If a soul shall sin through ignorance.I. THERE ARE, THEN, SOME LINGERING DEFILEMENTS AND TRESPASSES ADHERING TO MAN, EVEN THOUGH HE BE JUSTIFIED, CONSECRATED, AND IN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD. A man may run from a gathering storm, and be terribly shocked at the idea of being caught in it, and exert all his wisdom and his power to escape it, and yet may be made to feel its force; and though a good man's whole being is averse to sin, and he can have no more fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, it can argue nothing against a remaining weakness subjecting him every day to lacks and failings which would undo him but for the pleadings of his Saviour's blood. Though his face and heart are fully turned away from sin, it proves nothing against his liability to be "overtaken by a fault."
II. AND THESE LINGERING IMPERFECTIONS AND DEFECTS ARE REAL SINS. Men do not scruple to plead their ignorance, their infirmities, their natural and habitual propensities, in excuse for their misdeeds. But the law of God acknowledges no such plea. Sin is sin; and guilt is a part of its essential nature wherever found. True, in their effects upon the perpetrator, or in their influences upon society, some are worse than others; but in their relations to God and His holy law, they are always the same, always evil, abhorrent, and damning. Men may talk of "little sins," but God never does. Let them he never so little, they are big enough to sink the soul to everlasting death if uncancelled by the Saviour's blood. All this is very forcibly portrayed in the rites of the sin and trespass-offerings now under consideration. As to sins of ignorance, if the guilty party were a priest, he was to offer "a young bullock"; if a judge or magistrate, he was to offer "a kid of the goats," of the male kind; if one of "the common people," he was to offer "a kid of the goats," of the female kind, or a lamb. And so in the case of trespass, the guilty one was to offer "a lamb or kid"; or, if poor, two doves or young pigeons; or, if poor, and unable to procure the doves or pigeons, an offering of fine flour might be substituted as the representative of the animal or bird which could not be procured, but was to be looked upon, not as a meat-offering, hut as a "sin-offering," the same as if it were a living animal. These offerings were then to he slain and burned, and their blood presented as the only adequate expiation. And from the nature of the expiation we are to learn God's estimate of the offence. Though committed in ignorance, or no more than a trespass, or an accidental contamination, it required blood and sacrifice to cover it.
III. THERE IS ALSO A NOTICEABLE GRADATION IN THESE SINS OF IGNORANCE. Though they are all sins, so that blood only can atone for them, they are yet more serious and offensive in some persons than in others. When a priest or ruler sinned in this way, a more valuable sacrifice was required than when one of the common people thus sinned. The more prominent and exalted the person offending, the more flagrant was the offence. There is a very serious augmentation of responsibility going along with high station. A public man is like a town clock, upon which much more depends than upon private time-pieces. Hence the necessity for greater care and attention with reference to the one than to the other.
IV. But whilst we are treating of these defects and failings which are to be found in Christian life, let us not overlook the principal point of the text, THAT THERE IS ADEQUATE REMEDY FOR THEM. What! are we to be told that Christ's infinite atonement is that shallow thing, that the first draw of the sinner upon it quite exhausts its virtue, and leaves all subsequent sins to be disposed of by the confessional, and the fires of purgatory? Are we to be told that Christ "ever liveth to make intercession," and for this reason "is able to save unto the uttermost," and yet that there is not virtue enough in His mediation to cover a few sins of ignorance and infirmity in Christian life? Are we to behold the priest of a typical economy, with the mere blood of beasts upon his fingers, obtaining a full remission for the Jew, and yet believe that our great High Priest in heaven, bearing the scars of deadly wounds endured for us, is unable to secure mercy for those struggling saints of God, who, in hours of surprise or weakness, become entangled again in guilt of which they heartily repented the moment it was done? Give us this, and we want no pontifical absolutions, no penal inflictions, no purgatorial fires, to make us acceptable to God. From this general subject we are now led to reflect —
1. First, what a holy thing is God's law! It finds guilt, not only in the sins which are deliberate, but even in the mistakes of ignorance, the contaminations of accident, and the shortcomings of the holiest saints.
2. Second, what reason have we to cultivate the modest virtues of Christian life — to be moderate in our pretensions, humble in our spirit, charitable in our censures, forgiving under injuries, lenient towards offenders, pungent in our self-examinations, hearty in our repentance, watchful in our walk, constant in our prayers, and deeply anxious to be firmly rooted in the true faith l I care not how good we may be, we are still great offenders, and much worse than we think we are.
3. Finally, how precious is the mercy of God in Christ Jesus!
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
I. VIEW OUR BLESSED LORD AS MADE SIN FOR US.
1. His personal character is set forth in the victim chosen. It was a bullock, the most valuable of the sacrifices, an animal laborious in life and costly in death; it was a young bullock in the fulness of its strength and vigour; it was without blemish; and the slightest fault disqualified it from being laid upon the altar of God. Behold, O believer, your Lord Jesus, more precious far than ten thousands of the fat of fed beasts: a sacrifice not to be purchased with gold, or estimated in silver. Full of vigour, in the very prime of manhood, He offered up Himself for us. Even when He died, He died not through weakness; for that cry of His at His death, "with a loud voice," proved that His life was still firm within Him, and that when He gave up the ghost, His death was not one of compulsion, but a voluntary expiring of the soul. His glory is as the firstling of the bullock, full of vigour and of strength. How distinctly was our Lord proved to be without blemish! Naturally born without sin, practically He lived without fault.
2. The act of the transference of sin to the victim next calls for our attention. This laying of the hand does not appear to have been a mere touch of contact, but in some other places of Scripture has the meaning of leaning heavily, as in the expression, "Thy wrath lieth hard upon me" (Psalm 88:7). Surely this is the very essence of faith, which doth not only bring us into contact with the great Substitute, but teaches us to lean upon Him with all the burden of our guilt; so that if our sins be very weighty, yet we see Him as able to bear them all; and mark, the whole weight of our iniquity taken off from us, and laid on Him who took the weight and bore it all, and then buried it in His sepulchre for ever.
3. We must now beg your notice of the sins transferred. In the case of the type, they were sins of ignorance. Alas! the Jew knew nothing about a sin-offering for sins of presumption, but there is such a sin-offering for us. Our presumptuous sins were laid on Christ; our wilful sins, our sins of light and knowledge, are pardoned by His blood. The mention of sins of ignorance, suggests a very comfortable reflection, that if there are any sins which I know not, they were, notwithstanding my ignorance, laid on my Substitute and put away by His atonement. It is not sin as we see it which was laid on Christ, but sin as God sees it; not sin as our conscience feebly reveals it to us, but sin as God beholds it, in all its unmitigated malignity, and unconcealed loathsomeness. Sin in its exceeding sinfulness Jesus has put away.
4. Passing on, still keeping to the same point, we would remark that the sin was laid upon the bullock most conspicuously "before the Lord." Did you notice the frequent expressions: "shall bring him to the door of the congregation before the Lord"; "kill the bullock before the Lord"; "shall sprinkle the blood seven times before the Lord, and shall put some of it upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord"? Apart from the blood, we are guilty, condemned: washed in blood, we are accepted and beloved. Without the atonement we are aliens and strangers, heirs of wrath even as others; but, as seen in the eternal covenant purpose, through the precious blood of Jesus, we are accepted in the beloved. The great stress of the transaction lies in its being done "before the Lord."
5. Still, further, carefully observe that as soon as ever the sin was thus "before the Lord," laid upon the bullock, the bullock was slain. "He shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the Lord." So, in the fifteenth verse, "The elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the Lord, and the bullock shall be killed before the Lord." Ah! yes; as soon as the sin is transferred, the penalty is transferred too. Down fell the pole-axe the minute that the priestly hand had been laid on the bullock. Unsheathed was the knife of sacrifice the moment that the elders had begun to lean upon the sacrificial head. So was it with our Saviour; He must smart, He must die, for only as dying could He become our Sin-offering.
