Our first Scripture is Matthew 25:44-46, `"Lord, when did we see You hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto You?"
Then shall He answer them, saying, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal".'
And Exodus 30:11-16, `And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, "When you take a census of the children of Israel, each man shall give a RANSOM for his soul unto the LORD; that there be no PLAGUE among them, when you number them. Every one that passes that are numbered shall give half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
Every MALE that is numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. 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 you shall take the ATONEMENT money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the SERVICE of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a MEMORIAL unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an ATONEMENT for your souls".'
May the Lord add His blessing to the reading of His Word.
This was a compulsory tax upon ALL males able to bear arms. And I guess this is where we Westerners derived the magical age of 21 for maturity. Only the MALES were numbered, yet this annual atonement or ransom money was an expression of faith and identification with God's Word to furnish the needs of the tabernacle and bring the WHOLE congregation of Israel - every man who had paid, and every woman whose husband (or in the case or minors and unmarried women), father, had met his obligation - under the covering of the sacrificial blood of the continual burnt offering. The sacrificial blood was a memorial unto them all, that God has provided a substitute life to cover over the sinfulness of their souls that they may stand before Him. The word `atonement' means `a covering over, or propitiation', whilst the word `ransom' means `the price for a life'.
This demonstrates the HEADSHIP of the man, and that it's the MALE who is responsible for providing for the needs of his family, for the HUSBAND who is head of his home, and rules over his wife in love. This confirms the creation story wherein we see man is original creation and the woman a byproduct, made FOR the man, and to SERVE or help her husband. It also confirms the story of the Fall where it was the woman that was deceived, and Adam who was NOT in the transgression entered into her death, taking sin's punishment upon his own shoulders, preserving their marriage union so she would be saved. He knew he was the son of God, and that God must redeem him and simultaneously redeem His wife and all of their offspring - `IF they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety'.
Now bring this into the New Testament we see Christ died for His Bride, yet the covering is for `whomsoever will'. POTENTIALLY, His blood ransomed ALL of Adam's race - `IF they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety'. ALL the congregation of Israel were POTENTIALLY redeemed because the head of the house paid the price for His House; ALL of Adam's race is POTENTIALLY under the blood of Christ, or redeemed. As the Gentile dispensation continues, the blessings of God to those who he foreknew (the Elect Bride of Christ), bless all those in the presence of His elect (Matthew 25:45).
This brings us to the Token of the Covenant and to marriage and divorce. One cannot circumcise a woman, but in the Old Testament, the Token of the Abrahamic Covenant was circumcision. A Woman could only come into the Covenant of God under SUBMISSION to the authority of her husband, or if she were unmarried, her father. Today, one can only enter the blessings of Abraham through submission to Abraham's greater Son, Jesus Christ. We call this Spiritual Union a marriage, or the new birth.
But of course, God has placed us all on the basis of free moral agency. He's sent His Word throughout the world - His REQUIREMENT and assurance of blessing or PLAGUE, according as we honor or disregard Him. He's paid our ransom with His Own blood but we must surrender our wills in order to receive the blessings. So we're all without excuse, and each will receive his due.
That word `plague' means `death stroke or mortal blow'. In the garden of Eden, God placed Adam and Eve under the blood, so although Satan could harm their flesh, death could not take their SOULS. Likewise in the case of Job. Satan smote Job in the flesh, destroyed his possessions and his status but God said, `Upon himself put not forth thine hand' (Job 1:12). I believe Job was a type of Israel who have been kicked from pillar to post, and even outnumbered by a FALSE people impersonating their nation. It's as Paul instructed the Church at Corinth concerning the Brother who was living in fornication with his father's wife - `Deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the FLESH, that the spirit (or soul) may be saved in the day of the Lord' (I Corinthians 5:5). Like Israel on that first Passover night, these were all covered by the blood so that the PLAGUE or `death stroke' could not destroy their souls.
