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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator

Leviticus 6

 

 

Verses 2-7

Leviticus 6:2-7

Bring his trespass-offering.

Christ the true Trespass-offering

In Christ Jesus, the true Trespass-offering, God has provided an offering after His own estimation. “Restitution,” “compensation,” and “expiation”--all are found in Him. When He gave His life a ransom for many, the fullest satisfaction was made to God and man. Both had been trespassed against, and both could now say, “I am satisfied. I have all back and more.” As God and man had shared in the wrong inflicted by the trespass of the latter, so there is this blessed community, so to speak, in the offering by which the wrong is put away. God is glorified in “Christ crucified.” A crucified Christ is our glory. “Christ is God’s,” and God’s Christ is ours. Such is the wondrous mystery of grace displayed in the aspect of redemption furnished by the trespass-offering. Well may we exclaim with the apostle, “Oh, the depth of the riches, &c., both of the wisdom and knowledge of God--how unsearchable are His judgments, and His works past finding out,”--how comforting is the assurance that one day we shall know these things as we cannot know them now. (F. H. White.)

Social sins and their Godward aspect

I can conceive no law more beautiful, more impartial, more fitted to do the highest good, than the very first requirement with which this chapter begins: “If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord.” But mark what constitutes a trespass against the Lord. It consists in “lying to his neighbour,” or in that which was delivered to him to keep, or in fellowship, or in taking anything away from his neighbour by violence. Now, in doing so, he commits a trespass against the Lord: the injury is done against his neighbour, but in its rebound it is sin against God. Every deed of injustice, whether it break the last six commandments or the first four, is sin against God--if it be one of the last six commandments of the law, it has in it two aspects: one aspect towards man, or injury done to man--a neighbour; and its aspect towards God, or sin committed against Him. We never sin against each other--we do injury to each other--but, when we do so, we sin always against God. And hence the distinction is so important--especially in these days when errors are abroad--that the person against whom the thing is done can forgive in the thing which relates to him: if I steal, or if I injure or wound the neighbour, he from whom I plunder can forgive me the injury, because he is injured and the owner; but the sin that underlies the injury, reaching to God, God alone can forgive. See, too, how very comprehensive the law is--“shall sin in that which was delivered him to keep.” Are you made a trustee?--is property deposited with you?--are you a banker?--has some client left his money in your hands? Then it is your duty to be faithful; it is your duty to remember that the least breach of that trust is injury against your neighbour and sin against your God. “Or in fellowship”--that is, as we call it in modern days, “in partnership.” Are you a partner in a house of business? You are bound to look to your co-partner’s interests as if they were your own; and your co-partner is bound to look to your interests just as if they were his. “Or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour,” such a one commits sin. “Or hath found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely.” Among the Romans, it was always regarded as theft to appropriate anything you found upon the streets, whether you could find the owner of it or not: and this law here says--from which that was evidently a reflection that if you find anything of which you cannot find the owner, or if you find anything and know the owner, and either conceal it, or deny it, or swear falsely concerning it, all that is sin against God. “Then it shall be, because he hath sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal”--that is, the sum itself--“and shall add” not as an atonement, but as what may be fairly due--“the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth.” And then, not only was he to do so, but he was also to do it at the time of his confession and his trespass-offering made by the priest. The sin was forgiven through the trespass-offering as a type of Christ’s atonement; the injury against the brother was rectified by returning the principal, and a fifth of the principal added to it, and receiving from that brother he had injured his forgiveness. (J. Cumming, D. D.)

All sins are against God

When a man defrauds you in weight he sins against you, not against the scales, which are only the instruments of determining true and false weight. When men sin it is against God, and not against His law, which is but the indicator of right and wrong. You care little for sins against God’s law. Now, every sin that you commit is personal to God, and not merely an infraction of His law. It is casting javelins and arrows of base desire into His loving bosom. I think no truth can be discovered which would be so powerful upon the moral sense of men as that which should disclose to them that sinning is always a personal offence against a personal God. (H. W. Beecher.)

Refusing to deceive

A young man came to a gentleman one day with a case of conscience. He was corresponding clerk in a flourishing house of business. His employers had begun to direct him to write letters to customers containing statements which he and they knew to be false. He had objected, and they said: “We are responsible for these statements; it is nothing to you whether they are true or false.” I said to him, “Did they sign the letters, or ask you to write them in your own name?” As soon as the question left my lips I saw that if there were a difference both would be wrong, and I hastened to tell him so he said, “I have to sign them with my name, per Messrs. Blank.” I said, “Your case is clear; you must decline to do it.” He said, “Then I shall be dismissed”; and, after a pause, “I have a wife and family.” I replied, “My dear friend, this is a trial of faith and principle; you must do right, and trust to God to take care of you and your family.” I met him some days after. “Well Mr.

,” I said, “how are you getting on?” He replied, “I am still in my situation; I had an interview with the partners, and told them I could not write letters I knew to be untrue. They were very angry, and I expected to receive notice, but I have not received it yet.” Months passed, and he remained in his situation. After a while he called upon me, and I saw in his face that something had happened. “Well, Mr.--,” I said, “have you had your dismissal?” “No,” he said, “I have not,” and smiled. “What then?” “A very confidential post in their service, with a higher salary, has fallen vacant, and they have put me into it.” On second thoughts these unprincipled men had come to the conclusion that a clerk who would not deceive a customer would not deceive them, and was too valuable to be lost.

Fruits of deceit

There is an old story of a Frenchman who persuaded some Missouri Indians to exchange fur for gunpowder, representing that they could obtain a fine crop by sowing it. The Indians prepared a field, and sowed the powder, and set a guard to watch it. As it did not come up they saw that they had been deceived. Some time after the partner of the deceiver visited these Indians with a large stock of goods for the purpose of trade. The Indians each took such things as pleased him, till all were gone. The Frenchman went to the head chief and demanded redress. The chief assured him that full justice should be done as soon as the harvest of gunpowder should be gathered. This was poor consolation for his loss, but such a rebuke as his partner’s perfidy deserved. (S. S. Chronicle.)

A boy’s temptation resisted

For two years had sailor Ben been off on the sea. Now his ship touched the shore, and his heart was full of joy. When he said good-bye to his mother he was a wild, careless boy; but in the rough days and stormy nights on the water he had learned not only to love his mother better, but to love and serve the God she loved. So he longed to go to her and tell her of this joy. Once on shore he hurried to buy a gift for her; a silver purse with long silver fringe, and into it he counted twenty gold dollars. “I’ll make your heart glad in more ways than one, mother,” he said, as he snapped the clasp and bounded over the rocks to the ship, for this was to be his last night on board for many months. In his haste his foot slipped, and he fell heavily, bruising his head, spraining his wrist, and the precious purse was flung out of his hands down out of sight to the rocks below. Poor Ben! Never thinking of his bruises he climbed down, searching for his treasure till the night closed about him, then slowly with an aching heart he went back to his ship. But there was a boy whose name was Aleck, and who early every morning swung himself down among the rocks to hunt for the eggs the sea-birds leave in their nests. The next morning he caught sight of something he never saw before in any nest, and eagerly grasped it. It is Ben’s silver purse! No more eggs for Aleck to-day; but with his treasure safe in his pocket he climbs up the rope to show his riches to his mother. Up on the rocks he meets sailor Ben, with limping gait and anxious face, searching for his purse. “My boy, I’ll give you the brightest gold dollar you ever put your eyes on if you’ll find the purse I lost here last night. It was for my old mother. It will break my heart to go home without it!” For a minute there was a battle fierce and terrible in Aleck’s heart. Was not the purse his? He had found it. His mother needed the gold as much as Ben’s mother; but would she ever touch it if she knew he had kept it from its rightful owner? No, he knew what she would bid him do, and laying the purse in Ben’s hands he gained the victory, the battle was over. And so while Ben was rattling along in the coach, happy to pour into his mother’s lap the gold he had saved for her, in the little cottage among the trees, Aleck was telling his mother the story of his temptation. “Better an honest heart, my boy, than all the gold and silver in the land.” (Christian Age.)

Harm done by trespass

I. The injury wrought by trespass.

1. Trespass defined. Actual wrong and robbery.

2. Trespass conditioned. Might be wrought “in ignorance.”

3. Trespass weighed. By the Word of God.

4. Trespass recognised (Leviticus 6:4).

II. The reparation made for trespass.

1. Trespass atoned.

2. Trespass compensated.

There was in Christ’s obedience an excess of merit presented to God, passing beyond man’s demerit. And in Christian devotedness and ministry there are blessings brought to men by man far more sacred, tender, consolatory, and helpful, which more than outweigh all the injury done to men by man. (W. H. Jellie.)

Lessons

1.Of careful attention to be given unto the Word of God (Leviticus 6:1).

2. To restore things that are lost (Leviticus 6:4).

3. Not to make a schism in the Church (Leviticus 6:16).

4. That in the morning we should first think of God, and give Him praise.

5. The merciful man shall obtain mercy by his prayers. (A. Willet, D. D.)

That which was delivered him to keep.--

Depositing property

I. A neighbourly convenience.

1. How helpful a neighbour may become.

2. How grand is this confidence in another.

3. How mutually dependent we are one upon another.

4. How honourable we should be in all transactions.

5. How jealously we should strive to merit implicit trust.

II. A hazardous transaction.

1. Man’s reliableness is sorely discredited by continuous breaches of faith.

2. Treasure becomes often a serious anxiety to its possessor.

3. No security can be guaranteed in any earthly confidence.

III. A doubtful alternative. There was another method adopted, when a man was about to journey, if he could not trust his neighbour: he would conceal his treasures underground.

IV. A spiritual analogy. This committing treasure to a neighbour suggests Paul’s imagery of the soul committed to Christ (2 Timothy 1:12, see also verses 14, and 1 Timothy 6:20).

1. Christ is faithful to our trust.

2. We cannot safely risk our souls in other keeping. (W. H. Jellie.)

Custody of treasure

To deposit valuable property with a neighbour was, and still is, a common practice in the East where no responsible establishments exist for the reception of private treasure. Hence, when a man went on a journey, he concealed his precious things underground. This was connected with the danger of forgetting the spot where they were hidden, when search and digging had to be resorted to. This not only accounts for the fact that treasure is called in Hebrew by a name which denotes “hidden,” or things which men are in the habit of hiding underground, but explains such allusions as “hidden riches of secret places” (Isaiah 45:3), “and searchest for her as for hid treasure” (Proverbs 2:4), “dig for it more than for hid treasure” (Job 3:21). To avoid this danger, men entrusted their treasure to the custody of a neighbour. It is to this practice that the text refers, and it is from this practice that the apostle took the expression in 2 Timothy 1:12; see also verse 14, and 1 Timothy 6:20). (C. D. Ginsburg, LL.D.)

Found that which was lost.--

Restoration of lost property

Nauhaught was an Indian deacon of a native Christian Church in America. He was a poor, hard-working trapper, with a sick wife and child. One night he dreamed that an angel came to him and dropped in his hand “a fair, broad gold piece, in the name of God.” When he rose that morning he went out into the wilderness to examine his traps; but neither beast nor bird had been caught in the toils, and poor Nauhaught grieved sorely over his misfortunes as he thought of the bare home and the needs of his sick wife, While praying that God would send the angel of his dream to help him in his dire distress, his feet touched something hard amid the grass, and there lay a purse filled with gold.

So, then, the dream was true,

The angel brought one broad piece only;

Should he take all these?

He was sorely tempted to conceal and appropriate his prize. The thing was so easy. No one need know he had found the purse, and all the wants of his needy family could be at once supplied. But his conscience stirred within him like the voice of God:--

Nauhaught, be a man.

Starve, if need be, but while you live, look out

From honest eyes on all men unashamed.

So the Indian deacon, mindful of the Divine voice, walked bravely back to the hamlet, asking, as he went, if any one had lost anything that day. “I,” said a voice, “ten gold pieces in a silken purse.” On which Nauhaught at once gave up the purse, and walked away, as poor as ever in pocket, but far richer and stronger in soul through the conflict, in which right had won the victory. The sea captain to whom the lost property had been restored, however, called him back, and begged him to accept a tithe of the prize he had found. This was one gold piece. He took it, and recognising here the very fulfilment of his dream, he gave God thanks. The people told him afterwards who this seaman was, and holy well known all around the coast. He answered, with a wise smile--to himself: “I saw the angel, where they saw a man.”

He shall restore it.--

Restitution

To wrong man is to dishonour God. To lie to a neighbour, or to deceive him, is to “commit a trespass against the Lord.” Yet how little is this thought of! Few regard in any such light as this the ten thousand little injustices and over-exactions of which men, in many of the conditions of life, are guilty towards others. But no such acts are overlooked by God. He is as observant of your conduct towards your fellow-men as towards Himself. God requires restitution to be made to Himself when defrauded or wronged by men in the sins which they commit. We therefore read (Leviticus 5:15-16). God is wronged by every sin of man. On every such occasion there is withheld from Him what is His due. And yet He will have tits claims met. But by whom is the fulfilment to be made? Not by the sinner himself. He is insolvent, and cannot satisfy the first and easiest demand of his Great Creditor. But what he himself is powerless to do can be done to the full by his Divine Substitute. Yes, Man--the Man Christ Jesus, makes awards for harm which those for whom He acts have done. He restores the principal, and with it gives the addition which God requires. He fulfils all righteousness, and yields to God a greater glory and pleasure by the obedience He renders and the character He exemplifies than would have been rendered by mankind at large, even had they never known sin. The restitution on which I wish specially to fix attention is that which has to be made to defrauded and injured man. It is impossible to keep one’s eyes and ears open to what is going on in the worlds of politics, commerce, and social life, and not feel that there is nothing that more needs to be urged and performed than restitution. The extent to which overreaching, undue exaction, and unjust dealing are practised is almost beyond what words can express. This was very wonderfully disclosed by the results of some sermons on Restitution, which the late Dr. Finney, of America, delivered in this country some years ago. Moneys were sent to him, varying in sums from one shilling to a hundred pounds, with the names and addresses of the persons to whom they were to be delivered, and to whom they were due. So convicted and miserable were the persons who thus acted in the remembrance of the dishonesties of which they had been guilty, that they could find no relief until restitution according to the Divine command had been made. But that was not all, nor the worst. They could not gain the ear of the Most High (Matthew 5:23-24). God is a God of truth, and cannot give countenance to falsehood: of justice, and cannot even seemingly make any compromise with dishonesty and oppression. He cannot give heed to the prayer of the injurer of his brethren, nor fill with good the heart and hand of the dishonest. They are “the upright,” says David, whom He allows to “dwell in His presence” (Psalms 140:13), to whom He does good, and who are His delight. Men of an opposite character yield Him no pleasure, and are debarred from the privileges of His people. But let the necessary reparation be made, and the required restitution be rendered, and yours will be the privilege of those whom the Lord accepts and honours. Standing right with men, in the matter under consideration, you will have rightness of relationship to the God of justice and truth. It is thus first restitution, then reconciliation. The condition on which God admits the wrongdoer to the place of privilege in His presence, is the restoration of what he has by false means taken from another. In the ease of defrauding God, it is first sacrifice, then restitution; in the case of wronging man, it is first restitution, then sacrifice. And yet it is only when the sin which the wrong-doing implies is forgiven that the wrong-doing itself is repaired. It is accordingly only when the man who has injured his neighbour is convicted of the evil done, and sees it in the all-revealing light of the Divine presence, that he repairs to the injured with “the principal” and “the fifth part” in his hand. You may more than satisfy the man that has been wronged; but that will not satisfy God. Sin can be answered for only by the Cross; and the defilement it leaves behind on the soul can only be removed by the blood of cleansing. But bring to God the sacrifice of expiation, and offer to Him His Christ as your plea for the acceptance you require and wish, and you render to Him, in full, the restitution which He demands. (James Fleming, D. D.)

Restitution

An extensive hardware merchant in one of the Fulton Street prayer-meetings in New York appealed to his brother merchants to have the same religion for “down-town” as they had for “up-town “; for the week-day as for the Sabbath; for the counting-house as for the communion-table. After the meeting a manufacturer with whom he had dealt largely accosted him. “You did not know,” said he, “that I was at the meeting and heard your remarks. I have for the last five years been in the habit of charging you more for goods than other purchasers. I want you to take your books and charge back to me so much per cent on every bill of goods you have had of me for the five past years.” A few days later the same hardware merchant had occasion to acknowledge the payment of a debt of several hundred dollars which had been due for twenty-eight years from a man who could as easily have paid it twenty-four years before. (Family Treasury.)

Reparation by restitution

Another way of being rid of guilt is by making handsome reparation to the injured party--a handsome, genuine recognition and reparation, such as Jacob made to Esau, or David to Bathsheba, or Zacchaeus to the widows and orphans of Judea. It is a step out of sin towards the God of truth and honesty, and towards Jesus Christ. Your agonies over cases of conscience and want of peace may lie there--that you have never made reparation. Oh, we know about it. God is not mocked. You cannot have the peace of conscience of a saint while living in dishonesty. You’ll sleep better, and enjoy your food bettor, and the air of June will be round you in mid-January the day you make reparation. That will slacken the bonds of conscience, though it will not take them off it is a sweet thing to do, though desperately hard to begin. I know it because I’ve done it--there are people here to whom I’ve made reparation, and I’m going to make more. The faith of some is scandalised by seeing you come to the prayer-meeting, he or she knowing what reparation you have made. Go and say, “I have not only to pay thee for the past, but here are arrears of interest.” Try it; it will make you twenty years younger. There is no more mischievous doctrine than the Antinomianism which makes men blink at common honesty and cover up falsehood with Evangelicalism. God will not do it. The minister may come and pronounce a benediction on your sophistries, but it will not do. I am dwelling long on this, though not a moment too much for some men here. Make reparation. (A. Whyte.)

Confession and restitution

We may here relate an incident from the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ who had been richly blessed. When he was a student he was absorbed in the things of this world, but soon afterwards yielded to the Spirit of God, and was led to his Redeemer. He became, in reality, another man. But, as often happens, the friends and acquaintances of his “jolly student days” could not understand the change, and the only conclusion they could come to was that “N--had turned hypocrite.” Now it happened that N--had, while he was a student, taken away from one of his friends a paper-knife, which the owner set great store by. When, after his conversion to a new life, his eye happened one day to fall on the knife, his conscience smote him for his sin in taking it. The Spirit of God gave him no rest, urging him to take back the knife to its true owner, and acknowledge his sin. “Oh,” said the man to us, “that was a hard step to take! I was willing enough to part with the knife, and would have given up a thousand knives, but I trembled when I thought--’ he regards you already as a hypocrite, and what will he think now?’ Bat I went to him and confessed with trembling lips, and--what happened? He took my hand, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Now I see that there is something genuine in your conversion. I respect you now, and would gladly be as you are.’” (Otto Funcke.)


Verse 7

4

THE GUILT OFFERING

Leviticus 5:14; Leviticus 6:7; Leviticus 7:1-7

As in the English version, so also in the Hebrew, the special class of sins for which the guilt offering is prescribed, is denoted by a distinct and specific word. That word, like the English "trespass," its equivalent, always has reference to an invasion of the rights of others, especially in respect of property or service. It is used, for instance, of the sin of Achan (Joshua 7:1), who had appropriated spoil from Jericho, which God had commanded to be set apart for Himself. Thus, also, the neglect of God’s service, and especially the worship of idols, is often described by this same word, as in 2 Chronicles 28:22; 2 Chronicles 29:6, and many other places. The reason is evident; for idolatry involved a withholding from God of those tithes and other offerings which He claimed from Israel, and thus became, as it were, an invasion of the Divine rights of property. The same word is even applied to the sin of adultery, {Numbers 5:12; Numbers 5:27} apparently from the same point of view, inasmuch as the woman is regarded as belonging to her husband, who has therefore in her certain sacred rights, of which adultery is an invasion. Thus, while every "trespass" is a sin, yet every sin is not a "trespass." There are, evidently, many sins of which this is not a characteristic feature. But the sins for which the guilt offering is prescribed are in every case sins which may, at least, be specially regarded under this particular point of view, to wit, as trespasses on the rights of God or man in respect of ownership; and this gives us the fundamental thought which distinguishes the guilt offering from all others, namely, that for any invasion of the rights of another in regard to property, not only must expiation be made, in that it is a sin, but also satisfaction, and, so far as possible, plenary reparation of the wrong, in that the sin is also trespass.

From this it is evident that, as contrasted with the burnt offering, which preeminently symbolised full consecration of the person, and the peace offering, which symbolised fellowship with God, as based upon reconciliation by sacrifice; the guilt offering takes its place, in a general sense, with the sin offering, as, like that, specially designed to effect the reinstatement of an offender in covenant relation with God. Thus, like the latter, and unlike the former offerings, it was only prescribed with reference to specific instances of failure to fulfil some particular obligation toward God or man. So also, as the express condition of an acceptable offering, the formal confession of such sin was particularly enjoined. And, finally, unlike the burnt offering, which was wholly consumed upon the altar, or the peace offering, of the flesh of which, with certain reservations, the worshipper himself partook, in the case of the guilt offering, as in the sin offering, the fat parts only were burnt on the altar, and the remainder of the victim fell to the priests, to be eaten by them alone in a holy place, as a thing "most holy." The law is given in the following words: {Leviticus 7:3-7} "He shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the fat tail, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the loins, and the caul upon the liver, with the kidneys, shall he take away: and the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a guilt offering. Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in a holy place: it is most holy. As is the sin offering, so is the guilt offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith, he shall have it."

But while, in a general way, the guilt offering was evidently intended, like the sin offering, to signify the removal of sin from the conscience through sacrifice, and thus may be regarded as a variety of the sin offering, yet the ritual presents some striking variations from that of the latter. These are all explicable from this consideration, that whereas the sin offering represented the idea of atonement by sacrifice, regarded as an expiation of guilt, the guilt offering represented atonement under the aspect of a satisfaction and reparation for the wrong committed. Hence, because the idea of expiation here fell somewhat into the background, in order to give the greater prominence to that of reparation and satisfaction, the application of the blood is only made, as in the burnt offering and the peace offering, by sprinkling "on the altar (of burnt offering) round about". {Leviticus 7:1} Hence, again, we find that the guilt offering always had reference to the sin of the individual, and never to the congregation; because it was scarcely possible that every individual in the whole congregation should be guilty in such instances as those for which the guilt offering is prescribed.

Again, we have another contrast in the restriction imposed upon the choice of the victim for the sacrifice. In the sin offering, as we have seen, it was ordained that the offering should be varied according to the theocratic rank of the offender, to emphasise thereby to the conscience gradations of guilt, as thus determined; also, it was permitted that the offering might be varied in value according to the ability of the offerer, in order that it might thus be signified in symbol that it was the gracious will of God that nothing in the personal condition of the sinner should exclude anyone from the merciful provision of the expiatory sacrifice. But it was no less important that another aspect of the matter should be held forth, namely, that God is no respecter of persons; and that, whatever be the condition of the offender, the obligation to plenary satisfaction and reparation for trespass committed, cannot be modified in any way by the circumstances of the offender. The man who, for example, has defrauded his neighbour, whether of a small sum or of a large estate, abides his debtor before God, under all conceivable conditions, until restitution is made. The obligation of full payment rests upon every debtor, be he poor or rich, until the last farthing is discharged. Hence, the sacrificial victim of the guilt offering is the same, whether for the poor man or the rich man, "a ram of the flock."

It was "a ram of the flock," because, as contrasted with the ewe or the lamb, or the dove and the pigeon, it was a valuable offering. And yet it is not a bullock, the most valuable offering known to the law, because that might be hopelessly out of the reach of many a poor man. The idea of value must be represented, and yet not so represented as to exclude a large part of the people from the provisions of the guilt offering. The ram must be "without blemish," that naught may detract from its value, as a symbol of full satisfaction for the wrong done.

But most distinctive of all the requisitions touching the victim is this, that, unlike all other victims for other offerings, the ram of the guilt offering must in each case be definitely appraised by the priest. The phrase is, {Leviticus 5:15} that it must be "according to thy estimation in silver by shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary." This expression evidently requires, first, that the offerer’s own estimate of the value of the victim shall not be taken, but that of the priest, as representing God in this transaction; and, secondly, that its value shall in no case fall below a certain standard; for the plural expression, "by shekels," implies that the value of the ram shall not be less than two shekels. And the shekel must be of full weight; the standard of valuation must be God’s, and not man’s, "the shekel of the sanctuary."

