There are details in the Bible that may seem trivial in nature, but are telling of God’s character and nature. When one examines the scriptures seeking to know the Living God, one is better equipped to understand the reasons that certain information is included in scripture. For example, there are many passages in scripture that illustrate the nature of God as being orderly, precise, and detailed in His work, which makes it clear to show that God is always purposeful in what He does. Thus, when one seeks to see the hand of God in action, one can look for evidence of purpose, order, and precision that leads to the revelation of His righteousness and glory. On the contrary, when one examines chaos, disorder, dysfunction, and purposelessness, one can safely conclude that such results are not by the hand of the Living God, suggesting that His involvement was absent in the work producing such results.
The Book of Numbers begins with the inclusion of details that seem irrelevant from an “application” standpoint. Many people examine the Bible seeking to find helpful points of “application” that might improve the circumstances of one’s life. This is an incorrect approach. The Bible explains that it is the revelation of God’s own nature and characteristics. Thus, one must examine it looking for the character and nature of God. In Numbers 1:1-54 the Bible includes a census that God took of the children of Israel in the second year of their journey through the wilderness, after leaving Egypt. One would be hard pressed to find any point of “application” in the documentation of Israel’s population of war-worthy men. Yet God wanted this information included in His holy scriptures. Thus, one must seek to understand God’s purposes in the inclusion of such information. One must ask the question: What does this information reveal about the Living God? Upon seeing the nature and attributes of God in scripture, one can then find benefit in one’s life, having an understanding of one’s Savior.
The details included in Numbers 1:1-54 show that God was very methodical and calculated in His work. The passage begins by stating that God called out to Moses in the second year of Israel’s journey through the wilderness. God instructed Moses to take a census, but had very specific criteria regarding the information He wanted documented. God wanted Moses to count all of the men from the children of Israel, separated by individual tribe, and only wanted the men that were twenty years old and above that were able to go to war. God did not want younger men included in the census. God did not want females included in the census. God did not want disabled people included in the census. God wanted only able-bodied men that could fight included in the census. Knowing this, one can see that God is very specific in His instructions. He is not vague. He is very sure about His desires and clearly communicates His expectations. This means that it is the responsibility of God’s people to listen carefully to the Lord’s instructions if one desires to hear Him. If one is confused about the desires of the Lord, scripture shows that its not because God’s words are unclear and ambiguous.
God provided additional details about how He wanted the census taken. He said that He wanted a representative from each tribe to list out the number of men from their families within each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The scriptures explain that God told Moses who He wanted those representatives to be and called them out by name! Once again, the scriptures show that God is very clear. He has a plan and a purpose and He is so detailed in His work that He calls people by name to engage them in certain parts of His plans in certain ways. God communicated these expectations to Moses, and then Moses was expected to relay the message of God to the people with the help of Aaron. The scriptures explain that the children of Israel followed the commands of God to specification.
Numbers 1:1-54 explains that the representatives that God chose were obedient to the command of God. Each man accurately reported the numbers that God desired. The Bible documents that the tribe of Reuben had 46,500 men, Simeon had 59,300 men, Gad had 45,650 men, Judah had 74,600 men, Issachar had 54,400 men, Zebulun had 57,400 men, Ephraim had 40,500 men, Manasseh had 32,200 men, Benjamin had 35,400 men, Dan had 62,700 men, Asher had 41,500 men, and Naphtali had 53,400 men, totaling in 603,550 men. It is important to recognize the size of this number. While it might seem large, it is a small percentage of the total population of Israel. When considering the motives of God as to why He only wanted to count war-worthy men, it is important to also consider the patterns of God’s work in scripture. The Bible reveals that when the children of Israel went to war, God was often concerned about the amount of soldiers that Israel had, and the methods they employed to achieve victory. God seldom sent Israel into battle to fight in conventional ways. When Israel’s armies were great, He often required Israel to trim down the numbers. When God was content with Israel’s numbers, He often commanded them to fight in unusual ways. The reasons for this was to that God could reveal Himself as Jehovah Nissi – The Lord God Our Banner.
The history of Israel in the Bible shows that God was concerned with the victories of His people. However, the scriptures also show that God was more concerned with the revelation of His sovereign and almighty nature in the course of the victory. God wanted to show His people that He is responsible for victory and so often put Israel in impossible positions so that victory would have to be attributed to the Living God. The documentation of Israel’s army numbers are given with the same purpose. One will find that the Book of Numbers documents some of Israel’s challenges and skirmishes throughout their wilderness journey. The mediocre numbers of Israel’s army shows that the people were victorious by the hand of God, not their great strength. Keeping in mind that the children of Israel were leaving Egypt as salves, not trained warriors, any victory that Israel achieved during this era of their history had to be attributed to the Living God and their Banner of Victory.
Lastly, Numbers 1:1-54 explains that God did not include the Levites in the census of war-worthy men. Though the number of Israel’s army was small, God excluded an entire tribe from participation in battle. God commanded Moses that the Levites were to focus on a greater purpose. They were to tend to the Tabernacle of the Testimony. As the children of Israel migrated through the wilderness, the tribe of Levi was responsible for setting up the tabernacle. When the children of Israel moved locations, the tribe of Levi was responsible for tearing down the tabernacle, packing it up, with all its furnishings and utensils, and transporting them to the next camp location. No other person was allowed to go near the tabernacle or its furnishings when being transported. This mandate shows that God is specific and purposeful in His instruction. He means what He says and says what He means.
The details of the Bible might seem trivial at first glance, but God included every letter in the Bible with purpose. God’s purpose is to reveal Himself to His people. God desires that His people should know Him since He is the essence of what is good, righteous, and true. God is the essence of life, even to an eternal extent. The only way to truly live is to receive the quality of life that God desires to give. Since God is the essence of life, it is critical that one know and understand His character and nature to grasp the value of the life that God gives and understand His prescription to receiving the life that He offers. Therefore, one must examine and search the scriptures seeking to know God and His purposes through the patterns of His work. The census of Numbers 1:1-54 shows God as detailed. So when one examines circumstances that lack clear direction, vision and focus, God is not the likely author of such events. The census of Numbers 1:1-54 shows that God’s work is done in an orderly fashion. So when one examines circumstances that resemble chaos through impulsive responses, God is not the likely author of such events. The census of Numbers 1:1-54 shows that God is purposeful in His work as He seeks to reveal His own character and nature through the outcomes of His work. So when one examines circumstances that seem purposeless and vain without clear revelation or exaltation of God, He is not likely the author of such events. The patterns of God’s nature and work are clearly given in scripture. One would be wise to know them and seek them.
Oaths and vows are important to the Lord. The Bible teaches that the children of God should be people of integrity. Jesus said that a person’s “yes” should mean “yes,” and likewise their “no” should mean “no.” God is faithful and imparts His Spirit unto those who believe, so that His people should also be faithful to their word and not flaky. Knowing this, when the people of God make promises, the scriptures show that the Lord expects people to keep them. Even more importantly, the Bible teaches that a person’s vow or oath to God should be held in the highest esteem. Those who make promises, vows, and oaths to the Lord should make such considerations a priority of one’s life and value those promises with great care.
Leviticus 27:1-34 explains God’s commandments for the promises and oaths people made to the Lord. Often times the people would make certain vows and promises to God regarding a number of different things in life. God did not have a problem with this so long as the people took the promises seriously. Therefore, to help the people keep His name exalted in the context of these promises, the Bible explains that God wanted collateral for the promises that were made to Him. God permitted the people to offer other people, their animals, their houses, and their fields as collateral for promises made to God. In other words, the people of God were required to hold their vows to God in high esteem so that they were required to take their possessions to be valued as collateral against their vow. Once the vow was fulfilled, the possession could be redeemed.
