THE DAY OF ATONEMENT;LEVITICUS
The key word of Leviticus 16 is atonement which is mentioned fourteen times, whilst the key verses of the chapter are 30 and 33. In the New Testament, especially in Hebrews 9, this ceremony is used as one of the means of interpreting the work of Christ in His death. In Him ritual is transformed into an historical event, and atonement is made “once for all”, Heb. 9. 12; 10. 12, 14.
Aaron the Priest Presents the Dignity of Christ. This is seen in his approach, v. 2, which was to be only once a year, at the right time, and in the proper way; cf. Heb. 9. 7,11-12. The mercy seat upon the ark symbolizes the very presence of God; only through Christ and His sacrifice can we approach God, compare John 14. 6; Eph. 2. 18; Heb. 10. 19-20. Aaron points to Christ, but generally by way of contrast.
His Attire, v. 4. He must be clothed with holy linen garments four of which are mentioned. These are symbolic of the inherent perfection and purity of Christ. The holy linen coat may suggest the unique righteousness of His character, the linen breeches may speak of the righteousness of His walk, the girdle may tell of the love and righteousness constraining all holy intelligence and voluntary character of His obedience.
Christ our Lord was ever adorned with sanctity and grace, the Holy and Righteous One, Acts 3. 14 r.v.; 1Pet. 3. 18. He
His Atonement, vv. 11-12, 15-16. Only Aaron could make atonement, and the provisional work that he did pointed to the final, real, and complete removal of sin by the Lord Himself, Isa. 53. 6; Heb. 1. S>9- 2&'> I0- I2- Aaron’s entrance into the holy of holies reminds us of Him who has gone into heaven itself, within the veil, where He intercedes for us, Heb. 6. 19-20; 7. 25; Rom. 8. 34.
The Offerings Tell of the Sufficiency of Christ, w. 3,
5,6, 10-11, 15. As the sin offering, our Lord bore the guilt and punishment of our sins, Isa. 53. 10; John 1. 29. As the burnt offering, He offered Himself in obedience to do the will of God, Heb. 10. 7. Our attention is focussed upon the sin offerings as Aaron’s presentation was a dedication, v. 7, and speaks of Him who brought pleasure to God, Matt. 3.17; 17. 5. Hebrews 9.14 the blood of Christ. The one is but the shadow, the other is the
The Blood Speaks of the Adequacy of Christ, w. 14-15; compare Heb. 7. 27; 9.12,14-15; Rev. 1. 5. His death was all pre-arranged, all prefigured, all foretold. His blood cleanses the heavens themselves, Heb. 9. 23, and He now appears officially and openly on our behalf in the presence of God, Heb. 9. 24.
The scapegoat tells of the ignominy of Christ, w. 21-22; Isa. 53. 6. The accumulation of the definitions of sins, w. 21-22, and the solemn imputation of all to the scapegoat, anticipate the terror and the horror of Calvary. Ponder our iniquities laid upon Him, Isa. 53. 6, His cry of dereliction, Ps. 22. 1, His anguish, Ps. 22. 12-13, now He became a curse Mark 15. 34-35, bearing our iniquities, 1 Pet. 2. 24; John 1.29. The burning of the sin offering outside the camp speaks of the rejection of Christ by the religious world, Heb. 13.11-12. May
THE RED HEIFER;NUMBERS
The red heifer is taken up in Numbers 19 and Hebrews 9. 13-14. It is a type of the sacrifice of Christ as the ground of age. Hebrews 8. 5 and 9. 13 show that the old institution was
The Sacrifice – the Character of Christ, v. 2, “a red heifer”. The ruddy type presents our Lord as truly man; “without blemish" points to His sinless nature, 1 Pet. 1. 19. He is the Holy and Righteous One, Acts 3. 14. There was no
The Slaying – the Death of Christ. The heifer, one “upon which never came yoke" reminds us that no yoke rested upon Christ, for He delighted in doing the will of God, John 4. 34. The animal presented in verse 3 tells of His perfection; He gave Himself absolutely to God, and to death, to make us suitable for the presence of God. The word “slay” is used in Genesis 22. 10, and is also found translated “kill" in Exodus 12. 6. His death alone can answer for our sin and without the gate, Heb. 13. 12.
The Sprinkled Blood – the Efficacy of His Work, v. 4;
Heb. 12. 24. The reference to “seven times” would tell us of His perfection in death, Godward and manward, meeting both divine requirements and human need, Lev. 16.14. His sacrifice was offered and accepted. His death is the greatest event in history. The fact that it was wholly consumed, w. $-6, may remind us that Christ was wholly devoted to God, and that every part of His being was laid down and accepted by God. Some see in the “cedar”, the “hyssop" and the “scarlet”, that
The Priestly Ministry, w. 3,4,6,7. Eleazer may represent the ministry of the saints, as helped by the Spirit of God in serving God with reverence and godly fear, restoring one that has become defiled, cf. Gal. 6. i. We need to view with priestly vision the death and judgment bearing of Christ, for the purging of the sins of the flesh, cf. Isa. 6. 7.
