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An independent SDA Ministry
Proclaiming the 3 angels Messages and

   Abiding in the Father and His Son

 
 

Let The Dead Speak

January 2012 Issue

By ITH Ministries

God has given me light regarding our periodicals. What is it?--He has said that the dead are to speak. How?--Their works shall follow them. We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. One by one these pioneers are passing away. The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced. Review and Herald - May 25, 1905

 

Stephen Haskell - The Cross and its Shadow - Part 4 

James White - Millennium Bible Adventism - Sermon 4

 

Stephen Haskell Picture

Stephen Haskell

The Cross and It's Shadow

Part 4 of 5

Chapter 31

 The Nature of the Judgement

THE judgment is spoken of by every Bible writer. It is mentioned over a thousand times in the Sacred Writings. It is more solemn than death; for death separates friends only until the resurrection, but facing the judgment unprepared separates them forever. No one will escape it. To ignore the thought of the judgment and live without preparing for it, will not evade it. Solomon recognized this fact when he wrote, Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let you heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. (Eccl. 11:9)

The decisions of earthly courts may often be changed by money and friends, and the guilty may be released; but not so in the heavenly courts. There every one must meet the record of his own life. Everyone...shall give account of himself to God. (Rom. 14:12) Earthly parents have been known to sacrifice everything they possessed to save ONE child from condemnation of earthly courts. Think you our heavenly Father would let Satan destroy all His earthly children without an effort to save them? He risked all heaven for their sakes. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) No human being can face his life record in the books of heaven, and escape condemnation, unless belief in Christ and a love for His service is a part of that record.

Christ, the heavenly Advocate, will plead the cases of all who have given Him their sins. He says, I even I, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isa. 43:25) the life record, scarlet with sins and wretchedness, the Saviour covers with the spotless robe of His righteousness; and the Judge, looking upon it, sees only the sacrifice of His Son, and the record is, Accepted in the Beloved. who can reject such infinite love?

The judgment involves, first, the investigation of every case, the testimony of witnesses, and the plea of the advocate, if there is an advocate. Then comes the decision of the court; after that follows the execution of the sentence rendered by the court. A just sentence can not be rendered in any court until the witnesses have borne their testimony; for that reason a just sentence could not be executed upon an individual at death.

Through their writings, Payne and Voltaire have made more infidels since their death than while living. A just sentence could not be passed upon them until the record of the lives of those who had been lost through their influence, appeared as witnesses in their case. On the other hand, the influence of the righteous is like the waves on the surface of a lake, which continue to widen until they reach the shore. Abel, being dead, yet speaketh. (Heb. 11:4) Wycliffe, that fearless man of God, could not have been judged at the close of his life, for thousands have been enlightened by the influence of his life since his voice was hushed in death.

If the Bible record were silent upon this point, it would still be apparent at a glance that the judgment could not be held before the last generation had lived their life; but the Bible is not silent. The date of the opening of this great tribunal was revealed by the Lord thousands of years before it took place. Peter taught the same truth. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you. (Acts 3:19,20) The sins will be blotted out just before the coming of the Lord.

The investigative judgment is an examination of the life record kept in heaven. Daniel says that when the judgment was set, the books were opened. (Dan. 7:9,10) there are several books mentioned in connection with the records of heaven. The book of remembrance records even the thoughts of the heart. (Mal. 3:16) How just and merciful is our God that He takes cognizance of it when we only think upon His name! Often when pressed by temptation, our souls cry out after the living God, and a faithful record is kept of it all. Many deeds are done in darkness, hidden from even the most intimate associates; but when the books of heaven are opened, God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart. (1 Cor. 4:5) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Eccl. 12:14) Not only the deeds are recorded, but the motives or counsels of the heart that prompted the deed; and of the bitter tears of repentance shed in secret the Lord says, Are they not all in My book? (Mal. 3:16, Ps. 56:8 Heb. 4:12,13)

Our daily conversation, the words spoken without thought, we may count of little worth, but every idle word that me shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment: for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matt. 12:36,37) Words are the index of the heart, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matt. 12:34) The place of birth and the environment, everything that can in any way influence the life record, is all recorded in the books of heaven.

The most wonderful book of all the heavenly records that pertain to humanity, is the book of life. This book contains the names of all who have professed the name of Christ. (Phil 4:3) To have one' name recorded in that book is the highest honor given to mortals. (Luke 10:19,20)

It is a source of great rejoicing to know that our names are written in heaven, (Luke 10:20) but the life must be in harmony with heavenly things if our names are to remain with the righteous. The names of the unfaithful do not remain in the book of life (Ex. 32:33; Rev. 13:8, 17:8) they are written in the earth: (Jer. 17:13) for all their hopes and affections have clung to earthly things. When the cases of all whose hearts are the dwelling-place of the Most High and whose lives show forth His character, come up in the heavenly court, Jesus Christ the righteous will be their Advocate. (1 John 2:1) he will confess their names before the Father and before the angels. Their sins will be blotted out, and their names retained in the book of life; and they will be clothed with the write raiment of Christ's righteousness. (Rev. 3:5)

On the day of atonement in the typical service only those wins which had been confessed and transferred to the sanctuary through the sin-offering, were carried out and laid upon the head of the scapegoat. In the investigative judgment, only the cases of those who have confessed their sins will be investigated. Their names will be in the book of life, and Peter states, Judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begins at us what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17) The cases of those who have not served God (or called upon His name for salvation) will go by default. There will be no one to present them. They have no advocate in the heavenly court.

Sad indeed will be the state of those who have started on the heavenly way, but after experiencing the joy of sins forgiven and the peace of God in the heart, have returned to the world and its follies. Their names have been written in the book of life, and their cases will be presented, but only to have the sentence, Unfaithful, passed upon them, and their names blotted forever from the book of life.

When the Saviour comes in the clouds of heaven, He will give reward to the righteous; but final judgment upon the wicked cannot yet be executed, for all are to be judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Rev. 20:12)

During the thousand years following the second advent of Christ to the earth, the righteous will join with Christ in judging the wicked. (Rev. 20:4; 1 Cor. 6:2,3) Then the justice of God in condemning the wicked will be demonstrated before all. The fact that they had no part in the first, or investigative judgment, that their names were not in the book of life, and no one represented them in the court of heaven, is sufficient to condemn them. The books of heaven, containing a faithful record of their lives, condemn them. The witness of the angels who have kept the record also condemns them; but with all that evidence, God has each name considered by the saints from the earth.

There will be many among the lost who have been accounted righteous by outward appearance; and if they should be destroyed without an examination of the records by the saints, there might be occasion to question the justice of God'; but when the records reveal how some have worked from selfish motives, and others have been guilty of cherished sins covered from the view of their fellow-men, the awfulness of sin and the longsuffering of God will be appreciated.

The Saviour said that those who had followed him while here on earth would judge the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt. 19:27-28) Then when the records revealing the fact that the chief priests cried, Crucify Him! Crucify Him! are opened in heaven, John, who followed his Lord through that cruel trial, will be able to say, I heard them speak the awful words.

As the long list of names is brought in review, the saints can appear as witnesses. When the tyrant Nero's name comes up, and the record states how he tortured the saints of God, witnesses will be there who can say, We are the ones who were burned to light his garden. Redeemed ones gathered out of every age will sit in the judgment as the cases of the wicked are examined, and the punishment will be meted out to each one according to his works.

In the day of judgment, God will call to the heavens above, He will call for the records that have been preserved by angels records of men's lives, of the words they have spoken, of the deeds they have done; even the most secret acts will then be called upon to bear testimony, for our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call tot he heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. There is one class of people who will then be gathered. He says, Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself. (Ps. 50:3-6)

This day of God's investigative judgment we have now entered, and the executive part of it will take place at the close of probation, after the witnesses have borne their testimony.

When the judgment of the wicked closes, the saints, the angels, and all the universe will be in harmony with the decisions rendered. At the end of the thousand years, when fire from heaven devours the wicked as stubble fully dry, (Nahum 1:9,10) all the universe will say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments. (Rev. 16:7)

The Three Books of Judgment

1. The Book of Life

Luke 10:20. Names written in heaven.
Luke 10:19,20. To be enrolled in the book of life is the highest honor given mortals.
Phil 4:3. Names of faithful workers recorded.
Ex 32:33. The names of those that cling to sin will be removed.
Rev. 3:5. Names of the faithful retained.
Rev. 13:8; 17:8. Wicked are not recorded.
Rev. 20:15. None will be saved whose names are not recorded in the book of life.
Isa. 4:3. Those left in Zion and recorded among the living called holy.
Ps. 69:28; Eze 13:9. Wicked blotted from the book of the living.
Heb. 12:23; Dan. 12:1. Those written in the book of life will be delivered.

2. The Book of Remembrance

Mal. 3:16. Records every word.
Matt. 12:36,37. Idle words.
Ps. 56:8. Tears of repentance.
Ps. 87:4-6. Birthplace and environments.
Eccl. 12:13,14. Every secret act.
1 Cor. 4:5. Counsels of the heart.

3. The Book of Death

Jer. 17:13. Those that forsake God are written in the earth.
Jer. 2:22. Sins all recorded.
Job 14:17. Sins sealed up.
Deut. 32:32-36. The sins of the wicked are all laid up in store until the day of judgment.
Hos. 13:12. Sin bound up.


 

Chapter 32

 The Feast of Tabernacles

THE Feast of Tabernacles was the last feast in the yearly round of service, and typified the final consummation of the entire plan of redemption. It began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when the harvests were all gathered from field, vineyard, and olive groves. As the time approached, from all parts of Palestine, groups of devout Jews might be seen wending their way to Jerusalem. And not only from the Holy Land, but believing Jews from all the surrounding countries went up to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Tabernacles. The Lord required all the men to attend this feast, but many of the women and children went also. (Ex. 23:16,17)

It was a time of great rejoicing. All were expected to bring a thank-offering to the Lord. Burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and drink-offerings were presented at this time. (Lev. 23:37) The Feast of Tabernacles began five days after the day of atonement, and all Israel were rejoicing in their acceptance with God, and also for the bounties of the harvest which had been gathered.

