Glimpses of Christ
J. B. Hewitt, Chesterfield
The whole purpose of revealed truth is to tell out the manifold glory of the character and work of one majestic Person, Jesus Christ our Lord. God has chosen Him as the centre of all His purposes, Eph. 1. 9-10, and He is the grand theme of the Old Testament, John 5. 39,46; Luke 24.25-27,44-45 We shall look briefly at one suggestive picture or type of this blessed One in each of the books of the Pentateuch.
ISAAC, THE BELOVED SON; GENESIS
His Birth. As with the Lord Jesus, Isaac's birth was predicted long before he was born, Gen. 12. 7; 15. 4; 17. 15-16; 21. 2 with Isa. 7. 14; 9. 6. The seed is clearly a reference to Christ as Galatians 3. 15 states, and verse 29 extends it to all who belong to Christ. These will one day be a great multitude, Rev. 5. 9. His name was specified before his birth, cf. Gen. 17. 19; Matt. 1. 21. Isasc was supernaturally begotten, Gen. 18. 12-14; Rom. 4. 19, the only seed of the covenant, Gen. 22. 2, and heir to the promises, 15. 4. The Lord is the seed, Gal. 3. 16, the Son, John 3. 16; Heb. 1. 5, and the Heir, Heb. 1. 2. Human fatherhood and sonship are faint shadows of the essential divine relationships which exist in the Godhead. Christ is God's only Son, absolute and unique, who is in the bosom of the Father, John 1.18. Isaac was loved of his father, Gen. 22. 2; how much more true was this of our Lord, John 10. 17; Col. 1. 13 r.v.
His Binding, Gen. 22. 1-14, especially verse 9. Surely this pictures the devotion to God the Father of His only Son for the redemption of the world. The one who was opposed by Ishmael, the son of the flesh, Gal. 4. 28-29, is loved by his father, and all things are committed to him, Gen. 24. 26. This is true of the heavenly Isaac, John 1. 12; 5. 20; 10. 17; Matt. 28. 18. We are the gift from the Father to the Son, John 6. 37, 39; 17- 9 12, 24. The fellowship of the Son and the Father in connection with sacrifice was in perfect accord, 2 Cor. 5. 19; Heb. 9. 14; John 19. 17. Obedience and self-surrender marked Isaac and in greater measure our beloved Lord, Gen. 22. 9; Psa. 40; John 10. 17-18; Rom. 8. 32.
Isaac carrying the wood reminds us of John 19. 17 and 1 Peter 2. 24. God providing the Lamb, Gen. 22. 8, takes us in thought to God giving His own Son, the Lamb of God, 1 Pet. 1. 18-19; John 1. 29; Rev. 13. 8. Isaac was meek and unresisting as he was bound to the altar. How like our Lord who was obedient unto death, who was bound by His love for us, Gal. 2.20, and gladly accepted and fulfilled the counsel of God, Acts 2.23. He was smitten by Jehovah, Isa. 53.4-5, and cut off, Psa. 22. 1; Matt. 27.46; Gal. 3.13. Yet He delighted the heart of God, Eph. 5. 2. The ram might suggest Christ as caught up in God's redemptive purpose, and bearing our guilt to meet the demands of God's law, Luke 12. 50; Matt. 20. 28.
His Blessing, Gen. 22. 15-19. Christ in death and resurrection is the divine basis of blessing. God confirms all by His promise and oath, Heb. 6. 13-18. Abraham's devotion, expressed in complete surrender of what was so dear to him, is a faint reflection of the extent to which God Himself would go for our blessing. Gen. 22.16; Rom. 8.32. There was personal blessing, seen in justification and relationship with God, 15, 6; Isa. 41. 8; James 2. 23. There was national and universal blessing even bringing in the Gentiles, Rev. 7. 9; Psa. 22. 27. Even all His enemies were to be put under His feet, Psa. 110. 1; 1 Cor. 15. 25-26; Acts 3. 26; with Gal. 3. 16.
His Bride, Gen. 24. Rebekah is mentioned in Genesis 22. 23 after the typical death and resurrection, Heb. n. 17-19; Eph. 5. 22-32. Sarah, like Israel subsequently, was removed by death, and God has today turned to the Gentiles seeking by the Holy Spirit the bride of Christ, altogether suited to Him, a chaste virgin, Eph. 5. 27; cf. 2 Cor. 11. 2. Our Isaac is the Heir, and He is become great, 24. 35, and has been given glory, Heb. 2. 9; 1 Pet. 1. 21; Eph. 1.20-22; Zech. 6. 13.
Rebekah's acceptance of the gifts illustrates our response to the Spirit's work in our souls, Gen. 24. 46-47, 53. We are redeemed, and are partakers of the divine nature, 1 Cor. 6. 20; 2 Cor. 5. 15; 2 Pet. 1. 4, and are robed as Israel is yet to be, Isa. 52. 1; 61. 10. Soon we shall meet the Bridegroom. John 14. 3; 1 Thess. 4. 16-17, and enjoy to the full His love, John 13. 1; Eph. 5. 25.
THE ARK OF THE COVENANT; EXODUS
What the ark was to the Israelite, the Lord Jesus ought to be to us, an ever present, all sufficient, and divine reality, Matt. 28. 16-20.