Now the Tabernacle itself was to be built from VOLUNTARY contributions. Exodus 35:5, `Take from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a WILLING heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass', etc, etc. It was NOT built from legally imposed taxes. Christians ARE the LIVING Tabernacle of the LIVING God. Brother Branham taught, `We're not supposed to make converts to Christianity by a government, but by the REVELATION of Christ IN you as God was in Christ ... What God did in Christ, Christ does in you'. He's looking for WILLING hearts to make an OFFERING, not WORK to fulfill an obligation (Christ is the Mystery of God Revealed).
We don't come to God by government but by faith and love. And in this way, even more was given than was needed. Exodus 36:5, `And they spake unto Moses, saying, "The people bring much MORE than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make".'
The ransom spoken of in our text of Exodus 30:11-16, is not related to BUILDING the tabernacle, which represents the Body of Christ, but of its care and maintenance and the blessings it bestows upon ALL who honor It. Immediately, we see an Old Testament TYPE of those who are NOT elect but are the `saved' who'll be granted in to eternal life at the White Throne Judgment. In Matthew 25, Jesus spoke of the foolish virgin and those who are good and kind to the Bride, and in Revelation 6 and 13, of the Fifth Seal Jews, and those martyred for refusing the doctrine and service of the beast during the tribulation. These `saved' are beneficiaries of the Bride who have met their obligations. Just as the ALL Israel benefited from the faithfulness of those adult males who paid the temple dues.
Whenever a census was made of adult males, this tax was collected for the permanent atonement of the people. It did not DIRECTLY atone for the INDIVIDUAL, because only ADULT MALES paid it - without distinction of wealth or station. It covered the WHOLE nation and was to purchase the animals for the CONTINUAL sacrifice. `Now this is that which you shall offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day CONTINUALLY' (Exodus 29:38). It was to defray the expenses of tabernacle repairs, and the wages of a large staff such as those who prepared the shewbread and the incense, who examined into Levitical fitness of sacrifices and instructed priests in their various duties, made the curtains, and in later times for payment to Rabbis and they who saw to the correctness of the copies of the Law used in the synagogues.
Silver is a precious metal universally accepted from time immemorial as a means of exchange and throughout scripture it represented redemption. Gold types Deity', and brass `judgment'. The sacred shekel differed from the common coinage. But as the half shekel was worth only about thirty cents in our money, the burden could not fall too heavily on any man able to bear arms.
This half shekel redemption price was established from the generosity of Israel in donating towards the construction of the Tabernacle. Exodus 38:25-31, `And the silver of them that were NUMBERED of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: A BEKAH FOR EVERY MAN, THAT IS, HALF A SHEKEL, AFTER THE SHEKEL OF THE SANCTUARY, FOR EVERY ONE THAT WENT TO BE NUMBERED, FROM TWENTY YEARS OLD AND UPWARD, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. And of the hundred talents of SILVER were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the vail; an hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket.
And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them. And the BRASS of the offering was seventy talents, and two thousand and four hundred shekels. And therewith he made the sockets to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the brazen altar, and the brazen grate for it, and all the vessels of the altar, And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about'.
We know that the tabernacle or temple represents the Bride of Christ. In particular, the Holy of Holies where the Lord manifested His Presence. From the type we see how we advance to God through the gates of judgment into a courtyard supported upon the brass of judgment, before an brazen altar of judgment, typing Calvary's cross. Here we offer the sacrifice of our faith, and by God's grace are granted admission to the sanctuary which rests upon and is surrounded by the silver of redemption.
On the first day of Adar, (February/March), the priests advise Israel of the half shekel dues. On 15th Adar, the tables of the money-changers were set up in the provinces to exchange Greek and Roman coins for the Hebrew half shekel. On the 25th, in the Temple court. And they began to extract pledges. On and after 1st Nisan, the public offerings may be brought only from the newly-minted silver shekel dues.