The feast continued seven days, the first and the eighth days being observed as ceremonial sabbaths. (Lev. 23:36, 39)

This feast was commemorative as well as typical. It commemorated their desert wanderings; and in remembrance of their tent homes, all Israel dwelt in booths during the seven days. In the streets, on the housetops, in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, booths were made of boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook. (Lev. 23:40-43) It was a period of rejoicing, and all were to share the feast with the Levites, the poor, and the stranger. (Deut. 16:13-17)

Every seventh year the solemnity of the year of release came during the Feast of Tabernacles, when debtors were released from their obligations. (Deut. 31:10; 15:1-4) At this time the entire Levitical law was read in the hearing of all; men, women, and children; and even the strangers within their gates, were required to listen to the reading of the law. (Deut. 31:11-13)

The first new year began in the autumn, for at creation, time began with fruit-trees laden with fruit all ready to furnish food for man. (Gen. 1:29; 2:5) The Feast of Tabernacles, or Feast of Ingathering, as it was also called, was held in the year's end, or the revolution of the year. (Ex. 34:22, margin) The civil year of the Jewish calendar always ended in the autumn, but the sacred year began in the springtime; hence the Feast of Tabernacles was held in the seventh month of the sacred year.

Some very interesting Bible scenes are connected with this feast. Solomon's temple was dedicated at the Feast of Tabernacles. (1 Kings 8:2, 65) When Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity, this was the first feast celebrated after the wall of Jerusalem was restored, and was a time of great rejoicing. (Neh. 7:73; 8:17,18)

At this time the children of Israel not only commemorated their tent life by living in booths, but the temple was especially illuminated in remembrance of the pillar of fire that guided them in their wanderings; and on the last day of the feast a beautiful service, the crowning service of the last day, that great day of the feast, commemorated the miraculous supply of water in the desert. (John 7:37) the priest dipped a flagon of water from the Kedron, and bearing it aloft, meanwhile marching to the sound of music and chanting portions of the one hundred twenty-second psalms, he entered the temple court. By the altar were two silver basins, and as the priest poured the water into one basin, another priest poured a flagon of wine into the other basin; and the wine and water, mingling together, flowed through a pipe back to the Kedron.

Many incidents in Christ's life cluster around the last Feast of Tabernacles which He attended. It was on the day of this service that He stood in the temple court and cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. (John 7:37-39) It was Christ who led them by the pillar of cloud; He it was who supplied the water from the rock. They drank of that spiritual Rock that went with them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4, margin) he, the great Life-giver, was in their midst; yet even while celebrating His power to quench their thirst, they were ready to kill Him.

While this feast commemorated the journeying of Israel in the wilderness, it also commemorated their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. It would be well if every one who has been delivered from the darkness of sin would occasionally celebrate his deliverance by recognizing the leadings of the Lord in the journey of his life, and thank Him for the many blessings received.

The Feast of Tabernacles followed the day of atonement, which meets its antitype in the judgment; hence must typify an event which comes after the close of the judgment. When Christ leaves the heavenly sanctuary, it will be but a short time until He comes to the earth to gather His people. Then he will take them to heaven, where they will behold the glory He had with the Father before the world was. (John 17:5-24)

For one thousand years the saints will reign with Christ in heaven (Revelation 20:4-16) before they return to their eternal home,- this earth, freed from every curse. The New Jerusalem with its gates of pearl and streets of gold, will be the metropolis of the glorious abode of the redeemed. The beauties of the new earth are such that the redeemed in heaven, surrounded by the glories of the throne of the Eternal, will look forward with joyful anticipation to the time when they shall reign on the earth. (Rev. 5: 9,10)

As we journey through this wilderness of sin and sorrow, it is our blessed privilege by faith to watch the movements of our High Priest, and be ready to greet with joy His appearance when He comes to take His faithful ones to sojourn with him for a time in the heavenly courts, before they share in the eternal bliss of the earth made new. Every feast, as well as every offering and service, in the Levitical ceremonies, pointed to the beautiful home of the redeemed. Each one is a guideboard on the great pathway of life, pointing toward the heavenly home.

The Jews failed to read these guideboards aright, and to-day are wandering over the earth without the light from the blessed Messiah and the cross of Calvary shining upon their pathway. Let us take warning by their failure, and not make the same fatal mistake by failing to discern the light still reflected from types and symbols, for they are all illuminated by the light of the cross. Each one reveals some special trait in the wonderful character of our Redeemer.

The entire system of Judaism was the gospel. True, it was veiled in types and symbols, but the light from Calvary illuminates the entire Jewish economy; and the one who will study it in the light of the cross, will gain such an intimate acquaintance with Him who is the Antitype of every service, that by beholding they will become changed into his image, from glory to glory. (2 Cor. 3:18)

The typical service shines the brightest when placed by the side of the Antitype. A study of any part of the Levitical system points to some characteristic in the life of Christ; while a study of the entire system of Judaism more nearly reveals the fullness of His character than any other portions of the Scriptures. The entire Bible is full of it. Every Bible writer refers to the Levitical service to illustrate divine truth; and the person who is familiar with the entire sanctuary service, not only receives a blessing from the study, but also understands more fully other portions of the Sacred Book, for the different feasts and sacrifices are referred to frequently all through the Bible.

 

 

Type Antitype
Lev. 23:27, 34. The Feast of Tabernacles came only a few days after the day of atonement. Rev. 22:11,12. Quickly after the decree that closes the judgment Christ comes for His people.
Lev. 23:40-42. The people dwelt in booths, they lived in camp life. Rev. 20:9. The dwelling place of the redeemed before the earth is made new is called the camp of the saints.
Lev. 23:42. All that were born Israelites could participate in the Feast of Tabernacles. John 3:5. It is the new birth that entitles a person to share in the camp of the saints.


 

Chapter 33

 The Jubilee

THE Jubilee was the climax of a series of sabbatical institutions. The weekly Sabbath was the first religious institution given to man. (Gen. 2:2,3) The seventh day of the week was hallowed, and set apart to be kept as the rest-day of Jehovah. (Is. 58:13,14; Ex. 20:8-11)

After the children of Israel entered the promised land, God commanded that every seventh year should be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the Lord. The people were not allowed to sow their fields nor prune their vineyards during the seventh year; neither could they gather into their storehouses that which grew of its own accord. The owner of the land could take all he wished for immediate use; but his servants and the strangers and even the beasts, had equal rights with the owner in enjoying the fruits of his fields during the sabbatic year. (Lev. 25:1-7)

The seventh month of the sacred year, (the Jewish sacred year began in the spring and the civil year in the autumn) the month Tisri, was called by some writers the sabbatical month, as more of the annual Sabbaths and feasts came in that month than in any other one month in the year. The first day of this month was the Feast of Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement came on the tenth day, and the Feast of Tabernacles began on the fifteenth day; and in every fiftieth year, the tenth day of Tisri ushered in the Jubilee. (Lev. 25:8-11)

The keeping of the weekly Sabbath was a token that the people belonged to God; and in allowing their land to rest during the seventh-year Sabbath, they acknowledged that not only they themselves, but their land, their time, and all they possessed, belonged to God. (Eze. 20:12,20)

The Lord took special delight in the seventh-year Sabbath, and the disregard of His command to keep it was offensive in His sight. The children of Israel were carried into Babylonian captivity because they had not allowed the land to enjoy her Sabbaths. (Chron. 36:18-21) In their love of greed and gain, they had worked the land every year, and God took them away and let the land lie desolate, that it might keep the Sabbath during the seventy years.

If God's command had always been obeyed and the land had had its rest every seventh year, the earth would not have waxed old like a garment, (Isa. 51:6) but would have remained productive.

God's commands will all be honored, and as the land lay desolate seventy years, keeping the Sabbath during the Babylonian captivity, to atone for the disobedience of ancient Israel; so, after the second coming of Christ, the land will lie desolate one thousand years, keeping Sabbath to atone for the many Sabbaths that have been disregarded since that time. (Rev. 20:1-4; Zeph. 1:1-3 Jer. 4:23,27)

The weekly Sabbath was a stepping-stone leading up to the other sabbatic institutions; and besides being a memorial of creation, it pointed forward to the final rest of the Jubilee. When the people of God for the sake of worldly interests. disregarded it, they placed themselves where they could not appreciate God's original design in giving them the Sabbath of rest. (Jer. 17:21-27)

The Jubilee was the fiftieth year following seven weeks of years, and would occur once at least in the lifetime of every individual who lived out his natural life. (Lev. 25:10,11)

The Day of Atonement was the most solemn of all the feasts, and the Jubilee the most joyful. At the close of the Day of Atonement, when the sins of Israel had all been forgiven and borne by the scapegoat into the wilderness, then the people who realized what God had done for them, were prepared to forgive the debts of their fellow-men, to release them from servitude, and to restore all to their own land as willingly as they expected God to give them their eternal inheritance in the antitypical jubilee.

At the close of the Day of Atonement, on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the sabbatical year which closed the last of the seven weeks of years (49 years), the trumpets were blown throughout all the land, announcing the Jubilee.

Jewish tradition states that every Israelite was supplied with a trumpet of some kind at this time, and when the hour arrived which closed the Day of Atonement, every one blew nine blasts with his trumpet. God had said, the trumpets were to sound throughout all the land. (Lev. 25:9)

How like the final trumpet of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:51-53) was the blast of the Jubilee trumpets in ancient Israel! The toiling slave arose and threw off his shackles. To the avaricious and covetous man, who had oppressed the hireling and the widow to gain his possessions, it came as a death knell to all his hopes. (Isa. 2:20,21) Every person in bondage was freed, and all returned to their own land. (Lev. 25:12,13)

There is no account of any religious services, or offerings, being required during the Jubilee, different from the ordinary services of other years. It was a time when all, rich and poor, high and low, shared alike of that which grew of itself in the fields and vineyards.

The Jubilee followed the seventh-year Sabbath, thus bringing two Sabbath years in succession. But God made ample provision for His people by commanding His blessing upon the forty-eighth year, when the earth yielded enough to keep the people for three years. (Isa. 37:30; Lev. 25:11,12)

There is no mention in the Bible of the Jubilee's ever being observed, and for this reason some writers think it may not have been kept; but all the other Mosaic festivals were observed, and it would be strange if one that is so organically connected with the other feasts, and is really the climax of all other festivals, should have been omitted.

The Jubilee must have been observed, for the law of the inalienability of landed property, which was based upon the Jubilee, existed among the Jews. (Numbers 36:4-7 Ruth 4:1-4) Josephus speaks of it as being permanently observed.

