THE ATONEMENT MONEY
Have you always thought that the concepts of census and taxation came directly from the minds of men?
Better take another look at the scriptures.
God has taken His people out of slavery and false worship and brought them into a new place of freedom. The problem is that they haven’t yet learned how to live in freedom.
Welcome to today’s bible study in the COME AS A CHILD BIBLE STUDY. We are beginning Lesson 172. If you missed Lesson 171 you may review it here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/altar-incense/. At some point the author of this blog will be offering all of the lessons from Exodus as a group. Keep watching the blog for this at a later date.
God has Moses up on the mountain giving him lessons on how free people stay free. He instructs Moses on how to set aside a holy place; the tabernacle. He gives Moses instructions for consecrating a priesthood and consecrating everything that the priesthood will use to operate. God gives Moses instructions on how he likes for people to pray, and then God begins to fill Moses in on the fact that atonement is necessary for every soul of mankind.
Now that is a lot of “stuff” to absorb. I suppose that is why it took Moses 40 days up there. While Moses was up on the mountain leaning how to be free; the people were down in the camp learning how bored human beings can get to be if no one is there to cheer them on.
All of these things that God was discussing with Moses were very important things that free people would need to know as they entered into a promised land.
Something was becoming very clear to Moses. If the people of Israel could not learn to follow God’s instructions; they would once again begin to put their freedom into jeopardy. After all; not following God’s instructions was how they wound up being slaves in the first place. If only those descendants of Joseph had been more like Joseph!
TIME FOR AN ACCOUNTING
There is so much to learn about being free!
The next lesson God was carefully instructing Moses about was the absolute necessity of atonement.
We can see the importance of this concept in the scriptures over and over again. Now God was teaching Moses how to teach this concept to His chosen nation who had been out of touch with the teachings of their ancestors during all those many years of slavery.
It was time for an accounting.
THERE IS A RANSOM PRICE THAT MUST BE PAID
God instructed Moses to count the people and to tell them at the time of counting that each person was to pay a ransom price for their life. When this happened properly the people would be blessed. No plague would come near them.
Does this shock you?
Did you not know or understand that freedom isn’t ever free?
Freedom comes with a cost. There is always a price to be paid, and that price is called a “ransom” price.
A SACRIFICE IS ALWAYS REQUIRED
Freedom isn’t just granted or proclaimed; it is bought and paid for. This seems to be true whether you live in biblical ancient times or the current world.
If you live in a free country in today’s world, someone at some time and place sacrificed their own life and fought for your right to enjoy the freedom that you enjoy today. They were willing to die for your freedom. It was the ransom price that had to be paid. One generation often pays the heavy price of freedom for generations to come.
In the case of the Exodus, the people seeking freedom were in slavery; so it was impossible for those people to come up with their own ransom. It took someone else, someone who could rise above the enslaved people’s circumstances (Moses), coming along and delivering them from their bondage.
So it was that God established that the price of the ransom was required of each Hebrew in order to pay the price of their freedom.
Moses had delivered them up to God and removed them from Egypt; but the ransom had not yet been paid. Legally; they were still slaves who needed redemption.
The ransom amount was the same for each person, whether rich or poor. Each person was to give a half-shekel, which weighed twenty gerahs.
The money was considered to be an offering to the LORD.
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DELIVERANCE AND COMPLETE FREEDOM
These people who had been led out of bondage had already celebrated their deliverance with joy; but they did not actually have their full freedom yet! (There is a difference between deliverance and freedom.) They had obtained and enjoyed a time of escape from danger and toil and strife. They had enjoyed a type of release and a short time of rest; but their actual freedom came with a ransom price and it had not yet been paid.
No matter how emotionally good they were feeling in the camp; by law they were still doomed as slaves who needed official atonement. If Pharaoh should show up; he could still legally claim them as his. The records had to be set straight for the sake of the future. Each man had to be accurately recorded as free.
THE ATONEMENT MONEY HELD THE TABERNACLE TOGETHER IN THE FORM OF SILVER SOCKETS
The atonement money that was required must still be paid during this first-ever census which wound up eventually furnishing the silver for the sockets that held the boards of the tabernacle in place. Without this silver for support the heart of the wilderness worship; the tabernacle, could not stand firm.
This meant that the tabernacle was literally built upon the boards of atonement. If you would like a review of what we previously discussed about the provision of the silver sockets; just click here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/silver-sockets-of-redemption-come-as-a-child-lesson-156-amazing-silver-sockets/. I would venture to say that understanding the truths of this particular article is critical to a person’s understanding of true salvation and eternal life. It would be well worth your time to reread it.