David's omission to collect the appointed half-shekel on the occasion of his numbering Israel towards the close of his reign was his offence, so that when he humbly placed himself in the hands of God for punishment, it was the plague that came upon the people. Exodus 30:12, `When you take a CENSUS of the children of Israel, EACH man shall give a RANSOM for his soul unto the LORD; that there be no PLAGUE among them, when you number them'.
We read in II Samuel 24 and I Chronicles 21 how the Lord became angry with Israel. He allowed Satan to tempt David, (who was looking to human abilities and at the glory of his kingdom), to number his armies, rather than give praise to the Lord God for faith and grace. These chapters are rich in shadows and types but I don't want to digress. After David had numbered the people, he realized his sin and repented of his action. The following morning, God sent Gad the prophet to ask David to choose between three PLAGUES. You see, David had numbered the people for carnal glory but had also neglected to collect redemption money for the service of the tabernacle, in order that the WHOLE congregation, might be under the atonement. Consequently, the angel of the Lord slew seventy thousand of his people in three days.
When he was about to destroy Jerusalem, God repented of His judgment and spoke through His prophet, Gad, directing David to set up an altar and sacrifice unto Him in the threshing floor of Araunah (or Ornan), the Jebusite. The wily Araunah sought by any manner of diplomacy to preserve his real estate, but the King insisted on buying it. David raised up an altar and sacrificed to the Lord, placing Israel back under the blood of a substitute and the plague was stayed. Turning to II Chronicles 3:1, we discover Solomon built the Temple in mount Moriah on the place where his father David had prepared the threshing floor of Ornan.
Matthew 17:24-27, `On their arrival in Capernaum (in the provinces), the Temple dues collectors came to Peter, and said, "Does your master not pay the Didrachms tribute?" (Two Drachma was the equivalent value of a half shekel. A half shekel was about a quarter of an ounce of silver).
He saith, "Yes". Then he went into the house to discuss the matter with Jesus. But Jesus, discerning the thoughts and intents of his heart said, "What do you think, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of foreigners?"
Peter replied, "Of strangers". Jesus said unto him, "Then the children are free. Nevertheless, lest we should offend them, you go to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first comes up; and when you have opened his mouth, you shall find a Stater (the equivalent of one shekel): that take, and give unto them for Me AND thee".'
Peter had recently heard the Voice of God speak from the Pillar of Cloud or Shekinah saying, `THIS is my beloved SON, in Whom I am well pleased' (Matthew 17:5). And He was heir of all things, including the Temple. Therefore it was appropriate, on paying the Temple tribute, to do so under protest. So He said to Peter, that they who pertain to Him possess the SAME right. If the citizens of EARTHLY kings are exempt from tribute then the citizens of the Kingdom of God are exempt from God's Temple tribute. But so not to dispute with worldly men who cannot recognize the Messiah for whom they desire, Jehovah will provide for His Own.
What blessed consolation for Peter to have this token from God that HIS ransom was provided and he was atoned for. Foreknowledge! No amount of material largess could make adequate atonement for our redemption.
Hence Peter could write, `And if you call on the Father, Who WITHOUT respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as you know that ye were NOT redeemed with CORRUPTIBLE things, as SILVER and GOLD, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was MANIFEST in these last times for you, Who BY Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God' (I Peter 1:17-21).
One final point before we close. Every son of Adam has equal need of Christ. For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God who has no respect of persons, whether male or female, bond or free, rich or poor fat or thin, Jew or Greek (i.e. Gentile). The ransom that was for the continual offering in Israel was likewise, an half shekel for every men. And God laid down the Life of the same Lamb for all. So whatever we do will not add one cubit to our stature. It is all of His grace.
Keep the token on display and live your life as a CONTINUAL sacrifice to Christ in order tha others may stay "saved", their names remaining on the Book of Life by honoring Christ in you. bb960417.htm
.../Back to Index to Sermons