Christ in the Law
One of the most soul stirring experiences in Bible study is the discovery of Christ. The burning heart comes to us as Christ is revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures; not by day dreaming over the Word but in the quiet perusal and sustained meditation of the Word of God. Along the road to Emmaus Cleopas and his wife had a never to be forgotten afternoon that may be our experience as we walk with the Lord in the exposition of His truth.
When the Lord Jesus refers to the Law of Moses, He means without doubt the first five books of the Bible. Many Jews believed there were degrees of inspiration and that the three sections of the Canon of Scripture were to be considered in this light with the Law of Moses, the highest revelation. The reason there were five is because it was the sacred number symbolizing Jehovah. Whether we think of the five books of Moses, the five offerings, the five smooth stones of David, the five names of Jehovah in Isaiah, or the five historical books of the N.T., they all portray the person and work of Christ in majesty and sublimity.
Whilst Genesis tells of the Sovereignty of God in Creation; Exodus the Power of God in redemption; Leviticus, the Holiness of God in sanctification; Numbers, the Goodness and Serverity of God in Provocation, and Deuteronomy, the Faithfulness of God in education, we see all wondrously fulfilled in Christ, “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). No matter which of the five books we consider in a general or specific manner they have but one theme, it is Christ.
“Behold the Book whose leaves display
Jesus the Life, the Truth, the Way,
Read it with diligence and prayer,
Search it and thou shalt find Him there.”
The study of these five books is enriching and exhaustless in history, typology, biography, spirituality and prophecy. It is not our intention to set forth a detailed study of the person and work of Christ as found in representative men, objects and events but to summarize some of the teachings from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The opening book of the Bible is called the, “Book of Beginnings” since it deals with the beginning of everything except God, who is eternal. The second book is called “The Names” for it is the link with Joseph in Egypt and the sons of Jacob who migrated to Egypt and paved the way for the birth of the Hebrew nation. The first few words in Exodus, “These are the names” give the true Hebrew title of the book and the plan of God to work out His purpose through the divinely chosen nation. The Book of Leviticus is a divine classic on the subject of the sanctification of God’s people and bears the title, “And the Lord called.” It is the voice of God to the nation from the midst of the Tabernacle with the ultimate objective, holiness in every aspect of life. Following on to the Book of Numbers the Hebrew title gives a crystal clear interpretation of its content with the words, “In the wilderness.” It sets forth the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness and shews them to be a people of a pilgrim character with privileges and problems the common lot of all who walk by faith. The final book of the five is often called the most spiritual in the Old Testament since our Lord quoted from it in His temptation and presents such a marvellous portrayal of His Personality. It is called in the Hebrew Bible by the title, “These be the words,” and is a glowing testimony to the faithfulness of God in word and deed to His chosen people. “These books are the seed plot of the whole after harvest; here is the origin of all issues, the beginning of all ends.” The historical, geographical, chronological, religious and ethical values of these books is very great and all point to Christ in His inscrutable counsels, His historical manifestations, His guiding activity in the life of man and the supreme revelation of His Love.
Looking back over the contents of these five books we first of all note seven men who represent Christ. Adam, Christ as Son; Isaac, Christ as Substitute; Joseph, Christ as Saviour; Moses, Christ as Prophet; Aaron, as Priest; Caleb, Christ as Witness; and Joshua, Christ as Captain of the host of the Lord. The death of Christ is clearly revealed in the history of the children of Israel from Egypt to Caanan. The Passover, Christ our safety; the Red Sea, Christ our strength; the Smitten Rock, Christ our supply; the Offerings in Leviticus, Christ our substitute; the Red Heifer, Christ our sanctifier; the Serpent in the wilderness, Christ our source of life; the Jordan River, Christ our secret of victory.
In the Tabernacle we have a marvel of God’s wisdom and grace. To think that God should set up a tent in the midst of the wilderness and from it teach the glories of Christ and the gateway to Himself is a further witness to the inspiration of the Divine Book. There are seven steps in the panorama of redemption: decision at the gate, acceptance at the altar, cleansing at the laver, intercession at the altar of incense, fellowship at the table, testimony of the candlestick and finally faith gives way to sight inside the veil. Surely all this leads us to the feet of Him who is self revealed. Another important thing to remember in the books of the Law is the Seven Feasts of the Jews. The Passover, on the first month, the 14th day; the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the first month, 15-22nd; First Fruits, first month, 16th day; Penetecost, third month, 6th day; Trumpets, 7th month, 1st day; Day of Atonement, 7th month, 10th day; Feast of Tabernacles, 15th-22nd, 7th month. All these Feasts point the way to Christ. In the Christian calendar the Passover is identified with the death of Christ on the cross. The Feast of Unleavened Bread speaks to us of fellowship with Christ, or communion. The First Fruits speaks of the resurrection of Christ and reminds us of conquest. The day of Pentecost speaks of the advent of the Holy Spirit and suggests the comforter. The last three feasts are Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Trumpets speaks to us of the return of Christ, or His Coming. The Day of Atonement deals with the national atonement of the nation of Israel, or cleansing. The Feast of Tabernacles points us to the Millennium, or the consummation of God’s purposes in relation to the nation Israel.