Thursday, October 18, 2012




         The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying,
        "When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them.
"This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the LORD.
"Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the LORD.
"The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the LORD to make atonement for yourselves.
"You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves." (Exodus 30:11-16 NASB)

In part 2 of this study we looked at all of the gifts that were given in the freewill heave offering. I want to make a clarification here. Silver wasn’t one of the gifts though it was used as a material in building the tabernacle. Later we will see how this ransom money was used in the making of the tabernacle. For now I want to show you something awesome about this passage of scripture.

In verse 12 the word census is literally the word ‘sum’ and the phrase   ‘to number them’ literally means ‘for their being mustered.’ And again at the end of that verse ‘number’ means to ‘muster.’ This is very important. Moses wasn’t just counting these men just to be counting them, as we read further down, we see that their age plays an important part. Moses was counting all the males from the age of 20 years old and older, and they were being mustered to serve in the army of Israel, the army of God.

It is the same for the Christian today, when we recognize that we are unable to obey the laws of God, our incapability and need of One who could and did pay that atonement price, and we accept the free gift of salvation, then we too are numbered and counted as part of the army of God.

Everyone who was numbered was told to give half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary. A shekel was about 0.4 ounces or 11.5 grams for the common shekel. A royal shekel was about 0.8 ounces.

All males age 20 and older were the ones who were numbered and they were the ones who gave this contribution to the Lord. It didn’t matter if they were rich or poor, each man was to pay the same price for their atonement.

Henry Soltau said, “When the question of ransom came to be one of ransom; the poor and the rich, the foolish and the wise, the ignorant and the learned, the immoral and the moral, stood on the same level. Each person was estimated by God at the same price.”[1]

Moses was to take the atonement money that was given and give it to the service of the tent of meeting. It was to be a memorial for the sons of Israel, to make atonement for themselves.

Let us take a moment to look at this word ‘atonement’. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, atonement means:

1.      Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation.
2.      a. Reconciliation or an instance of reconciliation between God and humans.
b. Atonement Christianity The reconciliation of God and humans brought about by the redemptive life and death of Jesus.[2],[3]

I could list other dictionary meanings, but they are virtually the same. So we will go with this one.

Now I want us to look at ‘ransom’, we will use the same source.

1.      a. The release of property or a person in return for payment of a demanded price.
b. The price or payment demanded or paid for such release.
        2.  A redemption from sin and its consequences.

        Ah, now we are getting to the heart of the matter, redemption.
1. The act of redeeming of the condition of having been redeemed.
2. Deliverance upon payment of ransom; rescue.
3. Christianity Salvation from sin through Jesus’ sacrifice.

The children of Israel were given the picture of redemption through paying the atonement price. By paying the half-shekel of silver, an unalloyed, unadulterated metal, they were paying a ransom price that would ultimately be paid for by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the pure and spotless One.

“knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” I Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV)

“Oh the blood of Jesus, oh the blood of Jesus, oh the blood of Jesus, it washes white as snow.”

In Romans 3 we read that all of man is guilty, “there is none righteous, not even one…There is none who does good, there is not even one….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:9, 23 NKJV) But, we are told that apart from the law, the righteousness of God was manifested, through the redemption which is in Christ, whom God displayed publicly as propitiation in His blood through faith. This is for the “demonstration of God’s righteousness for this present time, that He might be the just and justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26 NKJV)

There is so many marvelous and wonderful things to discover and learn about the subject of Atonement and Redemption, however I really can’t take the time right now to delve into it. If you are interested in this subject I suggest you read the book of Ruth and chapter 5 of the book of Revelation. In Ruth you will see Boaz as a type of Jesus Christ who redeemed Ruth and in Revelation 5 Jesus was the only one who could pay the atonement price in full, who fully satisfied the price that God required, and; who was the only one in heaven or earth who could open the book and look in it.

Now back to Exodus 30, the Ransom Money.

Look at verse 12 again, especially the last portion:

“…,when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.”

This is important, because later in the Bible, we read of the time when God allowed satan to tempt David into “numbering” the Israelites. Not to glorify God, but so that he, the king, might congratulate himself on the number of his subjects. The conclusion of that particular story was that David, afterward, became contrite and sought God’s forgiveness and in humility preferred being dealt with in chastisement immediately from the Lord. Accordingly, the plague which had been threatened in Exodus 30:12 broke out against the people and the destroyer didn’t stay his hand until God, listening to the humiliation of David, and appeased by the burnt offering presented on the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite said “it is enough.” (2nd Samuel 14, 1st Chronicles 11.)

This numbering that took place in Exodus, the ransom money that was paid by the individual person, was to place each person into the army of God. Each one was assigned a position and place in that army. It was all done to glorify God and to show the plan of redemption He had and has for each one of us.

This takes us to the silver trumpets. There was an additional numbering of the Israelite. The first time all the males 20 years old and older paid the ransom price of half-shekel to be numbered into the army of God. That offering was lifted up to God and counted so they wouldn’t suffer a plague.

The silver they paid was given to the service of the tabernacle and was used to make the hundred sockets, hooks and capitals of the court pillars. (We will look at those later.)

I want to show you something real quick: every sacrifice on which the hand was laid, attested to substitution; the Burnt offering, the Sin offering and the Silver atonement money.

This additional numbering was so the Levites would be substituted for the firstborn among the sons of Israel. Take a look at the passage.

