Chapter 6.

SACRIFICES
The first seven chapters of Leviticus give to us the chief directions which were to be observed, in sacrificing the various offerings brought to God, by the hand of His worshipping or erring people.
These offerings will be found to prefigure both the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ as a sacrifice. The capable person is especially seen in the meat offerings of chapter 2, while His work in death is not omitted; but in the burnt offerings, peace offerings, and sin offerings, a perfect person is seen, and His sacrificial work portrayed in various aspects, and with details that unfold many of the truths which are included in the cross. The death of an animal is a clear figure of the death of the antitype; but in the subsequent ceremonies with the blood and fat, etc., we get pictured different truths which are comprehended in His one act of death; the ritual appears to be constructed for the purpose of expounding the inclusive nature of the Lord's death. Nor was that death only a righteous ground whereby the grace of pardon could flow out to the guilty; it was the source of incomparable glory to God; and there lay in it a full answer to the inquiry—why did God allow evil to exist at all.
At Calvary God was dealing with the whole question of evil, sins, sin, and their connections and results, so as to clear away every hindrance that stood between His guilty creatures and their eternal blessing; He was laying a foundation in righteousness for the purposes of His infinite love to be so made good in the hearts of sinners, that henceforth they must "joy in God." Rom. 5:1111And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:11). It was this work of Christ which the Levitical sacrifices prefigured, and by which they are superseded. Psa. 40 and Heb. 10:5-95Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (Hebrews 10:5‑9) tell us this, "He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.”
The ancient offerings have been variously divided; some have regarded the words "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying;" as giving the Divine division of them, but as those words are not found between the burnt offering and the meat offering, nor again between the meat offering and the peace offering, they can hardly form a satisfactory division.
In Psa. 40 and Heb. 10, the division is fourfold. In both it is peace offering, and meat offering, and burnt offering, and sin offering; though the order in Leviticus is, chapter 1, the burnt offering, chapter 2, the meat offering, chapter 3, the peace offering, and chapter 4, the sin offering. Some have separated the trespass offering from the sin offering as a fifth division, because of verse 14 in chapter 5. But if so then chapter 6:1 would make a sixth division; and, more important still, there would be no instruction how to deal with a trespass offering, if it were not a sin offering. The few items given, Lev. 7:1-71Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy. 2In the place where they kill the burnt offering shall they kill the trespass offering: and the blood thereof shall he sprinkle round about upon the altar. 3And he shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, 4And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away: 5And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a trespass offering. 6Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy. 7As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it. (Leviticus 7:1‑7), are most important, but not enough, until we find one law is to be for both these offerings.
Added to this, in chapter 5, verse 6, the trespass offering is to be brought "for his sin which he hath sinned," "in one of these" (verse 5), and after that it is called a sin offering twice, viz., in verses 11 and 12. It would appear, therefore, that the trespass offering was a true sin offering, but of a special kind, a subdivision rather than a main one. Probably verse 14 is to lay an emphasis on a trespass against Jehovah.
It will be noticed that a consecration offering is a variation of the peace offering in a somewhat similar way.
The Trespass Offering
If we begin with the simplest offering of them all, it will be found in Lev. 5:11-1311But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon: for it is a sin offering. 12Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: it is a sin offering. 13And the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant shall be the priest's, as a meat offering. (Leviticus 5:11‑13). It is brought by a person who is "not able to bring" a living victim, even of the smallest value; it is plain, fine, flour, said to be about five pints in measure. A handful of it is to be burned on the brazen altar, and the remainder is the priest's portion. Nothing surely could be simpler than this. The fine flour is doubtless a figure of the person of the Lord Jesus, as it is in the meat offering of chapter 2. But there is no life nor blood, and yet it is clearly said of it, it is a sin offering; the priest makes atonement by it, and "it shall be forgiven him." Is it not a most instructive picture of faith in the person securing forgiveness? The Israelite who brings it, is poor, shadowing for us to-day, one who has no advantages, or perhaps but limited intelligence. The blood-shedding of the Lord is not known, or not comprehended by him, but he owns His person. Christ has been preached to him, or "Jesus.... that he is the Son of God," Acts 9:2020And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (Acts 9:20), and he trusts Him. As we have said already, only through death could the Lord Jesus become our Savior. Only by His blood-shedding could real atonement be made, but it is not an essential to salvation that a guilty soul should understand even those details of Christ's blessed work, which were essential before God. The great vital question is, Does that soul truly trust the person? Does he own the need of a substitute and that substitute Christ? Then he has from the hand of God all the value of the cross, though he knows so little of what that value includes.
