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THE DAVINCI CODE-BREAKING HYPOCRITES

Friday, April 16th, 2010

THE DAVINCI CODE-BREAKING HYPOCRITES

On a big sign in front of a church where I had visited several months ago read the words “Cracking the Koran,” which was a two-part series exposing the evils of Islam. Ever since the “supposed” attack by radical Islamic fundamentalists on September 11, 2001, this has been the hot topic among the conservative Christian community.

Now the Evangelical Christian community is currently up at arms with the recent release of Ron Howard’s new blockbuster movie The DaVinci Code. The Christian marketplace is being saturated with books, tracts, DVD’s, and other materials which expose this heresy. In my own community, churches are organizing workshops in order to inform their parishioners how to witness to all of those poor “lost souls” who may otherwise be taken in by this deception.

Of course, this is nothing new. Approximately 2o years ago, another blasphemous movie, The Last Temptation of Christ, was met with similar types of opposition. Back then, church groups banded together and formed picket lines outside of movie theaters, and tried to discourage movie-goers from seeing this movie. Products that were involved in the sponsorship of this movie were even boycotted by some.

And on her new tour, the practicing Kabbalist Madonna has now been seen in a parody of the crucifixion, in front of a back-lit cross and wearing a crown of thorns. I can only imagine the backlash of self-righteous indignation that surely awaits her.

All of these examples serve to remind me of these words that were spoken by our Savior to the religious leaders of His day approximately 2,000 years ago:

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27,28 – New International Version)

Ecclesiastes 1 tells us that history will repeat itself; that there is nothing new under the sun. And just as it was in Jesus’ day, so it is in our day. The churches are led by:

    “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:24)

Today’s Christian leaders, who are so worried about their Lord and Savior being cast in a less than positive light by worldly people who are out to make a fast buck, should first concern themselves with cleaning up their own house.

    “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye;’ and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite, first remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)

Today’s Evangelical Christian community does indeed go to great lengths to point out everything that is wrong with what others are doing and saying about Jesus Christ. And yet they are the ones who are committing the ultimate blasphemy by teaching that our merciful and loving heavenly Father will burn all unrepentant sinners in a mythical place called “hell” for all eternity!

Quite ironic, isn’t it? They are the ones who have truly SWALLOWED THE CAMEL!

FROM WHERE DID WE GET THE WORD CHURCH?

Friday, April 16th, 2010

FROM WHERE DID WE GET THE WORD CHURCH?

NOTE: Most of the following research was compiled by a fellow believer, who, for personal reasons, has chosen not to have his name affiliated with this site.

Walk up to almost any church of any denomination in any nation on earth, and it immediately distinguishes itself from all other kinds of buildings. First, you might notice near the highway or on the sidewalk, a marquee with a name such as, Church of the Nazarene, or First Baptist Church, or Our Lady Catholic Church. These unique buildings we call churches have many things in common, not the least of which is the designation of the word “church” itself. What does the word “church” mean, and from where did it come? The Scriptures? No. The word “church” is neither Hebrew nor Greek, so when these languages were translated into English Bibles, the word church was already in existence.

The word “church” found in most (not all) Bibles is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia,” and it means “called out ones.” The word “church” is defined in most dictionaries as: “A building for public worship, especially Christian worship; the company of all Christians as a spiritual body.” This, however, tells us nothing concerning the origin of this word and its original definition, meaning, and usage. Some theologians have erroneously stated that the word church comes from the Greek “kyrios” which means “lord,” and thus “church” is those who belong to the Lord, or references the “Lord’s house.” This is not, however, the origin or original meaning of the word “church.”

“Church” is a very early English word that means “circle” (the shape of a circle), while the Greek word translated “church” is “ekklesia” and means “called out ones,” and more properly answers to the English words: congregation, assembly or group.

In Acts 19:32 ekklesia refers to a riotous mob. And ekklesia is never applied to a building for worship. Furthermore, there can be only one “Lord’s House,” and that was the temple in Jerusalem, only. Local congregations and synagogues or assembly halls were never designated “The Lord’s House.”

“Bethel” is the word for “Lord’s House” in Hebrew. Yet, this “Lord’s House” became an abomination to the Lord, along with all other such “Lord’s houses.”

“For the saying that he cried by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass… Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places… And this thing became SIN unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth” (I Kings 13:32-34).

And so, in rebelling to God’s commands, “Bethels” were built throughout the land. And just as Israel continually looked to the heathen for their religious practices (see Jeremiah 10:1-5, for example), so did the heathens borrow from Israel. These “Bethels” or “houses of the Lord” became popular among the heathens. Bethels were being built throughout Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. They usually used the Greek spelling “baetyls,” but they were the same high, religious places of worship, which God condemned. So even if a “Bethel” was a “house of the Lord,” it was still condemned by God. Here are the historical facts regarding the word “Bethel” [From the Dictionary of Proper Names and Places in the Bible, by O. Odelain and R. Seguineau, Doubleday & Company, 1981]:

The word Bethel literally means “House of God,” and was the name of a town about 17 km north of Jerusalem on the road to Shechem. Bethel was also the name of a Canaanite deity venerated at Bethel. In the ancient world Bethel is one of the camping places of Abraham and Jacob. From there Abraham sees the land God is giving him. It is also here where the dream of “Jacob’s ladder” occurs, and where God later appears to Jacob. Thus Bethel becomes a sanctuary of the patriarchs. Along with Ai, it is one of the first towns conquered by Joshua. Later, in the ninth century the town is the residence of a brotherhood of prophets centered around Elijah and Elisha. It also becomes for the Northern Kingdom the national center of worship, with its golden calf, “the sin of Jeroboam.” Amos pronounces God’s judgment upon this cult (Amos 3:13-15; 5:4-7), and is expelled from Bethel by the priest Amaziah. Hosea waxes ironical about Bethel, the “House of God,” that it has become Beth-aven (Hosea 5:8; 10:5), which means “the house of nothingness (or iniquity).” Josiah’s religious reform affects Bethel, where these altars and high places are destroyed (see II Kings 23:15-20).

Now concerning the word “church,” Professor Smith of Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible states that “church” comes from a word meaning “circle,” which is akin to our word “circus.” Professor Lipsius (German theologian during the Reformation) also shows that “church” came from “circle.” Professor A. F. Fausett of Home Bible Study Dictionary” agrees with Professor Lipsius. The exhaustive ten volume Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature under the word “church” states that:

“It was probably connected with the Latin circus, circulus, and with the Greek kuklos. Lipsius, who was the first to reject the received tradition, was probably right in his suggestion” (Vol. II, p. 322).

Robert Brown’s work The Myth of Kirke” also confirms that “kirke” (church) means “Circle” or “Circular” (p. 22).

Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, under the entry “church” adds this:

“The etymology of this word is generally assumed to be from the Greek, kurious oikos (house of God); but this is most improbable, as the word existed in all the Celtic dialects long before the introduction of the Greek. No doubt the word means ‘a circle.’ The places of worship among the German and Celtic nations were always circular [witness circular Stonehenge, one of the most ancient stone megaliths on earth]. Compare Anglo-Saxon ‘circe,’ a small church, with ‘circol,’ a circle.”

In Scotland it is called “Kirk” and in Gemany it is “Kirche,” in England it is the word “Circe” (the “c” having a “k” sound).

But according to Brown’s book, “Kirke/Circe” was also the name of a Goddess.

Kirke or Circe was the daughter of the Sun god, who was famous for taming wild animals for her circus. But get ready for this: Circe is pictured holding a golden cup in her hand mixed with wine and drugs, by which she controlled the kings of the world. Now where have we heard that before?

“And the woman [always the symbol for a church/kirke] was arrayed in purple and scarlet color [these colors symbolize wealth and high position], and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication” (Revelation 17:4).

What else are we told is in the golden cup of this church?

“…the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Verse 2).

But there is something else. Remember that Brown above also mentions drugs along with wine. Is our lady church of Revelation 17:4-5 “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” also involved in DRUGS?

Notice what Revelation 18:23 lists among her many abominations:

“…for the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries were all nations deceived.”

Just what are these “sorceries?”

The Greek word translated “sorceries” in this verse is pharmakeia. Dr. Strong’s first definition of this word is “medicine.” Our words “pharmacy” and “pharmaceutical” (DRUGS) are derived from this word. This harlot church peddles spiritual DRUGS to the world! And so, clearly this pagan goddess Kirke not only stamps Christian religions of the world with her name: “Kirke, Kirche, Church,” but also she is the Mystery Babylonian Harlot Church of Revelation 17 and 18. This Church has committed spiritual fornication among the leaders of the world, and has caused the inhabitants of the world to be made drunk and drugged by the contents of her golden cup.

What about you? Are you yet so drugged and drunk on this Harlot Church that you cannot see to walk the straight and narrow way of Christ, which leads to life?

ADDENDUM

This brief synopsis of the word “church” is in no way meant to be an indictment toward the many wonderful people who attend churches. Lord only knows how much worse the plight of Hurricane Katrina victims would have been if it weren’t for the generosity of the area churches, who met many personal needs where government agencies such as FEMA and the Red Cross failed. I am confident that our Lord Jesus will remember good deeds such as these on Judgment Day. But good deeds alone will not qualify one for first-resurrection status (see Matthew 7:21-23).

First of all, those who worship God must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. They must proclaim Christ as Savior of the world, and believe that He will indeed SAVE the world!

    “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe [that He is the Savior of ALL men, and that He will INDEED SAVE ALL MEN]. These things command and teach. (I Timothy 4:9-11)

These are the things that our Lord commands His laborers to teach concerning Him. Now how many church pastors do you know of that are doing this? Instead, most believe and teach that our heavenly Father will cast the majority of mankind away into a fiery furnace for all eternity. Because of this erroneous teaching, they lead their flocks astray (see Jeremiah 50:6). The way to life [via the first resurrection] is indeed a narrow one.

Secondly, those who take a stand for the Truth (Jesus) must be willing to do so even in the face of violent opposition. Remember these sobering words of our Lord:

    “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘ A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:18-20)
    “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (II Timothy 3:12)

For some, this may even mean being forsaken by the members of one’s own household:

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth… For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)

Christ will become top priority to those who wish to find the narrow way that leads to age-abiding life. Not everyone will be able to make that type of a commitment. This is why Christ tells us to “count the cost” of following Him (see Luke 14:26-33).

And finally, Christ makes it clear that it is the one who endures to the end who will be saved [or attain to age-abiding life] (see Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13). But those who have been appointed to walk the difficult to find narrow road can take heart:

    “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

You will notice that it is God who began the work, and it is God who completes it!

    “Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:38,39)
    “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:7)

What is water baptism?

Friday, April 16th, 2010

What is water baptism?
(Taken from part 32 of the “Heavens Declare” series)

By Preston Eby
http://www.kingdombiblestudies.org/tablecontents.htm

There is a most remarkable incident which took place in relation to the glory cloud when the children of Israel came out of Egypt. This incident is little known by God’s people, but it happened to testify to us of the great purpose for which God has enveloped His presence in a cloud. “Behold, He cometh with clouds…..” It pointed forward to the great work of the Holy Spirit during this and subsequent ages. Paul refers to this event in I Cor. 10:1-2: “Moreover brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were UNDER THE CLOUD, and all passed through the sea; and were all BAPTIZED UNTO MOSES IN THE CLOUD and in the sea.” Note that Paul says that the Israelites were “all BAPTIZED… IN THE CLOUD. And then in Exodus chapter fourteen it is repeated no less than four times, that they passed “on dry land” through the midst of the sea. Now, how can you pass through on dry ground and at the same time be BAPTIZED IN THE CLOUD AND IN THE SEA? The fact is, God baptized those Israelites on dry ground. The sea was indeed rolled back by a great wind and the ground became dry, but let us notice in Ps. 77:15-20 what else happened at that time. “When Thou with Thine arm redeemed Thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. The WATERS saw Thee, O God, the waters saw Thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The CLOUDS POURED OUT WATER: the skies sent out a sound: Thine arrows also went abroad. Thou leddest Thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” The CLOUDS P-O-U-R-E-D O-U-T W-A-T-E-R when the children of Israel had crossed the Red Sea by the hand of Moses! How many of my readers ever heard of that storm? Israel was thus “baptized” IN THE CLOUD, as they had been “baptized” in the sea!

THE WATER-POURER

The above story has not been understood because multitudes of the Lord’s people equate “baptism” only with immersion, or one being dipped into or put under water. They claim that in every case of scriptural baptizing the person or thing baptized is moved or put into or under the baptizing element. The truth is, however, that in the vast majority of cases in scripture, if not in every case, the baptizing element or instrumentality is moved and put upon the person or thing baptized. Contrary to the teaching of many, and contrary even to certain scholars, “baptize” does not mean to “dip.” Ultimately it is usage that determines the meaning of words in any language. In classic Greek the word baptizo is never used in the modern evangelical sense of putting a body into water and then immediately withdrawing it. It cannot be denied by those who know and love the truth that the Sign of Aquarius tells us far more about the true “baptism in the Spirit” than all the modern-day preachers have ever learned from the Word of God!

Now, what saith the Lord as to the mode of this real Spirit baptism, and this symbolical water baptism? Open your Bible and look into this matter very carefully, with humility and reverence, and you will find that never once is the person represented as being “dipped,” “plunged” or “immersed” into the baptizing element or agency, but uniformly the baptizing element or agency is “poured out,” or in some way comes upon the person baptized. The apostles were baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4), and the Spirit was “poured out” on them (Acts 2:16-33); they were baptized with fire (Mt. 3:7), and a tongue of fire come down from heaven and “sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2-3). The children of Israel were baptized with or by or in the cloud, and the cloud “poured our water” upon them (Ps. 77:16-17; I Cor. 10:1-2). Noah and his family were baptized with the flood (I Pet. 3:20-21), and they rode safe and dry over its waves as it “rained” upon them for forty days and forty nights. Three thousand Jews received water baptism during the few closing hours of a single day, and in a city where there was no place the leaders and rulers would permit to be used for immersion. Paul was baptized in his own room (Acts 9:17-18). The inspired record says: “Anastas ebapisthe,” that is, “having stood up, he was baptized.” The jailer at Philippi was converted in the jail, at the midnight hour, and we are told that there “he was baptized, he and all his, straightway” (Acts 16:33). Cornelius and his household having had the Spirit fall on them and poured out upon them, water was brought and poured out on them, if the symbol is in any way to correspond to the reality (Acts 10:44-48). The Saviour was baptized with His sufferings (Lk. 12:50) and His sufferings were “laid upon Him” (Isa. 53:6). The Great Baptizer is Christ Himself, and He baptizes His people with the Holy Ghost when He “pours out His Spirit upon them (Tit. 3:5-6).

In Heb. 3:10, the inspired writer, speaking of the Old Testament rituals, ceremonies and ordinances, says, “Which stood only in meals and drinks, and divers washings imposed on them until the time of reformation.” The word translated “washings” refers to the ceremonial purifications under the law and is from the Greek word BAPTISMOIS, that is, baptisms. Can we ascertain the mode of these baptisms? Yes, with infallible certainty. In the very same chapter the apostle refers to the mode of these ceremonial purifications no less than three times and declares that it was by sprinkling. “For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh. How much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:13). “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people…. moreover he sprinkled…. both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry” (Heb. 9:19-21). In Num. 19:17-18 we read of a ceremonial purification, or “baptism,” and we read: “A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels and upon the persons.” In Lev. 14:5-7 we read how a leper was to be cleansed: “And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean.” A leprous house was to be cleansed in the same manner, by sprinkling (Lev. 14:50-52). And so in the case of other ceremonial baptisms there is no case on record in which an Israelite administered any of the ceremonial baptisms by putting the person or thing under water. Not one! In every case the baptism or cleansing was by sprinkling or pouring out water. When the whole Israelitish nation entered into covenant with God at Sinai, Moses “sprinkled all the people” (Ex. 24:8; Heb 9:19). On the great day of atonement the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place, and sprinkled the Ark of the Covenant (Lev. 4:17; Heb 9:25). When the destroying angel passed over Egypt, only the blood-sprinkled were afforded protection (Ex. 12:7-13). When king David sinned he cried, “Purge me with hyssop,” that is, sprinkle me with water or blood from the wetted hyssop, “and I shall be clean” (Ps. 51:7). When speaking of the spiritual cleansing effected by the blood of Christ, of which water baptism was the sign to believing Jews, Paul says, “the blood of sprinkling” (Heb 12:24); and Peter calls it “the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:2). In all casts of the use of either water or blood in the Old Testament as a means of purification, sanctification or anointing sprinkling or pouring were the mode used. And in Heb 9:10 the apostle speaks of these ceremonial purifications, and calls them baptisms (baptismois). The Spirit’s work is from Genesis to Revelation represented as a “pouring,” a “sprinkling,” a “coming down,” a “shedding forth,” and coming as the “rain” and the “dew”. In the New Testament the Spirit of God is represented as descending, pouring out, shedding forth, falling upon, coming upon, sent from on high, to be drunk as water, anointing, sealing, breathed upon them, ministered to them, given to them, and received by them.

It is not my purpose in this writing to provoke a debate concerning the mode of water baptism. What you may or may not believe about external rituals, outward ceremonies, and natural ordinances is, in my opinion, but a paltry side issue of no spiritual significance and no eternal importance. All natural things are but types and shadows to our understanding of spiritual things. Properly understood they open the door of understanding to the sacred secrets of God. All natural things have their spiritual counterparts, but I have absolutely no interest at all in seeking to establish or promote any external ritual, outward ceremony or carnal ordinance, for I declare to you that in this day, for those who have left the Outer Court and the Holy Place to find an entrance into the glory of the Holiest of all, the shadows have all passed away and reality has dawned within our hearts. Turn! oh sons and daughters of the Most High, from all these religious vanities, for the true light now shineth and the physical ceremonies having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with water, or formulas, or bread, or wine, or hands, or fleshly ministrations make the recipients thereof perfect. Depart from the carnal realm of empty and lifeless forms and flee away to the celestial heights in the mountain of God from whence streams the quickening and transforming river of Life from the presence of the Lord. One wonderful day, the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles in old Jerusalem, Jesus our Lord stood up and cried aloud to the people: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7:37-38). That, oh child of God, is the secret to eternal blessedness. Not only does He pour the water upon us, but our faith and union with the living Christ of God makes us the source of rivers of living waters, ceaseless in their abundant flow forever and ever and ever.

FREE WILL AND THE BEAST

Friday, April 16th, 2010

FREE WILL AND THE BEAST

    “Science promised man power… But, as so often happens when people are seduced by promises of power, the price is servitude and impotence. Power is nothing if it is not the power to choose.” – Joseph Weizenbaum; scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Rene Descartes (1596-1650, French mathematician, philosopher), one of the founders of modern science, believed that the universe and all of the things in it were automata. From his time to the beginning of the 20th century, and perhaps because of him, our ancestors began to see the universe as a Great Machine. Over the next three hundred years they developed science (physics) specifically to discover how the Great Machine worked. (Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, p. 22-23)

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727, English mathematician, physicist) was another forefather of modern science. According to the determination of Newtonian physics – if the universe really is a great machine – then from the moment that the universe was created and set into motion, everything that was to happen in it was already determined. We may seem to have a will of our own and the ability to alter the course of events in our lives, but we do not. Everything, from the beginning of time, has been predetermined, including our illusion of having a free will. The universe is a prerecorded tape playing itself out in the only way that it can. The status of men is immeasurably more dismal than it was before the advent of science. The Great Machine runs blindly on, and all things in it are but cogs. (ibid., p. 26)

EINSTEIN’S SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY

According to Newtonian physics, our three-dimensional reality is separate from, and moves forward in, a one-dimensional time. The Newtonian view of space and time is a dynamic picture. Events develop with the passage of time. Time is one-dimensional and moves forward. The past, present, and future happen in that order. Not so, says Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Our reality is four-dimensional, and the fourth dimension is time. We live, breathe, and exist in a four-dimensional space-time continuum. The special theory of relativity says that it is preferable, and more useful, to think in terms of a static, non-moving picture of space and time. This is the space-time continuum. In this static picture, events do not develop, they just are! If we could view our reality in a four-dimensional way, we would see that everything that now seems to unfold before us with the passing of time, already exists in toto, painted, as it were, on the fabric of space-time. We would see all, the past, the present, and the future with one glance. Of course, this is only a mathematical proposition (isn’t it?). (ibid., p. 150) Or is it?

    “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” (Acts 15:18)
    “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:10)

God’s Word seems to have verified what Einstein “theorized” about the space-time continuum.

CAUSE AND EFFECT

Any chemist can verify that most chemicals do react to stimulation. Under the right conditions, for example, sodium reacts to chlorine (by forming sodium chloride – salt), iron reacts to oxygen (by forming iron oxides – rust), and so on, just as humans react to food when they are hungry and to affection when they are lonely. How do we know that our responses are not as rigidly preprogrammed as those of a chemical, with the only difference being that our programs are enormously more complex? We may not have any more freedom of action than stones do, although, unlike stones, we deceive ourselves into thinking that we do! (ibid., p. 46)

In regards to this concept of man’s “free will,” we have just seen a few thoughts from some of the most insightful men of our era. Albert Einstein (1879-1955), who was a Jew and a believer in God, denied any such thoughts of mankind having “free will,” contrary to the belief of most “theologians” today. So what does the Word of God have to say on this subject? Plenty! In this article we shall examine several passages from the Holy Scriptures that emphatically deny what is being taught worldwide concerning man’s “free will” and his ability to either choose or to reject Christ.