II. THE EFFICACY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS.
1. As soon as the bullock was slain, blood of the sin-offering was sprinkled. This was to show that our communion with God is by blood.
2. The next act of the priest was to retire a little from the veil to the place where stood the golden altar of incense, adorned with four horns of gold probably of a pyramidal shape, or fashioned like rams' horns, and the priest, dipping his finger in the basin, smeared this horn and the other, until the four horns glowed with crimson in the light of the golden candlestick. The horn is always, in the Oriental usage, indicative of strength. What was the blood put upon the altar for, then? That incense altar was typical of prayer, and especially .of the intercession of Christ; and the blood on the horn showed that the force and power of all-prevailing intercession lies in the blood. Why was this the second thing done? It seems to me that the second thing which a Christian loses is his prevalence in prayer. Whereas first he loses communion with God when he backslides, the next thing he loses is his power in supplication. He begins to be feeble upon his knees; he cannot win of the Lord that which he desireth. How is he to get back his strength? Here the great Anointed Priest teaches us to look to the blood for renewed power, for see, he applies the blood to the horns of the altar, and the sweet perfume of frankincense ascends to heaven, and God accepts it.
3. This being finished, the priest goes backwards still farther and enters the court of the Israelites. There stood the great altar of brass, whereon was consumed the burnt-offerings; and now the priest, having the basin full of the blood of which only a small quantity had been used in sprinkling the veil and touching the horns of the golden altar, pours the whole of the remaining blood in a great stream at the foot of the altar of burnt-offering. What does that typify? Did he not thus teach us that the only ground and basis (for mark, it is put at the foot of the altar), of the acceptance of our persons and of our thank-offerings is found in the blood of Jesus? Thus I have tried to set forth the threefold prevalence of the precious blood, but let it not be forgotten that the blood also put away sin; for you find at the end of the chapter, "His sin shall be forgiven." First forgiven, then accepted, then prevalent in prayer, and then admitted into access with boldness to God; what a change of blessings! All, all through the blood of Jesus!
III. Thirdly, the most painful part of our sermon remains, while I beg you to view THE SHAME WHICH OUR LORD ENDURED. While it is all so well for us I want you now to reflect how bitter, how shameful it was for our Lord! The offerer who brought the sin-offering has been forgiven: he has been accepted at the brazen altar; his prayers have been heard at the golden altar; and the veil has been sprinkled on his behalf: but what of the victim itself? Draw nigh and learn with holy wonder.
1. In the first place, albeit that our Lord Jesus Christ was made sin for us, it is noteworthy that, though nearly all the bullock was burned without the camp, there was one portion left and reserved to be burnt upon the altar of burnt-offering — that was the fat. Certain descriptions are given as to the fat which was to be consumed upon the altar, by which we believe it was intended to ensure that the richest part of the fat should be there consumed. As much as if God would say, "Though My dear Son must be made sin for this people, and consequently I must forsake Him, and He must die without the camp, yet still He is most dear and precious in My sight, and even while He is a sin-offering, yet He is My beloved Son, with whom in Himself I am still well pleased." Whenever we speak about our Lord as bearing our sins, we must carefully speak concerning Him — not as though God ever did despise or abhor the prayer of His afflicted Son, but only seemed to do so while He stood for us, representatively made sin for us, though He knew no sin. Oh! I delight to think that the Lord smelled a sweet savour even in the Cross, and that Jesus Christ is this day a sweet savour unto God, even as a sin-offering; the fat, the excellence of His heart, the consecration of His soul, were acceptable to God, and sweet in His esteem, even when He laid upon Him the iniquity of His people. Still, here is the shameful part of it: the priest then took the bullock, and gathering up all the inwards, every part of it, the skin, the dung — all mentioned to teach us what a horrible thing sin is, and what the Surety was looked upon as being when He took our sin — He took it all up, and either Himself personally, or assisted by others, took it away out of the camp.
2. After the removal, they gathered the hot ashes, they kindled the fire, and burnt it all. See here a faint image of the fire which consumed the Saviour on Calvary! His bodily pains ought never to be forgotten, but still the sufferings of His soul must have been the very soul of His sufferings; and can you tell what they were?
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. IN CONTRAST WITH THE OTHER OFFERINGS.(1) The sin-offering, though without spot or blemish, was yet not a sweet-savour offering. The distinction is this: the sweet-savour offerings were for acceptance; the others for expiation. In the first class sin is not seen at all — it is simply the faithful Israelite satisfying Jehovah. In the sin-offerings it is just the reverse — it is an offering charged with the sin of the offerer. In the sin-offerings, as in the burnt-offerings, Christ is Offerer: but here He is seen standing for us under the imputation of sin. For though in Himself without sin, "the Holy One," yet He became our Substitute, confessed our sins as His sins, and bore their penalty.(2) The sin-offering was burnt without the camp. This testified how completely the offering was identified with the sin it suffered for; so completely identified that it was itself looked at as sin, and as such cast out of the camp into the wilderness. A part indeed, "the fat," was burnt on the altar, to show that the offering, though made a sin-bearer, was in itself perfect. But the body of the victim, "even the whole bullock," was cast forth without the camp. "Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate." He was east out as one who was unfit for Jerusalem, as unworthy a place in the city of God. And what this must have cost that Blessed One can never be entered into or understood till the holiness of Christ and the sinfulness of sin are seen in measure at least as God sees them.(3) The third peculiarity we may note in the sin-offering is, that it was an offering for sin, not an offering for trespass. God judges what we are as well as what we do; our sin, the sin in us, as much as our trespasses. In His sight sin in us, our evil nature, is as clearly seen as our trespasses, which are but the fruit of that nature. He needs not wait to see the fruit put forth. He knows the root is evil, and so will be the buddings. Now the distinction between the sin and trespass-offerings is just this: the one is for sin in our nature, the other for the fruits of it. Thus in the sin-offering no particular act of sin is mentioned, but a certain person is seen standing confessedly as a sinner: in the trespass-offering certain acts are enumerated, and the person never appears.
