Israelites See Christ

Exodus 28.1

The symbolism of the high priest’s garments has often been greatly overdeveloped, but they clearly were symbols of the woman’s promised seed and Abraham’s expected descendant. Here is what they surely conveyed to believing Israelites, and how they spoke of our Redeemer.

The first five books of the Bible are known as the Pentateuch, and were originally one book.

Everything has its foundation in Genesis. You can find every New Testament doctrine either clearly expressed or hinted at in the first book of the Bible; it is so deep, so rich. There is no progressive revelation in the Bible; every doctrine found in the New Testament has its roots in Genesis. It is a book of literal events and history – that is how it is unequivocally presented in the word of God. It was given after the children of Israel had been 400 years in Egypt, and no doubt by then they were infected by all kinds of false ideas from their time there.

All the doctrines of grace are found in this first book of the Bible. There is nothing better than a study of these to prove beyond all possible doubt the magnificent unity of the Bible, and to prove that it has one author throughout – the Holy Spirit of the Living God. All these great doctrines were delivered by inspiration to Moses around 1445 BC. The landscape was clearly visible in the rising dawn of Old Testament light, and it was precisely the same landscape which sprang into even clearer view in the blazing sun of the New Testament age. Liberal theologians speak of religious ideas emerging gradually over the period of the Old Testament, but the Book of Genesis renders such a view preposterous.

Exodus deals with the centuries after Joseph, the six serious failings that brought the Israelites into slavery, and the raising up of Moses – a type or foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ – who was commissioned by God to lead them out of slavery. Many spiritual lessons are found here – including the astonishing events of the crossing of the Red Sea, God’s provision of manna in the wilderness for forty years, the drama of Sinai and the fall of the people into idolatry. We also have the first hymn to be found in the Bible, in Exodus 15.

The first seven chapters of the book of Leviticus are really about true repentance for believers, and there are a great many principles of worship and holiness that we can learn. It contains many details of burnt offerings, general offerings and offerings for atonement of sin. But what are these sacrifices? They are symbols. We know that they could not actually take away sin, but the people should have realised that, because the same sacrifices were performed over and over again –  the great annual Day of Atonement took place every year and the same sacrifices were offered afterwards. In other words, sin was still there and it was not yet taken away. It all awaited that great coming Descendant.

Numbers contains many stirring lessons and applications for us today, including the necessity of the ‘working church’ principle and spiritual activism, the spiritual posture of warfare that the Christian must adopt, the call-up to holiness and – most dramatically of all – the sobering consequences of man-made worship methods.

Deuteronomy contains doctrines, comforts, promises and exhortations of Moses – the inspired pastor-prophet more quoted by the Saviour than any other. Here are the deep counsels of Moses on the various essential expressions of love to God which should be our pursuit, with hindrances and helps – concluding with chapters of immense stature unfolding God’s covenant dealings with His people.

Related Resources

The Lord’s High Priestly Prayer

A prayer expressing the united will of the Godhead for things about to be secured by the work of Christ. Awed disciples learn, and generations of believers receive mighty assurance. This introduction shows Christ praying as prophet, priest and king for all His own.

Our Great High Priest

Surveying the points of superiority of Christ’s high priesthood over that of O.T. high priests powerfully stirs our gratitude and indebtedness. Likewise, the superior excellence of the covenant of grace increases our love, dedication, and anticipation of future blessing.

Every Believer’s Priestly Duties

Inspired steps for fruitfulness and assurance that track the symbolic duties of the high priest. Here is counsel on: 1) drawing near to God, 2) obtaining cleansing, 3) affirmation and witness, 4) watching over others, 5) gathering for worship and instruction, 6) weighing our remaining time.

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