The Lord called unto Moses, and spake.Moses; and secondly, that it was not the product merely of the mind of Moses, but came to him, in the first instance, as a revelation from Jehovah — Jehovah spake unto Moses." And although it is quite true that the words in this first verse strictly refer only to that section of the book which immediately follows, yet, inasmuch as the same or a like formula is used repeatedly before successive sections — in all, no less than fifty-six times in the twenty-seven chapters — these words may with perfect fairness be regarded as expressing a claim respecting these two points, which covers the entire book. The words say nothing, indeed, as to whether or not Moses wrote every word of this book himself; or whether the Spirit of God directed and inspired other persons, in Moses' time or afterwards, to commit this Mosaic Law to writing. They give us no hint as to when the various sections which make up the book were combined into their present literary form, whether by Moses himself, as is the traditional view, or by men of God in a later day. They simply and only declare the legislation to be of Mosaic origin and of inspired authority. Only, be it observed, so much as this they do affirm in the most direct and uncompromising manner.
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
I. "THE LORD... SPAKE." So they are God's words, not man's, to which we are called to listen in this deeply instructive book. Then let us give it attentive hearing (Matthew 11:15). Moses here records the very words of God, and the Holy Spirit alone can bring to our apprehension His own teaching (John 14:26; John 16:13).
II. THE LORD SPAKE UNTO MOSES. God had before spoken unto him, specially on two memorable occasions.
1. From the burning bush (Exodus 3.), when He came down in grace to deliver His people Israel from bondage in Egypt — as now He delivers from the bondage of sin and Satan — revealing Himself as Jehovah, the self-existent "I AM," able to destroy their enemies, and rescue them (Exodus 6).
2. From Mount Sinai, after the deliverance from Egypt, when the people had rashly undertaken (apparently in their own strength) to do all that the Lord had spoken (Exodus 19:8), God spake the words of His "Holy Law," the "fiery law" (Hebrews 12:18-21; Exodus 19:18-20; Romans 7:12; Deuteronomy 33:2). That law showed the exceeding sinfulness of sin, but provided no way of salvation for those who disobeyed it, therefore could only condemn (Romans 7:13, 10, 11), as "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), and "sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4), or "lawlessness" (R.V.); but in the passage before us —
III. THE LORD SPAKE "OUT OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION"; and this tells, not only of deliverance from bondage, but of the Lord's dwelling in the midst of His people, as their Leader and Guide (Exodus 13:21; Exodus 40:38), meeting and communing with His servant Moses from the mercy-seat (Exodus 25:22; Exodus 30:6; Numbers 7:89), and establishing a medium for worship and access.
IV. "GOD HATH SPOKEN UNTO US BY HIS SON," who is the Revealer of the Father (John 1:18). But even now, as we listen to the words of God out of the Tabernacle, it is God speaking to us by His Son; for the Tabernacle is a type of Jesus. "The glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle" (Exodus 40:34); Jesus is the "Brightness," or outshining of God's glory (Hebrews 1:3). He is the true Tabernacle, "For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9). "God was in Christ reconciling," &c. (2 Corinthians 5:19). Christ is the manifestation of the Father's love (1 John 4:9, 10). He brings untold glory to God in the salvation of sinners (John 17:4); and the saved ones He will take to share His glory hereafter (Luke 9:30, 31), as the blessed result of "His decease."
V. THE LORD WOULD SPEAK BY THE CHURCH, also typified by the Tabernacle. It was "sprinkled... with blood" (Hebrews 9:21); "the Church of God "was "purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). The Tabernacle was anointed with holy oil (Exodus 30:25, 26; Exodus 40:9); the Church has "an unction from the Holy One" (1 John 2:20). The Lord dwelt in the Tabernacle (2 Samuel 7:6); the Church is "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:21, 22). The Spirit reveals "the deep things of God," the things of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:10-12; John 16:14, 15); the Church is "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:23); hence it is God's purpose that "unto the... might be made known through the Church the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:10, R.V.).
VI. GOD WOULD SPEAK THROUGH EACH MEMBER of the Church. First He speaks to, and then by them. He spake to Moses, that he might "speak unto the children of Israel." In like manner He acts now: Have we received blessing to our soul? If so, God would have us help others (Mark 5:19).
(Lady Beaujolois Dent.)
The Tabernacle of the congregation. —I. IN OUR APPROACH TO GOD NOTHING IS LEFT TO HUMAN INVENTION.
1. There are conditions to our acceptable approach.
2. There are minutely revealed conditions for our approach.
II. FOR OUR RIGHTFUL APPROACH TO HIM, GOD HAS MADE FULL AND GRACIOUS PROVISION.
1. A place for meeting God.
2. A sacrificial basis of acceptance.
3. A mediatorial ministry.
III. BY SUCH ARRANGEMENTS FOR OUR ACCEPTABLE APPROACH, GOD HAS LAID US UNDER MOST SOLEMN OBLIGATIONS TO SEEK HIM.
1. Shall God wait in vain within the Holy Place, and none draw near?
2. Can sinful man despise the sacrifice of Jesus offered for his propitiation?
3. With such a Priest within the Holy Place, have we no mediation to ask, no sins to confess, no offerings to bring?
(W. H. Jellie.)
3. Those which, like "sanctuary," draw attention to holiness as an attribute of the place itself (Exodus 25:8). Now a house where God was, or was supposed to be, must be a place for worship, and a place for Divine worship must of necessity be holy ground; thus one fundamental idea lay at the root of all these appellations, viz., that the Tabernacle was a meeting-place between Jehovah and His covenant people. There Jehovah was to be thought peculiarly present, and therefore peculiarly approachable. By the Jew the Lord God Almighty was not to be sought in woods or fountains or valleys, but in this house which He had appointed.... It must be remembered, however, that approach to Jehovah was conditioned by the terms of the Sinaitic revelation. Whilst, therefore, the Tabernacle as the dwelling-place of the Most High, was by the Divine condescension a place where God and the Jew might come together, that contact was arranged in accordance with the characteristics of the Mosaic dispensation. The whole structure was a place of meeting where man and God could congregate; but it was in the court only that the common Israelite could approach Jehovah, and that by mediation in the person of the appointed priestly representatives; in the Holy Place, to which the priests alone had access, the worshippers also approached the throne of Deity by mediation, being admitted, so to speak, to the anteroom of the Divine audience-chamber by the adoration of their chief; whilst to the high priest alone, and that after solemn preparation, was it permitted on one day in the year to pass within the veil, and gaze unhindered upon that mercy-seat, aglow with gold, where rested the shadowy cloud of the Shechinah. Further, if the Tabernacle was the appointed sanctuary where man might meet with God on the fulfilment of certain conditions, be it noted that the several altars were, so to speak, the points at which those conditions could be best fulfilled. Every square inch of the sacred enclosure was a place of meeting between Jehovah and His people, according to the terms of the Divine revelation: but it was at the altar of burnt-offering in the court that the non-priestly worshippers approached most nearly to their God; it was at the golden altar in the Holy Place that the priests were admitted to closest access; and it was as he approached most directly the space beneath the outstretched wings of the cherubim that the high priest drew nearest to the throne of intercession. The several altars were the shrines, so to speak, of the several sanctuaries, in which their essence was concentrated, and from which their power radiated. The essential significance of the peculiar sanctuary of Judaism lay, then, in the fact that, being the visible dwelling-place of Jehovah, it testified to the possibility of human approach to God so long as the conditions of the related laws were observed — these conditions being, so far at least as the theocratic status of the worshippers was concerned, that the Israelite might come near to God in the person of His priests in the court, and especially at the altar of burnt-offering; that in the Holy Place, and especially at the altar of incense, the priesthood might do homage to Jehovah as enshrined behind the veil; and that in the Holy of Holies, and especially at the high altar of the mercy-seat, the high priest might, by careful obedience to the prescribed conditions, occasionally regard that cloud by which the Almighty condescended to reveal and at the same time to conceal His presence.
(A. Cave, D. D.)
(B. W. Newton.)
(H. C. Trumbull.)
— The Tabernacle was a figure of Christ, and was intended to teach us some important lessons respecting Him. We have in the Tabernacle a beautiful illustration of one of the precious names of Jesus our Saviour. Just before He came into our world, the angel Gabriel was sent to Joseph, His reputed father, to tell him about that wonderful Child that was to be born unto Mary his wife. And this is what the angel said: "They shall call HIS name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:23). This name is wonderful. It is full of meaning. But many find it difficult to understand its meaning. And so God ordered the Tabernacle to be built in the wilderness, that in it He might dwell among the people, and thus be a figure, or illustration to them of the way in which Jesus now dwells in the hearts of His people by faith. The Tabernacle was a definition of this name — Emmanuel. As God was present with the Israelites in the wilderness, in the Tabernacle, so Jesus is present with His people in this world. And as we study the different parts of this Tabernacle we are taught much that is interesting and profitable concerning the presence of Jesus with His people. The Tabernacle taught that there was to be pardon connected with His presence. The brazen altar, or the altar of burnt sacrifice, was the part of the Tabernacle that taught this lesson. That was the first thing one would see on entering the court of the Tabernacle. Here the daily sacrifice was offered. Here the blood of the slain animals was shed, that it might be sprinkled both on the priests and on the people. No one was allowed to enter the Tabernacle or to worship God there till he had first been to this brazen altar, and had the blood of the sacrifice sprinkled upon him. And the great blessing represented by the shedding and sprinkling of the blood was the pardon of sin. There was no power in the blood of those animals to put away sin, or to procure pardon. But it pointed to the blood of Christ, through which alone all pardon comes. And this is what the Apostle Paul teaches us, when he says that, "without the shedding of blood there is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22), or no pardon. If Jesus had not shed His precious blood there never would have been any pardon for sin. But that blood was shed. And now there is pardon for all who repent and believe in Him. His presence with His people is a pardoning presence. "He has power on earth to forgive sins" (Matthew 9:6). There is nothing that we need more than pardon. We are born in sin. We sin every day, and we are always needing pardon. And it is a blessed thing to know that we can have this pardon at any time by seeking it in the right way. Jesus is — "ready to forgive" (Psalm 86:5). His promise is that — "He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7). Here is an illustration of the pardoning power of Jesus. It was told by a sailor who witnessed it, who was made a Christian by it, and afterwards became a chaplain. "Our vessel lay at anchor," said he, "off the coast of Africa. The yellow fever had broken out on board, and several of the men had died. It was my duty every morning to go through that part of the vessel used as a hospital, and see if any of the men had died during the night. One morning as I was passing through this sick ward, a poor fellow lying there took hold of me with his cold, clammy hand. I knew him very well. He was an old shipmate, and one of the wickedest men on board. I saw in a moment that he had not long to live. 'Oh, Jim,' he said, 'for God's sake, let some one come and read the Bible to me before I die! 'None of the sailors had a Bible; but at last I found that there was one on board belonging to the cabin-boy. I told him to get his Bible, and bring it into the sick ward, and went back there myself. Presently the boy came with a small Bible in his hand. In the meantime a number of the Kroomen, or native Africans, who were working on board, gathered round the sick man, not to see him die, but, as one of them said, 'to see what de good book do for poor Master Richie.' I told the boy to read a chapter. He sat down by the sick man, and, opening at the third chapter of St. John, he began to read. The poor fellow fixed his eyes on the reader, and listened most earnestly to every word he spoke. Presently the boy came to the beautiful words in the sixteenth verse, 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life I 'I watched the face of the dying man as these words were read. I never saw such earnestness and anxiety in any face as were in his. The boy was going on with the next verse, when the sick man exclaimed, 'Stop my boy, stop! Bead that verse again, and read it slowly.' The boy repeated the verse, and was going on again. But he was interrupted a second and a third time with the earnest cry, 'Stop, my boy, stop! Read that verse again.' And when he had done so a number of times, the dying man said, 'Don't read any more. That's enough.' And then, as he grew fainter and fainter, we heard him, in a low voice, repeating to himself those wonderful words, and making his own remarks on them, 'Whosoever — that means anybody. That means me. Whosoever believeth. I do believe this. Well, what then? Whosoever believeth shall not perish. No, not perish, but have everlasting life. Not perish — not perish — but have everlasting life.' These were his last words. With these upon his lips, he passed away, and entered into heaven — 'one pardoned sinner more,' saved through the precious Mood of Christ." The presence of Jesus which the Tabernacle illustrates is — a pardoning presence.
(Richard Newton, D. D.)
