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NUMBERS: ON SPIRITUAL CASUALTIES AND VICTORS
Part XXI - Blessing Through Looking BEYOND Human Leaders To Lean On God ALONE
(Numbers 20:23-29 with Hebrews 7:23-28)
Lesson: The TRAGIC end of the effort for Aaron to example reaching the Promised Land is swallowed up in the HOPE of the ETERNAL priesthood of Christ, for HE, unlike the mortal, Aaron, is SINLESS. Thus, we can shift our focus from the sad failure of a mortal leader in Aaron to focus on the SATISFYING godliness of our Eternal High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ!
- Mortal human spiritual leaders are supposed to example before God's people lives of faith, love and godly living that we would hope God would reproduce in us, cf. 1 Peter 5:1-3.
- However, mortal human leaders by very definition have sin natures that cause them to be mortal (cf. Rom. 5:12), meaning they can FAIL to be the examples we need, and that can be disillusioning for us.
- Numbers 20:23-29 in light of Hebrews 7:23-24 offers us God's wonderful solution to disillusionment at the failure of mortal human leaders, a lesson every believer should recall for times when leaders fail him:
- Blessing Through Looking BEYOND Human Leaders To Lean On God ALONE.
- God administered His solemn and deeply saddening judgment on Aaron for his sin, Numbers 20:23-29:
- After they had dealt with the Edomites by circumventing Edom's land, God called Moses and Aaron into a very sad chapter in their experience: due to the sin of both men in failing to honor God before the nation, Aaron was called by God to die without entering the long-sought Promised Land, 20:23-24.
- This tragic event would signify the change of the nation's first High Priest: Aaron's priestly garments would be transferred to his son, Eleazar before Aaron's death had ceremonially defiled those clothes and Eleazar, his son, cf. Numbers 20:25-26 in light of Numbers 19:16.
- In front of the entire nation, Aaron, Eleazar and Moses ascended Mount Hor in the outskirts near Edom to proceed with experiencing or witnessing the tragic event of Aaron's death, Numbers 20:27.
- At the mountain top, Moses obeyed the Lord in stripping Aaron of his High Priest garments, and putting them on Aaron's son, Eleazar, Numbers 20:28a.
- Then, Aaron died, and Moses and Eleazar, Aaron's brother and son left his body on the mount for God to handle, and descended to the witnessing nation beneath, Numbers 20:28b.
- The loss of Israel's first High Priest in Aaron who had been with Moses throughout the nation's departure from Egypt until then led to the nation's mourning for thirty days, Numbers 20:29.
- However, offsetting the tragedy of Aaron's sin-causing death and failure to reach the Promised Land, Hebrews 7:23-24 offers us a contrast of God's provision in a new, ETERNAL priesthood in Christ:
- Ryrie notes Aaron's "death at the age of 123 . . . stands in sharp contrast to the eternal priesthood of Christ (cf. Heb. 7:23-24)," Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Numbers 20:28-29.
- In that Hebrews passage, the author writes of the Aaronic priesthood of Israel's history that Israel witnessed many high priests come and go because of the futility of their human deaths, Hebrews 7:23.
- This repeated event arose as these men were sinners, and death is the product of sin, Romans 5:12.
- However, Jesus has an unchangeable priesthood in that He continues FOREVER because His is the sinless Son of God Who is risen from the DEAD, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20 with Hebrews 7:26.
- Accordingly, He is able not only completely, but eternally to save those who come unto God as He eternally lives to make intercession for them, Hebrews 7:25!
- Hence, Jesus is our Changeless High Priest without any disappointment: He does not need to repeat sacrifices in offering imperfect sacrifices first to cover his own sins and then those of others, but with a once-for-all sacrifice of His own blood He wrought a final, eternal redemption for us, Heb. 7:27-28!
- Hence, Jesus does not need a tragic defrocking as Priest as did Aaron before Aaron's tragic DEATH!
Application: Though MORTAL leaders are in PRACTICAL need as examples, recall such leaders are infected with SIN so THEY can DISAPPOINT! Yet, instead of becoming disillusioned at this, recall JESUS has PERMANENTLY TRIUMPHED over sin and death and has a PERMANENT value in His ONE sacrifice; thus, let us ALWAYS confidently come to HIM with our requests and sins for help!