Part of the flour was burned in the fire, expressing the subjection of the Lord to the righteous judgment of God; so that the offering shows God met by Christ, though it goes no further. The principle of substitution is seen in bringing the flour at all, and the burning tells the action of Divine wrath upon the substitute instead of upon the guilty one. So the work is not absent, though its many features are not distinguished. Enough, how blessed is the grace that can so meet the feeblest heart and mind, and that will make forgiveness good to one who believes, only believes, on the Son of God.
But in verses 7-10 of our chapter we have an offerer able to bring two turtledoves or young pigeons; suggesting a person to-day who is able to understand in measure, the need of life for life, as seen in the blood-shedding of a victim.
There is also a distinction between the two birds, one is a sin offering, and speaks of due repair for offense, and the other is a burnt offering, which indicates the acceptance of the offerer's person according to the sweet savor of his sacrifice. These main truths we shall see more fully, presently. Now this offerer carries us clearly to a marked and blessed specialty of grace to-day. Not only does our God forgive, pardon, cleanse, through the blood of Christ, from all guilt, but in addition, He puts all the moral worthiness of Christ as seen in "sweet savor," upon the soul that trusts him. The twofold form of this offering of birds, presents these two features of grace in a marked way. There is, however, a departure from the usual ceremony of chapter 4. in dealing with the blood of this sin offering. Instead of a portion of the blood being sprinkled on the horns of the altar, it is sprinkled on the side of the altar. In chapter 4:25, 30, 34, the sprinkling on the four horns appears to be a fourfold public memorial of accomplished atonement, a record on the symbols of power, held up to view and so beyond question or doubt. But in chapter 5:9 the sprinkling on the side of the altar where it would get dried up and burnt, was not so much a record as it was an owning of the claim of the fire on life. So that this offering, while it is an advance upon the fine flour, is not so emphatic a witness as the lowest of the sin offerings in chapter 4. to known atonement and forgiveness.
In verse 6, the trespasser is to bring his trespass offering, a female lamb or a kid of goats, which is also called a "sin offering," and as no details are given, it may presumably be ranked with the sin offering of chapter 4:28-35. Observe, however, that this use of the terms, trespass and sin offering, groups these together as having a character in common, rather than regards them as two distinct classes. On this point, which some have little heeded, it will be found that in verse 7 it is a combination of sin offering and burnt offering which is appointed for a trespass. Evidently a sinner of the lowest class is meant to know what acceptance is, as well as know forgiveness. Indeed, there is no offering which has not a portion of it burned on the brazen altar (save the statutory offering for purification in Num. 19), whether it have blood or not. So that these figures present to us grace meeting a sinner-every believing sinner, learned or unlearned-with the truth of his personal acceptance in the sweet savor of the substitute, rather than with the bare truth of that righteous repair to God for his sin, which is the ground of forgiveness.
What a presentation is this of the heart of our God.
Of course justice is fully met and perfectly satisfied, but the special witness of the whole range of sacrificial shadows, is not to the satisfaction of justice by blood, but it is to the blessedness of our being taken into God's favor personally, according to the "smell of delight" which He found in the only real offering. The term "sweet savor" in the Old Testament should be everywhere rendered "smell of delight." God's chief joy towards man to-day is to cover a believer with the worthiness of Christ, setting him "in Christ," telling him for now and here below, "as He is, so are we in this world.'
Even on the great Day of Atonement, Lev. 16, incense is carried into the most holy before the blood is, though the bullock is first killed outside to enable Aaron to go in at all.
Would it be possible for a soul that was consciously so enriched of God to have any shadow of doubt or hesitation as to his eternal forgiveness?
Before leaving this chapter, revise the first verse thus: "And if a soul sin, being a witness by sight or knowledge, and is put on oath and does not give his evidence, then he shall bear his iniquity.”