Instances are recorded where the work of the Jubilee year was performed by the Israelites. Nehemiah, in his great reformatory work, required the Jews to give freedom to their servants, and to restore the lands and vineyards to the original owners. (Neh. 5:1-19)

On the eve of the Babylonian captivity, Zedekiah proclaimed liberty to every one. He evidently designed to celebrate the Jubilee. If he had done so, it would have given him liberty, but he was too vacillating to carry out the requirements. The Lord sent a message, saying that he had done right in proclaiming liberty, every man to his neighbor, but that in failing to grant it, he had polluted the name of the Lord. (Jer. 34:8-17)

All the commercial interests of the ancient Israelite taught the gospel. While he was allowed to dwell in the promised land and enjoy its privileges, yet he was only the steward, not the owner. The divine decree was:The land shall not be sold forever:for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me. (Lev. 25:23) Notwithstanding the fact that the Lord owns the world, yet He counts Himself a stranger and sojourner with His people upon the earth, until the antitypical Jubilee, when Satan, the present prince of this world, will meet his doom.

If a man became involved and was obliged to sell his home, it was sold with the understanding that it should return to its original owner when the Jubilee trumpets were blown in the land. If the unfortunate man had one near of kin able to redeem his land, the purchaser could not hold it, even until the Jubilee. (Lev. 25:25-28)

A poor widow has misfortune after misfortune, until her wealthy neighbor, who has long coveted her land, has gained possession, and she in sorrow is obliged to leave the home of her childhood and labor for a mere pittance, that fails to supply the needs of her household. The wealthy neighbor continues to advance money, until finally she herself is sold to him as a servant. Her case seems hopeless.

But in a far country she has an elder brother. He hears of her misfortune and comes to the rescue. Her brother reckons with the man who has purchased the woman, and pays the redemption money, and she is free. Then the brother begins to reckon what is due on the land; but the man objects, for the same spirit rules him that disputed with Michael, the archangel, when He came from a far country to redeem the body of Moses from the prison-house of the grave, (Jude 9) and he says, No! I will not release the land. It joins my farm, I will not part with it. What right have you to interfere? Then the brother produces evidence of his kinship, that he is one that hath right to redeem. (Ruth 2:20) He offers the redemption money, and the home is redeemed to the rightful owner. A stranger might have wished to help the poor widow, but his money could never have released her; the price must be paid by one that hath right to redeem - one near of kin.

How forcefully was the power of Christ thus taught in the every-day commercial life of the Israelite!

An angel could not redeem mankind, nor the world. His life would have been powerless, for he was not nigh of kin unto humanity. (Lev. 25:47-49) Christ left the heavenly courts, partook of flesh and blood, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. (Heb. 2:14-16) He became the first-born, among many brethren, (Rom. 8:29) a the one nigh of kin, that He might have right to redeem every son and daughter of Adam; and down through the ages, comes the cheering assurance that He is not ashamed to call them brethren. (Heb. 2:11)

Thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money, (Is. 52:3) even with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:18,19)

Have you yielded to temptation until you are bound in abject slavery to Satan? Remember, you have an Elder Brother who is able and willing to redeem you from the slavery of sin, and make you a free man in Christ Jesus. In order to be free, you must acknowledge Him as one nigh of kin to you. If the poor widow had disowned her brother when he came to redeem her from servitude, he would have been powerless to help her.

Satan may bind the soul until he thinks it is his forever; but when the soul cries out for help, and claims Christ as the one near of kin, one who has power to redeem, and Christ presents the redemption price, - His precious blood, - Satan is powerless to hold the soul.

The study of the Levitical laws in regard to land and servants gives new beauty to the name Redeemer. Job knew the power of the one who had right to redeem. Hear him in confidence saying, I know that my Redeemer liveth. His faith grasped a power that not only redeemed from sin, but will bring forth the patriarch's body even after the worms have consumed it. (Job 19:23-27)

While at any time one could be given freedom and re-instated in his former home by one nigh of kin who had right to redeem, yet the Jubilee was looked forward to as the great day of release for all Israel. It was then that every wrong was righted and every Israelite re-instated in his own possession. (Lev. 25:28,33,40,41)

If one sold a dwelling-house in a walled city, during the first year after the sale it might be redeemed; but if not redeemed the first year, it remained in the hand of the purchaser. It did not revert to its original owner in the Jubilee, for houses were the work of man, and had no part in the Jubilee, which released only the land and persons. (Lev. 25:29,30)

The cities of the Levites were under different regulations; they were the only walled cities that had a part in the Jubilee. If a man purchased a house of a Levite, the house that was sold and the city of his possession went out free in the year of Jubilee. (Lev. 25:32,33)

The priests were a type of Christ. Our great antitypical Priest has prepared a walled city for His people, (Heb. 11:10,16) and in the antitypical Jubilee, they will receive the city. The regulations in regard to the cities of the Levites were a constant reminder of the New Jerusalem to be given to God's people in the great final Jubilee. God designed that His people should remember Him in all their business transactions, in every detail of life. The value of property depended upon the length of time intervening between the date of purchase and the Jubilee. (Lev. 25:15,16)

In the type, the Jubilee was ushered in at the close of the Day of Atonement. In like manner we understand that the antitypical Jubilee will follow the antitypical Day of Atonement.

The Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard. (Isa. 30:30) Then the pious slave will rise and shake off the chains that bind him. The trumpet of the Lord's jubilee will resound through the length and breadth of the land. Saints sleeping in Satan's prison-house - the grave - will hear the glad sound, and he that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners, did not let his prisoners loose homeward, (Isa. 14:17) will be powerless to hold his prey; for our Redeemer has said, The prey of the terrible shall be delivered, - yea, delivered forever from the power of sin and Satan. (Isa. 49:25)

God's original plan was, that man should possess the earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath tie given to the children of men. (Ps. 115:16)

Adam was given dominion over the earth and everything upon it. (Gen. 1:26) But God's plans were thwarted, and Satan became prince of this world. In the antitypical Jubilee the redeemed of the Lord will be re-instated in the original home of man. The earth restored to its primeval beauty will be given to the children of men for their eternal home. (Matt. 5:5 Ps. 37:11,34) The seventh-day weekly Sabbaths, which the Lord sanctified and gave to mankind before the curse of sin rested upon the earth, will then be kept according to God's original design; and throughout eternity, from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before the Lord. (Isa. 66:22,23)

The Lord shall comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. (Isa. 51:3)

 

Type Antitype
Lev. 25:10. The Jubilee gave liberty to every one. 1 Thess. 4:16, 17. The living and the dead will all be given freedom.
Lev. 25:9. The blast of the trumpet announced the Jubilee. 1 Cor. 15:51-53. The blast of the trumpet of the Lord, gives freedom to all.
Lev. 25:9. The Jubilee began on the Day of Atonement, the type of the judgment. Rev. 22:11, 12. Immediately after the decree is issued which closes the judgment, Christ comes.
Lev. 25:13. In the year of the Jubilee every man returned to his own possessions. Isa. 35:1-10. The ransomed of the Lord will enjoy the redeemed earth forever.
Lev. 25:23. The Lord always owned the land. Man was only a steward. Ps. 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26, 28. The Lord owns all the earth. He has never relinquished His title to the land.
Lev. 25:48, 49; Ruth 2:20, margin. Only one nigh of kin had the right to redeem. Heb. 2:14-16. Jesus was born of the seed of Abraham, that He might be nigh of kin.
Lev. 25:47-51. The persons of those sold in bondage were redeemed and set free. Rom. 8:23; Hosea 13:14. He that is nigh of kin, says, I will ransom them from the power of the grave.
Lev. 25:25-28. The land could be redeemed by one nigh of kin. Eph. 1:14. Christ has purchased the possession of His people.
Lev. 25:29:30. Dwelling- houses in walled cities did not revert to the original owners in the Jubilee. Rev. 16:19; Jer. 4:26. All earthly cities will be destroyed at Christ's second coming.
Lev. 25:32,33. Dwelling-houses in the cities of the Levites could be redeemed. They all reverted to the original owners in the Jubilee. The priests were a type of Christ. Heb. 11:10, 16; Rev. 21:1-27 Christ, the antitypical priest, has a city which will be given to His people in the anti-typical Jubilee.
Gen. 2:2, 3. The weekly Sabbath was a stepping-stone toward the Jubilee. Isa. 66:22, 23. The Sabbath will be observed on the new earth forever.

Chapter 34

 The Cities of Refuge

IN the early history of the world, provision was made for the punishment of the murderer. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, was the decree of Jehovah. (Gen. 9:6)

The one nearest of kin to the murdered man, usually executed the murderer; but lest in the excitement of the occasion undue haste should be exercised and individuals be slain who did not deserve death, God made provision that the murderer might flee and lay hold upon His altar. None could be taken from the altar without an examination, and if it was found that the murderer had presumptuously planned to kill the man, then he was taken from the altar and slain; otherwise his life was spared. (Ex. 21:13,14)

After the children of Israel entered the promised land, six cities were set apart as cities of refuge. These were conveniently located, three on each side of the river Jordan. (Joshua 20:2,7,8) The roads leading to these cities were always to be kept in good repair, that the one fleeing before the avenger of blood might not be hindered in his flight. (Duet. 19:3) The cities were on elevated ground, and could be seen at a distance.

When the murderer reached the gate of the city of refuge, he declared his cause in the ears of the eiders of that city, before he was given a place within. (Joshua 20:3-6) His case was also tried by the judges of the city near where the murder was committed, and if it was not a premeditated murder, but the deed had been done accidentally or unintentionally, then the guilty man was restored again to the city of refuge whither he had fled. (Num. 35:12,24,25)

The Saviour refers to this judgment in Matt. 5:21. If at any time the slayer passed outside of the limit of his city of refuge, his life could be taken by the avenger of blood, because he should have remained in the city of his refuge. (Num. 35:26-27) The decree was, He shall dwell in that city,...until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days:then shall the slayer return...unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled. (Joshua 20:6)

Cities of refuge in Israel were far different from the asyla of the Greeks and Romans, which often served as a protection for the most profligate characters. The cities of refuge served as a protection for only those who had slain a person without enmity. The cities of refuge were cities belonging to the Levites, thus those confined within were under the best influence. They were associated with the religious teachers of Israel, and had every opportunity to reform their lives and establish righteous characters.

The instruction in regard to the cities of refuge was but a part of the great system of Levitical laws and ceremonies which taught the simple truths of the gospel of Christ. Tyndale says that while there is a 'starlight of Christ' in all the Levitical ceremonies, there is in some so truly the 'light of the broad day,' that he can not but believe that God had showed Moses the secrets of Christ and the very manner of His death beforehand. Dr. Adam Clarke says the whole gospel could be preached from the particulars given of the cities of refuge.

