GLEANINGS IN EXODUS VOLUME 2 by A.W. Pink


GLEANINGS IN EXODUS
VOLUME 2
by A.W. Pink
CHAPTER 37
THE MERCY SEAT

EXODUS 25:17-22
The Mercy-seat was a solid sheet or slab of pure gold. Though a separate
and distinct article in itself, it formed the lid of the Ark, being placed
“above upon the Ark”; whose “crown of gold round about” (forming the
top of its sides) would support and prevent it from slipping off. The
Mercy-seat differed from the Ark in that no wood entered into its
composition. There was only one other piece of furniture in the Tabernacle
made solely of gold, namely the candlestick, which was smaller in size and
weight; therefore the Mercy-seat, according to its intrinsic worth, was the
most valuable of all the holy vessels. How this tells us of the preciousness
in the sight of God of that which the Mercy-seat foreshadowed.
The Mercy-seat, or better, the Propitiatory, derived its name from the
blood of propitiation which was sprinkled thereon. It was the same length
and breadth as the Ark, being two and a half by one cubit and a half. At
either end of it was a cherub, not fastened thereto, but beaten out of the
same one piece of gold of which the Mercy-seat was formed. These
symbolic figures had their wings outstretched, thus overshadowing the
Mercy-seat, with their faces looking down upon it. Let us now consider:

1. ITS SIGNIFICANCE.
Concerning the typical meaning of the Mercy-seat there is quite a variety of
interpretations offered to us. Some writers have been turned aside from the
right track by dwelling upon the etymology of the Hebrew word, instead of
seeking a definition from its usage in the Scriptures. Others have caused
confusion through failing to distinguish between the respective
foreshadowings of the brazen altar and the Mercy-seat. The real typical
meaning of the Mercy-seat has been Divinely explained to us in

Romans
3:25, though the Authorized Version partly hides this from view: “Being
justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:.3
whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation (better, a “Propitiatory”)
through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of
sins that are past.” The Greek word here rendered “propitiation” is the
identical one translated “Mercy-seat” in

Hebrews 9:5. Romans 3, then,
declares that in the gospel God presents Christ before us as the antitypical
Mercy-seat.
It were better, because less ambiguous, if we rendered “Kapporeth” (the
Hebrew word) by “Propitiatory” rather than Mercy-seat; the added light
from the New Testament not only justifies, but requires this change. Christ
is the Mercy-seat, but He is so by virtue of the propitiation which He
offered to God. In

1 John 2:2 and 4:10 the Greek (in a different form
from

Romans 3:25) is rightly rendered “propitiation,” for in these verses
the reference is to the Lord Jesus as the Sacrifice which pacifies God’s
offended justice; but the word in

Romans 3:25 is the one which is
always employed in the Septuagint as the equivalent of “Kapporeth,” and is
actually translated “Mercy-seat” in

Hebrews 9:5. The Propitiatory was
not the place where propitiation was made, but instead, the place where its
abiding value was borne witness to before God. It is failure to mark this
distinction which has resulted in so much confusion of thought.
The verb “to propitiate” signifies to appease, to placate, to make
satisfaction. When, then, we read in

Romans 3:25 that Christ is now set
forth a Propitiatory, the evident meaning is that, through the Gospel, God
now bears testimony to His blessed Son as the One by whom He was
propitiated, the One by whom His holy wrath against the sins of His people
was pacified, the One by whom the righteous demands of His law were
satisfied, the One by whom every attribute of Deity was glorified. The type
of Christ as “the propitiation for our sins” is the bleeding victim on the
altar; the type of Christ as God’s resting place or Propitiatory is the Mercy-seat
within the veil. Christ has become God’s rest, in whom He can now
meet poor sinners in all the fullness of His grace because of the propitiation
made by Him on the cross.
The great propitiation which Christ made, and the propitiatory which is the
result of it, were both borne witness to in the ritual of Israel’s annual Day
of Atonement. This is described for us in Leviticus 16. Into the most
interesting and important details of this chapter we cannot here enter; the
one point bearing on our present theme being found in 5:14: “And he shall
take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the.4
Mercy-seat eastward, and before the Mercy-seat shall he sprinkle of the
blood with his finger seven times.” The blood (obtained through the death
of the animal — type of propitiation) told of judgment already visited upon
the innocent substitute; the blood sprinkled on the Propitiatory announced
that God had accepted the victim offered to Him; the blood sprinkled
before the propitiatory secured a standing-ground in God’s presence. Once
was sufficient for the eye of God; seven times grace suffered it to be
sprinkled before the propitiatory, to assure us (who are so slow of heart to
believe) of the perfectness of the standing-ground which Christ has
procured for His people!
2. ITS PURPOSE.
In the Tabernacle there was a table, but no chair for Aaron or any of the
priests to sit on, because their work was never finished, needing constant
repetition — emblematic of the fact that the one great Sacrifice, which
would provide rest and satisfaction, was yet to come. But there was one
seat, the Mercy-seat, reserved for Jehovah Himself, who sat there between
the cherubim. This Mercy-seat, resting upon the Ark, foreshadowed the
grand truth that God would find His rest in that perfect work which His
incarnate Son should perform. The Mercy-seat, then, was God’s throne
here on earth.
“And thou shalt put the Mercy-seat above upon the Ark; and in the
Ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I
will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the
Mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the
Ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in
commandment unto the children of Israel” (vv. 21, 22).
The fact that the Mercy-seat formed God’s throne in the midst of Israel is
referred to in quite a number of Old Testament passages. In

1 Samuel
4:4 we read, “So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from
thence the Ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwelleth between
the cherubim.” In

2 Samuel 6:2 it is said, “And David arose, and went
with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah to bring up
from thence the Ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord
of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubim.” Hezekiah addressed his
prayer to Jehovah as.5
“O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubim”
(

2 Kings 19:15).
The Psalmist cried,
“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a
flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth.”
(

Psalm 80:1).
In

Psalm 99:1 we are told,
“The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: He sitteth between the
cherubiml let the earth be moved.”
But now the question arises, How was it possible for the thrice holy God
to dwell in the midst of a sinful people? The answer is, On the ground of
accepted sacrifice. His throne was a blood-sprinkled one. This is shown us
in

Leviticus 16:14, already quoted. The blood of the sin-offering was
sprinkled upon that Mercy-seat which constituted Jehovah’s throne, and
there that blood was left under His searching eye, as the abiding witness
that the claims of His justice had been met, and that He could righteously
dwell in the midst of a people who had broken His law — righteously,
because their sin had been put away.
Now it is impossible to over-estimate the importance of thoroughly-settled
views of God’s satisfaction in Christ. Many Christians never get beyond the
fact, though a precious fact it is, that Christ’s death has procured and
secured their life; and even this, in the case of many, is not maintained. The
reason for this is that we listen so often to the dictates of our evil hearts of
unbelief, which tell us that self must have a hand in the work of salvation,
must contribute something to it — if not works, then feelings! But the
truth is that God has entirely set aside ourself, and acted for Himself in
saving us. God’s glory, and our salvation are indissoluably linked together.
Accordingly we ought not only to enjoy the assurance of our eternal
security, but also enter into a deeper communion with God’s revealed
thoughts concerning the power of Christ’s blood in relation to His Throne
In Heaven! It is this which the Mercy-seat or Propitiatory particularly and
so blessedly typifies.
The Mercy-seat, which formed God’s throne in Israel, then, directs our
thoughts to the governmental aspect of the Atonement. Not only is it true
that Christ died for sinners, but it is equally true — though in a different.6
sense — that He died for God: He died in the stead of His sinful people,
He died on behalf of the thrice holy God. Christ lived and died to make it
possible for God to take hell-deserving sinners into fellowship with
Himself, and that, consistently with His holiness and justice. He died to
vindicate the character of God before all the intelligences of the universe.
He died that God’s throne might be established:
“justice and judgment are the habitation (or “base”) of Thy throne”
(

Psalm 89:14).
God’s throne is settled in Christ, because all the claims of God’s
righteousness have been settled by Christ. The Antitype of this is most
gloriously brought before us in

Revelation 5:6:
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne… stood a Lamb as
it had been slain”!!
“Whom God hath set forth a Propitiatory through faith in His blood
to declare His righteousness” (

Romans 3:25).
To “declare” here signifies to make manifest, to proclaim and exhibit
publicly. Divine righteousness requires that His law should be obeyed, and
that its penalty should be enforced where its precepts have been broken.
Divine mercy could not be exercised at the expense of justice, The
character of God as the Ruler of the universe was involved. But the Anti-type
of the Mercy-seat sets forth the precious fact that God’s avenging
holiness was fully satisfied by the shedding of the blood of His Son on the
cross. Justice instead of being reduced to the necessity of taking a part
from the bankrupt, has received full payment from the bankrupt’s Surety
and thus his deliverance is guaranteed. Thus Christ by His life of obedience
“magnified the law and made it honorable” (

Isaiah 42:21), and by His
death glorified all the Divine perfections. God’s love, grace, and mercy
were manifested at Calvary as nowhere else; equally so were His holiness,
justice and righteousness. For this reason, then, the Mercy-seat was made
solely of pure gold — the Divine glory displayed. Propitiation has been
made, and God points all to His Son, the Propitiatory, as the proof of it;
just as the Mercy-seat with the blood sprinkled thereon attested that
propitiation had been typically accomplished..7
3. ITS DIMENSIONS.
It is not without good reason, for there is nothing meaningless or even
trivial in God’s Word, that the Holy Spirit has been pleased to give us the
measurements of the Propitiatory. Its length was two and a half cubits and
its breadth one cubit and a half. But nothing is told us of its thickness: does
not this designed omission suggest what is recorded in

Psalm 103:112,
“For as the heaven is high above the earth so great is His mercy
toward them that fear Him”!
What, then, are we to learn from the measurements which are recorded?
This, its length and breadth were precisely the same as those of the Ark.
The dimensions speak clearly of the strict limitations which God has set to
His saving grace. As another has said, “It is all very well to say ‘there’s a
wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea,’ but it is much better
to understand clearly what is signified by the words ‘two cubits and a half
shall be the length, thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.’
God’s mercy is, indeed, wide enough to take in every sinner who contritely
presents himself at the appointed Mercy-seat, but it extends no further than
that. The limits are Divinely established, and are unalterable.”
There are some who count upon the love of God apart from Christ and His
atoning death, which is virtually to devise a Mercy-seat which is wider than
the Ark. But this is a vain delusion. God’s grace reigns
“through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord”
(

Romans 5:21).
No grace can be shown unto any sinner apart from the redemptive blood of
the Lord Jesus. “A just God and a Savior” (

Isaiah 45:21). Saving mercy
is extended to none except those for whom Christ met the demands of
Divine justice. There is much so-called Evangelism today which is
condemned by the strictly defined dimensions of the Mercy-seat! Christ
died not to make possible the salvation of the whole human race, but to
make certain the salvation of God’s elect: He made “propitiation for the
sins of the people” (

Hebrews 2:17. R.V.).
4. ITS ORNAMENTATION.
This was in the form of two cherubs, one on either end of the Mercy-seat,
with wings outstretched over it, thus overshadowing and as it were.8
protecting God’s throne. That there is some profound and important
significance connected with the figures of the cherubim is clear from the
prominent place which they occupy in the Divine description of the Mercy-seat:
if the student will reread

Exodus 25:17-22 he will find that
mention is made of them, either in the single or plural number, no less than
seven times. Much has been written on the subject, but nothing we have
seen is satisfactory.
The first time the “cherubim” are mentioned in Scripture is in

Genesis
3:24, where they are viewed guarding the way to the tree of life, the
“flaming sword,” seen in connection with them suggesting that they are
associated with the administration of God’s judicial authority. In

Revelation 4:6-8 (compare

Ezekiel 1:5-10) we find them related to
the throne of God.

Revelation 5:11-14 indicates that the cherubim are
the highest among the angelic order of creatures. In the Psalms and in
Ezekiel the cherubim come before us in connection with judicial acts, with
Divine interference in judgment, and this gives a striking significance to
their place here on the Mercy-seat: God’s righteousness, nay, His wrath
against sin, is seen to be of one piece with His mercy! God’s attributes do
not conflict: light and love are but two sides of His nature!
On the Mercy-seat the two cherubim stood facing each other, attracted by
a common object, heads bowed as in adoration. Their number speaks of
competent witness. The subject is too vast for us to even outline here, but
there is more than one hint in Scripture that the redemption of the Church
is an object lesson unto the angels.

1 Corinthians 4:9 declares that the
suffering apostles were “made a spectacle (theater) unto angels.”

Ephesians 3:10 tells us that “the manifold wisdom of God is now being
made known by (through) the Church unto the principalities and powers in
the heavenlies.”

1 Peter 1:11, 12 announces that the sufferings of Christ
and His glories which were to follow are “things which the angels desire to
look into.” We take it, then, that the figures of the two cherubim, with their
bowed heads over the Mercy-seat, denote the interest of the angelic
hierarchies in the unfolding of God’s redemptive purpose.
5. ITS BLESSEDNESS.
First, this comes out in the fact that the Mercy-seat completely hid from
view the tables of stone which were kept in the Ark. As the cherubim stood
there with their faces downward, they saw not those holy statutes which.9
condemned their transgressors; instead, they gazed on that which spoke of
the glory of God — Deity magnified by sacrifice. There was blood between
the law and its Administrator and His executors!
Suppose an Ark with no Mercy-seat: the Law would then be uncovered:
there would be nothing to hush its thunderings, nothing to arrest the
execution of its righteous sentence. The law expresses God’s
righteousness, and demands the death of its violator:
“Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are
written in the book of the Law to do them” (

Galatians 3:10).
Such is the inevitable judgment pronounced on all sinners by the inexorable
sentence of the law. The only man who could stand before God on the
basis of having kept that law was the Man Christ Jesus. He could have
been justified by it, enthroned upon it, and from it have pronounced
sentence of just doom on all of Adam’s guilty race. But He did not do so.
No; blessed be His name, instead of coming to earth as the Executioner of
the law, He bared His holy bosom to its righteous sword. The same heart
which held the law unbroken (

Psalm 40:8) received the penalty which
was due His people for having broken it. The storm of wrath having spent
itself upon Him, the law can no longer touch those who have fled to Him
for refuge. It is of this that the blood-sprinkled Mercy-seat, covering the
tables of stone within the Ark, so blessedly speaks.
A nation of transgressors could never stand before the naked law. An
uncovered Ark furnishes naught but a throne of judgment. This supplies
the key to a passage in the Old Testament that has puzzled many. When the
Philistines sent back the Ark, which Jehovah had suffered to fall into their
hands, we are told,
“And He smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked
into the Ark of the Lord, even He smote of the people fifty
thousand and three score and ten men: and the people lamented,
because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a gross
slaughter. And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand
before this holy Lord God?” (

1 Samuel 6:19-20).
The sin which God here punished so severely was Israel’s daring to
uncover what God had covered. In order to “look into the Ark” the Mercy-seat
had to be removed, and in removing it they exposed the Law, and thus
severed mercy from judgment, the result of which must ever be, death for.10
the guilty. The thrice holy God can only meet the guilty, polluted sinner, in
Him by whom “righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (

Psalm
85:9). No man can draw near unto the Father but by Him.
Second, the Mercy-seat was the place where Jehovah met the sinner in the
person of His representative:
“And he (Aaron) shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle
it with his finger upon the Mercy-seat eastward; and before the
Mercy-seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven
times” (

Leviticus 16:14).
This tells us that Christ is the one appointed Meeting-place between God
and His people, the place where-He meets with them not in judgment but
in grace. But be it remembered that the typical Mercy-seat was in the holy
of holies, hidden from the view of the sinner who desired to approach God.
So it is with the Antitype: God’s throne of grace is not visible to the eye of
sense; it can be approached only by faith. Hence the exhortation of
Hebrews 10,
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by
the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath newly-made
for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having
an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true
heart in full assurance of faith” (vv.

19-22).
Third, the Mercy-seat is the place of communion: “And there I will meet
with thee, and I will commune with Thee from above the Mercy-seat, from
between the two cherubim, which are upon the Ark of the testimony”
(

Exodus 25:22). A beautiful example of this is furnished in

Numbers
7:89:
“And when Moses was gone into the Tabernacle of the
congregation to speak with Him, then he heard the voice of One
speaking unto him from off the Mercy-seat that was upon the Ark
of testimony, from between the two cherubim: and he spake unto
Him.”
Precious indeed is this. It is in the Lord Jesus that Christians have been
brought into this place of inestimable blessing. Not only have we been
brought nigh to God, but we are permitted to speak to Him and hear Him
speaking to us. Having been reconciled to God by the death of His Son, He.11
now says “I will commune with thee.” Wondrous grace is this! O that our
hearts may enter into and enjoy this blessed privilege. Then “Let us come
boldly unto the throne of grace.” There is nothing between: no sin, no
guilt; and the veil has been rent. We may worship in the Holy of Holies!
Then “let us draw near in full assurance of faith.”.12
CHAPTER 38
THE TABLE

EXODUS 25:23-30
Having described the contents of the innermost chamber of the Tabernacle,
the Holy Spirit now conducts us into the Holy-place. In the former the high
priest ministered on the annual day of atonement, in the latter the Levites
served daily. In this second chamber stood three pieces of furniture: the
table, the candlestick, and the altar of incense. The order in which these are
brought before us in the sacred narrative is most suggestive, and the very
reverse of what would have occurred to us. We had surely put the golden
altar of incense first, then the seven-branched candlestick, and last, the
table. But God’s thoughts and ways are ever the opposite of ours. When
we see what the table stood for, perhaps we shall the better appreciate the
Divine arrangement.
As it was in the innermost shrine, so it is in the holy place — nought but
gold met the eye of him who had entered: it was therefore a scene
displaying the Divine glory. Silence reigned in the sacred apartment. No
prayers were offered, no songs of praise were sung. The voice of man was
still, but the voice of the golden vessels therein mutely, yet eloquently,
spoke of Christ; for the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines
“in the face of Jesus Christ” (

2 Corinthians 4:6). None but the priestly
family ever penetrated this sacred precinct, telling us that only those who,
by wondrous grace, are “an holy priesthood,” those who by sovereign
mercy are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (

1 Peter 2:5, 9),
can enter into the spiritual significance of its symbolic contents. Coming
now to the Table, let us consider: —
1. ITS MEANING.
In seeking to ascertain the spiritual purport of the Table the first thing
which arrests our attention in the Divine description of it is the word “also”
in

Exodus 25:23 — found only once more in connection with the holy
vessels and furnishings of the Tabernacle, see

30:15. The “also” at the.13
beginning of our present passage suggests a close link of connection with
what has gone before. In the preceding verse we read, “And there will I
meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the Mercy-seat,”
and then following right after this, “Thou shalt also make a Table.” Thus
God has graciously hung the key right over the entrance, and told us that
the Table has to do with communion. This is in full accord with other
scriptures where the “table” is mentioned.
A lovely picture of that blessedness of which the “table” speaks is found in
2 Samuel 9. There we find David asking
“Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show
him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (v. 1).
A beautiful illustration is this of the wondrous grace of God, showing
kindness to those who belong to the house of His enemies, and that for the
sake of His Beloved One. There was one, even Mephibosheth, lame on his
feet; him David “sent and fetched” unto himself. And then to show that he
was fully reconciled to this descendant of his arch-enemy, David said,
“Mephibosheth shall eat bread always at my table” (v. 10); showing that he
had been brought into the place of most intimate fellowship.
In 1 Corinthians 10 we are also taught that the “table” is inseparably
connected with communion:
“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they
sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I would not that you
should have fellowship with demons. Ye cannot drink the cup of
the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot be partakers of the
Lord’s table, and of the table of demons” (vv. 20, 21).
The “Lord’s table” is the symbol of fellowship with Christ, in separation
from all that owns not His authority and denies His claims and rights.
Returning now to the “also” with which our passage opens and noting its
relation to the immediate context, we learn that the blood-sprinkled Mercy-seat
speaks of Christ as the basis of our fellowship with God, while the
Table points to Christ as the substance of that fellowship. What we have
here is the person of Christ as the Food of God and the One in whom He
has communion with His people. The Table sets forth Jehovah’s feast of
love for His saints and for Himself in fellowship with them. This will be still.14
more evident when we ponder the Contents of the Table, meanwhile let us
turn to: —
2. ITS COMPOSITION.
Like the Ark, the table was made of shittim wood (v. 23), overlaid with
pure gold. Both typified the union of Deity and humanity in the person of
Christ. It is indeed striking to observe, and important to note, the several
points of oneness between the ark and the table. They were both of the
same height — the only pieces of furniture that were so. They were both
ornamented with a crown of gold. They were both provided with rings and
staves. They both had something placed upon them: the one, the Mercy-seat;
the other, the twelve cakes of bread. These points of likeness
emphasize the truth that it is the person of the God-man which is the basis
of all communion with God.
“The natural suggestion of a “table” is a place for food, and the
food upon it. ‘Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
mine enemies’ (

Psalm 23:5). We will find this thought of food
linked with our Lord’s person in the sixth chapter of John: ‘Verily,
verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven;
but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread
of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto
the world’ (

John 6:32, 33). The One who ‘came down from
heaven’ reminds us of the deity of our Lord; this is the gold.
“‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man
eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give
is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews
therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give
us His flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say
unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His
blood, ye have no life in you.’ (

John 6:51, 52). Evidently our
Lord here is speaking of His death. But His death presupposes His
incarnation. He must become man that He may die. We have in this
way the twofold truth of our Lord’s deity and His humanity linked
together, and put before us in this chapter, where He is presented
as the Bread of life. We have thus the gold and the acacia wood
which form the table” (Mr. S. Ridout).
Let us turn next to: —.15
3. ITS DIMENSIONS.
“Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be
the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a
half the height thereof” (

Exodus 25:23).
Thus the Table was the same height as the Ark, though it fell short of its
length and breadth. This intimates that though our communion with God
rises to the level of our apprehension of the two natures in the person of
His beloved Son, yet there is a breadth or fullness of perfection in Him
which we fail to realize and enjoy. The length of the Table was two cubits,
which supplies an additional hint to the meaning of this piece of furniture,
for one of the significations of two is that of communion — “How can two
walk together except they be agreed?” (

Amos 3:3). In breadth the Table
was one cubit, which speaks of unity, for there can be no fellowship where
there is discord.
4. ITS CONTENTS.
“And thou shalt set upon the table shew-bread before Me alway” (v. 30).
This shewbread consisted of twelve loaves or cakes, made of fine flour;
baked, and placed in two rows upon the Table, on which was sprinkled
pure frankincense for a memorial. Here they remained before the Lord for
seven days, when they were removed and eaten by Aaron and his sons, in
the holy place — see

Leviticus 24:5-9.
There is much difference of opinion as to the precise typical purport of
these twelve loaves. One class of commentators see in them a figure of the
twelve tribes of Israel presented before the Lord, but these offer no
satisfactory interpretation of this bread being eaten afterwards by the
priestly family. Others see in the loaves a foreshadowing of Christ as the
Food of God and His children. but they are far from clear as to why there
should be twelve loaves and why these were placed in two rows of six.
Personally we believe there is a measure of truth in each view, but great
care needs to be taken in seeking accurate expression.
It is clear that the thoughts suggested by the Table and by the bread placed
upon it are intimately related, for later on we find the Table taking its name
from the loaves thereon: in

Numbers 4:7 it is called the “Table of Shew-bread.”
But though they are closely connected

Hebrews 9:2 teaches us
they have a distinctive significance and are to be considered separately. A.16
close parallel to this is found in

1 Corinthians 10:21 and 11:20: in the
former we read of “the Lord’s table” (v. 21), in the latter of “the Lord’s
supper” (v. 20): the one speaking of the character of our fellowship, the
other of what forms the substance of our fellowship. This, we believe,
supplies the key to the distinction in our type: the Table pointing to the
person of Christ as the Sustainer of fellowship between God and His saints,
the bread directing our thoughts to Christ as the substance of it.
The bread on the Table points first, as does everything in the Tabernacle,
to Christ Himself. The name by which it is called clearly indicates this —
“shew-bread” is, literally, “bread of faces,” faces being put by a figure for
presence — pointing to the Divine presence in which the bread stood:
“shewbread before Me alway.” The fact that the bread was before the face
of God always, told of its acceptableness to Him, and foreshadowed the
person of Christ as the One in whom the Father has ever found His delight.
In

Leviticus 24:5 the bread on the Table is described as “twelve cakes,”
and Young’s Concordance gives as the meaning of challoth “perforated”
cakes. How solemnly significant! This bread which spoke of Christ had
been pierced! The fine flour in the form of cakes, which had therefore been
baked, points to the Lord Jesus as having been exposed to the fires of
God’s holy wrath, when on the cross He was made sin for His people.
But why twelve pierced cakes? Clearly this number has specially to do with
Israel and suggests the different tribes being here represented before God.
But representation implies a representative, and it is at this point that so
many have missed the lesson. That which is here so blessedly symbolized is
the Lord Jesus identifying Himself with God’s covenant people. There is a
striking passage in the New Testament which brings out — under this
figure of bread — the identification of the Lord with His people and they
with Him.
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the
blood of Christ? The bread which we brake, is it not the
communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one
bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread”
(

1 Corinthians 10:16, 17).
The twelve loaves then speak of Christ in immediate connection with His
people..17
“The marvellous fact that Jehovah condescends to receive into
fellowship with himself the people of His choice, is mirrored on
every feature of the Tabernacle ritual. They were always before
Him on the priestly mitre, breastplate, and shoulder-stones, and on
the shewbread table. And surely this Old Testament symbolism
finds its prophetic complement in New Testament fact, for by its
revelation believers are said to be presented faultless in the
presence of His glory, unreproveable and unrebukable in His sight

Colossians 1:22” (Mr. G. Needham).
The cakes were all of the same quality, size and weight, showing that the
smallest tribe was represented equally with the greatest. In spreading them
out in two rows, instead of piling them up in a heap, each one would be
seen equally as much as another. Our acceptance in Christ and our
representation by Him admits of no degrees. All of God’s covenant people
have an equal standing before Him, and an equal nearness to Him.
The cakes were made of “fine flour” (

Leviticus 25:5) in which was no
grit or unevenness, foreshadowing the moral perfections of the Word as He
tabernacled among men. “Pure frankinscence” was placed upon them,
emblematic of the active graces of Christ, and assuring us that those who
are in Christ are ever before God according to the value and fragrance of
His blessed Son. Every Sabbath these cakes were renewed, so that they
were “before the Lord continually” (

Leviticus 24:8); never was the
Table un-supplied.
“The loaves being placed on the Table every Sabbath day may
accord with the fact that it was when the spiritual sabbath, the rest
for our souls, obtained by Christ’s atonement, was gained, that He
took His place in the presence of God for us” (Mr. C. H. Bright).
Each cake contained two “tenth deals” or omers of flour (

Leviticus
24:5). This is indeed precious. A double portion is the thought suggested
(contrast

Exodus 16:16, 36), foreshadowing the truth that Christ is the
Food or delight of both God and His people. In

Leviticus 21:21 it is
expressly called “The bread of his (the priest’s) God.
“And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons; and they shall eat it in the
holy place” (

Leviticus 25:9).
This bread which had been before Jehovah seven days, was now enjoyed by
the priestly family. It speaks of Christ as the One who delights both the.18
heart of the Father and His beloved people. “Eating” indicates
identification and communion with what we feed upon: compare again 1
Corinthians 10: 16, 17. The twelve cakes on the Table speak of Christ
identified with His covenant people — not simply Israel after the flesh, for
note “everlasting covenant” in

Leviticus 24:8; the cakes eaten by the
priestly family, His people identifying themselves (by faith’s appropriation)
with Christ! But this eating must be in “the holy place”: we can only really
feed upon Christ as we are in communion with God. The eating of the
twelve cakes on “the Sabbath day” prophetically hints at the literal Israel’s
appropriation of Christ in the great dispensational Sabbath, the millennium.
5. ITS ORNAMENTATION.
“And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a
crown of gold round about. And thou shalt make unto it a border
of an hand-breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden
crown to the border thereof round about” (vv. 24, 25).
The “crown” speaks of Christ glorified — “a crown of glory” (

1 Peter
5:4) — now at the right hand of God for us, “crowned with glory and
honor” (

Hebrews 2:9). The crowned border on the top of the Table was
for the purpose of protection, guarding whatever was placed upon it. The
bread was not removed from the Table even when Israel was on the march
(

Numbers 4:7), and the raised border would hold the cakes in place,
preventing them from slipping off. This tells of the absolute security of that
people with whom the incarnate Son has identified Himself.
First, the Table itself was encircled with “a crown of gold” (v. 24).
“It is ‘the glory of His grace’ (

Ephesians 1:6) that is suggested
by the loaves of bread held in their place by the crown. It is a
glorified Christ who maintains His own, according to all that He is”
(S. Ridout).
Beautifully is this brought out here in the measurement that is given “a
border of an handbreadth round about,” which is the more striking because
all the other dimensions in the Tabernacle are cubits or half cubits. How
blessedly does this border of the handbreadth round about point to that
which guarantees the eternal preservation of all Christ’s redeemed:
“Neither shall any pluck them out of My hand” (

John 10:28)!.19
Everything here about the ornamentation speaks of the security of the
cakes and of those whom they typified. The Hebrew word “border” means
“enclosing,” and in

2 Samuel 22:46 it is rendered “close places.” Again,
observe that this border of an hand-breadth was, in turn, protected by “a
golden crown” (v. 25). This announces that the very glory of God is
concerned in the preservation of His people: His honor is at stake: — “He
leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (

Psalm
23:3). How often Moses fell back upon this: see

Exodus 32:11-13;

Numbers 14:13-19, etc.!
The same thought is emphasised and reiterated by the second “crown,” for
the “border” had one as well as the Table — vv. 24, 25.
“Again we are confronted with the precious grace that each
believer, all believers, are secured by God. The highest revealed
blessings are theirs, and these cannot be alienated, nor the believer
removed from the position given him. Christ, the Table, maintains
him before God; Christ, the border, secures him there. The border
too has a crown as well as the Table. There is a certain glory
attaching to our maintenance, and further a glory attaching to our
security. If a believer could be lost, if anything could impair his
security, if the border could be damaged, the crown must share it,
and the very glory of Christ be sullied. Impossible! ‘Neither shall
any pluck them out of my hand’ (

John 10:28).”
(Foreshadowments by E. C. Pressland).
There is one other detail which perhaps fails under this present division of
our subject. In v. 29 we read, “and thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and
spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of
pure gold shalt thou make them” (v. 29). The “dishes” would no doubt be
used when the bread was removed from the Table and eaten by the priestly
family. The “spoons” and the “cover” would be employed in connection
with the frankinscence. The “bowls thereof to cover withal” should be
rendered “the cups to pour out withal” — see margin of Authorized
Version. These “cups” were used in connection with the “drink offerings”
which were poured out before the Lord “in the holy place” (

Numbers
28:7). The “drink-offerings” expressed thanksgiving. The fact that the
“cups,” used in connection with the drink-offerings, were placed upon the
Table, tells us that communion is the basis of thanksgiving!.20
6. ITS RINGS AND STAVES.
These are described in

Exodus 25:26-28 and tell of provision made for
journeying.
“The children of Israel were pilgrims in the wilderness and hence
the Tabernacle and all its furniture were made for them in this
character, and accompanied them in all their wanderings” (Mr. E.
Dennett).
Thus the particular detail in the type now before us speaks of the provision
which God has made for His people in Christ while they pass through this
world. That provision is feeding upon Christ Himself in communion with
God. Wherever Jehovah led the Hebrews, His Table accompanied them!
So wherever the Christian’s lot may be cast, even though it be for years in
jail like Bunyan, there is ever a precious Christ to feed upon and commune
with!
7. ITS COVERINGS.
These are described in

Numbers 4:7, 8. They were three in number.
First a cloth of blue draped the Table, its bread and its utensils; over this
was spread a cloth of scarlet, and on the outside of all was cast a covering
of badger’s skins. These were only used while Israel was on the march.
The Table standing in the holy place speaks of Christ now on high as
God’s bread and ours. The Table accompanying Israel in their journeyings,
with its threefold covering, reminds us of the varied perfections manifested
by Christ as He passed through this wilderness scene, the contemplation of
which is an essential part of our food.
First, came the cloth of blue, which points to Christ as the Bread from
Heaven. Seven times over in John 6 did our Lord thus announce Himself.
If Christ be not recognized and enjoyed as wholly above and beyond all
that this earth can yield, there will be no true devotion nor any scriptural
testimony to Him. But let Him be known as the heavenly portion of the
soul and these are secured. It is most significant to note that this first
covering was seen only by the eyes of the priestly family.
Second, came the cloth of scarlet. According to its scriptural usage
“scarlet” is the emblem of earthly glory, as may be seen by a reference to
its various occurrences. This color was so called because it was obtained
from a worm, in fact was named after it, the same Hebrew word being.21
variously translated “scarlet” or “worm” as the connection requires. There
is something most appropriate in this, for truly the glory of man is thai: of a
perishing worm. How then are these two thoughts, so dissimilar, to be
combined, in connection with Christ? Does not

Psalm 22:6 — the
cross-Psalm — tell us? There we find the Savior saying “I am a worm
(same word as “scarlet”) and no man.” Thus the “scarlet” reminds us of the
glory of the cross (

Galatians 6:14). The Lord Jesus, by becoming a
“worm,” by His cross brought forth the true glory. Another glory shall be
manifested by Him (

Colossians 3:3) when He returns to the earth. This
second covering also was seen only by the priests!
Third, the external covering was one of badgers’ skins, and met the eyes
of all as the Table was borne through the wilderness. This typified our
Lord’s humiliation. This covering was provided to protect the Table and its
inner coverings from the defiling dust and atmosphere of the wilderness.
We are thus reminded not only of the unattractiveness to men’s eyes of the
servant-form which our Savior took, but also of His personal holiness,
repelling all the unholy influences of this defiling world. No speck or stain
ever fouled the Holy One of God — He touched the leper without being
polluted; nothing of earth could in anywise tarnish His ineffable glory.
It is thus that the Spirit of God would have the saints contemplate Him
who is their appointed Food: as the One who is heavenly in His nature and
character, as the One who came down to this earth and glorified Himself
and the Father by His obedience unto death, and as the One who through
His holy vigilance repelled all evil and kept Himself from the path of the
Destroyer. Thus contemplated our meditation of Him will be “sweet.”.22
CHAPTER 39
THE LAMPSTAND

EXODUS 25:31-40
The particular piece of the Tabernacle’s furniture which is now to engage
our attention, is, in our English Bibles termed the “Candlestick,” but we
believe that this is a very faulty rendition of the Hebrew word. Why term it
a “Candlestick” when no candles were burned thereon? It strikes the writer
that such a translation is a relic of Romish perversion. “M’nourah” means
“lightbearer” or “lampstand,” and thus we shall refer to it throughout this
article. The fact that it had “seven lamps” (

Exodus 25:25, 37) and that
these were fed with “oil” (

Leviticus 24:2, 4) is more than sufficient to
warrant this correction.
The Lampstand was in the Holy Place. This was the chamber entered by
none save the priestly family, and was the place where these favored
servants of Jehovah ministered before Him. It was therefore the place of
communion. In keeping with this, each of the three vessels that stood
therein spoke of fellowship. The Table, with its twelve loaves, pointed to
Christ as the Substance of our fellowship, the One on whom we feed. The
Lampstand foreshadowed Christ as the power for fellowship, as supplying
the light necessary to it. The Incense-altar, prefigured Christ as maintaining
our fellowship, by His intercession securing our continued acceptance
before the Father.
The fact that the Lampstand stood within the Holy Place at once shows us
that it is not Christ as “the Light of the world” which is typified. It is
strange that some of the commentators have erred here. The words of
Christ on this point were clear enough: “As long as I am in the world, I am
the Light of the world” (

John 9:5) — then only was He manifested here
as such. So again in

John 12:35, 36 He said to the people,
“Yet a little while is the Light with you…. while ye have light,
believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.”.23
But they loved darkness rather than light. The world rejected the Light,
and so far as they were concerned extinguished it. Since He was put to
death by wicked hands, the world has never again gazed on the Light. He is
now hidden from their eyes.
But He who was put to death by the world, rose again, and then ascended
on High. It is there in the Holy Place, in God’s presence, the Light now
dwells. And while there — O marvellous privilege — the saints have
access to Him. For them the veil is rent, and thus the Holy Place and the
Holy of Holies are no longer two separate compartments, but one; and, the
substance of all that was shadowed forth by the sacred vessels in each is
now the wondrous portion of those who, by grace, are
“built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual
sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (

1 Peter 2:5).
Black shadows rest upon the world which has cast out the Light of Life:
“the way of the wicked is as darkness” (

Proverbs 4:19). It is now night-time
because the “Dayspring from on High” is absent. The Lampstand tells
of the gracious provision which God has made for His own beloved people
during the interval of darkness, before the Sun of righteousness shall rise
once more and usher in for this earth that morning without clouds. The
Lampstand is for the night season! Therefore the illuminating Lampstand
speaks of Christ neither in the days of His first advent nor of the time of
His second advent, but of the interval between, when those who have
access into the true sanctuary walk in the light as He is in the light (

1
John 1:7). Let us now consider: —
1. ITS COMPOSITION.
“And thou shalt make a Lampstand of pure gold: of beaten work
shall the lamp-stand be made” (v. 31).
Unlike the ark and the table of shewbread, no wood entered into the
composition of the Lamp-stand. It was of solid gold. But there is one word
here which has been overlooked by almost all the commentators, and by
losing sight of it their interpretations have quite missed the mark. The
Lampstand, though made of pure gold, was “of beaten work,” that is to
say, the talent of gold from which it was made was wrought upon by the
hammers of skilled workmen until it was shaped into a beautiful and
symmetrical form. Only by Divinely-given wisdom could they evolve from.24
a solid talent of gold this richly ornamented vessel with base, shaft and
branches, in consistent proportions (

Exodus 31:6).
What is before us now in our present type is the more noteworthy in that
the Lampstand was the only vessel or portion of the Tabernacle which was
made of “beaten work.” It is in striking contrast from the “golden calf”
which Aaron made, for that was cast in a mould (

Exodus 32:4). What is
idolatrous or according to man’s mind, can be quickly and easily cast into
shape; but that which has most of all glorified God and secured the
redemption of His people was wrought at great cost. Clearly, the “beaten
gold” here speaks of a suffering Christ glorified, glorified as the reward of
His perfect but painful Work.
That the “pure gold” speaks of the divine side of things is obvious, for the
One that is here prefigured was none other than the God-man. It was His
deity which sustained His humanity. Had Christ been merely a creature He
had completely succumbed to the storm of Judgment which burst upon
Him. It was His deity which enabled Him to suffer within the compass of a
brief span what otherwise would have been the eternal portion of all His
people. But after all, the primary thought in the “gold” is glory as

Hebrews 9:5 teaches us, and the beaten gold plainly foreshadowed the
glorification of Him who was beaten with many stripes on our behalf.
“Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it” (v. 39). This would be worth
more than five thousand pounds, upwards of twenty-five thousand dollars.
A “talent” was one hundred and twenty lbs., so that sufficient gold was
provided to ensure the Lampstand being of a goodly size. Most probably it
stood higher than the Table or the Incense-altar, for by its light the priests
were enabled to attend to the one and minister at the other. Thus was
foreshadowed not only the preciousness of the person of our Redeemer,
but also His sufficiency to make manifest the perfections of the Godhead.
2. ITS CONSTRUCTION.
The pattern of the Lampstand is described in

Exodus 25:31-36. It
consisted of one central stem, with three lateral branches springing from
either side. Each branch was adorned with knops, flowers and bowls. The
“knops” seem to have been buds, probably of the almond; the “bowls”
were for holding the oil which fed the lights. Upon the end of each branch
was the bowl or lamp. All was of one piece, beaten out by workmen
endowed with divine skill..25
The seven lamps while an intrinsic part of the Lampstand itself, may also be
contemplated separately. This seems clear from the fact that in

Numbers
8:2 we read,
“When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over
against the Lampstand.”
The accuracy of the type here is most impressive. The sevenfold radiance
of the Lampstand speaks of Christ as the “brightness of God’s glory”
(

Hebrews 1:3). It tells of His perfections as the Light. It is worthy of
note that when the white light is broken into its varied parts we have just
seven colors, as seen in the rainbow. But it is equally clear that the seven
“lamps” also symbolize the Holy Spirit in the plenitude of His power and
perfections — the “seven Spirits which are before His throne”
(

Revelation 1:4). That the type appears to overlap at this point, or
rather, has a double application, only shows its marvellous and minute
accuracy, for in His ministry toward and in believers, the Spirit works as
“the Spirit of Christ” (

Romans 8:9;

1 Peter 1:11).
The fact that the seven lamps were supported by the Lampstand
foreshadowed the fact that the Spirit. given to us, has come from our
glorified Redeemer. There are several scriptures which prove this. The
Lord Jesus said to His apostles,
“When the Comforter is come, whom I will send from the Father”
(

John 15:26).
On the day of Pentecost, when explaining the outpouring of the Spirit’s
gifts, Peter distinctly attributed them to the ascended Christ:
“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having
received of the Father the promise of the Spirit He hath shed forth
this, which ye now see and hear” (

Acts 2:36).
So also in

Revelation 3:1 Christ is spoken of as “He that hath the seven
Spirits of God.”
3. ITS ORNAMENTATION.
“And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches
of the Lampstand out of the one side, and three branches of the
Lampstand out of the other side: Three bowls made like unto.26
almonds, a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made
like almonds in the other branch, a knop and a flower; so in the six
branches that come out of the Lampstand.” (vv. 32, 33).
Mr. S. Ridout has offered an illuminating suggestion that the “knop” might
portray the rounded unopened bud, so that the central stem and each of its
branches would be ornamented with that which set forth the, three stages
of the almond — the bud, the flower and the ripened fruit. He has also
pointed out how that this suggestion receives confirmation in what is
recorded of Aaron’s rod in Numbers 17: “Behold, the rod of Aaron for the
house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and blossomed
blossoms and yielded almonds” (v. 8). Thus the three stages of life were
also seen on the branches of the Lampstand — bud, flower, fruit.
The prominence of the “almond” on the Lampstand supplies an important
key to its interpretation. It corresponds closely, though it is not exactly
parallel in thought with what is foreshadowed in the “acacia (shittim)
wood” in the other vessels. The “wood” speaks of the incorruptible
humanity of Christ. The “almond” is the emblem of resurrection, here the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus, which, of course, presupposes His
incarnation. It is not so much the holiness of His humanity which is here
foreshadowed, as it is the glory of the Risen One — the “almonds of gold”!
The “almond” is the first of all trees in Palestine to bud, manifesting the
new life of spring as early as January. The Hebrew word for “almond”
means “vigilent,” and is used with this significance in

Jeremiah 1:11, 12:
“And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. And Jehovah said unto
me, Thou hast well seen; for I am watchful over My word to
perform it.”
God has seen to it that His every promise has been vindicated and
substantiated in a risen Christ. That the “almond” is the emblem of
resurrection is further established in Numbers 17. The twelve rods, cut off
from the trees on which they grew, were lifeless things. The budding of
Aaron’s rod manifested a re-impartation of life — the work of God.
Aaron’s rod not only exhibited the signs of life, but produced the full
results of it, in bud and flower and fruit — and that of the “almond”! So,
too, our Savior was, according to the flesh, “a rod out the stem of Jesse”
(

Isaiah 11:1) and was “cut off” (

Daniel 9:26) out of the land of the
living. But on the third day He rose again from the dead. Mr. Ridout has.27
strikingly pointed out that just as there was first the bud, then the flower,
and then the almond fruit on Aaron’s rod, and on each branch of the
Lampstand so was there a manifest gradation in the evidences of Christ’s
resurrection!
“The stone rolled away, the empty tomb, the linen clothes lying in
quiet order and the napkin lying by itself — no sign of a struggle,
but the witness that the Prince of life had risen from His sleep of
death; these may be called the ‘buds,’ the first signs of His
resurrection. The angel who rolled away the stone and sat on it
(

Matthew 28:2), the ‘young man sitting on the right side’ of the
tomb (

Mark 16:5, 6), the ‘vision of angels’ seen by the women
which came early to the sepulcher (

Luke 24:23); the two angels
in white sitting, the one at the head, the other at the feet, where the
body of Jesus had lain (

John 20:12) — these may be called the
‘flowers’ — the more advanced witnesses of His resurrection.
Lastly, His own personal manifestations to Mary Magdalene, to
Peter, to the women, to the two disciples at Ermmaus, to the
gathered disciples in the upper room, to them again when Thomas
was present; again at the Sea of Tiberius, and at a mountain in
Galilee — these and other ‘infallible proofs’ might be called the full
almond fruit. The empty tomb might have been a precious boon to
faith, and was enough for John (

John 20:8); the testimony of the
angels would have been stronger testimony; but the crown of all
was to behold Him, to hear Him, to see Him eat, hear Him speak,
this was indeed the full fruit.”
4. ITS POSITION.
As we have already seen, the Lamp-stand was one of the three pieces of
furniture which were in the holy place. But there is a word in

Exodus
40:24 which defined its location still more precisely, “And He put the
lampstand in the tent of the congregation over against the table, on the side
of the Tabernacle southward.”
Like everything else in Scripture the points of the compass are referred to
with a moral and spiritual significance. Briefly, we may say that the “west”
is the quarter of prosperity and blessing: see

Exodus 10:19;

Deuteronomy 33:23;

Joshua 8:12;

Isaiah 59:19. The “east,” the
opposite quarter, tells of sharp distress and Divine judgment: see.28

Genesis 3:24, 13:11, 41:6;

Exodus 10:13, 14:21;

Isaiah 46:11.
The “north” — the Hebrew word means “obscure, dark” — is the direction
from which evil comes: see

Jeremiah 1:14, 4:6, etc. The sunny “south,”
the opposite quarter from the north, tells of warmth light, and blessing: see

Job 37:17;

Psalm 126:4;

Luke 12:55;

Deuteronomy 33:3;

Acts 27:13. It is most significant then that the Lampstand was placed
on the south side of the Tabernacle, the more so when we discover that the
Hebrew word for “south” means “bright, radiant”!
5. ITS SIGNIFICANCE.
There are a number of details which enable us to fix the typical meaning of
the Lampstand.
First, the fact that it was made of beaten gold and was ornamented
with almonds shows that it is the suffering Christ now risen and
glorified which is here foreshadowed.
Second, its being set in the Holy Place intimates that it is Christ hidden
from the world, enjoyed only by the priestly family.
Third, its seven lamps of oil tell of the sufficiency of the Spirit as
Christ’s gift to His people.
Fourth, the time when the Lampstand was used furnishes another sure
key to its interpretation. It was for use in the Holy Place during the
night: “Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning
before the Lord (

Exodus 27:21). It thus typified the maintenance of
light within the true Sanctuary during the time that our Lord was
absent from the earth, that is, while the nation of Israel is no longer
God’s witness here below.
That which was most prominent in connection with the Lampstand was its
seven branches, supporting the lighted “lamps.” These, as we have seen,
foreshadowed the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is this which
brings out the distinctive aspect of our present type. It is the Spirit as the
gift of Christ — the result: of His death and resurrection — the “beaten
work” and the “almonds” to His people. It is the Spirit shining in their
hearts to give them “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the
face of Jesus Christ” (

2 Corinthians 4:6). It is the Spirit within the
Sanctuary, glorifying Christ, taking of the things of Christ and showing
them to His people. It is the operations of the Spirit directed by the.29
glorified Son of God. The several purposes which were served by the seven
lighted lamps portray the leading aspects of the Spirit’s ministry to Christ’s
people.
First, the lighted lamps revealed the beautiful workmanship of the
Lampstand itself: “And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they
shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against the face
of it” (v. 37) cf.

Numbers 8:2. This tells us of the principal design of the
Spirit’s ministry toward and in the saints. As the Savior promised,
“He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it
unto you” (

John 16:14).
This He does by revealing to us the perfections of Christ, by making Him
real to us, by endearing Him to our hearts. It is only by the Spirit that we
are enabled to behold and enjoy the excellencies of Him who is
“fairer than the children of men.” It is in His light alone that we
“see light” (

Psalm 36:9).
Second, the Lampstand was placed opposite the Table, so as to cast its
light upon its contents:
“And he put the Lamp-stand in the tent of the congregation over
against the Table” (

Exodus 40:24).
The shewbread remained on the Table seven days, when it became the food
of Aaron and his sons, who were bidden to “eat in the Holy Place”
(

Leviticus 24:8, 9). There they refreshed themselves with that which
had delighted the eye of God. Can we think of them sitting down and
enjoying such a feast in darkness? Impossible. Light was a necessity:
without it all would have been confusion and disorder. This teaches us that
it is only by the ministry and power of the Spirit that Christians can
perceive Christ as the Bread of God to sustain His people. It is only by the
Spirit we are enabled to feed on Christ and draw from His fulness, that the
new man may be nourished and strengthened.
Third, the Lampstand is mentioned in connection with the burning of
incense on the Golden-altar:
“And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when
he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron.30
lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it”
(

Exodus 30:7, 8).
Apart from the light furnished by the Lamp-stand the priests could not
have seen the golden altar and would have been unable to minister thereat.
This altar speaks both of worship and supplication. Here too the aid of the
Spirit is indispensible. Apart from Him we can neither praise nor petition
Christ as we ought.
Fourth, the Lampstand is said to shed its light “before the Lord”
(

Exodus 40:25). The antitype of this is specially brought before us by
the Spirit in the closing book of Scripture. There we see Christ vindicating
the government of God. There the “seven lamps” which are “the seven
Spirits of God” are expressly said to be “burning before the Throne”
(

Revelation 4:5), while in

Revelation 5:6 they are seen in connection
with the Lamb as He rises to administer judgment. The Lampstand shining
“before the Lord” will find its accomplishment when Christ overthrows the
foes of God and reigns till He hath put all enemies under His feet. This will
be during the Millennium when Christ, in the fullness of the Spirit’s power,
shall be manifested as the “Sun of righteousness” (

Malachi 4:2).
There is a very remarkable Scripture in Isaiah 11 which gives us the final
anti-typical fulfillment of the sevenfold radiance of the Lampstand. There
we read,
“there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch
shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest
upon Him: The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of
counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the
Lord” (vv. 1, 2).
There is here a sevenfold reference of the relation of the Holy Spirit to
Christ during His Millennial reign, note v. 4. But observe carefully the
arrangement here. Mark the absence of any “and” between “Him” and “the
Spirit of wisdom,” and so between the second and third and between the
third and fourth mentionings of the Spirit. The order corresponds exactly
with the construction of the seven — branched Lampstand “The Spirit of
the Lord shall rest upon Him:” this is separated from the other six by the
absence of a connecting “and” to what follows, reminding us of the one
central stem. The next six references are arranged in three pairs (as the.31
“ands” show), like the three pairs of branches growing out of the central
stem!
6. ITS COVERING.
“And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the Lampstand of
the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, etc., and they shall put it and
all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers’ skins”
(

Numbers 4:9, 10).
This point needs not to be developed at length as the typical significance of
these coverings has been dealt with in previous articles. In the “cloth of
blue” we have emphasized the Divine glory of Christ, and are reminded
that only saints in priestly communion can recognize and enjoy the Light of
life as the Holy One. As we see the “blue” folded and concealed in the
“badgers’ skins we have a solemn portrayal of the fact that the ungodly are
without any knowledge of the true Light: “The way of the wicked is as
darkness” (

Proverbs 4:19).
7. ITS HISTORY.
Only twice is the Lampstand referred to after the Pentateuch is passed, but
in each case the connection is a most striking one. First, in 1 Samuel 3 the
Spirit has informed us that Jehovah revealed Himself to young Samuel in
the Temple or Tabernacle “ere the lamp of God went out” (v. 3), and a
most solemn communication did He give him. The Lord announced that He
would do a thing in Israel “at which both the ears of every one that heareth
it shall tingle.” This “thing” was the sore judgment which fell upon the
degenerate sons of Eli. The prophetic and dispensational application of this
is obvious. Ere the long Night of Israel’s unbelief is ended, God will bring
upon them the Great Tribulation and judge them for their sins.
The second reference is in Daniel 5. Here again a night scene is presented
to our view. Belshazzar, attended by his debauched courtiers and
concubines, in the midst of a drunken revelry, gave orders that the “golden
vessels” which had been taken from the Temple when his grandfather
captured Jerusalem, should be brought in and drunk out of Heaven’s
response was prompt:
“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand and wrote
over against the Lampstand upon the plaister of the wall” (v. 5)..32
This time it was a message of woe pronounced upon the Babylonians,
pointing forward to the end of the times of the Gentiles, when the vials of
God’s wrath shall be poured out upon this Christ-rejecting world.
The appropriateness of these two messages of judgment being linked with
the Lampstand is evident. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all
(

1 John 1:5). “God is light” means, He is ineffably holy, and therefore
must punish sin: it brings before us the other side of the truth. Light
exposes and burns as well as warms and illumines! For believers the Light
is the Light of life; but for unbelievers it will yet blind and overwhelm: that
is why the Judgment-seat in the great Assize is a “great white Throne. How
thankful should every Christian reader be that we are “children of light.”
Christ is the Light to His people —

Proverbs 4:18,

2 Corinthians
4:6; in His people — Ephesians 1: 18, 5:13, 14; through His people —

Matthew 5:14-16..33
CHAPTER 40
THE CURTAINED CEILING

EXODUS 26:1-14
Having described the contents of the inner chambers of the Tabernacle,
excepting the Golden-altar which is mentioned later in another connection,
the Holy Spirit now informs us of what comprised the roof of Jehovah’s
dwelling-place. This consisted of a number of linen curtains, elaborately
embroidered, and joined together; over these was a set of goats’ hair
curtains; over these was a covering of rams’ skins dyed red, and on the
outside of all was a covering of badgers’ skins. It is noteworthy that the
curtained ceiling, which we are now to contemplate, is described before the
boards, which formed the framework or sides of the holy structure. Man
would naturally have begun with a description of the framework, then the
roof, and then the furniture placed within the finished building. But here, as
elsewhere, God’s thoughts and ways are the opposite of ours.
In this article we shall confine ourselves to the inner ceiling. This was
composed of ten white curtains, richly ornamented, each twenty-eight
cubits (forty-two feet) in length, and four cubits (six feet) in width. These
were coupled together in fives, breadth to breadth, thus giving a total
length of forty-two feet and a breadth of sixty feet, which would not only
reach across the Tabernacle, which was fifteen feet in width, but would
overlap its sides. The two sets of five white curtains were linked together
by fifty loops of blue in each, which were fastened with fifty taches or
clasps of gold, thus firmly uniting the whole together in one solid piece.
There are seven things about these Curtains which we shall now consider:

1. THEIR MATERIAL.
“Thou shalt make the Tabernacle of ten curtains of fine twined
linen” (v. 1)..34
It is striking to note that in

26:15 we read, “Thou shalt make boards for
the Tabernacle”: whereas the Curtains were themselves called “the
Tabernacle.” Thus what we have before us here is Christ incarnate
providing a dwelling-place on earth for God. These spotless Curtains
pointed to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and exhibited the holiness of
His nature.
“The priests were on this account clothed with it (

Exodus
28:39-43); and on the great day of atonement Aaron was dressed in
this material (

Leviticus 16:4) that he might typify the absolute
purity of the nature of the One of whom he was the shadow” (Mr.
Ed. Dennett).
The Curtains were made of “fine linen” — not linen merely, but fine linen,
linen of peculiar excellency. In

Revelation 19:8 we have the Holy
Spirit’s definition of the significance of this figure, for there the fine linen,
“clean and white,” is declared to be “the righteousnesses of the saints.”
(R.V.). Thus the leading thoughts are unsullied purity and manifested
righteousness. This concept may be the more clearly grasped by noting the
contrast presented in

Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as unclean, and all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” This will be the confession of the Jews
in a day to come, when they are convicted of their sins and made to mourn
before their revealed Messiah. It is also the confession of God’s saints
today. Viewed in ourselves, measured by the standard of Divine holiness,
the best efforts of the Christian are comparable only to “filthy rags.” The
fine white linen, then, typified the manifested holiness and righteousness of
Christ.
It is in the four Gospels which record the earthly life of our Lord, that the
anti-typical Curtains are displayed. See Him as a Boy of twelve. He had
been taken to Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary lost sight of Him for three days.
Where did they find Him? In the Temple, and in reply to His mother’s
question, He said,
“Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?”
(

Luke 2:49).
His concern was to be occupied with the things of God. Pertinently has one
asked, “Was there ever a child like that, to whom God was Father in such a
way that He absorbed His soul?” Behold Him as He went down to
Nazareth and was subject to His parents, owning the place of earthly.35
responsibility and manifesting His perfection in this relationship. So, too,
we read of Him, in those early days, “Jesus increased in wisdom and
stature, and in favor with God and men.”
“There was the fabric of spotless linen being woven before the eye
of God.” (Mr. S. Ridout).
Follow Him into the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted of
the devil: utterly vain were the efforts of Satan to foul His white robes.
Thus may we trace Him all through the inspired record. He eats with
publicans and sinners, yet is unsullied by the most polluting atmosphere. He
lays His hand on the leper, but instead of contracting defilement, His
fingers healed. He touches the bier, but instead of becoming ceremonially
unclean, the dead is restored to life.
“Coming to His death, we see the spotless white shining in all its purity.
The world puts Him between two thieves. “Ah,” says Satan,
“I will at least besmirch His whiteness; I will associate Him with
malefactors and turn loose the rabble upon Him, railing and casting
dust into the air. I will see what will become of His spotlessness!
Yes, let us see what will become of His spotlessness. God only
brings it out into clearer relief amidst the blackness of human and
satanic wickedness. The very thief at His side is constrained to own
His sinlessness (

Luke 23:40, 41). The Centurion, too, who
presided at the crucifixion, declared Him a righteous Man” (Mr. S.
Ridout).
The white Curtains, then, foreshadowed the sinless ways and righteous acts
of the Holy One of God.
2. THEIR COLORS.
“Of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet” (v. 1). These were
used for embroidering the cherubim upon the white Curtains. Each of the
colors brings out a separate perfection in the Person of our blessed
Redeemer, and was manifested by Him as He passed through this world of
sin. “Blue” is the celestial color — “as it were the body of heaven in its
clearness” (

Exodus 24:11). The “blue” upon the white background tells
us that He who came down into fathomless depths of humiliation was “the
Lord from heaven” (

1 Corinthians 15:47)..36
It is most blessed to go through the Gospels with the object of looking for
the “blue” as it was revealed in connection with the second Man.
First, we see it at His birth. How carefully God saw to it that testimony
should be borne to the heavenly scource of that One who then lay in the
manger. The angels were sent to announce Him as “Christ the Lord”
(

Luke 2:11). Later, the wise men from the east came and worshipped
the young Child — how beautifully this manifested the “blue”! Those who
heard Him asking and answering the questions of the doctors in the
Temple, when twelve years of age, were “astonished at His understanding”
(

Luke 2:47) — here again we may perceive the heavenly color. In His
words to Nicodemus He spoke of Himself as “The Son of man which is in
heaven” (

John 3:13) — as one has said “the One whose whole life here
breathed the air of heaven.”
“Though He was ‘very man,’ yet He ever walked in the
uninterrupted consciousness of His proper dignity, as a heavenly
Stranger. He never once forgot whence He had come, where He
was, or whither He was going. The spring of all His joys was on
High• Earth could neither make Him richer nor poorer. He found
this world to be ‘a dry and thirsty land, where no water is,’ and
hence His spirit could only find its refreshment above” (C.H.M.).
“Purple” is emblematic of royalty. This is established by a reference to John
19. When the Roman soldiers expressed their scorn for Israel’s Ruler by
going through the form of a mock coronation, they placed upon His brow a
crown of thorns, and then “put on Him a purple robe” (v. 2). It is in
Matthew’s Gospel that this second color comes out most conspicuously.
First, the “purple” is seen in the record of the royal genealogy of the Son of
David. Next we behold it in the question of the magi, “Where is He that is
born King of the Jews?” (

Matthew 2:2). Then we see it in the
proclamation of His forerunner, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”
(

3:2) — “at hand,” because the King Himself was in their midst. The
royal “purple” is plainly evident in the “Sermon’“ recorded in chapters 5, 6,
7, prefaced by the statement, “He went up into a mountain, and when He
was seated… He said” etc. — symbolically, it was the King taking His
place upon His throne, enunciating the laws of His kingdom. Still more
vividly did the “purple” shine when He made His triumphal entry into
Jerusalem (

21:1-11). Over His cross was placed the royal banner, “This
is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (

27:37). “Scarlet” is a color which is.37
used in Scripture with a variety of emblematic significations. From these
we select two which seem to bear most closely upon our present type.
First, “scarlet,” the color of blood, vividly suggests the sufferings of Christ.
This is borne out by the fact that the complete Hebrew word for “scarlet”
is “tolaath shani,” meaning scarlet-worm. Mr. Ridout has pointed out,
“It is the ‘cocus cacti,’ the cochineal, from which the scarlet dye is
obtained. In the 22nd Psalm our holy Lord, in the midst of His
anguish as a sin-offering on the cross, says ‘I am a worm and no
man’ (v. 6). This is the word which is used in connection with
scarlet. Thus our Lord, ‘who knew no sin,’ was ‘made sin’ for us
(

2 Corinthians 5:21), taking the place which we deserved. He
took the place of being a worm, went down into death, crushed
under the wrath and judgment of God, His precious blood shed to
put away our scarlet sins.”
Thus the “scarlet” speaks first of the sufferings of Christ. Side by side with
His purity, His heavenly character, and His royal majesty, the Gospel
records bring before us the afflictions of the Savior. We may discern the
“scarlet” in the manger-cradle. This color was also evidenced when Satan
assailed Him, for “He suffered, being tempted (

Hebrews 2:18). He
“sighed deeply in His spirit” (

Mark 8:12), “groaning in Himself”
(

John 11:38), “weeping over Jerusalem” (

Luke 19:41) are further
examples. How tragically the “scarlet” may be seen in Gethsemane, when
“His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”
(

Luke 22:44)!
But “scarlet” is also the emblem of glory. The woman seated upon the
scarlet-colored beast in Revalation 17 symbolizes that satanic system
which, under Antichrist, will yet ape the millennial glory of Christ. By His
sufferings the Savior has won the place of highest honor and glory. In the
coming Age, this world will be the scene of His splendor. The scarlet
mantle will then be upon Him whose right it is. It is striking that in the
22nd Psalm — the first part of which describes the Savior’s sufferings —
its closing verses depict His royal authority and coming glory:
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord:
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee,” etc.
(v. 27)..38
A bright glimpse of the “scarlet” was afforded to the sight of the favored
apostles upon the Mount of Transfiguration.
3. ITS ORNAMENTATION.
“With cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them” (v. 1). The pure
white linen was the material on which the various colors were displayed
and with which were embroidered the cherubim. Thus, as the priests
ministered in the Holy Place and gazed upward, there above their heads
were the mystic forms of these highest of all God’s creatures — their
outstretched wings forming a firmament of feathers upon the ceiling. We
believe that reference is made to this sheltering canopy in the following
scriptures:
“I will abide in Thy Tabernacle forever; I will trust in the covert of
Thy wings” (

Psalm 61:4);
“He shall cover thee with His feathers; and under His wings shalt
thou trust” (

Psalm 91:4);
“Hide me under the shadow of Thy wings” (

Psalm 17:8), etc.
As the “cherubim” will come before us again, a brief word thereon must
here suffice. They speak of judicial authority, as the first mention of them
in the Bible clearly shows: (

Genesis 3:24). A glimpse of what these
symbolic figures portrayed in connection with Christ was given by Him
when He affirmed,
“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment
unto the Son… and hath given Him authority to execute judgment
also because He is the Son of man” (

John 5:22, 27).
4. THEIR DIMENSIONS.
“The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the
breadth of one curtain four cubits; and every one of the curtains
shall have one measure” (v. 2).
“Seven is the perfect number, being absolutely indivisible except by
itself, and the highest prime number; and four is that of
completeness on earth — as seen for example, in the four corners
of the earth, four square, four gospels, etc. The dimensions of the.39
Curtains will then betoken perfection displayed in completeness on
earth; and such a meaning could only be applied to the life of our
blessed Lord. The Curtains of the Tabernacle, consequently, speak
of the complete unfolding of His perfections as Man when passing
through this scene” (Mr. E. Dennett).
5. THEIR MEANING.
This has been brought out, more or less, in what has been already before
us. The spotless white Curtains, with the beautifully tinted cherubim
worked upon them, typified, distinctively, neither the Deity nor the
humanity of our Lord, but the person of the God-man and the varied
glories manifested by Him while He tabernacled among men. It should be
noted that in every other instance where we have the four colors
mentioned, the blue is first and the white is last. But here the order is
reversed. There, it is the Spirit emphasizing the heavenly origin of the One
who came down to earth; here, it is drawing our attention to the sinlessness
and righteousness of the Man who sits now at God’s right hand.
The fact that these Curtains formed the inside ceiling of the holy places and
were seen, therefore, only by the priestly family, intimates that none but
those that had access to God were able to appreciate the perfections of His
Son as they were manifested by Him during His earthly sojourn. The rank
and the of the Jews saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. His
moral loveliness was lost upon them; yea, it only served to condemn their
moral ugliness, and thus aroused their enmity. But the favored few, who
were the objects of distinguishing grace, exclaimed,
“We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the
Father full of grace and truth” (

John 1:14).
It is the same today. Christ is still despised and rejected of men. The
unregenerate have no capacity to discern His excellencies. A good Man,
the best of men, He is acknowledged to be; but as the Holy One of God
(the “white”), the Lord from heaven (the “blue”), the King of kings (the
“purple”), and the One who because of His sufferings will yet come back
to this earth and reign over it in power and glory (the “scarlet”), He is
unknown. But notwithstanding there is even now a company that is “an
holy priesthood” (

1 Peter 2:5), and they, haying received “an unction,”
a divine anointing (

1 John 2:20, 27), recognize Him as the altogether
Lovely One..40
The fact that the Curtains formed the inner ceiling of the Tabernacle
suggests that they set before us the One who humbled Himself and became
obedient unto death, but who is now exalted and glorified on High.
Whenever the worshipper looked up he would see nought but that spotless
linen with its rich ornamentations. Does not this announce to us, in accents
too plain to be misunderstood, that as God’s worshippers enter, in spirit,
the heavenly Sanctuary, they are to be occupied with the person and
perfections of Him whom, by faith, we now see “crowned with glory and
honor” (

Hebrews 2:9)! In worship we are occupied not with ourselves
— either our failures or our attainments, our needs or our blessings — but
with the Father and His blessed Son. It is only as our hearts are absorbed
with that which the Curtains and their lovely colors prefigured, that we
present to God that which is acceptable in His sight.
6. THEIR LOOPS.
Before we take up the distinctive significance of these, let us first consider
their use. They were appointed for the Joining of the Curtains together.
Thus the ten Curtains were arranged in two sets of five each:
“The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and
other five curtains shall be coupled one to another” (v. 3).
Now, in Scripture, one of the meanings of “ten” is that of human
responsibility. Hence after ten plagues upon Egypt had measured and
demonstrated the failure of their responsibility, Pharaoh and his hosts were
destroyed at the Red Sea. When Gentile dominion reaches its final form, it
will consist of ten kingdoms, and then will be fully manifested the
breakdown of its responsibility. When at Sinai God gave a summary of
man’s duty it was in the form of ten commandments. But these were writ.
ten upon two tables of stone, or in two sets of fives, similarly to the
Curtains here. The first five commandments — Joined together by the
words “The Lord thy God,” which is not found in any of the last five —
define our responsibility Godwards; the last five, our responsibility
manwards. The ten Curtains, grouped together in two sets of fives, speak
of Christ, as the Representative of His people, meeting the whole of their
obligations both Godwards and man-wards. He loved God with all His
heart, and His neighbor as Himself; He was the only one by whom these
responsibilities were fully and perfectly discharged..41
By this “coupling” of the Curtains together, both their length and breadth
would be the better exhibited.
“‘Length’ is the extension, and may well stand for the whole course
of life. It is used this way in Scripture — ‘length of days’ is a
familiar expression. ‘Breadth’ is from a root meaning ‘spacious,
roomy.’ It has a metaphorical use with which we are familiar. King
Solomon had great largeness (breadth) of heart (

1 Kings 4:29).
‘Breadth’ thus suggests the character of the life and its attendant
circumstances. In speaking then of our Lord’s life, ‘length’ would
suggest its whole course, and ‘breadth’ its character and the
circumstances in which this was displayed” (Mr. Ridout).
How blessed then to behold that each of these ten Curtains was 28 or 7 x 4
cubits long, and 4 broad, telling us that in the discharge of our
responsibiliites He manifested nought but perfection here on earth!
“Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt
thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the
second; that the loops may take hold one of another” (v. 5)
“The loops were blue — the color of Heaven. Thus the fact that He
was from Heaven, lived in Heaven, and was to return to Heaven
characterized His whole life of obedience. The mark of Heaven was
upon it all. Upon that which spoke of His perfect love and
obedience to God were loops of blue, to show that love and
obedience were to be united to a life upon earth in which its
responsibilities were to be made one with His obedience to God. So
the blue loops upon the second set of Curtains show that all was of
one with His devotedness to God.
“No life ever was so perfectly given up to God as was His: heart,
soul, mind and strength were all and always for God. Yet this
devotedness did not make of Him a recluse. There is not the
slightest thought of that selfish monasticism with which human self-righteousness
has linked the name of Christianity. He loved His
Father perfectly, but that was the pledge of His perfect life to man.
No hands or heart were ever so filled with love and labor for men;
but there was nothing of the sentimental nor merely philanthropic in
this. The loops of blue were on all, linking all with His Father’s
will. He wrought many miracles but we cannot think of these works.42
of love ending there. He was manifesting the works which the
Father gave Him to do; ‘I must work the works of Him that sent
Me’ —

John 9:4” (Mr. Ridout).
7. THEIR COUPLINGS.
“And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains
together with the taches: and it shall be one Tabernacle” (v. 6).
The word “taches” means “couplings”: passed through the loops of blue
they united the Curtains together. The “loops of blue” and these “hooks of
gold” might seem very unimportant, but, without them, there would have
been no unity. The beautiful Curtains would have hung apart one from
another, and thus one main feature of their manifestation would have been
lost.
Significantly were these “couplings” of gold. They tell us that it was the
heavenly and Divine character of our Lord which secured the perfect
adjustment of His twofold responsibility as Man towards God and His
neighbor. These “couplings” fastened the whole of the ten Curtains
together so that they were “one Tabernacle.” Thus they pointed to that
blessed unity and uniformity of the character and life of Christ.
“We have here displayed to us in the ‘loops of blue’ and ‘taches of
gold’ that heavenly grace and divine energy in Christ which enabled
Him to combine and perfectly adjust the claims of God and man, so
that in responding to both the one and the other He never, for a
moment, marred the unity of His character. When crafty and
hypocritical men tempted Him with the inquiry, ‘Is it lawful to give
tribute to Caesar or not?’ His wise reply was, ‘Render to Caesar
the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’
Nor was it merely Caesar’s, but man in every relation, that had all
his claims perfectly met in Christ. As He united in His perfect
person the nature of God and man, so He met in His perfect ways
the claims of God and man.” (C.H.M.).
In the life of the blessed Lord Jesus, and in all the scenes and circumstances
of that life, we not only see each distinct phase and feature perfect in itself,
but also a perfect combination of all those phases and features by the
power of that which was heavenly and divine in Him. The perfect ways and
works of our Lord wore not only beautiful in themselves, but they were.43
beautifully combined, exquisitely linked together. But it is only those who
have been, in some measure, instructed in the holy mysteries of the true
Sanctuary who Can discern and appreciate these “loops of blue” and
“taches of gold” Study the record of His life with this thought in mind.
Mark His inflexible righteousness and then His exceeding tenderness; His
uncompromising faithfulness in denouncing hypocrisy and then the
wondrous compassion for poor sinners; His stern denunciation of error and
human traditions, and then the tender patience toward the ignorant and
those that were out of the way. Side by side we may see the dignity and
majesty of His Godhead and the meekness and lowliness of His Manhood
— blessedly united and consistently combined into one, like His robe
“without seam”! May the Spirit of truth enable the reader to look for the
“loops of blue” and the “taches of gold” as he studies the and-typical
Curtains in the New Testament..44
CHAPTER 41
THE COVERINGS

EXODUS 26:7-14
As was pointed out at the beginning of our last article, the Tabernacle had
four separate Coverings, one over another. The first and innermost was the
ten white curtains. These curtains have already been before us. It should be
carefully noted that they are themselves designated “the tabernacle,” see
vv. 1, 6. Over these were placed eleven “curtains of goats’ hair,” and these
are called “the tent,” vv. 11, 12. Above these were spread “rams’ skins
dyed red” and “badgers’ skins,” v. 14, which are simply called “coverings.”
That a distinction is drawn between the “Tabernacle” and the “Tent” is
clear from several scriptures For example,

Numbers 3:25: “The
Tabernacle and the Tent.” This intimates they are to be contemplated
separately.
The above distinction is clearly established in the Hebrew, where two
distinct words are employed — “Mishkan” for Tabernacle, “ohel” for Tent.
The former signifies “dwelling-place”; the latter, simply “tent.” The one
refers to the abode of Jehovah, the other to the meeting-place for His
people. It is to be regretted that the translators of our English Bible have
failed to preserve the difference which is noted in the original. In the A.V.
we find the expression “Tabernacle of the congregation” constantly
occurring, but in almost every instance the Hebrew has “Tent of the
congregation.” This holy building was their place of assembly, but it was
Jehovah’s place of abode: they visited it, He remained there! Looking now,
first, at the eleven goats’ hair curtains let us note: —
1. — THEIR MATERIALS,
“And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair to be a covering upon
the Tabernacle” (v. 7).
“The word for ‘curtains’ Is yerioth, from a root meaning to tremble
or waive, as suspended curtains do. A similar root with a similar.45
primary meaning is the word for ‘fear.’ How suggestively do these
thoughts describe the Lord Jesus as He was here. He was the
dependent One, not relying upon His own inherent strength, but
cleaving ever to His Father. He was perfectly obedient, because
perfectly dependent upon the will of God. Thus the true ‘fear’ of
the Lord characterized Him. He was ever moved by the slightest
breath of the Spirit. There was thus in the eyes of men entire
weakness, for He had no will apart from perfect subjection unto
God; therefore the whole character of God with reference to sin,
the world and Satan, was manifested. So also He gave fullest
expression to God’s thoughts and ways of mercy over Judgment
with reference to man.
“The word ‘curtain’ is a feminine one, and in speaking of them
being Joined together ‘one to another,’ it is ‘a woman to her sister.’
This, too, is in keeping with the holy place of dependence and
subjection taken and kept by our Lord” (Mr. S. Ridout).
As though emphasizing this same thought, the Holy Spirit has been careful
to tell us that these goats’ hair curtains were spun by the women
(

Exodus 35:26). We may add that this same material was used for
making their own tents, and was of a dark color, as a reference to

Song
of Solomon 1:5; 6:5 shows.
It is to be noted that the word “hair” in

Exodus 26:7 is in italics, which
denotes it has been supplied by the translators, and we believe in this case,
rightly so. It is not found in the Hebrew of

Exodus 35:26, yet the word
“spun” clearly implies it. The reason why the word “hair” is omitted from

Exodus 26:7 is to direct our attention more particularly to the goats
themselves — i. e., to what they typically signified.
2. — THEIR NUMBER.
“Eleven curtains shalt thou make” (v. 7). As though God anticipated we
should experience difficulty with this number, He has Himself here supplied
the very help we need. He has told us that these Curtains were divided into
two groups: “Thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six
curtains by themselves” (v. 9). Thus in order to discover the spiritual
significance of this number eleven, we are thus shown that we are not to
consider it by itself as a whole, but as made up of five and six. This
simplifies things very much. Five, as we have before had occasion to.46
remark, stands for grace, while six is the number of man. It was on the
sixth day that man was created (

Genesis 1:26, 31). Six days are the
span of man’s weekly labor (

Exodus 20:9). It is striking how prominent
is this numeral in the measures which man uses in connection with his
labors: each of the following is a multiple of six. There are twelve inches to
the foot; eighteen to the cubit; thirty-six to the yard. It is thus with man’s
divisions of time. The day has twenty-four hours, each of these is made up
of sixty minutes, and these of sixty seconds. It is remarkable there are just
six separate words in the Bible for “man” — four in the Hebrew and two in
the Greek. How fitting that He who took the place of sinful man was
crucified at the sixth hour (

John 19:14)! In the indignities man heaped
upon the suffering Savior this same number was stamped upon his vile
handiwork:
(1) scourging His back;
(2) smiting His face with the palms of their hands;
(3) spitting upon Him;
(4) placing the thorns on His brow;
(5) driving the nails into His hands and His feet;
(6) plunging the spear into His side. In the light of these examples it is
not difficult to trace the significance of the five and the six in the goats’
hair Curtains.
3. — THEIR DIMENSIONS.
“The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of
one curtain four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall be all of one
measure” (v. 8).
The width of the Curtains was the same as those which formed the
innermost Covering, namely, four cubits — the number which speaks of
the earth. But the length of the goats’ hair Curtains exceeded those of the
white ones: these were thirty cubits, they but twenty-eight. The
significance of these larger numbers is always ascertained by the spiritual
meaning of their factors. The factors of thirty are either three and ten, or
five and six. Three is the number of full manifestation, ten of responsibility.
But in view of the fact that the Curtains were divided into two groups of.47
five and six, we probably have there the key to the interpretation of their
length. This will come before us more fully when we take up their meaning.
4. — THEIR ARRANGEMENT.
This is by no means obvious at first glance. In v. 9 we are told, “Thou shalt
couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves and shalt
double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the Tabernacle.” Then in vv. 12,
13 we read, “And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the Tent,
the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the
Tabernacle. And a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side of
that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the Tent, it shall hang
over the sides of the Tabernacle on this side and on that side, to cover it.”
Now the Tabernacle itself was thirty cubits long, ten cubits broad, and ten
cubits high. Thus by taking these Curtains lengthwise and throwing them
over the width of the Tabernacle, its two sides and top would be
completely covered, for they were Just thirty cubits in length. In breadth,
joined side by side, they would be forty-four cubits, and thus long enough
to cover the rear, stretch right across the length of the top and then over-lap
four feet in front. This balance of four cubits in the front was turned
back or “doubled” so as to leave eight cubits clear for the entrance.
5. — THEIR MEANING.
The material of which they were made, supplies the first key to this. The
“goat” was pre-eminently the animal used in the sin offerings, in fact, in
connection with Israel’s great feasts under the law, when the people were
collectively represented before God, it was the only one used in their
sacrifices for sins. Israel’s year began with a commemoration of the
Passover. Inseparably connected with this was the ordinance of the feast of
unleavened bread: in