The scriptures explain that the priests were in charge of valuing the collateral. While Leviticus 27:1-34 provided the people with a baseline to value each type of possession, the valuing process was left to the discretion of the priest. This responsibility made it so that the priest had to exercise great care and fairness amongst the people. The priest was required to seek the wisdom of God to value certain promises towards God and had to do so fairly. This would have caused the priests to be extremely dependent on the Lord and His wisdom in order to discern how much each possession should be worth compared to the oath that was given unto the Lord.
Lastly, the scriptures explain that there were certain items that were not to be used for “consecration” for vows. The Lord commanded the children of Israel to refrain from offering the holy things, including the firstborn of any animal. One must recall that the holy things were considered God’s own possession. The firstborn of every animal was to be consecrated unto the Lord as His own possession. Thus, the people of God were not to use the things of God to value their promises to Him. Jesus criticized the Jewish religious leaders in the New Testament for this. The children of Israel had gotten in the habit of swearing upon God’s holy things in order to add value and credibility to their word and promises. However, Jesus explained that such practice was having an opposite effect. Rather than the value of the people being increased being tied to God’s holy things, God’s holy things were being profaned and made as common, being compared to things of men and women. When a person “swears to God” or to God’s holy things, the Bible teaches that one is actually profaning God. When one uses the exalted and holy nature of God and His sacred possessions as a way to value one’s corrupted possessions or one’s promises that are corrupted by the individual being a sinner, one actually brings the name of God down from its exalted position and mixes it with that which is corrupt. Therefore, God commanded the people of Israel to refrain from making oaths and vows in which the firstborn animal, child, or any other consecrated possession was used as collateral to consecrate the oath.
The laws that God gave regarding oaths, vows, and promises show that God is serious about the things His people say and the promises they make. Once again, God is faithful and true to His Word. Having imparted His own essence into His people by His Spirit, He expects His people to reflect the same quality of integrity. Though the promises of God’s people no longer require collateral as in the Law, the promises of God’s people should still hold great weight and value. The oaths and vows of God’s people should be held in great esteem. The commitment that God’s people make to God through vows and oaths, especially in the realms of forgiveness and sanctification, should be given with great care and constant consideration so that God’s people work diligently to make good on their word. The Word of God is such that God esteems it higher than His own name because it is true. So too should be the words of God’s people by the power of His Spirit in the manner of Jesus Christ!
God is gracious. The Bible explains that God provides an incredible amount of favor to all people. Since all sin, none seek after God by natural inclination, and all fall short of the glory of God, all of the favor that mankind receives from God is unmerited. God just gives favor because He wants to. The Bible also teaches that God is just. He is fair. Since God is righteous, He has a certain standard that He holds His people to and expects them to represent Him in a certain manner. Since God is Creator of all things, He expects His creation to respond to Him in an appropriate manner: through humble submission to His ways, knowing and trusting that they are right and true. Therefore, God is obligated to respond in judgment when His people disobey. God is obligated to respond against those who rebel against Him in pride. As the Judge, God is responsible for administrating the consequences of transgression.
God is also faithful. God made promises concerning His grace and His judgment. God promised the children of Israel that they would receive a great land inheritance, become a great nation, and would be a blessing to all of the families of the earth by Messiah. These promise are founded on grace. Additionally, God also promised that He would certainly respond harshly against deliberate sin. God warned the children of Israel that He would allow consuming darkness, isolation, and hopelessness overcome those who neglected His Word, were indifferent to His Word, and rejected His Word. God promised to bless, but also promised to curse. It is most critical however to recognize that God is merciful! It is the mercy of God that affords the sinful people of God to receive the benefits of His grace. The Bible teaches that mankind cannot receive the grace of God without first accepting the mercy of God, and the scriptures are very detailed as to how this works.
In Leviticus 26:40-46 the Bible explains God’s definition for repentance. Having already explained the desires that He has to bless His people in grace, as well as explained His willingness to chastise to reform from sin, God explained the process by which people could receive His mercy. The English dictionary defines “mercy” as: kindness or help given to people that are in a very bad or desperate situation. This means that God offers kindness and help to people that are in very bad and desperate situations as sinners because the wages of sin is death. God offers kindness by being slow to anger, judgment, and wrath, thereby giving people the benefit of time to acknowledge fault and seek forgiveness. God offers help in the form of forgiveness. Leviticus 26:40-46 explains how one must approach God to receive the forgiveness that one desperately needs.
The scriptures begin by stating that God’s mercy begins with God’s forgiveness; but that God’s forgiveness begins with one’s willingness to confess fault. Leviticus 26:40-46 explains that God is willing to forgive when His people confess their iniquity against Him. The people of God are required to admit to fault through unfaithfulness. The people of God are required to concede to the reality that they are guilty of sin and should be punished as a result. The people of God are required to acknowledge when they have walked contrary to the ways of God, which are right, good, and true. God will not forgive a person unless one first comes to the place where one realizes that one is in desperate need of forgiveness as an offender of the holy, righteous, and just God.
The Bible also explains that in order to receive forgiveness from God, one must also confess God’s own identity. It is not so simple that one admit fault, but that one also admit God’s holy and righteous position in contrast. Leviticus 26:40-46 explains that God commanded His people to confess that they had walked contrary to His ways that are good. Additionally, God wanted His people to confess that God walked contrary to their ways that are evil. This is to state God’s holy nature. God wanted His people to confess that, while they are wrong, He is right. While people sin, God doesn’t. While people make mistakes, God is perfect. This is an important step to Biblical repentance. There are many people that seek forgiveness simply because they feel bad about what they did. They don’t like the consequences associated with their actions. Things didn’t turn out the way they had hoped, and many times people don’t like that they couldn’t get away with their sin. People who feel guilty are not the same as people who are repentant. One can feel guilty but not be humble to seek forgiveness. One can say, “sorry” and do so in a prideful manner. God explained that true repentance requires one to confess God’s exalted and holy position in contrast to one’s weak and sinful position as a demonstration of humility. The difference is, those who are repentant understand God’s sovereign position as Judge and greatly desire mercy, knowing they are guilty; whereas those who only feel guilt want the guilt to go away and the consequences to be overlooked. God only provides mercy to the repentant, and it is only the repentant that receive the eternal benefits of God’s grace.
The Lord demands humility from His people. The whole point of the Law was to demonstrate the righteousness of God so that as the people acknowledge it, they would see God’s righteousness and honor Him in fear and respect through submissive obedience. God wanted His people to understand His almighty nature and sovereign position and simply wants a reasonable response of worship. In order to properly respond to God in worship, one must be humble. One must yield to the exalted position of the Living God who created all things. One must not strive against Him by challenging His authority. One must not seek to lord over that which is God’s. One must not question God’s intelligence. One must not boast in such a manner to suggest that one can be independent from God. Instead, the Bible teaches that the proper response towards God is reflected by one’s confession that He is the almighty Creator that knows all things and is eternally above all things as the perfect standard of righteous and good. Knowing this, one must seek Him to be dependent on His manner of provision, wisdom, guidance, and so forth. Leviticus 26:40-46 explains that God wanted His people to acknowledge that He is above all as Judge, and as Provider, and to present themselves to Him in humility.
