Middle East Peace
Time of Israel’s Restoration (2)
Israel’s Return to the Land of Her Possession
Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty.
Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction [ransom] for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.
And you shall take no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the priest. [the high priest (v. 25)].
So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. (Numbers 35:30-33)
In the camp of Israel there was only one high priest at any one time. At the time of the high priest’s death, he was succeeded by another from the Aaronic line; and the high priestly ministry in the Aaronic line continued in this manner, after this fashion.
Aaron ministered in the sanctuary in the earthly tabernacle, with blood, on behalf of the people. Jesus, on the other hand, is presently ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, with blood, on behalf of the people — a ministry patterned after the order of Aaron.
And, as evident from Hebrews chapter five, along with other related Scripture, Christ’s present ministry after the order of Aaron will not continue indefinitely.
There is a day coming when Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary will end. And the termination of this ministry, along with certain events that will occur relative to Israel in that day, was typified by the death of the high priest in the camp of Israel and events that occurred relative to the slayer when the high priest died.
And these events, as they pertain to the slayer, have to do with two things in the antitype:
1) Israel’s cleansing from defilement through contact with the dead body of the nation’s Messiah.
2) A restoration of the Jewish people to the land of their possession.
Earlier in the book of Numbers, in chapter nineteen, information was given concerning cleansing for that which is subsequently dealt with in chapter thirty-five — cleansing for those coming in contact with a dead body. In this chapter, cleansing occurred by following prescribed instructions using the ashes of a red heifer, running water, and hyssop, foreshadowing a future cleansing of Israel through the shed blood of the very One whom they slew (foreshadowed also by the ransom in chapter 35) — made necessary through contact with the dead body of their Messiah at the time He was slain.
Note how Numbers 19:11, 12 reads in this respect:
He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days.
He shall purify himself with the water on the third day [purify himself using the ashes of a red heifer, foreshadowing Israel and the shed blood of the One whom they slew, placing themselves in the unclean state seen in Numbers 19, 35], and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.
Then, note the use of the third and the seventh day. Both of these days, in that which is being foreshadowed [Israel being cleansed, at a future time], refer to the same ending time — a yet future day when Israel will appropriate that which is foreshadowed by the ashes of a red heifer or the ransom, the shed blood of Christ.
The three days have to do with the time between Israel slaying their Messiah and the Messianic Era (after two days, on the third day; after 2,000 years, on the third 1,000-year period).
And the seven days have to do with the entirety of Man’s Day, leading into the Lord’s Day, the Messianic Era (after six days, on the seventh day; after 6,000 years, on the seventh 1,000-year period.)
The beginning time of each is different, but the ending time of each is the same.
(After two days, on the third day, and after six days, on the seventh day, are used in the preceding manner numerous times throughout Scripture [e.g., Hosea 5:15-6:2; Matthew 16:28-17:5; Luke 24:21; Hebrews 4:4-9]. In fact, all of Scripture is built on a septenary structure using six [Man’s Day] and seven [the Lord’s Day], or a part of that structure using the last three of the seven days [after two days, on the third day].
The Old Testament is introduced this way in Genesis, and the New Testament is introduced this way in John’s gospel [which parallels Genesis throughout and should begin the New Testament rather than Matthew].
For information on John introducing the New Testament rather than Matthew, refer to Chapter 1, “Genesis and John,” in the author’s book, Moses and John.
Also, to understand how God reckons time using days after the manner seen in Numbers chapter nineteen [e.g., be unclean for seven days, yet be cleansed on the seventh day (Numbers 19:11, 12, 19)], refer to the appendix in this book where the expression “three days and three nights” from the book of Jonah and Matthew’s gospel is dealt with from a Scriptural standpoint.)
The High Priest and the Ransom
The word ransom (Numbers 35:31, 32 [translated “satisfaction,” KJV]) is from a cognate form of the word for “atonement” in the Hebrew text. The underlying thought behind “atonement” is to cover; and that is the same thought expressed by the “ransom” in this chapter.
This ransom provided a covering — a covering from view, a putting away, a blotting out — of the previous capital act (necessitating a prior, unpremeditated act for the ransom to be made available).
And once the slayer had availed himself of the ransom, which could only be after the death of the high priest, the whole matter was put away. The person was then free to return to the land of his possession; and the near kinsman of the one slain could no longer have any claim on him whatsoever, for the matter had been put away and could never be brought up again.
