C E Stuart

Extracted from the Bible Herald (volumes 3-5, 1878 - 1880).

The Offerings Lev. 1 - 7.
The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons Lev. 8 - 10.
Aaron and His Sons Entering on Their Priestly Functions
Leviticus 21, 22.
Leviticus 23.
Leviticus 24.
Leviticus 25.
Leviticus 26.
Leviticus 27.

Leviticus is the third book of the Pentateuch. The name by which we know it is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures, but the word Levitical is once met with in the New Testament (Heb. 7:1) descriptive of the Aaronic priesthood. With the word then the Jews in the days of our Lord were acquainted, and, as used in Heb. 7:11, it is not an inapt designation of this book of the law, which treats more especially of the offerings and regulations for the guidance of the priests; whilst for instruction concerning the Levites we have to turn to the book of Numbers, which describes the position, duties and setting apart for the service of God of that tribe in Israel, when as yet the people were in the wilderness (1 — 8), and the law regarding the Levitical cities when they should have entered their land (35). Understanding then the term to apply to the priesthood, and not to the divine regulations about the tribe of Levi, we can accept it as a title explanatory of the aim and purpose of the book.

By the Jews it is called Vay-yikra "and said" from its opening word; for like the rest of the Pentateuch viewing the law of Moses as a whole, the Jews only distinguished these books by a word or words met with in the first verse of each one of them. The subject-matter of each book suggested the titles in the Greek translations, called the Septuagint. Words near the commencement of each several book were selected by the Jews by which to distinguish them. Both methods of marking them have something in their favour. The names in the Septuagint remind us of the characteristic line in each of them. The names given by the Jews remind us that the law is one grand whole.

As a rule, the divine communications in Leviticus were made to Moses. Occasionally (Lev. 11:1, 13:1, 14:33, 15:1) they were made to Aaron as well. At times the communications made by Moses were especially for Aaron (Lev. 16:2, 21:17); on some occasions (Lev. 6:25, 17:2, 22:2, 18) for Moses as well; at times they were for all the congregation. But in every case where laws were enacted they were transmitted through the Mediator to those whom they especially concerned.

The tabernacle reared up, as directed in Exodus, the Lord took His place on His earthly throne, and spake to Moses from off it. He had brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt. He had brought them to Himself (Exodus 19:4), and now gathered around Him in the wilderness with His tabernacle in their midst, Egypt behind them, Canaan in prospect, and under the shadow as it might be of Sinai, so lately altogether in a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire (Exodus 19:18) Moses was privileged, having entered the tabernacle, to hear "One speaking to him from off the mercy-seat that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim" (Num. 7:8-9), and to receive as one of the first, if not the earliest, communication after the setting up of the tabernacle, the laws relating to sacrifice.

Commencing with the unfolding to us, who can now understand what the sacrifice typified, the Lord's delight in the death and the life of His Son, the book at its close shows us how He will care for His people, and blessed indeed is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the people He has chosen for His inheritance (Ps. 33:12). Given in the wilderness the revelations of Leviticus were suited to a people in the wilderness. They provided instruction for Israel in their circumstances, whilst ministering to the hope of their entrance into the land. As an example of the former statement, the providing instruction for their present condition, compare Lev. 17:2-7, with Deut. 12:15-16. The former of these communications was suited for the wilderness; the latter was a modification in view of their entrance into Canaan. As an example of the way the Lord ministered to their hopes, we may direct attention to the regulation concerning the sabbatical years, and the observance of the Jubilee, which could only be enjoyed by Israel after they had entered the land (25). The wilderness was a place of sojourn, but was never intended to be their home, though, of the twelve tribes, only two persons who passed out of Egypt at the age of twenty and upwards, left the wilderness behind them to enjoy the repose and blessings of the land. All the rest died on the road, and they knew it was only the road, and that God had told them of a land which lay beyond it.

Under Joshua the people entered that land. Was the book so far as its instruction gives exhausted then? No. For whilst their inheriting the land is the ultimate purpose of the Lord for them, His thoughts in connection with this reach on to a yet future day; and in this book we are reminded that in the last chapter but one, which foretells what, as yet, is but prophecy unfulfilled, the Lord's remembrance of the land, when the people, so long exiled from it, shall turn and confess their evil ways, and accept the divine dealings with them. (26:39-45.) Part therefore of the book clearly has reference to the future. Are the laws relating to sacrifice with which it commences obsolete enactments, mere relics of a by-gone dispensation? An answer in the negative must be given to this question. For when Israel shall turn to the Lord sacrifice and offering, such as the law enjoined, will again be acceptable to God (Ezek. 40 — 46), though modifications may be introduced, suited to the spiritual state in which they will then, and permanently be. Sacrifice and offering such as this book treats of, it is true, have for long ceased, because God is calling out now a people for heaven who are to worship Him on earth after the manner that they will worship in heaven. But sacrifice and offering in connection with service at the brazen altar will ever form part, at least till the new heavens and the new earth are made, of the rightful worship of God's earthly people. Burnt offerings, meat offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and trespass offerings will be offered up again, when the temple described in Ezekiel shall be inhabited by the Lord Jehovah in the millennium. (Ezek. 43:27; 44:29.) At present such are in abeyance. Are these portions of the word then to be passed over by us as unprofitable and void of instruction? Such a thought would only indicate the lack of spiritual understanding. Israel in the past had need of these sections of the law to teach them what they were to do. They will need them in the future to remind them of their way of worship, when settled, abidingly in their land. We profit by these chapters of the law as we learn from their truth about the death and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Obsolete enactments, therefore, they are not, nor ever will be. Teaching out of date, and unsuited for christian times, these portions of the word are not, nor will be.

Turning to a consideration of this book, we may divide it into four parts: chap. 1 — 10; 11 — 16; 17 — 23; 24 — 27, and each of them towards their close, reminds us in some way or other, of blessing and peace which Israel will rightly look forward to enjoy. The first part teaches about sacrifices and offerings, and ends with the full consecration of the priests to minister at the altar on the eight day, — the type of eternity. The second part treats of defilements, and the way of cleansing from them, ending with the day of atonement, typical of the atoning death of the Lord, the results of which, Israel has yet to learn about, and to enter into. The third part teaches of sins, and the special regulations connected with the priesthood, concluding with the sacred calendar of Israel's ecclesiastical year; the whole calendar being an outline of the nation's history from the exodus, to the millennium and the eternal state. The fourth part reminds us that Israel are ever before God, and that He will provide a way whereby His banished ones shall be re-instated in their land; for man's claims on their persons and property can only last for a time, the people are not to be enslaved and deprived of their earthly rights for ever.

In chap. 1 — 6:7, according to the numeration of the authorised version, we read of the five different sacrifices which Jehovah would accept of from His people Israel. What the people were to bring, and how the offerer was to deal with his offering, and the service of the priests, while the offerer stood by the altar, till the sacrifice was completed, all this, as it concerned the offerer, is there set forth. After that in 6:8 — 7:38, what was to be done with the rest of the offerings, whether by the priest, or in the case of the peace offering by the offerer as well, is revealed, and in addition to that we read of the special daily meat offering for the priests (6:19-23).

The revelations concerning these five different offerings, are four in number. The directions for the burnt offering, the meat offering, and the peace offering, form one revelation (1 — 3). The sin offering by itself forms another (4:1 — 5:13). For the trespass offering two revelations (5:14-19; 6:1-7) were vouchsafed. The three offerings, then, which were voluntarily offered, are all classed together, providing three different ways by which the Israelite could testify of his gratitude to God. For it should be noticed, that whereas in the book of Exodus, the offerings there mentioned, concerned all the congregation, in this book the Lord provides in His grace for those from individuals as well.

Brought out of Egypt, brought also to Jehovah, the Israelites were the Lord's people, and shared in privileges and blessings peculiarly their own. It would not, therefore, be strange that any one among them should desire to bring an offering to the Lord. But what should he bring? And how should he bring it? Such questions the Lord alone could rightly answer; and in these communications to Moses He anticipated the desires of His people. Burnt offerings, meat offerings, and peace offerings He was willing to receive at their hands; the korbahn, as it is called in the Hebrew and doron gift, as it is translated in the Septuagint (compare Mark 7:11). Would an Israelite desire to present some living thing to be wholly for God? As a burnt offering he could satisfy the wish of his heart. Would he from the fruit of the ground present an offering to Jehovah? God would receive it at his hand. Was it on a festive occasion that he desired to acknowledge the goodness of the Lord to him, or to his? He was free in such circumstances to present his peace offering. The Lord did not wish His people to be straitened in themselves.

The burnt offering could be either of beasts or of birds; and of each class the offerer had a choice. If of beasts, it was to be either a male of the herd, a bullock, or a male of the sheep, or of the goats. The age of the animal was not prescribed, its sex only was indicated, and its unblemished condition was to be ascertained; for nothing more would the Lord enjoin relative to the burnt offering, than that which was absolutely necessary, though on certain great occasions the age of the animal offered as a burnt offering was carefully noted. If the burnt offering was of a bird, the selection was to be made from either turtledoves, or young pigeons.

A bullock was an animal of some value; a dove was a living creature of but little pecuniary value. Some might afford a bird who could not afford a bullock. The Lord would receive it at their hands, and whether of the herd, of the flock, or of birds, it was in each case an offering made by fire of a sweet savour to the Lord (1:9, 13, 17); for each of these burnt offerings spoke of that surrender to death of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is so precious to God (John 10:17). In a matter of this kind the wealthy Israelite had no advantage before God over one of his poorer brethren. The poor man's bird spoke to God of the death of His son, as sweetly as did the rich man's bullock: and at God's altar the offerer was accepted, not according to his apprehension of the death of Christ, but according to God's estimate of it. It would be a poor thing indeed were we accepted according to our apprehension of that death. Feeble in comparison with its worth, oh! how feeble, must our apprehension of it, at least on earth, ever be. But here we read about the bird, what is stated of the bullock, and of the sheep, or goat, "it is an offering made by fire of a sweet savour to the Lord."

The offering selected, the manner of its being offered is detailed at length. In the case of the beast, the offerer killed it, after first putting his hand upon its head in token of his identification with it before God, so as to be accepted before Jehovah according to all that the sacrifice was in the eyes of the Lord; for until death had come in, the priest at the altar, who is always typical of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true priest, had nothing to do with the sacrifice. Death must take place ere the priest's work could begin. This was a cardinal truth in connection with animal sacrifice, the only exceptions to this being the cases where birds were offered, and where the high priest represented on the day of atonement those on whose behalf the offerings were provided. In both these cases special circumstances necessitated the change. As offerer as well as priest, he killed the victims on the day of atonement. And probably from the natural difference between the bird and the beast the priest, not the offerer, nipped off its head, and squeezed out its blood. For after its blood had been dealt with, the offerer, as in the cases where one of the herd, or of the flock was sacrificed, prepared the carcass for the altar. This appears from the mention of the priest again in ver. 17. The priest having been introduced in ver. 15, there would be no reason for calling attention to him again in ver. 17 when about to do his normal work at the altar, if he had been diligently engaged in all the actions mentioned between the squeezing out of the blood, and the burning of the carcass. On the other hand, view the preparation of the bird for the altar as the work of the offerer, and the introduction again of the priest in ver. 17 is natural and requisite.

The crop removed with its filth (not its feathers, as in the A.V.; for the word in question has reference to the crop, not to the bird); both were cast on the east side of the altar by the place of the ashes, facing the door of the court of the tabernacle, the ash heap being conveniently placed to be easily taken away as often as its removal was required. Then the bird cleft with its wings, but not divided, was ready for consumption on the altar, and the priest again coming forward burnt it on the wood on the fire. Small as this offering was, and needing throughout the service of but one priest, there was one feature displayed in it, which could not be seen in any larger offering. Its body was not dismembered, but was consumed as a whole, though its head was separately burnt (15).

For the bullock, or for the offering from the flock, the sons of Aaron were needed. One priest could place the dismembered sheep on the altar, but more than one was needed to do that work, when a bullock was in question. And in every case where the burnt offering was a beast of any kind, the sons of Aaron were engaged in sprinkling the blood round about on the altar before God. The amount of work to be done evidently regulated the number of priests whose services were called into requisition. On the other hand, whatever the animal might be that was offered in sacrifice, there was always but one priest, who burnt it on the altar (9). It was priestly work to deal with the blood, and it was priestly work to officiate at the altar; but it was the offerer's part to prepare the animal for the altar, either by washing the inwards and legs of the beast, or by removing the crop and its filth from the bird. The offerer's doing this was significant. For the one of whom the victim, the offerer, and the priest were all types, needed not the services of another to cleanse Him. He Himself was all clean, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Hence as the Holy One offering up Himself, it was the part of the offerer of the burnt sacrifice to provide that whatever was laid on the altar should be already clean. In this the type falls short of the antitype, for the offerer cleansed the animal; yet it was in perfect keeping with the truth about the person of the Lord Jesus, that the offerer, not the priest, should see that the animal was clean. But who that understands anything of man, could have conceived that one born of woman could be in Himself perfectly clean. None could have surmised that, true though it was, as we gladly own, of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence in this as in other particulars, we see how all was really arranged of God.

Of Christ, then, this sacrifice spoke, and mentioned in this book first of all, it reminds us of that which is afterwards stated (3:5), about the daily burnt offering, that this character of sacrifice forms the basis of all other offerings. The Lord Jesus surrendering Himself to die was an act most precious to God (John 10:17). He delighted to do God's will (Ps. 40:8).

On Him death had no claim. None could take His life from Him, yet He laid it down to do the Father's will (John 10:18), — an act of willing obedience never to be forgotten by God for whom it was done, nor by us who are redeemed by His blood, nor by the angels who surely were witnesses of it. Of this sacrifice all was for God. Hence it rightly and properly comes first in order, for unless He had surrendered Himself to death there could have been nothing to avail for us. And as expressing the whole surrender of Himself to God, all was here for God. Of the meat offering the priests had a part. In the peace offering the offerer could share. Here in the burnt offering no one, not even the priest who offered, could eat any of it, the whole animal was consumed on the altar. Death, the death of God's Son then this sacrifice prefigured; yet not mere death, but His death as enduring the judgment of God, for the whole sacrifice was consumed on the altar in the fire kept alive on it, which had come down from heaven (9:24 compared with 6:12). The head, the fat, the inwards, the legs, these several parts of the animal are mentioned as all burnt, and if there is any distinctive teaching in them, it surely is to remind us of the perfectness in everything of the Man Christ Jesus. Intelligence, will, feelings, and walk, all were for God, — all devoted to Him, a sacrifice of sweet savour, such as He alone could offer, who, though He knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).

And what was all this to the offerer? Laying his hand on the animal's head he was identified with it, and he owned it thus publicly and solemnly. A blessed position this was, for he was identified with that which God could accept; but how plainly did that write Ichabod on all thoughts of fallen man's perfectness in himself; since the offerer owned that his acceptance was bound up with that of the burnt sacrifice. Death had to come in on his behalf, even the death of the One who could also endure the full judgment of God. Thus taking his stand before God two results followed. Having offered it for his acceptance, for such is the meaning of the word translated, "Of his own voluntary will" (ver. 3), it was accepted for him, and that to make atonement for him. He did not bring it because he had sinned, yet he was reminded of his need of atonement; for sinner as he was, he could not approach God's altar without the acknowledgment on his part of his need of the atoning death of Christ. On the other hand, he was not allowed to leave the altar without the assurance from Jehovah, that the burnt sacrifice was accepted to make atonement for him (ver. 4).

Next to the burnt offering, comes what is called in our authorised version, the meat offering, or food offering; for in this sense meat is used for food by our translators (Gen. 1:29; John 4:32). In the Septuagint it is termed a sacrifice, and in the Vulgate it is called a sacrifice, and an oblation. In the Hebrew minghah, always used of, but not restricted to that which is translated a meat offering, simply means a present. So the offerings of Cain and Abel are thus designated by Moses, who uses a term which could characterise them both. Generally minghah, is restricted to unbloody offerings, but there are occasions in which it is applied to animal sacrifices as well: e.g. 1 Kings 18:29-30; 2 Kings 3:20; Ezra 9:4-5. Throughout this book, however, it is restricted to unbloody offerings. Of such Israel could bring to the Lord; yet, till they were acknowledged as God's people, we hear of no such offerings being acceptable to Jehovah. Cain attempted to approach the Lord with such, and was rejected; Israel could draw near with them as offerings made by fire of a sweet savour to the Lord. (Lev. 2:2.)

But why this difference some might ask? The answer to this lies in the typical meaning of the offering. All the offerings, a part, or the whole of which were burnt on the brazen altar, were typical of the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived on earth as a man, and subsequently died on the cross. Perfect in Himself, acceptable to God in His life before death, He was always a sweet savour to God. At His baptism by John the Baptist, ere His life of ministry among men commenced, the Father bore testimony from heaven to His being well pleasing in His sight. Again at the transfiguration, the same testimony was rendered to the Son of Man, who was also Son of God (Matt. 3:17; 17:5). Now though He was always personally acceptable, none of the race of Adam, but such as share in the blessed results of His death, are privileged to make mention in worship of His life to God. His atoning death must first be known and accepted, according to the value of which we who believe on Him stand before the throne. In symbolic language the burnt offering must be on the altar, before the meat offering proper can be presented to God. The order in which these two are introduced suggests this, and the law of the burnt offering shows it (Lev. 6:12).

Of the Lord's life on earth this offering was typical. Hence it was composed of that which had been grown on earth, yet God alone was to be the Judge of that which He would accept as a meat offering at the hands of His people, and He here declared it. A meat offering of fine flour, whether cooked or not, He was willing to accept at their hands. And an offering of first ripe fruits biccurim could be brought as a meat offering to His altar, but the offering of first-fruits could not (Lev. 2:12, 14-16). The former was a voluntary offering as much as any other meat offering; and is so described, "If thou offer," etc. The latter, i.e., that written of in ver. 12 was not, and seems to have been that which they were commanded to bring, see Num. 18:12, but is not called a meat offering minghah as the wave loaves were called. As to the former the Lord defined and restricted it. It was to be an ear, not a sheaf, of corn parched by fire, corn beaten out of full ear, or as some would describe it, garden-land grain. This typified the Lord Jesus, whereas the first-fruits, mentioned in ver. 12 of this chapter, typified God's saints. Of the parched corn, its memorial was burnt on the altar; but the other could not be thus dealt with, though the priestly family could feed on it (Num. 17:11-12). The remains of that of which part had been burnt on the altar, was only for the males among the priests to eat of. The offering, none of which was burnt on the altar, the whole priestly family could share in. The distinction between the offering mentioned in ver. 12 and that in ver. 14, should be marked. We are a kind of first-fruits of God's creatures (James 1:18), but the Lord Jesus is the first-fruits from among the dead (1 Cor. 15:2-3). For though a man, perfectly a man, made in the likeness of sinful flesh, He differs from all of us. He partook of flesh and blood, but was all pure and holy. Hence sharing in some measure God's thoughts about the person of His Son, we are privileged in worship to make mention of the perfect Man before Him.

Now viewing the Lord as a man, we may look at Him either apart from all that He endured, or as tried and suffering in His life, before He came to the cross. Ps. 16 depicts Him in the former character, Ps. 40 describes Him in the latter. In accordance with this the first mentioned offering, commonly called the dry meat offering, (vv 2, 3), typified Him simply as a man, whilst that previously baked (ver. 4), or brought on a frying-pan (5),* or in a kettle (7) typifies Him as tried on earth before He came to the cross; for the action of fire had passed upon each of these, before they were brought to God's altar. A holy, perfect man upon earth, suffering trial? Yes, that was His experience, who could say "For thy sake I have borne reproach," and "Reproach has broken my heart" (Ps 69:7, 20).

{*On a frying pan mahghavath or a flat plate, in a kettle marghesheth is the way these two are respectively mentioned.}

Christ was holy as a man, for He was conceived of the Holy Ghost. Now this was something quite new. Energised by the Spirit many had been — conceived of the Holy Ghost He alone was. No one before this truth as to His humanity was revealed, could have surmised the existence of such a man, as was here foreshadowed in the meat offering, with which oil, the type of the Holy Spirit, was always to be mingled. And since the Lord Jesus as a man was a sweet savour to God, frankincense, which typified His fragrance, was to be offered with the meat offering. Oil and frankincense accompanied the simplest meat offering (v 2, 15), from which, as from all kinds of this offering, leaven and honey were to he excluded (v 11); for nothing of natural sweetness, nor any taint of corruption were found in Him who was also characterised by grace, of which salt (v 13), is the fitting emblem (Col. 4:6). A holy man, conceived of the Holy Ghost, without any taint of corruption though born of a woman, perfectly a man without what may be called the mere sweetness of human nature, but in whom there was grace, and all His ways were characterised by it, such was the Lord, Jesus Christ, the faithful and true witness.

The baked meat offering was to be of unleavened cakes mingled with oil, typical of the manner of the Lord's birth, "and," (not "or," for the cakes and wafers formed but one offering) unleavened wafers anointed with oil. If the offering was brought on a frying pan or slice having been previously mingled with oil, it was parted in pieces, and oil was poured on it. How plainly all this typified the Lord in His life the gospel history makes manifest.

But whereas these were the required conditions under which a meat offering could be offered, the offering of it was not completed unless the priest burnt a memorial of it upon the altar. Christ offered Himself we must ever remember, and the priest at the altar typifies Him. So in plain language Christ as a man can never be from us a theme acceptable to God, unless we confess the truth of His voluntary and atoning death, of which the memorial burnt on the altar was the type. His death for atonement bearing the judgment of God, must ever be acknowledged by those who would make mention to God of the sweet savour of His life. God never forgets His atoning death, nor must we.

A man, born of woman, conceived of the Holy Ghost, tried in every way, yet perfect, free from all corruption, with grace ever acting in Him, and at last enduring divine judgment on the cross, who is there who answers to all this but one, the man Christ Jesus, who was thus before the eye of God, as we learn from this chapter of Leviticus, ages before He appeared to man. And to guard the person of His Son from being trampled on, because He would in grace become a man, God commissioned Moses to impress on Israel that the meat offering was most holy (2: 3), applying to it the same term as is used only of the sin-offering and trespass-offering (6:25, 7:6). How carefully does God guard the character and person of His Son. Yet though most holy, the priests were to eat of it in the holy place in the tabernacle of the congregation. A privilege this was surely. We must refer to it further on.

The third offering treated of in this the first revelation in the book, is that called in the authorised version peace offering, and in Hebrew Shelamim, which properly means requitals, recompenses, thanksgiving thus expressed to God. From the herd, or from the flock was this sacrifice to be brought. No bird as in the burnt offering, no flour as in the meat offering could be substituted instead thereof. Thus the range within which the Israelite could find what is called the peace-offering was defined, and restricted. A living creature it was to be, and without blemish, a clean beast without restriction however as to sex.

Brought to the door of the tent of the congregation, where was placed the brazen altar (1:3), the animal was slain by the offerer, and the priests sprinkled its blood on the altar round about, so far it was treated like a burnt-offering, but instead of burning the whole animal on the altar, a portion only was thereon consumed. The fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat upon the inwards, and the kidneys, and the fat on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul (or midriff) above the liver, these were the portions burnt, where one of the herd was the animal thus offered in sacrifice. In the case of a sheep, the tail was taken as well, and all was burnt on the burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire of a sweet savour to the Lord.

All this typifies the Lord Jesus, the fat and the kidneys representing the energy of His will, and His innermost feelings, of which the kidneys or reins are viewed as the seat, all consecrated to God, and called a sweet savour, and the food of the offering made by fire to the Lord. On this God delighted to feed. How much there is in Christ as He beholds Him. These different offerings tell us that. And whilst in all of them God has His portion, in the peace-offering all concerned had theirs as well, as the law of this offering sets forth (vii). Meanwhile before considering that we see that what is here presented is the perfectness of the man Christ Jesus in His will and feelings towards God. God could feed on Him as thus presented, finding His delight in the One, whose every act, desire, and will was to glorify His Father, and who could say, I do always those things which please Him (John 8:29). Hence a new restriction was laid upon Israel. Not only was blood forbidden them as it was, and is, to every man, because the life of the flesh is in the blood, but the fat of the inwards as the expression of the energy of human will, was to be consecrated wholly to God.

But the Lord bore testimony to God as well as being a man upon earth. There was service and trial of which we read. These also find their portrayal in the offering. The trial was the result of service, for how could He serve God in a world which was far from Him, and did not want Him, without suffering for God? As set apart too for service, He was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Matt. 3:16; Acts 10:38). Both these truths come out to us in the baked, and fried meat offerings. As baked, fried, or boiled, they typified trial passed through before He came to the cross. But in the baked, and fried meat-offerings we have typified the double action of the Holy Ghost in connection with Christ.

From offerings which the people, if so minded, were permitted to bring, we pass on to others, which, because of acts done by them, were demanded by God, and are termed sin-offerings, or trespass-offerings, according to the character of the transgression. For God left it not to man to define the character of his act, nor the occasion on which he should bring offerings of this kind. Man might have enjoined such sacrifices where gross sins had been committed, but would have thought them needless, when error or ignorance could have been pleaded as an excuse for the offender. God acted in just the opposite way. For presumptuous sins there was no sacrifice provided, and nothing but death for the sinner to contemplate (Num. 15). For acts, many of which man would have excused, sin-offerings, or trespass-offerings, were enjoined. As the Holy One, God could not pass over the sin, as if it were of no moment. As the Gracious and Merciful One, He would not cut off the offender for that which was not done presumptuously. How different is God's standard from man's. Man is apt to measure his guilt by the character of his act, whether done wilfully or knowingly, and by the consequences which may ensue from it. God measures it by that which He is in Himself, who is light as well as love.

In connection with these offerings, three revelations were vouchsafed. All that concerned the sin-offering was given in one communication (4:1; 5:13). That which concerned the trespass-offering was given on two occasions (5:14-19, and 6:1-7). The offences for which sin-offerings were enjoined were acts done in violation of natural conscience (4), and such as became sins by divine enactment (5:1-13). The offences for which trespass-offerings were demanded were sins in connection with the Mosaic ritual, by which the Lord was defrauded (5:14-19), and sins by which the offender's neighbour was defrauded (6:1-7).

Turning now to the sin-offering treated of in chapter 4, we learn that God took notice of the offender's responsibility, and maintained His own holiness. Nothing short of the blood of the substitute could atone for the sin, whether it was the act of the anointed priest, or of a common person; but the anointed priest had to bring a much larger offering for his sin, than that which God demanded from the common person. In the sin-offering treated of in chap. 5:1-13, God took notice of the ability of the offender to bring an offering to His altar. On such an occasion, however, life ordinarily was demanded, a female of the flock, or, if the offender could not procure that, two turtle doves, or two young pigeons; and if that was beyond his ability, then, and then only, a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour, but without oil and frankincense, a memorial of which was burnt on the altar, on (not "with") the fire-offerings of Jehovah (5:12), i.e., on the daily burnt-offering. Thus, in some form or other, the death of the Lord Jesus, as bearing Himself the judgment of God due to the sinner, was typified by the offerings prescribed. The sinner's ability to bring any offering might be but little. He was obliged, however, to bring one, of small pecuniary value though it might be, for no choice was left him. The Lord was acquainted with his ability, and according to that which it really was, he was to draw nigh with his sacrifice, and would be accepted, not according to the value of the sacrifice he brought, but according to the value in God's eyes of that of which the lamb, or the kid, or the birds, or the flour, were types.

All classes in Israel were liable to sin, from the anointed priest to the meanest of the people, and to sin from error or inadvertence, as the word sh'gagah translated "ignorance," really means. Of this class of offences, chapter 4 treats; those defined in chapter 5:1-13, are not thus termed. As to sins of error or inadvertence against any of the commandments of the Lord, which ought not to be done, it is clear that man's will in such cases was not in action, though the evil of the person's nature was manifested; the acts, therefore, could not be passed over by God, hence He provided a sacrifice. But how truly innate must evil be in man, when he can sin against God inadvertently; and how abhorrent to God must our sins be, since they require nothing less than the atoning death of the Lord Jesus to put them away from before him. All classes in Israel, we see, might, in this manner sin, but the responsibility of some was regarded as greater than that of others. If the anointed priest thus sinned, who represented the people before God, he sinned to (not "according to") the guilt of the people, i.e., the whole nation was involved in the consequences of his act, so for him, as for the whole congregation, when they had sinned through error, the appointed offering was a bullock, the largest offering that could be offered in sacrifice.