WHAT IS FREE WILL?

According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition (p. 465), the term “free will” means:

  • voluntary choice or decision < I do this of my own free will >
  • freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or divine intervention

So the million-dollar question is this: Does God allow humans the freedom to choose for themselves, or have all of their “choices” been predetermined?

QUESTION: Could Judas have chosen of his own free will to remain loyal to Christ?

PROPHECY: Psalm 41:9

FULFILLED: John 13:18; 17:12

PROPHECY: Zechariah 11:12,13

FULFILLED: Matthew 27:3-10

PROPHECY: Psalm 109:8

FULFILLED: Acts 1:26 (Matthias chosen by men, Paul later chosen by God)

In the case of Judas Iscariot his destiny was foretold in the Scriptures; therefore, God had to influence his decision making process in order to bring to fruition the ancient prophecies concerning him. Moreover, it was Christ Himself who chose His betrayer:

    “Did I not chose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70)

It doesn’t sound to me like Judas had much choice in the matter.

    “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition [or instruction], upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (I Corinthians 10:11)

Here are 35 examples from God’s Word that clearly refute this “free will” concept:

II Chronicles 18:19-22 “And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab king of Israel to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood up before the LORD and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him and also prevail; go out and do so. Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.”

In this story, King Ahab was persuaded by his false prophets to go to war, which resulted in disaster. Did you notice who it was who put the lying spirits in the mouths of all of his prophets?

Amos 3:6 “Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” (KJV)

Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (KJV)

Isaiah 13:11 “And I have appointed on the world evil, And on the wicked their iniquity, And have caused to cease the excellency of the proud, And the excellency of the terrible I make low.” (Young’s Literal Translation)

Despite the common misconception that it is man (either through his wickedness or his unbelief) who brings evil upon himself, God’s Word clearly says otherwise.

Job 14:5 “Since [man's] days are determined, the number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.”

Despite our advances in modern science and technology, God has numbered our days.

Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

He directs our very steps:

Proverbs 20:24 “A man’s steps are of the LORD; how then can a man understand his own way?”

Jeremiah 10:23 “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”

Job 23:13,14 “But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him.”

He has purposed to perform His will and to do all His pleasure:

Romans 11:36 “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things…”

Acts 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.”

Job 42:2 “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”

Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.”

Daniel 4:32,35 “…the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand…”

Acts 4:28 “They gathered to do everything that you, by your power and will, had already decided would take place.” (Today’s English Version)

Ephesians 1:11 “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”

We are all in the hands of the Great Potter, who is molding each and every one of us according to His will and according to His good pleasure.

Jeremiah 18:6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.”

It is God who hardens the heart. (Need I remind anyone of the Exodus story?)

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Isaiah 63:17 “O LORD, why have You made us stray from Your ways, and hardened our heart from Your fear?”

He even puts words in our mouths:

Proverbs 16:1 “The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.”

He has chosen to make some vessels for honor:

Acts 22:14 “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.”

Romans 8:29,30 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

John 1:12,13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you…”

Ephesians 1:4,5 “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the pleasure of His good will.”

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

II Thessalonians 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”

II Timothy 1:9 “[God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”

I Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

And some to be vessels for dishonor:

Psalm 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”

Isaiah 48:8 “Surely you did not hear, surely you did not know; Surely from long ago you ear was not opened. For I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the womb.”

I Peter 2:8 “They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”

Revelation 13:8 “All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the beast], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

If you have not been chosen to walk the difficult to find narrow road [the way of life], which leads to the kingdom of God, then you will worship the beast.

WHO IS THE BEAST, AND WHO CAN MAKE WAR WITH HIM?

God recently allowed me the privilege of meeting with some Mormon missionaries. The reason I say that it was a “privilege” is for the simple reason that He was able to teach me several things in the process.

Briefly defined, Mormonism in a nutshell appears to go something like this:

    1. You must come to the belief that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith (the author/translator of their book) was a prophet of God.
    2. You must be baptized into the Latter Day Saints Church, which is God’s only “true” church on the earth today.
    3. Maintaining a regiment of good works is essential in order to attain the highest glory in heaven, which they refer to as the “Celestial Kingdom.”

As I began to study the Book of Mormon, one thing in particular really caught my attention. Besides the typical threats of hell and endless torment (which are great proselytizing tools), I soon found out that the Mormon “holy book” teaches that man has free will. Here is one passage that clearly defines this:

    “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh [God's Word says we are born "slaves to sin"]; and all things are given to them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; and choose not eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.” – 2 Nephi 2:27-29

One evening I met with a couple of their missionaries. I had made a list of about 30 passages from God’s Word which refute this idea of man’s supposed “free will,” most of which we have already covered. As we were going through the list one by one, it didn’t take long before they both began to raise their voices in protest, with questions such as: “Well then, why are we here?” “Why do anything, then?” “Do you mean to say that we are all robots?” Now if my interpretation is correct, what I really heard them saying was simply this: “If we cannot, by our own free will, choose to please God by our own good works, then what’s the point of doing anything?” Now I realize that what I was trying to show them was some pretty profound truth, but to them, it sounded like utter foolishness, which is not surprising, for:

    “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14)

Spiritually minded men (and a few brilliant scientists) would have been able to accept these truths; instead, the carnally minded beast reared its ugly head:

    “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God [capable of making his 'own' choices].” (II Thessalonians 2:4)

The natural man does not want to give up his illusion of having a free will, for by it he attains his own righteousness (see Isaiah 64:6), with statements like: “I have accepted Christ as my Savior!” “I have been baptized!” “I go to church twice a week!” “I give ten percent of my money to the church!” Now many will protest by saying that it is their love for Jesus Christ that persuades them to do good works, and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with doing good works; in fact, good works are admirable! But the natural man has been erroneously taught that it is by his ‘own choice’ for Christ that has gotten him saved, whereas the Word of God teaches that God had already made that choice for each and every one of us from the foundation of the world:

    “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (II Timothy 1:9 – KJV)

I had to tell my Mormon friends that I didn’t see much difference between their system of belief as compared with other systems of belief. All man-made institutions that promise salvation are nothing more than little Towers of Babel “whose top may reach unto heaven” (Genesis 11:4 – KJV). Listen to a parallel passage from the book of Isaiah concerning the King of Babylon:

    “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God… I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” (Isaiah 14:13,14)

Although this passage [you will note the repeated use of the phrase "I will"] speaks first and foremost of a literal King of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar?), it is also symbolic of all of us “little kings” (no beer pun intended) who have likewise in our own hearts said the same thing. The Book of Daniel quotes King Nebuchadnezzar as saying:

    “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30)

The mighty king, filled with pride because of the great things he had accomplished during his lifetime, was about to learn a tough lesson in humility. While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven:

    “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times [years?] shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” (Daniel 4:31,32)

First of all, you will note that it was “they” who drove the mighty king from his lofty position. Now, from the text we cannot determine who “they” are. But given the previous examples in II Chronicles 18 and Job 1:6-12, I think it is safe to assume that these were unclean spirits that were sent forth by the LORD Himself for the purpose of humbling the mighty king.

Secondly, I find it extremely interesting that this proud man was made like unto a “beast” that was put on open display for all to see. And much like the prodigal son, who “came to himself” (see Luke 15:11-32) while feeding alongside the swine, the once-mighty king also came to his senses:

    “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever. For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand, or say to Him, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34,35)

After being humbled by God, Nebuchadnezzar finally learned the lesson that God is in control of ALL THINGS.

    “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” (Romans 9:16)

When will the organized church finally get the message?

    “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14 – KJV)

This is God’s exhortation to His people [Christians] who are called by His name. You will note that the first item on this list is humility. King Nebuchadnezzar first had to be humbled by God before he finally understood. All too often, people within the organized church will try to do these things in reverse order: first they seek God, then they pray and ask His help in overcoming their evil ways, and then they go to Bible study in order to learn the meaning of “true humility.” And all the while, they are not able to see that the beast – their idol of self-will and self-determination – is still planted firmly upon the throne of their hearts:

    “whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (II Thessalonians 2:8)

On the Day of the Lord, just as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, this “lawless one” will be revealed for all to see. Those who are being called to be saints will continue to look for the appearance of the great world leader to whom they refer as the “Antichrist.” Those who are being chosen to be saints clearly understand who this “antichrist” is. He has clearly been revealed in our time, and he is us!

“If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” (Revelation 13:9)

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

Friday, April 16th, 2010

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

Turn on the news just about any day of the week and you can see various groups of people whom many Christians might view as their “enemies.” A short list may include the following:

  • Liberal politicians who voted to have the Ten Commandments monument removed from the Alabama courthouse
  • Those who live or promote a gay lifestyle
  • Abortion clinic surgeons who shed innocent blood
  • “Cults” such as the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Radical Islamic fundamentalists who use violence in an attempt to convert the world to their way of belief

Rather than accept these individuals as those who are precious in the sight of God, there is all too often the tendency to look down upon them as “inferiors.” Despite the plea of our Lord Jesus to love them, we instead hate them.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

 THE PROBLEM WITH FEAR-DRIVEN THEOLOGY

Islamic fundamentalists would undoubtedly prefer first to convert the world through peaceful measures. However, if this method fails to have the desired outcome, it is then that they may be inclined to take a more violent approach. Christianity also seeks to peacefully convert the world by sharing the Love of Christ, but if that fails, they are then quick to play the “hell” card. So can you please tell me how Christian evangelistic methods are any different than the ones used by Islam? Both end up resorting to violence and threats; the main difference being that Islam resorts to physical violence, while Christianity, on the other hand, resorts to spiritual violence.

A fear-driven theology, by its very nature, inhibits one’s capacity to love. When evangelists convince someone that they must turn to Christ or face the grim eternal consequences, then all of the individual’s attention becomes focused upon securing his or her survival. This type of self-motivated behavior only leads people further away from the love of God.  Where fear is encouraged, love subsides.

Some of the early church fathers, including Clement of Alexandria (150-220), Origen (185-254), and John Chrysostom (347-407), knew the concept of an eternal hell was not true, but taught it as though it were, believing it to be an effective means whereby sin could be deterred and converts won. Because he considered it a part of the Gnostic or esoteric knowledge which might not be well for the unenlightened to hear, lest it should result in the injury of the ignorant, Clement says: “As to the rest I am silent and praise the Lord.” He “fears to set down in writing what he would not venture to read aloud.” He thinks this knowledge not useful for all, and that the fear of hell may keep sinners from sin.

The historian Neander says that Chrysostom also believed in universal salvation, but felt the opposite doctrine was necessary to alarm the multitude. He must have also been one of those esoteric believers who found the doctrine of endless punishment necessary to the welfare of sinners, and on that account he had preached it:

“There is a good deceit such as many have been deceived by, which one ought not even to call a deceit at all,” instancing that of Jacob, “which was not a deceit, but an economy.” (Homil. vi. in Col. ii. 8)

It is obvious that Origen also believed this truth to be privileged information for a few and not expedient for the masses when he wrote the following:

“But the remarks which might be made on this topic are neither to be made to all, nor to be uttered on the present occasion; for it is not unattended with danger to commit to writing the explanation of such subjects, seeing the multitude need no further instruction than that which relates to the punishment of sinners; while to ascend beyond this is not expedient, for the sake of those who are with difficulty restrained, even by fear of eternal punishment, from plunging into any degree of wickedness, and into the flood of evils which result from sin.” – Contra Celsus VI 26

According to The Dictionary of Christian Biography, Origen believed that “men must be treated as children, and the terrors of the judgment rather than the final restoration have to be brought before those who can be converted only by fears and threats.” Origen then declares that sinners who are “incurable” are converted by the threat of punishment:

“As to the punishments threatened against the ungodly, these will come upon them after they have refused all remedies, and have been, as we may say, visited with an incurable malady of sinfulness. Such is our doctrine of punishment; and the inculcation of this doctrine turns many away from their sins.” – Contra Celsus VIII 39,40

But if this is true, then even serving God and others become acts of selfishness. For years I served God not necessarily because I wanted to, but because I feared the consequences of not serving Him. Self-motivated, fear-induced behavior is a sign of immaturity, and shows that the individual has not yet been perfected in God’s Love.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (I John 4:18 – KJV)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7 – KJV)

Although wisdom, or knowledge begins with the fear of the LORD (Proverbs 1:7), transformation can only take place when God’s perfect Love casts out this fear, assuring us that we’ll never be abandoned or destroyed.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)

Many godly men in the early church did not fulfill their commission to fully preach the pure gospel of Christ. They failed to heed Paul’s words regarding this matter:

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (II Corinthians 5:18,19)

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach.” (I Timothy 4:9-11)

Although there is probably a minority within church leadership today that knows the truth of God’s plan to save all men, they also will not teach these truths for many of the same reasons the early church fathers would not. But I am convinced that the vast majority of our pastors, teachers, and theologians today teach falsehoods out of ignorance. They have not been diligent in their search for truth.

“We find few historians who have been diligent enough in their search for truth; it is their common method to take on trust what they help distribute to the public; by which means a falsehood once received from a famed writer becomes traditional to posterity.” – John Dryden (1631-1700) English Poet

The journey on the narrow road that leads to the life of the ages can only begin by coming to the realization that God loves us unconditionally. We must abandon this misconception that we are rejected because of our bad behavior or accepted because of our goodness. Only when we repent of these types of self-motivated beliefs and focus upon God’s Love can His Love alter us. Only then can He transform hearts darkened by sin and soften hearts hardened by self-righteousness.

Before I came to an understanding of God’s plan to save all mankind, I found Jesus’ commandment to “love our enemies” rather difficult to follow. It seemed as though I was always able to find fault with others for various things. In fact, my attitude was very similar to the Pharisee who was quick to thank God that he was not like the publican that was mentioned in Luke’s gospel (see Luke 18:9-14). In my case I was thankful to God for not being like a certain Re-publican.

It is precisely attitudes like these that have led many people in the world today to believe that there is no way God could ever accept them because of all of the evil things they have done. And likewise, there are many who believe that because they belong to the right group, recited the right prayer of repentance and got baptized in the right manner, that somehow these acts of ‘righteousness’ have earned them God’s favor. Both groups are sadly mistaken.

“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are under sin. As it is written:

There is none righteous, no, not one;

There is none who understands;

There is none who seeks after God.

They have all turned aside;

They have together become unprofitable;

There is none who does good, no, not one.”

(Romans 3:9-13 – NKJV)

“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” (Isaiah 64:6 – RSV)

A theology of love is grounded in the realization that God loves our enemies as much as He loves us. And this is the irony of Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies.     We are ALL being created in God’s image. We are ALL precious in His sight. We are ALL children of God. Once we grasp this concept, we will see others in a brand new light. We will no longer see them as our enemies, but as our brothers and sisters, fellow heirs of God’s grace.

WHO IS THE ENEMY?

Since this article is concerned with the subject of loving one’s enemies, it would be incumbent upon us to take a closer look at the Biblical definition of the word “enemy.” All throughout the New Testament, according to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word used to represent the word “enemy” is echthros (G#2190), which means: an adversary (especially Satan). Let’s take a look now at a few examples of how this word is used in the Scriptures:

1.      “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’” (Luke 19:41-44)

A devout Jew that was familiar with Daniel’s prophecy (see Daniel 9:24-27) of the coming Messiah should have known that this was time of their visitation, the very day of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Jesus wept over the city, for these truths were hidden from them. Therefore, Christ pronounces judgment upon the great city, and the certainty of its destruction. This prophecy was later fulfilled in stunning detail when Titus of Rome led an army to put down the Jewish revolt and destroyed the city (see Josephus: War of the Jews). In this instance, Rome is described as the ‘enemy.’

2.      “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s own enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)

Jesus Christ, otherwise known as the “Prince of Peace,” says here that He did not come to bring peace during this present wicked age. As long as there are different religious viewpoints, and as long as there is an absence of the knowledge of truth, there will be disagreements that will lead to envy, hatred, hostility, and even wars between nations, as we have witnessed all throughout our history. In many cases, this will even lead to animosity between the members of one’s own household. Those who are of the household of faith look forward to the peaceful reign of Christ which begins upon His return to judge the nations in righteousness (see Isaiah 25:6-9; 26:9).

In the next example our Lord Jesus, while explaining the parable of the tares of the field to his disciples, identifies who the real enemy, or adversary, is:

3.      “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.” (Matthew 13:37-40)

When Jesus spoke this parable to the masses, He wasn’t talking about a simple farmer in Judea who was struggling to keep the weeds out of his crops. The simple fact that Jesus had to take time out to explain this parable to his disciples should be proof enough that nothing He said in it should be taken literally, yet this is exactly what orthodox Christianity does when it comes to God’s judgment by fire.

The “fire” of which Jesus is speaking is God’s divine judgment that will burn away the wood, hay, and stubble for the purpose of saving the man (see I Corinthians 3:12-15), not tormenting him. The Greek word pur (Strong’s #4442) is translated as “fire,” and according to A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, can mean:

“Either literally, metaphorically, and eschatologically (as an instrument of punishment in the conceptions of later Judaism, the fire of the Divine wrath which burns in Gehenna).”

(For more on this, be sure to read the article Hell: Biblical Truth or Pagan Myth?)

4.      “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19,20)

Jesus is not referring to the literal handling of poisonous snakes and scorpions, a practice that many of us have heard about in some remote mountainous regions of West Appalachia. What Jesus is really referring to is the power that He has given to His witnesses (those who have the true testimony of Jesus Christ – Revelation 19:10) to expose false doctrine within the church.

5.      “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies.” (Revelation 11:4,5)

Once again, we are not talking about a literal flame that goes forth from the mouths of these witnesses in order to burn up literal flesh and blood human beings. The “fire” (God is a consuming fire – Hebrews 12:29) is the Truth of the real gospel, which “cuts to the heart” and is able to pull down the strongholds (I saw Satan fall like lightning) that keep God’s people in bondage.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” (II Corinthians 10:4)

Many of us have been taught that a Spirit-filled, born-again believer cannot be “possessed” by the devil. Those who wish to argue this point should take a closer look at Mark 1:21-28, where Jesus heals a man with an unclean spirit. And guess where Jesus found this man? Did He find him sitting half-drunk in the local pub? Was he getting a lap dance in the local brothel? No. Jesus found this apparently religious man sitting unnoticed, in the midst of the people in their synagogue! And if you take an honest look at today’s church, there really isn’t that much difference between the majority of the people in the churches as opposed to many self-seeking, worldly people. In fact, all one needs to do is watch the local news at night to see that there are many good church-going people who get caught up in the same types of vices as worldly people. Jesus said that we would know them by their fruits. The spiritual wickedness in high places does indeed extend well beyond the realm of government.

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

“The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14)

The ones whom God has blessed with spiritual eyes to see spiritual things will always try to look a little deeper into God’s Word in order to learn more profound truths.

“For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (I Corinthians 2:10)

What I am about to share with you is one of the more profound truths that God has recently revealed to me concerning the subject of “loving our enemies.”

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12 – KJV)

According to this passage of Scripture, our real enemies are not defined in terms of flesh and blood. In other words, people, regardless of their race, creed, national, political or religious affiliation, are NOT our enemies. This is why we are commanded to love them in the same way that we love ourselves. Our REAL enemies are more accurately defined as principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places.

Now here’s the shocker: The spiritual man must move to the point where he can learn to love even these! Let me repeat myself once again: The spiritual man WILL LEARN TO LOVE EVEN THESE ENEMIES! Now before you are convinced that I have really gone off my rocker this time, please bear with. I will assure you that my sole purpose for this article is to glorify God. But first, you must be able to see that ALL THINGS are working according to the big picture and plan of our sovereign LORD.

THE PROBLEM WITH DUALISM 

Fundamental Christianity promotes what is commonly referred to as a “dualistic theology,” which has its roots in Persian Zoroastrianism. In other words, God is opposed to Satan, and Satan is warring against God. According to R.C. Zaehner, who was for years regarded as one of the leading authorities on the ancient religion of Zoroaster, “God was so completely identified with goodness and righteousness that it became unthinkable that he could be even indirectly responsible for evil.” The Scriptures, however, clearly teach otherwise [See Job 26:13; Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6].

*NOTE: Zoroastrians do not believe in a place of everlasting punishment. According to Zaehner: “God does not condemn his creatures to eternal torment for sins, however terrible, committed in time. These are punished, and punished severely, in a temporal Hell over which Ahriman (Satan) and his demons preside; but no good God could mete out eternal punishment to his creatures, no matter how grave their sins, for this would be contrary both to his goodness and to his justice. To suppose otherwise is to attribute qualities to God which properly belong to the Devil; and for the Zoroastrian this is the crassest blasphemy.” – R.C. Zaehner Teachings of the Magi

As long as one holds to the church’s dualistic system of belief, my previous comment concerning the act of loving these spirits will seem preposterous. For instead of being able to see the truth that it is God Himself who sends these “ministering spirits” to instruct, correct, or discipline us, people will see these spirits acting in opposition to God, rather than for Him [See II Chronicles 18:18-22; Job 1:6-12].

It is precisely this type of false belief that has encouraged many heretical teachings in the church today, for instance, the “health and wealth” gospel. The common teaching says that if things aren’t going well for you in the terms of good health and financial blessings, then something must be amiss in your walk with God. Perhaps there is some “secret sin” in your life of which you need to repent. Maybe you’re not “tithing” to the church the required 10%, or maybe you’re not stepping out in your faith with a generous “seed” gift. Surely God wants to bless you, but unless you do what His church requires of you, His hands are tied. I wonder what today’s church would tell the apostle Paul upon learning of all the suffering that he was enduring (see II Corinthians 11:23-28)? Perhaps he wasn’t tithing the required 10%.