(In the type, this ransom was connected with some aspect of the person and work of the high priest, or of other priests. For example, the slayer could not avail himself of the ransom until the high priest had died. Then, this ransom had to do with a covering [with atonement] from defilement wrought through contact with a dead body. And such a work in Numbers chapter nineteen, where cleansing from this type defilement is dealt with, was performed by a priest.
The high priestly ministry of Aaron and his successors in the camp of Israel, whether in this or in other areas of defilement, was a work on behalf of the saved, not the unsaved. Their work was for those who had already appropriated the blood of slain paschal lambs, pointing to Christ and His shed blood at Calvary [the slain Paschal Lamb]. This succession of high priests ministered in this manner, on the basis of shed blood, typifying Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary after this same fashion [a ministry for the saved, on the basis of shed blood].
Thus, that which is being dealt with in Numbers chapter thirty-five — portending a priestly work — has to do with the cleansing of saved individuals from defilement [defilement wrought through contact with a dead body], not with issues pertaining to the death of the firstborn [issues pertaining to eternal salvation].
And the Jewish people, for two reasons, find themselves in a position today where they cannot avail themselves of this cleansing [cleansing from contact with the dead body of their Messiah]:
1) The Jewish people today are in an unsaved state.
2) The Jewish people, even if they were in a saved state today, could not presently avail themselves of the ransom [cleansing] because of the nature of Christ’s present, continuing priestly ministry.
Cleansing from defilement [for the saved] during the present dispensation is brought to pass through only one means — through Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat. Though Christ is not of the Levitical line, His present ministry is patterned after the order of Aaron’s ministry; and, because Christ is not of the Levitical line, if God were dealing with Israel on a national basis today, He could not deal with the Jewish people in relation to Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary [else He would violate that which He Himself established].
The Jewish people, if they were being dealt with in relation to the priesthood today, would have to be dealt with in relation to that which is set forth concerning the priesthood in the Mosaic Economy [as will evidently be seen in and through the covenant Antichrist will make with Israel during the coming Tribulation, when God completes His national dealings with Israel during Man’s Day (rebuilding the Temple, re-establishing the Mosaic Economy)]. The priest, within the Mosaic Economy, had to be of the Levitical line. And Christ is not of this line. Christ is from the tribe of Judah.
Thus, dealing with the Jewish people in relation to Christ’s high priestly ministry today would be completely out of the question in more ways than one. The Jewish people today find themselves in an unsaved state; and Christ’s present high priestly ministry, as was Aaron’s ministry in past time, is solely for the saved.
Even if the Jewish people were in a saved state today, remaining separate from Christians [though an impossibility, for Jews saved during the present dispensation become new creations “in Christ”], they could not go to Christ and receive cleansing, for the Mosaic Economy does not recognize a priestly ministry of the nature Christ is presently exercising [a non-Levitical ministry patterned after the order of Aaron, a Levite]. And any priesthood which the Jewish people themselves could enact today, from the Levitical line, would be completely non-efficacious.
However, as seen in Chapter 7 of this book, note that Christ [though from the tribe of Judah] can conduct a ministry patterned after the order of Aaron for Christians during the present dispensation, for Christians are not under the Mosaic Economy. Christians form part of the one new man, which is neither Jew nor Gentile [cf. Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:12-15]. Thus, for Christians, Christ’s lineage has nothing to do with the matter one way or the other.
But, before the Jewish people can enter into the picture as matters pertain to the priesthood and the ransom, seen in Numbers chapter thirty-five, not only must a national conversion occur but Christ must terminate His present ministry in the sanctuary and come forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek. And, as well, a new covenant [which will replace the old covenant] will be made with Israel at this time [Jeremiah 31:31-34].
In the preceding respect, from the vantage point of the antitype, it is a simple matter to see why the high priest in the camp of Israel had to die before the slayer could avail himself of the ransom and return to the land of his possession. God had established and brought matters to pass after this fashion in the history of Israel in order to form a type, with a view to the antitype. Christ’s high priestly ministry in the sanctuary has to terminate first. Only then can the slayer [Israel] avail herself of the ransom and return to the land of her possession.
Christ’s ministry of the preceding nature for Christians will end once the present dispensation has run its course, though this ministry evidently continues for those individuals saved during the Tribulation which follows. In this respect, though Christ will judge Christians following the rapture, preceding the Tribulation, He will evidently still be active as high priest for those individuals saved during the Tribulation.
