The priest is to dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil of the sanctuary.
The atonement for involuntary transgression. The Book of Leviticus well repays careful perusal in days when there are many attempts made to lessen men's sense of the enormity of sin and of the necessity of a propitiatory offering. Its teachings are impressive, its pictures vivid.
I. SIN INFLICTS AN INJURY UPON THE HOLINESS OF GOD, AND EXPOSES MAN TO PENAL CONSEQUENCES. The words used to denote sin imply a turning aside from the path marked out, a deviation from rectitude. Man misses his way, goes astray like a lost sheep. He does what he ought not to do (verse 2), and thereby the precepts of God are slighted and God's honour is wounded. This cannot be permitted with impunity. The wrath of God, not a base but holy passion, is aroused, and vengeance or holy indignation threatens to visit the transgressor. We think wrongly of our sinful acts if we minimize their awful importance, or pay regard simply to the injury done to ourselves. This is the least part. The Supreme Being is concerned, and it is his displeasure we have to fear. Sin cuts at the root of government, assails the foundations of the eternal throne.
II. EVERY TRANSGRESSION IS RECOGNIZED AS SINFUL, whether arising from ignorance or willfulness, whether an act of omission or commission. An atonement is insisted on even for what we deem the least flagrant derelictions. Man is so ready to extenuate his crimes, that God strips off the veil, and exposes sin in all its guiltiness, a thing to be loathed and shunned wherever met, requiring purification on our part, however accidentally we may have come in contact with it. That without intention we trod upon a venomous serpent, does not protect us from its fangs. We shall need the remedy, however the poison may have been injected.
III. PENITENCE AND CONFESSION ARE INSUFFICIENT TO OBLITERATE THE MEMORY OF THE SIN. To regret the act and to express sorrow and to determine not to offend again, are good as far as they go, but, to wipe out the stain, blood must be shed. This only con whiten the defiled robes. Sinner, behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! To have the sin brought to your knowledge, so that you take a more adequate view of its sinfulness, to pour forth agonizing cries and floods of tears, will not obtain forgiveness, unless accompanied with the presentation to the Father of the righteousness of his Son.
IV. SIN BECOMES MORE CONSPICUOUS AND FAR-REACHING WHEN COMMITTED BY THE OCCUPANTS OF A FORTY POSITION. The high priest was the representative of the nation, and hence his offering must equal in value that presented by the whole congregation. So likewise the sin of a ruler was more visible than that of a subject, and wronged God the more, and whilst a she-goat sufficed for one of the people, for him only a he-goat was allowed. Not without reason did the apostle exhort that intercession be made "for kings, and all that are in authority." Iniquity in high places in the Church and in society causes the greatest scandal, becomes most hurtful in its effects, and is most offensive to God. Both the animal offered and the ritual observed testified to the relative enormity of transgressions by different classes. Between the sins of each order in themselves no distinction was made.
V. BY THE APPOINTED VICTIM RECONCILIATION IS POSSIBLE TO ALL INADVERTENT OFFENDERS. We reserve this to the last, in order that the cheeriest aspect may be uppermost. Divest honour of its consequent responsibility we cannot, but we point to the ample provision for forgiveness afforded to comfort the prince and the peasant, the priest and the layman, the individual and the nation. Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, has given his life a ransom for the many. He satisfies all claims, reconciles us unto God, so that our trespasses are not imputed unto us. - S.R.A.
Hebrews 13:11, 12). And the whole bullock was to be burned, being a sin-offering, to teach men to burn all their sins, and not to divide them, as we do, when we say, I will amend my drunkenness, but I cannot leave my swearing, or if I leave that also, yet my licentious life a little more must have a swing, &c. But burn all, thou wert best, and willingly keep none, burn them, I say, by true sorrow and detestation of them, even all, all, lest but one — being wilfully still delighted in — burn thee all, and wholly in hell for ever. When Moses, with the Israelites, was to depart out of Egypt, and Pharaoh would have had them leave their cattle behind them, saving what they intended to sacrifice, answer was made, they would not leave one hoof of a beast behind; and so deal you with your sins — leave not one hoof of sin behind. No one sin, no part of sin, that is, still I say, by wittingly, .willingly, and boldly continuing in it and delighting in it. Otherwise, free from sin in this life we cannot be. But, through the grace of God, we may be free from presumptuous pleasure in sin, and sigh and groan no more, for that anyway we should offend so good a God, as we find infinite ways of Him that we do offend, desiring and longing to be free even from all sin.
