"BETTER SACRIFICES THAN THESE"
--LEVITICUS 16:5-22.--AUGUST 18.--
Golden Text:--"Wherefore he is able to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by him."--Heb. 7:25.
ONLY those who through the teachings of the New Testament discern that the divine arrangements for fleshly Israel were typical of higher things pertaining to Spiritual Israel--only these are prepared to get proper lessons from the Old Testament Scriptures, and particularly from the institution established by the Lord with Israel through Moses, the mediator of their Law Covenant. The Apostle refers to this on various occasions, assuring us that Israel's arrangements were shadows of better things to follow, and that the substance belongs to Christ, Head and Body, the Church. As those to whom the substance belongs, it is proper that we should understand the types that we may better appreciate the substance, the reality.
To fleshly Israel God appointed five great festivals, all [R4034 : page 230] typical. (1) The Feast of Trumpets--welcoming the new civil year on the first of Tizri (September, October), one day only. The feast was of special significance every fiftieth year, when the blowing of the silver trumpets announced the jubilee--typical of the "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began."--Acts 3:21.
(2) The Passover on the 15th of Nisan or Abib (April) --the first month of the sacred year. It lasted seven days.
(3) The Feast of Pentecost (in Sivan, end of May)-- the first-fruits of the harvest.
(4) The Feast of Tabernacles, in Tizri (beginning the 15th),--the Feast of In-gathering or thanksgiving.
(5) The great Day of Atonement (the 10th of Tizri) lasted one day only. While it is named as one of the enjoined festivals it was not a joyous one, but was observed with fasting, mourning (for sin) and prayer, and was esteemed a time for reformation and good resolutions, and a desire for divine favor for the year in advance. It is the work of this day which constitutes our present lesson. Its sacrifices and offerings were not in respect to the sins of the preceding year, as some have suggested. Each Atonement Day made reconciliation for the sins of the people for the ensuing year, and under its arrangement they were God's people and treated as though they were free from original sin, the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement being reckoned as covering the Adamic condemnation. At the close of each year, therefore, the people were reckonedly back again under Adamic condemnation, and fresh offerings, sacrifices, were made to bring them again into God's favor for another year. The Apostle points out that these remembrances of sin every year--"year by year continually"--(Heb. 10:1), evidenced the fact that the Adamic guilt was not actually cancelled, but merely temporarily covered. But he also points out that the better sacrifices, the real sin-offering which God has ordained and which will be effected through the Christ, will need no repetition, because its cancellation of sins will be forever,--"For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified"--set apart as members of his Body.-- Heb. 10:14.
The sin-offerings of this Day of Atonement were two-- a bullock and a goat--the "Lord's goat" as in contrast with the "scape-goat." Our lesson should properly have begun with the opening of the chapter, had those who arranged it studied the "key of knowledge" respecting the anti-typical meaning; for the bullock of the sin-offering was by far the more important of the two. Not only did it take precedence, but it was a larger and better sacrifice. The bullock, as we have shown,* typified our Lord Jesus in his person, the great sacrifice for sins. The application of the atonement made by the sacrifice of the bullock--the sprinkling of its blood upon the Mercy Seat--was specially stated to be for the Priest and his house.
THE "MYSTERY"--THE CHURCH
The Apostle frequently refers to the "mystery" hidden from past ages and dispensations, but now made known unto the saints, namely, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27.) Only those who discern this "hidden mystery" (see "The Divine Plan of the Ages," Chap. V.) can appreciate the meaning of the statement that the atonement made by the blood of the bullock was for the Priest and his house. The majority of readers would get the thought that it was made for the High Priest's own sinfulness, and constituted his cleansing and the Lord's blessing upon his home. But those who understand the "hidden mystery" perceive that the High Priest himself represented Jesus, the Head, and the Church, his Body--in another figure Jesus the High Priest and the Church the under-priesthood--the "little flock." And these understand that his "house" refers not to his abode, but to his family or household, which in Aaron's case was the tribe of Levi, and antitypically represents the household of faith, related to Christ, the Head of the Church, his Body. From this standpoint of appreciation of the "hidden mystery" we perceive that the killing of the bullock represented the sacrifice of our Lord as the man Christ Jesus, and that the benefit, the result of that sacrifice, applied to the entire household of faith, especially the Church, which is the Body of Christ--the Head not needing the atonement, as indicated by the fact that the head of the High Priest was uncovered.