Luke 22:1 they are identified. During the seven
days of this feast, besides other sacrifices, a “goat” was slain for a sin
offering (

Numbers 28:17, 22). The next feast was that of “weeks” or
“Pentecost”: in this, too, a goat as a sin offering for an atonement was
commanded (

Leviticus 23:15, 19). Then came the feast of Trumpets,
and here also the goat for a sin-offering was used (

Numbers 29:1, 5).
Following this was the most solemn of them all, namely, the annual Day of
Atonement, when a special sin-offering was appointed. This consisted of
two goats: the one being slain, the other having the sins and iniquities of all
Israel confessed upon it, then being led away into a land not inhabited.48
(Leviticus 16). Finally came the feast of Tabernacles, the feast of
ingathering, when Israel rested from their toil and rejoiced in the blessing
of God upon their labors. This feast lasted for eight days, and on each one
a “goat” was slain as a sin-offering (Numbers 29).
In addition to the national convocations when the “goats” alone was used
for making atonement, we may observe the prominence of this animal in
other sin-offerings. When a ruler sinned, the appointed sacrifice was “a kid
of the goats” (

Leviticus 4:23); so, if one of the common people sinned
(

Leviticus 4:27, 28). At the consecration of the priesthood a “kid of the
goats for a sin-offering” was required (

Leviticus 9:2, 3). At the
dedication of the altar each of the “princes” offered “one kid of the goats
for a sin-offering” (

Numbers 7:16). For the sin of ignorance a “kid of
the goats” made atonement (

Numbers 15:24, 27). At the beginning of
each month a special sin-offering was appointed, and this also consisted of
“a kid of the goats” (

Numbers 28:11, 15). This completes the list where
the “goat” was exclusively appointed as the sin-offering. Surely it is more
than a coincidence that they are precisely eleven in number —
corresponding exactly with the eleven Curtains in our type!
It is also very striking to find that where the “goat” is not used in sacrifice,
yet is it generally found in an evil connection. Rebekah placed “skins of the
kids of the goats” upon Jacob’s hands and neck for the purpose of
deceiving Isaac (

Genesis 27:16). So the brethren of Joseph “killed a kid
of the goats” and dipped his coat in it to aid their deception upon their
father (

Genesis 37:31). In the trick which Michal imposed upon Saul, a
pillow of “goats’ hair” was employed (

1 Samuel 19:13). So in contrast
from the “sheep” (His own people) the Lord likens the wicked unto
“goats” (

Matthew 25:33).
In the light of what has just been before us it is unmistakably plain that the
“goats’ hair” Curtains pointed to Christ as the great sin-offering for the
iniquities of his people. He who knew no sin, was “made sin for us” (

2
Corinthians 5:21). Of old it was announced “Thou shalt make His soul an
offering for sin” (

Isaiah 53:10), and thus was the fulfillment recorded —
“He hath poured out His soul unto death” (

Isaiah 53:12). In this
connection it is remarkable to note the words of

Leviticus 4:25: “The
priests shall… pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar.” This was only
said of the blood of the “sin-offering”: of the blood of the burnt-offer-ing
we read that it was “sprinkled” only (

Leviticus 1:5)..49
The numerals connected with these Curtains confirm our interpretation:
they were six, five, and four. Thus we learn that it was the Manhood of our
blessed Redeemer, in wondrous grace, suffering for the sin of His people
here on earth. But it is the six which is doubly prominent, the eleventh
Curtain being expressly termed “the sixth” (v. 9), and the thirty cubits in
length, has for its factors five and six. Thus, by this emphasis, the Holy
Spirit has most graciously pointed out the direction which our thoughts
should take. The fact that the “women” spun these goats’ hair Curtains still
further emphasizes the truth that in our present type it is distinctively Christ
as the “woman’s” Seed (

Genesis 3:15), who is before us. It is true that
the God-man suffered and died, and it is true that His two natures are
inseparably united; yet, it was His humanity which made possible the great
sacrifice, for Deity cannot suffer.
Underneath these goats’ hair Curtains was the gorgeous tapestry of the
cherubim — embroidered white Curtains. But these were seen only by
those inside the Holy Place, telling us that it is not until we have personally
appropriated Christ, by a God-given faith, as our Sin-offering, that we can
delight ourselves by being occupied with His personal perfections. Thus,
how deeply and how solemnly significant, was the doubled-over curtain,
right over the entrance into the Tabernacle. Just above its beautiful gate
hung that which would remind the worshipper of the great cost paid by
Another to procure entrance for him.
6. — THEIR LOOPS AND TACHES.
“And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one curtain that
is outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain
which coupleth the second. And thou shalt make fifty taches of
brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the Tent
together, that it may be one” (vv. 10, 11).
Some excellent commentators have insisted that the goats’ hair Curtains
speak primarily of Christ in His earthly life, and that they pointed to Him as
the perfect Prophet. We think this is a mistake. It is true that “hairy”
garments are found connected with false prophets (Hebrew of

Zechariah 13:5), but no “goats’ hair.” In the case of John the Baptist
we are explicitly told that his raiment was of “camel’s hair” (Matthew 3,
4)..50
It will be noted that while the white Curtains were linked together with
“gold” taches, the ones now before us were united by “brass” clasps. This
important detail both reveals the mistake of others and confirms the
interpretation which we have given above. “Brass” in scripture is the
symbol of Divine judgment — as this will come before us again in
connection with the “Brazen-altar” we shall not now adduce the proofs.
Now in His prophetic office Christ’s ministry was the very reverse of the
exercise of judgment — throughout it was marked by grace:

John 1:17;

3:17. But regarding the goats’ hair Curtains as foreshadowing Christ
“made sin” for His people, the taches of “brass” are most significant, for
they tell us that, while on the Cross, the Savior suffered the outpoured
Judgment of God (

Isaiah 53:10;

Zechariah 13:7).
It should also be observed that two little words in connection with the
“loops” are here most significantly omitted. The ten white Curtains were
linked together through “loops of blue” (

26:4); but of the eleven goats’
hair Curtains we read, three times over in

26:10, 11, simply of “loops.”
Had these second Curtains been designed of God to portray Christ in His
prophetic office the “blue” had surely been mentioned, for His heavenly
Character shone out ceaselessly during His earthly ministry. But when
“made sin for us” His heavenly glory was hidden, as the three hours of
darkness testified. The minute and wondrous perfection of our type is thus
evidenced by the omission of “loops of blue”!
7. — THEIR PURPOSE.
These goats’ hair Curtains were designed not only as a protection for the
white Curtains beneath, but also to cover the golden boards of its sides and
rear. These, the under Curtains failed to completely drape. It was a
distance of thirty cubits from the ground on the one side, over the roof, to
the ground on the other side. The white Curtains were only twenty-eight
cubits in length, leaving one cubit of the golden boards exposed at the
bottom on either side, And most fittingly so. As we have seen, the white
Curtains, with their lovely colors embroidered upon them, foreshadowed
the perfections of Christ’s person as He tabernacled among men. During
His walk through this world, He did not conceal, but revealed, the glory of
God, therefore was there one cubit (one is the number of unity, and thus of
God in His essential nature) of the golden boards left uncovered by the
white Curtains on either side of the Tabernacle!.51
But these goats’ hair Curtains were thirty cubits long, and thus of sufficient
length not only to overlap the white Curtains, but also to completely cover
the golden boards on the side of the Tabernacle. By this God intimated the
great truth that He could have no tabernacle among men, and could not
manifest His beauty and glory in their midst, except as His dwelling-place
proclaimed, in every part of it, the fact that sin had been fully met and put
away by the sacrifice of His Son!
It remains for us now to offer a brief remark on the outermost Coverings.
“And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a
covering above of badgers’ skins” (v. 14). In a word, these external
Coverings, on the outside of the goats’ hair Curtains, give us a twofold
view of Christ enduring the judgment due the sins of His people: they show
how He then appeared to the eye of God and to the eyes of men. The
rams’ skins presented the Godward aspect first. The “ram” was the victim
used at the consecration of the priests (

Exodus 29:26), when they were
separted unto the service of Jehovah. It spoke, therefore, of devotedness to
God. In beautiful accord with this we find that it was a “ram” (Gensis
22:13) which took the place of Isaac when Abraham, in his devotion and
obedience to God, had bound him to the altar!
“The ram, being the head of the flock, tells of strength and dignity,
hence the figurative significance of

Psalm 114:3. The skipping
and the leaping of the mighty mountains shows the Divine majesty
of God, before whom the strongest and mightiest must quail” (Mr.
Ridout).
The rams’ skins Covering was “dyed red,” which plainly expressed
devotion unto death. Thus, in the first of these Coverings we have
foreshadowed Christ as the Head of His sheep, the Mighty One, living only
for God, and manifesting His perfect devotion to the Father by being
“obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
The rams’ skins Covering, then, foreshadowed Christ as the Head of His
people (the “sheep”) perfectly consecrated to God. An a Child it was the
Father’s business which occupied Him (

Luke 2:49). The keynote to His
ministry was “I must work the works of Him that sent Me” (

John 9:4).
Zeal for the Father’s honor consumed Him (

John 2:17). But the rams’
skins were “dyed red,” which pointed to bloodshedding. Not only did
Christ live entirely for God, but He also laid down His life in obedience to
the Father’s command (

John 10:18). All the varied excellencies of.52
Christ were covered by devotedness to God. At Calvary, men saw only the
execution of a condemned criminal, but Heaven looked down upon the
unreserved and unparalleled consecration of the Son to the Father.
Over the rams’ skins were placed badgers’ skins, and this was the outer
Covering of all. This alone would be seen by the eyes of men as Israel were
in the wilderness. It, therefore, brings before us Christ as He appeared to
men. It specially portrays the fact that He “made Himself of no reputation”
(

Philippians 2:7). Born in a manger; brought up in despised Nazareth;
working at the carpenter’s bench, were examples of what the rough and
unsightly badgers’ skins foreshadowed. To such a degree did Christ
humble Himself, the glories of His Divine person were hidden from the
eyes of sinful creatures. “Is not this the carpenter?” (

Mark 6:3), shows
their estimation of Him. They could see none of the spiritual grace, the
heavenly beauty, or even the moral perfections, which lay beneath the
outward form of the despised Jesus of Nazareth. “As for this fellow, we
know not from whence He is” (

John 9:29) reveals the fact that they saw
only the badger’s skins.
As it was with Him during His life, so also was it at His death. Just as the
desert tribes through whose territory Israel passed while Journeying to
Canaan, saw not the lovely Curtains underneath, so the morbid throngs
which congregated at Calvary, discerned not the precious significance of
what was there transpiring. Many were astonished at Christ because
“His visage was more marred than any man’s, and His form than
the sons of man” (

Isaiah 52:14).
He was regarded as smitten by a curse from God because of blasphemy
(

Isaiah 53:4). They deemed Him utterly helpless, unable to come down
from the cross. Thus the rough and unsightly badgers’ skins over all, spoke
of the shame and humiliation of our precious Savior before men.
It is most blessed and solemn to observe that, in sharp contrast from the
ten white Curtains and the eleven goats’ hair Curtains, beneath, no
dimensions are given of the two outer Coverings. Does not this intimate
that that which these Coverings foreshadowed was beyond our power to
measure! There was a depth and a height both in our Savior’s devotedness
to God and in His humiliation before men which it is utterly impossible for
us to gauge..53
CHAPTER 42
THE BOARDS

EXODUS 26:15-30
That which is now to occupy us is the framework and foundation of the
Tabernacle proper. The sides of the Tabernacle were comprised of boards
of acacia wood, fitly framed together, standing upon a base of silver
sockets. The Tabernacle stood on the west side of the Court, facing the
gate. Its solid framework was made up of forty-eight boards, twenty being
used on the north side, twenty on the south, six on the west, with a corner-board
at each end; the eastern or front side being the entrance, having five
pillars between which was suspended an “hanging for the door,” which will
come before us for separate consideration in a later article (D.V.). Each of
the boards was overlaid with gold.
“The north and south sides of the Tabernacle were each composed
of twenty hoards. Thus the length of the holy building would be
thirty cubits (forty-five feet), the boards being a cubit and a half in
breadth. Its height was ten cubits (fifteen feet), its width was
exactly the same, namely, ten cubits (fifteen feet). Each board was
maintained in its place by two tenons, or hands, which again were
grasped by two sockets of silver. Then in order to bind the whole in
one compact body of strength and security, five bars of shit-the
wood with gold — same as the boards — ran along the two sides,
and also along the end at the west; fifteen bars in all being inserted
in rings of gold attached to the boards. The third, or middle bar,
stretched across the whole length of the building — forty-five feet;
of the length of the other cross-bars we are not informed. The
corner-boards at the extreme end — north and south — were
coupled together at top and bottom by rings of gold, in addition to
the tenons and silver sockets at the base. These corner-boards then
would knit the ends so firmly by their fastening of rings, tenons,
and sockets, or blocks of silver, that a breakdown was impossible,
while the sides were equally upheld and maintained by the bars..54
Here then we have the Rock of Ages embodied in the Tabernacle.”
(Mr. W. Scott.)
There has been much confusion on the part of the commentators
concerning the typical import of the Boards and that which secured them
together. Many who have seen Christ displayed in the Curtains and in the
different Vessels, depart from this primary interpretation when they come
to the Boards, and regard them as portraying believers in their individual
and corporate relationships. That much connected with the Tabernacle may
have a secondary application to the saints we do not deny, but that
everything in it points first and foremost to our Savior we are fully assured,
and it is with Him that our hearts need most to be engaged; so with the
primary signficance of our type we shall now proceed. There are seven
things connected with the Boards that claim our careful attention: —
1. — THEIR MATERIALS.
“And thou shalt make Boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood….
And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold” — (vv. 15, 29).
As we have had occasion before to remark, the acacia wood foreshadowed
our Lord’s humanity, particularly the incorruptibility of it, the Greek
version of the O.T. actually translating it “incorruptible wood.” It is of
paramount importance that we should hold fast to and testify of the
fundamental truth conveyed in this typical wood — the real and the
untainted Manhood of the Lord Jesus. Error here is most serious and
solemn, affecting as it would our estimate of the Savior’s person. There are
those who, in their zeal to maintain His absolute Deity, entertain an
inadequate conception of His humanity. But His Manhood was just as real
as His Godhood. It was not simply that He assumed a human body, but
that He became Man in the full sense of that term, having a human spirit
and soul and body.
“In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren”
(

Hebrews 2:17).
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,
He also Himself likewise took part of the same” (

Hebrews
2:14).
Therefore is He called “the Man Christ Jesus” (

1 Timothy 2:5)..55
But in becoming Man, the Lord of glory took unto Himself a spotless and
perfect humanity, expressly designated “that Holy Thing” (

Luke 1:35).
The Son of man “did no sin” (

1 Peter 2:22) and that because “He knew
no sin” (

2 Corinthians 5:21) and that because “in Him was no sin” (

1
John 3:5). He ever was and always remained “the Holy One of God.” To
question this is to cast dishonor both on the Father and on the Son, and
undermines the very foundation on which the Christian’s peace is based.
Some carelessly, or profanely, talk of “Jesus assuming our sinful and our
mortal nature,” but such could never be, or He had Himself needed a
Savior. Not only did Christ commit no sin, but He was entirely incapable of
sinning. Nor were the seeds of death in His Manhood: He did not die from
pain and weakness, but laid down His life of Himself (

John 10:18), and
in death He saw “no corruption” (

Acts 2:27). The Virgin-birth and the
immaculate nature of the Savior lie at the very foundation of the Gospel
message: without them there would be and could be no announcement of
good news for poor sinners.
Inseparable from His humanity is the glorious truth of our Redeemer’s
Deity. This also is a fundamental part of our faith and underlies all true
evangelical testimony. “Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the
Lord’” (

Luke 2:11). None but a Divine Savior could meet the deep
need of fallen creatures: the endurance of God’s curse was wholly beyond
the resources of human weakness — His Deity alone could sustain the
weight of redemption. If the acacia wood foreshadowed the humanity of
Christ, the gold spoke of His Divine nature and glory. In the two conjoined
we have set before us God manifest in flesh. “The Word was God…. the
Word became flesh” (

John 1:1, 14). A profound mystery we grant, yet a
blessed truth on which the faith of God’s elect rests with unquestioning
confidence.
2. — THEIR DIMENSIONS.
“Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half
shall be the breadth of one board” (v. 16).
“In all structures if there is to be symmetry, there must be accuracy
of measurements, and for this there must be a standard. In Scripture
it was the cubit, or ammah, from a word meaning ‘mother.’ It was
the length of the ‘mother-arm,’ the forearm, as the chief and
prominent part of the arm, from the elbow to the tip of the finger:.56
that which is used in all work. It was thus a standard taken from
man, not above him. God’s requirements are absolutely reasonable
and righteous, not going beyond human capacity. And yet how true
it is that not one of the fallen sons of Adam could measure up to
that perfect human standard: ‘all have sinned and come short of the
glory of God.’ But God delighted in man, and even the
measurement of the heavenly city is by the human standard
(

Revelation 21:17). If God is to be in any measure apprehended
by His creatures, it must be, not in that unutterable glory and
infinity which no one knoweth but the Son, but rather in the One
who humbled Himself and was found in fashion as a man. How
amazing! God is manifested in the flesh, and we are invited to
appropriate the standard of measurement (which is in our hands and
by which we have been condemned) to Him, and to see how
perfectly He has measured up to the fullest requirements of God”
(Mr. Ridout).
How profoundly suggestive and significant that in the very unit of
measurement which Jehovah ordered Moses to employ, we are reminded
of our Lord’s incarnation, and that more than a hint is given of His Virgin
birth — the word “cubit” being of the feminine gender, not masculine! He
was and is God, but He became flesh. So the length of the Boards
reiterates and emphasizes the same truth. Ten, as we have seen previously,
is the number which speaks of the Divine measure of human responsibility.
What is here so blessedly foreshadowed, then, is the Son of God become
Man, perfectly glorifying His Father in the place of human accountability.
Beautiful is it to ponder in this connection the closing words of v. 15: “And
thou shalt make boards for the Tabernacle of shittim wood standing up”
What a contrast this points! We are all fallen creatures; not so the perfect
Man, who was “separate from sinners” (

Hebrews 7:26). He was upright
in all His ways. Ten cubits was the height of every board. Each part of
Christ’s life was of an unvarying standard. Nothing was out of proportion.
Looking at each of the ten commandments we cannot say that Christ kept
one more perfectly than the others. Each was fully, constantly, and
consistently obeyed by Him.
“A cubit and a half shall be the breadth of each board.” This is not the first
time that we have had this particular measurement: the Ark was, too, a
cubit and a half in breadth and a cubit and a half in height (

Exodus
25:10); the Mercy-seat was also a cubit and a half in breadth (

25:17)..57
Both the Ark and the Mercy-seat portray the Lord Jesus in the combined
glory of His person as the God-man. Thus the breadth — that which gives
form and character to a thing — reminds us that while these Boards
prefigure our Savior in the place of human responsibility, they also tell us
that it was One who was more than Man who honored and magnified the
Law.
3. — THEIR SOCKETS.
“And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty
boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons and two
sockets under another board for his two tenons” (v. 19).
These forty sockets of silver were for the twenty boards on the south side;
in vv. 20, 21 we find that the same provision was made for the twenty
boards on the north side; while in v. 25 we learn that the eight boards at
the western rear had also two sockets each. Thus there were ninety-six in
all. Each board was maintained in its place by the two tenons or “hands”
which fitted into and were grasped by the silver sockets.
The ninety-six silver “sockets” formed the foundation, and upon them
rested the whole fabric of the tabernacle. This tells us, in language too plain
to be misunderstood, that redemption is the basis on which Christ has
become the meeting-place between the ineffably holy God and His
inherently sinful people. It was only through redemption that the perfect
humanity and Divine glory of Christ could avail us. Had He not “given
Himself a ransom for us,” He must have forever remained alone (

John
12:24). He was in Himself the “true” and “perfect” Tabernacle, but only by
the gift and sacrifice of Himself could He bring us nigh to God. It is
because in the Gospel He is set before our eyes “crucified” (

Galatians
3:1), that Christians have confidence before God. Reconciliation rests upon
redemption by ransom.
It was the preciousness of redemption which was typically expressed in the
“sockets of silver.” This is definitely established by the fact that all the
silver used in connection with the Tabernacle was derived from “the
atonement money” (

Exodus 30:16). As we hope to deal with this more
fully when we come to Exodus 30, a brief summary must here suffice. In

Exodus 30:12 we learn that when Moses took the sum of the number of
Israel that every man was required to give a ransom for his soul. This
ransom consisted of half a shekel (by comparing

Exodus 30:13 with.58

Leviticus 27:3 it will be found that this was a silver coin, in value about
2/6 or 62 cents: the rich might not give more, nor the poor less (v. 15).
Concerning this atonement-money God ordered Moses to “appoint it for
the service of the Tabernacle (v. 16) — a part of this “service” being to
make the silver sockets for its foundations.
It was elsewhere taught Israel that it was the blood “that maketh an
atonement for the soul” (

Leviticus 17:11) — typified by the blood of
animals. The blood of their sacrifices came nearest to exhibiting the mode
of atonement; but in Exodus 30 the silver “atonement-money” proclaimed
the preciousness of Christ’s atonement. The significance of both types may
be seen by noting how the Holy Spirit has set each aside, because the
Reality has been manifested. Just as we are told in the presence of the one
“sacrifice for sins” that it was not possible “that the blood of bulls and
goats should take away sins” (

Hebrews 10:4), so we appreciate the
design of the atonement-silver when, beholding Him in whom is treasured
up all redemption wealth, we read,
“Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold”
(

1 Peter 1:18).
We must not further enlarge on this fascinating topic, but ere passing from
it attention must be called to two most remarkable statements in the Psalms
which plainly anticipated the replacing of the shadows by the Substance. In
Psalm 49 the costliness of redemption is emphasized by affirming that it lies
far beyond the resources of human riches: “They that trust in their wealth,
and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by
any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: For the
redemption of their soul is precious, and it (the type) ceaseth forever” (vv.
6-8). This finds its sequel in

1 Peter 1:18, 19. In Psalm 50 we find
Jehovah saying “I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out
of thy folds,” which finds its sequel in

Hebrews 10:4. Thus Psalm 49
disallows the silver and gold which once pointed to the precious ransom,
while Psalm 50 disallows the sacrificing of bulls and goats which once
foreshadowed the precious blood.
4. — THEIR MEANING.
The relation of the Boards to the Tabernacle, to its holy vessels, and to the
ministrations of the priests therein, supplies the key to their distinctive
significance. Without these Boards there had been no tabernacle to house.59
its furniture and no place for the priests to serve in. Moreover, without
them the beautiful Curtains could not have been displayed. Upon the
golden Boards, held together by the golden bars, resting in their silver
sockets, were sustained all the weight of the Curtains and Coverings. So on
the God-man was hung all the weight of the Divine government and all the
glories of His Father’s house. In Him has been completely realized what
was typified by Eliakim — read carefully

Isaiah 22:20-25. It is this
which brings out the meaning of the other numerals here. There were forty-eight
boards in all and ninty-six sockets: thus we have 6×8 or 4×12 and
12×8. Six is the number of man and eight that of a new order or a fresh
beginning. This would point to Christ as “the Second Man” (

1
Corinthians 15:47), the Head of the new race, the “new man”
(

Ephesians 2:15). Four is the number of earth, and twelve of
governmental perfection: so that 4×12 and 8×12 would suggest the
governmental claims of God vindicated on earth by the Head of the
Church, the “New Man.”
That which is foreshadowed in the Boards is the Person of Christ as what
sustained His work. The massive framework of the golden Boards was to
the Curtains and Coverings, suspended from them, what the poles are to a
tent. “They upheld and sustained the glorious display of the blue, purple,
scarlet, and fine linen cherubim, as also the goats’ hair curtains. Thus what
the Lord Jesus Himself was, and is, viz., Son of God, Son of Man, that He
has made manifest in His life, and above all, in His death on the cross: and
His blessed work there, derives all of its unspeakable value and eternal
efficacy from Himself. It is faith in Him that is salvation: ‘He that believeth
on the Son hath life.’ May there not be a tendency to separate too much
the work of the Lord Jesus from His person? to preach the death of the
blessed Lord without sufficiently preaching also the Lord Himself?
“The boards and bars have the same relation to the Tabernacle
itself, as the truth contained in the first two chapters of the Epistle
to the Hebrews has to the rest of the Epistle. In the first two
chapters, the great foundations of faith are laid. The Lord Jesus
Christ is presented to us as the Son; the brightness of God’s glory,
and the express image of His person; God, the Creator — the
Sustainer of all things. He is also presented to us as the Son of
Man, partaker of flesh and blood in order to die; the Firstborn from
the dead; all things put under Him; anointed above His fellows; not
ashamed to call them brethren. On these great truths respecting.60
Christ, depend all the other great verities connected with the value
of His sacrifice; the glory and power of His priesthood; the eternal
salvation, the eternal redemption, and the eternal inheritance which
are obtained for us by His blood” (Mr. G. Soltau).
5. — THEIR DISTRIBUTION.
Twenty of the acacia Boards, overlaid with gold, were used for the south
side of the Tabernacle (v.18), twenty were used on the north side (v. 20),
two boards were used for the corners of the two sides at the rear; and six
more completed the back (v. 25). Thus the numeral which is most
prominent here is two, one of the scriptural meanings of which is testimony
or witness: “in the month of two or three witnesses the truth shall be
established.” So also when Christ sent forth the disciples to bear testimony
unto Him it was by two and two. Therefore is the second person of the
Godhead called “the faithful and true Witness” (

Revelation 3:14). Thus
have we another hint here of the distinctive significance of our present type
— it is the person of the Lord Jesus with His two natures; Divine and
human.
Separate consideration should be given to the two “corner boards” see vv.
23, 24. It was these which gave increased stability to the whole structure.
“Our thoughts naturally turn to the two occasions on which the
Lord is spoken of in Scripture with reference to the corner;
‘Behold, I lay in Zion, for a foundation, a Stone, a tried Stone, a
precious corner Stone, a sure foundation’ (

Isaiah 28:16). ‘The
Stone, which the builders refused, is become the Head-stone of the
corner.’ (

Psalm 118:22). Here we have presented to us, a
corner-stone as foundation, and a corner-stone crowning the
building: the beginning and the end. The whole strength of the
edifice depending on the firmness of the foundation corner-stone;
and the whole compactness, and knitting together of the building as
one depending on the head-stone of the corner. God laid the
foundation in the death of His Son; He completed the building in
His resurrection. The walls of living stones rest securely on this
Rock of Ages, and are bound everlastingly together on the top-stone.
The corner-boards of the Tabernacle may have some
reference to these blessed truths.” (Mr. G. Soltau)..61
6. — THEIR COUPLINGS.
“Two tenons shall there be on one board, set in order one against another:
thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the Tabernacle” (v. 17). As the
margin informs us, the Hebrew word rendered “tenons” is literally “hands,”
and it is to be regretted that the translators did not use this word in the text
itself. These “hands” grasped the Boards and held them securely in place.
Most beautifully did they prefigure the God-man in His voluntary
humiliation, dependent upon and in subjection to the Father. As the perfect
Servant He was upheld and sustained by the hands of God the Father from
above, the Spirit below ministering to Him. Of old the Spirit of prophecy
cried
“Let Thy hand be upon the Man of Thy right hand, upon the Son of
Man whom Thou madest strong for Thyself” (

Psalm 80:17).
So in one of the Messianic Psalms (see 5:5) we find the dependent One
saying, “My times are in Thy hand” (

Psalm 31:15). Beautiful is it to
hear Him crying from the cross, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My
spirit” (

Luke 23:46). But how blessed to know that He is now seated
on “the right hand of the Majesty on high” (

Hebrews 1:3)! Thus we see,
once more, there is a spiritual significance to the minutest detail in these
Tabernacle types.
7. — THEIR BARS.
These are described in much detail in vv. 26-29, to which we would ask the
reader to turn. The “bars” were employed to unite the Boards together
firmly and solidly.
“Each of the boards terminated, as to the lower extremity, in two
tenons, which were inserted into mortises in two sockets of silver.
The boards were also sustained in their upright position and linked
together by five bars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, which ran
through rings or staples of gold inserted in the boards. The middle
bar of the five ran the whole length of the Tabernacle, uniting all
the twenty boards together; the other four bars, of which two were
placed above, and two below the middle bar, are not described as
running all the length, but perhaps only extended half the distance,
namely, fifteen cubits each. A similiar number of bars coupled the
boards composing the north side, and also the west end of the.62
Tabernacle. On the whole therefore there were forty-eight boards
and fifteen bars” (Mr. Soitau).
The typical meaning of these “bars” is not difficult to perceive, though they
point to that which lies altogether beyond our finite grasp. They served to
give unity to the structure by securely linking the Boards together. The
wooden Boards, overlaid with gold, portrayed the two natures in Christ:
the “bars” pointed to the perfect union between them. Though very God of
very God, and also very Man of very Man, yet is our Savior not two
persons, but one — the God-man. Though totally distinct, yet are His two
natures perfectly and forever joined together, though none of us can say
where nor understand how they meet. How significant, then, that these
very “bars” which united the boards were themselves made of wood
overlaid with gold! May the Spirit of God continue to unfold to us the
glories of our Divine Savior..63
CHAPTER 43
THE VEIL

EXODUS 26:31-33
In our last article we had before us the framework of the Tabernacle
proper. i.e, the holy place and the most holy. Outside of this, as we shall
yet see, D.V., was the court of the Tabernacle, completing its threefold
division. Thus there was really a Tabernacle within a tabernacle. Inside the
framework of the golden-covered boards, ceiled by the lovely curtains sad
their coverings, were the two inner rooms. These were separated by
another curtain, called “the Veil.” It was this which divided the holy place
from the holy of holies. The first compartment would thus be thirty feet by
fifteen, and the innermost, a separate apartment of fifteen feet by fifteen. In
this innermost chamber was Jehovah’s throne upon the ark, where the
Shekinah-glory dwelt between the two cherubim.
In the verses which form the basis of our present study, we find Jehovah
giving instructions to Moses concerning the Veil. He is told of what
material it must be made, the manner of its workmanship, and where and
how to hang it. Its presence before the holy of holies invested it with a
peculiar sanctity and the light from the lampstand shining upon it would
reveal its varied beauties. There it hung for five hundred years before the
eyes of Israel’s priests as they ministered at the table and the golden altar.
It announced, in the language of symbolry, that the way of approach to
God was not then made known. But inasmuch as it was a curtain and not a
wall of stone or metal, there was more than a hint given of its temporary
nature, and that ultimately a way of access would be revealed. Seven things
will now engage our attention: —
1. ITS MATERIAL.
“And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarier, and
fine twined linen of cunning work” (v. 31)..64
Like the ten white curtains which formed the inner ceiling of the
Tabernacle, the Veil was made of linen, on which the beautiful colors were
wrought. But it was not merely linen, but of “fine twined linen;” pointing
to the moral excellency of Him who was foreshadowed. The same thought
is given in the “fine flour” (

Leviticus 2:1), and in the “refined gold”
(

1 Chronicles 28:18) and “refined silver” (

1 Chronicles 29:4) which
was used in the Temple.
The whiteness of the pure linen used in the Veil pointed to the sinless
purity of “the Man Christ Jesus” both in His inward thoughts and desires
and in His outward ways and works. The eye of God, who is light, could
rest upon that Holy One, and find every ray of His own perfect Being
reflected in this lowly but lovely Son of man.
“The fine linen of the Veil seems, then, especially to present to us
‘the Righteous One,’ who in His life of toil and sorrow, and most
especially in His death of shame and suffering, manifested that
unsullied purity, that perfect obedience, and that delight in
accomplishing the will of His Father, whereby He has earned for
Himself a name, which is above every name, the name of Jesus;
‘Who was made sin for us, that we might be made the
righteousness of God in Him’” (Mr. Soltau).
Attention should be called to the words “fine twined linen of cunning
work,” an expression used in connection with the Tabernacle only in the
“linen” and the “breastplate.” As there is nothing meaningless in Scripture
we are assured there is a profound spiritual significance in this detail too. It
tells us that this fabric was skillfully wrought: literally, the Hebrew is: “the
work of a deviser.” Divine wisdom was given for its manufacture and it
was copied from a heavenly pattern: its equal never again being found on
earth. As this “fine twined linen” foreshadowed the humanity of our Savior,
would not the “cunning work” point to the Divine omniscience in devising
for Christ a human nature that was sinless? “A body hast Thou prepared
Me” (

Hebrews 10:5) would give us the anti-type. Gabriel’s words to
Mary betokened the wonder of Immanuel’s birth — see

Luke 1:28-35.
2. ITS COLORS.
“And thou shalt make a veil of blue. and purple, and scarlet, and
fine twined linen of cunning work.”.65
There is one little variation here from what was before us in

26:1. In
connection with the Curtains, the ground-work of “fine twined linen” was
mentioned first, ere the colors are specified; but here in the directions for
the making of the Veil the colors are referred to first. This seems to
intimate that our attention now is to be concentrated more on what was
prefigured by the blue and purple and scarlet rather than on what was
foreshadowed by the linen itself. The colors told of Heaven, the Cross and
the Throne. Probably the colors were used so freely that little of the white
linen would be visible.
3. ITS MEANING.
This is specifially defined for us by the Holy Spirit in

Hebrews 10:19,
20: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the
blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath newly-made for us,
through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.” The Veil, then, spoke of the
humanity of Christ, of the Son of God incarnate. The one side of it was
seen by human eyes, as the Levites ministered in the Sanctuary; the other
side was beheld only by Jehovah. The Veil, therefore, was a fitting type
that Christ incarnate was perfect God and perfect Man. The colors which
were embroidered upon it told of the perfections of His person. Its purpose
was to shut out the priests of Israel from the holy of holies, where Jehovah
had His earthly throne. The object of a veil is to hide. “Come not”
(

Leviticus 16:2) was the warning which it consistently gave forth. Thus
the Veil foreshadowed the moral glories of the Savior, but at the same time
showed, by the very display of such heavenliness of character, how far
fallen man was away from God.
The perfect Manhood of Christ exhibited the only humanity which can
approach unto God, which can live in His presence. which can dwell in the
blazing light of His manifested glory The perfections of the God-man only
served to emphasize the imperfections of fallen man. The flawless life of
Christ made the more evident the awful distance between the thrice holy
God and depraved and guilty sinners.
“The Incarnation of Christ. while it proclaimed God, shuts out man.
Men might admire the beauty of the Veil; as men may today admire
the human character of Christ after the flesh, and the teaching of
His earthly life. But the more perfect we find that humanity, the
greater the evidence that it is totally distinct from man’s. The.66
Incarnation by itself (apart from the redemption which was the
purpose and object of it) neither brings man to God, nor God to
men. True, it was ‘God with us’ just as the Tabernacle was with
men: but, when the symbol of God’s presence was with men, man
could not have access to it. The beautiful Veil was an effectual bar,
and its one and only voice was ‘Come not.’ The life of Christ on
earth was an unceasing proclamation of the fact that only His
humanity was shone upon by and dwelt in the glory of God. The
proclamation of His life ever was: ‘Except ye be holy, sinless,
spotless, perfect, as I am, ye cannot enter into the presence of God.
It was not the object of the Veil to give access to God; for it was
that which prevented it. Even so it was not the perfection of
Christ’s life on earth that brings us into the presence of God” (Dr.
E. W. Bullinger).
Typically, the Veil, in O.T. times, announced that the way in to God’s
presence was not then made manifest. It did not suggest that there was no
way, but simply that the way was not then revealed. Subsequently, we find
that Jehovah gave instructions as to how Israel’s high priests might pass
within the Veil, and that was, by the blood of sacrifice (

Leviticus
16:19). This, too, foreshadowed the coming Substance, yet also bore
testimony to the temporary nature of that dispensation. It announced that
the way for sinful man to go to God was by sacrifice, yet the one Aaron
offered was not that which opened up the real way to God. The Veil unrent
signified that the way into the Holiest was not yet revealed. The sacrifice
by which Aaron went in once a year foreshadowed the perfect Sacrifice,
and his admittance typified the entrance of our Great High Priest into the
Heavenly Sanctuary.
“The Veil still unrent declared that if the way in was by sacrifice,
the true Sacrifice — the one which really opened up the actual way
to the presence of God — had not yet been provided. But if the
unrent Veil signified that the true way was not yet made known, it
also implied it would be made known. Faith, then, using what was a
figure for the time then present, and what had been imposed on
Israel until the time of reformation looked forward to the time of
the revelation of the true Sacrifice and the manifestation of the true
way of approach to God. Turning now to the N.T., we find that
when Christ died as a Sacrifice the Veil of the Temple was rent
from the top to the bottom. This rending of the Veil declared that.67
the true way to God had been made known. The sacrifice of Christ
is the true ground of approach to God. His death, His blood, has
opened up the way to His presence. The rending of the Veil of the
Temple when Christ died, was the sign that the way to God which
faith had been taught to look forward to had been opened up. The
Sacrifice which the yearly sacrifice of Leviticus 16 had pointed
forward to had been made, and the way to God, of which the Veil
was a witness, while declaring it to be unmanifested, was now
revealed” (Mr. C. Crain).
4. ITS CHERUBIM.
“With cherubim shall it be made” (v. 31). The typical significance of the
cherubim here is a double one, accordingly as we view the Veil itself in its
twofold aspect. First, the Veil sets forth the excellencies of Christ’s person
as the incarnate Son of God. In this connection the cherubim would
intimate that no matter whether the Lord Jesus be contemplated as the Man
from Heaven (

1 Corinthians 15:47), yet in it (

John 3:13), even when
on earth (the “blue”); or on the Cross as an expiatory sacrifice (the
“scarlet”); or on the Throne (the “purple”), He carries in His own person
the Judicial authority of the eternal God. Second. the Veil unrent signified
that the perfections of Christ only served to emphasise the truth that sinful
man had no access to God. This solemn fact would be the more
impressively set forth by the cherubim wrought upon it. As the priests
gazed on the Veil, and saw the mystic figures standing out in vivid colors,
would not their thoughts turn at once to what is recorded in

Genesis
3:24? When God banished His rebellious creatures from Eden, He placed
cherubim at the entrance to the Garden. with flaming sword which turned
every way. Here on the Veil these cherubim taught the same lesson; sinful
man, as such, cannot approach the ineffably holy God!
5. ITS POSITION.
“And thou shalt hang up the Veil under the taches… and the veil
shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy”
(v. 33).
The Veil was placed right over the entrance of the holy of holies and thus
effectually shut out those who ministered in the holy place. God dwelt
behind the Veil. Its very location, then. furnished the key to its significance..68
As the Veil sets forth the “flesh” of Christ. we are specifically taught that
His humanity was the veil of the Godhead. God was enveiled, as well as
unveiled, by the Lord Jesus.
“God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”
(

2 Corinthians 5:19).
And most effectively did the unsullied person of the Son of man bar the
sinner’s way unto God This is self evident. If the humanity of Christ is the
standard humanity, if it is the humanity in which alone God will dwell, if it
is the only humanity which can enter the Glory. then the humanity of Christ
is a barrier to the fallen sons of men. So long as Christ walked this earth
He witnessed to the separation of the natural man from God.
“He stood forth as the perfect Man, who alone was fit to appear
before God; the standard weight of the sanctuary. Any one,
weighed against Him. was found wanting. His perfect righteousness
placed in dark shade the uncleanness of all men. The measure of
His stature declared the utter insignificance of all human
attainments. His fullness proved man’s emptiness. The white and
glistening purity of His character, exceeding white as snow. put to
shame the filthiness of all that was born of woman. Thus, the very
display of the Perfect One on earth, showed the impossibility of any
approach to God, unless some way could be devised whereby the
sinner could draw near, clothed in garments unsullied. Man, both
Jew and Gentile, had made it plain that he was by nature a sinner,
and had come short of the glory of God; and the presence amongst
men, of One who was fit for that glory, only rendered the
melancholy fact the more apparent. The Veil, as it hung on its
golden pillars, precluded entrance into the holiest: the ark and the
mercy-seat were hidden, instead of being laid open to public gaze”
(Mr. G. Soltau).
6. ITS SUPPORTS.
“And thou shalt hang it on four pillars of shittim wood overlaid
with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of
silver” (v. 32).
The “pillars” of wood and gold, symbolized once more, the two natures in
the God-man. They intimated that everything in redemption depended upon.69
the person of Christ. Unless He had become Man, it had been impossible
for Him to die; unless He had been more than Man, His sacrifice could not
have availed. But being both God and Man He was fully competent to
make propitation for the sins of His people. The whole value of His work
accrues from the peerless excellency of His person. That these “pillars”
were four in number, shows it is Christ on earth which was contemplated.
It is to be carefully noted that these “four pillars” were without the “fillets”
and “chapiters” which adorned the five pillars at the door of the Tabernacle
(

36:38): thus they lacked the architectural completeness of a pillar.
Their abrupt termination pointed to the Savior “cut off” in the midst of His
days” (

Isaiah 53:8;

Psalm 102:23, 24).
But the “four pillars” were for another purpose: they served to display the
Veil in all its beauty. Between them the Veil was stretched out. Without
them, the Veil had hung in folds, and the loveliness of its embroidered
designs would not have appeared. The Veil spoke of God the Son
incarnate. Now the antitype of this is clearly before us in the opening books
of the N.T. It is in the four Gospels that the glories of the God-man are
revealed to our eyes. They accomplish exactly the same design as did the
“four pillars.” In them we have spread out, as it were, the lovely antitypical
Veil. There, too, we behold the “cunning work” of the Divine Designer,
blending together the varied perfections of our blessed Lord, yet severally
presenting Him as the Son of David, the flawless Servant, the Son of man,
and the Son of God.
“Their hooks shall be of gold”: not wooden hooks overlaid, but of solid
gold. This is very beautiful. In connection with the ephod of the high priest
we are told,
“He made the ephod of gold, blue and purple, and scarlet, and fine
twined linen. And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it
into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the
scarlet, and in the fine linen” (

39:2, 3).
And, as we shall yet see, D.V., golden-strands were also woven into other
articles. But there were none in the fabric of the Veil. No wires of gold
were mingled with the fine linen, which formed the basis of its structure.
This could not be for their presence would have implied that His humanity
was commingled with His Deity, which was not the case. Though Deity
and humanity were perfectly united in one Person, yet they are not
confounded. Nevertheless, the Veil was held by “golden hooks” from.70
above, thus signifying the Son of man was, throughout His earthly course,
sustained and supported from on High!
“Upon the four sockets of silver.” It was in them that the “four pillars”
securely rested. As we saw in our last article, the “silver” was provided by
the “atonement-money.” How significant then is this detail of our type! The
“sockets” conduct us to the foundation, and point to the redemptive-work
of Christ on the cross. In perfect accord with this we may note that in

Hebrews 10:19, 20 the “blood of Jesus” and “the Veil” are brought
together. God will never have it forgotten that the Cross is the basis of all
blessing.
7. ITS RENDING.
The Veil unrent shut man out from God. It spoke of separation from Him
because of sin. Between the priests and Jehovah stood this Veil. Between
the ordinary worshipper in the outer court and Jehovah was a double
partition, for he had no access into the holy place; while between the one
outside the court was a threefold barrier between him and Jehovah! The
whole ritual of Israel’s worship emphasized the distance between God and
the creature. Bounds were set about Sinai, so that not even a beast must
touch it. One Tribe alone was permitted to encamp, immediately, around
the Tabernacle: one family alone of that Tribe was singled out and allowed
to enter the holy place: and one man alone of that family had access into
the holiest, and that, only once a year, and with such awe-inspiring
preparations and ceremonies as must have filled him with fear lest he
should incur the judgment of the Most High. Yet, as previously intimated,
God did, even then, give a hint, that a way would be made for sinners to
approach Him. In

Leviticus 4:6 we learn that the priest was commanded
to take of the blood of the sin-offering and sprinkle it seven times before
the Lord, before the Veil of the sanctuary”! Clearer still was what was
foreshadowed by the ritual of the Day of Atonement, when the high priest
passed within the Veil (

Leviticus 16:15). The antitype of this is found in

Hebrews 4:14; 6:19; 9:12. Christ has passed into Heaven itself, and
what is more, He has opened up a way for us to enter too —

Hebrews
10:19, 20. But this was consequent upon His death.
“It was not the beauty of the veil which made entrance possible, but
the sprinkling of atoning blood before it! That beauty might be
admired by the worshipper: he might sing hymns in its praise, and.71
give all sorts of sentimental and endearing names to it. He might
use all kinds of poetical language in describing it; he might even
copy it, and produce similiar patterns of embroidery, or schemes of
colors; but there was only one way of passing to the other side of
it, and of standing alive in the presence of God’s glory; and that
was by sprinkling the blood before it, and taking the blood of the
victim beyond it. This blood told of substitution, and acknowledged
that he who entered did so as a sinner, who had died, and suffered
the wages of sin. By no other means could he stand on the other
side of that veil and live.
“The great antitypical lesson for us all is, that it is not by the
beautiful life of Christ that we can enter into the presence of God.
It is not by any ‘imitation of Christ,’ not by the observance of any
Rules for Daily Living, not by leading a religious and devout life,
that we can pass beyond that veil. To attempt it is to confess our
ignorance of the very first letter of the Christian’s alphabet; and it is
to own that we are destitute of the first fundamental lesson of the
Christian’s life. It is only when the precious blood of that perfect
humanity of Christ had been shed that it avails us as our title to
enter God’s presence. This is why, in

1 John 1:7, when speaking
of our entrance into ‘the light of God’s presence, and walking
therein, that we are at once reminded of that Blood, which alone
gives us our title to enter, and preserves us alive when we have
entered into that Presence. ‘God is light…. If we walk in the light as
He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the
blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin;’ It is here,
in this connection, that the cleansing-power of the blood is
mentioned; not in connection with our sin or sinning.
“When it is a case of sin, then it is that we are reminded, not of the
atoning blood of Christ, but of our Advocate with the Father; Then
it is that we are simply assured of two facts: — (1) that relationship
is not broken; God is still our Father; and (2) that Christ is our all-sufficient
propitiation (

1 John 2:1). But it is in connection with
approaching to and walking in the light of God’s presence within
the veil that we are reminded of the blood which must first be
sprinkled before we can have either admission to Him, or
preservation when there (

1 John 1:7). Hence it is not the life
which Christ lived in His spotless humanity (still less our own.72
imperfect copy of it) that gives us liberty to enter, but only when
that humanity had been stained by His own blood of atonement.
Then it is that we have ‘boldness to enter into the Holiest, by the
blood of Jesus, by a newly-slain and living way, which He hath
newly-made (or opened) for us, through the veil, that is to say, His
flesh’

Hebrews 10:19, 20” (Dr. B. W. Bullinger).
The historical reference to what is referred to in Hebrews 10 is given us in
the Gospels. There we learn that simultaneous with the death of Christ the
veil was rent. (

Matthew 27:45-52.) There are some remarkable
resemblances between the shadow and the Substance.
First, the veil was rent while hanging between heaven and earth: so Christ
was smitten while suspended from the Cross.
Second, the veil was rent in twain from the top. this showed it was down
by the same Hand as had fallen so heavily on the suffering Substitute —
see

Psalm 38:2;

42:7;

88:6, 7;

Isaiah 53:10;

Zechariah
13:7. This is the only type where God Himself represented by His own act
that it was His hand which smote the Lord Jesus!]
Third, it was rent “from the top to the bottom” — not an inch of it was
left untorn: so the atoning work of Calvary was a complete one, nothing
being left for the sinner to do or add.
Fourth, it was rent “in the midst” (

Luke 23:45), and thus the Mercy-seat
in the center of the holy of holies would be fully revealed: so the
believing sinner is not asked to approach God in any roundabout way, or
through a side entrance, but has direct access to the Father through the
Son. The rending of the veil in the midst, would be such that all within the
temple would see it: so the death of Christ was not in a corner, but public
and before many eyewitnesses.
Fifth, the veil was rent the moment that Christ died (

Matthew 27:50),
showing that the barrier between God and the contrite sinner was gone.
Sixth, as soon as the veil was rent it was changed from a barrier to a
gateway: the moment Christ died a “newly-slain and living way” was
opened for sinners to God. Seventh, it is deeply significant that the Holy
Spirit has linked together the rending of the veil with the opening of the
graves (

Matthew 27:51, 52), though in time the latter did not occur till
after Christ’s resurrection. Does not this tell us that, full atonement having.73
been made by Him, a way has been made from the deepest depths into
which sin had plunged us, into the highest heaven where grace has placed
us!
The purpose of God has now been accomplished. The Corn of wheat,
having fallen into the ground and died, now bringeth forth much fruit
(

John 12:24). The Blood has been shed, the Sacrifice has been offered,
the Veil has been rent; and Christ, an the Forerunner of His people, has
passed into the Holiest. We then may draw near. Because Christ received
the wages of sin which were due us, we share the reward which was due
Him. We may boldly enter in. By faith we have unhindered access into the
Heavenly Sanctuary. Every barrier haying been removed, the believing
worshipper may, with perfect liberty, draw near to the Throne of Grace.
Then
“let us draw near, with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having
our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (

Hebrews 10:22)..74
CHAPTER 44
THE TABERNACLE DOOR

EXODUS 26:36-37
One important principle which must be observed if the Word of God is to
be intelligently studied, is noting carefully the order in which truth is there
presented to us. God is a God of order, and infallible wisdom marks all His
handiwork; yet His order is often different from ours. In the Scriptures the
Holy Spirit frequently ignores the sequence of events and places side by
side things which did not immediately follow each other in time. The books
of the Bible are not always placed in their historical order: Job takes us
back to a period long before the Israelites settled in Canaan. The Psalms
and the Proverbs were written centuries before the events described in
Nehemiah and Esther. So it is with many of the smaller details in the diher-ent
books. Take the following as examples. The opening of the graves and
the coming forth of many of the saints is mentioned right after the Savior’s
death and rending of the Temple’s veil (

Matthew 27:51-52), yet, as a
matter of fact, these occurred after the resurrection of Christ. So in Luke
23.45 the rending of the veil is recorded before the Lord committed His
spirit into the hands of the Father.
The arrangement followed by the Holy Spirit varied according to His
several designs. Sometimes the chronological order is departed from for a
dispensational reason: sometimes details are arranged so as to present a
climax: sometimes the order is a moral one: at others, things are placed in
juxtaposition to show the relation between cause and effect. Notably is that
the case in

Matthew 27:51-53: the opening of the graves there attested
the efficacy of the Savior’s death and shows it is the ground of the saints’
walk in newness of life. Sometimes the design of the Spirit is to point a
contrast: such is the case in

Luke 23:45. There He has linked together
the three hours of darkness and the rending of the Veil: in the former we
have Christ shut out from God, in the latter the way is now opened for us
into the presence of Him who is Light!.75
The student of Scripture loses much when he fails to diligently bear in mind
this principle. Strikingly is it exemplified in connection with the Tabernacle.
It is not always easy to discern the Divine plan, and much prayerful
meditation is required to discover the perfections of every detail. That
which we are now to contemplate is the Entrance into the Tabernacle, and
what we would here particularly take notice of is that this “Door” is
mentioned immediately after the description of the Veil. Doubtless there is
more than one reason for this; but that which is almost apparent on the
surface is that the one points a striking contrast from the other, and the
details connected with each bear this out. The Veil had “cherubim”
embroidered upon it. the Door had not: the Veil was suspended from four
pillars, the hanging for the Door from five: the former had no “chapiters,”
the latter had; the sockets of the former were made of silver, the latter
were of brass. But the outstanding difference between them was this: the
Veil was to shut out, whereas the Door was to give admittance: the Veil
barred the way into the Holiest, the “hanging” was for the constant
entrance of the priests into the Holy Place. Let us now consider: —
1. ITS LOCATION.
The Door into God’s dwelling-place was no narrow one, but stretched
right across the whole of its length, and was ten cubits (fifteen feet) in
height. Some of the commentators are in error here through confounding
the Door of the Tabernacle (

26:36) with the Gate of the Court
(

27:16). It is important that the student should clearly distinguish
between them, for they typically set forth two entirely different lines of
truth.
The Door into the Tabernacle spanned the whole of the eastern side. Most
significant and most fitting was this, for the east is the quarter of the sun-rising.
It is in the east that we discover the evidences of the ending of night
and the dawning of another day. Thus a further contrast is here presented.
In

Genesis 3:24 we read that the Lord God “drove out the man, and he
placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword
which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” There,
through his sin, man was in the darkness, and in consequence, banished
from that place where God had communed with him; and at the east was
stationed a flaming barrier. But here, where sin had been typically put
away, the priestly family walking in the light, found a door on the eastern
side of the Tabernacle which admitted them into Jehovah’s dwelling-place!.76
2. ITS MATERIAL.
“And thou shall make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue,
and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with
needlework” (v. 36).
The fabric of this hanging for the Door was of the same goods and of the
same fine quality that composed the Curtains and the Veil. Fine twined
linen formed its basis. It was only as the Son of God became incarnate that
the true dwelling-place for Deity on earth was provided. But, as shown in
the last article, the Incarnation, though bringing God down to men, did not
of itself give men access to God — for that the Veil must be rent, death
must come in. Here, too, in the entrance to the Tabernacle, we are shown
that it is only through the Man Christ Jesus that God could be approached
unto.
There is one added word here in connection with the fine twined linen
which claims our notice: it was “wrought with needlework.” This was not
said in connection with the Curtains or Veil, and is only mentioned
elsewhere in the description of the Gate in the outer Court (v.

27:16)
and the Girdle of the high priest (v.

28:39). We may add that the
Hebrew word here for “needlework” is, in

Exodus 35:35, rendered “the
work of the embroiderer,” in

1 Chronicles 29:2 and

Ezekiel 17:3,
“divers colors,” and in

Psalm 139:15 “curiously wrought.” Combining
these slightly varied meanings, the term would denote minutely variegated.
Thus, it appears, that the Holy Spirit here intimates that attention should be
fixed upon the manner in which the different colors were wrought into and
interwoven with the fine linen.
3. ITS COLORS.
The “blue” points to Christ as the Heavenly One, the Son of God; the
“scarlet” refers to Him as the Son of man — suffering in the past, glorified
on earth in a coming day. The “purple” speaks, distinctively, of the
kingship of Christ, but also points to the wonderful union between His
Deity and His humanity. The mention of the “blue, and purple, and
scarlet,” is repeated no less than twenty-four times in connection with the
Tabernacle’s accessories and priesthood, yet never once is the order varied.
This suggests an important truth and lesson in connection with their
arrangement. So beautifully has this been brought out by another in a book.77
long-since out of print, we transcribe freely from its most helpful
interpretation: —
“If we are to place the blue and the scarlet side by side, without the
intervention of some other color, the eye would be offended with
the violent contrast; for, though each is beautiful in itself, and
suitable to its own sphere, yet there is such a distinction, we might
almost say opposition, in their hues, as to render them
inharmonious if seen in immediate contact. The purple interposing
remedies this unpleasing effect: the eye passes with ease from the
blue to the scarlet, and vice versa, by the aid of this blended color,
the purple. The blue gradually shades off into its opposite, the
scarlet; and the gorgeousness of the latter is softened by
imperceptible degrees into the blue. The purple is a new color
formed by mingling the two: it owes its peculiar beauty alike to
both; and were the due proportion of either absent, its especial
character would be lost.
“The scarlet and the blue are never placed in juxtaposition
throughout the fabrics of the Tabernacle. Does not this intimate a
truth of an important character? Would the Spirit of God have so
constantly adhered to this arrangement had there not been some
significant reason for it? Are we not hereby taught a very precious
fact respecting the Lord Jesus? He is God and Man; and we can
trace in the Gospels all the fullness of the Godhead, as well as the
dignity and sympathy of the perfect Man. But besides this, in His
thoughts, feelings, ways, words, and actions, there is an invariable
blending of the two… In contemplating Christ it is well to
remember that the first syllable of His name, as given in

Isaiah
9:6 is ‘Wonderful’: and part of this marvel is, that in Him are
combined the deep thoughts and counsels of God, with the feelings
and affections of man.
“Three instances are recorded in the Gospels of the dead being
raised to life by Christ: Jairus’s daughter, the widow of Nain’s son,
and Lazarus of Bethany. Together they afford us a complete display
of His mighty power: for, in the first case, death had only just
seized its victim; in the second, the sorrowing mother was on her
way to commit the body of her only son to the grave; in the third,
the corpse had already been deposited sometime, and had become.78
corrupt in the tomb. In each of these scenes the three colors may be
traced. We can have no hesitation in recognizing the blue in the
manifestation of the love of God, when. His blessed Son at the
entreaty of the sorrowful father, went to the house to heal the dying
child. On the way, the message came, ‘Thy daughter is dead, why
troublest thou the Master any further?’ Little did they, who spoke
these words, understand who the Master was: or the depths of
trouble in which He would be overwhelmed, in order that the dead
might live. They knew not that God was present with them,
manifest in the flesh: but He at once stilled the fear of the damsel’s
father; thus doing what none but God could do — commanding
peace into his bosom in the very presence of death! Again, the
voice of the Mighty God sounds forth to hush the boisterous grief
of those who have no hope, saying, ‘Weep not: the damsel is not
dead, but sleepeth’. But they perceived not who it was that thus
spoke. Death was to them a familiar sight; they knew its palor; but
they laughed Christ to scorn; ought not the believer to exactly
reverse this? In the presence of the Lord, he may well laugh death
to scorn. Lastly; were not the power and the grace of the One from
Heaven now known, when He spake those words — ‘Damsel, I say
unto thee, arise’!
“Let us now turn to the scarlet in this beautiful picture. Who but
the Son of man would have pursued the path of kindness and
sympathy, notwithstanding the rude scoffs with which His ready
love was met? and who but One that knew what hunger and
exhaustion were, would have added to this mighty miracle the
command, ‘Give her something to eat’? And does not this also
exhibit to us the purple? With sympathy and love for the child,
deeper than the mother’s, and yet presented in the scene as one
who was Lord in it and above it; He can call the dead to life and at
the same moment enter into the minutest want of the little maid.
The mere human beings who were present, even the very parents,
were so over-powered with what they had witnessed, and with the
joy of receiving the dead one back to life, that their human
sympathies failed. None but God could thus have abolished death;
and none but He who was God and Man, could have so combined
power, majesty, grace, sympathy and tenderest care!.79
“The next instance, already alluded to, depicts in few but full
sentences, the same lovely colors. Unsolicited, the Son of God
went to the city where He knew the stroke of death had fallen, and
had inflicted another wound upon another heart already stricken
with grief. He timed His visit so as to meet, at the gate, the
mournful procession, bearing to the grave the only son of a
widowed mother. If any hope of God’s intervention had at one time
cheered her, whilst she watched her dying child, all such hope must
now have fled. A little interval only remained and the earth would
close over her lost son. But attracted by the very extremity of the
case, He, who declared the Father (

John 1:18), drew nigh. With
the authority of God, He touched the bier, and arrested the bearers
in their progress to the tomb. Struck by a sudden consciousness
that they were in the presence of One who had a right to stop them
on their way, they stood still. They did not, like the attendants on
the dead in former case, laugh Him to scorn; and, therefore, they
had the blessing of witnessing His mighty act. He commanded the
young man to arise from the bier, as He ordered the child to rise
from her bed; and in like manner, He was obeyed: ‘He that was
dead sat up, and began to speak.’ Here, then, the heavenly color
was evident, so that even they that looked on said, ‘God hath
visited His people’. But the heart of Christ was occupied with the
mother as well as the child. As the voice of the risen youth reached
His ear, He knew how the widow felt, as she heard it. Himself
undisturbed by the exercise of His life-giving power, yet fully
occupied in sympathy and grace with the yearning of the mother to
embrace her son, and thus to assure herself of the reality, which
even the evidence of her eyes and ears could scarcely credit, He
gave completeness to the scene by delivering him to his mother.
Here was the perfection of human sensibility, such as no man could
have exhibited in such circumstances, unless that man were also
God.
“But perhaps the most complete manifestation of ‘the Word made
flesh,’ is to be found in John 11, if we except, as we always must
do, the Cross, where all was marvelously concentrated. It seemed
to the sisters as if the Lord had strangely disregarded their urgent
message: for He still abode at a distance, and allowed not only
death to bereave them of their brother, but the grave to close upon.80
his remains, His very reply to their announcement (‘Lord, he whom
Thou lovest, is sick’) contained in it a paradox which they were
unable to comprehend, and which the subsequent circumstances
apparently falsified; for, His answer was ‘This sickness is not unto
death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be
glorified thereby.’ And yet He tarried till death had, for four days,
retained its victim. Thus, love and truth in Him who is Love, and
who is the Truth, for a while appeared to have failed; but in reality
the glory of God was the more to shine forth in His Beloved.
“What mingled feelings occupied the heart of Christ, when, seeing
the grief of Mary, and of those around, He groaned in the spirit,
and was troubled! He grieved over their unbelief and ignorance or
Himself; and yet He wept in sympathy with them, and sorrowed for
the very sorrow which His presence might have prevented. Who
could have shed tears in such circumstances but Christ? Had a mere
man been gifted by God with the power to raise the dead, he would
be so eager to exhibit that mighty power, ann thereby still the
mourners’ grief, that he would be unable to weep whilst on the way
to the grave. He must be more than man who could display what
man in perfection is. The tears of Jesus are precious, because they
are those of true human feeling: but they are most precious because
they flow from the heart of Him who is the Mighty God. And,
when those tears plenteously fell from His eyes, all questions as to
His love were at an end; and even the Jews exclaimed, ‘Behold,
how He loved him!’
“As with authority He had touched the bier, so now He
commanded that the stone should be removed. But Martha
interposed her objection and though she owned Christ as Lord, and
had heard from His lips the wondrous words, ‘I am the
Resurrection and the Life,’ yet she believed not that there could be
a remedy for one who had already seen corruption. It was then that
Jesus reminded her of the message He had returned when they sent
to inform Him of Lazarus’s sickness — that it should not be unto
death, by answering, ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldst
believe, thou shalt see the glory of God? God’s glory was ever His
object: and to accomplish that He had been content to bear the
questioning of those near to Him. who could not understand why
He had not at once come to their aid..81
“The sepulcher was now laid open; and Jesus lifted up His eyes
from that receptacle of death to the Heaven above, resting His
spirit in the bosom of His Father, and audibly expressing His
dependence on Him, before He cried with a voice of almighty
power, ‘Lazarus, come forth’. What a wondrous blending was here
of subjection and authority, of obedience and command, of ‘the
open ear,’ and of the great ‘I am’! The dead, hearing the voice of
the Son of God, came forth. The corrupt corpse stepped out in life.
What a moment of astonishment and delight must that have been to
the sisters, as well as to their brother! But here again the Lord
alone entered into the minutest details of this astonishing act of
power. He saw, or rather felt (for He loved Lazarus), that His
friend was still encumbered with the relics of the grave; and he left
it not till others awoke from their surprises, to perceive the clothes
that bound and troubled the risen one, but gave another command,
‘Loose him, and let him go.’” (Mr. G. Soltau.)
4. ITS MEANING.
The “hanging for the door” shut off the court of the Tabernacle from the
holy place, yet also formed the entrance to it. It was that which gave the
priests access to accomplish their service within. It spoke, then, of the
Christian’s worship and works being acceptable to God through the Lord
Jesus Christ. Apart from the Mediator even the saints can offer nothing
which the great and holy God will receive. We give thanks unto the Father
“in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (

Ephesians 5:20). It is “by Him”
we are to continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise (

Hebrews
13:15). Our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God only “by Jesus
Christ” (

1 Peter 2:12). In our ministry, God is to be glorified in all
things, “through Jesus Christ” (

1 Peter 4:11). It is striking to note that
the “cherubim” are absent from the Door-hanging. They view the Son of
man in His judicial character. Whereas, in the “hanging” He is presented in
grace to those that were without, as the Way into the privileges of priests.
5. ITS PILLARS.
“And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood,
and overlay them with gold” (v. 37)..82
The number of the “pillars” confirms what has just been said above
respecting the significant omission of the “cherubim” from the “hanging”:
for five is the number of grace. These pillars served to support the
“hanging” and also to display its beautiful colors. Their materials intimate
that it is the God-man, in wondrous grace through whom entrance is given
into the sphere of priestly privileges. And where is it, in Scripture, that we
have these distinctively set forth? Not in the Prophets, nor in the Gospels,
but in the N.T. Epistles. And is it not something more than a curious
coincidence that the Epistle-writers were just five in number? Just as the
Veil was stretched between four pillars, corresponding to the four Gospels;
so the Entrance-curtain into the place of worship hung between five pillars,
anticipating the ministry of Paul and Peter, James, John and Jude — note
how this very term “pillars” is expressly applied to them in

Galatians
2:9!
6. ITS CHAPITERS.
“And the five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their
chapiters and their fillets with gold” (

36:38).
This was in striking contrast from the “pillars” which supported the Veil,
for they had none — foreshadowing Christ as the One “cut off” in the
midst of His days. But here, as giving access to the antitypical priestly
family into the place of worship and service, Christ is pointed to as the One
who is “crowned with glory and honor”! And this is the very viewpoint
taken in all the Epistles: their writers proceed on the basis of Christ being
at the right hand of God!
7. ITS SOCKETS.
“And thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them” (v. 37). These formed
the foundation for the “pillars” and speak therefore, of redemption.
“Brass,” when used symbolically, always prefigured the capability of the
Savior to “endure the cross.” Thus is the worshipper reminded once more,
that Christ is the Door by reason of His sufferings in death. May the Spirit
of God ever keep before us the tremendous price which was paid to enable
the redeeemed to come before God with sacrifices of praise and
thanksgiving..83
CHAPTER 45
THE BRAZEN ALTAR

EXODUS 27:1-8
In Exodus 25 and 26 we have had before us the vessels that occupied and
the materials which composed the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place. Here
in chapter 27, we are conducted to the Outer Court. But there is one
notable omission: the golden or incense altar, which stood in the Holy
Place, has not been mentioned, nor is it referred to till the thirtieth chapter
is reached. The reason for this we shall, D.V., endeavor to indicate when
we come to that chapter. Suffice it now to say that the golden altar
“is not spoken of until there is a priest to burn incense thereon, for
Jehovah showed Moses the patterns of things in the heavens
according to the order in which these things are apprehended by
faith” (C.H.M.).
The Brazen-altar, which we are now to contemplate, was the biggest of the
Tabernacle’s seven pieces of furniture. It was almost large enough to hold
all the other vessels. Its size indicated its importance. It was placed “before
the door” (

Exodus 40:6), just inside the Outer Court (

40:33), and
would thus be the first object to meet the eye of the worshipper as he
entered the Tent of the congregation. It is designated “the brazen altar”
(

38:30), to distinguish it from the golden altar. It was also called “the
altar of burnt offering” (

30:28).
The Brazen-altar was the basis of the Levitical system. To it the sinner
came with his Divinely-appointed victim. There was a fire continually
burning upon it (

Leviticus 6:13), and the daily sacrifice was renewed
each morning. There it stood: ever smoking, ever blood-stained, ever open
to any guilty Hebrew that might wish to approach it. The sinner, having
forfeited his life by sin, another life — an innocent one — must be given in
his stead. When the Israelite brought his offering, before killing it he laid
his hand on the animal’s head, thus becoming identified with it, and thereby
the acceptableness of the flawless victim passed to him, while his sin is.84
transferred to it. So, too, this Altar stood in the path of the priests, as they
went in to minister within the Holy Place. At this Altar the high priest
officiated on the great day of atonement (Leviticus 16). Seven things
concerning it will now engage our attention: —
1. ITS POSITION.
The Brazen-altar was not placed outside the Gate, but just within the Court
(

40:33): thus it would be the first object encountered as the Israelite
entered the sacred precints. Herein we may admire the accuracy of the
type, and, too, discover in this detail a refutation of much which now
passes for sound Gospel-preaching. The New Testament does not teach
universal salvation, nor does it represent the sacrifice of Christ as offered
for all mankind; rather was it designed for those who believe. The Old
Testament types are in perfect accord with this. No lamb was provided for
the Egyptians on that night when the angel of death smote the firstborn. On
the day of atonement the high priest confessed over the head of the
scapegoat only the sins of Israel (

Leviticus 16:21). So in our present
type: the Altar was provided for none save the Chosen People. Had it been
designed for the wilderness-tribes also, it had been placed outside the
Tabernacle’s court; but it was not!
Within the Court, the Altar was placed facing the Door into the Tabernacle
proper. It was there that Jehovah met with His people (

Exodus 29:11;
33:9;

Leviticus 15:14). As a matter of fact the Laver stood between the
Altar and the Door, yet so vital is the connection of that which spoke of
Divine judgment with that which gave entrance into the Divine presence,
that in several scriptures nothing is said of the Laver coming in between the
two (see 40:6, etc.). How forcibly this tells us of the intimate relation
between sacrifice and access to God! The Tabernacle could not be entered
till one had first passed the Altar. Blood-shedding is the basis of approach
to God.
2. ITS MATERIALS.
“And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood… and thou shalt
overlay it with brass” (vv. 1, 2).
Excepting the “taches” for the Curtains (

26:11), and the “sockets” for
the “pillars” of the Door (

26:36), this is the first time we have had
“brass” before us. in the former cases the “brass” would be invisible. Those.85
who entered within the inner compartments would see nothing but a
dazzling display of gold, and the lovely tints of the inner Curtains, and the
Veil. But here in the Outer Court naught but brass met the eye. There is
some doubt as to the precise nature of this metal. So far as we can now
ascertain, the ancients had no knowledge of “brass” (which is a mixture of
copper and zinc), the Romans being the first to use it. Therefore some
students prefer to render the Hebrew word “copper,” others think it may
have been bronze that was used (a mixture of copper and tin). However,
we shall continue speaking of it as “brass.”
The symbolical import of “brass” in Scripture is as definitely defined as is
that of gold and silver. As gold speaks of glory and silver of redemption,
so brass signifies judgment. This may be gathered from the connections in
which it is found. The serpent (reminder of the one who was responsible
for the bringing in of the “curse”) which Moses was ordered to make and
affix to the pole, was made of brass (

Numbers 21:9). When Jehovah
made known the sore judgments which would come upon Israel for their
disobedience (see the whole of Deuteronomy 28), among other things He
threatened, “and thy heaven that is above thy head shall be brass (v. 23).
When describing the millennial blessedness of Israel, following their long
alienation from God, the promise given is “for brass I will bring gold”
(

Isaiah 60:17), i.e., judgment shall give place to glory. When Christ
appears in judicial character. inspecting His churches, pronouncing
sentence upon them, we read that “His feet (were) like unto fine brass as if
they burned in a furnace” (

Revelation 1:15).
Many are the references to “brass” in the Old Testament, but it is invariably
found in an evil association. The first time that it is mentioned is in
connection with the descendants of Cain (

Genesis 4:22)! Samson was
bound with “fetters of brass” (

Judges 16:21); so, too, was Zedekiah
(

2 Kings 5:27). Goliath’s helmet and armor were of “brass” (

1
Samuel 17:5, 6). Saul’s armor was of the same material, but David
disdained it (

1 Samuel 17:38). In delivering His people from the prison-house
in which sin had placed them. the Lord says,
“He hath broken the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in
sunder” (

Psalm 107:16).
When remonstrating with His wayward and rebellious people, God said,.86
“I know that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and
thy brow brass” (

Isaiah 48:4).
“The acacia wood, of which it was made, need occupy us but
briefly, as we have already learned its meaning. It speaks of the
incorruptible, sinless humanity of our Lord, and therefore not
subject to death. How fitting, then, that it should be connected with
the constant witness of death — the altar. Our Lord need not die,
therefore He could ‘lay down’ His life! On all others, judgment had
a claim; none, therefore, could make atonement even for
themselves, much less for others. We see then our Lord as ‘the
Altar that sancti-fieth the gift’ (

Matthew 23:19). But how
necessary was this humanity if there was to be an atonement. The
very word for altar is connected with ‘slaughter’ — the shedding of
blood. Therefore the one who was to be the true altar must be
capable of dying, and at the same time One upon whom death had
no claim” (Mr. S. Ridout).
The wooden boards, overlaid with brass, tell us that the Altar points to the
capability of the Sin-bearer to endure the judgment of God. The incarnate
Son was no feeble Savior: “I have laid help upon One that is mighty”
(

Psalm 89:19) was Jehovah’s witness of old. The shittim wood spoke of
the humanity of the Redeemer; the brass of which it was overlaid told of
His power to “endure the Cross.”
3. ITS MEANING.
This is the easiest to interpret of all the holy vessels. Being the place where
sacrifice was offered to God, it spoke, unmistakably, of the Cross of
Christ. It pointed to the most solemn aspect of Calvary. The Lord Jesus
was the Antitype of both the altar and its sacrifice, as also of the priests
who there officiated. That which is distinct in our present type is what is
set forth by the brass. This is the hardest of all metals, possessing a greater
resistance to fire than gold or silver: in

Deuteronomy 33:25 and in

Jeremiah 1:18 “brass” is used as the symbol of ability to endure. Our
Savior was the true Brazen-altar, possessed of that power of enduring, in
its awful intensity, the fires of God’s holiness. He only could endure the
Cross. He only could, stand, unconsumed, under the storm of Divine
judgment. As the brass plates on the Altar protected it from the fervent
heat and prevented it from being burnt up, so, Christ passed through the.87
fires of God’s wrath without being consumed. He is mighty to save,
because He was mighty to endure.
As we have shown above, “brass” in Scripture symbolizes judgment. Hence
we see the solemn propriety of Moses being instructed to make “a serpent
of brass” to place upon the pole. Many have wondered how it was
possible for the Holy One of God to be represented by a “serpent” —
surely that was the last of all objects suited to portray Him who is fairer
than the children of men! But no mistake was made. As a fact, the
“serpent” was the only similitude of all created things which could suitably
picture that particular aspect of the Redeemer’s death which was there
foreshadowed. The “serpent” was the reminder of the “curse” (Genesis 3),
and in

Galatians 3:13 we are expressly told that Christ was “made a
curse” for His people. It was because that uplifted object, presented to the
eyes of the bitten Israelites, pointed forward to the Lord Jesus as “made a
curse,” that it was designed in the form of a serpent. For the same reason,
that serpent was made not of silver or gold, but of brass. As made a curse
for us, the judgment of God descended upon Christ, and the sword of
Divine justice smote Him (

Zechariah 13:7).
It was at the Brazen-altar that the holiness and righteousness of God were
displayed: His hatred of sin, and His justice in punishing it. Have you ever
considered the holiness of God, dear reader, and how that your sins have
unfitted you to come before Him? When Isaiah, the best man in all Israel of
his day, was brought into God’s presence, and saw the unsullied purity of
His person, and beheld the seraphim (who had never come into contact
with defilement of any kind) veil their faces with their wings and cry,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts,” there was wrung from his heart that
word,
“Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips,
and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (

Isaiah 6:5).
When he saw the holiness of God, the righteousness of His throne, the
profound reverence of the heavenly intelligences, on the one hand; and on
the other, his own sinfulness and the iniquities of the people among whom
he lived; he saw also the awful distance there was between his soul and
God, and he cried, “Woe is me!”
As another has pointed out,.88
“In the preceding chapter Isaiah had pronounced six woes on six
different classes in Israel; but when brought into the Lord’s
presence, he pronounced the seventh upon himself. His neighbor’s
sin troubled him no more, but his own did. These must be attended
to at once; and, thank God, they were, but not by Isaiah. How
could he put them away by the power of his hand? or wash them
away by his tears? or have them removed by any efforts of his own?
Ah, no; but thank God, if a sight of God and His throne, and a sight
of his own unfitness for the presence of One so holy, led him to
pass judgment upon himself and take his place in the dust, it also
brought him low enough to see another thing, and that was the
altar, and the provision of the altar. The live coal had done its
work; the sacrifice had been consumed; and nothing remained but
‘the live coal’; this was applied to Isaiah’s lips, and the sweet and
blessed assurance given, ‘thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is
purged” (

Isaiah 6:7). The look of anguish passes from his face,
and there comes instead the light of holy joy as he believes what is
said to him” (Gospel Add. on the Tab., by A.H.).
Does the reader understand what is portrayed in Isaiah 6? The “altar” is
Christ: the sacrifice consumed on it by the live coal speaks of His work on
the cross for poor sinners. The “live coal” is a figure of God’s holiness
consuming that which offends Him. When Christ was “made sin” (

2
Corinthians 5:21) for all who shall believe on Him, it pleased Jehovah to
“bruise” Him, to “put Him to grief,” to “make His soul an offering for sin”
(Isaiah 53). It was then that the “live coal” reached Him, and He
exclaimed, “My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels”
(

Psalm 22:14). Yes, the coal had done its work, its “strange work”
(

Isaiah 28:21); a sacrifice had been presented — all had gone up to
God. And that “live coal” (figure of God’s holiness) lies now upon the
Altar, waiting for the sinner to take the place Isaiah took, and pass
judgment on himself, as he did; and the moment he does so his iniquity is
taken away and his sin is purged.
The Brazen-altar, inside the Court, faced the door into the Tabernacle
proper, and it was at this place Jehovah met with His people: “There will I
meet with the children of Israel” (

Exodus 29:42, 43). So the Cross is
now the meeting-place between God and the sinner. “It is on the
foundation of what was accomplished there that He can be just and the
Justifier of everyone that believeth in Jesus. There is no other ground on.89
which He can bring the sinner into His presence. If the Israelite rejected the
brazen altar, he shut himself out for ever from the mercy of God, and, in
like manner, whoever rejects the cross of Christ, shuts himself out for ever
from the hope of salvation” (E. Dennett). Inexpressibly blessed are the
words of

Exodus 29:37, “everything that toucheth the altar shall be
holy”: so every sinner who, by faith, lays hold of Christ is cleansed — cf.

