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From this it will be seen, that in the centre stood the TABERNACLE, where God dwelt and walked among them. It was his presence which made their camp holy, and beholding which, BaJaam exclaimed “ The Lord his God is with him, the shout of the King is amongst them;" and thus the Daughter of Zion is exhorted to cry out and shout, that “ Great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of her.” Around the Tabernacle the Priests and ministering Levites attended, and at a distance of about two thousand cubits, (as appears from Joshua iii. 4.) the tribes encamped. In allusion to this, and directing as to the antetype of this encampment, we read of the camp of the saints of the Most High, Rev. xx. 9. The Jerusalem which John saw descending from heaven was four square, the length as large as the breadth, Rev. xxi. 16. This was also the form shown in vision to Ezek. xlviii. 20. Still farther, the New Jerusalem has a wall great and high, and twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, Rev. xxi. 12; Not only so, as there were three tribes on every side, so John saw, “ Three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the
west, Rev. xxi. 13. Compare with this the remarkable prophecy, Ezek. xlviii. 31-34. We shall only farther trace this part of the parallel by mentioning, that as the twelve tribes, which thus form, in their tents or encampments, the wall of God's Tabernacle, had their father's names engraven on twelve sundry precious stones, so on the twelve foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem, we find the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, on twelve several precious stones. But there is no circumstance in all this remarkable representation, more entitled to our minute attention, than the standards of those tribes under which the Church of Israel were to encamp, as expressed in the 2d verse. “Every man of the chil. dren of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of his father's house." It will be observed, that although three tribes pitched on every side, the ensign of the centre tribe was that under which each of the chree tribes pitched. Thus on the East side we find Issachar, Judah, and Zabulon, all of which were to pitch under the Ensign of Judah : In like manner on each of the other sides. By this arrangement, one Ensign or Standard appeared on every side. --Although Revelation has not expressly mentioned what were the Ensigns of these Tribes, we have no reason to doubt the Talmudical tradition concerning them ; viz. That the Ensign of Judah was a Lion,--of Ephraim, an Ox or Bullock,-of Reuben, f
Man,-of Dan, an Eagle.
The description of these Ensigns in Jonathan's Targum is curious, nor have we any reason to suspect its accuracy. “The Standard of Judah (says he) was of linen, of three colours, answering to the three precious stones in the breast-plate, viz. a Chalcedony, Sapphire, and Sardonyx. In it, surrounding the Lion, the names of the three tribes, Judah, Issachar, and Zabulon, were engraved or expressed ; and in the midst thereof was written, “ Rise up, Lord, let thine enemies be scattered, let them that hate thee flee before thee. In *like manner as to the other tribes. Chazkuni gives the following account of them: “ The pourtraiture of a man was upon Reuben's standard, dyed after the colour of the sardine, set in the breastplate ; and his name with the sign of his mandrakes which he found, Gen. xxx.'14. which are so called from their likeness to a man. The pourtraiture of a Lion was on Judah's standard, dyed in the colour of a chalcedony, agreeable-to his father's prophecy concerning the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Gen. xlix. 9.' The figure of a bullock or ox was on Ephraim's standard, dyed in his colour on the breast-plate, a beryl, and this agreeable to Moses blessing, Deut. xxxiii. 17. The figure of an eagle was dyed into the colour of a hyacinth on Dan's standard. Aben Ezra gives the very same account of the different standards, and adds these remarkable words, “ So the ensigns were like the cherubim which Ezekiel saw.”-We do not consider the traditions of the Jewish Rabbi of the slightest importance in any point of doctrine, but their united testimony on any point of historic fact, especially where there is no end in view by deceiving, must have considerable weight: We 'must therefore request our reader's attention to the appearance of
the encamped church of Israel, from this description. Their foursquare situation being the emblem of unity and strength, on each side appeared standing forward a particular ensign: thus, on the East a Lion, on the West an Ox, on the North an Eagle, and on the South a Man. Let us compare this with John's remarkable vision of the appearance of the church, as described Rev, iv, In the first place, the glorious throne of God is set before us, with Him that sat on it ; (verses 1, 2, 3.) 2dly, The twenty four elders on their seats, corresponding with the twenty-four courses of the priests, which sat round about the tabernacle ; (verse 4.) 3dly, Round about the throne four beasts or rather living creatures, which are thus described in verse 7,-". And the first living creature was like a lion ; (Judah’s ensign ;) and the second living creature was like a calf ; (Ephraim's ensign;) and the third living creature had the face of a man; (Reuben's ensign ;) and the fourth living crea. ture was like a flying eagle ; (Dan's ensign.) We are then told that each of these living creatures had six wings, &c. verse 8 As there were three tribes under each ensign, and every tribe had his țwo wings or sides, no description can be more exact, or more plainly shew that these living creatures, correspond with the church of the living God, who rest not day and night, worshipping him who liveth for ever and ever. We have been the more particular in tracing this similarity, because not a few of those who may read these pages have been accustomed to consider the four living creatures, according to the Hutchisonian system, as emblems of the 'Trmity connected with the manhood of Jesus Christ. We shall not stop at present to controvert this opinion, (which the undeniable reference to the church examped in the wilderness plainly refutes,) and will only add, that to apply the term creature to the Creator, or put such worship into the mouth of Him who is Himself the sole object of worship, is worse than absurd. The same reference will be found to the Cherubim, Ezek. i. 10. which will be more particularly noticed in its proper place.
