Our Wilderness Wanderings

By Anton Frey


The Apostle Paul tells us that those things which happened to Israel happened to them for types, but were recorded for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. {1Co 10:11}

Examination, therefore, of the experiences of fleshly Israel must prove profitable to those who take them as an admonition to walk worthily of the calling wherewith they have been called, not be guilty of lusting for evil {1Co 10:6} as was Israel, nor to warrant unworthi- ness to enter into God’s rest because of unbelief, i. e. disobedience.

It is our purpose to study these recorded experiences of Israel, so that in the light of these, we may measure our own faithfulness unto the God of our deliverance.

We shall start with the Israel that found itself in bondage to Egypt.

They would never have been here but for the sins of their fathers! You will recall how that Joseph and his brethren had lived in the land of Ca- naan with Jacob their father. {Ge 36:1,2} It was the land of promise! But Joseph’s brethren were jealous of him, and to get rid of him, sold him into the slavery which in the providences of God brought them also into Egypt. But so long as Joseph lived they did fare well, even in Egypt. But they had lost their hold upon Canaan, and their children be- came slaves, even as Joseph had been in the land of Egypt.

So, too, do we find that we who are the true Israel of God, were born in Egypt and enslaved, not because of our own personal sins, but be- cause our fathers had sold us into it. Does not the psalmist of old say, ‘I was conceived in sin, shapen in iniquity.’ {Ps 51:5} Was this not be- cause ‘the fathers have eaten the sour grapes,’ that the children’s teeth are set on edge? {Jer 31:29}

It matters not what the specific sin of Father Adam was, it was disobe- dience, and resulted in his loss of Eden ‘rest’ and his enslavement to the Pharaoh of this World, for whom he had to labor, as it were, in the sweat of his brow. All of his children having been born in Egypt were born slaves subject to cruel and hard taskmasters—Sin and Death! This is the import of Paul’s words in Ro 5:12, ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’

The Pharaoh who knew not Joseph recognized that the Israelites dwelling in his domain might become too much for him, so he devised schemes whereby they might be curbed, and their increase restrained.

The Adversary well knew that if he didn’t do something to curb and re- strain the spread of true Christianity, he would soon find himself in dif- ficult straits, his kingdom and his power would soon be his no longer.

In the case of Fleshly Israel in Egypt he not only set over them the cruel taskmasters but he had them erect for himself two great Treasure Cities—Pithan and Raames. {Ex 1:11} The great antitypical Pharaoh busied them into building his two great treasure cities, Catholicism andProtestantism. The erection of these edifices has certainly kept Christen- dom very, very busy.

The account tells us how that the Egyptians made the children of Is- rael to serve with rigor, and how they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick and in all manner of service in the field, all their service was with rigor. {Ex 1:13,14} But the Israelites seemed to thrive under these hardships and rigors. So, too, antitypical Israel i. e. the true Israel of God, though enslaved and forced ofttimes to do things which are calculated to diminish their virility and ardor, seems to thrive under this treatment. Satan could not afford to let such a condition continue for long, he would use other means besides the build- ing of treasure cities, to sap up their powers.

With fleshly Israel, Pharaoh sought to accomplish this through a re- straint placed upon the midwives of Israel, but they feared God rather than man, with the result that Israel still increased. {Ex 1:15-19} So, too, every method devised by the adversary to thwart the increase of the true Israel of God, which in due time is to swallow up the Egypt of this world to make of it the kingdom of God and his righteousness, has re- sulted in failure. But these Israelites are not desirous of dwelling in Egypt, they are looking forward to occupying the land of promise, Ca- naan, and would be free from the bondage of Egypt. But all endeavors to free themselves also meet with failure, so that it would appear that Satan does have some success. Ah yes, but it is merely a temporary vic- tory for him. For the deliverance of God’s people is not accomplished by themselves, but by God who raised up, a true Israelite, right in the midst of Egypt itself, this one to become the saviour, the deliverer of his people.

You will recall what great efforts Pharaoh had put forth when he re- quired that all male children should be destroyed, and only females be saved. {Ex 1:22} This would have caused the race soon to die out, without Israel ever being delivered from bondage. God however inter- vened raising up Moses in the very house of Pharaoh himself.

The Antitypical deliverer of the people of God, Jesus (the saviour of his people) was likewise born in the very house of the antitypical Phar- aoh, Satan, after the latter had through Herod made heroic efforts to de- stroy this deliverer’s very life through the destruction of all male children. But God’s over- ruling providence saved the life of the great antitypical deliverer, Jesus, even as the same providences had the life of the typical one, Moses.

Now, it should be noted, that not everything in the ‘recordings’ is typical, any more than a shadow can be a true or perfect representation of that whose image it represents. The shadow may be large, it may be small, it may fall to the east, it may fall toward the west, yet it is ever the shadow of the same reality. But there are not necessarily any sharp lines, by which features and details may be recognized or even dis- cerned. So we must be careful and not endeavor to see more in the shadow, than the shadow can or was intended to show. In our studies therefore, we shall have to note that sometimes the shadows are sharper than at others, and that sometimes the light producing the shadow comes from a different angle. While the image is always the same and does not change, yet the shadow, is capable of much variation. Just so Moses ofttimes is the shadow of the great deliverer, Christ, at other times he is the shadow of God himself, and still at other times, a shadow of the Second Death class. It becomes evident then that we can-not take the ‘recordings’ of Israel’s experiences always as one continuous shadow of the antitypical Israel of God. Yea were this true, most of us would find ourselves shut out from Canaan completely. Accordingly let us note that shadows are not the very image, and shall need to be recognized as mere shadows. Even as Moses in different parts of Israel’s experiences represented different and perhaps isolated personages so we must look for different and ofttimes isolated lessons from the types.


God’s typical Israel was still in Egypt and enslaved, despite the nine plagues which had already been visited upon the land. True, all these plagues were God- sent, but were not fully effective. Nor does this signify that God was thwarted. Quite to the contrary, God had his spiritual Israel in mind when these scenes were enacted, and the account specifically sets forth, that it was the Lord himself, that hardened Pharaoh’s heart. {Ex 9:12} As the experiences of Israel ‘happened to them for ensamples; and they were recorded for our admonition...’,{ 1Co 10:11} we may well inquire as to the antitypical significance of these. First, however, let it be noted that it was the tenth plague which brought relief, and this only through the sprinkling of the lintels and doorposts of the houses of Israel with the blood of a ‘passover lamb.’ To us, this seems to say, that while all of God’s providences are designed to bring us closer to deliverance from the bondage to this world, actual deliverance comes only through a coming under the blood of the Lamb. Israel itself, had to bring itself under this, the fact that the lamb had been slain was not sufficient. So, too, is it with God’s antitypical Israel, it has to bring itself under the blood. Mere belief in the fact that Jesus died for the sins of the world brings no salvation, but belief that he died for me, brings with it a ‘consciousness from evil,’ a justification, as it were, by faith; a redemption from the curse. Yet this deliverance is not in itself complete, but becomes the means to that end.

The Apostle is quite specific when he declares we are to have a ‘heart sprinkled from an evil conscience’ (a consciousness of evil—F463). {Heb 10:22} This does not come as a result of belief about, but rather by belief in, the blood of the Lamb. Belief about, still leaves us outside the Court of Justification, but belief in, brings us within, through the gate, which is Christ Jesus.

Such faith in the blood of Jesus, inspires a glorious hope. The Apostle Paul declared, ‘Faith is the basis of things hoped for.’ {Heb 11:1}

Well, what do we hope for? Ah, for that complete deliverance from this present evil world:

Ga 1:4 —‘Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world...’also from this body of death:

Ro 7:24 —‘O, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ into the glorious, yea, most glorious, liberty of the sons of God, of which our present state is but a foretaste, and concerning which glory God’s Word declares:

1Co 2:9 —‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’

While it is true, that God has already revealed these to us by his spirit, we are unable to appreciate these as fully and completely as when our deliverance is completed. Even so Israel could by faith already see the ‘land of promise’ from afar, but to experience its goodness awaited their actual entry into it.

Thus we see that while it is Jesus’ blood that contains this merit, this merit becomes ours only through faith in that which God has thus him- self provided. Nor is faith itself the end of our salvation, rather, it is merely the means to that end. It evidences itself in the glorious hope to which it gives rise, and this hope in itself then brings the impetus that drives us ever on to the fullness of that glory. On this account we read:

1Jo 3:3 —‘And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.’

As will thus be seen, faith is itself, GOD- GIVEN, for without the blood of Jesus, which the father himself supplied, there would have been nothing in which to exercise ourselves. So faith is the ‘gift of God.’ This is even what the Apostle Paul tells us:

Eph 2:8 —‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.’

It is the means whereby we bring ourselves ‘under the blood.’ Yet faith must be added to, and this adding is the purifying work of the faith- inspired hope, and by means of this, we add to our faith; fortitude, knowledge, self- control, patience, godliness, brotherly- kindness, and love. {2Pe 1:4-8} Only so, is one’s calling (out of Egypt) and election (to be made one with Christ in the glories of the kingdom) made sure, and adds the Apostle, ‘for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.’ {1Pe 1:11}

Our purpose in dwelling so long upon this phase of the plan of God, is to emphasize, if possible, the fact, that the blood itself, affords no merit of deliverance or salvation, unless we bring ourselves under it by faith, and with this accomplished, our journey toward the ‘Canaan rest’ of God is only begun. Many indeed, will be the trials and experiences of those having, while yet in Egypt, come under the blood, as they pil- grimage on through the various wildernesses, until they enter fully into the ‘land of promise.’

God’s word tells us that Israel did not enter in, because of disobedi- ence and unbelief. {Heb 3:10-19} And since those things which hap- pened unto Israel for types were written for our admonition {1Co 4:6-11} and since this ‘rest’ yet remaineth, we must labor to enter in.

Yet the deliverance from Egypt, and the abundant entrance into Ca- naan, were based entirely upon the blood of the Passover lamb. But this blood would for them mean complete deliverance into the land, only if they continued to exercise themselves in the way as if they recognized they were purchased, and they were not their own. This, we know, Is- rael failed to do, and with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, they all died, not in Egypt, nor in Canaan, but in the wildernesses that lay be- tween.

Let it be remembered that the mere fact that we once came under the blood, and were delivered from the bondage of this world, is no guaran- tee that we shall take in God’s promises. The account tells us that with many of them God was grieved and displeased. {1Co 10:5} We too, then, ought to take heed, lest we like them, should be overthrown in the wilderness. It is not for us to presume upon God, that He shall always strive with us, knowing the weakness of our frame. There comes a time when he ceases to do this {Ge 6:3} for continuance in this presump- tion is failure to take God at his word. It is unbelief, yea, it is disobedi- ence. He has promised us the victory {De 7:2} but we must take it.

Israel failed, for when it reached the portals of the promised land, it doubted, it forgot God’s promised grace in every time of need; they would send spies into the land. {De 1:19-26} And for failure to be- lieve God they were turned back, not into Egypt, but into the terrible wil- derness. {Nu 14:26-45}

Failure for the antitypical Israelite to take God at his word, will like- wise exclude him from the ‘land of promise.’ If Israel had been rightly exercised by its experiences, and had recognized God’s abounding grace, ever keeping in mind the fact of its unworthiness of this grace and favor, it would have sought his aid in cleansing itself of the secret faults which gradually developed into the presumptuous sin gaining do- minion over it, causing it to become guilty of the great transgression, causing God to cease his striving on its behalf and turning it back into the ‘terrible wilderness.’ {Read Ps 19:12,13} Israel felt so sure of it- self, so sure that it stood before God and would forever so stand, that it became careless and indifferent, presumptuous, stumbled and fell. The blood could not save it into Canaan, unless that blood would serve to keep it in mind of the fact, that salvation and redemption were not of it- self, but of the grace of God, a gift. No wonder then, that the Apostle admonished us in these words:

1Co 10:12 —‘Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.’

This salvation, while an accomplished fact insofar as the blood is con- cerned, needs however, to be worked out ‘with fear and trembling.’ {Php 2:12}

These lessons should be especially taken to heart, by the Israel of God according to the spirit. All should strive to remain under the influ- ence and effect of God’s grace, as is represented in the blood of deliver-ance, the blood of redemption, the blood of the Passover Lamb sacri- ficed for it.

While the whole nation of Israel was delivered from Egyptian bond- age in the morning following the Passover ritual, it should be noted that the lamb was particularly slain only for the first- borns. Thus the blood which caused the passing over of the angel of death so that the first- borns might be saved, was also that which brought about the release of all Israel in the morning. What a picture that is! Is it not true that Jesus was the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, but that he, as our Passover Lamb was sacrificed for us?


Ex 12:37-39 13:17-22 14:1-31 Nu 33:5-8

It was the morning after the passing- over of the first- borns in Egypt, Pharaoh having decided to let the Israelites go, that they gathered at Ra- meses (or Raamaes) to start their journey toward the Canaan God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob before them.

Rameses was one of their ‘treasure cities’ Pharaoh had the Israelites build for him. Rameses was also the title of the Pharaoh of the oppres- sion and it becomes a most fitting name for the city from which the Isra- elites were to start their journey toward the ‘Canaan of Rest.’ The Egyptians were sun worshippers. Their sun god was Ra. It is not surpris- ing then, that this particular Pharaoh took unto himself the title ‘Rame- ses’ which means ‘child of the sun.’ And what a glorious light he himself was! (sic)

It was this ‘child of the sun’—Rameses II that had so enslaved the Children of Israel, that they cried for deliverance, and their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, heard them and delivered them. So too, we have found, that the Pharaoh of our oppression, who had en- slaved us and kept us in bondage, and caused us to build for his two great treasure cities bore a similar name, ‘Lucifer,’ which means ‘light bearer’ and who actually presented himself as an ‘angel of light.’

Perhaps most of the true Israelites of God, started their wilderness journey toward the heavenly Canaan from one or the other of the great treasure cities of Satan, which cities we have already suggested, more particularly might represent Protestantism, which would leave Pithom to represent Catholicism. Pithom is also identified with the sun, for the name signifies ‘the city of the God Tum (the setting sun).’ The fact that Pithom is not mentioned together with Rameses as a starting point of this great wilderness journey, may have the significance that those of God’s true Israelites who had been enslaved in Catholicism, virtually became Protestants ere they began their journey, thus coming to Rame- ses.

Let it however be noted, that all who left Egypt, by way of Rameses, came under the effect of the Pass- over lamb while still in Egypt, and it was not so much the nine plagues, as it was the tenth, which brought de- liverance. Let it further be noted, that Egypt does not merely represent these two church systems any more than these two cities were all of Egypt. Egypt more particularly represents the world, or ‘the kingdom of darkness and death’ of which Pithom and Rameses (Catholicism and Protestantism) become these symbols of that which kept us, the true Is- rael, for a time so busily engaged, that no time could be found to think of the more weighty matters of deliverance and consecration. Nor was there aught that the enslaved could do. Deliverance from Egypt, was in the type accomplished by God, so too, antitypically, it is God, through his overruling providence and by way of the shed blood of the Passover Lamb, who brought about our deliverance, our redemption. Again, we would be reminded that even as the coming under the blood brought for Israel deliverance out of Egypt, but not necessarily into the promised land, so too is it with the antitypical Israel. Continued faith, in the God who had delivered them by way of the blood was the only surety they had to entry into the land of Canaan. The exercise of faith in the sprin- kled blood, manifested when the Israelites sprinkled it upon their lin- tels and doorposts —was accounted by God as obedience. Failure to exercise this faith was accounted by God as disobedience. And though he remembered their frame, that they were but dust, and continued to strive with them for a while, their persistence to doubt, and to forget God, yea, the God of their deliverance, caused him in due time to cease his striving with them. It was then that God considered their doubt, their unbelief, their failure to remember—disobedience!

It was then that he turned them back, not into Egypt, but the ‘terrible wilderness’ to die. Ah, dear friends, let us well remember the words of the Apostle Paul when he declared: ‘Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.’ {1Co 10:11} Let us not pre- sume upon God, nor count the things he had done for us ordinary and commonplace. Let us not take for granted that because he once dealt with us while we were yet in our sins, giving us deliverance through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, that he will continue to deal with us forever- more without us showing the least evidence of an increase in our appre- ciation and faith. A careful analysis of the matter will reveal to us the fact that the only way we have of showing our appreciation of what God has already done for us, is in the manifesting of faith. Undoubtedly this is what the apostle means when he says:’... without faith it is impos- sible to please him...’ {Heb 11:6} Is it reasonable to expect God to con- tinue showering his blessings upon us if we do not use these as a means of strengthening our faith before, and in him?

We find that all the Israelites were ready to start for the Promised Land, ready to accept the redemption God was offering to them. Ac- cordingly they met at Rameses, and journeyed to Succoth. Succoth means ‘booths,’ and well sets forth the fact that their journey toward Canaan while giving to them liberty and freedom from servitude, was on the other hand calling for a self- denial of many of the conveniences and necessities which homes in Egypt supplied. No longer were they to enjoy the protection of houses with roofs over their heads until they had come into the Promised Land. There is in this also the suggestion that for the true Israelite of God, there is in his pilgrimage journey between Egypt and Canaan no city nor home which shall afford him protectionfrom the rigors of the way, or the inclemency of the weather. The only protection he has is the ‘little booth’ over which God watches (and He, God, neither slumbers nor sleeps) while faithfully he travels on in the way that his God shall direct. Heaven itself, is the protecting canopy over his head. Surely, he who thus exposes himself to the rigors of the desert, denying himself the protection of a home and roof over head, gives to God’s grace infinite room in which to work. This grace must not be hindered nor handicapped. If it is hindered, we suffer! An expo- sure to the elements thus becomes an exposure to God’s grace.

Take two plants of the same kind, let one be grown in the cellar, where light and fresh air are excluded, let the other be grown in the open garden. After a few weeks note the difference in the two plants.

One will be healthy and strong, the other weak and frail. True, the plant in the cellar may be protected from the winds and the rains and the bad storms, but it doesn’t grow stronger because of this! On the other hand, the plant having no artificial protection, becomes strong in its struggles against the elements, being aided by that which the sun has provided by shining upon it.

To me, at least, Succoth, meaning ‘booths’ gives the thought of expo- sure, inasmuch as a booth does not afford the natural protection against the elements that a house or home does. To the true Israelite, this ‘booth’ life, must mean even as it does to the unprotected plant—expo- sure! But, as already suggested, this exposure while it is to the ele- ments, is at the same time an exposure to God’s grace, and favor. This exposure, this homelessness of the saint of God, is what really makes him strong. Adverse winds coming upon a tree, will cause it to become stronger and stronger as it shoots its roots correspondingly deeper and deeper into the ground. Yet it must be borne in mind that it is the sun- shine that really gives it its ability to withstand the storms. We too, grow strong through the resistance of all things evil, yet it is God by his Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to resist. Now the zeal with which we started our pilgrimage, often does not last very long! It often carries us only to the very edge of the wilder- ness. So indeed was it with the typical Israelites: ‘and they departed from Succoth and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilder- ness.’ {Nu 33:6} The Israelites seem first to have moved northward, then eastward to Etham where suddenly they are directed to turn south- ward. The most natural thing for them to have done, would have been to continue going eastward for then would they have come to the little fords which lie north of the Red Sea, which surely would have been much easier to cross, and more directly in line with Canaan their goal.

This course, surely seemed most inconsistent for them to take, for in- stead of increasing the distance between themselves and the domain of Pharaoh, they were virtually shortening it, and further, they were in- creasing the barrier between themselves and the promised land. Yet this move was God- directed! How wonderful! The account reads:’And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham in the edge of the wilderness, and the Lord went before them... to lead them the way...’ {Ex 13:20-21} To the Spiritual Israelites, there must be many of these Ethams, where God directs, not in the direction in which the flesh might expect to find greatest progress and least resistance, but in the very reverse di- rection, so that the demonstration of his grace and power may be the greater. We must not choose our own way, but must ever let God direct our course even though at times this course seems most hazardous.

There is a way that seemeth right, but the end thereof is (not full and complete deliverance, but) death. {Pr 14:12}

Of this may we be sure, that our natural tendencies, the way of the flesh will be to follow the line of least resistance. In this way God can- not be glorified, nor can our faith be demonstrated. It is easy enough to have faith (?) while we can see the farther shore, but when the fogs set in, and we cannot see, then it is that we must either fear, or exercise faith. When crossing New York Bay on the Staten Island Ferry Boat, a distance of about 4-1/ 2 miles, on a clear sunshiny day, one hardly ever gives a thought to the skill and the competency of the pilot. But when a thick split- pea soup fog sets in, and the old familiar land marks are no longer visible, perhaps it is then and only then, that we appreciate the pi- lot, and his ability to bring us safely to our desired haven of rest. What, under such circumstances could we possibly do? Absolutely nothing! All our uneasiness, our nervousness, our fearing and fretting, will not help a bit. We must stand by while the pilot brings us through. How true is this also of our spiritual journeyings. There are times when in the providences of God we can do nothing to extricate ourselves from diffi- cult situations. At such times we must let go and let God! Our extremi- ties are God’s opportunities. Just so did God bring the Israelites into an extremity. He changed their course at Etham and brought them down to Pi- hahiroth, which means, ‘where sedge grows.’ Truly a place where according to the flesh, they would be entangled, a place where instead of finding their deliverance from Egypt complete, they found them- selves in an apparently worse condition than when they first undertook the journey. Did they then remember the God who already had done so much for them? No! They murmured and cried. They saw only the Red Sea before them and the Egyptians behind them, but no way of escape!