Mark 5:27-29.
It is very striking to observe that of the different vessels in the Tabernacle
the two “altars” alone are spoken of as being “most holy.” The other pieces
of furniture are called “holy,” but the golden altar (

30:10) once, and the
brazen altar twice, is termed “most holy” (

39:37; 40:10). The reason for
this is not far to seek: it was at Calvary, pre-eminently, that the holiness of
God was so signally and solemnly manifested. So holy is God that He
would not spare His beloved Son (

Romans 8:32) when the sins of His
people were laid upon Him.
Though the Altar had no “steps” up to it (

Exodus 20:26), yet it is clear
from

Leviticus 9:22 that it stood on elevated ground, for there we read
of Aaron ministering at the Altar, and then he “came down.” Most
probably the ground in the Outer Court was made to slope upwards, and
on the top of this ascent stood the Altar. How this reminds us of the “lifted
up” Savior upon that Hill called Golgotha!
4. ITS DIMENSIONS.
“Thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and
five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height
thereof shall be three cubits” (v. 1).
The measurements here are very striking and blessed. Five, as we have
shown before, is the number that tells of grace, and this was stamped both
on the length and breadth of the Altar. Nowhere was the wondrous grace
of God to poor sinners so clearly displayed as it was at the Cross. What
could we possibly do which would call for such a costly Sacrifice on our
behalf? A ransom so precious was utterly unmerited. It was provided by
the pure benignity of God. Nor was it a sudden impulse on the part of the
Father to bestow favors on those who had no claims on Him. As we are
told in

1 Peter 1:20, the Lamb was “foreordained before the foundation
of the world.” So in

2 Timothy 1:9 we read,.90
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not
according to our works, but according to His own purpose and
grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
Here then is the length: grace appointed the antitypical Altar long ere time
began. The breadth is also measured by grace.
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have
compassion on whom I will have compassion” (

Romans 9:15)
expressed this truth. Its height — three cubits — speaks of manifestation.
At the Cross, God, man, sin, Satan, holiness, righteousness, grace and love
were exhibited as nowhere else.
“The altar shall be foursquare.” Thus it faced each point of the compass,
telling of the world-wide aspect and application of the Cross. Christ’s death
was not only for the Israelitish nation, but also for the children of God
“scattered abroad” (

John 11:51, 52). He is a propitiation for the sins of
“the whole world” (

1 John 2:2), which does not mean all mankind, but
that it was not restricted to Israel, but was also designed for favored
sinners among the Gentiles too.
5. ITS HORNS.
“And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof,
his horns shall he of the same” (v. 2).
These horns were for the binding of the sacrifice to the Altar: see

Psalm
118:27. In Scripture the “horn” is the symbol of power or strength (see

Habakkuk 3:4). Typically, the “horns” on the Altar pointed to the
unfaltering purpose of the Savior, and the strength of His love. It was not
the nails which held Him to the Cross. Christ was bound to the Altar by the
constraint of His devotedness to the Father (

John 10:19;

Philippians
2:9). While on the Cross, His enemies challenged Him to come down; His
refusal to do so evidenced the cords which bound Him to its “horns.”
6. ITS UTENSILS.
“And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels,
and his basins, and his fleshhooks, and his fire-pans: all the vessels
thereof thou shalt make of brass” (v. 3)..91
The “pans” were used in receiving the ashes of offering and removing them
to their appointed place (

Leviticus 6:10, 11). The “ashes” testified to
the thoroughness of the fire’s work in having wholly consumed the
offering. They also witnessed to the acceptance of the sacrifice on behalf of
the offerer, and so they were to him a token that his sins were gone. The
words of Christ from the Cross express the fulfillment of this detail of our
type: “It is finished” announced that the Sacrifice had been offered,
accepted, and gone up to God as a sweet savor.
The “shovels” were no doubt employed about the fire, collecting the dead
embers. The “basins” were receptacles for the blood, in order to convey it
to each place of sprinkling. The “fleshhooks” would be for arranging the
different parts of the sacrifice on the fire of the Altar. The “firepans” are
identical with the “censers,’ which formed the necessary link between the
two Altars (

Leviticus 16:12, 13).
“The utensils speak of all that was necessary in order that the
offerings might be presented and dealt with in a suitable manner.
We can understand in the case of Christ how perfect it all was: it
was ‘by the eternal Spirit’ that He ‘offered Himself without spot to
God.’ Every detail connected with the offering up of Christ has
been provided and arranged and carried out according to God’s
mind and glory. The Scriptures have been fulfilled in every detail”
(C. A. Coates).
Each utensil had its own distinctive typical significance, which becomes
apparent through prayer, meditation, and comparing scripture with
scripture. That all were made of “brass” emphasizes, again, the prominent
and dominant truth associated with this Altar — the unsparing judgment of
God upon the believing sinner’s Substitute.
“And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon
the net thou shalt make four brazen rings in the four corners
thereof. And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar
beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar” (vv.
4,5).
The Brazen-altar was hollow within, and in its midst was fixed a “grate” on
which the fire was built and where the severed parts of the offering were
laid. This brings before us the most solemn aspect of all in this type. It tells
of the inward sufferings of the Savior as He endured the wrath of God..92
“Our Lord did not bear the fire of Divine judgment in any external,
superficial way. It is but a feeble and a partial view of those
sufferings which would enlarge upon the persecution of ungodly
men, or even the malice of Satan who urged them on. These might
explain the bodily anguish to which our holy Lord permitted
Himself to be subjected, but the fire of Divine holiness, the heart-searching
judgment against sin, went down into the utmost center
of His being. Reverently may we tread upon such holy ground. Sin
is not an external thing, though it mars the outward man. Its source
is in the heart, the center of man’s being; and therefore in the sinless
Substitute the flame searched down into His holy soul. Atoning
suffering, like the sin of man, was in the heart. The piercing of the
nails, the crown of thorns, the jeers of the people, the spear-thrusts,
did not set forth the deep essence of His sufferings. God only, who
searcheth the heart, knew what it meant. The Son, who bore the
judgment, knows the intensity of that fire which burned down into
His soul when made an offering for sin” (Mr. Ridout).
In wondrous accord with this fire being within the altar, is the fact that its
grate was “even in the midst” (v. 5). The Savior suffered on the Cross for
six hours, and they, too, were divided in the midst: the first three He
suffered at the hands of men; the last three (when darkness overspread the
earth) He suffered at the hands of God!
7. ITS COVERING.
The details recorded in

Exodus 27:6, 7 show us that provision was
made for its carrying about when Israel were on the march. In

Numbers
4:13, 14 we are told how it was then covered: “And they shall take away
the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon… and they shall
spread upon it a covering of badgers’ skins.” This was the only piece of the
Tabernacle’s furniture which was wrapped in purple — the royal color.
Was not this to denote how closely connected were Christ’s “sufferings”
with the “glory which was to follow”? (

Luke 21:26;

1 Peter 1:1).
Over the purple cloth was spread the badgers’ skins; once more telling us
of the world’s incapacity to discern the preciousness and the value of the
Death Divine. The repentant thief discerned the royal purple over the Altar
— the Cross — as his words “Lord, remember me. when Thou comest into
Thy kingdom” clearly denote. His wicked and scoffing companion saw
naught but the rough badgers’ skins!.93
Let us summarize. The Brazen-altar was the place where sin was judged
and its wages paid. If the Veil told of separation because of sin, the Altar
says, death is the consequences of sin. But the Altar also speaks of sin
remitted. Nature knows nothing of this: break her laws, and you must
suffer the consequences; repent, but she knows no mercy and shows no
pity. Science is equally powerless: it endeavors to relieve the effects
entailed, but has no remedy for the disease itself. Divine revelation alone
makes known an adequate provision — the Cross of Christ. There the
uncompromising judgment of God dealt with sin; not by punishing the
sinner, but by smiting the sinner’s Substitute — “Who His own self bear
our sins in His own body on the tree, that we (believers), being (legally)
dead to sin, should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes we are
healed” (

1 Peter 2:24). Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift..94
CHAPTER 46
THE OUTER COURT

EXODUS 27:9-19
The Tabernacle proper, which has already been before us, stood in an open
space of ground, an hundred cubits long, by fifty cubits broad, and was
enclosed by hangings of fine twined linen. These linen curtains were
suspended from sixty pillars, twenty of which stood on the south side,
twenty on the north, ten on the west, and ten on the east. The Scriptures
do not expressly state of what these pillars were made, but there is good
reason to conclude they were of shittim wood. This open space, in which
the priestly compartments and the dwelling-place of Jehovah stood, formed
the third division of the Tabernacle as a whole, and was designated “the
Court.” The Court was in form a parallelogram, or double square, being
twice the length of its breadth. On its eastern side was a gate or entrance,
which was also made of fine linen, but rendered attractive by the same
beautiful colors which were wrought into the Veil.
It is striking to note that neither the Court nor the Holy Places were paved.
The Tabernacle rested upon the bare sand of the desert. This was in
significant contrast from its golden-sheeted sides and beautiful inner
ceiling. Thus, more than a hint was given for the priests to look up, where
all was glorious and gorgeous, and tells us that there is nothing down here
to satisfy the heart. In striking contrast from the Tabernacle we read of
Solomon’s Temple that “the floor of the House he overlaid with gold,
without and within” (

1 Kings 6:30), foreshadowing the blessed fact that
in the Millennium this world will no longer be a wilderness to God’s
people; for when Christ is present in it again, then shall be fulfilled that
word,
“As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the
Lord” (

Numbers 14:21).
Immediately around the Court of the Tabernacle were the tents of the
Levites; beyond, but encircling them, were grouped the twelve Tribes,.95
three on either side; thus forming a square of vast extent. Consequently,
even the Court itself was thoroughly screened from the eyes of the
wilderness nomads. The Tabernacle therefore formed the center of Israel’s
camp. Outside the Tent, a fire was kept constantly burning, on which the
bodies of the sin-offerings were consumed, and where the refuse was
destroyed. In contemplating the Court, let us notice:
1. ITS HANGINGS.
“And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side
southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen
of a hundred cubits long for one side” (v. 9).
As we have before pointed out, the “fine linen” is the emblem of
righteousnesses (

Revelation 19:8). The spotless white walls which
surrounded the Tabernacle on every side were a standing witness to the
holiness of Him whose dwelling it was. This was in striking contrast from
the unholiness of those who inhabited the surrounding tents, which were
made, most probably, from goats’ hair, of a very dark color. There is a
reference to this in

Song of Solomon 1:5:
“I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem; as the tents
of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon”:
black as the tents of Kedar, comely as the curtains of Solomon. The dark-colored
cloth woven from goats’ hair is commonly used for making tents in
the East to this day. There would be, then, a most vivid contrast between
the white linen surrounding Jehovah’s dwelling-place and the dark fabric of
the Israelites’ tents.
The white walls of the Tabernade’s Court served both as a barrier and a
protection. To those without, the holiness, of which it spoke, was an
exclusion to all who would approach the Divine Courts otherwise than as
God Himself had ordered. To those within, it served as a shield, a shelter,
an adornment, a glory, a defense. It was the thought of these spotless
curtains around the sacred precincts, in which stood the atoning altar and
the cleansing laver, which moved David to sing,
“How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! My soul
longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord”
(

Psalm 84:1, 2)..96
2. ITS PILLARS.
These were sixty in number, placed at intervals of five cubits all around the
Court. The material from which they were made is not expressly stated.
The words of v. 10, “and the twenty pillars thereof (i.e., of the south side)
and their twenty sockets shall be of brass,” have led some to conclude that
the pillars themselves were made of brass; but it is to be noted that the
words “shall be” are supplied by the translators, there being no verb in the
original — the modifying clause “of brass” referring only to the “sockets.”
That the columns themselves were not made of brass seems clear from
their omission in

Exodus 38:29-31. Nor were they made of silver, for
that metal was only used in the foundations and in the upper ornamental
parts; whilst gold was employed in covering boards in the Tabernacle and
in the construction of certain vessels inside, but was not found at all in the
Court.
We believe that these “pillars” were made of shittim wood, and that, for
three reasons.
First, the other “pillars,” i.e., those used for the door and for the support
of the Veil (

26:32, 37) were of wood, therefore in the absence of any
word to the contrary here, we naturally conclude that these also were made
of the same material.
Second, because from a careful comparison of the twenty-nine talents of
gold (

Exodus 38:24), the hundred talents of silver (

Exodus 38:25,
27). and the seventy talents of brass (

Exodus 38:29 with the sizes of the
different vessels and the amount of metals required for them, it seems clear
that they would not leave sufficient to make sixty pillars for the Court out
of the remainder. Third, the typical meaning of the Court requires “wood”
rather than one of the metals.
A “pillar” speaks of support and strength. The sixty which were stationed
around the sides of the Court sustained the white curtains. There is a word
in

Song of Solomon 3:6, 7 which seems to borrow its imagery from our
present type: “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of
smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the
merchants? Behold his bed, which is Solomon’s; three score valiant men
are about it, of the valiant of Israel.” Note first the allusion to “the
wilderness!” There a procession is seen: a palanquin or curtained-litter (for
this is the literal meaning of the Hebrew word here rendered “bed”) is seen,.97
surrounded by all the marks of royalty and majesty; sixty mighty ones are
about it. The “litter” was the temporary resting-place of the king. So the
Tabernacle was God’s resting-place, in the midst of Israel, during their
wilderness wanderings. The “ark” was the symbol of His presence, and as

2 Samuel 7:2 tells us “the ark of God dwelleth within curtains,” while
in

Numbers 10:33, 35 a “resting-place” is also mentioned in connection
with it. Around the ark in the Holy of Holies, were these sixty pillars of the
Court, like the “sixty valiant men” about the wilderness resting-place of
Solomon. The typical significance of this will appear in our next division.
3. ITS MEANING.
Like everything else connected with this first dwelling-place of God on
earth, the antitypical significance of the Court is found in the person of the
Lord Jesus Christ and in Him alone. It is really pitiful to witness the
attempts that have been made to refer the curtains and the pillars to the
saints of this New Testament dispensation. Neither individually nor in their
corporate capacity are they here in view. The Court is called the “Tent of
the Congregation” (

Exodus 39:40); it was the appointed place of
assembly, where the Israelites came together and worshipped Jehovah, and
where He met with them (

Exodus 29:42, 43). Now it is in Christ, and in
Him alone, that God and His people meet together. The Court, then, spoke
of Christ as the Meeting-place between God and His people.
The Court foreshadowed Christ on earth tabernacling among men,
accessible to all who sought Him, but His glory beheld only by those who
drew near in faith (

John 1:14). In the opening paragraphs we have
pointed out that the Court was unpaved, the Tabernacle resting upon the
bare earth of the desert. This pointed to Christ as “a Root out of a dry
ground” — Israel (

Isaiah 53:2). But although the floor of the Court was
the dust of the wilderness, yet was it a sacred enclosure, so that he who
entered it stood on holy ground; from

Leviticus 16:6, 16 we learn that
even the Court itself was termed “the holy place.” This tells us that Christ,
though “a Root out of a dry ground,” was none other than “the Holy One
of God.” We may add, these linen hangings were suspended from pillars
seven and a half feet in height, so that all on the outside would be
prevented from seeing what was done on the inside; thus making it a truly
separated and holy place..98
The distinctive spiritual significance of the Court is intimated by its order
of mention in Exodus 27. First there is a description of the brazen altar (vv.
1-8), and then follow the details concerning the Court. This is very striking.
The natural order would be to have told of the Court first, and then of the
altar which stood within it. But here again God’s thoughts are different
from ours. As we have seen, the altar speaks of the place where sin was
dealt with: the consequence of this is, that entrance is afforded into the
place where God meets with His people. Thus, that which the altar typified
was the basis of the privileges foreshadowed by the Court. As soon as the
Israelite entered the sacred precincts, the first object to meet his eyes was
the standing witness to both the justice and the grace of God. The altar
testified that his sins had been put away through the sacrifice offered
thereon. It was there God showed, typically, that He is just and the Justifier
of the believing sinner (

Romans 3:26).
It is to be carefully noted that the Court was for an elect and redeemed
people. There are several references in the Psalms to this:
“Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach
unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy Courts” (

Psalm 65:4);
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His Court with
praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name”
(

Psalm 100:4).
But most blessed is it to note that in the Old Testament types of the Court
there was a definite hint and foreshadowing of Gentiles also entering into
and partaking of God’s grace (

Leviticus 17:8, 22:18;

Numbers
15:14-16). The “stranger” had the same liberty of approach to the altar as
had an Israelite. Thus, at that early date, it was intimated
“there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same
Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever
shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”
(

Romans 10:12, 13).
The sixty pillars around the Court told of the strength and sufficiency of
that Refuge into which the believing sinner has fled:
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into
it and is safe” (

Proverbs 18:10)..99
That the pillars were made of “wood” was in harmony with the promise,
“And a Man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert
from the tempest” (

Isaiah 32:2).
That these pillars were sixty in number (5 x 12 or grace and perfect
government), tell us it is the grace which reigns in righteousness by Christ
Jesus that is our defense. This. like the sixty valiant men about Solomon’s
litter, is a guard of honor around us, so that none can lay anything to our
charge. That there was an interval of five cubits between each pillar,
intimates that no matter which aspect of our salvation we contemplate, all
is of grace alone. The spotless white hangings suspended from them,
depicted the fitness of the Lord our Righteousness to be the One in whom
His God and our God could meet with us.
4. ITS DIMENSIONS.
In contemplating this we must first consider the measurements of the linen
hangings which surrounded the Court, and then the space enclosed by
them. From v. 9 we learn that the linen hangings were a hundred cubits
long on the south side, ditto on the north side (v. 11), fifty on the west side
(v. 12), and thirty on the east side (vv. 14, 15) — the other twenty there
being accounted for by the “gate,” which differed from the curtains on
either side of it, in that it was of “blue and purple and scarlet” (v. 16). Thus
there was a total length of these white hangings of two hundred and eighty
cubits. The factors of this total would be 7 x 4 x 10, which speak of
perfection on earth, seen in human responsibility fully discharged.
It is striking to note that the length of the white hangings surrounding the
Court was identical with the length of the curtains which were spread over
the inner Tabernacle.
“The curtains of the Tabernacle present Christ, Christ in His nature
and character, and Christ in His future glories and judicial
authority; but as so presented He was for the eye of God, and for
the eye of the priest. As such He could not be seen from without,
only within. The fine twined linen hangings (of the Court) present
Christ also, but not so much to those within as to those without.
They could be seen by all in the camp. It is therefore the
presentation of Christ to the world, Christ in the purity of His
nature. He could thus challenge His adversaries to convict Him of.100
sin. Pilate had to confess again and again that there was no fault in
Him; and the Jewish authorities, though they sought with eagle-eyed
malice, failed to establish, or even produce, a single proof of
failure. Not a single speck could be detected upon the fine twined
linen of His holy life, His life of practical righteousness which
flowed from the purity of His being” (Mr. E. Dennett).
Thus, the linen hangings of the Court being of equal length with the
Curtains of the inner tabernacle tell us that Christ manifested on earth the
same holiness as He had and does before God in heaven!
The linen hangings which formed the walls of the Court were divided by
“pillars,” which were erected at intervals of five cubits: note in vv. 9, 10
there were “twenty” pillars for the “hundred cubits” of linen on either
length. The white linen spoke of righteousness, five is the number of grace;
thus, these measurements pronounced that the grace of God to poor
sinners is not bestowed at the expense of justice, but, as

Romans 5:21
declares,
“As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness, unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Five is, again, the dominating number in the measurements of the
enclosure: as 5:18 tells us, “the length of the court shall be an hundred
cubits, and the breadth fifty everywhere, and the height five cubits.” How
small was the Court in comparison with the camp!

Hebrews 13:13, read
in the light of that whole Epistle, indicates that the “Camp” refers to the
religious world, Christendom — the sphere of nominal Christian
profession. The smallness of the Court in contrast from the vastness of the
Camp (for how few was accommodation provided!) contains more than a
hint of the fewness of those, from among the crowds of professing
Christians, that really enter God’s presence! God’s “flock” is only a
“LITTLE one” (

Luke 12:32); only the “few” are in the Narrow Way
(

Matthew 7:14). Are you one of the favored “few”?
5. ITS SOCKETS.
“And their sockets of brass” (v. 18). This detail needs no lengthy comment.
The “sockets” formed the foundation for the pillars. The “brass” of which
they were composed speaks of endurance, capacity to bear the action of
fire: type of Christ suffering, but not being consumed by, the outpoured.101
judgment of God upon the sinner’s Substitute. Thus, once more, are the
saints reminded of that upon which all their blessings are based.
6. ITS HOOKS AND FILLETS.
“The hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver” (v. 11).
These “fillets” were connecting-rods from pillar to pillar, and the hooks
would link the linen hangings to the fillets. They bring out a most
important detail in our present type. As we pointed out in an earlier article,
“silver” is the symbol of redemption, and it was through the redemption
which is in Christ Jesus that Divine righteousness and Divine grace were
united. There is an inseparable connection between Christ our
Righteousness and Christ our Redeemer: these two must never be
separated. Righteousness could never have been imputed to us unless the
Lord Jesus had ransomed us by His blood. The worshipping Israelite would
see that the boards of the Tabernacle owed their stability to the fact that
the atonement-money had been paid, for they rested on silver sockets. He
would also perceive that the fine linen curtains of the Court hung securely
from silver chapiters and rings, made from the same ransom-money.
Beautifully has this been commented upon by one writing of the
blessedness of those who had entered the court: —
“While outside, the wall shut off, now that he is inside, it shuts him in.
Instead of being opposed by ‘righteousness,’ he is now surrounded by it.
God is just, and as long as the sinner is rejecting Christ He must be against
him; but once the latter has come to Him through Christ all is reversed; He
is ‘just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (

Romans 3:26).
But how can this be? It can be in the way set forth in this fine linen wait;
the linen (“righteousness”) was not suspended to the brass (“judgment”),
but was connected with it by means of silver rods that joined pillar to pillar.
Thus, typically we have the truth as it is plainly stated in

Romans 3:24,
‘Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemptions that is in
Christ Jesus’” (Mr. C. H. Bright).
Thus, the redeemed Israelite who entered the Court was shut in by walls of
righteousness upheld by the tokens of redemption. This is the blessed
portion of every sinner who has fled to Christ for refuge. Because Christ
was made sin for him, he has been made “the righteousness of God in Him”
(

2 Corinthians 5:21)..102
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by
the obedience of One shall many be made righteous”
(

Romans 5:19).
The Christian is vested with that which meets every requirement of God’s
holiness. What cause, then, has each believing reader to join with the writer
in saying,
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my
God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He
hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (

Isaiah 61:10).
7. ITS GATE.
“And for the gate of the Court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits,
of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with
needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four”
(v. 16).
This “hanging” which formed the entrance to the Court is closely
connected in thought with the Veil and the Gate of the Tabernacle. Each of
them served as a door, hiding the interior from one approaching from the
outside. All were made of the same materials, and the colors are mentioned
in the same order; the dimensions of all were alike, each measuring one
hundred square cubits. The same truth was embodied in each of these
typical curtains: there could be no access to God of any kind — whether of
comparatively distant worship, or of closer intimacy — except by Him who
said “I am the Way.” The Israelite who came to the brazen altar with his
offering must pass through this gate of the Court; the priest who placed
incense on the golden altar must enter by the door of the Tabernacle; the
high priest who entered the Holy of Holies on the day of atonement must
do so through the Veil, thus realizing the thrice repeated proof of the only
way of access to God.
The antitypical teaching of the Gate is brought before us in

John 10:9,
where Christ says, “I am the Door, by Me if any man enter in he shall be
saved.” But as another has observed, “It is not thinking about the Door, or
believing that He is the Door, but entering the Door, that saves. Many
need help right on this point. There are (figuratively speaking) crowds of
semi-believers around the Gate. They believe it is the Gate, and the only
one, but they do not take the step. They are always saying, ‘Let me hide.103
myself in Thee,’ instead of hiding, in Him once for all. Oh! why not dare to
trust Him now, at once and forever? You say that you do not feel that He
accepts you…. How can you, as long as you remain outside? Jesus makes
no promise to the one who does not enter, but to the one who does. Enter
in, and then, feeling or not, you may know that you are saved, because He
says so. The Altar was inside the Gate, not outsider How, then, can you
know that you are saved until you enter? Come, just as you are, in all your
sinfulness, with no feeling, with no consciousness of any ‘marks of grace,’
and as a sinner believe in the sinner’s Savior.”.104
CHAPTER 47
THE PRIESTHOOD

EXODUS 27:20-28:2
Once more we would direct the reader’s attention to the order of
Jehovah’s instructions to Moses concerning the Tabernacle and all that was
connected with it. At first glance the contents of Exodus 28 and 29 seem to
depart from the logical sequence and to introduce confusion. Instead of
completing the description of the Tabernacle and its furniture, the
priesthood is introduced, and then in chapter 30 the last of the holy vessel
is described. But fully assured that God is not the Author of confusion, the
prayerful student should diligently seek the mind of the Spirit for an
explanation of this perplexity. A new subdivision of Exodus begins with the
28th chapter, or more correctly, at 27:20.
Many years ago it was pointed out by Mr. Darby that everything
mentioned in

Exodus 25:10 to 27:19 foreshadowed God’s coming forth
unto His people: each article there mentioned was a symbol of display, that
is, a manifestation of God in Christ. But from 27:20 to the end of chapter
30 the order is reversed, everything there pointing to the provisions of
grace which enable us to go in to God: that is to say, the priesthood and
the vessels referred to in Exodus 30 have to do with approach. But before
the laver and the incense altar (the vessels needed for access to God) are
brought before us, we are shown the appointment and consecration of the
priesthood. Thus we may discern Divine order in the seeming confusion,
for there must be designated persons for approach, before the vessels could
be used.
“God has come out in type and figure to His people; then He
indicates those who are to be set apart for His service in the
sanctuary — those who are to enjoy the special privilege of access
to Himself; and lastly, the vessels, etc., are given, which they would
need in their holy employment in the house of God” (Mr. E.
Dennett)..105
The blessed unity, amid diversity, of the whole of Jehovah’s instructions to
Moses in this section of Exodus has been dealt with so helpfully by the late
Mr. Soltau that we quote from him at length: “The Tabernacle and its
vessels, the Priesthood and the various ministrations connected therewith,
form but one subject; although divided for the sake of more distinctly
contemplating each portion. The Tabernacle would have been useless
without its vessels: and the Tabernacle with its vessels would have been of
no service but for a living family of priests, constantly engaged in various
active ministrations within the holy places, and about the various holy
vessels. “So closely connected is each part of this subject with the other,
that in the directions contained in Exodus, there is no break; but the
command for making the holy garments and consecrating the priesthood
(Exodus 28 and 29), comes betweeen the enumeration of some of the holy
vessels and the various parts of the Tabernacle. Indeed, properly speaking,
the 27th chapter should end at v. 19, where ‘thou shalt command the
children of Israel’ begins a new subject, viz.: directions concerning the oil
for the light of the sanctuary. The 28th chapter continues with ordering the
sacrifices for the day of priestly consecration. The 30th carries on the
subject connected with the priesthood, by giving the description of the
incense altar; and the whole closes with the Sabbath, at the end of the 31st
chapter.
Again; when all the various parts of the work have been completed, ending
with the garments of the priesthood (chapters 36-39:31) the following
verse is added: ‘Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the Tent of the
Congregation finished; and the children of Israel did according to all that
the Lord commanded Moses, so did they’. Here, therefore, the priestly
garments were considered part of the work of the Tabernacle! And if we
turn to Hebrews 8 we find that the priests, that offered gifts according to
the law, served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses
was admonished of God, when he was about to make the Tabernacle itself;
see, saith He, that thou shalt make all things according to the pattern
showed to thee in the mount’ (vv. 4, 5).
“The service of the priests in offering gifts and sacrifices was connected
with the commandments given to Moses in the mount respecting the
making of the Tabernacle. The words ‘See, that thou make all things
according to the pattern showed thee in the mount’, as recorded in Exodus,
were spoken to Moses respecting the holy vessels (

Exodus 25:40), but
are in Hebrews 8 quoted to prove that the priests and their ministrations.106
were examples and shadows of heavenly things. The whole subject is
therefore much blended.”
Still observing the order of truth presented to us in our present section, it is
most striking to find we have in

27:20, 21 that which is obviously the
connecting link between the two central lines of thought — God coming
out to His people, they going in to Him. “And thou shalt command the
children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to
cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation
without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall
order it from evening to morning before the Lord: it shall be a statute
forever unto their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.” Two
things are here brought before us: provision for the maintenance of the
light and the ministration of the priesthood. These verses are very rich in
their typical teaching and must be carefully weighed as a preparation for
what follows. Strictly, they begin the section and are the key to the
contents of chapters 28 and 29.
Before a description is given of the garments and consecration of the
priests, provision is made for perpetual light in the sanctuary. This takes
the precedence. As v. 21 tells us the light was to shine “before the Lord.”
Priestly ministry was for the benefit of the people; but the claims of God
must first be met. This was the order in Genesis 1: the first thing there, was
“Let there be light.” This, before a single creature was brought into
existence. So here in Exodus. In figure it tells that Christ had first to meet
all the demands of God’s holiness, ere He could minister for us as our great
High Priest: the Cross first, then His intercession on High.
It was at the Cross that God was fully manifested as the Light (

1 John
1:5); that is, in His ineffable holiness — His very nature as eternally
antagonistic to sin. And in the typical order of God’s revelation of Himself
through the vessels of the Tabernacle, beginning with that which was in the
Holiest (the ark and the mercy-seat), the movement was ever outward, past
the table and the lampstand in the holy place, to the brazen altar in the
outer Court (

27:1), which foreshadowed the Cross: the altar marking
the terminal of the coming out of God in manifestation. Thus provision
having been made through Christ’s atonement for “the lamp to burn
alway,” i.e. for the unsullied holiness of God to act without compromise in
His gracious dealing with poor sinners, the way was then clear to make.107
known the provisions which Divine mercy had made for reconciled sinners
to draw near to God within the veil.
But as we showed in a previous paper, the Lampstand speaks not only of
Christ, but also of the Holy Spirit as His gift to the saints. This explains the
fact that in v. 20 it is “the people” who were to supply the “pure oil olive
beaten for the light.” As was the case in connection with all the other
materials (see

25:2, etc.), so that which speaks of the Holy Spirit given
us by Christ, was also Holy vided by “the people” themselves, The
Tabernacle and its services were not only for Jehovah, but for Israel too:
thus their providing the materials for it, witnessed to their personal interest
in it. In keeping with this we may note that

27:21 mentions, for the first
time, “the Tabernacle (Tent) of the congregation!”
But further: does not this initial mention of the “Tent of the Congregation,”
in the present connection, supply more than a hint of the formation of that
Church which is the Body of Christ — consequent upon His having
satisfied the requirements of God’s holiness and the descent of the Holy
Spirit? In

Matthew 16:18 our Lord employed the future tease not the
present — “I will build My Church,” not I am building.

Ephesians 1:20-
23 also plainly teaches that Christ was not given to be the Head over all
things to His Church until after His resurrection and ascension. Thus the
Church is only seen (typically) after the claims of Divine holiness had been
met, the throne of God eternally established, and the Holy Spirit sent down
as the witness of this: cf. Acts 2 33.
Again; it is in

Exodus 27:21 that, for the first time, mention is made of
“Aaron and his sons.” This also has a double significance. Coming right
after mention of “the people” in v. 20, it tells us on whose behalf the
Priesthood was instituted. “Aaron and his sons” are mentioned twenty-four
times in the book of Exodus, but they are not seen until after instructions
were given for the children of Israel to furnish the oil for the light. How
plainly this foreshadowed the fact that the priestly ministry of Christ is
essential to maintaining the gracious working of the Spirit through His
people! Up to this point, nothing whatever had been said of any human
agents or ministers appointed to officiate in the tabernacle service and to
delight themselves in the dwellingplace of God among men, amidst the
heaven-given shadows and emblems of the eternal verities which we have
previously contemplated. But in God’s light we see light (

Psalm 36:9).
The light makes manifest — here the divinely-chosen ministers of the.108
sanctuary. This introduces to us the subject of Israel’s priest-hood — one
abounding in precious instruction for us; but to which, alas, the vast
majority of the saints are total strangers.
Sixty years ago a servant of God wrote,
“To a large portion of those who would be regarded as intelligent
Christians, and who are something more than mere routine readers
of the Bible, the types of the Tabernacle, with its priesthood,
service, and offerings, are barren of comfort and edification. Yet it
is generally acknowledged that they are pictures by which God, in
His condescension, would teach His children things otherwise all
but incomprehensible. It is generally admitted, also, that the key to
unlock these treasures of spiritual truth lies ready to the hand of
every student in the New Testament. Without inquiring particularly
why these treasures have fallen into such general neglect in our day,
the following suggestion is worthy of the consideration of the
earnest among us: ‘The real secret of the neglect of the types,’ says
one who is entitled to be heard on this point, ‘I cannot but think
may, in part, be traced to this — that they require more spiritual
intelligence than many Christians can bring to them. To apprehend
them requires a certain measure of spiritual capacity, and habitual
exercise in the things of God, which all do not possess, for want of
abiding fellowship with Jesus. The mere superficial gaze upon the
Word in these parts, brings no corresponding idea to the mind of
the reader. The types are, indeed, pictures, but to understand the
picture, we should know something of the reality. The most perfect
representation of a steam-engine to a South Sea savage would be
wholly and hopelessly unintelligible, simply because the reality, the
outline of which was presented to him, was something hitherto
unknown.’
“Paul arrests himself in speaking of Christ as a priest forever after
the order of Melchizedek (

Hebrews 5:11, etc.),
by the reflection that those whom he addressed were incapable of
receiving instruction on account of their spiritual childhood. A child
of a king is unconscious of the dignity and the inheritance to which
he is born; but it is none the less a king’s child: and so there are
many true children of God who seem to remain babes, content,
apparently, that they have life and are children; and so they need.109
milk. This accounts for the spiritual feebleness and inactivity of the
Church in our day. Babes, indeed, must be fed on milk, but it is not
necessary that Christians should continue babes. May we not,
therefore, exhort them, in the words of the apostle, ‘To leave the
principles of the doctrine of Christ and go on to perfection’
(

Hebrews 6:1) — to manhood — to the condition of those who,
‘by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good
and evil’?” (Waymarks in the Wilderness).
Since then, conditions have not improved. There appear to be as many
“babes” among Christians as ever. The greater part of the Bible seems a
sealed book to them. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is
profitable,” and it is to our irreparable loss if we neglect any portion
thereof.
“Whatsoever things were written beforetime, were written for our
learning” (

Romans 15:4),
and if we fail to give proper attention to the types our souls will be the
poorer. Notably is this the case with the subject before us. What hazy and
inadequate ideas concerning priesthood are entertained by the average
believer. That the Lord Jesus is the great High Priest of His people, he
knows, but as to the place of Christ’s priesthood, the nature of its
activities, its relation to other truths, especially to redemption; the design
accomplished by it. the blessings secured from it, the portion which the
saint enjoys by virtue of it, are most indefinitely defined in the minds of
most.
On the Cross the Savior said, “It is finished”: all that was needed to satisfy
the requirements of God and reconcile to Him His alienated people, was
accomplished. Then, wherein lies the necessity for the present ministry of
our great High Priest? If His blood fully atoned for all our sins, why should
He now be making intercession on our behalf? This is a difficulty which has
been felt by many. But the same problem is presented in the book of
Exodus. Here we see a (typically) redeemed people, protected from
judgment by the sprinkled blood of the lamb, brought out from the house
of bondage, separated unto Jehovah, He dwelling in their midst. Yet, a
priesthood was appointed to act on their behalf! Why? The same book of
Exodus reveals the solution. The priesthood was for the maintaining, not
securing, their relationship with Jehovah. They were still a people
compassed with infirmity, subject to temptation, and alas, frequently.110
failing. The holy God dwelling in their midst could not tolerate that which
was unclean. Therefore the same grace which had brought them nigh to
Himself, now made provision for the keeping of them nigh. Priesthood has
to do with fellowship. Its need arises from the fact that the sinful nature
remains in those who have been bought with a price. It is to meet the
failures of a people who when they would do good evil is present with
them: this evil which causes them to offend in “many things” (

James
3:2), makes the priestly ministry of Christ so essential. This was what was
foreshadowed in Exodus and Leviticus. The application of these types to
Christians today calls for a wisdom which only the Holy Spirit can supply,
for in the light of the Hebrews’ Epistle it is clear that the Levitical shadows
present contrasts as well as comparisons, and though containing much
which finds its antitypical fulfillment in the spiritual blessings of the
Church, there is also not a little which will only be made good to Israel in a
coming day. The immediate linking together of the Lamp-stand and the
Priesthood in

Exodus 27:21 plainly intimates that only in the light of
God can the latter be discerned and understood.
First, let us mark and admire the lovely grace of God which is brought out
in the type before us. This is seen in the choice that He made. “Take thou
unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the
children of Israel, that he may minister unto Me in the priest’s office”
(

28:1). Not Moses, but Aaron, the inferior brother, was the one
selected for this great favor. Moreover, the tribe to which he belonged was
one of the least honorable of the twelve; yea, it was under the curse,
because of Levi’s cruelty — see

Genesis 49:5-7. Not Reuben the
firstborn. nor Judah whom his brethren should praise (

Genesis 49:8),
nor Joseph the fruitful bough, but Levi, was to be the priestly tribe. How
this exhibited the sovereignity of Divine grace! Finally, the matchless and
wondrous grace of God in appointing Aaron to be the high priest is seen in
the fact that at the very time His choice was made known to Moses, his
brother was taking the lead in the idolatrous worship of the golden calf!
Nor do these details mar the accuracy of the type; instead, they strikingly
illustrate the fact that our great High Priest was the gift of God’s
marvellous grace.
Second, let us now consider the significance of his name. “Aaron” means
“very high.” He stood supreme as the high priest, exalted not only above
his own house, but also above all the people. Thus was he a type of the
Lord Jesus, whom God has exalted with His right hand to be a Priest and a.111
Savior (

Acts 5:31). But as if to magnify the high priesthood of Christ
above that of all others, the Holy Spirit has added the word “great” — our
“great High Priest” (

Hebrews 4:14), an adjective used of none other,
not even Melchizedek.
We may note that in

Exodus 28:1 the names of Aaron’s sons are also
given, and each of them was most appropriate and striking. Nadab means
“willing”; Abihu, “my Father is He”; Eleazer, “help of God”; Ithamar, “land
of palm.” As another has pointed out,
“these four words afford a little prophetic intimation of
characteristics attaching to the House of which the Son of God is
the Head: deriving its life from God the Father, and all its power
and help from Him; following in the footsteps also of its blessed
Master, in yielding willing and not constrained service to God; and
like the palm trees, lofty in righteousness, and ever bringing forth
fruit (

Psalm 92:12-14). The palm-tree is one of the ornaments of
the future temple described by Ezekiel, and was also one of the
embellishments of Solomon’s temple. It is peculiarly the tree of the
desert, flourishing where no other could exist; ever marking out to
the weary traveler the spot amidst surrounding desolation, where a
grateful shade and a spring of living water were to be found; and
remarkable for longevity and ceaseless fruitfulness. Thus it was an
apt emblem of the heavenly priesthood” (G. Soltau).
Third, let us dwell upon the significance of the singular pronoun in

28:1: “Take unto thee Aaron, and his sons with him, that he may
minister.” This is very striking and most blessed. Aaron and his sons
formed together one priesthood, and Aaron’s appointment to his office was
inseparable from theirs. What a wondrous foreshadowment was this of the
union between our great High Priest and His House, and what an
intimation that His ministry before God concerned His House, and them
alone!
And here we must stop. To write at length upon the Priesthood of Christ
would necessitate us expounding almost the entire Epistle of the Hebrews,
where this blessed theme is developed by the Spirit of God. To that
important New Testament book we would refer the interested student.
There, the divine Instructor has pointed out both the comparisons and the
contrasts between the type and the Anti-type. The Aaronic priesthood
furnished much that was the pattern of Christ’s priesthood, but the order.112
of it is vastly superior, being that of Melchidezek — the royal priest. God
willing, other aspects of the subject will come before us in future papers..113
CHAPTER 48
AARON’S GARMENTS

EXODUS 28
In the preceding article we pointed out how that the interpretation and
application of the typical teachings found in the Pentateuch concerning
Israel’s priesthood calls for heavenly wisdom and guidance. In the light of
the Epistle to the Hebrews it is clear that there are many points of contrast
as well as comparison. But that which it is most important to see is, that
when commenting there, on the types of Exodus and Leviticus, the Holy
Spirit has expressly declared that the entire ritual of the Tabernacle was “a
figure for the time then present” (

Hebrews 9:9), that it was “a shadow
of good things to come, and not the very image of the things” (

10:1).
They were not given to Israel as a model for Christians to imitate, but as a
foreshadowing of spiritual things which find their fulfillment in Christ
Himself. The holy places made with hands were “figures of the true,” that
is of “Heaven itself” (

Hebrews 9:24). A true apprehension of this is our
only safeguard against the sacerdotalism and ritualism which the flesh so
much delights in. After the advent, death, resurrection, and ascension of
Christ, the shadows must vanish before the substance. As one has well
said, “To imitate a revival of that which God Himself has set aside by a
fulfillment perfect and glorious, is audacious, and full of peril to the souls
of men. It is not even the shadow of a substance; but the unauthorized
shadow of a departed shade.” It is failure to observe this which has
wrought such confusion and havoc in Christendom, resulting in the denial
of that which lies at the very foundation of Christianity.
Under the Mosaic economy, the priests were a special class appointed to
minister unto God on behalf of the people. They enjoyed privileges which
were not shared by others. Theirs was a nearness to Jehovah peculiar to
themselves. They were vested with an authority and were permitted to do
that which was not given to those whom they represented. But at the Cross
a radical change was brought about. The old order ended, and a new one.114
was inaugurated. Judaism ceased, and Christianity was introduced. Two
symbolic actions gave plain intimation of this.
First, in

Matthew 26:65 we are told, “the high priest rent his clothes,”
which was expressly forbidden by the law, see

Leviticus 21:10. God
permitted this to show that Israel’s priesthood was ended — clothes are
only torn to pieces when there is no further use for them.
Second, the rending of the vail (

Matthew 27:51): the barrier into God’s
presence no longer existed for His people.
In Hebrews 5 and 7 the Holy Spirit has carefully called attention to a
number of contrasts between the priesthood of Aaron and that of Christ.
One of the things which qualified Israel’s high priest to officiate in that
office was that he could have compassion on them that were ignorant or
out of the way, because he himself was compassed with infirmity (5:2); but
the Christian’s High Priest is “Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from
sinners” (

7:26). Again, in

Hebrews 5:3 it is pointed out that Israel’s
high priest needed to offer sacrifice for his own sins: but Christ was “the
Holy One of God,” and “knew no sin.” Again, the priests of the house of
Levi were made “without an oath” (

7:21), and in consequence, some of
them were cut off from the priesthood, as in the case of Nadab and Abihu,
and Eli’s line; but Christ was made Priest with an oath, “by Him that said
unto Him, The Lord swear and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek (

7:21). Finally, Aaron was made a priest
after the law of a carnal commandment (i.e., that which pertained to
mortality), but Christ “after the power of an endless life” (

7:16).
In view of these differences, and of the exalted superiority of Christ’s
priesthood over the Aaronic, we are told,
“for the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a
change also of the law” (

Hebrews 7:12);
that is, in its narrower sense, a “change” in the law pertaining to the
priesthood; in its wider sense, a “change’ concerning the ceremonial law. It
is important to note that no part of the ceremonial law was given to Israel
till after the priesthood was established. Thus, this “change of the law”
signified a change of dispensation and everything that pertained to the
priesthood..115
Now, it is this “change” in the law pertaining to priesthood which the
Papacy, and all who are infected by its sacerdotal spirit, sets aside.
Romanism is largely a revival of Judaism, plus the corruptions of
Paganism. It is a deliberate and pernicious repudiation of what is distinctive
in Christianity. It is a wicked denial of the perpetual efficacy of the one
offering of the Lord Jesus. Rome perpetuates the Levitical order, claiming
that her priests, like Aaron and his sons, are specially authorized and
qualified to go to God on behalf of their fellow-men. But

1 Peter 2:5, 9
affirms that all believers are now “priests,” and that all of God’s people
alike enjoy liberty of access into the Holiest (

Hebrews 10:19, 22). As
another has truly said, “The feeblest member of the household of faith is as
much a priest as the apostle Peter himself. He is a spiritual priest — he
worships in a spiritual temple, he stands at a spiritual altar, he offers a
spiritual sacrifice, he is clad in spiritual vestments.” That spiritual temple is
Heaven itself, which he enters in spirit through the rent vail; that spiritual
altar (

Hebrews 13:10) is Christ Himself — the altar which “sanctifieth
the gift” (

Matthew 23:19); that spiritual sacrifice is praise unto God
(

Hebrews 13:15.).
Coming now to the robes of Israel’s high priest we would call attention
once more to the order of Jehovah’s instructions to Moses. In Exodus 29
we have an account of the consecration of Aaron and his sons to their holy
office. But before this is given, in Exodus 28, a description is furnished of
the various garments they were to wear. First, the vestments of the high
priest are detailed, and then those of Aaron’s sons. The anointed eye may
easily discern the propriety of and the reason for this. Typically, the
garments foreshadowed the manifold glories of Christ, the great High
Priest, which glories and perfections manifested His fitness for that office.
The holy garments of Aaron were “for glory and beauty”: they gave dignity
to his person, being suitable apparel for his position. In figure they pointed
to Christ in all His perfections with the Father before He was
“consecrated” to His work for us.
“And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for
glory and for beauty” (v. 2).
With this should be compared

Leviticus 16:4, “He shall put on the holy
linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be
girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these
are holy garments.” There were two sets of clothing provided for Israel’s.116
high priest: the one mentioned in Leviticus 16 was what he wore on the
annual Day of Atonement. Then he was robed only in spotless white,
foreshadowing the personal righteousness and holiness of the Lord Jesus,
which fitted Him to undertake the stupendous work of putting away the
sins of His people.
It is worthy of note that the garments of Aaron which were “for glory and
for beauty” were just seven in number.
“And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate,
and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a
girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother,
and his sons, that he may minister unto Me in the priest’s office”
(

28:4).
In addition to the six articles mentioned here, is the “plate of pure gold” on
which was engraved the words “Holiness to the Lord” (v. 36). This, as

Leviticus 8:9 tells us, was “the holy crown.” Observe that in the
enumeration given in 28:4 the “breastplate” comes before the others, but in
the details which follow the order is changed: there it is the ephod, the
girdle, the two stones, set upon the shoulders of the ephod, and then the
breastplate. The “breastplate” was the chief and most costly of the
vestments, the other garments being, as it were, a foundation and
background for it — this central article pointing to the very heart of Christ
Himself.
“And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of
scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. It shall have the
two shoulder-pieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so
it shall be joined together” (vv. 6, 7).
The “ephod” is the first garment described in detail. This was the outer
robe of the high priest. It was made of two parts, one covering his back
and the other his front; these being joined together at the shoulders by
golden clasps, which formed the setting for the onyx stones. The ephod
served to support the breastplate. The materials of which it was made were
“gold,” and “fine twined linen” — the blue, purple, and scarlet being
emblazoned upon the latter. The mode by which the gold was interlaced
with the linen is described in

Exodus 39:3:
“And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to
work it in the blue,” etc..117
Thus the strength and sheen of the gold was intimately blended with every
part of the ephod, giving firmness as well as brilliancy to the whole fabric.
The spotless linen spoke of the holy humanity of Christ; the gold, of His
divine glory; the colors, of the varied perfections of His character.
“Christ acts for us as Priest in all that He is as Divine and human,
the God-man. The whole value of His person enters into the
exercise of His office… The apostle combines these two things in
the Epistle to the Hebrews: ‘Seeing then that we have a Great High
Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God.’ He is
Jesus, and He is the Son of God. It is this most precious truth that
is displayed m type in the materials of the ephod. How it enlarges
our conceptions of the value of His work for us as Priest to
remember what He is in Himself, and that we are thus upheld in His
intercession by all that He is as Jesus, and as the Son of God” (Mr.
E. Dennett).
“And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of
the same, according to the work thereof: gold, blue, and purple,
and scarlet, and fine twined linen” (v. 8).
In v. 39 we learn that this girdle was made of “needlework.” The “girdle”
speaks of preparedness for service. Beautifully is this brought out in

Luke 12:37:
“Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find
watching: verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them
sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”
In the days of His flesh “He took a towel and girded Himself, and then He
washed the disciple’s feet” (John 13). Today He stands in the midst of His
churches, girt about the breasts with a golden girdle (

Revelation 1:13),
ready to serve His people on earth. In the millennium it will be said,
“And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness
the girdle of His reins” (

Isaiah 11:5).
It is most blessed to note that in Jehovah’s instructions to Moses He said,
“It shall be of the same, according to the work for thereof.” The girdle of
the high priest was of the same materials and beautified with the same
lovely colors as the ephod itself, How this tells us that the present gracious.118
activities of Christ’s priestly service on our behalf are according to the
perfections of His own person and character as the God-man! Though
glorified, He is a Servant still, He is gone into heaven to appear in the
presence of God for us (

Hebrews 9:24), and there He “ever liveth to
make intercession for us” (

Hebrews 7:25).
We come next to the two onyx stones — read carefully

Exodus 28:9-
13. Scholars tell us that the Hebrew word translated “onyx is derived from
an unused root signifying “to shine with the lustre of fire.” They were very
different from the “onyx” of modern times, which is neither a costly nor
brilliant stone.

Job 28:16 speaks of “the precious onyx!” Upon these
stones were engraved the names of the children of Israel. They were
enclosed in “ouches,” or, as the Hebrew word denotes, “settings.” These,
in turn, were secured by “two chains of pure gold” (v. 14), and securely
fastened to the shoulders of the ephod. They were borne before the Lord
by Aaron “for a memorial.” In its typical application to the saints today,
this tells of their perfect security. The “shoulder” (cf.

Luke 15:5) is the
place of strength (

Isaiah 9:6), and tells us that the omnipotence of
Christ is engaged on the behalf of His people. It is not our strength, but His
— “Kept by the power of God” (1 Peter l:5). It is not our perseverance,
but His — “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him”
(

2 Timothy 1:12). “The shoulder which sustains the universe
(

Hebrews 1:3), upholds the feeblest and most obscure member of the
blood-bought congregation” (C.H.M.). The order in which the names of
Israel’s tribes were engraved upon the two shoulder-stones was “according
to their birth”: spiritually this signifies their equality, for as born of God,
all the saints have the same nature, the same moral features, the same
acceptance to Christ.
Next comes the “breastplate,” which we pass by now; as we purpose
devoting a separate article to its consideration.
“And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. And there
shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof; it shall have a
binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the
hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent” (vv. 31:32).
This robe was worn over the fine linen coat, but underneath the ephod. It
was a long loose garment, of woven work, complete in one piece, with
openings for head and arms. This is the first time at the word “robe” is
found in Scripture. How striking that the “robe” is sever seen until the high.119
priest comes before us! The various connections in which his word is found
in later passages indicates that this robe of the ephod was a garment of
dignity, one of office, one which gave priestly character to Aaron — see

1 Samuel 24:4,

1 Chronicles 15:27.

Job 29:14, Ezekel 26:16.
This robe emobided the color of the heavens; it was all of blue. It
portrayed the heavenly character of our great High Priest, and also pointed
to the place where He is now ministering on our behalf. This is most
important, for it defines the essential nature of Christianity as con-tradistinguished
from Judaism. The whole system takes its character from
the Priest. Because Christ is a heavenly Priest, His people are partakers of
a heavenly calling (

Hebrews 3:1), their citizenship is in heaven
(

Philippians 3:20), their inheritance is there (1 Peter 1). Being worn
beneath the ephod itself, this “robe” announces that the official character of
Christ is sustained by what He is personally as the Heavenly One (

1
Corinthians 15:47).
Upon the hem of this “robe of the ephod” were colored tassels in the form
of “pomegranetes,” and between each of these was a “golden bell,” vv.
33:34. Pomegranate is a fruit, whose seeds float in a crimson liquid; the
bell, with its tongue, tells of musical speech. Every step that Aaron took as
he went about his sacred duties would cause the golden bells to sound and
the variegated pomegranates to be seen. So the activities of our great High
Priest cause His voice to be heard in intercession within the heavenly
sanctuary, and this results in His fruit being seen through “bringing many
sons unto glory” and by the graces which adorn their lives.
The words “his sound shall be heard when he goeth into the holy place
before the Lord, and when he cometh out” (v. 35) has a dispensational
significance. It was at His ascension that our great High Priest passed into
the heavenly sanctuary, and consequent upon this, on the day of Pentecost,
His “sound” was heard in the testimony to Himself which was borne by the
apostles as the result of the Holy Spirit being poured out from on high. The
“fruit” was seen in the multitude thai was then saved. Even more glorious
will be His sound and fruit when “he cometh out” again, and returns to this
earth and redeems His people Israel. The linking of the two together may
be seen by a reference to

Acts 2:16, 17. where we find Peter quoting
from the prophecy of Joel — a prophecy which is to receive its fulfillment
in the Millennium: but a sample of which was given on the day of
Pentecost..120
We next have the “plate of pure gold,” upon which was engraved “holiness
to the Lord.” This was attached to a background of “blue lace” and
fastened upon the forefront of the mitre (vv. 36, 37).
“The inscription, ‘Holiness to the Lord,’ signified that the high
priest was devoted to, dedicated exclusively to, Jehovah; the golden
plate upon which it was engraved sets forth that He who is the One
thus truly dedicated to God, ‘holy, harmless, undefiled and separate
from sinners,’ is Divine, the very Son of God: the blue lace upon
which it was placed, His heavenliness of character. Thus
conspicuous upon Aaron’s forehead, it gave its meaning to the
whole of his garments and of his office — he was sacred to the
Lord, and, as such, interceded for Israel, representing them, and in
himself hallowing the gifts of the people” (Mr. C. H. Bright).
“And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead. that Aaron may bear the
iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow
in all their holy gifts” (v. 38)
“This is the gracious provision which God has made for the
imperfections and defilements of our services and worship. He can
only accept that which is suited to His own nature. Everything
offered to Him, therefore, must be stamped with holiness. This
being so, notwithstanding that we are cleansed and brought into
relation with Hint, and have a title to approach, our offerings never
could be accepted. But He has met our need. Christ, as Priest,
bears the iniquity of our holy things; and He is holiness to the Lord,
so that our worship, as presented through Him. is acceptable to
God. Blessed consolation, for without this provision we were shut
out from God’s presence! Hence the apostle speaks not only of the
blood and the rent veil, but also of the High Priest over the house
of God (Hebrews 10).” (Mr. E. Dennett) — cf.

Revelation 8:3 !
Beautiful are the closing words of v. 38:
“And it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be
accepted before the Lord.”
This golden-plate was the symbol of the essential holiness of the Lord
Jesus. The saints are represented by Him and accepted in Him. Because of
their legal and vital union with Him, His holiness is theirs. O Christian
reader, look away from yourself, with your ten thousand failures, and fix.121
your eye on that golden plate. Behold in the perfections of your great High
Priest the measure of thine eternal acceptance with God. Christ is our
sanctification as well as our righteousness!
“And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen” (v. 39).
Apparently the word “embroider” here is explained by what we are told in
39:27: “They made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron and his
sons.” This fine linen “coat” was the inner garment, and was supplemented
with linen “breeches” or pants (v. 42). These may be called the high
priest’s personal raiment, even as the more beautiful external garments
were his official vestments. As we have shown previously, “fine linen” was
the emblem of purity. There is a verse in the Psalms which confirms this:
“Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness” (

132:9). Typically,
these undergarments spoke of the personal righteousness of Christ, over
which (so to speak) all His other perfections and glories were displayed. It
reminds us of that blessed word in

1 John 2:1,
“If any one sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ
the Righteous.”
“And thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen” (v. 39). This was the head-dress
of Aaron, and distinguished him from the ordinary priests, who wore
“bonnets” (v. 40). The Hebrew word is derived from a verb which means
“to roll, or wind around.” This may denote that the high priest’s mitre was
wound around his head, like a tiara. In

1 Corinthians 11:3-10, where we
have Divine instruction for the covering of the women’s heads in the
assembly of the saints, we learn that this symbolizes subjection. Thus the
head-dress of the high priest intimated his subordination to God, his
obedience to God’s commands and submission to His will. The fine linen of
which it was made, tells of the personal righteousness which must be found
in the one who stands in the presence of God on behalf of others.
It is most solemn to discover that the only other time “mitznepheth” occurs
in Scripture is in

Ezekiel 21:25, 27, where the Antichrist is in view.
There the Hebrew word is translated “diadem,” but should have been
rendered “mitre” as in Exodus 28. This remarkable prophecy shows that
the Man of Sin, who is yet to be revealed, will not only wear the crown of
royalty, but will also assume the high priest’s mitre. He will not only be the
supreme civil head, but the ecclesiastical pontiff as well. This “profane and
wicked prince of Israel” will arrogantly and blasphemously wield both regal.122
and priestly power, in Satanic parody of the true Priest and King, the Lord
Jesus. This age will close with Satan’s son ruling over men, both in the
political and religious worlds. Because men have received not the love of
the truth that they might be saved, God shall send them strong delusion
that they should believe the Lie (

2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).
How profoundly thankful should each Christian reader be for that
wondrous grace which has enabled him to flee from the wrath to come and
to lay hold of eternal life! What praise is due to God for the great High
Priest which His mercy has provided for His feeble and failing people: a
Priest who is fully qualified, through His personal perfections, not only to
supply our every need, but also to meet every requirement of a holy and
righteous God! The last four verses of Exodus 28 will be considered, D.V.,
when we take up the Consecration of the Priests..123
CHAPTER 49
THE BREASTPLATE

EXODUS 28:15-30
In our last article we pointed out how that the garments of Aaron which
were for “glory and for beauty” are seven in number. Six of these, the
ephod, girdle, robe, broidered-coat, mitre, and golden-crown, were then
briefly considered. Now, we are to meditate upon the remaining one,
namely, the Breastplate. This was the chief and most costly of the high
priest’s vestments, the other garments being as it were a foundation and
background for it, this central one pointing to the very heart of Christ
Himself. Its importance is at once denoted by being mentioned first in

Exodus 28:4. A description of it is furnished in

28:15-30. Let us
ponder:
1. ITS WORKMANSHIP.
This is described at length in vv. 15, 16, 21, 28, to which we would ask the
reader to turn. From these verses it will be seen that the Breastplate itself
was made of fine twined linen of cunning work (v. 15). From the remainder
of 5:15 we gather that it was richly embroidered with the three colors there
mentioned. It was foursquare in shape, and thus corresponded with both
the brazen and incense altars. Its dimensions were “a handbreadth;” that is,
from the tip of the little finger to the end of the outstretched thumb, a
distance of about ten and a half inches, or half a cubit. It was “doubled” so
as to give it strength and firmness, in order that it might sustain the weight
of the precious stones.
“Two rings of gold were placed inwards, at the bottom of the
breastplate: and two gold rings were attached to the ephod, just
above the curious belt (girdle): so that the breastplate was bound to
the ephod by a lace of blue, coupling these rings. Two wreathen
chains of gold were fastened to the ouches, in which the onyx
stones were set; and were also fastened, at their other two ends, to
two rings at the top of the breastplate. Thus, the ephod, onyx.124
stones, and breastplate were all linked together in one. It may here
be observed that the translation ‘at the ends’ (

28:14, 22) should,
according to Gesenius, be rendered ‘twisted work,’ like the
twisting of a rope, and the passage will then read thus: ‘Two chains
of pure gold twisted, wreathen work, shalt thou make them’” (G.
Soltau).
2. ITS SIGNIFICANCE.
There are at least five things which serve as guides to help us ascertain the
distinctive typical meaning of this part of the high priest’s dress. First, its
name: it is called the “breastplate of judgment” (v. 15). Second, the twelve
gems ‘set in it, on which were engraved the names of Israel’s twelve tribes
(vv. 17-21). Third, its inseparability from the ephod: “that the breastplate
be not loosed from the ephod” (v. 28). Fourth, the place where the
breastplate was worn: it was upon the high priest’s “heart” (v. 20). Fifth,
the mysterious “Urim and Thummin” which were placed in it (v. 30). As
these will be considered separately, in detail, below, we shall now only
generalize.
The purpose or design of the breastplate was to furnish a support to the
precious stones which were set in it, as well as to provide a background
from which their brilliant beauty might be displayed. Thus there is little or
no difficulty in perceiving that which is central in this blessed type. On the
jewels were inscribed the names of Israel’s twelve tribes. Therefore, what
we have foreshadowed here is Christ, as our great High Priest, bearing on
His heart, sustaining, and presenting before God, His blood-bought people.
There is a slight distinction to be drawn from what we have here and that
which is set forth in

Exodus 28:9-12. There, too, we have the names of
Israel’s tribes borne by their high priest before God. But there they are
seen resting upon his “shoulders,” whereas here (v. 29) they rest upon his
heart. In the one it is the strength or power of Christ engaged on behalf of
His helpless people; in the other, it is His affections exercised for them.
It will therefore be seen that it is, primarily, the perfect and lasting security
of believers which is set forth in our present type. Both the power and the
love of Christ are for them, guaranteeing their eternal preservation: “And
Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of
judgment upon his heart when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a
memorial before the Lord continually” (v. 29). Their position or standing.125
before God was neither affected nor altered by their changing
circumstances, infirmities or sins. Whenever Aaron went into the holy
place, there on his heart were the names of all God’s people. Emphasizing
this truth of security, note carefully how that their names were not simply
written upon (so that their erasure was possible) the precious stones, but
“engraved” (v. 21)!
Still emphasizing the same thought, notice also how that each jewel was
secured to the breastplate by a golden setting: “they shall be set in gold in
their inclosings” (v. 20). Thus it was impossible for them to slip out of their
places, or for any one of them to be lost! Mark, too, the provision made for
firmly fixing in place the breastplate itself. This is brought before us in w.
21-28. It was fastened by “chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure
gold” (v. 22), and these were passed through “two rings of gold on the
ends of the breastplate.” Thus the people of God (as represented by their
names) were chained to the high priest!
“The chains were wreathen and twisted like a rope, for both words are
used; wreathen, interwoven. The same word is used in

Judges 15:13,
14; 16:11, 12;

Psalm 12:3;

Hosea 1:4 — cords of love. ‘Twisted
work’ is Gesenius’ translation of the Hebrew word, which our version
gives, ‘at the ends’ (vv. 14, 22). Thus he would translate ‘and two chains
of pure gold. wreathen shalt thou make them, twisted work.’ The object in
adding the word ‘twisted’ to ‘wreathen’ appears to imply a combination of
skill and strength, and that the breastplate might be indissoluably connected
with the shoulder-stones. Every movement of the high priest’s shoulder
would affect the breastplate: and every beat of his heart which agitated the
breastplate would be conveyed, by means of the wreathen chains, to the
covering of the shoulders.
“There is a beautiful significance in this, reminding us how the
mighty power of the arm of the Lord is intimately linked on with
the tenderness of His heart of love. No action of His strength is
disconnected from His counsels of mercy and grace towards His
saints. He makes all things work together for good to them that
love Him. His arm and His heart are combined in sustaining them in
their high calling. He is able to keep them from falling, and to
present them faultless before the presence of His glory with
exceeding joy. They shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them.126
out of the Shepherd’s hand: and who shall separate them from His
love?” (G. Soltau).
How the double “span” or handbreadth in

28:16 confirms this!
3. ITS JEWELS.
These were twelve in number, one for each tribe, set in four rows of three
each. They are enumerated in vv. 17-20. With respect to the identity of
these precious stones but little is known. There have been many labored
attempts made by learned men to discover the real names of the gems; but,
with the exception of four or five, most Biblical students acknowledge the
subject to be involved in obscurity. But though we are unable to recognize
these stones under their modern names, yet many blessed thoughts are
suggested by them.
First, the fact the Jehovah selected gems to represent His people indicates
how precious they are in His sight. How dear they were, is seen in the fact
that He gave up His own beloved Son to die for them.
Second, their excellency was prefigured. And how accurate the type! The
believer’s excellency or righteousness is not one of his own, but is imputed.
So it is with precious stones. “Whatever beauty each has, the light alone
brings it out; in the darkness it has none” (C. H. Bright). Thus it is with the
saints: it is only as God sees them in Him who is the “true Light” that they
are acceptable unto Him.
Third, the perfect knowledge of the Lord regarding each disciple is
intimated by the individualizing of the tribes by name. “The Lord knoweth
them that are His.” “He calleth His own sheep by name.” Such is the
omniscience of our High Priest that all our wants are known to Him.
Fourth, the durability of these stones symbolizes the fact that the salvation
purchased for sinners is an “eternal” one (

Hebrews 5:9).
Concerning each stone it has been well said,
“Much, very much, of its beauty depends upon its cutting. Cut
skillfully, so as to refract the rays of light from many sides, it
sparkles with a beauty quite unknown to its natural condition.
Thus, too, with believers; undoubtedly each one has some inherent
characteristic difference, but only as the Divine hand in much.127
patience and skill cuts and polishes the stone to catch and discover
the colors of the Divine light which illuminates it doth it appear
beautiful. Its beauty is not its own, but it has been endowed with
capacity to appreciate and reflect the beauty of Him who is light
and love; and it is to reflect the beauties of the perfect One that we
have been chosen — ‘that in the ages to come He might show the
exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through
Christ Jesus’ (

Ephesians 2:7). So when that day of manifestation
of the glory of His grace comes, ‘the nations shall walk in her
light,’”

Revelation 21:24 (C. H. Bright).
Twelve stones were set in it, all precious stones, but no two of them were
alike. They were altogether different in form, hew, character, and also in
beauty and value (according to man’s estimation); but all of them were
gems in the sight of God, one as much as another. They were each set in
gold, and they rested equally upon the heart of Aaron, when he ministered
before the Lord. Doubtless, these precious stones were gathered in lands
far sundered. Some from the depths of the ocean it might be, and some
from the dark mine. But whatever their variety, or the circumstances of
their history, or the distance from which they were quarried, they were
united upon the high priest’s heart: diamond, jasper, and emerald were
borne there equally and together for a memorial before the Lord.
What comfort, yea, what joy the realization of this brings to the Christian.
Let not the ruby (sardius) proudly think itself superior to the carbuncle; let
not the jasper repine because it is not the diamond Let us not compare
ourselves with others. Each believer is accepted in the Beloved Each
believer is clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Each is complete in
Him Is it not enough thou art in the Breastplate, set in gold and borne upon
His heart!
In conclusion, let us call attention to something which is exceedingly
suggestive and significant concerning them as a whole. These jewels which
adorned the Breastplate of the high priest of Israel also pointed backward
to sinless Eden, and forward to the sinless New Jerusalem. The first
precious stone mentioned in Scripture is the “onyx” (

Genesis 2:12), and
this was the gem which bore on each of Aaron’s shoulders the “memorial”
on which the names of God’s people were graven (

28:9-12), and to
which the Breastplate was united (v. 25). While in

Revelation 21:19-20
we learn that the foundations of the Heavenly City will be garnished with.128
twelve precious stones. Thus the “onyx” stones on the high priest’s
shoulders look back to

Genesis 2:10, which contained a hidden promise
of the re-admission of God’s people into the sinless state; while the
Breastplate itself looked forward to Revelation 21, where the fulfillment of
that promise is seen!
4. ITS CONNECTIONS.
The Breastplate was inseparably linked to the ephod. The latter was made
for the former, and not the former for the latter. It was never to be
separated from it: “that the Breastplate be not loosed from the ephod” (v.
28). The ephod was peculiarly and essentially the high priestly garment.
“The names of God’s people as borne upon the heart of the priest,
shining out in all the sparkling lustre and beauty of the stones on
which they are engraven. This symbolizes the fact that believers are
before God in all the acceptance of Christ. When God looks upon
the great High Priest, He beholds His people upon His heart, as
well as upon His shoulders, adorned with all the beauty of the One
on whom His eye ever rests with perfect delight. Or, looking at it
from another aspect, it might be said that Christ presented His
people to God, in the exercise of His priesthood, as Himself. He
thus establishes in His intercession His own claims upon God on
their behalf. And with what joy does He so present them before
God! For they are those for whom He has died, and whom He has
cleansed with His own most precious blood, those whom He has
made the objects of His own love, and whom finally He will bring
to be forever with Him; and He pleads for them before God
according to all the strength of these ties” (Ed. Dennett).
Thus the truth set forth by the Breastplate is inseparably united to the
priestly ministry of Christ.
“It is fastened to the ephod by chains of gold, by all that Christ is
therefore as Divine. It is also an eternal connection as typified by
the rings — the ring being without an end, and hence, an emblem of
eternity. As Priest, Christ can never fail us. If He has once
undertaken our cause, He will never lay it down. Surely this truth
will strengthen our hearts in times of trial or weakness. We may be
despondent, but if we look up we may rejoice in the thought that.129
our place upon the heart and shoulders of Christ can never be lost”
(Ed. Dennett).
“He preserves us, as that which He has on His heart, to God, He
cannot be before Him without doing so, and whatever claim the
desire and wish of Christ’s heart has to draw out the favor of God,
operates in drawing out that favor to us. The light and favor of the
sanctuary — God as dwelling there — cannot shine out on him
without shining on us, and that as an object presented by Him for
it” (Mr. J. N. Darby).
5. ITS NAME.
It is called “the breastplate of judgment” (v. 15). This term occurs for the
first time in

Genesis 18:19, where God says to Abraham, concerning his
sons, “They shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.”
Its next occurrence is in

Exodus 21:1, where “judgments” signify the
decrees or fiats of God — cf.

Psalm 19:9. That which is here set forth is
that the saints are represented by their High Priest according to God’s
mind concerning them. Expressing almost the same aspect of truth is that
blessed word,
“I know the thoughts that I think’ toward you, saith the Lord,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil. to give you an expected end”
(

Jeremiah 29:11).
Closely connected with its name is what is said in v. 29:
“And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the
breastplate of judgment upon his heart when he goeth in unto the
holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.”
A remarkable word is this: A “memorial” is a reminder, for calling to
remembrance. But does our Father in heaven need such? To inform His
omniscience, no; but to delight His heart and satisfy His love, yes. And
this, too, for the strengthening of our faith, that His people might know
they have that in heaven for the staying of their hearts.
6. ITS POSITION.
The Breastplate was placed over Aaron’s heart. It is striking to observe
that three times over we have these words “upon his heart” (vv. 29, 30,.130
30). As we have seen, the Breastplate was suspended from the shoulders
by golden chains connected with the onyx stones, and from golden rings in
the lower corners it was fastened to the girdle of the ephod by a lace of
blue. Thus it was firmly secured over the heart of Israel’s high priest.
God’s people were thus doubly represented: first, upon his shoulders, the
place of strength; and then, upon his heart, the seat of affection. Lovely
type was this of our Redeemer in His present heavenly ministry, exercising
His power to uphold His poor people; and His deep, tender, unchangeable
love embracing them, binding them close to His heart, and presenting them
to the Father in the glory and preciousness of the splendor with which He
is invested.
“This is precious, and oftentimes we need to refresh ourselves by
‘considering’ thus ‘the Apostle and High Priest of our confession’
(

Hebrews 3:1). There are times when we forget that we have
One on high whom, in grace, cares for and watches over those who
are treading the path of faith He once trod on earth. And there are
times when, though we remember this, we limit either His love or
His power. Precious, then, is it to be thus reminded that according
to what He can do, His love makes us willing to do; and according
to what His affection is, He hath strength to carry out what it
dictates” (C. H. Bright).
It is beautiful to note in the Song of Solomon how the Bride says to her
Beloved, “Set me as a seal upon Thine heart, as a seal upon Thine arm”
(

8:6): let my name be graven deep in Thine heart, where love is strong
as death, which many waters cannot quench, which the floods of the
Almighty have not drowned. And let my name be also graven in the seat of
Thy power, that I may be upheld from sin and folly, that I may not be like
the adulterer and adulteress who seek the friendship of the world. If such a
prayer suited the desires of an earthy people, how much more may this
petition express the devotion and the longings of Christ’s heavenly people!
7. ITS LACE.
“And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the
rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the
curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed
from the ephod” (v. 28)..131
What beautiful completeness this gives to our type! “Blue” is the heavenly
color, and
“as long as His heavenly priesthood continues, so long is it
inseparably connected with bearing us on the breastplate. Not that
He will ever cease to love us, but when His church is with Him it
will no longer need this care which the trials of the way call out.
And surely to be with one who loves us is better than simply to be
remembered by him, however faithful that remembrance may be.
Christ is made a priest forever after the order of Melkeizedek. His
priesthood has for the present an intercessory character, as typified
in Aaron; but the time will come when — God’s judgment upon the
nations being executed — He will come forth as the Priest of the
Most High God, not to intercede, but to reward (

Genesis
14:18). At this time His royal priesthood will be in exercise, and
ours too. ‘King of righteousness’ He will first be proved to be; then
‘King of peace,’

Hebrews 7:2” (C. H. Bright).
May God be pleased to bless this little meditation to many of His people,
and use it to make Christ more precious to them..132
CHAPTER 50
THE URIM AND THUMMIM

EXODUS 28:30
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: ‘but those things
which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever”
(

Deuteronomy 29:29).
This seems to be a suitable passage with which to introduce our present
inquiry. Things which Jehovah has not seen fit to make known unto us, it is
presumption and impiety to attempt to pry into; hence the Christian needs
constantly to pray,
“Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins”
(

Psalm 19:13).
Let us not attempt to be wise above that which is written. Let us seek
grace to be kept humble, from invading the prerogatives of the Most High,
and from endeavoring to handle things which are “too wonderful”
(

Psalm 139:6) for us. “Now I know in part” (

1 Corinthians 13:12);
let us be thankful for this “part,” and leave it with God to grant us a fuller
revelation in the Day to come.
On the other hand, let us not forget that the things which are revealed
“belong” unto us. They are given for our instruction. They are given for us
to study prayerfully and carefully. It is only by perseveringly comparing
Scripture with Scripture that we learn what God has “revealed” in His
Word. The Holy Spirit places no premium upon sloth. It is not the dilatory
but the “diligent” soul who is “made fat” (

Proverbs 13:4). A rightly
divided Word of Truth calls for a “workman” (

2 Timothy 2:15), not a
lazy man. It is because they spend, comparatively, so little time over the
Scriptures, it is because they cannot truly say
“I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary
food” (

Job 23:12),.133
that the great majority of professing Christians have little or no conception
of how much God has been pleased to reveal to us in His Word.
Now, in connection with the Urim and the Thummim there appear to be
some things which God has seen fit to keep “secret,” hence the profitless
articles which many, who resorted to speculation, have written on the
subject. Concerning the “Urim and the Thummim” no man, Jew or Gentile,
knows, or can know, anything, save what God has “revealed” to us in His
Word. But as the humble student attentively compares the different
passages where they are mentioned, as he notes what is said therein, he
discovers that God has been pleased to intimate to us not a little
concerning their nature, use, and spiritual significance. Let us now note: —
1. THEIR NAMES.
Both words are in the plural number, though this (as is often the case in the
Hebrew of the O.T.) is probably what is called the “plural of majesty” —
used for the purpose of emphasising the importance or dignity of a thing.
Thus, it is most likely that the “Urim” was but a single object, and the
“Thummim” another; but of this we cannot be certain. There is no difficulty
in ascertaining the English equivalent of these Hebrew terms. Urim
signifies “lights” or “light,” being the plural form of the word very
frequently used for “light.” In

Isaiah 31:9;

44:16;

47:14;

50:11;

Ezekiel 5:2 Urim is translated “fire” (its secondary meaning);
while in

Isaiah 24:15 it is rendered “fires.” Thummim means
“perfections” or “perfection.” In the Sept. these two words are translated
by “delosis” and “aletheim,” meaning “manifestation” and “truth.”
It is surely striking that reference is made to these mysterious objects in the
Old Testament just seven times. In Exodus 28: 30,

Leviticus 8:8,

Ezra 2:63, and

Nehemiah 7:65 they are spoken of as the “Urim and
Thummim,” but in

Deuteronomy 33:8 the order is reversed “Thummim
and Urim”; while in

Numbers 27:21 and

1 Samuel 28:6 “Urim” is
mentioned alone. It is also to be noted that no command was given to
Moses by Jehovah to “make” them; he was simply told to “put” (Hebrews
nathan “to give” them in the Breastplate). Let us next consider:
2. THEIR PLACE.
This is made known in

Exodus 28:30, “And thou shalt put in the
breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim.” From v. 16,.134
“Foursquare it shall be doubled,” we gather that the linen fabric of which
the breastplate was composed was made in the form of a bag, in which
(more literally “into which”) the Urim and the Thummim were placed.
Thus, they also were worn upon the high priest’s heart. They would be
under the twelve precious stones which bore the names of Israel’s tribes,
and linked, too, with the onyx stones on Aaron’s shoulders.
3. THEIR USE.
This may be gathered from the different passages where they are
mentioned. The first is in

Numbers 27:21,
“And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel
for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word
they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and
all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”
From the above quotation it seems clear that, in certain circumstances, the
mind of the Lord was conveyed through them.

1 Samuel 28:6 bears this
out, for of Saul it is there said, “when he enquired of the Lord, the Lord
answered him not, neither by dreams nor by Urim, nor by prophets.” From
these two passages we gather that by means of the Urim, or “light,” in the
breastplate of the high priest, counsel or prophetic guidance was obtained
from God. Further confirmation of this is found in Ezra 2. In vv. 61, 62 we
are told,
“And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the
children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the
daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:
These sought their register among those that were reckoned by
genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as
polluted, put from the priesthood.”
Then it is added, “And the governor said unto them, that they should not
eat of the most holy things till there stood up a priest with Urim and with
Thummim,” i.e., till one through whom the mind of the Lord was clearly
revealed.
From these Scriptures the late Dr. Bullinger drew the following
deductions:.135
“The Urim and Thummim were probably two precious stones,
which were drawn out as a lot to give Jehovah’s judgment. ‘The lot
is cast into the lap (Hebrews ‘bosom’), but the whole judgment
thereof is of the Lord’ (

Proverbs 16:33) — bosom is here put
for the clothing or covering over it: cf.

