Scope and Divisions of Leviticus.

 As Genesis is the book of Life, and Exodus the book of Redemption, so Leviticus is the book of Sanctification. But sanctification is separation to God, and essentially connected with drawing near to God, whose "dwelling is in the high and holy place." From the beginning of the book thus God speaks out of the tabernacle, which at the end of Exodus He has consecrated by His presence; and the middle of the book shows us (though but for a brief moment) the way opened to Himself there.

But sanctification is twofold: we are sanctified in Christ by the blood of atonement — the sanctification of the epistle to the Hebrews (which in the second series of Paul's epistles fills the Leviticus-place); and we are sanctified internally by the work of the Spirit (as in the cleansing of the leper the oil was put upon the blood). The work of atonement is the basis of all, and by it we are brought to God; the Spirit of God fits us practically for His presence. Thus Leviticus opens with the detail of the sacrifices, the glories of the accomplished work; then shows us the consecration of the holy priesthood, who draw nigh; then opens the sanctuary for us; after this the practical holiness that is needed is made known; and finally, man is seen with God, as in the feasts which (with their accompanying matter) close the book. These are in fact its divisions: —
1. (Leviticus 1 — 7.) The offerings: sanctification in Christ; identification with Him in the obedience by which many are made righteous.
2. (Leviticus 8 — 15.) Association with Christ (the priests with the Priest) and fellowship resulting.
3. (Leviticus 16, 17.) The purification of the heavenly sanctuary and the earthly people: Christ appearing in the holiest and from the holiest.
4. (Leviticus 18 — 22.) Holiness in practical walk.
5. (Leviticus 23 — 27.) Man with God: the way and the end.

The beautiful completeness and unity of purpose manifested here need no enlarging on.


Division 1. (Lev. 1 — 7.)

The offerings: sanctification in Christ; identification with Him in the obedience by which many are made righteous.

The general purport of the book is so clear that it can scarcely be needful to say more about it. The connection of its five divisions is also plain. The first division occupies us at once with one of the deepest, most fruitful, and glorious subjects which could possibly be brought before us — the offerings, in which the whole heart of atonement is opened up to us; and not only this, but Christ in the perfection of His life as well as the wonder of His death — in the meat-offering. Here, then, we have before us what demands the most careful and the most reverential examination. It will not be strange if we give it much more than the usual space; and may God, who "only knoweth the Son," enlighten us and guard us from all that is unworthy of such a theme as this!

The offerings have their character in this, by which also they fill their numerical place, that they picture for us obedience in that which makes it truly such, the recognition of God as Sovereign, heart-felt recognition, the yielding one's self up to Him. In this, what we give up we find, and find eternally: it is the life that is really life, although in Christ we see it under the awful shadow from which we have been freed, just because He went into it.

This first division has two subdivisions, the first of which gives us the offerings by themselves, the second shows them in their relationships to the priest, the offerer, etc., it being thus in the first of these that God would concentrate our attention upon that which is so dear to Him, apart from all else. In the peace-offering, especially, perhaps, does this come out, where, although the very point of it might seem to be to show us man at peace with God through the offering, and at His table in fellowship with Him, yet these results are only seen in the second part, not the first, in which simply the offering itself is given, and three times over, in what seem almost identical words. May we earnestly consider what is in this way, with so much emphasis, brought before us!

Subdivision 1. (Lev. 1 — 6:7.)

The offerings themselves.

In the first subdivision, then, we have the offerings in themselves, five in number, of which one, the meat, or as the Revised Version puts it, the meal-offering, is not a sacrifice, as no blood is shed in it, no atonement made; the other four are sacrificial: and here again two, — the burnt- and the peace-offering, — are of sweet savor, the last two not — the sin- and trespass-offerings — though here also the offering of the fat is distinguished from the rest, and is in one case (Lev. 4:31) expressly stated to be for a sweet savor.

In the order of application to the need of man, that which we have here is reversed; the meal-offering being also in general the appendage of the burnt-offering — "the burnt-offering and its meal offering." It is very evident, therefore, that which we have here is the divine order, the other the human. Here, as we may say, the ladder of divine grace is let down from heaven; in the other case it is raised up to heaven. This last is also the order of the gospels in which we find again these four offerings, in Matthew the trespass-, in Mark the sin-, in Luke the peace-, and in John the burnt-offering. All this will come up for more examination as we go on with the book.

But there is a doctrine to which we are now brought in connection with these offerings which we must examine briefly before we enter upon the detailed exposition of them. It is the doctrine of the

We have had the thought presented to us in Exodus, just as we have had the offerings before us already; but it is in Leviticus that we come to the development of these. They could not have been treated of before without anticipating largely what we have now come to in the regular order of Scripture, always perfect and to be adhered to if we are to have proper apprehension of the truth it reveals.

In Genesis we had at the outset the effect of sacrifice in the acceptance of Abel. "He obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts" (Heb. 11:4). In the Lord's words to Cain an offering for sin is plainly stated to be God's way of acceptance for the sinner. In Noah the altar first comes openly in sight, and God smells the sweet savor and will not curse. In Abraham's offering of Isaac we learn other most precious truths. In Exodus, at the passover, the blood first assumes importance, and God declares, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." They feed too upon the lamb. In confirmation of the first covenant at Mount Sinai, the blood is sprinkled upon the people, but the character of the covenant itself necessarily affects the significance of this. Not till we come to the twenty ninth chapter of Exodus do we find the word "atonement" used, which in Leviticus comes into such frequent use as nearly to equal in occurrence all the rest of the Old Testament.

The word used for making atonement is kahphar in its Piel or intensive form. "The correctness of the generally accepted radical significance, 'to cover,' 'to cover up,'" says Kurtz, "is fully established from the related dialects." When however we ask in what sense we are to understand this "covering" there are conflicting views. Thus Kurtz again says, "Whether the word be understood in the sense of withdrawing from view, or of protecting from danger, the use of the word in other connections seems to show that neither of these interpretations can be sustained." Why should there not be however a use large enough to allow of different implications in different connections, as the idea of "covering" naturally would? It is safer at least to be content with this idea, and not insist upon a difference which may lead us astray.

To the idea of "covering," however, we must add the thought of "propitiation" — a "propitiatory covering." Thus Keil says, "The meaning 'to make atonement' lies at the foundation in every passage in which the word is used metaphorically, such as Gen. 32:20, where Jacob seeks to expiate the face of his angry brother, i.e., to appease his wrath with a present; or Prov. 16:14, The wrath of a king is as messengers of death, but a wise man expiates it,' i.e., softens, pacifies it; Isa. 47:11, 'Mischief (destruction) will fall upon thee, thou wilt not be able to expiate it,' that is to say, to avert the wrath of God which has burst upon thee in the calamity, by means of an expiatory sacrifice. Even in Isa. 28:18, 'And your covenant with death is disannulled' (annihilated) the use of the word is to be explained from the fact that the guilt which brought the judgment in its train could be cancelled by a sacrificial expiation; so that there is no necessity to resort to a meaning which is altogether foreign to the word, viz., that of covering up by blotting over. … The meaning of expiation which properly belongs to the verb kipper, is not only retained in the nouns kippurim and kapporeth, but lies at the root of the word kopher, as we may clearly see from Ex. 30:12-16, where the Israelites are ordered to pay a kopher at the census, to expiate their souls."

To this may be added that the Septuagint uniformly translates the verb kahphar in its primary application by exilaskomai, to "propitiate," a word which in the New Testament is taken up (only dropping the intensive ex) when we are told that Christ was "a merciful and faithful High-Priest to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Heb. 2:17, R.V.) Moreover, in their translation of kapporeth, the mercy-seat, they have set the example of dropping the "ex" and speak of it (more literally than our common English word) as the hilasterion, or "propitiatory." (Heb. 9:5.) Thus the inspired Greek confirms the meaning of the Hebrew.

In general, as we may see by Keil, the modern writers prefer to render "expiate," rather than "propitiate," though not refusing the latter. In fact both thoughts are in the word. As Dr. Wilson says, "This word conveys the idea both of pacification of wrath and of the covering of transgression." Three of the texts referred to by Keil are better rendered "propitiate" than "expiate." And the Greek word adopted in the New Testament is used with "sins" as its object, just as in the Septuagint, although the force of the word is to "propitiate." The Revised Version gives, well enough, "make propitiation for sins," but it necessarily disguises the fact that "sins" is the direct object of the verb. If we say to "expiate sins" we make less direct and positive the force of propitiation in the word. The only complete rendering would be "to make propitiation for sins by expiation."

The thought in the Hebrew word then is that of "propitiatory covering." Dr. Wilson adds to what was just now quoted from him, that it "does not seem to express of itself the full and adequate satisfaction for sin." But this is surely implied in the fact that as the covering for sin it really propitiates. It must really in the sight of God cover, — cover, so that God is propitiated by it: how far does that differ from making "full and adequate satisfaction"?

To proceed: — atonement is by an offering; even where, as in Num. 16, incense was used, or where in the case of extreme poverty a meal-offering was substituted for the true offering for sin, this character is always found. The need of insisting upon this arises from the contention that what is called propitiation is only reconciliation, and that man, not God, is the object. This is true, if we speak of reconciliation; false, with regard to propitiation: the two, although often confounded, are not the same. No doubt, our word "atonement" even had originally the force (according to its derivation) of "setting at one" or reconciling. That cannot be allowed to settle its present force, much less to dictate as to the Scripture doctrine, which assuredly is a doctrine of propitiation. The offering is to God — the propitiation Godward.

It is true that from the primitive meaning of kipper, God could not be the formal object. It is sin that is covered, or the sinner, and not God. It is not sin however that is propitiated or the sinner: if the thought of propitiation be in the word at all, the object of propitiation must be God.

And when we come to the New Testament, out of the only two occurrences of the verb hilaskomai, one expresses the very thought. The publican, praying in the temple, is made by our Lord to cry, convicted of his sin, "God be propitiated toward me the sinner!" The translations in general give "be merciful," but it is hard to understand why, when "be propitiated" is the natural force of the words, and the place in which the publican is represented to be is so necessarily suggestive of propitiation. In the temple went up constantly the smoke of sacrifice; the kapporeth, or mercy-seat, God's throne ideally, though for their sins not actually now, and to which his eyes were directed, spoke of it, as we have seen. And if the difference is insisted on as by some it is, between the thought and language of the heathen in this respect and that of Scripture, the more this difference and the importance of it are dilated on, the more impossible is it to suppose the lips of absolute truth putting into the prayer of an accepted sinner, words in their natural sense so plainly suggestive of a thought alien and derogatory to God, as they say this is of propitiating Him!

But if we are seeking things rather than words, the Old Testament is even from the beginning plain enough. "Put on incense and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them," says Moses to Aaron, "for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun. … And he put on incense, and made atonement for the people; and he stood between the dead and the living: and the plague was stayed" (Num. 16.) How vain to say that here there was no appeasal of the wrath, no propitiation of God!

When upon the numbering of the people by David, "God was displeased with this thing, and smote Israel," and when David cried to God in view of the angel's drawn sword stretched over Jerusalem, the "angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say unto David, that David should go and set up an altar unto the Lord in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. … David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt-offering. And the Lord commanded the angel, and he put up again his sword into the sheath thereof." (1 Chron. 21.)