II. THE VARIETIES IN THIS OFFERING.(1) The first variety which is seen in the sin-offering is the difference in the animal offered. In the burnt-offering, the offering though varied was limited, either to a bullock, a lamb, a goat, or turtledoves. Here in the sin-offering we have several other grades, coming down at last to a sin-offering composed of simple "flour." Suffice it to say that here, as in the burnt-offerings, they show us the different characters under which the offering of Christ may be apprehended by us. In the sin-offering, as in the burnt-offering, one saint has one view, another another view respecting the character of the offering.(2) The next variety we may notice is in the person offering: we have the priest, the congregation, the ruler, and the common Israelite. First in order we have the sin-offering for the priest; then the sin-offering for the whole congregation; then the sin-offering for a ruler; then for one of the common people; and lastly, the sin-offering for particular sins; in which last the person of the offerer is lost sight of, and the particular act for which he offers more clearly seen. This last is very nearly akin to the trespass-offering, and is indeed called indifferently by both names of sin and trespass. In this last class, as in the lowest classes of the other offerings, we get the lowest view which can be taken of this particular aspect of the offering. But what is the import of this variety in the person offering? They are only different measures of apprehension. Of course the Offerer here, as elsewhere, is Christ, made under the law, our Representative. As such He is here seen confessing sin; but though seen as Offerer in this aspect, He may yet be seen very differently. For example, in the first case the offerer is apprehended as "priest," a person who stands the representative of a family or congregation. In other cases the offerer is seen as "one of the common people," one who stands simply the representative of an individual. In the lowest cases of all, the person of the offerer is altogether lost sight of, neither individual nor congregation are seen, and the sin for which he suffers is almost the only thing apprehended.(3) A third variety in the sin-offering has reference to "the blood." In the higher classes the blood was sprinkled on the incense altar; in the lower classes it was not taken into the Holy Place, but sprinkled upon the brazen altar in the court. The deeper the apprehension of the efficacy of the blood, the deeper will be the sense of that from which it delivers us.(4) A fourth variety in the sin-offering has reference to "the fat." In the higher grades the fat was burnt upon the altar; in the lowest class this is overlooked: what was done with the fat is entirely unnoticed. "The fat" represents the general health and energy of the whole body. Its being burnt to God was the appointed proof that the victim offered for sin was yet in itself acceptable. This acceptability is most seen in the higher classes, but it is apprehended also in all save the lowest grade. There the atonement made for sin is indeed apprehended, but the perfect acceptableness of the victim is unnoticed. So with some Christians, is not their thought respecting the sin-offering more of our, pardon than of Christ's perfectness?(5) Another variety we may observe in the sin-offering has reference to "the body" of the victim. In the higher grades it is cast without the camp; in the lower this is unnoticed; but in the law of the offerings another particular is marked; the priest is seen to feed on the offering. The import of this distinction is at once obvious. Where the sin-offering is fully apprehended, the victim, which is the sin-bearer, is seen accursed, and as such cast out as unclean into the wilderness. Where the sin-offering is more partially apprehended, the victim is still seen as sin-bearer, but the reality of its separation from God is lost sight of, and its death viewed merely as satisfying the Mediator. And how exactly this accords with the successive stages of Christian experience will be sufficiently understood by those who know much either of themselves or others. At first Christ's work, or person, or offering, is viewed with interest solely on account of what it is to us. It has taken away our sins; it has made atonement; this is the one thing, and almost the sole thing, seen respecting it. Anything further than this at such a stage would appear a grand impertinence. But let the question of peace with God be settled, let our acceptance become a thing known and realised, then the perfectness of the offering, and what it is in itself, will, without exception, be more seen and dwelt upon.(6) The last variety I will here notice in the different grades of the sin-offering is connected with the name by which the offering is variously designated. In the higher classes it is always called a "sin-offering," and no particular act of trespass is noticed; in the lower classes it is called a "trespass-offering" as well as a "sin-offering," and the person of the offerer is lost sight of in the particular trespass. So when the measure of apprehension is limited, there will be want of intelligence respecting the precise difference of sin and trespass; nor this alone; the offering will be seen only for sins; that it is offered for persons will not be apprehended. We have thus gone through the particulars of the sin-offering, as far at least as they are given in the law of the offerings. In other places there are some other details added, the principles of which are, however, all contained in what we have investigated. The additions only give us some new combinations as to the character under which the sin-offering may be exhibited: I refer to the offerings of the red heifer (Numbers 19.), and of the scapegoat on the great Day of Atonement (chap. Leviticus 16.). The offering of the red heifer, as we might expect from its being found in Numbers, exhibits not so much what the offering is in itself, as its use in meeting the wants of the wilderness. Thus no memorial of it was burnt on the altar, nor was the blood seen to be taken into the Tabernacle; but the whole animal was burnt without the camp, and its ashes laid up to be mixed with the water of purification. Then when an Israelite found himself unclean, through contact with the dead, these ashes with water were sprinkled on him. All this is the sin-offering as meeting our need of cleansing, and as given to remove the defilement caused by the dead things of the wilderness. The view presented by it has to do with the effects of the offering, and its use towards man as applied by water, that is the Spirit. In the scapegoat, offered on the great day of atonement, the view presented is very different. In this sin-offering, which was offered but once a year, the blood was seen to be put on the mercy-seat. The offering it spoke of is shown (Hebrews 10:1, 22) to have been "once for over," and "access into the holiest" the consequence of it.
Proverbs 8:30), the One in whom He is "well pleased" (Matthew 17:5), in the peace-offering we behold Him as the blessed Peacemaker (Matthew 5:9; Colossians 1:20). But in —
I. THE SIN-OFFERING we are shown the heinousness, the awful nature of sin, that called for such a sacrifice. Atonement is its chief feature. The Blessed One "knew no sin," yet He hung upon the Cross as "an offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10), the sin-bearer, the personation of that "abominable thing" that God hates (Jeremiah 44:4). Studying the details of sin-offering, we read —
II. "IF A SOUL...SIN THROUGH IGNORANCE." All are sinners by nature (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12), and ever prone to sin, by reason of the root of evil that dwells within. This root it is that is specially met in sin-offering (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 9:26), the sinful nature, more perhaps than the actions that spring therefrom, though these are included; but till God opens our eyes to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and how the smallest sin separates from Him, and endangers our eternal safety, we are — so to speak — sinning ignorantly. Still, no sin — even when done in ignorance — can be passed over or forgiven by a holy God "without shedding of blood"; hence God, in His grace and mercy, has provided a complete, a perfect atonement, in the "precious blood" shed (Hebrews 9:22, 28; Hebrews 10:12; 1 Peter 1:19). Even after being "made nigh," how prone are we to sin! But see Psalm 37:24; Proverbs 24:16. To sin "through ignorance" signifies, not only through actual want of knowledge, but through weakness — failing to lay hold of the "power" to keep (1 Peter 1:5) — unintentionally offending, and not realising at the time the guilt; for, in truth, who can fully realise what is sin in the sight of a holy God? But He foresaw all, and provided a perfect Sacrifice sufficient to meet it all, whether the sin be committed by "anointed priest," "whole congregation," a "ruler," or "one of the common people." The variation in the offerings teaches how sin becomes deeper, according to the position or privileges of the sinning one. The more prominent were these, the greater the harm done by evil example.
III. THE LAYING OF HANDS on the victim's head teaches much.
1. Sense of sin, and need of pardon (Psalm 51:4; Luke 18:13; 1 Timothy 1:15). "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23); hence I need a substitutionary sacrifice. "Who shall deliver me?" (Romans 7:24).
2. Transmission of guilt; truth of deepest importance. "The Lord hath laid..." (Isaiah 53:6). "Christ... suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust," &c. (1 Peter 3:18). The holy Jesus received "the wages of sin." "He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself"; He overcame "through death" (Hebrews 2:14) the one who had introduced it into the world; and thus the Just One could — without the smallest sacrifice of His justice — exercise His prerogative of mercy, and be "the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).
3. Faith in God's acceptance of a substitutionary sacrifice (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:1, 9). The offering was slain for the offerer; it was laden typically with his sins, as was the holy Jesus actually when He was "made a curse for us" (Galatians 3:10-13). As we meditate on these things we cannot wonder at another feature of the sin-offering.
IV. NOT VOLUNTARY. There is nothing in this type — as in others — to show willingness on the part of the Holy One, and our Lord's words in Gethsemane plainly show how He shrank from being "made sin" — that hateful thing which would separate Him from His God and Father. Hence the prayer thrice repeated, with increasing earnestness (Matthew 26:39-44; Luke 22:42-45): which contrast with the willingness displayed in the words (Psalm 40:7, 8, with Hebrews 10.).
V. THE ANIMALS sacrificed as sin-offerings varied (Leviticus 4:3, 14, 23, 28, 32), according to whether it was for the "priest," "whole congregation," "ruler," or "one of the common people." Also, as before observed, no one type could ever suffice to depict the glorious Antitype; therefore no doubt some different characteristic or aspect of the Blessed One, in His passion, is set forth in each of the animals sacrificed.
(Lady Beaujolois Dent).
I. THE SIN-OFFERING shadows forth the fulfilment of Psalm 85:10; mercy can be shown to sinners in the "free gift of... eternal life" (Romans 6:23, R.V.), because God's truth as to sin's "wages" was verified on Calvary. Righteousness, i.e., the righteous judgment of a holy God, was shown in the just punishment of "sin," borne by a sinless victim; and Peace becomes the portion of every soul taught by the Holy Spirit to know that Jesus was punished for him or her; that is, every one that believes in God's acceptance of Christ's substitutionary Sacrifice (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:1).
