Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the previous message we began to consider the matter of the propitiation silver in 30:11-16. Exodus 30:12 speaks of the sum, or the census, of the sons of Israel according to those who are numbered, and verse 16 speaks of taking the propitiation silver from the sons of Israel and giving it for the service of the tent of meeting. We have pointed out that, in order to understand the significance of the propitiation silver, we need to ask several important questions. First, what is the relationship between the incense altar and the propitiation silver? Second, why did the children of Israel need the propitiation silver in chapter thirty since they had already been redeemed? Third, why is the propitiation or ransom in Exodus 30 related to silver and not to the blood of an animal, inasmuch as redemption was accomplished through the Passover lamb? Fourth, why is the propitiation silver called a heave offering? Fifth, why is the propitiation silver paid only for males twenty years of age and older and not for all the children of Israel?
In answer to the first question, we have seen that the prayer, the intercession, at the incense altar is for God’s move, that God’s move requires an army that can fight for His interests, and that for the formation of His army a census is necessary. By this we can understand the relationship between the incense altar and the propitiation silver. We can understand why the propitiation silver is mentioned immediately after the description of the incense altar. The prayer at the incense altar issues in the numbering of the children of Israel for the formation of an army to fight for God’s move on earth.
Suppose an army had not been formed among the children of Israel. Would it still have been possible for the tabernacle to move without an army? No, there would have been no way for the tabernacle to move without an army to fight for God’s interests. According to the book of Numbers, the numbering of the males aged twenty and upward was for the formation of the army. Later, the book of Numbers refers to the twelve tribes as hosts, that is, armies. This indicates that each tribe was formed into an army. The only exception was the tribe of Levi, because that tribe was the host for the tabernacle. The tribes were formed into armies for the purpose of God’s move.
In Exodus 30, immediately after the record concerning the incense altar, we have a word regarding the census and the propitiation silver. In order to have the formation of an army to fight, there was the need of a census. The intercession at the incense altar is for God’s move. But how can God move in a situation where there are so many enemies? The answer is that God moves by fighting. But where is God’s army? Where are His hosts? These hosts must be formed from God’s chosen people. Furthermore, only males who have reached the age of twenty are qualified to be part of this army. This indicates that, in order for the army to be formed, a good number of God’s chosen people need to mature.
In certain countries young men of a particular age are drafted into the army. However, this kind of military draft has nothing to do with redemption. A young man does not need to be redeemed in order to be drafted into military service. But the situation is altogether different with the formation of God’s army. The formation of God’s army requires redemption. Do you believe that a natural man is qualified to be in God’s army? The natural man surely is not qualified to be drafted into this army. For this reason, there is the need of the ransom silver, the propitiation silver, a further requirement in addition to the blood of the Passover lamb.
There is an important difference between the Passover lamb and the propitiation silver. The Passover lamb was purely and absolutely for redemption, and it was available for all the people. But the ransom silver was related to redemption as it applied to those who were qualified to be formed into God’s army. Suppose some of God’s chosen people who were under the age of twenty wanted to put in the half-shekel of the ransom silver. Because they were under age, not yet mature enough, they would be disqualified from paying the ransom silver. However, age was not a factor in the redemption accomplished through the Passover lamb. All the children of Israel, regardless of age, were qualified to be redeemed by the lamb. Even a newborn infant was qualified to be redeemed. The matter of the difference in qualification for the redemption of the lamb and the ransom silver has been overlooked by some teachers of the Bible.
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