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This is a very interesting Chapter, because the HOLY GHOST in after ages of the Church, explained a striking passage in it as immediately pointing to JESUS. Besides this prominent feature, here are certain laws appointed respecting the Church revenue: the maintenance for the priests and Levites: cautions again repeated in relation to idolatry: and certain regulations in respect to prophecy.
The separation of the priests and Levites, evidently shows in what light GOD views his servants who minister in holy things. How much is it to be wished, that all such were indeed set apart, both by the divine appointment and ordination of the LORD, and from the necessity of worldly commerce with man, for these things bring a snare. This precept and the LORD'S provision for his priests and Levites we have before: Numbers 18:9-11 .
This sacrifice was a peace offering. See Deuteronomy 12:6 .
The apostle Paul gives the best comment upon this passage, and indeed the subject in general: He that waiteth at the altar should be partaker of the altar. 1 Corinthians 9:1-14 . I would only observe upon it, that as the LORD himself hath undertaken by this precept to provide for his servants, bad must be the mind that refuseth to comply: and, on the other hand, most unworthy must be that servant, who takes advantage of this, to exact from his brethren more than what is just and right.
There is a great tenderness manifested of the LORD'S attention in this precept, in the provision for the free-will service of the LORD'S ministers. Oh! do thou blessed SPIRIT, who hath the hearts of thy people at thy command, incline many such in our day to be instant in the work, to win souls to JESUS. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 .
It is wonderful to observe, how much Moses was led to speak to the people against the idolatry of the neighboring nations around them. As if the LORD meant to convey by the frequency of his precepts on this subject, the extreme jealousy he had for his honour. I cannot help adding, from the view here given of GOD'S displeasure, at the pretended diviners of what is to come, how cautious our children should be made of listening to the pretended prognostications of modern fortune-tellers. Alas! that such ignorance should have remained in the world to the present period! What Paul saith of the ignorance of preceding ages in general, may, by a parity of reasoning, be peculiarly applied to this part of the science in the present. "The times of such ignorance GOD hath winked at, but now hath commanded all men everywhere to repent." Acts 17:30 .
Of all the striking prophecies in GOD'S word, directly and plainly pointing to the LORD JESUS, this seems to be among the highest. And so interesting is it, that we find it spoken of in quotations frequently. It is quoted by Peter, Acts 3:22 . by Stephen: Acts 7:37 . and by the people at large, after the miracle JESUS manifested, in multiplying the bread: John 6:14 . But while I beg the Reader not to lose sight of this, because it certainly is among the strongest if not the very clearest prophecy concerning the LORD JESUS, which is in the whole law of GOD: I do beg of him also, not to overlook two or three most striking distinctions of character, by which this prophecy pointed him out. As for example: he was to be raised up by GOD, not of himself, for no man taketh this honour unto himself but he that was called of GOD, as was Aaron. Hebrews 5:4-5 . He was to be raised up of his brethren. Dearest JESUS! though thou wast "GOD over all, blessed forever, " yet didst thou condescend to take upon thee our nature, and to be made like unto thy brethren, that thou mightest be a merciful and faithful high priest, Hebrews 2:16-18 . And he was to be like Moses; that is, in the greatness and authority in which he came, only with this striking distinction which the apostle hath drawn; Moses was the servant, but JESUS the LORD himself. Hebrews 3:2-3 .
We have an awful account of this: Exodus 20:18-19 .
Are not all the sweet words which we hear of GOD spoken to us by our LORD JESUS CHRIST? Doth not that verse decide this great and precious truth? John 1:18 .
The best comment upon this passage, is the great question Paul asketh the Church of the Hebrews, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" Hebrews 2:2-3 .
And what is the distinguishing mark to the church now? See those two sweet scriptures: Isaiah 8:20 ; Romans 8:14 . To which I add a third: "It is the spirit that beareth witness, because the SPIRIT is truth." 1 John 5:6 .
I WOULD pass by numberless other passages, how interesting soever they may be in themselves, to attend to this most engaging one, which contains the FATHER's promise of raising up a prophet to his people, whom they should hear; because his blessed SPIRIT is pledged and engaged to make such willing to hear in the day of his power. To thee would I look up, O thou great prophet, thou LORD GOD of the prophets, who hast indeed been raised up, in confirmation of the FATHER's promise, from among thy brethren! Thou camest, blessed JESUS, fully furnished and complete to the precious office, as the prophet of thy people! In all the great truth of salvation thou hast taught thy people, and thy people hast thou caused to hear thee by the sweet and constraining influences of thy SPIRIT. And how hast thou brought our dark, ignorant, and blind-minds, acquainted with the mysteries of thy kingdom! How hast thou revealed the FATHER's love to our hearts! How made known thy precious love! And how shed abroad the blessed SPIRIT's fellowship in the minds of thy people! Oh thou divine prophet! continue to my soul all thy sweet offices. Speak to me, blessed JESUS, speak to me in all my doubts, under all my fears, and when distressed by reason of the enemy! Is it not thine to do all this, and to speak a word in season to weary souls? And if GOD my FATHER hath graciously said, this great, this Almighty prophet shall be heard, be it my portion to hear thy voice, and to rejoice in this assurance, that JESUS hath been anointed as my prophet, to guide me, and to instruct me in the knowledge of himself, and his great salvation.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13