Still more to emphasise the distinctive thought of this sacrifice, that full satisfaction and reparation for all offences is with God the universal and unalterable condition of forgiveness, it was further ordered that in all cases where the trespass was of such a character as made this possible, that which had been unjustly taken or kept back, whether from God or man, should be restored in full; and not only this, but inasmuch as by this misappropriation of what was not his own, the offender had for the time deprived another of the use and enjoyment of that which belonged to him, he must add to that of which he had defrauded him "the fifth part more," a double tithe. Thus the guilty person was not allowed to have gained even any temporary advantage from the use for a while of that which he now restored; for "the fifth part more" would presumably quite overbalance all conceivable advantage or enjoyment which he might have had from his fraud. How admirable in all this the exact justice of God! How perfectly adapted was the guilt offering, in all these particulars, to educate the conscience, and to preclude any possible wrong inferences from the allowance which was made, for other reasons, for the poor man, in the expiatory offerings for sin!

The arrangement of the law of the guilt offering is very simple. It is divided into two sections, the first of which {Leviticus 5:14-19} deals with cases of trespass "in the holy things of the Lord," things which, by the law or by an act of consecration, were regarded as belonging in a special sense to Jehovah; the second section, on the other hand, {Leviticus 6:1-7} deals with cases of trespass on the property rights of man.

The first of these, again, consists of two parts. Leviticus 5:14-16 give the law of the guilt offering as applied to cases in which a man, through inadvertence or unwittingly, trespasses in the holy things of the Lord, but in such manner that the nature and extent of the trespass can afterward be definitely known and valued; Leviticus 5:17-19 deal with cases where there has been trespass such as to burden the conscience, and yet such as, for whatsoever reason, cannot be precisely measured.

By "the holy things of the Lord" are intended such things as, either by universal ordinance or by voluntary consecration, were regarded as belonging to Jehovah, and in a special sense His property. Thus, under this head would come the case of the man who, for instance, should unwittingly eat the flesh of the firstling of his cattle, or the flesh of the sin offering, or the shew bread; or should use his tithe, or any part of it, for himself. Even though he did this unwittingly, yet it none the less disturbed the man’s relation to God; and therefore, when known, in order to his reinstatement in fellowship with God, it was necessary that he should make full restitution with a fifth part added, and besides this, sacrifice a ram, duly appraised, as a guilt offering. In that the sacrifice was prescribed over and above the restitution, the worshipper was reminded that, in view of the infinite majesty and holiness of God, it lies not in the power of any creature to nullify the wrong God-ward, even by fullest restitution. For trespass is not only trespass, but is also sin; an offence not only against the rights of Jehovah as Owner, but also an affront to Him as Supreme King and Lawgiver.

And yet, because the worshipper must not be allowed to lose sight of the fact that sin is of the nature of a debt, a victim was ordered which should especially bring to mind this aspect of the matter. For not only among the Hebrews, but among the Arabs, the Romans and other ancient peoples, sheep, and especially rams, were very commonly used as a medium of payment in case of debt, and especially in paying tribute.

Thus we read, {2 Kings 3:4} that Mesha, king of Moab, rendered unto the king of Israel "a hundred thousand lambs, and a hundred thousand rams, with the wool," in payment of tribute; and, at a later day, Isaiah {Isaiah 16:1, R.V} delivers to Moab the mandate of Jehovah: "Send ye the lambs for the ruler of the land unto the mount of the daughter of Zion."

And so the ram having been brought and presented by the guilty person, with confession of his fault, it was slain by the priest, like the sin offering. The blood, however, was not applied to the horns of the altar of burnt offering, still less brought into the Holy Place, as in the case of the sin offering; but {Leviticus 7:2} was to be sprinkled "upon the altar round about," as in the burnt offering. The reason of this difference in the application of the blood, as above remarked, lies in this, that, as in the burnt offering, the idea of sacrifice as symbolising expiation takes a place secondary and subordinate to another thought; in this case, the conception of sacrifice as representing satisfaction for trespass.

The next section (Leviticus 5:17-19) does not expressly mention sins of trespass; for which reason some have thought that it was essentially a repetition of the law of the sin offering. But that it is not to be so regarded is plain from the fact that the victim is still the same as for the guilt offering, and from the explicit statement (Leviticus 5:19) that this "is a guilt offering." The inference is natural that the prescription still has reference to "trespass in the holy things of the Lord"; and the class of cases intended is probably indicated by the phrase, "though he knew it not." In the former section, the law provided for cases in which though the trespass had been done unwittingly, yet the offender afterward came to know of the trespass in its precise extent, so as to give an exact basis for the restitution ordered in such cases. But it is quite supposable that there might be cases in which, although the offender was aware that there had been a probable trespass, such as to burden his conscience, he yet knew not just how much it was. The ordinance is only in so far modified as such a case would make necessary; where there was no exact knowledge of the amount of trespass, obviously there the law of restitution with the added fifth could not be applied. Yet, none the less, the man is guilty; he "bears his iniquity," that is, he is liable to the penalty of his fault; and in order to the reestablishment of his covenant relation with God, the ram must be offered as a guilt offering.

It is suggestive to observe the emphasis which is laid upon the necessity of the guilt offering, even in such cases. Three times, reference is explicitly made to this fact of ignorance, as not affecting the requirement of the guilt offering: (Leviticus 5:17) "Though he knew it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity"; and again (Leviticus 5:18), with special explicitness, "The priest shall make atonement for him concerning the thing wherein he erred unwittingly and knew it not"; and yet again (Leviticus 5:19), "It is a guilt offering: he is certainly guilty before the Lord." The repetition is an urgent reminder that in this case, as in all others, we are never to forget that however our ignorance of a trespass at the time, or even lack of definite knowledge regarding its nature and extent, may affect the degree of our guilt, it cannot affect the fact of our guilt, and the consequent necessity for satisfaction in order to acceptance with God.

The second section of the law of the guilt offering {Leviticus 6:1-7} deals with trespasses against man, as also, like trespasses against Jehovah, requiring, in order to forgiveness from God, full restitution with the added fifth, and the offering of the ram as a guilt offering. Five cases are named (Leviticus 6:2-3), no doubt as being common, typical examples of sins of this character.

The first case is trespass upon a neighbour’s rights in "a matter of deposit"; where a man has entrusted something to another to keep, and he has either sold it or unlawfully used it as if it were his own. The second case takes in all fraud in a "bargain," as when, for example, a man sells goods, or a piece of land, representing them to be better than they really are, or asking a price larger than he knows an article to be really worth. The third instance is called "robbery"; by which we are to understand any act or process, even though it should be under colour of legal forms, by means of which a man may manage unjustly to get possession of the property of his neighbour, without giving him due equivalent therefore. The fourth instance is called "oppression" of his neighbour. The English word contains the same image as the Hebrew word, which is used, for instance, of the unnecessary retention of the wages of the employee by the employer; {Leviticus 19:13} it may be applied to all cases in which a man takes advantage of another’s circumstances to extort from him any thing or any service to which he has no right, or to force upon him something which it is to the poor man’s disadvantage to take. The last example of offences to which the law of the guilt offering applied, is the case in which a man finds something and then denies it to the rightful owner. The reference to false swearing which follows, as appears from Leviticus 6:5, refers not merely to lying and perjury concerning this last-named case, but equally to all cases in which a man may lie or swear falsely to the pecuniary damage of his neighbour. It is mentioned not merely as aggravating such sin, but because in swearing touching any matter, a man appeals to God as witness to the truth of his words; so that by swearing in these cases he represents God as a party to his falsehood and injustice.

In all these cases, the prescription is the same as in analogous offences in the holy things of Jehovah. First of all, the guilty man must confess the wrong which he has done, {Numbers 5:7} then restitution must be made of all of which he has defrauded his neighbour, together with one-fifth additional. But while this may set him right with man, it has not yet set him right with God. He must bring his guilt offering unto Jehovah (Leviticus 6:6-7); "a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to the priest’s estimation, for a guilt offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven: concerning whatsoever he doeth so as to be guilty thereby."

And this completes the law of the guilt offering. It was thus prescribed for sins which involve a defrauding or injuring of another in respect to material things, whether God or man, whether knowingly or unwittingly. The law was one and unalterable for all; the condition of pardon was plenary restitution for the wrong done, and the offering of a costly sacrifice, appraised as such by the priest, the earthly representative of God, in the shekel of the sanctuary, "a ram without blemish out of the flock."

There are lessons from this ordinance, so plain that, even in the dim light of those ancient days, the Israelite might discern and understand them. And they are lessons which, because man and his ways are the same as then, and God the same as then, are no less pertinent to all of us today.

Thus we are taught by this law that God claims from man, and especially from His own people, certain rights of property, of which He will not allow Himself to be defrauded, even through man’s forgetfulness or inadvertence. In a later day Israel was sternly reminded of this in the burning words of Jehovah by the prophet Malachi: {Malachi 3:8-9} "Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with the curse: for ye rob me, even this whole nation." Nor has God relaxed His claim in the present dispensation. For the Apostle Paul charges the Corinthian Christians. {2 Corinthians 8:7} in the name of the Lord, with regard to their gifts, that as they abounded in other graces, so they should "abound in this grace also." And this is the first lesson brought before us in the law of the guilt offering. God claims His tithe, His first fruit, and the fulfilment of all vows. It was a lesson for that time; it is no less a lesson for our time.

And the guilt offering further reminds us that as God has rights, so man also has rights, and that Jehovah, as the King and Judge of men, will exact the satisfaction of those rights, and will pass over no injury done by man to his neighbour in material things, nor forgive it unto any man, except upon condition of the most ample material restitution to the injured party.

Then, yet again, if the sin offering called especially for faith in an expiatory sacrifice as the condition of the Divine forgiveness, the guilt offering as specifically called also for repentance, as a condition of pardon, no less essential. Its unambiguous message to every Israelite was the same as that of John the Baptist at a later day: {Matthew 3:8-9} "Bring forth fruit worthy of repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father."

The reminder is as much needed now as in the days of Moses. How specific and practical the selection of the particular instances mentioned as cases for the application of the inexorable law of the guilt offering! Let us note them again, for they are not cases peculiar to Israel or to the fifteenth century before Christ. "If anyone deal falsely with his neighbour in a matter of deposit"; as, e.g., in the case of moneys entrusted to a bank or railway company, or other corporation; for there is no hint that the law did not apply except to individuals, or that a man might be released from these stringent obligations of righteousness whenever in some such evil business he was associated with others; the guilt offering must be forthcoming, with the amplest restitution, or there is no pardon. Then false dealing in a "bargain" is named, as involving the same requirement; as when a man prides himself on driving "a good bargain," by getting something unfairly for less than its value, taking advantage of his neighbour’s straits; or by selling something for more than its value, taking advantage of his neighbour’s ignorance, or his necessity. Then is mentioned "robbery"; by which word is covered not merely that which goes by the name in polite circles, but all cases in which a man takes advantage of his neighbour’s distress or helplessness, perhaps by means of some technicality of law, to "strip" him, as the Hebrew word is, of his property of any kind. And next is specified the man who may "have oppressed his neighbour," especially a man or woman who serves him, as the usage of the word suggests; grinding thus the face of the poor; paying, for instance, less for labour than the law of righteousness and love demands, because the poor man must have work or starve with his house. What sweeping specifications! And all such in all lands and all ages, are solemnly reminded in the law of the guilt offering that in these their sharp practices they have to reckon not with man merely, but with God; and that it is utterly vain for a man to hope for the forgiveness of sin from God, offering or no offering, so long as he has in his pocket his neighbour’s money. For all such, full restoration with the added fifth, according to the law of the theocratic kingdom, was the unalterable condition of the Divine forgiveness; and we shall find that this law of the theocratic kingdom will also be the law applied in the adjudications of the great white throne.