The facts of Scripture thus abundantly illustrate its doctrine.

This, then, is the essential meaning of atonement or propitiation: we need not further anticipate what the offerings will now show us abundantly. What is in God's sight a "propitiatory-covering" and why it is this, will be apparent as we go on with the picture-lessons of the book of Leviticus.

1. The Burnt-offering comes first here, and the meaning suggested by its numerical place is evident. It is the only offering which altogether goes up to God upon the altar. "Burnt-offering" is more literally the "offering that goes up." It is the offering that is all offering,* — the typical offering, — GOD'S in the most eminent way: and correspondingly His delight is shown in it; the altar derives its name from it; the fire of it is never allowed to go out; it is the basis of the peace-offering (Lev. 3:5), and that with which and in proportion to which, the meal- and the drink-offering are directed to be offered. Every thing marks this as indeed and in the fullest sense, the first of the offerings.

{*So much so that twice (Deut. 33:10; Ps. 51:19) kahlil, which means "whole," is given for it.}

As connected with this it was, in contrast with the sin- and trespass-offerings, though not with others, and not at all times, a free-will offering. The common version of verse three must not, however, be quoted for this: the translation should be as it is generally agreed, not "he shall offer it of his own voluntary will," but "he shall offer it for his acceptance." Nor did it always depend upon his free-will, being in many cases prescribed, as in general following a sin-offering, and in other cases. Still, however this might be, the thought of a free-will offering is certainly what the burnt-offering presents. Nothing could make it so precious and acceptable to God as it being significant of full and entire devotedness. It could not have been else a whole offering — nothing kept back. It is thus what the burnt-offering psalm expresses: "Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not; mine ears hast Thou digged: burnt-offering and sin-offering hast Thou not required; then said I, Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God" (Ps. 40:6-8.) Here indeed Christ replaces all the legal sacrifices with his own marvelous obedience; and "by the which will," says the apostle, "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once." (Heb. 10:10.)

This unreserved devotedness, and to death, nothing bringing Him on earth, with nothing therefore to do on earth, no motive for action except the will of God, — this is what the burnt-offering expresses. How beautifully is it said therefore of the burnt-offering as of no other, "he shall offer it for his acceptance!" The exhaustion of wrath in the sin-offering might put away his sin; he might be free from every charge on this account: blessed as that is, it is not all that God has for us in what He calls "acceptance." This must be not a mere negative — nothing against, but identification with the glorious perfection of that obedience unto death of which He Himself says, "Therefore doth My Father love Me because I lay down My life, that I might take it again." Thus our acceptance — the favor in which we stand — is "in the Beloved." (Eph. 1:6.)

Now to look at the details of the offering: the usual burnt-offering was of the cattle — of the herd or of the flock. It was not to be a hunted, wild animal, but one which offered itself (so to speak) "at the door." The "pigeon" which was also permitted, was also domesticated, while the nests of the turtle-dove were all around in gardens and olive-yards (of course when in the land.) The offering must not be far to seek, or requiring craft or toil to secure it; it would not in that case truly represent the blessed Victim. If of the herd, it must be a male, unblemished, presented before the Lord with the offerer's hand upon its head, to be accepted for him.

There has been much dispute as to the meaning of the "laying on of hands." Its importance may be noticed from the place the apostle gives it in the "foundation" of Judaism, "the word of the beginning of Christ" (Heb. 6:1.) The margin is here evidently right, for no one could be exhorted to "leave" "the principles of the doctrine of Christ," — that is Christianity. Christianity on the other hand is the "perfection" to which, in contrast with the "shadow" of it in the law, Paul is exhorting the Hebrews to "go on." Accordingly in this "foundation" which they are not to lay again, nothing distinctive of Christianity is found. Christ Himself, the true foundation, is not named, but only "repentance from dead works, and faith toward God, and resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." These are things that remain of course as true for Christians as for Jews, but Christ as come and His work for sinners are not named. Thus as the apostle goes on to show — (Heb. 9), the conscience of the Jew was never perfected. Instead of the reality of what puts away sin, they had but the symbols, and it is of these we read in connection with, the plain present truths of repentance and of faith in God, and the truths of future resurrection and judgment. Between them, just where we need the knowledge of sin put away to confirm and fill out the first, and to enable us to meet in peace and confidence the future, the Jew found what? — a "teaching" — not "doctrine" — "of baptism and of laying on of hands."

It is "teaching," rather than "doctrine," for it is not of the underlying truth in these things he is speaking, but that in place of the full soul-enfranchising reality itself; there were taught ordinances — "baptisms" and "laying on of hands." The "baptisms" are again referred to and explained in Heb. 9:10, 13. The laying on of hands is only here. Both were sacrificial, the purgings by blood, but which could not satisfy the conscience; the "laying on of hands," by which the offerer dedicates the victim solemnly as for himself. It is his need, his faith, that is expressed in it. Hence, though there is not in this case any open confession or transference of sin, we see that it is implied; and when over the scape-goat the sins of the people are confessed and put upon its head, we recognize at once that that is only a voice given to the act.

It may be, and has been asked, however, why only then should expression be given thus to it? would it not be rather against the thought of imputation of sin being elsewhere expressed by it? Thus it has been urged that the goat "was not even put to death, but sent alive into the desert; in fact it was not a sacrifice at all, and proves nothing with regard to the ritual of sacrifice." To which Kurtz adds, "that a verbal explanation was thought necessary as an accompaniment to the act itself, is a proof that here, and nowhere else, the imposition of hands was to be regarded as a laying on of sin."

This seems, however, to be a lack of discernment. Rather is it that the exceptional treatment of the scape-goat, which is distinctly said to be (in connection with the goat which is Jehovah's lot) for a sin-offering, necessitates the explanation. We need to be plainly told that the laying on of hands in this exceptional case means what it means elsewhere, and accordingly this is openly declared to us. The meaning of the scape-goat must, of course, wait for exposition till we reach the "day of atonement."

The victim thus presented is then accepted as the atoning offering for him who brings it. We see that it is not only the sin- or the trespass-offering that makes atonement, but the burnt-offering also. And although so much is not directly said of the peace-offering, yet it is implied: for "the life of the flesh is in the blood," we are told later (Lev. 17:11,) "and I have given it you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls." We need not quote the rest of the verse, as the meaning is contested, and here it is not the place to examine it; but it is plain by this that wherever the blood is put upon the altar, it is for atonement. Thus all the sacrifices are atoning.

But for this the offering must be slain: for "without shedding of blood is no remission." (Heb. 9:22.) The very word here used for the killing (shachat) is sacrificial. In opposition to Delitzsch, who asserts that the killing "was merely the means of procuring the blood and offering the sacrifice, and hence it was not called killing, but slaughtering,'" Kurtz says: "This thought, however, is derived, not from the Hebrew, but from the German idiom, where the notion of slaughtering has certainly received such an application. And the fact that the word shachat is never used in ordinary life to denote a literal slaughtering for the purpose of cooking the flesh (tabach is the word generally used ought to have created some distrust of this attempt to define shachat. Moreover, we actually find this word applied to the slaying of a man, where there could not have been any other object than to put him to death, viz., for a crime that was thought worthy of death (e.g., Num. 14:16; Judges 12:6, etc.) … Its primary meaning was probably to throw down, to strike to the ground, to destroy, to lay in ruins. In the more developed stage of the language it became a technical term for the killing of an animal; from that it settled down into a special term belonging to the sacrificial worship, and thus acquired so definite and fixed a meaning, that people were afraid to apply it to the slaughtering of an animal for the ordinary purposes of life."

It is striking and blessed to see how God has fenced round this institution of sacrifice from the mistakes which nevertheless even those who are at bottom orthodox are falling into. Here the emphasis laid upon the slaying of the victim corresponds to the emphasis put on the "shedding of blood" by the apostle. It is killed in one appointed place, and expressly "before Jehovah." why insist upon this, if there were no special significance attaching to what is thus marked out as concerning Him and taken notice of by Him?

Indeed, if the eye were not off Christ, who is the substance of these shadows, how would it be possible to misinterpret in this way? That is above all the failure of those German theologians, who with their indefatigable research and abundant learning are leading so many at the present day: even the very best of them fail strangely, signally, in most important points; and that because, though they see Him in the types, He is not the central and sufficient explanation of them. At the best, they reason up to Him, not down from Him, and thus continually lose the very One they seek for. May He keep us from this, — our eyes ever and first of all upon Himself!

If we see Christ in the burnt-offering, how is it possible to say of His death, that it had no special significance? How the Old Testament itself rebukes the unholy thought! "For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people was He stricken; … when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. … Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong: because He hath poured out His soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and He bare the sin of many." (Isa. 53:8, 10, 12.)

It is this slighting of the death of the victim which has opened the way for much strange teaching as to the true meaning of atonement, and even to the denial of it altogether, as in the Swedish heresy of Dr. Waldenström. The meaning of the blood is separated from the thought of death, and turned by degrees into its opposite, because the "blood is the life." So it is, and yet the out-poured and sprinkled blood are not the types of life, but of death. This we must almost immediately consider.

The New Testament is abundantly plain. It speaks of the blood of Jesus fully and with emphasis as the type before us does; but it speaks also of the death of the Lord in the most distinct and definite relation to atonement, and as fundamental to it. Even Caiaphas' unconscious prophecy declared "that Jesus should die for the nation." (John 11:51). The Lord expands this and emphasizes it in the next chapter: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (John 12:24.) The apostle Paul tells us that "in due time Christ died for the ungodly," (Rom. 5:6,) yea, that He "died for our sins, according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3); and in Hebrews, the great storehouse of New Testament interpretation as to all this service, that "He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man," and that "for this cause He is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions which were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." (Heb. 2:9; Heb. 9:15.)

Is it possible that this could be forgotten in the type, so that the death of the victim should be meaningless, except as a means of furnishing the blood? On the contrary, the blood itself is only the witness and commentary upon the precious death which indeed has furnished it, and is thus fundamental to it.

But it is said, the death of the victim is not at the hand of the priest but of the offerer — although there might be, and were, cases in which the offerer and the priest were one. The fact is so, and deserves consideration; but the meaning is not, we may be sure, in the least a contradiction to the testimony of Scripture elsewhere.

It has been the thought of some, that Christ being both offerer and victim, the offerer slaying the victim speaks Of Christ laying down His own life for men. It seems, however, as if in that case it should be the priest, rather than the offerer. For he who brings his substitutionary victim to make atonement for him can hardly be a figure of Christ at the same time. Rather would it seem that the offerer in this act confesses himself as needing death for atonement; which the priest then takes up to exhibit in its relation to God, as being the one who can draw near to God for others, the mediator. He it is who now developes and presents to God — of course, for our instruction, — the value of this precious offering.

The offerer's work is thus the text, of which the priest's work is the sermon: and this explains very simply what follows, and puts death and the blood in their true relation to one another. "And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall present the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar which is at the entrance of the tent of meeting."

We must now anticipate what is only formally declared in the seventeenth chapter, but which has been already partially quoted, and must be fully, in order that we may be able to realize what is here before us: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." This is according to the common version, but there are some changes called for in it that we must consider before we have title to use it for our purpose.