How often have we, the spiritual Israel of God reached our extremity in the entangling sedges of a Pi- hahiroth, and found before us insur- mountable obstacles, a Red Sea and a great mountain chain cutting off as it were every visible means of escape. How we feared and quaked the impending doom! Ah, but here comes God’s great opportunity. And so that we may learn the much needed lesson that deliverance is not of ourselves, the command comes to us as it did to Israel of old, ‘Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord!’ {Ex 15:13} If we but let him, he then and there becomes our Tower of Refuge, our tower of strength.

How good it is, indeed, when we have lost ourselves in a woods and no longer know our way out, to suddenly spy a familiar tower, marking a spot, which if we can but reach it, will mean safety for us. We could truthfully say that that tower to us in the extremity was our only salva- tion.

The account tells us that God directed the Israelites to Pi- hahiroth, ‘between Migdol and the Sea.’ {Nu 33:7 Ex 14:2} Migdol means’Tower.’ How significant! It was here that God revealed himself to them as a tower of refuge. He instructed Moses as to what was to be done, and obedience to these instructions brought deliverance through the very sea which only a short time before had presented itself as a most formidable barrier to their escape.

So too, ofttimes are the experiences of spiritual Israel. How else would we ever learn the fact that ‘by grace are ye saved through faith:

and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.’ {Eph 2:8,9} It is important to our ultimate salva- tion at times to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord! How- ever, when the order to move on comes from the Lord, then we are no longer to merely stand still, for to then stand still will just as surely mean our discomfiture as to move on when God says ‘stand still.’

The following quotation from C. H. M. ‘s ’Notes on Exodus’ we be- lieve are worthy of our prayerful consideration:

’However, when God, in his great mercy, opens the way, faith can walk therein. It only ceases from man’s way in order to walk in God’s.

(‘And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me?

Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward. ‘) It is only when we have learned to stand still that we are able effectually to go forward. To attempt the latter, until we have learned the former, is sure to issue in the exposure of our folly and weakness. It is, therefore, true wisdom, in all times of difficulty and perplexity to ‘stand still’—to wait only upon God, and he will assuredly, open a way for us; and then we can peacefully and happily ‘go forward. ‘ There is no uncer- tainty when God makes a way for us; but every self- devised path must prove a path of doubt and hesitation.... It is when our eyes have seen God’s salvation that we can walk therein; but this can never be distinctly seen until we have been brought to the end of our poor doings.’ (pages 181, 182)


Ex 15:1-27 Nu 33:8,9

In our last lesson we saw Israel on the western shore of the Red Sea, in great desperation, recognizing fully their extremity, for before them lay the Red Sea, to the side of them the mountains, and behind them the pursuing Egyptians. Let it be remembered that it was God who brought them there, for it was at Etham, in the edge of the wilderness, that he turned them southward to Pi- hahiroth {Ex 14:2} as if to increase the barriers to be overcome before them. Surely the little fords to the north of the Red Sea, would not have presented so impenetrable a barrier as they met at Pi- hahiroth. But had God permitted them to follow the east- erly course from Ethan, they might never have realized that the fullness of their deliverance from Egypt was not the result of their labors, but wholly of God. How often does God have to lead us into experiences, wherein it becomes necessary for us to ‘stand still and see the salvation of God!’ All such experiences are permitted of God for the express pur- pose of strengthening our faith. So was it with Israel. God separated, as it were, the waters of the sea, probably by means of natural phenom- ena—an ebb tide and a strong northerly wind—exposing for a time, a sandbar, over which Israel crossed to the farther shore. Israel beholding the path through the sea, probably also recognized that the waters mo- mentarily separated, would again return. But remembering how God had dealt with them while in Egypt, and how he had delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh, they were now rightly exercised, they could, and would demonstrate their faith, (appreciation of past favors) by be- lieving that that self- same God would bring them to the farther shore, ere permitting the waters to return. They stepped into the breach and by the hand of God were brought to the Eastern shore of the Red Sea. Here then, they were permitted to look back, to stand still and see the salva- tion of God! Having thus exercised faith, and being rewarded with the victory thereof, they did not look back longingly to Egypt, but in the joy of deliverance, back only to see the utter destruction of those who essayed to walk in the path of faith unworthily. The Egyptians were de- stroyed. This victory of faith, gave to Israel the assurance that never again would they be troubled by these Egyptians, and so in the full glory of it all, they sang the song of Moses. With what abandon must they have sung it, with what exceeding joy. What an impetus was now theirs to journey on, led by the hand of God to the Canaan of Promise!

At least this once, did they praise God. They seem for the moment to have forgotten self, thus note the beauty of their song:

Ex 15:1, 2 —‘I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously... the Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God and I will exalt him...’

However, as we shall shortly see, they soon forgot this glorious God, and thought too deeply on self, with the result that murmurings most often took the place of the hymn of praise. There was a ‘grieved God’ and a ‘lost Canaan.’ {Heb 3:10,17-19 1Co 10:5}

Now, dear friends, there are times when in the providences of God, we too, like Israel of old, are brought into tight places, when humanly speaking there is no possible way for escape for us. And while we may wish to be doing a great deal about it there is absolutely nothing that we can do. Salvation, if it comes at all, must come from God. We must look to him as our strong tower as the God of our Salvation. It is a Pi- hahiroth, between Migdol and the Sea. But if in obedience to his will we stand still, awaiting his order to move forward, we shall soon ob- serve, as it were, a seeming suspension of nature’s laws (as the waters of the Red Sea parted for Israel) faith opening up a way before us, a way which will require faith for us to walk in. Again, it must be ‘let go, and let God!’ Placing ourselves thus completely in his hands, the vic- tory of faith is soon ours, and we too sing the song of deliverance. But more often than not, we fail to think of God and his mighty works on our behalf, but we think of self, we feel sorry for ourselves, instinc- tively we long for past pleasure, mixed though these were with a servi- tude to sin—the result—we like Israel, murmur and repine. Now it is well for us to note that God, despite this tendency on the part of Israel to forget him, continued in long- suffering kindness to exercise himself on their behalf. So too, does he do for us. But, as the time came, when at Kadesh Barnea, he ceased to strive to bring them into Canaan, we must be on guard, lest we also be persistent in unbelief and unfaithful- ness, are shut from this ‘rest.’ Let us prayerfully consider the Apostle Paul’s words in:

Heb 3:12 —‘Take heed, brethren, lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.’ (See also Heb 4:8)

There are but two ways open to Us:one, forgetting self and remem- bering God; the other, forgetting God and remembering self. The for- mer is faith, and will be rewarded of God, the latter is unbelief and disobedience and merits his sore displeasure. The song which the Israel- ites sang on the Eastern shore of the Red Sea, was a hymn of praise, but it was theirs to sing only because they had forgotten self and remem- bered God. Let us keep in mind, dear friends, that if we are in time to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb on the farther shore, we must every day and in every way remember God and forget self.

The account tells us that Moses next led them from the Red Sea into the wilderness of SHUR, and into this wilderness they went ‘three days’ journey. {Ex 15:22} You will recall that the purpose of their departure from Egypt as rehearsed in the ears of Pharaoh was ‘to go three days journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ {Ex 3:18} Perhaps it is this wilderness of SHUR, (also called the wilderness of ETHAM—Nu 33:8) that more particu- larly is referred to in the entreaties of Moses to Pharaoh. At least, this is the first time that reference is made to the ‘three days journey,’ and when we consider that it was only after they had reached the farther shore of the Red Sea that they were really out of the hands of the Egyp- tians, we can be reasonably sure that this is the wilderness referred to.

But did they sacrifice unto the Lord? Let us see.

Evidently their water supply had given out, and they were thirsty. We read:

Ex 15:22, 23 — ‘... and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water, and when they came to Marah they could not drink of the waters of Marah for they were bitter... and the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?’

What a picture of the human heart we have here! How soon it can for- get God and his mighty works on its behalf. Instead of dwelling on the mountain top of faith in the glorious light of God’s countenance, it al- lows itself to be cast down by the world, the flesh or the devil into the dark and dismal valley and shadow of death. Instead of offering to God the sacrifices of thanksgiving, it murmurs and repines, for where God should be enthroned in the heart, self is.

How well the Psalmist has put it when he declares:

‘Oh that men would praise the Lord, for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and declare his works with rejoicing.’ (Hebrew- singing) {Ps 107:21,22}

Israel forgot God, and remembered self, thus do the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving give way to the murmurings of the flesh, butGod in his graciousness still strove with them. Was it not he who in his providences had led them to Marah! But why? Could he not have saved them the bitterness of the waters and the hardness of the way? Ah yes, but these all, to the heart centered upon God, would be but stepping stones bringing them closer to him.

God had not forgotten his people, but they had forgotten him, so now, this second time, with the journey only commenced, they murmured.

True, they were very thirsty and there was not water. Suddenly they spy a stream and they anticipate refreshment. But instead of already prais- ing God for his guidance to the stream, they still seem to be thinking merely of self. Such thoughts, surely, were not conducive to progress in this pilgrim way. If in thought, in faith and by faith, they had ever lived in Canaan—the Canaan of God’s promise, the hardships to the flesh would have seemed but slight afflictions, which they might then, more easily have borne. So the waters they found at Marah were bitter, and they murmured, seemingly against Moses, however it was really against God. God heard, and in his loving kindness and tender mercy, blessed them with refreshment. He showed Moses a tree, ‘which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.’ {Ex 15:25}

Ofttimes, dear friends, God has to bring us to some bitter waters, but in remembering God, we shall find, that even these have been sweet- ened for us by the cross of Jesus. Yea, that cross is the tree cast into the midst of our stream of life which often flows with bitter waters, but whose bitterness is thus robbed, in the contemplation, that we are daily and hourly brought closer to our eternal inheritance, God’s Canaan Rest. Now let it be noted, not a word is said about Israel on this occa- sion, offering to this most gracious God, the sacrifices of thanksgiving.

It seems they just took all of his grace as a matter of fact.

I am afraid, we too, like Israel of old, fail to appreciate God’s kind- nesses to us. We take them as if it were his duty to bestow them upon us. We are often very forgetful of God, at least we are not as thankful as we ought to be. Nor are we to presume that because God has graciously responded to all our murmurings, that he will continue evermore to do so. There comes a time when he must cease to strive to bring us into Ca- naan, even as he did with Israel of old. All our trials and all our experi- ences, coming to us as the true Israel of God, are permitted by him, and have but one purpose, that of making us worthy of the inheritance of the saints in light. {Col 1:12} Therefore, let us ever praise him, for of such is the acceptable sacrifice to be offered in our wilderness wander- ings.

The next station to which God led the nation of Israel was Elim ‘where were twelve wells of water, and three score and ten palm trees’ {Ex 15:27} and the account says, ‘They encamped there by the water.’ Here we find no registration of murmuring. Nor do we find ought of praise, despite the fact that their wants all, were now supplied.

Let us never get the idea that if everything went well with us, and all our needs were supplied, we would lead more acceptable lives before Jehovah. Experience teaches us quite to the contrary. Professor Wieman of Chicago tells the story of a roommate of his college days who wished to improve his intellectual life by concentrated study at night. He procured a large comfortable chair, study slippers, and a lounging jacket. An adjustable book rack was fastened to the side of the chair to hold the book at the proper angle for the eyes. A special lamp was in- stalled, with eye- shade, pencils, papers, and a revolving bookcase. Pro- fessor Wieman tells how this chap would come home in the evening, take off his coat, don his jacket, take off his shoes, put on his slippers, sit comfortably in his chair, adjust his eyeshade, and then—’fall asleep’! So is it with us, we must have uncomfortable experiences to rouse us out of our lethargy. God had to give Israel the hardness of the way so that there would be created in them a greater desire for the ‘Land of Promise, the land flowing with milk and honey.’ This un- doubtedly is the thought of Moses’ words in:

De 32:10-12 —‘He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him.’

Ah yes, those little eaglets in that little nest away up in that distant crag of yonder mountain, far above the point where any human being could reach them, feel so safely sheltered within the comfort of their nest. The comfort is so satisfying, and since the mother eagle brings them their food, why should they ever leave the comfort of that nest?

But the mother instinctively knows that those eaglets will never learn to fly that way; so she stirs up the nest, to drive them out as it were. Per- haps she finds little sharp twigs, or thorns of some kind and sticks them into the side of the nest to make it uncomfortable for the little eaglets.

At any rate she stirs up the nest. We can imagine how those little eaglets would get up on the edge of the nest still seeking comfort, when suddenly the mother would flutter her wings and over the edge of the nest they would go, as if falling into a bottomless pit. They make a little effort to fly and this is just what the mother wants, then she spreads her wings, probably gets underneath them to bear them safely back to rest.

Only so do they learn to fly. Just so did God deal with Jacob, (i. e. the children of Israel) in their wilderness wanderings, and just so does he deal with us.

It is true, God does grant many moments of peace and rest and tran- quility even ere we reach our Canaan—we do have our Elims. But let us not forget the purpose of these is not that we shall at such times com- placently idle away our time, but rather we are to refresh ourselves and build up that spiritual reserve which is to enable us the better to with- stand the rigors of the desert way still to be travelled. Let us then show our God how we do appreciate his loving kindnesses and tender mer- cies, by praising him with the song of our lives, faith and obedience to his will. And when the time comes for us to leave these blessed oases and to strike out into the howling wilderness, let us not be loathe to leave Elim behind, but in its refreshment enter into the hardships of the way, in full assurance of the fact, that it is God who leads us on.

Blessed be his holy Name!

Forget self, remember God, and you shall have the peace of God that surpasseth all human understanding, even in the midst of trials and diffi-culties, for ‘great peace have they who love thy law and nothing shall offend them!’ {Php 4:7 Ps 119:165}


Ex 16:1-35 Nu 33:10,11 At Elim, you will recall, the Israelites rested under the 70 palms and drank refreshment from the 12 wells of water, but not a word of praise or thanksgiving seems to have been offered for all of God’s kindnesses and benefits toward them. Only once, since the commencement of their pilgrimage had they lifted up their voices in praise to God, and though when once they had started they could sing with great abandon, yet it seems that Moses had first also to put even this song into their mouths; ‘Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord...’ {Ex 15:1}

But they murmured at Pi- Hahiroth {Ex 14:10-12} and again at Marah! {Ex 15:24} What a portrayal of the human heart! How like a garden it is, wherein if beautiful, fragrant flowers are to grow, much cultivation, care and attention is necessary (praises seem to require special provocation); on the other hand, weeds grow, and pro- fusely too, without any attention at all (murmurings are just a natural outgrowth of the uncultivated soil of the human heart).

In today’s lesson we find Israel coming into the Wilderness of Sin, ly- ing between Elim and Sinai. They had travelled for just one month since ‘departing out of the land of Egypt.’ {Ex 16:1} The account reads:’... and the whole congregation of the children of Israel mur- mured... would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt where we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full, for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ {Ex 16:2,3}

Of course, they were hungry; but could they not have petitioned the great God of their deliverance to supply all their need? How easily but consistently, did they err in their hearts in forgetting their God. ‘In their hearts they turned back to Egypt.’ {Ac 7:39} No wonder then that he was grieved. ‘Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart... they shall not enter into my rest.’ {Heb 3:10,11}

Thus each murmur was a heart- murmur!!! Did they re- member their afflictions in Egypt, or their cries by reason of the cruelty of their taskmasters, or the great deliverance from these by the hand of their God? {Ex 3:7,8} Had not they forgotten their wonderful salva- tion at Pi- Hahiroth, when God passed them through the Red Sea, and then permitted them to witness the utter destruction of the Egyptian hosts? {Ex 14:29,30} Had they not also forgotten how God had sweetened for them the bitter waters of Marah? {Ex 15:23-25} Yes! Yet all these wonderful things had befallen them within the short span of one month. Surely not so long a time as would afford an excuse for their forgetfulness.

But now let us see how utterly perverse the human heart can be. What did they remember, if anything? Strangely enough, it was the self- same Egypt of their oppression, but only as ‘when we sat by the fleshpots, and when we did eat bread to the full.’ {Ex 16:3} One has very ably put it:

’Ten thousand mercies are forgotten in the presence of a single trifling privation. We have been frankly forgiven our sins, ‘accepted in the Beloved, ‘ made heirs of God and joint- heirs with Christ, the expectants of eternal glory; and in addition to all, our path through the desert is strewed with countless mercies, and yet let but a cloud the size of a man’s hand appear on the horizon, and this single cloud, which after all, may only ‘break in blessings on our head’.’

It was not wrong for Israel to be hungry, nor to desire food, nor did God condemn them for this, but it was their failure to appreciate and to remember his past benefits and favors which grieved God. This in the long run proved their undoing. Persistence, in failure to appreciate, and to remember, is with God the measure of unfaithfulness, yea, it is the unbelief and disobedience which eventually shuts one off from further grace, and out of his ‘Canaan rest.’

Surely God knew of their needs, but why did he not supply them? Ah, because he was seeking to develop in them the over- coming faith —such a faith as had been characteristic of Abraham, whose true children they could be, only if they manifested a faith like unto his, and did his works. {Joh 8:39} Every opportunity for murmuring was one which might have been utilized in the demonstration of their faith. And let us note, dear friends, that these opportunities were God- designed and ordained. What a lesson there is here for us! When we come upon trials and disappointments, let us remember that God is by these afford- ing us opportunities for the exercise of faith, but which opportunities, we, by leaning too heavily upon the arm of flesh, may use, as did Israel of old, for murmuring and repining. We do well to keep in mind that the things which happened to them, were ensamples or types, and were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come. {1Co 10:11}

The account declares that they murmured ‘against Moses and Aaron.’ These surely were merely secondary causes, for the great pri- mary cause of their predicament, was God himself. Any complaint, any fault- finding against those appointed servants of God, were therefore also, and more particularly, against God.

Evidently they needed to learn some special lesson, which despite God’s manifold blessings, and his wonders enacted on their behalf, they had failed thus far to learn. They seemed not to realize how really fortu- nate they were, for these very trials and difficulties were an evidence that God was still striving with them. What a lesson there is here for us! As antitypical Israelites, we too must come into the Wilderness of Sin to experience, as it were, trials and chastenings. Since God permits them, is not he himself their primary cause? Yet how we do murmur and complain against the secondary causes, not realizing that we are thereby rebelling against God’s providences. Oh, if only we had the faith at such times, to take our eyes from the visible, and to put them upon the invisible, the eternal, and would recognize that God is in these trials and chastenings still striving with us, to make us meet for the ‘in- heritance of the saints in light.’ Such a faith, surely would cause us to offer instead the ‘sacrifices of thanksgiving’,{ Ps 107:22} for even the bitter trials which are purposed to bring us nearer to God and our Ca- naan Rest.

’... E’en though it be a cross, that raiseth me, Still all my song shall be... nearer to thee.’

We do not read in today’s lesson that Moses interceded on behalf of the people, but quite to the contrary, any such intercession seems to have been anticipated by God, for it says:

Ex 16:4, 12 —‘Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you:and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law, or no... I have heard the murmuring of the children of Israel:speak unto them saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.’

What a wonderful display of the outpouring of God’s unmerited grace and favor! Even before Moses could petition God for the needs of Israel, he gives them the assurance that it will be supplied. So too, our God also, now deals with us. ‘And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.’ {Isa 65:24}

However, let it be noted, that it is not because we have mur- mured that God so deals with us, but rather because we are his chosen, his elect people, and that he is striving with us, despite our often infirmi- ties; and so we may know it is the Lord, for none other would bear with us in such long- suffering kindness.

Note how specifically God granted the desires of the typical Israel- ites. They had murmured for the flesh pots of Egypt, and bread to eat ‘to the full.’ He not only promised them, but he also gave them, both flesh for the evening, and bread for the morning. Had they left the matter entirely with God, the manna only, would have been supplied, and that to fill their every need. But they wanted flesh and flesh they re- ceived.

Flesh is a symbol of the flesh, and flesh feeds flesh to its own utter de- struction. Flesh is thus a devitalizing food, and not a food fit for a re- deemed people who require strength and fortitude to overcome the rigors of the wilderness way. They require a food that is, or contains, the very germ of life itself, and such food, neither Egypt nor the wilder- ness could supply. Accordingly God himself, supplies this food as ‘bread from heaven’—Manna!

Before, however, considering this manna more specifically, let us give some further thought to the ‘flesh’ that was supplied to the Israel- ites. Only twice did God permit them to have this ‘flesh’ (quails) en route, once on this occasion {Ex 16:12-14} when without solicitation on the part of Moses he thus supplied them, and again later {Nu 11:31} upon the intercession of Moses at a place named Kibroth- Hataavah. It is interesting to note that God did not visit upon them in the first instance the plague, which in the second destroyed so many. There is something here that it may be well for us to note, viz., that it would have been better to do without the meat, since God in his wis- dom had thus far denied it... but it is evident that God made allowances in the first instance for the fact that they had only so recently come out of Egypt and were not yet completely weaned away from its influences.