II. THE BLOOD strikingly shows the double aspect of this mighty sacrifice. "The life... is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11). Life was forfeited by fall (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12); therefore life must be taken, blood must be shed (Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Hebrews 9:22), a substitutionary victim must be slain, before a holy God could pardon and accept the sinner. Jesus died, He shed His "precious blood," and through it we have "redemption" (Matthew 27:50; John 19:34; Romans 5:8.9; Ephesians 1:7). Observe what was done with the blood.
1. For anointed priest, or whole congregation, it was to be sprinkled "seven times before the Lord, before the veil" (Leviticus 4:6, 7, 17, 18), and put on "horns of altar of sweet incense"; seven betokening completeness, and horns power. We thus learn the completeness of restoration to worship and communion — interrupted by sin — through the power of Jesu's blood, shed on Calvary's Cross, and brought symbolically into the very presence of God for us: the ground, too, of His advocacy for us, as our "Great High Priest" (1 John 2:1, 2; Hebrews 4:14). Tim higher the position, privilege, light, the greater the sin. The anointed priest was in a very blessed position, admitted daily to minister in the Tabernacle; and the whole congregation were marked by Jehovah's favour. They were His "redeemed" or "purchased" people, called by Him, His "son," "a peculiar treasure," &c. (Exodus 15:13, 16; Exodus 4:22; Exodus 19:5); brought into covenant relationship with Jehovah, who Himself dwelt in their midst, guarding and guiding them night and day (Exodus 13:21, 22). And they were encamped around His habitation, as accepted worshippers, through the medium of the priesthood and offerings. Hence, when sin entered, blood alone could atone and restore.
2. For a ruler or one of the common people the priest must put blood on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering (chap. Leviticus 4:25, 30), telling of the power of the atoning blood to cleanse from all sin, and restore basis for worship, peace, &c.
3. All the blood was to be poured out at the bottom of the altar (vers. Leviticus 4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34). This was to be done in every case, as there atonement, or reconciliation, was made; there the Lord met with the children of Israel (Exodus 29:42, 43). The pouring out tells of the fulness of the atonement made by Jesus. He "poured out His soul unto death" (Isaiah 53:12; Psalm 22:14); made "reconciliation for iniquity" (Daniel 9:24); gave "His life a ransom," &c. (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6); and in Him — our "Altar" (Hebrews 13:10) — God and the sinner meet.
III. FINE FLOUR It is thought that in chap. Leviticus 9., sin, as the root of all evil, the great principle of evil within, is specially dealt with, and when it shows itself in the committal of sin — though of ignorance — it must be judged by a holy God. In chap. 5. certain sinful actions are specified (vers. Leviticus 5:1-4), and dealt with in the same spirit (vers. Leviticus 5:5-13); but while again we see how a just and holy God must punish sin, we see also how a God of love meets the need of every sinner — even the poorest — by permitting fine flour to be offered, when the offender was "not able" to bring any of the animals named.
IV. THE BURNING, again, shows the double aspect of the holy Sufferer, by the two words used.
1. The fat, and portions of the inwards (as in peace-offering) — representing the rich excellences, heart and affections reserved for God Himself — were to be burnt as incense, or "savour of delight," upon the altar of burnt-offerings (Leviticus 4:8-10, 19, 26, 35). Striking testimony to the intrinsic worth of the holy Jesus, even when presented to our gaze as "made sin!"
2. The whole bullock was to be burnt — in judgment — "without the camp" (Leviticus 4:11, 12). The animal was — typically — loaded with man's sin. It represented man in his corrupt state, outwardly and inwardly evil (Romans 3:12; Romans 7:18): head guiding, legs walking, in evil ways, engendered within (James 1:15); therefore too loathsome to remain in sight of holy God, or be consumed with fire on His altar or table. The sin-offering must be cast forth — so to speak — from His presence. Thus "sin" was "laid upon" the sinless Son of God; the holy Jesus was separated from God, when, "in the likeness of sinful flesh," He "suffered without the gate" (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 13:11, 12). The gate of the very city chosen of God to put His Name there. Yes — outside its walls, the holy Son of God was crucified in a place set apart for the execution of malefactors (John 19:16-18).
3. "In a clean place" the bullock was to be burnt, "where the ashes" of burnt-offering were poured out (Leviticus 4:12). Ashes told of "redemption" accomplished, and the pouring out of those of burnt-offering, of acceptance of "finished" work. The "body" of Jesus was laid in a "new tomb" (Matthew 27:60), "with the rich in His death" (Isaiah 53:10); token of work "finished," complete reconciliation made, "eternal redemption" obtained (Hebrews 9:12).
V. "OUTSIDE THE CAMP" — "the gate," full of deep teaching, can here but point to subjects for meditation and study, sufficient for whole lesson.
1. Christ forsaken of God, "made a curse for us" (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Galatians 3:13), showing both desert of sinner and fate of those who die unrepentant and unpardoned, and must therefore bear the curse due to — God's judgment upon — their own sin.
2. Christ rejected by His own — by the world (John 1:11; Luke 23:1. 18, 24; 19:14); bearing reproach, scorn (Psalm 42:10; Psalm 69:9, 20; Romans 15:3; Matthew 27:43), buffeted, scourged, crucified (Matthew 26:67; Matthew 27:26, 30-35).
3. All who are Christ's are called to be "separate from the world," "bearing His reproach" (2 Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 13:13), for "the servant is not greater than his Lord" (John 13:16; John 15:20); hated by, crucified to world, "with Christ" (John 17:14; Galatians 6:14; Galatians 2:20).
(Lady Beaujolois Dent)
I. MAN'S OWN DISPOSITION IS TO CONDONE INADVERTENT SINS.
1. Ignorance is treated as if synonymous with guiltlessness.
2. The responsibilities which attach to the knowledge become secretly a reason why knowledge is eschewed.
II. WHEREIN THE GUILTINESS OF INADVERTENT SINS CONSISTS.
1. What such sinfulness has wrought. The death of the Saviour.
2. Sin in ignorance is the embodiment in action of those dark principles of enmity against God which lie embosomed in the human heart.
III. GOD'S EMPHATIC WITNESS AGAINST INADVERTENT SINS.
1. Sources of Divine remonstrance against such sins. Nature. Scripture. Conscience.
2. Man's resistance of the Divine remonstrance.
3. How is such daring ignorance fostered?
(1) (2) IV. GODLY SOULS ARE BETRAYED INTO THE COMMISSION OF INADVERTENT SINS. When Christians give themselves up to the guidance of any individual, or of any system, not strictly accordant with God's revealed truth, they will surely act against Christ and His commandments ignorantly. V. SINS IN THE GODLY ARE MOST HEINOUS IN GOD'S ESTEEM. Sin is to be estimated by a man's spiritual elevation. VI. EXPIATION PROVIDED FOR SINS OF INADVERTENCE. 1. Against whom the sins were committed. Blood sprinkled "before the Lord." 2. The process of purging. 3. Its suggestion of death. 4. Its suggestion of wrath. III. TYPICAL INTIMATIONS OF CHRIST'S DEATH FOR MAN'S SINS. 1. God's condemnation of our Substitute. 2. God's acceptance of our Substitute. (The Preacher's Hom. Com.)
(2) IV. GODLY SOULS ARE BETRAYED INTO THE COMMISSION OF INADVERTENT SINS. When Christians give themselves up to the guidance of any individual, or of any system, not strictly accordant with God's revealed truth, they will surely act against Christ and His commandments ignorantly. V. SINS IN THE GODLY ARE MOST HEINOUS IN GOD'S ESTEEM. Sin is to be estimated by a man's spiritual elevation. VI. EXPIATION PROVIDED FOR SINS OF INADVERTENCE. 1. Against whom the sins were committed. Blood sprinkled "before the Lord." 2. The process of purging. 3. Its suggestion of death. 4. Its suggestion of wrath. III. TYPICAL INTIMATIONS OF CHRIST'S DEATH FOR MAN'S SINS. 1. God's condemnation of our Substitute. 2. God's acceptance of our Substitute. (The Preacher's Hom. Com.)
