Now this is the law of the guilt offering, which is most holy:
I. THAT THE TRESPASS OFFERING IS DESCRIBED AS MOST HOLY.
1. It was most holy as typifying Christ.
(1) Intrinsically there could be neither sin nor holiness in the animal that was offered up. It was not a moral being. Nor could it be most holy in the sense of removing moral guilt; for it could not do this. For this purpose God never "required" it; never "desired" it (1 Samuel 15:22; Psalm 40:6; Psalm 51:16; Isaiah 1:11; Hosea 6:6; Hebrews 10:1-4).
(2) But the guilt offering of Calvary can literally "take sin away," and so accomplish the will, the desire, and the requirement of a just and merciful God (Psalm 40:6-8; Hebrews 10:4-10). Christ is therefore indeed "Most Holy;" and the guilt offering of the Law was so called putatively as typifying him. Accordingly,
2. It was killed at the north side of the altar.
(1) "It is most holy. In the place where they kill the burnt offering shall they kill the trespass offering" (verses 1, 2). But the burnt offering was killed at the north side of the altar (Leviticus 1:11). So was Calvary at the north side of Jerusalem.
(2) Because this is given as a reason why the trespass offering was to be accounted "most holy," the Jews have countenance here for their tradition that the less holy sacrifices were slain at the south-west corner of the altar.
3. It was eaten in the holy place.
(1) "Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy" (verse 6). This was what the Jews distinguished as "the eating within the curtains,' in allusion to the court of the tabernacle, which was enclosed with curtains.
(2) In these feastings the priests cultivated fellowship; and the fellowship was religious in proportion as they had the vision of their faith clear to look to the end of the things to be abolished. Faith is the true principle of religious fellowship.
(3) The females "among the priests" might eat of the "holy things ;" but of the things distinguished as "most holy" they had no right to eat. Since the Fall down to the coming of the "Seed of the woman," a distinction between male and female was maintained, but now it is abolished. God's curse upon the woman has strangely been converted into the greatest Messing to mankind. Even in anger God is love.
II. SUNDRY DIRECTIONS GIVEN TO THE PRIESTS.
1. With the blood of the guilt offering they were to sprinkle the altar.
(1) The altar was the raised platform upon which the sacrifices were offered up to God. The eminence of Calvary was, more particularly considered, the altar upon which the Great Sacrifice was offered. But in the grander sense, when the great universe is viewed, as Paul views it, as the true temple of God, the earth itself was the altar. The welfare of the universe is concerned in the death of Christ (Ephesians 1:10; Philippians 2:9, 10; Colossians 1:20).
(2) The sprinkling of the altar with the blood, in tiffs view, would show that the earth, the common inheritance of man, which was cursed for his sake, is redeemed with the price of the precious blood of Jesus, And being redeemed by the price of his blood, it is destined also to be redeemed by the power of his arm (see Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30). What glorious things are in reversion!
(3) The Mishna records a tradition thus rendered by Bishop Patrick: "That there was a scarlet line which went round about the altar exactly in the middle, and the blood of the burnt offerings was sprinkled round about above the line, but that of the trespass offerings and peace offerings round about below it." But these traditions are generally refinements without authority. Let us be thankful for the "sure word of prophecy."
2. They were to burn the fat upon the altar.
(1) Not the fat intermingled with the flesh. This was not offered upon the altar, except, of course, in the holocaust; nor was it forbidden as food. Had it been so, what embarrassments must tender consciences have suffered! There is nothing unreasonable in the service of God.
(2) The fat burnt was chiefly that found in a detached state, viz. the omentum, or caul, the fat of the mesentery and that about the kidneys, with the rump or tail of the sheep. This last was in the East so enormous that it had in some cases to be supported by a little cart fastened behind the animal (see Ludolf's 'History of Ethiopia,' page 53).
3. They had the privilege of claiming the skin (verses 7, 8).
(1) This privilege probably dates from the days of Eden. Immediately after the Fall, our first parents covered themselves with the leaves of the fig, symbolically to express their sense of shame on account of their sin. In exchange for these, God graciously clothed them with skins, which we may presume were those of animals offered in sacrifice. Here, then, was the robe of an imputed righteousness to cover their sin and shame.
(2) If these skins were those of animals offered in sacrifice, then Adam must have acted as a priest, and of course by Divine appointment. As a priest, then he would receive the skins. To this hour those descendants of Adam who act as spiritual priests are those who are invested with the robe of the righteousness of Christ. - J.A.M.
Leviticus 6:25; Leviticus 7:1, 11, 37). What we want is just this-definiteness. There must be a line of certainty somewhere, or the universe could not be kept together. There may be ten thousand contributory lines, contingent or incidental lines, but there must be running right through the heart of things a law of definiteness and certitude; otherwise coherence is impossible, and permanence is of the nature of a dissolving cloud. We want to get upon that line. Quest in search of that line is orthodoxy. To seek after truth, what is this but to love wisdom and to pant for God? What have you? You have great information. What is the value of information? Nothing, beyond that which is merely momentary and tentative. It is the last thing to be known or that is known. But then in two hours we shall know something more. Information is never final. Hence men say, "To the best of my knowledge." What a confession is in these simple words if we submit them to their last analysis! "To the best of my judgment," "So far as I know," "According to the best advice I can get"; what is all this but sand? You could not build a house upon such sand. It would never do for information to be final or complete or authoritative; it is by this kind of uncertainty that we are kept modest, it is by this kind of incertitude we are often inspired, and it is because intellectual life is a continual tumult that we grow athletically, that the brain becomes stronger. What we want to come upon is the line of law which itself is a line of progress, a line of change into ever-increasing largeness, but never a change of quality or of moral purpose. If we want to know the law we can find it. If you want to be right you can be right. "To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." Can we go to the law? We can do better. It is the business of the gospel minister to say how. We can not only go to the law, we can go to the Lawgiver, we can go to the living Jesus Christ. We can see Him face to face, or, better still, using the word "face" in its true interpretation, we Can see Him soul to soul.
The law of the trespass-offering.1. The fatness and grossness of the carnal heart is to be removed and taken away.
2. God requires the heart.
3. Against covetousness in ministers.
4. To receive the sacraments reverently and with due preparation.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
(J. M. Gibson, D. D.)
(J. -Parker, D. D.)
The priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt-offering.
1. It notably confirmeth our faith in His providence, that He will never forget us and leave us destitute of things needful and good for us, seeing we are much better than the skin of a brute beast, whereof yet He hath care and thought.
2. It showed that sweet and comfortable care that the" Lord then had, and still hath, of the ministry, that it should be maintained, and not defrauded of the least thing allotted to it, which still He showeth in all other particulars, urging still that they be given to the priests according to His will.
3. This care of the Lord for the beast's skin, to appoint it to one that should have it, well taught that people then, and still teacheth us ever to be careful to,prevent strife, and to take away all questions and controversies as much as we may., that every one knowing what is his may therein rest, and peace ensue. The more God hath given you, the more must be your pain this way, in your good health and perfect memory.
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