It was different after they had arrived at Sinai, and God had established his Tabernacle among them, and when God most reasonably expected greater faith and submissiveness to his will. No wonder, then, that he was so severe and with the granting of their request for ‘flesh’ the sec- ond time, he gave them also the needful lesson, the mark of his sore dis- pleasure—the destroying plague. {Nu 11:33}

Now, the Apostle Paul tells us that ‘all flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of beasts and another of birds.’ {1Co 15:39}

Let it be noted that the flesh God permitted the children of Israel to have was in both instances that of birds (quails). To our minds there is something quite significant here. Since all flesh ‘lusteth against the spirit’ {Ga 5:17} it would appear from this picture that there is a differ- ence in the degree to which the flesh of beasts and the flesh of birds are respectively enervating the debilitating. Beasts live closer to the earth than do birds, as the latter have wings, and for a time at least are able to overcome gravitational stress. As if to say that not all the proclivities and propensities of the flesh are equally degrading. Some are naturally more so than others, in fact some seem to even have a momentary turn upward—a ‘recreational value’ as the world puts it. Among these are the so called innocent pleasures, amusements, social obligations, liter- ary pursuits, some personal habits, etc. For the spiritual Israelite, these are the flesh of birds.

Perfectly legitimate food, and better perhaps by far, than much other food with which men feed their flesh, yet it is earthy, and therefore worldly, and not suitable for the redeemed Israel of God. While yet we were young in this, our pilgrim way, there were certain of these fleshly pursuits which we felt were necessary to balance out our spiritual lives, and God in his grace permitted us to have them, expecting that as we grew in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (the bread which came down from heaven) we would gradually come to the point where we would recognize these also as devitalizing. But, and if, as it was in the case with Israel of old, we still crave these things af- ter we have been ‘in the way’ for some time, we need not fear that God will deny them to us, but rather that with them may come the plague of destruction—second death! For those who are about to go into the dark- ness of night, the evening comes first, but for those who are of the day, the morning has come, and the night is past. Thus it was given:’in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full.’ {Ex 16:8}

The bread upon which the typical Israelites were to feed, was, as it were, one dropping down from heaven. In Nu 11:9 we read:

‘And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.’ and in Ex 16:14,16:’And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground... and Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.’

Now it is not our purpose to explain the miracle of this manna, for this we could not do; nor yet even to hazard a guess as to what chemical reaction may have taken place to produce this food. We are satisfied to accept the statements as they are given, and if possible, to learn of their antitypical counterparts.

There is always a certain amount of water (moisture) suspended in our atmosphere, though it generally remains invisible. When, however the atmosphere cools sufficiently, this moisture condenses and mani- fests itself as dew. With the warmth of the rising sun, this dew evapo- rates and the moisture again becomes invisible. Now TRUTH finds a most apt symbol of itself in water. It is often even as mere moisture sus- pended in the atmosphere, ever present, but unrecognized due to the coarseness of men’s vision. But there are times, when as it were, there comes a chill over the earth, causing these vaporous waters of divine truth to condense into tangible facts.

All during the age preceding the first advent of Christ, prophetic Truth (the suspended moisture) foretold the coming of Messiah. How- ever, this prophetic Truth, owing to its lightness and delicate texture was not generally recognized nor appreciated. But with the close of the age, comes also its nighttime, which with the coolness that ushers in the new day, caused a veritable condensation of these prophetic Truths—a recognition of the fulfillment of these in the coming of Jesus of Naz- areth.

In the type the dew itself was not the manna, the manna seemed to have fallen upon the dew, or at least it was left as a deposit upon the ground, when the dew had again disappeared. So was it also with the prophetic Truths, even the appreciation of these in the coming of Jesus, did not constitute the manna upon which the disciples of Christ were thereafter to feed until they came into their Canaan Rest. But it was that which remained—when these prophetic truths, (at least their fulfill- ment) seemed again to evaporate into thin air with the crucifixion of Je- sus. ‘We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel...’ {Lu 24:21} But what did remain? Ah, the Ransom Sacrifice of Christ Jesus whose life and righteousness could now be appropri- ated to one’s self. Here was the true manna—the bread from heaven. {Joh 6:32,33,35,38,41,48,50}

Jesus said:’I am the living bread which came down from heaven:and the bread that I will give is my flesh...’ {Joh 6:51} Thus in Christ Jesus we have manifested the Grace of God to usward.

The appropriation to ourselves of this heavenly manna is made possi- ble through our own ingathering of our daily supply. It will have been noted that the Israelites were to gather their manna every morn- ing and that the supply gathered that day would not carry over to the next (the only exception being on the sixth day in which sufficient was gathered to carry them over or through the seventh—thus too the an-titypical Israelites of this Gospel Age will not need to gather any on the seventh day either). What did this mean? It meant that what they gath- ered would have to be used, eaten the day of its ingathering. What a les- son this is! We must each day feed upon, appropriate to ourselves the life and righteousness of Jesus, nor can we expect that the appropriation we made yesterday will carry us through today and tomorrow also. Je- sus, and the divine truth embodied in him, must be gathered and appro- priated to one’s self each and every day and herein lies the test whereby God proves us to see ‘whether we will walk in his law, or no.’

’Very many profess to have found pardon and peace in Jesus, who in reality, are feeding upon a variety of things which have no connection with him. They feed their minds with the newspapers and the varied frivolous and vapid literature of the day. Will they find Christ there? Is it by such instrumentality that the Holy Spirit ministers Christ to the soul? Are these the pure dew drops on which the heavenly manna descends for the sustenance of God’s redeemed in the desert? Alas! no; they are the gross materials in which the carnal mind delights.... Hence, if I find a professing Christian neglecting his Bible, yet finding abundance of time—yea, some of his choicest hours—for the newspaper, I can be at no loss to decide as to the true condition of his soul. I am sure he cannot be spiritual—cannot be feeding upon, living for, or witnessing to, Christ.’

Ah, dear friends, why do we murmur for flesh to eat, when Christ, the living bread, and the divine truth embodied in him, have been given to us to carry us throughout our wilderness journey over into Canaan? Do we not recognize that this attitude is identical to that of the Israelites of old who subsequently declared, ‘our soul loatheth this white bread’?{ Nu 21:5} Let us, therefore, not forget to feed upon the grace of God as it is supplied in Christ Jesus, nor fail to be appreciative of our great privileges as the chosen Israel of God.


Ex 17:1-16 Nu 33:12-14

It will be recalled that in our last lesson we drew attention to the fact of God’s proving the children of Israel as to ‘whether they will walk in my law, or no’,{ Ex 16:4} and that this proving would be in connec- tion with the ingathering of the manna, ‘a certain amount every day.’

The account tells us, despite the fact that each man was to gather suf- ficient for the needs of his family each and every day (but not any more), and that none of it was to be kept over ‘till the morning.’ {Ex 16:16,19} ‘Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank...’ {Ex 16:20}

Thus would they prove their desire to walk in the law of God, and their worthiness to continue in his grace and favor. The keep- ing of this manna ‘till the morning’ evidences two things; first, the gath- ering of more than their needs for the day; and second, the determination not to gather on the following day. What does this imply, if not the building up of a reserve today, against the anticipated laziness of tomorrow! Such, surely, is not according to the law of God. True, God did provide sufficient on the sixth day, to serve as a reserve against the seventh day, but this was only because in his great Wisdom and Love, he had given them (as a gift), a sabbath of rest. Nor was this to be construed by them as license for the building up of reserves against any other day save the seventh. What a glorious thought is suggested here for the antitypical Israel of God! We must gather in, or appropriate to ourselves each and every day its needs of that righteousness, and justi- fication which is in Christ Jesus. But in a larger sense, we are gathering during the sixth day, the reserve which is to carry us through the sev- enth, wherein it will be not needful, yea, to the contrary, it will be im- possible, to gather the heavenly manna. That seventh day is to be a God- given ‘sabbath of rest.’

There is, however, still another thought which we do well to meditate upon, for it also has to do with the proving as to whether we will walk in the law of God, or no, and is in connection with the God- given ‘sab- bath of rest’ which is already ours.

You will recall that the Sabbath was established in Eden, ‘and on the seventh day God ended his work... and he rested on the seventh day and sanctified it...’ {Ge 2:2,3} It was also lost in Eden as far as man was concerned. No longer was he to enjoy this gift of God his ‘sabbath rest’;‘ cursed is the ground for thy sake... thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee... in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ {Ge 3:17-19}

Nor was this ‘sabbath rest’ again suggested until we find God estab- lishing it with his redeemed people, Israel, in the wilderness! And yet, with what reluctance they seem to have entered into it. They had not yet reached Sinai where they in due course were to receive the TEN COM- MANDMENTS. The Sabbath to them was still a gift from God, but at Sinai, it became a part of the LAW COVENANT; it there became man- datory—grace ended and works began.

For the true Israel of God, there is a Christian ‘sabbath,’ not one day out of seven, but every day is one of ‘God- given’ rest in the accom- plished redemption which is in the Ransom Sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

By faith, one who is thus justified, has entered into God’s rest, he has ceased from his labors. ‘Now it was not written for his sake alone.... But for us also... if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was... raised again for our justification. Therefore being justi- fied by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ {Ro 4:23 5:1}

‘So we see that they could not enter in because of un- belief... for we which have believed do enter into rest... for he spake in a certain place of the seventh day... and God did rest the seventh day from his works... there remaineth therefore, a rest to the people of God, for he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.’ {Heb 3:19 4:3,4,9,10}

It is not ‘works’ that brings to us the justification which is in Christ Jesus, but rather faith. Thus this ‘sabbath rest’ in the accomplished re- demption from the Adamic condemnation, is the gift of God. The apos- tle declares, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not ofyourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.’ {Eph 2:8,9} There are many antitypical Israelites who refuse to enter into this ‘rest’ which is by the grace of God furnished in Christ Jesus. They feel that they must do great things, mighty works, to justify themselves in the sight of God. But to work in the day which God has sanctified for rest, is the mark of unbelief, of disobedience, and for such as would thus gather ‘by works’ there is no more bread from heaven to be found! But this is the way in which God proves his people to see whether they will walk in his law, or no. Ah, dear friends, let us rest from our works, and enjoy the ‘sabbath rest of God’ which is in Christ Jesus.

But lest we conclude that this ‘rest’ implies idleness, let us be re- minded of the fact that Adam in Eden, enjoying, as it were, the God sanctified sabbath, was nevertheless to ‘replenish the earth, and subdue it.’ {Ge 1:28} So too, every consecrated child of God, though enjoy- ing God’s sabbath ‘rest’ cannot be idle, for he must, and will, be busy keeping his body under, and bringing it ever more and more into subjec- tion to that new mind which is in Christ Jesus. {1Co 9:27} This is a ‘work’ but not that by which we are redeemed from the Adamic curse, and justified, for that is by faith alone . The work of keeping the body under, and bringing it into subjection of the new mind is, however, one which proves our faith to be a living one, for it is hope- inspired. The Apostle says in 1Jo 3:3, ‘and every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure.’

Analysis will prove that the doing of these ‘works’ of faith, is not a violation of the sabbath of God, but rather a feeding upon the heavenly manna during that sabbath day. Truly, the labor entailed in keeping the body under, and bringing it into subjection of the new mind, evi- dences the appropriation of Christ Jesus to ourselves, for is it not the ‘bearing about’ as it were, ‘in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus’ so ‘that the life also of Jesus might be more and more manifest in our body.’ {2Co 4:10}

We are according to the laws of Dietetics, more or less what we eat! Applying this law to the spiritual then, it follows that the more we ap- propriate the Christ- life to ourselves, the more Christ- like we ourselves become. Thus the eating of this heavenly manna spells death for the old man, but life for the new; for ‘though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.’ {2Co 4:16}

Accordingly then, we do labor, but not for our redemption from the Adamic condemnation, nor for the consequent justification, for this is already accomplished in the Ransom Sacrifice of Christ, in which by faith we must rest, the sabbath rest of God. Any other works save those of faith by which we strive to enter into the fullness of that rest are vio- lations of God’s law. Do we not then see how God proves the antitypi- cal Israelite in the matter of this ingathering of the heavenly manna, and the maintaining of his ‘sabbath’ of grace—’I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them... six days ye shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.’ {Ex 16:4,26}

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According to the itinerary set forth in Nu 33:12-14, the children of Israel after leaving the wilderness of Sin encamped at Alush and Do- phkah, before arriving at Rephidim, the next station in their wanderings to receive our particular attention. Nothing having been recorded of their experiences at either Alush or Dophkah, we should have to pass over these encampments without comment. However, from the fact that these stations have been recorded, we gather that the Holy Spirit in- tended some lesson for us. What may this lesson be? Perhaps the rapid- ity with which these movements were made was intended to suggest a restlessness on the part of the people. From the ‘ Dictionary of Bible Proper Names ‘ compiled by Cyrus A. Potts, we learn that ALUSH means:crowd of men, mingling together; and that DOPHKAH means:

pressure of water; cattle- driving. Perhaps we have in these meanings the secret of Israel’s restlessness. There were many people and also cat- tle crowded together with but very little if any water to drink. Not merely the desire for water, but the urgent need of it to sustain them in life, put them under pressure to move on in search of it. Thus did they come to Rephidim where ‘there was no water for the people to drink.’ {Ex 17:1}

The account reads, ‘Wherefore the people did chide with Moses... and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou has brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?’ {Ex 17:2,3} Poor Moses, they were ready to stone him to death! {Ex 17:4}

Now we would again remind you that the desire for the necessities of life is not a sin, but the murmuring against the providences of God is. It registers the lack of faith, and the consequent failure to appreciate the fact that he who is ‘our Father’ {Mt 6:9} ‘knoweth what things’ we have need of, {Mt 6:8} and that even more than an earthly parent is willing to give good gifts to his children is the heavenly father to ‘give good things to those that ask him.’ {Mt 7:11} All our trials and all our experiences in the wilderness way are designed and ordained of God to promote this filial relationship, wherein our utter dependence upon him, will cause us to ask of him. But to ask of him, means to re- member him! This it seems, Israel ever failed to do, though it never ceased to remember itself. Note how completely God is forgotten and self remembered, in the lesson presently before us:

‘Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?’ {Ex 17:3}

But God is love {1Jo 4:16} and in long- suffering kindness {1Co 13:4} continued to strive with Israel. Did we not know something con- cerning the gross wickedness, indifference and lack of faith of our own hearts, we might be at a loss to understand Israel’s reactions to God’s unmerited grace. But let us remember, there came the time God ceased to strive with Israel any longer, and turned them back into the terrible wilderness. This was when, having come to Kadesh Barnea—the very portals of the promised land, they ‘lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept all night,’ because of the evil report of the spies, ‘and all of the children of Israel murmured... and the whole congregation said.... Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God that we had died in the wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us into this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?’ {Nu 14:1-3} Their heart was still evil, it was one of unbelief!

Rather than go into the land with God, they would without him return to Egypt. {Nu 14:4} Note God’s words:’Doubtless, ye shall not come into the land... your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness.’ {Nu 14:30,32} Let us take heed then, friends, lest there be in any of us such an ‘evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.’ {Heb 3:12}

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‘And the Lord said unto Moses... take... thy rod... and go:behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock of Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.’{ Ex 17:5,6}

The Apostle Paul in 1Co 10:4, speaking of the Israelites of old, says they ‘did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them:and the Rock was Christ.’ If then, the Holy Spirit is so specific about the matter, is there any justification to doubt that the rock which Moses smote typified Christ? What a glori- ous picture of God’s unbounded grace! Says Bro. Russell:

’It was by the Lord’s arrangement that this ‘Rock of Ages’ was smitten, that the water of life might flow from Jesus for all of Adam’s race who would become Israelites indeed and come out of Egypt—out of the world—out of sin—out of the kingdom of the adversary into obedience and fellowship with the Lord.’ (R5957 205957:3)

It will have been noted that when the Israelites arrived at Rephidim ‘there was no water for the people to drink.’ {Ex 17:1} And it ap- pears evident that they had been without water for some time. There- fore, we reason, they must have been ‘nigh unto death,’ and surely, they would have died had God not provided for them water from the rock. There was here no room for indifference:anyone who desired to live, had to drink the water that flowed from the smitten rock. So it is with all the world of mankind. All lost trace of the waters of life when Adam, leaving the Paradise of God’s favor, entered the Wilderness of sin. Since then, Adam’s race has been dying for thirst of the living wa- ters. Death—and that annihilation—was sure! But the time came when God smote the Rock—his only begotten son, Christ Jesus, on the Cross of Calvary, from whence the living waters have ever since flowed.

True, not all of Adam’s race have yet been privileged to drink of this stream of life, but has not Christ himself assured us of the time, ‘when all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth...’,{ Joh 5:28,29} to hear, as it were, ‘the Spirit and the bride say, Come and let him that is a thirst come and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ {Re 22:17} But for the Israel of God of this Gospel Age, there remains this thought of the Apostle Paul, who after bringing to our attention the fact that those of old had been privileged to drink from this rock, declares, ‘but with many of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.’ {1Co 10:5} Why were they overthrown? Not be- cause they received the grace of God, the Holy One of Israel, in vain!

‘Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust... be idolators... commit fornication... tempt Christ... murmur.’ {1Co 10:6-10} Our appreciation of God’s past favors is marked in our present and future walks before him. Let us then ‘walk worthily of the calling wherewith we were called.’ {Eph 4:1; Amer. R. V.}

After Israel’s refreshment by the waters which flowed from the smiten rock, ‘came Amalek and fought with Israel.’ {Ex 17:18} Ob- serve, dear friends, that Amalek might have come before and found Is- rael an easy prey for himself. Here is manifested the providential care of God over Israel. But you ask as to why God permitted Amalek to come upon Israel at all. Surely not because he wished Israel destroyed, but rather to reveal himself to them as the Mighty one of Israel, and to afford them the privilege of being strong in the power of his might. Strength is developed in the resistance of, and to, adversity, but the admonition of the Apostle in Eph 6:10 is, that we are to ‘ grow strong in the Lord and the power of his might.’ Strangely enough, the pre- requisite for such growth is our own weakness. When the Apostle Paul, desiring to exercise more of the Lord’s power and strength in his minis- try thrice besought him to remove the thorn in his flesh, he received this reply:’My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ {2Co 12:9,10} Note then the Apostle’s resignation to the divine will:’Most gladly will I therefore rather glory in my infirmi- ties, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleas- ure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake:for when I am weak, then am I strong.’

Now note again that Amalek came after Israel had drank of the life- giving waters. For us, there is a special lesson here. We alone, of all people, have thus far drunk of the waters of life flowing out from the smitten rock Christ Jesus. The drinking, or appropriating to ourselves, of these waters, results not only in our justification unto life through faith in the blood of his sacrifice, but also our consecration to live for him (God, the Father) who by means of this smitten rock has redeemed us out of death. It is after this, that Amalek, who well types the flesh, ap- pears to fight with us. Amalek was the grandson of Esau, who preferred a mess of pottage to the birthright. {See Ge 36:12} Amalek was the first to battle with Israel after their redemption from the bondage of Egypt. In De 26:17-19 we read of the admonition given to Israel. It is as follows:

‘Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt, how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindermost part of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary:and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemiesround about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee from an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven thou shalt not forget it.’

Then too, you will remember that Saul was set aside from the kingdom of Israel in consequence of his failure to destroy Amalek. {1Sa 15}

Do we need any more than this to establish the antitypical identity of Amalek as the flesh? Are we not in continued warfare with this enemy who would retard, if not completely destroy our wilderness progress to- ward Canaan? Nor need we think that we have in ourselves sufficient strength to combat this wily foe. The Israelites would have been annihi- lated had it not been for Moses intercession on their behalf. So too, is it with us. It is God who giveth us the victory through Christ Jesus. All of our struggling is to no avail, if it be without the assistance of Christ in his exalted position on ‘top of the hill.’

How beautifully this picture unfolds before our eyes. Look at the type, when Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed:and when he let down his hands, Amalek prevailed. {Ex 17:11} It sets forth the Israel- ites utter weakness and inability to do ought without the power of God.

Their strength could be only in the power of his might, nor could this be theirs without Moses’ intercession. What a lesson this should be for us! yet how often do we go out to battle the flesh in our own strength, and what miserable wrecks we are as a result. How true are the words of Jesus:’Without me, ye can do nothing.’ {Joh 15:5}

Moses’ hands grew tired and had to be supported, else, even despite Moses’ position atop the hill, Israel would have been vanquished by Amalek. True, our Lord’s arms never grow tired, but they will not be lifted up on our behalf, unless we too support him. What does this mean? Ah, dear friends, it means that in our hearts we must ‘love righteousness, and hate iniquity.’ {Heb 1:9} May we suggest that the one arm of the Lord represents his love of righteousness, and the other his hatred of iniquity. Both arms must needs be lifted. It is not sufficient that we love righteousness, but we must also hate iniquity. Thus our en- dorsement of the character of Jesus in our hearts, which implies that we will to the best of our ability emulate his example, insures for us his in- tercession and advocacy before God. The victory over the flesh will be then ours, but only through the grace of God as manifested in Christ Je- sus.

It is important that we note Amalek was discomfited, but not de- stroyed. Hence he appears and reappears again and again in the history of the Israelites. Thus too, it is with us. The victory over the flesh today is not through its destruction, but merely through the overcoming of it.

We shall have to fight with Amalek again and again. There is to be a perpetual warfare here until by God’s grace the ultimate victory is ours in death. In Ex 17:16 we read:’Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’

How significant! But blessed be his name, he has assured to the true Is- rael of God the final victory.

Let us ‘watch and pray’!

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In harmony with the foregoing presentation that even as Moses’ hands had to be lifted up on behalf of Israel, it is necessary that Christ’s hands be lifted on our behalf if the victory over antitypical Amalek—the flesh—is to be ours, we suggest the identity of all that is ‘highest’ and ‘noblest’ within us with Aaron and Hur of the type. Both Aaron and Hur bore a kinship to Moses:the former was Moses’ brother, the latter Moses’ brother- in- law, i. e. Miriam’s husband.