IV. GODLY SOULS ARE BETRAYED INTO THE COMMISSION OF INADVERTENT SINS. When Christians give themselves up to the guidance of any individual, or of any system, not strictly accordant with God's revealed truth, they will surely act against Christ and His commandments ignorantly.
V. SINS IN THE GODLY ARE MOST HEINOUS IN GOD'S ESTEEM. Sin is to be estimated by a man's spiritual elevation.
VI. EXPIATION PROVIDED FOR SINS OF INADVERTENCE.
1. Against whom the sins were committed. Blood sprinkled "before the Lord."
2. The process of purging.
3. Its suggestion of death.
4. Its suggestion of wrath.
III. TYPICAL INTIMATIONS OF CHRIST'S DEATH FOR MAN'S SINS.
1. God's condemnation of our Substitute.
2. God's acceptance of our Substitute.
(The Preacher's Hom. Com.)
I. MAN'S PERCEPTION OF RIGHT AND WRONG CANNOT BE AN ALLOWED STANDARD. He may "sin through ignorance."
1. Neither his judgment nor his conscience is an adequate guide.
2. Hence the inquiry, What is sin? must be determined from without a man, not from within. God must be heard.
3. The presence of sin in man, even ignorantly contracted, imperils man's relationship to God. It interrupts man's approach to God, prevents his acceptable worship of God, and alienates his relationship with God.
II. GOD'S ESTIMATE AND MEASUREMENT OF SIN REGULATED THE ATONEMENT. A full atonement for all sin has been made in Christ.
1. This, if apprehended, lays the ground of a settled peace.
2. This will exalt our conception of the fulness and efficacy of the Saviour's sacrifice.
3. This will assure us of acceptable and satisfactory fellowship with God, since all sin is propitiated.
III. Ignorance concerning sin argues MAN'S REAL HELPLESSNESS IN DEALING WITH IT.
(W. H. Jellie).
1. Even sins of infirmity contract a guilt upon the soul; yea, such a guilt as needs atonement and expiation in the blood of Jesus Christ. Do not slight sins of infirmity, for then they become more than mere infirmities.
2. Here is relief unto faith against those usual complaints of daily infirmities, which many gracious souls so much complain of and mourn under. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sins.
3. Here is great encouragement to engage in the service and work of God, notwithstanding our own infirmities and disabilities. The Lord hath provided a sin-offering for us; He will accept our sincere, though weak endeavours, and pardon our failings.
4. Take notice what continual obligations of love are upon us to Jesus Christ. We have such continual need of Him.
Leviticus 4:3). Sin has allured-ensnared — defiled him. But now he sees his guilt. He cannot rest till pardon be obtained. God's voice directs his course. He must bring a young unblemished bullock to the Tabernacle door. Behold the proof, that God has found a ransom. This is an idle and an empty rite, except it shows the victim of God's choice. This is but mockery, except it witnesses, that help is laid on the redeeming Jesus. A solemn act is next enjoined. The offender's hands must touch the victim's head. This sign, too, has no meaning, unless it bids the sin-lost to transmit their guilt. The proxy is then slain (Leviticus 4:4). Sin must have death. The curse must fall. Believer, your sins slew Christ. They cannot now slay you. His death is yours. The precious rite continues to unfold the Saviour's worth. It shows three uses of the outpoured blood.
1. The veil is sprinkled seven times (Leviticus 4:6). This hung before the mercy-seat. It was the entrance to the holiest place. The truth is manifest. They, who would enter heaven, must plead blood shed.
2. Part dyed the golden altar's horns (Leviticus 4:7). This was the place where incense rose, as emblem of ascending prayer. Christ's intercession is salvation's crown.
3. The brazen altar drank the rest (Leviticus 4:7). Thus all is used to bring assurance to the anxious hearth Each drop subserves its part. Atonement needs the whole. The whole is given.
1. To take heed by the fall of others (ver. 3). If the pillars may bend, End the chief props of the house shake, what shall the tender rafters do? "Be not high-minded, but fear."
2. To bear with them that are weak (Galatians 6:1). He more easily excuses sin in others, who himself is bitten with the consciousness of his own infirmity.
3. Of the greatness of the sin of the priests. As by their good life and doctrine they save themselves and those who hear them, so by the contrary they destroy both.
4. To bear patiently the momentary afflictions of this life (ver. 12; cf. Hebrews 13:13). We should in our meditation and desire go out of the world, as out of the camp, and be content to bear reproach for Christ's sake, seeing we shall have no long continuance here, but look for an everlasting habitation in heaven.
5. The multitude of sinners does not excuse sin (ver. 13).
6. The prince is to take notice of his error (ver. 22).
(A. Willet, D. D.)
Hebrews 5:2). Amidst the types of this Tabernacle we recognise the presence of Jesus; it is His voice that shakes the curtains and speaks in the ear of Moses, "If a soul shall sin through ignorance!" The same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!
(A. A. Bonar.)
Leviticus 17:11), it naturally comes most prominently forward in that which was especially the atoning sacrifice. The sin-offerings fall into two classes — viz., those whose blood was taken into the Tabernacle, placed upon the horns of the golden altar, and sprinkled seven times before the veil; and those whose blood was not taken into the Tabernacle, but only placed upon the horns of the brazen altar which stood in the outer court. To the first class belong the sin-offerings of the high priest (vers. 3-12), and of the whole congregation (vers. 13-21); to the second, those offered by rulers (vers. 22-26), or by any of the common people (vers. 27-35). Certain portions of the sacrifice were laid upon the altar of burnt-offering (vers. 8-10); the main part was dealt with in one of two ways — in sin-offerings of the first class mentioned above, it was consumed by fire outside the camp (vers. 12, 21); in other cases, viz., where the blood was not carried into the Tabernacle, it became the food of the officiating priests (Leviticus 6:26, 29; Leviticus 10:17, 18); the greater part of the blood was poured away at the bottom of the altar of burnt-offering (vers. 7, 18, 25, 30, 34). Tradition adds that it descended thence into the valley of the Kedron. It is to be observed that a sin-offering was ordained to consist of one animal only, and that in each case the precise offering to be made was specified. "Men were not allowed to choose or multiply their sin-offerings, as if there could really be any proportion between their gift and the privileges to which it readmitted them, lest they should dream of compensating for so much sin by so much sacrifice." According to the unanimous tradition of the Jews, a verbal confession of the sin or sins for which the offering was brought accompanied the imposition of hands in the case of sin and trespass-offerings. The next point to be noticed is that remarkable provision of the law by which it was ordained that the majority of the sin-offerings should be eaten by the priests. The explanation of this is given in Leviticus 10:17. The people's sin passed into the very substance of the priests who thus "in a deep mystery neutralised, through the holiness vested in them by their consecration, the sin which the offerer had laid upon the victim and upon them." By this solemn act, which served but to increase the guilt of an unholy priesthood, the priests became in a remarkable manner types of Him who was "made sin for us." It remains to inquire, For what sins did the sin-offering atone? Clearly not for wilful breaches of any of God's commandments (2 Corinthians 3:7; Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 10:28; also Numbers 15:27-31; Deuteronomy 17:12). The law proclaimed aloud that "the wages of sin is death." For what, then, were the Mosaic sacrificial atonements available? The cases which admitted the application of a sin or trespass-offering may be brought under four beads — viz.,(1) bodily defilements (Leviticus 5:2, 3; Leviticus 12:6, 7; Leviticus 15:13-15, 25-30;(2) ceremonial offence (Leviticus 5:15-19;(3) certain specified cases of moral transgression knowingly committed, in favour of which an exception from the general severity of the law was admitted, and an atonement ordained (Leviticus 6:1-7);(4) sins of ignorance and inadvertency, or offences unwittingly done (Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27; Leviticus 5:15, 18; Numbers 15:24-29). These last formed the largest class of offences to be atoned for by the Mosaic sacrifices. All this vast and complicated machinery of confession, bloodshed, sacrifice, and priestly atonement existed in the main for what, in modern language, we should call venial sins, for sins committed in ignorance or inadvertence — it might almost be said, for involuntary sins. One great lesson, then, which the system of atonement under the law must have taught, was the extreme heinousness of sin, since even "little" sins, as men might call them, had to be atoned by blood.
