Light from the Land of the Sphinx

with illustrations from the monuments. (Omitted from this on-line edition.)
H. Forbes Witherby
Published 1896 by Elliot Stock.

Contents
Preface
Chapter 1: Ancient Pictures and Books
Chapter 2: Ancient Egyptian Buildings
Chapter 3: Dwellers in Tents
Chapter 4: Every-Day Life in Egypt Four Thousand Years Ago
Chapter 5: Pharaoh Rameses, Israel's Oppressor
Chapter 6: The Deliverer and His Flight
Chapter 7: What Moses Learned in the Land of Midian
Chapter 8: Moses' Return to Egypt
Chapter 9: Divine Power and Serpent Power
Chapter 10: The First Three Plagues of Egypt
Chapter 11: The Second Three Plagues of Egypt
Chapter 12: The Third Three Plagues of Egypt
Chapter 13: Egyptian Belief as to the Future State
Chapter 14: The Death of the First-born and the Passover
Chapter 15: Liberty
Chapter 16: Egypt's Army Overthrown
Chapter 17: Israel's Song of Salvation
Chapter 18: Divine Truths Corrupted in Egypt's Religion
Chapter 19: The Wilderness Entered
Chapter 20: The Manna and the Sabbath
Chapter 21: The Rock, the Victory, the Rest
Chapter 22: The Mountains and Valleys of Horeb
Chapter 23: The Law of God Given
Chapter 24: The Covenant Made
Chapter 25: The Covenant Broken
Chapter 26: The Mediator and the Glory of God
Chapter 27: Figurative Representations of Heavenly Things.
Chapter 28: Figurative Representations of Heavenly Things
Chapter 29: Gifts, Arts, and Trades for the Sanctuary
Chapter 30: The Habitation of Jehovah in Israel
Chapter 31: Access to God: the Court of the Tabernacle
Chapter 32: Access to God: the Holy Place
Chapter 33: Access to God: the Holy of Holies
Chapter 34: The High Priest and the Priests of Jehovah
Chapter 35: Prophetic Incidents in the Story of the Priesthood
Chapter 36: Offerings and Sacrifices in Israel.
Chapter 37: Offerings and Sacrifices in Israel.
Chapter 38: The Divine Stamp Upon the Course of Time
List of Illustrations, Maps, and Diagrams

Preface

This volume was originally intended to offer the Bible student, who may not have the opportunity of referring to expensive works on modern discoveries in Egypt, references from such works, together with illustrations from the monuments, which would assist in following the writings of Moses; but the materials accumulated with the work, and it was found to be impossible not to enlarge the scope of the book. The reader who loves the writings of Moses, will find in the notes contained in this volume important and reliable information, which has been obtained from works of the greatest value; and in the illustrations from the monuments he will have before him authorities which cannot be disputed. The index should be consulted before the book is read, for it outlines a variety of subjects which must ever fire the mind of the Bible student with enthusiasm and fill it with suggestions. It directs attention to the works of learned authorities, upon whose profound researches the arrangement of facts found in this volume are built up.

Taking the Bible narrative of Israel's exodus from Egypt to their establishment before Jehovah at Horeb, as it stands — which is the only honest way for the first reading of any book — a plain though marvellous tale unfolds itself. By the aid of such side-lights as the ancient monuments and writings of Egypt afford, much of that which appears to be mysterious shapes itself into the everyday life of the past, and the movements of the Divine Hand in relation to that life are made clearly visible. The structure of the story forbids the removal of any one of its parts. To eliminate portions here and there, is to criticize the masterpiece of the sculptor by lopping off its limbs or mutilating its face. The energetic hand of the writer delineates that which he actually saw, and describes that which he himself and the men around him felt. The eye-witness is continually present in the story; none but he could describe the manner of Pharaoh in his might and pride; or the route taken by Israel from Egypt to Horeb. That the writer was a man of the day of which he writes is shown by his words, for he occasionally uses Egyptian words, which formed Israel's only means of conveying ideas that pertained to Egypt, before they became a nation. Again, none but a worker from nature could with a few rapid touches portray scenes and characters as does Moses. The work is living and energetic, painted on the spot, done from life; yet the scheme of the whole story — its grandeur and its simplicity, its unveiling of man and its revealing of God, its moral teachings and its eternal principles, its painting of the past and its picturing of the future — is to be attributed to a greater than Moses: it is the production of the Divine Mind, for its author is God.

The present writer has selected certain portions from the inspired records, and has woven around them some of the more general facts which science has given over to the general reader, and he has also introduced, here and there, broad principles which are afforded by the Scriptures, and particularly those of the New Testament.

In Chapters 1 to 6 a general idea of Egypt in the time of Israel's captivity is sketched. In Chapters 7 and 8 a brief glance is taken of the way by which Moses became fitted to effect the deliverance of Israel as he had been appointed for it by God. Chapters 9 to 18 are occupied with the powers of Egypt in holding Israel captive, and the power of Jehovah in giving the people their liberty. In order that we may not miss the point of the instruction, we must remember that the world to-day is very similar to the world in the era of Moses; for, broadly speaking, society, education, arts, war, religion, are lived over and over again as the world progresses. And, further, we have to bear in mind that the divine principles of righteousness, and human faith in God, and obedience to His Word, are the same to-day as they were at the first. The world develops, and God has now fully revealed Himself to man; nevertheless, in our century, the story of Israel's captivity in, and deliverance from, Egypt, reflects, as in a mirror, the world of our own day and the men of our own times, but, above all; an unchangeable God.

Chapters 19 to 21 deal with Israel's pilgrimage from Egypt to Horeb, the episodes of which, while presenting a picture of the past, offer instruction to the pilgrims of God of every era, and at the same time, by their prophetic spirit, portray the future.

Chapters 22 to 26 are occupied with the terrors of Sinai and the giving of the law, the majesty of the mediator, and the wonderful ways of God in response to his mediation.

From Chapter 27 to 37 the subject is that of God dwelling amongst men, and His principles concerning man's access to Himself. From Egypt's idols and temples to the presence of Jehovah amongst men is indeed a pathway of glory. The Book of Exodus begins with Israel in their Egyptian bondage; it ends with Israel in liberty surrounding the dwelling-place of Jehovah. To serve Him in His sanctuary, priests and sacrifices of His appointment were required. The types and shadows presented by sanctuary, priests, and sacrifices, and by holy days, afford lessons concerning the past, and, by the immutable principles bound up in them, give instruction for the present. Shadow and type may disappear, but the eternal reality represented abides for all time; and thus it is that the reader of the books of Moses is ever drawn to them by an irresistible attraction.

The last chapter contains suggestions upon the round of the religious year in Israel, and outlines the way in which God will fill this world with rest and joy.

The somewhat disjointed character of the book may be partly attributed to the writer's inability to devote uninterrupted attention to its production, but no pains have been spared in obtaining reliable information as to the facts adduced, and in every such case the authority is given.

The writer tenders his most sincere thanks to those friends who have so kindly read his proofs, and who have aided him by their suggestions and knowledge.

Borrowing from the Sphinx its conception of wisdom united with strength waiting for the light of day, a friend suggested as the title for the book, "Light from the Land of the Sphinx."


"After these appeared
A crew, who under names of old renown,
Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train,
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused
Fanatic Egypt, and her priests, to seek
Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms
Rather than human.
Nor did Israel 'scape
The infection, when their borrowed gold composed
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox,
Jehovah, who, in one night, when He passed
From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods."

Chapter 1: Ancient Pictures and Books

It was the divine purpose that the story of Israel in Egypt should never be forgotten. The Jews were commanded to tell it to their children; and the necessity for understanding it, is forced upon ourselves by many a New Testament reference. Whatever, therefore, brings those old times nearer will help us to gather the lessons which God has stored up for us in this long-preserved history. By the aid of the monuments, we go back to the Egypt of Moses, and we look upon the scenes depicted upon the sacred page; and by the writings of the Egyptians we gain access to their innermost thoughts.

The reader will not object to our commencing the task before us by a very simple mode of procedure. We will suppose ourselves travelling over part of the sands under which so much of ancient Egypt lies. We stumble upon a broken piece of pottery, and our interest being aroused, we take note of a mound which is before us. We begin to dig into the mound. After some days, we find the walls of a building, and presently we discover a crock, almost entire. The sand has done its work of burial faithfully, for, as we proceed, the painted wall of a house presents itself to view, and the picture reproduced upon the previous page appears before our eyes, fresh and lifelike, as if painted but yesterday.

What a tale it unfolds! Once there lived within this house persons, who, in many respects, were like ourselves. They knew not only the art of construction, but they also had pleasure in adorning their walls with paintings. Their artists were capable of telling a tale through the eye, and they possessed a skill in the use of permanent colours now unknown. The picture itself is a veritable book of history. Holding in our hand the broken piece of pottery first chanced upon, and also the unbroken crock found within the building, the key to the painting is before our eyes.

The art of the potter flourished in the days when that ruined house stood erect. Men then found the clay, mixed it, and fashioned it into pleasing and useful shapes. They controlled heat, retained it within walls, and made fire serve man's hand.

They were also familiar with the strength of organization; some of the workers formed the clay into shapes of use and beauty, sitting or kneeling at their work; some blew the bellows, others tended the fire, and others again placed the vases upon the oven, or carried them away when complete.

The picture proclaims the existence of life and energy, and the wisdom of working together in sectional order, unitedly, to produce an end!

Now, though such a picture tells a tale of past life with great clearness, it is, at the best, an indifferent method of conveying thoughts precisely to the mind. But, to help us, the very words accompanying these pictures have been brought to light. The gateway upon the opposite page is an illustrated volume expressing the outer and the inner life of Egypt in her greatness. It is a stone book. The details of daily life, the great incidents of religion and of war, the character of the gods, the hopes and fears of man in view of his hereafter, tell the story of those old days to the end of time.

Babylonia also yields to our generation the wisdom of its paintings and its libraries. Its cylinders are most beautifully inscribed, and the letters, punched deep and sharp into the surface, are legible as if indented but a few years ago.

The papyrus plant afforded the Egyptians a lasting and elegant paper, which has endured for thousands of years, and many of the old papyri are as venerable as rock-cut temples and tombs. The mind of the historian, and also that of the poet, live in these old writings, and not only their thoughts, but those thoughts expressed in words just suited to the subject, and with the skill and learning of the accomplished scholar.

From the skill and learning of those old days attributed to Thoth, the god of letters and intelligence, we turn to the discovery of the system of reading the long since dead language of the ancient Egyptians, the very signs of the letters of which were, till recently, entirely unknown. It is one of the marvels of our day; "many erudite scholars tried to solve the mystery, and Young, among others, very nearly brought his researches to a satisfactory issue,"* when the Rosetta stone afforded the key to the riddle. The masterly wit of Champollion seized upon it, and opened up by it the priceless treasuries of the past. This celebrated stone is inscribed in Greek demotic writing and hieroglyphics, and it had often been observed that in the hieroglyphics, two ovals frequently occurred. Champollion made the magnificent surmise that these ovals contained the names of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, which often occur in the Greek inscription. There are four letters common to each of these names — p. o. e. l. — and within each of the ovals, four signs similar to each other occur. Here was the beginning of the track, which has widened out into the broad, grand road of the knowledge of the language of the ancient world. These four letters led to acquaintance with the alphabet. The Coptic, the lineal descendant of the ancient Egyptian speech, led to acquaintance with the words; the grammar was gradually mastered, and by degrees the mystery was completely solved.

{*"The monuments of upper Egypt" — Mariette, p. 30}

{"Thoth, the god of letters. . . . is usually represented as a human figure with the head of an ibis, holding a tablet and a pen. . . . sometimes" with "a man's face with the crescent of the moon upon his head." He "communicated all intellectual gifts from the deity to man." He "was reported to have invented letters." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., pp. 166, 167, 168. "He commonly bears in his hand a tablet and a reed pen." "History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I., p. 371. "In a legend concerning Thoth, he is thus addressed: 'Letters. . . . causing the memory to be neglected, will produce oblivion to the mind of the learner, because men, trusting to the external marks of writing, will not exercise the internal powers of recollection.'"}

Chapter 2: Ancient Egyptian Buildings

Ancient Egypt was famous for its temples and its tombs, the majesty and grandeur of which remain unrivalled to this day. Amongst these perhaps the pyramids are best known. Three are of vast size, and the greatest of them is a solid mass of stonework. The sides of this mighty structure were originally covered with great polished stones, so admirably fitted together that they presented a perfectly smooth surface from base to crown. These glorious stones have been removed, so that with them modern buildings might be erected. Yet the spoiler's hand has hardly affected the size of the great structure, which casts its broad shadow, like that of a mountain, across the desert.

This wonderful mass of stone stood in grim and solemn silence for centuries, commanding the world's wonder, and holding within itself the secret of its existence. Was it a witness to mysteries? Was it but a tomb? That it is a tomb there can be no question; and there can be but little doubt that it was once used as an observatory, controlled by priests, who foretold to the king, by the movements of the stars, the mystery of his life.

The great object of the wealthy* of Egypt was to build a tomb that would last at least to that time when, according to the period assigned by the priests, the departed soul should be reunited to the body. And as it was considered fatal to the felicity of the dead that the body should be injured, it was mummified, and afforded a rock-fortress for its habitation. Such tombs grew to be huge palaces for the dead. The halls and chambers were ornamented by sculptors and painters, stored with articles of taste, and enriched with jewels and treasures. The soul of the departed was supposed to pay visits to the habitation of the body, and to enjoy itself in the midst of the representations of the life which had been loved on earth. Never before nor since, did man build such a tomb as the great pyramid; yet it has been rifled, and the king who rested there has been cast out from his "eternal habitation."

{*The religion of Egypt was essentially for the rich. "The bodies of common people, usually naked and uncoffined, were thrust under the sand at a depth of barely three feet from the surface. Those of the better class rested in rectangular chambers, hastily built of yellow bricks, and roofed with pointed vaulting. No ornaments or treasures gladdened the deceased in his miserable resting-place; a few vessels, however, of coarse pottery contained the provisions left to nourish him during the period of his second existence." See note in "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 248.}

Close to the pyramids, half buried in the desert sand, stands the Sphinx. For hundreds of years its mysterious head watched men come and go to return no more. It became a byword for mystery. But basket and spade, about a generation ago, cleared away the sand around the head, and brought to view the lion which forms its body. What meant this grand symbol of united strength and wisdom? It is carved out of a mass of living rock, and forms part of a mighty group of buildings collected round the pyramids. The Sphinx is the embodiment of a religious idea, possibly of different religious ideas. It was a figure of light conquering darkness, of the soul triumphing over death. It was the emblem of "the sun at its rising."* Wisdom and strength waited through the night with mighty calm, and anticipated the coming light. There is a noble conception in the figure, and one that Scripture itself presents as realized, through the pen of the prophet Ezekiel, when the cherubim with the lion's and the human head shall adorn the temple of Jehovah.**

{*"The Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette, p. 71. "Egypt" — Ebers, Vol. I, pp. 153, 154.}

{** Ezek. 41:19.}

We may well wish that the sand of the desert over which the Sphinx looked as conqueror, but which has now conquered the gardens surrounding it, burying the vast pavement over which it originally stood, could be thrown back, so that we might once more see the broad steps which the worshippers ascended as they approached the altar between its feet, when the incense offering arose to the rising sun!

Adjoining the pyramids and the Sphinx, in ancient days, a great part of the wealth and glory of Egypt was centred. Here towered up mighty palaces and cities surrounded with trees and well-watered gardens; here armies assembled, and the pride of the greatest of the nations expressed itself in religious pomp. Instead of its present pall of desert sand, sweet-scented gardens bloomed; and in the place of the ruins which Egyptologists love, power and glory dwelt.

Will the reader turn to the map on page 101, and in imagination stand among the pyramids? Here is the very heart of that part of Egypt which witnessed the miracles of Moses. Mighty Memphis, with its bull worship, adorns the rich Nile, ever flowing past its far-famed white wall. Ancient On, its obelisks towering to the sun of its worship, and its colleges of worldwide repute, rests in its stateliness but a few miles down the river. Further off is the plain of Zoan, weighted with huge colossi of Pharaoh, abounding in the costliest of temples erected to the glory of Egypt's gods and to the greater glory of its kings; it resounds with the roar of the wheels of war chariots, and laughs to scorn all powers of heaven and earth save those which are its own. Lying among the hills are the tents of Goshen and of Succoth, the abodes of pastoral Israel, whose sons, branded with the name of the Egyptian god, slowly pile up the costly granite which forms the city of Rameses, and swiftly build the brick granaries of Pithom. They smell the scented air of well-watered gardens, they hear the echoes of Egypt's gay singers, and they groan out their hardships and their miseries to the silence of their God.

The temples innumerable of Upper Egypt, even in their ruins, proclaim the strength of the builders. The men who conceived such erections, and who carried them out, were no ordinary human beings. We select from these temples one as illustrating this chapter. It is the rock-hewn temple of Abu Simbel, cut out of the solid cliffs upon the banks of the river of Egypt.

The most ancient of the pyramids was erected before the time of Abraham;* the temple Abu Simbel was made about the time of Moses. If the secret of the great pyramid be buried within it, the story of this temple is written upon its face. What are those huge figures? Why are they so gigantic? They are men — men known and recognized as powers that be, to whom all must give glory. If sun worship be the mystery of the Sphinx, man worship is written plainly in these colossi. The pompous procession on the river, the crowds of people who enter the temple, pass under the very feet of Pharaoh. His feet are higher than the heads of the people, his image towers above all.

{*"Letters from Egypt" — Lepsius, p. 49.}

These colossi are now in part broken, but our artist has restored the figures to their original form; and the river and its banks, now comparatively silent, he has filled with the vessels and the life of olden days. As we gaze upon the scene he has depicted, we have before us the idea of the greatness of the kingdom of Upper Egypt, even as, when we imagined the pyramids and the Sphinx in their glory, we had before us the idea of the wonders of the kingdom of Lower Egypt.

The head of one of these colossi is broken off: Upon the legs of one of them is a writing in Phoenician characters: "While Abd-Ptah, the son of Itar, was present, that which struck this door was the violence of Ptah, who launches the thunderbolt."

There are no buildings in the world to equal those of ancient Egypt in grandeur, and no colours anywhere more perfectly blended than those of their pictures, and certainly none so permanent. We might imagine one of their mighty dead rising up out of his glass case in a European museum, and looking around and smiling with contempt on the greatest works of our modern architects and engineers, artists and sculptors.

It was customary to employ both Egyptians, slaves, and malefactors upon the public works. The peasants were also called off from their legitimate labour to assist the nobles, or the king, in their great undertakings, and when the king was tyrannical, thousands of lives were sacrificed over the construction of temples, canals and lakes.*

{*See "The Dawn of Civilization." — Maspero, p. 334.}

The business of building was carried on with precision; taskmasters were set over the workmen, and scribes were appointed to write down the amount of work done, so that no evasion of duty was possible.

The familiar picture above, taken from a wall-painting, shows us a number of men, harnessed together two and two in four columns, dragging the rude sledge upon which a great image or colossus of stone is bound with ropes. Upon this colossus stands a man (fig. 2) clapping his hands to regulate the movement of the labourers, who drag the mighty mass along to the sound of a chant or song. Another man (fig. 3) is offering incense to the gods. A third (fig. 4) is busy upon the platform of the sledge pouring out a libation [or lubrication] before it. Three men (fig. 9) carry pots of water for the use of the man on the platform, and three men (fig. 10) behind them bring implements to assist the work. In another part of the wall-painting are to be seen the taskmasters with their rods, and also companies of soldiers with their weapons. This picture explains better than words how Pharaoh's work was done.

Chapter 3: Dwellers in Tents

Having glanced at ancient Egypt in its greatness, we will transfer our thoughts to the land of Canaan, or rather, to the men dwelling there in tents, whom God had called out of the surrounding idolatry to serve Him. There was civilization and there were kingdoms of great importance in Canaan, but we shall merely glance at the surroundings of the patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dwelt in tents and owned no landed possessions, but they were wealthy in flocks and herds, and more, they were great men — not indeed kings, but the noble heads of a royal race. A kingly dignity attaches itself to their words and ways, and this we see mingled with a simplicity of life impossible in palaces. The ruins of the temples and the records of the long since dead palace life of old Egypt remain to this day; but in a manner as remarkable, the dignity of the tent and the simplicity of its life abides still. We can learn the life lived by the ancient Egyptians from observing the pictures on their monuments; we can see the life lived by the patriarchs by observing the children of the desert, the Ishmaelites, who trace their parentage to Abraham.

We must recall how Israel entered Egypt. Jacob and his sons were driven there through stress of hunger. A severe famine prevailed in Egypt and in the countries surrounding it, but for all the dearth "there was corn in Egypt." Little did aged Jacob dream by what means it was that Egypt had become the life-centre for the surrounding countries; little did he think that the son whom he mourned as dead was by the hand of God raised to chief power in Egypt, and that by his wisdom Joseph (named Zaphnath-paaneah, signifying The food of life, or, of the living*) was the sustainer of life, not only of Egypt, but of the world around it.

{*See Speaker's Commentary, Vol. I., p. 480, 11 Essay on Egyptian Words in the Pentateuch," by Canon Cook.}

As the strain of the famine told upon the resources of Jacob, he was constrained to do as the rest of the world, and to send down to Egypt for corn. It went sorely against him, and he was full of apprehension, too, for the safety of his sons, who were to conduct the caravan to the source of supply. On one occasion, as his sons set out, he said to them, "Take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels" (Gen. 43:11); and he anxiously hoped for their return.

Though certainly not a representation of the sons of Jacob coming into Egypt, the picture here given, taken from a monument, affords an admirable illustration of the event. Here are dwellers in the land of Canaan with their asses, and the burdens and coats of "many colours" as recorded in the Scripture story. These strangers from Syria bring their presents to an Egyptian noble, whose scribe takes note of the varied gifts. The ibex they lead are good representations of the creature as it is known this day, only probably the ibex was tamed in the times of the monument. At the head of the procession stands an Egyptian introducing the strangers to the nobleman.

Joseph, having made himself known to his brethren, sent for his father; and Jacob came into Egypt in the wagons forwarded to bring him to the land which was to see such strange things in relation to the departure of his offspring some two hundred years afterward.

Israel settled in the fruitful land of Goshen, and there grew rapidly into a great nation. We have to remember that in those days men had several wives, so that the standard of our ideas of the time necessary to elapse for the growth of a family into a nation, must not be accepted. We must judge from the standard of the people described. Even now, in somewhat similar surroundings, a sheikh will be father of two hundred children.* But, beyond this, we are expressly told how they "multiplied and grew," the hand of God being with them.

{*Hasan Kashef of Derr, an old chief, "had in his day been the husband of sixty-four wives, and the father of something like two hundred children." "A Thousand Miles up the Nile" —Amelia B. Edwards, p. 391.}

Chapter 4: Every-Day Life in Egypt Four Thousand Years Ago

In order that we may better apprehend what life in Egypt was like in the time of its highest glory—that is, during the reign of Rameses the Great—we give some few details, concerning which there can be no uncertainty.

Amongst the rich, private life was not altogether unlike that which prevails in our own times. We have only to look at the accompanying picture to see how the ladies passed what might now be termed afternoon tea, were the dainties not so substantial! Etiquette and its compliments reigned. The maidservants (slaves, of course) waited on the guests, and saw that all fared well; and very good fare did the company enjoy — though, if the artists are to be believed, they sometimes drank more wine than was good for them. The ladies passed their pleasant compliments on each other, were charmed — or said they were — with their friends' jewels, and they chatted together pleasantly, and in elegant manner smelt their sweet lotus nosegays.

The clumsy young man* is not a novel production, for he figures upon a monument in Thebes, older than the time of Moses, oversetting an ornament upon a fancy table, and causing the young ladies to make sly jokes at his expense.

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" —Wilkinson, Vol. II., pp. 20, 21}

The country gentleman appears before us with his pronounced taste in dogs, of which there were many varieties. They are to be seen to the life upon the monuments, long-legged and long-backed, pets and hounds.* The eye of those old Egyptian gentlemen for fine and well-bred cattle is proverbial, and very careful inventories of their stock did they keep, so that, some three thousand to four thousand years after their time, we know all about the numbers on their farms, whilst the old pictures present to us the finer points of the animals admirably.

{*Ibid. Vol. II; p. 99}

The sportsman figures frequently on the tombs — those marvellous picture galleries of past life. Here is a gentleman with his throw-stick. He has craftily pushed in his light papyrus boat amongst the rushes, and has risen up in the cover to the surprise of the various birds. He is having good sport; different sorts of duck have fallen to his hand, and his cat is retrieving for him. This sportsman's puss deserves all commendation, for he is bringing in one bird with a gentle mouth, and holding two others with his paws. Either the Egyptian cats were more civilized than ours, or the Egyptians were more advanced than we are in the art of training them. The decoy duck sits on the prow of the boat, placidly accepting the wiles of the sportsman. The drooping papyrus rushes on his shoulder should not be overlooked, for it would seem that the sportsman had covered his head with them in order to screen himself from the birds he has surprised. There are two butterflies hovering about the rushes, and their introduction indicates the eye for nature that characterized the ancient artists.

A favourite sport was that of capturing wild animals. These were trained and domesticated. In this respect their art excelled ours, for pet lions, leopards, and hyenas are not at present in accordance with our notions of civilization. They had acquired a power in dealing with these creatures which we do not possess. The picture shows us the servants bringing home the captured game from the chase.

The builder in those days used tools of the finest and most scientific kind Such have been dug up from their long burial of ages, and are in our 'hands. And who in our days is he that can square huge stones of the hardest granite, stones twelve and twenty feet long, and face them so precisely that each surface shall not be out the thickness of a visiting card? Or, who is he of modern builders who can show a wall of monster stones, all so truly laid that the long joint of a furlong's length shall not be out from end to end more than the breadth of a straw?* In their style those old builders and architects are without rivals.

{*"Ten Years' Digging in Egypt" — W. M. Flinders Petrie, p. 20.}

But more astonishing still is the work of the sculptors, for, seizing upon a mountain side, they would carve out of its living rock the portraits and the forms of kings, not life-size, but more than ten times life-size, figures in which each toe is as big as a man's body, and in which the dimple around the mouth is as large as a great dish! Yet, when the work was finished, the very man sat before the spectator, a life-like likeness, refined and grand. And some declare that these sculptors did not even sketch out their work, but carved it right off out of the rock, a feat most marvellous, as artists know.*

{*"La Sculpture Egyptienne" — Emile Soldi. See "A Thousand Miles up the Nile," p. 423.}

Harps, trumpets, pipes, and various instruments, accompanied by song, helped to soften and to soothe the spirits of the ancient Egyptians, and charmed as music does now.

Games were played very much as they are played to-day. Rameses the Third is represented within his palace home, playing drafts with one of the ladies of his court, and in royal style patting another under the chin. Possibly these ladies may be his daughters. One brings the king some flowers, another brings him fruit.*

{*"The Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette, p. 204.}

That most marvellous instrument of a hundred games, the ball, was in request then as now. Here are some girls tossing and catching three balls each. Dances were entered into with no small zest, and had their choice and dainty steps.

The physicians of those old days were paid by the government, and there were then even more speciality doctors than now;* indeed, medical science in this respect seems progressing towards the ideas of bygone ages, and towards the wisdom of the Egyptians.

{*Rawlinson's Herodotus, Vol. II, p. 137.}

The lawyer drew wills, the surveyor measured the land, while the scribe's hand was in everything.*

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II, p. 449.}

Perhaps the most touching memorial of those old days are the toys. Dolls and cherished figures of boats and animals were handled by the little ones, as children love now to do. Cherished they were, for these playthings have been dug up out of tiny tombs, where they were laid together with the little ones, who had handled them.

It is well to picture to ourselves Egypt in the time of the Exodus. We are almost apt to regard these ancient people as barbarians, and to forget that they were highly refined and cultivated.

A very remarkable feature of Egypt is, the many things of daily life which remain to this day even as they existed thousands of years gone by. As we might expect, the resemblance of present to past, is found largely in country districts. The country does not change so rapidly as do towns, and in an eastern land the climate also seems to be very much the same now as it was generations ago. In the country, therefore, we need not be surprised to find in present use, the selfsame pattern of plough as we find painted upon the ancient monuments. Also all that seems necessary to ploughing is a scratching up some three inches of soil, the rest of the work being abundantly performed by the waters of the Nile. No manure is required, the deposits of the river effect the end desired.*

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. IL, p. 389.}

The two pictures given overleaf of the modern and ancient shadoof, show how similar is the mode of irrigating the soil to what it was in ancient times.

In the region above the cataracts in Nubia, the resemblance of the present to the past is most striking. The very attitudes of the people are often precisely the same as they were thousands of years ago. The favourite dishes are served as they were in the day of Rameses. Indeed, the pictures of every-day life represented on the ancient monuments, might seem to be life studies of the forms and faces and character of the people of to-day — the scant, or nominal clothing of the children, the food upon the table, the posture of the servants, are as they were in the days of the great Pharaohs of Moses's time.* Sheltered from modern civilization by the barrier of the cataracts, and hemmed in by barren mountains, life in Nubia goes on very much in the same way that it did four thousand years ago.

{*"A Thousand Miles up the Nile," p. xi.}

Chapter 5: Pharaoh Rameses, Israel's Oppressor

The monuments of Egypt introduce to us the Pharaohs and their manner of life. A Pharaoh was king indeed, supreme in power, head of the kingdom, whether in judgment or in war, and chief among the priests. The king was also equal in certain respects to the deities, and as far as words and pictures go, he was himself deified. Here is a king and his god. The god is presenting to the king life, the sign of which he holds. Both persons grasp the other's hand as do friends; the god is no bigger than the deified king, each being on a royal equality with the other. In other pictures we see goddesses embracing kings.

Such a levelling up of man to religious dignity could but result in unutterable pride. Deified kings — that is, deified in pictures — doing homage to themselves, as sometimes represented, must have been in their own eyes supreme indeed.

Who but the ancient Egyptians conceived such mighty figures of men, and used such mighty conceptions either in pictures or in sculpture of the greatness and majesty of man! As we gaze upon these delineations, the first and prevailing idea forced upon us is this: In Egypt, at least, the old promise of the enemy seems realized — "Ye shall be as gods."

Let anyone who cares for such matters, stroll through the British Museum, and look first upon the monuments of Egypt; there he shall see the calm of a god upon the face of kings. Then let him turn to the Assyrian monuments; those conceptions handed down from a more ancient Babylon, matured and developed — there he shall see brute force and brute power as the ideal of human dignity and might — man has become in his ideal half-animal, half-man! A step down, indeed. Next let him turn to the works of ancient Greece, and read what is written there. The gods have become men and women! Here is a fall into the abyss! Thus did the human mind degenerate until the very conception of a divine being was lost. The gods had become men!

Yes, the old Egyptian kings were wonderful men. Unmoved and immovable were they, at least according to the record of their monuments. The conception of their greatness was magnificent. Did the king go to battle — he bore a placid countenance in the fiercest fight. Did he slay his conquered foes — his face wore the calm of a god. Even in hunting the wild beast and during the excitement of the chase he was portrayed like a deity, firm in his own unyielding peace.

The king was unmoved by the prayers and uplifted hands of his captives. What were their griefs to him, save an occasion for his glory to be portrayed upon the walls of temples? Strange revelations of vengeance are therein made. The scribe writes down the tale of right hands cut off from the captives, and files of these maimed and hapless wretches are to be seen, being led away for some horrid end. The practical ancient Egyptian never kept handless slaves for work we may be sure. The captives led into Egypt for slavery were able men, and they were ruthlessly handcuffed and roped together, not unlike the gangs of slaves which to this day are brought from Central Africa for the market! Their arms and hands were securely lashed up, and, as we see, men of different nations were yoked together, an effectual preventive to organized resistance, and the files were kept on the run.

Great Rameses' pet lion, which he took to battle, must not be forgotten; it figures on the monuments in the camp of war, and bears this ghastly name: "Tearer to pieces of his enemies." * The lion is also represented as "devouring the prisoners." **

{*"The Egypt of the Past" — Erasmus Wilson, p. 427.}

{**The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 292.}

The picture below is one well known, and forms part of a huge wall-painting of the king in his youth, in his war chariot, glorious in battle. It will be observed that here the king is portrayed, not as when he was shown hand-in-hand with his god, but as greater than everyone else. He was an equal with his deities, he was as a god amongst men. The curious can examine the engraving, and by so doing form a good notion of the discipline and vigour of the Egyptian war chariots, and of the absolute overthrow of the enemy.

The victories and the triumphs of Rameses the Great on his return from war, and as he drove through his cities in his war chariot, with his captives bound together, adorn the walls of many temples, and show us his proud face unmoved by the misery of his prey.

The portrait of Rameses from youth to age is before us in the monuments. It is refined and haughty. It is that of a brave and educated man. Perhaps the portrait (taken from a sculpture) of Nefertari, his favourite wife, will interest our readers. She was evidently a beautiful and elegant woman. As we look upon the proud countenance we can but think of the early life of Moses in the royal house of Rameses; a king's son there was royal indeed.

Rameses the Great is generally regarded as the Pharaoh of the oppression, the king who knew not Joseph. He reigned some seventy years. His sway extended over the whole of Egypt; his was the double crown — that which combined the upper and lower kingdoms. The Scriptures are not concerned with his greatness, save so far as it was used by him for the oppression of the Hebrew strangers, who had come down to Egypt and sojourned there for many generations.

Perhaps these strangers had grown to be too much like the Egyptians. In certain things we know they resembled them, and they had imbibed, to some considerable extent, the spirit of idolatry. But Pharaoh pursued a policy towards them which speedily taught them they were not of Egypt. Persecution is often allowed by God in order that the life and zeal of His people may be quickened. There was a victory gained by the king which was mightier than those recorded upon the temple walls. The record of it is given in the words of God. He enslaved a whole nation. Having vanquished all his enemies, this world-wide king looked upon the Hebrew people in their prosperity, settled in the midst of his own nation. He feared they might fall out from their friendship with Egypt and side with the foe. They were located not very far from the borders of Canaan, with the nations of which country the Egyptians were frequently at war; so, taking counsel with his people, Pharaoh proposed once for all to reduce the Hebrews to submission and to bonds.

"Let us deal wisely with them," said he, "lest they multiply, and it come to pass that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land." The history of Egypt as now brought to light, discovers to us that on various grounds Pharaoh was patriotically wise in this. The nations of Canaan had been but recently subdued by Egyptian arms, and the true Egyptian could but regard the Hebrew as more or less allied — at least by habit — with the races of Canaan. And Israel were settled on the frontier facing Canaan, and were numerous, and in the event of a fresh war with the old Canaanitish foes, they might open up the very heart of Egypt to the enemy, being settled within the line of border fortifications. He had grounds for his fears and for his policy, and he succeeded, and wrought a greater victory for Egypt in subduing and enslaving Israel, than he had accomplished in all his former conquests — for he made at one stroke a huge army of slaves, whose toilsome lives were spent in building strongholds oil the frontier, and in being goaded forward in the service of the honour and glory of his land. His slaves made Egypt magnificent; their misery built his temples. But, though Pharaoh knew it not, he did more — he made these Hebrew slaves sigh for liberty, and cry to their God for rest. Thus ever does the enemy defeat himself by his success.

The enormous number and immense proportions of the buildings of Rameses, are silent witnesses to the amount of labour he had at his command, and to his energy and greatness after the battle era of his life was past. Huge ruined temples cut out of stone, vast numbers of mounds and sites of cities built with brick, proclaim the tens of thousands of slaves who toiled at his bidding.

There was a magnificent organizing power in those old days. As we stamp the penny with the name of the reigning sovereign, so did each Pharaoh stamp his bricks with his name. Entire bricks such as this, which bears upon it the cartouche or oval with the prenomen of Rameses II., are common in Egypt, while the remains of these bricks are to be found by the million.

The stronghold Pithom (Ex. 1:11) has been sufficiently uncovered from its long burial in the sand to tell in our day, that Israel laboured in Egypt as the Bible declares. The monuments and papyri show that in it we have "Pi-tom," that is, "the town of the sun-god Tom."* God allows discovery to follow discovery in these times of incredulity about Bible history, till bricks and stones lift up their voices and declare that His Word is true. As man evolves scientific theories out of his brains and demonstrates to his own satisfaction that the Bible is unreliable, the arguments are met by the spade beneath his foot! For from the earth he digs up evidences of the truth of Moses' words. But we have more than the testimony of the spade to witness to the city of Rameses. Of this city a scribe contemporary with Moses thus wrote, "So I arrived at the city of Ramses-Miamun. . . . Here is the seat of the court. It is pleasant to live in. Its fields are full of good things. . . its canals are rich in fish, its lakes swarm with birds, its meadows are green with vegetables, there is no end of the lentils; melons with a taste like honey grow in the irrigated fields."** He also describes the almond and the fig tree, the fish in the canals and ponds, and is eloquent over the contentment of the inhabitants. "The sweet song of women resounded to the tunes of Memphis. So they sat there with joyful hearts." "This city Ramses is the very same which is named in Holy Scripture as one of the two places which Pharaoh had built for him — 'arei-miskenoth,' 'treasure cities,' as the translators understand it. It would be better, having regard to the actual Egyptian word 'mesket, meskenet,' 'temple, holy place'. . . to translate it 'temple cities.'"*** As to the hardships of the builders, the "Egyptian documents furnish details so precise and specific on this sort of work, that it is impossible not to recognize in them the most evident connection with the 'hard bondage' and 'rigorous service' of the Hebrews, on the occasion of building certain edifices at Pitom and Ramses."**** "It may be considered absolutely certain," says Mr. Renouf, "that no place in Egypt ever had the name Rameses till the appearance of the celebrated hero of the name." "The name of Rameses is a very peculiar one. . . and I do not believe any instance of it will ever be found more ancient than that of Rameses I., the grandfather of the great conqueror."*****

{*"Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. I., p. 202.}

{** Ibid., Vol. II., pp. 96, 97.}

{*** Ibid., Vol. II., p. 98.}

{****Ibid., Vol. II., p. 354.}

{*****"Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as illustrated by the Religion of Ancient Egypt," pp. 38, 39.}

Pithom and Rameses were situated in Goshen, and faced the Canaanitish foe. Canals were formed, lacing over the eastern frontier of the country, so that the horsemen of Canaan could not rush that part of the land, and thus fortresses, walls, and canals held the exposed eastern border of Egypt secure.

Pharaoh Rameses the Great had a perfect passion for building after his wars had ceased. Temples, colossal statues, canals, or "brooks of defence" (Isa. 19:6), cities, and fortresses, abounded through him. Even the ruins of his works baffle description, while they awe the beholder; yet, by a strange fate, the very body, the mummy of this king, is now on show in a museum in a glass case which is dusted by the attendant in charge.

Here is a copy from a photograph of what remains of the greatest of the Pharaohs. His hair is still visible about his brow, bearing upon it the yellow tint occasioned by the embalmer's drugs. Rameses the Second was grey when he died, and his death occurred when he was nearly one hundred years of age. As we gaze upon this sketch of Pharaoh, we can almost imagine his once determined countenance.

His body used to lie in its magnificent palace-tomb, but was in later generations taken thence, together with those of his wife and his father, and other royal personages, and all were hidden from the spoilers' hands in a mountain for greater security; yet from thence, only recently, it and the other royal bodies were stolen away. Their sacred winding cloths were unravelled, and the ancient charms about their bodies were removed, and now we may utilize the photograph of the great king's mummy to present a picture of it before our readers' eye!

It is not, however, without feeling, as we do so, what strange changes come over the cherished plans of men, for every effort was made to preserve these graves intact, and to allow these kings, "all of them (to) lie in their glory every one in his own house." But of the oppressor of Israel, as his body lies in the museum of Gizeh, it may be said, "They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms?" (Isa. 14:16.)

Chapter 6: The Deliverer and His Flight

Pharaoh, not content with enslaving Israel, issued edicts for curtailing their numbers, which increased in the face of all his efforts. He was, no doubt, still afraid of their influence and power, slaves though they were. One decree for the destruction of the infant boys did not succeed, hence he ordered the Egyptians generally, "Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river" (Ex. 1:22). All Egypt was thus committed to the death of the Hebrew boys. The sacred Nile with its crocodiles was to be their grave. As death in these waters was regarded with a religious veneration,* it is possible that this decree may have been popular, or, at all events, it was not unpopular, as was his first decree for the death of the baby boys of Israel.

{*Rawlinson's Herodotus, Vol. II, p. 145.}

Now when this fierce order came into force, a power mightier than that of great Pharaoh's word possessed the hearts of two Hebrew parents, and that power was faith in God. "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents because they saw he was a proper child, and they were not afraid of the king's commandment" (Heb. 11:23). Courage is ever joined to true faith: "By faith. . . . they were not afraid." Where faith rules, God overrules. Strange providences and coincidences mark the path of faith, so much so, that all seems prepared beforehand, and thus the story of the path of faith is frequently doubted, and is characterized as a "pious" invention.

The time came when the child could be hidden in the house no longer, and then the mother made a basket of flags, one of a kind common enough in the country, and within it she laid her precious burden. Then she obeyed the king's commandment, and placed her babe upon the river. No doubt she knew well the movements of the palace, and the place where at certain times Pharaoh's daughter's custom was to bathe in the sacred waters. The mother selected the guarded spot of the bathing place, and then, setting the ark amongst the papyrus rushes, she left it in charge of the babe's sister.

Presently Pharaoh's daughter, accompanied by her ladies, drew near. Her eye caught sight of the ark, and she bade one of her attendants fetch it. The lid was lifted up, and, as this was done, the waking child wept at the strange faces. Her royal heart was touched. "This is one of the Hebrew children," said she, and the wise sister who had drawn near, with the wit of love suggested a nurse for the babe. And then by command, she ran and fetched the babe's mother for the happy service. Thus was Jochebed attached to the palace as a servant of Pharaoh's daughter, and her child was safe!

We may well imagine the joy and praise and wonder, that filled the house and hearts of the parents that night. Secured by royal will, the beautiful child was once more in their arms; but, we may be certain, they wondered what strange future should be that of their son, and what God would do through him.

In due time the mother yielded up the child to Pharaoh's daughter, and she called him "Moses," that is, "Drawn out," "because," said she, "I drew him out of the water." * Moses is a name of Egyptian origin, and one apparently coined on the occasion, but little did the Egyptian lady comprehend the deep meaning of her own words — the "Drawn out" was to draw out of Egypt the people committed to death. Thus, even in his name, Moses was a type of Jesus, God's deliverer from death. He went down into death, and by His death draws God's people out of the doom of this world.

{*"The name in Egyptian ought to bear the sense 'drawn out,' 'brought forth.'" The Egyptian for M S U "corresponds in form to the Hebrew." The first syllable "occurs in many names of the XVIIIth dynasty, and is always described by Manetho, or his Greek translators, by mos; thus we find Amosis and Toth mosis." — See Speaker's Commentary, Vol. I, pt. 1, pp. 482, 483, "Essay on Egyptian Words in the Pentateuch," by Canon Cook.}

From boyhood to manhood Moses had his home in the royal palace of the very greatest of ancient kings. Every advantage of training and position was his. He was educated, as was royalty, in the mysteries of the religion and in the wisdom of the Egyptians. (Acts 7:22.) He saw how Pharaoh ruled in peace and in war, he learned to obey and to command, and was versed in letters and excelled in strength. Though very little is said respecting the time during which Moses dwelt in the palace, sufficient is recorded to allow us to picture the manner of his life. As adopted by royalty, he would wear the distinguishing robes of princes and their peculiar head-dress. The use of the bow and the handling of the war-chariot were important elements in the education of Egyptian princes. The accompanying picture of a son of Rameses the Great in his war-chariot, with his charioteer, who in all probability was a noble, gives us a portrait of one of the royal sons with whom Moses companied, so that we may very well imagine Moses as a young man in similar circumstances.*

{* Josephus relates in a vainglorious way how Moses made war with the Ethiopians.}

On, or the city of the sun, Heliopolis, where in earlier days resided Potipherah, the prince — priest of the sun, and the father of Joseph's wife, was the great seat of learning in Egypt, and the place of its first college. There astronomy and all branches of science were studied, and the priests of On were for generations famed for their attainments. The city stood on the eastern bank of the Nile, not far from Pithom and Rameses, and there it is probable Moses became learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. On, as its name implies, was devoted to the sun, and hence its worship.

The home life of the ancient Egyptians was coloured by religious observances. There are very many monumental pictures of the parents and children engaged in family worship. A part of one of these we present to view. The original is very beautifully executed, and evidences great power and character; indeed, the way in which the artist has cut into the stone shows a splendid mastery of hand. These familiar scenes represent the family offering to their idols. In the instance before us the father and mother are offering in the one case a joint, in the other a lotus flower, which occurs again and again in similar scenes. Fruit, flowers, cakes, and the flesh of animals and fowls (the goose, as here given, was very commonly offered), and also drink offerings, are shown in this representation. In such circumstances was Moses brought up.

The Bible narrative leaves all such matters untouched, and we come to the period of Moses' life when he was a man in his prime. A common scene to him would be the tawny waters of the full-fed Nile, reflecting the soft tint of the blue heavens upon their surface, and flowing all placidly through the strip of cultivated country, with its luxurious emerald green studded with villas and palaces, temples and cities. Boats were ever floating down the water-way, and at times, also great rafts, conveying vast burdens of stone, destined for palace or city walls. Constant labour proceeded on every hand. Gangs of labourers, guarded by soldiers, watered the crops, and a toilsome business was this. Again, these labourers built cities under the eyes of the taskmasters, and were forced to incessant toil by stick or whip. These labourers were slaves, and multitudes of them were the children of Israel. The overseers had to report their day's work to the chiefs of the department under which they worked, and a careful record was made of all their labour

Cities were erected, dykes raised, canals dug, and wells sunk, in the desert or beyond the reach of the Nile water; corn, wine, and oil were gathered into store, and always exact records were entered, either upon papyrus rolls or earthenware, of all that was done.

That green strip on either side of the river produced marvellous wealth of cattle, corn, and fruit, while the numberless ponds and canals interlacing it abounded with fish. Beyond the green strip, the broad and profitless desert stretched away for miles, burning and dazzling beneath the cloudless dome of the delicate blue sky.

One day Moses left the surroundings of the palace, and, with his heart filled with plans for the freedom of his own nation, watched his own flesh and blood in their slavery. He knew he was to deliver them — he knew God had so ordered. And, as he watched their afflictions, his heart burned within him, and his strong arm was awake. Presently he came to a lonely spot on the limit of the cultivated area, on the edge of the desert. There he saw two men — an Egyptian taskmaster and a Hebrew slave — and, no uncommon sight, the taskmaster was smiting the slave. In a moment Moses' hand was loose, and the Egyptian lay dead at his feet. But Moses was not easy; he looked this way and that way, and then buried the man in the sand. He had run before he was sent. He had used his right arm to deliver Israel instead of waiting upon God. He had faith in God's word that he should deliver Israel, but he lacked patience to wait until instructed how deliverance should be effected.

The next day Moses went again to see his people, and this time, lo, two Hebrews strove together! Considering that they would recognize in him the deliverer of God's appointment, he remonstrated with the wrongdoer, but only to receive the blunt rejoinder, "Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian yesterday?" The deliverer was disowned by his own brethren. Pharaoh would soon know of his act and intentions. What could he do? He must flee for his life!

Thus fell the hopes of Moses for delivering his nation. He was indeed the man called of God to deliver, but he did not go to work in God's way, and he had to flee. His own right arm gave him no courage.

In recording the notable acts of faith of His people, God singles out Moses at this very time: "By faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward" (Heb. 11:24-26). Truly we may say, God's thoughts are not our thoughts. He loves to remember the excellent things in His people.

Chapter 7: What Moses Learned in the Land of Midian

So Moses fled to Midian, in which country God had deeper mysteries to teach him than could be acquired by all the wisdom of the Egyptians.

Little is known of the land of Midian. It formed part of the mountainous peninsula of Horeb. In former years much of the district between Horeb and Canaan was well cultivated, and many a valley now waste and desolate was fruitful and full of life. The Midianites, like the Israelites, were descended from Abraham, and they had attained some degree of civilization. They traded with Egypt, and there was a caravan route through Canaan to their country some centuries older than the time we are now considering (Gen. 37:25).

Having reached Midian, Moses sat down by a well situated in a place of pasture. This well was used by the shepherds for watering the flocks, and presently seven shepherdesses drew near. The shepherds drove them away from the coveted water, whereupon Moses stood up, held back the shepherds, and then drew water for these daughters of Jethro.

To this day the daughters of wealthy chiefs take the part of shepherdesses, or perform similar duties, and the people are hospitable as they were in the days of old. We are not, therefore, surprised that Jethro sent for the Egyptian who had so valiantly assisted his daughters. And in his house Moses found a home. In Midian, as we have said, he learned deep lessons, one of which was to distrust his own right arm, and to know, at the close of forty years of sojourn, by divine teaching who was Jehovah.

Strange indeed it is, that the chief record of the forty long years spent by Moses in Midian, is the fact that he called his son by the Egyptian name Gershom,* which means banishment, "for," said he, "I have been a stranger in a strange land." Even the name of his second son, born in Midian, is not mentioned in the book of Exodus until Moses had led Israel out of Egypt. Forty long years of schooling, and yet hardly a word said about this one-third of Moses' life! At the close of the forty years, as the summer's heat parched the herbage of the lower valleys, the shepherd of Midian sought in the higher parts of Horeb food and water for his flock, and thus Moses led Jethro's sheep to the mountain slopes for food, then, it is supposed, rich in pasture. This region still affords a scanty pasturage, and a shrubby acacia still grows here and there, so that some of the smaller details, as well as the broad features of the country, are the same now as they were in the time of Moses.

{*Ger, "sojourner," is common to Egyptian and to Hebrew, Shom (Coptic Shemmu) is ancient Egyptian for "a foreign land."}

Names cling to localities in a most remarkable manner in the East — there is a valley above which Sinai towers, which is still called Wady Sho'eib, or Jethro's Valley, and it lies close to the mass called Jebel Musa, or Moses' Mountain! But a nobler name belongs to that mountain — Horeb, the Mount of God.

In the solitudes of Horeb a sight greater than mountains met the eye of Moses — a bush burned with fire, and yet was not consumed. "I will now turn aside and see this great sight," said he, "why the bush is not burned." What meant the miracle? An insignificant bush burning, and yet not consumed. It is a sight few turn aside to see, yet in all ages, the tried and afflicted people of God are like that acacia bush, burning, but not consumed! And it was the wood of the acacia* which the divine architect of the Tabernacle of the wilderness selected to portray in symbol the human nature of His Christ. For "in all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old" (Isa. 63:9).

{*Literally "of the bush," the acacia, that bush frequently spoken of. See Speaker's Commentary, Vol. I., p. 261.}

When the Lord saw that Moses turned aside, He called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses." This familiar repetition of name, found in both New Testament and Old, enables us to recognize in the Speaker, Jehovah-Jesus. The first lesson Moses learned was the holiness of the Speaker: "Take thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."

Moses could now know why the bush was not consumed God was in the midst of the flame. God was in and with Israel in their furnace of affliction; He was in their midst sustaining and keeping. He had not forgotten the faith of Moses' father, nor that of the patriarchs, and the time had come for the fulfilment of His promise. He had seen the affliction of His people, He had heard their cry, He was come to deliver them from Egypt's bonds, and to bring them into liberty, into a beautiful land, good and broad.

May we not think that when Moses heard the word "broad," his mind reverted to the narrow strip of cultivated land on the borders of which, forty years previously, his right hand had been lifted up to deliver Israel, and his hopes had been broken?

Jehovah's arm would gain the desired freedom, but when Moses was told he should be the deliverer, and was bidden of the Lord to visit Pharaoh, and bring Israel up out of Egypt, he replied, "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" He had not yet learned to find in Jehovah's arm the power of deliverance.

"Certainly I will be with thee," was the divine answer, and the assurance was given, "When thou hast brought the people out of Egypt, thou shalt serve God upon this mountain."

But Moses, once so eager to free Israel, was hesitating and halting. He had learned to distrust himself; he had not learned to trust God. He made objections founded partly on his former failure. How should Israel know that he was indeed their deliverer? They had not recognized him as such forty years previously; he had not been received when of the royal palace, why should he be accepted when but a shepherd of Midian?

The answer was remarkable. In no sense because he was Moses, but altogether because God is what He is. The reason lay in God's attributes and character; "I AM THAT I AM." What He had promised He would surely perform. Forty, nay, eighty, years before, God the Unchangeable and the Almighty had marked out Moses for the deliverer of Israel, and the lapse of time cannot affect Him who ever is I Am.* The gods and the very kings of ancient Egypt had usurped the name of "the doer of all things,"** which is remarkably like that of almighty. Kings died and gods changed, but our God is Most High, above all gods; almighty; absolute in power; and from everlasting to everlasting ever the same. He acts from Himself because He is what He is, and thus does He take up His people and redeem them.

{*The original is "My Name, Jehovah, was I not known to them." Name is here put in apposition with Jehovah. . . Much difficulty has been introduced into this passage by the insertion of the words "the name of" before "God Almighty" in our Authorized Version; and English readers have thus been led to infer that there is a contrast here between two appellations, viz., "God Almighty" and "Jehovah"; but the truth is, there is no contrast between two names of God here; but there is a comparison of attributes, and of the degrees of clearness with which they were revealed. — "The Holy Bible with Notes." Bishop Wordsworth. Exodus, p. 217.)

**"Israel in Egypt" — Osborn, note p. 254.}

But Moses was not satisfied. Then Jehovah gave him three signs as his credentials to Israel. The first, his rod cast down upon the ground became a serpent, and the serpent being grasped by its tail reverted again into a rod. The second, his hand thrust into his bosom became leprous, and when returned to his bosom again became clean. The third, the water of the Nile being poured upon the dry ground should become blood — this sign could only be wrought in Egypt.

The rod in the East is emblematic of authority and power. Indeed, even in our country this significance still lingers in connection with it, the rod of office not having altogether died out. The old monuments of Egypt in hundreds of cases have gods and men with sceptre-like rods in their hands. But we can have no doubt that the particular instruction relative to the rod referred to the deity's possession of it. Perhaps every god is portrayed as holding the peculiar rod of the deity in the Egyptian monuments. Satan had the power and the authority, and Jehovah would commit these to Moses as His servant, and frequently, as the story proceeds, Moses is said to have the rod of God. Upon the temples of Egypt the serpent was everywhere portrayed. The first divine sign was manifest, the rod of God in the hand of the deliverer should obtain the victory. The serpent's power should be nullified before Jehovah.

When Moses cast his rod upon the ground up rose the form of the cobra, the uraeus, * the specific serpent adopted in Egypt as the emblem of majesty, and, as it reared itself and hissed against him, Moses fled before it! On the one hand, the bush burned with fire, and yet was not consumed — Israel still held its own though in the furnace of affliction, for Jehovah was with them; on the other hand, the majesty of Egypt had the mastery, and Israel fled before it. But when Moses, at Jehovah's bidding, took hold of the serpent by its tail, and held within his grasp the rod of God, the symbols on Horeb proclaimed not only divine care for Israel in their affliction, but divine power to deliver them.

{*See Speaker's Commentary, Vol. I., p. 265.}

In a wide sense this sign addresses all of every age. Originally God placed power and authority in the hand of man, but in the evil day man cast aside this rod and yielded himself to the serpent. But the day shall come when God will bruise Satan under His people's feet (Rom. 16:20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.), while in Christ, deliverance from his power is already obtained (Heb. 2:14Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;).

The second token was also of apparent signification. Leprosy figures sin. Man's hand is unclean, and as placed upon the breast at the divine bidding symbolizes actions and secret thoughts as sinful. But God, who discovers to man his uncleanness, is able also to cleanse. He gave to Moses a hand and heart clean and pure, and wherewith to use His rod, wherewith to fulfil the trust committed to him.

As for the third token, the Nile was the very life of Egypt; this, by the sign of God, should become death. The life of Egypt as in Moses' own case, Pharaoh had willed should be the death of Jehovah's Israel; now God would turn that life into death in His judgment upon the land of Israel's bondage.

Satan's power vanquished, the leprosy of the flesh cleansed, the true character of the world manifested; Satan, the flesh, and the world are to be seen in these three signs.

But Moses halted still. God's Name, and God's signs were not what he wanted exactly; he expected something in himself which should witness to his fitness for his work. "O my Lord," he said, "I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant!" "O my Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send."

Thus did one of the very greatest of God's servants grieve God. He was angry at the unbelief, but mercifully stooped to the weakness of His servant, and joined Aaron with him to effect the deliverance He had designed for Israel.

Chapter 8: Moses' Return to Egypt

So Moses returned to Egypt as commanded by God, taking with him the rod of God. Aaron met him on the way, being directed by God to do so, and with their hearts filled with the divine promises they reached the land of bondage. In the midst of Israel's bonds there was a measure of freedom amongst the chiefs, and the thrall of the nation did not disturb its order, for the elders of Israel at once gathered together to hear from the two servants of Jehovah the strange story of the burning bush, and to see the three great signs of God. "And the people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that He had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped."

Israel, from that day, was a different people. True they had their seasons of fresh anguish and hopelessness, but never more were they the spiritless slaves they had been, for the promise of God was in their breasts.

Having lightened the hearts of the weary people, Moses and Aaron went to the king with this message, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness."

Surrounded by priests and princes, Pharaoh haughtily replied, "Who is Jehovah that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, neither will I let Israel go." Pharaoh knew the gods of his land, and also those of the surrounding nations he had conquered. Their images he had seen, but of Jehovah, the invisible, the eternal, he was ignorant, and he ridiculed the idea of His power, for were not the people of Jehovah Pharaoh's very slaves? If Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, was a god indeed, why had He allowed His worshippers to be under the power of a nation which gave its allegiance to deities who embodied the ideas of Creator, Supreme Ruler, Life Giver, Deliverer. Judge, and such glories as belong to Jehovah alone? Was Jehovah a God that a king of Egypt need listen to? Pharaoh scorned the God of the Hebrew.

His answer to the demand for Israel's freedom was not delayed. He commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, "Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore; let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks which they did make heretofore ye shall lay upon them, ye shall not diminish aught thereof, for they be idle. . . Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words."

Vain words! Such is ever the enemy's description of the truth of God. But Pharaoh had to see whether God's words, liberty and rest, were vain.

This picture of slaves making bricks is quite a little history. Here are (B) men busy mixing, kneading, and carrying the clay; (A) moulding bricks to their proper form and size; (D) smoothing off rough edges; (C) carrying away; (F) and stacking them, while (E) the inevitable taskmasters with their rods, are ready at hand to enforce the labour laid upon the slaves. The slaves are of a paler skin than the Egyptians.

The bricks were made of the Nile mud, mixed with straw, and were dried in the sun. Bricks made without straw have been found in the site of Pithom, thus affording a strange confirmation of Israel's hardships as mentioned by Moses.

The corn was not always reaped close to the earth, but the ears were cut off, and the long stubble was left standing in the fields. In such cases the ears were taken in baskets to the threshing-floor. After that, the straw was chopped up and used for the bricks. The operation of cutting off the ears of the corn and carrying them away is clearly shown in this picture from the monuments.

In consequence of the edict of Pharaoh, "the people were scattered abroad through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw." They had to toil over the fields in the burning sun to pull up the long stubble, and then they had to bring it to the brick-field and to chop it up for their work. "Ye be idle! ye be idle!" resounded through the land, and the Egyptian taskmasters beat the officers of Israel and urged on the labour

The blows that fell upon them almost made Israel believe Jehovah's promise of liberty to be but "vain words." Their case was harder than ever, and the appeal to Pharaoh was fruitless; "Ye are idle! ye are idle!" he cried, and urged on the people to their tasks.

It is frequently the case that God's people experience some bitter disappointment upon having their hearts filled with joy in believing. The enemy tried his hand on Israel, and with success. But what God promises He performs.

Seeing Israel's misery, He assured Moses of the fulfilment of His word by again unfolding His own name to him. The ever I AM could not change, and He would bring His people out; but such was Israel's anguish of spirit and such their cruel bondage, that they hearkened not.

It is just at this juncture, when Israel was in despair and Moses was overwhelmed, that the record introduces the genealogy of Aaron and Moses, and their high dignity as God's servants in the deliverance of Israel. And we see that, though Israel was enslaved, still there eras no loss in their tribal order or in the headship of their princes. Israel was a nation: it was not reduced to a herd of slaves even at the time of its most bitter and hopeless bondage. The genealogy indicates a new starting point in the divinely given history. In this case it begins the story of the era of fulfilment of the promise of deliverance.

There seems to be every probability that in the city of Rameses the chief wonders of Jehovah were wrought. We are now giving Brugsch as our authority. Meneptah "had his royal seat" there.* On the eastern frontier of Egypt, in the low-lands of the Delta, in Zoan-Tanis, was the proper royal residence of the Pharaoh."** This city, from a military point of view, formed the very "key of Egypt."*** It was most magnificent, as its ruins demonstrate. "A sandy plan, as vast as it is dreary, called at this day San, in remembrance of the ancient name Zoan, and covered with gigantic ruins of columns, pillars, sphinxes, stele, and stones of buildings. . . shows the position of that city of Tanis, to which the Egyptian texts and classic authors are agreed in giving the epithet of 'a great and splendid city of Egypt.' According to the geographical inscriptions, the Egyptians gave to this plain, of which Tanis was the centre, the name of Sokhot Zoan, 'the plain of Zoan '; the origin of which name is traced back as far as the age of Rameses II. The author of the seventy-eighth Psalm makes use of precisely the same phrase"****: "Marvellous things did He in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan" (ver. 12).

{*"Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. II., p. 128.

**Ibid, p. 93. ***Ibid., p. 94 ****Ibid., p. 352.}

Chapter 9: Divine Power and Serpent Power

God again instructed Moses to visit the king, and to require the release of His people, and Moses proceeded to Pharaoh. Such an extraordinary message as was his, coming upon the unheeded application of Israel for some relief, naturally evoked on Pharaoh's part a demand for a sign of authority and power. Moses was either mad, or he was the messenger of a God mighty indeed. "Show a miracle for you," said Pharaoh.

That given must have vastly astonished him. Aaron cast down the rod of God, and it became a serpent before the eyes of Pharaoh, and on Aaron taking it up by its tail it turned into the rod again. Here, as plainly as signs can express ideas, was mastery over the serpent.

The rod and its significance, as we have already observed, were familiar to everyone in Egypt, and the same may be said of the serpent. Everywhere, that emblem was apparent. The serpent was common in some form or other to the gods. Its form appears in the pictures of feasts and of religion, and of the soul in its course after death.* Under the protection of the serpent-headed Rannu, Pharaoh had, when an infant, been placed.** As a monarch, he was specially under the wings of the deity, who, crowned with the crown of Lower Egypt, heads this chapter.*** The serpent itself composed part of what we might describe as the royal arms of Egypt, which adorned the entrances to the temples. In this life, and in the hereafter of the Egyptian, the serpent appears. On the crowns of the gods of heaven, of earth, of hell, still there is the serpent. All the goddesses seem to possess it. And now Egypt's own peculiar sign, its embodied idea of life and majesty, its emblems on the crowns of its kings, and its own proud boast, was grasped in the firm hand of the man, and wielded by him, who in the name of Jehovah his God, stood before Pharaoh and demanded the release of Israel.

{*This can be observed on many mummy cases.}

** "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., 213, see also illustration to chap. 15.

***Ibid., Vol. III., p. 197}

Pharaoh called for his priests. And his Wise men and Sorcerers appeared before him.* In a very definite way the Wise men were connected with the god of Letters, Thoth, who had knowledge under his supervision, and communicated wisdom of a celestial nature to "the knowing ones." Thoth represented the divine intelligence. The priests were of the greatest of the Egyptian nobles, indeed many were of blood royal. Moses knew their wisdom well, for having been trained as a son of Pharaoh's daughter, he had been initiated according to royal custom into certain of their mysteries. The Wise men were priests learned in the dark secrets of their religion, and as such were armed with hidden powers: the Sorcerers were priests whose special powers enabled them to drive away evils by muttering magic formulas. These formulas frequently related to the fascination or the repelling of serpents, and were treasured up in the secret books of the "scribes of the sacred house."

{*Ibid., Vol. I., p. 169, see also, "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 281, 282.}

Now the magicians of Egypt they also did in like manner with their enchantments. Their "enchantments" were calls on the name of the special god summoned to help them. These scribe-priests or magicians withstood Moses by the help of their gods, "for they cast down every man his rod and they became serpents." The names of the two who were chief among them who withstood Moses by imitating his power, are preserved (2 Tim. 3:8). Their names, Jannes and Jambres, are Egyptian, "in which language An, or Anna, identical with Jannes, means a scribe. It was also a proper name borne by a writer well known in papyri of the time of Rameses II. Jambres may mean scribe of the south: it is the name of a sacred book."

We can almost read the pride written on their countenances, and the calm triumph on the face of Pharaoh and his grandees, as the wonder was accomplished. The difficulty Moses had presented was overcome!

But lo! Aaron's rod devoured theirs, and he took the serpent by its tail and so resumed his rod. The magicians were empty-handed. Their token of authority was gone. They could only look one at another!

The sign was manifest; the authority of the magicians was taken from them, their power in the presence of the power of Jehovah was no more.

These magicians were in close association with their god,* we might almost say they were in spirit-touch with the hosts of the old serpent the Devil**. They had sought their god's power and had obtained it, when suddenly the sign of that authority vanished. The rod with the serpent twisted around is common to many representations on the monuments, and the rod with the serpent about it in the grasp of Thoth is often to be met with. The loss of their rods ended controversy to them. That they were shaken in their hearts no one can doubt. But Pharaoh hardened his heart. He would not heed the word of God.

{*The Speaker's Commentary, Vol. I, p. 279.

** The magical acts of which he (Thoth) was the repository made him virtual master of the other gods. He knew their mystic names. . . the ceremonies which subdued them to his will, the prayers which they could not refuse to grant. . . The magicians instructed in his school had, like the god, control of the words and sounds which, emitted at the favourable moment with the 'correct voice,' would evoke the most formidable deities." — "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 212, 213.}

Had we lived in Egypt at the time of these events, we should have followed their meaning, and to comprehend it now, we need to know a little of what Egypt was in those days. The sketches on page 43 will assist us. Were we to multiply them, as might be done by photographing the various symbols and ideas of serpent influence and power in ancient Egypt, we should fill up the rest of the pages of our book, so frequently does the sign of the serpent occur on the monuments. In some temples the serpent in varied forms is represented hundreds of times, and on some mummy cases, serpent-headed human beings are to be counted by the dozen.

Osiris, Isis, and Horus were a kind of trinity of gods, and amongst the trinities of Egypt none was more important than this. The serpent is upon all their heads. He forms part of their crown. The glory of their dark kingdom is due to him. By his wisdom they prevailed and ruled in Egypt over the minds and lives of men.

