Church of God, Carmichael, CA

Shadows of Good Things

Or the Gospel in Type

Russell R. Byrum, 1922

[Original Page Numbers]



  In addition to the greater and more important ceremonial institutions or types hitherto considered, a number of other ritual types are set forth in the Pentateuch which also are shadows of good things. We purpose in this chapter to bring together the more important of these miscellaneous types. These were given for our learning, and doubtless God intends we should get the lessons they contain for us. As we have already dealt with the principles of truth set forth by most of these, they will be treated only in those particulars that belong especially to them.

Clean and Unclean Meats
(Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14)

  The distinctions of the Mosaic law between clean and unclean foods might seem puerile were it not for their manifestation of profound knowledge of the animal kingdom, of wholesome dietetics, and their far reaching influence as types of great moral and spiritual realities. That these distinctions belonged to that great system of types hitherto considered there can be no doubt.

  The clean animals were those which both divided the hoof and chewed the cud. These were especially the ox, sheep, goat, and deer species. The swine was unclean because, though it divided the hoof, yet it did not chew the cud. The camel, coney, and hare on the other hand, were unclean because they did not part the hoof, though they chewed the cud. Of fish only those were clean which had both fins and scales. Of fowls no general rule was given by Moses; but from his long lists of clean and unclean fowls the general principle usually applies that, as with animals, carnivorous birds as the eagle, vulture, raven, and owl were unclean. [126]

  In these distinctions and restrictions there were probably a number of aims and advantages, though the chief one was typical and moral. Along with this chief idea were certain secondary benefits accruing to Israel, as we found to be true of the Sabbath and other feasts, which though they were principally beneficial in their lessons of spiritual truth, yet they brought physical, social, political, and commercial benefits.

  In these distinctions between meats God gave a system of wholesome dietetics. The clean animals were generally the very best and most nutritious for food, although we must allow that some pronounced unclean were almost if not entirely as wholesome as those called clean. The distinctions were somewhat arbitrary because typical. So likewise in the feasts, though there were temporal benefits in the times and nature of their observance, yet there was more or less of the arbitrary element in their appointment. Science has allowed and the facts of experience demonstrate that as a class the clean animals are very healthful. Swine's flesh is said to be especially unhealthy in warm climates where such diseases as leprosy are common. It has been asserted that during epidemics, plagues, etc., Jews do not suffer to the same extent as do those who eat swine's flesh. Since God chose to make this distinction in meats, wisdom and mercy are shown in the choice of those for food that are best adapted to man's needs.

  Another great temporal benefit to Israel from these distinctions in food was that it made a wall of separation between them and their heathen neighbors socially. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego demonstrated this when they refused to defile themselves with the king's food in Nebuchadnezzar's court. By eating the ox, which the Egyptians regarded as sacred, the Israelite separated himself from the subtle influence of his idolatrous neighbors to the south, and in refusing swine's flesh, which was eaten by the Canaanites, we would not be very liable to social intercourse with these wicked neighbors. [127]

  But the more direct purpose of these restrictions on food was to teach that important fact of moral distinctions and to educate men to the idea of holiness. As the washings of the body are a proper type of the cleansing of the soul, so the food that furnishes nourishment and pleasure to the body is a fit symbol of those things of which the soul partakes. As holiness requires careful discrimination in what is given place in the heart, so in this type God made discrimination as to clean and unclean foods for the body.

  Because of natural depravity and perverse teaching, men without the influence of God's revelation have very confused ideas of holiness and sin. And except for these ceremonial distinctions and what has them for its basis, we might be as mixed in our ideas of morals as are the Turks and Hindus at this day. It is an elementary lesson in holiness. It, along with similar lessons from the tabernacle, priesthood, offerings, and feasts, goes to make up the Christian conception of holiness. The veils, consecrations, sprinklings of blood, and washings with water constantly witness to us, as well as do these distinctions in meats, that God is holy, man is sinful, and that fellowship between God and men is possible only by men being cleansed from sin and made holy. Opposers of holiness today among professors of Christianity have missed the most important fact of true religion—that God desires to make men holy.

Defilement of Childbirth and Issues
(Leviticus 12, 15)

  A perusal by the reader of the chapters to which reference is given beneath the title of this paragraph will doubtless be profitable, especially since, for obvious reasons, we refrain from giving the details of these impurities. The defilements of this class were all related to the production of life—the giving birth to children or issues in the organs connected therewith. That these impurities were viewed not primarily as of a physical but [128] as of a ceremonial nature is certain from the fact that burnt and sin offerings were required for their purification. This is further proved by the fact that a woman who had given birth to a male child was disqualified from entering the court of the sanctuary for thirty three days after she was clean to enter society; also by the period of uncleanness for a female child being twice as long as for a male child.

  Here then we again have a rite that typifies a great moral fact. But how do production and birth have connection with moral defilement ? What is this birth sin that is here typically depicted ? The "sweet singer of Israel" answers, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psa. 51:5). In this ceremonial defilement and cleansing, as well as in certain other forms of uncleanness and their cleansing, God has been pleased to set before us the awful fact of the inborn depravity of men's natures that causes them to "go astray as soon as they be born" (Psa. 58:3). This view has been held by such modern writers as Seiss and Fairbairn as well as by some of the Jewish doctors. This depravity of the nature here typified is probably that uncleanness for which that fountain was opened in the house of David, as both sin and uncleanness are mentioned ( see Zech. 13 :1).

  Neither is it unreasonable that a truth so significant to religion should be given such typical recognition as to its existence and removal. That ceremonial defilement was cleansed by the offering of a lamb for a burnt offering and a fowl for a sin offering forty days after the child's birth if a male, or eighty days after if a female. The blood of those animals was typical of the precious blood of Christ, who, "that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate" (Heb. 13 :12). This typical rite teaches, contrary to the Pelagian theory, that native depravity exists, and, contrary to a more common theory, that it may be removed not by a growth process but by the blood of Jesus in full salvation. [129]


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Original Page: 126-129
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Total Original Pages: 141
The Church of God!
Justification, Sanctification, Unity
Carmichael, California USA

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