the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Gaebelein's Annotated Bible Gaebelein's Annotated
by Arno Clemens Gaebelein
THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS
The third book of the Pentateuch is Leviticus. It has been called by this name because it gives fully the functions of the Levites. The Hebrews have given the book the name “Va-yikra,” the first word in the Hebrew text, meaning, “And He called.”
The little word “and” connects the book closely with the preceding one. Its beautiful relation to the book of Exodus we hope to show later. The opening verses of Leviticus solemnly declare that the words contained in this book are the very words of Jehovah. “And the Lord called unto Moses and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel,” etc. In no other book of the Bible is such stress laid upon the fact that Jehovah speaks, and nowhere do we find so many repetitions of this fact. Twenty-four times we find the divine command, “speak unto the children of Israel”--”speak unto Aaron.” Thirty-six times occurs the phrase “the Lord spake.” Twenty-one times the speaking One says, “I am the LORD (Jehovah),” and as often, “I am the Lord your God.” No other proof is needed that the Lord is speaking on every page of this book. Moses received the very Word of God. He wrote the words as he had received them from the Lord. Any other belief is untenable.
And here we must add the testimony of the New Testament Scriptures. Those contain at least forty references to the book and its ordinances. When our Lord Jesus Christ, the infallible Son of God, was on earth, the book of Leviticus, as well as the entire Pentateuch, was known and believed to be the Word of God, and written by Moses. Our Lord set His seal to this, and repeatedly bore witness to the Mosaic authorship and inspiration of the Pentateuch, called “the Law of Moses.” How He confirms the book of Leviticus may be seen by turning to the following passages: Matthew 8:4 and Leviticus 14:3-10 ; Matthew 12:4 and Leviticus 24:9 ; Matthew 15:3-6 and Leviticus 20:9 ; John 7:22 and Leviticus 12:3 . Without giving other New Testament references we briefly mention the Epistle to the Hebrews, which contains so many allusions to the levitical institutions, the priesthood and sacrifices, their typical meaning and realization in the person and work of Christ. This remarkable Epistle alone, in its God-breathed unfoldings, bears an incontrovertible testimony to the divine, as well as Mosaic, origin of Leviticus. And to this must be added another fact. The closer study of this book will disclose the fact that the different rites and divinely appointed institutions are indeed the “shadow of good things to come.” The gospel of the grace of God is inseparably connected with the entire book of Leviticus. Nowhere else do we find the redemption-work of Christ so fully and so blessedly told out as in this book. The beauty and wisdom of all is from above.
An Astonishing Assertion
Leviticus, then, is by its own testimony the Word of God. The Son of God and the Holy Spirit in the New Testament confirm this testimony. The work of Christ and the gospel are foreshadowed in it and closely linked with the levitical institutions. In view of these great facts, believed and cherished by the people of God, including the most scholarly and devout, how astonishing is the assertion now so generally made by the boasting rationalistic school of higher criticism, that Leviticus is “a priestly forgery of the days after Ezra”! One is loath to refer again to this most dangerous infidelity which has become so widespread throughout all Christendom. Our times, however, demand a positive and outspoken condemnation of this modern day infidelity, which comes in the garb of an angel of light, with the claim of being reverent and devout, but behind which stands the dark and sneering shadow of the enemy of God. Higher criticism has consigned Leviticus to a date after the Babylonian captivity. According to these “scholars” the priestly laws were collected in Babylonia and were brought back to Palestine. Some even go so far as to claim that the levitical institutions were influenced by the institutions of Babylon. But enough of this! We do not want to fill our pages with the inventions of those blind leaders of the blind. If the book of Leviticus was not written by Moses, given to him directly by Jehovah Himself, then this book is a colossal fraud and forgery. Inasmuch as so many “theological” professors deny the inspiration and Mosaic authorship of Leviticus, this book has been branded as a concoction of falsehoods. Such is the logical consequence. We let another scholar speak on this matter: “While the Lord Jesus taught in various ways that Leviticus contains a law given by revelation from God to Moses, these teach that it is a priestly forgery of the days after Ezra. Both cannot be right; and if the latter are in the right, then--we speak with all possible deliberation and reverence--Jesus Christ was mistaken, and was therefore unable even to tell us with inerrant certainty whether this or that is the Word of God or not. But if this is so, then how can we escape the final inference that His claim to have a perfect knowledge of the Father must have been an error; His claim to be the incarnate Son of God, therefore, a false pretension, and Christianity, a delusion, so that mankind has in Him no Saviour?