Bring an offering unto the Lord.I. THE SACRIFICES ARISING FROM BREACH OF THE COVENANT — COMPULSORY. Sin and trespass-offerings (chaps. 4-5). Presumptuous — literally high-handed — sins incurred that forfeiture(Numbers 15:30; Deuteronomy 17:12). In contrast to these sins of presumption
1. The sin-offering was for sins of ignorance (chaps. 4., 5.).
2. The trespass-offering (Leviticus 5:14, &c.) differed from the sin-offering mainly in the character of the sin to be atoned for. It was a sin calling for "amends" or compensation.
II. THE SACRIFICES FROM WITHIN THE COVENANT — VOLUNTARY. Omitting the meat-offering (chap. Leviticus 2.), which was an adjunct of the other sacrifices, and involved no shedding of blood, we notice —
1. The burnt-offering. The stated and congregational burnt-offerings of the day, and week, and year, &c., were compulsory. The occasional offering, of which we speak here, was voluntary (chap. Leviticus 1). The burnt-offering pointed to the entire surrender of a man's being and life to God. Its characteristic was its entire consumption arid up-going in a flame to God. It was equivalent to a prayer, recognising God's sovereignty, and His claim of service in all our relations. He who asks, "How can I best serve God?" will commit his way to God, and be at peace.
3. The thank-offering, the greatest of the three. The occasions for the thank-offering were innumerable. Joy as well as sorrow calls to religious exercise. "In everything give thanks." This sacrifice of praise is the one sacrifice of heaven.
(W. Roberts, M. A.)
I. The very same voice which proclaimed the commandments on Sinai Is HERE SAID TO ANNOUNCE THE NATURE OF THE SACRIFICES, AND HOW, WHEN, AND BY WHOM THEY ARE TO BE PRESENTED. The unseen King and Lawgiver is here, as everywhere, making known His will. Those sacrifices which it was supposed were to bend and determine His will themselves proceeded from it.
II. These words were spoken to the children of Israel OUT OF THE TABERNACLE. The Tabernacle was the witness of God's abiding presence with His people, the pledge that they were to trust Him, and that He sought intercourse with them.
III. The Tabernacle is represented as the Tabernacle of the CONGREGATION. There, where God dwells, is the proper home of the whole people; there they may know that they are one.
IV. "Say to the children of Israel, If any of you bring an offering to the Lord." THE DESIRE FOR SUCH SACRIFICE IS PRESUMED. Everything in the position of the Jew is awakening in him the sense of gratitude, of obligation, of dependence. He is to take of the herd and the flock for his offering. The lesson is a double one. The common things, the most ordinary part of his possessions, are those which he is to bring; that is one part of his teaching. The animals are the subjects of man; he is to rule them and make use of them for his own higher objects; that is another.
V. THE VICTIM WAS TAKEN TO THE DOOR OF THE PLACE AT WHICH ALL ISRAELITES HAD AN EQUAL RIGHT TO APPEAR; BUT THE MAN WHO BROUGHT IT LAID HIS OWN HAND UPON THE HEAD OF IT. He signified that the act was his, that it expressed thoughts in his mind which no one else could know of.
VI. THE RECONCILIATION WHICH HE SEEKS HE SHALL FIND. God will meet him there. God accepts this sign of his submission. He restores him to his rights in the Divine society.
VII. NOW IT IS THAT WE FIRST HEAR OF THE PRIESTS, AARON'S SONS. If there was to be a congregation, if the individual Israelites were not to have their separate sacrifices and their separate gods, then there must be a representative of this unity. The priest was consecrated as a witness to the people of the actual relation which existed between them and God.
(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)
I. ALTAR-OFFERINGS AND TABERNACLE MINISTRIES ALL REACH THEIR COMPLETION IN CHRIST.
1. In each offering three distinct objects are present: the offering, the priest, the offerer. Christ is each of and all these: Substitute, Mediator, Innocent Victim.
2. The difference in the several offerings. Different aspects of Christ's offering.
3. The offerer himself also reflects Christ in His diverse aspects.
4. The different grades in the various offerings: bullock, lamb, dove. Denoting the different estimates and apprehensions formed of Christ by His people. Some never go beyond the conception of Christ as their Paschal offering, securing their redemption from Egyptian bondage and death. Others, however, see Him as their Burnt-offering, wholly devoted to God for them; while to others He is the passive Lamb, silent and submissive in affliction; and to others the mourning Dove, gentle and sorrowful in His innocency.
II. ALTAR-OFFERINGS AND TABERNACLE MINISTRIES WERE DESIGNED FOR ISRAEL'S ACCEPTABLE COMMUNION WITH GOD. The types of Leviticus, in distinction from the types of redemption or deliverance from doom, give us the work of Christ in its bearing on worship and communion.
1. They meet the needs of a ransomed people in providing for their access to God. If they come for consecration they bring the burnt-offerings; if for grateful acknowledgment of Divine bounty and graciousness, they bring the food offerings; if for reconciliation, after ignorant misadventure or neglect of duty or temporary transgression, they bring their peace or trespass-offering. But they all provide a basis for access to and acceptance with God.
2. Christ's work, as connected with the communion of His people, must be viewed under manifold representations.
1. The moral law contained in the Decalogue was delivered immediately by God Himself, because it concerned all people; the ceremonial law by Moses, because it specially concerned the Jews.
2. They differed in the manner; for the Decalogue was written in tables of stone, but these only in a book; to show that they were perpetual, these not to endure always.
3. The place was different. The moral law was delivered in Mount Sinai; the ceremonial out of the Tabernacle, to show that it served only for the Tabernacle, and was to continue no longer.
4. They differ in the time of delivery. The moral law was delivered at once; the ceremonies were given at divers times, for Moses had not been able at once to have received them all.
5. There was some difference in respect of the people, in whose hearing these laws were delivered. The Decalogue was delivered in Mount Sinai by a loud, thundering voice, that all might hear; but here at the giving of the ceremonial law only the heads, princes, and elders came together, particularly the Levites whom the observations of these ceremonies more nearly concerned.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
1. At the root of the essential significance of the Mosaic sacrifices two ideas lie — viz., the Mosaic idea of presentation, and that of atonement.(1) Upon the idea of presentation (or "giving to God," as it has been otherwise termed), the fundamental idea of all sacrifice, little need here be said. The Mosaic system of worship, like the patriarchal, was based upon the fact that man might approach God so long as his hands were not empty. As Adam worshipped in Eden by the surrender of time and strength in obedient performance of the Divine will, and possibly by the presentation of some of the fruits of his labour, as Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock, the acceptance of his gift opening a way to God which the patriarchs were not slow to follow; so, in the law given upon Sinai, the Jew was bidden to come near his Maker and Preserver, gifts in hand. Offerings of toil became means of grace; things eloquent of cost were channels for what was priceless; pledges of human sincerity in appeal were transmuted into pledges of Divine earnestness in reply; gifts from men to God brought gifts from God to men.(2) Unlike the preceding idea, which belonged to every sacrifice of whatever name, in some measure or other, the idea of atonement belonged simply to sacrifices of blood. "To make an atonement," if we probe the Hebrew figure to the bottom, was to throw, so to speak, a veil over sin so dazzling that the veil and not the sin was visible, or to place side by side with sin something so attractive as to completely engross the eye. The figure which the New Testament uses when it speaks of the "new robe," the Old Testament uses when it speaks of "atonement." When an atonement was made under the Law, it was as though the Divine eye, which had been kindled at the sight of sin and foulness, was quieted by the garment thrown around it; or, to use a figure much too modern, yet equally appropriate, it was as if the sinner who had been exposed to the lightning of the Divine wrath had been suddenly wrapped round and insulated. The idea of atonement was the so covering the sinner that his sin was invisible or non-existent in the sense that it could no longer come between him and his Maker.
2. Carrying in mind these two conceptions of presentation and atonement which the language of the law associates with every animal sacrifice, the names and express statements concerning each variety of such sacrifice will enable us to add their distinguishing to their general characteristics.(1) The burnt-offering was at once a sacrifice and an atonement; but it was the element of presentation which was brought by it into especial prominence. It was pre-eminently the sacrifice of worship.(2) The peace-offering resembled the burnt-offering in the relative insignificance which it attached to the fact of atonement; it differed in laying stress upon quite another affinity which might exist between God and man. As the burnt-offering provided a means of individual worship, the peace-offering provided a worship that was social. The peace-offerings were the sacrifices of friendship, and were presented by those who either desired, or lived and rejoiced in, the sense of an established friendship between themselves and their Maker and Preserver.(3) In the sin and trespass-offerings the fact of atonement is emphasised.(a) The sin-offerings, as their name implies, were offerings for sin. They may be divided into three classes: those which were presented in processes of purification; those which had to do with the expiation of precise sins, whether committed in church or state, by priest or ruler or common Israelite; and those which had to do with the expiation of undefined sins.(b) The trespass-offerings were presented in atonement for sins against God or against man which admitted of compensation. There was in every trespass-offering the idea of retribution.(4) Of the several species of bloodless sacrifices, nothing further need be said as regards their essential significance than that they are gifts pure and simple, without any element of atonement, and that they have for their aim to carry this fundamental conception of worship by presentation into all the ramifying relations of life. By the aid of the meat-offerings and drink-offerings and their priestly analogues, the shew-bread and oil and incense, God might be approached by the produce of labour; by the ransoms and firstfruits, He might be approached in recognition of the gifts of child and beast and produce of the earth; even battle might be consecrated by the presentation of spoils. By gifts God could be approached, and the sources of these gifts being various, the Divine hallowing might be as various.
3. Without minutely investigating the essential significance of the various holy days of the Jewish calendar, it is sufficient to call to mind that, amongst other uses, these holy days were days for "holy convocation." They were opportunities specially arranged for a more regular and continuous attendance upon the means of grace provided by the Tabernacle and its services.
(A. Cave, D. D.)
(A. Caves, D. D.)
1. There were many sorts of sacrifices and yet but one Christ to be signified by them all. This did the Lord in great mercy and wisdom, that so His people, fully busied and pleased with such variety, might have neither cause nor leisure to look unto the wicked idolatries of the heathens, according to the several charges given them of God, "To beware lest they were taken in a snare, to ask after their gods saying, How did these nations serve their gods, that I may do so likewise?" &c. Seeing all the abomination that God hateth, they did unto their gods, burning both their sons and daughters with fire to their gods, and the Lord would have them do only what He commanded, putting nothing unto it, neither taking anything from it.
2. Although Christ be but one, and His sacrifice but one, yet great is the fruit, and many mercies flow from Him and His death unto us. By Him our sins are washed out, by Him God's wrath against us is appeased, by Him we are adopted and taken for the sons of God and fellow-heirs with Him, by Him we are justified and endued with the Holy Ghost, enabled thereby to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness, walking in His holy commandments with comfort, and longing for our deliverance out of this Vale of misery, "That we may be clothed with our house, which is from heaven," &c. Divers sorts of sacrifices, therefore, were appointed, to note, by that variety, the variety of these fruits of Christ to all believers, though He be but one.
3. There were many sorts of sacrifices, that so plainly the Church might see that these kind of sacrifices were not the true sacrifices for sins. For if any one had been able to take away sin the others had been in vain added (see Hebrews 10:1).
(B. W. Newton.)