According to Cyrus A Pott’s Dictionary of Bible Proper Names, Aaron means ‘very elevated’ and Hur means ‘noble.’ Surely the high- est and noblest traits which lie within us bear a kinship to Christ Jesus himself and it is only by these that our hearts endorse and uphold the character of Jesus, and in so doing we enlist on our behalf the POWER of God. Thus the victory over Amalek is ours, for we uphold the arms of the antitypical Moses, Christ, who is scripturally referred to as the ‘arm of the Lord’ {Isa 53:1} i. e. the power of God unto Salvation. {See Joh 12:38 Isa 51:5,9 Isa 52:10 Isa 59:15-20}


Ex 18:2-12 19:1-8 Nu 33:15

While our next station in the wilderness wanderings is Sinai, there is an incident, whose interposition at this point of Divine Writ, warrants some thought, ere we proceed with the consideration of the Israelitish experiences at Sinai. It will be recalled, that Moses while yet in the house of Pharaoh in Egypt, had presented himself to his brethren as a deliverer. We read:

‘And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens:and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren, and he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.’ {Ex 2:11,12}

One might very reasonably have expected that after this the Israelites would have sought more and more to avail themselves of any further grace or favor Moses had to bestow, even should this involve the judg- ment of their unrighteousness. Apparently this was not so with them, for we read:

‘And when he went out on the next day, behold two men of the Hebrews strove together:and he said to him that did the wrong, wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyp- tian?’ {Ex 2:13,14}

A thousand Israelites, blessed by the benevolences of Moses, might easily have kept their secret from Pharaoh; yet only one Israelite of- fended in his unrighteous pride was able to put Moses’ life in jeopardy so that he had to flee. And Pharaoh when he heard of it, sought to slay Moses, and thus we read:

‘...but Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian...’ {Ex 2:15} It was during the period of this rejection, while he was in Midian, that Moses took unto himself a wife, Zipporah, and she was not an Is- raelitess! Just so, when Jesus came ‘to his own’ {Joh 1:11} at his first advent, they received him not. They rejected him, not because of his be- nevolences, but because of his judgment of their unrighteousnesses.

During the period of Israel’s rejection of Messiah, he too, has taken unto himself a bride, and she, from among the Gentiles. But even as the Israelites upon Moses’ second presentation unto them, accepted him as their deliverer, so also shall the Israel which rejected Christ at his first advent, accept him at his second as their Messiah, their deliverer. This brings us to that grand Millennial scene depicted in Ex 18, wherein Israel, Moses and his bride are all brought together under a single focus.

’This is a deeply interesting scene. The whole congregation assem- bled, in triumph before the Lord, the Gentile presenting sacrifice, and in addition, to complete the picture, the bride of the deliverer, together with the children whom God has given him, are all intro- duced. It is, in short, a singularly striking foreshadowing of the coming kingdom...’

‘In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day, came they into the wilderness of Sinai, for they were departed from Rephidim, and were come into the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness, and there Israel camped before the mount.’{ Ex 19:1,2}

Two months had elapsed since their departure from Egypt, and they had come to the ‘mount of God,’ where he would manifest unto them his will concerning them, even their consecration, ‘ obey my voice in- deed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people... and ye shall be unto me, a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.’ {Ex 19:5,6}

In Egypt, they were virtually a dead nation. There was nothing they could do to bring about their redemption. Then God stepped in, and he delivered them out from under the despotic rule of Pharaoh. True he did not deliver them immediately into the Canaan he had promised Abra- ham and his seed, yet in all their wilderness experiences thus far, he had dealt with them as his own, a redeemed people, the children of his faith- ful friend, Abraham. Said Pastor Russell in R5285 205285:3:

’... All of God’s dealings with the Israelites were in accordance with his great covenant made with Abraham, and certified with the divine oath; ‘In thee and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed’.’

But Israel failed to appreciate this fact. They were swiftly losing that spiritual tie by which they were bound to Abraham. Nor can it yet, truth- fully be said that anyone is of the seed of Abraham, unless he evidences also his faith. {Joh 8:37-40} It is quite evident that the Abrahamic Covenant no longer served to inspire them with zeal and faithfulness to God. Familiarity had bred contempt, in fact, it was their secret fault, yea, it had already gained the proportions of presumptuous sin. It was only a question of time when this presumptuous sin would have so great dominion over them that none of the natural seed might ever have been found worthy of membership in the ‘seed of blessing.’ This is ex- actly what we find reflected at Sinai, where the law was ‘added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.’ {Ga 3:19}

Now the Law was not given to make the Israelites perfect, but to bring them unto a consciousness of sin, wherein they would not only see their utter need of the grace of God, but would appreciate also, all his benefits toward them. Such an appreciation, being in the nature of faith, would inspire the cry, ‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.’ {Ps 116:12-14} Accordingly, we see that the Law was to serve, first to reveal sin, and then to awaken in the sin- ner the desire for God’s grace and favor. It is important that we note that while the Law reveals sin, it neither creates nor removes it. Hear the Apostle Paul when he says:

‘I had not known sin, but by the law, for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet. But sin taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the Law, sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

For sin, taking occasion by the commandment deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and just and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid! But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good:that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.’ {Ro 7:7-13}

And as the Apostle had previously declared, ‘the law entered, that the offence might abound.’ {Ro 5:20} One has most ably said:

’It came in by the way in order to set forth the exceeding sinfulness of sin. {Ro 7:13} It was, in a certain sense, like a mirror let down from heaven to reveal to man his derangement. If I present myself, with deranged habit before a mirror, it shows me the derangement, but does not set it right. If I measure a crooked wall, with a perfect plumb- line, it reveals the crookedness, but does not remove it. If I take out a lamp on a dark night, it reveals to me all the hindrances and disagreeableness in the way, but it does not remove them. Moreover the mirror, the plumb- line, and the lamp, do not create the evils which they severally point out:they neither create nor remove, but simply reveal. Thus is it with the law:it does not create the evil in man’s heart, neither does it remove it, but with unerring accuracy, it reveals it!’

But while the Law was thus to serve as a revealer of sin, it was also to inspire a desire for righteousness and life. It could not, however, give to any fallen man, the life he sought. That which the Law promised in the end—life, to the man that would keep it, was the very thing that we would need at the beginning, in order to keep it. We read in Heb 7:19, ‘The law made nothing perfect.’ But it did point to the man, who because of his perfection and righteousness, his separateness from sin, both kept its letter, and fulfilled its spirit. By it, therefore, he had theright to continue in life. That man was Christ Jesus. To reveal the Fa- ther’s great love for the world, he laid that life down in sacrifice, so that others might live. Praise his holy name!

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Note now, the long- suffering kindness of God in dealing with the Isra- elites. What patience, what forebearance he manifested toward them! To save them from the fate of other nations who had passed into obliv- ion, he offered them the inspiration of the Law Covenant. At least, it would serve to keep alive the hope, which though embodied in the Abrahamic Covenant, they had steadily been relinquishing. God even found it necessary to remind them of himself, for they so readily for- got him. He said:’Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings and brought you unto myself.’ {Ex 19:4} So important was it for them, if they were to continue in God’s fa- vor, not to forget God, he himself incorporated it in the preamble to the Decalogue thus:’I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage...’ {Ex 20:2 De 5:6}

Ah, dear friends, if we are to continue in God’s favor, we too, must not forget God. We must ever keep the Lord before us. How else can we ‘love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind’?{ See Mt 22:37}

Observe how eagerly Israel of old, desired God’s favor:’ All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.’ {Ex 19:8} Of course, they wanted to be God’s peculiar treasure, above all people and to be, as it were, unto him a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. This desire for the ultimates, rather than the doing of God’s will prompted them to enter into a cove- nant of works. A moment’s reflection upon their past opportunities and privileges, and their utter failure to live up to these, would have enabled them to see the futility of it all. But they did not stop to ‘count the cost.’ What was the result? A double curse, for not only did the original Adamic condemnation, then still stand against them, but the Law which promised release from this, merely placed them under a further condem- nation for failure to keep it. And so says the Apostle Paul, ‘the com- mandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.’ {Ro 7:10}

Entering into such a covenant as Israel did at Mt. Sinai, im- plied the full surrender to do God’s will implicitly, and failure to do so, involved the curse—death.

We wonder, dear friends, if there is not in this, a most important les- son for us. Time was when we, having exercised ourselves by faith in the accomplished redemption of Calvary, found ourselves tentatively justified. But like many others who accept (?) Christ as their Saviour, we failed fully to appreciate God’s grace and favor to usward. We took it, more or less, as a matter of fact and lived our lives not so much dif- ferent from other peoples of the world. Did not God then, through var- ied and diversified experiences, separate us further and further from the Egypt of this world? Yet with all of this, we seemed not to appreciate it, nor did we recognize that God himself was thus striving with us, to make of us his ‘peculiar treasure, above all people,’ and ‘unto himself, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’ We seemed only to murmur against these providences of God, until one day in our experiences he brought us to ‘the mount of God:there to rehearse in our hearts and be- fore our minds, all of his mighty works and wonders on our be- half—’how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.’ {Ex 19:4}

It was then and there that God made known unto us, his will concerning us, even our sanctification—a full and complete surren- der to ‘ obey my voice ‘ and to ‘ keep my covenant.’ Israel in the type, did not sit down, first to count the cost. We wonder if many of spiritual Israel have not likewise failed and have as they of old, consecrated rather to satisfy the desire for the ultimates than for the sheer privilege and pleasure of doing God’s will. To our minds, the first and chief con- cern should ever be the doing of that perfect will of God, so, at least, was it with Jesus. While the joy set before him {Heb 12:2} undoubtedly involved the glories of the Divine nature, yet his chief concern, and therefore, his greatest joy, was not in the contemplation of these, but in the doing of his Father’s will. When he consecrated himself unto God, he made no mention of the ultimates, but in spirit declared, ‘Lo, I come, to do thy will.’ {Heb 10:7,9} thus did Jesus enter into covenant relationship with God, having first of all, ‘counted the cost.’ His admo- nition to all Israelites contemplating entering into this selfsame, great covenant of sacrifice with God was to first sit down and count the cost. {Lu 14:26-33} For entering in upon this covenant places us also under double jeopardy, the danger of the second death. Had typical Israel first sat down and counted the cost, they would im- mediately have recognized their utter inability to keep such a perfect Law as that of God’s inviolate. Rather than promise the obedience of works, they would have sought to yield unto their God a faith like unto that of Abraham—a faith which justified him, was ‘accounted to him for righteousness.’ {Ga 3:6} In this regard, Israel had thus far miser- ably failed. They were ever transgressing through unbelief and disobedi- ence. It was because of this that it became necessary for God to impose the Law. However, had they been rightly exercised under the tutelage of this ‘school- master,’ they would first have become conscious of the exceeding sinfulness of their sins and then sought for deliverance from them. There the search would have led them to Jesus the Messiah, whom instead of rejecting they would have received and accepted.

Nevertheless, this covenant and its law served to separate Israel from all the other nations of the world, despite their inability to keep the law.

So too, our covenant of sacrifice serves to keep us separate from all the families of the earth, and this despite our inability to keep that most per- fect law of love which is implied in this covenant. There were some, an infinitesimally few, of typical Israel who, though born under the cove- nant and its law, transcended it, not by the works which that covenant demanded, but by faith which God accounted as the fulfillment thereof.

These are the Ancient Worthies whom the Apostle Paul brings to our at- tention in the 11th Chapter of Hebrews, saying, ‘these all... obtained a good report through faith.’ {Heb 11:39} Lest we become discouraged with our inability to meet all the terms of our covenant through impa- tience or otherwise, the Holy Spirit through the inspired Apostle Paul di- rects us to keep these very Ancient Worthies in mind. We are admon- ished to note their faith, their trials, their lives, their fortitude. They were witnesses (martyrs) of faith, ‘of whom the world was not worthy.’ {Heb 11:38}

Their hope, inspired by faith in God, kept them in the face of their many trials and failures, ever looking forward to that great deliv- erer, the Abrahamic Seed, the promised Messiah. This Messiah, thus be- ing the very substance of their faith—its begining and its end—became also the basis of their justification to life, when at Calvary, he died. Said Pastor Russell in R4320 204320:1:

’... Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others before the Law Covenant were not bound by it, yet were not in the fullest sense justified to life until the Abrahamic Covenant had been established at Calvary. Their faith then, entitled them to a share in the merits of that sacrifice. Likewise throughout the period of the Law Covenant, before it was annulled at the cross, there were Ancient Worthies, who lived above the masses of the time, and who although bound by the Law, had above it a living faith in the original oath- bound Covenant of Grace. These in the Divine records were entitled to their share of the grace, as soon as the merit of Calvary’s sacrifice had been presented on behalf of believers... Although they lived while the Law Covenant was alive, they foresaw its death and trusted not in it, but in the superior Covenant of Grace...’

No wonder then that the Apostle Paul says in Heb 12:1,2:

‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author (margin- beginner) and finisher of our faith...’

It may thus be noted that faith will justify, in the face of our failures to keep our covenant, inviolate! But this, only so long as in recognition of our own unworthiness of God’s grace, and inability to do God’s per- fect will (obey his voice and keep his covenant), we retain Jesus as the bulwark of our faith. The Ancient Worthies, though unable to keep the law, were because of their faith, accounted as having it fulfilled in them. That is, they were justified by their faith. We too, though unable to keep our covenant, inviolate, are accounted as having its righteous- ness fulfilled in us. {Ro 8:4} God’s law is Love, and no matter how it be expressed, whether negatively as in the ‘thou shalt nots’ or posi- tively in the ‘thou shalts’ we cannot keep it, but bless his Holy Name, we can fulfill it {Ro 13:10} through that grace of God, manifested to- ward us, in Christ Jesus.

Anent this, Pastor Russell wrote in R4442 204442:5 ‘To Christ the original Covenant came with the Law ‘added, ‘ and he inherited by obedience to the law. He is now accepting us separate and apart from the law on condition of faith and obedience to the extent of our ability. To us the righteousness of the Law is counted as fulfilled when we walk, not after the flesh, but after the spirit of the law, because we thus give evidence that if we had perfect ability we would keep the divine law perfectly. And we who have been accepted as members of the body of Christ have entered into a covenant of sacrifice as respectsthe earthly nature, and to be copies of our Redeemer to the extent of our ability, in heart, in will, and so far as possible, in deed.

‘After testing us thus, if found faithful, God will accept us fully and grant us spirit bodies like unto our Redeemer’s. It is thus, as new crea- tures in Christ, that we may be the spiritual seed of Abraham, and mem- bers of the body of the great Mediator, the great Prophet, Priest, King and Judge, who during the Millennial Age, under the New (Law) Cove- nant sealed with his blood, shall establish righteousness in the earth, and lift up the willing and obedient of humanity out of sin, degradation and death to harmony with God and everlasting life.

‘It is asked, under what Covenant is the royal priesthood, the church of the first- born, justified? We answer, under no Covenant. Our justifi- cation, like that of Abraham, is by faith. As it is written, ‘Abraham be- lieved God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone that it (righteousness) was imputed to him, but for us also to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him who raised up Jesus, our Lord, from the dead:who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification’.’{ Ro 4:3,23-25}


Ex 20:1-32:5

God’s special dealings with the Israelites may be said to have started while they were yet in the land of Egypt, under the wicked domination of Pharaoh and his cruel taskmasters. The Israelites had gotten down into Egypt because of the sinfulness of their fathers, and God was under no obligation to redeem them. However, it was in this wise that he manifested his great love and care. He delivered them, by bringing them first under the blood of the Passover lamb. Thereafter, he over- ruled all of their experiences, causing these to become his providences on their behalf, by which they might be drawn closer and closer unto himself. The recognition, and the appreciation of this grace and favor ought to have brought forth in their hearts a faith—’the basis of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’—moving them ever on- ward to stricter obedience to God’s will. Such obedience would indeed have separated them unto God, and they would have become his ‘pecu- liar treasure, above all people.’ Yet, neither Rameses, Succoth, Etham, Pi- hahiroth, the eastern shore of the Red Sea, Marah, Elim, the wilder- ness of Sin, Alush, Dophkah nor Rephidim seemed to awaken this ac- ceptable faith in them. On numerous occasions God had to remind them that he was proving them to see whether they would walk in his law, or no. More often than not, they answered God, by either forgetting him or murmuring against his gracious providences. Finally, he brought them to Sinai, the ‘mount of God’ where he clearly made known his will con- cerning them—their consecration to do his will. Here they responded with an ‘all that the Lord hath spoken we will do.’

Now observe the deadly parallel! God’s dealing with us as the an- titypical Israel also may be said to have commenced while we were yet in Egypt, in bondage to sin and death. We too, had been born there be- cause of the sins of our fathers. Nor was God under obligation to re-deem us therefrom. Yet it was after this wise that he manifested unto us his great love and care. He delivered us from under the condemnation of Adamic sin by first bringing us under the blood of the antitypical Passover lamb. Thereafter he overruled all of our experiences—causing them to become his providences on our behalf, to bring us closer and closer unto Him. While perhaps we recognized God as our Savior, we did not seem to appreciate his grace and his favor, for there did not arise within us that faith—’the basis of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’—moving us onward, first to determine God’s will concerning us, and then to render stricter obedience unto it. Such obedi- ence would have separated us indeed from the world, and unto God, who would have made of us ‘his peculiar treasure, above all people’ a ‘kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’ Yet our diversified experiences at a Rameses, a Succoth, an Etham, a Pi- hahiroth, an eastern shore of the Red Sea, a Marah, an Elim, a Wilderness of Sin, an Alush, a Dophkah, a Rephidim, seemed not to bring this about. Finally God brought us also to a Sinai—a ‘mount of God’—where he reminded us of all of his providences, and clearly made known his will concerning us, even our sanctification. Here too, we responded with an ‘all things that the Lord hath said we will do.’ (See R4029 204029:1)

Seeing this paralleled, we do well to recognize that ‘all these things happened unto them for types, and they are written for our admoni- tion...’ {1Co 10:11} let us then carefully and prayerfully endeavor to keep from falling into the same errors of unbelief and disobedience.

* * * * * * * * * *

Some time after the Israelites had declared their willingness to surren- der themselves fully unto the Lord—to obey his voice and to keep his covenant {Ex 19:8} Moses ascended the ‘mount of God’ there to re- ceive on tables of stone, the Commandments—the tangible evidence of the covenant and God’s will concerning them. {Ex 4:12 31:18}

Moses had already written these commandments {Ex 20:1-17} and sundry laws, etc. {Ex 20:23-26 21:1-36 22:1-31 23:1-33} in a book, {Ex 24:4} and after the offering of suitable burnt and peace offer- ings, had taken of the blood of these and besprinkled the altar and then read the book unto the people. Again they had affirmed their consecra- tion to do God’s will—’All that the Lord hath said We Will Do, and Be Obedient ‘,{ Ex 24:7} whereupon Moses had taken the remainder of the blood of the offerings and sacrifices and besprinkled the book and all the people, {Ex 24:8 Heb 9:19} saying ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.’ {Ex 24:5-8}

Now, Moses was in the mount a long time—’forty days and forty nights.’ {De 9:9} And why should he not have been there so long:

Did he not on this occasion, besides receiving the ‘tables of the law,’ re- ceive also those wonderful instructions concerning the Tabernacle:its structure, its priesthood, its sacrifices, its ritual, etc. (Ex 25:1 to 30:11) It takes us years to familiarize ourselves with these, and then, how many of us really remember all the details! Yet Moses had to memorize all of this in the forty days, nor was he given any blueprints, manual of instructions, or a copy of the ’Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices’; but merely a ‘see that thou make all things accord- ing to the pattern shewed thee in the mount.’ {Heb 8:5}

Our real appreciation of the character of Jesus is not the result of an ordinary contemplation of his earthly life, though this must ever be taken into account. True, we could perhaps imitate him in these earthly walks, yet the full appreciation of even these comes only as a result of being called by God, up into the mount of spirituality, there to behold the glorious ‘pattern.’ It is thus, in the mount, that we are given the true vision of Christ, and the instructions to fashion our earthly tabernacles according to this pattern. For Moses to obtain, and then to retain the in- delible impression of the pattern of the original tabernacle, it was neces- sary that during the period of the forty days and forty nights he did not eat nor drink. {De 9:9} So, too, must we in our meditations and con- templations of the heavenly things, not permit our earthly vicissitudes, nor physical necessities to stand in the way of these heavenly visions.

In the presence of God we must forget self, yea, we must ‘let go, and let God!’

* * * * * * * * * *

‘And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.’{ Ex 32:1}

How desperately wicked is the human heart! {Jer 17:9} Only a short time before the Israelites had reaffirmed their consecration of them- selves unto the Lord, {Ex 24:7} to ‘be obedient’ to his divine will. It was bad enough when in times past they had forgotten God, and mur- mured against his providences:but here they seemed deliberately to for- sake him. Had not God declared that they were not to fashion unto themselves ‘any graven image or likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth?’ {Ex 20:4} Nor need we assume that they intended to aban- don God, but they did forsake him, when they ignored his covenant and violated his command.