The importance of clearing this passage will be seen by a reference to Matt. 26:62, 6362And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 63But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. (Matthew 26:62‑63). Our Lord was silent when the high priest simply asked the question; but when the high priest adjured Him, i.e., put Him on oath, the high priest being the power competent to do so at that day, He who ever magnified the law, at once gave answer not merely according to the terms of the question, but according to the knowledge in his own possession. And this was the only thing that could be found by which to bring Him in guilty of death. He, the Blessed One, would rather die than evade the claim of Lev. 5:11And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. (Leviticus 5:1), for He well knew the occasion that evil hearts would take, from the statement the oath required Him to make.
When a trespass was committed in the holy things of Jehovah, or in matters of trust with a neighbor, a sacrifice of a ram was appointed in every case, but with a special feature that the harm done was to be fully repaired and a fifth part thereof added thereto. The equivalent for the loss was not sufficient, there is a further fine upon the offender of the additional fifth part.
This is real for us in the work of Christ. Isa. 10, is "when thou shalt make His soul a trespass offering." He was the true trespass offering who, as to the "harm" done; made more than equivalent repair. But Who shall measure the "harm?" and who shall define its "fifth?" All we can do is, bow in the presence of the Infinite, and own in it a double tithe, well rendered to God.
The Sin Offering
In Lev. 4 we have four varieties of sin offering:—
Lev. 4:3-123If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering. 4And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the Lord. 5And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation: 6And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, before the vail of the sanctuary. 7And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, 9And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away, 10As it was taken off from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of the burnt offering. 11And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung, 12Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt. (Leviticus 4:3‑12) describe one for the anointed priest;
Lev. 4:13-2113And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; 14When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation. 15And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the Lord: and the bullock shall be killed before the Lord. 16And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation: 17And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, even before the vail. 18And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the Lord, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 19And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar. 20And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for the congregation. (Leviticus 4:13‑21), one for the whole congregation;
Lev. 4:27-3527And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; 28Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. 29And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering. 30And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. 31And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor unto the Lord; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. 32And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish. 33And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar: 35And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 4:27‑35), those for a common person.
But for error in ignorance, the appointed sacrifice varies with the position of the sinner.
The ordinary Israelite is to bring a female kid or lamb.
A ruler is to bring a male kid.
The whole congregation, a bullock.
The anointed priest, a bullock.
The more responsible the sinner, the more energy must be found in his substitute.
“One of the common people," having no particular intelligence or advantages, when his sin came to his knowledge, is to bring a female kid or lamb "without blemish," telling us, as in every case, of the Lamb of God "without blemish and without spot.”
Lev. 4:2929And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering. (Leviticus 4:29). He is to lay—"lean"—his hand upon its head, thus expressing his identity with his victim; it is an act which says, I and the goat are one. I am a sinner, and have forfeited my life; I bring a living thing for death instead of myself; this goat is substitute for me. Next, he kills it. Not the priest kills it. The priest's work began when the animal was presented; he must refuse it if it were not "without blemish," but being such, he accepts it on God's behalf as suitable and fit. Then he stands aside for the offerer to kill it. Had it been for himself, his own offering, he would have killed it, killed it as offerer, not as priest. This was the general rule. I, the offerer, kill the goat I bring (when accepted by the priest, Mal. 1:6-86A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? 7Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. 8And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 1:6‑8), etc.), having laid my hand upon it to declare it stands as and for myself. There seems a very pointed value to this act; it is more than owning the need of death for atonement, for it is the death of his substitute at the hand of the sinner himself. This is clearly the sinner saying—I take the place of death for myself. It expresses the sinner's own judgment of himself. Now this is the only fitting place for a sinner to-day in the presence of God. Not only has he done wrong, but he, as a source of wrong, must be brought to judgment. This he allows and declares, by himself slaying his own substitute.
It may truly be that few have discerned this, when by God's grace they are brought first to trust in Christ; but the sooner it is learned, the sooner will the soul find what special blessing in new creation is made his.
“In the place of the burnt offering." Connect with this, Lev. 6:10, 1110And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. 11And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. (Leviticus 6:10‑11), where we find the ashes of all burnt on the brazen altar were carried outside the camp "unto a clean place;" and Lev. 4:1212Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt. (Leviticus 4:12), where the carcass of the sin offering bullock was burnt at the same spot. Whatever variations of detail are appointed, these two offerings were killed on one spot, and ultimately their ashes mingle outside the camp. They figure one Christ, and one and the same work of death and judgment bearing, while both are "most holy.”