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
blood. Some verily seem to think, and some sceptics have argued, that the Bible cannot be what it claims to be, because it represents God as appointing and taking pleasure in such sanguinary arrangements and services. But observe the glaring inconsistency of such people in shrinking with abhorrence from the bloody nature of the system which God has arranged for our salvation, whilst they are yet great admirers of the taste and culture of the men and times we read of in the classics. They are charmed with the ancient Greeks and Romans, and are ever putting them forward as our exemplars and guides; and cannot get done talking about their glorious civilisation; just as if the religion of Greece and Rome had no sanguinary rites, or involved no dealing in bloody sacrifices. Never was there a religious system on earth more bloody in its observances, or more shocking in its sacrificial ritual, than those in vogue among these very Greeks and Romans, sanctioned and supported by their laws, and advocated by their greatest men. Their altars flowed, not only with the blood of bulls and goats and various unclean and disgusting creatures, but with the blood of human beings, who were annually slain and offered up in religious worship to propitiate their sanguinary deities. In the worship of Zeus Lycaeus in Arcadia, human sacrifices were regularly offered for hundreds of years, down to the time of the Roman Emperors. In Leucas, a man was every year put to death at the high festival of Apollo. When their great generals went out to war, they first offered up human victims to gain the assistance of their divinities. Before the battle of Salamis, Themistocles sacrificed three Persians to Dionysius. The city of Athens — the very "eye of Greece" — had an annual festival in honour of the Delian Apollo, at which two persons were every year put to death, the one for the men and the other for the women, of that renowned metropolis. The neck of the one who died for the men was surrounded with a garland of black figs, and the neck of the other with a garland of white figs, and both were beaten with rods of fig-wood as they were led forth to a place where they were burned alive, and their ashes cast into the air and sea. And Grecian story tells of many parents, who laid violent hands upon their children, and offered them up as bloody sacrifices to their gods. Nor was it much different with the Romans. In their earlier history it was the custom, under certain contingencies, to sacrifice to their deities everything born of man or beast between the first day of March and the last day of April. Even in the latest period of the Roman Republic, men were sacrificed to Mars in the Campus Martius, by priests of state, and their heads stuck up at the Regia. I mention these things, not to vindicate the Levitical rites, of which they were monstrous and wicked distortions and perversions, but to show the miserable inconsistency of those sceptical people who denounce the atoning regulations of the Scriptures, and hold up the taste and ideas of the Greeks and Romans as the true models of what is beautiful, refined, and elevated. I merely wish to have you know and feel, that if the Hebrew ritual is to be regarded as offensive to a lofty aesthetic taste, the ritual of the most polished nations of antiquity was still more offensive and abhorrent in the utmost degree; and that if the religion of the Scriptures cannot be received as of God by reason of its connection with scenes of blood, there is no system of religion upon earth, ancient or modern, that can be so received; because all others have been equally and still more sanguinary in their services, and that, too, without any of the deep and affecting moral meaning of this. And I freely confess that I see nothing in the doctrine of salvation by blood, or in the Jewish rites, which typified it with so much strength and clearness, either to offend my taste, to shock my reason, or the least to interfere with the readiest and fullest acceptation of the Scriptures as the true revelation of Almighty God. True, I behold in it much that humbles my pride — that tells me I am a very wicked sinner — that proclaims my native condition far removed from what God's law requires — that assures me I am undone as regards my own strength — and that holds out death and eternal burning as what I deserve. But all this accords with my conscience, and is re-echoed in the deepest convictions of my soul. And with it all, it presents to me a plan of redemption so out of the line of man's thoughts, so fitted to my felt wants, and so completely attested by its moral efficacy, that it is itself a mighty demonstration to my mind of its Divine original. The very fact that the Bible has but one great subject running through all its histories and prophecies, ordinances and types, epistles and psalms — that salvation by blood is the focal point in which all its various lines of light converge — is to me one of the strongest evidences that it has come from God. When I consider that its writers lived hundreds and thousands of years .apart, that they were found in all walks of life, and that they wrote in languages foreign to each other, I can find no way to account for the unity which pervades it but by admitting that these various writers were all moved and guided by the same high intelligence and inspired of God.
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
if we enter into the temple of obedience. Having crossed the threshold, then law begins to operate. After the if comes the discipline — the sweet, but often painful necessity. Observe the balance of operation: Man must reply; having replied, either in one form or the other, necessary consequences follow. It is so in all life. There is no exception in what is known as the religious consciousness and activity. The great sea says in its wild waves, "If ye will walk on me and become citizens of this wilderness of water, then yon must submit to the law of the country; you must fall into the rhythm of the universe; you must build your wooden houses or your iron habitations according to laws old as God; you need not come upon my waters; I do not ask you to come; when you come I will obliterate your footprints so that no man may ever know that you have crossed me; but if you come you must obey." We have, therefore, no liberty after a certain time. This is the law of all life. But we never give up our liberty in response to the laws of the universe without our surrender being compensated after God's measure. The law gave great choice of offering. It said, "If you bring a burnt-offering, bring it of the herd if you have one. If you have not a herd of cattle, bring it of the flocks; bring it of the flock of the sheep; but if you are too poor to have a flock of sheep, bring a goat from the flock of the goats; only in all cases this condition must be permanent: whatever you offer must be without blemish. But if you have no cattle, no sheep, no goats, then bring it of the fowls: bring turtledoves or young pigeons; the air is full of them, and the poorest man can take them." Is that not mercy twice blessed? We are not all masters of cattle that browse upon the green hills; nor are we all flock-masters, and amongst flockmasters there are rich and poor. God says, "Let your offering be according to your circumstances, only without blemish, and it shall be accepted." There is no short and easy method with sin. Men have sought by excess of the very thing itself to destroy sin, and if they could have gone forward from indulgence to indulgence, from insanity to insanity, they might have escaped the remorse of this world; but God has so constituted the universe that men have moments of sobriety, times of mental and moral reaction, periods in which they see themselves and their destiny with an appalling vividness, and in those hours it is found that the sin which began the mischief is still there. There is no way out of it but God's way.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(H. C. Trumbull.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
Mark 4:28). So did the blade or herb spring out of the law of nature; the ear or culm, in the law written; but we have in the gospel the pure grain or full corn, which is Christ Jesus. Therefore, as the stalk or ear is of necessary use till the corn be ripe, but the corn being ripe we no longer use the chaff with it, so till Christ was exhibited in the flesh, which lay hidden in the blade and spike of the law, the ceremonies had their use; but since that by His death and passion this pure wheat is thrashed and winnowed, and by His ascension laid up in the garner of heaven, they are of no further use (Ephesians 2:15). The Jews were taught by those shadows that the body should come, and we know by the same shadows that the body is come; the arrow moveth, whilst it flies at the mark, but having hit the mark, resteth in it.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
If his offering be a burnt sacrifice.I. IN ITS CONTRAST TO THE OTHER OFFERINGS.
1. It was "a sweet savour" offering; as such in perfect contrast with the sin-offerings. We are not here, therefore, to consider Christ as the sin-bearer, but as the man in perfectness meeting God in holiness. The thought here is not, "God hath made Him to be sin for us," but rather, "He loved us, and gave Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savour." Jesus, both in the burnt-offering and sin-offering, stood as our representative. When He obeyed, He obeyed "for us": when He suffered, He suffered "for us." But in the burnt-offering He appears for us, not as our sin-bearer, but as man offering to God something which is most precious to Him. We have here what we may in vain search for elsewhere: man giving to God what truly satisfies Him. We too often omit this thought when thinking of the offering of Jesus. We think of His death, but little of His life. We look but little into His ways. Yet it is His ways throughout His pilgrimage, even to the way He laid down His life, which God so delights in. Our views are so selfish and meagre. If we are saved, we seek no further. God, however, puts the burnt-offering first: for this was peculiarly His portion in Jesus. And just in proportion as a believer grows in grace, we shall find him turning intelligently to the Gospels; from them adding to the knowledge he has of the work of Jesus, greater knowledge of His ways and person; with earnest desire to know more of the Lord Himself, and how in all things He was "a sweet savour to Jehovah."
2. But the burnt-offering was not only "a sweet savour"; it was also an offering "for acceptance" — that is, it was offered to God to secure the acceptance of the offerer. So we read — I give the more correct translation — "he shall offer it for his acceptance." To understand this, we must recur for a moment to the position Christ occupied as offerer. He stood for man as man under the law, and, as under law, His acceptance depended on His perfectness. God had made man upright; but he had sought out many inventions. One dispensation after another had tried whether, under any circumstances, man could render himself acceptable to God. But age after age passed away: no son of Adam was found who could meet God's standard. The law was man's last trial, whether, with a revelation of God's mind, he could or would obey it. But this trial, like the others, ended in failure: "there was none righteous, no, not one." How, then, was man to be reconciled to God? How could he be brought to meet God's requirements? One way yet remained, and the Son of God accepted it. "He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took the seed of Abraham"; and in His person, once and for ever, man was reconciled to God. In effecting this, Jesus, as man's representative, took man's place, where He found, man, under law; and there, in obedience to the law, He offered, "for His acceptance."
3. The third point peculiar to the burnt-offering was, that a life was offered on the altar (ver. 5), in this particular differing from the meat-offering. Life was that part in creation which from the beginning God claimed as His. As such — as being His claim on His creatures — it stands as an emblem for what we owe Him. What we owe to God is our duty to Him. And this, I doubt not, is the thought here intended. Of course, the offering here, as elsewhere, is the body of Jesus, that body which He took, and then gave for us: but in giving God a life, in contradistinction to offering Him corn or frankincense, the peculiar thought is the fulfilment of the first table of he Decalogue. Thus the life yielded is man's duty to God, and man here is seen perfectly giving it. Am I asked what man ever thus offered? I answer, None but One — "the man Christ Jesus." He alone of all the sons of Adam in perfectness accomplished all man's duty to Godward; He in His own blessed and perfect righteousness met every claim God could make upon Him.
4. The fourth and last feature peculiar to the burnt-offering is, that it was wholly burnt on the altar. In this particular the burnt-offering differed from the meat and peace-offerings, in which a part only was burnt with fire; nor did it differ less from those offerings for sin, which, though wholly burnt, were not burnt upon the altar. The import of this distinction is manifest, and in exact keeping with the character of the offering. Man's duty to God is not the giving up of one faculty, but the entire surrender of all. So Christ sums up the First Commandment — all the mind, all the soul, all the affections. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." I cannot doubt that the type refers to this in speaking so particularly of the parts of the burnt-offering; for "the head," "the fat," "the legs," "the inwards," are all distinctly enumerated. "The head" is the well-known emblem of the thoughts; "the legs" the emblem of the walk; and "the inwards" the constant and familiar symbol of the feelings and affections of the heart. The meaning of "the fat" may not be quite so obvious, though here also Scripture helps us to the solution (Psalm 17:10; Psalm 92:14; Psalm 119:70; Deuteronomy 32:15). It represents the energy not of one limb or faculty, but the general health and vigour of the whole. In Jesus these were all surrendered, and all without spot or blemish.
II. ITS VARIETIES, that is, the different measures of apprehension with which it may be seen. There were, then, three grades in the burnt-offering. It might be "of the herd," or "of the flock," or "of fowls." These different grades gave rise to several varieties in the offering, the import of which we shall now consider.
1. The first difference is in the animal offered. We have in the first grade, "a bullock"; in the second, "a lamb"; in the third, "a turtledove." Each of these animals, from their well-known character, presents us with a different thought respecting the offering. The bullock, "strong to labour" — for "great increase is by the strength of the ox" — suggests at once the thought of service, of patient, untiring labour. In the lamb we have another picture presented to us; here the thought is passive submission without a murmur; for the lamb is the figure constantly chosen to represent the submissive, uncomplaining character of Christ's sufferings. The turtledove is different from either of these, and gives again another view of the offering of Jesus. In this class the thought of labour is lost sight of: the unmurmuring submission, too, of the lamb is wanting: the thought is rather simply one of mourning innocence; as it is written, "We mourn like doves"; and again, "Be harmless as doves." It may be asked, What do we learn by "the goat," which was sometimes offered in one of the lower grades of the burnt-offering? If I mistake not, this emblem suggests a thought of the sin-offering, reminding us of Christ's offering as scape-goat.
2. A second distinction between the different grades of the burnt-offering is, that while in the first grade the parts are discriminated, in the last this peculiarity is omitted: the bird was killed, but not divided. In the case of the bullock and the lamb, it is noticed that the offering is "cut into its pieces." Here "the legs, the head, the fat, the inwards," are all distinctly noticed and enumerated. In the last case — that of the turtledove — it is otherwise: "he shall not divide it asunder." "The legs, the head, the inwards," as we have already seen, represent the walk, the thoughts, the feelings of Jesus. In the first grade these are all apprehended: they are all lost sight of in the last. These grades represent, as I have said, measures of apprehension. Where the measure of spiritual apprehension is large, a saint will see the offering dissected: his eyes will be turning constantly to see the walk, the mind, the affections of Jesus. He will now observe, what once he regarded not, how Jesus walked, how He thought, what were His feelings. On the other hand, where Jesus is but little apprehended all the details of His walk and feelings will be unseen.
3. A third distinction between the different grades of the burnt-offering is, that while in the first grade the offerer is seen to lay his hand on the offering, in the other grades this act is not observed. Not a few see Christ as offering for us without fully realising that His offering was Himself. They see that He gave up this thing or that; that He gave much for us, and that what He gave was most precious. But they do not really see that "He gave Himself," that His own blessed person was what He offered. This is clearly seen in the first grade of the burnt-offering. It is lost sight of, or unobserved, in the other grades.