Osiris in his celestial domain wears upon his lofty crown the form of the: serpent. In the sketch we give of him the serpent is about his locks, and the sun forms his crown; he is connected in this representation with Isis and Nepthysis. Isis, the sister and the wife of Osiris, the mother of Horus, bears also upon her forehead the serpent's majesty. She wears also characteristically a throne upon her head as a crown — worthy of all homage was she, who once prayed and wept back into life her Osiris, who had died. This sketch is also taken from monuments of the time of Rameses. Horus, the son, the third of the triad, has also the serpent on his crown. In the sketch he wears the double crown of Egypt. He is hawk-headed. This triad offers most suggestive considerations. The Father, the Mother, and the Son, are a perversion of the Holy Trinity. The Seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head is far away out of sight, and instead, there is presented to human view the Seed of the goddess, the Mother Lady of heaven, a deliverer, and crowned with the serpent's form.

The serpent appears upon the monuments and in the papyri of Egypt in every conceivable form in relation to man, and is seen in union with humanity in an almost endless variety of ways. The adjoining form, though uncommon, is to be met with in the temples of Denderah. Wilkinson gives the same in connection with the god Horus; Lanzone also has it. Both men and women are united to serpents, and both men and women, together with the serpent, form one creature.

{*"The Ancient Egyptians," Vol. III., p. 232.}

There are serpents with legs, with arms, or with other parts of the human frame. "Upon thy belly shalt thou go" are words unsuitable to Egyptian wisdom. And instead of being cursed above all cattle, the serpent appears in Egyptian religion as the ideal of majesty, winged and crowned, as shown in the vignette heading this chapter. The serpent puts in its appearance at feasts, and is man's benign friend in death. The serpent does the companion's part when the spirit leaves the body, and may be seen dozens of times represented upon a coffin, having in part a human body as guardian angel, going before, and following the spirit, on its passage to the unseen world.

In ancient tombs "serpents standing over each portal" are represented "darting out venom." These "are the guardians of the gates of heaven" (the tomb of Seti I.).* Also belonging to the most remote antiquity "on tombs", "wall after wall and column after column seem to contain only cadences intended to be sung in order to charm these serpents" ("the burning bites and venom" of which "the dead man is supposed to encounter in the under world") and to render them harmless.**

{*"The Monuments Of Upper Egypt." — Mariette, p. 266.

**"The Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette, pp. 296, 297.}

The Egyptians, for life and death, for time and eternity, appear ever as in especial relation to that creature which stands in the word of God as emblematic of "that old serpent the Devil," man's enemy, man's seducer, the rebel against God.

To return to the story of Israel in Egypt. The opening act in the great struggle between the Rod of Jehovah and the Serpent had taken place, and it cannot be doubted that all Israel knew the rods of the magicians were gone; that they stood before Moses as kings deprived of their crowns, as rulers whose sceptres had been taken from them! We. hear no more of Israel's despondency after this event. Serpent-power, real and awful as it is, is as less than nothing in the presence of Divine power. Israel was yet to say in triumph, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Chapter 10: The First Three Plagues of Egypt

The Nile Smitten — Frogs Called Up — The Dust of the Earth Turned into Pests.

There were ten plagues sent upon Egypt. The last, the death of the first-born, was specially directed against Pharaoh, being the execution of the threat concerning the death of his son, should he refuse to let Israel go. This plague stands by itself. The nine others are formed in three groups of three. The first and second of each group have in each case a preliminary warning, the third none.

The number ten is notable in connection with the ten commandments and with parts of the sanctuary of Jehovah, particularly the place of His throne, which was situated in a chamber that was a cube of ten. The number implies completeness; having uttered the ten words, Jehovah added no more — He dwelt where all was absolutely equal. So in the ten plagues of Egypt we see a divine fullness of judgment and a, completion of it upon all the gods of Egypt. The number nine was symbolically most important to the Egyptians; it signified "either the gods of a locality or the entire Pantheon."*

{*"Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religion of Ancient Egypt" — Renouf; p. 83.}

The plagues were signs as well as judgments — they were sent to prove who Jehovah was, in a land which once knew sufficient of God to restrain it from idolatry, but which "did not like to retain God in" its "knowledge," and which consequently had sunk into the grossest idolatry; and very particularly were they sent to teach Israel that Jehovah alone is God.

Once the Egyptians recognized one sole and indivisible God.* But they had turned the truth of God into a lie. They deified God's creative power and His attributes, and thus worshipped as separate deities, a creative principle, and a variety of God's expressions of His glory, and consequently the truth respecting the Divine Being was practically smothered up under innumerable falsehoods.

{*"God, One Sole, and Only; no others with Him . . . the Only Being . . . He has made everything, and He alone has not been made." "One Substance, self-existent, and an unapproachable God." (M. de Rouge, quoted by Renouf, in the "Origin and Growth of Religion," pp. 89, 90.}}

Egypt stood in the terrible position of having hidden within it such knowledge of the truth as was sufficient to call for the repudiation of its religion, and yet of following under the leadership of its priests, a system of known falsehood. According to the system of their religion, nature was worshipped under various forms; insects, reptiles, fishes, birds, and animals had homage paid to them; certain trees were held to be sacred, and the heavenly bodies and the earth were deified. Examples of these deities will be given as we proceed. By His plagues, God showed that the heavenly bodies were but His servants, for He called up darkness, and hid the sun and the moon from man's sight; and He showed that the animal and the vegetable kingdoms yielded Him obedience, for He commanded, and insects, reptiles, fish, and animals either arose or died, and at His word, the trees and the fruit of the field perished. The elements, too, were proved to be but Jehovah's messengers; for the earth brought forth insects, the wind carried the locusts, fire ran along the ground, and water became blood. He proved Himself to be God, both creating and overruling.

The Egyptians grouped their deities in combinations of threes frequently, and also of twos and fours. Special localities had these groups for their own peculiar worship. The number of these groupings is unknown, but it was large. A god which stood first in one group would become the last in another. To confine ourselves to the threefold combination. Certain towns would have their own peculiar groups of three gods. A deity, who figures in one triad, will be found also in another triad — that is, there is a kind of interchange of deities in the system, so that all the gods were given glory. Thus the Nile is termed "creator of the sun," and the sun is termed "creator of the gods." There was always a significance in the threefold combination, the first and second of the triad being regarded as the cause of the third. "The Egyptian temples are always dedicated to three gods. It is what Champollion calls the Triad. The first is the male principle, the second the female principle, and the third is the offspring of the other two. But these three deities are blended into one."* As we have already observed, in these triads lies a corruption of the truth of the Holy Trinity.

{*"Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette, p. 5.}

Among the triads that are known we find Ra, the Sun; Ptah, the Creative Power; and Hapi or Nilus, the River Nile.* The idea of the group being, the Sun and Creative Power in union, produce the River. But as will be observed in the hymn quoted on the next page, addressed to the Nile, the Sun was at times regarded as the offspring of the Nile, since the hymn supposes the worshipper to be adoring the Nile, and not on that particular occasion, or in that particular locality, the Sun

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., p. 513.}

Plague 1

We now consider the first plague, the turning of the Nile and its branches into blood. The river was the very life of Egypt. The food, and the wealth, and the beauty of the land were all derived from it. Upon Hapi, or Nilus, the first judgment of God fell. The beneficent river, to which all Egypt owes its existence — the fruitful Nile, not owned as made by God, but regarded as the result of the impulse of the Sun and Creative Power — a stream evolved, as it were, by nature out of nature — was to be a River of Death in the midst of the land.

Hapi was an important god of the Egyptians, and widely worshipped. To him temples were built, and in his honour gorgeous processions were made. His image is that of a corpulent man. This is usually coloured blue,* since the Nile is generally of that tint, but in some representations it is coloured green and also red, since at the time of the inundation, the Nile assumes these hues. So that the river is termed the "Green Nile" and the "Red Nile" during the opening of the inundation.** Various temples were erected to the honour of Hapi in towns along the banks of the river, and special priests were engaged in the exclusive service of the deity.*** These priests treated the river as most sacred, so much so, that any human body found drowned in the waters, or killed by crocodiles, was regarded as honourable, and was accorded an imposing funeral.

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 208.

**The Monumental History of Egypt" — Osburn, Vol. I., pp. 10- 12.

***Ibid, Vol. III., p. 210.}

Religious pomp and processions were dearly loved by the ancient Egyptians, and one of their most noted and most joyful ceremonies was in honour of Hapi at the time of the inundation. Offerings were presented to him, and to him were prayers made for prosperity, consequent upon the rise and overflow of the river. Thus runs one of Egypt's most ancient hymns —

"Hail O Nile!
O thou who dost manifest thyself upon this earth,
And who comest in peace to give life to Egypt.
Thou hidden god, irrigator of the fruitful land,
Creator of the Sun.
Thou dost water the whole earth, thou creator of the corn,
When thou arisest the earth is filled with mirth.
Thou dost drink the tears from all eyes,
And scatterest the abundance of thy goodness."*

"Men and women assembled from all parts of the country in the towns of their respective nomes; grand festivities were proclaimed, and all the enjoyments of the table were united with the solemnity of a holy festival. Music, the dance, and appropriate hymns marked the respect they felt for the deity, and a wooden statue of the River god was carried by the priests through the villages in solemn procession, that all might appear to be honoured by his presence and aid while invoking the blessings he was about to confer."**

{*"Hymne au Nil" — Maspero, Paris, 1868, as translated in "The Ancient World and Christianity Pressense, p. 53.

**Heliodorus quoted in "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., pp. 369, 370.}

But not only was the pomp and the procession loved, the god was supposed to be pleased by the honours paid him Indeed, unless the rites were duly observed and duly carried out by the recognized priests and others, it was thought Hapi would be angry, and that the expected inundation would not occur. Thus a grand ceremonial was effectually guaranteed by the confidence of the people in its beneficial results. This mingling of pleasure and superstition is suggestive, as we think of similar observances in our own times.

Pharaoh had rejected the sign of the power of Jehovah, and was betaking himself to the river's brink in the morning. Probably this particular morning visit was in view of a religious ceremony in honour of the deity, and there seems good ground for the suggestion, that it was the occasion of the inundation, the time of the Red Nile* — that is, the time when the waters assume a reddish hue owing to the deposits in them brought down from the mountains in the depths of the south. Hence Pharaoh's visit to the river would be of the most imposing grandeur.

{*"Israel in Egypt" — Osburn, p. 260.}

As Pharaoh was nearing the riverside, Moses addressed him: "The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness; and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear. Thus saith Jehovah, In this thou shalt know that I am Jehovah; behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood, and the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink, and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river."

Then, under the very eyes of the mighty monarch, and before his glittering retinue, the rod was lifted up, the river smitten, and the divine judgment fulfilled. Horror pervaded Egypt, terror overtook its mirth, the processions in the towns, and the ceremonies by the river's banks came to an abrupt end.

We give a picture of a procession by the riverside in honour of Hapi. He is being carried upon men's shoulders in a shrine with attendant priests, incense, and music, and thus is being conveyed to the temple, very much in the same way as images of saints are now carried about in procession on festival days. He had his special colours for the occasion. Even as to this custom the garments of the images of modern saints are made to resemble those of the ancient gods!

For seven days the river ran blood instead of water, death instead of life, corruption instead of fertility; for seven is the period which God has appointed to mark out time on earth. And may we not add that for all time the stream of idolatry is a tide of death and corruption.

The blow that fell upon the Nile destroyed its fish, and amongst these some of the emblems of the gods were to be found; for worship was paid to different kinds of fish.* We must not think that the worship of emblems is unmeaning ignorance. The most sacred of the fish were dedicated to the goddess Hathor. Each fish selected for worship figured some special quality. The Wise men of Egypt did not worship a mere fish, but what the particular fish symbolized. Those who prostrate themselves before an image or a picture, primarily worship, not the representation, but that which is represented. They worship him or her whose likeness is before their eyes; and not infrequently such worshippers see the likeness move its eyes, or behold its lips smile, and then the idol becomes to them a veritable god. Now, though Egypt had no command of God not to make any image or likeness of any object whatever, in order to fall down before it and to give it reverence, Egypt had "changed the truth of God," which it once knew, "into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."**

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III, pp. 342, 343.

** Rom. 1:25.}

At one blow fell Hapi and the sacred fish — the fertilizer, and the emblems of abundant fertility, which they worshipped — and the power of Jehovah was known all over Egypt, both by Egyptian and by Hebrew. In the canals and the broad river all throughout Egypt Jehovah's hand was seen.

In a small way, by their enchantments, that is, by calling on their gods, the magicians did what Moses had done, for where they could find water they turned it into blood. Their actions say, "By the power of our gods we can turn life into death, we can add to the misery that issues from the judgment of God." But here their power ceased, they could not turn death into life. They could not pass from death into life. This God works, but God alone. However, they succeeded in influencing the king, and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not let Israel go.

The time of the inundation was one of rejoicing. The country people indulged in games and songs, for the seed had been sown, and the cattle had trampled it into the moist ground, and the fruitful waters, entering the various canals, were doing their own good work on the land, and the husbandmen could rest.*

{*Rawlinson's Herodotus, Vol. II., pp. 18, 19.}

But now the land groaned under its seven days of corruption, and every single human being in Egypt was forced to know of the great controversy proceeding between Moses and the magicians.

{Illustration: "The animal head placed on the deity showed and alluded to the animal worship; the peculiar animal being that in which the soul of the deity was supposed to be incarnate." Birch in "The Ancient Egyptians" Wilkinson, Vol. II, p. 476.}

Plague 2

With all Egypt aroused to this knowledge, Moses went to Pharaoh and delivered Jehovah's message, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: and the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading-troughs: and the frogs shall come up both on thee and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants." These frogs were no ordinary ones, or, if they were the ordinary reptile, they were about to do that which frogs never do, for they were going into ovens, into hot and dry spots, and all kinds of places utterly contrary to their nature.

As Egypt had its Nile god, so had it its frog-gods and frog-goddesses. The frog itself was held as a sacred emblem of the creative power of the god Ptah.* It appears seated upon a ring — an emblem of life — and stands for the idea of multitudes. It was also an emblem of the resurrection.** Hence the frog was an outward and visible form of the deity Ptah, one of the greatest of Egypt's gods. In the form overleaf, of a man having a frog's head, we have Ptah himself bearing the head of his emblem upon his shoulders. The god Ptah was "the father of the gods." Of him it was said he "formed all beings, and all things came after him."*** The river was at the divine bidding "to bring forth abundantly" these emblems of creative power. At the word of Jehovah the teeming multitude of frogs, contrary to the ordinary instinct of the creature, swarmed over the country, afflicting all things, whether houses, bed-chambers, beds, ovens or dough; and all persons, whether the king or the people; nothing, nobody was exempt from their slimy presence, noisome croaking and yelling.****

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 15.

**"The Mummy" — Budge, p. 266.

***Ibid., Vol. III., p. 17.

****"The Monumental History of Egypt" — Osburn, Vol. . II., p. 380.}

From the various branches of the Nile, with its canals and pools, the frogs came up, leaping forth from the water tanks and the fish pools, those prized accompaniments of villa and palace.

By the means of this plague, Pharaoh's ignorance of Jehovah disappeared; he said no more "I know not Jehovah," but he cried "Pray for me to Jehovah, and let Him take away the frogs from me and my people" (Ex. 8:8).

The beneficent Hapi had given birth to multitudes indeed! The emblem of creative power had become Egypt's tormentor by its intolerable myriads. Corrupted by its own deity, "the land stank" (Ex. 8:14).

A set time was accordingly appointed, the intercession of Moses was accepted, and the frogs died out of villages, towns, and fields, and the people gathered them in heaps to rot in the heat of the sun.

In some parts of the country, upon its death, the frog, after a careful embalmment, was honoured with a tomb!* Do we smile at the folly of the pagans in worshipping a frog? In this nineteenth century sacred stones and relics are honoured with kisses and prostrations! The special custodians of these things declare that the objects of their care perform miracles, and tens of thousands believe such to be the case.

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 340.}

In the island of Philae, on the Nile, there is an interesting wall picture, showing how the Nile and the frog were connected in the minds of the ancient Egyptians in relation to the inundation. Hapi holds in his hand a frog, out of whose mouth, as well as from the breast of the god, the waters are represented as flowing.

The highly educated Egyptians were not so foolish as to worship the frog simply because it was a developed tadpole, but because they saw in that development an emblem of a mystery connected with life. So they worshipped the idea, and gave it shape in the form of a frog.

When the frogs swarmed up on the land, entered ovens and other places in direct opposition to the ordinary instincts of the reptiles, the Egyptians, who were noted for their close observation,* must have recognized their familiar emblem obeying a power beyond that of their frog deities. And when at the word of Jehovah, the reptiles died suddenly all over the land, as the stricken people gathered them into heaps until "the land stank," they must have seen in their emblem of creator ship a horrible corruption. But the magicians were not to be convinced; they knew too much. A man who is behind the scenes in a system of iniquity against God, and one of imposition upon men, is not to be convinced by mere exposure, for he needs to feel the sin of his ways, and the terrors of the Lord. The magician-priests multiplied the misery which they could not take away, and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not let Israel go.

{*The Egyptians, says Herodotus, "have discovered more prognostics than all the rest of mankind besides." — Rawlinson's Herodotus, Vol. II., p. 135.}

The blow aimed at the god Ptah should be carefully noted. He was not only one of the highest of the deities, but the oppressor of Israel had expressly honoured him by branding the foreigners and prisoners in Egypt with his name." "I have marked with thy name all inhabitants and foreigners of the whole land; they are to thee forever"*; also, it may be worthy of notice, that the name of the supposed Pharaoh of the Exodus, the Pharaoh to whom Moses addressed himself; contained in it the name of Ptah-Men-ptah, or Mene-ptah — the beloved of Ptah.

{*"Records of the Past," Vol. XII., p. 91.}

Plague 3

Jehovah was demonstrating to Israel as well as to Egypt that the gods of Egypt were not creators, and that He alone is God. Through the imitation of the three divine signs already given, by calling up serpents, blood, and frogs, the magicians had made it to appear that, though Jehovah was greater than the gods of Egypt, still these gods could do a great deal in the struggle, which all Egypt and Israel watched with profound attention. If Pharaoh and his priests were to retain their hold on Israel, it must be by the hand of their gods. Unquestionably these gods had come to the call of the magicians on three occasions; now, once for all, the magicians' power was to be set aside.

The earth; like the water, was an Egyptian deity, and was personified as a god. Through it, in union with a kindred deity, forms of life arose. Indeed, to the Egyptians, the earth and the heavens were parent gods, from whose union a great part of Egypt's religious system was due.

God would now smite "the dust of the earth" throughout all the land of Egypt. Without a warning the rod was lifted tip, the dust smitten, and at once Egypt was filled with lice, or mosquitoes — the exact meaning of the word rendered "lice" is not at present known.

As the magicians had hitherto effectually withstood Moses by imitating him, they called upon their gods, lifted up their rods, and smote the dust. But Seb, the Earth, could not help them — Seb, who bore upon him the emblem of life-giving in the bird which lays the egg. Confusion covered them, their folly was made manifest to all. "This is the finger of a god," they said: that is, of some being greater than those to whom they resorted they acknowledged a superior power to their own.*

{*The "Wise men" were the "Scribes of the Sacred House." The king had the exclusive right to the books of magic, but the priests and wise men were called in by the Pharaoh on all occasions of difficulty. See The Speaker's Commentary, Exodus, p. 279. If we regard the magic of the Egyptians, which was made use of by them in art, in war, and in almost all important matters, as merely the trick of the conjurer, we are driven to allow that priests and kings were constantly playing conjuring tricks upon themselves, and that the whole system of their religion, and, indeed, that of their whole life, domestic, civil, and religious, was a great sham in which they all indulged at their own expense! But if we accept that in addition to a vast amount of trickery and imposition, there was a real supernatural power, at least at times, in their magic, we are on reasonable ground, and practically on the same platform which is to-day occupied by the heathen, miracle-working priests, and spiritualists.)

Henceforth we hear no more of the power of the magicians; God lead drawn the boundary line over which their enchantments could not pass.

Aaron used the rod of God on these three occasions, perhaps because God would put the power in the hand of him who was to be His priest, in the conflict with the priests of the gods of Egypt.

This group of three plagues has a distinct voice in reference to the creative power of God. Whatever the Egyptian mysteries might be, their system of religion, as it is expressed by countless pictures and statues, and by prayers and hymns, does not allow of One Creator. Egypt would seem to be author of that form of paganism which deifies the Universe, making it to be self-evolving, and by its teaching of gods begetting gods, and of the development of man, as expressed in the tadpole becoming a frog, Egypt appears as the father of that infidelity which substitutes evolution for creation.

{Illustration: The Cynocephalus was not only the emblem of Thoth, it was also the representative of that deity who was The Divine Intelligence!}

Chapter 11: The Second Three Plagues of Egypt

The Insect Swarms — Cattle Plague — Boils.

Each of the three series of plagues was introduced by Jehovah commanding Moses to meet Pharaoh "in the morning," at the beginning of a day. The second plague of each series was introduced by Moses and Aaron visiting Pharaoh, while the third came without warning. An orderly design governs each series. Aaron, to whom was entrusted the lifting up of the rod in the first group, did not use it again, the magician-priests being set at naught.

Plague 4

The king was again visiting the river, and in the cool of the morning Moses stood a second time before him. Would this inscrutable man* listen to the message of Jehovah? "Let My people go, that they may serve Me; else if thou wilt not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms upon thee" (Ex. 8:20, 21).  Had the miracles already sent done more than convince him, that the God of the Hebrews had a finger mightier than his gods?

{*It cannot at present be stated with certainty who was the Pharaoh of the Oppression and who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. No doubt in time a papyrus, or some monument, will be discovered which will enable the learned to arrive at a common judgment on the matter. Major Conder, with others, utterly refuses the idea of Rameses II. and Meneptah being these kings, and dismisses such opinions as "incredible fables." See "The Tell Amarna Tablets," preface, xi. For the purpose of the present volume, however interesting it would be to have the very names of the Pharaohs before us, the knowledge of the surroundings of the king, and the workings of his mind, are the important considerations. The Bible narrative individualizes the man; science has supplied us with the materials by which we can build up his palace and people it with his courtiers; we wait to be absolutely certain as to what name he bore — we can see and hear the man, but, at present, cannot say definitely who he is.

No, he would not listen sufficiently to let Israel go, and in answer to his obduracy a new terror was to fall on his land, and a new sign was to be added, so that both Israel and he might know who Jehovah was. An invisible line was to be drawn by an unseen hand around Israel's dwelling-place, and over that line not one of the army composing the plague should cross. Jehovah was supreme over nature; He was not the god of a district, He ruled "in the midst of the earth" (Ex. 8:22).

The word "arob," translated "swarms," "occurs nowhere else" in Scripture, "moreover, it bears a very near resemblance to an old Egyptian word, retained in the Coptic, which designates a species of beetle."* Some take it that the dog-fly is the creature spoken of. One special torment attached to the plague was that the ground should be covered by it, and this tends to the idea, that the arob was a beetle. Even now, on occasions, beetles visit Egypt in armies, and bite through all light materials.

{*The Speaker's Commentary, Exodus, p. 282.}

The beetle was a favourite object of religious veneration. The little creature is a marvel of untiring energy and muscular power. It lays its eggs by the edge of the Nile, surrounds them with a tiny ball of clay, and then rolls up the precious burden away from the water to a place of safety on the edge of the desert. These characteristics led to its being taken as an emblem of creative and pre serving serving power, and also as an emblem of the soul's immortality, and of resurrection. The scarab was sculptured over temple-portals, painted on the walls of tombs, and was used as a charm for the dead.* From the XVIIIth to the XXIst dynasties a scarab cut out of green stone was placed over tile breast of the mummy.** Ptah was on occasions represented as scarab-headed. Allowing that "arob" signifies beetle, Egypt was once more to be tormented by one of its own deities.

{*See illustration, p. 25.

**"The Mummy" — Budge, p. 185.}

The torment of the plague was such that Pharaoh could not endure it, and he sent for Moses, and proposed a compromise; "Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land!"  (Ex. 8:25.) This implied that Israel's God was on a par with Egyptian deities. The conception and the compromise so affected Moses, that fearing neither great Pharaoh nor his priests and princes, he straightway styled as "abomination," (ver. 26.) deified bulls and sacred heifers, and such four-footed beasts. Moreover, it was of cattle that Israel would sacrifice to God! Would the religious feeling of the Egyptians tolerate such an outrage done under their very eyes by their slaves, even though done at Pharaoh's bidding? It was certain death to the foreigner who should kill a cat, or a sacred animal, and when a cat in a house died, the whole of the males expressed their grief by acts of mourning!* What then would be the case if the Israelitish bondsmen were to sacrifice bulls and calves held by Egypt to be sacred — nay, more than sacred, as incarnations of gods!** No, Israel should go out into the wilderness.

{*Diodorus Siculus, quoted by Wilkinson. "The Ancient Egyptians," Vol. III., p. 286.

**Ibid., p. 87.}

Pharaoh modified his suggestion, and promised to yield, but his yielding lasted no longer than the inconvenience occasioned by the plague.

Plague 5

Then the messenger of Jehovah delivered this word to Israel's master, "Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me," (Ex. 9:1) adding the warning that a grievous murrain should fall upon all the cattle of the land.

The plague came and the cattle died. Once more a guardian wall was built around Israel, this time protecting the flocks and the herds. And so it was, that even in a field where cattle belonging to Egyptians and Hebrews pastured together, all those of the Egyptians died, and the Hebrews lost not one.

The land itself was destroyed, or corrupted, by the former plague, and now by that of the murrain, the four-footed creatures of Egypt which live by the produce of the land perished, even as the fish had died when the water of the Nile was corrupted. Horses, asses, camels, oxen, and sheep fell.

The blow in one moment deprived Egypt of its cavalry, and of the service of its famous war chariots, took away the beasts of burden from the trader, removed the rough material from a large class of manufacturers, and above all destroyed a very important element in its religious worship. The ram was an emblem of a deity, as were bulls, cows, and goats!*

{*The worship of animals was an evolution of the Egyptian religion. It commenced in the IInd Dynasty "under Kaiechos, by whom the worship of the bull — Apis at Memphis, Mnevis at Heliopolis, and the Mendesian goat" — was introduced. "Letters from Egypt" — Lepsius, p. 500.)

The border cities of Egypt possessed asses and camels in abundance, which were used in trading caravans; sheep were held in sacred honour and were carefully tended, while cattle were the pride of the rich; and all this destruction of animals fell upon a people to whom animals were sacred, and who believed that after death the soul in many cases took up its abode in an animal, and thereby became eventually fitted for the presence of the gods! The worship of animals formed a large part of Egyptian idolatry. Most famous amongst their sacred quadrupeds were the bull and the heifer. Memphis in its stateliness had a magnificent temple to its sacred bull, and most extraordinary was the pomp and glory, and the popularity of the services in his honour An array of priests attended upon the "god," which could be visited and seed in his majestic dwelling. Honours were lavishly bestowed oil him. The festival ill honour of his birth lasted seven days, children heading the procession singing hymns, and to catch his breath as he passed along the street in procession was considered to confer a life-long advantage on a child.*

{*Pliny. See "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 89}

In the temple of Rameses III. at Medinet Aboo, the magnificence of the religious services, in which the bull played so prominent a part, is abundantly portrayed. The monarch is seers decorated with all the marks of sovereign power, seated on an elegant throne, which golden figures of justice and truth overshadow with their wings; the sphinx — emblem of wisdom united with strength — and the lion — symbol of courage — are present near the throne, which they seem to protect. Royal personages, high priests, chiefs in the army, singers, musicians, and others partake in the ceremony. The king arrives at the temple of Horus, approaches the altar, pours out libations and burns incense; the statue of the god is borne by twenty-two priests upon a rich palanquin, in the midst of flabella, fans, and flowering branches. Then the king on foot precedes the god, and closely following him is the white bull — the living emblem of Ammon-Horus, or Ammon-Ra. The god is invoked, a prayer is read in a loud voice, birds are let loose, and other ceremonies are performed, and then the images of the king's ancestors, and the king, together with the white bull (the god incarnate), all stand together side by side.* Bull and king occupy the same position!

{*See "Lettres ecrites d'Egypte" — Champollion, pp. 344, 348, First Edition.}

We cannot be so dull as to suppose that a nation as civilized as our own — a nation which produced works of the highest order of excellence — was so foolish as to pay divine honour to an animal without some deep meaning. Persons in our own day do not make pilgrimages to objects of nature without an intention. There was a mystery about the bull — one of the most debasing description — and the setting of highest religious grandeur, wherein the mystery was shrined, in no way relieves it of its degradation. Apis, the bull, was regarded as the image of the soul of the god — an incarnation of the deity!*

{*Apis is a young bull, whose mother is reported by the Egyptians to conceive from lightning sent from heaven. Herodotus, quoted in "The Ancient Egyptians," Vol. III., p. 87. "It appears from the inscriptions at the Serapeum of Memphis, that Apis was produced by Ptah out of a heifer, and he was the incarnation of the soul of that god, being called the second life of Ptah" — Note by Birch, foot of same page.}

The bull was regarded as a god. Worship was rendered to him, and prayers were poured into his ears in his stable, and favours were expected from him. The worship of Apis was not that of a mere bull, but the worship of the production of the deity, and, through Apis the deity was supposed to manifest himself to men. The truth of God was thus turned into a lie, and the wise Egyptians looked not to the woman's Seed, to Him who was to be born of a woman, but to an incarnation of a demon in a bull, for deliverance. The old serpent's own seal is stamped upon the head of the deities, as we have already seen, and also upon the head of the bull-calf, whose image has the serpent upon it. Our illustrations represent Apis, with the solar disc and serpent between his horns, and Mnevis, with the uraeus upon his head.

This belief in the sacredness of the bull-calf was maintained by the priests, who, upon the death of one creature, found a correct successor. They recognized him amongst other calves by the evidence of certain marks over the shoulders, which are rendered in the accompanying picture, and also by a mark under his tongue resembling the form of a beetle.

In due time, and after various ceremonies, the new calf was installed into his place. This was always a great occasion, magnificence and joy attending the introduction of the new calf into his temple, and there were processions, dances and festivities in abundance.

If we smile, and inquire how could the priests so impose upon an intellectual people as to make them believe in the existence of these sacred marks — for it was the priests who discovered the calf that had the marks upon him — the reply is, What will people not believe at the teaching of their priests? Surely in our own day, whether in Christendom or in the lands of Buddhism, things as marvellous as these marks are believed, and are believed by people who are too wise to believe God's Word.

The cow was sacred to the goddesses Hathor and Isis, and obtained worship also. Their representations are given on page 63.

The plague of murrain was sent not only to humble Egypt, but also to rebuke the profanity of the belief in the sacredness of its bull and cow gods. If the plague of "swarms" was composed of the sacred beetle, the image of which was said to be seen by the priests under the tongue of Apis, there would be a link between these two of a striking nature, as there was a link between the first and second of the first group.

Plague 6

The third plague of this group of three fell on Egypt without warning, as did the third plague of the first. Moses and Aaron took "ashes of the furnace, and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven." (Ex. 9:10.)

Evidently "the ashes of the furnace" was a symbol familiar to Pharaoh. Possibly a religious ceremony, well known to those who first read the Book of Exodus, is referred to. Some think it relates to the sacrificing of human victims to the gods, and that the ashes were cast up to heaven as a memorial of the crime. Evidently the burning had a connection with a religious rite, as the result of the ashes falling upon the priests rendered them unfit to serve before their deities. Boils and blains broke out over them, and, thus afflicted, the magicians could not stand before Moses. Their gods had died, the sacred bull at Memphis, and that of Heliopolis, in the vicinity of which Pharaoh was, had perished of a cattle plague! Covered with their disease, these priests were not capable of even attending to their gods' mummies! The sacred enclosure for the bull was empty, and his magnificent temple destitute of his presence, and the priests that prayed before him, or bewailed his carcass, could neither offer incense nor sing their hymns, till their own bodies were once more sound.

Thrice had Jehovah struck them. He had deprived them of their rods of authority, He had deprived them of their enchantment power, and now He deprived them of their ability to proceed with their religious rites. We hear no more after this of the magicians; they "could not stand before Moses" (ver. 11).

Chapter 12: The Third Three Plagues of Egypt

Thunder — Locusts — Darkness.

The majesty of the forces of the air and wind, the terror of thunder, fire, and hail, are connected in Scripture with divine supremacy in judgment. The Psalms frequently refer to this, and in the Book of Revelation, "thunderings and lightnings," (Rev. 8:5)  and "a great hail out of heaven," (Rev. 16:21)  are expressions of divine wrath upon an idolatrous generation, upon man apostate from God, and under the headship of Satan.

In this third group of Jehovah's signs and judgments, the priestly class, as such, is no longer in view, our eyes are fixed upon the courtiers and the king. Pharaoh's immense palace was "an entire city." The royal residence itself had on its face projecting balconies, "from which, as from a tribune, Pharaoh could watch the evolutions of his guard, the stately approach of foreign envoys, and Egyptian nobles seeking an audience. . . . They advanced from the far end of the court, stopped before the balcony, and, after prostrating themselves, stood up, bowed their heads, wrung and twisted their hands, now quickly, now slowly, in a rhythmical measure, and rendered worship to their master."* Officials, counsellors, friends and physicians unnumbered, waited upon his majesty, and every one flattered him. Even to have occupied the menial position of a laundress to him was an honour so esteemed as to be inscribed upon the tomb and to be handed down to posterity!

{*The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 275, 276.}

"His Holiness"* was the great priest of the land, through whom all its gods heard the prayers of the inhabitants,** the priests, in their offices, ministering in Pharaoh's stead. He had access to the deities at all times, he could see them "face to face"*** when he would; indeed, he was "of the same race, and of the same flesh with the gods."**** He was the god incarnate. He was actually divine, and at times would figure in a local triad as one of its divinities. In his own kingdom and by complimentary potentates he was addressed as a "god"***** — he even offered incense to himself!****** There was deep meaning in Pharaoh's enormous statues towering up in city and plain above temples and obelisks, and looking down on ordinary mortals! Pharaoh's immense eyes gazed upon all Egypt, and. could be seen from afar watching all; his huge mouth commanded all, as he sat in his undisturbed repose, the mightiest, the most terrible, the supreme, none like him in all the earth.

{*1 "His Holiness" was a common title, "His Holiness" (Thutmes III.) "let the bravest of his warriors go before". . . ("The Life of the Captain Amenemhib," translated by Ebers). "In the first year of King Seti they came to report to His Holiness". . . (inscription celebrating a victory). See "A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. I, p. 355: II., p. 13.)

*2 "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 266.

*3 lbid., p. 1 25.

*4 "The Egypt of the Past" — Erasmus Wilson, p. 54.

*5 "The Tell Amarna Tablets" — Conder, p. 14.

*6 In a variety of ways the Pharaohs laid claim to divinity. On a wall picture at Assamboul enemies fall "beneath the sword of Ramessu, the god." "A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. II., p. 92. In Abydos, Seti I. is seen upon the huge wall, adoring his ancestors, and offering incense to their names, and as he had included amongst them that of his own, he offers incense to himself! See also "Ten Years' Digging in Egypt," pp. 75, 82; and "A History of Egypt" — W. M. Flinders Petrie, pp. 53, 181.}

{Illustration: The kings frequently figure seated amongst the gods. The triad represented in the above sketch is given by E. Prisse d'Avennes in his "Monuments Egyptiens." The monument was found in Lower Egypt, and within the area covered by the Bible story. Perhaps we might explain the sentiment which produced the monument, as the god Rameses, the Son of the Sun, seated between the Sun gods, Tum (or Atumi) and Ra.)

Man in his majesty is ever proud, but never was there pride among men more powerful than in the Pharaohs. It is not easy in our. days even to conceive what an Egyptian monarch was. The kings and emperors of our times are insignificant in comparison with him. "Whom art thou like in thy greatness?" (Ezek. 31:2)  said the Almighty of a Pharaoh far less mighty than he of the Exodus. Such kings were denied improvement and high moral aspiration by the misfortune of their majesty, they were their own standards of excellence, self-gratification and their own glory ruled their lives; what they willed they did, whether the work was good or bad. There were elements of a most contemptible kind in the pride of the Pharaohs. They would demolish whole cities in order to erase the names of their predecessors, and would appropriate the monuments of former builders to themselves, by chiselling out their names and inserting their own instead!* Even the names of gods, of whose priests the king was jealous, would be cut out of monuments, and those of other deities placed in the honoured position.** Neither Egypt's religion nor Egypt's history can be read aright unless the pride of its kings be considered.

{*The greater the Pharaoh the greater his greed for the glory of his own name. Rameses II. chiselled out of the walls of temples the very name of his father, in order that he might place his own there in its stead. "A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. II., p. 44. Speaking of some statues of Usertesen, in his "History of Egypt," p. 158, Professor W. M. Flinders Petrie says, "All of these were barbarously ruined by Merenptah, who battered his name in upon the exquisitely finished surfaces." See also pp. 92, 170. And not only did these kings place their names on monuments which they never built, but they also destroyed cities and monuments erected by their ancestors in order that their own vulgar pride might be gratified. See "Ten Years' Digging in Egypt" — W. M. Flinders Petrie, pp. 110, 111, 128, 129.)

**To fill up the measure of hatred against the caste of the priests of Amon, the king (Amenhotep IV.) issued a command to obliterate the names of Anion, and of his wife Mut, from the monuments of his royal ancestors. Hammer and chisel were put in active requisition on the engraved stones.". . . "A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. I., p. 442.}

The court was like the king. The chief nobles were Pharaohs in miniature. Their servants cringed before them, and crawled at their feet. These nobles dwelt in their sublime loftiness, as much like deities on a small scale as was possible, and they, too, were prayed to after death. By means of the heavily-paid priests, they appeared in the world to come in courtier state before the gods, and were waited upon by a host of slaves — at least, pictorially upon the walls of their tombs.

Such was the court, and such was the king before whom Moses stood.

Plague 7

A third time the word of Jehovah came to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh," and this was the message: "Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me, for I will at this time send all My plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like Me in all the earth." (Ex. 9:13, 14.)  A remonstrance followed, for the words should read to the effect, that though God had stretched out His hand, Pharaoh was not yet cut off, but was preserved, so that he might, either by humbling himself, or by rejecting the divine warning, be the means of magnifying God's Name. "As yet exaltest thou thyself" — like a dam to resist the waters, "behold, to-morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now." (Ex. 9:18.)

We know not Pharaoh's reply, but the words recorded indicate there was a conversation between Moses and the king. Some of the court believed, and availed themselves of the advice to house their cattle and their servants; others despised the counsel, and lost all.

At its appointed time the storm burst. Fire and hail fell upon the ground; trees and herbage, man and beast exposed to its violence, were destroyed. Only in Goshen, "the land of flowers,"* nature smiled. There, though the sound of the storm was heard, no wrath from heaven fell. The wall of partition separating Israel from Egypt rose right up to the sky.

{*"Israel in Egypt" — Osburn, p. 26.}

Pharaoh attributed the unwonted thunderings to the very "voices of God" (margin). He quailed, and sought the intercession of Moses. He owned he had sinned — an astounding descent from his throne of pride — and Moses promised deliverance, but added, "As for thee" — and we may well suppose him looking round upon the court — "and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear Jehovah Elohim," (Ex. 9:30)  the Sole and Only and Everlasting One, the Maker of All!

To such lengths did he go in the power of his God, that he would not even intercede within the walls of the idolatrous city, but lifted up his hands when outside of it, and at once the storm ceased. Then, true to the prophecy, Pharaoh and his court hardened their hearts.

The flax and barley crops being specially named, we can fix the date of this visitation; it was late in the month of January or early in February. The end was near; there were but four weeks more, and Israel would be free.*

{*The barley was in ear, the flax in blossom. Flax is in flower at the end of January. Flax and barley are usually ripe in the end of February or beginning of March; wheat and spelled in April. See "The Holy Bible with Notes" — Bishop Wordsworth, Exodus, p. 229.}

Plague 8

The land began to grow green again. Fruitful soil, life-giving water, and constant sunshine do wonders. Once more Egypt smiled and blossomed. Then Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh, and delivered their message. The tone was severe. It is impossible to imagine them twisting their hands and prostrating themselves before the king. "Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me," and then the alternative — locusts! — and without waiting for reply, Moses "turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. (Ex. 10:3-6).

In modern times enormous flights of locusts have been known covering an area of over a thousand miles, and which when driven into the sea formed a bank of bodies upon the shore some four feet high, and fifty miles long! In India, a railway train was actually stopped by a piled up host of these insects, as by running into a snowdrift. But the locusts threatened were such as never had been before, and such as never again shall be. The consideration was terrible to the court. For the first time the flatterers around Pharaoh spoke out; the custom of the palace was set aside; a fear greater than that of the king impelled them, "Let the men go," said they; "knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?" (Ex. 10:7.)

The ruffled king in the end sent for Moses and Aaron; an angry controversy ensued, and they were cast out of Pharaoh's presence. But the twenty-four hours of grace were running out. Part of the time had been spent over the unwonted scene in that dignified assemblage. Royalty and nobles were learning in a personal way the discomfiture the magicians had already proved. Not any longer was the calm of a god upon Pharaoh's countenance. Probably the court was too full of vexation to hear the ominous sound of the rising east wind, for Moses had already uplifted the rod at God's bidding, the wind had arisen, and all the remaining hours of the day it blew, and continued all the night. Already Jehovah's army of the skies, that had been lying at twenty-four hours' distance, was on the wing. Obeying the call of the wind, the huge host arose, and, borne upon its gusts, the myriads sped on towards the land of Egypt.

In the early morning, true to its time, all along the eastern horizon a yellow fringe could be seen, rapidly expanding over the heavens, till, like a dense brown cloud, it covered the blue sky and obscured the light. The rush of the wings of the moving myriads was presently heard, and then in another moment the land was covered with devouring hosts, and filled with the noise of their resistless jaws. Every succulent thing fell before them. All that the hail had left was taken away. So far as the eye could reach, the land of Egypt was a wilderness, as barren as the yellow deserts upon its borders. Goshen — the garden of Egypt — also fell under the plague, for its fruits and its crops were no longer necessary for Israel.

Pharaoh trembled once more: he called in haste for Moses and Aaron. "I have sinned," he said, "against Jehovah your God, and against you. Now, therefore, forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat Jehovah your God, that He may take away from me this death only." (Ex. 10:16, 17.) And Jehovah was entreated. "And Jehovah turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts and cast them into the Red Sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt." (Ex. 10:19).

In the last two plagues the air and the wind were used to work the divine will. The locust obeys the wind.* Egypt's deities of air and wind were set aside, as had been their deities of earth and water. The plague of the locusts, together with that of the hail, destroyed the sacred trees of the land. These were especially besought in the time of harvest, and to the sycamore, all ranks gave homage, and tribute of the fruits of the earth.

{*See "Bible Animals" — Wood, p. 601.}

Plague 9

The heavenly bodies, so widely worshipped in Egypt, had hitherto not been dealt with by the plagues sent upon the land. The ninth plague, the completion of the number so important in connection with their deities,* was to obliterate the host of heaven from the sight of their worshippers, and to put a stop to the chief religious ceremonies of the country. The temples were orientated to the sun, the moon, or to a special star,** and their deities were connected with different heavenly bodies. The highest point of the religious ceremony in honour of the celestial deity, or personified orb, occurred at the moment when the particular heavenly body to which the temple was orientated, cast its first bright beam between the double rows of sphinxes and obelisks, through the great gateways and the inner entrances and their doors, and right into the narrowed recess at the extreme end of the building, where, in the sanctuary, the image of the emblem of the god was placed. At that moment, which occurred but on rare occasions during the year, the image shone brilliantly for some two minutes in the sun or star beam. All around was in deep shadow, and the incident of the shining of the image was called the "manifestation" of the god. This was the supreme moment. Forth streamed the procession in honour of the deity, crowds of priests with their varied vestments and offices poured forth, incense-bearers, banner-carriers, uplifters of sacred emblems, supporters of shrines, musicians and singers, a throng of thousands, all combining to create a show of unrivaled religious pomp. The straight line with an arrow head, on the diagram on the previous page — running right through the double row of sphinxes, through gateways, pairs of obelisks, and courts, and then through the pillars and the chambers in the body of the building indicates how the beam of light penetrated into the inner sanctuary of the edifice.***

{*"The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 142- 151.

**See chapters x. and xv. of "Dawn of Astronomy" — Norman Lockyer.

***". . . . hath made for him (Amon) two great obelisks of hard granite of the south, the summit of each is of the smu metal. . . . The sun's disk shines between them, as when it rises from the horizon." See "Records of the Past," Vol. XII., p. 132.}

In sun worship various deities were represented: for example, at the time of the plagues, in its rising the sun was called Horus, on the horizon; in its light and heat, giving life and animation to the universe, it was called Ra; in its setting, it was called Tum. "I am Khopri in the morning, Ra at noon, Tumu in the evening," was the declaration of the god of his titles, according to the legend.*

{*Thus said Ra, when he was smitten by the serpent through the magic of Isis. "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 163.}

The system of the Egyptian religion did not permit of any deity retaining its precise character through many human generations; there was a continuous evolutionary process at work, adding to and modifying, and changing the nature of the deity. Tum originally had no representation, that first known of him is merely the general idea of a god without an emblem, and this fact indicates clearly that "the hidden god" had at one time a sound and definite signification. "The hidden god" without a representation, being the most ancient of the Egyptian deities, points to days anterior to idolatry, but as hundreds of years elapsed, and the time of the Exodus approached, "the hidden god" had assumed a variety of forms in many temples.

The sun in its varied characters was the mysterious and incomprehensible being to whom Egypt paid highest religious honour* A festive hymn addressed to the sun god Tum will interest the reader, and will perhaps give a better insight into the spirit of the religion than a history of doctrinal development:

"Hail, thou who art come as Tum, and who hast been the creator of the gods!
Hail, thou who art come as soul, of the holy souls of Amenti
Hail, supreme among the gods, who by thy beauties dost illumine the kingdom of the dead!
Hail, greatest of all the gods, bearing rule in the highest, reigning in the nethermost heaven!
Hail, thou who dost penetrate within the nethermost heaven, and hast command of all the gates!
Hail, among the gods, weigher of words in the kingdom of the dead!" **

{*The worship of Ra. "was more nearly universal than that of any other Egyptian deity, unless it were Osiris, who was also a sun god." "Tum is the sun, as he approaches or rests upon the western horizon, just before and when he sets. His common epithet is refer — 'good,' and this is regarded by some as part of his name, which is expressed by Temu, Atum, or Nefer-Tum" — "History of Ancient Egypt," Rawlinson, Vol. I., pp. 346, 347.

**The hymn occurs in "The Book of the Dead" — See "History of the Egyptian Religion," Tiele, pp. 83, 89.}

Not only have we the stately hymns, we have also the prayers which were uttered to the sun. At the time of the plague of darkness, it was invoked as the substance of ages, the one who gave birth to himself. "The circle of the great gods has adored thee; the circle of the lesser gods has worshipped thee in all thy beautiful forms". . . . "My heart is tranquil through all thy bread, receiving thy food in the gate of the house of obelisks off the table of the gods of On."* On is Heliopolis, the City of the Sun.

{*From a tablet in the British Museum. Period about close of XVIIIth Dynasty.}

The adjoining illustration, with its eye-teaching, is too suggestive to be omitted. The peculiar form of sun-worship which it celebrates was not that in vogue at the time of the plague; however, life emanating from the sun was none the less a belief in that period. And there are monuments extant in Thebes* analogous to this taken from Tell Amarna. The disc and the rays of the sun are portrayed, and at the ends of the rays are hands, and in some of these is the symbol of life, which is placed under the nostrils of the human being!

{*In a tomb at Thebes the rays of the sun are represented with hands, and with the sign of life communicating its influence to the human subject. "Nile Gleanings" — Villiers Stuart, p. 82.}

Earth's earliest idolatry arose out of the exaltation of the glories and movements of the heavenly orbs, and to our own day the greater part of mankind gives these bodies homage, or offers them direct worship. Israel in its day fell into the sin of turning to the east, and forfeited in consequence the glory-cloud of Jehovah's presence. (Ezek. 8:16-18; 10:18, 19.)  The plague of God-sent darkness over the land, for three days and nights, blotted out the host of heaven from the sight of the worshippers, and put a stop upon the services of the temples, and we may assume, that at the time of its occurrence some grand ceremony in honour of the celestial bodies was about to take place.

At the bidding of Jehovah, and without a word of warning, Moses stretched forth his hand towards heaven, and at once a darkness that could be felt chained every Egyptian to his place. None moved; all were bound, as it were, in a prison of outer gloom. For three days and nights, though the sun shone on high, and the moon and the stars gave forth their light, no ray penetrated the shroud that was swathed about Egypt. The darkness was the prelude to the coming death.

This sign of divine displeasure ended where the Egyptians dwelt. There the line of demarcation was drawn by God's omnipotent hand; the Hebrews had light in their dwellings. The divine intention in this must have been apparent to all. On the one hand there was darkness which was about to end in death, on the other there was light which was the prelude to life and liberty. God describes His people as the children of light, and those who are not, as of darkness. There was no shading off between the darkness and the light in the plague. And as it was, so it is, there is no twilight, and all are, therefore, shut up to the one or the other — to living in the light, or to living in the darkness.

Divine judgments do not soften the human heart. Pharaoh called for Moses and said, "Go ye; serve Jehovah. Only let your flocks and your herds be stayed." But upon these terms being rejected he was enraged. He dwelt in the darkness, and was as dark as it. Even in earthly things, evil men do not become converted to that which is good and lovely by a term of imprisonment. Pharaoh remained unchanged. He would not humble himself. He had developed impiety upon impiety, and, though he fain would have spared himself further suffering, he was determined in his resistance to the divine word, and only said to Moses, "Get thee from me; take heed to thyself; see my face no more, for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die." (Ex. 10:28.)

It will be well at this point to notice the process of heart-hardening which Scripture applies to Pharaoh. There are three words used in the Hebrew, which are rendered "harden" in relation to the king. Seven times it is said, "He hardeneth his own heart," or "His heart hardened itself" (chap. 8:13 — where it should read, "Pharaoh's heart resisted" — and vers. 14, 22; chap. 8:15, 19, 32; and chap. 9:7). After this sevenfold obduracy, and not till then, is it said, "The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart." This is said four times (chap. 9:12, 34, 35; and 10:1), and on the last occasion the hearts of Pharaoh's servants are included in the judgment.* It has been pointed out in this chapter how Pharaoh's court intervened when the locusts were threatened; they would not, however, yield to Jehovah, they preferred the favour of Pharaoh, so that this hardening of their hearts on that occasion is very striking. A definite and wilful obduracy is stamped upon Pharaoh's spirit, and a determined rejection of the divine warnings, becoming deeper and deeper with sevenfold intensity; after that climax he and his court, which also rejected God, were delivered over to their doom.

{*See "The Holy Bible with Notes" — Bishop Wordsworth, Exodus, pp. 212, 213.}

At the beginning of this chapter reference was made to the resemblance existing between the gods and kings of Egypt. If we accept Meneptah, the son of Rameses the Great, as the Pharaoh of the Exodus, the man whose hand and will rose up to contend with the Almighty Jehovah, any information that may assist us better to comprehend his character will be interesting. The key to the pride possessing him was his belief that he was the incarnation of the deity. "The ruling Pharaoh of the day was the living image and the vice-regent of the sun." He was "the living representation of the deity," and was addressed in terms precisely similar to those wherewith they worshipped their god. An ode to him runs thus: —

Thou art, as it were, the image of thy father, the sun,
Who rises in heaven.
Thy beams penetrate the cavern.
No place is without thy goodness.
Thy sayings are the law of every land.
When thou reposest in thy palace
Thou hearest the words of all the lands.
Thou hast millions of ears.
Bright is thy eye above the stars of heaven,
Able to gaze at the solar orb.
If anything be spoken by the mouth in the cavern
It ascends into thy ears.
Whatsoever is done in secret thy eye seeth it,
O! Baenra Meriamen,* merciful Lord, Creator of breath.**

{*"The King Meneptah, son of Rameses II, and his immediate successor!"

**"Records of the Past," Vol. VI., pp. 101, 102.}

The translator adds that these words must not be regarded as merely courtly sentiment and flattery; people believed in the king's divinity.

Chapter 13: Egyptian Belief as to the Future State

Our remarks on the beliefs and worship of the ancient Egyptians must be supplemented by a few words on their ideas regarding the future state. They held that when death came upon the body, the spirit lived on, being possessed of a distinct existence, and that at some future date it would ' return to the body. There was solid truth in much of their beliefs, but during the lapse of time the truth became so covered over with an abundance of the deposits of falsehood, that it was no longer practically valuable.

This familiar picture expresses their faith in the fact of the spirit of the person living after the body is dead. The body lies still in death, the spirit hovers over it. In either hand it holds an emblem of life the one a sail, betokening the life's brevity, and the other the sacred figure of life in its perpetuity. The spirit is looking upon the body as if bidding it a farewell, and saying, "Whither shall I go; where shall I spend my future?"

Alas, the only answer the idolater could give to the first question was, "To judgment"; and to the second, "To the care of demons!"

They believed in the truth of a judgment to come — "after death the judgment." They believed in the truth that man's actions on this earth will be weighed, and the record of them presented to the divine judge. But the judges were to them the half animal half man gods they worshipped. What a picture is this! No language can express more forcibly the system of their belief. The deceased is being weighed, that is to say his heart is in the balance, for in one scale is a jar, containing the heart, the emblem of his motives.

Most excellent is this conception, for all are what their hearts are. In the other scale is a figure of truth. And most excellent is this also, for we shall all be weighed and judged according to truth. And Truth is holding in her hand the emblem of perpetual life, for truth lives forever, and never changes. But who judges? "God, the Judge of all?" (Heb. 12:23.)  No, demons!

Anubis, who directs the weights, sees to the faithfulness of the scales; Thoth writes down the result, and Horus takes the record to Osiris, him whom we see in the following picture; the lord of the underworld. Upon his head is the crown, with the serpent form in front. He holds the sceptre within his hands, as he sits upon his throne of state. To him man must give account. Before him stands the deceased. Step by step his life has proceeded up to this great event. The deceased, a mummied man, has scales poised evenly over his shoulders, for he has been weighed in the balances, and has not been found wanting. But let us suppose the case of one whose actions have not been upright, according to the standard of the truth and the justice of the underworld courts. Sentence must be passed upon him in that case, for he is not worthy of a place upon the sacred shores of Amenti.

The scales are not even. What was the offence of the particular transgressor in the picture on the next page is evident. He had been too fond of good he had been a glutton! Therefore his doom was to return to this earth and to expiate his sins. The glutton was sent back to the earth in the form of a pig, and, by over-eating, was to be purified from his greedy propensities. He was to pass into the purgatory of the body of the pig, and so to be purified!

In pig form he comes back to the world, and the figure with the axe cuts off his return to the sacred shores. Anubis, the director of the weights, looks on, to see all is done correctly, and, under the guardianship of two apes, the soul of the deceased, now within the pig's body, comes back, eats, wallows in the mire, and is abhorred by all respectable Egyptians, and thus becomes pure.

The dog-headed ape was an important personage in Egyptian mythology. In "The Manifestation of Light," the Book Revealing Light to the Soul (the Book of the Dead),* the four apes around the lake of fire are thus addressed by the defunct —

{*Our knowledge of the belief of the Ancient Egyptians on the matters in hand is derived from "The Book of the Dead." In his introduction to the translation of it in "Egypt's Place in Universal History" (Bunsen), Birch states it was a growth of ages — it partly became obsolete — its letter and its creed varied at different times some centuries had their favourite chapters, others had theirs. But it was considered to be an inspired work, and portions of it "are expressly stated to have been written by the very finger of Thoth himself, and to have been the composition of the great God."}

"O these four apes residing on the prow of the Sun's bark, who make Truth to arise before the Lord of All, judges of my misfortune and my victory, who appease the gods by the flame of your mouth. . . who live of the Truth; you nourished by Truth, exempt from fraud, abhorrent of evil, extract from me all stain, free me of all iniquity, so that I may not retain any blemish, and thus be able to cross over. . . and pass through the mysterious pylons of Amenti."

And thus do the apes reply: — "Pass over, advance; we drive away thy faults, we annihilate the stains which wounded thee on earth, we dispel all the impurities which remain with thee, enter — pass through the mysterious pylons."*

{*See "Le Livre des Morts," d'apres le papyrus de Turin. — Paul Pierrot, ch. cxxvi.}

Holiness derived from apes! Divinities propitiated by the flames of apes' mouths! Apes giving entrance to the gates of the blessed! Such was the degradation into which the animal worshipping Egyptian had fallen.

A remarkable feature of their belief was the complacency and self-justification of the defunct. "I present myself," says such an one, "before the Lord of Eternity. There is no evil in me." Again, "I have neither done any sin, nor omitted any duty to man. . . I have not shortened the cubit. . . I have not falsified the weight of the balance. . . I have not netted the ducks (of the Nile) illegally; I have not been a glutton; I have not been a drunkard,"* and so on. But in spite of the array of good works, the heart sometimes had its pangs, and very touching are the words, "My heart, which comes to me from my mother; my heart, necessary for my existence on earth, rise not against me, become not an adversary against me before the gods."**

{*What is really meant by these assertions is hard to tell: "On the night of the 17th of Thoth" there was a great festival to that god. Thoth, we remember, was said to have himself written "The Book of the Dead." "For several days the people occupied themselves solely in prayers, sacrifices, and processions." "The gods of heaven exclaim, 'Ah! Ah!' in satisfaction. . . . the Hathors beat their tabors. . . . all those who are gathered together in the town are drunk with wine. . . ." Indeed, the feast was called "The Feast of Drunkenness" by the people of Dendera. "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 321, 322. Perhaps "I have not been a drunkard" did not relate to religious feasts! See "The Monumental History of Egypt" — Osborn, pp. 430, 432.

**"Le Livre des Morts," d'apres le papyrus de Turin. — Paul Pierrot, ch. xxx.}

Stripped of the fancies respecting the actual heart being separated from the body, and thus an eternal existence being doubtful, we read in these words the truth that man is the same to-day as he was in ancient Egypt, that he would fain justify himself before his Judge, and yet that his self-justification affords him no real rest.

The goddess Nut, who bore the title "Mother of the Gods," had a special care over the departed. Her form is frequently to be found painted upon mummy cases. She appears at times, in her pictures, in a sacred tree, whence she pours forth for the soul — of course the justified soul — heavenly nectar, or water of life, for its nourishment, and she also gives of the fruit of the same tree to the deceased and his friends. This idea is very striking, and proves that the story of the tree of life in Paradise was in part enshrined in the legends of ancient Egypt. The first records in the Word of God should be carefully noted, for the beginnings and endings of the book are remarkably similar. The tree of life, with its fruits, and the water of life are mentioned in the closing chapter of Revelation. God's purpose is unchanged, and though hidden during much of the time of man's history, will be eventually made good. And the enemy's purpose is apparent; he would introduce himself all through man's history as man's friend, whether for time or eternity. The teaching of the illustration also emphasizes the belief of those days in the separate existence of the spirit from the body, and its conscious bliss in a state separate from the body.

Nut is often represented as a woman whose form, spangled with stars, is bent over the earth, and thus she is the heavens. She was painted on the cover of the mummy case, and thereby protected the body within. On a papyrus in the Louvre, it is said to the deceased, "Thy mother Nut has received thee in peace. Every day she places her arms beneath thy head. She protects thee in thy coffin. . . She extends her protecting care over thy life, thy health, thy soundness."* The mummy in question was wrapped in its narrow bandages, on which, in red and black colours, Nut's image was portrayed.

{*"Monuments of Upper Egypt." Appendix, p. 304. American edition.}

But the eminently business-like Egyptians did not rely solely on the attention of Nut. Talismans, amulets and charms were also employed to secure the defunct, and the sarcophagus was also inscribed with correct formulas, in order to preserve to the tenant within it, the pleasures of the world to come. It was held that the mummification of the body purified it, and rendered it fit for the eventual company of the purified soul,* and thus the money spent in embalming was well laid out. It was further held that an impaired corpse stood doubt fully in view of its resurrection, and the soul is portrayed as visiting it in the tomb, and seeing how it was preserved. In addition to these precautions, the principal intestines of the deceased — stomach, small intestines, lungs, heart and liver — were placed in jars, dedicated to four genii,** as portrayed opposite, who guarded them till the resurrection.

{*See Osborn's "Monumental Egypt." Vol. I., p. 426.

**"The Mummy" — Budge, p. 195.}

On its way in the underworld to the abode of bliss, the soul was supposed to encounter dangers and difficulties. But the priestly ingenuity which created these obstacles also found a way of escape from them. The soul had during lifetime on earth learned magic watchwords, and these on being uttered drove back the opposing genii below, and a chapter from the Book of the Dead, recited when in difficulty on the journey, smoothed the rough places, and if these various protections after all should fail, one final preservative remained. It was to be had for money. The priests would make all secure by an abundance of funereal rites.*

{*The prayers and magic words were recited over amulets and charms placed on different parts of the body of the corpse.}

Their ideas of a future state were as "earthly" as their conceptions respecting the resurrection of the body. The tomb was stored with edibles and pleasant things, and with articles for the toilet, and objects prized in lifetime, so that the soul, or that part of the human being which was supposed to visit the tomb, might have the enjoyment of them, or, failing the actual things, the pictures of them painted upon the walls of the tomb. No doubt these various articles were at one time regarded as of value to the defunct at the resurrection of his body, and to assist the defunct in the realms of bliss a variety of little figures were buried with him, who were supposed to respond to his call, and do him service. These were made of wax, porcelain, or wood, and other materials. Once upon a time these "answerers" were veritable slaves, who were slain when their lord died, and were buried with him, so that they might still be his slaves in the next world,* but whether from motives of kindness or economy, as time rolled on, the "answerers" figures were used instead. In the row of them here given the variety of their countenances will attract attention, as each group of "answerers" has its own individuality. The Egyptians were a pastoral people, and the rich employed many slaves; they regarded the life to come as this present life lived over again, and their ideas of supreme happiness consisted in farms, cattle, fishes and ducks, very much in the same way as a North American Indian pictures the happy hunting grounds of the world to come. It would not have been felicity to the Egyptian gentleman to till his own land or herd his own cattle, so his Ushabitui, "Answerers," replied to his bidding, with the hoe and other field labour, in the same way as the North American Indian expects his weapon and his steed to serve him in the hunting grounds. Man's ideas of eternal felicity — unless he have a revelation from God — must be those of the same kind as his present pleasures.

{*In the article by Maspero, "Tombeau de Montouhikhopshouf," p. 452 of "Memoirs de la Mission Archeologique Francaise," Tome Cinquieme, illustrations are given of the bringing in for sacrifice and the strangling of certain Nubian slaves, who were executed in all probability that they might serve their deceased lord in the underworld.}

Here is a part of a picture of a funeral procession. The mummy lies upon the sacred boat, which is being dragged by oxen to the mournful cry, "To the west, to the west"; mourners cast dust upon their heads, priests make oblations on the way, and the chief priest offers incense and water to the body. Presently the shore of the sacred lake or the river will be reached, and then the trust will be deposited in its grave fortress to rest secure from dishonourable hands!

Never did men bestow such care upon the safe-guarding of their dead bodies, never did men make such "eternal homes" for tombs as the Egyptians, and never were corpses hunted for as theirs, by robbers, traders, and "scientists," even to this very day!*

{*The efforts "to make a sarcophagus as a remembrance for eternity" sometimes would employ ten thousand soldiers in addition to the workmen ("A History of Egypt" — W. M Flinders Petrie, pp. 13 1, 132), and each tomb builder did his utmost to preserve his mummy and jewels entire for the resurrection day, yet from ancient down to modern times these tombs were the quarry for burglars. Thousands of years ago inspectors of royal tombs reported thus upon them, "It was found to have been pierced by the hands of thieves at the spot where the tablet of the monument is fixed. Examined on that day it was found entire, the thieves not having been able to penetrate into it." Ibid, p. 130; see also p. 135.}

We must not omit to mention how it was that the fate of the deceased became known upon earth, and became such sure knowledge, that artists, sculptors, and architects could work together in depicting the whole procedure of the judgment and its results. Someone evidently had the key, someone knew the unknown and was in close touch with the creatures of the unseen world, and thus was able either to make public the exaltation or degradation of the deceased, to blazon his name on the calendar of saints, or to notify his departure to purgatory.

The priests promulgated the story of the judgment of the gods, of the virtues of the magic and the embalming; they arranged the whole matter, and by the power of this wisdom enriched themselves and made their religion great. In such matters our days are not, after all, so very different from those of the ancient Egyptians. Yet we may learn one lesson from these learned pagans, and wisely lay to heart their exhortation —

"Mind thee of the day, when thou, too, shall start for the land,
To which one goeth to return not thence."*

{*See Song of the Harper, "Records of the Past." Vol. VI., p. 130.}

Chapter 14: The Death of the First-born and the Passover

The subjoined illustration is a great symbol of ancient Egypt. We have ventured to call it Egypt's royal arms. It was graven over the entrance to every temple, and Israel knew it well. Each worshipper, who entered a temple, passed under the shadowing wings, the serpents, and the sun. In the shadowing wings is the emblem of dominion and protection. The serpent betokens wisdom and majesty; the sun's disc, supremacy. We can but admire the conception of the sun as most grand and noble. England may bear upon her royal arms the figure of the king of beasts, France that of the king of birds, but lion and eagle must yield their claims to the mighty ruler of the sky. Egypt's shadowing wings, in her glory, covered the known world — she was the queen of nations, the ruler and the guardian of all. And the intelligence which gave her this great power was centred in the serpent, her sign of majesty. On either side of the doorways of Egypt's temples were engraved pictures of conquerors, and the gods to whom the honour of the victories were ascribed. Thus, on passing into and out of these great buildings, the worshippers stood under an archway reared in honour of the deities under whose protection Egypt dwelt secure. In the temple of Kom Ombos — a picture of which is given on the next page — we have an admirable instance of this great sign of ancient Egypt.

In the controversy between Jehovah and the gods of Egypt, their powers had proved of none effect. Effective indeed they were to hold Egypt in thrall, ineffective altogether to shelter the people from the finger of God.