“But against so fatal a conclusion stands the great established fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; whereby He was with power declared to be the Son of God, so that we may know that His word on this, as on all subjects where He has spoken, settles controversy, and is a sufficient ground of faith; while it imposes upon all speculations of men, literary or philosophical, eternal and irremovable limitations.
“Let no one think that the case, as regards the issue at state, has been above stated too strongly. One could not well go beyond the often cited words of Kuenen on this subject: ‘We must either cast aside as worthless our dearly bought scientific method, or we must forever cease to acknowledge the authority of the New Testament in the domain of the exegesis of the Old.’ With good reason does another scholar exclaim at these words, ‘The Master must not be heard as a witness! We treat our criminals with more respect.’ So then stands the question this day which the first verse of Leviticus brings before us: In which have we more confidence? In literary critics, like a Kuenen or Wellhausen, or in Jesus Christ? Which is the more likely to know with certainty whether the law of Leviticus is a revelation from God or not?
“The devout Christian, who through the grace of the crucified and risen Lord of whom Moses, in the law, and the prophets did write, and who has ‘tasted the good word of God,’ will not long hesitate for an answer.” (S.H. Kellogg, Leviticus.)
To this we say, heartily, “Amen,” if these critics, whose real difficulty is the “puffed up head” and “the empty heart” were to turn in humility of mind and in dependence upon the Spirit of God to the Word itself, casting their “little learning” to the winds, they would soon learn the wisdom of God and repent of their foolishness.
The Message of Leviticus
We have pointed out the fact that Leviticus has in itself the unmistakable imprint of divine revelation. What then is its message? One word gives the answer. The word “holy.” Ninety times this word is found in the twenty-seven chapters. And here we call the attention to its relation to the book of Exodus. We found in our study of Exodus that redemption is there blessedly foreshadowed. The message of Leviticus is that which is the outcome of redemption, “holiness unto the Lord,” “sanctification.” In the New Testament the sanctification of a redeemed people is revealed in a twofold aspect: Sanctification by the precious blood of atonement, and sanctification by the Spirit of God. The first is the foundation of all, and the second is the result of it. We see, therefore, that the book of Leviticus begins with the divine instructions concerning the offerings, in which the perfect work of the Lord Jesus Christ and His perfect life are typically foreshadowed. It is perhaps the most complete as well as wonderful description of His work and sacrifice which we possess. In their typical meaning the first seven chapters can never be exhausted. Then follows the divine account of the consecration of the priesthood, telling us typically that a redeemed and sanctified people, a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5 ), can draw nigh and enter into His presence. Access and worship are thus most blessedly illustrated. Practical sanctification in a separated walk and holy living is demanded by the different statutes and laws. And these typify the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer. All this, and much else, makes the study of Leviticus of great interest and value. It is needed in our days. The fundamental truths of the gospel, typically foreshadowed in Leviticus, are the truths mostly denied or belittled. And all that know the gospel, and rest upon the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, will surely find in this book new beauties of Him, who is altogether lovely, and learn more what His great work as our substitute meant to Him and what it means for us.
By far the greater number of the types of Leviticus have found their fulfillment in the life and death, the resurrection and priesthood of our Lord. Others, however, are still unfulfilled. This is especially true in connection with some of the feasts of Jehovah. The feast of trumpets, the ingathering at the full harvest, the Sabbatic year, the year of jubilee await their glorious fulfillment in a future day, when Israel shall be restored as a nation. These prophetic foreshadowings will be pointed out in the annotations.
The Time When Leviticus Was Given
Different views are held concerning the period of time consumed in the giving of these words of Jehovah. It is evident that Leviticus and Numbers 1-10:10 were given between the first day of the month and the twentieth day of the second month, that is of the second year after their departure from Egypt.