Had God so pleased he might have had only the one sacrifice on the Day of Atonement--the sacrifice of the bullock,
*See "Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices," 10c per copy; also Tabernacle and Priests, illustrations, with metal mountings, 30c for both, 4 sets $1. [R4035 : page 230] representing the death of our Lord Jesus. But it pleased God to arrange otherwise in the ceremonies of this Atonement Day. God purposed, as the Apostle declares, not only to accept the consecrated believers as members of the Body of Christ, but to give them a share with the Lord in his suffering as his members, and ultimately to give them also a share as his members in the glory that should follow --the glory, honor and immortality of the Kingdom. The New Testament abounds with exhortations to the Lord's disciples to make a full consecration of themselves, even unto death, to be baptized with Christ's baptism unto death, to suffer with him that they might also reign with him, to be dead with him that they might also live with him. The Apostle also declares that we fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ--suffering for the sake of being members of his Body, the Church.
It should not surprise us to find that this sacrificing on the part of the Body of Christ, which has been in progress for more than eighteen centuries, and which is so prominently marked throughout all the exhortations of the New Testament, is also marked with prominence in the type. Many have treated lightly and as hypocritical language the words of the Apostle, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies living sacrifices unto God, holy, acceptable, your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1.) But as we look into the typical picture of this Gospel Age-- the Day of Atonement--we find the sufferings of the Body of Christ clearly set forth, represented in the sacrifice of the Lord's goat. The leanness of the goat as compared with the young bullock fitly represents the inferiority of the Church and anything she has to offer unto the Lord in sacrifice, as compared with the riches of grace which reside in her Lord, who gave the important sacrifice, the basis of our offerings, [R4035 : page 231] without which nothing that we could offer would have any value or be at all acceptable before the Father. The fat of the sacrifices was offered to the Lord upon the altar, and represented the love and zeal of the sacrificer. In the case of the bullock there was much fat, in the case of the goat little, representing that the followers of Jesus have by nature comparatively little that they can offer to the Lord at all.
THE MERIT WAS IN THE BULLOCK
The type also shows that until the bullock was offered the goat's sacrifice would count as nothing, because it is distinctly stated that everything was to be done to the goat that had previously been done to the bullock, just as we are told by the Lord that we must walk in his steps, must suffer with him, must take up our cross and follow him, must go to him without the camp bearing his reproach, so the hoofs, hides, etc., of the goat were burned without the camp, in the place and after the manner that the hoofs, hide, etc., of the bullock had previously been burned. (See "Tabernacle Shadows.")
Both sacrifices--that of the bullock and that of the Lord's goat--were requisite to complete the atonement for the sins of the people. The Body of Christ and the household of faith have imputed to them the merit of Jesus' sacrifice for sins, and they are thus counted as justified freely from all things through faith in his blood. And before our sacrifices could have any value in God's sight it was necessary that first we should be adopted or accepted as figurative members of the High Priest. Thus the Apostle declares, "Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price," and recognizing this we have given over our wills, ourselves to the Lord, agreeing to be dead to self and alive only as his members, and as his members we suffer under his direction as our Head. From this standpoint the sufferings of the members of the Body of Christ are the Lord's own sufferings. From this standpoint the prophets speak of the sufferings of Christ--Jesus, the Head, and the Church, his members --and the glory that should follow. The revelation of divine glory and the blessing of the world do not follow the sufferings of Jesus alone, but will follow the completion of the sufferings of Christ when all of his members shall have been offered--presented as living sacrifices.