To Israel, "in the land of Egypt," in the midst of the corruption of the truth, God gave His great sign of deliverance, and the sign unmistakably points to His redemption which is in Christ. The token of divine deliverance was death the death of the sacrifice. "The blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are." (Ex. 12:13.)  Being about to bring His people out of the land of bondage, Jehovah would do so in a way to the glory of His own righteousness, and by a sign which was never to be forgotten in Israel's generations. The plagues sent upon Egypt had accomplished their purpose in relaxing the grasp of the oppressor, but, by the Passover, Israel learned God's way of their redemption and His righteous requirements in judgment in relation to themselves. The sign of God's deliverance was upon the lintel and the door posts of every house, and thus Israel could dwell secure in the hour of judgment under God's sheltering wings.*

{*"The word 'passover' renders as nearly as possible the true meaning of the original, of which the primary sense is generally held to be 'pass rapidly,' like a bird with outstretched wings, but it undoubtedly includes the idea of sparing. . . The Egyptian word 'pesh,' which corresponds to it very nearly in form, means 'to spread out the wings over' and 'to protect"' — Speaker's Commentary, Vol. I., p. 295.}

From the manner of Moses before Pharaoh on the occasion of his last interview with the king, it is evident that he was fully aware the time of Israel's bondage was practically past.

Upon Pharaoh declaring to Moses he should die, if he dared to see his face again, Moses replied, "Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more," and he continued, "Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the first-born of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." We can almost see his stern countenance, as facing the court, he proceeded, "And all these thy servants shall come down unto me. . .saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out." (Ex. 10:29; 11:4-8.)  And then, in great anger, Moses left the king.

All in that assembly had had sufficient evidence to be assured of the certain realization of Moses' terrible words what had been foretold would be fulfilled, and fear must have paralyzed them. Jehovah, Israel's Almighty God, under the power of whose words all Egypt had trembled, Jehovah Himself, was about to go through their land to destroy the pride of every family, and to fill every house with unexampled lamentations. Neither could any power arrest the decree or change the sentence. There was no escape, no hope. At the beginning of the controversy with Egypt, God had spoken gently then He had warned Pharaoh, that should he disobey Him, his first-born should die; opportunities at the beginning bad been freely given, but now the day of repentance was past, the hour of divine judgment had come.

There is no consideration for the human heart more solemn than that of coming judgment. Right through the history of man, God has linked disobedience with punishment, and His judgments, though delayed, have ever fallen as foretold, upon the guilty and the rebellious. And what has been will be. Indeed, as is frequently observed, there seems in the foretelling of the book of Revelation, an echo of the fulfilling of the judgments which fell on Egypt in the days of Israel's exodus from that proud and serpent-worshipping land. In the end it will be found that the only shelter for man is the blood of the Lamb and the shadowing wings of Jehovah, which protect all who obey Him.

As the day of these terrible tidings to Egypt wore away, all Israel was engaged in slaying the lamb for the Passover. It was the eve of their national birthday.

The people were assembled together in order, according to their tribes and families, the chief mass of them being located in the city Rameses. (Num. 33:3.) Their elders and heads were all at their posts. For three days they had been engaged in preparing for the Passover, and now on the fourth, the last day, the word came to them as a nation and as individual families, both to "the whole assembly of the congregation" (Ex. 12:6.) and to each house, (ver. 21.) to kill the lamb, and to strike its blood upon their houses. Emphatically, this sacrifice was the common salvation of all, as it was the personal confidence of each. In it and in nothing else was safety. Whether rich or poor, whether having mingled in the idolatries of Egypt, or having rejected them at all cost, whatever the character of the life or the habit of any, all found in the blood of the lamb, and in that alone, their safety. Jehovah was about to pass through Egypt, and His angel would look not within the house, but outside it — not at the class of people within, but for the proof of their obedience, as written upon lintels and doorposts without. The express word was, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you." (ver. 13.)

The scene of striking the blood upon lintel and door-posts is represented in our picture. It was "between the two evenings,"* the sun was sinking into its band of gold upon the horizon, as the heads of all the families of the Israelites came out from their houses with the sacrificial blood, and with the bunch of hyssop — this being a very common growth and to the hand of all. Close in the front is the house of a Hebrew. The father is attended by his eldest son, who holds the basin containing the victim's blood, and as the father strikes lintel and side posts with the sign of deliverance, he lays his hand upon his firstborn's head, as if to say, "The lad is safe, the lamb has died in his stead."

{*Josephus sheds light upon the phrase "between the two evenings," as the words should read, when he says that the Passover lambs were slain in the Temple court "from the ninth hour till the eleventh," that is, from three o'clock until five. That was the very time of our Lord's death, for it was shortly after the "ninth hour" — three o'clock — that He cried with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. See "The Wars of the Jews," Book VI., chap. ix., sec. 3.}

The stately Egyptian gentlemen, and the children of the street, may look on and wonder. They may say, "What do the Hebrews now? What mean they by this act, and what is the signification of this blood?" Or, it may be, that on hearing of the impending judgment some betook themselves to their gods to pray and to bring offerings to the priests for sacrifice in the temples. In the distance is a throng of people passing into a temple, under the sign of the sheltering wings, the serpents, and the sun. But their hopes are vain, "the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?"

The picture suggests the inquiry of ourselves, What is my hope, wherein shall I find shelter from the wrath to come? And Scripture supplies the answer to such as obey the gospel, "Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold. . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18, 19.)

Having done as God bade them, the Israelites returned to their houses, shut the doors and waited. Whether they had strong faith, or, whether fears filled them, they were equally secure, for the salvation they had was of God. To them the blood, not the sense of security, was "for a token," yet it was a sign they could not see, for their doors were shut, and they were within. It was without the house for Jehovah's eye, and when He saw it He passed over the house.

After a short twilight, darkness falls swiftly upon Egypt. The nation over which the sword of Jehovah hung slept. All seemingly was rest, when suddenly came the awful awakening; death was in every house!

Pharaoh's palace rang with the cries of lamentation; his first-born was dead. And the woe and terror of the king were the woe and terror of all his people. For Jehovah "smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first-born of cattle." (Ex. 12:29.) One common anguish was upon every heart.

 Even Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in the night, and they heard his pitiful words as he bade them be gone, children, flocks, and herds, and they listened to his prayer to them for a blessing on himself also.

The customs of the country gave an intensity to the woe. Even in our own times a "great cry" arises in parts of Egypt when death enters a house; the wail is taken up by the friends of the bereaved, and the loud lamentations borne upon the still air can be heard afar off: In those old days, on death entering a house the members of the family would rush into the streets, cast dust upon their heads and beat their breasts as they uttered piercing cries. Friends and relations joined the melancholy throng, and added to these were the professional mourners as here portrayed, uttering their shrill screams.* Such services would not be required, even if they were rendered, on the midnight of the Passover, for grief and terror, only too real, were in every house, and prevailed in every street.

{*"Letters from Egypt" — Lepsius, p. 84.}

At the present day it is customary for the mourners to call upon the deceased, according to the relationship that existed between them, as, "Oh, my glory," "Oh, my father!"* but in the night of the great cry in Egypt the wail that filled the land was for the first-born, "Alas, my first-born Alas, my first-born!" This we may well picture to ourselves, for the customs of the country where the people are removed from European influence are so marvellously like those portrayed upon the monuments, that those old pictures seem paintings of the life of today.

{*"The Modern Egyptians" — Lane, Vol. II., p. 252.}

To add intensity to the dismay, the hand of Jehovah was heavy also upon "all the gods of Egypt." (Ex. 12:12.) This act of His in executing judgment upon their deities probably the living emblems of their gods must have wrought terror in every temple. The divine vengeance falling upon the deities of the land evidenced Jehovah's Supremacy over "all" powers men worshipped, and explains to the Christian the real significance of the Egyptian religion. There was not one god in the land who was not opposed to Jehovah, not one sacrifice or prayer offered in any temple, or before any shrine, through any priest, that was not rendered to a demon! King, priests, and people were alike utterly confounded. Besides, the discriminating hand of Jehovah in smiting the first-born only, whether of man or of cattle,* showed forth His power in such a way that all Egypt dreaded death, and, to save themselves, besought Israel to be gone, lest all should die as the first-born had died.

 {*The living emblems of the gods were in certain instances selected from the first-born of cattle.}

While Egypt was in the streets, and the night rang with its shrill wailing cry, the Israelites within their doors were eating the Passover. The people were ready to depart, but they were in haste. They stood to eat, and stood shod and girded, prepared at any moment for their call. Egypt, that had been the land of bonds to them, was no longer their home; as pilgrims they partook of the supper, their last meal in Egypt; the morning and liberty were at hand.

Their lamb, which was without blemish, was roast with fire, whole and unbroken, and that which could not be eaten was consumed with fire; none of it was left until the morning.

God gave them minute instructions, not only for their obedience, but for ours, to teach us in our days truths respecting "Christ our Passover," who "is sacrificed for us. (1 Cor. 5:7.) He is the Lamb of God, He is perfect in His holiness, without blemish and without spot. He was sacrificed for us, and was subjected to the fire of divine judgment on our behalf, and He was wholly offered to God. The Passover was "to the Lord," (Deut. 16:2) as well as for Israel. Christ "offered Himself without spot to God," (Heb. 9:14)  and by "the blood of His cross" peace has been made, (Col. 1:20) and by its virtue the passing over occurs. He is spiritually fed upon as the Lamb who has been slain. No one can partake of Him save as the One who died for sinful men, and this He Himself proclaims. (John 6:53.) Apart from His atoning death we cannot be associated with Him. (John 12:24.)

The attitude of Israel when partaking of the Passover also. teaches us spiritual lessons. The night is far spent, the morning is about to break, and the feast, therefore, is a supper, the last not the first of the day. "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning," (Luke 12:35) are the words of the Master.

The people were to cast out leaven — that invariable scriptural type of evil — from their houses. "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Cor. 5:8.)  In the midst of Egyptian idolatry, Israel was to witness that holiness becomes God's people forever.

Old and young, all partook of the lamb, for it was the common portion. And they ate it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. There was to be a glorying in a holiness, which was God's gift, and yet also the lowliness of self-condemnation. As Israelites, they were no better than the Egyptians, but God had redeemed them out of Egypt; He had bought them froth its bonds by blood, and He redeemed them Himself. They needed to feel what they were; they needed to gather the bitter herbs and to taste their bitterness.

We may be very sure that unless there be true penitence before God our religion is vain. No one who really puts his whole trust in the blood of Christ does so without a sense of his own sins, the exceeding sinfulness of which called for the Redeemer's death. A shallow religion is vain. God alone knows what the fire of divine judgment is; the lamb was roast with fire, and that which could not be eaten was burned. But though we cannot fully know what the fire is, we can know practically the bitterness of our own ways.

The feast was of a family character. All partook of it according to their several appetites. Throughout Scripture we frequently have eating presented as a symbol of communion. In the East such is still the case. The Israelites partook, according to their eating, of the lamb, whose blood was their common salvation. But not in their feeding upon the lamb, their communion concerning the sacrifice, did their security lie, but in the blood outside their doors. Communion with God about Christ follows our salvation by God's Christ, but not by spiritual capacity are we saved; our salvation lies in the value of the sacrificial blood upon which God rests, even as His eye rested upon the blood which was outside the houses of Israel. The order is, first the shelter of the blood, then the joy of feasting upon the Lamb whose blood has been shed for us. The salvation of Israel was written in blood upon their houses; the communion of Israel was one with another before Jehovah in the lamb, whose blood had been shed for them; the attitude of Israel was readiness, preparedness for their journey.

Israel did not leave Egypt poor. God bade His people, who had toiled so long without wages, to demand* of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment. And the terror of Jehovah lent generosity to the Egyptians. The captive people became laden with the captors' spoils. Israel spoiled the Egyptians. Never was the "night of the Lord" to be forgotten.

{*This demand (for such is the force of the word rendered borrow) was made before the institution of the Passover, and it had been arranged by God at the first. See Ex. 3:21, 22.}

Chapter 15: Liberty

The people of Israel "departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the morrow after the Passover, the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians; for the Egyptians buried all their first-born, which the Lord had smitten among them. Upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments." (Num. 33:3, 4.)  Thus does the divine record give the date of their departure, the point from which the departure was made, the manner of their outgoing, and the fear that lay upon the Egyptians.

On the fifteenth of the month, as Israel's hosts gathered together, the moon was at full, the night was as day, every object was visible as evidently as in the sunlight, though garbed with a peculiar tenderness. Tanis stood "in the field of Zoan," (Ps. 78:1, 2.) and, as has been observed, it bore the name of Rameses, for Pharaoh loved to impress his name on such cities as he had restored to their earlier glory, as well as on those he built. Temple city as it was, it had been built for the glory of the king, whose huge statue "towered up above all surrounding buildings" over-capping the temples and obelisks, and could be "seen for miles across the plain."* In "the field of Zoan" was the great review ground for Egypt's chariots, a Champ de Mars of unrivaled excellence, where "the hosts of the warriors were mustered to be exercised in the manoeuvres of battle."**

{*"Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette, p. 309. Appendix, American Edition.}

{**"A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. II., p. too.}

It cannot at present be positively determined whether Israel departed from the city Rameses, or the district which bore the same name, neither can it be said with certainty that Tanis and the Rameses of the Bible are identical, but such a plain of assembly as the review ground of the chariots seems one highly suitable for the great muster of Jehovah's armies, and one grandly adapted for their outgoing from their bonds "with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians."

On the brilliant moonlight night, the former slaves of Egypt fell into their appointed positions according to tribe and family. They were in haste. Pharaoh had urged them, "Take your flocks and your herds, and be gone"; (Ex. 12:32)  their old masters were so eager for their departure that they were "thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry." (Ex. 12:39.) Egypt was terror-stricken; the fear of God had so fallen on its people that the very dogs reflected the spirit of their masters, and moved not a tongue against Israel. (Ex. 11:7)  Jehovah had redeemed Israel, He had made them free; we may say they were "more than conquerors through Him that loved" (Rom. 8:37)  them, and in the excellence of their freedom, they lifted up their heads, crowned with "the helmet of salvation." (Eph. 6:1-7.)

Moses, on this never-to-be-forgotten night, was within call of the palace. The great cry still rang through Egypt when he received Pharaoh's bidding to depart, a command carrying with it authority to governors of fortresses and canals to give the people free passage. The whole company of Israel extended itself over a large district, they had "very much cattle" (Ex. 12:38) with them, wagons and beasts of burden. "The field of Zoan" was of great extent, and adjoined the district of Goshen, where Israel was largely planted, while again in Succoth there was wealthy pasturage. It seems impossible to follow the Bible narrative without allowing that Israel was extended over a considerable area of country. Moses was at the rear of the people, and on his receiving the kings word to go forward, the command, forwarded immediately, would, according to eastern methods of communication, spread like a swift flame over miles of ground.

For many a mile the colossus of Pharaoh could be seen watching the hosts of Israel filing off across the plain, gathering in numbers as they went. The terrors preceding their departure had shaken loose the fetters of many captives of many nations, and these formed the "mixed multitude" which accompanied the people. An incident illustrating the power accompanying Israel in their departure was the removal from On of the coffin of Joseph, an act which, in ordinary circumstances, would be regarded as an intolerable scandal.

Israel did not take the regular high road to Canaan, (Ex. 13:17) though that was to hand, for God would not expose them at once to war and its discouragements. That road was the usual mode of communication between the countries of Egypt and Palestine. The Kheta and the Egyptians were in alliance with each other,* on friendly terms. The celebrated queen of Rameses II., Nefert-ari, was a royal lady of Kheta.** Their old wars had ceased, and between the two countries "a constant intercourse was regularly maintained, and messengers went to and fro" from the respective courts.*** Had Israel taken the highway to their land of promise, armed Egypt would have been behind them with garrisons on the way, and an armed Canaan would have been in front of them.

{*See Treaty between Rameses II. and the Kheta. "Records of the Past," Vol. IV., p. 25, etc.

**See "A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. II., p. 75.

***Ibid., Vol. II., p. 126.}

But how could the miscellaneous host know which way it should go, and how should each member of it be assured of his direction? They came out from various of the towns of Goshen, and probably some may have even been camped near On! Here is the answer: "The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night." * All Israel rallied to Jehovah's uplifted beacon, and with eyes fixed upon its movements each Israelite knew where next to place his foot, and each such step was a confirmation of faith. The pillar was of cloud and fire, (Ex. 13:21)  a visible and enduring sign of Jehovah's presence with Israel all the way of their wilderness journey. Ancient armies had at times braziers carried aloft before them to guide the troops* in trackless countries the "fire-look" of Israel was the glory-cloud of Jehovah.

{*"Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament" — Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II., pp. 40, 41.}

Such was the haste with which Israel left Egypt that they took with them no stores for immediate use, save the dough and kneading troughs, which were bound upon their shoulders, together with their clothes. They were thus, in a peculiar way, wholly dependent upon Jehovah's care. The haste of their departure was not necessary only to fulfil the urgency of the Egyptians — who were really God's agents in the matter — but to ensure their exit at the preordered time of Jehovah's appointment.

From Rameses, first passing through the land of Goshen, they went to Succoth; then the whole host swept along the green valley between the hills, and beside the Sweet Water Canal towards the lakes of Pithom and "Pharaoh's farm,"* where the nomads, the wandering tribes, were permitted to pitch their tents "in order to feed themselves and to feed their cattle in the great estate of Pharaoh."**

{*The nomads "ask to drive their cattle in the pastures which belong to the estate or to the farm of Pharaoh." The Septuagint render Pi Hahiroth "before the farm," the exact translation of the Egyptian word. See "The Store-City of Pithom and the Route of the Exodus" — Naville, p. 26.)

{** Ibid., h. 24. Papyrus Anastasi, VI. — Brugsch's Translation.}

This city was one of those they had built. It has only recently been brought to light that is "recently" in relation to our times, for in the days of the Romans, and later, it was well known. The triad referred to on page 67 was dug up from the ruins of Heroopolis* where Rameses sits between the sun-gods, to one of which, Tum, the city was dedicated — Pi-Tum, the dwelling of Tum. In it were chambers or "granaries, into which the Pharaohs gathered the provisions necessary for armies about to cross the desert, or even for caravans. . . which were on the road to Syria."** It was both a store city and a fortified city. Is it too much to suppose that Israel replenished their supplies from its store-chambers — the very ones they had themselves built? We have to remember that after leaving Egypt, Israel, for one month depended upon their own resources, for the supply of heavenly food was not afforded them until the fifteenth day of the second month.

{*"The Store-City of Pithom and the Route of the Exodus" — Naville, pp. 1 and 8.}

{** "The Store-City of Pithom and the Route of the Exodus" — Naville, p. 10.}

Chapter 16: Egypt's Army Overthrown

There was in ancient times a waterway between the Red Sea, as it now is, and the Bitter Lakes, and it is most probable that what are now marshes was once a continuation of the Red Sea in its extension to Succoth.* We must have patience before we can be positive on such interesting details; In due time fresh discoveries will solve many of these questions. But the result of the research and the discoveries already at our disposal enable us to form a very good general idea of the situation of Israel, and to follow the Bible narrative with considerable clearness.

{*"The Red Sea has shrunk back," says Naville in his "The Store-City of Pithom and the Route of the Exodus." There have been "movements in the soil. In some parts it must have shrunk considerably." And again, in other parts "important ruins are several feet under water. In other places, which certainly were under water, it has risen." — Page 8.)

Migdol and Baal-zephon, as marked upon the map, occupy the places given to them by various authorities. The lie of the hills is also helpful to the imagination in picturing the camp of Israel pitched "between Migdol and the sea." By following the canal between Goshen and Pithom, we find ourselves in a valley between hills. It is still green; once it was well watered and fruitful. Facing the desert of Etham, and stretching towards Tahapanes, was a fortified wall.

Migdol signifies tower. Sometimes the Migdol was a triumphal tower, erected in commemoration of a victory; such a tower might also be dedicated to a deity, and be fortified. Migdol contains a military idea, be it rendered tower, fort, or watch-tower. The special Migdol of our story was in all probability a fortified position on the frontier, and if Brugsch's interpretation of Baal-zephon* be adopted, that also would be similarly dedicated.

{*"Under Egyptian orthography Baali-zapouna is to be recognized as the Egyptian god Amon, the Lord of the North." — "A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs," Vol. 11., p. 363.}

From a military point of view, Israel's position was most disastrous. The Egyptians, whose pictures alone prove them to be adepts in military science, and who were well known as men of courage, would send out spies to learn Israel's movements. Their intelligence department, as we should term it, was usually wide awake, and the officers in charge of Migdol and the fortified canals, by signals, would keep the king and headquarters acquainted with Israel's encampments. Word came to the king advising him how the slaves he had released were situated, and how the situation invited one crushing blow.

Israel's God had confessedly overcome the gods of Egypt, but when Egypt learned the position of Israel's camp, a sense of scorn evidently possessed the army. Moses, instead of putting the Red Sea between Israel and the Egyptians, had actually encamped with its waters for his rear, and in a place where the rocky hills of the desert shut the camp in on either side. Israel was thus heaped together beyond possibility of manoeuvring, and with a fortress overlooking them!

Had not Amon already offered the falchion to Pharaoh?* had not the Lord of the North inveigled the fugitives into their hopeless position, and shut them in by the door of the desert? It was the hour for the sword an effort of energy, and the victorious chariots and horsemen of Egypt could strike a blow which should efface the humiliation of the past. The command went forth immediately, the chariots and horsemen and army of Egypt assembled, and bore down upon the flock of Israel, penned up apparently for destruction.

{*See illustration to chapter v., p. 20. In the Temple of Medinet-Abou, Rameses III. is portrayed standing, falchion in hand, over a group of kneeling prisoners, and his god Amon thus addresses him: "Spare the life of such as thou mayest choose amongst them; kill as many as may seem good to thee." "The Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette, p. 20.}

In generalship, he excels who makes his dispositions in such a way as to cause his foe to do his pleasure. Jehovah placed Israel where its camp stood, "For," said He to Moses, "Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in," (Ex. 14:3) or is closed to them, they cannot enter it. He knew how the enemy would gather together his forces and pursue.

But revenge as well as military pride burned in the hearts of the Egyptians. Israel had gone "out with an high hand," and the proud people were galled at the manner of their former slaves. Further, Israel had carried away with them a vast amount of wealth, and this should be recovered. "I will divide the spoil, my lust shall be satisfied upon them," (Ex. 15:9.) cried the foe.

Beyond all this, Jehovah had hardened Pharaoh's heart, and those of his people, to rush on to doom. Pharaoh's "six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them," and "all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army" joined in the pursuit. The regiments wore their respective colours, and bore the various arms of the service according to the highest military knowledge of the times. . The standards of the various battalions were each distinctive, having the names or emblems of different deities* upon them. The details of our picture of the chariots in pursuit, are taken from the monuments, and the band of foot soldiers below is a file of men belonging to an infantry regiment. The army was pervaded with the spirit of triumph. It was certain of its prey. Where the magician-priests had failed, where the hidden arts had been overcome, arrow and javelin, battle-axe, sword, and spear should prevail. The army was the pride of Egypt, judging from the testimony of the monuments, or perhaps, we should say, the pride of the king of Egypt, for whether deities, religion, art, or arms, the reigning Pharaoh absorbed the chief part of the glory of the land for his own purpose.

{*"History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I., p. 463.}

When Israel, probably unarmed, certainly undisciplined, and utterly unfit for resistance, saw this army bearing down upon them, they were panic-stricken. They "cried out unto Jehovah, and they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?. . . It had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness." (Ex. 14:11, 12.)  They knew too well what to expect from an Egyptian army, not to say that which was now almost upon them. They knew too well how the prisoners were offered to the gods,* while upon the battle-field horrors of cruelty crowded upon horrors. They themselves bore upon their bodies the brands of the gods to which they had been specially dedicated,** and they had escaped their service, but only to be plundered and slaughtered by their furious foe.

{*In Karnak, Seti I. is to be seen with upraised battle-axe, standing "over a group of prisoners, whom he has seized by the hair of their heads, and whom he is about to sacrifice to the god of Thebes." "The Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette, p. 167. During this same period (XIXth Dynasty) the most distinguished hostile chiefs taken in war were still put to death before the gods. The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 168, footnote.}

{**The victorious king "made presentation of a large number of his captives," "before the image of the god," "who were added to the sacred slaves previously possessed by the temple." See "History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I., p. 479.}

The accompanying drawing from a scene in Abu Simbel, at the close of a battle, explains the manner of the Egyptians with the dead soldiers. The official is casting down the hands of the enemy before Pharaoh, who in the picture is represented as looking on from his chariot; behind the official is a scribe, noting their number, and upon his face is a most satisfied expression. Further back are rows of prisoners. Such illustrations are quite common. Slaughter and maiming were part of their system of battle, and all was done in a most business-like way. We have shown elsewhere how the captives were brought home for slavery or death.

As it was God's plan to make known His ways to Moses, he was in Jehovah's secret; to Israel, God made known His acts. Moses would be calm, but Israel was in terror; yet the moment was one which evidences the rest of Moses in God: "Fear ye not," he cried to the panic-stricken people, "stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more forever," or, the Egyptians as ye have seen them this day — that is, in the pride and pomp of their battle array — ye shall see no more. "The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." (Ex. 14:13, 14.)

Israel's faith on this occasion carries with it divine commendation. (Heb. 11:29.) They looked for and received Jehovah's salvation, and that salvation was the crowning act of the Lord in their deliverance; indeed, the passover and the passage of the Red Sea go together in forming the salvation of Jehovah wherewith He delivered Israel out of Egypt and freed them from its power. Both must be taken together in order that the full significance of the salvation of Jehovah may be realized.

In an attack, the chariots of the Egyptians were most to be dreaded. They were driven at a great speed, and the warriors in them were masters of the bow. In their war pictures the arrows are represented as transfixing the enemy from long distances, inclining the observer to conclude that the chosen warriors of Egypt could project the arrow to a distance which the enemy was unable to accomplish. Evidently they shook the ranks of the enemy, and threw them into confusion with their artillery, and then used battle-axe and sword.

While their army was forming for its attack, Israel stood massed upon the borders of the Red Sea, an easy prey for disciplined troops. At that moment God commanded His people to go forward — right on, as it were, into the very waters of death. And Israel obeyed.

Moses lifted up his rod — the emblem of divine power entrusted to him — and the waters of the sea were divided. God sent a strong wind, which drove back the sea, heaping it up, whilst a path spread out before the feet of Israel. God purposed in this miracle that His name should be forever extolled and remembered in Israel, and also that the nations of Canaan should know that His arm was outstretched for His people's salvation. The psalmists and the prophets recall this great act of God, and often make it the subject of their songs and encouragement.

A miracle is a miracle, and is not to be explained away. It is an act of the Almighty, commanding the obedience of the laws of nature, as those natural principles are termed, by which He has ordained that His creation should be sustained. There is no apology needed for a miracle; it is patent to all, and proves itself to be what it is by its own force. Imitation miracles are forced upon human credulity by human authority; a real miracle witnesses to the hand of God. Why the miracle that formed a passage on dry land in the midst of the sea is not believed by many in our day, is simply because such do not believe that God is almighty. The whole story of the Exodus is the record of miracle upon miracle, sign upon sign, wonder upon wonder.

Before Pharaoh's army could strike one blow, Jehovah removed the cloudy pillar that preceded Israel and placed it in the rear. He Himself became their rearguard, and His cloud gave light to them through the night, while it shadowed the Egyptians in darkness.

Israel marched forward in the pathway through the mighty waters. The depths were concealed in the heart of the sea, and the crystal walls on either side of the pathway through death, were illumined by the light of the glory-cloud of God. The sea had lost its strength, and the powers of nature were both suspended and used, for the salvation of Israel. Death, as it were, became a wall of defence to Israel on right hand and left as they passed through the sea.

As the night wore away, Pharaoh pursued, with all his chariots and horsemen, and followed Israel. It is not improbable that in his haste his foot soldiers were left behind, for the narrative record, "Even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen," (Ex. 14:23.) whereas on reaching Pi-hahiroth, "his army" (ver. 9)  is added to the description of the cavalry force. If, as some suppose, the fort Migdol was erected to protect the shallows on the Red Sea, where at certain times and tides the wind drove back the water, a reason would be found for Pharaoh's daring. But it may be, because of the darkness over him, he hardly knew where he was urging on his chariots.

In the morning watch he learned the truth — Jehovah looked unto the army through the pillar of fire and cloud. He revealed to them where they were. He troubled the host, and its courage vanished. He checked their boasted speed, taking off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them heavily, and they said, "Let us flee from the face of Israel, for Jehovah fighteth for them against the Egyptians." (Ex. 14:25.)  The pride of the army was broken. Israel had seen the protecting walls shining in the glory of the light of the pillar of fire. The Egyptians saw, when it was too late, that the path through death to life for Israel, was to them the path into destruction.

"The Lord looked through the pillar of fire and cloud, and troubled the Egyptians." This was at about two o'clock in the morning; that is, about the middle of that tempestuous night. (Ps. 77:17, 18.) Israel had reached the opposite shore. It was early morning, and God bade Moses once more stretch out his hand over the sea, and "the sea returned to its strength." In vain did the Egyptian army flee against those mighty waves; the wind that had blown them into a heap had ceased, and another wind helped them to rush back with the awful force of their weight to their bed. "Thou didst blow with Thy wind." (Ex. 15:10.) Thus did the sea cover the host of Pharaoh; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

Chapter 17: Israel's Song of Salvation

When the day broke over the sea, its waves, driven by the west wind, were washing up the corpses of the Egyptian army upon its eastern coast. The magnificent chariots and cavalry were destroyed, the might and the glory of Egypt had perished, "and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore." (Ex. 14:30.)  The incredible was realized, the impossible had come to pass, the enemy lay bruised and dead under Israel's feet; Jehovah had gotten to Himself "honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen." (ver. 18.) The king was "cut off" according to the warning word, he and his host were overthrown in the Red Sea. (Ps. 136:15.)

Mace, sword and spear, and daintily-wrought dagger, were strewn in a harvest upon the shore; Israel could help themselves to weapons of war in abundance. The people came and gazed upon the slain, they looked with amazement upon their former oppressors, and they "saw that great work which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared Jehovah, and believed Jehovah and His servant Moses." (Ex. 14:31.)

The tradition of Pharaoh's overthrow still lingers upon the borders of the Red Sea. Thus runs the Arab legend: "When our lord Moses had quarrelled with Pharaoh, and determined to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt, he found himself stopped by the salt sea, but at the command of God Most High, he raised his staff and smote upon the waters, whereupon they parted on the right hand and the left, and the Children of Israel found a dry passage in the bottom of the deep. Then Pharaoh and his soldiery essayed to follow, but when they had come midway, Moses again raised his staff, and, smiting the waters, said, 'Return, O sea, into thy former course,' and the waters closed over the Egyptians, and the Children of Israel saw the corpses of their enemies floating on the waves. But Pharaoh was a mighty man, and struggled with the billows; then seeing Moses standing on a rock above him, he waxed exceeding wroth, and gave so fierce a gasp that the waters boiled up as they closed over his drowning head."*

{*"Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer} Vol. I., p. 241.}

Border forts were close at hand, and the infantry was not included in the overthrow; hence it is easy to follow the recovery of Pharaoh's body by his people. When Israel went on their way, the dead would be brought back for customary embalmment and burial. The scientific riflers of the tombs of Pharaohs and royal priests, have already unrolled the windings that were wrapped about at least one king's corpse, the battered skull of which evidences death in battle.* Until definite information is obtained, we may be content to consider the mummy of Meneptah, now lying at Gizeh, as that of the Pharaoh who perished in the struggle between Egypt and Israel.

{*King Sekenen-Ra Ta-aken, now in the Gizeh Museum.}

Israel emerged from the Red Sea a nation. If Egypt has no history chronicling its birth, if it appears mighty and glorious upon the earth, whence and how we scarcely know, Israel arises out of death the nation of Jehovah born in a day, and its history can be read aright only in the light of the glory of God.

The deliverance was at once celebrated by a triumphal service of song, so organized that every Israelite might add his and her voice to the praise of Jehovah. "I will sing unto Jehovah, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea" was its burden; and its refrain, sung by the women, and accompanied by timbrel and measured dance, "Jehovah hath triumphed gloriously. (Ex. 15:1, 21.)

Slavery was over. Hitherto no song to God from human lips had been recorded by the pen of Moses, but now, since men were blessed by divine salvation, a moral fitness marks the outburst of their joy in the Holy Scriptures.

In the early ages of the Church the spiritual application of the victory at the Red Sea was commonly taught,* and truths now almost unheeded, or considered fanciful, delighted the hearts of the spiritual. The apostle instructed the Gentile believers of Corinth on the signification of the Jewish nation's passage through the sea, (1 Cor. 10:1, 2) and we may be assured that the typical signification of Israel's history, as the early Church understood it, arose from apostolic teaching. Christ's "passage through the Red Sea of His passion, His rising again from the depths of the grave to a glorious victory, His overthrow of Satan, death and the grave, thereby, are not His triumphs only, but ours."** As Israel stood on the far side of the sea, their position of deliverance and victory pictorially illustrates these immutable verities which pertain to the redeemed people of God — "Dead with Christ," (Rom. 6:8.) "Buried with Him," (Rom. 6:4.) "Risen with Christ." (Col. 3:1.)

{*The "Church marks the typical character of this history, and its connection with Christ's burial and resurrection, by appointing the 13th chapter of Exodus to be read on Easter Even, and the 12th and 14th chapters of Exodus to be read on Easter Day, and by appointing the 114th Psalm — 'When Israel came out of Egypt' — to be the proper psalm on that day." "The Holy Bible with Notes" — Bishop Wordsworth, Exodus, p. 248.}

{**Ibid. Compare Origen in Numb., Hom. 17, p. 247.}

The magnificent triumph of Israel was not merely a song of salvation, or a hymn of praise for deliverance, it was more, even a grand celebration of the glory of God in the overthrow of those who had risen up against Him; it was, therefore, a song of judgment. Pharaoh had used magic and all the force of his kingdom against Jehovah, he pitted his power against that of the Almighty. In this the facts of the past are prophetic of the facts of the future. The strength of the united world, in conjunction with the power of Satan, shall yet make the supreme effort to wrench the earth's kingdom from God, and to destroy His people. Satanic forces, great and marvellous, will be in evidence in the affairs of men. (Rev. 13:1-7.) What was enacted in Egypt will yet be enacted on a larger scale upon the earth, generally. The world, in the coming time, will be one in heart as one kingdom, and man will have arrived at unity of mind, to combine with Satan to "make war with the Lamb ". . . the "Lord of lords, and King of kings." (Rev. 17:14.) At the end of the plagues and signs which will then visit the earth, the victors will sing the "song of Moses, the servant of God" (the song of judgment upon evil), and the "song of the Lamb" (the song of salvation). The similarity of the prophetic triumph of the future and the historic triumph of the past is most remarkable indeed, we can almost attribute these words to Israel at the sea: "Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of nations; (See margin.) who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy Name? For Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest." (Rev. 15:3, 4.)

The song by the sea opens with individual and appropriative faith — "My strength and song. . . my salvation. . . my God." Each Israelite alike, whether the warrior or babe bound upon its mother's shoulders, had alike passed through the sea. And in the joy of their deliverance, the faith of the people leaped onward, and with one voice Israel declared, "I will prepare Him an habitation."

The peculiar title, "Jehovah is a man of war," arose out of their very amazement at the triumph. They had cried out in despair, and the enemy had shouted, "I will destroy them," when, suddenly, Jehovah's arm got the victory. He was "a man of war," warring and victorious over the gods of the heathen, and so again will He be known on the earth.

The song is arranged in three parts; at the close of the first, "The depths have covered them, they sank into the bottom as a stone," most probably the women uttered the refrain, "Sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously, the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea."* Miriam (or Mary), the prophetess, took her timbrel and, lifting up her voice, led the song of the women as Moses led that of the men. Her praise was responsive to his. Moses is thus a figure of Christ risen from the dead, the Prince of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5) leading the praises of the Church, (Ps. 22:22, Heb. 2:12.) and Miriam, responding to the song, is a figure of the Church.

{*It has been supposed by some of the Rabbis that they sang antistrophically, the one responding to the other. "The Holy Bible with Notes" — Bishop Wordsworth, Exodus, p. 253.}

The second part of the song is an intensification of the first. Each opens with ascribing glory to God, and extolling His power, and ends with a declaration of the absolute nothingness of His enemies. It is a great and noble testimony to divine rule over all things material, and over all worshippers of creation. At the divine word, the flowing sea became suddenly like a solid mound, its waves were bound together like walls of ice, and at the same word, the sea returned to its strength, and the wind drove the floods upon the host of the enemy, who "sank as lead in the mighty waters."

At this point a pause occurs, and we shall hardly err in picturing Miriam and all the women of Israel giving utterance again to their refrain: "Sing unto Jehovah, for He hath triumphed gloriously."

The third, and last part of this grand praise-song opens with an outburst of wonder "Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Ex. 15:11.)  Only a few months before Israel's suddenly given freedom, probably six, the very name of Jehovah was unknown on the earth, excepting a very few instances, and His people were slaves. It seemed as if the enemy had the kingdom of this world absolutely in his own hand. The names of the gods of the heathen were graven upon every temple, and were honoured by all nations. According to the custom of Egypt, the slaves taken in war were given to the gods, and had branded into them with hot iron the names of the kings whose slaves they were, or those of the deities to whose service they were specially dedicated;* thus on stone temples and on the temples of human flesh the mark of the demon prevailed; only a few months previously, Israel had quarried for and had dragged the monster stones for the temple-cities of these deities; now every god of Egypt was smitten and every temple was desolate. Branded as were their bodies, the people were free, and the unholy worship of the gods was laid low by Him who is glorious in holiness. "Who is like unto Thee, glorifying Thyself in holiness?"

{*Rameses the IInd thus speaks to the god Ptah: "I have marked with thy name all inhabitants and foreigners of the whole land; they are to thee forever." Great Tablet of Rameses II. at Abu-Simbel — See "Records of the Past," Vol. XII., p. 91.}

Once more Israel's faith sprang forward, and counted the things that are as though they were not. Faith bridged the way to Canaan; "Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation"! An expression remarkably akin to the triumph-strain in the Christian's victorious song, "Whom He justified, them He also glorified." (Rom. 8:30.) The powers that held the promised land or the entrance to it were regarded as the dead Egyptians "as still as a stone," for thus did faith prevail, and in like manner faith still triumphs: "If God be for us, who can be against us?. . . . neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (vers. 31-39.)

As a matter of fact, "fear and dread" did fall on the inhabitants of Canaan when they heard of Pharaoh's destruction — "As soon as we had heard these things our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man"; (Joshua 2:11) so that at the moment of triumph, Israel, in following the inspired words given to them by Moses, expressed that which was literally true.

Yet we must not miss the deeper meaning of the song, or pass by its prophetic character. "Thou halt guided them by Thy strength unto the abode of Thy holiness," refers not only to Israel's entrance into the promised land, but to the divine purpose respecting that land, and Israel dwelling there the nation of God. "His holiness"* Pharaoh was no more. The unholy religion and the unholy power that boasted themselves in sanctuaries, sacred deities, sacred priests and kings all of which were abominations in relation to the Eternal God were smitten and laid low. In like manner, "holiness," and "holy," whether relating to persons or things on the earth, which are opposed to the divine Word, will all be smitten and laid low in the time that is at hand. Pharaoh was not holy because he was designated "His holiness," neither were the sanctuaries and shrines of his gods holy, because they were so regarded by Egypt, any more than sanctuaries, shrines, and deeds are holy now, because they are thus denominated by the world.

{*See note to p. 66.}

The song ends with the celebration of the establishment of the Sanctuary, and the glory of the coming kingdom, praising "the mountain of Thine inheritance the place, O Lord, which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in; the Sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established.

"The Lord shall reign forever and ever." (Ex. 15:17, 18.)

How often through the Psalms occurs the echo of the last strain of this song, "The Lord shall reign forever and ever"! How frequently do the prophets of both old and new Testaments foretell that kingdom! "The Lord shall reign forever and ever," is inscribed upon the banners of God's people in all ages, and the faithful look forward to the coming kingdom, and ever and anon, in different eras of the world's history, as they see what the hand of God accomplishes, they lift up their voices in praise-songs, anticipating His reign, while their constant prayer is, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."

Chapter 18: Divine Truths Corrupted in Egypt's Religion

Before passing on with Israel into the wilderness, a chapter may be profitably devoted to pointing out how certain divine truths were corrupted in the religion of Egypt, and thereby we may obtain an insight into the manner by which the world became idolatrous. It is important to bear in mind that God recognized the deities of Egypt as gods, and that constantly in the Scriptures heathen deities are accepted as gods. The divine abhorrence of these gods should also be kept in view. Though the deeper mysteries of the ancient Egyptian religion still baffle the efforts of the Egyptologists who seek to penetrate them, yet there are certain matters in the religion which the ordinary reader can easily understand, and some of these furnish instruction for our own times.

"Upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments." (Num. 33:4.)  What these judgments were we are not told, but that they were definite and specific, and well known to those who addressed themselves to these deities, we may be certain. Further, as is evident from the Bible story, these judgments were known to Israel. By great and terrible wonders they were delivered from Egypt, and were also taught, as sang the Psalmist, that "The Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: He is terrible above all gods; for all the gods of the heathen are demons." (Ps. 96:4, 5, Septuagint Version.)

What has been already brought before the reader shows that the system of the Egyptian religion was one of evolution.* Ideas sprang up out of ideas; conceptions out of conceptions; additions grew out of additions, with the result that the pure beginning was lost to sight, or rather that God was displaced, and demons set up in His stead.

{*This is not to be wondered at; we see the same principle at work in Christendom; it is man's way, and so thoroughly had Egyptian wisdom mastered this human rule that it was applied to the deity, for thus does the god speak of himself and of creation: "I am he who evolved himself. . . . I, the evolver of the evolutions evolved myself, the evolver of all evolutions, after many evolutions and developments which came forth out of my mouth." — "I developed myself from the primeval matter which I had made." "The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, p. xcix., and note.}

Philosophic principle and religious pageantry, arguments and ceremonies, however, do not suffice for the human soul, and the hymns to the gods and the prayers of the Egyptians are evidence of this fact.

Man needs that which is greater than himself, a power outside the world, a being who can speak to him and assure his heart and conscience, and any religion without such assurance is worth nothing as a reality. The ancient Egyptian wanted to hear a voice, or at least to receive direction from the unseen World, and in order to obtain this communication, idols became a necessity to him. Whether it be the intellectual and cultivated, or the ignorant and savage pagan, idols or fetishes are to him indispensable. It is through them that communications are held with the unseen, and that magic and sorcery are performed. If the people be too rude to construct an image, stocks and stones are resorted to for the purpose.

Now, in itself, "an idol is nothing." (1 Cor. 8:4.)  The outward form it possesses is of small moment. Some are made with consummate evil looks, others are charmingly seductive, but it is by no means the effect produced upon the imagination which we have to consider. An idol is not a mere image, it is a consecrated image, and after consecration to the deity represented, the idol becomes the habitation of the deity, and according to the system, the deity takes up his or her abode in the idol, or, at least, uses it as a medium through which communications are made to his or her clients. This principle is as old as Chaldea and Egypt,* and as modern as our own day as may be proved, for example, by the habits and beliefs of the Chinese.

{*The gods of Chaldea — "The statues hidden in the recesses of the temples. . . became imbued, by virtue of their consecration, with the actual body of the god whom they represented." The gods of Egypt" The soul of Hathor likes to leave heaven, in the form of a human-headed sparrow-hawk. . . to come and unite herself to the statue." See "Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 641, and note to p. 119.}

The god was supposed to attend and to eat the sacrificial feast provided for him, and in the person of his representative — that is, the idol — was clothed and perfumed.* In Chaldea, where, unlike the refinement of Egypt, a ruggedness prevailed, gods flew like hungry flies to the savour of the sacrifice.** The idol instructed the client. If the answer was a negative, it remained stiff as the stone out of which it was hewn; if an affirmative, it nodded its head.*** "I augment to thee millions of thy years upon earth all in the account," **** said Sefekh, the goddess, to Rameses II. The sayings of the gods are inscribed upon the walls of countless temples. We can easily understand who ate the sacrificial food, and who uttered the sacred words, for the priests served both gods and worshippers, and thus served themselves; but how the image nodded its head is as mysterious as are similar acts when performed in Christendom by images of the Madonna. Through the touch of the idol, and by the passes of its hand, the god infused life into his adorers. ***** The idol was the link between the seen and the unseen, and no less than a material agent, a tangible medium by which man held communication with the invisible.

{*Ibid., p. 123. **Ibid., p. 680. ***Ibid., p. 267.

**** See "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 203, footnote by Birch.}

***** "The Dawn of Civilization." — Maspero, p. 110.}

The ideas conveyed through the forms and attitudes of gods are full of significance. Through the material form, spiritual teaching is conveyed, respecting principles connected with life, supreme power, and judgment, these being attributes or qualities of the Eternal. Egypt was devoted to idols, and, as we have it from his own words, the Egyptian from his birth onwards, hour by hour, day by day until his death, and then on and on in the underworld, was ever under the control of the deities his idols represented. They never left him. Private houses had their shrines, before which the lamp was kept burning;* the small chapels gave homage to the lesser deities, and the greater temples were devoted to the great gods; while all of them, whether what we should designate local "saints," or mighty deities, "accepted sacrifices, answered prayers, and, if needful, prophesied."** The enormous business connected with this religion gave occupation to tens of thousands of vestment makers, image and shrine constructors, and priests innumerable.

{*Ibid, p. 122. **p. 120.}

Now, though at present the Egyptologist cannot trace back the Egyptian religion to its origin, he does pursue its development to a horrible degradation, as it proceeds age after age, from the pure to the abominable, from the light to the darkness. We propose to call attention to certain well-known articles of the Egyptian belief, in order to indicate that in them definite divine truths were perverted from their relation to God, and were devoted to the service of demons. We have to bear in mind that though enough truth was retained to hold man under its sway — for an eternal truth does hold man in its grasp the truth was so perverted, that man was not related by it to God; he was instead tied down by it to demons.

We begin with some truths relating to life, a matter of supreme importance to the ancient Egyptians. The gods are represented as not only beings, but living beings to whom life essentially or by self-right belongs. Each is portrayed as holding the mystic symbol of life, the circle and the ??, that is the sign ???. Thus what pertains solely to the living God, these gods of Egypt, as we know them by their representations, all professed to have of themselves, and the living God was thereby supplanted.

The O standing by itself is a sign of life,* but when combined with the ??, the symbol had a peculiarly sacred character; the mystic ??? signifying divine life. May not the ?? be an emblem of three yet one, and hence the tau, in combination with the circle, be the symbol of life pertaining to deity?

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 353.}

These gods made man.* Originally these formers of man may have been embodied attributes of the Creator, but as time proceeded the attributes became deities sufficiently personal to do what the pictures of them represented; and as an example may be mentioned Khnum, as a potter, forming man out of the clay, and fashioning him upon a table.** Thus was the word of truth, "The Lord God. . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul," (Gen. 2:7)  made of none effect, and thus, from the earliest times, did man lose the recognition of the Creator.

{*Ptah. . . is mentioned as the creator. . . as "making men." Note by Birch in Wilkinson's "Ancient Egyptians," Vol. III., p. 17. Amon-Ra is addressed as "Maker of men. . . Creator." "Records of the Past," Vol. II., p. 129. Khnum was regarded "in a peculiar sense as the creator of mankind." "Ancient History from the Monuments; Egypt from the Earliest Times" — Birch, Introduction, p. x.}

**See Illustration in "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 157, taken from a bas-relief in a temple of Luxor.}

These deities were represented not only as possessors of life, but as givers of life. The deities communicated it to man. They are frequently represented as touching the human subject with the sacred ???, and thus, as giving life "to the nostrils."* We have already shown the ray of the sun having a hand attached to it emanating from the "sun-god,"** and thus the god communicating life to the nostrils of man. In the plainest manner, therefore, the Creator's prerogative was placed by Egyptian paganism in the hands of its gods.

{*Amon-Ra, king of the gods, gives life to the nostril of the hawk — i.e., the king under the form of a hawk. See "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 46.}

{** See Illustration on p. 74.}

But a divine truth still deeper in its relation to man lay within their beliefs. The fact of its presence in their religion evidences how closely their original belief followed the divine model. They not only believed in man's eternal existence,* but that, in bliss after this life, he would enjoy divine life in the presence of the gods.** Covered over as it was with monstrous notions and degrading ideas about man in bliss being like the mythological cat, the ape, or the egg, yet under all this folly lay the profound reality, that man received divine life, which fitted him for the company of the divine — "He eats what the gods eat, he drinks what they drink, he lives as they live, and he dwells where they dwell."*** When Scripture teaches of eternal life it unfolds very much more than a continuous existence — an endless life — it unfolds also the fact that God gives a new and divine life to man, by means of which man may enjoy Him, and dwell forever in His presence in glory; "The gift of God is eternal life" (Rom. 6:23.) "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." (John 17:3.)

{*"The doctrine of eternal existence is the leading feature of their religion." "The Book of the Dead,"The Papyrus of Ani-Budge; p. lv.}

{**"He walks among the living ones. . . all the gods of heaven become his brethren" — Ibid., p. lxxii.}

{***"The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, p. lxxv.}

 The fact of such conceptions — distorted and perverted though they be — existing in earth's early days is astounding, the more so, as the progress of religious thought (of course we except divine revelation) has evolved them entirely out of most of the religions now existing.

In the plainest and most emphatic manner the religious pictures of the Egyptians taught that divine life was necessary to enable a man to live in company with the deities. The life of the god must be communicated to the human subject, if he was eventually to dwell in the company of the god.* In other words, man must needs be a "partaker of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4)  in order to enable him to enjoy the divine presence. It is quite true that their religious teaching on the subject was not emphatic, as were their religious pictures, neither was it definite; further, the teaching underwent changes. The pictures preserved their ancient form through many centuries, while the verbal teaching varied with the centuries. The symbols remained hallowed by antiquity, the meaning of the symbols became altered to suit the "new light," which arose with near generations. But if a man "lives as" the gods "live and dwells where they dwell," having received from them the divine life inherent to them, it is obvious that he has partaken of their nature by their gift. What then was the character of the Egyptian gods? What was their moral nature? What sort of beings were they? for they obviously lived, and thought, and acted, according to the moral nature of the "divine" life which they inherently possessed. To comprehend what these ancient pagans meant by divine life we must know what, according to their belief, was the nature of their gods.

{*"Comparatively few particulars are known of the life of the soul in heaven, and though a number of interesting facts may be gleaned from the texts of the periods, it is very difficult to harmonize them. This result is due partly to the different views held by different schools of thought in Ancient Egypt, and partly to the fact that on some points the Egyptians themselves seem to have had no decided opinions. We depend upon the pyramid texts for our knowledge of their earliest conceptions of a future life." "The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, p. lxx. Nevertheless, in such ideas as the deceased devouring the wisdom of every god, whereby "the duration of his life is everlasting, and he lives to all eternity, for the souls of the gods. . . are in him" (p. lxxix.), and in his securing "the eternal life which was the peculiar attribute of the gods" (p. lxxxi.), may be traced an indication of the original thoughts which led at the first to the creation of the pictures of the gods bestowing divine life upon men.}

A sufficient answer may be given by stating that it would not be possible in a book addressed to the ordinary reader of a Christian country to give even the pictures of a variety of the Egyptian gods in certain of their accepted attitudes, neither would it be possible, according to the laws of our land, to publish in our own tongue all their supposed words and actions.* Regarding these gods from the platform of ordinary Christian morality, and not from that of poetic and artistic sentiment, or of scientific research, they were beings both contemptible and corrupt. By making their acquaintance we understand the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and the reason why a great many of the prohibitions recorded in the books of Moses were given. Therefore their "divine life" was like themselves, and this it was which they gave to their worshippers — a life, or nature, corrupt and base, part bestial and part demoniacal, even as their images represent them! Undoubtedly there are very many magnificent poetic and artistic conceptions connected with the legends of Egypt, but could these gods be presented in flesh and blood no ordinary English home would permit such personages within its doors.

{*"The full Egyptian idea of Khem can scarcely be presented to the modern reader, on account of the grossness of the forms under which it was exhibited. . . It seems scarcely possible that it should have failed to exercise a corrupting influence upon life and morals." "History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I., p. 331.}

It is worthy of remark that the divine life which the pagans expected to experience amongst their deities was in no sense higher or nobler than the life which they had lived on earth. Reading novels and playing at drafts* were heavenly expectations. "Let me reap there," "eat," "drink," "woo there," "Let me do all these things there, even as they are done upon earth,"** prays the sacred scribe, and he expected to find his field work performed for him there even as he had had it done for him by his slaves here, and he anticipated his drudge there responding to his call with, "I will work, verily I am here when thou callest there."***

{*"Going into Neter-Khert glorious in Amentet the beautiful. . . playing at drafts. . . "" The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, pp. 27, 28, and see also "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, P. 195, note.}

( **"The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, p. 362.}

{***Ibid., p. 234.}

May we not indeed say, that the teaching as to life in Ancient Egypt was in the serpent's mouth, and that even as the serpent is here represented, it may be summed up? Was it the life, which is in God Himself? or the life which the Creator bestows upon His creature? or the eternal life which God gives in Christ to His people? The truth, however viewed, was turned to the service of Satan. (John 8:44.)

We have to remember that, notwithstanding all this, there were many admirable and moral precepts advanced in Egypt's ancient teaching. Honour, respect for parents, and other virtues were extolled, and many a monument declares how worthily the defunct acted during his lifetime. Of course, so far as the individual was concerned, such laudations prove no more than do the epitaphs upon the tombstones in our own churchyards; but they do prove, beyond question, that goodness and kindness, and honour were valued. The truth is, the man was better than his deities; his conscience and his sense of right and wrong were not so degraded as his religion. In the pagan world, plain men, in their standards of righteousness and goodness, are usually far above their religious system. In the revelation God has given, we have the Infinite in goodness and holiness, and the most fervent follower of God is ever below and beneath the Being he obeys.

The divine revelation of the nature of God is — "God is Light"; "God is Love." (1 John 1:5; 4:8.)  It is very much to be questioned whether the gods of Egypt possessed any qualities which could be inscribed under the designation — light. As for their representing in any way absolute holiness, no one would contend for such a proposition. Love, such as it was, seemed to be confined to the goddesses. They were numerous, and these names of theirs — Mistress of Heaven, Queen of Heaven, and The Mother of the gods — are so familiar as to seem almost modern.

These ancient heathens seemed to possess the idea, that in certain ways goddesses were more tender of heart than gods.* The excessive tenderness of goddesses towards, and their fondness for, the children of men, is aptly expressed by the attitude of the body, or the touch of the hand; they relax their "divine" placidity into a truly human benignance of expression. Their affection, however, was apparently reserved for kings and kings' sons. Egypt's religion was essentially for aristocrats. Nor did love seem to have any sort of spirituality, as we understand the word, about it. The gods had wedded their sister goddesses, and kings and nobles in some way entered the "heavenly" family circle. In pursuance of the "divine" custom respecting marriage, it was seemly for royal personages to marry their sisters. This royal habit no doubt arose from the legends respecting the times of the beginning of the human race. In the first family on the earth, brothers married sisters, and the legends give to those first men and women the high honour that a great antiquity ever bestows on things human. And we can trace in this veneration for the imperfectly known past, the notion that to do as had been done in remote antiquity is necessarily right and honourable This notion seems to be part and parcel of humanity, and thus it is that many a bad man has ripened through the lapse of ages into a hero — nay, has become a demi-god or a saint, to whom prayers are made, and for whom solemn religious memorial services are held.

{*"Nephthys," whose "common titles are 'the sister,' 'the benevolent saving sister' ". . . held an important office in the under world, where she. . . is said to "cut away the failings" of deceased persons. "History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I., pp. 383, 384.}

The necessity for prayer is recognized over the greater part of the earth. Humanity has not yet reached to that dead blank of belief in nothingness which is attained by the modern "Christian" philosopher. The belief in prayer contains within it the acknowledgement of human weakness and want in view of a Higher Power — a Being, who is able and willing to hear supplications, and is traceable to a divine revelation to man; such as do not attribute this value to prayer are men whose religious ideas have developed into those of the lowest order of savages, or who have sped into the darkness of agnosticism or atheism. But while the belief in prayer is almost universal on the earth, it is divorced from faith in God in the masses of mankind, and men pray to false gods. Shortly after the flood, the truth of a prayer-hearing God was misappropriated to demons. Men, women, and children praying, are to be seen on the monuments of Egypt; but all are praying to demon! To demons they uplifted their hands, and from demons they expected mercies; and, as is common to the system of paganism, they looked to their priests, as intermediaries, to obtain the answers their gods sent them. And to-day the greater part of mankind falls down before idols, and supplicates the god the idol represents, for mercies. And as it was in the ancient world, so to-day, the priests are regarded as the communicators to the worshipper of the mind of the deity supplicated.

However zealous the Egyptian was in prayer, and however earnestly the priests prayed for him, a lurking suspicion, and indeed often an avowed want of confidence in the deities supplicated, possessed him. We have already quoted from the Papyrus of Ani, the royal scribe, who held office as "scribe and accountant of all the gods," whose wife was also a priestess, and who were both "high ecclesiastical dignitaries."* Now such a man's copy of the Book for the Dead — that "Manifestation of Light,"** written with the finger of the god of divine intelligence, Thoth — must be regarded as reliable. And what do we find in it over and over again? Poor Ani himself so little believed in the efficacy of prayer, or in its being heard on high, that in his journeys in the underworld he fell back on magic, and protected himself by circumventing the gods of the gates by uttering magical sentences.*** The Chinese will utilize a small windmill to roll round their slips of paper inscribed with their prayers; the wind, not their hearts, being the motive power which presents the deity with so many dozens of repetitions — so little do these moderns invest their deities with sense! The Egyptians protected themselves against their deities with magic sentences, so little did those ancients trust them. Both these moderns and those ancients are laughed to scorn by their religion, for what sort of god is it that a man can trick, and what sort of god is it that a man cannot trust? Such prayers are not the utterance of the heart of a man to the heart of God; they are not the cry of the creature to the Creator, or the expressed longings of a child to the Father, but the vacant, unreal utterances of a degenerate, or evolved system of conceptions.

{*"The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, pp. cxliv., cxlv.

**"The Egyptian title of the 'Ritual of the Dead' was 'The Manifestation to Light,' or in other words, 'The Book revealing Light to the Soul.' This book claimed to be a revelation from Thoth. . . it declared the will of the gods and the mysterious nature of divine things to man." "History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I., p. 136.}

***"The lowest intellectual depth seems to he reached in the 'Magical Texts,' where the happiness and misery of mankind appear to be regarded as dependent upon spells and amulets." "History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I., p. 151. See also "Records of the Past," Vol. VI., pp. 115-126, and note on p. 125, a receipt, the promised effects of which to such as avail themselves of it are these: '"Thou art protected against the accidents of life;. . . thou escapest in heaven, and art not ruined on earth." The condition of the blessed is thus summed up in the following extract from the Pyramid of Pepi I.: "The shining ones come unto thee bowing down to the ground in adoration at thy feet, by reason of the writing which thou hast." "The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, p. lxxvii.}

Neither had the Egyptian any real trust in his religion. In "The Book of the Dead" there are chapters "of coming forth by day," and living after death, in which the departed frequently declares he has "become a prince," he is "victorious" and "glorious," but only to add again and again the desire that his soul may not be set in bondage by "those who fetter souls and who shut in the shades of the dead" In this dilemma he falls back upon his magic to secure himself, for the book proceeds, "If this chapter be known, he shall come forth by day, and his soul shall not be shut in."* Also a protection was found in having the coffin duly inscribed with the sacred words of the book, while the wearing of amulets, and having the benefit of many prayers and performances of the priests, contributed to assist the sacred scribe. Ani had sufficient knowledge of the truth to make him fear for his eternal future, but no true knowledge of the living God by which he might find rest to his heart.

{*Ibid., pp. 319, 320.}

A sense of man's need in relation to God, deeper than that of prayer, is found in the belief of the value of sacrifice. The idea of sacrifice contains in it the acknowledgement that God is holy and that man is sinful, and that the sinful one is accountable to the Holy One, who requires a propitiation at the hand of man on account of the sins he has committed. This belief plainly implies a revelation of God to man. But the revealed truth became in time entirely misplaced and distorted; and as years ran on, the demon stood in the place of God in man's religion. And the demon required propitiating according to his nature, which, as has been observed, was base and horrible.

"The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons." (1 Cor. 10:20.)  For some thousands of years, propitiatory sacrifices have been offered to demons, and are still offered to them over the greater part of the world.

The seal of the Egyptian priests marking the victim for sacrifice is noteworthy.* It bears upon it the sign of the human being lashed to a post with a knife pointed to the throat, as indicating readiness for immolation. The Egyptians on occasions offered human sacrifices to their gods. "Man," said they, "alone was worthy with his blood to wash away the sins of men."** The adjoining outline taken from Lanzone, gives the victims lashed to the post, but does not indicate the knife. It is not unlike the traditional seal, but the attitude of the hands does not mark the terror of the victims at impending death, as in the other representation, and may indicate merely the securing of captives.*** The men in each case are of different nationalities. As time proceeded, animals were to a considerable extent substituted for human victims, and thus in the seal is enshrined a substitutionary idea.

{*"The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III p. 407.

**"The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 1 68, and footnote.

***A similar idea to the above is rendered upon the royal thrones of the Pharaohs, where the captives are often represented as bound together.}

Offerings and sacrifices were developed into a sort of bribery to the gods,* or were tendered to the deities in prepayment of expected favours,** as well as being regarded as thank-offerings; yet even in this view of the offering, the god generally made large promises of future benefits to the offerer. The idea of an infinitely righteous and holy Being, in His own wisdom and goodness, requiring life to be rendered to Him, because by sin man had forfeited his own life, had completely vanished from these pagan conceptions of sacrifice and propitiation. The pure original had been corrupted and dissipated by centuries of religious development.

{*"The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 123.

**Ibid., p.124.}

The effect of religious evolution is perhaps most painfully evident in the ideas of the Egyptians, respecting the serpent. The serpent held a very emphatic position in reference to man at the beginning, but one of evil. In the course of time the serpent in Egypt held a position of the utmost importance, but one of good.

Reference has already been made to the perversion of the first revelation respecting the woman's Seed. The words, "Her Seed. . . shall bruise thy head," were addressed to the serpent. What, then, shall be said of this picture — a serpent-headed woman nurturing a child? It is the goddess Rannu, who has been already mentioned. This representation is taken from a picture of the goddess in a temple at Denderah.* The child in the arms of the goddess is the infant King Amenophis III.** This was painted in the days of Israel's sojourn in Egypt, over one hundred years before their exodus.

{*This deity, gorgeously coloured, forms the frontispiece of Prisse's splendid work, "Monuments Egyptiens."

** Rannu's special care for the offspring of kings, is a common subject of illustration in the old temples. See "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 213.}

The climax of apostasy is here reached. The human being is united to the serpent, and the little child finds its nourishment and rest in the monster's bosom!

As a moral sequence to all this corruption, animal worship* may be fittingly referred to. All animal worship is a slight cast upon humanity, and a degradation of the divine Being. It lowers in man's eyes the place assigned to him by the Creator, and its result is necessarily debasing. After the flood, God expressly said to Noah and his sons — after one of whom, Ham, the land Egypt was named — "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered." (Gen. 9:2.)  According to the Egyptian religion men might say "into their hands are you delivered." The following representations of gods in the form of birds, reptiles and beasts, are samples of what the brave and intellectual people of the land of Ham believed had power over man! Diodorus Siculus tells us that the priests assigned a peculiar and hidden reason for this worship of animals,*** while amongst those commonly reported among the people, he states the following: — "In the early ages of the world, the gods being in fear of the numbers and wickedness of mankind, assumed the form of animals in order to avoid their cruelty and oppression. And having at length obtained the dominion of the world, they decreed, as a reward to those animals by whom they had been saved, that mankind should ever respect and nourish them while alive, and perform funereal honours for them at their decease."

{*"In each locality where any animal was sacred, some individuals of the species were attached to the principal temples, where they had their special shrines or chambers, and their train of priestly attendants." "History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I, p. 412. "Gods entered into bulls . . . they indicated . . . by certain marks such beasts as they intended to animate by their doubles, and he who had learned to recognize these signs was at no loss to find a living god when the time came for seeking one and presenting it to the adoration of worshippers in the temple." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 119.

**The "Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 250.}

This may be satisfactory in the region of myths, but the Scriptures give a very plain reason for the entry of such notions into the mind of pagans. God turned their wisdom into foolishness, as a judgment upon them for not retaining Him in their knowledge, (Rom. 1:28.) and thus man fell into the notion that the deity was part human, part beast-like, and that the animals so elevated were themselves gods! Sacred apes, cows, and serpents are common enough still in India and other places. Paganism, in all its forms, degrades humanity. Animal reverence is a great step down in man's development from the early time when the head of this creation, Adam, its king and priest, with divinely given intelligence, named the various animals God brought to him to look upon. (Gen. 2:19.)  The system of worshipping sacred animals is not only antagonistic to God, but is degrading to man, whom God created in His own image and likeness, and whom He made the head of this earth-creation, and whom He ordained to stand in direct relationship to his Maker.

{Illustration: "The worship of Bast was widely spread. . . Her great city was Bubastis, in the Delta, which was wholly dedicated to her. . . Once a year a great festival was held at this place, accompanied by indecent ceremonies." "History of Ancient Egypt" — Rawlinson, Vol. I., 382. "The number of those who attend, counting only the men and women, and omitting the children, amounts, according to native reports; to seven hundred thousand." Rawlinson's Herodotus, Vol. IL, p. 104.

Illustration: At Denderah. . . it is said that the soul of Hathor likes to leave heaven "in the form of a human-headed sparrow-hawk. . . to come and unite herself to the statue." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 119, note.}

With such perverted conceptions of life, life with the gods, and the nature of the gods; of prayer, and the deities supplicated; of sacrifice, and of the requirements of the gods to whom sacrifice was made; we shall not be surprised at the corruption amongst the Egyptians of the truth of resurrection. The fact that man would rise again was made known to man at the beginning of the divine revelation to him. (Heb. 6:2; Matt. 22:23-32.) It was contained in the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. Abraham, brought out froth the gloomy idolatry and monster deities of Ur of the Chaldees, and given to trust the Almighty, counted God able to raise the dead. (Heb. 11:19.) Job expressed his faith in the fact, and in God by whom the resurrection occurs, most plainly. (Job 19:25-27.) Simply and unhesitatingly, he says, though his body should be destroyed, "yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold." The doctrine was held in Egypt from an unknown antiquity, and though perverted and corrupted, was stamped from the earliest times upon the monuments of the nation.

The disbelief in the resurrection is comparatively a modern infidelity. The ancient world was too near to the first-given revelation of God to forget the great fact of man living again after death. The great resurrection legend of the Egyptians concerned Osiris) and parts of this legend and the beliefs which surrounded it are so coloured by Scripture truth as to be positively startling.

