Division 5. (Lev. 23 — 27.)

Man with God: the way and the end.

The last division is, according to its numerical place, the summary of God's ways with men: in which also how His heart is with them is brought out fully. The way — devious as it may seem — leads to the end assured from the beginning: for it is the Almighty God with whom (often unknowing) man His creature is.

The contents of this division are of very various character, and the relation of the different parts to one another will be better seen as we take them up in detail, than from any outline that could be given here.

1. The first subdivision gives us Jehovah's "set times" — not "feasts," for they are not all this: God's ways conduct us through shadow as well as sunshine, and necessarily, not arbitrarily. They end in the perfect day, to which in His wisdom they have been ever leading on.

 "Set times" are times of His appointment, to whom as the Eternal all times belong, and who is able to adjust them to His purpose. They speak of almighty power, and determinate counsel vindicating thus their place here. But they are "holy convocations" also, gathering times, when the voice of God arouses and assembles His people. His voice unites those who listen to it in obedience, and calls also to Himself.

They are as "set times" annual, together the sum of the sacred year, (the cycle of the divine dealings in this way,) the Sabbath, however, having an exceptional place, as occurring with much greater frequency, and on this account also, as well as for much deeper reasons, being put by itself at the beginning of the series, and in some sense apart.

Of these set times there are seven, the passover and the feast of unleavened bread being taken together, as in fact they were connected, as we know, in the most intimate way. This sevenfold division has, it will be seen also, the clearest numerical justification. The number seven tells of the completeness of these actings of grace, the sheaf of first-fruits as the type of the resurrection of Christ filling plainly the third place. The series divides also like other septenary ones, into four and three, the last three coming all near together in the seventh month, and applying to special dealings of God with Israel in the last days; while between the preceding ones and these there is a distinct pause, the former clearly speaking of Christ's work and resurrection, and of Pentecostal blessing, when the Church began. Thus the 4 + 3 is distinctly marked.

While this is true, there is another division which is indicated by the recurrence of the words, "And Jehovah spake unto Moses," the significance of which we have often seen. This, however, in no wise conflicts with the former division, but only parts the first four feasts into two and two, and thus connects respectively the Sabbath with the passover and unleavened bread, and the first-fruit sheaf with Pentecost. All these connections have their importance, and we shall miss something of the significance of the type if we overlook any of them; yet the septenary character is after all that which predominates, and gives the fundamental structure of the chapter, and this we might expect in God's set times. How beautifully does all this numerical division preach to us of the perfect command He has over all man's history, and of the spiritual order which shines through that, which at first sight seems to be but thorough disorder! And how good a lesson, this! The ragged end of God's creation lies always beyond the microscope; and where His creation is, though the creature may be revolted, still His kingdom is. Blessed be God!

(1) We begin with the Sabbath, which occupies, as has been said, a unique place among these times of Jehovah. We have seen at the beginning of Genesis what it prefigures: it is the rest of God into which we yet shall enter, as the apostle says: there remaineth a rest" — a "Sabbatism," or Sabbath-keeping" to the people of God." (Heb. 4:9.) Though coming at the end of all, (for everything else shall end but this shall not,) it is that which, to speak humanly, is first with God; and put first here as that which governs as final cause all the rest. All else are way-stages, anticipations of the final goal, into which they introduce successively the features which are thenceforth to abide with us in hope, and at last greet us as familiar things. Heaven is filled up thus for us: the rest becomes such as befits God, as satisfies His nature, therefore reflects Himself.

The frequency of the observance of the Sabbath, when compared with other feasts of the law, is proof of how God would remind His people of the truth which it enshrines; while the prophets characteristically insist upon its importance. It connects the rest of God with His delight in His work, through the disturbance which sin has caused only lifted to a higher sphere, and deepened into an infinite meaning. It is a "rest in His love," but a holy love, which has moreover displayed itself in sacrifice, in deed as well as word, that grace might reign through righteousness: and this is why the passover and the unleavened feast are linked, as we have seen them to be, with the Sabbath. Here too the labor which sin has brought in, (not activity, which is but the vigor of healthful life, but the enforced necessity of toil,) is to be set aside, as when it was first given to Israel we have seen the manna, which provided bread for them without labor, to have preceded it.

