And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
This law comprehends a variety of particulars, which may be ranged under two heads -
I. As IT RESPECTS THE BLEEDING. The particulars under this head are:
1. The place: "Where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed."
(1) In the account of the sin offering (chapter 4), the place is implied rather than specified; but the position of the altar is described in the account of the burnt offering. It stood "at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation," and the burnt offering was killed "on the side of the altar northward" (Leviticus 1:3, 5, 11). Accordingly, Jesus "suffered without the gate," and Calvary was northward of Jerusalem. The evangelical teaching is that a sinner has access to God only through Christ, who declares himself to be the "Door" and the "Way" (John 10:9; John 14:6).
(2) The association here of the sin offering with the burnt offering is significant. The burnt offering expressed adoration, and was offered for sin generally. The sin offering was more specific. Confession of sin should be particular, and faith individual, fully to realize the benefits of the common salvation (1 Timothy 4:10). Let no man trust vaguely to the provisions of mercy. Let the sinner see in the death of Christ the very image of himself, with all his iniquities and abominations, suffering and satisfying the claims of Divine justice.
2. The presence: "Before the Lord" (verse 25).
(1) This means more than being in the presence of One who is omnipresent. There was a manifestation of a special presence of Jehovah in the glory behind the vail. In a special sense Jesus promises to be present where two or three are met in his name.
(2) This presence of God was at once judicial and merciful. The throne of his glory was a propitiatory, but he was there armed with fire to smite with destruction any who dared to set him at defiance (Psalm 97:2, 3; Psalm 89:1-4).
3. The reason: "It is most holy" (verse 25). What?
(1) Not the sin laid on the sacrifice. Sin seen in the sacrifice is exceeding sinful. That which could cause the Son of God his agonies is horrible and abominable in the extreme.
(2) Not the sin, but its condemnation in the sacrifice. The sacrifice of Christ, by which sin is removed out of the sight of God, is indeed "most holy." Had Jesus not been "most holy," he could never have accomplished this miracle of grace and mercy.
(3) The blood of the sin offering, if sprinkled upon any garment, must be washed out within the sanctuary. And if the blood of the type must not be treated as a common thing, much more must we reverence that blood which cleanseth from all sin.
II. As IT RESPECTS THE EATING.
1. It was to be eaten by the priest. "The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it."
(1) By this ceremony the "sin" (חטאת, chattath) became, in a sense, assimilated in the body of the priest (see Leviticus 10:17; Hosea 4:8). This represented the manner in which Christ, becoming incarnate among us, appeared "in the likeness of men," and "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:6-8).
(2) The converse of this is in the Eucharist, in which we symbolically partake of the pure body of Christ. As he became assimilated to our likeness that he might expiate sin by the sacrifice of himself, so we now become assimilated to his pure nature that we may inherit the rewards of his righteousness. There is a mystical incarnation of Christ in his believing people (Ephesians 3:16-19).
2. It was to be eaten in the holy place (verse 26).
(1) Observe, not in the most holy place; that place within the vail in which the Shechinah abode between the cherubim. That was the type of the heaven of heavens, where the" angels do always behold the face of God" (Matthew 18:10). No sin could enter there (Isaiah 35:8-10; Isaiah 60:20-22; Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:14, 15).
(2) But "in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation," the type of the Church in its earthly aspect, which is entered by way of the laver of washing and the altar of sacrifice. It is while we remain in this world that we can avail ourselves of the provisions of mercy.
3. But certain sin offerings must not be eaten.
(1) The priests were forbidden to eat of those whose blood was brought into the tabernacle to reconcile withal (verse 30; see also chapter Leviticus 4:5, 6, 16, 17).
(2) In this the gospel is superior to the Law. Jesus has carried his blood into the holy place of the true temple, to reconcile withal (Hebrews 9:11, 12). Yet we may eat of his altar (Hebrews 13:10-12).
(3) Those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat of our altar, because the tabernacle law forbids them; therefore to avail themselves of the gospel they must renounce the Law (see Galatians 5:3, 4). And their case is fearful who now attempt to make atonement for themselves, for they "shall be burnt in the fire" (verse 30). Such is the peril of those who trust to works of supererogation or to anything but Christ. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,