The Scope and Division of Leviticus
Leviticus containing the divine instructions for a redeemed people reveals a progressive order. A rapid glance at the contents will demonstrate this at once. First the Lord gives to the people, whom He brought out of Egypt, His communications concerning the different sacrifices. After these offerings are described, and the law concerning them is given, the account of the consecration of Aaron and his sons, his fellow-priests, follows, and how they began their priestly functions. The judgment of Nadab and Abihu for presenting strange fire is closely connected with this. God demanding holiness in His redeemed people comes next in this book. The account of the great day of atonement, when Aaron entered the Holiest for a brief season, precedes the precepts for the people of God in which their walk in separation from evil is so fully entered upon. The great day of atonement is the center of the book of Leviticus; everything in the book is related to that day. The next which follows, after the giving of instructions of a holy walk, is the divine appointment of the different feasts, and the laws connected with these feasts, especially the great year of jubilee. This, with a chapter on things vowed and devoted, closes the book. It is most interesting to note this last chapter, for it contains the consummation of the book, and foreshadows the time when God will receive what belongs to Him, and when He will be all in all. The words “unto Jehovah”--”holy to Jehovah”--”it is Jehovah’s”--occur fourteen times in this last chapter. (The word “Lord” in Leviticus, as throughout the Old Testament, is in the Hebrew “Jehovah.”) “Holy unto Jehovah” is mentioned thrice in the closing verses of Leviticus. And this is in keeping with the message of the book. Jehovah is holy; His people must also be holy. “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy” (chapter 19:2). The last verse of Leviticus states once more the solemn fact of the beginning of the book, that Jehovah spake all these words unto Moses.
This brief sketch shows the unity of the book of Leviticus and its progressive revelation. That it could be the patchwork of different writers or the product of after exilic days, as claimed by the rationalists, is impossible. A closer study of this book, so directly communicated by Jehovah to Moses, shows the marvellous wisdom of God. Only the omniscient Lord could give such instructions and institutions, which foreshadow His gracious ways in redemption. We shall aim, as much as this is possible, in our annotations, to point out the wonderful types and prophecies of Leviticus. Here the atoning work of Christ, the results for His people, their privileges and responsibilities are most blessedly outlined. Israel’s future restoration connected with the coming day when they shall see Him, who is typified by Aaron, when they shall look upon the pierced One, and their great national day of atonement dawns, the millennial times of blessing and glory and the great Jubilee: all is more than indicated by the Divine communications.
The Division of Leviticus
The brief outline of the scope of the book shows that the division is not difficult to make. As this book is so little known, we suggest first of all a careful reading of the book, noting the three general parts.
These are the following: 1. The offerings and the priesthood (1-10). 2. Laws and precepts (11-22). 3. The feasts of Jehovah (23-27). In our study we shall divide the book in a way which, we trust, will make the study not alone helpful, but interesting. We divide the book in seven parts, which we give first of all, so that the reader can have the contents of the entire book for a careful survey at his command. It will help much in the study of Leviticus to go over this division a number of times and if possible to memorize the parts and contents of the chapters before following the analysis and studying the annotations.
SPRINKLING THE BLOOD UPON THE MERCY SEAT (Chapter 16)
In the order of the sacrifices Aaron first killed the bullock, the sin offering which was for himself to make atonement for himself and for his house. This bullock is three times recorded as the sin offering for himself (16:6, 11); and wherever the atonement made by it is mentioned it is said to be for himself and his house (16:6, 11, 17). So closely are the high priest and his house linked on together; doubtless to draw our attention to the oneness between Christ and His house--only with a striking contrast also--Aaron’s bullock for sin suffered for himself and his house--he being himself a sinner, and his house composed of sinners _like _himself. Our High Priest knew no sin, and offered up Himself solely therefore on behalf of others.
(Throughout the Epistle to the Hebrews, the high priest and the people are alone alluded to; there is no mention made “of his house” Hebrews 5:3 ; Hebrews 7:27 ; Hebrews 9:7 . The house when spoken of is God’s house, and Moses, not Aaron, the head over it; the whole assembly of Israel being included in “the house” (Hebrews 3:2 ).)
Aaron next took the censer full of coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and brought all within the vail, and put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense might cover the mercy-seat upon the testimony, that he might not die.