Then the Lord said to Moses: “Number all the firstborn males of the children of Israel from a month old and above, and take the number of their names.
“And you shall take the Levites for Me – I am the Lord – instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the livestock of the children of Israel.”
So Moses numbered all the firstborn among the children of Israel, as the Lord commanded him.
And all the firstborn males, according to the number of names from a month old and above, of those who were numbered of them, were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
“Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock. The Levites shall be Mine: I am the Lord.
“And for the redemption of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel, who are more than the number of the Levites,
“You shall take five shekels for each one individually; you shall take them in the currency of the shekel of the sanctuary, the shekel of twenty gerahs.
“And you shall give the money with which the excess number of them is redeemed, to Aaron and his sons.”
So Moses took the redemption money from those who were over and above those who were redeemed by the Levites.
From the firstborn of the children of Israel he took the money, one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.
And Moses gave their redemption money to Aaron and his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses. (Numbers 3:40-51 NKJV)

The Levites were the ransom for the firstborn sons of Israel. And the ransom for the 273 of the firstborn sons of Israel who were in excess beyond the Levites was five shekels apiece.

We learn that money was to be given to Aaron and his sons to be used in the service of God. So what did they do with that additional silver?

To find the answer to that question we have to go to chapter 10 of Numbers. Moses is told by God to make two silver trumpets. They are to be made of hammered work and they shall be used for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps. Remember, there was approximately 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 people encamped around the soon to be built tabernacle. They had just given their freewill heave offerings and paid the ransom price for all males 20 years old and older, and an additional ransom price for the Levites.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
“Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work: you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps.” Numbers 10:1,2 NKJV

The two silver trumpets of silver were each made of one piece of hammered silver so they would give out the same sound when blown.

There is some symbolism in regards to the trumpets I want to take a moment to share with you.

The symbolic interpretation of the trumpet is a prophetic voice and utterance. Scripture reference given for that is: Numbers 10:1-10; Isaiah 58:1; Revelation 1:10; 4:1

Also it is a symbol of gathering, the coming of Christ, judgment and blessing. I Corinthians 14:8; Exodus 19:13-16; Joshua 6:5; I Samuel 13:3; 2 Samuel 2:28; 15:10; 18:16; Hebrews 12:19; I Corinthians 15:52; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Numbers 10:1-10

When Solomon dedicated the temple, the ceremonies included “120 priests blowing trumpets in unison…” 2 Chronicles 5:12-13.
The note blown from the trumpets was to be precisely the same sound in unison.

The trumpets would have been formed as long narrow tubes flaring out into a bell at the mouth, so they could produce loud piercing notes. With a skillful player, these trumpets could make up to four different musical notes.

There were four ways the trumpets were to be used. (Numbers 10:1-10)

1. a. When both trumpets were blown all of the people were to gather together and meet Moses at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

    b. If only one trumpet is blown then the leaders, the heads of the thousands of Israel shall assemble before Moses.

2. a. When the alarm was sounded from the trumpets the camps pitched on the east side headed out.

    b. If the alarm was sounded out the second time then the camps pitched on the south side headed out.

    c. Only the priestly sons of Aaron could blow the trumpets and this was a perpetual state throughout their generations.

3. a. When they went to war in their land against the enemy who attacked them.

    b. There were only two occasions recorded when these trumpets of silver were used in war. The first was Numbers 31:6 – when Israel avenged themselves on the Midianites. The second was 2 Chronicles 13:12 – this was when a portion of Israel opposed to Judah. Abijah the king, who preserved the worship of the true God arrayed in battle against Jeroboam, who relied on his idols of gold and the multitude of his host.

    c. The sound of the silver trumpets were to be sounded so they would be remembered before the Lord their God and be saved from their enemies. (Numbers 10:9)

4. The silver trumpets were to be sounded:
a.      in the days of their gladness
b.      in their appointed feasts
c.      on the first days of their months
d.      over their burnt offerings
e.      over the sacrifices of their peace offerings.

Not a day would pass without the Israelite being re-awakened to that fact that he had been redeemed to God. As the burnt offerings and peace offerings presented on God’s altar preserved a constant odor of a sweet savor to the Lord, the very sound of those silver trumpets reminded them that the value of these offerings was their own. And the very fact that they were God’s own people, redeemed at a price, numbered as His own, delivered from the bondage of Egypt, to be servants and soldiers of the Most High.

Believers today when they hear the gentle call of the Holy Spirit, are also reminded that they are God’s, redeemed at a price (the blood of Jesus Christ), numbered and delivered from the bondage of sin (For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NKJV). And they too are called to be servants and soldiers of the Lord God.

The silver trumpets “shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.” Numbers 10:10 NKJV

Praise the Lord for the free gift of salvation. I am going to stop here as this is a wonderful place for us to pause and reflect on the wondrous redemptive work of the cross, the atonement price Christ Jesus paid for our sins, and the incredible awesomeness of our Lord.

Next time we come together, we are going to begin building the tabernacle in the wilderness. So until then, may the Lord bless you dearly, my beloved brothers and sisters. May He give you ears to hear His sweet, tender voice, eyes to see His wondrous works, a voice to speak of His gift of salvation, hands to do the work He has given you, and feet to walk after Him, only. Amen.

[1] Pg 84 Soltau, Henry W.; “The Tabernacle, The Priesthood and the Offerings” Kregel Publications ©1972
[2] The American Heritage dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.

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