Furthermore, in that it was particularly enjoined that in the estimation of the value of the guilt offering, not the shekel of the people, often of light weight, but the full weight shekel of the sanctuary was to be held the invariable standard; we, who are so apt to ease things to our consciences by applying to our conduct the principles of judgment current among men, are plainly taught that if we will have our trespasses forgiven, the reparation and restitution which we make must be measured, not by the standard of men, but by that of God, which is absolute righteousness.

Yet again, in that in the case of all such trespasses on the rights of God or man it was ordained that the offering, unlike other sacrifices intended to teach other lessons, should be one and the same, whether the offender were rich or poor; we are taught that the extent of our moral obligations or the conditions of their equitable discharge are not determined by a regard to our present ability to make them good. Debt is debt by whomsoever owed. If a man have appropriated a hundred pounds of another man’s money, the moral obligation of that debt cannot be abrogated by a bankrupt law, allowing him to compromise at ten shillings in the pound. The law of man may indeed release him from liability to prosecution, but no law can discharge such a man from the unalterable obligation to pay penny for penny, farthing for farthing. There is no bankrupt law in the kingdom of God. This, too, is evidently a lesson quite as much needed by Gentiles and nominal Christians in the nineteenth century after Christ, as by Hebrews in the fifteenth century before Christ.

But the spiritual teaching of the guilt offering is not yet exhausted. For, like all the other offerings, it pointed to Christ. He is "the end of the law unto righteousness," {Romans 10:4} as regards the guilt offering, as in all else. As the burnt offering prefigured Christ the heavenly Victim, in one aspect, and the peace offering, Christ in another aspect, so the guilt offering presents to our adoring contemplation yet another view of His sacrificial work. While, as our burnt offering, He became our righteousness in full self-consecration; as our peace offering, our life; as our sin offering, the expiation for our sins; so, as our guilt offering, He made satisfaction and plenary reparation in our behalf to the God on whose inalienable rights in us, by our sins we had trespassed without measure.

Nor is this an over refinement of exposition. For in Isaiah 53:10, where both the Authorised and the Revised Versions read, "shall make his soul an offering for sin, " the margin of the latter rightly calls attention to the fact that in the Hebrew the word here used is the very same which through all this Levitical law is rendered "guilt offering." And so we are expressly told by this evangelic prophet, that the Holy Servant of Jehovah, the suffering Messiah, in this His sacrificial work should make His soul "a guilt offering." He became Himself the complete and exhaustive realisation of all that in sacrifice which was set forth in the Levitical guilt offering.

A declaration this is which holds forth both the sin for which Christ atoned, and the Sacrifice itself, in a very distinct and peculiar light. In that Christ’s sacrifice was thus a guilt offering in the sense of the law, we are taught that, in one aspect, our sins are regarded by God, and should therefore be regarded by us, as debts which are due from us to God. This is, indeed, by no means the only aspect in which sin should be regarded; it is, for example, rebellion, high treason, a deadly affront to the Supreme Majesty, which must be expiated with the blood of the sin offering. But our sins are also of the nature of debts. That is, God has claims on us for service which we have never met; claims for a portion of our substance which we have often withheld, or given grudgingly, trespassing thus in "the holy things of the Lord." Just as the servant who is set to do his master’s work, if, instead, he take that time to do his own work, is debtor to the full value of the service of which his master is thus defrauded, so stands the case between the sinner and God. Just as with the agent who fails to make due returns to his principal on the moneys committed to him for investment, using them instead for himself, so stands the case between God and the sinner who has used his talents, not for the Lord, but for himself, or has kept them laid up, unused, in a napkin. Thus, in the New Testament, as the correlate of this representation of Christ as a guilt offering; we find sin again and again set forth as a debt which is owed from man to God. So, in the Lord’s prayer we are taught to pray, "Forgive us our debts; so, twice the Lord Himself in His parables" {Matthew 18:23-35 Luke 7:41-42} set forth the relation of the sinner to God as that of the debtor to the creditor; and concerning those on whom the tower of Siloam fell, asks, {Luke 13:4} "Think ye that they were sinners (Greek ‘debtors,’) above all that dwelt in Jerusalem?" Indeed so imbedded is this thought in the conscience of man that it has been crystallised in our word "ought," which is but the old preterite of "owe"; as in Tyndale’s New Testament, where we read, {Luke 7:41} "there was a certain lender, which ought him five hundred pence." What a startling conception is this, which forms the background to the great "guilt offering"! Man a debtor to God! a debtor for service each day due, but no day ever fully and perfectly rendered! in gratitude for gifts, too often quite forgotten, oftener only paid in scanty part! We are often burdened and troubled greatly about our debts to men; shall we not be concerned about the enormous and ever accumulating debt to God! Or is He an easy creditor, who is indifferent whether these debts of ours be met or not? So think multitudes; but this is not the representation of Scripture, either in the Old or the New Testament. For in the law it was required, that if a man, guilty of any of these offences for the forgiveness of which the guilt offering was prescribed, failed to confess and bring the offering, and make the restitution with the added fifth, as commanded by the law, he should be brought before the judges, and the full penalty of law exacted, on the principle of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth!" And in the New Testament, one of those solemn parables of the two debtors closes with the awful words concerning one of them who was "delivered to the tormentors," that he should not come out of prison till he had "paid the uttermost farthing." Not a hint is there in Holy Scripture, of forgiveness of our debts to God, except upon the one condition of full restitution made to Him to whom the debt is due, and therewith the sacrificial blood of a guilt offering. But Christ is our Guilt offering.

He is our Guilt offering, in that He Himself did that, really and fully, with respect to all our debts as sinful men to God, which the guilt offering of Leviticus symbolised, but accomplished not. His soul He made a guilt offering for our trespasses! Isaiah’s words imply that He should make full restitution for all that of which we, as sinners, defraud God. He did this by that perfect and incomparable service of lowly obedience such as we should render, but have never rendered; in which He has made full satisfaction to God for all our innumerable debts. He has made such satisfaction, not by a convenient legal fiction, or in a rhetorical figure, or as judged by any human standard. Even as the ram of the guilt offering was appraised according to "the shekel of the sanctuary," so upon our Lord, at the beginning of that life of sacrificial service, was solemnly passed the Divine verdict that with this antitypical Victim of the Guilt offering, God Himself was "well pleased". {Matthew 3:17} Not only so. For we cannot forget that according to the law, not only the full restitution must be made, but the fifth must be added thereto. So with our Lord. For who will not confess that Christ not only did all that we should have done, but, in the ineffable depth of His self-humiliation and obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, paid therewith the added fifth of the law. Said a Jewish Rabbi to the writer, "I have never been able to finish reading in the Gospel the story of the Jesus of Nazareth; for it too soon brings the tears to my eyes!" So affecting even to Jewish unbelief was this unparalleled spectacle, the adorable Son of God making Himself a guilt offering, and paying, in the incomparable perfection of His holy obedience, the added fifth in our behalf! Thus has Christ "magnified this law" of the guilt offering, and "made it honourable," even as He did all law. {Isaiah 42:21}

And, as is intimated, by the formal valuation of the sacrificial ram, in the type, even the death of Christ as the guilt offering, in one aspect is to be regarded as the consummating act of service in the payment of debts Godward. Just as the sin offering represented His death in its passive aspect, as meeting the demands of justice against the sinner as a rebel under sentence of death, by dying in his stead, so, on the other hand, the guilt offering represents that same sacrificial death, rather in another aspect, no less clearly set forth in the New Testament; namely, the supreme act of obedience to the will of God, whereby He discharged "to the uttermost farthing," even with the added fifth of the law, all the transcendent debt of service due from man to God.

This representation of Christ’s work has in all ages been an offence, "the offence of the cross." All the more need we to insist upon it, and never to forget, or let others forget, that Christ is expressly declared in the Word of God to have been "a guilt offering," in the Levitical sense of that term; that, therefore, to speak of His death as effecting our salvation merely through its moral influence, is to contradict and nullify the Word of God. Well may we set this word in Isaiah 53:10, concerning the Servant of Jehovah, against all modern Unitarian theology, and against all Socinianising teaching; all that would maintain any view of Christ’s death which excludes or ignores the divinely revealed fact that it was in its essential nature a guilt offering; and, because a guilt offering, therefore of the nature of the payment of a debt in behalf of those for whom He suffered.

Most blessed truth this, for all who can receive it! Christ, the Son of God, our Guilt offering! Like the poor Israelite, who had defrauded God of that which was His due, so must we do; coming before God, confessing that wherein we have wronged Him, and bringing forth fruit meet for repentance, we must bring and plead Christ in the glory of His person, in all the perfection of His holy obedience, as our Guilt offering. And therewith the ancient promise to the penitent Israelite becomes ours, {Leviticus 6:7} "The priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven; concerning whatsoever he doeth so as to be guilty thereby."


Verse 8-9

Leviticus 6:8-9

The law of the burnt-offering.

The law of the burnt-offering

The Holy One speaks again from the Holy Place. He now tells some of the more awful thoughts of His soul. His words reveal views of sin and righteousness that appear overwhelmingly awful to men. His eternal justice, flaming forth against all iniquity, is declared to Israel in the fire of the altar. This fire is never to be extinguished; “for every one of His righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalms 119:160). It burns all night long--an emblem of the sleeplessness of hell, where “they have no rest, day nor night”--and of the ever-watchful eye of righteousness that looks down on this earth. Perhaps it was intended to exhibit two things:

1. “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever,” &c. (Revelation 14:10, compared with verse 18). The whole camp saw this fire burning in the open court all night long. “So shall you perish,” might an Israelitish father say to his children, taking them to his tent door, and pointing them, in the gloom and silence of night, to the altar, “So shall you perish, and be for ever in the flames, unless you repent! “

2. It exhibited, also, the way of escape. See, there is a victim on the altar, on which these flames feed! Here is Christ in our room. His suffering, seen and accepted by the Father, was held forth continually to the faith of Israel, night and day. And upon that type, the pledge and token of the real sacrifice, did the eye of the Father delight to rest night and day. It pleased Him well to see His justice and His love thus met together there. And the man of Israel, who understood the type, slept in peace, sustained by this truth which the struggling rays from the altar gleamed into his tent. (A. A. Bonar.)


Verses 8-13

THE CONTINUAL BURNT OFFERING

Leviticus 6:8-13

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: the burnt offering shall be on the hearth, upon the altar all night unto the morning; and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning thereon. And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh; and he shall take up the ashes whereto the fire hath consumed the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be kept burning thereon, it shall not go out; and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning: and he shall lay the burnt offering in order upon it, and shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. Fire shall be kept burning upon the altar continually; it shall not go out."

Leviticus 6:8-13 we have a "law of the burnt offering" specially addressed to "Aaron and his sons," and designed to secure that the fire of the burnt offering should be continually ascending unto God. In chapter 1 we have the law regarding burnt offerings brought by the individual Israelite. But besides these it was ordered, Exodus 29:38-46, that every morning and evening the priest should offer a lamb as a burnt offering for the whole people, -an offering which primarily symbolised the constant renewal of Israel’s consecration as "a kingdom of priests" unto the Lord. It is to this, the daily burnt offering, that this supplementary law of chapter 6 refers. All the regulations are intended to provide for the uninterrupted maintenance of this sacrificial fire: first, by the regular removal of the ashes which would else cover and smother the fire; and, secondly, by the supply of fuel. The removal of the ashes from the fire is a priestly function; hence it was ordained that the priest for this service put on his robes of office, "his linen garment and his linen breeches," and then take up the ashes from the altar, and lay them by the side of the altar. But as from time to time it would be necessary to remove them from this place quite without the tent, it was ordered that he should carry them forth "without the camp unto a clean place," that the sanctity of all connected with Jehovah’s worship might never be lost sight of; though, as it was forbidden to wear the priestly garments except within the tent of meeting, the priest, when this service was performed, must "put on other garments," his ordinary, unofficial robes. The ashes being thus removed from the altar each morning, then the wood was put on, and the parts of the lamb laid in order upon it to be perfectly consumed. And whenever during the day anyone might bring a peace offering unto the Lord, on this ever-burning fire the priest was to place also the fat, the richest part, of the offering, and with it also the various individual burnt offerings and meal offerings of each day. And thus it was arranged by the law that, all day long, and all night long, the smoke of the burnt offering should be continually ascending unto the Lord.

