The Bible says in Numbers 7:11-23, And the LORD said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating of the altar. And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah: And his offering was one silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: One spoon of ten shekels of gold, full of incense: One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: One kid of the goats for a sin offering: And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab. On the second day Nethaneel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, did offer: He offered for his offering one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: One spoon of gold of ten shekels, full of incense: One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: One kid of the goats for a sin offering: And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nethaneel the son of Zuar.
Verses twelve through seventeen tell us exactly what the tribe of Judah gave in offering for the first day of the dedication of the altar. There were twenty-one animals given, gold and silver, flour and incense and oil. And then verses eighteen through twenty-three tell us exactly what the tribe of Issachar gave for the dedication of the altar. Issachar gave exactly what Judah had given. In other words the same requirement was made for everyone. The Bible is the great book of equality. Everyone is a sinner. God loves everyone. Jesus died for everyone on the cross. Everyone gets saved the same way: by calling upon the name of the Lord for salvation.
Verses 24-83 repeats the exact same offerings given by each of the rest of the twelve tribes of Israel: all for the dedication of the altar. This was a very extravagant ceremony over twelve days with a tremendous numbers of animals, silver, gold, and other offerings made. Why was the altar so important to God? The altar was the place of death for the innocent animal sacrifices. Without the sacrifices of substitutes, there could be no forgiveness from God. All of those sacrifices pointed to Jesus. Jesus was the last sacrifice and the only one that counted for eternity. The cross of Calvary was the last altar where Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for the rest of us.
The Bible says in Numbers 7:84-89, This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold: Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels. All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve. And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed. And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him. Up through verse eighty-eight, these verses give a summary of all that was offered for the dedication of the altar. As Christians the altar that we have is the cross where Jesus was crucified. I have been into many churches that call the front of the church meeting room, the altar. If they give an invitation for people to pray or to give their hearts to Christ, they call it an altar-call. This is a very strange and non-biblical use of the word altar. Nothing inside of a church building should be called an altar. In the Old Testament the altar was the place where animals were killed in sacrifice: pointing to the need of a sacrifice for sins. That sacrifice was finally and forever accomplished by Jesus at the cross of Calvary. That is why Hebrews 13:10-12 says, We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. I hope you understand and appreciate your altar: the cross where Jesus died for you. I hope you are willing to give much to prove how much you love your altar in order to dedicate and consecrate it, like the Israelites did theirs.
Verse eighty-nine says that God spoke to Moses from off the mercy seat. Because Jesus died for our sins on the altar of God, we have mercy available. Because of that mercy God seeks us and seeks to communicate with us. Jesus said, I am come to seek and to save that which was lost. It says about Jesus in John chapter one that Jesus is the true Light that lighteth everyone that cometh into the world. This is only possible because He is merciful. How can a holy God who punishes sin fellowship with sinful man: mercy. God spoke to Moses, and that was only possible because of mercy. Notice that the mercy seat was upon the ark of testimony. The testimony was the tables of the Ten Commandments. They are great commandments. Too bad that none of us have kept them. The mercy seat was upon the ark. We might say that the mercy seat dominated the ark. The tables of stone were inside the ark, but the mercy seat was outside of it and thus obvious to see and think upon. When you open the book and look at the commandments, do not forget that your relationship with God is based upon mercy, and not how well you have obeyed the commandments.
The Bible says in Numbers 8:1-4, And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick. And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses. And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick. God tells Moses about the candlestick that was in the temple. It was made of gold and was very ornate in order to emphasize the value and importance of what the candlestick symbolized. It had seven lamps on it in order to be a number of completeness. God made the world in seven days. Every week of every year is made up of seven days. The candlestick gave light. It gave light times seven. We need light because of the spiritual darkness that is all around us. Jesus is the Light of the world. Also, believers are Gods candlestick for the rest of the world who are still in darkness. Jesus said to John in Revelation 1:18-20, I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The Bible says in Numbers 8:5-19, And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together: And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD. And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites. And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine. And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering. For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me. For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself. And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary. These verses describe how the Levites were dedicated to serve in the temple. We can see several spiritual principles that we can relate to the New Testament and how preachers should be chosen and dedicated. The first thing said in verses six and seven was to cleanse them. In the Old Testament washing with water symbolized cleansing from sin. Of course, true cleansing from sin only comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking about Jesus, John the Baptist said, I baptize with water, but one is coming after me, who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. A preacher needs to have a strong testimony of a conversion experience through faith in Jesus Christ. Being a Pastor or a preacher is not a profession. It is a calling. If someone has not been called to faith in Christ, then they certainly have not been called to preach the Gospel or be a religious leader of any kind.
Verse eight speaks of bringing animals in offering at the time of the dedication of the Levites. This is a reminder that every preacher is just like every other believer and is dependent upon the sacrifice of Christ for their sins. This should humble the preacher because it is a recognition that every person is a sinner and dependent upon the grace of God, including the preacher. It also should be a source of confidence. How can I be deserving to preach the Gospel and the unspeakable riches of Christ? No one is deserving of such a privilege, but it can be done because of Gods grace in Christ, just like everything else in the Christian life. When verse twelve says that the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks, it symbolizes that all their sins were transferred to the innocent sacrifice. Since all of my sins are forgiven, I can have full confidence that Jesus can and will use me in the preaching and teaching of His Word.
Verse ten says that the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites. This is the congregation setting their stamp of approval on those that have been chosen to preach the Gospel. We call that ordination. To ordain means to appoint or to give a charge to. Human ordination is appointing someone to preach the Gospel after God has already appointed them. It is believers giving their acceptance of Gods choice because they are in tune with God and they recognize what God has done and is doing with this preacher.
Speaking of the Levites, verse sixteen says, For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel. Out of all the children of Israel only the Levites served in the tabernacle and the temple. Not everyone is called to preach the Gospel of Christ. Find out what your gift is, and look for opportunities to use it for the name of Christ and the glory of God. It says about Jesus in Ephesians 4:8, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Concerning those gifts, it says in Ephesians 4:11, And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers. It seems to me that the gifts of apostles and prophets were for the first century only because those gifts were only needed until Christianity was established with the completion of the New Testament scriptures. But it is clear that no one can be a pastor-teacher unless they have been gifted by God to do that work. Believers with other gifts are needed to help the pastor-teachers, and then they all work together for the glory of the name of Christ.
Notice that God said in Numbers 8:19, And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel. Every Christian needs the preachers that God has called. God has given those preachers as a gift to the believers. What happens if there is a generation of believers who do not go to church to hear the teachings of the pastor-teachers? It says near the end of verse nineteen that the Levites were given as a gift that there be no plague among the children of Israel. One of the reasons for the ills and troubles of our culture is that not enough people go to church to hear the teachings from a man that has been gifted and called of God to teach Gods Word. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Copyright; 2019 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved