And when these days are expired, it shall be, that on the eighth day, and so forward…
It is a question vital to the interests of men, "How to find reconciliation with God." If the Bible contains no authentic information on this head, it contains no real gospel. Martin Luther tersely described this doctrine of justification as the hinge of a standing or a falling Church. It is the pivot of salvation or perdition for every man. What the sun is in the midst of the solar system, what the heart is to the human body, what the mainspring is to a watch, the doctrine of man's justification before God is to all the other doctrines of religion. On this momentous matter God has clearly revealed to us his will. It is so plainly unfolded that he "may run who reads." The Old Testament is in complete accord with the New. Acceptance is based on vicarious sacrifice. On the part of man active and implicit faith is required.
I. ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD IS MAN'S PRESSING WANT. All other needs are subordinate to this. God's favor converts man's hell into heaven. To bring men into reconciliation with God, all these visions were vouchsafed to Ezekiel. For this, all the sacrifice of animal life had been made. For this, the temple had been erected, and was now to be reconstructed. For this, the office of priesthood had been instituted. For this, every written revelation has been given. For this, God's mind has been deeply concerned.
II. FOR MAN'S ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD A MEDIATING PRIEST IS REQUIRED. The work of bringing men back to God is so full of difficulty that it must be accomplished by distinct stages. A priest serves many useful purposes. He is an instructor, by deed, if not by utterance. He is a sympathizing helper. He has near access to God, and interest with him. The priest must be, of all men, the least erring. His mission must be marked as specially sacred. Every circumstance which can lend sanctity to his office must be provided. He must be mature in years, experienced in human needs. His person must be free from blemish. Frequent ablutions must be practiced. Exact obedience to the commands of God must be observed. He must be a pattern man. God has been pleased to do for us through a Priest what he will not do without a Priest. And all the complicated arrangements of the priesthood were designed to impress men's minds with the gigantic evil of rebellion, and with the difficulty of regaining the lost place in God's regard.
III. FOR MAN'S ACCEPTANCE VICARIOUS DEATH IS NEEDED. The necessity for substitution for the endurance of penalty prior to reconciliation with God may be a necessity on God's rode as well as a necessity on man's side. The maintenance of the Divine government throughout the universe is an object of supreme moment. To make pardon cheap and easy would loosen the bonds of loyalty, and depreciate the value of righteousness, in men's esteem. As law had expressed the moral relations between God and men, law must be maintained. The penalty of sin must be met. Innocent lambs and heifers must die that sentiments of penitence may be deepened in the human soul. So valuable is reconciliation between man and God that it is worthwhile to sacrifice hecatombs of inferior animals in order to gain the end. This was an educational process, that men might perceive how devoid of efficacy any sacrifice must be, short of the perfect sacrifice of God's Son. Whether our minds can comprehend the reason of the atonement or not, it is clearly the will of God that restoration of man can come only by the channel of vicarious sacrifice.
IV. FOR MAN'S ACCEPTANCE A COMPLETE CYCLE OF TIME FOR PREPARATION MUST ELAPSE. "When these days are expired, it shall be." Day after day, for seven days, a victim slain was demanded in order to purify the altar. The Jewish altar had been grievously desecrated and polluted; hence a complete purgation was required. Not until the completion of the week could the priests proceed to present any offerings for guilty men. A cycle of time was to be spent in the work of preparation. In like manner, the patriarchal and Levitical periods were a time of preparation for Messiah's work. Until men have learnt the tremendous evil there is in sin, until they have learnt that without Divine interposition moral renovation is impossible, they will not value a Savior from sin; they will not listen to him. Therefore "in the fullness time" - then, and not till then - "the Son of God came forth."
V. FOR MAN'S ACCEPTANCE COMPLETE CONSECRATION OF SELF IS DEMANDED. The offerings appointed to be laid upon the altar were "burnt offerings." The burnt offerings must precede the peace offerings. By a burnt offering is meant that which must be wholly consumed. The sacrifice must be complete. A profound moral lesson is here inculcated; it should be written in capitals. Salvation means complete surrender to God, complete devotion to his service. If we keep back anything from God, we still grieve his heart, we mar our characters, we imperil our salvation. If one foe remains in the citadel, the city is not safe. One weed left in the garden may spread and spoil the whole. One germ of disease in the system may issue in death. Loyalty, to be worth anything, must be complete. In order to be saved, the Son of God must reign supremely in us, King over every thought. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD.
WEB: When they have accomplished the days, it shall be that on the eighth day, and forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings on the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, says the Lord Yahweh.