Exodus 4:6, 7;

Ruth
4:10… Thus, these two placed in the ‘bag,’ and one drawn out,
would give the judicial decision, which would be ‘of the Lord.’
Hence the breastplate itself was known as ‘the breastplate of
judgment’ (v. 15), because, by that, Jehovah’s judgment was
obtained whenever it was needed. Hence, when the land was
divided ‘by lot’ (

Numbers 26:55) Eleazar, the high priest, must
be present (

Numbers 34:17 — cf. 27:21 —

Joshua 17:4).
When he would decide it the lot ‘came up’ (

Joshua 18:11),
‘came forth’ (

Joshua 19:1), ‘came out’ (

Joshua 19:17), i.e.,
‘out’ or ‘forth’ from the bag of the ephod. In

Ezra 2:61-63 no
judgment could be given unless the high priest were present with
the breastplate, with its bag, with the lots of Urim and Thummim,
which gave Jehovah’s decision.”
4. THEIR CONNECTIONS.
First, as intimated above, they were deposited in the bag of the breastplate.
Not only so, the very name of this important part of the high priest’s
vestments is taken therefrom, for it was termed “the breastplate of
judgment,” i.e., of decision, as giving God’s mind. In striking accord with
this, we may point out how that the word used in the Sept. version (the
first translation ever made of the Old Testament into Greek) is “logeion,”
which means oracle, because by it the high priest obtained oracular
responses from God.
Second, as pointed out in the preceding article, the breastplate was
inseparably connected with, yea, formed an essential part of, the “ephod”
itself — see

Exodus 28:6, 7, 28 and our notes thereon. Now, the
“ephod” was peculiarly the prophetic dress of the high priest. By means of
it (that is, through the Urim and Thummim) he learned the counsel of God,
and was thus able to declare what course the people should take, or what
events were about to happen. Upon this, the late Mr. Soltau has most
helpfully pointed out:.136
“Thus we find Saul, accompanied by Ahiah, the Lord’s priest in
Shiloh, wearing an ephod, commanding the ark to be brought, that
he may ascertain the meaning of the tumult among the Philistines.
But, instead of waiting to receive any response from God, he binds
Israel with a curse and enters into the battle (

1 Samuel 14:3, 19,
24). Abiathar, the only surviving priest of the line of Eli, fled to
David with the ephod in his hand, having escaped the slaughter at
Nob. David ascertained by this means the purpose of the men of
Keilah to deliver him up to Saul (

1 Samuel 23:6, 10). Again, in
the affair at Ziglag, David consulted the Lord through Abiathar and
the ephod, and obtained a favorable answer (

1 Samuel 30:7, 8).
On a subsequent occasion we read of David inquiring of the Lord,
and obtaining answers (

2 Samuel 2:1). and although in this
instance the priest and ephod are not mentioned, yet judging from
the previous instances it is probable that the same mode of inquiry
was adopted.”
5. THEIR SIGNIFICANCE.
The twelve gems on which were graven the names of Israel’s tribes were
worn upon the heart of Aaron; the “Urim and the Thummim” were placed
within the breastplate, beneath the precious stones. Thus they speak, first
of all, of that which is found in the heart of the Lord Jesus. As said the
apostle who leaned upon His bosom,
“The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld
His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of
grace and truth” (

John 1:14).
“Light” and “Perfection” center in Him who is our great High Priest.
In Christ Himself we see the antitype of the “Urim.” “In Him was life, and
the life was the light of men…. that was the true Light, which lighteth every
man that cometh into the world” (

John 1:5, 9). Therefore did He say, “I
am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life” (

John 8:12).
“God is light” (

1 John 1:5), and Christ could say, “He that hath seen Me
hath seen the Father” (

John 14:9). Yes, He is the reality of which the
Urim was the figure: the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines
“in the face of Jesus Christ” (

2 Corinthians 4:6)..137
In Christ we see the antitype of the “Thummim.” Every “perfection” is
found in Him, for He is “altogether lovely” (

Song of Solomon 5:16).
Concerning His Deity, He is “over all, God blessed forever” (

Romans
9:5). Concerning His humanity, He is “that holy thing” (

Luke 1:35). As
the God-man, the Father said, “This is My Beloved Son.” In His speech He
was perfect: “grace is poured into Thy lips” (

Psalm 45:2) testified the
Spirit of prophecy. “Never man spake like this Man” (

John 7:46),
confessed His enemies. In His character He was flawless: “a lamb without
spot and blemish” (

1 Peter 1:19). In His conduct He was perfect: “I do
always those things that please Him” (

John 8:29). Yes, Christ is the
reality of which the Thummim was the figure.
But is there not something else here, still more specific? We believe there
is. “God is light” (

1 John 1:5) and “God is love” (

1 John 4:8), make
known to us what God is in Himself. The balance between these, if we
may so speak, was perfectly maintained and blessedly manifested by the
incarnate Son. The love which He exercised was ever an holy love; the
light which He displayed was never divorced from this love. In like manner,
these two, the Urim and the Thummim — “light” and “perfection” —
formed a unit, being together within the breastplate upon the high priest’s
heart. The antitype of this is found in

John 1:14, already quoted.
“Now, in this expression — ‘full of grace and truth’ — we have, in
brief, the two main thoughts of the breastplate. ‘Truth’ is the effect
of the light, and God is light. Light is what manifests, brings out the
truth, is the truth. Christ, the light of the world, is the truth come
into it: everything gets its true character from Him. ‘Grace,’ while
it is what it is in God, is toward man” (F. W. Grant).
In addition to the names of these two objects (what they were in
themselves) foreshadowing that which is in Christ, the purpose for which
they were designed, the use to which they were put, also receives its
typical fulfillment in Him. As we have seen, they were employed for
communicating to the people a knowledge of God’s mind and will
concerning them. How blessedly this pointed to the Lord Jesus as “the
wonderful Counseller” (

Isaiah 9:6)! In Him “are hid all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge” (

Colossians 2:3). And therefore could He say,
“I am the Truth” (

John 14:6). The mind and will of God are perfectly
revealed to Him and by Him..138
Christ’s perfect knowledge of the Father’s thoughts are clearly intimated in
the following Scriptures:
“For the Father loveth the Son and showeth Him all things that
Himself doeth” (

John 5:20)
— there is no restraint, no reserve.
“No one knoweth the Son save the Father; neither doth any know
the Father, save the Son, and he to whosoever the Son willeth to
reveal Him” (

Matthew 11:27, R.V.).
“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His
hand” (

John 3:35).
Christ’s communication to His people of what the Father has given to Him
is also without reserve. Speaking to His beloved disciples He says,
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not
what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that
I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you” (

John
15:15).
This is developed, in a doctrinal way, in the Epistle to the Hebrews:
“God hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by His Son”
(

1:1, 2).
Perfectly has Christ communicated to His people the mind of God; fully
has He revealed the Father’s heart. This, we take it, then, is the second
great truth foreshadowed by the Urim and Thummim: the counsels of God
are only to be learned through the Lord Jesus, our great High Priest; and
those counsels (of grace) are inseparably connected with His own dear
people — as symbolized by the Urim and Thummim and the twelve
precious stones, bearing their names, being together in the breastplate.
Another blessed truth was also signified by the Urim and Thummim. When
the people of God were doubtful as to what course they should follow,
when they desired light upon their path, they could obtain it by coming to
and seeking it from the high priest.
“And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel
for him, after the judgment of Urim before the Lord” (

Numbers
27:21)..139
“Thus we learn that the high priest not only bore the judgment of
the congregation before the Lord, but also carried the judgment of
the Lord to the congregation. Solemn, weighty, and most precious
functions! All this we have, in divine perfectness, in our great High
Priest, who has passed into the heavens; He bears the judgment of
His people on His heart continually; and He, by the Holy Spirit,
communicates to us the counsel of God, in reference to the most
minute circumstances of our daily course. We do not want dreams
or visions; if only we walk in the Spirit we shall enjoy all the
certainty which the perfect ‘Urim,’ on the breast of our great High
Priest, can afford” (C.H.M.)
Yet one other point remains to be considered in this striking type. In the
quotation made above from Dr. Bullinger’s works it will be seen that the
Urim and Thummim played an important part in the allocation of Canaan
to the different tribes in the days of Joshua. It was to them that God’s mind
was made known respecting Israel’s portions in the promised land. The
anti-type of this is most blessed, Christ has purchased for Himself an
inheritance (see

Psalm 2:8, etc.). His inheritance, both the heavenly and
earthly portions of it, He will share with His people, for they are “joint-heirs”
with Him (

Romans 8:17). In John 17 we find Him saying to the
Father, “the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them” (v. 22). The
different positions which His people will occupy during the Millennium will
be determined by the Lord Jesus. To one He will say, “have thou authority
over ten cities” (

Luke 19:17), to another, ‘be thou over five cities”
(

Luke 19:19), and so on. Thus our Joshua (the Hebrew of “Jesus”) will
apportion the Inheritance according to the mind of God.
To sum up. In Christ, then, we have the reality of all that was
foreshadowed by the Urim and Thummim.
First, He is the “Light and Perfection” of God — the Brightness of His
glory (

Hebrews 1:3).
Second, in Christ the light and life, the righteousness and grace of God,
meet together, and their balance is perfectly maintained.
Third, Christ is the One in whom all the counsels of God find their Centre.
Fourth, the counsels of God which center in Christ are inseparably
connected with His people..140
Fifth, to Christ and by Christ is made fully known the mind of God, for in
Him are hid “all the treasures of wisdom and. knowledge” (

Colossians
2:3).
Sixth, from Christ, by His Spirit, directions may be obtained for every step
of our pilgrim journey.
Seventh, by Christ the promised and purchased inheritance will be
administered:
In conclusion, we may note a dispensational application which the Urim
and Thummim had for the Jews.

Ezra 2:63 informs us that there was no
one with the Urim and Thummim to communicate the mind of God in the
day of Israel’s return from their Babylonian captivity. The company seen
with Ezra typify the godly Jewish remnant in the Tribulation period.
Though sustained by God, the Holy Spirit will not be on earth at that time,
and they will be without many of the spiritual privileges which we now
enjoy. But at the close of the time of Jacob’s trouble, the Lord Jesus shall
return to earth:
“He shall build the temple of the Lord, and He shall bear the glory,
and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon
His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both”
(

Zechariah 6:13).
At the beginning of the Millennium,
“It shall come to pass that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall
be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted
above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people
shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the
Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His
ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth
the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall
judge among the nations…. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us
walk in the light of the Lord” (

Isaiah 2:2-5).
Then shall Israel enjoy that which, of old, was adumbrated by the Urim and
Thummim in their high priest’s breastplate.
N.B. — Having completed our own study of the subject, and after having
looked in vain for any help from numerous commentaries ancient and.141
modern, in the good providence of God we found an illuminating article in
“Addresses on Hebrews,” by P. R. Morford. This led us to follow up his
suggestion of linking the “Urim and Thummim” with Hebrews 1 and 2; the
results of which we give in a sermon preached thereon. The further and
clearer distinction drawn between the spiritual significations of the Urim
and Thummim explains the slight variations found in several Old Testament
scriptures. In

Numbers 7:21 and

1 Samuel 28:6 only the “Urim” is
mentioned, because that had to do, specifically, with God revealing
Himself. In

Deuteronomy 33:8 the “Thummim” is mentioned first, in
keeping with the thought of the verse as a whole..142
CHAPTER 51
THE VESTMENTS OF THE PRIESTS

EXODUS 28:40-43
“Thy testimonies are wonderful” (

Psalm 119:129). The one who first
penned these words had a much smaller Bible than we now have. Little
more than the Pentateuch had been written in the Psalmist’s time, yet his
study of the first five books of Holy Writ moved David to wonderment as
he pondered their contents. All that is said of the tabernacle and its
priesthood, down to its minutest detail, is indeed “wonderful”: wonderful
in its depth, for there is much here which none has yet fathomed; wonderful
in its freshness, for the Holy Spirit is ever revealing new beauties therein;
wonderful in its preciousness, for the one in communion with its Author
must say,
“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:
sweeter also than honey or the honeycomb” (

Psalm 19:10).
There is another and more comprehensive reason why God’s testimonies
are “wonderful,” and that is, because they are concerned with Him whose
name is called “Wonderful” (

Isaiah 9:6). Said the Lord Jesus, as He
came into this world, “Lo I come — in the volume of the Book it is written
of Me — to do Thy will O God” (

Hebrews 10:7). Hence, to the
unbelieving Pharisees He said, “Search the Scriptures…. for they are they
which testify of Me.” The incarnate Word is the key to the written Word.
It is the Person and Work of Christ which gives meaning and blessedness
to what is found in the Old Testament types.
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto
them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself”
(

Luke 24:27).
But it is just because the Scriptures testify of Christ that He alone can
expound them to us. Their Divine Inspirer must also be their Interpreter if
we are to discern their spiritual import. As we read in

Luke 24:45,
“Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the.143
Scriptures.” This is our deep need, too, to ask Him to anoint our eyes with
eyesalve that we may see (

Revelation 3:18). It is only as He does thus
anoint our eyes, that we are enabled to discern in many an Old Testament
character, ritual, symbol, wondrous and perfect foreshadowments of
Himself. Oh that He may, increasingly. instruct both writer and reader.
“Thy testimonies are wonderful,” wonderful also in their very
arrangement. Again and again in the course of these articles upon Exodus
we have called attention to this striking feature. In what is now to be
before us, we have still another example. The order of the contents of
Exodus 28 is most suggestive and significant. The whole chapter has to do
with the priests and their vestments. First, in v. 1, before details are entered
into, Aaron and his sons are seen together. This, as already pointed out,
typified Christ and His people in their perfect union. Then, in vv. 2 to 39,
we have described the robes and insignia of Aaron himself. Finally, in vv.
40-43, reference is made to the vestments of Aaron’s sons. Who can fail to
see here the handiwork of God? In all things Christ must have the pre-eminence:
first the garments of the high priest are mentioned, then those of
the priestly family!
“And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make
for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory
and for beauty” (v. 40).
It is very striking and most blessed to mark that here we have repeated
what was said in v. 2. There, we read how that Jehovah said to Moses,
“And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and
for beauty.” So here in v. 40 the Lord gave instruction that Aaron’s sons
should also have robes made for them for “glory and for beauty.” As
pointed out in the previous articles, the various garments worn by Aaron,
pointed to the inherent, essential and personal excellencies of our great
High Priest. That which was prefigured in those worn by Aaron’s sons was
the graces with which Christ’s people are endowed, by virtue of their
association with Him.
All believers are priests. All Christians have been consecrated to and for
Divine service; all have access to God, a place within the heavenly
sanctuary. They have been made “kings and priests unto God”
(

Revelation 10:6). They are a “holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual
sacrifices, which are acceptable to God by Christ Jesus” (

1 Peter 2:5).
They are also “a royal priesthood” (

1 Peter 2:9), because united to Him.144
who is King of kings. There is no Scriptural warrant at all for a separate
priestly class among Christians; all have equal title to draw near to God
(

Hebrews 10:22). Every Christian is a “priest,” for he worships in a
spiritual temple (

Hebrews 10:19), he stands at a spiritual altar
(

Hebrews 13:10), he offers a spiritual sacrifice (

Hebrews 13:15).
But to be priests to God necessitates holy garments. Those belonging to
Aaron’s “sons” were four in number, each of which we shall consider
separately.
1. THEIR COATS.
“And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats” (v. 40).
This receives amplification in

Exodus 39:27, where we are told, “And
they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron and for his sons.”
As we have seen in earlier articles, the “fine linen” speaks of the spotless
purity and holiness of Christ.
“The robing of Aaron’s sons is really the putting on of Christ; and
this, in fact, brings them into association with Him; for the church
possesses nothing apart from Christ. If believers, for example, are
brought into the position of priests, and the enjoyment of priestly
privileges, it is in virtue of their connection with Him. He is the
Priest, and He it is that makes them priests (see

Revelation 1:5,
6). Everything flows from Him. Thus, when Aaron is put into
company with his sons, it is not so much that he becomes merged
into the priestly family, but rather to teach that all the blessings and
privileges of the priestly family are derived from Christ. But in
order to do this they must first be invested with robes of glory and
for beauty — robes which adorn them with the glory and beauty of
Christ” (Ed. Dennett).
More specifically, these spotless linen coats of the priests set forth the
righteousness with which the saints are clothed. Our own righteousnesses
art as filthy rags (

Isaiah 64:6). But these have been removed, and in
their place the “best robe” of Christ’s righteousness has been placed upon
us (

Luke 15:22). This is strikingly and blessedly set forth in Zechariah
3:
“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before
the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood, before.145
him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him
He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and
I will clothe thee with change of raiment” (vv.

3, 4).
It is because of this that the believer sings,
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my
God, for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He
hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom
decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself
with her jewels” (

Isaiah 61:10.)
Of old it was said,
“Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints
shout for joy… I will also clothe her priests with salvation”
(

Psalm 132:9, 16).
The answer to this is given in the New Testament, where we are told that
God has made Christ to be
“unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
redemption” (

1 Corinthians 1:30);
and again,
“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (

2 Corinthians
5:21).
“Aaron, as the high priest, appeared in the presence of the Lord in a
representative character, personating, we may say, the whole nation of
Israel, and upholding it in the glory and beauty required by God; bearing
the names of the tribes on his shoulders and breastplate, graven on precious
stones. His sons, the priests, stood in no such official dignity, but had
access into the holy place and ministered at the altar on behalf of the
people; not as representing them, but rather as leaders of their worship, and
instructors of them in the holy things of God. They were types of one
aspect of the church of God — the heavenly priesthood. In the Revelation,
the four and twenty elders have a priestly standing; they form the heavenly
council, being ‘elders,’ and therefore also judges. They are seated on
‘thrones’ because kings. They are clothed in white raiment as priests, and.146
they have on their heads crowns of gold, that is, victors’ crowns as
chaplets (

Revelation 4:4).
“The countless multitude are also seen clothed with white robes; a
priestly company serving day and night in the temple (

7:9). The
Lamb’s wife is seen arrayed in fine linen, clean and white (

19:8).
We have white raiment also alluded to in

Revelation 3:4, 18 and
6:11. Thus the priestly dress of fine linen, and the garments of
unsullied whiteness, represent the same thing — spotless
righteousness. The standing of the believer in Christ before God not
being his own righteousness, but the righteousness of God which is
by faith” (H. W. Soltau).
Ere passing from this part of the priests’ vestments, we need to be
reminded that our desire and aim concerning our state should ever be an
approximation unto our standing. The Christian’s condition in this world
ought to correspond to his position before God. Thus, while in

Galatians 3:27 it is said, “For as many of you as have been baptized into
Christ have put on Christ,” in

Romans 13:14 we are exhorted “put ye
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the
lusts thereof.” To do this we need to have the heart constantly engaged
with Christ, remembering that He has left us “an example, that ye should
follow His steps” (

1 Peter 2:21). O to be more engaged with Him who
is fairer than the children of men.
2. THEIR GIRDLES.
“And thou shalt make for them girdles” (v. 40). With this should be
compared what we are told in

39:29, “And a girdle of fine twined linen,
and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework; as the Lord commanded
Moses.” Some have thought that because “girdle” is here found in the
singular number that the reference must be to that alone which was worn
by the high priest. But this is a mistake, his “girdle” is described in

28:8,
and it will be seen by a careful comparison with

39:29 that it differed
from those worn by the priests in this respect: his had “gold” in it, theirs
did not.
It is only by comparing Scripture with Scripture that we can rightly
interpret any figure or symbol. Two thoughts are suggested by the “girdle”:
it is an equipment for service, it is a means of strength. First, we may note

Luke 12:35, 36,.147
“Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye
yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord.”
This is an exhortation from Christ for His people to be ready for His
return. Here two things are prefaced: they must be active in service and
faithful in testimony. As another has said,
“The hope of our Lord’s return will not really abide in the heart
unless we keep our loins girded, as engaged in the Master’s work,
and unless our light shines out before men. An inactive believer is
sure to become a worldly-minded one. He will have companionship
with men of the world, whose intoxicating pursuits of avarice,
ambition, and pleasure deaden their hearts and consciences to all
the truth of God. ‘Occupy till I come’ is another precept of the
same kind as ‘let your loins be girded.’”
Another New Testament exhortation where this figure of the “girdle” is
used occurs in

1 Peter 1:13,
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to
the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the
revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Here believers are addressed as “strangers and pilgrims,” passing through
the wilderness on their way to the promised inheritance (vv. 1, 4). Two
great motives are presented to them: the sufferings of Christ and the glory
that shall follow (v. 1). Thus, in order to be constantly pressing onwards
we must stay our minds upon Christ, ever contemplating Him in His two
characters as the Victim and as the Victor. A man who fails to use the
“girdle,” allowing his garments to hang loose, is impeded in his movements
and progress. Loose thoughts and wandering imaginations must be
gathered in, and our hearts and understandings set upon the death,
resurrection, and return of Christ, if we would pursue our journey with less
distraction.
Ephesians 6 informs us of the nature of our “girdle”:
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be
able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth”
(vv.

13, 14)..148
Here the believer is contemplated in still another character. He is not only a
priest to serve God, and a pilgrim journeying to another country, he is also
a soldier, called on to “fight the good fight of faith” and to “wrestle” (v.
12). But no matter in what relationship he is viewed, the “girdle” is
essential. It is striking to note that the “girdle” is mentioned first in

Ephesians 6:14-18, and that here the two separate thoughts suggested
in connection therewith are combined. The whole strength of the warrior to
stand and wrestle, depends upon the close fitting of his firm girdle. If his
outer garments are loose and trailing (carelessness in his ways), or if his
loins (the place of strength) be not supported and sustained by God’s truth,
Satan will soon overcome him, and instead of “standing” — experimentally
maintaining his high calling in Christ — he will be cast down, to sink into
the darkness of the world’s delusions; ensnared either by its vanities and
glittering honors, or its learned speculations of “vain philosophy” and
“science falsely so called.”
Our loins are to be “girt about with truth.” The “girdle,” then, speaks of
the Word of God, particularly, all that centers in Christ and proceeds from
Him. This is the priest’s equipment for service, the pilgrim’s source of
strength, the warrior’s staying power. Additional Scriptures which bring in
the thought of strength in connection with the “girdle” are found in

Revelation 1:13; 15:16. In the former, Christ is seen, “girt about the
breasts with a golden girdle,” the symbolic significance of this being, the
binding of the ephod of blue — the robe of heavenly peace and love —
about His heart, so that in the midst of searching words of reproof and
warning, mercies might also proceed from “breasts of consolation.” In the
latter passage, golden girdles are seen about the breasts of the angels — to
whom the vials of wrath are entrusted — indicating that their hearts needed
strengthening for their terrible work of judgment. Thus, the “girdles” of the
priests tell of that equipment and strength for service which is to he found
in Christ.
3. THEIR BONNETS.
“And bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty” (v. 40).
“And goodly bonnets of fine linen” (

39:28).
“The Hebrew word occurs only four times in the Old Testament,
and is exclusively used for the head-dress of the priests. It is
derived from a verb signifying ‘elevation,’ often used of a hill. They.149
apparently differed from the mitre of the high priest, in the fact that
they were bound round the heads of the priests, which is never said
of the mitre. In

Exodus 29:9 and

Leviticus 8:13 the margin
of the A.V. correctly gives ‘bind’ for ‘put.’ They were probably
rolls of fine linen, folded like a turban round the head. The word
translated ‘goodly’ (

Exodus 39:28) is worthy of notice. It is
rendered ‘tire’ of the heads (

Ezekiel 24:17, 23); ‘beauty’
(

Isaiah 61:3); ‘ornaments’ (

Isaiah 61:10), and is derived from
a verb signifying ‘to beautify or glorify’” (Soltau).
There seems to be two thoughts suggested by these “bonnets,” which,
though at first glance seem widely dissimilar, are, nevertheless, closely
related. From the etymology of the word, they speak of elevation or
exaltation. On the other hand, from the general tenor of Scripture, the
covering of the head betokens subjection (

1 Corinthians 11:4-10, etc).
The orthodox Jew, to this day, always keeps his head covered in the
synagogue; and even in private, when reading God’s Word, he covers his
head. How, then, are we to harmonize the two things, so different,
suggested by this figure? Thus: the priesthood of believers speaks of the
high position to which Divine grace has elevated them — they shall, in
Heaven, lead the worship of angels. Yet, are they in subjection to Christ,
for He will lead their praise (

Psalm 22:22). Even now we are in
subjection to the revealed will of God; and this is true dignity or elevation.
We serve in the liberty of Christ, but as growing “up into Him in all things
which is the Head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4: 15), avoiding the things
mentioned in

Colossians 2:18, which tend unto the “not holding the
Head” (

Colossians 2:19).
“These head-tires of white are said to be ‘goodly’ or ‘ornamental.’
There was nothing of display to attract the common gaze, but like
the adorning recommended for Christian women (

1 Peter 3:4, 5)
they were types of the meek and quite spirit which in the sight of
God is of great price. Like the holy women of old who trusted in
God, and thus adorned themselves, in subjection to their own
husbands” (Soltau).
So these “bonnets” of the priests were for glory and beauty. True,
complete subjection to God may be little admired by man, but they are
lovely in the sight of Heaven..150
4. THEIR BREECHES.
“And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness;
from the loins even unto the thighs shall they reach. And they shall
be upon Aaron and upon his sons, when they come in unto the
tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the
altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and
die: it shall be a statute forever unto him and his seed after him”
(vv. 42, 43).
Before taking up the typical teaching of these verses attention should,
perhaps, be called to one point in them which, by a comparison with

Leviticus 8:13, brings out the strict and high moral standard which God
set before Israel. A carefulreader of

Leviticus 8:13 will note an
omission: Moses was ordered to “put” the coats, girdles, and bonnets upon
Aaron’s sons, but he was not told to “put” the “breeches” or trousers on
them, even though they were his own nephews. Those, they would put on
first, before they came to him to be formally invested with the other
garments. They must not appear, even before one of their own sex, in the
nude!
Unspeakably blessed is the spiritual purport of the present portion of our
type, and most helpfully has it been presented by the one from whom we
shall now quote. “The first result of the entrance of sin was to discover to
man his nakedness (

Genesis 3:7). The feeling of shame, a guilty feeling,
crept over his soul; and his attention was immediately directed to some
mode of quieting his confidence in this respect, that he might appear
unabashed in the presence of his fellow. No thought of his fall as it
regarded God, or of his inability to stand in His presence, occurred to him.
And so it is to this day. The great object which men propose to themselves,
is to quieten their own consciences, and to stand well with their neighbors.
To this end they invent a religion. But as soon as we have to do with God,
the conscience is convicted, and the guilt and shame which before were
quieted, spring up within, and nothing can still the restless, uneasiness of
the heart. We become aware that all things are naked and opened to the
eyes of Him with whom we have to do. The soul in vain attempts
concealment. The still, small voice of God sounds within, and drags the
culprit out to stand before Him.
“It is here that a righteousness not our own becomes unspeakably
precious to the soul. A covering that both blots out all sin, and.151
forever clothes the sinner with spotless purity, which conceals from
the searching eye of God all iniquity, and in so doing completely
justifies the sinner before Him:

Psalm 32:1, 2” (Soltau).
Thus these “linen breeches” speak of that perfect provision which God has
made for His people in Christ, that which has made an end of the flesh
before Him:
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the
body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not
serve sin” (

Romans 6:6).
And what is the practical lesson to be drawn from the “breeches”? This: all
that is of the flesh must be kept out of sight in our priestly activities. As
another has said,
“That which is of the flesh is bad anywhere, but it is most of all out
of place in the holy service of God. What could be more dreadful
than for such things as vanity, jealousy, emulation, or desire to
make something of oneself, to come into what should be spiritual
service? All that would be, indeed, ‘the flesh of nakedness’: it is not
to be seen” (C. A. Coates).
Striking are the words of v. 42: “To cover their nakedness from the loins
even to the thighs.” The whole strength of nature is to be concealed; that
power of indwelling evil, which ever opposes God and seeks to mar our
walk, must be covered.
Oh, that Divine grace may enable the writer and each Christian reader to
put on, experimentally, the linen coat, girdle, bonnet, and breeches; to draw
from Christ that strength which will enable us to
“deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously
and goldly, in this present world” (

Titus 2:12)..152
CHAPTER 52
THE CONTINUAL BURNT OFFERING

EXODUS 29:36-43
Having considered something of the typical teaching connected with the
vestments of the priests as described in Exodus 28, we may observe that
the next thing which the Holy Spirit brings before us is the consecration of
Aaron and his sons, i.e. the ritual belonging to their induction into that
sacred office. This is described at length in Exodus 29, a chapter which is
rich in spiritual teaching. As, however, almost all of it is found again in
Leviticus 8, we shall defer a detailed study thereof — if the Lord wills —
until we come to that book.
The two accounts given of the consecration of the priests is like unto the
twofold description which we have of the tabernacle and its furniture: first,
we are told what Moses was commanded to make; second, we learn what
he actually did make. So with the priesthood: in Exodus we learn that this
was a blessing which God proposed to bestow upon His redeemed,
whereas in Leviticus (the tabernacle having been set up) we see the
execution of His purpose — the activities of the priests there being seen.
Moreover, as in the actual making of the tabernacle we read,
“According to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the children
of Israel made all the work” (

Exodus 39:42);
in like manner we are told that, in connection with the appointing of the
priesthood,
“So Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord commanded
by the hand of Moses” (

Leviticus 8:36).
In order to link up our articles on Exodus 28 with the present one, which
deals with the closing verses of chapter 29, and those which follow on
chapter 30, we will give a brief outline of the ceremonies which were to be
observed at the consecration of the priests. It is striking to note that there
were exactly seven things done for them..153
First, they were taken “from among the children of Israel” (

28:1).
How plainly this points to the Father choosing His elect out of Adam’s
race — the initial step in connection with their salvation — is too
obvious to need any enlarging upon.
Second, they were brought unto the door of the tabernacle (

29:4):
the antitype of this is found in

1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also hath
once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to
God.”
Third, they were washed (29:4): this foreshadowed the believer’s
regeneration and sanctification by the Spirit (see

John 3:5,

Titus
3:5,

Ephesians 5:26).
Fourth, they were clothed with their official vestments (

29:4-9):
this symbolized the putting on of Christ.
Fifth, they were anointed (

29:21): this pointed to the gift of the
Spirit to the believer (

2 Corinthians 1:21;

1 John 2:27).
Sixth, their hands were filled (29:24) — compare with this

1 John
1:1-3.
Seventh, they were sanctified (

29:44): this contemplates our setting
apart unto God, see

Romans 6:13, 22.
It is indeed striking to see that in the above, Aaron and his sons took no
active part at all; from first to last they were passive in the hands of
another. They did not minister, but were ministered unto. Much was done
for them and to them; but they themselves did nothing. Standing in God’s
stead, Moses did all for them. It was by his word that they were chosen
and brought. It was by his hands they were washed, clothed and anointed.
It was Moses also who brought the bullock for the sin-offering, as “the ram
of consecration.” So too the application of the blood to the several parts of
their bodies was the work of Moses (v. 20). So with the wave-offering:
Moses arranged its several parts (v. 22): he it was who “filled their hands”
— he gave, they received (v. 24). Finally, it was Moses who received back
from their hands and gave again to God what they had first been given (v.
25).
There were however four exceptions, striking and blessed ones; four things
which God required Aaron and his sons to do..154
First, they were to “put their hands upon the head of the bullock” of the
sin-offering (

29:10), thus identifying themselves with the victim that
was to be slain. Typically, this is the saints confessing, “But He was
wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the
chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are
healed” (

Isaiah 53:5).
Second, they were to “put their hands on the head of the ram” (v. 15)
which was a burnt-offering unto the Lord. This speaks of the believer’s
assurance of his acceptance in the Beloved.
Third, they also placed their hands upon the head of the ram of
consecration (v. 19). This foreshadowed the saints as set apart to and for
God, in and by Christ —
“For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are set
apart” (

Hebrews 10:14).
Fourth, they were to eat the flesh of the ram and the shewbread (vv.
32:33). This set forth Christ as the Food of His people: their substance and
life. It is as we contemplate and appropriate Christ without, that He is
“formed” within us: see

Galatians 2:20; 4:19.
A more direct link between the lengthy account furnished in Exodus 29 of
the ceremonies connected with the consecration of the priests and the
closing verses which form our present portion, is what is said in vv. 35-37:
“And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron and to his sons, according to
all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou
consecrate them. And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin-offering
for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou
shalt make an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify
it. Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and
sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy; whatsoever toucheth
the altar shall be holy.”
The fact that these particular ceremonies and the cleansing of the altar
were to be repeated and kept up for seven days denotes that Christ’s
people are completely consecrated in Him (

Colossians 2:10), and that
their altar is a perfect one. Both the consecration of the priests and the
sanctification of the altar must alike be according to all the requirements of
a holy God..155
“Approach now must be at a cleansed, anointed, and hallowed
altar. It is the first time in Scripture that we read of a cleansed and
anointed altar. Previously, the altar was according to the measure
of the one who approached, but now approach must be cleansed
from every feature of human imperfection — cleansed in all the
efficacy of the sin-offering” (C. A. Coates).
In other words, all acceptable worship now must be “in spirit and in truth.”
This is the force of that word of Christ’s,
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such
to worship Him. God is spirit: and they that worship Him must
worship Him in spirit and in truth” (

John 4:23, 24).
The Savior was referring to that great change which would be brought in
consequent upon His death. Though such worship shuts out all that is of
the flesh, it makes room for all that is of the Spirit and of Christ.
And of what does this cleansed, anointed and sanctified “altar” speak?
Clearly of Christ Himself: His blessed person. As we are told in

Hebrews 13:10, “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat
which serve the tabernacle.” Christ Himself is altar, sacrifice, and priest. He
is “the Altar that sanctifieth the gift” (

Matthew 23:19). Hence believers
are now told,
“By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God
continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name”
(

Hebrews 13:15).
From the parallel Scripture in Leviticus 8 we learn that the Lord’s word to
Aaron and his sons, in this same connection, was, “Therefore shall ye abide
at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days,
and keep the charge of the Lord, that ye die not.” Upon this Mr. Saltau
wrote: “They were to be habituated to abide before the Lord; and they
were to realize the value of the sin-offering, as thus enabling them so to
abide there. The seven days of their week of consecration may, in type,
prefigure the whole of our earthly life: our whole week of service. We are
to accustom ourselves to be in the presence of our God. Our life is to be
spent there; only we have the privilege of abiding, not at the door, but in
the very holiest of all. May we rejoice to use this wondrous liberty of.156
access, and not only ‘draw near,’ but ‘abide under the shadow of the
Almighty.’ And what will be our help and power for this? The sin-offering
of atonement, constantly realized by the help of the Holy Spirit.”
“Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs
of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt
offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even”
(vv. 38, 39).
In v. 42 we learn that this offering was called “a continual burnt-offering.”
That which was placed upon the altar was in perfect accord with its now
anointed and hallowed character. The “burnt” offering is the highest type
of sacrifice in Scripture. The first reference to it in the Word helps us
ascertain its distinctive significance. In

Genesis 22:2 we read that the
Lord said unto Abraham,
“Take now thy son, thine only Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get
thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering
upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
That which is to be particularly noted there is the willingness and readiness
of Isaac’s conforming to his father’s will. Thus, the central thought in this
offering is devotedness. The Hebrew word for burnt-offering literally
means, that which “goes up.” It might well be designated “the ascending
offering.” The whole of it, consumed upon the altar, ascended to heaven as
a sweet savor.
Leviticus 1 furnishes full details concerning the burnt-offering. There we
read, in v. 3, that the offerer should “offer it of his own voluntary will.”
This offering was really the basis of all the other sacrifices, as may be seen
not only from the fact that it is given precedence in Leviticus 1 to 5, but
also because the altar itself took its name from this — “the altar of the
burnt offering” (

Exodus 40:10). It foreshadowed, therefore, the perfect
devotedness of the Son to the Father, which was the basis or spring of the
whole of His earthly life, ministry, and sacrificial death. He “glorified not
Himself.” When He spoke or acted it was ever the Father’s honor He
sought. He could say, “I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him
that sent Me.” He could say, “I have set the Lord always before Me”
(

Psalm 16:8).

Ephesians 5:2 speaks in the language of this particular
type: “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us, an offering
and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.”.157
“Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the
first year, day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the
morning, and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even.” Speaking after the
manner of men, it was as though God would keep before Him a constant
reminder of the devotedness of His blessed Son. Therefore a “lamb.” rather
than a bullock or ram (which prefigured Christ more in His strength and
sufficiency) was appointed — suitably expressing His gentleness, and
yieldedness to the will of God. And, too, that which was ever to be kept
before His people also was, that which would set forth the Godward aspect
of Christ’s work. Though the Lord Jesus came here to atone for the sins of
His people, it was only because it was the Father’s will for Him so to do:
cf.

Hebrews 10:7 with 10:10.
“Inasmuch as the offering before us was perpetual, God laid a
foundation thereby on which Israel could stand and be accepted in
all its fragrance and savor. It thus becomes no mean type of the
position of the believer, revealing the ground of his acceptance in
the Beloved; for just as the sweet savor of the continual burnt-offering
ever ascended to God on behalf of Israel, so Christ in all
His acceptability is ever before His eyes on behalf of His own. We
can therefore say, ‘As He is, so are we in this world’ (

1 John
4:17), for we are in the Divine presence in all the savor of His
sacrifice, and in all the acceptance of His Person” (Ed. Dennett).
Nor should we lose sight of the practical teaching for our own souls in this
morning and evening continual burnt-offering. Suitably has this been
expressed by another: “God would encourage us to renew in our affections
continually the terms on which He is with us. He would have every day to
begin and end with a fresh sense of being with God and having God with
us, in the sweet odor and acceptance of Christ, He never places His saints
on any other ground before Him than that of Christ — the One who has
perfectly glorified Him, and done all His will, and in whom He has infinite
delight. He never departs from that; He never meets His saints on other or
lower ground than that. And He would have the consciousness of it
continually renewed on our side.”
“And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part
of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink
offering. And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto
according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink.158
offering thereof, for a sweet savor, an offering made by fire unto the Lord”
(vv. 40:41). This was the accompaniment of the burnt-offering. The meal-offering
is often spoken of as an appendix to it, thus, as “the burnt-offering
and its meal-offering” (

Leviticus 23:13, 18;

Numbers 28:28, 31;
29:3, 6, 9, etc.).
The “meat,” or better “meal-offering” is described at length in Leviticus 2.
It foreshadowed the holy and perfect humanity through which the Son
manifested His devotedness to the Father. Mingled with the meal was the
fourth part of an hin of beaten oil. This shadowed forth the mystery of the
supernatural birth of Christ, under the operation of the Holy Spirit: as said
the angel to Mary,
“The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the
Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (

Luke
1:35).
So, too, the whole of Christ’s earthly life and ministry was permeated by
the Holy Spirit. It was by the Spirit He was led into the wilderness to be
tempted of the Devil (

Matthew 4:1), and from the temptation He
“returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee” (

Luke 4:14). It was by
the Spirit He cast out demons (

Matthew 12:28). It was through the
Spirit that He offered Himself without spot to God (

Hebrews 9:14).
And, even after His resurrection, it was “through the Spirit” He gave
commandments unto the apostles (

Acts 1:2).
Accompanying the burnt-offering there was also a drink-offering, which
consisted of “the fourth part of an hin of wine.” One of the significations of
“wine,” when it is employed emblematically, is joy — see

Judges 9:13;

Psalm 104:15. Thus, in our present type, the accompanying drink-offering
speaks of the Father’s joy in Christ — “This is My Beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased.” But more: it was offered here by the Lord’s
people. Therefore it would also express their communion with the joy of
God in the perfections and devotion of His Son. God would have us feast
on that which delights Him. Beautifully is this brought out in the parable of
the prodigal son. When the wanderer had returned in penitence, the Father
said,
“Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill; and let us eat, and be merry”
(

Luke 15:23).159
— figure of the Father and His child rejoicing together in Christ.
Striking are the words, in this connection, of v. 42:
“This shall be a continual burnt-offering throughout your
generations.”
Occupation with the devoted Son and His perfect humanity was to be
continual, and every morning and evening the types of these were to be
presented by Israel to God, accompanied by the fourth part of an hin of
wine. Note again the words of v. 41:
“And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto
according to the meat-offering of the morning, and according to the
drink-offering thereof, for a sweet savor, an offering made by fire
unto the Lord.”
Was not this continuous morning-offering the Lord saying to His people of
old, “Rejoice in the Lord alway,” and was not the repetition in the evening
God’s Old Testament “again I say, Rejoice” (

Philippians 4:4)!
Gloominess in the Christian is not glorifying unto God. A long-faced
believer is no commendation of Christ to those who know Him not. God
does not desire His people to be miserable. Did He not move one of His
apostles to say, “These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full”
(

1 John 1:4)? If the Christian is sad and miserable, the fault is entirely
his own. The explanation thereof is furnished in the immediate context of
the Scripture last quoted:
“Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ”
(

1 John 1:3).
As this fellowship is experimentally maintained, our joy will be “full.” Lack
of joy, then, is due to lack of fellowship with God.
And how is this to be remedied? Our present type tells us: begin and end
each day with a fresh occupation of the heart with Christ, a concentrated
meditation upon His excellencies — His devotedness to the Father, His
dying love for us. But accompanying this there must be the “oil”: it is only
by the help and power of the Holy Spirit that we can truly “consider”
Christ (

Hebrews 3:1 cf.

John 16:14). And to the extent that we yield
to and are filled with the Spirit, and to that extent only, shall we also be
filled with joy — note how the “fourth part of an hin of wine” corresponds.160
exactly to the “fourth part of an hin of oil” (v. 40)! To show that this is no
mere coincidence, or unimportant detail, let the reader turn to

Numbers
15:6, 7 where he will find that though the quantities of the oil and wine are
different, yet their proportions are the same! O that “the joy of the Lord”
may be our strength (

Nehemiah 8:10).
“This shall be a continual burnt-offering throughout your
generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before
the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And
there I will meet with the children of Israel and they shall be
sanctified by My glory” (vv. 42, 43).
That which is so unspeakably blessed here is the Lord’s repeated promise
that He would meet with His people. The Hebrew word signifies “to meet
as by appointment,” and this, in the required manner and place.
“Moses was permitted in grace to meet Jehovah at the mercy-seat
(

Exodus 25:22); but the people could not pass beyond the door
of the tabernacle of the congregation. It was here that the burnt-offering
was presented on the brazen altar; and hence this was the
meeting-place, on the ground of the sacrifice, between God and
Israel. There could be no other possible place; just as now Christ
forms the only meeting-place between God and the sinner. It is
most important to see this truth — especially for those who are
unsaved — that apart from Christ there can be no drawing nigh to
God. ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by Me’ (

John 14:6). Mark well, moreover, that
God cannot be approached except on the ground of the sacrifice of
Christ. This is the truth foreshadowed in connection with the burnt-offering.
If the cross, Christ crucified, be ignored, no relationships
can be had with God, excepting those which may exist between a
guilty sinner and a holy Judge. But the moment the sinner is led to
take his stand upon ‘the sweet savor’ of the sacrifice of God, upon
the efficacy of what Christ accomplished by His death, God can
meet with him, in grace and love” (Ed. Dennett).
There is also a spiritual application of the blessed promise of vv. 42, 43 to
the saints of God today, considered both singly and collectively. There is
such a thing as God “meeting” with us in the manifestation of Himself to
our hearts — alas, that so many experience this so infrequently. Where
there is true soul-occupation with the person and work of Christ, in the.161
power of the Spirit, there is also a making known of Himself (

Luke
24:31). So, when the saints assemble for Divine worship, occupied not
with their own needs, but with Christ’s excellency — coming not to obtain
a blessing, but to offer to God a sacrifice of praise; there is then such a
gracious revelation of Himself that we are made to exclaim:
“This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of
heaven” (

Genesis 28:17).
O to know more of this blessed experience.
“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their
God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that
brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell
among them: I am the Lord their God” (vv. 45, 46).
As in the previous verses God repeated His promise to “meet” with His
worshipping people, so here He says, twice over, “I will dwell among
them.”
It was for this that Jehovah had delivered His people from Egypt: He could
not “dwell” with them there. Nor could He dwell with Israel at all until
they had been redeemed. This was something entirely new. God never
“dwelt” with Adam, nor with Abraham. In the Song of Redemption (see

Exodus 15:1, 13), Israel exclaimed,
“Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine
inheritance, in the place, O Lord, Thou hast made for Thee to dwell
in, the sanctuary” (

15:17).
To Moses God said,
“Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them”
(

Exodus 25:8).
Now, that promise was to be realized on the ground of the efficacy of the
burnt-offering. Most blessed is it to mark God’s purpose in thus dwelling
in Israel’s midst — “They shall know that I am the Lord their God.”
Equally precious is the promise which He has given us: “Lo, I am with you
alway, unto the end of the age” (

Matthew 28:20); and again, “I will
never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (

Hebrews 13:5)..162
There is no doubt but that, prophetically, our present type looks forward to
the second coming of Christ to this earth. Then will it be that “all Israel
shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer
and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (

Romans 11:26). And
again,
“Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose
name is The Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He
shall build the temple of the Lord; even He shall build the temple of
the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon
His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the
counsel of peace shall be between them both” (

Zechariah 6:12,
13).
Then will God say,
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo I come, and I will
dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord” (

Zechariah 2:10).
The ultimate fulfillment of our type will be seen on the new earth:
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them”
(

Revelation 21:3).
“But there is more than even dwelling with them: there is also relationship
— ‘I will be their God.’ It is not, be it remarked, what they shall be to
Him, though they were His people by His grace; but what He will be to
them. ‘Their God’ — words fraught with unspeakable blessings. for when
God undertakes to become the God of His people, deigns to enter into
relationship with them, He assures them that everything they need,
whether for guidance, sustenance, defense, succor, yea, everything, is
secure for them by what He is to them as their God. It was in view of the
blessing of such a wondrous relationship that the Psalmist exclaims.
‘Happy is that people whose God is the Lord’ —

Psalm 144:15” (Ed.
Dennett).
So, too, on the new earth it is said:
“And they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them,
and be their God” (

Revelation 21:3).
May the Lord use to His glory these musings upon this blessed type..163
CHAPTER 53
THE GOLDEN ALTAR

EXODUS 30:1-10
There were two altars connected with the Tabernacle. Both were made of
wood, but covered with a different metal: the one with brass, and so named
after it “the brazen altar’” (

Exodus 38:30); the other with gold, and so
called’ “the golden altar” (

Exodus 39:38). The one was placed outside
the building in the court, just before the entrance; the other was inside the
holy place, and stood before the vail. These altars were closely connected,
but served different uses. Their characteristic names point out their
distinctive designs: the former being designated “the altar of burnt
offering” (

40:6), and was the place of sacrifice; the latter was termed
“the altar of incense” (

30:27), and was the place of worship. Both altars
were needed to set forth our one and only Altar, of whom it is written, “we
have an Altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the
tabernacle” (

Hebrews 13:10).
Some have wondered why the incense altar was not mentioned in Exodus
25 and 26, where five of the other pieces of the Tabernacle’s furniture are
referred to, and where the holy place in which it stood is described. Three
reasons may be suggested for this. First, the omission of the golden altar
from those earlier chapters may have been because of what was typically
set.forth by the various holy vessels. Those enumerated in Exodus 25 and
26 speak of God in Christ coming out to His people, displaying the riches
of His grace; whereas the two which are before us in Exodus 30 tell of the
provisions God has made for us to go in to Him, expressing the fullness of
His love. Beautifully has this been expounded by another:
“Why, then, does the Lord, when giving directions about the
furniture of the ‘holy place’ omit the altar of incense, and pass out
to the brazen altar which stood at the door of the Tabernacle? The
reason I believe is simply this: He first described the mode in which
He would manifest Himself to man, and then He described the
mode of man’s approach to Him. He took His seat upon the throne.164
as ‘The Lord of all the earth’ (

Joshua 3:13). The beams of His
glory were hidden behind the vail-type of Christ’s flesh
(

Hebrews 10:20); but there was the manifestation of Himself in
connection with man, as in the pure table and by the light and
power of the Holy Ghost, as in the candlestick. Then we have the
manifested character of Christ as a man down here on this earth, as
seen in the curtains and coverings of the tabernacle. And, finally,
we have the brazen altar as the grand exhibition of the meeting
place between a holy God and a sinner. This conducts us as it were,
to the extreme point, from which we return, in company with
Aaron and his sons, back to the holy place, the ordinary priestly
position, where stood the golden altar of incense. Thus the order is
strikingly beautiful” (C.H.M.).
A second reason may be suggested as to why the description of the golden
altar and the laver should have been postponed until the 30th chapter of
Exodus was reached. This is plainly intimated in Exodus 28 and 29, where
we have the appointment, investiture and consecration of the priesthood.
Thus, the golden altar was not mentioned until there was a priest to burn
incense thereon! It was at the laver the priests washed, and it was at the
golden altar they ministered; there, too, it was where Aaron presented
himself before Jehovah. Thus the contents of chapters 28 and 29 were
needed to bring before us the priestly family before we learn of the two
holy vessels with which they were more directly associated. So, too,
experimentally, we apprehend that of which the preceding chapters speak,
before we value that which chapter 30 sets forth.
A third reason lies in the application of the teaching of the holy vessels to
believers. The primary application of each of them is to Christ Himself, but
there is a secondary application to His people. As we shall yet seek to
show, one of the fundamental things prefigured by the golden altar is
worship, and as this is the highest exercise of our priestly privileges,
suitably was this the last piece of furniture met with as the sons of Aaron
approached unto Jehovah.
“Just as the golden altar was the last object to be reached in the
journey from the gate to the vail which hid the mercy-seat from
view, just so is worship the highest state to be reached on earth and
the object for which all other things are preparations. The Father
seeks worshippers (

John 4:23), and this it was that led the Lord.165
to go through Samaria to meet that sinner, to turn her heart from
her sins, by filling it with the satisfying portion of grace, that she
might meet the desires of Divine love and give that praise, that
worship, that only a sinner (a cleansed sinner) can give. And this it
was that led the Lord to take that larger journey from the heaven of
light and peace down to the cross of suffering and shame. He
sought sinners, He seeketh them still; seeketh them that, having
tasted as no angel can possibly taste, the love of God, they might
then from a heart overflowing with the consciousness of its
indebtedness to the Savior, and the appreciation of His own
excellence, pour forth the fragrant incense of praise” (C. H.
Bright).
1. ITS SIGNIFICANCE.
“And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon” (v. 1).
It is striking to note that before anything is said about the materials of
which the altar was made, its size and shape, or the position it was to
occupy, we are first told of the purpose for which it was to be used. It is
this which places in our hands a sure key to its spiritual interpretation.
Attention is directed straight to the altar and the incense which was burned
thereon. The altar speaks of Christ Himself, and the incense was a figure
both of His intercession and the praises which He presents to God.
The fact that the golden altar comes before us in Exodus immediately after
the investiture and consecration of Aaron and his sons, at once tells us that
what is here portrayed is the ministrations of our great High Priest in the
heavenly sanctuary. Though He is now seated at the right hand of the
Majesty on high, yet He is not inactive. He is constantly engaged before
God on behalf of His redeemed, presenting to the Father — in the sweet
fragrance of His own perfections — both the petitions and worship of His
people. The position occupied by the golden altar confirms this. It was not
situated in the outer court — all connected with which adumbrated the
manifestation of Christ here on earth; but in the holy place, which tells of
Christ having gone in to appear before God on behalf of His people.
Further confirmation that this is the central thought in our present type is
supplied in the words at the close of v. 3: “And thou shalt make unto it a
crown of gold round about.” Thus, it is Christ in heaven, not on earth,
“crowned with glory and honor” (

Hebrews 2:9)..166
Unutterably solemn is it to contemplate Christ at the brazen altar there
made sin for us, suffering, enduring judgment, bowing His head beneath
the awful storm of God’s wrath. But unspeakably blessed is it to behold
Him at the golden altar, risen from the grave, alive for evermore,
maintaining the interests of His people before God’s throne, presenting
them in all His own excellency and preciousness.
“If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death
of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His
life” (

Romans 5:10).
This is the point which the Spirit of God reserves for the climax in His
unanswerable reply to the challenge
“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” it is God
that justifieth. Who is he that condemmeth? 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” (

Romans 8:33, 34).
“Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of
mine bands as the evening sacrifice” (

Psalm 141:2). This gives us the
emblematical meaning of “incense.” So again in

Revelation 5:8 we read,
“having every one of them harps, and golden vails full of incense, which are
the prayers of saints.” The incense burned upon the golden altar, then,
foreshadowed Christ in heaven, praying for His people. As we read in

Hebrews 7:25, “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make
intercession for them.” Christ’s intercession is not for the purpose of
completing the believer’s justification, for that would show His sacrifice of
the cross was insufficient; by that one offering He has perfected us forever
(

Hebrews 10:14); rather does it crown it with glory and honor. The
precious incense of our Lord’s priestly intercession maintains us (through
our wilderness journey) in the place of fullest acceptance as a sweet savor
unto God.
A striking typical illustration of the wondrous efficacy of our great High
Priest’s intercession is furnished in Numbers 16. There we see, first, how
Korah and his company repudiated Aaron as their high priest, claiming
equal nearness to God for all Israel, see v. 3. But a sinful people could
have no standing before the Holy One save through the priest who offered
the sacrifice. This, the rebellious people were made to feel (v. 35). The.167
“gainsaying of Korah” (Jude 11), then, was the practical denial of Christ’s
person and sacrificial work. Then, in Numbers 16, we also behold how the
grace of God shone forth: Aaron the high priest was told to
“take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on
incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an
atonement for them” (v. 46).
Blessed was the sequel:
“And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was
stayed” (v. 48).
What a foreshadowing of the mediatorial intercession of Christ, interposing
on behalf of His erring people, and that, on the ground of His sacrificial
death.
It is a mistake, made by most of the commentators, to limit the “incense”
as pointing only to the Savior’s intercession; it includes also His offering of
praise to God. Did He not say,
“In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee”
(

Hebrews 2:12)?
So also in

Hebrews 13:15 we are told, “By Him, therefore, let us offer
the sacrifice of praise to God continually.” He is the One who receives the
praises of His people and presents them to God. So again in

1 Peter 2:5
we are told, “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an
holy priesthood, to offer us spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus
Christ.” Christ is the one who makes our worship acceptable to God.
Therefore. the incense has to be burned upon the altar.
2. ITS COMPOSITION.
“And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon it: of shittim
wood shalt thou make it” (v. 1).
This, as we have seen in earlier types, symbolized the perfect humanity of
Christ.
“This accacia wood, the emblem of the incorruptible and spotless
humanity of the Son of God entered into the composition of the
altar of burnt-offering outside in the court, and was covered with.168
brass, enabling it to endure the fire that consumed its victim. The
same accacia wood entered into the composition of the table of
shewbread; it also entered into the composition of the altar of
incense, which was covered and crowned with gold, for no
atonement for sin was ever offered or needed at that altar; all that
was finished. It also entered into the composition of the ark of the
covenant within the vail, identifying all these with the person and
salvation-work of our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching us that His
perfect humanity — made in all things like His brethren, sin
excepted — in all the modifications of His covenant engagements
and offices of our behalf, whether at His incarnation, His birth, His
walk with God on earth, His death on the cross, or after His
resurrection, when He was seen of His disciples for forty days, or
after His ascension to the right hand of God, where He ever liveth
to make intercession for us — was ever one and the same
immortalized humanity in the person of our living and glorified
Head, Substitute, and Representative” (Mr. Rainsford).
“And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the
sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof” (v. 3).
This is very lovely, speaking, as it does, of that Divine glory into which the
Man Christ Jesus has entered. As the sons of Aaron approached this altar
— figures of worshipping believers now drawing near to God — they
would see nothing but the gold. So it is not a dead Christ on the cross who
is the object of our worship, but a living Christ who has been “received up
into glory” (

1 Timothy 3:16). Therefore are we bidden
“if ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God: Set your affection on
things above, not on things on the earth; for ye are dead, and your
life is hid with Christ in God” (

Colossians 3:1-3).
As another has said,
“God saw only the gold — that which was suited to Him, suited to
His own nature. The remembrance of this gives boldness when
bowing in His presence. It is indeed a wondrous mercy that Christ
is before the eye of God, and before the eye of the worshipper,
Himself the meeting-place between God and His people, as well as
the foundation of His people’s acceptance” (Ed Dennet)..169
3. ITS DIMENSIONS.
“A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof;
foursquare shall it be; and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the
horns thereof shall be of the same” (v. 2).
The dimensions of the golden altar differed considerably from those of the
brazen altar, the latter being five cubits long, five cubits broad, and three
cubits high (

27:1). Herein we may see the wonderful accuracy of these
types and their perfections down to the minutest detail. The brazen altar
was much larger than the golden altar. The former foreshadowed the
sacrificial death of Christ; the latter, His present ministry in heaven. But
does He not now appear before God on behalf of all for whom He died? In
one sense, yes; in another sense no. Representatively He does, actively He
does not.

John 11:51, 52 shows that He died for two distinct companies
— “that nation (Israel) and the children of God scattered abroad — God’s
elect among the Gentiles. But at present Christ is not interceding for Israel,
nor is He presenting their praises before God! It is only on behalf of the
Church that He is now actively engaged: Israel will be taken up in the Day
to come, and this will be at His return to the earth, as the brazen altar in
the outer court denotes. Thus, there is a wonderful propriety in the golden
altar, within the holy place, being smaller than the brazen altar.
May not the fact that it was but one cubit in length indicate to us that
Christ needs not to repeat His plea on our behalf — once is sufficient, for
the Father hears Him always (

John 11:42). Though He ever liveth, it is
not said, “He ever intercedeth.” The tense of the verb (in the Greek)
implies that Christ prayed but once for Peter in

Luke 22:32. The
breadth being one cubit would point to the “one body” as the extent of
those for whom He now intercedes — “I pray not for the world” (

John
17:9)! The two cubits of its height would perhaps denote that Christ
presents to God both the praises of His saints which are now in heaven as
those yet on earth. Its being “foursquare” tells us that the objects of His
intercession are scattered abroad, reaching to the four corners of the earth.
Though we may forget to remember His blood-brought ones in far distant
places, He does not!
“Foursquare shall it be” (v. 2). In its application to Christ Himself this tells
us that His intercession embraces all His people, “scattered abroad.” In its
application to us we find the New Testament equivalent in

1 Timothy
2:1, “I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplication, prayers,.170
intercessions, giving of thanks, be made for all men.” In

Ephesians 6:18
we are bidden to make supplication “for all saints.” How little of this there
is today! How self-centered we are, how narrow are our hearts! How little
our “altar” answers to the foursquaredness of the incense altar! May the
Lord enlarge our hearts.
4. ITS ORNAMENTATION.
“And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the
sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof” (v. 3).
The “horn” is the symbol of power (

Habakkuk 3:4), so that what we
are shown here is Christ’s intercessory power with God. A more literal
rendering of the Hebrew would be, “Of itself shall be its horns:” all that
Christ is in His wondrous person gives Him power with God; blessedly is
this seen in John 17.
It will be noted that the number of its “horns” is not given. Many conclude
that it had one at each corner, as had the brazen altar (

38:2). As there is
nothing in Scripture without spiritual significance, even its very omissions
manifesting its Divine Authorship, we must enquire, Why has not the Holy
Spirit told us there were four “horns” here? The answer is not far to seek.
Four is the number of the earth, and the golden altar foreshadowed Christ’s
priestly ministry in Heaven; thus we may see that the mention of the “four
horns” would have cast a blemish on the perfection of our type.
“And thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about” (v. 3).
Three of the seven pieces of the tabernacle’s furniture had a “crown” upon
it.
First, the ark of the covenant (

25:11), in which were preserved the two
tables of stone. This was the crown of the law, which Christ “magnified”
and “made honorable” (

Isaiah 42:21).
Second, the table of shewbread (

25:24). This was the crown of
fellowship: the Christian’s highest honor and supremest privilege is to
enjoy communion with Him who has been crowned with glory. Or, if we
look at it from the dispensational viewpoint, the table with its twelve
loaves would speak of Israel in a coming day, restored and in fellowship
with Christ — this would be the crown of the kingdom. Here, in
connection with the golden altar, it is the crown of the priesthood, and.171
reminds us that Christ, our great High Priest, is seated upon “the Throne of
Grace!”
5. ITS RINGS AND STAVES.
“And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the
two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they
shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal. And thou shalt make the
staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold (vv. 4, 5). Thus
provision was made for the altar to be carried with them as Israel
journeyed from place to place — it was not stationary, so that they had to
make pilgrimages to it. Typically, this tells us that God’s pilgrims today,
while they are here below, are enjoying the blessings of Christ’s priestly
intercession on high. Two “rings” are the number of witness, and speak of
the Holy Spirit who is here to “testify” of Christ (

John 15:26); their
being of “gold” announces that He is a Divine person. The “staves” of
wood, overlaid with gold, intimate that it is the God-man whom the Spirit
is here to glorify.
In its practical application to us, the lesson taught by the rings and staves is
both searching and blessed. It is only as we maintain our pilgrim character,
in separation from that religious world which rejects Christ, that we can
really appropriate and enjoy that which the golden-altar prefigured. There
is a striking passage in Hebrews 13 which speaks in the language of our
present type:
“Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp (man’s
organized Christianity), bearing His reproach. For here have we (in
affections and aim) no continuing city, but (as pilgrims journeying)
we seek one to come. By Him (the antitype of the altar) therefore
let us offer the sacrifice of praise (the burning of incense) to God
continually, that is, fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name”
(vv. 13, 15).
6. ITS USE.
“And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense” (v. 7). The altar was used
for one thing only. We gather from

Leviticus 16:12, 13 and

Numbers 16:46 that the fire on which the incense was laid had been
taken from off the brazen-altar, where the sin-offering was consumed.
There was, therefore, a very intimate connection between the two altars:.172
the activities of the latter being based upon those of the former; in other
words, the incense was kindled upon that fire which had first fed upon the
sacrifice; thus identifying the priest’s service at both altars. This, in figure,
tells us that our great High Priest pleads for no blessings which His blood
has not purchased, and asks pardon from Divine justice for no sins for
which He has not atoned. The measure of the blessings for which He
pleads is God’s estimate of the life which He gave. Note how in John 17,
before He presents a single petition concerning His people, that Christ said,
“I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which
Thou gavest Me to do” (v. 4).
That was the foundation on which all His pleas were based and urged.
There are other scriptures where the two altars are linked together. As
another has said,
“Fittingly therefore does the Psalmist in speaking of the house for
the lonely sparrow and a nest for the restless swallow, refer to these
two altars. ‘Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow
a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Thine altars
O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God’ (

Psalm 84:3). Both
altars are thus connected together and form the solid and abiding
rest for the poor and needy soul. “Thus too, when Isaiah saw the
glory of the Lord in the temple, and the adoring seraphim with
veiled faces celebrating the majesty of the thrice holy triune God,
he was overwhelmed with the sense of his own and Israel’s
uncleanness, until one of those burning ones (suggesting, perhaps,
the fire of God as seen in His executors of judgment) flew with a
live coal which he had taken from. off the altar, and touched his
lips, saying, ‘Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is
taken away, and thy sin purged’ (

Isaiah 6:7). The coal of Divine
holiness had already consumed the sacrifice and was also
consuming the sweet incense. Thus symbolically the prophet’s lips
were cleansed according to God’s estimate of the value of the
sacrifice and person of our Lord” (Mr. Ridout).
A most solemn contrast from this is presented in the opening verses of
Leviticuas 10. There we are told,
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his
censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered.173
strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. And
there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they
died before the Lord” (vv.

1, 2),
These sons of Aaron were consumed by Divine judgment because they
“offered strange fire before the Lord,” that is, the incense in their censers
was not burned on fire taken from off the brazen altar, but was of their
own kindling. They had departed from the plain word of Jehovah, who had
already instructed them as to the mode of their worship. God was very
jealous of His types (compare

2 Kings 5:26, 27). By their actions Nadab
and Abihu were signifying that worship may be offered to God on another
foundation than acceptance through a crucified Christ; and for this He slew
them.
The incense was to be kept sacredly for tabernacle service and he who
manufactured any for his personal or family use had to pay the death-penalty
for his presumption (

30:28). None but the priests of the seed of
Aaron were allowed to handle it. When king Uzziah attempted to usurp the
priest’s office and daringly challenged the holy God by presuming to burn
incense before Him, his impiety was severely punished — see

2
Chronicles 26:16-21. Even royalty must bow in abasement before Jehovah!
The composition and preparation of the sacred incense are specified in

Exodus 30:34, 35. Upon the nature, costliness, and distinctive typical
import of the respective spices we cannot here comment. That which we
would specially notice is the three things which are said about the incense
as a whole. First, it was, “sweet” (v. 7). Exceedingly fragrant must have
been its odor, telling of the acceptability and preciousness of Christ’s
intercessions and praises before God. Second, it was “pure” (v. 35): unlike
ours, nothing whatever of the flesh enters into the priestly ministrations of
the Redeemer. Third, it was “most holy” (v. 36): Christ’s exercises within
the heavenly sanctuary are in all the excellences of His peerless person. “Of
each shall there be a like weight” (v. 34) should also be observed: no one
grace or attribute predominates in the Lord Jesus, there is a perfect balance
between all.
It is striking to see how the lighting of the lamps is here linked with the
golden altar: “And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning:
when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron
lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it” (vv. 7, 8). The
maintenance of the light was inseparably associated with the service of the.174
altar. Typically, this tells us that the gift and ministry of the Holy Spirit (as
the Spirit of Christ,

Romans 8:9) is the consequence of the Savior’s
intercession — cf

John 14:16. In its practical application to believers we
may see here a setting forth of the fact that, every fresh kindling or exercise
of the Spirit in our hearts, results in new outbursts of praise unto God: our
worship is ever in proportion to the manifestation of the Spirit’s power.
“He shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord
throughout your generations” (v. 8).
This is very blessed. The fire upon the altar was always burning and the
fragrance from the sweet incense was continually rising. So Christ is ever
before God, in all the merits of His person and value of His work, on His
people’s behalf. One third of our lives is spent in sleep; but He never
slumbers: “He ever liveth to make intercession for us,” and because of this
He is “able to save unto the uttermost (to the end of their wilderness
journey) them that come unto God by Him” (

Hebrews 7:25). Thus the
golden-altar is a pledge of our eternal security.
“Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt-sacrifice, nor
meat-offering; neither shall ye pour drink-offering thereon” (v. 9).
For the Levites to offer these upon this altar would be to confound it with
the brazen-altar. The same sad mistake is made now when Christians
gathered together for worship take their place at the cross, instead of
within the rent vail. Instead of being occupied with our sins and Christ’s
sacrifice for them, we should be contemplating the Lord Jesus Himself as
He appears in the presence of God for us; nothing short of this will enable
us to occupy our true priestly position and exercise our joyous priestly
functions.
“And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a
year with the blood of the sin-offering of atonement: once in the
year shall he make atonement upon it” (v. 10).
This is most blessed. The congregation of Israel could approach unto God
only at the brazen-altar; but Aaron and his sons (figure of Christ and His
heavenly people) came to the golden-altar, in the holy place. How this tells
us that a position has been secured for us within the heavenly sanctuary in
all the value of the sin-offering! This interpretation is confirmed by the fact
that there is no mention of the golden-altar in Ezekiel’s temple, which
typifies Israel’s millennial relations to God! But we also need to ponder.175
this tenth verse from the practical viewpoint. Looked at thus its teaching is.
parallel with that word in

Exodus 28:38, “That Aaron may bear the
iniquity of the holy things,” cf.

Leviticus 5:15. Our prayers are so
faulty, our praises so feeble, our worship so far below the level of what it
ought to be, that even our “holy things” needed to be cleansed by the blood
of atonement. How humbling this is!
7. ITS COVERINGS.
“And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and
cover it with a covering of badgers’ skins, and shall put to the
staves thereof” (

Numbers 4:11).
How this confirms, what has been said above. The golden-altar being
wrapped in a “blue” cloth speaks plainly of the present heavenly ministry of
Christ. But this was not made known to the earthly people, as the outer
covering of the badgers’ skins indicates. May the Lord add His blessing to
this meditation..176
CHAPTER 54
THE ATONEMENT MONEY

EXODUS 30:11-15
The above versus present to us that which it is by no means easy to
understand at first glance, and up to the point where God grants light upon
them the more they are studied the more will the force of their difficulties
be felt. That which is central in our present portion is Jehovah commanding
His people to give “every man a ransom.” This ransom was a monetary
one, a half shekel of silver, and it was in order “to make an atonement for
their souls.” But this seems so utterly foreign to the general tone and tenor
of Scripture that many have been sorely puzzled by it. How is our present
passage to be harmonized with the words of

Isaiah 55:1, “without
money and without price?” How may we interpret it so as not to clash with

1 Peter 1:18
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things as silver and gold?”
Nor is the presenting of money by the Israelites as a “ransom” and for “an
atonement’’ the only difficulty here. The position occupied by our present
passage seems a strange one. Israel were already a “redeemed” people.
Had they not sung at the Red Sea,
“Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast
redeemed” (

15:13)!
Why, then, was a “ransom” price necessary now? Then, too, why introduce
this strange ordinance between descriptions of the golden-altar and the
laver; what possible connection was there between the three things? Surely
our passage calls for prayer as well as study! May the God of all grace
open now our eyes that we may be enabled to behold wondrous things out
of His law.
In taking up our passage the first thing we must do is to ponder it in the
light of its wider context; that is to say, consider carefully the particular.177
book in which it is found. This is ever essential if we are rightly to ascertain
the scope of any passage. Each book of Scripture has a prominent and
dominant theme which, as such, is peculiar to itself, around which all its
contents are made to center, and of which all its details are but the
amplification. As stated in our opening article upon Exodus, this book,
viewed doctrinally, treats of redemption; that is its principal subject, its
dominant theme.
This important and blessed truth of redemption is illustrated in Exodus by
God’s dealings with the children of Israel.
First, we are shown their need of redemption — a people in captivity
groaning in bitter bondage.
Second, we behold the might and holiness of the Redeemer Himself —
displayed in His plagues upon Egypt.
Third, we see the character of redemption — purchased by blood,
emancipated by power.
Fourth, we learn the duty of the redeemed — obedience to the Lord.
Finally, we have set before us the privileges of the redeemed —
worshipping God in His holy habitation. Thus, we are enabled to see at
the outset, that our present passage has to do with the people of God
entering into the privileges of redemption. Bearing this in mind, let us
now attend to the details of our passage.
“When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their
number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto
the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague
among them, when thou numberest them” (v. 12).
Observe the two words placed in italics. Whenever the Holy Spirit supplies
a time-mark like this, it should be carefully pondered: often it supplies a
valuable key to a passage — cf.

Matthew 13:1; 25:1, etc.; such as the
case here. The giving of this ransom-money was connected with the
“numbering” of Israel: observe that a reference to this fact is made no less
than five times in vv. 12-14. Here, then, is the next thing to be weighed as
we seek to ascertain the spiritual meaning of this ordinance. What, then,
are the thoughts connected with “numbering” in Scripture?.178
That this is no unimportant question is at once evidenced by the fact that
the fourth book of the Old Testament is designated “Numbers:” its title
being taken from the numberings of the children of Israel for war, for
ministry, and for their inheritance in Canaan. Thus, a just apprehension of
Jehovah’s design in these numberings is essential to a spiritual
understanding of the act. Now the most obvious thing suggested by
“numbering” is ownership. Take one or two simple examples which
illustrate this. It is natural for me to number the books in my own library;
but I would never think of doing so with my neighbor’s. A farmer numbers
the sheep of his own flock, but not those belonging to another. Property
in, and consequent right over are the thoughts connected with
“numbering.” So it is in the Scriptures: when God numbers or orders
anything to be numbered, taking the sum of them denotes that they belong
to Him, and that He has the sovereign right to do with them as He pleases.
The action itself says of the things numbered, “These are Mine, and I
assign them their place as I will.” If the following passages be pondered it
will be found that they confirm our definition.
“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these
things, that bringeth out their hosts by number, He calleth them all
by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in
power; not one faileth” (

Isaiah 40:26).
The reference here is to the heavenly bodies. God’s ownership and
sovereign disposings of them. So again in

Psalm 147:4 we read. “He
telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.”
Let us take now another kind of example: “Therefore will I number you to
the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter” (

Isaiah 65:12).
This passage does not, indeed, assert God’s property in His enemies, but
the expression “number you to the sword” asserts His power to dispose of
them; and the other is clearly implied. The Lord “numbers” to the sword
because He has “made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the
day of evil” (

Proverbs 16:4). A similar instance is found in the sentence
pronounced on Belshazzar: “MENE, God hath numbered thy kingdom and
finished it” (

Daniel 5:26). This may suffice to show the meaning of the
Divine sum-takings. They assert God’s property rights and His power to
do what He will with His own.
In the numberings of Israel it was God dealing with the people whom He
had redeemed for Himself, appropriating what was His, and assigning to.179
each and all their place before Him. This is what is made so prominent in
the book of Numbers — Israel were Jehovah’s soldiers and servants, and
He distributed each as He pleased. As men of war belonging to the Lord,
engaged in a warfare by which His name was to be glorified, it was for Him
to muster the army for Himself: “The Lord is a Man of war: the Lord is His
name” (

Exodus 15:3). “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in
battle” (

Psalm 24:8). All the hosts of heaven are His, and all the armies
of the earth; therefore it is His prerogative to number them. How jealously
the Lord guards this prerogative may be seen, with terrific force, in the
history of David. He had been entrusted with the leading forth of the
armies of the living God, and so long as he occupied his place before the
hosts it was well; but at length David forgot God’s glory, and sought his
own:
“And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number
Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go,
number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number
of them to me, that I may know it. And Joab answered, The Lord
make His people an hundred times so many more as they be; but
my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth
my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to
Israel? Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab… and
God was displeased with this thing; wherefore He smote Israel.
And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have
done this thing: but now, I beseech Thee, do away the iniquity of
Thy servant; for I have done very foolishly” (

1 Chronicles 21:1-
4, 7, 8).
It may be asked, What harm was there in thus numbering the people? Is not
a census valuable? Yes, for men warring after the flesh and walking
according to worldly principles; but even Joab, a man of iniquity, knew so
well what the numbering of the army of the living God signified, that he
protested against the act, as one flagrantly trenching upon the rights and
glory of the Lord, that judgment was sure to follow; as it did. God will not
give His glory to another. Alas, David forgot this, and brought evil upon
Israel. There is only one King, the Captain of our salvation, who, being
entrusted with the ordering of God’s people, never forgets the Father’s
glory. And this is what is before us in our present type, as God said to
Moses, “When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel:” it was only
the typical mediator who could take the sum of God’s people!.180
Above, we have pointed out how that the numberings of Israel recorded in
the fourth book of Scripture set forth God’s appropriation and ordering of
a people whom He had redeemed for and unto Himself. It is this which
supplies the key to our present portion. Appropriately is this first reference
to the “numbering” of Israel found in that book which, doctrinally, treats of
redemption; and significantly is it said at the beginning of the passage,
“when thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their
number, they shall give every man a ransom for his soul” (v. 12).
Thus, as usual, the key is hung right on the door for us! That which is
central in this ordinance of the atonement-money is, that God appropriates
His elect unto Himself only as a ransomed people. A clear proof of this has
already been before us in Exodus 12 and 13, where we saw the “firstborn”
secured by Him because ransomed to Him.
In Exodus 12 and 13 the “firstborn” were ransomed and secured by blood-shedding;
here in Exodus 30 the children of Israel are owned as Jehovah’s
(“numbered”) by “silver.” The change of figure should occasion no
difficulty. Twice in our passage is the money specifically termed “an
offering unto the Lord.” As was pointed out when commenting upon the
silver sockets under the boards of the tabernacle’s framework (26:19), the
blood of the sacrifices more nearly exhibited the mode by which actual
atonement was to be made for sin, but the “atonement-money” fitly
proclaimed the preciousness of that by which sinners should be redeemed.
Further confirmation of this is found in

Numbers 31:49-54, where we
learn that the officers of Israel’s hosts brought an offering of gold “to make
an atonement.” That our present passage does not stand alone may be seen
by a reference to

Numbers 3:46-51;

18:15, 16, etc.
We learn best the meaning of our type by observing how the Holy Spirit
sets it aside once the antitype has come in. Just as we see most clearly the
typical meaning of the blood of bulls and goats when, in the presence of the
“one sacrifice for sins” God declares it is not possible “that these
should take away sins” (

Hebrews 10:4);
so we get hold of the design of the atonement-silver and the atonement-gold
(cf.

