Leviticus 1:1, 2
And the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
The Book of Exodus closes with an account of the entrance of the Shechinah into the tabernacle; with the manner in which that sacred structure was enveloped by the cloud of the Divine presence; also that in which, by rising from the tabernacle, God gave his order for his people to march, and, by resting upon it, to halt and encamp. The Book of Leviticus is concerned with the revelations which God gave to Israel from this habitation of his holiness, in which the laws published from Sinai were amplified (comp. Leviticus 7:37, 38). The text lays down broad principles upon the subject of sacrificature, which is considered first in order, because of its great importance to the Levitical system, and to that more glorious system of the gospel which it shadowed forth. We learn that -
I. SACRIFICATURE HAS GOD FOR ITS AUTHOR.
1. It existed before the time of Moses.
(1) Its prevalence amongst the nations argues its origin to be prior to the dispersion (Genesis 11:9). How else can this fact be explained?
(2) We read of it in patriarchal times. The Hebrew patriarchs offered sacrifices (Genesis 12:7, et al. freq.). So did Job, who lived in the land of Uz, on the border-land between Idumea and Arabia, probably about the time of Joseph (Job 1:5; see also Exodus 18:12). So did Noah (Genesis 8:20).
(3) The first family had sacrifices which they presented when they appeared before the Shechinah, which flamed between the cherubic emblems set up eastward of Eden (Genesis 4:3, 4).
2. It could not have been invented by man.
(1) It was, in the nature of the thing, most unlikely to have occurred to any finite mind.
(2) If it did so occur, would God have accepted it? Does he approve will-worship? (see Leviticus 10:1, 2). What right has a sinner to propose terms of reconciliation to his Maker? His place is to throw himself absolutely upon the Divine mercy, and wait t,, "hear what God the Lord may speak "(Psalm 85:7, 8).
3. Here we have it authorized by God.
(1) "And the Lord called unto Moses," etc.
(2) So we find God directing Abraham respecting the manner in which sacrifices should be ordered in his worship (Genesis 15:9; see also Genesis 22:2).
(3) The "coats of skins" in which our first parents were clothed were presumably from animals offered in sacrifice. Animals were not in those days killed for food (Genesis 1:29; comp. with Genesis 9:3). Since it was "the Lord God" who clothed them, the institution of sacrificature would date from that time, and be a revelation of mercy immediately from him. God is the Author of reconciliation (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9).
II. IT WAS PUBLISHED FROM HIS SANCTUARY.
1. There are revelations of God in nature.
(1) These are exhibited in our treatises on Natural Theology. Who can fail to see the Designer in the works of design?
(2) The Scriptures recognize this voice (Psalm 9:1; Psalm 19:1, etc.; Acts 14:17; Acts 17:27; Romans 1:20).
2. But these are evident only after the hight of them is given.
(1) We have no innate ideas. The Namaquans and other African tribes were found by Moffat, Ridsdale, and other missionaries, without a glimmer of an idea of God or of immortality.
(2) The traditions of the Gentiles were originally from a pure source, but became corrupted in transmission.
(3) There are no "deists," i.e., natural theologians, where the Bible has not been before them. They do not own the source from whence they derive the hints which guide them in their reasonings.
3. Sacrificature is not taught in nature.
(1) The book of nature was written too soon. The Creation preceded the Fall.
(2) That it is, is not presumed. Sacrificature is excluded from the creed of the deist.
(3) This subject belongs to the sanctuary. "And the Lord called Moses and spake out of the tabernacle of the congregation," etc. Even the Garden of Eden, where, we presume, it was first instituted, was "planted," and planted to be a temple for Divine worship.
(4) Yet without sacrificature there can be no acceptable worship. Cain, the deist, was rejected because he came before God without blood-shedding (see Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). Let no man think he acceptably serves God when he neglects the services of the sanctuary under the pretext of "worshipping the God of nature in the fields."
III. THE SACRIFICES APPROVED ARE "FROM THE HERD AND FROM THE FLOCK."
1. They are selected from the animals that are clean.
(1) They have the marks of cleanness, viz. parting the hoof and chewing the cud (Leviticus 11:3). But all clean creatures were not proper for purposes of sacrifice. Those of the "herd" (בקר, baker) are distinguished as the bull heifer, bullock and calf. Those of the "flock" (צאן, tson) as sheep and goats; for this word is used to describe these animals promiscuously (see verse 10).
(2) This reminds us of the purity of God, who can accept nothing that is polluted - "who will in no wise clear the guilty" - who requires purity in his worshippers (Psalm 24:3, 4).
(3) It points to the purity of the Great One sacrificed for us, covered in whose righteousness we are justified or accounted as just persons, and in whose atoning blood we are washed and made clean.
2. They are gregarious creatures.
(1) This feature is prominently noticed here - "herd," "flock." Man is a social being. He is set in families, tribes, nations, and even internationally united. Solitary confinement is amongst the most horrible of punishments.
(2) Hence guilt and depravity become hereditary. And as we have been represented to our ruin by our common progenitor, so by the representation of the second Adam we have salvation.
(3) Sin is dissocializing. Consider its fruits - Hatred - variance - strifes - murders.
(4) True religion perfects the social principle, centres all union in God. A universe tan meet in him. A universe can hold communion in him. The genius of religion is love. The heaven of heavens is love. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,