Then, following the Tribulation He will come forth from the sanctuary and appear to Israel as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Only at this time will the Jewish people be able to avail themselves of the ransom.)
The ransom for Israel’s capital offense has already been paid. Jesus paid this ransom at Calvary, shedding His own blood — blood which is presently on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary. However, although the ransom (providing atonement) for Israel’s sin has already been paid, as previously seen, the nation cannot avail herself of this ransom or return to the land of her possession until the antitype of the death of the high priest.
Israel though must first experience her national Passover in fulfillment of Exodus 12:7 and Leviticus 23:5 — through applying the blood that was shed 2,000 years ago. And this can occur only at the termination of Israel’s present blindness (Romans 11:25).
Israel, as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13ff, must continue in a blinded condition until the resurrected Christ, by His personal presence at His second coming, opens the Old Testament Scriptures to the Jewish people’s understanding in this respect (cf. vv. 16, 25-27, 31).
In that day, Israel’s eyes will be opened; and a nation will be “born at once” (Isaiah 66:8). The entire nation will experience the birth from above at the same time (when the Jewish people look upon the One whom “they have pierced” [Zechariah 12:10]). And this will occur only after Christ terminates His present ministry, departs the heavenly sanctuary, and comes forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Then cleansing can occur, allowing the ransom seen in Numbers chapter thirty-five to be accessed.
It will be in that day — not before — that Israel will experience her national Passover, subsequently be able to avail herself of the ransom, and then be free to return to the land of her possession. As long as Christ occupies His present position in the heavenly sanctuary, Israel cannot avail herself of the paid ransom and return to this land. Israel must remain in her present condition — blinded — throughout the present dispensation; and, according to related Scripture, Israel will not be removed from this condition until a few years beyond the present dispensation, at the end of Man’s Day, at the end of the Tribulation.
Availing Themselves of the Ransom
Also, the Jewish people one day availing themselves of the ransom in Numbers chapter thirty-five would have to do with the fulfillment of events set forth in the second and sixth of the seven feasts of the Lord in Leviticus chapter twenty-three — the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which immediately followed the Passover, and the Day of Atonement.
“Leaven” points to that which is vile, corrupt (cf. Matthew 13:33; 16:1-12; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8); and the fulfillment of this festival in the type had to do with a cleansing of the house, a removing of all leaven from the house immediately following the Passover (cf. Exodus 12:8-20; Leviticus 23:6-8).
And in the antitype, it is the same. The fulfillment of this festival will immediately follow the fulfillment of the Passover. It will occur immediately following Israel applying the blood of the slain Paschal Lamb, blood shed 2,000 years prior to this time. And because Israel had previously shed this blood, the entire house of Israel will be found in an unclean condition in that day, an uncleanness that will have to be dealt with.
Israel, in that day, will be found in this unclean condition through the nation’s prior contact with the dead body of their Messiah. The house, resultantly, will be found completely leavened. And the leaven will have to be removed; it will have to be put out, done away with.
(Refer to Chapters 1, 2 in this book — the house will be left completely leavened, desolate, until…)
But, though all things associated with leaven will be put out of the house (fulfilling the second festival, the festival of Unleavened Bread), cleansing cannot occur until events surrounding the fulfillment of the sixth festival (the Day of Atonement).
Only then will the Jewish people be able to avail themselves of the ransom, be cleansed of defilement resulting from prior contact with the dead body of their Messiah, and be free to return to the land of their possession.
Only then can the seventh and last festival be realized — the feast of Tabernacles, a time of rest at the completion of the previous six festivals, foreshadowing the time of rest awaiting the people of God (a seventh-day rest, a Sabbath rest), the Messianic Era.
This is where the account of the slayer availing himself of the ransom in Numbers chapter thirty-five, following the death of the high priest, is seen being fulfilled in the antitype (along with the fulfillment of that which is seen in Numbers chapter nineteen).
Israel in that day will be cleansed of this defilement, and the house will no longer be leavened, no longer be desolate (cf. Daniel 9:24).
Accordingly, only in that coming day, only following cleansing from Israel’s present defilement wrought through prior contact with the dead body of the nation’s Messiah, will the Jewish people be free to return to the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And only then can the Jewish people realize their calling in this land, with God’s promised blessings flowing out through Israel to the Gentile nations of the earth after the fashion that God intended when He called this nation into existence.