“Adonai said to Moshe, “When you take a census of the people of Isra’el and register them, each, upon registration, is to pay a ransom for his life to Adonai, to avoid any breakout of plague among them during the time of the census.”-Exodus 30:11-12
From verse 11, the content of Exodus 30 changes quite drastically.
The Lord instructs Moses to take a census.
Before we get into the details, let me remind you that while the priesthood and many of the procedures and systems God introduced into Hebrew society served very practical purposes, they were also shadows and types of what was to come.
The Lord did it this way to teach first Israel and then ultimately mankind His immutable principles.
Now notice the reason given for the census is that each man must pay a ransom for his life.
The church often preaches on this idea that we have be to redeemed but I don’t think they really understand its true meaning or from where this principle originated.
Well, one needs to look no further than right here in Exodus where this Principle of Redemption is introduced.
How it works is like this.
The Lord set up a system that required every father to pay the priesthood a set amount of money within 30 days to redeem the life of the first male child born to him.
Recall that the firstborn was the favored son and carried a higher value than the remaining children because he had the right to inherit double the amount of all of his brothers, and would also inherit the rulership over that family when the father died.
This redemption system was created to teach Israel the fundamental principle that all humans are born into debt to God.
God created us and He owns us.
We are the debtors and He is the creditor.
As descendants of Adam and Eve, all mankind is born under the curse of sin and thus by all rights should be destroyed.
If our lives are to be spared, we have to be redeemed from this debt of sin to God.
The point being made here is that redemption is NOT free.
Somebody has to pay the cost.
In this case, it is NOT the person (the firstborn male baby) who pays, but the father who pays.
Another important point to keep in mind is that it was only a relative who had the right and was duty-bound to perform the redemption.
This reminds us of another kind of redemption that involves what Scripture calls a “kinsman redeemer”.
This usually involved a situation when a family member had fallen into debt and as a result was going to lose his property or be sold into slavery.
In such a situation, the “kinsman redeemer” was supposed to step in and redeem that relative.
This is another fascinating study that we’ll delve into later.
The spiritual takeaway for today is to realize that ultimately this redemption system pointed to Yeshua.
However, this principle first had to be made clear to Israel before it could be revealed to the nations.
Israel is God’s firstborn among all the nations of the world and thus just like the firstborn son of a family, Israel must be redeemed.
This redemption system also demonstrated that not only does the Lord own Israel but that the Hebrew nation had been set apart and made holy to God.
Now in light of everything I’ve just talked about, isn’t it quite obvious that the biggest problem with unsaved mankind today is that they fail to see they have been born into debt to God and need to have their very lives redeemed from eternal death?
All are born into debt to God and all must be redeemed.
One final point.
Notice that each man had to pay the same amount of money to be redeemed.
The principle being fleshed out here is clear.
Whether one is rich or poor, male or female, black or white (or yellow or purple), a king or a lowly servant, all owe a debt to God that can ONLY be paid by Yeshua’s blood.
When we are grafted into the covenants that God has ONLY made with Israel, Yeshua steps in as our kinsman redeemer and saves us.