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Chapter 8


On This Wise Ye Shall Bless


And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27)


After giving us the law of the Nazarite and the requirements of a Nazarite vow, with all the requirements of Nazarite purification, the Lord God gave this commandment to Moses to give to Aaron and his sons. —— “On this wise shall ye bless” (Numbers 6:23). Moses (representing God’s holy law) and Aaron (representing Christ, God’s High Priest) were commanded to bless God’s covenant people; but the blessing must be bestowed only in accordance with the Law of the Nazarite given in Numbers 6.


Christ the Nazarite


On this wise ye shall bless.” — Everything in this chapter speaks of our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Nazarite (vv. 1-12). Christ Jesus is the Nazarite’s Sacrifice (vv. 13-15). He is the Nazarite’s sacrificing Priest (vv. 16-21). And Christ and Christ alone is the One in and by whom Jehovah’s name is put upon his people. He and he alone is the One in and by whom the blessings of God are heaped upon our souls (vv. 22-27).


            When God gave his law to Israel by the hand of Moses, this law of the Nazarite in Numbers 6 was one of the most thoroughly expanded laws given to Israel.


“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD.” (Numbers 6:1-2)


     Our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus, is the Nazarene typically referred to in this Old Testament law (Matthew 2:23). He is the one and the only one man who perfectly fulfilled it. This is evident from the fact that the law is never mentioned again until we see it mentioned in connection with Samson (another type of our Redeemer) in Judges 13.


Nazarite’s Separation


“He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.” (Numbers 6:3-4)


            Our Lord Jesus Christ was solemnly set apart to the Father to do his will from eternity, sanctified (John 17:19) for the salvation of our souls. — “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”


Nazarite’s Hair


“All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.” (Numbers 6:5)


     Again, our Savior fulfills the type gloriously. The church is described as having hair like a flock of goats (Song of Solomon 4:1). Like the hairs of his head, a vast multitude grow up in Christ and upon him. No razor shall ever separate us from our Lord. Like the hair on our heads, we live upon Christ, depend on him, and draw life and strength from him, because we are a part of him and can never be separated from him. As Samson’s strength and glory was his hair, so we are Christ’s glory. And our mighty Samson shall never lose his glory. The hair is the last part of the body to die; and we shall never perish, because Christ our Savior lives forever


     Therefore it may be said of every member of Christ Church, as we read in Lamentations 4:7, — “Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire.


Nazarite’s Purity


“All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.” (Numbers 6:6-8)


Christ was made sin for us; yet he knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. He was ever holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.


Nazarite’s Sacrifice


“And if any man die very suddenly by him, (We died by him when he died.) and he hath defiled the head of his consecration (When he was made sin for us.); then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day (the day of grace, perfection, and completion) shall he shave it. And on the eighth day (the day of resurrection, new life, and new beginning) he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day. And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled. And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings, And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings. And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering. And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings. (When Christ died, we suffered all the fury of God’s hot, holy wrath in him, to the full satisaction of divine justice.) And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven: And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine. This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.” (Numbers 6:9-21)


            All these offerings for sin shadowed forth the one great, all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ, our great Nazarite, by which our sins were put away. Waving the offering before the Lord was both an acknowledgement of sin before the holy Lord God and a celebration of sin’s pardon and complete removal by the blood of Christ.


            In Mark 14:24-25, our Savior spoke of his work as the Nazarene being fulfilled, when he said, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”


Blessing Commanded


Now, look at verses 22-27. Here, upon the basis of the Nazarite’s obedience and sacrifice, the holy Lord God commands his blessing upon his people.


“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27)

            When I read those words I am reminded of the final act of our great Nazarite, the Lord Jesus Christ, as he was ascending into heaven, having fulfilled the days of his separation, having fulfilled all the Father’s will as our Representative, Substitute, and Surety.


And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51)


            Hear the blessing our great Aaron has pronounced upon God’s covenant children, because of his Nazarite obedience to God for us. Be sure you do not miss this. — The blessings here bestowed are bestowed by the commandment of God, even by the commandment of God’s holy law.