The censer was apparently a golden censer. If we refer to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 9, a description of the tabernacle is given us on this day of atonement. No incense altar is mentioned standing in the holy place; but the golden censer in the holiest. The cherubim also, shadowing the mercy-seat are called “cherubim of glory.” On this day of atonement the coals of fire were moved from off the incense altar, and the golden censer being filled with them was carried within the vail. For the time therefore, the incense altar was inactive, and is not alluded to probably on that account in the ninth chapter of Hebrews. Jehovah appeared in the cloud upon the mercy-seat--the cloud of glory--and this may be the reason why the cherubim are called “cherubim of glory.” Aaron notwithstanding the washing of his flesh, and the linen garments with which he was clothed, could not enter the holiest with the blood of atonement unless he could personally shelter himself under a cloud of incense. A perfume, not his own, but provided according to minute directions given by God.
Two epithets are especially attached to the incense, “Pure,” and “holy”--and it was to be holy for the Lord (Exodus 30:35 ; Exodus 30:37 ). The frankincense, which was one ingredient of the incense, betokened purity. The word “pure” is connected with it (Exodus 30:34 ; Leviticus 24:7 ), and the Hebrew word _levohnah has the appropriate signification of whiteness. One of the Hebrew words for the moon is almost the same as that for frankincense--”fair as the moon” (Song of Solomon 6:10 ). There is one of whom it is truly said, “Thou art fairer than the children of men”; whose unsullied purity formed a wondrous contrast with every other human being. A purity, a righteousness so made manifest upon the cross that even a Roman centurion exclaimed, “Certainly this was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47 ). The cloud of incense beaten small, as it wafted itself up to God, attracted with its singular perfume that Gentile soldier. Purity and holiness are not to be found here except in one whose graces were fully displayed before God.
The incense was compounded of three sweet spices besides the frankincense, “stacte, onycha, and galbanum.” The two last are not known; but the stacte is manifestly derived from a word signifying “to drop,” both in the Hebrew, and in the Greek translation. A sweet spice that spontaneously dropped from the tree which produced it. Another emblem of the grace of the Lord Jesus, the Son of Man. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. His paths dropped fatness; wherever He went, true love, sympathy, and pity flowed from His heart towards the weak, the weary, and the afflicted. He was the true Man in the midst of falsehood and deceit in human beings all around Him. True in His affection; true in His words; true in His sympathies; true in His rebukes of evil as well as in His forgiveness of sin. It is blessed to turn from the hypocrisies of our own hearts, and of men around us, and contemplate Him “who did no violence,” “neither was guile found in His mouth” (Isaiah 53:9 ; 1 Peter 2:22 ). There was no effort in Him; He simply lived, manifesting life in all He did and said. There was no affectation of spirituality; He was what He appeared to be. Thus His words and ways were not forced. His sanctity was not assumed. He had nothing to lay aside when He came into the presence of others. He put on nothing to gain their admiration. He was always Himself, living in the presence of God, ever pleasing God. Blessed contrast with men who have to assume religiousness to hide their own evil, who think that roughness is sincerity, and who are unnatural oft-times even in the very presence of God.
The incense “tempered together pure and holy” may have reference to the sweet fragrance which the Man Christ Jesus ever presented to God. The Israelites were forbidden to make a perfume like it, “to smell thereto.” Christ is not to be imitated by a false humility to gratify one’s own self-conceit. There may be a shew of wisdom and humility by which men satisfy their own flesh, but this is like an imitation of the holy perfume to smell thereto. If we are imitators indeed of Him we must first have been washed in His precious blood, and be born of God. To follow Him would involve self-crucifixion instead of self admiration,
The golden censer was filled with burning coals, and Aaron’s hands were filled with incense. The vessel that held the fire--type of the holiness of God--was full. The altar from which that fire had originally been taken was a place where holiness of God was exhibited in no scanty measure; and the censer was also filled, that in the very holiest itself that consuming fire might again be presented according to the divine estimate.
The high priest’s hands were also full of sweet incense. He had to grasp that holy compound to the full extent of his ability, that his filled hands might answer to the filled censer. He then put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the cloud of the incense covered the mercy-seat, and mingled with the cloud of glory upon the mercy-seat, in which Jehovah appeared.
We must here draw a contrast betwixt Aaron and Christ. The Lord Jesus presented Himself to God on the morning of His resurrection--called of God an High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek. His entrance into heaven itself was like the bringing in of fresh incense before God; for He entered on the ground of His perfect obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. God had been glorified in Him, on that very earth where God had been so dishonored by man; and when for the first time a Man stood in the presence of the glory of God before “the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,” a cloud of human fragrance (may we not say?) mingled itself with the cloud of divine glory. What a wondrous addition to the heaven of heavens! What an added glory was the entrance of the risen man there for the first time as the risen man--a man able to stand before God on the ground of His own righteousness, His own obedience, His own purity, His own holiness; and also able to say to God, “I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.”