Sprinkle of the blood.
I. We begin with THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST IN ITS RELATION TO THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL.
1. In the type before us the prominent thing before God is the blood of atonement. It was God's intent to awaken in man a great disgust of sin, by making him see that it could only be put away by suffering and death. In the Tabernacle in the wilderness almost everything was sanctified by blood. The purple drops fell even on the book, and all the people. The blood was to be seen everywhere.
2. The blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled before the veil seven times, signifying this: first, that the atonement made by the blood of Jesus is perfect in its reference to God. All through the Scriptures, as you well know, seven is the number of perfection, and in this place it is doubtless used with that intent. The seven times is the same as once for all: it conveys the same meaning as when we read, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins," and again, "We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once." It is a complete act. No man need bring anything more, or anything of his own, wherewith to turn away the anger of God; but he may come just as he is, guilty and defiled, and plead this precious blood which has made effectual atonement for him.
3. Note next, that not only is the atonement itself perfect, but that the presentation of that atonement is perfect, too. The sevenfold sprinkling was typical of Christ as a Priest presenting unto the Father Himself as a sacrifice for sin. This has been rally done. Jesus has in due order carried the propitiation into the sanctuary, and appeared in the presence of God on our behalf. We now pass on to a few thoughts about ourselves in relation to the type.
4. This sevenfold sprinkling of the blood upon the veil meant that the way of our access to God is only by virtue of the precious blood of Christ. Do you ever feel a veil hanging between you and God? In very truth, there is none; for Jesus has taken it away through His flesh.
5. I further think that the blood was sprinkled on the veil seven times to show that a deliberate contemplation of the death of Christ is greatly for our benefit. Whatever else you treat slightly, let the sacrifice of Calvary be seriously considered again and again.
6. Remember, too, that this sets out how great our guilt has been, since the blood must be sprinkled seven times ere the work of atonement is fully seen by you. Our guilt has a sevenfold blackness about it, and there must be a sevenfold cleansing. If you plead the blood of Jesus once and you do not obtain peace thereby, plead it again; and if still the burden lies upon your heart, still go on pleading with the Lord the one prevailing argument that Jesus bled. God, who bids us forgive unto seventy times seven, sets no bound to His own forgiveness.
7. Do reflect that if your case seems to yourself to be very difficult, it is provided for by this sevenfold sprinkling of the blood. The devil's desire will be to keep you from thinking upon Christ; but do remember that thoughts about anything else will do you very little good. Your hope lies in thinking upon Jesus, not upon yourself "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him." Mr. Moody Stuart somewhere tells us that he once talked with a woman who was in great trouble about her sins. She was a well-instructed person, and knew the Bible thoroughly, so that he was in a little difficulty what to say to her, as she was so accustomed to all-saving truth. At last he urged upon her very strongly that passage, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners," and he noticed that she seemed to find a quiet relief in a gentle flow of tears. He prayed with her, and when she rose from her knees she seemed much comforted. Meeting her the next day, and seeing her smiling face, and finding her full of rest in the Lord, he asked? "What was it wrought your deliverance?" "Oh," she said, "it was that text, ' Jesus came to save sinners.'" "Did you not know that before?" said Mr. Stuart. Yes, she knew the words before, but she found that in her heart of hearts she had believed that Jesus came to save saints, and not sinners. Do not many awakened persons abide in the same error?
II. THE BLOOD IN ITS INFLUENCE UPON PRAYER. "The priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord." Horns signify power, and the explanation of the symbol is that there is no power in intercessory prayer apart from the blood of expiation.
1. Remember, first, that the intercession of Christ Himself is based upon His atonement. He is daily pleading before the throne of God, and His great argument is that He offered Himself without spot unto God. "It pleased the Father to bruise Him," and now it pleases the Father to hear Him. The bruised spices of His passion are an incense of sweet smell, and derive a double acceptance from the blood-smeared altar upon which they are presented. And now take the type to yourselves.
2. You and I are to offer incense upon this golden altar by our daily intercession for others, but our plea must always be the atoning blood of Jesus.
