The Great Benediction
Numbers 6:22-27 (22) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (23) Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, (24) The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: (25) The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: (26) The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (27) And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. These verses immediately followed the detailed instructions of the law of the Nazarite (NUM 6:1-21), that vow of which the essence was separation, non-conformity to this world, and not touching the unclean thing. As noted in a previous meditation (The Separated Saint), these are notable elements of holy Christian living and service to God (ROM 12:1-2; 2CO 6:14-18) in which believers identify with Jesus Christ, Who is “...holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners...” (HEB 7:26). These observations show today's text to be contextual, appropriate and relevant to all spiritual Nazarites who separate themselves unto God and seek His blessing. This instruction was for the priesthood of Israel: Aaron and his sons. Priestly work involved not only making atonement but also blessing: “And the priests the sons of Aaron shall come near; for them the LORD thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the LORD...” (DEU 21:5). So, earlier, “...Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering...” (LEV 9:22). Blessing ensued the making of atonement. Jesus Christ came into this world to not only make Himself an offering to God for our sins (EPH 5:2; HEB 7:27), but also as our High Priest to bless us. Consider Peter's words to his countrymen to whom the gospel was first sent: (Acts 3:25) Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. (Acts 3:26) Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Israel in general had been looking for temporal and material blessings from their promised Messiah in accord with certain promises made in the Mosaic Covenant. Peter declared Jesus, the resurrected Son of God as the true Messiah Who brought the eternal and spiritual blessings which sprang from the Abrahamic Covenant that God confirmed 430 years before the Law on Mt. Sinai. See also: (Gal 3:16) Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Gal 3:17) And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. Per Peter's message, one of the greatest blessings from Christ is being turned from sin, the very thing which robs men of true blessing, of true happiness: “...your sins have withholden good things from you” (JER 5:25); “...your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (ISA 59:2). That which makes men holy is alone what can truly make them happy, i.e., blessed. Note that in ACT 3:25-26, Peter is speaking of God sending Jesus to Israel after His resurrection. This He did by the Spirit (Comforter, Holy Ghost) Who was sent in Jesus' name to teach the apostles whose message called men to “...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (ACT 20:21). See: (Joh 14:26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. The blessing of which Peter spoke therefore involved the work of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, in Whose name (singular) converts were to be baptized: (Mat 28:19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: In the benediction in today's text (NUM 6:24-26), it has been noted that in the Hebrew there is a different accent mark on each of the three occurrences of “LORD.” Those markings (tittles) were critical and inspired, as Jesus said of the Old Testament, “...one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (MAT 5:18). Some Jewish scholars have concluded there is some kind of mystery to this curious sequence of accent marks, and it is of special note that “the LORD” instructed the priests in NUM 6:27, “And they shall put my name [singular] upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” That mystery is adequately answered in the New Testament of Jesus Christ which clarifies that “...there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1JO 5:7). The Word, of course, is Jesus Christ (JOH 1:14). The Triune LORD has worked salvation for His people. They are: (1Pe 1:2) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. The good news of what this triune LORD has by His grace done for sinners calls men to forsake sin and follow Christ Who blesses them in that undertaking (ACT 3:26). To those who have answered that call is a further expectation of grace and peace: “...Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied” (1PE 1:2). This corresponds perfectly with NUM 6:24-26, “The LORD bless thee...be gracious unto thee...and give thee peace.” The great triune benediction of the N.T. believer who knows his High Priest has made atonement for him goes like this: (2Co 13:14) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.