May we not with reverence contemplate this resurrection of Jesus, and His thus presenting Himself before God in heaven itself, as a marvellous change in the economy of the heavens? One who bore the likeness of the creature, standing in the midst of the throne of the Most High in such nearness to God? What indeed has God wrought! What marvels has He accomplished through His blessed Son!
Aaron next took of the blood of the bullock and sprinkled it with his finger upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat, seven times. So also he did with the blood of the goat, the sin offering for the people. Having sheltered himself under the cloud of incense, he was able to bring this record of death, the blood, and sprinkle it under the glory of God upon the mercy-seat, and upon the ground before the mercy-seat; first by way of atonement for himself and his house; and next on behalf of the people.
What a singular ritual this. The emblem of death placed where God in His glory manifested Himself. What a wondrous coming together of things in themselves opposed to one another. A record of life poured out on account of sin, brought into the holy of holies. And yet how this shadowy ritual portrays to us the truth in which our souls rejoice. The great enigma of truth solved to faith in the death of God’s Son.
it was said of the Aaronic high priest that “he entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others,” (Hebrews 9:25 ) or, as it might be rendered, strange or foreign blood (_allotrios,) seeing there was no affinity between the blood of a bullock, and a goat, and himself, a human being. It is written of Christ that “He by his own (idiou) blood entered in once into the holy places,” (Hebrews 9:12 ) and the word “His own” is again repeated (Hebrews 13:12 ).
Aaron had to make atonement for himself as well as for his house. His own blood would have been of no avail for others, or for himself, for he was a sinner. Our High Priest is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens”; and what He is now in the glory that He was when on earth, as far as regards holiness and harmlessness. Free from all human infirmity--the Son--who offered up Himself.
Aaron had to sprinkle the mercy-seat eastward, because his approach into the holiest was from the east, and he had to sprinkle before the mercy-seat, to establish a footing for himself before God; for his own feet would have defiled the ground before the mercy-seat. The Lord Jesus has His own rightful place--the Lamb as it had been slain in the midst of the throne--and He enables us sinners by nature to enter into the holiest by His blood, “by a new and living way, which He hath new made for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.”
We have no threat of “lest he die” held out to us in our approaches to God; but our very way is a living way, made new in contrast to all other ways of old, and ever new with the fresh sprinkled blood, in contrast with the blood only sprinkled once a year. The sacrifice of Christ is as fresh in all its life-giving value, and in all its cleansing power today, as it was on the very day it was first offered. The blood of Christ has ever its full, and fresh, and living value, in contrast with the blood of victims which had to be renewed daily and yearly.
(The word translated “consecrated,” is as the margin of the Bible has it, “new made.” The word “new” is a remarkable one, literally meaning “fresh slain,” (_prosphaton), and is used by the Spirit of God apparently to mark the contrast between the way on the day of atonement of old, when the blood must have at once ceased to keep its value, because it became stale, and had to be renewed every year, and the constant fresh value of the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb just slain.)
Aaron had to make atonement for the holy place, and for himself, his household, and the congregation of Israel. “The holy place,” throughout this chapter where the word “place” is in italics, signifies the “most holy,” verses 2, 16, 17, 20, 23, 27. Called “the holy sanctuary” in verse 33. No one was to be with him, or enter the tabernacle until he had completed that important work of atonement. Atonement properly speaking is all Godward; and is accomplished by one alone. The sinner who is atoned for has no part in the work. It is accomplished entirely by another. He is passive, and ignorant of the fact, until God reveals it to him by His Spirit through the Word. It is most important for the peace of the soul that this should be fully understood. And this type makes it very plain. Not one of the congregation, nor one of Aaron’s house was with him whilst he thus acted for them before God. They could not be aware whether even he was alive in the sanctuary, or what he had accomplished there. They were not in any attitude of prayer or supplication outside; but they silently waited in suspense till he came out; then they knew he had fulfilled all God’s requirements; this being proved by the fact that he was alive.
