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The same subject as occupied the former chapter, is continued through this. The numbering and ordering the several branches of the Levites, the Kohathites, the Gershonites, and the Merarites; together with the number and particular service of each.
Let the reader observe upon the particular age of the Levites, appointed to minister in holy things, that this service did not begin till after the thirtieth year. And surely the Reader will not forget that the blessed JESUS opened not his special ministry until his thirtieth year. Luke 3:23 .
Was not this typical of Him of whom it is said, he should destroy the face of the covering cast over all people? Isaiah 25:7 .
Was not this continual bread typical of JESUS? John 6:51 .
Reader! observe the repeated precept, as to covering the different vessels in the tabernacle. Then call to mind, what the apostle saith of the darkness of that ministration, and learn to bless GOD for the day light of a better covenant, established upon better promises. Hebrews 7:22 , etc.
Observe what sanctity is required of those which minister in holy things. That is a striking precept of the prophet to this amount. Isaiah 52:11 . But what are the constant stated privileges of GOD'S people now, who have boldness at all times, to draw nigh in the blood of JESUS! Dearest LORD! oh give me grace ever to keep this in view. Hebrews 10:19-22 .
The service of the Kohathites is striking. They were to carry the holy things of the tabernacle. It was dangerous to go into the holy place, for GOD had commanded that this should he done only once in a year, and that by the high priest with burning incense: thereby typifying our glorious High Priest entering in once into the holy place not made with hands, there to appear in the presence of GOD for us. But as the church now was in the wilderness, and the ark of GOD dwelt between curtains, it was necessary when at any time that Israel moved from place to place, that the ark should be moved also. And therefore no doubt provision was made that the Kohathites should minister in this removal and be exposed to no danger. Reader! think with what holy solemnity all that now minister in holy things should be engaged in the service. Oh! precious JESUS! how sweet is it to consider, that by thee and in thee, thy people whom thou hast made kings and priests to the FATHER, may minister in the sacred service of thy church.
In the service of the Gershonites, we may learn some sweet and interesting instructions, also, spiritually considered. Was not the numbering of those that ministered in this tabernacle service, emblematical of JESUS'S numbering his people, and calling them all by name? John 10:3 . And was not the putting up, and taking down the tabernacle, by the pins and cords thereof, intended to show how the bodies of the saints, which are expressly said, in the New Testament dispensation, to be the temples of the HOLY GHOST, are removeable by death, and will be erected again, when those bodies shall become, glorified bodies, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, at the resurrection? See 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 ,
Similar instructions, as to their respective services, are given also to the Merarites; that in the general charge, to the tabernacle ministry, all might have their distinct and separate work; that all things might be done decently, and in order. But how sweet is it to the true believer in JESUS, to observe, that he, and he alone, hath wrought the work, finished the labour, and hath the care of all his church and people. It is thine office, dearest JESUS, both to serve and to bear the burden, both to carry the weight of the curtains of the tabernacle of the true sanctuary, which the LORD hath pitched, and not man; and, as the prophet beautifully expresseth it to have hung upon thee, all the glory of thy FATHER'S house! Oh! thou precious GOD of all our mercies, be thou to us, as a nail fastened in a sure place, and thou wilt be for a glorious throne to all thy people. Isaiah 22:23 .
HERE my soul! pause and behold, how the Levitical service of the sons of Aaron shadowed forth thy Saviour in his gracious ministration. He it was, indeed, that alone could remove the face of that covering, by which, our nature was hid, and lost from all his people. Oh! that my eyes were more enlightened to behold this Great High Priest, in all his blessed offices, and characters! Thou art indeed the true tabernacle, dearest LORD, without a covering; for by thy precious undertaking, thou hast opened a new and living way for us in thy blood, and righteousness; thou hast opened, and none can shut: neither will the covering be anymore upon it, but on all the glory shall be a defense. And oh! what a glory, what an inconceivable weight of glory, will break in upon the soul, when this earthly tabernacle of our's shall be taken down, and the pins, and the sockets, with their silver cords and instruments, be broken at the cistern: and JESUS shall again raise it up, a glorified body, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing! What rapture will break in upon the soul, when our vile bodies shall be made like unto his glorious body; and when those dear partners of affection, the soul and body shall again unite, never, never more to part; and never, never more to thwart each other, being both redeemed together by his great salvation! Dearest Saviour! be thou now by faith my joy, and then by sight, wilt thou be mine everlasting light, and my GOD, my glory.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29