This, killed in the usual way, was dealt with differently from any bullock or other animal offered in sacrifice as a burnt-offering, or peace-offering. As was the case with those just mentioned, the hands of the offerer, or offerers, were laid upon its head; but on this occasion, in order to identify it with the sinner, instead of identifying the offerer with the sweet savour of the sacrifice. For He who knew no sin, was made sin for us, and bore our sins in His own body on the tree (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). In common with the burnt-offering, this sacrifice was offered to make atonement for those who brought it (4:20, 26, 31, 35). Like the peace-offering, the inwards, with the fat thereof, were burnt on the altar of burnt-offering for a sweet savour to the Lord (4:31). So far, then, there were features in common between the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering, and the peace-offering. Now for the contrasts. The blood of the two latter was sprinkled on the brazen altar round about, by the sons of Aaron, the priest. The blood of the former, when offered for the anointed priest, or for the whole congregation, was, some of it, sprinkled seven times before the Lord, before the veil of the sanctuary; then some of it was put on the horns of the golden altar inside the tabernacle, and the rest was poured out at the bottom of the altar of burnt-offering in the court. In all this, but one priest officiated; and throughout the directions for the sin-offering and trespass-offering, we read of but one priest dealing with the blood, and serving at the altar for the sinner, or sinners.

But why this difference in the directions about the blood? Blood sprinkled on the altar of burnt-offering was thereby presented to God, the token of life given up for the one who stood at the altar, and who was identified with the acceptableness of the sacrifice. But blood sprinkled before the Lord before the veil, betokened more than its presentation simply to God, since it was the nearest approach that could be made on such occasions to the shadowing forth of that work, which in type was effected annually on the day of atonement. And as on the day of atonement, so on the occasion of a sin-offering for the anointed priest, or for the whole congregation, God was first to be thought of, and His holiness to be typically vindicated. After that the blood was put on the horns of the altar of incense, the ordinary place of the standing before God of the whole congregation, for where their standing was, there their sin had reached. After that, all the rest of the blood was poured out at the bottom of the altar of burnt-offering, the token that the guilt had been expiated by the life of the substitute. For a ruler, or for a common person, the blood went no farther than the brazen altar, some being put on its horns (an action for them analogous to that which took place at the golden altar for the anointed priest, or the whole congregation), and the rest being poured out at the bottom of that altar. For these, then, there were enjoined but two dealings with the blood; for the others, as we have seen, there were three. For under the law, redemption, propitiation, and standing before the mercy seat were national, not individual blessings. Believers individually now enjoy them. Israel could speak of them as national privileges. This may be the reason why the blood of the sin-offering for the ruler, or common person, whose sin only concerned himself, was not sprinkled before the veil before the Lord.

The blood dealt with, the fire on the altar of burnt-offering then received its portion; for nothing short of the endurance by the substitute of that which typifies divine judgment could meet the case, where a sin-offering was demanded; yet whilst bearing the judgment of God, that which was then consumed was a sweet savour to God. Our knowledge of the true sacrifice makes all this plain to us. After that, the rest of the carcase was either burnt outside the camp, or else it was eaten by the officiating priest, or all the males of the priestly family. But with the burning of the appointed portions on the altar for a sweet savour, the offerer's attendance there ceased, and he, or they, could return to their dwelling-place with the word of Jehovah ringing in their ear, "It shall be forgiven." What had they done to deserve that? nothing of any merit on their part. They had brought their offering. They had identified it with themselves. They had killed it, and the blood had been dealt with, and the inwards and fat had been burnt on the altar. Obedience to God's word they had manifested, but an obedience necessitated by their sin. No merit, therefore, could they boast of; but God's grace they could magnify, as divine forgiveness for a sin for which they deserved divine judgment, and which judgment had to be borne by their substitute, they were consciously enjoying. Inadvertently they had sinned, it was true; but that plea, though valid to preserve them from death if they brought their sacrifice, could never be urged on their behalf as a reason for God to think lightly of their sin. The sacrifice required showed what He thought of it, and showed, too, in what light they were to regard it. Done in error, it was nevertheless a sin, and when the offender came to the knowledge of it, the sin-offering was to be brought. No excuse, then, was allowed in palliation of their guilt, nor could any have felt the need of it, when God appointed a suitable sacrifice, which, if they offered, removed all dread of Him against whom they had sinned.

Righteous and holy is God! How deeply was that sought to be impressed upon Israel, and the sins for which a sin-offering was demanded in chapter 5:13, exemplify it. These, let the reader remark, are not called sins of error, or inadvertence. This marks them off as distinct from those which have been already treated of. Nor are they such things as men would ordinarily have viewed in such a grave light since, with the exception of the refusal to answer upon oath, a man might have done that, which called for the sacrifice, without at the moment being aware of it.

The sins now to be provided for are classed under four heads. If a witness in a court of justice refused to answer when put upon his oath, he sinned. False evidence all would reprobate, and the law provided for that in a different way (Deut. 19:16-19). Here it is the refusal as a witness to answer on oath. This had to be dealt with as a sin. A witness might wish to be silent, lest he should convict a friend perhaps, or a relation. Such cases are not unknown. By the law, however, such an one would be guilty. God's name, by the instrumentality of the oath had been brought into the matter, so the witness was bound to answer. We see how the Lord acted before the high priest. Silent under every charge brought against him, He opened his mouth at once when adjured by the living God (Matt. 26:63).

The second occasion under which the sin-offering of Lev. 5 had to be brought, arose from touching the carcase of an unclean animal, whether wild or domestic, or the carcase of an unclean creeping thing, and the person ignorant of the thing he had done having neglected to purify himself. For purification from such defilement God provided, and it is detailed to us in chapter 11; but the one who, from the unconsciousness of his need of it, had not availed himself of the washing there enjoined, had to bring his sin-offering, for he had sinned. Similarly in the case where one had in ignorance touched the uncleanness of man, for which ablution by water was also prescribed (15), if that was neglected, the offering had to be provided, and dealt with as the law directed. And, lastly if a man swore rashly, intending to perform his oath, but finding out afterwards that he could not keep it, he too had to bring his sin-offering. How careful these directions should have made the people. A rash oath would necessitate a sacrifice, and uncleanness touched in ignorance of it, would call for a sin-offering. But here, as has been already observed, the offerer's ability was considered, while God's holiness was maintained. How often might an Israelite say, "I did not mean to do this or that; but be had done it, hence God demanded the sacrifice. God's nature had to be considered, and not the intention of the sinful creature. Truly, the standard of the sanctuary is very different from any that man would have set up. But if the standard was inflexible, divine grace was abounding. God determined what sacrifice was to be brought,* that the priest should make atonement for him, for his sin, which he has sinned, that it might be forgiven him (5:10, 13). The desire on God's part for the man's forgiveness was thus evidenced. God determined what should be brought, and provided that according to the sinner's ability he might draw nigh with that which could be accepted for him, and the person who only brought the flour offering had the same assurance of atonement made, and of his sin being forgiven, as those who could bring a larger offering. For the flour offering spoke of the man Jesus Christ made sin for us, and who has borne Himself that divine judgment due to sins committed by His people.

{*Some difficulty has been felt in determining the character of this offering. This arises from the words in chap 5:6, "and he shall bring his trespass-offering," and those in 5:7, "Then he shall bring for his trespass," both professed translations of the same Hebrew phrase, v'hevi eth ashamo, which is met with also in 5:15, and in 6:6. It occurs elsewhere, Lev. 19:21. Compare also Num. 5:7, "he shall recompense his trespass." It is clear, then, that asham does not always mean trespass-offering, that is to say, it does not of necessity define the character of the offering; and the phrase v'hevi eth ashamo is analogous to that met with in 4:23, 28, v'hevi eth karbano "and he shall bring his offering." Under which class the offering is to be reckoned, the words "for a sin-offering," in 5:6-7, and "for a trespass-offering" in 5:15, 6:6 respectively define, and the treatment of the blood, as described in 5:9, seems to intimate.}

Coming now to the trespass-offering, we learn what was needed when a trespass (maal) had been committed. Two revelations to determine this were given, the one in 5:14-19, the other in 6:1-7. The former of these treats of a trespass against the Lord, the latter deals with cases in which a neighbour had been injured. Both, however, have this feature in common, viz., that an injury had been sustained, for which amends by a money payment had to be made as well. A trespass, of course, was a sin (chattath,) but every sin was not a trespass, (maal.)

Of sins called by this name, the Scripture enumerates several. A wife guilty of unfaithfulness to her husband committed a trespass (Num. 5:27.) Aaron and Moses thus sinned at Meribah Kadesh (Deut. 32:51). Achan, the troubler of Israel, trespassed in the accursed thing (Joshua 7:1). Saul, too, is described as a trespasser, when disobedient about Amalek (1 Chron. 10:13). Ahaz thus sinned (2 Chron. 28:19) as well as Israel and Judah, when they turned to idolatry (1 Chron. 5:25; 2 Chron. 36:14). And those of the returned remnant who married strange wives were guilty on that account of trespass (Ezra 9:2). Now, in all these instances, we may trace the special feature of that sin for which a trespass-offering had to be brought. God, or man, was defrauded in one way or other of that which was their due.

Achan and Saul kept back from destruction what the Lord had devoted to it. Ahaz, Israel, and Judah, by their idolatries, defrauded God of the sole worship of His creatures, which was His due. So the remnant of the holy seed mingled themselves in marriage with the nations in their vicinity, from whom as God's people they ought to have kept themselves separate. In the case of Moses and Aaron, they had deprived the Lord of His glory, in that they did not sanctify Him in the midst of the children of Israel. In the matter of the unfaithful wife, she had defrauded her husband of his just rights, and as guilty had to suffer for it. For in her case, as in those of Moses, Aaron, Achan, Saul, and Ahaz, there was no sacrifice provided, which could avert God's dealings with them in government. But there were circumstances under which an offering for a trespass might be brought, and all that was requisite to be done on such an occasion, ere the offender could be forgiven, the Lord here sets forth in His communications to Moses.

As with sins, so with trespasses, they might be committed through error, sh'gagath, (5:15-16), and without the offender being aware till afterwards of that which he had done (5:17-18); nevertheless, when a man had sinned in the holy things of the Lord, nothing short of the death of the appointed sacrifice could meet his case. That sacrifice was to be a ram of the flock without blemish, and from this ordinance there was to be no departure. Whoever it was that had trespassed, a ram was the only animal that the person could bring in sacrifice; and with the ram the offerer had to provide, the money to make amends for the harm done, the amount as estimated by the priest, adding to the estimate one-fifth part more; all of which, when the trespass was in the holy things, he handed to the priest. But, if the trespass was committed against his neighbour, he was to restore that which he had violently taken away, or the thing which he had deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered to him to keep, or the lost thing which he had found, adding thereto, as a fine, the fifth part of its value, all of which he handed over to the injured party, to whom he thus made restitution, whilst to the Lord he brought his offering, for against Him had he trespassed, as the opening of this revelation (6:2) declared. The injury done to his neighbour was a trespass (maal) against Jehovah.

Two features in this offering have, then, marked prominence. The only victim that could be brought was a ram. For unfaithfulness being a special characteristic of a trespass, as we have seen, the ram, which recalls to mind the thought of consecration, seems a fitting offering to enjoin. Besides this, there was the money payment. Unless that payment was made, the trespass would not be forgiven. But a payment of money by itself could never have satisfied the Lord; for the offence against the neighbour was a trespass against the Lord, and that called for atonement by blood. In the case of a trespass against the Lord, the offering is first mentioned, then the notice of the money payment is introduced. Where the trespass was against a neighbour, restitution to him was first mentioned, for surely unless the offender were willing to do that, the Lord would not have accepted any offering at his hand. But all done which God commanded, the offender would return to his tent with assurance from Jehovah of pardon for his trespass (chap. 5:16, 18; 6:7). How gracious was this! How desirous was the Lord to assure the trespasser of divine forgiveness. With the promise of forgiveness reiterated for the third time in these directions about the trespass-offering, and that in the fullest manner possible, "It shall be forgiven him for anything of all that he has done in trespassing therein" (6:7); the Lord's revelations to Moses for the children of Israel about these five different offerings here terminate. Commencing with the announcement of Jehovah's willingness to receive an offering at the hands of His people, made glad by His goodness, they close with the welcome assurance of divine forgiveness for the trespasser who acted as he was enjoined.

The next five following revelations (6:8 — 7:38.) were vouchsafed the law-giver for the instruction chiefly of Aaron and his sons in the laws of the offerings, for the subject of sacrifice is a full one, and the Lord had to direct everything about it.

Here we must note a change in the order in which they are taken up. The burnt-offering and meat-offering are first mentioned; those two which remind us of what the Lord Jesus was in Himself to God. Then we have the law of the sin-offering and of the trespass-offering, those two which recall what Christ was made for us; and, lastly, we read of the law of the peace-offering, that sacrifice which speaks of communion in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the part of all concerned with it. This change is not without significance.

As we read the early chapters of this book (chap. 1 — 6), we are led to a consideration of what the Lord Jesus was to God in His death and in His life, and the communion about His death with God and with Himself which the worshipper is permitted to enjoy, before His being made sin for us has been typically set forth. We thus approach the subject from God's point of view, as it were. In the law of the offerings, from the change made in the order in which they are severally taken up, we trace out all this from the worshipper's point of view, so the sin and trespass offerings are mentioned before the peace-offering, for worship can only flow out, as we know that the Lord Jesus by His atoning death has fully met our need.

Turning now to the law of the burnt-offering, we learn, first, why this sacrifice is so termed; next, how the Lord provided for the keeping the fire ever alight upon the altar; and then what was the first duty of the priest at the altar on the recurrence of morning light.

It was called the burnt-offering, because of its burning all night upon the altar. By day and by night the burnt-sacrifice was being consumed, but by day other sacrifices were burnt upon it. By night, with its accompanying meat-offering (Num. 28:5), it was the only sacrifice upon the brazen altar. Thus God provided to have the self-surrender of the Lord Jesus to do His will in death ever before Him. By day and by night the burnt-sacrifice spoke of that. The first sacrifice of the day typified that self-surrender, the last offering in the day kept up the remembrance of it. How precious to God was that act of the Lord this law intimates, and the New Testament plainly teaches, for the Lord Himself has spoken of it as the ground on which the Father's love flows out to Him in a special way (John 10:17). Surely, as that solitary column of smoke ascended heavenward night after night, little as those keeping the charge of the whole congregation might have understood about it, there was a voice in it for God, to whom it went up, speaking to Him, in the midst of midnight darkness and silence, of that act of His Son, by which He would be for ever glorified. A secret it was, then known in any measure of fulness only to God, and a token of that death for which He thus made provision to have ever in remembrance before Him, and which He will not allow any intelligent creature to forget in eternity. All night to the morning it was burning, whilst the world was asleep; what a thought this gives us of the preciousness of Christ's death in God's eyes. A secret but little known save to Him for fifteen centuries which elapsed between the Exodus and the Crucifixion, it still remains such, as far as the world at large is concerned. His people, however, are now permitted to share it with Him, whilst the darkness of night still hangs over this earth, and the world continues unconcerned, and really unconscious of the excellency of the Person who hung on that cross (1 Cor. 2:8).

As the whole animal was consumed on the altar, there was of course nothing left of it for the priests to eat, hence differing from the other laws of the sacrifices, there was nothing to be said of the disposal of any residue beyond the direction for the priest to take away from the altar the ashes which the fire had consumed, and to carry them forth without the camp to a clean place; for though to outward eyes they might have seemed nothing different from ordinary ashes, yet, as having been on the altar, they were to be dealt with as God directed, and placed in a clean place. There remained, however, one part of the animal to be disposed of, and that was its skin, allotted by God to the priest who had officiated at the altar, and offered the burnt-offering, for any individual among the people (7:8). Nothing, surely, in the divine directions about sacrifice is without significance, though we may not be always able to seize upon it. Hence on no points have we more need to keep imagination in check than in the interpretation of the types. But remembering the significance of leprosy in a garment, or skin, teaching us the need of getting out of any circumstances, which foster evil ways, the garment or skin being thus regarded as figurative of surrounding circumstances, we may view the skin of the burnt-offering as typical of the circumstances through which the Lord passed, who gave Himself up to die upon the cross. Hence to the officiating priest, who was always typical of Christ Himself, the skin of the burnt offering was allotted by God. For who but the Lord knew what those circumstances really were?

Coming to the law of the meat-offering, we see it was concerned with the disposal of the residue, after its memorial with all the frankincense had been burnt upon the altar so it gives the needful details about that which was just mentioned in chap. 2:3. There we learn that the residue of the dry meat-offering was to be eaten by Aaron and his sons. Here we are taught that with unleavened bread they were to eat it in an holy place, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. Further, it was expressly enjoined, that the residue of the dry meat-offering was not to be baked with leaven, when prepared for the sons of Aaron to feed upon. Now, knowing of whom and of what this dry meat-offering was typical — the man Christ Jesus in His life on earth, who bore divine judgment on the cross — we understand, whatever the sons of Aaron may have done, the reason of these injunctions to preserve the residue from connection with leaven in any shape. For in the Lord Jesus there was no taint of evil. Thus God carefully guarded the truth as to the holiness of the person of His Son, by entering into these minute details, never, as it were, taking his eye of the offering, till it was all consumed, so that contamination with what was evil became impossible. Holy it was, most holy, and of this the priests were reminded. Whatever was consumed on the altar was holy. All that was left of it was equally holy. But the priests fed on it, as we who are priests are to find in the life of Christ food for our souls, and to have fellowship with God about Him.

One other special enactment may be here noticed, though it is not met with till chap. 7:9, viz., the disposal by God of the residue of the dressed meat-offering. The offerer learnt in chap. 2:10, that it was for priests and not for him. In chap. 7, we are told who among the priests was to have it. "All the meat offering that is baked in the oven, and all that is dressed in the frying pan (rather in the kettle), or on the pan (or flat plate), shall be the priests that offereth it, and every meat-offering mingled with oil, and dry, shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as much as another." Now, why this difference? The priests, perhaps, could not have explained it. But since the meat-offering previously dressed betokens the Lord in His life of trial for man, who but He knew what that was? So the priest who officiated at the altar was to have that for himself, as well as the skin of the burnt-offering. One sees in all this how God, who provided for the offerer, was ever thinking likewise of Him who is the offering, and thus delineated in type, that though the Lord would be perfectly a man, yet the circumstances in life, and in His death, through which He was to pass, would be peculiar to Himself. Of what interest to God was His life on earth! How it should interest us who have Him as our life, and our example! What follows teaches us this likewise.

After the law of the meat-offering, and before the law of the sin offering, a fresh revelation was given Moses, for the instruction of Aaron and his sons (6:19-23), prescribing the daily meat offering to be presented by the high priest for himself and his sons, on and from the day of his consecration, to the end of his pontifical career. As this concerns the priesthood alone, we understand the reason of its introduction in this place. It was a special, though a daily offering. It differed from any voluntary meat-offering, in that the measure of the flour was prescribed. In this respect it resembles other appointed meat-offerings. But it differed from them all on one essential point, half of it being offered in the morning, and half of it in the evening. Baked with oil on (not in) a frying pan, or flat plate, it was wholly burnt, for under the law none could eat of their own offering, unless it was eucharistic in character. Thus, whilst the daily burnt offering for all Israel went up wholly to God, speaking to Him of the surrender of the Lord Jesus Christ to death to make atonement, this daily meat-offering was offered for the priests. In it atonement was not typified, but the perfectness of service upon earth for God, though tested by trials from men, of the man Christ Jesus, who bore divine judgment.

Brought nigh to God as the priests were, and ministrants at His altar, this daily meat-offering for them spoke of the only really perfect man upon earth that God ever knew, in whom there was no sin. Great was the privilege of Aaron and his sons to be priests to God, that all could see: but by this offering there was shadowed out One, not of the house and lineage of Aaron, who alone in His life was a sweet savour to God. On the voluntary meat-offering brought by any of the children of Israel the priests fed. There is food for God's priests in Christ in His life on earth, and His example is set before them to imitate, but we must always remember that He alone was perfect in His walk of service down here. How all that spoke of Him was precious to God! He had it brought daily in remembrance before Him. He never wearied of the daily burnt-offering with its accompanying meat-offering and drink-offering, nor of the priest's special meat-offering. And we are permitted to have communion with God about the One in whom He has unchanging delight.

Coming to the laws of the sin-offering and the trespass-offering, we have all that concerns them comprised under one revelation, though three distinct revelations were accorded to tell Moses and Israel of that which especially concerned them in connection with these two sacrifices. Now we learn of them both, what has been twice declared of the meat-offering, that they were most holy. Everything that touched them would be holy, and so could not in that state be put to any common use. The garment, on which any blood of the sin offering had been sprinkled, had to be washed in a holy place; the earthen vessel wherein it had been sodden had to be broken, that it should not be used for any other service; and the brazen vessel, if any such had been employed in the cooking of it for the priests, was to be both scoured, and rinsed with water. Sin is a most defiling thing in itself, but the sin-offering was most holy, for it spoke of the pure and undefiled One, the Son of God, who died on the cross.

How apt would men be to think lightly of Him who emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. Walking about amongst them, born of a woman, dwelling, too, amongst His creatures, knowing poverty, thirst, and fatigue; men, but men only of all God's intelligent creatures, regarded Him as a mere man (Mark 6:2-3), and some even reckoned Him when on earth as a sinner (John 5:18; 7:20; 9:24). But the meat-offering spoke of His spotless holiness. Stooping still lower to death, the death of the cross, men would be in danger, because He died, of regarding Him only as like one of themselves, who had suffered for his own sin. In this view of the Lord's death the remnant will by and by confess (Isa. 53:4) that they have shared. To check, and to correct such thoughts, God expressly declared that the sin-offering and trespass-offering, which typically represent Christ as made sin, were most holy. No thought, then, derogatory to His excellence or holiness will God allow to be entertained for one moment. For He, who alone is competent to decide the question of holiness, declares in the law of these offerings, that the sin-bearer in Himself was most holy.

In the law of the sin-offering, Aaron and his sons are instructed about the disposal of the rest of the animal, after the appointed parts had been burnt upon the altar. The priest that offered it for sin was to eat of it in a holy place, i.e., in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the males of the priesthood could eat of it with him. But the sin-offering, whose blood was brought into the sanctuary for sin, could not be eaten, but had to be burnt in the fire, and that outside the camp, as chap. 4:12 declared. The reason for this latter regulation is simple. As no one under the law could eat of his own sin-offering, and those, the blood of which was brought into the holy place, concerned the priests, they were not to partake of them. But to us, these regulations affecting the disposal of the carcase are of especial interest.

First we are reminded of the place outside the gate where the Lord was crucified; next of certain consequences which flow from His death upon the cross; and then of the advantages which Christians possess over those who are Jews. We feed on that sin-offering, which Jehovah withheld from them. But, feeding on that sin-offering, we must in spirit follow it whither it was taken, outside the gate. Hence those who are thus privileged must of necessity, as the Hebrews were taught, turn their backs upon Judaism, and all Judaising tendencies. For going forth to Christ without the gate, they necessarily left Jerusalem and the temple behind them. Would they conform to Jewish rites? Then they must renounce the privilege which was theirs of feeding on that sin-offering, which God withheld from the priests. Would they maintain their proper Christian ground at whatever cost to themselves? Then they must break wholly with Judaism, and with the current services at the brazen altar. For they were privileged to eat of that sin-offering, which had already once for all been sacrificed to God. Hence eating of it they acknowledged that it had been duly dealt with at the altar, and they were not waiting for any fresh offering to be offered up thereon.

But there is more in these ordinances relating to the disposal of the residue of the sin-offering. To the victim the guilt of the offerer was transferred by the laying on of his hand upon its head. His sin, therefore, no longer rested upon him, but on it. But when the offering was either eaten or burnt, the sin could no longer be found, for the victim was no more to be seen. The sin, therefore, was put away, and could not be imputed to him who committed it. By the burning of the carcase, God intimated that He owned there was no imputation of guilt for that sin resting on the offender's head. Like the goat of the sin-offering, which Moses sought for, and it could not be found (chap. 10:16), so the sin was gone, and could not rise up against him. By the priests eating the sin-offering together, the sin transferred to it was equally put out of sight. So Christians are to act towards those who have sinned, and have been restored, regarding the offence as put out of sight, and never to be brought up against the offender again. We know of what our wretched hearts are capable, but the remembrance of this treatment of the sacrifice will help us to act aright. The officiating priest ate it, and all the priests with him. The Lord Jesus Christ owns, and we are to own with Him, that the sin of the offender who is forgiven, if sought for shall not be found. Thus far the law of the sin-offering.

Concerning the trespass-offering, we have first directions as to the dealing with the blood, and next, directions as to the parts which were to be burnt upon the altar, and then the provision made for the disposal of the residue. In all these sacrifices it should be observed, that the directions about the blood are first given. That was sprinkled at once on the altar, the life of the flesh being thus presented to Jehovah. And no sacrifice, of which the life was taken, could be rightly dealt with on the altar, till its blood had been duly presented to God; The blood makes atonement for the soul. "Without shedding of blood is no remission" is a cardinal truth, which God sought to impress on the offending Israelite.

Examining the law of the trespass-offering, we see there are features in it in common with other animal sacrifices. Like the burnt-offering and the peace-offering, the blood of the ram was only sprinkled on the altar round about. As with the sin-offering, but one priest, not several, was engaged in this service. In common with the peace-offering and the sin-offering, the fat of the inwards, and the inwards as specified, were all burnt upon the brazen altar, an offering made by fire to the Lord. And in common with the sin-offering, whose blood was not taken into the holy place, the residue was eaten by the priests in a holy place, the officiating priest being the one to whom it especially belonged (7:7). Thus the directions about each offering are precise, and in no two are they the same. The animal appointed for the trespass-offering was different from those marked out for sin-offerings, and though it was treated at the altar in the same way as the sin-offering brought on behalf of an individual, yet the blood was dealt with differently: all this teaching, that man was not permitted to suggest or devise what he might think was suited, but God directed the sinner, and the priest on his behalf, as was right in His sight. For the question of a sacrifice must ever be, What will God accept, and how will He have it treated?

We now reach the law of the peace-offering, and have three revelations connected with it, ere the whole of the divine mind regarding it is unfolded. In the first of the three (which commenced at chap. 6:24), the two occasions on which such a sacrifice could be brought are stated. What was to accompany it is detailed, and the conditions under which any could partake of it are expressly declared. Being an offering of requitals, or recompenses, it might be brought as the expression of thanksgiving, or as a vow, or a voluntary offering. If the offerer presented it for thanksgiving, it could be partaken of by him, and those with him, only on the day that he offered it. If he brought it as a vow or a voluntary offering, he could feed on it for two days, but never on the third. For communion with God is a real thing; so the outward appearance of it was not to continue, when the inward energy had died away. Now, a vow, or a free-will offering, betokened a more deep-seated sense of divine goodness than that which stirred the heart to thanksgiving. For a vow, or a free-will offering spoke of something surrendered to God, whether for a time or forever. Thanksgiving spoke only of gratitude for something which had been received. Hence the spirit of it being more transient, the peace-offering as the expression of it, was only to be eaten of on the day that it was brought.

Another thing the reader should notice. The offering was to be eaten in connection with the sacrifice of its inwards on the altar. On the same day that it was offered was it to be eaten, when brought for thanksgiving. On the same day that the man offered the sacrifice, and on the morrow also, it could be partaken of, if brought as a vow. We can understand the principle here insisted on. To us it means that communion with God in worship can only take place, and be maintained, on the ground of, and in connection with the death of Christ on the cross.