Looking at the type we see the clear distinction between the result of the sprinkling of the blood of the bullock on the Mercy Seat and the result of the sprinkling of the blood of the Lord's goat upon the Mercy Seat. When the former was accomplished it meant the forgiveness and reconciliation of the members of the Priest's body and all of his household, the household of faith. When the latter was accomplished it meant the forgiveness of the sins of all the people --the taking away of the sin of the world. It was the Lamb of God which was to take away the sin of the world, and our Lord Jesus was that Lamb of God; and it is through his merit that Adam's sin, the sin of the world, shall be forgiven, blotted out, set aside. He was in a particular sense the Passover Lamb, not one bone of which should be broken; but the little flock, his members, are in a larger sense his flesh and his bones, and are never to be separated from him, but to be forever with the Lord in heavenly Kingdom and glory. From this standpoint it will be seen that the antitype of the Day of Atonement is the entire Gospel Age--in which from first to last Jesus and all the members of his consecrated "little flock" will suffer, and by the end of which all sin atonement will be completed and the blessing of the divine forgiveness be extended to all the families of the earth, in harmony with the Abrahamic Covenant--"In thy Seed (the Christ, Head and Body) all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
CASTING LOTS ON THE TWO GOATS
The two goats standing at the door of the Tabernacle represent all of the Lord's consecrated Church at this present time, but show us that it consists of two classes. Both classes were consecrated alike, but both do not go through the same experiences. The one class follows precisely the experiences of the Lord, as the goat's experiences corresponded to those of the bullock; but the other class, typified by the scape-goat, is the Great Company, who, while making a full consecration of self-sacrifice in the same manner as do the little flock, hold back, neglect to lay down their lives sacrificially and experience therefor the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. 5:5.) These two classes, we remember, are distinctly shown in Revelation 7. The little flock--144,000, the Spiritual Israelites--represent the faithful members of the Body of Christ glorified; the other, a great multitude whose number was not fixed or predestinated by the Lord, which will come through tribulation and receive palm-branches as servants before the throne, rather than crowns as overcomers in the throne.
The casting of lots as between the two goats seems to have been intended to signify that the Lord does not arbitrarily determine which of the consecrated shall go into either of these classes, but rather that he leaves the matter to us, accepting whomsoever manifests the proper zeal in sacrifice and thus attests his loyalty, showing that he is a copy of God's dear Son. This shows that it is not sufficient to make consecration to the Lord, but that we must proceed to fulfil the terms of our covenant if we would belong to the Lord's goat class--we must suffer, we must sacrifice, and thus make our calling and election sure as members of the Body of the Priest.
"FOR JEHOVAH" OR "FOR AZAZEL"
We shall not go into all the details of this Day of Atonement, surmising that all of our readers possess the little pamphlet, "Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices," in which the matter is treated in considerable detail. In harmony with the arrangement of the lesson we are giving special prominence to the two goats.
In the Hebrew, when the lot had been cast upon the goats, one was declared to be for Jehovah and the other for Azazel. The significance of the word Azazel is not very clear, but according to the majority of modern scholars it stood for the prince of darkness; and in Milton's "Paradise Lost" Azazel is represented as the standard-bearer of the infernal hosts--the prince of devils. We agree with this interpretation because it corresponds well with the expression of the Apostle, who--when referring to one class of the consecrated members of the Body of Christ who had not been living up to their privileges--declares, "Absent in body but present with you in mind, I have delivered over such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (1 Cor. 5:3-5.) [R4035 : page 232] Similarly we understand that the Great Company, those who have consecrated but failed to sacrifice voluntarily, will be delivered over to Satan for his buffetings, and pass through a great tribulation, with a view to effecting in them by this means a proper penitence for sin and a proper appreciation of the divine standard of truth and righteousness. The majority of this neglected class the Scriptures seem to intimate will be found in the end of this age--though doubtless there have been some of the same class throughout the age.