We give some illustrations of the legend. The first two are to be found in the Isle of Phil, the third is from Denderah. Lanzone gives a series of these pictures. The legend related to Osiris, and also to the dead, who, being justified, could be regarded as the god himself.

Osiris having been slain when on earth by his evil god-brother, and his body having been dismembered, its parts were buried in different places in Egypt. But Osiris had two sisters, who were goddesses, and they wept and prayed that he might return to life again; in answer to their lamentations, and by virtue of their tears,* the dead and dismembered form was gathered together, limb by limb, and, at length, Osiris was restored to life.

{*All the gods could give life by weeping! The idea seems to have arisen out of this legend. See Birch on a magical papyrus of the British Museum, pp. 3, 6.}

In the first illustration part of the body has come together. But a portion of the trunk, the arms, and head are still wanting. In the second, the god is rising up from the couch whereon the body had lain. In the third he is, moving off the couch and carrying the emblems of royal rule, the crook and the flail. On his head is the crown of Egypt, and on either side of the crown are the royal ostrich feathers. He has arisen, and is about to reign. We have already seen Osiris in various positions of power and glory; he reigned, let it be remembered, after his resurrection, and then became judge of the dead. It will be well when reading about the legend to bear in mind Christ's words, "In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven;" (Matt. 22:30.)  for Egyptian ideas of resurrection were of a most sensuous kind. There was no spiritual conception in them, as Christians use the word, neither did their legends allow the thought enforced by the apostle, "there is a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:44.)

What was believed in the most ancient of the ancient days of Egypt is not at present fully known; but our remarks are of a general kind, and they apply to a period extending over many hundreds of years.*

{*It would appear that in ancient Egypt men thought upon a future existence very much more than they now do, and they did not make any attempt at evading the reality, as is now frequently done. But, though they constantly faced the momentous question of the future, their ideas, during the lapse of time, assumed a most material form. The body had to be preserved intact in order that the soul might re-inhabit it, and an injured body would be detrimental — to say the least — to re-animation and future bliss. Their ideas grew up gradually, and, with time, their beliefs because more and more complicated. Of divine power in raising the dead they certainly had no conception — unless they had this prior to the ideas before us in the Book of the Dead. Still "the preservation of the corruptible body, too, was in some way connected with the life in the world to come, and its preservation was necessary to ensure eternal life." Their ideas on the being of man were also complicated, anal probably a growth of centuries. To them "the whole man consisted of a natural body — a spiritual body — a heart — a double — a soul — a shadow — an intangible, ethereal casing or spirit — a form — a name." (nine parts!) "All these were, however, bound together inseparably, and the welfare of any single one of them concerned the welfare of all. For the well-being of the spiritual parts, it was necessary to preserve from decay the natural body; and certain passages of the pyramid texts seem to show that a belief in the resurrection of the natural body existed in the earliest dynasties." "The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, pp. lviii., lxix., lxx.}

The foundation for the legend is evident to the reader of Scripture. The good god is slain by the evil one, he rises up from among the dead, and in his resurrection-glory becomes the king. But most remarkable is the idea that the "justified" dead should be as Osiris; they became identified with the god and were called by his name at least subject to certain conditions which the priests would fulfil. As the sister goddesses prayed and wept back Osiris into life, so by magical recitations would the priests fulfil the same good office for the pious defunct.

In an image of Osiris the following magical recitation was discovered by the relentless explorer of our century. The papyrus reads, "Where this is recited, the place is holy in the extreme. Let it be seen or heard by no one, excepting by the principal high priests," and it was supposed that the defunct, to whom the writing was consecrated, would benefit by its recitation, and would rise into life as Osiris had done.

"Come to thine abode, come to thine abode!
God An,* come to thine abode!
Thine enemies (exist) no more.
Oh, excellent sovereign, come to thine abode!
Look at me; I am thy sister who loveth thee.
Do not stay far from me, oh, beautiful youth.
Come to thine abode, with haste, with haste!
* * *
"Will it be long ere I see thee?
Beholding thee is happiness;
Beholding thee is happiness.
(Oh,) God An, beholding thee is happiness.
Come to her who loveth thee!
Come to her who loveth thee!
* * *
"Hail to the divine lord!
There is no god like unto thee!
Heaven hath thy soul; Earth hath thy remains;
The lower heaven is in possession of thy mysteries.
* * *
"Thy two sisters are near thee,
Offering libations to thy person."**

{*One of the names of Osiris.

**See "Records of the Past," vol. II., pp. 119, 123, 124.}

The praying and reciting priests stood in the place of the female deities, and thus a most ingenious system for the maintenance of their religious importance was preserved. We need not, therefore, wonder at the wealth of the priestly class, at their magnificent temples, jewels and gorgeous robes;* they held the key to the resurrection of the dead!** The influence of the priests of those times might suggest some fresh ideas to the priests of our own times, who take an inferior position to that of the Egyptians, inasmuch as they hold the key merely to the bates of purgatory! But though the importance of the priests was so great, such is human nature that the "State" of Egypt would at times despoil its "Church," that is the temples, and enrich itself out of the gifts that had been made to endow Religion.

{*"The resources of each individual deity, and consequently his power, depended on the wealth and number of his worshippers ". . . "The gods dispensed happiness, health, and vigour to those who made them large offerings, and instituted pious foundations.". . . "It was, therefore, to the special interest of every one in Egypt. . . to maintain the goodwill of the gods. . . bread, flowers, fruit, drinks, perfumes, stuffs, vases, jewels, bricks and bars of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, were all heaped up in the treasury within the recesses of the crypts." The votary would "seal a formal agreement with the priests by which the latter engaged to perform a service in his name in front of" the statute he presented "a stated number of times in the year," and to provide for this he would assign part of his property, to endow the priests for their services. It is stated that fully one-third of the land had fallen into priestly hands in the time of Rameses III. See "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 302, 303.

**"The Egyptian embalmed his dead because he believed that the perfect soul would return to its body after death, and that it would animate it once more. . . The Christian believed that Christ would give him back his body changed and incorruptible;" thus tersely states the difference between pagan and Christian belief in relation to the resurrection. See "The Mummy" — Budge, pp. 188, 189.}

In the third illustration we have added some emblems which occur in various representations of the subject — the dog-headed ape, to whom prayers arose from the purgatorial fires, is there, and the serpent standing erect — attitude emblematic of life.

Little more can be said respecting the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, in their relation to the revealed truths of the Divine Word, than that notable remains of revealed truth are to be found amongst them. Now in things of ordinary nature, the fact of notable remains being found would be taken as evidence of a source from whence they had come. Let us suppose ourselves searching for gold. We come to a bend in the bed of the stream in which the small stones brought down from miles above are accumulated in heaps. An experienced miner with us at once declares, "This is the place for finding gold." And so it proves to be. Amongst the stones are numerous particles of the metal. Is it not obvious that these particles were washed down the stream and carried by the water from their first place to their present location? In like manner particles of divine truth were carried on by the stream of time down the ages, and they are found by explorers in the stone heaps of Egyptian mythology. The bed of gold lies higher up the stream of time; it is God's revelation to the men who lived before the flood.

The system of religious evolution, which was active through so many centuries in ancient Egypt, is still vigorous, and though it is in some respects easier to trace its movements in the distant past, still it is to be seen in operation to-day in Christendom. Let us suppose the results of the labours of a scientific explorer of a thousand years hence, laid out in his study in precise array. Hard facts about the Christian centuries are arranged in order of date. Traditions, teachings, practices, are all tabulated and placed under their various epochs; and together with them are also placed the Divine Record of Christianity in its origin and plan and also first century Christian practice! By a comparison of the beginning of the Christian era with the nineteenth century, we should see that Christendom is in no way behind Egypt in religious evolution.

An analogy at once presents itself between the manner of the initiation of each development; in Egypt the chief priests held the higher mysteries hidden in their own custody; in Christendom — over its greater area — the chief priests hide the Divine Record within their colleges.

In Egypt the pure doctrine of eternal life was so surrounded and obscured by traditions as to be of no effect among the people; over the chief part of Christendom the doctrine is now hidden. The fundamental principle respecting life is, that it is inherent to the living God and the eternal Son of God, of whom it is written," In Him was life," (John 1:4) and who declared "I am. . . the Life" (John 11:25). The eternal life is bestowed upon men by the gift of God, (Rom. 6:23.) — "I give unto them eternal life" (John 10:28); "This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son" (1 John 5:11). Further, as to those who receive it, the words are plain — "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life." (John 5:24.) In the minds of millions in Christendom, educated and directed by their religious teachers, the Scripture teaching in reference to eternal life has no place whatever, religious evolution having as completely covered it up, as the swiftly accumulating peat has buried the relics of former generations over which it has spread itself.

 In no less striking a manner have the original Christian ideas respecting prayer been lost to millions in Christendom by religious development. To demonstrate this it is only necessary to set out some few of the injunctions of Christ and His apostles upon the subject, and then to inscribe in succession under them the instructions from the books of devotion which millions of persons in this nineteenth century in Christendom regard as authoritative. By studying the words of Christ in reference to prayer, we can form a very fair notion of the simple manner in which "prayer was made. . . of the church" (Acts 12:5) at the beginning; now, however, there have been evolved the notions of merit accompanying the act of repeating and of reciting prayers; of rewards being given for the number of times saints and others are addressed; of priestly powers in obtaining favours for both the living and the dead by the recitation of prayers; and of the propriety of procuring such prayers from the priests by money payments! Religious progress in Christendom has evolved out of the Christian original of prayer a genuine ancient pagan art.** Amulets prayed over by priests, scapulas and charms to be placed upon the body of the living and the dead have been also religiously evolved, and thus a genuine ancient pagan trade has become a part of evolved Christianity. And men rest in the hope of the pagan Egyptians, that a charm placed upon their corpses will expedite their entrance into bliss! Into bliss! — into the Divine presence we will not say, for God, to whom alone effective prayer can be made, has disappeared from the system.

{* Thoth "recited them with that true intonation which renders them" (the prayers) "all powerful." See "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 146. If the prayers were not rightly intoned, if the attitudes of the priests were not correctly given, the prayer was ineffective. Ibid., pp. 124, 125.}

The change of thought relative to the Scripture teaching on atonement is also most marked. In the Divine Record it stands, "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for (the sins of) the whole world." (1 John 2:2.) The nineteenth century religious thinkers have evolved the notion that the Divine Being does not require propitiation, and that man does not need it. Indeed, the advance guard of these thinkers repudiates the very thought of atonement by sacrificial blood as coarse and false. Man, according to them, is too good to need it, and God, according to them, must not be supposed to require it.

 Life, prayer, propitiation, resurrection, are all losing their original form and character under the expanding process of religious thought in this century. Sometimes the word as used in the Scriptures remains, but the word in these schools of thought no longer stands for what it means, and for what it meant at the beginning. By the process of analogy we have a right to suppose that in the progress of their thoughts, the men who object to be guided by the revelation of God will follow the usual course of human thought, and that some day something will be set up by them, as an object for worship. The Egyptian evolutionist in his deities, half-man, half-beast, had his primal ancestors before him in a concrete form. The Chinese worship their immediate ancestors. Man cannot forget that he has had an origin. Believers in God worship their Creator; and if man does not believe he was created in God's image, but believes instead that he is the outcome of a base and common organism, an emerged reptile or ape, it would be but natural that the evolutionist philosopher, on becoming religious, should, like the wise and the religious Egyptian, worship that out of which he evolved.

Chapter 19: The Wilderness Entered

The remainder of this volume will be occupied with the consideration of some divine hints, as they may be termed, which are given in the book of Exodus, relative to the future blessing for man which God has in store; with God's revelation on Sinai of Himself to man; with the manner of God's dwelling amongst men and the divine principle of access to Himself, as displayed in the Tabernacle of the wilderness; and also with a few remarks on Israel's wanderings.

The overthrow of the typical ruler of the world, the priest-king, Pharaoh, set Israel free, and in the ways of God, some six weeks afterward the redeemed people were established at Horeb, where God gave forth His law.

The incidents of the journey from Rameses in Egypt, to the Mount of God in the wilderness, as related in the book of Exodus, have a significance of their own. The mention of certain stages in their journey is avoided, for the number of "their journeys according to the places of their departure" is not that which the Spirit of God is bringing before the reader of the book of Exodus,* but other lessons. The incidents stand together, as historically recorded in the book of Exodus, and as spiritually noted in the one hundred and fifth Psalm. The length of the period covered by the pilgrimage to Sinai is also significant — "they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month," (Num. 33:3) and they came into the wilderness of Sinai, where a new dispensation opened upon them, on the first of the third month. Remembering that the earliest stages of their journey were in Egypt itself (vers. 5-7), this would give some thirty-eight or forty days for the period of time in consideration — a period resembling, in days, that spent in years by Israel in the wilderness.

{*The encampment by the Red Sea after Elim was left, and those at Dophkah and Alush, after leaving the wilderness of Sin are not referred to in Exodus, but these encampments are amongst those which Jehovah commanded Moses to record. See Num. 33. See page 147 for their probable position.}

The psalm referred to, thus speaks of this period: "He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light in the night. The people asked, and He brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river. . . . He brought forth His people with joy, and His chosen with gladness (or singing): and gave them the lands of the heathen." (See Ps. 105:39-44.) In these words not a sound of Israel's murmurings, or of God's chastenings is heard, all is gladness and grace, and the wilderness itself is in view only as the occasion for God to show forth His favours This, we shall see, is that which characterizes the period under our present consideration.

The song of triumph having ended, the wilderness opened out before Israel. The borders of the Red Sea, where the Egyptian dead lay, were left, and the host went forward under the guidance of the pillar of cloud and fire. An entirely new era had now opened in Israel's history. They had become a pilgrim company.

The intense strain of anxiety, and the sense of freedom incident to the marvels of the few days that had just elapsed, gave place to entirely new experiences. On such an occasion as the overthrow of Pharaoh's army before their very eyes, it would be but natural that each of the freed people, and also of the mixed multitude, should be absorbed with the deliverance; hence the joy prevailing would allow no place for thoughts as to what might next happen, or as to which way they should take, in order to reach the promised land. In the sacred enthusiasm of the hour, all would join in the song, honestly anticipating a speedy entrance into Canaan. But Israel had to learn a deeper lesson than that taught by Pharaoh's bonds; through their wilderness education they had to prove themselves. Pharaoh's bonds had shown to Israel their helplessness; their salvation had demonstrated to them Jehovah's strength. Their path through the wilderness would prove, if not to them, certainly of them, the unfaithfulness of their hearts, and also the faithfulness of God.

We are able to trace the stages of Israel's journey to Horeb with considerable precision. Travellers have painstakingly followed Israel's track; England's Ordnance Survey has given us a strictly exact map of the deserts and wadies Israel crossed, and the rocks and the mountains which they could not cross and had to pass round; and the photographer has given us the scenery of the localities mentioned, so that we are capable of realizing the word pictures given by Moses in his narrative.

We have introduced on the opposite page a map of the district from Pithom to Elim. The upper portion of it is practically the same as that which is given upon page 101; that part of it which indicates the country from Suez to the Wady Gharandel (Elim) is a careful reproduction of the Ordnance Survey.

After their song Israel turned from the land of their captivity, and "went out into," or towards, "the Wilderness of Shur." The long wall of rock which rises up over the flatter district near the sea gives the name of the Wilderness of the Wall (Shur) to the desert towards which they turned.* We are supposing that they took their journey from near the point marked in our map that is, close by Migdol. There can be no doubt that on leaving the neighbourhood of the store city, Pithom, they brought with them not only supplies of food but of water also. For months previously it had been known that they were to serve Jehovah in the wilderness, (Ex. 5:1, 7) and that young and old, sons and daughters, flocks and herds, (Ex. 10:9) would form their company, and more, a "three days' journey into the wilderness" (Ex. 8:27) had been specified; hence to suppose Israel undertaking this journey without supplies of water that would last them some days is impossible. As they had ample time for preparation there is no reason whatever for assuming that they did not make the necessary arrangements. Pithom, as has been already observed, was a store city, and from it, as a base, expeditions started across the wilderness to the mines in the Sinai district, and elsewhere. Israel's way was to the Mount of God. Hence they journeyed southwards "towards" the Wilderness of Shur; they did not bend their steps the more direct way towards their land of promise.

{*See "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, vol. I., p. 38.}

"And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water." Egypt had ever found them water, and in its river, water of noted sweetness; but their supplies brought from that land were lessening, and, after their three days of toil, Marah, or Bitterness, was reached, with its brackish, unpalatable pools.* The fact of a three days' journey into the wilderness and finding no water, and then the brackish pools, is attested by travellers who follow Israel's track; but God is not merely recording an incident in their way from bonds to rest, He is also communicating spiritual instruction. Israel was bound to a fruitful land, and the first great lessons learned on their way thither were the absence of refreshment natural to the wilderness over which they travelled, and the disappointing nature of the water frequently found there.

{*Speaking of a pool in the Sinai district, the writer says: "I was the first of our party to essay to drink of its water; but the Arabs exclaimed, 'Murrah, murrah, murrah." It is bitter, bitter, bitter." "The Lands of the Bible" — Wilson, Vol. I., p. 170.}

The world, viewed as a desert over which God's pilgrim host is passing, affords in itself no nourishment, and should its waters be tasted they do but prove themselves to be disappointing. This is the first lesson in pilgrimage, the first realization of the three days' journey.

Three days' journey from Egypt brought Israel in triumph into the wilderness; three days' journey into the wilderness brought them to bitterness! And it may be said, there is not one among the pilgrim host of God, who has not learned, or who has not to learn, this important lesson of the three days! But as Israel mourned the bitterness, God "showed" Moses "a tree,* and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet." (Ex. 15:25. R.V.) Israel had been delivered from Egypt, as it were by death; they had passed through the bitter water of the sea, and now they had to prove the bitterness of the wilderness, a bitterness which was rendered sweet for them. We are redeemed and delivered from the world and Satan by Christ's death, and such being the case, we are called to experience the practical excellence of Christ's cross as healing the bitterness of many an incident on our pilgrimage to heaven.

{*"It may be not uninteresting to remark that the word 'tree' in the Bedawin dialect is simply synonymous with a drug or medicament of any kind." "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., p. 81.}

Where is Marah? Can it be identified? Supposing — as is now so generally accepted — that Israel's wilderness journey began in the locality marked on our map, from that point to Ayun Musa, the wells of Moses, would be some three days' journey of fifteen miles a day. The wells there are still brackish, but one of them is said to be sweet, and a considerable fertility surrounds them; indeed; in modern times they have become of very great service to Suez, fruit and vegetables being produced in the little oasis which they furnish.* The idea that these wells are on the site of the ancient Marah is very reasonable, and the fact that these wells are called by the name of Moses to this day, lends the strongest probability to its justness, the name of the great Leader being still connected with the water he had rendered sweet.

{*In the time of Moses the wells were probably enclosed and kept with great care by the Egyptians, for the use of the frequent convoys to and from their ancient settlements at Sarbut El Khadem and the Wady Mughara." "The Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 315.}

From Bitterness rendered sweet, Israel journeyed to Elim — The Trees; again a three days' journey.* Here in the shade they encamped by the water, not of pools such as those of Marah, but fountains of living, upspringing water.

{*"From the Wells of Moses we traversed an unvaried desert plain for three days; there is nothing to attract attention but the bleached camel-bones that mark the track, and nothing to afford food for reflection but the thought that, like the Children of Israel, you too have gone 'three days in the desert and have found no water. '" "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., p. 39.}

The numbers of the springs and palm trees of Elim would not be given without an intention, and we may understand that each of the twelve tribes had its own marching and camping position assigned to it by each spring, and that the seventy palm trees were used as head-quarters for seventy chief princes, for "the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel. (Num. 1:16; Ex. 24:9.) The people were not only prepared for their journey, they marched in an ordered array according to their "armies." In this grateful resting-place "they encamped,. . by the waters." Incidental refreshment fell to their lot; their faithful Leader had led them where they could not only enjoy mercies, but prove His way of rendering the ordinary bitterness connected with their journey sweet. These are the chief lessons of the first month of Israel's pilgrimage.

 No one appears to question the position of Elim. The Wady Gharandel is such a perfect realization of the story of the first rest after Israel's Exodus, that even controversy rests there. To this day the springs and groves of the locality are resorted to by travellers,* and the photographer has made its features familiar to the eye.

{*The eye is again refreshed by the sight of green tamarisks and feathery palms, and just off the customary track is a pleasant stream of running water. This is Wady Gharandel, generally regarded as Elim, and whether or no the grove and stream are the lineal descendants of the twelve springs and seventy palm trees. . . it is clear that the site of Elim must lie somewhere in the immediate neighbourhood" "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., pp. 40, 41.}

The exact direction taken by Israel when they broke up their camp at Elim was much questioned, but the Ordnance Survey Expedition has now set at rest most of the difficulties, and has enabled a very clear idea to be formed of the way they went. Their destination was Horeb, the Mount of God. They were a great host, having baggage wagons, cattle, and much encumbrance, hence they could not have taken a mere mountain track, steep and rugged. Two main routes were open to them, known now as the upper and the lower roads. Our maps on pages 144 and 145 will make their route perfectly clear to the eye. The two roads divide at Wady Ethal. The upper road lies by Wady Hamr, Wady Nasb, Wady Suwig, Wady Khamileh, Wady Bark, Wady Lebweh, Wady Berrah, and Wady es Sheikh,* and so enters the plain of Er Rahah.

{*See "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., pp. 43-48}

As the next encampment of Israel after Elim was near the seashore — "they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red Sea," (Num. 33:10)  it is evident they did not pursue the upper road. The reason why they did not do so is very simple. By consulting the map (page 144) Sarabit El Khadim, issuing from Wady Siiwig; and Maghar ah, near Wady Shellal, will be observed. The former of these two places is in continuity of the upper road. They were both fortified, and occupied by Egyptian troops, who were told off for this service in order to protect the mining district.* The mines were worked by slave labour There is quite an interesting history of these mines in the Egyptian archives, and there are monuments in situ carved in the rock. One of these we give.

{*At Wady Nasb there "are great heaps of slag, and other vestiges of the Egyptian miners, who formerly colonized the place." "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., p. 93. "The mines and quarries (of the peninsula of Sinai) were worked in the earliest times of Egyptian history." The "inscriptions engraved on the rocks. . . furnish us with a proof that the Egyptians kept up establishments in these desolate regions. . . . The principal envoys of the king, the treasurers, artists, officials of the quarrymen, and other similar persons. . .never left their places without perpetuating on the rock the remembrance of their stay." There are tablets exhibiting kings "who present their offerings and allegiance to the protecting deities of the district, to the Eastern Supat and the heavenly Hathor." "A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs" — Brugsch, Vol. I., pp. 172, 314.}

Had Israel taken the upper road a conflict with the Egyptians must have occurred; but too much need not be made of such an eventuality. Another, and a more weighty reason for their not taking the upper road is this, it "would have presented insuperable difficulties," by reason of "its rugged passes and narrow valleys, to a large caravan encumbered by heavy baggage."* A very simple reason for the direction taken by Israel is thus before us, they took the easiest and the readiest route, or, to use the language of Scripture: "He led them forth by the right way." (Ps. 107:7.)

{*"The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., pp. 274, 275.}

On breaking up their camp at Elim, "a fair day's journey "* brought them by Wady Taiyibeh to the shore of the Red Sea, which they had not seen for some days. The place of this encampment was by the open coast. "A scene of grandeur as varied as it is matchless. . . a vast semi-circle of sheer precipice, some hundreds of feet in height, and which might contain a city in its noble sweep. Then, beyond this. . . a most singular peak, first tawny sandstone, then red, and then white, and then red again, then black. . . it must be at least six hundred feet high. This is Wady Taiyibeh, or 'The Good,' so called from its tarfas, palms, and water."**

{*"The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., p. 274.

**"Desert of Sinai" — Bonar, pp. 133, 134.}

With the place of this encampment settled beyond controversy, we pursue on the map the direction of the lower road to Horeb. We have followed it across the Wady Useit* and seen it enter the Wady Taiyibeh. The road now works round by the shore, at times leaving but little space between the cliffs and the water, and then crosses the "barren flinty plain of" El Markha. This may be regarded as the Wilderness of Sin, which was Israel's next encampment.

{*See map, p. 141.}

Rounding the hills by the sea the Wady Feiran is next reached. This long and comparatively narrow valley would not allow the same rate of daily marching as the open country, and we may suppose that the two stations Dophkah and Alush* were situated between El Markha and Rephidim. The waters and palms close by Rephidim, the hill whereon Moses prayed, and the locality of the battle with Amalek, would be also in this valley. Thus continuing by the lower road, and passing through the Wady Solaf, the Plain of Er Rahah is gained, where Israel assembled and received the law.**

{*See maps, pp. 144, 145.

**If the priest-scribes of Ezra's period wrote the part of the second book of Moses which relates the way Israel took, it must be conceded that their description, at once so vivid and exact, was miraculous. How could men who acquired their knowledge in Babylonia imagine the position of the wells and the streams on the way, the breadth of the deserts traversed without water, the running waters and palms, the lower road from Elim, and the roundabout-way to the sea — a day's journey? Such precision on the part of writers who had not visited the neighbourhood would be tantamount to inspiration. But when we take the story as an account of an eyewitness, we are at once in the wholesome region of fact and common sense.}

Chapter 20: The Manna and the Sabbath

On the fifteenth day of the second month, Israel reached the Wilderness of Sin (Ex. 16:1) (or the Thorn-bush), and began a fresh round of time after their departure from Rameses. At this place and time their first great uprising against their leader and their God occurred "the whole congregation. . . murmured." (ver. 2.) Their stores of food brought out of Egypt had come to an end, and they complained bitterly, "We sat by the flesh-pots and. . . did eat bread to the full;" and as they looked upon the barren place around them, they declared "Ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." (ver. 3.)  

The chronicling of such dates and localities may not be on the lines adopted by the historian, but it is according to the plan of divine inspiration. Let us search for the key. While the glory-cloud of Jehovah's presence shaded and illumined the camp, the hearts of Israel were upon Egypt. Their faces were turned thitherward, and it needed Aaron's eloquence to change their attitude, but after a while "they looked toward the wilderness." (ver.10.) In these words, "they looked toward the wilderness," lies the key we seek. God had displayed His glory in judgment, both in Egypt and in the Red Sea; He would now display His glory in the wilderness. And as the people faced that way, "behold the glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud," and He declared that all should know "I am Jehovah your God." (ver. 12.)

We take up our stand with the hungry people at the end of the anxious day, and lo, "at even the quails came up and covered the camp"; here was the flesh desired. Israel were not appointed to perish by Jehovah, their salvation! It was He who had brought them out from the land of Egypt, and this the quails demonstrated to Israel. But more — in the morning they were to see the glory of Jehovah.* And "in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up," a new thing occurred, one which had never been before on earth; "behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar-frost on the ground." (Ex. 16:14.) "Manna?" — "What is this?" — the people exclaimed. It was God's glory in the wilderness — it was the gift of God.

{*"At even, then ye shall know that Jehovah hath brought you out from the land of Egypt; and in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of Jehovah." Ex. 16:6, 7. "'Seeing' is synonymous with 'knowing.' Seeing the glory of Jehovah did not consist in the sight of the glory of the Lord which appeared in the cloud, as mentioned in ver. 10, but in their perception or experience of that glory in the miraculous gift." "Bible commentary on the Old Testament" — Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II., p. 65.}

The story of the manna occupies the first week of the fourteen days that remained to Israel before reaching the Mount of God, and together with the story of the gift of the manna, is combined the restoration upon the earth of sabbath-keeping to Jehovah. At the beginning, the Creator Himself kept sabbath, and placed man in the sabbath rest; the newly-fashioned earth was fully blest and abundantly beautiful, and in the garden of God, man's joyful occupation was set out. From the fall of man, and the ensuing death and toil of a suffering world, until the bestowal of the manna from heaven in the wilderness, the revelations of God makes no mention of sabbath. Regarded as a division of time, the seven days were sacred in Chaldea* — in Egypt the month was divided into three sections of ten days — but a holy sabbath to Jehovah was a new thing on the earth.**

{*See footnote, ch. 27, p. 198.}

{*"'Tomorrow is a rest, a sabbath holy to Jehovah;' i.e., tomorrow must be a day of rest, observed strictly as a sabbath, or festal rest, holy to Jehovah. It is at once a statement and an injunction. The people knew it as a sabbath, they were to observe it as a great festival." "The Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 319.}

The manna is a figure of Christ; (John 6:48-51) the sabbath is both commemorative and anticipative of God's rest; (Heb. 4:1; "His rest." and only through Christ is that rest assured. God's rest shall yet be established, and once more He shall survey all and say, "It is very good." (Gen. 1:31.) The former things shall have passed away, and His original purpose in relation to man shall be fulfilled, (Rev. 21:3, 4) but in a way of richer and greater glory than was the case in paradise.

With such interest attaching to the manna, we may well linger over the nature of the gift. It was sent from heaven to earth — it was heaven's pure bounty upon the barren waste! And thus was gift communicated — a layer of dew lay round about the camp, and as the dew exhaled the manna appeared. It was covered with and was bestowed in the dew. The dew is a type of the Holy Spirit by whom Christ was conceived, and through whom He is spiritually communicated. The figure of the dew in its purity, as the medium for the bestowal of the gift of the manna, seems to indicate the sacred nature of the thing given, and to point to God's Holy One as "undefiled, separate from sinners." (Heb. 7:26.) As the manna was sent from heaven, so was Christ the "Sent" One (John 6:38, 39) of the Father; as it was like the hoar-frost upon the ground — crumbled and small, insignificant in appearance — so Christ "made Himself of no reputation," (Phil. 2:7) and appeared in the world as "no man"; (Ps. 22:6) as it was "white," so was He pure; as it was transparent, so was He ever what He said, His words expressed Himself.* Sent from heaven; communicated through the dew; insignificant in appearance; like the light, white, transparent; and, to such as had an appetite for it, sweet! "This," said Moses to the wondering people as they gazed upon it, "This is the bread which Jehovah hath given you to eat." (Ex. 16:15.)  

{*See John 8:25: "Who art Thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning," or "altogether that which I also say unto you."}

But the manna had to be gathered. Human responsibility was associated with divine goodness. Although the heaven-sent provision lay around Israel's camp, still each Israelite had to use diligence in order that the provision should become his own portion. It fell early in the morning, and when the sun was hot it melted, it vanished; the opportunity was, therefore, to be seized early, and it was necessary to go out from the camp with diligence to gather it. The supply was so divinely apportioned, that "he that gathered much had nothing over, and that gathered little has no lack"; (ver. 18) there was enough for all, all were equally cared for and there was no respect for persons. It was for every man, whoever he might be, and "they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating." (ver. 21.) The zeal necessary to healthy spiritual life, the appetite for Christ, that seeks Him first, and that feeds upon Him, the Bread of Life, are here most admirably symbolized. In gathering the manna, man had to stoop, for it fell upon the ground; and, without contradiction, the lowliest find for themselves the most of Christ.

In the way of appropriation of the heaven-sent food, God established a test. Each day the people were to learn anew their dependence upon God, who gives us day by day our bread. They were not to store up for the morrow, as if a heavenly supply, like that of earth, would come to an end. Such as hoarded it up found but worms and that which stank for their disobedience. In the hoarding up, there was not only a misappropriation of the food, there was also a misapprehension of its character. It was not only freshly sent daily from heaven, but it reached man daily in its heavenly freshness. Christ is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever," (Heb. 13:8) never to be levelled down to the standard of the mere common supplies of earth; so to do is corruption.

Where Christ Himself in His moral perfections is the spiritual food of the soul, there ensues true spirituality. If we imagine a disciple of the Lord resembling the heavenly One, acting in the Holy Spirit, hiding himself, holy as in the light of heaven, transparent obscuring nothing in words and ways, we have before us the ideal of Christian perfection.

The suggestion that the manna which fell from heaven is the same as the ordinary exusion from the tamarisk tree,* which has a medicinal quality, and is at times used as a corrective, is as unworthy as impossible. The daily bread, which God sent morning by morning to Israel's camp, was a new thing which Israel's fathers had not known. (Deut. 8:3.)

{*The exusion from the tamarisk is ordinarily met with in the Peninsula of Sinai in June and July, sometimes in May. It contains no farina, but simply saccharine matter. See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament." — Keil  Delitzsch, Vol. II., p. 73.}

"The children of Israel did eat manna forty years," (Ex. 16:35) it was their food for the whole period of their wilderness life, and never once did the supply fail them, neither did God ever give them another food. They had their flocks and their herds, which they had brought out of Egypt; probably they were able to sow and reap, at least at times on their journey; but one food, and only one, was rained upon them from above. God's food for the spiritual life of man is Christ, and Christ alone, during the "forty" years, the term of human probation on earth!

The manna occupies one of the most prominent places in the story of Israel's wilderness way, perhaps the most prominent after the cloud, and its importance is so great that, even before the tabernacle was erected, the storing up of a given quantity of it for a testimony to future generations is mentioned. (ver. 33.) The golden pot, with its contents of an omer, was laid up in the tent devoted to sacred use prior to the erection of the tabernacle, and when the tabernacle was set up, the golden pot of manna found its place there, in the holiest of all. (Heb. 9:4.)

The quantity of manna apportioned to each person for the day was an omen. This measure of man's need, Jehovah required should be placed before Him — "Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before Jehovah, to be kept for your generations;". . . "that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt."* God would have the way in which He had met the measure of their need in the wilderness never pass away from the remembrance of His people. An omer** was the measure common in the tents of Israel for ordinary use, and contained the ordinary portion of a man's daily food, and it thus individualized the gift of the manna to the requirement of every single person in the host. The application is plain never in eternity shall the remembrance of the bread wherewith God has fed each of His redeemed people on earth pass from their memories.

{*Ex. 16:33, 32. "The word used for 'pot' occurs in no other passage. It corresponds in form and use to the Egyptian for a casket or vase in which oblations were placed." See "Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 320. The very use of this word, therefore, indicates how recently Israel had left Egypt, and points out the character of some of their "jewels of gold" which they had brought with them from that land. No later scribe could have invented a word which was of Egyptian character at the time of Israel's exodus. In like manner the statement, "Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah" (ver. 36), owes its force to the possession of Egyptian articles by Israel in their earliest stages on leaving their captivity. Moses, in his record of the exodus, uses these words naturally, and when the people used other articles, the Egyptian words died out. "The ephah was an Egyptian measure, supposed to be about a bushel." Ibid., p. 318. The "pot" was one of the Egyptian vases Israel had carried out from the land of bondage. Probably it was not unlike one or other of the Egyptian vases represented below, and which were in use at the time of the exodus.}

{**"The omer was a small vessel, cup, or bowl, which formed part of the furniture of every house, and being always of the same size could be used as a measure in case of need." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament" — Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II., p. 74.}

On various occasions in His ways with Israel in the wilderness, when instituting a matter of special importance, God opened His instructions on that institution by introducing the sabbath.* We thus see the working of the Divine Mind in the inspired writings. Thousands of years may pass by, and human generations succeed human generations, but in His own time the original purposes of God will be fulfilled. God gives us hints of what shall be; He leaves us to take them!

{*When Jehovah renewed His communications with Israel after they had broken His covenant, His first words to them were respecting the sabbath, and thus the mention of the sabbath introduced the free-will offerings of Israel for the sanctuary (Ex. 35:2, etc.). The sabbath is introduced as a kind of preface to the feasts of Jehovah, and these feasts point to the rest which is yet to be (Lev. 23). The "seven sabbaths of years" which were ordered to be held in the land also indicate the divine purpose respecting the future (Lev. 25.).}

Chapter 21: The Rock, the Victory, the Rest

Israel was in the arid, stony waste of Sin, the glory-cloud stood over them, and the bounty of the heaven-sent manna was about their camp Their supplies of water were run out, and they were afflicted with thirst. The fact that God fed them with bread from heaven did not appease their longings, neither did it suggest to them that He who bestowed upon them bread, could also find them water. They had no faith, and said sullenly to Moses, "Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?" (Ex. 17:3) and in their rebellion they were "ready to stone" him.*  

{*vers. 4, 5. They were far more rebellious than they had been before the gift of the manna. "Before this they murmured, now they had not only murmured, but strove: from the root rib, to strive vehemently, literally to seize, especially by the hair, whence the name Meribah, the place of striving." They also tempted the Lord, ver. 7. "The word used here for to tempt is massah, whence the name Massah, the place of temptation." See Deut. 6:16; 33:8. "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Bishop Wordsworth, p. 201.}

Moses laid the case before Jehovah, and He uttered not one word of reproach at Israel's hardness of heart, but in perfect goodness bade His servant to "go on before the people," and to take with him of the elders, and in his hand the rod with which he had smitten the river of Egypt, and stand before the rock. And, said Jehovah, "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink." (Ex. 17:6.)

Thus were the river of Egypt and the rock in the wilderness brought into close moral association by the rod of divine judgment. Sin calls for judgment. Israel's rebellion cried for it, but the blow was to fall, not on Israel, but on the rock; the rod was not to destroy them, it was to be the means of their life. The cloud of the divine presence led the way, and it halted upon the rock, for the glory of God was there. "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb." The leader and the elders of Israel gathered round the rock, and the people massed themselves together to behold the ways of God. The rod which in Egypt had turned life into death, was in the wilderness about to turn death into life. Then, as he had been bidden, Moses struck the rock, and from the smitten rock "the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river." (Ps. 105:41.) Israel drank of the life stream, and, with children and cattle, were satisfied.

The Scripture interprets the symbolism of the rock — "that Rock was Christ." (1 Cor. 10:4.) From Christ, smitten by the judgment of God for rebellious man, from Him once crucified, the life-stream flows out to the world. The glory of Jehovah stands over the cross of Christ. There it abides morally forever. There is no other meeting-place with God than this for sinful needy men. And in this world the wilderness is the meeting-place found. From Christ once suffering under divine judgment on earth, but now glorified in heaven, the Holy Spirit communicates to such as thirst life, satisfaction, and joy. "If any man thirst," says Jesus, "let him come unto Me, and drink." (John 7:37.  Thus does the last week, before the mount of God was reached, open up its eternal lessons Meribah, and Massah, are not to be forgotten. (See Ps. 78:20-22.)

A strange Arab legend hovers over the locality, for though the precise position of the rock cannot be given, still the general features of the Wady Feiran* answer to the story of the Scriptures. Before the fertile valley comforts eye and foot, there is a stretch of terribly arid rocky desolation, and "immediately before the part of the valley where the fertility commences," is "a rock which Arab tradition regards as the site of the miracle." "This rock . . . is surrounded by small heaps of pebbles, placed upon every available stone in the immediate neighbourhood," for the Arabs throw these pebbles in memory — as their legend runs — of the throwing of pebbles by the children of Israel upon the stones surrounding the rock, after they had drunk of its waters, and had sat down to rest.**

{*"One name only, that of Paran, has lingered in the valley . . . of that name; apparently the sane as that corrupted in Feiran." "Sinai and Palestine" — Stanley, p. 29.}

{**See "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., pp. 1 59, 16o. This rock is called "Hesy el Khattatin." See map, p. 162.}

Rephidim is famous, not only for the miracle of the rock, but also for the victory over Amalek. The Amalekites were "of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt." (1 Sam. 27:8.) Evidences of their ancient occupancy remain in the ruins of their "Hazeroth, or fenced enclosures."* No doubt the fruitful valley of the Feiran was their holding, and they saw Israel's host approaching its fertility with envy.** It is probable that they beheld, from the heights around, the miracle of the rock, and, if so, they must have perceived that Israel was not dependent upon Amalek's resources for their journey towards Horeb, and their attack on Israel was an outrage upon Jehovah. Towards the evening of the day of rebellion and of mercy, Amalek fell upon Israel's rear. We may imagine the foe, like the Arabs of the Soudan, creeping down their steep glensides and then bursting upon Israel like a torrent. Israel had said, "Is the Lord among us or not?" tempting God by their unbelief, and "then came Amalek." But, nevertheless, with the enemy, came the God-given victory over him! Unbelief in God's faithfulness, God's answer of mercy; the enemy's attack, God's reply of victory; such is the golden line of God's grace over man's sin, displayed in the glory of God in the wilderness.

{*"At the head of Wady el Biyar were several immense groups of them, scattered all over the rough open plain. . . . The arrangement consisted of a series of very large circles, communicating for the most part one with another, and divided into separate apartments for living, sleeping, cooking, and the like. . . . The walls. . . were composed of large boulders of stone carefully packed together." "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. II., pp. 289, 320.}

{**"The attack. . . occurred about two months after the exodus, towards the end of May, or early in June, when the Bedouins leave the lower plains in order to find pasture for their flocks on the cooler heights. . . . No cause of warfare is more common than a dispute for the right of pasturage. The Amalekites were at that time the most powerful race in the peninsula, which from the earliest ages was peopled with fierce or warlike tribes, with whom the Pharaohs, from the third dynasty downwards, were engaged in constant struggles." "The Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 323.}

The next morning battle was joined, and the manner of the combat was unique. Joshua, with spear and sword, met the foe in the valley; Moses, with the rod and uplifted hands,* upon the overlooking hill,** prayed for victory. So long as the intercessor's hands were uplifted, Israel prevailed; but when they slackened Amalek gained the advantage. As the day wore on, Moses's hands grew heavy, and then the future high priest, Aaron, with Hur whose name signifies purity formed a seat for the intercessor, and supporting his hands, kept them steady until the sun went down. Thus the day ended, and Israel, in the power of the uplifted hands, were more than conquerors.

{*The lifting up of the hands has been regarded almost with unvarying unanimity by Targumists, Rabbins, Fathers, Reformers, and nearly all the more modern commentators, as the sign or attitude of prayer. See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament" — Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II., p. 79.

**"On reaching Wady Feiran the traveller should. . . make a pilgrimage to the hill," which was "the probable station of Moses at the battle of Rephidim." "The hill, which is called Jebel Tahuneh (the Mountain of the Windmill) is not more than seven hundred feet high, and is situated on the northern side of the valley." Describing the view from its summit the writer says: "At the foot meanders Wady Feiran, with its grove of palms and tamarisks, while down from either flank of Mount Serbal, which faces you, run two steep wadies, Aleyat and Ajeleh. . ." See map, p. 162. "Far away to the south-east, through an opening in the hills, is seen the long blue range of the Jebel Musa mountains." "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., pp. 162, 163.}

This strange victory has a significance marked out by God Himself. The Lord commanded Moses to write the record of it in the book,* and to rehearse it in the ears of Joshua. The leader in war service was ever to remember that the battle is won through the strength and courage imparted by virtue of the prayers of the Intercessor on high.

{*"In the book — the book which thou hast begun to write.". . . "What book was this?. . . No other book has ever been heard of that has been attributed to Moses by the Hebrew Church but the Pentateuch." "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Bishop Wordsworth, p. 263. See also Notes, pp. 324, 325, Vol. I., "The Speaker's Commentary."}

Amalek in a peculiar way is a type of the enemy. He "feared not God."* Against Amalek "the Lord will have war from generation to generation," and He "will utterly put out (or wipe out) the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." (Ex. 17:16, 14.)

{*See Deut. 25:18, 19. Does not this refer to Amalek's unbelief in the power of God displayed in the smiting of the rock?}

The symbolic character of the day's strange combat is apparent, and taking it in its sequence after the smitten rock, it is well expounded by these verses "It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." "We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."*

{*Rom. 8:34, 37. The Scriptures are definite as to the attitude of Christ in His ascent to heaven, and of His service there. "He lifted up His hands and blessed them. And . . . while He blessed them He was . . . carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:50, 51). "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). "He ever liveth to make intercession; . . . made higher than the heavens" (Heb. 7:25, 26).}

On the site of the victory Moses built an altar to Jehovah, and called it Jehovah-nissi, Jehovah my banner. Not such a banner, with emblems of their gods, as the Egyptian armies rallied around, but an altar of burnt sacrifice, the tribute of worship to the unchangeable I AM. And in connection therewith Moses said, "A hand is lifted up upon the throne of Jah!* A war of the Lord against Amalek from generation to generation" prophetic words, indicating the final victory of the people of God, for the mighty hand of the Intercessor is laid upon the divine throne, and at the sundown, as it were, of this world's day, victory shall remain with the soldiers of God. And thus stands the record, written by the divine command in the Book of God; the war proceeding still, the final victory still to come.

{*Ex. 17:16. The words are variously translated. The margin of the Revised Version has it, "Because there is a hand against the throne of the Lord." Hebrew: "A hand is lifted up upon the throne of Jah."}

The overthrow of Amalek opened Israel's way to the valleys at the foot of the Horeb range of mountains, and led to the realization of the promise made to Moses at the burning bush, "This shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt ye shall serve God upon this mountain." (Ex. 3:12.)  The Horeb district was familiar ground to the former shepherd of Midian, and when settled before the mountains Jethro* visited Israel's camp to hear in Moses' tent the story of God's wonderful ways, to rejoice "for all the goodness which Jehovah had done to Israel." (Ex. 18:9.)  

{*"The whole plain is called Wady er Rahah, and the valley of the convent is known to the Arab as Wady Shu'eib, that is, the Vale of Jethro." "Biblical Researches in Palestine" — Robinson, Vol. I., p. 89.}

This might be said to be but a very natural act, but it is not recorded simply as a piece of history; a religious ceremony was bound up with it. Jethro being with Israel took a burnt offering and made sacrifice to God, and also peace offerings. He "and all the elders of Israel" joined in worship and communion. But it is said Jethro ate bread "before God," not before Jehovah, for it was not by His name, Jehovah, that God was related to the Midianite. In this significant act of worship is a picture of the coming day, when all enemies being vanquished, Jew and Gentile shall worship and commune together "before God."* Then, too, will Christ share with His chosen people the rule and the government, as did Moses on the suggestion of Jethro share his rule with the heads of Israel.

{*"His intercommunion in sacrifice at Horeb before God with Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel, reveals a glimpse of that blessed time, when all worshippers of God will be united together in adoration of Him." The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Bishop Wordsworth, p. 265.}

The interest in the incidents which are before us in this chapter is so great that we have supplied a map* of that part of the Feiran in which they occurred. On the left, supposing we are on the way to Horeb, facing Jebel Serbal, is the hill Tahuneh, before reaching which is located the traditional rock, Hesy el Khattatin. Near Tahuneh is the position of Rephidim. Some twenty miles up the valley, and the plain of Er Rahah is gained.

{*See page 162,}

Thus do the recorded incidents of these two weeks, present two pictures of the divine purpose in reference to man. The first — of Christ, the Manna, sustaining and supporting the people of God in their heavenward way, and the sabbath of God being reached and enjoyed through Him. No enemies are in view in this picture. The unbelief and the needs of the people of God and Christ, in His excellence, are the main objects before the spiritual eye. The second picture — is of Christ as the smitten Rock. Christ, under the judgment of God on man's account, and from Him once smitten, the living waters pouring out for man, through the Spirit. Then the enemy appears to hinder and to destroy, but by virtue of Christ's intercession on high, the enemy is vanquished. Finally men, as one family on earth, are seen communing together and worshipping together before the living God; even as the Scriptures continually declare shall be the case in the coming kingdom.

In these pictures we "see the glory of Jehovah," (Ex. 16:7)  as we look with" Israel "toward the wilderness." (v. 10.) We see His glory on the dew-covered ground, and in "the rest of the holy sabbath unto Jehovah"; (v. 23)  we see His glory as His cloud surmounts the smitten rock, whence the life-giving waters flow. (ch. 17:6.) And as the story of the wilderness unfolds, glory upon glory will unfold also.

Chapter 22: The Mountains and Valleys of Horeb

We now proceed to consider the revelation made by Jehovah at Sinai, of His holiness, and of His requirements from man. The position of Israel before Sinai should be pondered over. It was unique. They had been delivered from Egyptian slavery by a succession of miraculous displays of divine power, and every day since they had left that land, whether in the glory-cloud, the manna, or the rock, a miracle had emphasized God's presence among them; and having reached Sinai they were absolutely isolated from the world at large, and were shut in with themselves and with God.

The physical characteristics of Horeb and Sinai are remarkable.* The barren wilderness generally, is a theme for Scripture poetry, and numberless Christian lips and pens have found in it illustrations for daily life; but Horeb evokes no song. It produces instead the feeling of awe, and hushes into silence. Horeb is "the great mountain labyrinth" where Sinai itself stands; it signifies "the mountain of the dried-up ground," and this for generations has been its character. Sinai is the mountain of the thorn.** The predominant ideas attached to the region are nakedness and barrenness. Sinai itself is noted for its bare rocks and lifeless crags, from which the soil long since has been swept away. The valley, or wady, at the mountain base, is usually but a dry watercourse, with stones tumbled about over it, brought down by the storms. The bare crags do not absorb the rain, and hence the thunder-clouds which burst over them form floods, which, with marvellous rapidity, carry all before them. The life-giving rains of heaven, by reason of the repelling rocks, are thus the cause of Sinai's desolation. Silence reigns in the region, and where the voice of a man, or the cry of the hyena, breaks upon it, the sound arises high up on the mountain sides.

{*"The union of grandeur and desolation is the point in their scenery absolutely unrivalled "Sinai and Palestine" — Stanley, p. 12.

** Ibid., p. 29.}

In a very marked way in Horeb, and Sinai, a locality is prepared and selected by the divine hand for the giving of the law, and even the rain-repelling rocks seem to be a symbol of the human heart hardened against the words of heaven, so that "the commandment which was ordained to life" is "found to be unto death." (Rom. 7:10.)

Over and over again, in His revelations to man, God has been pleased to give illustration to His words by the natural features of the locality where the words have been uttered. In speaking to men, God uses the natural to give emphasis to the spiritual. We are of the natural, nature environs us, and that very environment God uses to teach of the verities which lie outside and beyond the realm of nature. Israel had been all their lifetime educated under the influence of awe-inspiring and magnificent temples, and the most splendid spectacles of religious pomp. They had heard the strains of music and the acclamation of thousands of voices celebrating the glory of the gods. They had yielded to the seduction of idolatry, at least in many cases. (See Amos 5:25, 26.)  Jehovah, their Creator, did not forget this. He arranged their encampment in the valley in such a way that they should occupy a nature-temple of such formation and magnitude, that compared with it, Egypt's mightiest buildings were as toys. Silence, deeper than that which reigned among the columns of the temples their hands had helped to rear, enveloped them, to be broken again and again by the appalling voices and trumpets of heaven. As a roof, arching over the straw-coloured precipices* which walled them in, stretched the thick cloud that composed the footstool of God.** At the extreme end of the valley the huge cliff*** that forms Sinai's shoulder rose up as the end wall of the stupendous temple in which they stood, while from its heights, up into the cloud-roof, the devouring fire ascended.

{*"The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., p. 147.}

**"They were brought into contact with a desolation, to them more remarkable by its contrast with the green valley of the Nile. They were enclosed within a sanctuary of temples and pyramids made without hands the more awful from its total dissimilarity to everything which they or their fathers could have remembered in Egypt. They were wrapt in a silence which gave full effect. . . to the thunders and voice exceeding loud, on the top of Horeb." "Sinai and Palestine" — Stanley, p. 19.

***"From the summit of Ras el Sufsafeh the whole plain, Er Rahah, spread out before us. . . . Our conviction was strengthened that here, or on some of the adjacent cliffs, was the spot where the Lord 'descended in fire' and proclaimed the law. Here lay the plain where the whole congregation might be assembled. . . and here was the mountain brow, where alone the lightnings and the thick cloud would be visible. . . when the Lord came down in the sight of the people upon Mount Sinai." "Biblical Researches in Palestine" — Robinson, Vol. I.) p. 107.}

Sinai is a mountain in a way isolated from others. The Scripture narrative* informs us that bounds were set about it, (Ex. 19:23) that it was in view from a plain in which "all" (v. 11) the people could stand, and move either "near" it or "afar off" from it, (Deut. 4:11; Ex. 20:21) and that it was sufficiently broad on the summit to enable one person to be in seclusion when seventy others were also there. (Ex. 24:1, 2, 9-11.) These Scripture conditions seem all to be realized in the mountain of which Ra's Sufsafeh is the shoulder, the peaked cliffs of which "rise abruptly from the plain" and overlook the large wady of Er Rehah.** The whole extent of the top of this mountain forms a great platform, and the summit, Jebel Musa, which is hidden from the long valley by the Ra's Sufsafeh precipices, stands back some considerable distance from them.***

{*"Scriptural narrative and monkish tradition are very different things. . . the former has a distinctness and definition, which through all our journeyings rendered the Bible our best guide book." "Biblical Researches in Palestine" — Robinson, Vol. I., p. 105.}  

{**"To the north of the Ra's Sufsafeh, and sloping uniformly down to its very base, lies the plain or wady Er Rahah, flanked on either side by imposing masses of granite, and containing four hundred acres of available and comfortable standing ground, directly in front of the mountain." "The actual length of the plain is about a mile and a quarter and its average width about half a mile." "Ordnance Survey of the Peninsula of Sinai," Part I., p. 146.}

{***See "The Desert of the Exodus" — Palmer, Vol. I., pp. 115, 116. Before the Sinai district was precisely explored, and before it was surveyed, anti-Bible criticism created many "scientific" difficulties regarding Israel's wanderings in the district, and souse critics concluded that there was no place in the peninsula where Israel could stand together and hear the ten words of the law given from Sinai, and, accordingly, thousands of people rejected the testimony of Moses. We have now an absolutely incontrovertible critic of the criticisms referred to in the Ordnance Survey map of the district, part of which is reproduced in this chapter, and it is upon the undeniable authority of that survey the statements of the chapter are made. Referring to the capability of the plain of Er Rahah to contain the nation of Israel: "A calculation made by Captain Palmer from the actual measurements taken on the spot, proves that the space extending from the base of the mountain to the watershed, or crest of the plain, is large enough to have accommodated the entire host of the Israelites, estimated at two million souls, with an allowance of about a square yard for each individual." (Vol. I., p. 117.) Would it be asking too much, to request the unbelieving amongst the critics of to-day to remember how the triumphs of their predecessors were turned to nothingness by the matter-of-fact arguments of measuring instruments?}

The Bible student of to-day is greatly favoured by having to his hand careful and exact maps of the whole district of Horeb, with its peaks, precipices, and wadies. He can study them and make himself familiar with them at his leisure. The map, with the little section, supplied on page 165, are copied from the Ordnance Survey. By noticing the section, it will be observed that the plain of Er Rahah slopes gradually upward from the base of Ra's Sufsafeh, and that, therefore, the two or three millions of Israel could stand and face the fiery mount and see all, without one rank obstructing the view of the rank behind it. By drawing a straight line touching the summits of Ra's Sufsafeh and Jebel Musa, as shown in the section, and extending it to the left over Er Rahah, it will be proved that from no spot on the plain would the summit of Jebel Musa be visible, which fact lends considerable interest to certain details of the Bible narrative. Can anyone question the design of God in the selection of this plain? Can anyone doubt, in the face of the witness of both mountains and surroundings, that Moses did but record that which actually took place?

Chapter 23: The Law of God Given

The eternal I AM had appeared to Moses in Horeb in the burning bush, and had taken up His dwelling-place, as it were, in the midst of a people in the furnace of affliction, to sustain and to deliver, and in that character He spoke to them out of the fire in the words of promise. Now that Israel was delivered from bonds, He appeared on the same mount once more, and in "His great fire" (Deut. 4:36)  that "burned unto the heart of heaven," He demanded from them obedience.

At the call of God, Moses left the camp and came to the top of the mountain. Jehovah commissioned him to remind the house of Israel, how that He had borne them on eagles' wings, and had brought them to Himself, and to inquire if the people would indeed hearken to His voice and keep His covenant, and by so doing be His peculiar possession in the midst of all the nations of the earth.

Moses thereupon returned to the camp, summoned the elders,. communicated to them the divine message and terms, and the elders laid them before the people. The nation, in solemn array, with one voice, responded, "All that Jehovah hath spoken we will do." (Ex. 19:8.) The people not only accepted the terms of the covenant offered them, which it certainly was their bounden duty to do, but they further declared their ability to obey God's commands, which, without doubt, in the light of their recent rebellions, was a most serious misjudgement of human power.

Moses brought back the people's answer to Jehovah, who bade them all be ready by the third day,* when He would come down from heaven on Sinai before their eyes. The third day was already memorable in Israel, but never before on earth had such a day dawned as that which was about to arise. Preparations were ordained for it, all persons in the camp, and the mountain itself, being hallowed.

{*"The third day — the sixth of the third month, Sivan, according to the Jewish calendar, and the same day as the Feast of Pentecost. Accordingly, at the Feast of Pentecost, — that portion of Scripture is read by the Jews which relates the delivering of the Decalogue." See "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Bishop Wordsworth, p. 267.}

So Moses came again to the camp, and it was hallowed, and bounds were set about the mountain. He then returned to God. He received one message at a time, delivered it, and went afresh to God for further directions. Every step was taken with the most deliberate and reverent precision.

The third day dawned. Storm and darkness arrayed the mount of God; lightnings and thunderings attended upon the divine majesty, and from the heavens the trumpet call, long and loud, summoned all the people together. To the darkness and the dread Moses led them, and they waited at the footstool of Jehovah's mountain-throne. He descended from heaven in fire to its summit, the smoke arose from it as that of a furnace, Sinai rocked and quivered, and the trumpet call in the heavens grew louder and louder. As this majestic call increased, a human voice from the valley responded on behalf of Israel. Then a voice from the heights above called Moses up to the top of the mount. And this was the divine communication. On no account should the people approach the mountain where Jehovah was. Moses might declare the bounds were secure and that such an effort would be impossible, but God caused him to descend forthwith, and to enjoin both priests and people not to break through, lest Jehovah should break forth upon them.

Every incident in this introduction to the giving of the law, not only indicated the infinite majesty of God, but impressed upon sinful man that his natural place is distance from the Holy One. The "mount burned with fire"; its summit was environed with "blackness, darkness, and tempest"; the command not even to touch its skirts was urgent in the extreme — "If so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart" (Heb. 12:18-21) — for the offender was not only to die, but so gross was the presumption reckoned, that he was not to be even handled by those who slew him. The thick cloud prevented any eye from penetrating the darkness, and no form was seen. (Deut. 4:12.)

The thunderings and lightnings symbolized heaven's judgment on the sinful earth (See Rev. 4:5), — the burning fire ascending to the heart of heaven symbolized the consuming nature of divine justice. No mediator interposed, no sacrifice stood in man's stead. Darkness and fire surrounded the Most High, and from His awful throne issued "the fiery law," the words of which Israel could not endure. (Heb. 12:20.) The words given, the measures taken, the physical surroundings existing, all fixed upon the people one reality — God was unapproachable!

A lax Christianity despises the unchanging government of the throne of God, but the terrors of Sinai are a revelation of His ever-existing and ever-changeless holiness, actual to this day and to eternity. And more, they are a revelation of the holiness which shall be manifested in the day of judgment yet to come, when the irresistible words, the trumpet of God, the lightnings and thunderings about His throne, the unquenchable fire, shall find response in rending rocks and a quaking earth, and in breaking hearts. God shall reveal Himself once more in His judgment to the children of men, and not to one nation only, but to the whole human race; not again demanding holiness, but executing judgment upon the unholy.

The words spoken out of the midst of the fire were ten in number. The plagues poured out upon Egypt had been ten. The divine dwelling-place in the sanctuary was a cube of ten. Symmetry of purpose and of plan is here apparent. A measure of divine completeness — a standard of divine perfectness, it may be termed — is presented in the revelation of God rendered from out of the midst of the fire.

The "ten words"* were first spoken, afterward they were written. The two tables of stone upon which they were inscribed are a twofold witness — a witness to God, and a witness to man. There are different judgments as to how many commandments were written upon either table, and no one can positively state what was the case; and evidently God has not told us, for a definite end. We are to take them in their entirety, and we are not to regard one as of less importance than another. All were written by the finger of God. The ten words group themselves into two sections; in the first are contained four commands, in the second six. Four is the equal-sided square, that which so often in Scripture typically relates to God and yet looks out to all the world; six is that which is devoted to man.

{*Ex. 34:28., R.V., margin. "God spake these words directly to the people. . ." Not only was it Elohim, according to the chapter before us, who spake these words to the people, and called Himself Jehovah, who had brought Israel out of Egypt (ver. 2), but according to Deut. 5:4, Jehovah spake these words to Israel face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament" — Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II., p. 106.}

The first three of the words pertaining to the first group, command man in three things. In rendering absolute subjection to the sole and exclusive sovereignty of God; in not lowering Him by any device to any conceptions derived from the creation He has made, and in not bowing down before such conceptions; and in the hallowing of His Name. The fourth recalls Jehovah's work of creation, and requires the observance of a holy sabbath to Him. The first three words relate to the being, the majesty, and the holiness of God; the fourth relates to His creatorship.

In each of the commandments of the first group, and in the first of those of the second, these words "the Lord thy God" occur, binding the ten commandments together, as it were, in fives. The first and the last commandment of the second group address the thoughts of the heart in the honouring of parents and in not coveting. The centre four protect the property, persons, character, and relationships of men.

Excepting the fifth commandment, all forbid. Their character is repressive. They deal with sinful man in his sinful surroundings. Those of the first group forbid apostacy, idolatry, and blasphemy, and the denial of the sabbath, as it relates to the Creator — all of which evils were prevalent on the earth when the law was given, and all of which prevail over the whole of the heathen world to-day. Those of the second group forbid general lawlessness, and the denial of human rights, evils in regard to one's fellows, which ever characterize men who fear not God. Each table refers to Israel's deliverance from Egypt, or settlement in Canaan, and thus the whole of the ten words are from God to a people on earth redeemed by Him, and separated to Him, from the nations of the world at large.

"From Adam to Moses" (Rom. 5:13, 14.) God had not formulated a law for man, and His coming down from heaven to address a nation at His feet, and to command their obedience, was absolutely a new thing on the earth. The age of law had commenced, and during its continuance God dwelt in the thick darkness, and spoke to man from afar off and though He made provision for man's approach to Him through sacrifice, still, in the ten words themselves no provision whatever was made for man's inability to keep them.

Now when "all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking," "they removed and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." (Ex. 20:18, 19.) They felt their need of a mediator, and Jehovah answered, "I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken." (Deut. 5:28.)

Chapter 24: The Covenant Made

Having uttered the "ten commandments" (Deut. 4:13) of His law, God "added no more." (Deut. 5:22.) "He wrote them" (Ex. 31:18) Himself, and the law abides forever in its integrity, unaltered and unalterable. It allows of no escape from its demands. Its terms are precise, "This do, and thou shalt live"; (Luke 10:28.) "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." (Gal. 3:10.)

Our present object, however, is not the demands of the law, but the covenant which, upon this basis, was made between Jehovah and Israel. A most important principle is contained in Israel's entry into this covenant, and one which changed, in certain respects, the relationship between God and His people. Israel had been delivered by Jehovah from Egypt by virtue of the fulfilment of the promise made to Abraham; the Almighty having bound Himself by His own word; but by the covenant Israel came under an obligation to obey God, and so long as the obedience was maintained, God, on His side, was committed to bring Israel into the land. As a matter of. fact, Israel did not obey; and the change in God's ways from sovereign favour — which has been before us in Israel's journey from the Red Sea — to His dealings with Israel under the covenant, gives rise to the Spirit-raised question, "Is the law then against the promises of God"? (Gal. 3:21.) Now Israel did not enter Canaan by virtue of obedience to God, nor did they take so much as one step thitherwards from Sinai as ail obedient people. "Is the law then against the promises of God"? No, "if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise." (ver. 18.) Israel's constant rebellion brought them under the hand of divine government, and only because God was faithful to His promise, did they eventually reach the possession.

"Wherefore then serveth the law?" (Gal. 3:19) once more suggests the Spirit of God. "It was added because of transgressions," is the answer, "till the Seed should come," and to prove to man his sinfulness (See Rom. 7:7 and 13.) and his weakness, (ver. 18) and his absolute need of a Saviour. It was and is a great educator to teach these moral and spiritual lessons, so hard for man to learn.

Israel had retired to their tents. They could not advance Godwards, and once more Jehovah called Moses up to the mount "where God was." (Ex. 20:21.) Moses became mediator between Jehovah and Israel, and, such being the case, God announced through the altar His way for man to approach Him. Although there was no way of approach under pure law, there could be through the office of mediator and the sacrifice. Through the altar Jehovah could say, in consistency with His own holiness, "I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee." (ver. 24.)

Moses in due course descended to the camp and communicated to Israel the judgments and instructions which had been committed to him. With one voice the people again answered, "All the words which Jehovah hath said will we do." (Ex. 24:3.) They agreed to enter the covenant, the terms of which were: obedience and prosperity; disobedience and ruin! Having their acceptance, Moses prepared for the confirmation of the covenant.

A very important feature in the ways of God with man now appears: Moses put "all the words of Jehovah" (Ex. 24:4) into writing. "It is written"* was henceforth to mark the authority of the divine communications. Tradition and legend had developed into the grossest abominations on the earth. These were no longer to rule, but a written authority was to speak in unchangeable words. From that date to the present hour, "It is written" has been the rule for faith. "The book" mentioned in which Moses wrote, was at this particular time the Book of Exodus.

{*It is now very well known that books and libraries were common in Egypt, in Babylonia, and elsewhere, centuries before the time of Moses. The ancient world was well supplied with literature, and it had its compilers and revisers, who studied ancient writings, and who did so with the most reliable precision. "The faithfulness of the copies" of these old writers, says Professor Sayce, "is astonishing." "Where a word or character had been lost in the original tablet, the copyist is careful to state there is a 'lacuna,' or a 'recent lacuna'; where the form of the original character was doubtful, each of its possible later representations is given."}

God Himself wrote "the law and the commandment" upon the stone tables, and Moses received these divinely-written words expressly from God, that he might teach them. (Ex. 24:12.) We may well imagine with what anxious care these sacred writings would be held by those to whose keeping they were entrusted. These written words are now before us in our Bibles, and their authority is unchangeable.

The next morning early, Moses built an altar under the burning mountain, and erected twelve pillars. The altar indicated Jehovah's presence, the pillars stood for Israel. Upon the altar was placed the confirming blood, the death-bond — sealing, as it were, the covenant on God's part; upon the twelve pillars, some of the same blood was cast, confirming the covenant on Israel's part.

The written words were again read to the people, who once more responded, "All that Jehovah hath said will we do, and be obedient," (ver. 7) and Moses accepted their solemn assent, sprinkling the bond-blood upon them, and saying, "Behold the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah hath made with you concerning all these words." (ver. 8.)

The world at large was in no way connected with the covenant. Israel alone had entered into covenant with God. The world outside of which Israel stood, served their gods and worshipped their idols, and went on just as if there were no Jehovah. None the less does it hold good, that wherever a man is brought under the law, by means of the knowledge of its precepts, he is placed under responsibility to God to obey it. But the covenant based upon the law, and the commands of the law, are quite distinct.