Every time an Israelite looked upon one of the cities of refuge, God designed he should be reminded of Christ, the tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, (Micah 4:8) to whom every sin-burdened soul could flee for shelter.

Satan, the accuser, is upon the track of every one; he as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8) But the person who forsakes sin and seeks righteousness stands securely sheltered by the atoning blood of Christ. (Ex. 12:13; 1 John 1:7-9)

Solomon, who was beset by temptations and sin, understood this when he wrote, The name of the Lord is a strong tower:the righteous runneth into it and is safe. (Prov. 18:10) David knew what it was to dwell in the antitypical city of refuge when he said:I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him will I trust. (Ps. 91:2)

There could be no delay in seeking a city of refuge. As soon as the murder was committed, the murderer must flee at once; no family ties could hold him; his life depended upon his speedy flight to the city. O that all might learn the lesson, and instead of delaying and trying to quiet our accusing conscience, when we know we have sinned, flee at once to Christ, confess our sins, and dwell in the refuge Christ has prepared. He has made ample provision that all may have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. (Heb. 6:18)

Anciently the one who had fled to the city, found life within its walls, but death awaited him if he passed beyond its boundary. The beloved disciple was familiar with this truth when he wrote, This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (1 John 5:11,12) It is not sufficient simply to believe in Christ; we must abide in Him if we life. God has ever hope to obtain promised to hold thy right hand. The one who abides within the refuge will feel and know His sheltering care, and when assailed by the enemy, may hear the Saviour saying, Fear not, I will help thee. (Is. 41:13)

In ancient Israel the one who had fled for refuge could not spend part of his time outside the city, and the remainder within its sheltering walls. There was no safety at any time outside the city. Likewise, our only safety is to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Ps. 91:1) No man can serve two masters. (Matt. 6:24) We can not give the world and its pleasures the best of our time and thought and hope to be sheltered from the final consequences of sin. We will receive our wages, or final reward, from the master we serve. If the best of our life is spent in the service of the world we place ourselves outside the antitypical city of refuge, and will finally receive the wages, death, which will be given every one who takes the world as his master. (Romans 6:23)

When the high priest died, those who had fled to the cities of refuge during his term of office could return to their homes. They were free forever from the avenger of blood, and he could no longer harm them lawfully. (Num. 35:25)

Every high priest was a type of Christ, our High Priest. The earthly priest ceased to be high priest when he died. Our High Priest never dies; but the time will come when He will lay aside His priestly robes, and clothe Himself in a vesture upon which will be written the name, King of kings, and Lord of lords. (Rev. 19:16)

No longer will He plead the cause of His people before the throne of God, for each case will have been decided for eternity To those who have confessed every sin and remained cleansed by the blood of Christ, He will say, Come, ye blessed of My Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. They will then go to their own inheritance with no fear of the avenger of blood, for the righteous will be forever beyond the power of Satan. (Jer. 31:16,17)

Satan has usurped authority over this world. He haunts the steps of every son and daughter of Adam. But God always has had a refuge in the earth. Abel dwelt securely within its sacred precincts, (Heb. 11:4) and Job realized its sheltering power when Satan assailed him with his fiercest temptations. (Job 1:10)

The weakest child of God, who lives continually within this refuge, can never be overthrown by the enemy of souls; for the angels of God encamp around such a one to deliver him. (Ps. 34:7; John 10:29)

This refuge is illustrated by many symbols throughout the Bible, each one revealing some special feature of God's protecting care. Jesus, as He wept over those who had refused His love said:How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not ! (Luke 13:34)

Happy is the soul who can say in every time of temptation, Our soul is escaped- as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers:the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Ps. 124:7,8)

 

Type Antitype
Joshua 20:2,3; Deut. 19:4,5. The cities were to be a shelter for all who slew any one unaware or unwittingly. Rev. 22:16,17; John 7:37; I John I:7. Christ is the only refuge in this world from sin and destruction.
Deut. 19:2-4. The roads were to be kept open, in good condition, that none be hindered in fleeing to the city. 1 Cor. 11:1; Mal. 2:8. God designs that His people should be examples for the world to copy; but when they sin, they become stumbling-blocks in the way of others.
Joshua 20:3, 4. The one who fled for refuge confessed his sin at the gate of the city, and if he had not premeditated the murder, he was received. 1 John I:9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Deut. 19:11-13. If the murderer hated the one he had slain and planned the murder, then he was not received into the city, but was given over to the avenger of blood. Matt. 7:21-23; Heb. 10:26-29; 12:16, 17. Some may through fear of punishment come with only lip service, while in their hearts they are cherishing sin; such will not be accepted.
Num. 35:24, 25. Being received into the city did not forever settle the fate of the murderer. He must stand in judgment before the congregation, and there his destiny was decided. Acts 17:31:; Rev. 3:5. Everyone will be judged before the judgment bar of God for the deeds done in the body.
Num. 35:26, 27. Within the city was life, outside the city was death. 1 John 5:11, 12. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Joshua 20:6; Num. 35:28. After the death of the high priest that shall be in those days, the slayer might return to the land of his possession. Matt. 25:34. When Christ lays aside His priestly robes and reigns as king, then all, who abide in Him, will receive their inheritance in the earth made new.

 

Chapter 35

 The Rock

ROCK has always been used as a synonym for strength and solidity. The parable of the house built upon a rock, is an example. (Matt. 7:24)

The word rock is used many times in the Bible to illustrate the protecting care of God for His people. The psalmist says, The Lord is my rock. (Ps. 18:2) Thou art my rock and my fortress. (Ps. 71:3)

Selah, which occurs over seventy times in the Psalms, and is defined by most commentators, a pause or musical note, is also defined in the marginal reference to be the rock. (2 Kings 14:7, margin)

It is quite appropriate that in singing of the mighty power of God in leading His people, the psalmist should pause at times and meditate upon Selah, - the Rock; the spiritual Rock that followed them:and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4)

Victories would often take the place of defeat in our daily lives if in our songs we inserted the same pauses used by the sweet singer of Israel. If in the rush of our daily lives we paused to meditate upon the Rock, we could say with David, In the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me upon a rock. (Ps. 27:5)

The forty years' wandering of the children of Israel was in Arabia Petra, or Rocky Arabia, as it was sometimes called. Rocks confronted them at every turn in their journey; but from these very rocks God caused water to flow to quench their thirst. Even so in our daily journeys, the rocks of difficulties that seem impenetrable to us, will, if we hide in Christ, prove but steppingstones to greater victories.

God said, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the eiders. Ex. 17:6)

The thirsty multitude saw the pure, refreshing water gush out from the flinty rock. They drank, and were refreshed for their journey. They thirsted not when He led them through the deserts:He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them. (Is. 48:21)

It was not a meager supply of water, for it ran in the dry places like a river. (Ps. 105:41) During all their journey, they were miraculously supplied with water. The stream did not continue to flow from the first place where the rock was smitten, but wherever they needed water, from the rocks beside their encampment the water gushed out. Well might the psalmist bid the earth tremble before the God who could turn the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters. (Ps. 114:8)

When the Israelites came in sight of the promised land, the water ceased to flow. God told them they were to draw water from the wells as they passed through Edom. (Deut. 2:3-6) Strange as it may seem, after drinking of the miraculous streams in the desert for so many years, they now began to murmur and complain, because the water no longer gushed out of the rocks by their encampment.

Then it was that, on the very border of Canaan, Moses, the servant of the Lord, committed the sin which prevented him from entering the goodly land. The rock had once been smitten, and the Lord told Moses to gather the assembly of people, and to speak unto the rock before their eyes, and it would give forth water. Moses, who had borne patiently with their murmurings so long, now became impatient, and said, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? (Num. 20:10) He then smote the rock twice, and water gushed forth.

God is no respecter of persons, and although He had highly honored Moses, yet He punished him for his sin. When Moses smote the rock the second time, he ignored the great event of which the smitten rock was a type. Christ died once for the sins of the world, (Heb. 9:28) and all who speak to Him, confessing their sins and claiming pardon, will receive the healing waters of salvation. Thus not only did Moses disobey God, but he marred the beautiful symbol which had been placed before the Israelites during all their desert wanderings.

The Bible writers often refer to the experiences connected with the smitten rock, to teach God's tender care for His people. Isaiah says, A man shall be as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Is. 32:2)

Paul tells us that this Man who was as a hiding-place, a covert, and as rivers of water, was Christ, the Rock. (1 Cor. 10:4) He is the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. What He was to the Israelites, He will be to every one who puts his trust in Him. He says to-day, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. (John 7:37) The one who heeds the call will drink of the brook in the way:therefore shall he lift up the head. (Ps. 110:7)

The refreshing water flows by every encampment. All can freely drink of the life-giving stream, flowing from the Rock smitten once upon Calvary's cross. Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17) Do you long to drink? Remember the Rock has been smitten for you. Do not make the mistake of Moses, and think you must smite it again. Speak ye unto the Rock, . and it shall give forth His water. (Num. 20:8) Tell Him you are weary of sin, that you long to accept of His righteousness. Give Him your sins, and He will clothe you with His righteousness. (Gal. 1:4, Is. 61:10)

The Amazon River pours into the Atlantic Ocean such an immense volume of water that for miles out to sea the water remains fresh. It is said that a ship sailing in the ocean near the mouth of the Amazon, had exhausted its supply of fresh water, and signaled to another vessel at a distance, asking for fresh water. The answer was signaled back, Dip and drink. The captain thought they could not have understood, and signaled again. The same reply came back across the water. In indignation he said, They say, 'Dip, and drink.' Throw the bucket over and try the water. To their surprise the bucket brought up fresh water, and their thirst was quenched.

Often we think we are in the enemy's land, and the Lord is afar I off; but the stream of the river of life flows by every door. We hare only to dip and drink, if we wish to be led into the sunlight of God's presence and feel His sheltering care.

Like David we need often to cry, Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the overt of thy wings. Selah. (Ps. 61:2-4)

While the foundation of the Christian church is the teaching of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ is the chief corner-stone, (Eph. 2:20) Christ is a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. (1 Peter 2:3,4)

Every soul on earth will sometime come in touch with this Stone. He will either fall on it and be broken, that he may be a new creature in Christ Jesus; or he will reject the Stone, and at last it will fall upon him and destroy him. (Matt. 21:42,44)

Blessed is the one that makes Christ the chief corner-stone in all his daily work. Jesus to-day asks us, as He did Peter of old, whom say ye that I am? Our lives give the answer. Peter's answer was, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matt. 16:16) This answer was given him from the Father.