And first, we have to remember that "life" and "soul" are the same word in Hebrew, and the German interpreters in general read "soul" all through. Says Oehler, "The real covering, that which atoned for the souls of the people, needed to be soul itself … for the unclean and sinful soul of the worshiper, God substituted the soul of a clean and guiltless animal." But there are insuperable objections to this view of the matter: it is too theological, too little scriptural. For while it is true that the Old Testament distinctly speaks of the soul of the beast, it never speaks of "clean and guiltless" as if they were qualities of the beast's soul, or could affect it, and never of covering the soul of man with the soul of beast.

"Clean" the beast was to be, and "guiltless" it necessarily was; but these are in different orders of thought, and not thus to be associated. The cleanness and the unblemished condition of the beast were both bodily, not soul-conditions, and in that way simply and evidently typical, not moral. Typically, they do not suggest the soul of a beast, but spiritual qualities such as could have no place in it. It is the eye that is addressed, taught by what can be put before the eye, and the soul is not that.

But the result of these views is, to ignore, or diminish to nothing, the death of the victim. If the soul of man is to be covered by the soul of beast (strange covering for it!), then some way, in the blood sprinkled on the altar, the soul of the beast must be supposed still to survive; And to justify this, we are reminded of the expressions "living water" and "living flesh" (in distinction from cooked meat — 1 Sam. 2:15). As Oehler asks, with Kurtz's distinct approval, "Can it be surprising, then, that the fresh, steaming, and still fluid blood should be regarded as blood with life and soul in it still?" And this is sought to be maintained by the rendering of the last part of the verse — "'for the blood expiates through the soul,' — that is, in virtue of the fact that the soul is in it."

Substituting "life" for "soul," for the reasons given, there can be no objection to translating with the R.V., "For it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life." The blood is the life of the body, and so represents it, and he that ate blood would be therefore cut off: — not merely "fresh, steaming blood," as these views would suppose, but blood in any way. The blood poured out is thus the life poured out — the symbol of death, not of existing life.

This, then, instead of separating in meaning death and the blood, brings them together, and the whole ritual into entire agreement and simplicity. The blood means death, and, as presented to God upon the altar, atones; for the altar, according to its meaning in the Hebrew, is just "the place of sacrifice;" and thus the death is declared to be and accepted as a sacrificial death.

On the other hand, Dr. Waldenström has carried out the separation between the blood and the death of the victim to the uttermost. "Notice," he says, "that the atonement is not ascribed to the blood by reason of the suffering or death which the shedding of it had caused, but by reason of (or through) the life that is or was in it … Not by the shedding of the blood was atonement made, but by the sprinkling of the blood. But what did this sprinkling signify? It signified cleansing or purging from sin, as the apostle says, 'Almost all things are by the law purged with blood.'" Strange it is that the very verse that he appeals to, if he had not stopped short before its close, would have been his sufficient refutation: — "and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Heb. 9:22.) Here it is evident that for him the apostle emphasizes the wrong point, and that he himself has confounded two entirely different things — the sprinkling upon the altar, as in Lev. 17, and the sprinkling upon the person, as when God entered into covenant with the people at Mount Sinai, or in the case of the leper. The "cleansing" he has in mind is an internal cleansing by a communication of life to the soul, (which he enters into at length elsewhere, as what is meant by it,) but the sprinkling upon the altar is incompetent to convey this thought; it is a cleansing from guilt that results from this, God accepting the propitiation made by the sacrifice.

Let us keep together what God has joined together, and all these errors are avoided, while the typical meaning of the ritual gains an absolute simplicity, which is itself a confirmation of its truth. The blood on the altar is just the witness of the character and power of the death which has taken place, and which is the central point in the whole ritual.

And this is still more evident as we go on to consider that from which the burnt-offering gains, as we have seen, its special significance — the burning of the entire animal upon the altar. Here, with those whose views have been before us, it is no longer in any sense Christ that is represented, but the person of the offerer himself; and the burning is the action of the Holy Spirit, by which he is sanctified to God! The two parts of the offering are related to one another, they tell us, as justification and sanctification.

Kurtz allows that by this interpretation the "unity of idea" in the sacrificial ritual "appears unquestionably" to be destroyed. It is so indeed; and we need not consider the reasons he advances nevertheless for this inconsistency. We have a sure guide to the right thought in the apostle's words, that "Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." (Eph. 5:2.) Now it was just this burning upon the altar, by which the sweet savor was produced.

It is surely a strange thought that the fire should typify the action of the Spirit of God. On the other hand it is clearly not of necessity a type of wrath. The incense and the meat-offering went up in fire, and the word for burning is the same word that is used for the incense, a different word from that which is used for the sin-offering, where the judgment upon sin is the prominent feature. Here, too, it is intimated, for the death of the substitute of necessity implies it, but this is not developed; rather, here in the place of sin is found that wonderful display of an obedience which, tried with fire, yielded to the testing of perfect holiness nothing but sweet savor. It should be plain that in this it is still the death of the victim which is the text of all this commentary here. Preceding this altar-burning, the offering is flayed and cut — not into pieces merely, but into its pieces. There is to be no hacking, — no disfigurement, but part distinguished from part, all opened to the light, the inward parts and legs, — the heart and inward affections, no less than the practical life, — washed with water to be the figure of the absolute cleanness according to the Word, which was then brought out in sweet savor as submitted to the fire.

Little can we speak of such things; yet may they not be lost upon us! may we with holy reverence consider this unique thing upon earth, the wonder and joy of heaven: the obedience of One who did not owe obedience, perfect in leaving His natural place where another would have been apostate, and whose obedience led Him into depths of unequalled suffering, through utter darkness into the light and glory of God. To us it is the pattern of that to which we are sanctified, but in the value of which we are also before God.

The gospel of John it is, as already said, that gives us this side of the glory of the cross. First, He delivers Himself up, when those who came to take Him had all fallen on the ground before Him: it is the Father's cup He takes, and no man taketh His life from Him. The word that is written of Him, this is what is supreme in His heart: at the entrance upon His ministry, when tempted in the wilderness, unmoved by bodily need to put forth the power which He had to make bread of stones, He proclaims the principle of His life, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God shall man live." On the cross He proclaimed His thirst, using indeed no miraculous power to release it, but yet as if to invite the compassion of the hostile throng around Him? No; it is not so: the principle of His life it is that prompts and sustains Him to the end. In the midst of concentrated sufferings He is master of Himself and of the circumstances; conscious that the predicted course is just at its end, but that there remains one thing yet unaccomplished, Jesus, "that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, 'I thirst.'" Then when He has received the vinegar He says, "It is finished." The glorious work is fulfilled: triumphant in the conviction, He has but to bow His head and render up His spirit.

Then we hear of a mandate which could not be executed upon Him: there could be no outward disfigurement even of His perfection; "howbeit one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and straightway flowed there out blood and water." The blood is witness of death, not life; but life in the power of atonement — "justification of life" — proclaims for men the acceptance of this precious death.

(2) We have yet to look at the grades of the burnt-offering presented here: grades they are clearly, and not, as might be thought, equal presentations of it from different sides. The bullock stands by itself in the first grade: not only is it the largest offering, but it is also that which typically most fully develops the thought of the burnt-offering. According to the apostle's interpretation (1 Cor. 9:9-10), the ox is the type of the laborer for God. The sheep speaks, as is well-known, of self-surrender: "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth." (Isa. 53:7.) The goat, on the other hand, as the type of the sinner, in our Lord's familiar parable, can only be the figure here of the Substitute for sinners. All these convey some true thought as to the great Sacrifice, and so it is with every grade of every offering. Nothing could be permitted any where but what was true and worthy; while yet some views may be more complete, and in the connection in which they are found bring out more or less fully the mind of God. Now that is apparently the case here. "The Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world" is so before our minds as the sufficient picture of the Lord's sacrificial work that there may be natural jealousy of the thought that there could be any higher type. We shall see perhaps more definitely before we leave the offerings to what specific form the expression links itself; but it may be easily seen that it is the effect in blessing that is spoken of in it, and that in what appeals most or first to man as a sinner, the removal of sin; and this is not properly the burnt-offering. The ox and the sheep differ in the thought associated with them in this way, that the latter shows us Christ as in the world meeting the evil in it that assailed Him, and overcoming it by patient goodness; the former carries us back to the thought of His entrance into the world as the fulfiller of the eternal counsels. It is evident which thought most connects itself with the type of the burnt-offering.

The goat again is very distinct from either of these. It expresses nothing that could be attributed to the Lord personally, any more than does the serpent lifted up by Moses in the wilderness. It speaks of the substitutionary character of the cross, which the burnt-offering has in it also, as we have seen; yet how far is it from expressing what is conveyed under the thought of "sweet savor"! Its association naturally is with the sin-offering, for which alone it is definitely prescribed, though only emphasizing what is a necessary character of every sacrifice: except as vicarious the cross could have no worthy or holy significance.

(3) When we come to the birds in connection with the burnt-offering, we are made to see clearly that it is fitness of relation rather than the character of the type in itself that gives it its grade in connection with these offerings. Here, for example, we have in the birds — the "birds of heaven," as they are commonly called in Scripture — the type of the Lord as a heavenly being: yet they come in as a lower grade, and evidently a smaller offering. Beautiful types they are, the turtle-dove and the pigeon, though it may not be easy to distinguish between them. The latter is the word most commonly rendered "dove," being the rock-dove or rock-pigeon (Cant. 2:14; Jer. 48:28.) It is the bird of love and sorrow (Isa. 38:14; Isa. 59:11; Ezek. 7:16,) and fittingly therefore characterizes the Spirit of Him whose love made Him a man of sorrows in an alien world. Its wings are again referred to in the sixty-eighth Psalm: "Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." The sense of the first part is disputed, yet the reference is surely to Israel in her defilement, now redeemed from her misery and degradation: silver wings speak of redemption; redeeming love has come in for them, and in the silver is the gleam of gold — the glory of God therein displayed.

Why then should this heavenly visitant be but so poor an offering in this case? In general, it seems plain, at least, that it is that which is permitted to poverty (Lev. 5:7; Lev. 12:8; Lev. 14:22,) or where the case is that of minor defilement (Lev. 12:6; Lev. 15:14, 29; Num. 6:10,) and usually a pair are commanded, one not being enough. There is indeed in the case of the leper an exceptional offering of two birds (here "sparrows," or small birds, not even doves,) but for a special reason into which we must inquire in its place; and this can hardly affect the matter. Why, then, is what is in itself so blessed here comparatively of less esteem? Is it not because in fact with us there is so little competency to prevent the very glory of the Saviour's Godhead from blurring to our eyes the full truth of His manhood, when His suffering, His conflict, or even the perfection of His obedience, is before them? And therefore, while God puts here His seal upon the truth, in itself so needful and so blessed, that the Second Man is from heaven," (1 Cor. 15:47,) He yet would caution us by the very place assigned to the offering here, that we must not allow this truth to take a place which is not its right place — to confuse what should be clear, to dull a glory which it should only intensify.