But it may now be enquired, what' do these four faces or appearances on the four ensigns of the church represent? We apprehend that the only standard or ensign of the church is Jesus Christ him. self, or the Truth concerning him. Referring to this, we find the prophet Isaiah says, " And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, who shall stand for an ensign of the people.” Isai. xi. 10. In like manner we find the church saying, “ We will triumph in thy salvation; and in the name of our God we will set up the BANNER," Psalm xx. 5.--the name or character of their God as the banner of the church. The leading Banner, or rather the leading sign of the banner eastward, towards the sun rising, was the lion, and do sign could be more justly emblematical of the Captain of our salvation, who leads the armies of the Living God. After his resurrection from the dead, John saw him taking upon him the Glorious Office of the Ensign of his people : in the midst of the throne, and in the midst of the four living creatures, he appeared as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. This very phrase evidently refers to him
as the banner of Judah. The Man, the Ox, and the Eagle, will readily occur to our readers as fit emblems of the characters of the Son of God as the Leader and Commander of the people. It was às a Man that he undertook that office Whether the Ox points to the hieroglyphical use made nf that animal, or rather to the blood of his offering, it is equally characteristic. And lastly, the Eagle, as expressive of the fulness of the spirit: These figures we propose to take another opportunity of examining more minutely.
Having thus traced some general outline of what we consider to be the important design of this encampment, we shall shortly no. tice some few particolars of lesser importance Eastward, towards the sun-rising is considered as the foremost or principal station, as west is considered as what is behind. The south is called the right side of the world, Psalm lxxxix. 13. and the north is called the left; all which Job describes by these names, chap. xxiii. 8, 9. Judah was the foremost or leading tribe ; and thus in their marches Judah went foremost, Num x. 14. In like manner, after Joshua's death, Judah went first up against the Canaanites, Judges i. 1. Issachar and Zabulon were younger brothers, of Leah, the figure of the Jewish church, of whom came Christ, the true Judah, according to the flesh, who is blessed for evermore.
CHAP. III. We have seen the tribe of Levi consecrated to the service of the Lord, in the room of the first born. They were not reckoned among the other tribes, for the purpose of exhibiting another figure of God's redeemed church, all whoge robes are wash. ed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, and consecrated as priests to God. They were the servants of the Most High God in a particular sense. In this and the following chapter we have the numeration of the Levites, and their order in administration. They were to be numbered from a month ol, yet they were not admitted to serve till 30 years of age nor after 50. It is noticeable that Jesus himself began to be about 30, when he entered on his ministry. Aaron's four sons were consecrated to minister ; but Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, of which see chap. xxvi. In verse 9, the tribe of Levi is said to be given to Aaron, in the same sense as is explained, Eph. iv. 8. “ And he gave some Apostles," &c. In verses 12 and 13, we have the ground of the separation of the tribe of Levi to their office; and it may be added that the solemn authority by which they are set apart, “ And I, behold I have taken the Levites,” will remind of Paul's words, "and no man taketh this honour unto himself, unless called of God."
HERE ENDS THE MANUSCRIPT OF
J. M.-BORN, DEC. 13, 1762—DIED, FEB. 20, 1809.
A word fitly spoken, is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Prov. xxv. 11. A proverb or parable, is, in its letter or surface, like a net-work of silver: it is
beautiful :- :- But its spirit, or treasure, concealed behind this picture, or lattice work, is still more precious and-glorious,----yea, like apples of gold!
THE FOLLOWING IS BY ANOTHER HAND. In the 12th and 13th verses, we are farther informed that the Levites were taken instead of the first born, and that they were hallowed to the Lord on the day that the first-born of the Egyptians were smitten. It is very observable how the divine promises were gradually opened out. Every fresh revelation was, in gene- . ral, a farther illustration of some preceding promise. The gospel was ushered in by the promise of a Saviour in the seed of the woman, and it was soon understood that this seed should be a first-borr ; but it was not soon known, apparently, that this first-born should proceed from a virgin, otherwise the women would not have been prompted to unlawful connection with men of the line, who they supposed had the promise of the seed. Primogeniture, as Forbes has remarked, was reckoned after the mother; the first-born of a second wife was entitled to the rights attending it, in prejudice of the second son of a first wife. This right, or privilege, was confined to the male opening the womb; so that if a daughter came first, the right ceased in the subsequent sons. The first-born amongst men was to be holy to the Lord, and to officiate as priest or intercessor. The first-born among beasts were also to be holy to the Lord; to be offered to him if clean; if unclean, to be ransomed. Thus, the first-born of every family were evidently chosen for the priest-hood, as so many types, or symbolical representations of him who was to come, the Great Intercessor.
When men, from their vain imaginations, began to misinterpret the original revelation, and 'to derise new notions, it became necessary to republish revelation with all the marks of omnipotent power; and to prevent mistakes for the future, the Law was given, which on the one hand exposed the corruptions which men had introduced, and on the other exhibited a fuller discovery of the blessings attending the gospel. Instead of the first-born of every family executing the office of priesthood, we now find one particular tribe chosen for the service; and out of that tribe, the first-born, and his descendants for ever, to serve at the altar; as if to fore. shew the perpetuity of that priesthood which was to be unchangeable, and that all the servants of Christ, even all those who believe on him, and who are honoured with the title of his brethren, should be made priests to God"a royal priesthood."
Israel is my first born, said the Lord to Pharoah, and at the same time threatened, if he did not release them, to destroy Pharoah's first-born. He refused--the consequence was, his first born were slain, and the first born of Israel delivered. Now, let us for a moment consider these first born sons of the Egyptians as a representation of the whole people, and on the contrary, the first-born of the Jews as a fine figure of the whole redeemed, and we shall have an awful view of that day which is fast approaching, when judgment to the wicked, and mercy to the righteous, will be fully manifested. Thus the day that brought destruction to the mock.