Christ responded, Thou art Peter. In these words He acknowledged Peter as His disciple, for He had given him the name of Peter when he called him to follow Him. (John 1:42)

The word Peter meant a stone, or a fragment of rock. Christ's manner of teaching was to use earthly things to illustrate heavenly lessons; and He took the name Peter, meaning a fragment of rock, to direct the mind to the solidity of the confession and the stability of the cause which was founded upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, of which Peter, when he accepted Christ as His Master, became a portion, or fragment. Every true follower of Christ becomes one of the living stones in the great spiritual building of God. (1 Peter 2:5)

Christ did not say, On thee, Peter, will I build My church, but immediately changes the expression and says, Upon this Rock I will build My church. (Matt. 16:13-20)

Centuries before, Isaiah had written, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation. (Is. 28:16) Peter and every other son of Adam has failed when tested. Christ is the only one ever born of woman that has withstood every temptation, and is a tried stone, fit to be the chief corner-stone in the great church of God.

Christ has not placed any mortal man as the foundation of His church. Sad would have been the condition of the church if it had been built upon Peter; for only a short time after he made the above confession, his heart was so full of evil and wrong conclusions that, as the record states, Christ said to him, Get thee behind Me, Satan:thou art an offense unto Me:for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matt. 16:23)

When the Saviour comes in the clouds of heaven, those who have rejected the Rock, Christ Jesus, will call for the mountains and rocks of earth to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. (Rev. 6:15,16) Our enemies then will witness to the fact that their rock is not as our Rock. (Duet. 32:31)

Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect:for all His ways are judgment:a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He. (Duet. 32:3,4)

They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them:and that Rock was Christ. 1 Cor. 10:4.

 

Type Antitype
Ex. 17:6. The rock was smitten to save the people from thirst. Heb. 9:28. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.
Ps. 78:15, 16. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers. John 7:38. Christ said, He that believeth on Me,...out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Num. 20:8. Speak ye unto the rock, and it shall give forth his water. Luke 11:9, 10. Ask, and it shall be given you,...for every one that asketh receiveth.

Chapter 36

Various Levitical Laws and Ceremonies

THE Christian can have no life apart from Christ. (John 15:4,5) Every detail of his life is directed by the great Master. This was made very clear by the old Levitical rites and ceremonies.

The details of the every-day life of the ancient Israelite were under the direction of God. His food, his dress, his planting and building, his buying and selling, were all regulated by the laws of Moses. To the careless reader these requirements may seem but a collection of meaningless forms and ceremonies; but to the student of Scripture, who is watching for the steps of his Master, each Levitical law is a reflector, giving him precious rays of light from the Sun of Righteousness.

We read:Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together. (Deut. 22:11) The question is often asked, Why was this requirement given? One of the first things God did for Adam and Eve after they had sinned, was to make clothes for them. (Gen. 3:21)

Garments are a type of Christ's righteousness, with which He clothes every one whose sins are forgiven. (Is. 61:10) Before man sinned, he was clothed with a garment of light and glory, and God designs that our garments should remind us of the heavenly dress with which He will finally clothe the redeemed. (Rev. 3:5; 19:8)

God says, I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God. My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images. (Isa. 44:6; 42;8)

Part of our life can not be clothed with the filthy rags of our own righteousness, (Is. 64:6) and the remainder with the pure, spotless robe of Christ's righteousness. We can not serve God in our home and church life, and serve mammon if our daily business life. The one who continues doing it will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Ye can not serve God and mammon.

The Saviour taught the lesson that we can not patch our own filthy robes of self-righteousness with the righteousness of Christ. No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. (Luke 5:36)

The Israelite who conscientiously refused to mingle woolen and linen in his daily garments, and saw in it the lesson God designed to teach, would also refrain from sin. His entire dress, made of but one kind of cloth, would constantly remind him of the perfect robe of Christ's righteousness, given to the faithful.

As the Israelite started out each morning to assume his daily tasks, another command constrained him:Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. (Duet. 22:10) The ox was a clean animal; the ass, or donkey, was unclean. (Lev. 11:3,4) While each was useful, yet they were not to be yoked up together.

The Saviour prayed, not that we should be taken out of the world, but that we might be kept from the evil in the world. (John 17:15) While we may use the world as the Israelites used the unclean ass, yet we are not to yoke ourselves up with any of the evil of the world.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (2 Cor. 6:14-17)

This command includes the marriage relation and every business connection. Ungodly business men often use methods in conducting their business that a Christian could not use without compromising his Christian integrity.

The Christian is to bear Christ's yoke, and engage in no business in which Christ can not help him carry the burden of cares and perplexities connected therewith. The Saviour says to all, Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matt. 11:29)

All the precepts of the Old Testament are irradiated with the glory of the Son of God. Especially is this true of the command, Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds; lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. (Duet. 22:9)

Horticulturists know the value of this command. Sowing together wheat and oats ruins the oats and injures the wheat. This, like the other Levitical laws, referred to more than the temporal prosperity of the Israelites. It taught them that if they would remain true to God, they must not associate with evil companions. Be not deceived:evil communications corrupt good manners. (1 Cor. 15:33)

The Revised Version of the New Testament reads, Evil company doth corrupt good manners. The Twentieth Century New Testament makes it stronger, showing that the contamination of evil association affects more than the outward manners. It says, Do not be deceived; good character is marred by evil company.

The Syriac New Testament gives us a side-light on what is included in the term evil company or evil communication, as follows:Be not deceived. Evil stories corrupt well-disposed minds. It matters not how they may be received, whether orally, or through the fashionable novels, or in the columns of the daily paper, the truth remains the same,- well-disposed minds are corrupted by them.

Just as truly as wheat, which furnishes us our daily bread, is injured by being mixed with other seed in the field; so the most spiritual-minded may be led astray by associating with evil persons, for their word will eat as doth a canker. (2 Tim. 2:17) Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things?. yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. (Neh. 13:23-26)

By beholding we become changed, is a law of our being. If we behold with open face the glory of the Lord, we are changed into His image. (2 Cor. 3:18) If we let our minds dwell upon evil things, we become evil. Like David, we need to pray, Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken Thou me in Thy way. (Ps. 119:37)

To the individual building a house the command was given, When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence. (Duet. 22:8) The houses in Palestine generally have flat roofs, and on them men walk to enjoy the fresh air, converse together, sleep, etc. The need of the battlement is quite evident.

But there is also a deep spiritual lesson taught in the command. Every man builds his own character. Paul says, Ye are God's building, and every building will be tested by the Lord. (1 Cor. 3:9-17)

It is possible to build a character that will pass the test of the judgment, and in this world stand as a beacon light in the moral darkness of sin, guiding others safely into the haven of rest. On the other hand, like the housetop without any battlement, we may be the cause of ruin to many souls. In our character-building, we need to make straight paths for our feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. (Heb. 12:13)

It is said that the rigid features of a marble statue may be made to vary their expression, so as even to smile, when skilful hands move a bright light before it; in like manner the plain command, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn, (Duet. 25:4) when viewed in the light of the New Testament, contains spiritual lessons for the Christian church.

In writing of the support of the Christian laborer, Paul says:It is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written. (1 Cor. 9:9,10)

Then he proceeds to explain that if we receive spiritual help from the Christian workers, we are in turn under obligation to give them of our carnal or temporal things. We have no more right to enjoy the spiritual aid derived from Christian workers without giving financial aid to support the work, than the ancient Israelites had to muzzle the ox that was patiently treading out his grain.

Paul closes his argument by showing that the same system of tithing given by God to sustain His work anciently, is still binding in the Christian church. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:13,14)

Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn, contains a lesson for the Christian worker as well as for those for whom he labors. The muzzle is not put on the ox when he treadeth out the grain, but if the ox stands idly by and does not tread out any grain, then it would be all right to muzzle him. The command is far reaching, and requires of the laborer in God's cause, faithful service; at the same time it lays upon others the obligation of faithfully supporting the gospel laborers.

Surely the following words of Tyndale apply to this text, Similitudes have more virtue and power with them than bare words, and lead a man's understanding further into the pith and marrow and spiritual understanding of the thing, than all the words that can be imagined.

During the forty years' wandering in the wilderness, the children of Israel passed through varied experiences. Like humanity of the present day, they failed to be thankful for the protecting care of God. They did not see that God had shielded them from the poisonous reptiles that had infested their pathway through the desert. God removed His protecting care, and allowed the fiery serpents to come among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. (Num. 21:5,6)

The people confessed that they had sinned and spoken against God, and pleaded with Moses to pray for them. God told Moses to make a serpent of brass and set it up on a pole, and every one that would look upon it should live.

Hope sprang up in many hearts, as they lifted the heads of their dear ones and directed their eyes toward the serpent. As soon as the gaze of those who were bitten rested upon it, life and health came back to them.

The remedy was so simple - only to look - that some scoffed at it; but in refusing to look, they refused life.

The introduction to the wonderful words of John 3:16 are, As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-16)

As the serpent was lifted up on the pole, so Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross. As the Israelites were to look at the brazen serpent, so sinners must look to Christ for salvation. As God provided no other remedy than this looking for the wounded Israelite, so He has provided no other way of salvation than faith in the blood of His Son. As he who looked at the brazen serpent was cured and did live; so, he that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ shall not perish, but shall have eternal life.

The fatal effects of sin can be removed in no other way than by the means God has provided. The old serpent, which is the devil, is wounding men and women on every side by his deadly bite; but Christ has shed His blood upon Calvary's cross, and every one who will look to Christ, believing that His blood will cleanse from all sin, will be free from the poison of the serpent's bite. (1 John 1:7-9)

Of the command, Whether it be cow or ewe, ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day, (Lev. 22:28) Andrew A. Bonar gives the following comment:Some say this was meant simply to discourage cruelty. No doubt it had this effect. But a typical reason lies hid, and is very precious. The Father was to give up His Son; and the Son was to be, as it were, torn from the Father's care by the hands of wicked men. How could this be represented if both the ewe and her young were offered together? This part of the truth must never be obscured, that 'God so loved the world, that He gave His Son.' And the bleatings of the tender lamb in its parent's ears, as it was taken from the fold filling the air with sadness, represented the bleatings of 'the Lamb led to the slaughter,' who so sadly wailed, 'Eli! Eli! lama sabachthani?'...We see thus a picture hung up in every house of Israel of that great truth, 'God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.'