The Sabbath is thus the end seen from the beginning: as enjoyed by faith that wherewith we begin. God Himself taking His place in it for the soul as the One who controls the whole course of human history to bring His people to the appointed end, in which He is glorified and they are blessed forever.

(2) Now follow in the closest connection, but in an order which is deeply instructive, the passover and the feast of unleavened bread. The separation between them is singular, and must be for a purpose; for the actual eating of unleavened bread began with the passover itself, and so it is stated in Ex. 12:18, "in the fourteenth day of the month at even," — the passover-day. Here the passover comes prior to the feast: the lamb is assigned the first place, and even the feeding on the lamb; though in fact the leaven and the lamb cannot be permitted together on the same table.

All holiness is grounded on redemption, and the knowledge of it in the soul. Christ's precious work is first and alone for salvation, and holiness is the fruit of it in the saved soul. Both are needed absolutely for that rest of God with which they are connected, but the importance of the order is what is insisted on in this character, — faith in Another that which, drawing the soul to God, draws it out of sin. There is no other way. And thus our rest already has God in it, righteous and holy, and for us absolutely, while we wait for the rest of God, not ours simply, but His own.

(3) The third section brings us to the land and to the first-fruits of the harvest. The corn of wheat has fallen into the ground and died, and here is the fruit of this, the easily read type of resurrection. "Christ is risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep," says the apostle. The first-fruits imply the harvest which is to follow. "The morrow after the Sabbath" is, of course, the first day of the week, and then it is waved before Jehovah, while a ram of the first year with its meal-offering and drink-offering is offered for a sweet savor. It is in all the value of what He is, and what His work is, that Christ was raised from the dead, and in this one sheaf is the acceptance of the whole harvest: He was "raised again for our justification."

(4) This is in the land, not in the wilderness: resurrection is necessarily connected with the land, our entrance, as typified in Joshua, into the heavenly places. It is as heavenly we enjoy this portion: accepted in Christ we belong to another sphere than that of earth; and that is what is brought out in the next feast, the fiftieth day after, — Pentecost. Seven Sabbaths are now complete, perfect rest as to all the past is found, and again the first day is come, the beginning of a new condition, the unvailing of a new creation, — a fiftieth day, (5 x 10,) in which man begins with Almighty God indeed, the "new meal-offering" speaking of a new measure of capacity in devotedness to the Lord. Two wave-loaves of first-fruits show us again what the "corn of wheat" dying has produced: it is the Church, although not in its unity as the body of Christ, but two loaves, implying, perhaps, the fellowship of Christ's people, a "fellowship with the Father and the Son."

It is certain we are in the range of practical life, as the number of the section clearly intimates, no less than the number of the loaves. These do not speak of position, and almost the next words are decisive proof: "they shall be of fine flour," true, and so far like Christ Himself, (for we have had already this type,) but "they shall be baken with leaven," and here at once we know we have practical condition, and the condition, of fallen men. The consequence is their position must be indicated otherwise, and the sin thus found in them met by a sin-offering, a shaggy goat, with two yearling he-lambs for a peace-, and with seven he-lambs, and a bullock, and two rams for a burnt-offering. Perfect acceptance is here very strongly emphasized, but the presence of sin in the accepted ones also, which does not touch their acceptance, God's grace, according to perfect righteousness, putting it away.

Here, then, are Christians, and according to God's ideal of them (for they are a wave-offering to Him,) but as redeemed, yet upon the earth. We find in them the nature of Christ, the fine flour, but sin in them also in the old nature; not indeed working (for it is God's ideal) but yet there. That the leaven may work, alas, and does, more or less, in all, we have from many scriptures ample assurances. Reckoning ourselves dead to it, it is subdued, not cast out, but yet not marring communion, as the two loaves seem beautifully to assure us. How perfect are these combinations of contrasted features; and how great a fullness is there in the type here!