A horn is the symbol of power; four is chiefly the number of completeness on earth through Scripture; it is finite perfectness, somewhat distinct from seven, which is rather infinite and heavenly. Four is more manifest, and seven mystical. Sprinkled blood on the four horns was a complete display above the heads of the people, of the blood that had made atonement for the transgression. It was a public memorial of atonement accomplished. No misgiving or doubt could arise as to this. Specially would the sinner rejoice to see it done; he would know for himself the forgiveness of his guilt, and could refer anyone to that open witness for the evidence up borne on the signs of power, that he had been cleared according to God's appointment. How satisfied and content he would return home.
The counterpart of this is plain; "for if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." The Israelite knew his sin atoned for. Why should believers on Christ be in doubt?
In Heb. 10 the special witness of the Spirit is, "their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Of old there was the material witness, now it is the divine words for faith to rest upon.
There is a reference to horns on altars in Jer. 17:11The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; (Jeremiah 17:1), which is connected with this meaning of them; it is the solemn sentence of God upon Judah, when He is about to remove him from his inheritance. Accordingly Judah must no longer turn to the established witness of atonement on the horns, for now at last instead of blood there, his sin is graven upon them. So also in Amos 3:1414That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Beth-el: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground. (Amos 3:14), when God will "visit the transgressions of Israel upon him".... "the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground." No blood of atonement can be displayed, for the sinner is then to bear his own guilt.
But in 2 Sam. 22:33The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3), and Psa. 18:22The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalm 18:2), David speaks of God as "my shield, and the horn of my salvation;" the term here may be used in the simple figurative sense of power, but if it be not a direct reference to the altar, it gives force to the use of the horn attached to the altar.
The second action of the priest with the blood, is to pour out the bulk of it at the bottom of the altar. The fire is ever burning upon the altar, expressing the consuming judgment of God; it is below that, that the blood is poured. This suggests the blessed truth, that our Lord Jesus Christ laid down his life—blood—under the judgment of God. His death was not merely the surrender of life, but it was in connection with, and as subjecting Himself to, the righteous wrath of God against sin. It was there, on the cross, that God condemned sin in the flesh, and that Christ drank the cup at His Father's hand. Without shedding of blood is no remission, and remission is by His one obedience unto death, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, i.e., the judgment of them. Only so could God's righteous claims be settled, and His grace flow out. Now the pouring out of the blood below the altar of fire, tells this view of our Lord's work, how it settled all the demands of justice by His bearing judgment.
Then God Is Satisfied
There is the witness for the perfect clearing of the guilty conscience, and the worshipper once purged is to have "no more conscience of sins;" and there is also the perfect clearing of the throne of God, so that He is "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." "Christ died for the ungodly," and God is He "that justifieth the ungodly," for the laying down of life upon the cross, was the suffering that made Christ perfect as the Captain of salvation as "became" God. Feebly as any one of us grasps this, limited as our powers are to measure it, yet it is true, and God has now set forth Christ "raised for our justification," as He had been "delivered for our offenses.”
Thus far then we see in this offering:—
A victim without blemish-the perfect Christ.
The offerer killing—death fully owned.
Blood on the horns—atonement made and witnessed so that the sinner is cleared.
Blood at the bottom of the altar—life surrendered under judgment so that government is satisfied.
All which is real in Christ to us, but solely through His work on the cross.
All the fat and rich growth are to be taken from the carcass and to be burnt by the priest on the altar.
It is in this verse alone that the words, "for a sweet savor,"—strictly, "a smell of delight"—are used with a sin offering. The same action is found with the other sin offerings, and it is similar to the action in Lev. 3:55And Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord. (Leviticus 3:5), where this burning is said to be for a sweet savor, while the technical Hebrew word is the same for both, and is also that used for burning incense.
Thus from the sin offering there rises a smell of delight to God out from the fire. There was at the cross of Christ not only propitiation by blood-shedding, but the sin bearer there was such that He glorified God, honored Him, brought a glory to His throne, and government, and nature, which was the true "smell of delight," even from that terrible place where sins, and sin, and all evil, were dealt with and their judgment executed.
