Christ in the Pentateuch

Christ in the Pentateuch

W. N. Brooks

The consideration of Bible types with their corresponding antitypes provides one of the most interesting forms of Bible study. Generally speaking the types are found in the Old Testament, and the antitypes in the New. In the types lie hidden the foreshadowings of characters, events, and accomplishments; whereas, in the antitypes are revealed the actual characters, events, and accomplishments. Scriptural typology is very important because it emphasizes the Divine authorship of the entire Bible, and the organic oneness of the two Testaments. Moreover, it demonstrates the great purpose of God in Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ, His person and work, is the centre of Divine Revelation. He, Who was typified in the Old Testament, is clearly revealed in the New, for He is the glorious substance of the partially defined shadows.

The Holy Spirit of God typifying Christ in the Old Testament does so in the manner most appropriate to the needs of God’s beloved children. In the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, the sacrifice of Christ is presented from five different view-points.

The Father’s Phase Of Calvary:

In Genesis, the Book of Beginnings, the origin of our salvation is traced to the very heart and purpose of God, “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering,” (Gen. 22:8). In Chapter 22, the father, Abraham, and the son of his love, Isaac, are alone, yet they enjoy the sweetest fellowship; they go their way to the place of sacrifice, “They went both of them together.” Isaac did not know what was to happen, yet, trustingly, he went with his father. Here is a lesson in contrast as well as in comparison. Of Christ we read, “Jesus therefore knowing all things that should come upon Him went forth.” The Lord Jesus had a perfect understanding of the purposes of God, and thus alone with the Father He was to glorify, He trod the rugged way to Calvary. It was Abraham, the father, who laid the wood on His son, who carried the fire and the knife in his hand, who placed his only son upon the altar, and who raised his hand to slay the son he loved. At Calvary, over and above the men who crucified and slew Christ, over and above Satan who entered into and energized these men in their eternally infamous deed, it was God the Father who purposed the sacrifice of the cross. He, who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will, guided the men to fulfil Scripture, and brought the Atonement to pass at Calvary. In prophetic language, Christ addressed the Father, saying, “Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death,” (Psa. 22:15). Doctrinally we know that God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, that He laid on Him the iniquities of us all, that He sent fire from above into the Saviour’s bones, and that He spoke the word to awaken the sword to smite the Shepherd. This first typical view of Calvary is the Divine side, the Eternal Father’s viewpoint of the sacrifice of Christ.

The Believer’s Phase Of Calvary:

In Exodus, the Book of Redemption, chapter 12, we have a picture of a lamb provided for each person under condemnation. The Divine sentence had gone forth, “About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die,” (chap. 11:4-5). For the condemned person, finally sheltered by the blood of the slain lamb, the little animal had to be caught and pierced, and its blood shed in death, in order that a substitute die for him. “For there was not a house where there was not one dead,” (chap. 12:30), either the firstborn or the lamb, his substitute. This is the first sight of Calvary that the saved sinner sees, the vision by faith of God’s glorious Son as a lamb slain instead of the condemned one. By Christ, the whole of wrath Divine was completely borne and a full, free, and eternal salvation was provided. Like the passover lamb, Christ our Passover was taken (v. 3), was selected by God in a past Eternity; was kept (v. 6), was proved suitable by His perfect life; and was killed (v. 6), was sacrificed for us. When the shed blood was applied to the doorpost (v. 17), it brought safety from wrath (v. 13). In like manner, when the death of Christ is appropriated by faith, salvation becomes a blessed experience, and, as the declaration, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you,” gave peace to Israel, even so does God’s Word today give assurance to the Christian.

Not only is eternal safety provided for the saint, but also sustenance for the way. This is typified by Israel gathered around and feasting upon the roast lamb. The believer’s side of Calvary is the consciousness that Christ died for him, and that through the substitutionary work of the Lamb of God both salvation and satisfaction are provided.

