Phinehas a Type of Christ?

Phinehas a Type of Christ?

Consider that the actions of Phinehas stop the judgment of God that was breaking out in the Israelite camp. God himself said, “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel” (25:11). In a greater way, the Lord Jesus has turned away God’s wrath by propitiating it. Phinehas administered judgment, but Jesus took the judgment upon himself.

In Numbers 25, the Israelites sin egregiously against the Lord, and a judgment by plague breaks out among the people, killing twenty-four thousand Israelites. The reason for the judgment was the provocation of the Lord’s anger. The Israelites had yoked themselves with the worship of Baal and committed sexual immorality with the daughters of Moab (25:1-3).

The reason the plague stops is the zeal of a man named Phinehas. He was the high priest’s son, and he had special duty at the tabernacle. According to 1 Chronicles 9:20, he was a chief gatekeeper for the tabernacle. Like his father before him (Num. 3:32), he had a guarding responsibility at the tabernacle.

Therefore, the actions of Phinehas in Numbers 25 were not the acts of a vigilante. Amid the sinning Israelites, a Midianite woman and an Israelite man walked toward a tent to engage in immorality together (25:6). Phinehas knew what the couple planned to do, so he pursued them with the zeal of righteous indignation and judgment. They were defiling the region with their abominable act.

Phinehas took a spear and “went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped” (Num. 25:8).

The zeal of Phinehas turned aside Yahweh’s anger. The Lord told Moses, “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy.

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