This will come out more fully elsewhere, but it is significant, and blessed too, that the commonest Israelite was clearly told that his kid furnished a sweet savor to God. For he was identified with his substitute. What that substitute was to God, such also he was himself; its value was all reckoned to him, and he had not alone the atonement by its blood and forgiveness accordingly, but he had too all the worth of the smell of delight and stood accepted in it, with the blessing of his Jehovah.
The absence of these words, "sweet savor," from the three former sin offerings in the chapter, has been at times a little severely criticized. But the anointed priest and the ruler may have well been expected to know what a common person might be ignorant of. Does it not rather express God's care for those who have no advantages otherwise? Is it not His grace to the ignorant, the mass at large? Does it not raise a question too in our hearts—shall we preach a gospel of forgiveness only, even to the very lowest class of hearers? Shall we not tell such the riches of Divine love pardoning freely, and at the same time blessing with the fullness of Christ? In no way should we lessen the truth and absoluteness of justification, if we pressed acceptance of the person. Nay, if as instruments we felt our privilege of declaring the latter to the roughest and lowest, must not this carry home still more fully to their hearts what the righteousness of faith is in its completeness, for, otherwise, acceptance could not be?
Anyway, God would not let the truth of acceptance be lacking in the case of the lowest position in Israel. Blessed be His Name. And it rests on us, in view of the full revelation in our hands, to be content with no gospel message in the wretchedest slums civilization produces, which does not tell God's heart by setting out the exceeding riches of His grace, beyond mere deliverance out from, even to deliverance into. It is the striking difference between Israel freed from Pharaoh, Egypt, tasks, and bondage, and Israel put into possession of Canaan to enjoy old corn, grapes, figs, pomegranates and honey, none daring to make them afraid.
At this present time, it is grace dealing through the cross with sins, sin, enmity, and every evil, to deliver the soul from all fear and thrall, while, immeasurably more, it sets the soul "in Christ Jesus," in new creation, in resurrection, for the enjoyment now of "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places," being God's own marvelous response to the infinite smell of delight which rose from Calvary, gilds His throne, rejoices Himself, then, now, and for eternity, which is inexhaustible as it is immeasurable, and produces that joy in God which is the supreme blessedness of any creature of His hand.
In the sacrifice appointed for a ruler we find this difference, that it is a male instead of a female; the greater energy herein expressed meeting the deeper responsibility found in the offerer's position.
In the case of the whole congregation, as well as in that of the anointed priest, a bullock is appointed, the most energetic of all the animals, for responsibility in the fullest way lay upon these offerers.
Before examining the several rites given with the bullock, and which are alike in these two cases, observe that in verse 3 it is said, "If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people." In the three other cases it is said, "sin through ignorance." Again, verses 20, 26, 31, 35, say atonement shall be made, and forgiveness is stated too. Neither of these is expressed for the anointed priest.
This suggests a special meaning to the first sacrifice and offerer, viz., that our Lord Jesus Christ may be seen here in both characters, victim and priest. For the sins laid upon Him were those "of the people," and those exclusively. It was impossible for Him who "knew no sin," to sin even "through ignorance." He voluntarily took the place of sin bearer, and in the language of Psa. 69:55O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. (Psalm 69:5), confesses ours as His; "my sins are not hid from thee." Also when the work of the sacrifice is finished, no "atonement for" is mentioned, nor any "forgiveness." He whose love led Him to take our judgment upon Himself, could not be forgiven, nor could any atonement be made for Him.
In verse 3 it is "a young bullock without blemish,” the perfectness of His person as ever, and in the full energy of life. Brought to "the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before Jehovah," into the immediate presence of God, where He had appointed to meet the people, Ex. 29:42, 4342This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. 43And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. (Exodus 29:42‑43). Only so can guilt be truly dealt with. It is against Him we have sinned; and in His presence, to Himself, sins must be confessed. Not a vague and general acknowledgment of doing or being wrong, but solemnly owning the transgression in detail, and in the light of the grace that is now revealed.
But nowhere else is this appointed to be done. It is the same Hebrew word for "lay" as in Deut. 34:99And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses. (Deuteronomy 34:9), where Moses laid his hands on Joshua; and as in Num. 8:1010And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: (Numbers 8:10), where the Israelites laid their hands on the Levites, expressing fellowship or identity for special service in each case.
