He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, so it can be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him." A most significant commandment, full of gracious meaning for those who observed it.
I. ALL ATONEMENT RESTS UPON FREE GRACE. "Accepted for him to make atonement." God sets forth the propitiation, declares his righteousness for the remission of sins. It shall be accepted, not because it is in itself an equivalent, but because a merciful Father accepts it.
II. THE VICTIM ACCEPTED PROCLAIMS THE CONDITIONAL NATURE OF THE GRACE. It is free as being unmerited, and yet it is the expression of a loving will, and comes forth from an infinite nature. God forgives because he chooses to forgive, yet he forgives by the method which he proclaims. The lower sacrifice points to the higher.
III. THE OFFERER'S FAITH IS AS TRULY NEEDFUL AS THE VICTIM HE BRINGS. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." The hand put upon the head of the victim signified the identification of the offerer and offered. Whether the confession of sins was included or not is of little importance. Faith is self-surrender. In all atonement there are three parties represented - the offender, the offended, the mediator. The hand of the offender sets forth his whole activity and conscious self. His connection with the victim is itself confession of sin and acceptance of the covenanted mercy of Jehovah. We lay our hand on the head of Jesus by the spiritual identification which includes the application of the mind to his truth, the yielding of the heart to his love, and the consecration of the life to his service. - R.
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."
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.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(H. C. Trumbull.)
(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.
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