4. A fourth distinction, closely allied with the one just considered, is, that in the first class the offerer is seen to kill the victim — in the last the priest kills it. In fact, in the last class, the priest does nearly everything, the offerer is scarcely seen at all; whereas in the first class it is just the reverse, there are many particulars noted of theofferer. The import of this is at once obvious, when we see the distinction between the priest and offerer. The offerer, as I have already observed, sets Christ before us in His person. The priest represents Him in His official character, as the appointed Mediator between God and man. Where the identity between the offerer and offering is apprehended, the offerer is seen to kill the offering; that is, Christ is seen in His person, of His own will laying down His life; as it is written — "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of Myself." On the contrary, where the identity of the offering and offerer is unseen or disregarded, the priest is seen to kill the victim, that is, Christ's death is seen as the work of the Mediator; and is connected with His official character as Priest, rather than with His person as the willing offerer. So with believers, where there is only a limited measure of apprehension, little is known of Christ save His office as Mediator: He Himself, His blessed person, is overlooked or but little seen. Such are the chief varieties of the burnt-offering: how full are they of instruction to the believer; how clearly do they mark the different apprehensions among saints respecting the work and person of our Lord! Some, however — I speak of believers — are content to know nothing of this; and they would rather not be told their ignorance. They can see but one truth — the Paschal lamb — and anything further they neither care nor wish for.
4. Slain by offerer himself.
5. Blood sprinkled.
6. Wholly consumed.
II. FEATURES WHICH DISTINGUISH IT FROM THE SIN-OFFERING.
1. Nothing is said of the voluntary character of the sin-offering. Does not this throw light on the agony and prayer of Christ in Gethsemane?
2. Only parts of the sin-offering were to be burnt on the altar of burnt-offering (Hebrews 4:11, 12; Hebrews 13:11-13; 2 Corinthians 5:21). This explains the suffering of Christ and His cry on the cross — "Eloi," &c.
III. TO OBSERVE THESE DISTINCTIONS IMPORTANT, AS BEARING UPON THEIR TYPICAL SIGNIFICATION.
1. The Epistle to the Hebrews proves that Christ and His work are typified in the whole Mosaic ritual.
2. The one represents our Lord in His consecration to His Father's will; the other, as its name indicates, represents Him as the sin-bearer.(1) His consecration has in it the elements of voluntariness and completeness, and that it was of sweet savour unto Jehovah.(2) As sin.bearer He is represented as not being permitted to suffer even within the camp. Lessons:
1. As a burnt-offering our Lord is to us an example in our consecration to God, which should be —
(1) (2) (3) 2. As a sin-offering our Lord teaches us how hateful sin was to Him; yet He endured its imputation, "being made sin for us," that we might be made God's righteousness in Him. (D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
(2) (3) 2. As a sin-offering our Lord teaches us how hateful sin was to Him; yet He endured its imputation, "being made sin for us," that we might be made God's righteousness in Him. (D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
(3) 2. As a sin-offering our Lord teaches us how hateful sin was to Him; yet He endured its imputation, "being made sin for us," that we might be made God's righteousness in Him. (D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
(F. W. Brown.)
I. Consider THE SORT OF VICTIM REQUIRED FOR THIS SACRIFICE: a bullock, or a sheep, or, in case of great poverty, a young pigeon or dove — the very purest, cleanest, and best of creatures — nothing else would answer. And even these had to be the finest and most desirable specimens. Pure and perfect as the bright world from which He came, Christ, our sacrifice, "was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners" — "a Lamb without spot" — the first, the purest, the gentlest, and the best in all the domain of the great God. He was the very Prince of creation, who knew no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.
II. Consider next WHAT WAS DONE WITH THE VICTIM SELECTED. If a bullock, the Divine command was, "Kill it before the Lord, and flay it, and cut it into his pieces." If from the flock, the word was "Kill it on the side of the altar northward, and cut it into his pieces." Who was to do this is not clearly specified. Any one, good or bad, priest or private, the worst or best, may become the executioner of the Divine sentence. When Jesus was made an offering for us, earth and hell joined in the infliction of the sacrificial stroke. If a bird, the word of the Lord was, "Wring off his head, and pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cleave it with the wings." Fit picture this of the end which awaits the unforgiven, and of what actually befell the blessed Saviour who "was once offered to bear the sins of many." The plucking and tearing off of the skin was to show how naked the sinner is, and how completely he is exposed to the fires of Divine wrath, and how unprotected Jesus was when He submitted to bear our sins in His own body on the tree. But in addition to this terrible mutilation, the victim was yet to be put upon the altar and burned. The command was, "The priest shall burn all on the altar." And a particular method was also to be observed in this burning. First, the head and the loose fat were to be placed upon the fire; the head from without, and the fat from within. After that the legs and the entrails were to be given to the flames; the outward and the inward together. Man has a double nature; and in all Divine services, and under all Divine inflictions, both departments fare alike. We cannot give our bodies to God and reserve our hearts, nor serve Him in the spirit without bringing that service out into controlling influence over the flesh also. The whole man must go or nothing. Nor is the ultimate doom of sin a mere bodily suffering, or the mere consuming of the exterior members; nor yet mere mental woe and spiritual grief. As the Saviour says, it is the destruction of "both body and soul in hell." Christ as our sacrifice, suffered not only in the outer man, but in His whole inner and outer nature conjoined.
III. Consider further WHAT WAS TO BE EFFECTED BY THE PRESENTATION OF THIS PARTICULAR KIND OF SACRIFICE. If the man who brought it would lay his hand upon its head, and so acknowledge it as that by which he hoped and prayed and trusted to be forgiven, the Lord said "it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him." That is, the devoting of such a victim to death and fire was to answer as a substitute for the death and burning of the sinner himself. What a beautiful illustration of our reconciliation to God through the death of His Son!
IV. There yet remains one other particular to be noticed with regard to this atoning offering; and that is THE PERFECT FREEDOM WITH WHICH ANY AND EVERY ONE MIGHT AVAIL HIMSELF OF ITS BENEFITS. It was confined to no special time, and demanded no specific juncture of affairs. It was as free at one season as at another, and could be resorted to whenever any one felt himself moved in that way. If the worshipper could not bring a bullock, a sheep would answer. And if too poor to furnish either, a dove or pigeon was just as acceptable. There was no reason why any one should not come and share the benefits of a full expiation through the burnt-offering of atonement. All that a man wanted was the consent and determination of his own heart — the motion of "his own voluntary will." Now this was not accidental. It was meant to set forth a great gospel truth. It tells of the perfect freeness with which one and all may be saved, if only there is the proper effort made. It was the lifting up of the voice of mercy even in that remote antiquity, crying, "Come; whosoever will, let him come."
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
I. THE BURNT-OFFERING is placed first in order, when the Lord spake unto Moses "out of the Tabernacle," teaching that the primary and grand object of Christ's death was "the glory of God." The burnt-offering may be said to answer to St. John's Gospel, where this object is very prominent (see John 12:27-33; John 17:1-4).
1. Atonement, as expiation of guilt, is not the prominent thought in burnt-offering, yet it is seen there, verifying Hebrews 9:22; and the sprinkling of the blood testifies to the righteousness of God in accepting the worshipper whose worship — like all else — needs the atoning blood, being in itself not only worthless, but tainted with sin; and worship is one prominent feature of burnt-offering as regards man. Now look at details.
2. Male without blemish. That is, highest order of offering, whether of herd or flock (Leviticus 1:3, 10). Nothing with slightest taint or blemish must be used to represent Christ.
II. ACCEPTANCE was another prominent characteristic of burnt-offering. It was presented that the offerer might be "accepted" (Leviticus 1:3). "Lo! I come... to do Thy will, O God" (Hebrews 10:7; Psalm 40:7), were the words of Jesus. He presented Himself for acceptance; He was "obedient unto death" (Philippians 2:8). His sacrifice was that of devotion and service, as typified in this offering. Thus was the Father glorified in the death of His beloved Son I See, too, how Father's love drawn forth because He laid down His life for sheep (John 10:11, 17), in obedience to Father's will (John 6:38-40). Thus the Father's glory seen to be bound up in the salvation of "sheep"; and His acceptance of Jesus ensures theirs (Leviticus 1:4; Ephesians 1:6).
III. HAND UPON HEAD OF BURNT-OFFERING further shows identification of offerer and offering. The word rendered "put" (ver, 4) signifies to lean with whole weight, which implies full reliance, trust, and transfer, so to speak, of whole being to Him, who both amply met God's claim to entire devotedness to Him and made atonement for His people, that is, "covered" their failures with His atoning merits and sacrifice. Believers are "in Him" (1 John 5:20), and thus God sees and accepts them.
IV. KILL, FLAY CUT INTO HIS PIECES (vers. 5, 6). Significant actions. Not only death, but all laid bare to be exposed to searching fire of God's holiness, and testify to the perfections of His Christ, whether in part or whole. Believers should look into Christ, and study His perfections in every detail. There is also a "rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), which testifies of Jesus the living Word. Again, His pieces, typifying members of His body, are laid bare before God; all within revealed, i.e., "naked and opened..." (Hebrews 4:13), to the Searcher ex hearts (Psalm 7:9; Luke 16:15); and He requires holiness within (1 Peter 1:15, 16).
V. "THE PRIESTS, AARON'S SONS" (vers. 5-8) represent "the Church of God," "the children" (Hebrews 2:13), an holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5): here seen as worshipping saints, offering to God what most "acceptable" to Him.
1. They "sprinkle the blood," showing ground of acceptable worship (1 Peter 1:2).
2. They "put fire," and lay all "in order upon the altar." Christ, the Head, in His entirety, with His rich excellency (fat), offering Him self (voluntary act), through the eternal Spirit (fire), without spot to God (Hebrews 9:14). "Many waters cannot quench love" (Song of Solomon 8:7), such as His, glowing With the fire of the Spirit, shown in zeal and devotion to the Father s will. And no work for God, no offering acceptable, except through the fire of the Spirit (Romans 8:4, 8-10, 14), sent from above to dwell in believers, and kindle in them flame of love and zeal, which again ascends to heaven.
VI. THE WASHING OF INWARDS AND LEGS (ver. 9) rendered the offering typically what Christ is inherently and intrinsically. Perfectly clean and pure, not only in outward walk, but inwardly also; in exact accordance with the requirements of a holy God. Truth, wisdom found in Him who was both (Psalm 51:6; Psalm 15:2; John 14:6; Proverbs 8:11, 30; 1 Corinthians 1:24).
VII. THE PRIEST SHALL BURN ALL (ver. 13). The whole of the burnt-offering was to be consumed upon the altar, because exclusively for God. God requires whole-heartedness in His service; want of devotedness to God is sin; we offend if we keep back part for ourselves, or for the world, instead of presenting all to Him; and these failures, sins, shortcomings, are all met by the precious One in the burnt-offering.
VIII. THE ASHES CARRIED FORTH from beside the altar testify to the completeness of the work "finished" on Calvary, and to God's complete acceptance of the perfect Sacrifice, His own "unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15) to man. The "clean place" "without the camp" (chaps. 1:16, 6:10, 11) points to the "new tomb" (Matthew 27:58-66), where the body of Jesus was laid; and He — the risen One — then entered" into heaven itself, now to appear..." (Hebrews 9:24).
IX. "A SWEET SAVOUR UNTO THE LORD" (vers. 9, 13, 17). As such the "continual" burnt-offering ascended (Numbers 28:3-8); and so the fragrant merits of Christ's one all-sufficient sacrifice. For "Christ also hath... given Himself for.., a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour" (Ephesians 5:2). Yes, Jesus, who is feasting the Father's eyes and heart, is the one in whom He smells "a sweet savour" or "savour of rest" (Genesis 8:21).
(Lady Beau-jolois Dent.)
I. THE PRINCIPLE THAT ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP MUST BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH DIVINE DIRECTION. Not now the blood of bulls and of goats, but the blood of Christ is the sacrifice by which we come to God (Hebrews 10:9, 10). The was is as distinctly and definitely described under the new dispensation as under the old (John 14:6). True religion is a revealed way of approach to God.
II. ITS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE. Its Hebrew name means, "an ascending." The first symbol by which men sought communion with God expressed a voluntary and entire dedication of themselves to Him. They declared, by it, their aspiration after Him; their desire to do His will; their self-surrender to Him. It was this devotion of soul that made the offering a sweet savour unto Him.
III. THE RELATION OF THE BURNT-OFFERING TO CHRISTIAN WORSHIP.
1. This offering suggests the holiness of God.
2. The spirit of acceptable Christian worship: Pure.
3. The character of the acceptable Christian worshipper: Constant self-devotion to God.
(A. E. Dunning.)