The Living Water, vv. 17-18 r.v. marg. This may repre-sent the ministry of the Spirit through the Word of God, revealing and applying the work of Christ for us and to us, Eph. 5. 25-26; 1 John 1. 7. The “ashes” remind us of the death of Christ as the gracious provision of God for us, for by His death He made purification for sins, Heb. 1. 3. May we cleanse ourselves, 2 Cor. 7.1, and purge ourselves, 2 Tim. 2.21.
For this subject, compare Deuteronomy 18. 15 with Acts 3. 22-23. Deuteronomy 18. 9-22 should be read as a whole for the verses form a single unit. Some of these verses wonder-fully predict our Lord as “the prophet”; see John 1. 21-27; 7. 16-17, 40-41; 8. 28-29; Acts 3. 22-23; 7. 37.
The Deuteronomy context reminds Israel not to depend on diviners, for they would have a prophet of their own. They would have a succession of prophets to meet the constant danger of idolatry, w. 9-14. The singular “prophet" is ultim-ately Christ, Acts 3. 22. The Lord does not allow soothsayers because He has something far better for the people. He raises up the prophet, vv. 15, 18, and gives him the word to speak, v. 18. Christ is the great fulfilment of the prophetic word, John 4. 19; Heb. 1. 2.
Moses was one of the Greatest Types of Messiah in the old economy. Note the following similarities: both were preserved in childhood, fasted forty days, contended with evil forces, suffered at home, endured murmuring, and introduced a new dispensation. Both were divinely commissioned and supported in their work; both had seventy helpers, had radiant faces, made intercessory prayers, were willing to die for the people; both established memorials, had seven mountain experiences, and reappeared after death.
C. J. Rolls in The Unveiled Christ writes, “The seven mountains in the life of Moses reflect the greatness of the man, and realize their climax in the greatest of all deliverers, Christ1-2; of conquest, Exod. 17. 7-10; of commandments., Exod. 19 and 17.3.
Let us recall in the ministry of Christ the mount of com-Luke 9; of administration, Matt. 28, 16-20; and finally the mount of ascension, Acts 1. 9-12.
These figures lend stateliness to the dignity of Christ, and place Him in a pre-eminence above all things".
Deuteronomy 18. 15, 18, 19 remind us that the Lord Jesus not only lived out, but also spoke out God’s truth. We are to John 4. 10. The prologue of John’s Gospel begins with God revealing Himself to man through the Word, life, light, and testimony, all of which turn us to Christ, whilst the Gospel and finality; the revelation is complete, and “grace and truth" came by Him, John 1. 17. In John 8. 21-30 Christ claimed He was sent by God, His message also is from God, with God’s full approval, John 8. 26, 28. May we hear Him, Matt. 17. 5; follow Him, John 10. 27; keep His commandments, John 14. to Him should be, “Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him’, John 9. 38. Let us join with Thomas and say, “My Lord and
FURTHER SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDY
“And beginning at Moses … he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself”, Luke 24. 27. The theme of “Christ in the Pentateuch" is exhaustless. One feature of each of the five books has engaged our attention, but there are so many others which might have been developed.
In Genesis, consider Adam the head of the old race, and contrast Christ as the Head of the new creation, Rom, 5.12-20; 1 Cor. 11. 2-10. Then there is Abel’s sacrifice and our Lord’s
In Exodus, spend time considering the passover lamb which clearly anticipates John 1.29; 1 Cor. 5. 7; compare also Isa. 53. The Lord Himself developed the subject of the manna in John 6. The smitten rock was a further pointer to Christ, Exod. 17; 1 Cor. 10. 4. The glory cloud, the Shekinah, only faintly presented what has been fully brought out in our glorious Lord, John 1. 14; 2 Cor. 4. 6; Heb. 1. 3. The taber-nacle and the priesthood provide detailed previews of Christ and His work.
In Leviticus, the offerings, chs. 1-7, provide much of the background of the New Testament writers’ pithy statements concerning the death of Christ in its many aspects; see for example Heb. 10. The plan of God and the work of Christ are remarkably presented in panorama in the feasts of chapter 23.
In Numbers, a striking presentation of our Lord’s work on Calvary is given through the incident involving the brazen
In Deuteronomy, the cities of refuge together with the significant names that were given to them, look forward to Christ; see Heb. 6. 18-20. The rock of chapter 32 points on to Christ the Rock of refuge, refreshment, and repose for the weary; see also Isa. 26. 4 r.v. and 32. 2.
Spend time for yourself prayerfully seeking Christ in this part of God’s Word, and you will be rewarded. Seek and ye shall find!
End of the Series.