In this offering, the offerer had a share, so the accompaniments of the animal sacrifice are peculiar, and at the same time expressive. What part of the animal was to be offered we have stated in chap. 3. Here we learn that the offerer presented with the sacrifice from the herd or the flock, whichever it was, unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil of fine flour fried. These typified the Lord Jesus in His life on earth. But in addition, the offerer was to bring leavened bread, the whole forming one offering, though the foundation of it was the animal sacrifice, on which was placed, as it were, the unleavened cakes and wafers, and on them the leavened bread. Of all this, only the appointed part of the victim was burnt on the altar, and a heave-offering of the cakes and bread was apportioned to the officiating priest.

Permitted, then, as the offerer was, to have communion with God, it was distinctly shadowed forth, that he never could enjoy it apart from the death of the victim. For he ate of the animal which had been offered, and of the cakes, wafers, and bread, which were brought in connection with it; nor was it simply on the ground of the death of the sacrifice that communion was possible, for the one who thus enjoyed it acknowledged that he knew of its death. Now this is of real importance, and is a point too little, perhaps, understood. The Lord Jesus has died, so communion for sinful creatures with God is possible. But none can really enjoy it who do not individually acknowledge His death as the ground on which they can share in it. Further, they must own Him as the only perfect man in His life before God, and acknowledge that in themselves there is sin, typified by the leaven in the bread. Apart then from Christ, here typified in death and in life, the offerer had no fellowship with God. Was he equal to Christ? The leavened bread, contrasted with the unleavened cakes and wafers, proclaimed the inherent difference between him and the man Christ Jesus.

But sin in the flesh does not hinder communion with God. This, too, may be forgotten. There are those who would ignore what they are as sinful creatures, and would seek to have fellowship with the all holy One without any recognition of the death and life of Christ as the basis of such intercourse with God. There are those who, seeing what they are in themselves, would fear they were unfit to enjoy communion with Him. To both classes the law of the peace-offering has a voice; and to encourage any fearful soul, too much occupied with itself, the leavened bread in this offering may well be noted. The presence of sin within us is no barrier to communion with God. It is uncleanness resulting from the working of sin which breaks the link of communion.

The sacrifice was a holy thing, and all that were clean could eat of it. This was the permission. Now for the prohibition. "The soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace-offerings that pertain to the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. Moreover, the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness* of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace-offerings which pertain to the Lord, even that soul shall be cut off from his people" (7:20-21). What care did God take to guard His people from attempting that which His nature must repel. Nor was it simply that they would fail in their object under such circumstances, but they would provoke God, who is light, to act in judgment against them, because He is holy. Living under law, death was the penalty for eating of the peace-offering by any one unclean, for it pertained to the Lord. Under grace, we are told to confess our sins, and communion will be restored (1 John 1:9).

{*We should observe here that what came from man, whether from himself or another man, defiled. The unclean beast defiled; but the uncleanness of man polluted all who touched it. What is man, indeed, that God is mindful of him?}

Two more revelations follow (chap. 7:22-27; 28-38), both addressed through Moses to all Israel, and no longer to the sons of Aaron only. In the first we have stringent injunctions against eating the fat of those beasts of which men brought a sacrifice to the Lord, and against eating the blood of any animal whatsoever. The fat of the offering was God's peculiar portion. That He, therefore, withheld from His people under penalty of death. The fat of the ox, or sheep, or goat, they were not allowed to eat; though the fat of any of these animals which had died, they were free to use in any other way. To eat it was strictly forbidden. The law introduced restrictions and penalties, besides putting those under it at a distance from God. The surrounding nations could freely eat the fat, which to Israel was forbidden. Were the people, then, worse off than the Gentiles? Assuredly not. They were God's peculiar people, privileged and blessed beyond all others. But being such they were to be obedient, and to own that what the fat typified was to be all surrendered to God, as we see was the case in the Lord Jesus Christ's life here below. There are things in which others feel free to indulge not suited for a child of God. So, like Israel, we have to own that the liberty to exercise our own will must be checked. This may make us seem peculiar in the eyes of the world, which cannot understand what becomes a saint of God, though quick enough to mark any departure in him from the path of rectitude or morality. As regards blood, the prohibition against eating it is common to all mankind. God withheld it from Noah and his sons (Gen. 9:4), by an injunction which is still binding upon all (Acts 15:29), for life belongs to God, and in the blood is the life of the flesh. Whoever, then, eats the blood, virtually assumes that life belongs to him. An act this is of high treason against God. Addressing Noah and his sons, the Lord prohibited their eating of blood, assigning in addition the reason of His command, but attaching no penalty to the breach of it. Here, however, God attaches the penalty of death for an Israelite, which in chap. 17 of this book is extended to the stranger who sojourned among them.

We now approach the final revelation concerning the peace-offering, the burden of which was the due apportionment of the different parts of the sacrifice to all concerned. How Jehovah's part was prepared and offered, chap. 3 has detailed. Here we learn that the breast was waved, and the right shoulder heaved; both acts significant of the same thing, the open acknowledgement that the portion waved or heaved was for God. The breast speaks of the affections, the right shoulder of a person's strength, which in Christ were both consecrated to God. The breast was for Aaron and his sons. God gave it to them; and what it typifies God has given us, the love of Christ to share in (John 11; 13; 15). The right shoulder was for the priest who offered, the type of the Lord Himself. For who knew as He did the strength needed to do God's will! The rest of the animal the offerer could feast on at home with all his friends who were clean, typical of Israel's communion with God in the sacrifice of Christ by and by. Thus Christ himself, Christians, and Israel, all have fellowship with God in the death and life of Christ, in whose death God has His part also, called the food of the offering made by fire to the Lord.

Here ends the revelation about these sacrifices, each and all of which typify, in one way or other, truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. What a fulness there is in Him, in whom God has full joy! and we and Israel have each our part as well!

The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons.

The next section of this book comprising chapters 8 — 10, treats of the consecration of Aaron and his sons for their office of priests to God, the holy priesthood, in contradistinction to the royal priesthood, which the Lord promised to the nation of Israel conditionally on their obedience. This priesthood was to be Aaron's and his sons' for ever, "an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations" (Ex. 40:15). And though for centuries it has been in abeyance, the altar and temple having been laid low, by-and-bye, when both are restored in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, the sons of Zadok shall resume their office, and discharge afresh their sacerdotal functions (Ezek. 44:15). But since the Aaronic priests must have somewhat to offer, the offerings as we have seen are specified in this book before the consecration of Aaron and of his sons is detailed to us.

Of the high priest's dress, and the garments of the common priests we read in Ex. 28, and the procedure to be followed for their consecration, we also have recounted in that book (29:1-35.) But, as Exodus describes the setting up of the tabernacle, and all that belonged to it, we read also, in the chapter just referred to, the directions about the altar and the daily and sabbatic burnt-offerings. In Lev. 8, on the contrary, we are called, as it were, to witness the consecration of Aaron and his sons throughout the seven days that the ceremony lasted. Ex. 29 tells us how they were to be consecrated. Lev. 8 depicts to us that being done in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, in obedience to the word of the Lord.

Washed all of them with water, Aaron was next arrayed in the pontifical garments of glory and beauty, the colours of which are described in Ex. 28. But even the washing and dressing did not take place till the requisite sacrifices to be offered up had been provided. For, looked at as a man, Aaron was only a type of Him who was made priest by an oath (Heb. 7:21). So at times what he was in himself is set before us, at times he appears in his typical character. Viewed in the latter character, he stands out in this scene apart from the priests. Viewed as a sinful man, he and they are associated together. As a man, then, with them, one born in sin, he was first washed with water; then, to be seen in his special office of high priest, he was dressed in his garments of glory and beauty, and anointed with the holy oil, before the other priests were apparelled, or any offering had been offered up on their common behalf. Arrayed in the long robe of blue, with the ephod upon him, and the breast-plate with Urim and Thummim (for these were distinct from it, as both Ex. 28:30, and Lev. 8:8 intimate, since Moses put them to the breast-plate), and with the mitre on his head, fastened to which was the golden plate, the holy diadem, with holiness to the Lord engraved upon it, Aaron was ready for the anointing oil, which Moses poured upon his head, anointing him, and that without measure, to sanctify him, after he had first anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and had also sprinkled of the oil on the altar and the laver, which were in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. In common, then, with the tabernacle and its vessels, both within the holy place, as well as in the court, Aaron, the type of the Lord Jesus Christ, as God's high priest, was anointed with the holy oil, and that before any sacrifice was offered up on the son of Amram's behalf. For the Lord Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost whilst still in life (Matt. 3:16, Acts 10:38), but His people can only receive the anointing on the ground of His death. A perfect man must be different from all other men. Such an one Moses and Aaron knew not, so of themselves they could never have planned this marked difference between him and his sons, a difference the more remarkable, because subsequently the garments of Aaron and those of his sons, as well as their persons, were together sprinkled with the anointing oil and the blood of the ram of consecration (Lev. 8:30).

At first, however, Aaron was anointed alone, when dressed in his pontifical attire, the garments of glory and beauty. How clearly was delineated the truth about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ in that action of the law-giver. But, if Christ is High Priest, all His people are priests, so Aaron's sons are next seen clothed, according to God's commandment, in the dress prescribed for them to wear. Blue, purple, scarlet, and white, all these colours, each expressive of truth about the Lord (Num. 4), were required for the high priest's vestments. In white alone, it would appear, were his sons arrayed,* and with linen bonnets on their heads; for under the law men covered their heads before God. All this was appointed by God. In garments of His choice were all His priests to be dressed.

{* Blue, purple, and scarlet, with fine linen, tell us of the heavenly man who is High Priest, and who has stooped to death, and will by-and-bye appear in all the emblems of sovereignty to reign over the earth, Himself pure, spotless, undefiled. The white linen garments of the priests remind us of the righteousness of saints (Rev. 19:8-14) in which all Christ's heavenly people will in the future be arrayed.}

Aaron and his sons properly clothed, the sacrificial rites of the day began. First the sin-offering was brought, and its blood duly dealt with for them, and for the altar, sanctifying it to make atonement (not reconciliation, as A.V. states) upon it. Here Aaron appears as a sinful man in common with his sons, the one sin-offering availing for them all. Aaron clothed, and anointed in connection with the sanctuary and its vessels, was a type of the Lord Jesus Himself. Aaron with his sons sharing in the results of the sin-offering, was really reaping benefits from the atoning death of Him, of whom as High Priest he alone was the type. A person without sin Aaron was not, but the Lord was (Heb. 7:26); so Aaron was anointed previous to the killing of the sin-offering. But Aaron as a sinful man had need of a sin-offering, and here confessed it before all. Thus God's holiness was maintained, Christ's spotlessness declared, and man's sinfulness met.

Next followed the burnt-offering, which Moses offered in accordance with the ritual concerning it. After that came the special offering of the day, the ram of consecration, with its accompanying basket of unleavened bread. Here God's order is instructive. That which we might have put first, the ram of consecration, really comes last; for as sinful creatures, they could not be consecrated to God's service apart from a sin-offering, which met what they were, and from the burnt-offering, which foreshadowed the voluntary surrender to death of Him who was made sin for His people. Hence on this and on other occasions, such as the setting apart of the Levites for their work, as well as at the completion of the Nazarite's vow, on the eighth day of the leper's cleansing, and on the day of atonement, the sin-offering took precedence of the burnt-offering. On the chief festivals this order was reversed. Where man is the prominent figure, the sin-offering is generally made prominent; where God's favour to man, what God is to him, is to be set forth, the sin-offering can be put into the second place. But the sin-offering on any of the occasions noticed was not sufficient without the burnt-offering as well. The voluntary surrender of Christ to do God's will in death was each time brought to remembrance before Him. Unless the substitute had died, the sinful creature could not be accepted before God; but the sacrificial victim must be one on whom death had no claim. So the burnt-offering had its place on each of the occasions above-noticed, but its place in the day's ritual was regulated in accordance with the special character of the occasion.

The ram of consecration, slain after Aaron and his sons had put their hands upon its head, the first dealing with its blood was to put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the great toe of his right foot. Next the blood was put in the same way on the same parts of the body of each of his sons, and then some was sprinkled on the altar round about, intimating that the ear, the service, and the walk of the priests were all to be consecrated to God, and for that consecration the death of the sacrifice was needed. Death, however, having thus been brought in, there could be no receding on the part of the priests from the position and condition they were placed in before God.

With the rest of the animal Moses was now concerned. Partaking of the character of a peace-offering, the inwards, the right shoulder, with the fat and one cake of unleavened bread, and a cake of oiled bread, with one wafer, were put upon the hands of Aaron and of his sons, and were waved for a wave-offering before the Lord. The peace-offering character of this ram of consecration is both interesting and especially suited to the occasion. In the peace-offering, as we have seen (Vol. III p.193), the energy of the one perfect sacrifice was in type, as consecrated to God. Here, then, when priests were to be set apart for God's service, that character of sacrifice, all must see was most suitable for the occasion. Further, all was here waved, not heated, as in the ordinary peace-offering (7:14); for, though both actions signify dedication to God, heaving is used where a portion of anything is claimed for Him, but waving was the proper action where the whole of that which was typified by the thing waved was set apart for God. On this occasion, of course, the whole energy and strength of the priests was to be devoted to God. So all that was put into the hands of Aaron and his sons was directed to be waved, and waved by them, after which it was burnt on* the burnt-offering, for a sweet savour to the Lord. Then Moses himself waved the breast of the offering. That which expressed what the priests were to be for God, all of which Christ was perfectly, as His death and life fully declare, Aaron and his sons waved before the Lord. The breast, the common portion of all the priests out of every peace-offering, Moses had this once for himself. All now having been done at the altar which the Lord commanded, the last action of the day took place, viz., the sprinkling on Aaron and on his garments, and on his sons, and on their garments likewise, of the anointing oil and of the blood. Thus Aaron was sanctified and his garments, and his sons and their garments also. On Aaron the anointing oil had been put already, as we have seen. His sons are here, for the first time, sprinkled with it, but not without blood, intimating, as we can understand it, that no one of the holy priesthood can receive the anointing of the Holy Ghost (2 Cor. 2:21) apart from the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without the Holy Ghost, true service to God, as set apart to serve Him, cannot be carried on; but to receive the Holy Spirit we must own and share in the results of Christ's atoning death, here typified by the blood. Washed first, typifying the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), which is connected with the new birth (John 3:5), and is part of the result of Christ's death (John 19:34), the priests consecrated by blood, and then sprinkled with the anointing oil and the blood, were fitted for their work when the seven days' service of consecration had ended. During that time they abode day and night inside the court at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. The camp was not their place during the week of consecration. Inside the court of the tabernacle they were to remain, to keep the charge of the Lord, that they should not die. And whilst keeping that, the Lord provided for them the rest of the ram of consecration, with the remainder of the basket of unleavened bread, being their appointed daily portion. A full provision this was, more than they could eat, so all that remained of it day by day was to be burnt with fire. On Christ consecrated to God in His death and in His life they were constantly to feed throughout that eventful week, after which Christ in His life, typified in their daily meat-offering, would be the example constantly set before their eyes.

{*In Ex. 29:25, according to the Authorised Version, all that they waved is said to be burnt for a burnt-offering. That is a mistake. There is no difference in the original between Ex. 29:25 and Lev. 8:28, and the language is clear as may be seen in English in the latter passage. All was to be burnt upon the burnt-offering, that being the basis, as it were, of all other offerings.}

Aaron and His Sons Entering on Their Priestly Functions.

The week of consecration over, the eighth day arrived, the commencement of a new period of time. Now fully consecrated, Aaron and his sons could enter on their priestly functions on behalf of all Israel, and, directed by Moses, Aaron provided the offerings for himself and his house; a young calf for a sin-offering and a ram for a burnt-offering. The elders of Israel, too, brought the sacrifices for the people, viz., a kid of the goats for a sin-offering, a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt-offering, and a bullock and a ram for peace-offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord, and a meat-offering mingled with oil. And now, for the first time in their history, and in the world's history, was there a high priest duly consecrated, and able to make atonement by sacrifice for the congregation of the Lord. But how closely were they bound up with the high priest, who made atonement first for himself and them together with the young calf and the ram, and subsequently for them apart from himself with the offerings provided on their behalf. To see the glory of the Lord appearing without divine judgment overtaking them, these offerings were requisite. Atonement had to be made on their behalf, if that display of glory was not to consume them. Unless the people's offerings were rightly treated, atonement could not be made for them; but, had not Aaron first made atonement for himself and them as well, how could they have been before God without judgment consuming them? They had a high priest to represent them before Jehovah; and they were to learn that their acceptance was bound up with his. Atonement he made for himself and them. Apart from the standing of Aaron as high priest before the throne, they had no standing. Apart from his ministrations separately on the people's behalf, they could not have shared in the blessed results of atonement by blood.

All duly offered for himself and his house, and for the people, Aaron, at the altar with uplifted hands, turned towards the people, and blessed them. Then coming down from the altar, he entered the tabernacle in company with Moses, and the two came out again, and together blessed all Israel. "And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering and the fat; which, when all the people saw, they shouted and fell on their faces" (9:23-24).

The moment that Aaron had finished offering the sacrifices, he could bless the people. Till that moment he never had so acted towards them. But all rightly offered, he waited not a moment. Teaching this is, instructive to us as well as to them, because it shows us on what ground it is that people can be blessed, viz., the acceptance of the sacrifice. Apart from Christ's death typified in the offerings sacrificed, this could not have taken place. As soon as the sacrifice has been accepted, God is able righteously to bless. So the Lord could bless His disciples before He went to heaven (Luke 24:51).

But the grounds of blessing, and the time of blessing, are two very different questions. For Israel, both are shadowed forth in this scene. We have seen the grounds on which it can take place, as Aaron blessed them whilst still at the altar. We next learn the time when Israel will enjoy it. For, coming down from the altar, Aaron accompanied Moses into the tabernacle, after which the two came out together and blessed all Israel. When within the sanctuary they were hidden from Israel's gaze, just as the Lord now in heaven cannot be seen by them. He will, however, by and bye come out, and appear on Israel's behalf. So, typical of this, Moses and Aaron came out, and together, as the king (Deut. 33:5) and priest, blessed all the people. And the glory of the Lord immediately appeared, and the sacrifice and the fat all could see were consumed by the fire from heaven. Here, then, we have a millennial scene, depicting the future blessing of Israel at the Lord's return from heaven, when they will have ocular proof that He was wounded for their transgressions, and was bruised for their iniquities, the chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes will they be healed (Isa. 53:5). Then will they know what Israel saw that day in type, that divine judgment, typified by the fire from heaven, was borne by Him that they should not endure it. And with Him in their midst, full earthly blessing will be theirs.

A millennial scene it surely was, but only a passing glimpse of that which will be, and perhaps ere long. Bright with hope the eighth day had commenced, nor were the people's expectations disappointed, for the glory of the Lord appeared to them. But, ere night had set in, gloom must have enshrouded the camp by the death, under the hand of God, of the two eldest sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, for offering strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. Millennial days clearly had not yet arrived. Had the Lord now taken them unawares by thus dealing with them? They may have forgotten what Moses remembered, and quoted to Aaron, "I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified" (Lev. 10:3). When God had said that does not appear. Ex. 19:22 contains the nearest approach to it. In what a solemn way, however, was it verified.

But what had these two done to call forth such marked displeasure and immediate judgment from heaven? They had dared to kindle incense, which typifies the sweet savour of Christ, with strange fire, i.e., not the fire which came down from heaven. That God would not allow. No sinful creature is permitted to present the fragrance of Christ to God, apart from the acknowledgment that the One whose merits are a sweet savour suffered divine judgment. So at once the Lord acted. Fire had come down from heaven to consume the sacrifice. Fire came out from the Lord and devoured them. In both cases the fire symbolises divine judgment. In the former it consumed the sacrifice, in the latter it cut off the guilty ones, and made all see that no one, however close he had been brought to God, could escape judicial dealing when guilty of such a sin. All Israel must have learnt that, as the bodies of the offenders were carried outside the camp by Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel, Aaron's uncle, whilst their father and brothers were not allowed to uncover their heads or rend their garments, on pain of death overtaking them, and wrath coming upon all the people. For if they had been defiled on this occasion by the dead, the whole service at the altar and in the sanctuary must have ceased. Obedient, then, to God's injunction by Moses, they kept inside the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And further, Aaron held his peace, bowing to the stroke so unexpectedly inflicted upon him.

But, if God smites, He can act in loving-kindness. And Aaron must have felt that, as the Lord now spoke directly to him, and not through the channel of the law-giver. He had cut-off his two sons in their sin, yet He would not deprive Aaron and his remaining sons of their priesthood; and, that they should not at any subsequent time call down the like judicial dealing, the Lord warned them against the influence of strong drink, whenever they should enter the tabernacle of the congregation. His care for them was thus manifested. Neglect of this warning might entail on them death, or would hinder the proper discharge of their priestly functions in putting a difference between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean. At other times they might drink wine, but when discharging their sacerdotal functions, and especially in the sanctuary, they were to abstain from it. Though Nadab and Abihu sinned, the priests lost none of their privileges, and Moses reminded Eleazar and Ithamar of what was their portion out of the sacrifices which had that day been offered. Seeking the sin-offering which belonged to the priests, for its blood had not been brought into the tabernacle of the congregation, he learnt that they had burnt it. Their spiritual instinct was on this occasion right, though the letter of the law they had thereby violated. But Moses was content when Aaron explained about it.

With this the day ended. Israel had been blessed by the high priest. They had been blessed also by the king and priest together. The glory of the Lord had appeared to them, and had consumed the sacrifice. All this was the token of Jehovah's goodness to His people, and of His acceptance of the sacrifice on their behalf. But side by side with this, God's character was maintained by the execution of unsparing judgment, whilst He proved Himself to be the Lord God merciful and gracious in speaking direct to Aaron, and warning him and his sons lest a like judgment should overtake them. With this millennial scene, God displayed as the blesser of His people, but as a judge likewise, the first great division of the Book of Leviticus is brought to a close.

We now enter on the second great division of the book (11 — 16), which treats of defilements, and the legal manner of cleansing therefrom, and closes with the directions to be observed on the day of atonement.

Sacrifices appointed, and the priests consecrated; Israel are reminded that they are a holy people to the Lord, and must therefore guard against that which would defile, or be cleansed from defilements, as the case might be. And the first subject that is taken up is that of animal food, which necessarily points out the "difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten" (Lev. 11:47).

After the flood, God gave to man a grant of every moving living creature for food. (Gen. 9:3). Here, under the law, He introduces restrictions. Were men, then, contaminated in their souls by the indiscriminate use of animal food? Was that a source of moral defilement? Demons would instil into man's mind that it was. But the Lord has taught us (Matt. 15:18) from whence the moral defilement comes — even from out of the heart of man. Hence abstinence from meats will not promote true piety (1 Tim. 3:16 — 4:5). But why these restrictions? Because the law not only places man at a distance from God, and makes him conscious of it; but it also is meant to teach him the great difference between standing on the ground of its observance, and on the ground of grace. How simple and free was the intercourse between the patriarchs and the Lord Jehovah whenever He made Himself known to them; whereas, though He dwelt in the midst of Israel, it was in thick darkness, and they never could get personally into His presence. How free was the grant to Noah and to his sons? How stringent the restrictions placed on Israel! For, since it was Jehovah who brought them up out of the land of Egypt to be their God, they were to be holy, for He was holy (Lev. 11:45). The privilege of being God's people, which was great, entailed on them responsibilities which were not to be neglected. So it always must be. By Israel, as we are told in this chapter, ceremonial defilement was to be carefully avoided. With Christians the danger arises from that which is within (2 Cor. 7:1).

The distinction between clean and unclean animals was known before the flood (Gen. 7:2). Here, however, the Lord for the first time gives marks by which to distinguish them, whilst in Deut. 14:4-5, Moses, by God's command, mentions the beasts that were clean. The distinguishing marks were two; the one relating to their habit, the other to something which characterised them in their walk. The habit was that of ruminating, or chewing the cud. The characteristic about their walk was that they parted the hoof, and were cloven footed. Thus the habit, and the character of the walk were common to all the beasts of which the Israelites might eat. Such comprised those of the herd, or of the flock, from which alone sacrificial victims could be selected, and the hart, the roebuck or gazelle, and fallow deer, the wild goat, the pygarg or antelope, the wild ox or onyx, the chamois, or perhaps mountain sheep. Of these the hart, roebuck, and fallow deer, were served up daily at Solomon's table (1 Kings 4:23). The rest are not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament.

To be a beast fit for an Israelite's table, it must have had both the above-mentioned distinguishing marks. The presence of the one without the other, whether real or apparent, would not suffice. We say real or apparent, because though neither the coney nor the hare chew the cud, yet they move their jaws in such a way that a common observer might class them as ruminants with the cow and the camel. So to instruct such as would never be naturalised, the law-giver uses language which is not scientifically correct. He spake in a manner that all could understand. This is often the way in Scripture. By the rules laid down, then, the camel, the coney, the hare, and the pig, were all excluded from the list of beasts fit for the people's food. Of their flesh they were not to eat, nor their carcases were they to touch. They were unclean to them. These directions, however, about clean and unclean, rested not here. All animated nature was thus classified, and in a very simple way. Beasts, fishes, birds, insects, and reptiles, were arranged by the Creator in one or other of these classes.

As to fishes, the possession of both fins and scales were requisite for any of them to be reckoned clean. Of birds, all were clean, except certain kinds which are enumerated. Carnivorous, omnivorous, foul-feeding birds, and night birds were unclean. By this standard, eagles, vultures, ravens, hawks, and owls, were shut out, as well as the ostrich, translated "owl" in verse 16, the gull, translated "cuckoo," the ibis, perhaps translated "swan," and the lapwing or hoopoe. Everything, too, which crept, though it had wings, was forbidden, except such as had legs above their feet to leap withal upon the earth, which comprised, it would seem, four species of locusts, among which the beetle could never be classed, for the word chargol, translated beetle (verse 22), must be taken as the name of some kind of locust. Of creeping things that creep upon the earth, the weasel (or perhaps mole), the mouse, and different kinds of lizards, translated in the authorised version tortoise, ferret, chameleon, snail, and the mole (or perhaps the chameleon) are enumerated as unclean. Besides, however, being merely unclean everyone was to be an abomination to them, it was not to be eaten. "Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth on all four, or whatsoever has more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them shall ye not eat, for they are an abomination" (verses 41, 42).

No one, then, of the common people, even when made acquainted with the marks which distinguished the clean from the unclean animal, need make any mistake. Scientific distinctions, however correct, or the classification of genera, however full, would have been here out of place. God could have given such by Moses, had it pleased Him! From whence has man derived his knowledge of the things of nature, but from the Creator? (Isaiah 28:26). But for the unlearned, the common people, scientific distinctions would have been of little use without a special education, and natural ability to receive it. Now, in no country are all the inhabitants capable of such an attainment. Yet it was necessary that every one in Israel, from the highest to the lowest, should learn about clean and unclean animals. Hence God directed Moses thus to classify them. For it is probable that a ready and a simple way of distinguishing what they might eat and what not, was all that they were intended to understand; coupled, however, with the reminder that enjoying the privilege of being Jehovah's people, they were to keep themselves from being defiled by eating of animals of which Gentiles were free to partake. But we, who are taught in the New Testament deeper lessons than Israel ever were, may draw from these directions about clean and unclean, important teaching for ourselves, learning from the characteristic marks enumerated by Moses, what those moral features are, which in God's sight are regarded as clean.