We cannot but gain some understanding here why the bird is not divided into its parts as with the former offerings. We cannot know the Son apart from the humanity in which He came to tabernacle among us; and here is just the warning of how for us the fullness of His manifestation may be dimmed. On the other hand the notice of the rejection of the crop and what pertains to it, may perhaps illustrate how the types themselves begin to fail us here. On the mount with God, the children of Israel saw "no similitude." (Deut. 4:15.)

2. The "Meat-offering" of the common version has been changed in the late revision to meal-offering, a change which is here preserved on account of its slightness in form, and yet sufficiency for the purpose of avoiding a difficulty resulting from the change in meaning of the first word of this compound term. In fact neither "meat" nor "meal" is in the Hebrew minchah, which means simply "gift" or "offering," and is used of Abel's offering as well as Cain's; but in the law is restricted to bloodless offerings, and often in fact to that part of it which consisted of meal. We may in these cases accept the term.

It is at least doubtful whether the meal-offering proper could ever be offered independent of an animal sacrifice. The refusal of Cain's offering would argue against it, and no example beside can be appealed to. The worshiper never came before God as one fit without atonement for His presence. If also on the other hand it may be said that the burnt-offering or peace-offering was not to be offered without a meal-offering, yet the relation of these to one another is clearly intimated in the expression often used, — "the burnt-offering and its meal-offering," which is never, and could never be reversed. The meal-offering is thus the appendage to the animal-offerings, and explicitly to the burnt-offering; and this apparently is the first point that its numerical place indicates.

The value of this we shall realize when the meaning of the meal-offering is ascertained; and this cannot be difficult. Christ's own words as to the "bread of life," — a truth perpetuated for us by the symbols of the Lord's Supper, — of necessity come into our mind as we think of what is the ordained portion of the priests of God. Moreover, as in the sixth of John the "flesh" is associated with the blood of Christ, so the cup which is the blood of the New Covenant is associated with the bread which we break at the table of the Lord. Thus the connection between the meal- and the other offerings is maintained in these, although not in the same sense offerings: they speak of the human, as the offerings do (though not exclusively) of the divine side. Thus the bread and the meal-offering present alike the "flesh" (or humanity) of Christ, and that in contrast with His "blood" or death. therefore Christ in all that was manifest in Him in His life on earth: His humanity, apart from death.

He is thus as presented to God the Second Man, essentially in contrast (though true Man) with other men, — with the world by which He was surrounded, and in which He was, as the result of this, the Man of sorrows. This among these offerings could not lack expression, — could not be merged and lost even in the amazing self-surrender of His soul to death. These two things also — His life and His death — are thus seen in their essential distinctness from, and at the same time in their relation to, each other. For, just because of what He was, Man, but the Second Man, in whom under whatever trial there was only and perfectly a sweet savor to God, there could be for us no part in Him, except through His sacrificial death. His own testimony is, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." The doctrine so prevalent of union with man in incarnation is thus stamped as false, even fundamentally. It is used in fact every where for the purpose of obscuring the true character and glory of the cross. It is not true that in incarnation Christ became "flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone." It is not true that He became one with all men by becoming man. It is we who by His precious death for us, and in the new place which He has assumed (not in the world, but outside it), become flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.

Thus the numerical place is most important. That only through participation in His death can we be partakers in Him, is its voice to us; while on the other hand those who are partakers in the value of His death find thus their place before God in Him, who as the Second Man is also the last Adam, Head and Representative of His people. Christ in the whole value of what He is and has done, is ours, the sweet savor in which we are accepted before God.

(1) The number intimates distinctly to us also this Second Man, in contrast with the first and with the world sprung from him; and this we shall find the characteristic teaching of the meal-offering. There are as usual different forms of it, the difference consisting not in the fine flour itself; but in the accompaniments and mode of preparation.

The fine flour has been characterized by another thus: —

"This meat-offering of God, taken from the fruit of the earth, was of the finest wheat; that which was pure, separate and lovely in human nature was in Jesus under all its sorrows, but in all its excellence, and excellent in its sorrows. There was no unevenness in Jesus, no predominant quality to produce the effect of giving Him a distinctive character. He was, though despised and rejected of men, the perfection of human nature. The sensibilities, firmness, decision (though this attached itself also to the principle of obedience), elevation and calm meekness, which belong to human nature, all found their perfect place in Him. In a Paul I find energy and zeal; in a Peter, ardent affection, in a John, tender sensibilities and abstraction of thought, united to a desire to vindicate what he loved which scarce knew limit. But the quality we have observed in Peter predominates and characterizes him. In a Paul, blessed servant though he was, he did not repent, though he had repented. … In him in whom God was mighty toward the circumcision, we find the fear of man break through the faithfulness of his zeal. John, who would have vindicated Jesus in his zeal, knew not what manner of spirit he was of and would have forbidden the glory of God, if a man walked not with them.

"But in Jesus, even as man, there was none of this unevenness. There was nothing salient in His character, because all was in perfect subjection to God in His humanity, and had its place, and did exactly its service, and then disappeared. God was glorified in it, and all was in harmony. When meekness became Him He was meek; when indignation, who could stand before His overwhelming and withering rebuke? Tender to the chief of sinners in the time of grace; unmoved by the heartless superiority of a cold Pharisee (curious to judge who He was); when the time of judgment is come, no tears of those who wept for Him moved Him to other words than 'Weep for yourselves and for your children,' — words of deep compassion, but of deep subjection to the due judgment of God. The dry tree prepared itself to be burned. On the cross, when His service was finished, tender to His mother, and entrusting her in human care, to one who (so to speak) had been His friend, and leaned on His bosom; no ear to recognize her word or claim when His service occupied Him for God; putting both blessedly in their place, when He would show that, before His public mission, He was still the Son of the Father, and though such, in human blessedness, subject to the mother that bare Him, and Joseph His father as under the law; a calmness which disconcerted His adversaries; and in the moral power which dismayed them at times, a meekness which drew out the hearts of all not steeled by opposition. … Such was Christ in human nature." (J. N. Darby, Synopsis.)

Upon this fine flour of the offering there was poured oil, the symbol of the anointing of the Spirit which, coming upon Him because of what He was, declared His perfection. It is thus the Lord Himself cites it as proof that there was no corruptible element in that which was given nevertheless to be the food of man: "Labor for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed." (John 6:27.)

But there was another side also to this picture: "upon the flour frankincense also was to be put, the white gum of a tree that yields it to incision and requires no preparation to fit it for use." These are all features which seem significant; and the frankincense, all of which was claimed by God, and went up in the fire to Him, clearly points to a life lived to God, and fragrant with His praise.

Of this offering, a handful of the flour, with all the frankincense, was burnt upon the altar for a "memorial" — a word only used beside this of the very similar showbread (Lev. 24) and of the jealousy offering (Num. 5.) A beautiful word in relation to this one perfect life on earth: will God ever forget it? Tried by the fire of God's holiness it was nothing but sweet savor. The rest became the portion of the priest, — the worshiper.

(2) In the flour, then, we have had the perfect humanity of Christ, at unity with itself. This first view of it is apart from its surroundings and the opposition of the world. It was fitting that we should first see Christ so: not as if it was mere comparison with others that made Him excellent; such indeed is mere human excellence, such was not the Lord's. Yet for this precious Bread of Life the world was what in the preparation of our food, the oven and the frying-pan and the cauldron are. As flour simply man could scarcely feed upon it: and so Christ even for us could hardly suffice us, if we could know Him apart from that concrete life of His which the gospels give, and in which the trial and sorrow which were His intimates, the heat of hatred, the fire of persecution, make sweet to our taste and satisfying to our souls the fruit of God's precious Wheat-corn.

There are three forms of the meal-offering in this way, each with its lesson for us. First, that which was baked in the oven, — as it is thought, a large earthen pot or jar, which would at least make the figure a more striking one. For the sufferings that are indicated here seem, as indeed in the other cases, to be from the world, in which He was as it were shut up; not open sufferings, — not from the hand of violence, but from the heated atmosphere of a place of strife and wars of the lusts which strive in the members, and of the will of the flesh at enmity with God. How terrible a place for the Son of God! And here, again, we find two forms: thick cakes, pierced, it is said, and mingled or made up with oil, and thin beaten-out wafers, anointed with oil. Whatever else is difficult in this, it seems plain that we have in the first, Christ as born through the power of the Spirit of God; and in the second, Christ anointed of the Spirit, — that is, as the holy One, the Son of God, or as the Christ, the anointed One, the minister of God. In both ways we can understand (though how little!) that there was intensity of suffering: perhaps the greater intensity, as brought nearer to it, may be pictured in the last case in the thinner "wafer," which the heat would more completely penetrate, although in the former also there would be special lines of more direct access indicated by the piercing of the cake.

Next, the pan seems to speak of open suffering, the outbreak of enmity against the Lord; and here the mingling with oil and anointing are both found: for it was undoubtedly when He came forward with the open claim to be what He was, that the hostility of the world became fully manifest.

The cauldron again speaks of the action of water, though the fire is of course outside; and here sufferings of another kind seem indicated, and, according to the usual meaning of water, from the Word of God. Doubtless the Word which guided his footsteps ever led Him on through paths of ordained sorrow, until the cup was taken from His Father's hand. "For I say unto you, that this which is written must yet be accomplished in Me, 'And He was numbered among the transgressors.'" "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels; but how then should the Scripture be fulfilled, that thus it must be? "

We have then the presentation of the memorial to the Lord enjoined as before, and that the remainder is for the priest (the worshiper) as a most holy thing.

Leaven and honey are both forbidden to be put into any offering made by fire unto Jehovah. Leaven we have seen already to be always characterized as evil, the "leaven of malice and wickedness," the ferment of the lust of the flesh, — the human will in revolt from God. Honey is a different thing, and not in itself evil, — the sweetness of nature, which may be tasted but which must not be yielded to, — readily producing fermentation also. In the loaves of the first-fruits presented at Pentecost there was leaven in what was offered, and on that account a sin-offering was offered with them: but on that account also they could not be burnt as a sweet savor on the altar. They are the similitude of the Church and not of Christ.

Salt was in meaning the very opposite of leaven, the symbol of that which opposes corruption, the type, therefore, of what endures, of the holiness which the "covenant of God" implies. A holy God can only go on with what is holy, and therefore salt is the "salt of His covenant." This was never to be lacking, therefore, in any offering.

(3) The meal-offering of first fruits stands by itself in a third section of the chapter, and must present some characteristic difference, and that it is first-fruits must imply the difference, which the number of the section, the resurrection-number, confirms. The first-fruits represent the new harvest, the revival of the buried seed, and the fruitfulness of death stooped to for victory over it.

It is Christ also who is before us still. The Church as we have seen, could only be pictured by leavened loaves, which could not therefore be burnt upon the fire; but this is burnt upon the altar. As in the first case it is anointed with oil, and frankincense is put to it, and there are beside peculiar features which speak distinctly of Christ. The green ears of corn roasted in the fire, recall the Lord's words to the women that bewailed Him: "if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" He alone was the green tree full of the sap and vigor of true spiritual life; man was dead, as shown in his alienation from the Life. Yet though green, the ears were to be "full ears," — no coming short could be admitted: they must be as unblemished as the lamb of sacrifice.