            This blessing was commanded after the giving of the law of the Nazarite (Numbers 6:13-20). Once the Nazarite had accomplished his vow of separation, he was to bring sin offerings and burnt offering to the Lord. Then Aaron, after receiving the sacrifices, would stand in a prominent place, with the sacrifice in his hand, and wave it before the Lord. Upon the basis of the sacrifice accepted, the Lord God commanded Aaron to pronounce this blessing upon his accepted people.


“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. (Numbers 6:22-27)


            The sacrifices Aaron waved before the Lord were typical of Christ’s sin-atoning sacrifice by which we are accepted of God. The blessing Aaron was commanded to pronounce is God’s blessing upon all the Israel of God, upon all his elect, as men and women consecrated to and accepted of God in Christ. — “On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”


            How blessed the days of our lives are if, by God’s grace, we are able to grasp the blessings here pronounced upon the whole redeemed family of the living God and experience them as our own.


            This benediction was pronounced upon the children of Israel at the close of the public tabernacle service when the people were about to separate from one another. We are told by the ancient Jewish Rabbi that it was only spoken at the time of the morning sacrifice because the evening sacrifice pointed to Christ (the Messiah) who would come in the evening of time, bringing his reward with him, the reward of eternal blessedness in his great salvation.


Jehovah’s Blessing


            The blessing pronounced here is distinctly the blessing of God, the blessing of Jehovah, upon his chosen people. In Deuteronomy 6:4 we read, — “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Yet, he who is our one God, the great Jehovah, is three persons, the Three-In-One God (1 John 5:7): Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is significant that in this blessed benediction the word “Lord,” that is “Jehovah,” is used three times.


            In all three cases, the word translated “Lord” (Jehovah) is the same word, but each time a different and distinct accent mark is used. That fact is neither accidental nor insignificant. The word would not be accented differently, unless there were some different shade of meaning intended. The passage was written this way by divine inspiration because it is intended to show us that the blessedness here pronounced upon chosen sinners because of Christ’s sin-atoning sacrifice is the blessing of the Triune God upon his people.


            “The Lord bless thee and keep thee.” — That is the blessing of God the Father upon us. God our heavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ, with electing, adopting, justifying, and pardoning grace, with regeneration, calling, and persevering grace, and with eternal life.


            “The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.” — That is the blessing of God the Son, our dear Savior. He has blessed us with redemption and righteousness. We were and are blessed of God in him and for his sake, with all things. And all blessings are in his hands, procured for us by him, and bestowed upon us by him, as bounteous blessings of grace.


            “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” — That is the blessing of God the Holy Ghost, who takes all the blessings bestowed upon us in Christ and conveys them to us in regeneration, effectual calling, and conversion, and in the day by day experience of grace. He gives us life and faith in Christ, comforts us, and seals us unto the day of our resurrection glory with Christ.


            This threefold blessing from the Jehovah, whose name is mentioned three times, is intended to direct our thoughts to the glorious Trinity, the Trinity in Unity, whom we cannot understand, but on whom our faith rests and in whom our love finds delight and satisfaction. Let’s look at these three blessings a little more closely.


The Father’s Blessing


We have the blessing of God our Father in these words. — “The Lord bless thee and keep thee.” —— When we are urged to “bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” there is nothing more implied in our blessing him than the ascription of blessedness and praise to him. But when our heavenly Father blesses us, it is the doing of that which brings blessedness upon us. We wish him blessed. He makes us blessed.


         We cannot bless God in the sense of giving anything to him that might add to his riches or to his glory. He is the infinitely great, the inconceivably glorious God. Nothing we can say or do adds anything to him. We cannot make him more blessed than he is. When we bless God, we are simply expressing our thanks to him, paying our vows to him with reverent love, gratitude, and praise. Let us ever bless him (Psalms 28:6; 31:21; 41:13; 68:19; 72:18; 106:48; 113:2; 116:12-14; Ephesians 1:3-7).