I. THE IDEA OF SELF-SURRENDER UNDERLAY THE GIFT OF THE BURNT-OFFERING. Save on great occasions, like that of a dedication of the Tabernacle or Temple, this was a voluntary offering. As men were urged onward into clearly marked modes of worship they were not deprived of their upward look. Before there is expiation or justification there must be a relation of fellowship between man and his Maker. The burnt-offering was the best symbol of this confidential self-surrender because it was the sacrifice of a living thing. The blood was regarded as the vehicle of the life. When the Hebrew came of his own choice thus before the Lord he made an offering of himself.
II. THE IDEA OF EXPIATION UNDERLAY THE OFFERING OF THE BURNT SACRIFICE. The Israelite who came before the altar to make a burnt-offering laid his hand upon the victim in token of his desire to have it accepted as a sacrifice for sin. The great breaches of the moral law were not atoned for by any ceremonial under the Hebrew code. The most flagrant sins which were atoned for or covered by sacrifice were those of carelessness, and had reference to a breach of ceremonial law. Therefore we are justified in emphasising in the burnt-offering the idea of self-surrender. The expiation of the murderer's sin must come from a sacrifice God should make in His own Son. The sinner took refuge with God in the hope of the holier offering and Mediator God should provide.
III. THE ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE OF THE BURNT-OFFERING REQUIRES THE MEDIATORIAL OFFICE. The worshipper has accepted the offices of God's mediator. God has received man's trust, his surrender, his obedience. The spirit of Abraham with raised hand above his only son is that which must fill the heart of every true worshipper under the Mosaic dispensation. He accepts God's offering as a sacrifice, whether made before the foundation of the world, at the Tabernacle altar, or on Calvary. Obedience is the best element man furnishes in the atonement. Obedience to the unseen God is the arrow of which faith is the bow-string.
(W. R. Campbell.)
I. The offerer was to BRING IT TO THE DOOR OF THE TABERNACLE.
1. A voluntary act.
(1) (2) 2. This points every way to Christ as the cause of our acceptance with God. He is both Door and Tabernacle, Altar and Priest. 3. We are to see God in all oar services, in and by Jesus Christ. 4. We are to worship God in His Church. II. The sinner that brought the sacrifice was to LAY HIS HAND UPON THE HEAD OF IT. This ceremony relates to the confession of sin, and the translation of the guilt of it upon the sacrifice (Isaiah 53:4, 5; 1 John 1:7, 9). III. The sacrifice must be KILLED AND SLAIN, and that upon the north side of the altar. 2. Christ was killed in Jerusalem and Mount Sion, which was on the sides of the north. IV. THE BLOOD WAS POURER FORTH at the foot of the altar, and sprinkled upon it round about. V. THE PRIEST IS TO FLAY IT, AND CUT IT INTO ITS PIECES. 2. As the sacrifice, being dead and slain, did leave a skin for clothing to the priest by whose hand he died, so Christ, our true sacrifice, who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, leaves a garment of righteousness to clothe believers with (Romans 13:14). 3. Whereas the sacrifice in this action was laid open, and the inward parts of it discovered to open view: so is Christ fully and openly discovered in the preaching of the gospel (Galatians 3:1). 4. The skin of the sacrifice went to the priest. It was part of his maintenance (see Corinthians 1 Corinthians 9:13,14). 1. This signifies the perpetuity of the covenant of grace. 2. Its wholesomeness. VII. THE LEGS AND INWARDS MUST BE WASHED. So the bodies of believers are said to be washed with pure water, and their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. VIII. The several parts of the offering must be LAID UPON THE ALTAR, AND BURNT WITH FIRE, TILL CONSUMED. This is the fire of the justice and wrath of God from heaven, which seized upon Christ; and every part of Him was burnt: His head crowned with thorns, His side pierced with the spear, His hands and feet with nails, His whole body did sweat drops of blood, His soul was heavy unto death, yea, burnt to ashes, as it were, brought to the utmost extremity of misery. His saints also endure the fiery trial (1 Peter 4:12). IX. THE ASHES MUST BE CARRIED OUT of the camp into a clean place (Leviticus 6:10, 11; see Hebrews 13:11-13). Christ's crucified body was not buried within the city, but placed in a new sepulchre where never any man lay before (John 19:41). So the dead bodies of all His saints, when they are spent and consumed to ashes, are regarded and preserved in the dust by God as sacred relics, and He will raise them up again unto eternal life. Lessons: 1. See here the difference between God's ceremonies and men's. Divine ceremonies are full of light and spirit; human ceremonies are full of darkness and vanity. 2. See the fierceness of the wrath of God against sin. It is nothing but death and blood and slaughter that will appease offended justice. 3. Direction under the guilt of sin what to do, and what course to take, to make atonement and reconciliation between God and thee. Go and bring your sacrifice to the Priest, and by Him unto God. 4. Unspeakable consolation unto them that have taken this course. (S. Mather.)
(2) 2. This points every way to Christ as the cause of our acceptance with God. He is both Door and Tabernacle, Altar and Priest. 3. We are to see God in all oar services, in and by Jesus Christ. 4. We are to worship God in His Church. II. The sinner that brought the sacrifice was to LAY HIS HAND UPON THE HEAD OF IT. This ceremony relates to the confession of sin, and the translation of the guilt of it upon the sacrifice (Isaiah 53:4, 5; 1 John 1:7, 9). III. The sacrifice must be KILLED AND SLAIN, and that upon the north side of the altar. 2. Christ was killed in Jerusalem and Mount Sion, which was on the sides of the north. IV. THE BLOOD WAS POURER FORTH at the foot of the altar, and sprinkled upon it round about. V. THE PRIEST IS TO FLAY IT, AND CUT IT INTO ITS PIECES. 2. As the sacrifice, being dead and slain, did leave a skin for clothing to the priest by whose hand he died, so Christ, our true sacrifice, who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, leaves a garment of righteousness to clothe believers with (Romans 13:14). 3. Whereas the sacrifice in this action was laid open, and the inward parts of it discovered to open view: so is Christ fully and openly discovered in the preaching of the gospel (Galatians 3:1). 4. The skin of the sacrifice went to the priest. It was part of his maintenance (see Corinthians 1 Corinthians 9:13,14). 1. This signifies the perpetuity of the covenant of grace. 2. Its wholesomeness. VII. THE LEGS AND INWARDS MUST BE WASHED. So the bodies of believers are said to be washed with pure water, and their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. VIII. The several parts of the offering must be LAID UPON THE ALTAR, AND BURNT WITH FIRE, TILL CONSUMED. This is the fire of the justice and wrath of God from heaven, which seized upon Christ; and every part of Him was burnt: His head crowned with thorns, His side pierced with the spear, His hands and feet with nails, His whole body did sweat drops of blood, His soul was heavy unto death, yea, burnt to ashes, as it were, brought to the utmost extremity of misery. His saints also endure the fiery trial (1 Peter 4:12). IX. THE ASHES MUST BE CARRIED OUT of the camp into a clean place (Leviticus 6:10, 11; see Hebrews 13:11-13). Christ's crucified body was not buried within the city, but placed in a new sepulchre where never any man lay before (John 19:41). So the dead bodies of all His saints, when they are spent and consumed to ashes, are regarded and preserved in the dust by God as sacred relics, and He will raise them up again unto eternal life. Lessons: 1. See here the difference between God's ceremonies and men's. Divine ceremonies are full of light and spirit; human ceremonies are full of darkness and vanity. 2. See the fierceness of the wrath of God against sin. It is nothing but death and blood and slaughter that will appease offended justice. 3. Direction under the guilt of sin what to do, and what course to take, to make atonement and reconciliation between God and thee. Go and bring your sacrifice to the Priest, and by Him unto God. 4. Unspeakable consolation unto them that have taken this course. (S. Mather.)
2. This points every way to Christ as the cause of our acceptance with God. He is both Door and Tabernacle, Altar and Priest.
3. We are to see God in all oar services, in and by Jesus Christ.
4. We are to worship God in His Church.
II. The sinner that brought the sacrifice was to LAY HIS HAND UPON THE HEAD OF IT. This ceremony relates to the confession of sin, and the translation of the guilt of it upon the sacrifice (Isaiah 53:4, 5; 1 John 1:7, 9).
III. The sacrifice must be KILLED AND SLAIN, and that upon the north side of the altar.
2. Christ was killed in Jerusalem and Mount Sion, which was on the sides of the north.
IV. THE BLOOD WAS POURER FORTH at the foot of the altar, and sprinkled upon it round about.
V. THE PRIEST IS TO FLAY IT, AND CUT IT INTO ITS PIECES.
2. As the sacrifice, being dead and slain, did leave a skin for clothing to the priest by whose hand he died, so Christ, our true sacrifice, who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, leaves a garment of righteousness to clothe believers with (Romans 13:14).
3. Whereas the sacrifice in this action was laid open, and the inward parts of it discovered to open view: so is Christ fully and openly discovered in the preaching of the gospel (Galatians 3:1).
4. The skin of the sacrifice went to the priest. It was part of his maintenance (see Corinthians 1 Corinthians 9:13,14).
1. This signifies the perpetuity of the covenant of grace.
2. Its wholesomeness.
VII. THE LEGS AND INWARDS MUST BE WASHED. So the bodies of believers are said to be washed with pure water, and their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.
VIII. The several parts of the offering must be LAID UPON THE ALTAR, AND BURNT WITH FIRE, TILL CONSUMED. This is the fire of the justice and wrath of God from heaven, which seized upon Christ; and every part of Him was burnt: His head crowned with thorns, His side pierced with the spear, His hands and feet with nails, His whole body did sweat drops of blood, His soul was heavy unto death, yea, burnt to ashes, as it were, brought to the utmost extremity of misery. His saints also endure the fiery trial (1 Peter 4:12).
IX. THE ASHES MUST BE CARRIED OUT of the camp into a clean place (Leviticus 6:10, 11; see Hebrews 13:11-13). Christ's crucified body was not buried within the city, but placed in a new sepulchre where never any man lay before (John 19:41). So the dead bodies of all His saints, when they are spent and consumed to ashes, are regarded and preserved in the dust by God as sacred relics, and He will raise them up again unto eternal life. Lessons:
1. See here the difference between God's ceremonies and men's. Divine ceremonies are full of light and spirit; human ceremonies are full of darkness and vanity.
2. See the fierceness of the wrath of God against sin. It is nothing but death and blood and slaughter that will appease offended justice.
3. Direction under the guilt of sin what to do, and what course to take, to make atonement and reconciliation between God and thee. Go and bring your sacrifice to the Priest, and by Him unto God.
4. Unspeakable consolation unto them that have taken this course.
Leviticus 1:3). It must be the choicest produce from his pastures — the primest flower from his fields. There must be strength in fullest vigour, and beauty without one alloy. Such are the properties required. The purport is distinct. Jesus is here. The victim chosen before worlds were framed is thus portrayed. Strength and perfection are main colours in His portrait. We next approach the chambers of the offerer's heart. We read, "He shall offer it of his own free will" (Leviticus 1:3). There is no compulsion. There is no reluctance. His step is willingness. This is a picture of faith's happy actings. Its chariot-wheels move swiftly. It feels sin's miserable need. It knows the value of redeeming blood. So it flies, with rapid wing, to plead it at the mercy-seat. The eager offerer puts his hand upon the victim's head (Leviticus 1:4). Do any ask the meaning of this rite? It graphically shows a transfer. Some load oppresses, which is thus cast off. Some burden passes to another's person. Here is again the happy work of faith. It brings all guilt, and heaps it on the Saviour's head. One sin retained is misery now and hell at last. All must be pardoned by being brought to Christ. And He is waiting to receive. The victim, to which sins thus typically pass, must die (Leviticus 1:5). Can Jesus, who in reality receives our guilt, not lay down life? It cannot be. The holy Word stands sure: "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17). The sinner's surety, then, cannot be spared. He gives His life to pay the debt — to satisfy the wrath — to bear the curse — to expiate the guilt. O my soul, "Christ died" is all your hope — your plea — your remedy — your life. "Christ died" opens your path to God. The victim's blood is sprinkled "round about upon the altar" (Leviticus 1:5). The blood is evidence that life is paid. This token then is profusely scattered. The victim is next flayed (Leviticus 1:6). The skin is torn away. The sacrificing priest received this as his portion. Here is a picture of that heaven-pure robe, in which Christ decks each child of faith. His blood, indeed, removes all curse. But it is obedience, which merits all glory. Because He died, we live. Because He lived, we reign. The piercing knife divides the limbs. Members are torn from members, and all the parts, without, within, to which defilement usually adheres, are diligently washed (Leviticus 1:9). The type of Jesus must be clean. No shadow of impurity may darken it. The parts thus severed, and thus washed, are placed upon the altar. Consuming fire is brought. It preys on every limb. The raging flame devours, until this fuel is reduced to ashes (Leviticus 1:9). Let us now seek the truth, which echoes from this blazing pile. The Garden and the Cross unfold it. There Jesus presents Himself, laden with all the sins of all His chosen race.