Numbers 31:49-54 where the term “gold” is found four times)
when, beholding Him in whom is treasured up all redemption’s wealth we
are told, “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold,
from your vain conversation…. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of.181
a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Thus, the “precious blood” (an
expression found nowhere else) in this connection, tells us that the
“ransom” money prefigured the costliness of Christ’s sacrifice, as the
“blood” did the character of it.
Does not this satisfactorily dispose of the first difficulty in our passage to
which we called attention at the beginning of this article? True, the Israelite
was required to give a monetary ransom for his soul, but this no more
signified that salvation might be secured by the sinner’s own efforts than
did the furnishing of a bullock or lamb imply that the offerer was thereby
purchasing God’s favor. Instead, it was the Lord teaching His people, in
type and figure, of Him who alone could make an atonement for sin,
namely Christ: the slaying of the offerer’s sacrifice telling of the shedding
of His blood, the bringing of the silver or gold speaking of the preciousness
of that blood. That each was furnished by the Israelite himself only
emphasized the truth that the sinner must, by faith, personally appropriate
the Lord Jesus, and place Him between his sins and a holy God.
Let us notice next the amount required from each Israelite:
“This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are
numbered, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel
is twenty gerahs): an half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord”
(v. 13).
Thus we learn that the “ransom” stipulated consisted of half a shekel or ten
gerahs. This detail in our type is not without its significance, rather does it
throw light upon it as a whole.
Ten, as we have shown in previous articles, is the number of human
responsibility, and here we see the “ransom” fully meeting this
responsibility. Less than ten gerahs would not avail before God — note
how the woman in

Luke 15:8 was not satisfied with only nine pieces of
silver! The sinner imagines that if he discharges his duties toward his
fellow-man, that is all which can fairly be required of him; God and His
claims are left entirely out of his calculations. But the Ten Commandments
begin with man’s relations with and responsibility to the Lord God. But
where is the one who ever loved the Lord his God with all his heart, or
even his neighbor as himself? Ah, there is only one, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He it was who presented to God the required ransom:.182
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a
curse for us” (

Galatians 3:13).
He was also “made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law”
(

Galatians 4:4, 5). Though we could not pay the ten gerahs of our
responsibility, Christ has paid in full for us: He kept the law perfectly, in
thought and word and deed, and also suffered its penalty on our behalf;
thus has He provided the perfect ransom.
“Half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary” (v. 13).
This is a most important detail. It was by the standard “shekel,” which was
kept there in the sanctuary that all others were tested: each must be full up
to the required weight. So it was with the antitype. The true Atonement
has been weighed in the balances of the heavenly sanctuary and found of
full value before the throne of God. The Father’s acceptance of our
Savior’s ransom was convincingly demonstrated when He raised Him from
the dead, and afterwards exalted Him to His own right hand. Christ has
fully discharged the whole of His people’s debt, completely satisfied every
demand of Divine holiness, and provided a sure and eternal standing-ground
for us before God.
“Every one that passeth among,them that are numbered, from
twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord.
The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than
half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an
atonement for your souls” (vv. 14, 15).
This is very striking.
“All were to pay alike. In the matter of atonement, all must stand
on one common platform. There may be a vast difference in
knowledge, in experience, in capacity, in attainment, in zeal, in
devotedness, but the ground of atonement is alike to all. The great
apostle of the Gentiles and the feeblest lamb in all the flock of
Christ stand on the same level as regards atonement. This is a very
simple and a very blessed truth. All may not be alike devoted and
fruitful, but ‘the precious blood of Christ,’ and not devotedness or
fruitfulness, is the solid and everlasting ground of the believer’s
rest. The more we enter into the truth and power of this the more
fruitful shaft we be” (C.H.M.)..183
“And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel,
and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the
congregation” (v. 16).
The “appointment” of this atonement-money is mentioned in

Exodus
38:25-28: it furnished the foundation for the Tabernacle! The use to which
this ransom money was put supplies additional confirmation of our
interpretation of the type. The House of God rested upon the “silver
sockets.” Thus, the foundation of God’s people being around Himself is
redemption. That the silver from which these “sockets” was made was
given by Israel at the time of heir “numbering,” was God, in figure,
propriating His elect unto Himself as a ransomed people.
If we be not ransomed, we are not His. If we are not before Him, in the
value of the blood of Christ, we are not numbered to Him as the lot of His
inheritance. “The necessity for that is strongly emphasized in that no man
could be considered as His at all apart from the redemption money paid for
each one. No exemption was made, and no excuse could be pleaded. The
rich was not permitted to pay more, nor the poor less than the half shekel.
A shekel is said to be equivalent to thirty pence or sixty-two cents. A half
shekel each man had to pay alike. God is no respector of persons and
redemption views all men on the same level before God. The rich might
think it but a trifle, but it could not be neglected; and none were so poor as
to be unable to give it. The prominent thought is the availability of the
ransom-price, so as to leave each one without excuse: If God is to have a
ransomed people among whom He will dwell, it must be according to His,
not their, thoughts.
“The price is to be half a shekel, or ten gerahs, according to the
shekel of the sanctuary — the Divine estimation. Man might
conceive that something else would be more suited for his
redemption — this own works, his feelings, his worthiness, or his
faithfulness. But God’s holiness and righteousness would not
permit poor man to be so deceived. The foundation must be
according to God’s estimation, the shekel must be according to the
balances of the sanctuary” (Mr. Ridout).
“And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel,
and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the
congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel
before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls” (v. 16)..184
The mention here of the “memorial” is most blessed. A lasting testimony
was before God that atonement had been made for the souls of His people.
They might but feebly enter into the blessedness of redemption, but the
“memorial” of it was ever before Jehovah. The anti-type of this is brought
before us at length in the Epistle to the Hebrews — Christ now at the right
hand of God, there as the Representative of His people.
There is a practical application to be made of our type to Christians today.
We are under deep and lasting obligations to own the redemption-rights of
Christ. God ransomed Israel to Himself in Egypt, but after they had been
brought on to redemption-ground, they were required to acknowledge the
responsibility this entailed, by bringing their ten gerahs of silver. So often
we dwell upon what Christ’s ransom has freed us from; so little are we
occupied with what His ransom has freed us for. By ransoming us Christ
has acquired rights over us, and He is entitled to our recognition of this in
a practical way. Our lives should ever evidence the fact that we are not our
own. If they do not, we shall suffer from a “plague” (v. 12) — Divine
righteousness will chasten us.
It only remains for us now to point out that the order of these types is
Divinely perfect. In Exodus 28 and 29 we have seen the establishment of
the priesthood, and inconsequence, God dwelling in Israel’s midst. Then
we have had their worship, ascending to Him as a sweet savor (

30:1-
10). Now we are shown how the people themselves were identified with
the holy service of the tabernacle through redemption. A lasting
“memorial” of it remained before Jehovah: a permanent standing-ground
was provided before Him in that which, in figure, spoke of the
preciousness of the Lamb’s atonement. O that we may be increasingly
occupied with Him, and our responsibility to glorify Him in our spirits and
bodies which are His by purchase right..185
CHAPTER 55
THE LAVER

EXODUS 30:17-21
We are now to consider the seventh of the Tabernacle’s holy vessels.
Though given last in the Divine description of its various pieces of
furniture, the Laver was really the second which met the priest in his way
into the sacred building. It stood in the outer court, between the brazen-altar
and the curtained wall which marked off the holy place. Though
closely related to the brazen-altar, everything connected with the Laver
was in striking contrast therefrom. The former was made of wood and
brass; the latter of brass only. The one was square in shape; the other, most
probably, was round. The dimensions of the altar are fully particularized;
but no measurements are given in connection with the Laver. The former
had rings and staves for carrying it; the latter had not. Instructions were
given that the one should be covered when Israel journeyed from camp to
camp; but nothing is said of this about the other. The altar was for fire; the
Laver for water. The former received the sacrifices of all alike; the latter
was for the priests alone. Thus everything about them was sharply
distinguished.
That which is most prominent in connection with the Laver was its water
for cleansing.
“The figure of water is universally familiar, and represents one of
the most important and necessary elements in the physical universe.
We find it in the vast ocean, comprising by far the largest part of
the earth’s surface; and in our inland lakes and rivers, which form
such exquisite networks both of beauty and convenience and of
commercial value. We find it in the vapor of the skies; and the dews
that gather about the vegetable creation, and preserve it from
withering through the torrid summer. We find it forming the largest
proportion of our own bodies. It is a figure of purity and refreshing;
of quickening life and power; of vastness and abundance. Without
it, life could not be for a single month maintained. And so we find it.186
in the Bible as one of the most important symbols of spiritual
things” (Dr. A. B. Simpson).
Even in Eden we find mention of a river “to water the garden” (

Genesis
2:10), type of that river “the streams whereof shall make glad the city of
God” (

Psalm 46:4). This river went out from Eden to water the earth,
being parted into four heads: figure of the temporal mercies of God
flowing forth to all His creatures. Next, we read of the fearful waters of the
Flood, being the instrument of God’s unsparing judgment upon sin —
compare the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts by the same element:

Exodus 14:1. Then we find it as preserving the life of Hagar and her
son (

Genesis 16:7,

21:19). Later, we find Jehovah furnishing water
from the smitten rock for the refreshment of His people in the wilderness.
Water has quite a prominent place in the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. It
brought healing to Naaman (2 Kings 5), and saved Jehoshaphat’s army
from destruction (2 Kings 2).
So in the New Testament “water” is found in widely different connections.
It is the element in which the believer is figuratively buried. It is found in
connection with Christ’s first miracle. From the pierced side of the Savior
there flowed “blood and water.” Finally, in the last chapter of Holy Writ,
we read of “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of
the throne of God and of the Lamb” (v. 1). Thus, the contents of the Laver
bring before us one of the most far-reaching and many-sided figures of
Scripture.
The typical teaching of the Laver is rarely apprehended even among
Christians, and their failure at this point has brought an much that is
dishonoring to the Lord Jesus. Cleansing by blood and washing with water
are sharply distinguished in the Old Testament types, but they are sadly
confused in the thoughts of most churchgoers today. The sermons they
hear, the hymns they sing, the prayers they utter, both express and add to
the awful and Christ-dishonoring disorder of these last days. The thorough
and prayerful study of the Tabernacle and all connected with it, would
correct much which is now regarded as Scriptural, even in orthodox
circles. But we will not anticipate. Let us now consider:
1. ITS SIGNIFICATION.
This we may learn at once from the use to which it was put:.187
“For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet
thereat” (v. 19).
Thus we see at a glance it was designed for priestly purification. At the
brazen-altar sins were dealt with and put away. At the golden-altar that
which spoke of worship was presented to God. Midway between the two
stood the Laver: at it the priests were required to wash their hands and
feet, for communion with God necessitates, not only acceptance but
purification — a practical answering thereto.
There is therefore no difficulty at all in perceiving the spiritual meaning of
the holy vessel which is now before us: happily the commentators are
almost unanimous in their interpretation of this type. The Laver tells of the
need of cleansing if communion with God is to be maintained: cleansing
not from the guilt of sin, but from the defilements of the way. As already
said, the question of sin was dealt with at the brazen-altar: that must be
settled before there can be any approach unto God. Hence the brazen-altar
was the first holy vessel to be met with in the outer court, being stationed
just within the entrance. But having there slain the sacrifice and poured out
its blood at the foot of the altar, the sons of Aaron were now able to
advance; but ere they were ready to burn incense upon the golden-altar
they must wash at the Laver. The need for this will be easily discerned.
Having officiated at the brazen-altar their hands would be unclean, smeared
with blood. Moreover, as no shoes were provided for Aaron and his sons,
the dust of the desert would soil their feet. These must be removed ere they
could pass into the holy place; as it is said concerning the eternal
Dwellingplace of God, “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything
that defileth” (

Revelation 21:27). The spiritual application of this to
Christians today is obvious. The blood on the hands of Aaron and his sons
evidenced that they had come into contact with death. So we, in our
everyday lives, constantly have dealings with those who are dead in
trespasses and sins, and their very influence defiles us. In like manner, our
passage through this wilderness world, which lieth in the Wicked one (

1
John 5:19), fouls our walk. There is therefore a daily need for these to be
removed.
It is to be carefully noted that it was in their official character as priests,
not merely as Israelites, that Aaron and his sons were required to wash
their hands and feet at the Laver. Had they failed in this duty, they had still
been Israelites, but they were disqualified for entering into the holy place.188
and ministering before God. How clear and blessed is the typical teaching
of this. The soiling of our hands and feet through association with the
unregenerate, and in consequence sojourning in a world which knows not
and loves not Christ, does not in any wise affect our perfect standing
before God:
“For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are
sanctified” (

Hebrews 10:14).
But though the defilements of the way do not affect our standing, they do
interfere with our communion with God. We cannot enter into our priestly
privileges (

1 Peter 2:5), nor discharge our priestly duties (

Hebrews
13:15), till we have been cleansed at the Laver. The Laver, like everything
else in the Tabernacle, pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ, and tells of His
sufficiency to meet our every need. It shows us that we must have recourse
to Him for daily cleansing. This leads us to consider:
2. ITS CONTENTS.
“And thou shalt put water therein, for Aaron and his sons shall
wash their hands and feet thereat: when they go into the tabernacle
of the congregation, they shall wash with water” (vv. 18-20).
Water and not blood was the element appointed and used for the
purification of the priests. As that aspect of God’s truth set forth in this
detail of our type has largely been lost by the saints, we must examine it
with doubly close attention.
In our present type the water within the Laver was plainly a figure of the
written Word of God. This same figure is employed in the following
passages:
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed
thereto according to Thy Word” (

Psalm 119:9).
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter
into the kingdom of God” (

John 3:5).
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto
you” (

John 15:3)..189
“Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He
might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the
Word” (

Ephesians 5:25, 26).
“According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (

Titus 3:5).
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having
our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies
washed with pure water” (

Hebrews 10:22).
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the
Spirit” (

1 Peter 1:22).
Now, it is of first importance that we should discriminate between two
distinct types. In

Exodus 29:4 we are told, “And Aaron and his sons
thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and
thou shalt wash them with water.” While in

Exodus 30:19 we read,
“Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and feet thereat.” The former
was done for them; the latter was done by them. In the one they were
completely washed all over; in the latter, it was only their hands and feet
that were concerned. The former was never repeated; the latter was needed
every time they would draw near the golden-altar. The one was a figure of
regeneration, the other typified the Christian’s need of daily cleansing.

John 3:5;

Titus 3:5;

Hebrews 10:22 give us the antitype of

Exodus 29:4;

Psalm 119:9,

1 Peter 1:22 speaks in the language
of our present type.
The same distinction noted above is to be observed in the words of Christ
to Peter: “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean
every whir” (

John 13:10). The R.V. brings out the meaning of the
Greek more accurately: “For he that is bathed needeth not save to wash his
feet.” The washing or bathing received at regeneration needs not to be
repeated; the washing of the feet is all that is required to make us “clean
every whit.” The defilements of the way do not raise any need for me to be
regenerated again: the new birth is once and for all. Nothing can affect it;
nothing I do can cause me to become unborn; such a thing is impossible,
both in the natural and spiritual realms.
But side by side with this blessed truth of a washing once for all, which
needs not to be, and which, indeed, cannot be repeated, stands another
truth of great practical importance. “He that is bathed needeth not save to.190
wash his feet.” This is what is so blessedly brought before us in John 13.
The particular point there which we would now note is the Lord’s words
to Peter, when that disciple demurred at the thought of Christ washing his
feet. To him the Savior said, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with
Me” (v. 8). Observe that Christ did not say in Me,” but “with Me.” “In
Christ” refers to my spiritual state and standing before God; my
acceptance. “With Christ” has to do with fellowship; communion with
Him. For this there must be a removal of all that defiles, all that offends His
holy eye. For this there must be a coming to Him and a placing of our feet
in His hands — an humbling of ourselves before Him and an asking of Him
to cleanse our walk. Thus the Laver points to Christ as the Cleanser of His
people; its water to the Word which He uses for this.
3. ITS POSITION.
“And thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation
and the altar” (v. 18).
As already stated, the Laver stood midway between the two altars. The
priest’s work at the brazen-altar was completed before he passed on to the
Laver. This tells us that the question of our acceptance before God is not
raised at the Laver. The interpretation and application of this detail is most
important. That which the sons of Aaron needed for the removal of the
dust of the desert was not blood, but water. So when the believer contracts
defilement by treading the path of life through this world, it is not a fresh
application of the blood of Christ which he needs, but the water of the
Word.
Those Christians who speak and sing of re-applications of the blood of
Christ unwittingly degrade His perfect sacrifice to the level of those offered
under the Mosaic economy. Every time an Israelite transgressed God’s
righteous law, a fresh sin-offering was required. Why? Because the blood
of bulls and goats could not take away sins (

Hebrews 10:4). But in
contradistinction from those sacrifices. Christ has offered a perfect sacrifice
for His people once for all (

Hebrews 9:26, 28). The blood He shed at
Calvary has made full atonement; every claim of God’s justice was there
met, every demand of His holiness there fully satisfied. There is therefore
now no need for any fresh sacrifice. The moment the convicted sinner has
“faith in His blood” (

Romans 3:25), i.e., puts his trust in the
redemptive-work of Christ as the alone ground of his acceptance before.191
God, that moment is he cleansed “from all sin” (

1 John 1:7). To him the
Spirit saith,
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus” (

Romans 8:1).
In simple confidence he may now rest on the Divine declaration that “by
one offering lie hath perfected forever them that are sanctified”
(

Hebrews 10:14).
True, an evil heart of unbelief still remains within him; true, “in many things
we all offend” (

James 3:2); but neither the presence of the old nature,
nor its evil fruits, can invalidate our perfect standing before God, which
rests upon our acceptance in Christ. We are “complete in Him”
(

Colossians 2:10). He has already
“made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in
light” (

Colossians 1:12).
It is the realization of this which establishes the heart. It is the recognition
of this which keeps us in unclouded peace. It is the laying hold of this
which fills us with thanksgiving and praise unto God. To ask Him for a re-application
of the blood is to repudiate the fact that we stand “un-blameable
and unreproveable in His sight” (

Colossians 1:22). Nay, what
is worse, it is to deny the efficacy and sufficiency of its once-and-for-all
application to us.
What is needed by the exercised believer as he is conscious of the
blemishes of his service (the “hands”) and the failures of his walk (the
“feet”), is to avail himself of that which the Laver and its water pre-figured
— the provision which God has made for us in His Word. What is needed
by us is a practical appropriation of that Word to all the details of our daily
lives. It is to seek grace and heed that Word,
“He that sayeth he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk,
even as He walked” (

1 John 2:6).
It is only by obeying the truth, through the Spirit, that we purify our souls
(

1 Peter 1:22). Christ could say,
“By the Word of Thy lips I have kept Me from the paths of the
Destroyer” (

Psalm 17:4);.192
and such ought to be our experience, too. When we fail, then we must act
upon

1 John 1:9.
It is important to note that the Laver stood in the outer court and not
within the holy place, which was the chamber of worship. With this should
be linked the fact that this vessel was only for the use of Aaron’s sons.
What is in view here is priestly activity, the removing of that which would
otherwise disqualify them for service at the golden-altar. What an
unspeakable insult unto Jehovah had they passed into the holy place with
soiled hands and feet! For them it would have been fatal, as the twice
repeated “that they die not” clearly denotes. In like manner, we cannot
enter into the worship of God’s house if we have not first washed at the
Laver; the confessing of our sins and the consequent practical cleansing
should take place before — in the outer court. Failure at this point is to,
morally, bring in “death.”
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,
and drink of that cup” (

1 Corinthians 11:28).
This involves the taking account of our hands and feet, and washing at the
Laver before coming to the Lord’s table.
4. ITS COMPOSITION.
“Thou shalt also make a Laver of brass” (v. 18). In the outer court
everything was made of brass (really “copper”), or covered with brass:
altar, laver, pillars, and pins. This was in sharp distinction from the vessels
which stood in the inner chamber, which were all of or covered with gold.
“It is Divine righteousness testing man in responsibility, and
consequently testing man in the place where he is. Brass, on this
account, is always found outside of the tabernacle; while gold,
which is Divine righteousness as suited to the nature of God, is
found within. But testing man, it of necessity condemns him,
because he is a sinner; and hence it will be found to have associated
with it a constant judicial aspect” (Ed. Dennett).
If the reader will refer back to Article 15 he will there find we have, at
some length, entered into the meaning of this symbol. Without again
bringing forward the proofs of our definition, we shall here make only the
bare statement that “brass” speaks of judgment. The Laver, then, typifies
Christ in His character of Judge. In

John 5:22 we find Him saying, “The.193
Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son”;
and again, “and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also,
because He is the Son of man” (v. 27). Hence, in Revelation 1, where One
like unto “the Son of man” is seen in the midst of the seven golden lamp-stands
— judging — inspecting, passing sentence — we are told that His
feet were “like unto fine brass” (v. 19).
Thus the Laver of brass presents the inflexible righteousness of Christ
testing, judging His people, condemning that which mars their communion
with God. But how blessed to remember that He also supplies that water
which removes the very things which are condemned!
“It is not the execution of judgment upon our Substitute, nor is it
the infliction of judgment upon us; but it is the testing and trying of
our ways by the Son of God according to the authority given Him
to judge among His people, before He judges all the earth in a later
day” (Mr. Ridout).
5. ITS USE.
Strictly speaking, it was not the Laver itself that was used, but the water in
it: “Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and feet thereat,” more
literally, “from it.” This, the sons of Aaron were to do for themselves. It
speaks, then, of believers, in their priestly character, making practical
application to all their ways of the Word of Christ (

Colossians 3:16).
The water in the brazen Laver points to the believer judging himself,
unsparingly, by that Word.
First of all, that Word should be used to prevent us falling into evil. God’s
Word has been given to us for “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our
path”; that is, to expose the snares of Satan and to reveal the path in which
we should walk. O that more and more we may be able to say, “Thy Word
have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”
Second, that Word is to be used in cleansing us from all defilement. We
can only heed that exhortation in

2 Corinthians 7:1 — “Let us cleanse
ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” — by diligently
attending to and daily obeying the precepts of Holy Writ. What a searching
word is that in

Revelation 22:14,.194
“Blessed are they that wash (by the Word) their robes (emblematic
of our external deportment), that they might have the right to the
tree of life” (R.V.)!
Third, that Word is to be used for refreshment. Though we know of no
other commentator who has called attention to this, yet we believe it is
definitely taught in our present type. In

Exodus 30:20 we are also told
that Aaron’s sons were required to wash with water “when they come near
the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord.” This was
upon the brazen altar. It seems to us that the thought here is not so much
the removal of defilement, as it is that of coming to the altar in vigor or
freshness, as the priests brought with them that which spoke of the highest
aspect of Christ’s work.
Water is used by us not only for cleansing, but to invigorate — nothing is
more refreshing to tired feet than to bathe them. Is not this thought clearly
seen in the first mention of the washing of feet in Scripture?
“Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet and
rest yourselves under the tree” (

Genesis 18:4).
Note how the two angels refused to wash their feet in Lot’s house
(

Genesis 19:2) — there was no refreshment for them in Sodom! The
application to us of this detail in our type is plain: in order to minister
before God as priests, we must first receive refreshment from His Word. It
is by that alone we are “quickened” — revived and refreshed.
6. ITS MANUFACTURE.
It is striking to note the source from which the material for the Laver was
obtained. This we are not told in our present passage, but have it made
known in

Exodus 38:8:
“And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the
looking-glasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the
door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
These looking-glasses or mirrors were not like our modern ones, of glass
and quicksilver, but were of highly polished brass or copper. Several lines
of thought are pointed to by this important devil..195
First, we may admire the lovely product which the grace of God, working
in their hearts, brought forth. At the beginning, Jehovah bade Moses,
“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering of every
man (“whosoever”

35:5) that giveth it willingly with his heart, ye shall
take My offering” (

25:8). Here we see the answer of the hearts of the
daughters of Israel: they
“willingly offered what might gratify vanity, to provide for that
vessel of cleansing, that Jehovah’s service and worship might not
be hindered” (Mr. Ridout).
In like manner, God’s people today delight to give of their substance to the
furtherance of His work. But how often the sacrificial giving of the sisters
puts the brethren to shame!
Second, have we not here a beautiful foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus
setting aside that which ministered to His glory, in order that He might
provide cleansing for His people? He left the worship of angels in Heaven,
and came here, to the “outer court,” in servant form. He came not to be
ministered unto, but to minister. It is exceedingly striking to observe that in
the Gospels, the only record we have of any ministering to Him of their
substance were devoted women (

Luke 8:2, 3)! So, too, it was women,
not the apostles (sad failure on their part!), who washed His feet with
tears, and also anointed Him.
Third, the practical application to ourselves is very searching. The very
material from which the Laver was made spoke of surrender, a willingness
to part with what was calculated to make something of self; and this, in
order that conditions of holy purity might be maintained in the priests.
Thus we, too, must sacrifice what would minister to pride if we are to
obtain that cleansing which fits for communion with God!
Fourth, the uselessness of worldly expedients may be seen here — the
women had brought their mirrors from Egypt.
“We are ever prone to be ‘like a man beholding his natural face in a
glass; for he beholdeth himself and goeth away, and straightway
forgetteth what manner of man he was.’ Nature’s looking-glass can
never furnish a clear and permanent view of our true condition.
‘But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and con-tinueth
therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this
man shall be blessed in his deed’ (

James 1:23-25). The man who.196
has constant recourse to the Word of God, and who allows that
Word to tell upon his heart and conscience, will be maintained in
the holy activities of the Divine life” (C.H.M.).
7. ITS OMISSIONS.
These were two in number, and very noticeable they are.
First, no dimensions were prescribed for the Laver, nor are we told the
quantity of water which it contained. A similar omission was observed in
connection with the lampstand. The measurements of all the other vessels
are given. The absence of any here in connection with the Laver and its
water plainly denotes that an unlimited provision has been made by God
for our cleansing. In Christ and His Word is sufficient to minister to our
every need.
Second, no directions were given to Israel concerning the covering of the
Laver while they journeyed from camp to camp. In Numbers 4 we find
instructions for the protection of the ark, the table, the lamp-stand, and
both the altars; but nothing is said of the Laver. Does not the absence of
any covering to this vessel strikingly accord with its typical character?
Does it not tell us that the purifying Word is ever available, and that we
need to use it daily in all out wilderness journeyings! Thus, we see again,
that the omissions of Scripture (which the carnal mind would regard as
defects) are profoundly significant.
We may also take note of the significant omission of further references to
the Laver in the Old Testament. Only once is it referred to after the
tabernacle was erected and furnished; and that is when it was anointed
(

Leviticus 8:11). Not until we reach the book of Kings do we find that
which took the place of the Laver in Solomon’s temple, namely, the
“molten sea” (

1 Kings 7:23, etc.). Does not thus omission silently
testify to Israel’s departure from the Word throughout their history!
Probably the “Fountain” of

Zechariah 13:1 gives us the Millennial
Laver.
That which in Heaven corresponds to the Laver is brought before us in
Revelation 15: 2, 3 — cf.

1 Kings 7:23. Here the saints will no longer
need to wash, but they are eternally reminded of the source of their purity.
They are seen standing on a “sea” (Laver) of glass, “singing unto the
Lamb.” Altar and Laver will never be forgotten. The altar says, “without.197
shedding of blood is no remission.” The Laver announces “without holiness
no man shall see the Lord.” Both are witnessed to on High. As another has
so beautifully said:
“Here we are permitted to look into the glory. There, in the
heavenly sanctuary, is the throne of God and of the Lamb, as the
ark was in the tabernacle. The hidden manna is there, answering to
the table of shewbread. The seven Spirits of God are before the
throne, answering to the candlestick; and the sea of glass,
answering to that in Solomon’s temple. Notice it is not now the
laver filled with water — no need to remove defilement there; it is a
sea of transparent glass, reminding us of the laver which has
accomplished its work here. When all the redeemed of God are
gathered there, the day of cleansing from defilement is over, no
more need to wash one another’s feet; no more need for the Lord’s
washing our feet, but there we stand with harps of God in our
hands, nothing to hinder praise and worship. But the sea of glass,
the witness and perpetual reminder of our cleansing, will flash forth
there a continual remembrance of our Lord’s gracious and humble
service throughout our journey here” (Mr. Ridout)..198
CHAPTER 56
THE ANOINTING OIL

EXODUS 30:22-33
Having completed His description of the Tabernacle and its furniture, the
Holy Spirit now makes mention of the holy anointing oil and the fragrant
incense, without which the sanctuary Moses was to erect for Jehovah
would have been unacceptable. As the “incense” has already been
considered in our study of the golden-altar, we shall dwell here only on the
“oil.” This was composed of olive oil, into which were compounded four
principal spices. It was designed for the anointing of the Tabernacle and its
sacred vessels, and was also used at the consecration of Aaron and his sons
to their priestly office. Strict instructions were given prohibiting any of the
people from making any like unto it, which emphasizes its uniqueness.
Like everything else connected with the service of Jehovah’s house, the
holy anointing oil, with its fragrant ingredients, pointed forward to the
person of the Lord Jesus and the excellencies which are to be found in
Him, particularly, to those graces which the Holy Spirit manifested through
Him. Though there may be some difficulty in determining the precise
spiritual import of some of the details, yet the main truth here
foreshadowed is too plain to miss. May our eyes now be “anointed” with
spiritual “salve” (

Revelation 3:18) that we may be enabled to behold
and enjoy wondrous things out of God’s Law. Let us consider:
1. ITS INGREDIENTS.
“Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also
unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and
of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty
shekels, and of sweet calamus, two hundred and fifty shekels, and
of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and
of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment,
an ointment compounded after the art of the apothecary, it shall be
an holy anointing oil” (vv. 22-25)..199
Thus, the ingredients were four in number, blended together; their
fragrance being borne along in the power of the oil. Scholars tell us that the
Hebrew word for “spices” is from a root meaning to “smell sweetly.”
Therefore, the basal thought in the ointment is its sweet scent. “Principal
spices” signifies those which exceeded others in their rich odor, pre-eminent
in their aroma. Surely it is evident that they speak to us of Christ.
Our minds at once turn to Psalm 45 where God says to Him,
“Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness; therefore God,
Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy
fellows. All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out
of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad” (vv. 7, 8).
“Myrrh” is the first ingredient mentioned.
“This was the gum from a dwarf tree of the terebinth family,
growing in Arabia. The gum exudes from the trunk either
spontaneously or through incisions made for the purpose. That
prescribed for the ointment was ‘pure,’ literally, free’ — the best,
what had flowed spontaneously…. It is fragrant to the smell, but
very bitter to the taste” (Mr. Ridout).
To the Scriptures we must turn to learn its typical significance.
It is striking to note that the word itself is found just fourteen times therein,
2 x 7, or a witness unto perfection. Eight of the references are in the Song
of Solomon, which at once suggests that the prominent thought
emblemized by it is love. The keynote is struck in its first occurrence: “A
bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved” (

1:13). Further proof that “myrrh”
is an emblem of love is found in v. 13, “His cheeks are a bed of spices, as
sweet flowers; His lips lillies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh.” Significant
is the final reference, found in connection with the death of Christ (

John
19:39) — expressing the love of His disciples for Him. Thus, love poured
out in a bitter but fragrant death is what was prefigured by the “myrrh.”
Beautifully is this brought out in the following quotation:
“Flowing spontaneously from the tree, as well as through incisions,
would suggest on the one hand how willingly He offered all that He
was, even unto death, to God, and on the other the ‘piercing’ to
which He was subjected by man, but which only brought out the
same fragrance. The bitterness of the myrrh suggests the reality of
the sufferings through which He went. It was not physical.200
discomfort and pain, nor even death, which gave intensity to His
suffering, but the ‘contradiction of sinners against Himself’
(

Hebrews 12:3). His very presence in a world where all was
against God was bitter to Him. How His perfect soul, enjoying
fullest communion with His Father, recognized what an evil and
bitter thing it was for men to forsake the Lord! Who could measure
sin like the sinless One? He it was who tasted, and drank to the
dregs, the bitter cup of God’s wrath against sin.
“But all this bitter experience only furnished the occasion for the
manifestation not only of a devotedness to God which was perfectly
fragrant to Him, but of a love to His own which was as strong as
death. And what has been the measure of this love? The myrrh
again, from its association with death, may well tell us that it
‘passeth knowledge’ (

Ephesians 3:19). ‘The Son of God who
loved me and gave Himself for Me’ (

Galatians 2:20) — a
measure which cannot be measured, freely flowing from Him
whose heart was pierced by and for our sins. Feeble indeed is the
estimate we put upon that love at best; but One estimates it at its
full value” (Mr. Ridout).
“Cinnamon.” Remarkable indeed are the contrasts presented by the four
passages in which this word is found. Here in Exodus 30 it pointed to the
person of Christ. In

Song of Solomon 4:14 it is used in the
Bridegroom’s description of His bride — referring to that which grace has
imputed to her. In the third and fourth references this sweet spice is seen
connected with the harlot:

Proverbs 7:17;

Revelation 18:13. There,
it is a hypocritical love for souls, used by the usurper of Christ to attract
the ungodly. Upon the “cinnamon” Mr. Ridout has said:
“There seems to be no doubt that this spice is the same that is
familiar to us under the same name; it is the bark of a small
evergreen tree of the laural family. Another tree of the same family
is the fragrant camphor. The odor of the cinnamon is sweet and its
taste agreeable; it is largely used for flavoring. A valuable essential
oil is extracted from the bark, having these properties in an
intensified form. It is obtained chiefly from Ceylon, and probably
brought from India in the times of the Exodus. The bark is obtained
from the young shoots. As a medicine, it is a stimulant and cordial..201
“Seeking for light as to its spiritual significance from the etymology
of the word, we are met with uncertainty” (Mr. Ridout).
But in a footnote he tells us that, one writer has suggested “a possible
derivation from two well-known Hebrew words: Kinna, ‘jealousy’ from
the root to glow or burn, or be zealous; and min, ‘form’ or ‘appearance.’
The ‘appearance of jealousy.’” To which Mr. Ridout adds,
“We need not say, what burning zeal marked our Lord’s entire life
— ‘the zeal of Thy house hath eaten Me up’ (

John 2:17). And
this was shown in the holy form of jealousy which would purge that
house of all the carnal traffic which had been introduced there.
‘Love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave; the coals
thereof are the coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame’
(

Song of Solomon 8:6). This gives, at least, a beautiful and
significant meaning, and accords with the character of our Lord —
a love which was zeal for God’s glory and for ‘the place where
Thine honor dwelleth’ (

Psalm 26:8). In love for that He would
let His own temple, His holy body, be laid low in death. Here was
indeed a jealousy of a new form — jealousy for God alone, without
one element of selfishness in it. Cruel it was, only in the sense of
bearing cruelty rather than suffer one blot to rest upon God’s glory
— it burned with ‘a most vehement flame.’”
We believe that this brings out the distinctive thought suggested by the
“cinnamon.”
“It is well, too, to recall the fact that this tree was an evergreen,
passing through no periods of inertness. So our Lord was ever the
unchanging devoted One, whose leaf did not wither in time of
drought or cold. In the midst of the and waste of unbelief — as at
Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum — there were no marks of
feebleness upon Him: ‘I thank Thee, O Father,’ was His language
there as everywhere. Here, too, is medicine, a spiritual tonic and
cordial for the faint-hearted. This love and devotedness of our
Lord, which knew no change, is not only a most powerful example,
but in His grace that which cheers and encourages the fainting of
His beloved people” (Mr. Ridout)..202
“Sweet calamus” The Hebrew word means a “reed” or “cane,” being
derived from a root-term meaning “to stand upright.” Once more we shall
take extracts from Mr. Ridout’s helpful remarks:
“The ‘sweet’ as in the case of the cinnamon, tells of its fragrance,
and this would seem to give us the clue to the article intended. A
‘sweet cane’ is said to be found in Lebonan, in India and Arabia. It
usually grows in miry soil, from which it sends up the shoots from
which its name is derived. The fragrant cane of India is supposed to
have been the ‘spikenard’ of Scripture. The fragrance was obtained
by crushing the plant.
“Its growth in the mire may remind us of One who in the mire of
this world grew up erect and fragrant for God. Man grows in the
mire and gravitates toward it — like the man with the much-rack,
who was bowed to earth and saw not the crown of glory offered to
him. But our Lord had His eyes and heart only on the heaven
above. The mire of earth was but the place where He has come for
a special work. Men might grovel in that mire, as, alas, we have! A
Job finds that his self-righteousness was covered with the mire of
the ditch (

Job 9:31). But His surroundings were only the
contrast to that erect and perfect life which ever pointed
heavenward. His treasure, His all, was with the Father. And
wherever He found a ‘bruised reed,’ to lift it from the mire and
establish it erect was the purpose of His heart — ‘Neither do I
condemn thee’ (

John 8:11).
“This reed was crushed. Wicked men took Him, bound and bruised
Him. But what fragrance has filled heaven and earth through that
bruising. Again, the aromatic odor of the calamus reminds us that in
our Lord there was nothing negative or insipid. That weak word
‘amiable’ is unsuitable in connection with Him. Thus when the high
priest commanded that He be smitten, our Lord neither resents it
nor cowers under it; but with what holy dignity did He rebuke that
unrighteousness, and bear witness of His kingship before Pilate. A
heavenly fragrance pervaded the judgment-hall — the vital
fragrance and energy of Holiness, bearing witness to the truth
(

John 18:33-37).”
“Cassia.” Gesenius tells us that the Hebrew name of this spice is derived
from a root signifying “to stoop” to “bow down,” as in worship. Thus,.203
what was foreshadowed here was the perfect Man’s submission to and
worship of God. In

Luke 4:16 we read that, “As His custom was, He
went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.” In the Psalms we find many
out-breathings of His worship. In the great Temptation, He refused to fall
down before the Devil, reminding him that it was written, “Thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”
The only other passage in which “cassia” is mentioned is

Ezekiel 27:19.
There we learn that this was one of the articles in which Tyre — the great
merchant nation of the ancients — traded. Like Egypt, Tyre stands for the
world. Typically, this tells us that even the world will traffic in the
excellencies of Christ in order to further its sordid ends. It is very striking
to note that in the very next chapter,

Ezekiel 28:12-19, Satan is
presented as the “king of Tyre.” Thus we are there shown that the arch-enemy
of God ever seeks to rob Christ, so far as he is permitted, of that
worship which is His alone due.
Summarizing the emblematic significations of these four principal spices,
we learn that, the “myrrh” pointed to the outpouring of Christ’s love in a
bitter but fragrant death; the “cinnamon” to His holy jealousy for the honor
and glory of God; the “calamus” to His uprightness and righteousness in a
world of sin and wickedness; the “cassia” to His submission to and worship
of God.
2. ITS PROPORTIONS.
These are given in vv. 23, 24: of the “myrrh” there was five hundred
shekels, of the “sweet cinnamon” and the “sweet calamus” two hundred
and fifty shekels, and of the “cassia” five hundred shekels. First of all, we
must note that there were four sweet spices mingled with the oil, and that
each of them was taken from plant life, which ever speaks of man here on
earth. Our minds turn instinctively to the four Gospels, where the Divine
record of Christ’s earthly life is given. Each of them reveals some special
perfection of Christ, yet all are perfectly blended together by the all-pervading
“oil,” the Holy Spirit.
The quantities used of the spices were not of equal weight: of two there
were 500 shekels, of two but 250. Thus, we have here a suggestion that
there is some truth or aspect of Christ’s perfections common to the
“myrrh” and “cassia,” and some truth common to the “cinnamon” and
“calamus.” The order in which they are given is 500, 250, 250, and 500.204
shekels. Comparing them thus with the Gospels, we are hereby bidden to
look for some definite link uniting Matthew and John (the First and Fourth)
and something shared in common by Mark and Luke, the two middle
Gospels. Let us now look, very briefly, first at Matthew’s and John’s, and
then at Mark’s and Luke’s.
The first and the fourth Gospels present the highest glories of Christ,
namely, His kingship and His Godhood, agreeing with the double quantity
of the first and fourth mentioned “spices.” Moreover, the distinctive
character of each Gospel exactly corresponds with the nature of the two
spices. As already said, the “myrrh” symbolized a bitter death, the death of
Christ. It was this of which the Israelites were reminded on the Passover-night:
the “lamb” must be eaten with “bitter herbs” (

Exodus 12:8)! How
remarkable then to find that Matthew, and he alone, records the wise men
presenting to the infant Savior their gifts of “gold and frankincense and
myrrh” (

Matthew 2:11)! So, it is in this first Gospel that the bitterness
of Messiah’s experience in being despised and rejected by His brethren
according to the flesh, is most fully set out. The etymology of “cassia,” the
fourth spice, signifies “worship.” which at once introduces the Divine
element. This is exactly what we have in the fourth Gospel: there Christ is
portrayed as the Son of God!
The second and third Gospels both present the lowliness of Christ, the one
as Servant, the other as Man — the One who had not where to lay His
head; and this is in striking accord with the fact that the second and third
“spices” were only half the quantity of the others! Yet mark how the Holy
Spirit here, as ever, guarded the glory of Christ, even in His humiliation:
the second and third spices alone were termed “sweet”! — telling us that
God found peculiar delight in His Son’s voluntary and obedient
condescension. That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination
in the sight of God (

Luke 16:15); and that which is despised by men is
of great price in His sight (

1 Peter 3:4). It was when Christ was first
“numbered with transgressors,” taking His place among those who were
“confessing their sins” (

Mark 1:5), that the voice of the Father was
heard saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased”
(

Matthew 3:17).
The figures 500 250, 250 and 500 show, at a glance, that the perfections of
Christ were all perfectly balanced. In this we behold His uniqueness. Even
in His people, in their present state, one grace or other is found.205
predominating. Not so with Christ. Everything was in lovely proportion in
Him. The total weight of the spices was fifteen hundred shekels or 5x3xl00
— the last being 10×10. Five is the number of grace, three is manifestation
and also the number of God, ten the measure of responsibility. Thus we
have, the grace of God manifested in perfect human responsibility. This is
to be found in Christ alone.
Each of the spices was apportioned by weight, “after the shekel of the
sanctuary” (v. 24). This was before us in our article on the Atonement-money
(

30:13). “God is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are
weighed (

1 Samuel 2:3). The proud king of Babylon was weighed and
found wanting (

Daniel 5:27).
And ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ The Old
Testament word for ‘glory’ is ‘weight,’ derived from a word ‘to be heavy.’
So by God’s standard, all have come short of the full weight which alone
can glorify Him. There is therefore but One in whom, when tested, full and
true weight was found. who could say I have glorified Thee upon the earth;
I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do’ (

John 17:4)”
(Mr. Ridout.)
3. ITS VEHICLE.
This was the “oil olive,” a figure of the Holy Spirit;
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with
power” (

Acts 10:38).
The spices gave fragrance to the oil, and the oil was the element by which
their aroma was borne along. So the lovely graces manifested by Christ
when He was upon earth were all according to the Spirit (

Isaiah 11:1,
2), and were all in the power of the Spirit (

Luke 4:1, 14, etc.). It was by
means of the oil that the sweet spices were blended together; the oil
pervaded all and united all. The fragrance of the spices was to be evenly
diffused through the whole hin of oil olive, so that no one took precedence
over the other; but the oil sent forth the sweetness of each alike. So Christ,
ever filled with the Spirit, blended the various fragrances of His character
into one holy perfume: His name (that which represents and reveals the
person) was. and ever is “as ointment poured forth” (

Song of Solomon
1:3)!.206
4. ITS USE.
It was employed in the anointing of the Tabernacle and all its furniture
(

Exodus 30:26-29), and at the consecration of the priests (

30:30).
That which speaks of the sweet savor of Christ was put on all that
foreshadowed Him. The vessels of the sanctuary represented various
offices and services of our great High Priest, some performed by Him when
here on earth, others in which He is now engaged on High. The same
eternal Spirit by which He offered Himself as the sacrifice without spot
unto God (

Hebrews 9:14) is still the power of His service in
resurrection — cf

Acts 1:2:
Very blessed is it to behold the anointing of Aaron’s sons with this holy oil,
for this, in figure, shows us the people of Christ having communicated to
them the selfsame “sweet savor” which gives their Head acceptance before
God. It is the Spirit of God graciously equipping us for priestly ministry.
Remarkable is it to note that the instructions concerning the “holy oil” in
Exodus 30 follow right after mention of the laver (

30:18-21). The
“laver” is negative in character, a type of that which removes all that would
hinder our approach unto God; the “oil” gives us the positive side,
bringing in that which gives us acceptance before Him. The antitype comes
out most preciously in

2 Corinthians 2:14, 15,
“Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in
Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in
every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ.”
5. ITS PROHIBITIONS.
“Upon man’s flesh it shall not be poured” (v. 32). Only those belonging to
the priestly family were anointed. Typically, this means that only the people
of God, those in Christ (the “Anointed”) are “anointed” — have the Spirit
of God.
“Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son
into your hearts” (

Galatians 4:6).
“Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ and hath anointed
us, is God” (

2 Corinthians 1:22).
This is something which man in the flesh has not, and cannot have..207
“The graces of the Spirit can never be connected with man’s flesh,
the Holy Spirit cannot own nature. Not one of the fruits of the
Spirit has ever yet produced ‘in nature’s barren soil.’ We must be
‘born again.’ It is only as connected with the new man, as being
part of that ‘new creation,’ that he can know anything of the fruits
of the Spirit” (C.H.M.).
“Neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it:
it is holy. and it shall be holy unto you” (v. 32).
The type must not be imitated or it would not figure that which was
inimitable, even the perfections of Christ! As no strange altar must be built
(

Exodus 20:25), as no “strange fire” must be used (

Leviticus 10:1,
2). so there must be no strange oil. How this word condemns the imitations
of Divine worship, the Spirit’s operations, the fragrance of Christ, in
present-day religious Christendom! Mere head knowledge, ritualism,
exquisite music, soulical excitements, are so many human substitutes for
the true ministry of Christ in the power of the Spirit.
Unspeakably solemn is the final word:
“Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of
it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people” (v. 33).
“It is thus a heinous sin to imitate the action of the Spirit. Ananias
and Sapphira did this when they professed to devote the whole
proceeds of the property they had sold to the Lord’s service (Acts
5). The same penalty, observe, was attached to putting it upon a
stranger, upon those who had no title to it. God is holy, and He
jealously guards His sovereign rights, and cannot but visit any
infringement of them with punishment. If He seem now to pass by
such sins unnoticed, it is owing to the character of the present
dispensation being one of grace; but the sins themselves are no less
in His sight” (Mr. Ed. Demnett).208
CHAPTER 57
THE APPOINTED ARTIFICERS

EXODUS 31:1-11
The 31st of Exodus is an important chapter, both in its typical teachings
and its practical lessons. There are three things in it: first, we are shown the
Divine provision which was made for the carrying out of Jehovah’s
instructions concerning the building of the tabernacle and the making of its
furniture; second, the Divinely-appointed Sabbath in its special relation to
Israel is here defined; third, the actual giving to Moses of the two tables of
the testimony, on which were written, by the finger of God, the ten
commandments, is here recorded.
Full instructions concerning all the details of the tabernacle had now been
given; the provision for the execution of them is next made known.
Nothing is left to chance, no place allowed for human scheming. All is of
God. Though skilled in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, Moses was not left
to draw the plans for Jehovah’s dwelling-place; instead, he was bidden to
make all things after the pattern shown him in the mount. Now that the
“pattern” had been completely set before him, the Lord makes known who
are to be the principal workmen. The choice of them was His, not Moses’;
and their equipment for the work was Divine and not human.
The appointed artificers were Bezaleel and Aholiab, one from the tribe of
Judah, the other from the tribe of Daniel ‘We do not have here the actual
making of the tabernacle, that is seen in chapters 36 to 39; rather is it the
Divine calling and making competent of those who were to engage in that
work. That Christ is the One here foreshadowed is evident, for “in the
volume of the book it is written of Me” is His own express declaration.
None but He was capable of building a House for God, and every detail of
our present type clearly establishes that fact. May the Spirit of God grant
us eyes to see.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by
name Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:.209
And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and
understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of
workmanship, to devise cunning (skillful) works, to work in gold,
and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and
in carving of timber; to work in all manner of workmanship” (vv. 1-5).
In the above verses we have three things: the workman appointed, the
workman equipped, the workman’s task. Here, as ever in Holy Writ, the
proper nouns are pregnant with spiritual significance. The first of the two
principal artificers here mentioned is Bezaleel, which means “In the shadow
of God” or “the protection of God.” He was the son of Uri, which means
“light”; the grandson of Hur, which means “free”; from the tribe of Judah,
which means “praise.” The suitability of these tames for one who
foreshadowed the person of our Savior is at once evident.
The similarity of thought between “shadow” and “protection may be seen
by a reference to a number of scriptures in which the former is found.
“Hide me under the shadow of Thy wings” (

Psalm 17:8); “In the
shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge” (

Psalm 57:1); “In the
shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice” (

Psalm 63:7). The “shadow of Thy
wings” speaks of the place of intimacy, of protection, of fellowship. This is
the place which the Lord Jesus has ever occupied in His relationship to the
Father:
“The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father”
(

John 1:18).
Bezaleel was the son of Uri, “light,” viz., “the light of Jehovah.” The
“urim” of the high priests’s breastplate is the same word, in the plural
number. Now, as the name “Bezaleel” suggests the place occupied by the
perfect Workman, the Builder of the “true tabernacle,” so the “son of Uri”
defines His person, telling us who He is. The “Son of Light” at once
announces that He is the Son of God, for “God is light, and in Him is no
darkness at all” (

1 John 1:5). Yes, He is “the Brightness of His glory,
and the very impress of His substance’ (

Hebrews 1:3). While here on
earth, He was “The Light of the world” (

John 9:5). When He returns to
it, it will be as “the Sun of Righteousness.”
Bezaleel was the son of Uri, the son of “Hur,” which means “free,” or “at
liberty.” This is very blessed. As the first name speaks of Christ’s relation.210
to the Father, and the second tells who He is, so this third one makes
known the manner in which He entered upon His Divinely-appointed
work. That which was here foreshadowed is told out in plain terms in

Hebrews 10:9, “Then said He, I come to do Thy will, O God.” The
Lord Jesus voluntarily entered upon the great work which He undertook.
True it is that the Father “sent” Him (

John 9:4, etc.); yet, equally true is
it that He “came.” Perfectly does this come out in our type: Bezaleel was
“called” by God to his work (v. 2), yet was he a son of “liberty.”
“Of the tribe of Judah.” Beautiful line in the picture is this. Judah was, of
course, the royal tribe, as also the one who took the lead when Israel
journeyed. But it is the meaning of his name which it is so blessed to note:
Judah signifies “praise.” Does not this tell us the spirit in which the
Redeemer entered into His work, that work which involved such
humiliation, such suffering, such a death! Listen to His own words in

Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Thy will, O God.” Behold Him at the very
time He was being despised and rejected of men:
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee O
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things
from the wise and prudent” (

Luke 10:21).
Let it be added that while there are not a few of the Psalms which breathe
out the sorrows and sufferings of Christ, there are also many of them which
express thanksgiving and praise.
Next we have the equipment or qualification of the typical artificer for his
work: “And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in
understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” This
at once makes us think of

Isaiah 11:1-4,
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a
branch shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the Lord shall
rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit
of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the
Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the
Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither
reprove after the hearing of His ears. But with righteousness shall
He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the
earth.”.211
“To work in gold.” As it has been pointed out so frequently in previous
articles, “gold” speaks of Divine glory, the Divine glory manifested. Ah,
only one filled with “the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding and in
knowledge” was competent to “work in gold.” Now, it is in the Gospel of
John that the antitype of this is most plainly seen. There, at the close of His
public ministry, we find the Son saying to the Father, “I have glorified
Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.”
Details of that “work” are given in the verses that follow: “I have
manifested Thy name” (v. 6), “I have given unto them the words which
Thou gavest Me” (v. 8), “I have kept them in Thy name” (v. 12), etc.
“And in silver.” This symbol has also been before us again and again. It
speaks of redemption. And who was qualified to “work in silver?” None
but He who came from the Father’s bosom as the Son of Light. The work
of redemption was a more stupendous and wondrous one than the work of
creation. It was a work far beyond the power of those who were to be
redeemed:
“None of them can by any means redeem his brother nor give to
God a ransom for him: for the redemption of their soul is precious”
(

Psalm 49:7, 8).
Yes, the redemption of their soul is “precious,” so precious that naught but
the “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without
spot” (

1 Peter 1:19) could avail. The blessed outcome of His “work in
silver” is seen in

Revelation 5:9,
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the
book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou was slain, and hast
redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and
tongue, and people, and nation.”
“And in brass.” This is ever the symbol of Divine judgment. Here, too, a
Divinely-qualified workman was called for, for no mere creature as such
was capable of enduring the entire weight of God’s judgment upon the sins
of His guilty people. Therefore, did God lay help upon One that is
“Mighty” (

Psalm 89:19). Unspeakably solemn is this aspect of our type.
It tells of our blessed Redeemer being “made sin for us” (

2 Corinthians
5:21), which signifies that He became sacrificially what we were
personally. It tells of Him being “made a curse for us” (

Galatians 3:13),
suffering the infexible penalty of God’s righteous law on our behalf,.212
receiving the wages of sin in our stead. It tells of Him being “lifted up” as
Moses lifted up the serpent of brass (

John 3:14). The “work in brass”
was completed when He cried “It is finished,” bowed His head, and
breathed forth His spirit (

John 19:30).
“And in cutting of stones.” The local reference is to the jewels which were
to adorn the shoulders and breastplate of Israel’s high priest, as he
appeared before God on their behalf, jewels on which were engraved the
names of all their twelve tribes. Thus, those gems spoke of the people of
God, presented before Him in all the merits and excellency of that blessed
One whom Aaron foreshadowed. The antitype of this is found in

1
Peter 2:5, “Ye also as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.” The
next words of Exodus 31, “and in carving of timber” look forward, we
believe, to the Lord’s future dealings with Israel. “To work in all manner of
workmanship,” which is repeated from 5:3, at once reminds us of that
word in

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in
Christ Jesus unto good works.” How blessedly significant to observe that
the work of this artificer is given (vv. 4, 5) — in five details — all is of
Divine grace!
“And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of
Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are
wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have
commanded thee” (v. 6).
Many human characters were needed to foreshadow the varied and
manifold perfections of the God-man. Creation demonstrates the Creator.
Some things in creation manifest His mighty power, some His consummate
wisdom, others His abiding faithfulness, still others His abundant mercy.
Each and all are required to exhibit the different attributes of their Maker.
In like manner, Abel, Noah, Moses, Aaron, David, are all types of Christ,
each one pointing to some distinctive aspect of His person, offices, or
work. Thus it is in our present type: Aholiab supplements Bezaleel.
“And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of
the tribe of Dan.” The meanings of these names are also significant.
Aholiab signifies “The Tent of the Father.” In the light of

John 1:14,
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt (Greek, tented) among us, and we
beheld His glory,” the force of this name is clear. Just as of old Jehovah
took up His abode in the tabernacle in the wilderness, so did He again find
a Dwelling-place on this earth when the Son became incarnate: “God was.213
in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (

2 Corinthians 5:19). The
Lord Jesus walking among men was “God manifest in flesh” (

1 Timothy
3:16). So perfect and complete was that manifestation He could say, “he
that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father” (

John 14:9).
Aholiab was the son of Ahisamach, and the latter name signifies
“Brother of Support.” As another has said, “Probably this name
primarily refers to the fact that Aholiab was a fellow-helper to
Bezaleel in the work of the tabernacle. But is it not worthy of
remark that while we have in Aholiab the name Father, we have in
the name Ahisamach, the word Brother; and may there not be in
this a little prophetic hint of that truth contained in

Hebrews
2:9-11, in which we find the Lord Jesus raised from the suffering of
death to a place of exaltation, where everything is put under His
feet, and in which also it is declared that ‘he (the Lord Jesus) who
sanctifieth and they who are sanctified, are all of one, for which
cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.’ He is the Dwelling-place
of God, and He is the Brother of support to His brethren” (H.
W. Soltau).
Aholiab was of the tribe of Daniel As Judah took the lead when Israel was
on the march, so Dan brought up the rear. Thus, the spiritual principle here
exemplified was that, in the two men appointed to be the chief artificers, all
Israel were represented. So the Lord Jesus, in the glorious work which He
accomplished, represented all God’s people, the feeblest as well as the
strongest. The name Dan signifies “Judge.”
“The tabernacle of God is a place for worship and praise, because
therein is revealed God’s great act of judgment upon sin in the
sacrifice of the Lamb of God” (H.W.S.).
“That they may make all that I have commanded thee” (v. 6), words
repeated in v. 11. Significant line in the typical picture is this. Every detail
of their work was Divinely appointed beforehand. No room was there for
the exercise of self-will; all was to be the working out of that which God
had willed. Most blessed is it to behold the fulfillment of this in the
Antitype. Very explicit are His words:
“For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the
will of Him that sent Me” (

John 6:38);.214
“Therefore, doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life,
that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it
down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to
take it again. This commandment have I received from My Father”
(

John 10:17, 18).
There is no need for us to comment separately on each of the details
mentioned in vv. 7-11 as they have all been before us in previous articles. It
should be noted, though, that fourteen things are specified: (1) “The
tabernacle of the congregation (the tent of meeting); (2) And the ark of the
testimony; (3) and the mercy-seat that is thereupon; (4) and all the
furniture of the tabernacle (the pillars, sockets. pins, etc.); (5) and the table,
and his furniture,” etc. In vv. 4, 5 a fivefold work was mentioned; in vv. 7
to 11 the making of fourteen articles is referred to. This tells us that the
work of Christ was founded upon Divine grace, and that in the execution
of it He displayed a perfect witness to the perfections of God.
Turning now to the practical teaching of our passage, it is at once evident
that here we have most important instruction upon the subject of Divine
service: note how the “See!” (v. 2) and “Behold!” (v. 6) direct attention to
the weightiness of what follows. The first thing is God’s selection of His
servants. Bezaleel and Aholiab did not presume to intrude into this holy
office of themselves, nor were they appointed by Moses, or by a committee
made up of the leading Levites; instead, they were “called” by God (v. 2).
“This principle runs through all dispensations. The apostle adduces
it when speaking of the priesthood of Christ. He says, ‘So also
Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest; but He that
said unto Him, Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee. As
He saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the
order of Malchizedek’ (

Hebrews 5:5, 6). In like manner he
speaks of himself as an ‘apostle by the will of God’ (

1
Corinthians 1:1;

2 Corinthians 1:1, etc.)” (Mr. Dennett).
This lies at the foundation of all true service. Those who run without being
sent, those who undertake work (though in the name of the Lord) without
being called to it by God, are rebels, not “servants.” Yet how many there
are in these days — days which are characterized by self-will and
lawlessness — occupying prominent positions in Christendom, yet who
have never been called of God. Many, attracted by the prestige and honor
of the position, others because it is an easy way of making a living, have.215
thrust themselves into an holy office. Many, influenced by men with more
zeal than knowledge, or advised by admiring friends or doting mothers,
have been pressed into service for which they had no call from Heaven.
Fearful presumption and sin is it for any man to profess to speak in the
name of Christ if he has received no call from Him.
The second principle of service which receives both illustration and
exemplification in our present passage is God’s equipment of His servants.
It is by this that God’s people may identify His sent servants, and in this
way that an exercised heart may ascertain whether or no a call to service
has been received from the Lord. God never calls a man to any work
without fitting him for it. If God calls one to be an evangelist, He will fill
his heart with compassion for the lost, and so burden him with a sense of
the doom awaiting the wicked, that he will cry “Woe is me, if I preach not
the Gospel.” If God calls a man to be a pastor, He will bestow upon him
the necessary gifts; if to be a missionary, He will endow him with a special
aptitude for learning a foreign language; and so on.
What is still more to the point, and so essential for us to note is that, when
God calls a man to be His servant, He fills him with “the Spirit of God, in
wisdom. and in understanding, and in knowledge” (v. 3). For other
examples of this, see

1 Kings 7:13, 14;

Luke 1:5;

Acts 10:38;
5:4; 6:3. Vastly different is this from the expedients and substitutes of men.
Colleges, universities, theological seminaries, Bible-training schools do not
and cannot impart these spiritual gifts. God alone can bestow them. And
where He has done so, then all the schools of men are needless. The
servant who has been endowed with power and wisdom from on High is
entirely independent of men. Human wisdom is of no avail in the service of
God. This is all very humbling to the flesh, but it is God’s way, for He is a
jealous God, and will not share His glory with another.
The third important principle in connection with service to be noted in our
passage is God’s appointment of the servant’s work: “that they may make
all that I have commanded them” (vv. 6, 11). The very essence of all real
service lies in obedience, obedience to the will of our master. So it is in
connection with Divine service. Listen again to the words of the perfect
Servant. “I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will
of Him that sent Me” (

John 6:38). Bezaleel and Ahoilab were not left
free to pick and choose what they should do or not do; all was ordered for
them. Thus it is with the Lord’s servants today: the Word sets forth his.216
marching-orders — what he should preach, what he should do, how he
should do it. A very simple but searching principle is this. As another has
said, “The Word is both the guide of the servant and the test of his service
— the proof of its being done with divine wisdom and according to the
divine mind.” God’s work must be done in God’s way, or we cannot count
upon His blessing thereon. He has promised, “them that honor Me, I will
honor,” and the only way to honor God is to keep His precepts diligently,
to preach nothing but His Word, to employ no methods save those
expressly sanctioned by Holy Writ. Anything other than this is self-will, and
that is sin. O what need is there for pondering the basic principles of
service as made known in Exodus 31!
Finally, we may observe here the Divine sovereignty exercised in the
selection of the servants called. One was from the tribe of Judah, the other
from the tribe of Dan. This is the more striking in the light of the history of
those tribes. The former was the one from which Christ, according to the
flesh, came; the other is the tribe from which, most probably, the Antichrist
shall arise (

Genesis 49:17). At any rate, Dan was the tribe that took the
lead in apostasy.
“Such a selection speaks of divine sovereignty. God has taken pains
to show by many examples that He acts for Himself, and that He
does not find His motive in the character, conduct, or genealogy of
those whom He blesses. It is a comfort to see that a man from Dan
comes in as well as from Judah. It shows the principle on which all
really comes in; that is, as ‘vessels of mercy’” (C. A. Coates).
Dan was the very last tribe from which the natural understanding would
expect to find a man selected to be one of the principal artificers of the
tabernacle. Yes, and fishermen and publicans are the last classes among
whom one would look for the apostles of the Lamb! Ah, God’s thoughts
and ways are ever different from man’s. The one chosen to deliver Egypt
from an unparalleled famine-crisis, was called from the dungeon. He who
was to lead Israel’s hosts across the desert was called from the back-side
of the wilderness. The man after God’s own heart who was to sit on
Israel’s throne, was taken from the sheepcote.
It is not without reason that Christians are enjoined to “condescend of men
of low estate,” for that is God’s way. It is still His way..217
“That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the
sight of God” (

Luke 16:15).
And, conversely, those who are rated lowest by the world are often the
ones through whom God performs His greatest wonders.
“For God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound
the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to
confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the
world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, and things
which are not, to bring to naught things that are”
(

1 Corinthians 1:27, 28).
Why? “That no flesh should glory in His presence.” May the Lord bless His
own truth to His poor and needy people..218
CHAPTER 58
THE SABBATH AND ISRAEL

EXODUS 31:13-18
As was pointed out at the commencement of our last article, the contents
of Exodus 31 fall under three clearly-defined divisions.
First, the provision made by Jehovah for the carrying out of the
instructions which He had given to Moses concerning the making of
the tabernacle. This, as we have seen, was His calling and equipping of
the principal artificers and the appointing of their work.
Second, the mention, once more, of God’s holy Sabbath, and the
defining of its special relation to Israel.
Third, a brief word in v. 18 of the actual giving to Moses of the tables
of testimony, on which were inscribed the ten commandments. It is the
last two divisions we are about to consider; may the Spirit of God
graciously preserve us from all error and guide us into all truth.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the
children of Israel, saying, Verily My sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is
a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye
may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep
the sabbath therefore for it is holy unto you: everyone that defileth
it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work
therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days
may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to
the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall
surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep
the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations,
for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children
of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth,
and on the seventh day He rested. and was refreshed” (vv. 12-17)..219
In pondering what is here said concerning the Sabbath we propose to look
first at its typical significance, then at its dispensational bearings, and lastly
at the judicial aspects of our passage.
It may strike the thoughtful reader as strange that any reference should be
made here to the Sabbath: coming right after the description of the
tabernacle, its furniture, its priesthood and its artificers; the more so, as full
mention of it had already been made in

Exodus 20:8-11. There are no
mere repetitions in Holy Writ, and though a thing may be mentioned more
than once, or the same command or ordinance be given again and again,
yet it is always with another end in view, or for the purpose of enforcing a
different design, or with the object of bringing in fuller details. Generally
the Spirit’s purpose may be discerned by taking note of the connection in
which each statement occurs.
The first time the Sabbath is mentioned in Exodus is in 16:23-29, from
which it should be quite apparent that this holy day unto the Lord was no
new appointment at that time: the words of v. 28 (occasioned by Israel’s
desecration of the Sabbath, see v. 27) are too plain to be misunderstood:
“And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep My
commandments and My laws?” Thus, the initial reference to the Sabbath in
Exodus contains the Lord’s expostulation with His people for having
disregarded His commandments — referring no doubt to the evil way in
which they had, for centuries, conducted themselves in Egypt: see

Ezekiel 20:5-9.
The second time the Sabbath is found in Exodus is in chapter 20, where we
have the ten commandments given to Israel orally. They were given to
Israel as a redeemed people, which the Lord had brought “out of the house
of bondage.” They expressed the rights of God, His claims upon His
people, that which He righteously required from them. Those
commandments were not a yoke grievous to be borne, but the making
known of a path in which love was to walk. In them God promised to
show mercy unto thousands (not “millions”) of them that love Me and keep
My commandments” (v. 6). God’s commandments are just as truly the
expressions of His love as are His promises, and a heart that loves Him in
return should rejoice in the one as much as in the other. God’s
commandments express both His authority over and His solicitude for His
people. It is in that light this second mention of the Sabbath in Exodus is to
be viewed..220
The third reference in Exodus to the Sabbath is found in chapter 31, a
section of the book where everything speaks loudly of Christ. Unless this
be carefully noted the meaning of our present passage will be missed. It
should be evident at once that the typical significance of the Sabbath is the
first thing to be looked at here. True, that by no means exhausts the scope
and value of these verses, yet it does supply the key which unlocks for us
their primary meaning. Here, again, we have another example of a principle
which holds good of every part of the Word, namely, if we ignore the
context we are sure to err in our interpretation.
Now in seeking to discover the typical meaning of the Sabbath we cannot
do better than turn back to the first mention of it in Scripture:
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made;
and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had
made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because
that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and
made” (

Genesis 2:2, 3).
It will be observed that three actions of God in connection with the
Sabbath are here mentioned: He ended His work which He had made and
“rested on the seventh day,” He “blessed the seventh day,” He “sanctified”
it. We believe the order in which these three things are mentioned is the
order of spiritual importance — confirmed by the first thing mentioned
being repeated.
In order to apprehend aright the spiritual import of the Sabbath, it is most
necessary to observe that the first thing of all connected with it is the rest
of God. The fact that God rested on the seventh day is undoubtedly
recorded for the purpose of teaching that the Creator graciously
condescended to set an example before His creatures of how to spend and
enjoy the Sabbath; yet that there is also a deeper meaning to this statement
will scarcely be denied. Nor do we think that the reference is solely to the
Creator’s delight and satisfaction in the works which He had made during
the six days preceding; rather would it appear (from subsequent scriptures)
that this “rest” was anticipatory — spiritually, of that rest which the
Christian enjoys now; dispensationally, of the millennial Sabbath; typically,
of the eternal Sabbath.
Now in the light of what is before us in the first eleven verses of Exodus
31, is there any difficulty in discovering the perfect propriety of a reference.221
to the Sabbath in what immediately follows? What else could have been
more appropriate? In the first part of the chapter we have a most lovely
foreshadowing of Him who had ever dwelt in the bosom of the Father, the
Son of Light, voluntarily undertaking to “work in gold, silver, brass, and of
precious stones.” The stupendous work therein typified having been
gloriously completed, we have at once mentioned that which speaks of the
rest of God. How suitable, how blessed the connection! As cause stands to
effect, so is the relation between the labors of the tabernacle-artificers and
the mention here of the Sabbath. The rest of God is the consequence of the
finished Work of Christ: first, that in which God Himself finds
complacency; second, that into which His redeemed are brought.
The wicked are like the troubled sea which cannot rest (

Isaiah 57:20).
And why? Because they are away from God. Away from God, they are
seeking satisfaction in that which cannot provide it. Theirs is a ceaseless
quest after that which will give peace and joy. But over all the varied
cisterns to which they have recourse, is written these words, “Whosoever
drinketh of this water shall thirst again” (

John 4:13). “There is no
peace, saith my God, unto the wicked” (

Isaiah 57:21), for they are
strangers to the Prince of peace. It is not until the Spirit of God has shown
us that all under the sun is but “vanity and vexation of spirit,” has
convicted us of our sinful and lost condition, has shown us our desperate
need of the Savior, and drawn us to Him, that we hear the Lord Jesus
saying, “Come unto Me, all ye, that labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest.” Then it becomes true that, “we which have believed do
enter into rest” (

Hebrews 4:3).
“Verily My sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and
you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the
Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep My Sabbaths therefore,
for it is holy unto you” (vv. 13, 14).
Surely the meaning of this is too plain for us to miss. The Sabbath was
now, for the first time, appointed as a “sign” between Jehovah and Israel
that they were His “sanctified” people — a people set apart unto Himself.
So, also, that of which the Sabbath spoke — the rest of God — was also
the portion of a sanctified people, a people “chosen in Christ before the
foundation of the world” (

Ephesians 1:4). This people was sanctified by
God the Father before they were called (Jude 1), even from all eternity.
They were sanctified by God the Son “with His own blood” (Hebrews 13:.222
12). They are sanctified by God the Spirit (

2 Thessalonians 2:13) when
they are quickened into newness of life, and thus separated from those who
are dead in sins. And the “sign” between God and His sanctified people is
still the “Sabbath,” i.e., the fact that they have entered into rest.
Turning back from the antitype to the type, we can see at once why the
Sabbath should be the appointed “sign” between Jehovah and Israel. At the
time He entered into covenant relation with them, all other nations had
been given up by God (

Romans 1:19-26). Not liking to retain Him in
their knowledge, they gave themselves unto idolatry. For this cause God
gave them up to a reprobate mind. The heathen nations, therefore, kept no
Sabbath, and, in all probability, by that time knew not that the Creator
required them to. But to Israel God made known His laws, and the
appointed sign or token that they were His peculiar people was their
observance of the Sabbath. So that of which, spiritually, the Sabbath
speaks, is still the portion of none but God’s chosen people.
Dispensationally, the rest to which the Sabbath pointed, was the Millennial
era, the seventh of earth’s great “days.” In view of the inspired declaration,
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is
with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one
day” (

2 Peter 3:8)
we believe, with many others, that the “six days” of Genesis 1 give us a
prophetic forecast of the world’s history, and that the “seventh day” of

Genesis 2:2, 3 points to the final dispensation. This is confirmed by
Revelation 20 where, again and again, the reign of Christ and His saints
over this earth is said to be of a “thousand years” duration. The Millennium
will be the earth’s great Sabbath. Then shall this scene which has witnessed
six thousand years of strife, turmoil, bloodshed, enjoy an unprecedented
era of rest. The Prince of peace shall be here; Satan shall be in the
bottomless pit; war shall be made to cease to “the end of the earth”
(

Psalm 4:6:9); the curse which now rests upon the lower orders of
creation shall be lifted (

Isaiah 11:6-9).
But not only did the original Sabbath of

Genesis 2:2, 3 anticipate the
spiritual rest which is, even now, the portion of God’s people; not only did
it forecast the millennial peace which this earth will yet enjoy; but it also
typified an eternal Sabbath, into which nothing shall ever enter to disturb
and mar its perfect tranquility and bliss. This is what the Work of Christ.223
(adumbrated in

Exodus 31:1-11) has secured, and toward which all
things are moving. When the present heaven and earth shall have passed
away, and a new heaven and earth shall have come into existence, then
shall be fulfilled that precious word of

Revelation 21:3-5,
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and
they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and
be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither
shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.
And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold. I make all things
new.”
A beautiful foreshadowing of this is to be found in

Zephaniah 3:17,
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He
will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy
over thee with singing.”
The immediate reference is to the restoration of Israel to God’s favor, to
their land, and to the fulfillment of His purpose and promises concerning
them. But the ultimate reference, we believe, is to that which shall
characterize the Eternal State. Then, in the midst of His redeemed, and as
the fruit of His Son’s perfect work, God Himself shall rejoice over. His
people with joy and “rest in His love.”
Once more we pause to admire the striking and lovely order in which
God’s truth is presented before us. In the first part of Exodus 31 we behold
the Divine provision made for giving effect to all that was in the will of
God; therefore, in the very next section, that which speaks of Divine rest, is
brought before us. In keeping with this it is most blessed to take note of
one word which is found here, and nowhere else:
“In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh
day He rested, and was refreshed” (

Exodus 31:17).
The fact that these words are found not in

Genesis 2:2, 3, or

Exodus
20:8-11, but here, right after what is typically in view in

31:1-11, tells,
unmistakably, of that refreshment, that joy, that resting in His love, which
shall be the eternal portion of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What is
here in view is that rest of God which is the consequence of the bringing.224
into effect, the actual realisation, of the whole will of God as set forth in
the tabernacle. When “the tabernacle of God is with men” (

Revelation
21:3), then shall there be an holy, unbreakable, eternal rest. God will rest in
His love, and His sanctified people will rest with Him.
“I think it is in the light of the tabernacle system, and of its taking
form for the pleasure of God, that He adds the words, ‘And was
refreshed.’ God was refreshed because even in the material creation
He was forming a sphere where all His own blessed thoughts of
grace and glory in Christ could be worked out. Those thoughts first
came to light in a definite, though figurative, form in the tabernacle,
and in the light of them all being brought into effect God could, as
it were, carry back into Genesis 2 a secret not revealed. When God
made the heavens and the earth He had ‘the holy universal order of
the tabernacle in His mind. He was making a material universe, and
this in itself could not afford Him refreshment. But He was making
it so that it might be the scene for the introduction of ‘the holy
order of the tabernacle,’ which represented the vast scene in which
God’s glory is displayed in Christ, and in view of the introduction
of this He was ‘refreshed’! The Sabbath speaks of things being
brought to completion, so that there is no more work to be done;
all is finished, and there is holy rest for God and His people” (C. A.
Coates).
Having pondered the typical significance of the Sabbath’s being mentioned
in Exodus 31, having sought to point out its dispensational application, it
now remains for us to consider the judicial aspect of our passage. This is
brought before us in vv.

14, 15,
“Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it holy unto you: every
one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth
any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of
rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath
day, he shall surely be put to death.”
A solemn example of this threat is recorded in

Numbers 15:32-36, “And
while the children of Israel were in the wilderness they found a man that
gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day. And they that found him gathering
sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be.225
done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, “The man shall surely be put
to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the
camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned
him with stones, and he died.”
It seems strange that so many have experienced a difficulty with the above
passages. The key to them is surely found in noting the character and
design of the Mosaic economy. That Dispensation was a legal and a
probationary one. It was preparatory to the fuller and final revelation which
God made of Himself in and through Christ. It is a mistake to look upon it
as a stern regime of unmixed law. True, it was marked at the beginning by
the proclamation of the Ten Commandments, but it should not be forgotten
that this was immediately followed by the revelation concerning the
Tabernacle and the institution of the priesthood, and (see the book of
Leviticus) by the Divine appointment of a series of offerings and sacrifices,
wherein provision was made for God’s people to approach unto Him
through their representatives. Though all of this was a typical
foreshadowing of that which was to be made good and secured by and
through the person and work of Christ, yet it should not be forgotten that
it was also a most gracious provision of God for His people at that time.
On the other hand, there was not, and, in the nature of the case, could not
be, a full and perfect revelation of the grace of God during the Mosaic
economy. Law is law, and righteousness requires the strict enforcing of its
terms and penalties. Mercy might, and did, make provision for “sins of
ignorance” (

Leviticus 4:2-4;

Numbers 15:27, 28), and for the
unavoidable contact with that which defiled (

Numbers 10:11-19); but
for pre-meditated or deliberate transgressions no sacrifice was avadable —
“he that despised Moses’ law died without mercy” (

Hebrews 10:28). A
notable case in point which illustrates this distinction is to be found in
connection with the requirement of the Mosaic law when a man had been
slain. We refer to the “cities of refuge”: let the reader carefully consult

Numbers 35:9-24. If any person had been killed “unawares” (vv. 11,
15) — that is, without “malice aforethought” — then he might find an
asylum in one of those cities; but if that person had been deliberately slain,
then the word was, “the murderer shall surely be put to death” (vv. 16:17).
What has just been said explains a reference in Psalm 51, which, though
very familiar, is understood by but few. That Psalm records the deep
penitence of David. He was guilty of murder, the murder of Uriah. In v. 16
he says, “For Thou desireth not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou.226
delightest not in burnt offering.” No “sacrifice” was available for murder!
What, then, could poor David do? This: cast himself on the “mercy” of
God (v. l), acknowledge his transgression (v. 3), and cry for deliverance
from “blood-guiltiness’ (v. 14). That his cry was heard, we all know, and
the very hearing of it testified to the blessed truth that “mercy rejoiceth
against judgment” (

James 2:13).
What has just been pointed out should greatly modify the prevailing
conception of the harshness of the Mosaic dispensation. True, the Law, as
such, showed no mercy; but side by side with the Law was the Levitical
sacrifices, and over and above these was the mercy of God, available for
those who sought it out of a broken heart. Thus, unless we keep both of
these facts in mind, and learn to distinguish between things that differ,
confusion of thought and conception must necessarily ensue.
“Whosoever doeth any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to
death.” This was the exaction of Law as such, the righteous enforcement of
its penalty. Nor was this peculiar to the fourth commandment; it obtained
equally with the other nine. The following passages may serve as
illustrations and proofs,
“And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to
death” (

Exodus 21:15);
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife,
even he that commiteth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the
adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death”
(

Leviticus 20:10);
“And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be
put to death” (

Leviticus 24:16);
see also

Deuteronomy 13:6-10, etc.
Our chapter closes with the mention of God’s giving the tables of
testimony unto Moses:
“And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of
communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony,
tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (v. 18).
This completes the section of the book of Exodus begun at

24:18. For
forty days Moses had been in the mount receiving instructions from.227
Jehovah. That those instructions closed with the giving of these two tables
of stone is most significant. Coming here after the appointing of the
tabernacle-artificers and the mention of the Sabbath it announces, typically,
that the rights and claims of God have been made good and eternally
secured by and through the person and work of the Lord Jesus. Grace now
“reigns,” but “through righteousness” (

Romans 5:21). That there is also
a close connection between

Exodus 31:18 and what follows will, D.V.,
be shown in our next article..228
CHAPTER 59
THE GOLDEN CALF

EXODUS 32:1-10
Our present portion, which runs on to the end of chapter 34, commences a
new and distinct section of Exodus, a section which, in one sense, is
parenthetical in its character and contents. This will at once appear if
Exodus 32 to 34 be omitted and chapter 35 be read right after chapter 31.
In Exodus 24 to 31 inclusive we have recorded the communications which
Moses received from Jehovah while he was with Him in the mount,
instructions which concerned the making of the tabernacle and the
institution of the priesthood. In chapter 35 Moses makes known to the
people the revelations which he had received from the Lord, and forthwith
the making of the holy vessels and the house for them is proceeded with.
But in chapters 32 to 34 the flow of the tabernacle theme is interrupted,
and a very different subject is brought before us. Here we are given to see
what transpired among the Congregation while Moses was in the mount.
Here we behold the awful sin of Aaron and the people during the interval
of their leader’s absence, with the fearful consequences which it entailed.
A more frightful contrast than that which is presented in these two sections
in the book of Exodus is scarcely possible to imagine. In the former we are
permitted to witness the condescending grace of Jehovah as He spoke with
Moses; in the latter we are called upon to gaze at that which exhibited the
awful depravity of fallen man. In the one we are occupied with that which
unveils to us the manifold glories of Christ; in the other we have exposed
the awful abominations which Satan produces. First we are shown the
provisions which God made for His people to worship Him, according to
His own holy appointments; then we witness the idolatrous manufacture of
a golden calf, and the children of Israel bowing down before it in worship.
Verily, truth is stranger than fiction. “God hath made man upright,” but
they have sought out many inventions (

Ecclesiastes 7:29), inventions
which only serve to make manifest the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the
fearful depths of depravity into which fallen man has descended..229
Above, we have stated that Exodus 32 to 34 forms a parenthetical section
of the book, inasmuch as the contents of these chapters break in upon the
narrative concerning the tabernacle. But looked at from another standpoint
they contain the historical sequel to what is recorded in Exodus 19. There
we see the children of Israel, in the third month after their going forth out
of Egypt, encamped before Sinai. They were bidden to sanctify themselves,
wash their clothes, and come not at their wives, and then on the third day,
the Lord came down “in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.”
Most awe-inspiring was the Divine manifestation: “There were thunders
and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the
trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people in the camp trembled… And
Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon
it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and
the whole mount quaked greatly” (

19:16, 18). Moses was then called
up into the mount, where he received the laws enumerated in Exodus 20-
23. Then, in

24:3 we read,
“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord,
and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice,
and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.”
This vow of the people was most solemnly ratified: Moses wrote all the
words of the Lord in a book, “And he took the book of the covenant and
read it in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath
said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood and sprinkled
it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the
Lord hath made with you concerning all these words (

24:7, 8).
Following this, we are told,
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mount,
and be there… And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and
Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders,
Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold
Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let
him come unto them…. And Moses went into the midst of the
cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount
forty days and forty nights” (

24:12-14, 18).
It was while Moses was on the mount on this occasion that he received the
Divine communications recorded in chapters 25 to 31. And what of the
people during the interval? How were they conducting themselves during.230
this most solemn period? Our present portion contains the answer; to it we
are now ready to turn.
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out
of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron,
and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for
this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we
wot not what is become of him” (v. 1).
The key to this incident is found in part of Stephen’s address, recorded in
Acts 7:
“This is He that was in the church in the wilderness.. to whom our
fathers would not obey, but thrust from them, and in their hearts
turned back again into Egypt, saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to
go before us” (vv.

