J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)
Nothing is more striking than the extreme care as to the defilement of leprosy in Leviticus 14, as to the details.
We find first that the man is cured, he has no longer the disease, the will of sin - he is converted. Then comes the cleansing - first Christ Himself given in humiliation, but in the power of the Spirit according to God known in the Word, in a poor earthen vessel but over running water. All this world's glory and nature - what man knows naturally, from the cedar to the hyssop - all is stamped with death, and the man sprinkled seven times - he comes under the absolutely perfect efficacy of Christ's death; this, outside the camp. It is essential efficacy of Christ's work, what is necessary for him to have to say to God; then he comes into the camp, but he must then be cleansed to have his place, and worship with God's people according to His presence among them, his own conscience and all taint of sin must be purged and removed. He shaves, and washes his clothes and himself with water and so is clean. There is the washing of water, regeneration, a change of condition, of habit and thought according to the Word, in order to his being amongst God's people; the washing of regeneration, not I think merely being born again, though involved in it.
But he is still out of his tent, his regular dwelling among God's numbered people - there he waits seven days; on the eighth, he again shaves all with scrupulous detail, not noticed before, for he is now nearer God, and washes clothes and body again, and is clean - v'taher (and he shall be clean), what had been said of his previous washing, and so he was, but that was cleansing from known sin, cleansing from the evil which he had come to know, what in his previous state affected his conscience, in fact what he was defiled by, so that he could come into the camp. Now he must be cleansed for the sanctuary, according to the purification of the sanctuary - the seven days complete, and a wholly new state and era beginning, which is really resurrection and divine.
Then he brings all kinds of sacrifices, save peace-offerings which are communion. The blood of the trespass is put upon his ear, hand and foot - he is cleansed and consecrated to God in thought, act and walk, according to the value and worth of Christ's blood. He is here before the tabernacle of the Lord - has to do with God in His sanctuary. The blood being thus on him, the oil is put on it - the Holy Ghost is given in consequence and as a seal of perfect cleansing by the blood - and he has to walk and think according to the power of the Spirit as according to the value of the blood. And then the oil is poured on his head - the Holy Ghost is given, that it may lead, guide, give him liberty, communion, and all that He brings by His presence in the soul.
74 Then the sin-offering and the burnt-offering - Christ bearing sin, and Christ offering Himself without spot by the eternal Spirit to God - are offered to Jehovah, and the man is clean. Cured first he was after the sacrifice of the birds - the charged bird gone away into the desert - sins put away when washed clean, and so entered - next, when washed in the camp, clean - next when the offering was offered to God, clean for Him in the sanctuary.
We learn the difference between the efficacy of Christ's works, so that being regenerate by the Word we are clean, and the application of Christ's blood to all we are according to our place in the sanctuary, and its own infinitely perfect nature, so that we are dead to sin, not merely forgiven - a state of heart and conscience, or, when the heart, as risen, goes with the conscience, according to Christ's death unto sin once and now living to God in that He liveth. Then we come before God according to the efficacy of Christ's offering before God, or rather its value to God, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again."
Forgiven, cleansed from what we were, we enter the camp; in it we are cleansed as dead to sin, and the Spirit life, and given to us also - before the Lord according to the value to Him of Christ's offering, and so cleansed to be before Him and for ever, according to what His presence is, and Christ's worth - accepted in the Beloved.
In the consecration of Aaron it is to be noted that there is in no place a carrying of blood within the veil; this is very notable. Yet there was a burning without the camp for Aaron, see Leviticus 8 and 9 - this for the people was wrong; note this, for Christ did indeed and necessarily suffer Himself without the gate, even in respect of that which had no connection with going into the holy place - as the Jewish people and others in the millennium - but He bore the sins of Israel, not merely Himself in that way expiatorily, but as feeling them and bearing them as burden in sympathy, in respect of governmental judgment of a received people. We have seen the same truth in connection with the sufferings of Christ - His distress in connection with Israel as suffering under displeasure in the last day (or any one under law), besides suffering for love and righteousness, and suffering as expiation.
75 Leviticus 16 is thus quite apart on another ground from the consecration of Aaron which was properly Jewish. Chapter 8 gives this regularly in consecrating Aaron in connection with them, in which there was no entering in within the veil, though the bodies of the sin-offering were burned without the camp; and then, in the application, there is the same as to Aaron, but then Aaron should, as to application to Israel in respect of God's dealings, have eaten the goat of the sin-offering which indeed he had not done.
But I question whether chapter 16 did not put Israel in connection with the most holy place in blessing from thence through a priest who had entered in there, though the veil subsisted and none but Aaron went in; and this in connection with judgment for sin - Nadab and Abihu, i.e., the failure of blessing on any other ground in any case. Hence, even on the inauguration day, Moses and Aaron go in and come out - King and Priest - and bless the people, and the glory appears, and then the fire consumes the sacrifice as from within, i.e., its acceptation by God as within, in respect of judgment, is publicly known to the people. This is, I apprehend, the position and doctrine of the Hebrews, only adding the heavenly calling, and abiding peace, and going within, i.e., the contrast of our present place, as we have already seen, but then reserving Israel's place in the last days.
It is evident that a priest, so minded, would have had profound joy in the thought that in virtue of Christ, the grace of God by a sacrifice of perfect reconciliation and expiation, the Israelite who had failed was placed in perfect acceptance with God. The eating of the sacrifice was thus in spirit the sense that one, beloved of God, was brought back morally and according to God's glory, to His favour through the perfect work of Christ.
This is the joy that belongs to our occupation about the fallen, though it be sorrow and humiliation, still, by Christ's coming in between, God is glorified and the heart comforted and lifted up in love. It is another thing to partake of the offerings as the fruit of the land, and free-will offerings all heaved up, or even waved. This is the joy of the fruits of the Spirit of the heavenly country in others, a true and, in one sense, more unmingled joy but less deep. Besides this there was the feeding on Christ properly speaking for oneself, though in communion. This indeed had a double character - priestly and common joy - joy which flowed from and was enjoyed in communion (but which might become mere common natural joy in the things enjoyed, and so profane in what referred to God) this was the peace-offering and what was immediate enjoyment of and with Christ. The Lord give us to know the service of gift - all this belongs to us in Christ.