1 John 4:17; 1 John 5:20). Nothing, in any measure, short of this could avail. "And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation." It is most needful, in studying the doctrine of the burnt-offering, to bear in mind that the grand point set forth therein is not the meeting of the sinner's need, but the presentation to God of that which was infinitely acceptable to Him. Christ, as foreshadowed by the burnt-offering, is not for the sinner's conscience, but for the heart of God. Further, the Cross, in the burnt-offering, is not the exhibition of the exceeding hatefulness of sin, but of Christ's unshaken and unshakable devotedness to the Father. Neither is it the scene of God's outpoured wrath on Christ the Sin-bearer; but of the Father's unmingled complacency in Christ, the voluntary and most fragrant sacrifice. Finally, "atonement," as seen in the burnt-offering, is not merely commensurate with the claims of man's conscience, but with the intense desire of the heart of Christ, to carry out the will and establish the counsels of God — a desire which stopped not short of surrendering up His spotless, precious life, as "a voluntary offering" of "sweet savour" to God. "The priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation." Here we have a type of the Church, bringing the memorial of an accomplished sacrifice, and presenting it in the place of individual approach to God. But, we must remember, it is the blood of the burnt-offering, and not of the sin-offering. It is the Church, in the power of the Holy Ghost, entering into the stupendous thought of Christ's accomplished devotedness to God, and not a convicted sinner, entering into the value of the blood of the Sin-bearer. "And he shall flay the burnt-offering, and cut it into his pieces." The ceremonial act of "flaying" was peculiarly expressive. It was simply the removing of the outward covering, in order that what was within might be fully revealed. It was not sufficient that the offering should be, outwardly, "without blemish," "the hidden parts" should be all disclosed, in order that every sinew and every joint might be seen. It was only in the case of the burnt-offering that this action was specially named. This is quite in character, and tends to set forth the depth of Christ's devotedness to the Father. It was no mere surface-work with Him. The more the secrets of His inner life were disclosed, the more the depths of His being were explored, the more clearly was it made manifest that pure devotion to the will of His Father, and earnest desire for His glory, were the springs of action in the great Antitype of the burnt-offering. He was, most assuredly, a whole burnt-offering. "And cut it into his pieces." This action presents a somewhat similar truth to that taught in the "sweet incense beaten small" (chap. Leviticus 16.). The Holy Ghost delights to dwell upon the sweetness and fragrance of the sacrifice of Christ, not only as a whole, but also in all its minute details. Look at the burnt-offering, as a whole, and you see it without blemish. Look at it in all its parts, and you see it to be the same. Such was Christ; and as such He is shadowed forth in this important type. "And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire. And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts," &c. This was a high position — high communion — a high order of priestly service — a striking type of the Church having fellowship with God, in reference to the perfect accomplishment of His will in the death of Christ. As convicted sinners we gaze on the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and behold therein that which meets all our need. The Cross, in this aspect of it, gives perfect peace to the conscience. But, then, as priests, as purged worshippers, as members of the priestly family, we can look at the Cross in another light, even as the grand consummation of Christ's holy purpose to carry out, even unto death, the will of the Father. "But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord." This action rendered the sacrifice, typically, what Christ was essentially, pure, both inwardly and outwardly pure. The members of His body perfectly obeyed and carried out the counsels of His devoted heart — that heart which only beat for God, and for His glory, in the salvation of men. Well, therefore, might the priest "burn all on the altar." It was all typically pure, and all designed only as food for the altar of God.
(C. H. Mackintosh.)
Exodus 29:38-42; cf. Numbers 28:3-8, Leviticus 6:9-12). Nothing was ever allowed to interfere with this "continual burnt-offering." The great national offering of Israel," says Archdeacon Freeman, "the morning and evening lamb, was simply the ancient burnt-offering, or the Mosaic offering of private persons, lifted into a new sphere of power and activity. The directions given in the two cases are, as far as they go (cf. Numbers 28, with Leviticus 1:1-13), perfectly coincident; even to the quantity of flour, wine, and oil. Insomuch that the lofty powers wielded by the continual sacrifice might well seem at first sight unaccountable. But they are fully accounted for when we call to mind the august circumstances with which this particular offering was surrounded. These, joined to the direct command and promise of God in respect of it, render an abundant account of the transcendent powers which are ascribed to it. And though we might on some accounts rather have expected to find the ox or the ram selected, for their physical superiority and greater value, as the national and all-containing sacrifice, we easily perceive, from the standing-ground of the gospel, the superior fitness for this purpose of the feeblest, meekest, and most unresisting of creatures. At the same time, even as the Divine "strength was made perfect in the weakness" of Christ, so this outwardly simple and single sacrifice was seen, on occasion, to carry within it all that was noble and powerful in the sacrificial sphere. On each Sabbath it expanded into two lambs, offered morning and evening; at the new moons, and other feasts, it became seven lambs, two young bullocks, a ram, and a goat; on each day, during the Feast of Tabernacles, fourteen lambs, from eight to thirteen bullocks, two rams, and a goat, became, in a word, "fat burnt sacrifices, with incense of rams, bullocks, and goats." By all these was manifested forth the might that was veiled under the meekness of the lamb... It is of the utmost importance thus to have pointed out the function and capacities of the ancient burnt-offering, because the sacrificial work of Christ is to so great a degree interpreted to us by it, and specially by that loftily empowered instance of it, the Mosaic continual sacrifice. To this is to be referred whatever is said in the New Testament, and in the Liturgies, of His giving Himself, as a most unspeakably acceptable gift to God; as discriminated either from His "giving" or delivering Himself over for suffering and death, to wicked men and powers of evil, which is more especially set forth by the sin-offering; or again, as distinguished from His giving Himself to man as the life of his soul, which was represented by the "peace-offering." The continual burnt-offering represents also our Lord's perpetual presentation of His sacrifice in heaven, that sacrifice which St. calls "a faithful sacrifice, one which remains and does not pass away."
(E. F. Willis, M. A.)
wholly consumed upon the altar. "What have we here but a type of the preciousness of Jesus, as exhibited in His wholehearted devotedness, His entire consecration to the will and service of His Father? Is not His language in the fortieth Psalm, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God. Yea, Thy law is within My heart" — precisely the language of the "Burnt-Offering"? Again, in John, "I seek not My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." Who but Jesus could say, "I do always those things that please Him"? Isolated acts of devotedness we may and do see exhibited by many of His followers. But in the Man Christ Jesus we see one who through life, and in death could say, "My meat and My drink is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" — One who loved and served "the Lord His God with all His heart, His soul, His strength" — One, therefore, who met in every respect the requirements of the type before us. Before the victim for the burnt-offering was placed upon the altar, it was flayed and cut into pieces, and the parts thereof, "the head and feet," laid "in order upon the wood." This was a testing process, and served to try the animal's fitness for the sacrifice. Jesus was tried. Tried by man. Tried by Satan. Tried by God. His thoughts, the feelings of His heart, His words, His every act — all were laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom He had to do. Yet all bore the test. The minutest examination of His inner as well as His outer life failed to disclose aught but consisted with the purest and most perfect devotion to His Father's will. He Himself could say, "Thou hast proved Mine heart, Thou hast visited Me in the night, Thou hast tried Me and shalt find nothing." Whilst His Father from the excellent glory declared, "Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." In other words, "I rest in Thee and am satisfied. My holiness rests in Thee and is satisfied. My justice, My truth, all the essential attributes which I possess as Jehovah, all are satisfied." All My most righteous claims are met to the full. Thou art unto Me a perfect burnt-offering. "A sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour." But not only was the burnt-offering one of a "sweet-smelling savour" to God, it was rich also in results towards the offerer. It stood in his stead. All its perfectness was regarded as if it had been his. In its acceptance he was accepted. So with Christ's sacrifice (see Ephesians 5:2; Romans 5:19).
(F. H. White.)
(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)
(B. W. Newton.)
(B. W. Newton.)
(B. W. Newton.)
i.e., from east to west, north to south; His death is presented to the view of all, to be behoved "by men as, soon as they see it." Look unto Me and be ye saved, all ends of the earth.
(A. A. Bonar.)
Sharpened Arrows.The Persian metal-workers will use little or no alloy with their gold, professing to despise, as base and beneath the name of gold, the metal alloyed with silver or copper employed by European and American jewellers, even though it be eighteen carats fine. Christ deserves the best of our best.
He shall put his hand upon the head
I. It meant four things, and the first was CONFESSION.
1. He that laid his hand upon the head of the offering made confession of sin. Your touch of Jesus must be the touch of one who is consciously guilty. He belongs not to you unless you are a sinner. Confession of gin is no hard duty to some of us, for we can do no other than acknowledge and bemoan our guilt f Here we stand before Thee self-condemned, and with aching hearts we each one cry, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness." Do any of you refuse to make confession of guilt? Then do not think it hard if, since according to your own proud notions you are not sinners, the Lord should provide for you no Saviour I Should medicine be prepared for those who are not sick? Wherefore should the righteous be invited to partake of pardon? Why should a righteousness be provided for the innocent? Our true place is that of sinners: we plead guilty to the dread indictment of God's holy law, and therefore we are glad to lay our hand upon the head of the sinner's Saviour and sacrifice.
2. In this act there was also a confession of self-impotence. ,Oh, what can we do without Christ? I like what was said by a child in the Sunday School, when the teacher said, "You have been reading that Christ is precious: what does that mean?" The children stayed a little while, till at last one boy replied, "Father said the other day that mother was precious, for ' whatever should we do without her? '" This is a capital explanation of the word "precious." You and I can truly say of the Lord Jesus Christ that He is precious to us, for what should we do, what could we do without Him? Because we are so deeply conscious of our own self-impotence we lean hard upon His all-sufficiency. If you could read the text in the Hebrew you would find it runs thus: "He shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make a cover for him" — to make atonement for him. The word is copher in the Hebrew — a cover. Why, then, do we hide behind the Lord Jesus? Because we feel our need of something to cover us, and to act as an interposition between us and the righteous Judge of all the earth. If the Holy One of Israel shall look upon us as we are He must be displeased; bat when He sees us in Christ Jesus He is well pleased for His righteousness' sake.
3. There was a further confession of the desert of punishment. When a man brought his bullock, or his goat, or his lamb, he put his hand on ii, and as l e knew that the poor creature must die he thus acknowledged that he himself deserved death.
II. Secondly, the laying on of hands meant ACCEPTANCE. The offerer by laying his hand upon the victim's head signified that he acknowledged the offering to be for himself.
1. He accepted, first of all, the principle and the plan. Far too many kick against the idea of our being saved by substitution or representation. Why do they rebel against it? Why should I complain of that which is to deliver me from destruction? If the Lord does not object to the way, why should I? God grant that no one may hold out against a method of grace so simple, so sure, so available! But, then, mind.
2. After you have accepted the plan and the way, you must not stop there, but you must go on to accept the sacred person whom God provides. It would have been a very foolish thing if the offerer had stood at the altar and said, "Good Lord, I accept the plan of sacrifice; be it burnt-offering or sin-offering, I agree thereto." He did much more than that; he accepted that very bullock as his offering, and in token thereof placed his hand upon it. I pray you beware of resting satisfied with understanding and approving the plan of salvation. I heard of one who anxiously desired to be the means of the conversion of a young man, and one said to him, "You may go to him, and talk to him, but you will get him no further, for he is exceedingly well acquainted with the plan of salvation." When the friend began to speak with the young man, he received for an answer, "I am much obliged to you, but I do not know that you can tell me much, for I have long known and admired the plan of salvation by the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ." Alas! he was resting in the plan, but he bad not believed in the Person. The plan of salvation is most blessed, but it can avail us nothing unless we believe. What is the comfort of a plan of a house if you do not enter the house itself? What is the good of a plan of clothing if you have not a rag to cover you? The offerer laid his hands literally upon the bullock: he found something substantial there, something which he could handle and touch; even so do we lean upon the real and true work of Jesus, the most substantial thing under heaven. We come to the Lord Jesus by faith, and say, "God has provided an atonement here, and I accept it; I believe it to be a fact accomplished on the Cross that sin was put away by Christ, and I rest on Him." Yes; you must get beyond the acceptance of plans and doctrines to a resting in the Divine person and finished work of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and a casting of yourself entirely upon Him.