God promised that when His people approach Him in humble repentance, He would respond with favor. The scriptures explain that God would remember His covenant and be faithful to impart the benefits of such covenants unto those that demonstrate humility through repentance. God would make efforts to restore the repentant so that one’s position ultimately ends up in a favorable position as an heir to God’s eternally unconditional promises. However, God did not state that He would make all things perfect and remove consequence of sin. God promised that He would remove guilt, but did not promise to remove consequence. In fact, God was sure to mention that He would not fully restore the land that was destroyed on account of disobedience. The people would have to suffer the affects of their transgression. God explained that He expected the people to recognize their guilt, take their punishment, but move forward in hope knowing that God would ultimately restore the people where it mattered most – spiritually. God told the people that He would not immediately remove His people from the hand of their enemies when they were judged this way because of sin. Yet He promised that He would protect them while under the hand of their enemies and would not allow them to be utterly destroyed. This means that, while one might have been guilty as a murderer and repents to the Lord, one will be forgiven, but still have to serve one’s sentence.
It is important for the people of God to recognize the nature of God to ensure proper response towards Him. The grace of God was packaged in Jesus Christ. He died so that sinners would not have to receive the full brunt of judgment as guilty sinners. This is favor that the human race receives in spite of the absence of merit. This is favor that is undeserved. However, the scriptures are clear to explain that God is still just and provides explicit prophecies of God’s plans to administrate final judgment through Jesus upon those who reject the offer of His grace in Jesus. This gives all people two options. One can receive God’s grace or God’s judgment. Yet Hebrews 4:16 explains that when one seeks the grace of God (boldly approaching the throne of grace), one will first come upon the mercy of God. Though one might expect to find grace, one will first find God’s mercy. In this way, one must receive the mercy of God to receive the benefits of God’s grace. Leviticus 26:40-46 teaches that God is willing to be merciful and offer forgiveness for offenses, but one must humbly repent first. In other words, the identity and work of Jesus offers great benefits by the grace of the Father, but one must confess one’s guilt as a sinner, admit one deserves death as guilty, acknowledge God’s holy and righteous position, recognize God’s judgment as true, then humble one’s self before Jesus trusting Him to be who scripture proclaims He is. Then, and only then is one able to receive the grace that freely flows through the Christ!
The Bible presents the promises of God in a candid manner. There are tons of promises that God makes throughout scripture. Some are well known. Some are not so well know. Some are well understood. Some are not so well understood. Interestingly enough, while God makes tremendous unconditional promises to Israel and to Christians, He also makes some very serious promises to all people. It is interesting to see the scriptures and realize that while God does make great promises to offer forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus, and promises based on eternal life and glory for believers, He also makes promises to judge and destroy those that oppose Him. In fact, when one examines the context of God's promises, there are places where God emphasizes the promises of consequence, destruction, and death way more than He does the promises of life, restoration, and glory. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the people of God to get on His page, understand the things that He desires to emphasize, and know the Living God as He presents Himself in scripture, not seeking to change or emphasize anything in scripture any differently than God does.
Leviticus chapter 26 began by documenting the promises that God made to the children of Israel for when the people were obedient. God desired to take care of His people and lavish them with physically circumstantial benefits as an outward demonstration of the spiritual blessings He was providing. God wanted His people to desire and pursue Him, to consider Him in their minds, and then to seek to please Him by doing what He said in the Law, trusting it to be right and true. God made tremendous promises to Israel stating that if they did so, they would flourish in the land, lord over their enemies, and be satisfied, having all that they needed. In direct contrast, God then explained the consequences associated with neglect, indifference and disobedience.
Leviticus 26:14-39 documents God's warnings and promises for the children of Israel concerning the rejection of the Word of God and His commands. While God spent 13 verses documenting His favorable promises, He spent nearly 3 times more verses documenting His promises to judge His people for disobedience. It is important to recognize the characteristics of God's judgments as stated in the scriptures. First, the Bible explains that God considers disobedience as reflective of one's affection for God. Leviticus 26:14-39 states that if the children of Israel "disobeyed" God, that disobedience would be exemplified through the conduct of the people not "observing" the commandments. The Bible explains that the "observation" of the commandments was dependent on the affection of the people for God so that failure to observe God's commands was reflective of the people "despising" God's statutes. In other words, God understood that the disobedience of the people was a demonstration for their distaste in the commands. However, since the commands were demonstrations of God's righteousness, then disobedience to the commands of God are tied to one's indifference and distaste for the righteousness of God!
The scriptures go on to explain the various things that God promised He would do against the children of Israel for their rejection of Him. God promised that He would "set His face against" Israel. God promised that He would "punish" Israel. God promised that He would "walk contrary" to Israel. God promised that He would "bring a sword" against Israel. God promised that He would "scatter" Israel. All of these things generally speak to the same consequence. One that opposes the Word and commands of God is one that opposes God. Thus, standing in opposition to God through disobedience will result in one becoming an enemy of God, and since God is righteous, just, and fair, God the Bible explains God's promises to deal with His enemies in justice and fairness. One that rejects the grace of God cannot expect to receive more favor from God. God already offers favor as a gracious God. Thus, those who reject God's favor exemplify the desire to receive God's judgment instead.
Leviticus 26:14-39 provides intense details regarding God's judgment against those who reject Him. The Bible explains that there are physical consequences for one's spiritual abandonment of God. When God turns His face from a person and walks contrary to a person, there are things that will happen in one's physical life that serve as evidence that one is in opposition of God. The scriptures explain that God would appoint terror by diseases over the children of Israel for disobedience. This would cause the hearts of the people to sorrow. God promised that He would ensure that the efforts of the people to farm the land would be futile. God promised that disobedience would result in Israel sowing seed but that the enemies of Israel would eat it. God promised that the enemies of Israel would defeat, destroy, and scatter Israel. God promised that the crops of the field would be low in quality and quantity. God promised that He would remove His restraint on the harmful wilderness beasts so that they would go into the Israelite towns and terrorize the people. God promised that He would cut off the supplies of bread so that the people would not have enough to eat and be dissatisfied with their provision. God promised that He would destroy the places of worship as well. He promised to destroy the altars built to false gods, and to destroy the sanctuaries the people built to worship Him, but in wicked and blasphemous ways. God promised that the land itself would respond against the people for neglecting God's Word, being indifferent to God's holy and righteous ways, and rejecting God's grace.
It is important to recognize the revelation of God through the documentation of His promises. The consequences associated with disobedience were not intended to completely destroy the children of Israel. Keep in mind, since He is the Lord God Almighty, He can exterminate any people group He desires at any moment. Though the judgments that Leviticus 26:14-39 documents are terrible, they do not involve the extermination of God's people. Thus, as bad as the judgments seem, they are delivered with restraint. God demonstrates self-control as Judge because He is faithful to fulfill His eternally unconditional promises. While one generation might deny the Lord, the scriptures explain that God's motives for delivering judgment is to correct the path of His people. Thus, God promised to severely judge His people to chastise them and correct them. The presentation of judgments in Leviticus 26:14-39 shows that God's response to disobedience grows incrementally, relative to the disobedience of the people. God judges disobedience with the intent to "reform" His people. If they would not heed to God's punishment through repentance, the scriptures reveal God's promises to be diligent in His correction through more judgment.
