Darby's Bible Synopsis
And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
The following commentary covers Chapters 8 and 9.
Chapter 8 speaks of the candlestick. [See Note #1] The lamps were to make the light shine from it, and cause that light to be diffused around and before it. This is the case when that which is the vessel of the Holy Spirit shines with the light of God. Whether it be Israel or the church, it throws light before it. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." It is because the profession of the Christian is clear and unequivocal that men, seeing his good works, know to whom to attribute them. The candlestick was of pure gold only, beaten work; it was properly divine, and that only, God's light in the sanctuary. The twelve loaves, connected with what was divine, were the government of God in man; the table was of wood, though overlaid with gold; the number we have seen as marking divine government, but in man, specially true of Israel, but the testimony of God in light is purely divine.
We have next the purification of the Levites and their consecration to the service of Jehovah. This prefigures the consecration of the members of the church to God for service. The Levites were sprinkled, [See Note #2] then shorn like the lepers, and their clothes washed, all their manifested life purified according to the purification of the sanctuary, their ways suited to the service of God. After that the whole people laid their hands upon them, and they laid theirs upon the sacrifices. In the offerings which accompanied their consecration there was no peace-offering, because it was a question of service and not of communion; but the sacrifices which represented the efficacy of the atonement, and the devotedness unto death of the Lord Jesus, were offered, and characterised the ground and nature of their service. They are the double character of the death of Christ. The meat-offering was there also with the burnt-offering; all that constituted Christ as an offering to God, glorifying God in death as regards sin, bearing sins, and also in living perfection and devotedness fully tried in the fire, were found. In the application the sin-offering comes first.
The children of Levi belonged to Jehovah as His redeemed, having been saved, when He judged sin, and themselves offered as an offering to Jehovah. The laying on of hands identified with the victim the person who did so. If it were an offering for sin, the offering was identified with the sinner in his sin; if it were a burnt-offering, the offerer was identified with the value of the consecration to God's glory of the victim in respect of sin. Romans 15:16 is an allusion to this consecration of the Levites, and considers the church as thus offered to God from among the Gentiles. The Israelites having also laid their hands upon the Levites, the whole people were, so to speak, identified in this consecration with them, as an offering made by them to Jehovah, so that the Levites represented them before Him. We find here again, what we have already seen, that the Levites were given to Aaron and his sons, as the church is given to Christ, the true Priest and Son over the house of God, to be used in the service of the house. They were first offered by Israel to Jehovah for His service by Aaron the priest (Numbers 8:11); it was a wave-offering (tenupha); that is, they were presented before the Lord as consecrated to Him. Then (Numbers 8:13) they were set before Aaron and his sons, and so under their hand given to the Lord, wholly given to Him instead of the firstborn (Numbers 8:16-19). How solemn and perfect is the offering up of the servant of the Lord to Him, according to the purification of the sanctuary and all the value and true character of Christ's offering of Himself to God, and the divine judgment of sin. [See Note #3]
The passover, the memorial of redemption, and in consequence the symbol of the unity [See Note #4] of the people of God, as an assembly redeemed by Him, is obligatory during the journey through the wilderness. [See Note #5] Only God makes a provision, in grace and forbearance, for those who were not able to keep it according to His will, to whom it had reference. But these provisions of forbearance and grace kept continually present the idea of a redeemed people and one under the direct fatherly government of God. Besides this we have the precious declaration that God Himself conducted His people by His presence. At His commandment they pitched; at His commandment they journeyed. They kept the charge of Jehovah, according to the commandment of Jehovah. God grant that we, who have His Spirit, may thus be led in all things, to stay or to go entirely under His immediate direction! If we are near God in His communion, we shall be guided by His eye; if not, we shall be guided by His eternal providence, as horses, and mules, with bits and bridles, that we may not stumble.
The introduction of this type at this place shews how much the order of the types, and their introduction in such or such a place, refers to the things typified and to their moral order.
The leper was washed, not merely sprinkled. He was outside the camp, wholly unclean before God. It was cleansing, not consecration; he had been, before the washing, brought under the blood-sprinkling-the full abiding efficacy of Christ's work in itself. Then he was washed with water, cleansed personally in the power of the Spirit and word, according to that water that came out of Christ's side. His clothes or outward demeanour were even cleansed too, and all that could harbour defilement removed. Here it was the consecration of those who, in an ordinary sense were clean and within. The sprinkling was a sign calling to remembrance consecration according to Christ's death, what was fit for the sanctuary, bringing them into that conscious separation to God's service; and so their clothes, their outward demeanour, were washed. It was all of the same nature-the water-but with the leper it was the body of sin destroyed, cleansing from it so as not to serve it. Here it was consecration too.
They served from 25 to 50, the first five years a kind of noviciate, as after 50 they ministered, but were not charged with the service.
In Israel this unity was simply that of a people redeemed together to the enjoyment of a common portion, not a body as the church.
Yet those who had only wilderness character were not in a condition to keep it. None born there were circumcised till they came to Gilgal across the Jordan.
Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.
In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.
And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.
And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.
And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:
And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel?
And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.
The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.
But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.
And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.
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.
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 commandment 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 upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment 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 the 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.