It is Christ, then, as the first-fruits, and yet not in resurrection here. The wave-sheaf after the Passover is that, — for that reason simply waved, and not burned upon the altar: all the significance of this would be lost if it could be applied to a type of actual resurrection.

There remains, therefore, but one explanation that seems possible at all, — that it is Christ who is seen, though down here, the representative of the harvest of blessing to come in through Him, but for which He must suffer! God gives us here to see what he saw in Christ in His path of sorrow and necessary separation upon earth: not simply the Second Man, in His own personal perfection, but as the beginning of the new race of men in whom shall be found His likeness, — the fruit so precious to Him of the travail of His soul.

3. The Peace-offering speaks of peace with God accomplished, on man's part reconciliation, salvation realized, the theme of the third gospel. Hence, as characteristic of it, the offering, instead of all going up to God as with the burnt-offering, or being simply given to the priest, as with the meal-offering, furnishes, as it were, a table at which God, the priest, and the offerer meet together. For if we have peace with God, it cannot be merely peace: God in the work of salvation satisfies His own heart and brings ours to Him. Thus the peace-offering is also the praise-offering, and more perhaps than any other the expression of the free-will of the offerer, while it is (along with the burnt- and meat-offering) a sweet savor to God.

In this chapter, indeed, it is only what the offering is to God that is spoken of; it is reserved for the law of the offerings to show us the priest's and the offerer's part in it; while all that constitutes it an offering is in the three grades of it, given three times over, with little variation, for He cannot weary of His Beloved.

It is upon the blood and the fat that emphasis is laid: the blood sprinkled upon the altar is (according to the canon in Lev. 17:11) for propitiation, although the word is not mentioned, the character of the victim's death being thus declared. The fat we have seen to speak of the energy of a will devoted to God, here specially emphasized as the food of the offering made by fire unto Jehovah — easily intelligible as what the flame would fasten on above all.

(1) The first grade here is as usual the offering from the herd. We have already seen its significance, and have nothing to add to it. It was to be burnt upon the altar upon the burnt-offering: acceptance in Christ is the foundation of communion with God, and this can have, therefore, no narrow range.

(2) The second grade seems to include both the lamb and the goat under the head of peace-offerings of the flock: there seems no difference except in the animal, whether lamb or goat, and the meaning of these has been also before us.

As has been said, Luke is without doubt the peace-offering gospel: it is that in which we find salvation realized, and man brought into the presence of God, as in the story of the prodigal so familiar and so dear to us. Upon the cross this character is manifest, where the prayer, "Father, forgive them," is the Lord's first utterance, and the thief is accepted and assured of paradise. "Salvation," "peace," and "grace," are key-words in the book; and the praise and worship of glad hearts ring throughout it.

4. The Sin-offering fills the fourth place among these offerings. The number speaks, as we know, of failure, and it is strictly for failure that it is provided: "If a soul sin through inadvertence." And on the other hand it is said in connection with this provision of atonement, "But the soul that doeth aught presumptuously … that soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he hath despised the word of Jehovah, and hath broken His commandment, that soul shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him." (Num. 15:30-31.)

This lack of power to atone for the gravest sins has been urged against the vicarious character of atonement as set forth in the Levitical sacrifices. Thus Dr. Waldenström declares, "God's ordinance concerning these sacrifices is such, that it excludes every thought of vicarious penal suffering. For, in the first place, sacrifices were never allowed to be made for other sins than such as were not to be visited by death or capital punishment. Thus, for instance, sins against the ten commandments were never to be atoned for by sacrifices. Sacrifices were never to be made for idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, adultery, etc. But if sacrifices were allowed to be made only for such sins as were exempt from death, or capital punishment, how then could any one think that the animal which was offered suffered the punishment of death instead of the offender? Why, his sin was not at all liable to be visited by the death-penalty."

It is not to our present purpose to show that there is in this a strangely inadequate idea of the range of the ten commandments. As to the rest he is right as to the fact that there was no explicit provision in the law of the offerings for the expiation of sins to which the death penalty was attached. Nevertheless, his inference from this shows a very superficial idea of both sin and sacrifice. There was, of course, every reason why it should not be permitted to a flagrant offender to avert the righteous penalty of his sin by the cheap offering of an animal sacrifice. The objection that “sacrificial expiation might have preceded execution" proceeds from a fundamental mistake, which has been already made evident, as to the character of legal penalty. As the law could not promise heaven, so neither did it threaten with hell — in the New Testament sense of hell. Long life in this world was the reward of comparative obedience: "Honor thy father and mother, that thou mayest live long in the land." And so "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" must be interpreted of literal death. This might not come as the penalty upon one specific act, or as an infliction by human hands, and yet be truly the penalty which the breach of law involved. Thus there could be no such thing as expiation before execution, because it would necessarily mean expiation so as to deliver from some penalty beyond death, for which the sacrifices of the law were totally inadequate.

Types of a higher atonement they were, and for that reason never to be confounded with that higher one, and the marks of inadequacy which they were allowed to bear upon them only made this plainer, not injured them as such. There were thus many cases in which the soul was compelled to look outside the sacrificial forms, and to say, "Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; Thou delightest not in burnt-offering:" "deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness." Thus where there was faith, a practical dependence would be induced upon that which the offerings only pointed to and themselves were not.

There was, therefore, a double reason for the fact that the sin-offering in Israel was professedly for failure, and not for every grade of sin. But the "wages of sin is death," — not of this sin or that merely, — and thus it will not raise any question with us, that for atonement in any case the victim dies. Here, indeed, the comparative littleness of the sin only preaches the more solemnly of what sin is to God! No ignorance ever avails to lessen the need or alter the character of atonement. Sin is sin no less because we are too stupid or too indifferent to recognize it as such, and God must bring us to His thoughts, not come down to ours. If "by the law is the knowledge of sin," we find that its types teach this as plainly as the two tables: the very atonement for sin proves that failure even in ignorance is accounted that by God, and for the least sin the wages is death, — the atoning victim dies.

It is upon the penalty of sin that this offering insists more strongly than any other, and this is indicated by its name. If the burnt-offering spoke of the perfect obedience in which we are accepted, and the peace-offering of the effect of Christ's work in reconciliation and communion, the sin-offering declares the judgment of God which the sin-bearer must remove by coming under; and thus while the three preceding offerings are all declared to be sweet savor to God, the sin- and trespass-offerings are not, as such. For judgment is not that in which God can delight, but that to which He is forced: it is His "strange work." And this is why, no doubt, the chapter begins as a new communication from the Lord with the accustomed phrase, "And Jehovah spake unto Moses." This we must go back to the first chapter to find, again. After this, we find it indeed at the beginning of the trespass-offering also, and even of the two parts of it, so that the division which it makes is not of equal importance in each case; yet on the other hand where as in the first three chapters, we have an unbroken communication, the contents of it are necessarily linked thus together in a special way. So it is then with the sweet-savor-offerings.

It is noticeable that while we have three grades of burnt-offering, and three (much less perceptible) of the peace-offerings, the sin-offering has no less than seven forms. This at first sight would seem strange and anomalous enough, plain as it is that just here we have not, and cannot have, the element of voluntariness apparent in the preceding forms. The burnt-, meal-, and peace-offerings constituted those which could be and were often brought as an expression of the devotion of the worshiper apart from any command; the sin- and trespass-offerings were imperative — the claim of God upon the sinner which he could neither escape nor diminish, nor even add to. Burnt-offerings and peace-offerings he might bring according to his means, but the sin-offering was one, never multiplied or added to, offered distinctly as obligation, not of choice.

The more remarkable is it, then, that the law itself admitted grades, most of which were apportioned to the station of the person whose sin was in question, but the lower ones permitted to poverty, and with a concession so great that finally even a meal-offering is allowed in place of that which alone could furnish the atoning blood. Here it is impossible, then, to deny that there are grades, natural poverty plainly representing poverty in spiritual apprehension, or in the riches with which it endows the wise of heart. And in these seven forms of the sin-offering we must surely recognize the complete provision which God has made for all possible need.

The epistle to the Hebrews reminds us of one distinctive feature of the sin-offering which it is of the greatest importance for us rightly to understand — that "the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high-priest for sin are burned without the camp." And the explanation is added, "Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate." (Heb. 13:11-12.) Why this necessary link between the place "outside the camp" or "without the gate" and the entrance of the blood into the sanctuary?

Let us take the last first as the apostle puts it, surely in order that we may find in it the key to the other. In the offering also it is put first, while, however, in the antitype the order must have been reversed. The didactic order is thus the opposite to the order of fact: to see the facts aright, we must reverse the order.

"The sanctuary" is here literally "the holy places," — the tabernacle as a whole. Only once a year, on the day of atonement, did the blood enter into the holiest of all. At other times it might be sprinkled before the vail, or on the horns of the altar of incense. The passage in Hebrews contemplates both of these. The regular place for the sprinkling of blood in connection with other offerings was the altar of burnt-offering; and it was there that God says He gave it for atonement: but where it was carried into the sanctuary it was not put upon the altar outside except on the day of atonement, (Lev. 16:18-19,) and then for a special purpose, which we shall consider in its place. Ordinarily, (and in fact even on the day of atonement,) the blood that was carried into the sanctuary was the blood which otherwise would have been upon the altar. The meaning in each case was in its appeal to God on man's behalf, and in the various grades of presentation we find it in nearer and nearer approach to God, sprinkled on the altar-sides, anointing its horns, passing across the court into the holy place, and finally reaching, in the mercy-seat, the throne of God itself. All through it is the same truth that is presented by it — atonement, or propitiation, — but with increasing emphasis, although its being the altar-blood is the essential point to be kept in mind. If it be not, the meaning is really lost, "I have given it you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls."

It is the blood of the sin-offering only which goes into the sanctuary, or, as the apostle explains to us, "sanctifies the people." Why that, when the fundamental sweet-savor-offering is the burnt-offering, and the sin-offering is not that? If the sin-offering is that in which the judgment of sin is what is specially enforced, then it is evident. The judgment of sin is an essential necessity with a holy God; its judgment fully carried out in the penal suffering of a substitute sanctifies those for whom it is borne, — i.e. separates them to God according to holiness. Thus approach to God is by the sin-offering rather than the burnt-offering: not that there is none by the burnt-offering, for it too is for atonement; each offering emphasizes certain features, none (in its full thought) omits altogether any; death and the sprinkled blood are found in all. But the marked features are for our instruction, and it is marked for us here that only the blood of the sin-offering enters the sanctuary.

We have not, however, yet reached the full significance of this, as is plain. For of the sin-offerings themselves, only one form could provide the blood that entered, and that was where the body of the victim was burned without the camp. This was the case only in that of the day of atonement, in the red heifer, or the first two grades of the sin-offering here. Lower grades could, however, lift the blood to the horns of the altar where the blood of the burnt-offering could not reach; and it is thus the culmination of the sin-offering character where the flesh is in this manner burned. If, then, the idea of the sin-offering is the judgment of sin which the holiness of God requires, it will be this, in the fullest way, which is shown in the burning.