 

Type Antitype
Deut. 22:11. Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together. Isa. 64:6; 61:10. We can not mingle the filthy rags of our righteousness with the robes of Christ's righteousness.
Deut. 22:10. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 2 Cor. 6:14-17. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
Deut. 22:9. Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds; lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard be defiled. 1 Cor. 15:33. Twentieth Century Translation: Good character is marred by evil company. Syriac Translation: Evil stories corrupt well- disposed minds.
Deut. 22:8. Thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house. Heb. 12:13. Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way.
Deut. 25:4. Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. 1 Cor. 9:11; 1 Tim. 5:18. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing, if we shall reap your carnal things?
Num. 21:8, 9. Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, and all that looked upon it, lived. John 3:14, 15. Even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

 

Chapter 37

Reuben

There is a significance in the meaning of names given to persons by the Lord. Jacob's name was not changed to Israel until, after long and weary wrestling, he had prevailed with God and men. Genesis 32:24-28. It was after Joses had given all his possessions to supply the needs of the cause of God, that he was called Barnabas, or the son of consolation. Acts 4:36,37.

The company of one hundred and forty-four thousand, who will be redeemed from among men when the Saviour comes, and who throughout eternity will follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, Revelation 14:1-4; 7:4-8 will enter the city of God marshaled in twelve companies, each bearing the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.3 From these instances we conclude that there was a special significance to the names given to the twelve sons of Jacob.

In every ancient Israelitish family the eldest son inherited, as his birthright, a double portion of his father's estate, and the honor of officiating as priest in his father's house; and what was of more value to every true son of Abraham than wealth or earthly position, he inherited the spiritual birthright, which gave him the honor of being the progenitor of the promised Messiah.

But Reuben, the eldest of the twelve sons of Jacob, like his Uncle Esau, Genesis 25:34; Hebrews 12:16 lightly esteemed the birthright, and in an unguarded hour committed a sin that forever debarred him from all the spiritual and temporal rights of the first-born. He committed adultery with his father's wife, a sin which Paul said was not even so much as named among the Gentiles, or heathen. 1 Corinthians 5:1; Genesis 49:4

Because of this sin, - the temporal birthright - the double portion of Jacob's earthly inheritance - was given to Joseph; 1 Chronicles 5:1 the priesthood to Levi; Deuteronomy 33:8-11 and upon Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, was conferred the honor of becoming the progenitor of Christ. 1 Chronicles 5:1,2

Jacob on his deathbed portrayed the character which Reuben as the first-born might have possessed. Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power. We can imagine the pathetic tone of the old patriarch's voice as he portrayed the real character of his first-born, the one who might have had the respect of all, - Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel. Genesis 49:3,4 There are traces in the history of Reuben of the excellency of dignity which originally was bestowed upon him, as shown by his kindness in bringing home the mandrakes to his mother, Genesis 30:14 and trying to save the life of Joseph, when his brethren determined to kill him. Genesis 37:21,22,29; 42:22

Reuben was a vacillating character, unstable as water. His father had little confidence in his word; for when his brethren wished to take Benjamin down to Egypt, Jacob did not regard Reuben's pledge to return Benjamin safely to his father, but when Judah promised to stand as security for the lad, Jacob accepted the offer. Genesis 42:37,38; 43:8,9

The unstable nature of Reuben seems to have been transmitted to his descendants. The same selfish character was shown by the tribe of Reuben wishing to take possession of the first land conquered when they came out of Egypt. Moses evidently read their motive in the request, yet he granted them their possessions on the other side of Jordan. As the result of this request they were among the first to be carried captive into Assyria by Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, about B. C. 740. Numbers 32:1-33; 1 Chronicles 5:26

The prophetic words of the patriarch, Thou shalt not excel, were fulfilled in the history of the tribe of Reuben. That tribe furnished no judge, no prophet, no hero, unless it be Adina and the thirty men with him, who were reckoned among the valiant men of David's army. 1 Chronicles 11:42 These men were no doubt among the one hundred and twenty thousand of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh who went up to Hebron to make David king over Israel. 1 Chronicles 11:37,38

Dathan and Abiram, of the tribe of Reuben, with Korah the Levite, were noted for the rebellion they instigated in the camp of Israel; and their destruction was an object-lesson of the fate of all who pursue a similar course. Numbers 16:1; Deuteronomy 11:6

The territory chosen by the Reubenites placed them in close proximity to Moab. The towns in the inheritance of Reuben - Heshbon, Elealeh, Kirjathaim, Nebo, Baalmeon, Shibmah, - are familiar to us as Moabitish and not Israelitish towns.

It is not strange that Reuben, thus remote from the central seat of the national government and of the national religion, relinquished the faith of Jehovah. They went after the gods of the people of the land whom God destroyed before them, and we hear little more of the tribe of Reuben until Hazael, king of Syria, held possession of their territory for a time. 2 Kings 10:32,33

When as a tribe they had completely failed to do the work God intended they should do in their own land, the Lord permitted Pul and Tiglath-pileser to carry them into the upper part of Mesopotamia, where they remained until, at the end of the seventy years captivity, representatives of the twelve tribes were again gathered into the land of promise. Ezra 6:17; 8:35; Nehemiah 7:73

The history of the tribe is a record of failures in carrying out the purposes of God. As Reuben, the first-born, had the opportunity to stand as a leader, so the tribe of Reuben, situated on the borders of Moab, might have proved true to God, and been a beacon light to lead the heathen to the true God; but they, like their father Reuben, were unstable as water.

Although the patriarch and his descendants failed to carry out the purposes of God, yet the name of Reuben will be immortalized, for throughout eternity, the countless millions of the redeemed will read that name on one of the pearly gates of the New Jerusalem. Twelve thousand of the one hundred and forty four thousand will be of this class, and will enter the kingdom of God under the name of Reuben.

How can one be thus honoured who apparently made a failure of life? That is the great mystery of Godliness. How can the thief, who made a complete shipwreck of his life, be with the Saviour in Paradise? It is through the power of the blood of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer.

When Moses pronounced his parting blessing on the tribes of Israel, of Reuben he said: Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few. Deuteronomy 33:6. We might wonder how a character unstable as water could live, and not die; but the course pursued by Reuben at the time of a great crisis in Israel, explains how such a one can be an overcomer.

At the time of the battle of Megiddo, which is in many respects a type of the final battle of Armageddon, it is stated that in the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart. Judges 5:16, margin. Here is the secret of the whole matter.

There are multitudes of men and women in the world today with characters like Reuben. They are unstable as water, with no power in themselves to do any good thing; but if they will begin earnestly to search their hearts, they will discover their own weakness; and if they turn to God, He will come to their rescue, and pronounce over them, as He did over Reuben of old, Let such a one live and not die.

SUMMARY

The birthright embraced, -
A double portion of property,
The priesthood of the family,
The progenitor of Christ.
Reuben had four sons, whose descendants formed the tribe which bore his name. 1 Chron. 5:3.
The tribe numbered 43,730, when they entered the promised land. Num. 26:7.
The Reubenites were carried captive into Assyria. 1 Chron. 5:26.

 

Chapter 38

Simeon

The crowning sin of Simeon's life was the murder of the men of Shechem. Genesis 34. Levi was connected with Simeon in this wicked work, but Simeon seems to have been the leading spirit; for the divine record always mentions his name first when speaking of the sin.

There is something pathetic in the whole affair. The prince of Shechem had ruined Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob. It is easy to imagine how an only sister would be loved and cherished by her brothers, and especially by the sons of Leah who was also the mother of Dinah. When Jacob reproved Simeon and Levi for the murder, their only reply was, Should he deal with our sister as with a harlot? Genesis 34:31

Love for their sister evidently prompted the act of revenge. They also wished to rescue her; for Dinah had been enticed to the house of the prince of Shechem, and after the murder, Simeon and Levi brought her home with them. Genesis 34:26

The words addressed to Simeon by Jacob, show that God does not overlook sin in any one. The fact that their only sister was ruined, was no excuse for committing that terrible act of vengeance. When the sons of Jacob gathered around their father's couch to receive his parting blessing, the sight of Simeon and Levi brought vividly to the mind of the dying patriarch the detail of this murder committed some forty years before, and he exclaimed, Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret. And as if he shrank from the very thought of his name being tarnished by their wicked course, he continues, Unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Genesis 49:5-7

Both tribes were divided and scattered. But how differently! The Levites held positions of honour, and were scattered over the country as religious educators and priests. The dispersion of the tribe of Simeon arose from corrupting elements in the tribe itself, which reduced their numbers and finally resulted in driving them from their inheritance.

When the land was divided among the different tribes, Simeon had no part given him; but as the allotment of Judah was too large for that tribe, Simeon was allowed to occupy a portion of the inheritance of Judah. Afterward some of the Simeonites were obliged to seek new territory, and were thus separated from the rest of their brethren. 1 Chronicles 4:27,39,42

In the writings of the ancient Jewish doctors it is stated that the tribe of Simeon became so straitened in their habitations that a very great number of them were forced to seek subsistence among the other tribes by teaching their children. Truly they were divided in Jacob and scattered in Israel.

When Israel was numbered at Sinai, Simeon had 59,300 fighting men. Only two tribes surpassed it in strength. But when Israel was again numbered at Shittim, Simeon was the weakest of all the tribes, numbering only 22,200. Why this great change? The strong men of Simeon did not sacrifice their lives on the battle-field, fighting for the honour of God; they were slain because of the licentiousness of their own hearts. The twenty-fifth chapter of Numbers relates the sad story of the ruin of Simeon. It seems from the record that the chief men of Simeon were the leaders in that great apostasy. They became a prey to the harlots of Midian. Truly she hath cast down many wounded; yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Proverbs 7:26

Solomon, the wisest of men, who was thrice called the beloved of God, became a slave to his passion, and thus sacrificed his integrity to the same bewitching power. Nehemiah 13:26

The shores of the stream of time are strewn with the wrecks of characters that have been stranded upon the rock of sensual indulgence. Israel became a prey to licentiousness before they were led into idolatry. When licentious desires rule the heart, other sins quickly follow.

Blessed are the pure in heart. Matthew 5:8 He that ruleth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a city; Proverbs 16:32 but he that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. Proverbs 25:28 Some suppose that the omission of Simeon's name in the blessing of Moses was due to Moses' displeasure at the behaviour of the tribe at Shittim.

Little is said of the position taken by this tribe when the kingdom was divided; but there are two references that would seem to indicate that their sympathy was with the kingdom of Israel. 2 Chronicles 15:9; 34:6 The same fearless, warlike disposition manifested in the outbreaking sins committed by Simeon, was in the life of Judith used for the protection of God's people.

It is uncertain whether the book in the Apocrypha that bears her name is a history or a historic romance, but from the record there given, Judith will always remain one of the prominent figures among the deliverers of her nation. She, like Jael, slew the leader of the enemies' army. Judges 4:21; Judith 13:6-9 She nerved herself for her tremendous exploit by a prayer to the Lord God of my father Simeon; also in her prayer she alluded to the massacre at Shechem. Judith 9:2

The history of Judith, who, like Esther, risked her life for the deliverance of her people, is in pleasing contrast to the record of the wicked course pursued by Simeon and his descendants. In the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, it is Simeon and Levi who plot to destroy young Joseph; and Simeon bound Joseph before he was lowered into the well at Dothan. This was only about two years after the same men had planned and executed the murder of the men of Shechem. Memory must have brought all these events very vividly to the mind of Joseph as he stood before his brethren and commanded that Simeon be bound as a hostage before the eyes of the very men who had once seen him bind Joseph with intent to murder him. Genesis 42:19-24

It may be thought strange by some that the name of a man who was famous only for murder and sin, should be inscribed on one of the gates of the Holy City of God, and that one twelfth of the one hundred and forty-four thousand will enter the city of God bearing the name of that man. But the fact that one has committed sin will never exclude him from the kingdom of God. All have sinned. It is unconfessed sin that debars any one from receiving eternal life.

Jesus is the only one born of woman that is sinless. He alone of all the family of Adam will throughout eternity have an uncovered life record. No part of His record will be covered. But our life record, marred by sin, will be covered by Christ's righteousness. The blood of Christ can cleanse from sin of the deepest dye, and even murderers can enter heaven; not as murderers, but as pardoned sinners; for though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Gathered out of the sin and wickedness of the last generation, there will be twelve thousand redeemed ones, who through the virtue of the blood of Christ, will be grafted into the tribe of Simeon, and throughout eternity will represent that tribe on the earth made new.

SUMMARY

Simeon had six sons, whose descendants formed the tribe which bore his name. Gen. 46:10. The tribe numbered 22,200, when they entered the promised land. Num. 26:12-14. Judith, the only noted character in the tribe, slew the leader of the enemies' army. Judith 13:6-14.

 

Chapter 39

Levi

The name of Levi seemed a prophecy of the life-work of the whole tribe. As Satan, through envy and jealousy, separated Leah from her husband's regard, so he sought to ruin Levi by persuading him to unite with Simeon in avenging the wrong done their only sister. Genesis 34

The words of Jacob on his deathbed reveal the magnitude of the crime, and how the Lord regarded it. The old father's heart was stirred at the remembrance, and he exclaimed, O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united. . . . Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel. And then, as if he could not bear to think of their ever growing into a strong tribe to perpetuate such crimes, he exclaimed, I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Genesis 49:5-7 It was more like a curse than a blessing; but when a sinner repents and turns from his sins, our God turns even curses into blessings, and thus it was in the case of Levi. Nehemiah 13:2

There is nothing to indicate that the tribe of Levi had any special pre-eminence over the other tribes during the Egyptian bondage. It is quite evident that the original plan of having the first-born officiate as priest of the household, continued until the encampment at Sinai. The young men of the children of Israel offered the sacrifices at that time. Exodus 24:5 In the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, it is expressly stated, He sent the first-born of the children of Israel, for even to that time the worship was by the first-born because the tabernacle was not yet made, nor the priesthood given to Aaron. Character is formed by the way individuals meet the common events of every-day life; but it is tested by the way they meet the crises of life. At Sinai the people of God passed through one of the greatest crises in the history of the church, when the whole multitude of Israel worshiped the golden calf. It was at this time, when even God Himself was ready to destroy Israel, Exodus 32:10 that the tribe of Levi came forward, and by their faithfulness helped to save the cause of God.

When Moses came down from the mount and found the children of Israel worshiping the golden calf, he stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 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 throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses. Exodus 32:26-28

At the time of this crisis the honour of God and His cause was dearer to the Levites than all worldly connections; neither brothers, companions, or friends, stood between them and their duty to God. As a reward for their faithfulness, the priesthood, - a portion of the birth right, - was given to the sons of Levi. What Reuben lost by unfaithfulness in his father's home, Levi gained by being true to God before all Israel.

Jacob on his deathbed denounced Levi's sins; but Moses in his parting blessing, extolled him above all others. Of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters 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. Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands. Deuteronomy 33:8-11 From the fall of man, each household had celebrated its worship with a priest of its own. When the time came to change this method of worship, God did it in a way that gave all Israel a thorough understanding of the matter.

The first-born males of all Israel were numbered, and found to be 22,000. Then the tribe of Levi was numbered, and there were 22,273. Thus the Levites outnumbered the first-born; so the redemption price for the first-born, - five shekels apiece by the poll, was paid for the 273 Levites, - the number by which they outnumbered the first-born. Numbers 3:46-49 Then all the Levites were set apart for their life-work.

The sum of the numbers given in the third chapter of Numbers for each of the three branches of the tribe of Levi is 22,300. It is understood that these extra 300 were the first-born of Levi, and as such were already consecrated, and could not take the place of others.

The tabernacle was a sign to the children of Israel of their unseen King, and the Levites were as a royal guard that waited exclusively upon Him. When the people were encamped, the Levites were the guardians of the sacred tent. When they travelled, the Levites alone carried all that pertained to the sanctuary.

When Israel entered the promised land, the tribe of Levi was given no inheritance. It was not expected that they would spend their time and strength in cultivating the soil and rearing cattle. The spiritual welfare of all Israel was to be their burden; and, that they might the more easily perform this work, the Levites were given forty-eight cities, scattered throughout all the twelve tribes, and the tithe was used for their support. Numbers 18:20,21. Thus Jacob's prophecy, was fulfilled; they were divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel.

The history of the temple and its service is a history of the Levites. When God was honoured by His people, the Levites were given their appointed work; but when apostasy came in, the Levites were obliged to seek other employment for their support. Nehemiah 13:10,11

Levi, like the other tribes, had a checkered history; not all were true to God, but the tribe continued to exist in Israel to the time of Christ, and had a worthy representative among the early apostles in the person of Barnabas. Acts 4:36

It was in the time of a crisis that the Levites gained their great victory. In a crisis decisions are made quickly. Many fail at such times, because they do not have independent Christian characters. They are in the habit of following the leadings of those in whom they have confidence, and they have no strength in themselves. He who would always prove true in the crises of life, must have a clear connection with the God of heaven, and must fear God more than man.

Moses and Aaron are two of the most noted characters in the tribe of Levi. There was a marked contrast in the two men. Moses stood like a great rock, against which the waves beat continually. Aaron was gentler, and at times he seemed almost vacillating; but Aaron was a strong character, although different from his brother.

Aaron's crowning test came when his two sons were smitten down in the tabernacle, because, under the influence of strong drink, they offered strange fire before the Lord. Aaron was not allowed to show any signs of grief; thus teaching the people that God was just in punishing evildoers, even if they were his own sons.

This was no small test, and after studying Lev. 10:11 we can better understand how, notwithstanding the murders committed in Levi's early life, the Lord could speak of Aaron as the saint of the Lord. Psalms 106:16

One twelfth of the one hundred forty-four thousand will be marshaled under the name of Levi. They will be persons who, on account of sin, merited only curses, but who forsook sin; and while men all around them were wavering and falling, they stood true to God and His cause, and will receive a rich blessing from the hands of a merciful God.

SUMMARY

Levi had three sons, whose descendants formed the tribe which bore his name. Gen. 46: 11. Aaron and his sons officiated as priests. The remainder of the tribe assisted in the work of the temple. Noted Characters Moses and Aaron were the most noted Levites in the Old Testament.
Barnabas and Mark are prominent characters in the New Testament.

 

Chapter 40

Judah

Name, or pedigree, separate from character, has no weight in the records of heaven. Because Reuben failed to cultivate a character worthy of the first-born, - the one entitled to both the temporal and the spiritual birthright, - its blessings were taken from him, and given to others who had developed characters worthy of them.

Joseph, who had become a noted business manager, was given the double portion of his father's inheritance, - the temporal birthright; but it required more than ability to control great wealth to be entitled to the spiritual birthright, and to become the progenitor of the Messiah. The records state that Judah, the fourth son, prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the Chief Ruler. 1 Chronicles 5:2 Jacob, upon his deathbed, pronounced the prophetic words: The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be. Genesis 49:10

How did Judah prevail above his brethren, and thus inherit the spiritual birthright? This is a subject worthy of careful study by every one who desires a part in the great spiritual birthright by which we today may become heirs of the eternal inheritance. We have no record of Judah's ever prevailing over his brethren by force of arms. But a careful study of the lives of the twelve sons of Jacob, reveals the fact that Judah was a leader. When he offered to stand as surety for Benjamin, Jacob consented to let Benjamin go into Egypt, although Reuben's offer had been refused. Genesis 43:8-13; 42:37, 38

When Jacob and his family arrived in Egypt, Jacob sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen. Genesis 46:28 When the sons of Jacob were in great perplexity because the ruler of Egypt demanded Benjamin as a hostage, it was Judah who pleaded their cause so earnestly that Joseph threw off his disguise, and made himself known unto his brethren. Genesis 44:14-34; 45:1-3

By strict integrity to principle, Judah had won the confidence of his father and his brethren. The whole story is told in the blessing pronounced over Judah by his aged father, just before his death: Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies. Thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Genesis 49:8

His brethren bowed down before Joseph, but the circumstances were different. Joseph's wealth and position, acquired in a foreign land, gave him the pre-eminence; but Judah won the respect of his brethren in the every-day contact of the home life. This confidence was not born in a moment; but day by day his strict integrity won their respect, until of their own free will, not from force of circumstances, they praised him and bowed down before him. A life of conflict and victory over the selfish tendencies of his own heart, is bound up in the words, Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise.