III. But thirdly, this laying of the hand upon the sacrifice meant not only acceptance, but also TRANSFERENCE.
1. The offerer had confessed his sin, and had accepted the victim then presented to be his sacrifice, and now he mentally realises that his guilt is by Divine appointment to pass over from himself to the sacrifice. Of course this was only done in type and figure at the door of the Tabernacle; but in our case the Lord Jesus Christ as a matter of literal fact has borne the sin of His people. "The Lord hath made to meet on Him the iniquity of us all." "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree." "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." But do we by faith pass our sins-from ourselves to Christ? I answer, No: in some senses, no. But by faith he that accepts Christ as his Saviour agrees with what the Lord did ages ago, for we read in the book of Isaiah the prophet, "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
2. The laying of the hand upon the head of the sacrifice meant a transference of guilt to the victim, and, furthermore, a confidence in the efficacy of the sacrifice there and then presented. The believing Jew said, "This bullock represents to me the sacrifice which God has provided, and I rejoice in it because it is the symbol of a sacrifice which does in very deed take away sin." There are a great number of people who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ after a fashion, but it is not in deed and in truth, for they do not believe in the actual pardon of their own sin: they hope that it may one day be forgiven, but they have no confidence that the Lord Jesus has already put away their sin by His death. "I am a great sinner," says one, "therefore I cannot be saved." Man alive, did Christ die for those who are not sinners? What was the need of a Saviour except for sinners? Has Jesus actually borne sin, or has He not? If He has borne our sin, it is gone; if He has not borne it, our sin will never depart. What does the Scripture say? "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." If, then, Christ did take the sinner's sin, it remains not upon the sinner that believeth.
IV. Once more, this laying of the hand upon the head of the victim meant IDENTIFICATION. The worshipper who laid his hand on the bullock said, "Be pleased, O great Lord, to identify me with this bullock, and this bullock with me. There has been a transferring of my sin, now I beseech Thee let me be judged as being in the victim, and represented thereby." Now consider that which happened to the sacrifice. The knife was unsheathed, and the victim was slain. He was not merely bound, bat killed; and the man stood there and said, "That is me; that is the fate which I deserve." The poor creature struggled, it wallowed in the sand in its dying agonies, and if the worshipper was a right-minded person, and not a mere formalist, he stood with tears in his eyes, and felt in his heart, "That death is mine." I beseech you when you think of our blessed Lord to identify yourselves with Him.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
John Bunyan says that one Sunday when he was playing the game of tip-cat on Elstow Green, as he was about to strike the cat with the stick, he seemed to hear a voice saying to him, "Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven, or wilt thou keep thy sins and go to hell?" This morning the voice from heaven sounds forth this question, "Will you trust in Christ and go to heaven, or will you keep apart from Him and go to hell? for thither you must go unless Jesus becomes your Mediator and your atoning sacrifice. Will you have Christ or no? I hear you say, "But — O that I could thrust your buts" aside. Will you have Christ or not? "Oh, but" — Nay, your "buts" ought to be thrown into limbo; I fear they will be your ruin. Will you trust Christ or not? If your answer is, "I trust Him with all my heart," then you are a saved man. I say not you shall be saved; but you are saved. "He that believeth in Him hath everlasting life."
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(H. C. Trumbull.)
for Jesus' sake take this load off me." In a moment it was gone; and I thank God that then, twenty-five years ago, Jesus became my personal Friend, and He has been my Friend ever since.
(D. L. Moody.)
(Alex. Macleod, D. D.)
(C. D. Ginsburg, LL. D.)
American Sunday School Times.In dealing with this lesson the teacher may group his illustrations around the substitute, the accepted offering, and the completed sacrifice. During a recent European war a young man was drawn by conscription for the army. He was very unwilling to join, but the law of his country decreed that he must go unless he could find some one to take his place. At last a friend came forward, went to the front in his stead, and was shot down in his first battle. That was substitution; the volunteer died for his friend. In a fog on one of the American coasts the fishermen heard the steam-whistle of an ocean steamer that was coming direct for the rocks. Out some of them went in a fishing-boat, sailed in before the steamer, shouted words of warning to the captain, saved the ship, and were run down and drowned. They gave their lives for the lives of the passengers on the steamship. That is the law of life — life out of death. The life and liberty of a nation are bought in fields of blood and sacrifice. The death of a mother becomes the occasion of the salvation of a hitherto thoughtless son. Even the continued life of individuals is bought by the slaughter of countless cattle. In picturing out the ceremonies described in the lesson, emphasise the substitutionary offering of a perfect victim. Only, in applying the type to Christ, remember that the meaning of His death for us is greater and fuller than that of any type or illustration. If you tender a clipped coin in payment of what you buy, it will be refused; it is not full value. If a man offer to become bail for an accused person, and it is shown that his property cannot cover the amount of bail, his offer is refused. If a college professor were about to take a week's vacation, it is not likely that the offer of an illiterate man to fill his place till he returned, would be accepted. So the sacrifice that redeems a human soul must be perfect and without blemish. The typical perfect burnt-offering pointed to the accepted offering of the perfect antitype Christ. Picture out the scene at the burning of the offering — the sprinkled blood, the parted body, the smoke rising from the burning fat. The wounded man does not realise how dangerous a thing that slight wound in the arm is, till he sees the surgeons standing around, and notes the preparations made for cutting the limb off. So the sinner must have realised what a terrible thing sin was, when he saw the bloody sacrifice and the burning fire. Should our hatred and fear of sin be any less when we look upon the completed sacrifice at Calvary?
(American Sunday School Times.)
To make atonement for himGenesis 6:14) in this purely physical sense. But commonly, as here, it means "to cover" in a spiritual sense, that is, to cover the sinful person from the sight of the Holy God, who is "of purer eyes than to behold evil." Hence, it is commonly rendered "to atone," or "to make atonement"; also, "to reconcile," or "to make reconciliation." The thought is this: that between the sinner and the Holy One comes now the guiltless victim; so that the eye of God looks not upon the sinner, but on the offered substitute; and in that the blood of the substituted victim is offered before God for the sinner, atonement is made for sin, and the Most Holy One is satisfied. And when the believing Israelite should lay his hand with confession of sin upon the appointed victim, it was graciously promised: "It shall be accepted for him," &c. And just so now, whenever any guilty sinner, fearing the deserved wrath of God because of his sin, especially because of his lack of that full consecration which the burnt-sacrifice set forth, lays his hand in faith upon the great Burnt-offering of Calvary, the blessing is the same. For in the light of the Cross, this Old Testament word becomes a sweet New Testament promise: "When thou shalt rest with the hand of faith upon this Lamb of God, He shall be accepted for thee, to make atonement for thee." This is most beautifully expressed in an ancient "Order for the Visitation of the Sick," attributed to , in which it is written: "The minister shall say to the sick man, Dost thou believe that thou canst not be saved but by the death of Christ? The sick man answereth, Yes. Then let it be said unto him, Go to, then, and whilst thy soul abideth in thee, put all thy confidence in this death alone; place thy trust in no other thing; commit thyself wholly to this death; cover thyself alway with this alone And if God would judge thee, say, Lord, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and Thy judgment; otherwise I will not contend or enter into judgment with Thee. And if He shall say unto thee that thou art a sinner, say, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and my sins. If He shall say unto thee, that thou hast deserved damnation, say, Lord, I put the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between Thee and all my sins; and I offer His merits for my own, which I should have, and have not." And whosoever of us can thus speak, to him the promise speaks from out the shadows of the tent of meeting: "This Christ, the Lamb of God, the true Burnt-offering, shall be accepted for thee, to make atonement for thee."
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
S. S. Chronicle.Some Africans are terribly bloodthirsty and cruel. A chief, one day, ordered a slave to be killed for a very small offence. An Englishman who overheard the order at once went to the chief and offered him many costly things if he would spare the poor man's life. But the chief turned to him and said: "I don't want ivory, or slaves, or gold; I can go to yonder tribe and capture their stores and villages. I want no favours from the white man. All I want is blood." Then he ordered one of his men to pull the bowstring and discharge an arrow at the heart of the poor slave. The Englishman instinctively threw himself in front and held up his arm, and the next moment the arrow was quivering in the white man's flesh. The black men were astonished. Then, as the Englishman pulled the arrow from his arm, he said to the chief: "Here is blood; I give my blood for this poor slave, and I claim his life." The chief had never seen such love before, and he was completely overcome by it. He gave the slave to the white man, saying: "Yes, white man, you have bought him with your blood, and he shall be yours." In a moment the poor slave threw himself at the feet of his deliverer, and with tears flowing down his face, exclaimed: "Oh, white man, you have bought me with your blood; I will be your slave for ever." The Englishman could never make him take his freedom. Wherever he went the rescued man was beside him, and no drudgery was too hard, no task too hopeless for the grateful slave to do for his deliverer. If the heart of a poor heathen can thus be won by the wound on a stranger's arm shall not we, who are "redeemed by the precious blood of Christ," give our whole lives also to His service?
(S. S. Chronicle.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Martin Luther went one day to see a lad who lay dying. Among the questions asked him was this: "What will you take with you to God?" "Everything that is good," was the reply. "How can you, a poor sinner, take anything to God?" asked the great man. "I will take to God in heaven an humble and a contrite heart, sprinkled with the blood of Christ," was the reply of the dying boy. "Go then, dear son, you will be a welcome guest with God," responded Luther.
He shall kill the bullockI. Concerning the killing and slaying of the offering, our first point is that it was ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.
1. The pouring out of the blood of the victim was of the very essence of the type. The death of Christ by blood-shedding was absolutely necessary to make Him an acceptable sacrifice for sin. "It behoved Christ to suffer." He could only enter into the presence of God with His own blood. He could not be the grain of wheat which bringeth forth much fruit unless He should die. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Observe, not the life, not the incarnation, not the resurrection, not the second coming of the Lord Jesus, but His blood, His death, the giving up of His life, is that which cleanseth us from all sin. This is that purging with hyssop whereof David speaks when he laments his sin, and yet looks to be made whiter than snow by the free pardon of his God. This truth is the subject of all true gospel preaching. Do you not know how Paul puts it — "The preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God"; "for," he says, "the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified." It is not Christ in any other position, but Christ as crucified, Christ as made a curse for us up n the tree, that is the first and most prominent fact that we are called to preach among the sons of men.
2. Here let us further consider that death is the result and penalty of sin — "The soul that sinneth it shall die." "Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." "The wages of sin is death." It was meet that the Substitute should bear a similar chastisement to that which should have fullen upon the sinner.
3. This death of Christ was absolutely necessary also for the clearing of the troubled conscience. An awakened conscience will never be quieted with anything less than the blood of the Lamb: it rests at the sight of the great Sacrifice, but nowhere else.
II. Secondly, we will with great delight meditate upon the fact that the death of Christ is EFFECTUALLY PREVALENT. Other offerings, though duly slain, did nothing thoroughly, did nothing lastingly, did nothing really, by way of expiation; for the Scripture saith, "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" the true purification is alone found in the death of the Son of God. Why was there such cleansing power in the Redeemer's blood? I answer, for several reasons.
1. First, because of the glory of His person. Only think who He was I He was none other than the "Light of light, very God of very God."
2. Next, consider the perfection of our Lord's character. In Him was no sin, nor tendency to sin. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." In His character we see every virtue at its best; He is incomparable. If lie therefore died, "the just for the unjust," what must be the merit of such a death?
3. Think next of the nature of the death of Christ, and you will be helped to see how effectual it must be. It was not a death by disease or old age, but a death of violence, well symbolised by the killing of the victim at the altar.
4. And then think of the Spirit in which our Lord and Saviour bore all this. Martyrs who have died for the faith have only paid the debt of nature a little before its time, for they must have died sooner or later; but our Lord needed not to have died at all. lie said of His life, "No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself." O glorious Christ, there must be infinite merit in such a death as Thine, endured in such a style!
5. And then I bid you to remember once more the covenant character which Christ sustained: for when He was crucified we thus judge that one died for all, and in Him all died. tie was not slain as a private individual, but He was put to death as a representative man.
III. That the fact of the necessity for the death of the Lord Jesus is INTENSELY INSTRUCTIVE.
1. Must the victims die? must Jesus bleed? then let us see what is claimed by our righteous God. .He claims our life: He claimed of the offering its blood, which is the life thereof: He justly requires of each of us our whole life. Nor is the demand unjust. Did He not make us, and does He not preserve us? Should He not receive homage from the creatures of His hand?
