The Nation of Yahweh's Choice
"Out of Egypt have I called My son" (Hos. 11:1).
IN partial fulfillment of the Covenant He had made with Abraham, Yahweh called upon His chosen people to separate themselves from Egypt, and to seek protection from the death that threatened the firstborn of the land, through the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. Those who responded were then separated by baptism (1 Cor. 10:1), and taught by trials experienced in the wilderness what was required of them.
Ultimately, at Mt. Sinai, the people were constituted Yahweh's "ecclesia in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38).
Thus began the pattern that Yahweh has always followed in calling His ecclesia, His son, or each of us, to be His dwelling place in the land (cp. 1 Cor. 6:19).
Of Christ it is stated, that "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb. 5:8). As Hosea prophesied (Ch. 11:1), Yahweh's Son was called out of Egypt, having first been taken there through fear of Herod (Matt. 2:14-15). Later he was baptized (Matt. 3:13-17), and then taken into the wilderness (Matt. 4) to be proved by trial, before commencing his public ministry.
The pattern, therefore, demands separation from the world of all who would become part of the family of God. This is a basic principle of the Divine call:
"God. .. did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name" (Acts 15:14).
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6:17-18).
These important statements reveal that sonship is predicated upon separation: the status of the former being conditional upon obedience to the latter. There is a need to stand aside from the present Egypt-world, and to seek the protection that is afforded by identification with the Passover Lamb provided in the offering of Christ. This may take us temporarily into the wilderness for the purpose of trial, but that is a necessary means to an end: the attainment of our promised inheritance.
Having "borne Israel on eagle's wings, and brought the nation unto Himself" (Exod. 19:4). Yahweh led the people to the precincts of Mount Horeb in the vicinity of Sinai.
They were assembled according to their tribes as described in Numbers 2 and 3. Each tribe was allotted its position in a four-sided encampment, so that there were four groups, each made up of three tribes. Yet, though there were twelve tribes, thus divided, they were still one nation: a multitude of people estimated to exceed two million, all positioned in a Divinely-arranged relationship to each other, to each tribe, and to each group of tribes.
Each tribe had its own standard or ensign (Num. 2:2), but each of the four groups of tribes was represented by its leader, thus:
This arrangement may be confirmed by reference to Ezekiel 1:4 where Ezekiel, looking northwards, saw the face of a man (v.10) that looked southwards towards Ezekiel's location. From this position the faces of the remaining three sides are known.
Within this foursquare encampment were positioned the Levitical tribes as follows:
Thus the priestly tribes separated the people from the central structure, The Tabernacle. They formed, as it were, a 5th camp and it was necessary for anyone in the encampment who would approach the Tabernacle, to do so by first making contact with the priestly people.
The Tabernacle erected in the midst of the Ecclesial encampment, was made and erected according to the pattern Yahweh gave to Moses when he was on the mount (Exod. 25:9,40).
In the midst of that structure was the place where Yahweh met His people (Exod. 25:8; 29:45-46) - The Most Holy Place.
The Tabernacle was provided to teach the Israelites three principal lessons:
Israel was constantly reminded of the lessons of the Tabernacle as they daily viewed the structure and carried out their services:
The Heavenlies In Christ
"These things happened as examples".
AFTER their baptism in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:1), the children of Israel traveled through the wilderness, to experience the trials of Marah, Elim and the wilderness of Sin. They were sustained by manna from heaven, and water from the Rock at Rephidim, and so arrived at Sinai, to enter into covenant relationship with Yahweh on the basis of the Mosaic code of laws.
Their experiences in those journeyings typed those of the Christ-Body in its pilgrimage towards the Promised Land.
The very organization of Israel formed a pattern used by the Lord. He gathered to himself twelve Apostles, to whom he promised twelve thrones from whence they would rule the twelve tribes of Israel in the Age to come. He also confirmed his covenant with them (Rom. 15:8), so fulfilling the type of Sinai.
The Ecclesial body, therefore is formed according to the pattern of Israel. As in the days of Moses, God again "visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name" (Acts 15:14). The people called are constituted a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5), the living temple of Yahweh (1 Cor. 3:16-17), the true Israel of God (Eph. 2:20-22; 4:13; Gal. 6:16).
Because of this, the pattern of the wilderness encampment formed the basis of the symbology associated with the manifestation of Yahweh's future dwelling place, in the glorified redeemed (Rev. 4:6; 7:4-11; 14:1). There are lessons in Yahweh's past dealings with Israel, which we can use to our eternal profit. They demonstrate what type of people we are called to be.
The ideal displayed in the Israelite encampment is seen in perfection in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was Yahweh's dwelling place on earth (2 Cor. 5:19); through him, He manifested Himself in the midst of His people (John 1:14; 14:9; 1 Tim. 3:16).
The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the type presented by the four standards of Israel with the Tabernacle in the center, the very heart of the people. The Lion, the Ox, the Man, and the Eagle, in their symbolic representation, find their reality in the Lord. Hence four Gospel accounts were required to depict those four aspects of his ministry and character.
These were the standards of the leading tribes, placed at the four sides of the encampment. The faces are seen again in Ezekiel 1 and 10, Revelation 4:7.
The characteristics which they represented, and which were displayed in Christ, must be developed also in the members of the Christ-body. Otherwise they will not be "one" with him (John 17:20-23; 1 Cor. 12:13). They are to duplicate him:
The fullness of these standards, or faces, will not be manifested today; but they will be in the Age to come. Then the perfected Ecclesia will be revealed as an extension of Christ, for he will be glorified in every member then gathered together in him in one (2 Thess. 1:10). Therefore, in The Apocalypse, the glorified saints are represented by the symbolisms of the standards of Israel: "And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a LION, and the second beast like a CALF, and the third beast had the face as a MAN, and the fourth beast was like a flying EAGLE. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" (Rev. 4:6-8).
This is a symbolic picture of the political organization of the Kingdom of God, based, as it will be, on the Israelitish constitution of the past. Again, consider the description of the heavenly Jerusalem, described as the Bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9-10). Her "organization" is described similarly to that of Israel in the past: "And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth; and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and breadth and the height of it are equal" (Rev. 21:16).
Because of this identification with the Israelitish order of things as established at Sinai, saints today are described as "the Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16). Their patriotism is for the things of Israel, and they look forward with keen anticipation to the restoration of the nation as the Kingdom of God, and of the throne of David upon which Christ is to sit as supreme ruler in the coming age (Luke 1:32-33).
|The "heavenlies in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6) is a title used by Paul to describe the Ecclesia of God. However, in Heb. 9:23- 24, a similar expression is used to describe the Tabernacle in the wilderness, as a type of the things associated with those "called to be saints". Hence Yahweh's past dealings with Israel foreshadowed His manifestation in Christ, and His dealings with the present day "Israel of God, taken out of the Gentiles".|