It is worthy of note that Judah prevailed under the same circumstances in which Reuben failed. It was not sins committed against the public that debarred Reuben from the privileges of the first-born; he proved himself untrue in the home life. 1 Chronicles 5:1 He had no regard for the honour of his own family. His father and his brethren could not trust him in their private life. In the same home, surrounded by the same temptations and environments, Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the Chief Ruler. 1 Chronicles 5:2

Twelve thousand of the one hundred and forty-four thousand will enter the holy city under the name of Judah, Revelation 7:5 - persons who, in times of perplexity, have been recognized by their brethren as trusted leaders.

Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? Genesis 49:9 In these words Jacob gives the impression that it would be as easy to conquer a lion as to overcome one with the character of Judah; that it would be as safe to rouse an old lion as to contend with one who stood fast in his integrity to God. Judah's is a character we may well covet, - that firmness that will not surrender our Christian integrity, but will know of a surety that the Lord is with us when we are assailed by Satan and all his hosts. Matthew 7:24,25

Judah is mentioned oftener in the Scriptures than any other of the twelve patriarchs, except Joseph. Of the five sons of Judah, two died childless; but from the three remaining sons came the strongest tribe in all Israel.

At Sinai the children of Judah numbered 74,600. They evidently had a very small part, if any, in the apostasy at Shittim, where Simeon's numbers were greatly reduced; for Judah numbered 76,500 as they left Shittim to enter the promised land.

The tribe of Judah occupied a position among the other tribes similar to that which their progenitor held in his father's family. They were entrusted with the care of the priesthood. The nine cities occupied by the family of Aaron, the priests, were all within the territory of Judah and Simeon. Joshua 21:9-16 The remainder of the forty-eight cities occupied by the Levites were scattered throughout the other tribes.

Judah was an independent tribe. After the death of Saul, they did not wait for others to acknowledge David as king, but crowned him king of Judah, and David reigned over them seven and one-half years before he was crowned king over all Israel. 2 Samuel 2:4,11

After the death of Solomon, Judah and Benjamin remained true to the seed of David, and formed the kingdom of Judah. This kingdom retained their own land about 142 years after the kingdom of Israel was carried captive into Assyria. 2 Kings 17:6; 2 Chronicles 36;17-20

Zedekiah, king of Judah, was given the last opportunity of saving the holy city from falling into the bands of the heathen, Jereminah 38:17-20 but he failed, and Judah, the kingly tribe, was carried captive into Babylon.

The scepter never fully departed from Judah until Shiloh came. Herod, the last king who reigned over the Jews, died a few years after the birth of Christ. In his first will Herod appointed Antipas as his successor; but his last will named Archelaus as the one to reign in his stead. The people were ready to receive Archelaus, but afterward revolted. Archelaus and Antipas both went to Rome to present their claims before Caesar. Caesar confirmed neither, but sent Archelaus back to Judea as ethnarch, Matthew 2:19-22 with the promise of the crown if he proved worthy of it; but he never received it. Thus the land forsaken of both her kings during the childhood of Christ, as was prophesied by Isaiah. Isaiah 7:14-16 The tribe of Judah furnished a galaxy of names noted in sacred history. No other tribe furnished the world so many mighty men of God. At the head of the list is the one incomparable name, - Jesus of Nazareth, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Caleb's great faith and dauntless courage has been an inspiration to men of all ages. In the prime of life his faith was strong. When other men saw only the giants of difficulties in the way of entering the land, he said, We are well able to overcome it. Numbers 13:30 At the age of eighty-five, in the strength of God, he drove the enemies from the stronghold of Hebron. Joshua 14:6-15; 15:13-15

David has been honoured above all earthly kings in being taken as a type of Christ, and inspiration calls the Saviour the son of David. Matthew 21:9 Judah furnished a number of other kings who, surrounded by all the temptations of the court life, stood true to God.

After the captivity, when for a time it seemed as if the Israel of God were almost obliterated from the earth, four young men of Judah, true to the lion-like character of their tribe, risked their lives rather than defile themselves with the royal dainties Proverbs 23:1-3 from the table of the king of Babylon. Daniel 1:8 A few years later three of these men stood fearlessly before the king of Babylon, saying, Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods. Daniel 3:18 In fulfilment of the promise made over one hundred years before, Isaiah 43:2 the Lord walked with those three sons of Judah through the fiery furnace, and they came forth unhurt. Daniel 3:24-27 And Daniel, true to the integrity of his tribe, faced hungry lions rather than have any interruption in his communion with God. Daniel 6:7-10,16-22

SUMMARY

Judah was the progenitor of Christ. 1 Chron. 5:2; Gen. 49:10.
The tribe of Judah were the descendants of the three youngest sons of Judah.
The tribe numbered 76,500 when they entered the promised land. Num. 26:19-22.
The scepter did not depart from Judah until Shiloh came. Isa. 7:14,16.
Noted Characters Caleb, the son of Jephunneh. Num. 13: 6.
Othniel, a nephew of Caleb, judged Israel forty years. Judges 3:9-11.
Ibzan of Bethlehem, of the land of Judah, judged Israel seven years. Judges 12:8-10.
Judah furnished many kings; prominent among them were David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat,
Hezekiah, and Josiah.
The greatest character of all is Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Rev. 5:5.

Continued Next Month

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James S. White 
Bible Adventism Series
SERMON FOUR 
 
The Church Not in Darkness

TEXT: But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 1 Thess.5:4

For the consolation of those in the church whose hearts might bleed with bereavement, the apostle undertakes to dispel their griefs by removing their ignorance concerning those who sleep in Jesus. He addresses the church at Thessalonica thus: 

 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [go before] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Chap.4:13-18.

The apostle would not have the church ignorant concerning the dead. He would have them instructed relative to the hope that may be cherished of those who fall asleep in Jesus. The church believes that "Jesus died and rose again, " and that God "brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ."

Very well; "So them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." As certainly as he brought his Son from the dead, and took him up to his own throne, just so certainly will God also bring from the dead all who sleep in Jesus, and will take them up to Heaven, and place them on the throne of the Son.

The day named in the text is not the day of the believer's death. The apostle, in giving instruction for the comfort of the church under bereavements, does not point to death as the gate to endless joys, through which the pious dead immediately pass to God's right hand, where there are fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. No. They sleep in Jesus. And their slumbers will not be broken till the last trump shall awake them. The apostle looks forward over the still-remaining long period of the slumbers of the just, to the descent of the Lord from Heaven, the resurrection of the righteous to immortality, as the glad hope of the just of all ages.

These (not the terrors of death and the grave,) are the grand events that introduce the glories of the life to come. To these, the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, have distinctly pointed as the consummating events of the believer's hope, and the source of their anticipated joys. After spreading before us these events which introduce the burning glories of the day of God, the apostle concludes his remarks upon this branch of the subject by this remarkable sentence: "Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Thus the apostle distinctly states the manner and object of the second advent of Jesus Christ, and treats the doctrine as a legacy to the church, given to be a source of consolation and comfort, especially to those mourning in consequence of bereavements.

He continues:

"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." 1 Thess.5:1-4.

Paul here speaks prophetically, and describes the state of things just prior to the end. He designates two classes by the words ye and they. The word ye represents those whom he calls brethren, who are well instructed relative to the times and seasons, and therefore are awake, and waiting and watching for their Lord. The word they represents those who treat the subject of the coming of Christ as not worthy of their especial attention; therefore, while some are sounding the alarm, they see no evidences of the soon coming of the Lord, and are saying, Peace and safety.

The apostle continues: "Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." Verses 5-9.

The two classes, the position of each, and the destiny of both, are distinctly stated. Certainly those who teach that the day of the Lord will come on all as a thief in the night, have not fully examined the subject. For their especial benefit, we will repeat the points of difference, thus:  

 

 

YE

Have no need that I write unto you. Verse 1.
Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Verse 4.
Ye are all the children of the light. Verse 5.
Let us not sleep as do others. Verse 6.
God hath not appointed wrath, but to obtain SALVATION. Verse 9.

 

THEY

Shall say, Peace and safety.Verse 3.
The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
Verse 2.
For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the Verse 7.
Sudden DESTRUCTION cometh us to upon them.
Verse 8.





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 No truth of Inspiration can be more clearly declared than that "surely the Lord God doeth nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Amos 3:7. Before visiting men and nations with judgments, God has sent forth warnings sufficient to enable the believing to escape his wrath, and to condemn those who have not heeded the warnings. This was the case before the flood. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world." Heb.11:7.

At a later period, when the nations had become sunken in idolatry and crime, and the destruction of wicked Sodom was determined, the Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?" Gen.18:17, 18.

And due notice was given to righteous Lot, who, with his daughters, was preserved; and none, even in that guilty city, perished without due warning. Lot evidently warned the people; and, in thus communing with them, was "vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked." 2 Pet.2:7, 8.

When he warned his sons-in-law, "he seemed as one that mocked." Gen.19:14. And when "the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, " Lot warned them, and entreated them to desist from their wickedness. And they at once did that which all sinners since the days of righteous Lot have been disposed to do to those who faithfully warn them of their sins; namely, they charged him with being a judge. Before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, a forerunner was sent to prepare the way before the Lord. Those who did not receive Christ, were rejected, "Because" - as he said to Jerusalem when warning the people of the destruction of their city and temple - "thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." Luke 19:44.

We have on record the Lord's prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem during the time of the generation that rejected him, which was fulfilled in less than forty years from the time of his crucifixion. And that the Christians in Judea might escape its impending doom, they were told that when they should "see Jerusalem compassed with armies, " or, as recorded by Matthew, "the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place, " they were to "flee to the mountains." Luke 21:20; Matt.24:15. They heeded the admonition, and escaped in safety to Pella.

Such is the testimony of Inspiration respecting the dealings of God with his people in past ages. And it cannot be supposed that God will change his course relative to the future, when that future is to realize the crowning consummation of all prophetic declarations. No, no, indeed! Before the vials of Jehovah's unmingled wrath shall be unstopped in heaven, and poured out into the earth, upon the shelterless heads of the unbelieving, the world will be fully warned. Before the Son of Man thrusts in his sickle to gather the precious harvest of the earth, that harvest must be fully ripened for the heavenly garner. And before the vine of the earth shall be gathered for the winepress of the wrath of God, her clusters must also be fully ripened. Rev.14:14-19. And the last message of fearful warning to the people will ripen and prepare the believing for salvation, and also the unbelieving for salvation, and also the unbelieving for destruction.