2. Next, must the sacrifice die? then see the evil of sin. It is not such a trifle as certain men imagine. It is a deadly evil, a killing poison. It is a horrible and a grievous thing, and God saith to you, "Oh, do not this abominable thing which I hate." God help you to flee from all iniquity.
3. Next learn the love of God. Behold how He loved you and me I He must punish sin, but He must save us, and so He gives His Son to die in our stead. I shall not go too far if I say that in giving His Son the Lord God gave Himself, for Jesus is one with the Father. Next learn how Christ has made an end of sin. His one offering has perfected for ever the set-apart ones. These are but a few of the great lessons which we may learn from the necessity that the Sacrifice should be slain.
IV. And so I shall close by saying that this blessed subject is not only full of instruction, but it is ENERGETICALLY INSPIRING.
1. First, this inspires us with the spirit of consecration. When I think that I could not be saved except by the death of Jesus, then I feel that I am not my own, but bought with a price.
2. Next, this truth should create in us a longing after the greatest holiness, for we should say, "Did sin kill my Saviour? Then I will kill sin!"
3. Does not this inspire you with great love for the Lord Jesus? Can you look at His dear wounds, and not be wounded with love for Him? Are not His wounds as mouths which plead with you to yield Him all your hearts?
4. Lastly, do you not think that this solemn truth should inspire us with great zeal for the salvation of others?
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
The priest shall burn all on the altar.Leviticus 9:24), the fire which consumed it came forth from before Jehovah, lighted by no human hand, and was thus a visible representation of God accepting and appropriating the offering to Himself. The symbolism of the burning thus understood, we can now perceive what must have been the special meaning of this sacrifice. As regarded by the believing Israelite of those days, not yet discerning clearly the deeper truth it shadowed forth as to the great Burnt Sacrifice of the future, it must have symbolically taught him that complete consecration unto God is essential to right worship. There were sacrifices having a different special import, in which, while a part was burnt, the offerer might even himself join in eating the remaining part, taking that for his own use. But in the burnt-offering nothing was for himself: all was for God; and in the fire of the altar God took the whole in such a way that the offering for ever passed beyond the offerer's recall. In so far as the offerer entered into this conception, and his inward experience corresponded to this out, ward rite, it was for him an act of worship. But to the thoughtful worshipper, one would think, it must sometimes have occurred that, after all, it was not himself or his gift that thus ascended in full consecration to God, but a victim appointed by God to represent him in death on the altar. And thus it was that, whether understood or not, the offering in its very nature pointed to a Victim of the future, in whoso person and work, as the one only fully consecrated Man, the burnt-offering should receive its full explication. And this brings us to the question, What aspect of the person and work of our Lord was herein specially typified? It cannot be the resultant fellowship with God, as in the peace-offering; for the sacrificial feast which set this forth was in this case wanting. Neither can it be expiation for sin; for although this is expressly represented here, yet it is not the chief thing. The principal thing in the burnt-offering was the burning, the complete consumption of the victim in the sacrificial fire. Hence what is represented chiefly here, is not so much Christ representing His people in atoning death as Christ representing His people in perfect consecration and entire self-surrender unto God; in a word, in perfect obedience. How much is made of this aspect of our Lord's work in the Gospels! The first words we hear from His lips are to this effect (Luke 2:49); and after His official work began in the first cleansing of the Temple, this manifestation of His character was such as to remind His disciples that it was written, "The zeal of Thy house shall eat me up" — phraseology which brings the burnt-offering at once to mind. And His constant testimony concerning Himself, to which His whole life bare witness, was in such words as these: "I came down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me ...." And so the burnt-offering teaches us to remember that Christ has not only died for our sins, but also consecrated Himself for us to God in full self-surrender in our behalf. We are therefore to plead not only His atoning death, but also the transcendent merit of His life of full consecration to the Father's will. To this the words three times repeated concerning the burnt-offering (vers. 9, 13, 17) blessedly apply: it is "an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord." That is, this full self-surrender of the holy Son of God unto the Father is exceedingly delightful and acceptable unto God. And for this reason it is for us an ever-prevailing argument for our own acceptance, and for the gracious bestowment for Christ's sake of all that there is in Him for us. Only let us ever remember that we cannot argue, as in the case of the atoning death, that as Christ died that we might not die, so He offered Himself in full consecration unto God, that we might thus be released from this obligation. Here the exact opposite is the truth; for Christ Himself said in His memorable prayer, just before His offering of Himself to death, "For their sakes I sanctify (consecrate) Myself, that they also might be sanctified in truth." And thus is brought before us the thought, that if the sin-offering emphasised the substitutionary death of Christ, whereby He became our righteousness, the burnt-offering as distinctively brings before us Christ as our sanctification, offering Himself without spot, a whole burnt-offering to God. And as by that one life of sinless obedience to the will of the Father He procured our salvation by His merit, so in this respect He has also become our one perfect example of what consecration to God really is.
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
(G. S. Reaney.)
— A personal friend asked Wendell Phillips not long before his death, "Mr. Phillips, did you ever consecrate yourself to God?" "Yes," he answered, "when I was a boy, fourteen years of age, in the old church at the north end, I heard Lyman Beecher preach on the theme, 'You belong to God,' and I went home after that service, threw myself on the floor in my room, with locked doors, and prayed, 'O God, I belong to Thee; take what is Thine own. I ask this, that whenever a thing be wrong it may have no power of temptation over me; whenever a thing to be right it may take no courage to do it.' From that day to this it has been so. Whenever I have known a thing to be wrong it has held no temptation. Whenever I have known a thing to be right it has taken no courage to do it."
Jonathan Edwards, who had caught a glimpse of their contents, and estimated their worth, he was induced to spare them, and even permit them to be published, though they had not been written with such an intention, but in the weary solitudes had been like a friend, to whom he could pour out the secrets of his heart. William Carey, the pioneer of modern missions, read these journals of Brainerd as he sat on the shoemaker's bench, and said to himself, "If God can do such things among the Indians of America, why not among the pagans of India?" He was thus led to offer himself for missionary work just one hundred years ago. Henry Martyn read the book, and received an impulse which sent him to live and die for Christ in Persia. John Wesley, in answering the question, "What can be done to revive the work of God where it is decayed?" said, "Let every preacher read carefully over the life of David Brainerd." McCheyne records, in his journal, that after reading it, he was "more set on missionary enterprise than ever."
(W. Y. Fullerton, "Sword and Trowel.")
1. A full surrender of the will to God.
2. The removal of a burden of sin gradually or suddenly.
3. A new love to Christians and to Jesus.
4. Anew relish for the Word of God.
5. Pleasure in secret prayer, at least at times.
6. Sin or sinful thoughts will cause pain.
7. Desire and efforts for the salvation of others.
8. A desire to obey Christ in His commands and ordinances.
9. Deep humility and self-abasement.
10. A growing desire to be holy and like Christ.
Bring his offering of turtledoves.I. We observe, in the first place, THAT WORSHIP AND DEDICATION TO GOD ARE THE GENERAL IDEAS CONNECTED WITH SACRIFICES IN THE SACRED SCRIPTURES, and this is most important to a right understanding of them. His own Divine love induced the Saviour to glorify His humanity through sufferings, that He might be a Saviour for ever to bring His children to Himself; and thus He suffered, as the apostle says, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. He suffered to satisfy His love, not as a punishment to appease the anger of another Divine person. In the sacrifice before us, "it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord. A symbol this of the offering of interior worship from love, the fire of the soul, on the altar of the heart.
II. But secondly, THE OBJECTS OFFERED UP WERE CORRESPONDENCES OF GOOD PRINCIPLES OR POWERS IN THE MIND. The animals used in the sacrifices were lambs, sheep, oxen, goats, turtledoves, and pigeons, and a consideration of the typical character of each will assist us to confirm the truth of our first proposition. The lamb is used in Scripture as the symbol of innocence, and is so expressive of this grace that it is almost a household word for those who are in possession of it. "I send you forth," said our Lord, "as lambs in the midst of wolves." Sheep are the types of the gentle principles of charity, or sympathising brotherly love. The sheep described by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 25. were those who had fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick and the prisoners, and succoured the strangers. Oxen are the types of the dispositions to duty and obedience. It was the animal chiefly devoted to the plough, and ploughing, in the spiritual sense, means the preparation of the soul to receive the knowledge of heavenly things. The goat, whose delight is in leaping from rock to rock, is the symbol of the disposition to regard the truths of faith with great pleasure, which sometimes degenerates into a love of faith only, and then is strongly condemned by the Lord (Ezekiel 34.; Matthew 25.). Birds, from their soaring power, are the symbols of thoughts. Turtledoves and pigeons are correspondences of those tender thoughts and yearnings after the heavenly life which the soul has in the early part of its regeneration. The cooing of the turtledove was first heard in the groves of Palestine, on the return of spring. Its sweet sound was the sign of the approach of a brighter and warmer season. When the soul, therefore, is coming to a more genial condition, the sweet thoughts of hope and trust that encourage its advance towards the heavenly state and kingdom are like the .soft notes of a God-sent turtledove. All these types, then, of good affections and thoughts, as well as the mode of offering up by fire, abundantly confirm the view we have drawn from the Holy Word, that the sacrifices were representative of good things and principles dedicated to the Lord in worship, not of punishment for human sin. May I not ask you if you have no spiritual sacrifice to make? Have not the turtledove, or the young pigeon of heavenward thought, begun to make themselves heard within you? Have you no yearnings after a better land? Have you not felt the aspirations after a fuller conformity to the Lord, after greater purity of heart, and greater usefulness on earth? If you have, follow their leadings, and offer them up to the Lord in love. Let the fire glow on the altar of your heart. Acknowledge that these first yearnings for good are from Him. He will not despise the gift, but bless it, as an offering made by fire, a sweet savour unto the Lord.
III. We observe that so far from the idea of sacrifices being regarded as symbolical of punishment by the Divine Being, the truth is, THAT OUTWARD SACRIFICES NEVER WERE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DIVINE COMMAND AT ALL, BUT WERE MERE PERMISSIONS TO SERVE AS TYPES DURING HUMAN DARKNESS AND DEGENERACY. A common idea has been entertained that outward sacrifices are frequently commanded by God, and He originated the Divine arrangement with the Israelites; but this is altogether an error. Sacrifices were prevalent among the nations of the East before God spoke from Sinai at all. Pharaoh told the Hebrews they could sacrifice in his land, before a single law respecting sacrifice was given them (Exodus 8:25). In the Book of Leviticus, where the laws respecting sacrifices are all expressly given, they do not command sacrifices, they only regulate them. The language is, "If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord," as in Leviticus 1:2; "If his offering be of the flocks" (ver. 10); "If the burnt sacrifice for the offering of the Lord be of fowls" (ver. 14); and so on through the book, evidently implying no command, but regulation. The Israelitish people, like all their neighbours, had sunk from worshipping God in the heart and mind, with those affections and thoughts to which animals are the figures and correspondences, and were only too ready to offer up animals instead of offering up themselves. God only regulated this disposition to be a shadow of a better worship to come. The graces of the heart are what God requires, not the slaughter of animals (see Jeremiah 7:22, 23; 1 Samuel 15:22; Micah 6:7, 8). Let us never suppose, then, that any sacrifice will be acceptable to Him, instead of that devotion of all the principles of the soul to do His holy will, which is the inward meaning of all the sacrifices.
IV. Lastly, To ENABLE US TO DO THIS, AND THUS TO RETURN TO THE ORDER OF HEAVEN, AND TO OFFER SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES AGAIN, THE LORD HIMSELF TOOK HUMAN NATURE UPON HIMSELF, AND PURIFIED, PERFECTED, AND GLORIFIED THIS, SO THAT ALL THE SACRIFICES HAVE THEIR HIGHEST FULFILMENT IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST AND THE SUPREME SACRIFICE. Now we have seen that in relation to man the sacrifices represent the dedication of the several principles of his nature to the Divine will, by the destruction of selfishness in him, and his consequent regeneration. In our blessed Lord this sanctification of His humanity was far higher; it was the making of it Divine, and thus the supreme sacrifice. He had the same principles in His humanity which we have in ours, thus He had the innocence represented by the lamb, the charity of which the sheep is the symbol, the obedience typified by the ox, the desire for faith of which the goat is the emblem, the thought and yearnings for the salvation of the human race represented by the turtledoves and young pigeons. As His humanity was from Jehovah interiorly, being the Son of God, but clothed with infirm coverings from His mother, He needed to sanctify and perfect it by a process precisely similar to that by means of which His children are prepared for heaven.
(J. Bayley, Ph. D.)
(H. C. Trumbull.).