ATONEMENT WAS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE
Atonement was of utmost importance to the people of Israel.
Atonement meant true freedom; not just escape.
God was teaching them the deeper meaning of true freedom. You can sometimes find temporary escape and obtain a sense of relief; but it isn’t long-lasting or true freedom. Eventually you will be caught, found or turned in. You would then need for someone to come along with enough mercy to pay the total redemption price that gives you absolute freedom.
Without atonement (the ransom price) total freedom just isn’t possible.
God sets up a shadow of this type of ransom by telling Moses to take a census and demand that the people pay an atonement price for their lives.
THE RANSOM PRICE OF THE FIRST BORN BRINGS ATONEMENT
In most ancient cultures the “first-born” represented the people of the land. In other words; their blessings depended on the offering to God of their first-born. This isn’t to say you should kill your first-born and offer them to God similar to the pagan practices of offering children on an altar. What good would that serve? That would be evil. It is simply to say you should dedicate your devotion to God in the act of bringing up your first-born child to serve and honor Him. The younger siblings always look up to and imitate the older. Offering the first-born to God sets a pattern for the whole family to follow.
From the foundation of the world; God claimed ownership of all the first-born.
The first and the best of everything belongs to God. This is step-one to true freedom.
Remember Cain and Able? They tell both sides of the story of first-fruits offerings.
Never forget that the first and the best always belongs to God. This is God’s rightful offering from His people. The offering should be easy when you consider that EVERYTHING already given to you is a gift from God. To give Him back the first-fruits is simply returning a small portion of the bounty He has provided to you.
This whole concept of offering first-fruits could be comparable to a wealthy farmer giving you (a poor tenant) fresh vegetables from his garden all year round.
Without the help from the farmer; your little family might starve. Your heart fills with gratitude toward this farmer who gives you a way to work for a living and furnishes the food for your daily nourishment.
Because you are so grateful; at the end of the year you might decide to invite the farmer to a feast at your table and offer him food cooked carefully and delightfully from your own kitchen.
It isn’t that the farmer needs you to feed him at all; it is simply that you are choosing to honor him with your thanks through hospitality and respect. This is the whole concept of first-fruits offerings.
IT ISN’T A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP
It isn’t about ownership at all; it is about true worship, respect and honor.
We honor God as our sovereign when we give our first-fruits offerings. It is representative of ALL of our blessings from God. This is our way of saying “thank you” to God for His provision.
It is this giving of the first-fruit offering that allows God’s blessings to fall on the rest of our abundance.
Without the giving of the first-fruits; nothing at all is ever blessed of God.
THE TRUE MEANING OF WORSHIP
More simply put; the entire purpose of a Christian’s life is the act of coming before God in worship and offering the first and the best of everything (physically, mentally, spiritually and materially) that He has allowed you to have. That is worship in a nutshell.
It is truly that simple, and the whole act of redemption spins off of this most worshipful offering.
THE HIGHEST EXAMPLE OF ALL
Jesus’s gift of the offering of his own life as a first-fruits offering to God for the redemption of the souls of mankind is the ultimate first-fruits offering.
God has now begun to teach the Israelites this concept; using Moses as the teacher who has flesh.
All of the men over twenty years of age were to pay the LORD a ransom for their life when the census was counted.
WHEN MEN BECOME ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE GOD
God does not hold children to the same level of accountability as he does adults.
In ancient times when the people were living in the wilderness it seems that twenty was the number of years you needed to live to become an adult. When a Hebrew child turned twenty he/she was considered to be accountable; both to God and to his fellowmen.
This part of the scripture speaks out about the age of accountability. You will hear that phrase tossed around a lot in religious groups.
At what point is a person truly accountable to God?
Here in the Exodus we see the answer; it is whenever they have reached adulthood.
The age given here is twenty years old. Why twenty? Because in the times of Moses the age of twenty meant that a man was ready to truly become accountable before God. He was able to go to war, raise a family, go to work and become a leader in his community. He was just beginning on his journey of manhood; but the age of twenty was when he would be held more strictly accountable for his own actions.
Every MAN required redemption. He was ready; at twenty to pay the money required to obtain his atonement.
Everyone paid the same price, the rich paid a half-shekel and the poor paid a half-shekel.
This money was to be used for the services at the Tent of Meeting. It was to be a memorial; a time to be remembered when they paid the ransom for their lives to the LORD.