The scape-goat does not represent a sin-loving class nor a class which has denied the Lord, but a class of consecrated believers overcharged with the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches, and not sufficiently loyal to the Lord and their covenant to forsake all and walk in the footsteps [R4036 : page 232] of the Master in self-sacrifice. This class, particularly large in the present day, will be delivered over to the Adversary --to suffer in a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation--the great time of trouble with which this age will end. Such of them as fail to respond to those tribulations and to seek the Lord will die the Second Death, but such as respond faithfully and loyally will be counted as overcomers, and be granted the palms of victory shown in Revelation 7, and be privileged to a share at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the glories and honors of that occasion. It is only their failure to appreciate their present privileges in voluntary sacrificing that will deter them from gaining membership in the Bride class, and their highest position of honor will be as the "virgins, her companions, who follow her [the Bride.]"--Psalm 45:14.
TWO CLASSES OF SINS
This scape-goat is not sacrificed, does not come upon the Lord's altar, but is sent away into the wilderness for the "destruction of the flesh." The wide difference between sacrifice and destruction must be observed and appreciated. The Apostle reminds us that the bodies of those beasts (whose blood was brought within the vail to make atonement on the Mercy Seat) were burned outside the camp, and then he urges the faithful, "Let us go to him without the camp, bearing the reproach with him." (Heb. 13:13.) Thus the Apostle shows that our Lord Jesus was represented in one of those animals and that we were represented in the other--if we are willing to go with him outside the camp into disrepute, bearing his reproaches and sharing them as members of his Body.
Let us notice the two classes of sins referred to in our lesson, the one propitiated by the blood of the bullock and the goat in the Most Holy, and the other confessed upon the head of the scape-goat, which bore them away. The propitiated sin is the Adamic sin, on account of which the sentence of death passed upon all and weaknesses and imperfections have thus come upon all. This is what is termed original sin, whose curse or blight rests upon the race as a whole. But there are other sins than the original one and its weaknesses and imperfections which we inherit, and which the Lord has cancelled so far as the household of faith is concerned, and which he has arranged to cancel so far as the world is concerned. The other sins are stipulated as iniquities, transgressions--in fact, embrace all sins not included in those atoned for by the blood of the bullock and of the goat.
We have not far to look if we would see these iniquities or inequities of the world, especially of "Christendom." There is today considerable light shining upon the whole world, especially on the civilized portion. The principles of righteousness set forth in the Jewish Law and subsequently amplified by the Lord and the apostles, have enlightened the minds of the public in general in respect to justice and injustice, right and wrong, good and evil, so that there never was so responsible a generation as the one now living. Notwithstanding this increase of knowledge, and notwithstanding that there are gross iniquities prevailing throughout the world, we find comparatively few willing to do anything toward a readjustment and equalization of the world's affairs, financial, social and religious. Rather it seems that the majority of those possessing advantages are quite willing to hold to them even though recognizing that they are inequitable, iniquitous.
Meantime, the light of the morning is also awakening the masses, who are more and more crying out for their rights and against the inequities. The Lord is not only permitting this condition of things but is favoring it and helping it along, and informs us that the result will be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation. He tells us that in that great final struggle the kings of the world--financial, social, religious and political--will with practical unanimity be found on one side of the question, and that on the other side will be the Lord's "great army," the people for whose equities and for whose rights he will plead, will contend. True, the common people will not realize that the Lord is on their side, and many of them will even ignore him and trust simply to their own contrivances and devices, socialistic and otherwise. Similarly those who are on the side of the kings and princes of earth and their armies will not recognize the kind of battle they are engaged in, that it is one in which the Lord is taking a hand, with the view to the overthrow of present institutions and the preparation of the earth for the rule of righteousness-- the Kingdom of God's dear Son--the Millennial Kingdom.