And this all the details show: the very word used for it is not alah, "to ascend," "mount up," or hiqtir, "to consume as incense," but saraph, simply "to burn." The meaning of this is not, as Oehler supposes, to show that the burning is not sacrificial, but simply, as with what remained over of the paschal lamb, or of the peace-offerings, to destroy what could not be eaten! He must surely have forgotten Heb. 13. But it distinguishes between what was sweet savor and what typified or implied the wrath of God. It thus contradicts also the view of those who with still less propriety would make the fire every where a type of wrath. Thus the meal-offering, the incense, and the burning of the fat would be confounded with the burning here. Rather, the fire is the type of that holiness of God which if it try One perfectly obedient could only develop the sweet savor, but as against sin, or one made sin, indeed becomes wrath by the very necessity of its being holiness. Then it is on the ground without an altar, where, if the altar speak of Christ Himself as we have seen, the burning on the ground would signify that it is not now Christ in His own person, as it were, that is in question, but the sin or sinner with whom God is dealing. While the place "outside the camp," outside of what is in recognized relationship to God, speaks, like that "without the gate" of the epistle to the Hebrews, of distance from God, that real "forsaking" which in the twenty-second psalm we see to be the agony of all others, the one exception to all God's dealings with the righteous since the world was.

It is this that the passage in Hebrews insists on as the main point, — "Christ, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood suffered without the gate." Here the order of connection between the "sanctifying" or penetrating to the sanctuary, and the place taken by the Lord is clearly shown to us, — a place which gives its deepest character to the suffering. Nothing in all that makes up the full story of the cross could be unimportant, — relation to it suffices to give value to every detail, — and in what is most external a spiritual meaning may be found enfolded, — the life by which it develops in the soul. Here, "without the gate" of the city of God, what does it not speak for Him whose glory enlightens the heavenly city?

"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law," says the apostle again, "being made a curse for us." How is this shown? "For it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth upon a tree." (Gal. 3:13.) Here once more there seems to be what is perfectly circumstantial. Why should a man be cursed that hangs upon a tree? How many an innocent man might hang there! Here there is a vail of type after the manner of the law, and yet (with our eyes upon Him who alone is the key to all types) how thin is the vail! This man that hangs between earth and heaven belongs, as it were, to neither. "Lifted up," as if to invite the verdict of heaven, heaven answers not, nor interferes. How could the picture of utter distress be more complete? But "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so also must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:14-15.) Not die, merely, but be lifted up, and as the serpent! How plainly the sin-offering character of the cross comes out here! For there is no altar surely in such a picture: how least of all fitted to remind us of Him, a "serpent"! Yet He must be after this manner lifted up, or none could pass from death to life, — no sinner anywhere be born again.

How manifold the witness to this meaning of the cross! The outside place, the cross itself, and then as He hangs there, fruit of the ripened iniquity for which He dies, the pall of darkness wraps Him in full day, out of it the interpreting Voice, but in agony of appeal where there is no answer, "My God, My God! why hast Thou forsaken me?" Yes, "God is light," and this is truly the light withdrawn; the shadow is that of a more awful shadow cast inward upon the soul — who indeed can penetrate it?

This is the judgment of sin, not death merely, as if that were the whole of it: to assert that is to dishonor the Lord morally, making Him feebler than many who as martyrs have trod in His steps; and yet many make atonement to consist in nothing more than death. The type here with the other scriptures that we have been examining speaks plainly of man's full penalty borne, the awful separation between God and the soul, which is the outer darkness. And in this lies the power of atonement, that God in it is glorified in holiness by Christ taking our place in that which He had proclaimed the due of sin. He must thus come where we were, and the cross is as much the display of what sin is before God as it is the blessed witness of His love to sinners. The darkness in which we were was that of necessary distance from Him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity and who cannot look upon sin. For faith the darkness is gone, the vail is rent, as at the cross we see it, the precious blood in its power and value has entered heaven for us, and (what the law could never teach us) we too have "boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus." (Heb. 10:19.)

This, then, is the distinctive character of the sin-offering. When we have seen it, we naturally ask why then it should in so many grades of it be so little marked as in fact we find it to be. Only in the first two forms here is there the burning outside the camp; and elsewhere only in the offerings of the day of atonement and the red heifer. In the lower grades almost every other form of offering seems to be substituted for it: in Lev. 5:1-6 a trespass-offering; in the offering of the doves, a burnt-offering is brought in; in that of the poorest it is a meal-offering! How strange and like confusion all this seems! but in fact is it not true that, when we come to detail, numbers of believers even know not in what atonement really consists. Many deny all "penalty" in the death of the cross; many more confound the life and the death of the Lord together; many again speak of "equivalent" penalty as true satisfaction. How strange is all this contradiction as to what really puts away sin from before God! and of lesser differences there are many.

Strange is it still, perhaps, when we look at Scripture itself, to find in the plain teachings of the New Testament, a measure, may we not say, of reserve as to the full truth. Taught in the epistle to the Galatians, taught in the Hebrews, taught less openly in the gospel of John, while the doctrine of wrath-bearing is there, there is still not anywhere the full plain language we should expect upon such a point. That which is everywhere is rather Christ's death for us, the power of His blood, — in fact the language of the type is the common language of the New Testament also in this respect.

Some of the plainest speech is in the Old; as in the fifty-third of Isaiah; or in the twenty-second psalm, wherein the sin-offering aspect of the cross is to faith unvailed.

The truth is there, but not insisted on as we might expect: it is left for discovery, perhaps we may say, rather than forced upon notice. But why this is, the type before us will tell us also. Not surely that God does not desire that we should have the knowledge of it, but because we must grow into this knowledge, learning it as we learn ourselves with God. It can never be too well remembered that in divine things we cannot learn as we do in natural ones: we must learn of God, and for that must be with Him.

(1) We must now take up the specific cases, and here we find what is peculiar to the sin-offering, that the magnitude of the sin depends upon the position of the person who sins. This needs no enlarging on — it is an admitted principle in the estimation of sin everywhere. We must not be satisfied, however, to stop here: nay, if Christ be before us in these offerings, it would not be true to argue that the greater sinner needs a greater offering; His work is needed alike by all, nor has one a larger interest in it than another. We must distinguish thus between any moral lesson as to sin, and the typical instruction (always the greater) which has Christ as its object throughout. This is just where appears the immense inferiority of some modern methods by which it is aimed at, as the beginning of all true knowledge, to put you back at the Jewish stand-point instead of at the Christian one. The types all look forward; and the method is as wise, as if, to give you clear knowledge of the landscape, they should propose to show it you by night rather than by day. It is very simply intelligible, therefore, why one should often find more satisfaction to the mind even, as well as satisfaction to the heart, in the views of some unlearned Christians as to these things than in the tomes of many learned men.

Here, the moment we have Christ before us, it must strike us to find in the first place in the sin-offering the case of the high-priest. The day of atonement naturally occurs to us, when the high-priest does all the work; with the apostle's application of it: "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high-priest in things pertaining to God to make propitiation (R.V.) for the sins of the people." (Heb. 2:17.)

In making atonement it is clear that the high-priest had a place belonging to no other. As the high-priest, — the great priest, — the priesthood culminates in him, or still more simply and emphatically, as the priest, he absorbs it, as it were, into himself. He alone, as here, is the anointed, or (merely anglicizing the Hebrew word) the Messiah-priest. He alone bore the names of the people upon his shoulders and on his breast. He alone bore the iniquity of the holy things. His representative character shows itself throughout, and this is evidently what the apostle has in mind when he says that to be a high-priest it behoved Christ "in all things to be made like unto His brethren:" He must be in some sense one with them in order to represent them.

Notice: all men are not "His brethren;" there is no thought here of what has been before examined and rejected, — union by incarnation with men in the flesh. It is "of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold" (v. 16, marg.); and both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." (v. 11.) He calls them "brethren," because they are such, not as born naturally, but as born anew of the Spirit, and so truly children of God. Here is the principle of sanctification for them; and as they are the sanctified, so He is the Sanctifier, the last Adam, Head of the new race, Quickener out of death. Here He is found in His own place and with His own company.

The evident difficulty confronts us, however, in any application of the high-priest in this case to the Lord, that it is for his own sin that he offers. That this could not apply to the One who knew no sin, needs no affirming. Yet on the day of atonement also the high-priest offers for himself, without prejudice to his typical character in other respects. These defects are necessarily inherent in types, and had their use also in preventing real confusion between type and anti-type. Here also, then, the high-priest may speak of Christ, with this reserve as to a point which can lead none astray who know Christ, and which may even in some ways enable us (as with a darkened glass one may the sun) to see Christ better.

That the sin of the high-priest inculpates the people certainly leads us on in the direction in which we were already looking. It shows that He is already their representative, and it is in this character that Christ undertakes for His people. In this sense alone could the language of the Psalms apply to Him, where as in the fortieth He who says, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God!" cries yet "out of the horrible pit," "for innumerable evils have compassed Me about; Mine iniquities have taken hold upon Me, so that I am not able to look up: they are more than the hairs of My head, so that My heart faileth Me." This is the full reality of substitution, which the vivid words impress us with more strongly perhaps than any other words could do. It is the One for the many, with the iniquity of the many thus accumulated upon Him: "the Lord hath laid on Him" — caused to light on Him — "the iniquity of us all." (Isa. 53:6.)

To this the type of the sin-offering here brings us perhaps nearer than any other; while the reiteration of the unusual expression, "the Messiah-priest," seems as if it were given as a guard at once. So do we take it then: as speaking of the One who alone, as the last Adam-head, united upon Himself the sins of those who as new-born of God are "all of one" with Him.

A bullock is again the victim here, hands are laid upon it as before, and it is killed before Jehovah: Christ, priest and victim, needs, as in other places also, a double type to represent Him. The priest takes some of the blood and passing into the tabernacle, sprinkles it seven times before the vail of the sanctuary. This seems not for presentation to God, but to secure a standing before the throne, like the seven-fold sprinkling of the day of atonement (Lev. 16:14.) The presentation to God is rather by the anointing the horns of the altar of incense, the only place of communion at all ordinary times with the inner holiest. The rest of the blood in emphatic witness of the death of the victim, emphasized here as nowhere else, is poured out at the bottom of the altar of burnt-offering.

Next follows the burning of the fat upon the altar, just as we are reminded it was done in the case of the peace-offerings. The sacrifice is naturally, therefore, the same; and here we have an example of what we shall find all through these offerings, that they are by no means independent of one another, but pictures from different sides only of the same thing, each emphasizing some part of the truth, while none, perhaps, is altogether omitted. The slaying of the victim and the sprinkling of the blood bind all together. The burning of the fat of the peace-offering is a reflection in part of the burnt-offering, and here links both with the sin-offering. The flesh of the sin-offering is burned where the ashes of the other offerings are poured out, the character of rejection from the altar stamped thus on it also. Here, though in the midst of the sin offering, God would have us realize in the burning of the fat the sweet savor that Christ is to Him: as where we are told, that "He was made sin for us," it is directly added, "who knew no sin," — not unsuitable words surely, but most suitable; and so here: the lights go with the shadows and make the picture clear.

The burning of the bullock outside the camp we have already considered.

The sin-offering for all Israel is in its ordering exactly similar to that for the high-priest. The truth presented in it seems parallel or complementary to that. The assembly of Israel are, of course, the very people who are represented by the high-priest, and must stand, therefore, as in the last offering, for the "brethren" for whom Christ offers. We may notice with what perfection, suitably to the type, it is said at the close, as nothing similar could be said in previous cases, "and the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them."

