SETTING IT UP AND TAKING IT DOWN
AND WHEN THE TABERNACLE SETTETH FORWARD, THE LEVITES SHALL TAKE IT DOWN: AND WHEN THE TABERNACLE IS TO BE PITCHED, THE LEVITES SHALL SET IT UP: AND THE STRANGER THAT COMETH NIGH SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH.
One of the most important aspects of the priestly work of CHRIST, is the exclusivity of HIS priesthood. The LORD declared this to HIS disciples saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
The tribe of Levi was appointed to be the bearers of the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle of promise during the journeying of the Israelites through the wilderness as they traversed a path around Mt. Sinai for forty years. The Levites were to erect the tabernacle and take it down when the time came, without assistance. No others were fit for this task and none else could dare to undertake it on pain of death. Of that tribe only a select few were fit for the actual priestly work of offering up the daily sacrifices, and of that select few was only one appointed to go into the holy of holies once every year to make a sacrifice for himself and the sins of the people.
The very sons of Aaron (Nadab and Abihu) who were Levites, were destroyed for making an offering which the LORD had neither sanctioned nor instructed them to offer. (see Lev.10:1-
Nothing is to be added to that which the LORD provides and nothing is to be done apart from that which the LORD has sanctioned, regardless of the intent or sincerity of those who may desire to do something for the LORD. Nor are any allowed to approach unto the LORD or touch the holy things except those appointed by HIM. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) “No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:65)
It was after the LORD’s last statement that the scripture says, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66) HE lost a lot of HIS “followers” because HE told them the simple truth of GOD’s sovereign grace. The multitudes are interested in finding out a way that they can approach GOD on their own terms and in their own time, but the natural man recoils at the notion that he can do nothing at all to effect his own salvation nor to earn the favor of GOD by his faith, works, or sincere service.
Some tell us that this is a very narrow view but we know of no other view which the scripture will support nor can we conceive of any other manner in which a man may approach the LORD apart from being granted an entrance there by the ONE who holds the keys of death and hell.
CHRIST has demonstrated HIS exclusive priesthood by manifesting HIMSELF as the ONE SACRIFICE for sins forever. HE alone is seated at the right hand of GOD making intercession for those who come to GOD by HIM. There is no other WAY to the FATHER there is no other ACCESS. “This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-
Confusion reigns among the multitudes who call themselves the followers of CHRIST, while in reality, many are the followers of lies and deceptions which make them sevenfold more the children of hell than when they began. The preaching of the gospel of JESUS CHRIST is a clear and true declaration that JESUS CHRIST has entered in once into the holy place to obtain eternal redemption for HIS own children. Nothing can be added to that which is perfect nor does HE in any wise wait for men to complete that which HE plainly declared HE finished. (see John 19:30)
We are not sent forth with the gospel to try to persuade men to believe it or to make an offer of it to men, but rather we are sent to declare the glory of GOD revealed in the Priestly work of CHRIST who has determined to save HIS elect before the foundation of the world and has now in the end of the age come into the world and walked among men in the likeness of sinful flesh, being tempted in all points as they are. HE has gladly borne the stripes of HIS children, and has become a sin SUBSTITUTE for them, imputing their sin to HIMSELF and imputing HIS righteousness to them, obeying the law in every jot and tittle.
HE has spoiled principalities and powers and made show of them openly, as HE carried the sin debt of HIS people to the cross of Calvary, nailing it to HIS cross, and laying down HIS life, pouring out HIS own life’s blood as an atonement for the sins of HIS elect bride. HE yielded up the GHOST and was buried in a borrowed tomb from which HE arose on the third day, triumphant over sin, death and hell. All hail KING JESUS, mighty to save! HE has ascended into the heavens in the same body which HE took from the grave and now ever lives to make intercession (by HIS presence) for the elect sons of GOD who are described as those that come unto GOD by HIM.
It is CHRIST alone who is the GREAT HIGH PRIEST over the house of GOD. It is CHRIST alone who has secured and determined the salvation of every one of those which were given to HIM in the everlasting covenant of redemption. They are HIS possession and HE has promsed to return to gather them to HIMSELF at the last trump. A man could play a part in his own resurrection easier than he could participate in his own salvation. The salvation of GOD’s elect is the work of CHRIST from beginning (election) to end (glorification), without any assistance or contribution on the part of those who are saved. It is true that they see, but sight must be granted to the blind. It is true that they hear but hearing must be given to the deaf. It is true that they live, but life must be applied to those who by nature are dead in trespasses and sins. It is true that they “believe”, but faith is the gift of GOD.
1 What wisdom, majesty, and grace Through all the gospel shine!
’Tis God that speaks, and we confess The doctrine most divine.
2 Down from his shining throne on high The Almighty Saviour comes,
Lays his bright robes of glory by, And feeble flesh assumes.
3 The mighty debt his chosen owed Upon the cross he pays;
Then through the clouds ascends to God, ’Midst shouts of loftiest praise.
4 There he, our great High Priest, appears Before his Father’s throne;
There on his breast our names he wears,And counts our cause his own.
# 51 Gadsby’s Hymns, by Samuel Stennett