Thus far, Moses had been the visible representation of the arm and power of Jehovah. To the Israelites, it seemed that it was Moses that had brought them out from under the bondage of Pharaoh; it was Moses that had brought them through the Red Sea; it was Moses who had sweetened the bitter waters at Marah; it was Moses who led them to the peaceful rest of Elim; it was Moses who brought forth from the smitten rock the waters of life; it was Moses who through his intercession on the mount had won for them the battle against the Amalekites. Now the time had come for them to prove their faith in the invisible God, who was the real source of all their blessings and favors.

As long as Moses was present among them, they could and from time to time would remember God, for Moses ever directed their attention unto him. But faith, like that of Abraham, by which he was also justi- fied, could not so be developed. The visible crutch (Moses) would first have to be removed, and they would then have to lean upon the invis- ible arm:for faith is not only the basis of things hoped for, but it is also the ‘conviction of things not seen.’ {Heb 11:1} Accordingly Moses was removed from their presence up into the mount of God.

Now it must be remembered that ‘God is a spirit, and they that wor- ship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’ {Joh 4:24} It is mat- ters like these that God is extremely jealous about. He will not suffer anyone or anything to stand in the way of the worship and praise due him. Notice how emphatically he has declared this:

‘I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God...’ {Ex 20:2-5} and again, ‘I am the Lord, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another neither my praise to graven images.’ {Isa 42:8}

Idols and images, be they graven or otherwise, are not always in- tended to be objects of worship. Often they are merely intended to serve as crutches upon which the arm of the flesh desires to lean. They are not, never were, and shall never be conducive to the development of a God- pleasing faith, but quite to the contrary, they are always destruc- tive of its very elements.

With the removal of Moses from their midst, God was affording the Israelites an opportunity to exercise, and thus to demonstrate, their faith. What a privilege! Did they live up to it? Alas, no! Nor has spiri- tual Israel responded more nobly. In the beginning of the age, the Apos- tles were present with the church, and they ceased not to direct its attention God- ward. But the time came when the Apostles fell asleep, then came the opportunities to demonstrate faith in that invisible God WHOM these had declared, but it, like its prototype Israel, cried, ‘Make us gods.’

’Alas! Alas! It has ever been thus in man’s history. The human heart loves something that can be seen; it loves that which meets and gratifies the senses. It is only faith that can endure as seeing him who is invisible. Hence, in every age men have been forward to set up and lean upon human imitations of divine realities. Thus it is we see the counterfeits of corrupt religion multiplied before our eyes. Those things which we know, upon the authority of God’s Word, to be divine and heavenly realities, the professing church has transformed into human and earthly imitations. Having become weary of hanging upon an invisible arm, of trusting in the invisible sacrifice, of having recourse to an invisible priest, of committing herself to the guidance of an invisible head, she has set about ‘making’ these things, and thus, from age to age, she has been busily at work, with ‘graving tool’ in hand, graving and fashioning one thing after another, until we can at length recognize as little similarity between much that we see around us and what we read in the word, as between ‘a molten calf’ and the God of Israel.’

As already suggested, for Israel of old, Moses had long served as a crutch. Now with him gone from their presence, instead of being rightly exercised toward God, they cried out for another crutch, failing to real- ize that this was open rebellion against the providences of God. How were they ever to become his ‘peculiar treasure?’

Now let it be noted to whom their cries were raised. Aaron!!! Aaron himself was a crutch, furnished to Moses when the latter felt himself un- able to step out in the fulness of faith upon the promises of God. See Ex 3:11,12 4:10-17. True, Moses was not using this crutch at the time, but it was left in the way of temptation for Israel. Now note how quickly the Adversary took advantage of the situation:

‘And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me... and he received them at their hands, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf; and they said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of Egypt.’ {Ex 32:2-4}

How utterly subtle and deceptive the human heart can be! Let us look at ourselves. Does not God ofttimes remove from us our crutches, so that we may grow in grace and in favor through our faith in the invis- ible, though ever- present God! But how we do rebel and cry as it were for other crutches, idols or even graven images, to fill the void created by the removal of the earlier ones. Be assured, there will always be ‘ser- vants of God’ (?) who will in response to the cries of our hearts create or fashion for us ‘golden calves’ and these out of the very substance which we ourselves have contributed of the things brought with us out of Egypt. {Ex 3:22} How significant!

Nor need we suppose that Aaron was at first in fullest accord with the demands of the Israelites. Anent this Pastor Russell says in R4022 204022:3:

’We cannot suppose that Aaron fully sympathized with the people in the matter of this making of the golden calf; we must suppose that he knew better, and meant better, and that it was a mere expedient on his part to hold in check the rebellion of the people whose discontent was manifest in this demand. We must suppose that, in apparently acquiescing in the demand, Aaron was seeking to gain time until Moses would return. Possibly, too, his demand that the people produce their earrings and other ornaments of gold was originally a mere subterfuge; that he hoped by making this demand they would draw back and decline to part with their ornaments, and thus he would be able to say, ‘Well, I cannot make you what would represent a god except out of gold, and I have no gold for the purpose unless you sacrifice your jewelry. ‘ But however good his intentions, the lesson for us is that his course was an improper one.’

We are never to compromise, nor to do evil that good may come of it.

The account reads:’And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.’{ Ex 32:5}

’Evils are progressive; one wrong leads to another. Thus after the golden calf had been made the next thing in order, was to make a golden altar before it to offer sacrifice to it. So it is with respect to the idols of spiritual Israel. An altar implies sacrifice, and it is but the natural thing that we should sacrifice to whatever we set up in our hearts as our idol... some hearts have many idols, others few, and it is not difficult to determine which idols a man worships. The worship will be indicated by the sacrifice. Tell us the things to which a man or woman sacrifices his or her best thoughts, best time, chief influence, and we can tell you readily the idol which he reverences most and before which he has the largest altar and sacrifices most.’ (R4023 204023:2)

While it is true, that the Israelites may not have desired, nor intended to displace Jehovah, their God, they did cry for a visible, a tangible rep- resentation of him. This desire can very readily be traced back to the Egypt of their bondage and their oppression, for there they had seen symbolic representations of other gods. The subtlety of all this, how- ever—lies in the fact that the human heart is ever ready, and sooner or later endows the visible image with all the powers and attributes of the invisible reality; the image thus becoming an idol is then regarded and worshiped as something itself, most sacred. It is at this point that the idol shares in the glory and of the praise belonging only to the reality. Is it any wonder then, that God knowing of this human tendency, so spe- cifically forbade his typical people to make graven images and like- nesses! {Ex 20:4} Surely there can be no doubt as to the significance of the already quoted passage from Isa 42:8—’my glory will I not give to another neither my praise to graven images.’

There have been, and today are, institutions which while not in their very nature, idols, nor images, nevertheless have in the hearts and minds of many antitypical Israelites, served not to displace God, but to share in the reverence, honor, glory, and praise and worship due him, and him alone. The nominal church is such an institution. And as Aaron the mouthpiece of Moses erected the golden calf for typical Is- rael, so too, a modern Aaron—the clergy (also a mouthpiece)—has erected a golden calf for the antitypical Israel of God. We are glad that this golden calf is already being destroyed by the antitypical Moses, now returned from the mount. Let us who have declared ‘all that the Lord hath spoken we will do’ be on our guard to render to God, and to him alone the faithfulness and loyalty of our consecrated lives. Let not make the mistake that in order to worship God, it is necessary to regard some particular brother or sister, some particular group, some particular class, corporation, institution, or society as the means through which homage becomes acceptable; for quite to the contrary, our God, who is a jealous God, desires us to worship him directly—in spirit and in truth—to consider his will and his alone. This may separate us from many other professed children of God, but we shall then be unto him, a peculiar treasure.

Dear Lord, spare us, deliver us, from the idols of our own making! ’We are called to live by faith; we can see nothing with the eye of sense. Jesus is gone up on high, and we are told to wait patiently for his appearing. God’s word carried home to the heart, in the energy of the Holy Spirit, is the ground of confidence in all things, temporal and spiritual, present and future. He tells us of Christ’s completed sacrifice; we, by grace, believe, and commit our souls to the efficacy thereof, and know we shall never be confounded. He tells us of a great High Priest, passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, whose intercession is all- prevailing; we, by grace, believe, and lean confi- dently upon his ability, and know that we shall be saved to the uttermost. He tells us of the living Head to whom we are linked, in the power of resurrection life, and from whom we can never be severed by any influence, angelic, human, or diabolical; we, by grace, believe, and cling to that blessed Head, in simple faith, and know we shall never perish.... He tells us of ‘an inheritance, incor- ruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, who are kept by the power of God, ‘ for entrance thereinto in due time; we through grace believe and know we shall never be con- founded.

’Thus it is, or, at least, thus our God would have it. But then the enemy is ever active in seeking to make us cast away these divine realities, take up the ‘graving tool’ of unbelief, and ‘make gods’ for ourselves. Let us watch against him, pray against him, believe against him, testify against him, act against him:thus he shall be confounded, God glorified, and we ourselves abundantly blessed.

’Let us now apply the lesson to spiritual Israel:after the Christian has left the world, the slavery, the sin, after he has passed the bitter experiences of Marah, after he has had manifestations of God’s favor, after he has partaken of the bread from heaven after he has entered fully into covenant relationship with God—there comes a time when he must walk by faith, and not by sight. He is being proved by the Lord. If he fails in this lesson, as the typical Israelites did, it will be a serious matter for him.

’We are not meaning to suggest that any Christian would be liable to make a golden image literally. We do mean to say, however, that this matter of making images, and of allowing them to divert our worship of God is one of the greatest trials and tests which come to spiritual Israelites.’ (R5298 205298:4)


Ex 32:7-29, 32

While Moses was up in the ‘mount of God,’ interceding, as it were, on behalf of the Israelites; they were below, as we saw them in our last lesson, defiling themselves before the golden calf which Aaron had erected at their request.

Needless to say, God was fully aware of what was going on, for he said unto Moses, ‘Go, get thee down, for THY people, which THOU broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a golden calf and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’ {Ex 32:7}

O, dear friends, how different our lives would be if we ever kept be- fore our minds the fact that God sees and knows of our every turning aside out of the way which he has commanded us. Nor is there any more of an excuse for us than there was for them of old, in fact there is less, for their experiences, their failures, their disobedience, their unbe- lief, have all, by the Holy Spirit, been recorded for our admonition so that we might not fail as they did. {1Co 10:6,11,15 Heb 3:12,16-19 4:2,6} Note God’s sore displeasure with those of old, as it is re- corded in Ex 32:9, ‘And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff- necked people; now therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may con- sume them, and I will make of you a great nation.’ Can we imagine of how much sorer punishment we ofttimes are worthy and are spared only because of that great love manifested on our behalf by our interces- sor, and Advocate, Christ Jesus! The thought ought to spur us on with a renewed determination to so live as to merit his continued advocacy.

What a wonderful Savior is he!

When we contemplate His righteousness, and his absolute obedience unto the Father’s will, and then take into account ourselves, and our continued and manifold short- comings, is it not easy to see how God’s wrath might long ere this have justifiably consumed us all? Yea, what a simple matter it would have been to destroy all of Adam’s posterity, and to bring out of the loins of the faithful Jesus a new race worthy of all the promises of God! Surely, it is something akin to this that is sug- gested in God’s words to Moses:’... and I will make of thee a new na- tion.’

’Here was an open door for Moses; and here he displays uncommon grace and similarity of spirit to that Prophet whom the Lord was to raise up like unto him. He refuses to be or to have anything without the people. He pleads with God on the ground of his own glory, and puts the people back upon him in these touching words, ‘Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against THY people which THOU hast brought up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?... Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swearest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.

This was powerful pleading. The glory of God, the vindication of his holy name, the accomplishment of his oath. These are the grounds on which Moses entreats the Lord to turn from his fierce wrath. He could not find, in Israel’s conduct or character, any plea or ground to go upon. He found it all in God himself.

The Lord has said unto Moses, ‘THY people which THOU broughtest up;’ But Moses replies to the Lord, ‘THY people which THOU hast brought up’... Moses loses sight of himself entirely. His whole soul is engrossed with thoughts of the Lord’s glory and the Lord’s people.

’Blessed servant, how few like him!’

How beautifully this man Moses ofttimes typifies our blessed Lord, whose every breath was drawn in self- forgetfulness, and to the glory of God. There is a sense in which Moses by virtue of his intercession at this particular time, resulting in the turning aside of the wrath of God, became the savior of his people. What an apt picture of Christ who dur- ing this age as our intercessor saves us from eternal death. Nor is it only for us that he is to serve as intermediary, for in due time he is to be the mediator of the New Covenant for the world. In his own person, this lat- ter title is already his, but since God has ordained that in this office he is not to serve alone, but is rather to have associates, he will not func- tion as such until all the predestinated class have been conformed to his image and made partakers of his divine nature and glory. Accordingly we find that Moses as the savior of his people typified not only Christ himself, but also all those who by becoming joint- sacrificers together with him, attain to the glory of that great Mediator, the Prophet of whom Moses spoke, raising up ‘from the midst of thee, of thy breth- ren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken.’ {De 18:15 Ac 3:22}

While each of those sharing in this glory shall have lost his identity in the Christ, there is a sense, nevertheless, in which they are all saviors of the people. Is this not the thought expressed in Ob 21:

‘And Saviors shall come upon mount Zion, to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.’

Even as Moses in due time, i. e. when he again ascended the mount of God, staked his eternal existence for the benefit of the people, so too, did Christ, and so must every footstep follower of his, stake his eternal existence for the people.

Let it be noted, the glorious display of character on the part of Moses was not one he had just acquired for the occasion, but it rather was one which he had already developed in obedience to the will of God, and through contact with this people in their infirmities. Our love for the poor groaning creation, and more particularly our devotion to our breth- ren must all be developed now, else we shall never share a place in that great Mediator of the world. Anent this we quote from R4023 204023:6:

’The spirit of Moses was not only typical of the spirit of Christ, but illustrative also of the spirit of all who will be members of the body of Christ. We too, must have this spirit of love and devotion, not merely to the members of the body of Christ, our own body, but a devotion to the mission, the work, to which in God’s providences we have been called. ‘Ye know your calling brethren. ‘ God has called us to be joint- heirs with his Son, to be the bride, the Lamb’s wife, to be participators with him in the great work of mediating the New Covenant, and under its blessed provisions, assisting and uplifting the world of mankind and leading them during the Millennial age along the highway of holiness to absolute perfection and eternal life at its further end, so many as will obey. It is for us to have the spirit of Moses, the spirit of Christ, in respect to this matter, to so far as possible measure up to the glorious privileges and calling which are ours, and in the present time to do all in our power, in harmony with the Lord’s providential leading, for the blessing and uplifting of mankind in general, for their guidance in the right way, but especially to prepare ourselves for the glorious work of the coming age.

’Chief amongst the elements of our preparation will be the spirit of sympathetic love which will enable us to be copies of our dear Master, who was kind to the unthankful and full of mercy and good fruits. Let us take this higher plane of thought in respect to our relationship to the world. Our Master declared, ‘Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. ‘ We are members of the Christ—members of the great Mediator, undergoing schooling and preparation for the great work before us of leading the people into the promised land of God’s favor and life eternal—paradise restored. If we do not learn the necessary lessons, if we do not become copies of God’s dear Son, in sympathy, in love, in benevolence toward the world, we will be rejected from membership in the glorious body, the kingdom class, as unfit, the non- elect. Let us, then, give diligence, and remember that the great lesson to be learned is that of love—for God, for the brethren, for our neighbors, yea, for our enemies. If this love abound in us it shall make us neither barren nor unfruitful in God’s sight, and so through Christ an abundant entrance shall be granted us into the everlasting kingdom as associates with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in his great work as the world’s mediator, the Mediator of the New Covenant, under which all the families of the earth are to be blessed.’

It will, however, be well for us here to view another side of Moses’ character, which clearly sets forth, not only his love for righteousness, but also his hatred of iniquity, two characteristics which must be borne by all those who are to be members of this antitypical Mediator. Per- haps it does seem strange, that after imploring God not to let his wrath wax hot against the children of Israel, his own anger should have waxed hot against them. {Ex 32:19} We are inclined toward the thought that this anger was rather the display of a righteous indignation. Nor need we assume, that in this he sinned, else we would have to convict God of a similar offense. In fact, we are specifically admonished to ‘be angry and sin not.’ {Eph 4:26}

’There is a difference between anger that would be righteous indig- nation and anger that would be unloving, unkind, unjust. We know that God is angry with the wicked, for the Scriptures so tell us. (Psa.

7:11) This fact shows us that anger of itself does not necessarily imply a sinful condition; for God has no sin, and he judges himself by the same regulations under which he judges his creatures. Therefore anger of itself is not sin.

’In God’s case there is no danger that he will make a mistake and be angry with the right or approve the wrong, or that he will be lenient with the wrong and thus oppose the right. His knowledge is perfect, therefore his conduct is perfect. In our case however, if we feel that anger is proper for us, we should use a great deal of discretion. As the apostle Paul says, ‘Be angry and sin not’.’{ Eph 4:26} (R5417 205417:5)

In line with Moses’ hatred of iniquity, we find him chastening the people, and rebuking Aaron. {Ex 32:20,21} It is evident, however, that there were some among them who despised the chastening and re- sented Moses’ rebuke. Well did Moses recognize that this little bit of leaven in the camp of Israel would soon leaven the whole loaf. It be- came necessary therefore, lest the wrath of God again be aroused and all of Israel be thereby consumed, that the camp be purged of the rebels who had thus evidenced their unworthiness of any further grace and fa- vor. Moses issued a challenge, standing in the gate he cried, ‘Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me.’ {Ex 32:26}

Neither Moses nor the golden calf was now the real issue, it was the Lord, whose voice they had all promised to obey, and whose covenant they had all promised to keep. Let it be noted too, that the challenge did not call for a separation from the land of Egypt, nor from the people of the land, but from those of their own kindred , who while desiring to be a ‘peculiar people—a peculiar treasure unto God’ refused to yield themselves fully to his will. Let it be remembered the golden calf was not a denial of their belief in God, but rather a worship of him in a way which being in direct violation of his command was unacceptable.

This challenge has come to all of us, and will continue to come in every sifting of the Lord’s consecrated people down to the very end of the Gospel Age. It is an easy matter for us to separate ourselves from outsiders, but to separate from those whom we have learned to love and cherish more dearly than those who by nature are our own flesh and blood, is a thousand times more difficult. Yet the test inevitably must be along this line! ‘Who is on the Lord’s side?’ We read, ‘And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.’ {Ex 32:26} We are not to assume from this that none of the other tribes rallied unto Moses, but that the tribe of Levi showed in its response a lesser deflec- tion than any of the others. This tribe surely in many respects is typical of the truly consecrated saints of God, whose loyalty is not indicated merely by their response to the call, but by their obedience to the will of God, whereby they have cut themselves off from fellowship with all who are not truly on the Lord’s side. Note the words of Moses:

‘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 neighbor.’ {Ex 32:27}

The tribe of Levi was obedient to this challenge. {Ex 32:28,29} It was thus that they confessed Moses, their deliverer, their savior, prov- ing themselves worthy of his further intercession before the great God of Israel. We are reminded of the words of our dear deliverer and savior Jesus Christ as recorded in Mt 10:32,34-38 :

’Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father in heaven.... I came not to send peace, but the sword . For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and a daughter against her mother... and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me... he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.’ Ah, dear friends, the question for us must ever be, Who is on the Lord’s side? Each day brings us closer to the end of our pilgrim way!

Each day calls for this loyalty to our God, but do we meet the chal- lenge? Are we so thoroughly consecrated to the will of our heavenly Fa- ther that were even those who are our mothers and fathers, brothers or sisters in the Truth to fall by the wayside, we would still be able to stand on the Lord’s side? Yea, even should this mean for us to stand alone, are we able? What comfort there is for such as are able in the words of the Psalmist:

‘A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eye shalt thou behold, and see the reward of the wicked... there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling, for he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.... He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.’ {Ps 91:7,8,10,11,15}

To appreciate the character of Moses even more fully let us now con- sider his plea before God when he again ascended the mount of God to obtain the second edition of the law on tables of stone. He says to Jeho- vah:

‘Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold; yet now if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.’ {Ex 32:32}

Can mere words express the true glory of this great man of God? We are inwardly thrilled in the contemplation, yet find ourselves unable to describe our emotions. It almost seems that he could not have been a creature of the earth. At least, he was one of those of whom the world was not worthy! What faith, what love, what compassion, what self- re- nunciation and self- denial he displayed. Yet he was in all this merely a shadow of the great Mediator to be of which Christ Jesus is the Head, and the Church is to be the Body. Friends, not measuring ourselves by the stature of Christ Jesus, but merely placing ourselves beside that Man of God, Moses, how small, now insignificant we are. If there is no other lesson that we can learn from our meditation, this alone ought to be sufficient to inspire us with renewed effort and zeal to overcome our many, many short- comings and deficiencies. Nor should we put off for a more opportune time our resolves to attain unto those higher stand- ards which God has set before us. Let our prayers be expressed in the words of Moses as recorded in the 90th Psalm, vs. 12:

‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.’


Ex 33:1-7; 31:1-6; 36:1-19

In response to Moses’ intercession on behalf of the children of Israel, God promised Moses that his angel would guide them on, but that he himself could not dwell among them, lest in his wrath he consume them.

