Fitted for the Tent.

In the day of the cleansing of the leper (Lev. 14), when the living bird, the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, were dipped in the blood of the slain bird, we read that the priest "shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field." Any of the sons of Israel looking on might say, "We understand something about this. We sprinkled blood ere leaving Egypt, and Moses sprinkled blood on us at the foot of Sinai" (Ex. 24) Not that the latter act was of similar import; for the sprinkling of the leper was pure grace, whereas the action of the lawgiver was the figure of death, as the penalty of disobedience under a covenant of works. However, there was an analogy. An ordinary Israelite in. the wilderness could understand something of its import.

Again, when the priest pronounced the leper clean after this blood-sprinkling, we read: "And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean." (v. 8.) On the seventh day a similar action takes place. Here a Levite, as he beheld, might say, "I understand something of this: I was sprinkled with water on the day of my cleansing, shaved all my flesh, and washed my clothes; so was I made clean." (Num. 8) Thus there was an analogy between this part of the leper's cleansing and that, of the separating of the ministers who were to "go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation."

And again, though it was said on the seventh day "He shall be clean," yet we find a further action on the eighth day. We read, "On the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat-offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil." (v. 10.) Then, after the trespass-offering is slain, being waved with the log of oil, we find the blood put "upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot." (v. 14.) Then the oil is put on the same parts, "upon the blood of the trespass-offering." (v. 17.) Here the sons of the high priest would be struck with the analogy of this part of the work with what took place at their own consecration. (Chap. 8)

Once more we read: "And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD." (v. 16.) Then, after he put the oil on the blood, we read: "And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed." (v. 18.) Here the high priest himself could say: "After Moses sprinkled the anointing oil seven times upon the altar and his vessels, he poured it upon my head." (Chap. 8) How remarkable the. analogy here: the leper outcast and the high priest had oil poured on their heads at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. These two persons only, under the ceremonial law, had the oil poured on the head. I do not assert that the cleansed leper, when seeking his tent on the eighth day, entered the ranks of the Levites, or priestly sons, not to speak of becoming identified with the high priest himself. But I do say that this wondrous ordeal through which the healed leper passed certainly shadowed the amazing place the believer now is introduced into, through and in Christ. After the failure of the priesthood after the flesh (Lev. 10), how blessed to trace the suggestive histories on to Lev. 16. (For chap. 15 see Matt. 9:14-22.)

It is evident, from reading chap. 14, that the leper could not enter into and order "his tent" until the oil was poured upon his head. He must come before Jehovah to the door of the tabernacle (see Ex. 29:42-43), behold all the offerings offered, ere he began his walk normally in the wilderness. The order of things through which he went - the washings, and then the seeing the various offerings slain, etc., - typify our seeing, and intelligently entering into the work of Christ, and the fulness of His person. There must be exercise in order to see this. Nature is exposed on the way, the cross valued, and "the altar" comes before "the tent." It is not "the tent and the altar," but "the altar and the tent." Jacob took the tent first. Alas! he actually builds a house (Gen. 33) at last, and only erects an altar, calling the latter "El-elohe-Israel." It is not added, "unto Jehovah." Abraham and Isaac built their altars to the LORD; but he builds (or makes stable) a dwelling-place for himself, and only "sets" a something to ease the conscience and express a "thanksgiving" to Jehovah for mercies received. (Lev. 22:29-30.) He began as a plain (perfect) man, dwelling in tents - very properly took the Abel line - but he omitted to accept the full place he received in grace as born of Isaac, whose seed was to be "as the stars of heaven." He would fain be earthly in a heavenly standing. Thus he was unable to keep the Cain line out.

How many whom the Lord is graciously exercising now (Rev. 3:19) are finding the true line shadowed in Lev. 14, yes, and in chap. 8 also? They find all must be yielded up, even the very ties of nature, ere they receive them back, having the death of Christ stamped upon everything. The order is, All, absolutely all, goes in the cross; then I take up everything in my tent in the Lord's name, "the hope of glory" my power. (Acts 2:33; Col. 1:11.)

As "circumcised in the circumcision of the Christ," I pass away out of the whole scene, and follow the living bird let loose. Thus I bring "the power of His resurrection" into the old scene, my former home. Having an identification with the great Priest in the holiest, with the unction on my head, I come down here to show forth His praise in whatsoever I do, "in word or deed." I bring "the oil of gladness" and power of glory with me there.

Have we, my fellow-pilgrim, duly owned this love, which would have us anointed ones at the door where God speaks to us, and the glory appears, before we begin our walk below? We see the outcast and the High Priest together without the camp in John 4. The priest's son (John 3:29) could only speak of being "the friend of the Bridegroom," rejoicing greatly because he hears His voice. But "the living water" and the High Priest Himself are at the well in chap. 4, and the antitype of the bird that was "killed in an earthen vessel over living water." Our Lord is passing, as it were, on His way from Leviticus 10 to 16. He leaves Judea, and must needs go through Samaria. He speaks of the heights of glory's "gift," and the depths of grace's Messenger there. The truths as to the blood-shedding and the washings, etc., are over, as it were - Matthew, Mark, and Luke having unfolded these things. He would fain begin with the eighth-day anointing, and send the outcast to "his tent" with such a crown on his head, that he would have a power to rise above the trials of the desert, having known a superior place ere he trod that way. An Israelite under law, that had never been a leper, had no such crown put upon his head. The rebellious Miriam may have had this. The high priest was just the one in Israel who typified one above and beyond law. The healed and cleansed leper had also that upon his head which proved him to be, in his own sphere, as singular and separate as the Nazarite with "the consecration" (or crown) "of his God" upon him.

How many believers are like a person who enters the hall of a palace. He is invited in in pure grace. He goes in, and sits on a bench just within the door. He owns the grace, since he entered in as a beggar. Why does he seek at once to go out again, and even tell to others of the kindness which allowed him to sit in the hall? The pressure is too great; the light began to act there while you still said, "Come into the reception room, the presence-chamber itself." Many would rather be publishers and preachers (I do not say evangelists) of what they saw in the hall, than endure the exercise which must come, as they own the wondrous grace which would have them in the Father's house. Such persons talk of that place, not from it. We cannot possess Christ in glory without the cross; and we cannot occupy our place there, and know Himself there, without the realization of what it cost God to give us all so freely. It would dishonour the work of Christ, were I to enjoy Him in glory without seeing and owning the weakness of God was - the cross. How else can I lift up my head, and own the riches I have received in Christ? I am by nature an outcast leper. The leper and all his belongings must go in the cross, and nowhere else.

Thus the light lets me see this; and hence many prefer publishing what they got in the hall - a certainty of a future heaven - rather than receive the abundance of grace and the gift in the grace. They seek the "tent" before the fulness of Christ is consciously realized. Legality may keep a tent in order many a day, and a better show made than those present who insist on a full blessing "at the door of the tent of the congregation."

Psalm 73 may even be the language of some who gaze longingly at the Man of the Psalms in Luke; but joy and power come at last. They see He is in glory now; the eighth day has come. And not only do they behold the antitype of Lev. 14 in fulness; as in the Christ of God, "they are out from under THE DAM." (Ex. 22:30; Lev. 22:27.)

The Lord grant His people to know this in power in these days when good consciences are preserved in a low walk, because the light of the glory is avoided. Or perhaps lawlessness supervenes - God's mercies below and natural relationships, being in the way. (Luke 14:18-20; 1 Sam. 2:15; 2 Chron. 35:14.)

S. O'M. Cluff.