But Paul, unlike most Christians today, recognized God’s hand upon his own life in allowing these ‘spirits’ to buffet him:

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. [This ‘thorn' (whatever it may have been) in Paul's flesh was for the purpose of keeping him humbled] Concerning this thing I pleaded with the LORD three times that it might depart from me. [God's disciplinary measures toward us will not always be pleasant (Hebrews 12:11)] And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [Paul had to learn to ‘die daily' – for Christ could not ‘increase' in his life unless he ‘decreased' (see John 3:30)]  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:7-10)

Paul came to the point where he could take pleasure in his suffering for the sake of Christ, knowing that his reward would be great in heaven (see Luke 6:20-23). Peter reiterates this righteous attitude in his first epistle:

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” (I Peter 4:12-14)

James also testifies of these truths:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

And the author of the book of Hebrews adds the following:

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” (Hebrews 12:7-9)

“God’s discipline is too often mistaken for His indignation. The presence of trials and distresses are not a proof of sin and God’s anger, but may be the tokens of His love. Job’s friends tried to convince him that his calamities came as the penalty of his own misdeeds. Job himself thought that God was his enemy and had conspired against him. All were wrong, for the blessed result of a closer knowledge of his Maker fully vindicated God for all the afflictions He had brought upon him. Job had heard of Him, but after his trial he could say that he had seen Him – a more intimate acquaintance.” – A.E. Knoch, Concordant Commentary on the New Testament

Most of us are only concerned with the here and now. We have our eyes set upon earthly things. When things don’t always go the way we want them to, we have the tendency to blame God. We fail to remember that it is God Himself who causes it to rain upon both the just as well as the unjust. As a result, we are unable to see the presence of God’s hand in our disheartening circumstances, and are unaware that these are but part of the process by which He is bringing us into the larger and nearer place He has prepared for us. From our limited perspective, many things occur that we won’t understand until God’s glory is revealed. But there is great peace in having the faith that everything is going according to God’s wonderful plan.

In this ethnically and racially divided society in which we live, my greatest remaining challenge will be to treat each and every person as a beloved child of God. It is only in remembering that His wonderful grace, which is in the process of transforming me, is also at work in every other person. The triumph of Love will not be complete until every last person has been redeemed. A chosen few will experience redemption during this life, while most will experience it after death; but make no mistake about it – Love WILL triumph! For God IS Love, and LOVE NEVER FAILS!

“And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:3,4 – ASV)

“Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is. Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds! Your enemies cringe before your mighty power. Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.’” (Psalm 66:1-4 – NLT)

APPENDIX

Friday, April 16th, 2010

APPENDIX

The principle of which In have interpreted the Varieties of the Offerings is one which appears to lie open to an objection. My principle, it will be remembered, is that the Varieties in the Typical Offerings represent different aspects or apprehensions of Christ’s One Offering: the different offerings giving us different aspects of His Offering; the different grades the various apprehensions of some one aspect.

In preceding pages In have briefly given the grounds for this judgment. An objection, however, may be made. It may be urged, that it is far more reasonable to suppose that God in His Word would give us representations of realities themselves rather than of certain apprehensions of the, inasmuch as since different apprehensions must be more or less imperfect, the representation of such in His word would make that Word imperfect likewise.

The plausibility of this objection makes me notice it here. It is, however, In am convinced, unsound; proceeding throughout on an assumption opposed to reason and all experience. That this assumption is not sooner detected arises from the fact that it involves questions with which but few are conversant. The objection assumes, without appearing to assume anything, certain points connected with the capabilities of our perceptive faculties. The mass of mankind are content to use their perceptive faculties without ever troubling themselves to inquire what it is those faculties deal with. Any assumption, therefore, on such subjects, takes them into an unknown sphere, where, from misapprehension of what they seem to see, their most logical conclusions, because founded on misapprehension, may, and indeed necessarily must, be most irrational.

In say the objection makes assumptions. It does so on the subject of representations, assuming it reasonable to suppose that of certain apprehensions of realities. To this In say at once, that such a supposition, so far from being reasonable, is most unreasonable. For, first, it is acknowledged that the perceptive faculty, whether of things inward or outward, deals not with realities themselves, but only with their phenomena; which phenomena, though they pre-suppose the existence of realities, are not realities, but, as the name imports, only certain appearances of them. And secondly, it is equally plain, that pictures or similar representations, (and the types are confessedly such representations,) can of necessity be conversant with phenomena only, inasmuch as they only describe or represent what the perceptive faculty takes cognizance of. It follows hence at once, that if the Types are to represent what our perceptive faculties take cognizance or, they will necessarily be representations, not of realities themselves, but of certain appearances or apprehensions of them.

In am more and more satisfied that what we see of Christ and God, though true as far as it goes, (and surely most true it is,) is yet very far short of the ineffable reality “which passeth all understanding.” Certain forms of the truth we have got: the reality, who has yet attained to know it?

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THE OFFERINGS AS A WHOLE

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Chapter 7

THE OFFERINGS AS A WHOLE

Union with Christ is that which essentially constitutes a Christian. Nor is this union something changeful or visionary: it is a reality wrought by the Holy Ghost. The Church is “in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 12:5; II Cor. 5:17; Gal. 1:22; Eph. 1:3; In Thess. 4:16; In John 5:20, etc.); and, as a consequence, “as He is, so are we in this world” (In John 4:17); identified with Him in His shame and in His joys; in His death, His burial, and His resurrection (Rom. 6:4,8; Col. 2:12, 3:1).

And truly the figures which are used to describe this union are such as we should never have dared to appreciate, had they not been given to us in our Father’s Word, and were they not sealed in our hearts by His Spirit. What is the fellowship of brethren? What the union of the bridegroom and bride? What is the union of members with the head, of the branches with the vine, yea, of Christ with God; such is the union of saints with Christ, such the bond which binds us to Him. Not only does Christ say of His people, – :They are not of the world, even as In am not of the world” (John17:14,16); but if He is “the Head,” they are “the members,” and both but “one body.” “As the many members are one body, so also is Christ” (In Cor. 12:12). The context and argument here plainly demand that the sense should be, “so also is the Church;” but the Church and Christ “are not twain, but one” (Eph. 5:31,32): therefore the Apostle writes, “So also is Christ:” “For ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” “And no man ever yet hated his own body; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:29,30).

This union has its consequences, and they are most important, having reference to our standing and to our walk in Christ.

For the first of these, our standing in Christ, faith apprehends it: and thus we have peace with God. We see a man, “the man Christ Jesus,” as man in perfectness standing “for us:” by His perfect sacrifice of Himself meeting God’s claim on man, and thus in His person reconciling man to God. The sight of this, or rather the faith of it, gives peace. We see man reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus. His place, therefore, is now by faith apprehended as ours. Through Him, and in Him, by the Spirit, we claim and realize it.

But the union of Christ and His Church not only affects our standing; it must, if it be a reality, affect our walk. It is true, indeed, that our walk, as being part of our experience, and our experience being but the measure of our apprehension, through our lack of spiritual power, is constantly short of that for which we are apprehended (Phil. 3;12). But our standard is still that for which we are apprehended, and that is the walk of Christ. “He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (In John 2:6). Indeed, the work of the Spirit is but to verify in all Christ’s members that which is already true for them in the person of their Head. To see, therefore, what is true of Him as our Head, cannot be looked at alone in it connexion with our standing. If we are Christ’s, it must necessarily take us further, leading us to know what should be the measure of our walk, and teaching us to judge in it, as unbecoming our calling, all that in us is contrary to the walk of Christ. If it be true that we are indeed His members, by the living Spirit bound to Him, to be His for ever; if it be true that in Him we are dead and risen, and if through grace we can rejoice in this; we are only the more called on in the knowledge of this to seek to be conformed to Him, that so the things which are true for us in Him, may be made true in our soul’s experience by the Spirit.

Now, there are not a few who seem to see one part of this truth, but who appear incapable of receiving both parts; some exclusively pressing that which bears upon our walk, others that which is connected with our standing. The consequence inevitably is meagreness in both, while the truth of God is on each point deformed and weakened. Those who, while they see the standard for our walk in Christ, do not see the believer’s place in Him as accepted, uncertain of their place, while aiming to apprehend, lose the joy and strength which flows from knowing that they are apprehended. As a consequence, they lower the standard of their walk, seeking only just so much of the Spirit’s fruits as will prove them Christians. Others again, having read of Christ’s oneness with His Church, and as a consequence the believer’s acceptance in Him, seem often by no means equally to understand the necessary connexion of this with their walk as Christians. Such profess to see their union with Christ, that He died for them, that they died in Him, without seeing that this union, if indeed it be real, must involve their daily dying with Him. Indeed, the very reverse of this is practically asserted. They seem to think Christ died in the flesh, that they might live in it. With such the doctrine really is this, – Christ dies to sin that In might live to sin. In ask, is there anything like this to be found within the whole compass of Scripture? Such a doctrine exhibited as it is in the lives of hundreds, though practically denying our union with Christ, because so often stated by those who profess to know that union, has done more than ought else to hide it. The humble soul, shrinking from the thought of making Christ’s love to us an indulgence or apology for sin, recoils instinctively from that which, while it speaks of union with Christ, in works utterly denies it.

To connect this with THE OFFERINGS. The Offerings set forth Christ. We see in them how man in Christ has made atonement. Our standing as believers immediately flows from this: for “as He is, so are we in this world.” We look at the Sin and Trespass-offerings, and see that the sin of man has been fully borne. We look at the Burnt and Meat-offerings, and see all God’s requirements satisfied. And this is our confidence, that as Christ “for us” has been without the camp, as “for us” He has been laid on the altar; so truly do we, if quickened by His Spirit, stand in Him, even as He is: “for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).

But there is also the other aspect of this truth. We are one with Christ: therefore we should walk even as He walked. In this view His Offering, as our example, sets before us the model and standard for our self-sacrifice. And just as Christ’s sacrifice for us had varied aspects, as satisfying God, as satisfying man, as bearing sin; so, though of course in a lower sense, will our self-sacrifice, just as it is conformed to His, and because we one with Him, have these same aspects. It is in this way that, in a secondary sense, the Typical offerings have an application to Christians. Thus we also are offerers and our bodies offerings; as it is written, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). Not indeed as though by our self-sacrifice we could make Christ’s Offering for us more acceptable: – “We are sanctified by the offering of His body once for all” (Heb. 10:10); “we are made accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6); – but as the consequence of our acceptance in Him, and as the fruit of our union with Him through the Spirit. Therefore we offer; and as already accepted in Christ, though in ourselves poor, weak, and worthless, our sacrifices, whether our works or person, as the fruits of Christ’s Spirit, are acceptable through Him. Of course there is in His pure Offering that which will find no counterpart in us. Dissimilarities neither few nor small arise from the fact that He was sinless, we sinners. Yet the saint, as in spirit alive with Christ, as entering into His willing mind (In Cor. 2:16), yea, as already one with Him, as in Him dead and risen, will seek further “to be made conformable to His death” (Phil. 3:10). His self-sacrifice may fail in many ways: but his rule is the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.

In proceed therefore to trace, in conclusion, how far the various aspects of the offering of the body of Christ, may be applicable to those who, being members of His mystical body, are called to walk even as He walked.

In. And first the BURNT-OFFERING. This was man satisfying God: man in Christ giving himself to God as His portion. We have seen how for us this was fulfilled in Christ. We inquire how far in us it may be fulfilled by the Spirit. And in this light, both in its measure and character, the Burnt-offering stands a witness how we should “yield ourselves” (Rom. 6:13). First, as to its measure. It was “wholly burnt.” No part was withheld from God. Can we mistake this teaching? Does it not plainly say that conformity to Christ must cost us something, – yea, that is involves entire self-surrender, even though that surrender lead us to the cross? “In will not,” said David, “offer unto the Lord a Burnt-offering of that which doth cost me nothing” II Sam. 24:24). The Burnt-offering is still costly, befitting Him who receives it at our hands. The Burnt-offering was God’s claim; that claim was love; as He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord with all thine heart.” The fulfilment of this required a life from Christ. It will demand our lives just in measure as we walk with Him. “For love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame” (Canticles [Song of Solomon] 8:6).

And in these days when pious worldliness is so successfully misusing the truth of God; – when in the light of the advanced wisdom of this our age, self-sacrifice is exploded folly; – when the mere fact that a path involves loss in this world, is considered a good reason for our at once avoiding it; – when the doctrine of the cross, as it bears upon our walk, is not only omitted, but openly condemned; – when to give up the world is injudiciousness, and to crucify the flesh a return to law; – in such days we do well to look at the Burnt-offering, as setting before us the example we are called to follow. Alas! that it should be so, but it is not denied, by some it is even gloried in, that Christianity now involves no loss; the times are altered: the world is changed. The offence of the cross has ceased: they that live godly need not suffer (See II Tim. 3:12). A path has been found, a happy path some think it, wherein the highest profession of Christ costs nothing; nay, in which such a profession, so far from involving the loss of this world, is the surest way to gain its praise. According to this doctrine, Christ suffered for us; apostles, prophets, martyrs, all suffered. They, in their pilgrimage, lost this world for another; but we, in happier days, can possess both worlds. It cannot be. If God’s Word be true, our path after Christ must be still a sacrifice. We, as they of old, if followers of Christ, must with Him, “presents our bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).

And indeed if we do but weigh these words, – “Present your bodies a living sacrifice,” – we cannot shut our eyes to what is involved in them, and that we are called to give up ourselves. Can we do this without cost, or without feeling that sacrifice is indeed sacrifice, though it be willing sacrifice? Impossible. Christ felt His sacrifice: and so surely shall we, if we offer with Him. Nor shall we grudge this. Just as it was His joy to give Himself; as He said, “In delight to do Thy will, O God” (Psa. 11:8); so in us also, as quickened with Him, “the spirit is willing, though the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).

In do not wish to press every detail of the Burnt-offering in its application to our individual walk; yet the general character of the victim may be a guide to the character, as its entire surrender was to the measure, of our offering. We saw, in the application of the type to Christ, how its varieties of bullock, lamb, and turtle-dove, each brought out some distinct particular in the character of our blessed Lord. In each of these we have an example we can comprehend, however far we may be from attaining to it. Would to God that in active yet patient service, in silent unmurmuring submission, in gentleness and innocency of life, we might be conformed to Him who went before us. These emblems of His offering, if they mean anything, sufficiently shew us, – even as His example shewed it, – that sacrifice is not to make us great in this world: service, submission, meekness, will gain no crown here. We cannot be heroes in this world, if we offer ourselves to God in the character these emblems typify. But if confirmed to them, we shall be more like Christ. May He give us grace gladly to acquiesce in the likeness! He, as man in a proud and violent world, yea, and for us, was all that these emblems typify. He bore the cross such a character involved; He shrunk not from the reproach it brought Him. He was despised and rejected of men, as a lamb slain, and none to pity. In a word, and this is indeed the sum of it, He was content to be nothing, that God might be all. May the corresponding reality be more manifested in us, through subjection to the power of His indwelling Spirit.

II. But let us pass on to the MEAT-OFFERING. Here, as man for men, Christ offered Himself as the fruit of the earth, that is, as man’s meat. In doing this, He gave Himself to God, yet with special reference to man, and as meeting man’s claim on Him. Man had a claim upon man; god had ratified the claim, saying, “Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself.” In the Meat-offering, Christ met and satisfied this claim, by giving Himself to God as man’s portion. Let us, in the light of His sacrifice, learn how far His members, though but “leavened bread,” may yield themselves to God as man’s meat.

To turn then to our Pattern. What, as meeting man’s claim, was the character of His Offering, and what the measure of? For its character, “the bruised corn,” “the oil,” “the salt,” and “the frankincense,” are sufficiently explicit. For the measure of it, it is enough to say, the Type shews us the whole consumed. Such is our standard. Its import we cannot mistake. The question is, How far we may be conformed to it? To answer this let us look to other days, and see how far poor sinful man has been conformed to it. Time was when the Church, though but “a leavened cake” (Lev. 23:17), was so far filled with the anointing of the Holy Ghost, that “the multitude of them which believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Neither was there any that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:32-35). Here was a Meat-offering, and a costly one: but costly as it was, it was not then a rare one. In that day there were living men, who for the gospel had “lost all things” (Phil. 3:8), who yet, while suffering this, were willing to suffer more, even to give their own lives to God for others. “Yea,” says Paul, “if In be poured out,” (he alludes to the Drink-offering which was offered as an adjunct to the Meat-offering – Num. 15:1-12) – “Yea if In be poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, In joy and rejoice with you” (Phi. 2:17). Nor was he alone in this. Time would fail to tell of others, Onesiphorus, Epaphroditus, Philemon, Phebe, who “oft refreshed the bowels of the saints” (Philemon 7). Their lives were indeed a Meat-offering.

There is yet a Church. There must yet be offerings; and thank God we yet hear of sacrifices. But what is their measure, what their character? How far are they conformed to those we have but just spoken of? Let each here judge himself. This only will In say, that just in measure as we are like our Master, – just in proportion as we accept His words as the rule for the measure, as well as the manner of our sacrifice, – just so far as in the steps of those of old, we “sell that we have, and give alms,” – just as we “give to him that asketh of us, and from him that would borrow of us turn not away,” – just so far shall we find our path a sacrifice, involving not only cost, but unexpected trial. As of old, so is it now. The box of alabaster, of ointment, of spikenard very precious, cannot be poured upon the head of Christ, without exciting the anger of those who see it. Even disciples must complain. “When the disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose was this waste?” Even so is it now. Self-sacrifice is still reproved, even by those who follow the Crucified One. With not a few, such a course is sufficient proof of the lack of common sense or common prudence in the person guilty of it. But what saith the Lord? “When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me: for in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily In say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached, there shall also this, that this woman hat done, be told for a memorial of her” (Matt. 26:7-13). And in that coming day, when the gospel shall have done its work, in gathering a people out of all nations, when the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, – in that day when the righteous answer, When saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee, the King shall say, Inasmuch as ye did it to my brethren, ye did it unto me.

III. In pass on to THE PEACE-OFFERING. This was that view of the Offering which shewed us the Offerer fed. In the Peace-offering, the offerer, with the Priest, and God, partook of, that is, found satisfaction in, the offering. Can it be said that in this aspect of the Offering, our self-sacrifice can at all resemble Christ’s? Can our poor offerings yield any satisfaction to ourselves? Can they afford any satisfaction to Christ and God? In must take heed what In say here. But what saith the Lord? Let His Word in each case supply the answer. That answer will teach us that in this aspect also the Peace-offering has a fulfilment, not only in Christ, but in His members.

And first, for God’s part. Does God find satisfaction in our offerings? The following witness is sufficiently clear: – “To do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb. 13:16). So again, the offering sent by the Philippians to Paul was “a sweet savour:” God found in it something pleasant to Him: – “The things which were sent from you, are an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18). The words here used in the original are the very same as those which the Septuagint have used to express “a sweet savour” in the Peace-offering. [Footnote: St. Paul’s words are osme euodia __ theos. In the Peace-offering the Septuagint version gives osme euodia _.] What stronger proof can we need of God’s satisfaction in, and the value He puts upon, the offerings of His Church. “God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9:7); and as our greatest gift is “to give ourselves” (II Cor. 8:5), so the presentation of our bodies as living sacrifices is “acceptable unto the Lord” (Rom. 12:1). And we need to remember this. It is possible, nay, it is easy, in our zeal against the doctrine of salvation by works, to leave the impression that all works are useless, none acceptable to God, or accepted of Him. In fear there are not a few who, practically at least, are in error upon this very question. The works of the flesh are indeed dead works; but the fruits of the Spirit, as they flow from Christ, as they are the witnesses of His grace, an offering to His praise, so do they come up before God through Him “a sweet savour.”

But the Priest also fed in the Peace-offering. For the joy which our Priest finds in our offerings, poor and feeble though they be, it is enough to know, that even in the cup of cold water, in the bread to the hungry, He is refreshed and fed. “In was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: In was thirsty, and ye gave me drink” (Matt. 25:35). Oh, did we but know His joy in seeing us yield ourselves an offering for Him, to find that in a world which hated Him some remember Him while still away: – if we but realized the gladness of His soul in some work of faith or labour of love, forgotten it may be by the feeble doer, but treasured in the book of Him who is “not forgetful;” – we could not, In think, give up ourselves with such narrow, selfish, grudging hearts. Could we, if in our services to the poor we saw Christ in them, and realized that He received our gifts, present them with such niggard hands? Would not our best be freely offered Him? Suppose Him wanting bread. If we knew He lacked, that He was hungry, naked, sick, or suffering; would not our last shilling, our most precious time, be freely given to minister to Him? We can do so still. “In was sick, and ye visited me: In was a stranger, and ye took me in. Verily In say, Inasmuch as ye did it to my brethren, ye did it unto me” (Matt. 25:40).

But further, the Peace-offering fed the offerer. And surely we have been strangers to self-sacrifice, if we need to be told the joy it imparts to him who sacrifices. But what saith the Word? Paul, speaking of his service, says, “Yea, if In be sacrificed, In joy, and rejoice with you” (Phil. 2:17). So again to the Colossians, “In rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ” (Col. 1:24). So again, “In count not my life dear unto me, so that In might finish my course with joy” (Acts 20:24). Not only is it true, that for our service “every one shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour” (In Cor. 3:8); but in our service, in yielding ourselves to God, there is present joy with which a stranger intermeddleth not. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35); and he who gives himself to God shall know this blessedness. “Sorrowful” he may be, “yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich” (II Cor. 6:10). The very costliness of the sacrifice increases our joy, when we know that He, to whom we offer, rejoices with us.

