And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;…
There is sacred mystery in the numbers of Holy Scripture well worthy of attention. We have an example before us.
I. ON THIS DAY THE CONSECRATIONS WERE COMPLETED.
1. The eighth is a day signalized by sanctity.
(1) All children were, according to the Law, in the uncleanness of their birth until the eighth day. Then they received circumcision, and thenceforward were recognized as holy, having the seal of the covenant or purification of God upon them (Leviticus 12:2, 3).
(2) The young of beasts, in like manner, were ceremonially unclean before their eighth day. They were therefore unfit to be offered as sacrifices. But on the eighth day and thenceforward that unfitness ceased; they were accounted clean (Leviticus 22:27).
(3) Persons unclean through leprosy, or through any issue, or a Nazarite in case of accidental defilement by the dead, all had to abide seven days in uncleanness. The eighth day, in all such cases, was memorable as that upon which they were accounted clean (Leviticus 14:8-10; Leviticus 15:13, 14; Numbers 6:9, 10).
(4) So here, the tabernacle, the altar, all the vessels of the ministry, together with the priests, were seven days in the process of purification, and on the eighth day the purity of all became established (comp. Ezekiel 43:26, 27).
2. These things point to gospel times.
(1) The pollutions of the birth refer to original sin. This, in the case of the children, is so obvious as to need no comment. The reason of the law of uncleanness in relation to the young of animals is that in the Levitical system they were made representatives of human beings.
(2) The pollutions of adults would stand for sins committed "after the similitude of Adam's transgression."
(3) All were "purged with blood," the blood of circumcision or that of animal sacrifices, which anticipated that precious blood of Christ by which we are redeemed from "all sin."
3. But what has this to do with the "eighth day"?
(1) The eighth day remarkably characterizes the gospel. Since in the week there are seven days, the "eighth" day and the "first" are obviously the same. Now, it was on the "first day of the week" that Jesus rose from the dead (Matthew 28:1). On the first day he seems to have several times appeared to his disciples during the forty days of his sojourn on the earth after his resurrection. On the first day he ascended into heaven, if we take the "forty days" to be clear days. The memorable day of Pentecost is calculated to have fallen upon the first day of the week. The early Christians kept the first day sacredly, as the seventh had been by the Jews (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). This was called "the Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10), just as our Eucharist is called "the Lord's Supper," because he instituted it.
(2) But why should the eighth day have been chosen dins to characterize the gospel? This question may be better answered as we proceed to notice -
II. THAT ON THIS DAY THE LORD WAS TO APPEAR. (Verse 4.)
1. This promise had an immediate fulfillment. The Shechinah that had been in the thick darkness of the most holy place, shined forth in brightness upon the people (verse 23).
2. It had a fuller accomplishment in the gospel.
(1) Christ is the true Shechinah (comp. Isaiah 40:5 with Matthew 3:3; see also Matthew 17:2; John 1:14; John 2:11; John 11:40; John 14:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).
(2) The Shechinah also appeared after our Lord's ascension, viz. in the wonders of the memorable day of Pentecost.
3. The crowning manifestation is reserved to the great day,
(1) Then Jesus will be revealed "without sin." He will not then appear amid circumstances of humiliation, as in his first advent.
(2) He will be revealed "in all his glory."
(a) "His own," Messiah's, glory.
(b) That of "his Father," as "the God of glory."
(c) "With the glory of his holy angels," who attend the "King of glory" as his retinue.
4. This will be the glory of the eighth day.
(1) The six days of the creation week are supposed by Barnabas to represent six chiliads, or periods of a thousand years, during which the world is to be in toil and sorrow. The sabbath at the end of these represents the thousand years of John (Revelation 20:6), distinguished as "the Millennium." The Rabbi Elias and other authorities are cited in favour of this view; and it is countenanced by the course of the fulfillment of prophecy.
(2) At the close of this age is the final judgment, which introduces a still more glorious state, described as "a new heaven and a new earth" (see Revelation 21 and 22). This, then, is the eighth day. As the Millennium (Revelation 20) is the fulfillment of the Jewish sabbath, so is the superior blessedness to follow the fulfillment of the Christian (Hebrews 4:6-9, margin). Then will everything in earth and heaven be consecrated.
III. THEN WILL THE VALUE OF THE GREAT SACRIFICE APPEAR.
1. As averting the evils of sin.
(1) Who, without the purification of the gospel, can encounter the brightness of that Epiphany (Malachi 3:2)?
(2) But those who possess this purity need have no fear of the horrors of the "outer darkness" (Revelation 21:7, 8; Revelation 22:14, 15).
2. As procuring ineffable bliss.
(1) The consecration of the eighth day resulted from the ceremonies of the days preceding. So will the purity of the heavenly state rise out of the tragedies and horrors of Calvary.
(2) The summoning of the sacrifices on the eighth day was, amongst other things, to witness this. All were summoned, viz. sin, burnt, peace, and bread offerings. In the blessings of the gospel we have all that was foreshadowed by Levitical oblations of every kind.
(3) The song of Moses and of the Lamb will swell the rapture of heaven. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;