I believe it is not the Church only here, as I once thought, but the redeemed generally; while on the day of atonement the distinction between the Church and Israel is clearly maintained. But the offerings here know nothing of dispensations.

The need typically of the present offering is to remedy the necessary defect of the last one. In that, it was the high-priest offering for sin which he accepts as his own. It would not do to leave this so, and thus the other side is now given. The high-priest is in his normal place, offering for the congregation; the atonement made by him there is, as it were, identified with the atonement made for them here, and the effect in forgiveness is made theirs.

(2) We now come to the case of the "prince" or "ruler;" and here it is natural to think that Christ is again before us. The same word is used of Christ in Daniel, "Messiah the Prince" (Dan. 9:25). He is the royal priest, or priest-king, Melchisedek; of that order now, and soon to act in that character also. If this "prince" does not speak of Christ, then we seem to have no clue to any typical meaning.

Furthermore, if we look at the next offering — that for one of the people of the land, we shall find almost as complete accordance with the present one, as in that of the congregation there was with that of the high-priest. The four offerings seem to fall into two pairs, the last three being also as plainly, though in a different way, connected with one another; and this is a not uncommon division of a septenary series, namely, into four and three (which is usual), and then the first four into two and two. In these two pairs also there is a parallel order of thought, — the high-priest and the assembly that he represents; the prince, the head of a tribe, or the division of a tribe, and one of the tribe, such as he represents.

There is surely, then, a designed correspondence; and yet looking, as we are doing, at the typical meaning, it is also evident that there is in this second pair an order of thought less congruous to the subject, as the offering itself is lower in kind, a goat instead of a bullock. The goat, however, is still in complete accordance with the idea in the sin-offering, speaking, as it does, of substitution, of Christ in the sinner's place. In the day of atonement, the bullock and the goat are both taken for the sin-offering, the bullock for the priests, the goat for the people. Representation is evidently the controlling thought of the sin-offering, and here the "prince" falls necessarily behind the priest, as indeed the individual does behind the congregation. The prince represents the people over whom he is placed, as responsible for them, but in government, not in mediation. True as it is of Christ that He is King, propitiation appertains to His priestly, not His kingly office: the truth is not in its place, and this is commonly the way in which error as to the Word of God arises, by dislocation of the truth.

It is not that the truth of priesthood is wholly lost, for it is still the priest that makes atonement, but this is simply official, not grounded upon that kinship to the "sanctified" which we have seen to be necessary to representation in this way. It is from the loss of this that on the one side we hear of general redemption in all its phases to complete Universalism; on the other hand, of atonement for the elect as such. Thus atonement becomes for many indecisive and uncertain, or narrowed so as to limit God's love by that which alone presents it in its fullness. Scripture rightly understood delivers us from both narrowness and looseness. Propitiation becomes for the people of God the full and perfect satisfaction which alone gives rest to the conscience, and yet is for the whole world upon condition of faith, all being welcome and besought to avail themselves of it. We shall have occasion to examine this again when we come to the day of atonement, in which so many of the sacrifices are brought together for us. Meanwhile, the prince and the individual Israelite here may well suggest those thoughts of atonement in which sovereignty of counsel and individual election — both true in themselves — control the doctrine unduly, banishing the full tenderness of priesthood, and the largeness of a love that goes out to all. Yet here a true substitution — the goat — remains, and therefore a genuine salvation. The flesh, however, is not burned without the camp, and as a consequence, the blood does not enter the sanctuary; for true oneness being lost, an "equivalent" penalty can be thought of, — not the actual, and really, therefore, not equivalent. The very idea shows what is lost, for what can the equivalent be to the wrath of God? Present entrance into the sanctuary is also lost, the old man not being completely set aside in judgment. But to enter into this would lead one too far at this time.

The sheep allowed to the Israelite in place of the goat is still a descent from the truth here, for in the sheep the full thought of substitution is now also lost.

(3) The last three forms of the sin-offering are plainly connected together by the fact that they are provision for the same offenses, only differing in this, that the last two are concessions to poverty. From the trespass-offering being mentioned in ver. 6, commentators have taken these cases to be trespasses rather than sins; indeed the law of the trespass-offering was supposed to begin with the fifth chapter. Kurtz rightly urges against this, (1) that the introductory formula of the trespass-offering is in ver. 14, while the present section is in direct continuation of the fourth chapter; (2) that the sins mentioned are in other places also given as requiring sin-offerings, while the ram, the only animal prescribed for the known trespass-offerings, does not occur here; (3) in the trespass-offerings proper, no allowance for the poverty of the person is or could be made, while there are unquestionably other places where this occurs in the laws relating to the sin-offerings (Lev. 12:8; Lev. 14:21). These considerations are conclusive, and the fact before remarked on, that the burnt- and the meal-offering are also found among these offerings takes away all strangeness from the occurrence of the trespass-offering. We are evidently in a doctrinal descent, already begun in the previous chapter, from the full truth as to atonement for sin given in the first two offerings, God in His goodness accepting the sinner coming thus, in spite of imperfect apprehensions of his need and the fullness of the provision for it.

As to that for which these offerings are prescribed, it is to be observed that in the previous chapter the sins are not specified. So to speak, the exact character of the sins is not the important thing, but that they are sins; and it is in this way that sin receives its most real judgment. Thus it would seem that in the specification here we have another evidence of the lower ground upon which we are. It is about this or that that the soul is troubled, — the specific character of the thing rather than the generic, and the idea of the trespass-offering introduced exactly corresponds with this; for in the trespass-offering we find the exact estimate made of the wrong done which has to be made up — the debt which has to be paid. The trespass-offering contemplates sin as injury rather than sin — against God's government rather than His nature. Both views are of course right, but the former is the more superficial, and if substituted for the other, is poverty itself. Just so with the “governmental theory of atonement," which makes the necessity of dealing with sin to be in the interests of good government merely. God must show Himself against it in the interests of good government, — true indeed; but He must show Himself for what He is, because He must be what He is, — the requirements of His nature are the deepest and most fundamental of all.

The offering in this case is to be either of a female sheep or of a she-goat, that which was most appropriate to the sin-offering coming last, for in the case of the true trespass-offering it does not appear. The governmental theory, in like manner, has no true substitution — Christ was not in the sinner's place. It has a substitute for penalty, not a Substitute under penalty: and yet this is not universally so; a happy inconsistency with some who present the trespass- for the sin-offering is that they present nevertheless the goat for their trespass-offering! Yet it is (whether sheep or goat,) the female that is offered, a lower thought perhaps even because the thought of fruitfulness is so distinct in it. This can be so pressed as to obscure the primary necessity for atonement.

In the next case we find an assemblage of contradictory thoughts: for his trespass in which he has sinned, the offerer brings a pair of doves for a burnt-offering and sin-offering together. The doves are already, as we have seen, the lowest form of burnt-offering; but here, (as where the heart is truer than the head,) save one, no offering fails entirely to be represented. But who can interpret aright the thoughts that crowd together here? One offering, as has been said, is wanting — alas! the peace-offering! how significant is its absence, where the cross of Christ is only seen as in the confusion of a dream!

Finally — for plainly we can go no further in this direction, — in case of poverty so great that even the offering of doves is beyond reach, — a meal-offering of fine flour, but without oil or frankincense, is accepted for a sin-offering. Here, at least, there can be no question with any that we have not God's thought of what is atonement for sin, — for even the blood that maketh atonement for the soul is absent — but what God in mercy can accept where man has no better. It is Christ, of course, who is trusted in, and trusted in as Saviour, though the soul may be so deeply ignorant as not to know that even His death was needed for atonement. God knows the need, and Christ has met it, even for those utterly unconscious of the depth to which He must descend for this. How blessed the assurance here that the cross it is that saves, not one's intelligence about it! Yet we must remember that ignorance of the cross and opposition to it are different things, though it be true that Peter, when he first heard of it, opposed. Here we must leave Him who knoweth the hearts to draw the line.

5. The Trespass-offering, as the governmental offering, occupies the fifth place. As already said, it is sin as injury rather than as sin that is contemplated, and thus the thought of compensation is prominent in connection with it: the amount of compensation due was to be estimated by the priest, and then a fifth part more added to it and given to the person injured; so that he was more than recompensed.

No one doubts that this is the peculiar feature of the trespass-offering. As for the rest, it was a ram in every case that was offered, but the manner of the offering is entirely omitted in this place. Further on we shall find that it was very little different from the ordinary forms of the sin-offering: here, all this is omitted, that our eyes may be fixed upon this special feature.

The estimation of the priest seems to include that of the ram: to make it the whole thing, attaching to the animal, as Hengstenberg imagines, a suppositious value, is impossible to believe. Think of God ordaining a fictitious compensation to a person wronged! On the other hand, the words certainly give the impression that the ram was estimated; and although this is the only case of such a thing in the sacrificial offerings, we cannot say that it is a contradiction in thought to this one. Otherwise, indeed, we should have to look at the compensation as something merely added to the sacrifice rather than as giving it its character. As it is, the offering becomes the restitution-offering.

If still we have Christ before us, the thought of restitution by the cross will not be difficult to understand or hard to follow out. The law of the offering divides into two parts, clearly distinguished by the "Jehovah spake unto Moses" which divides them, and no less by their subjects, — the first part treating of wrongs done to God, the latter of wrongs done to man. In both respects it should be clear that Christ has not only restored what He took not away, but overcompensated — added the fifth part more. This is the double tithe which the Egyptians gave to Pharaoh in testimony that Joseph had saved their lives, and that all they had was of Pharaoh's bounty. It is the witness of grace and salvation: mark, the overplus is the witness of this; for God could not be content with mere restoration of what had been taken away; He could not satisfy Himself with merely repairing the damage sin had done, — the disorder it had introduced. No; there must be for His people greater blessing, and for Himself a greater glory — blessing, thus, for all His creatures, as they behold it.

The failure to apprehend this is the foundation of much error in theology. It leads to a real degradation of Christ's blessed work, which is made to consist in merely canceling the evil Adam did, and completing that which Adam failed to do. But then Adam has to be made from the beginning a candidate for heaven, and law-fulfillment the means originally designed for getting there! As it has been said by one, "This do, and live," was written over the gate of heaven. A creature was to leave the place God had made him for and put him into, — was taught to aspire, when Satan had lost heaven by aspiring. All this, for many, has dislocated their theology from the foundation. Adam is looked at as "holy" instead of innocent; the image of God in righteousness and true holiness into which we are new-created is thought only the renewal of that in which man was created. And it is no wonder if, on the other hand, many should think of earth in a heavenly state, as the only heaven intended for us.

How differently does Scripture speak! contrasting the Second Man with the first, the old with the new creation. It is Christ who has opened heaven to us; manhood has entered it in Him; grace has made ours what God could never have proposed to us to gain by working: as children of God, possessors of eternal life; as indwelt of the Spirit, members of Christ's body; Eden but the type of the paradise of God; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ! Had Adam ever been invited to take possession of such an inheritance?