‘Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee, behold, mine angel shall go before thee.’ {Ex 32:34}

‘I will not go up in the midst of thee, for thou art a stiff- necked people; lest I consume thee in the way.’ {Ex 33:3}

Accordingly, Moses removed his tent out of, i. e. beyond the camp of Israel, as we read:

‘And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the Congregation.’ {Ex 33:7}

So too, has it been throughout this Gospel Age, the Church, the an- titypical Tabernacle of God, in which he has dwelt by his spirit, has been ‘pitched without the camp, afar off from the camp,’ away from the stiff- necked and idolatrous generations. It is comforting, however, to know that as a result of the mediatorial work of the great intercessor, the tabernacle of God will soon again be established in the midst of the camp. Anent this, Pastor Russell in his Tabernacle Shadows of the Bet- ter Sacrifices has the following to say:

’... When the work of reconciliation is complete, God will recognize the world of mankind, and place his sanctuary among men. Then will be fulfilled that which was Written:‘the tabernacle of God (God’s dwelling, the glorified Church) is with men, and they shall be (become) his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God’.’( T76)

There was a very remarkable difference between that tabernacle which Moses removed from the camp, and that one which was sub- sequently erected in the midst thereof. Just so remarkable is the differ- ence between the church in her present state, the spirit- begotten condition, and her future glorious state, the spirit- born condition.

As the ancient tabernacle’s specifications and design were drawn up by God himself, and his instructions to Moses were that he was to make it ‘according to the pattern shown thee in the mount’ just so has God also purposed and designed the antitypical structure, whose erection must also be according to the heavenly pattern.

We are reminded that incidental to the erection of the ancient struc- ture, God specially called and endowed two artisans, Bezaleel and Aholiab, for the work. The two artisans especially called and endowed of God to erect the antitypical tabernacle are Christ and his Church. It is intersting to note how God himself through the Prophet Isaiah identifies Christ as the antitypical Bezaleel. Let us observe this in the parallel readings which follow:

‘And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, See I have called by name Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, etc.’ {Ex 31:1-4}

‘And there shall come forth a root out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord.’ {Isa 11:2}

But the identification does not end here! The Scriptures indicate that God called Bezaleel by name. This is but another way by which the Holy Spirit of God would direct our attention to the deeper significance of the name. Now it is not merely coincidence that:

Bezaleel means ‘the shadow of God.’

Could any description of Christ be any more forceful than this? Does not the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews speak of Christ as being ‘the express image’ of the Father’s person? {Heb 1:1-3}

Was the son of Uri, and—Uri means ‘light.’

John bears this testimony of Jesus, that he ‘was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ {Joh 1:9} And Jesus himself declared, ‘I am the light of the world.’ {Joh 8:12}

Was the son of Hur, and—Hur means, according to Cyrus Potts’ Dictionary of Bible Proper Names ,‘ Noble.’ According to the Oxford University Press Dictionary of Proper Names ’Cavern.’

Both of these thoughts serve to establish the identity of the antitypical Bezaleel. Who will deny the nobility of Jesus, the one who was rich, but for our sakes became poor, the one who left the realms of light to enter the shades of night, thus to taste death for every man? Only the truly noble make such sacrifices! The shades of night involved not only an existence upon this sin- cursed globe, but a passing into the cavern, the grave, the state of death, by the only human creature who had a right to live everlastingly. What a wonderful Savior is Jesus our Lord.

Was of the tribe of Judah, and—Judah means ‘praised.’

How significant! Jesus in his prehuman existence in the realms of heavenly glory, being the highest and noblest of all of God’s creatures, received the homage and praise of all the spiritual and angelic hosts.

All during the Gospel Age he has received the praise of all God’s truly consecrated saints, and throughout all the ages of eternity he will be praised of all creatures in heaven and in earth.

Thus, he, who in his prehuman existence was of the praised in glory, in order to become the light of the world, in the nobility of his charac- ter, humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, became the man Christ Jesus, entered the grave (cavern) state, tasting death for every man, and has now been highly exalted of God, made a partaker of the divine nature, is in no uncertain sense the express image of his (the Fa- ther’s) person. To such an one, has God committed the major responsi- bility of preparing the materials for the great antitypical tabernacle which is to be among men.

After declaring {Ex 31:4,5} how that he had endowed Bezaleel ‘to work in gold, and in silver, and in copper, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and carving of timber, to work all manner of workmanship,’ God adds:

‘And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.’{ Ex 31:6}

Here too, we believe the identity of the church as the antitypical Aholiab is clearly indicated, for—Aholiab means ‘The Father’s tent.’

Can there be anything which more strikingly sets forth the Church’s true function during this age as the tabernacle of God, in which he dwells by his spirit? That which is true of the Church collectively, is of necessity true of each member individually. We are, even as the Apostle declares ‘sanctuaries of God.’ ‘Know ye not, that ye are a sanctuary of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?’{ 1Co 3:16}

Was the son of Ahisamach, and—Ahisamah means ‘my brother has supported.’

How true! we say, for without the support of Jesus, our elder brother, we could do absolutely nothing. We are but the branches and must look to the vine for our support. ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches... without me ye can do nothing.’{ Joh 15:5}

Was of the tribe of Dan, and—Dan means ‘judge.’

God has ordained that the Church shall in due time judge the world, {1Co 6:2} but all those who shall be of that Church are admonished to judge themselves now. Under the caption, ‘Proper Judging of Ourselves,’ Pastor Russell in the sixth volume of Scriptures Studies , Page 409 says:’The Apostle Paul refers to our proper growth as a New Creation and our proper judging or criticizing of ourselves, saying, ‘Having therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the reverence of the Lord. ‘{ 2Co 7:1} ‘Let a man examine himself’—let him note the weaknesses and filthiness of his fallen fleshly nature and seek to cleanse himself, ‘putting off’ the deeds of the ‘old man’ and being renewed, changed from glory to glory, more and more into the image of God’s dear Son, who is our Exemplar as well as our Redeemer and Lord. But the Apostle Paul urges that we cleanse not only our flesh as much as possible, but also our spirits, or minds, that the new mind, the holy resolutions, or will, be given full control, and that every thought be brought into captivity to the will of God as expressed by and illustrated in Christ.’

So does the holy spirit portray for us, amid these Wilderness Wander- ings of Israel, the beauty of character, mind, will and disposition of those called of God, to be builders of his own tabernacle- to- be, Christ and his Church.

But there are still other lessons which we may draw from this particu- lar section of God’s Word. Among these are such as are corroborative of the doctrines of the ransom and the sin- offering. It is our purpose topause here for a moment, and in the presence of the ancient tabernacle to meditate upon just such features of the divine plan of the ages.

We do recognize that the care with which Moses was instructed to make the Tabernacle is in itself an evidence of the fact, that every fea- ture had a particular significance, for those for whom it was intended-the saints of God. These saints are the children of God, whom he would teach and edify through the medium of pictures. Surely, the tabernacle is a part of that great scheme of things which happened to Israel for en- samples, but were written for us, for our admonition, for our edification.

We shall confine ourselves in this study to the tabernacle and its cov- erings. Let us then first consider the instructions issued by God in re- gard to these:

‘Moreover, thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue and purple, and scarlet; with cherubims of cun- ning work shalt thou make them.

‘The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits; and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.

‘The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and the other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.

‘And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain, from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.

‘Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the sec- ond, that the loops may take hold one of another.

‘And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains to- gether with the Taches:and IT SHALL BE ONE TABERNACLE.

‘And thou shalt make curtains of goat’s hair, to be a covering upon the tabernacle; eleven curtains shalt thou make.

‘The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits; and the eleven curtains shall be all of one meas- ure.

‘And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle.

‘And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second.

‘And thou shalt make fifty taches of copper, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, THAT IT MAY BE ONE.

‘And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the tabernacle.

* * * * * * * * * *

‘And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above of seals’ skins.’ {Ex 26:1-12,14}

It is well for us to be reminded that Jehovah purposed the glorious plan of redemption—the divine plan of the ages, the eternal purpose, in Christ Jesus. In Eph 3:11 we read; ‘... according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord...’ Let us carefully note that it was not purposed in the Logos, the Word of God, who was in the be- ginning with God. Quite to the contrary, the Word had to leave the glory he had with the Father, had to become flesh, {Joh 1:14} ere he could be that Christ Jesus in whom the plan of God was purposed.

Christ means anointed, and in his pre- human existence, our Lord was not the anointed of the Father.

The plan as conceived in the mind of God ever lies beyond the grasp of all finite creatures. Yet God would reveal this plan, but in his own way. Accordingly, he first caused holy men of old to write as they were moved by his Holy Spirit, {2Pe 1:21} later, he sent his Son, as the arm of his power unto salvation. But the messages and reports of the proph- ets were not believed, as these testified of the sufferings and humili- ation of the Messiah that was to come to reveal God to Man. Israel did not want to see it so. Their natural desire was for a great, mighty, honor- able and glorious Messiah, a warrior, who would reestablish the King- dom for Israel. They were so blinded by these desires, that when Jesus came to his own, his own received him not. {Joh 1:11} Nor is the preaching of the Apostles, and all the consecrated saints of God of this Gospel Age, to the antitypical Israel rewarded with any greater re- sponse. Very, very few, of the millions of professed Christians, have ever really accepted the Christ of God as the arm of his power unto salvation.

One reason why the people did not accept Christ at his first advent was that he did not come as a glorious king, but rather as a meek and lowly Nazarene, a plant too tender, in the world’s estimation, for any practical purposes. Yea, he was even as a root out of dried ground. It did seem as though the Davidic Line had lost its virility. When all this is considered, it becomes quite apparent that it was Jesus’ flesh, his hu- manity, and all that this implies, that hid away from the eyes of the peo- ple this arm of the Lord. Who could discern that in this humble man of Galilee, Jehovah God was reconciling the world unto himself. Not even the Scribes and the Pharisees would allow that the spirit of God dwelled within the fleshly tabernacle of this Nazarene. Thus it was that the man Christ Jesus, in whom God had concealed the mystery of the Atone- ment, was not acceptable to those who should have been the first to rec- ognize and receive him. It was his lowliness, and his meekness which though admirable in the sight of God, were hated and despised and re- jected of men. Yea, he had not the form nor comeliness nor beauty de- sirable. Let us read, in this connection, Isaiah’s prophecy:

Isa 53:1-6 —‘Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne ourgriefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgres- sions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.’

Now compare the exalted position of Jesus as the Logos, and his glory on the spirit plane, with the humble position of the man Christ Je- sus; consider the difference between the spirit nature and the human na- ture, the honor and esteem he received on the spirit plane, then his rejection by men on the human plane. You will then have a picture of what the outermost covering of the tabernacle, the seals’ skins covering represented; ‘from the realms of light to the shades of night!’

The seals’ skins covering of the tabernacle was really the only one visible from the outside of the tabernacle, and it was not a thing of beauty, but to the contrary, was one of those rough, unsightly skins of which Brother Russell wrote in the Tabernacle Shadows as follows:

’It has been a matter of surprise to some that the glory and beauty of the tabernacle, its golden walls, its golden and beautifully en- graved furniture, and its vails of curious work, were so completely covered and hidden from view of the people; even the sunlight from without being excluded, its only light being the lamp in the Holy and the Shekinah glory in the Most Holy. But this is perfectly in keeping with the lesson we have received from its services. As God covered the type and hid its beauty under curtains and rough, unsightly skins, so the glories and beauties of spiritual things are seen only by those who enter the consecrated condition, the ‘Royal Priesthood. ‘ These enter a hidden but glorious state which the world and all outside fail to appreciate. Their glorious hopes and also their standing as new creatures are hidden from their fellow men.’ (T127)

It should be noted that the seal is an aquatic, or marine, animal. All other animals used in connection with the coverings were land animals.

This to our minds very beautifully sets forth, how that even as the seal had to be taken out of its natural element (water) and by its death to this, furnished the first covering of the tabernacle, so the identity of the Lo- gos had to be taken out of its natural element (the spirit plane) to be- come the man Christ Jesus in whom God hid the mystery of the Atonement.

Nor was there any other way in which Jesus could have carried out the divine plan of his Father, for in order to redeem man, to bring about an atonement, a reconciliation, he had to become a man, the man Christ Jesus. Only so could he give himself a ransom for all. {1Ti 2:5,6}

It was not necessary for Jesus to suffer, but only that he die, the just for the unjust. However, the New Creature, begotten in Jesus at the time of his consecration, needed to be perfected, and this could only be through suffering. {Heb 2:10} In these sufferings he became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief! So too, we are privileged to make up, as it were, that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ, to suffer with him, to be perfected even as he was through suffering, then in due time also to share his glory. But ere we could suffer with him, it was necessary that we received unto ourselves the merit of this ransom sacri- fice. Only so could we be acceptable as joint- sacrificers together with Jesus. Thus do we recognize that he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and that the chastisement of our peace was upon him.

What an expression this, the chastisement of our peace! Well ought we be able to recognize that we were guilty of chastisements, that we should have borne the results of our iniquities, that we were undeserv- ing of the peace of God. But Jesus bore it all for us, and now by faith in the merit of his sacrifice we are justified (made right), and have peace with God. How wonderful! Yea, we all like sheep had gone astray every one turned to his own way, but God laid upon him the iniquity of us all.

* * * * * * * * * *

He was oppressed, persecuted, and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth, nor did he rebel against the providences of God. Let us again hear the prophet:

Isa 53:7-9 —‘He was oppressed, and he was afflicted; yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his genera- tion? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgres- sion of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.’

It is in these verses that we find the suggestion as to the significance of the second covering of the tabernacle, the rams’ skins dyed red.

When Jesus reached the age of thirty, he was an exact equivalent of the first man Adam. He was a perfect man and could thus give his life a ransom for Adam and the whole race condemned in him. Accordingly he presented himself in consecration to do the father’s will, to carry out that plan which God had purposed in Christ Jesus, in which he was to be ‘the lamb slain.’ {Re 13:8} Well did Jesus know that unto God, obedience was better than sacrifice, yet by his consecration, his obedi- ence would have to be unto death! But Jesus was not reluctant about the matter so we find him presenting himself to John for baptism, not for the remission of sins, (for he had none), but to symbolize that consecra- tion to the Father’s will, by which he was dead unto himself (and ac- cordingly buried—as John submerged him under the water) unto God, and unto him alone. Let us note the testimony of John on this occasion, ‘Behold the lamb of God (the ram provided by God himself), that taketh away the sin of the world.’

Jesus never murmured, but in humble submission, ever subjected him- self completely to the will of God. His death as the lamb of God was for the sins of the world, so that all who were condemned in Adam might thus be redeemed, might again have life. To accomplish this, it was necessary for the Word to become flesh, to become the man Christ Jesus, and then to lay down that humanity in death. This it is, that is set forth in the Rams’ skins covering dyed red. It is the only covering which points directly to the blood, the meritorious sacrifice of Christ. * * * * * * * * * * But while we know that the ransom price for the sins of the world has been paid, we also know that it has not yet been so applied. Nor is the world to receive that merit until all who shall constitute the church shall have had it applied unto them, enabling them thereby to lay down their justified humanity as a part of the great sin- offering of Jesus, and thus, together with Jesus to become the seed of Abraham that is to bless all the families of the earth. {Ga 3:29} Let us observe that the merit of rec- onciliation, the merit of the atonement, lies entirely in the Ransom sacri- fice, yet the channel of its application to the world of mankind is the sin- offering. In the tabernacle types, two animals were slain on the Atonement Day, two sin- offerings, a bullock and a goat, the former of these represented Christ Jesus and the latter, the church. It is not diffi- cult, however, to recognize from the type, wherein the merit of the atonement really lay. In fact, it is quite evident that the goat’s share in the sin- offering might have been entirely eliminated without impairing the blessings of atonement for the people. On this point we again quote from the pen of Pastor Russell:

’And Moses said, this is the thing which the Lord commanded that we should do:and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you. And Moses said unto Aaron, go unto the altar and offer thy sin- offering and burnt- offering and make an atonement for thyself (those to be called to be members of ‘his body’ required it) and for the people (the world). ‘This type illustrated the fact that our Lord Jesus (the bullock sacrifice for sins) was sufficient to redeem both ‘his body’ the ‘little flock, ‘ and also the whole world of mankind. The Church’s share in the sin- offering could have been dispensed with entirely:we might have been spared the special trials of our ‘narrow way, ‘ spared the sacrificial sufferings, and could have been restored to perfection of human nature, just as all mankind will be. But it pleased Jehovah not only to choose Jesus to this great work of sacrifice, but also to make him the Captain or Head of ‘the Church which is his body, ‘ and that these as well as their Captain, should be made perfect as spiritual beings, by sufferings in the flesh as sin- offerings.’ {Heb 2:10 Col 1:24} (T79)

Jesus’ flesh, i. e. his humanity, made possible the ransom sacrifice.

The grace of God, and the imputation of the merit of this sacrifice to us now, made possible our sharing with Jesus in the sin- offerings of Atone- ment. Accordingly, since Jesus is represented in the bullock of the sin- offering the church must be represented in the Lord’s goat. Neither the bullock nor the goat offered itself in sacrifice, but were both offered by one and the same high priest, thus they are constituted his sin- offerings.

The covering below the rams’ skins was of goats’ hair. This we be- lieve to be symbolic of our Lord’s sin- offerings, since a goat was used for this purpose in the Atonement Day ritual. The Lord’s own share in the sin- offerings, the only share which had intrinsic merit, was that set forth in the death of the bullock, and this we have already seen corre- sponds to that ransom sacrifice by which all the remaining features of the atonement are made possible. In this sense, Jesus’ share in the sin- offering is more particularly represented in the rams’ skins covering, leaving the goat’s hair covering to represent the Church’s share therein.

It is most interesting to note that the perimeter of this covering of goat’s hair, with the ‘sixth curtain’ doubled over in the forefront of the taber- nacle {Ex 26:9} measures exactly 144 cubits, which when multiplied by 1000 (God’s number in the tabernacle), gives the number of those who will share with Jesus in the sin- offering of atonement, 144,000. However, in a more general picture, this goats’ hair covering repre- sents both parts of the one sin- offering of our high priest, viz. his own and the church’s. The inequality of these two parts is indicated by the fact that the one unit of the covering was made up of six curtains, and the other of but five. The one of six curtains might well set forth that Je- sus share in the sin- offering is the greater. And yet, because of the cou- pling of the two units together they became one covering, {Ex 26:11} so also the two parts of the sin- offering are constituted one sac- rifice in the antitype. The bond which binds or unites Jesus and his Church together in the one sin- offering is the perfect human nature, pos- sessed by them in common and offered as an acceptable sacrifice to Je- hovah. This does not imply that the church actually possessed perfect human nature, but that through the imputation of Christ’s merit, is in God’s sight accounted as possessing it. This is most beautifully set forth by the fact that the taches which were used to couple the two units of the Tabernacle’s goats’ hair covering together were made of copper.

Copper, as Pastor Russell suggests represents human perfection; we quote from Tabernacle Shadows, Page 18, ‘... copper representing the human nature in its perfection...’ The oneness of this sacrifice is also suggested by the words of the Apostle Paul in 1Co 10:16 which reads, ‘The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the common union of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the commun- ion (common union) of the body of Christ?’ Let us continue with Isaiah’s prophecy:

Isa 53:10, 11 —‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.’

We would again have it noted that the rams’ skins covering, dyed red, is the only one which speaks of the merit of the blood, and clearly shows that this lies wholly within the sacrifice of Jesus alone. Neither this covering nor the seals’ skins covering above it, had any measure- ments given for it. As if to say that the love of God manifested toward the world, in the sending of his son ‘out of the realms of light into the shades of night,’ to become the man Christ Jesus and thus to give him- self a ransom for all is immeasurable!! Who can measure it? Then too, these two coverings were not divided into units as were the two remain- ing ones, and here their testimony seems to be that while the Church shares together with Jesus in the sin- offering and in the glory of the kingdom, it cannot and does not share either in the humiliation of the Logos in leaving his glory to become the man Christ Jesus, nor in his death as the ransom sacrifice for the sins of the world. How evident it becomes then that even the application of the merit of that ransom sac- rifice on behalf of the world is made possible by the faithfulness of Christ Jesus alone! Our sufferings have merit only because they are his sufferings, and so the glory which shall be ours, will be ours only be- cause it is his glory, and he shares it with us. At least that appears to be the way that God himself looks at it. All the honor and glory must ever trace themselves back to the faithfulness of Jesus. Note how this thought is suggested in the words of the prophet:

Isa 53:12 —‘Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong:because he hath poured out his soul unto death:and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.’

The honor which God bestows upon Christ Jesus is the glory of the di- vine nature. What an honor this is, to share with God his portion ! This glory involves the exaltation to the royal, the kingly office, with a name that is above every name. How beautifully this whole story of Christ’s faithfulness and consequent exaltation is brought to our attention in the words of the Apostle Paul, in—Php 1:6-11 —’Who being in the form of God, thought not by usurpation ( Turnbull and the Diaglott ) to be equal with God:but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of Men:and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father.’