To chew the cud, and to be cloven footed, marked the clean beast. To ponder over the truth we receive, and to walk firmly, and after the pattern of the Lord Jesus, should characterise Christians. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." "Be ye followers of me as even I also am of Christ." "Walk so as ye have us for an ensample" (Phil. 2:5; 1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:17). These, and kindred exhortations, treat of uniformity in walk. To have fins and scales characterised clean fishes. Motive power, and guidance to go even against the stream, and to pass through the surrounding element without being hindered by it; such features should be seen in Christians who are exhorted to overcome (Rev. 2; 3), and to resist the snares and attractions of the world (1 John 2:5; 5:6; James 4:4). Carrion eating, foul feeding, omnivorous, and night birds, as well as everything that crept upon the earth, locusts excepted, which had legs above their feet to leap withal upon the earth, were unclean to the Israelite. So the loving of darkness rather than light must be foreign to a Christian; and the having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness must be wholly eschewed (John 3:19; Eph. 5:11). Carnality, too, is to be avoided (Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:3-4; Col. 3:5) and that lack of discrimination as to teaching, so common in these days, with the imbibing of any and every form of doctrine, is to be carefully guarded against (1 John 2:20-27; 2 Tim. 4:3-4), and all grovelling propensities are to be avoided (Phil. 3:19). Further, it should be noticed that, whereas the beasts which did not chew the cud, nor were cloven footed, were simply called unclean; the fish, the birds, and the reptiles that were forbidden the people are written of by the law-giver as abominations. Now, whatever the Israelite might have thought of this difference in terms, to us who get moral instruction from this subject, the distinction is intelligible. The absence of the characteristic features of the clean beast in any Christian would indicate something lacking in that person, whereas the presence in any one of such features as characterised the unclean fish, etc., would be manifested by ways and habits which should be wholly foreign to every one who fears the name of Christ.

But the directions in this chapter, not only defined what was suited for an Israelite's table, they also taught him in what light he was to view the creature when dead. If a clean beast died of itself, contact with its carcase communicated defilement, and the one who had touched it had to wash his clothes, and to be unclean until the evening, i.e., until the close of that period of time. For death is an unclean thing, being for man the fruit of sin, and Israel were always to remember that. Hence any man who eat of such a carcase was thereby rendered unclean, as well as the man who might have carried it, and both of them had to wash their clothes in water, and to wait till eventide to be clean (verses 39, 40). How easily defilement was contracted. Unwittingly, the Israelite might have touched the carcase, or perhaps necessity may have required it, yet, no matter from what cause, the effect was the same, the man was thereby rendered unclean. Suppose a festive occasion, on which the family and household were about to partake of their portion of a peace offering, any one among them who had touched the carcase of a clean beast that had died of itself, would on that account be shut out from having fellowship with the others. All the rest would be feasting on the peace offering, but he would be excluded from any part of it. Necessity might have brought him into contact with the carcase; nevertheless he was rendered unclean, and as such, shut out from the feast. How hard on him some might have thought, but that was not the real question. Jehovah his God was holy, and He could not allow anyone in uncleanness to have fellowship with Him.

If such was the inexorable law regarding the carcase of a clean beast, which had died of itself, little wonder would be expressed, as a man heard of the regulations concerning the carcase of an unclean beast. Of course the person who touched such a carcase would be unclean till the evening (31). But more, "Upon whatsoever any of them when they are dead doth fall, it shall be unclean, whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water; and it shall be unclean until the even, so shall it be cleansed. And every earthen vessel whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it. Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which any such water cometh shall be unclean, and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean, and everything whereon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean, whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down, for they are unclean, and shall be unclean to you" (32-35). Such were the rigorous directions of this law touching the carcase of any creeping thing. A man, his meat, his drink, his garment, or vessels for household work, all would be rendered unclean; and the ranges for pots, or fire hearths, had to be broken down, if a dead mouse, or lizard, or other creeping thing had fallen on any of them. Uncleanness was easily communicated, and the carcase of an unclean creeping thing defiled everything that came into contact with it, except it were a fountain or pit wherein there was plenty of water, or sowing seed intended to be sown, and on which no water had previously come (36-38).

To an Israelite these exceptions might have appeared simply as positive precepts, the reasons of which were not communicated to him. To Christians they appear in the light of moral precepts, the reasons for which are apparent. For in the midst of this scene of moral uncleanness from the presence of sin, there is One who cannot be defiled, viz., the Holy Ghost, who is figuratively spoken of in the Word under the emblem of water (John 4; 7). Undefiled was that water the Israelite learnt. Undefiled, we gladly own, is the Holy Ghost, whether we think of Him as the Spirit of God coming from above, or as dwelling on earth in the assembly, and in the saint. There was something, then, which the carcase of the creeping thing could not make unclean. There is One who, though on earth, is absolutely pure, whilst the whole world lieth in the wicked one, and sin dwells in those in whom He also dwells. But He cannot be defiled, though man, alas, and even the saint can. And never does God allow this distinction to sink into oblivion. Even this chapter teaches it, as we read that, though the water in the fountain or pit was not defiled, the one who touched the carcase of the creeping thing which had fallen into that water, was thereby rendered unclean. What is man? A touch of the carcase defiled him. For but one man was there who could touch what defiled without becoming unclean, for in Him is no sin (1 John 3:5). With us, as with Israel, the case is different, for "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:6). Will this state of things then always last? It will whilst we are upon earth, but, thank God, a day is coming when sin shall no longer be found in the believer. By death, if he passes through it, or by the change that he will experience when the Lord comes, should he live to see that, sin, the flesh, the old man will forever be purged out of him. This deliverance our chapter also in measure teaches.

"If any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed, which is to be sown, it shall be clean. But if any water be put upon that seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean to you." Definite surely are these directions. But why give them? The holy people had to keep themselves from uncleanness, and to separate between clean and unclean, for the Lord their God was holy. Again and again were they reminded that on such matters man's opinion could have no weight. God's character, with whom as His redeemed people they had to do, formed the groundwork for these requirements (ver. 45). Any and every human standard must therefore fall short of that which God would set before them. Hence the Lord had to reveal what was requisite. Seed about to be sown was not made unclean, if the carcase of any creeping thing fell upon it. But, if water had already fallen on that seed, contact with the carcase would defile it. The moistened seed beginning to germinate could not die again. But the dry seed when sown would die, so it was not to be reckoned unclean. This to the Christian should be intelligible, for it is by death, if he dies, that he gets free from the presence of sin within him. Nothing short of death can affect his deliverance from that defiling thing, the old man, the flesh, which we derive from Adam by the fall. When death comes in, then freedom from it will be effected. Till then, unless caught up alive to meet the Lord, that cannot be enjoyed. In this sense death acts as a purger from what defiled.

Hence the distinction made between dry seed about to be sown, and that already moistened with water, is to us intelligible and consistent; and we cannot rightly read this chapter without being carried on in thought to the future. Now we contract defilement, though the Spirit of God in us, and on earth never can be defiled. But freedom from the presence of sin we await, and by death, if we die, it will be at once and for ever effected. Thus, as far as we have gone in this book, we can trace out an orderly arrangement of teaching. Commencing with the Lord Jesus who came to die, and to be made the offering for sin, we next witnessed the introduction and establishment of priesthood, and now are reminded of the presence of the Holy Ghost on earth, and that freedom from the presence of sin which the saint is taught to expect.

Next in order in the word, and in harmony with the order of the moral teaching just noticed, we read of defilement from the working in one way or other of nature in man. Thank God we look to be free from the body of sin, the flesh. We have, however, to learn what the flesh is in God's sight, and the working of it. What a humbling lesson for man is this! How the Israelitish man or woman must have felt it, when he or she was considered unclean from the action of nature within them, as set forth in chapters 12 — 15; communicating, too, defilement to any places or things brought into contact with them (15:4-12). And we who never were of the seed of Abraham after the flesh, and were never placed under the law to prove the burdensome character of its ceremonial, we have each and all within us, and are to be aware of it, that hateful defiling thing called "the flesh," of which the ceremonial purifications remind us. What came from an Israelite's flesh defiled that person. What comes from the heart of man, the working of the evil nature within him, defiles the man (Mark 7:21). The Israelite's nature did not defile him, but the outflow of it did. So the flesh within us does not defile us, though the actings of it does. And God is holy. Compromise therefore, on His part with uncleanness is impossible, hence provision to cleanse the defiled one is made the subject of divine revelation, and that in both Old and New Testaments.

In the cases of defilements treated of in chapter 11 no sacrifice was required, only washing with water was enjoined. In cases, too, where a person unclean from the working of his nature, touched another, the one touched, though thereby defiled, needed only washing with water for himself or herself (15); but the person who communicated the defilement needed sacrifices to be offered up, before he could be clean. Nothing less than the death of Christ, as set forth in type, could avail, for such an one before God. What ruin has been caused by the fall, ruin irretrievable, unless God had interposed with the Lamb of His choice, His own well-beloved Son. Such, surely, must be the thought of anyone who ponders over these chapters in Leviticus on the one hand, and over the analogous New Testament teaching on the other. But viewing the provisions which God made in both Old and New Testaments for those who might be defiled, what harmony do we trace in His ways! By sacrifice and by washing with water was cleansing effected for the Israelites. To the teaching of 1 John 2:2, and of John 13:1-10, we turn for that which is needed for us, and learn of the untiring grace and service of the Lord, whilst in heaven, for, and to His people on earth. Light, too, is cast upon the Old Testament, as the ceremonial observances of the law are seen to be figurative of that which is really requisite for the Christian, whether the flesh has been working in him, or he has been defiled by contact with something unclean from without. We say for the Christian, because in these chapters under review (12 — 15) the children of Israel, God's recognised earthly people, are those for whom the revelations were vouchsafed.

With purification after childbirth, this series of laws commences (12). For seven days, if the mother had given birth to a son; for fourteen, if she bore a daughter, she was unclean. For thirty-three days more, or for sixty-six, according to the sex of the child, the Israelitish mother continued in the blood of her purifying, until the end of which period she could not eat of hallowed things, nor approach the sanctuary. Her child, if a son, was circumcised on the eighth day. She, at the expiration of forty or eighty days presented herself before the Lord with the offerings appointed by this law. A lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtle dove for a sin offering. But if too poor to provide a lamb, she might substitute a bird for the burnt offering. To bear children was woman's lot, yet that made her unclean, and she had to feel it and own it. She felt it, as she was debarred during the above-named days from partaking of the hallowed things, or of approaching the sanctuary. She owned it, as she drew near with the appointed sacrifices, which proclaimed her need of atonement and of a substitute to die for her. She who had brought a living creature into the world, had need of the death of the sacrifice on that account on her own behalf.

The spiritual teaching of this for us we have already referred to. But this chapter is especially important in these days, for it gives the lie to one of the latest authorised dogmas of the Church of Rome — the immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin Mary. Blessed she is, but immaculate was the Virgin at no time of her life, and the ordinance appointed in this chapter (12), to which the Evangelist Luke tells us she conformed, plainly proves it. Unclean according to the law for seven days after the birth of her son, she came at the expiration of the appointed forty days with two birds, the one for a burnt-offering, and the other for a sin-offering; and the priest, whoever he was, offered them to make atonement for her. The offerings she brought — two birds — attested her poverty on the one hand, and her condition as a sinful creature on the other. The low estate of David's royal house, and direct line told a tale of the failure, great and grievous, of his offspring, who had once sat on his throne. Her burnt-offering and sin-offering spoke clearly of her condition as a child of Adam, but also of God's grace, which could meet it by sacrifice. Her immaculate conception! How would she have recoiled at the bare idea of it! Mercy, favour too, unsought and undreamt of, she frankly and fully owned. But to the figment of her conception without a stain her offerings unmistakeably give the lie. What a position was hers that day. Her need of atonement by blood she confessed, as she stood before that altar and witnessed the death of the birds, but the occasion which thus called it forth was the birth of Him, by whom that atonement was to be really, fully, and finally accomplished. He was perfectly holy, and this law said nothing about the child. She was unclean as a mother, and nothing but blood-shedding could atone for her.

We now come to the law (13 — 14) relating to leprosy, which was stringent and precise. It was stringent, for the Lord would have the camps in the midst of which He dwelt cleared of every leper (Num. 5:1-4). It was precise in the directions for determining the presence of the disease, for a person's social position was affected, and his ecclesiastical privileges remained in abeyance all the time that he was afflicted with it. Animals, it would seem, were not subject to it. Only man, and what was immediately connected with him, as garments and houses, were liable to it. Now the disease we learn was not unknown till after the Exodus (Ex. 4:6, 30-31). Nor was it peculiar to the Israelites, though to them only did God give instruction about it. And never were they to forget those instructions, or to ignore them. In the wilderness, as we have seen, they were to put them in force. In the land, too, they were to observe them (Deut. 24:8). Those which regard man, and garments are recounted in chapter 13; whilst the cleansing of the leper, and of the house is set forth in chapter 14

The whole of chapter 13 forms but one revelation, and is addressed to both Moses and Aaron. In it the marks of leprosy are minutely detailed for the especial guidance of the priest, who was to examine the suspected person or garment, and judge of the case; and from his decision there was no appeal. Momentous, indeed, were the consequences, for the garment might have to be destroyed, and the person shut out of the camp till the Lord, in His sovereign mercy, healed him. Any mistake, therefore, in judgment would be fraught with most serious results. Hence the Lord gave those directions that no one should be put outside the camp, who ought to be in it, and that no one should remain within, when it was clear that he ought to be out. In all this the priest had to act as guided of God. Suspicion would not be sufficient to brand the person as a leper. Nor was the priest left to his own device to decide what constituted leprosy. The Lord revealed all that in His word, to it the priest was to be subject, and by it alone he was to be guided. Vesting the power of exclusion from the camp in the hands of the priest, a failing sinful creature, it was of the utmost importance that it should not be abused; so Jehovah made known in his Word, which was within the reach of all, the marks by which the priest could discern whether the person, the garment, or the house was really smitten with this plague.

As regards man this disease had its seat in the flesh below the skin. To a casual observer a disease in the skin might be mistaken for that of leprosy, and at first sight the priest might have been uncertain about it. Care was needed, so the person might have to be shut up a week for the priest to pass judgment on the case. And, if need be, a second week might be required ere certainty could be arrived at (13:4-8; 21-22; 26-28; 30-34). If at the expiration of that time the disease had not spread, the man was clean; if otherwise, he was unclean. So if there was raw flesh visible and the hair had turned white, the person was a leper, and therefore unclean, for the virus was still actively at work. But if a leprosy had broken out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy had covered all the skin of him that had the plague from the head even to the foot, wheresoever the priest looked, then the priest was to consider, and if the leprosy had covered all his flesh, he was to pronounce him clean, it had all turned white, he was clean (12, 13). Whilst the disease was active the man was unclean; when it had ceased to work, and had all come out, he was clean. Anyone, at any time, as these directions teach us, might become a leper. It might be an old leprosy breaking out afresh (v. 11), or it might be a disease from which that person had hitherto been exempt; but whenever that plague attacked a person, and the priest had pronounced him unclean, he had to leave his place in the camp, his tent, his social circle, and everything he valued, and to be outside in the wilderness, with his upper lip covered, his clothes rent, his head bare, and crying, "Unclean, unclean!" dwelling outside and alone till Jehovah, in His mercy, should heal him.

If leprosy appeared in a garment, whether of woollen, or linen, or of skin, the priest was to shut it up seven days; if the plague had spread in the garment that garment was to be burnt. If the plague had not spread they were to wash the garment. Then, if the stain remained indelible, the garment had to be burnt. If, on the other hand, the plague was somewhat dark after the washing of it, that part was to be cut out. If, after that, it appeared still in the garment, there was nothing for it but its total destruction by fire. Such were the directions for the priests of the house of Aaron. In what light are we to view them?

Disease in the flesh of an Israelite might make him unclean. The working of the flesh in any Christian may render him unfit to be in the company of his brethren in the enjoyment of Christian privileges. But every disease was not the dreaded infliction of leprosy, so every outbreak of the flesh in a Christian would not warrant his exclusion from fellowship at the table of the Lord. Care was to be exercised by the priest, who had divine directions for his guidance. Care must be exercised by the assembly, for which guidance is also provided in the Word. Further, since it might have been an old leprosy breaking out afresh (v. 11), and since also it involved exclusion from the camp, till the person was healed, we shall miss the instruction of these chapters if we view leprosy as here typical of man's condition by birth. It is not to one who has never been accredited as a Christian, to whom we are to apply it; for how put out a person who has never had a place in the camp? For us then, this portion treats of discipline towards a Christian, or one who has been reckoned as such, and not of the salvation of a sinner.

But if, on inspection by the priest, the leprosy had covered the man all over, and had all turned white, he was clean. For him in that state no exclusion was needful. He was clean, and no clean person was put outside the camp; only the unclean were thus dealt with. So there are occasions when, if the sin is really confessed, all being brought out, and no longer working in him, that man is to be reckoned clean, and for him in that state excommunication would not by God's Word be demanded. To this condition of the leper Matt. 18:17 may be analogous. If the offending brother leaves the church, the matter drops, and further proceedings are not called for. The leprosy in a garment may remind us of the circumstances, the surroundings, of a Christian, in which there is something clearly wrong. If that which is wrong can be cut off, well and good. If, on the other hand, that which is inconsistent with Christianity cannot be thus got rid of, the person must get out of the circumstances to rid himself of that which is wrong, as the Israelite had to lose his whole garment by fire, when it was found that nothing else would check the spread of the plague. Uncompromising was Jehovah, that Israel learnt. But His ways of grace they had proved, and could speak well of. It might seem to some hard to repent outside the camp, for the working of that within them which they derived from natural descent. It might seem, too, a hard sacrifice to part with the garment without any equivalent in money to buy another. But the Israelite was part of Jehovah's redeemed people, and He was their God. What other nation was so favoured? This might reconcile him to the loss of his garment, whilst the death of the bird and animals in sacrifice would show him at what cost, even the life of the substitute, the plague-stricken leper could be cleansed. Yet, till healed, his place was outside, to await the action of Jehovah in mercy and goodness to him.

God's holiness cared for by the exclusion of the leper from the camp, the Lord Jehovah again speaks, but this time only to Moses (14:1-32). Had the maintenance of this holiness been all that Jehovah was concerned with, the leper would have remained outside the camp in perpetual separation from the Tabernacle, and from social intercourse with God's people. But He cared for the leper, and provided for his reinstatement into all his privileges in the camp, if only he was first healed. Then the priest came forward to re-admit the one whose exclusion at the outset, and the continuance of it till then, had resulted from his judgment of the case. Money, entreaties, promises, efforts, all would be of no avail. Jehovah Himself must heal the man, or he never could be cleansed. Hence grace had scope to display itself, when the claims of divine holiness had been acknowledged.

But though the law provided for the leper's cleansing, and assumed the possibility of Jehovah's healing him, of which the law-giver himself had proof in his own personal history (Ex. 4:6-7), we read not in the Old Testament of any one in Israel, smitten by God, being healed save Miriam the sister of Aaron. And one only from among the Gentiles shared, that we read of, in Jehovah's goodness in this respect during all that time, and that was Naaman the Syrian, healed in divine goodness, when the kingdom of Israel was in a state of apostacy from God. Yet the disease was clearly not so uncommon (Luke 4:27), though, from all that we know, recovery from it was rare, till He came, Jehovah Himself, who touched the leper, and by the fiat of His own will, being moved with compassion, healed him on the spot (Mark. 1:41). Power, that leper owned, Christ had, but was He willing to heal him? That was the question in the poor outcast's mind. He was willing. He healed him. Then what had been unknown in the days of Elisha, was frequently experienced, and the priests had to acknowledge it. Lepers were healed (Matt. 11:5; Luke 7:22; 17:7), for Jehovah had visited His people in grace, after the ministry of John the Baptist had proclaimed their utter and hopeless failure under the law. Till then it may have been like that which went on at Bethesda; that healing was but sparingly known. The people's condition, however, manifested that God was free to act in the fulness of His grace.

But to return. The leper healed, he remained outside the camp, until visited by the priest, who certified of Jehovah's goodness, and in recognition of it took immediate steps for the person's readmission into the camp. So he commanded two birds alive and clean to be taken for the healed one, with cedar-wood, scarlet, and hyssop, the one bird to be killed in a vessel over running (i.e., not stagnant) water, and the other to be dipped alive in the blood of its fellow. That done, the priestly work began by sprinkling him that was to be cleansed seven times, pronouncing him clean, and letting the living bird loose into the open field. Now the person could re-enter the camp, though as yet he could not go into his tent. Much more had to take place ere that could be allowed. But here let us pause for a moment.

What lessons have we before us? The outbreak of sin in a Christian may necessitate his exclusion from our midst. "Put away from among yourselves the wicked person" (1 Cor. 5:13), may be the direction suited to the case. Then should grace work in that person, restoration would follow. Now living, as we do, in a day when no animal sacrifices are offered to God, we are in danger of forgetting, in a way an Israelite was not, the need of death and blood-shedding for restoration to Christian privileges. True, Christ lives to die no more; yet had He not died, and made propitiation by His blood, the offender could never be restored. Hence in thought we must go back to the Lord's death and resurrection, as often as restoration is required. This the two birds typified, as the live one identified with the dead bird, by being dipped in its blood, winged its way into the air in all the freedom of life. For by His blood atonement is effected, and by His resurrection all who believe on Him are cleared from all charge of guilt that can be brought against them (Rom. 4:25).

Further, as the cedar-wood, scarlet, and hyssop were dipped in the blood of the bird that was slain, all that spoke of nature, the cedar, and the hyssop (the whole range of it as 1 Kings 4:33 views it), and what betokened the glory of the world, the scarlet, all were viewed through the medium of the death of the substitute. Has nature, has the world been the occasion of a Christian's fall, in what a different light is he to view them, as he sees them in the light of the cross.

How easy it is to man to sin, because we are sinful creatures, having a nature which is only evil. But how much is needed for restoration to be known. For besides the Lord's death and resurrection, which have taken place, the Holy Ghost must work on the conscience, and apply to it the knowledge of the efficacy of the blood of Christ. By the eternal Spirit He offered Himself without spot to God (Heb. 9:14); so the bird's blood fell into an earthen vessel of running water, the symbol of the Lord as man in whom the Holy Ghost was. And the blood and the water, it would appear, were both sprinkled on the one who was to be cleansed (v. 52), for it is only as the word is applied by the Spirit to the offender's conscience, that the efficacy of that precious blood in God's sight comes home to him. How much then is required. The true sacrifice had to be provided. The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world (1 John 4:14). The Son by the eternal Spirit offered Himself to die. And the Holy Ghost has to bring home in power to the conscience the remembrance of the abiding value of the blood of Christ.

Foundation truth thus shadowed forth, viz., the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the efficacy of His precious blood (1 John 2:2), who, is the propitiation for our sins, the man found that he had something to do. As yet what had been done, had been done for the leper. Now he washed his clothes, shaved off all his hair, and washed himself in water. Then he was clean, and could come into the camp, though he could not even yet re-enter his tent. Cleansing one's self from old associations, putting away all appearance of natural strength, or of that in which one has prided one's self, and separating by the action of the word from all that makes one unclean, such is the teaching to us conveyed in the directions furnished to the leper.

Resting in the camp, but outside his tent, he washed his clothes, and his person, and shaved himself again on the seventh day. How complete was that work! The hair of his head, of his beard, and of his eyebrows was all shaved off, and he stood divested of any appearance of natural strength or personal comeliness, to be restored on the eighth day to all the privileges of an Israelite, one of the redeemed people, but only after the appointed sacrifices should be offered up on his behalf. This time he brought his own offerings, a trespass-offering, a sin-offering, a burnt-offering, and a meat-offering mingled with oil, and one log of oil;* for from out of the five offerings enumerated in Lev. 1 — 7, all typical of the Lord Jesus, were required for his full cleansing. Nothing could be effected for the man apart from the death of Christ on the cross. But the special features of the eight days' ceremonies, were the trespass offering and the oil. All the other offerings were needed, though pre-eminence is given to the two just mentioned.

{*The log of oil, only mentioned in this place, was the twelfth part of an hin, equal, it is said, to the contents of six egg shells.}

The trespass offering came first, and rightly so, for whatever Israel may have understood of the value and import of the different offerings, we can see that since the leper typifies one who had sinned inside the camp, and so had to be excluded, the trespass offering, which had its special place where God or man had been defrauded of their rights (Bible Herald, vol. iii., p. 242), would here naturally come first. "So the priest," we read, "shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering," etc. (14:12-13). The priest bringing the lamb to the altar, waving it, and then slaying it, was a course of procedure peculiar to this occasion; for the animal, be it remarked, was waved before death, the token that the man here on earth, should be for God, as He was in His life of whom that he Iamb was the type. Now in this it was that the man, viewing this history in its typical light, had failed. The lamb waved, the trespass offering was killed, and some of its blood was put on the tip of the man's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot. After that the priest sprinkled of the oil before the Lord seven times. Next he put some on the healed one's person, where he had just put some of the blood, and after that poured the remnant of the oil that was in his hand on the person's head, who was to be cleansed, and made an atonement for him before the Lord, in token that he was to be, as it were, consecrated to God, and endued with power as such by the Holy Ghost. But for the atonement we cannot receive the Holy Ghost. Without the Spirit we have no power to serve God. Of these things the action of the priest here reminds us. But that action, though typical of these truths, must not be taken to teach the reception of the Spirit a second time. That cannot be any more than the Lord can die again. But the restored one surely has need to be reminded of that precious blood, and of the power in which alone he can walk, viz., that of the Holy Ghost.

After the trespass offering came the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the meat offering. Then the man was fully cleansed, and once more could enter his tent, from which, as from the camp, he had been banished for the time. How manifestly all was of grace, but how fully did divine grace provide all that was requisite. Jehovah healed when the case was otherwise hopeless! Jehovah prescribed under the law the requisite sacrifices; whilst in the Gospel we learn that He provided the true sacrifice; His own well-beloved Son. His Son's death we needed for our salvation. The efficacy of His precious blood, then shed is equally needed for our restoration: no salvation, no restoration, apart from that atoning death. Nothing more, however, is wanted than His death, resurrection, and precious blood, as seen and owned by God, for all these sacrifices spoke of One, the Lord Jesus Christ. All having been duly offered up, the leper at length fully cleansed could enjoy afresh every privilege of God's people, as much as if he had never been deprived of them. And surely it must have been with a chastened spirit and an overflowing heart that he found himself again in his tent in the camp, all trace, probably, of his leprosy removed from his person; for this could be the case, since Naaman's flesh came again as the flesh of a little child (2 Kings 5:14).

Witnessing, however, as the law did to God's grace, it could not furnish the man with the means to get the requisite sacrifices. Those he had to procure, as best he could, by the eighth day, for without them he could not get back into his tent. The Lord, therefore, made provision for those who could not procure all that had been prescribed (14:21-31). The offerings appointed for the first day, had to be brought for every healed leper alike. The offerings appointed for the eighth day were modified as to their pecuniary value by this special provision to meet the necessity of the case. Each one had to bring a lamb for the trespass offering and a log of oil, but the meat offering was reduced to one-tenth of an ephah; and for the sin offering and burnt offering birds could be substituted in the place of the animals. Thus God met the person according to his ability, though he could not dispense with one even of the offerings; for nothing less than the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ can enable God righteously to restore a soul to communion with Himself, and reinstate the person in his place in the company of God's saints. All the offerings, then, called for from the richest Israelite, had still to be brought by the poorest. A trespass offering, a sin offering, a burnt offering, a meat offering, each had to bring; but the man's pecuniary inability to bring the more costly ones was not to stand in the way of his coming with such as he was able to get. And all this took place on the eighth day, the commencement of a new period of time, from which the one cleansed was to be really for God upon earth. That eighth day betokened from whence that life of consecration to God was to start afresh, but it spoke nothing of its ending. Such was not contemplated in the type, nor is it limited by anything short of the duration of life on earth in the doctrine and teaching of the New Testament.