After the confirmation of the covenant, seventy of the elders of Israel accompanied Moses and Aaron and his two eldest sons to Horeb, and in the presence of Jehovah they partook of the covenant meal. They ate of the peace offering in solemn communion with Jehovah, who, as their covenant God, chose to be called The God of Israel. (Ex. 24:10.)

The seventy elders were representative of the people at large, and to them in some way God manifested Himself. He was lifted up above them in His majesty, and under His feet was, as it were, the brilliancy of heaven, clear, or transparent, sapphire. He was revealed in the immeasurable whiteness, the purity, of His abode, while the blue pavement they beheld formed His footstool. Far different was this vision of the Infinite from that beheld from the valley, where clouds and darkness formed a veil shrouding the profound glory of His light from man's eye. From the mount of God, Jehovah was seen to be dwelling in His own absolute calm and holiness.

The covenant was the most solemn agreement made by man with God since the fall. Man in his sinfulness, weakness, and self-ignorance, undertook to obey all the commands of Jehovah, and agreed to gain the reward, or to lose it, by his own subjection or non-subjection to God's commands. Israel's history is written upon the face of the earth; the nation neither entered the land of promise nor remained there through obedience; and on the terms of the covenant, which they broke within a few weeks after receiving, they never will enjoy the favours promised to Abraham. But God will carry out His promise. He will also establish an entirely new covenant with Israel on a new basis, as we are informed — "Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith Jehovah: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith Jehovah, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Jer. 31:31-33.) Referring to these words, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, "In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old." It served its great end in demonstrating how impossible it is for man to inherit divine blessings by the right of obedience. The old covenant remained for many centuries, but "now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." (Heb. 8:13.)

But the "ten" words remain unchanged. The law abides in its integrity, though there no longer exists a compact between God and man, by faithfulness to which man can attain to life and blessedness. The blood of the covenant in which the Christian rejoices, is the sacrificial blood of Christ, (Matt. 26:28) by which new covenant all favours are sealed forever to Christ's people by Christ's own blood. In that covenant there is no possibility of failure; by it, all that the infinite love of God to man has planned for man's blessedness, the inheritance which can never fade away, and the capacity to enjoy it, are eternally secured.

Chapter 25: The Covenant Broken

After the ratification of the covenant, the mediator was once more called up into God's presence to be alone with Him. The glory of Jehovah, hidden by the cloud, abode upon the mount for six days, spanning as it were, man's time — his six days — and on the seventh day it appeared as devouring fire in the eyes of the children of Israel, (Ex. 24:16, 17.) and on God's rest clay, Jehovah called Moses into the midst of the cloud.

Two great responsibilities were entrusted to the mediator. "The Lord said unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them" (ver. 12); and, "Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." (Ex. 25:8.)

After Moses had been upon the mount for forty days receiving the divine communications; and after the unalterable words, written with the finger of God upon the enduring stone, had been entrusted to him, he was prepared to return to the camp. Israel had to be taught of God, and both by the words of God, and by the nature of His sanctuary to be erected in their midst, they had to learn what He required from them as the people amongst whom He would dwell.

From the valley where Israel was encamped they had frequently watched Moses go up the shoulder of Sinai until he was lost to sight behind the upper heights, and they had seen him as he had come down its steep slopes returning to them with the message of Jehovah. But now he had been absent from them for forty days! This period is the familiar Bible term associated with probation. Forty days seemed a very long period to the people. They were weary of waiting. What had become of Moses? Would he ever return? Was he consumed in the fire? So they congregated about Aaron and said, "As for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." (Ex. 32:1.) The visible link between them and Jehovah was missing. They had been trained for generations in Egyptian conceptions; to them a representation of the deity, whether a king or an emblem, whether Moses or an image, was a religious necessity; and idolatry notwithstanding the words of Jehovah out of the fire, and their promise, "All that Jehovah hath said will we do, and be obedient" was ingrained in them. "Up," cried they, "make us gods"!*

{*The image was of gold and molten. We shall speak of the art of the goldsmith and the amount of the gold among the Israelites later on.}

Make us gods! What a suggestion to Aaron, who but six weeks previously, with the seventy elders, had witnessed the depth of heaven (Ex. 24:9, 10.) which formed Jehovah's footstool! Make us gods! A god made by man is not so great as the man who made it. An idol, an image, is despicable in the light of divine glory. Make us gods! Aaron had himself, with the rod of Jehovah, discomfited the gods of mighty Egypt, and had stood by Moses on the memorable day when he styled their calf-gods "the abomination of the Egyptians." (ch. 8:26.) How would Aaron treat the solicitation?

Whatever Aaron felt in his inward being, the popular impulse of the camp was for having a visible emblem of the deity, and thus for returning to idolatry; and Aaron fell under it. He was swept away with the current, and by, time-serving did what similar popular leaders do he led in turn the people who had led him; corrupted by the people, he corrupted them.

"Bring your gold earrings to me," he said apparently hoping the sacrifice would not meet with approval but "all the people" (Ex. 32:3) answered to the call. Gifts never seem to be wanting if idolatry is in view, and Aaron was left to pursue his course to its bitter end. He took the gold, made a molten image of a calf, and with a graving tool, chiselled it in true Egyptian style.* And thus was the hateful emblem of incarnate deity introduced into the camp of God, and the "abomination",** was handed over to the people, with these words, "These be thy gods," or "This is thy God, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

{*Ex. 32:4. At the foot of Mount Sinai there is a boulder, which tradition hands over to the sin of Aaron, and to this day "it is pointed to as the stone in which the golden calf was moulded by Aaron and the Israelites." "The Lands of the Bible" — Wilson, Vol. I., 233. See also map, p. 165, where the "Hill of the Golden Calf" is marked.

**"They returned back with their hearts into Egypt, says St. Stephen (Acts 7:39, 40). A sentence which explains the particular form which Aaron adopted, a calf." "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus Wordsworth, p. 313.}

While this apostasy was at its height, Jehovah had set apart Aaron for the high priesthood of Israel. Thus viewed, the sin is greatly intensified. It is worthy of notice that the man selected to typify Christ in Israel as priest, was the first transgressor against his office. The same principle holds good with the man selected to be Israel's first king. The king was destroyed, but Aaron was saved through the intercession of the mediator. (Deut. 9:20.)

Yet let us not suppose that either Aaron or Israel intended apostasy from Jehovah. It is no unworthy stretch of imagination to conceive their indignation at such a charge. The calf represented to Israel's mind Him who is invisible, and Aaron applied the representation to Jehovah in so many words. It was, as it is said of all images, "a help to devotion," "a symbol of the unseen," and in this sense, the God who had brought them out of Egypt! But none the less had they really returned in spirit to paganism. They had "in their hearts turned back again into Egypt." (Acts 7:39.) They had broken God's law and had lost everything under His covenant.

The peculiar blindness which follows upon disobedience to the plain letter of God's Word is forcibly illustrated by the proclamation of Aaron, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to Jehovah," while to sanctify their "sin — the golden calf!" (Deut. 9:21) — he built an altar to God's glory before it. The mixture of plain disobedience to God's Word and human sanctification of the disobedience is still popular. Call the sin holy, and the abomination will be held in religious awe. The image was dedicated to God, who had commanded them to make no image, and to bow down to no image. Burnt offerings and peace offerings were "sacrificed" upon the altar "unto the idol" (See Acts 7:41) in Jehovah's name. The fast kept in defiance of Jehovah's law was held ostensibly to His honour

Calling the festival by Jehovah's name did not touch its real nature. The foot will show itself, despite the garments of light which clothe the demon. It was kept in true pagan style; the camp rang with loud antiphonal songs, and was wild with voluptuous dancing. Israel thus practically grafted idolatry upon the worship of Jehovah, and in so doing brought down upon their camp the wrath of God.

Men still have their excuses for breaking God's laws, and for rejoicing in profanities, which are called "holy" feasts, but god's words respecting the mixture of paganism with His worship, and His utterance against Israel's iniquity, are not to be forgotten; "They have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto." (Ex. 32:8.) God did not in any way say, "They have worshipped Me when they bowed to the image; they have sacrificed to Me when they built their altar, and offered their burnt offerings and peace offerings there." No Israel had witnesses against them; the mount burning with fire, towering over them towards heaven, witnessed against them. God who is a consuming fire, recognized them no longer as His people. (See ver. 7.)

The commandment directly trampled upon was the second, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them" (Ex. 20:4, 5) — a commandment which to this day is peculiarly the aversion of multitudes of religious people. Idolatry is ingrained in humanity. Idolatry brings Satan into the church. In this nineteenth century we are living out the episode of the golden calf, and the feast day in the valley at the foot of Sinai. The sin in the camp and the sin in the church are alike. And as the sword and the plague of Jehovah fell upon the camp, so "judgment must begin at the house of God." (1 Peter 4:17.)

Had it not been for the presence of the mediator before Jehovah, him whose ascent to the glory of God and whose absence from their sight, was the occasion of Israel's sin, the nation must have been consumed (Ex. 32:9-11); and in like manner, were it not for the presence of the one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus before God in heaven for us, Christendom would be consumed for its idolatries.

While the anger of God was hot against Israel, they rejoiced in their calf of gold, danced and sang, and kept "holy festival" before their "holy" altar.

Bidden by Jehovah, Moses turned from His presence to descend the fiery mount, and Joshua with him. Moses' heart was filled with God's Spirit. In his hands were the immutable words graven by God on the stone tables, yet transgressed by man, even before being placed in human custody. From some parts of the top of Horeb the valley is unseen, but there are gaps* in the cliffs through which voices in the valley come up clearly to the heights. Probably, in their descent, on coming to one of these gaps, the sound in the camp struck upon their ears. Moses had been no communicator of evil tidings to his attendant. Joshua heard the people as they shouted, and exclaimed, "There is a noise of war in the camp." But Moses, aware of the dark reality, and too well acquainted with the chants of Egyptian worship, knew that the sound was neither the shout of the victor nor the cry of the vanquished, but was that of responsive religious singing. As they continued their descent they reached a spot where the camp was clearly visible.

{*See illustration on page 191 of the cleft in Ra's Sufsafeh.}

The sin in its intensity stretched itself out beneath their feet! There stood the altar before the idol, and thousands of Israelites, "broken loose, for Aaron had let them loose," (Ex. 32:25, R.V.) their outer garments cast off, dancing before it a revolting Egyptian dance.*

{*These dances of the Egyptians before their half-human, half animal deities were, as might be expected, of an indecent nature. Israel had broken away from the ordinary restraints of humanity, and in their religious frenzy were swayed by the spirit of demons.}

How could the holy law of God be handed over to the trust of idolaters? Moses lifted up the tables of the ten commandments, and dashed them out of his hands; they fell upon the rocks at the foot of Sinai, and were broken to pieces.

Filled with divine energy he hastened to the camp, and seized upon the calf of gold, and burned it in the furnace. His first act was to clear Jehovah's camp of the abominable emblem.

A certain time was necessary for the melting of the gold, and during this period Moses returned to the camp. Seeing that some of Israel were not ungirdled as the rest, he stood at the gate of the camp and cried, "Who is on Jehovah's side unto me?" All Levi responded to the call. A terrible duty befell these loyal men. "Consecrate yourselves" fill your hands — "to-day to the Lord," said Moses; "that He may bestow upon you a blessing this day." (Ex. 32:27-29.) And he gave them Jehovah's message, Gird on your swords. Go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour By its own obedient swords the camp was judged for its sin, and the revellers were slain.

But the congregation as such had shared in the guilt. Israel as a whole was defiled, and as a people had to suffer the shame; so Moses made the god as contemptible as it was possible, in the eyes of all the camp. He had burned it in the fire, and he ground the ashes to powder,* and put the powder upon the water of the rivulet that flows down from Sinai, and this he made the children of Israel drink. No remains of their god were to be reserved for future idolatry. So they drank up their deity! They consumed the object of their worship! The god to which they had bowed down, and in whose honour they had had their sacred feast came to its finality in corruption in the very bodies of its worshippers! No greater ridicule could be placed upon a deity, no greater contempt could be inflicted upon its devotees!

{*"A strong evidence of the skill of the Egyptians in working metals . . . is derived from their success in the management of different alloys . . . Commentators' heads have been much perplexed to explain how Moses burnt and reduced the gold to power — a secret which he could only have learned in Egypt . . . In the place of tartaric acid, which we employ, the Hebrew legislator used natron, which is common in the East. What follows, respecting his making the Israelites drink their powder, proves that he was perfectly acquainted with the whole effect of the operation." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., p. 233.}

What a striking instruction for the present day lies here!

Thus was the covenant of Sinai broken, even before the people took one step towards the promised land.

Chapter 26: The Mediator and the Glory of God

We now endeavour to trace the story of the mediator and his mediatorship in relation to the glory of God, although fully conscious that it is unique in the book of most wonderful stories — the Bible.

Israel's apostasy was at the first discovered to Moses by Jehovah Himself upon the fiery mount, in words which refused to acknowledge them as His people, and in wrath which threatened to consume them. This occurred at the very time Moses had received the complete instruction for the formation of the divine sanctuary in the midst of Israel, and immediately upon the tables of the covenant being placed in his hands. Thus, just as the grand end was reached for which Moses had been called "to the top of the mount," the purpose of God in relation to his presence there was frustrated.

At once the greatness of Moses rises before us — a greatness to be accounted for by the revelations he had received of the divine purpose and glory. He pleaded for Israel upon the basis of God's own promise to the fathers, and of His glory in the fulfilment of those promises. In response to his intercession, Israel was not immediately consumed. Then, as we have seen, Moses descended to the camp and entered it, not with the tables of the covenant, but empty handed. Pursuing the story, we find that although the golden calf and the chief of the idolaters were no more, still Moses knew too well that the people as a whole had corrupted themselves, and that consequently the camp was unfit for God's dwelling-place.

The first night he spent in the camp with the Israel he loved was a dark and terrible experience, contrasting with the calm and holiness of the time he had been alone with Jehovah on the mount. How did he fill up the long hours of that night of anguish? We can well suppose in humiliation and in prayer, and in thinking out God's thoughts respecting Israel, and Israel's sin.

On the morrow he assembled Israel: "Ye have sinned a great sin," he said "and now I will go up unto Jehovah; peradventure" it was but a peradventure "I shall make an atonement for your sin." (Ex. 32:30.)

Sin requires expiation, righteousness demands atonement. Moses had not received the instructions from Jehovah as to His sanctuary, with His laws precisely ordering the sacrifices for sin; nor the tables of His holy law; without acquiring a deep sense of God's absolute and infinite purity; and the needs-be on man's side if man would approach God for atonement. Moses would go up to the mount burning with fire, and into the divine Presence, and would stand before Jehovah. He would confess Israel's sin yes, he would take it upon himself if that could be; and he would propose to Jehovah an offering more excellent than that of beasts and birds, he would lay before Him as an offering, a human victim in satisfaction for human sin; he himself would stand in Israel's stead. Such was his peradventure.

"Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold," he mourned. "Yet now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin and, if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy Book which Thou hast written." (vers. 31, 32.)

Noble as was his purpose, far reaching into the requirements of divine holiness as it was, the offering of himself was inadequate to meet the perfection of the divine standard of righteousness; the Son of Man alone could make atonement for man's sin acceptable with God. Nevertheless, the mediatorial ways of Moses were based upon the fullest allegiance to the absolute righteousness of God, and, as we follow him, his purpose respecting atonement must be regarded as the moral basis upon which he bowed before Jehovah in intercession.

We think of Israel. Jehovah could only be at a distance from Israel. Their idolatry had wronged His majesty and glory in the gravest way. But in response to the mediator He could allow that His Angel should go before them and lead them to the land given by promise to their fathers; while as for His presence in the camp, "I will not go up in the midst of thee," He said; "for thou art a stiff-necked people: lest I consume thee in the way." (Ex. 33:3.)

Israel was indeed saved from destruction, but they were still separated from the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt and the house of bondage. No longer were they to be joyfully adorned as they had left Egypt in their freedom and bridal relationship to Jehovah.* Jehovah bade them put off their ornaments,** and thus, with the sign of humiliation and grief upon them, they watched the fulfilment of Jehovah's words, "that I may know what to do unto thee." We cannot doubt that these ornaments savoured of Egypt and its idolatries, and that when Israel had danced around the golden calf, the emblems of Egypt's gods worn upon their persons carried a dark significance with them. Let the reader examine the "ornaments" given upon this page, and note their symbolic character.***

{*"Should I have continued" (margin) "an husband unto them?" (Jer. 31:32.)

**It would appear that they did not henceforth in the wilderness assume the appearance of joy with which they had left Egypt. "The expression 'from Mount Horeb onwards'. . . in all probability expresses this idea, that from that time forward, i.e., after the occurrence of the event at Horeb, they laid aside the ornaments which they had hitherto worn, and assumed the outward appearance of perpetual penitence." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament" — Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II., p. 233.

***The ornaments given on this page afford an interesting study. In the breastplate, almost at the top of the group, appears the sacred bull calf, inlaid in "white" gold upon a rich blue ground — the very emblem around which Israel had danced. The calf is crowned with the globe of the sun, and the asps — symbols of divine majesty — rise up on either side of the creature, and his horns surmount the ornament. The elegant frontal at the foot, is a representation of the goddess Hathor (Venus); she has the cow's ears and horns (the cow was sacred to her) and her royal asps. "This goddess was considered to be the patroness of ornaments and dress, symbolically designated by a necklace." ("The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 120.) The necklace of fishes is composed of the oxyrhynchus, which was dedicated to her. "The eye of Horus," "one of the most important emblems," combined with the emblem of life, form the ornament at the bottom of the group. In the necklace of pale blue flies at the top, may be seen an "honorary emblem" of a military character. (Ibid., P- 348, footnote.) Egyptian jewelry, as everything else in Egyptian art, was of an idolatrous character. See Ex. 23:24, where all signs of idolatry were commanded to be banished by Israel.}

There was no escape from Jehovah's decision of not being in their midst, and these "evil tidings" were followed by a solemn act of Moses. He took the tent, in which Jehovah had been wont to commune with him, and, removing it "afar" from the camp, pitched it outside their tents. (Ex. 33:7.) Such of Israel as sought Jehovah must now go outside Israel to find Him. This act was unquestionably performed in accordance with the revelation Moses had received upon the mount in reference to the sanctuary of Jehovah, the realization of which, with the camp polluted by idolatry, was impossible.

Having performed this act, Moses returned to the camp. We then see him leave the people, over whom the anger of God still hung, to present himself in the wonted tent of meeting. It was a critical moment. Israel in themselves could not hope for the divine favour, but in Moses they could still hope, and with deep concern the whole congregation arose and stood at their tent doors and watched him. All eyes were fixed on him. Presently he passed into the tent, and, as he did so, lo! "the cloudy pillar descended" — it would appear that it had been removed from the camp — "and stood at the door of the tabernacle." (Ex. 33:9.) The mediator was acceptable to Jehovah! Immediately every Israelite arose and worshipped at his tent door.

Then from the cloud of His glory "Jehovah spake unto Moses face to face,* as a man speaketh unto his friend." **

{*"There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom Jehovah knew face to face" (Deut. 34:10).}

{** Ex. 33:11. "Not from the distance of heaven through any kind of medium whatever, but 'mouth to mouth' as it is called in Num. 12:8, as closely and directly as friends talk one to the other.". . . "My servant Moses. . . is faithful in all Mine house," said Jehovah. "With him I will speak mouth to mouth." (Num. 12:7, 8.) This passage is quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which so largely treats of Christ's present service in heaven for His people. . . . "As a man called by God to be His servant, Moses was not yet the perfect mediator; but although he was faithful in all his house, it was only as a servant (Heb. 3:5), as a herald of the saving revelations of God, preparing the way for the coming of the perfect Mediator." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament" — Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II., pp. 234-237.}

The place of meeting was significant. God came down to the tent that pertained to Moses, though it was pitched outside Israel's camp; Jehovah, in His supreme grace, placed Himself on man's platform as it were. Moses, we may be sure, was not slow to perceive this way of God.

Here the striking type of the "One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus," (1 Tim. 2:5) demands our consideration. The people were utterly estranged from God, and He in His holiness, because of their sin, could but remain at a distance from them; but atonement (which in Christ was made) was proffered, and the next thing we learn is the perfect freedom, the absolute intimacy, with which the mediator communicated with God in reference to the people. It is a very fine figure of Christ, Who, having made "propitiation for the sins of the people," (Heb. 2:17, R.V.) is in the presence of God for us.

After the gracious conversation, Moses "turned again into the camp" (Ex. 33:11) — to the camp in its separation from God.

He had been the means of saving Israel from immediate destruction, but Jehovah was still outside their camp. His anger was not appeased. Let us endeavour to follow Moses. Careful attention is necessary. The Scriptures are not written on the lines of mere history or narrative. Very frequently a gap as regards time occurs between two sentences, and we are left to supply the reason for it. How long a time was Moses in the camp? What was his attitude there? How was he engaged there? We should like to know, but Exodus gives us no help in the matter. In Moses' own words to Israel in later years upon these occurrences, we have hints which stimulate our inquiries, if they do not supply perfectly clear answers to them. When thus speaking to Israel, Moses was not merely recounting historic incidents: he was pressing upon them with intense earnestness their responsibility to Jehovah, and in so doing he enforced the moral side of the events now under our consideration."*

{*In the record of his words, in Deuteronomy, in order to add further force to their moral instruction, an historic incident is parenthetically introduced out of its historic order. See Deut. 10:6, 7, where Aaron's death is mentioned in moral connection with the sin of the golden calf. The high priest who had so sinned had died, and another high priest served in his stead.}

After speaking of the nation's sin, he adds: "And I fell down before Jehovah, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger." (Deut. 9:18.) "Thus I fell down before Jehovah forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because Jehovah had said He would destroy you. I prayed therefore unto Jehovah, and said, O Lord God, destroy not Thy people and Thine inheritance, which Thou hast redeemed. . . ." (vers. 25-29.)

It may be that Moses, on his return from speaking with Jehovah face to face, spent his visit to the camp as he here describes. He had taken, so far as a human being could do, Israel's sin upon himself; he had been, so far as a human being could be, in absolute intimacy with Jehovah; and he returned as mediator into the very circumstances and separation of the sin-polluted camp, to lie upon his face, to take up the case of the people, and to pray for them. Whether he was thus in the camp for forty days and forty nights — which would involve his being this period of time on three occasions before Jehovah — is a matter on which there is difference of opinion; but on the moral side of the subject, and on his manner of pleading for Israel, there can be no question, and this is, perhaps, the more important consideration for practical instruction.

The prayer of Moses was based upon the character of God — a most important matter in true mediatorship between God and man. He pleaded for God's people, because they were His; because He had redeemed them, and had brought them forth from bonds with His powerful hand; because of His promise to the fathers; because the heathen might otherwise declare that Jehovah was not true to His word; and because they were — despite their sin and their stubbornness — His inheritance; since He had made them so to be. Such were his arguments, and arguments used while fully acknowledging the depth of Israel's sin.

We resume the story as it proceeds from the twelfth verse of Ex. 33 Jehovah dealt with Moses according to his faith, according to his spiritual perception and apprehension of Himself. We see in Moses a standard of moral greatness which is absolutely sublime. He appeared before Jehovah verily as a man, yet a man so fashioned by the knowledge of God as to think, to speak, to act, in perfect accordance with the divine mind. In complete nearness to God, he interchanged words and thoughts with the Infinite. With exalted human dignity, with holy freedom, yet ever with deepest reverence, he approached Jehovah, and ever in all his communications bore Israel in his bosom. He was accepted by God to be in a peculiarly intimate relationship with Himself — "I know thee by name"; and his intercession was received — he found grace in God's sight.

Emboldened by Jehovah's words, Moses said, "Show me now Thy way, that I may know — Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people." (Ex. 33:13.)

Jehovah's way* on behalf of Israel, since He had first manifested Himself in the burning bush, had been a display of wonders. What would be His way now? What would be His way of once again leading Israel, and of doing no less than dwelling in their midst? What would be His way by which He should yet consider guilty, idolatrous Israel as His people? There were heights and depths in God which had not yet been revealed. There were secrets belonging to Him of which Moses was ignorant, but which he perceived existed. Moses pressed forward, that, by the light of the revelation of what God would do to Israel, he might know God.

{*"He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel" (Ps. 103:7).}

He used his mediatorial position to seek to reverse that designation of Israel — "thy (Moses') people" (Ex. 32:7) — by which Jehovah had described them, and to restore to them the name of Jehovah's people, with all its attendant benefits.

He was honoured as the mediator. His bold faith prevailed, and Jehovah said, "My presence [or face] shall go, and I will give thee rest." *

{*Ex. 33:14. "'My face will go, and I shall give thee rest' — that is to say, shall bring thee and all this people into the land where ye will find rest. The 'face' of Jehovah is Jehovah in His own personal presence." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament" Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II., p. 235.}

Upon receiving this longed-for assurance, Moses immediately proceeded "Wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? Is it not in that Thou goest with us? So shall we be separated [or distinguished, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth." (ver. 16.)

Jehovah answered: "I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken; for thou hast found grace ace in My sight," again repeating the personal assurance, "and I know thee by name." (ver.17.) And thus, by virtue of the personal worth and faith of the mediator, Jehovah Himself once more would go with Israel. The cloud of the divine presence should once more be over them.

The mediator succeeded, step by step. Israel's cause, from the human side, was lost from the first, and he succeeded by appealing to the divine nature. He never made light of Israel's sin; he never pleaded with human excuses for Israel; He never attempted to lower God to man. Indeed, in the presence of God, such a ground for hope is utterly impossible. On the contrary, stage by stage, came fresh unveilings of God to Moses, and brighter and still brighter — according to each succeeding communication — shone before him, who and what God is. In the power of these revelations, he threw himself on God, and on His resources. And by drawing upon the divine fullness, he won his cause for man, who had lost all.

This is God's way of blessing for man, and this is the truth God teaches us respecting mediatorship. Now, what do we see in those sections of Christendom where mediators are multiplied? We see a chain of intercessors reaching from earth to heaven, and stretching through heaven's courts, link by link, up to the throne of the divine majesty; and every one of these intercessors is regarded as seeking to influence God from a human, or a creature, standpoint. Human tears, human love, human pleas, are supposed to allay the heat of divine wrath; and a soft human hand is supposed to arrest the divine arm. God is regarded as being influenced against Himself to show mercy! The character and glory of God are absolutely shut out of view in this system of mediatorship. It contravenes the glory of the One Mediator between God and men; it conceals the glory of God.

Having obtained his desires for his people, Moses yearned for a yet more full apprehension of God for himself — "I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory," he said, — a step bolder than "Show me Thy way." He perceived that there was in God, glory beyond that which had been expressed, by the burning bush, the rod of power, the cloud; the manna, the rock, the victory; or even by the fire on Sinai; or, again, by the glory into which he had been admitted already for forty days and forty nights; and Moses would fain behold it. He rose to the highest heights in his Godward desires, and though "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6) was not then to be seen as it now is, still so far as the display of divine glory was compatible with the divine purpose, and with the mighty fact that the Son of God had not yet become incarnate, the request of Moses was granted.*

{*"The law was given by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Of the Son it is said: "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Speaking of Himself in the eternity to come, the Son says: "I will. . . . that they may behold My glory." (John 1:17, 14; 17:24.)}

But this glory could not be witnessed from the level of the camp, only from the mount of God. God comes down to man in grace, but to behold His glory He brings man up to Himself. Neither was the sight to be witnessed where Israel could take knowledge of it. No one whatever was permitted to be upon the mount with Moses, and even Israel's flocks and herds were not allowed to feed before it. The name and the glory of Jehovah about to be discovered to Moses were revealed to him privately and personally, and he communicated the revelation to others through his writings. Since the world was, no man had ever before asked Jehovah that he might see His glory, and we stand amazed at the faith and the spiritual perception of this mighty servant of God.

We may justly consider that the greatness of the spiritual desires of Moses is to be attributed to the revelations he had received when alone with Jehovah. For in the plan of the sanctuary, divine holiness was as evidently manifested as it was in the fire upon Sinai, yet with this great difference the revelation in the fire and the ten commandments offered no manner of access to God; the revelation in the sanctuary made known the way of access.* The law condemned sin, but made no provision for the sinner. The law did not so much as suggest man's abiding in God's presence. But in the sanctuary, God would dwell amongst men, and the great principles of forgiveness, and cleansing, and drawing near to God, were all manifested. Moses never let slip from his mind the great and glorious purpose of the sanctuary when pleading for Israel. All this was stored up in the heart of Moses when he descended from Sinai to the Israelites in their idolatry, and when he broke the tables of the law, and when he called for the avenging sword. Yet not one word of it did he utter to Israel. Then he was determined to cleanse the camp for God's glory. Still, none the less was the reality in his heart all the while, influencing him in his boldness before Jehovah. Faith is ever built upon a revelation from God. It acts unaccountably to men, but before God, its ways are ordered according to His Word. Glorious as was the revelation of the sanctuary, it could not be realized unless Jehovah would indeed dwell in the midst of Israel; and until assured of this Moses could not cease his intercession.

{*It is evident that the actual localities, where the ten commandments were uttered out of the midst of the fire, and whence the instructions were given regarding the sanctuary, were different. It was in the calm of the divine presence, above the fire, as it were, that the marvels of the sanctuary were unfolded.}

Moses was to see Jehovah's glory. What would that discover to him? Something concerning God Himself, which even Moses had not heard or seen! He was bidden to take up to the crown of Sinai two tables of stone, upon which Jehovah would write the ten commandments, (Ex. 34:1) and which were to take the place of those he had broken. Since he could not see Jehovah's face for no man could see His face and live Jehovah promised to hide him in a rock, and to cover him with His hand while He passed before him, and that then Moses should see His "back parts." (Ex. 33:22, 23.) It may be said that the Old Testament revelations of God are of "His back parts," and that in the New Testament alone is God's face seen. The ways, the steps of God, as it were, His path in government, His dealings with man, are there manifested; but in the New Testament, in the Son, "the brightness of glory, and the express image of His person," (Heb. 1:3) His face is seen.

On high, upon the mount, alone with God, Moses waited; and "Jehovah descended in the cloud and stood with him there." He proclaimed His Name, "Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin"; and then He spoke of His judgment: He "will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." (Ex. 34:5, 6, 7.)

A very different revelation from that of the fiery law. Mercy and grace were mingled with judgment in His government, but the order was — first, mercy, goodness, and pardon; next, judgment. The glory of God was vested in His mercy and His judgment; not in judgment only.

As these words fell into his eager heart Moses made haste, bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped; he seized upon the words — merciful — gracious forgiving, and again he pleaded for Israel, with whom, as mediator, he was one; "pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thine inheritance." (ver. 9.) All that his intercession had already accomplished did not suffice for his desires; nothing less than the dwelling of Jehovah in Israel's midst could satisfy him.

The answer of Jehovah was: "Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done [literally, created] in all the earth nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of Jehovah: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee." (ver. 10.)

Such was the covenant upon which Jehovah would take Israel to be His inheritance. He would act towards them in an entirely different manner from every other nation. Israel's history bears out these words; while that which has yet to be fulfilled, will complete the "terrible thing" which Jehovah will do with that people. And in the end, by the intercession of Christ, all Israel's iniquity and sin shall be pardoned, and the nation shall be Jehovah's inheritance upon this earth.

For forty days and nights Moses was once more upon the mount with God, "with Jehovah." (Ex. 34:28) we know comparatively little of all that he learned there after Jehovah had spoken the words we have just read. If we long to know how he spent his time of sorrowing in the camp, how much more do we long to know how he spent his rejoicing period with Jehovah on the mount. Still, we have an indication of what transpired. During that period, as he saw the glory of Jehovah, unknown to himself, a mighty change came over him. His face became bright with the reflection of the divine glory. "The skin of his face shone while he talked with Him." (ver. 29.)

The mediator had prevailed. Israel was not only preserved from destruction; Jehovah was not only once more their guide; He would dwell in their midst. He had indeed shown to Moses His way, and thus Moses knew Him. His way was to send Moses back to Israel with His divine glory shining from his countenance.

We can imagine the holy fervour and gladness of the mediator as he prepared to be the bearer of the mercy and goodness of God to Israel. He descended from God, and with joyful steps approached the camp with the tables containing the ten commandments in his hands — but both Aaron and the people fled from him! They had braved his countenance and read the anger that flashed out of him when he approached the camp on the former descent from Jehovah. Then the wrath of a man, filled with holy fear of God, darkened his face; Aaron sought to alleviate it, the swords of the Levites responded to it, and thousands of Israel fell under it, but now terror seized them, Now the light of divine glory beamed from his countenance and Moses was an enigma. Neither Aaron nor Israel could read the brightness of the glory of his countenance; what it meant they knew not, and "they were afraid to come nigh him." (ver. 30.) They fled from the light of divine goodness and mercy, from the reflection of the divine glory of mingled grace and judgment.

Then Moses called them. He was still a man, though filled with divine understanding. He was the mediator who had striven for them, and who had been willing — could such an atonement for them have been availing — to be blotted out of the book of life on their account; he was the living witness to the divine glory in its relation to man. At the sound of his voice Aaron and the rulers returned to him, and "Moses talked with them"; and then the children of Israel came near to him.

But Israel's heart was dull. Moses had to put a veil over his face, to hide its outshining from them when he talked with them. When he spoke with God he removed the veil. (Ex. 34:34.)

In this Moses was a type of Christ, ascended and glorified in the presence of God, and who speaks to us from heaven. (Heb. 12:25.)

Were it not that the apostle Paul, inspired by God, teaches us, we should not perceive the profound signification of the shining countenance and the veil. Mere nature trembles at the sight of beings mightier than, and of another order from, those of earth, as the keepers trembled at the lightning-like countenance of the angel at the empty grave of Christ. (Matt. 28:3, 4.) But there was vastly more than merely the supernatural, which Moses' shining face introduced amongst men. He brought to them the token of the glory of God in his own person. The "ministry of death," (See 2 Cor. 3:7-18, and 4:4-6.) the "ministry of condemnation," "engraven in stones," was in his hands — a ministry introduced with glory — but "the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance" — the glory of divine goodness. The signification of the shining countenance was veiled from their hearts, hence they failed to perceive what the meaning of heavenly light upon a human countenance meant. "Their minds were blinded." He "put a veil over his face [so] that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished." And to this day Israel does not see Christ in the writings of Moses, but reads his words with a veil over them! They boast in Moses who told them of God; they reject the Christ of God of whom Moses testified.

But if glory attended the "ministry of condemnation," how "much more doth the ministry of righteousness exceed in glory!" If the law opened with glory, the gospel abounds with glory. There God is fully revealed. All that He is, is made known. Under the law He expressed His righteousness in the condemnation of sinful man; in the gospel He has expressed His righteousness in justifying the ungodly. In the law He commanded man to do that which is right, and condemned the wrongdoer; in the gospel He brings salvation to the sinful and the helpless. No veil hides from the eye of faith the face of the Son, by whom grace and truth came; instead of fear, there is holy liberty to draw near to Him.

The glory of God in its full magnificence is manifested in the face of Jesus Christ, the once crucified, but now exalted Son of Man upon the divine throne. The signification of that glory is evident to faith; divine righteousness and mercy for man are there. The great purpose of God is realized. God can bring man in to share the glory that beams from His Son. "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" is made manifest.

Chapter 27: Figurative Representations of Heavenly Things.

Numbers — Symbolism

The great end of the mediator being attained, no hindrance existed to the carrying out of the divine purpose, and the setting up of the sanctuary where Jehovah should dwell. The face of Moses, shining with the reflection of the glory of God, was a most suggestive introduction to the formation and erection of the sanctuary in the midst of Israel. There was another significant fact which must not be passed over. In direct connection with the preparation of the sanctuary, Jehovah again commanded the observance of His sabbath. (See Ex. 35:1-3.) Man should not only behold His glory reflected as it was from the face of the mediator, he should also partake of the rest of God. In the sanctuary His glory was to be richly displayed, and, as at rest with Him, His people were to come forward to share in its erection.

In the sanctuary, a fitting abode for God in His holiness and also a way of access to Himself by man, were provided. Such being the case, it may appear, at first sight, strange that certain of the symbols made use of in that sanctuary were commonly used in the temples of Egypt. And when it is remembered that the demon gods worshipped by the world generally had their sanctuaries in the midst of the nations which gave them reverence, the use of such symbols is the more remarkable. Indeed, it is asserted that Moses borrowed a considerable amount of symbolism from the religion of Egypt, and utilized the borrowed ideas for Jehovah's glory. But Moses tells us that Jehovah Himself gave him the patterns of the heavenly things according to which the sanctuary was constructed. (See Ex. 25:40; 26:30.) We certainly have more reverence for the Architect of the Universe than to suppose that He borrowed any ideas from man, especially from man in his religious service of demons!

There is evidence which proves that in ancient times a system of symbolism was recognized, not only in Egypt, but also amongst other contemporary peoples, and therefore that a language of ideas of a widespread character existed on the earth.

It will also not be out of place to mention, that the clay tablets of Tell Amarna, discovered only in 1887, prove beyond doubt that the ancient nations, prior to the time of Moses, possessed not only a system of intercommunication, but a language for that intercommunication. Matters of war and of court life are freely spoken of in these tablets, and the gods of the respective countries are duly and politely mentioned.*

{*The tablets "date about 1480 B.C., and are written to the King of Egypt and to certain of his officials by Amorites, Phoenicians, Philistines, and others." "The language is Aramaic, resembling Assyrian." "It is the same language, in an archaic condition, which is now spoken by the peasantry of Palestine." There are also "royal letters" passing between the King of Mitani (Armenia) and the King of Egypt. "The Tell Amarna Tablets" — Translated by Conder, Pref., p. i., pp. 1, 3, 164, etc., 225.}

Before entering upon the eternal verities symbolized in the divine sanctuary in Israel, we purpose calling attention to this common symbolism, and also suggesting the source whence it was obtained. In the present chapter our remarks will be confined to the significance of numbers, and especially to the numbers three, four, seven, and twelve, when used as symbols.

Let us first glance at that part of the earth which is most famed for human energy shortly after the flood. There, from the most ancient days, seven was a number sacred in man's thoughts in relation to the heavenly bodies, and consequently as a time measure. The excavations in Babylonia have brought to light the fact that in the era of the Tower of Babel a week of seven days was acknowledged, and "a seventh day sabbath kept."* In Babylonian mythology, at a date prior to the time of Moses, "three" and "twelve" were of sacred import. The twelve months were the accepted measure of the year, and these time measures were attributed to the work of a deity, as we read in their own words: "For each of the twelve months three stars he fixed, from the day when the year issues — forth unto the close. . . . The moon-god. . . he appointed. . . also. . . (saying) 'Every month, without break, observe thy circle.'** These ancient people had further their "three leading deities," who "formed members of a circle of twelve gods."*** "The company of the gods of Egypt" was three times three.**** The sacred import of numbers was most impressive to these ancients; and more, to them time and deities were in a way intimately associated. Still further, as it was with the Egyptians, so was it with these people of Babylonia, "the various deities of their religion ". . . were "all" capable of being "resolved into one supreme god."*****

{*"The Chaldean Account of Genesis" — George Smith (revised by Sayce), p. 56. "The astronomical tablets have shown that the seven day week was of Accadian origin, each day of it being dedicated to the sun, moon, and five planets. The word sabbath itself, under the form sabattu, was known to the Assyrians, and explained by them as 'a day of rest for the heart.'. . . The Accadian words by which the idea of sabbath is denoted, literally mean 'a day on which work is unlawful,' and are interpreted on the bilingual tablets as signifying 'a day of peace,' or 'completion of labours "' Ibid., p. 89. "Among the most valuable treasures of the British Museum are important sacred calendars. . . which prove very clearly the knowledge: and observance of the sabbath. . . . In these calendars we read. . . 'The seventh day is a resting day. . . a holy day. . . . The king must not drive in his chariot. His clothes he changes not. . . . "' "The Bible and the Monuments" — Boscawen, p. 67. Perhaps the reader will compare this note with our remarks on the mention of the sabbath with the gift of the manna. See page 150.

**The "The Chaldean Account of Genesis," pp. 64, 65.

***Ibid. p. 47.

****"The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, xcvii.

*****"The Chaldean Account of Genesis," p. 80.}

It is remarkable how the numbers of the deities corresponded with those of the seasons and months of the year: "three deities" three seasons;* "twelve gods" twelve months; also how the "three" and the "twelve" leading deities were capable of being resolved into "one supreme god," as the three seasons and twelve months resolve themselves into the circle of the one year. No one would suggest that this is mere accident! There was a cause for the coincidence. The legends from which we have quoted were preserved in royal libraries as treasured truths of the origin of things.

{*Summer was the season of Bel, autumn of Anu, and winter of Hea; the season of spring not being recognized by the Babylonians. Ibid., p. 69. The Egyptians likewise had their three seasons.}

The gods of Chaldea were arranged in triads, and the origin of this arrangement was so ancient as to be probably Accadian,* and thus close upon the era of the flood.

{*"The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 650, note. Babylon anti Assyria had their triads of gods, and the gods had their numerical symbols. As an example, the god "Sin, as the head of the lower triad, had as his numerical symbol 30, and the sign representing this number has. . . an ordinary phonetic value corresponding with the name of the god." And they also had special months dedicated to them — or at least to some of them. See Rawlinson's "Herodotus," App., pp. 612, 631, 639. It is supposed that the appropriation by the Pythagoreans of the names of several of these gods to particular numbers had relation to that which the founder of their sect saw in the Egyptian temples, or to some symbols there exhibited. "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., p. 490.}

The legends record the work of an originator of the moon-god, referring to one who appointed that god, and who was consequently anterior to him. This appointer also fixed the courses of the stars, and the coming and the going of the seasons. The numbers so connected with his work were regarded as sacred.

These legends evidence an acquaintance of the early human race with the movements of the heavenly bodies, and the attachment of a religious significance to these movements; they also show that this knowledge of the time measures — twelve months, three seasons existed prior to the dedication of months and seasons to the gods.

The number four finds an interesting illustration in the figure-columns discovered at Khorsabad. "From the sacred vase which they press reverently to their heart. . . flow four streams, which recall the four rivers of Paradise in Genesis; two of these liquid jets fall directly upon their feet, while the two others, rising over their shoulders, fall down their back to their feet in slightly undulating bands." The streams as represented appear to have had their origin in ancient Chaldean art,* hence the idea is as old as the earth after the flood.

{*"Manual of Oriental Antiquities" — Babelon, p. 87, and p. 32.}

The same number was invested in Egypt with its own peculiar honour Through it the earth and the heavens were connected. The heavens were at one time supposed to be supported by four pillars, which rose from the earth, and these four pillars were identified with "the four gods who stand by the pillar-sceptres of heaven." These gods "were supposed to preside over the four quarters of the world, and subsequently were acknowledged to be the gods of the four cardinal points." These four gods presided over the four different parts of the deceased's intestines, as has been illustrated on page 81, and they ushered him into the abode of the blessed. It is said, "In the pyramid of Unas, O gods of the west, O gods of the east, O gods of the south, O gods of the north, ye four (orders of gods) who embrace the four holy ends of the universe,. . . say ye. . ."* The obelisks set to the four quarters, and pointing up to the heavens, were, like the pyramids, religious in character**. The elements had also their representative gods, or, at least, earth, air, fire, and water, had each its deity.

{*"The Book of the Dead," The Papyrus of Ani-Budge, ci., cvi.}

{**In the latter day Egypt will erect an obelisk or pillar to Jehovah. "There shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord" (Isa. 19:19).}

The sacred buildings of the early nations of the world had recorded upon them in their structure the symbolism of sacred numbers. That which has been said already, indicates that a considerable part of this symbolism owes its origin to the sun, the moon, and the stars, and their movements, as viewed from the earth. Some further remarks upon the observatory temples of those remote ages must be added.

The character of the Tower of Babel was astrological,* and its top was probably covered with portrayals of the sun, moon, and planets, and the signs of the zodiac.** The accompanying illustration is given to bring before the eye one of the successors of ancient Babel. It is a bird's-eye view of the palace of Sargon at Khorsabad. The chief interest attached to this city, for our present object, lies in the fact that "Assyrian palaces were everywhere the same, and issued from an uniform type created in Chaldea, which was never remarkably modified."*** The seven-staged tower in the city is enlarged in the small illustration given on page 198. Each stage had its own colour, the topmost one, upon which the shrine stood, being gilded, the next being silver-plated. The seven stages were devoted to the sun, the moon, and the five planets of the astronomical system of the Chaldeans.

{*"We have a rough example of an ancient observatory in the Tower of Babel." This had its successors; there was "an observatory temple at Babylon, built by Semiramis and dedicated to Belus." "Old and New Astronomy," p. 23. "Birs Nimrud. . . standing in the midst of a vast plain, with nothing to break the view, makes the height of the ruins more impressive. . . . The Birs Nimrud is most probably the Tower of Babel of the Book of Genesis." "Assyrian Discoveries" — George Smith, pp. 58, 59. "In the valley of the Euphrates there were. . . observatories in most of the large cities, and professional astronomers took observations of the heavens, copies of which were sent to the king. as each movement or appearance in the heavens was supposed to portend some good or evil to the kingdom." The writer is speaking of the time of Sennacherib. Ibid., p. 408.

**"And his top with the heavens (Gen. 11:4), i.e., with the pictures and the stars, just as we find them in the ancient temples of Denderah and Esneh in Egypt." "The Witness of the Stars" — Bullinger, p. 10.

***"Manual of Oriental Antiquities" — Babelon, p. 72.}

{Illustration: Samas, the sun-god of Babylonia, with his emblem, the sun, in front of him, is here represented.}

We have already remarked how Egyptian temples erected to the sun-god were sometimes in honour of the rising sun, and sometimes the setting sun; the pyramids would seem to be reared in honour of the noonday sun.

The pyramids,* had sacred names, such as, "the holiest of places," "the divinest of places," "the perfect," "the beautiful."**The Great Pyramid erected by Cheops or Khufu, amongst others, appears to have formed a symbolic throne for the sun at noonday during the equinox. It faces, as does the temple pertaining to it, due east. The adjoining pyramids and their temples do the same — one intention governs them all. Hence when day and night are of equal duration, and the sun's course through the heavens brings him at noon over the apex of the pyramid, the sun at that hour casts no shadow upon the earth.*** Then the polished sides of the building, burnished and brilliant in the glory of noon, and tapering upwards from the four quarters of the earth to the one exalted apex in the sky, indicated, as it were, all the earth rendering the supreme throne to Ra the noonday sun.

{*The religious character of the pyramids is abundantly manifest. Each had its special priest, the execution of whose duties was provided for by special endowments, and who ministered to the glory of the dead buried within the sacred erection. "The temple of the third pyramid. . . gives the best notion of the enclosures around the cell or chamber in which the offerings to the deceased king were presented." "Ten Years' Digging in Egypt" — W. M. Flinders Petrie, p. 17.

**"The Egypt of the Past," p. 109.

***We have indicated on page 72 how the temples were orientated to the rising or the setting sun; the pyramids were so orientated as to give honour to it at midday. See also page 73. This principle of sun worship was not confined to Egypt. "Idols of the sun-god are also not infrequently mentioned in the Assyrian lists. . . and he appears to have been worshipped in that country under three different forms at least, as 'the rising sun,' 'the meridian sun,' and 'the setting sun.'" See Rawlinson's "Herodotus," Vol. I., p. 634. The sun is a symbol of supreme majesty, and in its majesty the sun symbolizes its Creator. Christ in His glory is thus described: "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength" (Rev. 1:16); and again, when His glory in heavenly excellency, and above all earth's conception, is described, the words are "a light. . . above the brightness of the sun" (Acts 26:13).}

In the pyramid, we have a great object lesson respecting the numbers which have been selected for our consideration three, four, seven, and twelve. If we imagine ourselves looking down upon the pyramid from the sun, we have presented in its top stone, or apex, the indivisible number one, i.e., absolute unity. One crowned the building. Whatever was their special meaning, the numbers three, four, seven, or twelve, all arose from the earth to that which was nearest heaven — all united in one. Each triangular side proclaimed three; the square base spoke four; side and base together = seven; while the four sides declared twelve; and twelve, seven, four, and three eventually resolved themselves into, or did homage, as it were, to one. Now if, with the Scriptures before us, we regard one as symbolic of the one God, we can with propriety see how the other numbers, being symbolically expressions of Him in His works or ways, do homage to the indivisible number.

The immense care shown by the Egyptians in the setting out of the position of their religious buildings, is exemplified in the Great Pyramid. Its square base occupies some thirteen English acres, and "the laying out of the base. . . is a triumph of skill:" After the most careful measurements, "the errors both in length and in, angles" detected on the whole of the huge square "could be covered by placing one's thumb on them!"* Hence each of its four sides was practically, if not absolutely, exact with its fellows. These four sides were directed to the "four orders of gods," who embraced "the four holy ends of the universe."

{*"Ten Years' Digging in Egypt" — W. 112. Flinders Petrie, p. 19.}

The pyramids were religious in character, and the dead buried in them were expected to be re-animated after a given number of years. Calculations relative to this event were made by the priests upon the basis of the movements of the heavenly bodies. The study of the heavens was in the hands of the priests, who used their knowledge of the movements of the heavenly bodies to impose upon the minds of the ignorant. An astronomer, as we recognize him in our era, was absolutely unknown in the lands of which we are speaking, astronomy and astrology being for practical ends one and the same in the ancient world.* "The astronomer does not need the evidence of Proclus or of Diodorus Siculus to tell him that at one time the Great Pyramid was an observatory; for some of its instrumental arrangements remain in existence, every detail of the structure being obviously astronomical in character. . . . The arrangements for observing the heavenly bodies when passing across the meridian were effective in the extreme, and no astronomer can doubt their significance." Within the building was "the finest pre-telescopic transit instrument ever made. . . . It was about one hundred and fifty-six feet long (four times the length of the great Rosse telescope), twenty-eight feet high, and in its widest part six feet ten inches wide."**

{*"When we remember that the astronomy of the time of Cheops was essentially astrology, and astrology a most important part of religion, we begin to see how the erection of the mighty mass of masonry for astronomical purposes may be explained — or, rather, we see how, being certainly astronomical, it must be explained. Inasmuch as it is an astronomical building, erected in a time when astronomy was astrology, it was erected for astrological., purposes." "The Great Pyramid" — Proctor, p. 162.

**"Old and New Astronomy," pp. 23, 24, 25.}

Enough has been said to show that the ancient inhabitants of the earth, even from the time of the flood, connected certain numbers with religious ideas, and it is evident that the value of the numbers existed in their minds before they connected religious ideas with them. They did not impart a religious value to numbers, but shaped their religious symbolizing according to an ascertained inherent value of numbers in nature. The numbers selected in this chapter were valued by the ancients to no small extent, because astronomy demonstrated their importance. The fountain-head of their nature-worship was the heavens. Nature, generally, witnessed to them the meaning of numbers. Proportion in all its spheres relates to numbers. Nature contains within herself the value of numbers. Such value is one of her laws. When the actual numbers of the essentials of a thing are known, true knowledge of it has been reached. Numbers are but the measurements of proportion, according to which all nature is formed. The smallest constituent which chemistry has brought to knowledge, and the vast distances of the planets from each other and from the sun, proclaim the same law.*

{*John Kepler (born 1571) early attained to the settled conviction that for the actual disposition of the solar system some abstract intelligible reason must exist, and this, after much meditation, he believed himself to have found in an imaginary relation between the "five regular solids" and the number and distances of the planets. "Ency. Brit.," Vol. XIV. "Kepler's laws" are thus stated by Dr. Brewer in his Dictionary: — "(1) That the planets describe ellipses, and that the centre of the sun is in one of the foci. (2) That every planet so moves that the line drawn from it to the sun describes equal areas in equal times. (3) That the squares of the times of the planetary revolutions are as the cubes of their mean distances from the sun." It is interesting to note the piety of this wonderful man. His concluding words in his "Harmonics" are as follow: — "I give Thee thanks, O Creator and Lord, because Thou hast given me delight with Thy creation and I have rejoiced in the works of Thy hands. . . .. I have manifested the glory of Thy works to the men who will read these demonstrations of mine, so far as the narrowness of my mind could conceive its infinity. My mind was eager to attain accurate scientific truth [literally, to philosophize most accurately.] If anything unworthy of Thy counsels has been brought forward by me, a worm born and nourished in the slough of sin, which Thou desirest men to know, do Thou also inspire me that I may correct [my speech] if I have been drawn into rashness by the admirable beauty of Thy works, or if I have loved my own glory in the face of men. Whilst I step forward in the work destined to Thy glory, do Thou in Thy gentleness and mercy pardon it. Lastly, do Thou propitiously deign to cause that these demonstrations may result in Thy glory." See "De Motibus Planetarium Harmonics," Lib. V., cap. ix., p. 243.}

Let us select from the natural world a few obvious instances of the value of numbers. In that lovely display of light — the rainbow — the numbers three, four, and seven are apparent: three, in the primary; four, in the complementary colours seven, in their whole array.

Man himself is a witness to the importance of that most significant number in religious teaching — three; he himself being one person of three parts — spirit, soul, and body. Through his spirit he is related to the unseen and to spirits; through his soul to the animal world; through his body to that which is material. Man's eye is ever declaring to its possessor the truth of three in one; for if one colour, such as red, be earnestly looked upon, the eye calls up for itself the other two primary colours, yellow and blue, in the form of green, so that the organ of sight may rest in the unity produced by the diversity of the three; and in like manner the ear rests in a completed tone, in the fulfilment of the numbers of sound.

The winds of heaven, the quarters of the earth, the elements, speak of four. Time is measured by the movements of the heavenly bodies, and thus, sun, moon, and stars speak of the value of numbers. Seven and twelve are very important time measures.

We do not suppose there can be any difficulty in answering the question, whence the ancient world derived its sacred regard for the value of numbers. Nature herself supplied it. They closely observed nature, discovered some of her laws, deified them in certain instances and attached them to deities in others. Thus, for example, the sun and the moon were rendered into gods, and the generative principle in nature was deified under the character of a god or was attached to gods.

We now come to the question respecting the use of symbolical numbers in the sanctuary, and in the teachings connected with them. It will be convenient to leave the consideration of the actual numbers utilized for sacred purposes in the sanctuary until we dwell upon the significance of that erection, and for the present we merely call attention to the general use to which. certain numbers are put all through the Scriptures.

The third day is notable in Scripture. Instances of it having been set aside for divine manifestation have already been placed before the reader. It may be termed the day of a new beginning. On the third day of creation the dry land appeared. (Gen. 1:9-13.) Israel crossed the waters of judgment and death of the Red Sea, and found salvation on its further shore, on the third day after leaving Egypt. The third is the resurrection day to this the "dry land" and the "further shore" of the Red Sea point. The third day is that on which the Lord, who had passed through the deep waters and the darkness of death, arose to die no more, and thus forever the third day is sanctified to His glory in His beginning anew His ways in resurrection. Christ referred frequently to the third day when foretelling His death and resurrection,* and recalled Old Testament types of His resurrection when so doing. The number "three" is often identified with the Holy Trinity.

{*Examples — John 2:18-22; Mark 8:31; Matt. 12:39, 40.}

In Scripture, though a number be not given in words, the structure of a passage may be based upon a definite number. *

{*The three ways in which the gifts given by God to the Church are dispensed by "the same Spirit," "the same Lord," "the same God" (1 Cor. 12:4, 5, 6) is a case in point, and the two "sevens" in relation to the humiliation and the corresponding glorifying of the Son mentioned in Phil. 2 is another instance; also the songs, seven in number, given in the Book of Revelation. The sevens of Phil. 2 are as follow: —

1. "Made himself of no reputation,
2. And took upon Him the form of a servant,
3. And was made in the likeness of men,
4. And being found in fashion as a man,
5. He humbled Himself,
6. And became obedient unto death,
7. Even the death of the cross.

1. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him,
2. And given Him a name, which is above every name
3. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
4. Of things in heaven,
5. And things in earth,
6. And things under the earth;
7. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

The number seven abounds in the Book of Revelation in a structural form, where it is not actually mentioned.}

" Four" is a number having a definite intention attached to it. In the river with four heads that went out of Eden to water the garden, (Gen. 2:10) the whole earth obtained its refreshment from the primary fountain. The evangelists who record the life of Him who was sent to be the Saviour of the world, are four in number, and their testimony is for the whole earth. The vision of the last things which speaks of the heavenly Jerusalem is thus put on record: "The city lieth four-square, and the length is as large as the breadth. . . . The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal" (Rev. 21:16.) On the four sides of this city were three gates (twelve in all), and its foundations were twelve in number. The vision portrays the future, when perfect peace shall rule the earth, and idolatry shall have ceased; when the "good things" symbolized in the time measures mentioned in the Scriptures shall have "come,"* and the four quarters of the earth shall be obedient to the rule of God's throne. Neither sun nor moon, the objects of early idolatry and generations of world-wide worship, shall give light to the city of God, but it will descend from heaven to earth, and God and the Lamb shall be its light and glory. To it all nations shall come — from it light, that shall illumine all, shall proceed. It "had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the Light thereof." (Rev. 21:10, 11, 23.)

{*Holy days, new moons, sabbath days, "are a shadow of things to come." See Col. 2:16, 17.}

Seven is a number frequently present in Scripture, and its prophetic use is familiar. It is the great prophetic time measure of Scripture.

God at the first gave the sun and moon "for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." (Gen. 1:14, 15.) He marked out the course of time by this means,* and man, from the earliest, was acquainted with the periods into which time — as we know it on this earth — is divided. The fourth commandment given to Israel after their separation from Egypt, recalled a truth previously known, and sanctified again the seventh day in the name of Jehovah. In Israel, the measures of time were ordained by God, and days, and weeks, and months, and years were regulated by sacred feasts.

{*God gave these heavenly orbs, not only to rule — He gave them to man for "signs." This fact became perverted, and man looked up to the heavens to find in the stars signs as to his life and fate. "It is evident from the opening of the inscription on the first tablet of the great Chaldean work on astrology and astronomy that the functions of the stars were, according to the Babylonians, to act not only as regulators of the seasons and the year, but to be also used as signs." "The Chaldean Account of Genesis" — George Smith (revised by Sayce), pp. 68, 69. The earliest idolatry after the flood (and Scripture mentions no idolatry before it) was based upon astrology, and when the fate of a king was in question no expense was spared so that the astrologers might truly determine his fate according to the star under which he was born. How it was that in the early life of the world men attained such astronomical knowledge is not known, but, according to the Creation tablets, that knowledge was handed down from times prior to the deluge.}

Seven is a number used by Christ in His teaching, both on earth and from heaven. He foretold the history of the kingdom of heaven on earth under seven parables. (Matt. 13) He declared the story of Christendom in seven addresses to the seven churches, which were regarded as seven light-givers to the world. (Rev. 2; 3.) And whether in Genesis or in Revelation, in words addressed to the patriarchs, to Israel, or the Church, God frequently reveals His purposes respecting man on earth under classifications of seven. The sevens of the prophet Daniel, and the sevens of the Book of Revelation, will occur at once to the mind.

Further, as in the colours of the rainbow, these sevens of divine revelation are capable of being divided into three and four. The seven parables referred to are divided into two groups of four and of three parables respectively. Four parables were given without the house, and three within the house. The four were addressed to the multitude, the three to the disciples. The teaching of the four was public in its character, that of the three was secret in its character. The division of the sevens in the Book of Revelation into groups of three and four or of four and three is most noticeable. In such details we see the same hand working, whether in the book of nature or the Book of Revelation.

Twelve is a number in Old and New Testaments to which a divine intention in relation to the future kingdom of God will be found attached. "In the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matt. 19:28.) So in like manner, "the holy Jerusalem" of the vision "had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel"; and in the" twelve foundations" of the city," the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Rev. 21:10, 12-14.)

As it is apparent that not only Moses, but the prophets of both the Old and New Testaments, and Christ Himself, used numbers symbolically, we now inquire why they are so used by the spokesmen of God. The answer is, that the same mind which ordered and proportioned nature, ordered and proportioned the verities of revelation. The Designer of the universe, is the Disposer of the ages; "He that built all things" whether creation or ages — "is God."*

{*Heb. 3:4. The words refer to a spiritual house. Compare verses 2, 5, 6, and Num. 12:7.}

By no means did God borrow ideas from man, nor did Moses, His servant, borrow them from the Egyptians, but God used His own laws which rule the natural world to convey truths to man respecting His spiritual kingdom. And more, God used immutable creation principles of His own formation in conveying to man ideas respecting His eternal glory, and thus it is that in the sanctuary we have "patterns of things in the heavens." (Heb. 9:23.)

Chapter 28: Figurative Representations of Heavenly Things

Miscellaneous

The mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms were all called into use by Jehovah in His sanctuary, in order to afford symbolic teaching of things spiritual. The Egyptians also had a kindred symbolism. When the world was comparatively young a symbolic language, now almost dead, was in use; but as time proceeded this "language" was devoted to error.

We may compare the corruption of the meaning of symbolic teaching to that of the corruption of the meaning of plain words. In the earliest days the human race was of one language, and the symbolism then employed was generally recognized; for example, none could at the first misunderstand what the flaming sword which turned every way, guarding the tree of life, signified. But, after man had gone out "from the presence of the Lord" (Gen. 4:16) — by which we may understand not only his forsaking God in spirit, but also his leaving the visible appearance of glory in the sword and the cherubim — and after man had established his own glory in the world, (see ver. 17) legends of the tree of life, the sword, and the cherubim came to be very different from the reality that was before the eyes of the faithful who called "upon the name of the Lord." (ver. 26.) This the legends of Babylonia respecting the beginnings of the human race indicate. The early stories of Genesis are to be found in the ancient libraries of Babylonia, but distorted from their original relation to God, and handed over to demons.

In the dark ages of Christendom the masses had no just conception of Christian truth. They possessed legends in which the truth was so corrupted that it is no exaggeration to say that the idea of Christianity was as faulty in those times as was the conception of man's beginning in the minds of the people of Babylonia and of Egypt in their dark ages. In each era, the truth of God was lost to men, and merely atoms of it sparkled in the fables which had taken its place.

The cherubim is a symbol in the religions of the ancients, which cannot be accounted for by their system of advancing to sacredness, the particular creatures accepted as the living emblem of their deity. In Babylonia the idea of the cherubim is frequently found both in form and language.* The sphinxes in their varied forms, and other winged figures of Egypt, all seem to relate in some way to the cherubim. Now this symbol holds a most important place in the sanctuary of Jehovah, and was represented in the holy of holies, and upon the inner veils and the inner curtains of the sanctuary, yet it is a remarkable fact that where they were represented the eye of Israel at large never gazed. The cherubim were secluded in that part of the sacred building which was especially designed as the dwelling-place of Jehovah, the two golden representations of them arising out of the ends of the mercy-seat forming, as it were, the sides of the divine throne. In the sanctuary, therefore, they present symbolically, in the divine relationship between God and man, that which is primarily God-ward. It is noticeable that the form of the cherubim is not mentioned in the instructions given to Israel; but from the manner in which the people were bidden to work it into the curtains, it would seem that the form, generally speaking, was one of common acceptance. (Ex. 36:8.)

{*Ezekiel describes the four-winged cherubim waiting upon Jehovah, as seen in his vision, as follows: each "had the face of a man, and the face of a lion. . . and the face of an ox. . . and the face of an eagle." (Ezek. 1:10.)}

Whence was it that the ancient people of Babylonia and the ancient Egyptians, as well as Israel, obtained their notions of winged and composite creatures? Neither flying lions nor winged bulls exist in the natural world of human knowledge. That composite creature, the sphinx, represented upon page 6, is a grand conception of wisdom combined with strength: but it is not merely a typical Egyptian idea, for it will figure in the temple of Jehovah, which is yet to be built in Jerusalem. (See Ezek. 41:18-19.) Also the Assyrian idea of combined wisdom, swiftness, and strength, given in its human-headed winged lion, is majestic.

The cherubim which are mentioned from time to time in the Scriptures of God, are first spoken of in connection with man in his earliest age. They were messengers from heaven. They were placed by the Almighty in Eden, as guardians of the paradise which man by his sin had forfeited.* God "placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Gen. 3:24.) We are not told when the cherubim were removed from Eden; hence we may assume that they remained before the entrance to the lost paradise up to the time of the flood, as a solemn witness to man of his departure from God, and of the favour he had forfeited. Certainly the cherubim were on the earth long before the existence of the symbolism of either Babylonian or Egyptian mythology, and before the legends of Babylonia had connected them with the tree of life.**

{*The Babylonian tablet thus speaks of the cherubim in paradise: "Scorpion men who guard its gate; burning with terribleness is their reverence." "The Bible and the Monuments" — Boscawen, p. 90.}

{**"In the ninth tablet of the Gilgamesh Legends this garden of the gods is described as 'one with trees bearing crystal fruits and emerald leaves, and whose branches hang down with beautiful shade.' Moreover, it is guarded by Kerubim in the shape of scorpion men and women." "The Bible and the Monuments" Boscawen, p. 60.}

The Scriptures have their own story to tell, from the earliest ages of man's history on earth down to the end, respecting these beings. They are heavenly ministers of the divine will connected with the human race. They are often represented in close attendance on the display of divine majesty, and they not infrequently dispense divine judgment.

A different branch of symbolic ideas, and one that opens up a most interesting inquiry, is found in the surroundings of priesthood. There is a remarkable resemblance in the garments and instruments of the priests of both Egypt and Israel. Very much of that which existed in Egypt was ordained for Israel. Who first wore the ephod and the white linen robe, who first handled the censer, who first wore the crown of the high priest, it is impossible to say. The Creation tablets, already referred to, prove that the high priest was an accepted dignitary from the earliest times. And in Egypt, ephod, linen robes, censers, and crown were in priestly use in remote antiquity; while the fact of the existence of a priestly class and service, antedates the present knowledge of the Egyptian religion.

The antiquity of priesthood on this earth is evident, and in it an important Bible truth is bound up. As has been already pointed out, the presence of broad principles in God's ways of dealing with man are to be seen running through the centuries like golden threads. Amongst these is priesthood. The relation of man to God lies incontestably within its meaning. True, there is a broad resemblance between the ephod, and breastplate, the garments, and the censer of Egypt and of Israel, and it is also true that there are contrasts in the priesthoods of both peoples; but the fact of the idea of priesthood being common to the heathen and to the worshippers of the living God is full of suggestion as to its origin. Who first suggested to the human mind the conception of priesthood, with its varied offices of sacrifice, mediation, intercession, and praise? The origin is unquestionably divine, though in paganism the office became devoted to demon worship.