Leviticus 26:14-39 explains that the disobedience of the people would be rooted in pride. Therefore, the judgments of God were intended to break the pride of the people. This is why the judgments of God are communicated in such a way as to remind the children of Israel that God is the Creator of all things as the Sovereign Lord God Almighty. The judgements that God promised show that God has control over diseases and one's physical condition as Creator. The judgments that God promised show that God has control over the land and the crops that it produces as Creator. The judgments that God promised show that God has control over the world's armies; and even controls when and how they respond as Creator. God promised that persistent disobedience would affect future generations within the camp of Israel. Continued rebellion in Israel would cause the people to turn against one another, even against their own families so that parents would devour children - literally and figuratively. God promised that younger generations in Israel would also be affected by the consequences of His judgments for neglect, indifferent, and rebellion. This shows that the judgments that God promised showed Him to be in control of all things, even concerning the future.
The warnings and promises that God made to Israel were intended to strike fear into the hearts of His people. The Creator of all things had taken the children of Israel as His own people. God did not want His people to become prideful in their examination of God because of the favor that God had shown them since God understood that their pride would lead to their neglect of Him, then their indifference of Him, then their rejection and rebellion against Him. God wanted the children of Israel to know that one cannot expect to treat the Creator of all things such a way get away with it. God's punishments were intended to reform the people and humble them by reminding them of who God is. He is the Lord God and there is no other. This is why God promised that His judgments would cause the people to live in fear, paranoia, and hopelessness. God promised that those who oppose Him would live lives defined in futility, dissatisfaction, and discomfort. The judgments that God promised to bring assured that the people would be in disarray, desperation, darkness, and disbelief over the reality of circumstances.
One can examine the history of Israel to see that God was faithful to fulfill these promises. The history of Israel shows that God was able to bring diseases, food shortages, droughts, internal conflict, and enemy take-overs. Since the history of Israel proves God's judgments to be true and God faithful to His promises, then the history of Israel proves that God is able and all-powerful as Creator! Since God is almighty, He should be feared and respected as such. His Word should not be treated with indifference. His promises should not be disregarded one way or another. His grace should not be rejected without the understanding that He will respond. The history of Israel shows that God is not only faithful, but living and functional to do exactly as He promises. Others may make promises they are unable to keep. The history of Israel shows that God is able to keep ALL promises, no matter how extraordinary they may seem. As a nation, the children of Israel have opposed God by rejecting His Word and His Son for a long time. The condition of Israel is in line with the scriptures concerning God's chastisement for reform. Thus, as the children of Israel persist in rejection, God will persist in chastisement until the pride of His people is broken, thereby facilitating the opportunity to do what He desires to do all along - forgive and restore!
Though life is challenging and painful many times, God’s will was never intended this way. God desired His people to live in “pleasure.” When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in the Garden of Eden, which is translated “Garden of Pleasure.” However, God’s definition for pleasure is much different than mankind’s definition. God created everything in a perfect condition and wanted His people to enjoy the benefits of His work while acknowledging Him as the cause for a good life. The Bible explains that mankind rebelled against God’s quality of pleasure, despised that which He defined as “good,” and sought to re-write His rules and standards, creating death and destruction instead. Since then, people have been trying to seek that which God created (pleasure) without God and only find cheap imitations and dark consequences instead. Hence, life becomes far more problematic than it has to be. Yet the scriptures explain that God is patient with His people, and in spite of the world’s transgressions, God continues to provide opportunities to have “pleasure” and a “good” life if one is willing to submit to His terms and accept His definition of “good” and “pleasurable.”
In Leviticus 26:1-13 the Bible documents God’s final address to Moses concerning the Levitical priests. The Lord sought to remind His people of some basic fundamental things in order to make sure His people were aware of His intentions and knew the method that God sought to employ to achieve those intentions. God began His address by reminding the children of Israel that He had good intentions for His people. God made good promises to His people through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that were eternally unconditional in nature. God wanted to make the children of Israel into a strong nation that dwelt safely in a good land, and wanted to physically and spiritually bless the world through them. These promises were founded on God’s grace since none of the patriarchs performed any acts or works that inspired God to respond with rewards. God’s intentions were amazingly great and even transcended into the realms of eternity.
The scriptures reminded the children of Israel that God’s promises were exclusive in nature, and as a result, God expected the children of Israel to respond to Him in an appropriate manner. First, God considered an “appropriate response” from the people to be demonstrated through exclusive worship and obedience to His commands. God reminded the children of Israel that they should not seek to build up idols, carved images, or spend extraordinary amount of time thinking about anything that wasn’t Him. God did not want His people worship other gods, ideas, philosophies, or adopting ways of life that suffocated their focus on Him. God did not want the minds of His people consumed with other things that would cause them to forget who He was so as to be ungrateful for that which had done, was doing, and was going to do. Leviticus 26:1-13 reminded the children of Israel that He alone is Yahweh Elohim. He alone is God and there is no other. Thus, the quality of life that the children of Israel would have was because of God – whether it was good or bad. God wanted His people to know that if life was good, it was because He made it that way. Likewise, if life was bad, God wanted His people to know that it was because the people had departed from Him (the essence of good and right), and He allowed it to be that way.
God explained to the children of Israel that He desired for His people to be taken care of and have all the things they needed in life in extraordinary abundance. It was not just that God desired to take care of the basic needs of His people, but desired to provide the greatest quality of life that is possible on this earth. This does not mean that life was going to be perfect, but God made promises that He desired to keep so that the people would be able to enjoy a good strong and rich nation that dwelt safely and confidently in their land by His own provision and protection as a witness to the rest of the world of His glory and greatness. God wanted to share His glory and greatness with His people through the physical circumstances in the lives of His people. God promised the children of Israel a land flowing with milk and honey. Leviticus 26:1-13 explains that milk and honey weren’t the only things God desired to give. He promised to give an abundance of fruit and wheat in harvest times throughout the year. God promised that the people would be taken care of all year around and not have any lacking of any kind. God promised that, though nations would oppose them in jealousy and wicked desires, the people would be safe. Foreign nations would be no threat. Thus, the children of Israel would be able to life in comfort and security trusting that the Creator of all things was protecting them and sustaining them! God wanted His people to enjoy great power by His own strength to the extent that He said that five Israelites would be able to chase away one hundred foreign enemies away, and one hundred Israelites would be able to chase away ten thousand foreign enemies. God wanted the circumstances of His people to be good so that His people would recognize that He is a good God and His righteousness is proper and true.
Though God’s covenant with Abraham was unconditional, God’s covenant with the people through Moses was conditional. This means that God would give the children of Israel the land, make them a great nation, and bless the world through them by Jesus no matter what. God would simply exercise His sovereign control to ensure that these promises were fulfilled in the right conditions that He determines as “good.” The covenant of the Law is conditional in the sense that the circumstantial experiences of the people were tied to their willingness to obey God. The Lord would work to fulfill His promises to Abraham no matter what; but the people of God could either enjoy the process of God’s fulfillment through obedience, or hate the process of God’s fulfillment through disobedience. God obviously preferred that His people would obey so that His people could enjoy the process of His work to fulfill greater promises.
The scriptures explain that God gave certain laws concerning spiritual righteousness, civil fairness, religious worship, financial provision, restitution and restoration, and so forth. God communicated His standards of what was “right” and “good” through the Law given to Moses. Leviticus 26:1-13 states that God told the people to treat these laws certain ways in order to place themselves on the beneficial side of God’s work to fulfill greater promises. God first told the people to “walk” in His commandments. This reflects God’s desire for His people to pursue Him and His righteousness. The world is filled with darkness. God wanted His people to deny their inclinations to pursue darkness and instead pursue Him through the Law and the Word. Next, God told His people to “keep” His commandments. This reflects God’s desire for His people to consider God’s commandments and hold them in mind. God wanted His people to meditate on His Word and the righteousness He communicated through His Law. God wanted His people to consider Him and think about Him, not neglect Him in mind, having greater desires for other things that were temporal or wicked in nature. Lastly, God told His people to “perform” His commandments. This means that God wanted His people to be doers of the Word. He wanted His people to strive to be righteous and holy like Him by executing the commands of the Law. The Law explained God’s holy, righteous, and just nature. God communicated that in order that His people would have a standard to follow in order to guide their conduct in such a way that reflected His own nature.