38-40).
It was not that they were peeved at the lengthy absence of Moses, but that
they had cast off their allegiance to Jehovah, their hearts had departed from
Him. What we have said above is confirmed by Israel’s reference to Moses
on this occasion as “the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt.”
Instead of owning their Divine Deliverer, their vision was narrowed to the
human instrument which had been employed. It is ever thus with a people
whose hearts are divorced from God. Com- pare the words of apostate
Israel at a later date:
“Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both
thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us
from the hand of Midian” (

Judges 8:22).
Here in Exodus 32 the human instrument was contemptuously referred to
as “this Moses,” so little did they appreciate his unwearied service and
prayers on their behalf. It is not without reason that our present portion is
immediately preceded by these words:
“And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of
communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony,
tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (

31:18).
On those tables of stone were written the ten commandments, the first of
which was, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” And the second,
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (

20:3, 4,). It is the.231
deliberate, public and united disobedience of these commandments which
our lesson records. Man must have an object, and when he turns from the
true God, he at once craves a false one. What we have here has been
perpetuated in every generation: nor has Christendom proved any
exception to the rule. As another has said,
“Alas! alas! it has ever been thus in man’s history. The human heart
lusts after something that can be seen; it loves that which meets and
gratifies the senses. It is only faith that can ‘endure as seeing Him
who is invisible.’ Hence, in every age, men have been forward to
set up and lean upon human imitations of Divine realities. Thus it is
we see the counterfeits of corrupt religion multiplied before our
eyes. Those things which we know, upon the authority of God’s
Word, to be Divine and heavenly realities, the professing Church
has transformed into human and earthly inventions. Having become
weary of hanging upon an invisible arm, of trusting in an invisible
sacrifice, of having recourse to an invisible Priest, of committing
herself to an invisible Head, she has set about ‘making’ these
things; and thus from age to age, she has been busily at work, with
‘graving tool’ in hand, graving and fashioning one thing after
another, until we can at length recognize as little similarity between
much that we see around us, and what we read in the Word, as
between a ‘molten calf’ and the God of Israel” (C.H.M.)
Israel had served false gods in Egypt (

Joshua 24:14), and the flesh in
them was still unchanged. It is true that Israel as a nation were only
typically redeemed — the vast majority of them being children in whom
was no faith (

Deuteronomy 32:20) — yet we must never forget when
reading their history that,
“These things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust
after evil things, as they also lusted” (

1 Corinthians 10:6).
Yea, does not the apostle at once follow this with, “Neither be ye idolators
as were some of them” (v. 7). And again he says, “Wherefore, my dearly
beloved, flee from idolatry” (v. 14). So, too, John, whose Epistle is
addressed to those to whom he could say, “truly our fellowship is with the
Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ,” closes with the exhortation, “Little
children, keep yourselves from idols.” May God grant us hearts to heed
these solemn and needed warnings. There is but one safeguard and
preventative, and that is, being constantly occupied with Christ..232
What has just been before us is of Such immense practical importance that
ere passing on we feel we must add a further word. The typical picture is
unmistakably plain in its present-day application to God’s people. Moses
was away from Israel, up in the mount; so Christ is away from the earth, on
High before God. But before He went away, He said to His disciples, “Ye
believe in God, believe also in Me” (

John 14:1). He is the Object of
faith, and it is only as our affections are set upon Him, as we are in daily
communion with Him, that our hearts are kept from idols. But just as
surely as Israel’s turning away from Jehovah was at once followed by the
making of the golden calf, just as surely as (in the history of the corporate
Christian profession) the leaving of first love (

Revelation 2:4) was
followed by the setting up of the “synagogue of Satan” (

Revelation
2:9), so now, the estranging of the heart from Christ opens the door for all
sorts of abominable idolatries.
“And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which
are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters,
and bring unto me” (v. 2).
As

Exodus 24:18 informs us, Moses was absent from Israel for forty
days, a number which, in Scripture, is almost always connected with
probation. It hardly needs to be said that such a length of time was not
needed by God: had He so pleased He could within the space of a few
hours (or even in a moment) have told Moses all that is recorded in Exodus
25 to 31 and made him understand it. Why, then, those forty days? For the
testing of Israel — to make manifest whether or no they would patiently
wait for the ordinances they had promised to observe. But so far from
keeping their solemn vows, they would not even wait to hear what God
said.
Aaron, with Hur, was left to adjudicate upon any question that might arise
while Moses and his minister, Joshua, was away (

24:14). Aaron is now
put to the test. It was the first time he had been left in charge of the
Congregation, and wretchedly did he acquit himself. Instead of putting his
trust in the Lord, the fear of man brought him a snare. Instead of boldly
withstanding the people, he, apparently without any struggle, yielded to
their evil designs. Alas, it but supplies another tragic illustration of the fact
that when responsibility is committed to man, he betrays his trust. Thus it
has been in the history of Christendom: instead of the leaders refusing to.233
follow the worldly wishes of their people, they have heeded, and oftentimes
encouraged them.
“And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in
their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at
their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it
a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel which
brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (vv. 3, 4).
Another has pointed out an analogy between what we have here and that
which is recorded in

Matthew 17:1-18.
“There is a striking resemblance, in one aspect, between this scene
and that witnessed at the foot of the mount of transfiguration. In
both alike Satan holds full sway. In the one before us, it is the
nation who have fallen under his power, in the other it is the child
whom he has possessed; but the child again is a type of the Jewish
nation of a later day. The absence of Christ on high (shown in
figure also by Moses on Sinai) is the opportunity seized by Satan
— under God’s commission — for the display of his wicked power,
and man (Israel) in the evil of his heart becomes his wretched
slave.” (Ed. Dennett.)
The calf, or ox, was the principal Egyptian god — “Apis” — with which
they had been familiar in the land of bondage. “These be thy gods” is
expounded in

Nehemiah 9:18 as meaning, “This is thy god.” The
inspired comment of the Psalmist is very solemn,
“They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.
They changed their Glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth
grass. They forgat God their Savior, which had done great things in
Egypt” (

106:19-21).
The making of that idol and the rendering worship to it was an act of open
apostasy, the bitter harvest from which continued to be reaped until they
were carried into Babylon (

Acts 7:43). Such is the flesh: ever ready to
forget God’s deliverances, despise the light He has given us, disobey His
commands, act in self-will, and bring in that which effectually shuts Him
out.
“And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it” (v. 5). Still darker
become the clouds which hang over this awful scene. Not content with.234
substituting a false god for the true One, they must, perforce, cover up
their wickedness under the cloak of religion. An “altar” is now erected.
Thus it has always been, and still is: man ever seeks to hide the shame of
his idolatry by putting over it the name of Deity. Therefore the next thing
that we read here is that, “Aaron made proclamation, and said, To-morrow
is a feast to the Lord” (v. 5). As a fact, this was a pretense, for there were
no “feasts” in either the third or fourth months. (See Leviticus 23.)
What is before us in this 5th verse but gives the prototype of what is now
going on almost everywhere in Christendom. Men have set up their idols
and then sought to dignify and sanctify their inventions by worshipping
them in the name of Christ. Romanism and Ritualism give us one form of
it. Wordliness and fleshly indulgencies another. Just as Aaron proclaimed
the honors paid to the calf and the carnal merriment that followed as “a
feast unto the Lord,” so many a “church supper,” bazaar, religious carnival,
whist drive, etc., is officially carried out under the name of Christianity.
What a mockery it all is! Aaron had no Scripture to justify his
proclamation, nor have the present-day leaders any word from God to
warrant their doings.
“And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings
and brought peace offerings” (v. 6).
Terrible travesty was this. Those offerings which spoke of the devotedness
of Christ unto the Father, and the fellowship which He has made possible
between a holy God and His people, were now presented to this fetish of
their own corrupt imaginations. It is significant to mark the absence of any
sin offering! But that had no place in their thoughts. How could it? When
there is departure from God, the conscience becomes calloused:
“The way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they
stumble” (

Proverbs 4:19).
That is why the unscriptural and Christ-dishonoring performances in the
churches occasion no uneasiness to those engaged in them.
“And the people set down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play” (v. 6).
Having formally presented their offerings, they now felt free to indulge the
lusts of the flesh. And, be it remembered, what we have here is something
more than the inspired record of an incident which happened long ago.
God’s Word is a living Word, describing things as they actually are. It was
in the “early” hours that the burnt and peace offerings were presented. So.235
the early morning mass or “communion” remains popular, and is still
followed by the offerers spending the remainder of the clay eating,
drinking, and playing:
“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man”
(

Proverbs 27:19)!
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people
which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt have corrupted
themselves” (v. 7).
These words of the Lord must be read in the light of what is recorded in

Exodus 24:6-8. There we read of a “covenant” which the Lord made
with Israel on the ground of His law and their avowal to keep it. It was a
purely legal compact between the two contracting parties. Israel had now
broken their agreement: they had disowned their Deliverer (

32:1), they
had broken His law (

32:6) Therefore the Lord now, in view of the
broken covenant, disowns them: He speaks of them to Moses as “thy
people.”
“They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I
commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have
worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy
gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of
Egypt” (v. 8).
Alas how “quickly” had they departed from the path of obedience and
loyalty! Less than five months before they had declared,
“The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation:
He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation: my father’s
God, and I will exalt Him” (

15:2).
Instead of so doing, they had raised up that which effectively shut Him out,
and instead of exalting Him they had debased themselves. It is solemn to
note the Lord here quotes to Moses the identical language the people had
used with Aaron: though engaged in “communing” with His servant. He
had heard the very words of His wayward people down below. And He still
hears and records all our words!
“They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded
them.” It has been thus all through the piece. How “quickly” Adam “turned.236
aside” from the way of his Creator’s command! How “quickly” Noah failed
after he came out from the Ark! How “quickly” Nadab and Abihu did that
which the Lord “commanded them not” (

Leviticus 10:1) after the
priesthood was instituted! How “quickly” sin entered Israel’s camp after
Canaan was entered (Joshua 7). And so we might go on. Alas, how
“quickly” the young Christian leaves his “first love” and loses his early joy!
Failure is written large across every page of human history. And what is
the chief cause of all such failure? Do not the next words of Jehovah to
Moses make known the answer?
“And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and,
behold, it is a stiff-necked people” (v. 9).
What is signified by this oft-used figure? It signifies a state of
insubordination: note the order in

Deuteronomy 31:27, “I know thy
rebellion, and thy stiff neck.” It is the opposite of submission to the will of
God:
“Be ye not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves
unto the Lord” (

2 Chronicles 30:8).
It is a state into which we may bring ourselves:
“They obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their necks
stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction” (

Jeremiah
17:23).
It is brought about by not yielding ourselves to God:
“Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in hearts and ears, ye do always
resist the Holy Spirit” (

Acts 7:51).
A stiff-necked person is one who bows not to God: he is one in whom self-will
is at work. This was the state of Israel, therefore did God go on to say:
“Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against
them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great
nation” (v. 10).
Having by their sins forfeited all the blessings engaged to them on the
terms of their own covenant, the Lord at once stands against them,
disclaims them, and threatens to execute consuming judgment upon them..237
“Thus Israel, if dealt with according to the righteous requirements
of the law which they had accepted, and to which they had
promised obedience as the condition of blessing, were lost beyond
recovery, and would perish through their own wilful sin and
apostasy” (Ed. Dennett).
The reason why God did not totally destroy His stiff-necked people on this
occasion we must leave for consideration, D.V., to our next article. In the
meantime let us seek grace to heed this solemn warning. By nature none of
us are a whit better than Aaron and the Israelites. Were God to withdraw
His grace from us, we, too, would surely and speedily fall into as great and
gross sin as they did. Then let us cry with the Psalmist,
“Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe, and I will have respect unto
Thy statutes continually” (

119:117)..238
CHAPTER 60
THE TYPICAL MEDIATOR

EXODUS 32:11-14
In our last article we were occupied with the inspired account of Israel’s
idolatrous worship of the golden calf. It was the first time that they were
guilty of this awful sin since their leaving of Egypt as a nation. The subject
of idolatry is both solemn and important, and as the nature and cause of it
are so little understood we propose to offer here a few general remarks on
the subject.
Man is the only creature who lives on the earth that was originally created
with faculties capable of apprehending God, and with a sentiment of
veneration for Him. True, all creation is to the praise of the Creator, but
man’s praise is the homage of an intelligent heart and of a conscious choice
or preference. But this capacity to offer intelligent praise is necessarily
accompanied by responsibility. This was made evident in connection with
Adam. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the visible means
of the first man’s paying homage to God: abstention from its fruit was the
witness of his subjection to the authority of his Maker. Obedience to God’s
command concerning that tree would not only secure to him all the
blessings of Eden, but was also the link which bound him to the Creator.
Thus, that which united man to God at the beginning was the obedience of
the will, subjection of heart. Whilst this was maintained God was honored
and man was blest.
But that link was broken. Through disobedience man became “alienated
from the life of God” (

Ephesians 4:18), and thus he lost his happiness
and was turned out of the Garden. The original link being broken, it could
never be reformed. If man was ever again to be in relationship with God, it
must be on entirely new ground, namely, redemption-ground, resurrection-ground,
the ground of new creation. Into Eden fallen man could never re-enter.
It was a garden of delights for innocence alone; and guilt once
incurred made a return to it impossible. But for His own people God has
provided a new garden, the “paradise of God” (

Revelation 2:7), where.239
the guilty are restored to more than the pleasures of Eden. That new
garden is anticipated by faith, and there is found forgiveness of sins and
eternal life.
Now when man fell, though he became alienated from God (which is what
spiritual “death” is) he lost none of his original faculties, nor was his
responsibility destroyed. in his essential nature man remained after the Fall
all that he was before it. True, his nature became vitiated by sin, and, in
consequence, his whole being was corrupted; nevertheless, the” breath of
life” which God had breathed into him at the beginning, remained his
portion after his expulsion from Eden. True, all the faculties of his being
now became the “instrument of unrighteousness unto sin” (

Romans
6:13), yet none of them had ceased to exist or to function.
It is the very character of man’s nature (that which distinguishes him from
and elevates him above the beasts) which has made his fall his ruin. It has
been rather vulgarly said that “Man is a religious animal,” by which is
meant that man, by nature, is essentially a religious creature, i.e., made,
originally, to pay homage to his Creator. It is this religious nature of man’s
which, strange as it may sound, lies at the root of all idolatry. Being
alienated from God, and therefore ignorant of Him, he falls the ready dupe
of Satan. It was to this fact of fallen man’s essential nature that Christ had
reference when He said,
“If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that
darkness” (

Matthew 6:23).
The “light” in man is that which distinguishes him from the beasts, and that
which is (potentially) capable of communing with God. But, as we have
said, that faculty in man which is capable of communion with God, is, as
the result of sin, put to a wrong use, and thus the “light” in him has become
“darkness.” Instead of worshipping God, he now serves his own lusts, and
honors idols which are patterned after his lusts.
Man must have his god, otherwise he would not be man, and because the
“natural man “ — what he now is as a fallen creature — has lost his
knowledge of the true God, he turns to the resources of his own mind to
fill the void. And, as another has said (from whom part of the above has
been condensed), “From the mental image formed in a corrupt mind, it is
but a short step to the golden or wooden idol in the temple. Every shape
and form had its prototype in the imagination, which to the philosopher.240
was supplemented by the material things of nature; but to the vulgar,
surrounding objects were the basis upon which the superstructure of
idolatry rested. Through the senses their imagination was fed by the things
seen and felt; and though these be not the sole source of idolatry, they
greatly modified its form and multiplied its gods. For the mountain and the
valley, the river, the grove, the heavens above and the waters beneath had
their divinities, and everywhere that which in nature most impressed man
soon took rank as a god. “Nor let us forget the greatest factor which
produced this confused mass of superstition and credulity. Not only did
man not like to retain the knowledge of God and thus became the dupe of
his senses, but over all was the delusive power of Satan, who held man in
captivity through his fears and lusts. The loss of the knowledge of the true
God, to a creature endowed with religious faculties, must result in
subjective idolizing. Satan, the god of this world, presented himself in a
tangible form and made it objective.
“The religious element in man’s nature was not eradicated by sin,
but while every faculty of his mind and every instinct of his nature
is debased and perverted, man’s complete ruin and his greatest guilt
are seen in the degradation of those same faculties, originally given
as the means of worshipping God. The endowments which placed
him above all other creatures, now sink him beneath them” (“The
Bible Tresury, 1882).
What has been said above not only serves to explain the universality of
idolatry, but supplies the key to what is recorded in Exodus 32. There we
behold the favored Israelites making and worshipping a golden calf. It was
inexcusable, open, blatant, united idolatry. For a very good reason, the first
command which God had written, with His own finger, upon the tables of
stone, was “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”; and here was the
deliberate and concerted violation of it. What, then, must be the sequel?
Jehovah turns to Moses, acquainted him with the awful sin of the people
down below, and says, “Now there- fore let me alone, that My wrath may
wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of
thee a great nation.” Solemn and fearsome as those words sound, yet a
closer examination reveals a door of hope opened by them. When the Lord
said to Moses, “Let Me alone…. I will make of thee a great nation,” it was
as though He placed Himself in the hands of the typical mediator. “Let Me
alone” plainly suggests that Moses stood between Jehovah and His sinful
people. This was indeed the case..241
But for Moses they were surely lost: he only stood between the holy wrath
of God and their thoroughly merited doom. What would he do? When
menaced by the Egyptians at the Red Sea, Moses had cried unto the Lord
on their behalf (

14:15). So, too, at the bitter waters of Marah he had
supplicated Jehovah for them (

15:25). When at Rephidim they had no
water, yet again Moses had cried unto the Lord and obtained answer on
their behalf (

17:4). When Amelek came against Israel, it was the
holding up of Moses’ hands which gained them the victory (

17:11). But
now a far graver crisis was at hand. Would Moses fail them now? or would
he again intervene on their behalf?
“And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth
Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hast brought
forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty
hand?” (v. 11).
Moses did not fail his people in this hour of their urgent need. Most blessed
is it to behold how he conducted himself on this occasion: God had said to
him, “Let me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them…. and I will
make of thee a great nation,” but Moses uses his place of nearness to God
not on his own behalf, but for the good of the people. At an earlier date he
had
“refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the
pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ
greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto
the recompense of the reward” (

Hebrews 11:24-26).
So now he declines to be made the head of another nation, choosing rather
to be identified with this stiff-necked and disobedient people. Is there not
here a blessed foreshadowing of Him who “made Himself of no reputation”
(

Philippians 2:7), and who became one with His sinful people? Yes,
indeed; and, as we shall see, in more respects than one. “And Moses
besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth Thy wrath wax hot
against Thy people, which Thou hast brought forth out of the land of
Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?” This was the typical
mediator’s response to what Jehovah had said to him in v. 7,
“Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of
the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.”.242
We believe there is a double force to these words. In their local
significance they furnish God’s answer to the wicked declaration of Israel
recorded in v. 1. There the people had disowned their Divine Deliverer;
here He righteously disclaims them. But there is a typical meaning, too,
and most precious is it to contemplate this. In v. 7 the Lord practically
turns the Nation over to Moses, calling them “thy people”; here in v. 11 the
typical mediator, as it were, gives them back again unto God, saying “Thy
people.” Was not this a plain adumbration of what we find in John 17?
First, in v. 2, the antitypical Mediator speaks of a people whom God had
given to Him: “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He
should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.” Then, in v. 9,
we behold Him giving back that people to God,
“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou
hast given Me; for they are Thine.”
Let us notice now the various grounds upon which Moses pleaded before
“the Lord his God.” They are three in number: he appealed to the grace of
God, the glory of God, and the faithfulness of God. His appeal to God’s
grace is found in v. 11,
“Lord, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which
Thou hast brought forth out of the laud of Egypt?”
It was grace, pure and simple, which had actuated Jehovah when He
delivered the Hebrews from the House of Bondage. There was absolutely
nothing in them to merit His esteem; rather was there everything in them to
call forth His wrath. It was sovereign benignity, unadulterated grace, the
Divine favor shown to them, unasked and unmerited.
But let it not be overlooked that the Divine grace which was shown to
unworthy Israel was not exercised at the expense of the claims of justice,
for it is ever true that grace reigns “through righteousness” (

Romans
5:21). So it was in Egypt: the passover-lamb had been slain, its blood shed
and applied. Thus, it is on the ground of redemption that grace flowed
forth. And it is still the same,
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is
in Christ Jesus” (

Romans 3:24).
Now it was to this that Moses made his first appeal. Israel had sinned,
sinned grievously, and Moses made no effort to deny or excuse it. Later,.243
we find him acknowledging the Lord’s charge against His people, owning
“it is a stiff necked people” (

34:9). Nevertheless, they were God’s
people — His by redemption. They were His purchased property.
Unworthy, unthankful, unholy; but yet, the Lord’s redeemed. Blessed,
glorious, heart-melting fact: O may the realization of it create within us a
greater hatred of sin and a deeper appreciation of the precious blood of the
Lamb. Is it not written, “If any man (Greek “any one” — of those spoken
of in

1 John 1:3) sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ
the righteous” (

1 John 2:1)? And what is the ground of His advocacy?
What but His blood shed once for all!
“Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did He bring
them out, to slay them in the mountain, and to consume them from the face
of the earth?
Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people” (v.
12). Here is the second ground on which Moses pleaded with God: he
appealed to His glory. Where would be His honor in the sight of the
heathen were He to consume the children of Israel here at Sinai? Would
not reproach be cast upon His name by the Egyptians? The thought of this
was more than Moses could endure; therefore did he beseech Jehovah to
relent against His erring people.
“Spite of their shameful apostasy, the plea of Moses was that they
were still Gods’ people, and that His glory was concerned in
sparing them — lest the enemy should boast over their destruction,
and thereby over the Lord Himself. In itself it was a plea of
irresistible force. Joshua uses one of like character when the
Israelites were smitten before Ai. He says “the Canaanites and all
the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us
round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt Thou do
unto Thy great name?’ (

Joshua 7:9. In both cases it was faith
taking hold of God, identifying itself with His own glory, and
claiming on that ground the response to its desires — a plea that
God can never refuse” (Ed. Dennett).
This ground of appeal to God is not made by any of us today nearly as
much as it should be. The prayer of Moses here in Exodus 32 is also
recorded for our learning. It brings before us the essential elements of
those “effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man” which “availeth
much.” This was not the only occasion on which Moses appealed to the.244
glory of the Lord’s name: let the reader consult carefully Numbers 14: 13-
16, and

Deuteronomy 9:28, 29; for others who used this plea, see

Psalm 25:11;

Joel 2:17, etc. It is the glory of His own name which
God ever has before Him in all that He does.
It was for the honor of His name that He had, originally, brought Israel out
of Egypt:
“I wrought for My name’s sake, that it should not be polluted
before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made
Myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of
Egypt” (

Ezekiel 20:9).
So, at a later date in Israel’s sinful history He declared,
“For My name’s sake will I defer Mine anger, and for My praise
will I refrain from thee, that I cut thee not off…. For Mine own
sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My
name be polluted?” (

Isaiah 48:9, 11).
It is “for His name’s sake” “that He leads His people in the paths of
righteousness” (

Psalm 23:3).
Blessed is it to behold the Lord Jesus in His high priestly prayer, recorded
in John 17, using this same plea before God. In that prayer He is heard
presenting many petitions, and varied are the grounds upon which He
presents them. But underlying all, first and foremost He asked, “glorify Thy
Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee” (v. 1)! Here is one of the prime
secrets in prevailing prayer. Just as bowing of the heart to God’s sovereign
will is the first requirement in a praying soul, so the having before us the
glory of God and the honor of His name is that which, chiefly, ensures an
answer to our petitions. “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”
(

1 Corinthians 10:31) applies as strictly to our praying as to any other
exercise. Let us take to heart, then, this important lesson taught us in this
successful prayer of Moses.
“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom
Thou swearest by Thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will
multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I
have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it
forever” (v. 13)..245
Here is the third ground which Moses took in his intercession before
Jehovah. He appealed to His faithfulness; he pleaded His promises; he
reminded Him of His oath. There was no ground to go on and no plea
which he could make from anything that was to be found in Israel, so he
fell back upon that which God is in Himself.
“In the energy of his intercession — fruit surely of the action of the
Spirit of God — he goes back to the absolute and unconditional
promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, reminding the Lord of
the two immutable things in which it was impossible for Him to lie
(

Hebrews 6:18). A more beautiful example of prevailing
intercession is not to be found in the Scriptures. Indeed, in the
emergency which had arisen, everything depended on the mediator,
and in His grace God had provided one who could stand in the
breach, and plead His people’s cause — not on the ground of what
they were, for by their sin they were exposed to the righteous
indignation of a holy God — but on the ground of what God was,
and on that of His counsels revealed and confirmed to the
patriarchs, both by oath and promise” (Ed. Dennett).
But let us look a little more closely at this third feature of Moses’ prayer.
In the above quotation there are two slight inaccuracies: it was not God’s
promises to “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” but “and Israel” — the
difference intimating the height to which Moses’ faith had risen; nor were
God’s revealed counsels confirmed to the patriarchs “both by oath and by
promise,” but, instead, by promise and oath — note the order in

Hebrews 6:13-18, which is the same as in

Genesis 12:3, and then

Genesis 22:15, 16. But that which we would here dwell upon is that
Moses made these the final grounds of his pleading before God.
The Word of God is “quick and powerful” (

Hebrews 4:12), not only in
its effects upon us, but also in its moving power with God Himself. If this
were more realized by Christians, the very language of Holy Writ would
have a larger place in their supplications, and more answers from above
would be obtained. God has magnified His Word above all His name
(

Psalm 138:2), and so should we. He has expressly declared, “Them
that honor Me, I will honor,” and how can we more honor Him in our
prayers than by employing the very words of Scripture, His words, rather
than our own? Ah, here too, our speech betrays us. If the Word of Christ
dwelt in us more richly, it would find fuller expression in our intercessions,.246
for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Christ has left
us a perfect example: His prayers were the outbreathing of the Psalms, and
a close examination of the one which He taught His disciples reveals the
fact that every clause of it was a quotation from the O.T.! And He
explicitly enjoined His disciples, “after this manner therefore pray ye”
(

Matthew 6:9). But we do not; hence so many unanswered prayers.
Now that which Moses pleaded before God from His Word were the
promises which He had made to the patriarchs. This, too, is recorded for
our learning. It is the humble, simple, trustful spreading of the Divine
promises before the throne of grace which secures the ear of God. That is
what real prayer is: a presenting of our need before the Lord, and then
reverently reminding Him of His own declaration that He will supply it. It
is a confident asking with David, “Do as Thou hast said” (

2 Samuel
7:25). This is what the “exercise of faith” signifies: a laying hold of God’s
promises, an “embracing” (

Hebrews 11:13) of them, a counting upon
them.
“Hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall
He not make it good?” (

Numbers 23:19).
Men like a written agreement in “black and white,” and the great God has
condescended to give us such. How strange, then, that we do not treat His
promises as realities. Jehovah never trifles with His words: His
engagements are always kept Joshua reminded Israel,
“This day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all
your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all
the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you;
all are come to pass unto you, not one thing hath failed thereof”
(

Joshua 23:14).
Then let us seek grace to emulate Abraham, the father of all them that
believe, of whom it is recorded,
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was
strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that,
what He had promised, He was able also to perform” (

Romans
4:20, 21).
“And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto
His people” (v. 14)..247
These words do not mean that God changed His mind or altered His
purpose, for He is “without variableness or shadow of turning” (

James
1:17). There never has been and never will be the smallest occasion for the
Almighty to affect the slightest deviation from His eternal purpose, for
everything was foreknown to Him from the beginning, and all His counsels
were ordered by infinite wisdom. When Scripture speaks of God’s
repenting it employs a figure of speech, in which the Most High
condescends to speak in our language. What is intended by the above
expression is that Jehovah answered the prayer of the typical mediator.
“And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto
His people” (v. 14).
Blessed is it to note how Israel is still spoken of as “His people.”
“What encouragement to faith! If ever there was an occasion when
it seemed impossible that prayer should be heard, it was this; but
the faith of Moses rose above all difficulties, and grasping the hand
of Jehovah claimed His help; and, inasmuch as He could not deny
Himself, the prayer of Moses was granted” (Ed. Dennett).
May this little meditation be blest of God to many to the enriching of thier
spiritual lives..248
CHAPTER 61
THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE

EXODUS 32:15-29
Our present section presents to us a vastly different scene than the one
upon which we gazed in the preceding verses. There we beheld the typical
mediator pleading so graciously and effectually before the Lord, turning
away His wrath from His stiffnecked people. Here we see Moses coming
down from the mount, where he had been in such wondrous and blessed
communion with God, angered at the sin of idolatrous Israel, breaking the
tables of stone, grinding the golden calf to powder, strewing it upon the
water and making the people to drink. Here we see this man of prayer
arraigning Aaron, the responsible and guilty leader, and then calling upon
the Levites to put on their swords and “slay every man his brother.” The
contrast is so radical, so strange, that many have been perplexed, and
grotesque have been some of the explanations attempted.
It is therefore pertinent to ask at once, Does our type now fail us? Is
Moses in our present passage no longer a foreshadowing of Christ? Surely
after all that has been before us in the previous chapters of Exodus we
should be slow to answer these questions in the affirmative. If we are
unable to perceive the spiritual meaning and application of this picture,
certainly that is no reason why we should say or even imagine that there is
a defect in the holy Word of God. Far better and becoming for us to
confess the dimness of our vision and betake ourselves to the great
Physician, that He may anoint our eyes with eyesalve that we may see
(

Revelation 3:18). It is only in His light that we ever “see light”
(

Psalm 36:9). If we who take up our pens to write upon the Oracles of
God did this more faithfully and frequently, there would be far less of
darkening “counsel by words without knowledge” (

Job 38:2). Not that
we dare to imply, though, that other writers have done this less than
ourselves.
In his “Notes on Exodus,” which are for the most part very spiritual and
helpful, and from which, under God, the writer himself has received not a.249
little help, C.H.M. says on the opening verses of our present passage,
“How different is this from what we see in Christ! He came down from the
bosom of the Father, not with the tables in His hands, but with the law in
His heart. He came down, not to be made acquainted with the condition of
the people but with a perfect knowledge of what that condition was.
Moreover, instead of destroying the memorials of the covenant and
executing judgment, He magnified the Law and made it honorable and bore
the judgment of His people in His own blessed Person, on the cross” (page
316). Here is a case in point which shows the need for all of us to heed the
Divine admonition, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (

1
Thessalonians 5:21) — which applies to our own writings equally as much
as any others — for only thus shall we be able to “take forth the precious
from the vile” (

Jeremiah 15:19).
In the first place, what we have here is not a type, either by comparison or
contrast, of the first advent of God’s Son to this earth, coming here to seek
and to save that which was lost. How could it be, when the section
immediately preceding gives us a picture of His intercession on High? In
the second place, when Christ was here, He did come with the ten
commandments in His hands, came to enforce their righteous demands,
though not to execute their inexorable penalty. He came here, full not only
of “grace,” but of “truth” as well (

John 1:14), saying, “Think not that I
am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but
to fulfill” (

Matthew 5:17). In the four Gospels we see the tables of
stone in the hands of Christ again and again: see

Matthew 5:27-32;
15:3-6; 19:16-19; 23:2-3. In the third place, Moses did not come down
from the mount” to be made acquainted with the condition of the people,”
instead, he already had full knowledge of their awful state and sin before he
descended, as vv. 7-9 clearly enough show.
That what is before us in the second half of Exodus 32 possesses a deep
and wondrous typical significance we are fully assured, though nought but
Divine guidance will enable us to rightly divide this portion of the Word of
Truth. We believe that this type has a twofold application, first to Israel,
second to Christendom. Its application to Israel has already been pointed
out at the close of our comments upon Exodus 24 (Article 32), but as
many of our present readers have not seen them, we shall here repeat
briefly what was then said..250
First, in

Exodus 24:18 we behold Moses entering the glory (the
“cloud”) consequent upon his having erected the altar and sprinkled the
blood (vv. 4-8). If the reader will consult

24:16, 18 he will find that it
was after “six days” — which speaks of work and toil, on the seventh day,
which tells of rest, that the typical mediator was called by God to enter the
glory Beautiful foreshadowment was this of Christ, as it is said of Him in

Hebrews 4:10, “He that is entered into His rest, He also hath ceased
from His works, as God from His.” And what was the “rest” into which He
entered? Does not His own request in

John 17:4, 5 tell us! Thus, Moses
going up into the mount and entering the cloud to commune with Jehovah
is a type of the ascension of Christ, following the triumphant completion of
the work which had been given Him to do. That which formed the subject
of communion between the Lord and Moses in the mount was the
revelation concerning the Tabernacle and its priesthood, which, coming in
at this place in the book, tells of the provision of God’s grace for His
people, secured to them by and in Christ during His absence.
Now the next event, chronologically, was Moses’ descent, recorded in
Exodus 32. He did not end his days on the mount, but, in due time,
returned unto the people. In like manner, the One whom Moses
foreshadowed, is not to remain on High forever, but will come back again
as truly and as literally as He went away. It is indeed striking to observe
that Moses came down from Sinai twice after he had entered the glory.
First, as recorded in

32:15; second, in

34:29, having of course
returned thither in the interval. So also will there be two stages in the
second advent of Christ: the first when He descends into the air, to catch
up His mints away from this scene (

1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17); the
second when He returns to the earth itself (

Zechariah 14:4). These two
stages in the Redeemer’s return will affect Israel very differently: the first
will be followed by terrible judgment, the second will usher in an era of
unparalelled blessing, even the Millennium. That which we have in our
present passage is what immediately followed the first descent of Moses.
During his absence in the mount, the people had gathered themselves unto
Aaron, saying
“Up, mike us gods which shall go before us out of the land of
Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (

32:1).
Is not that an accurate description of the spiritual state of the Jews all
through this Day of Grace? They are all at sea over the long absence of.251
their Messiah, not knowing what to think. While Moses was away, they
made and worshipped a golden calf. And has not history again repeated
itself? That which has characterized the Jews has not been the love of
conquest or the lure of pleasure, as it has been with the Gentiles, but the
lust for gold.
Now just as at his first descent Moses found Israel worshipping the golden
calf, so at the first stage in the second advent of our Savior, Israel will still
be pursuing their mad quest after material riches; and just as Moses’
response was to act in judgment, making them drink the dust of their idol
and calling for the sword to smite them, so shall the Jews be made to drink
the outpoured vials of God’s wrath and suffer beneath the sword. But just
as the Nation was not completely exterminated under the anger of Moses,
neither shall it be under the far sorer afflictions of the Tribulation period. In
Exodus 33 and 34 that which followed the second descent of Moses
anticipates millennial conditions.
Having dwelt on the application of our present type to Israel, let us view it
now as it bears on Christendom. The action of Moses in the passage before
us foreshadowed Christ in another character than that which was before us
in our last article. There we viewed Him as the Mediator, making
intercession for His people; here we behold Him as Judge, not consuming,
but inspecting and executing corrective judgment.
“Moses coming down from the mountain to expose and judge what
was going on in the camp is very much like the Lord’s attitude in
Revelation 2, 3. He takes His place in the midst of the seven lamps
to pass judgment upon what is evil and idolatrous, and also to take
account of such faithfulness as might answer to what was found in
the sons of Levi” (C. A. Coates).
We believe it is the first three chapters of the Revelation which supply the
key to the meaning of our present type. “And Moses turned, and went
down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his
hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on
the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the
writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables” (vv. 15, 16). This
is not contradictory, but complementary, to that which precedes. First we
have that which speaks of the grace of God, now that which Brings out His
government. The tables of stone in the hands of Moses announced that the
righteous requirements of the law cannot be set aside. “Whatsoever a man.252
soweth, that shall he also reap” was addressed not to worldlings, but to
Christians. Let the reader note attentively the inspired description of Christ
in

Revelation 1:12-18. There we behold One “like unto the Son of
man” (cf.

John 5:27) in the midst of the seven lamp-stands, and
“out of His mouth goeth a sharp two-edged sword, and His
countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (v. 16)!
“And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted,
he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he
said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it
the voice of them that cry for being overcome; but the noise of
them that sing do I hear” (vv. 17, 18).
An important spiritual principle here receives exemplification. If the reader
will turn back to

Exodus 24:13-18 it will be found that though both
Moses and Joshua went up into the mount, leaving the congregation below
at its base, yet Moses alone went into the midst of the cloud, to talk to
Jehovah. For forty days Joshua had, apparently, been left alone, while
Moses “communed” with the Lord (

31:18). The effect of this we see in
the verses before us: Moses, and not Joshua, is the one who discerns the
true state of affairs in the camp. His ear was able to interpret aright the
noise and din which came up to them. Ah, it is not only true that in God’s
light we alone see light, but only by much communion with Him do we
acquire the hearing “ear.”
“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that
he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and
he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the
mount” (v. 19).
A most appalling spectacle was spread before these servants of God. The
very people who had only recently bowed before the manifested majesty of
Jehovah, were now obscenely sporting around the golden image of a calf.
In holy indignation Moses dashes the tables of stone to the ground, just as
in the days of His flesh the Lord Jesus “made a scourge of small cords” and
drove out of the Temple those who had desecrated His Father’s house; and
just as in Revelation 1 He is seen with “His eyes as a flame of fire” (v. 14).
“And Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and
brake them beneath the mount.” This affords a most striking illustration of
what is said in

James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law,.253
and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Israel had offended “in one
point.” God had said to them: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the
earth be-hearth, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow
down thyself to them, nor serve them (

Exodus 20:4, 5). This they had
disobeyed, and the law being a unit, they are guilty of all” — hence the
breaking of the two tables to show that the ten commandments, as a whole,
had been violated.
“And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire,
and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made
the children of Israel drink of it” (v. 20).
Some of the so-called “higher critics” with their customary scepticism have
called into question the reference to Moses Strawing the powder upon “the
water;” but if these men would but take the trouble to “search the
Scriptures,” they would find that the Holy Spirit has granted light upon this
point, though not in this chapter (for the Bible does not yield its meaning to
lazy people), but in another book altogether. In

Deuteronomy 9:21 we
read,
“I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire,
and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small
as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended
out of the mount.”
What that “brook” was that “descended out of the mount”

Exodus 17:6
tells us.
Moses’ actions here in grinding the idol to powder, strewing it upon the
water, and making the children of Israel drink thereof, are very solemn.
The Christian is bidden to keep himself from idols (

1 John 5:21), which,
we need scarcely add, covers very much more than bowing down to graven
images. An “idol” is anything which displaces God in my heart. It may be
something which is quite harmless in itself, yet if it absorbs me, if it be
given the first place in my affections and thoughts, it becomes an “idol.” It
may be my business, a loved one, or my service for Christ. Any one or
anything which comes into competition with the Lord’s ruling me in a
practical way, is an “idol.” And if I have set up an idol, then God, in His
faithfulness and love, will break it down; not If I sow to the flesh, then of
the flesh I must reap corruption (

Galatians 6:8)..254
“And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou
hast brought so great a sin upon them?” Moses now arraigns the one who
had been left in charge of the people, just as in Revelation 2, 3, Christ
addresses, in each case, the responsible “angel” or “messenger” of the local
church. Sad it is to hear the reply of the one who should have maintained
the honor and glory of Jehovah.
“And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my Lord wax hot: thou
knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said
unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for this Moses,
the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not
what is be come of him” (vv. 22, 23).
Very sad indeed is this. There was no sense of the terribleness of the sin
committed, no sign of repentance; instead, there was a throwing of the
blame upon others. Thus it was at the beginning: when the Lord arraigned
Adam, he blamed his wife (

Genesis 3:12); and when Eve was
questioned, she blamed the Serpent. How often we hear the leaders in
Christendom saying, “We have to make these concessions because the
people demand it.”
“What a contrast there is here between Aaron and Moses! Aaron
afraid of the people, instead of protesting against their idolatrous
wishes, actually making the calf; and then excusing himself in a way
which is just a sample of the kind of excuses people make for doing
evil (v. 24). Moses comes down in an energy that could take a
stand single-handed against six hundred thousand men, that could
execute judgment on their sin, and maintain what was due to God.
It is just the contrast between the servant who is with men and the
servant who is with God. If a man acts with God he always acts in
power. He may have plenty of exercise as to his own weakness in
secret, but in public he acts in power and with no uncertainty or
hesitation” (C.A.C.).
“And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it
off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came
out this calf” (v. 24).
The breaking off of their “golden” ornaments was a figure of their being
stript of their glory. This is ever what precedes all idolatry. What is man’s
“glory?” To be in subjection to his Maker and to be grateful for His.255
mercies. Man is only in honor when God is given His true place. Just as we
read of the Gentiles, in

Romans 1:21, “When they knew God, they
glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful.” What followed? This:
they “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like
to corruptible man” etc. Nothing will preserve from idolatry but a will
bowed to God’s authority and a heart lifted up in thanksgiving for His
bounties. If I do not bow to God, I shall quickly bow to something else
that is of the creature, and thus be stripped of my “gold,” my glory.
“So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this
calf.” In this purile manner did Aaron seek to deny all personal
responsibility in the matter. Really, he told a downright lie, as a reference
to v. 4 will show. Great indeed was his sin: marvellous the mercy which
pardoned it. It is blessed to learn from

Deuteronomy 9:20 that the life
of Aaron was spared in answer to the supplications of Moses. Thus we see
in type, again, the efficacy of the Mediator’s intercession for His people.
“And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had
make them naked unto their shame among their enemies): Then
Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the
Lord’s side? let him come unto me” (vv. 25, 26).
The situation called for drastic action. Having arraigned Aaron, Moses
now considers the condition of the people, and beheld them naked and
demoralized, having indulged in the idolatrous sensualism which they had
so often witnessed in Egpyt, and whose mad merriment they had, no doubt,
remembered with many a sigh. They had been disturbed in their abominable
orgies, and had yielded only to the terror of Moses’ presence. A swift and
summary vengeance must therefore be visited upon them, in order that the
survivors might be brought to soberness and repentance, and that the
Divine wrath, which had only been suspended by his intreaties, might be
averted from utterly consuming the Nation.
“Who is on the Lord’s side?” That was now the issue, clearly defined.
“It was no time for concealment of the evil or for compromise.
When there is open apostasy there can be no neutrality. Neutrality
when the question is between God and Satan is itself apostasy. He
that is not with the Lord, at such a time, is against Him. And mark,
moreover, that this cry is raised in the midst of those who were the
Lord’s professing people. They were all Israelites. But now there.256
must be a separation, and the challenge of Moses, ‘Who is on the
Lord’s side?’ makes all manifest. He becomes the Lord’s center;
and hence to gather to Him was to be for, to refuse his call was to
be against the Lord” (Ed. Dennett).
“And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him”
(v. 26).
The Levites were the “overcomers” (cf. Revelation 2, 3) of that day. They
had, apparently, been preserved from the awful sin of their nation, and now
promptly responded to the call of God’s servant. A most searching and
severe test was presented to them:
“And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, put
every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to
gate through the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every
man his companion, and every man his neighbor” (v. 27).
Natural inclinations might well shrink from compliance with such a
command. Sentiment would say, Not so, let us be gentle and gracious, we
shall accomplish more by kindness than severity. Reason would argue, We
can do no good by slaying people: there is far more power in love than in
the sword; let us seek to woo and win them back to God. Such arguments
sound very plausible, but the call was distinct and decisive, “Put every man
his sword by his side.” There was nothing else for it in view of that calf. So
in preaching to idolators today it is the wrath of a holy God, and not His
love (which is a truth for His own people only), which needs pressing upon
them.
As another has said in his application of this verse to the saints today, “It
was obedience at all costs to the divine call, and hence complete separation
from the evil into which Israel had fallen. God often tests His people in the
same way; and whenever confusion and declension have begun, the only
Path for the godly is that which is marked out by the course of Levi — that
of full-hearted, unquestioning obedience. Such a path must be painful,
involving for those who take it the surrender of some of the most intimate
associations of their lives, and breaking many a tie of nature — of kindred
and relationship; but it is only the path of blessing. Well may all challenge
their hearts and inquire, if in this evil day they are apart from all that
dishonors the Lord’s name, in subjection to His Word.”.257
The terrible sequel we must leave for our next article. May the Lord
sanctify to our souls the solemn yet salutary lessons contained in the verses
which have been before us..258
CHAPTER 62
ISRAEL PLAGUED

EXODUS 32:28-33:2
Our last article closed with the descent of Moses from the mount and,
upon his beholding the idolatries of Israel, his giving a stern commission to
the Levites: “Put every man his sword by his side, go in and out from gate
to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every
man his companion, and every man his neighbor.” In their response we
behold the spirit triumphing over the flesh, the claims of Jehovah’s holiness
over-riding all natural and sentimental considerations:
“And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and
there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For
Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even
every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that He may bestow
upon you a blessing this day” (vv. 28, 29).
The above verses present several most striking contrasts.
First, from what is recorded in

Genesis 34:25, 26, where, too, the
“sword” is seen in the hand of Levi, not for Jehovah’s glory, but in fleshly
anger — cf.

Genesis 49:5-7.
Second, from what is said in

Exodus 28:41, where we read of the sons
of Aaron being consecrated that they might minister unto the Lord in the
priest’s office. The word “consecrate” means to “fill the hand,” the
reference being to the sweet-savor offerings and fragrant incense with
which they were to appear before Jehovah. But here in our present portion
their hands were filled with swords, to slay those who had apostatized.
Third, from what is recorded in

Acts 2:41: on the day of Israel’s
idolatry there fell of the people “about three thousand men,” on the day of
Penticost “about three thousand souls” were saved!.259
Fearful was the ensuing carnage. Stupefied with terror and awed by the
irresistable power with which Moses was known to be invested, and by the
sight of the threatening Cloud upon the mount above them, the people
offered no resistance, and three thousand of them were put to death.
“And so they were left for the night: the day of sin had ended in
lamentation and woe. The camp, which in the morning had
resounded with unholy merriment and licentious song, was full of
groans and sighs: the dead awaited burial, and the wounded cried
for pain. And every soul was weighed down, if not with remorse
for the sin, at least with dread, lest wrath should go forth from the
Lord, and the destroying angel appear with sword outstretched to
smite the wicked people, who, after hearing the law uttered by the
awful voice of God Himself, and promising to do all that tie had
spoken, and then, even before the signs of His presence were
removed, lightly passed over to idolatry and fornication” (G. H.
Pember).
“Now all these things happened unto them for types”
(

1 Corinthians 10:11),
that is, types for us; “types” mark, not precedents, not examples for us to
imitate. The weapons of our warfare “are not carnal,” (

2 Corinthians
10:4), but “spiritual.” No place for the literal sword is provided in the
Christian’s equipment. It is a perversion of the Scriptures, a failure to
rightly divide the Word of Truth, to appeal to Israel’s history as warrant
for us to use physical force. No, No; the material things connected with
them, were but figures of the spiritual things which belong to us. What,
then, is the lesson for us in this solemn work committed to the Levites? Is
not the answer obvious? Uncompromising and unsparing dealing with all
that is dishonoring to God, with everything that savors of idolatry.
The Christian possesses a sword, but it is “the sword of the Spirit, which is
the Word of God” (

Ephesians 6:17). With that sword we are called on
to smite every enemy which lifts up its head against Christ.
“The sword must be drawn against every influence that corrupts the
people of God, even though it may have a place in those nearest us.
It might seem very severe to treat brethren, friends, neighbors, in
this way, but it was the only way to be consecrated to Jehovah, and
to secure His blessing. When what is due to the Lord is in question,.260
it is with those nearest to you that you have to be most decided.
There is no particular consceration in drawing the sword against
people you care little about. But to take a definite stand for the
Lord against influences which are not of Him, even in those that
you regard and truly love, secures great blessing… If I am going on
with something that does not recognize the rights of Christ, or
maintain what is due to God, the kindest thing we can do is to take
a definite stand against it. I may, now call you narrow, uncharitable,
bigoted! But when I meet you in the light of the judgment-seat of
Christ I shall thank you for it?” (C. A. Coates).
As we said in the preceding article, these Levites were the “overcomers” of
that day, and if the reader will consult Revelation 2 and 3 he will find that
all the promises contained in those chapters were made to the overcomers.
How blessed then to find that these Levites were richly rewarded for their
faithfulness. In

Deuteronomy 33:8-11 we read,
“And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummin and Urim be with thy holy
one, whom Thou didst prove at Massah and with whom Thou didst
strive at the water of Meribah: Who said unto his father and to his
mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his
brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed Thy
word and kept Thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob Thy
judgments, and Israel Thy law: they shall put incense before Thee.
and whole burnt sacrifice upon Thine altar.”
It was because they crucified the flesh “with its affections and lusts,”
(

Galatians 5:24) ignoring natural ties, knowing no man according to
nature, not even acknowledging their own brethren when it came to
maintaining the claims of God’s holiness; it was because they observed His
word and kept His covenant, that unto this Tribe were committed the
“Thummin and Urim,” the gift of teaching, and the privilege of burning
incense on the altar. Truly God does honor those who honor Him, but they
who despise Him are lightly esteemed.
“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the
people ye have sinned a great sin” (v. 30).
It is solemn to note the absence of any recorded word of Israel’s
repentance. Nothing is said of their contrition and horror at having so
grievously offended against the Lord. Ominous sign was that. The rod of.261
chastisement had fallen heavily upon them, yet, so far as we can gather,
they had not bowed in heart beneath it. But God will not be mocked; if His
chastening be “despised” (

Hebrews 12:5) it will return in a more acute
form. It did so here, as we shall see in the immediate sequel. May the Lord
grant each of us the hearing ear.
Moses did not wink at their wickedness, nor did he attempt to minimize the
enormity of it. Just as when he first came down from the mount he charged
Aaron with having brought “so great a sin” upon Israel (v. 21), so now, on
the morrow, he says unto the people, “Ye have sinned a great sin.” That he
truly and clearly loved his people, the verses that follow plainly testifiy; yet,
this did not deter him from dealing faithfully with them. As the Holy Spirit
declares in

Hebrews 3:5,
“Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a
testimony of those things which were to be spoken after.”
In this too was he a type of Christ, the Holy One of God, who ever
stressed the heinousness of sin.
“And now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an
atonement for your sin” (v. 30).
Care needs to be exercised lest we read into these words what they do not
really contain. It was not the penal sentence upon their sin, but, we believe,
the remitting of the governmental consequences to which Moses referred.
It must not be forgotten that we have already been told in v. 14 that “The
Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.” In
answer to the earnest supplications of the typical mediator, the wrath of
God in utterly “consuming” the people (v. 10) had been averted, and this,
we say, should be carefully borne in mind as we endeavor to understand
that which follows — admittedly a most difficult passage.
“Peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.” The
“peradventure” here ought not to occasion any difficulty, though more than
one commentator has tripped over it. The uncertainty was due to the
character and circumstances of his mission. Moses was about to appear
before God on behalf of a people who had evidenced no sorrow for their
great sin; therefore it was doubtful whether or not the governmental
consequences of it might be remitted. There are quite a number of similar
cases recorded in Scripture. In a Samuel 16:12, following Shimei’s cursing
of him, we find David saying,.262
“It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction and that the
Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.”
When wayward Israel was threatened by the Assyrians, Hezekiah sent to
Isaiah saying,
“It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the words of Rab-shakeh,
whom the king of Assyia his master hath sent to reproach the living
God.”
Nor are such cases restricted to the O.T. In N.T. times we read of Peter
saying to Simon the sorcerer,
“Repent therefore of this that wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps
the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee” (

Acts 8:22).
While in

2 Timothy 2:25 we read,
“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of
the truth.”
The careful reader will observe two things common to all these instances:
first, each had in view the governmental consequences of sin; hence,
second, each emphasizes the note of uncertainty — because forgiveness
was dependent upon their repentance.
“And Moses returned unto the Lord” (v. 31.)
Very blessed is this. Moses was, preeminently a man of prayer. In every
crisis we find him turning unto the Lord: see

Exodus 5:22;

8:30;

9:33;

14:15;

17:4. Beautiful foreshadowing was this of the
Apostle and High Priest of our profession, who, in the days of His flesh,
ever maintained and manifested a perfect spirit of dependency upon the
One who d sent Him.
“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have
sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if
Thou wilt forgive their sin; — and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out
of Thy book which Thou hast written” (vv. 31:32).
Let us consider first the practical lesson which this incident contains for
our hearts. Most helpfully has this been brought out by another..263
“But if we speak of drawing the sword in this way, let us remember
that the same man who said in the camp, ‘Slay every man his
brother’ went up to Jehovah and said, ‘And now, if Thou will
forgive their sin… but if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book
that Thou hast written.’ It was the same spirit of Christ which led
him to take a decided stand in public against those who had allowed
what was contrary to God, that led him to go up and pray for them
in secret with such intense yearning for their good. He went as far
as it was possible fox man to go in the way of self-sacrifice. He
could not be made a curse for them; only the Blessed One could go
to that depth; but he was truly in the Spirit of Christ. It might be
thought that slaying the people and interceding for them were not
consistent. But the same spirit of Christ that would stand for
Jehovah even against the nearest and dearest, was the spirit that
would plead with God to be blotted out Father than that they
should not be forgiven. The man who takes the strongest ground
against me when I am wrong, and when I have set aside what is due
to the Lord, is probably the one who prays most for me” (C. A.
Coates).
“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned
a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt
forgive their sin; — and if not, blot me I pray Thee, out of Thy book which
Thou hast written.” Unspeakably precious is the typical picture presented
here. How it brings out the intense devotion of Moses both to Jehovah and
to His people. No sin on their part could alienate his affections from them.
“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it”
(

Song of Solomon 8:7).
Superlatively was this manifested by the One whom Moses here
foreshadawed: Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved
them unto the end” (

John 13:1). Yes, notwithstanding the fact that all
would be offended because of Him that night, yea, that all would forsake
Him and flee, yet, He “loved them unto the end.”
Moses gave proof that his affections were bound up with Israel, though
they were a sinful people. So much were their interests his, he was willing
to be blotted out of God’s book, if He would not forgive them. Here again
we must be careful not to read into his words what is not there. Moses
said, “Thy book,” not “the book of life.” In

Psalm 69:28 we read, “Let.264
them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the
righteous.” In

Isaiah 4:3 it is said,
“And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that
remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is
written among the living in Jerusalem.”
Thus it seems clear from these references that the “book” mentioned by
Moes was not “the Lamb’s book of life” (

Revelation 21:27), which was
written “from the foundation of the world” (

Revelation 17:8), but the
Divine register in which are recorded the names of those living on the
earth, whose names are “blotted out” at the death of each one. God has
various “books:” see

Malachi 3:16,

Revelation 20:12.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against
Me, him will I blot out of My book” (v. 33).
God was speaking here from the viewpoint of the unchanging principles of
his righteous government. Is not

Galatians 6:7, 8 a parallel passage?
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that
shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap
corruption.” Does not

Romans 8:13 sound-forth the same warning
note? “For if we live after the flesh, we shall die?”
“Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have
spoken unto thee: behold, Mine angel shall go before thee:
nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them”
(v. 34).
Here is further proof that their penal deserts were cancelled. Equally clear
is it that the governmental consequences of their sin were not remitted.
They were not consumed, yet in due time God would deal with them. Does
then our type fail us at this point? Certainly not; it only serves to exhibit the
perfect accuracy of it. In connection with the mediation of Christ, we find
the same two things: His intercession averts the penal wrath of God, but
does not remove the governmental consequences of His people’s sins. The
latter is conditioned upon our true repentance and confession, and the
laying hold of God’s restoring grace.
“And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf
which Aaron made” (v. 35)..265
In view of what we said in our last article, namely, that what is found here
in Exodus 32 has prophetic application not only to Israel in the Tribulation
period, but also to Christendom in this present era, probably the reader is
ready to ask, But how could this terrible sequel to Israel’s sin ever have its
counterpart in God’s dealings with His own in this Dispensation of Grace?
Surely Christ has never called for the “sword” to smite His own; surely He
does not “plague” His redeemed! Ah, dear friend, the picture that is now
before us was not drawn by man, and the heavenly Artist makes no flaws.
If it be recalled that Revelation 1 to 3 supplies the key to the present
application of our type, it will not be difficult to discover the antitype.
In the second of the seven epistles found there, we read, “Fear none of
those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the Devil shall cast some of
you into prison, that ye may be tried.” This epistle to Smyrna contemplates
the second stage in the history of the Christian profession. It was a period
marked by opposition and persecution, suffering and death. It was the
martyr age, covering the last half of the first century A.D. and most of the
second and third centuries. It was the time when the early Christians
suffered so sorely under Nero and the other Roman emperors that
succeeded him. It is unnecessary to enter into detail, most of our readers
being doubtless aware of the fearful conditions that then prevailed, and of
the fiery trials through which the people of God were called to pass. But
what is not so well known, what in fact has been quite lost sight of by most
Christian historians, is the cause of that era of suffering, as to why God
permitted the Enemy to rage against His people — for, of course, neither
the Roman emperors, or Satan who stirred them up, could move at all
without His direct permission.
God does not afflict willingly (

Lamentations 3:33), nor are the
sufferings of His people arbitary. The Scriptures expressly declare,
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies
to be at peace with him” (

Proverbs 16:7).
The reason why God sent such tribulation upon His people in the second
era of Christendom’s history was because of their evil conduct in the first
period. The epistle which precedes the Smyrean in Revelation 2, namely,
the Ephesian, makes known what that evil conduct was: “Thou hast left thy
first love” (

Revelation 2:4) — Affection for Christ had waned: He was
no longer “all and in all” to them. And, inward decline was swiftly followed
by outward corruption, as is evidenced by the fearful fact that by the time.266
the Smyean era had dawned the “synagogue of Satan” (

Revelation 2:9)
had already become established in their midst. Thus, as cause stands to
effect, the leaving of “first love” at the beginning, occasioned the sufferings
of the second and third centuries. It was God chastening His backslidden
people!
Had the people of God remained true to Christ, had not the love of the
world crept into their hearts, haw vastly different history would have been!
Nor is this a mere conjecture of ours. After Israel had suffered so severely
from their enemies (see the book of Judges) God said through the Psalmist,
“Oh that My people had hearkened unto Me, and Israel had walked
in My ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned
My hand against their adversaries” (

81:13, 14)!
But they did not “hearken” unto Him, nor did they walk in His ways. Sadly
did history repeat itself. Just as God chastened Israel with the sword and
“plague” then, so did He chasten and plague the early Church, using the
Roman emperors as His scourge. Thus, what is seen in our type in Exodus
32 finds its counterpart in the history of Christendom. When there was
departure from the Lord, when the spirit of idolatry came in, He called for
the sword to smite them.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Depart, and go hence, thou and
the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt,
unto the land which I sward unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,
saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: And I will send an angel before
thee: and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittie,
and the Perizzitc, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing
with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for
thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way”
(

33:1-3).
Thus Moses by his supplication secured the immediate safety of the people,
and the promise of an angelic guide and protector, to go before them; but
the further chastisement of their sin must yet be visited upon them. Nor
were they restored to their covenant relations with Jehovah.
Moses was next directed to return to me camp with a message from the
Lord. The details of that message, its effect upon the people, with the
sequel, we must leave for consideration till our next article. May what has.267
been before us bring to each of our hearts a greater horror and hatred of
sin, and a more earnest crying unto God to be delivered from it..268
CHAPTER 63
OUTSIDE THE CAMP

EXODUS 33:4-10
In order to enter into the significance of of what is to be before us on this
present occasion, and especially to discern its typical application to
Christendom today, careful attention must be paid to the context. Moses’
pitching of the tent “outside the camp,” and the seeking unto it of “every
one which sought the Lord” can only be interpreted aright by noting
carefully the imperative necessity for such a drastic action, and that, in the
light of all which occasioned it. The section of Exodus in which our present
portion is found begins with 32:1. In that chapter, as we have already seen,
Israel is shown committing the awful sin of making and worshipping the
golden calf. That, in turn, was the consequence of their throwing off
allegiance to Jehovah. Having, in their hearts, cast off the God they loved
not, they now set up an idol patterned after their own evil lusts — a beast,
graven in gold.
That the Lord did not there and then let loose the thunderbolts of His
wrath and completely exterminate Israel is something which should bow
our hearts before Him in wonder and worship, the more so when we
observe what it was and who it was that averted His righteous anger
against them, namely, the earnest and effectual supplications of the typical
mediator. Blessed foreshadowment was this of Him who has entered into
heaven itself, “now to appear in the presence of God for us” (

Hebrews
9:24), and who is
“able also to save them unto the uttermost (to the last extremity)
that come unto God by Him, seeing that He ever liveth to make
intercession for them” (

Hebrews 7:25).
Had there been no Moses to plead their cause, Israel had perished. And
had we no High Priest to plead before God the merits of His atoning
sacrifice on our behalf, we too would perish in this wilderness scene. It is.269
the ministry of Christ on High which succors and sustains us while we
journey to the promised inheritance.
How Moses must have loved his people! Do we not have more than a hint
of this in the words of the Spirit in

Hebrews 11:24, 25,
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called
the son of Pharaoh’s daughter: Choosing rather to suffer affliction
with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a
season.”
His love for them is brought out again in

Acts 7:23,
“And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit
his brethren the children of Israel.”
Blessed adumbrations were these of a greater than Moses, who refused not
to lay aside His heavenly glory and come down to this sin-curst earth,
where His “brethren” (

Hebrews 2:11) were in cruel bondage to sin and
Satan. More blessed still is it to follow out the love of Moses for his people
under the severest trials and testings. Though they appreciated him not,
though they repeatedly murmured and rebelled against him, though they
manifested their utter unworthiness of his unselfish devotion to them, yet
nothing quenched his love for them. So too we read of Him to whom
Moses pointed, “having loved His own which were in the world, He loved
them unto the end” (

John 13:1). Nor could the awful sin of His people
kill the affections of Moses: when unsparing judgment at the hands of a
holy God was their only due, he stepped into the breech, and stood
between them and His wrath.
But, as we saw in our last article, though the intercession of Moses averted
the consuming wrath of God, yet it did not preclude the manifestations of
His displeasure in a governmental way. The nation was not “consumed”
(

32:10), but it was “plagued” (

32:35). This was due to no failure in
the prayer of Moses, but to the lack of repentance on the part of the
people. Most solemnly does this speak to us, and timely is its warning.
How redly neglected is this truth today! if there be little or no preaching of
“repentance” to the unsaved, there is still less to those who are saved. Yet,
concerning the one we read “But, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
perish” (

Luke 13:3); and of the other, it is to be noted, that the very
first admonitory word of Christ to the seven churches in Revelation 2, 3 is,
“Remember therefore from whence thou are fallen, and repent” (

2:5)!.270
It is because there is so little repentance among God’s people today that
His chastening hand is laid so heavily on many of them.
“And the Lord said unto Moses. Depart, go up hence, thou and the
people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto
the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,
saying, Unto thy seed will I give it” (

33:1.)
In these words Jehovah presses upon Moses the solemn position which
Israel occupied. Having broken the covenant which they had made only a
few weeks before (

Exodus 19:5, 8; 24:7), they had thus forfeited their
relationship to God as His people. Having rejected Him, He speaks, to
them according to their transgression, saying to Moses, “The people which
thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt.” Nevertheless, He promised
them the land, according to His absolute and unconditional promises to the
patriarchs — to which Moses had appealed in his intercession (

32:13).
“And I will send an angel before thee: and I will drive out the
Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the
Hivite, and the Jebusite: unto a land flowing with milk and honey”
(vv. 2, 3).
Next, the Lord added. “For I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou
art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way (v. 3). Solemn
word was this; a real test of Israel’s heart.
“At the beginning of this book. when the people were in the furnace
of Egypt, the Lord could say, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of
My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason
of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows.’ But now he has to
say, ‘I have seen this people, and, behold. it is a stiffnecked people’,
An afflicted people is an object of grace; but a stiff- necked people
must be humbled. The cry of the oppressed Israel had been
answered by the exhibition of grace; but the song of idolatrous
Israel must be answered by the voice of stern rebuke” (C.H.M.).
Then we read,
“And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned”
(v. 4)..271
Here was the first hopeful sign that the people gave. The Hebrew word for
“mourn” in this passage means to sorrow or lament. The threat that
Jehovah Himself would not accompany them moved Israel to deep
contrition. How sad is the contrast presented in Revelation 3! There too
the Lord is viewed as not being “in the midst” of His people, but outside
(v. 20). Yet Laodicea is indifferent, content without Him (v. 17). When the
Lord is no longer “in the midst” of His people, it is high time for them to
“mourn.”
“And no man did put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said unto
Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, ye, are a stiff necked people:
I will come up in the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee:
therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know
what to do unto thee” (vv. 4, 5).
The removal of their ornaments was for the purpose of evidencing the
genuineness of their contrition. Outward adornment was out of keeping
with the taking of a low place before God. Con- trariwise, external
attractions and displays show up the absence of that lowliness of spirit and
brokenness of heart which are of great price in the sight of God. The more
true spirituality declines, the more an elaborate ritual comes to the fore. All
around us Christendom is putting on as many “ornaments” as possible.
“And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments
by the mount Horeb” (v. 6).
This was a still more hopeful sign. Here we see Israel obeying God’s
command to humble themselves. This is ever the ground of further
blessing. The promise is, “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” A
New Testament parallel to what we have before us here, is found in the
case of the Corinthians. To them the apostle wrote,
“Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings” (

1
Corinthians 4:8).
There we see them with all their “ornaments” on. Later he was able to
write,
“For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though
I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath you sorry,
though but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made.272
sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance; for ye were made sorry
after a godly manner” (

2 Corinthians 7:8, 9).
They had “stripped themselves” of their “ornaments”!
“And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp,
afar off from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of the
congregation” (v. 7).
This movement of Moses denoted three things: it was an act of submission,
it was an act of faith, it was an act of grace. Let us enlarge a little upon
these things. The going forth of Moses outside the camp was an act of
submission, it was a bowing to God’s righteous verdict. While Israel was a
stiffnecked people, Jehovah could not remain in their “midst” (v. 3). While
they continued in a state of impenitency life could not own them as His
people (v. 1). Accordingly, Moses is here seen acquiescing in the Lord’s
holy judgment, and therefore leaves the place where He no longer was.
Well would it be — both for God’s glory and for their own good — if His
people would act on this same principle today.
But more: the going forth of Moses outside the camp was an act of faith.
This comes out plainly and most blessedly in what Israel’s leader did on
this occasion: he “took” the tabernacle and “pitched it without the camp.”
It should be pointed out that this was not the Tabernacle proper, with its
three apartments, for this had not yet been erected. If the reader will refer
back to

Exodus 21:18 and 32:1 it will be found that Israel committed
their great sin of worshipping the golden calf while Moses was up in the
mount, during which time Jehovah had said to him, “Let them make Me a
sanctuary: that I may dwell among them” (

25:8) — details concerning
which are found in the chapters that follow to the end of 31.
In the opening paragraphs of article 41 of this series (May 1927) on “The
Coverings,” we called attention to the distinction which is to be drawn
between “the Tabernacle” (Hebrews “mishkan”) and “the Tent” (Hebrews
“Ohel”): the former signifies “dwelling-place”; the latter, simply “tent.”
The one refers to the abode of Jehovah, the other to the meeting-place for
His people. The two are clearly distinguished in several scriptures, for
example in

Numbers 3:25 we read of “the tabernacle and the tent.” In
the majority of passages where the A.V. has “tabernacle of the
congregation,” the Hebrews reads “tent of the congregation.” This holy
building was Jehovah’s place of abode, but Israel’s place of assembly; they.273
visited it, He remained there. Now it was the “tent” and not the
“tabernacle” which Moses here “took” and “pitched it outside the camp,”
for, as we have said, the tabernacle proper had not yet been built. In this
action of Israel’s leader we may discern the exercise of real faith.
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
(

Romans 10:17).
Moses had been hearing the word of God yonder in the mount, and now
that he is down in the camp again his heart lays hold of, and anticipates, the
actual erection of Jehovah’s dwelling place. It was a temporary, provision
to meet a pressing emergency.
“It does not appear that Moses, in pitching the tabernacle outside
the camp, was acting under any direct commandment from the
Lord. It was rather spiritual discernment, entering into both the
character of God and the state of the people. Taught of God, he
feels that Jehovah could no longer dwell in the midst of a camp
which had been defiled by the presence of the golden calf. He
therefore made a place outside, afar off from the camp, and called it
the ‘tabernacle of the congregation’” (Ed. Dennett).
Again; the pitching of the tent outside the camp was an act of grace. This
will be seen the more clearly if we revert once more to the context; “The
Lord had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a
stiffnecked people: I will come up in the midst of thee in a moment, and
consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may
know what to do unto thee.” God was here speaking after the manner of
men — just as He does when He is said to “repent.” It was as though He
were weighing the condition of His wicked people, waiting to see whether
or not their “mourning” was genuine. Before He smote, He would furnish
opportunity for repentance. The people availed themselves of His
forbearance: humbled by their sin, awed by the solemn tidings of iminent
destruction, they stripped themselves of their ornaments. Then, as another
has said, “He who pronounced judgment upon the people for their sins,
provided a way for their escape.” Those who “sought the Lord” were not
only spared, but permitted to go forth unto the tent. Thus, “where sin
abounded, grace did much more abound.”.274
“And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went
unto the tent of the congregation, which was without the camp”
(v. 7).
Once more we have a striking illustration of the word “even so might grace
reign through righteousness” (

Romans 5:21). God is “the God of all
grace,” yet it ever needs to be remembered that He never exercises grace at
the expense of righteousness. God forgives sins, but it is because they were
atoned for by Christ. Israel was delivered from the avenging angel in
Egypt, but only because they were sheltered beneath the blood. So here:
God maintained His righteousness. Holiness forbade Him entering the
defiled camp, but grace made it possible for the people to meet Him
outside.
“And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went
out unto the tent of the congregation, which was without the
camp” (v. 7).
Let us now consider the typical significance of this. We think at once of

Hebrews 13:13, “Let us go forth therefore unto Him, without the camp,
bearirlg His reproach.” Obviously, the Holy Spirit here had

Exodus
33:7 before Him, and it is in the light of what is there recorded that we
must interpret this New Testament exhortation. What we have there is a
call to separation, but unless we pay close attention to the type we shall err
in our application of the antitype. The all-important thing is to bear steadily
in mind the circumstances under which Moses pitched the Tent “outside
the camp.” It was not when Israel murmured (

Exodus 16:2), when they
desecrated the sabbath (

16:27, 28), when the Amalekites fought against
them (

17:8); it was after Israel had disowned Jehovah and set up the
golden calf. General and open idolatry in the camp constitutes the call to
go forth” outside it!
The same principle holds good in the interpretation of

Hebrews 13:13.
This exhortation was not given to the Corinthians, where a sectarian spirit
prevailed, where immorality had been condoned, and where the Lord’s
supper had been turned into a carnal feast. Nor was the call given to the
Galatians, among whom false doctrine, of a serious character, had come in.
Instead, it was addressed to “Hebrews.” The believing Jews were enjoined
to forsake the unbelieving Nation who had despised and rejected Christ.
The “camp” was guilty of the murder of God’s Son, hence the call to
forsake it. What we would here press upon the Christian reader is that.275
neither

Exodus 33:7 nor

Hebrews 13:13 supplies any warrant for
Christians forsaking “churches” or companies of God’s professing people
where Christ is owned, honored, worshipped. There are those claiming to
“gather unto the Lord,” who insist they are the only people that are on true
scriptural ground. They have separated themselves not only from false
systems, but from the great majority of God’s own people. Little wonder
that today they are more sectarian than any of the denominations, and that
God has blown upon their proud and pharisaical claims. To “go forth unto
Him without the camp” is a vastly different thing than separating from
God’s own people. All who are dear to Christ should be dear to the
Christian.
It was corporate idolatry which made Jehovah refuse to continue in Israel’s
midst. It was when the Lord Himself had been rejected, and not till then,
that Moses pitched the Tent outside the camp. Nothing short of this ever
warrants a Christian from breaking away from those who profess the name
of Christ. Perfection will be found no where on this earth, and the loftier
the pretentions of those claiming to come nearest to perfection, the least
grounds for such a profession they will evidence. A drum makes a big
noise, but it is very hollow inside! No, ideal conditions, a faithful carrying
out of all the revealed will of God, are not to be met with among any
company of Christians. Failure is stamped upon everything which. God has
committed to man. But that does not justify me in holding aloof from my
erring brethren and sisters, and assuming an attitude of “I am holier than
thou”; for in the sight of God I am probably a greater failure than they are.
We are all of us quick to discover the mote in another’s eye, while
complacently impervious to the beam in our own eye.
“Strengthen the things which remain (not “pull down”), that are ready to
die,” is God’s word to us (

Revelation 3:2.) “Lift up the hands which
hang down, and the feeble knees” (

Hebrews 12:12): obedience to this
will accomplish far more than criticizing and condemning every body and
everything. “Forbearing one another in love” (

Ephesians 4:2), implies
there is that in each of us which is a trial in the other. There will be much
to test patience and love in any “church” or gathering, but if the Lord is
there, that is the place for me too. He is “long-suffering,” so must I be. But
when He is disowned, when a false god is set up in His place, when
“another Jesus” (

2 Corinthians 11:4) is preached (a “Jesus” who is not
the God man, born of a virgin, died for the sins of His people, rose again in
bodily triumph over death), it is high time for me to get out. To remain in a.276
place where He is denied would be for me to dishonor my land. It was on
this principle that Moses here acted; and not Moses only, but “every one
who sought the Lord.”
Thus, the principle which is to guide us to day in our application of

Hebrews 13:13 to any local situation, is simple and plain, If I am
worshipping with a company of Christians where the Lord Jesus is owned
as the Christ of God, as the alone Savior for sinners, as the Exemplar of
His people, though the preaching there may not be as edifying as I could
desire, though my fellow disciples may come far short of what I wish, that
is no reason why I should desert them; rather it is an occasion for me to be
much in prayer on their behalf, and by my own walk seek to show them the
way of the Lord more perfectly. But, on the other hand, if I am in a place
where the Christ of God is denied, the inspiration of the Scriptures
repudiated, the Holy Spirit quenched through a false god having been set
up, then no matter what my friends may do, no matter what may be the
decision of my brethren, I am responsible before God to separate myself
from what is so grossly dishonoring to Him.
“And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle,
that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door,
and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle”
(v. 8).
From this it appears that not many responded to the call of separation.
“The majority stood at their tent doors, interested in Moses, and
looking after him, and seeing the pillar of cloud stand at the
entrance of the tent, but not going out! They seem to represent
those who have reverence for divine things, and are interested in
the truth, but who remain in the camp. God-fearing persons, but
not knowing the presence of the Lord in its attractive and satisfying
power” (C. A. Coates).
“And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the
cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle,
and the Lord talked with Moses” (v. 9).
The “cloudy pillar” was the visible symbol of Jehovah’s presence. This is
the third time in Exodus we find mention of it.
First, in

13:21 we read,.277
“And the lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead
them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light.”
Second, in

14:19, 20 we are told,
“And the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood
behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and
the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it
gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other
all the night.”
Third,
“the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the
tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.”
Thus it was connected first with guidance, then with protection, now with
communion.
“The cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and
the Lord talked with Moses.” Blessed answer of God was this in the
confidence of His servant. How true are His words “them that honor Me I
will honor.” Moses was not put in confusion: his submission and faith were
amply rewarded. God never disappoints those who seek His glory and
count upon His grace. It is the compromisers, the fearers of men, and the
unbelieving who are the losers. O for more single-eyed devotion to the
Lord. then we shall have Him “talk with” (not “to”) us.
“And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle
door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his
tent door” (v. 10).
Nothing but a gracious manifestation of the Lord will produce real
worship, and the more we are conscious of His unmerited favor, the more
fervent will our worship be. Nor must we ignore the Spirit’s notice of the
position occupied by these prostrate Israelites: they “worshipped every
man in his tent door.”’ This has a voice for us if we have hearts to receive
it. The “tent” is the symbol of the pilgrim, and it is only as this character is
maintained that worship will be sustained. The blessed sequel we must
leave for consideration till our next article. May the Lord exercise each of
us by what has been before us..278
CHAPTER 64
GRACE ABOUNDING

EXODUS 33:11-17
Our present passage brings before us one of the most wondrous and
blessed scenes described anywhere on the pages of the Old Testament
Scriptures. Apart from the circumstances and occasion which gave rise to
it, the character of this incident itself should move our hearts to
profoundest wonderment and praise. Here we behold the typical mediator
prevailing in his intercession for a sinful people, not only in averting, the
wrath of God, but in securing His continued presence in their midst. Here
we are given to see not only the external symbol of His presence drawing
near unto men, but the Lord Himself speaking to Moses “as a man
speaketh unto his friend.” Here we listen to the Lord not only promising to
conduct Israel across the howling wilderness, but saying, “I will give thee
rest.” Verily, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
Let it be pointed out though, that this precious revelation of the abounding
grace of God is recorded not only for our admiration, but also for our
learning. Most valuable instruction is to be found here if we take to heart
the order of events in this portion of the Divinely inspired account of the
history of Israel.
First, we have in

Exodus 32:1-6 the narrative of their awful sin.
Second, we have the intercession of Moses averting the “consuming”
wrath of God (

32:2-14).
Third, we have the sore chastening of the people for it (

32:25-28,
35.)
Fourth, we have the repentance of Israel (33:4-6).
Fifth, we have Moses pitching the Tent “outside the camp,” “Lord”
which sought the going forth unto it (

33:7-10)..279
Now we have Jehovah’s response to this action of His servant: He speaks
“face to face” with Moses. Such amazing condescension, such wondrous
grace, was only manifested after sin had been owned and separation from it
had been evidenced. The important practical lessons to be drawn from this
will be pointed out in our exposition below.
At the beginning of Exodus 33 we hear Jehovah saying,
“I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked
people; lest I consume thee in the way” (v. 3).
Israel’s terrible sin had necessitated the retirement of a holy God from
them. To have remained among them would have required their total
destruction. The mediation of Moses had averted the threatened storm of
God’s wrath, but until Israel repented the Lord could not come in among
them again. The same principle holds good today in connection with any
company who profess to be the people of God. While gross sin is allowed,
the Lord will not manifest Himself among them, and to such a people His
word is
“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your
hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded”

James 4:8.
The next thing we read in our chapter is, “When the people heard these evil
tidings, they mourned” (v. 4). The greatness of their sin began to be
realized, and so their “drinking and playing” (

32:6) was turned into
sorrow. Then we are told “and the children of Israel stripped themselves of
their ornaments” (v. 6). This evidenced the genuine-ness of their contrition:
this was a bringing forth of “fruits meet for repentance” (

Matthew 3:8);
it was the outward expression of their having taken a lowly place before
God. Finally
“It came to pass that every one which sought the Lord went out
into the Tent of the congregation, which was without the camp”
(v. 7).
This corresponds with,
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth
and forsaketh them, shall have mercy” (