IV. Thus far we have only followed the sweet-savour offerings, in their application to the Christian’s walk. Are the remaining offerings, THE SIN and TRESPASS-OFFERINGS, equally applicable to us upon this same principle? In believe they are; though, as in the preceding offerings, only applicable in a secondary way. God forbid In should be mistaken upon this point, as though In thought that the saint could atone fore himself or others. In this sense, any interference with the Sin-offering would be a setting aside of the work of Christ. Still, there is a sense and measure in which the Sin-offering has its counterpart in us, as bearing on our self-sacrifice: there is a sense in which the Christian may bear sin, and suffer its judgment in his mortal flesh. Just as the Burnt-offering, – which, in its first and full application, shews Christ in perfectness once offering Himself of man; by that One Oblation of Himself once offered, meeting God’s claim on man, and so reconciling us to God for ever; – just as this Burnt-offering, while as offered for us it secures our acceptance, has also, as an example to us, an application to our walk, shewing how man in Christ should offer himself, through the Spirit giving himself to God; just so is it in the Sin and Trespass-offerings. Without in the least degree interfering with the atonement perfected by the One great sin-offering; – while holding that by that One perfect sacrifice, and by that alone, sin can ever be purged; as it is written, “He by Himself purged our sins” (Heb. 1:3); – there is still a sense in which the Christian, in offering himself to God, can and should use the Sin-offering, as well as the Burnt-offering, as his pattern. For lack of knowing this many are sparing that flesh, which the cross of Christ was given to crucify.

What then was THE SIN-OFFERING? It was that peculiar offering, in which the victim bore sin, and died for it. The question is, how far, even if at all, this is applicable to the Christian’s offering. Is there anything to be wrought in us by the Spirit, answering to the dying for sin of the Sin-offering? Let the Scripture answer: “Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (In Pet. 3:18). And what is the inference? Is it that the death of Christ is the reprieve to the flesh, its release from suffering? On the contrary, Christ’s death in the flesh for sin is made our example: we too must also, yea therefore, die with Him. So it follows: – “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (In Pet. 4:1). The saint, as having been judged in the person of Christ, and knowing that for him Christ has borne the cross, follows on by that cross to judge and mortify all that he finds in himself still contrary to his Lord. The flesh in him is contrary to that Holy One: the flesh in him therefore must die. And instead of making Christ’s cross the reprieve for that flesh, the child of God will u se that cross to slay it. Others may preach the cross of Christ as an excuse for carnal and careless walking. He who abides in God’s presence will surely learn there that by the cross we must be crucified with Christ. If he says, “God forbid that In should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he will add at once, “ by whom the world is crucified unto me, and In unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). In know indeed that “there are enemies of the cross, whose God is their belly, who glory in their shame” (Phil. 3:1); who are using the doctrine of the cross, to spare that flesh which the cross should crucify. But God’s truth is, that so far from “the flesh” or “old man” being saved from death by the cross, it is by it devoted to death and to be crucified; and that Christ’s death, instead of being a kind of indulgence for sin, or a reprieve of the life of the flesh, the life of the old man, is to His members the seal that their flesh must die, and that sin with its lusts and affections must be mortified. [Footnote: It was but lately that in looking over a work just published, In found the following objection to the doctrines of grace; that, “if death be the penalty of sin, and Christ in dying for His people indeed bore the punishment due to them, how comes it that any believers die?” Full well has the so-called Evangelical preaching of the day merited such a rebuke - a rebuke which could never have been heard, had the full truth of the cross been stated, namely, that Christ’s death is the witness to His people, that, since they are His members, they must also be crucified with Him. See Rom. 6:; Gal. 2; In Pet. 4.]

The fact is that the child of God, who, through ignorance of God’s mind, or disobedience, instead of judging the old man with his works, makes provision to fulfil the lusts thereof; such a one, if indeed he be Christ’s, by not judging himself, only brings upon himself God’s judgment. Happy they who, in communion with the Lord, learn and judge the flesh there, rather than in chastenings from Him. “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged of the Lord” (In Cor. 11:31). But if we reject this path: still the flesh must die. If we do not mortify it, God most surely will. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh” (Gal. 5:24). “Our old man is crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6). And just as, because we are alive in Christ, we can, as risen with Him, yield ourselves to God, in spirit giving Him the fruits of righteousness, a sweet savour to Him by Jesus Christ; so may we also, as one with Christ in the power and energy of the same Spirit, mortify our members which are upon the earth, and yield our flesh to death, to be crucified with Him.

How full, then, of teaching is the Sin-offering, viewed even in this lower light, merely as an example to us! How does it seal that truth we are so slow to learn, that the flesh, the old man, must be judged and mortified! In ask, how is this aspect of Christ’s Offering and our offering with Him apprehended by Christians? Another has said, – “The boast of our day is that Christ crucified is peached. But is He, even in this one respect, fully preached, or the doctrine of the cross fully apprehended? Let the walk of those who make the boast answer. It is not insinuated that such are chargeable with licentiousness or immorality. But are they, therefore, not chargeable with ‘walking after the flesh,’ and ‘making provision to fulfil its desires?’ In the multitude of particulars it is difficult to make a selection. But what then is the high regard in which blood, and ancestry, and family connexion, are held by some? What is the regard to personal appearance and dress, in others? What the attention to ease and comfort, and often-times profuse expenditure, (not to speak of actual luxuries), in the arrangement of the houses, tables, etc., of almost all? What are the accomplishments, on the acquiring of which so much time and money are spent? What the character of the education which most Christians, in common with the world, give their children? Or, to take a wider view still of making ‘provision for the flesh,’ apart from what is generally considered evil or sinful, – to what are all the discoveries in science, all the improvements in art, directed? What is the end of most of the trades and businesses followed in a professing Christian county, and often by Christians? Is all this, and a thousand other things too numerous to particularize, consistent with reckoning ourselves dead as to the old or natural man? Is this what the Scriptures intend by crucifixion of the flesh? Alas! full well do many of the profession Christians of our day shew that they are but half taught the very doctrine in which they make their boast; that they have but half-learned the lesson which even the cross teaches. They have learned that Christ was crucified for them, but they have not learned that they are to be ‘crucified with Him;’ or they have found an explanation for this latter expression in the imputation of His death for our justification; – a part of the truth, but not the whole; for in vain in this explanation of the words should we seek an answer to the objection which the Apostle anticipated. Yea, rather, that objection is confirmed by it, for it is nothing else than making the cross the reprieve of the flesh from death. And then when death itself comes to give the refutation to this creed, and to shew that the Christian is not saved in the flesh, then is the effect of this half-learned lesson seen. For, instead of welcoming death as that of which his life has been the anticipation, the execution of that sentence on the flesh, which, since he has known Christ as crucified for him, he has learned in its desert, and has been continually passing on it in mind and spirit, the dying with Christ daily, the ‘being planted in the likeness of His death,’ – instead of being enabled in this view actually to glory in his infirmities, in the weakness, yea, and the dissolution of the flesh, and like the victim found on the arrival of his executioner to have anticipated the end meditated for him, being found of death dead, – he is scarcely resigned to die, and impatient of suffering in the flesh. And why? Because that truth which the Cross of Christ was designed to teach, he never distinctly understood, or rather experienced, namely, that salvation is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit; not from death, but out of it; not the reinstating of the old nature, but the conferring of a new, by the dying and rising again with Christ” (Burgh’s Tracts, “On preaching Christ.” Christ in His death. Pp. 5,6).

V. It only remains for us to look at THE TRESPASS-OFFERING, in its bearing on the walk of saints. This was that offering in which restitution was made for wrong; the original claim with the added “fifth” was paid by the trespasser. We have seen how this was fulfilled for us in Christ, how at His hands God recovered all whereof man had robbed Him. We have seen the consequence of this to those in Christ, how they are complete in Him through who we have received the atonement. Our present inquiry is, how this offering should affect our walk; how far our union with Christ will make this view of His sacrifice an example to us?

And first we have restitution here. Christ standing for man makes full restitution for man’s wrong and trespass; “not with corruptible things, as silver and gold” (In Pet. 1:18,19); but by the value of His own Offering He repays our trespass. In this sense we can make no restitution. If Christ has not made it, we are lost. The rest of our lives, if wholly spent for God, could never atone for our acts of trespass. Each day would bring its own proper claim. Works of supererogation, therefore, we could have none. Yet there is a measure and a sense in which the saint in fellowship with Christ will make restitution. Not indeed as to win acceptance, but as shewing how, according to his measure, through the Spirit, he sympathizes with Christ. As he has in days past, as the servant of sin, robbed man and God of their rights, so now, as having been made free from sin, he becomes the servant of righteousness. “Now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:22).

But there was a fifth part added. God or man, if wronged by trespass, not only received back their original claim. In consequence of trespass, more than that claim was due to them, the payment of which with a life, constituted the Trespass-offering. Under the law, God and man had each their claim on man: the measure of that claim, by God’s own appointment, was righteousness: if man dealt justly toward God and man, nothing further than the right, nothing like grace, could by law be claimed of him. But it was different after he had trespassed. Then, by God’s own appointment, right was no longer the measure of his debt to others. If we were sinless, we should without doubt be safe, yea, we might bring the law to justify us, in dealing mere rights to every one. But if the Old and New Testaments mean anything by what they teach on this point, the trespasser is the wrong man to contend for rights. The fact of our being trespassers gives God a claim upon us, not merely the original claim, not the bare claim of right. Above and beside this, the trespasser is a debtor to yield that which, but for his being a trespasser, could never have been claimed from him. In know we call this, dealing in grace, to yield to sinners more than their just claim on us. In a sense it is grace: it would be so fully, if we ourselves were sinless before God. But because we are convicted trespassers, and trespassers who make our boast in grace, we are called, as the very witness of that grace and or our need of it, to deal in what we call grace to others. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye: but In say unto you, resist not evil. Do good to them that hate you; pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:38-44). “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your heavenly father forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25,26). “For if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil” (Luke 6:32-35).

This is very plain. But how far is it acted upon by many who profess to be one with Christ? Provided we have been just, who asks, have In been gracious, in my dealings with my fellow-men? Who scruples to go to law (In Cor. 6:1,7), who fears to claim his rights, little thinking of the added “fifth” of the Trespass-offering? And who, were his rights withheld by law, would hesitate to strive against the law by political agitation or otherwise; forgetting that grace, not right, must be the law, as it is the hope, of the trespasser? But In forbear upon this head. He that cannot hear Christ, will scarcely hear His feeble servant. “If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”

Such is “THE LAW OF THE OFFERINGS.” It gives but one view of Christ: yet how much is involved in it, both as to our walk and standing. Do we not need this truth? Surely if ever there was a time when the truths connected with Christ’s sacrifice were needed, that time is the present. As in the days of Christ, so now God’s truth is used as the prop of error. Just as then the Law, which was given to prove man’s sinfulness, was used by Pharisees to exalt man’s righteousness; so now the gospel, which was given to lead us to another world, is being used to make this world a more sure abiding place. It speak what is notorious: it is the beast of our age, that Christianity is doing what it never did before. It is giving temperance to the world and peace to the nations, it is vindicating the liberty of the slave; in a word, it is making for man a better home, a safer resting-place, on this side the grave. And all the while the world is still the world, and the slave still, as before, the slave of lust. Time was when Christians gave up the world. They now can mend it: they need not leave it. Oh, cunning device of the Evil One, too easily followed by a deluded age! God’s truth now, instead of laying man in his grave, with the certain hope of a resurrection morning, is used on all hands, misused In should say, to perfect man in the flesh, almost to deify him; – used to prop “the things which must be shaken,” instead of leading us to those “which cannot be moved,” – used to give an inheritance on this side death, instead of in the glory which shall be revealed. Oh, how does THE OFFERING judge all this! It speaks of sacrifice, even to the cross. It tells us that, as one with Christ, our portion in Him must yet be His portion. What had He here? He suffered under Pontius Pilate; He was crucified, dead, and buried; He rose again the third day; He ascended up into heaven; He sitteth at the right hand of God; He shall come again to judge the quick and dead. What had He here? Nothing. He took not as His home a world unpurged by fire, a creation still under the curse. He passed through it as a rejected pilgrim. We, too, if we would be like Him, must do so still. As Luther said, “Our spouse is a bloody husband to us.” He will not let us have this world till He has it. His day is at hand: for that day He waits (Heb. 10:13). Let us be content, “yet a little while,” to wait with Him. And while many are anticipating His kingdom, in a kingdom without His presence, and without His saints, let us look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

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THE TRESPASS-OFFERING

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Chapter 6

THE TRESPASS-OFFERING

We now come to the TRESPASS-OFFERING. Closely allied in its broad principle to the Sin-offering, in certain particulars it as decidedly differs from it. These particulars, though few in number, are broadly marked, and full of teaching. The apprehension of them will bring out very definitely that distinct aspect of Christ which the Trespass-offering is designed to present to us.

I proceed at once, as before, to consider this Offering, first, in its distinctive character, and then in its varieties: the first will give us the distinct aspect of Christ which is intended by this particular offering: the second shew the various apprehensions which may be formed of this one aspect.

I. First then, AS TO THE DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER OF THIS OFFERING: four particulars may at once be noted; the first having reference to the broad distinction between the Trespass-offerings and the whole class of sweet-savour offerings; the next bearing on the general distinction between the offerings not of a sweet savour, namely, the Sin and Trespass-offerings: the other two are more definite, and have to do with certain details connected with and flowing from the distinction between the nature of sin and trespass, and their atonement.

(1). On the first particular I need not here enter, for the distinction between what was and what was not of a sweet savour has so often been dwelt upon. I therefore merely notice the fact that the Trespass-offering was not a sweet savour. Christ is seen here suffering for sins: the view of His work in the Trespass-offering is expiatory.

(2). The next particular, too, we have already considered, namely, that this offering was a Trespass-offering, as distinct from a Sin-offering. We may, however, again advert to this, as the particulars given here very definitely mark what constitutes trespass. If a man wronged God, that was trespass: if he wronged or robbed his neighbour, that was trespass. We read, – “If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord;…then he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done” (Lev. 5:15,16). Again, – “If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 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” (Lev. 6:2-4). Here trespass is defined as wrong done to God, or wrong done to a neighbour: we read of “violently taking,” “deceitfully getting,” and “swearing falsely about that which is found.” In every case of trespass, wrong was done; there was an act of evil by which another was injured. And the offering for this act, the Trespass-offering, (in this a contrast to the Sin-offering) was offered by the offerer, not because he was, but because he had done, evil. Accordingly, in the Trespass-offering we never get sight of any particular person as a sinner: the act of wrong is the point noticed and dwelt upon.

Such was trespass, actual wrong and robbery, and yet there might be trespass, as well as sin, of which the trespasser was ignorant (Lev. 5:15,17,19). This is remarkable. It shews how little man’s judgment, not only respecting what he is, but respecting what he does, can be trusted. I observe that this unwitting trespass is specially seen in cases of “wrong in holy things;” we do not find an instance of it in cases of “wrong done to a neighbour.” The reason is manifest: our natural conscience takes cognizance of man and his claims far more readily than it is brought to understand God’s standard for all approaches to Him in holy things. Thus when little is known of this standard, when little is seen of the holy things, when trespass is thought of merely as affecting man, then unwitting trespass will not be recognized. But let a man be led much into the sanctuary, and learn something there of God’s holiness, and he will find that the holy things themselves, the very opportunities of worship, may, through our weakness, open a door for trespass. Those who are most with God will most confess, what to some seems quite incredible, that often there has been unwitting trespass in the holiest acts of work and worship. I believe there is not an act of any kind, whether of praise, or prayer, or worship, or ministry, which may not, through Satan’s cunning, prove an occasion to the flesh to bring forth some fruit of trespass. I need not particularize instances; I doubt not each instructed Christian will recognize some, where that which has been done either to the Lord or for the Lord, has afterwards been discovered to have been mixed with trespass. At the time, perhaps, the trespass has been unrecognized: but other circumstances or fuller light have made us conscious of it. Still the trespass is the same, recognized or unrecognized: and our ignorance, though it leaves us unconscious of evil, does not alter it.

And how solemn is the truth here taught us, that neither our conscience, nor our measure of light, nor our ability, but the truth of God, is the standard by which both sin and trespass are to be measured. “Though he wist it not, yet is he guilty; he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord” (Lev. 5:17,19). If man’s conscience or man’s light were the standard, each man might have a different rule. And. At this rate, right or wrong, good or evil, would depend, not upon God’s truth, but on the creature’s apprehension of it. At this rate, the filthiest of unclean beasts could not be convicted of uncleanness, while it could plead that it had apprehension of that which was pure and seemly. But we do note judge thus in the things of this world; neither does God judge so in the things of heaven. Who argues that because swine are filthy, therefore the standard of cleanliness is to be set by their perceptions or ability; or that because they seem unconscious of their state, therefore the distinction between what is clean and unclean must be relinquished. No: we judge not by their perceptions, but our own; with our light and knowledge, not their ignorance, as our standard. God, in like manner, though in grace He finds means for pardoning it, still judges evil as evil wherever He meets it. Our blindness does not alter His judgement; for it is our sin and that alone which has caused the blindness.

Such is trespass, and such the measure of it, a measure ever apparently widening according to our knowledge; for He who calls us, leads us to see as He sees, not only His grace, but our own deep and constant need of it. But, blessed be God, He that convinces of sin, testifies of Him also by whose Offering sins are pardoned. He that sees Jesus in the Trespass-offering, sees trespass met; for Christ has confessed it, borne its judgment, paid its penalty. Not only was “His soul an offering for sin,” – in this we get the Sin-offering, – but “He was wounded for our transgressions” (Compare Isa. 53:5,20), the judgement for trespass was also laid upon Him. Here, as in the Sin-offering, He stood “the just for the unjust” (I Pet. 3:18), confessing the wrongs of His people as His wrongs; and for those wrongs He made full restitution; and we in Him have satisfied God. All this, however, is so nearly allied to the Sin-offering, that I pass it as briefly as may be, to go on to those particulars which are more definite, and specially characteristic of the Trespass-offering.

These are two. In the Trespass-offering, besides the life laid down, the value of the trespass, according to the priest’s valuation of it, was paid in shekels of the sanctuary, to the injured party. Then, in addition to this, a fifth part more, in shekels also, was added to the sum just spoken of, which, together with the amount of the original wrong or trespass, was paid by the trespasser to the person trespassed against (Lev. 5:15,16, and 6:5,6). These particulars, respecting the payment of money in connexion with the offering, are not only very definite, but very remarkable. It may be well, therefore, before we consider them separately, to note how distinctly all this differed from the Sin-offering.

In the Sin-offering we see nothing of money: there was no estimation by the priest, nor any fifth part added. Indeed, from the nature of the case, there could be neither of these, for they depend entirely on the nature of trespass. In the Sin-offering the offerer was a sinner: and his sin was met and judged in the victim. A perfect victim bore the penalty; a sinless one was judged for sin. In all this the one thought presented to us is sin receiving its rightful wages. We see due judgment inflicted on the sinner’s substitute; and this having been inflicted, justice is satisfied. In the Trespass-offering, with the exception of “trespass” instead of “sin,” we have all this precisely the same as in the Sin-offering. The victim’s life is given for trespass: judgment is inflicted, and so far justice is satisfied. But in the Trespass-offering, there is more than this, – arising, as we shall see, out of the nature of trespass, – the original wrong or evil is remedied; and further, a fifth part is added to it. Observe, in the Trespass-offering the wrong inflicted is made up and restored by the offerer. According to the priest’s valuation, the injured party receives his own, or the value of it, back again. Nor is this all; more than the original loss is repaid: the loss is more than remedied. These two most interesting particulars, specially characterizing, as they do, the atonement of the Trespass-offering, result directly and immediately from the distinction between sin and trespass. The apprehension of this distinction is absolutely necessary, if we would understand what remains of the Trespass-offering.

Sin then, I repeat, is the evil of our nature; and the offering for this, the Sin-offering, is for what we are. In the case of trespass, the offering is for what we have done, for actual wrong committed against some one. Now, it follows from the distinct nature of these things, that the atonement or satisfaction for each must differ, in measure at least; for that which would fully satisfy justice in reference to sin, would by no means do so in reference to trespass. In the case of sin – that is, our sinful nature, where no actual robbery or wrong had been committed against any one – justice would be fully satisfied by the death and suffering of the sinner. But the mere suffering and death of the sinner would not make satisfaction for the wrong of trespass. For the victim merely to die for trespass, would leave the injured party a loser still. The trespasser indeed might be punished, but the wrong and injury would still remain. The trespasser’s death would not repair the trespass, nor restore those rights which another had been robbed of. Yet, till this was done, atonement or satisfaction could scarcely be considered perfect. Accordingly, to make satisfaction in the Trespass-offering, there is not only judgment on the victim, but restitution also: the right of which another had been defrauded is satisfied; the wrong fully repaid.

To illustrate this. Suppose some noxious creature. It is evil: for this it merits death: the infliction of death would be judgment of the evil, and justice here could claim no more. But suppose this creature had also done evil and robbed us; its mere death will not repair the injury. Satisfaction for this will not be complete unless the injury done is made good in all points. In a word, atonement for trespass implies restitution; without this, though the trespasser is judged, the claim of trespass remains still unsatisfied. But in Christ man has made full satisfaction. God is not a loser even from the wrong of trespass. Nor this only. He receives even more. But let us look at the distinct particulars.