The third and fourth sections are, as already said, united together as one communication from Jehovah, and it is easily seen how really united they are.

At the close of the fourth section we have a word dropped as to the harvest, which seems designed to intimate on the one hand that God's mercy to the Gentiles, which has been shown so fully in the Church, is not exhausted with this, but will shine out in blessing to them at a future day; while on the other hand it will not be the wondrous blessing which is manifested in those who are associated as first-fruits with the risen Christ. Here, when Israel's harvest is being reaped, the corners of the fields are left to the poor and to the stranger. It is in this way in the millennial day the Gentiles will participate in Israel's blessings. And this is plainly how the Old Testament prophets everywhere speak. Yet the least of these blessings are wondrous blessings, and the Lord's mercies to all are tender mercies. Tenderness is manifested in this special mention of the poor and stranger.

But Israel's own blessing has yet to be brought before us, and this notice brings us anticipatively to the end: another indication that with the fourth section one division of these "times" closes. As already said, an interval occurs here which still further separates between the two divisions, Pentecost being in the third, and the rest of the feasts together in the seventh month, the significance of which is easily recognized. It is the time of the consummation of blessing for Israel, according to the unchanging purposes of love regarding them.

(5) The fifth section therefore is a memorial of blowing of trumpets on the first of the seventh month, the day of the new moon, that is, when in the due course, according to the divine order, the sun begins to shine on them once more, and they therefore to reflect its light. The number of the section may point to this due time in divine government, and also to its character, as when man in his weakness begins once more to walk before Almighty God — always the due time for blessing. In fact the little thread of silver light, suggestive in its sheen of that atonement through which alone the divine glory shines on man, suggests also the little remnant in Israel, in whom grace manifests itself, before the full national repentance and turning to God of Zech. 12. With a remnant only is this blowing of trumpets for remembrance, to make Israel think upon their ways and turn to Him they have forsaken. Indeed, here begins a note which is yet to waken a dead world: for the world's blessing waits on Israel's restoration. Here, then, restoration and an offering and a holy convocation come fittingly together. As soon as God begins working, faith may rest in assurance that He who has undertaken will go through with it. An unfinished work can be but man's reproach, and never God's.

(6) Atonement brings the glory back, but man must be made to know also his need, and to receive it humbly. This will be for the nation when "He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him;" and, when "they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son:" and "in that day shall there be a fountain opened" to them "for sin and for uncleanness." (Comp. Zech. 12 — 13:1; Rev. 1:7. ) Beautifully all fits here with this day of atonement already entered into, when they have a Sabbath of rest and afflict their souls, and present their offering by fire unto Jehovah. Here indeed is our Joseph's victory over His brethren, the victory of divine grace.

(7) All closes, then, with the feast of tabernacles, which begins with the fifteenth day of the month (3 x 5) the due time in government, but of divine manifestation and glory. And the week of joy now passes over to the eighth day, that is, the new age; which is not a week but a "day," yet a day eternal. Here rest is complete, while offerings multiply, and the wilderness is only a memory, not marring, but helping, the constant praise.

With the eighth day the eternal Sabbath with which we began is reached, and the cycle of God's dealings is now complete.

2. The second subdivision comprises two sections which are in striking contrast with one another. We have learned that under this number we may look for contrasts; and here the lesson before us is the contrast itself, which is yet in the ways of God necessarily a harmony, the twofold witness to Himself, as able to maintain the light and communion of His Spirit through the darkest night that man has known, while surely judging the impenitent transgressor. We are in the fifth division of the book, let us remember, in which God's ways are ever the subject.

(1) In the first section, evidently, it is the perpetuity, as maintained by the priest, of the light and of the show-bread, that is insisted on, and this according to the command of God. His will, supreme, and which cannot lack ability to express itself; is that upon which all depends. Christ, ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, is the One to whom all is committed. In His hands there can be no failure; and blessed it is to know this. We must consider the two parts of this section, however, separately.

And first, the perpetuity of the light. The children of Israel are to furnish the oil by which it is maintained: blessed necessity! the people of God it is through whom the light of the Spirit is to be sustained, for it is through and in man the Spirit works. So the lamp burns from evening to morning before Jehovah continually: nothing is said but of the night, for in the world it is ever night; but there are other features in this picture that will lead us further. The light is in the house of God, and Israel were not that house; the lamp-stand that bears this light is Christ, the first-born from the dead; and Aaron's ministry in the sanctuary points to His present priesthood over the house of God. We are, therefore, typically in Christian times, and we see well that it is not only night in the world, but night in Israel. God, then, has indeed maintained the light while Israel has departed from Him; but He has not only maintained it, He has lifted it up to a higher and a heavenly sphere. Christianity has taken the place of Judaism; and this corresponds with the view given us in the chapter previous, in which the passover, the first-fruits sheaf and Pentecost tell us unmistakably the same thing. The line of truth is different here, but parallel to the former.

The second part speaks of the show-bread. As the light abides so does communion go on; and here the twelve loaves have led many to believe that Israel herself is represented. Undoubtedly these twelve loaves speak of the twelve tribes, but fellowship in the sanctuary does not pertain to the nation here but to the priests. To the priests the show-bread belongs, and the priests, as we have again and again seen, represent the people of God, who are all priests. Christians are the "holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5); and the twelve tribes represented in the show-bread may typify Christians also. Actually, the bread as the food of the priests must be Christ, and as the presence-bread (or show-bread) Christ gone up to God. We have seen that the table, equally with the ark of the covenant, speaks of Christ also, and glorified, maintaining communion, the loaves resting upon it; and here as we feed upon Him we are called to realize at the same time our identification with Him. It is presence-bread, with the incense of His acceptability upon it, and the twelve loaves making us to know His representation of His people, their identification with Him before God. Perhaps the "twelve" here, like the twelves of the heavenly city, may intimate that perfect rule of God which in our subjection to it shows the practical outcome of communion, as the joy of eternity — "God all in all."

(2) Thus the light and the show-bread, both in the house of God, both ordered by our risen Priest, tell the same tale of Christianity having replaced Judaism upon the earth — for this is upon the earth. Now on the other side what does the judgment of the blasphemer tell? "Israel themselves as a whole have fallen under this dreadful curse. … That is, we have the solemn fact that the people, who ought to have been the means of blessing to all others have themselves passed under this curse, and been guilty, in the most painful form, of 'blaspheming the Name.' We know how this has been; we know how they treated Him who is the Word of God and declared the Father, who was and is Jehovah Himself. We know how Israel, yielding to thoughts of the world (as it is said here, the son of an Israelitish woman whose father was an Egyptian) having fallen thoroughly a prey to carnal wisdom as to the Messiah, were guilty of rejecting God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and of blaspheming the Name. Accordingly they have fallen under the curse, which would be final but for the grace of God, who knows how to meet the most desperate case. But indeed, as far as regards the mass of the nation, that judgment is definitive. It is the remnant that will become a strong nation in the day that is at hand. On the apostates wrath will come to the uttermost."*

{*"Lectures Introductory to the Pentateuch," by W. Kelly.}

The addition to this of the punishment of him who should slay a man gives another feature of similarity to the case of those who slew the Lord of glory; and the name of Dan points forward to the apostasy of the last days. Thus the rejection of the nation of Israel during the present day of grace to the Gentiles seems plainly indicated, and the two sections of this twenty-fourth chapter are in perfect harmony.

Yet the rejection of Israel is neither complete nor final. There is still as the apostle says, an election of grace; while in the future, their unbelief being repented of, they will again be accepted of the Lord. Of this the next subdivision fully assures us.

3. The Sabbatical year and the jubilee are plainly in connection with one another, and with that septenary series which, whether in days or months or years, continually preached of a rest as to come which should be blessing to the people, holiness to Jehovah. But this for sinners must be found in grace and through redemption, and that is what the jubilee above all witnesses of, in which the land, lost through poverty (and poverty in Israel could only be through sin), was restored to him who had lost it according to the sovereign will of God alone. How this applies to Israel as a nation is quite evident. Just as every individual in all the tribes (save Levi) had birthright title in the land, in this very way, Israel as a whole had title to her land, and if she had not possession of it, it was for sin that she was dispossessed. Her present dispersion, without any room for doubt, means that for the present she is thus disowned of God. On the other hand, as the jubilee unfailingly restored his land to the individual Israelite, so does it speak typically of God's purpose that the land as a whole — and we may add, according to the full extent of the original promise never yet realized by them — will be restored to the nation, and they therefore be restored to the favor of God. Upon a passover, the antitype of the passover was fulfilled, as we well know; upon a pentecost came what we still call Pentecost: so assuredly will come a jubilee yet that shall be in the full meaning "jubilee," and Israel shall return to the undisturbed possession of her heritage from the Lord: "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem." (Isa. 27:12-13.)

(1) The relation of the Sabbatical year to the year of jubilee is in this way. The land was the Lord's, as all land is, but here the Lord asserts His claim to it. In the yielding up the right of property every seventh year, the Israelite owned from whom he held it. For that year he was not proprietor: the harvest belonged to any one as much as to him, and it was expressly as a Sabbath to Jehovah that this was appointed. That year Jehovah entertained all freely with that which sprang up under His hand apart from human cultivation. It was upon this recognition of the divine lordship Israel's tenure of it all depended. For the violation of this command the land was to enjoy its Sabbaths that had been wrested from it, lying vacant while the people were cast forth (Lev. 26:35). And this clearly gives meaning to the jubilee-restoration. Moreover in His parable of the husbandmen, the Lord expressly connects their rejection of Himself with the rejection of Jehovah's rights over the vineyard which He had let out to them. Here the idea conveyed in the Sabbatical year is extended and developed (Matt. 21:33-41). The prophets had been His servants sent to receive His fruits: "Afterward He sent unto them His Son, saying, They will reverence My Son. But when the husbandmen saw the Son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill Him, and let us seize on His inheritance." Hence comes the righteous sentence upon them.

But how blessed a foretaste of paradise restored, this whole year of enjoyment without toil, and community of blessing which banished poverty from the land! Though it be but a moment's glimpse of what is in His heart, how good to realize, such is our God! But we know Him how much better! and in this Son of His love, whom man's unbelieving greed rejected.

(2) The jubilee is the fiftieth year, following the seventh Sabbatical one, as Pentecost, the fiftieth day, followed the seventh Sabbatical day from the sheaf of resurrection. It is the Jewish Pentecost, as ours is the Christian. The effort that has been made to show it to be the forty-ninth year, or the seventh Sabbatical year itself, would, if successful, rob the type of much of its significance. Pentecost is the day after the Sabbath, — an eighth day, first of a new week, a type of new creation blessing. This Pentecost of years is similarly an eighth year, and the type of new covenant mercies. It is in the grace of the new covenant, the sweet expression of the "I will's" of God, that the nation can and will be restored; and thus it is, as the eighth day of the feast of tabernacles has assured us, that the blessing runs on without break from time into eternity.

And then this fiftieth year, how beautiful an overflow of the Sabbatic is it in its meaning (5 x 10), man with Almighty God, and capacity in grace to walk before Him!

On the day of atonement that trumpet of jubilee sounds, after the scapegoat has carried away the people's sins where they are never more found; and again, how beautifully its birthday shows its gracious character! Now the whole year is sanctified, and as such liberty is proclaimed to all; and still Jehovah entertains, without stint for any one, or restriction to the abundance, all the inhabitants of the land: spontaneously the fruits grow; there is no curse any where. "In the year of this jubilee shall ye return every man unto his possession."

Meanwhile, before it came, the jubilee regulated the value of all possessions of this sort that were not secured by birthright to the possessor. For so long only the purchaser possessed these, and much was he wronged who bought such things at a high price when the jubilee was near! Jubilee was after the high-priest appeared again out of the sanctuary, and is there nothing parallel for us? no buying too high things that (however secure our birthright possessions) are certain to pass when Christ our Lord appears?

Thus we see that God's principle as to the land is, that "the land cannot be alienated:" and why? for it is His, and He is gracious. True of Israel's land, so that they shall certainly return to it; true of our heavenly inheritance. We are "begotten again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5.) Israel for the land, and the land for Israel! is it not even now a fact evident? And just so the saint now for heaven, and heaven for the saint. Lord, keep us mindful of our jubilee, — Thy coming for us!

4. We have in the fourth subdivision Israel in plain words put under test. Blessing and curse are set before them, with a promise of restoration conditional upon repentance, even after their dispersion in their enemies' land. These three things plainly give us the three sections of the chapter. The perpetuity of the covenant with their fathers is affirmed at the end.

(1) First, the blessing promised to obedience: abundance, peace, victory in conflict, God's tabernacle among them, His who has broken the bond of their yoke, and delivered them from other service.

(2) Then the effect of the broken covenant detailed at length: graduated judgments, ever increasing as they continue unrepentant, ending in total dispersion, and consumption in their enemies' land.

(3) Then on their confession and humbling themselves before God, He will remember His covenant with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and will remember the land. Utterly destroyed they never shall be, for their God is that Jehovah who brought them out of the land of Egypt, to be their God.

With the closing verse of this chapter the statutes and judgments at Mount Sinai end; so that the following chapter must be looked at as an appendix to the book.

5. The closing chapter speaks of special vows. These were voluntary in their undertaking, but not as to their fulfillment when undertaken. They were then necessarily a part of simple righteousness to fulfill, and their fulfillment was a matter subject to the judgment of Him to whom they were made. Man might repent of his promise and let himself off easily as to the performance. The estimation of his vow was not therefore left to the maker of it. God Himself, or the priest as His mouthpiece, settled all.*

 {*Thine estimation" of the A.V., though supported by the Revised, and what would seem the pronominal suffix, is at least questionable: see Gardner's Leviticus in Lange's Commentary. He quotes Horsley, and Delgado, in evidence that the cha is not in fact the pronoun, and cites the Septuagint, Onkelos, the Vulgate and Syriac versions as omitting it. There are difficulties with the common reading, for the estimation is after all fixed, where apparently referred to Moses, as in vers. 3-7, and then where there could be a need for personal judgment, it is referred not to Moses, but to the priest (v. 8). And so with the beast, the house, and the field.}

With this estimation of the vow the chapter is largely occupied. If it were a personal dedication, it was fulfilled by paying the amount, and where there was poverty this was tenderly considered. So the vow of house or land could be settled by a money payment; only here, as a redemption, which the payment for the person is not said to be, a fifth part of the value has to be added. A clean beast for sacrifice on the other hand could not be redeemed or exchanged for another, even for a better: to attempt such an exchange was only to forfeit the substitute.

(1) Now, in the adoption of the legal covenant, Israel had in fact made such a vow of self-devotion to the Lord; and God had fixed in those commandments as to sanctification which had been now laid down the estimate of what that vow implied. Nay, He had been gracious also to the poverty of the people, as all the provision as to priesthood specially assures us. The priest is, indeed, the special witness of such merciful consideration of spiritual poverty. Yet it was still a "law" that "made nothing perfect," and could not avail. Israel did not perform their vow, whatever might be the merciful release. On the legal ground they (and we) are but bankrupt and ruined sinners.

It is thus that in the sermon on the mount the Lord now distinctly forbids vowing: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths; but I say unto you, Swear not at all." And this is grounded upon that feebleness of man which the law demonstrated to be his moral condition. It is plain, then, that real sanctification by law was an impossibility; and what a light this sheds upon this chapter, and its relation to the whole book of Leviticus, whose theme is sanctification throughout! Grace is thus shown to be the only power for it: the weak must be with the Strong, the beautiful lesson of all these Deuteronomic summaries. May we learn it well!

(2) But now comes in the provision of grace in sacrifice. Man had after all his value, and though for himself he could not pay it, it might be paid. For man there might be escape; for the devoted Victim there was no escape. No substitute could be provided for Him, and who could estimate aright His value? To seek to stand where He alone could stand would be simple and hopeless forfeiture and ruin. The unclean might be redeemed — redeemed with more than the full value; not so the pure offering. How plainly and convincingly all here speaks to us of Christ!

(3) Next comes the dedicated house, and Israel had such a house, a holy and beautiful house, made, as we have seen, of the devoted things. It was the sign of their great distinctive blessing, the dwelling of God among them, that house sanctified to the Lord, and yet theirs, but only made so by redemption. Slight as the sketch is, its features can be recognized. And it is only after and through the sacrifice that their house can be, as it yet shall be, their own.

Thus all is in harmony; while for us also as Christians there is a house, a redeemed house, in which God dwells; but not a house made with hands, — a heavenly one, yet redeemed from earth: "whose house are we." Israel and Christ's people now thus answer to one another, so that we can scarcely say to which most fully the type belongs.

(4) Then we have the land; and Israel's land, though sanctified to the Lord, they had indeed sold to another; hence at the jubilee it shall be entirely Jehovah's and the priest's. Thus divine grace will take the inheritance they have so lost out of their keeping. It shall be Immanuel's land; and His arm shall henceforth preserve it. Nevermore shall it know desolation; never shall the finger of scorn be pointed at its waste places, nor at those who shall at last fly there to their rest as doves to their windows; when the unknown, well-known Voice shall say at last, "The land shall not be sold forever; for the land is MINE: for ye are strangers and sojourners with ME."

(5) We now have a different set of commandments. As in all septenary series, — and this is one, — the last three sections have another character from the preceding ones. They give us things which cannot be the subject of vows, on account of their already belonging to the Lord. The first-born of beasts are the first class of these, His by birth and as the fruit of redemption, claimed by Him, and therefore His: free from the uncertainty attaching to man's will in the matter. He claims, who can make good His claim.

Is not this too our certainty as to ourselves, in the sense of our responsibility, and in the consciousness of the weakness of our human wills to yield ourselves to Him? just that we are His by birth, His by redemption, formed for His service as the beast for man's, and claimed by Him who will not be defrauded of His claim? Thank God, we can look our responsibilities in the face with this assurance, that we are His, not in the weakness of our poor human wills, but in the might of His will for us! "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works;" "chosen to sanctification;" "God working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure;" "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation!"

(6) But the same strong hand is also upon the evil; and this is the significance of the cherem, or ban, according to which that which was evil or defiled with evil was sanctified to God in its destruction. "For there can be no doubt that that which lay at the foundation of the ban was that of the compulsory dedication of something which resists or impedes sanctification; so that in all cases in which it was carried into execution by the community, or the magistracy, it was an act of the judicial holiness of God, manifesting itself in righteousness and judgment." (Keil.) Here ransom could not be. Things that are evil, and persons most unholy, shall thus in a coming day be holy to the Lord. All this also depends not on weak human will to accomplish it: it is the judgment of the Lord, and love will acquiesce in it as a necessity of holiness.

(7) We close here with the tithe. The tithe was the owning of the sovereign rights of God as to all their possessions. Ten we have seen to be the measure of capacity, and so of responsibility; of which one part given up owns divine sovereignty. This is the tithe; and here too God will have His claim. When this is accomplished the full blessing will have come. For God to have His own means all holiness, all joy, all stability. God shall be God, all and in all: and that is, as it were, the definition of the eternal state in the last book of Scripture. Let us remember that even now there is an application of this, which is not confined to Israel: "Bring Me all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room to receive it." (Mal. 3:10.)

What, then, shall be the final blessing, when this is every where in fact accomplished? What tongue can speak aright the overflowing, eternal blessedness? And this too is not left to the weakness of man's "vow" to bring to pass. The arm of Him who bringeth salvation is that which shall accomplish it, and the day predicted hastens fast.