The book of Numbers shows that Moses and the children of Israel suffered because of their disobedience, but God did not leave them comfortless as they journeyed for forty years in the wilderness. Their trials brought them to Christ, and the rituals of the tabernacle symbolize Christ’s sacrifice.
“Look and Live,” Glen O. Jenson, Ensign, March 2002
When the Lord sent snakes among the children of Israel, the people recognized their sin and pled with Moses to ask the Lord for deliverance. Rather than simply taking the serpents away, the Lord chose to teach his people about faith and salvation through Christ. Three Book of Mormon prophets used this story to persuade people to repent and believe in Christ.
“‘That I May Dwell among Them’: Liminality and Ritual in the Tabernacle,” Daniel L. Belnap, Ascending the Mountain of the Lord: Temple, Praise, and Worship in the Old Testament, BYU Religious Studies Center
We might see the Tabernacle as a meeting place rather than as a permanent dwelling place of God. The Tabernacle straddles the mortal world and the divine world and thus is a liminal space. Tabernacle rituals involving sacrifice, blood, and oil are symbols of Christ’s sacrifice and atonement.
“The Holy Spirit: Creating, Anointing, and Empowering throughout the Old Testament,” Lynne Hilton Wilson, The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, BYU Religious Studies Center
Many narratives in the Old Testament, including some in Numbers, teach about the role of the Holy Spirit. Moses’s lesson in delegation (Numbers 11) teaches that whoever the Spirit endows in empowered to work for God. Gifts of the Spirit include learning knowledge (Numbers 24:16), faith (Numbers 21:7-9), prophecy (Numbers 1:17), tongues (Numbers 22:28), and discernment of spirits (Numbers 24:2).
“‘I Am That I Am’: Symbols of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament,” Stephen P. Schank, Ensign, December 2018
Old Testament narratives point to Jesus Christ. Moses struck a rock at Horeb and water gushed forth, providing water for the people. When Jesus was crucified, blood issued forth from his body. The atoning blood of Christ is life for us as we follow prophets. The article also discusses narratives of coats of skins given to Adam and Eve, manna for the Israelites, and the brass serpent.
“The Exodus: Israel’s Wanderings in the Wilderness,” Ensign, March 1990
This article shows a map and photographs of places where the children of Israel likely were during the Exodus.