All of this is also reflected in those ten linen curtains {Ex 26:1}

which constituted the Tabernacle itself. Thus the fine twined linen, and its beautiful whiteness, testify to the basic purity and righteousness of Jesus. The blue and the scarlet bespeak of his faithfulness even unto death. The purple in turn declares his exaltation to the royal, the kingly honor. The dividing of ‘the spoil with the strong,’ (the over- coming church), is indicated by the fact that these ten curtains were cou- pled together into two units of five curtains each. Here, however, the coupling of the two units was by means of golden taches, this in contra- distinction to the copper ones uniting the goats’ hair units. The bond which binds Jesus and his Church together in the glory of the kingdom is no longer the human nature however perfect his might have been ac- counted, but the divine nature itself. Thus through the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus the Church has been enabled to offer a justified humanity, faithfully, even unto death, as an acceptable sin- offering unto God. For their faithfulness, all who shall constitute this Church of God, will be privileged to share Jesus’ exaltation, for ‘if we suffer with him’ {Ro 8:17} ‘we shall also be glorified together.’ Their glory shall be that of the Royal Priesthood. No wonder then they sing:’Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings, and priests unto God and his Father:to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.’{ Re 1:5,6}

Even as the ten curtains of the ancient tabernacle were themselves set apart to be the dwelling place, the abode of God, so too, shall Jesus and his church (so beautifully depicted in those curtains) be constituted the antitypical tabernacle of God which is to be among men. {Re 21:3} ’Ah these are of a royal line, All children of a King, Heirs of immortal crowns divine, And lo, for joy they sing!

’Why do they then appear so mean, And why so much despised, Because of their rich robes unseen The world is not apprised.’


Le 8:1-36 Ex 29:1-37

While the Tabernacle is still erected and we find ourselves resting at Sinai, let us give some thought to the ritual, by which God inaugurated His typical priesthood, bearing in mind that ‘these things happened to them (Israel) for types, and they are written for our admonition...’ {1Co 10:11} Let us then be referred to Le 8, where this ritual is brought to our attention. It is introduced in these words:

Le 8:1, 2 —‘And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take (1) AARON, and (2) HIS SONS with him, and (3) The GARMENTS, and (4) The ANOINTING OIL, and (5) A BULLOCK for the sin- offering, and (6) Two RAMS, and (7) A BASKET of UNLEAVENED BREAD.’

Those who aspire to be members of the antitypical priesthood of God ought carefully and prayerfully to study this picture and its seven ele- mental parts, to see whether their own consecration is therein set forth.

Seven in itself is a symbol of perfection and completeness, thus God here shows the perfection and the completion of the consecration of those ‘called,’ and that those ‘called’ ones are just as much a part of the ritual as that whereby they are sanctified.

It should be noted that Moses in this ritual typifies and represents God, our heavenly Father. As Moses consecrated the typical priesthood, so God himself, during this Gospel age has been setting apart, consecrat- ing his antitypical priesthood, Christ Jesus and his Church. Neither Aaron, nor his sons, could have consecrated themselves save perhaps in the sense of responding to the call of Moses. The same is true of the an- titypical priesthood, for does not the Apostle Paul declare:

Heb 5:4 —‘And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, even as was Aaron.’

This ‘call’ unto the priesthood, is to meet a predetermined purpose of God. In the type, this predetermination is evidenced in the fact that God called for the erection and setting apart of the Tabernacle in advance of the calling of Aaron and his sons. However, we may be reasonably sure that God had also predetermined the identity of his high priest. In this connection let it be observed that only Aaron is called by name, and that Nadab, Abihu, Ithamar and Eleazer, though likewise called unto consecration, are referred to only in the collective expression ‘his sons.’ How significant!

In referring to God’s plan of the ages, the Apostle says that it was ‘purposed in Christ Jesus, our Lord.’ Who then would be so bold as to say that Jesus was not called to meet this predetermined purpose? In re- sponse to the call we find him at the age of thirty coming to John to be baptized, not however, for the remission of sins, for he had none. But to symbolize, as it were, his consecration to do the Father’s will. In spirit we hear him say, ‘Lo, I come... to do thy will.’ {Heb 10:9}

Thus did Jesus become an high priest, for it was then and there that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit, {see Mt 3:16 Mr 1:10} with the oil of gladness above his fellows. The consecration of himself, on the part of Jesus, implied his entry into a covenant of sacrifice with Jehovah. Not only did he then and there become our high priest, but also the first (for he must have preeminence in all things—Col 1:18) of a new order of saints. {Ps 50:5} The sacrifice, which called for the set- ting aside of his own will, perfect though this was, and the acceptance in its stead of the heavenly Father’s will, was but that self- denial which Jesus declared to be the prime requisite of discipleship. He said:

‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ {Lu 9:23}

The cross, as is obvious, would be that which God’s will would lay upon him. But there is much more to this matter of consecration than mere self- denial and cross bearing, it involves loving of righteousness, and the hating of iniquity. I am afraid that some of us fail to recognize these as also being requisite items in the matter of our consecrations. It is possible to consecrate, and that because we love righteousness, and yet fail to really hate iniquity. Let it be noted that the ‘oil of gladness’ belongs only to those who do both, love righteousness, and hate iniquity. See how definitely this is stated to be a fact by the Apostle, who speaking of Jesus says:

‘Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity:therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.’ {Heb 1:9}

Jesus’ call, his response, and consequent anointing are clearly set forth in the type. Aaron came in response to the call of Moses and pre- sented himself in consecration, and in due course received the anointing over, i. e. above his fellow priests. However, in order to fitly represent Jesus who was harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, Aaron, the typical priest had to be washed. This was done by Moses. Le 8:6. Jesus came from the hands of God, pure and holy, as did Aaron figura- tively, from the hands of Moses. Then, and only then, could Aaron be clothed and anointed a high priest of God. Concerning Jesus the testi- mony of the scriptures is:

‘For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners...’ {Heb 7:26} The washing of Aaron’s sons also signifies the coming forth from the hands of God, of a class of underpriests, purified and cleansed. Unlike Jesus, these were not originally clean, having been born in sin and ‘shapen in iniquity’ {Ps 51:5} there was none righteous, no! not one!

These then were justified, made right in the sight of God, not through or by any deeds of their own, but by God himself, through an inspired faith! These too, were called to meet a predetermined purpose of God.

Yet even as the sons of Aaron owed to Aaron their existence, and there- fore their eventual call unto the priesthood, so these antitypical underpri- ests owe both their existence and their calling of God to Christ. There would have been no call for Nadab, Abihu, Ithamar, or Eleazer, had it not been for the fact of their blood relationship to Aaron, nor would there have been any call to you or to me aside from the blood of Jesus which makes our response possible and acceptable. Thus there is with us too, a blood- relationship, and for this we must praise God, since it is he:

‘...who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.’ {Col 1:12-14}

This too, is what is implied in Eph 1:3-6 where we read:

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.’

Having thus considered the first two elements of this consecration rit- ual, let us now enter in upon the third, vis. the garments. Undoubtedly it has been observed that neither Aaron nor his sons brought the priestly garments with which they were to be clothed. Moses brought these all, and they were in two sets, at least insofar as Aaron’s were concerned.

For him there were the special garments more commonly designated as those ‘of glory and of beauty,’ and which consisted of (1) a breastplate, (2) an ephod, (3) a robe, (4) a broidered coat, (5) a mitre with its golden plate, (6) a girdle, and (7) the linen breeches. {Ex 28:2-4,36,42} Be- sides these there were for Aaron those which we designate ‘the sacrifi- cial garments’ which consisted of a linen coat, the linen breeches, the linen girdle, and the linen mitre. (See for example Le 6:9-11 and 16:3, 4) For the underpriests as such, there were but the linen garments, and these corresponded to Aaron’s sacrificial garments, except that a bonnet was substituted for the linen mitre. {Ex 28:40-42} It should be re- membered that God himself declared that these garments—both the ‘glorious’ and the ‘sacrificial’—were for ‘glory and for beauty.’ {Ex 28:2,40}

Again we say how significant! It matters not whether as now, we are garbed in the linen garments of sacrifice, or as in the fu- ture if faithful we shall be garbed in the garments of special glory and beauty, our robings all, are for glory and for beauty.

Of course, for Jesus the linen garments of sacrifice represented his own actual and personal righteousness and purity. For us, the underpri-ests however, the white linen garments of sacrifice represent Jesus’ righteousness and purity as imputed to us, for our glory and for our beauty! But when we get into the glory of the Kingdom and are made members of that grand and glorious High Priest, which is to bless all the families of the earth, the white linen (coat) will then represent our own righteousness and purity. (Cf. T36, 29)

Much indeed might be said of the remainder of the garments, but time will not now permit this. We ought however, give some attention to the fact that in the type Aaron was arrayed in the glorious garments before he had offered a single sacrifice either for himself or for the people.

What may this mean? We believe that God intended here to show forth that he received these garments at this time merely as an earnest of his inheritance. Really, these glorious garments as yet, were Aaron’s only by possession and not by ownership. Not until at the end of the Day of Atonement, when Aaron had offered himself for the people, did these garments become his as a matter of ownership! {Le 16:23,24} So, at the time of our begettal we received the earnest of our inheritance, but the full inheritance awaits us only after we have faithfully carried out our covenant of sacrifice, even unto death. {Eph 1:13,14} On this point we quote from the pen of Pastor Russell, as follows:

’... This faithfulness, this daily dying, is requisite to our making our calling and election sure; and it is to such as faithfully walk in the footsteps of the Lord that he promises the glory, honor, and immor- tality reserved for the faithful overcomers who shall constitute the ‘Very Elect’ members of the New Creation. Our Lord’s words are, ‘Be thou faithful unto death , and I will give thee a crown of life. ‘{ Re 2:10} We see, then, that it is with the Church as it was with her Lord and Head, that the consecration brings the firstfruits of the Spirit, faithfulness daily continues the blessing of the Spirit, with increasing joys and fruits, while the faithful finishing of the covenant in actual death is essential to the receiving of the full inheritance , a share in the First Resurrection and its glories and honors. {Eph 1:12-14 Ro 8:16,17} ‘(F444)

From the very start, God permits us to count the ‘treasure’ as ours.

True, we do possess it, even though it be in an earthly vessel. Yet this possession is really only an ‘in part’ condition, which will in due time give way to that which is ‘perfect’ full ownership of the treasure. This lesson is also brought to our attention by the posts which supported the first and second vails of the Tabernacle. Those behind the first vail, set- ting forth our present ‘in part’ condition, were covered with gold, sym- bolic of the divine nature. Their being in sockets of copper represented how ‘we have this treasure (the divine nature) in earthen vessels.’ {2Co 4:7} Those behind the second vail, representing that which is per- fect as having come, were likewise ‘covered with gold, representing di- vine nature, but no longer in sockets of copper... they were in sockets of silver (reality, truth, verity)...’ (T114, 115)

Thus as we look upon Aaron at the time of his consecration, robed in the earnest of his inheritance, the garments of glory and of beauty, we see him as he will again appear at the end of the Day of Atonement, infull possession of the inheritance, coming forth to bless the people.

Here again let us quote Pastor Russell:

’We thus see that Aaron, robed and anointed, represented the entire Christ, the complete seed of Abraham, in which God is about to bless all the families of the earth. But let us not forget that we have been viewing the Great Deliverer from God’s standpoint, and with him looking down to the time of his manifestation, the dawn of the Millennial Day, when all the members shall have come into the Body, and when ‘the holy oil’ shall have run down ‘to the skirts of his garments, ‘ anointing every member. {Le 10:7} Then he will begin the work of blessing mankind.’ (T38)

’Under the law, the anointing was the ceremony by which the priests were installed in their service. They were anointed to their office with a peculiar ointment, called the ‘Holy Anointing Oil, ‘ used upon none but the priests, and unlawful for anyone else to have or to make.

{Ex 30:25-33,38} This oil typified the Holy Spirit of adoption whereby we, the real ‘royal priesthood, ‘ are sealed as sons of God.

Only the consecrated ones the priests, are ever to be thus anointed.’ (T28, 29)

A careful examination of the type reveals that only Aaron received an outpouring of the ‘holy anointing oil’ upon his head. By this, however, not only was Aaron anointed into the priesthood, but his whole family as well. He was made a high priest over his family of underpriests.

Since the underpriesthood was thus anointed in its head, chief, or high priest, there was no need for the individual anointing of each member.

Yet it would seem needful to show that each of the sons was a partaker of the high priest’s anointing, and so we find that they each received of this ‘holy anointing oil,’ but only in a sprinkling, and then, not until the oil had been commingled with the blood of a sacrifice, the ram of conse- cration. {Le 8:30} How beautifully this shows forth the fact, that we, the antitypical priesthood of God, are anointed in our Lord and Head; that we are partakers of his anointing, through having become members of his Body, and this latter only through the merit of his precious blood.

Says Pastor Russell:

’The anointing oil mingled with the blood of consecration was sprinkled over them (verse 30), teaching that our consecration is accepted only because we are justified by the precious blood of our Redeemer; thus we are told that we are ‘accepted in the Be- loved’—only—Eph 1:6.’ (T46, 47)

And now for the sin- offering. We would remind you again that Moses, and not Aaron, nor his sons, provided the bullock for this occa- sion, the consecration of the priesthood. The animal here used for a sin- offering was a bullock. Since the bullock represents perfect humanity, we may gather from the type, that neither Jesus (the Logos, in his prehu- man existence), nor the church, possessed it, but rather that God here typified by Moses, supplied it for the specific purpose of sacrifice.

For Jesus he prepared a perfect body; ‘... a body hast thou prepared me...’ {Heb 10:5} For the Church he did not prepare perfect bodies, but he did prepare the church to be ‘the body’ {Eph 1:23} of Christ, through the imputation of the righteousness of its head. This provision of God, and this alone, enables the church to make up, as it were, ‘That which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake, which is the church.’ {Col 1:24} Is it not significant that in the type, both Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock? {Le 8:14}

Thus God supplies for the church the human perfection of Christ, its head, accounting to it the human perfection which would be its own in the end of the Millennium, were each of its individual members merely sharing the earthly restitution. The life rights then possessed would not be those lost in Father Adam, but those laid down by the man Christ Je- sus. Such an accounting or imputation of the merit of Christ, does not make the church actually perfect, but it does set forth, that in the matter of her consecration, the church is accepted ‘in the Beloved.’ {Eph 1:6}

Her true condition as far as her own humanity is concerned, is more par- ticularly shown in the goat of the sin- offering of the Day of Atonement, or maybe in the burnt offerings whereof the head was first laid upon the altar, then the legs and inwards (body) having been washed, were laid as pieces unto (beside) the head. {Le 8:20,21} Let it be noted that nothing is ever said about washing the head.

’The bullock for the sin- offering was brought, ‘and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head’ of it, thus saying, This sacrifice represents us. From that moment , all that happened to the bullock represented what was to be done to Jesus and His body, the church, as human beings. The bullock was delivered up to the Law (repre- sented by Moses), to meet its demands against Israel typical of mankind in general. To meet the demands of the Law it had to be slain—‘and Moses slew it’.’( T41)

The rams, of which there were two, constituted the sixth element of this consecration ritual. One of these was the ram of burnt offering. It pictured the identical consecration already portrayed in the sacrifice of the bullock, but from a different standpoint—that of the Divine accep- tance. It showed that the offering was made to God, and accepted by God as a whole —it was completely consumed by the fire of the Lord’s altar. On this significance of the burnt offering we quote from Eder- sheim’s, ’The Temple,’ Article ’Burnt, Sin, Trespass, and Peace Offer- ings,’ Page 99:

’The burnt offering—Olah, or also Chalil. The derivation of the term Olah, as wholly ‘ascending’ unto God, indicates alike the mode of the sacrifice and its meaning. It symbolizes the entire surrender unto God, whether of the individual, or of the congregation, and His acceptance thereof. Hence also, it could not be offered ‘without shedding of blood. ‘ Where other sacrifices were brought, it followed the sin but preceded the peace- offering. In fact it meant general acceptance on the ground of previous special acceptance , and it has rightly been called the sacrificium latreuticum, or sacrifice of devo- tion and service. Thus day by day it formed the regular morning and evening service in the Temple, while on Sabbaths, new moons, and festivals, additional burnt- offerings followed the ordinary worship.

There the covenant people brought the covenant sacrifice, and the multitude of offerings indicated, as it were, the fulness, richness and joyousness... of their self- surrender.... The burnt offering was always to be a male, as the more noble, and as indicating strength and energy... and the sacrifice having been duly salted, it was wholly burned.’

The other ram, ‘the ram of consecration’ was then offered. It was un- doubtedly intended to show forth the effect that this consecration would have upon us. Note how that Moses after he slew the animal, applied the blood of it, not to the altar as he did that of the bullock {Le 8:15}

and of the ram of the burnt- offering {Le 8:19} but to the person of each individual priest {Le 8:23} thus showing that our consecration is an individual matter. The account tells us that Moses put of the blood upon the tip of the right ear, and upon the thumb of the right hand, and upon the great toe of the right foot. ‘Thus,’ suggests Pastor Russell:

’By our consecration we are enabled to have the ‘hearing of faith’ and to appreciate God’s promises as none but the consecrated can.

Our hands are consecrated so that whatever our hands find to do that we do it with our might as unto the Lord. Our feet are consecrated, so that henceforth we, ‘walk not as other Gentiles’ but ‘walk in the newness of life, " walk by faith, " walk in the spirit, " walk in the light, ‘ and even ‘as we received Christ so walk in him’.’( T45)

’The choice portions of the ram, its ‘inwards’ and ‘fat’ represented our heart sentiments, our best powers . These were taken into the hands of the priests and ‘waved’—passed to and fro before the Lord—representing the fact that a consecrated offering is not given to the Lord for a moment a day or a year, but that we consecrate to continually keep our affections and powers uplifted, never ceasing until accepted of him as having finished our course. And Moses took the wave- offering off their hands (the priests did not lay it down), God’s acceptance being shown by fire. So we, the ‘royal priests, ‘ may not lay down or cease to offer all our powers in God’s service while we have them, nor until all are consumed in his service, until God shall say, It is enough—come up higher. When the love (fat) of our inmost beings is laid upon the altar, it helps to increase the fire of God’s acceptance. The more love there is connected with our conse- cration to God, the more quickly will it comsume our offering.’ (T45)

Upon this wave offering Moses had placed out of the basket of un- leavened bread:

(1) ‘one unleavened cake, and (2) a cake of oiled bread, and (3) one wafer.’ {Le 8:26}

Here we have symbolized for us the three great fundamental truths of consecration, viz., justification, sanctification, and glorification. Without these, no consecration is ever complete.

Aside from Jesus, every one of the called was born in sin—’shapen in iniquity,’ but praise the Lord, they came to a recognition of their own unrighteousness and utter inability to cleanse themselves in the sight of God. The cry of their hearts then became, even as that of David of old:’Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; accord- ing unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgres- sions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin, for I acknowledge my transgressions:and my sin is ever before me.’{ Ps 50:1-3}

Here is evidenced a ‘broken and contrite heart,’ one which God could not despise, and which in his love and compassion, he submerged under the precious blood of Jesus for cleansing. This is the justification by which we receive, or rather have accounted unto us, the perfect hu- manity that would be ours in the end of the Millennium, and which by the grace of God, we like unto Jesus, are permitted to offer as accept- able sacrifices unto God. Thus in the type before us, we find an ‘unleav- ened cake’ representing the actual righteousness and purity of the Church as men.

The perfect humanity of Jesus and his Church offered upon God’s al- tar of sacrifice would signify the destruction of their identities. To pre- serve these, however, God has by his own Holy Spirit begotten them to a new nature—the divine nature! He has ordained, that for the time be- ing these may have the indwelling of his spirit in an earthen vessel. The purpose of this indwelling is, of course, their sanctification. By it, they will be separated more and more from the world, but more and more unto God. So, in the type, the second unleavened cake, mingled with oil, represented the indwelling spirit of God—sanctification.

These called ones, justified, and sanctified through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, have because of it, a hope of glory, honor and im- mortality, based upon the precious promises of God. {2Pe 1:3,4} It is the hope of glorification by which he that possesses it, purifies himself, even as he is pure. {1Jo 3:3} Thus the third unleavened cake in the type, represented our hope and faith in the exceeding precious promises of glory, honor and immortality. A wafer is generally quite thin. It is not transparent, but it is translucent! So is it with our hope and faith; we have in the precious promises merely the basis of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. {Heb 11:1}

The last, the seventh element, in this consecration ritual is the basket of unleavened bread to which reference has already been made. But to complete their consecration, the typical priests had to remain within the door of the tabernacle of the congregation for seven days, during which time they were to fast from such foods as might be common and proper for all other Israelites to eat. They were, however, to feast upon the un- leavened bread, brought by Moses, in the ‘basket of consecrations.’ {Le 8:31-35}

What a picture this. The seven days well represent the completion of our consecration, that is, until we shall have finished our course in death. During all this time, we are to remain within that state or condition so beautifully depicted in the Holy of the tabernacle of old—the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Al- mighty. {Ps 91:1} As spirit- begotten new creatures we are not to emerge for entry into either, the antitypical Court, or Camp. Violation of this injunction would be disobedience to the divine will, and make us amenable to death. Further, during all of this time, we are to fast from all such foods (figuratively speaking), as may be common and proper for all others to eat, but must feast upon the unleavened bread of truth, supplied for our use, in the basket of consecrations, by God himself.