         “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me bless his holy name!” — With all my heart and with all the delight of my soul, I ascribe all blessedness to my God. I can do no less. And I can do no more. But when God blesses me, that’s another thing altogether. When God blesses us, he performs blessedness. He blesses us in our very creation, and much more in our new creation. It is a blessed thing to be born, but a much more blessed thing to be born again. He blesses us in our food, and much more in giving us Christ, who is the Bread of Life and nourishment for souls. We are blessed in being clothed, but infinitely more blessed in being clothed with the garments of salvation, robed in the righteousness of Christ. It is a blessing to be a member of a kind, loving, happy family; but it is unspeakable blessedness to be a member of the family of God, the Church of Christ, and adopted as the sons and daughters of the Almighty!


            Try, if you can, to calculate the blessedness with which the God of Glory has blessed us, is blessing us, and shall bless us all the days of our lives and forever (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). What a blessing it is, being redeemed by Christ’s precious blood, to have sin pardoned! — All sin pardoned forever! What a blessing it is to be made the righteousness of God in Christ! What a blessing it is to be sanctified by God the Father! What a blessing it is to enjoy all the privileges and benedictions of the new covenant! — How richly God our Father has blessed us!


            He has often blessed us when we did not know it. Many of our Father’s choice mercies come in by the back door of our houses. We do not see them; and when we do, we are far too often ungrateful and forget them. What blessings we have received in trouble, in deliverance from trouble, and in sustaining us in trouble! Oh, what remarkable blessings we have enjoyed by the hand of our God (Lamentations 3:21-26).


            Surely, the blessings we have had are but tokens of blessings yet to come.


“This will set my heart at rest;

What my God appoints is best.”


The future, though it will be marked by temptations, trials, and troubles, will be blessed if the God of Glory is our Father. He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” — “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” — “Thy bread shall be given thee: thy water shall be sure.” — “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned: neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” You have God’s word for it, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God.” In the hour appointed by your Father (my brother, my sister) to leave this world, you may confidently sing, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”


            “The Lord bless thee.” — Look forward, child of God, not with dread, but with hope. — “The Lord bless thee” is the benediction of God’s High Priest, Christ Jesus to your soul.


            But the blessing of our heavenly Father does not end there. The blessing reads, — “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.” He who blesses you is sure to keep you. Where would we be if he did not keep us? It is God that keeps our lives from death, our bodies from perishing, and our souls in grace. It is written, “He will give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways: they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Let us, without reserve, commit our souls to him!


            C. H. Spurgeon rightly observed, “He is ill-kept who is his own keeper. He is worse kept who has his brother for his keeper. But he is splendidly kept who has God to be his shield on his right hand, his glory, and his defense.”


            Trust God for your help. If you fear temptation, let this be your prayer, “Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” He will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able to bear. Walk through this wilderness leaning on your Beloved and you shall be upheld, for God is able to hold you up in perfect safety.


            “The Lord bless thee and keep thee.” — Holy Father, we breathe the prayer to you. — As we read this blessing, pronounce it upon us now by the mouth of your own dear Son, and let us now and until life’s latest hour be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.


Our Savior’s Blessing


Now, look at the next blessing, the blessing of God the Son, our blessed Savior. — “The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.” — This expression, “The Lord make his face shine upon thee,” speaks of assured reconciliation. This is the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ upon every believing sinner. God’s face beams and shines upon us with the smile of complete delight, approval, and acceptance in Christ! Washed in the blood of Christ and redeemed, justified by the righteousness of God in Christ and accepted, the Lord God looks upon us with pleasure! Imagine that! God’s face shines upon us in his Son!


            May he make it manifestly so to your soul this very hour and through all the days of your life. You, believing sinner, you are accepted in the Beloved. God sees no sin in Jacob, neither does he behold iniquity in Israel. As he looks upon us in his Son, he sees us as we really are in his Son — without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.


            Here is a double blessing. If “The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, you are assured that he will “be gracious unto thee.” Because God is favorable toward us in Christ, grace comes to us freely and boundlessly.


            What a great, all-comprehending word that is! — “Grace!” It has many meanings, and includes a whole universe of blessing. Grace is the free and undeserved favor of God and the mighty operation of his goodness. Grace caused us to see our lost estate. Grace led us to see the all-sufficiency of Christ. Grace works faith in us, causes us to love God, and creates hope in our souls, “a good hope through grace.” Grace carries on its work in us, and completes it, too. Grace is a word so comprehensive that I have no hope of ever comprehending it in this world, much less of proclaiming it fully. — “The Lord be gracious unto thee.” Truly, God has been gracious to us in the past.