One striking contrast between the Egyptian and the Babylonian priesthood with the Israelitish may be noticed. The king of Egypt was great high priest, such was no king of Israel. The king-priest of Egypt was the supreme head of the nation, and in his person were united spiritual and temporal dominion. The king ministering with the censer is shown in the picture below.* It is part of a familiar representation at Abydos of Seti I., together with his son, in the performance of worship to their deified predecessors. The king wears his royal crown and royal apron — he wears also priestly garments. The inevitable serpent garnishes his crown, and the same symbol of majesty adorns his apron. The censer in his hand has the emblem of Ra upon it, in the figure of a hawk.

{*"When engaged as high priest [his robes] much resembled those worn by the principal functionaries of the sacerdotal order, with the exception of the apron and head-dress, which were of peculiar form and belonged exclusively to his rank as king." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., p. 326. "In Chaldea, as,: , in Egypt, the king or chief of the state was the priest par excellence, and the title of 'vice regent,' so frequent in the early period, shows that the chief was regarded as representing the divinity among his own people." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 675.}

The Bible teaching as to the office of priest and king is definite. From the time of the giving of the law up to the time of the ascension of Christ to heaven, no worshipper of the living God is mentioned in the Scriptures as being both priest and king. Kings of Israel were prophets, but by no possibility priests. Indeed, the purpose of God in this matter is unmistakable, for the priest was of one tribe, the king of another. Once a king attempted to usurp the priests' place, "and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense"; the priests rebuked him, and while they were chiding him for his daring, "the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense altar. . . . And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death." (2 Chron. 26:16-21.) Of Christ Himself it is written, "If He were on earth He should not be a priest"; and further, "Our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood." (Heb. 8:4;7. 14.) Hence, from Sinai up to the ascension of Christ to heaven, no man, faithful to God, bore the double honour of priest and king.

But while this fact is clear, it is equally clear that before Israel were assembled at Sinai, there were recognized priests amongst them, for "the priests" are mentioned from time to time. (Ex. 19:22, 24.) Also, just prior to the giving of the law, Jehovah said to the whole of Israel, "If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine. And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (vers. 5, 6, 7.) This Israel clever was, but instead, a family out of one of its tribes was specially selected for the priests' office to the exclusion of all the rest of the nation. And so marked was the position of Levi as that of an inner circle within the greater circle of Israel, that Levi was not numbered among the twelve tribes. (Deut. 10:8,9; Num. 1:47-53.)

Israel's idolatry, even while Moses was on Sinai, was the cause of their not becoming a "kingdom of priests"; and the faithfulness of the tribe of Levi on the occasion of Israel's sin was rewarded by that tribe, to the exclusion of all others, being selected to the service.

We have, then, here a divine purpose revealed, but not fulfilled for the time. This is not at all uncommon in the Scriptures. Not infrequently we read of a divine purpose as made known to man, and then of man's sin in connection with the purpose, hindering its realization for the time. This purpose respecting a royal priesthood was older than the nation of Israel. But though its fulfilment was for a time held in abeyance, and though it was never realized in Israel, still it was prophesied of in Israel! The prophets of God, speaking of "the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow them," (1 Peter 1:11, R.V.) foretold the coming of the true Priest-King. He was to be different in order from the Levitical priesthood. His was to be "the order of Melchizedek," (Ps. 110:4) an order more noble than that of Levi, being that of a royal kind: "He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne." (Zech. 6:13.)

There is a royal Priest in heaven now seated upon the throne of God, waiting for the day of His glory on earth, according to the divine word to Him, "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool," (See Ps. 110:1, and Heb. 10:13.) and by Him all the people of God on earth are now "a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people," (1 Peter 2:9) — a description remarkably like that given by God when Israel was at the foot of Sinai. This royal priesthood is also made "an holy priesthood." (ver. 5.) In the praise song (Rev. 1:5, 6.) to "the Prince of the kings of the earth" the words occur, He "hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father," and thus in part the purpose of God as to His having a royal priesthood on earth is fulfilled. In the days to come the whole will be realized.

Melchizedek lived in Abraham's day, and Abraham, in common with the patriarchs, ministered as a priest; and this holds good also of Abel, who ranks amongst the earliest of the true worshippers of God. Abraham was not, however, a king — far from it; he possessed no earthly territory save a burying-place. But Abraham acknowledged the dignity of the royal priest, Melchizedek, by rendering him tithes. (See Heb. 7:4.) Thus, in the early days after the flood, God had upon this earth to the glory of His Name, in the midst of idolatry, the royal priest to Himself, the Most High. The designation — The Most High God (Gen. 14:20) — indicates the glory of God in the presence of false gods. The Scriptures say very little respecting man after the flood up to the call of Abraham, but the fact of a royal priest to the Most High being mentioned, the seat of whose kingdom was Salem (Jerusalem), is sufficient to show the divine purpose in the double crown which the pagan kings of Egypt joined in one upon their own heads. The high priest of Israel wore a diadem — a crown; it was an indication that in due season the ruler of men should be a High Priest.

Nor does the ancient world stand alone in its desires respecting this headship of temporal and spiritual power; the desire to unite the priestly and the royal crown in one person is still vigorous on the earth. Pagans wore the double crown and united majesty and priesthood in their king. In Christian lands the, Pope formerly combined both temporal and spiritual power in his person; he was practically king of kings as well as chief priest. At the present time he is most anxious to regain it. According to Rome's theory, all kingdoms of the earth and all souls of men are his, to be dealt with as he may please. The Emperor of Russia, on different lines, is head and ruler of Church and world-kingdom also in his vast dominions, and, so far as his claims to spiritual power are concerned, the persecutions of Jews and Christians, who are not of the King's faith, are a terrible witness in our own days to what this rule signifies. The grasping after the double crown is pagan and anti-Christian in principle.

This craving for the double crown, almost as world-wide as world-aged, this desire to rule both earth's kingdoms and men's souls, is no accident. Neither is it the result of a condition of society that has evolved itself into shape without a guiding hand. It is the result of a darker influence, even of that of the master mind of the enemy, who would give to another the double crown of the spiritual and temporal kingdom which belongs by right to Christ alone.

As it is evident that in the early days after the flood great meaning was attached to the royal and the priestly crown, to the office of high priest, and indeed to priesthood generally, it is no matter of surprise to find priestly garments and utensils in use. There is a befitting symbolism in such garments and instruments. As to when God first gave to man an understanding of these things Scripture is silent, but as the worship of the living God was rendered first by the faithful, it may certainly be that that part of the human race which became pagan, borrowed its ideas of worship from the faithful. As time went on, the worship of false gods was made a religious system, and the holy things which had come down to man's knowledge from a pure source were transferred to demon worship.

There were other figurative representations used among the Egyptians, corresponding to those which Jehovah appointed to teach of heavenly things in the sanctuary, and perhaps the most remarkable is the coffer within which lay the emblem "concealed under a veil"* that none might see.

{*The Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette Bey, p. 6.}

The symbolism of the tabernacle set up in the midst of Israel was not a puzzle or an enigma to the people. God spoke to them in a manner to be comprehended, and though, no doubt, as now in the written word, there were "some things hard to be understood," (2 Peter 3:16) the symbols conveyed to the mind the things symbolized, so far as the "shadow of good things to come" (Heb. 10:1) was intended to be read; for we are never to forget that God gave to Israel "not the very image of the things," but a "shadow" only. None the less was the symbolism of the sanctuary and its furniture divinely ordered in every detail, and in our day, with the New Testament expounding the Old, we may by looking into this marvellous picture-book learn very much concerning the "good things" shadowed forth in Israel which have already "come," as well as those which are "to come."

Chapter 29: Gifts, Arts, and Trades for the Sanctuary

We now proceed to consider the sanctuary itself, in which Jehovah would deign to dwell amongst men. While it contained symbolisms, some at least of which were to be found in the temples of the gods of the heathen, in its teaching and idea it was absolutely different from any other erection upon the earth. We have to remember that the sanctuary was the tabernacle of the wilderness, a tent amongst Israel's tents, adapted to the circumstances of the people on their way to the land of promise. When Israel was settled as a nation in Canaan, the sanctuary took the form of a temple. Israel had only just left Egypt; a wealth of Egypt's treasures was in their camp, and the arts and trades of Egypt were to their hand. God used for His purpose what was common to the camp, and communicated lessons of the deepest spiritual import by means of the materials and skill which were common to the people.

The arts and trades utilized by Jehovah in the construction of His sanctuary had attained to the highest proficiency in Egypt a long time prior to Israel's exodus. Having been sojourners in the land, Israel had materials, tools, and knowledge for the work, but more than artistic and mechanical power were required to translate into shape and form the ideas patterned to Moses on the mount — special understanding was necessary; hence the chief artists were gifted with peculiar wisdom, by which they were enabled to grasp the thoughts of God, and to express them with artistic perfection.* As it was the purpose of God to utilize the wealth and skill of the people, they were commissioned to "bring" gifts, and from the material of their gifts to "make" that which Jehovah required. All could give, if but few could make. The principle governing the acceptability of these offerings was very simple — namely, a willing heart;** that which governed the acceptability of their work was a wise heart.*** But though willing and wise, both gifts and work were to be according to the requirements of Jehovah. If He would dwell among men, He must be His own Architect and Designer, consequently every part of the structure had to be formed precisely in accordance with His patterns.****

{*See Ex. 31:1-11. The chief workers were "Bezaleel-Betsal el — a name which means ill the shadow of God," and "Aholiab — a name which means tabernacle of the Father." "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 311. Bezaleel was not only divinely instructed to work himself, but God "had put into his heart to teach" (Ex. 35:34), that is to say, had qualified him to instruct others in the work. See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 247.

** Ex. 25:2. "Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart, ye shall take my offering."

*** Ex. 36:2. "Every wise-hearted man, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it."

****Ex. 25:40. All was accomplished, even to the smallest details, by direct divine order," even down to the pegs of the dwelling and court (27:19), and 'their cords,' i.e., the cords required to fasten the tent and the hangings round the court to the pegs that were driven into the ground." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzseh, p. 245. The words "which the Lord commanded Moses so did he," are repeated eighteen times in the last two chapters of Exodus.}

It is not enough to desire to glorify God by splendid gifts meant to adorn His house or to beautify His service. The Israelites might have done that, and yet only have succeeded in, creating another splendid idolatry. All was done "as the Lord commanded Moses," therefore all outspoke the mind of Jehovah, and not the mere taste and art of man. Jehovah's thoughts shone out in every item of the structure, and light beamed forth from all, displaying Christ and God's salvation.

The mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms were all laid under tribute for the work, and various arts and trades were called into service, while one great principle governed the whole erection — a principle of very great charm, each part was rendered acceptable to God by the touch of the human hand!

Gems, gold, silver, and copper took the first place of importance in the design;* wood and fine linen were given a place almost as worthy; skins formed the outer covering of the tent. The gold and silver were weighed, and wood and metal were proportioned according to standard measures, (Ex. 30:13) a fact which is a witness to the common knowledge of the people of these important matters.** This knowledge was divinely regulated, as were all weights, measures,*** and money,**** instituted in Israel. The structure of the sanctuary and its furniture, and the mixture for the incense, were all planned according to definite proportion.

{*"Gold, silver, and copper were easily fused, and a single process sufficed to make them available for every purpose, the principal art required for fabricating implements of copper depending on the proper proportions and qualities of alloy introduced." Nature offers these three metals to man, and they "are found in their perfect state in the clefts of rocks, in the sides of mountains, or the channels of mines." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., pp. 248, 249.

**"That coined money was known to the Jews at the time of the institution of the law is inferred by the Mishnic doctors from the precept — Deut. 14:25." "A Handbook to the Bible" — Conder, pp. 63-66.

*** The unit of weight and measure was taken from natural objects — a full grain of barley, a hen's egg, the length of the fore-grin. "The unit of weight used by the Jews was identical with that of the Phoenicians, which was also that of the Assyrians; forming part of a system entirely different from that of the Egyptians." The weights from Nineveh now in the British Museum, are in the form of lions and ducks. "The lion weight which is in the best preservation is marked '30 manehs,"' and is now, notwithstanding its great age, "within three per cent. of the full weight!" See "A Handbook to the Bible" — Conder, p. 64.

****See illustration of Egyptian scales, page 216. The weights being in the form of a cow's head indicate that at one time the cow stood as a standard of value. "The fact of the sheep being impressed upon it" (a coin) "seems to agree with the custom of many people of taking a lamb as the standard of value. In Ethiopia and Darfoor they reckon a piece of cloth as equal to a full grown sheep. . . and I have myself heard an Ethiopian talk of his sheep as his money." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., p. 245.}

The art of the goldsmith took the pre-eminence in the building. In our illustration of the gold worker on page 184, the exceeding simplicity of his manner of working will be observed. But his hand-wrought jewellery is so delicate and lovely, as to outdo all that Western nations can now produce by their complex machinery.

The same thing is to be observed in the arts of weaving and embroidery. The relics of old linen, with woven patterns,* or with gold threads delicately wrought into it, are marvellous in the fineness of the material, the beauty of the various colours employed, and the lacing in of the fine gold threads.** Nothing of the kind is now made. The machines used were of the simplest kind. The hand *** accomplished these perfect works of art. Handwork bears the stamp of individuality upon it. The mind and taste of the worker are there. There was thus much scope for the wise-hearted men and women who formed the beautiful linen vails and curtains of the sanctuary, as they worked the blue, purple, and scarlet colours, and the forms of the cherubim wrought into them with fine gold thread.**** The Eastern eye seems to love variety in design, and variety in unity is that which is found in nature; Western peoples are content with repetitions of the self-same form at least, such is the case now that machinery rules art.

{*"A small pattern, about half an inch broad, formed the edging of one of the finest of these cloths, and was composed of a stripe of blue alternating with three lines of fawn colour, forming a simple and elegant border. These stripes were produced in the loom by coloured threads previously dyed in the yarn." The blue dye in some cases was indigo. Sometimes the linen would be "covered with small figures and hieroglyphics, so finely drawn that here and there the lines are with difficulty followed by the eye, and there is no appearance of the ink having run in any part of the cloth." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., pp. 163, 165.

**The Egyptians were masters in their manner of weaving or embroidering figures in gold and colours into their linen garments. We read of a corslet, amongst others, "of linen ornamented with numerous figures of animals worked in gold." "Pliny mentions cloth woven with gold threads, sometimes entirely of those materials, without any woollen or linen ground." "Many of the Egyptian stuffs presented various patterns worked in colours by the loon, independent of those produced by the dyeing or printing process, and so richly composed that they vied with cloths embroidered with the needle." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., p. 166.

***"The Egyptian yarn seems all to have been spun with the hand, and the spindle is seen in all the pictures representing the manufacture of cloth. Spinning was principally the occupation of women, but men also used the spindle, and were engaged in the loom." Ibid., p. 169.

****"Cherubim work of the artistic weaver shalt thou make it" (lit., work or labour of the thinker). This "is applied to artistic weaving, in which either figures or gold threads (ch. 28:6, 8, 15) are worked into the cloth, and which is distinguished from variegated weaving (ver. 36)." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 176.}

The garments of the priests, especially those of glory and beauty worn by the high priest, called also for great taste and skill, and left scope for variety.

The carpenter or joiner had his share of honour in the sacred structure. We are unable to follow him in a considerable part of his work, as the details of the boards of the building, and the smaller parts of the ark, table, and altar are not given. The wood he used was acacia or shittim — the timber tree of the wilderness, and such of the people as had an eye for its value, felled it and stored its most useful limbs, and "every man with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service brought it." (Ex. 35:24.) If the embroiderer might individualize in ornamental details, the joiner was called primarily to exactitude. Size and measurement were the great requirements from his hand, and he worked by the cubit of the sanctuary, by the divinely-given standard of length. It may be that much of his work was executed in inlaid and variegated wood, and in such work, within the compass of the exact measurement, there could be the diversity so loved by the artist, and so delightfully in accordance with the handiwork of God. The fineness and quality of ancient Egyptian woodwork is apparent in our museums; boxes, chairs, and stools, made thousands of years ago, are worthy of the highest admiration,* while some of the carving of those bygone days is of noble workmanship. A considerable part of the joiner's work was overlaid with gold,** a style of art very common in Egypt.

{*The sycamore and the acacia furnished them (the wood-carvers) with a material of a delicate grain and soft texture. "The great armchairs, folding seats, footstools, and beds of carved wood. . . are generally distinguished by an elegance and grace." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 404, 413.}

{**"Not only were small objects, appertaining to the service of the gods, and connected with religion, or articles of luxury and show in the temples, tombs, or private houses, so decorated" — overlaid with thick gold leaf — "the sculptures on the lofty walls of an adytum, the ornaments of a colossus, the doorways of the temples, and parts of numerous large monuments were likewise covered with gilding." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., p. 244.}

The dyer should be also mentioned. The colours of the sanctuary were full of significance. The dyer figures frequently on the monuments. His skill in Egypt was very great, and the Egyptians were masters in colour

Israel had a variety of dyed stores with them, and "every man with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers' skins, brought them"; indeed, all that was utilized in the sanctuary, except the silver redemption money, was given by Israel to Jehovah, and was given with a willing heart. Some have calculated the value of Israel's gifts, and the amount for metal alone has been put down at about two hundred and forty thousand pounds of our money [in AD1896]. This would represent but a comparatively small sum at the hand of each individual of the people. There were six hundred thousand men, and we may take it as many women, not to count the children, so that if one million two hundred thousand persons each gave one-fifth of a pound the supposed total would be exceeded. Excepting the ransom money, the gifts were made in kind, and a bracelet or an ornament from each family would more than supply the requisite amount of metal; and as Israel did not wear their ornaments after the sin of the golden calf, it is reasonable to suppose that the idolatrous symbols of Egyptian worship were melted down and were transformed into the symbols of Jehovah's glory. "And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold," all of which had been brought out of Egypt, unless some had been taken as spoil from the Amalekites. The brazen mirrors of the women, which were given to Jehovah's service, were also of Egyptian origin, and, in most if not all instances, bore upon them emblems or representations of the gods.

The dedication to the divine service of precious thins was not a new institution,* for the treasuries of the temples of Egypt were filled with such objects. Israel dedicated its gifts to Jehovah, and what was given was accepted by Him as wave-offerings — the offerer lifting up the gift and waving it heavenwards, as before God,** "as an acknowledgement that He to whom it was offered is Lord and Giver of all."

{*"Rich vestments, necklaces, bracelets, jewellery of various kinds, and other ornaments, vases of gold, silver, and porcelain, bags of gold. . . were presented to the gods. . . and rare woods." Such treasures constituted "the riches of the treasury of the temples," and the donor's names and his offerings were catalogued upon the temple walls. "Kings frequently offered each (gift) singly to the gods, decorating their statues with then, and placing them (the gifts) upon their altars." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., pp. 420, 421. "The gold which Rameses III. gave to the principal cities and temples of Egypt is detailed in the great Harris papyrus. The gold is classed as gold ore, gold of the balance, best gold; gold of the second quality, and white gold, apparently electrum, distinguished from silver, which is afterward mentioned." Birch in Ibid., Vol. II., p. 237.

**"The difference between waving and heaving an offering is obvious from the etymology of the two Hebrew words by which those acts are expressed." The one signifies "to wave to and fro; the other to lift on high. In waving, the offering was turned to the four quarters of the earth; and also to heaven. In the heaving it was signified that the offering was raised from earth, and was dedicated to Him whose glory is revealed in heaven." "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 305.}

Chapter 30: The Habitation of Jehovah in Israel

The great purpose for which the mediator had been upon the mount was realized; Jehovah dwelt amongst men. (See Rev. 21:3.) The tent of Jehovah and Israel's tents were shadowed by the glorious cloud, and Jehovah's presence pervaded His dwelling.* Divine glory was manifested upon the earth, deep and wonderful, exceeding that of paradise, when God walked there with man, and overmatching that attendant upon the cherubim at the closed gate of the garden, when sin had defiled the place where God would walk — a glory, moreover, which later revelations declare will yet be manifested in its fullness.

{* Ex. 40:33-35 "The glory of Jehovah filling the dwelling is clearly distinguished from the cloud coming down upon the tabernacle. It is obvious. . . from Lev. 16:2 and 1 Kings 8:10, 11, that in the dwelling the glory of God was also manifested in a cloud." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus Keil and Delitzsch, pp. 258, 259.}

We gaze from our mountain side upon the spectacle. In the centre of the camp stands the Tent of Jehovah. From it rises the pillar of cloud, and spreads its protecting shadow over the tribes of Israel. Around the dwelling of Jehovah is an open space where the people congregate, and, closing this in, the tents of Levi are ranged in a hollow square. Facing the east, the pavilions of Moses and Aaron guard the entrance to the court of the tabernacle. (Num. 3:38.) "Behind the tabernacle westward," (ver. 23) the tents of the Gershonites are ranged; "on the side of the tabernacle southward," (ver. 29) those of the Kohathites; and northward, those of the Merarites. (ver. 35.) The tents of the twelve tribes are pitched in an ordered array, "every man. . . by his own standard, with the ensign of his father's house," (ch. 2:2) in a great square about the tents of the men selected to serve the tabernacle. Here, again, the eastward position is that of honour

Toward the sun-rising (the van of Israel's marching order, "These shall first set forth (Num. 2:9)) Judah's standard waves, and his tents, and those of Issachar and Zebulon, form one side of the square. On the south is Reuben's standard, whose men, with those of Simeon and Gad, form one front. On the west, are pitched the tents of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin under the standard of Ephraim; and on the north (the rear in marching), stand the tents of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali, under the standard of Dan.* Armed Israel, with Jehovah in their midst, face the four quarters of the earth, and their significant standards look conqueringly upon all the world. Can we forget that Israel after their national restoration to Jehovah shall yet be the great power which shall conquer the world from its idols to the service of the living God? **

{*"The Rabbins. . . . suppose that the standards were flags bearing figures. The latter Jews were of opinion that, with respect to the four grand divisions, the standard of the camp of Judah represented a lion, that of Reuben a man, that of Joseph an ox, and that of Dan an eagle. The Targumists, however, believe that the banners were distinguished by their colours The Cabalists have an opinion that the bearings of the twelve standards corresponded with the months of the year and the signs of the Zodiac. Thus much for Rabbinical interpretation. Most modern expositors seem to incline to the opinion that the ensigns were flags, distinguished by their colours or by the name of the tribe to which each belonged." "Cyclopaedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature" — M'Clintock and Strong, Vol. IX., p. 984.

**See Rom. 11:15; see Isa. 9.}

With the symbolism of Egypt in mind, it seems impossible not to recall the setting out of the pyramids to earth's four quarters; yet the tents of Israel do honour, not to the sun's throne, but to Jehovah's throne. Also the very standards of the camp recall the cherubim-figures of Babylonia. The array also of the tents "far off about the tabernacle of the congregation" (Num. 2:2) brings to remembrance the surrounding walls of the Egyptian temples,* but the walls before us are not stones, they are living men.

{*"Each of these monuments had its enclosing wall." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 386.}

The temple of Jehovah as erected by Solomon, and the temple to be erected as described by Ezekiel, add testimony to the order of Israel's camp. Both temples faced the four quarters. The chief entrance in Solomon's temple was the eastern gate, and in the temple of Ezekiel, living waters issued from the eastern face of the building. Further, the visions of the apostle John, display the fulfilled glory of the camp. "A great voice out of Heaven" calls earth's attention to a sight of all-absorbing interest. "Behold! The Tabernacle of God with men! And He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God." (Rev. 21:3.) The city seen in the vision had "the glory of God," (vers. 11-13) which had filled the tabernacle of the wilderness; the city, as the camp, was "four-square"; it "had a wall great and high," analogous to Israel's tents; it "had" twelve gates set out in four groups of threes to the four quarters, similarly to the disposition of the tribes; and to it "the kings of the earth" brought "their glory and honour," (ver. 24) while Israel's standards had indicated the battles that were to be won. In the vision of the Revelation the day of battle is evidently over, the standards and their ensigns are not needed, peace and rest prevail; "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:4) Thus, whether we consider the great foundation stones of Solomon's temple, still in position in Jerusalem, or the sure word of the prophet Ezekiel, or that of the apostle John recorded upon the sacred page, all carry back the mind to Israel's camp in the wilderness, and thence to paradise, so revealing God's purpose of dwelling amongst men.

On page 72 a diagram of the ground plan of an Egyptian temple is set out. In it a straight line is maintained, arising, as it were, from the eastern sun, and ending at the most holy place in the erection. The whole building in its structure obeyed the path of the line of light. Now there was morally a straight line in the dwelling place of God, and the erection was set out in reference to this line. It was the straight line by which man may approach God, and this is, spiritually speaking, our line of light. The reader will find it shown in the diagram of the tabernacle in chapter 31.

Another great principle stands before the eye in the arrangement of the court of the tabernacle. This was really composed of two squares, each complete in its peculiar teachings, which will occupy us later on. The first square had for its centre the brazen altar; the second had for its centre the throne of Jehovah. The service connected with the first was held in the open air for all Israel to see; that connected with the second was hidden from Israel's view. We do not affirm that the altar of sacrifice and the throne of Jehovah were located precisely as we show them in the accompanying diagram, but if such were the case, their actual position in the court, and the teaching connected with them, would be in agreement. The location of the altar in the first square holds a remarkable agreement with its location in the ground plan of the temple given on the previous page.

We now take our place upon the level of the camp, and consider the divine dwelling-place itself. The interest attached to the newly-discovered ruin of a palace or a temple is immense. The conceptions, the ideas, the wisdom of men in bygone centuries lie there in outline. And when the plan of the remains, and possibly some of the very ornaments and symbols of the erection, are exposed to view, and the purposes for which they were intended are discovered, we are able to a considerable extent to enter into the lives of those who lived in the palace, or who worshipped in the temple. Now where discovery would only give us a broken outline, the Scriptures yield us a full disclosure. The place, the structure, and symbols of Israel's sanctuary are described, and we are able to see in them the thoughts of God. The whole ordering of the building was full of meaning.*

{*"The direction in which it was set up, towards the four quarters of the heavens, showed that the kingdom of God was planted in Israel, was intended to embrace the entire world; the oblong shape given to the whole building set forth the present incompleteness of the kingdom, and the cubic form of the most holy place its ideal and ultimate perfection." "The sanctuary which Ezekiel saw. . . was only a symbol of the renewed and glorified kingdom of God, not of the perfected kingdom. This was first shown to the holy seer in Patmos, in the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, as it appeared in a perfect cubical form." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p, 184, and note to p. 85.}

The New Testament teaches us that the tabernacle of the wilderness expressed by its figures the greatest Christian truths. In the early Church this was a common belief, and the fathers of the Christian Church so regarded it; their testimony is, "Whatever was done by Moses in the wilderness with regard to the tabernacle, was a type and figure of spiritual mysteries.* The tabernacle was intended for frequent change of locality; it has left no ruins. Long since it passed out of the desert where it was made. The men who formed its guardian "walls" marched with it to their promised land and are no more. It was not designed to be permanent. In the Book of Exodus we have a full and exact description of it; yet not of the whole of it, for the details of certain parts are not described, and in others, proportions which would enable us to form a perfect model of it, are omitted. The object of the description is to afford spiritual instruction, and we have therefore to learn from omissions as well as from minutely recorded details. Further, the order of the descriptions varies in certain instances; for example, when the instructions were given on the mount for its formation, the throne of God came first in order, (Ex. 25:10) but when the erection was set up on the plain, first of all the boards of the pavilion were erected. (Ex. 40:18.) The reason is apparent; in moral order in the mind of God, His throne occupied the first place; in the order of construction, the golden walls of the pavilion, wherein He should dwell, came first, and we have to read the description not merely as mechanical critics, but as students of moral principles.

{*See "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Words worth, p. 289, where are given several quotations on the subject from the writings of the fathers.}

The dwelling of Jehovah was composed of an erection formed of two* golden chambers covered with beautiful tapestry, and having nails for doors, and this was called the Tabernacle; over this was a covering of spun goats' hair, called the Tent; and over the tent were the skins called the Covering. The habitation, or dwelling,** for such is really the meaning of the word rendered "tabernacle," was the immediate place of Jehovah's presence, and this was adorned on every side by the curtains. The tent was intimately connected with the dwelling, almost forming an integral part of it, and was composed of curtains of woven work, no doubt as delicate and beautiful as a cashmere shawl. The covering composed of skins was twofold, the innermost part being made of rams' skins, dyed red, the outermost being made of badgers' skins. The proportions of the habitation and of the tent are given, those of the covering are not stated.

{*"The division of the dwelling into two parts corresponded to the design of the tabernacle, when Jehovah desired not to dwell alone by Himself, but to come and meet with His people (Ex. 25:22). . . . The holy place. . . was the place where His people were to appear before Him, and draw near to Him with. . . their prayers. . ." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 183.}

{**"'I will dwell among them in the tabernacle.' Observe the Hebrew and Greek words here. To dwell is shacan, whence the tabernacle where God dwelt was called mischan; whence also the word shecinah, the presence and glorious indwelling of God in the Holy of Holies on the mercy seat between the cherubim. Connected with these is the word skege, the Greek word for tabernacle. See John 1:14. Christ dwelt in the tabernacle among men. See also Rev. 7:15. The divine shecinah will be forever upon them." See "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 307.}

The habitation was for Jehovah to dwell in, and as is common to similar pavilions, its beauties were within. From the familiar tent of the wilderness, God taught the eternal lessons of His way of dwelling amongst men.

In the description of the habitation given upon the mount, the beautiful curtains occupy the first place, (Ex. 26) and consequently call for careful inquiry. They resembled the vail, between the Holy and the Holiest, the signification of which Scripture supplies — "the nail, that is to say, His flesh." (Heb. 10:20.) These curtains were ten in number, and were all of the same dimensions and materials. The number ten has already been under consideration in its connection with Jehovah Himself, as indicating the measure He selected to teach the completeness of His righteous requirements from man.* In the ten curtains, as in the ten commandments, a division into two was arranged. The two divisions of the curtains were looped together in the centre to form one covering, so that, as in the commandments, the ten composed one perfect whole.

{*"The component parts of the quadrangular building were regulated by the number ten, the stamp of completeness." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 184.}

How the curtains were upheld, whether by cords and loops, cannot be defined, but doubtless they were suspended over the boards and formed a drapery within.* The looping together of the two divisions took place where the vail screening the Holiest of all was situated, and immediately above the four golden pillars, from the connecting rods of which the vail hung. Thus one division of five curtains formed the ceiling and also the northern and southern sides of the Holy; and the second division of the curtains formed the ceiling, sides, and western end of the Holiest. The two vails of the habitation were composed of materials similar to the curtains, and as they were draped where the curtains did not fall — save upon the floor, which was the bare earth — everywhere within the habitation, one great symbolic teaching prevailed. The golden boards were robed in them. One prevailing object was before Jehovah's eye in "the dwelling."

{*"It is most probable that these ten beautiful curtains which formed the inner roof or ceiling of the tabernacle were also inside the boards of the sides, so as to form an inside arras work for it" (Vater; Baehr; Kalisch, p. 477). "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 294. "The inner (splendid) tent cloth was so spread out that, whilst it was fastened to the upper ends of beams in a way that is not explained in the text, it formed the ceiling of the whole, and the joining came just above the curtain which divided the building into two compartments. One half, therefore — viz., the front half-formed the ceiling of the holy place, with its entire breadth of twenty cubits and ten cubits of its length, and the remaining eighteen cubits hung down each wall — the planks that formed the wall being left uncovered, therefore, to the height of one cubit from the ground." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, pp. 176, 177.}

In the description of these curtains, it will be observed that when they are presented as forming the habitation, the fine twined linen of which they were composed takes the precedence over the blue, purple, and scarlet, and the cherubim work with which they were beautified. (See Ex. 26:1; 36:8.) In other cases, when the blue, purple, and scarlet, and cherubim work are mentioned, the fine twined linen follows the scarlet. In God's immediate presence the foundation work of the curtains is the primary thought, its adornments follow. The fine twined linen was beautiful and bright, like silk. It was not only white, the emblem of purity, but it was glorious. The glistening white may be termed the royal robe of the divine kingdom; it is the resplendent garment of heaven.* Such were those of Christ on the mount of transfiguration, when, for a moment, His kingly majesty was seen. (Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29; Rev. 3:4; 19:8.)

{*"In Babylonia we read of 'the robe with which the inhabitants of heaven are clothed.' In a text in the British Museum this is called 'the robe of brightness.' "The Bible and the Monuments" — Boscawen, p. 175.}

This glorious and pure white is a figure of the excellent purity of the incarnate Son of God, the Man Christ Jesus. The first principle expressed in the symbolism of the curtains and vail, the figure of "His flesh," is absolute holiness. Many glories were manifested in Him, and His glories shall yet shine resplendent before the eyes of all; but the foundation glory of them all in the sight of God is the holiness of the Holy One.

The blue* carries its own explanation in the colour of the heavens above. The heavenly nature of the Incarnate One, "the second Man, the Lord from heaven,"** is thus presented. The purple*** follows the blue, and is emblematic of the sovereignty of the world; it is the regal colour of earth, presenting the glory of Jehovah's King — "My King." (Ps. 2:6.) The scarlet**** comes next, and the word used for scarlet should be noted, as it is "worm scarlet," for this scarlet of the sanctuary was the dye obtained from the worm; in it was presented the glory that ensues from suffering and death. All the varied glories of the Incarnate One when on earth culminated in the cross, and all His heavenly glories as Man are established by His sufferings unto death on earth. The burden of the prophetic testimony was, "The sufferings of Christ and the glories which should follow." (1 Peter 1:11.) Whether we regard the white, the blue, the purple, or the scarlet, glory is stamped upon each.

{*"The Egyptian god Amon was painted light blue, a tint which has been supposed to indicate his peculiarly exalted and heavenly nature." See Rawlinson's "Herodotus," Vol. I, p. 324.

**1 Cor. 15:47. "Philo, Josephus, and Saadia, with most of the fathers and the Rabbinists, appear to have understood it as the colour of the sky. Philo. . . has been reasonably supposed to allude to the dark, full tinge which distinguishes the shies of southern latitudes." "The Speaker's Commentary" — Exodus, p. 367.

***"Purple. . . seems to have a strong red tinge." "The Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 368. "A dark, rich red." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 135. The purple (lye "was obtained from shell-fish on the coast of the Mediterranean. Phenicia was particularly celebrated for its production. . . . The art of extracting dye from these shell-fish is now completely lost." "The Natural History of the Bible" — Tristram, pp. 297, 298.

**** "Scarlet . . . The literal translation of the two Hebrew words is scarlet worm, while in Lev. 14:4, 6, 49, 51, 52, the words are transposed, so as to signify worm — scarlet." "The Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 368.}

Beyond these four symbolic lessons in the curtains, which, it must not be forgotten, are repeated over and over again in varied forms in the vails and in the garments of the habitation and its service, there were the cherubim. Their forms were worked into the fine twined linen, and were in all probability composed of the blue, purple, and scarlet, woven into the fine twined linen.* The description reads thus, "Thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet — cherubim of cunning (or woven) work shalt thou make them." (Ex. 26:1.) The cherubim, as has been before noted, are heavenly ministers of Jehovah,** and exercise their ministry in relation to this earth. Here all their ministry is summed up and embodied in the glories of the Person of the King, the Man Christ Jesus, and thus is given an emblematic representation of the truth lying in these words, "Unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come." "Thou crownedst Him (the Man Christ Jesus) with glory and honour, and didst set Him over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet." (Heb. 2:5, 8.)

{*"The variegated yarn was to be woven (embroidered) into the white byssus, so as to form artistic figures of cherubim" ("Cherubim work of the artistic weaver shalt thou make of it "). "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, P. 177.}

{** See page 211.}

The proportions of each curtain are remarkable — a four-square, seven times over; "the length of one curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits."* God, at the beginning, made seven the foot-rule of time, and in His prophetic word He measures time on earth by sevens, and in seven the perfect standard of earthly things is given. The four-square is an emblem frequently occurring in the sanctuary generally, and presents the idea of a complete-sided witness, viewed from all the corners of the earth. Thus, that which during all time is perfect, was, as it were, the measure of each curtain. Further, in the number of cubits which formed the breadth of the combined curtains, the number forty, which so frequently occurs in Scripture, in reference to probation, is presented. Therefore that which is perfect, and has been tested on earth, is one great voice uttered by the proportions of the curtains, which formed the beauty of the divine habitation. These curtains were united by loops of blue, and clasps of gold, that the habitation might be one. (See Ex. 26:6.) They were held together in absolute unity by heavenly bonds — clasped together by divine glory.

{*"In the symbolism of antiquity, the square was a symbol of the universe or cosmos; and thus, too, in the symbolism of the Scriptures it is a type of the world as the scene of divine revelation, the sphere of the kingdom of God, for which the world from the very first had been intended by God." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 184.}

The way in which these measurements speak of the only Perfect One, and the One who was tested and proved, and whose every word and way was to the glory of God, is full of suggestive interest.

The tent was formed of beautiful woven curtains of goats' hair. They hung over the outside of the golden boards. Part of them fell over the back of the habitation, part of one of them formed a sort of door in front of the vail. The goat was prominent in sacrifice, and on the great Day of Atonement its blood was carried into the Holiest and sprinkled upon Jehovah's throne. In the curtains we have symbols of the glory of the Man Christ Jesus, in the tent symbols of the glory of His sacrifice.

The covering was formed of a double protection of skins, the innermost being rams' skins dyed red, the outermost being badgers' skins, or, as some would have it, seals' skins. No dimensions are given of the covering. But, as the outer protection was dark or black, it looked very much the same as the coverings of the tents of Israel. Certain of the Bedouin have black skins for the outer covering of their tents to this day. The glories of God's house were all within. How the covering was reared up over the habitation we are not told, but we have no reason for supposing that the plan adopted was dissimilar to that in use in the large tents of the camp.*

{*We may make unnecessary difficulties in reference to the suspension of covering, because of our ideas of the importance of a ridge pole. Poles upon which the covering could be stretched could have been placed over the tent from north to south, and thus the covering would resemble that of tents still in use in the desert. The carpentry of Egypt was fully capable of producing a pole of the required length, and its mechanical genius, as possessed by Israel, was able to supply the necessary support for it. "The enormous masts. . . whose long pennants contributed to the decoration of the pylon. . . must have been nearly 150 feet in height." "The Monuments of Upper Egypt" — Mariette, p. 251.}

Let us briefly glance at the boards. How were they made? It is more than probable that they were delicately wrought, and that they were cabinet work, light and strong.* Square tubes would answer the general description given of then.

{*"Perhaps these boards were constructed of inlaid variegated wood; and this opinion seems to be confirmed by the fact that the wood appears in the Pentateuch in a double plural form, thus: 'Thou shalt make boards of woods of shittim.'" "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 294.}

There is no reason to assume that they were solid baulks of timber of a great weight and cumbrous form. But to give a good answer to unreasonable objections respecting them, we have reproduced a photograph of a shittim or acacia tree of the Feiran Valley, in which there is a fair amount of timber. In the days of the Exodus a considerable part of the "wilderness" was cultivated, at the present time the trees are destroyed in order to make charcoal.

These boards were forty-eight, the number of the tribes of Israel repeated four times. The boards were composed of exactly the same materials — shittim wood covered with gold — as certain pieces of furniture in the dwelling, which very markedly symbolize Christ; however, there was a very great difference in the way in which they were presented before Jehovah as His habitation, for they all stood up upon a foundation of silver. Each had its socket of silver, and was held by tenons of silver, therefore without the silver they could not be appropriated to their designed use. Silver, the metal of Eastern commerce, the metal used for purchase, had been set apart in an unmistakable manner for the purposes of the sanctuary. Half a shekel was the redemption money, or the ransom price, given for each individual Israelite when the people were numbered; "The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord to make an atonement for your souls," and the silver thus obtained was assigned for the service of the sanctuary.*

{*Ex. 30:11-16, and Ex. 38:26. "The half shekel is called literally, the split, i.e., half." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 211.}

The boards, therefore, stood erect on a basis of redemption, and they were covered with gold, the symbol of divine glory. Using New Testament language, "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24) and "the praise of His glory" (See Eph. 1:6, 12.) are here presented. The boards were united as one by means of bars running through them. If they were many individually, they were one collectively. "That they all may be one" (John 17:21) occurs to the mind. They were set up in their silver sockets and "fitly framed together" for the habitation of Jehovah, and afford a figurative teaching of the New Testament doctrine — "In" Christ "all the building [is] fitly framed together. . . in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Eph. 2:21, 22.) While being robed with the curtains these boards represent the people of God adorned in the beauties of the blessed and incarnate Son of God, "accepted," or graced, "in the Beloved." (Eph. 1:6.)

Though the foundations of the building were silver, and though the boards were covered with gold, though its drapery was right royal, yet its floor was the bare earth! The street of the heavenly city is pure gold — there the glory of God is permanently established, but the tabernacle was for the wilderness. Where Israel camped there Jehovah camped, where they rested there did He rest. When Israel had reached the land of promise, and dwelt in fixed habitations, Jehovah dwelt amongst them in a temple. He dwelt where His people were.

Chapter 31: Access to God: the Court of the Tabernacle

True religion teaches the way to God. The sanctuary of Jehovah in Israel is full of instruction on this important theme, and it is also full of illustrations of Christian truth.

When we speak of approach to God we must keep before our minds who God is. God is the Holy One. At Sinai, He had revealed Himself in holiness, and in the sanctuary He did the same, but at Sinai access to Him had been forbidden, while in the sanctuary it was opened up. Nevertheless, Jehovah's special abode in the sanctuary was "between the cherubim," (Ps. 80:1) that is to say, in the Holiest. The testimony of Scripture as to divine holiness extends through time and reaches to eternity; God changes not. To Israel the word ran, "Great is the Holy One. . . in the midst of thee"; (Isa. 12:6) to the Christian the word is, God is found in "the Holiest"; (Heb. 10:19) to the inhabitants of heaven, in the presence of God's throne and glory, the cry arises, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, Almighty." (Rev. 4:8.) The triune God was, is, and ever will be the Holy One; and, hence, access to Him was, and is, and ever will be access to Him in His absolute holiness.

There are three main divine teachings in the tabernacle of the wilderness in respect to access to God, and these are found in the three main divisions of the sanctuary* — the Court,** the Holy, and the Holiest. The present chapter will deal with a few of the more prominent features of the court, that enclosed space of two squares lying side by side, within which the dwelling-place of Jehovah was pitched.

{*The sanctuary "included the tabernacle, with its furniture, its tent, and its court." The dwelling-place "denotes the wooden structure, containing the holy place and the most holy place, with the tent which sheltered it." "The Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 360.}

{**"The unit of Hebrew land measure was the seah, orsatum, a space of fifty cubits long by fifty cubits wide. This measurement is attached by the Rabbis to that of the court of the tabernacle, which covered, as stated by Maimonides in his commentary on the tract Kilaim, exactly two seaim of ground." "A Handbook to the Bible" — — Conder, p. 59.}

The sanctuary generally was a great object lesson, affording by its symbolisms spiritual instruction to Israel, and affording, through the record of them, even deeper instruction to ourselves. The white wall, as the twined linen curtains composing the limit of the court may be termed, was a separating barrier dividing the sacred dwelling from the camp. These curtains, which probably were of a transparent nature,* were suspended from silver rods, which connected together the brass, or rather the copper pillars of the court. ** Ordinary ideas of grandeur, physical protection, and ornamentation, were not to be found in the construction; but proportions, materials, and combinations were all divinely ordered, and all contained spiritual instruction. They were in themselves beautiful and artistic, and to Israel, accustomed to the symbolisms of Egypt, they conveyed unmistakable ideas. The fine-twined linen, choice and brilliant — the glorious white — spoke to every eye in the camp of purity.*** In the white wall there was figuratively, a quality displayed similar to that attributed to Jehovah in Israel's triumph-song — "Glorious in holiness." (Ex. 15:11.)

{*The linen of the Egyptians was noted for its fineness, and also for its transparency. Herodotus thus speaks of a celebrated linen corslet, "What is most worthy of admiration in it is that each of the twists, though of fine texture, contains within it three hundred and sixty threads, all of them clearly visible." "Some idea," says Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, speaking of another piece of work, "may be given of its texture from the number of threads in the inch, which is five hundred and forty (or two hundred and seventy double threads) in the warp, and one hundred and ten in the woof." "To the touch" it was "comparable to silk, and not inferior in texture to our finest cambric." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II, pp. 161, 165. Its transparency is emphasized in hundreds of pictures, the human form being visible under the linen garment.}

{**"All the pillars of the court round about (shall be) bound with connecting rods of silver (Ex. 27:17)." See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 188.}

{***At "the festivals of the. . . gods". . . in Egypt "the people occupied themselves solely in prayers, sacrifices, and processions, while the faithful, clad in white, with palms in their hands, chanted hymns as they escorted the priests on their way." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 322.}

The height of this wall was five cubits. A cubit is the measure of a man from the top of the middle finger to the elbow,* so that the curtains rose above man's stature — the wall overtopped man's height; its standard was higher than that of man. Purity, greater than man's attainment, surrounded the Holy One of Israel.

{*"The unit of linear measure among the Hebrews was the ameh, or cubit. This was equal to the fourth part of the height of a man, or the length of the forearm, from the elbow to the end of the longest finger." "A Handbook to the Bible" — Conder, p. 57.}

Each of the pillars upholding the curtains had a foundation of copper or brass, which is emblematic of strength.* Seven times are these sockets mentioned in the description of the pillars, (Ex. 27:10-18) as if to emphasize, that perfect strength upheld the perfect purity which walled in the sanctuary of God. The delicately-wrought curtains might offer as a material barrier merely a feeble protection, but spiritually they declared that perfect purity, established by perfect strength, shut out sinful man from access to the dwelling-place of God.

{*(Copper) brass, emblematic of strength and light." See Zech. 6; Rev. 1:15. "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, 296.}

Had the object lesson ended here it would have afforded no hope. Man, so far as this teaching went, was as absolutely separate from God in His sanctuary as he was when Jehovah descended to Sinai and spoke to him from the midst of the fire, and when barriers were set about the mountain to fence him off from Jehovah's presence. But the curtains depended from silver rods. These rods connected the pillars together, and the curtains were affixed to them by silver hooks. The material from which they were formed spoke of redemption,* as has been pointed out already. Purity upheld by enduring strength, and suspended upon redemption, was thus displayed before every eye in the wall surrounding Jehovah's dwelling. For ourselves, with the whole of Scripture in our hands, the wall presents this triad of truths, God's purity, God's strength, God's redemption.

{*"The silver hook is dependent upon the silver rod, by which the weight is thrown upon the brazen posts, which easily sustain it — redemption linking the believer with a strength that is not his own." "The Numerical Bible," Exodus, p. 226.}

How should Israel draw near to Jehovah in His sanctuary? How should the purity, the strength, the redemption, be entered? There was a way of access, but one only, a divinely-planned gateway. The very considerable width of the gateway offered a significant lesson in the principle of access to Jehovah, also the name which it bore — entrance curtain. God had but one way by which He could be reached, yet that way was a broad one, as if inviting all to enter and to worship Him. It was thus designed, "For the gate of the court shall be an hanging of. . . blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen, wrought with needlework." (Ex. 27:16.)

As reference to the colours of the sanctuary has been made in the previous chapter we merely add that in the countless marks of the needle in the gate we see in symbol, the infinite beauty of Christ's perfections, all His life being various actions of grace and truth. Its embroidered work, its countless marks of beauty, represent the varied moral excellencies that are to be seen in Him. The needle point with myriad touches produced the desired forms, all was hand-wrought, ornamented by intelligent craft, varied and beautiful, and together formed the perfect whole.

The gateway represents Christ, through Whom "we have access by one Spirit unto the Father," (Eph. 2:18) and who declares of Himself, "I am the Way. . . no man cometh unto the Father but by (or through) Me"; (John 14:6) and again, "I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." (John. 10:9.) So well was Christ esteemed as The Way in the early Church, that for some time "The Way" was the only name by which the Church was known. (Acts 9:2; 19:9 and 23; and 24:14. See Revised Version.)

The object of the worshipper in entering the gate was to reach the altar. Gate and altar were inseparable when access to Jehovah was in question. It is impossible in drawing near to God to separate between Christ and Christ's sacrifice; "In Christ Jesus" . . . we are "made nigh by the blood of Christ." (Eph. 2:13.) We cannot have Christ without His sacrifice, or Christ's sacrifice without Christ.

The altar was all-important to the worshipper. It was there he met Jehovah, who had said, "There will I meet with the children of Israel." (Ex. 29:43.) In this connection the tabernacle itself was termed "the tabernacle of meeting"* and the promise made, "I will dwell among the children of Israel. . . I am Jehovah, their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them." (vers, 45, 46.) Thus did Jehovah assign to the altar the only place where He would meet Israel, and where Israel could meet Him — a principle relative to the way to God which is eternal.

{*Ex. 29:42. Read "the tabernacle of meeting," not of the congregation. See R.V.}

The altar, as we have observed, was the moral centre of the first of the two squares which composed the court; it was four-square,* and faced the four quarters of the earth, and thus, with its symbols of power — the horns upon its four corners — looked outwards toward the whole circle of the world. Spiritually speaking, the altar was the centre for humanity in approach to God. The altar and its sacrifices are figures of Christ and His offering up of Himself on the cross, the divine-given centre, the point at which all the world may meet God, "for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life"; (John 3:16) and Christ Himself says, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me; this He said signifying what death He should die." (John 12:32, 33.)

{*"The top of the altar was four-square, a token of completeness and universality, like the most holy place." "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 296.}

The altar was made of shittim wood, overlaid with copper — the emblem of strength. Within it was the fire. Christ alone, in Himself, whose humanity its shittim wood figures, possessed the endurance and the power to sustain the sacrifice of Himself to God.

The other great feature in the court for all Israel to take knowledge of was the laver. This was not used by the people, but was in constant service by the priests. Every hour of every day both altar and laver were in use. Offerings were continually sacrificed, the priests were constantly engaged either at the altar or within the sanctuary, and, therefore, were constantly using the laver. Thus, the teaching of gateway, altar, and laver was ever before all Israel. We have to remember that all this was carried on in the open court, where every eye could see what was done. It was designedly so arranged. We do not suggest that the deeper meaning of the symbols was then apparent, but the teaching of one way of entrance to the sanctuary where Jehovah dwelt, and of that way leading to the altar and its sacrifices, and afterward to the laver and its purification, no one could fail to follow.* The symbols were not the very images of the things represented, (Heb. 10:1) but "shadows" (Heb. 8:5) designed by God Himself, proportioned and grouped together by His wisdom.

{*On this general principle the synagogue lays stress — "He that brought a sacrifice required to come to the knowledge that that sacrifice was his redemption." See "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 93.}

The accompanying diagram [tabernacle plan] will bring before the eye the teaching conveyed by the divine object lesson of the court. The way to God was by the gate, thence to the sacrifice, and from thence by the purifying water to the dwelling-place of God. Fire first, water next; atonement first, purification next. The Gate — Christ; the altar — Christ's cross; the laver — the purifying of the Holy Ghost through the word. Here are divine laws which never change, and in them, as the eye follows the dotted line of our diagram, is seen the way to God.

On Sinai, Jehovah proclaimed One God; on the plains, He established one sanctuary, and one way to Himself. It is well to remember that both Chaldea, from whence Abraham was called, and Egypt, out of which Israel was taken, in their early days recognized one sole God. Their "gods many" were due to their evolving separate deities out of the attributes of the One God. The proclamation from the cloud at Sinai was, therefore, the utterance of a truth once known on the earth. The many deities of Egypt and Chaldea had many sanctuaries; the multiplication of these temples is to be accounted for by the necessities of the multitudes of the priests, who required sanctuaries for their services and the disposal of their wealth. The establishment of one sanctuary in Israel flowed out of the truth of One God.

Chapter 32: Access to God: the Holy Place

The people of Israel could see all that took place in the court of the tabernacle, but not that which transpired within the pavilion. Nevertheless in the laver there was one important object which associated together the services of the priests in the court and in the pavilion. It was an inflexible law, the transgression of which was death, (Ex. 30:19-21) that the ministering priests should wash their hands and their feet in the water of the laver, both on entering and on leaving the pavilion. The object lesson was therefore before all Israel, teaching that Jehovah required of His servants clean hands and feet, i.e., purity in action and in walk. "Holiness becometh Thine house, O Lord, forever," (Ps. 93:5) was stamped upon the whole service of the tabernacle, whether upon the high priest's diadem, or upon the steps of the ordinary priest.* Though the priest was once for all consecrated, his purification was needed daily,** both for entrance into God's presence and for service. There was one immersion (Ex. 29:4) on entering the priestly service, but there was constant cleansing to enable the priest to serve. Christ Himself washes His disciples' feet, He renders them fit for His presence as He teaches us; "He that is washed (immersed) needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit." (John 13:10.)

{*"Consecration did not stamp them with a character indelebilis, or protect them from the impurities of the sinful nation in the midst of which they lived, or of their own nature, which was still affected with mortal corruption and sin." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 214.

**The Egyptian priests took the most scrupulous care over their bodies. Physical cleanness was with them all important, but "it was only as a secondary matter that the idea of moral purity entered into the conception of a priest." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 1 23, footnote.}

The brazen altar contained fire, the brazen laver contained water. One was designed to consume the sacrifice through which the worshipper who drew near to God was accepted, the other was designed to supply the cleansing water by which the priest who drew near to serve was made acceptable. The one effected atonement for the person; the other purification of the person.

In the description of the laver and its foot, one great peculiarity is noticeable: no dimensions are given. But, on the other hand, the source whence the material was obtained from which the laver was formed is carefully noted. "He made the laver* of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the brazen glasses" (margin) "of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." (Ex. 38:8.) The copper (rather than brazen) mirrors came out of Egypt, and they were in very many cases dedicated to the goddess of personal ornament.** The women piously dispensed with that which they prized as aiding their personal adornment,*** and God appropriated their gift in such a way as to render His priests personally fit for His presence in the Holy place. Thus the mirrors which had been devoted to self inspection became the vessel of self purification.

{*A basin, a round, cauldron-shaped vessel. "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 212.}

{**See note at foot of page 187.}

{***"Perhaps the hearts of these women of Israel were fired with a brighter flame of holy zeal on this occasion, because they remembered to what unworthy and ungodly purposes their ornaments had been lately abused in the making of the golden calf." "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 327.}

The laver and its foot, or stand, had to be filled with water in order to render their service applicable to man. Such texts as "the washing of regeneration," (Titus 3:5) "the washing of water by the word," (Eph. 5:26) are more than hints enabling us to arrive at the spiritual meaning of the symbol. The laver is a figure of the Holy Spirit of God, and the water is a figure of God's cleansing word, which the Holy Spirit communicates to men, and the purifying effects of which enable the worshipper to serve God acceptably in His holiness. Practically Christ takes us to the laver, by whose water He fits us for passing in to God, and for passing out into service.

Entering the first chamber of the pavilion, facing west, on the north side, the right hand, stood the holy table. This is mentioned first when the tabernacle is spoken of in the Book of Exodus, whether the occasion be that of the instruction given on the mount for its formation, or that of its being placed in position in the Holy. Hence, attention is called first to the table when the Holy is in view. Let us first consider the purpose for which this table was made. It was to stand in the Holy and to bear up before Jehovah's face twelve loaves.* These were to be set out "in two rows, six in a row, upon the pure table before Jehovah." (Lev. 24:6.) These loaves were termed shewbread, which means literally, bread of faces, for they were continually before the face of God. Of these Jehovah Himself said, they shall be "before Me alway." (Ex. 25:30.) Twelve in number, they were a presentation of the twelve tribes of Israel, that is, of all the people of God amongst whom He dwelt. As the names of all the tribes were before Jehovah's face, in the breastplate of the high priest, so were all the people before Him as figured in the loaves laid out upon the holy table. The loaves were either sprinkled over with frankincense (Lev. 24:7) or had it attached to them in golden saucers. Upon the table were two golden bowls, which were used for the wine of the drink offering.** Thus the bread of satisfaction, the wine of joy, and the frankincense of delight were before the face of Jehovah. For the time period of seven days the loaves remained before Jehovah, and then the frankincense was burned as a sweet savour, and the loaves were eaten by the priests.

{*"The shewbread consisted of twelve loaves, set in two rows — rows, rather than in piles, as they are usually represented." "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 292. "The twelve loaves of shewbread were placed upon the table in two rows." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 257.

**See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 171.}

The table was formed of shittim wood covered with gold. (Ex. 30:1-3.) It offers a figure of Christ in His heavenly glory, unseen by men generally, upholding the whole of God's people who are upon earth before the face of God. The twelve loaves — all God's people — were a presentation of them to Him in Christ. They are "God's husbandry," the outcome of His work, the bread of His heart; with them He has joy, and they are before Him in the graces of Christ.

The table stood upon the bare earth which we traverse, not upon a golden base, as was the case in the vision of the Revelation in the golden street of the city, (Rev. 21:21) and the lessons, with their comfort, are for this earth.

The table had crowns or wreaths of gold round about it. (Ex. 25:25.) We must conclude that there were two such ornamental wreaths — one round the slab of the table; the other round the rim that was under the slab.* Thus the position of the loaves was secured by a wreath or crown of glory. "In Christ," that most frequent New Testament description of the true place of security before God of all God's people, seems to be a comment upon the instruction of this symbol. "In Christ," is the present position of the whole Church (the twelve loaves) — "in Christ," determines the position of each member of the whole Church, though it be upon earth and Christ be in heaven. And for all the week of its pilgrimage on earth "in Christ" is the secured position before God of the Church. Should one of "the loaves" fall from its place, the "crown" of glory would thereby suffer loss.

{*See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 171.}

Next in the divine order was the golden lampstand. This was formed "all of one beaten piece of pure gold," (Ex. 25:36) and it branched* out into seven arms. As in the case of the laver no dimensions of it are given. The number of its lamps was seven, and these were "lighted before Jehovah." (Ex. 40:25.) We cannot fail to recall the words of the Book of the Revelation, "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God." (Rev. 4:5.)

{*The branches or tubes. "The Hebrew word kaneh signifies literally a reed, Kauou, canna, cane (from kanah, to erect), whence the 'Canon of Scripture' as the measuring reed of the Church, and as the 'Rule of Faith."' "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus — Wordsworth, p. 292.}

The position of the lampstand indicates its special purpose, it was placed so that its lamps should cast their combined light directly upon the holy table, (Ex. 40:24) while also giving light to the Holy place generally. The priests who served Jehovah in the Holy place were constantly engaged with its light, and in that light it was theirs to see how God viewed the shewbread.* This light made evident to the men who served Jehovah within the Holy what His mind was. In this way God's people, like the priests, should hold forth the word of life, and in the power of God the Holy Spirit minister in the Church the great realities God has made known. True priestly service ever engages itself' with the revealed thoughts of God's goodness respecting His Church and all its members; and the frankincense of praise ascends most frequently from such as best recognize the divine will concerning God's people.

{*"The golden lamp (called the 'golden candlestick' in the authorized version) was eighteen palms, or nearly forty-eight inches, high. . . Maimonides says that the lamp nearest the vail was inscribed with the word 'one,' and the others in order; number seven being the eastward lamp." "A Handbook to the Bible" — Conder, p. 111.}

In the tent of the divine sanctuary, such light as the heavenly bodies render was carefully excluded, and save for the lampstand all would have been darkness. The light of divine truth pouring out its glory by the Holy Ghost is here symbolized; nature may, indeed, illustrate, but does not give, the light of the truth of the spiritual kingdom. The oil of the lamps is figurative of the Holy Spirit.

We now turn to the incense, or golden altar. Its position was close to the vail of separation dividing the Holy from the Holiest — in front of the vail which hung before the ark of the testimony, "where," Jehovah said to Moses, "I will meet with thee." (Ex. 30:6.) Its spiritual connection with the Holiest is noted in the epistle to the Hebrews, which speaks of the Holiest as having the censer. (Heb. 9:4.) Burnt offerings, oblations, and sin offerings were not to be offered upon it. Emphatically, the golden altar was not for such uses as the brazen altar, but "a perpetual incense" before Jehovah (Ex. 30:8) was consumed — caused to ascend — upon it daily.

The golden altar, like the holy table, was composed of shittim wood, overlaid with pure gold, and this referred to its top, sides, and horns. Like the brazen altar, it was square, and thus in it is presented teaching similar to that conveyed by the brazen altar as to universality and power. It looked out, as it were, towards all the world, and the excellence of its incense, its figuratively intercessory character, was for all.

Its position within the Holy was in contrast with that of the brazen altar, in the open court. Israel's eye could not see the one, while the other was ever open to view. As the brazen altar and its sacrifice combined to figure Christ and His cross, so the golden altar and its incense combined to figure Christ and His intercession. As that one was for all to see, so was the other hidden from the general gaze. It was visible to none save by the lights of the lampstand. Christ suffered on earth, He intercedes in heaven.' Historically all may know of His cross, but of His intercession we can know only that which the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God enables us to understand.

As there were three leading teachings in the court of the tabernacle, so were there three in the Holy place. Three great symbols were there ever before the presence of Jehovah, and all referred to His people. The symbols were food, light, and fragrance, The diagram indicates the position of the lampstand, holy table, and golden altar, and the dotted line connects the Holy in moral order with the laver, the service of the priests within the Holy being possible only by the washing of their hands and feet in its water.

Chapter 33: Access to God: the Holy of Holies

The Holiest of All was the second, or the inner chamber of the divine dwelling. Here, from His symbolic throne, Jehovah spoke to the mediator. (Ex. 25:22.) This chamber was closed against all human access, save once a year, when the high priest entered in to make atonement for the sins of the people. The entrance to this chamber was formed of the "covering of separation, or vail,"* so that even the entrance formed a barrier Within was darkness.** Though in the midst of Israel, God was alone. Access to Him at the altar was open to all; access to Him at His throne by all was impossible; "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest." (Heb. 9:8.) So long as the economy of tabernacle and temple existed, shadows and types prevailed, which were but a "figure for the time then present." (ver. 9.) But now that that economy has passed away, and the things thus signified are realized, there is "liberty to enter into the Holiest." (ch. 10:19.) God is now no longer dwelling "in the thick darkness," He is now no longer shut off from man; He has come forth to man, and He has done so according to the majesty of His throne; and man, by the sacrificial and priestly work of God's Son, is exhorted to "draw near" to God in His holiness "with a true heart in full assurance of faith." (ch. 10:22.) The figure of separation has passed away. When the atonement made by Christ was effected, God rent the vail "from top to bottom," (Matt. 27:51) from heaven to earth, and "in the midst"; (Luke 23:45) He destroyed it.

{*See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 181.

**"The Lord hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness" (2 Chron. 6:1.).}

The Holiest itself was adorned on its four sides and its ceiling with the tapestry which has been already under consideration. Christ in symbol was on every side. The dwelling was in form a cube of ten* cubits; hence from every standpoint one measure prevailed. Its heights, lengths, breadths, and depths were equal. God is equal in all His ways. He is Light; He is Love. His character is perfect and absolutely exact, however viewed. His righteousness does not shorten His mercy; His holiness is not lessened by His kindness. "As for God, His way is perfect." (Ps. 18:30.)

{*"The component parts of the quadrangular building were regulated by the number ten, the stamp of completeness." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 184. "In all baken meat offerings an 'omer' was always made into ten cakes — the symbolical number of completeness — except in that of the high priest's offering." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 110.}

The sacred ark, its cover, and the cherubim, formed the throne. Three distinct figures of instruction were, therefore, present within the Holiest, as was the case in the Holy.

The ark (Ex. 25:10) was mentioned first in Jehovah's instructions respecting the sanctuary. And to give to Israel a strong sense of its importance, Bezaleel alone made it.* The ark, like the golden table and the golden altar, was composed of acacia wood overlaid with gold,** and presented a figure of Christ in the presence of Jehovah. But the ark offered other lessons also; if God would dwell amongst men, not only was it necessary that they in whose midst He dwelt should be before Him in Christ, and accepted in Christ, but He Himself, on His part, must come amongst men in Christ. Thus "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself," (2 Cor. 5:19) and His throne upon earth was His rule and government, nay, His own glory in righteousness, judgment, and mercy, made manifest in Christ. But the ark was planned for its surroundings, for pilgrimage. Its four feet, upon which the four golden rings were fastened to enable its being carried by its poles, were "walking feet, feet bent as if for walking." *** It was not permanently set up on earth in its then character.

{*"The holy chest (the ark), as being the most holy thing of all, is distinguished above all the rest by being expressly mentioned as the work of Bezaleel, the chief architect of the whole." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 249.}

{**"Christ is the substance of all these shadows, and in the ark we have surely Christ. The acacia wood of the desert. . . speaks of Him as the 'root out of a dry ground,' as which He grew up before God (Isa. 53:2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.), precious and durable, the type of victory over surrounding circumstances — of life conquering death. Such was Christ in His humanity; His divine glory is intimated by the gold which covered it; yet was distinct from it, as His deity was distinct from His humanity." "The Numerical Bible," Exodus, p. 217.}

{***"Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 167.}

Upon the chest was placed the cover* called the mercy-seat. This was made entirely of gold, and from its two ends arose the cherubim. While two ideas are thus presented in the cover and the cherubim, both are inseparably connected. Gold has already been spoken of as symbolic of divine glory; the mercy-seat was made to the precise measure of the ark; the glory of God is to be measured exactly by the person of Christ, if in such a connection we may speak of measurement. But when applied to the glory of the throne of God we may surely do so, and thus have in pictorial form before the mind, divine mercy — which arises as our first thought in reference to our access to the divine throne — as neither larger nor smaller than that which is found in Jesus Christ, God's Son, "whom God hath set forth a propitiation" (propitiatory) "through faith in His blood," (Rom. 3:25.) It is He who is "the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." (1 John 2:2.)

{*The word is used" in the figurative sense of covering up sin or guilt, i.e., of making atonement. 1 Chron. 28:11Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, is decisive on this point, where the Holy of Holies," in which the cover was, "is called the place of the mercy seat — the house of atonement." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 168.}

From either end of the mercy-seat was a cherub beaten out of the one solid piece of gold, hence mercy-seat and cherubim were one in the sense of divine glory. The cherubim are mentioned in the Scriptures in relation to the execution of judgment, or, at least, in relation to the display of the righteous ways of God respecting man's sin.* Thus divine glory in mercy and in judgment are represented as one, in the single piece of gold which was beaten out into the forms of both cover and cherubim; the glory was undivided. Now, not only the mercy of God, but the mercy and the judgment of God, are precisely revealed in Christ. As an example, these words of Christ may be quoted — "As the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also. . . .. The Father. . . . hath committed all judgment unto the Son." (John 5:26, 27, 22.) Christ is both Life Giver and Judge. To Him, as Judge, man must give account, and from Him, as Life, man receives eternal life.