The significance of this can hardly be missed. By this supplemental law which thus provided for "a continual burnt offering" to the Lord, it was first of all signified to Israel, and to us, that the consecration which the Lord so desires and requires from His people is not occasional, but continuous. As the priest, representing the nation, morning by morning cleared away the ashes which had else covered the flame and caused it to burn dull, and both morning by morning and evening by evening, laid a new victim on the altar, so will God have us do. Our self-consecration is not to be occasional, but continual and habitual. Each morning we should imitate the priest of old, in putting away all that might dull the flame of our devotion, and, morning by morning, when we arise, and evening by evening, when we retire, by a solemn act of self-consecration give ourselves anew unto the Lord. So shall the word in substance, thrice repeated, be fulfilled in us in its deepest, truest sense: "The fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually: it shall not go out" (Leviticus 6:9, Leviticus 6:12-13).

But we must not forget that in this part of the law, as in all else, we are pointed to Christ. This ordinance of the continual burnt offering reminds us that Christ, as our burnt offering, continually offers Himself to God in self-consecration in our behalf. Very significant it is that the burnt offering stands in contrast in this respect with the sin offering. We never read of a continual sin offering; even the great annual sin offering of the day of atonement, which, like the daily burnt offering, had reference to the nation at large, was soon finished, and once for all. And it was so with reason; for in the nature of the case, our Lord’s offering of Himself for sin as an expiatory sacrifice was not and could not be a continuous act. But with His presentation of Himself unto God in full consecration of His person as our Burnt offering, it is different. Throughout the days of His humiliation this self offering of Himself to God continued; nor, indeed, can we say that it has yet ceased, or ever can cease. For still, as the High Priest of the heavenly sanctuary, He continually offers Himself as our Burnt offering in constantly renewed and constantly continued devotement of Himself to the Father to do His will.

In this ordinance of the daily burnt offering, ever ascending in the fire that never went out, the idea of the burnt sacrifice reaches its fullest expression, the type its most perfect development. And thus the law of the burnt offering leaves us in the presence of this holy vision: the greater than Aaron, in the heavenly place as our great Representative and Mediator, morning by morning, evening by evening, offering Himself unto the Father in the full self-devotement of His risen life unto God, as our "continual burnt offering." In this, let us rejoice and be at peace.


Verses 10-12

Leviticus 6:10-12

The priest shall put on his linen garment.

Sacred attire

I. In holy attire they serve at the altar.

1. Suggestive of the essential holiness of Christ.

2. Symbolic of their derived purity and righteousness.

3. Indicative of the spirit of service.

II. In altered garments they bear the ashes from the sanctuary.

1. The changed tone of feeling in the ministrant.

2. The altered scenes which a Christian frequents. (W. H. Jellie.)

The priest’s garments

The linen garment is the type of purity, as we see in the Book of Revelation 19:8. The priest is the emblem of the Redeemer in his perfect purity coming to the work of atonement. The word for garment means a suit of clothes. It takes in the linen breeches, as well as all the other parts of the priest’s dress. His whole suit is to be the garb of purity. It is not glory; these ale not the “golden garments.” It is holy humanity; it is Jesus in humiliation, but without one stain of sin. There is a special reason for the direction as to the linen breeches. It is meant to denote the completeness of the purity that clothes him; it clothes him to his very skin, and “covers the flesh of his nakedness” (Exodus 28:42). It was not only our unrighteousness and our corrupt nature that Jesus was free from, but also from that other part of our original sin which consists in the imputed guilt of Adam. Tile linen breeches that “covered the nakedness” of the priest, lead us back at once to our first parents’ sin, when they were naked and ashamed in the garden, after the Fall. Here we see this sin also covered. (A. A. Bonar.)

Take up the ashes.

“He shall take up the ashes which the fire has consumed”

By the figure which grammarians call ellipsis, or breviloquence, “ashes” is used for the material out of which ashes came, as Isaiah 47:2, speaks of grinding “meal” (Ainsworth). The wood was underneath the burnt-offering. This being done, the ashes were to be placed by themselves, for a little time, “beside the altar.” All eyes would thus see them and take notice of them, before they were carried out into a clean place. Probably there were two reasons for this action.

1. The fire was thus kept clear and bright, the ashes being removed. God thereby taught them that He was not careless as to this matter, but required that the type of His justice should be kept full and unobscured.

2. The ashes were shown for the purpose of making it manifest that the flame had not spared the victim, but had turned it into ashes. It was not a mere threatening when the angels foretold that Sodom and Gomorrah were to be destroyed for their sin; their doom (2 Peter 2:6) is declared to have come on them, “turning them to ashes.” So here, all that was threatened is fulfilled. There the ashes lie; any eye may see them. The vengeance has been accomplished! The sacrifice is turned into ashes! Justice has found its object! The Lord’s arrows are not pointless; He performs all His threatenings, for He is holy. “O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto Thee? or to Thy faithfulness round about Thee?” (A. A. Bonar.)

Burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt-offering in order upon it.--

The daily sacrifice

By no Levitical rite or service was Christ, as “the Lamb of God,” more perfectly typified, than by the daily sacrifice. It significantly prefigured Him in His death, the satisfaction He yielded to the Father, and His intercession in behalf of men. It is Christ, then, that we have here; and--

I. In the perfectness of his character. The lamb was without spot; and He was without blemish. And this is what He needed to be. And yet He was more. He was marked not only for the absence of all defect, but for the presence of every excellence. He was absolutely and universally perfect. This was the case with the affections He cherished, the dispositions He cultivated, and the virtues He practised. Only what is perfect can satisfy an infinitely perfect God. All, therefore, that is defective and unholy is forbidden a place on His altar. God’s requirement extends to what is internal as well as to what is external. He demands “truth in the inward parts” as well as integrity in the outward life. The demand was fully met by Jesus. But what God required in the offering, He required also in those for whom it was presented. Only as we are personally what God requires, in righteousness of walk before Him, can we occupy the position to which we are invited, appreciate and enjoy the blessings of salvation, and fulfil the purposes of our high calling. But we may be that; provision for our being so has been made. Strengthened, therefore, with might by the Spirit in the inner man, there is no duty that we may not fulfil, and no appropriation of offered blessing that we may not make. Bus God not only strengthens for service; He Himself works in us, and for us, and by us--leading us to will and to do according to His good pleasure.

II. We have Christ here in his completeness of dedication to the father and to men. The lambs were, with the exception of the skin, wholly consumed by the fire; and Christ gave Himself to God for us. The primary object of His incarnation and mission to earth was--to glorify the Father. The path might be rugged, but leading to the glory of the Father, He cheerfully trod it; the Cross might be ignominious, but ensuring the glory of the Father, He gave Himself up to it. He made of Himself a whole burnt-offering to God. But it was a twofold gift He made of Himself when He laid Himself upon the altar. “He gave Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour (Ephesians 5:2). He loved me, and gave Himself for me.” One of the purposes for which He became our substitute, delivered us from the dominion of evil, and endued us with Divine strength, was, that we might walk in His steps, and, in our measure, yield ourselves to God as He did. But is this being done? It is on record that, during the late civil war in America, and when victory was swaying from side to side, that commissioners from the Confederate States sought and obtained an interview with President Lincoln, with the view of trying to effect an arrangement for the independence of the territory they represented. They knew the tender-heartedness of Mr. Lincoln, and appealed to him to stay the effusion of blood which, at the moment, was flowing in torrents. They were willing to for go several of the States for which they had hitherto fought, if he would consent to the remainder being independent. They pleaded with him for hours, and made use of the strongest arguments and considerations they could adduce to gain their object. When they had finished, the president, who had patiently listened to all that had been said, raised his hand, and then bringing it down with emphasis on the map which lay before him, replied, “Gentlemen, this Government must have the whole.” And so God says, regarding the inner kingdom of every human heart. He will allow no partition or division there. The whole is His by right, and He will suffer no one to share with Him the throne He has erected for His own occupancy.

III. By the daily burnt-offering we are minded of Christ’s acceptableness to the father. The lamb was an offering of a sweet savour unto God, in which He had delight, and from which He derived satisfaction. And He was ever pleased with Christ. But is this remembered as it should be? Christ is much more thought of as providing for men’s necessities than for God’s requirements; as appeasing justice than as giving delight to Him from whom He came; as ministering peace to the troubled than as satisfying the Father’s heart. But what Christ was to God, believers are intended to be, in their measure, also. Is this now, to any extent, the case? Has God satisfaction in all who call themselves by the name of His Son? Has He joy in that which you lay upon His altar, in the services that you fulfil, and in the measure of resemblance which you bear to His Beloved? Then Christ is brought before us here in the position He ever occupies on our behalf. A lamb was always before God, and Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us. Now, where Christ is in reference to the Father He ought to be in reference to all who bear His name. Only as this is the case, as He is ever before you, occupying the vision of your faith, filling the sphere of your life, and engaging your feelings and thoughts, will you become assimilated to His likeness and meet for His presence and glory above. (James Fleming, D. D.)


Verse 13

Leviticus 6:13

The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar.

Divine fire humanly maintained

I. Divine endowments committed to the control of men. As in the instances of that “fire,” supernaturally originated on that altar, and then left in man’s hands, so with--

1. Pure sympathies implanted within man.

2. Revelation in the Scriptures.

3. Quickened life in the regenerated soul.

4. Spiritual endowments to the believer.

5. Sacred affections in the Christian heart.

6. Holy enthusiasm firing an earnest nature. From God they come: but man has them in his hands.

II. Divine endowments entrusted to the preservation of men. The priests had to keep that “fire” alive, or it would expire.

1. Having received the gifts of God we are responsible for their maintenance.

2. How solemn the priestly office, which all are called to perform: feeding the Divine “fire” in our souls continually!

III. Divine endowments requiring the co-operative watchfulness of men. The priest’s eye would need to be often turned to the altar fire: “every morning” it needed care.

1. A watchful life is imperative if we would maintain godliness within.

2. Neglect will allow the extinction of the Divinest gift. Only neglect--

IV. Divine endowments enduring only where actively maintained. That fire did expire! At the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar.

1. May the Divine life m a soul go out?

2. May the Christian’s “first love” become extinct?

3. May the holy aspirations of a child of God droop?

4. May all sacred ardour, in prayer, in consecration, die away?

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” “See that ye make your calling and election sure.” (W. H. Jellie.)

The fire upon the altar

“The fire shall ever be burning.” I take the words as typical of our common life, and its common duties and opportunities. It is only a shallow mind that can think without being awed of the privilege or the responsibility which belongs to us as custodians of a light that may be dimned or desecrated in our keeping, but cannot die; so much stronger is it and more enduring than ourselves. Yet the words suggest, too, that if our life be as the fire, it must be as the fire in its intensity and purity. It is not worth having if it is dull and cold and heartless, if it is not enkindled with zeal and generosity.

I. The fire of enthusiasm. It was said of Sir Walter Raleigh, “He can toil terribly”; and I think, if the great souls of the past could speak to you in tones that would command your interest, they would say that whatever good they did upon earth was achieved at the cost of strong resolve and strenuous effort.

II. The fire of indignation. It is not enough, right as it is, to love what is good. We must hate, we must spurn the evil. The wicked are always a discredited minority; and if the good had only the courage of their opinions, the wicked would never have the courage of theirs.

III. The fire of personal sanctity. The flame which consumes the dross of the world must itself be bright and beautiful. It must be “a burning and a shining light.” Yes, and it must be “ever burning”; it must “never go out.” It was the law of the Vestal Virgins in old time that night and day they should watch with sleepless care the everlasting fire upon the altar of the goddess. No calamity that could happen to the State was so terrible as if through their fault that fire should become extinct. But there was one essential condition of their watching: they must themselves be chaste; should any one of them break the Divine law of chastity, it was death for her and for him who made her break it. And oh! let us resolve that “the fire shall ever be burning upon the altar” of this school, which is so dear to us. Let it be bright, fierce, and lambent. Let it burn away the selfishness which lies at the heart of so many an one who knows it not. (J. E. C. Welldon, M. A.)