(3). In the Trespass-offering we get restitution, full restitution for the original wrong. The amount of the injury, according to the priest’s valuation of it, is paid in shekels of the sanctuary to the injured person (Lev. 5:15). The thought here is not that trespass is punished, but that the injured party is repaid the wrong. The payment was in shekels: these “shekels of the sanctuary” were the appointed standard by which God’s rights were measured (See Ex. 30:13, 24; 38:24,25; Lev. 27:3,25; Num. 3:47,50, 18:16); as it is said, “And all thy estimation shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary” (Lev. 27:25). Thus they represent the truest measure, God’s standard by which He weighs all things. By this standard the trespass is weighed, and then the value paid to the injured person.

And God and man, though wronged by trespass, each receive as much again from man in Christ through the Trespass-offering. God was injured by trespass in His holy things, His rights unpaid, His claim slighted: for man was ofttimes a robber, taking for himself the fat or life, God’s claim in the offerings. Thus, if I may so say, God through man was a loser: but at the hands of Christ the loss has been repaid: and whatever was lost through man in the First Adam, has been made up to the full in the Second Adam. Whether honour, service, worship, or obedience, whatever God could claim, whatever man could rob Him of, all this has He received again from man in Christ, “according to the priest’s estimation in shekels of the sanctuary.”

But man also was injured by trespass; and he, too, receives as much again. Christ for man as offerer of the Trespass-offering, must offer to injured man the value of the original injury. And such as accept His offering, find their loss through man’s trespass more than paid. Has trespass wronged man of life, peace, or gladness, he may claim and receive through Christ repayment. For man to man, as for man to God, Christ stands the One in whom man’s wrongs are remedied. The wrong done to God has been met. God clearly is no loser now by trespass. And the wrong done to man is no less paid for. Man need not, more that God, be a loser.

(4). But this is not all. Not only is the original wrong paid, but a fifth part more is paid with it in the Trespass-offering (Lev. 5:16; 6:5). Not only is the original claim, of which God and man had been wronged, satisfied: but something more, “a fifth,” is added with it.

And first, what of the amount? It is “a fifth part.” To find the import of this, we must again go back to Genesis. If I mistake not, the first place in Scripture where “the fifth” is mentioned, will lead us to apprehend its import. The particulars will be found in the history of Joseph. Briefly, the facts are these. Before the great seven years’ famine, though Egypt was Pharaoh’s land, and the Egyptians his people, yet both were independent of him in some way which evidently was not the case afterwards. This we gather from the fact that after the famine “a fifth,” never paid before, was paid to Pharaoh, in token that both land and people were Pharaoh’s by another claim. We read that when that year was ended, the Egyptians came to Joseph the second year, and said unto him We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle: there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies and our lands: wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh; and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s. Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day, and your land, for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass, in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part to Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own. And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants. And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s” (Gen.47:18-26).

We see here that “the fifth part” paid to Pharaoh, was the acknowledgment that all had been forfeited to him through misery. We learn, too, that in whatever way the Egyptians had been his people heretofore, they were now, through their need, made his by another claim. Accordingly, the payment of “a fifth” henceforward, wherever we meet with it in Scripture [Footnote: It is only found in the law of the Trespass-offerings, Leviticus 5, 6; and in the law concerning vows or dedicated things, Leviticus 27. In both cases evidently the purport is the same.], is the acknowledgment that the person paying it has lost and forfeited that whereof “the fifth” was offered. It is a witness not only that the sum or thing yielded up, has been yielded of necessity, as a debt, not as a free gift, but that the whole of that whereof the fifth was paid, was the right and property of him to whom its “fifth” was rendered. Thus its import in the Trespass-offering seals the character of the offering, testifying that what was given was indeed a debt, and not a free gift . [Footnote: If I mistake not, this “fifth” is also connected with the tenth or tithe; the fifth being two tenths, or a double tithe. One tenth was paid by God’s people before anything was forfeited in any way, as the acknowledgment that he to whom it was paid had a claim on all that of which a tenth was offered. But after a thing was forfeited by vow or trespass, (Lev. 27 and 5,6,) we find that a fifth or double tithe was rendered. By the law in Exodus 22:4,7,9, any act of trespass gave him who had been trespassed against a double claim, or rather a claim to double the amount of the original wrong or injury inflicted on him. Thus when trespass had been committed and confessed, “the fifth” was paid as the acknowledgment of the double claim. But this only by the way, as marking, if I mistake not, the connexion between the “tithe” and the “fifth part.”]

But while this was the import of giving “the fifth part,” yet by the addition of this fifth the injured party became in truth a gainer. So far from losing by trespass, he received more back again: and this is what we have now to consider. Wonderful indeed are the ways of God: how unsearchable are His counsels and wisdom! Who would have thought that from the entrance of trespass, both God and man should in the end be gainers. But so it is. From man in Christ both God and man have received back more than they were robbed of. All things are indeed of God; yet it is from man in Christ, and this in consequence of trespass, that God, according to His wondrous purpose, receives back more than that of which sin had robber Him. In this sense, “where sin abounded,” yea, and because sin abounded, “grace did more abound.” Just as in the case above alluded to, which I doubt not is typical, and typical, if I mistake not, of very kindred truth, the effect of the famine and misery on the Egyptians was to give Pharaoh a claim not possessed before; so the effect of the entrance of trespass has been to give the injured person, whether God or man, a claim on the person and property of the trespasser, which before trespass entered was all unknown.

I would to god this were more fully seen. We should then oftener hear of grace, of rights more seldom: nor should we so often see Christians shrinking from that which we call grace, but to the exercise of which we are nevertheless most surely debtors. But to explain this: – Before trespass entered, God only claimed His part or right. He had a right to holy things as His portion, and these He looked for from man. But since trespass has entered, His claim is more: the original right and the fifth part added. “The fifth” was, as we have seen, the token how much had been forfeited by the trespasser. Its payment testified that he to whom it was given had now not only his original right, but a still further claim upon him who wronged him. Thus God’s claim through trespass is greater: and the same is true with regard to man’s claim. Before trespass entered, man too had his claim: that claim was his right, that claim was justice. But since trespass has entered, his claim is more: more than his right is now his claim from the trespasser. The fact that God has been wronged by man, and that Christ stands for man confessing trespasses, gives God a claim upon Him, not only for the original right, but for more that the first claimed holy things. So, too, because man has been injured by man, and because Christ stands for man as his substitute, therefore man, injured by trespass, has a claim on Christ, not for the original right only, but for greater blessings.

And this claim Christ never refuses: nor are those in Christ free to shrink from it. They, too, as “in Him,” are called, yea, and they are debtors, to deal in grace far beyond the claim of justice. The world may think that to mete out justice is the highest path of which man is capable. But Christ has shewn a higher still; and “he that abideth in Him is called to walk as He walked” (I John 2:6). Such a path, of course, as every other step after Christ, if followed, will surely cost us something. But costly things become king’s children: we are rich enough to lose this world. May the Lord make His people know their calling, and conform them to Him in grace even as in glory! But I will not pursue this here, as further on I must again touch it in its bearing on the believer’s walk. I merely add therefore, – “Christ set us an example” (I Pet. 2:21): and He yielded, not merely rights, but grace, to every man.

Thus much then, for what is specially characteristic of the Trespass-offering, and as marking where it differs from the other offerings. It only remains to notice,

II. THE VARIETIES OR GRADES IN THIS OFFERING. These are fewer than in any other offering, teaching us that those who apprehend this aspect of Christ’s work, will apprehend it all very much alike. Doubtless, the cause of this lies in the nature of trespass, as it stands distinct from sin. It will be remembered, that in the Sin-offering the varieties were most numerous, and that because sin in us may be, and is, so differently apprehended; but trespass, the act of wrong committed, if seen at all, can scarce be seen differently.

Accordingly, we find but one small variety in the Trespass-offering, for I can scarce regard the two different aspects of trespass as varieties. These aspects are, first, trespasses against God (Lev. 5:15-19) and then trespasses against our neighbour (Lev. 6:1-7); but this distinction is more like the difference between the offerings, than the varieties in the different grades of the same. It simply points out distinct bearings of trespass, for which in each case the atonement seen is precisely similar.

There is, however, one small yet remarkable difference between the two grades of the offering for wrongs in holy things. In the first grade, which gives us the fullest view of the offering, we read of the life laid down, the restitution made, and the fifth part added. But in the lower class, the last of these is unnoticed: “the fifth part” is quite unseen (Compare verses 15,16, which contain the higher grade, with verses 17,18, which give the lower.). And how true this is in the experience of Christians. Where the measure of apprehension is full, there not only the life laid down, and the restitution made in the Trespass-offering, but all the truth also which is taught in the “fifth part,” will be seen as a consequence of trespass and a part of the Trespass-offering. Not so, however, where the apprehension is limited: here there is no addition seen beyond the amount of the original trespass.

But I hasten to conclude these notes on the distinctive character of the Offerings. We have considered them separately; but we must never forget that though there are different aspects, there is but One Offering. Jesus, our blessed Lord, by His one oblation if Himself once offered for ever, has perfectly met, and perfectly satisfied, and that for us who believe, all that these emblems typify. I know that saints do not, and cannot see all the aspects of His Offering equally; but God sees all, and sees it “for us.” In this surely we may rest. Blessed indeed is it so to grow in grace that we can “apprehend that for which we are apprehended:” but after all the joy is this, that we are indeed apprehended. And though our knowledge of what is Christ’s and ours is still small, the day that is coming shall reveal it. Then when that which is perfect is come, our present knowledge, which is but in part, shall be done away. Blessed Lord, hasten Thy coming, to gladden with Thine own presence those whom Thou hast saved with Thy blood!

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THE SIN-OFFERING

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Chapter 5

THE SIN-OFFERING

We now come to OFFERINGS NOT OF A SWEET SAVOUR. Of this class are the Sin and Trespass-offerings; the object of which is to present Christ’s Offering to us in an aspect wholly distinct from those already dwelt upon. Hitherto we have met no thought of Sin in the offerings. The Burnt-offering, the Meat-offering, and the Peace-offering, much as they differed, were yet alike in this, that in each of them the offering was the presentation of something which was sweet to Jehovah, an oblation to satisfy His holy requirements, and in the acceptance of which He found grateful satisfaction. But here, in the Sin and Trespass-offerings, we read of Sin in connexion with the offering. Here is confessed sin, judged sin, sin requiring sacrifice and blood-shedding; yet sin atoned for, blotted out, and pardoned.

It might perhaps be thought that this view of the Offering, as leading to the knowledge and discovery of sin, might be less blessed, less full of joy and consolation, than those views of the Offering on which we have already meditated. Such might be the case, were we other than what we are, and were the Sin-offering other than God has provided. Were we sinless beings who knew no sin, this view of the Offering might not be needed by us, save as revealing the grace of Him who, though the Holy One, could be “just and yet a justifier.” But to us, who, knowing ourselves to be sinners, and as such subject to God’s just wrath and judgment, have yet believed in Him “who was made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13), this view of the Offering is perhaps of all most comforting. The Sin-offering shews that sin has been judged, and that therefore the sense of sin, if we believe, need not shake our sense of safety. Sin is indeed here pre-eminently shewn to be exceeding sinful, exceeding hateful, exceeding evil before God: yet it is also shewn to have been perfectly met by sacrifice, perfectly borne, perfectly judged, perfectly atoned for.

And the fact is, that the view of Christ as Sin-offering is sooner apprehended than those prefigured in the Burnt and Meat-offerings. Experience abundantly testifies this. As in the type the Sin-offerings, though last in order of institution, were invariably the first in order of application [Footnote: See any chapter which describes the order in which the sacrifices were to be offered, as Ex 29; Lev. 8, 9, 14 and II Chron. 29, etc.]: so in the experience of saints, Christ is first apprehended as the Sin-offering. Long before there is any intelligence of all the details of Christ’s perfect work, as fulfilling all righteousness as man and being accepted of God as a sweet-smelling savour, – long before there is any thought of His offering as that wherein God takes delight and finds satisfaction, the weak Christian sees Christ as sin-bearer, and His offering as a sacrifice for sin. And though, as the type will shew us, this view may be very indistinct, confused, or partial, – and though it may be apprehended by different believers with an immense difference as to the measure of discernment and intelligence, – yet in some form or other it is, I may say invariably, the first view of Christ’s Offering apprehended by the Christian.

I have observed that in the institution of the offerings, as recorded in the commencement of Leviticus, the sweet-savour offerings precede the others, but that in the application of these offerings, the order is reversed. I will add here a word or two on this point, as, if I mistake not, this, like all else, has a meaning in it. The reason of it will, I think, commend itself, when the characteristic difference of these offerings is seen. The sweet-savour offerings are, as we know, Christ in perfectness offering Himself for us to God without sin: the others, on the contrary, as we shall see, represent Him as offering Himself as our representative for sin. The institution of these sacrifices gives us certain aspects of the Offering, in the order in which they are viewed by God: and in this view Christ offering Himself without sin would clearly precede His offering Himself for sin. Had He not been in Himself what the Burnt and Meat-offerings typify, a voluntary offerer of a sinless offering, He could not have been offered for sin: the fact of His being perfect fitted Him to be a Sin-offering. But the application of the offerings, on the other hand, gives us the order of Christ’s work as viewed by Israel; and Israel’s view in this case, as in all others, begins where the Offering meets Israel’s sin and failure. For this reason it is, I cannot doubt, that in their application the Sin-offerings preceded the Burnt-offerings.

But to pass from this order to the Offerings themselves, the least degree of attention is sufficient to shew, that the offerings which were not of a sweet savour are of two sorts, – first the Sin-offerings (Lev. 4 and 5:1-13), and then the Trespass-offerings (Lev. 5:14-19, 6:1-7). For a Christian rightly to know the difference between these, shews that he has learnt more than one lesson in God’s school. And indeed it is one mark, – a mark not to be mistaken, – of the present low state of the mass of Christians, that so many of them never seem to apprehend the difference which God sees between Sin and Trespass. I assume here that there is a difference; for with these offerings before us, it is impossible to doubt it. One thing at least is plain: God sees a difference: happy the saint who sees with God. Happy, I say, for though the knowledge of sin in itself can never be a cause of joyfulness, yet to see and judge anything as God Himself judges it is a step to blessedness, as surely as it is a mark of communion with Him. Truly it is for lack of knowledge on the particular now before us, that so many are mourning who should be praising; for they do not see that atonement has been made and accepted for sin in them, as well as for their acts of trespass. I defer, however, entering into this subject, until we have more fully considered the peculiar character of the Sin-offering. When we have done this, and obtained, as I hope, a clearer apprehension of it, we shall be better able to discriminate the distinction between Sin and Trespass and their respective offerings.

I proceed, therefore, at once to the consideration of THE SIN-OFFERING. We may look at it, first, in its contrast to the other offerings; and then, in its several varieties: the first will shew the particular aspect of Christ’s Offering which is prefigured in the type now before us; the second, the various measures of intelligence with which this aspect may be apprehended by Christians.

I. To note then, first, the Sin-offering IN CONTRAST WITH THE OTHER OFFERINGS: three particulars will give us all the outlines. (1.) First, it was, though without blemish, not of a sweet savour. Then (2.) it was burnt, not on the altar in the tabernacle, but on the bare earth without the camp: in these two particulars the Sin-offering was in contrast to the Burnt-offering. Lastly, (3.) it was an offering for sin, and this as distinct from an offering for trespass: in this, as I need hardly observe, it stands contrasted particularly with the Trespass-offering.

1.) First, the Sin-offering, though without spot or blemish, was yet not a sweet-savour offering (Lev. 4). I have already dwelt more than once on what is implied in a “sweet-savour.” I need not, therefore, here do more than refer to it, to shew how Jesus, the spotless One, could be “not a sweet savour.”

The distinction is this: – the sweet-savour offerings were for acceptance; the others for expiation. In the first class, sin is not seen at all; it is simply the faithful Israelite satisfying Jehovah. In the Sin-offerings it is just the reverse; it is an offering charged with the sin of the offerer. In the Burnt-offering and other sweet-savour offerings, the offerer came as a worshipper, to give in his offering, which represented himself, something sweet and pleasant to Jehovah. In the Sin and Trespass-offerings, which were not of a sweet savour, the offerer came as a convicted sinner, to receive in his offering, which represented himself, the judgment due to his sin or trespass. In the Sin-offerings, as in the Burnt-offerings, Christ is Offerer: but here He is seen standing for us under the imputation of sin. For though in Himself without sin, “the Holy One,” yet He became our substitute, confessed our sins as His sins, and bore their penalty. Thus taking up His people’s sins as His own, He says, “My sins, O god, are not hid from Thee” (Psa. 69:5). “Innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me: they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me” (Psa. 40:12). O wondrous mystery, the Holy One of God made sin for sinners! (II Cor. 5:21). And O unspeakable love, the Blessed One made a curse for cursed ones! (Gal. 3:13).

Such, then, is the import of the distinction between what was, and what was not, of a sweet savour. In the one case the offering was accepted to shew that the offerer was accepted of the Lord; and the total consumption of the offering on the altar shewed God’s acceptance of, and satisfaction in, the offerer. In the other case the offering was cast out, and burnt, not on God’s table, the altar, but in the wilderness without the camp; to shew that the offerer in his offering endures the judgment of God, and is cast out of His presence as accursed. In the one the offerer came to satisfy God, and having in his offering stood the sifting trial of fire, was accepted as a sweet savour, and fed upon, if I may say so, by the Lord. In the other he came as a guilty sinner, and in his offering bore the penalty for sin. The one is, – “He gave Himself for us, as an offering to God of a sweet-smelling savour” (Eph. 5:2). The other, – “He gave Himself for our sins” (Gal. 1:4): “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin” (II Cor. 5:21). The Sin-offering is the latter of these: not for acceptance, but to expiate sin.

And yet the Sin-offering needed to be “without blemish” (Lev. 4:3), as much as the Burnt-offering: indeed in no offering was perfectness more requisite. Again and again it is repeated that nothing but an unblemished victim could be a Sin-offering (Lev. 4:3,23,28,32, etc.): one blemish, either within or without, was enough to unfit the offering to bear the sin of others. So, because He was sinless, Jesus could be a Sin-offering. Because He was perfect, He could bear our sin.

It is well to meditate on this, the perfectness yet the rejection of the victim in the Sin-offering, that we may learn how alone sin can be borne, and how it has been borne and pardoned. Had there been spot or blemish of any sort on Jesus, His offering could not have met and expiated sin. Had there been one desire in His heart unholy, one act, one word, one look, one thought imperfect, He could not have borne the curse for others: He would Himself have needed atonement. But He was tried by man, by God, by devils; and the trial only proved Him “the Holy One of God.” and “yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him” (Isa. 53:10): though “the Holy One,” He was cast without the camp: the only spotless offering this world ever witnessed, was yet not only afflicted of man, but judged of God and smitten.

The spotless Jesus not a sweet savour! The spotless Jesus accursed of God! Cast forth, not merely without the Tabernacle, but as unclean “without the camp!” “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we were healed” (Isa. 53:5). Here we may learn the measure of the love of Jesus, and our security as having been already judged in Him. In His love He beheld, and saw us ruined, and that fallen man could not bear the curse and live: “Then He said, Lo, I come:” and He came, and was accursed for sinners. As our representative He confessed our sins, binding on Him that which would have sunk us in wrath for ever: as our representative He bore their curse; and received at God’s hand our judgment. And because He has been judged for us, justice is satisfied; we who believe have already been judged in Him; and God now is “just to forgive us” (I John 1:9), for Christ has borne our sins. “He His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, might live unto righteousness” (I Pet. 2:24): “For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:10,11).

But I pass on to the next characteristic feature in the Sin-offering, which has already been incidentally alluded to.

2). The Sin-offering was burnt without the Camp (Lev. 4:12,21). The other offerings were, without exception, burnt on the altar in the Tabernacle. Here “the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, his inwards, etc. even the whole bullock shall he carry without the camp,…and burn him on the wood with fire” (Lev. 4:11,12). The import of this we have more than once noticed in passing. It testified how completely the offering was identified with the sin it suffered for; so completely identified that it was itself looked at as sin, and as such cast out of the camp into the wilderness. A part indeed, “the fat” (verse 8), was burnt on the altar, to shew that the offering, though made a sin-bearer, was in itself perfect. But the body of the victim, “even the whole bullock,” was cast forth without the camp. “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate: (Heb. 13:12). He was cast out as one who was unfit for Jerusalem, as unworthy a place in the city of God.

And what this must have cost that Blessed One can never be entered into or understood, till the holiness of Christ and the sinfulness of sin are seen in measure at least as God sees them. Who shall tell the secrets of that hour, when this part of the type was fulfilled in Jesus; when He was led forth without the camp, to bear the vengeance due to sinners? His own words may perhaps help us to lift the veil: _”My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me” (Matt. 27:46)? As a man, – and He was perfect man, with all our feelings and affections, sin excepted, – as a man He felt the approach of death by painful, shameful, lingering suffering: but the hiding of His Father’s face, the consequence of imputed sin; this was His anguish. Doubtless He suffered being tempted; He suffered from reproach, from the shame, the contempt, the spitting: doubtless He felt the mockery of His foes, the flight of His disciples, with all their aggravating circumstances. How He felt let the Psalms reveal. But it was not this which made Him cry in anguish, “My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?” He had “suffered being tempted” )Heb. 2:18); He had “suffered, leaving us an example” (I Pet. 2:21); but His greatest suffering was, “He suffered for sins” (I Pet. 3:18).