The whole work of atonement, from beginning to end, has been accomplished by Christ alone; whether we look at the commencement of the work in the shedding of His blood on the cross, or at its completion in His resurrection as the great High Priest, and entering in, “once for all, by His own blood into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12 ). This is emphatically stated in the Epistle to the Hebrews: “when He had by Himself purged our sins,” Hebrews 1:3 ; “this He did once when He offered up Himself,” Hebrews 7:27 ; “He hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” Hebrews 9:26 . Alone upon the cross, the Lamb of God slain on account of sin. Alone in resurrection, the firstfruits of them that slept. Alone in the holiest with God, the great High Priest. He has offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, and has by Himself perfected the whole work of reconciliation which God committed to Him.
The sinner troubled in conscience on account of his sins, is not called upon by efforts of his own to reconcile God to himself. Every attempt of his own of this kind is the expression of an unbelieving heart, calling in question the full eternal redemption which Christ has obtained for us. He has to believe in a reconciliation accomplished. An atonement completed. A salvation finished. And that by the Lord Jesus Himself alone.
The “atonement for the holy place was because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of all their transgressions in all their sins”; or it might perhaps be rendered, “he shall make atonement upon the holy place, from the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and from their transgressions in respect to, or on account of all their sins.”
Throughout this chapter uncleanness is in the plural (Heb. _tumoth). Uncleannesses twice in verse 16, and once in verse 19. It seems especially to refer to personal defilements originating from man’s very nature, the constitution of his body, or from disease. Transgressions are also mentioned. Sin is that evil thing in which we are conceived, which renders us utterly unclean from our very birth; children of wrath by nature. The corrupt body is an outward evidence of the evil taint which pervades us. Our mortal flesh, moral as to every part; without a spot of it free from death and corruption, is a proof of what we are by nature as regards our whole being, unclean perishing sinners.
Transgressions are sins made manifest in direct acts contrary to the revealed mind of God. Atonement had to be made with reference to the uncleanness of Israel, and their transgressions. These two manifestations of evil indicating their sins.
The law had no full type of the entire corruption of man. One of the objects for which it was given, was to develop that corruption in overt acts: “wherefore then the law? It was added because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19 ).
“Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound” (Romans 5:20 ). It was “the strength of sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56 ). In the types therefore which form part of the law, we do not discover that great truth, that a man is so irremediably a sinner by nature as to need new birth, a new existence.
Perhaps leprosy affords the nearest type of the entire uncleanness of the human being. But even here the priest could only deal with the manifestations of the disease. In interpreting these shadows therefore we have to go deeper than the types themselves. The atonement made by Christ does not only answer to God for us as regards our uncleanness, but also in respect to the unclean nature itself, in which we entered this world as children of the first Adam. Our unclean selves; and here we must be careful to distinguish between ourselves and our corrupt nature. The atonement made by Christ has not in any way cleansed, improved, or reconciled our flesh, our evil nature; for that is so irremediably bad that all that God could do with it was utterly to condemn it. In the death of Christ for sin, God has “condemned (damned) sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3 ). “Our old man is crucified with Him that the body of sin might be destroyed,” (Romans 6:6 ). The body of the sins of the flesh have been put off from us as regards all judgment and wrath of God. We (not our evil nature) have been reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18 ; Colossians 1:21 ).
This is the great aspect of atonement. For what troubles us most is the constant presence of an evil heart, an evil nature; an inclination for sin, which will make itself to be felt notwithstanding all our efforts towards practical holiness, and notwithstanding we are new creatures in Christ, and notwithstanding the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. As believers we have a right to look at this, the old man, and say, it has been crucified; it has been condemned once for all; it has been judged under the full wrath of God, poured out upon His own Son for us. And there is “now no condemnation” of any kind to us--no condemnation on account of this evil nature which we still know to exist--no condemnation on account of weakness, failures, ignorances, sins. The uncleannesses and transgressions of the people entered the sanctuary of God, and had to be met by the blood of atonement; or otherwise wrath must have burst forth from before the Lord upon the people, or God must remove His dwelling-place from the midst of them.
“The patterns of things in the heavens were purified with these (sacrifices), but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:23-24 ). (This is the only place where the word sacrifices occurs in the plural, when the death of the Lord Jesus is spoken of In all probability it is used to express the fact of His one sacrifice embracing every varied aspect of the many sacrifices offered under the law.)