Habitual piety

I. Piety must be habitual to prove that it is real.

1. Whatever is chief in the heart will be ever showing itself in the life.

2. We shall thus surely and thus only verify and carry out the Scripture descriptions of godliness.

II. Piety must be habitual in order to be progressive.

1. The attainment of holy character is by degrees.

2. These advances can only be attained by constant well-doing.

III. Piety must be habitual in order to be useful.

1. If there be inconsistency or fitfulness, a painful sense of insincerity will he felt by those to whom the truth may be addressed.

2. With habitual piety, how much greater weight, pathos, and earnestness will there be.

3. An unconscious yet speaking power is in such godliness.

IV. Habitual piety gives dignity and elevation to the whole of life. It was a noble testimony that the son of J. A. James bore of his father: “I never found in him anything inconsistent or unworthy.” What a wreath to lay on that honoured tomb! Conclusion: See to it that the fire be ever burning. What Christian workers should we have then-lips touched with a live coal, because the heart is glowing with the sacred flame. What Churches should we have then--not formal and languishing, but strong in godliness and increasing in numbers. What households should we have then-where the younger members would prove their appreciation of devout sincerity and the attractiveness of lofty example. Individual influence would be benign as that of the Australian tree which destroys infection, and breathes health around; and the whole spiritual scene would be beautiful and fragrant, as “a field that the Lord hath blessed.” Cherish the sacred fire, if it is within. As the Parsees with the precious sandalwood keep alive the ever-burning flame in their temples, so with precious passages of Divine truth and prayer seek to keep alive and vigorous the name of love. (G. McMichael, B. A.)

The altar fire a symbol of regenerating grace

1. In its source or origin.

2. In its tendency.

3. In its nature and properties.

4. In its permanency.

5. In its perpetuity.

Lesson: Be diligent in the use of the means of grace--

1. Prayer: secret, family, social.

2. Study of Bible.

3. Meditation.

4. Attendance on the ordinances. (G. F. Love.)

Fuel for heart flames

“I’ll master it,” said the axe, and the blows fell heavily on the iron; but every blow made his edge more blunt, till he ceased to strike. “Leave it to me,” said the saw, and with relentless teeth he worked backward and forward on its surface until they were all worn down or broken; then he fell aside. “Ha! ha!” said the hammer, “I knew you would not succeed; I’ll show you the way.” But at his first stroke off flew his head, and the iron remained as before. “Shall I try?” said a flame of fire. They all despised the flame, but he curled gently round the solid bar, and embraced it, and never left it, until, under his irresistible influence, it was so melted as to take the form of any mould you please. If hard hearts are to be won for Jesus, they must be melted, not hammered. No power has been found so effective as love for taking self-trust and self-righteousness out of men.

I. Let us seek to fan the flame. Of the Baptist our Lord said, “he was a burning and a shining light.” Blessed eulogy! may it be earned by each one of us. “Burning and shining”--our very ideal of a minister; a hot heart with a clear head; impetuosity and prudence blended; zeal and knowledge linked in holy wedlock. The motto on David Brainerd’s banner, and the prayer in his heart, ever was, “Oh, that I were a flaming fire in the service of my God.” We have as our model Him who could say, “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up”; and while we profess to be His followers, we dare not rest satisfied with the “icy torpor” and “decorous coldness” which are, alas! the usual temperature of too many professors. We do not wish to be for ever praying for the smouldering embers to be blown into a flame, for we covet a steady furnace heat, and no mere fitful zeal, which, like the fire from the horse’s hoof, dies in the moment of its birth. Most of us know the sad experience of preaching with the fire burning only amid grey ashes. We cannot expect much blessing while this is the case. If the gospel is to have a mighty effect upon the congregation, it must pass through the fire of an intense spiritual life in the preacher; and this life we feel we must have. And what a boon will it be to us also! What purifying force there is in consuming zeal and passionate love of souls I How it burns up all unworthy and selfish motives! This holy fire has also an educating force; by it the soul is transfigured, and made to enjoy a grand outlook. It awakens the intellect as nothing else can; it quickens the sensibilities of inferior minds, and makes them capable of achievements which, without it, they would never have dreamed of. John Howard had no commanding intellect, but what he had was illuminated with Divine light, and thus his name became immortal. Thomas Chalmers had always an intellect so commanding as to grasp a planet in its span; but it needed the grace of God to so illuminate the mind of Chalmers that he could write his astronomical discourses, and grasp, not a planet merely, but myriads of worlds as a boy handles his marbles, and move “like a strong swimmer in a stormy sea.” Divine fire in the soul kindles a light in the intellect, elevates every natural faculty, and makes it a handmaid to the Spirit of God; it burns every bond that Lies the tongue, and makes men orators who else were dumb. This, too, will give us the most attractive characters. It is said that the slopes of a volcano supply soil so fruitful that the richest vines flourish best upon them; when the heart is full of holy fire the life is sure to be adorned with the rich graces of the Spirit, productive of that fruit which glorifies our Father in heaven. And yet to have the heart throb with a might pulse of love--to have a holy passion thrilling and burning in every artery and vein will, in all probability, involve much trial. Every cherished idol of the heart must submit to the action of this fire. It will consume all that is consumable. Upon sin in the soul it will have no mercy. It will probably involve, too, the scorn of some whose friendship we fain would cultivate.

II. Let us now gather a few materials to feed it. Scientific men are asking, “What is to be the fuel for coming ages?” “What will our great-great-great-grandchildren sit around instead of our household fire?” One authority suggests as a source of heat, when coal is exhausted, the beating of the tidal wave on the shore. Happily the Christian Church need not trouble herself with any conjectures as to the fuel which is to feed her fires. The light and love invested in the covenant of graces ages back will never be exhausted until every elect soul glows with love to God, and every redeemed wanderer is lighted back to his Father’s home. Does not even Nature speak to us upon this mailer of earnestness in our Master’s work? The sun is earnest: in his path he never lingers, in his course he never halts: the stars never falter in their race, never swerve from their round; the Sea is constant in its ebb and flow, unchanging in eternal change. All Nature says, “The King’s business requires haste”; and the man who is not in earnest when about “the King’s business” is out of gear with the universe, and is a blot in the creation of God. Our age speaks to us, we live in the cumulated light of succeeding ages. Our age, too, is telling upon ages yet to be--nay, upon eternity itself. Is there not inspiration, too, in the memory of our early vows? If we would be full of Divine energy, let us labour after a strong sense of the love of God in Christ. All the love of eternity meets here as in a focus, and if we only seek full and deep communion with it our lives will not lack the holy fire. There is one other thought which ought ever to arouse our spirits and inspire our hearts with zeal and courage in our holy warfare. We are on the winning side. Victory is surely ours. (W. Williams.)

The fire upon the altar

The term “fire” in Scripture language is commonly employed to express the judgment, f God upon sin (Hebrews 12:29; Psalms 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12., &c.); and accordingly, when the Jewish worshipper (the veil being off his heart) contemplated the altar’s heaven-kindled flame, and bore in mind the Divine edict for its preservation, he was given to understand that the judgment of God was held in abeyance, that the Divine arrangements for turning aside that judgment from the contrite sinner though revealed to hope, were not consummated in fact, and, that as the fire, day by day, swallowed victim after victim, and burned still as fierce as ever, that victim had not yet been laid thereon whose blood should quench in mercy the fire maintained in justice. Well--“God is the Lord who hath showed us light; bind the sacrifice with cords, even to the horns of the altar”--the victim has been found and accepted; “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter”; His blood is “shed for many for the remission of sins,” and the fire is gone out--God Himself hath “put it out”: “for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified,” and, “through the offering of the body of Christ once for all,” mercy and truth, righteousness and peace have met together, and like the wings of the mystic cherubim, they shadow the mercy-seat of God--the throne of Divine grace. Well, the fire is “gone out”--God Himself hath “put it out,” but in so doing He hath kindled another. Accordingly, when the fire of Divine justice died away in the offering up of Christ, the flame of Divine love shot upwards upon the altar-hearts of the Lord’s redeemed; it was and is kindled from above, for love begets love, and “we love Him because He first loved us.” This is the heavenly fire which kindles upon the altar of the heart, the sacrifice of the affections; it is the fruit of satisfied justice; it is the movement of Divine mercy, besprinkling the soul with the all-awakening, all-cleansing blood of Jesus, producing a responsive movement of the soul to God, by the drawings of the Spirit of grace, and lighting up a flame in its Divinely occupied recesses, not to be extinguished by the deepest waters of trial. “It shall never go out.”

1. In time of trial and affliction it shall not go out; for “in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His Tabernacle shall He hide me.”

2. In seasons of spiritual depression it shall not go out; “O my God, my soul is cast down within me,” &c.

3. In the hour of temptation it shall not go out; “for God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

4. When life, too, is waning, and the night of death is setting in, and the blighting chill is paralysing the frame as it enters the deep and dark river, it shall not go out; for “love is strong as death”; and “many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.” (H. Hardy, M. A.)

The continual burnt-offering

This ordinance reminds us that Christ, as our Burnt-offering, continually offers Himself to God in self-consecration in our behalf. Very significant it is that the burnt-offering stands in contrast in this respect with the sin-offering. We never read of a continual sin-offering; even the great annual sin-offering of the Day of Atonement, which, like the daily burnt-offering, had reference to the nation at large, was soon finished, and once for all. And it was so with reason; for in the nature of the case, our Lord’s offering of Himself for sin as an expiatory sacrifice was not and could not be a continuous act. But with His presentation of Himself unto God in full consecration of His person as our Burnt-offering it is different. Throughout the days of His humiliation, this self-offering of Himself to God continued; nor, indeed, can we say it has yet ceased, or ever can cease. For still, as the High Priest of the heavenly Sanctuary, He continually offers Himself as our Burnt-offering in constantly renewed and constantly continued devotement of Himself to the Father to do His will. (S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)

The continual burning

Suppose the sin should cease, would the fire then be put out? Certainly not. The fire has a double significance; it is not there only to consume the sacrifice, it is there to express the continual aspiration of the soul. The fire still burns. There is an unquenchable fire in heaven. Aspiration is the highest expression of character. That is the permanent quantity in the text. Fire ascends; it speechlessly says, “This is not my home; I must travel, I must fly, I must return; the sun calls me, and I must obey.” A character without aspiration cannot live healthily and exercise a vital and ennobling influence. When religion becomes mere controversy, it has lost veneration; and whatever or whoever loses veneration slips away from the centre of things, and falls evermore into thickening darkness. There is a philosophy in this conception as well as a theology. To aspire is to grow. “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” Then there are two things in the text--“fire” and “altar.” We may have an altar, but no fire. That is the deadly possibility; that is the fatal reality. The world is not dying for want of a creed, but for want of faith. We are not in need of more prayers, we are in need of more prayerfulness. If the little knowledge we have--how small it is the wisest men know best of all--were turned to right use, fire in its happiest influences would soon begin to be detected by surrounding neighbours and by unknown observers. Of what avail is it that we have filled the grate with fuel if we have not applied the flame? Does the unlighted fuel warm the chamber? No more does the unsanctified knowledge help to redeem and save society. We need the fire as well as the altar. What is needed now is a fire that will burn the altar itself--turn the marble and porphyry and granite and hewn soft-stone all into fuel that shall go up in a common oblation to the waiting heavens. We may have fire and no altar, as well as have an altar and no fire. This is also a mistake. We ought to have religious places and Christian observances, locality with special meaning, resting-places with Heaven’s welcome written upon their portals. There is a deadly sophism lurking in the supposition that men can have the fire without the altar, and are independent of institutions, churches, families, places, Bibles, and all that is known by Christian arrangement for common worship. We are not meant to be solitary worshippers. When a man says he can read the Bible at home, I deny it. He can partially read it there, he can see some of its meaning there; but society is one, as well as is the individual, in some degrees and in some relations. There is a religion of fellowship as well as of solitude. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together: there is a touch that helps life to gather itself up into its full force; there is a contagion which makes the heart feel strong in masonry. When a man says he can pray at home, I deny it--except in the sense that he can there partially pray. He can transact part of the commerce which ought to be going on continually between heaven and earth, earth and heaven; but there is a common prayer--the family cry, the congregational intercession, the sense that we are praying for one another in common petition at the throne of grace. It is not enough to kindle a fire: we must renew it. “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” Did not some men burn once who are cold now? Have not some men allowed the holy flame to perish? and is not their life now like a deserted altar laden with cold white ashes? Once they sang sweetly, prayed with eagerness of expectation, worked with both hands diligently, were always open to Christian appeal, focalised their lives in one poignant inquiry--Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? I know of no drearier spectacle than to see a man who still bears the Christian name on the altar of whose heart the fire has gone out. That is a possibility. Lost enthusiasm means lost faith; lost passion means lost conviction. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Use of means

That fire on the altar was lighted originally from heaven; it was lighted, it is supposed, from the bright glory that was in the cloud, and ultimately dwelt in the Tabernacle between the cherubim; but while lighted from heaven it was kept burning by human appliances. God never dispenses with means; He gives grace, and expects us to use means. So that text that many pervert, “My grace is sufficient for you,” some people practically read as if it were, “My grace is a substitute for you.” Now it is not so; it is sufficient for you, but it never will be a substitute for you. God does not canonise indolence. He lights the spark that is in the heart from heaven, and He expects that, by prayer, by reading, by thought, you will keep it constantly burning. (J. Gumming, D. D.)

