His commission to Moses opens with the glorious vision of the Angel of Jehovah appearing in the Burning Bush. A common little thorn bush of the desert, ablaze with God! What a picture of the Incarnation. God manifesting Himself in a visible tangible form (1Joh 1:1). When Moses asks His Name, He says, ''I AM THAT I AM; say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you'' (Ex 3:14). Where do we find that Name again? Jesus said: ''I am the Bread of Life; I am the Light of the World; I am the Door; I am the Good Shepherd; I am the Resurrection and the Life; I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; I am the True Vine.'' Again, in response to the words, ''When Messias cometh, that is Christ...'', Jesus said, ''I am He.'' And once He applies that name to Himself in all its simple majesty: ''Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.'' It was then that the Jews ''took up stones to cast at Him.'' Why? The answer comes out in the accusation of the Jews to Pilate, ''We have a law, and by our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.'' [All of the above statements are found in the Gospel of John.]
In the Passover Lamb we have a picture of the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus. With many of the types we feel that we may not have interpreted them rightly, but with some we can have no doubt, for God has told us the meaning. It is so in this case, and in most of the types of Exodus. ''Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast'' (1Cor 5:7,8).
|Ex 12:6. It was a slain lamb-- not a living one-- that availed the Israelites in the hour of judgment.||1Cor 2:2. I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.|
|v.5. The lamb was to be without blemish.|
v.7. Its blood was to be shed and applied to the door-posts.
|1Pet 1:18,19. Ye were... redeemed... with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.|
|v.46. No bone of it was to be broken.||Joh 19:36; The the Scripture might be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken.|
|v.3 and 20. In every home that night there was one dead, either the first-born or the lamb in stead of the first-born.||Rom 6:23. The wages of sin is death.|
Rom 5:8. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
|v.2. The Israelites were to reckon their life as a nation from the day of the Passover. ''It shall be the first month of the year to you.''||Joh 3:7. Ye must be born again.|
Gal 4:3-6. We were in bondage... But God sent forth His Son... to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
|Ex 13:2. All the first born-- those who had been redeemed by the blood of the lamb-- were to be sanctified (ie., set apart) unto the Lord.||1Cor 6:19,20. Ye are not your own: ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.|
The first-born in Egypt were saved from death by the lamb slain in their stead. God's word to them was: ''When I see the blood, I will pass over you.'' The blood of the lamb made them safe, their trust in God's promise made them sure. In the same way, we may have salvation through Jesus, the Lamb of God, slain in our stead, and assurance through believing God's record that He ''hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son'' (1Joh 5:10-13).
Then, in the history of Israel, there immediately follows The Smitten Rock. ''Thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink'' (Ex 17:6). ''They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ'' (1Cor 10:4). ''Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life'' (Joh 4:13,14).
With the Tabernacle (and with its services), again, we are not left in doubt as to the true meaning. In the Epistle to the Hebrews we are distinctly told that it was ''a copy and shadow of the heavenly things'' (Heb 8:5, RV). It was the outward sign of God's presence in the midst of the meeting-place between God and man. As such, it was a true picture of the Incarnation. ''The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory'' (Joh 1:14, RV, margin). ''The Tabernacle of God is with men'' (Rev 21:3). As a whole, it was a type of Christ, and every part of it shows forth something of His glory (Psa 29:9, margin). Every detail of its design was given to Moses by God in the mount. ''As Moses was admonished of God when he made the Tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shown thee in the mount'' (Heb 8:5). And over fifty times, it is recorded of Moses, ''As the Lord commanded Moses, so did he.'' What have we each seen in the Tabernacle? How did it appear viewed from without? A long black, unattractive tent of badgers' skins. But when we come inside, we find ourselves surrounded by shining gold: looking up to the curtained roof, we see the wings of the cherubim woven in blue and purple and scarlet and fine twined linen. All the beauty within is revealed by the light of the golden candlestick. So it is with Christ Himself. The natural man, beholding Him, sees no beauty that he should desire Him. But to those who know the Lord Jesus Christ, His beauty satisfies their souls.
