The Ransom Money
March 18, 2014 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143)
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls” (Exodus 30:11-16).
The silver ransom money is another beautiful Old Testament picture of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is another way that the law of Moses points to the grace of Christ (Rom. 3:21-22).
The ransom money points to the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18). Ransom means to satisfy a debt with a full payment. It means to appease an offended party (Ex. 21:30).
Following are some of the lessons of the ransom money:
1. Every person needed the ransom (“every man,” Ex. 30:12). Likewise, the Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Every individual needs the salvation that is offered by Christ.
2. The ransom was required of those who were “of age” (Ex. 30:14). Jesus said that salvation is for those who “believe” (Mark 16:15). The “age of accountability” doubtless differs according to the individual, but there is a point in a child’s life when he comes of age and is accountable before God for accepting or rejecting Christ.
3. The ransom was offered to God (“unto the LORD,” Ex. 30:12). It is God that we have offended by breaking His holy laws, and it is God who must be appeased by the acceptable sacrifice.
4. The ransom price was set by God (“after the shekel of the sanctuary,” Ex. 30:13). God will only accept the sacrifice of His own holy Son. He will not accept anything that man offers, such as good works and religious deeds and the “sincerity of heart.”
5. The price was the same for every person (“The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less,” Ex. 30:15). The Bible says that all have sinned against God and the way of salvation is the same for all.
6. The ransom was available for all and within the reach of all. Likewise Jesus “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6). The amount was only one-half shekel, which was available to every person. “The amount, however, which was to be given by each individual was easily within reach of all, the rich and the poor alike. It was a very, very nominal sum, but in the aggregate amounted to the [4.2 tons] of silver required for the foundation of the tabernacle” (M.R. DeHaan).
7. The price had been given by God (Ex. 30:15). The silver ransom price was available for every person because God had provided it for them from the Egyptians (Ex. 11:2). Likewise, God has provided the ransom price Himself by the blood of His own Son. God ransomed sinners by becoming sin for us (Hos. 13:14). Just as God provided a ram in the place of Isaac, so He has provided His Son as a ransom for sinners. We are invited to come and receive God’s banquet “without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1) and to drink the water of life freely (Rev. 22:17).
8. The ransom price was sufficient. Nothing had to be added by the supplicant. Likewise, Christ purchased our full and eternal salvation through His blood. The believer is perfected forever through Christ’s offering (Heb. 10:14).
9. Each individual bringing the ransom price was counted (“every one that passeth among them,” Ex. 30:14). The individuals passed under the watchcare of the priest, acting as a shepherd counting his sheep as they enter the fold. Compare Ezekiel 20:37. The Lord knows His sheep and none of them will perish (John 10:27-29). As the redeemed Israelites were known by name and tribe in the Jewish records, the believer’s name is entered into the Lamb’s book of life.
10. The ransom money brought the individual into God’s family and gave him a place as a servant and soldier. Likewise through salvation the believing sinner is adopted into God’s family and becomes an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20) and a soldier in Christ’s army (Eph. 6:10-18; 2 Tim. 2:3-4). “The Israelite, who paid his ransom-money, was numbered as a soldier and a servant for God. A place was assigned him in the battlefield: and he had his position in the camp, appointed with reference to the tabernacle, the dwelling-place of God in the midst of the hosts. From henceforth Jehovah was his Leader, his Lord, his King. In like manner, the believer is redeemed to God, by the blood of Christ, from the world, and from slavery to sin and Satan; that he may be a soldier and a servant of the Most High; to be led, guided, and sustained by Him, who has called him out of darkness, into His marvellous light” (Henry Soltau, The Tabernacle the Priesthood and the Offerings).
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