Conscientious performance of holy duties

Be conscientious in the performance of holy duties. A fire which for awhile shoots up to heaven will faint both in its heat and brightness without fresh supplies of nourishing matter. Bring fresh wood to the altar morning and evening, as the priests were bound, for the nourishment of the holy fire. God in all His promises supposes the use of means. When He promised Hezekiah his life for fifteen years, it cannot be supposed that he should live without eating and exercise. It is both our sin and misery to neglect the means. Therefore let a holy and humble spirit breathe in all our acts of worship. If we once become listless to duty we shall quickly become lifeless in it. If we languish in our duties we shall not long be lively in our graces. (S. Charnock.)

The perpetual fire

So careful is God of this continual burning, that, if you mark, it is reported over and over (see Leviticus 6:9; Leviticus 6:12). To this end, the priest’s care was to feed it with wood, and see to it day and night, and with no other fire might either sacrifice, or incense, be burned and offered to God. This fire was carefully kept upon the altar to the captivity of Babylon, and afterward found again of Nehemiah 2:1-20., 2 Maccabees 1:18-19. Of like from hence might grow that great honour and regard, which the heathens had fire in, whereof we read often. The Athenians in their Prytaneo, trod at Delphos, and at Rome, of those Vestal Virgins continual fire was kept, and of many it was worshipped as a God. The Persians called it Orismada, that is, holy fire; and in public pomp they used to carry it before kings with great solemnity. What might be the reason why God appointed this ceremony of continual fire upon the altar, and how may we profit by it?

1. First, there was figured by it the death of Christ from the beginning of the world; namely, that He was the Lamb slain from the beginning for mankind, and by this shadow they were led to believe that although as yet Christ was not come in the flesh, nevertheless the fruit of His death belonged to them, as well as to those that should live when He came, or was come; for this fire was continual and went not out, no more did the fruit of His passion fail to any true believer, even from the beginning. But they were saved by believing that He should come, as we are now, by believing that He is come.

2. Also this fire came from heaven (Leviticus 9:24), and so should Christ in the time appointed. This fire was ever in, and never went out, and so is God ever ready to accept our sacrifices and appointed duties, ever ready to hear us and forgive us, but we are slow and dull, and come not to Him as we ought.

3. No other fire might be used but this, and so they were taught to keep to God’s ordinances, and to fly from all inventions of their own heads. For ever it was true, and ever will be true, “In vain do men worship Me, teaching for doctrines men’s precepts.” Our devices, seem they never so wise, so fit, so holy and excellent, they are strange fire, not that fire that came from heaven, not that fire that God will be pleased withal or endure. This fire coming first from heaven, and thus preserved, still preached unto them by figure, that as well did their sacrifices and services duly performed according to the law please God, as that did when first God sent His fire from heaven to consume it, in token of approbation, which surely was a great comfort to their consciences and a mighty prop to fainting, fearing weak faith.

4. This fire thus maintained and kept with all care, and “not suffered ever to go out,” taught them, and still may teach us, to be careful to keep in the fire of God’s holy Spirit, that it never die, nor go out within us. The fire is kept in by honest life, as by wood, by true sighs of unfeigned repentance, as by breath or blowing, and by meek humility, as by soft ashes. Oh, that we may have care to keep it in l what should I say? This continued fire taught then, and, though it be now gone and abrogated, may still teach us now, to be careful to keep in, amongst us, the fire of God’s Word, the true preaching of His truth, to the salvation of our souls.

5. For the fire hath these properties--it shineth and giveth light, it heateth, it consumeth, it trieth: so the preaching of the gospel. “Thy Word is a lantern unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” St. Peter calleth it “a candle in a dark place,” and many Scriptures teach the shining light of it. The heat in like sort: “Did not our hearts burn within us, whilst He talked with us, and opened the Scriptures? The fire kindled, and I spake with my tongue,” saith the Psalm; and as fire it pleased the Holy Spirit to appear at Pentecost, to show this fruit of effect of the Word preached by their mouths, it heateth the heart to all good life, and maketh us “zealous of good works.” The dross of our corruption by degrees it washeth, the stubble of our fancies it “burneth up and consumeth,” so that we abhor the sins we have been pleased with, and hate the remembrance of evil passed.

6. Lastly, it trieth doctrine, and severeth truth from error; it trieth men, and discovereth hypocrites. All worthy motives to make us careful to preserve this fire perpetually amongst us whilst we live, and in a holy zeal to provide for it also when we are dead. So shall we live being dead; nay, so shall we assuredly never die, but with immortal souls, and never-dying tongues, praise His name that liveth for ever, and will have us with Him. (Bp. Babington.)

A fire easily perpetuated

At Kildare a memorial fire was kept up in honour of St. Bridget for seven hundred years, and extinguished in the thirteenth century by order of an Archbishop of Dublin. It is easier to keep up the outward fires of superstition than the Divine fire on the altar of the heart.

The constancy of religion

David Livingstone, who did so much toward opening up the dark continent of Africa, told the following story. When he was a boy, a faithful Christian man called him to his death-bed and said, “My son, make religion the everyday business of your life, and not a thing of fits and starts.” Livingstone’s life shows that he followed the advice to the day of his death, even to his last hour, which was spent on his knees in prayer to Him to whom he had so often gone for comfort.

Keeping the fire burning

In Florence good housewives use cakes of vine-refuse to keep the fire in when they are away from home. These cakes cannot yield much heat or create a blaze, but they feed sufficient fire to save lighting it again. Do not many obscure, untalented, but quietly sincere believers answer just this purpose in our churches? In dull and dead times they preserve “the things which remain and are ready to die”; they detain the heavenly flame, which else would quite depart, and though the best they can do is but to smoulder in sorrow at the declension of the times, yet they are not to he despised. When, in happier days, the fire of piety shall burn with renewed energy, we shall be grateful to those who were as the ashes on the hearth, and kept the dying flame alive.

Need for constant piety

Some Christians are like those toys they import from France, which have sand in them; the sand runs down, and some little invention turns and works them as long as the sand is running, but when the sand is all out it stops. So on Sunday morning these people are just turned right, and the sand runs, and they work all the Sunday; but the sand runs down by Sunday night, and then they stand still, or else go on with the world’s work just as they did before. Oh! this will never do! There must be a living principle; something that shall be a mainspring within; a wheel that cannot help running on, and that does not depend upon external resources.

Rekindling the spiritual fire

Epiphanius maketh mention of those that travel by the deserts of Syria, where are nothing but miserable marshes and sands, destitute of all commodities, nothing to be had for love or money; if it so happen that their fire go out by the way then they light it again at the heat of the sun, by the means of a burning-glass or some other device that they have. And thus in the wilderness of this world, if any man have suffered the sparks of Divine grace to die in him, the fire of zeal to go out in his heart, there is no means under the sun to enliven those dead sparks, to kindle that extinguished fire again, but at the Sun of Righteousness, that Fountain of Light, Christ Jesus. (J. Spencer.)

Constant light

Many hypocrites are like comets, that appear for awhile with a mighty blaze, but are very unsteady and irregular in their motion; their blaze soon disappears, and they appear but once in a great while. But true saints are like fixed stars, which, though they rise and set, and are often clouded, yet are steadfast in their orb, and shine with a constant light. (Pres. Edwards.)

A constantly burning lamp

Any man or woman, however obscure, whose life is clean, whose words are true, whose intention is to help God in His world, kindles a light which never goes out.


Verses 14-23

THE DAILY MEAL OFFERING

Leviticus 6:14-23

"And this is the law of the meal offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar. And he shall take up therefrom his handful, of the fine flour of the meal offering and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meal offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, as the memorial thereof, unto the Lord. And that which is left thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: it shall be eaten without leaven in a holy place: in the court of the tent of meeting they shall eat it. It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as the sin offering, and as the guilt offering. Every male among the children of Aaron shall eat of it, as a due forever throughout your generations, from the offerings of the Lord made by fire: whosoever toucheth them shall be holy. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This is the oblation of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the Lord in the day when he is anointed; the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meal offering perpetually, half of it in the morning, and half thereof in the evening. On a baking pan it shall be made with oil; when it is soaked, thou shalt bring it in: in baken pieces shalt thou offer the meal offering for a sweet savour unto the Lord. And the anointed priest that shall be in his stead from among his sons shall offer it: by a statute forever it shall be wholly burnt unto the Lord. And every meal offering of the priest shall be wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten."

As there were not only the burnt offerings of the individual Israelite, but also a daily burnt offering, morning and evening, presented by the priest as the representative of the collective nation, so also with the meal offering. The law concerning this daily meal offering is given in Leviticus 6:19-23. The amount in this case was prescribed, being apparently the amount regarded as a day’s portion of food-"the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour," half of which was to be offered in the morning and half in the evening, made on a baking pan with oil, "for a sweet savour unto the Lord." Unlike the meal offering of the individual, it is said, "by a statute forever, it shall be wholly burnt unto the Lord Every meal offering of the priest shall be wholly burnt; it shall not be eaten." This single variation from the ordinance of chapter 4 is simply an application of the principle which governs all the sacrifices except the peace offering, that he who offered any sacrifice could never himself eat of it; and as the priest in this case was the offerer, the symbolism required that he should himself have nothing of the offering, as being wholly given by him to the Lord. And this meal offering was to be presented, not merely, as some have inferred from Leviticus 6:20, on the day of the anointing of the high priest, but, as is expressly said, "perpetually."

The typical meaning of the meal offering, and, in particular, of this daily meal offering, which, as we learn from Exodus 30:1-38, was offered with the daily burnt offering, is very clear. Every meal offering pointed to Christ in His consecration of all His works to the Father. And as the daily burnt offering presented by Aaron and his sons typified our heavenly High Priest as offering His person in daily consecration unto God in our behalf, so, in the daily meal offering, wholly burnt upon the altar, we see Him in like manner offering unto God in perfect consecration, day by day, perpetually, all His works for our acceptance. To the believer, often sorely oppressed with the sense of the imperfection of his own consecration of his daily works, in that because of this the Father is not glorified by him as He should be, how exceedingly comforting this view of Christy For that which, at the best, we do so imperfectly and interruptedly, He does in our behalf perfectly, and with never-failing constancy; thus at once perfectly glorifying the Father, and also, through the virtue of the boundless merit of this consecration, constantly procuring for us daily grace unto the life eternal.


Verses 16-18

THE PRIESTS’ PORTIONS

Leviticus 6:16-18; Leviticus 7:6-10; Leviticus 7:14; Leviticus 7:31-36

AFTER the law of the guilt offering follows a section {Leviticus 6:8-30; Leviticus 7:1-38} with regard to the offerings previously treated, but addressed especially to the priests, as the foregoing were specially directed to the people. Much of the contents of this section has already passed before us, in anticipation of its order in the book, as this has seemed necessary in order to a complete exposition of the several offerings. An important part of the section, however, relating to the portion of the offerings which was appointed for the priests, has been passed by until now, and must claim our brief attention.