Knowing that His people were sinful in nature, God did not command His people to “obey,” in the traditional sense, thereby setting His people up for failure. Instead, God only wanted His people to desire Him and pursue Him, appreciate Him and consider Him, and do as He did trusting His ways to be good, right, and true. God reminded the people that the commands of the Sabbath and the sanctuary were tools that He gave to ensure the people were focused on Him. Thus, God promised that if His people would desire Him, consider Him, and seek to be like Him, trusting His identity to be right, good, and true, He would dwell with them! God promised that He would make His “tabernacle” among the people. This means that the presence of God would dwell with the people. God promised that God would walk among the people in order to be their God. This means that God would get close to His people, fellowship with them, and have a close relationship with them. God promised to reveal Himself to His people as the Lord God who delivered His people form the bondage of Egypt. This means that God would demonstrate His power, His mercy, and His grace before His people! Clearly, God’s expectations for the people offered incredible favor for them! The circumstances of the people would be good because God would be intimately present and engaged in the lives of His people. The circumstances of God’s people would be good because the goodness of God would be in the midst of the people.
Lastly, Leviticus 26:1-13 explains that God had purpose for wanting to bless His people. God was not interested in increasing the enterprise of His people without reason. God had specific purposes for giving His people good and pleasurable living circumstances. God wanted His people to walk in His commandments and pursue Him in order that they could be free – from the bondage of enemies, but mostly from the bondage of sin. When one denies the desire to do wrong in order to do what is right according to God’s standards, one is liberated from the consequences of bondage that sin creates. God did not want His people to be enslaved since slavery that results in destruction and death is not pleasurable from the perspective of God. God wanted His people to walk upright. This phrase refers to the holy and righteous nature of God. The Bible explains that the Lord is holy and eternal in nature. He is the essence of life and perfect goodness. God desires His people to enjoy the benefits of His essence, which requires one to be as He is – upright. God gave the children of Israel the Law in order to show them what “uprightness” looked like. Hence, those who pursued God’s nature and character and desired to be as He was would be enabled to receive the benefits of God’s nature.
This was God’s intent for the Law. Thankfully, the benefits of God’s New Covenant don’t require one to “perform” in order to receive the benefits of God’s promises. Today, one is not required to satisfy the requirements of the Law through “the Sabbaths and the sanctuary.” Though God still desires to bring circumstantial favor by dwelling with His people, this is now achieved through faith in Jesus Christ. When one trusts in the testimony of Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah through humble repentance, one is equipped with the Holy Spirit, which facilitates one’s connection to God, and enables one with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the people of God no longer need to do “stuff” to connect to God and receive the benefits that come from such connection. Yet the people of God are still required to desire God and pursue Him – only through Jesus by the Word instead of the Law. The people of God are still required to consider God and meditate on Him – only with the focal point of Christ in the Word instead of the Law. The people of God are no longer required to do the commands of the Law to be saved, but are instead equipped with the Holy Spirit to demonstrate the righteousness of the Law in salvation. God promised, that whether through the covenant of the Law or Grace, the consequences of one desiring God and trusting in the truth and power of His words to connect to Him, results in goodness and pleasure because He is good and pleasurable, and it is impossible to receive these things anywhere else!
The Bible teaches that the Lord is sovereign over all things as Creator. Since The Bible teaches on the basic idea that, since He made it, it’s His. The Bible emphasizes the need of God’s people to recognize this fundamental truth. This thought process includes property, people, as well as one’s own life. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 6:19 the Apostle Paul wrote that believers were “bought with a price” and that the life of a believer is not their own. The life of a believer belongs to God because the blood of Jesus redeemed such a life to God. The Bible explains that God purchased His people form the bondage of sin, paying sin’s wages (death) through the crucifixion of His Son. Thus, the lives of God’s people belong to God as Redeemer, which would include all facets of life. Now if God were a harsh and terrible God, one might have a problem giving one’s life up to God; but that is not the case. Rather, the Bible explains that God’s identity as Redeemer is for the purpose of offering liberty and rest for those that yield to His redemption.
In Leviticus 25:1-55 the Bible teaches about God’s position as Redeemer. The scriptures explain that God commanded Moses to lead the children of Israel through various Sabbath days that were to be celebrated in addition to the normal weekly Sabbath days and the normal Sabbath days for the feast days. Leviticus 25:1-55 explains that God even wanted a “Sabbath rest” for the land. He instructed the children of Israel that they were to sow and harvest the land for 6 years and let the land rest for 7 years. Modern farming has adopted similar philosophies and practices understanding the practical benefits of this so as to not strain resources. It is true that God’s command for a Sabbath rest for the land possessed a great deal of practical benefit. However, God’s major emphasis was to teach His people about His sovereign control as Creator, and His desire to provide, thereby causing His people to learn to trust in Him as Provider.
This section of scripture also details the laws for the Year of Jubilee. The concept of Jubilee was all about redemption in order to teach the people of God about His identity as Redeemer. The scriptures commanded the children of Israel to celebrate the Year of Jubilee every 49 years on the Day of Atonement. God commanded every fifteenth year to be a redeeming year as well. The Bible explains that the Jubilee was supposed to be a time of restoration. The time of restoration was a time in which those with debt could be forgiven of their debt. The time of restoration was a time in which those who experienced loss of property or goods could have the opportunity to regain their possessions. The time of restoration was a time in which those who were in bondage could be set free, and so forth.
As the Lord gave the commands for the Year of Jubilee, He revealed that the children of Israel were to recognize this year, trusting Him and His desire to keep His people in liberty rather than bondage. Leviticus 25:1-55 explains that the Lord addressed the fears of the children of Israel regarding the Sabbath rest for the land. The fear of the children of Israel was about how they would eat on the 7th year if they were unable to sow the land. God told the people not to worry about it. God said that He would provide an extra increase in the land on the 6th year so that they would have plenty to eat in the 7th year, and even in the 8th year while the crops regrew. God promised that He would provide enough food for 3 years during that 6th year so that the children of Israel would be sustained. God would give them just enough. The children of Israel were simply required to trust the Lord and His faithfulness to His promises and ultimately recognize that He was the One in charge of any produce at any period in time, whether the people were involved in the farming or not.
The year of the Sabbath rest for the land was intended to teach the children of Israel how to trust the Lord, recognizing His sovereign control. Leviticus 25:1-55 explains that God reminded the children of Israel of a very important point – the land was His! Though the Bible refers to the land of Israel as “the Promised Land,” the Bible also teaches that it belongs to God. Thus, while the land was given to Israel, it was given for them to possess as stewards. Since the land was God’s own land, they were accountable to take care of it in the manner that God desired and use it according to God’s own purposes lest He take it away for bad stewardship. Since the land was God’s own land, He would not let the land go bad. God is not interested in allowing His own possession to decay and become useless. The Bible teaches that God is willing to sustain His possessions to accomplish His purposes that are good and right. Therefore, the command to let the land rest for a year is a good command that the children of Israel were expected to obey because the land belonged to God.