So with the offerer and his sacrifice; he not only brings the animal, presents it for acceptance by the priest, and thereby owns he has transgressed, but he also identifies himself with it, and declares by leaning his hand upon it, this bullock stands as, and for himself.
He then kills the bullock before Jehovah. The term rendered "kill" or "slay" throughout this connection is allied with the thought of shedding its blood, indicating the manner of death in its essential point.
Further, he was to put some upon the horns of the golden altar. For a ruler or common person we have seen that the sprinkling was upon the horns of the brazen altar in "holy place." There, such an one could come and see it; here in "the holy," the priest continually came in the course of his service; and so each offerer would find the full record of the atonement made for his guilt whenever he drew nigh. What confidence this would give. What confidence is ours, "full assurance of faith" as we draw near, aye, and abide near.
Finally, with the blood, all the rest is to be poured out "at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering." Below, as we have seen, the fire, even as our Lord laid His life down under God's judgment for sin.
Lev. 8, 9, 10 give the burning of the fat upon the brazen altar. This was done in every sin offering, and tells the sweet savor of Christ to God, which is the measure of our acceptance by Him, Lev. 17:66And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savor unto the Lord. (Leviticus 17:6).
Lev. 4:11, 12, 2111And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung, 12Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt. (Leviticus 4:11‑12)
21And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for the congregation. (Leviticus 4:21)
, give an important variation from the ruler and common person's sin offering. The bullock itself was burnt outside the camp. This is specially referred to in chapter 6:30, where the law of the sin offering is found. If the blood were fully dealt with in "holy place" at the brazen altar, then the priest who had officiated was to have the carcass for his own eating; but if the blood had been taken in to "the holy," and put on the horns of the golden altar, the carcass was not to be eaten, but burnt outside the camp. Clearly, to eat would be to assimilate to himself, which would be a contradiction if the sacrifice were for his own sin; but the priest could consume another's offering, and in doing so would express the final removal, probably, of the guilt it had suffered for. But when the priest's own guilt was in question, then the carcass is burnt, by a term which means to utterly destroy, outside the camp.
Much more, however, may be seen in this action. The blood shedding made propitiation for sins committed; "it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul," Lev. 17:1111For 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. (Leviticus 17:11), but this special action of utterly destroying the carcass, is a forcible picture of God's dealing with the "body of sin." We read in Rom. 6:66Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6), "knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed" (annulled), "that henceforth we should not serve sin." It brings before us the marked difference between what I am, and what I do. What I do may be atoned for, and forgiveness bestowed, i.e., for sins, but sins could not be crucified. On the other hand, what I am could not be forgiven nor itself atoned for; forgiveness does not apply to a nature. "The carnal mind is enmity against God," Rom. 8:77Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7), and that cannot be forgiven; but it must be dealt with in some way by God, for the clearing of His creation from it (ultimately "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself," Heb. 9:2626For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26)), and also for our deliverance from its power now, until the full result of the cross is accomplished. What I am is the living source of what I do, and I need as much to be set free from its energy and rule, as I do to be set free from the judgment of my sins. Nay, if the sins be all forgiven, I still am left, able only to produce more unless a further provision is made. This further provision was made at the cross, where "God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin" (not here sins), "condemned sin in the flesh." It is well to remark that though a single sin may be spoken of, yet sin in the New Testament commonly refers to the nature, and sins to acts. And so using this singular and plural, it would be strictly true, if sharp, to say God never forgives sin, but He judged it at the cross; while also we have the forgiveness of sins through the same sacrifice. In the several passages in the New Testament which refer to this judgment of sin, the past tense should have been employed, thus:
Rom. 6: 2, we that have died to sin.
4, we were buried.
„ „ 6, has been crucified.
„ „ 8, if we have died.
Rom. 7: 6, having died in that wherein we were held.
Gal. 2: 19, have died to the law.
20, I have been crucified.
Col. 2: 20, if ye have died with Christ.
“ 3: 3, For ye have died.
All these passages refer to the past fact in the work of Christ which grace makes ours now. But the present tense in our language carries another thought also, viz.:—that we are now dead, in a dead condition at this time so far as the "old man" is concerned. This is not so, for still "the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye should not do the things that ye would," Gal. 5:1717For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17).