{*In paradise the cherubim were sent from heaven to earth as guardians of the gate, to prevent man's entrance to the happiness he had lost (Gen. 3:24). In the vision of Ezekiel the cherubim are introduced in direct connection with Israel's idolatry, and in the Book of Revelation, they, or living creatures resembling them, are portrayed in attendance upon the divine throne, whence "proceeded lightnings, and thunderings, and voices" (Rev. 4:5).}

The form of the cherubim is not hinted at. The peculiarity of their form is not that with which we are to be concerned; but their position and attitude are carefully noted, for with these we are to be engaged. Occupying the two ends of the mercy-seat, they formed, as it were, the sides of the throne. They faced each other — they were in unison. Their faces looked down upon the mercy-seat,* not to man, to the world outwards, nor to heaven upwards; the glory of the throne was their contemplation. The looked down upon the covering — the covering which once a year was sprinkled with the blood of atonement. Within the ark were the tables of the law, but the gaze of the executants of God's judgment read the work of God in atonement for man, and not in His commands of obedience from man. Their wings — for they did not walk upon this earth, they were heaven's swift messengers — stretched forth on high, covering the mercy-seat; the throne of God must be protected by His heavenly ministers. Being formed of gold they symbolized that the glory of God in His execution of judgment ever regards His glory in mercy!

{*Ex. 25:19, 20. "Standing upon the capporeth of the ark of the covenant, the typical foundation of the throne of Jehovah. . . . with their wings outspread and their faces lowered, they represented the spirits of heaven who surround Jehovah the heavenly King when seated upon His throne, as His most exalted servants and the witnesses of His sovereign and saving glory." "Biblical Commentary on the old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 70.}

Now, when we remember that in due course (see Lev. 16) Jehovah provided that the cover, or mercy-seat, should be sprinkled with the blood of the sin offering of the great Day of Atonement, the mercy-seat, as originally formed, assumes a teaching most definite. On that day of supreme importance in Israel, atonement was made for the sins of the people, and a service different from any other was performed. The requirements of the throne of God on that day were vindicated by the blood of the sin offering. The teaching of the epistle to the Hebrews grandly applies the service of that great day to the death of Christ upon the cross, and, by virtue of that death, to His work in heaven. By His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption, He entered in once for all into the Holy. His blood magnifies God, and purges the human conscience, and by it man has boldness to enter into the Holiest. (See Heb. 9:12-14; 10:19-22.)

The Holiest was hidden from view in the Jewish age, for the symbols of Christ's offering could not "take away sins." The throne of divine majesty and justice was necessarily and mercifully shrouded in the thick darkness, for had it been otherwise God must have vindicated the glory of His throne by destroying the sinner. In those days God did not look openly upon human ignorance, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent, (Acts 17:30) for now there is no wail separating God from man, and man from God. In olden days man approached the altar and found forgiveness there; now, by the altar of Christ's cross, we find not only forgiveness, we have access to God Himself in His absolute holiness, and according to the majesty of His throne.

Though none could approach the throne of God, Moses, the mediator and lawgiver, learned there the will and the commandments of God respecting Israel. The testimony — the tables of the commandments — was placed within the ark, "and there," said Jehovah, "I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." (Ex. 25:22.) Jehovah, when dwelling in Israel's midst; from the very centre of His glory in judgment and mercy gave forth His commandments from above the tables of the law, which were covered by the propitiatory. The place of utterance gave additional significance to the solemnity and eternal irresistibility of the commands. And while Israel was instructed in the words so spoken, the Christian, also knowing that they were so spoken, is bound by them likewise. The things given "in commandment unto the children of Israel" were not the mere words of Moses, who records them, but the commandment of the ever-existing God.

The position taken up by Jehovah for uttering His words to the mediator was such, that His voice would be generally at the level of man's ear, as Moses stood before the ark to receive the communications. God was speaking to man upon earth, and in His goodness He adapted His position to the standard of man. He has now come forth to this earth in His Son, Who has spoken out the heart of the Father, not indeed in darkness, nor through the glory cloud, nor by symbols, but as a Man, heard and seen, looked upon, handled with the hands, (1 John 1:1) a Man, to Whom men may not only draw near, but upon Whose bosom men may rest. And further, God is still speaking (Heb. 12:25) to men from heaven itself by His Son.

The three chapters upon access to God present a brief outline of some of the more prominent features in the dwelling-place of Jehovah. The features in their symbolism were transient, their actual character is everlasting. They owe their existence to the nature of God; they are eternal doctrines rendered in object teachings.

No temple made with hands, excepting that which once adorned Jerusalem, either bore or bears any symbolic resemblance to that of Jehovah's sanctuary in the wilderness. Pagan temples are more or less upon the model of Egyptian teaching; Christian temples, as we may term the greatest and costliest of Christian places of worship, do not resemble it in any way whatever, either actually or symbolically. Neither in the position of its altars, whether brazen or golden, nor in the position of its laver, nor of the throne of God, nor in the position occupied by worshippers or priests, do they fulfil the conditions God has established for a place of worship according to His mind. God has not permitted that either pagan or Christian should copy His dwelling-place amongst men. But God has bestowed upon all His true worshippers all the fullness which the ancient erection shadowed, and far more than it shadowed. In the spiritual scheme of worship which pertains to Christians, there is no wail, no barrier shutting off man from God, but liberty expressly stated for all to draw near to Him. There is no longer a Holy and a Most Holy, for both are one. The richness of the throne and the mercy-seat; and of golden altar, golden table, and golden lampstand; together with the spiritual comfort of brazen laver, and the sacred sweetness of brazen altar and beautiful gateway; are ours who "worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Phil. 3:3.)

The diagram on page 250, which marks the relative positions of the throne of God, and the golden altar, lampstand, and holy table, affords an illustration of the words of the epistle to the Hebrews: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, . . . and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near." (Heb. 10:19-22) The way to God for the Christian worshipper is presented to the eye. He has entered the court, found atonement at the brazen altar, and his body being washed with pure water, he draws near to God in the Holiest by virtue of the blood and the intercession of Christ.

As we take leave of this part of our subject we call to mind the twofold purpose for which Moses had been called up to Jehovah in the mount.* Both had been realized; the tables of the law were upon earth, and the sanctuary for Jehovah's dwelling was erected. In that sanctuary those tables rested. Morally there was no other place on earth where they could do so. In the ark, figure of Christ, and overshadowed by Jehovah's cherubim, the holy words written with the finger of God remained amongst men. The words and the ark cannot be dissociated. The chief work of Moses was accomplished upon the erection of the sanctuary and the appointment of the priests and sacrifices pertaining to it, and for the purposes of this volume he passes out of sight.

{*See page 177.}

Pharaoh's daughter drew him out of death in Egypt's waters, when he was a helpless babe, and Jehovah, after training him for eighty years to childlike faith, used him as His instrument to draw out Israel from their death in Egypt. Yet, Moses, the man of God, accomplished a greater work than that; wise in God's ways, mighty master in divine knowledge, he led Israel in spite of themselves to such submission that Jehovah dwelt amongst them! He saw in the mount the heavenly things, the sanctuary patterned, and he led Israel to establish it on the earth. Moses, the meekest and the greatest of men, lives before us a noble type of the Son of God, Who shall bring into full realization all that Moses gave in symbol. Of his inspired words the Son of God has declared: "If ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?" (John 5:47.)

Chapter 34: The High Priest and the Priests of Jehovah

Mosaic law made a sharp distinction between the priesthood and the people. Jehovah would have regarded all Israel upon their redemption from Egypt as a kingdom of priests, but the nation proved itself incapable of bearing the honour, and thus the divine purpose became narrowed, — one tribe out of Israel was selected for the ministry, one family of that tribe for the priesthood, and one person of that family for the high priesthood.

The election of Aaron for the honour of the high priesthood was a matter of divine choice, (Heb. 5:4) and the honour descended from father to son, but so emphatic is the necessity for a high priest to be "called of God" that "even Christ glorified not Himself to be High Priest," but God appointed Him to the service. (ver. 5.) The importance of the high priesthood is incalculable, whether to Israel or to the Church, and in Aaron, called of God on Horeb to the high priesthood, there shines forth a remarkable type of the Son of God greeted High Priest in heaven by Jehovah.

Having consecrated His dwelling to Himself in Israel's midst, Jehovah set apart His priests* to serve Him in that dwelling.** Their service, speaking broadly, was composed of three parts, attendance upon the brazen altar, the Holy, and the Holiest. The first was the service of the priests generally, though on certain occasions the high priest alone could fulfil its ministry; the second was the service of the priests and the high priest; the third was the service of the high priest alone.

{*The contrast between the priesthood in Egypt and that in Israel is very marked. In Egypt "the members of one and the same family also often served different gods, showing that the priesthood was regarded as any other profession, in which it was of the first importance to gain a good livelihood, irrespective of any particular temple." "Life in Ancient Egypt" — Erman, p. 294.

**The importance of remembering the order of God — first, the dwelling; next, its servants — is very great. "The glory of Jehovah entered the dwelling before the consecration of the priests, and the accompanying anointing of the tabernacle and its vessels." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 258. This principle is in direct contrast with that which prevailed in Egypt, where "the first duty of the high priest who lived under these great royal builders, was to direct the buildings for the enlargement of the temple. He had to 'do splendidly in his temple as great superintendent of the works,' even if he delegated the direction of the building itself to other special officials. In addition he was general of the troops of the god, and governed his 'house of silver."' "Life in Ancient Egypt" — Erman, pp. 294, 295.}

To render the priests fit for their ministry, purification, adorning, and anointing were necessary. The adorning, being instituted prior to the other necessities, must be first considered. The ordinary garments worn by the people were so entirely different from those to which we are accustomed that we introduce drawings of the blue tasseled or fringed robe spoken of in the Book of Numbers. (Num. 15:38-41.) No manner of service within the sanctuary and its court was lawful apart from the "robes of service," (see Ex. 39:1) the "garments to consecrate him. . . that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office."* The number of these robes was four for the priests, eight for the high priest.** The garments of the priests resembled those of the high priest, which were not "golden," as will be presently detailed.*** Save when engaged in their ministry the priests of Jehovah dressed as did the people.****

{*"To sanctify him (Aaron and his sons) that he might be a priest to Jehovah." Sanctification not merely in the removal of uncleanness, but in its transferring character to divine glory. See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 193. Ex. 28:3, 4.

**The number of blessedness." The number associated in the Christian mind with resurrection. See "The Holy Bible with Notes," Exodus, p. W7; Leviticus, pp. 26, 27 — Wordsworth.

***The breadth of the difference between Jehovah's priests and those of Egypt, when robed, was very great. "The Egyptian priests had to be robed differently upon the occurrence of the different duties of their service. The most important exactions required by their gods were the mode of stating the formulas accompanying the act of sacrifice." These "were always recited with the same rhythm, according to a system of melody in which every tone had its virtue; combined with movements which confirmed the sense, and worked with irresistible effect. One false note, a single discord between the succession of gestures and the utterance of the sacramental words, any hesitation, any awkwardness in the accomplishment of a rite, and the sacrifice was vain." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 124.

****See "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 67. "In contrast with this divine regulation, the custom which had grownup in Egypt maybe pointed out." "The priests of the New Empire showed that they were the disciples of past pious ages by their dress, which they wore in private life, even at feasts; the high priests alone may have been allowed to wear ordinary dress." "Whilst the dress of the priests varied in so many particulars, the custom of shaving the head seems to have been common amongst all the ecclesiastics of the New Empire. They shaved, doubtless, from reasons of cleanliness, as Herodotus clearly states. Men of other professions. . . . cut their hair very short, and wore artificial coiffures. The priests, on the other hand, did not, even when out of doors, protect their bare heads from the heat of the sun; at feasts also they wore no wigs, though they anointed the skin of their heads with oil, like the other guests who wore hair. This was the custom in later times, but under the Old Empire, even in the manner of dressing the hair, there existed no difference between the clergy and the laity; they all wore the same style of coiffure." "Life in Ancient Egypt" — Erman, p. 298.}

Aaron's garments were assumed in the following order: the linen coverings, the linen coat, the robe of the ephod, the ephod, the breastplate, the girdle of the ephod, the mitre, the crown. (Ex. 29:5, 6.)

The linen coverings, or "concealers" (literally), were of a negative character; their purpose was to hide man. (Ex. 28:42.) The rest of the robes were to adorn (ver. 40) the man who was the type of Christ. The coat or vest was patterned linen; indeed, all the garments worn next to the person were of shining linen, and, save the coverings, which were of plain linen, holiness or purity in its resplendence was written upon each of them. In typical holiness Jehovah's priests ministered before him.*

{*The significance of white linen was familiar to the ancients. The Egyptian priests wore cotton garments at times, but none but linen roles were used when within the temples. See Wilkinson's "Ancient Egyptians," Vol. II., p. 159. The Egyptians "wear a linen tunic fringed about the legs, and over this they have a white woollen garment thrown on afterward. Nothing of woollen, however, is taken to their temples." Rawlinson's "Herodotus," Vol. II., p. 132.}

The robe of the ephod was composed of one piece of woven work; its many threads brought into unity were an emblem of oneness, as was Christ's robe, for which the soldiers cast lots. (John 19:23, 24.) It was "all of blue"; it proclaimed the heavenly character of the wearer. The opening in it for the head was bound round with a strong binding, after the style of a coat of mail,* the reason given being "that it be not rent." Thus was figured in it a strength which should be proof against use.

{*"As it were the hole of an habergeon" (Ex. 28:32). "The original word is Egyptian, though its root appears to be Semitic. Corslets of linen such as appear to be here referred to, were well known amongst the Egyptians." See "The Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 388.}

The unity in itself of the robe, its heavenly colour, its coat-of-mail-like strength, afford three beautiful symbols of the service of our Great High Priest in heaven.

This robe, which was without sleeves, was worn over the snow-white coat, and the arms of the garment shone against it like the white clouds of heaven upon the deep blue sky.

Its skirts reached towards the feet, which were bare, for the ground within the sanctuary walls was holy. The hem of the skirt was ornamented with golden bells and forms of pomegranates. The pomegranates were composed of the blue, the purple, and the scarlet of the sanctuary. The pomegranate flower is bell-shaped, and of a golden crimson hue, its fruit is full of seeds, and is an emblem of exceeding productiveness. The bell and the fruit alternated. "A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate," (Ex. 28:34) was the divine order. First, melodious sound; next, fruitfulness. The sound of the steps of the high priest was ever to be heard as he approached Jehovah. The music of the robe — the bells being golden, imply a sound which is divinely glorious — announced his way, and his steps were full of fruit to man and trod.

The Word of God, which voices the priesthood of our Lord, is rich with divine melody. The steps of Israel's high priest in the sanctuary, were foretellings of our High Priest's footsteps in heaven itself. Indeed, the sound of the bells has echoed around this earth ever since our great High Priest entered heaven for us, for when He ascended up on high, He, the mighty victor over sin and death, led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. The accumulating voices of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers He has given to the Church, are the echo of the sound of the bells; and all the fruit borne up to heaven from this earth is as seed of the pomegranates upon the skirts of the robe of the ephod.

The ephod was of all other garments particularly splendid. It was made of linen into which were wrought the sanctuary colours and threads of gold. Thus the very splendour of the dwelling-place of God was the adornment of His high priest. "The robe of the ephod," "the shoulder pieces of the ephod," the "breastplate. . . not loosed from the ephod," (Ex. 39:22, 18, 21, 8.) and formed "like the work of the ephod," all indicate the importance of this vestment. It was composed of two sections,* which were held together by the shoulder pieces, and "the curious girdle of the ephod."

{*See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, pp. 193, 194.}

The ephod was "the shoulder dress," the sign of the burden of the office* of the wearer. Upon the shoulder pieces of the robe precious stones, engraven with the names of Israel's sons, were set. Six names rested on either shoulder, and did so "according to" the "birth" of those represented, (Ex. 28:10) and "the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod" were "stones of memorial unto the children of Israel; and Aaron "bore "their names before Jehovah upon his two shoulders as a memorial." (vers. 11, 12.) The whole burden, the prosperity, and the future glory of Israel rested upon the strength of the high priest, who appeared in Jehovah's presence for them. The graven jewels were kept in their places by strands of intertwined gold wire "wreathen chains of gold." The many strands combined in one, offer a symbol of the many varieties of divinely expressed glory, which unite in one chain of unbroken strength, sustaining the purpose of God.

{*Upon a rock sculpture of a king conqueror, inscribed across the breast from shoulder to shoulder this legend runs: "With my own shoulders, I conquered this land." Rawlinson's "Herodotus," Vol. II., p. 175. See Isa. 9:6, where one shoulder is used as the figure of strength for government, and Luke 15:5, where two shoulders signify the strength of the shepherd in home-bearing the sheep!}

This robe was worn when inquiry was made of God on behalf of the people, and it was so bound together upon the person of Israel's high priest by shoulder pieces and breastplate, that, speaking figuratively, it was held in its place by remembrance of them and bearing of their burden. It was indeed the robe of office, but the office was such that he who bore it needed acquaintance with, and power in service for, those whom he served mediatorially. And in Christ, our High Priest in heaven, who serves for His people in the presence of His God, there is ever the gracious remembrance of them individually, and the bearing of their burden. Every true priest on earth partakes in some measure at least of these essentials in his intercessionary service. The office cannot be divorced from the moral qualities of the office bearer; he is invested with these holy qualities, as the priests of old were with their holy garments, otherwise he cannot minister for men before God, even as they could not minister for Israel apart from their holy garments.

The breastplate was attached by the golden chains to the shoulder pieces. Upon it were twelve precious stones engraven with the names of the sons of Israel whose judgment Aaron bore upon his heart.* Connected with it were the Urim and the Thummim, borne by the high priest; but what these were none can tell — they are lost. Neither can the designations of the precious stones be given, as the meaning of the original words is unknown. The order in which the names of the tribes of Israel were inscribed upon the breastplate is also unknown, but for a divine reason. We are not to suppose that any one of the redeemed takes the precedence of another upon the high priest's breast, for all are loved perfectly. The oldest may, indeed, come first upon his shoulders, for the longest liver is upheld the longest upon this earth by our High Priest, but His love knows no priority of favour — having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end," (John 13:1) or perfectly.

{*"Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually"' (Ex. 28:30). That is "the judicial sentence by which everyone is either justified or condemned. In prophetic vision, as in actual Oriental life, the sentence of justification was often expressed by the nature of the robe worn. . . . It seems to be sufficiently obvious that the breastplate of righteousness or judgment, resplendent with the precious stones. . . on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes. . . was intended to express by symbols the acceptance of Israel grounded upon the sacrificial functions of the high priest." Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible" — Art., High Priest.}

The symbol of the "two shoulders" of the high priest bearing up the weight of Israel's burden before Jehovah is answered in the New Testament by such words as these: "He is able to succour," "He is able to save." (Heb. 2:18; 7:25.) And the great words "for us"; "we have such an High Priest"; "such an High Priest became us"; "in the presence of God for us," (Heb. 8:1; 7:26; 9:24.) guarantee to the whole of the Church all the favours expressed by all Israel's names upon shoulders and breastplate. By Aaron's shoulders, not by Israel's strength; by Aaron's breastplate, not by Israel's constancy, did the people appear before Jehovah, and by Christ's strength, and by Christ's love, are we maintained in the presence of our God.

The girdle — the sixth of the garments — was splendid, like the ephod. It was worn across the breast, (See Rev. 1:13) and around the loins. It was so bound about the wearer that ephod, shoulder pieces, and breastplate could not be dissociated. An investiture of personal glory is here portrayed. He whom Israel's high priest prefigured, the Wearer of the girdle, in the day appointed, and in His own person, will establish on the earth the honours which are His, symbolized by the sanctuary colours He will, by virtue of His suffering unto death, reign over the earth, and in Him all shall recognize the Lord from heaven, perfect in holiness, and divine.

The shape of this garment cannot be defined. But typical holiness covered the head of the high priest before God and before man.*

{*The cap worn by the high priest after the failure of the line of kings developed into a semblance of royalty, which was not its first intention. "Josephus doubtless gives a true account of the high priest's turban as worn in his day. It maybe fairly conjectured that the crown" (i.e., a "triple crown of gold") "was appended when the Asmoneans united the temporal monarchy with the priesthood, and that this was continued, though in a modified shape, after the sovereignty was taken from them." Smith's" Dictionary of the Bible "Art., High Priest.}

The holy crown, the small band of gold worn above the cap and over the forehead, was the eighth of the garments of glory and beauty. It was assumed last, and, indeed, the crown is ever placed last upon the wearer's head. All other robes lead up to the crown. The high priest's crown was notable for its simplicity; it was a narrow band of gold, and its ornament was neither jewels nor feathers, but a few plain words, "Holiness to Jehovah." Whether he appeared before the people as Jehovah's representative, or whether he appeared before Jehovah as representing Israel, there ever shone forth over his brow an ornament and glory more precious than jewels, or earth's costliest gifts — words of God.

Yet why should the high priest wear a crown? No high priest in Israel was king. We have already called attention to the fact that the priest-king was present in Jehovah's mind before He separated the priest and the king in their order in Israel. The priest-king is of the order of Melchizedek, and the glory of the coming Priest-King, and His chief honour in His kingdom on earth, and the beauty of His crown shall be "Holiness to Jehovah."

Priest-kings of the heathen ruled the world when Aaron was robed in the wilderness, and entered upon the service of Jehovah. They had their crowns, their jewels, and their feathers, and their spiritual and temporal power. They bound men soul and body in slavery, forcing upon them subservience to their gods, and using them as tools for building temples. These crowned heads excelled in destruction, in fields drenched with blood, and in cities wasted by fire; they lived lives of abomination, and their names are execrable, yet all they did was called "divine," and while to the glory of their gods they filled the earth with darkness, they accumulated the greater glory to themselves. Not over the brow of any one of them did "holiness" shine. And since Israel's high priest has passed away, and his royal crown has been lost — lost in the darkness of pagan triumph* — there have arisen upon this earth fresh priest-kings, or at least rulers who have swayed both the spiritual and temporal kingdoms of this world. In the name of the living God, and as representatives of the Prince of Peace, these rulers have but too faithfully followed the footsteps of the pagans. The wails of orphans and widows, the roar of blazing villages, the crackling of bonfires, the moans of torture chambers these are Christendom's praise-songs to their glory! The private lives of these "priest-kings" have been pages of infamy, while their noble tombs adorn the Christian temples where their dust awaits the call to God's judgment throne. Our own generation has seen temporal and spiritual dominion burn villages and drive thousands to starvation, it has read and knows the history of the deeds of the dark acres; yet there are thousands of men to-day banded together once more to crown one head to the greater glory of God with sole spiritual and temporal power. Where in Christendom has one of these crowns ever borne "Holiness to the Lord" upon it?

{*"It is certain that R. Eliezer, who flourished in Hadrian's reign, saw it in Rome. It was, doubtless, placed, with other spoils of the temple, in the temple of Peace." Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible" — Art., High Priest.}

Although Christendom has rivalled paganism in abominations and blood, it has not yet reached to its climax of iniquity. It shall have a ruler, who in himself will unite both spiritual and temporal dominion, and shall bear upon the "forehead a name" exceeding in its horror every other name of evil — "Babylon" — and this shall be inscribed with the blood of martyrs* upon its crown — its proud iron band of apostasy from God.

{*"I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy. . . . And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. . . .. Drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." (Rev. 17:3, 5, 6.)}

But "He must reign"; (1 Cor. 15:25) He will come forth according to the promise of God, and the music of the golden bells shall be heard over the face of the earth.

The robes of the high priest worn on the Great Day of Atonement were entirely different from those just enumerated. They were four in number, and were composed wholly* of linen, yet not of the resplendent linen of the golden garments, but merely of white linen. Their utterance was purity, only, purity, all purity.

{*See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Exodus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 205.}

On the Great Day of Atonement the high priest, clad in white, entered the Holiest, and stood before the throne of Jehovah.* No golden bells made music at his coming; no names of men were upborne upon his shoulders, or pressed upon his breast; he entered the presence of the Holy One shrouded in a cloud of incense with the blood shed for sin. He was alone; the sacred precincts were empty; the voices of the people were hushed. He carried the blood into the dread presence of Jehovah, and sprinkled it upon and before the throne. He placed it upon the golden mercy-seat, towards which the faces of the cherubim inclined, and in immediate proximity to the place where Jehovah dwelt, and whence He uttered His commands concerning the people of Israel. On that occasion the sin of man, the blood shed for that sin, and the throne of Jehovah were brought together, and the connecting power was the person of the high priest. And in this great act he expresses in his person one of the grandest types of Christ existing in the Scriptures.

{*Both the nature of Jehovah's high priest and his service are shown in strong contrast with the high priests of Egypt. "The prince was the great high priest. The whole religion of the nome rested upon him, and originally he performed its ceremonies. Of these the chief was sacrifice — that is to say, a banquet which it was his duty to prepare and lay before the god with his own hands. . . . The god was present both in body and double, suffering himself to be clothed and perfumed, eating and drinking of the best that was set on the table before him. . . . The chief priest of Ra, at Heliopolis, and in all the cities which adopted the Heliopolitan form of worship, was called Oirumau, the Master of Visions. And he alone, beside the sovereign of the nome, or of Egypt, enjoyed the privilege of penetrating into the sanctuary, of 'entering into heaven, and there beholding the god face to face."' "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 122, 125.}

Having accomplished the service, the high priest laid aside his white robes, and they were "hid away"; neither were white robes worn again until a new year called for a fresh atonement.*

{*Soiled garments of "the high priest were 'hid away.' The high priest wore a 'fresh suit of linen vestments' each time on the Day of Atonement." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 75.}

The contrast between the two sets of garments is as marked as possible. The state garments were handed down from father to son, and were preserved with vigilant care; the others were disposed of when once used. The one set displayed the glories of priestly intercession and the fulfilling of God's promises, both to men and the earth, the other described the one necessity for effecting atonement for sin — sinlessness.

The glorious robes were mentioned first. And in the order of the divine unfolding in the books of Moses, the prime thought or purpose of God usually comes first, and the manner of its fulfilment next. The high priest's appearance "at all times" in the Holiest in his mediatorial robes was the first great purpose of God, but because of the sin of the priests (which will be dealt with in our next chapter) Aaron was not allowed to come thus at all times before Jehovah, (cp. Lev. 9:23; 16:2.) and, indeed, he never appeared in the Holiest thus arrayed, unless it were on the first occasion of his entering into the dwelling-place of God together with Moses.

The intercession of Christ in heaven for us, is based upon His having entered in once into the Holiest by virtue of His blood, and He, having obtained eternal redemption, (Heb. 9:12.) is crowned with glory and honour (ch. 2:9.) The white robes — speaking figuratively — worn when "He" was "made sin for us Who knew no sin," (2 Cor. 5:21) are "hid away" forever; His atoning work is complete, His mediatorial work is continuous; His blood once shed has exalted the throne of God forever, His life of service on high without a break exalts the love of God for His own to all eternity. The glory and honour with which He is now crowned answer to the robes of glory and beauty of the high priest in Israel, who was a figure of the true High Priest of God.

The high priest of Jehovah was the fountain-head of the priesthood — all flowed out from him. His position in relation to Jehovah and Israel called for a family of priests to serve with him. In this he was a notable type of Christ, from Whom all true Christian priesthood emanates. He is the High Priest in heaven, and, indeed, "If He were on earth He should not be a priest," (Heb. 8:4) and from His heavenly glory He has made His people on earth the family of priests to His God and Father.

The garments of the ordinary priests partook of the character of those of the high priest; their three chief garments were composed of white linen, two of glistering white, the other of plain white. They were girded like the high priest, excepting the gold in the girdle. The symbol of the divine was not in their girdles; but in the blue, the words are to be read, "As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly"; (1 Cor. 15:48) in the purple, "joint-heirs with Christ"; (Rom. 8:17) in the scarlet, "if we suffer we shall also reign with Him"; (2 Tim. 2:12) and in the glistering white, "holy and without blame before" God. (Eph. 1:4.)

Holiness and glory were the two main significations of these robes. And as the root meaning of the word (cohen) "priest" implies, their service was that of "one who stands up for another and mediates in his cause."

The garments were a general necessity for the priesthood in the performance of its service; the individual necessity for each priest prior to his service was purification. The body of the man had to be washed with pure water. (Ex. 29:4; Heb. 10:22.) The figure declared that before a man could serve as a priest, he must be morally pure. He was sanctified by the washing of the water prior to taking office; hence, as holy, he assumed office; the office did not make him holy. The water was a sign, as has already been pointed out; it "sanctified to the purifying of the flesh"; (Heb. 9:13) and being merely water it did not impart a spiritual sanctification. After the purification, followed adorning, and then the anointing. The stamp of the number three was impressed upon the persons who served the tabernacle, as well as upon the tabernacle they served.

The anointing oil was poured upon the head. "According to the Jewish tradition the anointing of Aaron the high priest was different from that of the sons of Aaron, the ordinary priests, the oil being poured upon the head of the former, whilst it was merely smeared with the finger upon the forehead in the case of the latter."*

{*See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 335.}

The oil* is a figure of the Holy Spirit, and "like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments," God, through His Holy Spirit, commands "the blessing, even life for evermore" (Ps. 133:2, 3.) through His High Priest. Every typical feature of robes and actions finds in the outpouring of the Spirit of God its fulfilment.

{*"From the time of the second temple, when the sacred oil — said to have been hid by Josiah and lost — was wanting, this putting on of the garments was deemed the official investiture of the office." Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible" — Art., High Priest. The absence of the sacred oil — type of the Holy Spirit — is most suggestive. The very shadows of the good things to come were fast losing their form. The second temple had but a stone for the ark. The priests might to the outward eye appear as excellent as did Aaron, but the emblems which spoke of divine power were no more.}

After the priests had been made personally fit for their service, a series of sacrifices was offered on their behalf, by which they were made officially fit to mediate on account of others.

The peculiar character of Jehovah's priesthood, and its strong contrast with other existing priesthoods, are most striking. The priests were not to possess themselves of the land, as was the case in Egypt. The priesthoods of the old world were unhallowed associations which used their spiritual powers to aggrandize their authority, their treasures, and their temples; and more, to enslave the souls, and, at times, the bodies, of the people. The high priests* were grandees, and wielded their powers as did bishops in our mediaeval times. The priests of Jehovah were not instituted to be a class who, as the pagan priests, should lord it over others,** but to be His servants, who should act for Him amongst men.

{*"The age at which a priest, if he were fortunate, might attain to those various degrees of rank" — the five degrees — "The age at which a priest, if he were fortunate, might attain to those various degrees of rank" — the five degrees — "is shown by the biography of the high priest Bekenchons, who served and died under Rameses II. From his fifth to his fifteenth year he received a military education in one of the royal stables. At the age of sixteen he entered the service of Amon, as Ue'b. He held this inferior rank till the age of twenty, after which he officiated as divine father for twelve years. When he was thirty-two he entered the order of prophets; for fifteen years he served as third, and for twelve years as second prophet. Finally, in his fifty-ninth year, the monarch raised him to be 'first prophet of Amon, and chief of the prophets of all the gods.'" "Life in Ancient Egypt" — Erman, p. 294.}

{**The power of the Egyptian priests over an individual "would even reach him after death; and their veto could prevent his being buried in his tomb. . . . They usurped the power and place of the gods, whose will they affected to be commissioned to pronounce; and they acted as though the community had been made for their rule, and not their own office for the benefit of the community." Rawlinson's "Herodotus," Vol. II., p. 65.}

The corruptions that had arisen from the union of temporal and spiritual power in the priesthood, may be one reason why Jehovah separated the princes from the priests, and the ruler from the high priest in Israel. The kingdom of God is not advanced by worldly patronage; spiritual power is of God the Spirit, and is in no sense the result of a high position in the world. Jehovah was the inheritance of His priests among the children of Israel. The priests were not to be princes, as were the heathen.* Their true power in Israel was spiritual. "Their income, which, even under the most favourable circumstances, must have been moderate, was dependent on the varying religious state of the nation, since no law existed by which either the payment of tithes or any other offerings could be enforced. How little power or influence, comparatively speaking, the priesthood wielded, is sufficiently known from Jewish history."**

{*In striking contrast with Israel's priesthood, the Egyptians possessed enormous power and wealth. "The feudal lords. . . . did not disdain to combine the priesthood of the temples dependent on them with the general supervision of the different worships practiced on their lands. . . . The whole of Egypt is said to have been divided into three equal parts, the first of which belonged to the priests." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 304, 303 (foot-note).}

{**"The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 67.}

The history of the high priests affords an insight into the gradual loss by man of the divine purpose in the priesthood, and concludes with an emphatic departure from that purpose. As Israel left the faith and suffered for their sin, the priesthood lost one and another of its distinctive glories. The Holiest of All possessed but a slab of stone instead of the ark of Jehovah, when the high priests sought to be priest-kings, and eventually to the heathen it fell to forbid them their royal diadem. At the time of Christ the personal glory of the high priesthood had vanished, for "Herod made men of low birth high priests, deposed them at his will, and named others in their room."* After Christ's ascension this personal nobility was miserably ridiculed, for the last of the high priests was chosen by lot from the ordinary priests, and was robed in impious mockery of the divine command given to Moses. Thus the glory and honour with which Jehovah had invested the office perished from off the earth by means of the sins of Israel and the triumph of the pagan; but before this hopeless darkness had closed over the high priesthood on earth, the heavens above received the Great High Priest, Whom Aaron typified, in His unsulliable glory, to fill the highest exaltation there.

{*See Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible" — Art., High Priest.}

Aaron himself, by his being stripped of his robes upon Mount Hor,* and by the transference of them to his son, and then by his death upon that mount, forewarned Israel of the weakness of man in representing the High Priest of God, Who lives to die no more. He went up into the mountain "in the sight of all the congregation"; (Num. 20:27, 28) a striking contrast to the High Priest above, Who ascended to heaven with hands uplifted in blessing; (Luke 24:50) and Aaron "died there in the top of the mount," and his son, dressed in the sacred robes, returned with Moses to the camp to fulfil the high priestly functions in his father's stead, but Christ, "because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable" — or, rather, untransmissible — "priesthood." (Heb. 7:24.) Aaron, with Moses, failed in patience, and because he did so, died upon the mount, but Christ's patience is exhaustless, and the temptations under which He suffered when on earth, have only rendered Him the more suited to succour His people when they are tempted, (Heb. 11:18) and when they, like thirsting Israel, are guilty of murmuring.

{*"Hor" has been immemorially treated as a proper name, yet is probably only an archaic form of the common Hebrew term for "mountain." "The Speaker's Commentary," Numbers, p. 724.}

The historic facts of the loss of the oil of consecration, the breastplate, and the crown, are but finger-posts erected by divine command, to direct man as he passes along the highway of Time, to lift his eye from all human types of Christ, however glorious, and though glorious as was Aaron, and from all earth's priests to the heavens above. For there "we see Jesus. . . . crowned with glory and honour" (Heb. 2:9) . . . "a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man" (Heb. 8:2. 8) . . . "perfected for evermore." (Heb. 7:28. R.V.)

Chapter 35: Prophetic Incidents in the Story of the Priesthood

The union of priestly temporal and spiritual rule was set aside by the establishment of Jehovah's priesthood* in Israel. Further, the head of the family, and even Moses himself, could act as priest** no longer. The priests were entrusted with spiritual duties, the end of which was by serving Jehovah to bring the people into fellowship with Him.

{*"In Chaldea, as in Egypt, the king or chief of the state was the priest par excellence, and the title of 'viceregent,' so frequent in the early period, shows that the chief was regarded as representing the divinity among his own people." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 675.}

{**"On the completion of the tabernacle, after Aaron and his sons had been called to the priesthood, Moses took chief part in the daily service of the sanctuary (Ex. 40:23-29, 31, 32) until the consecration of the fancily of Aaron, on which occasion he appears to have exercised the priest's office for the last tine (Lev. 8:14-29; cf. Ex. 29:10-26)." "The Speaker's Commentary," Exodus, p. 382.}

The solemn service by which the priests were separated for their work occupied seven days, and on the eighth day, Aaron and his sons being fully equipped, the nation, which had assembled together before the tabernacle for the seven days to witness the consecration of the priests, was called upon to worship Jehovah.

The day opened with the early burnt sacrifice upon the brazen altar, as opened every succeeding day in tabernacle or temple court, and then followed the three great sacrifices by which Israel's national worship was inaugurated. First, a sin offering — the confession and the putting away of sin before God; next, a burnt offering — the sweet savour of the sacrifice to God; lastly, a peace offering — the communion in the sacrifice, of man with God.

The great centre in the day's worship was the altar. The high priest served it, and on the completion of the service of sacrifice, and while standing upon the altar slope, which reached midway its height, he turned towards the thronging multitude, and all eyes being on him, "he lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them." The sacrifices were accepted. The nation was blessed in the power of the sacrifices. Then Aaron "came down" from the altar.

This blessing of the high priest recalls the uplifted hands of Jesus and the blessing of His disciples after His sacrifice of Himself on the cross (Luke 24:50, 51) before He ascended and passed through the heavens to appear in the presence of God for us.

The smoke of the altar fire still arose on high, the priests had to complete their part of the service in eating the sin offering, and the people, represented by the princes, had to partake of the peace offering; and while this part of the service proceeded, Aaron, accompanied by Moses, entered the tabernacle. For the moment Israel's high priest and king were hidden from view. What transpired within the sanctuary we know not, no mention being made of any act performed in the presence of Jehovah by Aaron and Moses. Our thoughts are to remain centred on that which took place in the court of the tabernacle. When "Moses and Aaron came out" from Jehovah's presence "they blessed the people." This was the blessing of both priest and king arising from the hidden resources of the sanctuary. It prefigured the blessing which Christ the Priest and King will bring to Israel when He comes forth on their account from the heavens, where He now is.

In immediate response to this blessing, "the glory of Jehovah appeared unto all the people," and to emphasize to all Israel the fountain head of God's glory and man's blessing on the earth, "a fire came out from before Jehovah and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat" of sin offering and peace offering. All Israel shouted their praises, and prostrated themselves before the glory and the majesty of God, with which He had crowned the altar.

The beginning of Israel's national history as worshippers of the living God was inaugurated with the glory of the altar; their restoration to national blessing will be their recognition of the true altar, the cross of Christ. But what shall be said of Israel now? It possesses neither altar nor glory. Yet the nation shall once more unite at the altar, and shall prostrate itself in worship before Jehovah with shouts of praise, and shall recognize with tears of contrition their sin offering, their burnt offering, and their peace offering in the Christ they despised, rejected, and crucified.

The eyes that witnessed the fire of Jehovah consume the sacrifices of His appointment, had seen pomp and display in Egypt a thousand times in religious ceremonies, but heaven had never sent answer to one of its pagan shows, nor smiled upon one of its idol feasts. The priestly caste obtained reputation by the ceremonies as is common to the caste — but what should be said by Israel now? What should be said now when divine glory crowned altar and sacrifice, and rendered the very court, where the feet of the priests trod, glorious by approving fire? Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's eldest sons, were elated.* Priestly robes were a distinguishing honour in Israel! They would exalt themselves. They forgot their service in their pride of office. Their censers, the emblems of priestly honour, they lifted up above the altar of their God. Arrayed in their vestments they assumed to themselves, like Egyptian high priests, the right to enter God's presence at their pleasure; they "took either of them his censer and put fire therein, and put incense** thereon" — "strange fire. . . which He commanded them not "fire of their own kindling, not lighted by divine command. They did that which was not commanded; they inaugurated an act of worship of their own invention, will, and pleasure — a sin common in religion. They stretched forth their censers and "offered. . before Jehovah."***

{*It will be observed that Jehovah connected the death of Nadab and Abihu with the law of access by the high priest into the Holiest of All. (Compare Lev. 16:1 with chapter 10.) Upon their death the instructions here set out were given.}

**"The sacrifices which the Jewish priests offered on the altar of burnt offerings were but preparations for their characteristically priestly work of entering the worldly sanctuary; and they were all, as the New Testament tells us, types of the one great comprehensive sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered on Calvary, previous to His entrance upon His characteristically priestly work in the sanctuary not made with hands." "The burning of incense was most distinctly an exclusively priestly function, even higher than offering sacrifices." "Sacrifice, Altar, and Priest" — Soames, pp. 57, 160.

***"Knobel's opinion is not an improbable one: that Nadab and Abihu intended to accompany the shouts of the people with an incense offering to the praise and glory of God, and presented an incense offering, not only at an improper time, but not prepared from the altar fire; and committed such a sin by this will-worship, that they were smitten by the fire which came forth from Jehovah, even before their entrance into the Holy place. "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 351.}

Jehovah answered their fire by the fire of judgment: "there went out fire from Jehovah and devoured them; and they died before Jehovah" — the priests in their vestments, grasping their censers, lay dead by the altar.

"I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me, and before all the people I will be glorified," said Jehovah. Israel stood astounded and trembling. Aaron might not mourn. The priesthood of Israel was covered with grief and shame that day; and the priests in their vestments were carried forth without the camp and buried with the accompanying lamentations of the people. Jehovah at once placed the priesthood at a distance from Himself; later on, the entrance of the high priest into the Holiest at all times was forbidden, and was limited to once a year, and then Aaron was not to approach Jehovah's throne in his golden vestments, but in the pure white robes; indeed, unless it was on the occasion of Aaron's entrance with Moses into the sanctuary, he never represented Christ in the garments of glory and beauty before the throne of God.  

The exceeding solemnity, and the terribleness of the judgment upon Aaron's two eldest sons, call for some remarks. The transgression was against God's holiness — "I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me," He said, and the transgression consisted in non-obedience to His commands; it was an act of will-worship. The fire was not of God's ordering, it was therefore "strange" fire. Whence it was taken does not concern us to suggest. We have to learn from the silence of Scripture. Not one word is said of the censer, in the commandments of God respecting the three great sacrifices by which Israel's public worship was inaugurated. The altar is the consideration. Upon the altar the sacrifices and the fat were laid, upon their burning the approving fire from Jehovah fell, and this fire caused all Israel to fall upon their faces as worshippers. In the midst of God's order, the priests lifted up their censers, they intruded themselves, they aimed at making themselves important in the eyes of Israel, and before the eyes of Israel they paid tribute to the honour of the altar by bringing down upon themselves the fire of God's judgment and lying before the altar prostrate in death. The first transgressors in Israel's public worship were the priests appointed by God to conduct it.

The order of God is: first, the sweet savour of the altar of burnt offering; next, the sweet savour of the altar of incense; first, the sacrifice in the open court; next, the incense within the sanctuary. First, "It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again"; next, "It is Christ who is now at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Rom. 8:34.) Censer-bearers transgressing the order of God will have their fire of presumption answered by God's fire of judgment. The fire which fell upon the altar was that of acceptance, the fire which fell on the transgressors was that of judgment.

The sin of Korah offers another prophetic incident in the story of the priesthood, and St. Jude refers to it in describing the end of those in Christendom who rise up in rebellion against Christ — "they. . . . perished in the gainsaying of Korah."

The tribal rights of Israel, and the honour of the heads of families in their priestly position, were set aside to a considerable extent by the divine institution of rule and priesthood. A widespread and determined opposition grew up, which culminated in an organized rebellion against the prince, or king, and the high priest. Princes and chiefs were the aggrieved parties; they leavened the mass of the people with their own spirit, and a combination of certain princes of Levi, Reuben, and other tribes was formed. The high priest was first aimed at as an usurper of rights, the shaft directed against him being cut from the popular tree of national holiness. "All the congregation are holy," ran the gainsaying of Korah the Kohathite. ". . . Jehovah is among them. . . wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of Jehovah?" (Num. 16:3.) Since all are holy, all are His congregation, and consequently all may approach Him; why then one high priest? The plea is so similar to widespread religious teaching of our own time that, while few are inclined to doubt the antiquity of this part of the Book of Numbers, yet the voices of the Levites of to-day seem giving forth their sound according to St. Jude. No small number of pulpits and platforms teach the inherent holiness of all men, and therefore the right of all to draw near to God without the intervention of the One High Priest, Christ Jesus, by Whom and by Whose propitiation alone, the access may be obtained.

The Reubenite princes, Dathan and Abiram, whose tents were in proximity to those of the Kohathites, while uniting with the religious party, cared little for Aaron's honours though much for Moses' rule; they had descended from Jacob's firstborn, and were supplanted.

Moses proposed a religious test for Korah and his company of princes. Let them bring their censers, incense, and fire — since they would be priests — to the door of the tabernacle. He taunted them with their own taunts. Whom Jehovah should choose he should be holy, and all the congregation should see the result.

Dathan and Abiram would have none of the religious test. "We will not come up," said they. "You have brought us up out of the true land of milk and honey, Egypt, to kill us in the wilderness, and for what cause," "except thou makest thyself altogether a prince over us? "The milk and honey, the fields and vineyards Moses had promised were shadows — his promises, dust, thrown in men's eyes.

This bitter reproach made Moses exceedingly wroth; for his was but the word of Jehovah. The morrow should decide the issues of the rebellion.

With inexplicable assumption, the non-priests, the two hundred and fifty princes, assembled at the gate of the tabernacle, censer, incense, and fire in hand! Their rebellious spirit is intelligible, but their presumption in the presence of Jehovah, so often proved a consuming fire, is almost impossible to realize. However, they were princes, great men, and as such had rights which Jehovah should not dispute — at least so they dreamed. And great men in the world do assume in extraordinary fashion rights even to the censer, which are in reality possessed only by the Great High Priest in heaven. "And what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?" He is God's high priest, and beside him there is none other.

In answer to the fire of the censers of these princes, the judgment fire of Jehovah came forth — they perished at the entrance of the tabernacle. Their assumption became a warning to Israel for all time. And none the less is their sin a warning to all censer-bearers-would-be priests, but not so called of God, who are really enemies of the altar of Christ's cross.

As for the defiant princes who taunted the ruler of God's appointment, the determined men, who cared not for religion, and who hated the king, the earth opened its mouth under their tents, and they "perished from among the congregation." Their words and doom recall the end of the enemies of Christ as foretold in the Revelation.

But by no means was the spirit of rebellion stayed. "On the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord." The leaven of a corrupt religious idea pervaded the people with the deadly result of the utter perversion of the divine character in their eyes. What should save Israel now? There was but one hope. It lay in "the censer," the high priest's own censer.* The consuming wroth of Jehovah had gone forth; Israel was dying of the sudden plague. "Go quickly," cried Moses to Aaron, "take the censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense;" and Aaron "ran into the midst of the congregation," and "made an atonement for the people," and "the plague was stayed." (Num. 16:46-50.)

{*See "The Speaker's Commentary," Numbers, p. 711. A censer (rather, THE CENSER,) i.e., that of the high priest which was used by him on the Great Day of Atonement. Compare Lev. 16:12; Heb. 9:4. It appears from Lev. 10:1 that each priest had also his own censer, no doubt for the daily incense offering. Ex. 30:1-8. Korah and his company had probably provided themselves with censers in emulation of the priests. Compare Num. 16:6, and Ezek. 8:11.}

The true high priest of God's appointment was proved by his saving power. Israel's rebellion had swept away their every hope; the mediatorship of Aaron saved them. Our High Priest "is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25.)

On this occasion Jehovah once for all answered all questions as to the tribe which alone should bear the priesthood. Each tribe was ordered to present its rod before Him. Our earlier pages had much to say about the rod of authority and power, and the remarks there made should be borne in mind in connection with the present incident.

The twelve chief princes, under the open knowledge of their respective tribes, brought each man his rod with his name written upon it to Moses, and he also wrote "Aaron's name on the rod of Levi." These were laid up before the ark within the Holiest, where the tables of the law were placed. "On the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, for the house of Levi, was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds." (Num. 17:8.) He showed the rods to the princes, "and they looked, and took every man his rod," his lifeless stick of authority, with his name upon it — the pronouncement of the uselessness of mere human rule in the things between man and God — and returned to their tents.

No element in religion is more worthless than earthly rule without heavenly fruitfulness. It were well for this earth if its "princes" who bear authority, were as dumb as were the twelve princes when they received their staves from the Holiest where Jehovah dwelt. And better still were it if the words of Jehovah respecting Aaron's rod were heard: "Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from Me, that they die not."

The rod of Aaron was cut from the almond tree, the name of which signifies in Hebrew the "wakeful," for amongst the trees it awakens the quickest after the winter to bear the blossoms of its new life. This rod is a poetic figure of resurrection. The dead branch, cut off from its source of life, lives to bear its buds, bloom its blossoms, and yield its fruit in the very presence of the unfailing word of God. In this rod is the "token" of true priesthood. In heaven the gracious service of' our High Priest sustains and preserves a murmuring people before God on the earth.

The almond blossom has five petals. The Egyptians connected this number in a striking way with their priesthood. The five points of the star were reproduced upon the garment of certain high priests, in relation to heavenly wisdom. Could it be that in the primal days there was planted in man's mind in connection with priesthood the understanding of its true, and therefore heavenly, character; its connection with the living God in heaven, Who by it shows forth His light and life-giving to man?*

{*"The goddess Safech (Saf), the mistress of libraries, represented as a woman adorned almost always with a panther's skin, the dress of the higher priesthood, and bearing on her head an emblem that seems to make her as a goddess of starlight." "History of the Egyptian Religion" — Tiele (translated by Ballingal), p. 64. "The Sem at the funeral sacrifice wears a panther skin, as does also the high priest of Heliopolis, who, as 'chief of the secrets of heaven,' has the skin adorned with stars." "Life in Ancient Egypt" — Erman, p. 297. "The spots of the skin were manipulated so as to form five-pointed stars." See "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 55.}

The last incident in the story of the priesthood to which we shall refer is tinged with a peculiar sadness of its own, though none the less is it one of excessive beauty. The sadness emanates from the voice and eye and hand of man the greatest and the meekest of the human race; the beauty from the words of God and the figures which proclaim His Christ.

The people found themselves after thirty-eight years' wanderings in the very same locality where they had stood and murmured at the beginning of their pilgrimage.* Once more they thirsted in the district of the Desert of Sin. (Num. 20:2.) True, most of the older men of the host had carried their murmurings into the silence of the grave they had paid the penalty of their unbelief; yet Israel was unchanged, and none the less were Jehovah's resources for Israel unchanged The host was near the rock which had been smitten for them by the rod of judgment, and which had poured out its waters for their children and their cattle, (Ex. 17:6) and now once again the rock** should satisfy their thirst. "Take the rod," said Jehovah to Moses, "and gather thou the assembly together, thou and Aaron, thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock."

{*The water of Meribah — i.e., "strife." The place is called "Meribah in Kadesh," Num. 27:14, and "Meribah-Kadesh," Deut. 32:51, to distinguish it from the "Meribah" of Ex. 17:2. "The Speaker's Commentary," Numbers, p. 722.}

{**"The rock — Heb. sela, 'cliff'; a different word from zur, by which the 'rock' in Horeb is designated (Ex. 17:6). The words, however, appear to be interchanged in Judges 6:20, 21." "The Speaker's Commentary," Numbers, p. 721. St. Paul, speaking of the rock, says, "That rock was Christ." It was not a holy rock from which Israel drank, but a symbol of the Holy One. Had the same rock been resorted to on the second occasion, Israel — with their Egyptian training — would probably have given it homage, as a natural object worthy of veneration. The symbol would have disappeared, and in its stead would have been a mere rock.}

{Illustration: From "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero.}

The sacrifice, the censer, and the rod were Israel's hope. "Take the rod" — the fruitful priestly rod from "before the testimony." (Num. 17:10.) We picture the scene as painted in the words of God. Moses stands with Aaron before the rock in view of all Israel. He lifts up the rod in its new-life fruitfulness before all the eyes fixed upon him, the background of its beauty being the cliff. To the rock Moses speaks! What shall he ask? There is but one word he can utter before the great assembly he has gathered together: the wants of all are spoken in one word — Water! The rock responds, and from it, as from those rifts made in the rock of Horeb a generation gone by, the living fountains flow. All Israel drink, and behold in the threefold combination — words spoken, rod uplifted, rock outpouring, — the provision of Jehovah for human need.

But the divine ideal was not realized; the patience of the most patient of men was exhausted — the meekness of the most meek had failed him. The angry eyes of the people caused his eye to flash upon them, and he spoke to them and not to the rock. "Hear now, ye rebels," he cried; "must we fetch you water out of this rock?" and as voice and eye overcame his arm, "he smote the rock twice." Thus in his own way, and not in God's way, did he fetch them water out of the rock. He sanctified not Jehovah before them, he transgressed His words, and thus lost the honour of leading Israel into rest.

We can see in him, the Law, and we can hear in his voice the words of the Law — "Ye rebels!" and thus perceive that the Law brings not into rest.* To effect this a greater than Moses is required. One, Whose gentleness, Whose meekness, are exhaustless; One, Whose personal excellence is devoted to sanctifying God in every word and act the Man, Christ Jesus. But we can also see in the act of Moses in smiting the rock** the sin which so widely prevails of smiting afresh the Christ once crucified, a sin which also changes the rod of His priesthood in Jehovah's presence into a rod of judgment. Speak to the rock, to Christ once smitten for human sin, now risen from the dead, lift up the fruitful rod of His priestly glory, and the waters shall be rivers in the desert. To smite again the smitten rock, to use the rod of priesthood in order to repeat His sacrifice, is to bring down the force of these solemn words upon one's head: —

{*"Neither Moses, nor Aaron, nor Miriam could bring the people into Canaan: but Joshua brought them in. Neither the law, nor the priesthood, nor the prophets, could bring us into heaven — they all led us towards it, and brought us to its confines, but Jesus only could bring us in." "The Holy Bible with Notes," Numbers Wordsworth, p. 148}

{**"The rock," says St. Paul, "was Christ." "It was a figure of Him. . . . He was once smitten for our sales (Isa. 53:4-6) in order that all true Israelites, in every age of the Church, may drink the living waters of salvation from His wounded side. . . . And after that He had been once smitten, He was to be smitten no more. Christ having died once dieth no more (Rom. 6:9)." Ibid., pp. 147, 148.}

"Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." (Num. 20:12.)

Chapter 36: Offerings and Sacrifices in Israel.

Sweet Savour Offerings

Jehovah has bound together with bonds never to be broken, His glory and His grace. His glory having filled the tabernacle, His voice of grace was heard out of it, teaching the manner of Israel's approach to Himself.* The manner of approach was by offerings, and these were arranged in five orders — the number familiar in the sanctuary. Three of these orders are recognizable in the practices of the earliest times; two owe their origin to the law given in Horeb; all of them present, symbolically, plain New Testament teaching on sacrifice.

{*Both by order of thought and structure of words, the close of Exodus and the opening of Leviticus are united together. See "The Holy Bible with Notes," Leviticus — Wordsworth, p. 2.}

It will be well to look back upon the ways of God with men in relation to Sacrifice before enlarging upon the orders as finally established in Israel. The present chapter will be occupied with the three orders of sweet savour offerings, and these, in their fullness, the Scriptures place before us gradually.

From the beginning of divinely-given religion on earth, man had approached God by sacrifice, and, in the obedience of faith, (Heb. 11:4) "the fat" — the inward excellence — of the victim, had been laid upon the altar. (Gen. 4:4.) Faith obeys a distinct word of God, hence when we read "by faith Abel brought to God a more excellent sacrifice. . . ." we understand that he had been definitely instructed by God in reference to it. Many centuries elapsed, and then we find the "sweet savour" of the "burnt offering" (Gen. 8:20, 21) mentioned. Noah builded his altar and sacrificed upon it, and Jehovah smelled its sweet savour and blessed the earth in the acceptability of the burnt offering. The patriarchs built their altars and offered their burnt offerings to God, and the Scripture, by its manner of narrating their acts, indicates that sacrifice was common practice. The legends of Chaldea and Egypt show that the heathen practiced sacrifice from their earliest ages; that the deity received the sacrifice made to him;* and more, their legends prove that man felt his need of propitiation.**

{*"Lambs, oxen, and sometimes swine's flesh, formed the usual elements of the sacrifice. The gods seized, as it arose from the altar, the unctuous smoke, and fed on it with delight." The pictures of the gods of Chaldea depict them thus engaged. "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 681.}

{**The sin offering is declared by critics, who will not believe that God gave to Israel the law of the offerings, to be an evolution due to human progress. and not to have been taught Israel so early as the era of Moses. In one of Egypt's very ancient legends, which takes us back to the earliest antiquity, men are seen in rebellion against the gods, and the gods are represented as slaying mankind. "When I slaughter men, then is my heart right joyful," cries Hathor, "afterward called Sokhit, the slayer, and represented under the form of a fierce lioness." After a variety of incidents, the great god Ira, whose heart was tender, says: "'Your sins are remitted unto you, for sacrifice precludes the execution of the guilty.' And this was the origin upon earth of sacrifices in which blood was shed." (See "Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 161-167.) This legend carries back time to ages anterior to Israel and Moses. Enshrined within its monstrosities are the facts of human rebellion against God, of divine punishment of men, and of the acceptance of a sin offering for the transgressor. This record of the past is alone sufficient to prove that the idea of a sin offering was a possession of the human mind from remote times, and consequently that it was not an evolution due to tile delicate sensitiveness of improved human nature when Israel was captive in Babylon.}

Yet while the importance of sacrifice, and its propitiatory character, are written in the history of the human race, man, with strange inconsistency, seldom inquires into the two vital questions: Is the sacrifice acceptable with God? Does the sacrifice atone for sin? The Holy Scriptures alone give the perfect information on the subject. The line of demarcation which from the very first separated true and false religion was formed by the letters of one word — sacrifice!

The sweet savour offerings were the burnt, the meal, and the peace offerings. By its priority amongst the five orders attention is first directed to the offering which wholly goes up — which is wholly consumed — the ascending, or the burnt offering.* The very fire which consumed it was the fire of acceptance,** and by this fire Jehovah received it in its entirety. From it, the altar of burnt offering received its name, and upon it, the parts of the other offerings which were of a sweet savour to Jehovah, or which expressed the excellence of the sacrifice, were consumed. The burnt offering was sacrificed daily, both morning and evening, and the fire of the altar was never allowed to go out. (Lev. 6:8-13.) Every other sacrifice in Israel was related in some way to the burnt offering the excellency and the acceptability of which to Jehovah, were patent to all the nation.

{*"The common idea that the 'burning either of part or the whole of the sacrifice pointed to its destruction, and symbolized the wrath of God and the punishment clue to sin, does not seem to accord with the statements of Scripture. The term used is not that commonly employed for 'burning,' but means 'causing to smoke,' and the rite symbolizes partly the entire surrender of the sacrifice, but chiefly its acceptance on the part of God." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 91.

**Lev. 1:9. "The verb here translated 'to burn ' is applied exclusively to the burning of incense, of the lights of the tabernacle, and of the offerings on the altar. . . . It is in some places rendered in the margin of our Bible 'to cause to ascend' (Ex. 30:8; Lev. 24:2). The word for burning in a common way is quite a different one, and this is applied to the burning of those parts of victims which were burned without the camp." "The Speaker's Commentary," Leviticus, p. 511.}

The first act of the offerer was the presentation of his offering, for unless Jehovah accepted that which the offerer brought, his act was vain. God did not respect the offering of Cain, and thus Cain's religion was stamped with worthlessness.

The offering was presented of the offerer's "own free will"; and it was the best of its kind — "a male without blemish." The offerer laid his full weight he pressed the burden of himself, upon it, as if there were none other save himself in all the world who approached Jehovah by it. Then he killed it before Jehovah; it was slain in his stead. Faith is here seen acting intelligently step by step in the presence of God. He then cut up the offering and washed its parts and its inwards, expressing in figure that the actions and desires of the offering were laid bare, and that the action of the water declared them to be pure in Jehovah's eyes. Here the acts of the offerer ceased. He "offered," but did not "offer up" the offering; the latter was the priest's work; still both offerer and priest were necessary to carry out the symbols of the sacrifice.*

{*"The Rabbis mention the following five acts as belonging to the offerer of a sacrifice — the laying on of hands, slaying, skinning, cutting up, and washing the inwards. These other five were strictly priestly functions — catching up the blood, sprinkling it, lighting the altar fire, laying on the wood, bringing up the pieces, and all else done at the altar itself." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 86.}

"Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God," (Heb. 10:7) were the words of Christ when He presented Himself in incarnation to be the sweet savour sacrifice in death. He was accepted by God to perform His will, heaven opened over Him, and the voice was heard, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" (Matt. 3:17) thus did He, "through the Eternal Spirit, offer Himself without spot to God." (Heb. 9:14.)

The priest took of the blood of the offering, and, sprinkled it round about the altar, and laid the parts of the sacrifice in order upon the wood, and attended to the burning. In this action our Lord in His priestly work upon the cross was represented, where He "offered up Himself."

The offerer was accepted and atonement was made for him through the excellence of the offering. It was without spot it had borne his burden it had been slain in his stead its blood* had been cast upon the altar, and the whole sacrifice arose as a smell of sweet savour to God.

{*"The death of the sacrifice was only a means to an end, that end being the shedding and sprinkling of the blood, by which the atonement was really made." The view of sacrifices "of the ancient Synagogue" was, "There is no atonement except by blood." Jewish interpreters thus speak: "One soul is a substitute for the other." . . . "I gave the soul for you on the altar, that the soul of the animal should be an atonement for the soul of the man." . . . "The offerer, as it were, puts away his sins from himself, and transfers them to the living animal." . . . "Properly speaking, the blood of the sinner should have been shed, and his body burned, as those of the sacrifices. But the Holy One — blessed be He! — accepted our sacrifice from us as redemption and atonement." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, pp. 89, 92, 93.}

There were three classes of burnt offering and five sorts of victims. They were taken respectively from the herd, the flock, and the fowls. While actually of descending value we do not say that typically they were so, but rather that in the bullock — the figure of strength in labour; (1 Cor. 9:9, 10) in the sheep the emblem of self-surrender; (Isa. 53:7) in the dove the very word for gentleness; a triad of types of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is placed before us.

The meal, or, more properly, the "gift"* offering formed the second of the five orders. It was in a sense an adjunct to the offering which preceded it — "a burnt offering. . . and the meal offering thereof." (Lev. 23:12, 13.) The "gift" was taken from the vegetable kingdom, and the cereal used was that which, all the world over, forms the bread of life for the human race.

{*"Frankincense. A small tree, usually twelve to fourteen feet in height, rarely reaching twenty feet, of elegant habit. The true frankmass, or luban tree, inhabits, as far as is at present known, two limited districts. . . . in tropical Arabia and eastern tropical Africa. . . . The whole tree abounds in fragrant gum-resin, which exudes as a milky juice from the leaves and flowers, as well as from the stem when wounded. . . . The gum is obtained by making incisions in the tree. In due time it hardens, and its ' large, clear globules' are collected. It is employed as a fumigating agent to overpower unpleasant odours" "Medicinal Plants" — Bentley and Truman, Vol. I., pp. 58, 59.

The first of the three classes, or five divisions, of the meal offering, deals with the fine flour prior to its being dressed for human food. The remaining classes or divisions deal with the flour, or the corn, as dressed for human food. The manner of this preparation is that common to daily life in the East. The greatest truths respecting the Bread of Life are shadowed forth by the commonest incidents of man's ordinary existence. The food prepared was either "baken in an oven," or rather an earthen pot; (Lev. 2:4) or "baken in a pan," a flat iron slice or gridle; (ver. 5) or boiled in a cauldron as "frying-pan" should read; (ver. 7) or, if it were composed of "green ears of corn," these were "dried by the fire-corn beaten out of full ears." (ver. 14.)

The first offering of this order presents instruction of the deepest kind. Before man partook of the food of which the meal offering was composed, Jehovah had had His portion of it, in the form of fine flour, previous to its preparation for human consumption. The fine flour is a figure of Christ's perfect humanity, in all its holy evenness, and in which there was no harshness, or inequality. He is the "Bread of God," that is, the satisfaction of God's heart, and He is presented thus before He is shown to be the "Bread of Life" (John 6:33-35) for man. As the fire of Jehovah on the altar consumed the whole of the burnt offering, God is figured as having His portion in the incarnate Son, "His bread." Man's portion in Christ is afterward presented. Upon the fine flour, oil — the emblem of the Holy Spirit — was poured, and frankincense — the figure of the sweet odours of the graces of Christ — was laid. The priest took out his handful of the fine flour, mingled with oil, and the whole of the frankincense, and this was burned "upon the altar, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto Jehovah." (Lev. 2:2.) It was burned in conjunction with the burnt offering, and thus, in hallowed symbolism, the sweet savour of Christ in His death and in His life arose to heaven. The frankincense, which was a white gum, when placed upon the fire gave forth spontaneous and powerful fragrance.

In the four remaining meal offerings, the gift was rendered suitable by fire for man's food, and from it thus prepared the offering was made to Jehovah. Christ, the Bread of Life, is given not only in incarnation for spiritual food to man, but in death. The Living Bread is He which came down from heaven, and "if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever"; but the fire was necessary; "The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:51.)

Broad principles respecting sacrifices generally are introduced into the instructions respecting the meal offering, that is, where Christ is figured with reference to His perfection as a man. No leaven, i.e., corruption, was to be present in any offerings made to Jehovah, for "in Him is no sin"; (John 3:5.) and salt, the emblem of incorruption, was never to be absent from them. The salt of the covenant implies the active sanctifying effect of God's will upon us. Honey was excluded from all offerings, while frankincense accompanied only some of them. The sweetness, which is so pleasant to man, was not to be offered to God, while the sweet odour His fire calls forth was the holy savour so pleasing to Him.

The morning and evening sacrifices of the burnt offering, with the accompanying "gift," must be mentioned here. From dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn all the year round, the sweet savour arose to heaven. Upon the altar of burnt offering, whose fire of acceptance was never to go out, a constant witness ascended, an unvarying testimony to Jehovah of the worth of the freewill offering. Whether Israel brought offerings or not to God, He preserved to Himself the constant burnt offering, and this daily was the foundation of Israel's sacrifices. And we may apply this law of the offerings to eternity, for the fire of acceptance which occasions the sweet savour to God "shall ever be burning"; "it shall never go out." (Lev. 6:12, 13.)

The third and last of the sweet-savour offerings were the peace offerings. While Jehovah by the altar consumed the whole of the burnt offering; and while He with the priests partook of the "gift" offerings; Jehovah, the priests, and the offerer respectively partook of the peace offering. The order, as has already been observed, was in exercise before Israel camped in Sinai, and the apostle Paul refers to it in relation to the fellowship at "the Lord's table" — "We are all partakers of that one bread," "are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?" and he terms the altar of the heathen "a table"* in this connection. The prophets of old termed the brazen altar "a table" (See Mal. 1:7.) in similar manner. Even in Western lands the sense of fellowship still remains in the act of eating and drinking together. The sacrifice partly consumed by Jehovah on the altar, partly eaten by the priests, and partly by the offerer and his friends. was a great act of fellowship of the most sacred kind — God and man had communion together in the sacrifice.