(E. F. Willis, M. A.)
(J. Cumming, D. D.)
(B. W. Newton.)
(C. H. Mackintosh.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
If the priest that is anointed do sin.I. FROM THE SUPERIOR POSITION HE OCCUPIED.
II. FROM THE SUPERIOR PRIVILEGES HE ENJOYED. Exempt from many secular anxieties and temptations. Constantly in contact with sacred influences.
III. FROM THE SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE HE POSSESSED. Intimately acquainted with requirements of law. Possessing ample means and opportunities for ascertaining purpose of precepts enjoined.
IV. FROM THE SUPERIOR INFLUENCE HE EXERTED. Looked up to as an example.
(F. W. Brown.)
1. Christians occupying exalted positions, enjoying elevated privileges, rendering distinguished service for God, may fall into sin.
2. They know that the dishonour done to God is commensurate with the dignity of their position and the holiness of their profession.
3. So acutely is their guilt felt by them when thus brought under consciousness of sin, that its burden and bitterness would overwhelm them were there not adequate grace in the sin-offering for even such sin as theirs. Here, therefore, it is clearly shown —
I. THAT HOWEVER FAR SIN MAY HAVE PENETRATED, AND WHATEVER SOLEMN AND SACRED THINGS IT MAY HAVE DEFILED, THITHER THE ATONING BLOOD FOLLOWS, CARRYING FULL EXPIATION WHERE SIN HAS CARRIED DEFILEMENT.
II. THAT THE DISHONOUR DONE TO GOD, TO THE SANCTITIES OF A GODLY LIFE, AND TO THE SOLEMNITIES OF SANCTUARY MINISTRIES, WAS COMPENSATED FOR IN OFFERING UPON THE ALTAR OF INCENSE THE SYMBOLS OF THE INHERENT AND INTRINSIC EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST.
(W. H. Jellie.)
I. A HOLY OFFICE DOES NOT ENSURE INFALLIBILITY.
II. OCCUPANTS OF A HOLY OFFICE ARE SPECIALLY CALLED TO SANCTITY.
III. EMINENTLY PRIVILEGED AND ENLIGHTENED, THEY WHO MINISTER BEFORE GOD SHOULD BE MOST VIGILANT LEST THEY SIN.
IV. SIN IN GOD'S PRIESTS HAD TO BE PURGED BY A GREAT SACRIFICIAL EXPIATION. Expressing —
1. The peculiar magnitude of sin in them.
2. The boundless sufficiency of redemption, even for them.
(W. H. Jellie.)
k'tour; it means to burn as fragrance — not with consuming burning, but as sweet incense to God. And there is a sweet incense ascending from that altar. The priest may almost hear that whisper from the open heavens, and it is forgiven him. It is all forgiven; the sacrifice is accepted, and the sin is blotted out.
(E. A. Stuart, M. A.)
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Sprinkle of the blood.
I. We begin with THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST IN ITS RELATION TO THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL.
1. In the type before us the prominent thing before God is the blood of atonement. It was God's intent to awaken in man a great disgust of sin, by making him see that it could only be put away by suffering and death. In the Tabernacle in the wilderness almost everything was sanctified by blood. The purple drops fell even on the book, and all the people. The blood was to be seen everywhere.
2. The blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled before the veil seven times, signifying this: first, that the atonement made by the blood of Jesus is perfect in its reference to God. All through the Scriptures, as you well know, seven is the number of perfection, and in this place it is doubtless used with that intent. The seven times is the same as once for all: it conveys the same meaning as when we read, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins," and again, "We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once." It is a complete act. No man need bring anything more, or anything of his own, wherewith to turn away the anger of God; but he may come just as he is, guilty and defiled, and plead this precious blood which has made effectual atonement for him.
3. Note next, that not only is the atonement itself perfect, but that the presentation of that atonement is perfect, too. The sevenfold sprinkling was typical of Christ as a Priest presenting unto the Father Himself as a sacrifice for sin. This has been rally done. Jesus has in due order carried the propitiation into the sanctuary, and appeared in the presence of God on our behalf. We now pass on to a few thoughts about ourselves in relation to the type.
4. This sevenfold sprinkling of the blood upon the veil meant that the way of our access to God is only by virtue of the precious blood of Christ. Do you ever feel a veil hanging between you and God? In very truth, there is none; for Jesus has taken it away through His flesh.
5. I further think that the blood was sprinkled on the veil seven times to show that a deliberate contemplation of the death of Christ is greatly for our benefit. Whatever else you treat slightly, let the sacrifice of Calvary be seriously considered again and again.
6. Remember, too, that this sets out how great our guilt has been, since the blood must be sprinkled seven times ere the work of atonement is fully seen by you. Our guilt has a sevenfold blackness about it, and there must be a sevenfold cleansing. If you plead the blood of Jesus once and you do not obtain peace thereby, plead it again; and if still the burden lies upon your heart, still go on pleading with the Lord the one prevailing argument that Jesus bled. God, who bids us forgive unto seventy times seven, sets no bound to His own forgiveness.
7. Do reflect that if your case seems to yourself to be very difficult, it is provided for by this sevenfold sprinkling of the blood. The devil's desire will be to keep you from thinking upon Christ; but do remember that thoughts about anything else will do you very little good. Your hope lies in thinking upon Jesus, not upon yourself "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him." Mr. Moody Stuart somewhere tells us that he once talked with a woman who was in great trouble about her sins. She was a well-instructed person, and knew the Bible thoroughly, so that he was in a little difficulty what to say to her, as she was so accustomed to all-saving truth. At last he urged upon her very strongly that passage, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners," and he noticed that she seemed to find a quiet relief in a gentle flow of tears. He prayed with her, and when she rose from her knees she seemed much comforted. Meeting her the next day, and seeing her smiling face, and finding her full of rest in the Lord, he asked? "What was it wrought your deliverance?" "Oh," she said, "it was that text, ' Jesus came to save sinners.'" "Did you not know that before?" said Mr. Stuart. Yes, she knew the words before, but she found that in her heart of hearts she had believed that Jesus came to save saints, and not sinners. Do not many awakened persons abide in the same error?
II. THE BLOOD IN ITS INFLUENCE UPON PRAYER. "The priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord." Horns signify power, and the explanation of the symbol is that there is no power in intercessory prayer apart from the blood of expiation.
1. Remember, first, that the intercession of Christ Himself is based upon His atonement. He is daily pleading before the throne of God, and His great argument is that He offered Himself without spot unto God. "It pleased the Father to bruise Him," and now it pleases the Father to hear Him. The bruised spices of His passion are an incense of sweet smell, and derive a double acceptance from the blood-smeared altar upon which they are presented. And now take the type to yourselves.
2. You and I are to offer incense upon this golden altar by our daily intercession for others, but our plea must always be the atoning blood of Jesus.
3. And, as this must be the plea of our intercession, so it must be our impulse in making intercession. When we pray we come, as it were, to this golden altar, and we look thereon: what is that we see? Stains of blood! We look again, and again see crimson spots, while all the four horns are red with blood. Did my Lord pour out His soul unto death for men, and shall not I pour out my soul in living earnest when I pray? Can you now bow your knee to plead with God and not feel your heart set upon the good of men, when you see that your Lord has laid down His life that they may be saved? Where He poured out His blood, will not you pour out your tears? He has given His bleeding heart for men, will not you give your pleading lips?
