Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.
Thirteen – Curse
God made a covenant with the children of Israel and they were to keep the covenant and his commands. He promised them blessings for obedience to his commands and he promised them a curse if they failed to keep his commands. This was to take place in the land of Canaan which God had promised to them for a possession. When the children of Israel passed over Jordan to enter into Canaan land, they would pass between two mountains. They would pass between Mount Gerizim, the mount of blessing, and Mount Ebal, the mount of cursing. Beginning with verse thirteen of Deu. Chapter 27 there were thirteen curses pronounced upon the children of Israel if they failed to keep the commandments of God:
"And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen."
These blessings and curses did not make the children of Israel God's covenant people, but it did affect their daily lives. While we are not under the law service today, yet in the Lord's church kingdom today, there are blessings for obedience to the commandments of God and a curse for taking away or adding to the word of God pronounced in Rev. chapter 22:14
Earlier in this chapter, the curse of the law of sin and death had been removed from God's people (And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him), yet there is still a timely curse for disobedience to the word of God.
Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac were real people and the events recorded for us in the book of Genesis were real events that really happened. Yet in those events another lesson is presented to us. An allegory (from Greek αλλος, allos, "other," and αγορευειν, agoreuein, "to speak in public") is a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than the literal. Thus, there is the literal meaning and then there is the figurative meaning. In the above, the literal meaning is used to represent the two covenants of worship set forth in the scriptures: the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. Hagar represents the covenant of works. Sarah represents the covenant of grace. Ishmael represents the children of the flesh and Isaac represents the children of promise. Ishmael was born of the bondwoman and Isaac was born of the freewoman. Ishmael was a child of the flesh and Isaac was a child of promise.
God made a covenant with Abraham and gave to him the ordinance of circumcision: Gen. 17:10 "This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant."
Ishmael was circumcised when he was thirteen years old. Isaac was circumcised when he was eight days old. Thirteen is associated with the subject of a curse. Eight is associated with the subject of new beginnings. The covenant of works is a curse to the children of the flesh. The covenant of works brings you under the curse of the law as stated in Gal. 3:10, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." This curse brings the worshippers there under into bondage. They are in bondage to the curse of the law and cannot, through their works, deliver themselves out from under its bondage.
The covenant of grace through the new birth brings the children of promise out from under the bondage of the law covenant. When a person is born of the Spirit of God he is at the same time circumcised with the circumcision made without hands and is now able to worship God in Spirit and in truth under the covenant of grace. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made him free from the law of sin and death. The new birth and the spiritual circumcision of the heart is a new beginning for the children of promise.
When Noah and his family came forth from off the ark, God told Noah: Gen. 9:1, "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered." It is plain from this that God intended the descendants of Noah to go forth from the ark and to replenish the earth. They could not replenish the earth by all staying in one place.
Next, we see one of Noah's descendants name Nimrod come on the scene: Gen. 10:8 "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city." From this, we gather that Nimrod was a kingdom builder and a mighty hunter before the Lord. He was a mighty one in the earth. In the descendancy from Adam Nimrod was the thirteenth in the lineage. The number thirteen is associated in the scriptures with a curse.
What Nimrod was doing was in direct rebellion against the commandment of God to Noah and his descendents to go forth and replenish the earth. Nimrod was the first of the Kingdom builders. In Gen. chapter 11, we see the results of Nimrod's kingdom building:
Thus, men were rebelling against God being the king of all the earth, in that they were trying to rule over the children of men. The purpose of building a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven was to make of themselves a name, and to rule over men in an earthly kingdom and to establish their own laws and their own manner of worship and require all men to worship and serve in their prescribed manner. This picture of man's efforts to establish worldwide rule and dominion and to have man-made worship and to force their attempts at worship on all men is found in many places in the scriptures. However, God placed a curse upon men in that he confounded the language of men. Sometimes a curse is a benefit to God's people. Without the curse of confounded languages it would be much easier for Satan and his minions to unite all of mankind under one umbrella and to establish a worldwide kingdom and force all men to worship according to rule of man. All attempts at building a worldwide government including Syria, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persian empire, Greece, and Rome have been in opposition to the humble obedient children of God and to the true worship of God as prescribed by our God in his word. Thanks be to God that he cursed the language of man at Babel.
In the book of Esther, during the days of the reign of King Ahasuerus, the king of the Medes and the Persians, there was a wicked man in the realm of King Ahasuerus who desired to destroy all the Jews that were in the captivity: Est. 3:12 "Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. 13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey."
This wicked Haman hated Mordecai because he refused to bow down and worship him. When he found out that he was a Jew, he conspired to have all the Jews put to death. What Haman did not know was that Esther, the King's wife was also a Jew. Because of the righteous deeds of Mordecai in that he was the cause of saving the King's life, and because Esther the Queen was Mordecai's neice, they were able to turn the mind of the king to reverse the curse that had gone forth and that the enemies of the Jews would be destroyed on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month:
God had told Abraham, "I will bless them that bless thee, and will curse him that curseth thee." Haman thought to bring a curse upon the Jews and the curse was reversed and brought upon Haman, his family, and the enemies of the Jews.
There is a greater reversal of a curse that is taught in the word of God. Man was under the curse of sin and Satan thought to destroy the Lamb of God who came into the world to deliver his people from their sins. Satan thought that by moving the people to crucify Jesus he would forever be rid of Jesus and have rule over all mankind. Yet, we find that God turned the Devil's curse into a blessing for the elect of God. On the cross, Jesus was made to be sin for the elect and thus delivered them from the curse of sin and imputed unto them his righteousness. Also, with his death, burial and resurrection, Christ was not destroyed as the Devil had hoped, but Christ delivered the elect children of God and destroyed the Devil and the enemies of the Lord's people: 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." Thus, the Devil has been destroyed as far as his ability to destroy the elect of God. 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."
In conclusion, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the curse against the Lord's elect has been reversed so that they have been delivered from the curse of sin and the Devil and the enemies of the Lord's people (sins) have been destroyed.