The Priest’s Phase Of Calvary:

In Leviticus, the Book of Worship, directions are given which govern the class of offering the Lord desired. In the first five chapters, a five-fold typical description of the Sacrifice of Christ is presented. This is pre-eminently the offering the Lord expects from the priesthood of believers, they must offer in worship, Christ in all His sacrificial and moral glories. “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name,” (Heb. 13:15).

With this sacrifice of praise, a secondary offering is sought by the Lord, “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased,” Heb. 13:16). This is pictured for us in the last chapter of this interesting Book of Worship (Lev. 27). According to this chapter our persons (27:2), our possessions (27:9, 14-16), and our tithes (27:30), are all presented to God as the reasonable act of priestly ministry.

It has been suggested that the burnt offering aspect of Christ’s death is Godward, and that the sin offering is manward, but let it also be noted that everyone of the offerings was presented “unto the Lord.” In fact, although the bodies of those animals presented as sin offerings were burnt with fire outside the camp, their fat was burnt on the brazen altar as a sweet savour unto the Lord: This would suggest that Christ was never more pleasing to God than when made sin for us, than when He was enduring the consuming fire of God’s judgment. God delights in every aspect of Christ’s death, so let us worship by presenting to God all five aspects of the sacrifice of Christ.

In another respect each offering was for the worshipper. In the burnt offering he was accepted, and in the sin offering he was forgiven. Both of these offerings made atonement for him. Surely, as it has been taught by others, the five offerings, with their variations, portray Christ as our substitute: The burnt offering, Christ the substitute for what man should have done, the will of God; the meal offering, Christ the substitute for what man might have been, holy, anointed, and fragrant; the peace offering, Christ the substitute for what man could have enjoyed, fellowship and peace with God; the sin offering, Christ the substitute for what man is, sinful as to nature; the trespass offering, Christ the substitute for what man does, trespass and sin against God.

The view-point of Calvary for the Christian priest is that of praise, worship, and sacrifice, the sacrifice of his all, (Rom. 12:1).

The Pilgrim’s Phase Of Calvary:

In Numbers, the Book of the Wilderness, in Chapter 19 provision was made for purification from defilement contracted along the way. The sacrifice of the red heifer (19:9) was offered, and her ashes were kept as a memorial of a once for all sacrifice for sin. The ashes, mingled with water, were sprinkled upon the person defiled by contact with a dead body. By this means the unclean was cleansed and restored to the fellowship of the congregation. In the ceremony the unclean person had first to acknowledge his need of purification (confession Vv. 17-20), and then cleansing was effected by a clean person. Today, the Christian, in like manner, comes in contact with spiritual death, and thereby contracts defilement. Such a condition hinders his fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. Thank God, the cross-work of Christ provides cleansing for every defilement suffered by the way, as well as pardon for the guilt of the past. “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The pilgrim’s view-point of Calvary is to secure daily cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son, and thus to maintain communion with God.

The Servant’s Phase Of Calvary:

In Deuteronomy, the Book of Responsibility and Obedience, the offering of sacrifice is linked with the place of God’s choosing (Deut. 12:5-6). God has always been particular about the gathering centre for His people, and the place in which to offer His sacrifices. This place was to bear the name of the Lord, to be honoured by His presence, and to be the centre of the gatherings of His people. How illustrative this is of the New Testament truth, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them,” (Matt. 18:20). The site upon which God’s name rested was to be the place of worship (12:6), “Thither ye shall bring your sacrifices and your tithes;” the place of fellowship (12:7), “And there ye shall eat before the Lord;” they were to receive as well as to give, and there to rejoice before the Lord. It was also to be a place of separation from the religion of the world (12:13), and the ways of the world (12:30), “Take heed that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest.” The Word of God was to be the only guide for His people in the manner and association of their worship, “Whatsoever I command you, observe to do it,” (12:32).

The phase of the work of Calvary for the obedient servant is to yield to God’s command concerning worship, “Let us go forth (obedience) unto Him (the centre) without the camp (separation) bearing His reproach (fellowship).” “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks in His name,” (Heb. 13:13 and 15).