4. I think, too, I must say that this smearing of the horns of the altar with blood is meant to give us very great encouragement and assurance whenever we come to God in prayer. Never give anybody up, however bad he may be. Why, there is the blood of Christ. What sin is there which it cannot remove? When we pray, let us with vehement desire plead the blood of Jesus Christ. Perhaps fewer petitions, and more urging of the merit of Christ, would make better prayers.
III. The last point is, THE BLOOD IN ITS INFLUENCE UPON ALL OUR SERVICE. You see we have been coming outwards from the veil to the golden altar, and now we pass outside the Holy Place into the outer court, and there in the open air stands the great brazen altar — the first object that the Israelite saw when he entered the sacred precincts.
1. That altar represents a great many things, and among the rest our Lord Jesus presenting Himself to God as an acceptable sacrifice. Whenever you think of our Lord as being an offering of a sweet smell unto God, never dissociate that fact in your mind from His being slain for sin, for all our Lord's service is tinged by His atoning death.
2. Viewing the type in reference to ourselves, let us learn that whenever we come to offer any sacrifice unto the Lord we must take care that we present it by virtue of the precious blood of Christ. We must view the atonement as connected with every holy thing. I believe that our testimonies for God will be blessed of God in proportion as we keep the sacrifice of Christ to the forefront. Somebody asked our brother, Mr. Moody, how it was that he was so successful, and he is said to have replied, "Well, if I must tell you, it is I believe because we come out fair anal square upon the doctrine of substitution." In that remark he hit the nail on the head. That is the saving doctrine; keep that before your own mind, keep it before the minds of those whom you would benefit.
3. And, beloved, do you not think that this pouring of the blood at the foot of this brazen altar indicates to us how much we ought to bring there? If Jesus has brought His life there, and laid Himself thereon, ought we not to bring all that we are and all that we have, and consecrate all to God?
4. Lastly, you notice the blood was poured out at the bottom of the altar. What could that mean but this — that the altar of thank-offering stood upon and grew out of a basis of blood. So all our deeds for God, our sacrifices for His cause, must spring out of the love which He has manifested in the death of His dear Son. We love Him because He first loved us. And how do we know that He loves us? Behold the death of Jesus as the surest proof. I long to put my whole being upon that altar, and I should feel as I did so that I was not giving my God anything, but only rendering to Him what His dear Son has bought a million times over by once shedding His life-blood.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Hebrews 13:11, 12). And the whole bullock was to be burned, being a sin-offering, to teach men to burn all their sins, and not to divide them, as we do, when we say, I will amend my drunkenness, but I cannot leave my swearing, or if I leave that also, yet my licentious life a little more must have a swing, &c. But burn all, thou wert best, and willingly keep none, burn them, I say, by true sorrow and detestation of them, even all, all, lest but one — being wilfully still delighted in — burn thee all, and wholly in hell for ever. When Moses, with the Israelites, was to depart out of Egypt, and Pharaoh would have had them leave their cattle behind them, saving what they intended to sacrifice, answer was made, they would not leave one hoof of a beast behind; and so deal you with your sins — leave not one hoof of sin behind. No one sin, no part of sin, that is, still I say, by wittingly, .willingly, and boldly continuing in it and delighting in it. Otherwise, free from sin in this life we cannot be. But, through the grace of God, we may be free from presumptuous pleasure in sin, and sigh and groan no more, for that anyway we should offend so good a God, as we find infinite ways of Him that we do offend, desiring and longing to be free even from all sin.
1. Some tell us that repentance is sufficient without atonement. "Contrition," say they, "is all that God wants. Why insist on the need of sacrifice? Let a man mourn over his iniquities and he will be forgiven." This is a mode of speech not more unscriptural than unphilosophical. To maintain that "repentance is sufficient without atonement" is uncommonly like declaring that life is enough without bread or that heat is sufficient without the sun. The fact is, that as existence is sustained by food, and as warmth proceeds from the orb of day, so repentance is with most men the result of belief in redemption. John the Baptist was pre-eminently a preacher of repentance: we invariably associate the two. "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"; such was the keynote of his teaching. He bids the Pharisees and Sadducees "bring forth fruit meet for repentance." Yet he who thus spoke took care to cry, "Behold the Lamb of God."
2. "Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ," stand in the relation of effect and cause. The executioner of Socrates, handing him the cup of hemlock, burst into tears, deeply grieved that he should, in any way, be an accessory to the death of one so illustrious. In like manner, when we hear a well-known voice exclaiming, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me," we are conscious that our transgressions necessitated the fatal draught, and, feeling their enormity, we mourn over them. Some years ago patriotic regard for their country introduced the following fashion among Polish ladies. Each wore a small iron cross bearing upon it the name "Warsaw." Thereby they were reminded of the wrong done to the nation which they loved so well, and thereby, also, they sought to stir up brothers, husbands, and sons to hatred of tyrannic Russia. Let us have the Cross near our hearts, for nothing will so effectually inflame animosity against sin. Aptly has it been remarked that "contrition is the tear in the eye of faith."
(T. R. Stevenson.)
The whole bullock shall he carry forth.1. The legal reason was because it was a sacrifice for sin, and therefore unmeet to be burnt as other sacrifices upon the altar.
2. The historical reason, because the Lord suffered without the gate of the city.
3. The moral reason, to show that the skin with the flesh was carried forth so the priest should be far off, not only from sin, but the occasion thereof.
4. The mystical reason, that Christ doth cast out-of-doors, and remove far away from us our sins.
5. Now further, the sin-offering for the priest, and for the whole congregation were burnt without, to show the horror and greatness of their sin; and though it were unclean, being a sacrifice for sin, yet because some part thereof, namely the fat, was burnt upon the altar, the remaining part was with reverence to be burned, and in a clean place, and therefore without the camp, because it was separated from the common pollutions which might happen within the camp.
6. The Hebrews further observe that the high priest's sin-offering was commanded to be burnt openly without the camp, to the end that no man might be ashamed to confess his sin.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
Hebrews 13:13). We should in our meditation and desire go out of the world as out of the camp, and be content to bear reproach for Christ's sake, seeing we shall have no long continuance here, but look for an everlasting habitation in heaven; by this reason taken from the shortness of our afflictions the apostle exhorteth thus (2 Corinthians 4:17). The imitation of the saints, shortness of time, fragility of the body do persuade to perseverance, nature hath well provided that grief if it be great cannot be long, for a short danger thou shalt receive an everlasting reward.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
the whole congregation.., sin.
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
1. It is said when the sin which they have committed is known this was not rehearsed before in the sacrifice of the priest to show that the priests for the most part do sin wittingly, but the people through ignorance.
2. In the other sacrifice the priest alone was to put his hand upon the head of the sacrifice; but here the elders are to lay on their hands both in their own name and of all the people.
3. Here is added ver. 20, and the priest shall make atonement for them, which was not expressed before, because the priest before offered sacrifice for his own sin, and so could not be a mediator for himself. Herein the priest interceding for the people was a type of Christ who is the only effectual Intercessor both for sin of priest and people.
4. This congregation here offending may represent the synagogue of the Jews who put Christ to death, crying, "Crucify Him"; but they did it of ignorance as St. Peter saith: "and now I know, brethren, that through ignorance ye did it," and as here a sacrifice is appointed after the people came to the knowledge of their sin, so there St. Peter exhorteth the people to acknowledge and confess their sin, "repent and turn, that your sins may be put away"; and as here the elders put their hands upon the sacrifice, so the elders, rulers, and governors, had their hand in Christ's death.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
When a ruler hath sinned.
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
is in the heel. Even so will the sins of great ones overthrow a state sooner than those of the meaner sort; therefore wise was that advice of Sigismund the Emperor, when upon a motion to reform the Church, one said, "Let us begin at the minorities." "Nay rather," saith the Emperor, "let us begin at the majorities; for if the great ones be good, the meaner cannot be easily ill, but be the mean ones never so good, the great will be nothing the better."