We come now to a third revelation, given as the first was to both Moses and Aaron (14:33-57), and which treats of leprosy in a house in the land. Leprosy in a man, or in a garment could be known in the wilderness, that in the house could only be experienced in the land, and it was a direct infliction by the hand of God. "And I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession." The priest made acquainted with the occupant's suspicion about the house, for it was the duty of one in it to acquaint him with his fears respecting it; he was to order them to empty it, ere he entered therein, that all in the house should not be made unclean. Examining the walls, he judged if the marks were in sight lower than the wall, i.e., not mere superficial marks. If they were, he shut up the house for seven days, for it was the plague which had attacked it. Examining it again at the expiration of that time, if the marks had spread, the plague-stricken stones were to be taken out, the whole house scraped, new stones put in the place of the diseased ones, and the whole re-plastered, whilst the stones removed, and the scraping of the walls were all to be cast into an unclean place without the city. If the plague reappeared after that, there was nothing for it but the demolition of the whole building, and its stones, timber, and mortar, to be carried forth to an unclean place outside the city. Such a house was not to be suffered to remain in the land. What care was to be exercised, and what patience! The plague really there, as evidenced on the first inspection, the priest waited to see whether or not it would spread. If it did, he tried to save the house by the removal of the diseased stones. If, however, the leprosy still worked, unsparing was the treatment to be pursued. But should the removal of some stones be sufficient to eradicate the plague, the priest offered for the cleansing of the house the same offerings as were enjoined for the leper on the first day of his cleansing. Atonement thus made for it, the house was clean, because the plague was healed. These offerings, however, were to be offered only in the case of the plague having ceased to spread, after the stones had been taken out (14:48) and the house replastered. So it would appear that when the second examination of the house (i.e. that on the seventh day), showed that the plague had not spread since the priest had first seen it, no sacrifices were required. The house then was in a condition analogous to that of the man in whom the leprosy had all turned white (13:11). It was clean. Such was the law. To us this affords instruction in type, about an assembly in which evil has got a footing that requires to be dealt with. For the whole subject of leprosy in these two chapters provides us with principles applicable to the circumstances in which a Christian can be found. Is he himself leprous, the disease still at work in him? Then putting away from the fellowship of the saints is the proper Scriptural way of dealing with him, and the assembly, certified of his state, is responsible to act as the word directs. Are his surroundings such as God's word forbids? He must get out of them at all cost to himself. Is any local assembly known to harbour evil, and which ought to be put out? The state of that assembly should be the common concern of all saints. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (1 Cor. 5:6). If it purges itself, so that the evil ceases to work, well and good. But should the disease still work, the authors of it, and those infected by it, must be put away. If that does not arrest the spread of the plague, the assembly must be broken up, i.e., disowned as an assembly of God.

Do any ask for an example in Scripture of the assembly in general disowning any local assembly? We must answer at once that there is none, though we can point to Corinth as affording instruction about the whole case.

Evil, leaven was among them. The Apostle wrote to them about it. They dealt with it, and thus got clear of it (2 Cor. 7:11). The visit of Titus, and his report about them, evidenced that to the Apostle. So he proceeded no further. But was Paul unconcerned about it? No. Did he take the ground, that none could urge a local assembly to act? No. And we may be quite sure that the one who could write as he did in 1 Cor. 5:2, 7, 13, would not have tolerated the retention among them of the evil about which he wrote. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump," he writes, a very plain intimation of the character they would have borne if the evil had not been purged out; and if he insisted on their dealing with the offender, would he, could he, have held intercourse with them as an assembly of God, supposing they had refused to act? His language evidences in what light he would have viewed them.

The Corinthians dealt with the offender, as the priest did with the leper. But they did not do it, till Paul, who was not locally connected with them (his language proves that, 1 Cor. 5:7, 13), pressed on them the need of action, and pointed out what should be done; and waited, and how anxiously, to learn what they would do. In this he acted somewhat like the priest, who inspected the house, and then waited a week to see if the disease was still working. As an Apostle, he personally could do all this, and take such ground with them about the evil in question, for he was an Apostle of Christ, and apostolic power was no light thing (2 Cor. 10:1-11; 13:2-10; 1 Cor. 4:21; 1 Tim. 1:20; John 3:10).

But what, some may ask, is to be done now, seeing there are no Apostles? John 20:21-23 supplies us with the answer. The disciples breathed on by the Lord Jesus, receiving from Him the Holy Ghost, were thereby authorised to act on earth for Him. That authority remains, and that is enough. The assembly viewed in its general character, has power to act for Christ, to care for His glory as much as the assembly, viewed in its local character. In both aspects it is the body of Christ (Eph. 4; 1 Cor. 12), and in both it is regarded, as having all its members, and therefore it is competent to act. God's word gives no sanction to the thought, that whilst the local assembly must keep itself clear, the assembly in its general character has no power to deal with evil. It is surely responsible to cleanse itself as the house of God, and has authority to act for the Lord Jesus Christ.

We should also bear in mind the revelation of Lev. 14:46-47, which tells us in what light those were regarded who went into a house after it had been shut up by the priest. They were by entrance into it made unclean, and had to wash their clothes in order to be cleansed. Would it, then, be fitting for any one, not locally connected with it, to have personal fellowship with an assembly in a state analogous to that of the house? We can all answer such a question. But we must remember that, till the priest examined the house and found it unclean, it was not shut up. So, surely, there should be an investigation into an assembly's condition corresponding to that of the examination by the priest, ere so serious a charge as that of leprosy within it could be held to be proved.

The subject of chapter 15 has been already briefly referred to (p. 135). The reader here need only be reminded, of the different ways of cleansing, appointed for those from whom the defilement came, from that prescribed for such as were made unclean only by contact. For the former washing was enjoined, and sacrifices as well, a sin offering, and a burnt offering; the sin offering here taking precedence of the burnt-offering, because the outbreak of the flesh called for the sacrifices. In the latter only the washing with water was prescribed. Thus God maintained His own holiness, whatever might be the cause of the Israelites' uncleanness, and however urgent may have been the call for an act on his part which rendered him unclean. But, though caring for His own holiness, the gracious Lord made full provision for His defiled creatures, that they might in righteousness enjoy afresh communion with Him.

The sinner's conscience set at rest by the knowledge of forgiveness assured to him on the grounds of sacrifice, and on the authority of the divine word, cleansing, too, from defilement, whether derived from his own person, or from contact with that which was unclean, having been also treated of in the written word; we are next taught of that which was requisite for the people, redeemed out of Egypt, to stand in acceptance before Jehovah's throne. Now this involved propitiation by blood, without which there could be neither forgiveness nor cleansing (Lev. 16:16). Viewed, then, in relation to God's nature, propitiation is the groundwork of all the rest. But providing, as the Lord was, in the law for the guilty and the unclean, that which met such in their condition was first set forth, and afterwards atonement in its fulness, as far as the Old Testament could treat of it, was made the subject of a special revelation. For under the term, atonement there is comprised in this chapter the dealing with the blood of the bullock and of the goat in the sanctuary, as the Lord commanded Moses (16, 17); the dealing with the scapegoat (10), and the offering up of the burnt offering (24) as well.

In the mind of the sinner, when first convicted, his thought is naturally about himself: "What must I do to be saved?" But there is another, and in one sense a more momentous question: "How can God, consistently with His righteousness and holiness, accept before Him one who has sinned?" It is of this that Lev. 16 treats, as it details the special service appointed for the day of atonement. We say special service, because there were other sacrifices also appointed for that day, the same in number and character as those for the first day of the seventh month (Num. 29:1-11). Of this special service, the first feature in the day's ceremonial was propitiation by blood, and for it not merely a priest, but the high priest, was required. This service he alone could discharge, though not when he pleased, nor as he pleased, for both the time and the manner of his work were prescribed by the Lord.

Brought out of Egypt by the arm of divine power, God was leading His people to Canaan, the land of their inheritance. By power brought out, by power were they to get possession of the land, when the Lord their God should drive out its old inhabitants before them. The Red Sea, at God's command, had opened to make a way for them. Jordan, too, would be driven back for the people to pass over dryshod. No enemy should stand before them in the land. Victories, crushing and decisive, over the confederacies in the south and in the north awaited them. Neither the Amorites in the mountains, nor the Canaanites with their chariots of iron in the plain should withstand them. Now what more could be wanted, some might have said, "Why not be contented with national existence, freedom, and the inheritance?" To man, nothing more might seem wanting. Such thoughts, however, shut out God, and ignore the creature's condition, the consequence of the fall. God cannot change His nature, yet He desires to have His people, sinful creatures in themselves, at home in His presence; and to be able righteously to bless them. For this something very different from any display of power is requisite. Blood alone will meet the case. So this question is taken up now, and settled typically for all Israel, and by its teaching instructs us.

Aaron, forbidden after the death of his two sons to enter the holiest at all times, was now instructed to enter within the veil annually on the tenth day of the seventh month. His entrance proclaimed that God would accept sinful people in the person of their representative, and on the ground of propitiation by blood. But his entrance each year proved that the real work of atonement was not yet accomplished, nor could it be whilst the first tabernacle had its standing; for during that time, the way into the holiest was not made manifest (Heb. 9:8).

Commanded to enter the holiest, he is told in what garments to present himself. In holy garments was he to draw nigh, but not in those of glory and beauty, in which he had been, and in which his successors were to be consecrated for their service. On this day he wore white linen garments, and clothed in them, having first washed himself with water, he was ready for his special work. His garments betokened the spotless purity of the Lord Jesus Christ. His washing himself with water previous to his putting them on, denoted that he was only a type of Him that was to come, who would need no washing to fit Himself to enter the holiest. But Aaron, unable to enter at all times, because the Lord would appear in the cloud of glory on the mercy seat, could not even, when washed and clothed, appear before God until he had killed the bullock for the sin offering. For guilty creatures there could be no access to the holiest, had not the death of the victim first taken place. In type we learn that here. In truth we see it established by the cross.

And now another thing comes out, which no one, we may boldly say, who was then alive, could have foreseen: viz., that ere Israel, God's chosen earthly people, should be brought into full blessing, consequent on propitiation for their sins having been made, others, not of the race of Israel after the flesh, should know what it was to have a perfect standing before the throne. So the Lord on that day made a difference between the offerings for Aaron and his house, and the offerings for Israel. Aaron brought a bullock for a sin offering, for himself and his house, and a ram for a burnt offering and took of the children of Israel two goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering, to be dealt with on their behalf. The two goats formed in reality but one sin offering (ver. 5), and all these sacrifices were types of but one victim, the Lord Jesus Christ. Of these goats one was to be slain, and the other was to be sent away alive; so it was called Azazel, the scapegoat, i.e., goat of departure. But in this matter also the Lord directed; for Aaron decided by casting lots, which goat was to be offered on the altar as the Lord's lot, and which was to be sent away. All duly prepared, Aaron next slew the bullock in the accustomed place, and proceeded with its blood inside the sanctuary. Here lost to view, as he passed within the curtains of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, which hung before its entrance, and with no one inside this outer chamber of the sanctuary, he prepared to do his work, first taking a censer full of live coals from off the altar with a handful of sweet incense beaten small, and entering within the veil with the fire on which he put the incense before the Lord, that the cloud of incense covering the mercy seat, he might not die. Then taking the blood of the bullock, he sprinkled of it on the mercy seat eastward, and seven times before it. After that he killed the sin offering for all Israel, and dealt with its blood, as he had dealt with that of the bullock for himself and his house, making atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; and so for the tabernacle of the congregation that remained among them in the midst of their uncleanness. Besides this, he made an atonement for the altar that was before the Lord, that is, the golden altar, situated in the outer chamber of the sanctuary, according to the provision of the law in Ezek. 30:10.*

{*A question has sometimes been raised as to which altar is meant in verse 18. It will enable the reader to decide the point, if he keeps in mind, that hitherto in this chapter the thought of going in has been connected with entrance into the innermost chamber, called here the holy place, to distinguish it from the outer chamber, called here the tabernacle of the congregation. In verse 17 the going in refers to entrance within the vail; so the coming out in verse 18 refers to Aaron's return into the outer chamber from the inner; no one was to be in the tabernacle of the congregation whilst Aaron was in the holy place.}

Such was the work in the sanctuary, every act of the high priest therein witnessing of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of His death. Nothing could meet the requirements of God, short of that death, if grace was to flow out in righteousness to sinners. The incense, indeed, betokened the sweet savour of the merits of Christ, but which was only given forth in its full fragrance, when kindled by the live coals taken from the altar, which spoke of Him as enduring the fire of divine judgment. Death, however, without the sprinkling of the blood on the mercy seat would not have sufficed, though nothing more than the due dealing with the blood was needful to make propitiation for the sins of the people. It was a service, then, on that day inside the vail peculiar to itself. No prayer was uttered, no supplications were poured forth, no thanksgiving, nor any tone of melody was heard. It was a service carried on in silence, yet one most expressive to Him in whose presence it took place. It was short, and yet sufficient. The blood sprinkled once on the mercy seat, and seven times before it, was all that the Lord required. Once on the mercy seat, not twice, was Aaron commanded to sprinkle it. The Lord knew of what that blood was a type. No repetition of it could enhance its value. No effort on man's part, by sprinkling it again, could make propitiation more effectual. The whole value of the service consisted in God's estimate of that blood, which in type was brought into His presence, in anticipation of the day when the great high priest should enter in by His own blood. (Heb. 9:12). Once sprinkled on the mercy seat, it was never wiped off, and the cherubim, whose faces were turned downwards, continually gazed on it as it were, so that the action of the throne, which must otherwise have been only in judgment, because the people had sinned, was arrested, and the people for whom propitiation was made, were accepted before it. So the blood was next sprinkled seven times before the mercy seat; betokening, indeed, the only ground on which those who had sinned could be there, but also telling of a perfect standing assured to them by it.

That done, Aaron came out from the holiest, and after making atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he reappeared in the court, visible once more to the congregation, and now as the accepted representative on behalf of the people of Israel. He had gone in with the blood of the bullock for himself and his house. He had reappeared at the brazen altar to kill the goat for the people (verse 15). Now his reappearance, after all that had to be done in the sanctuary was completed, showed that he was accepted before God for the people, and that their standing before the throne was assured to them.

But all was not finished for Israel. So Aaron took the live goat, and confessed over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on its head, and then sending it away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. The service within the sanctuary had been a silent one. The blood spoke to God as Aaron sprinkled it on the mercy seat and before it. Now in the court of the tabernacle with the live goat before him Aaron, it would appear, had to speak, but not in either prayer or worship. He opened his mouth in confession, and charged the goat with the sins of the congregation, to be borne away before the eyes of all into a land of forgetfulness.

That goat went away never to return. Their sins were carried away on it never to come back. All could see the goat going away, all would know that it did not come back. For Aaron and his house there was no scapegoat provided. The reason of this is apparent to us. Israel will only know that their sins have been taken away, borne by the substitute when they see the Lord Jesus. To this Isaiah 53 and Zech. 12 refer. The former portion tells what they will then learn about it, the latter what they will feel about it. How mistaken have been their thoughts about the Lord, they will then acknowledge. How grievous have been their sins, they will only understand when they look on Him whom they have pierced, and mourn. But we know now that our sins are put away, as Heb. 9 — 10 distinctly teaches. Learning then, as we do, full forgiveness, and the non-imputation of guilt to those who believe on the Lord Jesus whilst He is still in the heavenly sanctuary, we see the reason of God's order in that day's service, that the scapegoat was provided for the people and not for the priests. With us Christians who are a holy priesthood, the putting away of sins is a question of faith, with Israel it will be a question of sight.

Aaron after this re-entered the tabernacle, washed himself, changed his garments, and then reappeared at the brazen altar to offer the burnt offerings, and the appointed parts of the sin offerings. Then his special work in making atonement was over. Death, propitiation, substitution, and bearing the judgment of God, all these had been delineated in type, for all these are needful for atonement to be effected. Further we have set forth the defiling nature of sin, in that the man who led away the goat, and the one who burned the sin offerings, their skin, their flesh, and their dung, had each to wash their clothes, and to bathe their flesh in water, before they could come back into the camp. And what they ought to feel about their sins on whose behalf atonement is made, is also shown us, in that the people, who could take no active part in putting them away, had to abstain from all work on that day, as much as if it had been the weekly Sabbath. It is a great relief to learn that all has been effected by the death of the true sacrifice. What, however, necessitated the death of the Son of God should not be lightly regarded by us, as surely it is not by God, nor by Him who suffered once, the Just for the unjust. In the work, then, of putting away their sins they could take no part, but to the heinousness of their guilt, and a true sense of what sin is, they were to be alive, and to show it. How fully will this be the case, when they shall look on Him whom they have pierced and mourn. "And the land shall mourn, every family apart … All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart" (Zech. 12:10-14).

With chapter 17 commences the third great division of this book, which terminates with chapter 23; and consists of laws concerning the worship, and daily life of the people when in the wilderness, and subsequently when in the land, with the calendar of their festivals to be observed, when they should have entered on their inheritance. Thus, throughout the wilderness journey, their inheriting the land was ever kept before them, and though utterly undeserving of it, as they proved themselves to be, yet the Lord having bound Himself by a covenant to bring them into the land in which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, had dwelt as strangers (Ex. 34), would surely fulfil it. Thus a hope was set before them throughout their wanderings — to the fulfilment of which they were constantly to look forward, just as we Christians are saved in hope (Rom. 8:24).

Israel were God's creatures and Jehovah's people, for He was their God. His rights as Creator were, therefore, to be acknowledged, as well as His claims as Jehovah. As Jehovah, the self-existing one, as the word means, He is the true, the living God. Plurality of gods there cannot be, though there are plurality of persons in the Godhead. One self-existing Being who is at the same time Almighty there is, but two there could not be. As the Almighty, He had made Himself known to their fathers, when sojourners amongst the nations of the land (Gen. 17:1; 35:11; 48:3). As Jehovah, He revealed Himself to Israel (Ex. 6:3), though Abraham knew He was Jehovah (Gen. 22:14), and the patriarchs spoke of Him as Jehovah; but God revealed Himself to the pilgrims and strangers as the Almighty One, whereas to Israel when the controversy about idolatry was to be decided, and they were called to maintain the unity of God, against the polytheistic notions of the heathen around them, the Lord made known to them that He, Jehovah, was their God (Ps. 33:12), and committed to Israel the responsibility of maintaining the truth of the unity of God (Deut. 6:4). Consequently, idolatry was a denial of this fundamental truth. For those who practised it, whatever they thought, did not worship the one living and true God. The heathen had many gods; Israel were to own, worship, and serve only the true God, and to be a witness for Him, and conservators of this truth amidst the darkness and degradation of the rest of the nations on earth.

Previous, however, to being called out to maintain this, they had been accustomed in Egypt to witness idolatry, and had fallen into it themselves (Ezek. 20:7), from which in the wilderness they had not got free, as the chapter of Leviticus now before us (17:7), indicates, and the prophet Amos centuries afterwards declared. (v. 25-27). Fundamental truth, with reference to God is therefore taken up in this chapter, in four proclamations contained in it, the two first having reference to His claims as Jehovah (2-9), and the two last (10-14), to His rights as Creator. For if they had nationally a standing in His presence, as Leviticus 16 teaches us, it became them to remember whose people they were, and that the Creator Himself was their God.

In the first of these proclamations, addressed to Israel (2-7), the Lord would guard them from all inducement to idolatry in the days of their festivities whilst they were in the wilderness. Flesh they might eat when so minded, and of those animals, too, from among which sacrifices could be brought to God's altar. But if they killed any of these — as an ox, or sheep, or a goat, whether in the camp or outside of it — that made no difference, its blood was to be brought to the priest to be sprinkled round about on the altar, and its fat was to be burnt upon the altar, an offering being thus brought for a peace offering, to Jehovah. Thus God would guard his people from any approach to idolatry on festive occasions, and would connect such directly with the remembrance of Himself (5-7). Now this was not a permissive decree to which they might conform, but an imperative one, which they were bound to keep, on pain of death, as the penalty for their disobedience. Free to kill what they chose for food, those animals really belonged to God; so the people, when in the wilderness, were only to partake of them on terms laid down by God — the man who should refuse compliance with this command being reckoned as a shedder of blood, and liable to be dealt with accordingly, for God would impute to him blood. This law, the reader will remember, concerned the killing of clean animals for food, of which offerings could also be offered in sacrifice on the altar.

The next proclamation concerned the stranger who sojourned in the midst of Israel (8, 9), as well as the Israelite, and treated of burnt offerings and peace offerings, which in the wilderness were only to be offered up on God's altar, thus guarding them most effectually against idolatrous altars, as they journeyed from place to place. In the wilderness, gathered round the tabernacle, these laws could be carried out by all the congregation. In the land some modification was allowed with reference to the first of these (Deut. 12:21-25), else it would have been practically a prohibition against partaking of their flocks or herds, except for the favoured few in whose vicinity was the tabernacle or the temple.

As regards the second proclamation, the reader must remember that it did not cancel the law of Exodus 20:25, which permitted the erection of altars, that might be built for the offering up of certain sacrifices on special occasions. Exodus 20 clearly provided for the erection of such altars; Leviticus 17:8-9, only forbade such whilst they were in the wilderness. Now, coming across at times, as they must have done, the nomad population of the desert (Deut. 10:6), they were reminded by God, that no altar was it permitted them to use but the brazen altar in the camp; though, after they had entered the land, saints, as Samuel, David, and Elijah, acted when needed, on the permission granted to Israel in Exodus.

Following close on the permission to eat flesh, comes the prohibition to eat blood (10-12). Not that this was anything new; for the Lord, who had given a full grant to Noah and to his sons, of all flesh for their food, withheld from them the blood. Now this is binding on all their descendants, even the whole race of man (Acts 15:20). In Genesis, however (9:4), no penalty was attached to the breaking of that command, a reason for it only was assigned, viz., that in it is the life of the flesh, so to eat of it would be virtually assuming that life belonged to the creature, whereas it belongs to God. In Leviticus a penalty is annexed to the infraction of the law by those who were therein commanded not to eat of it, and that penalty was death. "Whosoever there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood, I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people." In Deuteronomy 12:25, the Lord reminds Israel of it afresh. The prohibition given in Genesis, the penalty announced in Leviticus, the blessing, if obedient to the command, is set before Israel in Deuteronomy: "That it may be well with thee, and with thy children after thee." Thus a prohibition to the whole race of man, was made a penal enactment only when given afresh to Israel. Truly, to be under law was no light matter. Yet there were advantages which, if obedient, Israel could enjoy, above any which Gentiles could expect.

But another reason is given to Israel why they should not eat blood. "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. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, no soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood" (Lev. 17:11-12). It is interesting to observe the divine wisdom in choosing the time to make revelations of God's mind. The real atonement was just as much an event of the future, when Moses communicated this additional reason to Israel, as when the Lord spake to Noah and to his sons. But Noah and his sons could not have understood what then had not been demonstrated — the full need of atonement. Israel, however, with the laws concerning sacrifices before them, and the ordinance for the day of atonement fresh in their remembrance, could understand something of what atonement implied. So this additional reason given them for not eating blood comes in in its right order just after the directions for the day of atonement.

Life belongs to God, so no one of the human race was to eat blood. The sinner, too, has forfeited his life, and can only live before God on the ground of the death of a sacrifice as a substitute. This Israel were ever to remember. But if forbidden the blood, they were reminded how that could speak to God on their behalf. The blood maketh an atonement for the soul. The blood shed, the life is given up to God, and that is precious to Him. No wonder, then, that bloodshedding formed such an essential part of the Mosaic ritual, for it spoke to God of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, given up to Him on the cross. Do any object to the truth of atonement by blood, as painting the God who teaches us of it in hideous colours, as they would term it? We would ask, if they have ever given to this chapter of Leviticus the attention which it deserves? For when we learn what blood is in God's eyes, that in which is the life of the flesh, we see why He could delight in the blood of His Son, the witness of that self surrender, even to death, which must be so precious to Him. Of three important truths, then, the prohibition to eat blood reminds us. We are creatures, and must remember it. We were by nature sinners, and are to acknowledge it. We are indebted wholly to God for atonement by blood, and are ever to own it. Hence it is all of grace that atonement could be, and has been, effected. For the words of Jehovah are these, "I have given it (the blood) to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls." The One to whom life belongs has given it to be poured out for our everlasting blessing.

The value and use of the blood having been thus, declared, the next proclamation warned all against any inclination to be careless in the observance of the command (13, 14). Circumstances, the people would perhaps have thought, might exonerate them from the observance of it, and an instance of what might otherwise have been held to justify their neglect of it, we do read of in 1 Sam. 14:31-34. Faint from pursuing the enemy, the people flew on the spoil, and ate of the animals without killing them properly. But this command remembered, and attended to by Saul, the Lord's interference in judgment was restrained, as His law was honoured by being obeyed.

In connection with this comes the regulation for those who had eaten of an animal which had died of itself, n'belah, or had been torn by a beast, t'rephah. In Exodus 22:31, in the covenant made with Israel on Mount Sinai, they were forbidden to eat of the carcase of any animal which had been torn by beasts in the field. In Leviticus 11:40, any one who ate of the carcase of a clean animal which had died of itself, had to wash his clothes, and to be unclean until the evening. Here (17:15) the purification enjoined on any one who ate of any animal torn or that had died of itself, is stated, with the penalty such would incur if disobedient to this ordinance. The Lord would not allow uncleanness in those connected with His camp to pass unchallenged, or unpurged. A difficulty has been made of all this to discredit the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. But, viewing this passage in its context, it may be that the law of Leviticus 17:15 had respect to the finding of any carcase in the open country when hunting, whilst Leviticus 11:41. treats of death among their flocks or herds. If this be the case they were allowed, under exceptional circumstances, to eat of that which had died of itself, or had been torn by beasts, subject to their compliance with the purification enjoined; whereas when they entered the land that which died of itself was forbidden them (Deut. 14:21), as well as that which had been torn by beasts (Ex. 21), though a stranger might eat of the former. There, surrounded with plenty, no exceptional circumstances could be pleaded on their behalf,

Jehovah, then, was their God — an immense privilege, as the Psalmist confessed: "Blessed is the nation whose God is Jehovah, and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance" (Psalm 33:12). But of His people, responsibilities rested on them to which other nations were strangers. Some of these we have looked at, and we come now to others which marked them out as a separated people, whether from the Egyptians, among whom they had dwelt, or from the Canaanites, into whose land the Lord was about to take them. So the ways, the habits, the customs of men, were no guide for them. How could they be? Israel were what neither the Egyptians nor the Canaanites could boast of, or ever become: the Lord's peculiar people, whom He had chosen for Himself. Hence He thus addressed them: "After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances to walk therein. I am the Lord your God. Ye shall, therefore, keep my statutes and my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them. I am the Lord" (Lev. 18:3-5). All men on earth ought to have served the Lord, but they did not, neither did they even know Him who is the self-existing one, the true, the living God.

In what dense moral darkness was man, that Jehovah was to many unknown. In what depths of degradation and filth were they found, that God had to warn Israel against the ways of the nations of the land, both social and religious (18:24-28), because of which the land would vomit them out as a nauseous thing. What had man become, man made in the image of God, and originally after His likeness also? But how had this come about? Had he got into this condition, or was he originally made in it? Was primitive pre-historic man originally in a state of savagery, out of which he gradually raised himself by self-culture? God made man upright (Ecc. 7:29). Man before the flood was no savage, dwelling in caves or like habitations. Cain built a city. His descendants were noted for arts and musical instruments. Cain, too, at first tilled the ground, and Abel was a keeper of sheep. After the flood Noah became a husbandman, and Ham's descendants were noted as builders, and rulers. Man's primitive condition, whether before the flood or after it, was not a state of savagery, but quite the reverse. How, then, did he descend into the degradation and uncleanness characteristic of savagery and idolatry? As with earth, so with man, the chaotic state of the former, and the degraded state of the latter, were the consequences of causes at work after the creation of both the one and of the other. God did not create the earth a chaos (Isaiah 45:18), nor man a savage. This question, then, about man's condition, which history cannot answer, nor can archeology solve, God in His word has cleared up to us.

"Men when they knew God, glorified Him not as God, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies among them, who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator who is blessed for ever. Amen." And again, "As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind," etc. (Rom. 1:21-28). Savagery was the result of man's departure from God. God did not create man in that condition, nor was he in it when Noah and his sons were blessed by God just after the flood. Men became vain in their imaginations, they became fools, their foolish hearts were darkened, not dark (see also Eph. 4:18). Hence man's degraded condition, whether as a savage, or an idolater, a condition out of which nothing can really bring him, but the converting power of the grace of God. What was the educated heathen, viewed morally or religiously, apart from the Spirit's work on his conscience? Contrast Rom. 1:32, with 2:14-15.

