Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
The remaining chapters of this book appear to me to have a special bearing. The Spirit of God has presented, in chapter 23, the history of the ways of God towards His people upon earth from beginning to end, from Christ to the millennial rest.
Chapter 24 presents first the internal work, so to speak, which related to priesthood alone on the one hand, and the public sin of an apostate on the other-the fruit of the alliance with an Egyptian who blasphemed Jehovah. Through the care of priesthood (whatever might be God's public ways, and the state of Israel) the gracious light of the Spirit would be maintained, and that particularly from the evening until the morning-the time during which darkness brooded over Israel. Moreover, the incense which was on the memorial of the bread, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, was burned as a sweet smell to Jehovah, and the priests identified themselves with the tribes by eating this bread-the action of eating having the significance of continued identification.
Thus priesthood maintained the light with respect to Israel, when all was darkness in the midst of them, and the memorial of Israel was in sweet savour before God, the priesthood identifying itself with them; although the people were in the eyes of man as lost, they exist through the priesthood of Jesus on high, as a memorial before God. There is a certain sense in which the church participates in this, as is explained doctrinally in Romans 11. This is only as far as promise goes, and the being children of Abraham, not the mystery in which we are taken up as lost sinners, without promise, and placed by sovereign grace in the same glory as the Lord Jesus. In Isaiah 54 we see that believers are reckoned to Jerusalem, in grace, though she were a widow. Externally the judgment of cutting off and death without mercy is executed against him that had cursed.