And herein was His anguish, that He who had never known what it was to have a thought out of communion with His Father, should for a season be cast out of His presence, and endure the hiding of the Father’s face. In the Garden, looking forward to this hour, with a will still longing for unbroken fellowship with His God, He cried once and again, while great drops of blood fell from Him, – “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” But even here He says “Nevertheless not my will, – not my will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Yea, knowing what being forsaken of God would involve, He comes to His Father and says, “Not my will, but Thy will.” He might, had He wished to spare Himself, have escaped this. He might have refused to drain the cup of trembling. But then how would His Father have been glorified, – how should we have been redeemed to His praise? Therefore “He suffered for sins,” and “the Just One” died for the unjust. He took our place that we may take His: He was “cast out” that we might be “brought nigh” (Eph. 2:13) forever. Blessed, blessed Lord, may we in the knowledge of Thy love learn to love Thee better!

What consolation is there here for the mourner groaning under the sense of sin or strong temptation; to know Jesus, though sinless, has suffered for sins, and therefore He can, and assuredly will, sympathize with us. And oh! what security, too, is here: our sins have a Sin-bearer; they were once His burden. It is unbelief, or ignorance of the Sin-bearer, that leaves the sense of the burden but for a moment upon us. Faith sees the Sin-offering “without the camp,” and that Jesus there has met, and suffered for sins for us.

3). The third peculiarity we may note in the Sin-offering is, that it was an offering for sin, not an offering for trespass” (Chapter 4:3,21,24,33, compared with chapter 5:13,19 and 6:2,6). This distinction, like all the rest which God has recorded, is full of instruction and of comfort to our souls. It is as definite, too, as any of the other differences which we have dwelt upon. The want of apprehension respecting it only arises from our so little knowing either what man is, or what God is. With our shortsightedness, our inability to see beyond the surface, we naturally look at what man does rather than at what he is; and while we are willing to allow that he does evil, we perhaps scarcely think that he is evil. But God judges what we are as well as what we do; our sin, the sin in us, our evil nature, is as clearly seen as our trespasses, which are but the fruit of that nature. He needs not wait to see the fruit put forth. He knows the root is evil, and so will be the buddings.

Now the distinction between the Sin and Trespass-offerings is just this: – the one is for sin in our nature, the other for the fruits of it. And a careful examination of the particulars of the offerings is all that is needed to make this manifest. Thus in the Sin-offering no particular act of sin is mentioned, but a certain person is seen standing confessedly as a sinner: in the Trespass-offering certain acts are enumerated, and the person never appears. In the Sin-offering I see a person who needs atonement, offering an oblation for himself as a sinner: in the Trespass-offering I see certain acts which need atonement, and the offering offered for these particular offences. The details of the offerings, as we examine them, will bring all this before us most remarkably. Of course, in the Sin-offering, though the man is seen rather than his acts, proof must needs be brought that he is a sinner. But let it be noticed that this is done, not by the enumeration of certain trespasses, but simply be a reference to the law; which, though no particular transgression is mentioned, is said to have been neglected or broken (Lev. 4:2,13,14,22,27, etc.). Be it noticed, no particular act is mentioned, though of course it is by particular acts that sin in us is shewn; but the particular acts are not seen in the Sin-offering, for the object is to shew sin, not trespass. And therefore, though it was needful to shew sin, and in doing so to refer to the commandment as exposing it, yet any definite act of trespass is not seen here: for it is “an offering for sin,” not an offering for trespass. In the Trespass-offering, on the other hand, it is exactly the reverse. We have nothing but one detail after another of particular wrongs and offences; the first class being of wrongs done against God, the other of wrongs against our neighbour.

And here, by the way, let me call attention to a point incidentally brought before us respecting the Sin-offering, namely, that the sin was brought out “by the commandment,” as it is said, “If he shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandment” (verse 2, etc.) We get here, I think, the reason why before the law there were neither Sin nor Trespass-offerings. We read indeed of Burnt-offerings and Meat-offerings being offered by many of the early patriarchs; but they are never recorded to have offered Sin-offerings, for “where there is no law there is no transgression.” [Footnote: Rom. 4:15. I observe that in Job (chap. 1:5) we find the Burnt-offering offered in reference to sin. We read that “Job rose up early in the morning, and offered Burnt-offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” This was before the law was given; so Job says, “It may be that my sons have sinned.” Had they sinned after the giving of the law, a Sin or Trespass-offering would have been needed; but before the law the Burnt-offering was all which could be given: and as it represented all God’s claim fulfilled, nothing more in such an age could be added to it.] “By the law,” says the Apostle, “is the knowledge of sin,” and again, “Sin is not imputed where there is no law” (Rom. 3:20 and 5:13). It was the law which convicted man of sin, and made it necessary that he should have a Sin-offering. “The law entered that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). The law entered, and it proved man a sinner, and that to make his flesh other than sinful flesh was impossible. But grace has done what law could not do; grace brought One “in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin” (Rom. 8:3), to save us. The truth is, the law given by Moses was given neither to make nor prove man holy; but rather to prove us, what God ever since the fall has seen us, in ourselves sinners and only sinners. Yet how has Satan beguiled man here also: he would have us to prove ourselves holy by that which God gave to prove us sinners.

But to return to the distinction between the Sin and Trespass-offering: – the one was for sin in our nature, the other for the fruits of it. In the Sin-offering, the atonement is seen not for trespasses the fruits of sin, but for sin itself within us. I would that all God’s children saw this. Sure I am, – and the type proves it, – that many know the Trespass-offering who have but very imperfect views of Christ as Sin-offering. I do not now speak of the unconverted: with them acts of trespass are the only things discernible: sin in them is generally utterly disbelieved; at all events its guilt is always unfelt, unrecognized. With the young Christian, too, but just awakened, how much less perception is there of sin than trespass: he has done this evil, or that evil, or the other; he scarcely has learnt as yet that in himself he is evil. But look at the man who has somewhat grown in grace; not only what he has done, but what he is, is his sorrow. With such it is not so much this or that act of trespass, which leaves the question of guilt on the conscience: but it is the constant sense of indwelling evil, and that “when we would do good, evil is present with us.” This or that particular act of iniquity we have confessed, it is past, and we believe it pardoned: but this ever-remaining, ever-struggling sin within us, it is this more than ought else that burdens us. True, “the Spirit in our hearts cries Abba, Father,” and “the Spirit in us lusteth against the flesh;” but we find that all this instead of improving the flesh only manifests it, and shews how it “lusteth against the Spirit” (Gal. 5:17). To those who are thus painfully learning what they are, what joy to know Christ died for this as well for trespasses; and that this indwelling sin, as much as our acts of wickedness, was equally confessed and put away by His sacrifice. Nay, had we not been suffering under this very evil, had we been without this sin, He would not have offered a Sin-offering. It was because we were this that He offered; and because He offered, we who trust Him are saved.

Oh, how little is this apprehended, and, consequently, how little peace is there among saints! Many seem to think that the Spirit’s work in revealing to them their sinfulness (“He shall convince of sin,” etc. John 16:8), should be an excuse for unbelief and doubtings; that because God in His mercy has shewn them what they are, sinners, therefore they are not safe. To such I say, – Are we saved by Christ as sinners, or are we saved by being sinless and holy? God’s testimony is that we are saved as sinners, not by the Spirit’s work in us, but by Christ’s work for us. The Lord grant us to know more of the Spirit’s work in us; but after all, this is not the ground of peace. The type is clear on this: and if it shews anything, it shews that the discovery of sin should not shake the believer’s faith of pardon; for faith sees not only that we have sinned, but that the “Holy One” has been made sin for us. To doubt our pardon because we see our sin is just weakness of faith in the Offering: it proves how low is our estimate of Christ, how limited our confidence in God’s love and faithfulness.

Do I then speak lightly of sin? God forbid! If we want to know how hateful it is, we have but to look at the Sin-offering; to see the Holy One of God, His beloved Son, for sin cast out and broken. Our sin is indeed hateful to God, but it does not alter the value of Christ’s Offering. Our sin indeed is most hateful; but I ask still, has not the Sin-offering been offered? If it has not, then we may mourn for ever, for we can never blot out one single trespass. But if it has been offered, what are all our doubts but aspersions on the value of Christ’s Offering? Whatever plea we have for them, – be it humility, or fear of presumption, or the amount and evil of our sinfulness, – God judges such pleas for doubt as unbelief, and as a questioning of what He testifies of Jesus. God indeed never forgets we are sinners: we may forget it, He never can: but He never forgets the Offering of Christ, and that by that Offering the Church’s sins are canceled. And the blood of the Sin-offering which is taken within the veil, by the High Priest on the great day of atonement, remains there where none can approach to hide it, ever present before the eye of God. And even when through the uncleanness of the camp of the wilderness we seem to lost sight of it, it remains there before Him a witness that sin has been judged, and that the way is open for sinners into the holiest.

“He be Himself purged our sins” (Heb. 1:3). Yea, He sat not down again in glory till He had purged them. What certainty of salvation is there here for those who trust in Jesus? It is no future work, no promised work, no work to be yet accomplished, but a finished work which is our sure foundation. “He bore our sins:” this is God’s testimony: and having borne them “He raised because we were justified.” [Footnote: Rom. 4:25. “He was delivered, paradidomi dia paraptoma, because of our sins; and raised, egeiro dia hemon dikaiosis, because of our justification.”] Had we not bee justified, Christ could not have been raised. His resurrection, and our in Him, is the proof that we are justified. If sin has not been already borne, how shall it be borne? Is Christ to die again, is He to be again a Sin-offering? “Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28), and “now there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin” (Heb. 10:18,26). If therefore He has not borne our sins, He can never bear them. If He has borne them, why have we not peace? If we think that the Sin-offering once offered on Calvary has not met all sin and every trespass, whatsoever remains, be it small or great, can never be propitiated, never pardoned. But Jesus for His people bore not some sins, but all sins: and “by Him all that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:39). “He hath forgiven us all trespasses” (Col. 2:13). The Cross has canceled all. May the Lord more fully reveal these things to His chosen ones, that their rejoicing may be, not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen.

Such is the general character of the Sin-offering, as elicited by comparing the particulars in which it stands in contrast to the other Offerings. We now proceed to consider,

II. THE VARIETIES IN THIS OFFERING, which shew the different apprehensions which may be entertained of this particular aspect of Christ’s sacrifice.

And here there is very great variety, far exceeding what we find in any of the preceding offerings. In the Sin-offering there is not only variety seen in the animal offered, and in the details which are given as to the mode of offering it; but a good deal of variety is noticed as to the person of the offerer, a peculiarity not to be found in any of the other offerings. Besides these varieties, there are several other minor ones, in reference to the blood, the fat, the body, and lastly the name, of the offering. Each of these varieties as they are recorded by the Lord, so will they be found worthy of our attentive meditation. I shall do little more here than mark some of the chief outlines, and may the Lord make His people to profit by them.

(1.) The first variety, then, which is seen in the Sin-offering is the difference in the animal offered. In the Burnt-offering we observed a similar variety; the purport of which is, of course, the same in both cases. There is, however, far greater variety in the different grades of the Sin-offering than in the Burnt-offering; thus teaching us that Christ’s offering for sin may be apprehended with far greater measures of difference than Christ as Burnt-offering. In the Burnt-offering, the offering though varied was limited, either to a bullock, a lamb, a goat, or turtle-doves (See chapter one). Here is the Sin-offering we have several other grades [Footnote: “A male kid,” chapter 4:23: “a female kid,” 4:28: “a female lamb,” 4:32: ending at last with “flour,” vs. 11.), coming down at last to a sin-offering composed of simple “flour.” The last grade is this: - “And if he be not able to bring two turtle-doves or two young pigeons; then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin-offering: he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon; for it is a sin-offering.”

We have already considered the import of these varied emblems; I need not therefore do more than just advert to them. Suffice it to say that here, as in the Burnt-offerings, they shew us the different characters under which the Offering of Christ may be apprehended by us. In the Sin-offering as in the Burnt-offering, one saint has one view, another another view respecting the character of the offering. One sees the willing labour, another the submission, another the innocence, of the Offering which is yielded to Jehovah. But in the Sin-offering we have still lower views, the lowest of which is, as we have observed, very like a Meat-offering. The solution is easy. As in the preceding offerings we found, without exception, that there was an indistinctness, almost like confusion, in the lower views, - a mixing up of one aspect with another, while the distinct thought of each was mor or less lost sight of; so is it here: in its lowest grade, (the one we are considering,) the Sin-offering is seen very nearly as a Meat-offering. The thought is almost that of the Meat-offering, yet it is seen as offered for sin: this is distinctly noticed: though “of flour,” “it is a Sin-offering” (Chapter 5:11).

How exactly this peculiarity in the type describes the way in which some apprehend the Offering, will be best understood by those who, going from strength to strength, have learnt how partially Christ may be apprehended, even by those who love Him. Some see the pain and sorrow Christ had in service, the grinding, the bruising, the scorching, of the Meat-offering: and they think that this was His sin-bearing: they cannot distinguish between the trials of service and the curse. They see indeed a life of suffering, but they do not see One accursed for them. Nevertheless, they see a suffering One offered, and though they lose many points in His Offering, they still see it as offered for sin. Yet how much is lost, in such partial views, of the design and character of the work of Jesus.

(2.) The next variety we may notice is in the person offering: we have the priest, the congregation, the ruler, and the common Israelite. First in order we have the Sin-offering for the priest (Lev. 4:3-12); then the Sin-offering for the whole congregation (Lev.4:13-21); then the Sin-offering for a ruler (Lev. 4:22-26); then for one of the common people (Lev. 4:27-35); and lastly, the Sin-offering for particular sins (Lev. 5:1-13); in which last the person of the offerer is lost sight of, and the particular act for which he offers more clearly seen. This last is very nearly akin to the Trespass-offering, and is indeed called indifferently by both names of Sin and Trespass (Lev. 5:6-9). In this last class, as in the lowest classes of the other offerings, we get the lowest view which can be taken of this particular aspect of the Offering.

But what is the import of this variety in the person offering? We have only remember what these varieties are. They are, as we have sufficiently seen, only different measures of apprehension. In the Burnt-offering, the Meat-offering, and the Peace-offering, we have already become familiar with the varieties in the Offering, and have seen that they represent the different apprehensions which may be, and are, formed of its value and character. So in the Sin-offering, the varieties which are noted of the Offerer, in like manner represent the different apprehensions which are formed of the person who offered. Of course the Offerer here, as elsewhere, is Christ, man under the law, our representative. As such He is here seen confessing sin; but though seen as Offerer in this aspect, He may het be seen very differently. For example, in the first case the offerer is apprehended as “priest,” a person who stands the representative of a family or congregation. In other cases the offerer is seen as “one of the common people,” one who stands simply the representative of an individual. In the lowest cases of all, the person of the offerer is altogether lost sight of, neither individual nor congregation are seen, and the sin for which he suffers is almost the only thing apprehended.

But let us note here a little more particularly, the exact difference which is intended by these separate views of the Offerer; and that we may see the contrast more clearly, let us for a moment set side by side the higher and lower grades of the Sin-offering.

In the first class the offerer is the “anointed priest;” in the next, “the whole congregation;” in a lower grade, (how great the contrast) the offerer is “one of the common people.” The “anointed priest,” and “the whole congregation,” are types familiar to the youngest Christian. “The anointed priest,” as head of the priestly family, and the appointed mediator between God and man, stands the type of Jesus as head of a priestly family, and also as mediator to God’s chosen Church. In this class, Christ, as Offerer of the Sin-offering, is seen either as Head of the Church, or as its appointed Mediator. His Offering is apprehended, not merely as the atonement for this or that individual, but as affecting a whole family or people. In the next class, “the congregation” offer. This congregation represents the Church. Here we lost sight of the priest as under the guilt of sin with Israel; but with this exception, the congregation’s offering is almost identical with the preceding one. But the point to be especially noted in both these cases, and where they differ so remarkably from the others, is that the sin, and atonement made, is seen, not as affecting an individual merely, but the whole of Israel. Now, mark the contrast. In the lower classes the offerer is a private individual, “one of the common people:” and his sin, and the atonement made for it, is seen as affecting only himself. Those saints who have the highest views of the Sin-offering, see it as affecting not themselves merely, but the Priest and Israel. Those with lower views only see it for themselves: the High Priest ‘s or Israel’s interest in it is unseen and forgotten.

Here then is the difference. The apprehension some have of Christ as Offerer of the Sin-offering is One who in His own person represented the whole Church; the Church being seen either as the family of the Priest, or as the whole congregation of Israel. Others again see Him as head of a tribe, “the ruler;” in this case the unity of the Church is lost sight of. Others, far more numerous, never see anything of this: Christ as Offerer of the Sin-offering is viewed as having stood for them individually. Others again, lower still in the scale of intelligence, see only that He stood for sin. These stages in the apprehension and experience of Christians, will be familiar to those who know much of that experience.

Such is the variety respecting the person of the Offerer, and such too if I mistake not, the purport of it. We have only glanced at the outlines, but the details are equally full of interest; requiring indeed a certain measure of intelligence to apprehend them, yet if apprehended, precious to our souls. And just as every difference of the Offering, - the difference, I mean, whether it was a bullock, a lamb, or turtle-dove, - all brought before us some feature of Christ’s work or character, in which both God and His saints saw perfectness; so here, in each of these varieties in the Offerer, there is some fresh thought or view of Christ’s person for us to glory in. I will not, however, enter further into the consideration of them, not from a doubt of their value, but from a sense of the length to which they would carry me. I only pray that we may be led to feel our need of knowing more of Him of whom these things testify.

(3.) A third variety in the Sin-offering has reference to “the blood.” In the higher classes the blood was sprinkled on the incense altar (Lev. 4:7,18); in the lower classes it was not taken into the holy place, but sprinkled upon the brazen altar in the court (Lev. 4:25,30,34). I fear it will be impossible to make this intelligible to those who have never considered the typical import of the relative parts of the Tabernacle. Two things, at least, must be apprehended; first, the import of these altars, and then of their sprinkling.

As to the altars, they were, the one of gold, the other brazen. The brazen one stood in the outer court of the congregation. The other, the golden one, in the holy place, where none but the priests might enter. The “outer court,” with its brazen altar and laver, represents the earth and the work which is done in it to God-ward. The “holy place,” with the golden altar for incense, shews us the heavenly places and their appointed service. On the brazen altar were offered the sacrifices of Israel. Any Israelite, if clean, might draw nigh and offer there (Ex. 29:36-43). But priests only might approach the golden altar, and nothing come on it save the perfumed incense (Ex. 30: 1-10). The position and use of these altars, and the references to them in the New Testament (Heb. 13:10,16; Rev. 8:3,4, etc.), unite to point out their typical meaning; the one leading us to the service of the Church as on earth, the other to their service as priests in heavenly places.

Thus much for the altars. As to the sprinkling of blood, I need scarcely say it always refers to atonement by sacrifice: it signifies that the thing or person sprinkled is thereby brought from a state of distance from God to a state of nearness. The sprinkling, then, of blood upon the incense altar implied that until this act was performed the altar was unapproachable; and consequently, that all priestly service, and therefore all service of all kinds, was stopped between God and Israel. In like manner the sprinkling of blood on the brazen altar implied that till this was done, that altar too was regarded as unapproachable. In each case sin is apprehended to have interrupted communion; in the one, the communion of priests; in the other, that of Israel; while the sprinkling of blood declares that communion restored through the Sin-offering, on the incense altar to the priests, on the brazen altar to Israel.

The import of the distinction we are considering will now, I suppose, be sufficiently plain. In the higher classes, where it is observed that the incense altar needs sprinkling, the consequences of sin are seen to be far more extensive than in the other case; for the interruption of communion is apprehended, not of individuals on earth merely, but of the priests in their access to God as in heavenly places. In the lower classes, for instance, in the case of “one of the common people,” it is not seen that sin has destroyed the communion of the congregation; it is not observed how the priest and Israel are implicated in it: the thought is rather about self. In a word, in the lower classes both the full effects, and the full remedy of sin, are known but partially. Need of personal acceptance and reconciliation is indeed seen, and that acceptance and reconciliation apprehended; but that the whole congregation needs reconciliation, and that it has it, is unknown, or at least forgotten. Thus is the sense of the extent of the evil caused by sin exactly in proportion to the depth of apprehension respecting the extent of the reconciliation effected by the Sin-offering. He only that saw the Priest’s altar hallowed for service by the blood of the Sin-offering, saw also that the communion of that altar had ever been hindered by sin. It is so on all points. The deeper the apprehension of the efficacy of the blood, the deeper will be the sense of that from which it delivers us.

But the difference in the apprehension of this particular goes even further. In the fifth chapter, which gives the lowest grades of the Sin-offering, there is no notice whatever taken of either altar. [Footnote: Chapter 5:6 “And he shall bring his trespass-offering unto the Lord, for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb, or a kid of the goats, for a sin-offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.” It will be observed that here there is no notice of either altar.] all that is apprehended is, that an atonement has been made by the Priest; the altars, and their restoration to service, are forgotten. This, alas, is the common case with many now-a-days. An atonement has been made for sin; thus much they see, and they are thankful for it. But as for any intelligent apprehension of the different altars, or how far their use is hindered by sin and restored by the Sin-offering, they not only know nothing about it, but judge such matters non-essential, unnecessary. The same spirit which make the fool say, “There is no God,” tempts even Christians to say there is nought in much He wrought for us.