Surrounded as Israel were with all the filth of heathendom, they were to be for Jehovah, and to keep His commandments and His ordinances. As His people, He told them what they were to do, and what they were to be. Certain instructions for their camp life to guard them from idolatry we have looked at in the previous chapter of this book. We now approach the chapter which treats of marriage, for, as Jehovah's people, He prescribed within what degrees of consanguinity or affinity, such unions would be deemed unlawful, and precursors of divine chastisement. Till Israel came to Sinai, we have no hint of any marriage law laid down by God. Before the flood, and certainly in the days of Cain, what the Levitical law ruled as incest, was lawful. Men married their sisters. And even in Abraham's day such unions do not seem to have been unlawful. Sarah was Abraham's half sister. Jochebed was Amram's own aunt, his father's sister. By the the law of Leviticus, such unions as Abraham and Sarah, Amram and Jochebed, and Jacob and Rachel, were distinctly forbidden (18:11-12, 18).

Thus the law introduced changes in the innermost circle of social life, and Israel, Jehovah's people, had to learn from it what were the Lord's ordinances relative to marriage, and in what light He would view any infraction of them as there laid down (20). In certain cases it would be wickedness, and death was the penalty annexed; in other cases, to die childless was the penalty such would suffer (20:20-21). What, then, was lawful to Abraham and Amram, was, to their descendants, by the law made unlawful. The marriage of the former if he had lived under the law, would have been wickedness. The marriage of the latter would have entailed on him and Jochebed the bearing of their iniquity. Now this deliverance of the Lord on the subject of marriage, clearly concerns not only Israel, but Christians as well; and although the marriage laws of our own land are not wholly regulated by this revelation made to Moses, still, all that God has here forbidden is reckoned illegal, and no Christian would act aright, if he transgressed the regulations laid down, which plainly tell us what to avoid, leaving us to gather from the prohibitions herein stated what unions are not reckoned unlawful in the eyes of the Lord.

Throughout the man is addressed, and never the woman, and the prohibitions are classed under three heads; first, what concerns certain blood relations of his own (18:6-13); next, certain relations in law (14-16); and lastly, certain relations of his wife (17-18). Of his own blood relations, besides his direct line, i.e., his mother or his offspring, collateral branches are forbidden to him reaching out to his aunts by blood, the sisters of his father, or the sisters of his mother. All within that range are near of kin, and as such are debarred him. And if a man went in to his aunt by blood, they were both to bear their iniquity (20:19). Of his relations in law three were forbidden; viz., his son's wife, his brother's wife, and his aunt by marriage, and all three on the ground that they had been wives of his relations by blood.

Hence it is clear that relations in law were not put in the same category as relations by blood. The penalty for going in to his uncle's widow was not the same as if he went in to his own aunt, who was near of kin to him (20:20). His son's daughter was forbidden him, because she was near of kin to him; but his daughter-in-law was forbidden, because she had been his son's wife. So whatever relation by blood was forbidden to the man, the widow of the corresponding relations in blood was equally forbidden, but on the ground that she had been the wife of his near of kin.

Thus we see that consanguinity is really the guiding principle on the man's side, whether as regards his blood relations, or those relations in law, which were forbidden on the ground that they had been the wives of relations in blood. This last is an important point, and casts light on a question where men have added restrictions unknown to the principle laid down in God's word. And we see how needful it is to come to the book to learn God's mind in the matter, instead of drawing our own deductions, and putting relations in law as such, on the same ground as relations in blood. The reader may see by comparing 20:12 with 20:20, 21 how needful it was to learn God's mind from His own written word.

Coming now to the wife relations, with whom the man is not at liberty to contract a marriage, her own direct line is positively forbidden him. This we can all understand. But here we have left the ground of consanguinity, for between a man and his wife there is, unless he marries his cousin, no blood relationship, and their union does not make it. They are one flesh, but between them there is no tie of consanguinity. Hence, besides the wife's direct line, no collateral branch on her side is forbidden the man, except her sister during her lifetime. The Lord in mercy to the wife would preserve her by this law from the sorrow incident to her husband, following the example of Jacob. Beyond this God's word does not go.

The simplicity, the order, the rational character of these directions we learn as we study them; and this, too, we learn, that the wife's blood relations, her direct line excepted, are not viewed in the same light as the husband's own near of kin. Consanguinity, we repeat, is really the guiding principle on his side, whether it be as regards his blood relations, or his relations in law. On his wife's side he was not to marry her sister during her life. Now were his relations in law simply as such forbidden him, his wife's sister would be barred to him as much as his brother's wife. But it was not so. The brother's widow, except to fulfil the peculiar condition of the levirate law, he never was to make his wife, but his wife's sister he was free to marry after his wife's death. Again, relations in law, even on his side, are not by God viewed in the same light as relations in blood, as we have already pointed out. Further, the man and the woman are not in the Old Testament placed by God on equal ground. A man was permitted to have two wives (Deut. 21:15) by the law, but no woman was ever allowed to have two husbands. These simple facts kept in mind, we shall be preserved from drawing deductions, and imposing limitations on the creature's freedom in the matter of marriage, which God's word neither authorises nor countenances.

But human law on this subject is not always in harmony with God's revealed will. Restrictions which God has not imposed have been introduced, extending the prohibited degree of consanguinity beyond the limits laid down in the Word; and men have argued, and legislated as if relations in law, simply as such, were to be viewed in the same light as relations by blood. Were this in accordance with the word of God, the wife's sister must be forbidden to the man as much as his own sister. Now to go in to the latter was wickedness (20:17), and public execution was the punishment awarded to both. To marry the wife's sister was only forbidden to the man during the lifetime of the former, and no punishment is even hinted at if he married her subsequent to her sister's death. We cannot, therefore, argue that the wife's relations are placed on the same ground as the man's own.

In saying this, however, we would make it plain that we are not in the least advocating the advisability of such unions. It may not be expedient for first cousins to marry, but that is no reason why such unions should be forbidden by the Church of Rome, unless the parties get a dispensation from the Pope. It may not be expedient for a man to marry his deceased wife's sister, but that does not justify the promulgation of a law which prohibits it, by regarding it as a nullity, refusing to own the wife's status, and treating the children as bastards.

Are we, then, at liberty to disregard human law on such a matter, because it may go beyond the requirements of God's word? No Christian should accept such a proposition for a moment. We are to "be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God" (Rom. 13:1) We are to be obedient to rule (Titus 3:1) and to submit ourselves to every human institution for the Lord's sake, as Peter (1 Peter 2:13) exhorts us. Are we, then, advocating a blind subjection to earthly rule? By no means. For when human commands conflict with the divine word this same apostle has taught us how to act, as he, with the other apostles boldly told the Sanhedrin. "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). But in this matter there is no conflict of authority — God's word does not enjoin on us the contracting of such unions as those of which we write, though it permits them. No one, therefore, is under divine obligation to do in this matter what the law of the land will not sanction. The Christian is clearly bound to respect such an enactment, though it may curtail the freedom allowed him by God's word. For the Lord's sake this law of the land should be respected by the child of God.

Obedience having been insisted on in chapters 17 and 18 because Jehovah was Israel's God, we come in chapters 19 and 20 to a fresh section of the law, the thirtieth according to the masora, which appeals to Israel to be holy, as the Lord was holy, who had separated them to be a people to Himself. In chapter 19 we have drawn out somewhat in detail what they should exhibit, and in chapter 20 we read of the impurities which they were to avoid. In the former of these chapters we see the inculcation of holiness applied to the every day circumstances of the Israelite in his home life, in his worship, in his intercourse with his neighbours, in his cultivation of the ground, and in his behaviour towards the stranger. Starting with a reminder to cherish filial fear, and to keep Jehovah's sabbaths, two lessons which would have been practised had the fall never been known, the law-giver goes on to warn against idolatry, and treats of the spirit of worship, apart from which the Lord would not allow them to have communion with Himself by sacrifice (4-8). Then due care for the neighbour is dwelt upon (9-18), and the principle of separation which was to be carried out in various matters connected with the cultivation of the ground. Besides that, reverence for the aged is insisted on, just dealing with everyone is enjoined, and the showing kindliness to the stranger is impressed on them. To be Jehovah's people was a privilege. They were to value it, and to exhibit by their ways what became them as such. Very useful, then, was this portion to them, and to us it is not without interest, since the Lord drew from it (v. 18) part of His answer to the scribe about the great commandment in the law (Matt. 22:39; Mark 12:31); and Peter it would seem referred to it when he wrote, "As He which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15-16). And the "all manner of conversation," of which he writes is well illustrated by the details of that chapter of the law.

In chapter 20 we have the avoidance of gross impurities insisted upon by all in the land, for it contemplates the people in the possession of Canaan. A great deal of what is here forbidden was forbidden in chapter 18, yet chapter 20 is no vain repetition of it, for it tells us what the other did not — the penalties attaching to the various acts of impurity against which they are here solemnly warned. That men could practice such vileness was bad enough, and shows the degradation into which they got, the consequences of sin. But the warnings vouchsafed to Israel show us into what uncleannesses they were in danger of falling, if left to themselves, and that without a revelation from God they had really no right standard by which to regulate their conduct in that which so intimately affected their happiness and the purity of family life.

Another sin against which they are warned is that of turning to those who had familiar spirits, or wizards, to go a whoring after them. Against such the Lord would set His face, and cut them off; and the wizard, or the person who had a familiar spirit was to be put to death by being stoned with stones (20:6, 27). God's word does not become obsolete. Saul had put down such in accordance with this law by executing the judgment here laid down (1 Sam. 28:9), but he himself came under it, as set forth in verse 6 of our chapter, and the Lord in fulfilment of His warning executed the judgment on him. "Saul died," we read, "for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit to inquire of it; and he inquired not of the Lord, therefore he slew him" (1 Chron. 10:13-14). None, not even the king, was exempt from the punishment threatened. "I will set my face against that soul, and cut him off from among his people," the Lord had said by the hand of Moses, and Saul proved the truth of it in his own death. There were sins for which under the law no sacrifice could be brought, and in this chapter we have some of them.

Leviticus 21; 22.

From laws which concerned the children of Israel at large, we pass on to some which had special reference to the priests (21, 22). Holiness and the maintenance of the revelation of the unity of God (Deut. 6:4) having been pressed on the people, the Lord now directs Moses to speak to Aaron, and to his sons. Hitherto, with the exception of the revelations given us in 6:25; 16:2, Moses was commanded to speak to the people, or to the people conjointly with Aaron and his sons (17:2). But the priests being separated to God, there were restrictions placed on their actions, from which the rest of the people were free. To be a priest to Jehovah was a high honour, and none could share in it but those specially chosen for it by God. The Lord had caused the house of Aaron to come near to Him (Ex. 28:1). To be one of God's earthly people was a great privilege, but even that involved the observance of restrictions, as we have seen (17 — 20), from which others were exempt. To be God's priests, members of the holy priesthood, was a greater privilege, hence it would be no wonder, nor cause for complaint, if the Lord laid down rules for them to which the rest of Israel were not called to submit. These, which affected them in their family relationships and in their households, we have set forth in the revelations given by the Lord to Moses on their behalf. The first (21:1-15) treats of their defilement by the dead, and the range within which they could marry. The second (21:16-24) gives regulations concerning those priests who were blemished in their persons. The third (22:1-16) provides against profanation of the holy things which the children of Israel would offer to the Lord. Such, then, being their purport, their introduction in this part of the book is orderly and natural, appearing as they do in close proximity to those regulations which concern the holy people. A holy people all Israel were. A holy priesthood Aaron and his house were.

In common with the rest of Israel, a priest might defile himself for the dead, though in his case it was only permitted for those near of kin to him, viz., for his mother, his father, his son, his brother, or his sister who had never been married. For other relations, or for friends, he was not to be defiled. How defilement for the dead might be contracted Numbers 19:11-14 declares. It might be by contact with the dead body, or only by the person's presence in the house, or tent, at the time of death, or after it had taken place. Natural feeling might have prompted on the priest's part the doing that which God's Word here forbade him. He might have desired to be present at his friend's death, or to soothe the grief of those bereaved by expressing his sympathy in person. All this would be natural and right for one of the redeemed people, but not for one of God's consecrated priests. They were not to be thus defiled, nor profaned. The separation to God was never to be forgotten. To profane himself, being a chief man* among his people, was here forbidden him. Others of Israel's seed could do what he could not. He was not to pollute himself, because he had been set apart for God's service. Further, no mark of mourning was to be seen on his person (compare with verse 5, Isaiah 22:12; Amos 8:10; Micah 1:16); for he was to be holy to his God, and was not to profane the name of his God, for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, the bread of his God he offered, therefore he was to be holy (6).

{*This seems the most natural sense of the verse (4), giving a reason for the general injunctions contained in verse 1, the particular exceptions to which are noted in verses 2, 3.}

In connection with these directions about mourning, come those about marriage. With whom any one of Israel might not marry we have already had before us. Here the marriage law, as it especially affected a priest, is brought in. Neither one guilty of whoredom, nor a profane woman, i.e., one who had been guilty of fornication (see v. 9), nor one divorced, was to become the wife of a priest, for he was holy to his God. How his condition as sanctified to God was to govern his actions in times of mourning, and in the matter of marriage. He was a priest. He could not help it. He was such by virtue of his birth. He was, therefore, never to forget it, and conduct only such as became a priest was to be exhibited by him. Nor that only. Israel were to remember what he was, and to help, as far as it lay in their power, to maintain that separation to God which became every male of the house of Aaron.

But there was one of that house who, by virtue of his office, was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. We refer to the high priest. For him, therefore, no defilement for the nearest or dearest of his relations was to be permitted, and no one could he wed, but a virgin of his people. Perfect separation in the matter of mourning and of marriage became him who filled that office. And one can see the propriety of this, as we know of whom as high priest he was the type. Under all circumstances does God teach us of the holiness of the person of His Son. If He rode on the ass's colt, He rode on that on which no man had before Him sat. If His body was laid in the grave, it was laid in a new tomb, never till then tenanted; and though He died, He saw no corruption. So here, the high priest was never to be defiled for the dead, and he could not wed as his wife one who had been married to another man. A widow any of the priests might marry. But even a widow was barred to the high priest (v. 14). The person of the Lord was ever, we see, present to the eye of God.

A second revelation given to Moses for Aaron and his sons regulated the position of a blemished priest. Between a blemished priest and a defiled one there was a great difference. A defiled one became defiled by contact with uncleanness, by disease working in his body, or by his presence in a house or tent where death had recently taken place. A blemished priest was one in whose person there was some defect, or abnormal growth. Such an one could not minister at the altar. A priest he was, and always would be. The priest's portion of the holy and most holy things belonged to him equally with all the other priests, but service at the altar was forbidden him, for he who served there, whether the high priest or a common priest, was a type in his service of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom there was no blemish.

Here, again, we see that the person of the Lord Jesus Christ was ever present to God's eye. Of Him we read in the New Testament that He was without blemish (amomos) (Heb 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19). Of Christians we read that it was God's counsels to have them such before Him in Christ (Eph. 1:4); and the Church Christ will present to Himself holy and without blemish (amomos) (Eph. 5:27) and the saints seen with the Lamb on Mount Zion, are described in the same way (amomoi) without blemish (Rev. 14:5). Besides this God desires that we should be without blame (Phil. 2:15; 1 Thess. 2:10; 3:13; 5:23, (amemptos) and unimpeachable (anegklectous) likewise (1 Cor. 1:8; Col. 1:22; 1 Tim. 3:10; Titus 1:6-7) terms never applied in the New Testament to the Lord Jesus Christ. Amomos is predicated of Him and of saints; amemptos and anegkleetos only of saints.*

{*For the information of the reader we subjoin all the passages where these terms are met with in the New Testament:
Amemptos Luke 1: 6; Phil 2:15; 3:6; 1 Thess. 3:13; Heb. 8:7.
Amemptos 1 Thess. 2:10; 5:23.
Amomos Eph. 1:4; 5:27; Phil. 2:15; Col. 1:22; Heb. 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; Jude 24; Rev. 14:5.
Amometos Phil. 2:15; 2 Peter 3:14
Anegkleetos 1 Cor. 1:8; Col. 1:22; 1 Tim. 3:10; Titus 1:6-7.}

As blemished, then, the priest could not minister at the altar, nor serve in the sanctuary, yet he was not to be deprived of his birthright. The distinction here made is interesting. God's nature never alters, so no one could approach him in priestly service who was blemished in his person, lest he should profane God's sanctuary. The Aaronic service of the priest at the altar, and in the holy place was thus guarded most jealously till He came, the true priest, who has done all that had to be done of the Aaronic character of priestly work in connection with the sacrifice and the sanctuary. But the portion of a priest, God's provision for a priest, the blemished one of Aaron's house shared in equally with those in whom there was nothing lacking nor superfluous. Perfect in his person the officiating priest had to be. That we all understand. But as priesthood flowed from birth, nothing could make a man of Aaron's house cease to be a priest. Thus on the one hand God's unchangeableness as to His nature was declared, and on the other the unchangeableness of His purpose. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. By birth the sons of Aaron were reckoned amongst the priests. By right of birth believers now are priests to God, a holy priesthood, privileged to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2: 5).

Defilement, however, was a very different matter. Though blemished, the priest as we have seen, shared in the portion provided for Aaron's house. If defiled he could not have part in that, until he had been duly cleansed, and what that cleansing was to be Jehovah determined. Defilement then might happen to any of Aaron's house, and where it existed, it incapacitated the one unclean from eating the holy things. This is next treated of in the revelation contained in 22:1-16, addressed to Aaron and to his sons, "Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth to the holy things which the children of Israel hallow to the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord" (3) Various ways in which defilement might be contracted are then enumerated (4-8), illustrating most plainly the difference between a blemish and uncleanness, followed by directions for the cleansing of the defiled priest. But why this difference? The answer is obvious. To eat of the holy things typified communion with God. So none defiled could have fellowship with Him, that is clear. From defilement however, a person might get free, if he acted as by the law he was directed. From the blemish he might never get free. Had the blemish barred the right of eating of the holy things, who could ever have had communion with God but one — the Lamb without blemish and without spot? We are without blemish, but as chosen in Christ. (Eph. 1:4).

Further, who in the priest's house might eat of the holy thing is also set forth. Nothing of this was left to man, to Aaron, or even to Moses, to decide. Jehovah alone determined such questions, and declared, too, what any one who had eaten of the holy thing inadvertently was to do (10-16). Thus carefully did God guard the privilege of having communion with Him, and defined by the law, who those were who shared in such a favour. The priest's family, and his daughter, if after marriage she was a widow, and living under his roof; all those born in his house, or bought with his money — these could eat of the holy things. But neither servants not born under his roof, nor bought with his money, nor a stranger, nor a sojourner with him, could partake of them. Birth or purchase gave the right, but nothing else could, to eat with him of the holy things.

In close connection with the law regarding this privileged class, is the revelation addressed to Aaron, to his sons, and to all Israel regarding the blemishes, which, if found in any animal, would hinder its being offered in sacrifice (22:18-33). For a burnt offering it had to be a male without blemish. For a peace offering the animal had to be perfect, though the law allowed a bullock or a lamb that had anything superfluous, or was lacking (lit. lessened) to be offered for a freewill offering. Remembering of whom this sacrifice was a type, we understand these provisions of the law; and bearing in mind the fact that the law was given to an earthly people, we can apprehend the grace which provided a relaxation of the stringent regulation, if they were moved to draw nigh with a sacrifice for a freewill offering. But, whilst Jehovah thus provided for the freewill offering, He reminded them that they must eat it only on the day that it was offered. He had already declared this in 7:15. He here reminded them of it, lest they should forget it. How often have we need to remember that communion with Him to be acceptable must be real. It is not to become a form, it is to be a reality.

Leviticus 23

Again the Lord speaks, and to the mediator, commanding him to communicate the revelations, concerning the festivals which follow, to the children of Israel. Times and seasons have to do with earth, and with them the earthly people are concerned. Days and months, and times, and years it behoved them to observe, but with such days and times Christians, as we learn from Gal. 4:9-10, have nothing to do. Paul was afraid of the Galatian saints because they kept them. The Israelites would have been disobedient to God, lawbreakers, if they had not observed them. For the word of Jehovah was, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, The feasts of Jehovah, which ye shall call holy convocations, these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation, ye shall do no work therein, a sabbath it is to Jehovah in all your dwellings."

This revelation then begins with the sabbath, which is here classed with the set feasts moadim (lit. appointed times) though generally it is viewed as distinct from them (1 Chron. 23:31; 2 Chron. 2:4; 31:3; Neh. 10:33; Lam. 2:6; Hosea 2:11). But in common with the set feasts it is called a holy convocation (v. 2), and in common with the day of atonement it is called a sabbath of rest, shabbath shabbathon, for throughout it complete rest from all work was enjoined; first, because on it, as stated in Ex. 20, Jehovah rested; and also in remembrance, as stated in Deut. 5, of Israel's time and condition of servitude in Egypt. On the chief days of their appointed feasts rest from all servile work only was enjoined; and, though the first day of the seventh month, and the first and last days of the feast of tabernacles were called days of rest, shabbathon, to no day was the term Sabbath applied except to the seventh day of the week, and to the tenth day of the seventh month. Classed then as the seventh day was with the moadim (lit. appointed times), it also differed materially from them, and that appears from verses 4 and 37, 38 of this chapter of Leviticus. In verses 37, 38, it is mentioned as distinct from them. In verse 4 we recommence the subject, as it were, of which the lawgiver was to treat, viz., the directions concerning the set feasts, moadim, of Jehovah. But its introduction at the outset of this chapter was surely calculated to impress on the minds of the people, that no stated time of rejoicing, nor of any holy convocation, was to override the perpetual ordinance concerning the sabbath day, and its proper observance. For it was a sign between Jehovah and Israel (Ex. 31:13, 17; Ezek. 20:12, 20).

The set feasts moadim, varied with the year, since the Jewish year had an intercalary month, i.e., an additional month inserted next to Adar, called Veadar, as often as was required,* for their months had to correspond with the seasons. In Nisan or Abib, the first month, the barley harvest began to be ripe; by the middle of Tisri, the seventh month, all harvest and vintage operations had ceased. Hence the term moed would especially apply to these times, whereas the sabbath came round regularly each week. Further, it may be observed, that the feasts of the new moons are not included in the appointed times treated of in this chapter.

{*In the modern Jewish calendar this month is inserted seven times in nineteen years, that period being what is called the Metonic cycle, when the lunations of the moon return to the same days of the month. No notice is met with in Scripture of this intercalary month, but it is plain they must have required it to keep the months and the seasons in harmony.}

In all the four last books of the Pentateuch, the chief festivals are specially mentioned. First spoken of in the covenant made between the Lord and Israel at Sinai (Ex. 23:14-16), again mentioned in that unconditional covenant made by the Lord in favour of Israel after they had broken the first covenant (Ex. 34:18-22), we have them treated of somewhat at length in Leviticus 23; Num. 28-29, and Deut. 16. In Num. 28; 29, the lawgiver lays down regulations regarding the number, variety, and character of the offerings at each of the feasts. In Deut. 16 we learn the conditions of soul in which Israel were to keep the three great festivals of the year. Here in Lev. 23 we have what may be called a kind of ecclesiastical calendar, which is really the history of God's ways in grace with the nation from the day that He took them up to bring them out of Egypt, till the day that He will bring them into full and abiding earthly rest under the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ; just as the blessings, wherewith Jacob blessed his sons, describe in prophetic outline the eventful history of the people in connection with their responsibility, till they finally overcome their enemies.

The appointed feasts began with the passover, to be observed in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, "between the two evenings;" a term which Deut. 16:6 helps us to understand, and Ex. 29:39 will confirm. The passover was to be sacrificed in the evening, at the going down of the sun, and the daily evening sacrifice was offered up "between the evenings." Clearly, then, this phrase cannot mean, as it has been sometimes stated, the period of time between the evening of one day and the evening of the next, speaking after the manner of our computation of time. "Between the two evenings" was a certain time on the fourteenth day of Nisan, and Deut. 16:6 defines it as the going down of the sun.

With this brief notice of the passover on this occasion the lawgiver passed on to the feast of unleavened bread, for the people had been fully instructed how to keep it in the wilderness in Ex. 12; though the condition of soul in which they were annually to commemorate it, when in the land, is not set forth till we come to Deut. 16. So here in the wilderness it is but briefly noticed as the opening festival of their ecclesiastical year. After that, the feast of unleavened bread, which commenced on the following day, is brought prominently before Israel, and in this there is a significance to which Christians as well as Israel should take heed. For if shelter from divine judgment by the blood of the Lamb is known by the soul, leaven, here the type of evil, should be put away, the old leaven to be purged out, and the leaven of malice and wickedness kept out, according to 1 Cor. 5:7-8, and the feast kept with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Hence, on the fifteenth day of Nisan, this feast began, and lasted a whole week, i.e., a complete period of time. During its continuance they were to eat unleavened bread, and on each day of the feast special offerings were prescribed, of which we read in Numbers 28. But though the same offerings were appointed for each day that the feast lasted, the first day and the seventh day were to be observed as days of holy convocation, on which no servile work was to be done. In this manner their ecclesiastical year began. A people sheltered by blood from divine vengeance, proclaiming by the paschal supper what they owed to the sovereign power of their God, redeemed by the arm of His power from Egypt, they were keeping a festival to Him, and eating of unleavened bread, betokening by that what becomes those who are in truth the people of God.

After this comes a new revelation, not that the feast of unleavened bread was regarded as ended, for ere it closed a special service was enjoined, viz., the waving of the sheaf, the first fruits of their reaping.* This new revelation, which here commences, embraces also the directions about the offering of the first fruits at Pentecost (9-22), the time for the observance of which was reckoned from the day that they waved this sheaf. And here for the first time do we meet with any notice about this sheaf. In Exodus 13, which treats of the institution of the feast of unleavened bread, there is not a word about it. In the wilderness this ceremony was not to be performed. It was only to be observed after that they entered the land, and in no other part of the sacred volume have we any direction about it, but Luke 6:1, as has been pointed out, most probably refers to it. For the "second first deuteroproton sabbath" as the word really is, implies the sabbath next succeeding that one which fell in the week of the feast of unleavened bread; the first sabbath therefore after the waving of the sheaf, by which the people were allowed to partake of the harvest. This interpretation is confirmed by the fact that, whereas the Pharisees found fault with the disciples for eating of the ears of corns on the sabbath, they did not charge them with the offence, which it would have been, had they plucked and eaten of them before the sheaf had been waved. Hence Luke marked the time exactly of that occurrence which he relates. The ripe grain was still uncut, but the wave sheaf had been offered, which left the people free as regards the prohibition of Lev. 23:14, to partake of the fruits of the new harvest.

{*The sheaf was probably of barley for that was the grain first ripe in Palestine. See Ruth 1:22, 2:23. And the mention of the sheaf in its place here we can understand, for no outline of God's ways in grace with His people could be complete without a notice of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Returning to Lev. 23, we read that the sheaf was to be waved on the morrow after the sabbath, which was the first day of the week, waved to be accepted for the people, "for your acceptance," as the law-giver wrote. Sacrifices were offered for their acceptance, this was waved for their acceptance, and with it there was to be offered a he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering, and a meat offering of two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, and for a drink offering, the fourth part of an hin of wine. But no sin offering was appointed, a most significant fact, the importance and meaning of which we can now understand. The sheaf waved betokened that it belonged to God; and being the first of their reaping, the earnest of the
coming harvest, it betokened that He of whom it was the type, would be raised to live to God. "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death has no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died to sin once. In that He lives, He lives to God" (Rom. 6:9-10). As typical of Him as the risen One, for it was waved on the day of the week on which He rose, the offerings which accompanied it spake of Him the spotless, perfect One, who lived and died, and in whom God and the offerer can find joy without alloy. No sin offering, therefore, was in place in connection with this sheaf. He of whom it was the type was in Himself holy, and He was not here viewed as made sin for us, though the sheaf was waved for the people's acceptance. For if Christ be not raised we are yet in our sins, but as risen He is the first fruits (1 Cor. 15:17, 23), and He was raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25).