Look now at the scape-goat class: Not faithful to their covenant of sacrifice they are not counted worthy to escape those things coming on the world, and hence will have their portion with the hypocrites and with the world in that trouble, notwithstanding the fact that they are God's sincere children, but overcharged with the cares of this life and not properly zealous for the fulfilment of their covenant and a share in the Kingdom. It is in mercy for this class that the Lord consigns them to that trouble, that in its bitter experiences they may learn the necessary lessons and attest finally, under stress, their loyalty to him and to righteousness. They are represented as having confessed upon them the iniquities of the people--this is from the standpoint of divine justice. Their own sins were forgiven through Christ, as they were reckoned in as members of the household of faith. Hence their sufferings must be for the sins of others; and as they did not suffer as willing sacrificers they are then made to suffer unto death--that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
ALL THE RIGHTEOUS BLOOD REQUIRED
Let us not forget our Lord's words respecting a somewhat similar class which suffered in the time of trouble at [R4036 : page 233] the end of the Jewish Age. He said that all the righteous blood shed from Abel's time down to the death of Zacharias should be required at the hand of that generation. In one sense of the word this has the appearance of injustice. We are inclined to ask--Why should that generation be penalized for the transgressions committed centuries before their day? The Lord does not particularize--does not explain the operation of divine justice in the matter, but we may reasonably infer that the answer to the query lies in the fact that the generation of our Lord's day had so many more advantages than all the generations preceding that it deserved severer penalties. As our Lord points out, they had the experiences of the past and disapproved the doings of their fathers who slew the prophets; nevertheless with greater light they did worse, they slew the Son of God and persecuted the members of his Body--his Church.
Similarly the Scriptures indicate that in the end of this age the Lord will require of the living generation a penalty for much of the unrighteousness of the past--and especially for the blood of all the saints shed throughout this Gospel Age in civilized lands. We perceive that much of the evil done against the Lord's holy ones of the past has thus far failed of punishment. Great systems which, in the name of the Lord and in the name of religion, persecuted the true Church have practised and prospered and not yet received their just recompense of reward. Some of these martyrs of the past are pictured to us under the fifth seal as inquiring, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth." This is a symbolical picture of justice long deferred crying for vengeance, representing those who are actually dead and know not anything, and cannot know anything until the resurrection. The answer to this query before the seat of Justice is given. We are told that it would be but a little while until others are similarly maltreated, and the intimation is given that then the judgment will come which will compensate for the whole. This is the awful trouble of the near future, when great Babylon will go down as a great millstone into the sea, when every man's hand will be against his neighbor's in anarchy, when there will be no peace to him that goeth out or to him that cometh in--a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation nor ever shall be afterward.
It is that trouble which the little flock, the Lord's goat class of faithful sacrificers, will escape directly or indirectly, and that the Great Company class will not escape --but on the contrary share. They will come up out of this great tribulation with washed robes, made white in the blood of the Lamb. Not that their sufferings will wash their robes, but that in their sufferings they will learn to appreciate as never before their relationship to the Lamb of God and to his atoning merit, and by faith will be permitted to apply the same to their own cleansing.
ONCE IN GRACE ALWAYS IN GRACE
These words represent the Calvinistic sentiment that whoever the Lord accepts into his family and begets of the holy Spirit will somehow or other, sometime, in some way, gain the heavenly estate. There is more of truth in this sentiment than some of the opposers of Calvinism realize. It is true that whoever draws back from the Lord, either in repudiation of the atonement sacrifice of our Lord Jesus or by a repudiation of the narrow way and a turning like the sow to wallowing in the mire, goes into the Second Death, "the blackness of darkness"--utter extinction; yet these, we [R4037 : page 233] have every reason to hope, will be few in comparison to the whole number begotten of the holy Spirit during this Gospel Age.
Of the whole number of Spirit-begotten ones only a "little flock" gain the prize, and the others, failing of compliance with the terms of their covenant, might be utterly repudiated of the Lord, but he will not do this so long as they do not entirely repudiate him. Their failure to sacrifice willingly will not debar them from his care so long as they are at heart loyal to him. Since the seat in the throne provided for the "little flock" of sacrificers (represented by the Lord's goat) cannot be theirs, it is in mercy that the Lord permits them to become the scape-goat class, and to be driven into the wilderness and severely tried in the great time of trouble--that all faithful at heart may be delivered from the bondage of fear and share a heavenly estate on a lower plane than the Bride. Let us, nevertheless, so far from taking advantage of the Lord's grace and goodness in this manner, feel all the more love for him, so that we will the more valiantly and the more faithfully seek to lay down our lives in divine service and in behalf of the household of faith.