The Tabernacle was protected by a court of pure white linen, held up by sixty pillars, and entered by a curtain of coloured material, called the Gate. The walls of the Tabernacle were made of boards of shittim wood overlaid with gold, resting in massive silver sockets sunk into the sand. These sockets were made from the redemption-money paid by every Israelite, thus the whole fabric rested upon a foundation of redemption (1Pet 1:18,19). The entrance [of the Tabernacle itself] was protected by a curtain called the Door, and the two parts of the Tabernacle-- the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place [or, Holy of Holies]-- were divided by another curtain-- the Veil. Spread over the solid framework of the Tabernacle were four sets of curtains, which formed its only roof, and hung down over the sides, covering it completely.
Now, draw a straight line from the center of the Gate to the Mercy-Seat [in the middle of the Holy of Holies]. You go through the Altar, through the Laver, through the Door; you pass the Table of Shewbread on your right hand, and the Golden Lampstand on your left; through the Altar of Incense, through the Veil, to the Ark, covered by the Mercy-Seat... This is the true Pilgrim's Progress, from the camp outside to the immediate presence of God.
The Court was entered by the Gate (Joh 10:9). This was a curtain. A curtain is the very easiest means of entrance; it is not like a wooden door at which you have to knock, you can lift it silently. At the time, no one need know of the transaction which takes place silently between the soul and its Saviour. It may be like Nicodemus, coming by night. But when the curtain is dropped again, you are completely inside, not half in and half out as in a doorway-- but completely shut off by a sharp dividing line. Inside that Gate, you are completely surrounded by the spotless white curtains of the Court. ''Complete in Him''; ''made the righteousness of God in Him.'' Here, you are immediately confronted by the brazen Altar of Burnt Offering. ''One Sacrifice for sins for ever'' (Heb 10:12). Then, the Laver [which speaks of] cleansing, as the result of the Atonement (Zech 13:1). Thus far, every Israelite might enter. Have we come thus far? Have we entered by the Gate, and accepted the Sacrifice, and known the Cleansing?
Only the Priests might enter the Tabernacle itself. If we have proved the power of the Cross, Christ calls us to be priests, set apart for His Service. We may enter still farther. The Holy Place is entered by the Door. This again is Christ Himself. He is the means of entrance into every fresh position of blessing. Every spiritual blessing comes with a fresh view of Christ and what He can be to us. He is the one entrance, as well for the first step, as the last. The Gate, the Door, the Veil, they were all of the same materials and colours, and the number of square cubits (20 by 5, or, 10 by 10)-- though the Gate was stretched out wide as if to emphasize the breadth of the universal proclamation, ''Whosoever will may come.''
In the Holy Place, were two great gifts-- Food and Light: ''I am the Bread of Life''; ''I am the Light of the World.'' Then the Golden Altar of Incense (Heb 7:25): Christs' continual Intercession by which alone our prayers can ascend to God.
So far, and no farther, the Priests might enter. Into the Holy of Holies only one man, only one day in the year, might enter, and that not without blood. ''But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come... by His own blood... has entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.'' (Heb 9), and He also has opened up for us a way of access by His blood into the Holiest, into the very presence of God here and now, as we read in Heb 10.
Many of us see the uselessness of an outward priesthood-- of any man to come between us and God. But are we equally clear in valuing the inner Reality? Do we feel our utter need of the Lord Jesus as our Great High Priest, and recognise that we cannot draw nigh to God except through His one availing sacrifice?
Aaron, the type, fell short, for he was a sinful man. Jesus Christ is a perfect High Priest. As man, He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. He is able to sympathize and to succour [ie., help us in our need] because He has been through it all. He is able to understand our need to the uttermost because He was perfect man. He is able to meet our need to the uttermost because He is perfect God. He was able to bear the whole world's sin in His Atonement on the Cross. He is able to bear the whole world's need in intercession upon the Throne.