Notwithstanding our manifest sins and uncleannesses, of which to a great extent we are unconscious, Christ has opened the way for us into the very glory of God--He has preceded us there with His own most precious blood--and now we can draw near with confidence, without defiling with our presence the holiest of all. We can confess our sins before the mercy-seat itself. We can bring our deep necessities, and find mercy and grace to help us. We can offer thanksgiving, praise and worship which God can accept because of the sweet savour of that precious blood. We can say, without fear, thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret (sins) in the light of thy countenance” (Psalms 90:8 ), because we know Christ is in the presence of God for us; His precious blood is in the very light of the glory of God on our behalf The sins which have reached to heaven have been covered; blotted out by that sprinkled blood. “We have come to God, the judge of all.” We have heard His sentence pronounced upon us as guilty and defiled sinners. We have seen that sentence executed in the death of His own Son. We have been justified from sin through that death, “justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9 ; Romans 6:7 ).
We have come “to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant”; the High Priest in the presence of God for us, ministering to us all the blessings of that new covenant. We have come “to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel”; the blood of sprinkling upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat. God said to Cain respecting the blood of Abel, “the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand” (Genesis 4:10-11 ). The blood cried for vengeance. The blood of sprinkling to which we have come, speaketh incessantly mercy and grace; answers every accusation; calls down ceaseless blessings; cleanseth from all sin; utters a voice which delights the ear of God; and which enables Him to open His hand and fill us with good. The word “speaketh” is a blessed word, in contrast not only with the blood of Abel which cried for vengeance, but with the blood of bulls and of goats, which spoke but for a moment, and effected nothing in reality. Whereas this blood speaketh on and on with a ceaseless still small voice of power, until the day of full redemption, when the resurrection of the Church in glory will manifest for ever its mighty efficacy: and the voice of the precious blood will continue to sound until Israel, God’s chosen nation, and others redeemed out of the world during the 1000 years reign of Christ, are clothed with immortality (Henry Soltau).
I. THE OFFERINGS AND THE FOUNDATION OF HOLINESS
1. The Burnt Offering (Leviticus 1:1-17 )
2. The Meal Offering (Leviticus 2:1-16 )
3. The Peace Offering (Leviticus 3:1-17 )
4. The Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-35 ; Leviticus 5:1-13 )
5. The Trespass Offering (Leviticus 5:14-19 ; Leviticus 6:1-7 )
6. The Laws of the Offerings (Leviticus 6:8-30 ; Leviticus 7:1-38 )
II. THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE RESULTS OF HOLINESS
1. Aaron and His Sons and Their Consecration (Leviticus 8:1-36 )
2. The Functions of the Priesthood Exercised (Leviticus 9:1-24 )
3. Nadab and Abihu: The False Worship and its Results (Leviticus 10:1-20 )
III. HOLINESS DEMANDED
1. The Clean and the Unclean (Leviticus 11:1-47 )
2. Childbirth Law. Inherited Sin (Leviticus 12:1-8 )
3. Leprosy. Type of Indwelling Sin (Leviticus 13:1-59 )
4. The Cleansing of the Leper (Leviticus 14:1-57 )
5. Concerning Issues: Man’s Weakness and Defilement (Leviticus 15:1-33 )
IV. THE DAY OF ATONEMENT: IN THE HOLIEST
1. The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:1-34 )
2. The Testimony Concerning the Blood (Leviticus 17:1-16
V. PRACTICAL HOLINESS IN DAILY LIFE
1. Different Relationships (Leviticus 18:1-30 )
2. Different Duties (Leviticus 19:1-37 )
3. Warnings Against Special Sins and their Penalty (Leviticus 20:1-27 )
4. Laws for the Priests (Leviticus 21:1-24 ; Leviticus 22:1-33 )
VI. THE HOLY FEASTS AND SET TIMES
1. The Feasts (Leviticus 23:1-44 )
2. Priestly Duties; the Light and the Shewbread (Leviticus 24:1-9 )
3. Blasphemy: Israel’s Sin Foreshadowed (Leviticus 24:10-23 )
4. The Sabbatic Year and the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:1-55 )
5. The Blessings and the Curse: Israel’s History (Leviticus 26:1-46 )
VII. VOWS AND DEVOTION
1. The Claims of Jehovah Realized (Leviticus 27:1-34 )