It has been pleaded specially as to Gal. 2:2020I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20), that the Greek perfect tense is there used which carries the continuance of the action on to the present time. True, thank God, He does see, not only that act at the cross most real for us then, but also sees us to-day with that truth of death and judgment to the old man in us most real. It is His blessed view of us as now in Christ; just as He could say in Num. 23:2121He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. (Numbers 23:21), "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel," though their iniquity and perverseness had been amazing.
So faith now in us stands on God's side, and rejoices that the judgment of death was executed on sin in the flesh at our Lord's crucifixion, and rejoices, too, that God sees this real as to every believer, and real to him in permanence (as the Greek perfect carries) though the old man is not dead, or we should not need to "reckon" it so.
On this solemn and important question, faith sees ourselves as God sees us, and is delighted. Faith is only too glad to discern the blessed provision made, "that henceforth we should not serve sin," Rom. 6:66Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6), and is equally glad to apply the past fact of Calvary, and in the language of verse 11, say—"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus," (lit.). So that the Christian path is one of faith, applying to practice perpetually the cross of Christ, "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body," 2 Cor. 4:1010Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:10).
Did we but make this application faithfully, and truly treat ourselves as dead to sin, how the life of Christ would be made manifest in us, and Christ "be magnified," Phil. 1:2020According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (Philippians 1:20).
“For the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp, wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate, let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." We here learn that the fulfillment of the type in its burning outside the camp, is found in the fact that our Lord suffered outside the gate of Jerusalem. This too, was for the purpose of sanctifying (separating) the people with His own blood. This is distinct from making atonement by blood shedding, it is the identification of His own (bought by blood truly) with Himself, the place of his suffering becoming their place too, no longer in the "holy city," but outside it with Him. It was no part of God's mind to purge Jerusalem and restore it, its iniquity was too great. The blood of Christ shed in it would have had power to purge it; but no, He separated Himself from it by going outside, leaving it to its judgment, and those who should get the value of His shed blood would be separated (sanctified) from it too.
It was Golgotha to which He went, "skull place," a contemptuous term, so known at large, and the Spirit of God points this out to us, claiming our fellowship with our Lord there. It is outside the camp-the place on which Satan and the flesh have put a religious stamp. It is outside the camp in which the popular vote was "Not this man but Barabbas, now Barabbas was a robber." (Yet to-day men say, "Vox populi, vox Dei." i.e., the voice of the people is the voice of God. Is that true?)
It is outside the camp, it is the place of reproach. For the world by wisdom knew not God, and crucified the Lord of glory there, putting Him to open shame.'
Anticipatively, Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ, and Paul could take pleasure in reproaches for Christ's sake, and the privilege is ours to take the same place with him, now at the hand of the world. Are we glad to accept His despised position as our own? He "endured the cross, despising the shame"; let the same mind be in us that was also in Him.
Vers. 12, "Where the ashes are poured out,"—this is repeated in the verse,—"shall he be burnt." Lev. 6:1111And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. (Leviticus 6:11) shows that this was where the daily ashes from the brazen altar were put by the priest. However distinct in certain respects the various sacrifices were, and especially the burnt offering from the sin offering, still there were points in common, and at the last they are found in their ashes together in a clean place, but outside man's characteristic sphere.
Observe that the skin and the inwards unwashed, are to be included in this burning; a contrast with the burnt offering which will be best seen after considering that sacrifice in chapter 1.
Thus far, we have had before us prefigured in the sin offering:—
The perfect person of our Lord Jesus.
The identification of the believer with Him as substitute.
The believer's acceptance of death for himself as his own proper due.
The blood shedding of Christ, the ground of restoration to communion.
The atonement made by that blood shedding for the believer's sins, publicly witnessed, and known to the soul.
The full satisfaction that blood shedding has made for guilt, to the throne and government of God.
The sweet savor of Christ the measure of the believer's acceptance.
And, lastly, the judgment of sin in its nature, for the believer's deliverance from its power, and separation from the sphere of its rule.
Some of these truths are shown in other offerings as well as in this one, as we shall see; but the main feature of this offering is that of atonement made for transgressions, and testified to the offerer. In the grace of to-day, since the cross, it is part of the birthright of every believer to live and abide in the full sense of his personal forgiveness, through the blood of Christ alone, once purged he is to have no more conscience of sins, no more fear that they will ever be imputed to him.
What a grace, this, to the weary and sin-laden.