Godward also He has wrought, glorifying Him, as Adam could never have done. Where was His righteousness told out as in the cross? eternal love at the same time manifest in the Son of God bearing our sins in His own body on the tree! God and man in His own blessed person held fast in an everlasting embrace never to be sundered. Surely salvation is, by the whole fullness of what constitutes it that, an overplus every way of blessing and of glory.

This is the trespass-offering: one perfect Man in the depth of humiliation, lifted up upon the cross, has accomplished this. Manhood itself has been, in Him, raised from its fall to be the dwelling-place of Deity. The divine answer to the question, "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that Thou visitest him?" has been given in Jesus: "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor: Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet."

It only remains to show briefly now how the first two gospels compare with these last two offerings. Matthew's is, without doubt, the governmental gospel. Its theme is the kingdom of heaven, and Christ the King; while Mark's is ministry and the perfect Servant. In each case, the character is preserved throughout: even the forgiveness of sins in the former, as taught in one of the parables of the kingdom, is conditional and can be recalled; in the prayer taught His disciples we find "Forgive us our debts" instead of "our sins," as elsewhere; in the parables of the thirteenth chapter He is the man who buys the field, and who buys the pearl.

A difficulty in deciding between the two gospels lies in this, that at the cross, in Matthew as in Mark, the cry of desertion is found, and the darkness which it interprets. This in the offerings is characteristic, as we have seen, of the sin-offering and not the trespass. It only shows, however, that there is not the repetition in Scripture which we often imagine to be there. In God's governmental ways He must display His nature; so that there is nothing really contradictory in this. On the other hand, while in both the effect of the darkness endured is that it passes away — the vail is rent, — on the other hand, it is in Matthew only that His death is followed by the resurrection of the saints. But death is governmental, not the necessary penalty of sin. So too the threefold vindication of the blessed Sufferer by the traitor who betrays Him, the judge who condemns Him, and in the dream of Pilate's wife, is again governmental. Mark omits all this, in order to concentrate our attention on the great expiation being wrought, the fruit of which is seen, not, as in Matthew, in disciples bidden to baptize into the kingdom, but in the gospel going forth to men, with the power of the adversary broken down before it.

Space forbids further dwelling upon a theme so precious, and we must close here our comment upon the offerings in themselves.

Subdivision 2. (Lev. 6:8 — 7.)

The offerings in relation to priest and people.

But we have now to look at their relations to the priests and people, especially to the former. The laws here fall into six sections; the offerings in general taking their place much as before, except that the meal-offering for the high-priest takes here the one occupied by the peace-offering, and the peace-offering itself has the last place, as bringing before us that communion with God in which we find the rightful effect and conclusion of the whole.

1. The burnt-offering comes first, then, in order; and it is to be always upon the altar, an abiding testimony to Israel's acceptance with God. Typically even, this was only imperfectly attained in their case by lengthening out the morning and evening sacrifice, so as to merge them, as it were, in one. For us it is simple that the one offering abides before God continually, and we abide in the value of it, without possibility of change.

Absolutely necessary as the sin-offering is, and the only thing that can open the holiest, yet how different is the ordinance as to it! Except some special sin of the whole congregation called for it, there was but one sin-offering for all Israel on the day of atonement once a year. Nor, as we have seen, does it seem ever to have been voluntarily offered, or multiplied as the burnt- and peace-offerings might be, to any extent.

It was the duty of the priest to keep the burnt-offering with its sweet savor going up to God. The true sacrifice needs not this continual service; and yet it does not follow that there is nothing that answers now to this priestly work. God delights to have us remind Him (though He can never forget it,) of the work of His dear Son, and that we have here our occupation, and live in the fragrance of His acceptance. This is really the foundation of all practical holiness, as it is of rest and satisfaction to the soul. Christ is our righteousness before God: we are accepted in the Beloved; in Christ we are as Christ, even in this world. Here the perpetual sunshine settles down on us: it is the true Beulah land for the saint, where the birds sing ever, and the heart goes forth in perpetual melody. "There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us!" Here it is ever lifted up, for God turns not His back upon His Son: this day knows no decline. Well may our relation to the offerings begin with this transcendent blessedness!

2. Then we come to the meal-offering, — Christ personally enjoyed, the food of the priests of God. Here is full communion, the memorial for God, the rest for Aaron and his sons. But it can only be eaten in a holy place — in the court of the tent of meeting, where the fine linen of practical righteousness shuts us in from the world. Whatever is put in contact with this becomes holy, whatever we can connect with Christ finds indeed, thus, that He is sanctification; what cannot is leaven, and to be excluded.

3. What is the meal-offering of the high-priest in the day of his anointing, and which (like the burnt-offering,) is to be wholly burned, not partaken of? If we go back to the time of Christ's anointing, when at His baptism by John the Father's voice proclaimed His delight in His beloved Son, the gift of the Spirit was the seal of the perfection so declared. But to what did it testify? To the preciousness of thirty years of human life which in the inspired history has, it may be said, no place. What it was to God He testifies; He had lived in it to God in the common toil of men — a life of which it is natural to ask, Why should it be hidden from us? Gospels of the Infancy have been imagined even, to fill the gap and satisfy the need, but have only proved their absolute incompetency. It remains, and for us will remain, until we hear it perhaps in the speech of heaven, absolutely hidden, a meal-offering to God alone. If this be the true interpretation, as it seems, then we can understand why it is made with oil, but not anointed; and we realize the opposition of the world to Him, even before He came openly forward as God's Sent One in it. Half offered in the morning, half at night, it may show us His abiding perfectness all through, whether in sunshine or in shadow: things that test us equally, yet in such different ways, in Him bore equal witness to unchangeable goodness. Could these thirty wondrous years go without notice in these types? Yet it is here only, — nowhere if not here, — we seem to find it.

4. Where the sin-offering was not wholly burned, it was eaten by the priest, — the priest who offered it, and who typifies Christ Himself, sharing it with the priestly family. The eating has the same significance as elsewhere: it is the entering into that which makes atonement for God, hence of necessity into the sin itself as before Him. In Christ it was necessarily found when "bearing our sins in His own body on the tree," and in this way was part of the atonement itself, as Lev. 10:17 indicates; but the fact that the priests could as a whole partake of it shows that it is not to be limited to this. Daniel confessing his sin and the sin of his people was surely eating the sin-offering; and just such identification of ourselves with the sins of God's saints is a great need for all of us: a realization which the knowledge of the cross that we have as Christians will intensify, not in any wise lessen. Alas! the slight knowledge of God's grace may indeed allow a light treatment of sin, perhaps also a bitter judgment of it: a real eating of the sin-offering makes one as serious as tender: who can harshly judge when Christ has borne the judgment? who can treat lightly what brought Him to the cross?

Nothing could be holier than the sin-offering; and as in the previous case of the meal-offering, every thing brought into connection with it becomes holy. Imputed sin is not imparted sin. There is, indeed, in the case of the red heifer (Num. 19), what seems to argue this, but even in this case the ritual as a whole shows this not to be really so. And here the treatment of the vessels in which the flesh had been boiled was not because of their having been defiled, but that the holy food should not be mixed in any way afterward with common food. "It was possible to prevent this desecration, in the case of copper vessels, by a thorough cleansing; but not so with earthen vessels, which absorb the fat, so that it cannot be removed by washing. The latter, therefore, were to be broken in pieces, — i.e., thoroughly destroyed." (Keil.) This minute care as to the type should surely teach us how separate from every other thing is the work of the cross. Death there was not as death elsewhere: Christ was no mere martyr. To mix this wondrous work for God and men with any other thing whatever is but to degrade and desecrate it.

5. In the law of the trespass-offering we have supplied what with all the other offerings comes into the first part, — the direction as to the killing, the sprinkling of the blood, and the burning of the fat. They were left out before, as it seems, to fix our attention upon the specific character of the trespass-offering as restitution. Here, in what is indeed (what the whole book of Leviticus is often called) the "priests' guide-book," they are taught that for restitution there must be true sacrificial atonement: in government, God's nature must be declared; and this we see the gospels maintain so fully, — that what is in Leviticus absolutely distinctive of the sin-offering is in Matthew as much given as in Mark, so that it is even difficult to distinguish between them.

6. Lastly, the peace-offering fills the sixth place here. It is that which, in the bringing together God and man whom sin has sundered, displays His victory over it. There are three subsections here, the two last plainly marked out, in a way we have seen before, by their being distinct communications from Jehovah. In the first part, we find, in type, through the work of atonement, God and man at one, — peace which is not merely peace, but much more. In the second, we have reiterated the prohibition of eating fat and blood. In the third, we have the priest's portion in the offering.

(1) As has just been said, peace with God is never merely peace. God can never be simply not at variance with His creatures; there is in His nature no indifference, no neutrality; what He is He is with His whole heart, and, of all things, He nauseates lukewarmness. So to be at peace with Him is to have His love poured out upon us, — it is to be brought into His banqueting-house, and to be made to sit at His table: and thus it is pictured here. The peace-offering is the only one in which the offerer himself partakes of his own offering, and this partaking shows him not only brought into a place of acceptance, but in heart reconciled and brought nigh. That which has satisfied God satisfies him also: peace has become communion.

There are three characteristics of the peace-offering here, — a thanksgiving, a vow, and a free-will offering. It is strange that there should be contention among the commentators as to the meaning of these, as also that by some the higher character should be ascribed to the first, when the law itself so plainly decides otherwise. The "thanksgiving" is plainly the acknowledgment of some special blessing from God, while the "free-will" offering, on the contrary, supposes that nothing of this kind had roused the heart to remembrance: it needed nothing; as where one walks with God, and finds Him ever before him, walks in His light, rejoicing ever in Himself. It is clear which is the higher state implied, and which therefore is the higher character of offering. As to the vow, it is not so plain at first why it should be higher. The vow is supplicatory, was often dictated by the pressure of circumstances, is in the text distinguished from free-will offerings. Yet as addressed to Jehovah, the expression of confidence in Him in trial, He rates it higher than the simple thanksgiving. And this is evident, if we could not at all account for it, by the fact that, in the case of this as of the free-will offering, the flesh might be eaten the day after as well as the day of the sacrifice, typically implying more energy for sustained communion than in the thanksgiving-offering. On the third day even here, whatever remained was to be burned in the fire; and if eaten, it would be pollution. The contact with uncleanness also, if one went on with what expressed communion with God, would be grievous sin, as connecting His table with it. Reconciliation with God means holiness of life.

(2) The fat and the blood God claimed for Himself; and there was need to insist upon this where the people were thus encouraged to draw near to God. Man soon mistakes familiarity for nearness: God has therefore to insist afresh upon what is His due being rendered to Him. Life, as expressed in the blood, was His; and the fat, the will and energy of the life, was to be consecrated to Him alone. Good and needful it is, at the table of the Lord, to recognize that it is the Lord's: "the shout of a King is among them" must be characteristic always of the people of God. And so speak the dimensions of the eternal city, every way a 12, — the length and breadth and height of it equal.

(3) Lastly, we have the priests' portion of the peace-offering. The offering priest we necessarily recognize as Christ. The wave-breast belongs to Aaron and his sons; for we are, as priests, able to enter into and partake of the affections of His heart. The shoulder is His alone, for His alone is the power by which all things are sustained in blessing. With this the law of the peace-offering ends.