King and does good to his servants. We should recognize ourselves as being bondservants to this greater King in this greater Kingdom.