“Oh! to grace how great a debtor,

Daily I’m constrained to be!”


Has grace been yours? Then be assured, grace shall be yours through all the days of your life on this earth. And when the Lord God has given you all grace, he will give glory, too!


The Spirit’s Blessing


We see the blessing of God the Holy Ghost, by which he who is our Comforter comforts our souls. — “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” — The long and short of that is this. — “The Lord give you a conscious, delightful sense of his gracious favor.” The blessing of verse 25 is God being reconciled to us. That was accomplished at Calvary. The blessing here is God making us to know that he is reconciled to us. That is distinctly the work of God the Holy Spirit.


            We are always reconciled to God; but we do not always know it. I mean by that that we are not always aware of it. It is not always sunshine in our souls. Is it? “The evening and the morning were the first day,” and there is evening as well as morning in the days of God’s people in this world. God always loves us; but his people do not always know it. We do not always enjoy a sense of his love.


            Oh, I what a blessing it is when God the Holy Ghost sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts. Then, we can say, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” This is the blessing David craved, when he prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” And he got what he craved. Yes, weeping may come for a night, but joy appears in the morning. So it shall be with you and me. Though we transgress, though we sin, as we surely will, the Lord God will yet, “lift up his countenance upon thee, and” (when he does, he will) “give thee peace” (1 John 1:9-2:2).


            There is no peace like the peace which we have with God, and no peace with God like that which comes from a sense of his assured love, pardoned sin, and condemnation gone! — “Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” When we see in Christ that our peace is made with God, then our peace becomes like a river glorious and our righteousness a deep sea. Peace with God is like bright sunshine after a rain, like the quietness and calm after the storm. When the thunder that caused the earth to quake beneath us and the lightning seemed to rip heaven apart is suddenly ended, and the sunshine beams through the rainbow upon our souls, that is the peace I’m talking about! Oh, may God the Holy Spirit give you that peace! The peace that comes only by him revealing Christ in your soul as the silencer and satisfaction of the law, the sweet-smelling sacrifice God has accepted, the one in whom the Father is well-pleased, and the one in whom there is no condemnation, no sin, and no curse forever!


            That is the peace of God “which passeth all understanding,” the peace of God which can only be known by the one who enjoys it, a peace which the world does not give, and cannot destroy, but which heaven itself can work in the soul. I pray you will have this blessing. — “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”


            Yet, there is a peace that follows and flows from this peace of pardon and forgiveness. It is the peace of God’s assured favor in all things and at all times (Romans 8:32; Matthew 11:28-30). — “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”


God’s Amen


In verse 27 we have God’s “Amen” to the blessing he commanded Aaron to pronounce upon his people. — “And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” First, he commanded the priests to put his name upon his people. And the Lord Jesus, our dear Savior, has put his name upon us. That means that we are his property, under his care, and accepted forever.


This is our Savior’s word of promise — “I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). Our ever-gracious Christ promises to make every believer a pillar in the temple of God, a permanent and vital part of his temple. He promises to give us assurance that we belong to God and are by grace, through his righteousness and blood atonement, rightful heirs of the kingdom of God, writing upon us the name of God and the name of the city of God. Then, he says, “I will write upon him my new name.”


I find only one name in the Bible that can be called a new or acquired name for Christ. His new name, the name which he acquired by his obedience to the Father as our Substitute is “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:6). This is the name he writes upon his people, the name by which we are rightfully called. — “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 33:16), for we have been made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).


            “And I will bless them.” — What a promise! They shall have their troubles; but I will bless them through their troubles. They shall have their heartaches; but I will bless them in their heartaches. They shall have their weaknesses; but I will bless them in spite of their weaknesses and even by their weaknesses. They shall have their bereavements, but I will bless them in their bereavements. The world may curse them; but I will bless them. And none can curse when I have blessed. They may die; but I will bless them in death. And when all is done that must be done, I will bless them. — Oh, how he will bless us then! — “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:15) — “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”





Don Fortner








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