To us all this is now clear, but by the people before the Lord's resurrection it was probably not understood. But when Pentecost had fully come how clear and full of meaning must this service have appeared, a service, however, which had then lost its interest for those to join in, who knew not only of what it was the type, but Him, the risen One, therein typified. And what thoughts must have filled the hearts of those priests who became obedient to the faith, if they remembered the fact, that the officiating priest waved the sheaf of first fruits in the temple court on the very morning that the Lord Jesus had come forth from the tomb. The symbol was seen that day on Moriah, of what had really taken place in the garden, ere that morning had dawned. And which place was the place of interest for God's true-hearted people on that morning, the temple court or the garden where the sepulchre was? We know, and we know where the Lord was first seen. He appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden, but was not seen by the priest at the altar.

How full of meaning, too, must they have seen were the accompanying offerings — the lamb for the burnt offering, and the meat offering with oil, betokening as they did, what those who ministered at the altar were unwilling to admit, the perfectness, the sinlessness of Him, the risen One, whose death both priests and people had three days previously clamorously demanded, and whose dying agonies had been embittered by their taunts and revilings. But he was holy, spotless, acceptable to God, and One in whom both God and the believer can rejoice together. This the offerings typified, and that great company of the priests who became obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7), as Christians fully owned.

A point of interest in the meat offering must be noticed ere we proceed. Its measure, prescribed by God, was to be of two tenth deals of fine flour with a fourth part of an hin of oil. It was the ordinary quantity of oil for a meat offering which was offered with a lamb, but it was double the measure of flour generally appointed where a lamb only was offered. Why was this? A significance of course there is in it, for all God's ordinances have a purpose and a meaning, whether we can discover that purpose or not. Now the measure of flour for this meat offering was the measure of flour appointed for the two wave loaves offered on the feast of weeks (v. 17). The Lord Jesus Christ is the life of His people, and He alone, as risen, is that, and as alive before God, their life is only Christ, and nothing else. Hence, was it not that the measure of the flour of the meat offering which accompanied the wave sheaf, was the measure of the flour of which the two wave loaves were made, the new meat offering to the Lord? Christ, and He only, is equally and solely the life of those whom the two loaves typified.

The seven days of the feast ended, the males of Israel could return to their homes, to await the next appointed time for appearing before Jehovah, which had been fixed by the paschal sabbath, for on the fiftieth day dating from its morrow they were to keep the feast of weeks, on which day they were to offer a new meat offering to Jehovah, viz., the two wave loaves already mentioned, baken with leaven, first fruits to Jehovah.

The wave loaves and wave sheaf bearing such close relation the one to the other, the directions about the former are given as we have stated, in the same revelation which tells us about the latter, and ere the lawgiver defined the character of that day (for the feast of weeks lasted but one day), he set forth at length, that which we read not of elsewhere, the directions about these two loaves, and the offerings which were to accompany them. For the wave sheaf and the wave loaves are made very prominent objects in this chapter of Leviticus. In Numbers 28:26, the loaves are just referred to, but as a subject with which all were acquainted. Here only are they described.

Prepared as directed, and brought to the officiating priest, seven lambs of the first year, one bullock and two rams were brought for a burnt offering, with their usual meat offerings and drink offerings. Besides this one kid of the goats was to be offered for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings, and the priest was to wave them with (lit. on) the bread of firstfruits a wave offering to Jehovah, with the two lambs. "They shall be holy to Jehovah for the priest." These sacrifices were waved with the loaves, whereas the wave sheaf was waved by itself (11). The Lord Jesus was personally acceptable to God apart from any question of sacrifice. So the wave sheaf was waved before the sacrifices appointed in connection with it were dealt with at all. With the wave loaves it was wholly different. The appointed sacrifices were waved with them. The loaves could not be waved without them. A man there was and is, a risen man, the Lord Jesus Christ, who in Himself is personally acceptable to God. Saints there are, whose standing before God is in resurrection, for the loaves were the firstfruits of the new harvest, whom God can receive, and who are to be for God, but only in the closest connection with the sacrificial death of the Holy Son of God. Apart from Him and His death they would not be presented to God. The loaves composed of two tenth deals, typify that Christ, and He alone, is the life of His people, and that is not more true of one than of the other company, both of which the loaves typified, those who from Jews and those who from Gentiles are now owned as God's saints. Hence, it would appear the reason for the number — two. And baked with leaven they remind us that, though Christ is our life, we have within us that hateful thing, the flesh. The presence of sin, the old man, in His saints, equally true of all of them, God hereby distinctly recognises and teaches, but thanks be to His name, its presence is no hindrance to their being brought to Him. The priest waved the two loaves before Jehovah, but waved them with the sacrifices.

And what were those sacrifices? A burnt offering with the accompanying meat offerings and drink offerings, a sin offering and peace offering. All these were required for these two loaves, the new meat offering to the Lord. The burnt offering comes first, composed of seven lambs of the first year, one bullock, and two rams, a collection of sacrifices with which the people were familiar, but a selection peculiar to this occasion, and of course significant of truth in connection with that which by the two loaves was delineated. The seven lambs of the first year without blemish tell of the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God. At all the set feasts this number of lambs formed part of the specially appointed burnt offering, except throughout the first seven days of the feast of Tabernacles, when their number was doubled (Num. 29:13-32). The bullock, as the largest animal offered in sacrifice, may symbolise energy and devotedness, whilst the ram is expressive of consecration. Now for some of the set feasts two bullocks were ordered (Num. 28:19-27), at others only one (Num. 29:2, 8, 36); and as for the ram, at the feast of unleavened bread, at the feast of weeks, at the blowing of trumpets, on the day of atonement, and on the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles, one only was appointed to form part of the special burnt offering, though throughout the previous seven days, during which fourteen lambs were daily offered, two rams were sacrificed as well. But on the occasion of presenting the new meat offering, only one bullock was ordered and two rams; a selection this was, as we have observed, peculiar to this occasion. What was the meaning of it?

Now at those feasts which typify blessings common to Jews and Gentiles, we find two bullocks were appointed for sacrifice; but at those which had reference to that which peculiarly concerned Israel, God's earthly people, only one bullock was called for, and in harmony with this we meet with only one bullock appointed for sacrifice on the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles, the type of the eternal state, a period begun but never ending, when national distinctions will have ceased, and the tabernacle of God will be, not as of old with Israel, but with men, and He will dwell with them (Rev. 21:3). So it would seem that as the two loaves typify the two companies of saints which together form the one flock (John 10:16), the one bullock, appointed as part of the burnt offering in connection with them, teaches us that they are viewed, whilst on earth, as comprising the whole company of those who are recognised by God as His people. But here we must guard the reader, by reminding him that we have nothing about the truth of the one body of Christ. We have before us the saints who form it, it
is true, but as saints of God, and not as the body of Christ. And as saints taken out of Jews and Gentiles, they were equally consecrated to God, so two rams were offered on this occasion.

Besides the burnt offering there was to be a sin offering, and a peace offering, one kid of the goats for the former, and two lambs for the latter; and all, it would appear, were waved together before the Lord, but after the death of the animals. All then together formed one offering, so all were waved, the token to us that those typified by the loaves are to be for God, as risen with Christ. And here we should mark a difference between Him and us. At the offering of the wave sheaf, as we have remarked, there was no sin offering required. The wave loaves could not be presented to God without one. Further, the wave sheaf, as already noticed, was waved alone without the sacrifices, which were to be offered in connection with it. The wave loaves were waved with the sacrifices. The Lord Jesus needed no accompanying sacrifice to make Him acceptable to God. We could not be presented to God, nor be owned as devoted to His service apart from the sacrifice of His well-beloved Son on the cross. But it is as risen with Christ that saints now are to be for God.

This special service over, the other sacrifices appointed for the day's ceremonial had to be dealt with (Num. 28:26-31). And the people having kept the day as one of cessation from all servile work, the festival at sunset came to an end, and the males of Israel, who had appeared before the Lord with a freewill offering in their hand, according as the Lord their God had blessed them, could depart home to wait till the seventh month arrived, on the first day of which there was to be a day of rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets. At this point, then, we may pause to review the outline of God's ways as delineated in the chief festivals of the sacred year, as far as we have looked into them.

The calendar begins with the celebration of the passover and the accompanying feast of unleavened bread. Of the need of the blood of God's Lamb for sinners we are thus reminded at the outset, and that those who share in the blessings which result from it, should be holy in their ways. Next we are taught of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on the first day of the week, the morrow after the Sabbath, and of His acceptance before God, who lives to Him in resurrection. Following on that, and closely connected, we see in type Christians brought to God, and to be for God, giving Him the freewill offering, according as the Lord their God has blessed them, the worship of the heart in the power of the Holy Ghost, who was poured out on the feast of Pentecost. Thus these feasts are seen to be typical of God's ways in grace with His people, and as such have received their fulfilment, though the fulfilment is by no means exhausted. The rest of the festivals in the chapter typify blessings to be known by Israel, and enjoyed in the future.

But before proceeding to a consideration of them, there is one more verse which must be noticed (verse 22). The bulk of the crop reaped, of which the two wave loaves had been presented as the first fruits, the people were warned against making a clean riddance of the corners of their fields, or gathering the gleaning of their harvest. "Thou shalt leave them to the poor and to the stranger." A merciful provision this was for the poor in Israel. But why is it introduced in this place? Why have we a caution only as to the harvest, and none as to the vintage? In Lev. 19:9-10, they are warned about both. Why is the harvest mentioned in this way here? The answer appears to be because tracing out, as this chapter does, the outline of God's ways with Israel, there will be found on earth after the church is taken away, saints who will have their part in heaven, so are part of the crop in the field, though they will not form part of the church. Hence this verse just comes in its proper place; filling up in the order of events, what, if omitted, would have left a gap in the history of Jehovah's ways.

Blessing is in store for Israel. God will not cast off His people for ever. But blessing will only be enjoyed when they really own what the death of Christ has done for them. That we know will not be, till they see Him (Isaiah 53). Hence the day of atonement was fixed to be observed between the memorial of the blowing of trumpets, and the feast of Tabernacles. No rest is there under the reign of their Messiah for them, till they have learnt the value of His death on their behalf. But the Jews must first be back in their land, to see Him when He shall appear. Hence the order of events in this seventh month. Their national unfaithfulness and unbelief the Lord Jehovah foresaw, when they lay encamped around the tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai, and this calendar of their festivals proves it. But it made no change in His purpose then. It will not alter one iota of His counsels regarding them for ever. What thoughts, we may well conceive, will fill the hearts of the faithful ones, when they come to read in this chapter the outline of God's ways with their nation in grace, see it all as mapped out by Moses, and point to portion after portion of it as having received its accomplishment, learning surely as they will, all about it, when the order for their sacred year, here given, will be no longer in force, as Ezek. 45:18-25 teaches us.

Following, then, on the feast of blowing of trumpets, typical of the return of the Jews and of their being owned by God as His people, comes the day of atonement, on the tenth day of that month, which for them will have its fulfilment, when they learn what the death of the Lord has done on their behalf. A day of afflicting their souls it was to be, and on it they were to do no manner of work. From evening to evening were they to celebrate their Sabbath. And very stringent was the law here regarding it (27-32). The reason for their complete cessation from all work is stated in verse 28; the imperative necessity for all to afflict themselves, if they would be preserved alive on earth is set forth in verse 29; and the danger any one would incur, and justly, if he did any work on that day is plainly stated in verse 39. That person would be cut off from among his people, who did not afflict himself on that day. The Lord would destroy the one who should venture to do any work on it. Sin, and its consequences, are no light subjects in God's eyes, nor were they to be in the people's. How fully will they enter into that, when the mourning of Zech. 12:10-14 takes place, as they look on Him whom they pierced.

But their mourning will be turned into joy, for Messiah will appear for the joy of the remnant, and the ungodly shall be ashamed (Isaiah 66:5). In anticipation of this was the feast of Tabernacles, called elsewhere the feast of ingatherings (Exodus 23:16), which commenced on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and lasted seven days, and one day more, the eighth, on which they were to have a solemn assembly, and to cease on it, as on the first day of the festival, from all servile work. A day of rest, Shabbathon, was the first day, and a day of rest, Shabbathon (verse 39), was the eighth day. The feast was to be kept for seven days (34, 36, 39, 41-42; Num. 29:12; Deut. 16:13, 15); with the eighth day connected with it, yet distinct from it, as verse 36 shows, and Num. 29:35, confirms. In Deut. 16 we have no mention of the eighth day at all.

The feast was called that of Tabernacles, or booths, succoth, because throughout the seven days they were to dwell in booths, succoth (42), made of palms, boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, nachal, in remembrance of their wilderness life (43), at the commencement of which they came to palm trees (Ex. 15:27), and found the close of it was at the brook Zered (Deut. 2:14). Dwelling in booths seven days, they thus kept the feast, after they had gathered in their corn, and wine, and oil, resting and rejoicing when the toil of the year was ended; a foreshadowing of the rest that remaineth, and of the rejoicing that will take place when all their earthly troubles shall be ended, and Messiah be reigning over them. Then not Israel only, but those left of all nations who will have gone up against Jerusalem, will go up thither year by year, to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. For whilst Passover concerns the redeemed of the Lord, and Pentecost in an especial manner those who are called out for heaven, Tabernacles will concern all on earth who will have had to do with Jerusalem in the past. (Zech. 14:16).*

{*The reader should remark that we have no rejoicing spoken of in this chapter till we reach the feast of Tabernacles (verse 48), whereas, in Deut. 16, joy is a special characteristic of the feast of Weeks. Why this difference? In Deut. we have described the spirit in which each of the three feasts was to be observed. In our chapter of Leviticus we have God's ways with Israel delineated. For the nation there will be no joy till they are gathered back into the land, and are keeping the feast of Tabernacles. Hence it would appear why it is that only at Tabernacles is rejoicing spoken of in this chapter.}

And now just a word about the eighth day, connected with the seven; yet, as we have pointed out, distinct from them. It carries us on in thought to the beginning of that time of blessedness which will follow the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal state when the tabernacle of God shall be with men, and He will tabernacle not then over, but with them (Rev. 21:3). As the eighth day, it was the commencement of a new week, a period of time, one which, as far as the type is concerned, never ended. We come on to the commencement of a new week, but we never reach its close. Thus it symbolises the eternal state, which will begin, but never end.

Now it was on this day, the great day of the feast, that the Lord Jesus Christ in the temple court at Jerusalem cried, "If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink" (John 7:37). The place, the occasion, the time, all were in perfect keeping with the announcement He then made. In the temple precincts, where the people assembled to take part in the Mosaic ritual, at the close of the feast of Tabernacles, on the eighth day, He cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink." Was there a soul which felt that the Mosaic ritual did not satisfy all its desires? Was there a person who confessed that earthly blessing however full, crops however good, vintage however fine, could not meet the deep yearnings of an immortal and sinful creature? He then offered to each and all on that eighth day, typical of the eternal state, everlasting blessing, to be enjoyed then and for ever by each one who would come to Him and drink. Who then accepted that invitation has not been placed on record. Who that hears of it now has shown a readiness to receive it? What answer can the reader give to this simple but important question?

The fourth great division of this book now commences. Throughout it we are carried on in thought to the future. From chap. 1 — 16 inclusive God's provision in grace to meet the sinful creature in his need, and to bless him fully is delineated, as we have pointed out in Vol. iv., pp. 112-212. Thus far the spiritual teaching of the book has instruction for God's saints during the present dispensation. From 17 to 23, however, we have traced out in the subjects treated of, and in the order in which they are presented, an outline of that which especially concerns the people of Israel.

Called to maintain the truth of the unity of God, as His creatures, and as Jehovah's people, they were thus to live in the wilderness, and subsequently in the land (17). Taken up, therefore, by Jehovah to be His people, what became them in their social life and in intercourse with each other is set forth for their instruction in 18 — 20. Then follow special directions for the priests of Aaron's house (21 - 22). After which the historic outline of God's ways in grace with His people is set forth in 23. Now in 24, we begin a new section of the work with the provision for keeping the people nationally ever in sight before God, though apostasy, when it manifests itself, must be rigorously dealt with.

Again the Lord addresses the law-giver, "Command the children of Israel that they bring to thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually. Without the veil of the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation shall Aaron order it from the evening to the morning before the Lord continually; it shall be a statute for ever in your generations." When in the mount with God, Jehovah gave Moses a command about this (Ex. 27:20) very similar in terms to that which he was authorised now to communicate to the people. Oil for the light was one of the items which the Lord then told Moses that Israel might offer to Him (Ex. 25:6). Communicating that to the people after his second sojourn on Sinai with God (Ex. 35:8), the rulers we read provided it, (v. 28), in response to Jehovah's invitation. So in Ex. 39; 37, we are told how all was in readiness for the setting up of the Tabernacle on the first day of the first month of the second year, dating from their departure out of Egypt. And in Num. 4:16, we find that to Eleazar belonged the charge of the oil, when the congregation was on the march. Here in Leviticus the direction about the oil olive beaten appears in connection with the twelve loaves of shewbread, that were each week to be placed on the golden table before the Lord.

From evening to morning the lamps burned (1 Sam. 3:3; 2 Chron. 13:11). At the time of the offering of the morning burnt sacrifice, it was Aaron's duty to trim them. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, between the two evenings, it was his work to relight them (Ex. 30:7-8). Thus throughout the night of darkness the seven lamps burned, illuminating the chamber called the holy place, in which, just opposite to the candlestick which was placed on the south side, stood the golden table on the side of the tabernacle northward. (Ex. 40:22-24). As long, therefore, as the lamps burned so long was the table with the twelve loaves visible by their light, which shone on them; a beautiful illustration of the twelve tribes being ever in remembrance, and as a whole in acceptance before God. For ages have the tribes been dispersed: but God has not forgotten them, as Paul reminded his hearers in the hall of audience at Caesarea (Acts 26:7). Of this, too, James is a witness, who addressed his epistle to them (James 1).

In Ex. 25:30; 35:13; 39:36; 40:23, we have mention of the shewbread. Here we are told of the number of the loaves, of their composition, and of their arrangement on the table. The twelve loaves were arranged in two rows. Each row, therefore comprised six loaves, and each loaf, or cake, as it is called here perhaps from its roundness, was composed of two tenth deals of fine flour, the same measure as that appointed for the meat offering which accompanied the sheaf of firstfruits, that was waved before the Lord. Placed on the pure table on each Sabbath, with pure frankincense laid on the two rows of bread, there they remained throughout the week, the light from the candlestick shining on them, throughout each night that they were before the Lord. At the end of the week, those twelve loaves were removed, fresh ones being put in their place; the frankincense which had been upon them was then burnt, an offering made by fire to Jehovah, and the loaves were eaten by the priests in a holy place, most holy they were of the fire offerings of Jehovah. Such were the directions about them. The twelve loaves, by their number, symbolised the twelve tribes of Israel, and they were placed on the pure table, made of shittim wood, and overlaid with gold, typical in itself of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is both God and man. On the march, that table was itself covered with a cloth of blue, telling us thus plainly, by the colour, of whom it was a type. But over it and the loaves which remained on it, was put a cloth of scarlet, indicating that the glory of earthly rule is His whom the Table prefigured, and that He will exercise that rule in connection with the tribes of Israel; for on the day of His glory the people will be named the priests of the Lord, and men shall call them the ministers of God (Isa. 61:6). Then will be seen the perfection of administrative power exercised by man, and in connection with the tribes of Israel, whose names will be engraven on the gates of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12), and after whom the twelve gates of the restored earthly city will be severally named (Ezek. 48:31-34). But that power will really be centred in one man, the Lord Jesus Christ; so the composition and measure of each loaf have reference to Him as the perfect, spotless man.

It is in connection with Israel, then owned as God's people, that He will reign, and Jerusalem will become the metropolis of the whole earth, being the city of the great King, and the centre to which the nations will turn, and from which the law shall go out, and the word of the Lord proceed. By the light, therefore, of the burning lamps, which kept the table and its loaves from being enshrouded in darkness, those in the sanctuary could see that God's thoughts about the kingdom, though long deferred from being put into execution, must yet be accomplished. The night might be long, and the gloom thicken outside, but inside the light from the lamps steadily burning, would show the priests who entered the sanctuary that God had not forgotten His people, nor the establishment in power of that kingdom, of which He had spoken to men from time to time since the fall.

Inside, then, during the night of darkness, by the light of the seven lamps which shone on the golden table with the twelve loaves arranged in order upon it there was foreshadowed the future; but that could be seen, and was seen, only by the priests, who passed behind the curtain which screened the outer chamber from the eyes of those in the court of the tabernacle. And now we can understand the fitness of introducing the directions about the loaves of shewbread in the book of Leviticus, and especially in this part of it. For, coming as they do, just after the outline of God's ways in grace with the people has been traced out in the order of their different great feasts throughout the year, the Lord, after reminding us by the feast of Tabernacles of Israel's final blessing, would here tell us of the kingdom coming in power, which He has not forgotten, neither will He for ever be wroth with the tribes of His inheritance (Isa. 63:17). But Israel's acceptance, as the frankincense on the loaves portrays, will only be by virtue of the sweet savour of the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Such, then, is some of the instruction conveyed by this passage in the book, instruction, too, especially suited for the present time, that we should not forget to give Israel their proper place in connection with the coming day of blessing for earth; for if we were to interpret all the blessings which are predicted by the prophets, as if they concerned the Church of God, and not the earthly people Israel, we should fail to give them their proper place, in the declared counsels of God. But how different the scene inside the sanctuary from that which could, and we here read did, go on in the camp. All calm and silent within, the testimony to the coming kingdom in power, and Israel's connection with it being steadily kept in view, God's purpose was thus seen to be unchanged and irrevocable; for the nation's future is inseparably bound up with that which is due to the obedient man, the Son of God's love. In the camp, on the contrary, there was strife, and one was found, then but one (though by and by it will be the many, the mass) who, of Israelitish extraction on his mother's side, had the hardihood to blaspheme the name of the Lord. An apostate in heart and in act, he turned his back on Jehovah, and blasphemed Him who was Israel's Creator and God. This man was the fruit of an alliance with the world, for his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan, but his father was an Egyptian. He has passed away from earth, his name unknown to us, though his crime has never been allowed to sink into oblivion, a warning, and surely a foreshadowing, too, of that which will characterise the mass of the Jews when antichrist will be their king and apostacy will be their crowning sin.

Charged with the guilt of cursing the name of Jehovah, he was brought to Moses, and put in ward, till the mind of the Lord should be shown them. For that they did not wait long. Jehovah revealed it to Moses, and it was accurately carried out. For the apostate there was no mercy "Bring forth him that has cursed," was the word "without the camp, and let all that heard him, lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him" (24:13-14). And the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses. Condign punishment speedily overtook the offender.

But this sin necessitated a new revelation, for God knew full well that though only one was convicted of blaspheming that day, others would subsequently be guilty of it. Hence the law here given, verses 15-22 which prescribed the punishment to be awarded for that sin to any who so offended: "Thus shalt thou speak to the children of Israel, saying, whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall surely be put to death."

Further, any one who took the life of man, the right to take which belongs only to God, or to those to whom he delegates the authority to execute His commands, such an one was to be put to death. And any one who took the life of a beast b'hemah, i.e., cattle, in opposition probably to chaiah, a wild beast, should make it good, beast for beast. And as for men, whosoever injured his neighbour, whether his eye, his tooth, or whatsoever it might be, he should be treated as he had treated his neighbour. Else where these injunctions come in, the witness of the perfectly righteous rule established amongst them by the law (Ex. 21). But here they are introduced in connection with apostacy. If man would deny God His place, or attempt to deprive Him of His rights by apostacy, he might not be scrupulous unless thus enjoined to be careful of his neighbour's life, or his neighbour's rights, who in common with himself was made in the image of God.

Leviticus 25

The Lord had spoken to Moses out of the Tabernacle of the congregation in chapter 1. He here (chap. 25) addresses His servant in Mount Sinai, and gives him a new revelation, comprised in this and the following chapter, which has special reference to the land and to Israel's restoration to it in the future. For whatever any individual amongst them might do to draw down on himself divine wrath, Jehovah had bound Himself to give the land to the seed of Jacob (Gen. 28:13), and He would assuredly fulfil His word. Yet the land, though given them to possess, was never absolutely theirs. It was God's (25:23). By-and-bye, therefore, they shall re-inherit it; none can override Jehovah's claim to it. But if His, He had the right of prescribing certain conditions connected with the people's tenure and the enjoyment of it. Of such we now read.

The first of these has reference to the Sabbatical year (25:2), and the second to the institution of the Jubilee (8-55). As on the seventh day they were to rest from all their work, so in the seventh year the land was to have rest from cultivation by the husbandman, the term used of the one is that used of the other. It was to be a Sabbath of rest, "shabbath shabbathon." "The seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest to the land — a Sabbath for the Lord. Thou shalt neither sow thy field nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed, for it is a year of rest to the land. And the Sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for the stranger that sojourneth with thee, and for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat" (4-7).

One-seventh of their time God did not allow them to use for their own ends. One-seventh of the increase of the ground God did not allow the occupier to possess as his own. Jehovah had a right to do that, and strict righteousness was manifested in this law; for whilst the husbandman had full right to the produce of his tillage, God only claimed as His to dispose of the increase of the land, on which the occupier had expended no labour. The land was to keep that year a Sabbath to the Lord. The barns and the storehouses were not to be filled that year for the occupier's profit. A cessation from all agricultural operations was to take place throughout it. The Sabbath day spoke of rest. The Sabbatical year spoke of it likewise, yet not to the injury of the cultivator of the ground, for his wants as well as those of his household, would be amply provided for; but the cattle and the wild beasts, God's creatures, were to be cared for by the Creator no less than His intelligent creature — man. Of this year Jehovah had spoken, when communicating the terms of the first covenant made between Israel and Himself (Ex. 23:11). Man's wants were first thought of, but those of the beasts as well. What the poor left, the beasts of the field were to eat. The Lord preserveth man and beast (Ps. 36:6). And just as the Sabbath day's observance was not to stand in the way of that which was needful to be done in the sanctuary, and for the circumcising of those who were eight days old, so the ordinance of the Sabbatical year did not interfere with due provision for the people's need. It may have been that a year of lying fallow was good for the ground, as it is said thereby to enjoy its rest (Lev. 26:34; 2 Chron. 36:20). But this law was a test to see if cupidity, and a disregard for others, would characterise the people, which the Lord had brought out of Egypt. How they would act in reference to it Lev. 26:34-35, foretold. God well knew and forewarned them as to that which they would fail to do, announcing to the people as they rested under the shadow of Mount Sinai, but recently emancipated from Egyptian slavery, that the land should lie desolate, though not for ever, keeping its Sabbaths, whilst exile was their lot. After the captivity the returned remnant (Neh. 10:31) remembered and observed this law, and that special feature in connection with it, namely, the release to be granted to every Jewish debtor (Deut. 15:1-2, 9), or as Nehemiah expressed it, "That we should leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt." This year, then, was one of great importance to all, and on the feast of Tabernacles, which fell within it, the law was commanded to be read to all the people (Deut. 31:10-11). So whilst this institution tested their willingness to obey God's commands, it also provided a suitable opportunity for reminding them all of God's law, on the observance of which depended their continuance in the land. But if they should fail, as assuredly they have, and their present long exile witnesses of their failure, on what can they count if they can count on anything for happier times in the future, and the full enjoyment of Jehovah's former blessing? The principle established by the institution of the Jubilee supplies us with the answer.

Every seventh year was to be a year of rest to the land. Seven times seven years were to roll by, and then would come the Jubilee. On the Day of Atonement, in the fiftieth year, the trumpet of loud sound Shophar t'ruah, was to be heard proclaiming the Jubilee, in virtue of which the chains of the Hebrew slave in the land were broken, and the claims of any one over the portion of land which originally belonged to another was extinguished, and to be relinquished. "Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a Jubilee to you, and ye shall return every man to his possession; and ye shall return every man to his family" (25:10).