3. And, as this must be the plea of our intercession, so it must be our impulse in making intercession. When we pray we come, as it were, to this golden altar, and we look thereon: what is that we see? Stains of blood! We look again, and again see crimson spots, while all the four horns are red with blood. Did my Lord pour out His soul unto death for men, and shall not I pour out my soul in living earnest when I pray? Can you now bow your knee to plead with God and not feel your heart set upon the good of men, when you see that your Lord has laid down His life that they may be saved? Where He poured out His blood, will not you pour out your tears? He has given His bleeding heart for men, will not you give your pleading lips?
4. I think, too, I must say that this smearing of the horns of the altar with blood is meant to give us very great encouragement and assurance whenever we come to God in prayer. Never give anybody up, however bad he may be. Why, there is the blood of Christ. What sin is there which it cannot remove? When we pray, let us with vehement desire plead the blood of Jesus Christ. Perhaps fewer petitions, and more urging of the merit of Christ, would make better prayers.
III. The last point is, THE BLOOD IN ITS INFLUENCE UPON ALL OUR SERVICE. You see we have been coming outwards from the veil to the golden altar, and now we pass outside the Holy Place into the outer court, and there in the open air stands the great brazen altar — the first object that the Israelite saw when he entered the sacred precincts.
1. That altar represents a great many things, and among the rest our Lord Jesus presenting Himself to God as an acceptable sacrifice. Whenever you think of our Lord as being an offering of a sweet smell unto God, never dissociate that fact in your mind from His being slain for sin, for all our Lord's service is tinged by His atoning death.
2. Viewing the type in reference to ourselves, let us learn that whenever we come to offer any sacrifice unto the Lord we must take care that we present it by virtue of the precious blood of Christ. We must view the atonement as connected with every holy thing. I believe that our testimonies for God will be blessed of God in proportion as we keep the sacrifice of Christ to the forefront. Somebody asked our brother, Mr. Moody, how it was that he was so successful, and he is said to have replied, "Well, if I must tell you, it is I believe because we come out fair anal square upon the doctrine of substitution." In that remark he hit the nail on the head. That is the saving doctrine; keep that before your own mind, keep it before the minds of those whom you would benefit.
3. And, beloved, do you not think that this pouring of the blood at the foot of this brazen altar indicates to us how much we ought to bring there? If Jesus has brought His life there, and laid Himself thereon, ought we not to bring all that we are and all that we have, and consecrate all to God?
4. Lastly, you notice the blood was poured out at the bottom of the altar. What could that mean but this — that the altar of thank-offering stood upon and grew out of a basis of blood. So all our deeds for God, our sacrifices for His cause, must spring out of the love which He has manifested in the death of His dear Son. We love Him because He first loved us. And how do we know that He loves us? Behold the death of Jesus as the surest proof. I long to put my whole being upon that altar, and I should feel as I did so that I was not giving my God anything, but only rendering to Him what His dear Son has bought a million times over by once shedding His life-blood.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(C. Simeon.).1. Some tell us that repentance is sufficient without atonement. "Contrition," say they, "is all that God wants. Why insist on the need of sacrifice? Let a man mourn over his iniquities and he will be forgiven." This is a mode of speech not more unscriptural than unphilosophical. To maintain that "repentance is sufficient without atonement" is uncommonly like declaring that life is enough without bread or that heat is sufficient without the sun. The fact is, that as existence is sustained by food, and as warmth proceeds from the orb of day, so repentance is with most men the result of belief in redemption. John the Baptist was pre-eminently a preacher of repentance: we invariably associate the two. "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"; such was the keynote of his teaching. He bids the Pharisees and Sadducees "bring forth fruit meet for repentance." Yet he who thus spoke took care to cry, "Behold the Lamb of God."
2. "Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ," stand in the relation of effect and cause. The executioner of Socrates, handing him the cup of hemlock, burst into tears, deeply grieved that he should, in any way, be an accessory to the death of one so illustrious. In like manner, when we hear a well-known voice exclaiming, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me," we are conscious that our transgressions necessitated the fatal draught, and, feeling their enormity, we mourn over them. Some years ago patriotic regard for their country introduced the following fashion among Polish ladies. Each wore a small iron cross bearing upon it the name "Warsaw." Thereby they were reminded of the wrong done to the nation which they loved so well, and thereby, also, they sought to stir up brothers, husbands, and sons to hatred of tyrannic Russia. Let us have the Cross near our hearts, for nothing will so effectually inflame animosity against sin. Aptly has it been remarked that "contrition is the tear in the eye of faith."
(T. R. Stevenson.)
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