Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com
A Certain Number, A Certain Price, A Certain Result
“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)
This is God’s law regarding the numbering of the children of Israel and the atonement money they paid, so that no plague come upon them. Here we have a very instructive and blessed type and picture of our redemption, the ransom of our souls, by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe, rejoice in, and preach, without apology, the great and glorious gospel doctrine of Particular and Effectual Redemption accomplished by the precious, sin-atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ — Limited Atonement. I defy anyone to find any place in the Book of God that even hints at the possibility that Christ shed his blood for those who perish in hell, as well as those who are saved by it. Where does the Word of God proclaim an atonement that doesn’t atone, a redemption that doesn’t redeem, a deliverance that doesn’t deliver, a ransom that doesn’t set free, or a Savior who doesn’t save? — Nowhere!
The fact is, everywhere in the Book of God, in every place, every chapter, every verse, every prophecy, every picture, and every type which speaks of or in any way explains the great and glorious redemptive work of Christ, it is always set before us as the redemption of a specific people and a redemption that is effectually accomplished, a redemption by which those specific people are actually redeemed.
In our portion of Scripture we are told that the ransom money for atonement was paid for a certain number of people. — “The sum of the children of Israel.” A certain price was paid. The price for their ransom was “half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary.” A certain result followed. — Those who were redeemed according to the requirement of the law had “no plague among them!”
Here are five blessed facts of divine revelation. All five are here so obviously set before us that only those who will not see do not see them.
A Chosen People
1st — None were redeemed except God’s chosen, the children of Israel, and all the children of Israel were redeemed. All the children of Israel were numbered with the adult males of the nation; and they made up the specific number for whom this atonement money was paid — 603,550 men.
“And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.” (Exodus 38:25-26)
The children of Israel were a chosen people, representing God’s elect in this world, who are called, “The Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). How we ought to rejoice in God’s electing love! The Lord God himself describes it beautifully in Deuteronomy 7:1-9. God chose us in Christ. He chose us before the world was made. He chose us in everlasting love. And having chosen us in Christ, the Lord God blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ from eternity (Ephesians 1:3-6; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Psalms 65:4). — Election is the source and cause of all blessedness!
The atonement money was paid for “the sum (total number) of the children of Israel;” and Christ Jesus, our dear Redeemer, made atonement for and redeemed all his elect, only his elect, and all his elect, “the sum (total number) of the children of Israel.” It is written, “For the transgression of my people was he stricken” and “The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep!”
2nd — The ransom price was determined by divine measure. Those who were redeemed were redeemed with “half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary” (v. 13). The measurement of the silver by which atonement was made was not man’s measure, but God’s, “the shekel of the sanctuary.” In other words, God’s demands were measured out by God himself, exacted by God, and paid to God. Here is the measurement of the sanctuary. — “The precious blood of Christ!”
The redemption price was a redemption price that met the demand of the law, that met God’s demand. Not only did the Lord God require that they must each bring half a shekel, no more and no less, but it must be “the shekel of the sanctuary,” not the shekel of commerce, which might be debased in quality or diminished by wear and tear, but the coin must be according to the shekel standard laid up in the holy place and determined by God himself. To make sure of its measure, we are told “a shekel is twenty gerahs” (v. 13).
We bring to God the redemption that God himself has appointed, the blood of Christ, nothing more and nothing less. The ransom price is perfection (perfect righteousness and perfect atonement, perfect obedience unto death), and from it there must be no varying. The price satisfies the divine demand and satisfies it to the full.
And the price appointed effectually redeemed all for whom the price was paid. Multitudes think of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cursed tree in a blasphemous way, trampling under foot the blood of the Son of God, for they imagine that our Savior made a sort of general atonement by which redemption was made possible for all men, but accomplished for none. Such an absurdity leaves it to the sinner to redeem himself by his works or by the power of his will!
The Scriptures teach that the particular and effectual redemption of Christ was for God’s own chosen. Nothing else honors God. Nothing else gives hope to sinners. Nothing else can be true. All those for whom the atonement money of Christ’s precious blood was paid are freed from the possibility of plague. That is what the numbering of the children of Israel teaches us (Proverbs 12:21; Psalms 91:10).
We only read of the children of Israel being numbered, totaled, twice in Old Testament Scripture. They were numbered once, as men commonly try to number them today, without atonement. On that occasion, the plague of God broke out against them and killed 70,000 men (2 Samuel 24:15). But we read in the Book of Numbers about another numbering of Israel (Numbers 1:1-2; 26:2-4), a numbering by atonement.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls.” (Numbers 1:1-2)
“Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all that are able to go to war in Israel. And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt.” (Numbers 26:2-4)
We read of one more numbering, the numbering of the Israel of God, a numbering by atonement, a numbering that shall soon be performed, in Revelation 7; and there we see them that are numbered saved from every plague!
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Revelation 7:4)
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-14)
“Complete atonement Thou hast made
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate'er Thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood?
If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety's hand,
And then again at mine.
Turn, then, my soul, unto thy rest;
The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty;
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee!”
— Augustus Toplady
Faith in the Atonement
3rd — In Romans 3:25 the Apostle Paul speaks about “faith in his blood,” faith in the blood of Christ, faith in his sin-atoning sacrifice as our Substitute. So, the third thing I want you to see is that all the chosen brought the atonement money in their hands. Even so, all God’s elect must and shall come to God through faith in the blood of Christ, through faith in the accomplished redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the atonement price had to be personally accepted by the one who brought it, so we must come to God on his terms, trusting Christ alone as our Redeemer whose life’s blood is a price of infinite worth. Yet, the atonement money paid was a price that could be obtained by the poorest of men, even if by begging alms. So it is with Christ. He is the free gift of God to and for sinners, the very poorest of sinners! His atonement may be had by any, any who are willing to have it. You see, the atonement money must be personally brought by each worshipper.
How can I speak to you as I should about this? Spirit of God, help me to speak plainly and truthfully to your heart. You must trust the Lord Jesus Christ and trust him alone. Come to God by faith in his blood, and you cannot be turned away. Come any other way and you cannot be accepted (Hebrews 10:14-22).
“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:14-22)
4th — Here’s the fourth thing I want you to see. And, O what a blessed thing it is to see! — “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” (v. 15). — All Israel was equally redeemed; and all the Israel of God are equally redeemed. The Lord Jesus Christ purchased all his people with an equal price, the price of his own precious blood. All are equally valued by God. All are equally loved by Christ. All are equally redeemed to the same inheritance. All are equally secure, bought with the same price. All are equally accepted, “accepted in the Beloved.” And all are equally respected, for “his righteousness is unto all, and upon all, that believe; for there is no difference.”
5th — Everything in the worship of God, everything involved in this thing called faith and salvation has its basis and foundation in the sin-atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you remember back in Exodus 26 that all the boards of the tabernacle were fixed, each board in two “sockets of silver”? Those sockets of silver, each connected to the other, formed the foundation of the tabernacle. If you will look at Exodus 38, you will see where Moses got the silver to make the foundation that held everything together.
“And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil; an hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket.” (Exodus 38:25-27)
“The foundation of the worship of Israel,” wrote C. H. Spurgeon, “was redemption. The dwelling place of the Lord their God was founded on atonement. All the boards of incorruptible wood and precious gold stood upon the redemption price, and the curtains of fine linen, and the veil of matchless workmanship, and the whole structure rested on nothing else but the solid mass of silver which had been paid as the redemption money of the people.”
Blood atonement and redemption by Christ is everything in the house of God, everything in the worship of God, and everything to the people of God!
“Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!
Redeemed through His infinite mercy, —
His child and forever I am!”