(4.) A fourth variety noticed in the Sin-offering has reference to “the fat.” In the higher grades the fat was burnt upon the altar (Lev. 4:8,9,10,19,26,31,35.): in the lowest class (Lev. 5:6) this is overlooked: what was done with the fat is entirely unnoticed. As usual between the highest and lowest class, we have several steps of more or less intelligence. In the first grade not only is it seen that the fat is burnt, but there is the fullest discrimination of every portion of it. [Footnote: Chapter 4:8,10. We read here of “the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, and the fat that is upon the kidneys,” etc., etc. In no other grade do we find this detail.] In the subsequent grades too, indeed in all save the lowest, the fat is burnt, but the parts are not discriminated. In the last grade alone of all, “the fat” of the offering is quite unnoticed. “The fat,” as we have already seen in the other offerings (See in the burnt offering), represents the general health and energy of the whole body. It’s being burnt to God was the appointed proof that the victim offered for sin was yet in itself acceptable. This acceptability is most seen in the higher classes, but it is apprehended also in all save the lowest grade. There the atonement made for sin is indeed apprehended, but the perfect acceptableness of the victim is unnoticed. So with some Christians, is not their thought respecting the Sin-offering more of our pardon that of Christ’s perfectness?

(5.) Another variety we may observe in the Sin-offering has reference to “the body” of the victim. In the higher grades it is cast without the camp (Lev. 4:12,21): in the lower this is unnoticed: but in the law of the offerings (Lev. 6:25-30) another particular is marked: the priest is seen to feed on the offering. The import of this distinction is at once obvious. Where the Sin-offering is fully apprehended, the victim, which is the sin-bearer, is seen accursed, and as such cast out as unclean into the wilderness. Where the Sin-offering is more partially apprehended, the victim is still seen as sin-bearer, but the reality of its separation from God is lost sight of, and its death viewed merely as satisfying the Mediator.

And here let me observe how amidst all this variety of detail, there is still throughout one point of remarkable similarity in principle. It is this. In the lower classes, that is where there is a lower measure of intelligence, the view of the nature of the Offering is invariably exchanged for a view of the effects of it: in other words, the Offering is seen as it affects Israel, rather than as it is in itself, in its real character. Thus the burning of the fat, shewing the perfectness of the victim offered; and the casting forth of its body, shewing the nature of the judgment borne by it; these and similar details respecting the sacrifice itself, are lost sight of in the lower classes; while the effects of it, as making atonement, are perhaps even more fully dwelt upon. And how exactly this accords with the successive stages of Christian experience, will be sufficiently understood by those who know much either of themselves or others. At first Christ’s work, or person, or offering, is viewed with interest solely on account of what it is to us. Nothing respecting it is regarded as worthy of notice save its bearing upon us, of efficacy towards us. It has taken away our sins; it has made atonement; this is the one thing, and almost the sole thing, seen respecting it. Anything further than this at such a stage would appear a grand impertinence. But let the question of peace with God be settled, let our acceptance become a thing known and realized, then the perfectness of the Offering, and what it is in itself, will, without exception, be more seen and dwelt upon.

(6.) The last variety I will here notice in the different grades of the Sin-offering, is connected with the name by which the offering is variously designated. In the higher classes it is always called a “Sin-offering” (Lev. 4:8,21,24,29), and no particular act of trespass is noticed; in the lower classes it is called a “Trespass-offering” as well as a “Sin-offering” (Lev. 5: 6,7) and the person of the offerer is lost sight of in the particular trespass. So when the measure of apprehension is limited, there will be want of intelligence respecting the precise difference of sin and trespass; nor this alone; the Offering will be seen only for sins; that it is offered for persons will not be apprehended.

But the expressions here used respectively, in reference to the effects of each different grade of the Sin-offering, are so remarkably varied in reference to this particular, that we cannot but notice the differences. In the higher class, in “the congregation’s offering” (verse 20), we simply read, – “The priest shall make atonement for them.” In the case of “the ruler” (verse 26), we find this slight variety, – “The priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.” In the case of “one of the common people” (verse 35), we find still further difference, – “The priest shall make an atonement for his sin which he hath committed.” Observe, in the first of these the atonement is seen for persons; – “The priest shall make atonement for them.” Of course the atonement here is in consequence of sin, but the persons rather than the sin are specially thought of. In the next class, the atonement is regarded as for the sin of the persons, rather than for the persons; though both persons and sins are seen atoned for: as it says, – “The priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.” In the lowest class, “of the common people,” the atonement for persons is quite lost sight of; “the sin which he hath committed” is the chief thing dwelt upon.

How much is there “for our learning” in these varieties; how clearly they teach us the cause of the difference in the views of saints respecting the Atonement. There are some believers who see atonement for sin, but almost deny that atonement has been made for persons. They see Christ gave Himself “for sins” (I Pet. 3:18), but hardly think He stood for persons. In word perhaps they assent to the Apostle, who said, “He loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20); but the full reality and force of his words are scarcely assented to; they need to be explained away. And as long as there are different measures of intelligence, so long will such difference of views be inevitable; for though the truth is but one, yet while “we know in part,” that one truth may and will be seen variously or partially.

Such are some of the Varieties in the Sin-offering. There are others to be seen, but I have noticed the chief. They shew us how very different is the measure of apprehension with which Christ as Sin-bearer may be seen by Christians. They shew us, too, how much of Christ, and therefore of joy, is lost sight of, by those who are content to continue in comparative ignorance of the Offering. I shall rejoice if these Notes should be used of God to lead but one of His people to seek more communion with Him, there to inquire whether these things are so, in deeper acquaintance with Him of whom they speak. Need I add here that it is one thing to know Him; another to know about Him. It is possible that some, who read these pages, may at once confess that such and such things are to be seen of Christ, who yet may have never seen, and even do not care to see, one of them. To know that another has seen the Prince, and know Him in His different relations, or that He may be so seen by those who dwell with Him, is very different from our knowing Him ourselves. It is just so with the knowledge of Jesus. Strangers to His family and household may hear about Him; but to know Him, as He is, must be taught of God, and is only to be learnt in His presence by His family.

We have thus gone through the particulars of the Sin-offering, as far at least as they are given in the Law of the Offerings. In other places there are some other details added, the principles of which are, however, all contained in what we have investigated. The additions only give us some new combinations as to the character under which the Sin-offering may be exhibited: I refer to the Offerings of the Red Heifer (Num. 19), and of the Scapegoat on the great day of Atonement (Lev. 16). The offering of the Red Heifer, as we might expect from its being found in Numbers, exhibits not so much what the offering is in itself, as its use in meeting the wants of the wilderness. Thus no memorial of it was burnt on the altar, nor was the blood seen to be taken into the Tabernacle; but the whole animal was burnt without the camp, and its ashes laid up to be mixed with the water of purification. Then when an Israelite found himself to be unclean, through contact with the dead, these ashes with water were sprinkled on him. All this is the Sin-offering as meeting our need of cleansing, and as given to remove the defilement caused by the dead things of the wilderness. The view ;presented by it has to do with the effects of the offering, and its use towards man as applied by water, that is the Spirit. In the Scape-goat, offered on the great day of atonement, the view presented is very different. In this Sin-offering, which was offered but once a year, the blood was seen to be put on the mercy-seat. The offering it spoke of is shewn by Paul to have been “once for ever,” and “access into the holiest” the consequence of it (Heb. 10:1,22). But I forbear going further into these particulars, as we have already sufficiently seen their principles. He that has apprehended what we have gone over will see more. For others, any further detail would be unintelligible.

Such is the Sin-offering, and such some of the apprehensions of it. Blesses be God that we h ave such an Offering. “He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

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THE PEACE-OFFERING

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Chapter 4

THE PEACE-OFFERING

We now come to the sacrifice of PEACE-OFFERINGS, the last offered of all the typical offerings. Accordingly, we shall find it revealing to us that aspect of Christ’s offering, which is generally the last apprehended by the believer. And I may add, that as it was “burnt upon the Burnt-offering” (See chapter 3:5), and was directly consequent upon it, so it reveals to us the consequences of those aspects of Christ’s offering which are prefigured in the Burnt and Meat-offerings.

We may examine it, first, in its contrasts to the other offerings, that is, as bringing out one definite and particular aspect of Christ’s offering; and then, secondly, in its several varieties, as shewing the different apprehensions enjoyed by Christians of this aspect.

I. And, first, IN ITS CONTRAST TO THE OTHER OFFERINGS, it may be sufficient to enumerate two chief points: (1) It was a sweet-savour offering; and (2) the offerer, God, and the priest were fed by it. In the former of these particulars, it differed from the Sin-offerings; in the latter, it differed from all others.

(1). It was a “sweet-savour” offering (verses 5,16). On the import of this distinction, I need here say little, since we have already more than once examined it. Suffice it to say that here, as in the Burnt and Meat-offerings, we are presented with a view of the offering, not as offered with any reference to sin, but rather as shewing man giving to God that which is sweet and pleasant to Him.

But the Burnt-offering and Meat-offering were both “sweet savours.” This particular, therefore, though distinguishing the Peace-offering from the Sin-offerings, gives us nothing by which we may distinguish it from the other sweet-savour offerings. I pass on, therefore, to the next particular, in which the Peace-offering very distinctly differs from the Burnt and Meat-offerings.

(2). The second point in which the Peace-offering differed from others was, that in it the offerer, the priest, and God, all fed together. This was the case in no offering but the Peace-offering. In this they had something in common. Here each had a part. They held communion in feeding on the same offering.

We have first the offerer’s part; then God’s part; then the priest’s part; and included in this last, though separately mentioned, the part which was fed upon by the priest’s children [Footnote: See chapter 7:31,32, and compare Numbers 18:9-11].

And what a view does this give of the efficacy of the offering! How does it magnify “the unsearchable riches of Christ!” God, man, and the priest, all fed together, all finding satisfaction in the offering. God first has His part and is satisfied, for He declares it to be very good. “It is an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord” (Lev. 3:5). Man (in Christ) as offerer has his part, and is permitted to share this offering with his friends (Lev. 7:16). And the priest, that is, Christ in His official character, is satisfied also, and His children are satisfied with Him (Lev. 7:31). What a picture is here presented to us! The offerer feasts with God, with His priest, and with the priest’s children.

[in]. In the Peace-offering the offerer feasts, in other words, finds satisfaction, and feeds upon the same offering of which a part has already satisfied God: for a part of the Peace-offering, (as we shall see in the sequel) “the fat, the blood, the inwards,” before the offerer can touch his part, must have already been consumed on the altar.

We get nothing like this either in the Burnt or Meat-offering. In them we have the offering satisfying God; all consumed by His fire, and ascending to Him, as in the Burnt-offering; or shared, as in the Meat-offering, with His priests. But in all this, though God was satisfied, the offerer got no part of the offering. The Burnt and Meat-offerings were (as we have already seen) the emblem of the perfect fulfilment of the law’s requirements. In them we see man (in Christ) offering to God that which perfectly satisfies Him. God finds food in the offering, and declares it to be very good. But in all this the offerer has nothing. The Peace-offering shews us the offerer himself satisfied.

Now the offerer here, as elsewhere, is Christ; Christ in His person standing “for us” (Eph. 5:2). But the extent to which we are interested in this, and the fact that, till we realize it, the Peace-offering is unintelligible, require that I should dwell here for a moment, before I proceed to details.

I repeat, then, that in all the offerings, Christ, as offerer, stands as our representative. Whether it be in the Sin-offering, the Burnt-offering, the Meat-offering, or the Peace-offering, He is the man Christ Jesus “for us.” He is for us without the camp, for us put upon the altar, for us bearing our sins, for us accepted and satisfied. And when we say He did this “for us,” we mean that He did it instead of us, nay, as us. Thus, when He was judged, He was judged as us. When He kept the law, He kept it as us. When He was accepted, He was accepted as us; and so when He was satisfied, He was satisfied as us.

Now, the consequence of Christ’s thus standing “for us” is, that what is true of Him, is true of all who are in Him. Thus the offerings, in shewing us Christ’s position, in shewing Him, only shew us our own; nay, I may say, when they shew us Christ, they shew us the Church, for He stood “for us.” “As He is, so are we in this world” (I John 4:1;7): we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). I do not say that this is apprehended even by those who are seen of God to stand in these blessings. I need not say how little “we apprehend of that for which we are apprehended” (Phil. 3:12). I simply state the fact, that in all those relations which are typified by the various offerings, Jesus in offering them as a man stood “for us;” He stood as us; nay, He was us, if I may say so. When Christ offered, God saw us offering; for Christ stood as offerer “for us.” God looked upon Christ as us. He sees us, therefore, as Christ before Him. [Footnote: See I Cor. 12:12; “So also is Christ,”] And just as truly as Christ stood for us and as us, so as a consequence do we stand in Him to Godward. What He did, we are reckoned to have done, for as us He did it. So what He enjoys, we enjoy, for as us He enjoys it.

Now this last thought is the thought of the Peace-offering. Christ is satisfied and fed by His offering. But in this He stands for us; and therefore we are satisfied as soon as we thus apprehend Him. The thought may be a little more complex than that of the Sin and Burnt-offering; but it proceeds exactly on the same principle. Just as the feeble believer in Christ, when he sees Christ offering the Sin-offering, sees that God’s wrath against sin has been met, for Jesus standing instead of us as man has borne it; – just as the same feeble saint, when he sees Christ offering the Burnt and Meat-offering, sees that God and His requirements have been satisfied, for Jesus standing for us as man has satisfied them; – just so the same believer when he sees Christ offering the Peace-offering, sees that man is satisfied with the offering, for Jesus standing for us as man is satisfied. And as our sense of acceptance depends on realizing Him as accepted for us, so our sense of satisfaction and communion with God depends on realizing Him in communion for us. Thus seeing the Peace-offering, and by it finding that Christ as man satisfied, is to those who know themselves “in Christ,” to find that they themselves are satisfied.

I fear that there are but too many saints who never realize this aspect of the Offering, and therefore never fully experience that satisfaction which the Offering has purchased for them. I do not say that the blessing is not theirs; this and all else is theirs, if they are “in Christ.” But those things which are true for them in Him, are not realized by them in their own experience. Experience is, I again repeat, nothing more than our measure of apprehension of that which is already true for us in Christ. Thank God, the sufficiency of His work does not depend upon our apprehension of it. But our satisfaction depends much on our apprehension. It is because we apprehend so little that we have so little comfort.

And our strength particularly depends on our apprehension of that view of Christ which the Peace-offering teaches; for strength is sustained by food, and the Peace-offering shews man fed by the sacrifice. Yet how little is this view of Christ apprehended! Am I asked the cause? It is because so few really know acceptance. As long as it is at all a question with you whether God has accepted you or not, your chief desire will be to know God satisfied, far rather than to be satisfied yourself. As a criminal whose reprieve has not yet come, you will not ask, ‘Have I bread for today,’ but ‘Am I pardoned?’ Death stare you in the face: you cannot think of food or raiment. But let the question of acceptance be settled: let this be fully known; and then you will find time to listen to the cravings of that new nature, which needs to be sustained and nourished. What is to satisfy this? Nothing but the precious meat of the altar. And this is shewn as provided for us in Jesus, when we see Him, as our representative, the offerer of the Peace-offering.

And here observe what the offerer feasts on. He feasts on the meat of the altar: his food is the spotless offering which has already satisfied the Lord.

Now this offering represents “the body of Jesus” (Heb. 10:5-10), including His walk, His thoughts, His strength, His affections. These, as we saw in the Burnt-offering, were the things He sacrificed; and because they were unblemished, they were accepted. As a sweet savour they satisfied God. But they give satisfaction, too, because they are unblemished, to the offerer. Christ finds His meat in His own offering. He “is satisfied with the travail of His soul” (Isa. 53:11).

Jesus as offerer stands “for us;” and by His feeding of the offering, He shews how man is satisfied. Would to God His people might learn here what, as respects atonement, will alone satisfy them. Out of God’s presence man seeks food in many things. He may try “the riotous living of the far country:” yea, in his hour of need he may come to “the husks which the swine eat” (Luke 15:13,15,16). In seeking God’s presence too, not a few have yet to learn what alone can give peace and satisfaction in that presence. Some of those who are longing to feast with God, are seeking satisfaction in their frames or feelings. Others are trying their own righteousness, their experiences, their walk, their service. Are these things the unblemished meat of the altar? Is it by these things Christ has satisfied God? Are our experiences, our frames, our feelings, the things on which, as respects atonement, Christ and God have fellowship? If not, they cannot be the meat upon which we, as needing atonement, are to feed with God. If Christ as man could not have communion with God through anything save a spotless offering, so neither can any of His members: if they are fed at all, they must be fed as He is. Oh, let us be wise and see our calling, nor seek satisfaction save in Jesus! He is the only perfect One; out of Him there is nothing fit for the altar, nothing suited therefore to feed our souls. When Christ feeds with God on that which is blemished; when He makes a Peace-offering of the unclean; then, nor till then, let us seek our food in the unclean, the torn, the blemished. But while we see that even He, as far as atonement is concerned, can only be fed with His own perfect unblemished offering, let us as in Him reject all others, and feed and be satisfied in Him.

How important is the lesson taught here; how unanswerably does it express this truth, that, as respects atonement at least, the Christian has nothing to feed on with God, but that which Christ Himself feeds on with Him: that however right our experiences or attainments or walk or service may be in their place, they are not the offering for atonement, nor can they ever by the ground of peace. And indeed, for a Christian to seek his food in these things, is as though an Israelite were to take his garments to feed on. In truth the man who seeks satisfaction in his own attainments just does this: what should be his raiment, he makes his meat. The garments of the Israelite are the appointed symbol of a man’s deportment and manifested character (Psa. 73:6; 109:18; Isa. 52:1; 59:17; 61:3; Zech. 3:3; Col. 3:8,12; Rev. 3:4, 16:15, etc). So the New Testament interprets the type: “The fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Rev. 19:8). This garment might be easily defiled. But let us suppose it clean: are garments to be fed on? The type answers at once: it is the meat of the altar, the sweet savour alone, which satisfies. Our prayers, our love, our service, these things, like the leavened cake at Pentecost, though accepted for the sake of what accompanies the, are one and all in themselves blemished. In one sense indeed, our services are a “sweet savour” (Phil. 4:18); but it is only in the same sense that our persons are “righteous.” In either case the works and persons are accounted to be what in themselves they are not, in virtue of that perfect Work and Person, in whom and through whom they are offered. Just as the sinner, though in himself vile, is accounted righteous in Him through whom we have received the atonement; so are His offerings, though leavened, accounted sweet in the savour of that through which they are offered. The sinner accepted in Christ becomes indeed himself, in spirit, both an offerer and offering; yet even then his “spiritual sacrifices,” whether of work or worship, are only “acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 2:5). Like “the leavened cake” already referred to, our works or worship, because imperfect, could never be accepted, did they not come before God with the sweet savour, and as the consequence of another and a perfect offering. Were they offered to make atonement they would be rejected. They are only accepted because atonement has been already made. To make atonement, there must be perfection in the offering: God will not be satisfied with ought less than a perfect sacrifice. If we wish to be fed and satisfied with Him, it must be in and through that “One offering” which has already satisfied His holiness.

But this leads us to the next particular in the Peace-offering; namely, that,

[ii.] The offerer feasts with God. Man (in Christ) and God find common food. The offering is shared between them. The thought here is not, as in the Burnt-offering, merely that God finds satisfaction in the offering. It includes this, but it goes further. It shews communion; for God and man share together. I would that this aspect of the Offering were more familiar to the minds of Christians: how would it raise their thoughts of the value of the Offering, and of the place, which, through the Offering, man is called to! We should not, we could not, truly realize the joy and satisfaction God finds in the Offering, without obtaining more exalted views of its wondrous preciousness and efficacy. We could not behold man sharing with God in that which God declares to be most precious to Him, without being led to a far deeper apprehension of man’s high and blessed destiny. But are these our thoughts of the Offering? Do we, when we think of it, think of the joy God finds in it; or do we thus habitually realize the place into which it puts man as sharer with God? Alas! to how many are such thoughts strangers; and the reason is, because as yet they have not seen the Peace-offering. If only they may be delivered from wrath! If only they may hope for acceptance! This is all many saints hope for, this is practically all they expect. But is this all that the Offering has purchased? Is this all that Christ enjoys? Is His place bare acceptance? Is His portion only pardon? Is He not, as man, God’s heir and first-born, the One in whom His soul delights, the One with whom God holds unbroken fellowship, to whom He reveals all His mind? And does Jesus hold this alone? Are we not, in Him, called to the same communion? Are we not in all – His fellow-heirs, His joy, His bride, His members? The Peace-offering answers the question when it shews us man feasting with Jehovah; when it tells us that Christ’s place is our place, and that in Him we are called to share with God.

And how clearly does this portion of the type give the answer to the question, What is communion? Communion is simply sharing; to have communion, therefore, we must have something to share; and to have communion with a holy God, we must have something which we can share with Him. We cannot share nothing, and He will not share with us in the unclean. Our attainments, therefore, cannot yield communion, nor our works, for the best have sin in them. But, thank God, there is a perfect offering, the offering of our blessed Lord; and if we would have communion with God, the only way is to share that offering.