Its Construction. The pattern was showed to Moses on the mount, Heb. 8. 5. God alone knew and could reveal its details, Exod. 25.9-11, and this reminds us of Him in whom all fulness dwells, Col. 2. 9. known and revealed by the Father, Matt. 11. 27, begotten of the Father and brought into the world, Heb. 1. 5. Materials, Exod. 25. 10-11. The incorruptible wood speaks of the perfect humanity of our Lord, His pure and holy mind, affections., will, and body, Luke 2. 35. Pure gold reminds us of His deity, John 1. 14; Heb. 2. 14. Our Lord Jesus has two natures as distinct as wood and gold, yet mysteriously united in one blessed Person. The pure gold speaks of Him as God's fellow, His divine being, John 10. 30. The crown of gold suggests His glory, dignity and kingship, Rev. 19. 12. While the wood gave form to the ark, the appearance was all of gold. Our Lord's humanity was the form in which He appeared to tell God out; He is the image of the invisible God. He became a man, and will be eternally "the man Christ Jesus", 1 Tim. 2. 5.
1. Measurements. It was rectangular, i by i by cubits, not square. It was typical and material, not the substance and the reality. It was the same breadth and height, suggesting perhaps the perfect equality of His manifestation of all that God is. Every attribute was consistently exhibited in His manhood; justice and love, holiness and grace, wisdom and power. The measurements may remind us of Ephesians 3. 18.
Its Character. The various names given to it tell out the character of Christ. It was known as:
1. The Ark of the Testimony, Exod. 25. 22. It was so called because the law which it contained was a testimony of God's holiness, 20. 2-17. Christ was the perfect manifestation of God to us, John 1. 18; Heb. 1. 3. The mercy seat points to His sacrificial work; the cherubim may suggest the presence of the Spirit giving testimony to the holiness of the Father and the Son.
2. The Ark of the Covenant, Num. 10. 33. The testimony of the law was the basis of the covenant which God made with them, and which they accepted, Exod. 24. 8. As the ark went before them to seek out a resting place for them, so Christ our Forerunner has gone before His people on to resurrection ground, and to His present position of exaltation, Heb. 6. 20, preparing a place for us, John 14. 2-3.
3. The Ark of the Lord, Josh. 3. 13; 6. 11-13. Christ in His leadership directs our way over an uncharted course, Josh. 3. 4; Matt. 28. 7, 10; John 10. 27. He puts forth His mighty power on our behalf. His presence calls for reverence, Psa. 89. 7; Heb. 12. 28-29. In the river, the ark was their surety, Josh. 3. 17, God's pledge of salvation, cf. Heb. 7. 22. Go after Him, John 1. 37,45; Heb. 12. 1-2.
4. The Ark of God, 1 Sam. 3. 3. God's presence was known immediately above the mercy seat, Exod. 25. 22. This suggests the presence of the Lord with us, Matt. 28. 18-20. The presence of the ark was the glory of Israel, 1 Sam. 4.22, and it was invested with power, 1 Sam. 5. 8. 11, 12; 6. 2. Christ is our glory, 1 Cor. 1. 31, our strength, Phil. 4. 13, our joy, 2 Sam. 6. 15; Phil. 4. 4, and our hope, Phil. 3. 21; John 14. 3; James 5- 7-8-
5. The Holy Ark, 2 Chron. 35. 3. This presents Christ in His Person and perfection, the holy one of God, Mark 1. 24; Heb. 7. 26. Dagon (as all other false gods) must fall before it, 1 Sam. 5. 3, 4; cf. Luke 11. 22; John 18. 6. Let Christ rule on the throne of your heart for victorious living and vital witnessing, 1 Pet. 3.15.
6. The Ark of thy Strength, Psa. 132. 8. Miracles were often wrought at its presence, Josh. 3.14-17. We have been baptized into His death, Rom. 6. 3-4, and know victory by His presence, Josh. 6. 16; Rom. 8. 32-33. The signs of John's gospel reveal the strength and glory of Christ as our ark.
Its Contents, Exod. 40. 20, 21; Deut. 10. 1-5; Heb. 9. 4. The testimony speaks of the obedience of Christ, Psa. 40. 7-8. In Him as our ark the law of God is kept intact, and yet covered in mercy. He came to do the will of God, and is its perfect fulfilment, John 6. 38. The rod of Numbers 17. 8 presents Christ as the risen One, and the life giving Spirit, 1 Cor. 14.45. The rod budded, it sprang to life. The Lord died for our sins, yet was raised from the dead to life and glory, Isa. 53. 8; Acts 2. 24. The rod blossomed. The beauty of Christ is the joy of heaven and of His people. The rod yielded almonds, and the Lord Jesus, the chosen One, is also the Firstfruits, 1 Cor. 15. 20. By the Spirit we bring forth fruit unto holiness, Rom. 6. 22; 7. 4; Phil. 1. 11. God is bringing many sons unto glory, Heb. 2. 10-n. Christ in the power of endless life abideth a priest, Heb. 7. 3,16, 24.
Its Covering. The mercy seat served as the lid of the ark, and was kept in its place by a border of gold. The mercy seat points to the propitiatory work of Christ, Rom. 3. 25-26; 1 John 2. 2, being sprinkled with blood, Lev. 16. 14. The blood upon the mercy seat secures acceptance before God; the blood before the mercy seat assures our standing before Him. The mercy seat was the most important item in the house of God, Exod. 25. 22. The material, its position, its use, and above all its place in the service of the day of atonement, foreshadowed Christ the righteous One, in whom mercy and truth met, Psa. 85. 10.
Its Carrying. The ark was carried upon the shoulders of the priests, and was a conspicuous object for the people to behold when the camp was on the move. It was always enveloped in coverings before it was brought into the view of the people however, Num. 4. 4-6. The staves in the rings remind us that the Lord Jesus in His person brought the glory of God to earth. He ever journeys with His people, Heb. 13. 5. By faith we appropriate the blessings made available through His work. He becomes our Leader through the trackless desert waste. The Lord still blesses the home where His Son is welcomed, 2 Sam. 6, 11 and John 1. 12; Luke 24. 29-31.