The same principal was taught through the Jubilee. If the land belonged to God, so did the people and possessions in it. Therefore, when God commanded the children of Israel to set free and make available, that which was in bondage or under possession, the people were expected to respond with obedience. Though a person might have purchased a piece of land from one in debt, that land was still God’s land. Thus, the purchaser of that land was merely buying the opportunity to take care of God’s own land. The same went for people and other possessions. Since the nature of God is Redeemer – as demonstrated through the exodus of Israel – God wanted His people to respond in His nature. God reminded the children of Israel that they were once slaves in a foreign land. God wanted His people to appreciate their freedom and conduct themselves in such a way that they acted in His nature to free others, providing the benefits of liberty to others. It would be hypocritical for the children of Israel to have been slaves then seek to keep people in bondage, resembling the condition they previously hated so much.
God told the children of Israel that their own brethren were not to be enslaved. God told the children of Israel that foreigners that were enslaved due to debt were to be released as they were released from bondage in Egypt. God told the children of Israel that they were to provide opportunities for people to be restored and be redeemed in the Year of Jubilee because God desires restoration and redemption. Since all things belong to Him, the people of Israel were not to seek to lord over His possessions, clinging to His people and His things, seeking to remain in possession of that which was His. The people of God would be wise to understand these truths. If one’s body is not one’s own since the blood of Christ redeemed it, then there is nothing that one possesses that doesn’t belong to God. He is Creator. It is all His. The people of God are merely stewards of God’s things. Thus, as a child of God, one must consider how one uses and treats the things of God. Is one seeking to lord over God’s own possession, or simply be a good steward of it? Is one seeking to cling to God’s own possession, or treat it as God’s own possession? Is one willing to live with the same motives as God – to see the world and the people in it redeemed and restored by Jesus Christ, trusting that His ways are right and good? The laws of Jubilee can be complex in nature, but the point is simple. God is in charge. Everything is His. The people of God are expected to respond to these truths in humble submission, obeying His commands to ensure one is taking good care of His stuff, according to His will and purposes, for His glory, trusting His ways to be right and good.
The way a person treats the reputation of God and the manner in which a person refers to Him is extremely important! The Bible explains that God is really in tune with the ways that people refer to Him. The Bible teaches that God is holy, righteous and just, and He expects people to refer to Him as such. The Bible explains that there are severe consequences associated with the improper references of the Lord. There are severe penalties associated with how a person considers the Lord and talks about Him. Those who profane the Lord were to be punished by death.
In Leviticus 24:10-23 the Bible documents an interesting event in Israel’s history. The Bible explains that there was a man whose mother was a Jew but whose father was an Egyptian. This person was having an argument with a Jew one day so that the men ended up getting in a fight inside of the camp. The scriptures explain that the Jewish man was provoked to fight the man with an Egyptian father because the man with an Egyptian father was blaspheming the name of the Lord. The original language explains that this man was referred to Yahweh as one that is common. The man with an Egyptian father was referring to God as if He were not supreme and sovereign. The scriptures also explain that the man “cursed” the name of God. This means that the man was referring to God and making light of His identity as if God did not possess holy and sovereign authority.
Leviticus 24:10-23 explains that the man with the Egyptian father was brought before Moses. The fight was broken up and the man that was labeled as a blasphemer was brought to Moses for judgment. The scriptures explain that when Moses received the man, he held him in custody until he heard from God about what to do. The Bible explains that Moses sought to know “the mind of the Lord.” Though the man that was brought to him was accused of being a blasphemer, Moses reserved judgment until he knew God’s perspective on the matter. Moses wanted to be in line with the Lord and ensure that his mind was in unison with God’s own mind. Blasphemy was a serious accusation, so Moses sought the Lord to ensure that he addressed the matter in the way that God would handle the manner Himself. When it came to blasphemy, Moses wanted to ensure he was simply an extension to the hand of God doing exactly as God wanted to do.
The Bible explains that God indeed responded to Moses. Moses sought to know the mind of God and diligently sought Him. God was faithful to respond to Moses and reveal His mind concerning blasphemy. The Bible explains that God wanted Moses to take the man outside of the camp, have the witnesses of the man’s blasphemy lay hands on the man to account his guilt to him, then have the whole congregation of Israel stone him to death! The wages of blasphemy against God was death. Additionally, God wanted His people to execute the man. God specifically stated that He wanted “all the congregation” to stone anyone found guilty of blasphemy. God would not permit a blasphemer to live, and wanted His people to demonstrate the same level of offense as God felt by executing the man with their own hands. God wanted the people to take responsibility in addressing matters of blasphemy, and be active in participation of removing it from the camp. This means that, as Moses sought to know the mind of God, the Lord wanted His people to function as the arm of God concerning judgment against blasphemy. In other words, the people were to be as intolerant to making the name of God common as God was!
In addition to commanding Moses to execute those guilty of blasphemy and profaning the identity of God, the Lord reminded Moses about His authority, and why His name should not be considered as common. Leviticus 24:10-23 recounts God’s commands regarding murder. It was not allowed, and murderers were to be put to death. The scriptures recount God’s command regarding the death of animals. Since God held the lives of people in high esteem than animals, killers of animals were to pay restitution only. God’s point was that, taking life was unacceptable in the eyes of God. As the holy, righteous and just God, He alone possesses authority over all life. Therefore, those who sought to challenge His authority or exercise His authority over life by taking life into their own hands were to pay consequence. Taking the life of God’s animals was punishable by repayment in fair restitution. Taking the life of God’s people was punishable by death.
Moses sought the mind of God. The Lord revealed that His mind was focused on fairness. God repeated His desire to see fair restitution paid for various offenses. As previously stated in the Book of Exodus, God commanded that an offender should repay fracture for fracture, eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. God commanded that animals should be restored fully when disfigured or maimed or killed. When it came to the murder of people, God was still interested in fairness. Since God is the author of life, He alone possesses authority over life. Thus, when one challenges His authority by taking that which is His, God commanded that the life of that person should be taken. God’s mind regarding blasphemy and profaning His name was still in the interest of fairness. Since God is Creator and is holy and righteous, one is expected to treat God with the appropriate fear, reverence, and respect. When a person considers God as common, it is fair that such a person be killed.
The identity of God – the eternal Creator of all things – is important! One must be sure to treat God in the manner that He deserves as the sovereign God Most High. When one makes the conscious choice to treat God with irreverence, one has offended the creator and sustainer of life, and thus forfeited their opportunity to receive it. According to God’s Law, those that profane the name of God are those that deny His identity as Creator and Sustainer of life, and thus, reject the life He offers, thereby forfeiting their right to receive it. Under the context of the Law, it is only fair that such a person die. In reality, to consider God as common is to reject the quality of life that God offers. For this reason, the death that one receives, as a blasphemer of God is merely a reflection of one’s desire to die since one does not consider God as the authority over life. It is critical for people to know the true authority of God and respond to such authority in a manner that is pleasing to God. To consider the Lord any less than scripture defines Him as is a dangerous game. Therefore, the people of God should seek to exalt the name of the Lord in honor of His essence and the life that He gives.
The Bible explains that Jesus is the “Bread of Life” (John 6:48). This idea refers to Jesus as the essence of one’s spiritual nourishment. As bread is a basic nutritional element, Jesus is the fundamental spiritually nourishing element. As one consumes bread, one’s body extracts the nutrients from the bread, makes it a part of one’s body, and that’s how one is physically sustained. The concept of Jesus as the “Bread of Life” works the same way. Jesus taught that one is to “consume” Him. This means that one is required to receive His testimony according to the Word, digest it, and make it a part of one’s life in order to be spiritually nourished. As a person cannot live without physical nourishment, the Bible explains that one cannot spiritually live without faith in Jesus – consuming His essence through the Word.