Proverbs 28:13)..280
Following Moses’ going forth from the camp and his entrance into the
Tent, which, by faith he had pitched, “the cloudy pillar descended, and
stood at the door of the Tent, and the Lord talked with Moses.” The effect
of this upon the penitent and ornament- stripped people is blessed to
behold: “And all me people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent
‘door” (v. 10). Jehovah was once more given His true place. The false god
(the golden calf) was repudiated; the true God was now worshipped. Thus
were they, in infinite grace, brought back from their wanderings and made
to bow in wondering adoration before the manifested symbol of Jehovah’s
presence. The blessed sequel we are now to contemplate.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh
unto his friend” (v. 11).
This was the most glorious moment in all the life of Moses, and the most
blessed revelation he every received from God. This even surpassed his
experience in the Mount, when he received such wondrous
communications from Jehovah. There was an intimacy of approach and a
closeness of communion such as he had not been permitted to enjoy before.
In the 12th of Numbers, where we read of Miriam and Aaron challenging
the authority of Moses, Jehovah vindicated him by saying, “My servant
Moses is not so, who is faithful in all Mine house” (v. 7); and then He
added, “With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in
dark speeches.”
“And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his
friend.” These words must not be interpreted in such a way as to clash with
the last verse of our chapter: “And thou shalt see My back parts, but My
face shall not be seen.” That which is before us here is free and intimate
fellowship between the Lord and His servant. And this, be it noted, was the
immediate sequel to his separation from what was dishonoring to Jehovah.
At, dear reader, going forth unto Him without the camp may, yea, must,
involve “bearing His reproach” (

Hebrews 13:13); but O the
compensation — He rewards such faithfulness by manifestations of
Himself, by the intimacies of His love, as are never enjoyed while we
remain in associations which are derogatory to His honor. “And the Lord
spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” That
Moses, the mediator, is here also a blessed type of Christ, hardly needs
saying. What we have here is a precious adumbration of the relations.281
existing between the Father and the Son. Before the incarnation He could
say,
“That I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily
His delight, rejoicing always before Him” (

Proverbs 8:30).
After the incarnation, we read of
“the Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father”
(

John 1:18).
And again,
“For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that
Himself doeth” (

John 5:20).
And again,
“I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (

John 16:32).
So now, is seated the Father’s throne (

Revelation 3:21) — the place of
affection and intimacy.
“And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son
of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tent” (v. 11).
Let us seek to ponder first the practical lesson exemplified for us in this
statement, before we point out its typical signification. That which here
receives stration is most important to lay hold of, particularly for those
who are called by God to occupy positions of leadership. Before a servant
of God is qualified to minister unto His people he must himself seek unto
the Lord; before he has any message for them, the Lord must speak “face
to face” unto him. In other words, power for service is obtained only by
maintaining intimate fellowship with God. But more: though he returns and
ministers unto the people, yet in spirit he remains still inside the Tent. Here,
as always in the book of Exodus, Moses and Joshua have to be considered
together, as mutually complementing each other.
“This section closes with a double type — Moses returning to the
camp, and Joshua departing not from within the Tent. Moses
represents the energy of love that would serve the people of God. It
is man with whom Jehovah has spoken ‘face to face, as a man
speaketh with his friend’ who can return to serve the people of God
in all the holy separation of the spot where he has been, and of the.282
communications which have been made to him. Such a man would
not compromise the truth, nor would he allow himself to be
entangled with what compromised the truth, but he would be in
readiness to serve all in grace and faithfulness in relation to the will
of God. But such service ever has as its attendant the spirit of
Joshua. Whatever activities of service there may be, in spirit the
servant does not leave his sweet retreat; he is always in spirit
‘outside the camp.’ His affections have their abiding place there; his
satisfaction and rest is in me Lord” (G. A. Coates).
“And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of
Nun, a young man, departed not out of the camp.” It is by no means an
easy matter to work out the details of this type — due, no doubt, to the
dimness of our spiritual vision. There are several passages in which Moses
and Joshua are linked together in Exodus — the book which speaks of
redemption. This is the more noticeable as Joshua is not mentioned at all in
Leviticus. First, in Exodus 17, we find Moses and Joshua supplementing
each other in connection with resisting the onslaught of Amalek. As we
sought to show in article 25 of this series (Jan., 1926), Joshua there is a
type of the Holy Spirit subjugating, but not exterminating, the “flesh” in the
Christian. Then, in

Exodus 24:13, we read,
“And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up
into the Mount of God.”
Here we have in figure the Holy Spirit as the Minister of an ascended
Christ: during the present dispensation the Holy Spirit is maintaining the
interests and glorifying Christ. Then, in

32:17, 18, we have, in type, the
Holy Spirit taking note of the sins of God’s people. Here in

33:11 it
seems to be the Spirit’s indwelling the true Church, compare

1
Corinthians 3:16,

Ephesians 2:22.
“And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring
up this people; and thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt
send with me. Yet Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou
hast also found grace in My sight” (v. 12).
Here, and in the verses which immediately follow, we have another blessed
foreshadowment of Christ as our Mediator, interceding before God,
maintaining us in His favor. What, is of first importance to take note of is,
that it is as a man who has “found grace” in the sight of God, Moses here.283
pleads. Mark how strikingly this particular feature is emphasized by its
repeated mention: in vv. 12, 13, 16, 17 the words “found grace in Thy
sight” or “found grace in My sight” are found. How plainly this points to
the Lord Jesus as the One who, on behalf of His poor people, has obtained
favor before God. It is on the ground of His own acceptableness that Christ
now pleads for us. It is the apprehension of this which gives peace to the
heart. God’s favor to His people upon nothing that He finds in them; it is
solely the consequence of what He has obtained through Christ. “And
Moses said unto the Lord, See, Thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people:
and Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me.” At first
sight this may seem to clash with what the Lord had said to Moses in
32:34,
“Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have
spoken unto thee: behold, Mine Angel shall go before thee.”
But a closer reading will observe a notable distinction. In 32:34 Jehovah
had spoken of His Angel going “before thee” for, while Israel remained,
impenitent the Lord Himself could not remain “in the midst of thee”
(

33:3). But now that the people had repudiated their sin, and had
evidenced their separation from it, Moses says, “Thou hast not let me
know whom Thou wilt send with me.” Blessed distinction: may our hearts
lay hold of it. Moses knew full well who would with them, but, in view of
Israel’s sin, he here takes the place of a supplicant.
“Yet Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace
m My sight.” This carries us back to Exodus 3. At the burning bush, where
God first called Moses, He had addressed him by name:
“God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses,
Moses” (

3:4).
And why is it that Moses now refers to that memorable experience at the
backside of the desert? Because it was there that Jehovah had made
Himself known as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob”; as the One who declared,
“And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the
Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land unto a good land and
a large unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (

3:8)..284
God having pledged Himself to this, His word must be fulfilled, His
purpose accomplished, no matter what the contrariety of the people might
be. Thus we behold the boldness of Moses’ faith. Here, too, we should
look from the type to the anti-type. It is on the ground of God’s everlasting
covenant with Christ that He now exercises mercy to His unworthy people.
“Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight,
show me now Thy way, that I way know Thee that I may find grace
in Thy sight” (v. 13).
Very blessed is this. The sad failure of Israel presented itself now to Moses
only as an occasion for knowledge of Him. God had made promises, He
had sworn by Himself, and His promises ensured the actual entrance of
Israel into Canaan, not their extermination in the wilderness. Moses
therefore seeks unto Him now to learn His way. God’s “way” is the course
He takes in faithfulness in order to make good that which He has pledged.
A number of valuable practical thoughts are suggested by this verse.
First, we are unable to discover God’s “ways” for ourselves. This was
recognized by the Psalmist when he prayed, “Show me Thy ways, O Lord;
teach me Thy paths” (

25:4). And again, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord,
and lead me in a plain path” (

27:11).
Second, only God Himself can “show” us His way. Even the incarnate Son
(having taken the place of perfect subjection) said, “Thou wilt show Me the
path of life” (

Psalm 16:11). Ah, it ever needs to be remembered that
“the meek will He guide in judgment, and the meek will He teach
His way” (

Psalm 25:9).
Third, it is as God condescends to show us His way that we get to know
Him better: “Show me Thy way that I may know Thee.”
“And consider that this nation is Thy people” (v. 14).
This was Moses’ answer to the word of Jehovah before the Tent had been
pitched outside the camp. Then the Lord had said, “Depart, and go up
hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of
Egypt.” Here was the. response of faith: “Consider that this nation is Thy
people.” It was Moses casting himself back’ upon the word, the oath, the
covenant of Jehovah to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, renewed to himself at
the burning bush. It is to be noted that Moses made the same plea at a later.285
stage in Israel’s history, when, m consequence of their unbelief at Kadesh-barnea,
they again provoked the Lord to anger: see

Deuteronomy 9:26
and context. In a coming day, the godly Jewish remnant will repeat this
argument:

Joel 2:17. Finally, it is to be noted that our great High Priest
makes, this the ground of His plea too:
“I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou has given Me;
for they are Thine” (

John 17:9).
“And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee
rest” (v. 14).
We believe that the translators of our English Version have quite missed
the point here. As it reads, the response of Moses v. 15 would be the
language of doubt and unbelief. If Jehovah had positively affirmed that His
presence would go with Moses, to answer, “If Thy presence go not with
us” would be excuseless. So too his question in v. 16 is meaningless if God
had already given him assurance. Finally, in such a case, the Lord’s words
in v. 17 would be a needless repetition. All difficulty is at once removed if,
with the “Companion Bible” we punctuate v. 14 as a question: “Shall My
presence go with thee? and shall I give thee rest?” It was as much as to
say. How can My presence go with thee after this rejection of Me? The
Lord was emphasizing the enormity of Israel’s sin, and pressing the claims
of His holiness.
“And he said unto Him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us
not up hence” (v. 15).
The issue was still in the balance. The Lord had bidden Moses say to Israel,
“put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee”
(v. 5). Israel had obeyed this command, and Moses had gosse forth without
the camp to seek unto the Lord (v. 7). His faith is now put to the test: not
so much his faith in God personally, but in the superabounding of His
grace. “Shall My presence go with thee? and shall I give thee rest?” was a
challenge to his heart. The Lord frequently tests His people thus that He
may the better discover to themselves the real ground of their confidence.
When many of His disciples were forsaking Him, Christ asked the twelve,
“Will ye also go away?” (

John 6:66, 67). He knew, and they knew, that
they would not; but He was drawing out their hearts unto Himself.
“And he said unto Him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not
hence” Nobly did Moses rise to the occasion; or, shall we say, Blessedly.286
did his heart respond to Jehovah’s challenge. ‘He felt that without the
Lord’s own presence with them, all was in vain. No confidence did he have
in himself; nor was he satisfied with the prospect of the Angel going
“before” them. It was the Lord’s own presence, communion with Him his
soul craved. And is not this still, the longing of every renewed heart? Very
touching is it to behold Moses now identifying Himself with Israel: “Carry
us not up hence.” How blessedly did he again foreshadow Him who has
said,
“Behold I and the children which God hath given Me”
(

Hebrews 2:13)
“For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have
found grace in Thy sight? Is it not in that Thou goest with us? So
shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are
upon the face of the earth” (v. 16).
It is to God’s sovereign and illimitable grace (limited only by the bounds
which our lack of faith puts upon it) that Moses now appeals. It was all he
could appeal to, but, as the next verse shows, it was enough; his appeal
was not in vain. Again we see him identifying himself with the sinful and
penitent nation: twice over in this verse he says, “I and Thy people.”
“This is no mean adumbration of of Christ — this intense love of
Moses for Israel, linking them with himself in his place of favor
before God. And not only so, but rising higher, he now links them
with God. We have remarked that God took Israel on their own
ground, and since they had rejected Him, He had said to Moses,
‘thy’ people. But now — now that Moses acts as mediator, has
gained the ear of God, he says again, ‘Thy people’” (Ed. Dennett).
“So shall we be separated. I and Thy people, from all the people
that are upon the face of the earth.” This is very important. The
Lord’s presence in the midst of His people is for the purpose of
separating them from all others who are not His people.: How little
this is apprehended today. But let us return again to the blessed
typical picture here: “he thus claims, as it were, as proof of Divine
favor — restoration of favor — God’s own presence with His
people. it could not be otherwise known, and the fact of His
presence would separate them off from all other people. It is the
same in principle during this dispensation. The presence of the Holy.287
Ghost on earth, building His people into an habitation for God,
separates from all else, and so completely, that there are but two
spheres — sphere of the presence and action of the Holy Ghost,
and sphere of the action and power of Satan” (Ed. Dennett).
“And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou
hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in My sight, and I know
thee by name” (v. 17).
The mediation of Moses completely prevailed. This word of Jehovah’s was
His own answer to the questions He had asked in v. 14: “My presence shall
go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” This was the Lord’s own response
to the pleas of His servant, and it was all that was needed for the assurance
of his heart and as the guaranty of Israel’s safe conduct across the
wilderness. It was grace pure and simple, sovereign and long-suffering
grace. Grace vouchsafed to a people who had forfeited every claim upon
God. Grace granted in response to the prevailing intercession of the
mediator. Reference to this was made long after by Jehovah through one of
the prophets,
“Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword
found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause
him to rest” (

Jeremiah 31:2).
How blessed to know that Israel’s God is the Christian’s God. “My
presence shall go with thee”: this same precious assurance as given to us
while we journey through this world. No matter what the roughness of the
path may be, no matter what me trials and disappointments of the way, the
Lord Himself is with us. Has He not said,
“Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age”
(

Matthew 28:20)!
With us to guard and protect, to lead and guide, to counsel and cheer. Ever
with us, “a very present help in trouble” (

Psalm 46:1). O for faith to
realize this. O for a faith to act upon it — an ever-present, all sufficient
Christ, by our side.
How differently should we conduct ourselves did we but live in the
enjoyment and power of this!.288
“Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy
“When thou passest God” (

Isaiah 41:10)
will be with thee; and through the waters, through the rivers, they shall not
overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be
burned; neither shall the flame kindle thee” (

Isaiah 43:2). Was He not
with the three Hebrews in Babylon’s furnace! Then let us exclaim,
“Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil: for Thou art with me” (

Psalm 23:4).
Yes, His own promise is, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”
(

Hebrews 13:5). Praise and glory be to His name.
“My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” There are two
things here: the Lord’s “presence” for the present, “rest” assured for the
future. What more can we ask ? Blessed promise! Glorious prospect!
“Rest,” the rest of God (

Hebrews 4:1). Rest from sin, lest from toil, rest
from sorrow. O for faith to anticipate it. O for hope to enjoy it even now,
for
“faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen” (

Hebrews 11:1).
Gird up thy loins, fellow-pilgrims. This wilderness journey is not to last for
ever. A few more years at most, Perhaps only moments, and thou shalt be
where the wicked cease from troubling and where the weary are at rest. In
the meantime, He will deal with us as He dealt with Israel of old:
“He redeemed them, and He bare them, and carried them all the
days of old” (

Isaiah 63:9).
This was grace, grace abounding over all their sin. And this God is our
God, “the God of all grace” (

1 Peter 5:10). May our hearts adore Him
and our lives show forth His praise..289
CHAPTER 65
SOVEREIGN MERCY

EXODUS 33:18-23
In studying the varied contents of Exodus 33 we need to remind ourselves
of the particular book in which these events are recorded. They are found
not in Leviticus, but in Exodus. Everything has been placed by the Holy
Spirit in each book of Scripture according to a principle of selection: only
that which was in perfect accord with the special design of that book, only
that which contributed directly to its theme, is given a place: everything
irrelevant, every thing which did not illustrate or amplify the purpose and
character of it, being excluded. This is true not only of the Gospels (see
our book “Why Four Gospels?”), where each evangelist was guided by the
Inspirer of Scripture to include only that which was in full accord with the
particular character in which he was setting forth the Lord Jesus, but it
holds good just as truly and strikingly of the four books dealing with the
early history of the nation of Israel. It is only by recognizing this that we
can appreciate the perfections of the Spirit’s handiwork, and as we do so,
often the key is found which opens the deeper meaning of many a passage.
Genesis is the book wherein we have illustrated the foundation-truth of
Divine election. This is seen in God’s singling out of Abram, and making
him the progenitor of His chosen people. Exodus sets forth the blessed
truth of Divine redemption, God ransoming and emancipating an enslaved
people from the house of bondage, and bringing them into a place of
nearness to Himself. Leviticus is the book of Divine worship, of priestly
privileges and exercises, revealing to us the provisions which God has
made for His people to approach unto Him. Thus, in these first three books
of Holy Writ we have wrought before us that which relates, peculiarly, to
each of the Persons in the Godhead. The Father’s predestination, the Son’s
propitiation,” the Spirit’s inspiration to worship.
As we have just said, the great subject which is unfolded in the book of
Exodus is that of redemption. This was pointed out by us several times in
the earlier articles of this series, but we mention it again because it throws.290
light on the chapter now before us. What we would here call attention to
is, that redemption not only procures deliverance from surfdom and
slavery, not only brings its favored objects into a place of nearness to God,
but, through the mediation of the Redeemer, it secures a continuance of
God’s grace and mercy while His redeemed are still journeying to the
purchased inheritance; and it ensures the continued presence of the Lord in
the midst of His feeble and failing people. In

33:13-16 Moses is found
pleading for God’s continued presence with them. In v. 17 the Lord
answers, “I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken.” At the close of
our book, we behold the fulfillment of this. After Moses had erected the
tabernacle, the visible symbol of Jehovah’s presence descended and filled it,
and we read,
“The cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire
was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout
all their journeys” (

40:38).
In our last few articles we have been occupied with the love of Moses for
his people, and his prevailing intercession on their behalf before God. In
this present one we find him a beautiful type of the Lord Jesus. But what
we would here emphasize is the fact that the record of this is found in the
book of Exodus, teaching us that the intercession of Christ on our behalf,
with all the blessings which it secures, is the fruit of that redemption which
He has wrought out for His people. Now as we have seen, the first great
blessing which the prayer of Moses obtained for his people was the
averting of God’s consuming wrath (

32:10, 14). The second grand
privilege his supplications won for them — on the ground of having
himself found favor in the eyes of God — was the securing of Jehovah’s
continued presence with them (

32:12-17). Keeping these things in mind,
let us now turn to the seventh and last recorded thing in Exodus 32 and 33
— compare the second paragraph in the preceding article.
“And he said, I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory” (v. 18).
Our pen falters as we take up such a verse as this, for what sinful creature
is competent to write upon such an exalted theme as the glory of God?
Nevertheless, some blessed thoughts are suggested by this request of
Moses. First of all, contemplating it in the light of the book in which it is
found, are we not taught thereby that this is both the longing of the
redeemed and the goal of their redemption — to behold the glory of God!
That this longing is yet to be fully realized, that this wondrous goal will be.291
reached. we know from the last charter but one of Holy Writ, for of the
Eternal City we read,
“And I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the
Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun,
neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten
it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (

Revelation 21:22, 23).
“And he said, I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.” Pondering this verse
next in the light of its immediate context, we are shown what is the sure
product of intimate fellowship with God. The great Jehovah had
condescended to draw very near to the one who had separated himself
from evil, for we are told, “the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a
man speaketh unto his friend” (v. 11). And what was the consequence of
this upon Moses? Not only did he have freedom in supplicating His grace,
but there was a holy longing to know more of Himself. Such is ever the
outflow of real and close communion with God: the more we know of
Him, the more we desire to know. The closer God deigns to draw near to
His people, the more constrained are they to cry,
“Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us”
(

Psalm 4:6).
“And he said, I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.” If the connection
between this and the previous verse be noted, we are taught here another
valuable lesson on prayer, one which we do well to take to heart. In the
previous verse we read, “And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this also
that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in My sight, and I know
thee by name.” Twice Moses had petitioned Jehovah; first not to consume
His people; then, to beg His continuence in their midst. Each of these
supplications had been graciously granted. Emboldened by his success,
instead of being content therewith, Moses presents (we may well say) a still
greater petition. And, as the Lord’s response denotes, He was not
displeased at his servant’s importunity. Oh to remember in prayer that “We
are coming to a King,” then let us “large petitions with us bring.” It is thus
that we honor Him.
“And He said, I will make all My goodness pass before thee”
(v. 19).
How striking to learn here that God’s “glory” is His “goodness,” His
“goodness” His “glory.” And what is the goodness of the Lord? Ah, who is.292
capable of returning answer: human definitions are worthless. Shall we say
that His “Goodness” is what He is in Himself, the sum of His personal
excellencies? But has not the Lord Himself answered our question, and
fulfilled His promise to Moses when He declared.
“The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracing, long-suffering,
and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands,
forgiving iniquity and transgresaion and sin, and that will by no
means dear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
children” (

34:6, 7).
“And I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee” (v. 19).
Was not this the renewal and confirmation of what He had announced at
the beginning, when, at the burning bush, He first called Moses? Moses
had asked, “When I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto
them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say
unto me, what is His name? What shall I say unto them?” He made
answer, “I am that I am: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children
of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you;” and then He added,
“Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of
your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God
of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this is My name forever, and this
is My memorial unto all generations” (

Exodus 3:13-15).
“And will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show
mercy on whom I will show mercy” (v. 19).
These words bring before us one of the most precious truths found in
Scripture for the comfort of God’s people, yet is it one that is little
understood today. In

2 Timothy 2:15 the servant of God is bidden,
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to
be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” But how few “rightly
divide” between the grace of God and the mercy of God! How many
regard them as being virtually synonymous. How much we lose by failing
to distinguish between things that differ, by confusing in our thoughts
things which are perfectly distinct. Scripture never confuses the grace and
mercy of God, and it is to our deep loss if we do so.
The order in which these two attributes of God are here mentioned
supplies the key to the distinction between them: “mercy” comes in after.293
the “grace” of God. Why is this? Because mercy is the wondrous provision
of God to meet the desperate needs of a people who have failed to respond
to His grace. And this is what is so blessedly brought out here in Exodus
33. From Egypt to Sinai God had dealt with Israel on the ground of pure
grace. In themselves they were no better than the Egyptians, vet had God,
in His sovereign benignity, brought them out of the house of bondage,
conducted them through the Red Sea, separated them unto Himself,
supplied their every need in the wilderness. But how had the people
requitcd such favors and blessings? They had revolted against Him, they
had repudiated Him, they had set up an idol in His place. Was, then, their
case hopeless? True they had “mourned,” stripped themselves of their
ornaments, and bowed in worship before the symbol of His manifested
presence by the Tent. But could a God whose favors had been so lightly
esteemed go on with them any further?
As we have seen, the typical mediator had interceded on behalf of the
people who had sinned so heinously. And now it was that the Lord made
one of the most blessed revelations of His character to be found anywhere
in Holy Writ. Something was here made known of God’s nature which had
never before been revealed in its real depths, namely, His mercy. It is true
we nave mention of that precious word in the book of Genesis, but the full
interpretation of its meaning is not there discovered. It was here in Exodus
33 that this deep and blessed spring in God’s Being was made manifest —
so rich, so full, so blessed. Man’s extremity was God’s opportunity. The
Divine outflow of grace had been abused, His righteous law had been
broken, the relation entered into by the Sinitaic covenant (Exodus 24) had
been disrupted by the rebellion of Israel. Now, “mercy” sovereign and
absolute, was the resource of Him who retires into Himself and acts from
Himself; only by the exercise of mercy could sinning Israel be extricated
from their merited doom.
As we have said above, from the time when Jehovah first took up His
enslaved people in the land of Pharoah, till the waters gushed out of the
smitten rock at Rephidim, all was a stream of pure grace, that is, free gifts,
Divine favors to a people who had no worthiness or merits of their own.
But here in Exodus 33 Israel were given cause to praise God on an
altogether different ground, and from this time on- wards we find that
ground the great theme of Israel’s songs —.294
“O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy
endureth forever” (

Psalm 106:1).
In proof of this contrast, note the contents of Psalm 105 and 106. Let the
reader turn to them and mark carefully how that in Psalm 105, which also
opens with “O give thanks unto the Lord,” that the grace-history of Israel
is taken up, beginning with Jehovah’s dealings with the patriarchs (v. 9),
and re- counting what God had done for their descendants, till Rephidim
was reached. In v. 41 we read, “He opened the rock, and the waters
gushed out,” and there the Psalmist stops. It will be observed that the word
“mercy” does not occur in it a single time.
Now let the reader turn to Psalm 106, where we have the mercy-history of
Israel’s journeyings. Observe how frequently this Psalm makes mention of
Israel’s sins: — their unbelief (v. 7), their impatience (v. 13), their lusting
(v. 14), their envy of Moses (v. 16), their idolatry (v. 19), their murmuring
(v. 25), their unfaithfulness (v. 28), their provoking the Lord (v. 33), their
disobedience (v. 34), their wickedness (vv. 35, 37). As v. 43 summarises it,
“Many times did He deliver them; but they provoked Him with their
counsel.” Thus did Israel evilly requite the wondrous grace of God. What
then? Did He annihilate them? Well He might have done so. But instead,
we are told,
“And He remembered for them His covenant, and repented
according to the multitude of His mercies” (v. 45)!
From Sinai and onwards Israel’s songs never recounted God’s grace. No,
it was too late for that after the golden calf had been set up. His grace had
been abused, flung back, as it were, into His face. His law had been
violated, His covenant broken. But His mercy “endureth forever.”
Hallelujah! Mercy, then, is that blessed quality of God’s nature which
meets the deep and dire needs of those who have sinned against His grace.
The background of God’s grace is our emptiness, poverty, worthlessness.
The foil for His mercy is our sinfulness, wickedness, vileness. That is why
we are bidden to come to the Throne of Grace that we may “obtain mercy
and find grace to help in time of need” (

Hebrews 4:16).
The distinction just drawn above serves to explain what is found in the
opening salutation of the N.T. epistles. We would urge the reader to
consult for himself each passage now to be referred to. In

Romans 1:7.

1 Corinthians 1:1, 2,

2 Corinthians 1:1, 2,

Galatians 1:3,.295

Ephesians 1:2.

Philippians 1:2

Colossians 1:2,

1
Thessalonians 1:1, 2,

2 Thessalonians 1:2, each Christian company is
saluted with “grace be unto you.” But when we turn to

1 Timothy 1:2,
2 Timothy l:4,

Titus 1:4 we find “mercy” is added: “grace, mercy and
peace.” Why is this? We know of no writer that has ever advanced what
we believe is the true answer. But does not the history of Israel supply the
key? Alas, has not history repeated itself? has not the course of
Christendom corresponded to that of Israel? Has not Christendom, too,
abused the wondrous “grace” of God? And has He not, most blessedly,
fallen back upon His mercy in His dealings with us?
It should be carefully observed that when we come to the epistles of
Timothy (see

1 Timothy 4:1,

2 Timothy 3:1) we are brought down
to the closing days of this dispensation. Ah, were it not for that mercy
which “endureth forever” where would God’s unfaithful, backslidden, and
lukewarm people be! Still more significant is it to note mat the salutation of
Jude’s epistle, the last one (treating of conditions in the end-time) opens
with “mercy unto you.” Verily, “mercy” is our last hope. Nor does it fail
us. Yea, we are “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto
eternal life” (

Jude 20) — the reference being to His second advent:
compare

2 Timothy 1:18.
Oh Christian readers, have our own souls understood and apprehended this
glorious attribute of mercy in which our God is so “rich” (

Ephesians
2:4)? Have we not often confused it with His grace, and thereby failed to
perceive its distinctive glory and blessedness? Have not we not only broken
His holy law again and again, but despised His very grace? What then is
left but to fall back upon His mercy, which very attribute supposes this is
our last resource! Well aware are we that this very truth may be
misappropriated and misused, but for those whose hearts desire to please
and glorify God, it is unspeakably precious. The mercy of God can only be
truly apprehended by those who have been made to feel how grievously
they have sinned against His grace. It is such who will welcome the
invitation to come boldly (“freely”) to the Throne of Grace, that there they
may “obtain mercy” for the unrequited grace of yesterday, and there also
find fresh supplies of grace for the needs of today.
In perfect accord with all that has been said above, is the first mention of
God’s “mercy” in Holy Writ:.296
“And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon
the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the
Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth and set
him without the city” (

Genesis 10:16).
This regarded Lot, and it is blessed to note his own acknowledgment of it,
“Behold now. Thy servant hath found grace in Thy sight, and Thou hast
magnified Thy mercy, which Thou hast showed unto me in saving my life”
(v. 19). Yes, he had “found grace” in God’s sight, for he was one of the
Lord’s people (

2 Peter 2:7). But O how basely had he treated that
grace! He had not only forsaken Abraham, but had settled down in wicked
Sodom. The only hope for such an one was mercy, and this God had
“magnified.” It only remains for us now to point out how that in

Exodus 33:19 the Lord emphasizes His sovereignty in the exercise of
this attribute, saying, “I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
Necessarily it must be so. Mercy is that which none can claim as a right:
might they justly do so, it would cease to be mercy. Hence God reserves to
Himself the right to extend it to whom He pleases, and to withold it from
whom He pleases. To this principle the apostle, when treating at length of
the sovereignty of God, called attention in

Romans 9:18. Nor is God
un-righteous in this. None is wronged if “mercy” be witheld. God is
therefore free to act as He pleases:
“Is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with Mine own?”
(

Matthew 20:15).
“And He said, thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man
see Me, and live (v. 20).
We must ever distinguish between God’s absolute character and His
relative making known of Himself. In His absolute character and essence
no man hath seen nor can see God, for He is “Spirit” (

John 4:24), and
therefore unseeable. But relatively He has made Himself known to us by
His many names and titles, by the manifestation of His many and varied
attributes, and more fully and blessedly still, by and in the person of Christ.
Yet it remains true that, absolutely, God is the invisible God,
“dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto: whom no
man hath seen, nor can see” (

1 Timothy 6:16).
In O.T. times, when God made Himself known to Abraham, Moses,
Joshua, Gideon it was the second Person of the Trinity, yet not in His.297
essential Deity, but in human or angelic form. No human creature is
capable of perceiving the infinite and eternal Spirit in all His majesty and
ineffable glory.
“And the Lord said, Behold there is a place by Me, and thou shalt
stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass while My glory
passeth by, that I will put thee in a cliff of the rock, and will cover
thee with My hand while I pass by: And I will take away Mine
hand, and thou shalt see My back parts: but My face shall not be
seen” (vv. 21-23).
This is most blessed. In order for sinful man to be able clearly to
contemplate the Divine perfections of an infinitely righteous, holy God, it is
necessary that he should be put into a place of security and peace. This
God has, in His infinite condescension and grace, provided for us. To
faith that “rock” is Christ. Augustus Toplady beautifully represented this in
his well-known hymn,
“Rock of Ages cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.”
Or, as we prefer to sing it,
“Rock of Ages cleft for me,
Grace hath hid me safe in Thee.”
God graciously permitted Moses to have an impression and perception of
His presence such as he was capable of. A beautiful illustration of what we
have in view here, we borrow from Dr. Cuyler’s work on the Holy Spirit:

“I was talking about Christ to an impenitent neighbor the other day.
He said ‘Why can’t I feel about Him as you do? I have read the
Bible a good deal — I have heard a good deal of preaching, yet I
can’t get up any enthusiasm in regard to this Savior that you talk so
much about.’ I said to him, ‘You make me think of my visit to the
White Mountains some years ago. We were told that there was a
wonderful piece of natural statuary there — a man’s face chiselled
out of a granite cliff. When we went to see it, we found what we
supposed was the cliff, but there was no appearance of human
features — no form or comeliness such as we had been told of. We
were about to turn away disappointed when a guide came along
and said. ‘You are not looking from the right point.’ He led us up.298
the road a few rods, and then said, ‘Turn and look!’ We did so, and
there was the face as distinct as any of ours, though of gigantic
size. Until we reached the right spot we could see only a jagged
rock, and not a symmetrical face. The vision of the form and
comeliness depended upon the angle of observation. And it is so
with you, my friend. Come with me under the shadow of the Cross.
Come there as a penitent sinner, look there upon that visage so
marred more than any man. Realize that the mangled, thorn-crowned
Sufferer is dying for you, and you will see in Him a beauty
that will ravish your soul.”
By linking together a clause out of v. 21 with what is stated in 5:22 we get
a beautifully complete type of the believer’s absolute security.
First. “thou shalt stand upon a rock.” This at once reminds us of,
“By faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;
by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we
stand” (

Romans 5:1, 2).
Second, mark well the words, “I will put thee in a clift of a rock,” for no
sinner of himself can do this. Blessed figure was of an elect soul being
“created in Christ Jesus” (

Ephesians 2:10).
Third, “and will cover thee with My hand.”
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide
tender the shadow of the Almighty” (

Psalm 91:1).
Not only is the believer in Christ, but he is also protected by the Father’s
hand (

John 10:29). Finally, observe it is only as we are in the “clift of
the rock” that God’s “goodness” passes before us (v. 22). His “glory” can
only come into view as the flesh is altogether hidden; that is, as we are
made “new creatures in Christ.”
“And I will take away Mine hand, and thou shalt see My back
parts: but My face shall not be seen” (v. 23).
This was in keeping with the Legal economy: the law had only
“a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the
things” (

Hebrews 10:1).
But how blessed the contrast now:.299
“For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory
of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (

2 Corinthians 4:6)!
O may Divine grace enable both writer and reader to walk worthy of such
a God, and such a revelation of Himself (

1 Timothy 3:16) as He has
now made to us in and through Christ (

John 14:9)..300
CHAPTER 66
GOD’S GOVERNMENTAL PRINCIPLES

EXODUS 34:1-7
Our present passage gives the sequel to what was before us in Exodus 19
and Exodus 24. Up to Exodus 19 God had dealt with Israel on the ground
of His unconditional covenant with Abraham: see

Genesis 15:18;

Exodus 2:24;

6:3, 4. The last thing recorded before Israel reached
Sinai was the miraculous giving of the water at Rephidim, and concerning
that the Psalmist tells us,
“He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry
places like a river. For He remembered His holy promise, Abraham
His servant” (

105:41, 42).
But at Sinai, God’s relationship to Israel was placed upon a different basis.
In

Exodus 19:5 we find God, from the mount, bidding Moses say unto
the people,
“Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My
covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all
people: for the earth is Mine.”
In connection with the covenant that He had made with Abraham there was
nothing which Israel could “keep;” there were no conditions attached to it,
no stipulations, no proviso’s. It was unconditional so far as Abraham and
his descendants were concerned. It was a covenant of pure grace, and it
was on the ground of that covenant God will again take up Israel after this
dispensation is over. But at Sinai God proposed another covenant, to
which there should be two parties — Himself and Israel: It was a
conditional covenant, a covenant which Israel must “keep” if they were to
enjoy the blessings attached thereto; note carefully the “if” in

19:5. The
charter of the Siniatic covenant was the two tables of stone, upon which
were engraved the ten commandments, see

Exodus 34:27, 28,

Deuteronomy 4:13. The terms of this covenant Israel freely accepted.301
(

19:8,

24:3), and accordingly, it was solemnly ratified my blood
(

24:4-8). In proposing this covenant, God had two things before Him:
the maintaining of His own rights, and the good of His people. Grace ever
reigns “through righteousness” (

Romans 5:20, and in His sovereign
benignity to Abraham’s seed, God must uphold the claims of His throne.
But this was also for their good: God’s commands “are not grievous”
(

1 John 5:3), and in keeping of them there is great reward. In article 28
of this series we sought to show that, so far from redemption setting aside
the rights of God over His creatures, it supplies an additional motive for
recognizing and meeting them.
Now at the close of Exodus 24 we hear Jehovah saying to Mines, “Come
up to Me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone,
and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest
teach them (v. 12). Accordingly Moses, accompanied by his minister
Joshua, goes up into the mount, and as v. 18 tells us, he was “in the mount
forty days and forty nights.” The next seven chapters are occupied with a
description of the Tabernacle, details of which God also gave to Moses on
that occasion. Then, in Exodus 32, we learn how the people below had
been conducting themselves during the absence of their leader: the great sin
of the golden calf, with its idolatrous worship, had been committed.
Nothing but the intercession of the typical mediator had saved them from
utter extermination by the wrath of God. As we have seen, they were
severely chastised for their wickedness, the Tent of meeting was removed
outside the camp, and following Israel’s repentance and Moses’ repeated
supplication, they were restored again to communion with God.
Therefore the next thing we read is,
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like
unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were
on the first tables, which thou breakest. And be ready in the
morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and
present thyself there to Me in the top of the mount. And no man
shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all
the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount”
(

34:1-3).
Thus, as we have said in the opening sentence of this article, our present
passage gives the sequel to what was before us in Exodus 19 and 24.
Though Israel had, during the interval, sinned so grievously. Moses must.302
return to Jehovah and receive from Him the inscribed tables of stone. No
purpose of the Most High can fail. To the outward eye it may appear that
the wickedness of the creature is thwarting, or at least hindering, the
execution of His counsels. But it is only seeming; in reality it is not so:
“My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure”
(

Isaiah 46:10),
in His sure and unchanging declaration.
The ground we have sought to review above is especially rich in its typical
teaching. The first tables of stone were broken (

32:19) in view of
Israel’s sin — a figure of man’s inability to keep God’s Law. The first
tables of stone were provided by Jehovah Himself “I will give thee”
(

24:12). but the second were to be supplied by Moses himself: “hew
thee” (

34:1) — type of Christ the Mediator who declared,
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am
not come to destroy, but to fullfill” (

Matthew 5:17).
Accordingly, the second set of tables were securely deposited in the ark
(

Deuteronomy 10:5) — type, again, of Him who said,
“I delight to do Thy will, O My God: Yea, Thy law is within My
heart” (

Psalm 40:8).
Again; the covenant which God made with Abraham at the beginning
(Genesis 15), and on the ground of which He had delivered Israel from
Egypt and brought them unto Himself, foreshadowed that eternal covenant
which God made with Christ (

2 Timothy 1:9;

Titus 1:2;

Hebrews
13:20), on the basis of which God’s people are saved and blest

Ephesians 1:3, 4). The covenant God made with Israel at Sinai, which
brought in the establishing of His rights and the good of His people on
earth, foreshadowed the present government of God over His people,
pressing upon us our responsibilities and obligations, making known to us
the terms on which we receive blessings from Him in this life, and revealing
the principles which regulate God Himself in His dealings with us. As these
will receive amplification in what follows, we pass on now to notice one
other typical feature of importance and preciousness.
In the interval between the two ascents of Moses into the mount to receive
from Jehovah the engraved tables of stone, we have the solemn account of.303
Israel’s wickedness; but where sin abounded “grace did much more
abound.” Very blessed is it to see illustrated there that word in

Psalm
76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee.” Israel’s sin, so far from
defeating the purpose of God, only provided occasion for Him to reveal the
wondrous provisions which He has made for His failing people: seen in the
unfailing love and prevailing intercession of the typical mediator. It is this
which has been before us in the last few articles, finding its glorious climax
in the making known of the mercy of God — that wondrous spring in the
Divine character which ministers to those who have failed to respond to
His grace — and the making of His “goodness” to pass before Moses
(

33:10). That “goodness” was inseparably connected with the
proclamation of “the name of the Lord,” and what that signified we shall
learn from our present passage.
“One other remark should be made. Satan had come in, and for the
moment seemed as if he had succeeded in frustrating the purposes
of God with respect to His people. But Satan is never so
completely defeated as in his apparent victories. This is nowhere so
fully illustrated as in the cross, but the same thing is perceived in
connection with the golden calf. This was Satan’s work; but the
failure of Israel becomes the occasion through the mediation of
Moses, which God in His grace had provided, of the fuller re-velation
of God, and of His mingling grace with law. The activity of
Satan does but work out the purposes of God, and his wrath is
made to praise Him against whom all his malice and enmity are
directed” (Ed. Dennett).
“And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses
rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the
Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of
stone” (v. 4).
The typical teaching of this verse brings out an important truth which is
now very frequently denied, namely, that God’s redeemed are still under
law: not as a condition of salvation, but as the Divine rule for their walk.
Let it be remembered that what we have here in Exodus 34 follows right
after what is recorded in chapter 33, where we have a most manifest and
lovely foreshadowing of the intercession of our great High Priest on high..304
Many are the New Testatment passages which give us the antitype of this.
Said the Lord Jesus to His disciples, “If ye love Me, keep My
commandments” (

John 14:15), which is, obviously, paralell with,
“Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep
My commandments” (

Exodus 20:6).
In perfect accord with this, is that word in

Romans 13:10, “Love is the
fulfilling of the law.” The law has not been abrogated, nor is love lawless.
Equally plain is that word in

1 Corinthians 9:21, where the apostle
affirms that New Testament saints are “under the law to Christ.” Nor does

Romans 6:14 set this aside, for God’s Word does not contradict itself.
When the apostle there says, “Ye are not under the law, but under grace,”
he is referring to our justification, not to our walk as believers. “
“And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there,
and proclaimed the name of the Lord” (v. 5).
This at once introduces to us a subject of much importance, but, alas, like
many another, sadly neglected today: the teaching of Holy Writ concerning
the Name of the Lord. God is very jealous of His name as the third
commandment in the decalogue shows: the Lord will not hold guiltless that
one who taketh His name in vain. In the prayer which Christ taught His
disciples, the first petition is “Hallowed be Thy name.” In

Proverbs
18:10 we read, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous
runneth into it and is safe.” From

Malachi 3:16 we learn that God has
written a book of remembrance “for them that feared the Lord and that
thought upon His name.” While the last chapter of Scripture tells us that
God’s name shall be in the foreheads of His people (

22:4).
“And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and
proclaimed the name of the Lord.” This was the fulfillment of the promise
which He had made to Moses in

33:19. There He had said,
“I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim
the name of the Lord before thee.
To proclaim His “name” signified to reveal Himself, to make Himself
known. Just as the angel said to Joseph concerning the Child Mary was to
bear,.305
“Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from
their sins” (

Matthew 1:21):
the “name” Jesus revealed what He was — the Divine Savior. Or, just as
Christ commanded His disciples to baptize
“in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”
(

Matthew 28:19),
because it is thus that the Triune God now stands revealed.
The particular character in which Jehovah was about to reveal Himself to
Moses is best perceived by noting the place and circumstances of this
gracious manifestation of Himself. It was upon Sinai, in connection with
the giving of the Law. It was, as we have said above, at the time when the
Lord was enforcing His own rights on the people, following upon the
exercise of His grace toward them. It was when Jehovah took His place in
Israel’s midst as their king. It was there, upon the Mount that He made
known that “righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne”
(

Psalm 97:2). Many are the scriptures which connect the “mount” with
Divine government. For example, it was upon the mount (

Matthew 5:1)
that the Lord Jesus proclaimed the principles which are to regulate those
who are the subjects of “the kingdom of heaven.” It was on the “holy
mount” that He was transfigured (Matthew 17), which set forth in vivid
tableau the features which shall attend the establishment of His Messianic
kingdom here on earth. While in

Zechariah 14:4 we are told, that when
He returns with the “government upon His shoulder” (

Isaiah 9:6), “His
feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives.”
At the burning bush Jehovah proclaimed His name, but there it was not a
making known of the principles which regulate Him in the government of
His people, rather was it a revelation of what He is in Himself — the great
“I AM,” the all-sufficient, self-subsisting One, “with whom is no
variableness neither shadow of turning” (

James 1:7). How appropriate
was such a revelation of Himself on that occasion! Moses was about to
appear, first, to his oppressed brethren, who would, at the onset, welcome
him, but subsequently blame him because of their increased burdens; later
before Pharaoh, who would first display an haughty and defiant spirit, and
then a vacillating and temporizing one. Well was it for Moses to lay firm
hold of the glorious fact that he was an ambassador of the great “I AM.”.306
“And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and
proclaimed the name of the Lord.” With this should be compared, or rather
contrasted what we read of in John 17. There we find our Savior rendering
an account of His work to the One who had sent Him here; and, as He
entered into detail, the first thing that He says is, “I have manifested Thy
name.” But how different was this from what we have in Exodus 34:
There it was God making Himself known in government; here it was God
made manifest by the Son in grace. This is at once evidenced by the words
immediately following, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which
Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them
Me”; it was grace, pure and simple, eternal and sovereign, which gave us
to Christ. So again in the 26th verse we hear our have High Priest saying to
the Father, “I declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the
love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them.” Ah, that was grace,
the “riches of His grace” (

Ephesians 1:7), Yea, “the glory of His grace”
(

Ephesians 1:6).”
“And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord,
The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant
in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving
iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear
the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and
upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation”
(vv. 6, 7).
These are the most important as well as the most blessed verses in our
passage. In them the Lord makes known the principles or attributes which
are exercised in the government of His people. The perfections of that
government appear in that seven principles are here enumerated. A careful
study of them supplies the key to and explains all the subsequent dealings
of God with Israel.
It is a most profitable exercise to go through the remainder of the Old
Testament in view of these verses: by them much light is thrown upon the
later history of Israel. Many are the passages in the prophets which have
their roots in

Exodus 34:6, 7; many are the prayers whose appeals were
based upon their contents. But that which is the most important for us to
heed is that, here we have proclaimed what marked the “ways” of Jehovah
with Israel. As we trace His dealings with them from Sinai onwards, it will.307
be found that each one of these seven attributes were in constant exercise.
Let us now consider, though briefly, each one separately.
“The Lord God merciful.” How unspeakably precious is it to mark that this
is mentioned first. It is, we might say, the fount from which all the others
flow: because God is mercitul, He is “gracious, longsuffering, abundant in
goodness” etc. Mercy was the hope of David when he had sinned so
grievously: “Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are
great” (

2 Samuel 24:14. Solomon owned God’s “mercy” to Israel (

1
Kings 3:6:

8:23). So Jehosaphat (2 Chronicles 20: 21). So too
Nehemiah at a later date: mark how he called the constant mercy of God to
Israel:

9:19, 27, 28, 31. So too did Daniel encourage himself in the
mercy of God:

9:9, 18. To Jeremiah God said,
“Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, return,
thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause Mine
anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord”
(

3:12).
It is on the ground of “mercy” that God will take up Israel again in a
coming day. He shall say,
“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies
will I gather thee” (

Isaiah 54:7).
“And I will show mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon
you, and cause you to return to your own land” (

Jeremiah
42:12).
So the Lord Jesus shall yet say
“And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house
of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have
mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them
off” (

Zechariah 10:6).
“And gracious.” This tells us the ground on which God bestows His
mercies: it is not for anything in man or from him, but solely because of His
own benignity. All of God’s mercies are gifts, free Favors to a people
entirely devoid of any worthiness. Many are the appeals to the grace of
God recorded in the Old Testament. David cried,.308
“O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of
violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set Thee
before them. But Thou O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and
gracious” (

Psalm 86:14, 15).
Hezekiah appealed to the Divine clemency (

2 Chronicles 30:9). So did
Jonah (4:2) assured the people in his day,
“therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you”
(

Isaiah 30:18).
Through Joel God said to Israel,
“Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord
your God: for He is gracious” (

2:13).
While in the last book of the Old Testament the prophet exhorted,
“And now, I pray you, beseech God that He will be gracious unto
us” (

1:9).
“Longsuffering.” How strikingly did the whole history of Israel bear
witness to the wondrous patience of God! The word long-suffering
signifies “slow to anger.” It was to the “longsuffering” of Jehovah that
Moses first appealed when Israel had sinned so grievously at Kadesh-barnea
(

Numbers 14:18). It was the realization of God’s great patience
which staved David’s heart (

Psalm 145:8). To it Nehemiah referred
when reviewing Israel’s history and God’s long forebearance with them
(

9:18). In Nahum’s brief but powerful message we read, “The Lord is
slow to anger and great in power” (1:3). The Lord Jesus pointed to the
same perfection when He said to the Jews.
“O Jerusalem. Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest
them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered
thy children together” (

Matthew 23:37).
“Abundant in goodness.” The Hebrew word for goodness is more
frequently translated “kindness.” David acknowledged it when he said,
“Blessed be the Lord; for He hath showed me His marvellous
kindness in a strong city” (

Psalm 41:21).
So too Nehemiah (

9:17). In a coming day the Lord will say to Israel..309
“In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with
everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee” (

Isaiah 54:8).
The Hebrew word is also rendered “loving-kindness.” Frequent mention of
it is made in the Psalm: “For Thy lovingkindness is before mine eves”
(

26:3); “How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God!” (

36:7): “We
have thought of Thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of Thy temple”
(

48:9). Isaiah said, “I will mention the loving-kindnesses of the Lord”
(

63:7). Through Jeremiah God said,
“But let him that glorieth glory in this. that he understandeth and
knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness,
judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I
delight” (

9:24).
“And truth.” The Hebrew word signifies “stedfastness.” It is rendered
“verity” in

Psalm 111:7: “The works of His hands are verity and
judgment.” It is translated “faithful” in

Nehemiah 7:2. To the men of
Jabesh-gilead David said, “The Lord show kindness and truth unto you”
(

2 Samuel 2:6). Unto Jehovah the Psalmist sang,
“For Thy mercy is great above the heavens: and Thy truth reacheth
unto the clouds” (

Psalm 108:4).
God is faithful to His covenant-engagements, true to both His promisings
and His threatenings.
“Keeping mercy for thousands — forgiving iniquity and transgressions and
sin.” How often God pardoned Israel for her sins!
“And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God
their redeemer. Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth,
and they lied unto Him with their tongues. For their heart was not
right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant. But He,
being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them
not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away” (

Psalm 78:35-
38).
So in a coming day the Lord will say,
“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”
(

Jeremiah 31:34)..310
“And that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third
and fourth generation.” Though God pardons, often He does not remit the
consequences of sin:
“Thou wast a God that forgavest them, though Thou tookest
vengeance of their inventions” (

Psalm 99:8).
To this day the Jews are suffering because of the sins of their fore-fathers.
It only remains for us to add that, inasmuch as God changes not, the seven
principles contemplated above now regulate His government of
Christendom corporately and the Christian individually. How merciful, how
gracious, how longsuffering, has God been to those who profess His name!
How good, how faithful, how forgiving, all through these nineteen
centuries! Yet the sins of the fathers have also been visited upon their
children. Today we are suffering from the compromisings, unfaithfulness,
sectarianism, pride, and wickedness, of those who went before us. May the
Lord bless to the reader what has been according to His own Word..311
CHAPTER 67
A JEALOUS GOD

EXODUS 34:8-17
We turn now to contemplate a portion of the further communication which
Jehovah made to Moses in the Mount. It is not easy to break up this
chapter into sections of suitable length for these comparatively brief
articles, and therefore we are obliged to spend a little time in reviewing the
ground covered in the previous one, that the continuity of thought may be
preserved. In our last, we beheld God asserting His rights over those
whom He had redeemed unto Himself: Moses being called to receive the
Law at His hands. There we heard Him enunciating the principles of His
government. These are seven in number, and close attention to them is
called for if we would appreciate His “ways” with Israel of old. and enter
intelligently into that which regulates Him in His dealings with us now.
God is “light” (

1 John 1:5), as well as “love” (

1 John 4:8), and
therefore we are exhorted, “Behold therefore the goodness and the severity
of God” (

Romans 11:22). The two sides to the Divine character shine
forth in all His dealings with man. In Eden we behold His “goodness” in
making promise of the coming of the woman’s Seed to bruise the Serpent’s
head (

Genesis 3:15), but we also see His “severity” in that “He drove
out the man” (

3:24) God as Love provided a shelter for Noah and his
house; God as Light sent the flood and destroyed those who had corrupted
their way on earth. The “goodness” of God commissioned two angels to
deliver Lot, but His “severity” rained-down fire and brimstone and
consumed wicked Sodom. God as Love preserved His people under blood
in Egypt. God as Light slew all the firstborn of the Egyptians. The
“goodness” of God, in response to the intercession of Moses, spared the
idolatrous Nation from utter extermination, but His “severity” called for
the sword to do its work (

Exodus 32:27).
We may observe the clear display of these two sides of the Divine
character in the ministry of the incarnate Son. The Lord Jesus came here
“full” not only of grace, but “of grace and truth” (

John 1:14). He was.312
the Friend of publicans and sinners, but He was the Enemy of self-righteous
hypocrites. The same One who was “moved with compassion” as
He beheld the multitude (

Matthew 14:14), “looked round upon them
with anger” (

Mark 3:5) as He beheld the hard-hearted critics of the
synagogue. He who wept over Jerusalem, “made a scourge of small cords”
and drove out of the temple the defilers of the Father’s house (

John
2:15). He who “blessed His disciples” (

Luke 24:51) cursed the fig tree
(

Matthew 21:19). His “beatitudes” in Matthew 5 are balanced by His
denunciatory “woe’s” in Matthew 23. If we read of the “love of Christ”
(

Ephesians 3:19), we read also of “the wrath of the Lamb”
(

Revelation 6:16).
The same conjunction of these Divine perfections is to be discerned in the
proclamation of the name of the Lord, which He gave to Moses on the
Mount in connection with the enunciation of His governmental principles.
He is both “abundant in goodness and truth” (v. 6). If He “keeps mercy for
thousands,” yet He declares that He will “by no means clear the guilty.”
Though He forgives “iniquity. transgression, and sin,” yet He also visits
“the iniquity; of the fathers upon the children.” The sin of Ham was visited
upon his descendants (

Genesis 9:25): the sin of Korah and his company
resulted in the earth opening its mouth and swallowing them up and their
houses (

Numbers 16:32). When Achan was punished for his sin. there
were stoned with him “his sons and his daughters” (

Joshua 7:24, 25).
When the Jews crucified Christ, they cried. “His blood be upon us, and
upon our children” (

Matthew 27:25) and God took them at their word.
And what is the practical application to us of these things? This: God is a
God to be loved, but He is also a God to be feared, for “our God is a
consuming fire” (

Hebrews 12:29). Did we perceive that God is Light
as well as Love, we should stand more in holy awe of Him. Did we behold
His “severity” as readily as we do His “goodness,” we should be more
fearful of displeasing Him. Did we bear in mind that He not only pardons,
but also visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, we should be
more careful about our walk than we are.
“God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be
had in reverence of all them that are about Him” (

Psalm 89:7)
In Heaven itself the saints not only sing the praises of God, but they “fall
down before Him” (

Revelation 4:10). Then let us seek grace to heed.313
that word, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”
(

Philippians 2:12).
“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and
worshipped” (v. 8).
It is blessed to note the effect upon Moses of the wondrous and glorious
communication which he had just received from the mouth of Jehovah:
filled with adoration and awe he takes his place in the dust before Him. No
formal or perfunctory homage was it that Moses now rendered. The words
“made haste” seem to point to the spontaneity of his worship; the bowing
of his head toward the earth shows how deeply his spirit was stirred. And if
our hearts really lay hold of the perfections of God’s administration, we
too will be bowed before Him as worshippers.
“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and
worshipped.” This is ever the result when the Lord condescends to reveal
Himself to one of His own. When He appeared before Abram and said, “I
am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou upright,’ we are told
that “Abram fell on his face” (

Genesis 17:3). When He appeared before
Joshua as “Captain of the host of the Lord,” we are told that “Joshua fell
on his face to the earth, and did worship” (

Joshua 5:14). When His
glory filled the temple which Solomon had built, all the children of Israel
“bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the
pavement and worshipped and praised the Lord” (

2 Chronicles
7:3).
“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and
worshipped.” Let us not lose sight of the immediate link between this and
the close of the preceding verse. The last things mentioned there are that
God will by no means clear the guilty, and that He visits the sins of the
fathers upon the children. In- stead of showing resentment, Moses
acquiesced; instead of challenging the righteousness of these things, he
worshipped. Well for us if we follow his example.
“And he said, If now I have found grace in Thy sight, O Lord, let
my Lord, I pray Thee, go among us; for it is a stiff-necked people;
and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thine
inheritance” (v. 9)..314
Very beautiful is this. Moses continues to use the favor which he had
personally found before God for the good of others. His affections were
bound up with His people. Blessedly does he identify himself with them:
“Let my Lord, I pray Thee, go among us.” How this brings to mind that
wondrous word of our Redeemer’s when, presenting Himself for baptism,
He said to His amazed forerunner, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all
righteousness” (

Matthew 3:16). Verily. “He that sanctifieth and they
who are sanctified are all of one” (

Hebrews 2:11).
Let us note carefully the reason now presented by Moses for the Lord’s
accompanying His people: “Let my Lord. I pray Thee, go among us, for it
is a stiff-necked people.” This is very striking, though to some of the
commentators it has presented a difficulty. It was their need which Moses
spread before Jehovah: it was His grace to which he appealed. Seeing that
God was “merciful, gracious, longsuffering,” He was just the One suited to
a “stiffnecked” people. None but He could bear with them. At the very
time that Israel were worshipping the golden calf the Lord Himself had said
to Moses,
“I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people:
Now, therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against
them” (

32:9, 10).
Now, Moses not only acknowledged the truth of God’s charge, but, in
wondrous faith, turns it into a plea for Him to continue in Israel’s midst!
Beautifully has another commented on this:
“The relationship between Moses personally and God, was fully
established, so that he could present the people such as they were,
because of his (Moses’ own) position, and, consequently, make of
the difficulty and sin of the people a reason for the presence of
God, according to the character He had revealed. It is the proper
effect of mediation; but it is exceedingly beautiful to see, grace
having thus come in, the reason God had given for the destruction
of the people, or at the very least of His absence, becoming the
motive for His presence. We know this ourselves: my sinfulness in
itself would be the reason for God’s giving me up. But now I am in
grace, I can plead it with God as a reason, blessed be His name, for
His going with me, never should I overcome and get safe across the
wilderness. if He was not with me. Surely the flesh is there, hut it is
wondrous grace” (Mr. J N. Darby)..315
Verily, it is all of grace from first to last. Christ came here not to call the
righteous, but sinners to repentance (

Matthew 9:13). The proud
Pharisees resented it, murmured, and said, “This man receiveth sinners and
eateth with them” (

Luke 15:2). Thank God He still does so, and the
more the Holy Spirit reveals to us the “plague” of our heart (

1 Kings
8:38). the more we are enabled to apprehend the wondrous grace of God,
the more shall we crave His presence with us and that because we are, by
nature, a “stiffnecked” people. The more we discover the true character of
the “flesh” — its unimprovableness, and our own powerlessness to contend
against it, the more shall we long for an Almighty arm to lean on. So, too.
the more we realize that this world is a “wilderness,” affording nothing for
our souls, the more shall we perceive the need of the presence of Him who
— all praise to His name — is the Friend that “sticketh closer than a
brother” (

Proverbs 18:24).
“And pardon our iniquity and our sin. and take us for Thine inheritance.”
Here again we perceive the boldness of Moses’ faith. This was the climax
of his petitions on Israel’s behalf. First, he had besought the Lord that His
wrath should not wax hot against them (

32:11). Then he had pleaded
for the Lord’s continued presence in their midst (

33:15, 16). Now he
asks that the Lord will pardon their iniquity (note how graciously be
identifies himself with his sinning people: “our iniquity and our sin”) and
“take us from Thine inheritance.” When Sinia had first been reached, God
had said. “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My
covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people”
(

19:5). But the sin of the golden calf had severed every relationship.
But here Moses as their mediator and intercessor pleads that everything
should he restored.
That his prayer was answered we know from other scriptures. In

Deuteronomy 32:9 we find him saying. “For the Lord’s portion is His
people: Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” So also we find David
declared,
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: and the people
whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance” (

Psalm 33:12).
Blessed is it to know that Israel, though temporarily, cast aside for our
sakes, is God’s “inheritance” forever:.316
“For the Lord will not cast off His people. neither will He forsake
His inheritance” (

Psalm 94:14).
In a coming day the word shall go forth.
“Sing and rejoice. O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will
dwell in the midst of thee saith the Lord, and many nations shall be
joined to the Lord in that day and shall be My people: and I will
dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of
hosts hath sent Me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah His
portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again”
(

Zechariah 2:10-12).
“And take us for Thine inheritance.” Again we would remind the reader
that we are dealing with the contents of that book whose theme is
redemption. How blessed then to learn that, through redemption, God has
obtained for Himself an “inheritance!”

Ephesians 1:18 speaks of the
“riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” A truly marvelous
concept is that, one to which our poor minds are quite incapable of rising
— that the great and selfsufficient God should deem Himself enriched by
worms of the earth whom He hath saved by His grace. This “inheritance,”
like all others, has come in through death, the death of God’s own Son.
That death not only vindicated Divine justice by putting away the sins of
His people, but it has brought in that which shall glorify God through the
endless ages of eternity. God will occupy His “inheritance” forever.
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with
them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with
them, and be their God.” (

Revelation 21:3).
“And He said, Behold, I make a covenant, before all thy people, I
will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in
any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the
work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.”
(v. 10).
This verse presents a difficulty, which is by no means easy of solution. God
here promised that He would do unprecedented miracles on Israel’s behalf,
“marvels such as have not been done in all the earth” Had these
words been spoken at the burning bush, before Moses first
interviewed Pharaoh, their application had been obvious: but here,.317
at Sinai, their meaning is not easy to fix. God had already wrought
great “marvels” on Israel’s behalf: the plagues upon Egypt, when
water was turned into blood, dust into lice, frogs entering the
homes of the Egyptians. but avoiding those of the Israelites, a
supernatural darkness lasting for three days, though “all the
children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
(

Exodus 10:22, 23);
the dividing asunder the Red Sea; the raining of manna from heaven, and in
such quantities as to supply the needs of two million souls; the bringing of
water out of the rock — these were, one and all, prodigies of power. But
here God announces still greater wonders!
We believe that the last book of the Bible describes the fulfillment of this
word of Jehovah’s to Moses. There we read of plagues more dreadful and
wondrous than those which came upon Pharaoh and his people. Upon
Egypt God sent natural “locusts,” but in a soon-coming day the bottomless
pit shall be opened, and from it shall issue infernal “locusts,” who in- stead
of consuming vegetation, shall torment men, so that “in those days shall
men seek death, and shall not find it.” (

Revelation 9:6.) In

Revelation 15:1 we read,
“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven
angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is flied up the
wrath of God.”
How little the world dreams of what is shortly coming upon it!
In the past God put forth His power and delivered Israel from Egypt, but in
a coming day He will, with still greater displays of His might and by means
of judgments of far sorer intensity, deliver the scattered Jews from all
countries among which they are now dispersed:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His
hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people,
which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from
Pathros, and from Cush and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from
Hamath, and from the Islands of the sea. And He shall set up an
ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and
gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four quarters of the
earth.” (

Isaiah 11:11-12)..318
“And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries
whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds:
and they shall be fruitful and increase. Therefore they shall no more
say, ‘The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of
the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries
whither I had driven them: and they shall dwell in their own land.”
(

Jeremiah 23:3, 7, 8)
Of old, God divided the Red Sea for His people to pass through; but in a
coming day He shall completely dry it up for them.
“And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea;
and with His mighty wind shall He shake His hand over the river,
and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry
shod. And there shall he an highway for the renmant of His people,
which shall be left from Assyria. like as it was to Israel in the day
that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” (

Isaiah 11:15, 16,
compare also

Zechariah 10:11).
So too we read,
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river
Euphrates: and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the
kings of the east might be prepared.” (

Revelation 16:12).
But not only will God perform mighty miracles on Israel’s behalf, but as

Exodus 34:10 adds, “It is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.”
Clearly this refers to the Great Tribulation. when God will deal with Israel
for their sins. As Jeremiah predicted,
“Alas! for that day is great so that none is like it: it is even the time
of Jacob’s trouble.” (

30:7).
Of that dreadful period Christ declared.
“For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the
beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither
shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no
flesh should be saved.” (

Mark 13:19, 20.)
At Sinai God appeared before Israel with the most awe-inspiring
manifestations:.319
“And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord
descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the
smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”
(

Exodus 19:18)
But when the incarnate Son returns to this world, we are told that He
“Shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming
fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not
the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (

2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8).
To this grand event the Apostle Paul referred when quoting from Haggai:
“Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised,
saying. Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.”
(

Hebrews 12:26.)
Should it be asked. What is the connection between the awful contents of
this 10th verse of Exodus 34 and its context? The answer is not far to seek.
At the close of v. 9 we find Moses beseeching Jehovah, “Take us for thine
inheritance.” The next thing we read is. “And He said. Behold I make a
covenant.” etc. With His omniscient eye. God looked down the centuries.
and then made known to His servant what must, ultimately, take place
before Israel became His “inheritance” in fact. When this Covenant of
Marvels has been fulfilled, the prayer of Moses will receive its final answer.
It is in the Millennium, following the awful judgment of the Great
Tribulation, that the Lord will enter upon His heritage. Then shall it be
said,
“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel, be glad and rejoice with
all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away
thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy; the King of Israel.
even the Lord is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any
more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to
Zion. Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst
of thee is mighty: He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy;
He will rest in His love. He will joy over thee with singing.”
(

Zephaniah 3:14-17.)
“Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive
out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite. and
the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.” (v. 11)..320
Here the Lord returns to the more immediate present. Note the “this day,”
and the change from the “I will do marvels” and “it is a terrible thing that I
will do with thee” of the previous verse, to “I drive out.” It should also be
observed that the extermination of the Canaanites is attributed not to the
military prowess of Israel, but to the alone power of Jehovah.
“Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the
inhabitants of the land whither thou guest, lest it be for a snare in
the midst of thee.” (v. 12.)
This was a call to separation. There must be no unequal yoke uniting the
people of God with the children of the Devil. The Lord was taking Moses
at his word: in

33:16 he had said. “Is it not in that Thou guest with us?
so shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are
upon the face of the earth.” It is solemn to discover how Joshua. at a later
date, disobeyed this very exhortation, see

Joshua 9:14, 15. Centuries
after, serious trouble issued from Joshua’s sin, see

2 Samuel 21:1-9.
“But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down
their groves.” (v. 13.)
This also has its spiritual application to us. Not that Christians are called
upon to reform society and improve the world, by engaging in crusades
against vice and drunkenness. The counterpart in our experience to what
we have here in v. 13 is that we should wage an unsparing war upon that
which prevents us from enjoying our inheritance in Christ. Everything that
would displace God in our lives and in our affections must be demolished.
Every idol — that which comes between the Lord and my heart — must be
ruthlessly hewn down.
“For thou shalt worship no other God: for the Lord, whose name is
Jealous, is a jealous God.” (v. 14).
Very searching, but very blessed is this.
First, God is ‘jealous’ of His own glory. Through Isaiah He has declared,
“I am the Lord: that is My name; and My glory will I not give to
another” (

42:8).
That is why God has chosen the foolish things of this world, weak things,
things which are despised, yea, non-entities “that no flesh should glory in
His presence.’ (

1 Corinthians 1:27-29)..321
Second, God is “jealous’ of the affections of His people. He is grieved
when our love is given to another. “My son, give Me thine heart.”
(

Proverbs 23:26) is His appeal. “Set Me as a seal upon thine heart.”
(

Song of Solomon 8:6) is His call to each of us.
Third, God is “jealous” of His people: “He that toucheth you toucheth the
apple of His eye.” (

Zechariah 2:8) is His own avowal.
As we have practically reached the limits of our space, we refrain from
commenting in any detail upon v. 15, 16. The more so because what is
there said has been before us in Exodus 13 and 23. That which is therein
enjoined is separation from the Canaanites themselves, from their ways,
and from their worship. In view of what had so recently taken place, the
closing words of our passage are very solemn: “Thou shalt make thee no
molten gods.” (v. 17.) May the Lord grant both writer and reader that
purpose of heart to cleave fully unto Himself, and that singleness of eye
that has in view nought but His own glory, ever remembering that our God
is a jealous God..322
CHAPTER 68
GOD’S CLAIMS

EXODUS 34:18-21
The verses which are now to be before us seem, at first sight, very
disconnected, presenting, apparently, a series of miscellaneous duties which
the Lord enjoined upon Israel. First, mention is made of “The feast of
unleavened bread” (v. 18). Next, we have the redemption of the firstborn,
both of beasts and Israel’s sons (vv. 19, 20). Then reference is made to the
sabbath (v. 21). This is followed by instruction concerning the observance
of the feast of weeks and the feast of ingathering (vv. 22-24). Next we
have prohibitions concerning the offering of leaven with God’s sacrifices,
and the leaving over of the passover feast till the next morning (v. 25).
Finally, God’s claims upon all the first-fruits of the land is made, and
command is given that a kid is not to be seethed in its mother’s milk (v.
26). Thus, no less than seven different things are brought before us in these
few verses. What, then is the link which binds them together? Wherein lies
the unity of our passage?
We believe the answer to our question is to be found in, the promise which
the Lord gave when He first appeared to Moses at the burning bush:
“And He said. certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token
unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the
people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain”
(

Exodus 3:12).
The sequel to this is found in

19:3, 4:
“And Moses went up unto God and the Lord called unto him out of
the mountain, saying. Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob,
and tell the children of Israel: Ye have seen what I did unto the
Egyptians, and how I bear you on eagles’ wings, and brought you
unto Myself.”.323
Here in Exodus 34 Jehovah makes known the character of that “service”
which He required from Israel.
First of all, we have the two tables of stone, on which were inscribed the
ten words of the Law. Submission to Himself, obedience to His revealed
will is what God requires from His people.
Second, Jehovah made known the principles which regulate the
government of His people (vv. 6. 7).
Third, the call to absolute separation from the heathen (v. 12), from their
religion (v. 15), and from intermarriage with them (v. 16) is next given. No
unequal loke must be formed between the children of God and the children
of the Devil: compare

2 Corinthians 6:14-18. God had brought them
unto Himself (see

1 Peter 3:18), and this wondrous and glorious fact
must now be witnessed to in all their ways. In the verses that follow,
comprising our present portion, we have the positive side brought out.
“The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days shalt
thou eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the
month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt”
(v. 18).
How blessedly this tells forth God’s grand design in redemption: it is not
only for the purpose of emancipating His people and bringing them unto
Himself, but also that they may be happily gathered around Himself. That is
what the “feast” speaks of, communion and joy. God gathered His
redeemed around Himself in holy convocation, Himself the center of peace
and blessing.
The feast of unleavened bread was inseparably connected with the
Passover. The passover provided that sacrifice upon which the feast itself
was based. The antitype of it is found in

1 Corinthians 5:7, 8:
“For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us
keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of
malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity
and truth.”
The two together tell us that holiness is the consequence of redemption.
The two cannot be separated. It is because our sins have been put away,
that God can now take us into communion with Himself. First, God counts.324
us to have “died with Christ” (

Romans 6:4-8). Second, we are to
“reckon” upon this fact (

Romans 6:11;

2 Corinthians 5:14): faith is
to appropriate it. Third, there is to be the practical expression of this in our
daily lives:
“Always learning about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,
that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body”
(

2 Corinthians 4:10).
We must distinguish between what the “unleavened bread.” itself
emblemized, and what Israel’s actual feasting thereon typified. The bread
was the Divinely-appointed symbol of Him who declared,
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man
eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give
is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world”
(

John 6:51).
Hence, because His person is holy, unleavened bread was appointed:
“Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye
shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth
leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul
shall be cut off from Israel” (

Exodus 12:15).
If then God gave such explicit instructions to His people of old, to use only
that kind of bread which suitably and accurately represented the
immaculate body of His blessed Son, by what right may we today be less
particular in the loaf selected for “the Lord’s supper?”
The Lord Jesus Himself instituted that “Supper” as a memorial of Himself,
given in death for His people. Concerning the emblems which He
appointed, if we are subject to the Scriptures, there cannot be the slightest
room for question. They were, first, bread, unleavened, as is clear from the
fact that this “Supper” was instituted right after the paschal one
(

Matthew 26:29) — therefore, when all leaven was rigidly excluded
from their houses. The second was the “cup,” containing “the fruit of the
vine” (

Matthew 26:29). Therefore when reminding the Corinthians of
these, the apostle Paul wrote,.325
“As often as ye eat (not simply “bread,” any bread, but) this bread,
and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come”
(

1 Corinthians 11:26).
Alas, in this day of laxity, compromise and departure from the written
Word, man’s substitutes for God’s appointments are received in most
places without a murmur.
In Central Africa, where flour is difficult to obtain, one company of
professing native-Christians, with their white missionaries, use cocoanut in
lieu of bread, and its milk for the cup. Another company known to us in
Australia, use raspberry-juice. And why not? If we are justified in changing
unleavened bread into leavened bread, prepared pieces of bread cut into
cubes instead of a loaf broken — to remind us of the body of Christ broken
for us: and an evening feast, a “supper,” into a morning ordinance: then
who has the right to say where the line of departure shall be drawn?
Personally. the writer had far rather never partake of the Lord’s supper
again, than be a party to the sin of setting forth the blessed person of Christ
by means of bread which has in it that which, in Scripture, is always the
symbol of evil. If the loaf on the table has any symbolic significance at all,
then a leavened one portrays a Christ with a corrupt humanity, and such is
not the Christ of Holy Writ.
We are well aware of the objection which is likely to be made, namely, We
must not be occupied too closely with the symbols themselves, lest the
heart be taken off Christ. Such language may sound very pious, but it ill-becomes
those who use it. Precisely the same objection is made by many
pedo-baptists against immersion. They say, It is not the mere outward
form, but the spirit behind the act that matters. But our Lord has said,
“This do in remembrance of Me:” then how dare we “do” something else?
If the outward symbols are of little or no moment, then why not be
consistent and follow the “Quakers,” and abandon the external ordinances
altogether? We can and do “remember” Christ at other times than when we
are gathered around His table. But we can only “show the Lord’s death”
(

1 Corinthians 11:26). when we adhere strictly to His own
appointments. And is our obedience in this, a small matter to Him who
commanded Moses to “make all things” (even the pins and cords) for the
Tabernacle “after the pattern shown him in the mount?” It still stands
written,.326
“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, to hearken than the fat of
rams” (

1 Samuel 15:22).
Others object, If you are going to be such a stickler for the particular kind
of bread used at the Lord’s table, you might just as well insist that we
select an “upper room,” and partake of it sitting on the ground as the first
disciples did. Our reply is, These details contributed nothing to the showing
forth of “the Lord’s death.” which is the central design of the Supper. For
that reason nothing whatever is said about these details in 1 Corinthians 11,
where the bread and the cup are particularized. Had the apostle mentioned
them there, then we should have been under obligation to heed and emulate
them. But he has not. Really, such an objection is nothing more than an idle
quibble. Let those who are responsible for making the arrangements at the
Lord’s table, weigh in His presence what we have written. Let them ask,
What kind of bread, leavened or unleavened, is the more scriptural? is the
more appropriate as an emblem of the holy person of Christ? And which is
least calculated to distress and stumble those of His people who, by grace,
desire to be subject the Word in all things?
Returning now to our type. That which was prefigured by the “unleavened
bread” was the person of Him who is “without blemish and without spot”
(

1 Peter 1:19). Israel’s participation in the feast itself typified that
holiness which is the believers in Christ. Note how Paul could say, to the
failing Corinthians, “ye are unleavened” (

1 Corinthians 5:7). But we
must daily seek grace from on high to make this good in our lives, by
walking in separation from all that defiles and corrupts: “Be ye holy, for I
am holy” (

1 Peter 1:16), is the unchanging demand of God upon us.
And that upon which His demand is based is. “Ye are not your own, ye are
bought with a price.” If we are, by His wondrous grace, washed in the
precious blood of Christ, He surely looks that we should keep our
garments undefiled. If then we delight to contemplate the Passover, let us
also keep, in a practical way, “the feast of unleavened bread,” and that for
“seven days” — a complete period, the whole of our life on earth.
“The feast of unleavened bread must be kept; God has provided us
with it in Christ. He has brought in a new character of Manhood
that we might feed upon it, and purge out all that is contrary to it.
We see every where in the world an inflating principle, giving
importance to that which has no true value before God. But in
Christ we see One marked by purity, holiness, sincerity and truth:.327
all that is delightful to God; and nothing inflated — nothing
appearing to be greater than it really was. When they said to Him.
Who art thou? He answered. ‘Altogether that which I also say to
you.’ That is unleavened bread, and as we appreciate it and feed
upon it, we shall become unleavened; we shall hate and purge out
every kind of leaven” (C. A. Coates).
“All that openeth the matrix is Mine” (v. 19). God is the universal
Proprietor. As the Creator of all, His rights are beyond question. But how
little are they recognized and owned in a practical way! Our present verse
is one which ought to be much before those who are parents. Listen fond
mother, doting father, that little one in the cradle is not yours absolutely; in
reality, it belongs to God. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord”
(

Psalm 127:3). Have you acknowledged this? Have you dedicated your
little one to God?
“Thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix”
(

Exodus 13:12)
was God’s word to His people of old. and it has never been repealed. O
that you may be able to say with the mother of Samuel.
“For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition
which I asked of Him: Therefore also I have returned him to the
Lord” (

1 Samuel 1:27, 28).
This is a subject of great practical importance, and there is much need to
press it upon parents today. Scripture does not teach infant “christening,”
or infant baptism, but it does infant dedication. Even the parents of Christ,
when He was a child, “brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the
Lord” (

Luke 2:22). And note that both here and in Samuel’s case, it
was the parents personally, and not a priest, who performed the solemn
act. The act of dedication is the formal acknowledgment that the child
belongs to God: it is saying, as David said.
“For all things come of Thee: and of Thine own have we given
Thee” (

1 Chronicles 29:14).
The whole subsequent training of the child should be in the remembrance
of this fact. Hold your children in trust from God, and “bring them up in
the nurture and admonition (mark the ‘balance of Truth’) of the Lord”
(

Ephesians 6:4)..328
“All that openeth the matrix is Mine: and every firstling among thy
cattle, or sheep” (v. 19).
Clearly it is God here pressing His claims upon His people. The cattle upon
a thousand hills are His. So too He declares,
“The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts”
(

Haggai 2:8).
How often we forget this! Ah, it is one thing to sing. ‘Naught that I have I
call mine own, I hold it for the Giver; For I am His, and He is mine.
Forever and forever,” but it is quite another matter to recognize that we
are but stewards, holding everything in trust from Him and for Him:
“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful”
(

1 Corinthians 4:2).
If we shall be called to account for “every idle word” that we have uttered
(

Matthew 12:36), how much more shall we for every pound or dollar
that we have wasted!
It is very striking and solemn to observe that in the three parables which
our Lord gave on the subject of service and its reward, that, in each
instance, He selected a coin to illustrate His theme.
First, in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, a “penny” (Matthew
20).
Second, in the parable of the Nobleman,
“He called His ten servants and delivered them ten pounds, and said
unto them. Occupy till I come” (

Luke 19:13).
Third, in the parable of the Man travelling into a far country He called His
own servants, and delivered unto them His goods: and unto one He gave
five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to
his several ability” (

Matthew 25:14, 15). The word talent signifies “a
sum of money.” With it His disciples were to trade during the time of His
absence. If the teaching of these parables were more before our hearts,
Christians would be more diligent and faithful in laying up for themselves
“treasure in heaven” (

Matthew 6:20)..329
“But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if
thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the
firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem” (v. 20).
This is a repetition of what was before us in

Exodus 13:13. As so many
of our present readers have not seen what we wrote thereon, almost four
years ago, we deem it advisable to go over the same ground again, or at
least to review what we then said.
The words “the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb,” at once
carry our minds back to the Passover night, when the firstborn of the
Hebrews was “redeemed with a lamb.” Thus the Lord has linked together
the redemption of His own people with the redeeming of asses. Again, it is
to be noted that, “if thou redeem not (the “ass”), thou shalt break his
neck,” just as the Israelites would most certainly have been smitten by the
avenging Angel unless they had slain the lamb and sprinkled its blood. Thus
God here compares the natural man with the ass! Deeply humbling is this!
As we read in

Job 11:12 “For vain man would be wise, though man be
born like a wild ass’s colt.”
Under the Mosaic law, the “ass” was an unclean animal, neither chewing
the cud nor dividing the hoof. So too the natural man is unclean: “But we
all as an unclean thing” (

Isaiah 64:4). Though a man may be most
particular about his habits, yet within is he full “of uncleanness”
(

Matthew 23:27). The “divided hoof” symbolizes a separated walk, a
life that is lived with God and for God. The “chewing of the cud” speaks of
rumination, meditation, — meditating in God’s Law day and night
(

Psalm 1:2). But to these two things the natural man is a total stranger.
Thus, the “ass” accurately represents him. He is unclean. But thank God
there is a fountain opened “for sin and for uncleanness” (

Zechariah
13:1).
Again, the “ass” is a stupid and senseless creature. It has less of what we
call “instinct” than has almost any other beast. In this too it resembles the
natural man. Proudly as he may boast of his powers of reason, conceited as
he may be over his intellectual attainments, the truth is, that he is utterly
devoid of any spiritual intelligence:
“But the natural man receiveth not the firings of the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned” (

1 Corinthians 2:14)..330
And again,
“Walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of
God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness
of their heart” (

Ephesians 4:17, 18).
How thankful Christians should be that. “We know that the son of God is
come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is
true” (

1 John 5:20).
Once more; the “ass” is a stubborn and intractable animal. Often he is as
hard to move as a mule. Such also is fallen man. He is a rebel against God.
The history of every descendant of Adam is summed up in those terrible
words, “we have turned every one to his own way” (

Isaiah 53:6).
“There is none that seeketh after God” (

Romans 3:11). When God
became incarnate and tabernacled among men, He had to say, “Ye will not
come to Me, that ye might have life” (

John 5:40). When a sinner does
come to Christ, it is because Divine power has “drawn” him (

John
6:44). And after we become Christians. the Holy Spirit has to take us in
hand and “lead” us in “the paths of righteousness” (

Psalm 23:3.

