CAMEOS OF CHRIST – PURE AND HOLY (Exodus 30: 35)
And the Lord said unto Moses, take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each there shall be a like weight: and thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy.
In the service of the tabernacle in the Old Testament there are many beautiful pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the end of this chapter in Exodus there are two particularly noteworthy items and they are called ‘a holy anointing oil‘ (30: 25) and ‘a perfume‘ (30: 35) which, I think, was the ‘sweet incense‘ which was burnt before the Lord. A particularly significant feature of these two was that the individual citizens of the nation were not to make these compounds – they were to be uniquely for God. Indeed the word ‘ointment‘ in verse 25 and the word ‘confection‘ in verse 35 are the same Hebrew word and these are the only two occasions in which this word is used in the Bible. These things are a lovely picture of the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
These ‘confections’ were made of pure ingredients. There was nothing included to ‘bulk’ the mixture out, in the way that we dilute perfumes and lotions nowadays. He was (and, indeed, still is) a perfect, sinless, holy man. When the angel spoke to Mary in announcing the birth of the Lord Jesus, he spoke of ‘that holy [One] which shall be born of thee‘ (Luke 1: 35); and the apostle John reminds us that ‘He is pure‘ (1 John 3: 3); ‘in Him is no sin‘ (3: 5); and, ‘He is righteous‘ (3: 7). Not one person could ‘convict [Him] of sin‘ (John 8: 46 (RV)).
In the construction of the tabernacle we read about ‘pure gold‘ on 24 occasions; for the ‘pure candlestick‘ (39: 37), the children of Israel were instructed to bring ‘pure olive oil‘; for the ointment they were to use ‘pure myrrh‘ (30: 23); and for the perfume ‘pure frankincense‘ which was, itself, referred to as ‘the pure incense‘ (37: 29). What importance – what value – God placed on the purity of these things. But what delight He had in the ‘purity and holiness’ of His beloved Son. It is so sweetly expressed in the words of a hymn:
A perfect path of purest grace / Unblemished and complete / Was Thine, Thou spotless Nazarite / Pure, even to the feet. Thy stainless life, Thy lovely walk / In every aspect true / From the defilement all around / No taint of evil drew. No broken service, Lord was Thine / No change was in Thy way / Unsullied in Thy holiness / Thy strength knew no decay.
God values holiness and purity in His people. It is Peter who reminds us that we ought to be ‘holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy‘ (1 Peter 1: 15b, 16). And it is Paul who exhorts Timothy, in a sordid world: ‘keep thyself pure‘ (1 Timothy 5: 22).
‘Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure‘ (1 John 3: 5)
Yes indeed, He is pure and holy.