The Bible is the method by which one must consume Jesus. One is required to hear the testimony of Jesus, contemplate the Bible’s claims about Jesus, and then determine those claims to be true in faith. This means that one’s knowledge of the identity of Jesus according to scripture is equally as important as one’s knowledge of the works and teachings of Jesus. For example, the climax of Jesus’ ministry according to the Gospels is His death. Yet if one does not understand Jesus’ identity as the Son of God, His crucifixion is no different than any other crucifixion that took place in history (and there were millions of crucifixions in history). Jesus’ death and the manner in which it came becomes most important when one accepts the Bible’s teaching that Jesus is God in flesh. This means that God took the form of man to be humiliated and killed on behalf of others. This means that the blood of Jesus is equal to the blood of Yahweh, and is valuable enough to pay the debt of all sin. This means that the crucifixion of Jesus should be considered as the deliberate plan of God to save sinners. This is the truth the scriptures command believers to consume when referring to Jesus as the Bread of Life.
Proof that Jesus’ death was the deliberate plan of God can be found in God’s provision of the Law. In Leviticus 24:5-9 the Bible recounts God’s commands concerning the “showbread.” The showbread consisted of twelve small cakes that were to be baked with flour and put on display in the tabernacle on the table in front of the veil of Testimony. The scriptures explain that God wanted each cake to contain a certain amount of ingredients and wanted them arranged in certain ways. When the scriptures provide details such as these, one must consider the spiritual implications. When God provides intense details for His commands, it is because God is seeking to reveal things about Himself and His plans through those details.
One of the details of God’s command dealt with the number of cakes that needed to be baked. God wanted twelve cakes and wanted them arranged on the table in two rows of six cakes. The Bible explains that the ingredients for the cakes were to be taken from the children of Israel so that the cakes were to be considered as an offering from all of the children of Israel. Thus, God determined twelve cakes to be baked – one cake serving as an offering from each tribe. The cakes were to be baked by fire, and once completed, were to have frankincense poured over the top of them. Once that was done, the scriptures explain that the bread was only to be consumed by the priests and the priests were only to eat this bread in the holy place. Leviticus 24:5-9 explains that this procedure was to be done on a weekly basis as an everlasting covenant.
Looking at the details of the commands concerning the showbread, one can see the spiritual connections to Jesus as the Bread of Life, thus making the ministry of the showbread a prophetic picture of God’s plan concerning Jesus. First, the bread was to be an offering made by fire on behalf of the children of Israel. The scriptures teach that while salvation is for the Jew and Gentile, God sent Jesus as His Messianic Servant to the Jews first. God made special promises with Israel that were eternally unconditional and God is faithful to fulfill them. Hence, a major part of the work of Jesus as Messiah is focused on the nation of Israel as the fulfillment of God’s promises to them. The concept of the showbread was that it was an offering representing the 12 tribes of Israel that was to be consumed by the priests. In the same way, Jesus was the Bread of Life and was given up as an offering on behalf of the sins of Israel (as well as the rest of the world). Jesus came from Israel, was given up for sacrifice by Israel, and will be successful to complete the fulfillment of God’s plans for Israel.
It must also be noted that the showbread was to be anointed with frankincense. The Bible explains that when Jesus was born, the magi brought three gifts for Him. One of those gifts was frankincense, thus prophesying that the purpose of Jesus’ birth was for death. Frankincense was mostly used as a burial ointment during the times of Jesus. The Book of Hebrews explains that Jesus came into the world for the purpose of death in order to atone for the sins of the world. The anointing of the bread with frankincense reveals a prophetic picture of Christ. Jesus, as the bread of life, was given frankincense at His birth and also anointed with frankincense to show that the purpose of His life was to die as an offering to God. Leviticus 24:5-9 explains that only the priests were allowed to consume the showbread, and it was to be considered most holy to them. This is because of the spiritual lessons that God sought to teach His people through the showbread. The role of the priests was to serve as mediators between God and His people. They were the one’s that were appointed to consume the showbread that signified Jesus as the Bread of Life. They were to connect the people to God by setting the standard of sanctification through the consumption of that which symbolized the Messiah, His purpose and work.
The showbread was an important ministry. The priests were to regularly bake it on a weekly basis and consume it in the holy places often. God made these practices a regular part of the priestly duties to prepare the minds of His people for the work He would fulfill through Jesus. As the showbread was connected to the children of Israel, Jesus is the Messiah King of Israel. As the priests consumed the showbread as a holy practice, the people of God are to consume Jesus as the Bread of Life. As the showbread was to be anointed with an ointment associated with death and burial, Jesus was appointed to death and burial in order to pay the price of sin. The showbread was given its name because it was to be on display continually before the priests. They were to bake these cakes and have twelve of them on display every single week as a constant reminder of the work God was determined to do through Jesus as the Bread of Life. The plan of God concerning Jesus’ Messianic work was set in place long before the New Testament times. This means that one’s need to trust in Jesus as Savior and the manner in which one is spiritually nourished has been truth since the beginning of time as documented in scripture.
In the beginning, when the world was formless and darkness consumed its chaotic state, the Bible explains that God spoke and responded in direct contrast. The world was defined by darkness, so God said, “Let there be light.” The Book of Genesis explains that the Father saw the light and considered it “good.” The original language of the Bible explains that God did not “create” light. Instead, when God spoke, God “revealed” light. There is a big difference there. If God created light, it means that light didn’t exist previously. However, in that God “revealed” light, it shows that light did previously exist and God simply made it manifest in a way that was contrary to “darkness.” The scriptures go on to explain that the essence of “light” that the Father revealed on the very first day was Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, Jesus professed that He was “the light of the world.” Jesus proved His eternal nature as the fleshly embodiment of Yahweh, showing that, as the light of the world, Jesus was the “light” that was revealed in contrast to darkness on day one.
God’s work to contrast darkness on the first day of creation is important. The Bible explains that before creation, the devil rebelled against God so that God cast him out of heaven. The Bible then explains that God created the world in the midst of the devil, which is why the condition of the world was defined as “dark” and “void” before God added form and purpose. As the Father spoke His Word, light was emitted. Jesus previously existed as the Word of God (John 1:1), but when the Word was spoken on the first day, the Father was determined to reveal Himself in holy contrast to the devil. Since the devil was described as “darkness,” God revealed Himself as “light,” which identifies His nature as Messiah. Hence, the nature and role of Messiah is defined as the revelation of God in contrast to sin, death, and the devil. God uses the illustration of “light” in the scriptures to help His people understand His Messianic nature.
In Leviticus 24:1-4 the Bible explains one of the primary and basic functions of the high priest. In this portion of scripture, Moses reminded Aaron that one of his fundamental responsibilities was to keep the lampstand lit at all times. The task was simple in concept. God commanded the priests that the lampstand that sat outside of the veil of the Testimony was to remain lit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. God commanded the priests to use fresh olive oil to keep the lamp lit. This means that someone, or a group of people had to be appointed to crushing olives to extract enough oil to keep the lamp lit at all times. Aaron, and all other high priests that came after him, were in charge of making sure that all necessary processes were being properly executed to ensure the lamp was illuminated continually before the children of Israel.