And this at once gives us the key to the cause of our general and acknowledged lack of communion. Of intercourse we have enough, perhaps too much. Of communion, how very little! The reason is, so little of Christ’s Offering is apprehended, that when believers meet they have scarce anything of Him to share. And the same is true of our approaches to God, for there may be intercourse with God without communion. How often when we approach God do we speak to Him only about our feelings, our experiences, our sins, our trials. All this is right; we cannot be without these, and we are right to tell them to our Father. But after all, this of itself is not communion, nor will speaking of these things ever yield it to us. Let us come before God to be filled with Christ, to be taken up with Him, His life, His ways, His sweetness; let the confession of our failure and nothingness in ourselves be made the plea that we may be filled with Him; and our intercourse will be soon changed to communion, for in Him we shall have something we can share. May the Lord lead us more into His presence, there to be taught what we possess in Jesus; and then, when we meet our brethren or our Father, we shall feast together on what there is in Him.

[iii.] But further, in the sacrifice of Peace-offerings, the offerer feasts with the priest (Lev. 7:32,33). The sacrificing priest, as I have already observed, is always Christ, viewed in His official character as Mediator. We learn here how the offering, which He offered as man, feeds, that is, satisfies Him, not only as man, but also as Mediator.

To understand this we must recollect and apprehend the varied relations in which Christ stands connected with the offering; for He appears for us in many offices, in more than one relation. In connexion with the Offering alone, we see Him, as I have said, in at least three characters. He stands as offerer, but He is also the offering; and He who is both offerer and offering is also priest. Yet each of these is a distinct relation; each gives us a different thought of Christ. As offerer He is presented to us as man: there is one in our nature satisfying God. Thus in the offerer we rather see Christ’s person: it is a man standing for men. The offering gives us another thought. It is not Himself, so much as what He did. Here it is not His person, so much as His work and character, which the type brings before us. The priest again is even more distinct. It is Christ in His office as Mediator: here it is neither Christ’s person nor His work, but one of His offices, that is presented to us.

Now, if this simple distinction be apprehended, as I think it must be more or less by every Christian, it will be manifest that there are things true of Christ in one relation which are by no means true of Him in another. For instance, His intercession for us is as priest. As the offering, He does not intercede; as lamb, He dies for us. So again as priest and offerer, He is fed; as the lamb, as the offering, He is not fed. Now there are offerings in which the priest finds food, but from participating in which the offerer is excluded: some of the Sin-offerings are of this latter character, for in them the priest is fed, whole the offerer has nothing. The Sin-offerings, as we shall see more fully in the sequel, are man satisfying offended justice. They are not man giving something sweet to God, but man receiving from God in his offering the penalty of sin. These Sin-offerings supply food to the priest (Lev. 6:25-30), that is, Christ as Mediator finds satisfaction in them, but they afford Him no food as man the offerer: as man in them He only confesses sin. The priest, God’s official servant, is satisfied, because offended justice is vindicated: but man, who pays the penalty in his offering, finds no satisfaction in the act.

The Peace-offering gives us a very different view of the offering. In it man, as well as the priest, is satisfied. In bearing the penalty of sin, that is, in the Sin-offering, man found no satisfaction. But he does find it in the sacrifice of Peace-offerings; here he shares the offering with God. Nor is the priest excluded from this offering: the Peace-offering feeds him, too. If, as priest, Christ found satisfaction in the Sin-offering, that offering which only vindicated offended justice, we might expect to find Him equally satisfied in the offering which fed both God and man. And the Peace-offering reveals that it is so. God and man feast in peace together; and the Priest, the common friend of both, seeing them satisfied, is Himself satisfied also.

How blessed is the thought here revealed to us! How does it open to us the heart of Christ, the joy which He feels as Mediator in seeding communion instituted between God and man! Surely we lose not a little in our communion, if we forget the joy which the Mediator finds in it; if we overlook the satisfaction which He experiences when He sees man at peace with God. He who knows the full value of the offering, never forgets that by it the priest is fed. And if the presence of beloved friends enhances the sweetness of each earthly blessing; and if the absence of those we love makes the full cup lose half its enjoyment; how much must it enhance our joy to know that He who loves us is feasting with us; what must they lose of the sweetness of communion who forget that in it our Priest is fed! This I know, Christ never forgets that when He feasts, He feasts with us. Even yet He says, as once of old, “With desire I desire to eat this sacrifice with you” (Luke 22:15). Shall we, then, have no thought of His joy; shall we forget the satisfaction He finds in the offering? Those who can do this have as yet learnt but little of the Peace-offering; for in the Peace-offering the Priest is fed.

[iv.] But the type takes us further still, and shews us the Priest’s children also sharing with the offerer in the Peace-offering (Lev. 7:31,32 compared with Num. 18:9-11). They, too, as well as the offerer, the priest, and God, find satisfaction in this blessed offering. Our first question here, of course, must be, – Who are represented by the Priest’s children?

We have already seen that the Priest is Christ; Christ viewed in His official character as Mediator. His children, that is, His family, are therefore the Church; but the Church viewed in one particular aspect. The Church, like her blessed Lord, stands both to God and man in more than one relation; and each of these different relations requires in the type a different emblem. This we have abundantly seen is true of Christ: but it is no less true of the Church, His body. For instance, just as the varied pictures we have considered, – the offering, the priest, the offerer, – all shew out our blessed Lord, while yet each shews Him in a different character; so in like manner is it with the Church also. She, too, has varied relations, which require varied emblems. In one we see her in service for God; in another in communion with Him. Israel, as the chosen nation, represents the Church as “the peculiar people,” looked at simply as the seed of Abraham, and as such, in covenant with God. The Levites give us a different thought: they shew us the Church in service; as ministering for God before men, carrying His ark, and caring for His tabernacle. [Footnote: I may observe here that both Priests and Levites are types of the whole Church, not of a part of it. We are told that God’s express command “the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel” (Num. 1:47,54, and 2:33). By this appointment the tribe of Levi was purposely separated, so that it might not be looked at merely as a part of Israel. Thus it constitutes a distinct picture, and shews a distinct relation of the Church.] The family of Priests give us yet another thought. Here we have the Church in communion with God; as the seed of the High Priest and Mediator, sharing with Him in His access to God and in intercession; having a right to stand in the holy place, where no eye sees them but God’s.

If this be seen, it will sufficiently reveal the import of the Priest’s children feeding on the Peace-offering. Their share in the sacrifice shews us the Church in communion, sharing with the Offerer in the satisfaction afforded by the Offering. To me this is a blessed thought, marking the extent and efficacy of this precious offering. Just as of old he that really feasted with God in the Peace-offering, could not do so without sharing with God’s priests; so now communion with God, if enjoyed at all, must be shared with all in communion with Him. This is no question of choice: it cannot be otherwise; for he that is in communion with God must be in communion also with all whom He communes with. We may indeed be accepted in the Beloved, while yet we do not know our calling, or the relationship which exists in Christ between us and all His redeemed worshipers. But it is impossible to realize our standing in Christ, as offerers and partakers in Him of the Peace-offering, without finding that the Offering in which we rejoice links us with the joy of all God’s spiritual priesthood.

And here let me observe in connexion with this particular, that it is possible for believers to find satisfaction in the offering as priest’s children, when through ignorance of their union with Christ as the Offerer, they find no satisfaction as offerers in Him of the Peace-offering. Alas! The great mass of God’s Israel are captives in Babylon or Egypt; cut off, though born to it, from the exercise of priesthood and sacrifice, and from the sacred meat of the altar. But even of those who do know the power of redemption, and who have fed on the offerings of the Lord, how few know that meat save as priests; how few apprehend it as offerers of the Peace-offering! I would that all saints fed as priest’s children, but not less that they fed as offerers in Christ. To find satisfaction as priest’s children in the offering, we need not know our oneness with Christ as Offerer. It is enough to see that He as the faithful Israelite has offered, and that we as priest’s children have a claim on the sacrifice. But this measure of apprehension will not suffice to make us realize our share in the Peace-offering as offerers. To know that Christ as Offerer has offered, will not give us the food which belongs to the offerer, unless we apprehend our oneness with Him, that He stood for us, that we are “in Him.” This as much as priesthood is our calling. May we but apprehend what we are apprehended for!

There is a particular connected with participation in the Peace-offering, which is incidentally mentioned here, and which we must not overlook; namely, that none, even though of the Priest’s family, could eat of the offering unless they were clean (Lev. 7:20). There is a difference between being a priest and being clean. The fact of a man’s contracting some defilement did not prove him to be no priest. On the contrary, the rules respecting clean and unclean were only for God’s elect. This is very important truth. May the Lord make us all understand it better. It teaches us that it is one thing to be a priest; another thing to be a clean priest; yet the unclean priest, if of the chosen seed, is still in the covenant, and on very different ground from the seed of strangers. The Israelite, who through contact with uncleanness, might for a while be excluded from the Tabernacle, could at any time be restored again by using the appointed washings. Still his uncleanness for the time made him a stranger, and cut him off from the meat of God.

The details of the law on this point (See Lev. 22:1-7) are well worthy of our deepest attention. We learn that “leprosy” or “the running issue” excluded even a son of Aaron from the camp; the period of his exclusion depending on the time during which the disease was manifest. “Leprosy” and “the running issue” were both breakings out of the flesh, breakings out which were manifest to others, though manifested differently. They typify those outbreaks of the flesh in the Christian, which are too flagrant to be hid from others. The appointed discipline for these, now as of old, is temporary exclusion from the camp (I Cor. 5:13). During this period the priest’s child was still a priest; but to little purpose, for he was cut off from the altar. But there were defilements of a less manifest character than leprosy, less discernible by the eyes of man, which yet brought with them temporary uncleanness, and with it temporary exclusion from the Tabernacle. If a child of the priest touched any dead thing, or anything which was unclean by contact with the dead; or if he touched any creeping thing whereby he might be made unclean, or a man of whom he might take uncleanness, the law was express, – “The soul that hath touched and such shall be unclean until the even, and shall not eat of the holy things unless he wash his flesh with water.” A spiritual priest may in like manner contract defilement, and so have his communion hindered. If our spirits (for this dispensation is spiritual, not carnal), come in contact with the spirit of the world, if its dead things are felt to touch us, if its creeping things affect our souls, no visible impression may be left to be seen by others, while yet we ourselves may feel our communion hindered. At such a time we may not, under a penalty of judgment (Compare Lex. 7:20,21 and I Cor. 11:29), approach that which at other times is our food. Thank God, contact with the unclean, though it hinders our sense of communion, cannot remove the blood of the covenant. That still remains before God. We may not see it perhaps; He always sees it. Yet who would willingly be the unclean priest, cut off from participation with the altar; his days lost to God and to His tabernacle; his food eaten in the dark? [Footnote: He might not eat it until after sunset. See Lev. 22:7]

Such are the chief particulars in which the Peace-offering differed from the other offerings. It was the sweet-savour offering in which not only God was satisfied, but in which man and the priest found satisfaction also.

I now pass on to observe,

II. THE DIFFERENT GRADES OR VARIETIES WHICH ARE OBSERVED IN THIS OFFERING. These shew us the different measures of intelligence with which this view of Christ’s offering may be apprehended.

And here, as there are several distinct sharers in the offering, – for God, man, and the Priest, have each a portion, – it may be well to consider each portion separately with its particular differences, since in each portion there are distinct varieties observed.

(1). First, then, as to God’s part in the Peace-offering. In this certain varieties at once present themselves; some of them relating to the value of the offering, others connected with the offerer’s purport in the oblation.

[in.] To speak first of the varieties touching the value of the offering. We have here, just as in the Burnt-offering, several different grades. There is the “bullock,” “the lamb,” “the goat;” and these respectively represent here what they do in the Burnt-offering. Each gives us rather a different thought as to the character of Christ’s blessed offering. But it is to be noticed here, that although in the Peace-offering we have nearly the same number of grades as in the Burnt-offering, in the details of these various grades we do not find nearly so much difference as is the case in the Burnt-offering. There is, indeed, the variety of “bullock,” “lamb,” and “goat,” shewing that the offering is apprehended under these various characters; but nearly all the rest seen respecting this portion of the offering, as to the mode of the oblation and the part taken by the offerer, is much the same. It will be remembered that, in the different grades of the Burnt-offering, a great variety was observed in the mode of oblation. In some the parts of the victim were seen to be discriminated; in others this was not so: in some a portion of the offering was seen to be washed in water; in others this was overlooked: in some the offerer was seen laying his hand on the offering; in other this was not observed: in some the offerer himself was seen to kill the offering; in others the priest killed it. But in the Peace-offering we lose this great variety, for in each grade the offering is treated nearly alike. There are indeed the different grades, but this is nearly all: and even these grades do not vary here so much as in the Burnt-offering. [Footnote: The “turtle-dove,” that is, the lowest view of the offering, is omitted.]

The import of this is sufficiently plain. It teaches that if God’s part of the Peace-offering be apprehended at all, it will be apprehended nearly equally. If Christ is seen at all as offering the Peace-offering to God, the view of Him will lack no important particular, nor will His office be confounded with His person, nor will the various parts of His work be overlooked. The difference, for the most part, will simply have reference to the general character of the offering as “goat,” “lamb,” or “bullock.”

[ii.] But there are other varieties noticed in the type, as to that part of the Peace-offering which was offered to God, which are connected, not with the value of the offering, but with the offerer’s purport in bringing the oblation. If we turn to the seventh chapter, where the distinction I refer to is mentioned, it will be seen that the Peace-offering might be offered in two ways. It might be offered either as a thanksgiving, that is, for praise (Chapter 7:12, “for praise.” So the LXX, and many versions.); or as a vow or voluntary offering, that is, for service (Lev. 7:16). If it were seen to be offered “for thanksgiving,” many particulars are noticed respecting man’s share in it, which are entirely lost sight of and omitted when it is seen to be offered “for a vow.” And most of the varieties in the Peace-offering (I may say all the varieties touching the Priest’s and Offerer’s part in it) depend upon the view which may be taken of the general character of the offering, whether it were offered “for thanksgiving,” or whether it were offered “for a vow.” What these particular differences are, we shall note in their proper order and place when we come to consider the Varieties in the Priest’s and Offerer’s part of the Peace-offering. Suffice it here to state the import of the general distinction between “the Thanksgiving” and “the Vow;” and to shew wherein the view of the Peace-offering as seen offered “for thanksgiving,” differed from the Peace-offering to be offered “for a vow.”

To understand this, we must remember what the Offering was. It was Christ, as our representative, giving Himself to God for us. But the purport of this offering may be very differently apprehended: it may be seen as offered for praise, or in service. Jesus may be seen as offering Himself for God’s glory; this is the offering “for praise:” or He may be seen offering Himself in God’s service; this is the offering “for a vow.” Most Christians, I believe all of us at first, regard Christ’s offering rather as a matter of service: we look on the atonement as something done by Christ in God’s service; rather than as something which, from first to last, was for God’s glory. Of course these two views are most intimately connected; but I note here, that though connected, they are distinct: and the difference, if it be seen in nothing else, is immediately seen in the results of either. It will be found in the type, and our experience confirms this, that the apprehension of Christ as bringing an offering for God’s glory will lead us at once to far deeper and more extended views of its consequences, than the view of Christ as offering Himself in God’s service. Accordingly, when the offering is apprehended as offered “for praise,” then many details and consequences connected with it are seen also, which are entirely omitted or lost sight of when the offering is seen as offered “for a vow.” [Footnote: Compare verses 12-15, which describe the offering “for praise,” with verses 16-18, which describe the offering “for a vow.”]

Having thus briefly marked the varieties in the Peace-offering, in that part which was offered to God, as shewing the different apprehensions which may be entertained by saints of this aspect of Christ’s offering, we now proceed to consider,

(2). The Priest’s and Offerer’s part, and the varieties which are observable here. It will be found that the particulars respecting this portion of the Peace-offering differ very much according as the offering is apprehended “for praise” or “for service.” “If he offer it for a thanksgiving (or for praise), then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafer anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried. Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace-offerings. And of it he shall offer one out of the whole oblation for an heave-offering unto the Lord, and it shall be the ;priest’s that sprinkleth the blood of the peace-offerings. And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning. But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and on the morrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten: but the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire” (Lev. 7:12-17).

Such is the law: let us now note these particulars.

When offered “for praise,” [in.] a Meat-offering is offered with the Peace-offering, of which the offerer, as well as the priests, partake; [ii.] leavened cakes also are seen to be offered with the sacrifice, which, though presented “with the Peace-offering,” are, of course, not burnt; and [iii.] further one cake out of the whole oblation, – that is, one of each sort, both leavened and unleavened, – is, after being waved as a Heave-offering to the Lord, given to the priest, who sprinkles the blood of the Peace-offerings; [iv.] the last thing noted is, that the flesh of the offering is to be eaten the same day, or until the morning. Three of these four particulars are entirely overlooked when the sacrifice of Peace-offerings is “for a vow;” and though the fourth is noticed, it is seen rather differently; the flesh in “the vow-offering” is eaten for two days, or until the third day. As several of the emblems used here have already been considered, though not in the combination which we find in the Peace-offering, a few words may be sufficient to point out their purport and significance here.

[in.] In the offering “for praise,” a Meat-offering is offered of which the offerer as well as the priests partake. The purport of the Meat-offering, as we have already seen, is the fulfilment of the second table of the Decalogue; man offering to God as a sweet savour the perfect accomplishment of his duty towards his neighbour. The peculiarity here is, that the offerer partakes of this Meat-offering, a thing not permitted in the common Meat-offering. The common Meat-offering shews us the fulfilment of the law, simply with reference to God, to satisfy Him. But that same fulfilment of the law has other aspects, one of which is, that is satisfies the Offerer also. This is the truth brought out in the Peace-offering, in which the Offerer, as well as God, finds satisfaction in the fulfilment of all righteousness. And this satisfaction is not only in the fulfilment of that part of the law which had reference to God, and which was represented by the offering of a life; but in that part also which referred to man, and was represented by the unleavened cakes of the Meat-offering. The latter part of this appears to be quite lost sight of, unless the Peace-offering is apprehended as offered “for praise.”

[ii.] But further, in the offering “for praise” leavened cakes also are seen to be offered with the sacrifice (verse 13). This emblem, too, has already occupied our attention in “the leavened cakes” of the day of Pentecost. Those cakes represent the offering of the Church. When Christ’s work is seen merely as “the vow,” as a matter of service, the Church’s offering does not come into sight: but when His offering is seen “for praise,” that is for God’s glory, the Church is seen united with Him. The leavened cakes could not be burnt to God, but they come before Him “with” (chapter 7:13 and 23:18) the sweet savour offerings. And though not fit to stand the trial of fire, or to satisfy God as the meat of His altar, they are yet presented for His gracious acceptance, and are fed upon by the Priest and Offerer.

[iii.] And this leads us to the next particular, namely, that one cake out of all the oblation (that is, one of each sort, both leavened and unleavened,) is given to the priest who sprinkles the blood (verse 14), while the remainder, both of the leavened and unleavened, belongs to him who brings the offering. Christ, as Priest, finds food and satisfaction not only in His own blessed and perfect offering: He feeds also on “the leavened cake:” the offering of His Church, with all its failings, satisfies Him. As Offerer, too, He presents this offering with His own: as Offerer, too, He feeds upon it. And we also, as offerers in Him, though not able to hold fellowship with God on the Church’s offerings, (No part of leavened cake was burnt to God,) may yet find satisfaction in such offerings, even as Paul found satisfaction in the love of saints (II Tim. 1:16; Philemon 7,20). Sweet, however, as such offerings may be to us, and much as they may “refresh our bowels in the Lord,” they cannot by themselves be accepted of God, or be the ground of our communion with Him. The only meat we can thus share with Him is the unblemished and perfect meat of the altar. But these particulars and distinctions are not apprehended, unless the Peace-offering is seen as offered “for praise.”

[iv.] The last particular noticed respects the period during which the Peace-offering was to be eaten. The time for eating the offering “for praise” was “the same day” or “until the morning” (verse 15): in the “vow-offering” there is a little difference; it might be eaten “the same day and on the morrow,” or “until the third day” (verses 16,17).

Now the “morning” and the “third day” are sufficiently common types, and are both constantly used, I believe, to denote the resurrection. [Footnote: For “the morning” see Ex. 12:8,10; Psa. 49:14; Rom. 13:12. For “the third day,” Hosea 6:2; Luke 13:32; I Cor. 15:4, etc. The eighth day” also is the resurrection, but the resurrection looked at in a different aspect, either to the view given in “the morning” or “the third day.”] Thus far I conceive the sense of the emblems unquestionable: but I am not so certain as to the different aspect of the resurrection represented by each of them. I am disposed, however, to think that “the morning” represents the resurrection as the time of Christ’s appearing; while the thought connected with “the third day” is simply deliverance from the grave. In either case the main truth remains the same, that the Peace-offering is our food until the resurrection: but in the one case we eat as those whose time is short, in the night it may be, but in hope of the morning; in the other the thought of the morning is lost, and instead of it we see days of labour to intervene. I need not say that the first is the higher and happier view.

Such is the law of the Peace-offering, and such some of its chief varieties. In our progress we have little more than traced the outline, but how much does it contain. Even what we see and know of it reveals both depths and lengths of grace in the Redeemer; when we think of what our peace cost Him, and that He poured out His life to bring us to communion. Blessed be His name for the measure and manner of His love. May He reveal it to us by the Holy Ghost. Well might the Psalmist say, “Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple” (Psa. 65:1,4). “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house. Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Psa. 36:8). The Lord grant us, not merely to know about these things, but to know Him better of whom they speak.

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