In the verses indicated above, it is ordered that of the meal offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings, all that was not burnt, as also the wave breast and the heave shoulder of the peace offerings, should be for Aaron and his sons. In particular, it is directed that the priest’s portion of the sin offering and the guilt offering shall be eaten by "the priest that maketh atonement therewith"; {Leviticus 7:7} and that of the meal offerings prepared in the oven, the frying pan, or the baking pan, all that is not burned upon the altar, according to the law of chapter 2, shall be eaten by "the priest that offereth it"; and that of every meal offering mingled with oil, or dry, the same part "shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as well as another". {Leviticus 7:9-10} Of the burnt offering, all the flesh being burned, the hide alone fell to the officiating priest as his perquisite. {Leviticus 7:8}

These regulations are explained in the concluding verses of the section Leviticus 7:35-36 as follows, "This is the anointing portion of Aaron, and the anointing portion of his sons, out of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the Lord in the priest’s office; which the Lord commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them. It is a due forever throughout their generations."

Hence, it is plain that this use which was to be made of certain parts of certain offerings does not touch the question of the consecration of the whole to God. The whole of each offering is none the less wholly accepted and appropriated by God, that He designates a part of it to the maintenance of the priesthood. That even as thus used by the priest it is used by him as something belonging to God, is indicated by the phrase used, "it is most"; {Leviticus 6:17} expressive words, which in the law of the offerings always have a technical use, as denoting those things of which only the sons of Aaron might partake, and that only in the holy place. In the case of the meal offering, its peculiarly sacred character as belonging, the whole of it, exclusively to God, is further marked by the additional injunctions that it, should be eaten without leaven in a holy place; {Leviticus 6:16} and that whosoever touched these offerings should be; {Leviticus 6:18} that is, he should be as a man separated to God, under all the restrictions (doubtless, without the privileges), which belonged to the priesthood, as men set apart for God’s service. In the eating of their portion of the various offerings by the priests, we are to recognise no official act: we simply see the servants of God supported by the bread of His table.

This last thought, which is absent in the case of no one of the offerings, is brought out with special clearness and fulness in the ceremonial connected with the peace offerings. {Leviticus 7:28-34} In this case, certain parts, the right thigh (or shoulder?) and the breast, are set apart as the due of the priest. The selection of these is determined by the principle which marks all the Levitical legislation: God and those who represent Him are to be honoured by the consecration of the best of everything. In the animals used upon the altar, these were regarded as the choice parts, and are indeed referred to as such in other Scriptures. But, in order that neither the priest nor the people may imagine that the priest receives these as a man from his fellowmen, but may understand that they are given to God, and that it is from God that the priest now receives them, as His servant, fed from His table; to this end, certain ceremonies were ordained to be used with these parts; the breast was to be "heaved," the thigh was to be "waved," before the Lord. What was the meaning of these actions?

The breast was to be "heaved"; that is, elevated heavenward. The symbolic meaning of this act can scarcely be missed. By it, the priest acknowledged his dependence upon God for the supply of this sacrificial food, and, again, by this act consecrated it anew to Him as the One that sitteth in the heavens.

But God is not only the One that "sitteth in the heavens"; He is the God who has condescended also to dwell among men, and especially in the tent of meeting in the midst of Israel. And thus, as by the elevation of the breast heavenward, God, the Giver, was recognised as the One enthroned in heaven, so by the "waving" of the thigh, which, as the rabbis tell us, was a movement backward and forward, to and from the altar, He was recognised also as Jehovah, who had condescended from heaven to dwell in the midst of His people. Like the "heaving," so the "waving," then, was an act of acknowledgment and consecration to God; the former, to God, as in heaven, the God of creation; the other, to God, as the God of the altar, the God of redemption. And that this is the true significance of these acts is illustrated by the fact that in the Pentateuch, in the account of the gold and silver brought by the people for the preparation of the tabernacle, {Exodus 35:22} the same word is used to describe the presentation of these offerings which is here used of the wave offering.

And so in the peace offering the principle is amply illustrated upon which the priests received their dues. The worshippers bring their offerings, and present them, not to the priest, but through him to God; who, then, having used such parts as He will in the service of the sanctuary, gives again such parts of them as He pleases to the priests.

The lesson of these arrangements lies immediately before us. They were intended to teach Israel, and, according to the New Testament, are also designed to teach us, that it is the will of God that those who give up secular occupations to devote themselves to the ministry of His house should be supported by the freewill offerings of God’s people. Very strange indeed it is to hear a few small sects in our day denying this. For the Apostle Paul argues at length to this effect, and calls the attention of the Corinthians {1 Corinthians 9:13-14} to the fact that the principle expressed in this ordinance of the law of Moses has not been set aside, but holds good in this dispensation. "Know ye not that they which wait upon the altar have their portion with the altar? Even so did the Lord ordain that they which proclaim the Gospel should live of the Gospel." The principle plainly covers the case of all such as give up secular callings to devote themselves to the ministry of the Word, whether to proclaim the Gospel in any of the great mission fields, or to exercise the pastorate of the local church. Such are ever to be supported out of the consecrated offerings of God’s people. To point in disparagement of modern "hireling" ministers and missionaries, as some have done, to the case of Paul, who laboured with his own hands, that he might not be chargeable to those to whom he ministered, is singularly inapt, seeing that in the chapter above referred to he expressly vindicates his right to receive of the Corinthians his support, and in this Second Epistle to them even seems to express a doubt {2 Corinthians 12:13} whether in refusing, as he did, to receive support from them, he had not done them a "wrong," making them thus "inferior to the rest of the churches," from whom, in fact, he did receive such material aid. {Philippians 4:10; Philippians 4:16} And if ever claims of this kind upon our benevolence and liberality seem to be heavy, and if to nature the burden is sometimes irksome, we shall do well to remember that the requirement is not of man, and not of the Church, but of God. It comes to us with the double authority of the Old and New Testament, of the Law and the Gospel. And it will certainly help us all to give to these ends the more gladly, if we keep that in mind which the Levitical law so carefully kept before Israel, that the giving was to be regarded by them as not to the priesthood, but to the Lord, and that in our giving outwardly to support the ministry of God’s Word, we give, really, to the Lord Himself. And it stands written: {Matthew 10:42} "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only he shall in no wise lose his reward."


Verses 24-30

THE SANCTITY OF THE SIN OFFERING

Leviticus 6:24-30

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: in the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy. The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in a holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tent of meeting. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in a holy place. But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen vessel, it shall be scoured, and rinsed in water. Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy. And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt with fire."

Leviticus 6:24-30 we have a section which is supplemental to the law of the sin offering, in which, with some repetition of the laws previously given, are added certain special regulations, in fuller exposition of the peculiar sanctity attaching to this offering. As in the case of other offerings called "most holy," it is ordered that only the males among the priests shall eat of it; among whom, the officiating priest takes the precedence. Further, it is declared that everything that touches the offering shall be regarded as "holy," that is, as invested with the sanctity attaching to every person or thing specially devoted to the Lord.

Then by way of application of this principle to two of the most common cases in which it could apply, it is ordered, first (Leviticus 6:27), with regard to any garment which should be sprinkled with the blood, "thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in a holy place"; that so by no chance should the least of the blood which had been shed for the remission of sin, come into contact with anything unclean and unholy. And then, again, inasmuch as the flesh which should be eaten by the priest must needs be cooked, and the vessel used by this contact became holy, it is commanded (Leviticus 6:28) that, if a brazen vessel, "it shall be scoured" and "then rinsed with water"; that in no case should a vessel in which might remain the least of the sacrificial flesh, be used for any profane purpose, and so the holy flesh be defiled. And because when an (unglazed) earthen vessel was used, even such scouring and rinsing could not so cleanse it, but that something of the juices of the holy flesh should be absorbed into its substance, therefore, in order to preclude the possibility of its ever being used for any common purpose it is directed (Leviticus 6:28) that it shall be broken.

By such regulations as these, it is plain that even in those days of little light the thoughtful Israelite would be impressed with the feeling that in the expiation of sin he came into a peculiarly near and solemn relation to the holiness of God, even though he might not be able to formulate his thought more exactly. In modern times, however, strange to say, these very regulations with regard to the sin offering, when it has been taken as typical of Christ, have been used as an argument against the New Testament teaching as to the expiatory nature of His death as a true satisfaction to the holy justice of God for the sins of men. For it is argued, that if Christ was really, in a legal sense, regarded as a sinner, because standing in the sinner’s place, to receive in His person the wrath of God against the sinner’s sin, it could not have been ordered that the blood and the flesh of the typical offering should be thus regarded as of peculiar and preeminent holiness. Rather, we are told, should we, for example, have read in the ritual, "No one, and, least of all, the priests, shall eat of it; for it is most unclean." An extraordinary argument and conclusion! For surely it is an utter misapprehension both of the so-called "orthodox" view of the atonement, and of the New Testament teaching on the subject, to represent it as involving the suggestion that Christ, when for us "made sin," and suffering as our substitute, thereby must have been for the time Himself unclean. Surely, according to the constant use of the word, in imputation of sin, of any sin, to anyone, there is no conveyance of character; it is only implied that such person is, for whatsoever reason, justly or unjustly, treated as if he were guilty of that sin which is imputed to him. Imputing falsehood to a man who is truth itself, does not make him a liar, though it does involve treating him as if he were. Just so it is in this case.

There is, then, in these regulations which emphasise the peculiar holiness of the sin offering, nothing which is inconsistent with the strictest juridical view of the great atonement which in type it represented. On the contrary, one can hardly think of anything which should more effectively represent the great truth of the in comparable holiness of the victim of Calvary, than just this strenuous insistence that the blood and the flesh of the typical victim should be treated as of the most peculiar sanctity. If, when we see the victim of the sin offering slain and its blood presented before God, we behold a vivid representation of Christ, the Lamb of God, "made sin in our behalf"; so when, in these regulations, we see how the flesh and blood of the offered victim is treated as of the most preeminent sanctity, we are as impressively reminded how it is written {2 Corinthians 5:21} that it was "Him who knew no sin," that God "made to be sin on our behalf." Thus does the type, in order that nothing might be wanting in this law of the offering, insist in every possible way on the holiness of the great Victim who became the Antitype; and most of all in the sin offering, because in this, where, not consecration of the person or the works, or the impartation and fellowship of the life of Christ, but expiation, was the central idea of the sacrifice, there was a special need for emphasising, in an exceptional way, this thought; that the Victim who bore our sins, although visibly laden with the curse of God, was none the less all the time Himself "most holy"; so that in that unfathomable mystery of Calvary, never was He more truly and really the well-beloved Son of the Father than when He cried out in the extremity of His anguish as "made sin for us," "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

How wonderfully adapted in all its details was this law of the sin offering, not only for the education of Israel, but, if we will meditate upon these things, also for our own! How the truths which underlie this law should humble us, even in proportion as they exalt to the uttermost the ineffable majesty of the holiness of God! And, if we will but yield to their teachings, how mightily should they constrain us, in grateful recognition of the love of the Holy One who was "made sin in our behalf," and of the love of the Father who sent Him for this end, to accept Him as our Sin offering, set forth in the consummation of the ages, "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." No more are offered the sin offerings of the law of Moses:

"But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,

Takes all our sins away;

A sacrifice of nobler name,

And richer blood, than they."

If, then, the law of the Levitical sin offering abides in force no longer, this is not because God has changed, or because the truths which it set. forth concerning sin, and expiation, and pardon, are obsolete, but only because the great Sin offering which the ancient sacrifice typified, has now appeared. God hath "taken away the first, that He may establish the second". {Hebrews 10:9} We have thus to do with the same God as the Israelite. Now, as then, He takes account of all our sins, even of sins committed "unwittingly"; He reckons guilt with the same absolute impartiality and justice as then; He pardons sin, as then, only when the sinner who seeks pardon, presents a sin offering. But He has now Himself provided the Lamb for this offering, and now in infinite love invites us all, without distinction, with whatsoever sins we may be burdened, to make free use of the all-sufficient and most efficient blood of His well-beloved Son. Shall we risk neglecting this Divine provision, and undertake to deal with God by and by, in the great day of iudgment, on our own merits, without a sacrifice for sin? God forbid! Rather let us go on to say in the words of that old hymn:

"My faith would lay her hand

On that dear Head of Thine,

While like a penitent I stand,

And there confess my sin."

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Leviticus 6:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/leviticus-6.html. 1905-1909. New York.

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