Again the LORD said to Moses,
I. THE LAW OF THE BURNT OFFERING AS TO THE SACRIFICE. And we observe:
1. That the offering was ever upon the altar.
(1) The evening sacrifice was "burning upon the altar all night unto the morning." For the particular reference here is to the tally sacrifice of a lamb for the whole congregation.
(2) This was then followed by the corresponding morning sacrifice. This, together with the occasional sacrifices which were offered throughout the day, would keep the altar fully occupied until the evening.
(3) Thus there was kept up a constant "remembrance of sins" day by day, the year round, and "year by year continually." For the repetition of the sacrifices showed that "they could never take away sins." These could only be removed "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once" (see Hebrews 10:1-10).
2. That the fire was kept ever burning.
(1) This was not common fire, but came forth from God (see Leviticus 9:23, 24). It was an emblem of the Holy Spirit; and sometimes represented his wrath, sometimes his love (Isaiah 4:4; Malachi 3:2, 3; Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:3, 4; Hebrews 10:26, 27; Hebrews 12:29).
(2) God commanded that it should "not be put out." He will consume with the fire of his wrath those who quench the fire of his love. Even if we be not always offering sacrifices, love must be kept always burning in the heart (1 Thessalonians 5:19; 2 Timothy 1:6).
(3) The priests were instructed how they should keep it alive. They were to put on wood. On this to lay the burnt offering. So the Great Sacrifice was laid on the wood of the cross, when the fires of God's wrath entered into his very soul. The fat of the peace offerings was placed on the burnt offering. So the fire was maintained (see Isaiah 31:9). The fire was kept ever burning, to show that God's wrath could never be quenched until the blood of Christ should quench it.
II. THE LAW OF THE BURNT OFFERING AS TO THE PRIEST.
1. "Aaron and his sons" together are addressed. Verse 9.
(1) The high priest of the Law was undoubtedly a type of the "Great High Priest of our profession." When Aaron, the high priest, is here mentioned with his sons, the priests, the suggestion is that in his absence they acted as his representatives in connection with the burnt offering. So here they also may be viewed as types of Christ.
(2) The sons of Aaron, in their character of ordinary priests, represent Christians. In what they did, therefore, there may have been a two- fold typical meaning.
2. They attended the altar in their holy garments.
(1) These were composed of white linen. "His linen garment, and his linen breeches" (Exodus 28:40-43). They symbolized purity and righteousness (Psalm 132:9; Revelation 3:4; Revelation 7:13, 14; Revelation 19:8).
(2) As types of Christ in offering up his own sacrifice of himself to God, they would shadow forth his righteousness. As typifying Christians, they would foreshow how we must be clothed with the "robe of righteousness and garment of salvation" through Christ's merits, before our spiritual sacrifices can be accepted.
(3) Even when the priest took up the ashes from the consuming burnt offering to put them beside the altar, he wore his holy garments. This was proper, for the fire was still consuming the sacrifice. But,
3. He changed his garments to carry the ashes outside.
(1) He had to carry them forth without the camp. Was not Calvary this place of ashes (comp. chapter Leviticus 4:12; Hebrews 13:11, 12)?
(2) But they were to be laid in a "clean place." The tomb of Joseph was such a place. It had not been polluted by the touch of a dead body (see John 19:41, 42). Nor did the ashes of the world's Great Burnt Offering pollute it. They were holy. Because he was the "Holy One" of God, his body "could not see corruption" (Acts 2:31).
(3) The holy raiment was laid aside when this service was performed, to show that now, as far as the work of sacrifice was concerned, that was "finished" when Jesus expired upon the cross. Let us rejoice in an "eternal redemption," in an "everlasting salvation." - J.A.M.
The law of the burnt-offering.Psalm 119:160). It burns all night long — an emblem of the sleeplessness of hell, where "they have no rest, day nor night" — and of the ever-watchful eye of righteousness that looks down on this earth. Perhaps it was intended to exhibit two things:
1. "The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever," &c. (Revelation 14:10, compared with ver. 18). The whole camp saw this fire burning in the open court all night long. "So shall you perish," might an Israelitish father say to his children, taking them to his tent door, and pointing them, in the gloom and silence of night, to the altar, "So shall you perish, and be for ever in the flames, unless you repent! "
2. It exhibited, also, the way of escape. See, there is a victim on the altar, on which these flames feed! Here is Christ in our room. His suffering, seen and accepted by the Father, was held forth continually to the faith of Israel, night and day. And upon that type, the pledge and token of the real sacrifice, did the eye of the Father delight to rest night and day. It pleased Him well to see His justice and His love thus met together there. And the man of Israel, who understood the type, slept in peace, sustained by this truth which the struggling rays from the altar gleamed into his tent.
(A. A. Bonar.)
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