Romans 8:14).
Most unpalatable to our proud hearts is such a line of truth as the above.
Yet is it blessed if we bow to it and take our true place before God — in
the dust. Only the illumination of the Holy Spirit can bring any of us to
realize how ass-like we are. For this reason Solomon wrote,
“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that
God might manifest them, and that they might see that they
themselves are beasts” (

Ecclesiastes 3:18).
Has God opened your eyes, my reader? Do you own that the “ass”
accurately portrays all that you are in yourself — un-clean, senseless,
intractable, fit only to have your neck broken? If so, you can appropriate
and appreciate those blessed words, “Christ died for the ungodly”
(

Romans 5:6). How marvelous the grace that has provided salvation for
such: “The firstling of an ass thou shall redeem with a lamb!”
“And none shall appear before Me empty” (v. 20). How can they! Once a
poor sinner has had his eyes opened to see the ruin which sin has wrought
in him, once he learns that he was “redeemed by the Lamb,” his heart is.331
filled to overflowing, filled with gratitude and praise. The language which
best expresses his thankfulness is,
“Bless the Lord. O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy
name” (

Psalm 103:1).
No, the redeemed cannot appear before the Redeemer “empty.”
Spontaneously must they heed that word,
“By Him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God
continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name’
(

Hebrews 13:15).
“And, none shall appear before Me empty.” If this were expressed in its
positive form, it would read, “They shall come before Me as worshippers,”
for worship is the presenting of something to God. As we have recently
had three articles upon this subject in our magazine, there is the less need
for us now to enlarge upon it. The first mention of “worship” in the O. T.
gives us the basic and central thought in connection with the subject. In

Genesis 22:5 we read that Abraham said, “I and the lad will go yonder
and worship.” Abraham was about to offer his son unto the Lord! So the
first time we read of worship in the N. T. we find the wise men presenting
gifts to the infant Savior (Matthew 2). Our hearts should be filled with love
and our mouths with praise as we appear before our gracious God.
“Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in
earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest” (v. 21).
The order of Truth presented in our passage is very beautiful. First, we
have had that which speaks of absolute separation unto God (v. 18). Next,
dedication unto God (vv. 19:20). Then, worship before, or the adoration
of, God (v. 20). Now we get mention of the sabbath, the Lord’s provision
of mercy for our soul’s occupation with Himself. It is to be observed that
here a word is added to the previous references to the Sabbath which were
before us in Exodus 16, 20, 31. Upon this Mr. Coates has said:
“The rest of the sabbath must be observed, and the distinctive
feature of it in this case is that ‘in ploughing-time and in harvest
thou shalt rest.’ It intimates the necessity for recurring periods in
which we cease from activity to contemplate in rest what God has
done. The sabbaths must be kept, no matter what the needs of the
Lord’s work may be: for I suppose that ploughing-time and harvest.332
might typify the most exacting and strenuous times in His work.
The soul must know what it is to lay aside its activities, and have its
rest with God. I am afraid we do not always keep our sabbaths. We
are either doing something, or occupied with what we are going to
do. There is not enough restfulness with God.”.333
CHAPTER 69
THE SINAIATIC COVENANT

EXODUS 34:22-27
The key verse to the whole of Exodus 34 is the 27th: “And the Lord said
unto Moses. Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I
have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.” Hence the title to our
present article. In the verse following the one just quoted, we read, “And
he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat
bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the
covenant, the ten commandments.” Thus, the Sinaiatic covenant was a
legal one, but as vv. 6, 7 have shown us, it was Law administered in mercy
and patience, as well as righteousness and holiness.
We have already considered the Law as expressing God’s government over
His redeemed people; let us now look at it in its dispensational bearings. In

Romans 5:20 we read, “the law entered, that the offense might
abound:” that is, that sin might appear “exceeding sinful” (

Romans
7:13): that the wickedness of the human heart might be manifested: that it
should be the more fully demonstrated that men are sinners: and this in
order that,
“Every mouth might be stopped, and all the world may become
guilty before God” (

Romans 3:19).
In the light of what has just been before us, we should carefully bear in
mind that God gave the Law to Moses twice:

Exodus 31:18: 34:1. 28.
The first giving of the Law demonstrated that man is ungodly. As we have
seen, before the Law was written upon tables of stone, it was first given to
Moses orally (Exodus 20), and Moses then repeated it to Israel (

24:3),
and they affirmed, “all the words which the Lord hath said will we do.”
The first word He had said was. “Thou shalt have no other gods before
Me.” But at the very time He was engraving those words on the stones,
Israel was saying to Aaron. “Up make us gods which shall go before us”
(

132:1). And the next thing was that the golden calf was made and.334
worshipped. The immediate sequel was the visitation of God’s anger upon
them (

32:27, 28).
Thus, the first trial of man — not of Israel only, for
“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man”
(

Proverbs 27:19)
— ended in judgment.
As the first giving of the Law demonstrated that man was “ungodly.” so
the second giving of it was to be followed by a manifestation that he is
“without strength” to keep it. These are the two things which characterize
fallen man (

Romans 5:6), and these were what the double giving of the
law was designed to show. The first was demonstrated speedily: the second
was made evident more slowly, yet none the less surely. God gave man fair
and full opportunity to show whether he had power to keep the law. In the
nation of Israel he was represented and tested under the most favorable
circumstances. Israel was separated from the heathen: Jehovah Himself
dwelt in their midst. They were given a land flowing with milk and honey;
and, as the apostle says, unto them pertained
“the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of
the law, and the service of God and the promises” (

Romans
9:4).
Well might Jehovah say to them at a later date.
“What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not
done in it? wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth
grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” (

Isaiah 5:4).
Yes, the vineyard of the Lord’s planting brought forth only “wild grapes.”
Graciously and longsufferingly did He bear with them, sending one prophet
after another to exhort, admonish, rebuke, and warn. But all to no purpose
(see

Mark 12:1-5). One generation after another was tested, but always
with the same result, in that the Law was “weak through the flesh”
(

Romans 8:3). Man had no ability to meet the righteous requirements of
God. He was “without strength.” Therefore, as was inevitable, this second
testing of man under the Law also ended with Divine judgment. And most
impressive was the longsuffering mercy of God seen in that too. The full.335
and final stroke of His wrath did not fall upon guilty Israel all at once, but
was meted out slowly and in stages.
First, God delivered up His people into the hands of the Chaldeans. As He
said through Isaiah,
“O Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is
Mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and
against the people of My wrath will I give him a charge, to take the
spoil, and to take the prey, and to treat them down like the mire of
the streets” (

10:5, 6).
Israel’s second testing under the Law had come to an end. The “glory of
the Lord” (the Shekinah) had departed from the holy city (

Ezekiel
11:23, 24), and Israel’s sons were carried down captive into Bahylon: and
through the prophet Hosea the Nation was disowned of God: “Then said
God. Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not My people” (

1:9).
Later, a remnant was permitted to leave Babylon and return to the land of
their fathers, unto the city which had been ruined through their folly and
rebellion, to raise it up again and to build the temple. But they came back
not as God’s people. but as “Lo-ammi.” And though a temple was erected,
yet no Shekinah glory abode in it. It was empty! God no longer dwelt in
their midst. The prophets which He sent unto them at that period
emphasized the ruin which had come in, and pointed forward to the advent
of the Savior. The great test then was no longer obedience to the Law
(though that was not repealed), but an humble acceptance of the Divine
judgment which was upon them, and a waiting in contrition of spirit for the
Deliverer. But instead of humbling themselves before God, instead of
repenting for their sins, instead of owning that they were “without
strength,” they were more self-righteous than ever. Ably has this been set
forth by another:
“But now, alas! you find again what the power of Satan is, and how
subtly he can blind, through man’s folly, the heart of man. It is very
striking, and people generally notice it as favorable to Israel, that
after their return, they were no more idolators. It had been their
special sin. The prophet asks. you remember, ‘Hath a nation
changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but My people have
changed their glory for that which doth not profit.’ Even from the
wilderness they had. There was first the golden calf, and all through.336
the wilderness they had taken up ‘the tabernacle of Moloch, and the
star of their god Remphan, figures which they made to worship
them.’ God had declared that he was the one God, but they were
idolators to the core of the heart.
“But as soon as there was no god in their midst — as soon as the
temple was empty and the glory had departed — as soon as they
were in the ruin which their sin had brought about, then
immediately Satan came forward, not in the garb of idolatry any
more, but now to resist the sentence which God had pronounced
upon them — now to persuade them that after all they were not as
Lo-ammi — that they were God’s people, and to say, ‘The temple
of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we.’ In fact, pharisaism was
the growth of that period, and pharisaism was the self-righteousness
which resisted God’s sentence upon them. pretending
to have a righteousness when God had emphatically declared that
man had none. So it was when that Deliverer prophesied of came.
and when the glory, in a deeper and more wonderful way than ever
was once more in their midst, — aye, the ‘glory of the only
begotten Son, in the bosom of the Father’ — the Antitype of the
glory of that tabernacle of old, — when He who was to come did
come, and was amongst them in love and grace, ready to meet them
with all mercy and tenderness, — not coming to be ministered to,
but to minister. — not requiring, but to give with both hands — to
give without limit — to give as God, — alas! These phasisees
could turn comfortably to one another and say, ‘which of the
pharisees have believed on Him?’ Pharisees they were who slew the
Lord of glory” (Mr. F. W. Grant).
Then it was, as a matter of course, that Judaism ended. The high priest’s
rending of his garments (

Matthew 26:65), though unknown to himself
(cf.

John 11:51), intimated that the priesthood had served its day.
Man’s second trial under Law was over. Nothing now remained but
judgment, yet even that lingered for a further forty years, till, in A.D. 70,
Jerusalem was captured, the temple destroyed, and the Jews dispersed
abroad. Even before that judgment fell, God’s call to His own people was.
“Save yourselves from this untoward generation’ (

Acts 2:40). And
again. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him, without the camp”
(

Hebrews 13:13). But we must now retrace our steps, and return to the.337
point from which we started. The central thing in Exodus 34 is the
“covenant” which Jehovah made with Israel at Sinai.
As we pointed out in the opening paragraphs of our last article, that
covenant was based upon the ten words engraved upon the tables of stone.
It was a covenant of law, but law administered in mercy, grace, patience,
as well as holiness and righteousness. In that covenant God pressed His
claims upon man.
First, He demanded absolute separation, unto Himself (v. 18).
Second, entire consecration for Himself (vv. 19, 20). Third, complete
submission to His appointed sabbath, no exception being permitted
even in harvest-time (v. 21). Here follows our present passage.
“And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of
wheat harvest” (v. 22).
The central thought in connection with each of Israel’s “feasts” was the
gathering together of the people around Jehovah Himself, on the ground of
redemption accomplished. Thus, it was corporate responsibility which is
here in view, and, we may add, corporate privilege, for there is no greater
privilege enjoyed on earth than for God’s saints to be gathered together, in
festive assembly, around Himself.
The “feast of weeks.” better known as “Pentecost.” is described at greatest
length in

Leviticus 23:15-21. Here it is connected with “the first fruits
of wheat harvest.” This at once makes us think of

James 1:18:
“Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth, that we
should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”
Dispensationally, the feast received a partial fulfillment at the descent of
the Spirit in Acts 2. We say “partial fulfillment,” for Peter’s words in

Acts 2:16, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.”
rather than “this is the fulfillment of that which was spoken by Joel,” tell us
that the complete realization is yet future: as indeed it is. The “two loaves”
of

Leviticus 23:17 pointed, first, to Jew and Gentile now gathered
together and made fellow-members of the Body of Christ; but, ultimately
they foreshadowed the re-uniting of the two houses of Israel (cf.

Ezekiel 37:16) when, after this dispensation has run its course, the Jews
will be restored once more to Divine favor..338
“And the feast of ingathering at the year’s end” (v. 22). This is better
known as “the feast of tabernacles.” It was the final one on Israel’s
religious calendar. Its dispensational fulfillment is therefore yet future.
“The feast of tabernacles is the joy of the millennium, when Israel
hath come out of the wilderness, where their sins have placed them:
but to which will be added this first day (the “eighth day” of

Leviticus 23:36” A. W. P.) of another week — the resurrection
joy of those who are raised with the Lord Jesus, to which the
presence of the Holy Spirit answers meanwhile. Consequently, we
find that the feast of tabernacles took place after the increase of the
earth had been gathered in, and, as we learn elsewhere, not only
after the harvest, but after the vintage also; that is, after separation
by judgment, and the final execution of judgment on the earth,
when heavenly and earthly saints shall all be gathered in” (Mr. J. N.
Darby).
“Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the
Lord God, the God of Israel” (v. 23).
The particular occasions specified were,
“in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in
the feast of tabernacles” (

Deuteronomy 16:16).
Really, those feasts contemplated three distinct dispensations: the first, the
O. T., when Israel was separated unto the Lord. The second, this present
interval, when in addition to the “remnant according to the election of
grace” (

Romans 11:5) from the stock of Abraham, God is also visiting
“the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name” (

Acts 15:14).
The third, to the millennium. when the Lord
“will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is
fallen down; and will build again the ruins thereof, and will set it
up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the
Gentiles, upon whom My name is called” (

Acts 15:16, 17).
We may add that each of the three persons in the Godhead are,
distinctively, contemplated in these feasts. The feast of unleavened bread,
which is inseparably connected with the Passover, speaks to us of God the
Son. The feast of weeks or Pentecost is marked by the descent of the Spirit
(

Acts 2:2:

Joel 2:28). The feast of tabernacles will witness the.339
answer to that oft-prayed petition, “Our Father which art in heaven…. Thy
kingdom come” (compare

Matthew 13:43; 16:27). The order is the
same as in the three-one parable of Luke 15: the work of the Shepherd, the
work of the Spirit, bringing into the Father’s house. Thus it is
experimentally.
As we have said, the “feasts” had to do with corporate responsibility, and
corporate privilege too, for:
“Behold. how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell
together in unity” (

Psalm 133:1).
But alas, history has repeated itself. At the beginning of Israel’s national
history, they were a united “congregation.” So it was at the beginning of
this dispensation: “And all that believed were together” (

Acts 2:44). For
a time all went well; then failure and sin came, followed by Divine
chastisement and judgment; true alike of Israel and Christendom.
Ultimately Israel was carried captive into Babylon, so too, all through the
‘dark ages’ the “mystery Babylon” of Revelation 17 dominated Europe. A
remnant of Israel returned from Babylon and the true worship of God was
restored in Israel, though not after its primitive glory. So there was a
Reformation, a remnant was delivered from the papacy, and God again was
magnified, though the streams of truth was not as pure as it was at the
beginning.
But at the end of the Old Testament period the corporate testimony of
Israel was a complete wreck and ruin: the priesthood had “corrupted the
covenant of Levi” (

Malachi 2:7, 8); polluted bread was offered upon
God’s altar (

Malachi 1:7). Judah had “profaned the holiness of the
Lord” (

Malachi 2:11), and Jehovah had to say,
“I have no pleasure in you… neither will I accept an offering at your
hand” (

Malachi 1:10).
In like manner, the corporate testimony of Christendom has long since
fallen into ruins. The last of the Epistles to the churches depicts Christ as
being on the outside (

Revelation 3:20), and His voice is addressed to
the individual only, “If any man hear My voice.”
“For I will cast out the nations before thee and enlarge thy borders:
neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shall go up to
appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year” (v. 24)..340
How remarkably does this verse illustrate

Proverbs 16:7: “When a
man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace
with him.” God will not allow any man to be His debtor: He has promised,
“Them that honor Me, I will honor” (

1 Samuel 2:30). So it was here.
These Israelites were going up to the temple to worship the Lord; in their
absence He would guard their homes.
“Neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear
before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.” How strikingly does this
demonstrate the absoluteness of God’s control of His creatures! And man,
though fallen and rebellious, is no exception. As

Daniel 4:35 tells us,
“He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among
the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand.”
So it was here. The male Hebrews were to leave their farms and go up to
the temple in Jerusalem (

Deuteronomy 16:16) — for many of them, a
long journey. They were surrounded by hostile heathen but so complete is
God’s control of man, every man, that none shall be allowed to molest
their families or flocks while they were away. Thus, we see that God not
only restrains the activities of the wicked, but even regulates the desires of
their evil hearts:
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water:
He turneth it whithersoever He will” (

Proverbs 21:1).
“Thou shalt not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven” (v. 25), God
was very jealous of the types. Why? Because they pointed forward to the
person and work of Christ. Thus, His jealousy of the types was His
guarding of the glory of His beloved Son. Therefore, inasmuch as the
sacrifices pointed forward to the Lord Jesus, leaven (which is an emblem of
evil) must be excluded, for He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from
sinners” (

Hebrews 7:26).
“Thou shalt not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven.” Very
wonderful and blessed is it to observe how the Lord here refers to the
sacrifice: He does not say “the blood of thy sacrifice,” but “My sacrifice.”
This is also the language of the antitype: The Sacrifice “offered once for
all.” was of God’s appointing, was of God’s providing, was for God’s
satisfaction. Man had no part or lot in it whatsoever. “Salvation is of the
Lord.” Frequently is this same truth brought out in the types. In

Genesis
22:8 we hear Abraham saying to his son’s query of “Where is the lamb for.341
the burnt offering? — God will provide Himself a lamb.” In

Exodus
12:27 we are told, “It is the Lord’s passover.” In connection with the two
goats on the day of atonement, lots were cast. “one lot for the Lord”
(

Leviticus 16:8): and so on.
“Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto
the morning” (v. 25).
The paschal lamb was to be eaten on the same night it had been slain and
roasted in fire. not left over to be partaken of on the morrow (see 12:10).
The application of this detail of the type is very solemn and searching. To
have eaten the lamb on the morrow, would have been to dissociate it from
the import of its death. The eating of the lamb speaks to us of the believer
(already sheltered by His blood) feeding on Christ: eating the lamb the
same night it was killed, tells us that we are ever to feed upon Christ with a
deep sense in our souls of what His death and bearing judgment for us
(“roast with fire”) really involved for Him. Note how Christ Himself
emphasized this in John 6: first vv. 50, 51, then vv. 53-56!
“The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the
house of the Lord thy God” (v. 26).
This Divine ordinance receives amplification in

Deuteronomy 26:1-11.
The interested reader would find it profitable to prayerfully study in detail
the whole of that passage for himself: we can but summarize its teaching
here.
First, it had to do with Israel’s possession of their inheritance (v. 1).
Second, this “first of the firstfruits of thy land” was the Divine pledge
or earnest of the coming harvest (v. 2).
Third, Israel acknowledged this by their presentation unto the priest
(v. 3).
Fourth, the Israelite was then required to look back and acknowledge
his previous state of shame and bondage (v. 5-7).
Fifth, he then owned the Lord’s goodness in deliverance (v. 8).
Sixth, he expressed his gratitude for the goodly portion the Lord had
given him (v. 9)..342
Seventh, he presented the “first-fruits” in worship before Him (vv. 10,
11).
All of the above is rich in its typical teaching, much of which has already
been before us in other connections. That which is here distinctive, is the
contrast presented between what we find in

Exodus 34:22 and here in
5:26. The “firstfruits of wheat harvest” refers to Christ (cf.

John 12:24
with

1 Corinthians 15:23). But the “first of the fruits of thy land” or
“inheritance” speaks, we believe, of the Holy Spirit, who is “the earnest of
our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession”
(

Ephesians 1:13, 14). Do we not get the antitype of

Exodus 34:26 in

Romans 8:22. “Ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit!”
And in the light of

Deuteronomy 26:10, 11 are we not taught that we
should thank God as heartily for the gift of the Spirit as for the gift of His
Son? Do we realize that we are as much indebted to, and therefore have as
much cause of praise for, the work of the Spirit in us, as the work of Christ
for us!
“Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk” (v. 26). Upon this we
have nothing better to offer than the brief comment of Mr. Dennett:
“This remarkable prohibition is found three times in the Scriptures
(

Exodus 23:19: 34:26:

Deuteronomy 14:21). God will have
His people tenderly careful, guarding them from the violation of
any instinct of nature. The milk of the mother was the food. the
sustenance of the kid, and hence this must not be used to seethe it
as food for others.”
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after
the tenor of these words have I made a covenant with thee and with
Israel” (v. 27).
This verse summarizes all that has been before us in the previous verses of
the chapter. An imperishable record was to be made of all that Jehovah had
said unto His servant. The words, “I have made a covenant with thee (the
typical mediator) and with Israel,” gives assurance that all will yet be made
good through the person and millennial administration of Christ. Israel
failed in the past, but there will be no failure with Him who shall yet
effectuate God’s counsels and glorify Him in this very scene where His
people have so grievously dishonored Him. May the Lord hasten that glad
day..343
CHAPTER 70
THE GLORIFIED MEDIATOR

EXODUS 34:28-35
The Law had “a shadow of good things to come” (

Hebrews 10:1). A
beautiful illustration and exemplification of this is found in the closing
verses of Exodus 34, in which we behold Moses descending from the
mount with radiant face. The key to our present portion is found in noting
the exact position that it occupies in this book of redemption. It comes
after the legal covenant which Jehovah had made with Israel: it comes
before the actual setting up of the tabernacle and the Shekinah-glory filling
it. As we shall see, our passage is interpreted for us in 2 Corinthians 3.
What we have here in Exodus 34 supplies both a comparison and a
contrast with the new dispensation, the dispensation of the Spirit, of grace,
of life more abundant. But before that dispensation was inaugurated, God
saw fit that man should be fully tested under Law, and that, for the purpose
of demonstrating what he is as a fallen and sinful creature.
As was shown in our last article, man’s trial under the Mosaic economy
demonstrated two things: first, that he is “ungodly;” second, that he is
“without strength” (

Romans 5:6). But these are negative things: in

Romans 8:7 a third feature of man’s terrible state is mentioned, namely.
that he is “enmity against God.” This was made manifest when God’s Son
became incarnate and tabernacled for thirty-three years on this earth. “He
came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (

John 1:11). Not
only so, but He was “despised and rejected of men.” Nay, more, they hated
Him, hated Him “without a cause” (

John 15:25). Nor would their
hatred be appeased till they had condemned Him to a malefactor’s death
and nailed Him to the accursed cross. And, let it be remembered, that it
was not merely the Jews that put to death the Lord of glory, but the
Gentiles also: therefore did the Lord say, when looking forward to His
death, “Now is the judgment of this world” (

John 12:31) — not of
Israel only. There the probation or testing of man ended.
Man is not now under probation. He is under condemnation:.344
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is
none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They
are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that doeth good, no not one” (

Romans 3:10-12).
Man is not on trial: he is a culprit, under sentence. No pleading will avail:
no excuses will be accepted. The present issue between God and the sinner
is, will man bow to God’s righteous verdict.
This is where the Gospel meets us. It comes to us as to those who are
already “lost,” as to those who are “ungodly, without strength, enmity
against God.” It announces to us the amazing graces of God — the only
hope for poor sinners. But that grace will not he welcomed until the sinner
bows to the sentence of God against him. That is why both repentance and
faith are demanded from the sinner. These two must not be separated. Paul
preached, “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus
Christ” (

Acts 20:21). Repentance is the sinner’s acknowledgement of
that sentence of condemnation under which he lies. Faith is the acceptance
of the grace and mercy which are extended to him through Christ.
Repentance is not the turning over of a new leaf and the vowing that I will
mend my ways; rather is it a settine of my seal that God is true when He
tells me that I am “without strength,” that in myself my case is hopeless,
that I am no more able to “do better next time” than I am of creating a
world. Not until this is really believed (not as the result of my experience,
but on the authority of God’s holy Word), shall I really turn to Christ and
welcome Him — not as a Helper, but as a Savior.
As it was dispensationally so it is experimentally: there must be “a
ministration of death” (

2 Corinthians 3:7). before there is a
“ministration of spirit” or life (

2 Corinthians 3:8): — there must be “the
ministration of condemnation,” before “the ministration of righteousness”
(

2 Corinthians 3:9). Ah, a “ministration of condemnation and death”
falls strangely upon our ears, does it not? A “ministration of grace” we can
understand, but a “ministration of condemnation” is not so easy to grasp.
But this latter was man’s first need: it must he shown what he is in himself:
a hopeless wreck, utterly incapable of meeting the righteous requirements
of a holy God — before he is ready to be a debtor to mercy alone. We
repeat: as it was dispensationally, so it is experimentally: it was to this (his
own experience) that the apostle Paul referred when he said,.345
“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment
came, sin revived, and I died” (

Romans 7:9).
In his unregenerate days he was, in his own estimation “alive,” yet it was
“without the Law,” i.e., apart from meeting its demands. “But when the
commandment came,” when the Holy Spirit wrought within him, when the
Word of God came in power to his heart, then “sin revived.” that is, he was
made aware of his awful condition; and then he “died” to his self-righteous
complacency — he saw that, in himself, his case was hopeless. Yes, the
appearing of the glorified mediator comes not before, but after, the legal
covenant.
“And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither
eat bread, nor drink water.” And he wrote upon the tables the words of the
covenant the ten commandments” (v. 28). Our passage abounds in
comparisons and contrasts. The “forty days” here at once recalls to mind
the “forty days” mentioned in Matthew 4. Here it was Moses: there it is
Christ. Here it was Moses on the mount: there it was Christ in the
wilderness. Here it was Moses favored with a glorious revelation from
God: there it was Christ being tempted of the Devil. Here it was Moses
receiving the Law, at the mouth of Jehovah: there it was Christ being
assailed by the Devil to repudiate that Law. We scarcely know which is the
greater wonder of the two: that a sinful worm of the earth was raised to
such a height of honor as to be permitted to spend a season in the presence
of the great Jehovah, or that of the Lord of glory should stoop so low as to
be for six weeks with the foul Fiend.
“And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the
two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the
mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked
with Him.” Very blessed is it to compare and contrast this second descent
of Moses from the from the mount with that which was before us in the
32nd chapter. There we see the face of Moses diffused with anger (v. 19):
here he comes down with countenance radiant. There he be held a people
engaged in idolatry, here he returns to a people abashed. There we behold
him dashing the tables of stone to the ground (v. 19): here he deposits
them in the ark (

Deuteronomy 10:5).
“And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the
two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the
mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked.346
with Him.” This also reminds us of a N. T. episode, which is very similar,
yet vastly dissimilar. It was on the mount that the face of Moses was made
radiant, and it was on the mount that our Lord was transfigured. But the
glory of Moses was only a reflected one, whereas that of Christ was
inherent. The shining of Moses’ face was the consequence of his being
brought into the immediate presence of the glory of Jehovah: the
transfiguration of Christ was the outshining of His own personal glory. The
radiance of Moses was confined to his face, but of Christ we read, “His
raiment was white as the light” (

Matthew 17:3). Moses knew not that
the skin of his face shone: Christ did, as is evident from His words. “Tell
the vision to no man” (

Matthew 17:9).
This 29th verse brings out, most blessedly. what is the certain consequence
of intimate communion with the Lord, and that in a twofold way. First no
soul can enjoy real fellowship with the all-glorious God without being
affected thereby, and that to a marked degree. Moses had been absorbed in
the communications received and in contemplating the glory of Him who
spake with him: and his own person caught and retained some of the beams
of that glory. So it is still: as we read in

Psalm 34:5. “They looked unto
Him, and their faces were radiant” (R. V.). It is communion with the Lord
that conforms us to His image. We shall not be more Christlike till we walk
more frequently and more closely with Him.
“But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the
Lord. are changed into the same image from glory to glory, by the
Spirit of the Lord” (

2 Corinthians 3:18).
The second consequence of real communion with God is that we shall be
less occupied with our wretched selves. Though the face of Moses shone
with ‘a light not seen on land or sea,’ he wist it not. This illustrates a vital
difference between self-righteous phariseeism and true godliness: the
former produces complacency and pride, the latter leads to self-abnegation
and humility. The pharisee (and there are many of his tribe still on earth)
boasts of his attainments, advertises his imaginary spirituality, and thanks
God that he is rot as other men are. But the one who, by grace, enjoys
much fellowship with the Lord, learns of Him who was “meek and lowly in
heart.” and says
“Not unto us, O Lord. not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory”
(

Psalm 115:1)..347
Being engaged with the beauty of the Lord, he is delivered from self-occupation,
and therefore is unconscious of the very fruit of the Spirit
which is being brought forth in him. But though he is not aware of his
increasing conformity to Christ, others are.
“And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw, Moses, behold
the skin of his face shone: and they were afraid to come nigh him”
(v. 30).
This shows us the third effect of communion with God: though the
individual himself is unconscious of the glory manifested through him,
others are cognizant of it. Thus it was when two of Christ’s apostles stood
before the Jewish sanhedrin:
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived
that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled: and
they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus”
(

Acts 4:13).
Ah, we cannot keep company very long with the Holy One. without His
impress being left upon us. The man who is thoroughly devoted to the
Lord needeth not to wear some badge or button in his coat-lapel, nor
proclaim with his lips that he is “living a life of victory.” It is still true that
actions speak louder than words.
“And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin
of His face shone: and they were afraid to come nigh him.” The typical
meaning of this is given in

2 Corinthians 3:7,
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones
was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly
behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance.”
Concerning this another has said:
“Why then, were they afraid to come near him? Because the very
glory that shone upon his face searched their hearts and consciences
— being what they were, sinners, and unable of themselves to meet
even the smallest requirements of the covenant which had now been
inaugurated. It was of necessity a ministration of condemnation and
death, for it required a righteousness from them which they could
not render, and, inasmuch as they must fail in the rendering it,.348
would pronounce their condemnation, and bring them under the
penalty of transgression, which was death. The glory which they
thus beheld upon the face of Moses was the expression to them of
the holiness of God — that holiness which sought from them
conformity to its own standards — and which would vindicate the
breaches of that covenant which had now been established. They
were therefore afraid, because they knew in their in-most souls that
they could not stand before Him from whose presence Moses had
come” (Mr. Ed. Dennett).
Typically (not dispensationally) the covenant which Jehovah made with
Moses and Israel at Sinai, and the tables of stone on which were engraved
the ten commandments, foreshadowed that new covenant which He will
yet make with Israel in a coming day:
“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of
all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will
sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall lie clean from all your
filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart
also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will
take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an
heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you
to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do
them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers: and
ye shall he My people, and I will he your God” (

Ezekiel 36:24-
28).
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah…
After those days, saith the Lord. I will put My law in their inward
parts, and write it in their hearts;… and they shall teach no more
every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying. Know
the Lord: for they shall all know Me. from the least of them unto
the greatest of them, saith the Lord” (

Jeremiah 31:31-34).
Spiritually, this is made good for Christians even now. Under the gracious
operations of the Spirit of God our hearts have been made plastic and
receptive. It is to this fact that Paul referred at the beginning of 2
Corinthians 3..349
“The saints at Corinth had beer, ‘manifested to be Christ’s epistle
ministered by us, written not with ink, but the Spirit of the living
God: not on stone tables, but on fleshly tables of the heart.’ Their
hearts being made impressionable by Divine working, Christ could
write upon them, using Paul as a per, and making every mark in the
power of the Spirit of God. But what is written is the knowledge of
God as revealed through the Mediator in the grace of the new
covenant, so that it might be true in the hearts of the saints —
‘They shall all know Me.’ Then Paul goes on to speak of himself as
made competent by God to be a new covenant ministry, ‘not of
letter, but of spirit’” (C. A. Coates).
“And Moses called unto them: and Aaron and all the rulers of the
congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And
afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in
commandment all that the Lord had spoken with them in Mount
Sinai. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on
his face” (vv. 31-33).
Ah, does not this explain their fear as they beheld the shining of Moses’
face? Note what was in his hands! He carried the two tables of stone on
which were written the ten words of the law, the “ministration of
condemnation.” The nearer the light of the glory came, while it was
connected with the righteous claims of God upon them, the more cause
had they to fear. That holy Law condemned them, for man in the flesh
could not meet its claims.
“However blessed if was typically, it was literally a ministry of
death, for Moses was not a quickening Spirit, nor could he give his
spirit to the people, nor could the glory of his face bring them into
conformity with himself as the mediator. Hence the veil had to be
on his face” (C. A. Coates).
The dispensational interpretation of this is given in

2 Corinthians 3:13:
“And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children
of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is
abolished.”
Here the apostle is treating of Judiasm as an economy. Owing to their
blindness spiritually. Israel was unable to discern the deep significance of
the ministry of Moses, the purpose of God behind it. that which all the.350
types and shadows pointed forward to. The “end” of

2 Corinthians
3:13: is parallel with

Romans 10:4. “For Christ is the end of the law for
righteousness to every one that believeth.”
“The veil on Israel’s heart is self-sufficiency. which makes them still
refuse to submit to God’s righteousness. But when Israel’s heart
turns to the Lord the veil will be taken away. What a wonderful
chapter Exodus 34 will be to them then! For they will see that
Christ is the spirit of it all. What they will see, we are privileged to
see now. All this had an ‘end’ on which we can, through infinite
grace, fix our eyes. The ‘end’ was the glory of the Lord as the
Mediator of the new covenant. He has come out of death and gone
up on high. and the glory of all that God is in grace is shining in His
face” (C. A. Coates).
“But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he
took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake
unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the
children of Israel saw the face of Moses. that the skin of Moses’
face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again. until he
went in to speak with Him” (vv. 34, 35).
Moses unveiled in the presence of the Lord is a beautiful type of the
believer of this dispensation. The Christian beholds the glory of God
shining in the face of Jesus Christ (

2 Corinthians 4:6) therefore, instead
of being stricken with fear, he approaches with boldness. God’s law cannot
condemn him, for its every demand has been fully met and satisfied by his
Substitute. Hence, instead of trembling before the glory of God, we
“rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (

Romans 5:2).
“There is no veil now either on His face or our hearts. He makes
those who believe on Him to live in the knowledge of God, and in
response to God, for He is the quickening Spirit. And He gives His
Spirit to those who believe. We have the Spirit of the glorified Man
in whose face the glory of God shines. Is it not surpassingly
wonderful? One has to ask sometimes, Do we really believe it? ‘But
we all, looking on the glory of the Lord with unveiled face, are
transformed according to the same image from glory to glory even
as by the Lord the Spirit’ (

2 Corinthians 3:18). If we had not
His Spirit we should have no liberty to look on the glory of the
Lord, or to see Hint as the spirit of these marvelous types. But we.351
have liberty to look on it all, and there is transforming power in it.
Saints under new-covenant-ministry are transfigured.
“This is the ‘surpassing glory’ which could not be seen or known
until it shone in the face of Him of whom Moses in Exodus 34 is so
distinctly a type. The whole typical system was temporary, but its
‘spirit’ abides, for Christ was the Spirit of it all. Now we have to do
with the ministry of the Spirit and of righteousness, and all is
abiding. The ministry of the new covenant subsists and abounds in
glory” (C. A. Coates).
As a sort of appendix to this article we shall proffer, for the sake of those
who may value it, an outline of the apostle’s argument in 2 Corinthians 3.
The authority of Paul’s apostleship had been called into question, by
certain Judaisers. In the first verses of this chapter he appeals to the
Corinthians themselves as the proof of his God-commissioned and God-blessed
ministry. In v. 6 he defines the character of his ministry, and this for
tire purpose of showing its superiority over that of his enemies. He and his
fellow-gospellers were “ministers of the new testament” or covenant. A
series of contrasts is then drawn between the two covenants, that is,
between Judaism and Christianity. That which pertained to the former is
called “the letter” that relating to the new, “the spirit,” i.e., the one was
mainly concerned with that which was external, the other was largely
fraternal: the one slew, the other gave life — this was one of the leading
differences between the Law, and the Gospel.
In what follows the apostle, while allowing that the Law was glorious,
shows that the Gospel is still more glorious. The old covenant was a
“ministration of death.” for the Law could only condemn; therefore, though
a glory was connected with it, yet was it such that man in the flesh could
not behold (v. 7). Then how much more excellent would be, must be, the
glory of the new covenant, seeing that it was “a ministration of the Spirit”
(v. 8) — compare v. 3 for proof of this. If there was a glory connected
with that which “concluded all men under sin” (

Galatians 3:23), much
more glorious must be that ministration which announces a righteousness
which is “unto all and upon them that believe” (

Romans 3:22). It is
more glorious to pardon than to condemn; to give life, than to destroy (v.
9). The glory of the former covenant therefore pales into nothingness
before the latter (v. 10). This is further seen from the fact that Judaism is.352
“done away,” whereas Christianity “remaineth” (v. 11) — compare

Hebrews 8:7, 8.
At v. 12 the apostle draws still another contrast between the two
economies, namely, the plainness or perspicuity over against the obscurity
and ambiguity of their respective ministries (vv. 12-15). The apostles used
“great plainness of speech,” whereas the teaching of the ceremonial law
was by means of shadows and symbols. Moreover, the minds of the
Israelites were blinded, so that there was a veil over their hearers, and
therefore when the writings of Moses were read, they were incapable of
looking beyond the type to the Antitype. This veil remains upon them unto
this day, and will continue until they turn unto the Lord (vv. 15. 16).
Literally the covenant of Sinai was a ministration of condemnation and
death, and the glory of it had to be veiled. But it had an “end” (v. 13).
upon which Israel could not fix their eyes. They will see that “end” in a
coming day: but in the meantime, we are permitted to read the old
covenant without a veil, and to see that Christ is the “spirit” of it all, and
that it had in view that which could only have its fulfillment under new
covenant conditions, namely, God’s glory secured in and by the Mediator.
The language of v. 17 is involved in some obscurity: “Now the Lord is that
Spirit.” This does not mean that Christ is the Holy Spirit. The “spirit” here
is the same as in v. 6 — “not of the letter. but of the spirit:” cf.

Romans
7:6. The Mosaic system is called “the letter” because it was purely
objective. It possessed no inward principle or power. But the Gospel deals
with the heart, and supplies the spiritual power (

Romans 1:16).
Moreover, Christ is the spirit, the life, the heart and center of all the ritual
and ceremonialism of Judaism. He is the key to the O. T. for, “In the
volume of the Book” it is written of Him. So also Christ is the spirit and
life of Christianity; He is “a quickening Spirit” (

1 Corinthians 15:45).
And “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Apart from Christ,
the sinner, be he Jew or Gentile, is in a state of bondage: he is the slave of
sin and the captive of the Devil. But where the Son makes free. He frees
indeed (

John 8:32).
Finally the apostle contrasts the two glories, the glory connected with the
old covenant — the shining on Moses’ face at the giving of the Law (when
the covenant was made) — with the glory of the new covenant, in the
person of Christ. “But we all, with open (unveiled) face beholding as in a
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to.353
glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Note here: first, “we all.” Moses
alone beheld the glory of the Lord in the mount: every Christian now
beholds it. Second, we with “open face,” with freedom and with
confidence; whereas Israel were afraid to gaze on the radiant and majestical
face of Moses. Third, we are “changed into the same image.” The law had
no power to convert or purify: but the ministry of the Gospel, under the
operation of the Spirit, has a transforming power. Those who are saved by
it, those who are occupied with Christ as set forth in the Word (the
“mirror”) are, little by little, conformed to His image. Ultimately. when we
“see Him as He is” (

1 John 3:2). we shall be “Like Him” — fully
perfectly, eternally..354
CHAPTER 71
THE LORD’S DWELLING PLACE

EXODUS 35-40
In the last six chapters of Exodus four things are brought before us.
First, mention is made once more of the Sabbath (

35:1-3).
Second, the people of Israel bring unto Moses all the materials required for
the Tabernacle (

35:4-29).
Third, the setting to work of the appointed artificers with their assistants,
and the actual making of the Tabernacle and its furniture (

35:30 —
39:43).
Fourth, the setting up of the Tabernacle and the glory of the Lord filling
His house in Israel’s midst (40). Nearly all that we have mentioned in 35-
39 is a recapitulation of what has been before us in 25-31. As we pointed
out in article 33 of this series, what we find in Exodus 25-31 is a
description of the Tabernacle as it was given by Jehovah Himself directly to
Moses in the mount; whereas 35-39 records what was actually made
according to the pattern shown to Moses. Typically, this double account of
that which, in every part, prefigured Christ, tells us that all which was
originally planned in Heaven shall yet be accomplished on earth.
That which is central and distinctive about our present lengthy passage is
the actual setting up of Jehovah’s dwelling-place in the midst of His
redeemed people. Before we attempt to bring out something of the deep
and rich spiritual significance of this, a few remarks need to be made upon
the opening sections of Exodus 35. In vv. 21-29 we behold the children of
Israel bringing an offering unto the Lord, giving to Him of their substance.
At the beginning of 36 we see the appointed artificers actively engaged in
their work, the work of the Lord. But before these, at the very beginning
of 35, mention is made of the sabbath as “a rest unto the Lord,” in which
no work was to be done. The doctrinal significance of this is: before we are
fitted to work for Him, we must rest in Him: before we can bring to Him,.355
we must receive from Him. Most important for our hearts is this seventh
and last mention of the sabbath in Exodus. It was Solomon, “a man of rest”
(

1 Chronicles 22), who alone could build a house to Jehovah’s name.
It is to be noted that an additional feature is here added to the Sabbath
restriction: “Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the
Sabbath day.” As another has said, “That speaks of the absence of
consideration for one’s own comfort in a natural way. In keeping a true
sabbath one is neither occupied with one’s own activity nor with one’s
natural consideration.” That needs to be borne in mind in this day of fleshly
ease and gratification. God’s word to us on this point is: Thou shalt
“call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and
shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own
pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight
thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high
places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy
father” (

Isaiah 58:13, 14).
In its deeper spiritual significance, this mention of the sabbath and the non-kindling
of the fire in our dwelling, coming right after what is recorded at
the end of Exodus 34, signifies that the privileges of the new covenant and
our enjoyment of the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ,
calls for the setting aside of the desires of the flesh. Only as we rest in God,
and only as we give heed to that word,
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth”
(

Colossians 3:5),
shall we be free to enter into the enjoyments and employments of the new-creation
realm. On the other hand, the words “six days shall work be done”
announce very distinctly that nought connected with our natural
responsibility is to be neglected.
The second thing we have in Exodus 35 is the people’s response to
Jehovah’s invitation in

25:1, 2. There we read, “Speak unto the children
of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: of every man that giveth it
willingly with his heart, ye shall take My offering.” The materials out of
which the Tabernacle was made were to be provided by the voluntary
offerings of devoted hearts. Most blessed is it to read what is said in

35:21, 22, “And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and
every one whom his spirit made willing, they brought the Lord’s offering to.356
the work of the Tabernacle of the congregation, and for all His service, and
for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as
were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and
tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man offered an offering of gold unto
the Lord.” No unwilling donors were these, who had to be begged and
urged to give. Spontaneously, freely, joyfully, did they avail themselves of
their privilege.
Commenting on what has just been before us, Mr. Dennett has well said:
“It is therefore of the first importance to remember that everything
offered to God must proceed from hearts made willing by His
Spirit, that it must be spontaneous, not the result of persuasion or
of external pressure, but from the heart. The church of God would
have been in a very different state today if this had been
remembered. What has wrought more ruin than the many worldly
schemes of raising money? and what more humbling than the fact
that solicitations of all kinds are used to induce the Lord’s people
to offer their gifts? Moses was content with announcing that the
Lord was willing to receive, and he left this gracious
communication to produce its suited effect upon the hearts of the
children of Israel. He needed not to do more; and if saints now
were in the current of God’s thoughts they would imitate the
example of Moses, and would shun the very thought of obtaining
even the smallest gift, except it were presented willingly, and from
the heart, as the effect of the working of the Spirit of God. And let
it be remarked, that there was no lack; for in the next chapter we
find that the wise men who wrought came to Moses and said, ‘The
people bring much more than enough’ (

36:5-7).
“If the first Pentecostal days be excepted, there has probably never
been seen anything answering to this even in the history of the
church. The chronic complaint now is concerning the insufficiency
of means to carry on the Lord’s work. But it cannot be too often
recalled — first, that the church of God is never held responsible to
obtain means; secondly, that if the Lord gives work to do, He
Himself will lay it upon the hearts of His people to contribute what
is necessary; thirdly, that we are travelling off the ground of
dependence, and acting according to our own thoughts, if we
undertake anything for which the needful provision has not already.357
been made; and lastly, that gifts procured by human means can
seldom be used for blessing.”
It is very beautiful to note the relation between the two things which have
now been before us: first, the keeping of the sabbath; second, the bringing
of an offering unto the Lord, an offering which was the outflow of a heart
“stirred up.” First the resting in, delighting itself in the Lord, then the
affections drawn out towards Him. This too finds its accomplishment on
new-covenant-ground. It is a redeemed people, a people who behold the
glory of the Lord, that are devoted to His cause. The giving of their
substance is not a legal thing, a mere matter of duty, but a privilege and a
joy. Here too it is the love of Christ which “constraineth.” We love Him
because He first loved us, and we delight to give because He first gave to
us. Nothing so moves the heart as the contemplation of the love and grace
of God as now revealed to us in the glorified Mediator. In article 34 we
have already pointed out the typical significance of each part of Israel’s
offerings; so we pass on now to notice, briefly, the work of the artificers.
Upon the two principal workmen, Bezaleel and Aholiab, we have already
commented in article 57. There we dwelt upon the significance of the
workmen’s names, the equipping of them for their appointed tasks, and the
particular service allotted them. Here we read,
“Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man,
in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to
work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according
to all that the Lord had commanded” (

36:1).
Note carefully the opening word, and also the expression “every one whose
heart stirred him up to come unto the work” in v. 2. Ah, wherever there is
a spirit of devotion, manifested by a free and liberal offering unto the cause
of God, He will not be backward in raising up qualified workers, whose
hearts have been stirred by His Spirit, to make a wise and God-glorying
use of His peoples’ gifts.
But let us now seek to take note of the connection between this third item
and what has gone before. First we have had the sabbath, the soul resting
in God; second, we have had the free will offering of the people, the
heart’s affections drawn out to the Lord. Now we get active work. This
puts service in its true position. Occupying as it does the third place, it
shows us that acceptable service to God can only proceed from those who.358
have passed from death unto life. Following, as it does, the other two, it
intimates that the vital prequisites for service are, delighting ourselves in
the Lord and the affections flowing forth unto Him. Only then can we truly
“abound in the work of the Lord.” Anything else is either the outcome of
the restless energy, of the flesh, or is merely “bricks” produced under the
whip of taskmasters.
There is one detail given us here that has not come before us in the
previous chapters.
“And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their
hands, and brought that which they had spun, of blue, and of
purple, of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the women whose
hearts stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair” (

35:25, 26).
This brings in the thought of co-operation in the Lord’s work: the sisters
have their place and part too. Yet note it is a subordinate place: they
“spun,” not provided the material. The character of their work also shows
us the legitimate sphere of their labors — in the home.
“And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set for the
ephod, and for the breastplate” (

35:27).
The leaders set the people a godly example. This is as it should be. But,
alas, how often is it otherwise. The preacher who sets before his people the
teaching of Scripture on the subject of stewardship and the privilege of
giving to the cause of God, but who is miserly himself, is not an honest
man: he says one thing, but does another. God’s word to pastors is, “Be
thou an example of the believers, in word, in faith, in purity” (

1
Timothy 4:12). “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works”
(

Titus 2:7).
Before turning to the 39th chapter, there is one detail in the 38th which
should be noted. In v. 21 we read,
“This is the sum of the Tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of
testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of
Moses.”
Then we are told,.359
“All the gold that was occupied for the work… was twenty and nine
talents… and the silver of them that were numbered of the
congregation was an hundred talents,” etc. (vv. 24, 25).
This conveys to us a most important practical lesson in connection with the
work of the Lord. Everything was counted, weighed, numbered. What
attention to detail was this!
“People talk of essentials and nonessentials, but when they do, you
may be sure they are only thinking of man’s side. Every detail of
the divine mind is essential to the glory of God in Christ. A missing
peg would mean a slack cord, and a slack cord would mean a
curtain out of place, and so the disorder would spread. Indeed the
whole tabernacle would suffer if one detail were out of place” (C.
A. Coates).
In the 39th chapter of Exodus the work of the Tabernacle is finished.
Blessed is it to note that all was done “as the Lord commanded Moses.”
Mark how this expression occurs eight times in that chapter: vv. 1, 5, 7,
21, 26, 29, 31, 43; while in vv. 32, 42 it is added, “and the children of
Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they…
According to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the children of Israel
made all the work.”
“The Lord had given the most minute instruction concerning the
entire work of the tabernacle. Every pin, every socket, every loop,
every tach, was accurately set forth. There was no room left for
man’s expediency, his reason, or his common sense. Jehovah did
not give a great outline and leave man to fill it up. He left no
margin whatever in which man might enter his regulations. By no
means. ‘See that thou make all things according to the pattern
showed to thee in the mount’ (

Exodus 25:40). This left no room
for human device. If man had been allowed to make a single pin,
that pin would most assuredly have been out of place in the
judgment of God. We can see what man’s ‘graving tool’ produces
in chapter 32. Thank God, it has no place in the tabernacle. They
did, in this matter, just what they were told — nothing more,
nothing less. Salutary lesson this for the professing church! There
are many things in the history of Israel which we should earnestly
seek to avoid, — their impatient murmurings, their legal vows, and
their idolatry; but in two things we may imitate them: may our.360
devotedness be more whole-hearted, and our obedience more
implicit” (C. H. M.).
Yes, the obedience of Israel is recorded for our learning. We too have
received commandment from the Lord concerning the work which He has
given us to do. His complete Word is now in our hands, It is to be our
guide and regulator in all things. It is given that
“the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto all
good works” (

2 Timothy 3:17).
If we desire God’s blessing, then His work must be done according to His
appointments. Human expediency, convenience, originality, are to have no
place. The approval of God, not that of his fellows, is what every servant
of the Lord must continually aim at. Faithfulness, not success, is what our
Master requires. The quality of service is to be tested not by visible results,
but by its conformity to God’s Word.
There is ore other detail in Exodus 39 which, in its spiritual application to
ourselves, is very searching:
“And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the lent, and all his
furniture, etc…. And Moses did look upon all the work” (vv. 35,
43).
Everything was brought before the typical mediator for his inspection. All
had to pass under the scrutiny of his eve. The typical significance of this is
obvious. In

2 Corinthians 5:10 we read,
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that
every one may receive the things done in his body, according to
that he hath done whether it be good or had.”
This does not refer to a general Judgment-day at the end of the world, but
to that which follows the Lord’s return for His people, and precedes His
coming back to the earth to set up His millennial kingdom.
A further word on this same subject is found in 1 Corinthians 3,
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is
Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation — gold,
silver, precious stones: wood, hay, stubble. Every man’s work shall
be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be.361
revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what
sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereon, he
shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall
suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire”
(vv.

11-15).
The reference here is to the Christian’s service:

2 Corinthians 5:10
treats more of his walk. Discrimination is made between two classes of
service. On the one band, “gold,” the emblem of divine glory; “silver”
which speaks of redemption; “precious stones” which are imperishable.
Only that which has been done for God’s glory, on the ground redemption,
and which will stand the test of fire, shall abide and be rewarded. On the
other hand, “wood, hay, stubble,” which, though much greater in bulk, will
not endure the coming fiery trial. The difference is between qualify and
quantity; that which is of the Spirit, and that which is of the flesh.
“And Moses did look upon all the work, and behold, they had done
it as the Lord had commanded, even so had they done it: and
Moses blessed them” (

39:43).
So will Christ in the coming Day. That which has been done in full accord
with God’s Word, though despised by man, shall be owned and rewarded
of Him. His own words, in the final chapter of Holy Writ, are
“And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give
every man according as his work shall be” (

Revelation 22:12).
In view of this, how earnestly and prayerfully should we heed that
exhortation,
“And now, little children, abide in Him: that, when He shall appear,
we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His
coming” (

1 John 2:28).
In the last chapter of Exodus we have the actual setting up of the
Tabernacle. Let us take note, first, of the time when it was erected: “And
the Lord spake unto Moses saying, On the first day of the first month shalt
thou set up the tabernacle” (vv. 1, 2). It was on the anniversary of Israel’s
departure from Egypt (

12:2). This is very striking. As their deliverance
from the house of bondage constituted the commencement of their spiritual
history, so the dwelling of Jehovah in their midst marked an altogether new
and most blessed stage in their experiences. That which was foreshadowed.362
by this we shall point out later. Its spiritual application to Christians is
given in

Matthew 18:20,
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there
am I in the midst of them.”
Next we would observe that Moses is the sole actor in this chapter:
“And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and
set up the boards thereof, and put in the pillars thereof, and reared
up his pillars” (v. 18).
All subordinates disappear from view and only Moses is seen: read vv. 19-
33, at the end of which we are told, “so Moses finished the work.” The
present application of this is given us in

Hebrews 3:3-6,
“For this Man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses,
inasmuch as He who hath builded the house hath more honor than
the house. For every house is builded by some man: but He that
built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all His
house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to
be spoken after; But Christ as a Son over His own house; whose
house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the
hope firm unto the end.”
Finally, we read, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and
the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (v. 34). The “then” points back
to the “so Moses finished the work” of v. 33. The N. T. equivalent was
what took place on the day of Pentecost: “And when the day of Pentecost
was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly
there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled
all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them
cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were
all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
As an appendix to this glorious incident we are told in the closing verse of
our book,
“For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire
was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout
all their journeys.” They needed only to keep their eyes on the
Cloud. “The Lord thus undertook for His people. He had visited.363
them in their affliction in Egypt: He had brought them out with a
high hand and an outstretched arm: and had led them forth through
the Red Sea into the wilderness. Now He Himself would lead them
‘by the right way that they might go to a city of habitation.’
Happy.’ we might well exclaim, ‘is that people that is in such a
case; yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord.’ For surely
there was nothing more wanted to the blessing of Israel. Jehovah
was in their midst. The cloud of His presence rested upon, and His
glory filled the tabernacle” (Mr. Dennett).
It or by remains for us now to point out the most striking and lovely
dispensational picture which is presented before the anointed eye in the last
six chapters of Exodus. What is recorded there is that which followed the
second descent of Moses from the Mount. In the opening paragraphs of
article 61 we called attention to the fact that when Moses was called up
unto Sinai to receive from Jehovah the tables of stone (the words of which
formed the basis of His new covenant with Israel — the old one being the
Abrahamic) Moses descended twice( having, of course, returned thither in
the interval): see 32:15; 34:29. What immediately followed these two
descents foreshadowed that which shall follow the two stages of the
second coming of Christ, as these bear upon the Jews. Just as the first
descent of Moses was succeeded by sore judgments on Israel, so the
descent of Christ into the air to catch up His saints unto Himself (1
Thessalonians 4) will be succeeded by the great Tribulation, the Time of
Jacob’s trouble.
But let us now review that which attended the second descent of Moses.
First, he appeared before them with radiant face: type of the glorified
Mediator as He will come back to Israel (

Colossians 3:4).
Second, the tables of stone were not broken this time, but deposited and
preserved in the ark (

Deuteronomy 10:4): so when the Lord Jesus
makes the new covenant with Israel, He declares,
“I will put My law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts”
(

Jeremiah 31:33).
Third, this last section of the book of Exodus opens with a reference to
the sabbath (

35:1-3), telling us that it is in the Millennium when all of
this shall be made good..364
Fourth, the next line in the picture is the hearts of Israel flowing forth unto
the Lord in free-will offerings (

35:23, 24): the antitype of this is seen in

Zephaniah 3:9, 10,
“Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all
call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent.
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My suppliants, even the
daughter of My dispersed, shall bring Mine offering.”
Fifth, next we see Israel engaged in the work of Jehovah, doing all “as He
had commanded:” so in

Ezekiel 36:27, we read,
“And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My
statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.”
Sixth, the tabernacle was now set up: compare with this,
“Behold the Man whose name is the Branch; and He shall grow up
out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord… and
He shall bear the Glory” (

Zechariah 6:13).
Seventh, the Lord then dwelt in Israel’s midst:
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for. lo, I come, and I will
dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord” (

Zechariah 2:10).
Eighth, the glory of the Lord was visibly displayed:
“And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount
Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day. and the
shining of a flaming fire by night: and above all the glory shall be a
covering” (

Isaiah 4:5).
May the Lord hasten that glad time.
Thus, in the closing chapter of this book of redemption we behold the full
and perfect accomplishment of God’s purpose of grace. Notwithstanding
man’s failure, notwithstanding Israel’s sin of the golden calf,
notwithstanding the broken tables of stone: in the end, grace
superabounded over sin, and all the counsels of God were made good by
the typical mediator. In its ultimate application what has been before us
points forward to the new earth:.365
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with
them and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with
them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor
crying, neither shall there be any more plague: for the former things
are passed away” (

Revelation 21:3, 4)..366
CHAPTER 72
MOSES — A TYPE OF CHRIST
“The life of Moses presents a series of striking antitheses. He was
the child of a slave, and the son of a king. He was born in a hut, and
lived in a palace. He inherited poverty, and enjoyed unlimited
wealth. He was the leader of armies, and the keeper of flocks. He
was the mightiest of warriors, and the meekest of men. He was
educated in the court, and dwelt in the desert. He had the wisdom
of Egypt, and the faith of a child. He was fitted for the city, and
wandered in the wilderness. He was tempted with the pleasures of
sin, and endured the hardships of virtue. He was backward in
speech, and talked with God. He had the rod of a shepherd, and the
power of the Infinite. He was a fugitive from Pharaoh, and an
ambassador from Heaven. He was the giver of the Law, and the
forerunner of Grace. He died alone on mount Moab, and appeared
with Christ in Judea. No man assisted at his funeral, yet God buried
him. The fire has gone out of mount Sinai, but the lightning is still
in his Law. His lips are silent, but his voice yet speaks” (Dr. I. M.
Haldeman).
But the most striking thing of all in connection with this most remarkable
man, is the wonderful way and the many respects in which he was a type of
the Lord Jesus In the Introductory article of this series (Jan. 1924) we
stated: “In many respects there is a remarkable correspond-ency between
Moses and Christ, and if the Lord permits us to complete this series of
articles, we shall, at the close, summarize those correspondencies, and
show them to be as numerous and striking as those which engaged our
attention when Joseph was before us” — see the last seven chapters in Vol.
2 of our work “Gleanings in Genesis”. We shall now seek to fulfill that
promise.
Ere we attempt to set forth some (for we do not profess to exhaust the
subject) of these correspondencies, let us first appeal to the Word itself in
proof that Moses was a type of christ. In

Deuteronomy 18:15 we find
Moses saying, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from.367
the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall
hearken”. Thus it wilt be seen from these words that we are not trafficking
in human imagination when we contemplate Moses as a type of Christ.
Such is the plain teaching of Holy Writ.
As we desire to bring to a close these “Gleanings in Exodus” in the current
issue, and therefore can devote but one article to our present theme, and as
the points to be considered are so numerous, we cannot take up each one
separately and comment upon it at length. Rather shall we, with a few
exceptions, simply give the references, and ask the reader to look them up
for himself.
1. HIS NATIONALITY.
Moses was an Israelite (

Exodus 2:1, 2). So, according to the flesh, was
Christ.
2. HIS BIRTH.
This occurred when his nation was under the dominion of a hostile power,
when they were groaning under the rule of a Gentile king (Exodus 1). So
the Jews were in bondage to the Romans when Christ was born
(

Matthew 2:1 cf. Luke 24: 21).
3. HIS PERSON.
“In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair to God”
(

Acts 7:20).
How blessedly did he, in this, foreshadow the Beloved of the Father! His
estimate of the “fairness” of that Child which lay in Bethlehem’s manger,
was evidenced by the sending of the angels to say unto the shepherds,
“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is
Christ the Lord” (

Luke 2:11).
4. HIS INFANCY.
In infancy his life was endangered, imperilled by the reigning king, for
Pharaoh had given orders that,
“Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river”
(

Exodus 1:22)..368
How this reminds us of

Matthew 2:16:
“Then Herod… sent forth and slew all the children that were in
Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof”!
5. HIS ADOPTION.
Though, previously, he was the child of another, he yet was made the son
of Pharaoh’s daughter: “And became her son” (

Exodus 2:10). Thus he
had a mother, but no father! What anointed eye can fail to see prefigured
here the mystery of the Virgin-birth! Christ was the Son of Another, even
the Son of God. But, born into this world, He had a mother, but no human
father. Yet was He, as it were, adopted by Joseph: see

Matthew 1:19-
21.
6. HIS CHILDHOOD.
This was spent in Egypt. So also was Christ’s:
“Behold the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream,
saying, “Arise, and take the young Child and His mother, and flee
into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word”
(

Matthew 2:13).
Thus was fulfilled God’s ancient oracle, “And called My Son out of Egypt”
(

Hosea 11:1).
7. HIS SYMPATHY FOR ISRAEL.
He was filled with a deep compassion for his suffering kinsmen according
to the flesh, and he yearned for their deliverance. Beautifully does this
come out in

Acts 7:23, 24,
“And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit
his brethren of the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer
wrong, he defended him.”
So too Christ was filled with pity toward His enslaved people, and love
brought Him here to deliver them..369
8. HIS EARLY KNOWLEDGE OF HIS MISSION.
Long years before he actually entered upon his great work, Moses
discerned, “how that God by his hand would deliver them” (

Acts 7:25).
So as a Boy of twelve, Christ said to His perplexed mother, “Wist ye not
that I must be about My Father’s business?” (

Luke 2:49).
9. HIS CONDESCENDING GRACE.
Though legally the “son of Pharaoh’s daughter”, yet he regarded the
Hebrew slaves as his brethren: “And it came to pass in those days, when
Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren” (

Exodus 2:11).
So it is with Christ: “He is not ashamed to call them brethren”
(

Hebrews 2:11).
10. HIS GREAT RENUNCIATION.
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called
the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction
with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a
season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the
treasures in Egypt” (

Hebrews 11:24-26).
What a foreshadowing was this of Him
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God; But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him
the form of a servant” (

Philippians 2:6, 7)!
Like Moses, Christ too voluntarily relinquished riches, glory, and a kingly
palace.
11. HIS REJECTION BY HIS BRETHREN.
“And the next day he showed himself unto them as they strove, and
would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why
do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbor wrong
thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over
us?” (

Acts 7:26, 27).
This is very sad; sadder still is it to read of Christ, “He came unto His own,
and His own received Him not” (

John 1:11). This same line in the
typical picture was before us when we considered Joseph. But mark this.370
difference: In the case of Joseph, it was his brethren’s enmity against his
person (

Genesis 37:4); here with Moses, it was his brethren’s enmity
against his mission. Joseph was personally hated; Moses officially refused
— “who made thee a ruler and a judge over us”? So it was with Christ.
Israel said, “We will not have this Man to reign over us” (

Luke 19:14).
12. HIS SOJOURNING AMONG THE GENTILES.
“But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of
Midian” (

Exodus 2:15).
Following Christ’s rejection by the Jews, we read,
“God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people
for His name” (

Acts 15:14).
13. HIS SEAT ON THE WELL.
Away from his own land, we read of Moses, “And he sat down by a well”
(

Exodus 2:15). So the only time we read of the Lord Jesus seated by
the well, was when He was outside Israel’s borders, in Samaria (

John
4:4, 6).
14. HIS SHEPHERDHOOD.
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law” (

Exodus 3:1).
This is the character which Christ sustains to His elect among the Gentiles:
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also I
must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one
flock, one Shepherd” (

John 10:16).
15. HIS SEASON OF SECLUSION.
Before he entered upon his real mission, Moses spent many years in
obscurity. Who had supposed that this one, there “at the backside of the
desert”, was destined to such an honorable future? So it was with the
incarnate Son of God. Before He began His public ministry, He was hidden
away in despised Nazareth. Who that saw Him there in the carpenter’s
shop, dreamed that He was ordained of God to the work of redemption!.371
16. HIS COMMISSION FROM GOD.
He was called of God to emancipate His people from the house of
bondage: “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that
thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt”
(

Exodus 3:10). So Christ was sent forth into this world to “seek and to
save that which was lost” (

Luke 19:10).
17. HIS APOSTLESHIP.
Thus he was God’s apostle unto Israel, for “apostle” signifies one “sent
forth”: “Now therefore go” (

Exodus 4:12). So Christ was the Sent One
of God (

John 9:4 etc); yea, in

Hebrews 3:1 He is designated “the
Apostle”.
18. HIS CREDENTIALS.
His commission from God was confirmed by power to work miracles. So
also Christ’s mission was authenticated by wondrous signs (

Matthew
11:4, 5). It should be noted that Moses is the first one mentioned in the O.
T. that performed miracles; so is Christ in the N. T. — John the Baptist
performed none (

John 10:41).
19. HIS FIRST MIRACLES.
Moses wrought many wonders, but it is most striking to observe that his
first two miraculous signs were power over the serpent, and power over
leprosy (

Exodus 4:6-9). So after Christ began His public ministry, we
read first of His power over Satan (

Matthew 4:10, 11), and then His
power over leprosy (

Matthew 8:3).
20. HIS RETURN TO HIS OWN LAND.
In

Exodus 4:19 we read, “And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go,
return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life”. The
antitype of this is found in

Matthew 2:19,
“An angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
saying, Arise, and take the young Child and His mother, and go
into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young
Child’s life”!.372
21. HIS ACCEPTANCE BY HIS BRETHREN.
This is recorded in

Exodus 4:29-31. How different was this from his
first appearing before and rejection by the Hebrews (Exodus 2)! How
beautifully it prefigured Israel’s acceptance of their Messiah at His second
appearing!
22. HIS POWERFUL ROD.
Moses now wielded a rod of mighty power: see

Exodus 9:23; 10:13;
14:16. So also it is written of Christ, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of
iron” (

Psalm 2:9).
23. HIS ANNOUNCING SOLEMN JUDGMENTS.
Again and again he warned Pharaoh and his people of the sore punishment
of God if they continued to defy him. So also Christ declared, “Except ye
repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (

Luke 13:3).
24. HIS DELIVERANCE OF ISRAEL.
Moses perfectly fulfilled his God-given commission and led Israel out of
the house of bondage: “The same did God send to be a ruler and a
deliverer” (

Acts 7:35). So Christ affirmed, “If the Son therefore shall
make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (

John 8:36).
25. HIS HEADSHIP.
Remarkably is this brought out in

1 Corinthians 10:1, 2, “All our fathers
were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized
unto Morea”. So obedient Christians are “baptized unto Jesus Christ”
(

Romans 6:3).
26. HIS LEADERSHIP OF ISRAEL’S PRAISE.
“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel” (

Exodus 15:1) Of Christ
too it is written, “In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee”
(

Psalm 22:22).
27. HIS AUTHORITY CHALLENGED.
This is recorded in

Numbers 16:3; the antitype in

Matthew 21:23..373
28. HIS PERSON ENVIED.
See

Psalm 106:16, and compare

Mark 15:10.
29. HIS PERSON OPPOSED.
Though Israel were so deeply indebted to Moses, yet again and again we
find them “murmuring” against him:

Exodus 15:24, 16:2, etc. For the
N. T. parallel see

Luke 15:2,

John 6:41.
30. HIS LIFE THREATENED.
So fiercely did the ungrateful Hebrews oppose Moses that, on one
occasion, they were ready to “stone” him (

Exodus 17:4). How this
brings to mind what we read of in

John 8:59, 10:31!
31. HIS SORROWS.
Moses felt keenly the base ingratitude of the people. Mark his plaintive
plea as recorded in

Numbers 11:11, 14. So too the Lord Jesus suffered
from the reproaches of the people: He was “the Man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief”.
32. HIS UNWEARIED LOVE.
Though misunderstood, envied, and opposed, nothing could alienate the
affections of Moses from his people.
“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it”
(

Song of Solomon 8:7).
Beautifully is this seen in Exodus 32. After Israel repudiated Jehovah and
had worshipped the golden calf, after the Lord has disowned them as His
people (

Exodus 32:7), Moses supplicates God on their behalf, saying
“Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin — ; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee,
out of Thy book which Thou hast written” (vv. 31:32). How this reminds
us of Him who
“having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them
unto the end” (

John 13:1)!.374
33. HIS FORGIVING SPIRIT.
“And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses… Hath the Lord
indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath He not spoken also by us”?
(

Numbers 12:1, 2).
But he answered not a word. How this pointed to Him who, ‘when He was
reviled, reviled not again” (

1 Peter 2:23). When Miriam was stricken
with leprosy because of her revolt against her brother, we are told,
“Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I
beseech Thee” (

Numbers 12:13).
34. HIS PRAYERFULNESS.
An example of this has just been before us, but many other instances are
recorded. Moses was, pre-eminently, a man of prayer. At every crisis he
sought unto the Lord: see

Exodus 5:22,

8:12,

9:33, 14:15,

15:25, 17:4, etc. Note how often in Luke’s Gospel Christ is also
presented as a Man of prayer.
35. HIS MEEKNESS.
“Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the
earth” (

Numbers 12:3) cf.

Matthew 11:29.
36. HIS FAITHFULNESS.
“Moses verily was faithful in all his house” (

Hebrews 3:5). So Christ is
“The faithful and true Witness” (

Revelation 3:14).
37. HIS PROVIDING ISRAEL WITH WATER.
See

Numbers 20:11 and compare

John 4:14, 7:37.
38. HIS PROPHETIC OFFICE.

Deuteronomy 18:18 and compare

John 7:16, 8:28.
39. HIS PRIESTLY ACTIVITIES.
“Moses and Aaron among His priests” (

Psalm 99:6). Illustrations are
found in Leviticus 8: “And Moses took the blood, and put it upon the.375
horns of the altar… and he took all the fat… and burned it upon the altar”
(vv. 15, 16 and see 19:23). So Christ, as Priest, “offered Himself without
spot to God” (

Hebrews 9:14).
40. HIS KINGLY RULE.
“Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the
congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun”
(

Deuteronomy 33:4, 5).
So Christ is King in Zion, and will yet be over the Jews (

Luke 1:32,
33).
41. HIS JUDGESHIP.
“Moses sat to judge the people: and they stood by Moses from the
morning until the evening” (

Exodus 18:13).
Compare

2 Corinthians 5:10.
42. HIS LEADERSHIP.
Moses was the head and director of God’s people, as He said to him,
“Lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken” (

Exodus
32:34). So Christ is called, “The Captain of their salvation” (

Hebrews
2:10).
43. HIS MEDIATION.
What a remarkable word was that of Moses to Israel, “I stood between the
Lord and you” (

Deuteronomy 5:5): “There is one God, and one
Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (

1 Timothy
2:5).
44. HIS ELECTION.
In

Psalm 106:23 he is called, “Moses His chosen”. So God says of
Christ, “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold, Mine elect” (

Isaiah 42:1).
45. HIS COVENANT-ENGAGEMENT.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the
tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel”.376
(

Exodus 34:27): so Christ is denominated, “The Mediator of a better
covenant” (

Hebrews 8:6).
46. HIS SENDING FORTH OF THE TWELVE.
“These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land”
(

Numbers 13:16 see previous verses). So Christ sent forth twelve
apostles (

Matthew 10:5).
47. HIS APPOINTING OF THE SEVENTY.
“And Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord,
and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people”
(

Numbers 11:24).
So Christ selected seventy (

Luke 10:1).
48. HIS WISDOM.
“Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (

Acts 7:22).
Compare

Colossians 2:3.
49. HIS MIGHT.
“And was mighty in words and in deeds” (

Acts 7:22). Behold the
antitype of this in Matthew 113:34:
“They were astonished, and said, Whence hath this Man this
wisdom, and these mighty works”?
50. HIS INTERCESSION.
“And Moses brought their cause before the Lord”
(

Numbers 27:5).
Compare

Hebrews 7:25.
51. HIS INTIMATE COMMUNION WITH GOD.
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses,
whom the Lord knew face to face” (

Exodus 34:10)..377
So, on earth, Christ was “The only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of
the Father” (

John 1:18). It is striking to behold in Exodus 31 to 34 how
Moses passed and re-passed between Jehovah in the mount and the camp
of the congregation: expressive of his equal access to heaven and earth —
compare

John 3:13.
52. HIS KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
See

Psalm 103:7 and cf.

John 5:20.
53. HIS HOLY ANGER.
See

Exodus 32:19 and cf.

Mark 3:5, etc.
54. HIS MESSAGE.
He was the mouthpiece of God: “And Moses came and told the people all
the words of the Lord” (

Exodus 24:3). Compare

Hebrews 1:2.
55. HIS COMMANDMENTS.
See

Deuteronomy 4:2 and cf.

Matthew 28:20.
56. HIS WRITTEN REVELATION.
See

Exodus 31:13 and cf.

Revelation 1:1.
57. HIS FASTING.
See

Exodus 34:28 and cf.

Matthew 4:2.
58. HIS TRANSFIGURATION ON THE MOUNT.
See

Exodus 34:29, 35 and cf.

Matthew 17:2.
59. HIS PLACE OUTSIDE THE CAMP.
See

Exodus 33:7 and cf.

Hebrews 13:13.
60. HIS ARRAIGNING OF THE RESPONSIBLE HEAD.
See

Exodus 32:21 and cf.

Revelation 2:12, 13..378
61. HIS PRAYING FOR ISRAEL’S FORGIVENESS.
See

Numbers 14:19 and cf.

Luke 23:34.
62. HIS WASHING HIS BRETHREN WITH WATER.
“And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with
water” (

Leviticus 8:6).
Who can fail to see in that a foreshadowing of what is recorded in

John
13:5:
“After that He poureth water into a basin and began to wash the
disciples’ feet”!
63. HIS PROPHECIES.
See Deuteronomy 28 and 33 and cf. Matthew 24 and Luke 21.
64. HIS REWARDING GOD’S SERVANTS.
See

Numbers 7:6, 32:33, 40 and cf.

Revelation 22:12.
65. HIS PERFECT OBEDIENCE.
“Thus did Moses according to all that the Lord commanded, so did
he” (

Exodus 40:16).
What a lovely foreshadowing was this of Him who could say, “I have kept
My Father’s commandments” (

John 16:10)!
66. HIS ERECTING THE TABERNACLE.
See

Exodus 40:2, and cf.

Zechariah 6:12.
67. HIS COMPLETING OF HIS WORK.
“So Moses finished the work” (Exodus 40:33). What a blessed
prefiguration was this of Him who declared, “I have finished the work
which Thou gavest Me to do” (

John 17:4)..379
68. HIS BLESSING OF THE PEOPLE.
“And Moses blessed them” (

Exodus 39:43). So too we read in

Luke
24:50, “And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His
hands, and blessed them”.
69. HIS ANOINTING OF GOD’S HOUSE.
“And Moses took the anointing oil (the O. T. emblem of the Holy Spirit),
and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein” (

Leviticus 8:10).
Carefully compare

Acts 2:1-3, 33.
70. HIS UNABATED STRENGTH.
“His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated”
(

Deuteronomy 34:7):
compare

Matthew 27:50, and note the “loud voice”.
71. HIS DEATH WAS FOR THE BENEFIT OF GOD’S PEOPLE.
“It went ill with Moses for their sakes” (

Psalm 106:32);
“But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes”
(

Deuteronomy 3:26).
What marvelous foreshadowings of the Cross were these!
72. HIS APPOINTING OF ANOTHER COMFORTER.
Moses did not leave his people comfortless, but gave them a successor: see

Deuteronomy 31:23 and cf.

John 14:16, 18.
73. HIS GIVING AN INHERITANCE.
“The land which Moses gave you on this side of Jordan” (

Joshua 1:14):
in Christ believers “have obtained an inheritance” (

Ephesians 1:11)..380
74. HIS DEATH NECESSARY BEFORE ISRAEL
COULD ENTER CANAAN.
“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this
Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to
thee” (

Joshua 1:2).
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth
alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (

John 12:24).
75. HIS SECOND APPEARING.
Moses was one of the two Old Testament characters which returned to this
earth in New Testament times (

Matthew 17:3) — type of Christ’s
second coming to the earth.
Our space is already exhausted so we shall leave it with our readers to
search the Scriptures for at least twenty-five other points in which Moses
foreshadowed our Lord. The subject is well-nigh exhaustless. And a most
blessed subject it is, demonstrating anew the Divine authorship of the
Bible. May the Lord bless to many this very imperfect attempt to show that
“in the volume of the Book” it is written of Christ.

Lasă un răspuns

Completează mai jos detaliile despre tine sau dă clic pe un icon pentru autentificare:

Logo WordPress.com

Comentezi folosind contul tău WordPress.com. Dezautentificare / Schimbă )

Poză Twitter

Comentezi folosind contul tău Twitter. Dezautentificare / Schimbă )

Fotografie Facebook

Comentezi folosind contul tău Facebook. Dezautentificare / Schimbă )

Fotografie Google+

Comentezi folosind contul tău Google+. Dezautentificare / Schimbă )

Conectare la %s

%d blogeri au apreciat asta: