J. N. Darby.

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(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)

Leviticus, though connected with Sinai, quod nota, in the wilderness of it, is spoken from the Tabernacle - this is its character. Then, after the offerings in order, of which sin-offering is special, the covenant and worship was founded on burnt-offering - sin-offering found to be needed, and then the law, manner of use and order of them; then comes Aaron's consecration, according to Exodus 28 and 29. In chapter 9 their hands are filled, but note here no blood is brought into the holy place for sin; though there might be evil to be atoned for, relationship is not yet supposed to be broken. But all went wrong; first in Nadab and Abihu, and then in not eating the people's sin-offering by the others, and though Moses was content, yet it altered all the order of approach. Then - though there had been failure - from chapters 11 to 15 inclusive, clean and unclean are to be discerned by the anointed, consecrated priests. Chapter 16 on the fault of Nadab and Abihu, etc., the necessity of reconciliation, and that the way into the holiest (Moses, the heavenly man, always went there) was not yet made manifest, was declared, and the manner of entrance there by Aaron prescribed in atonement. Thereon, i.e., after chapter 16, defiling wickednesses are gone through, connected with the people's relationship with God; this to chapter 20 inclusive.

Then the holiness of the priests in separatedness to God, and in approach to Him; then of the people's offerings. Chapter 23 contains the whole course of feasts, chiefly of joy, typical feasts, the history of the Lord's ways, the whole period of dispensation with them - a long gap, or interval left where the Church comes in. We have then what belongs to the holy place, save the altar of incense, which in effect was for the most Holy, the passing of the mind out of the holy place, i.e., we have the perfectness of the connection, of Christ's connection with Israel, and of the Spirit's (in this latter we know the Church has a place) - the double mystic perfection of 12 and 7. Twelve loaves, Christ's incarnate connection with Israel I believe, and then the sevenfold perfection of the Spirit shining on the candlestick that was of beaten gold (compare also Numbers 8:1-4) but here it was before the Lord. This is the full mystic perfection of Israel; for us the Lord has taken it up into a higher sense. Then the Word reverts to the terrible legal sanction of all on which it actually stood, noticing any connection with a Gentile, a profane person, and the spurious offspring. Then, having given the people's mystic place in God's design and purpose, with the sanction of their present standing in it, the Land's portion as God's is mentioned - the sabbaths and the jubilee, and the portion of the people as the Lord's servants in it; chapter 25:23 and 55. In chapter 26 His warnings and threatened dealings with them, as to the Land, first in it - then in turning them out of it - and restoration on Abraham's covenant, verse 42; this the Law. In chapter 27 are voluntary vows; up to chapter 26 are statutes the Lord made between Him and the children of Israel.

8 Numbers is their history in the wilderness - written, too, for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come - and what was connected, in God's dealings with that.

NOTE. - The three first chapters of Leviticus go together under the same "the Lord spake unto Moses"; the sin-offerings are another category of offerings. The meat-offering was most holy, and for the males only among the priests, as the sin- and trespass-offerings.

In the offerings it is formally the sons of Aaron to whom the sacrifices were brought, not to Aaron. I do not call to mind any sacrifices Aaron or the anointed priest offered (save for personal sin) except the great day of atonement, and his consecration - indeed in public service only the former. It was Christ's one great sacrifice. But the estimate of Christ, the handling of Him in the soul can only be by those who are priests, who are Christians. One only can do the work, and represent us, but we are with God, and in certain cases feed on, and that as priests, according to what Christ has been and has done when here - in Himself solely offered to God, glorifying Him, as made sin for us, but fed on in His perfectness and death. The unfolding of this in Leviticus is most precious.

The day of consecration was the day of the acceptance of the whole service by God, but as to the sacrifices, did not go within the veil. Aaron was in his garments of glory and beauty - he offers a sin- and burnt-offering, the two essential kinds; the people, every kind. Sin- and burnt-offerings are that in which Christ is accepted of God for us. It was the great general public act, and fire came out from God and consecrated and accepted both. The people enjoyed all that Christ was in life, and death besides, founded on the sin and burnt-offering. On the great day of atonement, he had special garments, and the service referred essentially to sin which was there; but to God's very nature within - the blood was carried within the veil. Before he offered anything else, he changed his garments, the burnt-offering was subsequent and consequent on the other. The service of Leviticus 9 was not consequent on actual sin and defilement. It gave the full character of Christ's sacrifice and Israel's part in it, or ours as regards responsibility. The day of atonement was in view of actual sins and defilement, and that in a twofold way - God's throne and guilt. The rest was apart. In this sense it was only a sin-offering and sin-bearing. In both cases, i.e., chapters 9 and 16, it was in view of men, not intrinsic and its own character with God; hence the sin-offering comes first, as the burnt-offering in chapter 1. They were for us, but Christ came to put away sin; God's character and majesty and love and righteousness and holiness called for its putting away according to them. It was necessary that it should be put out of the universe, and Christ stood, who knew no sin, as made sin before God; it was about sin, man's sin, as he stood before God. This was the great fact which stands alone in eternity's history, and is finished.

9 So in the meat-offering, the perfect, proved man; then communion, and as a distinct thing, the sin-offering. But in the burnt-offering, the man brings it; it was on the part of man, sin being there, in view of sin in man, but the priestly estimate of all that it was to God. It was what it is for faith. Both that and the meat-offering are complete in themselves (compare John 6, only there we eat) under God's eye, not for actual sins to bear them and clear us. In the day of atonement this was so, even Godward it was a sin-offering, the goat, and because of iniquities - compare Hebrews 9, "put away sin," "bear the sins of many." Hence in this estimate of divinely taught faith, it is not the High Priest, but Aaron's sons. He gives too the reason why these two are the occasions on which Aaron offers. There remains the special case of Eleazar the priest, with the red heifer, which, though done once, was not in the sanctuary. In the post-consecration services, there was no going into the sanctuary in connection with the sacrifices, they were at the altar. Then Moses and Aaron, king and priest, go in and come out.

10 Leviticus 9 only refers typically to Israel. The work does not go within, though effectual to forgive according to the judgment of God; and its efficacy is revealed only when the king and priest come out - when Israel sees the Lord. The priest may bless from the sacrifice before manifestation, and so it is, but the worship is when Christ is seen. and the worth of His sacrifice known. For us, the Holy Ghost is come out while He is within; the fact of going in and coming out, only, is noticed here. On the day of atonement, the blood is carried within.

There is a difference in our enjoyment of Christ, our enjoyment of blessings in communion, sha-lom (peace) founded on the blood and fat being offered to God, (and this was eaten by every clean Israelite) and the enjoyment of the perfectness of Christ in Himself, which is for us of course through the blood of the holocaust, and, as a rule, accompanied it - we read of its meat-offering. This was in the meat-offering only for priests. This was offered to God intrinsically in its own perfection, not atoningly for others without; this last, man could not eat, but it was its own perfectness, as suited to God - all the incense offered to God - the expression of pure unleavened human nature, presented to God and burned for a sweet savour, but human nature expressing what was divine, but in a man; kneaded with oil, and anointed with oil as a whole, and in all its parts. Here, while the incense was all burned to God, priests, there consecrated to God, eat of it.

In the peace-offerings, there was, whether thanksgiving or voluntary, joy in the effect of Christ's work, and connected with it (if separated, it was not accepted) and fellowship one with another. In the light as God is, cleansed from all sin by the blood, we have this fellowship. But in the meat-offering, there was no fellowship with others; it was the enjoyment of Christ Himself, that of which the sweet savour is gone up to God, as a memorial, but of which I eat by grace. In the peace-offering too, there were leavened cakes. In the meat-offering it was not to be heard of - John 6 does not, I think, go with this; it is all manwards as in general. No doubt when so come, He was all this in perfect blessing, but here it is His incarnation and death that we might have life, blessed truth too, but not the offering of what He was in Himself towards God. Indeed this is only seen in Christ, when actually so in result, John 6:62; and our share in it also actually, verses 39, 40, 44, 54 - only John is individual and receptive faith for eternal life, not common enjoyment, when the sacrifice is known as a saving work.


11 We must not confound the yak'riv (he shall cause to draw near) part of the offering with the rest - the dealing with the presented, offered thing. It was Kor'ban (oblation). The word "offer" is used for this part, and ish-sheh (a sacrifice made by fire), and O-lah (holocaust); Christ offered Himself through the Eternal Spirit - this was yak'riv - but He thereon became an O-lah, an ish-sheh, and even a khat-tath (sin-offering) by the coming in, and acting of God. The offered Victim was laid on the altar, the fire of the divine nature and judgment proved Him so as to show there was nought but sweet savour, and consumed, and dealt with the sin He bore. But in Christ the separation is moral - He gave Himself up to death - He was proved in His giving up to the fullest extent of death, and therein shewn to be perfect; so, as to sin laid on Him. But His giving Himself up, and His proving and suffering were distinct - the consuming the sacrifice and the death were distinct - yet it is clear the consuming the parts, after death, has no literal place in Christ; but the death work and the altar work were distinct - the altar, consumption, was not Kor'ban, but the fire dealing with the Kor'ban - yet in Christ it went on clearly before, and so up to death.

The Kor'ban was the offerer's, or, when the blood and slain animal was dealt with, priest's work - one, the absolute surrender, the other, presenting to God - but it was presenting, offering up, bringing to God.

There were then two things - the proving by fire, and consuming by fire (this, without the camp) and the accepted blood; when the blood is considered, the Victim is clearly looked at as One perfect, and proved so to the end - it is sprinkled, as of known, complete value. And so indeed as the burning by fire, and hence it came after death in the type - it was burned for a sweet savour, or without the camp as made sin (then not yak'riv); and this is important, and hence after death, which we by faith can apply to Christ, all went up as a sweet savour. No doubt He went through the proving, but the type presents the sweet savour of the proved thing after death. Historically, in the antitype, the fire was applied to the crucified One, but it goes up, a sweet savour from thence as the sole result of that fire - it is equally important that, looked at as sin, this was all consumed outside the camp.

12 The priest's part then comes in; it was not the yak'riv part, save as already slain He brought the blood nigh, and caused the sweet savour to ascend - Christ offered Himself in His own perfectness, and He presents the blood for us. But then the High Priest represented the people as such, and in this character, when He has personally, not as priest, offered Himself to God, He acknowledges the people's sins - He becomes that khat'tath, but in conscious confession first, not in judicial suffering - that follows. But the sins are laid on Him - the Lord has laid them on Him, and He, willingly bearing them, confesses them in perfectness before God for reconciliation being made. This the high priest does as representing the people, but it is not high-priestly in the proper sense, though the high priest's service - the priest's was with the blood, but then the sacrifice was finished - had the high priest not done this, there could have been no priestly service at all; even this was not done on earth, but as lifted up from it. Earth was connected with flesh, there was no reconciliation for it, and, as long as Christ was alive upon it, He presented Himself to men in the flesh; when that is done with, He begins His lonely work, where none could enter while it was going on - and, as representing the people, He makes reconciliation. Hence, no priesthood in any sense was exercised on earth, for the reconciliation work in which the High Priest was engaged, was as lifted up from it, and, though not in heaven, no longer on earth.*

{*This is very obscure, but very important for the understanding of Christ's offering of Himself and work; the main point is the difference between the yak'riv and the sacrificial work, obscured by the word 'offering' in the English version.