A joyful sound it must have been. But this institution really furnished them with nothing new. It only restored liberty to the slave, and the land to its original owner. Restoration was its special feature, just that which suited a failing people, who by some means or other, really the fruit of sin, had lost either personal liberty, or their ancestral possessions. Israel were the Lord's servants (25:55), so He thus legislated for them. The land was His (23), so perpetual alienation from its owner by any human claim Jehovah would not allow. How speaking will all this surely be to them in the future, when reaping the full blessing of restoration to that from which they have justly been driven because of their disobedience, and realising the goodness of Jehovah to those who could neither ensure their personal liberty, nor the safe keeping of their patrimonial estate.

Nowhere but in Israel was there such a provision made, for it was not man's thought, but God's. What a sight it must have been, the land in the Sabbatical year lying everywhere fallow, no sound of husbandry heard, the plough and the harrow laid by, no seed sown, nor field irrigated, the sixth year's crop having been unusually abundant, providing sufficient for three years (20-22), so the wants of the population were amply provided for, and there was no shortcoming for man or beast. Who would have thought of this? Who could promise this? Who could fulfil such a promise, but one? He to whom the land belonged, the Lord Jehovah, the Creator. At the recurrence of the Jubilee this must have been still more marked, for no want, no stint was experienced by any living thing.

With the Day of Atonement the Jubilee began, and on it was it proclaimed. With what gladness those benefiting by it must have kept the feast of Tabernacles, which began five days later. But surely the deep meaning of its being proclaimed on that day will be better understood by Israel, when they shall nationally come to enjoy restoration to the land of their inheritance, as well as full freedom from any Gentile yoke. Not only, however, will it prove an institution fraught with joy to the people as a whole, but to the Israelites in the land it was also of great importance, keeping alive as it did in the heart of the poverty stricken one, the hope of freedom, and clearance from all charge on his properties or person, and regulating the value of land for sale, and reminding all that the true owner of the soil was Jehovah. They were His tenants really. Would any sell his property, he could only sell it till the Jubilee, the number of years which preceded it, guiding the vendor and the purchaser as to the price to be offered and accepted. Thus they could never alienate their land in perpetuity, though but for this institution there was no obstacle, in the way of it. Perhaps to some Israelites this revelation appeared only as statute law, which did not concern him directly, unless he were a purchaser or a vendor. Many, perhaps, in these days will view it merely as a relic of by-gone legislation. But to the instructed Christian it surely speaks, reminding such of the danger, nay the certainty, there would be of losing his inheritance, if it was entrusted to his safe keeping, and of the grace of Jehovah which provided for His earthly people that theirs should never be finally lost. To us, too, the sounding of the Jubilee trumpet on the Day of Atonement tells its tale. For we learn that on no ground but that of the atoning death of Christ, can those who have forfeited all claim to an inheritance and blessing ever regain it; whilst for ourselves we have to own that but for His death we should have no portion, and no prospect but one of unsparing and everlasting punishment. Into their inheritance Israel will be reinstated on that ground by-and-bye. Of ours we have to say, in the language of the New Testament, it is reserved, or kept for us in heaven, who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. What is entrusted to man's hands fails, and no wonder. The saint needs to be kept, guarded himself by the power of God, if he is to enter on the enjoyment of his portion in heaven in the future.

Certain details connected with the Jubilee follow, having respect both to the inheritance of the poor Israelite (25-34), and to his personal liberty (35-55). As regards the former, if from poverty he sold any of his possession, and that is the only ground here stated, on which he was permitted to alienate his patrimonial estate, the right of redemption, ere the Jubilee arrived, was reserved to him, or to his kin. If a kinsman came forward to effect it, this law empowered such an one to do it. If he himself had no kinsman to do it, liberty to redeem it was reserved to him. But on his part its redemption depended on his ability. The inheritance was to be prized, and none ought to have thought lightly of it, for it was God's provision for His people. To part with it except under the pressure of circumstances, was not, therefore, it would appear, to be thought of. To redeem it, if able (26), it became the original owner. Naboth, who had not fallen into poverty, refused to sell his vineyard at the personal request of the king. "The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to thee" (1 Kings 21:3).

With a house in a walled town it was different. The Israelite who owned it might dispose of it subject to its redemption within one year from the date of sale. If he failed from any cause to exercise his right within that time, the purchase stood good, and the title of the purchaser to possess it in perpetuity became indefeasible. Gracious, however, was the provision here made about the house. None were to be taken advantage of, or to be betrayed into parting with their house in a walled town, without the power of reconsidering their act; though, as with land, so with the house, human ability was an essential requisite for the vendor to repossess what he had sold. Where his land was in question, his kinsman might redeem it; where it was a house, the interposition of a kinsman is not, it would seem, provided for.

As regards the Levites, the law was different. They had no tribal possession of land, as their brethren had; but their cities with the suburbs were assigned to them from God. Of these, their cities or houses could be sold, subject to the right of redemption at any time, and with the certainty of their going out free at the Jubilee, but the fields of the suburbs of their cities could never be sold, they were a perpetual possession (32-34). Thus those set apart to wait on the service of God could never be wholly stript of the possessions which Jehovah had secured for them. They were always to have their portion of the tithes, and to enjoy the produce of the fields of their possession.

Next follow regulations concerning the person of the Israelite, and redemption from slavery. The nation had once been in slavery in Egypt, and this they were never to forget. So a poor Israelite was to be cared for by his brethren, and his wants supplied (35-38), and neither usury nor increase exacted from him. How the Almighty threw His shield around the weak one, that he should not be trampled on by his brethren. But if from poverty he was sold to an Israelite, he was to to be treated as an hired servant, and to go out free at the Jubilee.* For there appears to have been no provision made by the law for redemption from servitude to one of his own nation. At the Jubilee he went out free, whereas a bondsman from the nations, serving the same Israelitish master, remained a bondsman for ever. For him no year of Jubilee with its welcome trumpet sound could ever be looked for. Death, or manumission by favour of his master could alone release him. How favoured was the Israelite, who knew that no power could keep him in servitude after the trumpet of the Jubilee had sounded. Favoured indeed he was, and especially watched over by Jehovah.

{*This law does not clash with that of Ex. 21, Deut. 15, which provided for the freedom of a Hebrew slave in the seventh year of his servitude. There, when he had served as a slave six years, he was to go out free on the seventh. A man might be sold by his creditor to another for debt (2 Kings 4:1), or by the judge for theft (Ex. 22:3). Under these circumstances it would appear he went out free on the seventh year, counting from the commencement of his servitude. Here, if poverty compelled him to be sold, he was to be treated not as a slave, but as an hired servant, and the Jubilee, not the seventh year, was the term of his service, and by its nearness or distance the price of redemption was determined.}

That appeared further in the regulations laid down as to his servitude to a stranger or sojourner. In this case redemption was permitted. One of his brethren might redeem him, either his uncle or his uncle's son, or any nigh of kin to him of his family, or if the man himself was able he could effect his own redemption (48-49), the number of years from the next Jubilee regulating the equitable and only legal price. If not redeemed, he would go out free at the Jubilee with his family. Thus of his personal liberty he could not be finally deprived; and during his servitude the stranger was not to treat him with rigour. "For to me," said Jehovah, "the children of Israel are servants, they are my servants, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt, I am the Lord your God" (55). Redemption, then, from servitude to a stranger was permitted by the law, though the exercise of the right depended on the kinsman doing his part, or the poor Israelite acquiring ability to effect it for himself. If that hope failed him, he had always the Jubilee in prospect. So for Israel's national restoration they have to wait till the year of the Lord's redeemed shall come (Isaiah 63:4). For that, as the prophet teaches us, they will not wait in vain.

The land was Jehovah's. The people were His servants. The rights of God are inalienable. How comforting to the poor man must the Jubilee have been. How comforting to the people will these principles be found in the future. Jehovah's people, Jehovah's servants they are, and He will never give them up, nor forego His rights over them and the land. A bright side this is to this thought, that they are His, as the chapter points out. A dark side there is to it, as well, as the following one opens out. As His servants He will set them in their land free from the claim of the stranger and the oppressor. But as His servants He must first punish them for their iniquities. So the hope of restoration is treated of, ere their exile is predicted, to cheer them throughout it.

Leviticus 26

But why should they experience the bitterness and degradation of exile? Why pine away in the land of their enemies? Jehovah was their God. Exile could never result from His inability to shield them from the invader, but it might from His unwillingness to do it. Under what circumstances that might be the case, the lawgiver next proceeds to declare, describing the different steps in God's dealings in chastisements with the people, which would culminate in captivity, from which they could only hope to return after real confession of their sins.

Brought out of Egypt by the exercise of divine power, brought into the land, too, in fulfilment of Jehovah's promise, their entrance into Canaan, and their possession of it, did not depend on their obedience; though for their continuance therein, the keeping of the covenant was an absolute necessity. Placed before God on the ground of law, obedience was requisite, if the land was to support them, or to continue to be cultivated by those to whom Jehovah had given it. So from verses 1-13 we have enumerated the blessings which, on condition of their continued obedience, they would enjoy; and from verses 14-45, the different dealings with them in judgment, if disobedient, till exile should be their portion.

Let us read in the words of Jehovah the various blessings that He promised them. "Ye shall make you no idols, nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God. Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord." Idolatry avoided, the Sabbath, the sign between Jehovah and Israel duly remembered, and His sanctuary reverenced, the people would have kept themselves apart from other nations, and would have maintained the testimony to the one true God. Then if walking in His statutes, and keeping His commandments, God would abundantly bless them. "I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach to the vintage, and the vintage shall reach to the sowing time, and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect to you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the Lord your God which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright" (verses 4-13).

What a beautiful picture of a people enjoying the blessing of Jehovah, and of His delight in them is here presented to us. What they were especially charged to do we have seen in verses 1-2. Then, if they would walk in God's statutes, and would keep His commandments, and do them, all these blessings would be theirs. Unsolicited by Israel God here offers to bless them, and that according to the desire of His heart. We learn, therefore, what He could do, and would do, if they should prove obedient. For an earthly people's happiness, ere the kingdom was to be set up in power, nothing seems lacking. The fertility of the ground they could count on, and that which man cannot control — rain, God promised should not be withheld in its season. Of peace and plenty and security He assured them. No evil beast should remain in the land, nor should the sword pass through it. Power in victory should be theirs, and they should multiply in their inheritance. Further, God's dwelling place should be among them. He would walk among them, and be their God, and they should be His people. As of old in the garden God had delight in men, so would He take delight in His redeemed people. And as then, nothing that the creature needed for his happiness was withheld, so would it be with the Israelites, though dwelling on an earth where sin is, and with nations around them not exempted from any of the bitter consequences of the fall.

But all this was conditional. Did they ever enjoy it? Did they ever experience the fulness of it, the barns so filled with the new harvest that they brought forth the old store, and eat it; the crops so heavy that their threshing reached to the vintage, and the vintage to the sowing time? Were they ever free from idolatry when in their land as a whole people? Alas, No. They had false gods in the days of Joshua (24:23). They forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashteroth in the days of the Judges (Judges 2:13); and the ten tribes were in a state of apostasy in the days of Ahab. The Lord foresaw it all, and warned them of that which He must do in righteousness, if they would not by their obedience allow Him to bless them in grace, and according to the desire of His heart. This is next set before them, and the lawgiver details the steps in governmental dealing that must be taken to endeavour to bring them to repentance, when they had failed, that they should not be driven out of their inheritance.

These steps, as here detailed, are five in number. How they tell of the yearnings of Jehovah's heart over His rebellious people, chastising them only so much as should be needed to lead them to repentance. (1) Sickness is threatened with slaughter by their enemies, and the produce of the soil, the fruit of their labours to be at the mercy of the invader (verses 16-17). This kind of dealing we read of in the days of the Judges, when different nations invaded Canaan. And, in the days of Gideon they had to hide the fruits of their harvest, if they could, from the watchful eye of their enemy (Judges 6). If that had succeeded in bringing them to repentance, God's dealing in government would have stopped. But that failing, drought, and consequent famine, would be sent (18-20). In the days of Ahab Israel experienced this to the full, and proved too Jehovah's willingness to relax His hand in punishment, when they confessed that He was God (1 Kings 18).

But further, if such dealings should fail of effecting real repentance, then (3) wild beasts would multiply, which would bereave them of their children, destroy their cattle, thin the population, and make desolate the highways. To this infliction Ezekiel (14:15) refers. If still they would not be reformed by the Lord's dealings with them, but would walk contrary to Him, then He would walk contrary to them, and would punish them seven times for their sins, bringing (4) a sword to avenge the quarrel of the covenant (v. 23-26), with its too frequent accompaniments, want and pestilence. Should that too fail, the Lord would walk contrary to them in fury, and (5) the people reduced to the last extremity should eat their own offspring, and the idols, demonstrated to be idols, Jehovah would destroy. The people formerly regarded by Him as the apple of His eye He would abhor, and their cities should be laid waste, and their sanctuaries should be brought to desolation, the savour of their sweet odours God would not accept, but would bring their land into desolation, and would scatter them among the nations, terminating His dealings with them to induce repentance with exile from the land of their possession (29-33). That took place finally in the days of Zedekiah. The miseries predicted were realised during the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, as Lamentations 1; 2, describe; and after the capture of the city the land rested, enjoying its Sabbaths, because it did not rest in the Sabbatical years when they dwelt upon it. To this passage in Lev. (26:35) the chronicler (2 Chron. 36:21) evidently refers.

How ready was the Lord to bless His people! How full was the blessing He could give them, delighting as He would have done to have walked among them. But they would not. Judicial dealing, therefore, had to take place. Yet how slow to anger! He would only deal blow after blow when each preceding one had failed to bring them to repentance. At last exile had to be their lot. Then exiles and captives, Jehovah's face, once turned towards them, would be turned from them, the sound even of a shaken leaf should chase them, they should flee as fleeing from a sword, and should fall when none pursued them, and perish among the heathen, and the land of their enemies should eat them up (36-39).

Yet the whole nation was not to perish. God would not cast them away, nor would He abhor them to destroy them utterly, and to break His covenant with them. For He was Jehovah their God. So, for their sakes, He will yet remember His covenant with their ancestors, whom He brought forth out of the land of Egypt, in the sight of the heathen, that He might be their God (44-45). But that can only be when they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with the trespass that they have trespassed against Him. If, then, their uncircumcised hearts shall be humbled, and they shall accept the punishment of their iniquity, then will He remember His covenant with Jacob, and also His covenant with Isaac, and also His covenant with Abraham, and He will remember the land (40-42). The value of a covenant made with those who have died here comes out. The iniquity of the people in subsequent generations cannot set aside a covenant made with those who have passed away, and which was not annulled before their death.

Throughout this chapter the reader may remark that God's dealings with Israel in their land, and His dealings with the land because of their sins, are the prominent features. In harmony with that, He here says that He will remember the land; but the return of the people, though hinted at, and that not obscurely, is not directly stated. That is set forth in Deut. 28 — 30, which predict the fortunes of the people, whilst this chapter of Leviticus describes more particularly that of the land, and so comes, as we have seen, in close connection with the ordinance regarding the Sabbatical year, and the regulations about the Jubilee.

The Lord will remember the land. Of this Ezekiel treats. The desolation of the land he predicted in chapter 6 of his book, its returning fertility, preparatory to the nation's restoration, he announces in chapter 36:1-15. In the days of Joshua God brought them into the land with everything in readiness for their immediate occupation. So will it be in the future. "O, mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel, for they are at hand to come" (Ezek. 36:8). This has always been God's way. He planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed (Gen. 2:8). The One who did this has gone to prepare a place for His own in His Father's house. The place, the land, is prepared beforehand, and then God brings His people into it. That being His manner of acting, and the prophetic word declaring it, we can understand the language and importance of Psalm 67:6, "The earth has yielded" (not "Then shall the earth yield") her increase, and God, even our own God, shall bless us." The returning fertility of the land is the harbinger of full national blessing. Jehovah, they will then own, has remembered the land.

For Israel, of course, this chapter of Leviticus has special interest. For us in the present day it is not without interest, since we learn from the answer of Huldah, the prophetess to Josiah the King (2 Kings 22:16-17), that this portion of God's word was part of the book, which Shaphan, the scribe, read in the ears of the King. The destruction of Jerusalem especially because of idolatry, was predicted, we are told, in the book that was read before the King, and that would certainly be carried out. Now Deut. 28 predicted the sorrows of the people, consequent on their sins; but Leviticus (26:31-32) plainly foretells what Deuteronomy (28:52) only hints at — the destruction of their cities and of their sanctuaries, and that especially because of their practices of idolatry. The answer of Huldah makes it plain that the book found was not only that of Deuteronomy, a work which we are asked by some to believe was about that time composed, but it contained more than we have in the last book of the Pentateuch. It really was what it was called, "The book of the law of the Lord by the hand of Moses" (2 Chron. 34:14).

Leviticus 27

The last chapter of Leviticus treats of vows, laying down Jehovah's directions respecting them, and comes in in a natural order. For since, in 25, 26, we have Jehovah's regulations about the land, and the provision for its restoration to its rightful owner, God's claim as Lord of the soil being maintained, we are now instructed as to the permission granted to Israel, who were like tenants at will, to consecrate to the Lord by a vow, either of men, animals, houses, or lands; in a word, of whatever property they possessed. Owing all, as they did, to Jehovah's goodness and mercy, and at times tasting in a special way of that goodness, it would be no wonder, if moved by some marked favour shown to them, they vowed of what they possessed to God. Hence the directions concerning vows detailed in this chapter.

Who were free to bind themselves by a vow we learn in Num. 30, and the binding nature of such an engagement Deut. 23:21 sets forth. Here we learn what could be thus set apart for God. Now in two ways might living things be vowed to Him. They might be consecrated to Him in life, or they might under certain conditions be devoted to Him for ever. This last kind of vow is here called cherem (Lev. 27:28-29). Men, animals, and also fields could be thus devoted; for such no redemption was permitted (28). As regards men, such a vow was probably intended only to affect those who were the enemies of God (1 Kings 20:42) and of Israel (Num. 21:3), for their death was the only possible fulfilment of it. Of this the Canaanites are an example (Deut. 20:17), as well as the Amorites under Sihon and Og, on the east of the Jordan (Deut. 3:6-7). Later on the Amalekites were ordered by God to be thus treated (1 Sam. 15:3). So Samuel hewed Agag, their king, in pieces before the Lord, when Saul had in disobedience preserved him from death. To devote (charam) anything to God was a solemn and an irrevocable act, and this Jephthah learnt to his cost; who, in accordance with his rash vow to offer up as a burnt offering whatsoever should come forth out of his house to meet him, if he returned victorious from the fight, felt himself constrained to sacrifice his daughter, who was his only child. His rash vow caused him to descend into the tomb childless, the bright object of that home having been immolated by the father's hand. Jephthah had opened his mouth to the Lord, and he could not go back (Num. 30:2).

But a man might vow to the Lord one of the human race without such being devoted to destruction. In such a case, a money payment was to be made; "the person," we read, "shall be for the Lord by thy estimation" (Lev. 27:2). What that estimation was to be the Lord proceeds to declare, and from it there was no appeal. For the estimation was based on two considerations which never could alter, viz., the age and the sex of the individual vowed to God. These questions settled, the estimation of the lawgiver, as here laid down, decided the amount of the money payment that was to be made (3-7), unless the one who made the vow was too poor to pay the stipulated sum. In that case, but in that case only, the priest was authorised to appraise the value of the individual, according to the ability of him who made the vow to meet the payment to be made. Poverty, then, could never be pleaded as an excuse to bar God's claim, or to shelter the one who made the vow from fulfilling it. No one was obliged to make a vow: "If thou forbear to vow, it shall be no sin to thee" (Deut. 23:22). But when once made the Lord would require it. An engagement entered into with God could not be set aside at the dictation or caprice of man. The Lord would require the fulfilment of the contract; and since none but Levites could in person be engaged in the Lord's work in the Tabernacle, we can understand why, on the one hand, a payment in lieu of the personal service of one of the twelve tribes was to be demanded, and why, on the other hand, when Hannah vowed to lend her child Samuel to the Lord as long as he lived, she brought him to Eli the priest in fulfilment of it, and no money payment was thought of in his stead.

Again, suppose a man desired to vow one of his animals to God, he was free to do it; but in accordance with the terms of this law, which made a marked difference between those beasts which could be offered in sacrifice, and those which as unclean could never be put on God's altar. If it was one of the former, the beast, the subject of the vow, was given to God, and no exchange was permitted. If the man did change it, then both it and the animal substituted Jehovah imperatively demanded. Should he vow an unclean beast to God, the priest valued it, and if the man wished to redeem it, he had that privilege reserved to him on payment of the price at which the priest valued it, with one-fifth part more in addition. Redemption was thus permitted when an unclean beast was the subject of the vow, but had no place when a person consecrated in that manner a clean beast to God. For this last no redemption was provided. In the case of one of the human race, payment in lieu of personal service was demanded.

Houses and fields could be also thus consecrated to God. In these cases redemption was permitted, on payment of one-fifth part more in addition to the price at which they had been valued. The value of the house was to be fixed by the priest. The value of the land was fixed by God, and declared by the lawgiver, being estimated by the quantity of seed required to sow it, an omer of barley being reckoned at 50 shekels of silver. This determined the value of the land from Jubilee to Jubilee. But if the owner or occupier of the land sanctified it for a less term than the whole period from one Jubilee to the next, then the priest appraised its value according to the years yet to run, ere the Jubilee came round, abating from the estimation laid down by the lawgiver, according to the term of years yet unexpired. If redeemed before the Jubilee, the man preserved his property, but if not, he lost it for ever, and the field became the Lord's (21), as a field devoted, i.e., irrevocably, God's, who gave it to the priest.

By the regulations of the Jubilee, as we have seen, man's claim on another man's property was extinguished. With God's claim it was different. If it was not redeemed in time by payment of the stipulated sum, His claim on it would never be relaxed. And differing from the regulations in chapter 25, where the kindred of the poor man could, if so minded, come to his assistance, no one, it would seem, could satisfy God's claim on the land but the maker of the vow himself, except in the case of a field thus consecrated to the Lord by its occupant, who was not its original owner. Where such was the case, whilst the occupier could vow it for the term of his occupancy, the field at the Jubilee reverted to its original possessor. The justice of this regulation is evident. So whilst providing for the outflow of a man's heart in thankfulness to Him, God watched over the rights of His poor ones, and maintained likewise His own. For we read that no firstling, on which the Lord as such had a claim, could be the subject of such a vow, any more than the tithe of the herd or of the flock, which He had already bestowed on the Levites (26-32). The tithes of the land, however, could be redeemed, but only on payment of one-fifth more than their value (30-31). Here this book ends, which details statutes and judgments, and laws which the Lord made between Himself and the children of Israel in Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses (26:46); as well as commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in that same Mount (27:34).

In the opening paper on this book (vol. iii., p. 134), we pointed out the four great divisions into which Leviticus divides itself, 1 — 10; 11 — 16; 17 — 23; 24 — 27. We would now in conclusion briefly trace out the moral order in which the subjects it contains are brought out by the Spirit of God. We have already referred to part of it (vol. iv., pp. 112, 212; vol. v., p. 140); we would now trace it out as a whole. Viewing the book in this light it divides itself into two great parts: 1 — 16; 17 — 27. In the first we have set forth God's provision in grace for souls, truth which concerns saints. In the second we see traced out His desires for, and His ways with, His earthly people Israel, from the Exodus to the Millennium;

Commencing with the revelations concerning sacrifices and offerings which God could receive for the offerer's acceptance, whether moved to bring an offering out of the fulness of his heart, or necessitated to come because he had sinned, we learn of the need of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, if any of the children of men are to stand in acceptance before God (1 — 7). But nothing more is wanted, than what His death and resurrection provide, and declare. For not only has He died, but He lives in resurrection, and has ascended into heaven, and consequent on this He has entered on His office of High Priest, in accordance with the teaching of Heb. 8:4. So, following directly on the laws relating to the offerings, but not preceding them, we read of the institution of the Aaronic priesthood in accordance with the character of which the Lord Jesus Christ now exercises His priesthood on high.

Further, consequent also on His leaving earth, the Holy Ghost was to come and abide here; so we are taught in the next chapter of the presence on earth of that which cannot be defiled (11:36), and in connection with it, and closely following after it, we are reminded of freedom from the defiling presence of sin by death (37), for which, in its completeness, the believer now waits. The carcase would not render the fountain or pit in which there was plenty of water (lit., a collection of water) unclean, should it chance to fall into it; nor was seed, if about to be sown, defiled by contact with it. After this we have regulations about defilement (12 — 15), closing with the divine provision — propitiation by blood, to meet the cases before God of sins, and of uncleannesses (16). Now we may trace in all this, as set forth typically, New Testament teaching needful for God's saints who form part of the Church of God. The death of the Lord Jesus in its various aspects, the priesthood of Christ, and the coming of the Holy Ghost, these are truths of primary importance for the saints; and connected with the coming of the Holy Ghost, teaching has been provided about man's nature, the value of death with reference to it, and how fully the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ has glorified God, and met every need of the conscience (Heb. 9 — 10).

But Jehovah had an earthly people, once highly favoured, though now, as a nation, disowned. Has He for ever cast them off? No — By-and-bye He will take them up again, and bless them, when the number of the saints destined to form the Body of Christ is completed. Hence, following on after these fundamental truths for saints who form the Church of God, we have teaching which especially concerns Israel, taken up, and dwelt upon (17 — 27). But who, in the days of Moses, unless divinely taught, would have arranged for that which speaks of Israel to come in after that which concerns those who are the Church of God? We may boldly declare that no one in the wilderness would have dreamt of such a thing. Called out, as Israel were to be God's earthly people, they were to be separated to God, and to maintain the revelation which He gave them of Himself as Jehovah. This we have seen forms the teaching of chapter 17. But if thus favoured, He would regulate, as became Him, the daily and the domestic life of both the people and the priests (18 — 22). After this, the history of His ways with them in grace as Jehovah's people, from the Exodus to the Millennium, is set out in that ecclesiastical calendar, contained in chapter 23; for they would nationally be ever in His sight, even though apostasy might do its dire
work among them, and meet with its due reward (24).

Further, since God has taken them up to be His people, He has provided for them an inheritance. We read in the next place therefore of God's provision for the continuance of their enjoyment of the land, as well as that for the portion of any of His earthly people to return to its original possessor, if for a time he had been deprived of it (25). The institution of the Jubilee set forth, the people are warned of the certainty of governmental dealing with them, if they proved to be disobedient, a dealing which, if called for, would not stop short of banishing them from their land, though only for a time; since God assured them that He would remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He would remember the land, if they should confess their sins in the land of their captivity (26): so exile shall not be for ever their lot. Restoration, then, they are taught to await, and a restoration to their land, never again to be dispossessed of it. And as God knew how divine goodness will act on the heart, when the people shall be in the enjoyment afresh of His favours, He has provided for the expression of it in the regulations that follow concerning vows (27), with which the book ends. But this chapter comes in as a kind of supplement, the book apparently ending with 26:40. The propriety of this, the moral order we have traced out makes apparent. Chapter 27 may be viewed in the light of a supplement, and as the commencement of a new chapter in their history when restored in grace, to which, as far as the Old Testament takes us, there is no end.

Commencing, then, as Leviticus does, with the provision for the people to bring an offering for their acceptance, if moved by a sense of divine goodness, it closes with the provision for them to make vows, and to pay them, when especially sensible of divine grace. But in the beginning of the book the thought is kept before them of the sacrifice of Christ, because of which the individual could be accepted. In the close, standing as they will in the full consciousness of divine, and abiding favour, provision is made for the expression of the thankfulness of their hearts, but without any typical allusion to the need of the sacrifice of Christ. This is beautifully correct.

In the first part of the book, then, we have teaching which concerns us. In the last part, God's ways and desires for His earthly people are set forth. And Moses, guided of God, thus arranged the book, a witness to those who can see the moral order of its contents, that it was written in the order in which the Spirit of God was pleased to have it recorded.