If any one of the common people sin through ignorance.I. THE PERSON: a common person.
1. If a common person sin his sins will ruin him; he may not be able to do so much mischief by his sin as the ruler or a public officer, but his sin has all the essence of evil in it, and God will reckon with him for it. No matter how obscurely you may live, however poor and unlettered you may be, your sin will ruin you if not pardoned and put away. If one of the common people sin through ignorance, his sin is a damning sin, he must have it put away, or it will put him away for ever from the face of God.
2. A common person's sin can only he removed by an atonement of blood. In this case you see the victim was not a bullock, it was a female of the goats or of the sheep, but still it had to be an offering of blood, for without shedding of blood there is no remission. However commonplace your offences may have been, however insignificant you may be yourself, nothing will cleanse you but the blood of Jesus Christ.
3. But here is the point of joy, that for the common people there was an atonement ordained of God. Glory be to God, I may be unknown to men, but I am not unthought of by Him.
4. Observe with thankfulness that the sacrifice appointed for the common people was as much accepted as that appointed for the ruler. Of the ruler it is said, "the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him." The same thing is said of the common person. Christ is as much accepted for the poorest of His people as for the richest of them.
II. THE SACRIFICE: "a kid of the goats, a female without blemish."
1. Observe that there is a discrepancy between the type and the reality, for first the sin-offering under the law was only for sins of ignorance. But we have a far better sacrifice for sin than that, for have we not read, "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin," not from sins of ignorance only, but from all sin.
2. Note another discrepancy, that the sinner of the common people in this case had to bring his sacrifice — "he shall bring his offering." But our sin-offering has been provided for us.
3. Now let us notice that in the type the victim chosen for a sin-offering was unblemished; whether it was a goat or a sheep, it must be unblemished. How could Christ make an atonement for sins if He had had sins of His own?
4. But, the main point about the sacrifice was, it was slain as a substitute. There is nothing said about its being taken outside the camp — I do not think it was in this case: all that the offerer knew was, it was slain as a substitute. And everything that is essential to know in order to be saved is to know that you are a sinner and that Christ is your Substitute.
III. THE AFTER CEREMONIES.
1. In the case of one of the common people after the victim was slain, the blood was taken to the brazen altar, and the four horns of it were smeared, to show that the power of fellowship with God lies in the blood of substitution. There is no fellowship with God except through the blood, there is no acceptance with God for any one of us except through Him who suffered in our stead.
2. But then the blood was thrown at the feet of this same brazen altar, as if to show that the atonement is the foundation as well as the power of fellowship. We get nearest to God when we feel most the power of the blood, ay, and we could not come to God at all except it were through that encrimsoned way.
3. After this, a part of the offering was put upon the altar, and it is said concerning it, what is not said in any other of the cases, "the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour to the Lord." This common person had, in most respects, a dim view of Christ, compared with the others, but yet there were some points in which he had more light than others, for it does not say of the priest that what he offered was a sweet savour; but, for the comfort of this common person, that he might go his way having sweet consolation in his soul, he is told that the sin-offering he has brought is a sweet savour unto God. And oh, what a joy it is to think not only has Christ put away my sin if I believe in Him; but now for me He is a sweet savour to God, and I am for His sake accepted, for His sake beloved, for His sake delighted in, for His sake precious unto God.
IV. I have purposely omitted AN ESSENTIAL ACT in the sacrifice, in order to enlarge upon it now. Observe that in all four cases there was one thing which was never left out, "He shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin-offering."
1. That act signified confession. "Here I stand as a sinner, and confess that I deserve to die. This goat which is now to be slain represents in its sufferings what I deserve of God." Oh, sinner! confess your sin now unto your great God, acknowledge that He would be just if He condemned you. Confession of sin is a part of the meaning of laying on of the hand.
2. The next thing meant by it was acceptance. "I accept this goat as standing for me. I agree that this victim shall stand instead of me." That is what faith does with Christ, it pats its hand upon the ever blessed Son of God, and says, "He stands for me, I take Him as my Substitute."
3. The next meaning of it was transference. "I transfer, according to God's ordinance, all my sin which I here confess, from myself to this victim." By that act the transference was made. God did lay sin in bulk upon Christ when He-laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, but by an act of faith every individual in another sense lays his sins on Jesus, and it is absolutely needful that each man should do so, if he would participate in the substitution.
4. This was a personal act. Nobody could lay his hand upon the bullock, or upon the goat, for another; each one had to put his own hand there. A godly mother could not say, "My graceless boy will not lay his hand upon the victim, but I will put my hand there for him." It could not be. He who laid his hand there had the blessing, but no one else, and had the godliest saint with holy but mistaken zeal said, "Rebellious man, wilt thou not put thy hand there, I will act as sponsor for thee," it had been of no avail; the offender must personally come. And so must you have a personal faith in Christ for yourself. The word is sometimes interpreted "to lean," and some give it the meaning of leaning hard. What a blessed view of faith that gives us!
V. THE ASSURED BLESSING: ''And it shall be forgiven him" (ver. 31). Was not that plain speaking? There were no "ifs," no "buts," no "peradventures"; but "it shall be forgiven aim." Now, in those days it was only one sin, the sin confessed, that was forgiven, but now "all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men." In those days the forgiveness did not give the conscience abiding peace, for the offerer had to come with another sacrifice by and by; but now the blood of Christ blots out all the sins of believers at once and for ever, so that there is no need to bring a new sacrifice, or to come a second time with the blood of atonement in our hands. The sacrifice of the Jew had no intrinsic value. How could the blood of bulls and goats take away sin? It could only be useful as a type of the true sacrifice, the sin-offering of Christ. But in our Lord Jesus there is real efficacy, there is true atonement, there is real cleansing, and whosoever believeth in Him shall find actual pardon and complete forgiveness at this very moment.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. THE INTENT OF THE SYMBOL.
1. It was a confession of sin: else no need of a sin-offering. To this was added a confession of the desert of punishment, or why should the victim be slain? There was also an abandonment of all other methods of removing sin.
2. It was a consent to the plan of substitution. If God is content with this method of salvation, surely we may be. Substitution exceedingly honours the law, and vindicates justice. No other plan meets the case, or even looks fairly at it
3. It was an acceptance of the victim. Jesus is the most natural substitute, for He is the Second Adam, the second head of the race; the true ideal man. He is the only Person able to offer satisfaction, having a perfect humanity united with His Godhead. He alone is acceptable to God; He may well be acceptable to us.
4. It was a believing transference of sin. By laying on of hands sin was typically laid on the victim. It was laid there so as to be no longer on the offerer.
5. It was a dependence-leaning on the victim. Is there not a most sure stay in Jesus for the leaning heart? Consider the nature of the suffering and death by which the atonement was made, and you will rest in it. Consider the dignity and worth of the sacrifice by whom the death was endured. The glory of Christ's person enhances the value of His atonement (Hebrews 10:5-10).
II. THE SIMPLICITY OF THE SYMBOL.
1. There were no antecedent rites. The victim was there, and hands were laid on it: nothing more. We add neither preface nor appendix to Christ: He is Alpha and Omega.
2. The offerer came in all his sin. "Just as I am." It was to have his sin removed that the offerer brought the sacrifice: not because he had himself removed it
3. There was nothing in his hand of merit or price.
4. There was nothing on his hand. No gold ring to indicate wealth; no signet of power; no jewel of rank. The offerer came as a man, and not as learned, rich, or honourable.
5. He performed no cunning legerdemain with his hand. By leaning upon it he took the victim to be his representative; but he placed no reliance upon ceremonial performances.
6. Nothing was done to his hand. His ground of trust was the sacrifice, not his hands. He desired his hand to be clean, but upon that fact he did not rest for pardon.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.).