{*The table of demons" (1 Cor. 10:14-21}.}

Whatever was the order of the offering, certain great principles respecting the offering itself were maintained. It was ever offered without blemish before Jehovah — the offerer laid his weight upon it — he killed it — and the fat and the blood were ever devoted to Jehovah upon the altar. The frequent repetition of these directions indicates their immense importance. The offerer was to bring the oblation of the peace offering with "his own hands" to Jehovah. His was to be a direct personal act. The fat and the breast were waved to and fro by the priest lifted up to express before Jehovah their value — and the giving and receiving back from Him of the gift offered to Him. The fat was burned, and the breast, received back, as it were, from Jehovah, became the portion of the high priest and his sons. The right shoulder fell to the lot of the priest who offered up to Jehovah the fat and the blood; the rest of the sacrifice was eaten by the offerer. The breast indicates the affections, and the shoulder the strength, of the creature; these portions were for those most intimately connected with the sacrifice, and thus it is with the sacrifice upon Whom the people of God feed: the love and power of Christ in His death, form their most hallowed communion.

This offering was "the most joyous of all sacrifices." "From its derivation it might be rendered the offering of completion." * In the law of the offerings — special instructions to the priests — the peace offering is placed last, and in view of the varied teachings respecting sacrifice, it comes in as the completing great act of fellowship between God and man.

{*"It always followed all the other sacrifices." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 106.}

Where there is true fellowship with God there will also be a real desire to communicate the joys of the feast to others. Thus to the feast of the peace offering guests were invited, and all were welcome provided they could sit down in a state of Levitical cleanness. Another principle should also be noticed: sometimes the peace offering would be sacrificed as a special thanksgiving.* When this was the case, the offerer ate his part of the sacrifice on the same day that Jehovah received His part of it upon the altar. The joy of the feast on the offerer's part was not to be separated from Jehovah's consuming fire upon the altar. The importance of this law is great, for religious services may degenerate into seasons of mere sensuous excitement. There may be festivals, or services, which, while conducted under the name of Christ, are really altogether apart from God's thoughts about Christ; and as pagan festivals stir up religious emotions, so do such "feasts" offer the occasion for worldly entertainment, and to them the solemn word of God is attached — "abomination."**

{*There are critics of the Scriptures who affirm that the beginning and end of the establishment of sacrifice came from a feeling of gratitude to the deity, and that in grateful symbolism his gifts should be rendered back to him. (See remarks in "Sanctuary and Sacrifice: a Reply to Wellhausen," by Dr. Baxter, p. 91.) But if this were the case, evolutionary ideas had sorely disturbed this first simplicity in Egypt in Moses' time. Indeed, long before it, the system of giving gifts to the gods, in order thereby to obtain prosperity, was accepted orthodoxy. "The gods who inhabited it" (the celestial world) "were dependent upon the gifts of mortals, and the resources of each individual deity, and consequently his power, depended on the wealth and number of his worshippers. . . . The gods dispensed happiness, health and vigour; to those who made them large offerings and instituted pious foundations, they lent their own weapons, and inspired them with needful strength to overcome their enemies. It was, therefore, to the special interest of everyone in Egypt. . . to maintain the goodwill and power of the gods. . . . Daily gifts were brought of every kind; animals were sacrificed on the spot; bread, flowers, fruits, drinks, as well as perfumes, stuffs, vases, pearls, bricks or bars of gold, silver, lapis-lazuli, were all heaped up in the treasury within the recesses of the crypts." In Chaldea also such ideas as sacrifices being merely thank offerings to the deity, if they had ever existed, were changed in early times. The god had to be "nourished, clothed, and amused. . . . The statues erected to him in the sanctuary furnished him with bodies." And these were "served with food and drink." "The priest solemnly invited the gods to the [sacrificial] feast," and "when they had finished their repast, the supplication of a favour was adroitly added, to which they gave a favourable hearing." "O Sun," ran one of these invocations, "at the raising of my hands, come to the supplicator and eat his offering; consume his victim, strengthen his hand; and may he be delivered by thy order from his affliction, may his evil be driven away." "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, pp. 302, 679, 681, and note.

**"It shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination" (Lev. 7:18).}

Chapter 37: Offerings and Sacrifices in Israel.

Sin Offerings

In the preceding chapter we have glanced at the first great division of the five offerings, the burnt, the meal, and the peace offerings, which comprised those of the voluntary class. We shall now look at those of the second great division, the sin and the trespass offerings, which were the compulsory offerings. Broad principles govern each division. Those of the first division, in greater or less fullness, were typical of the truth contained in these words, "Christ. . . hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour"; (Eph. 5:2) those of the second were in like manner typical of the truth contained in these words, "He hath made Him sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21.) The offerings of the first kind represent Christ's perfect offering of Himself to God; those of the second represent the imposition of sin upon Him. The second division of offerings was instituted after the righteousness demanded by the holy law had been proclaimed, and by them the failure of man in obeying certain of the divine commands was provided for. Thus, by the accompaniment of a provision for man's sin and transgression* with the revelation given by God in Horeb of His righteousness, lies a moral witness to the period of their institution. But while these offerings are morally and historically linked with the statutes and commandments given in Horeb, they symbolize sin and transgression in various forms, and the divine provision for the sinner. Hence they are of eternal significance. The necessity of a specific offering for sin was written in the legends of the heathen before Jehovah instituted such offerings in Horeb, and where there is knowledge of God, or, it may be, but legends of Him in His holiness, the needs-be for a sin offering is felt.

{*The sacrifices treated of in chapters 1-3 are introduced by their names, as though already known. . . . In chapters 4 and 5 sacrifices are appointed for different offences, which receive their names for the first time from the objects to which they apply, i.e., from the sin, or the trespass, or debt expiated by them. . . a clear proof that sin and debt offerings were introduced at the same time as the Mosaic Law" "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 302.}

There were two orders of sin offerings — that of sin, and that of trespass or guilt — and these, while a necessity on the offerer's part, were on Jehovah's part an expression of abhorrence of sin, but also of its forgiveness.

No option as to their nature or value was permitted, both were precisely regulated by divine law. The importance of this principle cannot be too earnestly observed. No offering was possible unless it was exactly that which Jehovah had commanded. But nevertheless provision was made for poverty; still the provision was of divine institution. The poor and the rich were equally called to obedience. A high position called for a costly offering; a lower one, an offering less valuable. The most important offering was that of the "anointed priest," the high priest, since an error committed in his service might be "to the sinning of the nation"; for by his position of official nearness to God his sin would affect God's relationship with the whole of the people. The next in importance was that of the whole assembly; lessening in value came the offering of a ruler; and in the offering of an ordinary person, and one who was poor, the scale descended to its lowest. All the sins provided for were such as had been committed in error; the law knowing no forgiveness for high-handed sin — "without mercy," in such cases, the sinner was put to death. (Heb. 10:28.)

The sin offering was presented to God in a similar way to the burnt offering. The offerer laid his hand upon it;* he identified himself with it, or, as the sequel shows, he transferred his sin to it,** and it was then killed before Jehovah. The disposal of the blood followed.*** For this disposal in the greater of the sin offerings three distinct acts took place. The anointed priest first took some of the blood within the Holy, and sprinkled it seven times before the vail that hung before Jehovah's throne. Next, he placed some of the blood upon the horns of the golden altar. Lastly, he poured out the mass of the blood at the foot of the altar of burnt offering.

{*"Laying on of hands . . . meant transmission and delegation and implied representation . . . The sacrifice was so turned that the person looked towards the west while he laid his hands between the horns of the sacrifice . . . It was done with one's whole force." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 87.

**It was offered "as his guilt, i.e., for the expiation of his guilt, which he had brought upon himself." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 311.

***"In all burnt, trespass, and peace offerings, the blood was thrown directly cut of the vessel or vessels in which it had been caught. . ." so that the "sides of the altar were covered. . . . Any blood left. . . was poured at the base of the altar. . . . In all sin offerings the blood was not thrown, but sprinkled . . ." "From all sin offerings, the blood of which was sprinkled on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, certain portions were to be eaten, while those whose blood was brought into the Holy place itself were wholly burnt." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, pp. 89, 90.}

The first action indicated the necessity of satisfying the righteousness of Jehovah's throne, and how that the uplifted hand of the high priest, sprinkling seven times before it the blood of the victim which had been made sin, perfectly met its claims. The second action indicated that the power of intercession the horns of the golden altar was established in righteousness. The fragrance of its incense followed the vindication of divine justice by the blood of the sin offering. The third action proclaimed for those whose sin had brought them to God, His forgiveness at the provided meeting-place — the altar. In the case of a private person, the blood of the sin offering was in certain cases placed upon the four horns of the altar of burnt offering. Anointed with the sacrificial blood they looked east and west, north and south, and declared the power of pardon* to all who approached God by God's way.

{*According to the Talmud, "whenever the blood touches the altar the offerer is atoned for." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services "Edersheim, p. 90.}

The adjoining diagram will assist the eye in following the three actions. Eternal principles are present in these object lessons. First of all, God in His divine majesty is to be considered. God proposes to man and accepts from man no other means, save the blood of the appointed sin offering, as satisfaction for sin, and this the pardoning power of the blood the four horns of the altar — proclaimed to all the earth. Man, on his part, identifies himself by faith with the offering, and thus, too, did the apostle when he said, He "gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20.) And more, faith rests in the assurance that our sins were transferred to the Offering for our sins, when Jehovah "laid on Him the iniquity of us all," (Isa. 53:6; Rom. 5:1.) and thus through faith "we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ."

After the disposal of the blood, the fat* of the offering was burned, and it arose, together with the burnt offering, in sweet savour on high. The victim offered for sin, was in itself acceptable to God, its inward excellence was holy before Him; the burning of the fat of the sin offering is expressly described as "a sweet savour" a smell of delight — "unto Jehovah." (Lev. 4:31.) And nowhere else save as at the cross of Christ, where He endured the judgment and the wrath of God against sin, did such excellency, such honour and glory, arise from His obedience and suffering to death, to His God.

{*The fat — that is the net of fat which covers the inwards — was burnt upon (over) the burnt offering"; and the "fat tail" of the sheep was dealt with in like manner. "The fat portions which were burned are called 'food of the firing for Jehovah,' or, 'food of the firing for a sweet savour"' "Daily burnt offerings, and the burnt and sin offerings of the different feasts, are called 'the food of Jehovah' ('My bread,' Num. 28:2); but the sacrifices generally are described as 'the food of God ' ('the bread of their God,' ch. 21:6, 8, 17, 21, 22, and 22:25); as food. . . caused to ascend to its God in fire as a sweet-smelling savour" "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Kiel and Delitzsch, pp. 300, 301.}

Last of all, the carcass of the sacrifice was burnt. But it was not burned upon the altar or with the fire of acceptance; on the contrary, it was burned* outside the camp, for it was regarded as sin, and in no sense a sweet savour. Yet, when that which had been made sin was no more, its ashes were mingled with those of the burnt offering. The sacrifices were practically one.

{*"According to Rabbinical expression, the sin-bearing animal is on that ground expressly designated as something to be rejected and abominable." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 92.}

We will now look for a few moments at the provision in the sin offering which was made for human poverty, and in so doing we shall find some important principles. In the laws of nature there are points where one order of life and form shades off by almost imperceptible degrees to another order. A similar principle occurs in divine truth. The dividing line between one truth and another in some cases is so delicate as to forbid attempts to define it. Broadly viewed, the division between sweet savour aid sin offerings is very marked, but within the order of sin offerings, there is a remarkable shading off into the character of sweet savour offerings. The case of a man, too poor to present an animal as the offering which his sin demanded, is provided for. His offering was taken from the kingdom of birds. One of these was dealt with in a way resembling a burnt offering — the other was a sin offering. Thus poverty deprived the sin offering of half its emphasis. Its firm, decided character was gone. Yet deeper poverty still was provided for. The vegetable kingdom was resorted to. Ten ephahs of flour — merely plain flour without even oil — were presented before the altar. In this sin offering most remarkable absences are noticeable. Life which had been in the blood was not there; the hand could not be laid upon the victim, and, therefore, no transference of sin was possible. The lofty character of the offering in its relation to God, as symbolized in the offerings of the high priest and the people collectively, could not, of course, enter into this offering: hence the threefold utterance of the blood was unheard; and the voice from the horns of the altar was silent. The figures of the offering being made sin and of its consumption with the fire outside the camp, were absent. In a word, the great characteristics of the sin offering were not to be found. It was an offering rather than a sacrifice.

All that was offered was flour; but God stooped down and received it. However, God did inflexibly require a sin offering. Now, into this sin offering which met the claim of God, the priest placed his hand, and took out his handful. This he burnt upon the burnt offering as it lay upon the blood-sprinkled altar, and the offering was accepted, and the man received forgiveness.

Perhaps there is no aspect of Christ's offering up of Himself to God, regarding which the influence of this century's thought has generated spiritually poorer views than that of His sacrifice for sin. The greatness of His sacrifice for sin in bringing glory to the throne and majesty of God is clouded, and the might of His work in putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and in His appearing for us in the presence of God as High Priest in heaven, is too frequently hardly traceable. And because the glory of Christ's work, God-wards, is so poorly laid hold of, the effects of His work, man-wards, are so little rejoiced in. As the sin offering, He "suffered without the gate,"* and was "made sin for us." (2 Cor. 5:21.) The fullest measure that the types of sacrifice for sin portray, was all realized in Himself when He was forsaken of God. As the sin offering, He "bare our sins in His own body on the tree," (1 Peter 2:24) so that they are gone, and we are "made the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21.)

{*"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. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." (Heb. 13:11-13)}

Can we not see the answer in Christendom to the offering for sin of the plain flour by the poverty-stricken Jewish worshipper? And can we not see in the action of the Jewish priest in taking his handful of that flour, and in his placing it upon the altar of sweet savour offerings, a figure of our Great High Priest in heaven, rendering our poor and feeble faith in His sacrifice acceptable before God? The flour laid upon the altar obtained its fragrance from the sweet savour of the burnt offering which arose in its excellence to God; the priest's hand transformed it into a wealth of fragrance.

Another significant act of the priest in relation to the sin offering may be noticed here. In instances where the offering was for an individual, the priest that offered it for sin, ate the offering. The priest thereby identified himself with the sin of the offerer. "The priest had not committed the sin; on the contrary, he had made atonement for it. . . .. Thus Christ — giving us the most complete consolation — Himself spotless, and Who has made atonement, yet identified Himself with all our faults and sins. . . .. He who drew near came with confession and humiliation, but as regards guilt and judgment, they. . . . were taken up by the priest, and reached not the judgment seat of God, so as to affect the relation between God and the offender."*

{*"Synopsis of the Books of the Bible," Leviticus, p. 155.}

The order of trespass,* or guilt offerings, was similar in certain respects to that of the sin offerings. Specific acts of sin are contemplated by it, as to which, spearing generally, some measure of restitution on man's part was possible. And when the possibility occurred the restitution was inflexibly required. Christ is without doubt the great Restorer for us before God. He has restored "that which" He "took not away," (Ps. 69:4) He has re-established all the trespass man has committed before God, and has added His part thereto; He has magnified the law (Isa. 42:21) which man had broken. Nevertheless there are sins both towards God and man which cannot be regarded as truly repented of by the transgressor unless restitution be made; for example, if a man rob God, or rob his neighbour, and there be genuine faith in the value of Christ's sacrifice respecting the forgiveness of that sin, there will be, as man's accompaniment to God's forgiveness, restitution. "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." (James 2:17.) The forgiveness of God produces practical fruits in our everyday life. Our first duty to our fellow-men as forgiven of God is to make them honourable restitution for any specific wrong we may have caused them. "There can be no doubt, that as the idea of the expiation of sin, which was embodied in the sprinkling of the blood, was most prominent in the sin offering; so the idea of satisfaction for the restoration of rights that had been violated or disturbed came into the foreground in the trespass-offering."** The practical bearing of the trespass offering on everyday life in Israel was all-important, and a similar quality is demanded by Christianity, in view of which the exhortation of St. James may be well laid earnestly to heart, "Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22.)

{*"The trespass offering contemplated chiefly a wrong, for which decided satisfaction was to be made by offering a male animal, and for which a definite, unvarying ransom was to be given." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 101.}

{**See "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 317.}

While the offerings for sin gradated downwards to meet. man in his lowest extremity of poverty — symbolically in his feeblest apprehension of Christ's sacrifice — the order rose up to the highest spiritual elevation, in its symbolizing the satisfaction of God, in His own holiness, in reference to sin. This all-embracing order, therefore, reached down to the depths of man's need, and ascended to the heights of God's requirements.

One special service of atonement — the annual expiation* — must be referred to. It was specifically the sin offering of the year, by the services of that day Israel was brought into a state which enabled the nation, its priests and people, to approach God and to render to Him all the other offerings of His institution. On the Great Day of Atonement the sin offering stood apart from all others in the year of Israel. Its peculiar services owed their origin to the sin of the priests in their holy service, on account of which the meeting-place between God and Israel was turned into the place of His judgment and man's death, and it was in response to this evil that God instituted an offering for sin which should establish the glory of His throne in judgment, and yet at the same time effect the pardon of sin. (See Lev. 16:11, 14.)

{*The laws of sacrifice and purification received their completion and finish in the institution of the Festival of Atonement, which provided for the congregation of Israel the highest and most comprehensive expiation that was possible under the Old Testament. . . . From the expiation effected upon this day it received the name of 'Day of Expiations,' i.e., of the highest expiation (ch. 23:27)." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 395.}

The Great Day of Atonement was the only divinely-commanded fast of Israel's religious year; and it was the day of all others that most acutely concerned the whole nation as a sinning people. Yet the high priest alone conducted its services. He alone made the atonement;* no co-priest assisted him; Israel could but look on, with hope centred in him, who was the type of the great Worker on man's account. And as no one was allowed to be within the Holy until the high priest came out, so the idea of co-mediators and co-redeemers with Christ in heaven is a transgression of the divine reality.

{*"There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the Holy, until he come out, and have made an atonement" (Lev. 16:7).}

The high priest entered that day into the Holiest of All three times, attired in his plain white linen robes, and when the service of the atonement was completed he put on his garments of glory and beauty. His first entry was in order to carry in the incense,* which action occupied both his hands. (Lev. 16:12.) His second entry was with the blood of the sin offering for himself and his house. His third entry was with the blood of the sin offering on behalf of the people. In these two last actions both his hands were again called into service. Indeed, the use of both hands on this day, as in the pressing them upon the head of the sacrifice, is remarkable. (Lev. 16:21.) The action lends intensity to the work.

{*The censer was said to be golden.}

The high priest on that day was, personally, a representation of Christ in the majesty of His person and in the power of His work, effecting atonement before God in glory solely His own. Of that day, Jehovah said, "I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat." (ver. 2.) He revealed Himself in His majesty in the symbol. The cloud above the earth is a symbol of heavenly glory, and is so used frequently in the Scriptures, and it was thus employed in the sanctuary. The high priest entered into Jehovah's presence in the cloud of incense, which arose to the cloud in which Jehovah appeared.* The "cloud of incense" of the personal glory of Christ arises to the "cloud" of the infinite heights of the absolute glory of God. And we may well say, "Such a High Priest became us," (Heb. 7:26) and none other than He could make atonement, and His own personal glories fit Him to make it.

{*"That the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat" (ver. 13).}

The Holiest of All being filled with the incense, the high priest went out again into the court of the sanctuary. Having placed some of the blood of the bullock of his sin offering and that of his house within a bowl, he for the second time entered in the dwelling of Jehovah, and passed within the vail of separation. He entered officially — as high priest — and sprinkled the blood once upon the mercy seat and seven times upon the ground before it. Having thus made atonement, he left the habitation and went again into the court.

By the services he had performed the high priest was fitted to make atonement for the people, and he prepared their sin offering. This was composed of two goats* — the two forming in combination one sin offering. Lots were cast for these; and one became Jehovah's — the other, the people's. Care was taken to have each goat as much like the other as possible; nevertheless, the disposition of them was entirely different. Jehovah's was slain — the people's was "let go." The blood of the goat slain for sin was taken within the sanctuary; the live goat was sent away with sins confessed upon it. Jehovah's accomplished atonement and reconciliation; the people's, effected the oblivion of the sins that had been transferred to it. The effects produced by the second were caused by the atonement accomplished by the first.

{*"According to the distinct words of verse 5 the two goats were to serve as a sin offering. . . . The Talmudists. . . laid down the law on that very account, that they were to be exactly alike — colore, statura, et valore. The living goat, therefore, is not to be regarded merely as the bearer of the sin to be taken away, but as quite as truly a sin offering as the one that was slaughtered," "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 403.}

The high priest himself, on the Great Day of Atonement, killed the sin offering, and with its blood he in his own person effected the atonement and reconciliation. The cloud of the incense was still lingering within the Holiest of All, when, for the third time, the high priest entered it, with the blood of the sin offering which had been Jehovah's. He was about to perform three great acts in reference to the blood: the first, in the Holiest of All; the second, in the Holy; the third, in the court of the tabernacle, and thereby to reconcile "the Holy, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar." (See Lev. 16:20.)

First, then, he entered into the immediate presence of Jehovah, where He dwelt alone, and sprinkled some of the blood upon the throne or mercy seat.* This was done "once,"** the blood being placed "upon the mercy seat eastward," therefore on that part of it which faced the entrance gate into the sanctuary, through which Israel approached Jehovah. This was the foundation for all the purifications which followed. By virtue of the atoning blood the outlook of the throne of divine holiness towards the people could be one of mercy.

{*"The blood of both sacrifices was taken not merely into the Holy place, but into the Most Holy, and sprinkled directly before the throne of God. This was done to show that true atonement could only take place before the throne of God Himself." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 401.

** The emphatic "once for all" occurs three times in the epistle to the Hebrews (ch. 7:27; 9:12; 10:10). See R.V.}

Next the high priest sprinkled the ground before the mercy seat. Once "upon" the throne, for "once for all," is the highest tribute to absolute perfection; seven times "before" the throne, for the way of God on earth is governed by perfection in relation to earth. Thus was made "atonement for the Holy place" (Lev. 16:16) where God dwelt, and a pavement of righteousness was established for His footsteps towards man. He could come forth. in holiness, and yet act in mercy. We have in the epistle to the Romans "that He might be just and the justifier," words which expressly describe the symbol. A moral ability is stated; by virtue of the atonement God can pardon the sinner; "Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness. . . that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Rom. 3:24-26.)

The second great act of the high priest was performed in the Holy, where the feet of the priests so constantly trod. The priests attended to the lighting of the lamps and the supplying the holy table; and priestly work in its highest form was expressed at the golden altar of incense. But even the priests' feet, cleansed by the water of the laver, and busy in hallowed service, left defilement in the Holy chamber, and consequently purification and reconciliation were needed there. The high priest put the blood upon the horns of the golden altar (See Ex. 30:10) and sprinkled it upon the ground seven times, and thus the Holy was cleansed.*

{*Lev. 16:16. "So shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation that dwelleth" (margin) "among them in the midst of their uncleanness."}

The third great act took place in the court, where Israel could enter and approach God at the altar. Here had stood the worshipper with his offering of sweet savour, and here, too, had sin impelled the transgressor to bring his sin offering. The court and its altar needed cleansing. The high priest first put the blood of the sacrifices upon the horns of the altar, and then he "sprinkled of the blood upon it with his finger seven times." (Lev. 16:19.) The horns of the altar were touched with blood in the case of sin offerings, while in the case of the sweet savour offerings the blood was cast upon the altar walls; thus this double action of placing the blood upon the horns of the altar, and sprinkling it upon the altar, betokened all the offerings where life was surrendered to Jehovah in sacrifice.

The remarkable connection between the brazen altar and the mercy seat is made apparent by this illustration. The height of the mercy seat was half that of the brazen altar; half way up the brazen altar was the grate or grating which marked the place for casting the blood of the sacrifice, and this was exactly the level of the top of the mercy seat. The blood of Christ shed upon His cross is the precise measure of the claims of the throne of God against sin. "The throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev. 22:3) is one throne, one standard of absolute holiness and righteousness, and God has no other way of satisfying the demands of His own throne against sin save the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, which "cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7.)

Upon page 239 a diagram showing The Way of men to God is given. The diagram upon the opposite shows The Way of God to men. God begins with His throne in the great work of atonement and reconciliation. His way is from Himself in His holiness to man in his sinfulness. Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. (Rom. 5:21.) God, having made peace through the blood of the cross of Christ, reconciles all things in heaven and in earth to Himself; (Col. 1:20) but first, the peace upon the basis of which He reconciles had to be made. That part of the sin offering which was Jehovah's lot teaches the way of God to men. And this was assured and established on the Great Day of Atonement before that part of the sin offering which was the people's lot was disposed of, for only "when the high priest had made an end of reconciling the Holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar," was he to "bring the live goat" (Lev. 16:20) for disposal.

In the summing up of the results of the great atonement, a threefold removal of sin is presented: first from the Holiest of All, where Jehovah dwelt alone; next, from the Holy places, used by priests and people; and, thirdly, from the priests and people themselves. After the three parts of the sanctuary had been purified so that Jehovah could dwell in the midst of Israel, the hearts of priests and people were set at rest in His presence in the consciousness that their sins were removed. This was effected by the disposal of the goat of the sin offering which had fallen to their lot. — It was for them, not for a haunting spirit of darkness as some would have it; it was for them, to secure to their consciences the realization of the value of the atonement which had been effected in the presence of God for them. We have to remember that it had been presented to Jehovah, in company with the goat which had been slain. (Lev. 16:9, 10.) In temple times, the manner in which this was done was most suggestive; the one offering the two goats was presented to Jehovah at the beginning of the service; and the goats were so placed as to face westwards — i.e., towards His throne — and after their acceptance the goat selected for Jehovah's part in the sacrifice was slain.

When Jehovah's had accomplished that which He required, Israel's was brought forward to accomplish that which they required. The goat was so placed as to face the people, that is, eastwards, and the high priest laid both his hands upon its head and confessed over it "all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins." After this it was sent away into the wilderness, never to return; it was absolutely separated from the people.* Their sins, which had been the occasion of the blood being carried into the Holiest of All, were atoned for before Jehovah, and were removed from their consciences. The atoning blood remained upon the throne, and God said, "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." (Heb. 10:17.)

{*Lev. 16:21-28. "After the living goat had been sent away, Aaron was to go into the tabernacle, i.e., the Holy place of the dwelling, and there to take off his white clothes and lay them down, i.e., put them away, because they were only to be worn in the performance of the expiatory ritual of this day. . . . He was then to put on his clothes, i.e., the coloured state dress of the high priest, and to offer in this the burnt offerings." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 405.}

The Christian is privileged to rejoice in the substance of which these striking figures were a shadow. Christ, our High Priest, has entered into the Holy place on high in the power of His own blood, and has glorified forever the throne of divine majesty. "Once," and forever, His blood has vindicated and established divine holiness. That selfsame blood now purges the conscience (Heb. 2:14) of the worshipper of God. Our knowledge of sin is due to our knowledge of God's holiness; our knowledge of God's holiness is obtained by God's revelation respecting the cross of His Son; and that revelation teaches us that our sins are purged.

The reader of Leviticus commits an injustice to himself unless he reads also those parts of the New Testament which refer to the orders of offerings communicated to Israel by Moses. God, in His laws respecting sacrifice, teaches what He is, and what He requires from sinful man. There is absolute unity of thought and mind in both Old and New Testaments upon these all-important revelations. Of all things which the theology of religious evolution of this nineteenth century dislikes, is the truth about sin, and therefore about sacrifice, unless it may be said that its supreme dislike is the truth about God. It is obvious that the truth about God can be obtained only from God's revelation of Himself; but we have shown in the foot-notes* to this and the previous chapter that the ancient pagans had in their legends and practice remnants of the ancient revelation, which was enforced and more fully made known through Moses, and which is completely made manifest in the New Testament — and this revelation it is, which modern religious thought hopes to evolve out of its science.

{*The propitiatory idea in sacrifice, despite the falseness of its mode, was present in a very acute form in primal Chaldea — where "in most ancient times it would appear that even human sacrifices were offered." While in Egypt, long anterior to Moses, human sacrifices were made, in his era "hostile chiefs taken in war were still put to death before the gods"; and, further, in certain towns "human sacrifice lasted until near Roman times." It was accepted that enemies of the gods "had taken refuge in the bodies of certain animals; hence it was really human beings, or divine victims, which were offered when beasts were slaughtered in sacrifice before altars." Underlying this last notion is to be found the sense of the necessity of a sacrifice worthy of the god to be propitiated. See "The Dawn of Civilization" — Maspero, p. 680 and note p. 681, notes p. 168.}

Chapter 38: The Divine Stamp Upon the Course of Time

We bring our volume to a close with some remarks on the divine stamp upon the course of Time. Egypt, which once worshipped One Sole God, as we have seen, evolved gods many while the centuries passed by, and, at length, its cultured and refined people fell down before the beasts which perish; while as if to stamp on time itself the extent of its downfall, Egypt connected its system of worship with the round of the year. Jehovah led back His people, whom He had brought out of Egypt's darkness into His light, to those truths respecting Himself which, at the first, He had communicated to man; and more, He taught Israel to expect the fulfilment of His promises to their fathers. Light, truth, and hope were their portion in the oracles of God. And in order that Israel should keep His ways and His promises in remembrance, He stamped upon the passing weeks, months, and years, the memory of that which He had done, and the promise of that which He would do, for Israel. He sanctified the voices of Time's flowing river, and caused them to utter His Name repeatedly in Israel's ears, whether by the song of rest on the weekly sabbath, the blowing of trumpets at the new moons, or their "joyful noise" at the end of the year.

The course of time had possessed a sacred import from the earliest ages. The nations of the earth had their solemn festivals, and it is not improbable that in the remotest antiquity they read in the constellations divine principles relating to the earth's future. But they departed from the truth they once knew; they magnified the celestial bodies above the Creator; and their knowledge of the recurrence of the seasons of seed-time and harvest being acquired from the celestial orbs, they rendered to those orbs sacrifices and religious ceremonies. The earth, in their eyes, was under the spiritual influence of these orbs, as well as being naturally influenced by them. In our own times the science of astronomy has taught us how it is that the earth is influenced by the celestial bodies, and also how that, in its turn, the earth influences them, and that with them it forms part of one great system. God tells us that this system, like the earth itself, has a destiny. (2 Peter 3:13.)

It cannot be positively affirmed that this earth speaks to other worlds in the manner in which they speak to it — by light given and by light withheld, and by paths covered by periodic courses. But when God said of this earth, "Let there be light, and light was," we may surely imagine responding light beaming forth from it to the surrounding orbs of heaven, and when this earth "shall be burned up" (ver. 10) we may suppose that its light shall temporarily cease; and we may well conceive that, when it is once more made new, (Rev. 21:1) its light shall burst forth again.

Certain it is that intelligent beings, who are not human, even the Sons of God, expressed their joyful interest in the laying of the earth's foundations, (Job 38:7) and a deeper joy when the multitude of their heavenly host visited it on the birth of its King. (Luke 2:13.) Also, certain it is that on an assigned day yet to come, the armies of heaven shall accompany earth's now rejected King from His heavenly position on the throne of God, (Rev. 19:11-16) as He descends to His seat upon the earth's throne to establish His kingdom. (Matt. 24:30; 25:31.) Further, these beings of heaven "desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:12) the mysteries of the earth's future; but from them, as from man, that day is hidden, (Mark 13:32) the dawn of which shall herald the glory of the King.

The measures of time upon this earth are part of a great plan of God. For though the whole of the period filled by man's tenancy of earth, when compared with the time occupied by various distant stars in fulfilling their courses, is but as a hand's breadth, still this little hand's breadth is portioned out with the minutest accuracy in particles of moments. This fact is full of suggestion; the time tables of the sky are fulfilled with absolute precision.

In order that we may better enter into the significance of the yearly feasts of Jehovah, instituted when Israel was in Horeb, we glance at the religious feasts of Egypt. It will be seen by the manner in which the holy days were appointed in Israel, that reference was made to the actual condition of religious thought and ways which existed in Egypt regarding time when Israel was there.

There was a vague and a fixed year in Egypt, one slightly differing in duration from the other.* One was due to the course of the moon, by which the twelve months were measured, the other was due to the course of the sun, while by the stars the seasons were adjusted.

{*"The Egyptian civil solar year consisted of three hundred and sixty-five days, divided into twelve months of thirty days each, at the end of which were added the five days called epact, or intercalated. This civil year was always used by the Egyptians for the common epochs and calculations of the people, and the dates of their kings, ages of men, and the like. That used by the priests for astronomical purposes was different, and was calculated from the heliacal rising of the Dog Star (Sothis) to that of the ensuing year, and consisted of three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days." "Every fourth year a day was intercalated, as in the Julian year, making it to consist of three hundred and sixty-six days." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. III., p. 104. "The loss of the day in four years was, however, soon known to the Egyptians, and used by them as a mode of constructing a great cycle, which in Ptolemaic times became very prominent, and entered into all their fanciful adjustments of history and myths." "A History of Egypt" — Petrie, Vol. I., p. 249.}

The seasons were fixed,* the months were movable; and thus during a definite cycle of years each month passed through the seasons. The twelve months were dedicated to twelve gods;** the three seasons were periodic festivals. Thus by an ingenious process*** each of the twelve gods in rotation came in for the honours of the festivals, and hence no jealousy was caused amongst them; or, shall we say, that the various temples and the colleges of priests received in turn the glory of the festivals, and the profits accruing from them. By the system regulating the round of Egypt's religious year, the progress of time was devoted to the honour of demons, and the true meaning of time, its divisions and its issues, was lost. Isis-Sothis — that is, Isis and the Dog Star — was "The great lady of the commencement of the year."**** Egypt, we have said, had a deity ruling over each month; but more — every day also boasted of its peculiar god, and every hour had its presiding genius.***** Each child, when born, came into the world under some celestial authority, who for good or evil pursued him through life, and after this life, in the under world. We can imagine the great amount of business this brought to the priests, who foretold men's future according to the stars under which they were born. To be born under "a lucky star" meant a great deal to these old pagans; it meant more to their priests, who, while having access to the gods in the interests of their clients, ever kept an eye upon the profitable utilization of the "saints' days" of their calendar and the prosperity of their temple revenues. The deities of the sky sun gods and star gods had their temples, priests, and revenues; their feast days and fast days; their greater and lesser holy days; so that we may truly say Satan at the beginning laid hold of the calendar. And for thousands of years he has had his strongholds in it, and by it he maintains to this day his sway over millions of men. "The Egyptians boasted of being the first who had consecrated each month and day to a particular deity****** — a method of forming the calendar which has been imitated and preserved to the present day; the Egyptian gods having yielded their places to those of another Pantheon, which have in turn been supplanted by the saints of a Christian era."*******

{*The year was "divided into three seasons" — the season of water plants — of ploughing — of the waters. See "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., pp. 369, 373, 374

**"Each month was under the protection of a deity." Ibid., note, p. 369.

***"The Egyptians had, therefore, an object in retaining the vague year, in order that the festivals of the gods, in course of time, might pass through the different seasons of the year." Ibid.) p. 375.

****"Isis-Sothis, 'The great lady of the commencement of the year.' She caused 'the rise of the Nile at the proper time, or abundance of water to inundate the land."' See Ibid., note, Vol. III., p. 103. This goddess we have referred to previously; "her worship was universal throughout Egypt," and she assisted at the ordeal which took place before the judgment seat. She was styled "The Goddess Mother." See also Vol. III., pp. 108, 112. "The rising of the Nile had always been looked upon as the moment of rejoicing; the heliacal rising of this star (the Dog Star) happened when it was beginning to leave the confinement of its banks.". . . . The star's "first appearance had always been the signal for the priests to ascertain the favourable or unfavourable prospects its aspect was said to forbode." Ibid., Vol. III., p. 106.

*****"According to the Egyptian system, the hours were not merely dedicated to deities, each was considered a peculiar genius in itself, a minute fraction of the divine essence which pervaded it. . . . Each hour of the day and night had a name. . . . They bore on their heads stars." Ibid., Vol. III., p. 217.

******"Each day of the month was sacred to a deity, and had a festival, by which it could be cited instead of its numerical order." "The Ancient Egyptians" — Wilkinson, Vol. II., 1. 369; note by Birch.

*******Ibid., Vol. IL, pp. 454, 455.}

Bearing all this in mind, it is apparent that not only in Israel's calendar, but in the manner of its introduction, matters of importance will be found. Jehovah at the inauguration of Israel's New Year's Day had said: "This month shall be the beginning of months; it shall be the first month" — or the head of the months — "of the year to you." To this month was given the name Abib — "the month of the ears of corn." It was for Israel the month of life out of death, the fruitful month — a name most appropriate for the people at their birth into national life. This important principle in connection with their year is observable throughout the books of Moses, Joshua, and Judges, where Abib alone has a name, all the other months being spoken of in their relation to it by numbers, as the "second," the "third," and so on.*

{*"In the Pentateuch, and Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, we find but one month mentioned by a special name; the rest being called according to their order. The month with a special name is the first, which is called 'the month of the ears of corn,' or Abib." Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible" — Art., Chronology. "The week was divided into seven days, of which, however, only the seventh — the sabbath — had a name assigned to it, the rest being merely noted by numerals." "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, 174.}

It was impossible to refer to time in Egypt without uttering the name of a demon, and Israel was bidden, "Be circumspect, and make no mention of the name of other gods"; but in the calendar given to Moses, time was ever associated with Jehovah. Possibly when God gave Israel their New Year's Day He enabled them to read aright the clock of time, for Egypt, like more modern nations, had found considerable difficulty in arriving at the length and starting point of the true year.

Broadly speaking, Jehovah stamped upon His calendar three principles — the first, the remembrance of His way of delivering Israel from Egypt — the second, His goodness in preserving them in their land of promise — the third, His purpose in bringing them, and mankind with them, into a future rest. The last principle is in striking contrast with that of heathen calendars, which offer in their festivals no implied prospect of joy. Jehovah's accomplished deliverances were guarantees of the fulfilment of His promises; and the harvests Israel enjoyed in Canaan were evidences of greater harvests yet to come.

A seven of months formed the cycle of Jehovah's annual feasts, even as a seven of days culminated in the weekly feast of the sabbath. The sabbath is introduced at the commencement of the complete circle of the feasts; (see Lev. 23) it is the seed plot of the whole series. The first year of deliverance from Egypt began with a week ending with a sabbath, and the second week ended with the Passover sabbath. On the fifteenth day — the day after the second Sabbath — Egypt was left, that is, at the full moon, the symbol of the full strength of the month.* The year's feasts were of the number which is so frequently used by God in His measurements of prophetic time. The last of the seven of months, like the last of the seven of days, was a season of rest, and more, of joy. The seven of days proclaimed that rest should come, as well as that the rest of God from creation had taken place; the seven of months proclaimed how the rest should come, as well as that Israel had been delivered from Egyptian bondage. When the rest should come was left for the lips of the prophets to tell. But, week by week, God used the sun as the divider of time into days to announce the coming sabbath; and, month by month, He used the moon as the divider of time into months to announce the same news; while He used the seasons and their fruits, the corn harvest and the harvest of oil and wine, to teach how this end should be realized.

{*"The Jewish year consisted of twelve lunar months, the commencement of each of which was determined lay the visible appearance of the new moon. . . .. All the reckoning of months and of years depended on the actual Observation of the moon. . . .. The Paschal moon was kept in its season by the reference to the productions of the earth. . . . accumulated error was impossible." "A Handbook to the Bible" — Conder, pp. 82, 83.}

Let us look briefly at these seven feasts: — The Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles. They are divided into two groups of four and three. We shall consider the groups separately.

There was but one Passover, whilst there were numerous commemorations of it, or Feasts of the Passover. In Egypt the Passover was eaten standing, with loins girded, and in haste; in Canaan, on the contrary, the feast was partaken of reclining, with every attendant idea of the inheritance being gained. In its fullness this feast could only be kept in the land of promise. There the people were in the enjoyment of the favours into which Jehovah had brought them, and they used attitudes and symbols to emphasize this fact. The "cup of blessing"* was partaken of, and they blessed Jehovah in the feast as in their families they drank of it. The selected youth of the party recounted before the seniors, what Jehovah had done for their fathers in Egypt, relating the story minutely, and thus its wonders were, handed down from generation to generation.

{*"Not less than four cups of wine were to be drunk during the supper. Over the first cup was said the benediction proper to the day, and also that proper to the cup: 'Blessed be He who created the fruit of the vine.' When the second cup was filled, the son was taught to inquire of his father the order and meaning of the rite. . . . The benediction of the table was uttered at the filling of the third cup. . . . The fourth and last cup was tilled at the close of the hymn.' "A Handbook to the Bible" — Conder, p. 118}

The second feast commenced immediately after that of the Passover; it grew out of it, as, indeed, did the whole series of the first four feasts. Israel had left Egypt in haste, and had not had time properly to prepare their bread,* and Jehovah ordained in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a memorial of that night, and by the feast the spirit which should always characterize those who rejoice in His Passover. Jehovah had freed Israel from judgment and from corruption also! The Feast of Unleavened Bread was kept and rejoiced in for seven days — the perfect week of time. This feast of the Lord signified the soul's delight in holiness. Leaven, besides being in itself corruption, is a type of corruption, yet, strange to say, our ordinary bread is insipid without it. That which to our natural taste is insipid was a festal period of Jehovah.

{*"Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it. . . for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste" (Deut. 16:3).}

The last two feasts of the first four, were bound up with the harvest, and necessarily they could only be kept in the promised land. The Feast of the Firstfruits took place at the early barley harvest, on the morrow after that of the Passover. A sufficiency of early ears was selected to form a sheaf, and this was the sheaf of the firstfruits. It was brought before Jehovah, presented to Him, and waved before Him.* The sample of the harvest in the land He had given to Israel was offered to Him, then by the act of waving it was taken back from Him as a returned gift. By virtue of the wave sheaf, the harvest could be ingathered; without it, the harvest could not be touched. (Lev. 23:14.) The firstfruits were holy, and thus the whole was holy.

{*"The offering before Jehovah of the sheaf marked the first month, of which the old name 'Abib' signified 'the month of green ears.' The produce of the land for the year was consecrated to Jehovah by this act, and it was given back to His people for their free use." "The Speaker's Commentary," Leviticus, p. 619.}

The offerings connected with the wave sheaf were those of sweet savour and joy; they consisted of a burnt offering and its meat offering, and a drink offering. It was a hallowed festival, indicating the acceptability of the harvest before Jehovah, who received its firstfruits accompanied with offerings of sweet savour and joy.

Emanating from this feast was that of Pentecost, or Weeks. (Deut. 16:10.) It was linked with the Firstfruits, though in some respects it contrasted with it.* It dated from the wave sheaf: "Ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath. from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days."** These loaves were brought out of Israel's "habitations,"*** and they were "of fine flour. . . baken with leaven"**** They presented a very different symbol from that of the wave sheaf, which arose out of the earth and was pure in itself. Issuing from human dwellings the loaves spoke of humanity, and the leaven in them figured sin in man. Nevertheless, they also were "first fruits." The sheaf is the result of life out of death, the loaves are the result of that life obtained from the sheaf! Bread is the perfected outcome of the harvest. The two loaves were presented to Jehovah, in a somewhat similar way to that of the wave sheaf, except that they were waved together with sin as well as sweet savour offerings. Man's need as a sinful being was therefore provided for in connection with them. While the wave sheaf and the wave loaves were linked together, they each had distinctive features; both were part of the harvest, but one was figuratively of sinless import, the other was impressed by the stamp of sin. The one was accompanied with offerings of sweet savour to God; the other with sin offerings also. The wave sheaf is a figure of Christ risen from the dead, the wave loaves are a figure of Christ's people in association with Him.

{*"The priest was to wave the sheaf before Jehovah, i.e., to present it symbolically to Jehovah by the ceremony of waving, without burning any of it upon the altar. . . . No portion of the wave loaves was burned upon the altar, because nothing leavened was to be placed upon it. . . . the text only prescribes waving." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, pp. 439, 440.

**Lev. 23:15, 16. "The laws concerning the wave sheaf and wave loaves are bound together into one whole; and by this connection, which was established by reckoning the time for the Feast of Weeks from the day of the dedication of the sheaf, the two feasts were linked together into an eternal unity. The Jews recognized this — unity from the very earliest times, and called the Feast of Pentecost Azereth, because it was at the close of the seven weeks." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 444

***"The word translated 'habitations' does not strictly mean 'houses,' but places of abode in a general sense. . . .. The object of this offering seems to have been to present to the Lord the best produce of the earth in the actual condition in which it is most useful for the support of human life. . . .. The loaves appear to be distinctively called 'the first fruits for Jehovah.'" "The Speaker's Commentary," Leviticus p. 620.

****The loaves were "firstfruits 'for' Jehovah" (Lev. 23:1;7). The wave sheaf was the "firstfruits" of the "harvest" (ver. 10).}

These four feasts comprehended a period of seven weeks, and their consummation was the fiftieth day — i.e., Pentecost. From the Passover to Pentecost was therefore a complete period in itself. And this it was both as regarded the actual course of the seasons of the year, and the hidden signification covered by its festivals.

These feasts had a prophetic intention beyond their annual instruction, and this intention has been realized. Of the first two Scripture says, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast. . . . with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Cor. 5:7, 8.) All through time the true, spiritual feast which is attached to the commemoration of Christ's Paschal sacrifice, is holiness the joy of holiness to the Lord. The prophetic significance of the waving of the barley sheaf on the day following the Passover — that is, the fifteenth day — and also of the waving of the two loaves fifty days afterward, has received its fulfilment Christ kept the Passover sabbath in the grave. On the morn of the new week, He, the Firstfruits out of death, arose, and fifty days afterward — that is, at Pentecost — the Holy Ghost came down from heaven, and the firstfruits of the harvest of Jew and Gentile were presented to God. The stamp upon the calendar, made when Israel was in Horeb, is now discerned in the history of the death and resurrection of Christ, and in the descent of the Holy Ghost to earth. The dates of that calendar are written indelibly in the heart of His Church, and are recounted continually in every section of Christendom.

The Church, composed of Jew and Gentile, was born at Pentecost; it has been presented, or waved, by our great High Priest in heaven before God, and it is accepted in the power of His sacrifice on earth. It is part of the harvest of which He is the Firstfruits. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone," He said in reference to Himself; "but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." (John 12:24.)

The three last feasts were separated from the first four by a considerable laps of time. The climax of both the three and the four was a harvest, and thus the three great seasons of the earth's fruitfulness were commemorated. The first four occurred at the beginning of the year, the last three took place at its close; and as the first four were intimately connected with each other, so were the last three.

In the seventh month,* "in the first day of the month," a sabbath, a rest day, was held, and throughout the land trumpets were blown.** The trumpet call is a familiar figure of the summons of God. Israel had heard it at Sinai, and had obeyed its irresistible note. The sleep of man in the dust of death will be awakened by the sound of the trumpet, and all will arise at its bidding. Israel slept, as it were, after the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Trumpets bade them awake and prepare for the Great Day of Atonement.

{*"The seventh month was to secure to the congregation the complete atonement for all its sins, and the wiping away of all the uncleanness which separated it from its God — viz., on the Day of Atonement, which fell within this month — and to bring it a foretaste of the blessedness of life in fellowship with the Lord — viz., in the Least of Tabernacles, which commenced five days afterward. This significant of the seventh month was indicated by the trumpet-blast. . ." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 445.

**"The word rendered 'blowing of trumpets' means, literally, shouting. . . . There is, however, no reason to doubt the tradition that the day was distinguished by a general blowing of trumpets throughout the land, and that the trumpet generally used was the shophar, which it seems might have been either the horn of an animal or a cornet of metal." "The Speaker's Commentary," Leviticus, p. 621.}

Ten days later the service of the Great Day of Atonement commenced. This was a fast issuing into a feast. Food could not be eaten nor could work be performed on that day under penalty of death. The commandment was, "Ye shall afflict your souls and shall rest your rest." As its observances have been referred to in a previous chapter, they are not mentioned here. The effect of that great day was the cleansing away of Israel's sins and the impurities of Israel's worship, and at its close there was produced absolute reconciliation between God, the priests, and the people.

Close upon the purification and the reconciliation produced by the Great Day of Atonement came the crowning joy of Israel. With the fifteenth day of the seventh month that is, the full of the moon the time measurer being in her glory the Feast of Tabernacles commenced. It was the season of supreme joy, and the eighth day attached to it formed a crown of gladness for the cycle of the seven months.* Israel rejoiced because Jehovah had blessed them with their final harvest, (Deut. 16:13, 14.) and to express their joy they dwelt in booths, made of branches of ornamental trees — "palm branches, boughs of trees with thick foliage, and willows of the brook."** The wheat harvest had given them bread in their habitations; but the harvest of oil and wine gave them joy in addition; so they sat in their arbours resting and rejoicing — literally under the shadow of the bounties of God.***

{*"The eighth day was rather the solemn close of the whole circle of yearly feasts, and, therefore, was appended to the close of the last of these feasts as the eighth day of a feast itself." "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 447}

{**See Keil, p. 448}

{*** "It was 'a feast of joy'. . . . so that Israel 'should he only rejoicing' and give itself up entirely to joy!" "Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament," Leviticus — Keil and Delitzsch, p. 449.

While thus rejoicing they recalled their past. Their fathers had dwelt in booths in the wilderness. At Elim, where they had first rested on their exodus, they had woven themselves arbours of palm branches; upon the scorching mountain sides of Horeb, they had made them shelters from the boughs of the thick bushes, and of sweet-scented acacia boughs, its yellow balls of bloom nodding amongst its thorns; while, when nearing their promised land, on Jordan's banks, they had formed grateful retreats of luscious pink blossomed oleander.* These were hallowed memories of peaceful incidents on the pilgrimage to now realized gladness. "The waste and howling wilderness" had had its seasons of rest and peace, and it had not been for the forty years a pathway of monotonous distress without Ebenezers! Far, far from it. And even in the "rest" of God, in heaven itself, the memories of His mercies shall never be forgotten. The Christian may obtain his spiritual "arbours" from the symbols of Israel's feast. The palms of his well-watered Elims — as he rested his first rest on his morning way; his shelters — flower yielding even out of thorns — upon the rugged hillsides of his scorching noonday journey; and his hallowed evening bowers redolent with the very sweetness of his eternal home — shall never, never pass out of recollection.

{*"It fringes the whole Upper Jordan, dipping its wavy crown of red into the spray in the rapids under Hermon, and is nurtured by the oozy marshes in the Lower Jordan nearly as far as Jericho." "In Babylon," Israel, "in contemplating God's purposes of mercy toward them," were "directed to the willows as emblems of their growth, and as recalling the willows of the brook. under which they rejoiced in their feast days of old." "The Natural History of the Bible" — Tristram, pp. 417, 418.}

Yet while thus rejoicing, Israel anticipated a greater gladness; even the fullness of the joy of Jehovah's ingathering.* Fired by this hope, psalmists sang, and prophets lifted up their voices. From the sound of the call of the trumpets and their "joyful noise" (Ps. 98:6) from the sight of an assembled Israel worshipping Jehovah (Ps. 122:4) — from the sight of some Gentile — coming up to the feast (John 12:20, 23.) — the spirit of prophetic song rejoiced in Jew and Gentile praising God together, and the wide earth in her millennial gladness singing and clapping the hands. (Ps. 67, 96; Isa. 51:11; 52:8, 9; 35; 19:18, 25.) Yes, such expectations swelled the songs of prophets and tuned king David's instruments of music. How little is their spirit realized in the Church! Yet who can sing aright the songs of Zion while lacking Zion's hopes in her Feast of Tabernacles?

{*"The whole symbolism of the feast, beginning with the completed harvest, for which it was a thanksgiving, pointed to the future. The Rabbis themselves admitted this. . . . The ceremony of the outpouring of the water, which was considered of such vital importance as to give the whole festival the name of 'House of Outpouring,' was symbolical of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit." "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" — Edersheim, Vol. II., p. 150.}

If the first four of these feasts have met their prophetic fulfilment, what shall be said of the last three? Will their prophetic significance be realized? True, this can only be accomplished in the land of promise, by the hands of the people of Israel, even as was the case with the first four, but Israel's God promises not in vain.

A few generations ago the idea of the return of the Jews to their own land was regarded as a notion of dreamers disturbed by overmuch prophetic study. In our own time, a remnant of the Jews has actually returned to Palestine; a Jewish society with worldwide ramifications encourages the movement; and the Jewish question assumes phases of varying acuteness, so that "Judea for the Jews" is a cry, the utterance of which is almost within measurable distance. Further, the great increase of the number of the Jewish people is worthy of attention. Perhaps no feature in reference to the fulfilment of prophecy is more suggestive than the manner in which events pave the way for a foretold end. One generation supposes that a catastrophe alone could produce the necessary circumstances, but instead of the convulsion, there is a gentle change, or a matter-of-fact development. That which in one century appeared impossible, comes about in the ordinary course of events, when the time preordained by God has arrived.

In order to follow the fulfilment of these feasts, we must suppose Israel as a people though not the whole of the people — in their land. Israel has slept to its Messiah, and has been dead, as a nation, amongst the Gentiles, for centuries. Israel will be awakened by the summons of God. The trumpets will be sounded, and the summons will be heard throughout Palestine, calling them to prepare for their solemn fast. It will be a real fast before Jehovah, not such as now characterizes the people who have literally no atonement amongst them. The people, the priests, and the rulers will "mourn. . . apart" (Zech. 12:12-14) for Him whom they pierced. There will be in every family true repentance for the sin of all sins rejecting Christ. No work will be done* to save themselves, for their only hope will be in the great Worker, Christ their King. Then Israel will verily "rest their rest" on their Great Day of Atonement. And they shall await the forthcoming of the Priest-King from the sanctuary where He has been hidden from their eyes since the day His disciples saw Him, with uplifted hands, ascend to heaven. And as He ascended, so shall He in like manner descend** — with His hands uplifted in blessing.*** His way will be from the throne of God through the heavens to the earth, and to man upon it, as was symbolically indicated on each Day of Atonement, when. the high priest came from within the vail after having sprinkled the blood of the sin offering. Will the reader turn back and examine the diagram on page 291, and observe the dotted line indicating the way of the high priest's outcoming from the mercy seat to expectant Israel at the entrance of the sanctuary? He will come out from the sanctuary even as Moses and Aaron — His representative king and priest — did on the first great day of its hallowed service, with the blessing of Jehovah. Israel, with mingled contrition and exultation, shall own God's glory in the altar of burnt offering of Calvary, as their fathers in the wilderness had owned Jehovah's glory in the brazen altar.***** The circle of the beginning and ending of the story of the priesthood in Israel, shall be completed. by the heavenly King-Priest, whose shoulders have borne unweariedly the burden of Israel, and whose heart has never allowed the effacement of their names.****** Then, in all its melody, shall the music of the skirts of His garments be heard upon earth; then shall the true significance of the golden bells and the pomegranates, the ornament of His heavenly robe, be realized. And then shall the crown of His glory shine over the whole world, and men shall rest in the power of its great words — "Holiness to the Lord."

{*Ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all" (Lev. 16:29).

**"This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). "And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives" (Zech. 14:4). **** "He lifted up His hands and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:50, 51).

***See page 265.

****After the high priest had effected the atonement, he laid aside his white robes, and appeared before the people in his garments of glory and beauty. See "The Temple: its Ministry and its Services" — Edersheim, p. 285. A very lovely picture of Christ, Who, having made atonement once for all upon the cross, appears in heaven for us "crowned with glory and Honour," and is thus present to faith (see Heb. 2:9), and will thus be seen by Israel.}

The three great incidents of the harvests were: The wave sheaf — Christ in resurrection; the wave loaves — the Jew and Gentile in the power of His resurrection the firstfruits to God; the ingathering of oil and wine the nations of the earth ingathered into the kingdom of God. Christ, the "wave sheaf," is in heaven accepted of God. The first harvest (the wheat harvest) commenced at Pentecost, when the, Holy Ghost descended to earth and formed Jew and Gentile in one body, the Church. The second harvest (the fruits of the earth, the oil and the wine) will commence at the Feast of Ingathering, when God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, and when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11:9.) Then shall indeed be realized the fullness of that season which Israel termed THE FEAST.*

{*"The Feast of Ingathering — the celebration of harvest time, when the fruits of the earth were gathered in. . . .. It was in its nature a joyous occasion, the most joyous of all the feasts, the one which was named par excellence 'the feast.'. . . . In the wandering life in the wilderness, its proper significance as the Feast of Ingathering must have been rather in prospect and retrospect than in the actual present." "The Speaker's Commentary," Leviticus, p. 625. "Well might Israel designate the Feast of Tabernacles as THE FEAST, and the Jewish historians describe it as 'the holiest and the greatest.'" "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" Edersheim, Vol. II. p. 149.

Israel as a nation was born at the Passover, but Israel's career was such that the nation became separated from God by its sins; yet at the end, by virtue of the Great Day of Atonement, reconciliation shall be effected for Israel and the nation's end shall be joy.

Let us not, however, forget that the sevens of years also foreshadowed this sabbatism, this keeping of rest; and that in the sevens of the seven years is found "the acceptable year of the Lord." (Isa. 61:2.) That grand jubilee, heralded by trumpet blasts proclaiming freedom for persons and possessions — for enslaved men and fettered lands — that fiftieth of years, (Lev. 25:10.) presents in a fuller measure than the fiftieth of days, the harvest of joy, which God has marked out for this world in the Course of Time.

The story of the Church, symbolized in the two loaves of the wheat harvest, is not unfolded in the symbols of these feasts, but the presentation of them to God in their association with the sheaf of the firstfruits, is rather the consideration. The true place for the book of the Church's history is assigned to it — in the interval of time occurring between the presentation of the two loaves and the blowing of the trumpets. We have referred to the last pages of this history on earth in the spirit which is now found within it, grasping after combined spiritual and temporal power in Christendom. Surely, if we may read the signs of the tunes in the rising desires of Israel, we may also read them in the renewed longings in Christendom for union under one head! Israel is preparing to arise as a nation, and in unbelief as to their crucified King they will crown the ruler of their choice; Christendom is endeavouring to bind itself together in its unbelief as to the glorified Priest, and it will have its ruler-priest. When these rulers shall have filled up the measure of their blasphemy, and the cup of the apostate earth's misery shall be brimful, the Spirit of God will arouse the faithful in Israel to the coming of Christ their Messiah, and He shall leave His seat on God's right hand, accompanied by attendant angels and glorified men; and He shall destroy the usurper of earth's throne "with the brightness of His coming." (2 Thess. 2:8.)

From the silence of the type respecting the disposal of the two loaves, we may derive a hint respecting the end of the Church of Christ. When the external Church shall have become apostate and idolatrous — a very Babylon in all its abominations — the one Body of Christ, the indivisible and true, will be where Christ is — even in heaven. The two loaves became the portion of the priest, who presented them to Jehovah. He waved them before God, who termed them His; and after the waving the priest, according to the ordinance, received them back from God as his own portion. The "two loaves" — the Jew and the Gentile, who form the one Body of Christ — are Christ's in a peculiar manner, and they will be forever with Christ and His portion to all eternity. The Church is His in resurrection, and its members are risen with Him, and will be in heaven with Him.

By the consideration of the future, emphasis is lent to the prophetic element in the song of Israel at the Red Sea. It swells into the song of Moses and the Lamb — the song of judgment and salvation. As we hear Israel singing, we seem to hear the redeemed from earth's idolatrous tyrants of the future singing in unison, and answering the triumphant strain with joy; for a greater than Pharaoh — that king who called himself a god and was worshipped, and who withstood Jehovah by magic and miracle* — will be laid low, never to enslave and deceive man more.

{*Compare with Pharaoh's magic and miracles the "power and signs and lying wonders" of his antitype. 2 Thess. 2:9.}

Also, as the coming of the kingdom of God fills the mind, Israel's encampment around the sanctuary, with the walls of men banner-bearing to earth's four quarter, appears not as merely an old-world arrangement of tents, but as a picture of the Israel of the future, the saviour of the nations. Yet the most gracious type is to be found in the position of the altar of burnt offering — facing east and west, north and south, with its four blood-stained horns looking outward in their pardoning power to the circle of the world. In the vision of the prophet,* the altar of burnt offering is seen as the centre of Jehovah's sanctuary in Jerusalem; and towards that centre all kindreds and tongues and nations shall look, and in Jesus glorified they shall "behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

{*Will the reader compare the diagram upon page 226 with the ground plan of the temple on page 225?}

Thus the story of the Exodus and of the Sanctuary in Horeb utters its voice — recounting the ways of God in the past; witnessing to His ways during the present, and foretelling His ways in the future. In all its details, it bears upon it the stamp of the Divine Hand; and, in its climax of the festivals of the year, the song which first arose at the triumph of the Red Sea swells out into a fullness of joy which fills the whole world, when the longed-for Kingdom shall have come, and the will of the Father shall be done on earth even as it is in heaven.

"The Lord My God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing." (Zeph. 3:17.)

List of Illustrations, Maps, and Diagrams

List of Illustrations
The Sphinx (Frontispiece)
Artist at work
Abu Simbel, the temple of
Aamu (shepherds) bringing in presents
African captives
Apis, the sacred bull-calf
Altar and the bow, the Assyrian cylinder
Almond
Acacia bough
 
Battle scene
Brick with Pharaoh's stamp upon it
Bakers kneeling while kneading dough
Bed
Breastplate, jewelled, of the time of Osirtasen II
Bast, Ptah's wife
Babylonian tower, seven-staged
Bull, winged
 
Cylinder books
Colossus, dragging a
Chase, coming home from the
Children's toys
Corn, removing the ears of
Cooks preparing food
Cynocephalus Thoth
City and the storm, the
Counting hands
Captives
Cherub and tree of life
Carpenter
Candlestick from the Arch of Titus
 
"Drawn out"
Doors, gathering the, and bundling the stubble
Death in the palace
 
Egyptian baskets
Egyptian gentleman with walking stick
Egypt, protectors of Lower and Upper
Egypt's shadowing wings
Egyptian war chariot
Egyptian arms and standards
Elim, the Wady Gharandel
Egyptian golden vases for oblations
Egyptian jewellery and ornaments
Er Rahah, from the cleft on Ras Sufsafeh
Egyptian king with censer
Egyptian ark and naos
Egyptian copper mirror
 
Family worship
Foreign captives brick-making
Frog on circle
Funeral procession, part of a
"Free"
Foot soldiers
Flesh-pot, a brazen
Fourfold stream
Frankincense
 
Girls playing three-ball
God and king on friendly terms
God offering sword to king, who slays his enemies
Gods with rods — Ptah, Bast, Amen-Ra, Hathor
Goats treading in the newly-sown grain
Genii, guardians of intestines
"Great cry," the
Gold earrings
Garments, blue fringed
Goat, the let-go
 
Horns, head of
Hapi or Nilus
Hapi, priest adoring, and offering him gifts
Hapi in procession
Hathor as she visited her image
High priest in garments of glory and beauty
High priest in white robes
"Hear now, ye rebels"
 
Ibis
Isis, crown of
Isis embracing Thomosis III
Isis-Sothis
 
Judgment of the dead
Jebel ed Deir from summit of Jebel Musa
Joiner
 
Kom Ombos, temple of
Knepp, or Khnum, adoring living emblem of
 
Ladies at a party
Laver of Solomon's temple
Levite
 
Moses' right arm
Midian, at the well-side in
Moses turning aside to see the burning bush
Magicians before Pharaoh
Mnevis
"Multitude," a mixed
Manna, gathering the
Mortar
 
Nile, on the
Nefert-Ari, queen of Rameses the Great
Nefer-Tum
Nut, in the tree of life, giving a soul nectar
 
Osiris, crown of
Osiris, resurrection of
Olive
Oleander
 
Pyramids, the
Potters at work
Papyrus, a roll of
Papyrus and the ibis
Ploughing and hoeing
Prince, head-dress of a
Pyramid and Sphinx
Ptah, as Ka — frogheaded
Ptah — scarab-headed
Purgatorial fire, guardians of
Passover, keeping the
Pillar of cloud, the
Ptah presenting Amenophis I. with sign of life,
Pyramid of Chephren.
Pyramid observatory, vertical section of the
Priestly garments of Israel
Pomegranate
Priest, ordinary, of Israel
Priest of Amon
Passover, keeping the feast of
Palm branches
 
Quails, flight of
 
Rameses, mummy of
Rameses the Great, a son of
Rannu, serpent goddess
Rod and serpent in hand of Thoth
Ra
Return of the spirit of a human being to earth
Rolling dough
Ras Sufsafeh, cliffs of
Resting under the oleanders
 
Scribe at work
Sarcophagus
Sportsman, a
Shadoofs, ancient and modern
Scarab charm
Stubble, leaving the
Serpent with man's body
Seb, father of the gods
Scarabaeus beetle
Sacred cow, the
Sun giving life
Soul separate from body
Sacred boat, model of the
Sprinkling the blood of the Passover
Store chambers
Sea returning to its strength, the
Song of the women, the
Serpent with sign of life
Seal of the priests
Sevak-Ra
Sin, desert of
Smiting the rock in Horeb
Sinai, the desert of
Sinai, looking towards
Serbal, mount
Sinai, summit of, from Jebel ed Deir
Sargon's palace at Khorsabad
Samas, Babylonian sun-god, in his shrine
Scales and weights
Spinning, women at work
Shittim tree
Shewbread, table of, with silver trumpets
 
Temple gateway, a
Thoth, the god of letters
Tents of Bedouin
Triads: Isis — Osiris — Horus. Atumi — Pharaoh — Ra
Thoueris, the hippopotamus goddess
Tablet at Magharah
Tahuneh hill
"This is thy god, O Israel"
Tables of stone, breaking the
Tribute bearers with gold rings and ornaments
Tent of Jehovah
Trumpets of Israel
 
Uraeus, the sacred serpent
Ushabitui figures from mummies
Uplifted hands on the hill, the
 
Weighing the gold
Worshipping a sycamore
Weighing the heart
Wailing women, a group of
War chariots of Egypt in pursuit
Women playing upon musical instruments
Wilderness, the
"Who is for Jehovah?"
Worker in gold
Winged bull, Human-headed
Weaving

Maps
District of the Nile Delta
Route from Pithom to Elim
Route, showing upper and lower roads from Elim to Horeb
Route from Hesy el Khattatin to Jebel Musa
Sinai and its surroundings

Diagrams
Ground plan of a typical Egyptian temple
Ground plan of the temple of Jehovah
Court of the tent of meeting
General position of camp
Court of the tabernacle,
Position of lampstand, holy table, and golden altar
"Walking foot"
Relative positions of the throne of God and the golden altar, lampstand, and holy table
Altar of burnt offerings
Golden altar
The voice of the blood of the sin offering
The brazen altar and the mercy seat
Atonement and reconciliation: The way of God