Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 1.djvu/402

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remotest corners of the camp, that they might never again make a question of it, Is the Lord among us, or is he not? That very cloud, which had already been so pregnant with wonders in the Redsea, and on mount Sinai, sufficient to prove God in it of a truth, was continually in sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys; so that they were inexcusable if they believed not their own eyes. 2. A concealment of the tabernacle, and the glory of God in it. God did indeed dwell among them, but he dwelt in a cloud; Verily, thou art a God that hidest thyself. Blessed be God for the gospel of Christ, in which we all with open face behold, as in a glass, not in a cloud, the glory of the Lord. 3. A protection of the tabernacle. They had sheltered it with one covering upon ant ther, but, after all, the cloud that covered it was its best guard. Those that dwell in the house of the Lord are hidden there, and are safe under the divine protection, Ps. 27. 4, 5. Yet this, which was then a peculiar favour to the tabernacle, is promised to every dwelling place of mount Zion; (Isa. 4. 5.) for upon all the glory shall be a defence. 4. A guide to the camp of Israel in their march through the wilderness, v. 36, 37. While the cloud continued on the tabernacle, they rested; when it removed, they removed and followed it, as being purely under a divine conduct. This is spoken of more fully, Numb. 9. 15, &c. and mentioned with thankfulness, to the glory of God, long afterward, Neh. 9. 19. Ps. 78. 14.—105. 39. As, before the tabernacle was set up, the Israelites had the cloud for their guide, which appeared sometimes in one place and sometimes in another, but from henceforward rested on the tabernacle, and was to be found there only; so the church had divine revelation for its guide from the first, before the scriptures were written; but since the making up of that canon, it rests in that as its tabernacle, and there only it is to be found; as, in the creation, the light which was made the first day centered in the sun the fourth day. Blessed be God for the law and the testimony!

II. The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle, v. 34, 35. The Shechinah now made an awful and pompous entry into the tabernacle, through the outer part of which it passed into the most holy place, as the presence-chamber, and there seated itself between the cherubims. It was in light and fire, and (for aught we know) no otherwise, that the Shechinah made itself visible; for God is Light:mour God is a consuming Fire; with these the tabernacle was now filled, yet, as before, the bush was not consumed, so, now, the curtains were not so much as singed by this fire; for to those that have received the anointing, the terrible majesty of God is not destroying. Yet so dazzling was the light, and so dreadful was the fire, that Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, at the door of which he attended, till the splendour was a little abated, and the glory of the Lord retired within the vail, v. 35. This shows how terrible the glory and majesty of God are, and how unable the greatest and best of men are to stand before him. The divine light and fire, let forth in their full strength, will overpower the strongest heads and the purest hearts. But what Moses could not do, in that he was weak through the flesh, our Lord Jesus has done, whom God caused to draw near and approach, and who, as the Forerunner, is for us entered, and has invited us to come boldly even to the mercy-seat. He was able to enter into the holy place not made with hands, (Heb. 9. 24.) nay, he is himself the true Tabernacle, filled with the glory of God, (John 1. 14.) even with the divine grace and truth prefigured by this fire and light. In him the Shechinah took up its rest for ever, for in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Bless ed be God for Jesus Christ.







There is nothing historical in all this book of Leviticus, except the account which it gives us, ch. 8, 9. of the consecration of the priesthood; ch. 10. of the punisliment of Nadab and Abihu, by the hand of God, for offering strange fire; and ch. 24, of Shelomith's son, by the hand of the magistrate, for blasphemy. All the rest of the book is taken up with the laws, chiefly the ecclesiastical laws, which God gave to Israel by Moses, concerning their sacrifices and offerings, their meats and drinks, and divers washings, and the other peculiarities, by which God set that people apart for himself, and distinguished them from other nations; all which were shadows of good things to come, which are realized and superseded by the gospel of Christ.——We call the book Leviticus, from the Septuagint, because it contains the laws and ordinances of the Levitical priesthood, (as it is called, Heb. 7. 11.) and the ministrations of it. The Levites were principally charged with these institutions, both to do their part, and to teach the people their's.——We read, in the close of the foregoing book, of the setting up of the tabernacle, which was to be the place of worship; and as that was framed according to the pattern, so must the ordinances of worship be, which were there to be administered