There are two fundamental Biblical truths one must consider when examining God’s command in Leviticus 24:1-4. First, one must consider the Messianic symbolism and imagery of “light.” Secondly, one must consider the Messianic images and symbolisms that took place within the role of the high priest. God ordained the high priest to serve as a prophetic picture of the Messiah. Thus, God’s command for the high priest to keep the lamp lit provides an illustration of the responsibility of the Messiah. The Messiah is responsible for standing in contrast to the darkness of the world at all times. This is why the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so imperative. Jesus proclaimed to be “the light of the world.” However, if Jesus had remained dead, as high priest, He would have been unable to illuminate the world. Yet the scriptures proclaim and provide many infallible proofs that Jesus resurrected from the dead. Thus, as the light of the world, Jesus proved His eternal nature, and His ability to keep the world illuminated, contrasting darkness, fulfilling the role of high priest.
In 1 John 3:8 the Bible explains that Jesus came into the world specifically to destroy the devil and his works. The Book of Genesis explains that the evil is the embodiment of “darkness.” Therefore, it is appropriate that Jesus revealed Himself as “the light of the world” while He was in the world, showing His holy nature as God. The works of Jesus during His ministry proved that He was righteous according to the Law, which identified the righteousness of Yahweh. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that Jesus is eternally in such a condition, so is eternally holy as the physical embodiment of Yahweh, thereby contrasting darkness and revealing His qualifications to deal with the devil as Judge. The Law explains that the Father wanted the duties of the high priest to portray foreshadowing pictures of the work Jesus would fully satisfy in spiritual terms. The responsibility of the high priest to keep the lamp illuminated was simple in practice. However, the duties for Jesus to keep the spiritual “lamp” lit in contrast to the darkness and sin in the world is a job only fit for God Himself. The Bible explains that Jesus executed His duty to perfection, thus revealing that He is God!
This lesson provides great encouragement for the people of God. The high priest was commanded to keep the lamp lit before the veil of Testimony as a sign that the presence of God was amongst the people. The duty of the high priest was symbolic of the work Jesus was supposed to do. Therefore, since Jesus is “the light of the world,” and since He is eternal in nature, the spiritual “lamp” is always lit, meaning that the presence of God is continually in the world! No matter how dark the world might seem with the extent of sin that is in it, Jesus is the fulfillment of the role of high priest, which means He is in charge of keeping the “lamp lit continually” as “the light of the world.” Jesus proved His eternal nature in the Resurrection, which means that He is always at work, standing in contrast to the devil, destroying His works and efforts by offering salvation by grace through faith, and sanctifying His people from sin. The Bible teaches that God’s people should “let their light so shine before men so that they may see good works and glorify God.” So long as the people of God are humbly repentant and submitting to the will of God to be sanctified from sin, the Messianic light of Jesus Christ will continue to shine through His Spirit that is illuminated through His people! That said, when the world seems dark, the people of God should recall their position in the Lord to make it brighter, living sanctified lives in Christ through faith in His identity and work.
There is a saying that goes, “Remember where you came from.” The point of this saying is to remind people of a journey that likely has led to some form of success. The remembrance of the journey is intended to keep one humble and also hungry. It is a good saying, and the scriptures show that God is in favor of this kind of thinking. While the Lord does not want His people to dwell on the past in such a way that one is condemned or frozen in time, unable to progress forward, God does want His people to remember certain things. God instituted feast days and other “memorial-type” ceremonies in order to help the children of Israel focus their minds on that which mattered most – Him.
In Leviticus 23:33-44 the Bible documents God’s command for the Feast of Tabernacles. God commanded that the Feast of Tabernacles was to be the last of the feast days in the holy month (the 7th month). God wanted the Feast of Tabernacles to be celebrated beginning on the fifteenth day of the month. The Feast of Tabernacles was to be a weeklong celebration. The feast day was supposed begin with a Sabbath day and then end with a Sabbath day in order to bookend the celebration with mental focus on the Lord, His identity, and His work. The Lord commanded the children of Israel to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles as a permanent statute throughout their generations, and the prophets even wrote that the Feast of Tabernacles would be celebrated during the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ!
The scriptures explain that the Feast of Tabernacles was a feast day that God held in uniquely high esteem. The spiritual lesson that God wanted to explain to the children of Israel was significant. Being a weeklong feast day, God commanded the Israelites to offer sacrifices and offerings the entire week. Each day the people were to provide sin offerings, burnt offerings, and freewill offerings. The feast day was called the “Feast of Tabernacles” because God commanded the children of Israel to dwell in booths for the entire week. The people were commanded to take palm branches and palm leaves to construct tents out of them and live in them for the week of the celebration. This unusual command was to serve as a memorial. Leviticus 23:33-44 explains that God wanted the children of Israel to remember the days of the wilderness journey. God wanted His people to remember that a generation of Israelites had to live in make-shiv tents for 40 years before entering the Promised Land. God wanted His people to remember the difficult living circumstances associated with living in such a manner.
The Bible explains that the wilderness journey of the children of Israel was difficult. The Bible documents that the children of Israel had to deal with the hardships of desolate wasteland, weather challenges, food and resource challenges, snakes, and hostile people groups. Though God met the needs of His people, the scriptures do not show that the people were given much comfort during the 40-year period. The people journeyed from place to place and had to lug their stuff around with them. The scriptures explain that there were many people in the camp and the people were instructed to set up their camps in specific ways, so migration was a difficult process. The scriptures also explain that the children of Israel had to tear down and erect the tabernacle when moving from place to place. At the end of it all, the people did not have comfortable dwelling places to go to with soft beds. The people went back to tents and huts made from the things they could find in the wilderness of Sinai.
God wanted His people to remember this journey. Though the future generations of the children of Israel would inhabit a land flowing with milk and honey, the work that God had to do and the challenges that the people had to endure in order for Israel to possess that land was quite difficult! The scriptures explain that God desired to keep His people humble. God did not want His people developing a sense of entitlement and self-righteousness. He wanted His people to remember two primary things. First, the children of Israel were once slaves in Egypt and God delivered them. Secondly, the children of Israel were helpless in the wilderness and unable to possess the Promised Land on their own, but God provided for them and fulfilled His promise to give them the land. The wilderness journey reveals that God is the sovereign Lord of Hosts. No matter the power of the nation, God is able to overcome and free His people from bondage. This is important to know of God since He exercises His almighty and sovereign nature to deliver His people from the bondage of sin. The wilderness journey also reveals the faithfulness of God and His ability to provide in order to fulfill His promises. Though the wilderness journey was difficult, God met the needs of the people – even in spite of their complaining and disobedience. The faithfulness of God to bring the people into the land also showed that God was merciful, patient, and gracious.
Leviticus 23:33-44 explains that God wanted His people to dwell in tents for a week in order to remember these things about Himself. The people would have to forfeit the comforts of their own homes for a short time, but were to learn to appreciate the fact that such manner of living was only temporary because God was faithful to bring His people into the land as promised. The reminder of the living conditions of the wilderness journey was intended to cause the children of Israel to consider God as Deliverer, Provider, Protector, and Creator. The scriptures show that God reminded the people that He is the Lord God. He is Yahweh Elohim – the Creator of all things. He is worthy of remembrance. God wanted His people to know that the Promised Land was an act of grace, but came with a great cost that the Lord was willing to pay Himself. It is for these exact reasons that the Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated during the Millennial Reign of Christ on this planet. Though all things will be made subject to Jesus for 1,000 years at this time, and the devil will have no influence over people during this time, God is determined to cause His people to remember the cost associated with such wonderful living conditions. God wants His people to remember the journey in order to appreciate and glorify the Shepherd that led the people through it according to the promises of scripture.