Nu 9:15-23; 10:1-28 {Nu 3:25,26,31,32,36,37}

Section one

One of the outstanding lessons gathered from Israel’s sojourn at Si- nai, is that of the longsuffering kindness of God. The Israelites had bro- ken their covenant when in deliberate disobedience they erected, and bowed down and worshipped the Golden Calf. They had sought for some tangible representation of God, when God had specifically told them that they were not to make unto themselves ‘any graven image, or any likeness or anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them... for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God...’ {Ex 20:4,5} Faith, can only be exercised in the realm of the invisible, for sight brings knowledge, and knowledge is the end of faith. However, af- ter the Israelites had received their chastenings at the hands of Moses, God did permit them to erect for him a dwelling place, which should be situated in the center of the camp, where his presence would be evi- denced to them by the cloud. Concerning this manifestation among them we read:

‘And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony; and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway:the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.’ {Nu 9:15,16}

Accordingly, no Israelite in the camp needed ever to worry as to whether or not God was present among them, for by day or night, he might turn his face in the direction of the tabernacle, and there, not only recognize, but also feel, the protecting influences of the Divine Pres- ence! Any one therefore, who feared, indicated his own failure to turn his face Godward. What a lesson is here for us! So long as we keep our minds stayed upon God, whether it be by day or night, we are able to feel his protecting and comforting arms about us. Our failure to enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding, is not the re- sult of his not being near (yea, he is ever present), but is because for one reason or another, we cannot turn our hearts toward him. I can well imagine an Israelite, guilty of unjudged sin, remaining under conviction and fear, having lost all his peace, because in his wickedness he could not, and would not dare to look upon that which represented Jehovah’s presence in the camp. So too, is it with us, when we are guilty of un- judged sin, we just can’t seem to lift our hearts unto God in prayer:we fear, and lose our peace. Such is the effect of God’s presence in our camp. It is that Holy Spirit of which Jesus spoke, which would convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. {Joh 16:8} But what was conviction, reproof, condemnation and judgment to one, was joy, peace, comfort, yea even fellowship to another. Ah, dear friends, let us consider this matter seriously—does the Holy Spirit re- ally speak peace to our souls? If not, why not?

Now let it be noted that this identical cloud which bespoke the Lord’s presence in the camp, was to Israel also a guide, a revealer of God’s will concerning them. It indicated when they were to move on, or when they were to stand by, and where, for so we read:

‘And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed; and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the com- mandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched; as long as the cloud abode upon the Tabernacle they rested in their tents. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and journeyed not. And so it was when the cloud was a few days on the tabernacle; according to the com- mandment of the Lord they abode in their tents and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed. And so it was when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed; whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it were two days or a month or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not; but when it was taken up, they journeyed.

At the commandment of the Lord they rested in their tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses.’{ Nu 9:17-23}

Ah, dear friends, would it were so with us! The Holy Spirit of God is not only for our comfort, but is ordained also to teach us, and to guide us, and to instruct us as to when we are to stand still and when we are to move on. Our conformity to the divine will gives us that peace which nothing can destroy. We think of Jesus’ words:

‘But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things... peace, I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’{ Joh 14:26,27}

and again:

’Howbeit, when he, the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.’{ Joh 16:13}

* * * * * * * * * *

An Israelite so preoccupied with some menial task before him, might easily fail to note the movement of the cloud from over the tabernacle.

To arouse such an one, and in fact, all Israelites, God gave instructions to Moses for the construction of two silver trumpets, to be used by the priests for the sounding of signals and alarms.’Make thee two trumpets of silver, of a whole piece shalt thou make them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camp... and the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever through your generations.’{ Nu 10:2,8}

Others may differ with me, but I take it that these silver trumpets were both made of one and the same piece of silver, or in other words, one piece of silver was made into two trumpets. If this thought be correct, we have a most beautiful symbolism of the Word of God, the truth. The ‘Word of God’ is one, though it may be sounded forth from an Old Testament and/ or a New Testament. How often does it be- come necessary for some faithful underpriest to sound these trumpets for us! Yea, perhaps even with an alarm to rouse us out of our lethargy or from the preoccupation of our common tasks, unto a fuller realiza- tion of what God’s will is, concerning us. Then too, the Lord may re- verse this order, and privilege us to sound, as faithful underpriests, but in deepest humility, these trumpets unto our brethren, to reclaim them as it were from the evils and errors of their ways. Let us remember that:

’The silver trumpet settled and ordered every movement for Israel of old. The testimony of God ought to settle and order everything for the Church now. That silver trumpet was blown by the priests of old.

That testimony of God is known in priestly communion now. A Christian has no right to move or act apart from divine testimony.

He must wait upon the word of the Lord. Till he gets that he must stand still. When he has gotten it, he must go forward . God can and does communicate His mind to His militant people now, just as distinctly as He did to His people of old. True, it is not now by the sound of a trumpet, or the movement of a cloud, but by His word and Spirit. It is not by aught that strikes the senses that our Father guides us, but that which is spiritual that He communicates His mind.’

* * * * * * * * * *

’And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran. And they first took their journey according to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses... and the Tabernacle was taken down and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set forward, bearing the tabernacle... and the Kohathites set forward bearing the sanctu- ary...’{ Nu 10:11,12,13,17,21}

Before proceeding with our study—since the three major divisions of the Levitical tribe are here interposed—it may not be amiss to here briefly review some of the history of the Levites. It appears evident that after Moses had chastened the Israelites for their disobedience against God in the erection of the ‘golden calf,’ some of them, perhaps more particularly the leaders of the people, took issue with and rebelled against Moses. We read:

’Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, ‘who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me’.’{ Ex 32:36} It was at this time that the tribe of Levi distinguished itself by the gathering of themselves together unto him. But more than a mere re- sponse to the call was necessary. They were to prove the sincerity of their declaration ‘We are on the Lord’s side,’ accordingly we find Moses saying:

’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 neighbor.’{ Ex 32:27}

And we find it recorded that the ‘children of Levi did according to the word of Moses, and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.’ {Ex 32:28} No wonder some little time later God says unto Moses:

’... and I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the first born, therefore the Levites are mine.’{ Nu 3:11,12}

To meet the high designs and purposes of God, these Levites were first ceremonially purified after which they washed their clothes and were then offered by Aaron ‘before the Lord.’ Only so could they en- ter into the actual service of the tabernacle. {Nu 8:21,22}

What a picture this is for every child of God. It is not sufficient that we declare ourselves to be ‘on the Lord’s side,’ but we must also in obedience to his will, wield the sword of the spirit in such a way as to cut off, asunder, and away from us, all that is inimical to his cause and purposes. Not only does it call for a work upon us— the purification brought about by way of the imputed right- eousness of Christ; but also for a work by us— a continual washing away of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, keeping ourselves unspotted from the world. Thus puri- fied, and with garments unspotted, we are in the hands of our high priest, Jesus, an acceptable offering unto the Lord, Levites set apart in- deed to serve him and his Tabernacle.

All the Levites belonged to the Lord, yet the Lord made a difference among them, to set forth, as it were, certain differences which would prevail among the antitypical Levites. To the sons of Gershon he com- mitted the charge of the curtains, hangings, etc. They were given two wagons and four oxen to discharge this duty. {Nu 3:25-26 4:24-26 7:7} To the sons of Merari he committed the charge of the boards, pil- lars, sockets, cords, and pins, etc., and to discharge this duty, they were given four wagons, and eight oxen. {Nu 3:36,37 4:31,32 7:8} To the sons of Kohath, however, was committed the charge of the ark, ta- ble, altars, candlestick, etc., and THE VAIL, but this burden was not to be carried on wagons, but upon the shoulders of the Kohathites. {Nu 3:31 4:15 7:9}

’And the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set forward, bearing the tabernacle... and the Ko- hathites set forward bearing the sanctuary.’{ Nu 10:17,21}

It probably is quite significant that Gershon and Merari, who were commissioned to carry the curtains, boards, cords, pins, etc., and weregiven wagons and oxen so to do, were placed under the supervision of Ithamar. {Nu 4:28,33} To the mind of the enlightened saint, there is pictured here an outstanding characteristic of the ‘great company class.’ Reader, think deeply! And if there be any significance here, there must also be in the fact that the Kohathites, who bore their burden upon their shoulders, were placed under the supervision of Eleazer. {Nu 4:16} Child of God, think on this! Only the Kohathite was privi- leged to bear the golden vessels. May we not here see an outstanding characteristic of the ‘little flock’?

Both Ithamar and Eleazer, are in themselves types of the ‘great com- pany’ and ‘little flock’ respectively, as the following outline will clearly show:

Aaron originally had four sons, all of whom had been consecrated into the priesthood. (See Le 8 and 9) Of these, however, two—Nadab and Abihu—were destroyed with fire from before the Lord. {Le 10:1,2} Undoubtedly, as Pastor Russell suggests in a footnote appended to page 119 of the ‘Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices,’ 1914 Edition, these two sons were intended to ‘typify the large proportion of consecrated and spirit- begotten ones who have failed to reach the high standard of heart necessary, and who will consequently not be worthy of life, but will on the contrary, sink into oblivion—the second death.’

Such being the case, the remaining two sons, Ithamar and Eleazer, must of needs typify the remaining two classes of the consecrated and spirit- begotten ones, the ‘great company’ and the ‘little flock.’ Let us note how forcefully all this is implied in the very names of these underpriests.

Nadab —means ‘liberal.’

Abihu —means ‘he, (i. e. God) is father!’

This fact and the type with which they are so definitely associated, {Le 10:1-11} seems to say that the class represented by these two sons of Aaron (Nadab and Abihu, who at least typically committed the sin unto death), once recognized God as their Father, but have become so liberal and broad, through having allowed a worldly spirit to come into their hearts and lives. This spirit first beclouded their spiritual vision, then destroyed it. So, no longer being able to ‘put difference between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean’ {Le 10:10} they presumed to offer acceptable incense as unto the Lord, thereby becoming guilty of the great transgression, meriting only the Second Death.

Eleazer— means ‘helped of God.’

Eleazer was the only direct son of Aaron to actually attain the high priesthood. The class thus represented is the ‘little flock’ which, helped of God, attains membership in the glorified ‘royal priest- hood.’

Ithamar —means ‘island of palms.’

Palms are symbols of victory! Ithamar never attained the high priesthood. In fact, none of his line attained unto it until the time of Eli. Thus the entrance of this line into the high priesthood is suffi- ciently removed from the scenes under present consideration as to establish in type the fact that the class represented was not to inherit the priesthood. Thus the ‘great company,’ though they fail to attain membership in the ‘royal priesthood’ upon the throne , will never- theless be accorded the privilege of bearing palms, before the throne. {Re 7:9}

Section two

Nu 4:5-14

We have already considered the vessels of the tabernacle as being car- ried upon the shoulders of the Kohathites. In that picture the Kohathites represented more particularly the consecrated, spirit- begotten sons of God, and the vessels, the precious truths committed unto them. But this is a general picture and must not be confused with the one now to be presented in which the vessels no longer represent the divine truths, but the saints of God, themselves, in their relationship to both God and the camp of Israel, the world.

The relationship of these vessels to God is beautifully set forth by their positions in the tabernacle while it was still standing. Thus the in- cense altar, the table of the shewbread, and the golden altar, though hid- den from the view of all without, were nevertheless unto God, uncovered vessels of gold, serving his priesthood in the Holy of the tab- ernacle. The Holy itself depicted the present ‘in part’ condition of the Church ‘this side of the vail,’ begotten, but not yet born of the spirit.

As for the ark of the covenant, this too was hidden, yet not only from those without, but also from those who, though within the Holy, had not yet passed ‘beyond the vail.’ To God, however, it was an uncov- ered golden vessel, most intimately identified with himself in the Most Holy of the tabernacle. The Most Holy depicted the future, the ‘per- fect’ state of the Church ‘beyond the vail,’ born of the spirit, glorified! The Apostle Paul in his first Epistle to the Corinthians (13:10) puts it this way:’But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.’

The altar of burnt- offering, while open to the view of all who entered the court, was nevertheless hidden from those without by the curtain which surrounded the holy place. And when the camp moved from one site to another, even though the altar was carried right through the midst of the congregation, it remained unseen by them because of the cover- ing (traveling) clothes upon it. So too, with one exception, the laver, were all the remaining vessels of the tabernacle covered as they moved from place to place.

The altar, which stood four square in the Court, represented as Pastor Russell suggests (T22) Christ’s RANSOM SACRIFICE. It was made of copper to symbolize the perfect humanity of the man Christ Jesus, ‘Who gave himself a ransom for all.’ {1Ti 2:5,6} God saw, as all justified believers in the antitypical Court have also been called upon to see, Christ’s faithfulness even unto death, and for which God exalted him unto the royalty of the kingdom, giving him a name ‘which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.’ {Php 2:9,10}

Yet comparatively few of earth’s millions have seen any more in Jesus than an historic character, a lowly Nazarene a creature of the flesh even as others. All that they have seen is the seal skin covering over the altar; his true royalty, like the cloth of purple which covered the typical altar, remained unseen. Thus was it ordered in the type.

’And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying... when the camp setteth forward... they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon... and they shall spread upon it a cover- ing of seals’ skins...’{ Nu 4:1,4,13}

While blue is a most apt symbol for faithfulness, fidelity, and loyalty; and red, of death, it will be observed that neither of these was used in the covering cloth of this altar. Purple, symbolic of royalty, was used, and how appropriately too, for even as the mixing of the blue with the red results in purple, so Jesus’ faithfulness unto death brought about his exaltation.

Concerning the vessels which stood within the Holy of the tabernacle we read:

‘And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue... and they shall spread upon them, (dishes, spoons, covers, and the bread) a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of seals’ skins.... And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and they shall put it... within a covering of seals’ skins... And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of seals’ skins... And they shall take all the instruments of the ministry wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of seals’ skins... ‘{ Nu 4:7-12}

It should be remembered that the furniture which travelled, was the identical furniture which stood in the tabernacle, but that its relationship to Israel as it travelled, was quite different from its relationship to God and his tabernacle, especially when the latter was erected for service.

Herein lies the secret of the travelling clothes! The candlestick was still the golden candlestick but it didn’t enlighten Israel on its journeyings, as it did the priesthood in the tabernacle; the table of the shewbread was still the table of the continual bread, and the bread was even upon it, but it did not feed Israel in its journeyings as it did the priesthood in the tab- ernacle. As was the case of the altar of burnt- offering, so too was it with the candlestick, the table of the shewbread and the incense altar, they were all covered as they moved through the camp, the outermost cover- ing in every instance being the seals’ skin covering, as if to say, that as we journey through the world, our true position in the sight of God is quite different from that in which the world sees us. God sees our faith, he recognizes our obedience and sacrifice, and on their account, ac- counts unto us the divine nature, so well pictured in the golden vessels themselves. The world, can of course not see us so, for all it sees is our flesh. Those who by way of consecration and spirit- begettal have been privileged to enter the Holy of the antitypical tabernacle, there to be en-lightened by the golden candlestick, and to be fed from the golden table of the shewbread, and to offer up incense at the golden altar, are them- selves also represented in these vessels. We quote from the pen of Pas- tor Russell:

THE GOLDEN TABLE which in the Holy bore the shewbread, represented the church as a whole, including Jesus and the apostles, all the sanctified in Christ who serve in ‘holding forth the word of life. ‘{ Php 2:16} The great work of the true Church during this age has been to feed, strengthen and enlighten all who enter the cove- nanted spiritual condition. The bride of Christ is to make herself ready. {Re 19:7} The witnessing to the world during the present age is quite secondary and incidental. The full blessing of the world will follow in God’s due time, after the Gospel Age (antitypical Day of Atonement with its sin offerings) is ended.

THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK or lampstand, which stood opposite the golden table, and gave light to all in the Holy was of gold all of one piece hammered out. It had seven branches, each of which held a lamp making seven lamps in all, a perfect or complete number. This represented the complete Church, from the Head, Jesus, to and including the last member of the ‘little flock’ that he is taking out from among men, to be partakers of the divine (gold)

nature. Our Lord says, ‘The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches’,{ Re 1:20} the one Church whose seven stages or developments were symbolized by the seven congregations of Asia Minor. {Re 1:11} Yes; that candlestick represented the entire church of the Firstborn, not the nominal, but the true church whose names are written in heaven, the true lightbearers, the ‘Royal Priest- hood’.’( T115)

THE GOLDEN ALTAR in the Holy would seem to represent the little flock, the consecrated church in the present sacrificing condi- tion. From this altar ascends the sweet incense, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ—the willing services of the priests; their praises, their willing obedience—all things whatsoever they do to the glory of God.’ (T120)

One may recall that in an earlier study it was suggested that the seals’ skin covering over the tabernacle represented Christ’s flesh—his hu- manity. This may give rise to a question in someone’s mind as to whether our flesh, our humanity can also be represented in the seals’ skin coverings of the tabernacle’s furnishings. It is just this fact, how- ever, that establishes for us a most beautiful picture, corroborating all Bible testimony to the effect that the church is the body of Christ, which suffers with him in the sin- offering. Christ Jesus died as the ran- som, but suffered as a sin- offering. In the former, the Church does not share; but to share in the latter she has been most graciously invited.

And has she not been baptized into Christ’s death? Does she not suf- fer with him that she may also reign with him? Is she not a joint- sac- rificer with her master? {Ro 6:3-5 Ga 3:27 Ro 8:17 2Ti 2:11,12} It is this doctrine of participation in the sin- offering that is particularly typed in the tabernacle and its ritual. The Atonement Day sin- offering consisted of two animals, a bullock and a goat. Both ofthese animals were offered on the selfsame altar, by the selfsame priest, and their blood was carried in the selfsame fashion through the Holy into the Most Holy and there sprinkled on and before the mercy seat, to accomplish the atonement. The bullock represented Christ, and the goat, (i. e. the Lord’s goat) represented the Church, his ‘body.’ The two animals really constituted one sin- offering, Jesus’ sin- offering! The Church in the flesh is thus identified with Christ. She, as his ‘body’ is as truly Christ as he the Head. Did not Jesus say to Saul of Tarsus, while the latter was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Church, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME?’ Thus if we are truly one with Christ Jesus, we must also be represented in the seals’ skin coverings of the tabernacle’s furnishings, though as is obvious, not in the seals’ skin covering of the tabernacle itself. But while our justified and consecrated humanity, our flesh, is thus identified with Christ Jesus, the world does not, and cannot, recognize it so. It has seen the Christ suffer in the flesh, but it has not recognized it. Says Pastor Russell:

’... The world has seen the Priest, Head and Body, suffer as a sin- offering during this age. Jesus manifested to the Jews in the flesh (as a sin- offering), and as Paul says, so can all followers in his footsteps say, ‘Christ is manifest in our mortal flesh. ‘{ 2Co 4:11}

As the whole Christ has thus been manifested and has suffered in the flesh, so they also shall be glorified together before the world.’ (T84)

The blue cloth which symbolizes faithfulness, is present in the cover- ings of all the furniture save that of the ‘brazen’ altar. It would seem to say that without faith (fulness) it is impossible to please God. {Heb 11:6} And surely, if we do not please him, we cannot possibly be found anywhere in the tabernacle arrangement.... This cloth of blue was not visible while the seals’ skin covering was over it. Just so, the faithful- ness of the saints though recognized of God is hidden from all those who see only our flesh.

The table of shewbread was covered with a cloth of blue and a cloth of red. Here we do not find a single cloth of purple (as covered the altar in the Court) to show forth the exaltation to the royal and kingly honor to which those faithful, even unto death, are ultimately elevated. Those represented by this table are no longer in the Court, but are in the Holy, possessors as it were, of a heavenly treasure though this still be in an earthen vessel. The treasure, the divine nature, being represented in that the table was of gold. There is, however, a significance to the fact that a cloth of blue and a cloth of red were used to cover this table. Unlike the faithfulness unto death pictured in the altar of burnt- offering, where death was virtually on behalf of the world of mankind (the camp), faith- fulness unto death here must be in the laying down of life for the breth- ren—for those who as priests of God are serving in the Holy. Such priests are the body of Christ. As Jesus laid down his life, (not only for the world, but) for his body’s sake, so that it might be sustained in life, so too, are we to lay down our lives for the brethren. ‘Hereby perceive we love, because he laid down his life for us:and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’ {1Jo 3:16} The Apostle Paul delighted in this, for he says, ‘... I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake, which is the church...’ {Col 1:23,24} Such faithfulness on behalf of the brethren is even as food unto their souls.

This is undoubtedly the reason why the cloth of blue and the cloth of red are manifest only in the coverings of this table, and not in connec- tion with those of the remaining vessels of the Holy. Yet as already stated so many times, such faithfulness unto death will not be appreci- ated by the world for they see only the seals’ skin covering—the flesh, our humanity.

Concerning the one and only piece of furniture which stood in the Most Holy of the tabernacle we read:

’And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come and his sons and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of the testimony with it; and shall put thereon the covering of seals’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue.’{ Nu 4:5,6}

Unlike the other furniture of the tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant had for its external covering a cloth wholly of blue, the seals’ skin no longer remained visible. And is it not true of those who attain the condi- tion represented by the Ark—the state of the glorified Christ beyond the vail—that their flesh is no longer visible to those who once knew them, and saw them as merely fleshly, human creatures. They receive the re- ward of their faithfulness, the victory of faith, but note, it is beyond the vail, which vail represents death. It will have been noticed that in the type that the seals’ skin covering was beneath the cloth of blue, but at the same time above the vail which directly covered the Ark. How ex- quisitely beautiful! As if to say that these New Creatures are no longer visible in the flesh but are in the fullest sense partakers of the Divine Nature, yet their flesh has not passed beyond the vail, for truly, ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ {1Co 15:50} The blue covering which has the significance of faithfulness, being the external covering over the Ark seems to say, ‘This Class was faithful’ and that the world of mankind will sooner or later be called upon to recognize this. This temple class shall have been glorified together with their head, Christ Jesus, beyond the vail.

’O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord or who hath been his counselor?

Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things, to whom be glory forever, Amen.’{ Ro 11:33-36}